It’s time to dethrone the king.
More specifically, it’s time to dethrone the “Content is King” analogy.
It’s a broken analogy. Off with its head!
Comparing content to a monarch may have been appropriate when kingdoms such as Hollywood studios and mainstream news organizations owned the means of producing and distributing content. But no longer.
The serfs (you, me, us) have risen. With our first blog post, our first Flickr photo, our first YouTube video, we have all become “the media.”
And for those for whom content is an important function of marketing communications, I have a new analogy, a better and more fitting analogy.
Content is Gold.
How is content gold? Let us count the ways:
1. Content is a Valuable Investment
Like gold, investment in quality content is an investment in a quality asset. Like quality gold, quality content has long term, “evergreen” value. In fact, from a marketing communications perspective, investment in quality content is better than gold because, unlike gold, the value of quality content to your communications efforts rarely fluctuates or goes down.
2. Content is Conductive
Gold is the third most conductive metal after silver and copper. And just as it allows electrical current to flow unimpeded, content today enables “conversation” and “communications” current to flow unimpeded through your marketing communications channels, from website to website, from blog to blog, from social networking site to social networking site, and so on.
2. Content is Currency
Like gold, content can be bought, sold and traded. Similarly, quality content can be utilized for everything from conversion to a sale to currying a favor. In fact, I’ve heard it said that content is the currency of Social Media.
3. Content is Malleable
An ounce of gold can be stretched into a thread that’s 5 miles long, or reshaped into a square sheet that is 100 feet long on each side. Similarly, quality content assets can be “shaped” and “stretched.” Images, text, video, audio, animation and illustration assets can all be reshaped, stretched, mashed up and rendered anew across blogs, websites, video channels, eBooks, white papers, tradeshow displays and more (see 42 ideas for using content).
4. Content is a Marketer’s “Bling”
Gold is a precious metal that’s most often shaped into beautiful jewelry. In fact, 76% of the use of gold is for jewelry. Wearers of gold jewelry sparkle and shine. They draw attention to themselves. Gold draws attention to whomever it adorns. Quality content offers the same draw power to a marketer’s communications efforts. Think of it this way – if gold is “personal bling”, then content is “marketing bling.”
5. Content Gives Its Bearer Status & Influence
Gold, or the wealth attributes associated with holding lots of gold, gives the bearer of gold status and influence. Face it, status and influence (and wealth) opens doors. Similarly — and think of this from a competitive perspective — the holders of the most and best content attain a level of status and influence that opens doors (and wallets). And in the context of SEO, the status and influence content lends to a website or blog is what contributes to an essential building block of SEO, inbound links.
6. Content is the Marketer’s Mother Lode
Gold is often mined in “veins,” and a rich vein running through the Earth is often referred to as the Mother Lode. What is your “Marketing Mother Lode?” It’s your stories, it’s your learned insight, expertise and opinions, it’s your customer testimony and your case studies. Or it’s the fun, funky, creative content ideas you can come up with to attract attention to yourself and attach prospects to your brand. You have a rich “vein” of content that you should be hard at work mining and extracting value from in the form of lead generation, e-commerce sales conversion, volunteer recruitment, online donations and more.
Long live the King? I don’t think so.
Let the tired old monarch fade away and replace him with something more valuable to your marketing objectives: Precious Gold. Precious Content Gold.