Content Creation for Pennies

The price of creating content has dropped radically thanks to new thinking

If the cost of producing videos or slide shows or photography has been keeping you from making your branding and marketing as professional and slick as a Fortune 500 company, I have great news for you. Prices have dropped radically thanks to new thinking about technology and talent.

I just read an interesting article in a back issue of WIRED magazine that talks about an online company, Demand Media (link to that creates 4,000 videos and articles on a wide range of subjects every day. You read that right – 4,000 pieces of content a day. They use alogorithms to figure out what information people are searching for, and what advertisers are willing to pay to be associated with, and have a virtual crowd of freelancers who work for peanuts producing stuff. They upload all this stuff to various sites (they have 170,000 videos on YouTube alone) and they are making a lot of money. It made me think about all the companies out there who don’t want to make 4,000 pieces of content a day, but can access many of the same tools that makes this model economically feasible.

There are sites like that offer photos for a dollar or two. Some sites offer logo designs, or website templates, or voice-over talent, or music beds for videos. Anything you used to have to pay a large amount of money for is now, seemingly, available for next-to-nothing online.

All over the planet, freelancers in every conceivable industry are working for a few dollars to create things. Demand Media pays just 20$ for a video. It takes a lot of videos to make a living at that rate. It’s not great news for anyone who wants to be an auteur, and make high-quality expensive content. And it leads to questions. How much stuff is enough stuff? Is it fair to the creators? Is it sustainable in the long term? All good queries, but for the time being at least, there is gold in making content fast and cheap for the companies that aggregate these efforts and know how to market them.

What it means for your company today, however, is that you can get things done for a very reasonable amount of money. I remember the days when a photographer with a decent resume could charge $5000 a day to shoot product photos for a website or brochure. Now you can get those for $100. You can source filmmakers and editors and writers and advertising campaign people and etc and etc for a miniscule fraction of what it used to cost.

My point? Take advantage of this. Get online and find the things you need. We are at the beginning of a wave here, and no one really knows when it will end or what it will turn into. But now is your chance to buy the talent you need to move your branding and marketing efforts into the new era of Web 2.0.
Are there instructional videos on your website? Are there tours of your factory available on YouTube? Are you taking advantage of the almost-free photography available to make your ads, brochures and websites more engaging?

Why not?