Consultants, coaches & advisors, should you stop giving free advice?!
Author Terence Leong Co-Author Candice Neo
Dear consultants, coaches and advisors, most of you must have noticed many professionals are now going online to share tips and advice.
On TikTok, you can find:
- A lawyer sharing legal tips
- A dentist sharing interesting dental advice
- A financial advisor posting about financial hacks
- A Chemistry teacher posting fun experiments that bring chemistry to life
And these are just the tip of the iceberg.
You must be thinking, isn't it so much work to create such free content? Does it really work to bring clients to me? What if after I share, people would keep coming to me for free advice and no one would pay for my services anymore?
That is not true.
This is what happens if you share free content that adds value to your audience:
1. You'll build your authority as an expert, and people would start to trust you as you know your stuff.
2. Your target audience will be more convinced to buy into your opinion more easily, so you no longer need to do any hard-selling.
3. You'll get 10x more recognition as it will open up more opportunities for you to work with other experts and expand your network. This means that potential clients will naturally want to hire you as their consultant or coach.
4. You're actually building demand for your services over time.
Creating value for you is what we strongly believe in as well, which is why we are sharing with you our FREE Content Marketing E-book with tips and tricks on creating content that sells!
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Here's the key differences between free, paid and 1-on-1 personalised content:
If you're unsure of how to differentiate free content from paid content, this value-tier pyramid below should give you a better idea.
You can see that free content usually consists of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) advice and tips, for people who prefer to keep their costs as low as possible and don't mind doing everything themselves from scratch. Here's where most people will be at, because well, your content is free for anyone to consume.
Your next tier would be paid content for people who understand the value of your services and want to save time with your expert guidance – and here's where you can offer them your paid services, more in-depth advice, courses and so on.
And the top tier would be catering 1-on-1 personalised services, sessions or programmes for people who are willing to pay a lot so that they can get the job done while putting in the least possible amount of time.
Hence, your content marketing strategy should be:
1. Start from the lowest tier
2. Move your customers from the lowest tier to the higher tiers
So how can you create valuable free content that builds demand for your services while not oversharing?
1. Focus on the what and the why
Most of the time, people might not understand the full value of what you're offering, so you need to show them why they need it.
You need to share with them the value of your services and products and their benefits. Remember – share benefits, not features. People are not actually interested in the product or services themselves – they want to know how your product or service will help them to solve their problems or reach their goals.
For example, for those of you who buy skincare, do you simply look at the ingredient list such as whether it has collagen, vitamin c, etc, if you don't understand the benefits of these ingredients? Most of you will first want to know the benefits – which ingredients are moisturising, hydrating, good for sensitive skin or reduces fine lines, etc, before making your purchase.
Show people the mistakes they are committing and what they should do instead. This would increase the awareness that they need to take action, they need to do something about it.
They would then start asking, how do they take these actions? What are the steps they need to take?
And here's where your paid content or services come in: Tell your audience, you can show them a step-by-step guide on how to do it, give them templates, consultations, etc, on how they can achieve their goals.
In short, in your free content, tell people the what and the why.
Then you will be able to introduce your paid content or services, in which you teach them the how.
2. Address your clients' misconceptions or uncertainties
Very often, your potential clients don't have the wealth of knowledge that you have as an advisor, consultant or coach, so they are afraid of being cheated or being overcharged.
Address the common myths and misconceptions that people often have. For example, if you're a financial advisor, you can share common misconceptions your potential clients have about your services and products, such as "stocks are complicated risky and I shouldn't touch it" or "I don't need a financial advisor until I have a higher net worth".
This clears up doubts people might have and builds trust. It would make them more open-minded about your services or products, especially if they actually need them.
3. Give a teaser to your offer
Everyone loves sneak previews. It makes them curious. It's like watching a movie trailer, you'll either get excited to watch the movie or you'll know that it's not something you'd want to spend two hours on.
Give them a free trial class or do a webinar, so that they know how your service will be like. It also makes them feel more connected to you, and people love that human connection.
Once they have a feel of who you are as an instructor or service provider, and they feel more connected to you, they would trust you more and want to learn more from you – hence they would be more willing to sign up for your paid services, consultations or courses.
Final words: Content marketing is a long game, and by doing it right, SEO success is just a matter of time
Most of you might already know this – content marketing cannot help you achieve overnight success. It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and patience to make it work and there are a lot of moving parts. But given enough time, if you believe in giving out value and building your authority, it will be a monstrous tool that generates leads for you consistently.
Besides that, to win the game in this day and age, you need to be much more discoverable than your competitors, and content marketing is one of the keys that can make it happen – it can be useful content you put out that someone shared proudly on their social media (instead of an ad that screams "buy from me") or it can simply just be a piece that's so useful it ranks top 10 on a search engine for some search terms that your prospects are Googling for.
If your content is excellent, provided that you did your on-page SEO basics right (i.e. the technical setup, internal linking, site architecture, etc), getting external sites to link back to you is just a matter of time. This was also how we grew our digital magazine from 0 traffic to a million traffic in 2 years' time.
Don't just take our word for it. Feel free to check out some of the top SEO blogs and you will realise they are all talking about the same thing.
If your business is not searchable, your business almost doesn't exist. And all these are only possible with content marketing, not ads. If you expect to generate immediate instant results from day 1 or week 1, you will probably be better off doing ads, not content.
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