Audience is King

Sang Kim and Chris Brogan I spent an hour with Sang Kim, CEO of Ripple6 (who sponsored our Inbound Marketing Summit events). It was time well spent, as Sang hails from the good old days of the Internet, even as far back as Net Perceptions. I asked a few questions and got a sense of what was interesting to him. One of his biggest points was that audience is king.

“Publishers have to realize that their biggest value is in their audience,” said Kim. “Yesterday, you were a magazine. Today, you’re a club.”

His perspective on these points really got me thinking. The kinds of products that Ripple6 makes fit this kind of mindset. I got interested in the company a month before Gannett acquired them. Their Cloud Community idea, of having a way to serve up conversations between brands and communities across multiple platforms was really interesting.

Publishers make magazine content (for instance) so that their audience will enjoy it. The audience is then aggregated such that advertisers can come and try to gain awareness from that audience. But this formula exists because that’s all we could come up with in the paper world. Now that there are several different ways to connect online, with more multi-dimensional media, as well as the opportunity to connect directly, maybe this is the way to go.

“Content isn’t king. It’s a means,” said Kim, and I don’t disagree with him.

It’s exciting to see how brands are participating in the Ripple6 cloud communities. P&G does a lot in the space through They have other communities up and running, but this isn’t an ad for Ripple6. It’s praise for Sang Kim.

I’m thinking over his premise: audience is king.

What do you think? runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Bill Cammack

    Well, this is the debate of “uniques” vs Passionate Viewers.

    I have about 11 regulars at my site, and the conversations I have with them are what's worthwhile to me. It's cool that I get 80% of my traffic from Google and another 10% from other search engines and referrals, but I don't actually have any interaction with all those passers-by, so while it keeps me looking good in the standings, I really enjoy hanging out with my “club” more than anything else. ;)

  • Allyn

    We could discuss “what is king” all day long and get no-where. Truth is, making money is king. I don't think any of us are here to “have fun” or “get a warm and fuzzie” out of the internet.
    Bottom line: If someone is making money from a project, platform or idea, then THAT is king. How you get there is the interesting part.

  • Linda P Taylor

    A short post on a VERY thought-provoking concept for anyone who writes ANYTHING for a large group.

    “Yesterday, you were a magazine. Today, you’re a club.”

    This is a BRILLIANT summation for content creators. And it is NOT limited to just magazines – think blogs and even TWEETS!

  • Mack Collier

    He's right, the idea that 'content is king' is the biggest myth in blogging and social media. The interactions and community are more important. The more people you connect and interact with, the faster your content is exposed to a larger audience AND as you interact with more people, you get a greater insight into what's important to them. Which means you can create more valuable content FOR them.

    Sure, if you create great content, the value of that content will eventually be recognized. But the more you interact with other people, the more your content will be exposed to a larger audience. Every link given, every comment left, every interaction is exposing your content to a larger audience.

    I always say that the best way to grow your blog, is to leave it.

  • Marilyn Moran

    Can I get an amen for “quality over quantity”? I mean, let's face, the passers-by may be genuinely interested in what you say, and you may come off as credible – and they may even talk about you, link to you, etc. But it's your “inner circle”, your “club”, who will support you and evangelize you. That, in turn, may help others perceive you as “king” in your chosen area. Genuine, quality connections can win every time. Just my .02 cents. :-)

  • Bill Cammack

    You can get a WITNESS!!! :D *waving one hand in the air* :)

  • meryl333

    The idea of being “king” misses the boat. Both content and audience are important. It's a symbiotic relationship.

  • meryl333

    Miss the boat to discuss one of the other as “King”. Even the article makes it clear that content and audience equally important to consider. Technology is opening new possibilities to aggregate and present it. Good food for thought

  • Laurent_Rozenfeld

    If the audience is king then content is the queen and publishers are the court fools.

  • Steve Woodruff

    Think of a packed football stadium. What is the event without the audience? And the audience without the event? Something valuable, entertaining, and community-building attracts the audience, who become participants, which increases the value of what was at the center of the draw, and upward it goes.

  • itruscott

    I agree, but we are all here because of the quality of your content and the trust we have in what you write and what we'll find when we got here – it was going to be worth a click. That trust was built up by the advocacy of your audience. It is indeed, as meryl333 pointed out – symbiotic.

    It is also symbiotic in that I also find that as my community or club builds, I find more expertise and inspiration – which I hope improves my contribution to that community, through my tweets, blog posts and comments.

  • SpecialDee

    Hola! I like to think that user-experience on your site is important, too. Does your audience have to jump through hoops to leave comments? Do you have widgets that make it easy to share your content with others? Are the gems on your site buried 2 or 3 clicks deep?

  • Chris Kieff

    In a sense many of the comments here are dead on target that their “club” is their measure of value, because that's their audience. However they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
    90% of the members of any social website including blogs are lurkers. Not only those that interact, but those that are influenced are part of the equation of the value of the site. 90% of the people reading this blog will never leave a comment- but they are still influenced by what they read here. And that influence is noticed by the companies involved, including my company- Ripple6.
    Bloggers, authors and those who leave comments on blogs are the 10% who interact and voice their opinions. The 90% who never say anything have 9X value, and they only voice their opinions with clicks, visiting websites linked and by returning to sites they find interesting.
    The silent majority is where the most of the consumers, purchasers and decision makers are. The age of content being king is over because Google will return 11 million alternatives to anything reasonable you want to search for. When there are that many choices on most any content subject, content no longer rules. And when 90% of the people who will make a decision about a subject are silent, they are in charge.
    Chris Kieff, Dir. Mktg. Ripple6

  • Ed Wohlfahrt

    Hi Chris, I enjoy reading your Blog very much. thank's for all this brilliant content :) I'd like to know if the MomesLikeMe community is run by P&G I've already browsed through the FAQ's and “about us” Section but didn't find anything useful. can you help? thx!

  • Danny

    It's both – neither is anything without the other.

    No content; no audience. No audience; less reason for content. If your content is crap, you'll either get a crap audience or none at all. Make the content great and you'll get your audience. Keep the audience by keeping the great content.

    • Russ Hill

      Agree with this statement as well. Best content attracts the most valuable audience. Can’t have audience without content.

    • Russ Hill

      Agree with this statement as well. Best content attracts the most valuable audience. Can’t have audience without content.

  • Chris Brogan

    It's not. It's run by Gannett. P&G participate there, but it's a property owned by Gannett.

  • MSchechter

    Completely agree, you have to keep both in mind at all time. Create great content with the audience in mind, even before they arrive. Creating solid content that encourages and engages the audience will go a long way when the finally show up on your site.

    It's also about making the content for the audience and not at them. Content for the audience is king!

  • taylormarek

    Money is NOT king. If you just do things for money's sake, you will be bored out of your mind and miserable. Now don't misunderstand me, money is important, but not be of such importance that we lift it up on a pedestal.

  • EyeView

    I think it all depends on what you are trying to do. If you want to generate a huge audience from subscription (cinema, HBO) or free content (YouTube circa 2006/7) then content is king – quality first but quantity also. YouTube built its massive audience by having more content than anyone else, not just by having more great content.

    If, on the other hand, you are looking to generate the majority of your revenue from ads rather than subscription (as for a newspaper, TV channel or website that actually has some kind of business model) then content is just the stuff that you squeeze in between the ads.

    In other words, your content must serve the people paying the bills. If you're financed by subscription, you had better please your subscribers. If you're fueled by ad money, you have to please your advertisers. Simple.

  • Allyn

    Money is king on the net when it comes to businesses getting customers. Any “community” or “club” that does not produce revenue for a business will be dropped like a bad habit. It has nothing to do with being bored.
    BTW–it is ok to be bored and earn money. 99% of Americans are bored or frustrated at their jobs, but those jobs put food on the table. I'd much prefer to be bored and earn money from my basement rather than be bored and earn money in a cubical 1 hour from home.

  • taylormarek

    You totally missed my point, though you agreed with it unknowingly. Your Fathers Day video says otherwise as well… ;)

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