One question I get asked a lot is how much free content you should create, can there be too much, or too little, how do you balance that, and how do you separate your free content from your paid content?
To make sure that we’re all on the same page, here’s what I mean when I talk about content. Anything that you share on your blog, on social media, in your newsletter, or on YouTube is content. It can be a picture, an Instagram caption, a yoga video, or a story you share in a newsletter. It’s all content and you’re a content creator, my friend!
A lot of entrepreneurs struggle with knowing whether or not the free content they’re giving away to their audience is “too much”, and I struggle with that sometimes, too. There are people that say there is no such thing as “too much” – that you can’t share too much free content when you give people what they want.
While I think that can be right for some situations, it’s not always right, and not for everyone – it depends on the type of content you share. The first mistake that a lot of people make is that they only think about what their audience wants and share that with them.
Maybe you heard that too; “Ask your audience what they want, and then give that to them”. If this aligns with what you’re passionate about creating, then great, but if not, you might end up creating content that your audience wants, but you feel really ‘meh’ about. And who wants that? You’ll end up having a business that you hate.
The other issue I have with this is that what your audience wants from you isn’t always what’s going to help you grow your business. For example, your audience might love your free yoga videos – so you share only free yoga videos. Well, that’s great for your followers, they get all that amazing yoga for free, but what’s next? Do you think that they will be willing to pay for a yoga class one day when they are used to all those great free classes you put out there? I don’t think so!
Not only did they get used to the free classes (if you didn’t share anything else), but they also didn’t get to know you. You miss out on the chance to build a deeper connection if you’re only educating them, you miss out on building an emotional connection.
Another example besides free yoga classes is inspiring quotes. When I share them on Instagram I always get a lot of likes and comments, much more than when I talk about a new program. This is to be expected of course, but does this mean I should only share quotes and stop talking about my offers? Of course not. Or if I only shared content about my puppy, that’s very emotional content and it wouldn’t help me build my business either because it’s not relevant.
So I do think you can share too much free content if you are not strategic about what kind of content you share, about your end goal, and what next step you want your audience to take.
Get Clear On Your Strategy
The first step is to get clear on what paid products or services you want to sell. What is your end goal? What do you want to sell? What should people pay you for? If you don’t get paid, you don’t have a business. If you have a blog or post on social media but you’re not earning money, that’s a hobby. That can be great, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not why we’re here.
So let’s say you’re a yoga teacher and you teach classes live, and on Zoom, and you earn money when people buy a single class or a class pass. If that’s your goal, sharing a ton of free yoga videos isn’t going to help you get there. On the other hand, if people can’t experience your teaching style or get to know you, they probably won’t pay for your classes either.
So what should you do?
This is where you need to work on your content strategy and get clear on your content categories. Content categories are just that, categories of different kinds of content you can share.
The main category for most of us is educational content or ‘how-to’ content. This is where a lot of yoga teachers focus on sharing yoga videos, tutorials, or guided meditations – it’s all educational. You definitely need this as you want to share educational content so people can get to know your teaching style, and what you do. But it’s important that you share other kinds of content too.
Emotional content is content that helps you build a deeper connection with your audience. You still want to add value here, but without teaching all the time. The best way to do this, is to share stories. You can share your own story of how you discovered yoga (or whatever you do and teach), you can talk about struggles you overcame and you can also share stories from your students. This kind of content is really, really powerful – it’s how you build engagement and grow a fan base.
This is also how you can address beliefs or objections your students have and gain new students. For example, someone who thinks that he or she is not flexible enough to do yoga might not be ready to do one of your free yoga videos, but when they hear about a transformation that one of your students went through, from not being able to reach their toes to feeling so much better in their body and like a new person, that’s something that can really turn them around, right?
Content For Connection
This is content that you create to build a connection with your audience. For example, personal bits and pieces, behind-the-scenes videos, questions, and polls where you ask your audience or live chats.
For the best success, you need to post content from all three categories. So it’s not about sharing a ton of educational videos, this by itself isn’t enough to build a connection with your potential customers.
Now you know what kind of content you should create and that you should not only share educational content like free yoga videos or free meditations. However, you should still share free, valuable content.
I know there are people who say that you should not teach yoga classes for free – that it’s devaluing yoga, but I think, this ship has sailed! Go to YouTube and you’ll find thousands of really high-quality yoga videos for free. There are successful online yogipreneurs like Kassandra from Yoga with Kassandra, or Adrienne, or Allie from the Journey Junkie, who built their business by sharing free yoga videos. They are incredibly successful doing this, and they are making money selling online courses and other services to the people who love their free videos.
Gary Vee, a really great entrepreneur & marketing expert, once said something that really resonated with me: “If you don’t give it away for free, someone else will.” This is so true. If you don’t do it, someone else will. The truth is, you can find pretty much anything on the Internet if you look hard enough, or if you know where and how to look.
Also, when you’re teaching yoga, your content is probably not all that unique. People can find it somewhere else. That’s why it’s so important to add your own personality and perspective into your content because you can find general content everywhere. You need to find out what makes you unique and you need to build your brand. Then, when you give away good content, trust and credibility are built. You are no longer just another voice on the internet – you are a trusted and reliable voice that your audience will come to know, love, and share with others. Over time, they’ll start to see that you know what you’re actually talking about and that you genuinely care.
What kind of content should I give away for free?
Personally, I believe in giving your best content away for free. The more high-value stuff you can give away, the more people will see your generosity and want to buy from you. This happens through the built-in human need to reciprocate. When someone is nice to us, we want to be nice to them.
Sharing free content that is valuable and helpful also allows you to build authority – which is crucial when people are deciding if they want to do business with you. Anyone can say they are an expert, but can they prove they are an expert? Publishing regular content on your expert topic allows you to do that.
People often worry that if they give away their best free content, their students won’t bother buying the paid content – because they’ve already learned everything they need to learn. And this can be true, but in most cases, they are worrying unnecessarily. For example, you could share a 20-minute long yoga class per week for free. Your paid classes can then be longer, people get a replay that they can download to their computer, and you’re available to answer any questions they might have. This will make them feel more like part of a community, and that they have direct access to you. This is incredibly valuable and this is what differentiates your paid offers from your free offers.
When you share a lot of great free yoga videos, what can also happen is that people want to give back to you, and they want more access to you, so you can sell a yoga online course where you go deeper into a specific topic to them. This can work really well!
If on the other hand, you’re only sharing bits and pieces for free, your audience might feel as if you’re deliberately withholding information from them. As if your attitude is: ‘I’ll only share that if you pay me’ and they may start to lose trust in you. This is why I would encourage you to share your content freely, and focus your energy on turning that interest into sales.
The Importance Of Consistency
When it comes to how much free content you should share, there’s no limit, other than how much time you have. I’m a big believer in consistency. My success is directly related to publishing a weekly blog post, and now a podcast episode, consistently, since 2017. I managed to do this even when I was working full-time in another job, or on vacation, every single week, with just a few exceptions.
Now I could take a break and it wouldn’t hurt my business, I would continue to get traffic from Google because I created this huge content library. This is a real business asset, and it’s been so worth it! I’m not relying on Facebook ads alone to sell my courses, people find me on Google and sign up to my email list or buy my courses. This didn’t happen overnight, creating content is a long-term strategy, but it allows you to build a really strong foundation for your business.
Sharing weekly content is best. But it’s not possible for everyone, and that’s okay. It’s also important for you to find time to work on your paid products and services – so if you can only publish a new video or blog post once per month, commit to that. But really commit, and be consistent with it.
The same applies to social media. You don’t need to post something every single day, but you need to be consistent. The worst thing you can do is post daily for a few weeks, then disappear for 3 months, then start posting again. This confuses your followers, and actually, the algorithm also doesn’t like this apparently, and fewer people will see your content than if you share new stuff consistently.
I find that creating a content calendar really helps me here – a plan where you lay out what content you want to share in the next month. I’m going to share more about how to do this in one of the upcoming podcast episodes & blog posts.
To summarize, share free content, but make sure that you not only share educational content but also emotional content and content that helps you build a connection with your audience. When it comes to how much content you should share, it’s not so much about the number, it’s about consistency and making sure that you have enough time to work on your paid offers and services as well as on your free content.