The Art of Giving
In the world of business, people can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable with the thought of giving something away for free. I wouldn't suggest giving away lots of free products and services, although it can sometimes be a good marketing tool if part of a well thought out strategy, however it's knowledge that I would like to talk about. In a world where digital marketing is such a dominant tool and creating content for our audience appears to tick all the right boxes, both for customers and search engines, how good are we at sharing information and giving our precious pearls of wisdom away? Some are reluctant to write articles about their subject or to blog about a new approach or the latest industry developments, for fear of people simply taking that knowledge and not needing to employ their services. However I would challenge that line of thinking with advising businesses to share just enough information to give people a sample of your knowledge, enough to identify yourself as a contact they could turn to if they need further information or support. I would suggest that giving away information and sharing knowledge with your audience is a fantastic way of establishing yourself as an expert in your field, not only to your audience but also the wider business community and media. It is a super way to give people confidence that you know what you are talking about and to establish yourself as a reliable source. You will quickly realise if you haven't already, that there are both givers and takers in this world and some will simply just take what they can get, but for the majority people they will appreciate what is given and be happy to reciprocate the gesture in some way or another. I have helped the odd client with support for free if they have been in a tight spot, which some of my peers have questioned, however it has only once never led onto further work or benefit. Some freebies have led to regular work, being invited to be a speaker at events, several great testimonials and many word of mouth client referrals! Giving away knowledge for free can take many different formats; a free initial meeting with a client, a free quote, a blog post, an article for an online publication, webinar or podcast, workshop and many other forms too. One thing that is vitally important though is to ensure that anything that you do give away for free is done so in a thoughtful way and built into a marketing action plan to ensure you are speculating to accumulate!