social media strategy

[345] How to increase your social media engagement - fast

Are you frustrated by the lack of engagement with your social media content?  

You’re publishing content regularly, but your posts aren’t attracting enough likes, comments and shares - leaving you wondering if it’s worth bothering with social media at all.  

If this sounds like you, the first thing you need to know is that it’s nothing to do with the algorithm and everything to do with the kind of content you’re sharing.

Which means there is a lot you can do to improve your social media engagement (without spending a penny on advertising).

In this podcast episode I share practical tips and strategies you can start using today to increase your social media engagement.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}.

Why social media engagement matters

Imagine you’re walking around an unfamiliar town or city looking for a restaurant for dinner. Restaurant A is packed with people, enjoying their food. Restaurant B is empty. You’ll likely assume (rightly or wrongly) that Restaurant A is better - just because it looks busy and popular.

That’s exactly how it works on social media. If I visit your profile and everything you post is getting just a handful of likes, I'm probably going to assume (incorrectly perhaps) that you're not very influential or authoritative in your industry/space.

If you’re starting interesting conversations and people engage with your content enthusiastically - with tons of comments, likes and shares - I'm going to get a very different impression of you. Which means I’m far more likely to remember you, trust you enough to want to work with you and/or recommend you to others.

If you’re not getting engagement on your social media content but you are getting inbound leads from your ideal clients (enough to keep you busy for a good 12 months), then don’t worry about it.

But if you’re not getting enough engagement on your social media content - and you don’t have enough clients, you need to do something about it.

Busting the algorithm myth

The way the algorithm works on all social media platforms is simple: the more engagement you get (i.e. comments, likes and shares), the more people will be shown your content.

If you’re currently struggling to get engagement,  this might feel like a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. If no one is seeing your content, how do you get people to comment, like and share?

The answer is surprisingly simple: instead of sitting back and hoping someone will comment on your content...you need to make it happen.

You can do this in several ways:

  1. Quietly asking friends/family/colleagues to engage with your content
  2. Creating an ‘engagement pod’ - a group of colleagues who are also looking to get engagement on their content and agree to engage regularly with each others’ posts.
  3. Commenting on others’ content (if you comment on other peoples’ content they often can’t resist coming over to have a look at your profile).

When I share this advice, people often try to tell me that this is not a good strategy because, in the long-term, you need Facebook (or whichever platform you’re trying to grow) to show your content to your ideal clients…not your friends/family/colleagues.

This is true, but when you’re just starting out, you can’t afford to be choosy. Your social media accounts are your shop window; if people look you up online and see you broadcasting to an audience of zero, they may assume (rightly or wrongly) your business is not successful. If they see engagement - in the form of likes, comments and shares (even if they do initially come from your best friend!) they’re much more likely to take you seriously.

In the early days, getting some engagement is better than none, so just do what you can to get your account looking busier. In the meantime, you can work on attracting more of your ideal clients.

It can feel embarrassing and uncomfortable  to ask people to comment on your content (believe me, I’ve been there). But not making enough money in your business because you don’t have enough clients is far more uncomfortable, right?

1.Publish timely and relevant content

When you’re scheduling social media content, the question you must always be asking yourself is: ‘why do people need to hear about this now?’ That’s why Anna Iveson - who helps small business owners find the perfect virtual assistant - had great success with this LinkedIn post on whether you should ration your children’s Easter eggs (which she published during Easter weekend).

Prior to implementing the advice in my LinkedIn Strategy Playbook  Anna was getting a handful full of comments on each post. At the time of writing, this post has attracted 64 comments and nearly 4k views.

Not only is this post, timely and relevant, it’s short, well laid-out, divisive and has a single call-to-action at the end - all key characteristics of an engaging social media post.

If you’re wondering how a post on this topic can help Anna find her ideal clients, consider this.

The more engagement Anna gets on her posts, the more people will be shown her content. The more people are shown her content, the more people will view her profile.  And the more people who view her LinkedIn profile, the more inbound leads she will get (as long as her profile is clear - which it is).

Remember also that people like to do business with people they like. So if you can create a connection - and some common ground - with your ideal clients, they’re far more likely to want to do business with you.

A great example of this is my recent social media posts about the London Marathon. Even if you’ve never run the London marathon - and have no intention of doing so - you probably know someone who has. This is why I believe my posts about taking part in one of the most iconic marathons in the world, got so much engagement.  For example, this 30 second video which shows me spotting my family 13 miles into the race attracted over 4000 views on LinkedIn in as many days.

2. Ask questions.

One of the easiest ways to get engagement on your content is to ask a question, as technical copywriter John Espirian does in this post on who has viewed your LinkedIn profile. 

There is an art to asking effective questions though and the key is to make it as easy as possible for people to respond.

The most important thing to remember is to ask closed questions i.e. ‘how long does it take you to write a blog post?’ (which requires a specific answer which can be given in minutes or hours) rather than ‘how do you feel about writing blog posts?” (which doesn’t lead towards a specific answer)

The more specific you can be, the better, which is why asking people to state ‘agree/disagree’, ‘yes/no’ or ‘true/false’ can work well.

If you want people to comment on your social media content, you need to make it as easy for them. This is why giving your audience clear choices e.g. A, B, C or D, yes/no, agree/disagree can be brilliant for encouraging engagement with your posts (I generally refer to these a short/two tap answers).

Not only does it make it super quick for people to engage, they don’t have to think too hard about what to say - which means they’re far more likely to respond. Asking questions that encourage debate is a great way to increase your engagement, as I found when I published this LinkedIn post on whether you need to ask your husband’s permission to invest in your business.

Again, you may be wondering how a post like this can help me attract my ideal clients. The week I posted this, my profile views went up 150% and my inbound leads increased too.

If you want to increase your social media engagement, the best questions to ask are those that don’t require any special knowledge/experience. For example, in one of my best performing Facebook posts, I simply asked whether people were for or against dogs in hairdressers - attracting 96 comments in a matter of hours.

3. Give a clear call to action in each social media post

If you want to get more engagement on your social media posts, you need to tell people exactly what to do. You can do this by issuing a clear call to action e.g. ‘Type A, B, C or D in the comments below', ‘Shoot me a DM if you want to know more’ or ‘post in the comments below if you’d like me to send the details' as in this example below (which generated several leads for my upcoming masterclass).

For example, I published my Social Media Engagement Playbook recently, I wanted to ‘warm up’ my audience - and get them interested in the playbook - before it was available to buy.

First off, I asked my Facebook groups which cover they preferred.

Next, I recorded this short video of me talking about the playbook, which attracted over 150 comments. I published similar posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Remember that most people will be watching your video on a mobile device with the sound turned down/off. This is why it pays to add captions.

I recommend using Rev.com* which creates video captions for $1/minute. This generates an .srt file, you can upload directly to LinkedIn (look for the pen icon in the top-right corner) which will add captions to your video.

Personally I find using .srt files to generate captions on both Facebook and LinkedIn can be a bit hit and miss i.e. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This is why I prefer to add permanent captions to my videos using a service like Kapwing. This also allows me to easily repurpose my videos on other social media platforms.

4.Don’t overlook the importance layout of your social media posts

If the text in your social media posts is all bunched up together, if it's difficult to distinguish between the headline and your body text, people are unlikely to read it.

This is why using clear headlines and breaking up your body text with emojis, bullet points and even capital letters can make a huge difference to your engagement.

It can be helpful to think of your social media content as an article in a magazine/newspaper - if it’s not laid out with a strong headline and attractive layout, people will keep scrolling.

5. Keep your posts short

If you want people to read your posts, keep them as short as possible, and remove any superfluous words and phrases.

If you have multiple social media posts to write/schedule for different platforms, it’s worth using a tool that will help you write to a particular character count.  

If you tend to be too wordy in your social media posts, I’d recommend restricting them to 1300 characters (the maximum character count for LinkedIn). I’ve noticed that when I paste my Facebook posts this online character counter in here to reduce for LinkedIn, I end up removing a lot of words/phrases that don’t really need to be there.

And writing tweets (which must be 280 characters or less) is a great exercise for working out which words/phrases are necessary to get your message across and what’s just fluff.

For example, my ‘dogs in hairdressers’ post (example above) is just 56 words long, but got tons of engagement.

6. Create engaging content

It sounds obvious, but if you want to get more engagement on your social media posts, your content has to be interesting. Which means you need to choose topics that people actually care about - things they can connect with emotionally.

Sharing your own personal stories can be a powerful way to connect with your audience - particularly when you’re willing to share your vulnerabilities and weaknesses. As storytelling Marsha Shandur pointed out in our podcast interview on how to use stories to attract your ideal clients, when you show people that your life isn’t perfect, that you make mistakes - just like them - it’s much easier for them to connect with you.

It’s important to remember at all times that the content you create is never about you - it’s always about your audience. The question I ask myself all the time - even when I’m creating content about me - is ‘how can I make this about my audience?’

When I look at my clients who are getting great engagement with their content, this is exactly what they’re doing too. For example, I recently responded to this post from Facebook and Instagram ads experts Laura Moore. Laura publishes a weekly round-up of Facebook/Instagram updates. In her latest she talked about a new Instagram Stories sticker that allows you to ask ‘quiz’ questions. My daughter had shown me it, but I couldn’t see it on my own account, so when I spotter her post I asked Laura about it. I responded because she was sharing helpful, practical content that was relevant to me and my business. Notice also how she has a single call-to-action at the end of her post.

Another client, academic coach Lucy Parsons, recently achieved her long-held ambition to appear on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. While she shared a number of posts about her radio appearance, the one that attracted the most engagement was where she asked a question about the topic she was discussing on the show - children’s party bags. Why? Because she made her post about her radio appearance about her audience.

Business coach Fay Blakey - another client of mine - had a recent hit with a LinkedIn post in which she asked: do you rush to get your barbecue out when the sun starts shining. Not only was it timely and relevant (this was over the Bank Holiday weekend), it was also fun and easy to respond to.

In my Social Media Engagement Playbook, I break down the four types of content that guarantee engagement and give tons of examples. You can get my Social Media Engagement Playbook here.

Podcast shownotes

  • How social media engagement impacts on your business  (2:25)
  • Why you can’t blame the algorithm if you’re not getting great social media engagement (7:10)
  • The importance of timely and relevant content (13:33)
  • How asking questions can help you get more social media engagement  (19:50)
  • Why you shouldn’t give more than one clear call-to-action in a social media post (29:49)
  • The importance of layout in your social media posts (31:54)
  • Why it’s important to keep your social media posts short (33:57)
  • The four types of content that guarantee engagement on social media (36:03)
  • Why you must make your content about your audience (and not about you) (47:49)

Resources

Get my Social Media Playbook

Get my LinkedIn Playbook 

Anna Iveson website 

2019 Media Diary

Episode 341:How to use stories to attract your ideal clients 

Laura Moore website

Lucy Parsons website

Fay Blakey website 

Blog Post: How I chose the speakers for Build Your Audience Live

Episode 335: How to create a high-converting lead magnet

Join the waitlist for the Build Your Audience Programme here

Book tickets for Build Your Audience Live

Janet Murray’s Audience Calculator

Get your hands on the ‘How to write awesome sales copy’ course now

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

Order the 2019 Media Diary

Order the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club

Order the 2019 Wall Year Planner

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

 

[344] How to build your audience through a Facebook group

Is your Facebook group taking up all your time but not making you any sales in your business?

In this episode, I talk to Gordon Burcham, Martial Arts School Owner and Multi World Kickboxing Champion about how he is generating a six figure income from a Facebook group. He also shares the remarkable story of how he bounced back - and turned around his business - after losing his home, 12 years ago.


{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}.

 

The importance of perseverance in business

Today, as well as a hugely successful Facebook group, Gordon runs a 400 plus member martial arts school, but he and his family have overcome significant hurdles to achieve this success. Twelve years ago he lost his house while trying to build his business: “I was an instructor but I didn't understand business. I was just throwing money at advertising and didn't really know what I was doing,” he recalls.

Despite struggling to feed his family on £25 a week, he borrowed money and sold his possessions to invest £3,000 a month in a business coach. In less than 90 days, he was generating £10k a month in his business.

Turning his business around meant weeks of 16 hour days, when he and his wife walked the streets, pushing leaflets through peoples’ doors.

But Gordon believes many business owners aren’t prepared to put in this kind of  perseverance. “Most people don't want to do the hard work,” he says. “They’re lazy marketers and they're lazy in their business. They're not willing to do what it takes. I'll just do more than the other people are willing to do.”

How changing his marketing strategy helped Gordon turn his business around

When Gordon looked at why his business was failing he realised that by trying to market his martial arts classes to everyone, he wasn’t appealing to anyone. So he started to niche down the programmes he offered.

He began to target specific demographics - starting a ‘ladies only programme, for example and creating leaflets and landing pages specifically designed to appeal to women.”

And instead of relying on one or two marketing strategies to generate sales, he introduced a marketing mix. And when he started to use a combination of online and offline marketing activities e.g. leaflets, emails, networking and referral marketing, his business really started to take off.

The power of mentors/coaches

Gordon believes that investing in business coaching has helped him accelerate his business success by around 10 years. But many business owners aren’t prepared to invest in themselves, he says.

Too many people tell themselves they don’t need a coach because they’ve read all the books and done all the courses. But knowing and implementing are two completely different things. And many business owners need to hear the same information, over and over, in different ways, before it really sinks in.

“Repetition is so important,” he says. “You need to hear the same information from your coach and you need to hear it in different ways. And you have to repeat it enough for it to sink from your conscious to your subconscious mind.”

(Listen to episode 257: Do you need to pay to play for more information on why investing in yourself is vital for your business.)

How to harness the power of live video

Live video is now a huge part of Gordon’s marketing strategy. “It is so powerful because it creates a deeper connection between you and your audience,” he says.

He repurposes his Facebook Live videos by downloading them and getting transcriptions from Rev.com  (Affiliate Link) and turning them into blog posts. This content now forms the basis of a membership site,  for which he charges £47 + VAT per month - meaning he is truly leveraging the time spent recording those Facebook Live videos.

Gordon understands that many people are nervous about going live on Facebook and admits it’s taken him a long time to do it with confidence. “When people see me on stage, I'm very out there, very dramatic and I've got a lot of energy. But I've taught myself to do that. It's not natural,” he says.

How Gordon has built a profitable Facebook group

The Martial Arts Mastery is an extremely successful Facebook group turning over a quarter of a million pounds despite having only 1,400 members.

Gordon explains that the key to his Facebook group’s success is that it’s very niche (only martial arts school owners from the UK are allowed to join).

There are several things that Gordon does to encourage engagement in the group. These include:

  • Welcoming new members as soon as they join the group
  • Posting daily content in the group
  • Going live inside the group at least once a day
  • Asking for likes and comments on his Facebook Live broadcasts
  • Running regular competitions inside the group
  • Asking members to share their opinions on martial arts related topics (and not being afraid of being controversial)
  • Checking your stats and only posting within the optimum time slot

(Listen to episode 265 for tips on how to get more engagement in your Facebook group.)

He is not afraid to make paid offers to the group because he is providing free valuable content on a daily basis. If you’re adding value, you’ve “earned the right to sell.” he says.  And in the early days he offered free coaching in exchange for testimonials. In fact he still does this now - all he asks is that members share their successes in the Facebook group.

 

Podcast show notes:

  • Gordon’s business story (4:55)
  • Why you need to niche down who you’re targeting (13:05)
  • Why persistence pays off and you need to work through the fear (16:04)
  • How to grow your Facebook group and keep your audience engaged (26:25)
  • How to structure your time to create content for your Facebook group (33:38)
  • Why you need to invest in training - and then put it into practice! (39:35)
  • How to sell in your Facebook group (44:10)

Resources

Gordon’s website

Gordon on Facebook and LinkedIn

Rev.com (Affiliate Link)

Episode 327: Why I’m closing my 13.5k Facebook group

Janet Murray’s Prospecting Kit

Purchase the ‘How to create coaching packages’ masterclass here

Join the waitlist for the Build Your Audience Programme here

Janet Murray’s Audience Calculator

Join the priority wait list for Build Your Audience Live Event here

Apply for a place on the LinkedIn Content Strategy Masterclass here

Get your hands on the ‘How to write awesome sales copy’ course now

Register your interest in the Build Your Audience programme

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

Order the 2019 Media Diary

Order the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club

Order the 2019 Wall Year Planner

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

 

[339] How to build an audience for an online course or membership

If you’ve already tried to create your own course or membership programme you’ll know that it’s not a simple case of ‘build it and they will come’.

In this episode, I share the reasons why you must build an audience before you launch an online course or membership site. I also break down the steps you need to take to build your online audience.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode.}

Why online courses/memberships are attractive

If you’re desperate to break free from feast and famine in your business and secure recurring income, creating an online course or membership can seem like an attractive prospect.

Selling online courses or running a membership site can help you serve your clients in a more flexible way - allowing you to cut down on travel time, spend more time with your family and achieve a better work/life balance.

Before you dive in, though - a quick reality check. If you’re looking for a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, this isn’t it. Overnight success stories are few and far between.

Why online courses/memberships are challenging

If you’re interested in launching an online course or membership, you may be attracted by the idea of generating passive income. But in my experience there’s no such thing as passive income.

As someone put it to me recently: ‘If you build a farm, you have to keep feeding the animals’. While there may have been a better way to phrase it (I certainly don’t see my clients as animals!) there is a lot of truth in what she said. You can’t build an online course or membership and then leave it to run itself. The odd technical issue is bound to crop up from time to time and of course you’ll constantly be thinking of ways to update and refresh the content.

The other thing you must consider is your audience. It doesn’t matter that you’re an expert in your field or that you have amazing content; if you don’t have an audience, come launch day, you won’t make any sales.

Why you shouldn’t create your online course before you’ve built an audience

Creating an online course or membership community is exciting – I’ve spoken to many clients who’ve been itching to jump right in – but I always advise them to take things slowly. There are a few key things to consider before getting started.

Firstly, you need to think about your audience. How big is your audience and where do they hang out online? People generally aren’t on social media to buy. So while you might be able to nudge people over the fence via a Facebook ad or social media post, most sales will take place in your inbox.

So if you have a huge social media following but only a handful of people on your email list, you might need a rethink. The average online conversion rate sits at about 1-2% which means for every hundred people on your list only a handful will buy. Which is why you need a much bigger audience than you think.

When it comes to building an audience, though, it’s not just a numbers game. If people are going to buy from you – particularly if they’re spending a few hundred pounds or more – they need to know, like and trust you first and that takes time. I know from analysing my own sales figures that typically it takes people around seven or eight touch points before they decide to buy, whether that’s downloading your worksheets, reading your blog, receiving your newsletter or interacting with you on social media.

Another thing to consider before creating an online course is what your audience actually wants or needs from you. You may have a fixed idea of what you want to deliver or what interests you, but I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve spoken to business owners who’ve spent time and money creating an online course only to discover later that it isn’t what their customers are actually looking for.

Step 1: Work out the size of audience you need

The first step in creating your online course or membership programme is to work out how big your audience needs to be i.e. how many people you need on your email list to hit your sales targets.

Next, work out a rough idea of the course or membership you want to create, how much you’ll need to charge, and how many you want to sell. If you’ve decided you’re going to sell a high-end membership programme, costing several thousand pounds, you may only need a few thousand on your email list. But if you’re selling a course at a lower price point, you’ll need to shoot for 10k or beyond.

To help you work out your numbers, I’ve created a handy tool for you.

My audience calculator will help you work out how many people you need in your audience to hit your sales targets.

 

Step 2: Build your audience on social media

I used to tell people that they should be building an audience on social media, on their blog, and through their email marketing simultaneously. What I’ve come to realise, though, is that if you haven’t nailed your social media content, you’ll struggle to build your audience on your other platforms. It’s only through creating content and engaging with people on social media that you really come to understand your customers’ problems – and how to solve them.

Once you’ve figured out what works for your audience on social media you can transfer this knowledge and start creating the right kind of content across your blog and email marketing (which is where you’re more likely to make sales) and encourage your followers to join your email list.

The first step in building an audience on social media is to learn where your potential customers are hanging out. So if they love Instagram, that’s where you need to be. If they’re all using LinkedIn, it doesn’t matter if you hate it – wherever your target audience spends their time is where you need to spend yours.

Initially I’d recommend that you choose just one or two social media platforms and experiment with different types of content until you see what resonates with people. Once you’ve mastered that, you can tweak your content a little to make it work for the other platforms your audience uses. Consider getting involved with Facebook groups or Twitter chats, whether starting your own or joining in with established groups. This is a great way to find out about things your ideal customers are struggling with so you can start creating content that will help them.

For more information on creating engaging social media content, check out Three Types of Social Media Content to Guarantee you Sales Today episode.

Step 3: Build your audience on a blog

Once you’ve built up a following on social media, you can start growing your audience through content.

Having a social media following is vital, but doing so exclusively is a bad idea, as you’re essentially building your audience on someone else’s land. Just last week there was widespread panic with an unexpected Facebook and Instagram outage.  Many business owners were desperately trying to launch programmes and products to their followers but weren’t able to post anything until the outage was resolved.

Publishing content on your own website in the form of a blog, podcast or embedded video puts you back in control of how you connect with your audience. It’s where you move people from the borrowed land of social media onto your own land.

Not only that, publishing regular content on a blog can help you attract more traffic to your website, improve your chances of being found in Google search, help you build your email list.  It’s also a valuable way of getting people to know, like and trust you. I remember one of my customers, dog photographer Kerry Jordan, telling me that she booked a ticket for one of my live events last year because, after listening to my podcast regularly, she felt like she already knew me and could trust me to deliver what I promise.

My advice is to choose one main form of content whether that’s a blog, a podcast or a YouTube channel, and spend time getting comfortable with the format. If you’ve taken the steps above to improve your engagement on your social media channels and taken the time to learn what your ideal customers are interested in, you should have a good idea of what kind of content to focus on in your blog or podcast.

To give you an example, if you were interested in creating content about audience building, as I’m doing here, you’d find lots of people searching online for information on how to pick blog topics, how to build a following on social media, how to know what to blog about, how often to blog or how to convert blog readers. Because I can see that these are all issues my ideal customers are struggling with, I know that they’ll make great blog topics.

Once you have a broad range of topics, do some keyword research to make sure you’re using the keywords and phrases that people are actually using to find that content in Google.

And don’t forget the final step: promotion. This is another reason why it’s vital to build up your social media following first; that way you’ll have an audience of people to share your blog/vlog or podcast with (albeit small at first).

For ideas on blog topics check out How to Make Sales from your Business Blog.

Step 4: Build your audience through email marketing

If you have a sizeable email list, you have instant access to hundreds or thousands of your ideal customers who likely already know, like and trust you. With an email list of 15,000 subscribers, I know that if I needed to generate cash, I could create a course in a weekend and make sales immediately. That’s the power of email marketing.

So how do you get people to sign up to your email list? Our inboxes are already full of emails we’ll never get round to reading, so the last thing most people want is to sign up for yet another newsletter, unless there’s something really juicy in it for them. Creating a  lead magnet - an information product e.g. checklist, a template sheet or a how-to guide that helps solve your ideal clients’ problems - is the most effective way to do this.

Once you’ve created your lead magnet(s), it’s time to turn, once again, to that strong social media following you’ve built up. Promote the hell out of it, on every platform you use, to get those new subscribers rolling in.

And don’t hit the brakes once they’ve subscribed – getting the actual sign up is just the starting point in your relationship. Asking for a sale at this stage would be like proposing to someone who’s only just agreed to go on a date with you. To move the relationship further along, I like to use an email nurture sequence, which sounds fancy but is actually just a way of describing a series of emails that contain useful content new subscribers should find helpful. These emails will be spaced out over maybe 3-5 days, or even weeks depending on the nature of the lead magnet, and will gradually build up that like, know and trust factor.

Find out How to Create a High-converting Lead Magnet here.

Step 5: Beta testing.

I’m including this as step five but don’t feel like you have to wait until you’ve reached your audience goal before you do a test run. When you’re at a point where you have a big enough audience to get even ten people onboard, offering a beta version of your course or programme can be a great move. I don’t recommend giving your course away for free because people are far more likely to do the work if they’ve invested in it but you can offer a significant discount to a select few in exchange for their feedback as they work through the materials. I don’t even think you need to wait until you’ve created the full course before you run a beta test. Creating your materials week-by-week, tweaking as you go based on the feedback from your beta testers can be really effective.

I recently launched a beta test group for my upcoming Build your Audience course and discovered that the material I had put together was actually far too challenging. Because I was working with a small group and could give everyone a lot of individual help and attention it worked out fine, but it did show me where I’m going to have to make changes before the official launch to make sure I’m providing maximum value to the people who sign up.

Step 6: Do a pre-launch

As with the beta testing phase, the pre-launch doesn’t have to wait until right before your official launch date; it’s definitely something you want to be thinking about while you work on building your audience. Be open about the fact you’re building a course and get your audience involved in the process. Show them what you’re working on and ask for feedback. Get them to co-create the course with you.  When I do that I find, not only do I get great feedback that I can use to shape my course content, but my audience becomes really invested in what I’m creating, often asking where they can sign up long before I’m even ready to open up the sales.

Episode 237, How to Launch a Membership Site with Anissa Holmes is really useful.  Anissa started her membership site with almost no content and basically asked her audience, ‘what do you want to know?’, ‘what do you want to learn?’ which showed her exactly how to create relevant resources for the people she wanted to help.

When you’re thinking of creating a membership programme or online course, I think the two key things to consider are flexibility and patience. Unless you already have a sizeable, engaged email list, expect the whole process to take a year or so and be flexible about absolutely everything, from your expected timescale to the actual content and delivery of the course itself. Be prepared to experiment and let your audience lead you where they need you to go.

Podcast show notes:

  • Why online courses and membership are an attractive source of income (but not as easy as it may seem) (2:35)
  • Why you need to build an audience before launching a course or membership (10:30)
  • How many people you need in your audience to reach your sales targets (17:32)
  • How to build your audience on social media (19:08)
  • How to build your audience through producing content (26:04)
  • How to build your audience through email marketing (38:05)
  • Why you should test your course/membership content before you create it (45:40)

Resources

Janet Murray’s Audience Calculator

Episode 291: The truth about passive income

Keap (previously InfusionSoft)

Episode 325: Three social media posts that will help you generate sales today

Leadpages (Affiliate Link)

Episode 335: How to create a high converting lead magnet

Episode 333: 39 Surprisingly easy ways to increase your email subscribers

Episode 237: How to launch a membership site with Anissa Holmes

Join the priority wait list for Build Your Audience Live here

Apply for a place on the LinkedIn Content Strategy Masterclass here

Get your hands on the ‘How to write awesome sales copy’ course now

Register your interest in the Build Your Audience programme

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

Order the 2019 Media Diary

Order the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club

Order the 2019 Wall Year Planner

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

How The Media Diary Can Help You Plan 52 Weeks of Social Media Content

So you’ve decided that 2019 is going to be the year you get serious about your marketing and you’re ready to commit to publishing regular content consistently.

What next? Well, you need a content planning tool and - if you’ve not already got your hands on a copy - the 2019 Media Diary is just what you need.

What is the 2019 Media Diary?

The 2019 Media Diary is an A4 desk diary designed to help you plan your content for the year. It’ll help you decide which content you’re going to post where and includes hundreds of awareness days and key dates you can use to generate ideas for original and shareable content.

There’s also useful checklists, to-do lists and prompts to make sure that you stay consistent and on track.



How can the 2019 Media Diary help you create 52 weeks of blog content?

The diary takes you through a content planning process that starts by taking a broad look across the year ahead before zooming in closer to focus on each quarter, week and, eventually, each day.

The diary includes annual, quarterly, weekly and daily planning sheets. For those who prefer more support, guidance and accountability, the Media Diary Owners’ Club is a great option and includes these planning sheets as printables. Find out more about the difference between the 2019 Media Diary and the Media Diary Owners’ Club.

Create your annual content plan

With the diary in front of you, think about the key things that are happening in your business in each quarter of the year. Are you attending or speaking at any events or industry conferences? Are you running a sale in your online shop or launching a new product/service?

At this point, aim to list at least three key things for each quarter.

Top tip: Use the planning sheet on page 10 of the diary to help with this. If you’re in the Media Diary Owners’ Club this is available as a printable.

Now, using the suggestions in the 2019 Media Diary, pick two or three awareness days/key dates that are relevant to your business in some way.

For example, if you have a pet business, National Love Your Pet Day in February could provide a great source of inspiration for your content. If you have a food business, you could create content around National Pie Day in January or Financial Capability Week in November if you’re in the finance sector.

Top tip: Stay open minded at this stage and just write your ideas down. With a bit of creative thinking many of the hundreds of key dates listed in the diary could be relevant to your business if approached from the right angle.

Create your quarterly content plan

Now it’s time to focus in on your quarterly content planning.

I suggest you aim to create one key piece of content a week, whatever your chosen content form – blog/vlog, podcast, Facebook Live or infographic, for example.

If you repurpose each of these weekly pieces of content into multiple, smaller pieces of content (more on this later) you’ll only need 12 ideas for each quarter.

Because you’ve created your annual content plan first, you already know the key events, dates and business activities taking place throughout 2019, so now when it comes to plotting your key piece of weekly content throughout the quarters, it’s easy to ensure your content will be timely and relevant.

For example, if you’re a social media strategist and know you’ll be launching a new beginners’ Facebook ads course in February, you can plan content on how Facebook advertising can help your business, whether boosting posts is a good idea and how much it costs to hire a Facebook ad strategist in the weeks running up to your launch.

If you sell pet tags and know you’re launching your new spring collection in March, you can plan content on why pet tags are important, the best places to buy them and the potential hazards for February (just to give you a few examples).

Top tip: It can be hard to think beyond 90 days when it comes to planning in a little more detail so consider just planning one quarter at a time, and diarise a time to plan the next quarter.

Create your weekly content plan

Now’s the time to zoom in even closer and decide on the content you’ll publish each week.

I’ve already mentioned that by repurposing your one key piece of weekly content you’ll have enough content to share throughout each week.

So this is the point at which you plan how you’ll break each piece of weekly content into smaller pieces of content.

For example, if you produce a weekly blog this could be repurposed into a video where you give a summary of what’s written in the blog. You could then use a design tool like Canva to create an infographic pulling out the key points from the blog and a quote card to be shared on social media based on a key sentence from the blog. You could even use an audiogram tool like Headliner to create a recording of you reading a snippet of the blog to catch people’s attention on social media.

With a repurposing mindset, you’ll easily have enough content to share every day of the week and make that one original piece of content go a lot further.

Top tip: Don’t be afraid to share your content more than once. Social media is such a busy place, it’s very likely the vast majority of your audience won’t catch it the first time around so you’re actually helping people by giving them a second, third, fourth or even a fifth chance to see your content.

Create your daily content plan

So, you’ve taken a snapshot of your year in the annual planning phase, and you’ve broken that down into your key pieces of weekly content over your quarters. You know from your weekly planning which piece of repurposed content is going out each day, so all that remains is to plan how that looks across each of your platforms and social media channels.

There are daily planning sections in the 2019 Media Diary where you can write down exactly what you’re going to post on each platform every single day.

Top tip: Although the channels in the Media Diary are based around Facebook, Twitter and Instagram these can easily be adapted to suit your chosen social media platforms.

How to stay consistent with your content plan

Consistency is key when it comes to producing content and the 2019 Media Diary is designed to help you maintain it.

But when you get busy, it’s all too easy to put content creation at the bottom of your to-do-list. Often the most time-consuming part of getting your content out there is coming up with the initial ideas. By using the Media Diary, you’ve already done the hardest part.

When you’re under pressure, you know you can just refer to your planner and your topics are all decided and ready for the actual content to be created, or outsourced. And because you have a clear strategy, it will be so much easier to stay consistent.

If you think you would benefit from some extra support and accountability to help you stay on track, the Media Diary Owners’ Club is the perfect choice.

2019 Media Diary - take a look inside from Janet Murray on Vimeo.


[319] Why you should be using Pinterest in 2019 (plus how to do it)

Pinterest is the second biggest search engine after Google. Which means,  if used correctly, it can be a massive game changer when it comes to getting more eyes on your content.  In this episode Eve Tokens shares practical tips on how to use Pinterest for your business including how she has helped me improve traffic to my website by 1000% in just over a month.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Eve’s business story (3:33)
  • What is Pinterest? (5:02)
  • What is SEO and how to use it on Pinterest (6:30)
  • How to create ‘boards’ for your Pinterest (12:20)
  • What people mean by the term ‘pin’ (and how to create more effective pins) (16:50)
  • How you can increase your traffic with minimal images (21:16)
  • Where to place the wording on your graphic (and why it matters) (23:39)
  • How to convert your views into sales on Pinterest (25:25)
  • How to track whether Pinterest is driving traffic to your content (26:45)
  • How to outsource Pinterest (or learn to do it yourself) (31:19)

Resources

Eve Tokens’ Website

Eve Tokens on Pinterest and Facebook

Janet Murray on Pinterest

Google Analytics

Tailwind

Episode 167: SEO made simple with Martin Huntbach

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

Order the 2019 Media Diary

Order the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club

Order the 2019 Wall Year Planner

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Facebook Community

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

 

[297] How to sell your products or services on social media

Do you find it difficult to sell through social media?  You’re not alone.

In this episode, I explain how to use social media to start conversations about your product or service that will help you generate leads (plus how to convert those leads into sales).

[IMPORTANT NOTE] This episode is part of a week-long sales challenge (starting 10 September 2018). If you’re tuning in after this date - don’t worry! You can listen to the episodes as standalone content or work through the challenge at your own pace. Register for the challenge here.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to make the most of this sales challenge (0:33)
  • Introduction to Day Three of the challenge (4:28)
  • How to start conversations on social media (that will lead to sales) (5:35)
  • Why you should be creating behind-the-scenes content (10:22)
  • The most effective types of content for selling on social media (13:55)
  • How to use the free Facebook group to stay accountable during the challenge (17:17)

Resources

Sign up for the FREE 5 Day Sales Challenge here

Janet Murray’s 5 Day Sales Challenge FREE Facebook Group

Episode 295: How to turn prospects into leads

Episode 296: How to generate sales in your business - fast

Episode 298: How to turn browsers into buyers

Episode 299: How to sell everyday (without being a pain in the ass)

Content Live 2018

Love Marketing Membership Wait List

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Facebook Community

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook