You don’t get good at something by not doing it.
— Kim Doyal

Episode Summary

Hey family! In this episode, I’m joined by Kim Doyal, content marketing strategist and creator of Content Marketing Secrets. She is here to talk about her course and how to develop a content strategy that drives growth.

Five years after the death of her husband, Kim went all in on online business. Despite wanting to be an information marketer, she started out as The Wordpress Chick, building websites for clients. In 2018, she decided it was time to get back to what she loved and pivoted her focus to content marketing. She’s since launched her course, Content Marketing Secrets, which teaches online business owners how to develop and implement a customized content strategy.

Check out what Kim has to say about her course, the fundamentals of content strategy, and how to create content that drives traffic.

+ Episode Transcript

Kim Doyal: I have a YouTube channel. A lot of it was how to do XYZ with WordPress, so a lot of screen capture. At the point in my life I'm at now, I'm like, I don't know what I would want that to look like. But what I would do, take the dogs for a walk and I would just record a snippet. I'm like, just practice. Whether you publish it or not, you're just getting over this fear of this is hard and I'm not good at this. It's like you don't get good at something by not doing it.

Janelle Allen: Welcome to Level Up Your Course, where we pull back the curtain on what it takes to create learning that transforms lives. You will hear stories from business owners like you who share their success and their struggles. This is not where you come to hear passive income myths, friend. This is where you learn the truth about building a profitable learning platform. I am your host Jenelle Allen, and this is today's episode.

What's up everyone? Today. I am speaking with Kim Doyal, content marketing strategist and creator of Content Marketing Secrets, her course which we are going to talk about today. Kim, welcome to the show.

KD: Thanks so much for having me. Janelle. I'm really happy to be here.

JA: I'm excited to chat with you. I was looking over your site and everything so I can't wait to dig in. But before we do that, we have a tradition on the show called the rapid five -- five quick questions to help listeners get to know you. Are you ready?

KD: I am ready. Let's do it.

JA: I love it. Okay. Number one is easy. What did you have for breakfast?

KD: I haven't, I am kind of an intermittent faster, working on it. I just needed to give up my coffee and cream, so it's only 10 50 on the West coast, so I have not had breakfast.

JA: Okay. Okay. Yeah, IF is pretty popular. I know a few people who are doing it and love it. All right. Number two, what is your favorite movie of all time?

KD: Oh girl, that's a tough one. But you know what? I'm a little bit --my coffee cup has a pair of glasses and a lightning bolt on it, so I'm a little bit of a Harry Potter nut. There's just something about those stories that I adore. So I'm going to say the Harry Potter collective.

JA: Okay, the collective. I'm going to give you that pass. I like how you did that, but I'm going to give you that pass.

KD: I know, it wasn't really a direct answer. Sorry. I will tell you that I re-watch them all the time and I tend to watch the first one the most because it's not quite as dark and I'm a little bit of a Pollyanna.

JA: Okay. Okay, got it. Number three is a very serious question. Kim, I want you to get your mindset ready. We're going in the zombie apocalypse has officially hit. You have six minutes to grab three essential items, not people, all of your loved ones are okay. What three items do you pick?

KD: I'm going to assume dogs fall into the people are okay, so we'll leave that one out. Photos, books and I do a lot of audio and podcasts, so I'd say my phone, not because I'm an addict, but I like to listen to stuff. So there you go. Photos, books and audio.

JA: Photos, books and audio. Okay. Everyone listening, photos, books and audio. No weapons.

KD: Although, put to the right use, a book could turn into a very good weapon.

JA: It could turn into a very good weapon, that is true. I love this question because it just is so revealing. I know, you know, who I'm going to hang with when this zombie apocalypse hits. All right. Number four, fill in the blank. When I was a kid I wanted to be a blank?

KD: An artist.

JA: Okay, Okay. Any particular types of artist?

KD: I actually wanted to do graphic design and it's crazy how life comes full circle. I would spend hours in my room drawing. I wasn't attached to it. It was just something I adored. I loved drawing and so I need to create with my hands. So yeah, an artist. You know when you're nine years old, you think you'll be the famous artist, but…

JA: Anything is possible when you're a kid, I love it. All right, last one. What is the hardest lesson you have learned so far as an entrepreneur?

KD: Oh gosh, these are awesome questions. The hardest lesson is honestly, nobody's paying that much attention to you. So you need to pull the trigger regardless. You know, it's that -- that's kind of a mouthy answer, but people are so caught up in themselves and we get really wound up in our heads about whether this looks this way or am I ready or am I good enough? All that BS, and the bottom line is -- I'm gonna just use that Wayne Dyer quote that I don't think he originated, but, you know, at 18 you're worried about what everybody thinks, at 30 you don't care what anyone thinks, and at 60 you realize nobody was thinking about you.

Pull the trigger, do the thing. Life is too short. So, every single time -- okay, I'm sorry I'm wordy, but I'm going to do one more. The other thing that has been the hardest lesson to learn, every single time I have done something because I wanted to generate income, it doesn't work. When I detached and I follow what makes me feel good and I enjoy doing, the money flows. It sounds esoteric, but your mindset and your attitude and the value you provide is not attached to what you're going to get from it. It's what you're going to give.

JA: Yes. Detachment. You're taking me back to all of my Buddhist and esoteric readings years ago, so I love that. And I love that you said just do it, as one of my favorite DJs -- DJ Jazzy Jeff -- who's a legend -- says, die empty. Don't go to your grave with that hankering feeling that you didn't do the thing. Do the thing.

KD: Amen. Absolutely.

JA: All right, so speaking of doing the thing, tell us about your entrepreneurial journey. How did you get to this place, Kim Doyal, content marketing strategists. Tell us where you started, how you got here.

KD: So I actually started in 2008. I've been doing this for a while. I will tell you that I've always sort of had this bent in me that I'm supposed to do something different with my life than a traditional job. And I tried a lot of things on the way to the internet. I owned a retail scrapbook store back in like 1998. Of course, tried every, not every, but network marketing. It's so not me. To each his own, I'm glad that there are people that make it work. Do not invite me to parties. I'm not hosting them all that good stuff. You know, I tried a lot of things. I tried real estate, I tried insurance and it was just this need to be able to express myself in a different way. And I was widowed in 2003. My kids were really little, like six and two, and I just was like, there's got to be a better way to do this.

And so I had a little bit of a cushion in 2008 and I said, screw it. I had gone to a wealth expo in San Francisco -- I'm in the Bay area. And, God, 2006, it's funny because I think it was Kiyosaki, Trump and the Tony Robins for the keynotes, but now they have all those offshoot, like, places you can go. And there was a guy doing internet marketing and he was talking about how he was, you know, making $8,000 a month with these eBooks, and I was like what? So, you know, fast forward it was kind of like, I kind of started digging into it and playing with it and I just went all in in 2008. And I sorta took that no one's going to challenge me because of what I've been through, and I just knew I needed to be there for my kids, so I thought I was going to be the eBook information marketing millionaire when I started. Fell in love with WordPress kind of accidentally. I was a WordPress chick for 10 years and, you know, I wouldn't say I struggled, I had a lot of fun doing it. I started doing websites not trained, but I was like if I can put together Ikea furniture, I can figure this out.

So, I just sorta stuck with it, and I would say things really shifted for me about five years in when I launched my podcast in 2013. It was the WordPress Chick podcast, I've pivoted to just the Kim Doyal show. And I did it because I want to have more fun. I had been a speech major at times in college. I spoke at my high school graduation. I've always loved doing this and I wasn't attached to what I did, but the beauty of podcasting -- I've always sort of been an audiophile, for lack of a better word, like, used to listen to cassette tapes in my car, the books all the nine -- the whole thing. And so when podcasting came around, I loved listening to audio and so I thought, I want to do this. I'm not attached to what it does, but it blew things up for me in the sense that the relationships that I established from it, you know?

So girl, I've done everything in between. So I kept doing the websites. Next thing you know, I've got an outsourcing company. Then I got into like a mastermind in I'd say 2014, and it was all about Facebook ads and this is when you could -- I kid you not, I spent $80 and made over $10,000. That's not going to happen today. Brutally honest, it was like I was trying to find my way along that whole time. The mastermind was great in that I, you know, connected with people who were just going all out. At the same time, I'm not somebody that can create an offer or create something for the sake of wanting to sell something that's a high-ticket value, right? And so, I don't know, I sort of -- I wouldn't say I struggled, but I had the agency of going essentially in the outsourcing company, had wanted to stop doing it probably within a year of starting it, but I started doing a Done for You podcast service, which was great.

At the same time I still -- it just wasn't really for me. And in 2016 I just kind of took a step back, I'm like that’s it, I'm going back to fundamentals and I'm going to master writing and I'm going to just be consistent. And I called it ed almost daily email. I followed Ben Settle and I just watched what he did, and I'm like, I'm just going to start emailing every day and I'm going to practice this sort of story format with one link. First month, it was crickets. And remember, I had a list, I'd been online for a while. And I don't know, I'd say it was probably around the two-month mark where all of a sudden it was like, like I tripled affiliate income for a product that I used and loved. I'm not an "affiliate marketer," but if I use products I recommend them. And so, I was like wow, and then I started getting a ton of responses, like, oh, I love your emails. And it was through finding my voice, and I write the way I speak and people are like oh my gosh, I can totally hear you in the way you write.

What that did for me is it instilled a sense of trust in myself. That, okay, you know, I've done all the things in terms of, you know, okay, I'm going to buy this course, it's going to change my life, or I'm going to hire this mentor, I'm going to work with this person. But it was really those basic fundamentals -- get good a copywriting, get good at writing. You know, be as consistent, be honest. Do the right thing, it's like all those basic things. But I just focused on mastery of whatever I was doing. And, you know, it just -- I don't know, it was wild. So this is a crazy, long journey I'm kind of getting into the journey piece, but at the end of 2016, I thought I was going to launch a SAAS product with somebody, a developer I'd connected with. And it was called Lead Surveys. The point was for segmenting at point of opt-in. And I was like look, I'll do the content, I'll do the marketing, you do the developing, and a year and a half later, like, we launched it, it started selling, and then like two months later, he's like I don’t want to do this anymore.

And the journey of that process was a great learning experience for me, because I was like look, I was kind of modeling like from the content perspective. Forget the software, whatever, but just in building the brand and kind of connecting with your audience, and, you know, my partner at the time had some really serious health stuff. I had a lot of challenges with my son when he was in high school, and it's just life happens, right? And so it's like I kind of just gave myself permission to say all right, we're going to let this go. And I was super transparent about it and I did a whole podcast episode on, you know, when it's over before it starts. And I don't know, I have no ill will, still talk to the guy to this day, but in the meantime, in the back of that, I had started focusing on content creation, pivoted my brand, and I had no idea where it was going to go. I just knew I loved it and I was going to follow the path and keep showing up and now people associate me with content. It's crazy. I do this whole 'formerly known as the WordPress chick,' but it's crazy how many people associate me with content, because I just show up. And I don't know, maybe it's part of getting older, but I don’t overthink things anymore. I don’t have the time.

JA: Yeah, that, I love. We're going to come back to showing up, that’s so important. And I want to talk about that in the bonus segment, but there's so much other stuff that you said. One of the things that really stood out for me was just this searching. I think so many people who want to get started as an entrepreneur or business owner, they think that they have to get it right the first time and that it's going to be perfect and you can't ever change your mind. And your story is just testament to the fact that you can change your mind, you can change your mind multiple times and you can pivot, and you can survive and thrive.

So I want to ask you, when you made that pivot from WordPress Chick to content marketing, first and foremost, what fears did you have?

KD: So it's funny when you said that you just show up, I have two hashtags that I live by; one is just show up, and the other one is everything is content. So I kind of take a different angle on content. And I believe in SEO., I believe in long form good content. I believe in BS, tell a story because it's on your mind content, right? So the fears I had was, okay, well I'm not part of Content Marketing Institute, you know, I'm not a "writer." I enjoy writing. So there was a little bit of that, but I think because I didn't have expectations of the shift, I mean I didn't expect that -- I didn't go into it, as an example, that Facebook group called Content Creators, and I launched it simply with a commitment to keep showing up and be consistent in the group, right?

And I thought well, I'll do a membership, and trust me, I launched a membership last year, I hate that shit. Sorry. And meaning, I believe in memberships, but for me, my core is I need freedom in my life. I have no problem working long days when it's something I've chosen to do, but this has to do something consistently over and over and over when it's an expectation on me, when t's a choice, it's really weird. It's just part of who I am. So, the fear was, it was that kind of imposter syndrome, like, yes, I've been creating content and know what works for me, but do I need to have XYZ technical experience with this? Or do I need to be able to correct someone's grammar if they're writing? You know what I'm saying? And so, I really had to let go of what I thought it was supposed to look like and just do what felt right in my heart.

JA: Just going back to what you said at the top of the interview, it's letting go of the attachment to the outcome. You know, there are so many times that we struggle with that. We think that it's going to look like this and if it doesn't look like this, it's not right. But really it's about the process and just kind of going through it. And sometimes you discover things along the way and you have to be okay with that. So, I love that.

KD: Well thanks. And you know, the one piece to that I'll add is, is just -- to your point, when you said earlier we have an idea of how it's supposed to look and not pivot. I get clarity through doing, right? And so the more transparent I am about what I'm doing, the easier it is to pivot, because I'm telling my story, I'm sharing what I'm doing and what I'm going through and why I'm doing it. Ideally, you've got sort of a core foundation, but I think you removing the stigma of what it's supposed to look like. And I have a physical product now, I have Content Planner, and initially, just a year old, last year, I'm like, okay, we're going to do a Kickstarter. And who launches a Kickstarter December 3rd, I don't know, but I thought why not? So my business partner and I, you know, we do this and it's like we crammed it all in.

At the same time, I also just believed enough in the product that I'm like, ah, all right, we're not going to hit the goal, so how can we pivot? And right after Christmas, we literally said, screw it, let's move it all to WooCommerce world, we'll just sell it off the site, we'll pre-sell it. And the sequence of events that led to this beautiful, amazing product that I'm so proud of, it's like I wasn't attached to that, right? And so nobody cared. We did almost $2,000 in sales on New Year's Eve. We're like hey, guys, we're not going to hit the goal but we're still moving forward, we're still going to print this product. We want you to have it, so go ahead and do your pre-order through the site. And it just, it worked. Being able to let go of what it's supposed to look like is such freedom. It's such freedom, doesn’t hold you back.

JA: Yeah, I totally agree. And it's also about being adaptable. And that's a thing that stands out in all of the examples that you share. You have to be able to almost think on your feet and say, okay, that didn't work; we're still gonna do it, let's just do it this way. That is such an asset, and I think that many people get caught up just in the rigidity of it has to be done this way. So, okay, I want to pivot. Speaking of pivoting, I want to pivot and talk about Content Strategy. First and foremost, what is Content Strategy, and why is it important?

KD: So, Content Strategy, and this actually is kind of where the planner came from, because I have sort of a two-fold element to this. One is that you need a strategy that supports your business goals, right? So you back into it from, okay, what I want to do this month. So as an example, let's say you say, okay, one of my business goals for October is that I want to grow my email list by 200 people, and I'm just randomly picking numbers here. So then, all right, what do I need to do to achieve that? So you back into that. Okay, what kind of content can I create that's going to support driving traffic to my site that will help people to opt in? What is my lead magnet? So it's kind of backing into that piece.

And the whole thing is with strategy because if you don't, I mean it's just like anything else, right? So let's say you planned a trip to Europe, you don't have any sort of agenda. You're going to see Europe, but you may miss a lot of stuff, right? So it's this ability to say, okay, this is what I want to create, because it's going to help me get to XYZ. Now, the other side of that, my sort of two-fold is there are plenty of times that I have -- here's an example, I am a Game of Thrones fan, and when the whole thing came out and it's like it was really fascinating to me to watch how many people felt the need to proclaim they've never watched an episode of Game of Thrones. And so I was like, what is this? It's like this pretentious, I'm better than you because I have not -- just it was a weird feeling.

And so, I kind of did a rant. And so I did an email and it was Nobody Cares What You Don’t Do, right? Because where else in life do we proclaim, you know what? I'm proud to say I've never done X, is like okay? You know what I mean? And so I sort of did this ranty email that I then took and posted it as a blog post. And that thing got shared so many times from other GOT fans, because it was just this little insight into look, I don’t care what you do and don’t do, why you got to be a hater? It was kind of where I was coming from.

But the point in that piece of content is it connected me with my right tribe, right? So it gave people permission to say this is exactly what I have been feeling, why do people have to do this? And so, that piece of content doesn’t necessarily support an ultimate business goal or have any SEO value whatsoever, other than the fact that it connected me with my audience, right? So, I think part of your content marketing strategy, your content strategy, has to e being who you are, and showing it genuinely, and not needing every fricken thing you do has to be attached to a conversion goal. Because that’s going to make your head spin and you're going to feel like you're banging your head against a wall. Some of the best content that has driven traffic and leads for me has been -- here's an example.

The anniversary of my husband's passing is in May, and gosh, a couple years ago, it was probably the first time that I woke up on that day and it wasn’t the first thing on my mind. And I was truly grateful to be on the other side of that, right? Obviously I think about him all the time, I've got kids with him and all of that stuff. And it was a Sunday and I just sent an email to my list and it was In Loving Memory and a Personal Message of Hope. And I just told the story and the whole point of it was -- I mean not the whole story of losing my husband, that was brief. But it was, you know, when you're in it, you don’t think you can get through it. But to be on the other side of it, and it was simply a message form my heart saying go for it. Like, your dreams are worth pursuing, know that you're going to get there. I kid you not, I must have had 30 responses to that email in a Sunday. To this day, that I posted as a blog post, that is my highest trafficked post on the site. I don't know how many visits I got that day off the top of my head but it was like 300 shares all on a Sunday, simply because I had something I wanted to share and a lot of people -- when it's your story, you think everybody knows it. It's on my about page, you’ve told it before, but how many people said I didn’t know this about you, thank you for sharing, and hopefully I simply gave permission to people to tell their story.

And so, the content strategy has to work for you first and foremost, right? Video is huge. Can I do video? Absolutely. Do I want to? Not so much. I don’t want to do my hair and makeup all the time. However, I'm not saying I never will, but I prefer to podcast, I prefer to write. I prefer email, I like engaging my group. I like doing live streams but I'm not going to beat myself up over the fact that video isn't a part of my content strategy, right? You know, so you have to say what do I want my life to look like, how does this fit into who I want to be and how I want to move through the world, and then what are my business goals? And back into it and then give yourself permission to create content that shows who you are and how you're going to connect with your audience.

JA: I love that. Yeah. I mean, I think that in this day and age, there's so much content out there that it's easy to sniff out when someone isn't being genuine, or when it's fabricated. And, you know, honestly, everything that you said about creating content that really aligns with who you are and how you show up in the world, it makes it more fun, right? Creating content that doesn't feel like you, that just feels like a chore every -- it's not fun. And I think that people miss out on that aspect of it. When you're creating, you know, I hear people say, oh, do I have to blog? Do I have to do this, do I have to do that? And some of that is about not showing up. Let's just be honest. Some people do struggle with inconsistency, and you've got to tackle that. But some of it is also about feeling like you have to do something because everyone is saying, or you perceive everyone saying, that this is what you have to do. You mentioned video.

But if it's not something that connects with how you want to show up or just something that you enjoy, then don't do it.

KD: That's exactly it. And I don't know if you've seen this, but it's -- content's a big thing right now, kind of. It always has been there, but now it's more of a buzzword, whatever. And there are a lot of people that do this, you know, they offer service and they'll say, you know, pay me a boatload of money. I'm not judging what people charge, but it's like basically you pay a ton of money, you go meet with somebody, they shoot 80 videos in three days, they repurpose that, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I'm not against that. But that serves you, not your audience, right? Because there's no way that what I'm talking to you about today, Janelle, minus the foundational stuff, but I may be totally turned on to something else come May. So if, is what I'm creating today from a content piece -- I'm not talking Evergreen courses or maybe kind of an Epic post as a guide or something, I'm talking about just shooting video so you have video in the can that you can repurpose and push to your audience right? I think it's BS. I don’t think it serves your audience.

Now, I'm sure there is a way that you can do that from a standpoint that you can create some Evergreen stuff. I don't know, I feel like you miss out on the process of it. Like I can easily spend four or five hours writing a solo show podcast, then recording it, then formatting the post. I enjoy that, that’s why I'm doing what I do, right? And what people miss is it's that who you become in the process of doing it. It is so much about the boring, small, consistent action that all of the sudden, you're like wow, I'm kind of a badass writer, I'm pretty good at this. Or, wow, look at who I've connected with.

I think all these shoulds and expectations about what other people are doing and how they're doing it, you know, it's like, like I listened to Gary Vee. I turn him on, I turn him off, whatever. He's got a team of 20-plus people creating content for him. His answer is more all the time. It's like shut up, I can't do more right now, so let me do me. Let me do the best that I can, and so I don't know, I think that we just get too caught up in what other people are saying and doing. And if you would spend more time on just the doing versus what other people are doing, you'd be a lot further along.

JA: I love everything you said and I would add that you mentioned listening to Gary Vee, not to pick on him, but just one of the things that I wish more of us would do is to focus on listening to our inner voice instead of seeking out advice from other people. Because you're absolutely right, a lot of times the people who are telling you to do more, more, more, more, more, they do have teams. They have million dollar, multimillion-dollar businesses, so they can afford to have people help. If you're not in that situation, then why are you judging yourself against that standard? Focus on listening to your inner voice. And to do that, you have to pull back from all of that external chatter.

You know, there's so many people, people ask me, oh, have you heard her so-and-so? And I'm like, no I haven't. I kind of just -- I kind of just do my thing. And, you know, when I need to reach out, I will. And I think we need to do more of that. What is guiding you? Listen to that voice because you know what you need.

KD: Absolutely. And to add to that, I don't know, you know, I listen to so much stuff. A lot of times I'm shopping or I'm driving or whatever. But, at the same time, Gary Vee is the first person to tell you he doesn’t listen to anybody else. He doesn’t read anybody else. And, you know, I've got a really good friend who I met on this journey and has done extremely well in eCommerce and he's got a Mastermind, all this stuff. And it's funny because I watch what he does and I'm like same thing, he stays in his lane. He does him. He's not concerning himself, he connects with people on a personal level. That’s a completely different story. But really, the people who maybe are where you think you want to be -- and I'm not judging, I don't care if you want a Ferrari or a Prius, go do you. Just do it genuinely. But really, most people who are where maybe we think we want to do are doing themselves. They're not caught up. They're not spending all day on Facebook, they're not spending all day doing this. They have processes and systems in place that help drive their business and they do the work, right? They're not out there arguing over someone else's opinion or thought or a software or anything else. They're just building their business.

JA: Yep, absolutely. So speaking of doing the work, let's talk about the work in your course, Content Marketing Secrets. Who is this course for?

KD: This course is for people who I would say understand the value and importance of content, have probably created some, but are in that stuck phase of how do I do it consistently, or I don't know what to create, or what type of content should I create? And originally, it was called Everything is Content. And so, I'd go from that place, because here's the thing, there's no way you can go from not -- and I'm just going to use writing as an example, because to me it's the easiest that you can convert into other stuff, but you can't go from not ever creating content to being a master creator. It's just it's silly to me, right? It's like if you don’t run, you're not going to decide to sign up for a marathon. You have to start running up and down the block a little bit. Is that building he muscle piece of it.

And so, Content Marketing Secrets is to help people create a strategy, but to realize and help them find their voice, that I need to start, I'm going to be as consistent as I can. Because the bottom line with that too is, you know, life happens and it sucks and we've got personal stuff to deal with. So don’t even judge if you do or don’t stick with something. Just go back in, start again. With the Content Marketing Secrets, I really want people to just get over the fear of showing up. it's so easy when you realize, oh, I don’t have to follow someone else's set of rules or this or that and it's if I want to get better at writing or I want to, you know, start on Anchor if you think you want a Podcast, and do two-minute clips and start sharing them. Share thoughts.

You know, I used to do when I was different times, I was like okay, I'm going to get back to video. And I have a YouTube channel. A lot of it was how to do XYZ with WordPress, so it was a lot of screen capture. At the point in my life I'm at now, I'm like I don't know what I would want that to look like. But what I would do, take the dogs for a walk and I would just record a snippet. I'm like just practice. Whether you publish it or not, you're just getting over this fear of 'this is hard,' and 'I'm not good at this.' It's like, you don’t get good at something by not doing it!

So that’s really who it's for. You understand the value of content, you know you should be doing it. You kind of want to but you're not quite sure where to start or how to proceed.

JA: I love that. That's going to be the quote of the episode, "You don't get good at something by not doing it."

KD: Well, thank you.

JA: I love that. Okay, so, what is the goal? If I purchased the course, what h I be able to do after completing it?

KD: One, you're going to know what type of content you want to create, right? Again, whether it's audio, video, podcasting, pick something that feels most in alignment with you. And you're going to have topics and a plan for just getting it done. Meaning, so let's say you go, "I want to start a podcast." You're going to have a clear picture on the voice of the podcast, how you want to do it, how consistently you can do it and the topics, right? That’s a big thing. How do I come up with fresh ideas and this and that? And it literally, it is everywhere. So another quick little everything is content story. When I started doing thi almost daily email, I watched Ben Settle do this, and it's, if people are interested. He's a little bit rough around the edge. But all I did, I watched him for a year before I even bought a product of his. And I just read him and I watched and I read how he would twist, you know, the most random story into an angle and then -- and here's somebody who sells his email, Player's Newsletter, every day. Seven days a week almost, unless he's offering something else.

And so I watched how he did, so an example, and you start seeing this, right? As you practice this. So, I was getting ready to walk the dogs one day and I'm walking down the stairs and decide that would be the best time to pick the podcast I'm going to listen to while I walk. Well, needless to say, I fell down the stairs. So, my email subject line was 'I Literally Fell Down the Stairs.' And I was okay, like I kind of twisted my ankle. I was more mad that I broke my sunglasses, but, so I told this story. And that was my subject line and I told the story and I twisted it to how often do we not pay attention to what's right in front of us in our own business, to where we're going, right? We're so focused on what's beyond us, and I don’t even remember the link in that email. But by showing people how you can take what's going on in your life, and relate it to some that then has a clear call to action, but it's that connection that happens.

And sometimes, I'll say look, here are the four things that you can do today if you're stuck with content. Go here, here, right? So, sometimes it's real tangible. But what happens is it's through that practicing. So people are going to come out of that course saying, okay, I literally get it, everything is content. Do you know how many people in my groups and friends now say that? Everything is content. Because you can literally take anything, any story, any event, and pivot and share if you can pull something out of that. So, with this course, people should be able to see literally everything is content, right? And they're not going to be afraid to start producing it. It's right there. The biggest roadblock for people is just friggin doing it. Like sitting behind your computer and writing for three hours is not the sexy internet lifestyle to highlight that people want to see, right? It's not. It's like oh, I actually have to work.

JA: I have to work? Work?!

KD: What? What do you mean? I can't be talking to somebody, I can't whatever? Yeah, you actually have to create. But that is the goal of the course. And people have an understanding. Whether or not they apply it and implement is totally up to them. And on that note too, there are plenty of things that I have invested in or thought, God I totally love this, and it might take me eight months to come back to it. So, I think this judgement, you know, we hear so often in this space about the shiny object syndrome. A lot of that is a learning cost. I really believe that, you know? Like, I don't jump into courses quickly anymore. I don't jump into software anymore. But it took me jumping into courses and software a lot to realize, you know, come back to self, come back to self.

And so I think all of that, one of the things, as an example, I think Messenger is a great platform. I think there's a lot of opportunities for it. I've used it, I've tested it. At the same time. I just don't have the bandwidth for it right now. Does that mean I'm not going to come back to it and apply it or implement it later? No, not at all. And do I judge myself if I bought a mini chat or a Messenger thing and I haven't touched it? No. You know, so it's finding that trust within yourself to implement, follow through, and just like go with a judgment. Sorry that was super non-sequitur. I went in circles.

JA: No, but I think it's definitely a valid point because there are so many people -- we've been talking about consistency. And I know for a fact there are people in my audience who have been inconsistent and beat themselves up about it. And it's finding that line, right? Because you do need to hold yourself accountable, you know? If you're saying 'I do want to do this thing,' at some point, you've got to do the thing, right? But what you're saying is also understanding that it may not be on the timeline that you initially thought, and that’s okay. It's absolutely okay.

KD: It is. And I think a lot of people are like, how are you so transparent with stuff? First of all, I baby-stepped my way into that, and there's a fine line between personal and private, right? So, sharing what you're personally going through is one thing. Dumping your private dirty laundry, I'm not a fan of that. But as an example, and I don’t mean to take a dark turn here, but I lost my mom in July and it was not expected. And she was only 71. She was everything to us and she was sick for six weeks, she had been misdiagnosed for months, and losing my husband was one thing, but it's just weird. And I'm not trying to compare the two, but I was also moving. My youngest graduated high school, my kids are out on their own. I actually came up to be with my dad for a while, so my life has been hell for a few months. And I've just been honest about it.

I'm not worried, because last podcast I published was coming back to business after losing my mom. And I was because you go through these life evens and you go, God, this stuff seems so irrelevant. The stuff that we get really caught up in, and it's hard to kind of get hat mojo back. And I've had a couple speaking engagements and it's like it just took everything in me to get here and to do it and deliver, but then I gave myself permission to go I don’t want to go to anything else at this event right now. And I know the difference, obviously, between when life hands you something horrible and heartbreaking versus you're just kind of lazy and you're not being consistent, or you're getting caught up doing something that really is not getting you to your end goal, right?

I just am past this point. I think it's probably the age I'm a in my life is I just can't do the judgment anymore. Beating myself up just makes me waste more time. And so it's finding that way to say, okay, well you drop the ball on this and now get back on. That's it. Like I don't do -- I don't know, you've probably seen this. There are a lot of people that, you know, maybe they haven't emailed their list in months, and, you know, I'm so sorry and dah, dah, dah. And it's like I'm not negating that saying where you are and where you've been or why you haven't emailed isn't valid, but at some point they become empty apologies almost. And so it's better just to show up and get back in it. Like this nonsense of spinning our head -- anyways, I'm totally going sideways again, but consistency. You have to decide what that looks like for you.

And I think the biggest thing is finding a way to instill trust in yourself. That's what those daily emails did for me. I didn't care if they worked, I didn't care if people click through or unsubscribed. I was like, I don't care. I'm going to get up and I'm going to do this every day, it takes me 20, 30 minutes max. This is going to -- I'm going to do this before I do this. And so once you've instilled the trust in yourself that you're going to follow through on what you say you're going to do, everything else goes away. It doesn't matter. It's like there's not these big hang-ups and it's so much easier then. Because you remove the excuses you tell yourself.

JA: Where did the idea for your course, Content Marketing Secrets, come from? Was it something that your audience was asking for? Did you validate it before you created it? Did you pre-sell it? Tell me about that process.

KD: It was through the Facebook group. You know, people have heard me say everything is content, I use the hashtag, I'm a total swag geek, and so, like, I made stickers, and, you know, all these silly little things. And I just started talking about it frequently and it was the validation that I got back from using that and sharing my story, right? In the sense of validation on comments, on emails. But the course itself, I'm going to kind of back into this, and this is, I swear, if people take nothing, this is a real easy, tangible way to get some traction. So, the course, I had done it and I thought I'm going to do a beta, right? I always kind of do that, which to me, if you're going to do a beta course, just be super transparent. Look, it's six weeks, we're going to do a live call once a week. I've got the outline, we're going to build it together, and then you can polish it right?

But you also can say look, I'm look taking10 people because we're going to crack this together. And you just show up and overdeliver. So that was how I started this, right? But then I sort of said all right, I'm going to pivot it. So, when I decided to shift to Content Marketing Secrets, and I only open and close it -- it's not like something you just go buy because I show up and I deliver it. You know, at some point, it'll probably be more Evergreen, but I like the relationship building of showing up. And so, what I did is I thought okay, what would be a natural step into this course, right? So, a friend of mine had done a free course on Beaver Builder. And then he has a paid course, and it did really well.

So I thought, okay, I'm going to go crazy here and I'm going to build a super in-depth free course called Content Traffic Secrets. And so what I did was, I always start with sort of an outline, but here's the crazy thing with this, it's like 30 videos maybe. Now mind you, they're not crazy super long. It's all tangible stuff. But what I did is I mapped out the course for myself, and I always do an outline. And then I thought, okay, I'm just going to start sharing as I create this, right? And I did it pretty much in my group, and so if you don't have a Facebook group, that's fine. Pick your social channels, pick your, you know, your email list anywhere that you have an audience or a platform, announce that this is coming. And all I did was -- and I'll tell you how this turned into another course.

So what I did was I created the logo and I said 'Coming.' And I didn’t say anything, it was just Content Traffic Secrets. People are like what is it, oh my god, da, da, da. So then, each step along the way, I'm kind of a geek with color-coordinating stuff, right? So then I made a spreadsheet for, and all this in the Google Sheet, it was literally just like Module 1, Name and the bullet. And then five columns to the right were 'Audio,' 'Video,' 'Worksheet,' 'Done? Yes/No,' right? And I color-coordinated it to go with it and so then would do a screenshot and I'm like check it out! Because I'm building the buzz and excitement.

Now, the silly thing is that I didn’t have a landing page up prior, which I would recommend doing. But I literally kept sharing stuff. And then I did all of, each of the modules. There was probably a handful that were either screen capture or me on camera as opposed to a slide show with a video and examples. So then, I have like 30 slide decks in Google Sheets, right? And they were simple and clean, but then I started taking pictures of those. And all of a sudden, I'm building all this massive buzz for this free course. People are like oh my God! So when they would see, look, there's 30 lessons in here, and this is what you're getting and this is all the stuff, I got over 500 people in that in less than 10 days when I launched it. I was like huh, this was really fun. And I kept me accountable, because I'm one of those people that accountability does work good, so I tend to announce stuff and then I've got to kind of, well you better get this done now, because you announced.

But it was sharing the creation of the course built up the buzz for it, right? And then from that, it was funny. So then I'm like, huh, I'm going to just teach what I did. And I had templates and spreadsheets and I shared all that stuff, because people also want that tangible. That's what's fascinating, and I don't know if you've noticed this, Janelle but online right now, people are like can you just give me the template so that I can fill it? It's a plug and play, because I do think this space has matured, right? The market's matured, you’ve got a lot of people that have been like all right, I get it, now I need to spend more time doing this. This is not my genius, give me the templates. So, I did this I call it List Explosion, which some of these names are goofy, but I just did one paid live webinar for $47. It was the easiest thousand dollars I ever made, and I shared exactly how I got 500 people into this free course, and then the course overdelivers. I got great testimonials.

And so, then form there, that audience is a natural for the next Content Marketing Secrets, right? And I think this idea, and too many people approach courses form a, 'Well, I need to make money, and so I'm going to do this,' but the free course, was it labor intensive? Totally, I was, no doubt about it. But it instills a huge level of trust in people if you're going to show up and deliver that for free. It creates this, 'Oh my gosh, what must be in the paid course?" And I'm not saying everybody has to do it. I've done plenty of, you know, lead magnets that are a cheat sheet or a checklist or the quick, easy things. I tend to do maybe a PDF and an audio because I think the benefit of giving an audio or a video with an opt-in is that relationship connector, you know? They can hear the inflection in your voice and your personality comes through.

But really, from a course perspective, if you haven't done a course, I think he easiest thing to do is to just create a great free course and get some feedback. And see, you know, what you like doing. A lot of people will tell you with a course, you know, you should have audio, video and PDF. Right, but don’t put that pressure on yourself. If you're like, I can do just written initially or I want to just do it live, give yourself permission to do whatever works for you. Do something of value that you can give away that would be a stepping stone. Maybe it's just the first module of a course you want to create and sell, and then you can do the paid version, you know?

So, the Content Traffic Secrets, I kind of backed into that after I had done Everything is Content, which then became Content Marketing Secrets. Because when I pivoted to my personal brand, I was like okay, I kind of kept trying to do these lead magnets that were similar to stuff I'd had on the WordPress chick and I was like eh, this has to be a natural, completely, you know, obvious I'm all about content marketing. And so the Content Traffic Secrets, is just it works well. I have people sign up all the time for that.

JA: Yeah. I love what you said about, you know, one of the things that I tell clients and just people who reach out is have what I call a product ladder. So, your free opt-in, one, it's a lead generation tool, but it also gets people into your ecosystem. They get to know you. And from there, like you said, those people are prime for your next offer. Like, I noticed the List Explosion is $47, so Content Traffic Kickstarter is the free version. So, after their free course, they're going to want to know, okay, what else is there, if they had a good experience. And then build up to that premiere course that you have. A lot of times, people want to go straight for a $1,000 course or, you know, even a $500 course, without having any other offers for their lists. So I love that you talked about that.

KD: And even from that, then I do have a premiere course, because then I sat back and it was like I had done this membership last year. And I was like what is going to work for me? Like I don't want to reinvent the wheel all the time, Janelle, so I'm like I'll have the Content Traffic Kickstarter, Content Marketing Secrets, and then the next one is Create, Convert Sell. But it's going to take time and I actually think I'm going write a book with it. Like I'm kind of playing with how can I leverage this and maybe do a free plus shipping, whatever. But that's it. That's all I wanted to do. And I want to just -- I want to have these few things for sale. I've got services over here, you know? So really looking at, again, coming back into that, I agree. A lot of people jump into something monstrous instead of get your feet wet, figure out what works. I know that I can crank out a course, I know that I can create something valuable, but for something bigger, I don't know. I'm not in this like oh, just outline it and create it as you go. That wouldn't work for me. That would be so stressful, you know? So, you got to find what works for you.

JA: Yeah, I agree. Before we get to the final three questions, I want to go back to something that you said earlier, which was you hate memberships. Tell me what it is about memberships versus courses for you?

KD: I swear this is going to be such an insight into the psychology of Kim Doyal, but I go into massive resistance when I have to do something. And it's funny, like, I'm pretty disciplined. I get up, I work at my desk, I'm structured, I have routines and all that stuff. But I think for me it was just sort of this, I don't know, not that I get bored, but I'm not going to enjoy building something for a few years that’s a lower price point. And I'm fine with the slow and steady too, right? But I just knew myself, that after a while I was like, I'm not having fun creating training for this every month. This is getting -- it felt pressure. It seems silly, right? And you're talking like an hour-long training, but it's like, you know, when you go into something and you're like, okay, I'm going to create slides and a download and this and all sudden, I'm like god damn it, I don't want to charge $47 for this.

I would rather go deeper and make it something that people can then process and go through on their own. And so for me it was really this, this isn't working for who I am. I want more control over my time and energy. It's funny, I recently this year, got back into service work. We're doing content marketing for clients. And that was because it was like fell in my lap. I was so adamant about no services, but the difference was that the people that were asking me for the service work were like Kim, I'm not expecting you to do it, like you’ve got people that do it. And it just, it's grown into this very beautiful cash flow that I enjoy that I can then create content for my own business and structure and tweak things, you know? And so the only thing with the membership versus a course was it didn't work for my lifestyle.

JA: Yeah. I think we always forget that it's our business, right? We can design it the way that we want to. You know, I tell the story about how I initially tried to just do courses. I started with services. Then I was like, okay, I'm going to just do courses. And I went back to a hybrid model of courses and services simply because I love consulting, and I love -- I just love that service aspect. And that's okay because it's my business. I get to do what I want. And think that oftentimes we feel like we have to choose one path. We can't mix things up, we can't say oh, this isn't fun, I don’t enjoy it. Yes, you can. You absolutely can. You do that. So, if you need permission, if you're listening to this and you feel like you need permission to stop doing something that you hate, this is your permission. Stop doing that thing.

KD: Amen.

JA: Start doing the thing you enjoy.

KD: And a lot of people will start a membership because they're like it's recurring revenue, right? But the event that I was at in Orlando a couple of weeks ago, it was a recurring revenue retreat, and my talk was on finding the right recurring revenue. Because, like I never wanted to do websites, I was doing -- I started outsourcing. I didn’t want to manage. That wasn’t what I wanted to do. Next thing you know it's like okay, this done-for-you podcast service, it's great recurring revenue. But somebody was always poking me with those things. And so, you have to find if you think you're going to do a membership because you want recurring revenue, then look at is this the right recurring revenue, right?

Because to your point, with courses and services and you like the consulting, there are plenty of ways to build recurring revenue. You get to decide, just like you said.

JA: Absolutely. And that's a great point, because, you know, one of the things -- I've considered having a membership site. One of the things that one of my mentors told me is that membership sites are harder to sell than courses. You have to convince someone instead of making that one-time purchase to sign up to have a recurring expense. For you, it's recurring revenue; for them, it's a recurring expense. And I think, I know personally, I'm very burnt out on paying subscriptions. I see subscriptions and I'm like, I just don't want another monthly charge on my account. So there's that aspect of it as well to think about. And you're absolutely right. Last thing I will say is that there are many ways to build in recurring revenue. So for me, with my services now, after the initial engagement with clients, they often want to continue working, I've introduced retainers, which was something that I hadn't done before. And all of a sudden I have recurring revenue in that way, which is fantastic. So again, it's your business. You get to design it. You can get creative with it and try things. Don’t be afraid to try things.

KD: And last point on that is even with courses though, you can set it up on a payment plan, right? So, one person that I like the way he does have is David Siteman Garland, and he has Create Awesome Online Courses. So it was funny, because he would do the whole launch thing every, you know, couple of times a year or whatever. And then what he did is he set it up on an Evergreen model, so that people when they opted in came through and he was always offering that. And he offers his courses for $97 a month for a year or whatever, right? So, yeah, I get it's a monthly payment. You also know it's going to end and how it's how you frame it, right? And how you position it. So if you're basically saying, look, you want this course, I'm going to let you, you know, here's a payment plan versus this never-ending subscription model. So, you can, if you're concerned that look, my course costs X amount of dollars, you know, and maybe you're having a little bit of a challenge getting some traction…here's a great example.

Angie Ginsler, who is a Pinterest person, great content. She provides such great content. And so I opted in and then it was like watch for an hour, whatever. And it was like great training for an hour and then she offers a course. And it was not expensive, but I was like eh, do I have time for this, right? Pinterest is a great search engine. So I was like eh, so I watched and I kind of was on the fence about it and then, you know, she kept emailing. But the third day, it's like oh, do you want a payment plan? I'm like oh, okay, well I guess I can, I justified it to myself. It wasn’t that the course was expensive, but I justified it to myself like okay, great. So there's a lot of ways that you can take a course and create recurring revenue that doesn’t necessarily require -- it's just you're letting someone make payments for something you’ve already created, it's already set up. You can build in automations in communication, you know? So it's just another way to look at it if you want to not do a membership but you want to build in course with recurring revenue.

JA: Yeah. Well the great thing about payment plans is it also is meeting your audience where they are, you know, as far as cashflow concerns and things of that nature for many people. You know, if you have a $1,000-course, for a lot of people, you know, throwing $1,000 out is a big expense. But if you can break that into five, six, twelve payments, then you can absolutely make it more affordable for people. So definitely, definitely like payment plans and price tiers and all of that good stuff. The choice is yours, if you're listening to this. That's the big takeaway from this. You have options.

All right, we are down to the final three questions, Kim. The first one is easy, what is next for you? Anything exciting coming up?

KD: So the planner, the Content Creators Planner, it's just -- I swear this was one of those, you know, nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and it's been doing really well. We're running ads, so, you know, we're looking at scaling that and adding some content templates like as digital downloads and stuff. And that's a separate brand, it's -- my name is on it and everything, but looking at scaling the planner. And really the next thing would be the signature course, which it's called Create, Convert -- but not until next year. I mean really, my goal is to just keep doing what I'm doing, get through this year. It's been a tough year, but I'll tell you -- here's a side note also. If somebody is selling some, start investing in ads. Like we knew the products, we knew the audience and we just stuck with it. Like started at $10 a day. It sells every day. And, you know, we have big plans for his brand and the products, but life went sideways. But because of this, it's super profitable. We know our audience, we're running ads.

I mean, some people are like, why aren't you spending more money? We're like, we're getting there. We both have businesses, whatever. But so, just a side note for people to -- I would highly recommend if you can spend $10 a day on paid traffic, it is worth investing in the data versus another course to sell your own thing. So that’s a side thing, but right now for the rest of the year, like I said, just I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. Things are working, they're flowing, and then it's going to be the signature course.

JA: Cool. So, where can people find out more about you and your work?

KD:, pretty easy. D-O-Y-A-L. The planner links to that, the podcast there, everything is there. Or, the other place to create is the Content Creator's Facebook is another great place.

JA: Cool. We'll make sure we get those links in the show notes. last question, what is your why? Why do you get up and do this work every day?

KD: You know, I would have told you -- a few years ago, I would have said freedom. My big why really was -- this hit me a couple years ago to, is to change the trajectory in belief. I have been very blessed, amazing parents, they were married 50 years, great family. But I'm the first "entrepreneur" in the family, and I feel that part of my why was to, I don't know, sort of show that there's other ways to do this, right? Both of my kids -- my daughter works with me. They both want to be entrepreneurs. They're like I want to travel, I want to experience life. And so I think it was I don’t want to say breaking the pattern, but it was simply to -- my why is to show that there's another way to do this. And I hope that the people in my space, my audience, they get that from me and that they're inspired. You know, I really believe that there's another way to live your life on your terms.

JA: I love that. Kim, thank you so much for being here and for sharing your story, but also so many insights that I think people need to hear. So thank you.

Hey family. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Kim. You know, I just -- this interview really made me think about content in a different way. So, I hope that it did for you as well. I know when it comes to content, it's so easy to feel overwhelmed. So if you want to find out more about Kim, here's what you do. Head over to to find the show notes. you will not only find the show notes, but you will also find links to information that we talked about in the episode? All right, so that’s for episode 108.

All right, one more important thing for you though, because Kim and I didn’t just end there, we talked more extensively about content specifically, about how to show up. everybody says show up, but, you know, if it's something you struggle with, you might be wondering what are some tips for showing up? because it can be difficult. We also talked about, speaking up of tips, how to be yourself online. You know, again, it sounds simple, but how do you just get over that feeling and just bring your true self online?

So, Kim and I talked about that. If you want to check out that bonus conversation, here's how you get it. If you're on your phone, simply text the word extraextra, all one word, E,-X-T-R-A-E-X-T-R-A to the number 44222. Or if you're in front of your computer, head over to One more time, or text E-X-T-R-A-E-X-T-R-A to 44222. You will get a link to that bonus segment that I mentioned as well as all of the previous bonus segments to the podcasts, and updates and news from me, okay? That is my time.

All right, my friends, that is my time. Remember, before you can level up your course, you must first level up your mind. As always, thank you for hanging out with me for another great episode. I do not take it for granted. I am Janell Allen and this has been Level Up Your Course. Peace.

Episode Highlights

1:03 Getting to know Kim Doyal, Rapid Five Questions

5:40 Kim's entrepreneurial journey

12:44 Overcoming the fear of pivoting 

16:48 What is content strategy? Why is it important?

19:05 How to write content that drives traffic/leads

26:37 Content Marketing Secrets - course goal and who it’s for

36:10 How Content Marketing Secrets started

44:20 Memberships vs. Courses

51:19 Exciting things coming up from Kim, website link

Connect with Kim

Enjoy this episode?

Join us in the bonus segment! It’s a great conversation about content strategy and some tips on how to consistently create killer content.

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