The way we publish content online has changed. In today’s times, anyone with a mouse, keyboard and the ability to hit “Send” is essentially a publisher. With that, comes an overwhelming amount of content shared on social networks, blogs, websites and any other online channel.
As one would expect, this often results in information overload – everywhere, all day, everyday.
Online content publishing, as most are familiar, is organized into streams for a “real-time” browsing simulation. Many view their Facebook Timeline, Twitter updates and latest blog posts in chronologically organized feeds. Organizing content in this manner takes one of the most important news values into consideration, timeliness, as it is likely that most people (or maybe just me) will spend the most time engaging with content easily accessible at the top of their feeds and casually scrolling down the timeline with less attention.
But, what about the content that’s actually most relevant to what I’m looking for on a particular topic? Most importantly, how can content creators break through the social media clutter to focus on topics and discussions to find information specifically relevant to their company’s expertise?
With the range of topics on the Web and across social networks, people often need to switch between different contexts and may miss content that they’re interested in. Topic pages bring more attention to the most relevant content people have brought together on a topic rather than just the latest activity.
The shift in organizing Web content by topic
Organizing Web content by topic, theme or interest is not new. RSS feeds have long been around, and companies like Delicious and Flicker built their entire businesses around user-generated tagging of content. Newer social networks like Pinterest, Medium, Tumblr and Quora are piggybacking on these ideas and providing new-school ways to topically organize content for users to collect reference and archival information, photos, graphics, audio and video files on a particular topic that they are specifically interested in.
Though the manner in which they achieve this function is different (Pinterest uses boards, Twitter chooses the free-form approach of hashtags and Quora relies heavily on a categorized, Q&A discussion format), the premise behind them all are based upon the same concept: organize and share content based on interest.
How topic pages could be helpful to your businesses’ communication strategy
While relevance to a user’s particular interest, less clutter and more organized content are all benefits to topic-based social networks, businesses especially small, B2B companies can enjoy many more advantages by utilizing these types of platforms by:
- Building authority in a specific niche or industry about a particular topic. Even if you’re not the top expert on a particular topic, chances are you still know more than others.
- Demonstrating and contributing your expertise on almost any topic.
- Getting unique insight from other experts in any relating industry.
- Giving direct answers to anyone asking about your industry, business, products or services.
- Sharing content from other websites (including your own) in topic-focused boards on your page.
Getting started with topic pages
As with a lot of new media, no one has quite nailed down how to use topic-based platforms most effectively, but companies shouldn’t let that stop them from taking it for a spin. As many say, it’s often the early bird that gets the worm. Though still small by typical Web standards, businesses can use platforms like Quora to learn what customers, users and others in the industry are discussing right now in specific relation to their company’s expertise. This provides an opportunity for them to better understand issues and topics their company’s expert, products or solutions can directly address. Because, cachet within Quora is based exclusively on expertise and credibility, as a company’s experts engage with more users and contributors on the platform, they could have the opportunity to meet and connect with reporters and media members who are seeking the opinion of a leading industry expert for a story or article they may be writing in addition to connecting with potential customers and decision-makers.
Since topic-based platforms, like Quora, are all about finding and curating content based on specific interests and topics with questions, we have one for you: will your company dabble in topic pages?