I don’t want to put all of my knowledge on my blog. I need to save it for my teaching. I shouldn’t be giving it all away for free.
This objection is raised at almost every workshop at which I discuss blogging. It happened again last week. One person voiced the thought, but there were probably many others in the audience who were thinking the same thing.
My response was sharp, but to the point: That’s old-school thinking. Those who haven’t been promoting on the Web long or don’t know how to use it effectively are often stuck in a conventional protectionist mode. They’re so concerned about copyright and “giving away the store” that they are ineffective with their online marketing. Their blogs are weak and not highly visited.
One reason that blogs are so powerful is that they can establish you (yes, little ole you!) as an expert. Actually, it’s you who must do the establishing. You have to put the information out there so that others tag you as the expert. Artist-blogger Judy Coates Perez summarized it for our workshop attendees last week: You have to give to get. It’s karmic. The more you give, the more you’ll get in return. Let’s look at the following examples.
Artist A has a blog, but doesn’t quite understand why. He posts images of his work (yay!) and then just kind of talks about making art. He would like to have more opportunities as an instructor, but he’s resisting blogging about everything he knows. He thinks people should have to pay for certain information.
Then there’s Artist B. She has a powerful blog that she uses to help fill her classes and workshops. She’s posting at least four articles a week that people can’t wait to read. She listens to those who leave comments on her blog and responds. She is the go-to-gal for everything on her subject because people have learned to trust her. They know she has answers and—this part is important—that she’s willing to share the answers with her students.
In contrast, you don’t know what you’ll get with Artist A. There are so many “teachers” out there who are unwilling to share their secrets. Maybe Artist A is one of them. We’ll never know. Bummer for him. Artist B is the instructor I want to hire.
FINAL WORD: Just because you give away free information on your blog doesn’t mean that people won’t pay for the same information in a different format. In fact, I’ve found that they’re more likely to pay after they’ve seen the quality of the free stuff. Give to get on your blog or website. Consider my own example. I could never have attracted rooms full of artists or sold thousands of copies of my book if I hadn’t first published a weekly newsletter and then a blog. I’m all about giving away the store. Artists who attend my workshops and take my classes say they appreciate me because I share what I know so freely.
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