The Value of Content To Marketers

Rewritten from July 2009

An interesting July 6th, 2009 piece ‘Priced To Sell’ by Malcolm Gladwell looked at the value of content & ideas. In it Gladwell questions some of former Wired Publisher Chris Anderson’s theories (The Long Tail) on free products and services. Per 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 was saying was digital storage, processing, and bandwidth costs are so low that there’s no longer any ‘barrier to entry’ for content creation.

He was saying that by sharing good content & ideas for “FREE”, a business can generate interest for its’ products or services! With the cost of distribution to people who search, who social network and who subscribe being negligible – 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 limit. That content can remain online 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.


Intellectual Capital Has Cost

Time, effort, and intellectual capital has a cost and so maybe trusting it to anything FREE has a downside. Gladwell doesn’t necessarily argue for or against these points so much as he questions them. Cautioning against FREE Gladwell said, “Free removes the necessity of aesthetic judgment.” Using Youtube as the example he asks, “So how does YouTube bring in revenue? Well, it tries to sell advertisements alongside its hosted videos.” The problem is that a business’ video may not only be surrounded by less desirable content but the sort of advertising it may NOT want to be associated with. Gladwell certainly made points any serious business person should consider.

By all means, give ‘Priced To Sell a quick read!