Content farming, which is recognized as high quantity, low quality content produced to flood Google with search results in order to generate more page views, is not evil. But it still sucks.
I don’t blame businesses like Suite101, Demand Media and even (shock) Huffington Post for using low- or no-pay methods to entice writers to produce searchable articles. It’s the way the SEO game works. But that doesn’t make it a good thing.
For the PR/Marketing world to compete with this quantity of content and not be crushed by the sheer amount of articles, the answer is not to produce more content of your own. That’s akin to competing in a price war in which no one, except Wal-Mart, will win.
The secret is to create better content that’s shareable, original and about the very people you’re trying to reach. While sharing certainly hasn’t surpassed searching as a way of gathering information, most of the upper-echelon content seems like it’s being shared in massive quantities FIRST and then rising in search rankings as the result of so much link sharing.
Have you used material from these content farms for clients? Have you produced content for them? Is it worth it?
My good friend Steve in Atlanta was writing a bunch for Demand in 2009-2010 as a freelancer. In a productive month, he was clearing $3K. In an August email, he said he’d earned $17K from writing Demand content in 2010 thus far.
He said the trick to succeeding at it was absolute discipline to the format. Once you get your routine and rhythm down, you could knock out 15-20 of these articles a day. And then, the cash flows.
Dave – was that a full-time gig for him?
I write for Huffpo, and I am happy to do it for nothing because it gives me a platform to comment on politically oriented content that I don’t put in my business blog. Arizona is very conservative, and I’m too independent for this business community, so I take my opinions to Huffpo. I figure Arianna is doing ME a favor. And then they tweet out all my posts, and now I’m a relatively well known blogger. Go figure.
An excellent point, but would you consider your experience common among other content producers, or are you MORE experienced in what you write about than the average huffpo contributor?