Should I Give Content Away Free (Or Keep It In Storage)?

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Mark Masters
Managing Director of Bournemouth based creative marketing company, The ID Group. Helping to position businesses as the authority in their industry and providing advice, opinion and guidance for brands to be the 'go to' choice.
Mark Masters
Mark Masters
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If you give content away free it encourages your audience to see you as an honest and selfless authority within your industry.
corridor-150x150Don’t become a hoarder and keep your expertise in storage and finally open the doors when there is a desperate need for it, when all along the only person who cared about it most was yourself.

Lets look at it this way, you are far more likely to attract customers if you are offering to teach something that is of value to them rather than simply selling your product or service.

There Is A Content Surplus

According to Google’s Zero Moment Of Truth it took 5.3 sources of information before making a purchase in 2010, only 12 months later this increased to 10.4 sources before making a purchase, basically people are now faced with a deluge of content to choose from. To assist the decision process by providing information that your competition aren’t can prompt the final selection by being seen as approachable, knowledgeable and helpful.

Our goal as businesses is for others to look at us as experts who can deliver an open approach to share information for the benefit of others. Why bottle everything up and keep your knowledge locked in a storage room, because if you don’t give generously someone else will and have the opportunity to build a dialogue on their platform while you’re guarding what is ‘precious’ to you.

Should People Be Made To Leave Their Email Details?

A conversation I had last month was that we should have more landing pages for our guides and request email information to push the prospect to customer relationship through the sales funnel process, when in fact people are now becoming more conscious of leaving information and becoming more educated gatekeepers of their digital lives. What

starts off as an agreement to receive information from your point of view should then never turn into stalker proportions of broadcast and ‘buy, buy, buy’ messages being sent to someone who has willingly subscribed.

I believe you should give content away free. Whilst it can’t measure who supplied their email address to access your content, what it does provide is a greater opportunity to be:

  • shaped (you control what you want the communication to say)
  • shared (you decide what platforms you want to distribute the message)
  • spread (downloaded from outside of your immediate sphere of influence)

Why create obstacles and reasons not to download when you want others to understand your point of view and something you have spent energy on. Occasionally if there is a project that you have invested a great degree of time, then there can be merit in requesting information.

We requested email information earlier this year with our project purely based on the time taken to interview and produce the final report. Three months later when this guide was placed freely on our ‘resources’ section of our website, downloads had increased by 25%.

Humanise Our Work

Lets humanise our work and others to put their trust in us. This doesn’t work via the one-off ’10 ways to be x at y report’, but to be consistent and to build depth in our knowledge and industry expertise. People will be more willing to become part of your audience if they know that you share useful resources.

This doesn’t mean that the world will be filled full of ‘what you already do’ DIY experts and being driven by fear that someone will fill our shoes. In the marketing industry, there is nothing that is totally unique that will reinvent the wheel, we all just do things a bit differently from each other but package it up in our own ways.

To Conclude

The key to give content away free is to change a mindset to one of generosity and having visibility in your approach that is relevant and useful.

Those who give content away free and not keep it locked up, will always slay the company who just wants to sell their products or services.