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Is Your Content Valuable?

by Jason Unger, Founder

Photo by Vadim Bogulov via Unsplash

As you’re reading information online, ask yourself: what is this worth to me?

Would I:

  • actively find out more about the topic?
  • sign up to get more information like it?
  • pay money for it?

If you answered ‘yes’ to at least one of those, the content has value to you.

But as a Web publisher, you can’t be sure that your readers recognize the value your content has unless you treat it with value.

How Content’s Value Has Changed Completely

The Internet has democratized information. It’s a beautiful thing, right?

Well, not for traditional publishers. Control of information has been their domain for hundreds of years.

Newspapers are going belly up. It’s not going to get any easier next year, and it will hit certain places much harder than others.

Now that information is available from millions of resources, much of the actual content has lost its value. It’s not a rare resource, dominated by a few in power. Anyone can produce it.

Giving Your Content Value

So how do you give your content value?

For small Web publishers, your content has to achieve certain goals or you won’t succeed. Even if it’s not about making money, it has to serve a purpose.

Your content could:

  • Build a community around a product (ex. The Mint Blog)
  • Grow a brand around yourself (ex. Robert Scoble)
  • Market your offline services or products (ex. any freelance writer with a blog)

How to Make Money From Your Content

As forecasters expect online ad spending to decrease next year, you need to understand that pageviews are not going to pay the bills.

Even if ad spending was going up, users would still ignore ads unrelated to their online goals.

In order to make money from your content, you generally have two options:

  • Charge for it
  • Treat it as marketing materials for your paid products

Charging for content? Are you serious? Yes. Charging for content can be an extremely compelling business model IF you are creating the right content and, most importantly, targeting the right people.

Most people are not going to pay to read the Wall Street Journal online, especially because the information is available through other outlets.

But if you’re a business owner, would you spend $100 to attend a specialized online training or business summit that will make you more money? Of course!

Targeting the right niche with information that will make them more profitable is, in itself, a profitable venture.

Use Your Content to Market Your Product and Services

Instead of charging for your content, use it as marketing for what you do get paid for.

Let’s look back at the three ‘free’ ways to give your content value:

  • Build a community around a product
  • Grow a brand around yourself
  • Market your offline services or products

Each of these use your content to make you money.

If you sell a product, you want a thriving community of users, critics and evangelists.

If you are a talking head or consultant, you need to build up your brand in order to establish your expertise.

If you are a freelancer writer or designer, you need to show off your skills.

Treating your content as marketing does not, however, mean it should be a sales pitch. Like all other information, if it isn’t useful, your users won’t respond.

What’s Your Content Worth?

You’re already producing content. But why?

The next time you sit down to write something, measure the value of your content. If you’re not getting anything out of it, then your readers aren’t either.

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About Jason Unger

Jason Unger is the Founder of Digital Ink. He built his first website on Geocities, and hasn't looked back since. Digital Ink tells stories for forward-thinking businesses, mission-driven organizations, and marketing and technology agencies in need of a creative and digital partner.

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