You don’t need to know how to play chess to know that the king can only move one square at a time and must be protected, and the Queen can move as many spaces across the board that are available. The King then is more valuable but the Queen is the most powerful… How is that relevant to the world of marketing you ask?
Bill Gates said back in the day: “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting. One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create.”
This may be where the phrase ‘content is king’ came from, and if you Google it you’ll see there are more than a million results discussing it. There is much debate in the marketing world as to which is most important, content or strategy? And it’s very much a chicken and egg argument, with one ultimately needing the other in order to succeed.
The content marketers will argue that you need interesting, quality and relevant content to drive people to in the first place. Without this great content, there is nothing to drive people towards. Strategists on the other hand will argue that even if you have the perfect copy to share with the world without the appropriate distribution, it will remain undiscovered.
“Content is King, but marketing is Queen and the Queen runs the household.”
Gary Vaynerchuk said this at the 2008 Blog World Expo and it’s become a famous quote over time. But digital marketing has come a LONG way since then. Now it is made up of so many more elements including blogging, social media, graphic design, infographics… the list goes on. The industry moves fast, and a marketers job is simply to keep up with current trends.
The best advice then, when it comes to finding the perfect marriage between your content (the King) and the Queen is to use your content as a tool alongside the perfect strategy. They must complement each other and support one another towards the end goal.
Content that is written with the audience in mind will engage your readers and by using sensory language it can lead them through a journey rather than dictate how they should think or feel. Pairing this with a visual approach – whether that is video, imagery or infographic – your content is your chance to clinch your audience’s attention and keep it. Content that is well thought out and strategised beforehand has much more chance of succeeding, and it makes the distribution that much easier with attractive and click-worthy results.
Content that has been placed strategically will do better than content that has been thrown out there to see what ‘sticks.’ Having in mind where you want the content to sit, how it will look and what platform it will best perform on are all brilliant ways of getting value out of your piece of text. You can adapt your long-form copy into short form for different platforms, with different tones of voices and personas too, meaning that your copy can be versatile, engaging and hit the sweet spot.
You can use your content to build a reputation for your brand. The end goal of your content is to reach your audience and to teach, inform or persuade them. So by making your content align well with your brand messaging, ethos and values, it will remain true to your business and therefore come across as authentic, real and true. Building trust with your target audience is your first port of call, which is why when you create content, your brand reputation should be front of mind.
It’s important to think about the life span of your content too. Some of your content will be geared to topics that are relevant in the here and now, whether this is linked to commenting on current affairs or something that is happening in real-time. To make your content strategy a success, you should always think about the future of each piece you write. Combine your content approach with articles that will last the test of time, look to the future and immerse yourself in subjects that you feel will soon become a trending topic. It’s always good to think ahead!
All in all, there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Not really. We’re marketers after all – it’s all about A/B testing and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to be experimental with your content and don’t be afraid to adapt your strategy when things aren’t going to plan! There is no one size fits all approach. Content is your King, but there may be many Queen’s to pair your content with until you find the perfect match – just don’t go too Henry VIII on us!