Bill Gates’ Predictions About Content Marketing in his 1996 Article Still Apply!

Get in here Content Marketer!

You have heard it a million times – content is king. This phrase has become the guiding principle of content and digital marketing.

The excerpts below from Bill Gates’ 1996 article, Content Is King, describe the basis of content marketing:

  • Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting. (On making money on the Internet)
  • When it comes to an interactive network such as the Internet, the definition of “content” becomes very wide. For example, computer software is a form of content-an extremely important one, and the one that for Microsoft will remain by far the most important.But the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate. (on the definition of content)
  • One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience. (on creation and duplication of content)
  • But to be successful online, a magazine can’t just take what it has in print and move it to the electronic realm. There isn’t enough depth or interactivity in print content to overcome the drawbacks of the online medium. (on printed content on online platforms)
  • If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines. (on consumer engagement)
bill gates-id-africa-content-marketing
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  • For the Internet to thrive, content providers must be paid for their work. The long-term prospects are good, but I expect a lot of disappointment in the short-term as content companies struggle to make money through advertising or subscriptions. It isn’t working yet, and it may not for some time. (on compensation for content creators)
  • In the long run, advertising is promising. An advantage of interactive advertising is that an initial message needs only to attract attention rather than convey much information. A user can click on the ad to get additional information-and an advertiser can measure whether people are doing so. (on advertising)
  • As connections to the Internet get faster, the annoyance of waiting for an advertisement to load will diminish and then disappear. But that’s a few years off. (on faster Internet)
  • Some content companies are experimenting with subscriptions, often with the lure of some free content. It’s tricky, though, because as soon as an electronic community charges a subscription, the number of people who visit the site drops dramatically, reducing the value proposition to advertisers. A major reason paying for content doesn’t work very well yet is that it’s not practical to charge small amounts. The cost and hassle of electronic transactions makes it impractical to charge less than a fairly high subscription rate. But within a year the mechanisms will be in place that allow content providers to charge just a cent or a few cents for information. If you decide to visit a page that costs a nickel, you won’t be writing a check or getting a bill in the mail for a nickel. You’ll just click on what you want, knowing you’ll be charged a nickel on an aggregated basis. This technology will liberate publishers to charge small amounts of money, in the hope of attracting wide audiences. (on subscriptions and paying to interact with great content online)

 

Read the full article here.

This article was published in 1996, and every prediction written in it has absofrigginlutely come to pass!

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