Episode 28. My 2021 Content Strategy

Let’s talk about content strategy. Specifically, I want to share with you about what I’m doing for Q2 of 2021 to build my coaching business.

First, I’ll talk about which platforms I’m going to double down on in 2021 and why. Next, I’ll share the content I’m going to be creating for these platforms. Finally, let’s talk about how I’m going to translate this content into a soft launch strategy to grow my business.

In This Episode:

The platforms I’ll be doubling down on in 2021 and why

First, let’s talk about which platforms I plan to be creating content for or using to build my business in 2021. 

In short, they will be

  1. Instagram
  2. Podcast
  3. Email Newsletter

Here’s why I chose these three platforms: 

1. Instagram 

Instagram has been the platform I’ve used since day one of my business. 

It’s the platform I’ve been able to remain consistent on through the good days and the bad, and this consistency is why Instagram is first on my list. 

If you can be consistent on a platform, that’s already 75% of the battle. 

The other 25% is figuring the key messages and creating content that builds demand for your coaching offers and also demonstrating your thought leadership. 

The reason why a lot of coaches and entrepreneurs don’t get to a place in their business where they see consistent results is because they give up on showing up regularly and continuing to build on their library of value. 

One caveat I want to add here is that I’m choosing Instagram as my primary platform not because it’s the best platform to grow your business on. But because it works for me. 

One of my clients has been crushing it on LinkedIn and signing clients from LinkedIn! 

You’ve heard me say this, but I’ll say it again: EVERY PLATFORM WORKS. 


You can choose Instagram as your primary platform, or LinkedIn. 

How about Facebook and Facebook groups? Clubhouse? YouTube? Podcast? Streaming on platforms like Twitch? 

There’re endless platforms that I have literally no clue about, like Discord or Patreon or Reddit. 

Every platform works.

You can sign clients from anywhere.

However, it’s so important to know which platform you want to commit to, and which one makes the most sense for your business. 

For me, Instagram is the platform I can be very consistent on and I know a lot of my ideal clients are actively on Instagram.

Now, a quick note about your followers. 

I hear a lot of people saying that they don’t have any ideal clients following them. 

Don’t discriminate or think about whether someone is a potential client, just show up. 

It’s not your job to make judgments about whether someone is a potential client or not. 

It’s also not up to you to decide whether they may know someone who is a good fit to work with you.

For instance, I’ve had some clients who came to be via referrals from my followers, despite these followers not being my “ideal clients”.

Because you never know who’s going to be a client. Or who’s going to know someone who can be a client. Or who might even be your new best friend or future collaborators! 

Stop making judgments about people. 

Personally, I know that it’s my job to continue showing up on Instagram and make sure I speak my message and thoughts loud and clear, so that when my ideal clients do see my content, they’ll be interested in what I have to say.

2. Podcast

I’m going to continue putting out one weekly podcast episode. 

Specifically, my goal is to do one guest episode for every three solo episodes, although sometimes it may be 50:50.

I may also put out bonus episodes if a new piece of content comes up. 

For now, the reason I want to do more solo episodes is because I’m still at a phase in my business where I can continue to further establish myself as a thought leader in my particular niche.

I still have areas I can improve on in my messaging, and I’m still trying to clarify what is the specific 1-3 things I want people to associate me with. 

This question in particular is the one I’m still working on every single day. 

That’s a sign for me that I can definitely zone in on solo episodes so I can experiment with different ideas inside my brain, try out new ways to share my original perspectives and opinions, further identity the issues I really really care about (whether it’s business related or non business related) and to continue using my voice to speak up on topics important to me.

Of course, I still have ways to go when it comes to growing the listenership of The Side Hustle Club podcast! 

I’m going to see how I can expand our podcast audience. 

Whether that means promoting the podcast on LinkedIn or repurposing our guest interviews into video content that our guests can share. 

I’ll be testing out different strategies and also encouraging our guests to promote the episode where possible. 

Because we’ve got some pretty amazing guest episodes! More people need to hear from our guests! 

And speaking of guests…

If I’m going to be honest, one more reason why I’m choosing to place more emphasis on the solo episodes is because I’m starting to see podcast pitches coming into my inbox or direct messages (DMs).

I recently received a super well written pitch from an entrepreneur who’s work I’m a huge fan of, and I’m excited to have them on the show as soon as possible. 

Essentially, this shows me that the podcast is starting to be seen as a show that people want to be a guest on. 

For most of our guests prior to this current episode, a lot of them are my friends who I really admire and respect, so I personally invited them onto the show. 

Also, most of the pitches I’ve received till now aren’t the most thoughtful and it’s clear that they didn’t bother trying to articulate the value they can bring to my audience, so I turned down most of them. 

But because I’m starting to see signs that this podcast’s reputation is growing, I want to be more selective than ever with which guests I bring on so we can have incredible guest interviews that the listeners, such as you, will genuinely benefit from and enjoy. 

3. Email Newsletter

I’ve been on this platform not so much for strategic reasons but simply for fun. 

The truth is, I really really really enjoy creating PDF worksheets and creating written content, so doing an email newsletter with worksheets attached was the perfect option for me!

However, I recognize that this isn’t a priority for me and it currently fits into my business as a “nice to do” or passion project rather than a non-negotiable or even core strategy. 

That’s also exactly why it’s currently a biweekly newsletter instead of weekly. 

My primary focus is on Instagram, The Side Hustle Podcast, and working with clients. 

In terms of growing my email list, I could consider adding on a new lead magnet or refreshing my old lead magnets to encourage more people to join my newsletter. 

Again, that’s not a priority right now and I’m more focused on having a fun time creating worksheets and written content instead.

The specific types of content I’ll be creating for these platforms

When it comes to my Instagram content, Some of you may know that I follow something I call the 3×3 (+1) Content Strategy

If you are not familiar with this strategy, you can download the FREE worksheet which outlines this strategy step-by-step and check out the post Episode 3: The 3×3 (+1) Content Strategy where you can learn more about how to implement the strategy.

The 3×3 part of the 3×3 (+1) Content Strategy is made up of the three content types that make up your brand, multiplied by three content pillars. 

The way I like to look at it is that the three content types that make up your brand are:

  • Content that builds your authority aka authority building content → Content that shows that you actually know your stuff. This can go beyond just educational tips. For example, your unique opinions and experiences and ideas also build your credibility. 
  • Content that shows that you’re relatable and likable aka relationship building content → Besides showing that you know your stuff, people also need to like and trust you before they’re convinced to buy from you.
  • Content that captures the attention of new eyeballs aka attracting content → You’ll need to get in front of more people if you want to scale your impact 

Content pillars are the topics or themes that you’ll create content. 

I recommend sticking to three (no more than five) content pillars that are related to your brand and business in order to create a consistent and coherent brand message. 

This is because if you talk about twenty different topics, your audience won’t see you as a go-to figure on a small set-number of topics. → Again: You have 3 content goals x 3 content pillars = The 3×3 part of your content strategy

Now, the (+1) type of content is key for your business. 

This is because if you want to have a profitable and meaningful business that serves clients, you’ll need to make sales. 

This +1 type of content is content that sells your offer and invites your audience to take the next step.

→ In sum: 1 content goal x 1 offer = The (+1) part of your content strategy.

Now, if you were to visualize this 3×3 (+1) Content Strategy, you can picture it as a table with 3 rows and 3 columns for content that make up your brand, and +1 table (a single column or single row table) for content that sells.

The four types of content I typically leverage for my Instagram feed: 
1. Authority building content 
2. Relationship building content 
3. Attracting content
4. Selling content

If you were to analyze how I do this on my Instagram feed posts, you’ll see that most posts are actually a mix of these types of content. 

I typically do carousel posts because it gives me more options as to how to infuse these different types of content.

For example, on February 16, I posted a carousel post, where the first slide starts with a meme of myself.

This meme is a mix of attracting content because memes typically attract attention easily, but it’s also a relationship-building piece of content because it’s a meme of myself and I’m telling a story, so it allows the reader or audience to feel like they’re getting to know me better.

In the second slide, it’s promoting my podcast! This is a selling type of content.

Another example is this carousel post.

The first slide is a twitter or tweet style graphic. You can classify this slide as an authority-building type of content because this is simply me saying my honest opinion.

The next few slides follow up on what the first slide says and I elaborate more on the first slide with short video clips.

And the last slide is promoting my 1:1 Program → selling type of content.

Remember: Selling content doesn’t have to be only directly pitching your offer. 

It can also be promoting your free offers, showing client testimonials and social proof, showing the behind-the-scenes of your programs, and so on.

For my Instagram stories content, I only create authority building content, relationship building content, and selling content because it’s not exactly feasible to create content for stories that are viral or shareable, which is the purpose of attracting content aka to attract new eyeballs. 

Instead, I see stories as a way to really go above and beyond for my audience members  who take the time out of their day to watch my stories. 

Here’s a side story: I recently heard that if you don’t post on Instagram stories for a few days, you’re going to get a surge in story views when you do post again on stories. 

But here’s the reason I’m not going to do that as a strategy. 

Yes, it would be awesome to have more eyeballs looking at my stories, but the reason I’m still going to show up and post on stories every day or whatever my capacity allows is because showing my audience that I’m committed matters way more than trying to play the algorithm. 

Showing up for the people who consume my stories every day matters more than not showing up a few days just to get a surge in story views a few days later. 

I want my audience to see that I’m committed to them. If I say I’m gonna show up, I actually show up. 

Because that’s how serious I am about giving value to my audience and to the business I’m growing and the work that I do.

Developing your own thought leadership

What me and my clients are drilling down in 2021 is to develop our own thought leadership.

Focus on being a leader in your niche and making the biggest impact in your space. 

Think of original content ideas that provide a fresh way of looking at existing concepts and strategies, and come up with your own opinions, approaches and ideas. 

Just because a particular piece of content worked for someone else doesn’t mean you should copy it blindly and regurgitate the same information. 

People can smell BS and a lack of authenticity from through the screen. 

They can tell who’s generic and who’s a cookie cutter version of someone else. 

It’s easy to tell who subscribed to someone else’s model or blueprints. That’s why it’s easy to get washed out. 

I once had a client who gave me some pieces of content to review and provide feedback on. When I read the drafts for her Instagram captions, I immediately asked: Did you use a template? And guess what. She did. 

I went on to highlight line by line which parts I suspected was a copy and paste template. And guess what? I was right. 

Every single sentence that I highlighted, she had used from a template she bought from another business coach.

I share this example as a reminder that when you’re not using your own original voice or creating content from your own perspectives and using your own ideas, people can tell. It’s so easy to tell when someone sounds like someone else. 

The more different you are, the more money you make. 

You are here to help people and tell people what they actually need to hear. 

Create content that represents your unique thought leadership and voice, so that it feels damn good when you share this message or content with your audience. 

This allows you to show up 110% and continue operating in integrity because you know that the content you’re sharing are your own original ideas and you didn’t try to model after some other successful coach.

One thing I’ve been doing a lot more as of recent weeks is showing how I’m credible via my content. 

Clients are looking for credibility and making sure you can get them results, so it’s my job to educate my audience about my credibility. 

What are my clients saying about working with me? What results are my clients getting? How can I get results for my clients? 

For example, what processes and methods do I use to help my own clients hit 4-figure months in their business and sign consistent clients? 

Why are my processes and methods effective?

What is it about me and my methods that allow my clients to sign clients and hit 4-figure months in a way that allows them to pretty much work on their business on just 2 hours a day, on average?

These are things I’m increasingly trying to address via my content.

How I’m going to continue to book out my one-on-one coaching program with soft launching

One of my primary goals in 2021 is to serve as many private clients as possible. 

My main focus will be booking out my one-on-one coaching spots. But I may relaunch a super small group program sometime later this year. 

To sell my one-on-one coaching program, I’ll be doing this soft launch style throughout the remainder of the year.

First of all, let’s define what a soft launch is. 

To answer this question, let me ask you: What do you think of when I say the word launch? 

Chances are, a lot of you might think that this is a huge daunting task that is overwhelming and stressful.

We hear coaches talking about launching all the time. Whether it’s launching for a group program, a new course, or even 1:1 program. 

Maybe you are also thinking “Oh God, I have to create so much content and show up so many times every single day to talk about my offer.” or “Oh my God, I don’t want to sell every single day, my audience is gonna get sick of me.” or maybe “I don’t know how I’m gonna get myself to sound super enthusiastic and energetic every single day for my launch.”. 

Well, these are super common thoughts that you might have when you think of a typical launch.

In my definition, a soft launch removes ALL the stress and overwhelm because of one key difference between a soft and hard launch. 

In a soft launch, there are no deadlines. On the other hand, when you have a hard launch for your coaching program, you have a date for which you’ll be closing off the enrolment period. People are hypothetically not allowed to purchase or join your program after this date.

The most common perceived benefits to doing a traditional launch is that it creates a heightened sense of urgency which pushes people to join or apply, because there’s a cut off date after which they cannot do so. 

This can also result in a huge quote on quote cash injection in your business.

Typically, coaches will have a pre-launch phase prior to launch. 

“Launch” simply refers to the period during which people can apply to and join your program. 

“Pre-launch” is the phase before the cart opens, during which you’re focused on teasing your offer. What this typically looks like is when coaches say “Something exciting is coming soon!” or “ I have an announcement coming next week”. 

I’m sure you’ve all seen that before. 

Given these super sexy benefits of a typical launch, now you might be wondering why on earth should you even consider doing a soft launch, without any deadlines? 

Wouldn’t that take away all the urgency that will push people to join? 

Here’s my take on this. 

If you know you have 10+ super warm leads in your audience, then proceed with a launch.

If you’ve already had consistent success filling out your 1:1 coaching program, you know how to do soft launches successfully, and you have a solid conversion rate on sales calls, then proceed with a launch. 

If you know you have a content strategy that’s working and it’s effective at building constant demand for your offers, then proceed with a launch. 

Finally, If your mindset is super solid aka you aren’t stressing out about your business or signing clients, and instead you’re super focused on service instead of income, then go ahead. Launch.

However, if you don’t have at least ten warm leads, if you haven’t been consistently booking out your 1:1 coaching spots, if you don’t currently have a content strategy that you know is working, and if your mindset is super shaky and you’re constantly stressing about where the next client is coming from, I would urge you to first master the art of a soft launch before moving on to a traditional type of launch.

You see, those deadlines can really spin you out. Especially when you don’t get any direct messages (DMs) or applications. 

Whether it’s no DMs or applications in the first few days or the first week. Or maybe there’s only three days left in your launch before you’re supposed to close the cart, and no one has converted into a client yet. 

Then what? Then how would you feel? 


Scenarios like this can happen. 

But here’s the part that concerns me the most – It’s not whether you sign clients or not during your launch. That would be something we need to work on, but it’s not the biggest problem, in my opinion, when it comes to launching.

What actually is the biggest issue is if it’s only the third day of your three week launch and you start feeling discouraged and defeated because your direct messages (DMs) are completely silent and no one has inquired or applied to your program. 

When you start thinking “OMG no one is going to join my coaching program.”, then one of two things usually happen: 

1. You start thinking, “I’m not doing enough.” and you start to make a list of 20 more things you could supposedly do to try to book out your program before the end of your launch, or 

2. you give up on your launch aka you show up in half assed energy and you don’t show up confidently to talk about how you can help people and why people should join your program. 

In the first scenario, people can tell that you’re desperate , doubtful, and scrambling for clients. 

In the second scenario, people can tell that you’re worried, you’ve given up, and you’re doubtful about your own abilities. 

People can tell what energy you’re operating from. 

If your audience is sensing that you don’t seem confident or excited or genuine about your program, that’ll repel them from applying to work with you right off the bat. 

If you see a coach who’s so vibrantly talking about their offer, you’re naturally going to be more curious about what they have to offer and what they have to say about their offer. That energy piece matters. 

I know soft launches is a method that more coaches need to prioritize instead of getting sucked into the notion that they “need” to do a traditional hard launch, especially if their foundations aren’t solid yet.

What you need to do to soft launch

If you’re wondering “Okay Cheryl, I think I’m in a position where soft launch makes sense for my business right now, but I don’t know what I need to do to soft launch.”. 

The answer is simple. You need a content strategy that works. 

That’s all it really comes down to your content strategy on your selected platforms of choice. 

A common thing I hear from my audience is, “But Cheryl, my content is super good. I give so many valuable educational tips. Why am I not getting clients?”. 

Okay. when I hear this in my DMs, here’s what I’ll respond with: 

Yes, definitely give value. If you want 5k, you need to give 5k worth of value. 

If you’ve only been doing this for a month or two or even three, I need you to give value without expecting anything in return. 

Because when you think value has to result in an immediate return, you’ll become stingy with what you share. 

You’ll see results, but just maybe not immediately. 

It’s a long game because you need to build up a library of value for people to go through. 

People will only apply to your coaching programs if they see that you’ve been consistent, that you are committed to showing up, and that your content is pretty damn good. 

I’ve shared this metaphor before, but your Instagram page is like a library. It’s a library of value. 

You start with an empty library, and overtime you put more value on the shelves. 

The more you add to the library, the more value you can serve. 

Giving value and consistency are the bare minimum. 

You need to go above and beyond simply just “give value”. 

This means educational tips alone aren’t going to cut it. 

Instead, you need to be strategic with the content you put out so that it can actually build demand for your offers. 

Meaning that people actually consume your content and then realize, “Oh wow, this person might actually be the person to help me do XYZ.”. 

It’s not that you or your program isn’t valuable. But rather, people need both a tremendous amount of value from you and your content needs to strategically guide your audience to recognize that, “Hey, not only is the content so good, but I can see why this person can help me, how they can help me, and why I should choose this person over all the other options out there.”. 

Right now, you have the opportunity to create a profitable and impactful business simply by posting content on social media. 

Like, that is SO incredible. 

That’s also why it’s so important not to waste time putting out content that isn’t effective at growing your business, because that wouldn’t be getting you closer to working with clients and actually making an impact on others. 

Right now, I invite you to really reflect on your current content strategy and your current launch strategy, and assess what is currently working, what you can improve on, what you can do differently moving forward. 

So you can start hitting your income goals and make the income and impact you know you’re meant to make.

Listen to the Episode

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