How Much Info Should You Give Away for Free on Your Blog?

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 04/25/13 •  7 min read

In the last 48 hours I’ve received the same question from 4 different people, so I figured now would be a good time to answer this question:

“How much information should you give away for free on your blog or website?”

This is something I used to think about a lot, and up until recently my blog posts probably suffered as a result.

I was afraid that if I gave away all my best information for free in the form of blog posts, I’d have nothing left to offer as paid content later on.

This is one of the biggest misconceptions I see people make, and a lot of it comes down to understanding exactly why people buy premium products to begin with.

Why People Buy

It’s easy to think that people buy an information product because they want to learn how to do something.

While yes, that’s a primary reason why people buy, the fact is, almost with out fail, any information you can get from a premium product you can get for free online – it just may take a little more work to dig it up.

The value in a paid product isn’t necessarily just about the information contained inside of it – in fact I’d argue that this is one of the least important reasons people will invest in a paid info product.

So in order to answer the question “how much information should I give away for free” you have to understand what the primary motivations are.

In talking with readers and customers on my site, I’ve found four key reasons that people buy my premium products.  Let’s take a look at each of those, and then we’ll answer the question of exactly how much to give away.

Reason #1: Personal Accountability

How long have you been wanting to make a major change in your life? If you’re like many of the people here, the answer is probably quite awhile.

Now, how much have you actually invested financially to help get you closer to that goal?  There’s a good chance that the answer is not very much.

The first reason people pay for premium products is because they want to hold themselves accountable.  If I gave Location Rebel away for free, do you really think there would be as many success stories coming out of it?

I don’t – simply because that investment in the product is an investment in yourself. When money is on the line, more so than any other factor, people get motivated to change.

Does everyone work that way? Of course not, some people will buy and do nothing with it – but there’s a much higher likelihood of taking action if you invested a significant amount to get the information you want.

Reason #2: Access to a “Pre-Screened” Community

Waaaaaay back when, Location Rebel started as a free community for people to talk about location independence, lifestyle businesses and other similar topics.

It wasn’t successful.

Why? Everyone in there loooooved to talk, but few people actually wanted to take any action.

After a couple months it became clear, everyone wants to make a change, but few people are willing to take any action.

These people hadn’t made any investments personally to hold themselves accountable – so nothing was happening.

However, if you can create a community where people are pre-screened, meaning they’ve each invested in themselves and are trying to make a change, all of a sudden you have people who take action, as opposed to just talking about it.

There are over 300 people in our forums who have all invested in themselves and have the exact same goals: to be able to work for themselves from anywhere on earth.

Don’t you think that accountability tool, wealth of information, and the case studies, are just as valuable if not more so than any information I could package together?

I think so – it’s the one thing I would have killed for as I was getting started four years ago.

Reason #3: Convenience

Like I mentioned above, almost all of the how-to information you’re looking for can be found for free on the internet.

That being said, it’s not necessarily just the information people are willing to pay for, it’s the convenience of it.

It’s the package as a whole where you get everything handed to you in a nice little bow, with a plan for exactly how to start, how to execute, and how to scale once you get some traction.

In better terms, people pay for the strategy and the tactics together – not just one or the other.

Bonus Reason: Access

If I found someone who was doing exactly what I wanted, and was someone I wanted to learn from, there’s very little I wouldn’t pay for increased access to that person.

One of the reasons many high end info products are so successful is they come with increased access to the entrepreneur behind it, whether that be in the form of forums, members only calls, increased email access etc.

Obviously not all information products have this, but if there’s an element of increased access then the value of the product increases exponentially.

Put some thought into your unique expertise.  Why would someone want increased access to you, and how would you package that? When you can answer that question, then the idea of how much should you give away for free becomes more or less irrelevant.

So, How Much Should You Give Away for Free?

Looking at the four reasons why people buy, only one of them really has to do with the content itself.

When I’m thinking about writing content and what I give away versus what I make private, I generally go 80/20.  I think giving away 80% of your best content, if not more, is a no brainer – especially when you’re starting out and trying to build your reputation.

If you’re consistently giving out world class, high quality information, and you have a paid product your readers are naturally going to think:

“Man, if his free stuff is this good, I can’t imagine what the paid stuff is like!”

And that’s exactly what you want.

Sure I always keep a few secrets and strategies private that will be game changing for my customers, but I try to provide as much value for free as I can.

If people want to spend hours and hours going through Location 180, they’ll be able to piece together much of the material that I talk about inside Location Rebel.

Will they get everything? Absolutely not.

Will they get the accountability? Nope.

The engaging community with the same goals as them? Not so much.

Priority email and personal forum responses from me? Not going to get that either.

If you structure your paid products in such a way that you deliver all of these other benefits then you should be able to give away 100% of your best information for free, and still have a wildly successful business.

I understand that my lifestyle and this business is a privilege, and it’s something I’ve worked hard to achieve.  Yes, I do need to earn a living, but my primary purpose is to help as many people as possible reach their own goals and their own dream lifestyles.

How do you do this? Give away as much as you can for free, and then provide world class premium content for the people who want to really take things seriously.

Image Credit: Laurence Hunt

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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