Is Content King?

Back when I first started creating websites, I first heard the saying “CONTENT IS KING.” It doesn’t matter if you have the fanciest website, or if you have the best tech stack, if you don’t have any content, nobody will view your website. This holds true in so many fields. Youtube, photography, programming, art, social media. Simply put, if you don’t have quality content out there, people won’t find or recognize you.

However many people balk at this phrase, it remains a salient point of discussion in 2021. For most individuals, the discussion around the debate is quality vs. quantity. Where for companies, the interesting debate is around shifting paradigms with media ownership and distribution.

Quality vs. Quantity

There is an inverse relationship between quality and quantity of content one creator can produce. The best advice that I have received and would give to others is that when you start out, prioritize quantity to improve your skills and then slowly shift over to quality. Although you may think that this advice is all circumstantial, it actually applies in most fields. Consider photography if you want to get noticed and improve your skills. You have to take photos daily. You can obviously keep all your photos to yourself and never share anything, but that doesn’t help you in the long run. Sharing content created as frequently and as early on as possible is beneficial because it starts your network, and it allows you to receive feedback on your work. Additionally, publishing work in an open medium is a great way to get and stay motivated.

What about programming? Same thing, the code you write and publish to Github will be trash at first, but it will build your portfolio and give you experience with open source development. When hiring, I would always go with the person with more visible experience that has shown growth and development rather than someone with only one project — despite how good that one project may be. Content is king. Experience allows you to hone your skills and constantly improve.

Blogging? You bet your ass content is king. Obviously, there is a minimum bar you should exceed to publish something. It is better to start fast and write more good posts than hope Google will bless the one excellent post you wrote to grow a website. That is how the algorithms work.

You can also see this on Youtube. Creators that publish frequently are more viewed. Those that don’t upload often lose their fan base. However, there are some exceptions where creators can infrequently publish yet receive millions of views when they do. But, in those cases, these creators are always creating top-notch content.

Media Shifts

Content is king, yes. Period. However, how do companies get content? There are three main types of media: owned, paid, and earned. The first two are obvious. Owned media is media that you produce and own fully. Paid media is where you pay someone or another company to lend you media. Earned media is media that comes to you. IE: someone writing about your site or users posting on your site.

Social media and other websites have made a stupid amount of money with earned media. Consider Youtube; it is entirely community-driven. Although Youtube does enable you to place ads on your videos, making them quasi-paid media. And, they do have some owned media with their new efforts with Youtube originals.

Another prime example of this is with Netflix and the streaming war. Initially, Netflix was solely a company that distributed DVDs and then a service that streamed movies. However, when other streaming services cropped into the market, Netflix realized that it was more advantageous to produce their own media.

Where does the leave us? It is not necessarily that any one of these media types is leaving, but that all types of media are increasing because media is the only commodity that is served on the internet. Content is king.