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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Friday, May 1, 2009

Content isn't king

Cory Doctorow once wrote, "Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about."

This applies so strongly to your marketing strategy. Is your ad just content, just a message telling people to buy what you're selling? That assumes that convincing people that your product is best is enough. But it's not.

Content isn't king, it's not the point. It's the conversation that surrounds your content that's important.

"But nobody's talking about my content," you say.

Well, that's bad. You should probably do something about it.


Glitterati_Duane said...

Damn. You just blew my mind

Amy said...

Let's turn back

Joel Kelly said...

Glad you liked it!

Amy: Ready when you are.

Trevor J. Adams said...

Isn't choosing to have your friends stranded on a desert island kind of sociopathic too?

Joel Kelly said...

I have a feeling the question isn't meant to be taken so literally :)

Stuart Foster said...

Love that. Conversation is a much better litmus test then the original content. Because actual buzz is developed via conversation. Content is still the seed though.

Joel Kelly said...


Content is the seed for sure (you may have seen my argument on twitter about this), but it's the conversation that gets shit done, and therefore would be "king" in this discussion. If you're building your content to serve that purpose, that bigger purpose, then surely it can't be king.

David Spinks said...

Without good content, there is no conversation. Also not all content is made to stimulate conversation. Some are just aimed at providing value to the audience. Many of the popular blogs I've seen maintain a mix of conversation stimulating posts, and posts that are just aimed at helping, without leaving much room for thought.

I would still say content is king. Conversation is very important, but is only one of the goals of content.

Joel Kelly said...

I would suggest that content that doesn't spark conversation is, by definition, unremarkable, and therefore not what most people are shooting for.

And I'm not talking about conversations solely in blog comments, but conversations at the office, between friends, or at home, etc. Posts that teach do so with a view to you talking to others about what you've learned.

If content serves this higher power, then it is not king.