If Quality Content is King, is Distribution Queen?

Content is king these days. But what about distribution and social media?

content is king

content is king

A pressing question was the title of an Internet Week “Make the Stage” panel SocialTimes attended earlier today, a question that is relevant for content creators of all stripes.

In a time when traditional news outlets are dealing with a broken business model and having to compete with social platforms for people’s attention, it seems that distribution through social is not their highest priority. “The most important thing that I think any journalist can do on social is to use it as a reporting tool,” said Eric Carvin, social media editor at the Associated Press.

Michael Roston, social media editor at The New York Times, talked about the outlet’s most-trafficked piece of content in 2013. A dialect quiz topped the year’s most-visited, outpacing the Boston bombing story, Angelina Jolie’s op-ed on choosing to have a mastectomy and the Dasani series.

“The [dialect quiz’s] web traffic didn’t come from us tweeting it out and putting in on Facebook, it comes from readers tweeting it out and putting it on Facebook,” said Roston. “I think people should focus on that, rather than focusing on writing the best tweet.”

Indeed, social media has had a great effect on journalism, not just in terms of content-sharing, but also in terms of how the content is presented.

“Social media has actually affected the way headlines are written,” said Dan Frommer, tech editor at Quartz. “What Twitter really did was re-craft the headline… a headline is a tweet. It’s how a person would describe a story to another person.”

On the marketing side of things, “every brand needs to produce content now,” said Brian Braiker, executive editor at Digiday. “But if you’re simply producing content about how great your brand is, your reach will be limited.”

“I’m really wondering if some of these brands hiring journalists should be hiring comedy writers instead,” said Carvin.

We think that’s a great idea.

*image via @woanelli3