What’s a Content King Without a Kingdom?


Is content king?

To me, that seems like a silly question. “Content is king” is a metaphor, but apparently not a very good one.

A good metaphor creates instant understanding. Given the amount of confusion and debate the phrase “content is king” kicks up, it’s not doing all that great a job in the instant-understanding department.

I think it’s smarter to say that content is indispensable. It’s what people go online to find, and it’s what Google loves. There are only a few online marketing models that don’t require valuable content, and those few are getting tougher by the day, and result in no long-term assets.

But if you really want to stick with this “content is king” thing, let’s see if we can tease out the analogy a bit.

Great content cannot be king without more. Why?

Because it has no kingdom. It may be of royal birth, but it’s not on the throne.

In fact, the throne is ruthlessly occupied by Queen Inattention. She rules the online land with an iron hand, and her subjects become more loyal to her daily.

Your content has a right to the throne thanks to its valuable information, clever hook and killer headline. But brave and loyal allies are needed to create an insurrection against Queen Inattention. These allies are not impersonal Facebook “friends,” they’re real friends and colleagues, and they believe in you and your content.

These allies work with you to inform the masses of the coming of King Content. They link, bookmark, Digg, Spinn and Tweet the defiant message…

Queen Inattention is going down.

Finally, as the masses recognize the royal birthright of King Content, they rise up in revolt. Queen Inattention is deposed and exiled to a lonely island, while King Content ascends to the throne he so rightfully deserves.

Now that King Content is in charge, he can’t rest easy. If he cannot inspire his subjects to action and fill the royal coffers while improving the well-being of the entire kingdom, all will be for naught.

And word just arrived that Queen Inattention has escaped her island exile.

Now, this may well be the goofiest thing I’ve ever written. But hey, I’m not the one who came up with this “content is king” thing. I’m just working with what I was given.

The point is… it’s social media. Yes content is indispensable, but the entire environment is powered by people. If you have no people on your side, your content isn’t king… it’s just a lonely loser with delusions of grandeur.

Content marketing is all about communication. You need to attract the attention of prospects and communicate your subject matter expertise.

But before you can do that, often you’re going to have to communicate the value of your content to friendly allies and maybe even a stranger or three. And finally, you’ve got to be able to take that crucial next step and communicate why your readers should do business with you.

When you look at it that way, isn’t communication king? Perhaps so, but these types of metaphors tend to be a royal pain.

P.S. Gyutae Park just let me know he made a similar analogy last year. Check out his article here.

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger, CEO of Copyblogger Media, and Editor-in-Chief of Entreproducer. Get more from Brian on Google+.

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Reader Comments (71)

  1. says

    Ah man, you even used the Burger King too! :-)

    I came up with this the other night, and what got it rolling was that there’s someone else on the throne already, and it’s Queen Inattention. Content is kinda like Prince Charles… ready to go but Elizabeth won’t get out of the way. :-)

    I’ll put a link in to your post.

  2. says

    Analogies like: “It may be of royal birth, but it’s not on the throne” make it a pleashure to read this article.. well done…

    But back to topic: There are blogs out there with content that (although unique) is not very good (depends on how you define good content).

    For example: icanhascheezburger.com
    It became popular out of the lolcat hype. Although the content is unique (more or less) it`s not what I would call quality content. Many pics are not even funny. The blog lives upon it`s huge userbase wich likes to comment alot.

    PS: Is it a coincidence that Problogger.net published a post about the same topic today as well??

  3. says

    Netizen, I think “quality” is subjective and depends on context. Some people are looking for a distraction with LOLcats, but that type of content wouldn’t work for a business blogger.

    Haven’t seen the Problogger piece yet. This was more of a follow-up to Jon Morrow’s post on Copyblogger last week where he called “content is king” a myth.

  4. says

    I love this post and it made me rush out of my mail to put my dibs in. So… the searching people are the subjects? 😀 Where does seo come in? 😀

  5. says

    This article is cleverly written! I enjoyed the transition from content is king to eventually the idea that perhaps it should be that communication is king. Well done!

  6. says

    I’m pretty sure this is the most deranged thing you’ve ever written. I like it.

    This is a great quote (and not deranged): “If you have no people on your side, your content isn’t king… it’s just a lonely loser with delusions of grandeur.”

  7. says

    hm….nice follow up…can’t have a king without a country. :)

    “Queen of Inattention”….read like Royal Events I have attended. The Balls and all. I could see your tableaux unfold complete with costumes LOL.

    I kept looking for the ” Lord of Misrule”, Momus, of course.

  8. says

    “If you have no people on your side, your content isn’t king… it’s just a lonely loser with delusions of grandeur.”

    True. Allies are priceless.

  9. says

    Hmm. I like it. I only regret not getting here sooner, so that I could be a part of the coup d’état. :-)

    But Queen Inattention is still lurking about, dangerous as ever. I guess that makes me a General, keeping her at bay, all the while expanding the King’s Kingdom?

    Or maybe an assassin. That’s even better.

    *goes hunting for his ninja outfit*

  10. says

    It’s not that content is King but that content is Gold.

    If you can provide the value (Gold) then the King’s & Queen’s court will grow.

  11. says

    I read a piece in an article from Unlimited magazine today, and they said that…

    Get ready. We’re in a content economy.

    Considering my royal minions already call me King James (no, that’s not a painted tin foil crown, you fool; I swear it’s gold), I’d say I’m halfway there.

    Oh, and forget the Queen. I’m going solo.

  12. says

    I don’t wanna be a jester, I wanna be, um, . . . a noble knight! Then I could slay things. Got that Beatrix Kiddo mojo working right now.

    I’ll be the noble knight riding through the countryside to slay the dragons of crappy content. Positively quixotic.

  13. says

    Using that analogy, my Content King rules but he’s subjects have fled and he’s left ruling virtually no one. i.e. it doesn’t matter how good my content is because no one is reading it.

  14. says

    @ Sonia – Noble Dragonslayer ye shall be, loyal one. Methinks Jon Morrow would make quite a fine Court Jester for our noble group. Sir Clark, of course, could choose a duchy of his liking while I ensconce myself in his throne…

  15. says

    Wow, it’s a Copyblogger staff party. I’m betting this post becomes the new in-joke.

    There’s got to be a way to work The Life of Brian into this.

    Funny, because I almost made a Monty Python reference in the post. Instead of the one smart line I managed, I almost said this:

    “If you have no people on your side, your content isn’t king… it’s just a dude with a crown, riding a stick horse, clapping two coconuts together.”

    I went with “delusional grandeur” instead as a subliminal message to Chartrand.

  16. says

    @Benjamin, just stick around, we have good advice for that. :)

    I think of Jon as being very Merlinish. Jon should be Merlin.

    Janice is the lady in waiting who’s much too smart to sit cooped up with Queen Inattention doing embroidery, so she dresses up as a boy and steals a horse and . . . (oops, old romance writer habits die hard)

  17. says

    Still waiting to hear about the prognosis on Mr. Burger King – is he drooling or no?

    To drool or not to drool, that is the question.

  18. says

    2 weeks ago I wrote something similar. This is one nice metaphore that at some point really sticks to you head and you have to write something about it. Had the idea for a month. :) Anyway, nice perspective Brian.
    Where you went for the “Queen of Inattention”, I went for “Promotion, the court’s Jester”.

    Nice post.

  19. says

    Sonia- looking for stallion to steal as we speak.;-) Now where’s that tape for my chest……and my boots, need riding boots…

    Karen- We get jewels? Can we pick?

  20. Kaloma says

    Perhaps Inattention is actually the King’s Mistress — because above all, Content needs to be relevant, and how better to capture Attention than by placing himself in the path of her gaze and calling her name?

    All this while the Queen of Shopping is getting a mani-pedi, of course.

  21. says

    I’m still standing for Content is King because If you write nothing then visitors can not do anything to itwith Social Media.

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