Published
547

I remember learning about commodities in my college econ class at Indiana University. I learned that a commodity is a tangible good that’s defined to the point of standardization, is fungible and has an established and agreed upon market value. A classic commodity is a barrel of oil: When you buy a barrel of oil for the fair market price you know exactly what you’re getting, and you can’t tell your barrel from the next.

When you buy content from a writer as if it’s a commodity, you have little idea what you’re getting because its ultimate value can fluctuate wildly once it’s published. The value you can derive from great content can be astounding: increased traffic from search and social, increased brand recognition, sales and lead conversions and more. But paying for content by the word has a very loose correlation to this value creation and, in some cases, may even be counter-productive to creating value. It’s common sense that writing has more impact when it’s concise and succinct. This reminds me of Mark Twain’s famous quote:

“I am sorry for such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.”

I blame this content commodity marketplace, at least in part, on my industry. For some time, the SEO industry has preached that winning at search means producing the most content possible with little focus on quality. But this strategy is blown apart when you factor in social’s ever-increasing impact on search results, and the fact that content is almost useless if it doesn’t drive some form of conversion. If content doesn’t drive social and conversion, it’s likely just SPAM—my second favorite four letter word.

With SPAM around every corner, just a fraction of the immensity of content produced on the web each day drives significant business value, and it’s extremely difficult to standardize and define. Content like this has its own soul that resonates with its intended audience, and it’s unique as you are. You may get content like this every once in a while by paying by the word, but it’s a crap shoot.

I don’t have the perfect answer to this SPAM-producing conundrum we’re in right now, but I ask that businesses and writers alike start opening their minds to post-publish compensation based on traffic, social shares, conversions and other variables that denote real value. Even a mix of compensation, with some up front and some later, makes far more business sense. I know this type of compensation is difficult to measure and delays gratification, but I fear what may happen if we continue to incentivize writers by the word.

I promise Panda isn’t the only update Google will release that focuses on content quality over quantity. I believe social media relevance search algorithm updates will have some of the most dramatic impacts on quality over quantity in the near future, and they will have nothing to do with word count. Let’s start treating content as unique and limitless in its value when done right. It can’t be one-size-fits-all.

547
Contributors

Our publication contributors combine decades of experience with unique insights into the content promotion and distribution industry.

headshot
Chad Pollitts Co-Founder Relevance
headshot
Jay Baers Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Author
headshot
Gini Dietrichs CEO Arment Dietrich
headshot
Jason Fallss Social Media & Public Relations Thought Leader
headshot
Jayson DeMerss Founder & CEO AudienceBloom
headshot
Ann Smartys Brand & Community Manager
headshot
Janine Popicks Co-founder & CMO Dasheroo
headshot
Brianne Carlon Rushs Content Director Kuno Creative
headshot
Arnie Kuenns CEO Vertical Measures
headshot
Pam Didners Global Content Marketing Strategist & Author
headshot
Kelsey Liberts Marketing VP & Partner Frac.tl
headshot
Chirag Ahujas Head of Marketing WorkflowMax
headshot
Erik Deckerss Professional Writer Pro Blog Service
headshot
Jessica Stephensons VP Marketing ExactHire
headshot
Bernie Borgess CEO Find and Convert
headshot
Michael Ferraris Online Marketing Consultant Pen Cap Online Marketing
headshot
Larry Altons Freelance Writer and Editor
headshot
David Tiles Founder & Director Nimble Media
headshot
Dan Steiners Co-Founder & CEO Elite Legal Marketing
headshot
Jonah Blisss Founder CMO ContentIntent
headshot
Andrea Lehrs Promotions Supervisor Fractl
headshot
Fernando Labastidas Co-Founder Content Propulsion
headshot
Dan Moyles Creative Dir. Marketing AmeriFirst
headshot
Dennis Yus Chief Technology Officer BlitzMetrics
headshot
Arnaud Roys VP Marketing Augure
headshot
John Rughs Copywriter/Content Marketing Specialist
headshot
Justin Spicers Content Researcher, Producer & Editor
headshot
Michael Beckers Marketing Support Spec. Teradata
headshot
Anna Johanssons Freelance Writer
headshot
Amanda DiSilvestros Content Editor and Writer HigherVisibility
headshot
Sujay Maheshwaris Founder & CEO Netcurate.com
headshot
Kelly Coulters Online Marketing Strategist
headshot
Taylor Radeys Senior Consultant PR 20/20
headshot
Rodger Johnsons Public Relations Leader & Consultant
headshot
Simon Pensons Founder & Managing Dir. Zazzle Media

Subscribe


Get the latest content promotion news and insights everyday.


Champion Sponsors

Relevance is proud to present our Champion Sponsors that help make our site possible.

Cision Logo PRWeb Log Haro Logo

Thank you for subscribing please check your email for verification.