Content is king, context is the palace

As I checked my blog stats today, I realised that there was a spike in my traffic. Upon further investigation, I realised one of my previous posts “Who should not blog” was submitted by a fellow blogger to a popular bulletin for Singapore bloggers,

While I was happy to know that the blog post has resulted in the spike in traffic, what also resulted was a thread of comments following the entry, where some contributors didn’t agree with my article.

The contents of some of these comments were not so friendly, in my opinion, remarking that the article “makes no sense.” and that “Dull people should not blog – starting with him.” Some of the comments also flowed to my blog.

Interestingly, the contents of the article were my personal summary of what I have learnt though some for the best selling books about business blogging, like Naked Conversations, The Corporate Blogging Book, and Blogging for Business. When I read these books, I didn’t have the same remarks for the authors of these books.

The first commenter on that post also did not have any remarks of concern. In fact, he added to the article, citing three more groups of people who should not blog.

So, what went wrong? runs on a bulletin system where individuals recommend interesting or debatable articles they find on the Internet, so fellow readers can contribute their comments. Unfortunately, the readers of the blog come from a very general audience – I guess the only commonalities among a huge proportion of the readers is that they appreciate satirical humour (the Singapore style) and they are aware of the Singapore blogosphere.

When the article “Who should not blog” was posted there, it was no wonder many took a stance opposing my case. The majority of blogs are personal online journals. Such blogs contain mainly ramblings of an individual, mixed with localized humor.

So my story about “Who should not blog”, in that context, was interpreted as “Who should not talk”. When I said “dull people should not blog”, what was read was “dull people should not talk” – which is obviously “insane”!

The issue lies is the the context in which the article is presented.

While I did my best to explain my perspective in a reply comment,

The theme of this blog is about business blogging and blog marketing, thus the articles are written in the perspective of such.

The majority of the blogs in the world are personal online journals which contain ramblings or humorous anecdotes from an individual, and blogs have indeed originated from such.

Definitely, “blogging” in the sense of personal online journals are for anybody who wishes to do so, and it is a popular form of self expression today.

However, setting up, maintaining and marketing a corporate blog involves an investment of time, money and other resources. Hence, thought needs to put in if that investment would be worthwhile and if blogging is indeed suitable for that business or individual.

… I learned two powerful lessons – one about writing and expressions, and one about marketing.

In writing – the context is just as important as the content.

In the Internet marketing world, they say “content is king”. Content brings you the traffic, and content gives you the credibility. However, without understanding the context, it is easy to misunderstand the content.

Take Liz’s SOB for a start. We are all aware what the acronym means to most people. In the context of an Internet Relay Chat (IRC), it is definitely not something you want to be called! However, if you bring this popular acronym to this area of the blogosphere, you find bloggers congratulating each other on becoming SOBs!

In the context of search marketing, “web design” probably equates more to tweaking the technical aspects of a page, but if you talk to a design firm, they will relate the same term to graphics, layout and animation.

I suppose I didn’t establish my context well in the article that I wrote, and this led to the misunderstanding.

Lesson learnt.

In marketing – talking to the right target audience is critical.

As they say, “if you try to target a product for everybody, you will end up targeting for nobody”. Every marketing project needs to be targeted at its proper customer segment. Different people have different needs, have gone though a different levels of education, are exposed to different living conditions… and the list goes on.

If you attempt to market a digital camera to patients in a hospital, there is a possibility that one could take it offensively and say “Camera for what? Take picture to put in front of my coffin is it? Are you cursing me to my death?“.

Bring that same camera to the IT Show 2007, and camera enthusiasts would be gleaming over it!

Sell Rolex watches to teenagers, and they would probably say “Crazy! With that money, I’d rather buy a simple watch, and spend the rest on a Playstation and an supply of games to last me for 5 years!“.

Still, we see senior executives spending thousands on a gold watch.

That in mind, perhaps having my article recommended at might not have been a good idea afterall. While the article has no intention to market anything, the intended audience is a terrible misfit!

Content is king, and context is the palace

Every mistake should only be made once. The next time you write an article, be sure to establish the context, and be sure that you are talking to the right people!

For the readers coming over from, I hope I have put my point more clearly with the comment responses in the post, as well as this post. Further discussion is welcome, and the rules are only to stay relevant and be nice. 🙂


  1. Hi KA, maybe you need to engage a PR consultant? 🙂 I think the conclusions from the noise are:

    1) Everyone has a right to free speech, thus a blog.
    2) Crap blogs are a problem not to the individuals, but may cause distractions.
    3) Crap blogs doesn’t affect blogging credibility as some blogs like techcrunch, avc, seth godin, guy kawasaki and countless others manage to stand out from the crowd.

    Blog on…


  2. The following comment is not English.

    Alamak! You cannot like dat say lah. You mean pple from tomolo dot ass gee cannot read comment your blog huh?

    Why you so like dat? Marketing to ang moh ok but not to singapolean not right huh?


    This is a classic case of incidental marketing creating awareness to an expanded market.

    Look at it this way, there is at least one person who thinks your post is worth reading.

    And there are those who discover your blog and will return again to read what you’re up to next.

    I hope those who return feel that they are rewarded with your insightful post on content is king and context is the palace concept.

    Excellent post.

  3. Thanks Harro for the summary.

    Haha… actually the point I hope to put across is just that the contents of this blog is geared towards corporate blogging – and indeed, when that is the case, there are certain groups of people who would find it tough to maintain a blog.

  4. Shi – The first commenter, Calvin, did not get to the post from 🙂 sent over thousands of visitors over these two days, and I hope this blog has helped them discover more about business blogging. There were a few who stayed and established contact through Skype, which is great!

    Regular readers or readers who arrived through the targeted search terms would know that comments and insights are much appreciated on this blog, but I would appeal that readers from the “expanded market” can understand the theme of a blog before posting less than friendly comments. 🙂

  5. Your blog is no less dull than many others, and I am sure plenty of people agree with me. So you should stop blogging too. Please do what you preach yourself. Do yourself and others a favour, and stop blogging.

    How can you be a professional blogger when you don’t even respect other people’s right to blog?

  6. Thanks “Dull-ed”,

    I believe you will find a reasonable explanation for my stand with the reply to my comments here

    If there are further concerns, do feel free to get in touch, so we can take the discussion further.

  7. I don’t read dull blogs! Then again, my “dull” may be someone else’s scintillating.

    However, blogging is NOT for everyone. In the end, it’s a personal decision (although if you have an employee, they may have an opinion too).

    A number of great points Kian Ann!
    I usually ignore personal attacks, and feel free to delete obnoxious comments. In reality, I very rarely do, because seeming idiots arguing with you help build your case 🙂

  8. Thanks Ted!

    Having experienced these comments over these two days, it was indeed tempting to delete the comments which could be categorized as personal attacks, and I can finally empathize with some of the cases about negative comments or attacks you mentioned in your book.

    It isn’t an experience anybody would like, but still an interesting one to handle. 🙂

  9. Hi Kian Ann,

    just a few days and a mini-saga has appeared on your blog. I believe you have raised a couple of good points and I’m sure there are many who will actually appreciate it.

    Well, you can’t possibly please everyone. Simple as that. What matters most is you concentrate your efforts on those who appreciates your information.

    Yup agree that most people’s blogs are just a platform for ranting and gossiping. But there are ppl who values informational blogs like yours. So don’t be disheartened! Though I’m sure you wouldn’t.

    Anyway as the saying goes ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’. And I think learning to deal with such comments is indeed one gd learning experience. So blog on! 😉

  10. Oops, in my last comment I mentioned ‘Yup agree that most people’s blogs are just a platform for ranting and gossiping.’ Anyway you didn’t say that, so I shan’t say I agree with that. It’s my point. Haha just wanted to clarify.

  11. Hey Calvin,

    Thanks for your support!

    I suppose the notion of corporate blogging is still not widespread enough (at least not in Singapore), so the previous post could sound absurd to some.

    I’ll blog on, definitely. 🙂

  12. Pingback: SOB Business Cafe 03-09-07 - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once.

  13. What you experienced is something I call gang spam. It is a group working together to try to shout you down on your own site. You have a fine site that many people are enjoying. These mostly anonymous assailants are not relevant to who you want to engage in conversations.

    I use something on my site that I call the Living Room rule. If you come here and expect to hang out in my place, then I need to know who you are. If you are anonymous, then I don’t know where you are coming from. Likewise, even if I know who you are– if you are rude to either me or my other guests, I will throw you out and never let you back in.

    By virtue of saying this here, I guess I better brace myself for all the Comments I’ll probably have to take down when they assault me.

  14. Hi Shel,

    I love that “living room” concept (I’ve read it in your book!) and it is certainly a very useful way to help decide if a comment should be deleted.

    At the same time, I also feel that if the comment isn’t too obscene for public reading and it doesn’t annoy my other guests, it is an opportunity to turn the case around, isn’t it?

    Thanks for your support! 🙂

  15. Kian Ann,

    Don’t worry about too much about being liked by everybody on the blogosphere. I realise that the more prominent you are, the more there will be detractors who are ready to tear you down. Just believe in what you do and continue to plug at it.

    Incidentally, I have an idea which I hope to bounce off you. What say we set up a network of business and marketing bloggers? People who are genuinely interested to learn and share with each other? It can cover both online and offline stuff, on a wide range of topics. In fact, I was just thinking of setting up a mailing list first before venturing into this area. Of course, doing a blog aggregator for this would be a dream come true for me, but unfortunately my current full-time job is simply too hectic for me to pursue that option.

  16. Walter,

    Thanks for your support and encouragement for me to keep doing what I do. Its nice to know that there are people who enjoy this blog and this is good enough for me 🙂

    I like your idea about a network of business blogs, and I’ve thought about it before too. However, there are already blog networks and if we were to get started on another one, there is a need to think further how to make it different from the ones out there. 🙂 (its a true test to our marketing knowledge!)

    I’ll drop you a mail to so we can discuss what is possible ya?

  17. Walter. I’m with you 🙂 However, I note that KA doesn’t get involved unless he is spearheading the idea. 🙂

  18. Hahah… Harro~!

    I know I face the challenge in letting others control projects. I’m too much of a “tweak freak” 😛

    Something I gotta learn though.

  19. I personally love writing articles, and article marketing is definitely one of the great way to market online.

    To write a good article, like what you have said, content is king. The title will also need to be attractive so that people can click on your article and read it.

    But writing is definitely my cup of tea, and i love the impact it brings to my businesses.