Best Of: The Difference Between Your Free and Paid Content
When it comes to creating and sharing content for your business, there are two types; Free and paid.
But how to you determine what should be included in your free content such as your freebies, blog posts and videos, and what should be saved for content for your paid programs?
If this question has been on your mind, this episode will be a huge help.
Here’s what you’ll discover:
- The purpose of your free content and how it plays an important role in your marketing and client attraction strategy
- 8 popular types of free content you can use to attract your ideal clients
- What to avoid doing with your free content
- Examples of free content you can start sharing today
Tune in or read the post below to learn how to use both forms of content in your business to get the best results.
I received a great question about how coaches should distinguish between their free and paid content; what should be offered as part of content such as freebies, blog posts and livestreams, and what should be saved for content for paying clients.
Alma asked this question and then went on to say “I feel like if I just touch on the subjects of healthy nutrition or exercise tips without getting into the “nitty-gritty” in the materials available for free, people would sense that there isn’t much value in them.”
This is such a great question, and it may be something you are wondering too, so we wanted to cover this on the podcast.
Purpose of Free Content
Let’s talk about the purpose of your free content, we’ll share a few different examples, and then we’ll talk about your paid content (your coaching programs and courses) and how to set that apart, as well as how to use your free content to lead to your paid programs.
It’s important to first point out that your free content is actually part of your marketing strategy because it’s an important piece of the awareness and attraction phase where people get to learn more about you and determine if they can learn something valuable from you. This is called content marketing.
According to the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
So, content marketing – your free content – is a client attraction strategy and it’s a key part of how you will bring people into your world. Think about the people you follow on social media – you probably follow many of them because you learn from them on a regular basis. You learn bits and pieces of information, but you don’t learn an entire process from A-Z, right? Your free content builds trust and rapport and is oftentimes the first step in the customer journey or sales funnel. Here’s one example: People read one of your blog posts, they see your social media icons, and they follow you on Instagram. Once they check out your IG bio, they see you have a free offer or a Facebook group, and they request to join your group or they opt-in for your freebie.
Your free content can come in many forms, including:
- Blog posts
- Social Media (posts, stories, Reels, YouTube, Clubhouse, etc.)
- Free PDF downloads
- Video series
Where it can get confusing, as Alma mentioned, is how much information do you offer for free, where you make it valuable enough and what should be part of your paid programs.
With the list of 8 options above for free content, each one of those should play a part in creating awareness and desire for your paid programs and let people get to know YOU as a person and your brand. This is a process that takes time, and it takes multiple touch points over time.
Your free content should be part of the customer journey where you get to educate and inspire your audience about topics that you cover in your programs and how your program helps your clients achieve their goals.
Here’s the big distinguisher between your free and paid content:
Your free content shares small pieces of helpful information on a specific topic but it does not give a system or a roadmap for a transformation or desired outcome. Your paid program provides the entire solution.
Your free content is only small chunks of the solutions you offer. You aren’t taking people from point A to point B and beyond – you are making them aware of what you do, who you help and how you help them, and you provide helpful tips
and inspiration along the way.
Think about the people you follow on social media – let’s take someone who is an Instagram expert, like Jasmine Star (we had her on the podcast back on episode 117 about How to Easily Navigate the Changes on Instagram). She is one of my favorite people to learn from when it comes to IG. She shares fun and helpful tips and strategies, but if you want to learn her whole system and you want more access to her, you need to enroll in her paid program, Social Curator, which is her monthly subscription where you get a complete monthly IG strategy, IG posts, captions, and images for IG.
You can take some information from your paid program, but just share a small part each time, and make it specific to your niche, so you are attracting more of your ideal clients and building trust with them. People will still learn something of value, but it’s not going to solve an entire problem.
It will be the same for a freebie you offer. It should be about one specific topic, so your ideal clients can get a small win. Your free offer shouldn’t be a 30-page eguide. A big mistake we see is overwhelming people with too much information. A great free offer is more about what they can take action on vs making it too long for them to consume and never put anything into place. When you get very specific about who your freebie is for and the quick mini win it will get your ideal client, it makes it easier to come up with ideas.
Say your niche is helping moms who have just been diagnosed with celiac disease. You know from experience, that one of their top struggles is likely how to pack food and snacks when they travel. Maybe your freebie is a list of 20 gluten-free, celiac-friendly foods that are perfect for traveling.
The list will give them a quick win, but there is so much more they need to learn and implement in order to implement a gluten-free lifestyle, from how to avoid cross contamination in their home, how to cook for the whole family when you are the only one who has to be GF, how to eat out when you have celiac, and so much more. There is a lot they have to learn, and your free guide gives them one small part of what they need to know. They can now start to see that you are a trusted resource, and they may want to learn more about how you can help them by working with you.
Take this podcast as another example. We now have over 300 episodes full of free and helpful content. We also have a paid program called the Wellness Business Accelerator which is our 12-week course for wellness business owners who want to fill their practice. In this program, we take our students through a very detailed, and step-by-step process to dramatically accelerate their business growth, so they can start getting clients in as little as 60 days. People can get free content on the show to get small wins, which we love hearing about, and for those who want more support and a proven blueprint and process to follow, they can enroll in our paid program – the full solution.
The goal with your free content is to draw people in to learn something short and sweet and leave them wanting more, then direct them to the next step such as sign up for your freebie, join your Facebook group, read a blog post, watch a video or something else. Your free content should ultimately lead people to your paid programs, and that’s how content marketing works.
Speaking of content, you can save yourself a lot of time by repurposing your hard work, and we covered how to do this on episode 144 where we talked about 5 Simple Ways to Repurpose Your Content to Reach More People.