Why You Should Give Your Content Away For Free

Last month, the CEO at Social Tribe, Megan Conley, was awesome enough to get everyone on our team virtual tickets to Social Media Marketing World to have access to conference content after the fact. Scrolling through the list of available content,

 I immediately honed in on Jay Baer’s presentation “How to Create Customers for Life by Informing More and Promoting Less.”

This topic was top of mind after a recent conversation with a client who had serious anxiety regarding a new content marketing strategy we proposed, in which we recommended they create a series of online webinars andGoogle Hangouts to promote the launch of an upcoming program.

Their problem wasn’t with the idea (which they loved); their problem was that I wanted them to offer it for NO CHARGE. “But Tatiana,” they wondered, “isn’t that giving the milk away for free?”

As a matter of fact, it is! While the idea of giving something of value away for nothing (“shouldn’t we be charging for that?”) might seem nonsensical, even anti-business to some, this principle is being used ever more frequently in marketing.  Jay Baer explains the concept in his book, Youtility, and used the term frequently throughout his presentation.

Youtility is the idea that it’s more effective to help your customers than sell to them. The concept is to provide your audience with information that adds value to their lives, thereby becoming a trusted resource to whom they will turn when they are in need of your products or services. 

As Jay stated: “If you sell something, you make a customer today. Help someone and create a customer for life.” And isn’t that what we all want? Customers for life? His presentation was chock-a-block with marketing wisdom, but there were four takeaways that are the most critical lessons in how to execute Youtility as a marketing practice for your company:

1)   Discover customer needs: It’s critical to learn what they’re looking for. Research keywords put into search engines, internal search trends on your own website, web analytics to understand what information they’re most attracted to, social chatter to hear what challenges and obstacles they’re facing, and customer surveys and interviews to get a better read on what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.

2)   Map needs to executions: This is a simple concept, but one that can be a challenge to deliver. We all have a certain comfort level based on our own proficiencies, but it’s critical to provide information in the easiest, most accessible and digestible context for your audience, whether it’s a mobile app, an eBook, by hosting an informational event, etc. If you don’t have the talent on your team to develop that content, go out and find it.

3)   Market your marketing. Content creation is not the end of the journey – it’s the beginning. Much of the time, content creators write blogs and create videos, post them, where they sit unread or unwatched for weeks. What’s the solution? Have a marketing plan for each piece of content you create. Jay explains that “content is fire, social media is gasoline. It’s one program with two dimensions, not two programs.” That means you should use social to promote your content first, company second.

4)   Make it a process, not a project. This is an ongoing journey, because what your customers need from you changes all the time. Stay on top of trends and consumer needs.

If you watched Jay’s presentation, what were your key takeaways? Which examples that he provided seemed like practices you could adopt in your own company?

This blog was originally posted on the Social Tribe Blog

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