Sara Slack has been involved with online content for the past decade, making her first website when she was still at school. Her passion for quality literature and content led her from being a review blogger to the Managing Director of her own publishing company, aged twenty two. With a Masters dissertation regarding reader engagement with electronic texts behind her, she constantly strives for better ways of creating win-win publisher-reader relationships.
It’s a phrase that elicits grimaces of exasperation, from successful MD and hobby-bloggers alike. Despite being offered around more frequently than a tray of h’orderves at a dinner party, these three words are rarely forced into the spotlight and actually considered from all angles. This article hopes to shed some light on their meaning from the viewpoint of a blogger-turned-Managing Director.
On the face of it, ‘Content is King’ talks about the quantity and regularity of fresh offerings on any given platform. If you want to keep your website visible, you need to be one step ahead of the competition when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Content obviously helps with that, of course, but this isn’t where the usefulness of posting five articles a week finishes…and here is where it gets more complicated than simply being able to copy and paste a paragraph or two of current news every couple of days.
Customer loyalty. If you want readers to keep coming back for more it’s the quality of the words on the page, not the quantity, which people are after. Who wants to read some regurgitated news that’s filled with bolded words and hyperlinks that go nowhere relevant? Not you, and certainly not your readers. Not all content is created equal despite the sweeping monarchical statement of the dreaded phrase. If you’re unable to post quality content five times a week, cut it down to three – after letting your readers know via that handy subscription email you’ve got set up… you do have one of those, right? – and as long as you stick to your schedule, you’ll see an increase of dedicated readers. Whilst you may see a minor slump in hits to begin with, this is NOT a bad thing! After giving you a moment to let that sink in (and also for the screams of horror to die down somewhat), I shall explain.
Whilst a lot of traffic is a good thing, page-hoppers aren’t going to sit there and read the articles you’ve worked hard on, or buy the products or services that you’re offering. What every website should be aiming for is a dedicated group of readers/followers who actively engage with the posted content. Why are a dozen of these types of reader much better than a hundred page-hoppers? Discounting the fact that they’re more likely to actually purchase something, they can also give you important feedback and insights. What sort of thing would engage them more? What products that you can deliver would they be after? What’s the best way of getting more clients/readers? What’s the meaning of life? Okay, so perhaps that last question is a little too difficult (unless they’re fans of Douglas Adams), but a lot of websites underestimate the power of reader engagement.
In the internet age, content is easy to come by. In fact, it’s almost too easy – unfortunately, good items don’t always float to the top in the sea of misinformation and mediocrity. There’s a lot more to ‘Content is King’ than one small article can cover, but I hope it’s given you some food for thought with regards to the type and frequency of content favoured by the companies you work for/own/compete against.
So because I know this post aims to be more qualitative than quantitative, and I know that a lot of you will most likely have only had the chance to skim it, here’s a quick summary:
So in order to practice what I preach, what do you look for in an engaging article?