Have you ever search for an article online and realised that you have to pay a certain amount in order to have access to the whole essay?
I believe every student has encountered that problem. So, did you pay to read that article? Personally, I would not want to waste that money.
Why would I want to pay for an article where I can substitute it with other available researches that have the similar contents to my objectives and they are free-of-charged?
However, there are still certain things that I would not mind to pay for. One example would be music. If I am a fan of a particular singer, I would not mind to pay for their albums. First, I can have good quality music. Second, I am crediting the singers for the effort that they put into production.
I am not trying to say that those journalists do not put in effort into their article. Of course they do put in hard work. However, different people are willing to splurge on different kind of things.
The bar chart below shows the number of consumers who would consider paying or have already paid for the different categories of online content.
[Image from the Nielsen Company]
As marketers, we need to be fully aware of the advantages and disadvantages of allowing people to have free access to our content. Not only we want to gain maximum exposure, we also have to be able to help the company earn money.
So, what are the benefits and drawbacks for providing free-form content?
- People are able to link to your content and share it with others. Be it through Twitter, blogs, and etc.
- You will have higher chances in appearing in search engine, such as Google.
- Your content and ideas will spread faster and further.
- It will build more visitors to your site, which increases the traffic.
- You have lesser control of your target market, as it is available for everyone.
- Inconsistent lead volume. Paid content are able to gain more accurate forecast that can be achieved from past performance, whereas, free-form contents are unable to collect accurate data.
Therefore, in order to decide whether you want to charge people for the content you provide, you have to know which stage you want to be in. According to HubSpot Blogs, there are a total of three stages, the Awareness stage, Evaluation stage, or Purchase stage.
You can read more information about the different stages here.
So, would you charge for the online content that you provide?
Eridon, C. (2012). The Pros and Cons of Form-Free Content (And Which to Choose). HubSpot Blogs. [Accessed: 9th December 2014]
Nielsen. (2010). CHANGING MODELS A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE ON PAYING FOR CONTENT ONLINE. Nielsen. [Accessed: 9th December 2014]