“Content is King”? What Does That Even Mean Anyway?

It’s a common phrase for business and freelancers that operate on the internet. To some it might be meaningless business speak, but for some businesses primarily engaged with the internet they are words to live by. “Content is King” has become a bit of a mantra, but what does it really mean? And how important is it?

The Origins of Content is King

Although largely attributed to Google, the term appears to have its origins in 1996 with Bill Gates. He wrote an article on the importance of good quality content. This is before the dotcom boom and  certainly before practically everyone had the internet.

Back then (and I remember it well because I worked on the shop floor of a chain store that had recently started selling internet-ready computers), the internet was this mythical thing to which we all aspired. Everyone was curious. Everyone knew they would eventually get it. Not everyone knew what they could do with it.

What does Content is King mean?

To grow, the internet needed content and despite the fears spread by certain media outlets, that meant far more than explicit pornographic images and videos. The internet was going to be the great new source of information, given time. Gates expected that most of the money from internet business would be made through good quality content, and he wasn’t wrong.

Most websites had content – without it there wouldn’t have been websites or even an internet.

What Does “Content is King” Mean?

Content is King means that your web content: blog post, landing pages, bio page, about pages and so on, has value to the reader. Without this value, they simply will not visit your site(s).

There’s the short answer. As with everything, there is far more to it than that.

Your content must be digestible, easy on the eye, relevant and up to date. In the early days when webzines or online newspapers were just a speck of an idea, web entrepreneurs realised that simply reproducing the same print content on the web was not going to work – you need something new, something more than what you produced before.

That’s what we have today. Online news media provides up to the minute information and it is to these web sources that we often find our information first. We don’t wait for tomorrow’s newspaper, we go straight to our news source of choice the moment we hear about a breaking news item.

This is understandable for a news source, but what about your business blog?

Actually, the concept is identical. You need content to build an audience. It isn’t enough to publish landing pages full of self-praise. That doesn’t build or maintain an audience for very long. There’s also a chance the audience will get impatient and move on to a business that puts more effort into telling what they need to know. You not only need quality landing pages, you need regular content with intrinsic value. What you publish and how you present it is only one part of the story.

How Important Is “Content is King”, Really?

While we acknowledge that good content drives traffic, and (hopefully) by extension web engagement, there is more to it for making your business or idea a success.

Good SEO is one important element. I might argue that some businesses rely too much on SEO and not enough on content, search engines promote content with good SEO scores, but not exclusively. That content still needs to be of high value to gain shares and greater share – especially in the share and share alike world of social media.

Gone are the days when Black Hat techniques dominated search engine rankings, but with each new tweak and release of their respective criteria, it is a fact that SEO alone will not cut it. However, if your SEO isn’t quite as good as it could be, your site will be buried beneath those that are. Your mission is to strike that balance.

You also need great web site design. That means intuitive design, mobile functionality and a friendly interface. No matter how good your content, you will lose web hits and engagement if your audience can’t work out how to get around your site.

Remember: No matter how jazzy your website, they won’t come back if they find nothing useful.

Some Content is King Stats

Need proof that content is all important? No problem, here it is:

  • Prestigious business magazine The Economist surveyed customers in 2014 about the nature of content and marketing. 71% of respondents said that they didn’t like content when they felt they were being sold to. 67% said the expected unique or time-relevant information. To put this in simple terms, rather than pushing your 2013 article on good SEO practice, update it for relevance.
  • Surprisingly, and despite the rise in popularity of image-based media such as photographs, infographics and video, the written word was the still preferred medium for business content
  • A survey from Lyfe Marketing demonstrated that 78% of consumers prefer to get to know a brand through genuine content rather than through ads. 70% believed that businesses that produce valuable content that they want to read have an active interest in audience engagement

If You Got This Far, I Guess You Need Written Content?

I can’t help you with your website UI or mobile functionality. My guess is you don’t have the time to update your business blog. Or maybe you don’t have the skills to know where to begin.

No problem. That’s where I come in. With three years experience writing content for varied clients, I deliver posts, pages and other web content for your business needs. If you have a web presence and a website, you need good web content. Why not contact me for a chat?

Published by MG Mason Creative

I'm Matt, a freelance writer, writing mostly about education, early career recruitment, tech, B2B and professional services. Dabbling with landscape and nature photography too. For this content , please look at my main site linked below. I'm also a self-published author, creator of the quirky crime comedy book series Salmonweird. If that's what you're looking for, then good news! The village has its own website listed below.

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