Content Marketing: How Much Should I Give Away?

Jamie OliverFinding a Recipe

I don’t cook from recipes very often. Probably only once every two or three weeks. And, whilst I do have a handful of cookbooks, I don’t tend to use them anymore.

I’m more likely to simply type something into the Google machine and see what comes back. Often, I’ll specifically look to see what Jamie Oliver suggests. For me, his recipes are reasonably easy and usually have a bit of a twist to make them taste really scrumptious.

Content Marketing: The Big Question

The most common question I’m asked about Content Marketing is:

How much should I give away?

This is a really important strategic question. It sets up the actions you’ll take, it sets up the products you’ll create and it sets up the money you’ll make.

There’s three clear choices here for your Content Marketing:

  1. Share it all
  2. Share nothing
  3. Share some

Which one of these currently describes you and your approach to Content Marketing? Let’s look at these three options to see what’s best for you…

Content Marketing Sharing

Share It All

In Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37 signals they suggest you ‘Emulate Chefs’.

Many chefs, like Jamie Oliver share it all. For instance Jamie is on TV showing us exactly how to make things. On his website there’s thousands of recipes in video and classic text. Yet, he still sells lots of books. This sounds like a paradox. He gives away all his recipes for free AND he still sells his books.

How does this work? Clearly, when you buy a book it’s not just about the information. If you just wanted the information you’d go to the website. You might buy his books because:

  • You’re more likely to flick through a book to find something – so there’s a user advantage in having the information in book format.
  • You want the book as a souvenir to visually remind you to cook special meals.
  • You want the book to sit on your coffee table so you can look cool in front of your friends.

The big advantage of this Content Marketing strategy is that by sharing lots of your content you’ll generate good traffic to your website. The key is then being able to convert some of this into sales.

Share Nothing

At the opposite end of the spectrum is to share nothing. This can work provided you have another way to attract your audience.

For instance, if you’re a keynote speaker who is front of audiences every week and you consistently gain referrals from each presentation then this might work for you.

The downside of this approach is that you are not leveraging your content to create leads in other ways. And, this is the point of Content Marketing – to create leads.

Share Some

Most people will adopt this approach as their Content Marketing strategy. You share some of your content and you keep some to be exclusive in your products.

I tend to follow this as my Content Marketing approach. I share most of what I create. I blog regularly because it forces me to write regularly. This builds my traffic and my audience and ultimately I can convert this content into products that I then sell.

[Tweet “How much #content should you be giving away? All, some or none?”]

Making the Content Marketing Shift

The point of this article is to have you think about your Content Marketing Strategy and in particular how much content you share.

I encourage you to share more than you currently are. In my opinion most people hang onto too much content. And, this is based on the fear that by giving it away freely you won’t be able to sell it. Or worse, someone else will take it and claim it as their own. My view is that if I am truly an expert in my area then creating content should be relatively easy. There will be no scarcity or shortage of it. And, as for someone else stealing it… This will happen. My view is that you play the long term game. Be the expert over time and any minor stealing will have a minor impact on your reputation and livelihood because you are leading the conversation by sharing what you know.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you sharing enough?
  • What would happen if you shared more?
  • What would happen if you created more content to share?

Love to hear your thoughts about this. Add a comment below.

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