I get asked a lot by our coaches who use our coaching, website and e-commerce platform Training Tilt "how much content should I give away?". I used to find it hard to answer the question because to be honest I just wasn't sure how much was too much.
By content, I mean blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts and anything else valuable you can publish online that is valuable to your potential customers.
I've recently changed my opinion though and now my answer is "as much as possible". You might be wondering how you can make any money if you give everything away for free. Bear with me and please keep reading.
Here are a few reasons why.
It increases word of mouth exponentially
When I ask coaches where most of their business comes from the answer is almost always from "word of mouth". Now that's great, word of mouth is really powerful. Think about this though, in reality, how many people do each of your clients tell about you and your services? At my guess maybe 2-5 over the entire period of being a customer. If you have 30 customers then maybe that's 100 or so referrals. Of that 100 then maybe 1-3% will become new customers. That's a handful of new customers.
You can play bigger numbers than that. If you give a lot of knowledge away for free, build relationships through your blog and through social media then you can reach and build trust with 1000's of people. Word of mouth doesn't just come from paying customers it comes from an audience that trusts and believes you. The bigger your audience the more word of mouth and new business will come.
People will pay for structure and feedback
For your potential customers who are not experts consuming individual pieces of great content is one thing, but being able to take that information and structure it into a cohesive plan to help them meet their goals is very difficult. That is where your skills and knowledge as a coach comes into play. Eventually, your customers will need help to take everything they've learned from the content they've consumed. You could publish everything you know for free but without your skills and experience your customers won't be able to put it all together to achieve their goals. That's where the value of a coach is, structuring all of the information and providing feedback. People will pay for that.
It keeps you in front of mind
People have front and back of mind. When the time comes when they are ready to make a purchase they will go to their front of mind before they go to their back of mind. If you stay at the front of someone's mind then you'll be first in the queue when they are ready to buy. The key to staying in front of mind is to publish top quality content as regularly as possible.
Karma is real and super powerful
I'm a big believer in Karma. Not in a spiritual way but in a practical way. The more you give the more willing people are to give back. The more relentless you are in giving real value to as many people as possible the more likely you are to get in return. Too many businesses are "By my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff" without first giving real value to their audience. Why should your customers buy your stuff? Don't take first. Give, give give and the benefits will come.
You can reach more people more of the time
We are now living in the best time ever for running a business. Our ability to reach 1000's or even millions of people at an extremely low cost is a massive opportunity. The internet, websites and social media have allowed the ability for anyone to get exposure and build an audience. The more quality content you put out there the more people you can reach. The more people you reach and build trust with the more people you'll eventually sell your products and services too.
It builds authority
"Authority" is a powerful tool in business. Coaches are expected to be knowledgeable
Eventually, your audience will be grateful enough to buy
This has happened to me over and over again. I've subscribed to an awesome blog, listened to a great podcast or series of YouTube videos with no intention to purchase products or services. Sometimes it takes weeks or months and in some instances even years, but eventually, the point comes where there is an opportunity to purchase something. Typically it is a combination of both "need" and "gratitude". When those two things come together the purchase decisions is extremely easy. Sometimes I even feel guilty that I've been given so much value and I haven't purchased anything from someone so when the time comes the purchase feels great.
If you don't give it away, someone else will
Everyone is already giving away a lot of content. Those who give away the content get all of the benefits mentioned above. When customers reach the point that they are ready to purchase something then they'll purchase it from the person that has given the most and the best content away, built the most trust, offered the most value and built the most authority. It does not matter if your services or products are better. How would they know your products are good if they haven't already been exposed to a lot of your best stuff?
The challenge with a content marketing strategy and giving away a lot of content is that it takes time. It can take months before it will have any significant financial benefit to your business. It's a long game. Most coaches won't have the patience to wait for that to happen. This is a great opportunity, because if you do have the patience and fortitude to give away quality content consistently over time then you'll rise well above the coaches who are not consistent.
In the end, if you do the work, create the value and build the relationships the return on investment will always come. It won't come straight away but eventually, with time and patience, it will come. Don't hold back your best stuff because it's your best stuff that will generate the best business and you have to give before you can get.
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