Why Canned Content Sells

25 March 2012
Is creativity underrated?
Writing, fine arts, and music belong to the realm of creatives, and typically, many creative people spend hours just brainstorming how to produce their next masterpieces.

Does this sound just like you? If it does, then you're probably not going to like the current landscape. Imagine pumping articles, videos, and logo designs under time pressure just to meet weekly or monthly quotas.

Very few creatives actually get to enjoy the opportunity of working in an environment that truly promotes careful thought processing. These days, the demand for canned content has overtaken the need for well-conceived output. Here's why:

Product vs. Process

Writing and related activities are theoretically both a product and a process, but most people fail to realize this. Even though you're a fast worker, you don't just spend 100 percent of the shift on actual writing. Part of the work involves research and organization too.  

So, between product and process, employers would rather see tangible proof and pay for the product only rather than spend their cash so you can brainstorm the hours away. The rare exception would be consultancies where businesses give you money for your professional opinion.

Profiteering with Passable Content

Time is gold. Every second wasted is profit lost. Just try to scan job advertisements. You're bound to find plenty that mention the need to "populate websites with content." These clients are not so big on quality as long as the article passes for unique content under Copyscape.

Apparently, unique and generic writing is quicker to produce and costs much less than an original masterpiece. Start-up websites require only passable written work to begin wooing the search engines. To distinguish between original vs. unique, don't miss the post on freelancers' jargons.  

Markets for Paraphrasing

It's no hoax. There are paying markets for rehashed ideas that require good paraphrasing skills and nothing more. You don't have to write from scratch as there's a ready material for you to work on.

The output: Canned content, of course. You see; no matter how well worded, paraphrased work basically conveys boiler plate ideas, and they could be needed for:
  • Split Testing Websites. Businesses often use and compare two or more versions of the same website to find out which performs better in search engine ranking, lead generation, or conversion.

    Some design elements and features are changed, but in most cases, the content remains the same. It's not unusual to be asked to rewrite "About Us" and "Privacy" pages, for instance.

  • Link Building. Yes, Google Panda slapped a lot of sites, especially the known content mills. However, there are a number of marketing directories that survived the updates: Ezine is still a PR 6 site, and Article Pros is still a PR 4 directory.

    So long as these directories remain in business and maintain their page rank, companies will continue to submit canned content and link these back to their website.

  • Private Label Rights (PLR) Books. Establishments that are into selling PLR books (which come with the license to distribute, resell, or modify the materials) normally offer rewriting services too.

    With few exceptions, PLR books hardly contain in-depth, good-quality write-ups. Companies still buy the stuff though to get an overview of possible writing topics and to make easy money by re-branding and reselling the materials as part of a "new and improved" PLR collection.
All in all, these directions are changing the game plan, the attitudes, and the quality of writing professionals that you meet online. If you're a creative or if you write for a living, how do you feel about these developments?*
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