Recently, I learned a handful of techniques from Brian Clark that brought me some pretty intriguing results.
234% more site memberships.
62% more unique visitors.
100% more paying clients.
How much did I pay Brian to teach me how to do this? Not a dime. I got everything I needed out of a free report.
Let me tell you how I did it.
Where I started
I operate an online community for Sedona Method users. (Sedona Method is a technique to release unwanted emotions and keep them from making you miserable.)
I learned from surveys and feedback that the majority of my audience was new to the Sedona Method and wanted a definitive but practical guide to the basics.
I was spending a huge amount of time responding to e-mails from many different people who were all asking essentially the same questions. Not surprisingly, it just so happened that they were questions about the basics.
Having just recently read Brian’s free report Authority Rules, I took what I’d learned and created an eBook and supplemental audio program that had seven key characteristics. (I’ll let you know more about those below.)
My readers were thrilled.
But that turned out to be just the beginning.
As a direct result of publishing these two pieces of content, I saw incredible improvements in my website immediately. I gathered data from the 30 days following the eBook launch and compared that data to the 80 days prior. Here are the improvements I saw in that short amount of time:
- 234% increase in site memberships
- 100% increase in paying clients
- 48% increase in total site visits
- 62% increase in unique visitors
- 92% increase in visits per day
- 12% increase in referring sites
- 113% increase in search engine traffic
- 10% decrease in bounce rate
This chart shows the trend of memberships on my website. The green shaded area represents the 80 days prior to my eBook launch.
Oh, and did I mention that I was spending a lot of money on AdWords ads early on but stopped purchasing them 15 days before the launch?
No guest posts, no commenting campaign, no Google ads. The bulk of this success was a result of providing a “no-opt-in” download that saw some great retweeting on Twitter.
I call this kind of content reciprocating content. You can give it away for free and it gives right back to you.
When you create reciprocating content, everyone wins — including you. Your audience gets what they want, and you get what you want.
This ain’t your ordinary free content
You’re probably familiar with the “one-way street” nature of traditional free content. You work tirelessly to create a real gem, pouring everything you’ve got into it. Your readers get a lot of benefit from it, but at best you get a brief spike of traffic, some comments, and a link or two.
Basically, it’s a huge amount of work that doesn’t leverage well for you — especially if you are a newcomer like I am. Over time, if you repeat the process enough, you will eventually see more stable and consistent returns that creep their way down to your bottom line. But that can be an exhausting and disconcerting path.
Reciprocating content differs from traditional free content in that it benefits your audience and you at the same time. Additionally, you see the benefits quickly and they keep on coming. And the best part is that all you have to do is find opportunities that are already here.
So what makes content “reciprocating content”?
The seven key characteristics of reciprocating content
None of the characteristics listed below should be unfamiliar to you. It’s not uncommon to incorporate one or two of these into any given piece.
But the secret formula of reciprocating content is the combination of all seven. That’s how you turn your content into a well-oiled machine that gets right down to business.
1) Reciprocating content provides incredible value to your audience
This should go without saying, since our primary purpose is to provide incredible value to our audience. However, all you have to do is read around to find that there is a whole lot of content out there that provides little to no practical value to the reader.
Reciprocating content does not just provide “good,” “nice,” or “theoretical” value. Reciprocating content can stand on its own, because it provides real-world value that your audience can put to use right now. It’s the kind of value people expect to pay for.
2) Reciprocating content solves a common concern for your audience
When you get to know your audience well, you’re able to learn about their most common concerns. Your reciprocating content should solve one of these concerns.
To clarify, reciprocating content does not just address the concern; it solves the concern for your audience.
3) Reciprocating content solves a pressing concern for you
Is it possible to solve a major concern of your audience and solve a major concern of your own at the same time?
All it takes is a little analysis to find out how you can create the win-win.
4) Reciprocating content builds trust and establishes your authority
You’re an authority on something, and your reciprocating content establishes and demonstrates this. It also builds trust and rapport at the same time.
5) Reciprocating content is delivered in the format(s) that your audience prefers
Believe it or not, the format that you deliver your content in can make a significant difference in how useful it is for your audience. Reciprocating content is highly effective in part because it’s delivered in your audience’s preferred format, be it text, audio, or video.
Don’t know what their preferred format is? Ask them!
6) Reciprocating content stays genuine and authentic to who you are
The last thing you want to do is win over a huge, avid audience with your reciprocating content only to disappoint them when they discover it wasn’t really you.
Reciprocating content is authentic to you. Because of this, it does a great job of qualifying your audience. They know what to expect when they come to you for more.
7) Reciprocating content does not contain a sales pitch
Your reciprocating content does all of the above without asking your audience to buy anything. It provides the experience of a dynamite solution with a zero pressure approach. It makes your audience think there is such a thing as a free lunch.
That’s a powerful combination, and one that can actually increase your revenue later.
Strategizing your reciprocating content
Creating reciprocating content is not difficult. Opportunities already exist, you just need to see them.
- What are the most common concerns of your audience? (Surveying comes in handy here. You also want to pay close attention to questions and blog comments, and tune in to the Twitter conversation on your topic.) Take a moment to write these concerns down on paper. For me, the answers to this came from reader surveys.
- What are your own most pressing concerns? Take a moment and write some down on paper. One of my most pressing concerns was the amount of time I was spending answering the same questions over and over again.
- Look at both sides and notice opportunities where you can help your audience while simultaneously helping yourself (in other words, killing two birds with one stone).
- Figure out what kind of content would benefit both sides. Make sure it exhibits the seven characteristics of reciprocating content mentioned above.
- Publish it and get the word out!
Work smarter, not harder
It’s not hard to create reciprocating content, it just takes a little big-picture awareness and some connecting of the dots.
So the next time you’re about to put your blood, sweat, and tears into your work, take a second to step outside the box. Create reciprocating content to become more efficient, deliver more value, and cut down on waste.