With social media we can all publish content. There is almost no barrier to entry and there are no cost to start publishing your knowledge to be seen by everyone.
Twenty years ago reporters, photographers and editors were employed by magazines and newspapers publishers, radio and television stations. Now the same media companies can get content from anyone.
This completely changed the value of content.
Who wants to pay for content when they can get valuable content for free?
Does this mean that content lost its value with social media?
Well it certainly changed. Newspapers (traditional media) are desperately looking for better business models. The number of subscriptions is declining for years. With less subscribers the value for advertisers decreases. So less income from 2 sides.
There are couple of business models for user generated content sites:
- voluntary contributions – living from donations like Wikipedia
- charging viewers for services – pay-per-item or subscription models, including bundling with existing subscriptions – sites like istockphoto.com
- advertising-based models – sites like Emerce, MarketingFacts, Youtube
- licensing of content and technology to third parties – sites like lifehacking.nl delivering content to nu.nl
- selling goods and services to the community (monetising the audience via online sales) – sites like Empire Avenue where you can by virtual goods or Threadless where you can buy t-shirts.
The most used model is advertising. Websites that build a community with their content created by users. The content attracts consumers and they attract brands to advertise for this crowd.
There are a number of advantages to use User Generated Content
for a publishing platform, media company:
- Scale – on any topic there are lots people that want to share their knowledge. There is an unlimited amount of people that want to publish their content.
- Flexibility – for a professional platform you only need a limited amount of editors and designers. It is easy to scale up or down on a certain topic for a certain period of time. No need to hire and fire employees.
- Engagement – people that have passion for their topic are more engaged. They have more passion on the topic than professional writers that write an article because it is their job.
- Virality – users that write for a longer time on their topic have a following. They can bring their following to your platform and help the user to spread their content.
- Cost – most of the user generated content is published for free. As a media company you need less paid employees.
Via emedia 6 benefits of crowdsourced content
Why do you want to share your knowledge and write articles for free?
It is easy to understand that media companies are happy to use User Generated Content (see the advantages above). But why do you want to publish your content for free on these sites?
Advantages to publish your content.
- You can do this to show potential clients your expertise. Or you become visible for potential employers.
- You become visible for events where you can get invited to speak
- You can build an audience that wants more from you. Products like books and training.
- You can publish content on established platforms that will make you visible for a new audience.
- People will find you in the search engines.
Just recently Darren Rowse of Problogger and Digital Photography School revealed where his income is coming from. Darren started off as an enthusiast for digital photography and grew this into an online publishing platform, a business.
The site’s content comes from his own articles and articles published by other users. His biggest income stream comes from ebooks (38%) and ad networks like AdSense (25%). Darren has diversified his income streams.
You can find an overview How I Diversified My Blogging Income Beyond Having All My Eggs in the AdSense Basket.
Darren is a pro. He has build a fulltime business from creating content.
Let’s say that you are an amateur with not attention to go pro.
For example you love to cook and share your recipes with anyone that wants to cook something different. There are already thousands of sites with recipes. It will be difficult to build your own platform and monetize it.
You are looking for a site where you can upload your content, your recipes. And you actually get paid for the best recipes.
Meet Recipay, a new platform I found at Le Web Paris 2013.
Recipay is a new site, launched in the summer of 2013 in France, that lives of user generated content. The users publish their recipes on the website.
Listen to Bárbara Büchel, the country manager for Spain, about Recipay in this short video interview that I did at LeWeb in Paris.
Already +25 brands are adopting recipes on Recipay. They incorporate their brand and products in popular recipes.
Then there of course the sites of supermarkets that publish recipes like AH and Whole Food Markets. And sites where one person cooks and publishes all kind of recipes, like Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes. Or recipes from famous (TV) cooks like Jamie Oliver.
Despite the enormous amount of recipes sites the numbers for Recipay look strong.
There are more than 5,000 registered users and every day +100 new users register. These users have uploaded thousands of recipes of which 2,500 are validated (representing 40% of all submitted recipes).
Now you have a choice. You can upload your recipe to a site that uses your recipe to make money for their business. Or you an upload your recipe to a site that pays you € 10 or € 15 when a brand adopts your recipe wit Recipay.
Once the brand adopted your recipe they will replace an ingredient of your recipe with their branded product. The brand can use your recipe anywhere they like.
Recipay is also starting in Spain and ready to launch in the Netherlands with the first 8 brands on board.
More information from Recipay in these slides:
As a user with passion on your topic you love to show off your expertise.
But when you get paid for your best content it even gets better.
I choose this startup from Le Web Paris 2013, because I can see opportunities like this in other areas. A mixture of ads and affiliate links in a non-intrusive way for the reader.
Other similar examples are HubPages, where the user creates content and Hubpages ads the advertising next to your article. As author you will receive 60% of the income for the ads on your articles. Or you can upload videos to Youtube and give them permission to put ads over your videos.
But these examples are purely based on banner and text ads next to your content. With Recipay the brand is completely integrated in your content which makes it friendlier.