What we mean when we say “content is king”
content is king man drawing on a whiteboard with website design

One of my pet peeves as a freelance writer is when people try to tell me that content doesn’t matter. Or that the popular “content is king” mantra is bollocks. I’ve had this in full-time jobs where the technical SEO crowd roll their eyes when I tell them that writing content for a website takes time.

The thought of putting time into writing high quality content made their skin crawl because there were plenty of more pressing technical SEO tasks which needed to be addressed.

I agree the success of a website rests on a number of factors, including mobile friendliness, website speed, navigation, internal links, sitemaps, inbound links and more. But all of these things are just there to help deliver content.

The internet is content

It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do online, content is essential for the user experience. Because content is the customer journey. From the words on your website that tell visitors what you do to the meta titles and descriptions that help people to find your website on search engines. It’s all content.

The argument I hear from SEO professionals is that it doesn’t matter if you write like a New York Times bestseller, if no one links to your site, then it isn’t going to rank well. You can have a beautifully crafted website, but if it isn’t part of the wider community, then Google isn’t going to reward it with a steady flow of traffic.

However, think of it this way.

You can have the most beautifully optimised website in the world, but if the content is trash and the website makes no sense, any visitors you get are going to struggle to convert.

If you can’t write, all of the links in the world aren’t going to help you. And the chances are, you’ll be building all of those links yourself. Well-written content that actually offers something valuable is more likely to attract links naturally.

Content and context

And good content is about more than just a readability score and engagement.

When I tell my clients that content is king, I also remind them about context. Trying to produce valuable content without context is a fools errand.

To produce content that you know is valuable to your customers, you need to understand the context of their journey. Try to understand where they are in the customer journey and how you can best serve their needs.

When you run your own business there are things that might seem incredibly obvious to you that are a complete mystery to your target customer. Break down the customer journey into awareness, consideration, decision, retention and advocacy.

Content that is valuable to your customers will attract traffic, links, referrals and social shares. And that’s what we mean when we say content is king.

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