There have been any number of blog posts, journalist articles, Tweets, status updates, Instagram pics, Pinterest infographics, webinars and downloads about what exactly owns the crown of online marketing. Is reputation king? Is context king? How about relevance? Authority? In almost all of that content (hint, hint) the argument is usually that some new thing has usurped content as the king of online marketing. While context, authority, relevance and reputation are all important, they are merely the knights and attendants that support a successful king: King Content.
Relevance is completely irrelevant if it’s not a thing that’s relevant. I know that sounds like Yogi Berra, but it’s true; you can’t have relevance without having a thing that is relevant. That thing is content. Content can be irrelevant too. Content can also have a bad reputation, or a good reputation, but a reputation cannot be implied or applied without a thing to imply it about or apply it to, be it a person, a product, or a book or a blog post. How about context? What has context? An ad has context, a statement has context, an ebook has context, a video has context. Those are all instances of content. Of course a person can have authority, so can a brand, but just standing around being an authority ain’t helping your marketing, or your reputation. You have to create awareness about that authority, through content.
Recent posts I’ve read are all pointing at Google, certainly not the only engagement opportunity for brands, but one that a whole ton of dough is being dumped into. Many of the arguments for the coronation of authority, context, relevance, and reputation center around SERP, or Search Engine Results Pages. What’s a SERP if not a piece of content?! And what is shown on a search results page? Let’s look and see if you can pick out the authority, relevance, context, and reputation:
Now let’s take a look at where the content on this page is discretely hidden:
You see, whether you are trying to leverage context, reputation, etc. you need to do it with content. This isn’t limited to online marketing either; TV commercials, billboards, in-store displays, the windows at Macy’s, brochures, your company sign on the side of the building are all content. Content is the framework on which you hang your reputation or authority, context or relevance. Without content those things just sit on a desk.
So, before you go dethroning content, remember, without it you have nothing.