In this article, Meera Kothand shares her journey and best practices for building success for coaches using the power of content marketing and storytelling. We’ll cover:
- Q: Can you introduce yourself and share with us your inspiration? What inspired you to get into digital marketing and content marketing?
- Q: What process are you working with your clients to bring in the most value to them?
- Q: How do you educate your clients to see it from this point of view?
- Q: You are doing content marketing for coaches and helping them. Are they fitness coaches or others?
- Q: How do you create the buyer persona for your clients and help them use it?
- Q: What sort of process do you have in place to make sure that the quality of the content is there?
- Q: What do you think some writers missed in the process that would make their content more effective?
- Q: How do you advise startups to do content marketing effectively?
Q: Can you introduce yourself and share with us your inspiration? What inspired you to get into digital marketing and content marketing?
Honestly, I came into the content marketing and coaching business by accident. I was doing a little bit of marketing, and I was doing international relations. When working in a corporation, I took a little break to have my daughter and the health scare that I had to get sorted out.
I had to get surgery and all of that, and I couldn’t go back to work for some time. So I was just wondering how I can apply those skills now when I am just sitting at home? That pretty much gave birth to the content marketing business that I am running right now.
So I just started to write blog posts about marketing and things that I saw and where I felt there were gaps in content that people were not addressing and where I was inspired or where I felt that didn’t sound right. So these are the things that I picked up on. I just started blogging about it, and I grew an audience.
People wanted to work with me, which pretty much gave birth to all of this. So just by accident, I always had an interest in content marketing work, which is the work I did in the company, and this just took it a step further.
Q: What process are you working with your clients to bring in the most value to them?
I work a lot with coaches and experts on their online content strategy to help them build their brand ecosystem and do it in a way that attracts an audience and converts that audience to clients. People can go on and spread the word about your brand. But it doesn’t stop there; we want to get them to go on and be brand advocates as well.
So often, when people come and work with me, I think one of the things they realize is that they remark that the questions you’re asking are hard. Because you don’t want to give answers or because sometimes they have all the answers themselves.
So it’s really about drilling deep and doing a deep dive into their audience, who they want to attract, and the pillars behind their messaging. So it’s driving into how you meet their audience at the needs that they have. So you want to start the conversation where it’s relevant to your audience.
So often, perhaps experts or knowing your product or offer so well. We tend to jump in 10 steps or 20 steps ahead, but the people that you want to serve with that offer and they’re not just not there. So you want to start the conversation where it matters to them.
Because that’s the only way, you’re going to be able to get them into so-called your world. Get them into even considering your offer, assuming your perspective, so that’s one of the things that I love in the content marketing and coaching business.
Brainstorming with clients is where exactly you start the conversation because you can start the conversation on so many different planes along that spectrum, but starting at that right point is crucial.
Because then you would be able to get an audience that resonates with the content that you’re sharing, so that’s one thing. The other thing is moving beyond; talking about pain points.
Q: How do you educate your clients to see it from this point of view?
It is hard and sometimes rightfully. So when you’re so close to your work, it’s challenging to take a step back and mainly because when we talk about content marketing strategy, we are all just so used to the typical types of content like ‘oh, we should talk about the features, we should talk about the benefits, we should talk about how to do it.’
We are so focused that we don’t think that content can be edited from a different angle, so there is resistance. I think the opposition is in a sense where they understand that. It’s essential, but it’s resisting the work that goes into it because it’s very easy to come up with how-to content and easy to talk about the benefits and the features.
Especially if you know your offer very well, but to dig deeper into that, I think that’s where the resistance comes in. Because it’s not something that you can just pull out of your head, sometimes it just requires you to sit and look at your offer from different lenses.
So it’s not something that’s okay; I need this done in one hour; it’s going to come out in one hour. It doesn’t work like that, so I think it’s an investment of time, and I feel this is a muscle where if you keep working on it and force yourself to think about content from these angles, it gets easier.
So if the first time you’re doing it, it’s going to be complicated. So for me, this is something that I’ve been doing for years with my offers. So it’s easier in that sense, but I remember when I was starting, and I was trying to look at it from different lenses.
It was tough. So this is what I try to tell them. No one makes that leap within a day. It takes practice but the more you incorporate it, and make it a part of your system, the easier it gets.
Q: You are doing content marketing for coaches and helping them. Are they fitness coaches or others?
I work with a lot of different people. I work with people in real estate or people who are lawyers. Just to share, one of my clients, was a lawyer, and we have a lot of misconceptions about divorce and how divorce is itself.
It’s messy, it’s always very troublesome, and there’s a lot of pain involved in the whole process, but her complete message was about her strategy and how to make the entire process easy. There is a way to make it easy, and her solution was very family-focused.
So it’s turning divorce around 360 and showing an entirely new side to that. So what brings all of these different people together? Some of them I work with are fitness coaches; some are people like SEO.
They all have a similar worldview or pain point because I communicate better to attract my audience. So there isn’t one type of person in the worldview, or it’s a pain or the need that connects all of them. So that is the underlying thread from all the different types of people I work with.
Q: How do you create the buyer persona for your clients and help them use it?
One of the easiest ways is to get on a call with someone who has just purchased an offer. If they’ve just purchased, they’ve just become a client.
I think those are one of the best people to talk to because if you can get on a call with them and then work back to where they were at the point, where they decided to go ahead and engage your services or your offer, then it would tell them their pain points but also where they were at the decision? What made them decide? So those are some of the best people to speak to.
Many of them come to me in the startup phase for many people so they may have worked with maybe a couple of people, but they don’t have a grounding. For these people, I say that there’s just so much conversation in the online space in the online space.
You have to know where to go and look around the conversation because that’s pretty much what I did. There are Facebook groups and Reddit communities where it matters for your audience and where they are hanging out. Just go in there and start content marketing.
You can search for keywords and look at what people are talking about and what type of words they are using to describe? What do they need or what they’re looking for? Because many communities are in the online space, it’s gold for content marketing.
Because there are lots of dynamic conversations, people share freely and openly. Because they are looking for answers, I think this is the starting point to help you create a buyer persona. So it’s not fictional in any sense.
If you can get on the phone, by all means, anyone who has just engaged your services or anyone who is happy or you worked with, get on the phone and ask them what made you engage or what made you come and engage? Why did you find me, or why did you find my company? These are the questions you want to be asking them.
They are open-ended questions to get them to share, and after they’ve shared, you can drill down and then go and circle all your key points or whatever it is and see where it overlaps with your content marketing strategy. So if you speak to a few different people, you would start to see patterns in how they describe.
Q: What sort of process do you have in place to make sure that the quality of the content is there?
I always come back to one question, does this piece of content add to the conversation out there? If it doesn’t, go back and rework that piece of content. Personally, when I’m creating content for my business, this is the crucial question that drives me because if I’m going to be repeating everyone else’s thoughts, then again, it’s difficult to stand on.
Because there’s no one going out there saying I need more content. There’s just so much content out there, and if you don’t give enough thought to it, likely, you’re just going to be repeating what someone else said.
This is what I tell people in my audience, and my clients, and how you are adding to the conversation, and it just doesn’t have to be something completely transformational.
It could be taking a different angle or taking a different viewpoint, or sharing something that’s already been said—but packaging it in another way so that maybe it’s easier for someone to consume is something that could be a part of your content marketing strategy.
So these are little things that you can do where your content makes a dent. So if you can’t confidently say that this content adds to the literature out there, then for me, that’s not a piece of content that I’m proud of publishing. So that is like the first step.
After that, we’ve got other minor things like SEO and all of that like baseline things, but I would say the foundation, the crux of it is if your content doesn’t make a tiny dent, then it doesn’t have to exist.
Because again, it’s not something that comes easily. It can be challenging, especially when I share this with clients. You need to think deeply about that, and you also need to be aware of the content pieces that are out there.
So if you are creating content for different people in the buyer’s journey, you should be familiar with what others are sharing for each of those specific journeys. I think if you’re aware, you’ll be able to create something perhaps better, or you’d be able to add conversation into that content.
Q: What do you think some writers missed in the process that would make their content more effective?
I will share two or three things that come to my mind. The first thing is you write content, and then it’s ready to publish. People don’t realize that it’s a vast process, and there’s no way that you can write a draft, and then that draft is good to go with one edit.
The first draft is really bad, and it takes a few different iterations before you get it right. Even the best of writers, when writing for business specifically, it takes time because it’s another skill. When you’re writing for business communication, and especially when you’re writing on the web, it’s a little bit of another skill.
People think the first draft I’ve written is terrible or I can’t write, and they’re just waiting a time to outsource it to someone else. It’s good to get help, but again, if you have a limited budget, sometimes that completely stops people from creating content at all just because of that fear.
So there’s no one going from being a novice writer to a great writer all in one day. Even the best writers have multiple rounds of revisions that they do. The most significant myth is that people think that you’re kind of born a good writer, but it’s like any skill. It’s just like a muscle. It’s something that can be learned.
I don’t help them with the writing per se; I help them more with the strategy. So many of them do the writing themselves, but they do have an aim of hiring out. That’s their goal, which is fine, and I think it’s a natural progression for any business.
But I think before you hire out any role, for that matter, you need to have an understanding of that role to be able to communicate what you’re looking for. I have worked with people trying to write content for email copy and stuff like that.
If you don’t understand what you’re trying to do with the content, go back to the basics and learn how this content will help nudge your audience along that buyer’s journey. Then how would that freelancer be able to help you?
It starts with an understanding of your audience and what you’re trying to achieve with content! If you get very clear on that, then, by all means, go and hire someone out. But if you don’t have this foundation, I would think you will be wasting money because it’s likely that the content you get back will not help with the buyer’s journey.
Q: How do you advise startups to do content marketing effectively?
I always say focus on one main content channel and one platform. So content medium in the sense if it’s a blog, a podcast, or a youtube channel. Because each of those by itself is like they’re giants, I would say just pick one. I started with a blog because that’s my strength.
Some of my clients feel better on youtube; they’re comfortable with that, so they start with that. So it doesn’t matter which one, but pick one where you think it’s utilizing your zone of genius, where you’re able to demonstrate or communicate the best.