I wrestled with this question for some time, I mean the whole idea of charging for my content was foreign to me when I started running my first site. In studying the trends of online commerce, and the Open & Free Business Model, it was clear that many people were asking the same question, what should I be writing about and what content should I be charging for.
In working with local business owners, they aren’t even paying attention to what’s really going on, online commerce is just a nice to have rather than a strong component of their business. Meaning, they think it won’t get much bigger than another advertising medium or to just make a few extra dollars. They still practice the price & item approach, the control business model is what they know and trust. My goal is to help as many local businesses understand a different way, and to see the tidal wave that is coming, to pay attention and change the way they think.
A simple exercise is to walk through following:
1.) What is your CORE business about? The first question I usually ask is, what does your business do? Normally, the answer coming back is a description of what the person does or a very high level answer. I would say I am a Technology Strategist, that really doesn’t tell you much does it? You have to ask that question differently two or three times before you get to an answer that gives you a much better understanding. Keeping asking yourself until you get to the real thing that you do.
Knowing what your CORE business is about, helps you with your content, it will help you focus on what the free part might be over the paid part. This seems overly simplistic but it’s not, working through this is much tougher than I’m writing it.
2.) What’s your vision? This is the WHY, why are you doing what your doing and where are you going. That’s pretty simple isn’t it, not really, there is a process to working through what your vision might be.
3.) What is your Mission? Again, something that seems simple but really isn’t. What’s your mantra, your war cry? You want everyone to know it and to be shouting it throughout your organization, even if it’s just you.
You might ask these questions in reverse, whatever makes sense to you. Someone once said recently, keep it simple, simple is hard enough, I try to keep it simple by asking simple questions to tough problems.
These three questions can help you, and it can help you determine what will be free and what will be paid. Keep in mind, there are only three ways to get paid…I pay, you pay, they pay.
This is one way of figuring out what should be free, if you are a writer, write! But write about the thing you are passionate about. Write short stories for free and offer paid for lessons on how to write short stories properly, or writing construct, get creative. Hold writing workshops that are paid for and offer writing tips for free on your blog or newsletter, help your community get what they want, and they will help you get what you want.
This is just one small part of the Open & Free Business Model, the framework is actually straight forward but the details are much harder to figure out. The sooner you start, the better your Blogging experience, and knowing what content should be free makes your blogging life alittle easier.