It's 2019, and you still need to own your content

Beware the roach motels of the platforms - if content is your business, you still need to own and publish it yourself.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Do you ever sense the wheel just starting to turn? We’ve lived in a world of platforms for nearly a decade, but people are starting to rediscover the value of owning your own content — and controlling where it is hosted.

As Matthias Ott put it:

if you are working as an independent or freelancer, your content is not just something you happen to have created – and for which you own the copyright of, by the way – but it is also part of your identity. It is part of who you are, what you’re thinking about, what you believe in, and what you’re up to. It is part of the story you are about to tell. It is part of the change you seek to make. Your content is one of your most valuable assets and thus owning it is invaluable.

For many people Medium has become the default place to post their longer form, but have they really thought through the long-term consequences of that?

FreeCodeCamp has just discovered that there is a fundamental problem with that model:

As of 2019, Medium won’t give you much “distribution” within their platform unless you’re willing to put your articles to be behind their paywall. At the same time, if you do put your article behind their paywall, you’re limiting your readership to just the people who have the resources to pay. This is at odds with the goals of the freeCodeCamp community. We want to make these learning resources as widely available as possible.

Net result? They had to shift 5,000 articles onto their own platform (a modified version of Ghost, which is what I run here, as it turns out).

Bloggingcontent managementMediumplatform publishingplatformsopen web

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.