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Hurdles to blogging #16 – Blogging means giving away too much for free

It is a common concern that small business owners think that when writing a blog, telling people about their work or products and, especially, services, they will risk sales. They worry that people will not need to buy from them, that they will give too much away for free or worse that competitors will copy them.

I’ll let you in to a secret…a lot of Blog Starter training content is contained within this blog, across many posts. After all, what I share is what I tell people in person. It is how my blog helps my courses to expand as I learn more. But here’s the next secret…people still book me for blog training! People learn in lots of different ways and, in many cases and, what I truly believe, is my clients can’t beat the one-to-one teaching, the opportunity to ask questions, the application of my knowledge to their business and writing style, etc. etc. Furthermore, my blog content actually helps to convert sales. So often people say to me, “I was reading your blog post about ‘x or your tips on ‘y’ and I had to get in touch to see how you can help me and to learn more”.

Let me tell you more about why giving away ‘stuff for free’ and offering in-depth, value-laded blog posts, will help your business.

People buy from companies they trust

A blog is a wonderful way to give your prospective clients a true taste of what you do and what you offer. By offering this insight, they know what to expect from you. People hate the unknown! A blog can reassure them that you are definitely what you are looking for. A blog can also help you to grow a loyal following – with each new post you are giving clients are reason to ‘buy-in’ to what you offer.

Importantly, by offering good content, even for free, you are positioning yourself as an expert and an authority in your field. Think about open access journals. It is not about hiding what you know but sharing your knowledge. Once again it comes back to trust. If people can see that you are willing to give free and helpful advice, then they are more likely to feel more comfortable with using your services – they’ll trust you. A blog is a great opportunity to share stories and opinions, as well as communicate your values. Again, all of this will build your credibility and that is worth a free bit of advice or education.

Free blog content is marketing

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a blog is a wonderful marketing tool and it will work hardest when you are giving away really useful content. And yes it will be freely available but it will benefit you in many ways, including increasing website traffic, increasing time spent on your website, increasing engagement (hopefully, through ‘likes’, shares and comments’) and it will give people a reason to return to your website, again and again. If a blog doesn’t contain ‘good value’ content which educates, informs and/or explains – and is ‘useful’ to the person reading it then why would the website visitor return or search for more?

If someone is exploring your website and reading your posts, then this is more likely to generate leads. The more they visit, the more likely something will pique their interest and they will buy from you.

Plagiarism is illegal

As well as giving away useful content, tips or advice for free, I know small business owners also get concerned about others stealing their content, particularly competitors. To confirm, plagiarism is illegal, it is theft, so if you did find someone taking your written content and reproducing as their own you have lot of rights to support you in getting it removed.

If you are concerned about ‘copycats’, remember that no-one can carry on for very long copying work and trying to run a small business. From the moment the client gets in touch or asks an in-depth questions they are likely to get unstuck! You are ‘the original’ so a copycat will soon fall short.

However, I will say, don’t give away your ‘trade secrets’! You can give plenty away for free in a blog, but without sharing true insider knowledge. Give away ‘the why’ and ‘the what’, share your advice and your knowledge and create content that you know your clients can put to good use, certainly. However, you don’t have to share details of your suppliers, pricing strategy or discount structure, for example. People like to know the ‘inside story’ or a business…but would never expect this! Just like you wouldn’t share your business plan or competitor analysis…you’ll know where to draw the line, I’m sure.

…Another hurdle to blogging

I hope you found this useful…if you have other barriers that are stopping you blogging check out my hurdles to blogging series and perhaps I can help and assure you. If you are interested in starting a blog, don’t forget that I offer a Blog Starter training for £95 – online or in person.

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