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September 16, 2009

How to Market Your Website with a Creative Commons License

People can share, reuse, and alter content that is licensed under Creative Commons. You can license a variety of different materials under Creative Commons, and doing so is particularly beneficial if you would like your content to spread. When you license your content under Creative Commons, it gives people permission to share it with attributions. Creative Commons licensing can be an effective way for you to market your online content.

Creative Commons was designed with the way the web works in mind. On the web, sharing is a natural activity, and Creative Commons licensing allows you to share with little restriction. Although there is still a heated debate about whether it is right or wrong to share content freely, from a marketing perspective, unrestricted sharing is ideal. Even new digital content producers can get noticed quickly, thanks to unrestricted sharing.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons licenses lie somewhere between a full copyright and public domain. Rather than having “all rights reserved,” Creative Commons licensed content has “some rights reserved.” A Creative Commons license essentially allows you to modify your copyright terms. It tells people that they are allowed to use your content but that they must attribute it in the way you ask. Telling people they are allowed to share and reuse your content typically encourages even more sharing.

People who can benefit from Creative Commons licensing include bloggers, photographers, musicians, artists, businesses, and more. Adding a Creative Commons License to your content is a marketing tool because it encourages sharing and the word-of-mouth spreading of content. This type of social sharing is the most organic form of PR that exists. Creative Commons puts the control of the content sharing in the content producers’ hands.

What people have to realize is that if they produce high quality content, it is going to be reused no matter what. If you try to go against the sharing, it’ll be an uphill battle. Just look at the music industry’s current struggle with online file sharing. Rather than fighting content sharing, go with it and take advantage of it as a promotional tool.

SEO and PR Benefits of Creative Commons

As an added perk, licensing your content under Creative Commons has SEO benefits. Since you have control over how your content is attributed, you can have everyone link directly to your homepage using a hyperlink. This will help you get a lot of link love and contribute to your link building campaign.

You can also capitalize on your success in using Creative Commons to get some PR. The topic of free is trendy and is getting a lot of media attention right now so you can take advantage of that in order to get media coverage.

Encouraging Influential People to Share Your Content

When you create quality content and license it under Creative Commons, it encourages influential bloggers and professionals to link to your content. Established bloggers and content publishers are very careful not to infringe on copyrights because they know that it could lead to lawsuits. But if these bloggers see that your content is licensed under Creative Commons, they will know that it is completely okay to use it as long as they attribute it properly.

Want to get started with Creative Commons? Take the time to learn more about the specific licenses that are offered and then register one for your content. It’s free!

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