Are you giving away too much free content?

too much free content

In today’s episode, we’re taking at look at all the great free content you’re putting out on the web… and whether you’re giving away too much.

It’s a question I get all the time: am I going to go out of business if I keep giving away all my best ideas, strategies, and advice for free on my blog?

Watch the video below to find out!

Are You Giving Away Too Much Free Content?

Want the audio only version of this post?
Check out the podcast version here.

The Free Content Myth

It’s a common misconception that if you give away some of your best content for free… you’re going to make fewer sales or get fewer clients.

In reality, it’s the opposite. The more high value stuff you can give away, the more people will see your generosity and want to buy from you. This happens through the built-in human need to reciprocate. When someone is nice to us, we want to be nice to them.

But just giving away your best stuff isn’t necessarily enough to ensure you’ll get your fans and subscribers to turn into paying customers.

That’s where doing a little content strategy work comes into play.

The key to creating content that converts into sales is to educate your visitors, think of it as prerequisite courses they can take before signing up for your service or product. And by the way, this applies no matter what type of business you have, whether it’s selling jewelry, books, or massages.

You want to create videos, podcasts, or articles that answer your ideal clients’ answers… before they can ask them.

You do this by educating people about the steps that lead up to what you offer, through your free content.

Take Your Audience On a Journey

Here’s a quick example: if you’re a dog walker, you can create content on things people do before they hire you. This includes finding and adopting a dog, training a dog, and choosing a dog’s diet. If you’ve walked people through all of these steps, they know you know your stuff, and it’s way more likely that they’ll look to you when they’re ready to hire a dog walker.

The other thing to keep in mind when it comes to creating free blog or newsletter content is that everyone is on a journey. Your free article might solve one of their problems, but if it does a good job of it, they’ll come to you for that next level issue.

So before you decide to stop blogging or to hold back on your juiciest tips and tricks… think through: is this answering the questions that people have before they have them? Is this solving a problem that will set them up to work with me down the line?

Think of the pre-requisite concept as prepping people to get the most out of what you offer!

Are You Coming Around To The Idea?

I’d love to hear about your aha’s from today’s content strategy tips, so leave a comment below!

39 Comments

  1. Caroline Frenette Master Intuitive Coach on June 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

    This ties into the fact that sharing your knowledge & expertise will always leave your peeps wanting more; therefore hiring you!

    BTW I love your photos & your branding Nathalie.



  2. Sukie Baxter on June 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Gorgeous Nathalie, your videos are looking super slick! Way to go pro :-) I also love the content here as it's a "back of the mind" fear that lurks in the shadows, but I love your re-frame of the reciprocity principle with regard to free content. I usually think of this when I send out little thank you gifts to my clients, but not with videos and articles.



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks so much Sukie! Yes, we think of this for gifts but not usually for content. Glad this helped reframe things for you! :)



  3. Oph Elie on June 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    thank you so much for your help.. short and so informative.. I'm just a newbie in sharing my message but I'm now more aware of people needs.



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Awesome Oph, so happy this is helping you! :)



  4. Nathalie Lussier on June 5, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Thanks so much Caroline! :) Yes, leaving them wanting more – that next level. :)



  5. Lisa Consiglio-Ryan on June 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Love the videos, Nath! I totally agree with your advice…I usually give tons of good free content, or gifts as Sukie Baxter mentions. I need to do more with the vids and pimp those out too. Thanks, love!



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Yay happy to hear that it's working for you too Lisa, I love your free content. :)



  6. Llyane @ J-Ouellette.com on June 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Awesome tips, Nathalie,
    Didn’t think that I should prep my prospectives with steps leading to my getting hired.

    Thanks so much,
    Llyane



  7. Loralee Hutton on June 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Yes! completely agree. And I've found the more free content I create, the easier it is to help more people. And, the more ideas I come across to share more free content. Plus, it makes my job so much easier, when people already have an idea of how I can best be of service.



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Absolutely Loralee Hutton, and your free stuff can serve others when you can't clone yourself. ;)



  8. Nelly Odessa on June 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Love your videos Nathalie….your blog offers some of the most useful tips for entrepreneurs. Thanks! xoxo



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Aww thank you so much Nelly Odessa, that means a lot coming from you. :)



  9. Nourishing Balance Nutrition on June 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Wonderful video! I'm in the midst of creating some free content for my website for JUST this purpose. Thanks for your wonderful tips (and your FREE content!) Warmly, Mary Purdy, MS, RD.



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 5, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Woohoo way to go on creating content and putting it out there!



  10. Trezlie Brooks on June 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Hi Nathalie, I have found that your advice suits me perfectly, from building a website ti headway to analytics. Loralee Hutton is helping me with my content, and this challenge will be valuable as I begin my new journey helping artists go online. Thanks so much!



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 5, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Awesome Trezlie Brooks – funny how we can go from super detailed to big picture right? Love it. :)



  11. Jamie Yost on June 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Hey Nath, I loved this post/video! I work in the content strategy realm myself and it’s so nice to see someone offer more substantial advice than “Post to your blog at least once a week” and “Answer questions your customers have”.

    A lot of people don’t realize that there’s a difference between strategies and tactics, and that you need a strategy in place (as in, “My content will educate my customers on these topics”) before you worry about tactics (as in, “I’ll post to Twitter X times a day, to Facebook Y times a day, and to my blog Z times a week”).

    Kudos to you for sharing such an important piece of advice!



  12. Claire Stone on June 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    This is soooo brilliant. The last part, about bearing in mind that my clients are on a journey, and that I don’t have just this one thing to offer them almost made me cry. I have a question though: do you copyright everything taht you put out there? even blog post/videos etc?

    thanks as always!



  13. Charlene Richard on June 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    This is great – it just gave me a whole new framework for supporting my community before they need my primary service!

    Awesome as always Nathalie:)

    Thanks,
    Charlene



  14. Claudiu Simtion on June 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Hi Nathalie, thank for this advice. I definitely going to use it.
    My problem is that I don't have any traffic yet so no list.
    First I have to fix this.
    Thanks again.
    Claudiu Simtion



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 6, 2013 at 1:28 am

      Hi Claudiu! I hear you, and getting traffic is absolutely step 1 – but sometimes writing content will help you get in front of people who need what you offer. :)



  15. Michelle Twohig on June 5, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    What if one's an artist and not an art teacher…do you suggest giving away a form of your art as a freebie and if so, what would be the increasing steps of commitment in the sales process?



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 6, 2013 at 1:29 am

      There's definitely a way to educate about your art and entice people to buy that way. In this case you're not educating people how to be artists, but maybe how to select art, commission art, decorate their home, etc. These can all be things that lead them to want to buy later. And you can definitely give samples of your art, too. :)



  16. Claudiu Simtion on June 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Nathalie, thanks for this advice. I definitely going to use it.
    My problem is that I don’t have any traffic yet, so no list.
    First I have to fix this.
    Thanks again.
    Claudiu Simtion



  17. Natalie Sisson on June 5, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Hot stuff lady. This is a contentious issue for so many pumping out great free content but not seeing the rewards. As you say it's about being strategic and leaving them wanting more, plus training your readers and tribe members to know what to expect from you at a freemium vs premium level.



    • Nathalie Lussier on June 6, 2013 at 1:27 am

      Yes Natalie! I love the wording of freemium vs. premium, so people have a better understanding of your business model as well as why you're putting your content out there. :)



  18. Melissa on June 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    That’s great advice and I’ve never thought of it that way. I’m going to have to think about this over the weekend and see how I can make it work with my current business strategy. Thanks so much!!



  19. Linda Basta on June 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for this info. Just now creating some ebooks reports etcv in my chronic pain niche, and have had the fear of giving it all away will mean i have nothing to sell. You have made it a little clearer of how to handle all this. thanks again



  20. Marsha on June 10, 2013 at 11:45 am

    i LOVE the idea of thinking of the free content as prep for my paid services!!

    I had my head around giving it out to get trust (and get people talking about you), but thinking of it as being an integral part of the service is such an awesome way of looking at it, thank you!



  21. Kim Jafrate on June 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Hi Nathalie. I am impressed with your content and delivery. The video editing is something I want to copy. Did you use software to manage the camera?



  22. webly on June 12, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Nathalie this vlog is a big aha moment for me. I am one of those people was really confused on what to blog about because I was thinking what would I leave for my services and products I want to sale.
    Blogging about what to do before working with me really gave me a whole lot of ideas on what to blog about. It actually made my life much simpler because I realize that I can share a lot of great tips on preparation, gadgets and more. Great blog.



  23. Jason Ellis on June 21, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Natalie, I notice that you hide your blog published dates. Do you do this for autoresponder purposes? In terms of content creation, are you hiding your blog publishing dates to not “date” your content in the eyes of your readers?

    Has this affected your google rank in any way?



  24. Karen A. on February 20, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I loved the post and I’m currently on the 30 day list building challenge :D But I still have a doubt:

    I am about to launch a fashion design class and my blog, I have built a workbook to follow the steps of the class and I thought it could also be my opt-in offer for new subscribers, but I’m not sure if I should give it away complete or just as sample, what do you think?

    Many Thanks!!



    • Nathalie Lussier on February 21, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      It really depends on how much you put into this book, and if you feel like you have a lot more left to offer in your paid version, right? If it’s just the outline or the “what” but not the “how” then that tends to work well as a free optin. :)



  25. Shayna on September 23, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I somewhat agree, but what if what you’re selling IS information? (an e-book, a course, etc.) With the dog-walker example, she provides free information in order to get hired for her service – so her free and paid offerings are of two different species, so to speak.

    I sell information products and also post twice a week (along with the hundreds of free posts/videos already on my blog). My info products are selling… but one concern of mine is that many of my prospects are already getting everything they feel they need from the continuous free stuff, and thus there is little motivation to buy anything above and beyond that.



  26. Katie on June 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    I agree with what Shayna shared. Do you have a better example than dog walker such as how would a life or biz coach go about doing this?



  27. Maria on June 19, 2015 at 7:07 am

    One of the tips we share when it comes to content strategy is for professionals and bloggers to create a package of content, such as a video and presentation course that they can then offer their reader/customer base for free and/or for a price.



  28. Beatriz on August 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Nathalie,

    I was intuitively just doing that in my first steps of my business online. Educating and creating future freebies that will do
    You just put words to that and gave me the reassurance that I am doing right.
    Thanks Nathalie xx