Are You Giving Away Too Much Free Content?

Are You Giving Away Too Much Free Content?

First published on the ABN Her Business Blog

A dilemma facing any service professional/consultant is,should I be giving away free content, and if I am, is it too much?

Two presentations I attended at SXSW in Austin, Texas this year basically gave the same answer to this question: Yes, give away as much as you possibly can because it leads to the consulting. It’s your marketing machine!

And here’s why:

Both presentations arrived at the same conclusion for me – free online content allows your prospects to self select by reading what you have written and brings them 60% through the sales process. How’s that for removing an icky sales conversation!

Takeaway 1:

Blogs will create attention and interest, but will not lead to action straight away.

Lots will consume content, but never be a client — and that’s okay.

Takeaway 2:

“Content creates an information annuity.”

You can share and re-share through social media, refreshing old content, particularly if the content is evergreen. And different social media platforms require a different strategy as well. Twitter, for instance, may only be viewed by a few of your followers at the point in time you tweet the post out, thus you can repeat over a period of time. Facebook and Google + have more stickiness in that your post will appear for longer. The trick is that something you wrote a year ago CAN be re-posted — not only will some of your existing audience have forgotten about it, but the newer members of your audience have yet to see it.

Takeaway 3:

“Your blog is an asset for your company. All content should end up there.”

Re-purpose your material to expand your blog by adding:

  • Slideshares from presentations
  • Turning presentations into blog posts
  • Archiving a webinar and reporting on it
  • Transcribing your podcasts to create blog posts

These are superb ideas aren’t they? (Did I say that I loved SXSW?)

Takeaway 4:

If you want to be seen as an expert, you have to narrow your focus.

Rather than writing about all the topics you are knowledgeable on in the one spot, create different platforms for those. By sticking to one topic in a blog, you create expert status on that topic. These blog posts can then create a book. Sounds far-fetched? Many authors in the market place today followed this route.

Takeaway 5:

We will give away our secret sauce.

One of the presenters said, “having a grocery list doesn’t make you a chef.” How true is this? You are able to deliver your knowledge and content in such a way because all of your experience, learning and knowledge to this point is your unique take on your topic. No one can have exactly the same approach as you.

Takeaway 6:

We shouldn’t talk about price in content.

If your reader is not able to perceive the value from the words on the page, or video content, then no price should be mentioned. This is more about consulting, in my opinion. If you want to engage your prospects for a short- or long-term consulting gig, then you really need to lead them to a conversation about your services, rather than just stating the price on your website. But if you do want to eliminate tyre kickers, a price range can help with this.

I hope you enjoyed the fab takeaways I curated for you, direct from SXSW. Joe Pullizi, who was one of the presenters I mentioned, presented a podcast you can listen to here.

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