5 steps to understand your customer’s problems (and how you can help)

5 steps to understand your customer’s problems (and how you can help)

How do you know what information your potential customers need to hear from you so they can get ready to buy from you? In this week’s episode of The Whin Big Podcast, Katie invites you behind-the-scenes to one of our latest marketing workshops: Marketing and Instagram. In this excerpt, Katie guides you through an essential exercise for more robust marketing, and by the end of the podcast, you’ll have a much clearer idea of your customer’s growing awareness of their problems and how you can help them.

The workshop featured in today’s episode is the first part of the new-and-improved Instagram Masterclass workshop series. If you’re interested in getting training on all different aspects of Instagram marketing, check out the series page for more details and to get signed up.

Customer’s Awareness Journey

Everyone who buys from you or one of your competitors goes through these five stages of awareness before making that purchase. When we’re talking about ‘awareness’ in marketing, we mean how aware your potential customer is of the problem they have (that you can help them with).

The five stages of customer awareness

Unaware – something is up, but they haven’t noticed yet. They have some sense of unease, haven’t identified something is wrong.

Problem-aware – they’ve noticed and named the problem. They’re learning more about the problem, and usually, the research leads to them moving onto…

Solution-aware – they understand their problem and have worked out what kind of thing – product or service – might help them solve it. This takes them on to being…

Product-aware – they know of specific products or services they want to purchase. They weigh up the different solutions they think will meet their needs which takes them to…

Most aware – they’ve researched their product options and have decided which is the best fit for them and their needs. They’re looking for how to sign up or pay.

This doesn’t happen on a standard time scale – it depends on the specifics of your customer’s scenario.

Your customer’s awareness journey: an example

Sometimes, Katie leaves the house without her keys. She doesn’t live alone, so most of the time, it’s a minor inconvenience. It doesn’t happen very often, so it’s not enough for her to feel she has a problem. She’s UNAWARE in the sense that something is up, but it doesn’t feel like a problem.

One evening, she went out without her keys. She stayed out late and came home to an empty house. She didn’t have her keys; she had very little phone battery and not many options. This made her PROBLEM AWARE because she didn’t want this to happen again.

It’s a fairly straightforward fix, so Katie’s keeping her eye out for a solution. She uses Instagram and Google to find a quick fix. She’s decided she has three options: 1) try harder not to forget her keys, 2) hide a spare key somewhere near her house, 3) make a designated place to keep her keys, so they’re always where she needs them. This means she’s SOLUTION AWARE.

Katie opts for the last one. She’s after a hook, shelf or bowl where she can keep her keys near the door. She’s using Google to find a product solution she likes and is, therefore, PRODUCT AWARE.

And finally, she spots a small set of hooks on a rail that can screw easily into the back of her door. It will be placed at eye level so that her keys will be right in front of her every time she leaves the house. She’s now at the MOST AWARE stage and ready to buy.

Try this exercise

Thinking about Katie’s key problem, think about a specific problem you solve for your customers with a specific product or service in your business.

1. The problem your customers are facing

Write down the specific problem you solve for your customer. If you have a few services (or products), you’ll want to do this for each one. Right now, pick just one and write it down. The more specific you can be, the better.

2. Go through each of the 5 phases of your customer awareness journey .

Focus on your customer’s specific problem and then break it down into each of the five stages. Think about:

  • What they’re experiencing right now – what’s niggling them or bothering them?
  • What are they thinking? How do they feel? What are they doing to solve the problem?
  • What might they be researching to move forward with this? What are they looking for? What do they want?
  • What’s the point where they MUST take action to phone you / buy from you?
  • Where does Instagram fit in at each of the stages?

The origins of the customer awareness journey

Katie credits Eugene Schwartz as the originator of this theory. He introduced the concept in a book called ‘Breakthrough Advertising’, which first came out in the 60s. That book is now pretty hard to get hold of, but more recently, Katie’s talked this concept through with Kenda Macdonald, who runs Automation Ninjas. Kenda’s book, Hack the Buyer’s Brain, includes a really great explanation.

Want more insight?

If you found the helpful exercise yourself, you should look at the rest of that workshop – it’s called Marketing and Instagram, and it’s the first part of the new Instagram Masterclass. You can sign up for the recorded workshop right now in Teachable and get caught up – and if you’d like to join us for the rest of the workshop series, you can do that too.

The series runs at a nice, manageable pace, and it’s specifically for small business owners like you who want to solve your customer’s problems and get the most out of your Instagram marketing.

Marketing that’s full of energy, with Tanessa Shears

Marketing that’s full of energy, with Tanessa Shears

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Tanessa Shears, a biohacking expert who helps business owners like you find more energy for your work.

In this week’s episode, Tanessa shares her strategy for creating content for just five people, as well as her plan for getting more email sign-ups – and sales online. And Katie shares details of how you can market your business just as successfully as Tanessa by joining our free webinar – six steps to selling online.

Katie and Tanessa talk about the importance of unwinding after work and ways to find your optimum sleep rhythm. Tanessa shares resources to help you biohack your brain for better sleep and focus throughout the day. And you’ll discover something truly disgusting about your pillow that you may never, ever forget!

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 in business

Tanessa is based in Vancouver, Canada. She helps entrepreneurs optimise their brains and bodies using biohacking and science. Her primary focus is helping business owners feel better rested. She runs her coaching business from home alongside parenting her 18-month-old daughter.

Tanessa’s passion is to help entrepreneurs maximise their sleep and rest for optimum energy. Having a new baby when the whole world was experiencing great turmoil and challenge has given her even more insight and experience into the importance of sleep for your well being.

“My sleep is so important because I see how much better my brain works when I’ve slept.” – Tanessa

Getting started in biohacking and wellness

Tanessa grew up with an aversion to health and fitness – actively avoiding gym classes and PE at school. Somehow, she stumbled into teaching swimming and fitness instruction. She became fascinated by what she learned as a fitness instructor that she changed her studies at college from communications into biomedical physiology.

It didn’t take long for her interest to turn to passion around health and fitness – and in 2014, she began taking clients on as a personal trainer. The more she learned, the more she taught and her clients saw better and better results. She clicked that her client base were all entrepreneurs, and by working with Tanessa, they not only got fitter but noticed significant improvements to their sleep and energy levels.

In 2017 she started working exclusively with entrepreneurs to help them optimised their brains for energy.

What is biohacking?

When Tanessa first heard the term ‘biohacking’, she thought it sounded really dangerous! She explains that the best way to think of it is as a synonym:

“Biohacking is health optimisation. It’s finding solutions that you can measure your efforts. By doing all these things for our health, we’re not only changing the outside environment but also the internal environment so we can have more longevity and health, so our brain can be at its highest performance.” – Tanessa

The similarities between biohacking and entrepreneurship

The concept of biohacking resonates with Katie. For her, the idea of tracking your efforts and matching them with your goals is remarkably similar to how she sets business goals and tracks her marketing activities against them.

Tanessa agrees – and explains why biohacking for entrepreneurs is such a great combination. Business owners frequently split test their activities, experiment with new tools and resources and look for data-driven evidence to see what’s working – and what isn’t.

The most important areas to focus on as entrepreneurs

Without any doubt, Tanessa recommends business owners pay attention to their sleep – and our internal rhythm (the Circadian Rhythm) to optimise energy and brainpower. Tanessa’s number one tip is to get consistent with your bedtime and waking times. Yes, even on the weekends. This helps you optimise hormones, heart rate and blood pressure, which has a massive impact on how alert you are throughout the day.

Tanessa goes into more detail on other ways to biohack your brain in the episode, so make sure you listen to the full interview.

How Tanessa communicates her passion with potential customers

Tanessa was drawn to FB lives and YouTube as her primary focus. She’d share ‘how-to videos and tutorials around some of the most important messages her clients needed to hear. She would then repurpose the videos into content to use elsewhere.

She’s now switched to podcasting (Becoming Limitless), and she feels it’s a much better fit for her audience because entrepreneurs love podcasts.

She also uses Instagram to post engaging content – both on her grid and in Stories. Katie and Tanessa have both noticed that a different audience engages with Stories versus grid posts.

She compliments her podcasts and Instagram posts with a weekly email that highlights her most recent podcast episode, and she has plans to turn her most engaged Instagram posts into her newsletter.

“I’m trying to look at my IG carousel posts as a mini masterclass. I could take the content and create a 30-minute podcast, a one hour webinar or an email. It has to be save-worthy. That’s the metric I’m focusing on right now.” – Tanessa

How Tanessa builds a sales strategy into marketing

Tanessa keeps direct selling posts to her Stories and tends to use a softer approach to sales elsewhere. For example – she’ll share a masterclass on stress in business, offering lots of free content, but will add in a sentence at the end, offering people a chance to jump on a judgement-free clarity call if stress is affecting your business.

She does this between 10 and 15 times per week across all her platforms – figuring that different audiences will access her content and resonate with her offers in different ways.

“I want people to come to me not just for the value my content offers, but I want them to know what I do. My goal is for people to fall in love with me right away and figure out if they want to work with me real quick.” – Tanessa

A refreshing way to think about content creation

Working with a business coach has helped Tanessa get clarity on messaging and marketing across the board. Making offers as regularly as 10-15 times a week may feel like a lot, but her coach reminded her that individuals would only see the offers 2 or 3 times because of the nature of how they consume her content – and where.

She embedded the notion that five people are consuming Tanessa’s content at any given time – and they’re all ready to work with her. Every time Tanessa creates content, she thinks about these five people, and it gets her so excited to make the content.

“You know that feeling when you engage with someone’s content, and you get excited about the idea of buying from them? I like to think five people at all times are right there. What do these five people need right now?” – Katie

A strategy for capturing email addresses

The most successful place for gaining new subscribers is by guesting on other people’s podcasts. She chooses podcasts with audiences that complement her work, illustrated perfectly by her guesting on the Whin Big podcast. 

As Tanessa explained – our audience of business owners and entrepreneurs will be interested in biohacking to help with their business goals and ambition. And Tanessa’s audience of entrepreneurs and business owners will be interested in what Katie has to offer around marketing for small businesses. The beauty, for Tanessa, is that the audiences and topics complement each other perfectly – without any hint of competition.

Tanessa’s email funnel 

Most people subscribe to Tanessa’s email list from her lead magnet, a PDF that talks about biohacking and raising your energy. On downloading, she has a ten email sequence which is all about adding value, and the final three emails focus on introducing herself and pitching some of her services. 

From here, they move into her evergreen email sequence of a weekly email. Katie’s delighted to hear this as it’s the exact process she teaches in the All-In-Whin marketing course

Tanessa’s most popular (and disgusting) podcast episode 

Tanessa loves that some of her most successful podcast episodes are on topics she had no idea people would be interested in. To date, the most successful episode of Becoming Limitless was called ‘How to bio-hack your pillow’. 

The focus of this episode was around something truly disgusting – you’ll have to tune in to today’s episode to find out the big secret…. Tanessa’s call to action on this episode was for people to DM her on Instagram so she could tell listeners what pillows she bought to replace her old ones. It’s helped her make deeper connections with her audience and has been the most downloaded episode to date. 

Tanessa’s favourite bio-hack to reduce stress

Tanessa dives into the importance of unwinding before bed in more detail in the episode, so don’t miss it! She talks about why the activities you choose to relax is more important than the setting (you can still stress out in a bubble bath!).

She also shares her favourite app: Brain. FM, which she describes as a remote control for the brain. It helps your brain unwind or ramp up to focus mode when you need to get into flow for work. 

Want to market your business the same way Tanessa does – for free? 

You can learn the exact same process Tanessa uses to market her business online by joining in Katie’s FREE training webinar – the six steps you need to sell online.  

Keep the conversation going with Tanessa

Follow Tanessa on Instagram 

Tanessa Shears website

Subscribe to Tanessa’s YouTube channel

Resources from this episode of The Whin Big Podcast 

Tanessa’s free guide: 12 Ways to Biohack Your Energy

Becoming Limitless Podcast

Podcast episode: Biohack your pillow (you won’t believe this!)

Brain FM podcast episode Biohack your brainwaves for super focus

Brain FM: Take the Chronoquiz: Dr Michael Breus

Start seeing results from Instagram Reels

Start seeing results from Instagram Reels

Ready to get real results from Instagram Reels? Then you’re in the right place. This is episode 90 of The Whin Big Podcast, and today, Katie’s taking us under the hood of Instagram Reels. It’s not all-singing, dancing and pointing – there’s so much more to using Reels as part of your Instagram marketing strategy.

In this week’s episode, Katie guides us through some strategies for using Reels for audience growth and some easy do’s and don’ts for getting started. Let’s get started!

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 more out of your Reels

It’s been a while since we talked about Instagram Reels on the podcast. Our first Instagram Reels was all about the four easy steps to getting started with Reels, and Katie took you through a quick guide to make your first one. How did you get on with it back then? And more importantly – how are you getting on with them now?

There’s been a lot of talk about Reels since Instagram brought the tool out – and it’s hotting up as the algorithm continues to favour Reel posts over all other types. So we thought it was high time we look at Reels more strategically so you can use them to grow your audience.

Still not sure about using Reels?

Don’t worry if you haven’t fully embraced Instagram Reels or are not confident about making more or using them as part of your marketing strategy! Making videos can feel like a big leap into the unknown, but you’re in safe hands here!

Getting started is not as complicated as you think – and if you go back and listen to episode 56 of the Whin Big Podcast, you’ll have Katie guiding you through the four steps to making your first one.

Instagram Reels: Dos and don’ts

Do: Find a consistent visual style.

Spend time working out a style that is all yours so people can recognise them as yours easily. Think about the background, lighting, ook, the text styles, text colours, and any filters or effects you want to use.

Why it’s important: When people swipe through Reels, they’re likely to see one (or more) of your Reel posts. If they watch them, Instagram will show them more. People will start to recognise your Reels – and you – and are much more likely to hit that all-important follow button to make sure they see more.

Don’t: create Reels in poor lighting or a distracting space.

If it’s gloomy or the room is messy, the video will be unappealing – no matter what your message is. Find a clear spot to record in, and use daylight or invest in a ring light to brighten things up.

Why it’s important: Your posts – Reels or otherwise – do the job of creating an impression of who you are and what you do. A shabby, messy, or poorly lit Reel could give an air of unprofessionalism.

Do: imitate popular Reel videos and use trending audios.

Like it or not, Reels is part of the growing TikTok culture where music and memes are re-used again and again. Young people LOVE memes, and using trending audio in Reels is another version of creating a meme. The idea is that you take an established idea (both video format and audio) and apply your message to it (this usually comes in text overlays, props and settings).

Why it’s important: If a video idea or music grows in popularity, the algorithm shows more Reels with the same audio which means your Reels have a chance of being watched by even more people.

Don’t: copy other people’s Reels.

Yes – get inspired, use trending audio clips – but it’s essential to keep it to that. If you see a business owner in your niche use audio well and you love the Reel they made, resist the urge to copy it exactly.

The challenge is to take some of their Reel and add your spin on it somehow. Make a different joke, have a different message – and make sure it looks on-brand to you. If you value the content of their Reel – share it on your own Stories and talk about why you found it inspiring, rather than taking it and using it as your own.

Why it’s important: so many reasons, but you’ll feel so much better about the way you market your business if it comes from a place of integrity. Supporting others (even competitors) can only lead to good things; stealing from others will not get you where you want to go.

Do: create Reels in batches.

And don’t forget to save them to your device (as well as in drafts). It’s brilliant if you can publish a Reel every day, and even if you can’t, more frequent is better, as long as the quality stays high.

It’s not always possible to create a new Reel every day (changing clothes, tidy backgrounds, shifting angles – you know the drill!). So, making a batch of Reels videos just makes life easier.

Here are a few tips on making things go smoothly:

If you’re using other people’s audio (rather than copyrighted songs), you can save the video to your phone – with the audio included – so you can quickly find the audio.
If you use a song, you might get a message when you save the video that the audio isn’t included. To get around that, Katie turns on the audio icon in Reels and screenshot the page with the name of the song on it. She then saves the downloaded videos, with the screenshots, into a Reels folder in her photos app.

Don’t: have ‘going viral’ expectations right away.

And ignore anyone who says that one viral Reel will bring in a massive number of followers.

It all takes time. Time for the algorithm to work out who will engage with your posts. Time for YOU to learn what kind of videos you can do well and make an impact with. It takes time for people to watch more of your videos, recognise your videos, and follow you to get more of your videos.

Do: make Reels that are useful and relevant to your ideal customer.

Reels are not for selling; they are for creating first impressions and building brand awareness. Katie has talked about identifying who your ideal customers are, what their challenges are, their goals are, and their key daily experiences and frustrations.

If you’ve not taken yourself through this exercise yet (or you need a refresh) – bookmark this episode of the Whin Big Podcast so you can do some easy – and very effective – customer research.

Once you know your customers, it will be much easier to share Reels that they relate to.

Don’t: get distracted by Reel trends.

It’s easy to do – but the trends aren’t always helpful or relevant for your audience.

When you scroll through Reels, you’ll see many videos of people changing outfits with cool transitions. Katie loves these videos – and admires the skill in creating them so seamlessly, but has recognised they are not relevant to her business.

It can be a big time waste if you don’t have something relevant to say to your ideal customers – no matter how popular the audio or style is.

Guides and practical tools for growing your business on Instagram

Recently, Katie’s been sharing lots of in-depth guides and tutorials on using Instagram tools – like insights and stories. She’s still figuring out her use of Reels (see? We told you it takes time!). She’s embracing Reels more and learning as she goes – and while she does that, she wants to help you do the same.

So if you have any questions about making Reels or using them in your Instagram marketing strategy – get in touch! You can email us or send a DM over on Instagram (@thewhinco). We loves hearing from Whin Big Podcast listeners and Instagram followers and we’re committed to giving you as much insight and inspiration as possible.

Accounts to follow

Katie shares some of her favourite Instagrammers who use Reels in an inspirational and informative way.

Follow them to get more advice and inspiration for your Reels, and don’t forget to tag Katie @thewhinco in any Reels you create to get feedback!

Brock Johnson (@brock11johnson)

Brock is really good at making of simple, easy to follow Reels. His Reels feature trending audios, and he regularly posts helpful advice on making Reels and marketing on Instagram.

Pure Gallus Social

Roo from @PureGallusSocial, makes lots of bright, fresh and funny Reels with easy-to-follow tips and ideas for business owners. She’s a great source of inspiration if you’re hoping to share information and advice in your Reels as well (prepare yourself for glasses envy!)

Virginia Kerr (@thisisvirginiakerr)

Virginia is an expert on all things video and shares tips for Reels, IGTVs, and Stories. She creates lots of fun characters and has an engaging style.


[Podcast] 56: 4 easy steps to Instagram Reels

[Podcast] 68: 5 ways to do market research better and understand your customer

[Podcast] 76: The ultimate guide to Instagram Insights

[Podcast] 86: The complete guide to Instagram Stories

Digital vs Traditional: What makes a marketing strategy? with Jennifer Cadger

Digital vs Traditional: What makes a marketing strategy? with Jennifer Cadger

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Jen Cadger, founder of Belter Marketing.

In this week’s episode, Katie and Jen chat about finding the balance between traditional and digital marketing strategies, running a free Facebook challenge, and using a bigger picture approach to your marketing will help you with your overall business goals.

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.

Nine months of Belter Marketing

Jen’s worked in marketing for around twenty years and has been part of various organisations, sectors and industries. Jen wanted to go it alone to help business owners understand the benefits of marketing for their businesses. The shift in motivation – and perspective – that the global pandemic brought about helped Jen decide to take the plunge and go self-employed.

Chartered Marketer credentials

Jen has been a Chartered Marketer for ten years and wears this title with pride. For Jen, the accreditation means a very visible pat on the back for all the hard work she’s put in to become accredited. She also finds it a quick and valuable way to help people who don’t know her understand her expertise and the value she’ll add by working together.

“There’s a strong network out there by being part of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I use it regularly to get different perspectives.” – Jen

The advantage of having a squiggly-line career

Jen has niched into providing marketing for service-based businesses. She likes to look at the bigger picture in a client’s marketing journey – and doesn’t find product marketing offers the integrated, holistic approach that she enjoys.

Jen describes her career up to now as taking a ‘squiggly line’. She ran her own service-based franchise for a number of years whilst working in marketing for the financial sector. Whilst her career might look squiggly on the outside, her two constant passions were working in service-oriented businesses and her work in marketing.

The importance of finding a balance across all of life

When Katie asked Jen what she loves about owning her own business it all comes back to autonomy and balance. Over the past 12 years, she’s tried every possible option for bringing balance to her work and family life – including working part-time, being a stay at home mum and changing careers.

“I have two kids, and I spent a lot of years trying to ‘have it all. After 12 years of doing that, I’ve come to the conclusion; it’s not attainable. Being self-employed allows me to have that balance.” – Jen

The character traits of self-employed people

Katie and Jen talk about the benefits of working for yourself. Both love the flexibility of choosing your own schedule and project work, and both love the challenges that come from autonomy. When Katie talked about finding a balance between her desire to shift things up a gear or move into something new, she has recognised that she’s now in a place with The Whin where she can put one service or offer on hold while she does that. She no longer feels the need to change the whole thing and start afresh.

Jen relates to this well and puts this down to one of the core characteristics of self-employed people – a desire to keep learning and growing.

The four Ps of marketing

Katie’s curious to learn more about how Jen markets Belter Marketing and attracts more clients. It doesn’t boil down to one single activity or action for Jen. She describes herself as a traditional marketer and prefers to look at a much wider picture for her business.

To illustrate what she means, she talks about the 4 Ps of marketing – product, price, place and promotion.

Jen feels that most business owners focus primarily on ‘promotion’, but she’s keen to see people look more at the other 3 Ps to broaden their thinking.

“Marketing can feel overwhelming. There are so many different types of promotion for your business and you can be more strategic when you think about how your marketing fits into your overall business goals.” – Jen

How Jen uses the four Ps for Belter Marketing

Jen gives a quick overview of how Jen uses the four Ps in her own business

Jen’s approach to this is in going back to understanding what her customers are really looking for. She focuses on the benefits of her services, what problems she solves for them and how people will access them.

She demonstrates how the four Ps work for her using her 1:1 coaching service as an example


Jen created her 1:1 coaching package to address the feedback her customers gave her. It’s evolved in collaboration with existing clients and her community.

Worked this way, Jen knows the results she offers will always be better because it’s rooted in solving her customer’s problems.

“Marketing can feel overwhelming. There are so many different types of promotion for your business and you can be more strategic when you think about how your marketing fits into your overall business goals.” – Jen


This is more than the logical place the product/service takes place. Jen uses Zoom for 1:1 coaching but wants to keep flexible to future proof her business and to continue to meet her customer’s needs.

There may be opportunities to choose a different approach to place and Jen’s leaning toward a more blended strategy – but once again, this will be steered by her clients’ preferences, not the other way round.


Another piece of the overall bigger picture, pricing can feel tricky for most business owners. For Jane it’s been a struggle to find the right pricing point because she provides value for her client, and there’s an expectation of being paid well for that. Finding the spot where it’s right for both of you is vital.

“Pricing ties in with who you are as a person and what your thoughts, values and goals are. For me, it has to feel fair.” – Jen

Jen advises spending time working out your ideal client’s approach to budget and money is essential. She focuses on what kind of service potential clients are looking for. Are they giving off an indication of being willing to pay for the value – and the time and expertise you offer, or are they looking for something cheap and cheerful.


Unsurprisingly, Jen doesn’t focus on one type of promotion for her business goals. She takes everything she’s learned from pricing, place and product to create promotions and campaigns aligned with her overall business goals.

As a more traditional marketer, she can find the concept of ‘being visible’ challenging and finds it frustrating that pictures of her kids or pets get more engagement than any other posts. But these are all things she’s working out. Her primary digital marketing efforts centre around Facebook, LinkedIn, her monthly blog and monthly email.

Measuring your marketing metrics

Jen and Katie talk about pulling everything together to build momentum. This leads Jen onto one of the exercises she talks about regularly: choosing the metrics (e.g. reach, web analytics, follower increase, subscriber numbers) you want to see growth in. She suggests putting it in a spreadsheet and noticing how things are working for you – or not working for you.

Running an online challenge

Jen’s running a free three-day challenge in her Facebook group. She’s pulled together so much of her experience into three valuable days of marketing learning – and action. The idea is that business owners will learn more about three specific marketing activities and have the guidance and support to put their new knowledge into place. Will help business owners learn more about getting in the right mindset to tackle their marketing.

What’s on Jen’s business bookshelf?

Jen’s been struggling to find the time to read Simon Sinek’s *Start with Why and recommends listening to the Ted Talks instead if you’re pushed for time. 

*Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

This was a great reminder that every business has to start somewhere and that running your own business is bloody hard work! Phil’s insight was really useful for Jen’s business development. 

*Excerpts from Experts: Marketing a compendium edited by Fortune Hill Media 

A weighty book full of valuable insight, advice and resources from the UK’s will marketing leaders. The compendium was written and collated during the global pandemic to raise funds for NHS charities. Jen thinks this book is an essential book for every business owner to tap into.

Keep the conversation going with Jen and Belter Marketing

Connect with Jen: LinkedIn

Belter Marketing on Facebook

Join the 3-day challenge in the Facebook group. 

Belter Marketing website

Resources from this episode of The Whin Big Podcast

This week Katie talks about this book: 

*Messy: How to be Creative and Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World by Tim Harford

A note about affiliate links: 

* 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 support your local bookshop, and a small amount comes to The Whin. So the books won’t cost you any extra!

Repurpose, reuse, recycle: How to get ahead with your content creation

Repurpose, reuse, recycle: How to get ahead with your content creation

Do you find it easy to keep up with all the content you need for Instagram and all your other platforms? Nope? Well, you’re in the right place.

This week on the Whin Big Podcast, Katie shares one of our favourite hacks for spinning lots of different pieces of content out of one. Also known as repurposing your content, this brilliant activity goes a long way to help you feel relaxed and inspired by your content instead of stressed out and frustrated! Let’s get to work!

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.

Helping you prepare for Instagram’s big updates

Over the past few weeks, Katie’s been sharing lots of content around the changes Instagram is rolling out around the shifts in the algorithm and how people and businesses can use the platform.

We’ve linked to a few of her ideas to help you prepare for the upcoming changes in the resources section below if you haven’t had a chance to read the emails or follow her stories.

“It totally knocked me off my feet because I hadn’t thought through – or planned ahead – for any potential impact from the changes.”

Building a robust Instagram strategy

In the last solo episode of the Whin Big Podcast, Katie walked us through building the Stories function into our Instagram marketing strategy because Stories will play a huge part in helping you connect with your current audience on a deeper level.

As well as using Stories, you’ll want to add in some or all of the following content touchpoints means you’ll stand a greater chance of bringing in more of the right followers into your community:

  • Reels
  • Instagram feed posts
  • IGTVs
  • Email newsletters – or a community away from Instagram

Freaking out about all the content you need to create? By our reckoning – a robust content strategy needs at least five different kinds of content, so freaking out is a perfectly natural approach. But it won’t get you very far – and there’s no way we’d let you struggle without getting some valuable support and guidance from Katie. What do you take us for?! 

Katie’s solution for making sure content lands in all the right places – consistently and in a valuable way – is to repurpose. It’s a brilliant way to do the work once, but keep up with the oiling of the content machine.

As with most creative marketing activities – there’s a helpful way to do this and an unhelpful way. Thankfully, Katie shares her exact (helpful) approach to creating ALL the content in an easy and manageable way.

Step 1: Choose an overarching theme

Katie recommends choosing overarching themes for up to 2 – 3 months ahead so that content ideas can all link together.

Let’s look at how Katie’s doing this with her content right now.

Main theme: Katie’s refreshing and updating content she’s shared before about Instagram strategies to match the platform’s current trends and future direction.

Pulling together a series of ‘topics’ related to the central theme, Katie created content – and shared it with our Instagram and email communities:

Topic 1: Instagram’s upcoming changes. Using the recent announcement video from Adam Mosseri (head of Instagram), this topic was about sharing the changes and what they mean for us. She re-shared the video and highlighted specific areas of change that will be relevant to and impact the Whin’s audience.

Topic 2: Instagram Stories. One of the significant changes most relevant to our audience is Instagram’s big push on using Stories. Katie picked this topic because it’s an essential way for business owners to connect with their current followers.

Topic 3: Recommended content. This was another important point from Adam Mosseri’s video, and Katie shared ideas about getting recommended in many ways on Instagram and in our Whin Wednesday’s email.

Topic 4: Repurposing content. This will tie the Stories content already posted to the topic Katie will work on next (Reels).

Topic 5: Instagram Reels. For this topic, Katie plans to share new ideas for creating Reels and re-sharing previous Reels content to fit with this theme.

“Choose an overarching theme but don’t stress too hard on the exact topics you’ll cover each week. When you adapt and repurpose content on one idea, you’ll come up with new ideas for topics that tie together.”

Step 2: Set a routine for your content types

This is all about identifying the different moving parts for creating your content and taking in some important factors for working out where to begin. Things like:

  • Length of content. Some things just take longer to create or think through.
  • Conversational. Some content creates better, quicker conversations than others.
  • Dates and schedules. Podcasts and emails are usually scheduled for a particular day, whilst other content can be more flexible.

Are you a content planner or a free-wheeler?

Katie covers specific ideas and instructions to help you build out your schedule in the podcast episode depending on whether you like to plan, or keep it pretty flexible, so don’t forget to listen to the full episode to get more detail.

“Video is king at the moment on Instagram, so make sure you’ve recorded – and saved. You want to gather as much raw material as possible to reuse and repurpose.”

Step 3: See how others repurpose their content

One of the best ways to figure out how to repurpose your content is to see how other successful accounts do it. Katie shares some of her favourite Instagrammers who share content in many different ways (and gives examples of their specific strategy).

How Shaun Galanos @TheLoveDrive does it:

Shaun is a love coach and uses his content to help people with their love and relationship challenges and questions.

  • Once every few weeks, Sean posts a question box in his IG stories.
  • He answers some of the questions in short video clips.
  • The short videos are then put together into a Reel.
  • He uses the Reel to Tweet the key message
  • Reshares the Tweet as an Instagram post
  • At other times he’ll share a blog post on Medium, which ties in with course promotion.

How Gabrielle Blair @DesignMom does it:

Gabrielle’s a designer living in France and shares content around her refurbishment projects and other lifestyle themes.

  • Several times a week, she posts Stories videos on her refurbishment project
  • Her followers then send her comments via DM, which she shares to Stories
  • All of this goes to her ‘highlights’ area
  • Photos and videos, as well as before and after pics, go on the feed
  • At the end of the project, she writes a detailed blog post with lots of information on the project

How Chelsea Dickenson @CheapHolidayExp does it

Chelsea is all about helping people travel on a budget. Right now, she’s sharing lots of easy to understand, entertaining content around the ever-changing rules and regulations on travelling – post-Brexit, mid-pandemic.

  • Posts travel rules update on Stories – with a Q&A box
  • She’ll put the same into a feed story
  • In Stories, she’ll answer questions
  • And finish it with a blog post (which she repurposes into Stories and the feed post)
  • She’ll use some of the content and creating a new Reels post
  • The whole idea will spark off a funny video to keep sharing the information

Want a shout out on our Stories?

If you repurpose your content or want to show off your newly repurposed content and would LOVE some extra love on The Whin’s Instagram Stories – then don’t forget to tag Katie @whinco over on Instagram.

Resources in The Whin Big Podcast 88

Sign up to our weekly email all about marketing strategy and inspiration for small businesses

Adam Mosseri’s video about Instagram updates

Repurposed content relating to IG stories:

The complete guide to Instagram Stories post 1 (Feed post with podcast graphic)

The complete guide to Instagram Stories post 2 (Reel with video from podcast recording)

Check out all of Katie’s Stories about creating Stories in the highlights section.

Creating a green screen Instagram Stories post (Video repurposed from Stories into a Reel)

Whin Big Podcast episode 86 The complete guide to Instagram Stories.

Other referenced content:

Will your content be recommended? (Text copied from Stories into a Carousel post.

Whin Big Podcast episode 78: 3 strategies for marketing success with Canva

Whin Big Podcast episode 55: Getting the most out of Canva (even the free version!)

“It’s always about the story,” with Avesha DeWolfe

“It’s always about the story,” with Avesha DeWolfe

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Avesha DeWolfe of Spiral Tide Pottery.

In this week’s episode, Katie and Avesha talk about the challenges of balancing Avesha’s social work career with her pottery business and the importance of taking time to breathe, think and just be.

They also talk about how traditional marketing advice doesn’t always leave room for each business’s unique personality and character.

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.

Spiral Tide Pottery

Avesha is a social worker for half the week and runs her own pottery business – Spiral Tide Pottery – for the other half.

She’s inspired by the ocean (hence the name) and creates slab-built pottery like mugs, bowls and teapots, which evoke the beach and emotions of the sea.

The e-commerce side of Spiral Tide Pottery

Katie’s curious about how Avesha runs her business – is there a strategy behind the company, or is it all passion-led? And Avesha admits that every time Katie mentions the word ‘strategy’, she has an internal reaction!

When she first started, Avesha wore herself ragged going to all the craft fairs, open studio and market events. Now she’s stopped all of the running around, quit Etsy and opened her online shop on her site. She re-stocks the shop four times a year, and she opens the studio by appointment.

Listeners of The Whin Big Podcast can next buy a Spiral Tide Pottery creation on the 1 November when Avesha next stocks the online store.

“My strategy is to be as authentic and transparent as possible. My studio is what you see on Instagram.” – Avesha

When your dreams don’t go the way you expected

Avesha graduated in ceramics over 20 years ago but has worked mainly in social work ever since. With ceramics as a hobby and a passion, she would fantasise about working in ceramics full time and dreamt of making the pivot.

In 2018, Avesha had the chance to create ceramics full time, and it turned out to be the most stressful year of her life. The thing that she loved doing the most had to pay all the bills. “It sucked all the joy out of it,” she says.

Balancing passion with practicalities

For Avesha, her ceramics passion became one giant to-do list, one that she found incredibly stressful and joyless.

Unexpectedly, she found she also missed the teenagers and young people she worked within social work and realised she needed a balance between her two careers. This lay in finding a part-time job in social work to work in both areas with ease.

Katie definitely thinks there’s a common experience among many people, where they want to marry joy and purpose in their careers – too much of one without the other because stressful, or unfulfilling.

Marketing for a small ceramics business

Katie’s curious about how Avesha’s customers find her, which Avesha’s not sure about. Whilst she has more traditional tools set up – like Google My Business and a beautiful website- she ignores their metrics as they’re not the main place people buy from.

When directing enquiries, she always sends potential customers to Facebook or Instagram.

“Everyone has different data points that are relevant to their decision making in business. It’s finding the ones that give you the real data that’s important.” – Katie

Connecting with people on social media

Avesha has both Facebook and Instagram. She’s prominent in various pottery groups and on a Facebook group called ‘Not on Amazon’ and frequently shares links to her two social pages.

She prides herself on being helpful, so if people post requests for help or advice on the pottery group pages, she’ll give that help as much as possible. In other groups, she’ll share self-care tips – which is another core piece of the message she wants to share with people.

The connection between pottery and self-care

Lots of people don’t see a connection between self-care and pottery. But Avesha is keen to amplify the message that treating yourself to something lovely is an act of self-care.

“If you buy a beautiful mug from a potter, you want to connect with it. There’s something about a handmade piece of pottery that makes you slow down and stop – which can be the best self-care in your whole day.” – Avesha

Social Media series: Sunday Slab Meditations

Avesha’s keen to show her work to people in as authentic a way as possible. She creates posts that inspire scrollers to slow down and take a moment to see something beautiful take shape.

Every Sunday, she posts videos as part of her ‘Sunday Slab Meditation’ series. They’re films of the process of making pottery pieces and often feature Avesha smoothing out the clay in gentle, soothing motions. Avesha had no idea how much people would like this type of video, but she’s not surprised.

Her captions encourage honest conversation where people genuinely connect with her.

Building momentum through social media

Launching her new stock four times a year gives her plenty of opportunities to build momentum on social media. Besides her meditative and self-care themed posts, she’ll start to use social media in a more practical and informative way for her followers as she gets nearer to a shop update.

These will include:

  • specific product details
  • images and galleries of available stock
  • the stories behind each piece
  • insight into unique features each piece has to offer.

“We’ve talked before about the seasons of my studio. It doesn’t make any sense for me to post about the process of making pieces now – because it doesn’t marry up with what I’m doing in the studio. It has to be real.” – Avesha

Importance of paying attention to your energy

Katie and Avesha talk about the importance of giving yourself time to recuperate after a burst of productivity and momentum.

They talk about how the little voice in your head can get in the way of resting by feeding you all the things you ‘should’ be doing instead of taking a break from all the doing.

Avesha builds a few rest days into the process before the shop update, but despite creating the space, she’s so used to the pace of movement, she struggles with relaxing.

Marketing bad habits

Avesha feels like she’s guilty of not thinking ahead when it comes to a marketing strategy. She feels like she should be more planned but resists it for some reason. Katie suggests that this isn’t the case – she doesn’t think Avesha needs a plan because she’s posting content in the moment, which fits around the seasons of her studio and shop activity.

Trying to focus on a structured plan that traditional marketing ‘experts recommend’ feels clunky and inauthentic for Avesha. She’s tried using scheduling apps and tools and following the advice, and it’s never felt quite right.

Katie points out that everyone’s business is different and so the level of planning, effort and ‘strategic input’ needed for each business is different too. Fun Fact: It was this conversation with Avesha which inspired a recent podcast on Ignoring the Marketing Experts.

“When I’ve been to social media workshops in the past, I was told by the instructors that the way I do social media wasn’t good enough; it wasn’t organised enough. It wasn’t market-y enough. Hearing you say that is so validating!” – Avesha

What’s on Avesha’s business bookshelf?

Avesha doesn’t read business books, so she shares some other resources that she’s found helpful for her business:

The Maker’s Yearbook by Nicola Taylor – Nicola is a maker herself and created a structure throughout the year to help her avoid making mistakes. It breaks everything down day to day and week by week. Having a system is so helpful for Avesha. She thinks the structure could be great for all business owners.

Keep the conversation going with Avesha..

Spiral Tide Pottery website

Spiral Tide Pottery on Instagram

Spiral Tide Pottery on Facebook