20 ways to offer incredible value in 2020
Ok, don’t judge but my inbox is out of control.
I’ve signed up for wayyy too many freebies over the years, and it’s reached the point where there are more bolded emails patiently sitting in my inbox than I know what to do with.
Every so often I open one or two with an interesting headline while I hunt down a lost Aus post tracking number, but mostly, there is just so.much.clutter.
If you’re looking to build trust and reciprocity online, nothing does it quite like free, valuable content. It can help you demonstrate your expertise and likeability, plus it’s a crucial element in building an engaged following and connecting you to potential customers.
But, there is such a ridiculous amount of content available these days that in order to stand out we’ve all gotta bring our A-game. It’s not enough to create another checklist or ebook and hope people come a flockin’.
Your audience (and ours) want high quality, VALUABLE content. And they’re not going to part with their email addresses, likes, money or attention unless we give it to them.
So, it’s time to stop creating content that is about as well received as the generic soap giftbox you got for Chrissy.
Instead, give your audience something they will really want. Something they will use and find helpful.
Here are 20 ideas you can swipe for high value content you can create yourself.
1. Swipe Files
What is it? Anything someone can copy and paste or use as an example to inspire their own version. This includes scripts or systems that outline what to write or say.
Why it’s valuable: This is a massive value add because the hard work is done for them, they just have to apply it to their own business.
Try it out: Create swipe files for email or phone scripts, headlines, hashtags or client-facing welcome packs and pricing guides.
2. Planners/Productivity Tools
What is it? This type of content helps people to stay organised and manage their time efficiently. It helps to break down time or tasks into manageable, bite-sized pieces.
Why it’s valuable: Anything that simplifies a complex task or helps you avoid distractions or time-wasting activities by staying on track is a winner for someone who has a lot on their plate.
Try it out: Create productivity tools like checklists, planners and calendars on a topic that’s relevant to your audience. For example, we have a website planner and branding checklist that both help our audience work out their requirements for their website or branding project.
What is it? If you’ve ever done a cosmo quiz to find out your dating style or an online quiz to uncover which Friends character or Harry Potter house you belong to, you’ll know how fun a quiz can be. This is the same idea, only in your niche. Your quiz involves a series of questions that helps your audience to understand their business or self better by classifying them into a category or group. It can also help you to understand your audience better and segment them based on their results.
Why it’s valuable: Quizzes have high entertainment value which makes them really popular, but a quiz also helps us to reaffirm our identity and belonging to a group.
What is it? This type of content allows your audience to work out the cost of something, count something numerical (e.g. calories, weight) or plan a budget based on a set of variables.
Why it’s valuable: A calculator can help to quickly predict costs, savings, progress or cashflow, giving peace of mind and confidence in decisions for the future.
Try it out: Create your own excel spreadsheet, or use something like Calconic or Outgrow to build your own calculator. Calculators can be used to help your audience build their own quotes, work out repayments, maintain their nutritional goals or find out how much they could earn or save.
5. Curated Lists
What is it? An easy to skim list of curated information (like this blog post)! The list could include ‘Best ofs’ or ‘Favourites’ of anything you like, including ideas, music, software, tools, podcasts, instagram accounts, people, events and anything else relevant to your audience.
Why it’s valuable: A curated list saves people time by bringing all the information they want to know into one central place.
Try it out: Curate a list in a blog post, video, audio recording or downloadable PDF. If you’re building your email list, make sure you request an email address in order to access it. Not a designer? Use a template like this one to streamline your PDF creation process.
6. Graphics & Images
What is it? Anything visual that can assist with a design, such as free icon packs, mockups, wallpapers, photos, layouts, textures, shapes or lines.
Why it’s valuable: Creating graphics from scratch can be a huge time-suck especially if you’re not a designer or photographer, and buying graphics can quickly add up. Sharing graphics can save your audience precious time and money.
Try it out: Offer a set of free images, textures or icons that could be used by your audience, create a template for IG stories or or create a design template that your audience can use to start a PDF layout. Use design software (like Adobe CC) if your audience is designers/photographers or Canva for those who aren’t familiar/don’t have access to the Adobe suite.
What is it? Anything that provides an outline or gives someone a head start in creating or writing something. The person using it should simply have to fill in the blanks or make simple updates to finalise it. It could be visual (like a design template) or written (like copywriting formulas).
Why it’s valuable: A good template can shave hours off a task and give your audience the starting point they need to take action on a task.
Try it out: Give your audience the head start they need to get momentum with a template. I’ve seen templates for advertising copy, websites, instagram content, copywriting formulas and printables (like grocery lists and calendars).
What is it? A challenge encourages your audience to take action on something to achieve a transformation alongside a group of other people over a set period of time. For example a 30 day detox challenge, or a 10 day instagram growth challenge. During the challenge, the participants will receive tips, tasks and/or motivation to help them get the results they want.
Why it’s valuable: A challenge taps into people’s desire to be a part of the group and because there is a set timeline to achieve results, your audience is more likely to take action now.
Try it out: Map out a short program that will get your customers the wins they want. Collect names and emails of people who are interested and drip content to them via email, video or in a facebook group.
9. Coupons & Rewards
What is it? A monetary discount or bonus/gift with purchase. These can reduce the risk of making a purchase and increase perceived value of a purchase. It can also encourage repeat purchasing.
Why it’s valuable: Who doesn’t love saving money or getting something for free!?
Try it out: Great for product based businesses, you can offer a discount or reward for signing up to your mailing list or simply for choosing your store.
10. Free or Discounted Trials
What is it? A way for customers to try out your software or service for a free or discounted price. The trial might be limited by time, or only give limited access to features or facilities. Or, it might only be available for new customers. Free or discounted trials are often used in gyms and fitness studios, as well as with SaaS products.
Why it’s valuable: It reduces the risk of doing business with you and offers customers a chance to test-drive your features or facilities before committing long-term.
Try it out: Create an irresistible discounted or free trial to show your customers how valuable your full service really is!
11. Video Trainings
What is it? There’s a good reason why video is fast-becoming everyone’s preferred medium. It’s easy to consume, allows you to show people (instead of just telling them) and helps build stronger connections and relationships by showing your face. A video training could be a step-by-step tutorial on anything your customers need help with. Make it one-off or turn it into a multi-part series to keep people watching.
Why it’s valuable: Video requires less effort to consume than reading something, plus watching over someone’s shoulder as they show you how to do something is a quick way to learn.
Try it out: Make your own videos to teach your audience something new. Use your phone or DSLR to record the video. I really like Screenflow for creating and editing videos where I need to share my screen. If you have the Adobe suite, you can also use Premiere for editing.
What is it? A way to compare and contrast the pros, cons and features of various options. You can use this type of content to compare hotels, destinations, software, products, retailers, supplements— or anything else that will help your audience to make an informed decision.
Why it’s valuable: It takes time and energy to compare and contrast all the options available, so convenience is a huge drawcard here. A biased comparison might get tossed aside, so try and keep your evaluation objective and fair.
Try it out: Does your audience get stuck between options because they’re not sure of pros and cons? Make a comparison chart to objectively evaluate the options according to their features, highlights and pricing.
What is it? A discussion with someone interesting or aspirational to your customer. They don’t have to be famous, or even insta famous, just someone who can provide some clarity or inspiration to your audience.
Why it’s valuable: There is so much we can all learn from other people’s missteps and successes. Stories can encourage your audience and let them see what’s possible.
Try it out: Make a list of people who you think would have valuable insights for your customers and reach out to them. You can document the discussions as videos, blog posts or audios.
14. In Depth Guides
What is it? A detailed ‘ultimate guide’ to a specific topic where you can share lots of juicy details and helpful hints.
Why it’s valuable: Having everything your customer wants to know about a topic in one place is oh so convenient and saves them hours of scouring the web.
Try it out: It might take a little bit longer to put this one together, but if you can make it exceptionally good, people will be consuming it for years to come. I think Brian Dean does an excellent job of this type of content and it has a really positive effect on his search engine rankings. Double win!
15. Case Studies
What is it? A real life case study that walks through how you got specific (really amazing) results for yourself or a client.
Why it’s valuable: We all want to know the play-by-by behind a strategy that’s worked for someone like us. This provides inspiration and shows how a theory or idea can be practically applied.
Try it out: With your client’s permission, document the process you go through to achieve results for them. You might like to capture the process on video or simply use screenshots or photos to tell the story. This type of content requires evidence, so data and photo evidence is the secret to making this content irresistible.
16. Cheat Sheets
What is it? A summary of information that someone can quickly reference to take action on a task. It usually outlines a list of guidelines or a process the person can follow.
Why it’s valuable: Saves your audience the need to take notes or remember information for themselves. Any time they want to follow the process or guidelines, all they have to do is open up their cheatsheet.
Try it out: Create cheat sheets for rules, guidelines and step-by-step processes. Use Canva or InDesign to create your cheat sheets and export them to a PDF.
17. Audio Trainings & Interviews
What is it? Any training or information that is delivered as an audio recording, including meditations, talks and interviews.
Why it’s valuable: Audio recordings are a great way to learn and consume content while doing other things (walking, cleaning, driving) making them really easy and convenient. In the case of meditations they allow the person to follow along without needing to read anything.
Try it out: Use the audio from a video you created, record a voice memo on your phone or grab a microphone and start recording. Export and share it as a podcast or MP4 file. Adobe Audition, Logic Pro or Audacity can all help you edit your audio, or video editing software like Premiere and Screenflow can be used too, depending on the features and final quality you need to achieve.
What is it? Exercises, prompts or activities that encourage someone to do something in order to achieve an outcome.
Why it’s valuable: Great questions are the precursor to inspired answers. Your customer will save a tonne of time by arriving at that ‘aha’ moment way faster.
Try it out: Create your own worksheet or workbook in Canva or InDesign. You can make it a fillable PDF (so it can be filled in digitally) using Adobe Acrobat Reader.
What is it? Sometimes we just need to see some real life examples to get inspired! This is different to a swipe file in that the person using it can’t directly copy the examples, but they can use them to come up with their own ideas. Think brand moodboards, fashion lookbooks, facebook ads or any other collection of examples that will help your audience spark some new ideas.
Why it’s valuable: This will help your audience save hours of trawling online through Pinterest or search results trying to find quality inspiration. You’ve done the hard work for them.
Try it out: Curate a collection of examples in InDesign, Canva (and export to a PDF) or use a Pinterest board.
20. Members Group or Area
What is it? Sometimes the most value comes from being around others that share a common interest. A membership group allows people to support each other, ask questions and get customised advice.
Why it’s valuable: It gives people access to a supportive community where they can get the encouragement and motivation they need to achieve their goals.
So—how will you be creating more value in 2020? Will you be creating one or more of the above? Or something different? I’m curious, so let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to bookmark or save this link so you can come back to it at a later date if you need some more inspo!