If Content Is King, Then What’s Queen?

June 27, 2012: In the game of chess, the Queen is the most valuable player, able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.  In the word of marketing, content is said to be King; it educates people so that they know, like, and trust you well enough to do business with you.  But great content doesn’t distribute itself.  According to Copyblogger’s Senior Editor Sonia Simone, “Content needs vehicles for people to pass it along, discuss its merits, argue over its controversies, blog it, mash it, tweet it, and even scrape it.”

And so this begs the question: If Content Is King, Then What’s Queen?

“Content is King, but marketing is Queen and the Queen runs the household.”  We’re all familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk’s famous line from the 2008 Blog World Expo.  But, these days, digital marketing has taken on so many dimensions—blogging, social media, infographics, etc.—that, by the time you’ve mastered any one of them, the rug has been pulled out from under you.  Given the infinite number of marketing channels available, how do companies find the right “Queen” to suit the needs of B2B customers?

Here are 3 different takes on 3 different approaches:

  • Show, Don’t Tell: This is something we writers hear all the time in creative writing workshops.  “Showing” means using sensory language, dialogue, and descriptions to engage your readers as opposed to simply “telling” them how to think or feel. Search Engine Land’s Jordan Kasteler claims the same is true for making digital content visually appealing.  “Your content presentation is the clinching factor that holds an audience’s attention long enough for you to grab them with your actual content,” he says.  “It doesn’t matter how mind-blowingly original or well-crafted your content is: If your audience doesn’t stick around to consume it, why bother creating it?”  With content becoming more visual every day—content marketing infographics can, for example, reinforce how content is at the heart of all marketing initiatives—marketers must think beyond just the content itself.  After all, Kasteler argues, “Why tell a consumer about your brand when you can show them?”
  • Build a Reputation: The end goal of any content marketing initiative is to reach your audience.  You want to become an established thought leader within your industry and build lasting relationships with your audience members.  But to do this takes time, argues Social Media Today’s Susanna Gebauer.  “Creating content is only the first step in building a reputation with content marketing,” she says.  “The next step is…to know the channels you use to spread your stellar content, and your audience within them, to make the most of your energy.”  Not every platform will achieve the same results, however.  “You have to take into account which form of content you are trying to spread in various channels (e.g., a high quality picture might be best spread throughout Pinterest, while a video surrounding the same topic would be most effective on Facebook).”  So, when trying to decide where to place the content you’ve created, be sure to do your homework first.
  • Think Ahead: “Just because ‘Content Is King’ doesn’t mean your content is anything more than that of a Court Jester,” writes Copyblogger’s Frank Angelone.  When creating content, don’t just consider the “hot” topics of today; what’s key is to think ahead to the future.  What kinds of issues will still be relevant a year from now, or even 10 years from now?  How can you make a lasting impression on your readers, connecting with them in a way that withstands the test of time?  Angelone refers to this concept as infusing your writing with nostalgia.  “You want,” he writes, “people to read your articles down the line and say, ‘This is great.  I wish people still created things like this.’”  A Court Jester only entertains the King in the moment, but, if you “write for what will still be relevant when all the hype becomes old news, you might be remembered when you’re gone.”

In truth, there is no “one size fits all approach” to content marketing.  Savvy B2B marketers will find a way to incorporate aspects of all 3 of the above approaches into their content marketing strategies.  Indeed, there may be many “Queens” to content marketing’s one “King,” but, as Sonia Simone states, our desire to create is unchanging: “Wonderful words and beautiful images capture our attention, no matter who we are or what technology we might have at our disposal.”

©Wikipedia.org/Alan Light

If Content is King, then what is your marketing Queen?  Which approaches have been the most useful to your company?  Which have not?

  • http://JasminAnderson.com/150 Jasmin Anderson

    Wow, I never thought of things like this. Marketing being Queen. Interesting. I suppose I can see that as well because one can have all the great content in the world, same as a product, but without great marketing…no one wld ever see it. Very good article.

  • Stacy Thompson

    You make a very good point, Jasmin – without an effective marketing strategy, even the best, most original content will fall by the wayside. Thank you for reading!

  • http://www.therankingexperts.com/ Search Engine Marketing in Singapore

    All just know the one point that content is the king and no one think the way you did. It is a great thought and it is crucial to make marketing strategies. i would love to read your all post. thanks

  • Stacy Thompson

    I certainly agree that effective marketing strategies are critical to getting content shared and distributed. Thank you for reading!

  • http://dohliz.com/ dohliz

    It’s real- “write for what will still be relevant when all the hype becomes old news, you might be remembered when you’re gone.”

    Hold on!
    The best thing you described is probably those 3 approaches and I agree with you about Marketing is the Queen!
    Thanks for informative advices :)

  • Stacy Thompson

    You are quite welcome! Thank you for reading and commenting – we appreciate the feedback.

  • http://www.hakukone-optimointia.fi/ Topi Pirhonen

    It never put in my mind that there is a queen and it is the marketing,SEO in Finland country is really successful now a days they are really professional for sure content is there king and marketing is their queen.

  • Stacy Thompson

    Thanks for the response, Topi! And so interesting to hear that SEO in Finland is similar to SEO in the States, with content as King and marketing as Queen.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/content-marketing-services Nick Stamoulis

    Content is only valuable if people are seeing it. I think this is a great analogy. If content is King, the Queen (marketing) is required in order to get that content promoted and in front of target audience members.

  • Stacy Thompson

    That’s exactly it, Nick. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  • http://pageonepower.com/ Pageonepower

    I think when most people think of “content is king”, it is in the context of marketing. Hopefully they are creating that content in order to be noticed in the first place and will have effective marketing strategies in the works.

  • Leonid

    Great post, I have learned content is king and marketing is queen but customer is..?

  • http://www.marketbrew.net Nate H

    Very informative, I like your take on the “Queen”, Stacy. Every King needs a woman to keep him in check, right? I wrote a similar piece for my blog, let me know what you think: http://www.marketbrew.net/2012/08/content-whats-king-without-his-court.html

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