Content Creation Business Model: Free Content and Paid Content

“Content is king.” How many times have you heard that? It’s true, as far as it goes. I prefer: content is king, but only if you can figure out how to make money from it.

Web content

Here’s a thought-provoking article for any business engaged in content creation, Search Engines Don’t Encourage Valuable Content Creation:

“Bottom line: if your business model involves creating valuable content, you’re going to need a strategy to protect it and claw value back from aggregators and networks in order for a content model to be sustainable.”

That’s the challenge for any business with a content creation business model, to give some of your content away for “free”, but keep the best material locked away for your loyal readers who are willing to pay for it.

Making money directly from content is a tough business. On my freelance writing blog, I’ve been talking about the writers’ “work for free” controversy. An editor from The Atlantic site told journalist Nathan Thayer that “we do reach 13 million readers a month”.

That’s a lot of readers, but The Atlantic still only pays $100 an article, and prefers to pay nothing at all. Obviously their business model is sustainable for them.

The challenge: free and paid content? Or paid content only?

Content costs. It’s not free. It takes time and money to create. If you have a content creation business model, make sure the model works for you. Work out how much your “free” content is costing you. If you’re not getting benefits from it, it might be time to lock up your content. Publish your best content as ebooks, on Amazon, rather than giving it away.

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