Narrative content

Content is (Not) King, Content is Currency

I have a love/hate relationship with the idea that content is king. For starters, there are many examples of great companies, killer profits and expansive growth that do not have content. These companies may have advertising or even marketing, but true, narrative content they do not.

With respect to Bill Gates, content is not king, content is currency. We are the kings and queens of our companies and ideas, but content is what you have to spend to maintain your kingdom. Too often, people think the answer to keeping the best kingdom (aka, growth and value) is throwing more and more currency out in order to win. In this scenario, content becomes a game of volume and size. But as Mr. Gates can attest, its not the amount of currency you have that breeds success, it’s how wisely you spend it.

In content, one should not focus on how much you create, but rather how strategic you are in its development, and how strong it connects with (and influences) your intended audience.

If you get the above statement right and spend your currency wisely, you see growth, engagement and a thriving kingdom. If you do not, you may remain king, but with no powers except a lot of content that is clogging up your digital channels.

Also on What to Do When Your Content Goes Viral

While it would be awesome to have a ton of “kingly” power and piles of cash to make whatever you want, I am here to tell you that it just doesn’t happen. Even brands that are seen as organic and ridiculously hip and seemingly create with abandon (hello, Red Bull) actually spend a great deal of time figuring out the what/where/when/why and who. They have great engagement because they have purpose and they make content to propel a conversation. Ultimate purpose fuels content, it’s not done for the hell of it. Because they understand that their audience now has an expectation for really cool content, they’ve inspired a generation of content makers.

And what about you? Are you a king with content as currency? Do you feel you are respecting the power and opportunity that content affords? Are you spending it wisely?

Content currency: final thoughts

  • Spending to create volume isn’t the answer. A true king doesn’t focus on the number of videos or the number of page views, he focuses on strategy that makes every image, every blog entry and every post something that is growing a narrative
  • Influencers don’t create sales, what you’re selling creates sales. If you don’t have a brand that can create engagement, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on people, crazy campaigns and amazing graphics. At the end of day, you have to think about the DNA behind your brand and what it means to export THAT to the world. Before you think “big” and bring in that social media superstar, make sure your kingdom has something to sell
  • Content demands execution. Never create content without thinking through distribution. Don’t expect viral, because it’s a myth. Don’t think you can spend $50K creating a piece and $1K to boost it

All hail the king!


Patrick Jager is the CEO of strategy firm CORE Innovation Group and a thought leader in media, communications and business development.

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