Why Giving Content Away for Free Sells

Posted By Joe Pulizzi on January 26, 2009

Just read this post by David Meerman Scott and his interview with Ryan Gielen, executive producer of the award-winning comedy, The Graduates.

The story here is that part of the marketing strategy for releasing "The Graduates" was periodically giving away songs from the soundtrack for free, including those from artists like The Mad Tea Party and Sonia Montez.

In the article, Mr. Gielen goes on to say that "Marc Cuban wrote a great column on why studios should give away their soundtrack to every audience member, and advertise that as part of the ticket price. I forwarded it to my producers, even printed it out and put it on my wall, it's still there..."

Read the entire Meerman Scott article, it's worth it...but the strategy can be summed up in this quote:

"The film comes out in May, and we'll launch by giving away the first 20-25 minutes, free. But for now, we can only release the soundtrack. So we felt it made sense to give away half the soundtrack leading up to the release to build loyalty, show off the product, and compensate for a zero-dollar marketing budget, all in one fell swoop.

And when the film does well, everyone including the bands will make more than enough money to ease the pain of giving songs and 25 minutes of film away."

Free now, pay later.

Giving Away Content is Like Aspirin

Have you thought about giving away your expert content to drive interest in your products and services?

In the February 2nd issue of Fortune, Netflix founder Reed Hastings discusses the importance of targeting a specific niche. "When there's an ache, you want to be like aspirin, not vitamins. Aspirin solves a very particular problem."

That's exactly what your information, your content, your entertainment can do for your audience. It can solve a problem, and lead to you being the trusted solutions provider, or they are so intrigued by the content you gave away, they want more and more and more.

Be the Aspirin.

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