Content Is King But The Kingdom Is Controlled By Robots

By on November 15, 2016
If Facebook decides that you are posting too much or too little – your last post – even if it contains the cure for the common cold – may only get seen by your mom and your distant cousins:   “Great cure for the cold, son.  So proud of you!”.

You may think content is king.  But robots control the Kingdom.

What I am talking about is where content goes after it is posted.  Social Media platforms and search utilize algorithms to control what gets seen, how often and by whom.

In the history of content publishing, this is a relatively new phenomenon. When the newspaper was first invented, publishers made decisions as to what content would be front-page worthy.  Perhaps this played out at a table-pounding-meeting where editors, publishers and writers debated the headline story.   The story that ended up on the front page was actually chosen.

Now, the kingdom operates differently.  What’s on the front-page of your audience’s Facebook feed?  It depends:   Who are you?   What content have you posted previously?    What hash-tags are trending?  What time of day did you post the content?  How did the first few audience impressions respond?   And – thanks to election 2016 – perhaps one day, how  ”true” is your content?

Have you ever tried tweeting on an old inactive Twitter account?  You may hit the social media jackpot with a rush of never-ending likes, follows and re-tweets.  What happened?  The Twitter algorithm powered-up your post with extra promotion, trying to motivate you to keep at it.   Please, for Twitter’s stock sake, put in some more quarters.


Even worse, success is a moving target and feedback is limited.  The most well thought out strategy can be obliterated in an instant.   Think Panda.  It seems the things that drive success the most are the things we really do not control or understand.

And, that valuable first page of Google search results?   If you haven’t noticed, Google is starting to keep that spot for itself with its own answer or scraped content.  Just google “what is an algorithm?”:   The result is available without clicking on a link.      Every publisher or content marketer that allocated resources optimizing on “algorithm” is out of luck.  Stealing?  Perhaps.  ”Thanks Google”, said maybe one publisher ever per search term.

It all comes down to this:   publishers and content marketers (which is literally everyone who has anything to sell) are embarking on an escalating war where success will be based on a black-box.     Of course, through planning, persistence, a little luck and good content, you can reach your audience.  Perhaps one day the Kingdom will be taken back again.   In the meantime, content marketers will keep pounding on the table.


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