I’m a fan of The Next Picture Show podcast. Featuring a lineup that includes many former writers for The Dissolve, the show always comes in two parts where they compare a current release like Pete’s Dragon and pair it with an older movie that’s thematically similar, in that case The Black Stallion. At the end of each person on the show mentions where else they can find their work, lists that can include four or five websites each.
That’s a pretty common occurrence these days, as freelancers need to spread their work around to a number of outlets. But it makes following a specific writer, which I like to do, pretty hard, relegating that to mostly Twitter, where hopefully they link to their material and where hopefully you don’t miss a lot of updates while you’re busy doing other things.
It’s why all of these writers and other producers need to refocus on having a home website, one that allows those writers to link to and chronicle everything they contribute regardless of where it appears and which lets people who enjoy their writing to have a single point of contact for that content.
There are certain a plethora of options for people to choose from. WordPress would, of course, be my recommendation but Tumblr, SquareSpace, Medium and other platforms are all legitimate options as well. All would give people a home base to follow where they can follow the writers they enjoy and make sure they see *everything* (assuming you’re hip to RSS) they write, assuming they link to or excerpt all their off-site contributions.
It also gives them the space to do some off-topic material they may want to try out or otherwise play with. These blog platforms can, of course, be used to publish original material, so if they had something they couldn’t place elsewhere but still wanted to show off they can post it there, adding to their overall footprint and showcase.
This kind of owned archive also protects the writers from content decay and the ever-changing whims of the outlets they contribute to. Sites change URLs, they change their site architecture and make other shifts that can radically impact the freelancers who publish their content there and how their articles are available. And that’s not even broaching the notion of sites shutting down entirely. Acknowledging there are likely restrictions on flat-out cross-posting of entire articles, having an owned site available to them would allow freelancers to at first link to/excerpt their stories and, if they need to later, post them in full when the original site publisher disappears.
“Owned” isn’t a popular concept these days. But I’m not talking about launching a full-fledged news site that’s going to grow into its own little media empire. I’m just talking about starting a site/blog that lets you catalog and archive the work that you’ve published elsewhere in an environment you manage and which allows the readers who enjoy your work to have a single point-of-follow to make sure they don’t miss a word.