The Content King Is Dead, Long Live the Content King!

“Content is King!” they shout from their rooftops. It’s the clarion call for all Content Strategists and content-minded marketers everywhere, but it’s only half right. The reality is that there’s no shortage of content–a simple Google search on nearly any combination of words will back me up. Simply gathering and creating content does not get you a kingdom. What you need is good content.

There’s a lot of talk this week that seems to prove that out as Salon editor-in-chief Kerry Lauerman revealed recently that the online magazine has increased readership by actually reducing the number of posts. In other words, they’re getting more for less:

We’re actually publishing, on average, roughly one-third fewer posts on Salon than we were a year ago (from 848 to 572 in December; 943 to 602 in January). So: 33 percent fewer posts; 40 percent greater traffic.

But how can that be? For the last few years all we’ve heard is that we need to have to have a steady stream of fresh content! More, more, more!

“It sounds simple, maybe obvious,” Lauerman said. “But: We’ve gone back to our primary mission and have been focusing on originality. And it’s working.”

As Lauerman explains it, the idea that we have to feed the beast is maybe not so correct. He even takes to task two of the tactics that have gotten the most attention of late: curation and aggregation. So does that mean the days of gathering interesting links and videos are over? That we should all forget about the whole thing? Not at all! There’s still a great deal of value in curating content for your readers, but there’s something even more valuable and as old as print media itself: being original and having a point of view. It’s not simply gathering for the sake of amassing content. And that should apply to the content you create as well as that you gather.

Movements don’t gather around people, they gather around ideas. In the end, you need to make a statement and be consistent and clear about that statement—the signal through the noise—to draw in readers. Doing that helps you build an audience and make you a king among brands.

Addendum:
This article from Mashable details a dashboard that not only monitors the reach and resonance of content (nothing new there), but uses a set of algorithms to sift through how people are sharing content to actually predict topic trends for publishers.

As Mashable reports:

As content moves to the web, Dash creators say there is a need for big publishers to know specifics about the content produced. While basic one-size-fits-all analytics tools only consider page views, Dash looks within the text. It scours the Internet to show publishers what is happening across the web — the top searches, trending keywords and best topics to write about next…The tool delivers real-time results that look at pageviews and tell publishers who their best author is, why one section is doing better than another and what topics are driving the most traffic to your site. Editors can filter results by topics, ranking, authors and see web-wide trends.

Fascinating stuff, and a potentially invaluable tool for online publishers, but it doesn’t replace the need for Editors and for an editorial vision. It just tells you whether anyone’s following that vision…or is likely to.

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