Case Study: How Much Content Should I Give Away for Free?

You hear it time and time again that you need to have a blog for your business, but what do you write about when you sell information products? How do you provide value on your blog without giving away all your best stuff for free?

It’s a question I got recently from a guy who sells courses on understanding your personality type:

I’m really struggling with thinking about blogging and writing about my products… I will be selling courses in personality type and self-discovery. I am not sure what you would do to write your copy. Some of the course topics require a lot of conversation to explain, some are more straight forward. How would you approach writing about this type of work, when the information in the course is what people will pay for? Should I just give my lessons away for free in videos and copy and then expect someone to want to pay me for my courses?

How much content should you give away for free?
How much content should you give away for free?

It seems totally counter-intuitive, but the more you give away on your blog, the more likely people are to want to buy your products. Infoproducts guru Eben Pagan calls it “moving the free line;” giving away more value for free, not less.

My personality-type friend actually hit on this in his question.  He said that some of his course topics require a lot of conversation to explain, and those are the perfect topics to start with when giving information away for free.

For example, let’s say he has a product that helps you live your best life through understanding your personality type. There’s no way he can explain that whole process in a single blog post, and he shouldn’t try.  But here’s what he could do:

  • Give a high-level overview of the process.  Actually give away details about how his course works and the steps a participant would go through. As long as you stay at that high level, you’ll be giving away valuable information, but your readers will still be interested in going deeper into the process and getting more information.
  • Do a series of posts on the topics covered in the course. Even if he laid out the entire course content over a series of posts, people would still pay to have it all delivered clearly, concisely, and in an attractive package without having to go searching for it.

But what if he’s still feeling concerned about giving away his secret recipe for free?  Another good tactic is to come at the topic sideways.  Just as some examples, he could:

  • blog about the benefits of understanding your personality type without giving away how to find your type;
  • give away a small portion of the lesson to get people excited about what they’ll learn;
  • or blog about the latest research and studies around personality types to give his courses even more value.

How could you apply these ideas to your business? Take action now and list three ideas in the comments below of how you could give away more value on your blog without feeling like you’re giving away the farm.

Stumped? Sign up for a Blogstorming session with me where I can help you answer these questions for your specific niche and market.

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7 thoughts on “Case Study: How Much Content Should I Give Away for Free?

  1. Ghostblogger, I’ve thought about this some. I write from my heart and see what comes up. Sometimes generally heady information on the path of health. That information is out there.

    The real process I go through with my patients is a feeling process and it can’t really be taught except through an experience. You can either do it or not, but to really do it one has to feel the experience. I can tell you once you clear a block it feels like you’ve lost weight, my patients can tell you that, but until you experience the shift you wont understand completely.

    It’s like trying to explain chocolate, no one can fully understand the taste until they actually taste it. I explain my process as best as possible to empower people to heal themselves. I have to trust they will contact me if it feels right to them and want to approach healing this way. I hope it’s not giving away the farm, but this is how I’m approaching it for now.

    Dr. Samantha Joseph

    1. Samantha, I think you are definitely on the right track! Your secret sauce lies in the experience you provide for your clients one-on-one, and no blog post can replicate that!

    2. Great point.

      I wonder if some of your clients would let you share about their lives? In talking about specific issues you help clients with and the results you produce, you are also providing the service to those reading it – hence, the giving it away portion.

      You could also do live Q&As or webinars for free (or a smaller fee) that would give prospectives a taste of your chocolate! 😉

      Just a few ideas!

  2. Lacy,
    Great information! I have two product based businesses and have a blog for one instructing them on how to use the products and create inspiration. I can see how it can be difficult to not want to give away what you are trying to sell, but you are making it a selling tool instead. I still struggle with what my readers want to read, strickly projects or informational posts? The value I want to add to my blog include video posts, pdf downloads of tips and techniques, and a list of other resources they would find useful. If they can think of me as a resource then they are more likely to purchase from me than another consultant. Even though I am not selling information, the information I have will help sell my product! Thanks for the post.

    1. So true, Emily! It’s all about that know, like, and trust factor: the more information you give them, the more they keep coming back, the more they will know, like, and trust you—and thus, be more likely to buy!

  3. Hi Lacy,

    I know we will be chatting later today but I wanted to write down a few things to see what you thought. First, I would like to add a video to one of my blog posts. Can this be done? Also, how many blog posts should I do. What should be my free gift that Tommi always talks about to entice people to give me their email address via an opt in. I am guessing information. Where do most bloggers get their information, books, internet etc?

    Thank you,

    Michele

    1. Hi Michele!

      Just to answer your questions in case other people are wondering the same thing…

      You absolutely can add video to a blog post. It’s REALLY easy.

      Bloggers usually write their own opt-in (or hire someone like me to write it for them). But it doesn’t have to strictly be information. You might consider offering a discount or coupon to people who opt in, or some other kind of special package. On the other hand, you could offer a simple Q & A guide for people who are curious about your services.

      Looking forward to our call!

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