03/12/2014 04:38 pm ET Updated May 12, 2014

Is Content Still King?

As someone who creates (video) content for a living, both for myself and for others, I often wonder if this space has become too crowded. When I think about the film, broadcast or Internet landscapes, A Tale of Two Cities nails it:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way...

I sat down with author Julien Smith (Trust Agents, The Flinch) to talk about how to build an audience and get noticed in a crowded sea of competition. Smith emphasized the need to sharpen our focus on great content that's sharable. With the exception of those clowns who have already built a loyal following of 11-year-old's on Youtube, it's hard these days to make something awesome (or stupid) and get a million views on the Internet.

So what are the rest of us supposed to do?

Smith says we need to be (more) rigorous with our idea process. Ask yourself or better yet your friends, "Is this boring, valuable, inspiring, funny, shareable, etc."

I will agree that we need sharper ideas to break through the walls of attention. But I'm not sure that the best content always wins or even finds its way close to the top. Both Smith and I agree (from personal experience) that the success or failure of content can be completely random at times. Some of our best work withers and dies without notice, while other projects that we put very little effort into have phenomenal results.

In the end, I think we need to be careful about how we measure success. Great content is, well, great. You don't need to have millions of fans and followers these days either. Niche or specialty content can have the same or higher value than what the masses love. You just need the right amount of audience to help you accomplish your objectives.

Watch the full video and weigh in with comments below or tweet me: @BryanElliott