Content Marketing

‘Content Is King, Distribution Is Queen,
And She Wears The Pants’

By Brian Honigman September 27th, 2013

In the past couple of years, marketers have awakened to the incredible power of content creation. But equally important — and much more complex — are the ways that you share that content.

“Content is king, distribution is queen, and she wears the pants,” said Jonathan Perelman, VP of Agency Strategy at BuzzFeed, during his talk at Behance’s 99U Pop-Up School event on September 20th.

As the Internet has evolved, so has the ways that people discover content. Content used to be discovered on forums, then through email, highly-trafficked blogs, and search, leading to the SEO craze, explained Perelman. Now, it’s primarily discovered through social media.

And with readers discovering content on myriad social media platforms, brands need to learn how to tell stories in ways that take advantage of each.

“I spend a lot of my time figuring out how to storytell in micro-moments,” said Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, during his 99U talk. “Social networks and mobile devices have created a gateway drug to [content] awareness.”

However, brands’ content distribution strategy hasn’t necessarily evolved to take advantage of the ways that people consume content.

“I feel that a far majority of people…are storytelling like it is 2007, in a 2014 world,” said Vaynerchuk, emphasizing that many publishers are blasting the same content across Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and email, without regard for what makes each platform unique.

“Social networks and mobile devices have created a gateway drug to [content] awareness.”

I often think, “How do I story tell on social and give you something that you can consume very lightweight and quick?” said Vaynerchuk. “[This is] the way in which we all actually roll and the way we actually consume information now, which is in hyper-speed, which takes a totally different art.”

It’s not only about how you reach people, but also the people you reach. For a story to go viral, it needs to be seeded in the right community.

“We don’t want to reach all those people on a social platform, just the right people for our clients, since the message will resonate if the context is a match with the audience,” explained Lora Morgenstern, an audience member and Senior Art Manager at Time Inc.’s Content Solutions team.

BuzzFeed has mastered this approach through their use of listicles that appeal to specific niche audiences across the web, which helps them go viral. Stories like the 20 Stages of Accepting Your Film Degree or the 21 Greatest Moments in the Life of a Londoner appeal to specific communities (like film students and Londoners) that share it amongst one another, helping the piece go viral.

More and more, we’re seeing through the success of innovative publishers like Buzzfeed that distribution is queen indeed. And moving forward, brands must be sure to give their distribution strategy the royal treatment it deserves — lest they find themselves playing the jester.

Image by Shutterstock
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