Third-party blogging platforms and sites like Medium are EASY. So, so easy compared with building yourself a content platform.
Suspiciously easy, you could say.
Setting up an account on Medium = five minutes of effort and zero money before you’re creating beautiful articles that have the potential to be seen by millions. What’s not to like, for a small business with limited marketing budget?
Turns out, plenty.
3 reasons not to trust your content to third-party blogging platforms
1. You can’t control its safety and longevity
If you don’t host it, you can’t know your content is safe from sudden extinction. We place so much trust in content websites, but this type of business doesn’t live forever.
The vast majority of social media platforms have failed. Content platforms lose hype all the time. Even Google’s own Google+ is no longer viable.
2. Your branding options are limited
Yes, Medium and its ilk have spent millions of dollars on making their platforms look better than we ever could – but that’s what you’re stuck with. It’s your business, so you need flexibility and freedom for creating content that actually looks like you.
Stick with a third-party blogging site and you’re tying your brand to that platform. You’re only ever going to look like them. That is to say: like everybody else using the platform.
3. You’re at the mercy of platform changes
As users, we get cross at platform providers when they change things, like updating their algorithms. We feel like if we take a stand, we can change policy because we’re right.
Doesn’t matter. These are behemoths of business and we’re just ants to them. If you want to know your content will look and act the same way consistently and dependably, host it yourself.
Instagram is notorious for ‘shadow banning’ content producers. This means hashtags the producer (usually small businesses reliant on their networks for sales) has used for hundreds of posts suddenly go dark. There is little to no information about why this happens or how to stop it, leaving businesses without discoverable products or content.
4. You’re often stuck with a clumsy website journey
Your website’s great, a user’s clicking happily from page to page – then they hit News and they’re taken to an external site? Not only are you sending away your valuable user that you’ve fought hard (and probably paid) to attract; you’re also interrupting their journey towards a potential purchase. And, frankly, it just doesn’t look very professional.
There are of course ways to embed your external blog into your website but this is still going to be a shift in experience. It’s also interrupted code: code you have little control over. SEO-wise, nothing beats well-coded content that exists on your site and your site alone.
5. You may not have complete rights to your own content
Instagram has rights over your content: it can use anything you post in its own advertising without your permission. Just by signing up, you’ve GIVEN your permission.
As a business, that’s a serious brand consideration. You might not like how Instagram uses your image but you won’t have a leg to stand on.
Instagram is a specific example but this goes for many blogging platforms, too. They have greater rights over what you see as ‘your’ content than you may be aware of. In its terms, Medium retains the right to use your content for advertising purposes and to promote their own advertisers within your content. As an extra bonus, the platform can also delete ‘any content you post for any reason’.
Always control your brand’s content
The hours poured into developing blog content that reflects your brand could ultimately be wasted if you entrust it to a third-party blogging site. Your brand, your content – it belongs on your website.
Get more advice on blogging for your business.