Content widgets are different than functional widgets such as calendars or other apps. Both use the same principles of a distributed network kept up-to-date by a central source, but content widgets do for content what widgetizing a program does for code.
This slide outlines the journey to widgetization covered in this Haiku Deck.
Done right a distributed widget network becomes a new marketing channel. Unlike many other channels your distributed widget marketing channel is
* 100% in curator's (widget creator's) control (no ISP to blacklisting content, message or communication). * A powerful source of instant feedback. * Very low cost, high return much like email.
Should say much like email marketing used to be before ubiquity, spamming and mobile shriveled open rates to a crawl even as list growth continues. Size of your list is LESS important than your OPEN rate! Open = engagement and engagement = conversion.
Your widget on my site helps my site build reputation and authority and your site win hearts, minds and conversion. Everyone wins.
Challenge is not getting so greedy you miss the reason people embed widgets, reasons like:
* They feel connected to you, your company, products or brands. * People want to let others know they are associated with you (they are part of the "tribe"). * You provide a valuable source of arresting content. * Your widgets are consistent with the way those embedding think about THEIR content. * Its easy and rewarding to embed your widgets.
Imagine the value of having your content instantly updated on a million websites, blogs and social media pages.
If there is a cheaper way than widgetizing your content to build awareness, a new source of converting traffic and fast feedback we don't know what it is.
Widgetizing is powerful and vastly underutilized.
WARNING: Since widgets move juice to the source of the widgets WHEN links are "follow" links we recommend making them "no follow" so the spider doesn't assign false value. SEO PALES in value to other widget benefits so no use running afoul of the big G.
Widgets are ALIVE. When you change something it is instantly changes across your entire distributed content network.
So alive, widgets provide GREAT opportunities for collaboration such as:
* Multi-author widgets (as other curators to provide input to your widget feeds). * Multi-thread - A "liberal arts" widgets for Vassar College, where I graduated, could address history, art and philosophy easily with multi-threads (can get confusing and so you may want separate widgets, but there are other ways to organize a single widget to provide multi-thread content). * User Generated Content - Widgets are far from Wikis so ask for input and curate great input in to reinforce the value of your "widget network".
Own the conversation, own the traffic and widgets are a great way to "own" a conversation since your curation is reinforced across a broad distributed network with each node increasing your widget's "legitimacy" as curator of a particular conversation.
I love Quora's embed options as they provide a way to master a conversation. Read more about Quora's widgets here:
This is the KEY to embeds. There are at least two kinds of embeds:
* Embeds of content supportive of what a blogger or website is discussing on a particular page now.
* Embeds of content as an active source of curation and new related content.
Slideshare tends to get embeds from the first group - people who want to support what they are working on now.
If my Storytelling Is The New SEO Slideshare doesn't update that's probably okay since the 58 embeds were using my slides to make a point: http://www.slideshare.net/martinmartysmith/storytelling-new-seo
If I had a ScentTrail Marketing or Curagmai widget and it stayed static that would be a problem since those who've embedded a Twitter or blog role widget expect NEW content to stream to them frequently.
Widget users use our content creation as a source of new content. We are glad to help since we receive awareness and a valuable source of new traffic and input into our "widget network".
Constantly updating relevance key to great widgets.
Don't try to create widgets that are all things to all people. Find a niche, narrow it and then own it.
* Daily or even hourly SEO tips. * Inspirational quotes. * Arresting visuals. * Sports. * Mashable & highly specialized. * Quick design tips. * Evergreen ideas like storytelling is new seo.
The more current and/or trend surfing your content the greater the embeds. Embeds have to be earned over and over. People can remove a widget as easily as add one, so monitor your embeds as a content marketing Key Performance Indicator.
Speed has many dimensions when widgetizing content. Programming must NOT slow the overall page. Adding your widget should be as close to neutral on page performance as possible (and publish that data too so people will know you are monitoring your widget's impact on their performance).
Speed also means creating widget content that looks and feels FAST, FUN and EASY (to use, anser or share).
Some may embed your "sale" widget if you are creative and cool like Woot.com, but most embeds want something ABOUT THEM in YOUR widget.
This is why we love UGC (User Generated Content) as a source of widget content. When your daily SEO tip comes from visitor suggestions you make THEM the hero of your widget and one mention keeps your widget embedded on their site for a long time.
That last bullet is very important. Embedding is NOT EASY and it should be. Make sure your embed process is clear, no more than three steps and easy. Include a video showing how to embed, the benefits of embedding and information about performance (you are NOT slowing or crashing their pages and you use no follow links to you aren't stealing their juice).
Developing a distributed content network via widgets is right up there with email, crowdfunding and other low costs, high return "blue oceans" that few Internet marketers are fully exploiting now. Like all "low cost, high reward" Internet marketing activities that statement will not be true for much longer. Expect "widgetization" to pick up in 2014.
Thought I would speculate about WHY widgetization hasn't already taken off, but, if you are a true Internet marketer, you don't care. Why is always moot. IS on the other hand can be very important to web marketing success. Widgets are about to explode. Do you want to be on this side of the Rubicon or the other?