Content Has Always Been King

Bill Gates wrote an essay on it before any of us really knew what he meant; Sumner Redstone  said it even before that; and now, every single ‘marketer’ with a laptop and a Photoshopped logo preaches it from the rooftop like a doomsday crier.

Content Is King (or Queen): The phrase that defines our era of advertising and that countless businesses struggle to understand. ‘Content is King’ means that you can’t just make great ads anymore. It’s not enough. You can’t just buy a page in the magazine or make a commercial to air on T.V. if you want to advertise your product. At least, you can’t only do that; in the days of Mad Men it might have been enough, but no longer. That’s why blogging matters; it’s the most basic form of content you can easily distribute online.

If you’re not following, let me clarify: ‘Content Is King’ basically means that you need to offer something (the content) that is already amazing, and easily accessible for free, in order to get people to maybe, possibly, tentatively consider looking at your product. The vast majority of those who consume your content will absolutely not give you their money, but if you get enough eyes, even a small percentage can be a great turnover. In our age of social media, where Instagram models are creating that daily content for free, you might pay them to mention your product. Or a Youtuber, or a blogger, or anyone out there with an audience.

Which is why this whole ‘content is king’ revolution isn’t exactly all that new. A better phrase, perhaps, would be ‘Your content is king.’

The Instagram Model is just a new version of that magazine you used to place ads in; a ‘page’ is now square-shaped and viewed on consumers’ phones. That Youtuber is the major network (or maybe the Snapchatter). Content has always been king; the only thing that’s changed is where the content lives — and, more importantly, how easy it is to create.

Before Youtube, advertisers had to rely on major networks to host their ads. That was pretty much their only option. If you wanted to place an ad in a newspaper, you had to work with an actual newspaper, of which there were a limited number. Producing a national newspaper or writing a popular sitcom is hard, guys! Not everyone can do it; certainly not business-owners focused on an entirely different industry. You’d need a whole team of people and wide technical skillset to create such major content.

But, given a wifi signal, we can all publish cat videos. Which means your content has potential. You have the freedom to actually create your own audience, by yourself, on your own, just by making something cool!

Am I the only one out here who thinks that’s awesome? If you want to advertise your business, you get to create stuff!

Don’t tell me you’re ‘not creative.’ You don’t have to be Picasso; you just have to find a creative outlet that doesn’t exhaust you. If you hate to write, don’t try and blog just because you heard it was important. Make videos or take pictures instead! There are platforms for exactly that, and with smartphone technology these days, you can actually make some pretty great stuff without spending crazy money on tools. Pick something you enjoy — don’t worry if it’s different or weird. Weird is good. Weird makes you stand out. Have you seen the Denny’s Tumblr? It’s super weird. Someone took over and just went full-on freaky with it, to great success. Plus, I guarantee the folks behind it are having a blast.

Pick something you like to create, and do it regularly. Do it consistently. If you really do pick something you enjoy, you won’t get burned out — but you will be able to build an audience over time. Do you have any idea what business owners in the 60’s would have given for that opportunity? For the possibility that they’d never have to deal with Don Draper again?

You have access to the whole of the internet-using world, so please do more than begrudgingly force yourself post on Facebook every once in a while because someone told you ‘content is king.’

Content has always been king; but now, it’s the content you create that matters.

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