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To Charge or Not to Charge for Content

free versus paid contentThere’s a conundrum many experts have about not knowing what content to give away for free and what content to charge for. You want to give enough away in emails, blogs, and social media posts to gain a following, but then you’re afraid if you give away your best stuff, you will have nothing left to charge money for.

It’s a valid concern.

So, what’s the answer? Stop thinking about it in monetary forms and start realizing that every time you write something, make a video, or do an interview, you should be revealing your best content on the given topic.

Just because somebody didn’t pay money for access to your work, doesn’t mean you’re not getting something in return from their reading it. If the content is good, they will click the Like button or even share it with a Tweet. That is valuable to you, because it gets more eyeballs on your work, which creates more fans, which generates more sales for the stuff you do charge money for.

If your “free” content isn’t your best stuff, then why would anybody take the time to pass it along to their friends and colleagues? The answer is they wouldn’t.

When doing a webinar or stage presentation, I try to include real training and valuable takeaways, even if I’m selling the same type of material as an info product at the end of that presentation. The product may be the exact same information I just gave away for free, just an expanded version or alternative format of what I just taught.

If you’re going to be seen, be seen for the expert you are. Your free content is your brand advertising. Don’t advertise that you are average. Advertise that you are AWESOME.

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14 Responses to "To Charge or Not to Charge for Content"

  1. E Brian Rose says:

    Cool people comment. Be cool.

  2. Cooly commenting…. was just having this discussion with a novice authority person the other day… thanks for the reinforcement!

  3. Dave Hughes says:

    Dead-freakin'-on. Nice one, EBR.

  4. Mathew Roe says:

    The only thing I can add to this is by putting out your best content for free – it forces you to strive to make your paid products even better.

  5. Stuart Walker says:

    I'm currently putting out all the best stuff for free over on http://www.nichehacks.com including done for you niche research reports, epic guides, tutorials and so on. The sort of stuff most other people charge for. Working well for me so far. :)

  6. "If you’re going to be seen, be seen for the expert you are. Your free content is your brand advertising. Don’t advertise that you are average. Advertise that you are AWESOME."

  7. Rob Knowlan says:

    Agreed, 100%. The paid content should be a matter of you packaging it up for their convenience. An educational souvenir or a lasting echo of the brilliance they saw in you in the first place. Top notch, EBR.

  8. Great post as usual EBR. I love your posts as I've learned a ton from them and am now doing well in the IM arena. Without mentors such as you, it would have been a lot tougher to get to where I am now. It's appreciated.
    Murph

  9. Hi E Brian, I generally prefer to give my content aways for free, so I’m happy to know that you think it’s really a good deal. You can get more followers, more shares on social networks and get known as a good content provider.

    Thanks so much and see you soon,
    Alessandro Zamboni

  10. That makes a whole heap of sense to me because I used to think that way a couple of years back. I guess it comes from a point of scarcity, being worried that you can't come up with more value stuff. The truth is of course that value information is all around you.

  11. If you want excellent results for your work, then your work should be excellent, simple!

  12. well, that settles that question. Thanks loads

  13. Greg Vinson says:

    Totally true, and a lot of savvy marketers realize it, which means the competitive standards are high. There are still lots of marketers giving away and selling crap, but they only make money from people who are so unsophisticated that they have no way to judge quality. As soon as they've been around the block, the peddlers of crap have to replace them; theirs is an inefficient as well as unethical business model. Much better to treat clients and prospects all like your own mother (assuming you treat her great) from the first contact on.

  14. Tom Urbanek says:

    Funny that I stumbled upon your post today, EBR, because last weekend I was on Armand Morin's wp-webcamp, where he absolutely had the CONUNDRUM big time, or at least pretended to have it :) He was asked what he thought of giving stuff away for free and answered very authoritatively to NEVER EVER do it, because you would lose those prospects for ever, since they already had your content for free and would not be motivated to buy more if they had to pay for it. The funny thing is that he said it on this event (he makes them every month – three days in a row of streamed video content) where he gave away all the content (valued at 500 dollars by some attendees who commented), for free!!! Obviously he has a great model here: he shows you great free content and pitches you to buy his monthly membership where you can access the rest of the 100+ hours trainings he has recorded so far.Thank you for your great post, EBR! Have a nice weekend!

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