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If you’re a content creator or a business owner who just so happens to create content, I have a feeling that you’ve probably wondered the following things.

Am I giving too much away? If I give all this stuff away for free, then who will actually pay for my services and my products?

Trust me, I’ve been there. That’s why, in today’s post, I want to break down the key differences between free content and paid content. So if you want to have a peace of mind on this topic, then keep reading until the end.

When it comes to being a content creator, especially a content creator who happens to sell products or services, the line between giving away too much and giving away not enough is really blurred. On one hand, you do want to give away really great free content in order to build a following and trust within your audience. But on the other hand, you’re running a business and not necessarily a charity. You don’t want to be giving free handouts to every single person to the point where you’re not even running a business anymore and making a profit.

With that being said, here’s one thing that I want you to know. The more generous you are with your content, the more leads you’ll actually attract back into your business. Now read that again. Yes, I am telling you to give it all away.

Even for me, I grew my publication site, Opinined, from zero to 10,000 unique visitors in less than six months, because I persistently kept producing and giving out a lot of generous content. My own subscribers would agree with me because at times I receive feedback that they really enjoy reading some of the tips I give away. I’ve even had some of my articles go viral, and it makes me very happy to know that people like what I write and distribute for free.

But why exactly do I do this? Why am I willing to give away some of my best content pieces? Well, the reason is that the Internet is a very vast place. We start to hear the same information over and over again to the point where it’s basically public knowledge on how to do certain things. That’s why I like to put my best foot forward when it comes to free content creation, and really try to make my content pieces super unique and hard to find anywhere else, because that’s going to accelerate my authority as an expert in that space. But it’s also going to help me accelerate the fact that I’m growing a very loyal fan base of people who think that my content is unique. Not only this, when you choose not to cheap out on your free content, you’re going to find that people will ask themselves if your free content is this good, your paid or premium content would definitely be even more awesome. This is the exact same thing that I hear my clients telling me when I asked them why they decided to invest in my paid services.

Your free content is the very first impression that someone is going to have about anything that you sell. Your free content is going to determine whether or not they want to take the next step with you, and actually buy anything from you. But your free content needs to be able to build that trust in the first place.

Now you must be wondering, if you’re giving out most of your content for free, what would you be charging your customers or subscribers for? What would your paid content be? What is it that you can start selling, once you have generated enough traffic on your free content sources?

One of the key things is that people will always pay for structure, convenience, and personalization. Whether someone wants to get rich, make money online, learn how to start a business, learn how to be healthy, learn how to be beautiful, or anything else you can think of, they can easily find a lot of information on all these on the Internet. Content on all these topics is technically accessible online. People can easily find it if they search far and wide, look at the forums, Youtube channels, podcasts or blog posts. They can probably find the answer to whatever they want to learn for free with all the content that’s available online.

However, the problem is that when you take that route, there’s really no one telling you what step comes first, that is, what’s the sequence, what should you prioritize. Since no one is giving you that information, most people will still remain lost. They will get overwhelming amount of information online, but will be lost in figuring out how exactly to use it. This is where they will be willing to pay for convenience. They’ll be willing to pay for a mentor or instructor, someone who breaks it down for them step by step, tells them what comes first, and potentially gives them that personalization or answers to the specific questions that they have. This is something that free content will never be able to reproduce.

By offering this kind of convenience to your customers, you will also save a lot of their time that it would otherwise take them to flush things out in detail. Personalization is something that people must pay for if they want you in the corner to be their consultant. Most people will be willing to pay for your premium offerings in order to access this.

So to answer the question that we previously asked, your premium services or content should include any or all personalized advice, customized coaching or case-to-case consultation that you offer. Personalization of your content should be limited for only those who invest in your programs, services or whatever it is that you’re selling. After all, when they pay for your service, you are saving that person so much time that they would otherwise have to spend browsing through the Internet for hours, reading every single blog post on the topic, and still finding it out to fine-tune all the free content they find to fit into their context or specific situation. For the efficiency and convenience you offer, you will find people who will happily pay for your premium content.

At this point, some of you might be concerned about another problem many people face with this strategy, and that is, the problem of copycats. How do you avoid having someone steal your free content, and turn it into their own paid content to ride on your efforts?

The good news is, you don’t need to worry much about this. The truth is, it is hard for anyone to charge people for content that is designed to be given out for free. So even if you face any copycats, they will not be able to benefit any more from your content that you do for yourself. On top of that, even if they copy your content, they will fail to copy your strategy. Your strategy is to give out all the general information for free, and charge your subscribers for something even more awesome, which the copycats can never produce (since they just copy, never originate). Since you are the original creator of your content, you can tweak your way through to use that free content get people to pay for your premium services in a far better way than anyone else.

Hope that helps!