When I tell a client that they should explain the products/services they provide so the customer understands them, I inevitably get this response. This is not uncommon. But think about it. Why are you afraid to “give it away for free” in one medium (internet), but see it as an investment when you're talking face to face with a client?
An answer I get back: “I don't want my competition to see what I do or use my material.”
My response: Don't put up proprietary information.
You don't tell a prospective client everything upfront when you're face to face, do you? This is no different. You're really giving answers to what is common knowledge in your industry but your customers don't know it.
That's precisely why you'll have little to fear in the way of competition. Even if one or some of your competitors do try to copy what you're doing, they'll be hitting a wall because they likely won't have someone teaching them how to do this efficiently. That's why most will simply link to your material just as they would a news article. If they link to it, you'll be recognized as the leader in your field.
By answering common knowledge questions, you'll save the time you would have wasted in telling people who would ultimately not be your clients. If you could get back your time alone that would be great, but what about not having the frustration of wasting that time in addition to not getting paid for it? If I could save you that time and frustration, would a little effort and investment be worth it?
What you want to do is put those answers up where people will actually see them. When was the last time you yourself did a search and the Google results sent you to an FAQ page? (Jeopardy music playing) You got the point. People want answers to questions when they have problems. They don't always think about those problems during business hours. People don't always even know that your business is what they need. Their first stop is often Google at 11:00pm. That's also often the first chance they get to relax and actually not think about all of the stuff they do during the day.
If you can save them time you have already scored value in their minds. This is a win/win for your business and the customer. You set your business in their mind as a source of information.
I'll do more on how to write for your site when you send in your questions. You can leave your question in a comment below or subscribe to my newsletter and just hit reply to any message you get. Your question or comment does not necessarily have to fit in with the newsletter or message you received, just what's on your mind. I do however ask that the comments on the website are on topic with the post. I look forward to hearing from and writing for you in the future.