Show Notes by Host Kirsten Oliphant
A topic that comes up frequently when interviewing people for the podcast is the idea of free content and paid content. Both from the consumer and the content creator standpoint, this can be a hard decision. When you are wanting to grow your blog, what do you pay for? When you are offering value, how do you know when you should charge?
Lindsay Ostrom mentioned this in our podcast episode this week and you can also hear Bjork Ostrom talk about how they started a paid membership site on the Food Blogger Pro podcast.
As a consumer, look for free content when…
- You don’t have a budget. Many bloggers (Becky & Paula included) start with no budget. Don’t take out a line of credit to start your blog. Make smart, frugal choices at the beginning and then invest when you can.
- What you want is available for free. There is so much free content on the internet! Youtube videos, podcast episodes, blog posts, and free webinars allow you to grow your skill set and learn without spending a ton. Before you invest, check to see what you can find online for free.
As a consumer, look for paid content when…
- You have a budget and are ready to invest. While you can absolutely start a blog and grow utilizing free tools and resources, your blog is a great investment and some of your paychecks (when you are getting them!) should go back into it.
- You want a bigger value. While a lot of content online is free, there is also truth to the idea of getting what you pay for. The B2B personal conferences are a great example of this. You can find Becky and Holly and Paula’s tips here on the blog or interact in the Facebook group, but having a private session where they look at your blog and give you feedback? That’s a TOTALLY different value.
As a content creator, offer free services when…
- You have the time. Your blog should be a hub for free value, whether that value is training or encouragement or links to other sites. The internet is a better place when we are all contributors and sharers of content. Give freely, expecting nothing in return. Your free value can come through blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, tutorials, or even interaction in a Facebook group.
- You want to establish authority. You want your audience to know that you HAVE value to offer. If you are considering the idea of paid content, your audience needs to know that you have value before they will consider paying for anything.
As a content creator, charge for services when…
- You can’t sustain the free help. When you find yourself inundated with questions and emails and people who are asking for help, it may be time to create a course, ebook, or start consulting. Give free help until it is no longer scalable, then create a paid option. You will be meeting a need, but also guarding your time.
- You have enough authority. It seems like everyone online is now an expert or entrepreneur. While you don’t need to have 1 million Twitter followers to be knowledgable about Twitter, you also might not want to call yourself an expert if you only have 1000 followers. People WILL look at those numbers.
- You can do so without breaking your audience’s trust. I recently attended a conference and bought a book for $5 from one of the speakers. I then signed up for his email list and got the book for FREE for signing up. Had I known the book was free as an ebook for signing up on the mailing list, I might have bought the paperback…but probably not. And it shook my trust because he didn’t TELL me the book was offered for free somewhere else. Consider what you are selling and how you present it to your audience so you aren’t undermining your relationships.
How do you make the decision on when to pay or when to utilize free resources? If you are creating content, how do you make the decision between giving free value and charging for your services?
Leave a comment or let’s chat in the Facebook group!