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Should Bloggers Give Away Their Best Information?

This post was most recently updated on July 30th, 2016

Bloggers giving away best information

I was recently asked “why should  bloggers give away their best information for free, rather than make readers pay for it?”

I answer questions from students and clients all the time in my coaching program, but this one in particular caught my eye.

After all, the question continued, doesn’t giving out your best work, advice and training for free lead people to perceive it as less valuable?

What do you think?

This really is a question that bears some thought.

It is true that when we blog, we are often giving away our best content, right?

So why would we do that?

How do we expect people to pay us for information or training that we give away for free every time we post a blog article?

I ask again, what do you think?

Does this sound like a familiar dilemma to you?

When you are blogging and giving it all you’ve got, do you have a plan in mind, or are you just doing it because you were taught to?

Do you think that somehow, if people see how awesome your content is, they will suddenly start buying your ebooks, or video trainings?

Do you think they will seek you out to coach them, or hire your services because they’ve seen how great your information is?

Do you think they’ll become paying clients and repeat customers of yours because they’ve been so impressed by your command of your niche subject, or because you seem to really know your stuff?

Well, that’s a lot of questions.

Let me tell you what I think the best answer is, here.

It’s Really A Matter Of Conversion

First of all, the question is really one about conversion.

How do we convert our readers into subscribers, customers and clients?

Now, that’s not a simple matter.

Entire courses and books have been dedicated purely to the matter of conversion.

You’ve probably heard blogging, and all internet business for that matter, defined as a question to drive traffic to your website, and convert them into customers.

Blogging is really that simple.

It’s all about traffic and conversion.

Now, my client was not asking about traffic, but was focused on how we convert our blog traffic into customers.

Do You Have A Master Plan?

I think the answer lies in whether or not you have a clear conversion strategy in place, or are you just blogging day in and day out without a plan?

You see boys and girls, each and every blog post you write has to have some purpose.

Each blog post must be leading your readers down the path of your “master plan.”

You must have a strategy.

That strategy must revolve around getting people to take actions that you have anticipated for them in advance.

So, I can write a blog post that gives you a ton of great, free information about losing weight, assuming for the moment that my niche is weight loss.

I can “hope” that you’ll then notice that I have written a book  called “The New Weight Loss Diet.” It features a 30 day regimen, complete with recipes designed specifically to help you lose 3 pounds a day over the next 30 days.

Will you buy it if you just finished reading my blog post that tells you how you can lose 3 pounds a day over the next 30 days?

Well, it depends.

It depends on whether or not I’ve developed a good marketing strategy that draws you into my sales funnel.

Does Your Blog Follow A Business Model?

You see, I don’t just want to give you great free content because I’m just a nice person.

That’s fine, but it’s not a business model.

I want to give you great free content only if it inspires you to respond to my clearly stated “call to action” (CTA).

Let’s say, at the end of my post I give you this call to action:  “Now that you know exactly what you must do to lose those extra pounds, why not buy my book that will give you that same information again.”

I’m sure you can see why I won’t get too many people to buy my book with that call to action.

On the other hand, take a look, for example, at my recent sales funnel post.

I gave away (“for free”) some good basic information about “why” it’s important to build sales funnels into your blogging business.

I even give you a concrete example of “what” a sales funnel is, and what it looks like.

So I told you “what” a sales funnel is, “why” you need one, and… 

Oh, yea… how about “how” to actually build a sales funnel, how to implement it, how to make all the working parts work in unison to build your blog into a thriving business?

If you want the “how” then you can pay to gain admission to my premium webinar called “Sales Funnel Profits.”

Here’s just one of several calls to action I put into my post, to invite you to buy my webinar.


should bloggers give best information


I think you can see why I converted many more readers into paying customers, than I would have by using the “buy my book that will give you that same information again” approach that I described above.

And in fact, I got a really nice response using this approach.

Should You Give Away Your Best Content?

I wrote this article to respond to my client ‘s question about why bloggers should give out their best content for free.

If our “best content” means our complete information, then I’d have to say that there’s no reason to give it for free, unless we’re just feeling charitable.

As a marketing coach, that approach tells me that you have no clear plan for how you intend to convert your reader into a buyer.

You can, however, give your “best content” on the subject in an outline form, or with incomplete information.

My blog post might be written to show people “why” they need to modify their diet in order to lose weight without telling them specifically “how” to do it.

For that information, I’ll encourage them to buy my book.

Or, I could tell them that there are 5 things they need to do, but in my blog post I only reveal the first one or two.  Then I wrap it up by saying “buy my book, and you’ll get the last 3 methods, which are the key to making this work.”

You see, there is a way to give “your best” information on your blog for free… a way that will draw people into your sales funnel in order to get the next level of your training or information.

Unfortunately, as I speak with bloggers all day long, a great many of them have spent far too much time giving away all of their best stuff for free, with no plan at all to get anything back in return.

Some of them know enough to try to entice their readers to join their email list,.

But even then, they have no clear or well defined plan for using their email list to pull people into their business, or to buy their products and services.

They probably even gave away a free ebook to get folks to sign up, so they had to develop even more free content to convert their reader into subscriber.

So after giving tons of quality free information on their blog, and then even more on their free ebook, they still have little notion of how they’ll end up with a paying customer or client at the end of the day.

Bloggers often do everything they’re told to do.

Give away tons of free stuff and expect windfall profits to follow.

But with no idea how to make that happen, and with no conversion plan in place,  the results they had counted on never materialize.

So, they become disappointed and often, just give up.

You see, as bloggers, we’re always being told to give your best stuff away for free, and everyone will want to follow you.  They’ll become your best and most loyal customers.

That’s true, but not by accident.

It will only happen by careful design.

I was recently asked “why should  bloggers give away their best information for free, rather than make readers pay for it?”

The answer to my client’s question is this.

Don’t spend a lot of time, effort and even money… just to give away free stuff, and maybe build a list… unless… and until, you have a plan in place to leverage that free content into paying customers and clients.

Give them enticing calls to action.

Move them to the next step in the process.

Give them a compelling reason to enter your sales funnel.

Otherwise, your hard efforts will leave you disappointed for lack of results.

Whirlwind Success "VIP CLUB"

Have you been spending too much time giving away free content, with little to show for it in the form of concrete results?

Do you have a strategy for converting the consumers of your free stuff into paying customers?

If not, do you know how to develop one?

If so, how’s it been working out for you so far?

Lots of questions to consider.

But it’s really important to get some answers to them, and some guidance to put those answers into practice.

I’d love to hear some of your answers to these questions in the comments below.


Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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93 Responses to Should Bloggers Give Away Their Best Information?

  1. Anand August 1, 2017 at 10:14 am #

    Donna, this is a great post. I found it on Google, and that itself says that you did a good job writing this post. Like the part about how to improve conversions. As for giving away your best stuff for free, I’d say go above and beyond that – share your content, and then ask your customers what they need help with, and provide solutions to their problems. Not only will they become your buyers, but they’ll also be your brand ambassadors that will help you get even more customers.
    Anand recently posted..Getting No Conversions From Your Website?My Profile

  2. Karen Peltier
    March 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    Hi Donna.

    You’ve brilliantly tackled a question that I’m sure almost every single blogger wants to know the answer to!

    Thanks so much for giving some great concrete examples and explaining how having a bigger picture in mind is so important. That was really beneficial. I think it’s so easy to lose sight of what you’re working towards sometimes when your goals aren’t that concrete. I know I could work on some things with regard to my own blog.

    As always, I found your insight and tips invaluable.

    Karen Peltier recently posted..Top 10 Wellness Tips to Spring into Spring with Renewed Energy & VitalityMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 22, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks so much for finding this post helpful for you. Yes, it is one of those questions one must think of. Every blogger cannot give away the farm in their posts.

      I think that if we have some great content to share, we can make the decision to make it a 2 or 4 part series, or we can give some value of an outline to it, then create an ebook.

      Doing this not only will brand you but also, it can be a good way to get specific people on your list as a free product or one that has a low price point.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Why You Must Make “The Shift” In MarketingMy Profile

  3. Lillian De Jesus
    March 15, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    You are so right! We are told as bloggers to give away great content for free and the followers will come. In a way, it’s true as people do love free stuff but there has to be a plan. Always question every blog post – is this beneficial to the reader and can I elaborate on this blog post in a variety of ways? Then the content can be repurposed into paid material.

    Thanks so much for your insight! I completely agree with you.

    Take care,
    Lillian De Jesus recently posted..A Beginner’s Guide To Pablo – A Quote Image Tool by BufferMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      Hi Lillian,

      So glad you liked this post. We, as bloggers must realize the tons of free information we give all the time. But then stop and think to ourselves about how we are going to monetize within our content.

      We can’t be spammy, nor write about what we are selling all the time…that’s only good for a niche site. So what do we do? Create an ebook…a digital product, whatever. But it can be done for good branding and also to monetize.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Reaching Your Goals?My Profile

  4. Andrea Ansari
    March 8, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

    Hey Donna, I recently learned a powerful blogging concept from a 6 or 7 figure earner. Share the concept. Sell the details. 🙂
    Andrea Ansari recently posted..Don’t ask for their Money, ask for THIS… [YCDIS #5]My Profile

  5. Shivkumar
    March 8, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Giving valued and useful information on blog is a good way to make loyal reader but converting them into a loyal and repeater costumer is difficult but not impossible. It just need a perfect planning and strategy which you have describe above very nicely.

    Thanks for sharing!

    >SK Lohar
    Shivkumar recently posted..Remove Virus/unwanted file Using Command PromptMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 8, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

      Hi Shivkumar,

      Our content on our blogs are important when we are writing for our readers. When they find us interesting and/or helpful they will return and become loyal readers of our blogs.

      Yes it takes planning and strategy always.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Ways To Pump Up Your BlogMy Profile

  6. Don Purdum
    March 5, 2015 at 10:22 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I’ve sitting on this article a while now just giving it some thought and reflection. I think this is a decision everyone has to make on their own.

    Me, I give a lot away as you know. But, in my business I know that there are very few who, if any really, who can fix their problem on their own.

    My blog is designed to show my audience that I’m competent as a consultant or coach and give them a reason to buy me.

    I sincerely believe that if they are consuming the content to help themselves, they were probably not going to buy anyway. The other side of that story is that’s why I wrote a more in depth eBook and I will write several more. People want to come in at different price points.

    I am really excited about my book “The Shift – The Fast Paced Transition from Mass Marketing to Context Marketing: Learn how to resonate with and inspire those who are ready to buy from you”

    I hope you have an awesome end to your week Donna. This was a very thought provoking article!

    ~ Don Purdum
    Don Purdum recently posted..The Shift – The Fast Paced Transition from Mass Marketing to Context MarketingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 6, 2015 at 11:23 am #

      Hi Don,

      Indeed, sometimes I look at a blog as a good showcase of the knowledge we share. If people are interested in the content..swell!

      If they really resonate with you, they will come back with hunger for more knowledge. Then there comes a point whereby we need to offer more in depth information.

      You just published “The Shift” which I have purchased and read! Can’t get that kind of information on a blog. Now as you publish more books, more of your wisdom will be shared. But the good thing is that you are now monetizing and more and more people will see how well your coaching can be.

      Have a great week!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Ways To Pump Up Your BlogMy Profile

  7. Dr. Elise Cohen Ho
    March 2, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    Donna, you make a great point. It is so important to know what the purpose of your blog is so that it can live up to it’s full potential. You certainly have given away some wonderful information here but you have also kept some of it held tight to the chest so that it is very enticing to follow your exact call to action.
    Dr. Elise Cohen Ho recently posted..The Perfect PostMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 6, 2015 at 11:19 am #

      Hi Elise,

      It’s kind of an art, more than a science.

      I think that’s what confuses people. They will commonly ask me to help them decipher EXACTLY where to cut of the free flow, and segway into paid products and services.

      There’s no “exact” in this process. Each blogger must carefully map out what their information flow looks like, and how it leads into their sales funnel. This is the key to converting traffic into a customer and client base.

      I always suggest that if you’re going to make an error, always make it in favor of giving away too much, not too little.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Ways To Pump Up Your BlogMy Profile

  8. Jackson Nwachukwu
    March 2, 2015 at 5:35 am #

    Hey Donna,

    A very brilliant question answered with brilliant answer!

    Indeed if you don’t have a technical backing on how your sales are made, answering this question would have been very tempting.

    The very core reason why we blog is to share information worth of value (giving freely) with our readers. Making money out of it comes next. So in my opinion, I think you are at the right track with this article.

    While we share information free with our readers, there are also some part of it we need to monetize but in doing so we make sure that it compliments with what promised them.

    If it comes to making sales, or monitizing some part of our best information, we can always work out a way of making our readers take action on our sales page. This simply means that we offer them best our information and at the same time let them know we have more in stock for them if they go premium.

    In all this article can never be exhausted Donna. Very technical and brilliant!

    Jackson Nwachukwu recently posted..7 Golden Tips To Make Your Blog A Home For ReadersMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

      Hi Jackson,

      Many bloggers don’t realize how much information they are giving out freely each and every week. It is the best practice, but then what?

      We do have to monetize our blogs in conjunction with other marketing techniques. And of course, ALWAYS give them more that what is promised.

      I’m so glad you do like this article

      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Ways To Pump Up Your BlogMy Profile

  9. David Merrill 101
    March 1, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    This was an excellent question, and I really enjoyed your answer to it, Donna.

    Yes, you have to always give your best information for free. That’s how you build authority, brand, and trust. That’s how you attract clients, buyers and subscribers.

    But you also need to lead them to take action on your sales offers and promotions.

    I think of it like a good tv show.

    We want to know “who done it.” So we watch so carefully for 55 minutes. The critical (and conversion) part of the story is the last 5 minutes. We find out “who done it,” and we are satisfied with the great content we just consumed. But in the last 60 seconds, we get an “open loop”… the hero is being congratulated for catching the bad guy, but we catch a glimpse of another bad guy pointing a gun at him from behind the bushes… THE END.

    Now, we’ve just got to make sure we watch the next episode because even though we know everything about the story we just saw, we are intrigued to get to the next one. We are advanced deeper into the series, one episode at a time. And it’s almost always done with “open loops”.

    Great post, and I really enjoyed reading the long line of comments.
    David Merrill 101 recently posted..Blogging To Make MoneyMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 1, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

      Hi David,

      Only you can give this analogy lol. It is so true. We need to carefully select what we write on our blogs…we leave that “open loop” “but wait..there’s more…” and that is the service provided.

      Open loops are one of my favorite things to do. On a blog, emails and marketing. It is just like watching a TV show when you think of it.

      Thanks for the great analogy.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Ways To Pump Up Your BlogMy Profile

  10. Siphosith
    March 1, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    Great post Donna you gave an excellent answer to the question. I like the way you gave us the example with your sales funnel. I always think its good practice to give away the best information as a blogger. Then have a course or something to buy, which will help someone in a step by step method. If you come to think of it , all the information is available on the web but to gather all what you need will take a long time, but its easier when its in a course or series of lessons. Thanks for the share.
    Siphosith recently posted..Pros And Cons Of Working With PLR Products ?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 1, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

      Hi Siphosith,

      Yes, I gave the example of the sales funnel to illustrate that there is always more to learn if someone wants to do it.

      As bloggers, we give out great information for free. But if someone needs more information it is right there with the products/services we offer. If it is of interest and helpful for them…the paid product will help.

      There is tons of information out there and it does confuse people sometimes. I do find that the best way to gain traction is to take a course or get a coach to get more mileage for my business.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Ways To Pump Up Your BlogMy Profile

  11. Mary Sloane
    March 1, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    Boy this was a great article and so much what I needed to hear. I just bought a new theme that is on my blog but not really ready for show time… where does time go but the theme creator made all his themes to boost conversions and his whole theme is designed to help that with Built in capture pages and sales pages and everything else you can imagine.

    I definitely need to refocus my brain on making sales and money.

    To make sure it happened I even signed up for a program where leads call me and all I need to do is read a script, share some valuable info and then close them. Time for money!
    Mary Sloane recently posted..Who’d Like to Make Money in Your PJsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 1, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

      Hi Mary,

      I’m glad you enjoyed this article. That theme sounds interesting. We all need capture pages on our blogs…as long as you lead in as you.inc. with a tiny video of the product to build the KLT factor.

      Re-focusing your brain is the most important part of business. Need to keep in mind the end of the game.

      Wishing you all the best,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Ways To Pump Up Your BlogMy Profile

  12. Erika Mohssen-Beyk
    March 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    like always a great article and good to think
    about . If I look around,,I see these days there is
    a lot of good information on the blogs, if one has enough
    time he could learn more than in some programs who are
    sold but still has to know the how 🙂 This makes it necessary
    to have somebody who knows the right way.
    Giving is always good because a universal law says
    Give and you will receive.
    I still have to learn all this marketing the right way.
    Thank you

    • Donna Merrill
      March 1, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

      Hi Erika,

      Oh yes, I do believe in that universal law of “give and you shall receive” and that is why we need to give the best possible on our blogs.

      But when it comes time for someone to work on a specific project or goal, they do need some structure. A digital course or a one to one coach will get them going.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  13. Willena Flewelling
    March 1, 2015 at 4:38 am #

    I guess it depends on what they’re giving away. I wouldn’t want to give away the whole deal, but being generous can be a good thing. Hopefully what is given away free is a teaser, making a person want more.
    Willena Flewelling recently posted..Week 20 – The Hedgehog and the FoxMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Willena,

      You are spot on when you wrote that giving away free is a teaser, making a person want more. It is not a slick trick, but rather an offer.

      If a person wants more of what we have to give them, and they want to take action because it will benefit them, they will.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  14. Deborah Tutnauer
    February 28, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    Ah…The PLAN!!

    Great article Donna. You hit the nail on the head here. From my perspective the concern is less about what you are “giving away” in your blog content or in your opt-in motivator, and more about where it fits in you marketing plan.

    If blogging is your business, then your business funnel and sales plan must be forefront in your mind. I am on a subscriber list of one of the topic direct response marketing and email marketing experts. I receive an email from him EVERY DAY. Occasionally I open them. It’s always astoundingly valuable and useful training and action oriented marketing content. Yet he still earns millions every year. Why? Because his emails are part of a grandly designed and implemented sales funnel.

    It’s that simple.

    And that complex.

    I find there is no boundary necessarily on the goodness or value of what we “give away” as long as it fits in the PLAN that you so clearly discuss. The reality is, that the majority of people are not independent action takers. They read information or watch videos and then want help moving into action – or they want a more detailed task organization – or they want accountability – or they want to ask questions.

    Fit your best stuff into this understanding of why people buy and it matters less how much you “give away”!

    Great conversation topic Donna!

    Deborah Tutnauer recently posted..Why Customers Buy – Crucial ClarityMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 1, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

      Hi Deborah,

      Thank you for your wonderful input on this topic. I can sure resonate with those emails you get. I’m on a list that is so valuable, I learn from it every time I open an email.

      That is what we all need to emulate in the process of our business. We cannot ever give it all away on our blogs because that would be an ebook in itself! But once someone opts in, we give more value there than anywhere else.

      A strategic sales funnel must be in place if one ever wants to monetize. A blog is a great way to show our knowledge on various subject and social proof that we have people commenting and discussions going.

      It is part of the puzzle, not the complete one. We can get a small percentage of our readers opting in and purchasing a product/service.

      But the other part is ads which always have to be congruent to our blog posts and products.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  15. ikechi
    February 27, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    Hi Donna

    You discuss an important topic; one that gives bloggers much concern.

    You answered the question so brilliantly. I did learn a lot from this post. It shows once again why goals are so important. If one does not have a strategy, then such question isn’t necessary.

    I have seen how you implement your sales strategy in your blog even when you provide free information. It is all about the strategy. I guess one needs to think up ideas on how to convert readers into buyers. Thanks for sharing and for this post
    ikechi recently posted..What Do You Do When No One Appreciates Your Work?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      March 1, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

      Hi Ikechi,

      If we are bloggers, we are giving good information out to others for free. But it does not stop there if one wants to monetize their blog.

      There has to be a strategy in mind to sell your next product/service. Because I create many products myself, I do prep my readers into purchasing products if they choose. If not..there is the other part of marketing that I do with ads.

      But it all has to be related and congruent of what we want to sell.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  16. Dita
    February 27, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I also read all the comments ( and you have a lot of them) because I felt, I got it all wrong (at my end, not this post).

    Like Adrienne, I too have been taught to give out our best on our blogs and that is what I tried to do.

    But then as I finished reading all the comments I became relieved. I might be giving out my best, but what I am finding is that I have “met” and formed some very good relationships with many people who read my blog and subscribe to my newsletter.

    So I understand what you are saying. But importantly, your post made it very clear in my mind that I have a business course (as in path). My business is to provide the best information through my blog to build relationships with my readers and in the process also offer them affiliate products (my income is from is affiliate marketing). As well, I offer them the opportunity to join my newsletter and there I try to develop the relationship further and offer them more tips and on occasion helpful products.

    This works for me. Thanks for raising this issue.

    • Donna Merrill
      February 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

      Hi Dita,

      Absolutely! You have to have your business plan in mind. In your case, affiliate marketing. Now on your blog you can give all the great content you need to give and especially have engagements.

      On your list…more engagement happens. That is what we all strive for, but then the next step is to monetize your blog.

      You are on the right track with your newsletter giving those one your list more information and then a chance to purchase an affiliate product.


      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  17. Rachel Lavern
    February 27, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    We all have different experiences and I recognized early on that I was initially overwhelming my clients with too much and that actually stops them from buying from me. Have since learned to use a road map that alleviates this.

    I realize why this could be the best way to build that all elusive buzz (especially before you launch your first product) but find that people need to learn how to not give away the farm but still convey the value of their offerings more powerfully.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted..Running Your Small Business without Outside FinancingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 28, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

      Hi Rachel,

      So true and I’m glad you are have learned the lesson of not giving away the farm. Yes, we have to give information, and a bit of a buzz…then get folks interested in what things we can offer them to monetize.

      We do have to convey the powerful value we do have to offer.


      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  18. Aurelie Chazal
    February 27, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    You make a very good point in this post. There are so many posts about writing epic content. It’s important to remember there’s a goal behind it. Creating epic content just to create epic content is fine as you said but it won’t pay the bills.

    I like to look at content as little pieces of a larger puzzle. You can give some of the pieces out for free but you need to keep some of them to yourself and sell them. Since I’m blogging for a company, the process is a bit different. We don’t sell content but a software and in that case the content we create should highlight why readers need the software (more product focused articles), or why they need to choose us rather than others (articles don’t have to be product focused but they help build connections with future buyers).

    I’ve done a lot of work on our entire marketing funnel lately and your article sums up what I learned pretty well. It’s all about having a vision.
    Aurelie Chazal recently posted..How to Create Customer-Centric Landing PagesMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

      Hi Aurelie,

      I too like to look at content as pieces of a puzzle….great analogy! They are the free part of the blog, but the more in-depth information is the product we want our readers to purchase.

      As you work for a software company, yes the content must relate to the why people need it. And more importantly why they should choose you rather than another.

      I know that you have done a lot of work on marketing funnels. And that is the back end of what we need to focus on the most. Yes…it is all about having that vision.

      Thanks for our awesome input.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  19. Atif Rahman February 27, 2015 at 12:55 am #

    I think that being a blogger you are helping people out there right? but you also have to take care of your pocket. So in order to maintain these both you must give out the best information for free but not the very best as you have to save it for your eBooks and Training programs.

    You see it just works the way how a Trailer for a Movie works!

    Hope you get my point Donna. BTW Great post!

    • Donna Merrill
      February 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

      Hi Atif,

      You said it in a nutshell! We do have to consider as bloggers that we give loads of information out for free, but then must know how to monetize the rest.

      I like your idea that it works the way a Trailer for movies work!

      Great analogy.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  20. Brittany Bullen
    February 27, 2015 at 12:33 am #


    This is an interesting topic and something I think a lot of bloggers feel confused about. We hear the term “sales funnel” and get super intimidated.

    I completely agree with you– giving away freebies can be an important part of a sales strategy, but you have to begin with the end in mind. It really pays to spend some time getting centered and focusing in on what you really hope to accomplish. If it’s part of a well-thought-out plan, you can go ahead and give away as much as you like. It’s all about getting to that goal.

    Thanks for the tips!
    Brittany Bullen recently posted..21 Seemingly Harmless Things That Will Destroy You, Your Marriage and Your ChildrenMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

      Hi Brittany,

      Yes I do think some bloggers get confused when it comes to this topic. We are told to give our best on our blogs, as we should…but then the scary “sales funnel” term comes into play. And that is where we have to focus more than anywhere else.

      Yes, it is doing things backwards. We set up a sales funnel then blog about topics related to that. It can even be a fun topic, but we have to always keep the end game in mind.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  21. Miriam Slozberg
    February 26, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

    Quality is what readers are looking for, therefore yes, if bloggers want to be on top and influential, they need to give out their best info. This is what people want, no fluff, great post as usual 🙂
    Miriam Slozberg recently posted..An Overview of Success with Jaden SterlingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

      Hi Miriam,

      We do have to provide our best quality on our blogs. But more than that, what else can we do to monetize it…how can we give more on one topic that we write?

      The answer is an affiliate product, a product of your own, an ebook…whatever the case may be, we all need a plan of action.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  22. Leslie Denning
    February 26, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

    Hi Donna. I think this is a question that most bloggers struggle with. I, too, was advised to give away my best stuff, but I must admit that I don’t. I try to write good blog posts, though, and give people information they can use. My specialty is breaking things down so that people can ‘do’ it themselves. I’ve done that on my blog, and now I’m getting ready to do it in a big way.

    Just about every blog I visit has fantastic information that they give away. However, it seems that there aren’t that many bloggers out there that are making a living from their blog. You do have to find that balance.

    Thanks for a great post.

    All the best,
    Leslie Denning recently posted..Sometimes You Have to Know When to Let GoMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

      Hi Leslie,

      Indeed, we do have to find a balance of giving content away and monetizing. Your blog posts are “usable” I can go to your blog and come away with something I can use right now….

      But it has to be more than a hobby if one is there for business, so we have to offer more in our niche from an affiliate product/service, to just about anything else.

      When I think about it, it is not only a way to monetize, but a way to help those who want to dig more deeply.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  23. Marquita Herald
    February 26, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    Well said as always Donna! I’ve seen this question many times before and while I don’t want to go too far afield of the point of the article, there is always a part of me that wonders how people define their “best content.” One of the leaders in my niche (personal growth) is Leo Baubata and I can really relate to his viewpoint on this subject. Leo is an author, trainer, speaker and blogger has written hundreds of guest posts, so you’d think that with all that he’s got going on it would be understandable if he didn’t share is “best content” on is blog. And yet, Leo says no matter how many articles or books he writes, he gets a nervous stomach every single time just before he publishes a new post because he wants EVERY bit of content he creates to be his best. That may be unrealistic in the big scheme of things, but as a fellow author I totally get it because I feel the same way. In fact once a year I go through my posts and “polish” the writing.

    Anyway, back to the point at hand, which is the importance of having a strategy. Of course I agree that without a plan blogging is really just a hobby. In fact, like you, I read many blog posts each week, and it still never ceases to amaze me how many “professional” sites I come across with little or no information about the blogger or their purpose for “being” or visible social share buttons.LOTS of people need your help Donna!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..6 Tips to Effectively Manage InterruptionsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

      Hi Marquita,

      Thank you so much for this fine example you have given here on this discussion. When it comes to content, we do have to give it our best, especially those that are in the writing niche like you.

      But here is a good example of your blog. I need a shot of “Marquita” every week because you write about topics that solve many problems when it comes to inspiration. Your last post helped me feel sane!

      But you do have a plan because you write books which is the next step to a blog post. Your information shared on your blog is always helpful. But if a person wants more help, they can purchase one of your books for a start..and so much more.

      Thank you for all the great stuff you do!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  24. Mi Muba
    February 26, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    Hi Donna

    Very heated and ever continuing debatable topic you picked this time and one can simply give his suggestions and opinion but nothing can be said in definite terms about this topic.

    I am just thinking several points and just putting them here for you and all other learned commentators to share their views on them.

    1) Can a blogger’s best contents be also evenly the best for his entire blog audience?

    2) What are the best contents in literal term; those that were created with a lot of hard work or those that directly solve a readers problem.

    3) What is the point where freemium ends and premium begins.

    4) Who decides what should be free and what should be at price; the demand factor or the ease in supply factor

    5) If supply and demand fix the price of a product then what is the yardstick to assess the value of free contents.

    In short this is very tricky question and mostly depends upon following questions to decide up to what extent you should offer free stuff.

    a) Market value of niche. If your niche is diamond jewelry then obviously you need to provide a very costly packaging material without charging any price because you already cover it from the profit margin of the key product.

    2) Customers: If they are tail-end consumers they will just assess the utility of a thing while sellers will check their margin of profit to sell it further.

    IN short I can say you covered the topic with your vast blogging and business experience and fully defined up to what extent bloggers should give their best information to their readers.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful post of high value.
    Mi Muba recently posted..How to avoid cyber bullying and keep blogging successfully?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

      Hi Mi Muba,

      Thanks for your very well thought out comment, here.

      I think bloggers struggle so much with this topic because it’s really an art more than a science.

      There are no cookie-cutter answers.

      Bloggers need to be thoroughly in touch with their audience, know their challenges, the key obstacles they need to overcome and their big desires for achievement.

      Knowing that, I say go out and give it your all, and yes, give it away for free on your blog.

      You can still build a customer and client base because let’s face it, there is no one answer or solution to all the problems all of your readers will follow. They’ll still want to learn more from you in order to move forward in their particular case.

      Besides that, just “knowing” what works, doesn’t make it work. Your readers will still need to know how to make things work for them.

      And to do that, they’ll more than likely turn to you for guidance, either through your products or your services.

      And they’ll be more likely to do that after you’ve given them great content on your blog.

      Thanks again, Mi Muba.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Email Marketing Is Not Dead, BloggersMy Profile

  25. Atish Ranjan
    February 26, 2015 at 2:14 am #

    That is an awesome question Donna. The title grabbed my mind at the very first instant. I Share free information on my blog because I love to share knowledge and other thing, if I write good content people will visit most often to my blog thus pages views will increase which in turn give some monetary benefits as well.

    Thanks for writing such a great post.
    Atish Ranjan recently posted..How to Make Money Through a Blog?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

      Hi Atish,

      You are always giving great content on your blog. Sharing free information there will make you an authority. But then we need to look at the plan of action of how to monetize it.

      I just read your latest post and you have given some great ways to make money through your blog.

      So I see you have a strategy in place.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  26. Dr. Erica Goodstone
    February 26, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Wow! You have really nailed it in this post. I have certainly given a lot away for free with no plan. It took me years before I finally created an opt in on one of my web sites. At that point I had actually had about 40,000 readers of my ezine articles. Yes, I did have a box where I could list links to 2 different web sites or to my books, but there was no opt in so I was not building a list at all. I have also built lists with no master plan for conversion.

    So many of us have approached the online world as a hobby without a clear business model. Mine is slowly developing, finally. Imagine if I had started with the plan. I seem to have done it all backwards, learning lots of different techniques before creating the sales funnels and overall plan.

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..Intimacy Pact – How Have You Created Yours?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

      Hi Erica,

      “If I knew then what I know now” he he… I too had an opt in form whereby I never monetized. Who knew? I was just giving them an email to my latest post. This is why I try to teach folks to have a marketing plan. I don’t want anyone to learn the hard way like I did several years ago.

      The great thing about your blog is that you do have fantastic books to offer and of course, you are a professional in your field and coaching with you is a bonus to all!

      So I would say that every time I visit your blog I do learn something new but I still can purchase your books…which I have, and even get more into the topic. And so much more….

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

      • Dr. Erica Goodstone
        February 27, 2015 at 9:18 pm #


        Thanks for sharing your thoughts about my blogs. I forget that I have products available because, as one of my mentors told me, most people don’t just buy from your web site. They buy when you offer a webinar or podcast, preferably something live with Q&A because they have a sense that they know you. And if they like what you are saying, they may want more, so they buy something from your site.


        Dr. Erica
        Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..Intimacy Pact – How Have You Created Yours?My Profile

  27. Irish Carter
    February 25, 2015 at 10:47 pm #

    Wow, did this really get my head thinking. I realized my plan is not solid enough and I need to break it down even more. This post came at an exceptional time right before my next strategy meeting for my company. I am going to be using this knowledge. By the way…..I have now instructed my staff to be coming to your site to begin learning bits and pieces from you. LOL

    I should tell you that I have wrote in my calendar to be investing in your webinar. You are one valuable woman Donna. Keep rocking the online world like you do.

    I am currently working on a big promotional launch which I told you about, also working on some affiliate campaigns and am beginning the planning and outline for a product for both my websites. As soon as this current launch is up and over I will be getting with you to learn more about your vip group. = )
    Irish Carter recently posted..Different Types of Area Rugs to Keep You Warm in This Cold Weather and your home beautiful!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

      Hi Irish,

      Wow..what a great compliment telling your staff to be coming to my site and learn some bits and pieces. That is so wonderful…thank you!

      As you plan your strategy, things will keep on popping up. I know..been there and still doing that lol.

      I have my strategy planned, put it into motion, and now in the middle of building it up more so that I can get on board with top notch affiliates in a launch. Phew… As I had it looked over a short while ago by one of the major “gurus” in the market field. I was told to put in a few more lead magnets, and then roll out a launch….

      It never ends but sure is a lot of fun! Good luck with that promotional launch. And when it is over, start working on your own product. It will sky rocket your brand.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  28. Andrew M. Warner
    February 25, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Great post and discussion.

    Couple things.

    When I first started blogging a little while ago, I came across a few bloggers who were all for giving away information for free. They thrived on it because of the old saying, “If he/she is giving away this for free, I wonder what their paid information would be like?”

    Now, when these same bloggers offered up paid courses, ebooks, etc, they included most of the free material, but expanded on various points and updated it. On top of that, they added some new material to it as well.

    My whole point in sharing this is this … yea, giving away some information for free can seem as though you’re giving away the farm, but as long as your paid information is head and shoulders above the free stuff, I see no problem with it.

    And Sylviane made an excellent analogy, I think. Lots of people know how to count cards or maybe they can make a quarter “magically” appear from behind someone’s ear, but they can’t do all the big tricks that magicians do. And if they want to learn those tricks, they’ll have to pay to learn it.

    Great topic once again, Donna.

    – Andrew
    Andrew M. Warner recently posted..24 Bloggers Reveal Their Secret, Can’t-Fail Strategies To Effectively Generate Blog TopicsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

      Hi Andrew,

      I’m loving this conversation going on here with this topic. Indeed, Sylviane’s analogy was spot on.

      We blog and give away the best information all the time. That’s the free stuff, but if one wants to dig deeper, they need a digital product, a coach, and even one to one coaching to enable them to achieve a specific goal.

      If I hadn’t done it myself, I would never recommend it. I seen the proof of the pudding since I’ve hired coaches, and went through digital courses… but the best for me was one on one coaching.

      I had done more in one year than ever! So as we do give information on our blogs, we need to offer more as a paid product to others. It could be anything that will help them get on their way.

      I could just imagine how one of my products (Blogging Magic) which is a digital one and how long it would take if I wrote the entire thing down for free. Probably 3 years of blog posts lol. But what good would that do? It had to be contained in a single place for those who want to vamp up their blogging.

      So yes, I do believe strongly that as we give information here on our blogs, it is like a free product when done well. But one needs to have a paid product offered.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  29. Dennis Seymour
    February 25, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Personally, I dont even think about it. As long as the content is useful to people then it’s fine with me. That’s the goal I have for every post.

    Not everyone will do or follow what you write nor will everybody see it. In the end, you’ll be remembered for what you wrote and in turn, you’ll get more business out of it. It works, ah, the beauty of life 🙂

    Great topic Donna!
    Dennis Seymour recently posted..7 Actionable Search Engine Optimization Strategies You Can Do TodayMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

      Hi Dennis,

      I just came off your blog, whereby I was on for about an hour lol. You have given such valuable and usable information…I was clicking links and testing things. You are amazing.

      Yes, we do need to become memorable and need to put our best stuff here on our blogs, but then what is the next step?

      On our opt-ins, we can give more on the topic … it could be our own product or an affiliate. But point being, there is always so much more we can give with an app, an ebook, or anything else people may need to apply.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  30. Nanda Rahmanius
    February 24, 2015 at 11:51 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Good topic for discussion!
    Some time ago I also read an article by James McAllister on this topic. And after reading your article made me also think to get paid for our hard work.

    The problem is I have not been able to get money from the knowledge I have today. I must keep learning until I was able to answer all the questions that may be asked of me. And I hope that time comes sooner. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Donna.
    I’m sure this article will opens the blogger’s minds in some ways. 🙂

    Nanda Rahmanius recently posted..12 Killer Tips to Increase Website TrafficMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 25, 2015 at 10:40 am #

      Hi Nanda,

      I see to many great people like yourself giving excellent content on their blogs. Now that is so great to build engagement and social proof. But what is the next step?

      I don’t think you need all the answers to the questions. I would say, if you don’t mind, to take one and elaborate on it. Something you know well and can make an ebook about or a digital product.

      I see ebooks out there that are not half as good as your blog posts…really! People put it on JVZoo and they are making money. Go figure?

      I do think you have a lot of knowledge to share in any shape of form you choose. When you are ready, pm me and we can talk….all you need is a bit of encouragement. 🙂

      To your success!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  31. Neamat Tawadrous
    February 24, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Great advice and you answered the question very brilliantly.

    I think our blogs are the tool we use to engage people and build the know, like and trust factor where people will see us as problem solvers.

    As problem solvers, we should give free information about the problem, what is the problem and hints about the solution and if they are interested to know the “how” or the solution to the problem, they need to opt-in and from there the sales funnel will take care of them.

    Thanks Donna for all the help!! Have a great week ahead.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat Tawadrous recently posted..Unleashing The Power Of Encouragement!!!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 25, 2015 at 10:28 am #

      Hi Neamat,

      You hit the nail on the head! We are always giving on our blogs as we should be doing. But if a person needs more on a topic, as they are following us, it is better to create something for them in detail. An Ebook, a digital product or even an affiliate product.

      All will help them move forward. And it doesn’t hurt for us to monetize our business. Yes, the sales funnel will take care of them.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  32. Mark
    February 24, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

    Thanks for teaching us how to fish Donna!

    Lots of bloggers are finally learning that there most certainly a big difference between,
    simply writing and blogging!

    One activity pays very little if anything at all, while the other most certainly keeps
    the lights on and food on the table!

    So they/we are learning “how to” fish, because it’s not just enough to have a fishing pole (content) and use bait (free lead generators of some kind).

    At the end of the day, we’ve got to learn how to consistently use that entire systematic process (structured marketing) to bring home a consumable meal (make sales!)LOL!

    Thanks for sharing “how” the process really works Coach!

    Maybe as a direct result, they’ll be far less empty bellies tonight!
    Mark recently posted..Five Incredibly Simple Things That All Extremely Savvy Bloggers Just Seem To Know!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 25, 2015 at 10:17 am #

      Hi Mark,

      Like the analogy about fishing! Indeed, someone has to keep the food on the table and the lights on lol. And it is very much like fishing. The pole, the bait, and then the reward…the fish!

      Some are not interested in monetizing their blog which is the free information we give. But, we can then elaborate on that and create a product, or sell an affiliate product to get the people that follow us to monetize.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  33. Joy Healey
    February 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    Hi Donna

    Thanks for this valuable reminder. I have probably spent too long working on my front-end (free product and blog post) because these are the tasks that I find the most “rewarding”. Sadly they’re not the most financially rewarding

    Hmm, or are they? Thinking about it, I think have made more sales through interactions on my blog / Facebook than through my email marketing.

    I have a two different auto-responder series in place but open rates are low. Having produced my free products, and happy with them, I guess it’s time to transfer my efforts from “front-end” to “back-end”.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy
    Joy Healey recently posted..Business Network Group ReviewMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 25, 2015 at 10:14 am #

      Hi Joy,

      As long as you are making sales though your blog and Facebook. That’s Fantastic! Something is working right.

      It all depends on the business model we want to achieve. But if you ever want to change it up, you could always elaborate on your free product and charge for it. It can be as little as $7 and then grow your sales funnel.

      But if you are doing great just as you are…I would stick to the program lol.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  34. Ben Murray
    February 24, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    Thanks for this Donna, great information.

    I’ve found that giving away your best content necessary to compete against other sites in 2015, and in fact, we need to go even beyond giving our best.

    Some of the sites that have risen to the multi-million dollar mark not only gave away their best information, but also created a software tool or web app that also assists in this as well. A good examples of this includes MOZ with their free site explorer tools

  35. Corina Ramos
    February 24, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

    That is a great question Donna. I love sharing what I know but never really gave much thought that I could be giving all my stuff away. That being said, I haven’t developed a strategy to convert free-receiving customers to paying ones.

    I love the quote you shared about giving away tons of free stuff and expecting windfall profits to follow. It hasn’t happened yet and I assume it’s because I’m not doing it right.

    But after reading the examples you shared in your post I had some great lightbulb moments that I’m going to plan and implement very soon, I thank you very much for that :).

    Thanks so much for this valuable lesson. I hope you’re having a great day!

    Corina Ramos recently posted..Come See What’s In My February #RefreshVoxBoxMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 24, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

      Hi Corina,

      So glad you had some great light bulb moments that you plan on implementing soon. We can give information on our blogs and it should be the best we can.

      But when you really think about it, how much more information we can give from one blog post? It can be turned into a product such as an e book or a digital product. Once that is done, you can sky rocket your business.

      You need a plan and then work backwards. Once giving a topic, you can have a more elaborate product that you can sell.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  36. sherman smith February 24, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    Now this what I consider a timely, evergreen post about giving away free information.

    The one paragraph that really hit me the most was this one:

    “My blog post might be written to show people “why” they need to modify their diet in order to lose weight without telling them specifically “how” to do it.”

    Now I remember when i was in network marketing they taught us that if we have a strong “why” then the “how” would appear. Imagine doing this for your a blog post when promoting a product or service? You can bet your bottom dollar that your visitors will feel compelled to get to know how to do something once you point out why they need it.

    When this is done, this creates a bridge to the CTA, and lo and behold you start to get subscribers and eventually sales! When it comes down to it, this process in and of itself is an art form!

    Thanks for the share Donna! You have just got me back on track 😉
    sherman smith recently posted..8 Copywriting Formulas To Engage Your Blog AudienceMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 24, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

      Hi Sherman,

      So great to know how much you liked this post. I like the part quoted because we can show people the why….but then if they really want to know how…we sell it to them. Does that sound harsh? It isn’t meant to be, but is part of a way to market.

      This for me, weeds out people who are really interested in my offer or not. And I rather have those that are “learnable” than those who are curiosity seekers or don’t want to take time to apply techniques given.

      Yes it does create a bridge to the CTA. Many people have asked me why they are online so long giving great information and not making a dime. It all has to be part of a plan…a sales funnel. One has to set it all up before we ever write a post about it.

      Thanks Sherman!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

      • Sherman Smith March 1, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

        Hey Donna,

        This correlates with my last post about using Power Words.

        I mentioned using the word FREE as a power word. With it, there’s a right way and a not so beneficial way to use it.

        But if you apply this way of telling your audience “Why”, give them a FREE sample, and then ask them if they want to know ‘How”, then this is a great way to weed out the freebie seekers so you can focus on the more serious ones!
        Sherman Smith recently posted..5 Common Power Words You Need To Instantly Put Your Blog Audience To ActionMy Profile

  37. Donna Merrill
    February 24, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    Hi James,

    Thanks for the value you shared here. This is what is exactly needed for people to know. A blog is a tool for our business. And yes….I too work more on my back end than I do on my blog.

    The blog is to capture opt ins…they become your list and that is where we need to engage the most and use it as a tool to sell.

    I have more people on my list from various places than I do with my blog. When I put up an ad anywhere, with my lead magnet, the ratio is higher than the blog itself.

    But….they ALWAYS check my blog out before they opt in. It is social proof to them that I’ve written many articles and do have a nice following.

    I too encourage people to develop a good backend before focusing on bringing people to your site.
    It is not about the number of people, but rather the conversion rate.

    As you well know, it all is building a strong sales funnel.

    Thanks again for your wise words that my reader can learn from.

    Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  38. James McAllister
    February 24, 2015 at 3:35 am #

    Hi Donna!

    I’m with you all the way here. I use my blog as a tool to say, “here’s what I have to offer, opt-in to my email newsletter for more” and of course that’s where the sales funnel really begins and the real money is made. I say it often and I’ll say it again – for me, a blog has always been a tool to get people on my list and into the funnel.

    Now I do give a lot away for free but I work in very large niches where I can entice subscribers with a related lead magnet. On my blogging/marketing blog I opted for a lead magnet based around building traffic because more traffic is something ANYBODY could benefit from regardless of the topic of the article. That’s one benefit of covering such a wide variety of topics I suppose – you have a lot of people to appeal to.

    On small specific problem sites you’d have to take things differently for sure. If I was building a site around curing back pain than obviously as you said you couldn’t tell them how to do it and then sell them the same info later on.

    I don’t make much money from my blog. I make money promoting products and services. That is the business. The blog isn’t. People do not seem to understand the difference. If I had to live off the income my blog itself produced, I’d be screwed haha. I actually spend far more time on the backend than I do on the blog for this reason.

    These days I encourage people to develop a good backend before focusing on bringing people to your site. You could have 10,000 visitors a day but if they aren’t returning or making you money they’re not doing much for you except running up your hosting costs. Once you have a way to make money off of your visitors, THEN focus on attracting them. Until then, you’re wasting your time.

    That’s the way I see it anyway.

    Thanks Donna!
    – James
    James McAllister recently posted..Announcing My Next Book: The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business, Finance, and Life!My Profile

  39. Mitch Mitchell
    February 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

    Very interesting take on things Donna. Course, you’re talking about selling product; what about services.

    I’m writing this comment on behalf of my business blog, where I offer services on leadership. Over the years I’ve given lots of advice, and I admit I haven’t given much regard to whether I’m giving away too much or not. That could be backfiring but I’m not really sure. I’m not even sure if anyone’s really been paying all that much attention over the years. Still, I put it out there because I’m trying to be helpful, trying to show my expertise, and hoping that one day (okay, I actually did get a speaking engagement out of it once) it’ll translate into more business.

    Gotta have hope! 😉
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..10th Anniversary Of Mitch’s BlogMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 24, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      Hi Mitch,

      First congratulations are in order for your 10th Blog Anniversary!

      Yes, this does go for services too. We put our best stuff out there on our blog to show social proof and for others to get the KLT factor. But when it comes to services it is especially important to do.

      As a service provider, you need to keep telling people what you do in your blog. You can imbed something into your blog like I did above. Or give a CTA at the end of each post to remind them of your services.

      Nothing wrong with that. I know we have the stuff on our sidebar, but most people don’t pay attention to it. So we have to tell them over and over again in a polite manner as a reminder.

      You can give all the advice you want, but need to have a “back up” plan for more so you can sell your services. I would pump up that speaking engagement you had with Alltop. Now that’s impressive and people like that. Remind them lol.

      You know it takes 3 to 7 times for someone to be exposed to a product or service for them to “get it” in their minds. Just a marketing stat.

      Wishing you all the best,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  40. Barbara Charles
    February 23, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I think I got this a while ago when I learned what a sales funnel was. It’s natural to give good free advice, but it’s just not possible to be able to give all the information you know. That’s why they have to come and get the real deal. Some of us know that instinctively I guess.

    I always understood this concept. Yes I’ve been giving much info away which is why I’m still working on my new products. 🙂 Thanks for all your help.

    Hope you’re having a great week. Talk soon.
    Barbara Charles recently posted..How To Get More Comments Your Blog?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 24, 2015 at 11:06 am #

      Hi Barbara,

      As we give on each blog post and grow our community like you have been doing, it does build that KLT factor. Your followers learn from you all the time…I know I do!

      Then comes the product whereby one can never do on a blog post itself…it would be too long!

      So, put a price tag on it, and those who want to expand their knowledge will purchase it.

      Yes, I remember that sales funnel thing! he he he…people make it very confusing, but it is quite simple once you get the knack. But it sure is a lot of work to do.

      Glad to know you are working on your new products. They surely will be a help to others.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  41. Ryan Biddulph
    February 23, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    There’s a simple reason I’m blogging from paradise.

    I freed me, and my audience, by doing my best each time out. Sometimes it was not too hot, other times, I nailed it, but whether free or paid, I offer my work with my intent held, to do the best that I can. I may drill down deeper with products – 15 K word eBooks, versus 7K word blog posts – but either way I feel giving freely opens abundant channels you may have missed in the past.

    Then, as you give freely, add price tags to some work, offer products and services and you’ll get paid. All should flow freely and seamlessly as you do your mental science.

    Which you’ve obviously been doing Donna 😉

    Fab job, keep up the inspired work!

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..So How Does My New Blog Theme Taste? (Plus Exciting Interviews and a Video of Roosters in My Bed)My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 24, 2015 at 11:02 am #

      Hi Ryan,

      When it comes to blogging, you sure do give it all you got. You certainly do the best you can with those 7K blog posts of yours. I know..I read it every week!

      Then by digging down deeper into a subject you have your ebooks which does not only give great information, but also does open channels one have missed i the past. Brilliant!

      Giving freely on our blogs the best we can is giving out free information. But then, if one really wants to dig deeper into an issue, they will purchase an e book, or a digital product. This is why we keep on going. Teaching teach teaching.

      I do like the way you do it and BTW love the new look of your blog.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  42. Adrienne
    February 23, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    I can totally see why this question would come up a lot from your students and clients. I remember being taught to give away your best content because if people read what you share and they’re learning from that then when you get ready to promote something to them they’re going to know it’s top notch stuff because you’re already giving away the farm. I happen to agree with this scenario although I haven’t been doing the sales funnel myself lately. I know, I’ve been a very bad girl but will be sharing more about that in my post next week.

    You are right though, if you’re blogging just to share great stuff without a purpose then that question will continue to keep coming up because you’re not building a solid business or foundation. So many people are guilty of that, at times me included.

    The best laid plan is to give them great information but like you said, only parts of it. If they want to know the rest they’ll have to opt-in to get it and perhaps that’s a paying program or product. Those that really want that information will gladly do that while those that don’t most definitely won’t. It is a matter of conversions which you definitely made very clear here.

    I think your explanation is spot on and the direction you and David are going, I just applaud you my friend. You’re doing a great job and I’m so excited for you both. You are seriously teaching people how to build their business by two people who are walking the talk. That’s who they need to learn from.

    Thank you for pointing this out Donna and enjoy your week.

    Adrienne recently posted..Magical Monday: Blog Promotion, Loyal Audience, Your List, Triberr, SuccessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 23, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

      Hi Adrienne,

      Yes, I too was taught from the beginning to give out our best information. I do the best I can myself, but if there is a topic that I can teach, it would take me a year’s worth of blogs to do so.

      I absolutely agree that we do need to give out good content, but where does it end? Just like the example I gave above with the post I wrote about sales funnels. Many people did learn from that. So many even had it clarified for them because I made it simple to understand. But that was only the beginning.

      I had created a webinar…a long one lol… that explained it so people could use the information and apply it to their business. Those who were interested, opted in. Others had another journey they were on.

      In my VIP Club, all webinars we do are free and we follow up with weekly Q&As….We got a lot of questions on that one and answered them all.

      So, how can we ever do all this on a blog? Our blogs are not the end all.. it is one of the pieces of our entire marketing plan. And that is a doozy!

      I can’t wait to read your next post my friend. You are not a bad girl for not working on your sales funnel…We have ours all set up, but we keep tweaking it…just part of the way it goes.

      You know where I am if you ever want to run something by ((wink))

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  43. Emi
    February 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    This is a very good question for sure 🙂
    As a blogger you should give your best content as What…?
    But you are working really hard to do what you do and to get
    where you are, you spend the time and yes that is what you do,
    but I don’t think you should give away the How…?
    As you said this is not a business model it’s more like a hobby.
    Awesome article, thank you for sharing,

    Have a wonderful day!
    Emi recently posted..Create A Gmail Account Without Using Your Phone NumberMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 23, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

      Hi Emi,

      Good to know you liked this article. We can share so much on our blogs, but should we give it all away? No not unless we have a strategy behind what we are doing.

      Like I mentioned above, I gave good content of a sales funnel post I wrote. People liked it. It was simplified and folks received a better understanding of what it is all about. BUT…I did have a premium webinar to follow that up…it was a detailed one.

      For those who wanted to learn, they did opted in. For others that were on another path they didn’t and it’s all fine!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  44. Donna Merrill
    February 23, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    Hi Susan,

    Nice seeing you here. We can always offer our best, but if we want to market something, the rest needs to be a paid product.

    People can read stuff for free all day, but it will get them confused eventually. They may need a coach, or someone to help them in their marketing. Whatever the case may be, we need to write great content on our blogs, but then there’s the rest…. And that needs to be a paid product.

    Some blogs that are on line are not marketing anything and that is fine. But for those who have a book or anything else, the content on our blogs need to be congruent and the offer needs to be there for any one who wants to learn more.

    Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  45. Susan Cooper
    February 23, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

    Being retired, I can relate to this.

    I struggle with offering my best for free. Partly because I work so hard to make it work because of my dyslexia. The fact is most everything is available for free or it’s getting there so it leaves me with a conundrum for sure.

    What I have been working on is a free offering of a small collection for my marshmallow critters that everyone loves so much. Who knows, it may just be the thing that pushes me to a better space in the blogosphere, fingers crossed.

    Oh, a GREAT post, by the way. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Tears Fall Freely: #PoemMy Profile

  46. Sylviane Nuccio
    February 23, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Indeed, that’s an excellent question you have here and I’m glad you decided to write a whole post about it.

    First of all, the reason that one can actually deliver quite some info out there without preventing you to get clients is that THERE IS NO WAY everyone could do something on their own, just because they read about it. That would be too easy.

    Why people go to school rather than just read the text book at home? Right?

    So, that’s a biggy right there.

    When people sign up for my free 7 day coaching eCourse the first email that they’re getting tells them just that. Now, can they improve by following my steps on the eCourse? Of course they can, but if they REALLY want to make a huge swift in their life, a one on one coaching will be much better. So, that’s why I’m not scared to deliver what I deliver there.

    Now, as you said, while we strive to write excellent, top notch content, we don’t have to give it all away. Now, for my writing business, even if I give a lot out there, it doesn’t mean that people will be able to apply my tips correctly anyways. Or even want to.

    In your case, of course, you don’t want to give away the info that some people have paid for to get in your courses. What;s the fun in that?

    You magician image on top made me think how some magicians give away some of their most simple tricks, but would NEVER give away the big ones.

    We should be doing something like that with our content.

    Great topic Donna. Have a wonderful week.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..How To Convey The Voice Of Your BrandMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 23, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

      Hi Sylviane,

      As an avid follower of your blog, I do learn so much about writing skills. Now if I wanted to be a writer myself, I would opt into your course. I also know from your blog that you do writing for people. I have the KLT for you, so that if I encounter someone that wants to either improve on their writing or have it done for them, I send them over to you.

      Your blog in that particular niche gives killer content and proves that you know darn well what you are doing.

      Also your other niche as a self-development certified coach! You took the time and money to invest in that, you apply it and do great. So if someone comes to me that needs your coaching, it is so easy to send them to those posts.

      You have highlighted it best in your comment when you said “When people sign up for my free 7 day coaching eCourse the first email that they’re getting tells them just that. Now, can they improve by following my steps on the eCourse? Of course they can, but if they REALLY want to make a huge swift in their life, a one on one coaching will be much better. So, that’s why I’m not scared to deliver what I deliver there.” BRAVO!!!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

  47. Harleena Singh
    February 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    That was a meaningful post 🙂

    Yes, most of the information is now turning out to be free, and very soon those who pay too much for things wouldn’t be doing so because it would be available for free.

    I find no harm if bloggers offer free advice or help others for free, through their posts or otherwise, perhaps because I do the same and believe it’s absolutely fine. It reminds me of the time when I was a newbie and had no one to help! You don’t find ready mentors always, nor do you have coaches easily available.

    Also, because you are just starting off, you don’t have those kind of funds to be able to pay. So, any free advice or help is always welcome.

    However, if you are into some kind of a business, sale, or marketing niche, or if you wish to make money from your blog and work, you certainly need to do all that you mentioned.

    I liked your suggestion of offering a little for free, and the rest only once people subscribe or pay, whether it’s to your blog, ebook, course, or sales funnel etc. That makes sense, or else how does your work progress and how do sell your products.

    Yes, there is a way of going about it, as you mentioned. Direct kind of sale or asking people to buy from you doesn’t work – you need to talk to them and convince them by winning their trust, which takes time, and you do it best through your posts and perhaps social media circles, offline and online. Just my two cents 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..14 Free Blogging Apps for Your Android Mobile PhoneMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      February 23, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

      Hi Harleena,

      Thank you for sharing your two cents! On our blogs, we are always giving others tips and advice for free. However, if we are selling a product and/or service…we can offer more to monetize our business.

      I do believe that If someone is serious with their business, they will want to get to know a person in order to hire them, purchase their e-book, etc.

      I remember in a psychology class I had back in the day. The professor talked about value. He pointed out that people who get free advice most likely won’t value it, therefore it will do little good for them.

      If we charge them a price…they will more likely to value it and then apply it to their lives. This stuck with me for a long time.

      I used to have a problem charging people a long time ago. I set my prices so low on my offline business. But when I raised them, I found that they kept coming back.

      I had won over the KLT, but they got more serious about it.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..When Customer Engagement Matters MostMy Profile

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