by Tony Vidler
General disclaimer to begin with: I m not inviting allegations of sexism and general trashing of whatever reputation I have in using this line, there is a business lesson to be had here, so bear with me. We would all agree today that a lady should show whatever the heck she wants – she is in charge and can decide for herself what is appropriate taking into account the situation, her beliefs, her feeling and anything else.
So it is with content marketing I believe. There is no absolute right or wrong on how much, or what, content one should share.
Like everyone else I have struggled at times to work out what content to provide and what content to keep for paying clients. Where is the defining line in providing useful and relevant information to the target market that doesn’t give away your very best ideas?
It is a dilemma that we face continually in trying to market “expertise”…we sort of HAVE to showcase our expertise in order to attain credibility, right? But do we give away all of our IP for free while doing so?
A little while ago I picked up on a concept of working from “Free to Fee” as a way of marketing your knowledge and content. At its most simple this means that you can separate your knowledge and content along the following lines:
1. The WHY stuff: why people need to listen to you….why they have the problems they do….why a particular course of action is the right one to take.
2. The HOW stuff: How to fix the common problems….how to resolve the issues….how to begin a course of action.
3. The WHAT stuff: what you need to to have to fix the problems….or what specific plans or actions must be addressed in what order to achieve success and so on.
The WHY material is your free content.
The HOW material is mid level generic information which is useful, but doesn’t provide all the answers, and should be low cost or entry level. It is the teaser material designed to get people to say “hey, this person knows what they are talking about – we should get them on our team”
The WHAT stuff is the actual tools, resources and highly skilled knowledge that provides the actual solutions – and that is your core area for revenue generation.
A working example might be the financial adviser providing newsletters, blogs and e-zines discussing the common issues and facts surrounding your area of expertise. Provide that on a complementary basis to your target market in the form of short whitepapers or e-books or blogs, or providing public presentations or seminars at a relatively nominal cost that focus relentlessly upon “why” this or that is an issue that people need to be aware of. It is fundamentally educational in approach.
The one to one engagement phase where prospective clients are moving from the general educational realm to personalising the issue is where the adviser shows them how they might go about fixing the problems of the client. This works best at a low cost entry point….not “free”, but at a nominal cost. You are after all providing a strategy. Many advisers do this of course by offering a planning service at heavily discounted rates to obtain client engagement.
The strategy only works though if the right actions are taken, and the right tools or products used at the right time, and the right corrective actions are taken thereafter. That is the “what” that we do. And that should be at premium priciing.
As a content marekting “formula” I think there is enormous sense in this, which brings us back to the question of how much content should we share, and what sort of content should it be?
If the premium pricing for the adviser and the ultimate tangible value for the client is in the ongoing personal implementation of strategy together with coaching behaviour, then everything else we have or know is just educational isn’t it? It is helping prospective clients get to the point where they will take action to change their financial future, and if they do not get to that point of being willing to act then the information we have withheld is utterly worthless anyway.
So how much should you show?
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