Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

#524: How To Monetize Your Instagram (Without Changing Your Content Strategy) With Natasha Willis

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:#524: How To Monetize Your Instagram (Without Changing Your Content Strategy) With Natasha Willis

AMY PORTERFIELD: Well hey there, Amy Porterfield here. Welcome to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in. 

In today’s episode we’re going to be talking about the content that you create for your next launch. I’m going to break it up into three stages for you: The content before your launch, during your launch, and after your launch. 

There are some subtle differences between the type of content in each of those stages. I’m going to give you a bunch of examples so it really makes sense. 

While I was researching this episode I realized, holy cow, what a difference ten years makes, especially when we’re looking at content and content marketing. Back then I was still working with Tony Robbins. I was the director of content development. 

I was working on the content that Tony would put inside his online training programs or what he would do onstage. My team and I were working with the content that he would actually sell to his audience. 

At the same time, the marketing copywriters would come to us and tell us they needed “content” for the next marketing newsletter. We would whip up something and send it over and we would be done with that. We would then go back to the content that Tony would teach inside his programs and events. 

Creating content around launches was not really something I was involved in nor was it ever a real focus for what we were doing ten years ago. Today, fast forward just a decade, and content has a life of its own. It’s an empire. 

If you really think about it, it dictates so much of what we do online. It has its own layers, its own strategies. Today if you’re not strategic about your content and your marketing, of course, then you’re missing a huge piece of the online puzzle. 

This is especially true when it comes to promotions and launching. Planning your launch without content is like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly. It just doesn’t work. That’s a silly analogy, I know. But it’s really true. 

It is so important that I wanted to talk about how to plan the right content for before, during, and after your next launch. 

By the way, just to be clear here, I’m not talking about your launch content like the video series you might create or the topic for your launch webinar. I’m not even talking about the content you put inside your course. 

I’m talking about the content that will help you nurture your prospects, keep them engaged while you’re promoting, attract the right people, and continue that relationship after you’ve launched. That’s the content I’m talking about. 

I also want to make sure you download the freebie for this episode. It is so good. I’m going to give you a sample three-stage content marketing  launch  plan.  You  can model this plan for your own business. 

I’m actually choosing one niche and I’m drilling down so that you can see the examples of content in each of these three stages. I was really specific so that I don’t just tell you what to do but I can show you an example of how it all comes to life.

To get it right away just got to http://www.amyporterfield.com/136download because this is episode #136. You can also text the phrase 136download to 33444. 

This is a really good show and tell type of freebie so that you can really understand what content goes into each of the stages. I definitely want you to grab it. 

Before we go into the stages, you first need to pick your start platform. Will it be a podcast or maybe videos or a written blog series? You could do guest blogging or interview different influencers. But I really do believe either a podcast or a video show are going to be the most powerful here. 

First of all, with a podcast (I know I’m biased) I really do believe it is one of the last frontiers out there that is not yet affected by algorithms. People are still finding you organically on a podcast and I really do believe I am reaching a larger audience that I ever would be able to with just a written blog. 

I am a big fan of podcasts. Plus, the ease of use is a big one. I know many of you take me on the subway or to the gym. Or, I am running errands with you or cleaning your house with you or whatever it might be. I’m a busy girl. But I know that many of you take me along with you so that you could be doing one thing while listening to the podcast. 

With how we operate today, that’s incredibly valuable. The ease of use is a huge perk. But I know not everybody is a good fit for a podcast. If I had to choose something different I would probably choose video. 

You all know, if you follow me religiously, that’s saying a lot for me because I’m not a huge fan of video. I don’t necessarily love to see myself on video and do video. 

However, I’m coming around. That’s going away because I’ve been doing more and more video with Facebook Live. I would either choose podcasts or a video in order to create consistent content. 

Although written blogs are still effective, from what I’ve seen and experienced and where I think things are going, I do believe you will get more traction with a podcast or a video blog. We’re just talking about your star platform. 

Even if you weren’t promoting in a launch you still need to kind of figure that out so I just wanted to spend a quick little moment here talking about the fact that you do need to choose your star platform. 

Once you have chosen your platform you will pick your supporting player.  By supporting player, I mean one other way that you’re going to get content out there. The supporting player usually plays a part with social media. 

For me, it’s Facebook Live. Quite honestly, for you I’d love it to be Facebook Live as well. I say that because of what we’ve seen with Facebook Live. 

Facebook is pushing these videos out into the newsfeed beyond anything else you post. You can grab an audience instantly or they can watch your replay. We also know that with social media in general video is where it’s at. 

If you already have an audience on Periscope, by all means use Periscope. But if you’re not there yet I would just focus on Facebook Live. So now you have two different platforms where you can get your content out there consistently. 

You have your star platform and then your supporting player. We’re good with the platforms. If you’re struggling with trying to figure this out, look at what you’re selling, how your audience best consumes information, and where you are with your business. 

I think all of those factors play a part in what you decide but I also think the insights that I’ve just shared here will get you started in the right direction. 

Now we’re going to go into the three stages of content for your next promotion: The before, during, and after stages. But before we get there I have a quick word from today’s sponsor. 

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Fresh Books is offering a 30-day unrestricted free trial to all of my listeners. To claim it, all you need to do is go to www.freshbooks.com/amy and enter Online Marketing Made Easy in the “How Did You Hear About Us” section. 

Let’s look at those three stages. Stage #1 is The Buildup. This is before a launch, the time before your cart actually opens. 

Here you want to give your best start-where-they-stand content. What I mean by that is that you want to kick the conversation off at the point where your audience is currently at as it relates to your overall focus. What are they currently thinking and feeling as it relates to your content? 

As an example, I have a student in my Courses That Convert program and his name is Nathan. Nathan is looking to launch a beekeeping apprentice course. He may start with content around why beekeeping is so beneficial to the environment because he is appealing to a unique audience that cares deeply about the community and sustaining the bee population. 

He knows where his audience is starting out. He knows what they are thinking and what they’re feeling around the topic so he starts the conversation there. 

One thing you don’t want to do is start the conversation way ahead of your audience. When you do that there’s a whole lot of explaining and convincing that needs to happen. At that point it feels a little bit aggressive, a little bit salesy (even if you’re not selling anything), and this is not the phase where we want that to come through. 

Instead, we’re easing into things. You also might want to talk about yourself, who you are and most importantly why that matters to your audience, why you’re teaching what you’re teaching. 

The best way to do this is through stories. Telling stories about why you teach what you teach and how you got here usually allows you to keep things entertaining and interesting without being too self serving. I think it’s important to share some of yourself in the buildup, Stage #1, but I also think you need to be really careful not to make it all about you. 

Finally, you want to build a little anticipation. Your core outcome is to create a buzz around what’s to come, the unveiling of your new course. You can tease it a little bit. You can talk about what’s inside and how you’ve been working on this topic or that topic because it’s coming out in your upcoming course. 

You can position it however you want to position it but you’re just a tease here. You’re not getting into details. You’re not selling anything. You’re literally starting the conversation. I like to get out in front of my launch as much as possible. 

For me, if I could do a month’s worth of content before I ever start talking about people signing up fro my webinar or my video series or whatever it might be for the launch, then I am golden. 

To be quite honest, I’m really happy if I get out in front of it for two weeks of content. We all know around launching time it’s really stressful. It’s hard to get really in front of things. But my goal is always to try to start a month in advance. We’ve done that, for sure. 

One thing you could do during this state is create a freebie, a free guide, a free cheat sheet, or whatever that might be. As you are talking about content and are talking about the content of where they are starting, you can also offer a freebie. One, that helps you grow your list; and two, it helps you identify who is genuinely interested in your topic. 

My goal for you is to get out in front of this as early as possible. Make it a goal of four weeks before you start to talk about a webinar or video series or whatever to launch, create at least four weeks of content. Again, if you only do two weeks, that’s a good starting point. 

Maybe next time do three weeks. After that do four weeks. Getting out in front of it makes a huge difference. 

At this point I need to mention how important it is that you are creating consistent content before you do any of these three stages. It’s not going to work if you never post on your blog or if you hardly ever do a podcast episode or you never do videos. 

It is not good if there is no original content out there consistently from you and then all of the sudden you do two weeks of the before content, a lot of weeks of the during your launch content, and then you do followup after a launch and then go away again. 

That is not okay. The way content works today is that you have to be consistent and then when you get really deliberate with the strategy like this, the before, during, and after content for a launch then it really works well. 

If you’ve struggled with consistent content and you definitely know it’s something where you need to focus, I want to encourage you to listen to Episode #122, Get Your Content House In Order. At the time this episode goes live we’re moving into 2017 soon. 

There is no better time than right now to figure out how you are going to start creating content every single week. I know that might sound daunting to some of you right now but it is very important and very doable. If you need a little tough love and extra support around creating consistent content after you listen to this episode and really understand the three stages I want you to go directly over to Episode #122 and listen to that episode to help you get started in the right direction. 

Now that I said that I will jump off my soap box. I get pretty passionate about that. I’m going to move on to Stage #2. We’ve already talked about Stage #1, which is all about starting where they are currently standing. What are they thinking and feeling right now? That’s where you start the conversation and ease into eventually selling something to your audience. 

We’re not selling anything in Stage #1. We’re building a connection. We’re starting a conversation. We’re getting their mind around a new topic or opportunity that maybe they haven’t been thinking of in this type of way that you’re explaining. 

We’re just setting the stage. The earlier you get in front of it the better. Let’s all shoot for at least a month of really specific content before we go into Stage #2. Let’s talk about Stage #2. 

Stage #2 is the action stage. This is the time during your launch. During this stage you are going to open the cart. For me the cart doesn’t open right away. In Stage #2 I use content to get people to sign up for my webinar and then once I do my first live webinar then the cart is open. 

You need to figure out what that’s going to look like for you. If you’re doing a three- part video series you might use content to get people to sign up for the three-part video series but your cart doesn’t usually open until the fourth video, the selling video. In this stage the cart will open at one point or another. 

You are using your content to drive folks to your core marketing effort. Like I mentioned, for me it would be to sign up for one of my free webinars. For you it might be to watch your multi-part video series that’s going to sell people into your program. 

Whatever it might be, you definitely need that marketing vehicle that will drive folks into learning about the content, learning about your program, and wanting to buy. 

Every content piece you put out should work in concert with your course theme. In Stage #1 if we were being a little bit more broad and we  were  starting  our conversation where our audience is starting, in Stage #2 you are getting more specific. 

You are having a specific conversation that is directly aligned with what it is you are eventually going to sell. For example, if you are teaching how to throw the ultimate kid party (Entertaining With Emily is a business from one of my students inside my course), then you could do content around one core element you teach in the course. 

We’re really bringing that alignment home here. For example, Emily might develop a piece of content that is around putting goodie bags together. Inside her course she goes into specific detail around this but it’s okay to use some of your course content in Stage #2. 

If there’s any time to use your course content it would be in Stage #2. If I take a piece of content from my course and teach it I typically like to save some of the stuff inside my course for inside my course. I don’t give it all away. Or, when I teach it I might put a different spin to it in my free content than I do inside my course. 

There are usually some differences but still the content is the content. I am teaching a piece of content for free in Stage #2 that you can find inside my course. I think that’s totally fine. 

What people are paying for when they ultimately buy your online course is the roadmap, the whole shebang put together where you show them step by step how to get results. Taking one piece out of it is not going to ruin what people are paying for. 

For Nathan, our beekeeper, he could use some case studies of folks who recently became a beekeeper with no prior knowledge and how much they love it and how it’s changed their lives and what it looks like for them. 

Case studies in this stage speak volumes because people will be on the fence and they want to know how others have had success. You can use case studies right before the cart opens. They are also really powerful when the cart is open as well. 

You can do a podcast episode all around one of your students who’s had amazing success. You could do a written blog post. You could do a video interview with them. There is so much you can do. 

What I want to hit home here is that the content in Stage #2 is directly related to the content inside of your program. We’ve elevated the conversation in Stage #2. 

For me, I usually create a podcast episode that drills down into one of the tips I’m going to share in my upcoming webinar. For example, when I launched the  free webinar for Courses That Convert, I touched on pricing your course in the webinar. 

To get people to sign up for the webinar I did a podcast episode that really went deep into how to price your next online course. For those of you who are curious, it’s Episode #107. The episode is all about how to price your next online course. 

As I mentioned, inside my course I teach how to price your course. On my podcast episode I went deep on this topic. There are tons of similarities. But that’s one little snapshot on my podcast versus the whole shebang inside my course on where pricing fits into your roadmap. 

Remember, in your course they’re paying for the roadmap. Take them on the journey step by step to get the results that you promised. I’m just giving you a little snapshot in that podcast episode. 

Another strategy that could work during this stage is a multi-day challenge. I haven’t done it yet and I definitely want to do a challenge in 2017. It’s on the docket to build out. But I’ve seen challenges popping up everywhere this year. 

If you follow Jasmine Star of Insta180 or Jen and Jadah of Simple Green Smoothies or Zach Spuckler of Heart, Soul & Hustle, then you have heard and seen the power of challenges. 

I’ll eventually do a dedicated podcast episode around challenges, probably around the time I’m creating my own. Until then, Zach teaches challenges and I’ll link to his stuff in my show notes at Episode #136. He does a really good job of breaking down a five- day challenge and turning it into a five-figure launch. 

Zach is one to watch if you want to learn how to do it. Jasmine and Simple Green Smoothies actually do launches in their businesses so you could go on Instagram and see some old posts of how they unveiled their challenges and got people involved. There are some really great resources for you there. 

I bring up challenges in Stage #2 because they have a direct connection with selling. In Stage #1 we are setting the stage. We are easing into it. In Stage #2 we are getting closer and closer to closing the sale and we’re opening the cart in Stage #2. 

With challenges, I’ve seen that they lead directly into either a webinar where you sell or they lead directly into a three-part video series where you sell. They can also lead directly into “the cart is open, buy now.” They are directly related to buying and that’s why they fit really nicely in Stage #2. 

What’s important for content creation to fuel a launch is that timing is everything. In Stage #1 you want them to think, “this is interesting, tell me more.” You want them to think you really know your stuff and that you really get them and where they want to go. You want them to keep listening. 

That’s what you want people to think about in Stage #1. In Stage #2 you want to use the content that will get your audience to raise their hands and say, “I want this. I want to learn more. I want to dive in deeper. I’m very interested. Ultimately, I’m ready to buy.” 

That’s what you’re doing in Stage #2. Now let’s ease on in to Stage #3. 

Stage #3 is the followup. This is the time after you launch. Your cart is now closed. You might be wondering why you are creating brand new content after the launch. The cart is now closed. What is the point? 

This is a crucial time because one of the most powerful things about launching is that you’ve been building your email list in a very short period of time. That means you have a lot of new leads on your email list. 

Hopefully some of those leads have become your new buyers. For your new buyers, my hope is that you will create what I call a new member onboarding sequence. A new member onboarding sequence is a series of emails that you write over a period of time that you send out to your new buyers to keep them engaged and keep them on the right track. 

You want to make sure they are diving into your program and are actually doing the work and getting results. The new member onboarding sequence is a whole different ballgame. I talk about it inside my Courses That Convert program in Module 5, for any of my students. That’s a whole other conversation. 

What I want to talk to you about here is what you do about the new leads you have attracted but those that haven’t actually bought yet. People don’t buy for many reasons during a launch. One of those reasons is that maybe they need more information. Another reason is that they may need some more trust. 

People want to get to know you even more before they’re ready to buy. Because of that it is so important that you continue to reach out to them on a weekly basis after the launch. My argument is that after a launch your content creation is almost as important as actually putting out content to get new buyers to buy your product. 

These people that haven’t bought yet have seen your product. They have maybe even been on your webinars. They have watched your videos and have been engaged with you. They are interested. They are still there. They are just not ready to buy. 

I want to encourage you to start creating free, valuable content for them on a weekly basis. Essentially, they just become part of your general email list that you’re reaching out to weekly. 

Remember, that’s why I created Episode #122, How To  Get  Your  Content  House  In Order. The whole goal is finding ways to create original content through a podcast, blog post, videos, even Facebook Live sessions. You want a way to get your original content out there and you need a reason to email your list every single week and say, “Look, I’ve got something great for you.” 

This is also a really good time to take people behind the scenes and show them your workspace and how you do what you do. You can introduce them to your world in one way or another. You really want to focus on building that relationship so that the next time you launch they are ready. They are all in. 

I can’t tell you how many people have been on my list for over a year before they actually buy. I do some really serious work in creating content for them and taking them behind the scenes with me and building a relationship before they are ready to buy. 

That’s why you can’t miss Stage #3, the followup. It’s all about creating consistent content. There is an opportunity to go wider here with your content. Maybe you want to interview someone to add some more examples and context to your previous conversation so that you’re not the only one that is moving the conversation forward. 

You are bringing in some experts or some people that are really aligned with your messaging and you are interviewing them on your podcast or your blog or whatever. Maybe you want to do a roundup of some of the best facts and figures that you’ve collected along the way related to your niche or maybe you want to do some kind of list post where you are listing out five ways to XYZ, or whatever it might be. 

There are so many different things you can do with your content. But now is the time to start putting that content calendar together so that you know you have something new every single week. 

Again, listen to Episode #122 if you haven’t yet already because I definitely take away some of the stress of feeling like, “Oh my gosh, that’s a lot of work, a lot of content.” We talk about that in Episode #122, for sure. 

The goal in Stage #3 is to broaden their horizon on your topic. It also keeps them engaged and strengthens your relationship with them. Remember I told you what people should be saying when they are in Stage #1 and Stage #2? 

In Stage #3 you want people to say, “Wow, she/he is my go-to person. When I need to know about XYZ I always go to {Amy}.” You want to become that go-to person for them as it relates to your niche or your area of expertise and the way you do that is after a launch you keep that content creation really strong and find new ways to get content to them so that they can get to know you and your message. 

That is what Stage #3 is all about. 

There you have it. Hopefully you found these different stages valuable, especially because I wanted to give you some real-life examples of how you can apply them. To give you even more examples of what content to use in each stage I created a sample Three-Stage Content Marketing Plan. 

I want you to use the plan to model your own three-stage plan for your content for your next launch. To get your hands on this all you need to do is go to http:// www.amyporterfield.com/136download or text the phrase 136download to 33444. 

The final thing I want you to be aware of is this: What you do for one promotion does not mean it is set in stone. I’m always changing up my content promotion structure. I’m figuring out new ways to deliver content. I’m finding out more about you, my audience, what you need, what you want. 

Allow this to be fluid and flexible. But I always come back to these three stages. I think that’s the important part you really want to understand in this episode. Then you can play around with the kind of content that works for you and your audience in each of the stages. 

Here’s what I’m always thinking about. What is the content journey I want to take you on? If I’m promoting Webinars That Convert, where do I want to start? Where do I want to build up to? Ultimately, where do I want to end up? Then, how do I follow all of that up for those that are not ready to buy my program but are interested in the topic? That’s kind of how I look at it. 

Finally, before I wrap up, a quick word from our episode sponsor. If you’re currently a freelancer, coach, or consultant and you’re juggling multiple clients, I want  to encourage you to check out Fresh Books. They just released a new version of their cloud accounting software. 

It’s been custom built for exactly the way you work. Plus, it helps you get paid more quickly. You can create and send professional-looking invoices in less than 30 seconds, set up online payments with just a few clicks, and you can even see when somebody looks at your invoice so there are no more guessing games. 

Fresh Books is offering a 30-day unrestricted, free trial to all of my listeners. To claim it go to  http://www.freshbooks.com/amy  and  enter  Online  Marketing  Made  Easy  in the “How Did You Hear About Us” section. 

Thanks so much for tuning in. I cannot wait to connect with you again soon. Bye for now.