It can seem counterintuitive: why would you want to tell visitors to your page how to fix a problem without your help? But, content that helps prospects help themselves is among the most valuable inbound marketing content you can post. A few reasons why:
The Linkerati Love It
People like to share links to helpful posts. It reflects well on them and makes life a little easier for the people they associate with. If you give good information, the chances that your post will be shared on Twitter, on Facebook walls, in emails and elsewhere goes up substantially. Eventually, that post will reach someone who can use your professional services. And, when that happens, you get the added social proof of the referral coming from a friend.
Think, for instance, of a cloud and SaaS company: how many “guides to cloud computing” or “best cloud utility” posts do you see shared by colleagues? These posts create value for readers who gain knowledge and they gain traffic and authority for those who create them. When you freely share your knowledge, it fosters a mutually beneficial and supportive environment that builds your reputation for quality.
It Sets the Stage for Next Time
If there is a way that your potential clients can solve a problem themselves, they’ll find it. By being the one to supply the answer, you gain their respect and nurture warm associations. And, not every issue they will face is one that they’ll want to tackle on their own. For instance, an online marketing professional may just need a few tips on optimizing pay-per-click campaigns but have no idea how to design an infographic. After earning their trust by providing solid answers, you increase the chances that they will come to you when they decide it’s time to bring in a professional.
They May Opt for Your Services Anyway
When your visitor looks at what is involved in solving her problem, she may decide that she doesn’t have the time, resources or skills to do it on her own. Wise professionals know that they can’t, and shouldn’t, do everything themselves. Delegating tasks outside a business’s core functions saves resources. Often, what will take you minutes will take someone without experience in your field valuable hours that could be better spent on something else. Your tutorial shows that you have the expertise to get the job done right. The information you give away could be exactly what is needed to close the sale.
When you are generous with your knowledge and expertise, you reap benefits while helping those around you. It’s a satisfying way to operate and, over time, can substantially contribute to your success.