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Giving away free information or consulting time is a common marketing strategy. Those who encourage this strategy will also reinforce the fact that what you give away needs to have true value to the recipient in order for this strategy to work.
A fellow writer/editor and I were discussing this today and the mindset behind it. Both of us have found ourselves ‘giving away’ professional advice and assistance. There was a difference though. We weren’t giving away our valuable advice or services as a marketing strategy. We were doing so because we enjoyed providing assistance to the individuals or organizations involved. At the same time, we could also acknowledge that many of the connections and goodwill created as a result of our offerings did bring business related benefits.
So, does the strategy work?
In my mind, that’s the wrong question to ask. Obviously, it is a marketing strategy that does ‘work’, otherwise it wouldn’t be promoted so heavily by the marketing gurus. The true question is whether you want ‘getting’ to be the motivation behind your giving.
I’ve spent many hours on the phone and sitting in coffee shops sharing the actions and strategies that have brought me success in my freelance writing career during the last year. Once you get me talking on the subject, it is hard to shut me up. I love what I’m doing and am thrilled to share my excitement with others who might benefit from it.
What have I gained as a result of my enthusiastic sharing of ‘free’ information? Several new friends and several new writers who can subcontract for me, to begin with. More importantly, I’ve gained the joy of seeing several other writers follow my lead and gain full or partial financial freedom through their creative writing talents.
Some might consider this to be a means of creating your own competitors. That may be true in some sense. I have actually competed against some of those fellow writers for jobs on occasion. But I don’t see it that way. It’s a big world and the writing market covers a broad spectrum of subjects and specialties. I see my fellow writers as colleagues that are working alongside of me.
Give to get? Go ahead. I hear it works. I’ll stick to giving for the joy of giving. It’s a lot more fun.