Content is king ~ Bill Gates
You may have seen the above quote before. It is in fact the title of an article written by Gates way back in 1996, when the Internet was in its relative youth. You have to hand it to Gates for recognizing so early on how important content would be for what was at the time a new and unfamiliar medium.
But what does it mean to you? Well, if you’re reading this then you’ve probably already bought into the idea that consistently publishing online content to your blog can be leveraged to attract new clients. As such, content can be king — providing a healthy return on your investment by driving prospective clients to your website.
And that’s where the usage of canned content comes into focus. It seems too good to be true — you purchase a package of content (often referred to as ‘PLR content‘) specific to your industry that can be used for blogging, social media, and email marketing. But is it really the panacea that the content’s providers would have you believe? Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages.
It doesn’t take much deliberation to understand why PLR content is so attractive to many small businesses who perhaps feel intimidated by the process and time involved in creating personalized, unique content:
- It’s inexpensive
- It’s easy
Because the canned content is being duplicated and distributed to multiple parties, it costs far less than it would for you to hire a professional writer to produce unique content or better yet, produce the content yourself.
Either way, publishing PLR content can be as simple as pasting it into a new blog post and hitting ‘Publish’. That’s an attractive proposal.
As a business person, you probably already know that anything worth doing (that produces results) requires hard work and dedication. Unfortunately with PLR or canned content, the advantages stop at “cheap” and “easy”, and the disadvantages far outweigh these benefits.
Consider why you’re putting content online for a moment — to attract potential clients. If PLR content does a terrible job of attracting clients, would you still publish it? Because that is in fact the reality of using canned content on your site.
Here are three compelling reasons why PLR content is ineffective as a tool for growing your online presence and attracting your ideal clients:
- It’s duplicate content, which means your likelihood of ranking anywhere worthwhile in Google is greatly diminished (if not destroyed). Google, the world’s #1 search engine, does not value duplicate content. Your site is likely to be flagged as a “low quality” site if it contains no original content. This is only becoming more of a reality as Google continues to humanize search results in valuing the author’s rank.
- Your blog content will be the same as many of your industry competitors. Establishing a worthwhile online presence requires personalization and value, neither of which are offered by canned solutions. PLR or canned content solutions are undifferentiated. Test this for yourself. If you know that many of your peers are getting the same canned content packages that you are, you can conduct online searches using an exact article category and title to find multiple entries of the same content. What does this mean? You are in no way differentiating yourself from your competitors (or in the eyes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn).
- It’s mass-produced content for a general audience. If you’re utilizing canned content solutions, your content is not going to resonate with anyone. Consumers are smart. Most people are able to recognize generic content that doesn’t specifically speak to their needs and wants. Instead, consumers are looking for interesting, highly relevant insights that can help them find answers, feel better, or achieve more. Generalized, canned content just doesn’t deliver on these objectives.
Although the psychological process of simply publishing content on your site consistently may make you feel satisfied that you are doing the right thing in terms of promoting your online presence, the end result is likely to be very disappointing. And it is the end result — not how many published posts you have on your site — that matters most.
So What’s the Solution?
The best solution is to create the content yourself.
That may sound intimidating, but chances are, if you’re successful in business you can excel at the discipline of building your online presence through blogging. Start by following our three part series on writing stellar blog posts. It need only take 60-90 mins per week to write and publish your piece. Let’s face it — in the grand scheme of things, that is not a huge investment, especially when you begin to see a return on that investment. When you create your own content which demonstrates your personality, knowledge, expertise, and deep understanding of the unique needs and wants of your target audience, you will gain a significant competitive advantage over your competitors.
Don’t enjoy writing? Consider other media formats such as videos or audio podcasting. There are more variables involved with these options, but they may be better suited to your comfort level.
If you are concerned about the quality of your writing then hire an editor to proofread and format your content appropriately, or you could consider hiring a professional writer to produce your content in a way that accurately portrays your perspective and world view. Yes, you will lose some of the personalization benefits that come from producing your own content if someone else does the writing for you. Another potential option is to have one or more people from your team serve as your content producers. In this case, the personalities of your team members can shine through and help to create a more genuine content library for your site.
One thing is for sure; the solution is not for you to fall back on PLR content. It seems too good to be true for a reason. Gates was right — content is king, but to be perhaps more specific, quality content is king.
Photo Credit: Ciro Boro