Monday, July 23, 2007

What is the value of the content we create?

I wanted to do a followup on my post about blog monetization, because it's created some amazing conversation, which was what I was hoping for.

But to me, the bigger picture here is that when blogs are properly monetized, everyone wins. Because when that happens, companies and sponsors are viewing the TRUE value of blogs.

A couple of examples: Chris blogs about how he is sick of PR firms or companies emailing him about a campaign/etc. that they are running, asking him to blog about it, and them a link when he posts about it.

Jaffe mentions getting a recent email from a PR firm alerting him about an AdWeek article, and then encouraging him to contact an AdWeek editor to interview them so he can blog about it. I've received these same emails, and as Jaffe asks, shouldn't it be the other way around?

These are just two examples of how blogs are being taken for granted as little more than promotional vehicles. And I think this is happening in great part, because companies, MSM, PR firms, etc., aren't realizing the true value of blogs. Of course on the other hand, I also think that we bloggers as a whole are doing a poor job of monetizing our blogs.

Which is why Jaffe's iPhone experiment excites me. Whether you agree with monetizing blogs and podcasts or not, doesn't matter. If blogs are properly monetized, then what potential sponsors perceive as their true value, greatly increases. So if you want to monetize your blog, your content is now perceived as being more valuable, and you get more for it. If you do not want to monetize your blog, you are still seen as creating MORE valuable content, and you'll likely get more business/consulting opportunities as a result.

What's the current model for monetizing most blogs? Slapping a few ads on the sidebar, with compensation based on traffic/page views? That's what leads to all these articles about how the only bloggers that are making any money are the ones with millions of page views a month. And when companies and potential sponsors see these articles, they think to themselves that blogs, as a whole, aren't creating much value, else they'd be able to monetize it.

Look at Paul's series this year on 'Hurricane Kohls'. This is a first-hand account of how social media can impact a major retailer. What's the potential value of these posts and the comments to EVERY retailer? What about Paul's Tune in Saturdays series where every Saturday he introduces his audience to a new artist? How much value has this series created for the artists featured?

Remember all the discussion over Nikon's 'Picture This' blogger outreach promotion? Whether you love or hate the idea, consider all the valuable content that has been created by so many bloggers on so many blogs. How much is all that content worth to Nikon or to any company that's considering crafting a similar program?

Take my Company Blog Checkup series. If I had taken on each company as a client, I would have made a pretty penny or two in consulting fees by now. All valuable content that was freely created that will benefit companies that are blogging, or want to start.

My point is, there is real value being created at our blogs, and value that companies and sponsors should be looking to tap into. I also think we do ourselves a disservice when we marry the value of our content strictly to traffic and page views. Because these models don't bring into account the viral nature of the blogosphere. I picked up on Jaffe's post with my own, and introduced a different take on the issue. Then David and Lewis blogged THEIR take on MY take. And now to bring it full-circle, Jaffe has responded to my response to his original iPhone experiment post, via his podcast. Amazing.

I may have been putting the cart in front of the horse a bit with my last post, but to me the big idea wasn't properly monetizing blogs, it was getting the proper value from our content. I think this can begin to happen when companies and potential sponsors SEE our content as being more valuable. This is why I support Jaffe's monetization experiment, because it assigns a 'dollar value' to the content he is creating. He is saying that if you want to be associated with that content, here's what it will cost you. I think anyone that is interested in monetizing their blog should do the same, as I believe it will help raise the perceived value of blogs as a whole.

And when that happens, all bloggers, whether you want to directly monetize your content or not, win.


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Anonymous said...

"These are just two examples of how blogs are being taken for granted as little more than promotional vehicles."

Actually, these happen to be two examples of p.r. firms reaching out the wrong way to bloggers. Many p.r. agencies are seeing the value of blogs as influencing readership, otherwise they wouldn't spend the effort pitching them.

In terms of establishing a monetary value for a blog, it may eventually become just the way it is with MSM -- a marketer can buy an ad and/or he can try a p.r. approach, hoping a blogger will write about his product or service because it is of interest to the blogger's readers, regardsless of whether that marketer is paying for an ad on the space. Just like now happens with magazines, newspapers and the news/talk portions of TV and radio.

Mack Collier said...

"Actually, these happen to be two examples of p.r. firms reaching out the wrong way to bloggers. Many p.r. agencies are seeing the value of blogs as influencing readership, otherwise they wouldn't spend the effort pitching them."

Maybe it's just me, but the majority of such 'pitches' I get aren't much better. I was say no more than a third of them refer to me by name, and at least once a week I get a pitch addressed to 'Dear Blogger'. When it's happening this much, it tells me that most pr firms don't see blogs as being valuable enough for them to take the time to actually know who they are pitching, and if that pitch is something they would be interested in.

"In terms of establishing a monetary value for a blog"

Again, doesn't have to be a dollar figure, but I just want to see companies realize that what we create DOES have value. Then we can decide if we want to monetize that value directly via cash, or indirect via more biz opportunities, etc. Some get it, and more are realizing it everyday.