1. Who am I really trying to reach? There are any number of exercises you can engage with to define your answer, but I like whittling it down to its simplest elements: “I help people who struggle with ___________, to stop _______________ and start ____________________.”
Action step: Write out, longhand, what you want to help people with (there are clarifying questions in the Coaching Blueprint digital marketing program that are quite detailed), and then get it into one simple, straightforward sentence.
2. Is it “me”? I’m of the belief that a person’s website should be as visually representative of who they are as the messaging. It’s like putting on the clothes that make you feel most like yourself: if all black and a moto jacket are how you like to roll, you’ll feel completely out of place in a Laura Ashley dress. The same goes for websites. Does it feel like you, visually? Does it “sound” like you, when you write or create ongoing content?
Action step: make a list of any way that your website doesn’t feel like “you” and create an action plan to start shifting things.
3. Does my “about” page tell people about me, or about how I help them? Focus on the latter and tell people about how what you do translates to helping them. Yes, people are interested on some level about you—but only because they’re trying to get a sense of what it would be like to work with you. “Is this life coach ‘my’ kind of coach? Does she sound like someone I’d want to receive help from?” That’s what someone is unconsciously or consciously asking themselves when they read an about page.
Action step: re-write your about page from the perspective of how what you’re about, helps your clients. Move away from auto-biography.
4. Is my Services/Coaching page streamlined? As anyone who has read The Coaching Blueprint digital marketing program knows, I’m not a fan of packages. Packages demean the work of coaching. I know of very few people who would trust any doctor or lawyer who said, “I’ll charge you X for one appointment, but if you buy my Super Sparkle Package, you can save 20%!” Additionally, packages for one-on-one work undercut one’s hourly rate by offering incentives for paying less.
Action step: you want to check and see if your Services page is streamlined, see if you can fill in this sentence: “I charge _________ per session, with a commitment of ___________ weeks/months.”
5. Am I speaking to client needs? Look at your Services pages and ask yourself if you are clearly identifying what your clients struggle with/need help with.
Action step: Look at your last 10 blog posts and ask yourself if the posts identify specific things clients struggle with/need help with. If they don’t, re-write or edit them so that they do.
6. Am I articulating the solutions that I provide? Look at your Services pages and your last 10 blog posts and ask yourself if they speak to the solutions that you provide. Note that a “solution” is not “Hire me for a session.” If I have a sink of dirty dishes, my “solution” is cleaning them, not buying the dish soap.
Action step: Same as #5.
7. Are there multiple places where people can engage with my work? Look to see if there are many different ways to sign up for your newsletter; many different options for engaging with you on social media; many different ways to join communities you might have created. If someone’s only option for engaging with your work is to hire you, you’re limiting their long-term interactions with your business.
Action step: create multiple points where people might sign up for your newsletter or engage with you on social media.
8. What’s your ongoing approach for engaging people? Is it blog content, a podcast, video, something else? You need a reason for people to regularly come back and a way for them to see the totality of the content that you offer. It’s not just one blog post or video or piece of content that makes the website; it’s the work pulled together that really shows people what you’re about and how you can help them.
Many small business websites have blogs that just showcase their latest features or offerings. If someone is in the tech industry, this can be helpful—if I’m using your newsletter service, for instance, knowing that you rolled out a new feature that will help me to do business is helpful—but for service-based industries, just hearing about new availability to take on clients or sign up for a course, isn’t as engaging.
Action step: write out what your actual, ongoing approach for reaching people will be, and particularly note how this approach will help your clientele with what they struggle with, and offer them solutions.
There is a special kind of torture associated with writing about yourself.
When it comes to knowing how to write your About page, summing up your experience, philosophy and service can be nothing short of daunting.
Nothing comes out sounding as good as it does when it’s in your head. It’s never exactly what you mean to say. You wonder which details about your past are actually important. You struggle with how to talk about what it is that you actually do.
Crafting the story of your coaching evolution is a really important foundational element of your business.
Your backstory gives people a reason to care.
The concept of an origin story, typically associated with the comic book hero, can be adapted to serve as an integral implement in the coaches’ writing (and expert-positioning) toolbox.
In your quest to become a coach, you have probably overcome adversity to serve humanity. How do you talk about that struggle and triumph without offering up too much irrelevant personal information or blathering on about characters and events that don’t matter?
Here are prompts for mining your personal and professional experience for a story that’s “fit to print.” Get away from TMI and position yourself as the person who can “save the day.”
What’s your big, bold “I believe…” statement?
Spiderman’s credo, echoing in the voice of his beloved Uncle Ben, is “With great power comes great responsibility.” This bolsters his commitment to protect the defenseless. What is your bold statement about your practice?
Answer these questions to write your about page:
- What’s “The World According to YOU?” What do you know to be true about what you teach people to do?
- What’s possible when someone embraces this idea?
- If you were having a foot-stamping, fist-shaking moment talking about what you do, what would you be saying about what you believe?
What do you know to be true about the people you work with?
One of your superpowers as a coach is being able to see other people clearly. You guide them to see themselves more clearly, too. In this section, use that power to develop some copy that will show visitors to your website or readers of your content that you really get them. Where are they now in their lives? What do they really want? What’s their greatest struggle? What’s their biggest dream? Be as specific as you can. This may not seem like part of your origin story, but you’ll probably find that their dreams and struggles were also once yours.
What do we need to know about you?
There’s a struggle you went through to get to where you are and a reason why you offer the work that you do. That struggle and your reason for being is probably very familiar to the rest of us. Unearth that struggle by thinking in terms of your “before and after” story. Where were you before you found the work that changed your life? What was that transformation like for you? And where did you find yourself after? Show how you’ve proven yourself. In superhero talk, they say “don’t make your hero a Chosen One -– give him a chance to prove himself.”
Show how you’ve earned your stripes.
You can plainly see how much more powerful that narrative is than the “silver spoon” version of the story. Your professional journey is also relevant here. Accreditations, certificates, degrees, trainings, include it all and look for “through lines” in your experience that show you are perfect to be doing what you’re doing. Your black belt in karate can be spun into a feat of commitment and discipline. These are values that will resonate with your audience.
Talk about what you do
Want an easy way to learn how to write your about page ? Show us how a conventional background can lead to an extraordinary idea. You’ve already told us — as directed in the last prompt — how you found your way out of your challenging circumstance. Now, tell us how the light at the end of the tunnel became the work you do today. You don’t have to hide the blemishes. You are fallible. And a flawed narrator who didn’t have the goods served to him on a silver platter, as we know, is more relatable. Be willing to give us the real story. What did you try that didn’t work out quite as you expected? How does it feel now to be completely aligned in your work?
Give us a happy ending.
The last bit of content you need for your coaching business About Page are the happy endings, or the results you’ve helped clients achieve. These don’t need to be specific promises, nor should they be. But, this content should show prospective clients what is possible when they sign on to work with you. You might also speak to your personal happy ending. We are all works in progress, right? So while we want to know that you found your footing, you’ve proven yourself, you’ve made it past adversity, and you’ve reached beyond your humble beginnings, we also want to know that you are still doing the work and putting your philosophies into practice each and everyday…and that it’s working for you.
So, let me know how it goes for you writing your origin story for your website About Page. Then, tweet it to me @AmandaBerlin. I look forward to reading all about your triumph over adversity!
After more than a decade in corporate communications, Amanda Berlin now uses her pitch powers for good, helping entrepreneurs position themselves as experts and create compelling content that sells their services. She’s a certified professional coach who understands where the training leaves off. She teaches coaches how to build a platform, raise their profile, and get their name out there. Amanda is the creator of the online course in writing copy, Create Content That Connects.
With great excitement I’d like to introduce our new featured writers Amber McCue, Farideh Ceasar, Theresa Reed, Kiri Mohan, and Linda Johannessen. Over the next few months, these five phenomenal women will share their expertise for the Coaching Blueprint during the months of February, March and April 2015.
Amber McCue has a sweet spot for helping entrepreneurs do better business and increase their bottom line. Amber partners up with the Nicest, smartest CEOs around. Entrepreneurs come to her to build streamlined, scalable, profitable business operations without working 24/7, and they are not disappointed. She loves all things business — especially, problem solving, systems, team building, brainstorming, making money via strong revenue streams, sharing that wealth again and again in the best possible ways. You’ll find her at NiceOps.com – When you sign up you’ll get a free get efficient prioritization matrix to help you get more done and uplevel your business.
Farideh Ceaser is a musician turned launch strategist. After 15 years on the road touring as a musician, Farideh switched gears and now helps entrepreneurs launch their big ideas and online courses. She regularly delivers her wisdom in the form of a ukelele and a song here. Grab your copy of Farideh’s free 30-Day Launch Checklist & Calendar at www.launchyourcourse.com
Theresa Reed (aka The Tarot Lady) is an intuitive Tarot reader, teacher, mentor and yogi on a mission to take Tarot from hippie to hip. When she’s not reading tarot, she’s busy helping broke-ass mystics learn how to create sustainable + profitable businesses. If you are ready for straight talkin’ tarot and a side of biz whizz, get to her online hood: The Tarot Lady or follow her on Twitter @thetarotlady.
Kiri has been working in the administrative field since she was 15 years old. What started off as a part-time job after high school blossomed into a full-time business when she realized she loved supporting people but wanted more flexibility than corporate America provided. Currently a Virtual Assistant for almost four years, she is constantly striving to figure out ways to make other people’s lives easier. Kiri is a Mount Holyoke College graduate and currently lives outside of Boston, MA with her family. In her spare time she blogs about Star Wars, drinks tea, and eats olives.
Linda Laegreid Johannessen is the founder and CEO of YAY Images, a stock image agency that’s the Spotify version of affordable, licensed images. For just $9.90 a month, you have access to 5 million (!!!) images that are perfect for blog posts, newsletters, and social media. She’d love it if you took advantage of a free month of photos or followed along on Twitter.
You’ve been working really hard to get more traffic to your website. You’ve been posting on social media, blogging regularly, sharing in Facebook groups, and the numbers do seem to be going up! But maybe that blog traffic isn’t turning into subscribers or paying clients.
Growing your business with your website isn’t just about getting people to come visit, it’s also having them stick around long enough to fall in love with you.
The reality is, not everyone will fall in love with you after reading just one blog post. So how do you get them reading more? Here are some tips:
Interlinking Your Content
Make sure you are constantly linking related topics within your blog posts or pages. This is great for search engine optimization, but also helps people find the topics that interest them that you have previously written about.
In each blog post you write, try to link to one or two other posts within your post where relevant. So if you’re writing a post about discovering your talents, and in one paragraph you talk about passion, if you’ve previously written about finding your passion, make sure to link to that post!
A great way to help your website visitors find the content that best relates to them is to create resources pages. These pages are simply a list of links to blog posts that fall within the same category or topic. You don’t need to put these pages in your menu bar as these are not primary pages, but they are great in your blog sidebar, on your about page or on your subscriber Thank You page.
I recommend thinking about the top 3 broad topics you write about often that interest your ideal clients. Then find your most popular blog posts (or just the work you’re most proud of) that fit into those categories and include them on these pages.
Often, new (and old) visitors will not take the time to scroll through your old blog posts waiting for something that grabs their attention. Resources pages that direct them to your best stuff on a specific topic, will make it easier on them to explore your content further instead of clicking away.
If a reader has made it all the way to the bottom of your blog post, it most likely means they enjoyed it (if they didn’t, they would have clicked away before finishing!). If they enjoyed it, they will likely want to read other posts you have written on the same topic.
This is the perfect moment to show them related blog posts and helps them explore further content. You can use a WordPress plugin like this one or you can add them manually by simply writing the blog post titles and linking to those posts.
Blog Post Option Form
If someone just doesn’t have to time to stick around, you still want to make sure they’ll come back again. As you probably know, the best way to do that is to get them to sign up for your email list. Just like Related Posts, putting an optin form at the bottom of your blog posts is great because they’ve just read a post that they enjoyed and are likely ready to sign up for more!
You can do this manually, but using a plugin to make it happen automatically is even better. I love Magic Action Box for WordPress.
Go spend a few minutes checking out your blog and see which (or all) of these tips you could be implementing to keep visitors on your website hangin’ out longer. Then implement!
Leah Kalamakis wants to live in a world where website shame doesn’t exist and anyone can find freedom in freelancing. As a web designer and freedom-seeker, she helps entrepreneurs have beautiful online homes and freelancers find freedom from soul-sucking corporate jobs.
When she’s not hanging out online, you can find her eating popcorn, riding her scooter along the French coast, or drinking wine in the sunshine.
Download her free Website Planning Toolkit or say hello on Twitter!
One of the most common issues I hear people struggling with in business finding inspiration for blogging . Whether you have a blog, send out a regular newsletter, or create any other type of content, you’ve probably had moments where you sat down at your computer and struggled to find a topic that inspired you. I’ve been blogging since 2006, so I know what that’s like.
Over the years, I’ve come up with some really easy ways of collecting ideas for blog posts, webinar topics, newsletters, podcast episodes, and all the other types of content that I create on a regular basis. As a result, I rarely struggle to come up with a topic.
WHERE TO COLLECT YOUR IDEAS
The first step is to create an easy to use system to collect your ideas. There are a number of ways to do this, but what I do is to keep a notebook where I simply write down the ideas for topics when they come to me. I like the physical notebook because it makes it easy to flip through the pages and choose a topic.
I have the notebook divided into different categories, for each type of content: blog, podcast, webinar, video, etc. Some ideas will serve as topics for multiple categories, and some are more specific to the particular type of content. For example, when I run a webinar, I will usually record the audio and release it as a podcast episode.
If you prefer to keep a digital system for your ideas, simply create a document for your notes. You could have one document divided into different categories, or you could have a separate document for each type of content.
Whether you choose a digital system or a physical notebook, it’s vital to have a place to collect your ideas when they come to you. That way, when you sit down to create, you’ll have a number of topics to choose from.
WHERE TO GET IDEAS & INSPIRATION
Now that you’ve determined which system you’ll use, you need to start populating it with ideas for topics. It takes some time to train yourself to get your ideas into your system, but once you’ve made this a habit, you’ll be filling your system with topics for your content.
Where to get ideas:
- Online forums and social media groups. If you belong to forums, Facebook groups, or LinkedIn groups that are centered around your coaching niche, you’ve got a wealth of information. Pay attention to questions that people ask, and make note of these in your system. Take a few minutes to write a brief response to their questions, and then write an expanded blog post on the topic at a later date.
- Frequently asked questions. Make note of the questions that you frequently read online or receive from clients. These can be answered in detail in a blog post, newsletter, or other type of content. You can also take the questions from the FAQ on your website and expand them into blog posts or videos.
- Comments. Whether you blog or create videos, people will comment on what you’ve created. Often, you’ll receive a question that could be expanded into another blog post or video. The same goes for your posts on social media. Take questions from within those comments, and add them to your system.
- Keywords and phrases. This is how people will find your content online. Whenever someone searches for a word or phrase that is related to your coaching niche, there’s a possibility that they’ll come across your website. One way to make your site more likely to show up is by creating regular content that includes these keywords and phrases. This is a topic big enough for a separate blog post, but if you get clear on what your top keywords are, you can write a blog post or create a video for each one.
- Your own stories. You can share stories of your own experience, mistakes, and knowledge that you’ve acquired over the years. People really connect with stories, and you can use them to illustrate a point about something that’s related to your coaching. I frequently share personal stories from my previous business as examples of things I’ve learned about business and marketing. Personal stories can be entertaining and funny, and they will often stay in your readers’ minds longer than a traditional blog post or video.
- Consume content. It’s said that the best way to become a good writer is to read. If you’re a blogger, then be sure you’re reading other blogs on a regular basis. Books and magazines are great for inspiration as well. If you create videos, watch others’ videos for ideas. If you run webinars, attend other people’s webinars. You get the idea.
Whenever these ideas come to you, put them in your system immediately. Don’t leave it for later, thinking that you’ll remember. Just do it. If for some reason your system is unavailable (you’re away from your computer or your notebook is in your office), send yourself an email with the topic idea. You can add it to your system when you get back in your office.
Good luck with implementing this system! I hope you find it useful, and I hope it makes your blogging and content creation a little bit easier.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
- Create your system: decide on digital or paper, and create those files or set up that notebook.
- Start filling in each section of your system (blog, podcast, webinar, video, etc.) with ideas. If all you’re doing is blogging, that’s perfectly fine. Just add all your ideas for blog posts.
- When you sit down to write your next blog post, record a podcast, create a PowerPoint for a webinar, or film a video, refer to your system for ideas and inspiration. Cross your topic off the list when you’ve selected one to use.
Holly Worton helps coaches 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. As a heart-centered business owner, you do amazing work, and Holly 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 build your tribe. Sign up for her free 90-minute social media training at SociallyHolistic to start building connections online. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, or Instagram.
Sitting down to write this article, the melody of John Mayer’s song, “Say What You Need To Say” floats through my head, and I catch myself singing aloud quietly. Except upon a quick Google of the lyrics, I realize that I’ve been replacing the word ‘need’ in the title lyric with the word ‘mean.’
Say what you mean to say. And so it is.
As a coach with an online presence, your voice is everywhere. And voice is energy. What kind of energy are you aligning yourself with? How is that energy affecting your relationship with your potential clients?
On vocab and voice
The language you use online tells your potential clients everything you believe about them and for them. Every word you commit to pixels carries a certain energy. It’s time to get clear on what energy you’re attaching yourself to, what energy you’re using to attract clients to you.
Too many coaches write their web copy in unintentional (we hope) emulation mode. They don’t realize that by embodying the spirit, the personality, the gestalt of someone else’s way of expressing herself, they’re setting the wrong energy in motion for their business and their brand.
Or they reach for overused metaphors or tired cliches. These habits, too, set the wrong energy in motion.
What’s the ‘wrong energy’ for a brand conversation? It’s the type of energy that you’re not equipped — by nature or by choice — to deal with well. For me, that would be a balls-to-the-wall, highly audacious, fiercely-fixated-on-the-goal type of client. For you, that might be a soft, retiring type who has trouble expressing herself and isn’t clear on what she wants in life.
Let’s take a closer look at how this works.
What words are worth
As a life coach, you have powerful questions that can help unlock your clients’ beliefs, fears, and desires. You’re trained to listen closely for the language your client uses, and you’re curious about the relationship between what she tells herself and what she does.
When writing your own website, the language you use to describe your services, to characterize your ideal client, and even the words that make up your tagline tell your site visitors a LOT about what you believe and how you work.
Let’s compare two different sentences to get a sense of this in action:
I’ll be your cheerleader, your plugged-in accountability partner, your enthusiastic advocate along the road to wholeness.
My role in our relationship? To notice what you’re not saying, to tend to what is faltering, and to befriend the highest part of you, the part you’ve kept locked away from moonlight and grace and birdsong.
Notice the difference in the energy between these two sentences?
Sentence 1 feels electric (“plugged-in”), activated (“cheerleader”), and full of forward momentum (“enthusiastic advocate”). If you didn’t know this coach personally, you’d read this line and expect her to be an extrovert with lots of pep. You might guess that working with her would be an invigorating, pump you up! experience.
But if you’re actually a quieter, gentler sort of coach and you’ve got this line on your website, the clients you attract are going to be mighty surprised at the softness of your breathy whisper over Skype.
Sentence 2, on the other hand, has a moody, restful, intuitive energy about it. Look at the verbs this writer has chosen: “notice,” “tend,” and “befriend.” There’s a caretaking, nurturing, careful quality to this language that would strongly appeal to a certain type of client, and just as strongly repel others. And the bit about moonlight, grace, and birdsong? Straight up poetry. Not for everybody, but just right for some Right People.
Locate your energy on the spectrum
Of course, “high octane” and “poetic nurturer” are two poles on the language energy spectrum, and there’s a huge range of possibilities in between. Your business brand deserves a voice unto itself, a voice that’s a natural extension of you as a coach and a person. That voice isn’t going to sound like anyone else’s — and that’s a good thing.
How to make sure your web copy is aligned with the energy you want to feed — and hey, while you’re at it, your tweets, Facebook posts, and e-newsletters, too?
Here are 3 simple steps:
1) REVIEW YOUR VOCAB :: Review your main web pages, your last 3 blog posts, and your recent social media updates. Scan for language. Watch for verbs (action words, like ‘stoke,’ ‘marvel,’ and ‘wrangling’), adjectives (words that describe other words, like ‘gracious,’ ‘keen,’ and ‘wild’ ) and adverbs (words that describe action words and tend to end in -ly, like ‘lovingly,’ ‘sparingly,’ and ‘radically’). Make a list of words you’ve used that feel right on and words that feel ‘off.’ Bringing an editorial ear to your own writing is the first step to realigning its energy.
2) REWRITE FOR ALIGNMENT :: If you find a troublesome word, line, or passage on your site or in your Twitter bio, experiment with rewriting it, swapping out ‘off’ words for ‘on’ words. For instance, if you’re a plainspoken, tell-it-like-it-is coach but your copy is wrapped in six layers of metaphor at every turn, something’s gotta give. Rewriting to capture the essence of what you really believe, using intentionally chosen verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, will make a world of difference.
3) SCAN FOR LINGUISTIC SYMMETRY & ASYMMETRY :: Notice as you read other coach’s (and non-coaches’) websites and social media streams what language strikes you as like your own and unlike your own. Chances are, people using language that’s ‘on’ for your business may have a brand with similar energy to yours, thus attracting a similar type of Right Person. Do with that observation what you will. (And no, definitely don’t copy it!) Use it for comparative inspiration. Or commit to look away entirely, if comparison leads you to feeling stymied or self-conscious.
Own your voice, own your energy, and own the pathway your Right People take to get to you. It’s all right there in your word choice.
Abby Kerr is Creative Director of The Voice Bureau, a boutique brand voice development and copywriting agency serving solo-owned and small businesses. She is creator of The Voice Values paradigm for branding. Subscribe to her e-letter, Insider Stuff, for your complimentary brand voice self-assessment. Then tweet her to share your Top 3 Voice Values.
Abby lives in the PNW and is a home cook, a dog mom, and a fiction writer.