Distribution channels are one of the most important components to an artrepreneur’s business model. Artists are infamously reliant on distributors to share their work with the world. Becoming an artrepreneur is all about understanding how to build a system of content creation and content distribution. So don’t underestimate the importance of distribution.
Imagine building the most epic, innovative, beautiful art piece, only to realize that there was absolutely no way to share it with anyone else? Of course, the satisfaction that comes from being it’s creator is enough to fulfill the artist’s soul. But the artrepreneur is looking to create something incredible that’s capable of filling both their soul and their pockets. In order to do this, the artrepreneur must develop a strategy to share that work with others (in a way that will make them want to spend money to experience it). That’s where broadcast distribution comes in.
Author Derek Thompson wrote a book called Hit Makers that’s all about how things become popular. He looks at trends like baby names and fashion, and hits like Star Wars and 50 Shades of Grey, then develops and debunks theories as to how and why these hits became hits. It’s a great read for any aspiring artrepreneur. But for the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on one of his main points:
“If content is king, distribution is the kingdom.”
Let’s look at a popular example: Erika Mitchell, author of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, was a popular fan fiction writer with over 5 million readers before she wrote and released the first 50 Shades of Grey novel. When she released the book on her page, hundreds of her existing fans reviewed it on Goodreads and caught the attention of Random House Publisher. After being published by the reputable publisher, the novel caught the attention of New York Times, which further broadcasted the novel to hundreds of thousands of readers and viewers, who then talked about the book with lots of their friends. This trail is important to follow because it exemplifies the importance of strong distribution channels. Fifty Shades of Grey didn’t blow up just because of its content; it became a true hit because of its strong distribution pattern.
Challenge: Think about and write down as many potential broadcast distribution channels for your product or service as you can. Then, evaluate each with your business model in mind. Think about which are most attainable/feasible and the reach that each provides. Select 2-5 and get to work on implementing them! Consider individuals, organizations, movements, softwares, and more!
For example: At CREATIONS Film, we’re currently working on building up our broadcast distribution channels so that more people can be exposed to our work. Here’s what our first brainstorm looked like:
Potential Broadcast Distribution Channels:
“Choice” playlists (like Vimeo’s “Staff Picks”)
Relevant non-profit organizations*
Movie theater pre-movie ads/content
Artists/celebrities who support our brand/message*
We decided to focus on the three starred* channels first. Now we are doing some of the ground work to secure these broadcast channels, in order to help us reach more people than our own channels alone would allow. To do this, we’ve developed strategies to help us approach and work with each potential distribution channel.
Remember: This process can take weeks, so be patient as you brainstorm and test your ideas. The purpose of this article is to get you thinking about potential distribution channels that can help you share your art-based products or services. Remember to visit and update your business model often, and don’t be afraid to take a chance on distribution channels that might seem out of reach. Good luck!
NOTE: Before you start the ground work to secure large broadcast channels, make sure that you are ready to accept their help. You’ll want to have enough quality content to ensure that once people are sent to you/your page, they will stay, become fans, and hopefully become clients/customers.
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