PUBLISHED: October 30, 2017
When actor and rapper Donald Glover released his most recent album—“Awaken, My Love!”—late in 2016, he debuted at #5 on the charts with an impressive 101,000 units sold. However, when he first entered the music scene in 2010, the now Emmy Award winner was releasing free mixtapes online. Glover was building a brand. He knew he couldn’t experiment with a new genre and simultaneously focus on revenue. Free downloads translated into an enthusiastic fan base… the same fan base that is now anxiously awaiting his next album.
Free content is not an original concept. YouTube hosts billions of free videos. Podcasts can be streamed free. Music can be streamed free. Amazon even maintains a “Top 100 Free Kindle eBooks” list on its website.
The question that always arises is: Does free content pay off?
The answer: Yes. It can.
Bestselling author and business guru Seth Godin shares much of his wisdom with the world via his blog, his email blasts, and his appearances. He scatters bite-sized chunks of bread for all the ducks to nibble on. In doing so, he has built a brand and a reputation. He’s now a trusted authority. So when you spot his new publication on the shelf for $14.99, there’s no hesitation.
Free content can pay off—not will pay off—because there are some important caveats:
Free content can sometimes feel like the solution to all our problems. “If I make it free, everyone will download it, and they’ll instantly recognize the genius, and then I’m golden.” Unfortunately, in a world teeming with content, it just doesn’t work that way. Instead, think of your free content as a way to lure in new consumers and eventually create brand loyalists. “Free” is not the solution—but it is a good start.
Published online at Community Newspapers.
About Brand Poets
Founded by Tana M. Llinas, Brand Poets is a collective of strategists, storytellers, and digital artisans crafting smart, poignant campaigns that command attention.