Today all you need is a good writer, a self-hosted website and/or blog, and organically grown social networks. With those three things, you can suddenly compete with the big boys for reputation and credibility. People see you as a thought leader in your industry. You create kinship among your prospects. And you sell in a way that has never before been possible.
All of the tools are free, so it’s a low barrier to entry. And it works.
The big social networks continue to run their platforms free to us because they consider us the product, not the user.
We’re the product
Take Google, for example. Google has been successful because it keeps introducing free features—analytics, blogging, RSS feeds, Google+, docs, hangouts, and more. The thinking is, of course, if it offers really good free features we’ll continue to use them, which boosts Google’s page views and drives advertising.