As an online course creator, you may wonder, “What is PLR?” since you’ve probably heard somewhere that it’s a fast and easy solution for content creation. Private Label Rights (PLR) content is content you can buy and then change it and add your company’s branding before making it available to your learners. Some examples of this type of digital marketing content are curriculum, articles, e-books, white papers or other reports, templates, printables, and videos.
What is PLR? Differences between Private Label Content (PLR), Resell Rights (RR), and Master Resell Rights (MRR)
Of course, to truly understand what PLR is, you should also know the difference between PLR and other types of content.
Private Label Rights (PLR) differ from Resell Rights (RR) or Master Resell Rights (MRR). With Resell Rights (RR), the only thing you can do with the content is use it or sell it exactly as is. You cannot alter it, and you cannot sell any rights to it. With Master Resell Rights (MRR), you can use the content, sell it, or sell the rights to it (“right to sell”), but as with Resell Rights (RR), you cannot alter the content or brand it with your own company info.
The only type of content you can alter and brand with your own company info is PLR content, which is the primary advantage of investing in it.
The pros of using Private Label Rights (PLR) content
You may invest in PLR content because of the benefits of time and cost savings compared to writing all content from scratch or hiring a writer to create each piece of content. In addition, using PLR content can be a great way to add new areas of expertise to an online course or to create a lead magnet for marketing.
As a course creator, your time is your most valuable and scarce resource; buying PLR content is a way to save time. Particularly for anyone who suffers writer’s block, it is often easier to edit content than to start with a blank page. When used as an outline for your eventual product, PLR content gives you a starting point, and then you can improve it by personalizing it for your audience.
An advantage of PLR content is that purchasing it is usually less expensive than hiring a writer to create custom content because PLR content creators rely on scale to make a profit. It may be a surprise how PLR content creators can make money selling their work for such low prices (sometimes just pennies!), but since they are selling it to so many people, it can still be lucrative for them to sell PLR content.
PLR content is useful if you want to offer your learners information in an area where you don’t already have expertise. Instead of taking the time to master a whole new subject and then create content about it, you can gain new knowledge at the same time as your learners by reviewing content created by subject experts in the new area. For example, your course may have strong content about stress management for new parents, but you want to add content about stress management for parents of toddlers, so relying on an expert about development psychology of toddlers can be a quick way to add a whole other source of help for your audience.
Some course creators use PLR content to create a free giveaway product, a lead magnet, as a marketing tool to create interest in their paid online course and to build their customer list for email marketing. Since the free product doesn’t directly yield a profit per sale but is a tool for increasing brand awareness, using low-cost PLR content can be a fast and smart way to get a good return on investment for the purchase.
Some ideas for a free giveaway are digital downloads, a podcast episode, or a mini-course. Some innovative content marketing ideas that are less often used are guestographics, instructographics, and storyboards. This content still needs to be personalized and high quality, because for many prospective learners, this will be their first introduction to your course creator brand.
Cons of using Private Label Rights (PLR) content
Before using PLR content, course creators will need to choose a strategy for addressing the potential cons of buying this type of content. These cons include low-quality PLR, content that is sold to too many people who might not customize it, the possible gamble of purchasing PLR content that cannot be previewed, and the potential for plagiarism or copyright infringement.
PLR content creators intentionally design the content to be general and vague to make it attractive to a wide variety of customers, and this means you must tailor the content to your own audience of learners to make it useful. Because some course creators don’t take sufficient time to make the content their own, PLR content has the reputation of being unhelpful and of inferior quality.
Your comfort level with customizing different content will determine which types of PLR content are the best for you. Some course creators are skilled at editing written content, but others have less expertise or fewer software tools to edit audio or video, so that’s an important consideration in deciding what type of PLR content to buy.
Poor sales and customer service policies
Some PLR content sellers will only sell PLR content in a bundle where you can’t see what you are purchasing before you pay for it, and some of these sellers have return and refund policies that aren’t friendly to the purchaser. Unless the price is so low that you can afford to take the risk even if the content turns out to be unusable for your online course, this type of PLR content offering is probably not the best option.
Because PLR content creators sell the same content to many buyers, Google can flag it as duplicate content. While SEO experts say duplicate content may no longer ruin your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) as content marketers once thought it did, Google still advises to avoid duplicate content. This is another reason you must customize PLR content for your learners instead of offering it “off the shelf” without modification.
Copyright and plagiarism problems
Besides the PLR content cons described above, the most serious potential problems of PLR content are copyright and plagiarism. Some of these problems are easily avoidable, and some are trickier to prevent. The avoidable case is when a course creator purchases PLR content from an unknown seller and does no research on where the content might also appear online. Sometimes duplicate content happens because someone didn’t change it sufficiently, but other times, there is intentional plagiarism.
To avoid plagiarism when you use PLR content, you can use plagiarism checking software. Some trustworthy software companies integrate plagiarism checkers into their products. For example, grammar checking software programs include plagiarism checking. Just be careful about using free plagiarism checkers online because some plagiarism checking companies store your content to use or sell for their own purposes.
Next is the more challenging part. If you purchase PLR content from a seller that grants you the right to resell the content and the copyright to it, you trust the seller has the legal standing to sell you the content and rights. If they do not, and you use the content, you are liable even if your mistake was an honest one. Since you are relying on the integrity of the seller, the safest strategy is to ask other course creators and digital entrepreneurs if they know of an ethical PLR source.
Making Private Label Rights (PLR) content relevant to your learners
The best way to distinguish your content from generic PLR content is to personalize it to the learning objectives of your audience. Adding content and examples from your own knowledge of the subject and experiences with your learners will differentiate your content from any other content a reader could find online.
People learn well from stories, so adding case studies about people who have successfully navigated the same challenges as your learners will make your content more engaging and memorable. Doing this also helps decrease the risks of plagiarism discussed above.
It may be an excellent decision to use PLR content, but only if you buy it from a trustworthy source and do a great job personalizing it for your audience of learners.
Janet Scarborough Civitelli, Ph.D., is a writer and psychologist with expertise in communications, education, and technology. She writes about business, workplace psychology, and the e-learning industry.