What Will You Sell if You Give Away Your Best Blog Content for Free?

108 amazing comments

free content give away

If you give away your best blogging content then what’s left to sell?

It’s a very interesting question that a lot of bloggers worry about when it comes to deciding how they are going to make money from their blog in the short and long term.

Many of us get concerned that if they post all of their best stuff there will be nothing left to say when it comes time to creating a paid product.

So, what’s the solution? Let’s take a look.

The question on free vs paid content

First, here’s the question I received in my inbox from Shruti (used with permission and edited for length):

While I myself a firm believer of the fact that the number one strategy for positioning oneself as authority, to get readers to love you, and for building a connection with them is to write heroic, epic, blockbuster insanely valuable post.. But don’t you think if I, as a blogger, would give away all my best contents for free, then I would face problems at a later date regarding what contents to include in my info product when it is already being presented as a blog post by me earlier…

Why would anyone pay me for something they can get for free? Even if someone agrees to pay me then will my info product be worthy enough to be exchanged for money? Hope you would pay heed to my dilemma..

Looking forward to your response. Thanks for your time.

It is a legitimate question and is something that almost every blogger will think about at one point in their career. So let’s dive in a see what solutions we can find.

The free content strategy

Let’s step back a little bit and look at the “free content” strategy that we are talking about here.

It all centers around the idea that one of the best ways to succeed in blogging is to create incredibly helpful content that solves problems and then give it away for free.

Some of the options look like this:

  • Write extraordinary long form content
    One of the main options is just to create incredibly useful long form content that goes into extraordinary depth and provides a lot of value. If you do this the thinking is that people will be more likely to subscribe. Sites like ViperChill has operated like this for a very long time now.
  • Do that and then offer more on the email list
    The more common strategy is to start a mailing list, and couple brilliant blog posts with a mailing list that offers a free giveaway download in exchange for a subscriber’s email address. This is the tactic I try to do here on Blog Tyrant, although my blog posts are far from brilliant.
  • Upgrade your content in exchange for email addresses
    A new strategy that we have been seeing a lot lately is where bloggers offer content upgrades. This is where you add an extra download to individual pieces of content. Where the content is site-wide in the option above, this option relates to individual posts and can include charts, worksheets, lists, etc.

All of this involves a lot of work and, more to the point, a lot of information. It takes time to research and put together and is no small feat. So, at the end, is there really anything valuable left to sell?

Putting it all together at the making money stage

make money blogging

It’s really important to remember here that there are a lot of ways to make money from blogging and creating paid products is just one of them. But let’s take a look at some scenarios that might give you some idea.

Example scenario stage #1: combining old with new

Let’s say you have a blog about eating vegetarian food when you have IBS. It’s a very niche topic that can provide wonderful benefits for those that are struggling to live with the condition and also want to avoid eating meat.

So, your vegetarian blog (…we need more vegetarian food bloggers, by the way…) would be a wonderful collection of recipes, photos that you take yourself, information about how you came up with the recipes and then also you own stories and research about dealing with the condition.

Next, you could think about releasing your own hard copy version of a cookbook. This is a great example of using a mixture of old content and new content in a new format and charging money for it. Lots of people prefer to cook from a book, and people also like to have them on coffee tables which they can’t do with a digital version. So this is old content in a new format.

Example scenario stage #2: combing income streams

Following on with the example of the vegetarian cooking blog for people with IBS, the next thing you want to look at is diversification.

When it comes to making money with the blog you could/should have a mixture of income streams that, over time, add up to a good source of revenue. This could include affiliate products like cookbooks and implements from Amazon and maybe even different supplements that you’ve tried (if that’s even legal in your country).

When you mix this with your cookbook sales you might find that you can make a tidy income of people paying for products that are new things you create, re-formatted old content, and content/products created by other people.

Example scenario stage #3: expanding in to different verticals

By now you cooking blog and book is ticking along nicely. You’ve got a bunch of fans who like your thinking and have had some nice results with your recipes and solutions for IBS. It’s at this point that you might think about exploring verticals.

For example, you’ve been relying on the cookbook sales for a little while now so why not expand out and organize live cooking shows in the areas with the biggest subscribers? You might even create an annual meet-up or camp where people get together and do fun IBS stuff like not drinking and taking it easy. 😉

You could launch your own line of aprons with a funny joke from your blog, you could create a podcast that is donation-per-listen that goes over other cooking ideas, interviews with interesting people in the niche, etc. The possibilities are quite literally endless.

It’s a lot like a band

Thinking about making money from a blog is a lot like how a band goes about building a career.

First they come up with some songs and launch an EP or an album. They then start touring the country, playing music, and building up a fan base. While they are touring they might even sell some merch.

Over time that fan base gets big enough that they start getting some big views on YouTube or Spotify and there’s enough money in the bank to maybe think about an overseas tour.

You then drop your next album and do it all over again. Except now you’re selling out theaters instead of dirty pubs. But you have to keep in mind that you’re still playing those first songs that people first heard on a crappy old EP.

It’s a mix of new and old content, and a bunch of sideways formats.

So how do you do it?

The first step is to do your research. Take a look at others in your niche and see what they are doing.

The next step is to start experimenting. The more experiments you run the more data you have. And it’s usually at this stage that you start to find things that people might be willing to pay to understand. This is such an important part of the process that a lot of bloggers overlook. I wrote about it on Jeff’s blog and I can’t emphasize it enough.

Next you can look at the most popular content on your blog and see what is missing. How can you improve on what is already there and could you charge for it? Has someone ever asked you a question that you could possibly answer in greater depth? Once you’ve figured that out – can you then answer it in a different format? (Think: video course, podcast, coaching session, member’s forum, etc.)

You can even do a big old survey and ask people directly what they are struggling with and if there are any opportunities in there. It’s a simple method to get some very honest feedback.

Have you ever paid for content?

I’d love to know whether you’ve ever paid for content on a blog that also offers a lot of its material for free. What made you open up your wallet and were you satisfied? If you have any good examples I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Hope this helps, Shruti!

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108 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Alvin Lau

    Great post once again! I rarely click on emails, but this topic really hit me. I’m thinking of selling e-books once I have enough experience in blogging.


    1. Ramsay

      Glad you enjoyed it! Have you ever bought a product on a blog?


      1. Alvin Lau

        Not directly but I did however buy stuff with other blogs’ affiliate links.


  • Shafi Khan

    A site like ViperChill has operated like this for a… ?

    Hi Ramsay,

    Incredible post but you missed the above part.

    Regards,

    Shafi Khan


    1. Ramsay

      Fixed!


  • Devon

    Oh my!
    Lovely post! The way you come up with ideas that clear peoples doubt and even give people idea is amazing !
    I have been thinking about ways ,I didn’t know that you could use live streams and all to take it to another level! Thank so much!
    I have been following your blog and it has been educative .I created my blog after reading a post you wrote 4months ago .
    But I have a problem that isn’t related to this.how can I contact you about it? Do you offer or have programs that I can join like a school ? Something Neil Patel does .I want to be your student! And you my teacher


    1. Ramsay

      That’s very kind of you. I don’t really do anything like that at the moment but you can ask your question and I’ll help out a little bit for sure.


  • Janine

    Hi, Ramsay,
    as always, great idea for a post. I really love your stuff. To answer your question, yes! I´ve definitely bought from people who have free stuff. In biz I remember Regina from byregina.com, she´s my hero when we´re talking about content, in personal interest it´s Lindsay Weirich from thefrugalcrafter, to learn all about watercoulouring. The reason to buy was the same: I love their content, so I wanted more of it… :-)… and I wanted to say THANK YOU for all the free stuff.
    Greetings from Germany, keep on the good work.


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome! I’ll check those out! Thank you for sharing.


  • Winston

    Interesting ideas…i love it! Though these concepts aren’t new to me I love how you put it in a way that’s simple and easy for even a beginner blogger to understand


    1. Ramsay

      Glad you liked it, Winston.


  • Meera

    I love #3. The potential here is huge when bloggers start to view themselves as a personal brand and expand out. Thank you for all the ideas again Ramsay!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for commenting and tweeting this week, Meera!


  • Angie

    Hey Ramsay, I follow quite a few bloggers/marketers who provide a ton of value in their free content. They usually monetize it by providing an affiliate link somewhere in their ‘gold’ content and if it’s something I can use in my online business, I buy whatever product they recommend.

    I find that free content that’s really helpful and valuable to your audience builds a lot of trust. That trust will eventually translate to income for you when your audience makes a purchase thanks to your very helpful recommendation.

    Personally, I don’t hesitate to sign up to bloggers’ mailing lists who provide valuable free content (which is why I’m on your list). 🙂 I know I’ll get some marketing emails sent my way but I don’t mind because I have already benefited from their free content and won’t mind buying from them again if it’s something I can use.


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome comment! Thanks for sharing, Angie!


  • Dave

    Nice write up! Free vs Paid Content (F.P.C).
    Do you know I was on google few days ago based on this topic?
    I’m glad you brought it up.
    Please keep up the good work, and more power to your elbow.


    1. Ramsay

      Nope, I didn’t know that. 🙂


  • Johnpaul

    Wow!!! Thanks for this post. It is really helpful


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome!


  • Ryan Keiner

    Hi Ramsay,

    A dilemma for sure. You can only give so much before become unsustainable.

    Speaking for myself, and in part the younger generation, free things are awesome! I don’t “open my wallet” unless I really need to, I’m getting a great deal, or I’ve invested myself in something I want to support.

    That last bit is the important one (especially to blogging I think). I open my wallet for products or services that I feel in tune with and can relate to.

    So as a blogger, or Youtuber, you have a following audience that you have the opportunity to have a close relationship with. The more they can relate to you, the more they might follow your suggestions or want to purchase something from you to support you (and hopefully benefit themselves).

    Thanks for the post. I think the food blog example really helps readers understand what you’re talking about.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks mate. How’s all your stuff going?


      1. Ryan Keiner

        I want to be able to build my own site from the ground up, so I’ve been digging deep into html/css/js, which has been very enjoyable.

        So I’ve got something a little more focused in the works that I’m pretty excited about, but I want to really build up my bread before I “cast it out” to quote the excellent comment below.

        I’m doing as much background work and planning as I can, and trying to learn patience (which is often counter intuitive to the fast pace of the internet). I was really inspired by Vishal’s post on linked in titled “The Ultimate Guide to Designing a Pre-launch Strategy for Your New Blog”. Some great stuff there.

        Thanks for asking man.


  • Chump Lady

    I recently interviewed a successful politician, former civil rights lawyer, and he gave this advice about starting out in politics, which I think is a lot like starting a blog. “You have to cast your bread upon the waters… and it will come back to you.”

    His basic point is you have to give to get. Not in a cynical way, because when you cast your bread, you don’t know that it will come back. It’s a matter of faith — but overall that helping people and truly trying to be a resource for them will pay dividends over time.

    I think Time is the missing element. It really takes time to build a platform and in my experience that’s giving it away for free. Eventually people trust your voice and see you as a resource. And after you’re THERE (which for me took several years) THEN you monetize your blog with a book (e book or traditional publishing) — if they like your voice, they’ll like more of your voice.

    Also I liked what you say about multiple sources. Of course you have to eat, and make the venture pay for itself, so ads fill in or affiliate marketing and what have you. (I don’t affiliate market, I do ads.)

    But I think the most important thing is being a trusted voice, and trying to help. And of course, being unique in your niche.

    (FWIW, my blog got me a traditional book deal and CBS TV just optioned the film rights. So those bread crumbs came back!)


    1. Elle

      Congrats! And great advice!!


    2. Ramsay

      Holy shit! Congrats! When will that start happening?


      1. Chump Lady

        I don’t know. It’s all new to me. They option it, if you’re lucky they find a writer and make a pilot, and then if your’e luckier still, the pilot gets picked up. I think one development cycle is a year. There are many flaming hoops. But I feel very fortunate to even be on their radar. 🙂


        1. Ramsay

          Nice!


  • Rod Robinson

    As usual, good solid information and suggestions.
    Yes, I have purchased content from a blogger that I have previously read much free content – Jeff Goins. After following the free content for a bit, it was apparent he had value. Unfortunately, for most of the bloggers I’ve read, at least on writing and blogging, the content is pretty thin, so I’ve not purchased.
    Typically, as with many things, only about 20% or less of what is offered actually has actionable value.
    So if you really do offer solid information and value to the buyer, it will sell.


    1. Ramsay

      Glad to hear Jeff’s product was worthwhile. Did you go on to get results from it?


      1. Rod Robinson

        Ramsay,
        Yes, but in my case results are not defined as sales of a product, but an improved blog and increased readership. Jeff’s Intentional Blog class helped me cut through the clutter, focus my topic/delivery, and it is continuing to help me improve.


  • Amrita Basu (Misra)

    Yes I have paid for content which is free on the blog if it means I get to use it multiple times without headache .
    But not always happy .
    I love how you have explained the content ladder .


    1. Ramsay

      What do you mean by multiple times without headache?


      1. Dr.Amrita Basu

        I will give you an example.I was part of the launch team if Pat Flynn’s Will it Fly nook. I am in India and they sent me an ebook .
        After I read it .I liked it so much I ordered a physical copy from Amazon so that I could underline it .
        Also on a good blog there may be very useful content .Even with the most customized search bar we muss thongs .With a schematically organized product we know what we can expect after reading that .
        It saves me time ,and irritation of waiting for my wifi to get better .
        Also for podcasts and videos .I rarely have time to listen to chitchat .I prefer quick transcripts with the takeaways .So when a blogger puts these together and in one place it’s very useful .
        But the outline of the product needs to make sense .With end goal in sight .Could I make myself undestood ?


  • Matt

    I’ve paid for content from bloggers like Brian Dean, Pat Flynn, Darren Rowse, Yoast, and Jon Morrow. I’d buy from Derek Halpern too, but his content is too expensive for me.

    I purchased their content because their free content was excellent, and so I was confident that their paid content would be just as good, if not better. And for Brian, Pat, and Darren, I was right.

    For Yoast, I was a little disappointed. They’ve never had great content on their blog, so I guess I shouldn’t have expect anything amazing when they released their e-books. But I use their SEO plugin on lots of WordPress sites, so I guess I felt obligated to buy something from them.

    Jon, on the other hand, was a huge disappointment. His blog posts are quite impressive. He really knows how to draw people in. But when I paid for content, I found myself saying, “really, this is it? I could have found this elsewhere for free.”

    I don’t expect to have 100% original content when I pay for something, but I do expect SOME original content. Even if it’s just personal stories. Jon, for some reason, doesn’t do that. He just say, do this and do that. Um, okay…why? How did that help you?


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Matt.

      Thanks for sharing.

      I have never bought any of those products so it’s interesting feedback. Did you feel that Jon’s was just too thin or was it perhaps oversold/overpriced?


      1. Matt

        Both actually. The price was fine, but I definitely felt that he could have added more to them. The presentation is compelling, but the end product is underwhelming.


  • Jay

    Repurposing content is a good use of your time. You’ve put the effort into creating it, and then you just need a bit of imagination to put it into all available formats to appeal to your audience’s preferred method of consumption.

    Combing a few key blog posts into a free downloaded PDF is a great way to repurpose your content – anything that makes it easy for your readers to consume your content, knowledge and expertise is a benefit.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah I totally agree with that regarding the time element.


  • Santanu Debnath

    Another awesome piece to read and I have to say that your topics are always interesting and something good to read & learn. I think paying for content is quite common these days.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Santanu!


  • Vishal Ostwal

    I have seen people quote Joker often – “if you’re good at something, never do it for free.”

    Reading this made me uncomfortable. It still does. The people who use it seem selfish to me.

    “If I don’t give for free what I’m good at, what’s my worth?” I thought. Practically, the Joker quote doesn’t make sense to me.

    “Give what you’re bad at for free.” That sounds mean.

    So I gave things for free. My e-books and content, free. I’m among those impractical guys who believe that good things happen to you when you do good.

    I remember how I wanted “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” book when I was in school. I wasn’t a habitual reader, but I thought the book contained some secrets. But then I thought, if it’s for poor, why isn’t it free.

    I was innocent and I never understood that.

    The same happened when I saw Jon’s Guest Blogging course. He talked about how he can make his writers capable of publishing of big blogs like Forbes, Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha.

    I wished it was free – I couldn’t enroll. I didn’t pay because blogging wasn’t paying me. In fact, it was costing me money. Nevertheless, I got published on one later.

    I downloaded a pirated PDF of Chris Guillebeau’s “$100 Startup” from somewhere on the internet, but felt guilty after reading it because I hadn’t paid for it. I wished I could do something for him.

    I did a lot of word of mouth marketing for him afterwards. BTW Chris has some of the best free resources as well.

    Overall, I believe in free because I feel like I’ve got something to give, and not giving it makes me restless. I want to be there for those who are vulnerable – those who cannot pay.

    I don’t say it’s evil to charge.

    But that depends.

    There are probably lots of dimension to the possibilities of earning.

    I see people selling merchandise, giving their readers a choice to buy the stuff. Some use Patreon – it seems fair. Some bloggers give custom solutions as consultants. Some earn through their day job and give everything on their blog for free.


    1. Ramsay

      You are one of the good guys, Vishal.

      I know exactly what you mean.

      I think perhaps the younger generations (like my generation and younger) are a bit sick of the corruption and negative elements brought about by rampant capitalistic greed – climate change, materialism, etc.

      But on the practical side you need to eat and live and if you can make a bit of money doing something that helps people then that is better than just digging oil out of the ground, for example.

      I think you should really consider looking into social enterprise options as you go through you career. It’s like charity but instead of asking for money they make useful products and then use the profits to help a cause. Ecosia.org is one example.

      Good luck man.


      1. Vishal Ostwal

        Ramsay,

        You’ve had a great influence on me.

        While the rest of the internet talks about putting on AdSense and earning quick bucks, you oppose it to value customers.

        When others are making people daydream about quitting their jobs and earning while they sleep, you talk about working harder.

        They talk about going on international travels and buying stuff, you talk about using the old PC and giving money to charity.

        Those are rare qualities.

        Though you don’t notice, you’re creating a legacy.

        I’d rather be honest and have a peaceful conscience than start behaving like the rest of the internet.

        God bless you.


  • Anand

    Again Great Post Ram,

    A famous blog has the various type of opportunities to monetize. Brian Clark of copyblogger and Gary V is the best example of that.

    I had read a post on ProBlogger that how Darren Rowse made $50K in a year through Affiliate(Selling Books).

    A successful blog is a brand who have authority and followers, any logical extension for monetization will make decent money.

    Where my case is a bit different as I am not a full-time blogger. I create content because content creates me. I look smarter and updated on my workplace, management reads my blog and gives value to my ideas (Obviously It influences appraisal),
    Further in this process Gradually I developed a small amount of readership too and started getting some freelance consultation projects (This was unexpected but I love the consultation job & fee)

    It is going all good. 🙂


    1. Ramsay

      I think that is one simple way a blog can help a career. Good on you for recognizing that.


  • Elle

    Thanks for the ideas on content. I’m still trying to drive traffic. Good post for me to think on. I’ll keep these in mind going forward.


    1. Ramsay

      Hope it helps!


      1. Elle

        I’ve heard conflicting things from other bloggers about affiliate links. I use them, but haven’t had much luck because I suck at SEO lol. But, one really famous blogger said she didn’t like to use affiliate links because it sends people off her site. She also offered e-courses you had to pay zillions of dollars for, so maybe she had the freedom to do that. Most of us aren’t making millions off our blogs. Anyway, wondering what you think about that.


        1. Ramsay

          Hey Elle.

          That’s the reason I don’t like AdSense, but with affiliate products sometimes you can make $100 from one click, so it is totally worth it. It just has to be ethically done – something you use, enjoy and would recommend. Then it forms part of your content and solves problems for your readers.


          1. Elle

            that makes a lot of sense. I don’t use adsense, although I’ve looked at it for YouTube. Thanks!


  • Chuck Bartok

    Always great info and great delivery, Ramsay
    My associate and I have tried something on the “blog” that some writers may want to experiment with.
    We post chapters in their entirety on the Blog Site as the story is written
    When the books are completed there are offered in Paperback, Hard Cover and Digital.
    Sales are Phenomenal.
    At least satisfying our expectations with 20-30 daily, week in and week out. (we are practical minded and have niche audiences, ~~smile)
    We also let social media followers know that the stories are on line to read for FREE…
    But, as so many of the 7,700+ commenters say, they want to hold a book and read again.
    WE just made arrangements for site to stay active for 15 years after our passing…..
    No problem with traffic or sales.


    1. John W Boushka

      I have a sci-fi novel myself, draft all done, and I want to get it published (self if necessary) by the end of this year. This is an interesting idea. I’d think about it. But the book or novel needs a conventional narrative hook. This wouldn’t work for everything.


      1. Chuck Bartok

        Start posting the Chapters, one at a time, set up your Facebook Page also. We post a chapter on site, then on Facebook.
        They get shared 500-600 times per post and audience driven to site from Facebook alone has been responsible for sending 258,000 to the chapters on Blog site over past 8 months


        1. John W Boushka

          I think Stephen King has tried something like this. I wonder how a heavily layered novel like mine would work (as compared to a more straightforward plot). The outstanding mystery movie “Nocturnal Animals” is an example of the fiction style I have. I wonder how well a book like this movie would work in this format. (Another favorite is “Judas Kiss”.) I’d have to finish editing the entire novel, including the ending, first. Still takes more time.


          1. Ramsay

            Great discussion, guys. Really enjoying it.


          2. Chuck Bartok

            We have published “Book One” after having all chapters on line.
            One thing that happened was our readers helped in editing weekly, felt part of the system.
            And they are very engaged in Book two as we are writing a Chapter every 4-5 days.
            Most recent chapter last week generated 140 comments:
            Example….
            “Hey Lt. Have to feel a little for Gunny in this episode.
            Not for how he is reacting to the evidently changing relationship between the troops, but why he is reacting in that way. Have a feeling he may be beginning to doubt himself and his ability to read new situations as they arise. Which, I am sure you know, can be dangerous to all concerned. Take care Lt..


        2. Louise Jewell

          Hey Chuck,

          Your idea to post entire chapters on your site is brilliant!

          Thanks for sharing :o).

          And Ramsay, thanks again for addressing one of the questions I myself have pondered moving forward.


          1. Chuck Bartok

            Thank you Louise.
            I know many would be adverse to the concept, but we firmly believe it has allowed out “self-published” book to enjoy enviable sales.
            Another publisher called and pompously said we would have to remove the books form site if they were our publisher
            We impolitely told them to pound sand….~~smile


          2. John W Boushka

            I wrote a short post about this style of fiction publication on an older legacy blog http://www.billsbookreviewsandnews.com/2017/06/graduated-publication-of-novels-online.html


  • John W Boushka

    Great question: I’ve written about this myself. Have I paid for content to a site after some was free? I do subscribe to maybe 3 newspapers and a few other journals (like Scientific American). I don’t have a problem with paywalls as such. But to “other blogs”, probably I would not. That said, I could imagine situations in some more narrowly drawn ideas of my own life where I can see how this process could work. Maybe a classical composer-pianist offers a blog on how to use composition software (AVID Sibelius) and charges for some of the advanced training materials; but it would take a lot of time and effort to make this work. The professional artist probably makes most of his/her income from concert performances and composition commissions, in the example I give. He/she probably needs to start a business with staff to make this work. I can imagine some online consultation of this nature in the screenwriting business in the movies (where I know some of the players). Or, to take a more controversial issue, maybe someone sets up a business to help refugees and asylum seekers communicate with the home countries through TOR or other P2P and “dark web” channels. Or maybe how to trade in bitcoin. Some of these get to sound chancy or esoteric. But I’ve always been more interested in areas like this than in the more common lifestyle issues. But these esoteric areas may not have a large potential customer base compared to more everyday (but less controversial) lifestyle businesses. (No I’ll stay away from how to raise money from political candidates — I really try to stay non-partisan.)


    1. Ramsay

      I think it is absolutely a lot harder in, for example, industries like the arts. My partner is a producer in that area and regularly sees people struggle. But I think a lot of it is because they are stuck in an outdated model (like news is/was) and are struggling to adapt. People like Gaudi had Guell’s millions but there has to be a practical element to it now though, I think, because there is so much competition.


      1. John W Boushka

        I know that in classical music, the “model” of getting a performer to commission a composer’s work creates problems. I have some classical music composed over a lifetime I am (slowly) working on to make it performable. But there is a feeling that if I convinced someone to perform it “for free”, I’d deny a younger artist a commission.. Nobody likes to talk about this, but it’s a problem. Just like movie studios have a “third party rule” that every idea has to come froma an agent — turf protection as much as any copyright concern.


  • Corey Hinde

    Hey man – yep I’ve purchased stuff from both James Altucher and Darren Rowse, after reading their stuff in both instances for several years. Thanks for adding this to the web mate, as always, quality content


    1. Ramsay

      Did you enjoy it?


    2. Corey Hinde

      Yeah Ramsay I got a lot from Altuchers stuff, in all honesty I got such a huge bundle from Rowsey that I didn’t read most of it! Both great dudes, though, I’m listening to Darren’s podcast at this instant as I do some work


      1. Ramsay

        Darren is a legend.


  • Ahmad Imran

    Ramsay, never paid for any content and don’t intend to either.

    I know with time and exposure, thoughts and concepts change so who knows but right now, I believe in my own writing and of those who do it with a passion to help others free of charge.


    1. Ramsay

      Out of interest, did you pay to go to school or college?


      1. Ahmad Imran

        Very nominal fee for my school and college so I would say no. Although I did pay for my post graduate Uni fees.


      2. Ahmad Imran

        Call it skim-read but I misunderstood the whole article, I thought in the end the question was about if I paid for any content to be used on your own site (buying content to showcase as yours). In that respect I said NO.

        But now that I realised that the question was about buying content or information for personal use, I would say YES. I have spent a decent amount of money on buying courses and other relevant information where I feel that the information is super-useful and relevant to my needs. Sorry for the confusion.


        1. Ramsay

          All good! I need to write better titles.


  • Monica

    Hi!
    Yes, I did donate to a blog.
    The writer is beyond knowledgeable in the area I’m interested in and I wanted to help her maintain her blog., since it is a lot of work and she always puts out interesting information for free.


    1. Ramsay

      That’s awesome of you! Wish it was a more common thing.


  • Lai H.

    I did exactly what you wrote in this article. I published a book with mostly old articles and about 30% new one. Thanks!


    1. Ramsay

      How did it go for you?


  • Johnpaul

    Hello Ramsay, please take time to visit my blog.

    I will like to hear from you through the comment section of any post.

    And I will like you to guest post on my blog if that will be possible. Thanks.


    1. Ramsay

      Hey man.

      I visited your site but couldn’t find any blog…

      My main recommendation would be that you get rid of the stock photography. It doesn’t give a very trustworthy first impression.

      Best of luck!


  • Susan Velez

    Hi Ramsay,

    This post brings up a valid point I heard on one of Pat Flynn’s podcasts. He said and this is quoted, I don’t remember the exact wording.

    “Everything on the Internet can be found for free, you just need to know where to look.”

    That’s true in my opinion, I have been able to find pretty much anything I want online. That’s how I got started learning WordPress, I learned by reading and studying online.

    I also purchased a few months to Lynda.com to learn the ins and outs of it. But most of my learning was done online for free.

    The downside with finding everything for free is that you have to spend countless hours trying to find information. We all know that when you’re trying to build a business, you don’t have a lot of free time.

    There’s always something to do. So in my opinion, it’s best to pay for the information and have it at your fingertips.

    I’ve purchased online courses before, and I don’t mind investing in myself. I will support the blogger that goes out of their way to provide top-notch free information.

    After all, the blogger is going out of her/his way, why not support them. We shouldn’t expect everything for free all the time.

    I know some people will soak up all the free information and will never pull out their wallet and pay for anything. However, not everyone has that mentality.

    If you give out enough valuable free information, you will attract the right people who won’t mind supporting you buy picking up your products.

    Unfortunately, that’s the only way to start building an audience for your blog. You have to give away all your stuff or at least 95% of all your content for free.

    Thanks for taking the time to share this, have a great day 🙂

    Susan


    1. Ramsay

      You last paragraph sums it up pretty darn well. I really do enjoy it though because I can convince myself that I’m helping in some small way.


  • Shruti

    Hey Ramsay,
    First of all, I truly honored that you took my query seriously enough to craft a blog post around it..
    My excitement have gone off-limits.. My happiness is boundless.. I couldn’t wipe that grin off my face when earlier this morning I heard the news of my question going live..

    The secret and mysteries of this topic have bewildered, puzzled, amazed and intrigued me since time immemorial..
    Finally a month ago, I started digging and researching all about it on Google, asking a handful of bloggers and eventually, analyzing myself the difference between paid and free content by comparing it on other blogs ..

    Fast forward to this moment, I know much more about it than anyone else out there ..(a dramatic way of saying that I got my answer..my knowledge and my wisdom isn’t that glorious ..)

    Having said that, I thought of writing a detailed review of your post.. I mean it’s the least I can do compared to what you have done for me..

    To begin with, you have a crafted a top notch post as usual but a few things really stood out for me and grabbed my attention more than others ..
    I was really taken aback by the fact that before diving into the ‘how’s ‘ of putting it all together, you got into the ‘why’s ‘behind it (the free content strategy)..
    Besides, you,very cleverly, supported your arguments with examples that were strong yet breezy and fluent enough to be laid one after other in a step by step manner..

    And the most remarkable and show stopper move taken by you was laying emphasis on repurposing your present content instead of completely reinventing the wheel all over again.. Whether it’s a blog post turned into a video series or rearrangement of a dozen of them to be transformed into an e-book or crafting an in-depth and comprehensive course based on that e-book merged with the constructive feedbacks of readers or creating a membership site built upon the experience,skills and knowledge gathered till date.. the world is really immense in its contingencies..
    You were right about the possibilities being endless..

    Now answering your question, I have bought Abby Lawson’s ‘Building a framework ‘which, in my opinion, is the best blogging e-book up till now.. Since then, I started analyzing her paid product and free contents..
    It was at that moment I came to know the difference between a paid and a free stuff.. I familiarised myself with her tactics of managing it all which was as follows :

    Her paid content/topic was too broad(i mean 199 pages e-book blew me away) . Even if she would have given away 50% of her paid content for free, still it was incredible enough to be paid for..

    Specifically,her main strategy was to pick one element of her roadmap or a tiny slice of her main course, explain it vigorously inside out and highlight it with graphs, screenshots, testimonies, pics, examples, case-studies and so on and so forth.. No wonder people were not hesitant about opening their wallets when the time came to pay for her generosity of giving her best contents away..

    My findings are that the comprehensive, cohesive and doable nature of any paid info product which is curated thoughtfully and laid in a step by step process is itself worth paying for..

    I think it would have added an extra layer of brilliance to your post if you had stated the difference between the paid and free content in the introduction so that from next time, bloggers know what to focus on while structuring their free as well as their paid content and maintain a perfect balance between them..
    They should know that a free content is valuable but a paid one is specific and intricately detailed along with being block buster and unbeatable….
    I can talk all day about it and even write a blog post regarding it.. If you are interested in knowing more,just shoot me a text and I will mail it to you with full details that is overflowing in my mind..

    Don’t take me wrong.. I don’t mean to sound nitpicky..I am just being brutally honest.. (that only a true friend can be)..

    Whew!! That was a lot..
    It itself seemed to be a blog post rather than a detailed audit or an analysed blurb of your truly astounding post..

    Hope you have not skipped straight to this line and made it this far genuinely coz I have made an honest attempt to pour my heart and soul into it..

    Aaannnnnnnnnnddd you are a super star…

    Thanks Ramsay for your precious time..
    Looking forward to your response..

    Regards,
    Shruti
    PS : Don’t mind it but I wanted to ask something.. In #2,have you written ‘combing’ deliberately or is it a typo error of ‘combining’??

    PPS : Excuse off my blatant grammatical mistakes, if any..


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Shruti.

      Thanks for all the kind words, although you used way too many! Ha. It wasn’t that special of a blog post. But, either way, I appreciate it.

      That course sounds very valuable. I haven’t heard of Abby but I’ll go and have a look.

      Again, thanks for the suggestion and I’m glad you enjoyed the response.

      Ramsay


      1. Shruti Thakur

        Thanks Ramsay…

        Honestly, no words can match the brilliance of your knowledge..

        Besides, pardon for such a loooooooonnnggg comment.. It wasn’t intentional..


        1. Ramsay

          Okay, you have to cut out the compliments now. Ha.


          1. Shruti Thakur

            In my defense, I would say that I only speak the truth. Now, what can I do if the truth itself is so exceedingly sweet that it sounds like a compliment..


  • Abhishek Nale

    While giving away you really need to think a lot…
    But you made it simple to use by walking us through different strategies..

    looking for more awesome content like this…

    -Abhishek


    1. Ramsay

      Glad you liked it.


  • Jay

    Hi Ramsay,
    To answer your question, yes… I have paid for stuff on blogs that also offer a ton of free content. If not for the free material, I would never have heard of these bloggers, or had reason to follow them.

    And of course, being a follower for so long, and having learned so much from them, built trust and a level of respect, that when it came time to open my wallet I was confident it was the good decision.

    It’s a generalization, but offering a ton of value up front I think is the new normal. It’s not “new” so to speak, but more and more, I think the hard sale is coming to end. Especially online.

    But, whether you’re a blogger, a car dealership or a manufacturer of products… building that relationship with readers, followers, customers an so on means coming up with creative ways to provide free value.

    Just as you do on your blog 😉 I do have to disagree with you though…

    Your statement, “…here on Blog Tyrant, although my blog posts are far from brilliant.” I would argue that point. I think there is plenty of brilliance here.


    1. Ramsay

      Too kind. Thank you very much.


  • chris

    Problogger was a huge help when I first started and I loved the idea of having everything in one place – I needed step-by-step plans as that’s how I think. And you offered a product a few years ago that I thought was great. I also joined David Risley’s Blog Marketing Academy so that’s always been helpful.

    I think most of my informational/how-to product purchases were either bundles of free content or free plus paid-only.

    I will say all my purchases were helpful. However, I was also careful in my selections. I wasn’t buying five guides on the same topic. I looked for what seemed best for my situation.


    1. Ramsay

      That’s a very good point. I might have to go do some shopping and see how they all play out.


  • Victor Nguyen

    Great post! thanks so much


    1. Ramsay

      Thank you!


  • Arvind

    Hi Ramsay,

    It is really a valid question…even I run a blog and share all the basic to advanced information for free…since I am giving my readers all the specific information which they won’t get anywhere they tend to visit my blog again and again….also I sold few of my blog related affiliated products which was really great…so I think you should not worry about selling our products on your blog..just go ahead build a trustful relationship with your readers and they will surely follow you..as usual a very helpful post for me..thanks for sharing…!!

    Arvind


    1. Ramsay

      Well said!


  • Yasar Ali

    CraZy Guide Ramsay,
    Thank you so much for this.
    I love your contents.
    Can you please suggest me how can I sell my blog. ( I mean where should I announce that I’m going to sell one of my blogs. Is there any specific site/platform for it?)

    I’m going to sell it because I have many other blogs which I cannot manage all of them.

    Thanks in Advance.


  • Dev3lop

    This is the first blog I’ve ever seen suggest experimenting.

    This is exactly what I’ve been pausing the race to rank because of this right here. How can we throw ourselves at strategies when not a single blog post in the world really explains the cause and effect, rather the ‘we do this and it works good.’

    Coming from music production and data solutions – I always do my best to mix both workflows together – if I’m #1 at this, why not mix it into that.

    So, for music, I’m always experimenting – and that’s exactly what I wanted and accomplished with SEO.

    Truly wish someone had shown me a few scraping search tools along the way, but I think that’s just a big piece of this niche. Not a lot of jacks explaining those data pieces, and far few suggestion to roam outside of the usual SEO box.

    Great content, I’m an immediate fan from just that single line ‘experiment’ and get data.

    Love it! Keep it up, okay night time.


    1. kim Hanieph

      I completely agree…. Great post.
      Thanks to share good article


      1. Dev3lop

        The first blog I’ve subscribed to. I’m just getting into it – really learning a lot. I feel like every blog I read, it’s as if you’re looking at my website – and know all my next steps. It’s a very interesting thing – haha. I do appreciate the content.


    2. Ramsay

      Thanks so much. Means a lot.


  • Sandy

    Information that fills up tens or hundreds of pages (cookbooks, novels, memoirs, etc) will never make sense as a long-form post, simply because it would be too long to digest in one sitting. These are the things you sell, as they need to be that long to deliver the sort of massive value that is worth sticking a price tag on it.


    1. Ramsay

      Good point.


  • Carmel Biddle

    Hi Ramsay! Your blog has been sooooo useful to me! I have been pretty much following all your advice (currently making my way through the 44-Point Checklist), and I was reading this post just because I like reading your stuff, I started my blog last week and am definitely not up to the selling stuff stage! Anyway, please help me with something – your author box at the end of all your posts, how did you make it? Every plugin I’ve tried won’t let me edit it enough so that it looks like yours, which I’m shamelessly copying because I really like it! Thanks!


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Carmel. Replied on FB. Best of luck!


  • SEO Nagpur

    I enjoyed being here and I am completely agreed with you.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and Services


  • Amit Dahiya

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    Thanks for the information you shared!
    It will be very helpful for me and everyone.


  • Victoria Tran

    Thanks For this post 🙂


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