“Content wants to be free” and other scary phrases seem to rear their ugly head every so often. This week, the discussion focused around whether content is becoming so easy to get and make that it is becoming worthless.
The bottled water analogy fits perfect here. Tap or drinking fountain water is free and available everywhere. Yet bottled water sales continue to soar because of:
a) Convenience – bringing a bottle of water with me means I don’t have to search around or stop to find tap water
b) Higher Quality – ok this is probably more perception than reality, but people pay for bottled water because it tastes better and is perceived to be more pure because it is from a “trusted” source. (For me, I buy it because I wonder what’s been rinsed out or cleaned out at the drinking fountain that I’m about to put my face in.)
Both of these apply directly to content. If someone has created content that saves me time because I don’t have to research and aggregate the information myself, that’s convenience and I’ll definitely buy it. If someone has created a high-quality piece of content that took a great deal of work to put together, it’s going to be higher in quality than something someone put together for free – and I’m likely to buy it.
Yes, more and more content will be available for free, but it means a lot of garbage will be available as well. The more researched and more work put into a piece of content, the more value it has to the customer and the more likely they are to open their wallets for it – that will never change.
All this is to say, don’t shy away from creating content you can charge for just because you hear “digital content has no value.” Anyone who says so likely wouldn’t pay for anything anyway. Concentrate on the audience that wants convenience or wants higher quality and you can always make money with content.
Videos of kids breaking their arms on skateboards on YouTube = free
Video series on step-by-step methods to raise capital for a business from a 25-year VC exec: $