I’ve spoken before of the fear some business owners feel when giving away “free” advice through blogs. I said, and still think, that the fear is unfounded. The benefits of sharing your knowledge far outweigh the potential that some nefarious client will steal your intellectual property and no longer pay you for it. Most clients will recognize that they don’t have the expertise to act on your ideas, and the few who try will quickly come crawling back for help. It’s like the critic of modern art who says, “My five-year-old could paint that.” Really? Go for it.
But I’m not here to retread the topic. I’m going to offer a couple even more powerful ways you can distribute the content you’re already creating and why you should be.
Article distribution services get you in front of your audience.
So how do you take your blog (or any other form of content that demonstrates your authority on a subject) and get it to as wide an audience as possible? The best way to get noticed is to cast as wide a net into the Internet as possible. Give others the rights to easily post your blog in their blog/article/twitter feed/what-have-you. This, coupled with some nice email blasts to announce that you’re sharing your content, Facebook and Twitter updates about the same and a little old-fashioned word-of-mouth, can help propel you into the upper ranks of Google search returns and begin to establish not just as a player in your field, but a leader.
One of the biggest players in the article distribution services”arena is Ezine (which allows 10 articles submitted a day for a free basic account, probably more than enough for most small businesses). It takes a little effort, but getting established on sites like Ezine is one of the best ways to increase your exposure.
For example, let’s say you’re an expert in project management. You write up a little article commenting on a recent software advance in the industry and submit it to Ezine after posting it to your own site. From there, your article can be read directly on Ezine or pulled into the newsletter of another company seeking to comment on the same topic. Either way, it’s exposure for your name and company, as your information is included anywhere the article goes. With continued use of the service, you can begin to become directly associated with your expert topic in ways your competition only wishes they could.
Maybe you just wrote a book.
One thing you might notice after years of blogging for your site is that one day, you’ve inadvertently written a book. Journalists have for years synthesized a compendium of their past articles into a book for extra cash and to get their name out there—and anyone who watched Sex and the City remembers that Carrie Bradshaw was able to get a book deal by just throwing a bunch of her old columns together and putting a foreword on it. With a little editing, anyone can turn their blog archives into a book they can then feature for free or sell for some extra money.
You don’t even have to print the book if you go the route of e-publishing. I’d recommended that you add some exclusive content, however, to add an extra incentive to purchase or download. The author of one of my favorite comics/blogs, The Oatmeal, became a New York Times bestseller just by combining his most popular comics of the past with a few “book-only” exclusives and putting a title on it. Not bad for work the author had, for the most part, already done.
Just get it out there.
These are just a couple of ideas for how to increase the return on the work you’re probably already doing. Just like Starbucks offers free samples of its food and drinks without fear that someone will dissect its recipes or stop buying coffee, you too should be unafraid to give tidbits of your best advice and leadership on the topic you’re passionate about. You might just find that a little extra effort goes a really long way.
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