Content is a very lonely king (and he needs some pants)

I was once told that If you put a £5 note for sale in the window, you can sell it for £5 or maybe even more, but if you put it way at the back of the shop, hidden away and try to sell it for 50p, it still won't sell.

Lesson:  No matter how good the product is, if it's not where your customers can see it then it's worthless. 

Offline vs online

Contrary to what you've been told, a website isn't very different from a traditional bricks and mortar shop. Business is still business and customers whether online or offline, are still customers. These customers have the same core principals and react to the same triggers, whether reading an article online our buying a can of Coke in a shop.

Business is not just a money for product exchange. Publishers forget this, they exclude themselves from traditional business.

"I don't sell products, I create content". You don't just create content, you sell content. You don't exchange it directly for money, you rely on advertising so it feels as thought it's free. You get paid so that still counts as selling content. 

Treating your content as a product is the first step to understanding how to sell it to your customers.

Products don't sell themselves

When we create content we expect the quality of it to be enough to convince people to consume it. It's not enough. Now that you understand that your content is a product let's take a real world product as an example.

I love crunchy nut cornflakes, they're delicious, I know that and so does Kellogg's. They're so good that Kellogg's should just make them and wait for the customers to line up at the factories and buy them. They don't.

Kellogs invest millions in making sure that they have a good supply chain strategy. They need to send the correct product variations to the right distribution channels (supermarkets, wholesalers, local shops). The big supermarket where I do my weekly shop, will have the big value boxes, the smaller markets will have smaller ones to keep me going during the week and local shops will have quick easy packs to consume instantly.  This distribution is so important that if they don't have them where I shop, I'll pick up an alternative from a rival cereal maker. 

Online content is no different, I like the guardian, but I also use Facebook to consume a lot of my news. If the guardian don't have a story on Facebook but a rival does. Guess who's getting my click.

Lesson: Identify all the distribution channels where your users are, and make sure your content is there.

The King, the queen, and the jester


"Content is king", too many people throw this quote around without understanding how a kingdom actually works, You're content is nothing if you don't know how to present it to your users. 

Distribution is a key part of your business, and if it isn't already, then it should be. A well executed distribution strategy may hold the key to unlocking the growth you are so desperate for. 

Gary Vayernchuck famously said  "Content Is King, Distribution Is Queen,  And She Wears The Pants."

The majority of those that just scream "content is king" usually don't even have the content worthy of this. Judging purely on content, they're more akin to the court jester. 

You want a kingdom but you have no queen, and she has the pants, so you're a king with no pants, and that's just silly.

No distribution equals no growth.  No growth is negative growth and while you are not growing, user consumption is, so If it's not your content getting consumed then it's a rivals. 

So keep ignoring the queen, and you'll be out of your throne sooner than you think.


Web Developer at The Drum

Want more like this?

Keep up-to-date with latest news from Inside the Agency using any of the following services

Recent articles

Four things that suck about project management

Project management is not a glamorous job.   The better you are, the less you’re noticed: things just hum along nicely, with no major conflicts or serious misunderstandings.  If you’re diligent, skilled, dedicated and competent, someone else will get credit.  The software, application, website or rebuild you so lovingly slaved over will be attributed to your boss, your client, or – if you’re lucky – to your developers or creatives.

In fact, the only time a project manager can rely on getting any real attention is when things go wrong.  A host of complex issues may be present – problematic management behaviour, shifting requirements, lack of necessary cooperation from the wider business, underinvestment in skill or resource – but the blame is ultimately yours.  You’re the project manager.

Read more

“My boss doesn’t get it.” The puzzle of motivation.

Management roles have traditionally focused on issuing assignments and offering rewards.  For much of the industrial age, this worked well.  In the vast majority of situations, people do work harder if they know they’ll get a financial bonus or more recognition.  Primed with 100 years of business advice, managers feel they have the tools they need to get things done, retain their staff and hit their targets.


But when they find themselves at the helm of a team of developers, or a mixed team of designers and developers, managers get confused.  The promise of rewards only goes so far.   Sometimes, incentives fail to generate any interest and may even lead to resistance.  Developers who never voice any dissatisfaction put in their notice and move on without any explanation, leaving you scratching your head.  It’s really confusing, and there are no easy answers. 

Read more

The Iron Triangle - How does motivation emphasis create an agency environment?

I remember when I first heard about the Iron Triangle. It sounded sinister, Evil Empire like, and not really something I could embrace in my fluffy idealistic agency brain. Just to be clear in this article I am talking about the Project Management version, not the US political system version… which is sinister and is just like the Evil Empire.


Back then I was speaking to my then boss, a man who I credit with opening my eyes to a great deal to how an agency works and, more importantly, how it should work. He was explaining in typically simple eloquence, how he wanted us to set expectation with clients. 

Read more


Digital Ocean

Ali's Reading List



DigitalOcean Teams Up With Bitnami, Now Lets You Install Over 100 Web Apps With A Few Clicks

DigitalOcean has made a name for itself as a hosting service that focuses on simplicity. Now, the company is making it easier to install complex applications.. Read more