Just because you’ve written great content and published it on your website doesn’t mean people will read it. It has to be distributed, and the channels you choose can make a difference. If you’ve diligently built an opt-in email list, that’s a channel you actually own and control.
Publishing a blog and developing a following is another method of distribution you can own and control. But if you’re using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to distribute your content, they own the distribution channel and, in certain cases, own your content too. If you create content using social media channels, although the distribution is in effect free, you don’t own it. You create the content and they reap the reward; Facebook and LinkedIn sell millions of dollars in advertising based on the content created by other people. Marketer Nicholas Carr calls this process “digital sharecropping.”
The advertising model used by Facebook and LinkedIn has been around since the beginning of mass media. Radio stations focused on acquiring ears (listeners) and then rented their distribution channel to advertisers. Marketers gladly paid to have the station distribute their spots. Today, controlling distribution, or at least not building your business solely on a single channel, is critical to long-term success. If you build your business using one channel or a handful of “free” channels, you don’t have control of delivery. What happens if those free channels dramatically change?
Read more about this topic in our October edition of REFRESH.
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