Today, we are diving into Part 2 of our 3-part series where we are going all in on sharing super specific and practical tips and step-by-step action items or frameworks that you could consider implementing for your own business, today.
For this 3-part series, we will be dedicating each of the upcoming 3 episode to those of you at different parts of your business and thought leadership journey:
For each phase, I will offer some practical tips and action steps you can start to implement after this episode. I will also touch on some of the biggest blocks that I see come up for our clients who are at each of these stages.
And even if one particular episode/stage may not initially seem relevant to you, I promise there will still be some really foundational nuggets in each of these 3 episodes that will be applicable to you irrespective of which stage you feel like you identify most with.
I sincerely recommend listening to all three episodes of this series.
Let’s dive in.
This is the stage that most of our clients are in when they first join The Side Hustle Club (now Thought Leader Club) program: They’ve worked with a handful of clients and they’ve decided that this is the business they are committed to building and growing. But they’re not signing clients consistently. They’ve been working on their business for at least 6 months, sometimes even a year or two, but again, they’re not signing clients consistently.
When they join The Side Hustle Club (now Thought Leader Club), they’re ready to build a body of work that reflects their unique thought leadership and start becoming known for something. They know that signing more clients and hitting their next business income goals are within reach for them, and they’re willing to be in this for as long as it takes.
If you’re also at this stage, what might be coming up for you include focusing a lot on social media analytics (and typically feeling pretty crap if a post doesn’t perform as well as you’d like), thinking you need to do more more more to get results.
Perhaps you also keep looking at what other coaches are doing and thinking you need to do the same. Of course, the anxiety at the beginning of each month, where you wonder if you’ll hit your goals that month, or the anxiety at the end of the month when you feel like you’re not going to hit your goals. Or both.
If this sounds like you, this is the time to focus on building your body of work.
In the rest of this episode, we will talk about exactly how you can go about building a body of work. And the four overarching types of content I would suggest infusing into your body of work.
And hey, if you:
The Thought Leader Club program is where you want to be.
This is our signature 1:1 coaching program where you learn to sign clients and grow your business income and impact by becoming known for your unique thought leadership, building a time-efficient business on 0-2 hours a day through the skill of soft launching, and building a uniquely differentiated brand. So that in the long run, you can attract even bigger opportunities that will blow your mind.
This is THE room to:
To join us, you can head on over to cheryltheory.com/program to learn more about the program and submit a brief application. Afterwards, we will book a sales call.
For those of you who have never been on a sales call with me, let me give you a quick rundown of what you can expect. When you book a sales call with me, you walk away from the call with the exact next steps in your business and you’ll get even clearer on your vision for what your path looks like to become known for your unique thought leadership.
By the end of our conversation, you’ll confidently be able to pinpoint the exact 3 blocks that are slowing you down and keeping you from moving forward. The sales call is also where you can ask questions about my process, coaching style, and how our community can support you and tangible help for your specific business goals. It’s also a super fun space for you and me to get to know each other more!
Again, you can submit a short application at cheryltheory.com/program and we’ll move forward from there. AWESOME.
With that, let’s take a look at how you can start taking step by step action to building your body of work, today.
My personal opinion is that if you’re in this stage of your business where you want to start paving the way to becoming known for your unique thought leadership and building a body of work that reflects that thought leadership, relying on only short form social media content isn’t going to be sufficient, simply because of the limitations when it comes to how your audience consume short form content.
Long form content could look like a YouTube channel, a podcast, or written content like a LinkedIn newsletter, email newsletter, blog, live streams, and so on. This type of long form content will require you to go into more depth in order to maintain the audience’s attention and interest for a longer time.
On the other hand, short form content could look like a carousel post on Instagram, a written post on LinkedIn, short form Instagram video stories. Essentially, anything that can be consumed in a minute or less.
Both short form and long form content can contribute to your body of work in their own unique ways. When you have both, it can be a very powerful way to grow your body of work and become known for something.
It goes without saying that long form content allows you to really showcase your thought leadership because you are essentially required to go in depth. Long form content challenges you as the creator and thought leader to explain your thoughts clearly.
There’s also more room here to leverage various best messaging or content practices at the same time, such as storytelling, using analogies, sharing specific and concrete examples, and so on. So that the entirety of a single piece of long form content is highly compelling and has a greater impact on the audience.
Long form content focuses on the depth of your thoughts and ideas, i.e. it requires you to be an excellent communicator of your thought leadership.
Short form content also has its strengths, but in very different ways.
For example, I find that short form content is really powerful when it comes to showcasing parts of you or your work that you don’t necessarily want to go in depth on. For example, if you’re showcasing the behind-the-scenes of your business, a picture or short video can speak volumes rather than you talking about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and so on.
I also find short form content to be a great place for me to practice sharing some of my new ideas and practice talking about them, before I go into more depth via long form content.
Short form content platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn value recency. Meaning, you have to post frequently in order to stay fresh and on top of the algorithm and hence your post will be shown to your audience. And after a few days, the algorithm no longer pushes your content out.
However, long form content platforms, especially those with a search function such as YouTube, have more longevity. Even podcasts and blogs have more potential to serve as a library that can be accessed for months and years to come.
For example, think of how many times you’ve found a new podcast that you really like, and you spend the next week going through all of the podcast episodes available on that show? If each episode is 20 minutes and there are at least 10 episodes that you’d check out. That’s at least over 3 hours of consuming that creator’s content.
Whereas if you were to discover a new Instagram or LinkedIn creator, you might check out a few of their recent posts, that might just be a few minutes. Moving forward, you’d just wait for the algorithm to show you their next newest post.
What this means is that long form content tends to be more evergreen in nature because people can find you months later and still be able to go through a lot of your existing work.
But short form content relies on recency, meaning that only your most recent work will have a chance of being consumed by your audience.
Because both long form and short form serve their own unique purposes, I strongly recommend having both in your business, especially if you’ve already practiced mastering one social media platform and are now ready to add one more platform to your repertoire.
Also, if you’ve already been in the game for a while now but still aren’t signing clients consistently, both of these types of content are helpful in terms of growing your larger, overarching body of work.
Before we move on to talking about the kind of content you can create for your body of work. I want to really illustrate a point by sharing about our client, Nicole.
When Nicole first started her current coaching business, she focused primarily on Instagram and really practiced sharing her thought leadership there, in the beginning.
Although Nicole was able to work with a handful of clients in the capacity of coaching and workshops, it wasn’t until she launched her YouTube channel when things took off for her. Since then, she’s been booking sales calls and signing clients, and we’re currently coaching her on raising her prices as both her demand and skills as a coach has increased.
Similarly for another client, Jennifer, she has been using Instagram to build her brand and establish herself as THE life coach for introverts. She’s been very successful at doing this. People definitely think of a life coach for introverts whenever they think of Jennifer.
However, when Jennifer recently launched her podcast, her newest client discovered her work from Google podcast of all places, and quickly booked a sales call after listening to the available episodes. When this happened, Jennifer had 5 episodes on her podcast.
But that was enough for this client to make a decision about booking a sales call and signing into her coaching program because Jennifer was able to showcase her unique thought leadership and articulate how she can help, in depth, through her long form content.
Both long form and short form content play a role in your body of work. Especially if you’re now in the stage of your business where you’ve been doing this for a while and have been primarily relying on one or two social media platforms, but you’ve reached a point where you aren’t signing clients consistently.
And now, you’re ready to not only sign more clients, but also become known for your unique thought leadership and build a body of work that reflects that and attract even bigger opportunities for your brand in the long term.
If this is you, let’s shift the conversation and dive deeper into the type of content to include in your body of work moving forward.
This type of content is an integral part of your body of work because your dream client wants to work with a coach that shares the same values as them and/or whose story they can relate to.
When I look back at my application forms and client onboarding forms, I see patterns as to why clients choose to work with me, or why they first became intrigued by who I am and how I can help them:
These are direct examples of how my story and me as a person attracts clients who relate to me and who want to work with a coach who GETS them.
Another reason why your story matters is because I’ve seen that at each stage of my business, my audience and clients knew me for my brand story. My brand story, although it evolves, and for every year I’m in business, new layers are added to it, the core of my brand stories stay the same.
All that to say: Your brand story or stories are what will see you through your first four figures, your first five figures, your first six figures, and beyond.
The reason is simple. Your brand story is part of your story as a person. It makes up who you are and influences why you do what you do today. You can’t get rid of your story. It is part of you and differentiates you from all the other coaches in your niche/industry.
Your story is not only a powerful marketing tool and what will uniquely differentiate you, but it is also something that we’re proud of. It proudly shapes us into the person and entrepreneur that we are today. So please, proudly share your story.
For this type of content, I want you to decide on your 3-5 brand stories.
Again, your brand story is a:
1) past event or experience that has shaped you into who you are today, and
2) has either direct or indirect relevance to your business, brand, or ideal clients.
Some additional questions you can marinate on are:
• What are the key obstacles you’ve overcome? Why are they important to you?
• What are other key events or moments in your life? Why are they important to you?
• What are your most memorable wins and achievements? Why are they important to you?
Keep in mind that your brand story does not have to be niche-related.
For example, it could be a personal experience that demonstrates your values, which are values that are important for your brand and are the same ones that your ideal clients hold as well.
Ultimately, this type of content reassures your ideal client that you can indeed relate to them and that you will “get” them.
So please take some time to think about your brand stories and how to start weaving them into your growing body of work.
Your dream client doesn’t want to work with just any coach. They want to work with the BEST of the industry. They want to work with a coach who is a leader in their space.
The easiest way to do this is to share your opinions related to your niche and opinions beyond your niche or beyond the coaching industry.
This is why your body of work must showcase not just your story, but also your opinions and perspectives.
For example, when I look back at my application forms to work with me or my client onboarding forms, I often see themes among what my clients write:
When it comes to building a body of work that showcases your opinions and perspectives, I want you to remember that people don’t need or want more information. They want to hear YOUR perspectives on that particular information or topic.
If you’re simply regurgitating what other coaches are talking about, you’re not going to position yourself as a thought leader or authority in your niche.
Instead, people may view you as someone who is afraid of voicing their own opinions or overall lacking their own opinions.
Your homework here is to decide on 3-5 opinions you really, really believe in. Some questions to help you get started:
• What do you believe in, in the context of your coaching niche or the coaching industry in general? What experiences led you to these beliefs and opinions?
• What do you believe in, outside of the coaching industry in general? What are your opinions about life in general? What experiences led you to these beliefs and opinions?
• What do you strongly disagree with others on, whether it’s niche-related or outside of the coaching industry? What experiences led you to these beliefs and opinions?
A tip I can offer here is to leverage storytelling when sharing your opinions and perspectives.
Storytelling is important because people want to know why you think the way that you think. They want to know the backstory behind how you developed certain opinions and perspectives.
Oftentimes, when a client tells me I feel like my content wasn’t deep enough, it’s because it lacks the story, the build up, that led them to the point they were trying to make.
When you don’t share how your key message came about or how you developed a particular concept or perspective, it essentially comes off as you telling people what to do, but they simply don’t know why you’re telling them to do it.
People want to know WHY you believe in what you believe. Telling the story behind your opinions and perspectives is how your people can really connect with not just you, but also really deeply understand the key points and teachings you’re sharing with them.
Ultimately, your body of work needs to highlight your unique opinions and perspectives in order to reassure your ideal client that you’re brilliant at what you do, and you have the depth or caliber that they are looking for in a coach.
Your body of work needs to include clear examples and evidence of you leading by example because your dream client wants to make sure that you’re in integrity with what you teach.
They want to see that you’re a product of your own product, today, right now, both online and offline.
The way I really came to understand the importance of this is, again, when I looked at my application forms and client onboarding forms, I saw evidence that clients were seeing me as an example of what is possible:
As you think about how to include “leading by example” in your body of work, start by reflecting on 3-5 ways you’re currently *being* your dream client’s dream coach (both in terms of the way you think, the decisions you make, and the actions you take).
Some questions to help you get started:
• How are you currently living the “dream life” that the past version of you never thought was possible? How have you grown so much from just 1-3 years ago?
• How are you continuing to grow and expand, each and every day/week/month/year?
• Why are you already an “expert” in the eyes of your dream clients? What have you created or achieved that they desire for themselves? What knowledge or skills do you hold, that they desire for themselves?
Focus on showing that you are the dream coach for your dream clients, not just telling them that you’re the dream coach.
For example, a lot of coaches get caught up in doing only educational content and completely neglect this type of content because they are so focused on proving to their audience that they are an authority or have expertise.
However, flexing your knowledge and the information you have is just one part of the picture.
Your clients still want to know that you are a living example of what is possible and that you are integrity with what you say. So don’t forget this type of content!
This is the fourth type of content I recommend to include in your body of work because your client wants to learn cool new things from you. They don’t want something they can get from any other coach in your niche.
Here’s how to do this:
Decide on 3 specific skills that you teach, tools you use, step-by-step processes you walk clients through, or frameworks you’ve designed for your specific ideal clients that have actually helped the client.
For example, inside my program The Side Hustle Club (now Thought Leader Club), I focus on 3 specific skills:
1) Helping clients become known for their unique thought leadership
2) Soft launching so that they can sign clients in a simple, time efficient way
3) building a uniquely differentiated brand that is an honest and genuine reflection of them.
I’ve spent literally the past 2 or so years building brand awareness for these skills, such that now, clients literally write on their application form or onboarding forms that these are specific things they want to learn from me.
I know that when it comes to building brand awareness for your skills and results, and generally selling your offer and talking about your work, many coaches and entrepreneurs worry that they’ll come off as too repetitive or even selling too much.
Here are two things I want us to remember:
1) People have lives. Their attention spans online are short-lived. It’s not their fault that your ideal clients might VERY LIKELY miss most of your call-to-actions (CTAs), or maybe they were interested in your offer but literally forgot about it as soon as they put down their phone. Can’t blame them, right?
However, it’s our job to make it easy for our warm, ideal clients to realize, “Oh, Cheryl has an offer” and “Oh! It can actually help me with my unique and specific problems/situations!”
2) People honestly don’t care if you’re making offers. They’re not affected by it and they’re not annoyed by it. They have other things to worry about or place their judgment on. Your ideal clients definitely are not bothered by how often you sell.
Instead, they are probably paying attention to how often you are or are not selling just to gauge whether you are even serious about your work. It also helps your ideal clients when you are making offers.
Now, I want to invite you to do a quick audit:
1) If you look at your profile page for each of the main platforms that you post on, can you *instantly* (let’s say, within 5 seconds) know that you have an offer, who it’s for, and what it helps people with? If not, how can you make it even more obvious?
2) For each platform, look at the 10 most recent posts or pieces of content. Can you *instantly* (again, within 5 seconds) know that you have an offer, who it’s for, and what it helps people with? If not, how can you make it even more obvious for future posts?
3) For each platform, when you look at your 10 most recent posts, can you instantly tell what are the skills you’re known for and the results that those skills lead to? If not, how can you make it even more obvious for future posts?
Ultimately, It’s our responsibility as the entrepreneur to make it obvious that we have an offer and make it easy for our ideal clients to know that we can help them, and the specific skills we’re really good at and can help clients with.
By creating content that showcases your unique process, skills, and results when that process and those skills are put into action, it reassures your ideal client that you will teach them something new, different, or unique. And that you are the best person to coach them on this.
This is the fourth and final type of content I’d love to see you include in your growing body of work.
First, we talked about why you should be building your body of work using both long form content and short form content. Then, we talked about the four types of content to include in your body of work, as well as a number of practical tips and action items that you can start to reflect on and implement.
In the next episode, which is the third and final episode of this 3-part series, we will talk about growing to 6 figures and beyond.
If you haven’t already listened to the previous episode (If You’re Trying to Sign Your First Clients), it contains a lot of helpful tips and insights for those trying to sign your first few clients. I would highly recommend listening to Episode 133: Step-by-Step Guide (Part 1): If You’re Trying to Sign Your First Clients if you’re starting from absolute scratch.
Right now whether you’re pleased with your current or recent results in your business, or maybe you’re feeling a bit disappointed, frustrated or discouraged by how your business is going, I want to offer a gentle reminder that you are already doing something that most people will never even try to do, even if they deeply desire it for themselves.
As we continue to move forward into the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and ultimately, your entire remaining lifetime as an entrepreneur, coach, thought leader, and creator, let’s continue to take committed, relentless, aligned action to making incredible results happen in your long term, life long journey, doing this work.
Join us in the Thought Leader Club – A 4-month weekly 1:1 and community program
This is THE room to:
✨ Start putting in the reps to create your thought leader career
✨ Build a body of work that lets you become known for your unique thought leadership, your story, and how amazing you are at what you do
✨ And ultimately set yourself up for making your 1-3 year dreams a reality
Get all the details and apply here. 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.
The next cohort starts on Monday March 11, 2024, and we’d be delighted to have you be part of the room.
FREE WEBINAR – HOW TO BECOME A SIX FIGURE THOUGHT LEADER WITHOUT A PHD:
LINKEDIN: Cheryl Lau
JOIN THE WHOLESOME VIBES NEWSLETTER: https://cheryltheory.lpages.co/email/
ASK ME A QUESTION ANONYMOUSLY: https://forms.gle/ydYdyNEjxEKogTdZA
SOUNDS GOOD? AWESOME. LET'S GET TO WORK