I’m not one for hyperbole. But I would venture to say that now is the most important time for yoga teachers to start creating digital content. This content take the form of blog posts, video blogs on YouTube, podcasts, or online workshops.
The form matters less than these two principles: First, create content consistently. And, second, create content that reflects your true values as a teacher and a human.
Sidenote: I created a little guide to help you create an online presence that feels authentic to you. It fives you three questions to ask yourself to find what I call, “your content sweet spot.” You can sign up here to get the guide.
and PS: You can listen to the podcast version of this blog post here: Your students need you. How yoga teachers can show up in 2020.
So, why is it so important to create content for your yoga business right now?
1. Your students need you
Think about how you felt when you heard that your studio was closing it’s doors and we all had to shelter in place. Undoubtedly, you felt scared, sad, anxious. You miss your students and friends. You miss hugs.
Your students feel the exact same way and they need their yoga teachers to show up for them. Right now, they don’t get to directly feel the energy that you bring into the room. But they can look forward to the weekly video you share while you’re drinking tea. And they can feel lifted up by your words of support and insight.
You can create a sense of community online that goes beyond your Zoom classes by posting more to social, sending online newsletters or writing blogs (or vlogs). Doing so will help you remember your purpose and will boost your mood, too!
We need each other right now. We need more stories from people who are willing to tell the truth and who are trying to put some good into the world.
2. It can help you build a long-term, sustainable business for yourself
You don’t have to be a business strategist to know that the future of yoga studios is uncertain. Many have closed their doors permanently. Others are opening with social-distance policies in place, unsure of whether they will continue to be able to pay the bills.
Now more than ever it’s time for yoga teachers to start creating an online presence for themselves so that they have their own, growing audience of students. Notice that I used the words “online presence.” What that translates so is simply showing up and sharing yourself consistently online, week after week. You don’t have to have a whole end-game mapped out yet. Steadily dripping out content will grow your own self-confidence as a teacher as you grow the audience of students who get to know you.
Here’s an example: When I started working with Jason on our email newsletter seven years ago, we had about 3,000 subscribers. He grew his list mainly by asking people to sign up at his in-person events. Now we have more than 25,000 people on our list. All of the growth was organic – we’ve never run ads or bought other people’s lists. It just came from showing up online consistently and offering valuable content.
3. Creating your own content lends authority
This one has been surprising to me. As an editor at Yoga Journal I spoke to well-known “master” teachers on a daily basis. As a result, I really didn’t think my voice had much authority. I thought it was always necessary to consult the experts.
It wasn’t until I started my own podcast and started getting feedback from listeners that I understood that my voice and opinion mattered. Over the years, as I’ve created more of my own content and gotten more support from listeners who laud me for being “relatable” – a trait I thought undermined my authority! – my confidence has grown.
4. It’s a free promotional tool
Let me say this louder for the people in the back: Creating online content is free. You can easily publish your own content, make it look beautiful, and then promote it in multiple ways on multiple channels – for free. You don’t have to hire a programmer or a graphic designer. You don’t need a fancy photoshoot. And you don’t have to send out hundreds of cold pitches to magazines who may or may not even send you a response.
You don’t have to wait for anyone’s permission. You can do this! You simply have to commit to showing up and doing the work.
5. It helps you grow
Every time I create a thoughtful piece of content, I learn something new about the topic or I grow as a content creator.
In fact, I often choose podcast themes around a topic that I want to learn about. The research that I have to do and presenting the topic is a way to reinforce my own learning and growth.
In terms of growing as a content creator, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of comparing yourself to someone who is two or five or 10 years ahead of you and thinking, “I’ll never get there!”
But you will, because you will grow. You’ll get better at organizing all of the disparate thoughts in your head until you can share your clear, well-articulated idea with others. You’ll get better at listening to feedback and responding with content that your students want and need. You’ll grow more efficient (read: faster) and it will be easier to produce content as your skills grow.
You will become more organized and you will be forced to think about the big picture and articulate your message more clearly. This is especially true when you think about launching new events – like workshops, conferences, or online courses.
I’m going to leave you with this little secret – The way to get better at creating and sharing content is to…create and share more content. You might feel daunted, exposed, or mentally overwhelmed at first. But, like yoga, it’s a practice! And one that is so beneficial for your inner growth and your ability to create a business that sustains you.