In This Issue: We debate the benefits and drawbacks of posting your prices publicly. A former E! Entertainment Television employee originates a new word and a new podcast. Plus, money talk tilt, Reels world, and a last laugh.
The Pros and Cons for Content Creators Posting Pricing and Rate Sheets
Marcus Sheridan believes in bucking a trend.
Like his competitors, the owner of River Pools and Spa encountered the same question from customers over and over: “How many arms and legs is a pool gonna cost?”
Marcus knew if he provided the answer, the contrast to his competitors would pique people’s interest. Soon after he wrote his blog post How Much Will My Fiberglass Pool Really Cost?, the link rose to the top of Google for searches on pool prices.
For content creators who sell subscriptions, courses, and merch, it’s a no-brainer to post your prices. After all, your audience expects to see those fixed prices without having to make an inquiry. But what about pricing that isn’t fixed – sponsored content, sponsorship deals, speaking engagements, consulting gigs – should you go public with that pricing?
Con 1 – Competitive advantage: I don’t want to help competitors undercut me. If Bob knows I charge $5K for a sponsored content article, then Bob may well lower his price to $4K – and then cite that lower cost when wooing a client.
Con 2 – Sticker shock: Before presenting a proposal, I want to demonstrate value. Some prospects don’t realize how much time or expertise their project requires, and because I charge a lot, I’m happy to give away a few tips.
Con 3 – Bedside manner: I want to see what the prospect will be like to work with. If I ask two questions, do they respond to only one? How quickly do they respond? Is their tone curt or chatty? Every signal informs my estimate.
Con 4 – Profit maximization: I want to see whether how sensitive the prospect is to price, so I don’t leave money on the table. If they don’t ask about budget until they have decided to work with me, I know I can quote a top-of-the-market rate.
Pro 1 – Cheapskates: You weed out prospects who can’t (or won’t) afford your services.
Pro 2 – Browsers: You identify tire kickers and freebie fishers. This cohort can be equally exasperating. For one thing, they rarely divulge their status. For another thing, browsers rarely turn into buyers.
Pro 3 – Simplification: You simplify your content business operations. Let’s face it: Trying to suss out a buyer’s wherewithal is a pain. Similarly, a rate card also simplifies things for your prospects. Sometimes, people just want the bottom line, not because they’re not cheap, but because they’re busy.
Pro 4 – Goodwill: The final benefit is perhaps the biggest – and the one that Marcus Sheridan champions: People appreciate transparency. Being upfront with your pricing creates an immediate sense the prospects can trust you – that you won’t take advantage of them.
Which pricing communication model is better? The assembly line (i.e., the public posting) or the bespoke suit (i.e., customized for each deal)? The answer depends on your business model.
If your rates are relatively low or based only on your audience numbers, then it makes sense to go forth and publish prices. What you might lose in profit margins, you might make up in volume.
If your rates are higher or your deals more complex, then it makes sense to protect your proprietary information and guide them to have a direct conversation about working with you.
– Jonathan Rick
Learn how the author decided his approach and more.
Get a Fresh Start with the Best Marketing Platform for Creators
Watch your first YouTube video. Read your first blog post. Find your first newsletter. Listen to your first podcast episode. Now, compare it to your most recent piece of content.
It’s night and day, isn’t it? You may have even felt a little (actually, maybe a lot) embarrassed. As embarrassed as you are, that’s also how proud you should be, because that’s how much your content has grown—how much you’ve grown.
If you’re like most creators, your marketing platform reminds you of that first creative effort. It has not kept up. You need a fresh start.
content entrepreneur spotlight
Entrepreneur: Raquel Kelley
Tilt: Making motherhood easier
Primary Channel: Podcast
Time to First Dollar: Pre-launch
Rev Streams: Sponsorships (Raquel also worked other jobs until February 2022.)
Our Favorite Actionable Advice:
- Check the domain: Before Raquel went full force into her idea of Momgul (a riff on mogul), she made sure to acquire the web domain.
- Make the ask: Raquel sent an unsolicited LinkedIn message seeking sponsorship to a Quicken executive. She got the deal before the first podcast episode aired.
- Always think revenue: You need to dedicate time (or work with someone) who hunts down potential revenue streams.
– Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
Read how she got her blogging start and Suze Orman’s role in her inspiration.
things to know
the business of content
- To become a successful content business, our strategy must be about saying no to most everything, so we can say yes to the thing that counts. [Content Inc. podcast]
- Joe and Robert break down the latest Netflix results and the launch of their ad-supported model. [This Old Marketing podcast]
- Don’t forget to register for our mini-course The Content Creator’s Essential Guide to Contracts.
- How are your spreadsheet skills? Here’s help for entrepreneurs. (BlogHer)
- Soliciting reviews on social? Better not head into the fake zone or Amazon may sue. (Small Business Trends)
- The 411 on business accelerators. (Entrepreneur)
the tilt team
Your team for this issue: Joe Pulizzi, Pam Pulizzi, Ann Gynn, Laura Kozak, Marc Maxhimer, and Dave Anthony, with an assist from Jonathan Rick and Sarah Lindenfeld Hall.