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All You Need to Know About Educating and Selling

This guest post is by Jean Compton of

In the Febuary 2011 issue of Inc. Magazine, Gary Vaynerchuck was interviewed regarding how he runs his many business ventures under the umbrella of VaynerMedia.

Talking about his show, Wine Library TV, he was quoted as saying:

“Some people think I’m a huckster, but with the show, my intent isn’t to sell our wine. It’s to educate people about wine. There’s a big difference.”

Are you educating or are you selling? Because if all you’re doing is selling…

”You turn your site into QVC,”

and—in Vaynerchuk’s mind—you lose.

“Engagement is the key to building real relationships with the people you do business with.”

Selling is one-sided. Educating is servicing. It builds trust so that people recognize you as the authority and know they can come to you for quality information.

It’s more of an interaction. You’re giving away free content, useful information that makes them come back for more.

Now you have a dialog going. The reader, viewer, fan, etc., begins to recognize your “brand.” They trust what you say.

“People want to be heard and feel like their opinions matter.”

Maybe they show up to “buy” your unique personality. But, even if they’re not necessarily liking you, they are enjoying the benefits of all that juicy, free info and useful, actionable tips that they can take away. In other words, you fill a need.

“Too many people think this one-on-one stuff doesn’t scale, but giving a shit has an enormous return yield.”

Your sharing is a win/win and, in the long run, you’ll have their attention for the long haul, not just for the fly-by-night latest fad. With time and hard work, naturally people will be directed to your door—and your business.

“Once everybody understands the value of engagement, everybody will do it.”

So, don’t be a one-hit-wonder. Educate, build trust, develop a dialog, and make a built-to-last brand.

Jean is a blogger. She mostly writes about topics to help you relax, de-stress and change your world. Contact her/get a free, guided meditation at:

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  • Having a one way relationship in any business, including blogging is never going to work. It’s all about engagements and building up the community :)

    For example, no one may want to buy your 31 Days to Build a Better Blog book if no one knows or trusts you!

    • Absolutely right. Trust and Authority is everything on the web.

    • You pretty much can’t expect to sell anything (on the web or otherwise) without trust.

      Trust can be built in offline, such as people trusting a salesman who works in a certain department, because they generally assume that if he was hired than he must know what he is doing.

      So on the web trust becomes even MORE important, because you may be selling to people who haven’t heard of you, and people are generally more paranoid of getting scammed online than off.

      So yes, trust and social proof are paramount.

      • I absolutely agree with that, Gregory. Transparency, social proof are paramount for sure!

    • So true, Michael! Thanks for your comment.


  • Tom

    It was a bit easy for me as I was selling training, so I never really sold, only educated. I found that the more I gave away for free, the more my clients were willing to pay for. On the blog I posted all the general information which people were able to implement, and I got the training requests for the specific and personalized trainings. Worked like a charm.

    • A great strategy, Tom. Sounds like it’s a winner!

    • That seems to be a nice one . Sorry man but can I take it as an advice and implement it on my blog .

  • JT

    Nice article, which shows that the classic hard-selling is not the way to go. It´s all about delivering value, building relationships that last and engaging people. By the way. Thats what I like about ProBlogger.

  • i agree with michael comment you need a community to get success in blog world. Darren a great example who create a great community in the internet world.

  • agreed on all points that trust and credibility is necessary, however don’t you think a solid product (whether tangible or information) speaks for itself? users try it, like it, see the benefits and word spreads virally. i suppose one can make an argument that this is part of building T and C. so while T and C will help expedite success, I don’t feel they are absolutely critical in proactively aiming to achieve? they can be inherently achieved in simply doing a good, quality job, without ever having to proactively “force the issue” per se.

    • I agree, Sunil, that having a quality product, or making quality information available will build the ‘T and C’ naturally.

  • Although there are exceptions to success, but the trust and community relations are very important for success in anything.

  • I agree with educating vs selling someone. I had to unsubscribe fro several newsletters because all they did was sell, sell, sell without providing me any real value.

  • Contest + Free Gifts strategy is widely used by marketers to gain new subscribers & leads. But what I do is provide these goodies occasionally to my already subscribed audience.

    It encourages them to stay connected for long time & also they most likely to share about us online as well as offline.

    Works great !

  • Well said. This adds to my list of “Reasons to NOT sell actively” and always provide value (In this case, via engaging education)

  • Interesting ideas.

    “Selling is one-sided. Educating is servicing” This is why No child left behind is such a failure. It forced teachers to become salespersons, “Learn this to pass the test.”

    “So, don’t be a one-hit-wonder. Educate, build trust, develop a dialog, and make a built-to-last brand.” Most teachers want to teach students how to learn so they will have life-long choices and skills for the long haul.

  • Toy

    Thank you for your post. You opened my mind. Teaching is one of ways to build authority, including telling people how to solve the problems, or introductory to some knowledge. It seems that most sucessful bloggers prefer the first one.

  • Toy

    Thank you for your post. You opened my mind. Teaching is one of ways to build authority, including telling people how to solve the problems, or introductory to some knowledge. It seems that most sucessful bloggers prefer the first one.

  • It all clicked for me last month after I completed a coaching course on marketing. I’m now more strategic and it is true, once you have the knowledge its much less stressful and more fun!…

    Great post,

    David Edwards

  • I agree completely, Jean. You build trust by providing value, and value is also how you create real engagement too. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Jean, what great timing. As I’m getting ready to launch my first info product and creating the content-I read a post where Danielle LaPorte wrote, “Don’t be afraid of giving away so much, that people won’t feel the need to buy. Show us under the hood and we’re more likely to want to go for a drive”…Erring on the side of generosity never fails. Love your post, thanks!

  • I’ve been blogging for a few years now and try out difference kind of topics. But the post that providing value to my readers get a lot of comments and attract new readers. On the other hand, it also fun to read all the comments and they educate myself too. I’ve learn something new from all comments as well. It’s really a win-win situation. Love your post, it’s a good reminder to be a better blogger not a seller! Suki

  • Sincerity and patience should win the day. Happily, web surfers in greater numbers are spotting phony snake oil salespeople, and are demanding much higher quality content in the places where they choose to hang out on the net. It seems to me that this bodes well for those sincere folks who wish to provide true quality to their audiences.

    Thanks for a great article!

    All the best,


  • I have to agree that trust is extremely important especially to those involved in affiliate marketing. your customers won’t buy anything from you if they don’t trust you.

  • Seth Godin writes about giving our clients and costumers a free prize. Great content is the free prize. The free prize is what keeps readers coming back for more. Then, when they want more of what you’re offering, they’re more likely to buy the cereal that holds the free prize.

    Thanks for a great post.

  • Its the interaction that matters. I am soon going to start offering the free products and then hedge to the paid one . But could you please advice me What exactly could be the ultimate free product on offer on a technology blog? I am too confused in this matter and little bit scared that will that “Free item” be liked and adored by the readers or not.

  • Jean – what a great reminder to stop always selling and focus on educating. My favorite line: “Are you educating or are you selling? Because if all you’re doing is selling…You turn your site into QVC.” – So true! And educating is so much more fun anyway – at least that’s what I think!

  • I agree! It’s really shocking there are several people who call themselves bloggers yet they can’t provide good quality articles. They just keep repeating themselves and copying posts of other people. So disappointing!

    – Jack Leak