Three C’s of Content Creation

Logo: UpToDate (Trademark: Wolters Kluer)

Need an ass-load of content for your company, app, or website?  There’s a right way and a wrong way to create it.  Choose wisely:

Crowd Sourced

Use this if: You need diversity or timliness.
Don’t use this if: Your content needs experts.  (I’m looking at you yahoo answers).

This is perhaps the cheapest way to generate content.  Well, cheap in dollars.  Your users generate it for you.  This is an overused type of content generation.  I can’t even explain how many startups I hear about that are doomed to failure because their planning to get their content from crowd sourcing.  There are some types of products however, that really require crowd sourcing.  Use this type of content generation if your information must be very timely, or if the sources must be extremely diverse.  A great example of a good choice for crowd sourced content is Reddit.  There’s just no way anyone could ever hope to


Use this if: you need high quality, organized content only
Don’t use this if: you can’t find a great editor or free/cheap content simply isn’t available.

My wife is an internal medicine doc and she uses an app called Up To Date that gives her searchable best practice knowledge about everything medicine.  This is a fantastic example of really well curated content  I recently met with Nancy McKinstry, the CEO of Wolters Kluer, maker of Up-To-Date and she bragged that it was “better than google”.  You know what she’s right.  On this issue, up-to-date IS better.  Here’s the key: curated content requires a dedicated, voracious, editor with great taste.  Peer reviewed journals are examples of curated content.  Their entire staff is basically just editors.


Use this if: Premium quality is needed and there is no free/cheap source
Don’t use this if: You haven’t explored all other avenues or you can’t afford it

Making your own content is a horrible slog.  It’s slow, it’s unwieldy, and it’s expensive.  Why would you ever do it?  Well, there are some times when really high quality content is an absolute requirement, and also, the content is not cheaply or freely available.  SAT Habit, one of my own projects, is a good example of this.  We make solution videos to SAT questions and there simply is not good source of these videos.  It costs us a fortune to do, but we think it’s worth it.

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