“Content? Who pays for content? Nobody pays for content!” said the person I was meeting for a “entrepreneur catch-up” session. My first reaction was to throw my glass of water in his face. Then, as he went on and on about how I can never become a successful businesswoman by selling words, I really wanted to break that drinking glass and use a broken shard to slit my wrist.
Monetising is THE word of the moment for anyone who wants to start a business. What is the product that’s going to be bringing you money? What is the service you are selling? Why should people pay for your stuff? While it’s easy to justify why people would pay good money for clothes bought in bulk in a South Korean fashion wholesale market, it’s not that simple to explain why people should pay me (and my team) for WORDS, for IDEAS, for simply sitting in front of a computer 12 hours a day, stringing words together to make stories. After all, Uncle Google can point you to loads of FREE content, right?
Yeah, I admit: Content is everywhere. But it ain’t free, honey.
Because it’s everywhere, everyone takes it for granted. Like fresh air and clean water, no one really gives a hoot about these resources until they become precious and scarce. Turn on your tap and you can get water. But what if you were told tomorrow that all the glaciers in the world would melt, evaporate and disappear, and that the ONLY clean water in the world would lie in a lake in Mongolia? I’d give my last ice cube to bet that you wished you were living there.
Content only looks free.
Every content is worth something – how much depends on its quality and the “process” behind its creation.
You can’t sell your umbrella without someone writing about what your product is. You can’t sell it until someone writes why it is worth something. That line beneath the picture of your umbrella on your website telling people how much it costs? THAT IS CONTENT AS WELL. Content is the building block of every single business transaction in the world. You think you are reading this story for free? Wrong. I am only able to write it because (1) my Internet bills have been paid for (2) my time doing this has been “justified” by an assignment that came in late last night, and (3) I still have money in the bank.
The next time you think “content is worthless”, go to Google, type in something, and look in wonder at the massive industry behind all that content that now fills your computer screen. Yep, without content, Google’s got nothing to show you.
You may not pick my brains for free. Allow the infographic below to tell you why:
About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and wants to change the perception that writers don’t make good businesspeople. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.
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