Free information is the secret weapon of the modern freelance copywriter. The web is first and foremost an information resource that bestows success upon those marketers willing to generously share their knowledge with those who seek it.
In addition to the obvious benefit of positioning the marketer as an expert, free information also creates a connection (possibly even a bond) between the giver and the recipient of this knowledge. In other words, when the time comes for this seeker of information to transact business, who do you think is best positioned to receive that business?
There are many ways a freelance copywriter can use the giving of free information to further a client’s marketing goals. For example:
- White Papers. For higher level services like law, consulting or engineering firms; white papers examine a topic in great depth and demonstrate superior expertise in that area.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). These lists of questions and answers can be posted as a resource page on your web site or can be compiled in the form of a printed brochure.
- Article Banks. These very popular sites are also called “article submission sites,” and are exchanges between web masters and newsletter publishers who need content, and authors who want to build recognition and achieve expert status. You, as the author, submit your articles with links that point back to your website. Publishers can then reprint your articles on their sites as long as they reprint them in their entirety. Over time, a single well-written article can “go viral” and generate dozens or hundreds of links back to your site.
- Booklets. Booklets are generally between 8 to 25 pages that can be given to prospective customers or even sold for a profit. Noted author Robert Bly, recommends that you print a price on the cover of your booklet even if you intend to give them away. The price increases the perceived value of the booklet and also gives you the opportunity to sell them for a profit if someone who is not a potential client asks for copies.
Paulette Ensign credits a single booklet for launched her business, gaining her free publicity and bringing in clients from all over the world. The link to read a very informative interview with Ms. Ensign is: http://www.getmotivation.com/interviews/paulette-ensign.htm.
- Blogging. Don’t miss out on all the benefits publishing a blog can offer you. A blog is merely a web site that is updated with new posts on a frequent basis and allows readers to post comments or link back to your posts. Not only do blogs offer a steady stream of new information to your readers, the commenting feature creates a community around you and your site.
- Web Content. People will visit your site if they come to regard it as a resource. Make your site as information-rich as you possibly can by writing as many articles as you can on your topic, and then keep adding new articles to keep your site fresh. People visit, bookmark and return to sites that provide them with the information they seek.
- eBait. this is the term I use for a free information product like an ebook, that is used to induce people to opt onto your email list. An eBait information product is the heart of the concept called ”Permission Marketing”, a term coined by Seth Godin in his book by that same name. In Godin’s words, Permission Marketing is a way to get people to “raise their hands” and volunteer to receive your marketing messages.
Once you have captured a sizeable list of email subscribers who have opted onto your list, you have created a very powerful lead generation tool that enables you to send these subscribers repeated follow up messages.
eBait information pieces can also be used as an inducement for people to request additional information from one of your print ads. This is the initial phase of what is called "2-step" or "multi-step" advertising. Check out my article called Freelance Copywriter Secrets: Why 2-Step Ads Make More Sales, to see why studies overwhelmingly find that this type of advertising out pulls single exposure ads.
Needless to say, these seven ideas are only the tip of the iceberg for the creative freelance copywriter. Moreover, you may also be able to recycle much of your information in several of these forms. The same articles you post to article banks can also be posted to your blog. Or the booklet that you physically hand out to prospects face to face might be the same eBait product you offer free to people who opt onto your email list.
Find and use as many ways to give away free information and your business will prosper.