If You Want Free Content, Provide Value

Going, Going, Gone!

We are seeing more and more sites try to crowdsource others intellectual property, particularly writing. I increasingly say no to these offers to publish original content elsewhere.

Why? There’s no quid pro quo. While the ego is always pleased to see its name in the limelight, the value for my company is not obvious. And that, my friends, is the end of the decision process for this blogger. In the one case (Mashable) where I have agreed to provide free content, there was clear branding value for my business. Everything else is a syndication conversation or no deal in my mind.

If you want free original content, provide certain value.
People want bloggers to write for them to provide their information, data and thinking for sites. They fail to realize the time investment quality writing takes.

There’s no better example than Say Media’s purchase of Six Apart:

“Say Media expects to lose some subscribers to the Six Apart blogging platform. Its main focus,” CEO Troy Young said, “is in those that hope to build media businesses, rather than regular people who write a blog for fun.”

Say Media had better put together a deal that offers these business bloggers value, otherwise it will lose more voices like Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni.

In my mind — as the slow down in blogging demonstrates evidence of — writing is a very present, but somewhat limited resource. Original thinking, and that unique flair for presenting ideas with a special twist are starting to be valued more and more.

At the same time the paid privilege of journalism will is shrinking as a profession. An equilibrium is being struck, but its not all roses for content aggregators.S mart writers will weigh the value of self-publishing versus handing their content to someone else.

No, there needs to be clear value for providing intellectual property to someone else. The sooner aggregator and crowdsourcers move to offer value, the more quickly they will experience success. Otherwise, you get what you pay for.