Are You Giving Away the Wrong Thing?

Guest post by Brad Harmon

Give More Than You TakeHow many times have you read that you need to give something away to be a successful blogger?

Give away a freebie to get people to sign up to your mailing list.  Give away your best content.  Give away a little of yourself in every post.

These are all great suggestions, but as Dr. Phil would say, “how’s that working for you?” 

Are you getting tons of new traffic, comments, tweets, shares, or whatever shiny voting buttons you want your readers to press?  If not, what’s the point in all of this giving?

It’s a great question, isn’t it?  Before you answer it, ask yourself these three questions that every blogger should be asking themselves.

What Do I Want from My Blog?

This seems like such a simple question, right?  I’m surprised at how many bloggers don’t know the answer.  Yes, they have a general idea of what they want; however, they don’t have the specifics ironed out.

Do you want to make an income with your blog?  How will you generate that income?  Is it through selling page impressions with advertising, or will you be using your influence to suggest affiliate products to your readers?

Giving away a free ebook is likely to have little impact on your page impressions, but it’s a great way to build up your credibility and authority to influence your readers.

Why Do I Want to Give [whatever it is] Away?

Why ask why, right?  Call it karma, providence, or whatever you want, but I’ve learned that why we do something is very often more important than what we do.

Imagine that you see a man help an elderly lady across the street.  That’s a nice gesture, or is it?  What if the reason he helped her was that she was standing in front of the store his partners were robbing and he wanted to keep their escape route free?

People have an uncanny way of searching out someone’s motives – especially when they’re giving away something for free.  If you’re guest posting or commenting on another blog just for the links, it will usually be very evident.

Are You Giving Away What You Want the Most?

Don’t ask me why this principle works.  It just does.  Give away what you want the most without expecting anything in return and it will be returned to you many times over.

The first two questions play a crucial role here.  You have to know what you want and then go out of your way to help others it.  Zig Ziglar puts it this way,

You can have everything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.

Find those people who want what you want then do your best to help them get it.  Not because of the law of reciprocity, but just to help someone else succeed in the manner you want to see yourself succeed.

Brandon Cox, the founder of this site, does such a great job with this.  He couldn’t have chosen a better person than Kiesha to take the reins of We Blog Better.  She has taken this to a whole other level.

What do you want most from your site?  How are you giving that away to others?

Brad’s Big Feet Marketing helps people on a limited budget enlarge their online footprint using blogging & social media. His other blog, Marketplace Christianity, examines faith’s role in how we earn and spend money. He’d love to connect on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. Glynis Jolly says:

    A nice critical look at what motivates what works. Sometimes we get so stuck on what we think we need that we forget that the best way to get is to give.

    • I think you’re right, Glynis. It never seems to be a method that goes out of style, does it? It’s so easy to get caught up in the 10, 20, or 30 things that the latest guru says your blog must have. Your blog may indeed need some of these, but it will always need you giving away what you want the most.

  2. Hi Brad,

    I love Kiesha writings too, I hope she is ok.


    • Kiesha Easley says:

      Thanks, Mark!
      Glad to know it – and Yes, I’m okay :D

    • I haven’t been online much in the past few weeks since I’ve been helping out my friend with his CPA firm during tax season. As a result, I’m not sure to what you’re referring in regards to Kiesha. I’ll join you in your thoughts though and add a little prayer too.

      • Kiesha Easley says:

        I’m not sure what he’s referring to either, but I always welcome prayers, never can have enough of those – so thanks!

  3. Brad, when I first started blogging my tag line was this – To learn, to teach and to connect!
    This still holds true today and I’ve never concerned myself much with making money online. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the idea, it’s just not what I set out to do.
    You are so right about Brandon passing the baton over to Kiesha. She’s done more than her share of helping and teaching others to become better bloggers. Brandon picked the right person for the job.

    Thanks Brad – have a great week!

    • Kiesha Easley says:

      Hi Ileane!
      Your compliments are making me blush (as usual) – thanks! I’m still just as grateful as ever to have had this opportunity – it’s been such amazing blessing!

    • Hey, Ileane. Your success is a great example of what happens when a go giver becomes a blogger. I think about you every time I write or talk about giving away what you want most when it comes to blogging. You truly walk my talk.

  4. hi brad…thanks for sharing this article..this tips are great..its very useful..keep posting this kind of information..

  5. Brad,

    “Are you giving away what you want” is a great motto. The same holds true for promoting affiliate products.

    I agree Kiesha has taken this blog to a whole new level. It is pleasure to stop by here.

    • Kiesha Easley says:

      Thanks, Sheila! :)
      I’m so happy that you enjoy visiting this blog. It’s my passion and I try my hardest to continue building and improving.

    • Isn’t it amazing what Kiesha’s done with the site? Maybe amazing isn’t really the right word since anyone who knew her before isn’t very surprised with her success here.

  6. Daniel Roach says:

    I like Tim Ferriss’ view on free giveaways: give away so much value that it makes you uncomfortable. As soon as you start thinking, “Gee I could charge money for this it’s so good,” you know you have a winning free gift.

    If you think “free” is a fair price, you’re probably not giving away anything that anyone wants.

    • Kiesha Easley says:

      Hi Daniel,
      I like the idea of giving until it’s uncomfortable, but the rewards are often far greater than anything you could’ve planned for. There’s a time and a place to charge, but it shouldn’t be your sole motivation every single time.

    • I love that, Daniel. If you’re doing it right, it’s natural to start thinking you’re a little nuts for just giving it away. Again, I don’t know why this principle works – it just does. It goes hand-in-hand with reaping what you sow too. If you give away a fairly priced free [fill in the blank] look for the same to be returned back to you.

    • Hey Daniel,

      I like that a lot. When you are debating whether to hold a giveaway or sell on eBay, it’s probably something someone would love to have for free.

  7. Very thought provoking read both from a give-away and affiliate perspective. Lots to think about.

    • I think the critical thing is just to make sure that give-aways support your goals, Debbie. Like Maria pointed out above, figuring out what you really want to receive back is the hard part. Once you’ve done that, you just need to make sure your give-aways are in line with your answers.

  8. A nice critical look at what motivates what works. Sometimes we get so stuck on what we think we need that we forget that the best way to get is to give.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more, Kim. It’s tempting to get into that what’s in it for me mentality. I still fall into it from time to time. It’s at these times I have to remember to tell myself to quit looking for the return and look for more opportunities to give it away. It’s funny, but when I quit looking for the return it always shows up.

  9. Hi Brad,

    Zig Ziglar is always so powerful; it’s the same message he’s had since the beginning, but it never gets old! And it works so well in the niche marketing business because ultimately what we’re doing is helping people improve their lives and solve a problem.


    • It’s funny how the best advice seems timeless, Delena. Zig has so many great quotes that still seem as powerful to me today as they did when I first heard them years ago. Thanks for the comment.

  10. hi brad..thanks for sharing this information..yes freebies are great..and also helps to drive traffics to your site..

  11. Hi Brad,

    Though this is a guest post, this is an excellent article full of interesting and important facts. The questions mentioned in this article are the main questions you need to ask yourself about your websites/blogs/businesses, at least that’s how I do with mine. Exactly like you said: The first two questions play a crucial role here. You have to know what you want and then go out of your way to help others it. These questions seem so simple but when it comes to answering them, they aren’t that simple anymore and you can’t answer them that easy. Congratulations on the great guest post, very good article – I really enjoyed a lot reading it and I find it very useful and interesting. Thanks!

    Best regards,


    • Thanks, Maria. It can be hard to get to the true answers to these questions, can’t it? Once we do though, blogging (or really any efforts in life) become so much easier. Great observations.

  12. Hello Brad,

    I heard of this kind of thinking before and I doesn’t always work. You can have a kind heart and help a lot of people, but you might help the wrong ones and they will forget you ever helped them and you will not get anything in return and although this was never your intention it won’t help you make your dreams true.

    So, it’s great finding people to help but you also have to know how and when to ask them to help you back.

    • Yes, Alex, you will have those who will not give back. In fact, I’ve found that the majority of the people I give to don’t return the gesture.

      Don’t ask me why it works this way, but if you concentrate on people reciprocating then the principle breaks down. I’m most often “paid back” from people for whom I never gave anything to – at least, that I know of. It’s not always, or even usually, a direct back-and-forth process.

      You do bring up a great point though. We shouldn’t be complete idiots when deciding to whom to give. If the person isn’t helping others, isn’t appreciative, or shows no real desire to build a relationship with you or others then move on. The people I give to don’t have to give back to me, but they do have to be giving to others for me to continue my giving to them.

      Thanks for the great observation and comment.

      • I am talking from my own experience, because I helped a lot of people with their online business (I myself being helped by a friend of mine), and after they all started to have some success forgot about how I helped and never even offered to help me out with what I did.

        But, the man who helped me start my business in the first place, still backs me up to this very day. Now, I don’t regret helping them, but I think my effort would have been better placed if I would have done something for myself or helped out those who actually did something for me.

        I know that this sound kind of selfish but it’s the conclusion I ended up with.

  13. We need all the help we can get, especially for start-ups or beginners. People who have the resources and the right words to share and are generous enough to share them to others are really very good people. :)

  14. Good points. Thank you! There certainly is a lot to learn… and continue learning… from each other.

  15. Great article! You just made me asking these questions to myself. Let’s see what comes out. Thanks.

  16. Freebies are a great way to get people to follow you, but you’ll never know why they’re here. What if you stop giving freebies one day? How many readers will you lose?
    My take on it is to keep readers based on what you write. Give back quality content and they’ll stay. If you want to spoil them with some free ebooks that’s perfectly fine, they’ll take it as a bonus.

  17. Lillie Hobbs says:

    She’s done more than her share of helping and teaching others to become better bloggers. It is pleasure to stop by here. It can be hard to get to the true answers to these questions, can’t it?

  18. Great article! I concur all the way. Several of my friends with blogs do all these giveaways all the time. I tried it a couple of times, but I got tired of trying to get peeps to view my blog to give them something. Plus, I have tried to receive a giveaway from other blog sites and it is just a pain in the ******. I am not a fan of signing up here, clicking here all to have the possibility to receive a free gift..

    Yeah, this is a good article and I will bookmark it.

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