As more brands and businesses look to ramp up their content offerings to help drive new customers to their sites and build relationships with existing ones, sometimes they hit a roadblock. They might run out of budget to create content in-house or hire freelancers, or they simply can’t scale their content production fast enough. At that point, either the content becomes stagnant and traffic declines, or you must find other ways to keep your readers interested. That’s when bringing in licensed content can help. Before you assume that content licensing isn’t for you, you should learn what it actually is (and isn’t!). Take a look at some common misconceptions about content licensing to help determine if it’s the right move for your business…
Buying content is super expensive.
Buying and licensing content are two different things. When you pay for an outside party to create content for you, it is highly customized, and you’re paying for someone’s time and skills. With content licensing, although there is a cost associated, it is far less than the expense of creating or commissioning original content. On average, a basic reported story might cost $350 to produce in house or via a freelance contractor, but a similarly reported piece that’s already been produced from another source can be licensed for about $30, about 10 times less expensive. What’s more is that licensing is versatile, and allows you to repackage content into a variety of forms across desktop and mobile platforms.
It will diminish our authority if we go to other sources for content.
Ideally, you’ll want to have a mix of your own content, with licensed content and other material filling in the gaps. That being said, if anything, readers will be more impressed to see you align your brand with reputable, trusted sources of information from journalistic organizations or top industry publications. What’s great about licensing agreements is that the content lives on your site, meaning you reap all of the traffic and social sharing rewards (instead of linking to content and sending readers away from your site). Case in point: When Blue Cross Blue Shield Alabama relaunched its site with licensed content, monthly page views increased by 287% and unique visitors increased by 1776%.
Content licensing is just a fancy word for guest blogging.
Although you are featuring someone else’s work on your site in both cases, content licensing is not the same as guest blogging. With a licensing agreement, you are basically publishing a reprint of content that another publisher/author has created. You get to pick and choose what you want to feature, and you pay for the right to include each piece according to the terms of your licensing agreement. Guest bloggers on the other hand usually submit content to your site as a way to expand their reach, and often ask for nothing more than a link back to their site as “payment.”
Content licensing is stealing from other publications.
Let’s be clear – content licensing is a legal agreement between two parties known as licensees and licensors. In other words, your brand can repurpose full-text articles and videos ethically and legally. Everything should be spelled out very clearly in terms of how, where, and when you’re using the content, and how you’ll pay for this usage. In addition, licensed content is clearly attributed to its source, so if you are using a New York Times article, it will say “by Author Name, The New York Times,” or some variation of that.
If we don’t have time to create content, we definitely don’t have time to start cultivating partnerships involving content.
It’s true that anything involving contracts and legalities can tie you up in red tape. Depending on how much content you want to license, you might consider using a third party service that sublicenses content from hundreds of publishers. Whichever route you go, once the licensing agreement is all taken care of, you’ll have lots of content at the ready, meaning you can execute campaigns quickly and adapt in real time to events. In short, licensing content can help you scale your content marketing, fill in any coverage gaps, and add diversity to your content portfolio. If you think this could be a good option for your brand or business, download NewsCred’s Ultimate Guide to Content Licensing for a more in-depth look at how to get started, as well as some case studies. This article originally appeared on The Bulletin, NewsCred’s hub for all things content marketing. Featured image from ShutterStock.