The Death of the Gate-Keeper

If I were to write about this eleven years ago I would have been looked at as idiosyncratic, but today I think it’s more visible than ever to see. When I say the death of the gatekeeper I’m not talking about some mystical character out of a book. I’m talking about the individuals or corporations that decide whether a given message was good enough to be distributed by a mass medium.

Eleven years ago, a television program, a radio show, a magazine or newspaper column was a platform guarded by gate-keepers. And your success was largely dependent on whether the gate-keeper gave you access to their audience. The rule was simple: “If they didn’t pick your message, you lose!” But, what’s been going on since the mass use of the internet and social media is revolutionary. The internet is disrupting almost every sector of business and creating funerals for gate-keepers:

  • Email is disrupting mail
  • Craigslist is disrupting the print classified ad sales
  • Ebooks are disrupting books
  • Youtube is disrupting TV
  • Netflix is disrupting DVD
  • Internet Radio is disrupting Traditional radio
  • Forums and chats are disrupting Voice call centers

What the internet disrupted most of all was who has a microphone, a platform—something where they can be seen and heard from. And it’s everyone. You now have the ability to pump out content around your passion and make a living. And it’s not the gate-keeper who determines whether you’re good or not, it’s the world.

So, now if you want to build personal brand equity, showcase your expertise, become a champion or maven. You have a microphone but your competition is the world and it has never been greater. There are more people competing for the one thing that is finite and that can be monetized: attention (eyeballs). And everyone wants a slice of it.

With the death of the gate-keeper, how do you take advantage of this great opportunity? I recommend starting with three steps:

  1. Put out remarkable content. How do you know if it’s remarkable content? You measure it. You measure the traffic, visits, comments, and shares. If it’s not remarkable it’s invisible.
  2. Do it consistently. Content is king but marketing is queen. Marketing is everything you do consistently and repeatedly. If content marketing is part of your attack then it must be consistent. Now consistent can mean once a week,  three times a week, or five times a week.
  3. Engage with people. This is the dirty work of social media. This is the reason Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn were created. Social Media are relational tools not transactional tools. Regardless of what many think, social media rewards generosity, other-centeredness and helpfulness. Your content should be focused on one of those.