“But what do I even post?”
… that right there is the number one question I get about social media.
My answer: Share what you know! Teach your audience, give them value, and help them grow in your specific zone of genius.
Position yourself as an expert by delivering real, actionable, educational content.
What comes naturally to you is HARD for other people.
So if you can package your knowledge into bite-sized, actionable steps for your readers—well, now we’re cooking with gas!
So many of us have our zone of genius (probably related to our profession) and it comes easy to us. Yes, we worked hard to gain skill and proficiency, but it is still something we do really really well that others do not.
However, when we go to turn around and share that information with others we seem to get lost. Either we think we don’t have enough to share/don’t know what kind of content to create OR we try to just duplicate what we did and we don’t understand why other people just don’t get it.
Educating our audience is SO important, especially if you are an online service provider. We know that everything in this creative digital space comes down to know, like, and trust.
Why does educational content work?
Most of us are in saturated industries (which I personally think is a great thing!), and trying to stand out can feel like trying to become popular in middle school—impossible. But when you start educating your audience with the tips & tricks that solve their problems, you start cutting through that noise like your mom’s voice in the grocery store.
When you can educate your readers with valuable, actionable information:
- You create a need by helping them know what they don’t know. It allows people to understand the gaps in their knowledge and you create both need AND value for the services or products you offer.
Some of your potential clients or customers may not even be fully aware of their needs because they don’t have a base level of understanding or vocabulary of your industry to even understand how much they are missing and how much you can serve them.
Ex. Someone just starting out on IG for their business might not even understand the need for a strategy, so if I can show up and talk about how necessary a content marketing strategy is, show the results, and teach a few tips and tricks to help them make an immediate small transformation—then they begin to see their need for a comprehensive online strategy as a business on social media.
- “I don’t have the time to use an entire marketing strategy.” If I can show them a) how effective these strategies are at raising their profits and b) how long it would take them to do it on their own by empowering them with the tools to do so, then they are more likely to value and need my services.
Ex. Someone might say, “I don’t have the money to hire a strategist/copywriter,” or “I don’t have the time to use an entire marketing strategy.” If I can show them a) how effective these strategies are at raising their profits and b) how long it would take them to do it on their own by empowering them with the tools to do so, then they are more likely to value and need my services.
- Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, it builds trust. If you want someone to choose you over a competitor then you’ve gotta prove that you can solve their problem! When you give them actionable steps to create wins for FREE they will jump at the chance to pay you for the bigger transformations.
And no, you won’t give away so much information that you’ll lose paying clients and have to close up shop.
“But if I give it all away for free, then no one will pay me, I’ll lose money”
Nope. That’s just not how people work. Most people cannot add up all of your tips and tricks and turn it into a complete transformation. You build trust when you create quick wins through those tips and tricks, but you also create a hunger for the big change they can only get by paying you for the real deal.
Amy Porterfield says that your free information are the tips and tricks, but your paid information is the roadmap. Check out this podcast she recorded on Free vs. Paid Content. I found it super helpful!
Think about it.
Who are you more willing to spend money on? Someone who has served you over a long period of time giving you tips and steps that have already made a difference in your business, or someone who keeps everything behind closed doors and just asks you to buy their service or product?
Every week I show up on Instagram teaching people how to master their own marketing strategy and crush their social media game. And once those followers become clients, we dive deeper with even more tools for their specific brand to speak to their dream clients.
We don’t trust what we don’t know. But if we know that someone has the information or tools to help solve our problems, then where do you think we’re going to spend our money when we go to solve that problem?
I want you to be able to bundle all of that brilliance in your beautiful little head into content that builds trust and turns your followers into the clients that you’ve been dying to work with.
ready for a little secret…
My #1 rule: The best content ideas are NEVER in your head, they’re in your clients’.
Your people are already asking the questions that they need to have answered before they’re ready to make a buying decision.
So if you’re on board with positioning yourself as an expert, giving away all the goodies for free to build trust and turn followers into paying clients, make sure you download this workbook so you package your expertise into content that converts!
Just follow my three-step process for collecting and banking the information your audience is dying to have and delivering it to them in ways that blow their minds!
STEP 1: LISTEN
This one sounds easy, but it really takes a lot of practice to learn how to read between the lines.
Your current clients and followers are already telling you what they need to know, your job is to keep your ears on the ground and then serve them up the answers they’re asking for!
One of the best places to start when crafting the content to teach your zone of genius is just your FAQs! Those will be the things people need to understand/overcome before they chose to spend their money with you.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of documenting the questions you’re hearing, and sometimes you have to read between the lines.
Listening goes beyond just the FAQs because sometimes people don’t say what they’re really saying.
Often when people express fears or objections, they’re really asking for more information. So your job is to figure out their question and then answer it in your content!
If you sell makeup and your customers or potential customers are always telling you “I just don’t have time for makeup,” what they’re really saying is “I don’t know how to do my makeup in a way that leaves me feeling beautiful and confident in less than 10 minutes so I just don’t even try.” So TEACH them a simple, easy, five-minute face.
If you’re an online marketing strategist (🙋🏼) and people are saying “I would just rather wing it, it feels better and more natural to me.” What they’re saying is “I’m afraid of the time it would take to create a strategy and I don’t want to be put in a box, that doesn’t feel good to me.” Then I know that they don’t really understand how a strategy works or how much it frees you up to be creative in your zone of genius—those are things I need to be teaching through my content.
So listen for FAQs and the fears that indicate someone doesn’t truly understand how you can solve their problems. Keep a running bank—spreadsheet, notes in your phone, evernote, google doc, whatever. Or write it all down in your workbook so you can see the whole picture all at once!
Just keep a list of the questions, fears, and objections you get over and over again and brainstorm some content ideas based on all of those juicy questions your audience is just dying to know the answers to!
STEP 2: HACK IT
Maybe you haven’t served a lot of people in your new business yet. That’s ok!
If you’re short on FAQs—there are plenty of places on the internet where people are asking their questions, so make like Sherlock Holmes and do some investigating!
You can totally hack your ideal client’s voice without a ton of experience with them. You’ve just got to hang out wherever they’re asking their questions, then jot ’em down.
By reverse-engineering some internet searches and checking out online forums, you’ll get a fly-on-the-wall perspective to the problems you can solve in your content.
So get your sleuthing hat on (I’m hoping it’s a super cute oversized floppy hat), sit down in front of your computer and get ready to do some voice of client research!
– Start typing in basic keywords related to your specific niche in search engines (ex. “florist” or “health coach”).
– The predictive text that comes up in Google, YouTube video suggestions, and Pinterest suggested searches all indicate the information people are already searching for. These are the exact questions people are asking the internet to answer. So go ahead and answer them!
– Now go stalk some online forums and do some “listening”. Search subreddits and FB groups related to your niche and check out the conversations people are having. What questions are they asking that you can answer?
Pro tip: Be mindful that you’re only paying attention to the questions your Ideal Client is asking about your very specific zone of genius. Keep your content relevant and niched down otherwise you run the risk of having confusing and mildly schizophrenic content.
STEP 3: KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW
This is where you have to practice listening again, but this time, it’s listening to your own brain.
There is no such thing as information too small. Every little thing you know about your niche is valuable. Teach the small things & people will hang on every word!
You need to develop a habit of taking note of every step that you take and assuming that someone else doesn’t know it.
Walk through one process that you use to help your clients/customers. Write down every. single. step. NO piece of information is too small.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Do this with all of the different processes you personally go through or that you take your client’s through. Each little step can be its own piece of valuable education this way it’s repeatable and not overwhelming for your readers!
Now that you know how to bank those content ideas it’s time to…
Turn It Into content!
Turning your knowledge into high-value content that solves problems can be a bit of an art. Here are some of my top tips to create bite-size actionable education that will make your followers Jessie-Spannow-on-caffeine-pills level excited to work with you.
1) Create a Process
Just regurgitating information, no matter how good it is, usually isn’t enough for someone to grab it up and use it. If you want people to pick up what you’re putting down, create a process! Break it up into 3, 5, 9, etc. steps., make it an acronym, give it with a memorable name. Create a process that someone could easily follow from point A to point B.
2) Zig when everyone zags
Who cares if it’s already been said?! Find new ways to say it! Put your spin on it, say something different, or shocking, or downright oppositional. When everyone else is teaching a zig, disrupt the system and teach a zag. You’ll stand out and deliver information in new, refreshing, and exciting ways.
3) Say something several times in multiple ways
It takes the average viewer hearing a message seven times before they decide to take action. Go ahead and make yourself a broken record! Besides, only 2%-6% of your followers are even seeing your organic content anyway. So repeat yourself! Just find different ways of saying the same thing. Space out your content and say it in many different ways. Repurpose a YouTube video into a blog post, turn that blog post into an email, turn that email into IG and FB posts. The options are endless!
4) Social Media isn’t your end game
If your marketing strategy ends at social media, you are seriously selling yourself— and your business—short. My advice? Take your most popular FAQ—your best piece of content—and turn it into a lead magnet/freebie/opt-in (it’s all the same) and use it to grow your email list! Social media is amazing, but it’s limiting, and it’s rented space (damn that algorithm). For the sustainability and scalability of your business, you’re going to want to take those amazing followers and get their booties over to your OWNED space: your website and your email list.
If “sales funnel” sounds like a weird kitchen tool to you and you haven’t started any email marketing, let’s chat about your strategy and see how we can hook your business up!
Now the ball is in your court. Stop hiding behind the awkward sales pitches and the cute pictures of your kid on Instagram, and start teaching what you know! You’re going to be amazed at the response you get.
If you’re more of a audio learner, listen to this training on the Lora Shipman Show podcast. You get a cookie if you can find my favorite secret market research hack I dropped in step #2.