Giving to your audience is one of the foundations of any smart content marketing strategy.
To grow your audience and get better results for your business, it might be time to expand your content beyond blog posts, podcast episodes, or newsletters and find more ways to be truly generous.
The idea is:
Don’t hold back, don’t be stingy, and don’t cut corners. Just give, and give freely.
Looking to become a “giver,” rather than a “taker?” Let’s talk about why generosity works and how you can give your audience more value.
Why giving generously works
You might be thinking:
“How in the world does giving generously help my business grow?”
Generosity works when you’re marketing your business because it:
- Pulls people toward you and your message. Instead of chasing down prospects and begging them to pay attention to you (with advertising or other traditional marketing methods), you attract your perfect customers and clients to what you give away. They come to you.
- Establishes you as a go-to expert and trusted advisor in your field. When people know you are a giver — and they like what you give away — they recognize you as someone who can be trusted and relied upon.
- Helps you get more referrals. Giving generously puts you in front of your audience regularly — which means they will remember your company name when they need (or someone they know needs) a product or service like yours.
- Gives you the opportunity to interact without pitching. This one is big. If you don’t give generously, your options for conversations with your customers are limited to one extremely limited theme: SELL, SELL, SELL. That’s boring and aggravating for your audience members, and uncomfortable for you, too.
What to give away
Wondering what you should give to your audience?
There are the usual content marketing possibilities, like blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, webinars, and ebooks. These are all great choices.
Also consider giving:
- Live presentations, or hosting group discussions and Q&A sessions
- Short consultations, if you’re a service provider
- Introductions to other helpful people in your community (or in your strategic partner network)
- Advice and support in social media groups, like Facebook or LinkedIn groups
- Lists of recommended resources, tools, websites, and blogs
Think about your perfect client or customer and ask yourself:
“What could I give her that would really improve her life?”
With some creativity, you’ll be able to create high-value resources that don’t hurt your business model.
The three methods below will help you become extraordinarily generous.
1. Don’t err on the side of caution
Chris Garrett’s article, How to Decide Which Content to Sell and What to Give Away for Free, answers a lot of common questions about this topic.
The entire article is helpful, but what I like best about the post is that Chris advises content marketers to not be concerned about giving away too much:
“People worry about this issue of which content to sell and what to give away for free.
And yes, it involves a lot of subjective judgment.
But the good news is that I have yet to find someone who has given away too much.
I don’t believe it is possible to be too helpful or too generous … provided you manage your time and energy, and that people know you are in business.”
Don’t be afraid to give generously on a regular basis. No matter how much you give away, there will still be people who need implementation advice or additional products and services.
Before you sell to your prospects, they must see you as an authority — and giving freely helps you achieve that.
2. Try content curation
Your prospects — regardless of what niche or industry you’re in — are most likely swimming in a giant river of content. They need someone to help filter out the noise and gather the best resources, tools, and content on a particular topic.
That’s exactly what smart content curators do. They pick the most useful articles, videos, and podcast episodes on the web and compile them together into an easy-to-consume format (like a blog post or email newsletter).
When you publish your curated content regularly, people will learn to count on you as a reliable source of up-to-date, useful information, and you’ll become their go-to person for that topic.
Ryan Hanley’s weekly newsletter is a great example of how to practice smart content curation. Each week, Ryan sends his subscribers seven important articles on content marketing that he’s selected, along with a little insight of his own to help people understand and integrate the information in the articles.
For more advice on curated email newsletters (and a decision tree that helps you assess if curating content is right for you), check out this Copyblogger article and infographic.
3. Adopt a policy of generosity
Adam Grant, author of the extraordinary book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, said:
“Givers see interdependence as a source of strength.”
The way I look at it, we all want our businesses to grow stronger. If you adopt an attitude of generosity with your prospects, you’ll be positioned to grow stronger and more profitable.
Seek out opportunities to improve your prospects’ lives.
Always ask yourself, “Is this something my community would find useful?”
For example, you can shine the spotlight on a community member who is making great progress or collaborate with a strategic partner on a project that benefits your audience.
Gather your ideas in a computer file or notebook, so you always have a list of content options to pull from.
Become a radically generous content marketer
As content marketers, we already provide value for our audience members. But taking your giving game up a notch could help spark new breakthroughs for your business.
So ask questions. Pay attention. Stay open. And keep giving, over and over and over again.
Your prospects lives will improve dramatically, and so will yours.
Ready to discover what a winning content marketing strategy actually looks like?
Check out our new series that walks you through the Who, What, and How of focused and effective content marketing: