How to give great content away. Without being a charity!

More and more companies are starting to see the value of publishing great content such as tutorial videos, white papers, how-to guides, case studies, trend reports or market research documents.

However, I notice that many managers and marketers are not comfortable with giving this content away for free online. Usually a lot of time and resources have gone into creating it. I therefore often hear the argument that this content is too valuable to give away for free.

I am sympathetic with the thought itself. Quid pro quo. It’s the basics of economics. One person bakes the bread, the other person buys it from him. Logical.

But we all know that on the web, business models are not so linear. Nowadays, great content is the currency of the web. That means the one person gives content and the other gives something in return.

So the question is: what do you want in return?

If you think about it in this way, asking for an email address, postal address or even money, might not sound like such a good idea anymore. You’re much better off looking at your prime business objectives and see how your content fits in with reaching these business goals.

You then realize that what you get in return is much more valuable than an email address or a few odd pennies. In return for your videos or documents, you are positioning yourself as an industry leader and trusted resource. In the process you are also educating your prospects, customers and stakeholders about your product or service. And you get a chance to clear up any questions people might have.

Giving away free content is not giving away business. Giving away free content is about figuring out what you want in return. Once you know, it becomes that much easier to give.

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