Subscriber JC recently asked me a question that I get asked quite often.

It has to do with how much information to give away when marketing with content.

“Conventional advice says never to give away all your secrets through your blog and social networks,” writes JC.

“So how do you distinguish between educating consumers and giving away personal trade secrets?”

I gave JC this advice on how to determine what content to give away: Share with your prospects what you do, but not how to do it.

This way prospects will view you as the expert in your skill set but not be able to do it themselves. And so they will perceive that they need to hire you.

But now I think my answer to JC was too restrictive. Fact is, I give away lots of how-to in my content. And by doing so, I further solidify the impression that I know what I am doing.

However, even if you do give away a lot of how-to, your prospects will then theoretically know how to do what you do…but will not have your years of experience in actually doing it.

So their skill level will be a fraction of yours, and they will still turn to you, the expert, for your services and advice.

My overriding philosophy is that it is better to give away more secrets rather than fewer in your content marketing. In this, I am in opposition to the conventional advice JC refers to.

Marketers fear giving away too much content for two reasons: First, they overestimate the rarity of their content.

You may think what you are giving away is your own secret sauce, invented by and known only by you.

But more often than not, the same advice has already been posted in many places online…and it is not the secret you think it is.

Second, marketers do not realize that the majority of prospects, while wanting to become better educated, do not actually want to do the work themselves.

The reason they want to become better educated in your skill area is so they can know enough to select the right vendor…and more effectively evaluate the work you do for them.

As Sims the retailer says in their radio commercials, “An educated consumer is the best customer.”

Here are some of the channels where I commonly share content with my prospects and subscribers:

1. My e-newsletter.

2. My books.

3. My e-books.

4. My column in Target Marketing magazine.

5. Articles.

6. Blog posts.

7. Facebook and LinkedIn posts, tweets.

8. The Articles page of my website: http://www.bly.com/newsite/Pages/articles.php

9. Special reports.

10. Presentations: seminars, speeches, webinars.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

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