Is Free Content Hurting Your Business?
Do you ever wonder if offering so much free content to your audience is doing more harm than good?
Should you be willing to give away your expertise and great information for free?
For many, it’s just the thought of “being on the hook” and having to regularly come up with fresh and fun ideas on a consistent basis that completely stresses them out.
So what do you think?
We have all heard the saying “content is king” – but is it really?
How do you know “how much is too much” when it comes to figuring out what give away for free?
If you’ve ever struggled with questions like these, or lack inspiration and structure in your content creation keep reading…
(Remember the content that we are talking about isn’t just blog posts – it’s tweets, FB Page updates, Instagram posts, etc.)
So much pressure surrounds continually publishing a variety of content to our audiences, that we often feel like we have to “keep up with the Jones’s” of marketing.
I often hear people wonder “what am I supposed to sell if I am giving other content away for free?”
This strategic content game is daunting, competitive and challenging.
Is it even necessary?
50% of buying decisions are made online through content marketing. (Source: Content Plus http://www.contentplus.co.uk/marketing-resources/infographics/anatomy-of-content-marketing/)
And 61% of consumers feel more positive about a company as a direct result of reading custom content on their site and social media (Source: Customer Insight Group, 2014)
Think about it: You’re trying to encourage your customers to give their money to you in exchange for your product or service.
They are going to be more likely to buy from you after building a solid relationship of trust and seeing firsthand your level of expertise and the quality of your product.
If you want to increase not only your sales, but your business’ exposure (and build your list) you need to offer a fantastic exchange of value.
Here’s how to create free content that doesn’t hurt your business…
Content builds trust and credibility.
Gaining the trust of your audience is essential, especially as your potential customers are exposed to a major case of information overwhelm.
Trust is established by being upfront and transparent with your customers.
Actually SHOW THEM that you can solve their issues, and trust and likeability will immediately follow.
Take for example, the Principle of Reciprocity:
The Principle of Reciprocity is based on the theory that if you give someone something they will feel more inclined to give back to you.
The key is to give more if you really want to get what you’re after.
As business owners what we can give is content, expertise, and information. As a result, what you will receive is increased trust from your audience, leading to increased opt-in’s, increased sales and increased exposure.
If you offer content for free does this mean your audience will be less inclined to pay for your other product, services and content?
Your free content encourages your audience to build a relationship with you, risk free. It allows your potential customers to try out what you have to offer before giving anything away. This is extremely beneficial for everyone involved. Your customers will either gain confidence that what you are offering can be of service to them or they will decide that it is not a good fit for their needs. Either way you will develop much more engaged customer relationships.
There will be some who will only download your free material, ignoring your other offers. But they are not your concern. Do not get discouraged by this as these visitors are not your ideal target market. Your ideal customer will value your free content as a support to their buying decision and invest in you products or services.
By showing a snippet of your expertise your ideal customers will know that your products or services are right for them and this trust may be all they need to filter through the sales funnel.
Don’t be afraid to flirt and play a little “hard to get”!
Keep your audience interested and wanting to know more, don’t give away all your secrets for free. We all know that if our interest is sparked by a little mystery we are naturally intrigued, am I right?
We automatically want to ask “How can I learn more? Give me more of this brilliant stuff”. Exactly what we want to hear as business owners!
Create and Exchange Value
If you can create valuable content that serves your community you will become a source of information and a trusted and credible authority within your industry. If your audience can see your free content has solved an issue for them, inspires them, or is useful in some way they will come back for more (and turn into converting to paying customers).
So how do you come up with engaging free content that stands out?
One of the most effective ways to gather inspiration is by reaching out to your audience. Evaluate and see what content is already getting the most reaction from your audience.
-What is your audience are talking about?
-What are they passionate about and what lights them up?
-What inspires them? What motivates them?
-What frustrations do they have in your industry that you could solve?
-Ask them what they want to see and how you can help them.
-Ask them everything!
Your customers want their issues solved quickly and if you provide them with free content that shows you have not only the expertise to solve these issues but you can do it with clarity than they will trust you when you say you know your stuff!
TIP: the best way to help your audience overcome information overwhelm is to make your content visually appealing and simple.
So how can you do it all?
Not only can you use a variety of great content creation tools, but you can also delegate content research and the creation of your content.
Remember you can do anything, but not everything! If you can find the right people who understand the values and messages of your business you can delegate the creation of your content, freeing you up to complete the tasks only you can do.
Often it’s not that we need more time, it’s just that we need a better strategy!
Follow these steps to creating unique content that helps your business, not hurts!
Now I want to hear from YOU!
Comment below and share 3 ways that you are going to start leveraging free content in your business.