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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.

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Comments

  1. Kevin Duncan says:

    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. Kate says:

    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. James says:

    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. lita says:

    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. Abu Zafor says:

    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. Ramiro says:

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

  10. Rajinder says:

    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. Lash says:

    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.

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