Over at Advertising Age, Keith Richmond is writing about the importance of distribution in the next decade. His piece is called Is Content King? Then Distribution is Crown Prince, subtitled Great Content Does Not Mean It Will Find an Audience:
In the next decade, we will see significant changes to the way that content is created, monetized and experienced. During the next few years, existing media players will begin to increasingly face the realities and challenges that those of us online have always dealt with — an audience with a short attention span and a whole slew of viewing options.
Sumner Redstone famously called content “king.” Rupert Murdoch recently upgraded that to “Emperor.” While there is certainly some truth to that when looking at online content — see Hulu’s rapid growth as an example — there are far more cases where great content does not seem to matter at all. At the very least, I think it is fair to say that even if content is king online, then distribution and marketing are the “crown princes.” Good content or not, understanding and embracing digital distribution and marketing will prove critical to everyone in the entertainment industry.
These days, when I’m thinking about creating content, I’m thinking about distribution and marketing right from concept. How can I build elements into the narrative that will help it spread?
There are the mysteries of SEO to unravel — an art or science that seems ripe with charlatans. Beyond search, there is the social web, a brilliant way of spreading content, but by no means a slam dunk. You have to know what you’re doing and really work at it. You can’t just sign up for a twitter account and figure everything’s suddenly going to go viral.
Viral! I hate that word because of the ease it implies. Nothing goes viral without a brilliant strategy, plenty of effort and a certain amount of money.
Money. Indeed, an ad buy is important. Especially if you aren’t an SEO ninja or a social media star with a zillion followers.
The new kid on the block is social recommendation. People consume things they see their friend’s consuming on Facebook and click on the links on Twitter. You have to make your content shareable, embeddable and wigitizeable. You have to give your audience a Creative Commons license that gives them the right to goof with your content because that’s another way to make it popular.
Because content may be king and distribution may be the crowned prince, but the audience? God.