It should not be much of a surprise to most of you that the value of published content declines once it’s published. In a few rare cases the content can grow legs, go viral, and increase in value but most does not.
What may sound even worse is that the half-life value of most published content is zero. Suggesting your content is rapidly decaying the minute it hits air.
This is true for both printed and digital content. Digitizing content doesn’t on it own increase value without one key ingredient – Discoverability.
By Discoverability I mean using methods and process to increase the likelihood that a piece of information, content, can be found – discovered online – and hence give value to a reader. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps but aS a publisher you have far greater value – the rich content itself. SEO may be effective for your local retailer… what Google, Bing and others want is content. The more discoverable, read and shared…the faster search engine bring your content to the top of the search engines. You can buy your way there WITH SEO but your content keeps you at the top.
The key is a new kind of online Content Management System (CMS) designed for online publishing…I call it a PubCMS. Trust me, to build these kinds of features into your current CMS solution, Open Source or not, will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor hours and months maybe years to get online.
Marketing is an effect way to add value, get content noticed, but… marketing is expensive.
To estimate the potential value gained by making your published content more discoverable let us assume the chart here represents a publication. The Traditional line (blue) represents your current publishing approach (again print only or also in digital and maybe a link to it on your existing CMS) and the PubCMS line (orange) is the using a new approach to make content more discoverable.
For the line chart the Yellow area represents new value created by making content more discoverable using a PubCMS solution. In this sample if you measure this area it represent approximately a 46% increase in lifetime revenue over using the Traditional approach.
While this analysis is focused on revenue…The “value” gained from this publication could be measured in Revenue, New Members or Increase Value to members so it’s quite possible this example is very conservative.
How to measure value other than revenue?
A good PubCMS solution will provide you with the analytics to measure the activity on the site, which publications get more traffic and how long, and other critical feedback to better understand the value of all your publications – which ones to feature, what you membership is interested in and where to extract more value in future publications.
This feedback gives you the publisher other critical information to explore bundling of content or micro-transactions to increase overall sales. Bundling = if readers visit Publication A and B then an offer to sell Publications A and B for a reduced rate make increase sales (it also give more value to the regular price of each publication) Micro-Transaction – if visitors are regularly visiting Chapter 3,4 and 7 but not buying a book then maybe offering to sell the book by chapter makes sense – just like the iTunes model.
So, What are you going to do?
Clearly if your content only exist in printed form stored in a closet, or in a digital file stored on hard drives few have access too the only way it can be discovered is by a small description sitting on your website or in your eCommerce store. With Bundling and Micro-Transaction you can offer hundreds of new products to meet readers needs and budget. Try doing this with your existing eCommerce solution.
The internet and the very low cost of storing content can be an effective form of low cost marketing if you can provide access to your digital content, in a searchable and discoverable form – text in the document and/or meta-data describing the content. By enable all of your published content to be searchable and discoverable (yes, you can still control access), consumable in different forms they way reader value it – your content then has additional value long after it is published.