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Content Isn’t King… Here’s What Is!

Over the years I’ve heard many debates in the blogosphere about what is ‘king’.

‘Blogging is King’ was something many argued almost 10 years ago as it began to rise in popularity.

‘Content is King’ was the catch cry for many years… then it became ‘Community is King’ for a while as community management became the big thing.

‘Twitter is King’ was something I heard a number of bloggers crying (as they gave up their blogs to get onto Twitter), ‘Facebook is King’ was the cry a few years later when setting up pages there was the cool thing to do. YouTube was king for a while, and more recently some have argued for Instagram, Pinterest and other social networks being King.

Lately there’s a new ‘king’ every day. Infographics, podcasting, hangouts, webinars, apps… you name it!

The arguments for all of these things being ‘king’ are good… but they all kind of miss the point in my opinion. You see I think something else is king…

Usefulness
Yep – in my books ‘Usefulness is King’.

Creating content is just one way of being useful.

Building community is another.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and G+ are just ways of delivering usefulness.

Infographics, videos, podcasts and even blogging… all just different mediums for being useful.

Over the last decade that I’ve been doing business online a multitude of trends have come and many have gone but those who remain and have build valuable enterprises are those who understand that they’re in the business of being useful.

I’m often asked if I’ll be blogging in 10 years time… if the medium will still exist?

I don’t know the answer to that – blogging may well fall by the wayside at some point (although I don’t see it disappearing any time soon).

What I do know is that usefulness will never die as a strategy for building a business (online or offline).

How to be useful?

So how should we be useful as bloggers and online entrepreneurs?

Ultimately for me it comes down to understanding people’s needs and creating content, community and experiences based upon meeting those needs and solving their problems.

There are many ways to do this.

Here’s a slide from a recent talk I gave to business bloggers which begins to unpack a few ways blogs can be useful (and it scrapes the surface).

How to be useful
My blogs tend to focus most upon ‘education’ and ‘advice’ (with a sprinkle of inspiration and community) but other blogs are equally as useful by taking different approaches.

How Is Your Blog Useful?

So my question today is – ‘is your blog being useful’?

This is something I ask myself semi-regularly as I review what I do. If the answer is no – it’s time to refocus!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Hi Darren,

    Value reigns supreme. Value is king, so your usefulness take is spot on. Awesome point here. People tend to attach to a medium, and think their success depends on the medium, but it doesn’t. Online or offline success hinges on creating something useful, or valuable, independent of the medium. Love this post dude, smartness.

    I detach more from mediums and focus more on the idea of creating something valuable where I show up. That means creating value when I: comment on blogs, write blog posts, interact on social sites, interact through email, write articles for clients, and when I pretty much do anything throughout the day.

    I enjoy creating value through all channels so I don’t mind if a channel or 2 dries up. The medium changes, but the demand for usefulness never does. Focus on creating something helpful whether you’re publishing eBooks or webinars or seminars, and you’ll find out creating value is the most important thing you could ever do.

    I intend to do my best each time I engage in a work-related task. Nope, it’s not always easy, but when you mindfully make impact after impact over a series of months, then years, people perk up and take notice through all types of channels.

    This is why I drive traffic to my blog through Twitter, blog commenting, guest posts, Google Plus, Facebook and a variety of other channels. I focus less on the channel as the end all, be all, and concentrate instead of creating value, whatever I happen to doing.

    Thanks Darren, super helpful share.

    Tweeting now.

    Have a great week Down Under….or to my West as I’m in Fiji these days ;)

    Ryan

  2. Hi Friend ,

    Great list about stop struggling.

    It is new writing work keep it up .

    Thank you for posting such a useful website.

    Your weblog happens to be not just informative but also very stimulating too.

  3. Hello Darren

    Wow! Now here is somebody who wants to change the conception of blogging. Well Done Sir! What you’ve describe in the article is absolutely justified. We bloggers just stick to one basic rule and that is, to write quality content but we forget that the reader who visit our could have any type of mind set. Who knows that readers really enjoy visiting our website or just come read and go. So what you mention in the article is really good. Thanks for sharing and trying to change the conception.

  4. Thank you very much!

    Well formulated article with a lot of helpfull tips. By following your tips you can stand out from the rest and gain trust and engagement with your readers. Everyone should do this!

    Cheers,

    Yordi

  5. Hey Darren,

    I agree with. Usefulness is king. If your content is useful then people will flow to you and your brand. And if your content does not provide any useful value, why they should visit your blog.
    Usefulness is king and try to be a useful with your content…. ;)
    Thank you for pointing out this thing to our blogging community.

  6. Hey Darren,
    It was a great list of making the blogs useful in different aspects.Thanks for these tips
    My motive also to make my blog useful,by providing the useful content regarding entertainment.

  7. Hi Darren,
    This is soooo true. The king is indeed in the valueyou pprovide and how useful it is to the reader.
    I guess I’m going to have to ask myself a few questions.
    Cheers

  8. I’d say USEFULNESS CONTENT IS KING

  9. Hi Darren
    Is a blog useful enough if it is for entertainment purposes?
    To hopefully make people laugh? And maybe, on occasion, think hard?
    Or even shed a tear?
    I look forward to your reply
    Cheers
    Lisa

  10. Amazing article Darren, so far I thought that content is king ..
    However, after reading this article, I know that beside original content, usefulness to be king …
    Thank you Darren ..

  11. I Agree with you Darren, “Useful is The King”

    It was the origin purpose of blogging :)

  12. Hey Darren,

    Yes agree with you 100%, Write content for your blog visitors not to the search bots.

  13. I have really been trying to stick to my niche lately and not veer off course like I have a tendency to do sometimes. My blog attract really only one sort of person and that is parents of girls, so I am trying hard to provide them with some quality information delivered with my own unique perspective… I think it’s working…. Thank you for all your great advice and tips.

    Mandy

  14. Hi Darren. Thanks a lot for sharing this and telling the people what it’s really all about. I got tired of telling people this but nobody believed that. But now … people will!
    Thanks again for giving their blog some meaning and some reason and not just $$$

  15. That’s a hefty combination there but it can and will work if you believe it will work for you.

  16. Hi Darren,

    One thing I like about this article is that it’s simple, straight and compelling. The word “King” has been used in several concepts but this article pointed to the real fact.

    It’s high time bloggers started asking themselves the question which this article bears. I paused for a moment after reading this article to reflect on what I have been doing on my blog all these years.

    Thanks for an awesome write up Darren!

    • Hi Jackson,
      I think the word “King” is used a lot because it fit well with the word “content”. ha!

      I agree with your statement that bloggers need to ask themselves the question about whether their content is useful.

      Cheers
      Rob

  17. Very true Darren. To get success in any business, online or offline a 360 degree work approach is required. You cannot just rely on one strong approach, rather you simultaneously need to concentrate on each elements with full zest and enthusiasm.

  18. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.
    I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and definitely will come back very soon. (neurologist new york)

  19. I really enjoyed your article. I think that it brings what is important to any type of social media use and that is how is it going to be useful to people. I keep hearing about the next big thing in marketing, social media, and what is the newest and quickest way to get people engaged to you, but if you aren’t making your product useful to people then the newest, shiniest tools is not going to make a big difference. I think you hit it right on the head when you said that content isn’t king but rather usefulness.

  20. Gaining a following is all about meeting needs. When we introduce or innovate concepts that improves the quality of living for others, it’s no secret that the potential outcome could be magnetizing. The basic principle is to practically solve problems. That’s why we Google! Find a need. Create a demand. Creatively introduce. #Build.

    Sometimes the only formula for blogging/freelancing/entrepreneurial success is to connect our dilemma to the world in which we live.

    • Hi Ashley,
      You’re right, using the web really is about “solving problems” ultimately. Even if that “problem” is looking for entertainment in the form of a laugh, or some inside gossip. The problem being solved doesn’t always have to be some sort of “pain”.

      All of us providing content on the web need to make sure it will be useful.

      Cheers
      Rob

  21. Remi van Beekum says: 07/24/2014 at 8:24 pm

    I didn’t read this blog, but just wanted to comment because of the fact that I hate blogs declaring some part of digital marketing is ‘king’ and others are not. SEO is not dead, content is nothing without a site, a site is nothing without visitors, display advertising is nothing without good visuals, social marketing is nothing without good copy, digital marketing is nothing without webanalytics.

    It is really simple: Every part of it is important. It is all connected and all works together.

    So stop declaring some part of it als the king or queen or emperor.

    Just stop it and go back to work.

    Childish nonsens.

  22. Hi Darren, indeed you have shared a new perspective on what should be referred to as King when it comes to content marketing. Yes, “usefulness” should be king because this is all blogging, social media, and other platforms tend to deliver.

    If the texts, images,or scripts shared on these media are not useful then there would be no point in sharing them. Delivering value to end user should optimally define what success is!

    I upvoted this post in kingged where it was shared for Internet marketers.
    http://kingged.com/content-isnt-king-heres/

  23. Such a great point because if people get caught up in simply producing content because they feel they have to (since it is king), they may put out content that isn’t all that helpful. Obviously, content is still the vehicle that delivers the value, but it helps if the focus is on usefulness rather than simply churning out content.

  24. Hi Darren,

    I mostly put it in this context, content isn’t king but readable contents are! You placed it in the context of usefulness and I do agree with you.

    What is the use of channeling out those trash all in the name of producing content each and every day all in the name of content is king? It won’t of course help.

    That was an insightful piece there and I do hope you’re enjoying your Sunday.
    I found this post of yours shared on Kingged.com

  25. Hi Darren,
    i have a post(hub) in hubpages telling about my experience solving problem with broken server and other hubs with different topics. The most commented positive is the broken server experience. I later found that many people having the same problem and looking for a solution. So your points here is absolutely correct i think mine is fall into advice category in your post above.

  26. RIght on, Darren!

    I’ve been studying the rainmakers course, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Constantly going back to the “drawing board” and rethinking how I can make my content more useful has become a new passion of mine, especially over the weekend.

    I can’t say I’m an avid reader of problogger, but I’m definitely now reengaged!

    Thanks for the fantastic post!

  27. Very useful article Darren,

    I think that the idea that ‘usefulness is king’ is definitely key to continued success. You’ve rightly highlighted that whilst many tend to jump on the latest bandwagon of Facebook, Twitter etc being ‘King’, these are just the mediums which we should use to distribute useful content.

    I think that the following sentence really sums up what should be our ultimate goal!
    “Ultimately for me it comes down to understanding people’s needs and creating content, community and experiences based upon meeting those needs and solving their problems.”

    Thanks for the concise and insightful piece!

  28. Darren I couldn’t agree with you less. Yes blogging is, i believe, all about delivering the best information efficiently. If your content is great but few are able to access it, then surely it defeats all the purpose.

  29. Hi Darren, you nailed it.. Content need not necessarily be useful.. There is so much junk on the internet these days, its concepts such as this that will help separate the wheat from the chaff..

    The principle of Usefulness and the value it adds to the reader has been the main driving force on my blog since I started writing it in 2008.. My blog is a niche blog in a niche industry and I can confidently say that each and every article adds to the usefulness of my blog as an Industry Resource..

  30. I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading this title, but I’m glad you came up with “Usefulness is King.” It is so true!

  31. Great article, and guess what I did? I quickly went to ask a few readers how my blog helps them.
    Their answer ; Education, Advice, Opinion, news …
    So I am on the right track :)
    Thanks

  32. Hmm… This article is spot on because it’s not always about how well you write, but how useful and valuable your content is. When I write an article I think of one thing, will this article answer a question or solve a major problem? Another great article, thanks for the inspiration.

  33. Blogging is all about having usefullness and delivering better content every time. Thanks for this epic article

  34. There are several ways you could coin usefulness (or being useful): adding value; solving problems; meeting needs. Suffice to say though, if I was to use this post as an example, I would say it added value to me by providing clarity to an often cluttered topic, in a way that was very easy to digest, thus also meeting my need of being able to easily understand what I was reading.

    As you can see from this example, there are different types and levels of usefulness which I believe each of the related terms are intricately entwined in. I hope this comment added some value by building upon the great points made in this post.

  35. Henrique says: 08/31/2014 at 6:10 am

    Man, I really like this article. It actually gives me some hope, since usefulness seems to be more related to “problem-solving”, as it was pointed above. However, here you talk about “empowerment” and “entertainment”, things that are much less tangible. For me, since I’ve started studying (digital) marketing some months ago, the challenge has been how to provide value – rather, how to make people perceive it as such – in a way that is viable to be monetized. In my case, I’m a musician, so I’m thinking if it would be better to diversify it a little by approaching more “useful” things – namely, “opinion”, “advice” and “education”, as you said.

  36. Hi Darren,
    I think the same now, usefulness is the real king. As if you are useful then you don’t have to care about Google and links.
    But if everyone is useful then you got to write something unique.

  37. Very true Darren !!!
    Content marketing is the king, and you did a great job with this.
    I guess problem is that there is a lot of articles, blog posting and other “material” so business owners spend more time reading than growing a business and helping customers.
    agreed or not ?
    I completely agree – I believe that content marketing is just another form of journalism

  38. Atul Singh says: 09/01/2014 at 10:58 pm

    Yes, you are right. I we could deliver useful content to our targeted traffic, we can take our blog to next level. And if our content is useful, we automatically get lots of back-links which are an important part of seo today.
    And i want to say thanks to Darren sir to help us.

  39. Hi,

    This is indeed the hidden meaning, many were trying to convey by the term, “content is king”. It is as long as it is useful to the readers. If any of the post I read and I can’t apply it then either I am in wrong place, or the blogger failed deliberately.

    My blog is useful for anyone to refocus on their goals, need some time getting lost in the beauty of life and everything you need to be a good person. Here I request you to visit my blog. :)

  40. Seems my post got lost in the shuffle….

    My simple question is: isn’t marketing/promotion king?

    No matter how USEFUL your content is, it’s useless if nobody is reading it.

    Shouldn’t the very first, and most important item, be promoting your content?

    Just my 2 cents.

  41. I strive to be useful! I ended up having 4 blogs so I could narrow down the usefulness categories.. lol It is true though, everyone jumps up and down about this or that method, but in the end you won’t keep people around if you are not doing something for them.

    http://www.myitzy.com

  42. Thank you for this wonderful article. I needed this badly because it gives me the idea on what to write on my blog. So, as a blogger it is essential for us to research on the following topics that we are sharing on our blog right? Nice to know.

    All the Best,

    Kris

  43. Actually I don’t spend much time to make my content strong enough, I often write what I love and I always follow my passion. That’s all, Even I don’t care about Keyword researching or such kind of silly task that most of famous’s recommend. However My overall experience is quite great (more than expected).

  44. Hi Darren, Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly that love and read more on this topic. You nailed it.. Content need not necessarily be useful.. There is so much junk on the internet these days, its concepts such as this that will help separate the wheat from the chaff..

  45. Rather than stuffing content quantity, use of right quantity and quality of content make website useful. Unique and consumer related posts are more focused by people.

  46. Hi there Darren,
    Thanks for finding the time to go over this, I’m strongly in which love and also read more with this topic. An individual nailed that.. Content will not need to necessarily become useful.. There is indeed much junk on the net these nights, its concepts like this that may help separate the particular wheat from your chaff..

  47. Thank you for your clear directions forward and your encouraging affirmations. It is a good way to improve our audience and engagement with our readers. I’ll surely give them a try.

  48. Well, Usefulness Is King makes more sense than all the other “Kings”. Any site or blog can be stuffed with information and made to look good. However, if viewers do not get anything out of it than a nice viewing experience, then a site will not have an audience for very long.

  49. Absolutely right – Usefulness makes the most sense. Also, addictiveness (which goes a long with usefulness ie gmail, but not always ie. facebook !) I’d say plays a big factor. Combining the two is really powerful – I guess in a way creating something that sticks. Great post, thanks a lot :)

  50. Well no one can beat that, content is the real king, but somewhere down the line seo does matter isn’t it??