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If you are a writer as well as a content marketer (which we all probably should be), you regularly walk the line between being a trusted, valuable resource your audience relies on to deliver insight, and being seen as a huckster who publishes content but leaves all the good info out so you can sell it later on (hate when I get duped like that). If you focus more on monetizing content than providing value to your audience, you do so to your own detriment.
Ditch the Silver, Share the Gold, Sell the Platinum
As an expert, it is your job to have a wealth of knowledge in your chosen field. And that expertise is valuable. But you don’t have to monetize every last bit of it. Why would you? You should know enough to be able to separate the silver from the gold from the platinum.
No real expert spends time peddling silver to hungry readers. Silver is the run-of-the-mill information you can perceive using your common sense or by conducting a quick Google search and reading the first eHow article that pops up. That’s not expertise.
As an expert, you want to be able to offer something a bit more substantive. That way you can freely share with your audience the gold nuggets of wisdom you have acquired from working in your business. That’s the sort of information that goes on your website or shows up in guest posts. It’s great information. The kind of info that really helps people get things done.
Then there’s the platinum-level information. That’s the premium content – the master’s secrets – you save for your paying customers. Gold and platinum. If you can’t generate enough insight to separate your gold from your platinum information, you don’t know enough about your topic and you need to become the expert you claim to be.
How to figure out which is which
Here’s a great rule I learned by reading one of Bob Bly’s ebooks: Focus on providing your readers with a perpetual list of ideas and insights that fall into the what-to-do category. Tell them what to do: Do this if you want to increase conversions on your site. Do this if you want to boost your MLM income. Do this to get a shot at writing for a national print magazine. Your blog should be full of what-to-do information and pepper with a few great how-to-do-it freebies.
When you are monetizing content for your premium audiences, focus on delivering insights into how to do everything you have told them to do. If you have told them on your site to write a pitch in order to increase their chances of writing for a national magazine, your premium level content should include a step-by-step chronicle of exactly how to write a pitch, what to say in the pitch, and provide sample pitches that have worked for you and your colleagues in the past. Tell them how to contact the magazines, provide a list of magazines and links to their contact pages, and even the email addresses of a handful of editors.
The “what” and the “how” make the difference between giving gold- and platinum-level information.
Create a quarterly content plan for both your gold and platinum level audience and get to work researching and shaping your content. After that, there’s nothing left to do but execute your plans.
And collect residual income.