Content marketing is all the rage, dictating that I should help people solve problems — that I should serve, not sell. But if I’m doing the heavy lifting for would-be customers, why will they buy from me? Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Serve People, Don't Sell!

Some companies worry that by creating content and sharing it freely, they are giving away their thought leadership or trade secrets. They worry that competitors are trolling their blogs, gaining valuable insights or (worse!) poaching clients from the comment threads. For example, a CPA might worry that a blog post decoding some new Financial Accounting Standards Board rule for the small-business owner might result in clients deciding they can handle their taxes on their own this year.

The truth is that giving away free content will do a few things, but none of those will dissuade the purchase of any metaphorical milk. Rather, educating prospects about the products you sell and underscoring your own expertise actually increases your credibility and fosters trust. You show that you know what you’re talking about, and those who dig your stuff will become more educated and ready leads for sales.

And besides: The kind of clients who are inclined to do their own taxes would never buy accounting services anyway. Just sayin’.

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