If You Can Get The Content for Free, Why Pay For It?

If you can get the content for free, why pay for it? At least this is the underlying sentiment coming out of a number of industry publications that have changed their policies towards publishing blog posts and client alerts.

Just this week another industry trade rejected our client’s content because it longer publishes such posts and now considers all blog posts and client alerts as previously “published” material.

Many trade publications are adopting similar policies and are subscription based with content located behind a paywall accessible only to subscribed members who have an account and a password.

We discussed the growing shift away from publishing blog content with a few industry editors. Bottom line: when content is published in a blog post or in a client alert and is available for free, it diminishes the value of that content for the trade publication’s paid subscribers.

With advertising revenues dwindling, more and more publications – trade and mainstream – are putting content behind a paywall. The oft repeated reason: if a publication’s content is of value, then it should not be free.

While the rise of the paywall is of note, we should also note that the success of industry blogs and the quality of the content has also been on the rise and many of our clients’ blogs have a strong media following and are referenced by the media on a regular basis.

As PR professionals, should we advise our clients to forgo the blog post in favor of a published article or is there true value in free content? We recently had to inform our client that their blog post would not be published as a result of a “change in policy”. Their reply?

“No worries. We have an interview with a major daily tomorrow due to the blog… so it found its readership.”