In a multi-screen world, multiplatform publishing is necessary for news outlets to survive.
Multiplatform publishing is the idea of posting content on multiple channels in order to reach the greatest number of people. The concept sounds simple, but it can get complicated quickly as different platforms require their own formatting requirements and protocols.
Multiplatform publishing just might be the future of journalism, as fragmentation within the industry has made it so that independent publishers can’t afford to keep their content on one single platform. But coming up with a strategy to publish content on a dozen or more platforms can be a logistical nightmare.
To make multiplatform publishing work, smart content management must be in place. Smart content management allows publishers to seamlessly generate custom outputs, and it relies on cross-platform code development. (We’ll get more into that later.)
Although some might consider the three main types of content in a multiplatform publishing strategy to be online, offline, and in-person, here at Web Publisher PRO we’re focused on helping our clients grow their digital publications. To generate engagement, our publishers are making their content viewable across multiple browsers, devices, mobile news apps, and digital portals.
Here are the five key steps to developing a successful multiplatform publishing strategy.
Step 1: Find the most important publishing platforms.
As a publisher today, you have thousands of options for places to publish your content. In addition to your own website and social media feeds, you can make your content viewable in mobile news apps, news portals, and ebook format. Your website can be—and should be—accessible on desktop and mobile. Even within desktop, you’re looking at readers on a dozen or more different browsers. Mobile readers are using smartphones and tablets with all different screen resolutions.
Can you publish content on all of these platforms? Maybe. But for most publishers, it’s best to start with just a handful. For example, many independent publishers are opting only to support three tablet platforms—Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy—at their initial launch. Once your content is accessible on major devices and platforms, then you can start expanding your reach with emerging platforms as a way to bring new readers into the fold.
Step 2: Consider environment when planning editorial content.
Where do you envision readers consuming the content you publish? If you publish long-form journalism, then there’s a greater chance readers will consume content directly from your website on their desktop computers. Short nuggets of information lend themselves especially well to social media or email newsletters. Lots of videos? There’s a good chance your viewers are avid users of sites like YouTube. All this is to say, the type of content you publish will play a role in which platforms you use for distribution in a multiplatform publishing strategy.
Step 3: Structure content appropriately.
In multiplatform publishing, video, images, and editorial content usually need to be structured differently for each platform. As a publisher, you don’t have time to do that manually. Automate the process so that the content from your website can be processed and turned into a number of configured outlets. With XML (extensible markup language), you can create automated rules that will make it much easier to convert content into different outputs. XML is used in the publishing process for any news organization with a multiplatform publishing strategy.
Step 4: Recycle content into new platforms.
Regardless of how well you’ve structured your site’s content and how many automation platforms you’ve adopted, a multiplatform publishing strategy will always involve some manual work. Websites serve as a foundation for most local news publishers. Once you’ve published content on your website, look for ways to extend the lifespan. Extract the most interesting nuggets to use in social media posts. Create video interviews of key players in longer articles to publish on YouTube. Include the first few paragraphs of the day’s top articles in an email newsletter. You could even turn multi-part stories or long-form journalism into an ebook to sell on your website.
Step 5: Use WordPress plugins.
Publishers who host their websites on WordPress have access to a number of plugins that streamline the multiplatform publishing strategy. For example, the Instant Articles for WP plugin adds support for Facebook’s self-hosted Instant Articles. Publishers can publish to Instant Articles with valid markups from their content’s metadata. Another popular plugin is AMP. The AMP for WordPress plugin dynamically generates AMP-compatible versions of articles that load instantly on any device.
Developing sophisticated multiplatform publishing strategies for clients is part of what we do here at Web Publisher PRO. If you have more questions about how multiplatform publishing could extend the reach of your own publication, we’d love to chat.