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Month: March 2018

3 Crucial Steps to Take BEFORE Creating a Content Marketing Plan

3 Crucial Steps to Take BEFORE Creating a Content Marketing Plan

When creating a content marketing plan, a lot of entrepreneurs I know do it backwards.

They sit down and start brainstorming a bunch of topics. Which can work. But, it can also be a big time waster (especially if the entrepreneurs get stuck and have no idea what they want to create). There’s also a high likelihood they don’t end up creating content their ideal client wants to consume. (Which is the whole point of putting a content marketing plan together in the first place.)

Or, in some cases, they skip the plan altogether and simply jump in and create whatever tickles their fancy that day.

Again, this can sometimes be successful strategy. (It wasn’t for me.) But, I think in most cases what you typically end up is a content marketing plan that’s hit or miss. (Truthfully, more miss than hit.)

So, is there a better way to create a content marketing plan? Why yes! And, where it starts is by making sure you have a solid foundation in place.

Not only are you more likely to create a successful blog or podcast or video channel or whatever you’re creating because you’ve focused on building a solid foundation, but it’s also going to be soooo much easier for you to create content on a regular and consistent basis (which really is the key to creating momentum and results around your marketing).

Plus, just sitting down and creating a content marketing plan for a year (or even for the next quarter) can feel overwhelming. That’s why I think taking a few steps back and getting your foundation in place BEFORE you create a content marketing plan is so essential.

And, the best part? Having this foundation in place will help focus ALL of your marketing efforts, not just creating a content marketing plan.

Without further ado, let’s dive into these three crucial steps.

1. Be clear on precisely what your expertise is (and isn’t).

If you’re a new entrepreneur or new to whatever it is you’re doing, this can feel daunting. It can also feel daunting if you are like me and have a bad case of “fraud” syndrome, or “I have to read one more book or get one more certification before I’m an expert” syndrome.

I’m not going to give you the same advice you may have heard from other gurus, which is if you know 80% more than your ideal client, you’re an expert.

While technically that may be true, in practice that’s a horrid platform to build your content marketing plan on.

Your ideal prospects are NOT (let me repeat NOT) looking for the same, watered- down content everyone else and their brother who are also “80% experts” are putting out. They are NOT looking for content that is basically regurgitated from a book or a program.

They are looking for solid, high-quality content that either educates them or entertains them, or both.

So, what DO you do then, if you’re new to your business and you don’t have the level of expertise as other experts who have been out there for a decade or more?

First off, there’s no law that says your content marketing plan can only include content YOU create. What about using other people’s expertise? You could start a podcast and interview other experts. You could write blog posts that quote posts and books from other experts (giving full credit of course).

Over time, as you grow your business, you’ll start to find your voice and your style of teaching., and as you do, you can start creating content from your voice.

And, quite honestly, THAT’S what your ideal prospects are looking for. They’re looking for you because they want to hear how YOU perceive the content and YOUR angles and how you interpret it from YOUR unique life experiences and stories.

There are very few things that are “brand new” right now. But, what IS new is your unique spin on similar ideas. Right now, you may not be feeling brave enough or comfortable enough to truly step into your unique voice. That’s okay. While you’re developing that, see what you can do to leverage other people’s expertise.

2. Be clear on precisely who you’re serving.

Your ideal client is going to influence how you present your content.

For instance, let’s say you’re a money expert. You’re going to present content around money very differently depending on whether you’d rather work with entrepreneurs or employees.

What if you’re a relationship expert? You’re going to see things through completely different angles depending on whether you’re working with men or women, and whether your ideal clients are 20-year-old women or 50-year-old divorcees.

That’s why getting clear on who your ideal clients are and what is keeping them up at night—and making sure the content you’re creating is relevant to them (not to mention something they want to consume)—is super important.

3. Be clear on precisely what you offer them that no one else is, and why they should come to you.

Again, if you’re new, you may find this one a little scary.

But, here’s the thing: If you can’t communicate what makes you unique, you WILL struggle in your business.

Your ideal clients are going to want to know why they should plunk down their hard-earned money to work with you versus someone else. And, if you can’t tell them, they may wonder if they can get what you offer cheaper somewhere else.

Because, you see, if you aren’t able to explain to them your value, they’re going to make their buying decision based on whether or not they feel like they can afford what you’re charging.

If you make it clear what your value is and how what you do is different from everyone else, then price becomes less of an issue. You can’t be price-shopped, because no one else offers the same value you are providing.

If you struggle with this, this article walks you through my formula on how to craft your message so it resonates with your ideal client.

Once you know this, you’ll have a much better idea of the sort of content that will resonate most with your ideal client. (This doesn’t mean you won’t want to do some testing on the best content for your ideal clients, but you’ll definitely have a solid place to start with your content marketing plan.)

So, you may have noticed that all three of these steps have one thing in common, which is … (drum roll)


To me, clarity is one of those things that just doesn’t sound all that sexy, but yet, the more clear your are, the easier everything is.

I know for myself I prefer the “just jump in and figure it out later” approach. However, I’ve definitely had mixed results with that. Some things have worked out great and others … not so much.

While I think you can also go the other way and spend TOO much time in research and preparation and “getting ready to get ready,” I also think there’s a happy medium between getting clear and just getting started.

If you want to see my specific strategy on how I got clear before creating my second blog, I walk you through it here.

And, if you’d like to dig more deeply into online marketing, including putting together an online marketing plan, my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book may be perfect for you.

[Video] Flip It! A Simple Marketing Exercise that Could Transform Your Business

[Video] Flip It! A Simple Marketing Exercise that Could Transform Your Business

If you’re ready to transform your business, this simple marketing exercise may help.

But before I tell you what this marketing exercise is, let me share the inspiration behind it. Recently I wrote a blog post called “Not Happy with Your Marketing Results? Maybe You Haven’t Picked the RIGHT Marketing Tactic for You” where I make the case that you should only start a new marketing tactic if you commit to two things:

  1. You will consistently and frequently use it — and by consistently and frequently, I mean a minimum of once a week. (So, for instance, if you decide to start a blog, you commit to posting a minimum of one blog post a week.)
  2. You stick with this strategy for at least one year.

Now, the point of this marketing exercise isn’t to lock you into something you absolutely can’t stand. Clearly there are circumstances where stopping a marketing tactic or strategy is warranted. For instance, if you’re spending a ton of money on Facebook ads and getting zero return and are quickly going broke, yeah, you may want to reconsider.

But, what if you took option of quitting off the table? What if you decided no matter what, you were committing to this particular marketing tactic for one year? What if it was acceptable to tweak the strategy to improve your results, but you couldn’t quit for at least a year?

How does that feel?

Does it make you more cautious? For instance, maybe rather than jumping into this week’s hot new can’t-miss marketing strategy, you pause and consider if it’s something you actually can commit to frequently doing for at least a year?

Does it make you want to research the marketing tactic more? To see if it is a good fit for you and your specific business?

Does it make you not want to do any marketing at all? Because it’s way too scary to commit for a year?

Are you busy listing excuses in your head how this “wouldn’t work for you?” After all, you’re a creative soul! You can’t possibly commit to doing something for a year. You might get bored and uninspired and then your marketing would suck. No, you need to keep your options open. Besides, you’re busy. What if it takes more time and energy than you have? What if your kids get sick or something happens in your personal life? Or what if you realize you need a team and you can’t afford one?

Or, maybe, maybe, what’s coming up is something deeper and darker. Maybe you’ve failed before and you don’t want to set yourself up for failure again. Or maybe you don’t want to make that commitment to yourself because you have a history of breaking commitments and promises to yourself in the past and you don’t want to do it again.


Okay, so let me circle back to the point of this exercise, which actually isn’t to convince you to commit to regularly and frequently using a marketing tactic for a year. Yes, I do happen to believe that’s the best way to get results with your marketing, but that’s not the point.

The point is to see what comes up for you. Because, whatever you’re telling yourself right now and however you’re resisting is likely the reason you’re not as successful as you could be.

And, if you decide you’re ready to break this nasty little mindset block so you can step into your greatness, I invite you to actually commit to a marketing tactic for a year. And then do it. And see what comes up for you and what tries to stop you.

What I’m suggesting isn’t easy. But, if you choose to do it, it could end up being your biggest breakthrough yet.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book and my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book.

Is YouTube on the Way Out?

Is YouTube on the Way Out?

I recently came across two contradictory articles about the effectiveness of YouTube.

First, the bad. In December, 2017, Business Insider had an article about how many (but not all) of the biggest stars on YouTube are seeing both their followers and their video views dwindle.

Now, the good. In January, 2018, a popular blog called IncomeMediary had an article about 8 SEO trends and listed YouTube as being the place where it’s at. (According to that site, YouTube is the second most searched platform on the Web.)

So, what’s the truth?

My suspicion is, like anything, the truth is what personally works for you. For some people, YouTube will always work great even if the overall trend shows it’s less and less effective. For others, YouTube will never work no matter how hot of a platform it is.

But, as that’s not the most helpful advice, I did a little research on my own on the YouTube experts I follow.

While I can’t be sure about the diminished followers part, I will say that overall watches in 2017 were down compared to previous years.

I will also say that some of the claims around video I found in the IncomeMediary post directly contradicted the stats I’ve seen on video watching over the years. Now, that doesn’t mean IncomeMediary is lying or being otherwise untruthful. It may very well be that the site is pulling data from other industries that I’m not as familiar with.

Which, brings me back to my earlier point, which is different marketing strategies are going to work or not work for different people regardless of what the overall trend is. Not to mention different marketing strategies and tactics are going to work better or differently depending on the industry and the specific ideal client group you’re trying to attract.

So, where does that leave us with YouTube? And if Business Insider is correct, why is the overall watches and followers dropping?

Well, the Business Insider article didn’t really have an answer for why this was happening, so I thought I’d take a stab at it.

Is the problem the videos themselves? In other words, are fewer people watching videos these days?

I’ve seen no evidence that this is the case. People still appear to be watching as many videos online as they ever did. In the U.S. alone, 85% of the Internet audience watches videos online, which is likely why there are so many platforms for watching them. For example, on Facebook, you can both upload existing videos and create Facebook Lives, Twitter has Periscope, Instagram allows for videos, and let’s not forget Snapchat, which is all about videos.

And, if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, using videos as part of your overall marketing strategy makes sense. One statistic I’ve seen claims that business that use video grow their revenue 49% faster than non-video users.

However, it’s important to note that not EVERYONE likes to watch videos (at least in regard to educational purposes—it’s a lot higher than that when we’re talking watching a movie or an episode of Game of Thrones). Only about 25% of your customers prefer watching videos over audio or reading.

BUT, people who DO watch videos are far more likely to become buyers, which is why it makes sense to integrate videos into your overall marketing strategy.

So, taking all of that into consideration, my suspicion as to what’s affecting YouTube is the number of options we now have for viewing videos online. Years ago, there was only YouTube. So, if you wanted to watch a video, you went to YouTube.

And, while you can certainly comment and like videos on YouTube, it’s not precisely a social networking platform. YouTube is about watching videos. Period. Commenting and liking is secondary.

Whereas if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, you’re there for the networking and the connection. So, if you can also get your video “fix” there, why wouldn’t you?

People are busy. Going to YouTube to watch a video is an additional step and an additional distraction in a busy day.

People are also lazy. Going to YouTube to watch a video is an additional step they may not feel like taking.

So, as an entrepreneur, what makes sense for you?

Let’s start with videos. Should you or should you not use them in your marketing?

I believe you absolutely SHOULD and here’s why:

1. Yes, only about 25% PREFER learning via video, that doesn’t meant only 25% will WATCH.

It’s been my experience that far more folks than that will at least take a quick peek at your videos. Even if it’s only one to two videos total.  (IncomeMediary says 55% of online users watch videos every day, and that is a stat I can believe, although let’s keep in mind that stat likely includes people wasting time watching cat videos.)

Video is also great for creating connection. People will get a much faster sense of who you are and if they want to learn from you via video than any other medium. So, a lot of people will watch from time to time, even if it’s not their preferred method, and if they like your energy and how you present yourself on video, they’re more likely to stick around (and maybe even eventually buy something).

2. If you want people to consume your marketing materials, it helps if you provide them options so they can choose HOW they prefer to consume it.

Just like in your paid training, people have their favorite way to learn whether it’s via reading, listening, watching videos, or interacting with the training in some way. That’s why giving people choices of watching videos, listening to audio, or reading a transcript is a great way to serve all learning styles.

And, if you want to market more effectively, it’s nice to do the same for your marketing materials. Give your audience options on how they choose to learn from you, even if it’s completely free on your blog, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty.

3. If you’re interested in expanding your marketing reach and visibility, creating videos gives you more options.

If you’re willing to do videos, you can have a presence on Snapchat and on YouTube. You can also expand the presence you have on platforms like Facebook if you start using videos. Those may be smart marketing moves.

Now, let’s look at YouTube. Should you build up your presence there or not?

Only if you’re planning on shooting stand-alone videos. If you are, then sure, why not load them up on YouTube as well. But, if your video strategy right now is to focus on something like Facebook Lives, I wouldn’t bother.

It’s early yet and things could turn around for YouTube, but right now, it’s sure looking like becoming a YouTube star isn’t what it used to be.

Speaking of YouTube stars, this is yet another great reminder about how all of these social network platforms are great to have a presence on, because they’re likely where your ideal clients, customers, and buyers are, BUT building your entire brand and platform on someone else’s site is (ahem) foolish. Your focus when you use these sites should always be to connect and encourage people to follow you to your blog or website, or some other platform you 100% control. (Personally, blogs are my fave.)

If your entire audience is on YouTube and you have no subscriber list and no blog and no following outside of YouTube, then the only way you can “talk” to your audience is by posting a video. But, what happens if the video is a dud? Or what if something technical happens and your audience doesn’t get the notification you posted a new video? Or what if your audience stops hanging around YouTube (as what appears to be happening now)? Or what if YouTube decides to ban you or shut down your account for some reason?

That’s why building your own brand on your own platform that you control is soooo important. Use YouTube as the tool it is, not as a substitute for building your own business.

If you liked this post, you may also like my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.

[Video] Flip It! How Can You Make Something Go Viral?

[Video] Flip It! How Can You Make Something Go Viral?

Having one of your blog posts or videos or podcasts go viral is something most people, including entrepreneurs, authors and artists, dream about.

What’s not to love? It means you matter.


So, before I get into some tips on how you can make something go viral, let’s talk about the ramifications if you succeed in having something go viral.

For most people, they imagine it’s going to feel like a huge validation. They did something a lot of people loved and shared. That has to feel good, right?

And, if you’re an entrepreneur, well you just got the golden ticket. It’s like Brene Brown and her Ted Talk, she parlayed that talk on vulnerability into a massive platform.

But, what if the wrong thing goes viral? In other words, what if you’re inspired to write an article, that ends up going viral, and takes your business into a direction you didn’t want it to go?

A blogger I follow just wrote about that. A post she wrote went viral, and after she saw the results of that post, she decided she didn’t like what she saw and needed to tear down what she built so she could create what her heart and soul truly desired.

And that’s the thing about things that go viral. No one really knows why it happens, so trying to build your business around it is problematic at best.

You may never create anything that truly goes viral. Does that mean you failed as an entrepreneur or artist or author?

Or, maybe something you create DOES go viral … and you hate it. In a way, that happened to Louisa May Alcott. Her most famous and popular book, Little Women, was also the work of art she liked the least. And yet, that’s what ended up most defining her.

Or maybe what ends up going viral is something that is more of a distraction, taking you off in another direction that isn’t helpful.

In other words, having something go viral may not end up meaning what you think it might.

That said, while no one really knows why something catches fire and something else doesn’t, there’s three things you can do to improve the odds of it happening.

Step 1: Create things. Blog posts, videos, speeches, podcasts. The more content you have out there, the more likely something will go viral.

Step 2: Create high quality things. Don’t just put out a lot of crap. Take the time to make sure what you’re creating is solid and high quality. Crappy things are less likely to go viral.

Step 3: Give yourself as many opportunities as possible to have something go viral. As the saying goes, Good fortune favors the bold. Be visible. Take chances. Try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail (or, at the very least, don’t allow your fear of failure to stop you). The more opportunities you give yourself to have something go viral, the more likely it will happen.

And, above all, relax. Have fun. Chances are, if you’re trying to hard to make something go viral, it won’t. It usually happens when you least expect it, when your back is turned and you’re focusing on something else.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book — you can check it out here.

[Your Sales Process] Are You Assuming the Yes or Assuming the No?

[Your Sales Process] Are You Assuming the Yes or Assuming the No?

Let me start by asking you a question. As part of your sales process, when you’re in a sales or enrollment conversation, do you assume you’re going to hear a “yes” or a “no”?

Now, I’m not asking how attached you are to hearing a “yes.” Say, for instance, you’re feeling stressed about money. You might feel like you absolutely need a prospect to say “yes,” or you won’t be able to pay your bills. That’s more of a desperate, pursuing energy, and it’s usually connected to being attached to the yes.

My question today is during the sales process, are you assuming your prospects will say “yes?”

And more importantly … are you prepared for them to say “yes”?

I was recently at an event hosted by my friend and client Melinda Cohan, and one of the things she taught was to always assume the yes.

Melinda does. She also uses The Coaches Console, a software platform she created, to prepare the contract so that when she gets the yes, she can pull it up right then and there and walk the prospect through it.

One of the reasons why this is so powerful is because if you’re not actually prepared to welcome new clients into your business, you may unconsciously repel them.

Think about it: If you don’t have a contract ready, or a decent way to accept payment … if your welcome packet is a mess (or nonexistent), not to mention the rest of the back end of your business is pretty much a train wreck, onboarding a new client turns into an absolute headache.

And, if you’re not a full-body, 100% yes to accepting new clients, how comfortable do you think your prospects are going to feel during your sales process?

Melinda is a little different from many of the other entrepreneurs and coaches out there (including yours truly). Many entrepreneurs and coaches jump first and ask questions later. In their eagerness to build their business and start making money, they rush out to start signing up clients, without once considering what will happen when they actually land one.

When Melinda was building her business, she spent the first few months creating systems and getting her back end together, so when she was ready to launch, she was totally prepared. As a result, it didn’t take her long at all to completely fill her business with coaching clients.

And, because there was nothing else out there to help coaches build their back end, she created The Coaches Console.

So, back to assuming the yes:

When I first heard Melinda teach it on stage, it had a profound affect on me.

You see, I’m an Enneagram 6 (you may have heard me talk about this before). If you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, it’s a really powerful way to see your patterns around your wounds. If you want to break negative cycles you find yourself trapped in, the Enneagram can really help.

So, I’m a 6, which means I’m a massive worrier. (Fear is my thing, which I suppose makes total sense that I’m now teaching how to shift from a fear-based foundation and to a love-based.)

Now, I actually don’t really worry anymore (which doesn’t mean I don’t feel fear or worry or anxiety; it just means when those emotions come up for me, I’m able to quickly break the pattern and get out of it). But, some of my old thought processes still exist, and one of those is the idea of the “other shoe dropping.”

To me, assuming the yes means I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This is a problem (at least for me).

One of the things I realized about my worry habit was that I had created a false “story” about my worry—that it was actually a magical talisman designed to keep bad things from happening to me.

You see, if I worried about the bad things, they wouldn’t happen. (Because, truthfully, the vast majority of things you worry about don’t happen. For me, at least, my worry attracted more things to worry about, but it didn’t necessarily attract the specific bad things I was thinking about.)

So, if I started assuming the yes, all those other shoes would start dropping … raining shoes, even!

Okay, all kidding aside, I want to ask you again what I consider a profound question:

If you’re assuming the no, are you afraid you might jinx it if you assume the yes?

Or are you maybe afraid you’ll raise your own hopes only to be dashed if the prospect says “no”?

Or maybe there’s some other reason.

But, what would happen if you assumed the yes?

How would your life change if you walked into an enrollment conversation confident and prepared for that to happen?

Think about it.

I have two book recommendations for you if you liked this post: My “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book and my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.

[Video] Flip It! Could Changing One Habit Change Your Life?

[Video] Flip It! Could Changing One Habit Change Your Life?

There’s a surprising story in the beginning of the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business.

Lisa’s life was a train wreck. She couldn’t hold down a job, drank too much, ate too much, smoked, and was in substantial debt.

Then, one day, her husband told her he was leaving her for another woman. Initially, she spent four months crying, binge drinking, and binge eating, before finally deciding to take a trip to Egypt to clear her head. (Her credit cards weren’t completely maxed yet, so why not?)

When she got to Cairo, she had a bit of a meltdown as she thought about how much her life sucked and how absolutely nothing was working for her. So, in a fit of desperation, she decided she needed a goal. Something to work toward.

And that goal would be to trek across the desert.

It was a crazy goal. She was completely out of shape and had no money besides. But, she was determined.

She would give herself a year to get ready.

One of the things she decided she needed to give up to get ready was smoking.

And THAT decision changed her life.

Four years later, she had lost sixty pounds, was running marathons, had a good paying job she had kept for over 3 years, paid down her debt and was about to buy a house.

And yes, she had returned to Egypt to cross the desert.

So, what happened? How did Lisa change her life so drastically in only a few years?

It’s been proven that most people who make dramatic changes in their lives in very short times have focused on changing a single habit first. And when they changed that habit, they were then able to more easily change other habits.

But, what’s interesting is not all habits are created equal.

Some habits, and smoking is one of them, are what scientists call “keystone habits.” If you’re able to change that one, you can more easily change others.

It’s a pretty cool idea, isn’t it? If you could focus on changing just one habit, it could lead to you changing a lot of unhealthy habits.

But, if you don’t smoke, then where do you look?

Alas, that wasn’t really answered in the book, so I’m going to give you my answer.

Experiment on yourself.

Pick one habit to change at a time and see what happens after you change it. It doesn’t even have to make much sense. For instance, apparently people who make their beds in the morning are far more likely to live within a financial budget.

What do those two things have in common? No idea.

And that’s not the only non sequitur when it comes how one habit influences another.

In other words, it may not make sense with our logical brain, but it can still transform your life.

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my Love-Based Goals” book.