Do you lock your doors? I do, without fail. But my website is wide open for anyone that wants to help themselves. Why put yourself in a position where people could steal your stuff? Sue Waters tackled the problem in a post at The Edublogger . “How do you feel when someone copies and pastes your post?” addresses the problem of people taking your work for their own benefit. It got me thinking. Why do I lock my doors but not my content? Because giving stuff away on my website is a strategy I use to improve my bottom line. Here are eight ways free content leads to improved revenue. 1) It establishes your authority – You website, along with the online content, demonstrates your expertise in a specific area. Write a white paper, publish an eBook or make a thoughtful blog post and your readers will gobble up your content and tell other people about you, too. 2) It proves your ability to produce quality work – The content on your website is an excellent way to reference yourself. A sound content strategy impresses your readers and proves your capabilities. 3) It helps you build a database of prospects feeding into your CRM – Every time you give something away, say a Case Study or a podcast, ask for details from the requestor to help build your marketing database. It’s better not to ask for too much information but even a name and an email address are valuable. 4) It allows you to educate your market – The Internet if full of hype and misinformation. Your website is an opportunity to impart wisdom and provide a value-added service at the same time. Why do you think there are so many free webinars available lately? 5) Done correctly, it obliterates your competition – As you educate your visitors, doesn’t it make sense to include as much positioning information as possible for your product and/or service? 6) Your website gets more traffic – It doesn’t take a lot of figure out free stuff generates more traffic than sites asking for a payment of some type. 7) It confirms you’re an original thinker – Everyone wants to be associated with the best minds and the most creative people. Mitch Joel addresses this issue in his post “Sharing, Stealing and Other Nefarious Acts” saying truly original people can’t copied. “In fact, in this day and age, because of the sheer blunt trauma of content publishing, it’s the really great ideas (and the people who present them) that rise to the top.” 8) It allows you to charge higher rates for your services – In a blog post titled “Price Points”, Chris Brogan addresses the minor uproar caused when he announced his daily rate was $22,000. How did he get to that rate? By giving a lot of great material away on his website. “You get [chrisbrogan.com] for free every day. I write posts every day. There are YEARS of ideas in here you can use to make money. Other people do. All the damned time. Other people even wrap my stuff into their courses that THEY charge for. (As long as we’ve agreed to this, hey, I’m happy to help where I can.) But you don’t HAVE to pay to read.” Consider your content strategy. While you can make money selling different bits and pieces, is it going to be worth more than the goodwill you can accumulate by charging nothing? How about it, do you lock the doors to your content? <h2><a title=”VOTE here” href=”http://www.bizsugar.com/sugartone/are-you-smarter-than-a-4-year-old-%7C-management/” target=”_self”>VOTE for this post HERE and win great prizes!</a></h2> <strong><strong><strong>This post is part of the <a title=”SugarTone blogging contest” href=”https://tweakyourbiz.com/announcements/2010/03/08/sugartone-sweet-business-blogging-contest/” target=”_self”>SugarTone: Sweet Business Blogging Contest</a>. </strong></strong></strong> VOTE for this post HERE and win great prizes! This post is part of the SugarTone: Sweet Business Blogging Contest.