Let’s face it, Digital/Social Media Marketing is a HOT industry topic right now. Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, just made Time Magazine’s Cover Issue as Person of the Year for 2010. Everyone wants a piece of the information pie…..
CC Chapman’s ( speaker, author, digital marketer) 12/15/10 blog post : “Nice Guys Get Paid Too” addresses the growing phenomenon of people seeking out industry knowledge holders to siphon off their expertise for free. Whether it’s an individual, a company or a group seeking a keynote speaker, the trend seems to be that information is not a product to be purchased, but rather something to be shared and passed around freely. Chapman notes that numerous conferences offer no remuneration for speaking services, nor travel expense reimbursement, claiming that the mere appearance of an audience should lead to increased business for said speaker.
Chapman mentions that often the individual or small group offer is to meet for a cup of coffee or for a beer at a local pub which he refers to as “Pint-Consulting”. While many folks in the social/digital field are extremely giving of their time and knowledge, they simply can’t be a veritable public library for the removal of information on a 24/7 basis.
What I want to address here in this space are those individuals and small companies who are in the “Pint Consulting” camp and those individuals who are not even tuned in enough to be part of that group. How many times have you been approached by someone who basically wants you to do a core-dump over the phone for them?
I believe in giving back to the community and count myself as one of the more generous souls out there (to the consternation of my financial advisor!), but even I have had to draw the line. As CC states:
“I make a living as a consultant, speaker and creator. In order to continue doing that, I must be paid for the services I offer.”
Here are some tips for parties on both sides of the coin:
Seeking a Knowledge Consultant:
- Be brief and to the point- explain what you are looking for.
- Offer how this might help the consultant.
- Treat them to lunch or dinner (come on, not coffee!) and allow for general overviews on your questions.
- Want deeper info? – Pay for an hour of their tim.e
- Need a speaker? Be up front about what you can offer: fee, gift certificate, notoriety…
- Choose your speaking engagements wisely. A good friend and 5- figure speaker gave me some great tips years ago. She chooses her engagements based on these factors:
- Fees- does it meet her requirements, including travel expenses?
- If not: – Will the audience be made up of potential clients?
- Is the conference notable? Would it look good on your resume to have spoken here?
- Is the venue or city enticing? Does it offer some other value to you?
- Don’t feel that you have to give away the farm. Set a limit on the time or amount of information that you are willing to share. I have met with quite a few people over coffee who took pages upon pages of copious notes on everything I said to them…..and never offered to pick up the tab for my single cup of java.
- Set a limit to your pro-bono efforts per month.
- Offer folks a chance to sign up to meet with you for a free consult.
- Choose a venue that is most convenient for you and set a time limit to your meeting.
I recall seeing one digital marketer solve this “Pint Consulting” situation by inviting individuals and companies to sign up for a couple of monthly slots on his web-site that involved taking him out to lunch for the chance to completely pick his brain for those 90 minutes. This put a limit on his pro-bono, gave people a fair and equal chance to meet with him for the cost of a lunch and also gave him their coveted email addys so that he could continue to connect with them through his newsletter, etc.
Hopefully this post will raise awareness on both sides of the coin.
Knowledge is Power.
Knowledge has Value.
CC Chapman says it best:
“So, the next time you think about reaching out to someone to pick their brain or to give them exposure so your company/event/organization can make money, stop and realize that they need to make some as well.”