You are undoubtedly familiar with the sales cycle, and it’s normal for some customers to take time before deciding to buy. What do you do in the meantime? You do the following:

  • Continue to be helpful to your customers by offering exemplary customer service.
  • Establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
  • Build an audience by providing prospective customers with free content they can use.

Why Would You Provide Free Content?

Why would you want to give anything away? Usually, that strategy flies in the face of what you have been taught to run a successful business.

In this case, we’re talking about giving away content that your current and prospective customers can use. They will find it helpful and remember the company that provides valuable, free content when they are ready to make a buying decision.

How to Build an Audience Through Sharing Content Strategically

Your team can provide free content to your audience in many forms. Consider these options to develop a following, win loyalty, and gain a long-term customer base.

1. Offer a free report.

Offer a free report to those who sign up for your mailing list. It should be on a timely topic that prospective customers will find interesting. The three to five page report is something that readers can easily digest.

2. Write blog posts.

Ideally, a blog post should be more conversational than an article. Picture chatting in comfortable chairs with a few friends beside a roaring fire. They’ve asked you a question about a problem they are having. What tone would you use when responding to them?

Company blog posts should be warm but professional. You want to avoid using jargon or any language that is inflammatory or offensive. The goal is to bring readers in, not drive them away.

Consider that if online users like your posts, they will share them with others. If enough internet users “Like” your posts, there is a chance your free content will go viral.

Always include “Like” and “Share” buttons on your blog posts and invite your readers to use them.

3. Reply to comments on your blog posts.

Don’t ignore comments on your blog post. Always respond to them; this is an excellent way to start an online discussion.

Not everyone will agree with your blog content, and even the naysayers can comment on what you post. Always start by thanking them for their thoughtful comment; then respond respectfully.

4. Speak at local business group meetings.

Local business groups are always looking for speakers to appear at their meetings. Contact the small business association in your city (and nearby cities) and the local chamber of commerce to volunteer your services.

Before reaching out, think carefully about the topics you (or one of your executives) could discuss and why they would interest local business owners. Ask how long the business group would like the presentation to be for its members. Bring plenty of business cards to hand out to the business group members. Ask whether you can bring brochures for group members if they wish to have more information about your company.

5. Offer to do radio and television spots on local stations.

Local radio and television stations may seek content that their listeners and viewers will find interesting. Contact producers at local stations and offer to provide some on-air content. You will likely score some points if you have a specific topic ready.

If the listeners or viewers like what they hear or see, you can turn a casual experience into a regular gig. The key is to be approachable.