I was reminded this past week, once again, that sharing information is one of the greatest ways to differentiate yourself, position your services and products, grow a customer base, and build loyalty. And I’m not talking about sharing little tidbits that you can frame as content marketing to show your inbound efforts. I mean real sharing.
Success in this arena requires more than just having the information to share. You need to have confidence as well. All too often people want the benefits of content marketing without sharing any content. “If we put the actual valuable stuff out there,” they ask, “how are we going to sell it?”
I would ask, “What better way to build a market than by building a community that is educated about the value of what you do?” Put it out there! And although you can teach theory and strategy and concepts and implementation, you cannot ‘give away’ your experience. Be confident enough in your unique ability to turn these lessons into results that you are willing to share the lessons with others.
If someone is inspired by your content, you’ve helped them. If someone implements on their own, at least they know that you were the spark and they’ll come back for more. If implementing on their own makes them successful enough, they may want to continue to grow and feel that they now need to hire you to take it to the next level (the person who has helped them). Or, they may tell others about how much your material has helped them and send another person your way. Or, they might start trying to implement and realize they don’t have the knack for this and need to hire the expert. Or, they may hire you straight-away.
So, what am I talking about? Exactly how much information, knowledge, and insight am I telling you to give away? As much as you can. Yup. This week I was reminded of this as I wandered to a blog posted by Moz, formerly SEOMoz, that features 21 tactics to acquire customers. I loved it, nodding at points ranging from manual outreach to double-loop referral programs to guides to industry surveys. This drew me to the site…where I ended up spending some time. Why?
I found myself looking at presentations from the recently finished MozCon 2013. Is it the same as being there in person? Absolutely not. As good as hearing the archived presentation? No. But is it interesting? Yes. Does it position the conference as something I might want to attend in the future? If the content of the slides looks good, yes. It’s like Moz is telling me, “Look at how many ideas are stimulated by looking at the slides. Imagine what would happen if you were here.” Except instead of Moz telling me, I figure it out for myself. When we’re coming to our own conclusions, we’re more likely to trust them. And we’re more likely to remember them.
So, there you go. Share information. It’ll have people coming back, generating more and more interaction with you, and firmly positioning yourself as a valuable resource, an expert, and someone who’s nice enough, and confident enough, to share. You build community. You build trust. You build a future.