Why You Should Never Give Up On Content
When we first began preparing to expand our companies capabilities in selling high quality content, we enjoyed partnerships with some mass submission web sites that were essential in our initial business growth (i.e. submitting ongoing content on a freelance basis).
However, the content submission system was faulty enough to make submitting articles a headache. Editors for the web site would request changes that were absolutely incorrect or but heads with our own editors over matters that left us wondering if they had any experience with the subject matter that they were editing.
To give you a few examples, I can remember some comments very clearly:
- Please refrain from using the term "slide" when describing the trombone. It is a valve instrument.
- "Off" is not a preposition.
- Passive voice is always better than active.
Long story short, we fulfilled our contract with the web site, paid the writers for all of the work that they had done and counted our losses. Although the content submission was regular and we could count on it to give us as much work as we needed to build our staff and secure a client base, the faulty submission standards were impossible to predict and resulted in a great deal of rejected articles that were fine pieces of content that the site's editor simply took issue with in an opinionated manner.
With client's we are always flexible to deliver the best content possible and follow their every request. With this web site, it was simply not possible as there was no real client.
Thus, folders began to build up on manager's computers titled "Lost Work". Although the web site did not pay for the work, we paid the writers for the work and filed it away, hoping to have some use for it later. Recently, I have had several phone calls about buying older articles for a reduced rate. Of course, these lost work folders came to mind and we were able to sell a substantial amount of them to make up for our previous losses. We simply charged what we paid the writer and released the rights. Suddenly, a database of content that might sit around for years until we opened a web site on which to use it became a popular request.
The only reason this comes to mind today is that I was shocked to recently hear how many writing managers simply abandon lost content in the interest of saving time or not wanting to be reminded of previous unsuccessful efforts. Almost as bad, I have heard many cases of individual freelance writers abandoning lost "flat rate" work to revenue share web sites where they might make 20 cents for the content over a period of a year.
My advice to all writers and managers that handle content - never give up on work. You will take a loss from time to time, especially when you are just starting out as a freelancer and have some clients that never pay for the completed work. Make sure the writers are paid and hope for the best in the future. You never know when the content might prove to be valuable.