Demystifying the king: Making content available to all

It would be stating the obvious to say that publishing has changed over the last decade or so. What we knew as publishing in the 20th century hardly resembles the 21st century version. We can mark change in terms of technological innovations — 2007: EPUB and Kindle; 2010: iPad; 2011: EPUB 3. Each of these new technologies enabled us to think in a fresh way about how we publish, and how we reach our readers. Then we spoke of books and magazines. Today we use one word: Content.

Content is king, they say. Content is the substance we produce, but it has freed itself from the shackles of its prior containers. Sara Domville, President at F+W Media, Inc., speaks of a “content explosion model,” content that has broken free of constraints and can be used in multiple ways.

Content is acquired by F+W, as with most publishers, by an editor. Editors, says Domville, bring passion to their work; they will “make it the best it can be.” After that, she continues, “we put it in the buckets.” These buckets, at F+W and elsewhere, are any number of formats and platforms by which content can be disseminated. It is up to the publisher to determine the best mode or modes of distribution to reach readers and users.

Content is king, and we publishers are content creators. But without a means to efficiently reach the end user, our content will not thrive. We need effective ways to translate our content into the appropriate formats, indeed to determine what these formats are and to understand which formats best suit our content.

This paper will explore the many options available to distribute content, and discuss some of the issues and “pain points” of publishers as they rethink their content distribution models. The goal of this paper is to shed light on best practices for moving content successfully along distribution channels. Make way for the king!