Some people claim that free advice is worth as much as you paid for it but I can’t say I always agree with them because free is powerful.
Or maybe it is more accurate to say free is one of the most powerful words in the English language. Business discovered long ago the power of free which is why it is common to see businesses try and lure new customers in by providing them with a free something or other.
Sometimes people try to enhance the value of whatever free thing they are giving away by associating a dollar value to it. For example an attorney might offer 15 minutes of free consultation time and tell you that his hourly rate is $800 which means the 15 minutes you received is worth $200.00.
Hmm…lawyers make $800 per hour? Maybe I should rethink the decision not to go to law school. 😉
Free Advice Because You Need It
If you are wondering why I kept putting free in bold in part it is because the fine folks at Buffer provided some free advice in The Big List of 189 Words That Convert: Write Copy That Gets Your Customer’s Attention Every Time and I decided to try it out.
That old adage about free advice being worth what you paid for it isn’t completely inaccurate, like many sayings it has some roots in truth so it is up to the individual to determine how much risk they wish to assume.
My kids have heard me tell them more times than anyone wants to remember the importance of making smart choices about who they listen to and whose words they pay attention to.
The blogosphere is so cluttered and chaotic that people will do almost anything to gain readers and try to establish themselves as an authority figure. That is a big part of why the echo chamber exists and why there is some patently awful advice out there.
One of the most effective tools I have found to help weed out the bad and focus on the good is the wisdom of the crowd. I pay attention to the popular blogs and speak with my colleagues about who they read and what tools they use.
The time spent asking for their help and listening to their advice has saved me from wasting quite a bit of time. It has also been very effective in helping me figure out how to modify some of the tips and tools so that they are customized to meet my needs.
Remember that echo chamber I mentioned?
Well if you want to build a readership you need to establish your credibility and build authority on whatever topic(s) you are writing about. It is harder to do when your blog does nothing but regurgitate what the other guys are saying.
The trick is to write about things in your own voice and to try and add your own insight.
Free Advice For Businesses
I might have to make this a standalone post but one of the best pieces of advice I can offer business is to make a point to use whatever product/service you offer so that you understand what your customers are facing/dealing with.
During the past few days I have wrestled with various pieces of technology/software but you probably knew that because you could hear the screams of frustration and the soft whimpering that followed.
Once I pulled myself out of a fetal position I wondered if anyone at the company had actually tried using the product or if it was given to a bunch of salespeople who were supposed to introduce it to the market.
It was simply awful.
When you are testing out your product/service don’t forget to pay attention to the directions that your crew put together. I know it is hard to believe but sometimes we writers are to blame. Sometimes we take a misstep and produce content that isn’t as clear as it should be.
But that is a big part of why smart writers spend time working on our craft. It is why we look for resources we can use to help us improve and why when we find a credible source we take their free advice and integrate their power words into our copy.
What do you think?