Name a low-cost, effective way to grow your readership, connect with other bloggers, and gain the most valuable asset of all – trust.
What did you come up with? Comment down below! Feeling stumped? I’ll tell you my answer …
That’s right. Give outrageously valuable content away. Help people out and expect nothing in return. If you are open and generous with your time and talent, people will respond, they will tell their friends, and your blog will grow.
Does this model take longer? It may.
Do you make more money? Not in the short-term.
Can you build a high-traffic, profitable blog through generosity? Absolutely.
Don’t just take my word for it though, check out these 11 examples of people creating excellent, world-class content, and giving it away for free.
I recently bought my first Tim Ferriss book, the 4 Hour Chef (if you’re going to buy it, get the hardcover edition, digital doesn’t do it justice). I wasn’t a fan of Tim’s at the beginning, thinking him too narcisstic, self-promotive, and even lazy. C’mon man, 4 hour work weeks? But, the guy does such a good job of being persistent, dealing with haters, and experimenting, that he’s won me over. He gives away awesome content and lessons on his blog, many of which end up making it in to his books. The language lesson below was originally written in 2009, and didn’t make print until this fall in the 4 Hour Chef. Are his tactics and lessons for everyone? No, but he doesn’t care about everyone, which is actually just fine. But I do believe you can find something that will help you on his site, if you take the time to read.
My favorite 4hWW posts
- How to Learn Any Language in 3 Months
- How to become a great food writer
- How to build a high traffic blog without killing yourself
- Bonus! An Interview with Jeff Goins
Pat runs SmartPassiveIncome.com, is one of the leaders in the Generosity movement, and practices what he preaches. One of the practices that sets Pat apart is he publishes his income reports down to the cent. You may think this is a bit narcissistic, but Pat includes in his blog the methods he uses to make money online! He writes well about different strategies for growing your blog, his how-to videos are incredibly helpful, and the SPI podcast regularly showcases great ideas to help you build and grow your blog or business.
Pat’s top hits
- Guide to Writing an E-book (free resource via subscribing to his email list)
- The Backlinking Strategy that Works
- Top 30 Tips for Affiliate Marketing
- How to Build a Niche Site
Jeff runs GoinsWriter.com, a community passionate about writing, creativity, and ideas. Jeff is big proponent of being generous, and has given away almost every great work he’s shipped. Jeff strongly believes that free is your best marketing, and the most effective way to spread your story. He even gave away his book You Are A Writer for free on Amazon, and gained thousands of new readers.
Jeff’s top hits
- The Writer’s Manifesto e-book (free resource via subscribing to his email list)
- Intentional Blogging (12 week e-course)
Seth is arguably the top blogger and business writer in the world, selling books by the millions, and speaking to top-dollar, sold out crowds wherever he goes. He’s a rock star. He also gives away great stuff for free, every day. Seth has posted on his blog every day for years, regularly testing content and ideas that make it in to his books. He’s launched a publishing service that is changing the way books are distributed (including sponsoring a few freebies), and is giving away an audio recording of his Startup School (which was $950 live).
John is more commonly known as the TentBlogger, a clever and biblical nod to the Apostle Paul’s chosen craft of tent making. He is open, honest, and regularly shares great tips and courses on how to make money online, build your audience, streamline your workflow, and more. If you’re in the market for a new blogging theme, John also crafted the popular Standard theme, which is all about simplicity and speed. If I wasn’t already tied to the StudioPress themes (which I still love), I would definitely look hard at Standard.
- AdSense series (32 posts!)
- How to Make Money Blogging
- Launch a WordPress blog
- Simple – a free wordpress theme
Michael blogs at MichaelHyatt.com, a blog focused on Intentional Leadership. But he doesn’t stop there, doling out advice on publishing, writing, productivity, speaking, and more. Michael spent his professional career in the book publishing business, including a stint as the CEO of Thomas Nelson, so you know you’re hearing from one of the best. His podcast episode Advice to First-Time Authors (and part 2), is as valuable as sitting across from the CEO of a major publishing firm, which little ol’ me (or you) has no chance of doing right now. Michael bridges that gap and educates the masses, and is available for you on his blog.
- Life Plan ebook (requires email subscription)
- Video Interviews (on the right sidebar of the home page)
- This is Your Life podcast
Danielle first made waves with White Hot Truth and The Firestarter Sessions, and has followed up with fresh, engaging, and inspired writing for her community. In her about page (Here I Am), Danielle shares her highs, lows and many winding roads to arrive as one of the premier bloggers and speakers in North America. As with everyone on this list, Danielle shares content and resources on her blog that would normally cost hundreds of dollars to see her live. She’s building up one of the intimate and honest communities a writer could ask for by being generous with her time and spirit.
Check out Danielle’s collection of free interviews, worksheets, and images.
The Head Sumos serve up great deals on web apps, services, and courses to help your blog, business, or cause. I really like what they do and how they deliver it. The language is salty, the humor irreverent, and certainly have a flair for self-promotion. Plus, they do their video shoots in Sumo suits (at times). AppSumo isn’t for everyone, but they provide killer products at great prices, and have fun doing it. They also give away some incredible content, including interviews, courses, checklists, apps, and bundle deals. They have mastered the art of grabbing attention and keeping you tuned in.
You’ll have to dig through the list, but you can find lots of valuable freebies from AppSumo.
Ashley’s site, TheMiddleFingerProject.org, is fun from the moment you type the address in to your browser. She has a funny, refreshing, and honest style that goes against the grain. A marketer and copywriter by trade, her blog is full of helpful advice for small businesses and freelancers, including this great post on how photographers should introduce their pricing.
Find Ashley’s free ebook just below the fold on the front page.
Joel and Leo have built one of the most useful web apps in social media. Buffer allows users to space out their tweets or Facebook updates at specific times during the day, freeing you from tweet bombing people when you happen to be available. It’s an awesome service, integrates with almost any reader client you have, and is absolutely brilliant. So of course, they give it away. Yep, you can use Buffer to schedule 10 tweets or updates at a time, which easily lets you get through 1-2 days without refilling. They also share incredibly useful tips and hacks on their blog.
Ok, a tip of the hat to my courageous wife, who is launching a fitness blog, something she has always been passionate about, and is ready to take the first step and start shipping on January 1st. TheSimpleGym.com is a community dedicated to simple but challenging workouts you can do at home or a nearby park. She was tired of gyms being crowded, inconvenient, and without enough space to move in an active workout. It certainly helps that Morgan is a certified personal trainer, but she will be posting 4 workouts a week, along with lifestyle and nutrition articles. Check out the launch page, and get an early start on your workouts by getting on the email list. Early training begins December 26.
Generosity also applies to physical businesses and goods
When Moe’s Southwest Burritos opens a new restaurant, they will often have a free burrito/taco day, or hand out an absurd amount of free food coupons to local groups, leagues, and even to people passing by the store. Moe’s understands that once you get people in the door, you now have the opportunity to win their loyalty through good food, kind service, and a welcoming environment.
You can do the same with your blog, giving people valuable content will get the “in the door”, and then you have the opportunity to wow them through showing the readers how they can improve their life, business, or relationships. If you can do this, then eventually you can sell something, and they will trust and appreciate that your product is something worth paying for. You’ve gained trust and permission, the 2 greatest assets in marketing and business today.
Don’t drown in a sea of noise. Give something away, and watch it spread
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Everything I Know
I write about developing your best self, regularly delivered on Friday