How many half-written blog posts do you have filed away? 5? 50? Somewhere in between?
Personally, I’ve lost count, each one of them axed to the tune of, “Scratch that. Who am I to write that anyway?”
Endless edits. More endless brainstorms to find topics where you’re an “expert”. Scratching your head to figure out what you actually are an expert in, in the first place.
As bloggers we all know those days. Or weeks. Writer’s block, we call them. Self-judgement, perhaps. But we know we have to get through them, else we find ourselves in an unplanned extended hiatus from our blogs while we write draft after draft, or scour other people’s blogs for “inspiration”.
But I think Rumi said it best:
Your defects are the ways that glory gets manifested. Whoever sees clearly what is diseased in himself begins to gallop on the way. There is nothing worse than thinking you are well enough.
When we confront the truth- that our greatest inspiration, our deepest capacity to be a coach and a guide, comes from our own wounds and defects- we can claim this power to write even more provocative blogs that our readers and clients can connect with on a deeply personal level.
So instead of burying your head in your keyboard and “possible blog post” sticky notes, try these steps.
Ideas for blog inspiration
1. Look back at your life and choose five pivotal experiences you feel have really made you into who you are. These can be cataclysmic or subtle- but likely if they were significant for you, they’ll resonate with your readers. What’s more, sharing these experiences will give your readers an insight into why you are qualified to be their guide: you’ve gone through the same things that they’re struggling with. Which brings me to…
2. Listen to what your readers are struggling with. Is there a common thread in what they email/comment about? The issues that people bring to you are the areas that they believe you’re an expert. Sometimes it takes looking in this external mirror to see reflected back your areas of expertise and grace.
3. Write about something completely different. It’s ok to stray a bit every once in a while- whether it’s sharing the top 5 lessons you learned when you were stranded at the airport for 24 hours, or an interview with someone you just find plain inspirational, sometimes to get yourself out of the “I don’t have any sage advice to give!” rut you need to break free from “how you do things”.
4. Read up on Carl Jung’s concept of The Wounded Healer. He creates an archetype around the story of Chiron, a renowned healer in Ancient Greece who became a gifted healer after he was critically wounded and, as a result, suffered from constant pain. We offer ourselves as guides to our clients not from a place of superiority or total healing, but a humble place of understanding their suffering. Then we can walk with them on their journey- rather than presuming to pull them forward. How would you write for your readers if you were walking beside them? Take a risk and write from a vulnerable place.
5. Whatever you do, DON’T go pouring over other people’s blogs. I promise you, it doesn’t help. At all. We do this under the guise of “inspiration”, but really its comparison in disguise. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.
In fact, if you start feeling like you’re in a blogging rut? Stop reading other people’s blogs. This will help you get back into your own voice and your own experience. Step away from the computer and go live, love, learn. THIS is what your readers want to hear about.
And remember- your readers and clients aren’t looking for a superhero. They’re looking for a human being who understands their experiences and is able to offer them guidance. Let your blogs- and your coaching- be a reflection of how much you’ve grown along the way- nobody expects you to have it all together. We all love an underdog, remember?
Heather Day is a Transformational Coach, yoga teacher, and a guide for those who seek to live a Heart Centered Life. She helps people who have fallen out of balance to return to center with intuitive and practical tools for body, soul, and lifestyle. You’ll find her eating papaya, teaching yoga and coaching from her home in Costa Rica. Get her free meditation series to overcome fear and find your own Heart Center, and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook
You’ve probably heard about webinars (and you might’ve even attended a few yourself), but you’re still a little confused about exactly how to use them for your coaching practice. Plus, the idea of figuring out how to host one yourself totally makes your head spin like crazy.
Let’s start calming that overwhelm, okay? Hosting a webinar isn’t just for the tech-savvy and it doesn’t have to be scary for complete beginners either. After you finish reading this, you’ll know exactly what steps to take to host your very first successful webinar, so you can fill those last few spots in your client list.
First, let’s talk about what a webinar is and how it can be a super effective marketing tool for your business.
Most simply put, a webinar is a virtual seminar given over the web. It’s sounds a bit bland, but really, it’s a way for you give a live talk while your biggest fans listen on the phone or through their computer.
Webinars are awesome because they help build momentum and buzz about your business, like drawing bees into the honey. They are a space for you to provide free content, so that your audience can learn from you and then, ideally, take the next step and sign up to work with you. Sounds like a win-win to me!
So, how can you host your own webinar?
Here are my favorite services for hosting a webinar:
FreeConferencing– free and user-friendly
Instant Teleseminar– free 21-day trail + a paid service with more options
GoToMeeting– free 30-day trail
Spreecast– free + great for video
Google Hangout– free + another option for video
What to talk about:
When preparing your talk for the webinar, follow these super simple steps:
1. Ask yourself, “What is the most urgent problem my dream client needs solved, like, right now?” (This will be your main topic.)
2. Then, what are 3 – 5 “secrets” from your program that solve this problem? (This will be the heart of your talk.)
3. Highlight the gap. For each of the 3-5 secrets you share, talk about the pain your dream client is experiencing, then create a vision of the results they want. This creates the gap, so that you can share how your program is the ideal bridge between the two.
How to highlight the gap:
This is where you can be extra creative. Get inside your dream client’s head and imagine their thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams.
How does your dream client CURRENTLY feel?
Are they depressed, stressed out, full of shame, overwhelmed, frustrated, scared? Are they experiencing physical pain? How is their financial situation? Are their relationships being negatively affected? What bigger negative consequences might happen if your dream client doesn’t get help now?
How will your dream client feel AFTER your program?
Will they feel at peace, confident, free, excited, fulfilled? How is their self-image improved? Are they making more money? Is their career, relationship, or health improved? What big dreams will they be going after?
Once you’ve highlighted the gap for each of your 3-5 secrets, share how your program can fill that gap. At the end of your webinar, your audience will be craving a chance to work with you (and have their gap filled), so give them a chance by inviting them into your program.
Congratulations, you’ve just mapped out your first successful webinar!
Ashley Wilhite is the founder of Your Super Awesome Life, where she helps women live a life they love while creating a freedom-based business. You can find Ashley on Twitter, Facebook and get your free copy of “The 5 Things That Hold You Back From Living the Life You Love.”
When you’re “reacting” in business, you’re thinking things like… “What’s going to make me money?” and “How can I get more followers?”
You might do what I did during my first year in business–spend the last $150 you had on your credit card on a meeting with a “business consultant” who mostly blew off our time together. She hadn’t even looked at my website, prior to our meeting.
Why did I plunk that money down? Because I was in a space of fear. I was reacting. I needed to know how to make money, and to do that, I thought you needed more followers, more subscribers, an ever-bigger platform.
On one hand, that’s true. You do need a platform.
The problem? The people like that “business consultant” are mostly interested in keeping you in a state of reaction. Whatever they say is the next best thing that you need? They’re hoping you’ll react by going, “Oh! That’ll be the magic pill that makes my business finally work!”
Creating responsiveness feels different. It feels different in your body, and in your business.
The primary question stops being, “What do I need to do, to make money?” and starts being, “Who do I want to be, that will lead to making money?”
When you’re asking who you want to be in your business, the products, services, and offerings that are best for the other people who also want to align with who you’re being, start to come forward. Then you’re out of “chasing followers” mode.
When you start creating, rather than reacting, your business has a chance to really take off.
In preparing to write for the Coaching Blueprint, I’ve been perusing blogs and websites to see what coaches write about and how they promote their content and products. What I’ve noticed is the same pattern of traffic-generating blog posts, formulas for marketing products, and the incentives offered over and over. Obviously these strategies work, but how do you, in a sea of brilliant coaches, make yourself and your business stand out? How do you navigate away from the norm, and find better ways to blog to market your business to your perfect readers and clients?
What kind of coach are you?
First nail down how you want readers and potential clients to see you and your business – are you the nurturing coach offering advice with a dose of sensitivity? The butt-kicking coach who doesn’t take any excuses? The straight and narrow coach who sticks to the rules? Or maybe the adventurous coach who thinks outside the box?
No matter what type of coach you are, sharing your personality and your style of coaching through your content is important to help separate you from the crowd. While you may offer similar advice and services as other coaches, not one other person has your same experiences and perspective. Use that to your advantage!
Who are your ideal clients?
And what about your clients…are they young women starting businesses straight out of college? 30-somethings ready to escape the 9 to 5 and start a business of their own? Mothers adding a side hustle as they raise their children? Or baby boomers learning to create online businesses?
Writing with a specific person in mind, instead of producing content for the masses, will not only help generate unique content that is likely to attract those ideal clients to your business, but it will make brainstorming post ideas 100 times easier. Don’t write for everyone, write for one specific person.
Once you know who you’re writing for, work to find solutions to issues directly facing your clients and readers. Your blog isn’t just a source of information, it’s a giant marketing machine to subtly tell potential customers and clients, “I know what I’m talking about, I know how to help you, and you need to hire me NOW!”
Avoid the norm at all costs
As a business person I’m sure you’ve spent time checking out the competition and have seen post ideas repeated across the blogosphere. These topics are obviously repeated because they do generate traffic and boost reader engagement, but are they causing you to blend in with the crowd? Are readers consuming all the content they can find without any interest in the person behind it?
You need to make new readers stop and say – this person is reading my mind or the way this person writes makes me want to hang out with them or I want to come back to this site/follow her on Twitter/sign up for her mailing list because I want more of what SHE’S got, not just more coaching and business advice.
Next time you work on your editorial calendar (you have one of those right??), form your post ideas around three things – what will benefit your ideal client (don’t worry about all those other people), how you can present the information in a way that is unique to you and your experiences while avoiding generic and over-used topics.
Sarah Morgan is an award winning web designer, blog and business consultant, circus performer, and aerial instructor from just outside Detroit. She thrives on helping people grow their own websites, make the leap from unfulfilling jobs, and be brave in business and in life. In 2012 she quit her corporate design job to literally run away with the circus and get back to what she loves – working with bloggers and small businesses to create a killer online presence. Through her blog and ebooks, Sarah inspires readers to turn their passion into a job they love and build strong, successful online brands.
Have you been thinking of using Pinterest to grow your business? You’ll need to know a bit about the medium, first–because there are some differences between how people are engaging with Pinterest versus how they’re using other forms of social media.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a fast-growing, visually-focused social network that’s what I consider to be one of the more low maintenance social sites (more on that later). It’s a place where people create and share collections of visual bookmarks (images and videos that link back to the websites where they were originally posted).
Each user organizes their collection of images and videos on virtual pin boards around different themes. It’s considered a “visual discovery tool” because people can easily run searches on the site to discover visual representations of new ideas and topics of interest, and then collect them online.
Why use Pinterest?
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media sites, with a user base that is primarily women (one third of US women now use Pinterest). It drives more traffic to websites than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined (it’s the number 5 source of traffic to my own site). Pinterest can generate 4 times more revenue per click than Twitter and 27% more than Facebook (meaning that people who click on your Pinterest links tend to spend more money with you than if they were to click via Twitter or Facebook).
Sold? If your ideal clients are women, and if they tend to be visual people, then Pinterest might be the ideal social site for you. Always do your research before investing time in setting up new social media profiles, though: you need to be sure that the people you want to connect with online (your ideal clients and joint venture partners) are actually hanging out on Pinterest.
How to get started
As with any other social site, start out by listening. Take a look at other businesses like yours: coaches in general and specifically coaches within your niche. Look at how they’re using Pinterest, and make note of how they organize their pins into different boards. This will give you ideas for setting up your own boards.
Create a business account. Go to Pinterest Business to create a new business account, or to convert your existing personal account to a business one. Set up your profile as you would for any other social site: use a quality photo, a keyword-rich description, and link to your website.
Next, set up a series of blank boards around topics that are relevant to your business, such as: your blog posts, your books (if you’ve written any), your products, services, programs, and any projects that you’re working on. You can also pin images from your clients, things you find inspiring, tips for your niche audience, quotes, and anything else that you feel is a good representation of you and your interests. Refer to the notes you made when observing other coaches on Pinterest for more ideas.
There are three main ways to start filling your boards with images: you can upload your own images from your computer, you can pin existing images from your website or from other sites, or you can re-pin others’ images. Re-pinning is a lot like retweeting: you’re simply adding images to your own boards that others have uploaded. If you’re uploading your own images, it’s important to remember to edit the pin once it’s uploaded to add the link back to your own website, so people know where to find you.
As with other social sites, you want to have a balance between your own stuff and other people’s stuff. I try to keep it at 80% content from other people and 20% my own content. This is really easy on Pinterest, as there’s so much juicy information and gorgeous images out there to re-pin.
Lost for ideas?
You can pin images from your blog posts, articles that you want to bookmark, books you recommend, infographics that you found interesting, photos that you’ve taken, links to your podcast or radio show, testimonials from clients, and videos you’ve created.
As a general guideline: pin things that interest you, and pin things that interest your ideal clients. It doesn’t have to be all about business. Pinterest is a fantastic site for sharing your personal side. For example, I have boards related to business, marketing, and social media, but I also have boards that feature holistic spas, eco hotels, and photos from my country walks…three big personal interests.
Why is Pinterest low maintenance?
There are some social sites where you really need to be active on a regular basis in order to have a good presence there (think Twitter and Facebook). Of course, the more time you spend on a site, and the more regularly you visit it, the more likely you are to get better results. But Pinterest is one of those sites where I truly believe you can spend little time on it and still get great results.
Why? Because 80% of all pins on Pinterest are re-pins. Once you upload your images (with links back to your site), your pins will actually start to work for you. Pinterest is very searchable, and if you’ve used keyword-rich descriptions in all of your pins, that will make them more likely to show up in search results. I regularly see people re-pinning my images to their own boards, including old images that I uploaded months or even years ago.
A word of caution
Pinterest can be highly addictive, especially if you’re naturally a visual person. I went through a period shortly after I joined the site in 2011 when I just couldn’t get enough…and at the time I was just using it for personal reasons, not for business.
If you find yourself hopelessly addicted to Pinterest, you might try limiting your time on the site by setting an alarm so you don’t get lost online. This is something that I recommend for social media use in general.
Take action today.
Think that Pinterest might be right for your business? Check it out further to see if it’s worth investing your time in, then follow the guidelines here to get started. Enjoy!
Holly Worton helps coaches, holistic practitioners, and women in heart-centered businesses go from confusion to confidence with social media, so they can use it to build relationships online and get more clients. Why? Because as a heart-centered business owner, you do amazing work, and she wants to help you help more people. The way to do that is through Connection, and social media is one of the best ways to connect with others and to build your tribe. Sign up for her free 90-minute social media training to get started building connections online. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+.