One of the most common questions we get in our mentorship sessions helping coaches market themselves better is around content marketing. Everyone agrees that coaches need to do it to be successful, but it’s not always easy to know where to start or how to make it efficiently work for you.
In this two-part series, we’ll be doing a deep dive into 7 content marketing best practices, including specific actionable tips from the experts that you can use right away. This article will cover what to post and part 2 covers how and where to promote your content.
Create for Real People not Search Engines
While it is important to optimize your website for search engines so that you come up on the first page of relevant Google searches, Mado Hesselink of Yoga Teacher Resource advises that the bulk of your content should be created for human readers. As Nicholas Benedict of the King, Edward digital marketing firm (and advisor to awarenow coaches) explains:
"It used to be that you could rank well in Google with some technical tricks that exploited its algorithm. Not anymore. Google is now very good at detecting “tricks” and levels the playing field for people who produce good content that people engage with. You should still have a search engine optimization (SEO) expert help you structure your website, help choose topics, and put an SEO finish on your written content, but those things will only help if people like and engage with your content."
Create for Your Audience
The next step beyond writing for people instead of search engines is focus your content on your target customers. Lucas Aylward of SkySoar Marketing recommends that coaches “take the time to identify who your ideal customer is. For example, business coaches would make content directed toward small business owners."
Similarly, Scot Chrisman of The Media House recommends that coaches “make sure that you know who will be possibly viewing your content and figure out how you will be able to satisfy what they want.”
Although we are covering “where and how to post content” in Part II, it’s worth noting here that focusing on your target audience will also yield insights into the type of content you create and how you distribute it. For example, younger demographics will tend to engage more with video and use channels like Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok proportionally more than Facebook or LinkedIn. Pinterest is great for building awareness and engagement, but not if your target audience is men; over 70% of Pinterest users are women. And so on.
Answer Your Audience’s Questions
How do you find interesting topics that will interest your potential customers? Lucas Aylward suggests that coaches “create a list of problems your ideal customer has, or could face in the future and create content catered to solving these problems.” Paige Arnof-Fenn, CEO of Mavens & Moguls recommends that coaches “keep a running list of topics they get asked about by clients and business owners” that might make for good content ideas.”
Similarly, Mado Hesselink suggests that coaches “comb through Facebook groups of your ideal customer to identify frequently asked questions.”
You can also take advantage of tools that can help generate content ideas. For example:
"To get ideas for your blog posts, think about what keywords your target audience would search for in Google. Use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to find keywords that have high search volume and low competition, and then write an article for each keyword you identify to target." - Jayson DeMers of Email Analytics
"Use Google Autosuggest to find questions people are asking. Type in half a question or keyword, hit space, and see what shows up. For a yoga instructor, you could try searching for ‘yoga poses for ____’. You'll see suggestions like yoga poses for kids, for couples, for back pain, etc." - Nate Shivar, Shivar Web Consulting
It barely needs to be said that quality content is content that will provide value to its audience - the question is what kind of content provides the most perceived value, and how can “marketing” best be integrated into “content marketing”.
Continuing on his previous point, Nate Shivar recommends that coaches
“focus on timeless or evergreen content that solve persistent problems for specific people. For example, content about back pain for women who work on their feet all day will bring in more readers over time than content about a branded workout routine.”
In the coaching space, Jakuk Kliszczak, Marketing Specialist with Channels notes that “posting before and after content works great for coaches and wellness instructors particularly.”
More generally, Lucas Aylward points out that “value is typically content that provides education, inspiration, or entertainment.” Rotating these elements and mixing them with some traditional self-promotional marketing is recommended by many experts, including David Hamilton from Oppilo Marketing, who advises that coaches “have a mixture of teaching, knowledge, social, storytelling and conversion content. We tend to encourage our clients to follow the 1 in 5 rule where 1 in 5 posts might have a direct call to action.”
Repurpose Program Content if Possible
Some branches of coaching and instructing lend themselves well for the repurposing of program content as content marketing. Rahul Mohanachandran of Kasera gives the example that “a wellness instructor who runs Zoom sessions for their customers can record that session” and use segments from it in content marketing. Not only does this approach generate relevant content to your business, but it also efficiently uses your time.
Interview Guests, Access Their Audience
Whether you prefer written, audio, or video content, you can create some variety and expand your reach by interviewing guests or experts who would connect with your audience. Not only might such content increase engagement from your own audience, but it can also allow you to access theirs.
Cody May of StudioPTBO explains how his company leveraged this approach through podcasts:
“We interviewed guests and when you are starting out, you can utilize platforms like poddit.net to find guests. We have interviewed some of the top business coaches by simply making the ask. This allows you to hack the attention of their network and use them as authority content if you decide to run paid ads.”
As noted above, many branches of coaching lend themselves to video. As expert Alexandra Cote puts it:
"I've always been surprised by how many wellness instructors are leaving video out of their marketing tactics. There are top influencers on Instagram who haven't done a video in their lives but frankly, this is what people are looking to get: educational content so they can try what you're teaching at home."
The perceived complexity and difficulty of creating video content deters many coaches, but Megan Marrs of K9 of Mine notes that
“coaching definitely benefits a LOT from video, but videos don't need to be big productions with tons of editing - a quick Facebook Live video taking followers through a basic vinyasa flow or detailing a few productivity hacks is great.”
Overall, the coaches who are going to be most successful with content marketing are those who are able to define their audience and produce compelling content that addresses their needs and makes them want to know more. That’s half of the battle with content marketing. The other half comes into play with the marketing of the content you create - a subject we treat in Part II of this series.