I want to start by saying that it’s not enough to randomly put out free content – you need to be strategic about it. For example, posting a free yoga video every other week and not doing anything else is not going to do anything for you and is not what I would recommend.
So, let’s get clear on what free and paid content is, and the differences between them.
As the name implies, free content is free for your audience – they don’t pay for it. It could be a blog post, a podcast episode, an Instagram caption, etc. Free content gives your audience a taste of how you teach and what it’s like to work with you.
Paid content is content that your audience has to pay for. This can be yoga classes, a recording, an online course, an eBook, etc. This is your paid content, and both free and paid content has a place in your business.
In this post, we’re going to focus on your free content specifically. The goal of sharing free content is to grow your audience and to build trust and a connection, so they become paying customers. Sharing free content only makes sense when you have paid offers that your free content leads to – otherwise, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby.
What Free Content You Should Share
The first thing I want to address is whether or not you should create free yoga videos. There are people who say that you shouldn’t teach yoga for free and that you shouldn’t post any free yoga videos – other people say that all yoga should be free.
Let’s all agree that only offering yoga for free doesn’t make sense in the society we’re living in – you need to make a living and get paid for what you do. Also, in the society we live in, people often value paid things more than free things.
So, what about people who say you shouldn’t share yoga for free at all? I can understand where they are coming from but I believe that ship has sailed. There are thousands of yoga videos for free on YouTube and you’ll find free advice all over the internet.
Worrying or getting angry about this is only going to stress you out and not help you grow, and I actually don’t think it’s a bad thing. I believe the more health and wellness-related content out there, the better for the planet! If people who would never have stepped into a yoga studio try out a yoga video at home and it makes them feel better, that’s amazing! That’s what we want!
Sharing free videos is a valid strategy. There are yoga teachers that became insanely successful by sharing great quality yoga videos for free, and they used this to build a large following, like Allie from the Journey Junkie.
You may be thinking, “But if I give away free yoga videos, why would anyone want to pay for my classes?” The only solution for that thought is getting real with your mindset around giving away free content. I have never felt like I’ve lost sales because of my free content.
I’ve created a ton of free content over the years, and yet every year, my business has grown and generated more sales. You might have bits and pieces of your free content out in the world, and some people will only consume your free content and never buy anything you offer. This is FINE! They probably never get the results your paying students get. Or they might buy something from you years later, who knows.
Other people will pay for your classes or membership after they consumed your free content because through your free content they got to know you, they like practicing with you, and they trust you. This is where your free content will help turn them into paying customers.
I share a lot of knowledge and tips here in my blog posts and on my free podcast. And you can learn a lot just from these episodes and posts. When you decide to buy one of my paid offers, of course, you get much more.
Different Types Of Free Content
You might have heard that in your free content you should share what people should do, and in your paid content you explain/show how to actually execute or implement it. I think this approach doesn’t always make sense though, because you need to share some content where you give people the what so they get to know your teaching style.
I really think this formula overcomplicates things. I wouldn’t shy away from sharing how-to content, and I don’t. But I also wouldn’t give away everything for free. Be generous but keep something special that’s only available for your paying clients. Your free content can be some of your best content, after all, you want to make a great first impression, but not all of your best content.
3E Content Creation Model
Let me walk you through my 3E Content Creation Model that I teach inside the Blissful Biz Incubator, my premium group coaching program.
#1 Educational Content
This is what a lot of yoga teachers focus on – sharing yoga videos, tutorials, or guided meditations. It’s all educational, or how-to content. You definitely need this, you want to share educational content so people can get to know your teaching style, and what you do.
It could be yoga videos, tutorials, an IGTV video where you explain how to use essential oils, or a guided meditation that you offer every week in your Facebook group. You want to teach people something, give them a quick win, make their life better, share value!
#2 Emotional Content
This is content that helps you build a deeper connection with your audience. The best way to do this is by sharing stories, for example, your own story of how you discovered yoga or whatever you do and teach. You can talk about struggles you overcame or share stories from your students. This kind of content is how you build engagement and grow a fan base.
This is also how you can address limiting beliefs or objections your students have that might stop them from purchasing your paid offers. For example, someone who thinks that he or she is not flexible enough to do yoga might not be ready to do one of your free yoga videos, but when they hear about a transformation that one of your students went through, from not being able to reach their toes to feeling so much better in their body and like a new person, that’s something that can really turn them around, right? That’s what gets them on the mat.
#3 Engaging Content
This is content that you create or share to grow engagement and build a connection with your audience. For example, you can share personal bits and pieces, behind-the-scenes videos, questions, and polls where you ask your audience or live chats.
How To Implement Your 3E’s
A big mistake I see a lot is that people focus on educational content and miss out on emotional and engaging content. Creating educational content feels pretty safe. We know what we’re talking about, and in a way, we can hide behind our expertise, right?
Putting yourself out there and sharing a video where you talk into the camera and share your story and allow yourself to be vulnerable, that’s scary for most of us – which is what makes us shy away from that.
You might also think that the quality of your educational content should speak for itself because it’s so valuable – but that’s not how it works.
If you only share educational content, your audience might be happy with that and you might even grow a big following, but that doesn’t mean that those followers would ever purchase a paid product from you. They might be so happy with the free content that they don’t have a reason to pay. They don’t have a relationship with you, they don’t know anything about you, they don’t care – not what we want to achieve.
People buy from people they like. And to like someone, we have to get to know them, we have to learn to trust them. So you need to share content that helps build that trust and connection and not just yoga videos or tutorials.
You might be wondering how much content of each category you should share and my answer here is, it depends. I would try to share content from each category every week. It also depends on the platform. For example, you might share a free yoga video on YouTube – that’s educational.
You could then write a newsletter where you share the story of why and how you came up with that sequence, for example, you had back pain after moving house and so designed this sequence to help you, then you taught it to a friend and it helped them, and now you’re sharing it with your followers. That’s a story around this video that is emotional and that builds a connection.
Next, you might create a poll in an Instagram story where you ask people if they ever had back pain after moving house, or how often they moved house or something like that, and that’s engaging content.
Can you see how it all can work together?
To do this you need to get over your fear of being seen, and you need to get the courage to show up with your full self. Allow yourself to be seen, to be vulnerable.
When people tell me that they don’t like social media, very often it means that they don’t like sharing personal things. Having boundaries here is totally okay – you don’t need to share all your innermost secrets and everything that is going on 24 hours a day in your life.
Don’t compare yourself to people who are doing this – you don’t have to share everything. For example, you can decide that you don’t want to talk about your family on social media or share photos of your kids. If you don’t want to talk about your kids, maybe you talk about gardening instead, or when you want to keep it more related to your business, you talk about struggles you had to overcome related to what you teach.
The point is to help your audience learn more about you, your personality, and get to know you a little bit. The great thing is, the more you practice, the easier it will get. Going on camera in Instagram stories is a great way to start, or being a guest on a podcast where you share your story.
Be generous with your content, keep an abundance mindset, and know that there is more than enough to go around.