Content is Not King! What is?

content is not king
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

content is not kingLast week we discussed the frustration many people are feeling these days with trying to be heard through the ever increasing communications noise. It seemed to strike a chord as we had quite a few comments making for an excellent conversation.

For the last several years my primary strategy for cutting through the noise has been to try to make our communication as clear and interesting as we possibly can.

  • Provide valuable insight and information
  • Write better headlines
  • Keep the copy short and interesting
  • Write with an informal, personal tone
  • Format text for skimming
  • Spice up content with images
  • Publish on a consistent schedule

But, I’ve come to the conclusion that’s not enough anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, those things are still important. They just aren’t enough to ensure our communication is going to be seen.

Content is no longer king

I miss great content all the time. Some I skip intentionally. Some I just miss in the rapidly moving streams of updates in Twitter and Facebook. Some I put in my “to read” file and never get to. I don’t even read all of the content from my absolute favorite bloggers. There’s just too much.

But there is some communication that I almost never miss. Here are 3 types that come to mind.

  • Email from my family, the OurChurch.Com team and the leaders of my church.
  • Facebook notifications that someone has commented on a status update or pictures I posted.
  • Tweets from a small group of people I have on my most checked Twitter list.

What do these all have in common? They all come from people I have close personal relationships with.

Relationships are King

The bottom line is we listen to our friends.

If you want to be heard through the noise, focus on developing stronger friendships with the people in your community.

And remember, people don’t develop friendships with organizations, the develop friendships with people. If you communicating on behalf of an organization, get out from behind the org name and logo. Put a name and a face to your organization’s communications.

What do you think?  Do you listen more intently to your friends or to good content?

What can we do to develop stronger, more personal relationships with the people we are trying to communicate with.

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.


  • Great points Paul. When I speak to businesses and other B-to-C organizations on social media I often cite this statistic:

    14% of U.S. consumers say that they trust advertisements
    96% of U.S. consumers say that they trust a peer review or recommendation

    Huge implications for the local restaurant, the plumber, the web designer, and the local church!

      • Kurt-

        I wasn't able to find my original source because it looks like the article was pulled. However Erik Qualman has almost identical stats (the numbers are a little different) here:…. He shows a lower number for the % who trust peer recommendations, but I think the magnitude of the point remains. His sources are from a 2009 Nielsen survey as well as a book on Marketing to the Social Web by Larry Weber.

  • Awesome, awesome article. Very true insights. Making me think about my social media strategy as well as how I go about connecting with people in the community. Thanks for this.

  • Very true, Paul. I think building relationships on Facebook as an individual definitely helped me to get more followers for my organization's Page. Just over the past week, several people "liked" my Page after I shared some of the Page's content under my own name.

  • Paul how do I find the "Tweets from a small group of people I have on my most checked Twitter list."? Didn't know of such a thing and with about 1,000+ followers, I'm missing great posts.

    • Mark, use Twitter lists. You can create a list, add people to that list, and then view the stream of tweets from just the people on that list.

  • I am geting a bit tired of this debate but not tired enough to leave it alone just yet.
    You want to have a "relationship" with your loyal subjects. Fine but how long will that last if all you ever tell them is go forth and do good? No guidence, no suggestions, no recommendations, no learning and no reward for being so loyal. I predict you will not be king for long unless your CONTENT IS KING!

    • As I wrote in the post, great content is "still important." It just isn't "enough to ensure our communication is going to be seen"

  • If anyone is looking for long term organic traffic, then content is king. People stay longer on sites if content is engaging and it is easy to navigate.

  • Of course, one of the reasons we go down the "content is king" line is that communicating the complexity of an ecosystem approach is difficult. Clients and bosses want the simple answer – a clear direction. And with digital comms and integrated campaigns, these days, it certainly is complicated. Long live the ecosystem!

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