The Coach’s Platform

I got certified as a personal trainer 13 years ago.

I opened Revolution Fitness & Therapy nearly 12 years ago.

Early on in this career, I found myself answering a lot of the same questions and concerns of my clients and I felt that starting a blog would be a good place for me to put some of those thoughts and responses so that the information could help others.

Very quickly, I realized there were certain things I felt more comfortable speaking on: nutrition, mindset, and general lifestyle troubleshooting.

By comparison, there were certain areas I felt less comfortable speaking on: biomechanics of exercise, peer-reviewed research papers, and whatever programming methods I thought elicited the best results.

As I developed more of an understanding of the topics I was comfortable writing on, the focus became how I could capture the attention of my readers and, most importantly, influence change.

My first blog efforts began about two years after I opened my business. My writing, at that time, was less than spectacular. I knew what I wanted to say but I had difficulty expressing myself in ways that I felt comfortable with.

After some fits and starts, I abandoned that blog platform and took some time off from writing.

About a year later, I fired up a new website (this one you’re reading now) and committed myself to consistent weekly writing.

That was over 4 years and over 200 articles ago.

If you’re a fellow coach, you need a platform to speak from. This could be photos and infographics on Instagram and Facebook, it could be instructional videos on YouTube, it could be bite-sized chunks of wisdom and insight on Twitter, or you could go longer form (as I have) and work on a blog.

If there are three things I would beg you to do more than anything else, it’s this: be authentic, be consistent and improve.

Be Authentic

Writing, for me, is catharsis in many ways. I write to work through thoughts and frustrations in my mind on both on a personal and professional level. I mostly write to my intended audience of the general public. Every so often, I write something like this to help out other coaches.

I’ve been tremendously fortunate that my work has been shared by coaches I have a great deal of respect for. It’s been shared by people in my community who were otherwise touched by my words. Admittedly, the really personal stuff that I write tends to perform better from an analytics standpoint than some of my coaching work.

I’m okay with that.

The only downside is that my personal writing normally comes from a dark place and it sometimes takes a lot out of me mentally to write that content.

However, data speaks, and if the personal work is what touches people, I’ll continue to write it assuming I can craft messages in unique ways each time.

You need a platform to build your brand because people need to hear/read/see your “voice”. They want to know which lines you draw in the sand, what you stand for from a diet and training standpoint, and what they’d be getting if they decided that they want to spend their money being coached by you.

On that point, keep the voice you use as close to your real voice as possible. If you use profanity in real life, you may want to use some in your content. Careful with this, though. Some profanity may be acceptable to a certain demographic and less so to another.

Myself? I do use profanity in real life and on my podcast, so from time to time, you’ll see it in my writing but I try to not overdo it. I cater to a wide range of clients and I don’t aim to alienate anyone even if I can’t please everyone.

And this points to the other side of content creation: how real can you get?

I was recently speaking with a fellow coach who is just now starting to push her content out to the world. She’s nervous. She’s likely feeling some degree of impostor syndrome, as we all do, and is concerned about whatever scrutiny she might come under for what she posts.

This is normal.

After all the writing I’ve done, which has included not just the blogs but two books as well, there are still weeks where I feel like what I’m putting out sucks (in all fairness, maybe it does).

I was a guest on a podcast earlier this year where the host asked me about content creation and the willingness and transparency of the writing.

I write about what’s on my mind. As a result, I choose to throw in the parts of my life that have caused me the most pain, the most reflection and the most learning experiences. Where it’s led to is the topics of sexual abuse, drug addiction, failed relationships, poor life choices, grief, hospitalizations, suicide and more.

Those topics aren’t for the faint of heart. And they are never easy for me to write about.

Which is why I have to space those topics out and give myself some time to breathe from discussing them at length. Whenever I write about them, I have to take another angle and another perspective at how those experiences affected me and what I’ve learned since then.

One last thought on authenticity: Do NOT swipe anyone’s content without giving credit where it’s due. I’ve seen other coaches wreck their careers (or at least give themselves a lengthy detour) by taking content that wasn’t theirs and publishing it as if it were original. Don’t be that coach.

You may love, hate or be indifferent about what/how I write but one thing I will always be is uniquely me.

Be Consistent

Writing a blog (at least the way I’ve done it) forces me into a routine. A routine to continue polishing up skills and continue to refine a message so that each week, it hopefully inspires at least one person to be better and do better.

Writing became the natural progression of where I left my music “career”. For many years of my life, I was dead set on being a performer. I wanted my songs to reach as many people as possible. When I closed the chapter on those dreams, I still needed an outlet to fill the void of what songs and poems used to do.

This became that project.

No matter which platform you use, stay consistent with it. Think of the questions your clients ask and think of how you respond to them. Then, determine which platform you want to share your wisdom with.

I use the blog when I need to be lengthy with my thoughts.

I use Facebook to brag about the success of my clients with videos, pictures and humorous memes.

I use Instagram to sometimes replicate what I post on Facebook and sometimes to throw some different videos, pictures or thoughts into the world.

I know some people focus on algorithms and paid ads but those things really aren’t where I put my focus. I keep my blog and podcast on weekly schedules, I post client successes on my personal Facebook wall in real time with no care whatsoever to frequency and I post on Instagram once a day. That’s what works best for me and your business model may need a different approach.

Improve

I heard someone say that reading fiction helps improve your writing and while I find that difficult for me to qualify, I have to admit it’s helped my own writing.

Without question, the platform that brings me the most business, by way of referrals, is Facebook but not every coach will agree with me on that. Those referrals give me a gauge on how I’m improving with that type of marketing.

Think about your audience, think about who you want to inspire and/or impress with your knowledge, your skillsets, and your results.

Then, fashion your message accordingly.

Just as you expect your clients to improve through training and improve their diet approach, you’ll have to find ways to improve your content delivery. Sometimes, you’ll think you made a great post or video and it will be crickets compared to something you “threw together” that was a rousing success.

I’m still nowhere near the writer, presenter or host that I know I’m capable of being but I keep improving and that’s mostly from staying consistent and, every so often, asking other coaches to look over my work to make sure I’m being clear with what I’m trying to accomplish before I publish something.

A handful of years ago, I hired a writing coach to help see my work from the outside and offer me some valuable tips towards reaching a broader audience. It wasn’t always easy getting the feedback because, in many ways, your content is your baby and you become somewhat possessive of your methods.

However, that’s exactly WHY you hire a coach. For someone else to be the expert in what it takes to take you closer to your ideal place.

My final nudge to you:

A coach needs a platform to speak from.

Choose yours and pour your ever-loving soul into it.

The audience you’re trying to reach needs to hear you.

Be heard.

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