When you’re rushing to jump on the social media marketing bandwagon, you may search frantically for content to throw into its ever-devouring maw. You have to write articles. You have to come up with blog posts. You have to be timely, relevant and interesting. You have to “build relationships” by promoting links to your content.
In your haste, you might wonder, “How will I ever make money from this?” How can you give information away one minute and sell it the next? If you give too much away, how will you ever have enough left to sell in your information products?
You have an information architecture problem. Can you imagine how confident you’d be if you knew where to draw the line? You’d be able to look at your vast expertise and tell in a moment which facts are more valuable in your promotional material than they are in your book.
The solution is to build a content structure that “gives away” engaging and enticing content, while charging for content that actually produces results.
Usability provides a vital clue. Jakob Nielsen, the godfather of website usability research, doesn’t advocate quick blog posts. He says “Such postings are good for generating controversy and short-term traffic, and they're definitely easier to write. But they don't build sustainable value.”
So use your blog for what it’s good at: promotion! Talk about the terrible consequences of the problem your products and services solve. Find news articles about people who are in a terrible predicament because of those consequences, and write your own releases in response. Revel with the people whose lives have been changed forever by getting the problem solved. Provide tantalizing tips and pointers. But don’t reveal your solution!
Create a unique, proprietary system that delivers your solution. Test it. Gather testimonials and other evidence that prove it works. Publicize the testimonials, but never reveal the secrets of your process in promotional materials.
Do your process justice with a more comprehensive treatment: an information product. Nielsen says paying customers are attracted by detailed information “because systematic and comprehensive coverage is more actionable. It protects them against the risk of losses caused when something important is overlooked.”
Build anticipation and excitement for your expertise. Follow these guidelines and you’ll build traffic and demand for the results you deliver through your products and services.