Business and generosity might not seem natural partners, but we believe that when it comes to creating content, the more you give the more you will receive.
You might disagree. Selling goods and services to make a profit is surely at odds with giving valuable stuff away for free. Stealing a march on your competitors is miles apart from working with others towards a joint goal. And besides, generosity is such a fluffy notion. You don’t want to be Gordon Gekko, you know greed isn’t good, but there are limits.
The strong link between success and sharing
The longer we work in the content marketing industry the more we come to realize that it only really thrives if the generosity run deep. Successful content marketing is much more than giving away a few useful tips on your website to pull in leads. The really great stuff sees businesses putting customers’ needs first at an even deeper level.
In the course of researching great businesses for our book, and each month for the Valuable Content Awards we see a strong link between success and sharing. The better a business understands its customers, and the harder it tries to help them with their challenges, the more successful that business becomes.
Millions of businesses say they care about their customers, but it’s only the ones that put those words into actions by being genuinely generous and helpful that show it. And when you show it, you reap the benefits. More referrals, deeper loyalty, more sales.
“When it comes to valuable content, the more you give, the more you get.”
A movement that’s changing business
Marketing with valuable content is never introverted or short-sighted: it’s forward thinking, outward looking and very powerful. More than just a marketing technique, it’s a movement that’s changing the way businesses operate.
We’re delighted to see more businesses working with other businesses, even competing ones, to share ideas, collaborate on valuable content and help promote each other.
Focusing on generosity and collaboration is a big leap of faith. If you’ve been working hard and focusing in on your own business, it might not seem natural to start working on marketing ideas with people from other firms. Witness the difficulties Mary Portas faces when she tries to get business owners to work together to bring customers back to the High Street. It only starts to fall into place when they all realize they need to collaborate to build something fantastic that will lure customers back to their area. Once they are in the vicinity they might then go on to become customers of their shops (or they might shop next door.) Either way, you have people there, there’s a buzz, talk happens and life returns.
This type of collaboration takes time and a generosity of spirit. It’s thinking bigger than the figures on your own spread sheet, and spreading ideas that are bigger than your own brand message.
It’s time to change.
3 things you can do today in the spirit of generosity
- Give away something so valuable for your customers it hurts!
- Share some content you wish you’d created, but that was created by somebody else.
- Write a detailed blog post that helps one client who you know is struggling with a tough challenge. Don’t just scratch the surface, write it as if you had time to tell them all the things you know would help them.
3 examples of generous content:
- Just check out the amount of free content David Meerman Scott gives away – http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/free-stuff/free-ebooks/. Immensely valuable without a sniff of a sign up form in sight
- Our designer, Lizzie Everard gives away some of her gorgeous illustrations for free download and inspiration, and generates interest as a result – you can download a Lizzie illustration here
- Here’s an island that understand the value of collaboration – find out what Sands Beach and partners are up to on Lanzarote