(I’m talking zilch. Nada. Not a crumb in the cupboard.)
In my last blog post, I showed you how to customize your email opt-in process and build a strong relationship with your subscribers by offering them some fun and/or helpful free gifts.
But what do you give people when you don’t have a single piece of content to offer them – no articles, blog posts, ebooks, tutorials, videos, webinars, infographics, apps, doohickeys, or gizmos?
The answer is deceptively simple: you offer them content OTHER people have created.
Now, I don’t mean that you steal someone’s content and pass it off as your own!
You have to give credit where credit is due. But as long as you mention the name of the original creator and link directly to the source where you found the content, it’s perfectly acceptable to share other people’s stuff with your subscribers.
In fact, the original creators will thank you because you’re introducing their work to a larger audience!
12 examples of great content to offer
The best content to share is something that’s either extremely helpful and usable – and/or something that provokes some kind of positive emotional reaction, such as gratitude, delight, inspiration, or wonder.
Here are some examples (I’ve chosen them to appeal to my particular audience – you’ll want to use ones that are more specific to your industry):
1. A helpful tutorial YouTube video – such as this one:
How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business (Copyblogger)
2. An entertaining or inspiring YouTube video – such as this one:
A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square (Duval Guillaume)
or this one:
The True Story of the Internet (Discovery Science)
3. A thought-provoking TED talk that relates to your industry/the needs of your ideal customers in some way – such as this one:
How Great Leaders Inspire Action (Simon Sinek)
4. A well-written ebook on a topic of great interest to your ideal customers – such as this one:
How to Create Effective Call to Actions (Hubspot)
5. A helpful online how-to guide – such as this one:
The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing (QuickSprout)
6. A useful product review – such as this one:
Email Service Providers: MailChimp vs. Constant Contact (FitSmallBusiness)
7. A useful and/or entertaining Slideshare presentation – such as this one:
“Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge” from Velocity Partners
“Sans Bullshit Sans” – A marketing B.S. detector
9. An interesting infographic that offers valuable information – such as this one:
How to Create the Perfect Blog Post (Social Marketing Writing)
10. A link to a useful webinar – such as this one:
How to Boost Conversions on Your Landing Page (WishPond)
11. An important and/or controversial article – such as this one:
12 Signs Your SEO Guru Sucks (My Site Auditor)
12. A compelling podcast – such as this one:
Why These Words Make Copywriting Experts Cringe (Unbounce)
Where do you find this kind of content?
The easiest place to begin your search for great content to share is with Google. Start by googling the TYPE of content you’re looking for + the industry or topic you want it to address.
Content marketing + how-to guide
Email marketing + product reviews
WordPress + video tutorial
Internet marketing + TED Talk
Search engine optimization SEO + controversy
… and so on.
Explore the results you get, tweaking your search terms if necessary, and choose the content that does the best job of imparting useful information and/or inspiring a positive emotional reaction.
Your subscribers will love you for it!
Here are a few last tips on how to choose content that’s bound to wow your subscribers and get the best results:
1. Make sure you credit the original creator of the content. I mentioned this above, but it’s worth pointing out again. You don’t want to create the impression that you’re trying to pass off this content as your own, as it will damage your credibility.
2. Choose content from people/businesses that aren’t your direct competitors. You don’t want to convince your subscribers to use their services instead! Choose content from businesses that offer different but complementary services to your ideal customers.
3. Confirm the content’s credibility. Do some research to confirm that the source of the content is legitimate and trustworthy. You want your subscribers to have confidence in the quality of the information you offer.
4. Be careful with your humour. If you can get a chuckle out of your ideal customers, I encourage you to do so. Just be sure to choose content that isn’t overtly offensive – e.g., that isn’t racist, homophobic, sexist, or insulting to a particular group of people.
5. Choose content that hasn’t already been shared to death. Avoid using content that’s already gone wildly viral on social media. If people have already seen it, they won’t click and you might come across as being behind the curve.
And there you go!
That’s how you manage to wow your subscribers with great free content when you haven’t got any of your own to share.
I hope you found this article helpful! (And did you notice how I’m practising what I preach here? ;-))
If you have any questions or examples of content that YOU have shared (or would like to), please share it in the comments!