I’m very big on free content. As David Meerman Scott points out in his book “The New Rules of PR and Marketing”, good marketing is not done by telling people why to buy your products – it’s done by convincing your readers that you really care if they are able to solve problems. How do you do that? By giving them free stuff.
Online, free stuff is synonymous with free content – a report distributed through email, articles placed on directories, and a regularly updated blog. The nature of that free stuff, however, is something else entirely – it needs to capture attention.
What Good Free Content Looks Like
Free content needs to do three things:
- Display your unique expertise
- Solve one or more specific problems your niche audience has
- Convince people to distribute to their friends or acquaintances.
As Shaman Kabani says in “The Zen of Social Media Marketing”, you need to Attract, Convert, and Transform. You’ll attract by offering a freebie, convert by offering quality and value in that freebie, and transform by creating easy distribution channels so that more people get that free content.
To make sure you show your unique experience, start by ensuring whatever you write about is something you actually know about. What good does it do if you try to showcase expertise in a subject area that you don’t know anything about?
Secondly, do some research and find out what your prospects are looking for. Go to industry forums or blogs and see what they need to know. Ask them on your own blog or send out emails to past clients asking what they would like to see in a free report. The people know a lot better than you do what their problems are – learn from them and then target your content.
Kinds of Free Content
Usually, when I refer to free content, I mean a free report on an email list or a series of autoresponder newsletters. But, truthfully, it can take on any form you want. I love video series, for example, They display a ton of experience and can be much more entertaining than an eBook. Blogging is also a fun way to share free content with readers, but remember to maintain value in your blog posts.
Overall, if you want to reach an audience in your niche, show of how amazing your business is, and build new leads, free content will get you there. Distribution and exposure are important too, but when you aim for quality, the other stuff has a funny habit of doing a lot of the hard work for you.