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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,

    Great post!

    Personally, I think your blog offers more than a “sprinkle” of inspiration. I’ve always found your posts to be quite inspiring! But yes, your focus is definitely on education and advice — two things you do quite well.

    For my blog, I believe I’m equal parts education and entertainment. I used to be a teacher, and I blog about blogging. So, naturally, my posts tend to be educational. However, for over 7 years I ran a humor blog of all things. I’m used to entertaining readers. So, for Be A Better Blogger, I try to educate while I’m entertaining. It’s working pretty well so far. :-)

    Hope you have a great day, Darren!

    – Kevin

  2. I agree with Derron–usefulness makes the most sense. I’ve been reading a lot of advice books and sites on blogging and they all have a little different tilt on what’s King. But when you boil it down to the essentials, Usefulness wraps it up into one tidy package. Thank for a great article.

  3. I agree 100% absolutely with the overall points presented in this eye-opening post.

    One of the reasons why Darren is a blogging legend is the meticulous and simple ways he explains the knitty-gritty of blogging to newbies and even the professionals.

    I’ve always believe in a post that is educative, informative, helpful and highly resourceful; and it all coincides with what Darren has just shared.

    Great post, worthy of social media shares.

    James

  4. [ Smiles ] Darren, a lot of so-called blogging experts have stressed that it was all about content and you have shattered that myth.

    I genuinely believe that people like to visit blogs that contain useful information.

    Great post!

  5. This is a bitter truth for those who believe so and so to be kings :D Content being the king or Facebook, twitter, blogging, etc is a very general statement; I am sure we won’t be able to specify it with particular benefits. For a working body, we need heart, lungs, kidney, brain, etc. We cannot sustain just on the basis of one element. For instance, a successful site is made of content, design, communication, responsiveness, user interface, etc. I think we need to understand the importance of every single thing; Not to overrate or underrate any of them. And then one need to accept change as it comes. Thanks for a fantastic post.

  6. Hi Darren!! You hit the right nail in the wall. We find many useless articles that are there just for the sake of posting. One should know that the viewer is there at you to find the solution for his problem and not for reading purpose. If he can associate himself with the solution given in your article, then he certainly owes frequent visits to your blog. At last I would say it is a very informative and helpful article. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. Great reflection on our need for ‘something’ to be King. This post gives the essence of the answer. Inspiring!

    I’m off to follow the call for action…

  8. Hi Darren, Thanks for your kind blog post.

    Actually, I used to believe content is king until I reached here. I Also believed that educational or tips and tricks are another kind of blog post that goes viral and audiences feel useful by reading such kind of blog post.

    By the way, Thanks for kind article.

  9. I think this is truth but we can’t forget the content, agree with your title but CONTENT is a queen.

  10. Hi Darren! A post worth clearing our doubts about content writing on blogs.Thanks for sharing this.

  11. I have been waiting for This Article! Usefulness!! I’m a Big fan of creating and Reading How to’s And Tutorials.

  12. Hi Darren,

    Great post on reminding all of us who are trying to succeed online what’s at the core of all these varied tasks we’re doing.

    Your comment:

    “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.”

    reminds us of what’s at the core of running a successful business, like you said, either online or offline. I guess that’s what is ‘king’ or ‘core’ of business savvy.

    From running my travel blog for 3 years, semi-successfully, and watching more successful travel bloggers more carefully, what I’ve noticed over and over again is that the successful bloggers are all educated in business and/or marketing. Regardless of the blog genre, the successful ones seem to have an excellent grasp of business & marketing principles for online business.

    It seems to me that regardless of the quality of your content, products offered, social media interactions, none of it works successfully unless you understand how to market & run a business.

    Thanks for the reminders and for detailing different ways in which to be useful online.

    cheers, Lash

  13. Across social media, including my blog, I provide highly technical accounting, bookkeeping and business content. I explain how to. I don’t explain how to get rich. I explain
    How to deal with minor underpayments in Xero
    *Dealing with a payment incorrectly deposited into bank account
    *or even something as exciting as
    *Step by Step guide for outsourcing social media messaging to a VA

    The problem is my topics are very specific – so you have this issue now, you google the search term, and you find concise video, and clearly transcribed explanation…however your not going to share the content because you don’t want people knowing you even had this issue.

    So I’m solving issues (I’ve had 110 000 YouTube view) but struggle to understand how I make that entertaining and share able.

  14. As per the ever changing blogging world many so called myths are getting shattered,so yup you may be right.Content is no more the king to get success in this blogging world.

  15. Agree. Internet is so saturated with information, things change so fast, everyday new interesting websites pop up, but we always come back to those places, where we can solve some kind of problems, or learn something new.

  16. Subodh Gupta says: 09/20/2014 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks for highlighting this important point! Totally agree with you, Darren.

    Before writing each and every post we bloggers must ask this question to our-self: is this post going to add any value to the target audience?

  17. Hi Darren,
    Question in your post “How is your blog useful?”. Before I will post an article on my blog, I usually analyze first other articles that similar with my blog topic. It’s like to review my own post so I give information for audiences to get what they need.
    Thanks for sharing.

  18. I think people spend to much time on chasing the next big thing instead of focusing on whats in front of them. I do believe you general rule of content being king as it gives you readers something to leave your website with. PS I also enjoy how you structure your posts the spacings make your content very readable.

  19. Great read!

    When I began searching for sources to take my work public, book form was the only option and that would have cost in the tens of thousands of dollars to self-publish.. About a year or so later the eBook emerged and I was elated. Then a wealth of avenues to market my resources emerged, and I became electronically overwhelmed. I didn’t know whether to sign up or sign off (sit or stand).

    You have a way of bringing readers back to a place of calmness and clarity.

    When you consider your work from the perspective of usefulness, you see what really matters and can identify then choose the best communication option for your work.

    Thank you Darren

  20. Hi Darren,

    Great point on “Usefulness Is King”.

    Content is nothing if it is not useful to the reader.

    A good reminder to always ask myself whether my website is providing useful content and help to my readers and subscribers.

    I personally feel social media as just simply another medium that is being used to share good useful content.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    Zack

  21. I am about to launch a new segment of my business that will rely heavily on educational blogging. It’s so funny that I was just thinking today that a blog needs to have a purpose. I was thinking in particular about a blog of an artist I am interested in – I was hoping to find out about her process, how she sells work, etc. and it was just about her trips with her family and how she decorates her mountain home. It was boring!!!!

  22. Hi Darren! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  23. I totally agree with your view Darren. I always look for websites that can in some way offer good useful content that I can use and now that I have my own site- I try to do the same.
    Great article

  24. Hi Darren,

    As a blogger we have to satisfy the viewers always and business point of view we have to satisfy the customer needs, According to that we have to prepare the topic. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  25. Darren,
    This post was indeed ‘useful’ for me! I never really thought about content and social media needing to be useful. I have started blogging for a college class, so unfortunately my blog isn’t very useful. I am just trying to get a good grade. But, it is teaching me skills about posting. Now I know, after I graduate, that my posts should be useful and try to convey an opinion or educate someone. Thanks for the insight!

  26. hey darren,
    i am also a blogger. i started to blog about four months ago .At first i didnt knew waht to write and what not to write. i searched over google over and over. After a long search i came to this website..I really like your post.This article have has helped me ever since.
    Thank you so much darren :)

  27. Great lesson, learn today from your blog @Darren

    Its been long time, I have been reading your blog, but today one is just fantastic.

    Thanks and please keep sharing content like this one.

  28. I agree because if you are useful, everything else like Twitter and Facebook takes care of itself. People love to share useful information. A good topic and it can easily go viral without much effort

  29. I am agree with you Darren, but we have to accept that content is queen if not the King.Thanks for this post, i am new here, and i will come back to read more from you.

  30. Hello Darren,
    Great Post.
    A great content is always a king. Content that have at least 1200+ words is tends to rank better than 500-800 words.
    Studies shows that Google always prefers content rich posts. They tend to get more share and links.
    That is why we need to write long posts whether its a sales page or blog posts.

    Have a nice time ahead :)

    • This sounds like it’s coming at a slightly different angle than the topic of being useful for the sake of ranking. If you have two blog posts about say how to upscale a sofa, and one uses great photos and use of headers and moderate text, whereas one focuses on an essay on how to upscale, which one do you think would be more useful to the end user? I don’t think you should use 1200 words if 500 will do, and don’t think Google should be incentivizing this sort of behavior by ranking those pages higher.

  31. Great article. Providing value to the niche you’re a part of is always a great way to be useful. Just like you said, the medium, or viewing lense that our visitors use to consume that information may change from time to time, but the content and value itself is ultimately what matters and what keeps people coming back. Thanks again!

  32. I totally agree with your thoughts. Long and extended content also lost user interest and rankings as well I i am not wrong

  33. Thanks Darren,

    Useful content indeed.

    Since 2009 I have been in the dial a driver industry here in Christchurch New Zealand. Being useful is top of mind for me. Useful is being caring and effective for other people. Useful is the underlying essence in my business.

    Being useful benefits all of us.

  34. Indeed usefulness is king. Absolutely agree to the points. Anything if not useful is purposeless. Your blog is useful that’s why I’m here.

  35. Such an awesome point explained so easily and in such clear and concise words, thanks Darren for the awesome post.
    Indeed now that I look back I can understand that my most successful posts are not the ones which were cool or flashy but those which actually had some value for the end users!

  36. Hey Darren,

    I actually never ask this question to myself. I wonder why. That is the basic thing I should be carrying out. Is my blog being useful to the people around? Are people getting help out of it? That’s the key that unlocks the door of success. Thanks a lot Darren for pointing that out. I think I shall never forget your tips. Thanks again :)

  37. Great post Darren. At the end of the day, success in business means solving a problem and I try to do that with every post. There a lots of great bloggers who speculate on philosophy, culture etc., but the guys I read consistently offer value thats immediately applicable to my life.

  38. Hey Darren,

    It’s such a good share to make clear about the argument come from many people about what is ‘king’ in blogging world. I strongly agree with you that the usefulness is the king. After reading this article, I think I need to refocus to create a useful site for every visitors that come to my site. Thanks anyway.

  39. Great blog post! I agree that if you have useful posts on your blog then it will ensure repeat visits and increased interaction, across varied medium, depending on what it is you’re putting out there (over Facebook, Pinterest etc). You have to be true to your audience though. You shouldn’t really try to cover all bases mentioned (you nailed all the options ps!) but focus on how can you make your blog the most useful it can be to that particular niche. Keep up the good work!

  40. Great Post Darren,

    One of the comments earlier was you see a lot of people talking about content being king. I agree with you on being useful and providing a ton of value! Keep up the good work

  41. A great content is always a king. I think you should use 1200 words , Keep up the good work

  42. Great Blog Post..! Today people saying every social medium “KING” i.e Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Etc. I totally Agree with you the blog Or content should be relevant and usefulness which can provide value to all.Keep Up the good Work.

  43. We agree that usefulness is important because it really keeps the focus on our audience’s needs and problems. We’ve also found that broadcasting one message across the different social channels sometimes falls flat, and that it’s also important to tailor our posts for individual channels.

  44. I offer a lot of useful information to consumers on my blog The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide.

    However, I wonder sometimes if I need to present the information in a more entertaining way. I’m a journalist, so I know and like that way to write.

  45. Undoubtedly Usability is the King and also as a blogger its quite easy to get into the world of blogging,
    from a bloggers perspective sticking with posting new useful contents which provides value to the users
    is a big challenge which we all have to overcome.

  46. I blog as a way of creating meaningful promotion for my business. My blog is a major way that people learn about my business and make decisions about my ability to help them with their needs.

  47. Spot on. Usefulness will always be king. Your audience has a seven second attention span and does not want to waste time. As you said, content, infographics, blogs, etc, are all mediums for usefullness. We need to be adaptive to our changing audience and more new and useful mediums. Thanks for this post, Darren.

  48. Great post but the content can also be King when it is “Great Content”.The great content is great because it is useful and it include “usefulness is great “

  49. “Usefulness is king” – wow, never thought of it from that perspective. I’ll ask myself this before starting any website, or even writing an article: whether that will be useful for anyone else out there? Certainly puts things in perspective.

  50. Hi Darren

    Great post! I do hope blogging still exists in 10 years’ time too.. I have a sneaky feeling it will. My blog was set up as a working diary but I now hope my experiences and learning paths influence other young PR professionals in the industry.

    http://www.prcompany.org.uk