Should Access to Your Content Be Free?
Even if you are not a hardcore Batman fan, you must have heard or read the famous Joker’s quote “If you are good at something, never do it for free”. You might think – words to live by!
While the idea of getting paid for something that you are good at sounds brilliant, in practice, it isn’t always quite like that. Can you imagine how much money you would need to pay to your best friend for all the times they acted like your shrink and given you the best advice? Or how much you would need to pay your parents just for being your parents?
Building relationships is hardly ever based on payment. And good relationships are important in the world of business, especially when it comes to content marketing in the future. If you are already wondering what does this have to do with content, trust us – it does.
Back to the main question – should access to your content be free? The short answer is yet. But if you want more details, buckle up because we give you the reasons why content should always be free!
The Pool of Content
In case you were wondering how many articles are posted online every day, let us tell you that the number is massive – 2 million articles. And that’s on average! Wordometers have introduced a live count of all articles being posted over the globe, and the number sometimes surpass the 2 million mark by far.
Obviously, content marketing in 2019 is very developed today and still continues to grow. It is impossible to claim that the content you are posting is 100% unique. Whatever niche you are in, there are other businesses over there as well that are covering the same topics as you are. Bear in mind that we are not referring to quality here, but rather to only writing on the same topic.
The initial response from many is that their content is of great quality, offers relevant sources and you put your heart and soul into it. In other cases, you might’ve even paid for someone to write it for you. So why should you just give it out for free?
The simple answer is – because if you are asking your users to pay to read something, they will go to your competitors! Quality is important, but many people would choose poorer quality content over paying for something they can’t be sure straight off if it would be relevant to them.
Everyone Loves Free Things
And we don’t mean this as a generalization. This is actually a psychological phenomenon.
A study was conducted to test the claims if people really live free stuff that much. Professor Dan Ariely at MIT conducted a research on 398 MIT students. The experiment was simple – two bars of chocolate. One of the bars was just the standard chocolate bar that you can get in any store. The other one was a high-quality premium chocolate bar. When asked which one they prefer, the vast majority of students preferred the high-quality chocolate bar. However, when asked the question would you rather get the standard chocolate bar for free or the premium chocolate bar at a high discount price, guess which one the majority chose? The free one!
The Hidden Rewards
Sure, not getting paid for your awesome content sounds disheartening, but wait – there is a silver lining.
Good quality content gets you far. It gets you far in search results, ranking on your targeted keywords and increases your exposure. But it does much more, on a psychological level again, more or less.
When you offer someone something valuable for free, they experience positive emotions as it has been shown by different studies. Not only can these positive emotions cloud our judgement, but they also make us feel like we owe something to whoever gave us something for free.
This has happened to a lot of people – you have received something for free from a brand, you became their customer and you are very happy with their products. Someone says something bad about the brand. You automatically have the urge to defend the brand by describing your personal experience with them.
And that’s how you create brand ambassadors.
The same applies when it comes to content. If you offer your readers a valuable piece of writing that will blow their mind, you will see your social media share count go up quick. It is the customers’’ way of saying thank you, so they are spreading the word and bringing new customers in for you.
At the end of the day, content marketing is effective but its effectiveness varies depending on a lot of factors, but mostly from the fact whether it is done right or not. But content marketing in the future will be even more effective as we shift the focus to consumers rather than SEO. But still, there is one silent marketing technique that will always beat all the rest – recommendations.
According to a study, recommendations are the most effective way of getting new customers. But how do you get people to recommend you? You become their friend!
To become their friend, first you need to provide them with value. You must have at least one friend who is constantly recommending you to try a product, follow a YouTube channel or read a blog. This means that the brand or the person they are following provided them with value. They made them feel happy or inspired and in their human nature, they are trying to pass that good feeling on to you.
And how do you create value? Through good and free content!
Content marketing in 2019 is all about relevancy and quality. While it is true that the benefits of content marketing don’t come quickly, you are paving your way to long-term success. Good content can be the gift that keeps on giving in a positive way, but you are the one who needs to give something first to start the cycle. If people are satisfied with the content you offer, they are more likely to start buying your products or using your services and become valuable and loyal customers.