Amortize Your Content Investments Over 36 Months

Writing quality original articles has a clear cut cost or investment associated with each and every article you or your team produces. If you’re a solo-professional who writes your own articles, your cost may be related to lost opportunity costs vs. what you could be doing with the same time if you weren’t producing new articles. If you’re an entrepreneur who has in-house or freelance writers who produce quality original articles for you, then you know the exact economic cost per article produced.

I study publicly traded companies that specialize in content/publishing and recently I’ve noticed a trend that they previously thought that article content development costs should be expensed in the same year it was written; but today, the ROI evidence points to the fact that articles produce a very real tangible return for 3 or more years instead of the first year it was produced in.

You won’t get any argument from me or pretty much any of our expert authors that articles can produce tangible economic value for 10 or more years, but it looks like 3 years is the current norm to expense justify the development costs of producing content.

Why am I sharing this?

I’m hoping you’ll realize that you get a multi-year return from every dollar of effort you invest in producing quality original articles and that you’ll think longer term instead of requiring a short-term return from your article writing & marketing efforts.

This is one of the things I love about article marketing: It’s not a get rich quick thing. The true winners are those who consistently over time continue to produce original content rather than the typical “yeah, I submitted 3 articles and I didn’t get rich yet so this strategy must not work” author.

Your thoughts?


Audrey Okaneko writes:

I can only share my own personal experiences. I share this one story constantly as an example of the power of article writing. I wrote an article titled “Protect Your Child With a Password” I have received feedback on this article for 10 years. The article has appeared on countless websites, some of which no longer exist and continues to be picked up by new site owners.

This article took me under one hour to write. The payoff has been incredible. Talk about multi-year payoff….yea, 10 years is a long time.


Comment provided November 10, 2006 at 11:48 AM


Ed Howes writes:

Likewise, if one starts off with substandard writing, that will be out there for ten years telling readers not to bother with your new and improved content. Quality counts from the first submission.

Comment provided November 10, 2006 at 1:31 PM


Audrey Okaneko writes:


I think this topic is great. Several weeks ago, Chris made a blog post about how our writing style matures as time goes on.

Many of use wrote articles in the beginning that we might not write today.

While I can remove an older article from my own website or even remove it from EzineArticles, I can not remove it from anywhere else it might be posted.

Even today, I’ve had publishers write me and tell me they love my short, one topic articles, yet I’ve had others write me and tell me they wish I had offered more techniques in each article.

Do you believe that those who wrote poor articles 10 years ago, should start over? Do you believe that someone will not read their writings today?

On the very same topic, I mentioned a few days ago, that I do searches on EzineArticles all of the time. If the article I pull up is a good article, I’ll look up the author and scan their other articles. If the article I pull up is “junk” IN MY OPINION, I don’t look up additional articles by that author. Also, next time I look, if I remember that authors name, I’ll choose to bypass their articles. Ten years from now though, I’m not sure I’ll remember the name of the author whose writings I thought were junk.

Comment provided November 10, 2006 at 6:36 PM


Ed Howes writes:

Audrey, :-)

I’m saying there is no starting over. We should and often do get better. But if we are gung ho marketers shooting to rapidly build web site traffic, we can’t afford to be sloppy, rushed or indifferent about our early content. One can overcome a bad start by publishing better content in more places. By why handicap yourself to save an hour on an early article and lose a hundred web site visitors in the process. You won’t remember the bad content providers a year later, let alone ten. :-) And there is no pleasing everybody.

Comment provided November 10, 2006 at 6:57 PM


Matt Keegan writes:

You can get a lot more out of an article if you avoid specific dates in that article. For example, if you mention something to the effect “during last year’s election President Bush defeated. Senator Kerry…” already you are dating yourself and telling your readers that you wrote the article in 2001. While that may not be “old” per se, in this day and age people measure “newness” in terms of months, not years.

Never be so transparent as to mention current time otherwise your article will age much faster than what you had expected.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 10:56 AM


Ed Howes writes:


I don’t think this dating matters much unless it is part of your introduction. summary. If someone has opened your article because the title or intro got their attention, there is a good chance they will not quit reading when they find a reference to a past event, which is only incidental to the point you are making.

I do a lot of commentary on current events. When I go back and read my two and three year old articles, I find they are still interesting and usually relevant. Of course, I am not simply reporting an event but using such to illustrate an observation.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:34 AM


Susan Scharfman writes:

To Matt Keegan & Ed Howe: Actually I think you are both right. My oldest article written in April 05 is about the theatre and the centennial of George Balanchine. It has received more hits (because it’s the oldest?) and emails than any of the others. Some articles outdate themselves, and others remain relevant.


Comment provided November 20, 2006 at 3:34 PM


Faye Brown writes:

I agree with what you have written, and it’s time to sharpen my pencil.

Comment provided November 21, 2006 at 2:33 PM


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