Selling Information Online and Offline

If you are selling information online or offline, remember this: you can’t!  Obviously, most information is already available online.  These days a Google search will almost always result in finding the information you need.

Well, what if I invent something, some new information?  It will take about 5 minutes before it becomes available online!  There are secrets but it is difficult to keep them.  I’m about to join a coaching programme and they will share business secrets on the programme.  From what I’ve seen so far, I already know a lot of these and if any are new, I suspect I’ll be able to find them somewhere online.  So, why am I doing it?

Content Curation

Ah yes, you may think, this programme will have curated the information.  True the coach will have accumulated information from multiple sources.  One big advantage will be finding it all in one place.  It saves me the trouble of seeking it myself.

And of course, it may be the information is online but I’m not aware of it.  I could find it if I knew about it.  But I don’t and so someone else is saving me time and effort.

Furthermore, they will organise the information.  This is important, there are any number of tools for marketing online and in-person and each has some value.  Most of them don’t work and one reason for this is tools in isolation are not effective.  They need to be deployed strategically and most people are not good at strategy.

The point of content curation is to find content, organise it and structure its use.  This website has a blog that accumulates a lot of information in one place and to some degree organises it.  It may be of value to someone who uses it but they need to know what they are doing.

The purpose of accumulating this information is marketing.  To blog or to curate information in other ways, increases credibility.  It shows you know your subject area.  It is essential but in no way sufficient if you’re planning to sell a service.

Structured Experience

Illuminated light bulb, held in hand

geralt / Pixabay

The key to any service is the way you structure your knowledge so that you can sell it as an experience.  I may know many online and offline tools but it is when I experience using them that I learn how to be a practitioner.

It is interesting that many professionals have a coach.  Indeed this could be define a professional; they pay someone to help them think through their work.  This is sometimes called non-directive consultancy.  The point is the consultor is the expert, their coach or consultant helps them think things through, encourages them to try new things, perhaps suggesting appropriate tools.

Every professional carries a metaphorical tool box.  Knowing the tools is one thing, experiencing their use is another.  The challenge is not to carry around a couple of tools you’re brilliant with but to know how to deploy new, untested tools.

You know most things don’t work and whatever you deploy will be a matter of trial and error.  But experiencing the impact of using new tools, discussing them with others and refining practice enables us to experience success.  Success leads to more success, increased confidence and  effectiveness.  This is why the non-directive consultant or coach offers structured experience and not just a load of methods.

Integrate Marketing, Don’t Bolt It On

I remember many years ago, doing a week’s training in Participatory Appraisal.  They said, everyone comes on this course to learn the tools.  They covered them in about an hour.  The rest of the time was learning how to use them properly, experiencing the inner nature of PA.  And this is true of any practice.

Marketing is not a bolt-on to your main business.  You need to learn how to market your business as integral to your business.  You need to find out what you are good at, experience success and work out how to move on to increasing confidence and success.  Successful professionals and business people pay good money for that.

This is why I write a blog and sell coaching.  It is through joining two or more brains together that we experience success.

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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