Learning Objective: Learn how to gauge the market and anticipate and use trends
Creating content is just the beginning of providing online resources to your ideal subscriber and customer. You also have to make sure it’s content that people want, that you get it in front of them when the time is ripe, and that it’s in the best format to attract your ideal customer or client.
You also want to make sure that you get your fresh content in front of as many of these types of customer and client as possible—while encouraging them to share your content (or news of it).
“Content” is one of those vague words, used because it can describe so much of what you offer such as articles, blog posts, social posts, products, packages, multi-media and programs are the content types you are most likely creating (or looking to create) as a business coach.
Most of these categories can be broken down even further. For example, “multimedia” is a broad term that can encompass videos, podcasts, .MP3 files, slide shows, PowerPoint presentations, photos, art collages and more.
“Programs” can encompass membership groups, VIP clubs, self-study courses, webinar courses, online courses, group coaching program, accelerator programs, in-person courses run locally, and “Challenges” (30-day or otherwise); just to mention a few of the most popular types of programs currently.
In fact, we could loosely define “content” as resources you create for your ideal follower.
No matter what medium you use to create your content with, however, you need to be ready to deliver two basic types of content: Evergreen and trending.
Step one: Understanding what is always in season
“Evergreen” content is information they will always need, no matter what is trending in their field or industry or what is in season.
For example, “Best Business Practices” is a topic that is evergreen; “Ten Easter Recipes” is not. The latter relates to a specific season—Easter; and while you can re-use the same content next Easter, it’s not evergreen—it’s seasonal.
“How to Attract New Clients” is always evergreen; “3D Printing for Business” is going to be outdated in ten years, as new technologies replace it. (Perhaps even in one year!)
Think of your digital content as a buffet. The best buffets are always balanced, with a good mix of dishes, appetizers and desserts—and if you stick to a theme (e.g. “Hawaiian Night”) they’ll work even better together.
That’s what you have to do with your own content—create a mix of trending, up-to-the-minute products and programs; and evergreen products people can help themselves to and purchase, twenty-four-seven, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.
So make a list of what you already have to sell that is current and fresh … and what people will want ten years from now, as badly as they want it today.
And if you don’t have a balanced table-full (or even plate-full) of evergreen and trending dishes—create one! Make a list and brainstorm what you can offer that:
- Will always be a valuable resource for your people
- Is exciting and new—and relevant to their businesses and lifestyles
It is a great idea to create a product that is both evergreen and current. That is, when the trend is over, the basic information will still be needed.
How to Find New Trends:
Your best way to find what is brand new or currently trending in your industry is fortunately very simple. It doesn’t involve hiring research companies or data analysts. It doesn’t involve hiring someone to monitor every platform or influencer, full-time.
This is what you do:
- Identify three to six top platforms or companies that your ideal subscriber regularly uses. Follow their official blogs.
- Identify three to six top influencers that provide news of changes and new trends your industry. Follow them on the platform where they are most active.
- Get in the habit of:
- Always reading their emails straight away
- Scheduling in twenty minutes to check out what’s new with them every day
- Make notes, do your own research—and present your findings to your audience
You’ll also find that most times, it takes less than twenty minutes a day to see what’s new with them. Only when big changes are coming down the pipe will you see more posts and more news.
And use an aggregator app to get all your news and posts in one place!
(If you are a business coach, be sure to keep an eye on LinkedIn Pulse feeds too!)
One final source of what’s trending: Check out documentaries on television and headline articles on your local grocery-store magazine racks. If you see a topic repeated multiple times, you can bet it’s a hot topic—but also remember that print magazines and television documentaries have a minimum of a three-month lead-in time—so don’t delay. Start focusing on the hot trend immediately, if you think you can add something exciting to it.
Step two: Increase your chances of making the sale
You’ve gone to all that trouble of making the sale: Now make sure you are missing no opportunity to share the news with the right people. This doesn’t mean bombarding
people with duplicate, repeat messages, over and over again: It means use a simple checklist to make sure that you haven’t forgotten to make the most of every spot where you can naturally insert a call-to-action.
Note that word “naturally”: People shouldn’t feel bombarded by the same marketing message over and over—but what you do want to provide is more than one link to your article, video, podcast, program or product whenever you talk about it.
- If you’re talking about a product or site in a video on YouTube, share the link just as you talk about it, within the video (in a clickable annotation) … and remember to repeat it at the end of the video
- If you’re presenting a link via an email, put it in more than one place (the middle and in a P.S., for example)
- If you’re putting a link to a video or landing page under your name in a signature, preface the link with a line to attract and intrigue (a call-to-action)
- If you’re writing about something you want people to check out through a link, include a video or photograph to catch their attention visually as well as textually
- If you’re posting on a social network, re-purpose your post and tweak it for at least two other social networks
No matter where you share your information:
- Ask people to keep on sharing it
- Give them a reason why their friends will thank them for doing this
- Make sure you have also set up sharing buttons and icons on your post or post page
Always be on the lookout for natural opportunities where you’ve missed asking people to take action (click, share, check out, etc.) But most of all—without fail—concentrate on your email list. Don’t get so swept up in social sharing or blogging that you forget to write to your list: These are the people who have already made an emotional commitment to you, when they signed up for your list (how big a commitment, only you can gauge)—which means they are the ones most likely to read your emails—and share.
There’s one key point to remember, however: In your emails, you need to actually ask them to share the news in your email—spell it out for them that you would like them to do so. (Unless you expressly go ahead and tell them to share a specific email’s content, many people will assume it’s private and not share.)
Whenever you send people to a link, do make sure there is a prominent sign-up web form and incentive visible, so you can kill two birds with one stone. (For example, if the visitor isn’t interested in that particular offer, perhaps she’ll sign up for your free incentive—just to check out your content, if she doesn’t yet know you.)
Step three: How to STRIKE THE PERFECT SALES BALANCE
There are two killers to growing your list: Making your emails all about selling, selling, selling—and being afraid to mention selling at all.
The people who clobber you over the head with selling, selling, selling are usually not interested in long-term relationship building, but with making an immediate sale. You will far more likely err on the side of being afraid to mention selling at all, since as a coach, relationship-building is your life-blood.
What this usually translates to are stilted call-to-action phrases, and timid sales letters—a deadly combination—but you can get over this and write powerful letters containing offer links if you shift your focus from “selling” to “helping my subscriber”. If you ground yourself in this mindset, the tone of your letters will shift—but there are specific actions you can take to help make yourself feel better about the whole sales topic.
Follow this three-step formula in your email:
- Summarize the single most important truth of your email
- Lead into the link with a promised key benefit
- Use positive calls-to-action that promise a result
Remember that your email copy has to appeal to your reader’s emotions. You want her to feel at least one of these things:
- You are describing her problem exactly (pain point)
- You are talking about where she wants to be/how she wants to see herself (identity and self-image)
- She identifies with you/the story you are telling (empathy)
- She sees herself with a chance at succeeding in whatever you are talking about (dream fulfillment)
What makes someone open an email—even if she would vigorously deny any feelings connect with the reason she opened it?
It’s always about emotion. Remember that, and you’ll talk from the heart!
Step Four: How to make people excited about your message
What excites you about your post? Your new product? Your upcoming webinar? Why does it excite you? What are you most looking forward to sharing with your subscribers? Before you send an email out about anything, ask yourself these questions; then write from that feeling of enjoyment, anticipation, satisfaction, pleasure—whatever positive emotion you are experiencing.
Think about what the information is going to mean to them. Then isolate the single, most important point of your whole email. Put that in your subject line … and repeat it right after your opening hook, just before a link to your item.
Add Social Validity to your Emails:
Another tactic you can use, if you still feel awkward about “selling”: Including in your email up to three quotes from three favorable reviews of what you want to promote.
The beauty of this tactic lies in the fact that you’re not the one trying to “sell”: You’re letting happy purchasers speak for themselves.
There is nothing like proof of success to get people excited, as they realize that success is possible for them too.
Step five: How to MAKE IT EASY FOR YOURSELF TOO!
Of course, there’s an even easier way to make sure that whatever you create and present is current and fresh, and easy to say “yes” to: Or evergreen but equally fresh, in that updated material is added to give old topics a fresh take and valuable tips and tactics.
Whatever you create, however, just make sure you do provide a deliberate mix of both the currently trending and evergreen content.
Don’t neglect evergreen content: Unlike trending material, that is what keeps selling every day, year after year—and keeps making you