Savvy business owners know that in online marketing there are two huge tried and tested areas they can use.

These are:
– List building
– And authority building

Why list building is important
An email list is yours. You own it. In the aftermath of #GDPR this is still true and in the wake of Facebook updating their buttons and knobs for their algorithms and ruining free reach forever (drama!), oh so much more important.

Growing a list is powerful and you should do it because you own your list. You don’t own likes or followers or even web visitors. If Facebook closed tomorrow you could still contact those people on your list any time you want. Social media can’t be controlled. Search Engine Optimisation changes so much that you could easily fall down Google’s rankings with no prior warning.

Did you also know that email subscribers are more likely to buy from you? If someone subscribes to your list they’re agreeing to be contacted by you so it’s up to you to make sure you’re sending them something interesting/ valuable/ entertaining so you can build an effective relationship with them.

Why building authority is vital
Authority isn’t a thing created for marketing – it’s a powerful psychological tool that helps people to trust you and buy from you. Experts work hard for many years to prove they know their stuff! Strong marketers write and share content including white papers, articles, blogs, webinars, podcasts and books. When you create strong content you also create a group of fans who want to consume what you create. It’s the difference between sending out a marketing message saying you’re good at what you do, and just creating content that proves it.

So what do these two areas have to do with cheat sheets?


When you write a cheat sheet it shows you know your stuff whilst helping you to gather emails to add to your list (in exchange for email addresses).

Share some great content – some cheats/ tips/ advice/ help – in a PDF document and send it to people who request it. To do this you’ll need their email address, which you add to your list so you can contact them again.

With so many cheat sheets, guides, checklists, and downloads available, we’d like to give you some advice on creating a valuable cheat sheet to help you in these two solid areas of your marketing.

Here are five steps on publishing a cheat sheet.
1, Give it away.
People like FREE. Actually, they LOVE FREE. And they love things that help them with their problems.

So, give them something free first of all.

Building trust takes time and although someone giving you some dosh is a great show of trust, it’s rarely the first step. So, get some great tips that you have for your area of expertise and create a short piece explaining them.

“Five ways to polish your car like a pro.”

“The five secret ways to sell your house that the experts don’t want you to know.”

“Five ways to grow your email list without being a spammy douchebag.”
(Ok, the last one was tongue in cheek, but you get the idea.)

Get some ‘good’ quality content and create a mini article and then turn it into a PDF that you can give away. It’s a great conversation starter. Even if you don’t go down the route of landing page opt-ins and email gathering you could still send it to people you meet at networking events to help them out.

2, Establish authority on your chosen subject.
The simple fact is: if you’re not a car valeter, then creating a cheat sheet on ‘polishing your car like a pro’ is kinda pointless!

– What do your potential customers need help with?
– What area are you building authority in?
– How can you prove that you can help?

Establish your authority in a particular area and then deploy your cheat sheet. You’ll get more traction and trust this way, especially if you’re building your list with the tips and advice you’re giving away. You can offer it in Facebook groups, or places like Quora and Reddit, as well as your standard social media channels.

3, Five bullet points are a nice easy read.
This doesn’t need to be War and Peace, thankfully. People want a simple read, quick and actionable tips, and something that can be implemented to help them with their life or business.

Giving away hours and hours of free content is best left to the ‘gooroos’ with their complicated funnels and systems. It doesn’t need to be that technical unless you want it to be.

Get to the point, give value, and build trust.

This method works two-fold:
Your audience gets something simple and effective, fast.
And you don’t have to take a flight to a retreat to get your head down to write a book to give away for free when a letter would be fine!

4, Always include a Call To Action.
What’s next? Seriously, don’t give away free content in exchange for emails and leave it there.
You got their attention – now make the most of it. So many cheat sheets stop right there when they could have been part of a successful sales process.

At the end of your helpful guide add a CTA (Call To Action). A good CTA might be for people to join a free Facebook group, make a small purchase or simply an #InboxMeHun offer.

Getting conversations is seriously underrated. Get a call, get a message, get some human contact! Emails are great, and you have that now if you exchanged the guide for an email, but try to move them to the next step in the relationship.

5, Always include a ‘bonus’ point.
Under promise; over deliver. Tell them you have five tips and give them six. Offer them ‘five ways to bake’ and then give them the top-secret recipe for your favourite cakes.

This goes a long way. It keeps them reading and it shows you’re the type of person who goes all out … and you didn’t even go to a retreat and write the War and Peace of baking!

Giving added value, even after only giving a small amount of promised value, will really help you and your CTA, brand and relationships.

BONUS: (Here’s our added bonus) Make the bonus point a ‘super secret they don’t want you to know’

People love some inside sneaky peakys and leaking some ‘hidden secrets’ or ‘the tips no one else is willing to tell you’ makes you look super valuable as well as really open.

If you’re a magician, share something the magic circle would hate, if you’re a TV expert, tell us what Richard Maddeley wears under his suit, if you’re a fashion designer tell us how to get the most up-to-date look for under a tenner, and tell us that other experts are chasing you down the street while you write it and trying to stop you sharing it.

You get the idea?

People love this stuff and you can share it. No one is going to chase you down!

Don’t cheat yourself with your cheat sheet
Gathering emails and authority works but make sure you don’t spend hours making a huge document when something simple will do. Make it easy to read, give extra value, and try to start that conversation or at least tell them what’s next or how they can work with you.

Here’s a cheat sheet we created earlier (oh… and it doesn’t have to be called a cheat sheet, either).