This year saw the introduction of Zeen, a website that serves as an online publishing platform. Created by the founders of YouTube, Zeen allows users to create rich content collections that redefine the common definition of the term “web magazine”. Whereas traditional mediums such as blogs and web magazines publishers limit the types of content you can use, Zeen makes it possible to pull items from numerous sources on the internet.
For individuals and businesses alike, Zeen presents itself as a promising new content creator. People can develop collections of the things they are interested in while businesses can publish multifaceted promotional content. Below is a summary of Zeen itself and its relevance for casual users and professionals.
Zeen opens the door for integrating video content, photos, written content and links into individual collections, or “Zeens”. By utilizing preexisting content, Zeen makes it possible to develop multi-media stories and articles. This means that you can weave videos, music, social media posts and other content types in with your own written words.
Upon visiting the Zeen homepage you have the option to view Zeens created by other users or to begin creating your own Zeen. When you choose the “create” option you are prompted to choose a title for your new content piece. Based on this title Zeen produces a template with a theme related to your topic.
For instance if you choose the title “soccer”, Zeen generates a theme with images and a style relevant to the sport. From there you can begin adding your own written text and various types of content from the internet. You also have the option to change this generic theme if you have another background image or color scheme you’d prefer. Once you’re satisfied with the appearance of your Zeen and its content you can publish it for the world to see.
While Zeen certainly expands upon the previous limits of other blogs, it still has limitations. The inability to upload content is a strange, yet disappointing shortcoming that was noted by Digital Trends. This means that users can’t utilize word documents, photos or other media files currently stored on their computers (however, Zeen is still labeled as Beta and has implemented some of these features since the late 2012 article).
Although posting content to sites such as Flickr and YouTube and then pulling it into Zeen is a way around this issue, it still represents an obstacle to user’s content creation. Zeen is still stuck on the content curating model that sites such as Pinterest currently utilize. There’s no question that Zeen has elaborated upon current blogging platforms, but allowing for content uploading would certainly take user control and creativity a step further.
Relevance for Bloggers
Despite being limited to content that is already present on the web, Zeen can be leveraged as a valuable tool for bloggers and businesses alike. From the perspective of a blogger, Zeen gives you more freedom than other sites as you tell your story and share your interests.
For instance, a music blogger could share their experiences at various concerts. Each week, their concert-focused Zeen could incorporate videos and photos from the event, a written summary, interviews with fellow attendees and links to the band’s other music. A common strategy seems to be making videos and artsy forms of media. Also, reviews tend to perform well. For example; turning a hashtag tools review into a video can increase your reach; YouTube, Vimeo, and now, Zeen.
On the other hand, photographers may create Zeens to help categorize their Instagram and Flickr content. A user interested in employing Zeen in this matter might create collections of their travel photos, family photos and nature photos from these sites. These collections could then be complimented with written explanations, creating a coherent, multimedia story of the user’s online image collection. Regardless of your focus or interests, Zeen makes it possible to share the things you love in one place with a variety of media.
As for business professionals, Zeen presents itself as an excellent vehicle for delivering content to potential customers. Considering that Zeens can be posted to social media sites and blogs, they make an excellent addition to any content marketing campaign. Examples of business implementation include Zeens highlighting product lines, upcoming events and other company news.
A product related Zeen could feature videos of the product in action, examples of customer reviews from social media and product images pulled directly from you’re your company’s website. On the other end of the spectrum, an event-focused Zeen can compile links to news articles featuring the event, a link to the event’s page on your site and promotional media.
Whether you wish to utilize them as daily, weekly or monthly content pieces, Zeens can serve as multimedia newsletters for your business. It’s essentially the manifestation of turning banner stands into digital forms, as an additional advertising/marketing channel. Rather than simply presenting your business materials in words, Zeen allows you to create sharable content featuring a variety of mediums.
The arrival of Zeen represents another step forward in terms of web content creation and blogging. No longer do people have to keep their content separated across a multitude of social media channels, websites and blogs. Individuals can now share content collections via one cumulative, concise medium and businesses can present their brand in a similar fashion. While it may have its shortcomings, Zeen takes content curating a step further and puts more control in the hands of the user