The Economics of Free Content

People on the internet are used to getting content for free. Thousands of people consume blogs, podcasts, and newsletters without any cost to them. But it does cost someone, usually the person who is creating the content, whether that is a company or an individual.

There are many costs in producing an episode of The Unmistakable Creative: the tools we use to record our episodes, the artist who designs the album cover, our audio editor, and the hosting provider. That’s on top of the time it takes to find amazing guests. Of course, we care deeply about providing something of tremendous value for our listeners. We also pay a proofreader to go through every article and set it up on Wordpress.

The Unmistakable Creative and thousands of other creators do all of this for free because we believe in what we are creating. But we’re also running businesses, not charities.

The other day I got an angry email from someone on our list:

You promised to send us the link to your swipe file. This link has not been sent. Instead, I keep getting interrupted while reading your content to save 80% and sign up for a class you’re offering. Bottom line, you don’t get it. Interrupting like this is a total turn-off. I have heard the same feedback from my mastermind group of 16 likeminded people.

So there you have it; 16 potential fans that are now out spreading news about you and Unmistakable Creative — but the news is negative. Bait and switch. The power and speed of negative news/personal experiences with a brand/company have 3x that of a positive experience. Do the math. You are missing a HUGE opportunity. Until this changes, I’ll be telling everyone that listens how disappointing this experience has been. “

First, the file he’s referencing is mentioned with a link in the very first email our subscribers receive. But more importantly, I want to address the question of promoting products.

Our products are mentioned at the bottom of our newsletter. But every week we produce two podcasts and multiple articles that you don’t have to pay a dime for. We’ve done that for close to a decade. So yes we unapologetically promote things that are for sale. The people who buy our courses and support our sponsors make it possible for everybody else to consume the content for free. This isn’t isolated to The Unmistakable Creative. It’s true of every single blogger, podcaster, Youtuber. If you’re going to bitch about somebody selling things on their email list, feel free to send rent, food, and utility to money to every person’s content you consume at no cost.

As far as this Mastermind group of 16 people go, if you’re reading this and in that group this reader referenced, I encourage you to consider something. As I understand it, the purpose of a mastermind group is to help each other become better, not try to bring someone else down. If you do the latter, it seems you’re not only wasting each others time but more importantly the real value you could gain from each other. What you put out into the world is what comes back to you.