Are You Sharing Content? Or Selling It? Your Customers Know the Difference. Do You?

If you own a company, make a product, or perform a service, you know it takes more than hanging up a “Hello! We’re Open!” sign to be successful.

(If it were only that easy, right?)

One of our favorite ways to develop a brand and start selling your wares is by creating an atmosphere of sharing. Basically, anything you write, speak, email, publish, print, and post is a gift to your potential customers and loyal fan base. You can inform and inspire others by sharing the information and expertise that makes you the one to watch in your field.

“Wow,” your customers marvel. “She shares so much with us…for FREE! Imagine the service once we actually hire her.”

(If it were only that easy, right?)

But there’s sharing content, and then there’s selling content. They’re both perfectly acceptable and useful tactics when managed well.

Here’s the difference:

Sharing content is, actually, free. Sharing content takes the form of blog posts, email campaigns, social media feeds, and regular newsletters. It’s advice you’ve learned along the way, real mistakes you’ve made, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and ideas you freely pass along. Sharing content adds value to the services or products you sell.

Selling content is a bit different. At its most authentic, selling content is your website content, potential client emails and presentations, and even testimonials from other customers. Selling content is wholly connected to the services or products you sell.

The confusion occurs when the sharing and selling are blended without informing the customer. Imagine sending out a blog post, sponsored by a company whose product you generally use in your line of work, wholeheartedly extolling the benefits of using this company. That’s not a bad thing, right?

Well, it might be. If your usual method is to use your blog to share information freely, but you sneakily slip in a sponsored post or five into the mix without informing your customers that this is a paid advertisement, your content validity suffers.

We’ve seen some other content producers write the very best sponsored posts. They seem so believable that even we have a difficult time telling whether they’re paid advertisements or simple content shares.

This content secrecy weakens your brand.

Listen. We love helping you sell your product or service. It’s what we do best at The Found Gen, through transparency and honesty.