Information Should Be Free

Give it away.

Give your content to the public.

Don’t charge for it.

It won’t matter to the sales of your books. People will want what you are saying. If they respond to your message, it doesn’t matter if they get the information free to begin with. They’re likely to pay for it later, either though buying your book or by working with you in some other paying capacity, as a consultant, seminar leader or services provider.

Your book is a tool.

This is worth repeating. It’s a tool, a means to expand your audience and build your business. It’s not the end of your work: it’s part of the process of building your brand.

If you’ve got a platform – an online site through which you communicate with your readers – the you are already giving content away. You’re either writing your book through blogging, or bouncing ideas off your readership in a way that will make your book that much more interesting.

If you’re going to publish your book electronically (and this is increasingly a viable option for any author), then you should take pains to make sure you publish it in a format that allows your book to be read on multiple devices, or even shared. No DRM, or digital rights management, for you.

(Digital rights management is a form of protection on digital works – books, music, even film – that prevents them from being used on other devices – it’s a way that publishers feel they can prevent copyright infringement. It’s a controversial subject, but increasingly authors – more than filmmakers and some musicians – are releasing works without this kind of protection.)

You want the information out there. For one thing, your message is important, and people will come to you to hear more about your message. For another thing, people don’t retain everything they read – so they will come back to you in some form for a reiteration of what you have to say. They will respond to you as the bearer of the message, as well as to your message.

And your message will continue to evolve, as you continue to interact with your audience.

So give it away. They’ll keep coming back.

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4 Responses to “Information Should Be Free”

  1. Aldous Irving Jimenez-Echegoye April 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Information belongs to the world – it’s supposed to be free.  Thanks for sharing this post Bob!  Sometimes free is the one that adds value to what you have to offer.

  2. Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    I’ve watched a lot of people struggle with this concept of giving content away for free. Some people really have a hard time being okay with giving away something they’ve worked so hard to create. But you’re right, Bob. You’ve got to get your message out there. And by giving your most valuable content away for free will endear you to your readers, and empower them to be your own personal marketing army!

  3. Brandon R Allen April 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Amen brother!  The more you give, the more you get.  

  4. Jamie Moran April 6, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Freakonomics: Free Blog -> International bestseller -> Second book and multiple spinoffs -> Movie. Yep, it works!

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