Cat Johnson of NextSpace in Santa Cruz and the Coworking Out Loud newsletter joined the Global Workspace Association’s webinar series to talk with listeners about how to get started (or restarted) with content marketing for their spaces. This webinar also had visitors from Johnson’s thriving Facebook community, the Coworking Content Alliance, although normally, you would need to sign up to be a GWA member in order to get access to these information-packed webinars.
Johnson started as a writer, where she worked on pieces about coworking. However, as she grew more familiar with coworking, she decided she wanted it to be her focus. Now, she is one of the top content and digital marketing strategists in the coworking sphere. In addition to the Coworking Content Alliance, she also runs CatJohnson.co, through which she offers courses, books, and the Coworking Out Loud newsletter. She also has her own podcast, which features topics like “50 content ideas for coworking space operators.” In addition to her presentation, she participated in an extensive question and answer session with webinar participants. To get access to a full recording of this and all past webinars, join the GWA.
What is Content Marketing for Coworking Spaces?
Johnson described coworking content marketing as marketing to a specific audience, rather than a faceless mass. She asked listeners to imagine that instead of marketing to random passersby with a billboard, consider how you would market to two young adult women. Imagine that these 20-something women want their own agency eventually. Right now, they’re trying to grow their network and business while paying the bills and dealing with noisy housemates. Although they might be new to the professional world, business finance, and administration, they’re great at branding and digital marketing. What does your space have to offer these two?
The answer to that question, Johnson explained, should be much more specific than, “Office space available,”—and that’s content marketing. Content marketing for coworking spaces is about creating a sense of community and communicating your value with humanity. Instead of telling people about services you offer, content marketing focuses on letting them know you are.
Coworking Content Marketing Done Well
Looking for examples of great content marketing toward your target audience? Here are a few examples from the webinar:
- Trello. This organizational tool sells itself through its blog through posts on best practices with Trello and similar topics, but that’s not all it does. Trello also knows its audience, and it delivers content that will be helpful to them and isn’t sales-focused at all, like content about onboarding and training new employees. They offer something they know will be valuable based on what they know is important to their specific audience.
- Freelancer’s Union blog. Like Trello, the Freelancer’s Union blog doesn’t just sell; it also offers content it knows will be useful to its target demographic. Rather than just selling its products, it meets its readers where they are and offers them something of value.
- Buffer Blog. This social media marketing company might be targeting professionals, but their tone is remarkably human. Although they do mention their tools, they do so in passing and get back into the content without focusing too much on sales.
The key, Johnson explained, is putting yourself into what you write. You’re targeting humans—sound like a human. You need to become the trusted, valued source for the specific audience you’re trying to reach. That’s why it’s so important to target a specific audience that you can understand and relate to. Think more, “Office Rental in Salt Lake City: How to Find the Perfect Workspace for Your Startup,” and less, “Why You Should Be Coworking” posts, Johnson explained.
“If your post could exist for any coworking space in the world, you probably need to be digging around”
Content Marketing Strategy
The world of content marketing can be difficult. Whether it’s idea generation, finding time to write, or developing a strategy, many people struggle to keep consistent with their content marketing.
Here are a few tips as you develop your space’s strategy.
Differentiating factors in a crowded market
- Know how you’re different. It is not enough that you exist. What makes you special? Is it location? Neighborhood? Involvement in the community? Commitment to underrepresented groups in startups? Production or recording spaces? Services for remote workers? Find the things that set your space apart from the competition, and then find the specific audience that needs those services.
- Boost SEO. Put your keywords in the headline, first sentence or paragraph, and in the subheaders. You can also put those keywords in your image and alt tags, as well as in the meta description. Also, be specific with your keywords—not just, “coworking,” but “dog-friendly coworking,” or, even better, “dog-friendly coworking in San Francisco.” Specific keywords reduce the competition for those top Google slots and is likely to get your content in front of the people looking for exactly what you have to offer.
- Leverage your connections. Ask others to share your content, and be sure that you’re giving a clear call to action. After all, a lot of shares isn’t going to do much good in terms of conversion rates if people click and read but never take action toward becoming a member.
- Play the long game. Know who you’re targeting, and what kind of audience and community you want to build. Plan out your content several months in advance so that it builds on each previous post. Then, you can check in periodically and see what’s working and whether you need to tweak your strategy or target audience.
- Put it on social media. Long-form content is more popular on Google, but you can take an extended post and condense it into a few sentences to share on Instagram or Facebook, and then link to the full article. Social media is key to content marketing, so be sure you’re not neglecting it.
- Pull content from your space. Whether it’s making sure your community manager has access to courses like Johnson’s that teaches them to write for the web or interviewing members to write about their experiences in their space, make sure you utilize and develop the talent you already have in your coworking community.
Wherever you are in your content marketing, be open to course corrections. No plan is perfect, and learning content marketing in your specific niche will take time. The important thing, Johnson stressed, isn’t putting out a lot of content—it’s making sure you put some content out consistently, and that you have a plan for how, what, and why you post, and the specific audience it’s intended to reach.
This webinar is part of an on-going series available to members of the Global Workspace Association. In addition to invitations to all webinars, which allows for participation in the Q&A sessions, members also have access to recordings of all previous webinars. To view the full version of this webinar, with all the examples, explanation, and Q&A, sign up to become a member. You can join the Global Workspace Association by going here.