With the plethora of information at our fingertips online, there’s no denying the value of content marketing. It’s a tool for businesses eager to gain visibility, interest, and sales across digital audiences.
Unfortunately, there’s always a saturation point in marketing — a time when everyone inevitably jumps on the “successful tactic” bandwagon. Potential is diluted and brands have to try harder to get further with their audiences under the same methods.
There’s nothing wrong with this, especially the trying harder part. As entrepreneurs, we should be constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve upon what’s been done before.
This is certainly true in the realm of content where webinar and ebook promotions now run rampant. If you view content in a silo — as merely a way of getting emails — you’re missing the big picture. Consider the benefits of giving away content, free and unrestricted by form gates.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s think of content as any marketing asset you create for audiences in an effort to provide some sort of informative or educational value. Think in terms of long- and short-form — ebooks and emails, YouTube videos and tweets.
In a perfect world, everything you publish under your business would be valuable to someone. You’re not trying to be a thought leader as much as you simply are one. You’re sharing insights that are meaningful to you without constantly expecting something from the recipients in return.
Giving away free, ungated content on a regular basis establishes a level of trust between you and your readers. It speaks to how you view your readers — prioritizing them as people and not just a potential sale.
Build Community and Referrals
This prioritization is where communities emerge from. You need a group of people willing to follow your content consistently and reference it in their everyday conversations.
Giving away free, useful content increases your chances of triggering those psychological pushes that make people like and share content. In turn, you ride the word-of-mouth wave.
Content is a long-term game. It’s much more efficient (and profitable) to optimize free resources for driving interest and traffic to your business over time than it is to constantly push out stuff that’s short-lived in relevancy and hidden behind a paywall.
Increase Leads and Potential Revenue
Now, with all of this talk around free content, we’re not saying you shouldn’t give away everything. After all, you can’t dedicate time to creating ungated materials without money to fund those efforts.
However, you have to know when to present people with the hard sell. If you’re bombarding every new website visitor with pop-ups to download an ebook, don’t be surprised when they show themselves out.
Content is a relationship-builder first and foremost. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, you should follow me, I know what I’m talking about,” and then proving it through resources of substance. As you become familiar with audience behaviour and what resonates with them, you can begin to sprinkle in gated materials that further push readers from interest to conversion.