Five Reasons to Use Posterous as a Social Media Distribution Point

I’ve been enjoying playing with Posterous for about a year now, and while I don’t recommend it for everyone, it can be a great tool for some people. You should consider using Posterous if you are a:

  • Beginning blogger
  • Social media specialist
  • Mobile blogger
  • Crisis communicator

Posterous is an email submission blog. You send your post as an email to your own Posterous.com address, treat the subject line as the headline, and any attachments you send are incorporated into the post itself. It’s not pretty at times, but if you need something fast, this is it. Plus, you can go in and edit stuff to make it look better later.

Posterous.com Screenshot

My Posterous.com blog

I’ve often said, “Using a blog interface is a lot like sending an email.” Now, thanks to Posterous, it really is sending an email.

Here are five reasons to use Posterous as a blog platform and social media distribution point:

  1. It’s ideal for mobile phone users. If you’re constantly on the go, and want to blog about the things you see, Posterous allows you to upload photos or videos to your site, along with any accompanying text. Posterous takes advantage of the overall computing power of today’s mobile phones. When I need to demonstrate Posterous during a talk, a few minutes before I go on, I’ll snap a picture of the gathering audience on my mobile phone, attach it to an email, and type in a couple of lines. Before my talk begins, I tell the audience, “I’m going to hit send on this email right now. You’ll see why it’s important in 10 minutes.” Then, when I get to that point in my talk, I show them my Posterous page, which has the picture of them. If you’re a crisis communicator or a mobile blogger, this is an ideal tool for communicating with the public on the fly.
  2. Posterous will automatically send videos and photos to other sites. I have tied my Flickr, Picasa, and YouTube accounts to my Posterous account; it also sends videos to Vimeo. Whenever I take photos or videos, and send them to Posterous, they are automatically uploaded to the appropriate networks. I don’t have to upload them first, and then download the embed code. The downside for anyone who is concerned about search engine optimization is that your digital properties are on Posterous, not on YouTube or Flickr, so you lose any search engine juice that would normally come from a well-optimized video or photo that links to your site. There are workarounds for this, but they take some extra time after your post has been uploaded. If you’re a social media specialist, you’ll love this feature.
  3. Posterous will automatically repopulate content to other blog platforms. You can tell Posterous to re-send your content on to your WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, TypePad, LiveJournal, Xanga, or Tumblr site. Publish a post on Posterous, republish it on your “official” blog. Yes, there are plugins and apps that let you email your posts in to these platforms, but they won’t necessarily upload your video and photos to YouTube and Flickr. Again, crisis communicators or mobile bloggers who need to get information out to several networks will love this feature.
  4. Tell Posterous NOT to post to certain networks. The default setting for Posterous is to repost everything to every network you want it to (i.e. email my post to post@posterous.com. But what if you have a photo you don’t want to send to Flickr, or you don’t want a post to show up on your WordPress blog? By using a specific email address — for example facebook+youtube+blog+twitter@posterous.com — I can tell Posterous to post to my different properties, but leave out a specific network. In this example, I’m leaving out Flickr.
  5. Posterous can automatically notify Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, etc. about new blog posts. Tie your Posterous blog into your different social networks, and notify your followers when a new post is up.

Five Reasons Why We Use WordPress

We’re a WordPress house.

90% of our clients are on a WordPress site. The others are either Joomla or Compendium, a blogging platform made right here in Indianapolis.

Personally, I use Blogspot for my humor blog and Posterous for an experimental/personal blog I use for conferences and social media and crisis communicationsdemos.

My Moleskine notebook and my MacBook

Taking notes at Tammy Hart's WordPress Design session at WordCamp Louisville.

But when it comes to this blog, our clients’ blogs, and any consulting we do, we’re a WordPress house. In fact, I’m sitting at the Wordcamp Louisville conference right now, at Tammy Hart’s session on designing with WordPress. It’s informative, inspiring, and she’s done some amazing stuff. She’s also making me feel guilty for using pre-built themes (not enough to stop, but I’ll at least feel a twinge of guilt whenever I buy one).

So here are the five reasons we use WordPress, and why we think any corporate bloggers ought to use it too.

  • You can make it do just about anything you want. Tammy says WordPress won’t do your laundry, won’t fix the economy, won’t climb Mount Everest, and won’t explain the meaning of life.* But, you can create brochure sites, basic e-commerce sites, magazines, social communities, a knowledge base, even an invoicing and time tracking system. The important thing about WordPress design is to ask yourself, “How do I make WordPress do X, Y, and Z?” not “What can WordPress do?” So far, we’ve been able to make WordPress do anything our clients need.
  • It’s easy to optimize a site for search engines. We use a plugin called All In One SEO, which helps us creative keyword-rich WordPress meta tags very easily. In fact, I interrupted that last sentence to take 30 seconds to drop in my All In One SEO tags. You didn’t even notice I was gone, did you? There are a lot of companies who specialize in search engine optimization. And the one secret they don’t want me to tell you is that they use a plugin like this to make their lives so much easier. (To be fair, there’s a whoooole lot more they do offsite, and there’s no plugin for that.)
  • The developers make it so easy to use. Anyone with some technical know-how, or at least the patience to figure it out, can set up a blog with WordPress.org. (WordPress.com is easy-peasy. Just go to the site, start an account, choose your theme, and start blogging.) WordPress.org lets you download the software to your own server, where you control everything — updates, themes, plugins. Everything. Tammy says “WordPress.com is like renting, WordPress.org is like buying. If you rent, you can’t knock down walls, can’t paint, can’t change the carpet. Of course, if you rent, you don’t have to fix the toilet, don’t have to fix the water heater, don’t have to fix the refrigerator.” We like WordPress.org, because we can even design the site so it doesn’t look like a WordPress site.
  • It lets you own everything, including your content. No other site does that. Facebook, Twitter, even WordPress.com, owns the means of production and communication. If they go away, all your content is gone. If Facebook inadvertently deletes your account, all your stuff is gone. (They did that to a bunch of accounts when they rolled out Facebook Messaging a month ago, including my mom’s. They restored them all, but it showed how uncertain using someone else’s platform can be.) If Twitter goes under, all your tweets are gone. Even if Blogger (owned by Google) decides you violated their Terms of Service, they’ll delete your stuff, never to return again.But with WordPress.org, the software lives on your server, under your domain, with your content. The only thing that can make it die is you. Even if WordPress dies as a platform, you still own your copy of the software, so you can make it limp along for a couple of years until you find a suitable replacement. Why would you want to put your stuff’s safety and existence at the mercy of someone else’s whim?
  • It’s very easy to embed photos and videos. I’ve used some other blog platforms, and embedding video and photos can be a bit of a pain. WordPress makes it so easy to upload photos and videos, whether they’re from my computer (like these two are), or they’re hosted on YouTube and Vimeo, Flickr and Picasa. Just a couple of clicks, and my media is in place.

There are hundreds of reasons to use WordPress. These are just the five that make us big fans and grateful users. How about you? Why do you use it Or to turn it around, why do you hate it What is your favorite platform, and why?

* Actually, yes it will. It’s 42. And you heard it here on a WordPress blog.