The Value of Content To A Business Marketer
Re- written from July 2009
An interesting NewYorker.com piece published July 6th 2009 by Malcolm Gladwell, titled ‘Priced To Sell’, looks at “FREE” and the value of content & ideas. It’s a very useful read for the average small to medium sized business marketer.
In it Gladwell questions some of Chris Anderson’s theories [Wired Magazine and ‘The Long Tail‘ fame] on free products and services. Says Anderson, “…an ability to participate in Journalism extends beyond the credentialed halls of traditional media. Journalism as a profession will share the stage with journalism as an avocation.” What Anderson is saying is digital storage, processing and bandwidth costs are so low that there’s no longer any ‘barrier to entry’ for content creation.
What he is also, indirectly, suggesting is that by sharing good content & ideas with a target- market for “FREE” a business can trigger interest for its’ actual paid- for business products or services! With the cost of distribution to people who search, who social network and who subscribe being negligible, we’d argue publishing ‘useful advertorial information on subjects a business is authoritative for’ is actually less an avocation than it is a modern business responsibility! Ultimately a business can create & distribute it’s advertorial message without any time limit = it can remain on the worldwide web forever and it can do it at a negligible cost. Versus the cost of traditional advertising, a business is either sharing useful and timely product / service knowledge for consumers to find OR … missing the boat on how those same consumers are actually evaluating future purchases.
However, time, effort and intellectual capital have cost. Entrusting them in any form of content to FREE host, communication or advertising services has downside. Gladwell doesn’t necessarily argue for or against these points so much as he questions them. Cautioning AGAINST FREE Gladwell says, “Free removes the necessity of aesthetic judgment.” Using Youtube as an example he asks, “So how does YouTube bring in revenue? Well, it tries to sell advertisements alongside its hosted videos. The problem is that the business’ video may not only be surrounded by various forms of less- desirable user-generated content, but also the sort of advertising it would NOT want to be near- to or associated with. Gladwell certainly makes interesting arguments any serious business person should consider.
By all means, give ‘Priced To Sell‘ a quick read!