AMY PORTERFIELD: “When I was first doing Facebook Lives, I fumbled through my core content. It didn't come out seamlessly, and that's just part of your growth. You're going to have to practice, and you could practice on your own, like while you're driving in your car, start talking about some your core content; or you just show up on Facebook Lives, fumble through it a little bit, knowing that that's part of your growth. Be kind to yourself. It gets easier.”
“Now, fast forward today. I just wrapped up another launch of my Digital Course Academy program, and we did this super–long prelaunch runway with tons of Facebook Lives, tons of Q&A. And if you caught any of them, you probably noticed I felt incredibly comfortable answering every question that came my way, delivering all the content, like, I could do it in my sleep.”
“Now, that is the goal, my friend, but you're not going to get there overnight. I'm eleven years in the making, so be patient, grasshopper.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY: Okay, before we get going. A quick word from our sponsor.
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So this is really cool. And for a special limited–time offer, The Draw Shop is offering Online Marketing Made Easy listeners their service for one–third the usual price, so almost 70 percent off of their service, which is valued at $1500. Again, this will only be available for a limited time. So to get your word–perfect pitch today, head to amyporterfield.com/elevatorpitch.
All right. Let’s get into today’s episode.
Well, hey, there, friend. Let's chat about content, and more specifically, core content. But before we dive in, I want to know: are you crystal clear on your core content? Now, whether you answered no, kinda, yes, or “I don't even know what you're talking about, Amy,” then I want you to listen up because we are covering all angles of core content today.
If there's one thing I've learned over the years of being an entrepreneur is that having clarity around my core content is not only helpful in creating content across my brand, but it also helps me to show up for my students without having to worry about how I'm going to answer all their questions, and it helps to set me up as an expert in my industry. Over the last few months, we've been in launch mode, which means I've been showing up on social media and email and everywhere in between. And I've especially noticed how having a very clear understanding and wording around the core content that makes up my teachings has been super helpful. So today I'm walking you through a five–step process for identifying your core content, getting comfortable speaking about it, and then how to adjust or update it, even when you feel like you've spoken about it so much that it's tattooed on your forehead. So if you're ever worried that you can't change your core content, I'm an example of someone who has.
So this idea of changing your core content, this is something that I've been working through with one specific area in my business. I'll give you some behind the scenes of how I'm handling it, in this episode. Also, one last thing. You've probably noticed that I've been closing out my episodes with a hot tip. So be sure to stick around to the end, because I've got another one for you in this episode as well.
All right. Let's go ahead and dive in.
Before we go any further and get into the step–by–step process I mentioned in the intro, let's make sure that we're on the same page when it comes to core content. Okay, pay close attention here. Your core content is made up of the ideas, strategies, and techniques that solidify your brand. These should be rooted in pain points, challenges, desires, and needs of your audience. And you should be able to teach them over and over again to help your audience cross what I call the invisible bridge.
So this invisible bridge, let me talk to you a little bit about that, if you haven't heard me talk about it before. So when you address these pain points or desires in your core content, with ideas and strategies and techniques, you're creating a bridge that your audience can walk across so that when they get to the other side, they are more willing, likely, and excited to, let’s say, get on your webinar or buy your course or buy your product or sign up for your coaching program. There's a lot of different mindset shifts and understandings that need to happen before somebody is ready to do business with you. Your core content gets them ready to do business with you.
Now, I want to take a moment to differentiate your core content—what we're focusing on here today—from your marketing message because although there are some similarities, they vary just a bit. Your marketing message should clearly state the objections of your audience and just address them head on, whereas, in your core content, you're giving ideas and strategies and techniques to specifically overcome those objections. Typically in your marketing message, when you get ready to, let's say, promote your webinar or on your sales page, you're talking about your course, you're not teaching in that marketing message. You're addressing objections. In your core content, you're taking those objections and your teaching strategies and techniques so that they can see that what they need to do is doable. So they get some traction so that when you're ready to sell, they're ready to buy.
For those of you who are newer to online marketing, you might feel a little unclear as to the challenges, the pain points, the desires of your audience. Let me reassure you that the more you pay attention, the more you listen versus talk, it becomes easier. This is something that you learn over time. You're not supposed to just decide you want an online business, wake up the next morning, and you're really clear about these challenges and pain points and desires. It takes time. It means you engage with your audience. You ask questions, you pay attention, you listen.
All right. So stay with me through this five–step process, and I promise it will get easier for you to really start to understand how to craft your core content. Even if you don't have a full understanding of your audience yet, you'll get there over time. And if you're a veteran entrepreneur, you'll want to learn this process I'm going to teach here because you'll always come back to your core content and make adjustments, which I'm actually going to talk about one big adjustment I made with my own core content. So we'll get to that in step number five.
All right. Let's dive into step number one. Now, if you know me, you know I'm a pen and paper kind of girl. However, this is one area where I like to open up a Google Doc and type out all of my ideas, because then it's easier to go back and edit them. So I suggest you start typing out the main themes or focuses in your business. So here's some questions. What do you teach? What is the transformation you offer? What core steps does your audience have to take to achieve that transformation? What do you teach?
Now, I suggest you lean heavily on any industry research you've done, and if you've done any ideal–customer–avatar work or if you've done any course calls to validate your audience, use that information as well. Here's a little hint. Ideal–customer avatar, that's the content I've recently been reworking. I'll get to that in step five. But basically what I want you to do is think about anything you know about your audience, what you've learned about them, and then pull from your own knowledge, your skill set, your expertise. That's where you're starting here.
Now, I mentioned course calls, which is basically where you start to learn even more about your audience. I did an episode, episode 280—you can get there by going to amyporterfield.com/280, or I’ll link to it in the show notes—but I did this episode with somebody who was not yet a student of mine. Her name was Jamie Trull, and I did a course call live on my podcast so you can hear how I interviewed her to learn more and more about what she needed, what she wanted, in order to craft my own core content around how to create a digital course. Funny enough, Jamie has become my star student. I mean, she's crushing it. And at the time of that recording, she didn't even own my program, Digital Course Academy. So it's kind of a fun episode to listen to if now you know she's literally crushed more than two launches. I think she's onto her third. Kind of cool.
Okay. Let's get back to step number one, where you’re going to identify these core themes. So to give you an example in my business, I got clear on my overarching theme, so list building, digital–course creation, and successfully launching a digital course using webinars. From there—so I typed out those categories, and then I left space underneath each one of them to go back and break those overarching themes down into more bite–size, manageable pieces. So, for example, some of my content broken down would include creating an irresistible lead magnet, three profitable types of digital courses, selecting a digital–course topic, the importance of live launches, objections like “I don't have time to create a digital course,” or “The tech overwhelms me,” and the list could go on and on. These are all pieces of core content that help me to support and educate my audience, and it helps them to cross over that invisible bridge, because imagine if I created some core content around three profitable types of digital courses. Once they got clear on the type of course they wanted to create, they'd be more willing and excited to join me on my webinar all about how to create a digital course.
Do you see how I create my core content around pain points and desires? That's exactly what you want to do as well. So step number one, sit down and write out your overarching themes, and then break down those into bite–size pieces. The bite–size pieces are the pieces of content you might teach on a Facebook Live or maybe talk about on an IG Story or post about on LinkedIn. So I just want you to wrap your head around where you might use these pieces of content.
Moving on to step number two, it's time to get clear on your wording or messaging around those bite–size pieces. In other words, how you'll speak about it throughout your content, whether that content is a lead magnet or a Facebook Live or a podcast or marketing material. Now, I don't want you to rush this. So plan to sit down a few times over the course of, let's say, the next week, and only give yourself a short set amount of time. And this will help you get clear on your messaging. I want you to write it out, then edit and delete an update and whatever you want to do to perfect how you would like to speak of each of these areas of content. Think about the most important points, and as you do this, keep coming back to the pain points or desires. How can you clarify this and use your messaging around your core content to give your audience the confidence they need to become a paying customer?
A really great way to do this is to include stories, both personal and from other students or customers, stories that are related to a specific piece of content. For example, I talk a lot about starting my online business as somebody who did social media for small businesses, and so I have this story about how I created a business in the first two years of leaving corporate that I hated. And I tell this story of a really jerky client that I worked with, which was literally the straw that broke the camel's back, where I was like, “I'm done.” And that's when I said, “Amy, you left corporate to start your own business, and you wanted to create digital courses. Let's get to work.” So I have this story to talk about how I got into digital courses. Stories really bring things to life. So when you're thinking about how you're going to talk about this, the wording, think about your own stories, because if you don't have stories from students or your audience yet, you do have your own stories. So they come out in step number two.
Take this step to get hyper clear on how you want to deliver your message around each piece of core content. If you feel stuck here, just get started. Even if you came up with two or three stories to talk about, that would be really good. That would be a really good start. You can always come back and edit your thoughts around it. In fact, I like to walk away, do something completely unrelated, like listen to an episode of Crime Junkie, and then revisit it and make any necessary updates.
So that is step number two, which is to just get clear on how you want to talk about it, what you want to say about it. So basically what this looks like is if you've got the categories and then you've got a bunch of ideas under each category, write some notes under each of those ideas of how you might talk about it, what you might share, maybe the steps that you would teach or the process or the blueprint. So you're really just developing each of these pieces of content that you want to talk about.
So here's one more idea. In step two, if I were doing this exercise, let's say one of the ideas from the category “creating digital courses” is three types of digital courses that are profitable. So that would be step one. Step two would be, okay, what are those three types, and why are they profitable? So I'm developing the content so I know how to talk about that core content.
So that's essentially all it is. You're just developing your content in step number two. You're writing it out. And it probably is really wordy at first. So don't worry, you can pull it back. That's why we're working in a Google Doc.
Okay, step number three is practice, practice, practice. Once you've gotten clear on your messaging, it's time for you to practice so you feel comfortable and confident sharing this message with your audience. And trust me, friend, with time it gets easier.
I remember back to one of my very first Facebook Lives. I remember my very first Facebook Live because I often tell the story of not wanting to ever do Facebook Lives and wishing that when they first came out they'd be a huge flop and nobody would want to do them, because I didn't like doing video.
That's probably another one of my core themes is this idea of not wanting to show up on video. It's a huge pain point for my audience. Maybe you're, like, shaking your head right now. Like, yes, that's me. So in that case, that's one of my core concepts. If I think of, like, actually strategies and techniques, one other piece or theme would be “mindset around being an entrepreneur,” and one of the pieces under “mindset of being an entrepreneur” for me that I teach is embracing showing up live on video. So one of the stories is me wanting Facebook Live to go away. And I tell that story so I could say to my audience, “I get you. I can relate to you. I've been where you're at.” And then from there, I can talk about how I've overcome that.
So you see how it starts to develop through step one and step two? So believe me. I've got all the stories with relating to my audience because I've been there. So I tell all those stories as my core content.
Okay. So back to this topic here. I was saying that it does get easier over time. So when I was first doing Facebook Lives, I fumbled through my core content. It didn't come out seamlessly, and that's just part of your growth. You're going to have to practice, and you could practice on your own, like while you're driving in your car, start talking about some your core content; or you just show up on Facebook Lives, fumble through it a little bit, knowing that that's part of your growth. Be kind to yourself. It gets easier.
Now, fast forward today. I just wrapped up another launch of my Digital Course Academy program, and we did this super–long prelaunch runway with tons of Facebook Lives, tons of Q&A. And if you caught any of them, you probably noticed I felt incredibly comfortable answering every question that came my way, delivering all the content, like, I could do it in my sleep.
Now, that is the goal, my friend, but you're not going to get there overnight. I'm eleven years in the making, so be patient, grasshopper.
Now, I know this might sound a little cheesy, but I want you to actually start practicing, like I mentioned earlier, in private. So let's say you're in the car alone. Just start talking about your core content. How would you talk about it? What stories would you tell? How would you break it down? What's the content that you want to talk about over and over again? Now, you also have to just deliver it. So maybe you do this through live video, like Facebook Live or Instagram Lives or even Instagram Stories, or you start developing it through your blog or your podcast or on video on YouTube. Either way, you've got to put yourself out there eventually.
And here's a tip. Make yourself some notes. So take your content that you developed in step one and step two, and then break it down into brief bullet points. So let's say I was going to teach the three types of profitable digital courses on a Facebook Live. I would then have bullet points under each of the types of different courses. And I'm speaking from experience here because I always need bullet points before I go live. I would never go live and teach something without a few bullet points, at least, to keep me on track. So this is a great way, if you write those bullet points, that’s another way you’re practicing because you’re developing the content, developing the content. Keep putting it out there.
Also, if you're nervous that it's going to change down the road, you're like, “Well, what if I develop it but then I want to change it?” Totally fine. I'm going to talk about changing your content up in step number five. So nothing is essentially set in stone.
But my point here is just keep delivering your message. If people are showing up, they want to hear from you, so keep showing up for them. And especially these days, people aren't looking for perfection. They're looking for guidance. So as hard as it may seem, put your need for perfection in your back pocket. And yeah, I'm speaking to myself as well, to show up for the people that need you most, do your very best, deliver your content over and over and over again on live video, and that is how you will essentially fully develop the content that you are teaching in your brand.
So step number three, practice your little heart out.
Step four, repurpose your core content across your business. Especially when you're laying out your content plan, pull from the messaging, the topics, and the core content that you've identified. I strongly believe that 90 percent of what you share and write should be an extension of your core content. Now, you might be saying, “Okay, Amy, that sounds great, but doesn't that mean I'm going to be repeating myself over and over again?” The answer is yes. That is the point. Repetition is the mother of skill. And this is from my days of creating content for Tony Robbins. He used to say that all the time. Repetition is the mother of skill, meaning your audience needs to hear it over and over and over again in order for them to apply it and make it part of their daily practice or their own skill set. So, yes, the point here is to repeat yourself over and over again.
And here's something that I haven't talked about a lot. I repeat myself because I don't want my students getting into my digital course when it's totally brand new content to them. I want them to have already heard it at least once or twice. And that goes for your audience as well, meaning, did you just get what I said? I'm going to teach elements that are in my digital course on my podcast and in Facebook Lives and during a prelaunch runway leading up to a launch, because if someone hears it once, it's not going to sink in. But if they hear it once in, let's say, all of my core content I do on a regular basis, and then they get into my course and maybe it's the second or third time they heard it, boom, it clicks. That's how I can get my students results quickly because it's not all foreign to them when they get into my digital course.
So for those of you who always ask me, “Amy, can I teach some of the stuff I do in my paid course for free?” Yes, you can. There can be some overlap, for sure. And quite honestly, there should be. Repetition is something I've really gotten down well, and I'm not afraid to repeat myself. And I want to encourage you to get there as well. So let's use the example of my three types of digital courses, which I mentioned earlier as part of my core content.
Also, this actually used to be five types of courses, which I ended up changing based on my own expertise and experience with those types of courses. So, again, we'll cover changing your content in step number five.
So, I had this quiz. It was five types of digital courses, which one is right for you? And then from there, I did a Facebook Live, which was not just about the quiz. I actually used examples about each type of digital course and really brought them to life. From there, I did a podcast episode about it. I again retaught the whole five types of digital courses. This time I told my own story about which type of course I created first, and then I used some new stories from my students. So I did a quiz. I did a Facebook Live. I did a podcast about it. I’ve done Q&As about it. It’s the same content, and I'm using it in so many different ways. But let me tell you, it's always fresh because I'm always adding new elements or going deeper or using new stories. And quite honestly, it doesn't always have to be fresh, because if it's kind of a deep concept, like it's kind of heavy, these three types of digital courses, there's a lot to it, so I just need to keep talking about it. Remember, repetition is the mother of skill. I challenge you to repeat yourself over and over again.
And here's something to think about. You want your students to hear your core content over and over again, but each time you teach it, use different stories, different experiences, and different energy. And I promise you, each time it’s going to feel like it's new to them. People always think I create tons of content. I really don't. I talk about list building, course creation, webinars, and launching. That's typically all I talk about. But I always find new ways to bring it into the conversation. Why? Because those are my core content themes.
All right. Step number four is you're going to repeat yourself. Another way to put it, you're going to repurpose your core content all across your business. And just for the record, I just gave you a tip that makes it way easier, meaning you're not always on the hamster wheel of creating new content, new content, new content. Take your core themes and redevelop it, repurpose it. Don't always start from scratch.
Okay, moving on to the final step. I've t-stepped five a few times, so let's get into it. This step is to adjust as needed. And holy heck, my friend, this will happen to you, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, whenever I have to adjust my core content, it allows me to reflect and really just grow as an entrepreneur. Now, maybe you've heard me touch on this on my Facebook Lives or other content I've shared lately, but my team and I have had to take a step back and reassess our core content and process around identifying your ideal–customer avatar, your ICA.
Now, this whole ICA thing has been a part of my business for years. I mean, it really is practically tattooed on my forehead at this point. However, in my commitment to creating a more inclusive company, we knew that our existing content around ICA wouldn’t work. So we consulted with a diversity, equity, and inclusivity coach, and we got some direction, and then we went back to the drawing board. Now, at the time that we realized we had a challenge here, we were literally weeks out from launching Digital Course Academy and welcoming our new students into the program. So we knew that we wanted to make some minor adjustments, given the timing, and then do a bigger overhaul on the content around this down the road. So that's exactly what we did. We updated our messaging and language, and we decided to start crafting content around identifying your ideal community instead of ideal–customer avatar.
Now, I'm going to do an entire podcast episode around this so I can teach you what I've learned. But basically when I used to teach an ideal–customer avatar, I would say, “Think of one person. What does she look like? How old is she? What is she like? Give her a name.” And the problem is, most people in my community, when they were doing that, they'd close their eyes, they’d think of their ICA, and that woman or man was white. And what I realized is ideal-customer avatar really does not speak to diversity and inclusion. And so if you start to think of who you serve as your ideal community, people that look different, act different, have different characteristics, but they all have the same challenges or pain or desire, that's a whole different ballgame.
So I'll get into this later, but I just wanted to kind of put it out there because it is a piece of content that we are reworking, revamping. But don't worry. Once we get it dialed in and I use these steps that I've shared with you today to get clarity around the adjustment and then how to execute it, I'll definitely share that, like I said, in a podcast.
But for now, just know that this was an example of being flexible in adjusting my core content, something I've used for years and years. But if you explain to your audience why you've redeveloped it, why you've made it better, they go on this journey with you. Again, you are their go–to source. So they are going to let you guide them because you've built trust with them and they know you're not going to steer them wrong. So, yes, you can create core content, and you can adjust it, just as long as you're not every other week saying, “I got a new idea,” or “You know what, I’m going to change that,” or “No, I taught you this last week, but I'm changing it to this.” I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about over time, slowly, some of your content will need to be adjusted, and that's okay. That's step number five.
Okay. Now, as promised, I told you at the end of this episode, before I do a quick run through of the steps one more time, I have a hot tip for you. Now, this tip comes from my own experience as we started to navigate our way through the early days of the pandemic. I realized that I needed to get clear on my messaging and how I was going to show up for my audience during this very specific time. So this was, in a sense, my core pandemic content and messaging. And in order to get clear on it, I used simple steps, like the ones I've taught you here, to start developing it. So before I sat down to get really clear on my messaging, I felt very unsure of my thoughts and how I wanted to show up. My mind was going crazy. When March 2020 hit, we started to hear about the pandemic, and my audience looked to me and said, “Holy cow, what are we going to do?”
So what I did was I turned to a mentor, Michael Hyatt, and I started to just really hone in on what he was sharing. At the time, I was in a mastermind where he was teaching, so I went to what I knew would be really great content to help me. So I'm always one to say, “I need a little help here. I need to reach out to the people that I trust the most.” So I gave myself that space and time to kind of get my thoughts together. And then from there, I started to write out my content. I opened up a Google Doc, and I started to write exactly how I wanted to support my audience during the pandemic, how I could teach them, what are pieces of content I knew that they would need?
So essentially, you can even use this for special situations. Like, who would have guessed we needed pandemic core content? Some of you didn't. I did. Many of you are in Momentum, my membership that you can only get into if you've gone through Digital Course Academy. You know that I showed up every single day, Monday through Friday, for, like, sixty days just to support you during the pandemic and make sure your business would thrive. That was just part of what I decided to do when I sat down and wrote out, how am I going to support this, and what is my core content going to look like during this time?
So just a little hot tip for you that when unexpected things come up, you can also use these five steps to develop some core content around how you're going to show up for your audience. So keep that in your back pocket if you ever need it.
All right, my friend, let's recap these five steps for identifying and perfecting your core content. Step number one, sit down and type out your overarching core–content themes. Once that's done, break those down into bite–size pieces. Remember that these should be rooted in your audience’s pain points or desires. Step two, deep dive into each piece that you wrote down in step one, and fill in the blanks. Get clear on your messaging. Step three, practice your content, first in private and then share with your audience. I promise you, it gets easier with time. Step four, use your core content to create 90 percent of the content you put out across different platforms, and do not—and I repeat, do not—be afraid of repetition. See what I did there? Step number five, be flexible and adjust as needed.
So there you have it. I am certain that you're going to love this five–step process, and it's going to help you not only with your content creation across all of your business, but also allow you to show up more for your audience and ultimately serve them better.
Thanks for joining me today. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.