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Episode 021 Show Notes

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Welcome to The Unconventional RD podcast, where we inspire dietitians to think outside of the traditional employment box and create their own unconventional income stream. We'll talk all things online business to help you start, grow, and scale your own digital empire.

What to expect from this episode

One of the more common questions I get as an online business owner who creates content is, “How do you decide what content you put out for free and what content is paid?”

If you're putting out a bunch of information on social media, YouTube, a podcast, or blog, why would someone buy from you? Wouldn't giving away all the goods hurt your bottom line?

That's the line of questioning that typically comes up when we talk about free versus paid content.

So in today's episode, I'm just going to be chatting with you, just me by myself, about how to decide which pieces of content you put out should be free versus paid.

And I just want to assuage your fears – putting out free content will not kill your sales. Actually, the more you give online, the more people will purchase from you.

And the reason for that is honestly, trust. By giving away high-quality free content that actually solves your ideal client's problems, they grow to see you as an authority in your space. If you can clearly understand and address their problems with your free content, they're thinking how great must your paid content be??

And what do I mean by paid content? Well, paid content would either be products or services that you offer to people in exchange for money. So some common paid content pieces that people will sell online include online courses, paid membership sites, digital goods, like an ebook, maybe a paid mentorship session with you, a service like nutrition coaching or an event like a conference or a retreat, or even something digital that's not involving a person like software or an app.

So for this episode, I want to give you six tips for determining which content should be free and which content should be paid.

Tip #1: Don't worry about giving away all the goods

So tip number one, don't worry about giving away all the goods.

You can pretty much give away everything you know for free and still have people buy your paid products and services. And part of this is because the free stuff that you put out is often dripped out in a very piecemeal way. It's not cohesive. People still have to do a decent amount of work to like dig through all of your content, try to put it together themselves into some sort of actionable plan.

And this is where the value of your paid offerings come in.

If you're offering a digital good, for example, like an ebook or a cheat sheet or a checklist or templates, usually what you're doing is boiling things down for people into clear actionable steps.

You're giving them a framework to work from that they don't have to create themselves. The key point here is you're saving people time and mental energy and people will 1000% pay for that. I know myself, I was working on my email marketing recently and I'm like, shoot, this takes so much freaking mental energy. If I could just pay someone for a template for like, just ideas for like how to formulate my sales emails, I would a thousand percent pay for that right now.

So you could do something similar, whatever it is that's giving your people a hang-up and they're getting stuck on. That's where your paid goods come in, solve a problem with your paid goods.Um, and in sometimes that problem is just giving people steps to follow our framework, um, or clear actionable checklists or cheat sheets or whatever.

Similarly, a course is usually a lot more in-depth than your free content and it's so organized and clear and easy to follow. It has a start point and an end point and a clear outcome that you'll achieve by following the teachings.

There's no fluff. You just show up, you consume the content, you follow the steps and you get the result that you're looking for. And again, that is valuable and people will pay a lot for that service to be provided for them. You're saving people time while also teaching them a valuable skill that will serve them moving forward.

A membership site is a type of online paid good that you could create. Um, a membership site is where people pay you monthly or annually to access private content that's only available for paying members.

And a lot of times memberships have a community aspect, like a private forum or a Facebook group, which is where a lot of the value comes from.

And in terms of the content side of it, usually in a membership site you're putting out content on a frequent basis, weekly, monthly, quarterly, maybe even daily. I don't know. It depends on your business model, but since the content is updated frequently people also find value in knowing that by being a member they trust that you will keep them up to date on all the latest things. They should be aware of, changes in best practices, et cetera. So that's just another thing off of their own personal mental load that they don't have to worry about and they will happily pay you for by being part of your membership site.

And then last, if you provide a service to people. A service provides accountability, which is also insanely valuable. Working with someone one-on-one is usually a business owner's most premium priced offer because you know, one on one time is very, very valuable.

Um, and so people again will happily pay you to work with you one on one, to hear the guidance from your mouth, to help them apply it to their specific business, and to give them the accountability piece and check-ins over time to help them implement.

So your free content is not competing with your paid content. Your paid content adds value on top of your free content.

Tip #2: Plan your free content strategically

So tip number two, plan that free content strategically.

So if the goal of your free content is to sort of attract people to your brand, um, you want to make sure that you're attracting the right people and that you're creating content strategically. Um, generally speaking, you know, the goal of your free content is to both serve your audience, but also grow your audience.

So in the blogging space, the best way to create high-value blog posts that serve people and bring people a large number of people to your site is to do keyword research.

And I know I've talked about this several times across many episodes on this podcast, but um, keyword research is basically doing your homework before you write a blog post. So not just like coming up with something Willy nilly off the top of your head and writing it and posting it and hope the world finds it. There actually is a strategy involved and I didn't understand this for a really long time as a blogger and a content creator and it held me back and I just wish that I knew about it like years and years before I actually learned about it.

So you can basically use tools. There's a tool called key search. It's only $17 a month. And if you go to, you can actually find my affiliate link there. That means that if you choose to sign up through that link, I will earn a commission on the sale. At no extra cost to you. And you can also use the code KSDISC to save an additional 20% off. So it brings it down to like $13 per month. That's not an affiliate code or anything. That's just a code that's out there on the internet that I've used and recommend.

Um, but with this tool for just $13 ish a month after you use the coupon code, you can basically type in whatever topic you're thinking about writing about. And you want to go broad when you're typing in your topics. So maybe you type in, I don't know, maybe you want to write a blog post about something related to being vegan. So you could just type in “vegan” in keysearch and it will bring up hundreds, possibly thousands of, uh, what are known as keywords or keyword phrases, which just simply means the actual text that people are typing into the Google search bar.

So it will bring up a huge list of actual search terms that people type into Google when they're looking for stuff. And you can see how many people type that in per month. And you can also see how difficult it would be to rank on page one for that keyword or search phrase. So basically what that means is how competitive is the page one of the Google search results right now? Are there already a bunch of really high authority websites who have published blog posts on this topic and have tons of backlinks? (Which are links from other websites back to their site.) Are they already filling up all 10 spots on the first page?

If so, it's going to be very difficult for a smaller, lesser known website, like your own blog, to slide in there and get on the first page. Um, so just realistically speaking, it's better to target lower difficulty, but still high search volume, uh, search terms to write content about.

So let's say you type in vegan and you're scrolling through and on key search you have to reveal the difficulty. Um, you could do it in batches or one by one, but it doesn't automatically show you the difficulty. You have to reveal it. And you only get a certain number of reveals per day. I think it's like 200 or something. So, um, let's say you revealed your 200 that you were interested in and you find one, maybe I'm totally making this up. I don't have the, the program open right now, but let's just pretend that you found like, vegan snacks for toddlers. Let's pretend that was a keyword phrase that people were typing in that a lot of big websites hadn't already written about. So the difficulty was relatively low. Then you could take it upon yourself to create a blog post about vegan snacks for toddlers.

And if you do it properly and structure it in a way that Google likes, um, then you have a shot at potentially getting on the first page of the search results and getting hundreds or thousands of people to your website every single month. When they search for that term, they'll search for it in Google. They'll see the first page of the Google search results.

The higher you can get your piece of content on the first page, the more clicks you'll get. So usually, you know, the first couple results on any given search page, get the bulk of the clicks. So that's our goal to be one of those top results. Um, but then if you do that again and again and again for a bunch of different phrases that your ideal customer is looking up, then you have found a way to effectively bring hundreds or thousands or even millions of your ideal customers to your website every single month.

And that is just priceless. Like that is everything. That's an opportunity then to like pitch them to buy stuff, get them on your email list, et cetera, et cetera. Build a relationship with them and continue to serve them.

Um, so you want to make sure that you are planning that free content strategically and you understand why you're building it and what the intention is behind it. Um, and not just coming up with stuff off the top of your head.

And then what goes along with that as well is making sure that you're not just posting stuff that's interesting to you. I fell into this trap early on when I was trying to food blog. I was just posting any and every recipe that I ever made with no concept of like who's my ideal reader? How am I solving a problem with my recipes? Like who am I serving with my recipes? Who's the person who's going to come back and make every single recipe on my website because they love what I'm creating for them and I meet their exact specific needs?

I was not doing that whatsoever. So also make sure that you're creating your content to meet the needs of your reader and not just as a creative outlet for yourself. That can be an easy trap to fall into. So think of it as a business if you want to make it a business and monetize.

Tip #3: Use your free content to grow your email list

Um, tip number three, use that free content to grow your email list.

Um, Oh yeah, I should mention too, if you want to learn how to do keyword research and create blog posts that get onto the first page of Google, my SEO made simple course teaches exactly that. Um, it's six lessons. Each lesson is like one or two hours long with 10 demo tutorials of how to do everything, plus a community of over 300 other wellness professionals who are trying to do the same thing.

So if you want to check that out, just go to and then click on the SEO made simple course and you can sign up anytime it's open year round. Okay, so back to the tip number three, tip number three, use that free content to grow your email list.

So once you have all of these people on your site from doing SEO and bringing a lot of people through to your site via your free content, offer them another high value item to join your email list. This is known as an opt-in or a lead magnet, and there's many types of lead magnets, but they typically perform best if the thing that you're offering someone relates to the topic of the blog post they're reading.

So let's pretend you did a blog post on 10 best gluten-free items at trader Joe's. You could create a PDF that is like a shopping list of your favorite trader Joe's gluten-free items and maybe it's organized by aisle for easy shopping and it's like your gluten-free must-haves from trader Joe's or something. And it's like a really simple download that someone could get.

You can make, you can set up basically like a form on your website where someone types in their email and their name usually, and then they automatically get added to your email list and are sent that document automatically. So you set this all up on the backend using your um, email service provider, whatever you like to use for email marketing. I personally use a tool called convert kit. I highly recommend them. They do have a free plan now that's kinda new. Um, so you can test drive it without having to pay anything.

Um, but basically you use the tools within convert kit to create that pretty form and then embed it on your website and you have everything all set up. So when someone types in their email and clicks, yes, send me the form or send me the PDF checklist, convert kit will automatically do all that for you on the backend.

Um, but please note there are laws to be aware of. Um, in the US we don't have as strict of laws as the European union. In the EU. They have to abide by something known as GDPR. And if you live in the US, anyone who visits your website from the EU, you still have to abide by the GDPR laws for those people or those visitors to your website. So that law basically stipulates that you cannot add someone to your regular email list and send them recurring emails without their explicit permission.

So you can't say, Hey, like sign up for my checklist and then never tell them that you're going to send them emails. And then suddenly they start getting all these emails from you. That's not allowed under GDPR. In the US we don't have really any regulations that say you can't do that, although it's probably coming. Um, but ConvertKit has already addressed this.

And they can tell if someone's visiting your website from the EU. And if it is an EU visitor, they'll just add a checkbox on all of your opt-in forms saying, Hey, would you like to also join the email list? And if they don't check that form then or check that box, then you have to send them the goodie and they're not added to your email list.

So just FYI, there are restrictions out there depending on where you live. Um, I'm not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice, that's just my understanding of the laws as someone who, you know, lives in the US but has to abide by them for EU visitors. Um, so yeah, so the, the, the summary of that point is free content still has value because you can use it to grow your email list.

You can build a relationship with your people via your email list so you can continually send them regular value-packed emails. Um, not just a “newsletter” with like a summary of what you did this month. Like make it valuable for them. That's the point. You want to use your email list to continue to provide value and make it so good that they don't want to unsubscribe because they're like, Oh, but I don't want to miss out on whatever it is that you're providing.

Like in my emails, I try to keep people abreast of the latest digital marketing news and I'll send them like a recap every week of like, Oh, Hey, FYI, like these are the things that are happening that you should be aware of. Like Google had an algorithm update or whatever, and that's valuable. Um, or if people post job opportunities in my Facebook group, I send those out via email. So that's valuable too. So you want things like that where people, maybe they're like, Oh, thinking about unsubscribing, but they're like, wait, there's such good content and juicy, meaty stuff in these emails. I don't want to unsubscribe.

So that's what you're going for. And then eventually, however many times per year, maybe you, you live launch something or maybe you have an automated sales system built into your emails where you know, after someone's been on your list for a couple months, they automatically get pitched to buy something from you, however you have it set up. Um, your email list is a huge, huge asset and a great way to eventually offer things for sale to your most engaged followers and get a really good sign up rate.

Tip #4: Quality over Quantity

Tip number four is quality over quantity. So yes, creating free content is amazing for attracting people to your brand, but you really want to make sure that your free content represents your best work. It would be a mistake to focus all of your time on doing your paid content and then skimp out on what gets put out for free.

Your free content is a marketing tool for you and your brand. So it's meant to show people how amazing you are and attract them to working with you. And that's the best kind of marketing. When you solve problems through your free content and then people find you because they're searching for a solution to those problems and you appear.

Um, and then again you can get them to join your email list, et cetera, and hopefully they'll eventually buy from you. That type of marketing feels good. You're simultaneously helping and serving people while attracting them to you for free. You don't have to spend any money on ads, although of course, you could also do ads. There's no shame there. It's amazing if you can do both, but content marketing is available for everyone at no cost.

You just have to understand the strategy. All it costs is your time to create the content, but it can work and does work for all businesses of any size, whether you're just starting out or you've been around for years, there's a reason that people put out content to serve their audience. It works. It's a great, great way to grow a brand.

And if you put out evergreen content in the format of blog posts, it's basically just like a never ending asset that just keeps growing. Every time you publish a new post, it's another opportunity to get found via a Google search and become visible to a brand new person who's Googling something. So your goal is to create the highest quality content that you can with your free stuff.

Um, you don't want to say, Oh, well if, if the more stuff I can get out in front of people, the better cause the more eyeballs I'm reaching, I'm just going to sacrifice a little on the quality and I'm just going to focus on quantity. I'm going to publish a blog post every other day or something like that. That's unrealistic.

It's unlikely that you will be able to create that content just by yourself. If you hire people, then of course you could do that, but just by yourself, you probably won't be able to create amazing high-quality content at the level that is needed to rank on the first page of Google if you're trying to pump out content every day, every other day or something like that. It just takes time to do the homework, the background research, and just craft a high-quality piece of content.

So I think I've mentioned this before, but once I wrapped my head around this with my, I have a nutrition-related blog, um, that I've sort of stopped focusing on recently cause I've decided to go all-in on the unconventional RD brand. But with that blog, once I finally understood search engine optimization, we had been blogging for just 10 months. I say “we” because I had basically a freelance writer that was helping me out with crafting these blog posts. Um, so we would do a lot of them together.

But with 10 posts in 10 months, we were able to get 20,000 visitors to our site every month from just Google. So like, that's insane. So just 10 posts just posting once a month. But the difference was that we put a lot of time and effort into crafting all of those monthly blog posts. So, um, definitely, definitely focused on putting out the highest quality content you can.

Plus you have to think about the user experience. If someone's Googling something and they see, Oh, here's a blog post on this topic and you're on the first page, they'll click on your site. And what happens if they don't like what they find? Then you kind of have a black check mark against your name, uh, for that reader. Like if they're searching for something else later and they see your blog posts or your blog name in the search results, they're going to be like, Oh, I'm not clicking on that one. Cause last time I clicked on it, it was not helpful at all. So you don't want that. You don't want a negative association with your name either. Um, so you do want to make sure that every piece that you put out, you're proud of, and you're really confident that it's actually addressing the needs of your reader.

Tip #5: Use your free and paid content to create a step-wise progression for people to work with you

Tip number five, use your free and paid content to create a step wise progression for people to work with you.

So digital marketers often talk about understanding the customer journey, kind of like where your audience is right now, where they need to be in order to want to buy from you, and then where they'll be after they work with you or purchase your products.

So for example, I'm just going to use myself as an example to flesh this out. My audience is dietitians and other wellness professionals. They're highly knowledgeable about nutrition or whatever their area of expertise is, but they probably don't know very much about starting a website blogging or creating digital income streams because we don't really learn about that in school for any sort of health related field.

So I need to do a lot of educating before someone may be ready to buy from me to learn how to blog, monetize and set up email funnels. They need to know why having a website and an online presence is important. They need to have a website in order to implement most of the things that I talk about. They need to understand what SEO is, what that even means. Hint, it stands for search engine optimization and that's how you get found via Google. Um, and how that can help them reach people online. They need to understand what digital income streams are available to them and also how email marketing can help tie all of these things together. So that's a lot of different topics that I could create free educational content around to help people understand what I'm talking about and how my paid stuff can help them and get them excited about learning and implementing it.

So here's an example of the step wise progression I have in my business right now. I have my Facebook group where I post a lot of free content and helpful tips and engaging conversations. And at this point there's so many people in the group. There's over 8,000 people that, you know, my community actually creates a lot of the value in that group without my one on one time anymore.

Um, I have this podcast and creating lots of valuable content for my people. Um, at this point I'm getting, Oh, I gotta look at the stats. I think I'm getting, um, over a thousand listens a week, which is pretty good for me. I just started in January and it's may now. Um, and I, I don't actually do very much promotion. I need to do like way more podcast promotion. I just barely mention it. I send it out my newsletter, I post about it in the Facebook group. Sometimes I'll post about it on Instagram, but I just don't have a very like stable, um, social media strategy right now.

But you know, I'm happy with the results that I've gotten so far and people have told me, Oh, you know, I felt comfortable buying one of your things cause I heard your voice and I feel like I know you and I know that you mean well and you explained things well and you know what you're talking about. Like that type of thing. It just helps boost my connection with people in my authority, I guess.

Um, sometimes I'll do free webinars to educate people about SEO, making money online, or email marketing. And then I have some blog posts, but I honestly need to step up my game for the unconventional RD with blog posts. I went in on the podcast instead for 2020. Um, but that's on my list of things to focus on. I've put out a couple that were SEO optimized this year and they're already doing really well.

So, you know, I know it's just a matter of like scheduling out the time. Um, but anyway, those are my free pieces of content to get people aware of me and my brand and how I can help them. Then once they're aware of me, then it's like, okay, I need them to be ready to buy from me and also feel confident that buying from me is the right decision.

So step one, no one's going to be ready to buy for me if they don't have a website yet. Because basically everything that I teach, you need a website to implement. And as healthcare professionals, there's a lot of people out there who are like, Oh, this digital world seems cool. And then they start learning a little about it and then they're like, Oh my gosh, there's so much I have to do. I don't even have a website. How do I get started? This seems overwhelming and then they're done.

So to help stop that roadblock, I decided to put out a free start a website tutorial to get people over that initial hurdle of not having a website and feeling overwhelmed about creating one.

I've built personally, I don't know, at least five or six different websites. Um, so I've done it myself multiple, multiple times, um, and I feel pretty comfortable. So I know that I have the knowledge to share with people to help them create a website. I personally don't think it's that hard. But then again, I've been dabbling, you know, with websites since 2010 and before that I had like live journal and stuff like that and I would do like custom coding to make it look pretty and my space and all that. So, you know, I feel comfortable in the online realm. Um, just like the generation that I grew up with.

But I just needed to put something out there to help my people cause that seemed to be a big trouble spot. So that is another really high quality, um, way that people can learn from me for free and also join my email list. So if they joined the tutorial, they're also added to my list.

Um, and then that leads into the SEO course. So once someone has a website, then the next logical thing that they should be focusing on is how to get people to come to the website. And so that's when these people would find my SEO course to be most useful because that teaches people how to create content in a way that Google likes so that they'll show up on the first page of the Google search results and get lots of traffic.

And then that leads into the next question. Okay, now that I have an audience, how do I monetize it? And that's the subject of my second course. Make money blogging.

And then now they have traffic, they're making money online, but maybe they're feeling a little stuck. Like, Oh, I'm making money sporadically. Like whenever I'm actively promoting something, but it's not stable and consistent. So then I teach people how to use email marketing to kind of automate and systematize their sales so it's not so sporadic so that you have a system in place so that when people join your email list, at some point you know they're going to be given the opportunity to buy something from you and you know what percentage of people will buy and it's highly predictable. And then you can focus instead of all on, on all of those little smaller things, you can focus on the bigger picture of continuing to create high quality free content that grows your brand, grows your email list, gets people, um, in that email marketing funnel and then leads to more sales.

So that's my step wise progression. But none of that would be possible without the free content at the bottom of the funnel. So you know, my Facebook group, my podcast, by webinars, my free start a website tutorial, my blog posts, anything that I can put out there to attract people to my brand and then get them into my ecosystem. That's the point of free content.

So the free content can be more inspirational stories or focused on like solving a really niche problem that someone might be typing into Google. Like I recently I was helping someone, I was doing an SEO audit on their website and I needed to be given access to their Google search console and their Google analytics accounts.

And so instead of just typing up out those instructions and sending them to her via email, I wrote blog posts on them and I used keyword research tactics to figure out what to name them. So now I simultaneously served this person by saying, Hey, here's some instructions for adding me to your Google analytics and Google search console account. And then also that information is out there for the public.

Anyone who's Googling it, I might show up in the Google search results and they'll click on my website and find my brand and might be interested. Um, but the bigger picture protocols or strategies like the step by step implementation of like, here's how to use SEO to grow your blog traffic, that stuff remains behind the pay wall for the course.

So the step by step, here's what you do to get this outcome. That stuff stays for the course, but my free content can be little bits and pieces of that strategy, but not all put together cohesively, if that makes sense.

Tip #6: You can still monetize free content

And then my final tip, don't forget that you can still monetize free content. Free content means free for your readers, not that you're not going to see any return on that time investment that you put in.

If you get at least 25,000 visitors to your website every single month, you can join ad networks. My favorite ad network is mediavine. Um, you could check them out and apply when you reach that 25,000 sessions per month mark. Um, but once you're in an ad network, you can put ads within your free content and make money from people just viewing your content and maybe clicking on the ads.

Um, now since you know, we have the coronavirus stuff happening, a lot of brands have cut their advertising budget. So the money that's being brought in for ads has dropped a little bit. It hopefully will bounce back. I am assuming it will. Um, but right now you can get anywhere from $5 and up, um, per 1000 visitors to your site every month.

Um, $5 is like pretty low. Usually it's like $15 and up. But you know, it depends on the times. Um, some people get up to $30 per 1000 sessions per month. Um, if you include things like video in your content, your earnings can be higher than if you just have shorter text articles. There's lots of strategies that you can use to maximize your earnings.

Which side note, we talk about that in my make money blogging course, which is happening right now. There's a live round happening, um, the office hours kicked off, or it depends when you're listening to this. If it's early enough, it might have not happened yet, but it's at 9:00 AM Pacific on Monday, May 25th and that's the first office hours round and then the price is going up.

So, um, you could still join, you can hop in at any time. Um, there's 23 CEUs, which is amazing and we talk about how to monetize through six different revenue streams, including ads. Um, so yeah, you can put ads on your site so you can make money off of that free content and you can make a lot of money.

Like if you create high quality content that people are searching for and they're coming to your site, you know, I'm going to do the math right now. Let's pretend like a pretty moderate blogger would have maybe let's say 300,000, uh, visitors per month. Um, let's divide that by a thousand. So that would be 300. So 300,000 would be 300 units basically.

And you can make, let's say on the low end, um, or the average end. Usually this is a low end in good times. Right now, things are a little lower because of the pandemic, but let's say you're going to make $15 per thousand sessions. Um, that means you can make $4,500 a month just from ad revenue.

And 300,000 visitors to your site every month might sound like a lot, but that's actually pretty moderate in the blogging space. So people who are trying to put out content and be full-time bloggers usually have more sessions than that every month. Um, so if that's just one of like, it's always a good idea to diversify your income, right? So not only can you make money from all the things that you're selling to your audience, you can make money just from serving your audience through your free content, which is super exciting.

You can also put affiliate links in that content and make money. So for example, my free start, a website tutorial, yeah, that's free for everyone in my audience. But when I'm recommending hosting providers, for example, in that tutorial, I put my affiliate links in there.

Of course I say, hey, these are affiliate links. If you click on them, I will earn money at no extra cost to you. Um, and some percentage of the people going through the tutorial will click on those links and buy. Um, so for example, just over 500 people have registered for my tutorial. Last month, so April, I made $750 in affiliate commissions and then this month I still have another week left of the month and I've already made $1,200 in affiliate commissions.

So already that quote unquote free tutorial has brought in almost $2,000 in income just from talking about hosting. And I haven't even talked about any of the other tools that people need to start a website, some of which are also paid. So who knows. I'll keep you guys updated on how that goes and whether it continues to be lucrative. But so far it's been great serving my audience.

It's probably setting up more people to be ready to buy my paid courses. It's helping people understand how I teach and feel confident in my teaching methods, which also will probably help me make more sales later in the future. Um, yeah, it's just a win win. Um, and it's helping someone get their website set up, actually for, for free for them when you know that cost several thousand dollars to have someone do for you.

And then the last way you can technically create quote unquote free content for your audience via sponsored posts as well. So if you ever think of a brand that you would love to talk about and promote, um, you can create content featuring their products and get paid by them.

Um, it just takes a little creativity and persistence and outreach to these companies and be very confident in the value that you have and the niche audience that they are trying to reach. If you have trust with that audience and a relationship with that audience and they actually listen to your recommendations, then a sponsored post with a brand who's paying you to create that piece of content could be a great opportunity. Of course you have to disclose in the content that is sponsored, um, always. But that's another way you can monetize even through the content that your readers get for free.

Some people will even take, you know, blog posts or social media posts, um, that they've put out and bundle it together into a digital good, like an ebook. So for example, um, a couple episodes ago I had Chrissy Carroll on and she talked about her SEO ebook. Her SEO ebook is a compilation of tips that she had posted in her private Facebook group and then she bundled them together and sells it as an ebook. You could do that too, a thousand percent. Repurposing your content is a great idea.

Or I've seen, I think it was simple green smoothies. It's been awhile since I looked into the story. I just remember hearing about it on a podcast years ago. Um, but basically this brand was putting out like a smoothie challenge and like for 30 days or something, they would send you a different smoothie recipe. I want to say it was, maybe there were some tips in there. I don't know. I didn't sign up for it personally. They were just describing it in this podcast episode. And um, at the end of the challenge, even though these people were getting all of this stuff emailed to them over 30 days, at the end of the challenge, it was like, Hey, if you want to purchase this like ebook with everything that we sent you all in one place, like click here to buy it for like 19.99 or whatever. And a certain percentage of people will buy it.

Because again, it's not even about the information. It's about the convenience and the packaging of the information. Like information is out there. If you want to Google something, one thousand percent is probably out there on the internet. There's no like secret information that no one can find.

It's the help with implementing that people are paying for. They're paying for the convenience of you packaging it all up into an easy to follow process of you explaining it in a very cohesive and comprehensive way that speaks to them.

Um, because you know, maybe the information that's out there is taught in a very, let's say, academic way, whereas you speak to teenagers or something who want a more laid back explanation. Like you can just repurpose information in ways, um, that's better serves your audience and even that's valuable. Um, so just you're only limited really by your imagination.

So sometimes people are scared to put out free content. And my goal with this podcast was to help you understand how free content is actually insanely valuable and actually essential to building an online brand.

You can't just hide behind a paywall, you have to be out there serving your people in public and you know, putting out as much high quality content as you can, um, to start to build your brand basically. Um, so that's it for today. Those are my six tips. Let me reiterate them again, uh, to wrap up this episode.

Tip number one was don't worry about giving away all the goods.

Tip number two, plan your free content strategically so it serves your audience but also grows your audience.

Tip number three, use that free content to grow your email list. So we talked about creating an optin within that free content so that you're getting people on your email list and continuing the relationship with them. That is incredibly valuable.

Tip number four, quality over quantity. Make sure that everything you're putting out, you're really proud of and that it represents you and your brand in the best way possible.

Tip number five, use your free and paid content to create a step wise progression for people to work with you. So use the free content to attract them to your brand and then create levels of paid content or services that people can consume in different ways.

So free content is out there for the people with no budget. Maybe you have a middle tier product, like an ebook, um, for someone to download. Then you have a higher price product like maybe a course, and then perhaps you have one-on-one services at the very top high end for someone to work with you one on one.

Tip number six, don't forget, you can still monetize free content. There are people out there who just blog and their main focus is content creation and they don't sell anything. They just monetize through ads, affiliate links, and sponsored content and that is a thousand percent a business model that is viable and possible if your true love is content creation.

So it doesn't really matter, you know, what you want to do in terms of monetizing online. Like if you love to teach then maybe courses are your thing. If you love to create, let's say recipes, and maybe you just have a thriving recipe blog with ads and affiliate links and sponsored content, like there is no one right way.

I actually had a question about that when I was promoting my make money blogging course this week, like someone saying, Oh, it looks like online courses are super successful for you. Does that mean that we should all be focusing on the courses? And I said a thousand percent NO. Like it's whatever you put your time and attention into, like the money will go where your intention goes. Um, and any of these monetization streams can work.

It just depends where you put your focus. And your strategy and your time. So, um, that's it for today's episode.

Again, if you would like help with any of the things that I talked about, like learning how to start a website, you can check out my free start, a website tutorial. If you go to the unconventional RD or the unconventional RD BB, where are my courses are. Right in the top header of the navigation bar or um, or in the dropdown if you're on mobile, you can see the free start a website tutorial and get started with that.

If you want help growing your blog traffic, definitely check out my SEO made simple course. Um, I'm extremely proud of that course. It's, it's really valuable. I wish it was like mandatory for all dietitians who want to create an online presence to take.

My make money blogging course is happening right now. And there's a live round with live office hours, um, starting, uh, that's happening right now. First office hours kicks off today, Monday, May 25th, and the price is also going up today. So if you want to check that out, you could save $200. Um, if you sign up today, sorry, in advance, if you're listening to this a few days later, um, the price is going up Monday, May 25th. Um, yeah.

And then you can learn how to do email marketing through my email marketing magic course, which is going to have a live round in September, but um, it's currently under self study so you could register for that at any time too. And that also has I think 24 CEUs.

Whew. So hopefully this was a valuable episode for you guys. I had a blast talking through how to distinguish between free and paid content, but also why free is content is valuable. Just as valuable, in my opinion, as your paid content.

Um, so yeah, uh, as always connect with me anytime at the unconventional RD community on Facebook. That is my favorite place to connect. Um, and if you've enjoyed any of my episodes lately and you haven't yet left a review for the podcast, I would love that as well. You can simply go on iTunes and leave a review or Spotify.

Um, I appreciate any and all whatever you have to say. I just appreciate it. Um, so thanks guys, and I will catch you next week.

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