Giving up the farm
A big concern for a lot of bloggers is “giving away the farm”.

It's an understandable concern.

All of the content marketing rules say we have to blog our very best stuff, but isn't that supposed to be what goes in our products? Or our coaching? Or our services?

giving away the farm

While this paradox can cause feelings of confusion and overwhelm (not to mention hangovers!) it's most damaging consequence is paralysis. We don't know what to do, so we do nothing, with predictable results.

Today, I’ll give you four options – how to create targeted, compelling content without hurting your bottom line. In fact, if you follow this content strategy, you’ll almost definitely make more sales, not fewer.

Here are the four strategies – mix and match for best results.

Strategy one: Go really granular.

In journalism, this is called “thin-slicing”. Instead of covering something big and broad, cover a thin slice of it – something narrow and deep.

A good example of this would be a Why Things Work kind of post. If you’re in the health industry, there’s really only so many ways you can dress up, “For God’s sake, drink more water!” But, you could write about 5 Ways Water Speeds Up Your Metabolism.

If you go deep about it, you don’t dumb yourself down, and you throw big words like “thermogenesis” around, you do yourself a lot of favors. You highlight your expertise, you teach people some things they didn’t know, and you become a lot more trustworthy when it comes time to buy something.

How this gets you more buyers:

First, five posts like this and you look like you know pretty much everything. “Knowing all the things” is GREAT for conversion.

Second, have you ever thought to yourself, “Now that I know how water affects metabolism, I guess I don’t need that recipe book”? No? Exactly.

Option two: Discuss a weird case.

This one is pretty straightforward – imagine someone who would have difficulty following typical advice and write about what they should do instead.

How this gets you more buyers:

We see you solve this weird problem, and then that weird problem, and then that other weird problem. Via the magic of extrapolation, we soon come to the conclusion that you can solve OUR weird problems. Then we buy your stuff, and you get to buy new shoes.

It also reinforces that your paid products (or coaching, or services, or signature programs) are not going to be full of fluffy BS. If your blog talks about the real issues, presumably your paid offerings will, too. End result? New shoes.

Option three: Give away the WHAT, sell the HOW.

Let’s say you’re in marketing, and you have a class that you sell about easy content upgrades. You think, “I have to blog about content upgrades or nobody will know I’m awesome!” Plus, you want a piece of content that you can use to link to the product. What’s the strategy here?

In your free content, tell them WHAT to do. 15 Content Upgrades You Can Make in an Hour or Less. Or The Highest Conversion Place To Put Your Content Upgrade Link. Or Doing Content Upgrades? I Compared 3 Top Lead Gen Options So You Don’t Have To.

Then, in your paid content, tell them HOW to do it. How to write the upgrade. How to craft the offer. How to upload it. How to design it. How to deliver it. How to upsell afterwards. How to retain the subscriber after they get the free goodie.

Give the WHAT. Sell the HOW.

How this gets you more buyers:

First, it focuses attention on a problem you solve. The reader says, “Crap, content upgrades. I really meant to be doing that by now.” Now they are thinking about content upgrades, not how to look thinner in their selfies.

Second, it offers exposure to your paid offering. If I have to see it 13 times before I buy it, I may as well start seeing it today. Write a “what” post, link to the product twice in the blog post and I’ll be reminded that it exists. I leave your sales page up in my browser, obsess for a few days, and come back and buy your video course.

(You can learn how to link to products in a blog post without looking like a doofus here.)

Option four: Give away a small portion of the farm.

Also known as an excerpt or free sample, you can just throw your hands up and actually give some of the farm away. This is very simple.

Take a piece of a paid product. Put it in a blog post. At the end of that blog post, say “Excerpted from How To Sleep With All The Women You Ever Meet, Forever! Click the link to find out more and buy” or something. Link the name of the product to the sales page, and bam! You’re done.

How this gets you more buyers:

If there’s a better way to sell ebooks or training products than an excerpt, I don’t know what it is. An excerpt does three things: One, it provides exposure. Two, it provides proof the product doesn’t suck. Three, it creates an open loop of curiosity – they’ve started reading, now they want more.

Good content doesn’t have to give away the farm.

Now you’ve got four ways to create targeted, engaging content that doesn’t threaten your sales – it skyrockets them.

And remember – for best results, mix and match strategies. Every little bit counts, baby.