Conclusion - The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web (2014)

The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web (2014)


In October 2010, I wrote a blog about the television show Mad Men and content strategy:

Anyone who has ever worked in an ad agency setting should watch Mad Men, a television series about advertising set in the 1960s. Jon Hamm, the lead, plays Don Draper, the creative director of a fictional ad agency, and watching him spin creative magic is—well—magical. However, this season, Don and his partners are faced with the possible dissolution of their firm, following the loss of a huge account. When his protégé, Peggy, asks him, ‘Isn’t there anything we can do?’ Don responds, ‘No, we’re creative … the least important, most important thing there is.’ What struck me most about this comment is how it applies to web content (and having worked at an ad agency, about creative, as well). After all, isn’t web content the least important, most important thing there is on a web project? Kicked to the curb, until the designers and developers actually need real words and pictures to fill up the modules, content is mostly ignored. As content professionals, we evangelize the need to change this project cycle so content gets the focus first. But web specialists are entrenched in their process. How can we convince them content strategy is necessary to improving the outcome of the final product? (Leibtag, 2010).

Here we are, in the middle of 2013, and companies are finally starting to get it. They are beginning to realize that what Lisa Welchman describes is, in fact, true: “The Web is managed as if it were a less important version of a traditional business artifact, that is, a technically rich brochure or a virtual storefront, rather than being managed as if it were one of the most powerful business tools an organization has to leverage” (Welchman & Pierpoint, 2009).

Organizations around the globe recognize the power of content—it isn’t the least important factor in digital strategy anymore. In fact, according to the Altimeter Group Report, the average brand organization is responsible for the content demands of 178 social media properties, plus websites, blogs, and live events (Levine, 2013). Denial is no longer a strategy: The demand for content is real. After reading The Digital Crown, you can describe both of the major challenges inherent to content within your organization. The first: How do you capture and transform the information you need from your internal resources? The second: How do you create a publishing system to release that content into the vast currents of the web? Once you describe the problems, you can solve them. Prepared with everything we have learned together, you are no longer reactive. You can be proactive about your content. You are prepared to engage your audiences and prove that your content fuels the entire sales and achievement cycle in your organization.

You probably started this book thinking, “What are we doing?” You might also have been thinking, “What are we doing wrong?” Now you know that cohesive, consistent, and controlled content is the goal. You can and will make that happen.

The other night I was flipping through the channels and I noticed the movie Titanic was playing. An old favorite (go ahead, judge me) I settled down and was immediately riveted by the well-known story of Rose and Jack and their ill-fated love.

I stayed up late to watch it, wondering why the entire time. I knew how it ended. In fact, we all knew how it ended, and yet millions of us poured into movie theaters during the winter of 1997 to watch it. Here was a film anchored by the building blocks of any great tale: a fantastical love story, a true-life disaster, and human tragedy. We watched it then and we watch it now because it isn’t the actual ending we care about. It’s the unfolding of the story that captures us.

Everything we have talked about in The Digital Crown has been about getting you to a point where you can stop focusing all of your energy on the execution and tactics of your digital strategy. Now that you are prepared to master those, you can focus on what you really want to do with your content: Craft and weave great, compelling stories centered on your audience’s needs and wants. In producing and disseminating those stories, you provoke a conversation.

All the great artistic works of the world are a conversation—they create a dialogue between us, the artist, and our truest selves. When we see a beautiful painting, when we read an inspiring novel, when we are touched by an ancient verse, we are responding to content. Content is a conversation but it is so much more than that. It is the exquisite ability to reach out to another and inspire them to reach back.

All of the greatest artists in the world sketched, and rehearsed, and tore up and wrote again, and scratched out, and persevered until they got it right. Your content is an iterative process, meant for you to repeat so many times until it becomes the art of conversation. Follow all seven of these rules and you will have a guiding system in place to create content that will support your sales process, spread your message, and inspire your customers to become brand ambassadors. Every conversation has a give and take, a cycle, so to speak, that moves it forward, breaks, and begins again.

Digital communications will continue to change and evolve. The power of these rules will always remain the same—people, process, technology. Master those and you will master the cycle and art of the content conversation.

We will end this book exactly as we started but in a completely new place. We now understand that content operates in a repeatable cycle, that we control and orchestrate. So, we end with the same words we used to start: Shall we begin?


1. Leibtag A. Why Don Draper would embrace content strategy. 2010; Retrieved from; 2010.

2. Levine B. Altimeter Group report: How can companies feed their content marketing needs? 2013; Retrieved from; 2013.

3. Welchman L, Pierpoint C. Web operations management: A primer. 2009; Retrieved from; 2009.