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How to Use Public Domain Content to Boost Your Blog
Posted on November 13th 2012
Since the purpose of your blog is to drive traffic, branding, and revenue, you need to deliver fresh content on a consistent basis. That's what your content marketing strategy is for - to develop a long-term editorial schedule containing the types of posts you will put out on your blog.
Planning for the post ideas for the next three months is never going to be easy. And it's only going to get more difficult once you realize that you need to take chances with the kinds of content you need to regularly produce.
This is why you need to extend your content marketing reach by going for public domain content. This is the type of content unprotected by copyright law. The reason why some books, music, or movies are prohibited to be used is because only the person or group who has copyright ownership to the resources has exclusive rights to them for a limited time. If the copyright for a particular work expires and nobody came to renew the rights, however, then the work goes to the public domain. This means that works in the public content can be used freely - in any way the author wants to - without having to worry about getting entangled with the law.
What you need to know about public domain
- Works published before 1923 are in the public domain.
- Works published from 1923 to 1963 with notice has copyright law applied for 28 years. Law can be renewed for 47 years and extended to 20 years.
- Work published from 1964 to 1977 with notice has copyright law applied for 28 for the first term and an automatic extension of 67 years on second term.
- Work published on or after 1978 has copyright law applied until the death of the last living author (if joint work) in addition to 70 years.
(Click here for the source page of the points listed above. For the complete chapters of the Copyright Law in the United States, click here. Or check out Public Domain Sherpa for a comprehensive and easy-to-read information on how public domain works.)
Now that we have covered the legalities of public domain and copyright law, it's time to write some posts using the free content!
Copy and paste them on your blog
Pretty straight-forward tip, but if you're looking to diversify your content marketing strategy, you can take a book from the public domain related to your niche and publish the work into different parts. This applies to works published before 1923. Mashable has listed down some of the best sites where you can download free public domain e-books you can use for your blog.
Retell public domain content
Walt Disney made lots of money off fairy tales by fashioning them into feel-good animated films. You can do the same with public domain works from your niche.
Since most of the works in the public domain have outdated information, feature public domain information as benchmark for a comparative study. The idea here is to make information featured on public domain e-books relevant in today's context.
If you're running a social media blog, you can get a marketing book from the public domain and take ideas that were applicable then. If the ideas on the marketing book can be applied on social media, you can title the post "Universal Marketing Ideas from Yesteryears that Apply to Social Media." If the ideas are farfetched from how we do social media and marketing today, you can title the post "Reasons Why Social Media Won't Succeed in the 1900s" or something similar to that.
Use free images to beef up your blog posts
This is far from a secret but it needs to be said nonetheless - a post with an image will draw more readers than a post without an image. Sites like Photopin and Wikimedia Commons can help you locate suitable images for your post that won't cost you a dime, as long as you attribute their respective sources on your post.
Create instant newsletter or e-courses
If there's a public domain work that exactly matches your niche, you can easily chop it up into parts and send it out to subscribers of your newsletters or e-courses. Set up a sign-up form on your blog using Aweber or MailChimp (free) to develop a mailing list interested in the information you wish to send out.
Use music for your video content
Instead of creating your own music or purchasing stock music online, you can just take some of the free music readily available on public domain (as compiled by FreePD and additional resources featured at makeuseof) and use them as fill in the desired tone of your videos.
Are there other ways on sites that you could suggest to help people with their content marketing strategy with the use of public domain? Let us know by commenting below!