The secret to authenticity online… is pizza

The secret to authenticity online… is pizza

When it comes to marketing your business online, do you find it hard to balance business strategy and structure with showing up in an authentic and genuine way every time? 

If the answer is ‘hell, yes,’ then you’re not alone, and you’re in the right place. In this week’s episode of The Whin Big Podcast, Katie shares her insight on blending marketing strategy, planning, and income with self-compassion and showing up authentically.

This week’s episode is sponsored by our free LIVE training – the 6 steps you need to sell online. This training is perfect for you if you’re new to selling online and want a clear, simple strategy to reach your sales goals. There are two live sessions this month so click below to book your place (recordings are available if you can’t attend live).

Authenticity: more than just a buzzword

This week’s episode of the Whin Big Podcast was inspired by the conversation Katie shared with Emma Worrollo in episode 73. In the podcast, Katie and Emma talked about the dilemma around the need to serve your audience by sharing real, authentic messages while protecting your boundaries and productivity by creating a marketing plan and a strategy to make money.

From Katie’s conversations with business owners over the past two years, she’s well aware this is not a unique challenge. However, most people struggle with it, and it can have a serious impact on the way you market and promote your work.

“I’m not sure it’s possible to do both perfectly. To have the perfect business strategy and be perfectly authentic in every piece of content you produce.”

Allow yourself to be imperfect

If you’re tuning into this week’s episode of The Whin Big podcast to find the perfect way to tackle this challenge, then you might be disappointed. The Whin way is not about finding perfection, it’s about accepting ‘good enough, and for Katie, that’s all about self-compassion.

Caring for yourself, being kind, permitting yourself to be yourself is so much more important than the never-ending hunt for perfection.

A Whin Big slice of business advice

Groan. Sorry, we won’t overdo the pizza puns; that’s a promise!

You could compare your business to a pizza. To work properly, both pizzas and online companies require a structure. Make sure you listen to the podcast to dig deeper into the steps you need to build your business pizza.

To make a great pizza, you need three essential components: a base, sauce, and cheese. Toppings make it interesting, but the number of toppings can vary, the types of toppings can change. While they make a difference to the taste of the pizza, it’s still a pizza without them.

It’s the same idea for an online business, where the basic structure is a sales page, sales pitch, and a freebie (also known as a lead magnet or introductory offer).

Sales page (base)

The base of your online business. This is where your customers will learn everything about your product, programme, or service. It includes the results you provide, empathy, and relationship building. A sales page gives all the information customers will need to decide to buy.

Sales pitch (sauce)

This is the secret sauce to bring your audience to your sales page. There’s many ways to do this, but the most successful is through a planned email sequence. This is Katie’s preferred method.

Freebie/lead magnet (cheese)

Your freebie is what brings the whole process together. It’s what brings your audience into your business through your mailing list (so you can send them your emails).

Content (toppings)

Just like toppings, what you do next is up to you. You can do lots, or you can do little – but so long as you have the three main components in place, you still have an online business. People will still be able to buy from you without the content ‘toppings’.

A pizza divided into 8 slices. The left half is labelled "Pizza: Base, Sauce, Cheese, Toppings" and the right half is labelled "Business: Sales page, Sales pitch, Freebie, Content".

Keeping it simple

If you have too many toppings or choose ingredients that don’t compliment each other, your pizza becomes unmanageable (messy, soggy, or not very pleasant to eat). If you focus on too many content methods that don’t work together, you can end up with an unfocussed, stressful process – and that’s where it gets hard to show up online, offer value to your audience or feel connected to them in a genuine way.

The focus should be on adding tasty, helpful content toppings to the mix, so they complement the work you’re doing in the online business.

Three ways to find authenticity without the overwhelm

Katie shares so much detail about each of the following ideas in this week’s episode, so if you love the idea of finding an easy way to balance structure and authenticity, then the podcast episode gives you so much more insight.

Here’s a quick overview:

1: Content planning

Katie doesn’t use a detailed planning strategy for The Whin’s content, but she does find it helpful to have a small, manageable plan for the next 1 – 3 weeks.

That being said, she doesn’t recommend drafting out a month’s worth of content and social media posts because it’s tiring and boring – and the copy can sound and feel stale. Furthermore, this kind of planning goes a long way to feeling inauthentic because the connection is lost over time.

Katie prefers to focus on the purpose and topic of the content. Each post has a job, and the details and text can come later. So it’s still authentic content but is on plan.

2: Authentic vs. pragmatic

Katie brings up the point that it’s impossible to be completely authentic in your business marketing because your audience needs content that helps them to buy from you. Sometimes our authentic selves want to lie on the sofa and watch TV, and while it’s great to see behind-the-scenes from time to time, people won’t buy from you if that’s your only authentic content!

“I’m not sure it’s possible to do both perfectly. To have the perfect business strategy and be perfectly authentic in every piece of content you produce.”

3: Make more out of a single idea

Sometimes you won’t have a plan. For example, you might be in a phase where you’re growing your audience or gathering ideas for your next launch. These are essential parts of business development, but it can feel awkward when it comes to your content – what do you talk about?

Katie recommends taking a post or idea and develop it further into other pieces of content.

Example:

  • You do an Instagram Live for 10 minutes
  • Save it as an IGTV video
  • Take 1 or 2 ideas from the video and turn it into a Reel
  • Talk about it on Stories and invite your audience to reply
  • Share the responses in stories for extra coverage

This can help you feel so much more authentic because you started the process with one authentic activity. Energetically, you wanted to go live to talk about your topic. You were connected to it. Adopting and developing it into other content means extending it into different directions rather than going back and trying to feel authentic five more times for five more posts.

Do you prefer your marketing strategies and sales training without the pizza metaphors?

If so, then come along to one of our FREE training sessions this month. We’ll got into lots more detail about how to build the foundations of this kind of business, but without the cringe-worthy pizza metaphors… Register your place today.

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Doing business, playfully, with Emma Worrollo

Doing business, playfully, with Emma Worrollo

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Emma Worrollo, founder of The Playful Den – an online community committed to making life more playful.  They talk about Emma’s decision to leave the agency she founded to do something new and how the pandemic affected her decision.

In this week’s episode, you’ll hear Katie and Emma chat about making the Instagram switch from doing it for fun to doing it for business and the commitment it takes to make content meaningful, authentic and strategic all at the same time.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Emma’s business journey

Emma’s transition from her previous work life to her current one is still very new and fresh, so when Katie asked her to share where she is right now Emma described it as ‘very much TBC’. Ten years ago Emma Worrollo founded an insight strategy agency for global brands and as such was a leading thought leader in emerging generations, looking at ways to think and communicate with the future consumers.  

At the time of recording this podcast, Emma had only recently stepped away from leading the agency towards building a community of parents around the idea of living playfully. Through the research she carried out for her strategy role, she developed a keen interest in the relationship between playfulness and mental health. 

Turning an online community into a business venture

Emma used her Instagram account as a creative outlet, using Stories as a way to try out new ideas and experiment with her knowledge. She used it as a therapeutic ideas journal and enjoyed the engagement with her community. 

For Emma, she’s achieved everything she wanted to with her agency and felt a strong pull towards the rewards she experienced when she’d get positive feedback from her audience. 

Using Patreon for a creative business

During maternity leave, Emma had more space to play with her new ideas and joined Patreon. On this crowdfunded membership platform, followers pay for additional content from their favourite creators. 

It exceeded her expectations and had a hugely positive impact when people were willing to pay for content from her. She had never planned to become an influencer, but Patreon gave her a final push to accept she could turn it into a business.  

Emma polled her followers on Instagram before setting up on Patreon. The response was huge, and that gave her the confidence to go ahead and try it out. A year later and she still loves creating Patreon and the community she’s built up through it. 

How to leave your business to start a new one

Katie was curious about how Emma managed the emotional exchange between the excitement of building a new business while exiting from an old one. Was there a strong emotional pull between the two? 

Emma describes the experience as being similar to grief. 

“I went through anger, sadness, and so many emotions I wasn’t expecting. Once I’ve made a decision, it’s made. It was about untangling the logistics of making sure the business is well set up, the team are in a good place and handing everything over. It was massive.” – Emma

Emma made steps to leave the agency in Summer 2020 so it’s taken quite a long time to get through the untangling. 

How the global pandemic became the catalyst for change 

Emma had a huge set of challenges in front of her by the pandemic hit the UK. She had a baby three weeks before the first lockdown, and having that kind of lifestyle change on top of the restrictions from the pandemic, gave Emma a chance to reflect on the importance of feeling fulfilled in work and family life.  

This gave her the clarity to recognise the agency wasn’t meeting her needs, despite loving the business and team she’d built. 

“There’s a perception that, as a woman, as a mother, if you reach a certain level of success and you just shut up. Be grateful you got there! You do not rock the boat; you do not ask for more.” – Emma

The beginner’s mindset

Katie and Emma chat more about how the pandemic gave them the window to imagine how different work can be, and Emma shared her insight on a term known as the beginner’s mindset.

She described it as the idea of forgetting everything you’ve learned and already knew and re-imagine what life could look like. For Emma, the pandemic enabled this shift in her life. She focussed on the beginner’s mindset and moved forward in that space.

Moving on with a new business

Emma’s had an idea for a lifestyle brand for a few years now, and it was by experimenting and playing in the online space that she turned dreams and visions into plans. She recognised the first step was to build a personal profile and engaged audience to give the brand energy.

She used the example of Glossier’s success through social media as her inspiration. Still, she admitted it took a while for her to stop comparing herself to other startups and tracking numbers as a measure of success.

“I stopped focussing on growth and started to think more smartly about what my audience actually want from me.” – Emma

Emma wants to set up a lifestyle brand that sells consumer products but knows the route to getting there is to build a strong philosophy and set of values, so her strategy is to get paid for doing that. 

She’s in phase 1 of building the community and focus on learning what her community actually needs before moving on to phase 2, which is more about offering services, courses and products. 

Keeping brand values at the core of business 

Emma currently runs a parenting course, teaching parents how to grow a playful mindset. The course covers each of the characteristics of the mindset, which are: 

  • Joy 
  • Curiosity 
  • Creativity 
  • Open ness

When she sat down recently to work on her business plan, she realised that those characteristics are the same as her brand values. By matching content with these values, she will build up a strong philosophy that can take her into a consumer brand. 

A week in the life of Emma’s content 

When it comes to content – like so many of us – she’s keen to move away from a random approach to content and into something more planned and focussed.

She’s still grappling with the idea of scheduling out an entire day to work on writing blogs or creating content but knows it’s something she wants to start doing. As a result of not doing this, her Instagram output has been sporadic.

“I’ve had the attitude that if I have something really good to say, then I’ll say it, and otherwise, I don’t want to take up other people’s space. I’m trying to find a balance between standing by that because I know people value my opinion and expertise, but I realise I have to play the game more than I am if I want to build out my profile.” – Emma

Emma’s figuring out her content plan right now but knows she needs to carve out 1 – 2 days a week to plan social media, write blogs and create Patreon content. To kickstart her content discipline, she’s committed to building a business audio diary every day on Patreon. By doing this, she hopes it will get her into daily practice.

Authenticity vs Strategy

Katie can relate so much to Emma’s points about content discipline. As you know, Katie doesn’t enjoy planning everything out, so she had her challenges when it came to creating a plan and sticking to it.

Katie made an intentional decision to carve out time and create a plan. For her, the word ‘authentic’ gets overused because of the struggle between creating really valuable content that has to feel authentic, so people relate to it, but doing it on a schedule that feels anything but.

For Emma, the biggest struggle is around how in-depth she goes with her content. When she does get involved in creating content, it’s about topics she feels passionate about, and so Instagram Lives and blog posts go into more depth than other content might go.

Katie has some advice for this:

“When I get an excellent idea that’s got a lot of meat to it, I don’t give it away all at once. I want to get ahead of myself by using the idea to create five pieces of content instead of one and a half. Then I can work to a schedule because I already have the stuff – rather than being lead by the schedule to come up with something new.” – Katie

Emma’s most successful content to date

Emma ran a pep-talk series on Instagram Stories and followed it up with a grid post and blog post. The theme was on lockdown and came from the stories she heard about parents and young children at loggerheads with homeschooling.

Emma’s personal beliefs about childhood learning and structured academia before the age of 7 meant she could talk to parents about their unrealistic expectations of what they should achieve in this setting. The pep talk helped parents negotiate between child, school and employer to create a more playful, creative learning experience.

It was from the heart, and quite a radical approach and, as a result, was very successful. She chose Instagram Stories for this content, which she regrets now as it disappears from her account quickly. Next time she’ll choose something with more longevity, like IGTV.

What’s on Emma’s bookshelf?

Emma doesn’t’ have time to read business and development books and instead consumes content through magazines and podcasts. 

Magazines:

  • Courier Magazine is the only business magazine she reads. She enjoys the case studies and stories about new brands.
  • Two mindset magazines she enjoys are called Flow and Breathe. They focus on topics as diverse as mindset, philosophy and life in the pursuit of wellbeing and happiness. Emma compares reading these magazines as healthy food for her brain.
  • New Philosopher is another favourite.

Podcasts:

Keep the conversation going with Emma & The Playful Den.

The Playful Den on Patreon
The Playful Den on Facebook
The Playful Den Website
The Playful Den on Instagram

Resources from this episode

[Podcast] 3 Strategies to Organise your Marketing (even when you hate getting organised)

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How to find your brand’s soul, with Flavilla Fongang

How to find your brand’s soul, with Flavilla Fongang

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Flavilla Fongang, expert brand strategist and founder of 3 Colours Rule and TLA Black Women in Tech.  In this inspiring episode, Katie and Flavilla talk about creating on-brand content, marketing through relationships and reaping the real (and realistic) benefits of PR opportunities.

Flavilla also talks about the magic that comes from unearthing the soul of your brand and gives a few tips on how you can discover yours.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Getting started on the business journey

Flavilla Fongang is a London based brand expert but comes to us today from Paris, where she has spent several months staying with family after Covid restrictions kept her in France. She is the founder of two companies – TLA Black Women Technology and Three Colours Rule, a creative branding and marketing agency.

Before branching out on her own, Flavilla worked in the oil and gas industry but felt restricted in her role. She was frustrated by her job, the industry and the limitations of having a boss! Initially, she moved into the world of fashion – a passion of hers – and started up as a fashion consultant for luxury brands.

Three Colours Rule’s scope of work  

The agency takes on a wide range of clients. From the mighty (ever heard of Facebook?) to the small-but-mighty, highly ambitious SME technology startups. When it comes to deciding which clients to choose to work with, it all boils down to her client’s ‘why’. 

“One question we always ask is ‘why are you doing this?’ If you don’t fall in love with your mission and what you’re trying to achieve – we’re not going to work with you.” – Flavilla

Unearthing your brand soul

Flavilla’s mission is to help businesses discover their brand soul. For any small business owner out there looking to grow their brand presence, getting to the soul of your brand comes down to these four essential things. 

  • Purpose: what is the vision you want to create, and why does it matter? 
  • Plan: how are you going to get to your vision? 
  • Your message: why your vision matters 
  • Target audience: make your audience the hero of the story 
  • Positioning: simplify your services 

Flavilla’s marketing activities 

A lot of Three Colours Rule business comes from recommendations, but as a business, they do focus attention on traditional marketing activities and stick to one or two wise rules: 

  • Create a flourishing ecosystem: use your connections to build a strong network of people you can collaborate with and share the experience. It helps with recommendations and keeps you in good company.  
  • Choose your platforms wisely: Do your research and work out what’s best for your business. For Flavilla, it’s always been LinkedIn for communications and Instagram for visual representation. 
  • Use your content to educate: Work out what your target audience need and want to hear and educate through your output.

 

Using a variety of content for best results 

The first rule for Flavilla and content creation is to work out what matters most to your target audience. Their audience is made up of industry leaders and CMOs (chief marketing officer). So the team focus on the types of challenges these customer types face. 

The team create a mix of content formats – articles, blogs, videos and posts, but the two that give the best results are articles and podcast episodes. 

After much testing, researching, and experimenting, Flavilla has dismissed using Clubhouse in favour of Pinterest, where they’re channelling new marketing energy. 

“I always think about relationships in business like relationships in life. You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you if they’d only just met you!” – Flavilla

Making the right connections

When it comes to making connections and approaching people to work (or collaborate), Flavilla takes it very seriously. 

Before making any decisions, Flavilla makes it her business to know more about her connections. Here are some of the key things she looks out for:

  • Whether they share a vision or not
  • What types of customers they work with
  • How they work with those customers
  • If there’s a shared audience
  • If they’re motivated by money or if they care for their clients
  • What kind of budget they’re used to

Table for Six: collaborations that work

In Flavilla’s book 99 Strategies to Get  Customers, she talks about the concept of the table of six.  The idea is that you build a small network of like-minded experts who work in the same (or similar) industries, who share an audience and can support each other without stepping on each other’s toes.

A table for six is manageable. Everybody has time to speak and listen. 

Riding the waves of the global pandemic – the Flavilla way

Like so many entrepreneurs, life changed overnight when Covid struck, leaving Flavilla with more time on her hands as her travelling, commuting, and face-to-face meetings paused. She chose to use the extra time to do some of the things on her list that she always wanted to do – but didn’t have time for. 

Unlike most of the world who tried their hand at baking sourdough and tidying out cupboards, Flavilla used this time to launch a fast-paced, hugely successful podcast (78 interviews and counting) and writing a business book: 99 Strategies to Get Clients. 

We’ve got 99 problems, but a book ain’t one

The idea for the book blossomed from a blog article she wrote which featured 24 strategies. She thought, ‘why stop at 24?’, so she took inspiration from the Jay-Z track ‘99 Problems’; she stretched the concept to 99 strategies. That’s when she realised it would be a very long article, so the book was born. 

Get vocal about your achievements.

Flavilla is a confessed bragger. She advises everyone to shout about their achievements. Her philosophy is that the more you tell people what you’ve achieved, the more people will remember you for those achievements and recommend you. 

By being vocal about her successes, she was invited onto the BBC as a regular brand expert. She began on the French channel and was introduced to other journalists and invited onto other segments across the BBC. She’d never have achieved this if she didn’t network – or brag. 

Being on the BBC has helped increase her profile as an authority in her field. It’s given her leverage and has opened many more doors that would have been out of reach before her BBC appearances.  

“A lot of people think if you do PR, you’re going to get customers. It’s a wrong assumption. You do PR to improve your credibility. It builds your value.” – Flavilla

What’s on Flavilla’s bookshelf?

Every week, we grill our guests on the business and development books they are inspired by. This week Flavilla selected: 

Resources & keep the conversation going with Flavilla:

Flavilla on LinkedIn

Flavilla on Instagram

Website: https://www.3coloursrule.co.uk/flavilla/ 

* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to supporting your local bookshop, and a small portion comes to The Whin. The books won’t cost you any extra!

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How to build a business you love, that loves you back, with Jacky Clarke

How to build a business you love, that loves you back, with Jacky Clarke

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Jacky Clarke – an online strategy business coach. She shares how her experiences with burnout lead to her starting a business that gave her the freedom to live a life she loves. Katie and Jacky talk about the importance of figuring out what you want out of your business, focusing on tasks you enjoy and ways to align your business and marketing strategy.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Build a business you love, and it will love you back.

Jacky helps business owners to take their confused, burn-out causing strategies and make them much simpler so people can earn good money in a way that’s aligned with your life.

Jacky started working with small business clients after a double whammy of redundancy from her Director role in a global corporation and total burnout from contracting with huge organisations.

In her Director role, she lead a team of 50 people, all working to the same goals. When she jumped to contracting, she worked to achieve the same results for her client, as a team of 1. Months of working longer hours on stressful projects, with less support and higher standards, quickly took Jacky to a place in her career where she was miserable.

But, as the saying goes – you can’t keep a good woman down! After some reflection time, she realised she could start her own business teaching people the exact strategies she used with global organisations. She decided to start small with a relatively simple online course to test the water and has never looked back. 

“I think aligning your business with your life is important, and not the other way round. People think about the need to make money, but they don’t think, ‘what is the life I’m trying to create.” – Jacky

The importance of believing in your own advice

Jacky’s is very clear on the importance of small businesses practising what they preach. For Jacky, that means taking her business through every step of her strategy process with no excuses. 

The main focus of Jacky’s work is centred around the 12-week programme she hosts three times a year. She works on a cyclical nature of fine-tuning activities, researching her strategy and implementing it and often works through the programme modules alongside her programme participants. 

This means her business strategy is ongoing proof of how her way works. 

“The world changes so rapidly, regardless of what you’re teaching, something will have shifted so thinking anything is permanent and will make passive income, it’s naive thinking.” – Jacky

Figure out what you love to do – and then do it.

Jacky’s favourite thing about running a business is freedom. Being able to decide who she works with, when and where is so important to her, and she’s hyper-aware this comes from her experience of burnout and overwhelm. 

Jacky and Katie talk about creating a business that centres around a few packages or offerings that you love to do, rather than being all things to all people. 

The reason being, if you enjoy what the work – and the people you do it for – you’re already closer to the freedom most of us crave as business owners. 

Katie shared her experience of taking every task available when she first set up because she was focused on keeping afloat. 

Jacky’s advice to anyone starting now is to work out ahead of time how to start your business doing the tasks you enjoy first, so you can avoid the need to transition out of anything in the first place. 

“When you start, you have the mindset of ‘whatever anybody wants, I’ll figure out how to do it for them’. You have to transition out of it and do it pretty quickly.” – Katie

Advice for structuring your business around your zone of genius

Jacky and Katie talk about the perils and pitfalls of doing too-many conflicting tasks and services for too-many different types of customers.

Get selective with who you serve and how you serve them

Jacky shared a statistic around the concept of multitasking and how it takes 23 minutes for the human brain to settle into a new task after bouncing around. She highlights how much harder it is to reach our goals if we bounce from wildly different clients and different activities.

Choosing a set of services you enjoy will not only make you more productive but help shape a business you love.

Look at the whole picture of your business

Ask yourself if you like the shape of your business based on the tasks you love. You can enjoy doing a task (like designing websites), but do you want to run a web design business and all that goes with it? This was Katie’s exact experience when she was offering services designing websites AND doing Instagram training. 

Figure it out by trying it out

If you don’t know what you want to do or how you want to shape your business, Jacky’s advice is to get started and try it out. She highlights the perils of waiting to find the tasks you enjoy rather than trying lots of things out to figure it out.

Set up containers your customers can pay you

Everything you talk about should point to one of these containers. Make it easy for people to figure out how they want to work with you, and then set your business and marketing strategy around that.

“I had created a business monster. I earned six figures every year, and so many people aim for, so many people define as success, but I was never home. I couldn’t do the things I loved. Once I got to breaking point, my whole purpose was to have freedom.” – Jacky

Setting healthy boundaries around marketing. 

Building workable models is what Jacky does best, so no surprises here, she’s made an easy model for her business marketing, too:

She starts with a bare minimum marketing plan

  • Put up a blog each Tuesday
  • Put out mailing list on Thursday 
  • Post at least three times to Instagram 
  • Show up in Stories every day Mon-Fri

The content ideas then fit around what’s going on in Jacky’s week. Jacky did a masterclass session that looked at ideal customer avatars. She used the content from her work in the masterclass as an Instagram carousel.

Jacky’s primary strategy is Instagram. She posts there and cross-posts everything to Facebook. Despite knowing it’s not the best strategy for the Facebook algorithm, she doesn’t care. For Jacky, this is where the boundaries come in. 

“As a business owner, I can try to have all the things in place, a pristine model of how it should be, OR I can do some of the things and go and go and live a life I frigging love. I can’t have both.” – Jacky

What’s on Jacky’s bookshelf? 

*First Sh!t Version by Lisa Bean 

Read this book if you don’t know what to do. The book has loads of activities to help you get clarity. Top of the list! 

* Do Less by Kate Northrup

Do less is Jacky’s tagline how women are cyclical beings and work within our cycle. The book shows how to align our business with our energy, step away from the hustle, and still make money, especially if you’re a mum in business. 

*Rise Sister, Rise by Rebecca Campbell

This book is about moving away from the masculine space of planning, productivity and strategy, and more into alignment with plans and ideas and asking if you’re showing up authentically.  

Resources

5 things dream clients will never say 

Jacky’s website (scroll to bottom to sign up to newsletter)

Lisa Bean’s First Sh!t Version review on IGTV

Jacky on Instagram

* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to supporting your local bookshop, and a small portion comes to The Whin. The books won’t cost you any extra!

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The Instagram Rule Book

The Instagram Rule Book

Do you ever feel like everyone’s playing the Instagram game, but nobody’s explained the rules to you? This is episode 70 of The Whin Big Podcast, where Katie runs through the four aspects of Instagram marketing. Consider this your very own Instagram rule book!

We look at how to apply some core marketing principles to your Instagram strategy, and cover growth, connection, sales and planning to make sure your strategy covers all the bases. 

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

The customer journey & the Instagram MOT

Any marketing strategy has to reflect the customer journey, and we’ve put it at the heart of our new and improved Instagram MOT.

Not sure what the customer journey is? Here’s a quick rundown – and even if you have heard this phrase (sometimes called the buyer’s journey or your sales funnel), it’s always a good idea to check your marketing activities are in alignment. 

A simple process for your customers

The customer journey is the name for the psychological journey each person goes through a 3-step process before they buy from you. 

  1. Awareness. This is where they first discover your business (or product, or service)
  2. Consideration. At this point, they’re learning about you and your business. They use this time to work out if what you offer meets their needs.
  3. Decision. Not everyone makes it to this stage where they are on the cusp of buying from you.

“The journey from awareness, through consideration to decision making, is just as important for Instagram marketing as it is for your overall marketing strategy.”

The four rules of Instagram Marketing

We’ve rewritten our popular Instagram MOT to reflect the customer journey. Each part looks at the foundations you need to nurture your customers (past, present and future) through the process. It might be easier to download the checklist so you can look through it as we take you through our favourite free resource. 

Part 1: Grow your Instagram audience

Specifically, your follower numbers and the reach of your posts. It’s important that you work to bring new people into your audience. The people who connect with you won’t always buy from you, nor will they all be your ideal customers. By focussing on growing your audience, you won’t have to rely on repeat business month after month. 

You’ll learn all the rules in the Instagram MOT, but here’s a few you can get started on straight away. 

★ Growth rule: Hashtags

Make sure you’re using the right Instagram hashtags for your business.

Why it’s important:

Hashtags help categorise your posts to your customer’s feed. Lots of users browse hashtag galleries or follow hashtags so they won’t miss this content. Missing out on hashtags means you miss out on opportunities to show up in new places.

★ Growth rule: Instagram Reels

Spend time creating Reels as part of the content you share on Instagram

Why it’s important:

The new layout of the Instagram app gives Reels a priority position, so users spend less time in hashtag galleries or explore page because they watch Reels instead. Again, you’re missing out on opportunities if you don’t create Reels.

★ Growth rule: Connect with people who share similar audiences

Reach out to service providers who have a similar audience group to you. Go live together, or swap Instagram Story takeovers so you can get to know their followers, and vice versa. 

Why it’s important

If you listened to episode 66 of The Whin Big Podcast, you’d remember the algorithm’s primary role is to keep users on Instagram for as long as possible. Research shows that users prefer familiar faces and connect with accounts they’ve personally selected, so the algorithm shows them more of that content than content from brand new accounts. 

Bypassing the algorithm means you’re taking some control into your own hands! 

Don’t forget…

To promote your Instagram account wherever you are outside of the app. Blog posts, podcast interviews on your website. It’s a sensible thing to get in the habit (and helps with SEO too!)

What to do if your growth won’t budge

If you’ve sorted out your hashtags, created Reels and made amazing connections, and you’re still not growing, download the Instagram MOT for more rules for growing your audience and reach. 

Part 2: Creating connection with your audience

Connection shows up as comments, saves, shares, website visits, replies and DMs (as well as lots of behaviours you’ll never know about – like thinking about your post while emptying the dishwasher or telling a friend about your account). 

★ Connection rule: Share helpful information

Create content that solves problems or helps your audience reach their own goals with tips, hacks and secrets from your insider knowledge. Try: 

  • IGTV videos
  • Reels
  • Slide shows for your feed
  • Post a selfie with useful information in the caption

Why it’s important:

People love getting value, and what’s more valuable than following an account on Instagram that genuinely helps you grow or develop in a way you need? Not much.

★ Connection rule: Entertain your audience

Find ways to be creative, inspiring, soothing or just plain funny. Give these ideas a go: 

  • Lip-synching Reels
  • Memes
  • Timelapses
  • Outtakes 
  • Familiar rituals 

Why it’s important:

If you give someone a feel-good moment, you’ll be remembered for it. And that all works towards the know, like and trust factor. 

★ Connection rule: Share personal insight and stories

You don’t have to bare your soul every time you post or share endless photos of your kids to make your connections more personal. Think about your identities and how they’re relevant to your audience.

  • Find ways to thread your interests (plants, dogs, sea swimming, running) into your feed and relate it to your audience. 
  • Katie shared a post that did just that. She connected being self-conscious about her features with the importance of finding the confidence to create videos. Have a look at the post for a great example of sharing personal insight and shared experiences. 

Why it’s important:

Before people buy from you, they have to know you, like you and trust you. Sharing personal experiences give people an idea about you as a human being which goes a long way to building trust. 

Connection is everything

You’ll find all of the step-by-step instructions for creating strong connections, as well as how to make the most of Instagram insights when you download the Instagram MOT checklist and watch the training

“You follow someone on Instagram, and they immediately send you a message with a copy & paste sales pitch before you get comfortable? No, thank you!”

Part 3: Invite the sale

How do you encourage people to buy? You might be great at inviting sales, but it’s more common to struggle with sales content then going a long time without posting any and then feel stressed when the sales don’t come through.

Here’s a few quick wins to get your sales invitations back on track.

★ Sales rule: Refresh the link in your bio

If the link in your bio only goes to your website homepage, you can make your link much harder for you by following these steps:

  • Create a new page on your website (no fancy layouts) and add 3 – 5 buttons or links to key places:
    • Shop
    • Sales pages (or services page)
    • Your enquiry form
  • If you can’t create a webpage, use a service like Linktree or Linkin.bio
    • You don’t need technical knowledge to set these up

Why it’s important:

Don’t expect people to browse through your website to find the information they need. Make it easy for them to find your shop or details for working with you and is much more precise than saying ‘browse my website.’

★ Sales rule: Experiment with the sales content ratios

You might spend four weeks in growth and connection mode and a 5th week where you only post content about sales. If you’re in e-commerce, you will want to change those ratios because people will expect you to show up with new products to sell and want to see what you have to offer.

Why it’s important:

Getting the balance right makes the difference between people being excited by your content and keen to buy from you when the time is right and people who scroll past because they haven’t had a chance to connect with you before you sell to them.

You need to experiment to find the right formula for you, but this is an excellent place to start.

You won’t make sales if you aren’t selling

Make sure to go and get your Instagram MOT for the six checks and lots of tips to get the balance right.

“Posting specifically to sell, to invite people to buy, to encourage sales conversations – that’s all essential to your Instagram strategy.”

Part 4: Planning your Instagram strategy

In the first three parts of the strategy, you’ll have lots of tasks to work on—everything from hashtag research, finding people to collaborate with and creating great content.

Most of that won’t happen unless you plan for it to happen.

★ Planning rule: Think about your content

First: Make a list of the types of content you want to create. There’s a lot of options with Instagram:

  • Reels
  • IGTV
  • Photos
  • Stories
  • Carousels
  • Lives
  • Graphics
  • Videos

Second: think about the role of each post. Which stage of the strategy (growth, connection, sales) does it align with?

Finally: Prioritise your content list. What are your goals?

A boost in sales: focus on feed posts and stories about what you sell.

Grow your audience: Reels videos, appealing photos and the right hashtags

★ Planning rule: Content ideas for your posts

Your posts should mostly have an overarching theme or topic which link your posts together.

This should be based on what your audience is interested in or something you want to market.

Katie shares her whole launch strategy and content planning in the episode, so make sure you listen to the podcast, so you don’t miss out.

“Without a little bit of planning and left floundering around in the dark, I’m making sales by accident. Not an easy thing to sustain!”

Instagram marketing – the next steps

Once you’ve completed the Instagram MOT and found the changes you need to make for your growth, connections and sales, you might be hungry for more!

If that’s the case, the natural next step is to join our Instagram Masterclass. If you’re trying to make more sales on Instagram and you keep getting stuck, this course will walk you through each part of the strategy with concrete examples and exercises so that you can take and implement your own Instagram strategy. 

It’s just £97 till the end of March. In April, we’re adding heaps of new content to make your Instagram strategy even more solid, and if you buy the masterclass now, you’ll get free access to all the latest juicy stuff. 

After 31 March, the price goes up to £147, so you know it makes sense! 

Resources in this week’s episode

Whin Big Podcast: Instagram Algorithm – what is it, and can I beat it?

Linktree

Linkin.bio

Instagram MOT

Instagram Masterclass

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Business lessons from the sex education industry, with Cameron Glover

Business lessons from the sex education industry, with Cameron Glover

Ever feel like giving up trying to market your business altogether? Then spare a thought for professionals in the sexuality industry, where marketing challenges are an everyday occurrence. Welcome to Episode 69 of The Whin Big Podcast with this week’s guest Cameron Glover, a sex education business coach and founder of Successful Sex Ed.

Katie and Cameron (both she/her) discuss the unique challenges that face business owners in the sexuality field and show us how we can all take lessons from this important industry to add value to our audience. Her insight in creating a premium experience for her communities and finding ways to have fun with marketing and relationship building is relevant to business owners across every industry and sector.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Successful Sex Ed – Cameron’s business journey

Cameron (she/her) is a Sex Ed business coach based outside of New York City. In her company, Successful Sex Ed, Cameron and her team provide professional development for the industry.

After college and a planned career in academia, Cameron found herself in the space of uncertainty, a sort of decision-limbo, working out what her next steps would be. One area that interested her was sex education, so in 2015 began researching her options and signed up for a certification programme. Despite enjoying the programme, she was frustrated that the business support was centred around practitioners finding a job and getting hired.

“I had a lightbulb moment. I realised I don’t want to be the person who gets hired; I wanted to be the person hiring.” – Cameron

She realised that many of her colleagues had the same questions and issues around setting up in business, that there was a need for this kind of support. From here, she took her knowledge and experience of sex education and pivoted to business and marketing solutions for the industry.

Let’s talk about sex money, baby

Cameron started her business from the perspective of helping people. She concentrated less on making money and more on what sex educators needed to break the barrier and belief that a career in sex education can’t be sustainable and long-term.

There’s a stigma around talking about money and wanting to be successful. It was Cameron’s mission to shine a light on the fact that this work is important and deserves to be paid well, with premium professional development to support the work.

“Talking about money is deeply uncomfortable; talking about sex is deeply uncomfortable. When you mix the two, how do you even start the conversation?” – Cameron

The challenges facing sex education business professionals

While so much business advice can be adapted and tailored to suit specific industries and sectors, there are a few challenges unique to those working in the sex education industry those other business owners don’t face.

Those working in the sexuality industry have to face challenges around censorship, misinformation, shame and judgement. The result is that the perception of sex education professionals can be tainted from the outset.

Censorship and marketing

Misinformation and perception play a large part in the struggles that sex education professionals face when promoting the work they do. While online marketing is an essential part of today’s business professionals, it’s steeped in challenges for those working in this area.

Cameron believes that censorship can harm everyone as more and more topics become unacceptable to discuss openly and maturely online. As a result, creating a safe space with a trusted community is an essential part of business development. 

The importance of inclusivity in online spaces and communities

With so much misconception around the sexuality industry, finding resources and support can be problematic. Business owners in this space require the same access to help and information as any other business owner. It can be hard to find the right professionals – for example, tax consultants, legal professionals and finance experts – who are willing to work with their industry. 

For sexuality professionals, traditional resources open to business owners, such as joining networking groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, can come loaded with shame and judgement, closing down opportunities.

“You end up creating a business where your ideal customer avatar is someone who looks like you, thinks like you, has the same life experiences as you do. And that excludes people with different life experiences who could still benefit from your help and expertise.” – Katie

Building a person-centred business with accessibility and inclusivity at the fore

In this week’s episode of the podcast, Cameron and Katie dive deep into the subject of threading accessibility and inclusivity into everything you do.

It’s a weighty topic for all business owners, so make sure you listen to the episode to get the whole conversation loaded with ideas for how you can add value to your services and offers by normalising inclusivity.

Topics covered:

  • Adapting resources for accessibility needs
  • Incorporating different learning styles
  • Planning for people to access the proper support for their needs, versus having to request it after the fact
  • Keeping integrity at the heart of your activities
  • Ways to avoid overwhelm and take small steps toward inclusivity
  • The importance of sharing your pronouns to normalise gender expression

“No-one wants to feel like they’re an afterthought. I feel strongly about approaching business growth not just from the bottom line, but from a human-first perspective…I think there’s room for both.” – Cameron

Marketing: creating a premium experience for your audience

Due to platform restrictions and ever-changing terms and conditions, Cameron’s marketing efforts centre around creating a premium experience for the Successful Sex Ed’s community.

Part of that will include developing a more enhanced and sustainable relationship with people through email marketing. Cameron wants her email list to feel like an exclusive club, so she will send fresh content to subscribers first, rather than repurposing content from other marketing platforms.

Where you can start adding value to your email list: 

  • Regular weekly email newsletters
  • Segmented top-up emails with audience-specific content
  • Monthly live stream for subscribers only
  • Exclusives or surprises for people in the private community 

“If we rethink the way we look at what it means to create a premium experience, there’s so many different ideas that don’t take much time and effort. It’s so worth it when growing a community of people who are invested in what it is you’re doing and what you stand for.” – Cameron

Marketing: Make it fun! 

Katie and Cameron talk about how impossible it is to turn the algorithm to your advantage – especially in an industry where talking about what your business is (sex education) is likely to get your account closed down. 

The conclusion is to take on activities that make you happy, that is fun and will connect people to your activities because of that, rather than trying to be clever to beat the algorithm. Cameron believes in getting excited and getting creative is more important than falling into a rhythm and creating content as a process. 

“How can you make it fun, so you want to show up? We feel like we have to post four times a week and engage in a certain way; it becomes stale and robotic. Our audiences are very smart. People are very smart and can pick up on that.” – Cameron

Next marketing steps for Cameron and Successful Sex Ed

Email marketing: The main focus for Successful Sex Ed this week is revamping her email marketing strategy, so most of the activity this week centres around that.

Freebies: Cameron plans to launch new freebies and will add these into her marketing activities.

Welcome sequence refresh: It’s been a while since the welcome sequence was updated, so Cameron will work on this and will look at a few freebies that add value and creates a high-quality experience

Mini-Course launch: Cameron will launch a mini-course called ‘Becoming a Sexuality Professional’ for aspiring sex education professionals. It contains six different modules around networking and figuring out your niche and tech and digital marketing advice for running a business in this space.

What’s on Cameron’s bookshelf?

Every fortnight, we ask guests to share their favourite business and self-development books. Here are Cameron’s current top picks:

I am my brand* by Kubi Springer
This is great for breaking down branding from a top-down perspective. This looks at the brand from a practical standpoint.

Juliet takes a breath* by Gabby Rivera
This is a book of fiction, written in the first person and gives you insight into the character as she works out who she is and what she’s all about.

Keep in touch with Cameron and Successful Sex Ed

Cameron Glover website
Cameron Glover on Instagram

 

* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to supporting your local bookshop, and a small portion comes to The Whin. The books won’t cost you any extra!

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