Ileane Smith Argues That Content Isn’t King

If you’re like me, you’re getting tired of hearing “content is king” everywhere you go. Ileane Smith, founder of Basic Blog Tips, goes as far as saying that content, in fact, isn’t king:
Ileane Smith

“For me, what’s more important are the connections and the relationships you can build through your blog. Those connections will lead to collaborations and eventually help you build the skill set, along with the confidence you need to succeed.”

So while having a blog is becoming increasingly important, Smith (@ileane) says it’s more about having the right strategy for how a business will use a blog to market itself. She founded Basic Blog Tips to provide actionable advice on how to use blogs and social media as marketing tools. Her tutorials and forums provide tips to all levels of bloggers and social media users, and cover everything from creating a successful WordPress site to the benefits of sites like StumbleUpon.

Born Out of Necessity

When Smith began blogging in 2009 (at her daughter’s urging), she was frustrated to find so few genuinely useful resources to help her make the most of her blogging efforts. So, like any smart entrepreneur, she decided to fill the gap herself by starting Basic Blog Tips. Smith provides most of the content on the site, but does have guest contributors pitch in as well.

And while the primary focus of the community was initially blogging, as social media rose in popularity, Smith began offering more tutorials and blog posts to help small business owners navigate the worlds of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and more.  Smith practices what she preaches about social media, with active profiles on all the major sites. She recognizes the importance of maintaining profiles on multiple social sites, though she does have her favorites:

“Twitter will always be my first love when it comes to social media because it’s fast and easy to master, but I’ll admit I spend way more time on Facebook these days than I care to admit. And I’m seeing a nice increase in traffic and engagement from Facebook that goes a lot deeper than what I can achieve on Twitter.”

Simply Being There Isn’t Enough

In addition to participating as a Media Partner in the 2012 Small Business Influencer Awards, Smith received an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Small Business Awards, and Basic Blog Tips was chosen as a Community Choice Honoree. It’s clear she practices what she preaches: that simply being online isn’t enough. You have to get involved in the community.

Through Basic Blog Tips, Smith works to help businesses align their marketing goals and strategies when using social media and blogs. Because, after all, some businesses expect overnight success with these tools, and that’s simply not how they work.

“I started Basic Blog Tips two years ago to help people build better blogs and learn to use social media the right way. Entrepreneurs are starting to realize that having a blog and an online presence is an important component to the success of their business and my blog provides tips and strategies that help put them on the right path.”

Editor’s Note: This article is one of a series of interviews of key players in the Small Business Influencer Awards.


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

38 Reactions
  1. Ileane has a very good site that helps bloggers. I agree about content not being king. The reason is if it was then it means all other elements of marketing such as customer understanding, product, price or any other element of communication are not as important which is not true.

  2. Great interview Susan and Ileane. I agree that content isn’t king – it’s more about connections but if the content was awful then that wouldn’t really help either. I enjoy Ileane’s blogs and a few times when I’ve commented and subscribed to replies I have seen hundred’s in my inbox so Ileane has an amazing following. I look forward to reading more.

  3. While the author and interviewer may not feel that content is King, and they are entitled to their opinion, I think it must be noted as part of the royal family at the very least. Content is about much more than the blog post you create. Those relationships are based on you sharing good information, whether you create it or curate it. And all of that shared information is content of one type or another.

  4. I see Ileane’s point here, but without top-notch content all your other efforts tend to fall on their face. This is why the whole “content is king” saying came into existence.

  5. I think she could be right. There are so many sites that still rank well in the search engines with poor quality.

  6. I would disagree with that at different levels. While your sole purpose is to build connection, without the blog, Ileane will not be able to do that. If content was not kind, then why blog in the first place?

    You can email people directly and connect. Since blogs being the central medium that helps you engage and connect with like minded people, I say Content is in high contention to be King.

  7. Susan, thank you so much for writing this feature and an even bigger thanks for the Small Business Influencer Award nomination. It was amazing to see people pull together to Tweet, Share, Vote, +1 and support my nomination in any way they could. It’s very humbling.

    When I talk about content not being king, I came up with an analogy to help people understand what I mean. Think of your blog or your content like a child from the neighborhood who teaches them self how to play ball. This child works on their game day and night until they become the best player in his or her town. The problem is that no one else knows about how good this child’s game is. He mostly keeps to himself and never tries to make any friends. There is another child from the same town who has a good game but not nearly as good as the first child. This second child go to sports camps, plays on locals teams and leagues and eventually goes on to win tournaments. Which child do you think is going to get noticed by the fans or the coaches and recruiters? Of course the child who has been part of a team will end up having more success.

    I use that example but I also want people to keep in mind that “valuable” content is very subjective and what has value to one person might be worthless to someone else. If you’re not connected to your audience you won’t know if what you have to say adds value to them or not. Don’t get me wrong I think content is important and that’s why I try to make it available in as many different forms as I possible can. I have the blog, the podcast, a YouTube channel and I even have a few presentations on SlideShare but in the end it’s the connections that I’ve made with people that really matters.

    Thanks again Susan. And thanks for your comments Susan, Sian, Robert and Shalu. I appreciate your feedback.

  8. I have been blogging for 10+ years and I have experienced how relationships have developed through time. It goes well with the ideas of referral marketing.

    Gary Vaynerchuk: “Content is King, but marketing is Queen and the Queen runs the household.”

    • Hi Martin, I agree with Gary V. the Queen is always more important than the King. That’s the way it is at my place lol. Thanks for the comment Martin.

      • Ileane,

        The queen is the most valuable piece in chess! 😉 But a peasant could transform to a queen if he reaches the other side of the board! 🙂 You could say that the queen is responsible for the context together with the other pieces.

    • As my husband says, “happy wife, happy life.” Content has helped me network, so now it’s chicken and egg for my marketing.


  9. Favorite part: “it’s more about having the right strategy for how a business will use a blog to market itself.” Here’s the reason this rang so true for me! 🙂 You will laugh!

  10. If content was not king, blogs would be just links to other sites that had more links. If content was not king we would not reading this post. A post without content does garner followers or back links. However taking the opposite stand is an effective way to create traffic.

  11. As long as those advisers are not sending people to a blank page.

  12. I completely agree with Ileane. I have been saying the same thing, more or less, for years. It is all about relationship. Your content can build a relationship, but only if it is helping the other person (usually). So make sure your content is a painkiller, not a vitamin.

  13. But I wonder WITHOUT content, there is no relationship right? People FIND us with content then form the relationship? Thanks for having us think Ileane

    • I think no one’s arguing the validity of content, but rather the fact that many people assume slapping up some content on a blog will generate tons of sales! It is thought provoking, Ramon!

  14. Love Ileane; Ileane knows I love her. But we debate this one all the time. lol

    If we’re talking blogs or websites, content is king; it’s not even close. Without content, nothing else happens. You can do everything else in social media. You can engage with people, but without content, what makes them remember you, or want to find out more about you?

    Without good content, what good is all your connecting? You don’t think content is king, put up junk then watch all those people you met and engaged with leave because they don’t trust your work or product because your content stinks.

    Yes, content is king. Content can’t live on its own, and that’s the truth. One of the failings we all see is where there’s content but no support, no interaction, and no community; no one knows about it or cares about it because you haven’t reached out. That’s a different story; we all have to work our networks.

    But content is king because information is timeless, and someone’s always looking for the best information they can find. And if you don’t provide it, and it’s not good, then no one will care. 🙂

    • Hey Mitch! Glad you found this post.
      I read lousy content every day and on some VERY popular blogs I might add. Yet these blogs still get more attention, shares, retweets and traffic then our well crafted, carefully planned content does. Don’t worry, one day we’ll get what’s coming to us – I can feel it.
      Thanks for sharing your views Mitch. I appreciate you.

  15. Great article Susan, thank you. The mixed comments above, in my opinion, reflect a large number of the different views held by people in marketing.

    Content is hugeky important but so are so many other factors.I’ve recently heard the King and Queen terms bandied around so much I put a post together about it which you can see here if you are interested.

    Quality content will always be a massive win for any websitem but accessibility, usability and other factors may be seen to be just as important.

  16. Wonderful write up, Susan.

    I 100% agree with Ileane. She one of the many influencers that I connected with through my blog content. Once I began reaching out and connecting with other bloggers in my niche via my content, my blog, traffic and business began to take off and take on a life of its own. I appreciate you writing this piece and Ileane I TRULY appreciate you and all that you do for your community members. Thank you!


  17. Content perhaps is not king for ranking, but for visitors engagement is crucial.. and THAT will be a ranking metrics in time to come..

  18. Yes thats true..
    Twitter has been sending way less traffic than it used to a year or 2 back !!