Kevin Appleby: Building a Consulting Biz with Content Marketing

In this episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab, we go to the lab to look at the website and content marketing for Kevin Appleby’s business–Appleby Consulting. We also take a look at Neil Patel’s post, 8 Content Marketing Tricks That Helped Dollar Shave Club Go Viral.

As always, drop me a line at michele@smarterwritinglab.com and visit me at The Smarter Writing Lab to learn more about how to write better to go further with your business.

FYI–Since this episode was recorded, Kevin contacted me and let me know that he’s in the process of making some fantastic changes that will optimize his main site–Applebyconsulting.co.uk.

 

PJ Aguilar: How The Yoga Biz Coach Uses Content Marketing to Position Herself for Success

In this episode, I talk about how to use content marketing to bring value to our current and potential customers. Because if we don’t do that, what’s the point–right? And I also take a look at what Yoga Biz Coach PJ Aguilar is doing with content marketing. (HINT: She’s ROCKIN’ it!!)

Here are the sites and resources mentioned in the podcast:

www.YogaBizCoach.com

The 30 Elements of Consumer Value (article from the Harvard Business Review)

The Copywriting Crash Course 

Shoot me an email at michele@smarterwritinglab.com and let me know what’s going on in your world.

And, as always, be sure to join me over at The Smarter Writing Lab for more info about writing smarter so you can go further!

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Gareth Naylor: Painting a Brighter Future with Content Marketing

In this inaugural episode of The Smarter Content Marketing Lab Podcast, we’ll look at watercolor artist’s  Gareth Naylor’s website and give him some tips about how he can improve its content and maximize that content to help him accomplish his business goals.

I talk about specific things, including the site’s:

Home page structure

Lead magnet

About page

Blog

Gallery

I also provide some tips about ways to get the word out about the great work he’s doing.

 

Episode Takeaways

  1. Be sure your home page makes what your business is all about COMPLETELY CLEAR! Site visitors won’t work to figure out what you do or why they should care.
  2. Create a compelling about page–because this is often where people make the decision about whether to do business with you. But don’t just talk about you, you, you. Show how what you offer will positively impact your customers’ lives.
  3. If you’re selling something, make it easy for people to complete the purchasing process. And include interesting descriptions about products so that potential buyers will understand the value they deliver.
  4. Build your email list! Develop a lead magnet that provides enough value that people will want to give you their email address in order to get it.
  5. If you’re going to blog, then blog about things that captivate your audience’s attention And then PROMOTE YOUR POSTS. Push them out through social media and other venues so that people will find your content.

If you like this podcast, AWESOME! Be sure to check out more great content marketing tips and info at The Smarter Writing Lab!

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5 Reasons Writers Should Consider Launching an Online Course

Why Writers Should Consider Launching Online Courses

If you haven’t heard about the growth in popularity of online courses, listen to this: IT’S GROWING!! More and more people are turning to online courses as a way to learn about pretty much anything you can think of—from how to use a software program to training their dog to starting a business. I’m not only amazed at what people want to learn—but also that they’re willing to pay for this knowledge! After all, they can find a lot of it online for free, right? Yes—but here’s the thing: People would rather have the information gathered for them and presented in a way that’s easy to understand and follow. And this is where writers have a significant advantage when it comes to creating online courses because they:

  • Are naturally good explainers
  • Have a knack for organizing and presenting information in a way that's engaging
  • Know how to create communications that resonate with specific audiences

Why Should You Consider Creating and Selling Online Courses?

I’m a firm believer that writers should view themselves as entrepreneurs. Regardless of whether you’re a fiction writer, a freelance writer, or any other kind of writer, treating what you do as a business is how you put yourself on the path to success. And one thing many of the most successful entrepreneurs do is diversify their sources of income. They also constantly work at building their audiences—establishing tribes of raving fans. These are areas where creating and selling online courses can be of significant benefit to writers.

As a writer who has created online courses, I can say from personal experience that there are a variety of reasons—from income generation to audience building to professional fulfillment—why writers should consider adding course creation to their revenue-generating toolbox. Here are five of the most significant ones (at least for me!):

1. Creating and selling online courses can help you become recognized as an authority in your field. This is key because it can open the door to new work with potential clients and it can also help you develop more meaningful and trusting relationships with your current clients (which can lead to recurring work). You might be surprised at how much having an online course can influence how others view you. For example, if you were to create a course about how to build email campaigns that result in higher audience engagement, a client who wants to achieve this goal for his or her own company will be able to see that you actually teach others how to build successful email marketing campaigns. And that’s something that can differentiate you from other writers who might be competing for the same project.

2. It can be a very good and long-term source of passive income. Whether you’re looking for a way to supplement your fiction writing or focused on using your writing skills to become a true entrepreneur, creating and selling courses is a revenue stream that can help. Although there can be considerable time spend upfront developing a course, once it’s done—you’ve got a product that can produce a steady stream of income over and over again. But, it’s important to remember that—like most forms of “passive” income—you can’t just put it on autopilot and expect huge success. You still have to market your courses regularly to get them in front of customers who are interested in the topic(s) you’re teaching.

3. It’s a great way to build a following. One of the most valuable tools you can have as writer is robust and active email list. It gives you a way to stay in touch with people who are interested in the work you’re doing and who are potential customers for whatever you’re selling—whether it’s books, freelance writing services, or anything else that you’re using your writing skills to create. When you have an online course that you’re either selling for profit or that you’re giving away as a list magnet, you can request that people enter their email addresses in order to obtain access to the course.

4. It’s incredibly rewarding when you help others figure out how to do things that they want to do. It makes me feel good to teach someone a skill that they want to learn or to help them figure out a way to achieve a particular goal. In my opinion, there’s nothing more gratifying than being a part of that “aha” moment for someone. Even though the teacher is often the person who’s viewed as being the “giver” in the learning process, teaching is definitely a two-way street. In return for the knowledge and support you offer, you’ll receive a feeling of purpose and gratification that’s hard to match.

5. It’s fun! I love coming up with ways to make learning an enjoyable experience for my students. The process of course creation involves everything I love—from coming up with a plan for the course to determining what the creative execution will look like. As writers, we’re creative beings. And creating courses allows us to tap into a wide variety of creative tools.

Whether you’re looking for a way to supplement your current writing income or trying to broaden your entrepreneurial reach, creating and selling quality online courses is an option to consider. And—as a writer—there’s no one better equipped to do it than you.

If you enjoyed this post--AWESOME! I'd love to have you join me for more cool stuff over at The Smarter Writing Lab. And be sure to check out my FREE Copywriting Crash Course that'll teach you how to develop content that will help you build your business!

What Brené Brown Taught Me about Being a Fearlessly Authentic Entrepreneur

The "friendly driving wave." That was the focus of Brené Brown's very first Facebook Live post. And it was HILARIOUS! But, in only a few hours, it was gone.

If you're a fan of Brené's like I am, then you know that she's a research professor at The University of Houston and does a lot of fantastic work surrounding courage, shame, vulnerability and authenticity. I discovered her when I was looking for videos on TED.com that I could use as examples of presentations that really connected with audiences. And the one she gave at TEDxHouston about the power of vulnerability was PERFECT.

Brené is known for dealing with a lot of really serious stuff. I mean, there's nothing innately funny about vulnerabilty or shame. So, that's why I was so surprised and DELIGHTED to see her Facebook Live post about the importance of NOT driving in the passing lane if you're not passing AND the courtesy of the "friendly driving wave." As a southerner, I grew up watching my dad give that wave to people we'd meet on country roads as we were going to my grandparents' house or to church. For him, the "wave" was typically just a lift of a couple of fingers from the steering wheel with a quick flick to the right. It was a simple, yet important, acknowledgement that said to the other driver, "I see you. I know you. I like you."

As an adult, I carry on the tradition of the "friendly driving wave"--typically throwing up a hand when someone lets me pass or lets me merge into a crowded lane. It's a quick way of saying thanks. And THAT'S what Brené was talking about on Facebook Live as she was driving back from giving a talk in Baton Rouge. Now--let's be clear--she WASN'T videoing herself or being unsafe in any way, shape or form. Her passenger was doing the videoing as Brené gave a short--yet ALL TOO FUNNY--lesson about the rules of courteous driving. I loved it and thought how nice it was to see her in a more relaxed setting, enjoying her day and letting her personality really shine through. It made me even MORE of a fan because she allowed us to see her as a real person. Cool, right?

Later than evening, I saw a new post from Brené pop up on Facebook. In it, she explained that she had taken the "friendly driving wave" Facebook Live video down. I was like, "WTF, Brené??" Evidently, some who had seen the video had commented that it was an example of distracted driving. So, because of that, Brené took it down--acknowledging that she wouldn't want her kids to do something similar. However, she went on to say that some other folks had commented that they don't follow her "for silly Texas driving tips." Instead, they follow her for "posts on serious topics." SERIOUSLY??? It was this next part of her post that endeared me to Brené FOREVER and that taught me an important lesson about being a more fearless and authentic entrepreneur. Here it is in her own words:

I deleted the post because it's probably not a great idea [to video while driving.] NOT because people didn't like it or jumped on me about it. If I took down everything that pissed off readers, this would be a very quiet neck of the woods.

A couple of people also commented that they don't follow me for silly Texas driving tips--they follow me for posts on serious topics. I'm really inclined to say, "too bad." I am a serious person who talks about serious things. But that's just part of me. If the other part of me doesn't work for you--that's totally ok by me. Seriously .

Brené Brown

This. Was. AWESOME!! I was like, "PREACH, Brené!" But, even more than being STOKED about her response, here's what it taught me:

  • Live Your Brand AUTHENTICALLY. Brené writes about and talks about and promotes the idea of being authentic. But that can be tough to do as an entrepreneur. There's a HUGE risk that comes with showing others who we really are. Will they like us? Will current customers stick with us? Will potential customers be turned away? If people don't like you or your business when they see who you really are, then--as Brené said-- "TOO BAD!" Not everyone is going to love you or even like you. What you're offering isn't going to be something everyone can benefit from. And that's perfectly okay. Because, in the end, the people you want to join you on your entrepreneurial journey are those who get you, who dig what you do, and who connect with you because of who you really are. Trying to be someone you're not in order to get and keep customers isn't only going to be exhausting--it's also going to be an exercise in futility. We are our brand--and we have to decide how we're going to live it.
  • If Something Doesn't Work, So What? This was Brené's first attempt at Facebook Live. And she ended up taking it down after some blow back. But she didn't just go away into a corner and tell herself "NEVER AGAIN!" Instead, she used it as an opportunity to connect with her audience by being completely transparent about what happened. And guess what? Her audience LOVED it. There were so many comments about how Brené was living her own life the same way she encourages others to live theirs--courageously. Being an entrepreneur is one of the scariest things in the world. But we have to face that fear every day and try new things. Some will work. Some won't. And if they don't--it's not the end of the world. Because it's ONLY through taking those risks--large or small--that we move toward the life we're meant to live.
  • Don't Forget the Friendly Driving Wave. A little sign of kindness and appreciation goes a long way. By letting others know we appreciate what they've done makes us all better human beings. Whether it's throwing up a quick wave to someone who's let us in a crowded lane on the highway or thanking our customers in small--yet unexpected--ways, it makes a difference. And isn't that why we're entrepreneurs in the first place?
  • So, speaking of showing appreciation, THANK YOU, BRENÉ BROWN!  I'm throwing up a metaphorical "friendly driving wave" to you. Your first foray into Facebook Live was more successful than you might have imagined. It's inspired me to be a more courageous and authentic entrepreneur--and it's also reminded me to NOT DRIVE IN THE PASSING LANE IF I'M NOT PASSING!

    If you enjoyed this post--AWESOME! I'd love to have you join me for more cool stuff over at The Smarter Writing Lab. And be sure to check out my FREE Copywriting Crash Course that'll teach you to how to develop content that will help you build your business by connecting more authentically with your audience. 

 

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