Who would pay for it?
That is, there's not a lot you can't find online when it comes to information. If I want to know how to be a better web designer for example, and learn how to do something specific when it comes to web programming it's easy to find what I need online.
Although to be honest I'd rather be Glen Beck on "The View" than try to learn all that web stuff...aren't there any easy shortcuts for slow guys like me? (Although I love Whoopi. I mean come on, Guinan was so cool. Not that I still watch Star Trek reruns every night...as much.)
Whether online videos, or tutorial sites, the internet has it all...and a lot for free.
And yet "newbies" will ask, "Why would anyone buy information when it's free on the internet in a gazillion places? Especially from me? I don't know anything of value..."
I used to relate. Completely. But I've recently done some thinking about this - especially because I just had an epiphany when I made a recent purchase. (I love that word. Doesn't it sound like I just composed a score? "This is my crowning achievement. I shall now direct for you Epiphany #24 in D.")
But it just recently really hit home for me why information will always sell.
So let's be clear for those of you that feel you have nothing to offer, and nothing to offer to sell because you feel like you can't compete with free, or even paid competition.
It's nonsense. The proof? Agree with it, disagree, like it, hate it, can't understand it...it doesn't matter. Information sells every day, all day long. That's obvious.
The better question is "why" information sells. So let's take an example that no one ever uses when talking about marketing online: Dog training.
Here's an example I'm more familiar with: Infants and knowing when to put them into their crib for the first time, and how to make it the first few weeks without having your heart break or going insane. (If you're a parent, I'm sure you just nodded your head. If not, bear with me, or go watch 24 hours straight of "American Idol" to get a quick taste of no sleep and some crying babies.)
I know that I can look online and find most, if not all the answers I need for free. There is a wealth of information on infant care or anything else for that matter. Why would I pay for it? There's no need right?
Let's start with the not-so-obvious. Even with all the information and different theories about co-sleeping with parents, the right age to introduce a baby to their crib, and how to deal with the heartbreaking separation anxiety I don't know which is most "accurate" with just a cursory search.
I don't know what information is most trustworthy.
Now if I come to a professional looking site that offers great free information and it "resonates" with me, well that might be enough. But here's the deal. Knowing that the information is free, I kind of feel like it's worth...well, whatever something free is worth.
And that's not necessarily bad at all. I don't want to get ahead of myself but even if I get the same information in a paid product, I value it more.
So maybe you're thinking, "I want to start this blog, but there are so many people doing it already, and no one would ever pay me for what I know. Why would they?"
When I'm looking for answers about the crib thing, (do I let my child cry? For how long? Is it ok to go in, take her out and rock her, and then put her back in? That kind of stuff...) I can see that there are not too many different schools of thought. You start to see a lot of the same answers.
So I've got a few good answers and feel fairly confident. I can make sense of it. But something's still missing.
How do I know for sure?
How do I know I'm doing it right? Hey, I'm not an expert and this is important. I want to know without a doubt what the right path is. And I'm afraid to completely commit. After all, I'm fallible. It's still new to me and I waver a bit. Yes, I've got "expert information," ...but do I really?
See I'm not really buying information, I'm buying you.
When I find a site I can trust, I know I'm getting an authority. And that's powerful, because an authority can confirm or deny what I can't - the reasoning behind the different methods and theories about babies and cribs and sleeping.
Sure, other places and sites may tell me those same reasons, but if I don't trust or know them, I still won't make the right use of that information. I want to believe an expert and it doesn't matter if most of the information can be found elsewhere.
Why? Because the authority has put their seal of approval on "this" information. I'm buying them. It's because of who they are that I trust the information. So even if I've seen it before, now I know what to go with.
Remember, I wasn't looking for an answer I that I liked or was previously committed to, I was looking for someone to believe in. And then I bought their product because I believed in them. I believed their authority and that they could specifically understand and help me.
Of course, there are other factors that help as well.
If I spend a decent amount on something, I value it more and use it more too. Paying good money (that will depend on the market) makes me more committed to the information, and more committed to you, and more committed to using what I paid for.
(I don't always trust products that are priced "cheap" - why would you sell your expertise for so little? Don't you value what you know? You can and should charge more - price has way more elasticity than you'd think. And I'll place the same value on your product that you do.)
So now I've paid for a product that gives me what I want. And that's confidence.
Confidence in knowing that I can relax because I've done the right thing. I've gotten the best information I could because you know what you're talking about and I've paid for it.
Of course if you're not an authority than at least you've saved me the trouble of having to search the internet all day because you've done the work for me and gotten it all together in one spot right? You can do at least that.
But you are an authority. You know things that others don't. And if you're marketing is done right, others will pay you handsomely for the privilege to learn what you know.
Because it's also "why" you know. You're the expert and you can tell them what works. This takes the decisions out of their hands, and that's why they'll feel great about paying you for your product.
So, don't be shy. Please, write that book or record that mp3. Just don't worry about how much is already out there. There are way too many people looking for answers not to get your "slice of the pie".
And I'd like to learn what you know. But it's up to you.