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Someone always pays

  
  
  
  

By Robert Celaschi

By now almost everybody has heard the Internet mantra that “information wants to be free.” What it really means is, “I want someone else to foot the bill.”

Advertisers paid for most distribution…

There’s nothing new about that. It’s how radio and television have always worked in the United States. The audience never paid for the broadcasts. Advertisers did. The model wasn’t much different for newspapers and magazines. The subscription price covered only a small fraction of the cost of making and delivering the product. Advertisers paid the bulk of it.

The same principal drove the press release and the story pitch. You tried to coax an editor into assigning a story that featured your business or executives. Advertisers covered the cost of getting it out to the world.

The difference on the Internet is that advertisers aren’t nearly as willing to pick up the tab. It’s true that they are starting to support some video sites. If you want to watch shows on Hulu, for instance, you have to sit through commercials. But you probably haven’t been using TV sitcoms as a conduit for your business-to-business marketing.

Selling content gets tougher

Newspapers and magazines are having a tougher time convincing advertisers to pay big bucks online. Most don’t even charge a subscription fee from online readers. And those that do are still working out the bugs.

Businesses are in a slightly better position for getting the word out. There’s already a structure in place for selling content such as whitepapers (see examples). People recognize that it’s worth paying money for. Most businesses also are used to footing the bill for straight marketing materials and press releases, and build it into their budgets.

DIY-ers can flourish

Now it’s time to apply that thinking to areas where you used to rely on coaxing an editor or reporter into telling your story.  As that platform shrinks, other opportunities arise for a do-it-yourself approach.

First, the Internet has made distribution relatively cheap and easy.  Today you can make information available to millions of people around the world without having to own a printing press or a broadcast tower. The White House, for instance, is going straight to the public by posting candid photos straight to a Flickr account.

The lower cost also has inspired the creation of new ways to pass information around, including blogs, Twitter, business networking sites such as LinkedIn, and social networking sites such as Facebook.

Who pays to build the audience?

But now you’ll get stuck with the bill for some of the functions you used to hand off to the print or broadcast media: gathering useful information, organizing it, and presenting it in an attractive way to an audience. You need people to write the profiles and cases studies, others to provide photos, still others to make the material easy for search engines to find on your Web site, and to bring items to the attention of bloggers and people seeking information through social media.

Information has never been free. All that’s happening now is a shift in who pays for it. Don’t let that chase you away from opportunities.

Do you have some tips to share about how you are getting someone else to foot the bill for your marketing efforts? For instance, maybe you’ve made presentations at a conference. Who paid to gather the audience? Not you.

How are you beefing up your marketing budget to deal with the changing media landscape?

How are you getting somebody else to foot the bill for your B2B marketing efforts?

NOTE: This post is Robert Celaschi’s first bylined contribution to the B2B Communications Red On Marketing blog.

Comments

Also check out an insightful piece by Mark Larson at http://marksmuzings.blogspot.com/2009/07/media-arrogance.html. 
 
He writes: 
 
“One radio journalist I know who is usually reserved and diplomatic, changed his tune after a few drinks. He spewed his resentment of daily newspapers, and his delight at their demise. 
 
“They had all the chances in the world to adjust to the changes in the market, but they never did,” he said. And he apparently thinks all daily journalists were too arrogant, and crowed at the change of fortune for them…” 
 
This is strange thinking, coming from a journalist! Not least because of the difference between what journalists have been doing and what the people on the business side, running the media outlets, have been doing. The first had the job of making quality content. The second had the job of selling it. The content is still great — it’s dailies’ marketing and sale of the content that tanked.
Posted @ Saturday, November 28, 2009 4:23 AM by Rebekah Donaldson
On one hand content is invaluable. In our B2B world, we need content to help buyers make decisions and we need content to be found by search engines. If our content doesn’t get served up to those who are actively searching for what we offer, that’s a huge opportunity cost. It’s been said that links are the currency of the web, but I would argue that content is too. 
 
On the other hand, content is being generated 24/7 these days – thanks to the web and social media, everyone has a voice. We’re faced with endless options via search engine results, feeds, and following. It’s a bit overwhelming to weed out all the words. But it’s also easier than ever to stay updated on topics that matter most to you – through the people who matter most to you. 
 
Who couldn’t spend all day reading, writing, commenting, tweeting? Information is being produced daily that is relevant, timely, and thought-provoking. 
 
It is a matter of balance and a matter of focus. Balancing content needs with business goals and resource allocations and keeping efforts focused on the needs of your target audience(s). 
 
I agree with Robert, taking advantage of business down time to generate content helps keep the balance. And I’d vote for quality over quantity any day. Now, back to my content writing…
Posted @ Saturday, November 28, 2009 4:23 AM by Cris
Rebekah: I struggle with the time-management question in a lot of contexts. How many extra billable hours could I log if I weren’t spending time on routine computer maintenance, or keeping my books straight? Or, for that matter, if I could sleep fewer hours each night? 
 
One thing to ask is whether we really could generate extra billable hours. Sometimes we can. If I’m working on a big project, it might be better to spend all my time on it and postpone the other stuff. Maybe I can even get by with less sleep for a couple of nights. 
 
But almost any business is going to hit some slack periods when there’s time to catch up on routine chores — and sleep. In fact, we HAVE to catch up if we want our businesses and ourselves to stay healthy. Every business owner has to work with a budget of time and money. We can’t have it all. 
 
The slack period are good times to build up a bank of “evergreen” content. Takes lots of discipline, though. 
 
The other aspect is what a billable hour is worth. It may net more money than it costs for an hour of accounting or IT help. Or for someone to research and/or write a great article. In that case, go for the extra billable hour and farm out some work.
Posted @ Saturday, November 28, 2009 4:24 AM by Robert Celaschi
p.s. I was just reminded (by one of my own bookmarks in de.licious — duh!) about a great article on Cory Doctorow where he explains his thinking behind publishing his books for free online as e-books. 
 
http://www.forbes.com/2006/11/30/cory-doctorow-copyright-tech-media_cz_cd_books06_1201doctorow.html
Posted @ Saturday, November 28, 2009 4:24 AM by Rebekah Donaldson
Generating quality content on a regular schedule IS time consuming. How should we value the time that goes into it, in terms of dollars? I am thinking about how our in-house content generation efforts have a low hard cost but a high ’soft’ cost. Here are some ways we could value the content writing time: 
 
- Alternate-uses value – what amnt could I be making in billable time, if it weren’t for researching/writing new articles? 
 
- Opportunity costs value – what leads and sales are we not closing because we’re instead devoted to content generation? 
 
I see the relevance of both. 
 
On the other hand, there are so many quantifiable and qualitative benefits to the business from steady production of new material, and fresh content is so clearly a dependency for success, that even a high investment in new content has great ROI. 
 
Thoughts anyone?
Posted @ Saturday, November 28, 2009 4:25 AM by Rebekah Donaldson
someone always wanna get something, thats why someone always pay.  
 
 
 
wellcome to visitwww.sugoo.com a global b2b e-commerce website, also provide multi-language enterprise website design and trade supporting. Contact: sugoo802@gmail.com
Posted @ Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:59 AM by Simon
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