Everyone loves free stuff. That’s why (for only $60) we get $100 worth of junk at a store we’d never usually shop in. Hey – it may be crappy – but it’s free! Free and discounts are what wake some people up at ungodly hours the day after Thanksgiving only to camp out in front of a Target or Best Buy so they can get a $1400 tv for $250 and spend the next 6 months reminding you of the deal they snagged. (Nevermind the frostbite and chronic back pain from wrestling the last tv out of Nana’s hands – it was a DEAL sister.)
People want free stuff. But do you have to give away free stuff on your blog?
Blogging is free. Here we sit, in our PJs with our liberal media biases, typing away for no money. Or some AdSense money, if you figure that game out. Or the hopes of free stuff ourselves once we amass a huge following and people ask us to write about them. My rent isn’t paid by this blog. Actually, this blog costs me money. So why do I want to give something away? And how do I know when it’s the right time to give something away?
Truth is, people are really torn on the free stuff debate. On the one hand, spreading the word that you are giving stuff away brings people to your blog. On the other hand, the legwork and investment put into giving away free stuff doesn’t always equal the genuine subscribers you want to attract to your blog.
Things to consider when deciding if you want to give something away for free:
- Does it directly relate to what you blog about? If you blog about pencils – you shouldn’t give away apples. Freebies are great enticers to subscribers, but should easily relate to your work.
- Is it something you would want to charge for later on down the road? One word: Netflix. Don’t give it away for free if you plan to charge for it later. Unless it doesn’t matter to loose 100,000+ customers overnight. Teasers are the way to go if you insist on giving something away.
- Is it valuable? You don’t want to give away something unvaluable. Ever.
- Are you trying to thank your subscribers or get new ones? Every blogger appreciates their readers. We do want to thank you when we can. But if the purpose is to build a bigger following- in the long run, you will lose both the freebie hunter and the seasoned reader if you go to far with free giveaways.
- Is it yours to give away? Just as it was when we were kids – you can’t give away what doesn’t belong to you. However, if you partner with someone else (artist, designer, philosopher), get their permission and then run a contest – that can work out.
- Does a freebie fit into your blog strategy? No really. Does it? Do you want to be known as the blog that sometimes gives away stuff?
Exclusive content, special discounts, personal interactions – all of these qualify as “free stuff”. Consumers are more skeptical than ever these days, so giving away samples (even digital samples) can help increase your bottom line. As with anything you do on social media, think before you act.
If you gave away something for free on your blog – tell me about it! I’d love to hear how it went and if you’d do it again.