Why I Give Away My Knowledge for Free -- and How That Helps Me Drive Sales

Sharing what he knows, this contributor has found, helps people connect with him, making them more likely to become paying customers.

learn more about Sujan Patel

By Sujan Patel


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

By any conceivable measure, the performance of my YouTube channel is abysmal. My videos average 700 to1,000 views. Even my best videos get only 20,000 to 30,000 views, on average -- for a grand total of around 100,000 views to date.

Related: Giving Away Your Content and Marketing to Gain Customers

So, no, you're never going to find me on a list of top-paid YouTube stars. But I don't care. Those humble stats I've chalked up earned my agency more than $100,000 in revenue last year! All because I know how to drive sales by giving away knowledge for free.

Why I share everything I know

If you get an email from me, you'll see the following line in my signature (along with links to my YouTube channel and blog): "I share everything I know."

A lot of people don't get why I do this. They ask, "If you give away everything you know, won't people stop paying you?" I understand their concern: It's natural to assume that, if you tell people how to do something, they're going to go off and do it on their own. They won't need you.

But I've found that that's rarely the case. As an example, one of my best-performing videos showed me sitting down and sharing my exact marketing strategy for 2017. I went into a huge amount of detail, covering exactly what I planned to do, what funnels I intended to lean into and which tactics I would be able to engage because of work I'd previously done (unlike someone starting a new company).

The wealth of information I delivered there was everything people would have needed to run their own campaign -- but in fact they weren't watching to fuel their own DIY marketing campaigns. They were watching to validate me. They wanted to know if I walk the walk and practice what I preach.

Ultimately, what I've found is that sharing everything I know -- especially through visual media like videos, webinars and talks at conferences -- helps people connect with me. And when they connect with me, they're more likely to become paying customers down the road.

How to do it yourself

Standing out by giving away information isn't as easy as it sounds. If you've spent any time at all online lately, you know that the web is already packed full of "educational" content.

Success, for this reason, comes down to two factors: finding your angle and combining transparency with usefulness.

Related: How the Founder of Zola Grew Her Bottom Line by Giving Away Free Products

Find your angle. Early on, I noticed that most people address their topics in one of two ways. They either go super high-level or else really complex.

And it's not that there's anything wrong with those approaches, but I realized early on that I could differentiate myself by keeping things simple and actionable. My goal is to make content that my mom would understand, by breaking down processes and strategies into the simplest, most actionable steps possible.

Maybe there's room in your field for someone doing the same thing. Or maybe your industry needs a high-level thinker or complex tactician. Regardless of which approach you choose, start by finding your angle and being unique. That's how you register with people in a crowded market.

Be transparent and useful. Author Christopher Penn describes the importance of transparency as follows: "Trust is the foundation of a relationship. The more trust we have, the better our businesses function."

But all transparency isn't created equal. It isn't enough on its own. You have to be transparent about the things people care about and the questions they're asking.

Over time, I've come up with my own process for validating demand for areas of transparency. On average, I get about 50 to 100 emails a week from people asking me questions. They may not have the budget to hire me, but whenever I get two or more people asking the same question, I make a note of it. Then, when I film a new batch of videos (I usually do five to seven at the start of each month), I can pull from my list to ensure that the content I'm creating is something people want to learn.

That's how I came up with the idea for my successful marketing plan video -- and it's how I recommend you get started, as well. Pair validated demand with a unique angle, and you'll have a winning combination for driving revenue, by giving information away for free.

Related: This Bakery Owner Refused to Give Away Freebies. She's Wrong.

What are you doing to educate your audience? Share tips or tricks based on your experiences by leaving me a note below:

Sujan Patel

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits

In his 14-plus years as a marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel has helped hundreds of companies boost online traffic and sales and strengthen their online brand reputation. Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits and Mailshake.

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