In today’s conversation, I’ll be sharing my three best tips to help elevate your content, and ultimately elevate your position in the industry and help you pave the way for a six-figure year in 2023.
Before we dive in, if anything we talk about in this series resonates with you and it’s how you want to take your brand and business to the next level, I’d love to invite you to join us inside the Thought Leader Club 1:1 + Community Program focused on helping you build a body of work that not only lets you become known for something but also magnetizes clients and opportunities to you.
For all of the details, head on over to cheryltheory.com/program to send in your application. I cannot wait to see you on the inside.
Are you speaking to your warmest ideal clients or is your content really general and speaking to people who are much colder?
First, let’s define the term “ideal client”. The way I assess whether someone is an “ideal client” is if I can help them with the problem they’re currently looking for help with.
This is a really broad definition because it isn’t really black and white.
For example, let’s say if someone is struggling to sign clients and they’re burning out with content creation, they’re likely a great fit for my coaching program the Thought Leader Club, where I essentially help you sign clients and build your business in a way that lets you still be able to make time for the other parts of your life that matter to you.
However, if someone has that problem but they’re literally super resistant to working with a business coach, I’d consider them a cold ideal client.
But if someone has the aforementioned problems in their business and is actively searching for a business coach, and they resonate with my specific teachings and philosophies such as becoming known for your unique thought leadership and they also want to do soft launching rather than launching in the traditional sense, then I’d say this person is a warm ideal client.
I wanted to start with this distinction because coaches often create content and marketing targeted at their ideal clients in the most general sense, which includes both their warm and cold ideal clients.
But I want to invite you to focus on creating content for specifically the warm ideal clients.
Right now, if your business is not yet at the point where you’re scaling to serve a mass audience, which from my observations, usually happens at the multiple six-figures or beyond level, then I suggest focusing on speaking to your warmest leads.
Because unless you’re trying to convert a large number of people including people who are “cold”, you don’t need to go broad in your content and marketing.
Instead, your warmest leads are the people who are ready to invest and are keen about learning more about what it’s like to work with you. But they literally just have some relatively small hesitation or question holding them back, and this is usually a really specific concern that’s holding them back.
If your business is currently focused on serving 1:1 clients and you aren’t aiming to serve thousands of clients a year, I strongly recommend creating content with your warmest leads in mind. Because you’re able to serve these leads on a much deeper level and actually help them move forward with working with you.
Overtime, as you scale to multiple six-figures and are starting to think about reaching cold leads as well, that’s when your strategy will likely need to shift.
Right now, before your first six-figures or your first multiple six-figures, here’s what tends to happen when you’re creating content and marketing with your cold ideal clients in mind.
What often ends up happening is you’re sharing too much mindset related content to try to convince your audience to shift their “limiting beliefs”. These limiting beliefs are usually very “beginner “ in the sense that the cold leads usually are much earlier on in the “customer journey” and are much further away from making a decision to buy.
As compared to someone who is “warmer” (i.e. they’re much further along the customer journey and are already much closer to making a purchasing decision).
Your warm leads have already worked through their “limiting beliefs” and are super close to working with you, but they literally have a tiny question or concern that’s holding them back, and you simply need to address that.
While this content might be helpful to your cold ideal clients, your warmest ideal clients who follow you still have several unanswered questions that you simply haven’t addressed because you’re so focused on convincing your cold ideal clients why they need a coach, or why their limiting belief is not true and they should just start taking action on their goals.
Again, this content might be helpful, but it’s really general and it also doesn’t specifically help your warmest followers who might have just a tiny question or concern that you could have easily addressed. But you aren’t even thinking about them because you’re focused on the more general types of “objection handling” content.
In marketing language, you’re literally creating ineffective content and marketing for your warm leads when you’re focused on creating general, mindset-focused content that’s actually more tailored to your colder leads.
And right now, the goal is to convert your warmest leads.
I want to clarify that I’m not saying to cut out all the mindset related content and marketing because mindset-focused content can be helpful for your audience and adds value to them. So, I’m not saying to eliminate all mindset-related content .
Rather, I’m more so referring to the general lens you view your content through.
Are you creating mindset content for your warmest leads, or are you creating super general mindset content with your coldest leads in mind?
A client who comes to mind when it comes to speaking so clearly and specifically to their ideal client is our client Betty, who created US$15K throughout our time working together even though she was starting her business from complete scratch, and juggling multiple professional roles and projects in addition to her coaching business.
For example, Betty knows her community and her people so deeply that if you scroll through her Instagram, you’ll see how specific her content is and how deep it goes.
It’s not just the surface level mindset tips or mindset shifts, but if she’s addressing a mindset related concern that her audience has, she knows how to go in-depth with it.
For example, Betty created her signature creative career archetypes to help her people have more awareness of their current challenges and blocks in their career as a creative professional.
Betty’s clients want a coach who knows their specific and unique pain points as deeply and clearly as Betty does, and they’re looking for a coach like Betty who clearly gets it and is relatable.
This is why even though Betty was a brand new coach, she was able to sign clients at the four-figure level from the very beginning of her business.
And it’s also why, fast forward to almost a year and a half since Betty has started her online coaching business, she has now left her previous role at an organization and has now transitioned fully into a full-time business owner with a few different businesses, including a growing coaching business.
All that to say, being specific matters. When you’re able to show warmest leads how deeply and specifically you understand their pain points, not only do you help your people on a deeper level, but you also ultimately create more demand for your offers and are setting your business up for success.
This matters because when you’re leaning into your communication and content strengths, this will allow you to express more of you.
Because the thing is, when you see others being successful and resonating deeply with their audience, it’s not because they are better than you or their skills or traits are better.
But rather, it’s that they’re being themselves. They’re good at expressing themselves and bringing that out in their content, marketing, and brand.
You can tell that they’re not trying to copy someone else or model after someone else’s brand or say what others are saying. They know what they can bring to the table, and they likely also choose content platforms or tools that allow them to express themselves.
What this practically looks like could be to choose the platform and the platform features that play to your strengths. Rather than choosing to be on a platform just because it’s trending at the moment.
For example, TikTok is the thing right now. Everyone says this is the biggest opportunity for entrepreneurs and that the Instagram algorithm is nowhere close to TikTok’s algorithm.
But for me personally, at this current point in time, it’s going to take a lot of effort on my end to post regularly on TikTok because the nature of the content, i.e. short form video, isn’t something I enjoy the most and it’s not something I currently prioritize building my muscle for.
Long story short, I have the self awareness to know that even though that is the strategy, I am just not going to create TikTok content.
There’s two things to take note of when it comes to choosing a platform:
First, consider whether the features of the platform allow you to create content that plays to your existing strengths.
Second, know that you can always develop the skill of being good at creating another type of content or the skill of using another platform.
For example, it’s not that I’m inherently either good or bad at creating TikTok videos. Right now, it simply doesn’t play to my preferences or existing strengths. But I deeply believe that if I commit to practicing creating short form videos, I can find a way to enjoy the TikTok content creation process and create TikTok content that builds interest and demand for my business. But it’s literally just not a priority right now.
For me, I always knew I could read out loud well. In primary school when we had English class and each of us had to read out loud a paragraph to the class. I knew I was good at conveying emotion through my voice.
But I knew that speaking on the spot, without any script or preparation, was something I had room for improvement. This was an observation I have known about myself since my school days.
Fast forward to years later when I was deciding on what platform to use for my business, here’s why I intentionally decided to choose Instagram and podcasting for the first few years of my business:
I chose Instagram because in 2019, I burnt out from my business. When I resumed my business in early 2020 after a seven month break, I decided to choose only one platform where I could use it in a way that is aligned with my schedule, plays with my strengths, and allows me to practice certain skills in a way that matches my time capacity.
In 2020, at that particular time, Instagram was the platform I chose to build up my communication and content strengths on because it made sense for my capacity.
Specifically, because at that time in my business, I wasn’t signing clients “consistently”, I needed to pick the platform with the features that offered the least “friction” for me as I practiced creating content that showcase my thought leadership and depth of thinking.
Instagram had features that were relatively easy for me to use and create from, so I chose it because that means I could focus primarily on the skill of honing in on my own unique thought leadership and demonstrating my thought leadership through my content and marketing.
At the same time, speaking on video for Instagram stories was a developed skill. Now, in 2022 / 2023, I can whip out my phone and easily speak to the camera for a few minutes, but this was a skill I started to work on in 2020 because I used to prep bullet points and notes before hand, then re-record my video like 5 times before I finally feel somewhat confident to post.
Stories might take 45 to 60 minutes but now a 3 minute video story will take 10 minutes total to plan, record, caption and post. Again, this was a skill I had to develop and build on over the span of months in 2020, after I resumed my business after my burnout.
And then fast forward to late 2020, I was feeling much more confident in my ability and capacity to leverage Instagram to create content and market my offers. Because I built up my muscle by using Instagram, I felt that I was ready to add a podcast to my weekly agenda.
Because after practicing creating content on Instagram that showcases my own thought leadership for several months, I now felt ready to do the same in a longer format, and podcasting was the specific vehicle that made the most sense to me.
I chose to start a podcast because time capacity wise, I understood that right now I had the capacity to work on my skill of audio only content rather than video. Because video and audio, from my eyes, are different skill sets.
In terms of the production of a podcast, such as recording, editing and publishing, I felt that my capacity was much more suited to creating audio content. Especially since I was still a side hustler, versus if I were to produce video content.
Also, I already knew I had some natural strengths in terms of using my voice to read out loud, and I am a keyboard warrior so I can type really fast. And I have developed the skill set of organizing my thoughts and ideas via writing from my professional background in research where I had to do a lot of academic, manuscript and grant /proposal writing.
So combined, 1) I leveraged my natural and developed strengths and 2) picked the platform that was most suitable for the skillsets I wanted to further develop. Hence, I started my audio podcast and it was not until almost two years after starting my podcast that I now also do a video podcast in addition to the audio-only version.
Overall, I want us to be aware that it’s not the platform feature that makes you money. But rather, it’s the how the creator is leveraging the platform, how they’re expressing themselves, and whether they’re showcasing their thought leadership via the tools and features of the platform.
It’s how you show up that will create results, not the platform or the tools itself. Meaning, it’s not because doing Instagram reels will make you money, but it’s how you’re using your Instagram reels that will make you money. It’s not the TikTok or LinkedIn algorithm that will make you money, but it’s how you’re showing up as an industry leader on TikTok or LinkedIn which will make you money.
All that to say, if you want to make 2023 your first six-figure year in your business, I want you to consider how you’re using the platform and how you’re showing up on the platform to express yourself and showcase the depth of your thinking.
Whether this is your professional experience or miscellaneous examples from your personal life, I want to invite all of us to bring in examples and perspectives from outside of your niche or industry that you’re so immersed in within the context of your business.
Because what often happens is that coaches and entrepreneurs will be so unintentionally caught up with what others are doing or saying, and they unknowingly end up posting about the same things and literally looking and sounding like everyone else.
In order to stand out in your niche or industry, I want all of us to offer new or different perspectives from outside of your niche and industry, and give people something refreshing to think about.
Here’s an example of a perspective I shared on Instagram that landed quite well with my audience. The post was about what coaches and entrepreneurs can learn from scientists.
I shared how a scientist can explain their proposed research experiment, which has not been proven to work because it literally has not been conducted. Yet they can get approval for their experiment from the research ethics board (i.e. they need to get legal permission and approval before actually starting their research). And sometimes they might even get funding from organizations to support their proposed experiment.
Again, remember that they literally have “no evidence” that their experiment can work because all they technically have is their own skills, experiences, knowledge of other people’s past research results, how others have been able to do it, and their own brain to make their best, most educated guess.
Then why can’t we as coaches and entrepreneurs operate from that same belief in our work? Why can’t we show up and talk about our ideas and vision and skills, and how we can help others? Even without the “evidence” that someone will become a paying client?
Because if scientists with little to no marketing or personal branding experience can sell their research to the research ethics board and funding organizations to support their proposed work and/or even give them money to carry out that work, then we as entrepreneurs can definitely borrow from that mindset and belief in our own work.
This is an example of a perspective I brought in from outside of the business coaching industry and tailored a piece of content for those who might be questioning whether their messaging is clear enough or whether they will sign a client.
All that to say, the more different you are, the more money you make. People like to buy things that are new and fresh.
What concepts, messages and ideas can you share that’s new, fresh and completely different from what your competitors are saying? Or, when it comes to a common topic in your niche or industry, how can you develop your own thoughts and feelings about this, based on your own experiences?
Again, the more different you are, the more you stand out in the eyes of your ideal clients and the more money you make.
This is how you can literally put yourself in your own league. If you’re able to bring out your own unique philosophy or angles and infuse that in your content and marketing, you will make people stop, think, and ultimately see you as a thought leader in your space.
If you’re spending so much time creeping on your industry, then you end up creating content for your competitors rather than for your clients.
But when you step away from the industry and explore your own opinions from your experiences OUTSIDE of the industry, you will offer new perspectives that your competitors don’t.
And if you know how to build a uniquely differentiated brand through your content alone AND build your thought leadership through the quality and potency of your ideas and perspectives, you’re setting yourself up for six-figure years in your business.
As we start to wrap up for today’s episode, I want to offer one more way of thinking about your content for 2023 – what is going to be helpful to your ideal clients and/or what will help you express yourself more so you can help people more?
Because remember, the only way you’ll make six-figures in 2023 is if you help people via your content and articulate how you can help people inside your coaching program or paid containers.
People work with us because they want to know that we care about helping them and trust that we can help them. So use your content and marketing as a way to both help people, and showcase how you can further help them when you work together.
And inside the Thought Leader Club, we have a process to teach you with everything we touched on today. This includes knowing how to speak directly and specifically to your warmest ideal clients via your podcast, how to bring out and leverage your natural and developed communication and content strengths via the podcasting process, and how to extract perspectives, ideas and opinions from your own lived experiences outside of your niche or industry.
This includes knowing how to leverage your body of work as a tool that builds deep connections with your best clients via your content and marketing, which in turn lets your people see your sincerity in wanting to help them get what they want.
This is exactly how we will be able to help you build your business and brand as a thought leader on just 0-2 hours a day. You’ll become highly skilled and efficient at “working on your business” so that you can ultimately make time for the other parts of your life that matter.
If you’re keen to join us, the first inaugural cohort of the Thought Leader Club is starting on November 1 and we’re gonna make a lot of amazing things happen in just 4 months.
Join us in the Thought Leader Club 1:1 + Community Program is the exact room you want to be in if your 2023 and 2024 vision is to:
✨ Become known for your unique thought leadership and build your career as a thought leader
✨ Build a body of work that not only showcases the depth of your thinking and the caliber of your skills, but also compels best-fit clients to want to work with you and you specifically
✨ Attract both clients and opportunities that you once felt were out of reach for “someone like you”… But you now see that you’re completely capable of
Step into the version of you who stops following else’s playbook of “traditional success” and instead, proudly create something that’s truly of your own.
Get all the details and apply. We’ll then book a sales call to make sure that the program is the best fit for you and we can onboard you as early as next week. Our first inaugural cohort starts on November 1, 2023 👀
SOUNDS GOOD? AWESOME. LET'S GET TO WORK