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These are the notes talk I gave at Izeafest, I have included my highlights etc..

Content is dead, conversation is king, long live conversation.

Murray Newlands


Yes you have to have good content but you can have good content and no one will know about you unless you engage.

Keynote Chris Brogan is leading a session entitled “go deep or go home”. When I read that I wondered what kind of conference I was coming to.  But there is something really basic  here.. I would say engage in conversation or you are just playing with yourself.  You can write about whatever you like but does anyone care?

It does not matter how deep you think you are if no one knows about it, it really does not matter.


With a million new blogs a month there is a lot of competition in blogging let alone competing with TV, making dinner or going to the pub.

Not many people write away for years with no traffic or feedback,:it is disheartening.

Blogging should be about a 2 way conversation to engage your ideas with your audience  and this will lead you to new understandings.

Google the search engine that delivers most of the traffic to most sites links sites with links to them. People will only link to you if they know about your site.

Social media traffic comes from conversation that is with users J

On Monday I went to a conference about the convergence of TV and social media.  One of the key message that I got from it was how social media engagement and conversation has to be content driven and not a afterthought. TV as a flat one way media is dying and users now expect interaction and to have cross platform interactions. Program makers and channels that do not keep up with that will die.  TV that will thrive, is TV that engages.

So what should we be trying to do?

Matt Webb stated “2008 is the year we hit Peak Attention”: there is only so much we can absorb: you have to make them want to come back to your site.

Content has to be great, but great for your audience. You can be fast, fun, relevant, topical, heart stopping.

You have to write / draw / video with the premeditated intention to engage. That is a key meme that runs thoughout the messaging that most of the successful bloggers I have read and  preach. and what is interesting is that it was a key message at the TV conference.

Conversation Think why twitter is taking off and why Google likes live updated sites and why comparative static Facebook added the conversation stream. Facebook replaced content with conversation.  

Know your audience.

What will they be interested in reading about, what topics can you cover that they will be passionate about and will engage with, what will they RT, what will they comment on.

Find blogs and social media streams to follow and catch the mood and interest of your audience.

Be confident in your opinions.

The basics

Engage them in SEARCH, be there when they are Googleing their memes of interest.

Blog to create a brand a place of interest and communication hub.

Select a URL that is appropriate, that is a key search term or is your name.

Find a friend who is a SEO expert and ask them to spend a couple of hours optimising your on site SEO. Or PAY one. Optimise your meta title.

Optimise your blog post titles and keywords.

What key terms will they search for to find your blog? Use Google external to lookup keyterms to lookup search terms and optimise for what your audience search for.

Find out the competition intitle:”keyterm”

Use that keyterm at the start of the blog post tile and make sure that the keyterm is in the URL of the blog post which should match the title.

Use the keyterm in the first paragraph the last paragraph and several times in the post.

Get your RSS feed out there and submit it to lots of sites.

Post your best posts to twitter and facebook.

Setup a Facebook Fan Page for your Blog.

Video and photos

Photos and in particular Youtube videos you have taken make the site much more personal.  This   engages the user with the personal input you add to the site. You also engage another segment of your traffic. Remember some people much prefer video as a medium to reading. Think TV over books! Google seems to like video.

Beyond the basics

Henry Jenkins said “If it does not spread, it is dead”.

How can you get links back? Beg borrow and steal!

Ask your friends.

Guest post.

Pay someone to do some link building.

Write content that is good enough for people to link to and pass on. Steve Hall (adrants) does this by writing sharp witty funny content that is compelling reading. It is also very shareable, it will spread. He also writes about brands which people Google for.

MY TOP TIP – meet bloggers face to face, in real life, on IM, on social networks and then they are much more likely to read your blog and then they will know what to link to on your blog when they are writing about something. People connect with people!  That is one reason why short videos / talking heads are such good content for your blog.

Ask the bloggers you know for connections. Great connectors run in packs and love to connect people:  become one of them.

MY top method of facilitating this is asking people what you can do for them. You get to help lots of people and you will find out who reciprocates!

I will finish where I started, Chris Brogan published a book about begin a Trust Agent, someone people want to connect and engage with, and he personally achieves this by producing great intellectual content. His audience thrives off ideas.

 I will leave you with this question, what do your audience want to communicate with you about? 


Content is dead, conversation is king, long live conversation

16 comments on “Content is dead, conversation is king, long live conversation.

  • Good points Murry, I’ve noticed an increase in response when I started using video blog post. I also use twitter and youtube to connect with my blog readers.

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  • Over the past year several of us have worked together to research the best ways to enhance the interaction and conversations on blogs. We decided to go with the dofollow movement and use the CommentLuv and KeywordLuv plugins to reward our regular Commentators. I linked this comment to additional information on dofollow.

    We may also add the Top Commentator plugin which provides links from every page of a blog for those who comment most frequently. Some who are more concerned with Google choose not to go dofollow but it works for us.

    Regarding optimum SEO it is important to use a Theme that was professionally coded and optimized for the search engines. We use Thesis on all of our blogs. If your Theme doesn’t have SEO built in the WordPress plugin All-in-one-SEO provides that benefit.

    Poorly coded themes and plugins can cause blogs to be poorly indexed – and that is a major reason we went with Thesis. We know that they test it with commonly used plugins and keep it current so we don’t have to be as concerned about technical details and can focus on content and marketing.

  • These are all great tips, and I definitely agree that regardless of the quality of the conversation, a good blog requires dialogue. It is frustrating to post comments to a blog when no one replies… especially when the comment includes a question. But we all have time constraints, so I never expect an immediate reply, and give replies on my own blog as soon as I am able.

  • Like what we are doing right now, a lot of people over here are commenting on your entry and trying to talk with each other. It’s a good idea indeed, a blog with a forum like comment section. It makes me want to stay longer because I’m interested in what other people may say 😀

  • I will definitely have to say that if you want to take your own content to the next level, you will need to engage in conversation with your audience. Why? This is simple we humans by default are not perfect and we can definitely not have or cover every point inside a blog post. Conversation will wake up more doors to bring the best of your post….

    Thanks for the post…

  • Thank you, Murray

    Such a comprehensive article for bloggers!

    Moreover, the key point “conversation is king” has been proved right here. The above comments bring so much of in-depth and helpful information.

    I have visited the sites of those who commented here. It is like the online university. A lot to learn.

    The only issue is lack of time …

    Thank you

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