Why we all must LOVE our owned content

Blog,content,owned content,LinkedIn,SWAM,social media,websites,email,email marketing

Your blog isn’t worth risking on the social media unless you have tied it down as your “owned content” first

There has been a lot of talk recently about moves on the part of the SocMed to get people blogging for business more directly on their platforms, rather than on (or in addition to) their “owned content” – i.e. own blogs and websites, etc.

For example, LinkedIn rather snottily “invites” members on a selective basis to publish their blog posts directly to the LI platform. Now, if you got passed over by the gods who determined who should be the early invitees, if you’re a good kiddie you can “apply” to LinkedIn and seek permission to do this as an also-ran. Snooty, snooty.

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

OK, so thanks LinkedIn…

I shouldn’t bitch because I was in the first tranche of LinkedIn members invited to publish direct, back in February of 2014 when they first rolled out the scheme.

Why on earth I was in that first tiny group of about 20,000 (infinitesimal when compared to LI’s total membership of 300 million or so) I have no idea. Maybe it’s because no one has ever heard of me, but LinkedIn knows where I live…

At the same time, we are being encouraged to post full blogs on Facebook (especially in business groups) and on Google Plus. Even Twitter, bless its 140-character heart, has been offering extensions of different kinds to allow you to share more than the basic maximum.

Where’s the problem?

Here is the problem: anything you post on the SocMed platforms is sitting on rented real estate.

Although you still own the copyright of the words (and images if you post your own) you are entirely at the mercy of the platform owners’ whims when it comes down to whether your content stays or goes. Now you see me, now you don’t; if a rug gets pulled for whatever reason, there is diddly squat that you can do about it.

And don’t think these SocMed wallahs won’t get shirty with their members – often out of innocent attempts to solve problems that go horribly wrong – because they do.

Being sent down the SWAMee

Take LinkedIn’s innocuously-named SWAM initiative, for example…ostensibly a means of reducing spam in the LI groups. The acronym stands for (correct me if I’m wrong, someone) Site Wide Automatic Moderation.

What it means in practice is that if someone objects to a post or comment of yours in one group, they can lodge a complaint to LI. You don’t know who has done it, you don’t know why. All you see is a blue and white blob on your LI page saying you are under a SWAM restriction. The same thing can happen if a group moderator removes a post or comment of yours, or even moves a post of yours to the “promotions” page within the group.

From then on, when you try to post in any/all  of the LI groups of which you are a member (not just the group concerned) your posts are shoved into a moderation queue/lineup that might take the moderators days or even weeks to sort through – if they do it at all.

At this point you’re supposed to contact each group moderator in turn and ask him or her to grant you permission to post freely, until LinkedIn decides you have been sitting on the naughty step for long enough and releases you from the SWAM restriction.

An excuse for competitors to give you a hard time

I have been SWAMmed twice on LinkedIn, and I found out subsequently that on one occasion it was a spiteful competitor who lodged a frivolous complaint, and on the other it was someone who had written a horribly erroneous post about blogging which I pulled him up on. He didn’t like being disagreed with so removed my comment and bingo – I got SWAMmed. I understand now that he didn’t realize his action would result in such a draconian consequence and probably wouldn’t have been so sniffy if he had known.

A number of colleagues of mine have been subjected to similar mis-use of the well-meaning but foolish SWAM initiative. And I’m told that because of this and other constrictive elements LinkedIn may be trying to introduce, people are leaving the LI groups in their droves.

What else can we learn from this SWAM fiasco and possibly others like it?

Only two things that matter for SME bloggers like us:

  1. Not to put more than one or two eggs in the SocMed platforms’ baskets
  2. Focus on our content that we can control absolutely, before we share it elsewhere
blogging for business,blog posts,what to write

This book shares my own experience and skills which you’ll find very helpful…

Over the last 2-3 years people have been musing on whether or not static websites are passé, email is on the way out, email marketing is becoming stale, offline marketing comms should be relegated to dinosaur museums, etc. etc.

Now, though, we’re becoming a little twitchy about the benefits of baring our souls and hearts and everything else on the SocMed platforms because hey – guess what – these platforms are not charitable foundations nurturing our every word, but businesses needing to monetize their acts if they don’t want to go t*ts-up in a few years.

You can’t blame them. No, you can’t. They are running businesses just like we are. They need to make a living, satisfy their share/stock holders and buy their Lamborghinis.

What’s the solution?

Champion your “owned content” because nobody can mess with it

The rebirth of our “owned content” is being talked about all over online marketing circles in the USA and for good reason. It makes me smile when I look back at this statement which was made about 4 years ago, captured in an article I wrote some 9 months later …

According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg back in June 2010, “email – I can’t imagine life without it – is probably going away.”

Scary, huh? But of course, and thank Heavens, Sheryl Sandberg was wrong. And very wrong indeed, judging by today’s increased protectiveness where “owned content” is concerned.

Why your owned content is your marketing cornerstone

Quite simply, because you own it. You decide what it says, how it says it, and to whom it gets promoted. No SocMed bullies can play around with it, delete it, subject it to restrictions. Treasure it; celebrate it; use it to reinforce those vital human relationships that lead to long-term customer loyalty.

By all means share your blog posts across the SocMed, as I do. But …

… make sure they are published on your “owned content” before you share them anywhere else. Apart from any other reason why this might be a good move, it will ensure that Google finds you on your home territory first, and that’s very valuable.

Having been one of the LinkedIn “elite” as a blog poster on there … oh, what a special twinkle-toes I must be!! *spits* … I still make sure that whatever goes up on LinkedIn from me has been published here on HTWB first. I strongly suggest you do the same on your own blogsite whatever SocMed platform you use to share your content.

Have you been stung on a LinkedIn SWAM?

Have you experienced similar issues on other platforms?

How much do you value your owned content?




  1. […] words, “owned content” resonate with you yet? If not, they should. As I suggested in this article recently, posting your blogs and articles, and/or promoting them, on social media is at best risky […]