There’s a lively debate unfolding over at Copyblogger.com about whether you can truly own your business’s online content and how best to avoid the trap of becoming a “digital sharecropper.” Sonia Simone started the conversation with her post “The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Online Marketing Efforts.”

If you’re relying on Facebook or Google to bring in all of your new customers, you’re sharecropping. You’re hoping the landlord will continue to like you and support your business, but the fact is, the landlord has no idea who you are and doesn’t actually care.

Of course, Simone makes clear that Facebook and Google are wonderful tools—essential to any well balanced online marketing strategy—but her point is that you’re playing with fire if your business model relies entirely on a third party. “The secret is to spend most of your time and creative energy building assets that you control,” says Simone. These assets include:

  1. A well-designed website or blog populated with lots of valuable content
  2. An opt-in email list, ideally with a high-quality autoresponder
  3. A reputation for providing impeccable value

Read the article—and the comments—here.

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