Free is A Very Good Price

Okay, so you probably have to live in Portland and be old for that title to resonate with you.  But for many years, Tom Peterson, a local retailer who sold appliances, furniture and home electronics, used that slogan for his TV ads. It made him into a famous local personality. (And I have kindly provided a clip featuring Tom and his iconic flat-top haircut below.)

Back in Tom’s day (he died last year), offering free things was somewhat revolutionary. Now it is standard marketing procedure. We can get free coaching, free reports, free books, free everything.  Free, it seems, is indeed a very good price.

But is it, really?

How much do we actually value the things we get for free? If you get something for free, do you treasure it, care for it, nurture it or respect it as much as the things you’ve paid money for? I know that I am sometimes guilty of, say, downloading a promising free report and then totally ignoring it. Or discounting the advice I get from a free coaching call. I don’t do this purposefully, but it’s as if there’s a subtle voice whispering to me that what I’ve gotten isn’t that great, because, you know, it was free.

And yet, as writers and as marketers (and make no doubt about it, in this time we live in all writers are marketers), we are told to share good content. Give stuff away for free to entice people to read our books, buy our products, sign up for our classes.  But sometimes it can feel a bit…forced.

Of course, I’ve been sharing free information on this blog for coming up on ten years now.  (Ten years. Amazing, right?)  And I’ve loved it.  With a slight reframe, I can go from icky marketing gimmick to me sharing with you. Being of service. Reaching out to share content. Creating community.

Blogging is changing.  I can’t quite put my fingers on all of the changes, but there’s not as much traffic here, not as much commenting. Part of that is me–last year I was distracted and blogged sporadically, if at all.  But part of the reason for that was because suddenly blogging felt different.  We create communities and share more through social media now.  Whereas blogging used to feel vibrant and authentic and fun, it was starting to feel forced.  I’m climbing out of that hole now, so don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.  For now, I’m committed to at least one blog post a week. I hope to up that number soon.

But, one of the things I’m loving most is writing my weekly love letters.  These are reflections on what I’m thinking about, struggling with and working on, all writing related, of course.  They are a bit more intimate in tone than what I write here. And after years of writing a newsletter that often felt a bit awkward, I’ve finally hit on a tone and format that feels authentic to me.

To that end, I’m going to be offering freebies to my newsletter list throughout the year. I want to coddle and nurture my list and offer fun free things that will be of value to you. That will help you write, that will help you get your brain in the right place to write, that will inspire you. Freebies that you won’t toss away just because they are free. The first one, sometime in February, is going to be about one of my favorite topics–writing fast.  So if you’re used to reading my stellar words here on the blog, and want a regular dose in your inbox, sign up.  You’ll see the form to the right, and you’ll also receive my handy little Ebook on creating a vision board for your book.

And, MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL is that at the moment I’m doing a lot of free connection calls. These are short and full, 15 minutes in which I get to hear from you–about your triumphs, your struggles, your writing.  I love talking to my readers, so please do sign up. If you go here, you’ll get right to my calendar.  Let’s talk soon. And, in the meantime, go write. Okay?

Oh yeah, here’s that video:

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2 Comments on "Free is A Very Good Price"

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Don
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Don
Interesting article Charlotte. Yes, blogging is certainly in a state of change. It’s getting harder to attract new readers and comments because, for one, Google has changed its ranking system. A lot of sites, including my nephews website has taken a big hit. His site, Techgage.com, used to be in the top 100,000 sites worldwide. He’s dropped by more than halve since Google changed their metrics. The video reminds me of Super Bob’s that were located in New England and here in Saint John. As far as free goes the truth is there really is nothing free in life. Someone,… Read more »
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