The Free Content Trap Writers Always Fall Into

The other day I was walking to our neighbor’s house to let his dog out. It was noon, bright, and hot. No wind, my hands in my pockets, my thoughts somewhere else.
As I rounded the corner, I ran into another neighbor — a thick, weathered man with short black hair. He was rolling a lawnmower to the end of his driveway.
He said, “You know anyone who wants a free lawnmower?”
I stopped and contemplated his offer. A free lawnmower? “Does it work?” I said.
“Yep,” he said.
I don’t need a lawnmower — mine is less than a year old — but the resourceful spirit of my grandfather said take it. You can figure out what to do with it afterwards.
That’s what free can do to you.
But then another voice, the Spartan spirit of my father, got the better of me, and I decided not to deal with it. To remain light. Lean.
My neighbor was still staring at me.
“No, I don’t know anyone, but I’ll ask around,” I said, and moved on.
Free has a funny effect on people
Our eternal attraction to free is equivalent to a child’s obsession with toys. We will never tire of it or evolve away from our love of free.
This is good news for marketers. But just because you give something away for free doesn’t mean you will get the conversion. Free’s job is simply to flag down the reader.
Let me explain.
When free content fails
Part of my job at Copyblogger Media involves reviewing

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