Is Content KING or SERVANT?

I recently came across a provocative blog post challenging the notion that content is king (a conviction first put forth by Bill Gates in 1996 that has since become a widely quoted tenet of social networking). Content, argues author Douglas Idugboe, has lost its king status and is now servant to the audience it seeks to reach. With the evolution of the web and social media, he contends, content has become less important than audience in determining digital success.

It's an intriguing theory, to be sure. And I certainly support the primary goal of understanding and serving the needs of potential readers.

The problem I have with this declaration is that I believe it creates a false dichotomy, failing to acknowledge the intimate connection that exists between content and audience.

Content, no matter how compelling, is ineffective without an engaged audience to interact with it. Conversely, an audience’s value can only be leveraged when relevant content is available to inform, inspire, convict or persuade it.

The two desperately need and rely on each other to achieve their full potential.

That’s as true today as it was before the online landscape grew so crowded, noisy and fragmented.

Content is most effective when it assumes its rightful role as both king AND servant.