You know, I get asked this question all the time, usually with a side of worry or confusion: "Dave, how much of my secret sauce should I be giving away for free on my website?"
Let's be real, a few anxieties are bubbling under the surface here:
Competitor copycats: You fear someone's gonna steal your brilliant ideas and leave you with nothing. Relax. Just keep innovating, be the trendsetter, and trust me, most competitors are too busy worrying about themselves to even notice what you're doing.
Stolen thunder: You think sharing insights online will kill your sales conversations. Actually, the opposite is true! When prospects already trust your thinking and see the value you bring, those conversations become way richer and flow naturally.
Time is money: You're swamped with awesome clients, who needs more work, right? But think of it this way: if you don't take time to step back, learn, and evolve, your business will stagnate. It's like your body refusing to make new blood cells – not sustainable in the long run.
The "work showcase" trap: You fall back on just showing off your past projects, hoping that'll impress potential clients. But the truth is, unless your niche is super specific, this approach makes you look like everyone else. It's time to define your unique positioning and let your expertise shine through.
Okay, so I've been through this journey myself. I've gone from open book (thanks, pre-Google days) to gated content king ("fill out this form, prove you're worthy") to, well, let's just say I got a little marketing automation-happy and locked down 90% of my stuff. (Hey, we all have our moments of selfishness, right?)
Now, I'm somewhere around 5% gated, the rest happily searchable by Google. But honestly, if I were starting over, I'd do things differently. All that marketing automation data? Interesting, sure, but mostly we just stare at it like voyeurs, never actually using it.
And you know what? I'd finally get serious about organic traffic. Keyword tools? Never touched one in my life, just shrugged and hoped Google would "figure it out." Let's be honest, that's not a sustainable strategy.
But here's the thing I truly believe: the more valuable insights you publish for free, the less you need to "invest in the sale" (as my podcast partner likes to say). No more long, drawn-out sales processes with proposals the size of novels. Just genuine conversations, fueled by trust and mutual respect.
Think about it this way: if you haven't been sharing your knowledge and process online, why wouldn't a prospect be cautious? They're investing big bucks and time – they deserve due diligence.
Now, let's talk positioning. The clearer your niche, the easier it is to give away insights. You see the patterns, the recurring challenges, and suddenly you have a wellspring of content to share. And guess what? The deeper you learn, the more you have to give. It's a never-ending cycle of knowledge and generosity.
So, here's my final rule: ditch the middle ground. Give it all away for free to potential clients, or charge premium fees to actual clients. The free stuff is like a treasure map – they get the big picture, but you're the guide who knows how to navigate the unique twists and turns of their specific situation.
That's how you earn the big bucks, folks. By showing the world you've been there, done that, and got the problem-solving toolbox to back it up. Your "less-exchangeable" insights become your golden ticket, a seat at the table before the conversation even starts.
So, eliminate that frustrating middle ground. Embrace the free-knowledge, high-value client model.