The Reciprocity Trap

The Desert of Arizona
Cloudy 70 Degrees – 5:46 a.m.

There’s plenty of proof that the “free content” model of business building works pretty darn well.

It’s not fast, but it is effective.

I won’t take the time to list all the examples of businesses that run on this model, but we’re talking billions and billions of dollars of product and services sold on the back of “free content.”

This Daily Journal you’re reading right now is obviously just one example.

One reason I like this model, is that it allows me to build a business by serving YOU first.

This model is not without its challenges, however.

The place you can run into trouble is when you start thinking that your choice to offer something free to the marketplace, like a daily newsletter or a podcast, should directly prompt action in the marketplace.

From my perspective, this is setting yourself up for frustration.

If you resonate with the platform model of client attraction, then do it for a smarter reason. Instead of viewing it as some sort of modern day quid pro quo setup where you do X and that is supposed to somehow prompt people to do Y, let’s take a more strategic view of things:

The media platform you build is about building a foundation for what is to come. It builds the trust, credibility and respect required for a healthy exchange of value between prospects and clients over the long term.

I think the whole idea of “reciprocity” is a bit of a sham. In fact, I think it’s a childish way to expect the world to work. If someone gives you something, do you really feel obligated to do something in return?

Maybe, maybe not. But certainly going into this expecting that’s how things work can be pretty frustrating.

“I sent out all of this free content and nothing happened?!#$%”

The waiting and the expectation is what messes with your head.

Just drop it and find something better to do with your time and energy.

The media platform is not a “silver bullet” strategy to win the game. In this day and age, it is simply the price of entry to truly play the game at a higher level than most.

It makes sales easier because it separates the actual buying from the other materials (like trust, credibility) required to have that sale happen. You can work to boost the trust and credibility to such a degree, that the moment you start offering concrete solutions to your prospects’ challenges, the decision to choose YOU will be simple.