Do you care about you or your customers?
I attended a local conference this week geared toward business owners. It was one of the smaller conferences I had been to. They claimed all the tickets were "sold out," but there were clearly way more chairs than there were people. The first day of the conference went well. All the speakers were great. However, they all prefaced their talks with comments about some guy named Gary who was slated to speak the next day.
Feeling out of the loop, I looked him up. Apparently, I was way out of the loop. Long story short, Gary Vaynerchuk is kind of an asshole—but the good kind. He calls people out on their excuses and laziness without using flowery words. He doesn't care about your feelings. He hustles.
Day two of the conference comes and now every seat in the room is filled. People are standing in the back. I felt like I stumbled on some kind of cult when Gary came on stage and received the first standing ovation of the conference.
And on the 7th day, God Created This eBook
Gary talked about a lot of things. He is an extremely high energy person and it's hard to keep up sometimes. There was one topic he discussed that stuck with me. Mostly because I have struggled with it in the past. The discussion was about "free" content. Gary talked about how companies provide "free" content for themselves in the guise of a "customer benefit." All the while, acting like they are being selfless and generous souls. They produce ebooks on the "10 ways to be more productive" or "3 secrets to better video marketing" (guilty). But the content is all geared toward driving the sale. You want something in exchange for your content. You spend half the time trying to rope them into a paid course or an up sale and your customers know it. They see through the scam and see it for what it is. People aren't falling for it anymore.
Some People Never Learn
After discussing this point, some poor soul stood up and shamelessly tried to plug his 10-page ebook on financing your business. I'm not sure what he was thinking. In classic Gary style, he ripped him a new one. I think we all kind of took pleasure in his reprimanding because this was the second time this guy has attempted a shameless plug during the conference. While the room enjoyed watching him squirm a little, Gary drove the point home. When we are making content for others, it needs to come from a selfless place. You have to genuinely care about helping your audience. Your mind cannot drift towards the thousands of hopeful clicks you might receive as dollar signs appear in your eyes. This is absolutely something we can all work on.
Your customers will pursue you and your product if your content is actually useful to them. So stay focused when you produce your next batch of free content and remember it's about your audience. It's not about you.