Why Content Marketing Should Be A Priority For Coworking Operators: A Q&A With Content Expert Cat Johnson

Just as coworking operators make time to stock toilet paper and coffee orders, they must also make time for content marketing
  • Content marketing expert Cat Johnson has been helping coworking operators with their content and marketing for years.
  • To help more people, Cat shifted her focus to group education – sharing her skills to help coworking owners market their spaces successfully.
  • Allwork.Space caught up with Cat to find out more about her training programmes, and how they help space operators take advantage of powerful marketing strategies.

There comes a point in every freelancer’s career where they reach full capacity. When that happens, there are two broad options: continue with a full workload and learn to say ‘No’ to new clients, or change tactic.

Cat Johnson, a coworking champion and content marketer for the industry, reached that crossroad some years ago. But rather than turn her back on coworking space operators who needed her help, she shifted her focus to training and education. Now, she is sharing her valuable skills and teaching operators how to market their space like a pro, one step at a time, utilising a variety of training methods including live training webinars, podcasts, online guides, and speaking engagements.

Ahead of Cat’s next live training on Wednesday December 12, Allwork.Space caught up with the author of ‘Coworking Out Loud’ to find out how she discovered her niche, what’s in the pipeline for 2019, and why every space should make content marketing their No.1 priority.

Allwork.Space: How did you find your niche in content marketing for the coworking industry?

Cat Johnson: I fell in love with coworking early-on. For me, it’s the perfect balance of community, productivity and purpose. For years, I was writing about coworking as often as publications would let me (which wasn’t nearly enough for my taste). I eventually realized that I was on the wrong side of the equation — that I could better further the coworking movement from the inside by helping coworking space operators get their stories and content out into the world.

Allwork.Space: What did you do before?

Before going all-in on coworking, I was a freelance writer focused on community, the sharing economy and social impact projects. My work appeared in numerous publications, including Mother Jones, Yes! Magazine, Lifehacker and Triple Pundit. For several years, I was lead writer at Shareable. I also blogged regularly about freelancing and productivity.

Allwork.Space: Where is your coworking “home” and how has it helped your career path?

My home space is NextSpace in Santa Cruz, California. At the risk of overstating it, NextSpace has been everything for me. It’s where I learned how to run a business of one, how to collaborate effectively, how to push myself professionally and so much more. Not to mention the outstanding community of people who truly understand mutual support and we have a good time while we’re at it. I most certainly would not be where I am without my NextSpace community.

Allwork.Space: Tell us about your next live training and how it works.

The December 12 training is on creating a content calendar for 2019. It’s 75 minutes long and I’m covering why space operators need a content calendar to keep their marketing on-track, how to leverage events and organizations aligned with your target market, and how to create a calendar using various tools. It’s open to all workspace operators and includes an Ask Me Anything at the end. [Check it out here]

Allwork.Space: Why have you chosen this particular topic? Why is it important in the content marketing mix?

For the Coworking Content Trainings, I’m covering key things space operators need to know to create a pro content marketing strategy. This is one of the foundational pieces. A content calendar forces you to think strategically about your content and how you can best use it to drive traffic, attract members, strengthen your brand and differentiate your space.

Allwork.Space: Coworking operators have a lot on their plate. Why should they make time for content marketing?

Because it is so powerful. Content is relatively inexpensive and it allows you to compete on a level playing field with workspace brands that are significantly larger and better funded than you. They can always outspend you on ads, but with the right content, you can get your space and community in front of your target market with pretty amazing precision. It’s also the perfect way to do brand storytelling and express your brand values.

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To answer the second part of the question, I always tell people that content needs to be a priority in their space — it really is that important. They need to make time for it. You would never say “Sorry, I didn’t have time to order the coffee or toilet paper this week.” Those things are priorities, so you make sure they happen.

Allwork.Space: Aside from blog posts, what other forms of content should operators include in their content calendars? How do these pieces complement each other?

Content includes everything you’re putting out into the world. We tend to think of blog posts, and that’s where the majority of my focus is, but content can be video, a podcast, programming, your newsletter, a Facebook group, your Instagram Story, micro-posts on LinkedIn, guest posts in local publications, etc.

You can repurpose content for the different platforms you use. For instance, if you create a resource list blog post, you can also share the highlights of it in your Instagram Story, or talk about it on a podcast, and include the resources in your email newsletter.

I do suggest, however, that you customize the content for each platform you use so people don’t see the exact same post across your entire ecosystem. You want to give people a reason to follow you on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, email, etc. If you post the same thing everywhere, there’s no incentive for them to do that.

Allwork.Space: What are the top 3 things you expect attendees to take away with them after Wednesday’s session?

Participants in the training will leave with a list of proven content ideas as well as 1) An understanding of how to leverage organizations and events to significantly expand their marketing reach. 2) An understanding of how to create their own calendar—from super simple up to pro-quality. 3) Templates to help them get started. And hopefully a lot of inspiration to go out and create great content that helps them reach their marketing goals.

Allwork.Space: Looking ahead, what other content marketing topics are you planning to tackle in 2019?

The January training is on creating better member profiles. Space operators tend to do a lot of member profiles, which is great if you do them right. But all too often, the profiles don’t reach very far, they don’t attract potential members, they have a very short life, and they don’t really help the members that are profiled. I’m going to share a formula to turn member profiles into evergreen resources that help your members market themselves and are aligned with your own marketing goals.

Also in 2019, I’m working to grow my own platform of online trainings, courses, speaking and digital products. I’m launching the Coworking Content Mastermind in January. I’m also rethinking the Coworking Out Loud Podcast, so it’s been on-hold while I figure out which direction I want to take it.

I have a list of topics for trainings in 2019, but I’d also love to hear what space operators are eager to learn about. If anyone has a pressing need or great idea, let me know. There are a lot of moving parts to a good content strategy and it helps to have an experienced guide. I love to do this work. It’s the best way I can support space operators and the coworking movement, at large.

Sign up to Cat’s Content Calendar training on Wednesday December 12th here, and the January 16th training on Member Profiles here.