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November 18, 2009

5 Tips for Using Free Content to Promote Paid Content

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free content Inbound marketing is a no-brainer for folks selling a product online, but how can authors, speakers and event producers -- whose product is their content -- use free content to sell more books, get butts in conference seats, and earn speaking engagements?

How on earth can a person or business make money selling their content if they're giving it away for free?

Here are a few ideas:

1) Consider your blog articles "free samples." If an individual actually learns something from a blog post that you've created, you've already earned their respect and potentially their curiosity about your other offerings. They'll get to know your writing style and start seeing you as a resource they can trust.

2) Repackage your content in a different way. For authors, your offering might be an eBook. For HubSpot's Inbound Marketing   book, we made an eBook of inbound marketing cartoons . This gave people a flavor for what they could learn from the book, but also provided them with something fun that they could share with their entire network.

3) Livestream conferences in real-time to widen your net for your next show. This is what the folks at MarketingProfs 's did for their Digital Marketing Mixer in Chicago. By allowing people who did not attend the conference to view some of the talks, it increased awareness for their conference and perhaps will even help registration for 2010.

4) Feature the content that other people are producing about your content. This is an easy one, but often forgotten. Make sure you build something on your website or blog to aggregate what people are saying about your paid content. For example, we created a " Student Bulletin Board " for Inbound Marketing University that features the blog posts of IMU students.  

5) Give away your book for free on Kindle for a few days. By making your book available as a free Kindle download, people will link and promote your Amazon page. David Meerman Scott did this with his book World Wide Rave . Many folks will download the Kindle version, spread the word about your product, and write reviews. Meanwhile, others will buy the physical book, too! 

Flickr Credit: kalandrakas

 

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