Run a Google search on the phrase "content is king," and you'll get nearly 450,000 results. It appears that content really is king, and everybody knows it. Now think of the millions upon millions of websites lining the byways of the Internet. Think of all the sites you go to on a regular basis. Finally, ask yourself where any one of them would be without their content. Exactly. With no content a website simply doesn't have a purpose for being.
But there's a major problem when it comes to content. It's not so easy to produce. Yet lots of websites need major injections of the stuff everyday just so they can survive. It's one thing if you run a small blog and only need to put up one or two short posts at a time. But what if you're bigger than that but not big enough to sustain a small army of creatives? How are you supposed to keep your pages fresh?
That's where Content-as-a-Service (Caas) comes in. Since most websites can't afford to pay hundreds of writers and artists, they often rely on other agencies to procure their content for them. Over time, this method of acquiring text new material has come to be known as Content-as-a-Service, or CaaS for short. CaaS providers tend to be digital marketing firms, tech startups (like EdgeTheory), and even freelance professionals.
Simply put, the Internet is powered by the rocket fuel of conversation, regardless of whether it takes the form of thought-provoking articles, user comments, or interactions on social media. People come to the Internet for the simple reason that they want to interact with others. CaaS is the method by which many small and medium-sized websites make such conversations possible for their audiences.
There are any number of ways by which CaaS can be configured. Some services simply syndicate content across the various websites that purchase it. Others repurpose or reformat it for special usage. EdgeTheory, for instance, has a product called Soundboard, which allows users to share content on social media and even provides them with suggested text for posting.
You might be wondering if the CaaS model means that the same content gets published and republished all over the web. Far from it. Since most online conversations take place within niche specialty domains, CaaS providers strive diligently to avoid redundancy through content duplication. I'm sure you've seen an article in one place reappear elsewhere. But if you think about it, it's probably not an everyday occurrence.
Could CaaS Work for You?
Regardless of your particular industry or specialized community, Content-as-a-Service could feasibly enable your brand or organization to broaden its own online conversation as well. Some distinct advantage of CaaS include the following:
- CaaS can be tailored. Web publishers can specify the kinds of content that benefit their audiences and enhance their online conversations.
- CaaS can improve your conversation share on social media. Conversation share is critical because it contributes to organizational authority and enhances your online reputation.
- CaaS can be automated. Once you've contracted with a provider and the back-end development work has been accomplished, the content usually appears in your feed or website without further prompting - unless you specify otherwise.
- CaaS can be specially formatted. Need an automated social media feed? A CaaS provider can handle that for you. Trying to build a niche website? Again, CaaS might be your answer.
- CaaS can improve your Google rankings. Generally this is achieved through traffic volume and social media activity, rather than the content itself. Still, higher rankings are higher rankings.
- CaaS offers a more comprehensive means of promoting your brand. Audiences are more discriminating than ever now and want to engage in conversations that go beyond your products and services. CaaS offers an innovative means for promoting your brand without being pushy about it.
We are still in the early stages of the CaaS model, and it remains to be seen how it will evolve as Web 2.0 gradually morphs into Web 3.0. One thing remains clear, though. As the spiraling global conversation that is the World Wide Web continues to add new users, the demand for fresh content is only going to intensify. Success will come more readily to those who can provide it, while those who cannot will fall by the wayside.
The question before us now is this: where in that equation do we want to be?