We’re all becoming publishers. Brands are publishers. Agencies are publishers. Publishers are evolving too. They’re no longer the gatekeeper between what gets written and what gets read, broadcast or played. Today’s publishers are tasked with finding an audience for what’s been created and, of course, making money from that.
I think this is a good thing. This means that it is the audience that is important. This means that quality bar gets pushed ever upwards as brands and creators compete against one another for the attention of a time starved audience. Don’t believe me? Upworthy have found that the branded content they run is more professional and better written than their regular editorial.
Audience is important and audience members with influence are even more important. These are the people who’ll be able to amplify your content and bring it to the attention of the next audience wave.
Influence has been tricky to measure. PeerIndex one of the early influence measurement providers has completed a pivot and left the space. Klout continues to develop but the most recent rollouts – and all hints of the roadmap – show that the system is helping people find content to share.
Interestingly, Hootsuite has taken a similar direction. You still use Hootsuite to schedule social media activates across multiple platforms but the most recent addition to the system is a series of content share recommendations.
Odd that Hootsuite and Klout would take a similar development path.
What’s the plan? I can only speculate but if either platform manage to get traction and find themselves able to persuade a large audience of influencers to trust them to recommend shares and tweets then that’s a position of strength. It seems likely they’ll attempt to earn money from such a success by selling access to publishers/marketers/agencies. These platforms could charge to put content share recommendations under the eyes of influencers.
If either Klout or Hootsuite do decide to take that direction – and it wouldn’t be a bad choice – they’ll find they’re not alone. Empire Avenue already offers this.
Empire Avenue was born as a socialised influence trading game. People complained that users were gaming Klout and PeerIndex. Empire Avenue avoided such claims by building the gamification into the system. Users were able to buy and sell each other using virtual currencies and take a stock market style bet on whether the influence wielded by those others would rise or fall.
Empire Avenue soon introduced “missions”. Missions weren’t a simple share deal. In this players were offered incentive in the form of virtual currency to look at content.
There’s an important line that Empire Avenue tries to walk. It’s not ethical (or even legal in many cases) to incentive people, especially those with interest, to promote content without disclosure. However, you can encourage people to look at the content you’ve created. If they then choose to share that content then that’s a bonus.
Klout and perhaps Hootsuite might charge marketers to show their content to influencers and hope to earn shares from that. Empire Avenue already empowers marketers to do just that. If the trading aspect of the platform doesn’t appeal then the virtual currencies used to power the system can be bought with cash.
I’m a member of Empire Avenue. I find it useful. The reason I joined Empire Avenue was the ability to very quickly get content promoted. New Doctor Who trailer landed? Want to earn those initial retweets so an account is listed in the “top tweets” section of Twitter search rather than “all” then I use Empire Avenue for that.
Image credit: Robert Wallace.