We’ve all heard the motto about starting a business that you have to spend money to make money. And while that still holds true in many senses, when it comes building a personal brand or business online, those words of advice should be altered just slightly. Instead of only spending money, you also need to be providing things for free.
Just like the old school motto, giving away things for free in order to get things back might seem a little counter-intuitive, but it’s a strategy that works! In fact, many of the biggest influencers right now swear by it.
In Gary Vaynerchuck’s book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook, he expands on this idea and what it boils down to—in order to build trust with your audience, you have to demonstrate authority and credibility by providing value. What better way to provide value than giving your prospective customers a glimpse of the value they’d be receiving by purchasing your product or service.
That’s why in today’s blog I’m going to show you how giving away your best tips, strategies, and advice for FREE will help you build instant trust with your audience and help you attract customers to your business.
Why Give Away Free Content?
“Giving away my best content for free has been my gateway drug to so many amazing opportunities.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
Your brand or business can benefit in many ways by giving away free content, even though it might be a hard concept to understand right away.. One of the biggest challenges in building a business or starting a brand is getting noticed. A great strategy for getting notice is by building a reputation and becoming an expert or authority in your niche. One of the best ways to do that is in providing your audience with value through content that is free and easy for them to consume.
Obviously, creating content take a lot of time and hard work, and the thought of giving it away for free might be difficult to process. To build a successful business, you need to make money, and at first thought, you probably think you can’t make money when you’re giving stuff away for free. However, giving content away for free is a long-term strategy that will pay off in the end.
Free content positions you as an expert and authority on the topic – As people see you creating free YouTube videos packed with helpful information, or e-books overflowing with awesome advice, or podcasts filled with valuable interviews, they start to see you as the expert on the subject. The more value you give, the higher your authority status. The more content you create on a consistent basis, the bigger our fan-base will grow, and the more consumers will share your work with others in their network—affirming your status as an authority. This is essentially a great form of word-of-mouth marketing.
Free content gives your audience a taste of what to expect when they work with you – Charging for your products or services is great, but if you can’t convince your prospective customers to purchase what you have to offer in the first place, then you’re not making any money anyways. Providing your audience with a free offering gives them a preview of the value your product or service can add. Think of free content as a test drive—no one is going to buy a car without driving it first. Plus, free content is consumed 50 times more often than content that sits behind a paywall. It also generates more exposure and earns new clients.
Free content creates more opportunities for you to market your business – Every time you create content and make it free to consume, you create another opportunity to promote your business and divert traffic.. Free content creates opportunities to direct web traffic, convert leads, start conversations, answer questions, get interview opportunities, and so much more. Always make sure your free content leads people back to your primary web assets. Primary web assets are places where people go when they are ready to buy. Include a CTA in your free content
What Content Should You Give Away?
Deciding which content you should distribute for free needs to be a strategic decision. You need to be thinking three steps ahead. You’re looking to create leverage that allows you to eventually do something for profit, so figure out what kind of content will get you what you want, and who needs to see it
Some examples of free content for online entrepreneurs are discovery calls, free Skype sessions, free downloadable ebooks and other info-products, free videos, free training material, and so on. If you’re sticking to more traditional content like articles, YouTube videos, or podcasts, you need to make sure it is easy to consume and share.
Make sure your content is presented in a format that can be accessed on both desktop and mobile devices. You should also incorporate social sharing tools so it’s easier for your followers to share on their own networks. Content should also be published on networks that are interactive—you need to be able to interact with customers and give them an opportunity to provide feedback.
Create content that discusses the challenges that customers face. Give viewers an opportunity to weigh in and share their thoughts and engage with them by answering their questions and responding to their feedback.
It’s also important to distinguish between the content you’re giving away for free, and the content you’re charging for. Give away content that inspires, shows people what is possible, tells a story, and gives them results. Charge for content or services that show people how to get from A to B, the systems you have set up that they can replicate, or templates, and training.
Patience Is Key
While providing free content is a great, effective strategy, there will not be an immediate response. Be patient and produce and distribute content for free on a consistent basis. Repetition will produce results. To help with the challenge of planning out content, you will want to create a content marketing calendar.
The best thing about free content is that your followers hang on to your every word and will be eager for what you produce, especially as you continue to provide over time. As you help them create value in their lives, they show you their gratitude by sharing your content with their network, by providing you with free word-of-mouth marketing, and by being your die-hard evangelists.
You know that there are two types of people: those who only want your free stuff, and those who are waiting for your paid stuff. The segment of your audience who consume your free stuff and never have any intention of buying, were never going to be your customers anyway. However, they still serve a purpose. They make your social accounts look healthy and populated, helping to add credibility to your brand. This ultimately will help attract others who will buy from you.
Consumers who have been following your Facebook posts, watching your YouTube videos, reading your blog or listening to your podcast will purchase your online course, a product you are selling, or service you are providing, because you have either helped them with an issue they are facing or have answered a question for them.
There will be people who will be waiting to buy from you when you put something out. They are waiting for your first product because you have spent time and energy and heart giving away so much value, and they want to give back to you. You just need to put in the time and effort of providing great free content so your followers will be loyal to you.
Free content can play a huge role in driving top-of-funnel traffic, awareness, and brand-building. Make sure you’re using the free content strategy, because in the online economy, people trust businesses that aren’t afraid to give stuff for free. Growing your company depends on the value you bring to your audience, and part of that value comes when they see that you’re a brand they can trust and rely on.
If you want to learn more about how to grow your personal brand or online business, then enroll today in our Personal Branding & Influencer Marketing course! You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for educational content, or visit our blog for more FREE training.