(Footnote at the top: I don’t mean to be irreverent or blasphemous. I’m just trying to make a point with a great metaphor.)
All digital strategy mavens have been screaming about how content is king on the Web. You’d better pay attention to your content, we say, fingers pointing, menacingly as we cackle, knowing that we, as the content producers have the keys to the kingdom.
But the truth is, content isn’t king anymore. It’s God. Because the more and more the Web changes and adapts, the more we see content is power.
The Relationship of Content to Information
Now I’m going to go even one more step than comparing content to God. What I’m going to say is that design is to content what content is to information.
Just as design is supposed to hold, display and structure content, so too, content is doing the same thing for information. Information is what people want and need—content is just an entertaining, educational, informative, etc. way to give it to them. Download the Creating Valuable Content Checklist. [PDF]
Why Mobile Matters More Than Ever
Mobile is really revealing how critical content is to users. More than ever, mobile designers need content profesionals, because they need to understand the linguistic cues that will jump people to the information they want as fast as possible. Think about designing an entire website. Now think about designing one for use on an iphone.
By 2014, mobile use will overtake desktop use. If you want to be ahead of the crowd, then you need to take a mobile-first mentality. (If your target audience is baby boomers, you might be an exception.) Make sure your content is ready for a mobile environment. Get your mobile SEO house in order. And truly understand that content is leading the way for all of it.
People are hungry for information. Serve it in the best way for your brand, in the format most comfortable for your customers. Treat content with the reverence and authority that most of the world treats God, and you’ll be in good shape.
That means you must know:
And, you must really understand your audience and what they're dying for you to tell them. That's what fantastic content really is: valuable information your users feel grateful for knowing.
What do you think? Should we leave content as king or elevate it to a higher power?