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 code vortex(Read time = 2 minutes)  Amazing how tangent conversations creep in from unexpected places.  Recently, I was in a client discussion on video production.  With talent direction, content and milestone conversations sated, the producer and I bridged into a “where best to host” (YouTube the obvious answer) and then widened to an adjacent discussion that challenged the default of hanging content only on the corporate web site.

 

With great delight, my producer friend, an acknowledged social media advocate herself (thanx Spooner!) with both business and academic credentials, argued for an external “content embed” strategy using third-party hosting sites.  Essentially, dropping assets onto third-party, content-specific sites which brought added traffic value beyond just the hosting itself; making it easy to share and find (think SEO).  Assets would then be served into a promotional site (think Facebook Fan Page, corporate blog site, or the like)

Indirectly, bookmarking sites like Delicious and Digg serve a similar virtualized function.  While not content hosts per se, these sites provide audience communities and search capabilities, therefore additional traffic possibilities.  But that’s a slight tangent. 

Hoping that the debate stimulates some thinking and challenges the default solution of “everything on the company site”.

The set-up:  An upcoming product launch would be augmented by social media outreach and promotion: some traditional content (collateral, whitepapers, etc.), some rich-media new content (video clips, anecdotal short case study write-ups, a podcast or two).

The marketing goal:  Integrate a company domain splash page with social media promotional networks such as: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn while taking advantage of content-specialty sites such as YouTube;  do so as simply as possible with a delivery/management process as near to a “post once, deliver to many” model;  capture robust metrics.

At issue:  where best to (practically) hang (embed) the content:  centralized w/in the company’s own domain on the splash page itself (what are the pros/cons) v. using third-party sites such as:  YouTube,  SlideShare, Docstoc , Vimeo,  Scribd, Flckr, issuu, whitepapers.org .  Which, if any, work, will depend on your audience and goal. Notable web strategist Jeremiah Owyang discusses the concept of embeddable content/give the love away in a blog post here.

Some “pros” for the third party approach:  added audience reach into communities loyal to the hosting site itself, visitors likely never to visit the company domain main website; also, by posting on sites that allow content to be re-purposed (embedded by others, elsewhere) the viral spread widens.  BEWARE:  many third-party sites include “ownership” clauses for posting to their sites.

Cons:  No single third-party site seems to be a logical aggregation point:  ie, videos would go to YouTube, podcasts to iTunes, slideware to SlideShare, etc.  Management complexity, multiple metric sources to integrate.

Biggest “pro” for the HIY approach:  internal web team can own it, optimize it, marketing can be hands off (at least in the ideal world <grin>).

Cons: Internal web teams can be very inefficient and/or have tool delivery systems less than current best practice models.  Integration of various media delivery systems inside a band aided, enterprise web architecture.

The solution remains an active discussion.  Feel free to weigh-in with thoughtful prose or quirky advice. While the resolution is not quite the beast of Trek-Piccard proportion, in our own small way, we’re Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra, eyes open…  end of day, HIY + third-party site content embeds is probably not a bad solution.
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