Waves of Content – Hacking the Traditional Content Distribution Model

November 11, 2015 James Nickerson<br><img src="http://dynamicsignal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/James-Nickerson.png" alt="James Nickerson" class="avatar" width='100' height='100' style='border-radius: 50%;'/>

“Those aren’t mountains, they’re waves.” ~ Matthew McConaughey as Cooper in “Interstellar”

You know that scene in Interstellar, when the character Cooper realizes the “mountains” he and his team are encountering on the alien planet are actually giant waves of water?

Sometimes, that’s how I feel about content. There’s always a wall of it coming at me, and it’s the best I can do just to hang on…

To use modern day parlance, there weren’t that many content producers when I was young: books, magazines, TV, radio, “snail” mail, billboards and good ‘ol word of mouth. On the flip side, there was a similar short list in how we consumed that content.

Since then, the options for content production and consumption have multiplied exponentially. If you are reading this, you are a proof point of that. You are reading this blog on a desktop, laptop or phone, and the producer of this content is just me. Today, we are ALL content producers, and we are consuming content at a voracious rate.

As more proof, Adobe surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. consumers for its report The State of Content, released earlier this month. According to the survey, the average consumer today accesses 12 different sources of content through six different devices daily. Millennials were most likely to access content with their smartphone, while for other demographics a laptop or desktop was preferred.

The study also found demands around digital content are rising. Consumers of content have healthy skepticism about claims and statements made, and to connect to buyers and stakeholders, marketers and content creators will need to stress both authenticity and accuracy as well as entertainment.

B2B stats are equally as interesting. The average enterprise buyer reads between 2 and 5 pieces of content before making a purchase decision, and B2B buyers complete nearly 57% of the buyer’s journey before even talking to a sales rep.

It makes me wonder about all that great content that no one ever gets to see because it never gets to its intended audience; It’s like there is a bottleneck between the content creators and their audiences that makes this recent traffic jam in China look like the SF Bay Bridge at 4 a.m.

Content is having its moment in the sun right now. As a content producer, I worry about my content withering on the vine because there is no direct path to my audiences; and as someone who loves content, I wonder how much great stuff I am never seeing.

These facts make me think about innovative ways to distribute content. Traditional powerhouse publishers like the Washington Post are hacking the traditional distribution model, pushing content directly to Facebook through Facebook Instant Articles. Additionally, many organizations are looking to social technologies and employee advocacy programs to solve the content distribution problem.

For example, from an article in Entrepreneur, “Your employees can be a huge distribution platform for your content. For example, if a company with 5,000 employees puts an employee advocacy campaign in place, it just added 5,000 microphones to amplify a message.” Social sharing platforms also can solve employee communication inefficiencies, getting a companies’ most valued content into the hands of the most employees in a form that is easily consumable and sharable.

The giant “water wall” of content is not coming: it’s here. Your content distribution strategy will determine whether you will drown in the deluge, or surf all the way into shore.

I’d love to hear more about your content distribution thoughts and suggestions. @NickInSFO

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