What Does the Phrase “Content is King” Actually Mean?

Tyler Hayzlett
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content is king

The origin story of where the phrase, “Content is King”, was born

No doubt you’ve heard it before, if not a thousand times, that content is king. Likely from someone with a background in marketing.

But what does it mean exactly? Where did it come from?

The origin of the phrase, “content is king” came from a very original source from a very recognizable person of interest.

Content is King Microsoft Essay. 1996

In 1996 Bill Gates published an essay titled, “Content is King” on the first page of Microsoft’s website.

In Nostradamus like fashion, Bill Gates predicted that the future of those who succeed (at the time and still to this day) on the internet was based on one singular ability; one’s capacity to create content to inform, educate, or entertain people online.

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Summary of “Content is King”:

The context of the phrase can be summarized in the following excerpt; (or you can read the entire essay here for further context).

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet  –  just as it was in broadcasting.”

… the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.

I expect societies will see intense competition-and ample failure as well as success-in all categories of popular content.

Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

Fast Forward to Now…

You can’t escape a conversation today with anyone in marketing without hearing the word content.  Create more content!

Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO and founder of VaynerMedia is internet famous for encouraging businesses to create over a hundred pieces of content a day!

What The Hell Wtf GIF by GaryVee - Find & Share on GIPHY

Why is it so important to create content?

What Does This Mean For Me?

Because Gary’s right, just like Bill Gates was before him and countless others saying the same thing. Those who create the most content win.

Content is the internet’s equivalent to real estate. The more you create, the more you own. The more of the internet you own the more you have a chance of people landing on your “Boardwalk” and actually paying you rent in the equivalent of discovering your services and doing business with you.

We’re All in the Media Business Now

In 2006, Conde Naste purchased Wired Magazine  for $25 million.

Later that year, one of the original founders, John Battele, was recognized as being one of the first media moguls to point out the fact, that for the first time in history, there’s absolutely nothing stopping brands from becoming media companies by producing content for the audiences they serve.

Think of Yourself Like a Media Company

In the past, brands had to pay publishers, like Wired and others, to advertise to a specific audience they wanted to reach in THEIR industry publications, magazines, newspapers, TV programs, and trade shows.

In the past, we had to rent consumer attention from publishers, but today, we can own it. For free. Now, the long game is building a digital audience for our businesses.

  • Today, we can build an online following of people who share similar interests and passions.
  • Today, there’s nothing stopping us from becoming the publishers for the audiences we aim to serve.

And all of that starts by creating valuable, contextual, and sharable content. That’s why it remains the proverbial king of the internet jungle.

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P.S. Shout out to Gary Vee, the master of content. Find more about him here.

P.S.S. If you enjoyed this article on the origin of where the phrase Content is King came from. Learn why content marketing is the only skill you really need.

Average Score: 95%

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