Joe has been blogging as part of his marketing strategy for the last ten years. Publishing high-quality content on a consistent schedule has helped establish his credibility, create a steady stream of leads and grow his business. One question he hears frequently is

“With all the detailed information you freely publish on your blog, how do you keep from ‘giving away the store?’ How do you keep from giving away what you normally charge clients to do for them?”

This is a very common question and a VERY GOOD question and something anyone who uses content marketing should ask themselves. The good news is, it’s actually easy to keep a hold on that store while reaping the benefits of publishing content.

Here are a few examples that will illustrate how you can accomplish this.

HIT VIrtualIf you sell a service, you don’t need to provide content on how to do what you do because people who want to do it themselves aren’t really in your target market. You can create content that teaches your readers how to find a reputable service provider. You can also create content that teaches people how to implement or enhance the work you do for them.

For example, if you are a virtual assistant (VA), you can create content that shows business owners to effectively use the extra time they’ll have after they hire you. You can teach them how to delegate, how to plan their marketing and so forth.

Or if you’re a business coach, show your readers the benefits of working with a coach and the results they can achieve.

If you sell a consumer product, the same logic applies. You want the content to teach them why they need your product and enhance the experience of using your product. So if you sell a video series on business leadership, you can create case studies, talk about the effects of good leadership and many other topics. There are plenty of things to share that will help your target customer.

If you sell informational products, people think this is where it gets really tricky, but it doesn’t have to. There are a couple of ways you can approach this.

In the often quoted words of Jimmy D. Brown, “teach them what do do, but not how to do it.” In other words, you’re giving people the solution to their problem, but not the step-by-step instructions for doing it. You’re showing them they need your product to fully accomplish what they want to do.

For example, if you sell an ebook on creating websites, you might tell your readers about the key points of search engine optimization. You can share the basics of SEO…but your information product can go deeper into helping people with keyword research and selection. Give them a reason to purchase the advanced training.

You can also offer extras with your information product. Do you offer personalized service, an active discussion community or valuable customer only discounts? Use those to create further interest in your info product.

The bottom line is, your product needs to add value beyond anything you share freely. If you create your product and content marketing plan haphazardly, you might run into some conflicts. But if you plan your product with your content marketing plan in mind, it’s much easier to create a cohesive plan that educates your reader AND gives them a reason to buy your product.

That’s a win-win for all, right?