Yes it will.
However, problems arise when you are attached to when, or from which group of people, the clients must appear.
A reader posted this comment on my Facebook page:
“Just unsubscribed from a group which I had been a member for only 3 months. She was sharing free content, and did a couple of Facebook live videos. A few days ago she posted that people are taking advantage, not hiring her as a coach after consuming her content. Literally she said ‘If you don’t want to move forward, just leave.' So I left, because I sensed anger and lack. And as a mindset coach, I thought she had some work to do on herself.”
First, I have to say that I can relate to this coach. I’ve been there too — thinking that just because I’ve shared a lot of free content with my audience, that they’re supposed to buy from me. When they didn’t, I experienced some level of inner suffering, depression, cynicism.
In other words:
Resentment builds when we pretend to be generous — with an ulterior motive of expecting our audience to buy.
Through difficult experiences, I’ve shifted my perspective. Perhaps by sharing these lessons I might save you some pain, and support you along the road to true success.
I now advocate for creating content as a service to others, and as an exploration of your own calling and voice.
Not: “If I create X content, I should expect Y return.”
It is true that in the long-term, you will get enormous benefit by being generous and service-oriented… however it’s not realistic to expect what the exact return will be.
This has been wisely said by various spiritual teachers that “Expectations ruin relationships.”
Expectations which result in an entitlement attitude will ruin relationships.
If you look at your content marketing as building a relationship with your audience — a wise perspective — then if you feel entitled to having your audience buy (“since I’ve given so much already”) your actions will move into resentment or manipulation, and erode the very relationship you hoped to build.
Always remember: we are not entitled to anything, not to our audience’s attention, let alone their purchases.
The Great Purpose of Creating Free Content
If you create "free" content with the purpose of getting a certain number of sales, you will be tempted to manipulate your audience. This creates suffering on all sides: your audience senses your ulterior motives, and your conscience will bother you with an integrity problem.
The purpose of creating free content — a purpose you can feel great about embodying — is to to clarify your own message and to gather and serve an audience of kindred spirits.
There is no "end" to that purpose. In my experience of coaching hundreds of content creators, it is not possible to one day "finally" have finished clarifying one’s message.
It is an ever ongoing journey of deepening clarity, resonance, and precision.
Similarly you can never “finally” build an audience — your audience will be ever evolving, as more kindred spirits find you... and as you your message evolves.
…then how do we create content and make sales?
Back to that resentful coach (with whom I can empathize because I’ve been there!) mentioned at the start of this article, my advice is this:
Remember, your audience isn’t there for you to manipulate sales out of. You are blessed to have an audience, no matter how small at the moment.
By following the steps above, you’ll grow your audience over time, and deepen your relationship with them. Eventually, you’ll have plenty of grateful clients and customers as well.
Just don’t be fixated on an exact time it “should” happen.
Keep returning to a focus on creating consistent content, from an attitude of service, curiosity, and gratitude.
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George Kao is a Marketing Coach for Counselors, Coaches, Speakers, and Authors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
This blog only contains some of George's best writings. To see all of his recent writings, visit his Medium.com profile.
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