Welcome to the Interact Congress Blog. We have invited some leading European guest bloggers to share their observations on interactive marketing and communication skills within the integrated experience. The blog also offers you a first opportunity to interact with your peers.

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Thursday, 22 March 2007

Content is king (again)

When my friends at IAB asked me to join the conversation they would start on this blog, I thought why not use it to share some ideas on hot topics (some would say: buzzwords) in the online space, from a practical point of view. The first topic: the rebirth of King Content.

In an online context, content is the stuff we offer the visitors of our websites, blogs and online media, to get their attention, make them come back, set up a conversation, share our passions, build communities, invite people to subscribe to our online services or simply make them buy whatever we sell. It can be written content but also video, online services and so on. In a marketing context, content is the ‘what’s in it for me’ that makes the consumer listen to or simply play with us.

Maybe you remember that pre-dotcom-bubble mantra ‘Content is King’. It dates from the time that media companies wanted to create as many eyeballs as possible by offering masses of online content. But when the dotcom bubble burst, king content was one of the first to be buried: he simply was too expensive in a world where advertisers didn’t follow. And of course: mass media models didn’t turn out to be the best choice for the web.

Today, king content is back. Let me tell you why:

- Content connects: content is the starting point of every online (and offline) dialogue and thus every relationship. In the end it’s nothing but normal: humans are linguistic and emotional creatures. We can not speak, think and decide without language and images.
- Content is what makes your website or online communication stand out. This is even more so in a world wide web that is unliveable without search engines: relevant content is key to simply being found. The same goes for marketing in a fragmenting media reality: without relevant content you simply are not heard anymore.
- Content empowers: in a participative online world the user-generated content phenomenon empowers people to connect, share and create. Relevant content empowers the consumer to make unbiased decisions by comparing stuff, reading the stuff that others think and so on.
- Content sells: adapting even the smallest piece of content on your website, in your newsletter and so on can make a world of difference. What do you think works best: ending a promotion in a newsletter with ‘click here’ or with ‘click here to find out how we will offer you the holiday experience of a lifetime’?
- Content precedes community. On the web people connect. And most of the time they connect around content: whether it’s uploaded videos, online services, user-generated content or stories about the topics that passionate us: content is at the basis of online community and online word of mouth.

Agree or disagree? More reasons to add? Let me know.


Piero Muscara' said...

Let me say that I completely agree with the post of Jean-Paul De Clerck. I have not the pleasure of knowing him .. but maybe we'll meet in Bruxelles for Interact next june.

To further enhance Jean-Paul's comment, I would like to quote the latest research from Piper Jafferey "The User Revolution":

"The "portal," as we know it, is effectively dead. Users now do not need a single destination that provides every type of service or content with effective search tools; they can navigate to best-of-breed destinations and tools. The successful destinations of the next ten years will be agile and aggressive networks of smaller sites with specific applications that are highly tailored to user needs. With users becoming much more sophisticated, we have become more convinced that only the fittest will survive and Web Darwinism will play out over the next five years as the User Revolution fully unfolds"

More than ever. The content is king.

Kris Hoet said...

@ JP: Great post JP, although I believe content has always been king. The way we build content has drastically changed, but it has always been there.. it just wasn't enough on it's own. 'Distribution is queen', people are not just coming to you as we found out.

@ Piero: The portal as we know it is dead indeed, but I do believe a single (or few) destination(s) make sense. You will be able to personalise them for 100%, but you don't want everything to be disconnected.

Jean-Paul De Clerck said...

@Piero: thanks for your comment.

@Kris: I agree. Distribution is key.

Recently I saw an interesting piece on portals on eMarketer that looks at the issues from yet another perspective: the advertiser. Check it out on http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?1004675