Apparently content is King. Well, hopefully I can present some evidence which might help you open your mind to who the real king is, and I’m saying it is distribution. I’ve had this contention for some time, and while amazing content can ride the sharing train and be crowned in the online kingdom, the big D of Distribution still determines who wins and loses when it comes to the commercial market.
Let’s take this current day example: The Youtube Rewind 2015 video. Which a few years ago was a fun and creative piece of content. This years version was marginal at best. If it didn’t have the front page on Youtube and a bazillion emails to distribute it to do you really think it would have 65 million views? You be the judge.
It simply would not make the cut. It wouldn’t be seen. It wouldn’t be shared. A few thousands views at best I reckon. And you can add to this to any number of average articles you read on Buzzfeed, Business Insider or any other powerful channel that have many views and shares. Invariably we’ll see that the key driver wasn’t the content itself, but the distribution engine behind it. The irony is that the great hope of the web was that the best stuff will bubble up to the top – no matter where it came from. Occasionally it still does, but mostly this new ‘great stuff’ resides in obscurity. How many blogs do you read, or podcasts do you listen to which you totally love and think should be ‘bigger’, but they never seem to hit the big time? I’m guessing your feed is full of great unknown content. Now that everyone is here and we all have something to say, powerful distribution matters more than it ever did. And if you can’t be heard, well it’s back to the future … you need to paying for attention. Except now it’s done on social forums and search. Who said history never repeats?
The one difference is that now we have access to the same tools and we can at least prove ourselves in micro channels. Even better, we can now make a living in niche land by talking to those who really care about what we have to say.