Content Arbitrage – Buy Low and Sell High

In a new article, marketing speaker and author David Meerman Scott (whose content is syndicated through Newstex) discusses the practice of “buying” content when its “price” is low and re-selling it at a higher price in what he calls content arbitrage. David defines content arbitrage as follows:

“Content arbitrage involves finding information in one place and revealing it in another to take advantage of temporary differences in the knowledge level of people in those two markets.”

To further explain the concept of content arbitrage, imagine you find breaking news in your industry on a blog. You can quickly write about that news on your own blog, add your expert viewpoint and opinion to it, and share it via Twitter, Facebook, and so on. In other words, you used another person’s content as a tool to communicate and support your own opinions and knowledge.

People do this all the time — both online and offline. Whether you’re verbally sharing a piece of news you heard with friends at work and add your opinions into the discussion or you’re sharing online content in a blog post or other social media update and add your opinions to it, you’ve participated in content arbitrage.

David warns there is a catch when it comes to profiting from content arbitrage. He explains, “With all forms of arbitrage, the potential to profit only exists as long as there’s an exploitable difference between simultaneous markets. It’s real-time data.”

When you think about it, isn’t that how news organizations work, particularly 24-hour cable news networks? They all hear about a breaking story either from mutual sources or through each other’s news reports. The content arbitrage profit for these news organizations comes from adding more details using their journalistic resources or spinning the story to appeal to their specific target audiences. For example, when one news organization breaks a story from the White House,  you can guarantee that all news networks will carry that story, but Fox News will put a very different spin to it than MSNBC will. There is an exploitable difference that news organizations use to their advantage.

Most content publisher leverage content arbitrage opportunities, but as David explains in his article, timing and differentiation are key to getting positive results from it.

What do you think about content arbitrage? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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