The Most Important Four-Letter Word in Blogging

This post is for all you bloggers out there…

There is a four letter word that’s critical to your success in this business…F-R-E-E

As you’ve probably heard, one of the best ways to build a successful blog is to give away lots of free content.  The idea here is to be so helpful with your free stuff that people can’t wait to see what’s inside your paid products.

Lead Magnets that Don’t Provide Value

The idea for this post came to me when I recently read the lead magnet of a very popular six-figure site.  The blogger in question is a brilliant marketer and has a free report with a promising title.  Unfortunately after reading it, I came away with the feeling that it was “all sizzle with no steak.” It made lofty claims to help the reader, but frankly it didn’t deliver on this promise.

Example from My New Lead Magnet

Now in last week’s post, I asked if I should create a free report about “How to Escape from the Rat Race.” The results were pretty impressive.  In a landslide victory, you all voted that you wanted to see me make this freebie.

As I looked through the results, one comment stood out in particular.  Murray from “” said:

“This should be awesome, really looking forward to what you have to say. I mean, go into hardcore details, action steps, etc etc. If you give something that can be replicated – I will gladly give you money regardless that it’s a free report”

I was really happy to see a comment like this because it connects to one of my core principles – Free content should provide real value to the reader. I’m glad Murlu made this statement because it challenges me to make my “rat race” report full of quality, useful information.  It doesn’t matter if that it won’t make money.  If I’m not helping people with my free stuff, then I don’t deserve to have people buy the paid products I hope to create.

Give Away Your Best Stuff

Don’t be afraid to give away your best stuff.  If you can’t come up with extra content beyond your freebies then you might be in the wrong niche.   I challenge you to come up with blog posts and free reports that stand out from the crowd.  When you put your heart and soul into them, people will line up to check out your paid offers.

As we close this post, I’d like to give you a great quote that best exemplifies what I discussed in this post:

“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

Take Action. Get Results.

30 thoughts on “The Most Important Four-Letter Word in Blogging”

  1. Nicely pointed out Steve, and more so because you did it with the best blog post title ever.
    I have to admit – I was thinking of a slightly different four letter F word when I came in, because THAT one is part my of staple blogging diet 🙂

    How do you produce so much content all the time man>!>!>!

    >=? I just can’t be arse clicking back up there to edit it

  2. The Ziglar quote is spot-on Steve. We forget sometimes that each creative act is prospered, value shared is merely a seed plant, seeds that grow.

    Whenever you feel wanting give freely and you receive generously. Great stuff here, as always.


  3. Hi Steve, I came across something similar the other day where the site owner gave away the product first before he sold it. Which I thought was a great idea.

    Reward your most loyal customers first and maybe they’ll spread the word and then when you do sell it, you will probably get more sales.

    Have you read/heard Chris Anderson’s book FREE?

    Cheers, Matthew

    • Yeah, if you have an awesome product a free giveaway is likely a good Idea to create buzz.

      I had read free…maybe a bit more than a year ago I guess. I had read a neat article by him before that that got me interested….

      I took a second to look it up. For anyone who doesn’t know what we Matthew is talking about check out:

      It is a neat little article

      Of course the article is free but the book isn’t. Ironic, huh.

      I like to do what books tell me, so “steal this book” I stole and “free” I want free

      Lets just hope no one writes a book called, “jump off a bridge”

  4. Hi Steve:

    Your four letter word created enough suspense for some. I was simply thinking of a special word. Finally got to see it Free.

    I do tell everything to my readers as I can not avoid anything by nature. I want to connect with real giving heart, and my readers will have to feel it.

    As usual very good suggestion to all bloggers.

    Fran Aslam

    • Thanks Fran,

      You are right,

      Being open and honest is extremely important as well as being freely giving and caring. Blogging is one of the few things in life where it is easy to see that if you do good things – good things come back.

      I think it is ALWAYS true, it is just easy to see it in blogging.

  5. That’s what it’s all about Steve, really pushing hard to make a name for yourself because when you give away those pieces of jaw-dropping, server melting traffic generating content pieces you’re cementing yourself as an authority.

    It’s swagger. When you’re known as “that guy/gal” that released a BIG thing, you’re setting yourself so that every new thing you create will be monumental for driving traffic, conversation and eventually sales.

    Just to throw out a perfect example: Chris Coyier. He was relatively new to design blogging and then created 3 screencasts on how to create a website – it was completely new – it’s still linked in posts today and that was created YEARS ago – he’s built his entire community off a monumental piece of content and continues to deliver it on a regular basis.

    That’s where you’re going Steve, keep this up and the world is yours.

    • Murray,

      Thanks man! I appreciate the kind sentiments! That is a pretty cool example you give. And on the money. If you can give away something of immense value it gets noticed. Good bloggers do it all the time. Every post won’t be a “homerun” chocked full of life changing facts, but I think the desire is there in all bloggers.

      Most of the posts with quality information are not for the likes of you or most of the other commentators.

      For most of us our knowledge level is close to par. You might get a “oh that is interesting, hadn’t thought of that” out of a post. But most of the information is likely to be a reiteration of stuff that those people know.

      The payoff comes when someone completely new to the niche reads it and you rock their world. For me that is the payoff. The idea that I really could provide some useful maps to help people.

      Of course I wouldn’t be ashamed to make a buck or too along the way, I am not that altruistic.

  6. Hi Steve,

    I was expecting you to say ‘work’. But ‘free’ is much more enticing. I totally agree with what Murray’s comment.

    I would gladly pay money for a report that would help me to work for myself. You’ve already done what we want to do.

    There is so much stuff on the internet about how to make money but I’d much rather pay to learn from someone I trust.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I definitely trust the information you provide. I can’t wait to get my hands on this report.

    • Jazz,

      Work is certainly another four letter word that people avoid. That is actually a good guess. I certainly have heap of ideas I will be pouring my energy into come Nov- Dec. So hopefully something that you will find interesting.

      NO release date yet obviously since I am still only thinking about it, but I would bet sometime New Year. Maybe even earlier.

  7. Steve

    You are prolific. I’m finding it hard to keep up, but I’m glad I am because every one of your posts is useful and value rich.

    The only thing I can add to what’s already been said is free = value = trust= profit.

    Thanks for sharing,


  8. Hi Steve,

    For sure, when we give our best articles, reports…for free, our audience will be willing to pay for our products. I always try to remind myself of this fact. I love the quote you mentioned Steve. It is one of the best quotes I have ever read. Thanks for sharing

    • Sort of like the field of dreams and “if you build it they will come” “give it free and they will buy” It is all sort of circle of life. Do good things and they come back. I like that idea!

  9. Hi Steve
    Great headline and you are so right about giving your best for free. When I first started blogging a few months ago and I heard this advice from an experienced and very successful marketer I did baulk at the idea! How would I make money if I was giving it away for free??!! But the more I blog, visit other blogs and learn I am really getting it now.
    Building up trust and getting to know my readers and then when I do my product reviews they will know they can be sure of honest reviews and hopefully some will turn into loyal customers.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Yup, your ultimate goal should be help each other successful as best as you can and in return, they will also help you. There’s old saying like “Help other people is also a way to help ourselves” I guess that’s why people like volunteer activities so much.

      Steve, I am really thinking about several words that can describe blogging when I read your blog. Here’s what I came up: BRALS which is Blog – Report – Article marketing – List and Social media. I think they are all weapons of a successful blogger, right? 🙂

      • Mike,

        That is a great saying and really sums it up well. There certainly is something to be said for volunteering as giving back to the volunteer too. The more you give the more you shall recieve. Doing it TOO much in a spirit of, “I am giving so that I get back” is a little “off” karma-wise. But I think it still might hold true.

        BRALS: I like that. I think that hits on all the important things pretty damn well!

    • LOL I liked the headline myself. Thought it was attention grabbing. At one point I had my “cut” a lot deeper, giving the first two paragraphs for “description” but the more I thought about it I liked the idea of the suspense.

      Yes, trust is a valuable commodity. This is the reason that it is wise to be careful with what you endorse. Something could “seem” good to you. You give it an endorsement, someone buys on your recommendation and then feels burned, it is you that suffers, you likely lost a customer for life.

      The more free stuff you give and quality recommendations you give the more you become associated with quality, the easier it is to sell.

      It is like the difference between a sleazy car dealer and a Saturn dealership. I bought a Saturn about 10 years ago. They were so good about customer service and proactive with trying to “help” I almost felt uneasy. It was almost cult like. But they built their brand back then on having fabulous customer service that went the extra mile, basically giving away a lot of free stuff others charge for.

  10. Scott,

    Bloggers sometimes forget that it’s their “obligation” to provide value to their readers. Giving away valuable product for free creates the channel one needs for a successful product launch. I am learning a lot from these posts! And can’t wait for the new free offering!

    • hehe, the next “packaged up” product will probably be one I “will” throw a price tag on. But there will be a another good 12-16 part series coming out before that, for sure. And as far as I am concerned from here to the end of time every Wed. will be part of whatever long, ongoing, series I am working on.

      The only thing I have to do is make sure I get a more interesting title than “Info income” for the next one. Not sure how well that title described the material.

      Thanks for the comments Marlon and have a wonderful weekend!!

  11. Giving has always been the blogger’s idea of making money online. We all knows that what goes around will always come around. However, your giving should well planned as to allow you achieve the benefits. It’s not enough to just give away for free you content without having a way of monetizing it. Have a plan ahead and work towards achieving your plan!

    • Absolutely true. As I mentioned in the comments above, I am in the “Idea Collection” stage for a future ebook. I will be giving away a decent amount of content between now and its release, but a lot of that is to try to set up for what will hopefully be a killer release for a useful product. At least something that I hope I will make really useful.

      You make some excellent points on planning Chadrack. It is trite, but I have always believed the old saying , “failing to plan is planning to fail”

      Thanks for some great comments and I appreciate them! Have a wonderful weekend!!!

  12. Hey Steve,

    I believe that you should also give away free and also excellent content. There is no point in talking about something that you are not going to deliver on.

    I also enjoyed the quote. It’s true if you help other get what they want then you will be able to get what you want.

  13. Great challenge Steve 🙂

    We should all strive to provide only the best, but we all have our good days and bad days, that can be said for our posts. but when we create something like a report or an eBook we really have to give our best and provide value, after all, from 100 reports I read, 99 of them were filled with fluff, so I don’t feel like I have any competition when I actually provide something of value. Or how Murray said, something that can be replicated, a step by step method to achieve something without talking too much and going in great lengths to say something that can be said in a few sentences!

  14. Hi Scott,

    I so like the quote you included by Zig Ziglar. I find that when I give my all and best from the heart, I get more than I could have ever imagined. So Zig is right on!

    I’m working on a few things to offer and want I intend for it to be remarkable.

    Take care and have a great weekend,


  15. The challenge is on Steve and i really like what murlu had said in one of your previous post often time we say report but with no substance we need something that we can follow step by step and guess what steve you are already doing that keep up the great work its good to see a blogger who still pays close attention to his commenter

  16. Hey Steve,

    What a great post! You really hit the nail on the head with giving away great free content.

    Like you mentioned, I put everything I can into each post I put up. Obviously some will be better than others, but it’s not from a lack of effort. I really do try to “wow” people every time I put something up.

    I’m still very new to the blogging gig, having only been at it about 5 months. I don’t have a paid product that I’ve created yet, but it will come in time. Like everybody else, I try to monetize my blog through other means, but it’s definitely a learning process just like anything else.

    I love the Zig Ziglar quote. I’ve used it myself a couple of times. I’m actually reading his book Born To Win now, and will be doing a review of it when I’m done. Just like anything else he’s put out, it’s a quality product that can be life-changing if people will simply apply the principles.

    Anyways, thanks for the great post. I hope you have a great end of the week and weekend, brother!!


    • Thanks for a great comment Barry!

      I think it is important for those “wow” factor posts. Everyone won’t be a homerun, but when you can really be complete and talk about everything on a subject, it is impressive. It always annoys me to hear about the “perfect” article being 400 words and not saying very much. It may be true for “google” standards, but in the long run you need to impress “people”

      I hope you also have a wonderful weekend!


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