When giving content for free, it’s about others recognising you are the best choice.
However, shouldn’t this just be about selling the good name of your businesses to make money?
Spending time creating, building and sticking to a medium to direct a narrative, is a time-consuming process.
Wouldn’t life be easier, if you just did what everyone else is happy with? Create some ads and give your money to Facebook and Google, to tell the world why you are the best choice?
Why should people get your best work for free? You’ve done the graft, surely someone should pay for it?
This article is about creating and giving for free. This makes it easier for others to get behind you.
This article starts from a question asked last week, from two people. So you could say this article is an ‘answer to a question’ blog. It was simply, ‘why do you give everything away?’
In my world:
These are the things that I give away freely:
These are the things that are not free
Whilst the You Are The Media Lunch Club and Conference focuses on one-off activity and takes time to organise and deliver, the majority of my time is creating work, where I freely give up my own time to work on. The additional work that is writing and creating the weekly email is around an additional six hours per week. This is something I would not outsource as would lose the voice I have built up for six years.
However, here is a perspective that many people presume. Why write, document, record and share, when the main emphasis should be to sell what you do, to get more customers?
Isn’t life easier stepping into any space and sell the capabilities of the business and what it does (see any companies Twitter page and their feed)?
Getting Closer To The Return
Let’s look at things another way. What you create and the ongoing message you share gets you closer to the money.
You have to make it easy for people to run with you, that the emphasis has to go beyond making a profit.
If you are lost for a reason why your business exists and you are not communicating a regular narrative that aligns what you do with what you stand for, you make it harder for people to say, ‘I’m in.’
When you know what it is you want to say and then share your place in this big wide world then you recognise why you are the best choice for others. More importantly, your audience gets it as well.
If you send out a huge flare for others to get behind you, you stand a better chance to be seen when you share a message, freely, on an ongoing basis.
This is better than thinking the whole reason you are creating/communicating is to convert someone from some form of exchange in the shortest possible time ie. an email in exchange for a PDF, or an email that just sits on a database and no one receives any value.
Good friend, Matt Desmier, looks at what you create and give away as a way to share your interpretation of your marketplace. Matt says, “You’re demonstrating to an audience that you’re credible and you know what you’re talking about. You’re giving people the opportunity to purchase. You’re showing them they can trust you to do a good job for them.”
“Those who don’t understand the value provided will never buy from you anyway.”
This thing around trust seems to be prevalent at the moment. This is because we are prepared to align ourselves with others. There is no need to coerce or manipulate. This seems to be the most shared slide of 2019, so far, from the Edelman Trust Barometer that presents the idea that there is the rise of the normal and we are prepared to have faith in each other when it comes from a place of insight and reflection. Times are changing.
It is pointless telling the world you have a new website when all it becomes is a way to make yourself feel important and the site is never fed and watered regularly. When you want to be recognised as the best choice, why not revel in the places you can build from and come back to again and again.
You can’t exist on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram to collect numbers, it’s about creating a pipeline for people to come to your party. When you give your work away, you stand a greater chance to give people something for them to stand with you.
What About You?
When you recognise that what you are sharing is different from what else is out there, you have a greater chance of building a more sustained audience. When you keep with it, your audience grows and so does the ability to make a greater return.
Here is why giving away your content for free can become potential to create forward motion ie. better clients, repeat customers, people who will stay with you.
– Buying blind just does not happen. Just because someone has visited your website for the first time, doesn’t mean that someone is going to buy. Why present to them a static, faceless site where the only heart is a stock library image of two people shaking hands
– Provide a way to show others the soul of who you are. Rather than sharing a perspective that is the same as the rest of your industry, recognising who you are not is just as important as understanding the things you are. This makes it easier to create and share. Click here to read this article for why you have to slay your monsters.
– Giving freely is a way to build rapport or trust. More importantly the more you share, over time the more business can come your way (I hold my hand up to that). This helps momentum build, based on the feedback and acceptance from others.
– People understand what you care about. The moment you care is when you have an obligation to serve others within your marketplace and community. This is different from shifting product/service to whoever will buy it.
– Provides a means to address questions from other people. For instance, in the process of starting this article, John Jocham, asked an interesting question, ‘where to draw the line between what you give away and what you should charge for?’ The way I look at this is that every article/video/audio created is a piece of a huge jigsaw puzzle. It doesn’t fit an order from week to week/month. When someone wants to get closer, there is the ability to make everything personal, where you both figure out the jigsaw together and becomes reciprocal. What you are doing is bringing all the elements together, centred on the reason why someone made the decision to buy from you (your knowledge, insight, personality and voice).
– You create other marketing tactics to repurpose your work. When I started the You Are The Media Podcast, whilst interview-based, the show always started with what I had been writing. I was effectively producing my own scripts. Another example is what was a blog that explained the You Are The Media framework, became the You Are The Media Winter Tour and now travelling to other countries to share. You shouldn’t look at creating work as free, but a way to grow further ideas, the free-flowing of opportunity and the ability for others to participate and work with you (such as Dorset Growth Hub and MarkedsPartner in Norway).
Let’s Round Up
Sharing your work for free is about getting people on the same path as you by dropping the breadcrumbs over and over again.
The most important thing to remember is that this is a strategic approach. It becomes a reason to attract an audience, rather than a short term decision for brand awareness and thinking that it will lead to a quick return, it won’t.
The results just won’t happen with a smattering of content that loses its spark. This is how people and businesses pull the plug on any form of commitment when the focus is on delivery and output, not the ability to accumulate an audience and branch out into so many other directions.
Commercial wisdom will always side to the place of caution and putting content into a big box that only comes out to play when people are prepared to pay. That is not the world you are part of today.
As long as there are spaces to distribute from, there will always be players. It is those that provide real value and sits in a different space from everyone else.
Why bottle it up, the reward is there for those who are willing to give.