Can You Give Away Too Much Content?

image of red velvet curtains

Yesterday we talked about why it’s smart to hold a little something back in your marketing — to tease and fascinate the reader, to seduce the buyer with a bit of mystery, rather than giving everything away in your promotions.

This is particularly important for those of us in the online education and training business. It’s less of an issue with physical products. Let’s face it, there’s only so much fun you can have with that iPad while you’re sitting there in the Apple Store.

A commenter named Kerry O’Keefe mentioned the most common objection to giving away a ton of valuable free content in your marketing:

What I can’t help thinking is that if what I am being offered for free is so wonderful, why would I go further and buy?

Which is a great question. And the answer has to be …

Because the paid stuff offers irresistible additional benefits that even great free material can’t match.

So … you may have noticed that we’ve been running a series of free webinars. Which is, if I do say so myself, pretty fantastic.

We’ve got:

  • Three in-depth webinars on the critical elements for growth in any business.
  • A special report by Brian Clark on the 10 essential elements of rock-solid online marketing.
  • Extra articles by me on aspects of business I think you need to know.

Are we doing all this out of the goodness of our hearts? Well, yes, partly, but we’re also doing it to draw your attention to a very cool new event that will be accessible for a very short time.

We’ll announce more details later this week, but for today I want to talk about a few elements the paid product will have that the webinars (great as they are) can’t offer:

  • Some of the biggest names in business and online marketing will be joining us.
  • Core concepts will be broken down so they’re easier to process, digest, and act on.
  • Your next actions will be clearly defined, so you’ll know what to do next and how to do it.
  • Multiple formats mean you’ve got content that works for your learning style, whether you learn best by watching, reading, listening, doing, or discussing the concepts with others.
  • Software tools will be available to let you make even faster progress
  • And a limited-edition platinum mastermind version will include more personalized attention to get you the fastest possible results.

Don’t miss the third webinar

Am I short-changing the value of the free webinars in the series?

Absolutely not — if you’ve seen the #AuthorityRules hashtag flying around Twitter on webinar day, you’ll know that these have been stellar. Take good notes and make wise use of the replays and you can achieve real results in your business on the free webinars alone.

(Which we applaud, by the way. When people get great results with our free material, that’s a major win for us.)

And if you decide you want more detailed tutorials, more specifics, a more focused format, more interaction, or just more (we can teach you a lot more in 30 sessions than we can in 3) … we’ll let you know how to pick that up.

Our third free webinar takes place live tomorrow, Wednesday May 4, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, and we’d love to see you there.

Get my copywriting checklist

Tomorrow I’ll be going over my personal copywriting checklist (I still use this when I write copy) and sharing the 12 most common conversion mistakes I see people make. I’ll even throw in a PDF version of my checklist so you can use it for your content, too.

Those who attend the webinar live will also get the first real details about the program, as well as the chance to save a bunch of dough by coming on as “early birds,” and first crack at the limited number of places in the platinum mastermind version.

To reserve your place in the webinar, just drop us your email address at (Remember to click the link in the confirmation email to get all the good stuff.)

You’ll get instant access to the special report, details about how to join us tomorrow, and when we have the replay ready, you’ll have access to that plus replays for the earlier two sessions.

That’s a lot of free stuff just to get your attention. But we know that when we do our part to put out the best free material you’ll find anywhere, we find the right people for our products. It’s always worked beautifully for us, and we’re not stopping any time soon.

Join us on Authority Rules for the third free webinar, the articles, and the special report — and if you want to go further, we’d love to have you.

About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Share your conversion secrets with Sonia on twitter.


Am I going to hard-sell you in this webinar, or turn into some crazy used-car saleslady and make the entire call a tedious pitch?

Nope, sorry, I’m no good at that, and anyway you’re too smart to stick around to listen to it.

Most of our time will be taken up with the copywriting checklist, and then I’ll give you a quick rundown about this great new event, what you can expect it to do for you, and what to do next.

No hype, no squeeze, just solid information you can act on. That’s how we do things around here.

Reserve your space in the webinar here.

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Reader Comments (32)

  1. says

    This will be the first time I’ve ever stuck around for all three of somebody’s webinars. Thanks for being good internet marketing role models, Sonia.

  2. says

    I love Copy Blogger. I would love the check list.

    Please know that the emails about the webinars are far to frequent and flooded marketing/writing folks don’t always have time for webinars, even wonderful free ones from talented folks.

    I ready Copy Blogger at night and very early in the morning. That’s all I have time for. Please know that I deeply appreciate the valuable content. I recommend Copy Blogger all the time.


    • says

      That’s the reason we record them and provide video replays. Well, that and the fact lots of people don’t live in North American time zones :)

  3. says

    Interesting post-there has to be a point at which, if your information/content is any good, you charge a reasonable price. Otherwise its pointless in my opinion.
    Anyone can give stuff away..

  4. says

    I would love your take on something I heard Seth Godin say — “We are in the souvenir business” — or something to that effect. He was talking about authors when he made that statement, but I think he would say that it applies to anyone that is selling information.

    To elaborate, I think Seth meant that when we create a tribe, they buy the souvenirs that the tribe leader creates.

    • says

      I’ve seen that used with art as well (actually, I think Hugh MacLeod does a great job of this) — the artist creates a certain experience and connection, and then the image or sculpture or whatever it is is a “souvenir” of that.

      it depends on what people come to you for. They come to Copyblogger for information, so the souvenir model isn’t as important for us. (We did offer some t-shirts just to see what would happen. There was definitely interest, but I don’t think we’ll be switching to that as our primary business model any time soon.) :)

    • says

      Look at our own buying behaviour and we see that is true. I am a geek, the last thing I need is pro sports wear, and I will never be picked for a team, but I have a whole bunch of hockey merchandise :)

      I definitely see it in my sales. I know information product collectors, and I know some of my lower ticket items have been reciprocation buys rather than “I need this so I will buy it” purchases (the customers told me as much). While I am not going to change my business model to focus on “pity purchases” I will take them 😉

  5. says

    Very very important question Sonia and I’m agreeing. For me I’m abandoning the free e-book concept because it’s saturated and chiefly because there’s no mystery, no tantalising the reader or capturing their interest and wanting more with this format. I’m writing paid for books with snippets and quotes that are gradually dripped out with offers and benefits attached and similar. It’s like the sexiness of burlesque rather than the full on nudity elsewhere. More is indeed less these days blog wise to me while less is everything including bigger numbers.

  6. says

    A few years back, I watched a Dan Kennedy video that seemed like it was from the 80s (or maybe he liked making videos in shitty conference rooms), anyway, DK said – and there was sputum flowing from his face- that you didn’t give ANYTHING away. He was fist pounding.

    He’s moved his free line since then.

    Figuring out the truly correct amount is tricky.

    • says

      My observation, very much outside-in, is that Kennedy has grown tremendously in his partnership with Glazer. Kennedy is by nature attracted to absolute, unwavering certainty. He’s like the dad who’s always right and won’t tolerate being questioned. Glazer is more of a curious uncle, “this is kind of interesting, I wonder what would happen if we tried that?” type.

      I respect them (obviously I wouldn’t have spoken at their conference if I didn’t), but as I am not at all their ideal customer, a lot of their material doesn’t really work for me.

  7. says

    Another take on this is that content marketing is essential because of the education it provides customers. Giving away free content can educate customers to the point that they are interested in buying your product because they realize how valuable it is.

    When I first started reading Copyblogger, there’s no way that I was going to pay for a premium Genesis WordPress theme. Now, one year later, I’m about to make my first purchase (and I also recommend it to others).

    This isn’t because of sleezy sales tactics. It’s because I’ve been educated to the point that I can actually use the product. It’s brilliant.

    A real-world application of this (not that Copyblogger isn’t real-world) would be fishing. I like to fish, but most of the time I have no idea how a lure works. If the company would take the time to include instructions on the packaging that helps me catch fish, you better believe I’ll buy more of the lures. The problem is that I don’t know how to use the lure and I don’t catch fish. So not only do I not buy more lures, I don’t even want to go fishing anymore (except that I do because I know I’ll catch the big one next time).

    The point is that marketing doesn’t have to only be about sleezy sales tactics. It can also be about educating customers to help them succeed and need your products more.

    That’s my take.

  8. says

    Wondering if you are giving away too much is a serious question that people have asked me many times. Somehow I think we forget that business is about developing tribes and relationships, not shoving sales down peoples throat. Most businesses are small, and that means that most of the time we are buying from the person we know and like. Free content allows people to know and like us. It is simple like that.

    But sure, it has to be good too.

  9. Mark Scott says

    Sonia, Brian and Chris, I’ve loved the webinars so far.

    Being in Sydney means it’s way too early in the morning to attend live, so many thanks for making the replays available.

  10. says

    That’s a really tough call. You both want to offer enticing content, but also have your own stash of private knowledge that can be used for consulting where you’re directly getting paid for it.

    It’s a fine line, but I think people can find it.

  11. says

    Thanks for the share Sonia. Really worth checking this one out. Giving away too much content has the advantage and disadvantages itself. People are a different story altogether it depends on how they deals with it. Really loved the read.

  12. says

    This is a fantastic post especially because i have always been wondering why business gives out so much, and do they intend to make money or customers when they have given out what should be bought. Thanks for unraveling the mystery.

  13. says

    Great post Sonia… I would love to join the seminar, I hope I could clear out my schedule to join the webinar… Thanks for sharing…

  14. says

    I think offering as much “free” content is possible is the best way to build relationships. Thank you for the very informative post.

  15. says

    Hey Sonia,

    The idea of “free” is always an enticing deal but has boundaries. Customers or clients can see the word “free” and relate it to ideas like poor quality or inferior to other products or services. It’s important to not let low cost of products or services interfere with the quality of the product or service.

    Likewise, you are able to grow customer acceptance through their loyalty to your free offers. The more they are drawn to your business through some of the free items you offer, the more likely they will eventually see the value in some of the products and services that are offered for a price such as your webinars.

    Keep those awesome webinars coming!

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