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I recently had lunch with a woman I met at a client meeting a few months ago. This woman is making a career switch and wants to explore social media in her new position promoting events (she had little to no previous knowledge about SM). So, I happily accepted a lunch invitation to share my passion for social media with her.
After an hour and a half of talking blogs and Twitter, she was thrilled at the information I supplied, and was fortunately, not overwhelmed.
I’m assuming many of you reading this have done something similar. I take that back, you all do it – every day. You send e-blasts with information about your company and what it does, you tweet, you blog, you go to meetings with non-client colleagues, etc. You give information away FOR FREE. PRBC does it for each other all of the time because we have camaraderie, a respect…and know we would all do the same for one another.
Why is giving information away for free so important? I like getting paid for the work I do and knowledge I provide just as much as the next person, but am a true believer that it (that good karma stuff…heck, business) will come back to me/to my firm.
Before Co-Communications (the firm I’m with) started our blog I had a brief direct message conversation on Twitter with another firm owner about her own experience blogging. She mentioned what a benefit it had been to her business and how it had broadened her base of client prospects. Genius! What is this pro doing with her blog? She is giving information and her expertise as a PR professional away for free. And it’s done what? Helped her increase business.
Of course giving it all up for free has its downfalls. One must be selective about the amount and level of free information. Otherwise competitors and your prospective clients can just run off with your original ideas.
Given that brief warning, making yourself a thought-leader comes with broadening your audience. You (more often) reach those audiences usually in facets that are of no charge to them. So spread your knowledge. Reach more people. Do it for free.