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How To Provide Valuable Content Without Giving It All Away
by Bernadette Doyle

Helen asks, 'I have a great idea for a course, but how do I build a list attracting people interested in the topic, without giving all the course content away in the newsletter?'

This is a common question, and it seems that one big fear people have about using their existing knowledge as a marketing tool through newsletters, articles or even talks or free teleseminars is that when they give their goodies away, there will be no need for people to hire them.

The sooner you get over this fear, the faster your business will grow. Useful content, packaged in the right way can be a major draw attracting prospective clients to you, and convincing them that you're the person they want to hire.

1. You're offering a sample, not giving away the store!

Make a clear distinction between giving a sample and giving everything away. My local delicatessen regularly offers bite-sized portions of a new cheese, meats, bread or cake for customers to sample. Notice there's a difference between offering a little taste like this and standing back, opening the cash register and saying, 'Help yourself to whatever's here, and I don't mind what you pay for it, or even if you pay for it at all!'

2. How to offer 'taster' samples.

What you want to avoid is being cryptic, hinting that you have some miracle solution, but failing to give even a whiff of it away. That's just plain annoying. So give the big picture, for example tell people WHAT to do, but if they want specifics on HOW to do it, then they'll have to pay. Or give a complete tip, that someone can use right away, even if they DON'T buy from you, but make it clear that this is just one tip of several more that you have to provide. E.g. 'This is just one of the 7 rapport building techniques you'll discover at this training.'

3. You couldn't possibly give away everything that you have to offer.

The next thing to recognise is that you are more than the content you provide. Your value to a client is more than just what you know. I'll bet you didn't hire your accountant because of the certificate on their wall, but also because you felt some connection with them too. Your knowledge is an important component of the overall value you provide, but just as important as your knowledge is how you do it.

If you think that you are just selling information, then you're in trouble, because information is a commodity and freely available. You could give away all your content, but you can't give away 'YOU'. For example, even if I were to give away ALL the material I sell in manuals, masterclasses and recordings, I know that that there would still be people who asked me to help them with implementing certain parts of it.

4. There is value in the packaging as well as the content.

Flowers grow everywhere, but that hasn't put florists out of business. Think about it. Flowers grow freely in parks, gardens, forests, fields even by the side of the road. So why on earth does anyone buy from a florist? The answer is: lots of reasons. Speed, convenience, pretty packaging, or extra services such as delivery are just some of the reasons I'll order from a florist rather than head into the woods for flowers on a friends' birthday.

It's the same for your prospective clients too. Some clients will buy from you for the convenience of having one expert who has already seen all the mistakes and knows how to avoid them. Once again it's WHO you are, not just WHAT you know that makes you valuable to a client.

5. It's not what you say, it's the way that you say it...

This is especially important if you're in the 'change' business e.g. a coach, consultant, trainer or healer. Two questions prospects will always have about you is 'Can I relate to this person? Will they understand MY specific situation?' A newsletter is more than a chance to show off your content, it's an opportunity to connect with and build a relationship with a prospective client.

Sometimes the value will not necessarily be in the tips you provide, but in getting people to think differently. So put your own spin on it. Let your readers hear your authentic voice. The idea is not to please everybody, but to connect with the right people.

6. The more you give, the more you get.

This is as much as spiritual principle as it is a marketing principle, yet I can still hear people ask, 'But I've been giving and giving. so why don't I have the clients I want?' The truth is people are sensitive, and they respond to your energy and intention as much as your content. None of us like to receive a gift with strings attached. So whatever information you provide, do so with an open heart and a true desire to serve, and you will be rewarded in spades.

Bernadette Doyle may be contacted at

Bernadette Doyle publishes her weekly Client Magnets newsletter for trainers, coaches, consultants, complementary therapists and solo professionals. If you want to get clients calling you instead of you calling them, then get your free tips now at

(c) Bernadette Doyle, 2008.



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