How much should you give away for free?
In the digital age, when we have so many ways to communicate and so many marketing platforms, and so much noise, how do you stand out?
Using content marketing to share your knowledge in your given field is a way of building that know, like and trust.
It can be hard to know how much you should be sharing, and striking a balance is important.
In this episode I cover some of the common questions around working for free and giving away advice for free.
There are examples from pet business owners, plus some of my personal experiences, and I share how my mindset has changed on this topic.
You can listen in on the player link below or read on for the main points covered.
Why work for free in the first place?
If you provide a service, particularly if you’re a trainer or have any kind of coaching business, it’s likely people are going to want to know at little about you before they buy.
People want to know what your values are, how you work, what you stand for, the results you’ve achieved and lots more.
And in a crowded marketplace, particularly post COVID when so many people have taken their businesses online, you need to stand out.
By having a free offering, this means people can get a flavour of what you’re all about and if they like you, they can become a customer.
Working for free and publicity
If you want to raise your profile, you’re going to have to do some work for free.
Let’s say you want to be in your local paper. They’re not going to pay you to write an article, you’re going to have to do it yourself.
So that is working for free. One of my contacts, Sue McCabe from Muttamorphosis, spent nearly a full day filming with the BBC sharing advice on caring for dogs in lockdown.
Last week, Zoe Willingham from Best Behaviour Dog Training spent an afternoon in a pub with BBC Radio Suffolk recording a show about training dogs to behave in the pub.
This is a lot of their time spent for free.
But if you do this, it’s building your reputation as an expert, and there’s every chance a dog owner listening or watching or reading about you could become a client.
How much should you give in your free content?
This is huge debate.
Lots of experts will say you should share the ‘why’ but not the ‘how.’
For example, in my situation, it might be ‘Why you need to send press releases about your pet business.’
Personally, I would feel uncomfortable not sharing some of the ‘how.’ If it were me reading or listening, I’d feel short changed.
So I tend to share some of the how but not all of it.
For example, I have a ‘How to write a press release for your pet business’ podcast episode where I talk through every step of the process.
It is the complete ‘How.’
But it’s not personalised. If people want to know the exact ‘how’ for their business, they can book a call, and that is paid for.
Having the blog, podcast and template out there means a lot of pet business owners who want extra help do book in for paid Get The Press To Say Yes consultancy sessions.
Won’t people take the free stuff and not want to work with you?
Yes, some people may. Lots of the content I cover on my publicity coaching programme is covered in my podcasts.
And if people want to use that and get press coverage that’s fine! I love it when I get emails and messages from people who have had results from the free content.
Amongst the people who consume your free content will be people who want YOU, and your bespoke advice for them and their pet.
In my business, people join my programmes to have the step by step tailored for their individual business, the story ideas, the feedback, the accountability calls, the chance to pick my brain.
It’s like with personal training. You could follow an online programme and get results, but imagine if you were working with the actual trainer, how much better your results might be?
What can you achieve by giving stuff away for free?
There is so much to be gained by sharing information for free.
You increase your audience – the more people who know about you, the more people can refer you and this increases your bookings and sales.
You boost your authority – you want to be known for one thing? Training for barking dogs? Grooming for anxious cats? Eco friendly gifts? You need to be talking about it.
You build trust – people need dozens of touch points now before they buy. If you create content and give stuff away that builds trust, each piece is a touchpoint moving the needle towards the sale.
You get exposure – I know this doesn’t pay the bills, but in the long term, getting in front of people’s audiences for free will lead to sales.
You become the go-to person – you’re out there, all the time, talking about your thing, sharing useful content around it on your website and social media for your ideal client. You become known for what you do and people who want your thing will come and pay you.
The working for free is such a contentious issue, and I would love to know your thoughts on it.
Mine is that you should be generous with your knowledge and you’ll get that back. If people want to work with me, they have to pay me.
I make that very clear, but am generous too. This means I can talk about who I help, who gets the best results from me and who I want to work with.
And getting on the radar of the people who are interested in how you can help them by sharing useful content for free means when they’re ready to buy, they know who to go to. You!
If you enjoyed this episode, you might like How to create an effective content strategy for your pet business or How to get your pet business found on Google