Why You CAN Give All Your Secrets Away

Good news today from CEM: you can give all your secrets away.  Whether you’re a writing service like us, or a full-blown marketing firm, there’s no reason to keep that “secret ingredient” bottled up because chances are, it doesn’t exist anyways.  (More on that later.)

Blogging for business is just the first way you might let some secrets out.  Today, we’re going to focus on why you should share what your company does, and how it does it with everyone.  And don’t worry – you won’t lose any sales in the process!  In fact, we’re confident that you’ll gain some sales by giving your secrets away.

Just Because They Have the Recipe…

… doesn’t mean they’ll bake the cake.  This can be one of the scariest points to embrace, but I think that you’ll feel so much freer if you make that step.  As a writing service, we blog and publish the heck out of this URL.

All of our content is totally free of charge and there are no barriers between it and the reader.  From blog posts to news stories to industry-specific guides that go on for thousands of pages, we share it all.  So, how do we still have clients?

Well the truth is, just because you tell people how to do something, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to go do it.  In the ‘90s you might have bought one of those “For Dummies” books only to go sign up for an actual class (or buy a service) a month later.

Today, consumers are enjoying your content (because you are an authority) instead of “For Dummies” books; and then, after they learn how to do everything you instruct them in, they are hiring you to do the job anyways.

It’s a beautiful cycle, right?  But are you finding that your blogging-for-business efforts aren’t quite panning out as I’m describing them?  My guess is that you’re still holding back.  Don’t be afraid to really share.

The truth is, potential clients are reading your blog because they’re interested in buying your service.  They may be in the very early stage of the buying cycle, but when you show them exactly what you do through blogging and guides, they’re going to come to trust you!  Which brings me to my next point…

There Is No Secret Ingredient

Unless you’re Coca-Cola or hold some other invaluable trade secret that’s tucked away in a vault in Switzerland, then we need to talk…  What’s the big secret that makes your company work?  Again, I’d wager a bet that it doesn’t really exist.

Now, I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes here.  I’m not saying that you don’t have a clever business model that’s totally revolutionary.  But, I think it’s much more likely that there are at least a handful of other companies doing something very similar to whatever it is you do.

And, if you let your secret out, it’s highly unlikely that anyone is going to swoop in and run off with your business idea.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

So what’s the point in sharing your secret ingredient?  These days, sharing means sales.  Businesses that share content – lots of it – get traffic and customers.  It’s just as true for small- and mid-size businesses as it is for marketers.

So relax.  When you start sharing that “big secret,” you’ll be seen as an expert.  Chances are, those in your industry either already know the secret or could never act upon it anyways.  What about those outside your industry?  Expect that crowd to be impressed!

Be Honest About Whom Your Content Is Reaching

If you sell a special kind of bolt that’s only used on F-16 fighter jets in South America, then by all means, feel free to gate your content.  Next time you come out with a guide about the threads on those bolts, ask for an email address first.  However, assuming your market isn’t that specific, you should seriously consider getting rid of the gates.

As a writing service, we’re in the business of selling blogs.  Therefore, we’re not going to make it overly difficult for you to get a look at a good blog post.  We have all kinds of clients (from mid-size marketing companies to small businesses), and we want anyone and everyone to have access to our stuff.

If we put up gates, that roadblock could limit our ability to engage a few potential leads.  Your audience might be different.  If you serve a niche customer base, some amount of gating is okay.  But, if you’re like us, bring down the gates.  The handful of email addresses you collect from gating probably isn’t enough to justify the gates!

Less Paint Points, More Pleasure

We often talk about pain points on the CEM blog.  As a writing service, it’s kind of our job to remind you of why you might need one!  But, we’re just as guilty as most other companies about failing to highlight the “pleasure points.”

My boss (Amie Marse) emailed me the other day about chitchatting with clients.  She mentioned that when talking shop with many of our bigger clients (those spending 10k+/year), there’s one thing that seems to come up again and again…

The reason that they love CEM is that they can get Amie on the phone; business hours or not, she’s there.  Now, what does that have to do with writing press releases and blogging for business?  Nothing.  But, it’s one of our biggest “pleasure points.” (I really need a better term.)

But, enough talk about this writing service.  In that same email, Amie told me that she found herself having similar conversations with our clients about other businesses. Through hundreds of conversations with boutique business owners, she’s found that many prefer SalesForce and SEOmoz instead of cheaper alternatives (like an excel spreadsheet or a program that performs a single task within SEOmoz that they really only look at).

Why do they spend the extra dough?

It’s because they do it with style.  For SalesForce and SEOmoz, the pleasure points are multifold, but largely aesthetic.  The visual appeal doesn’t have anything to do with the actual services rendered, but it is a big selling point!

Remember, your business is successful not because of a hidden secret, but for many other reasons.  Most of your real selling points are so far removed from “your secrets” that you should have no problem sharing everything you know!

What’s holding you back from sharing your secrets?  Or, have you done so, and noticed any difference with your business?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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