If you’ve been following discussions about inbound marketing over the last couple of years you may have noticed an emphasis on giving away content. Good blogs are packed with helpful information and advice about how to get things done. Inbound marketing experts talk about using your blog to establish yourself as a trusted advisor or an industry expert. And they advocate using special offers—giving away things like special reports and white papers—in exchange for contact information. People love to download free “How-to” e-books. And increasing numbers of companies seem perfectly willing to give away their valuable information and expertise.
You may be wondering why in the world you should give away your expertise. Why should you pass on hard won experience and information to someone who may or may not eventually do business with you? You may wonder why—after giving away everything you know—people would even need you.
Ah, but you don’t give away everything!
There’s a difference between giving away helpful information and critical information. If you’re an auto repair business you might give away a booklet such as Seven Secrets to a Smoother Running Vehicle. And in that booklet you provide readers with genuine tips that will make their car run smoother, get better mileage, and last longer. It really does provide them with a benefit. And you may blog about those same topics every week—helping people keep their cars running smoothly.
But nobody is going to learn how to do a valve job by reading your blog. Nobody is going to be able to rebuild a transmission after downloading your e-book on maintenance. They are going to go to a real expert for that. And who are they going to think of first? You—they guy who has been giving them helpful car maintenance information all along.
So keep giving a little bit of your expertise away. And make sure it’s genuinely helpful. Just don’t give it all away.
Where do you draw the line about what you’ll give away and what you won’t?