The single best indicator of valuable content


What’s the single best indicator of valuable content? What shows that your content is worthwhile?

It’s not social media influence scores or shares.

It’s not even website traffic or conversions.

It’s when someone else thinks your content is valuable enough to steal and repost on software piracy sites. (as shown above)

Certainly, having your intellectual property rights violated can be upsetting, especially if it’s one of the ways you’re driving revenue for your company, but the implicit message is also that your content merits being stolen. Someone took the time and effort to share it in the most illicit venues on the Internet because they thought it was worthwhile and didn’t feel like paying for it.

Obviously, while this metric is certainly a valuable one, it’s neither a reliable one nor one you should build a strategy around. So in the absence of a serious strategy for having your content stolen, what’s the next best, most rational option? Put your content up for sale and see how many people purchase it.


If your content is worthwhile, there will be people who buy it, like it, and talk about it. On the other hand, if you put your latest eBook/white paper/download up for sale and there’s absolutely no interest in it at all, then it might not be as compelling or as valuable to your audiences as you’d want. Rework it, sharpen it, until your audience believes it’s worth paying money for.

You have great content when you have content worth paying for.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on June 9, 2014 in Content Marketing, Marketing, Metrics

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn has been featured as a recognized authority in many books, publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, BusinessWeek and US News & World Report, and television networks such as PBS, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, and ABC News for his leadership in new media and marketing. In 2012 and again in 2013, Forbes Magazine recognized him as one of the top 50 most influential people in social media and digital marketing; Marketo Corporation named him a Marketing Illuminator, and PR News nominated him as Social Media Person of the Year. Mr. Penn is the Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, a public relations firm, as well as co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp New Media Community Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. He is an adjunct professor of Internet marketing and the lead subject matter expert and professor of Advanced Social Media at the University of San Francisco. He’s the author of the best-selling book Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer.
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