Conversation with Tristan Katz
Want to make sure that your marketing is accessible for others?
When I first reached out to my guest today, my questions centered around how to make our marketing accessible to people with different abilities and I’m betting that’s where your mind is as well after you read the title of this episode.
But I’m really excited to say that this episode not only covers this topic, but also how to make marketing accessible to YOU. How marketing can feel good for you. How you can best show up in your marketing.
Tristan Katz is a writer, educator, and digital strategist specializing in business and marketing coaching-consulting, web and graphic design. Tristan teaches workshops and trainings centered around queer identity and trans* awareness with an intersectional lens, along with justice-focused digital marketing strategies for yoga and wellness professionals. Tristan supports those who seek to grow their work while staying aligned with the practices of yoga, equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
Let's dive in to the conversation with Tristan!
The two pathways of accessible marketing
When it comes to accessible marketing, there are two different things we need to consider.
The idea of making your marketing accessible for YOU, given your uniqueness!
"Some of us thrive with strategies and systems, and some of us are more spur-of-the-moment organic people. So to me, part of our work as yoga teachers is trying to find our own groove into making marketing something that we can actually do sustainably so we can grow our work." - Tristan Katz
Thinking about how to make marketing (and the content we're creating) accessible for people with different abilities.
"For example, people who are visually or hearing impaired are going to be interacting with our marketing in different ways, through different platforms or third party services to help them access that content." - Tristan Katz
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #118). Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.
Make marketing your yoga business accessible for you
You aren’t taught this in your yoga teacher training, so it takes time to learn!
As a yoga teacher, you're expected to go out and teach classes to all sorts of people with different bodies and abilities, and on top of all of the skills you need for that, you're also expected to grow your business. It can be overwhelming.
"We've internalized so many messages that marketing is inherently this gross, toxic thing. But I really try to help yoga teachers see that the core of marketing is teaching and connection building, which is something that yoga teachers are already doing." - Tristan Katz
Marketing doesn't have to be awful. It can actually feel good if we approach it in a certain way. Shift your mindset to thinking of marketing as another form of teaching and relationship building - not just constantly selling.
What are you teaching in your classes? Can you expand upon this in your newsletter, your social media feed, or a blog on your website? You can bring this into your marketing and create marketing content that actually serves your community, rather than just reposting your weekly class schedule.
Yes, your audience needs to know when and where you're teaching, but they also need to know what it's like to practice with you, what your personality is like, and what you're focusing on in class (are you more of an asana-specific teacher or are you bringing in philosophical teachings)? Your students want to get to know who you are! Bring this into your marketing.
Then when you spend a lot of time creating a great piece of content, repurpose it! For example, if you write a great blog post, can you also film a short video talking about the topic? Could you post on social about it? This saves so much time and energy.
"When it comes to making marketing accessible for you, how can you take that piece of content and repurpose it, refresh it, revise it, share it across multiple platforms or formats so that you're not just creating something once and then it goes into the internet ether and gets lost, but instead becomes a resource that you can pull from, adapt, and reuse over time." - Tristan Katz
Don't be afraid to repeat the same thing several times. We all learn in different ways and we all need to hear things multiple times in different ways and different formats.
"There are so many different ways to think about making the content creation process more accessible for us, and then making that content accessible for us in terms of having content to pull from and use over and over again." - Tristan Katz
Marketing isn’t just selling!
“Marketing is a place of service rather than just manipulation or sales.” - Tristan Katz
When you come at marketing from a place of connection and service, then sales come naturally and it doesn't feel gross and manipulative.
When your marketing starts to feel icky, it might mean you're only selling and not doing the actual marketing. Take a step back, take a breath, and see what you can share today just to share (without selling).
"The orientation toward relationship-building is really going to nurture us and inspire us and help us connect with students who really want to be in the room with us, rather than people who see our stuff and feel like we're constantly trying to pitch them on something." - Tristan Katz
When we share and teach through our marketing, our audience can get a sense of who we actually are and if they resonate with us. Then when they decide show up, they are ready to receive!
This means you need to show up authentically as you in your marketing. It can be scary to show up, talk about your work, and take up space. There is a temptation to make everything seem perfect and polished. But your audience doesn't want to see a polished, inauthentic version of you. They want to see the real you.
"We’re not craving perfection on social media. Perfection doesn't resonate. What we're craving is authenticity and genuineness. When we orient toward being authentic, that is when we build the meaningful relationships and actually start creating community in our marketing." - Tristan Katz
Know your boundaries in marketing your yoga business
It's okay to share what's actually going on in your life, but you get to decide where to draw the line.
A lot of us have a hard time finding our unique voice as teachers. It takes time. It's so important to not only find that as a yoga teacher (teaching a class), but also in our marketing, because that's when the real connection comes in.
"A lot of the traditional marketing concepts teach to build the know, like, and trust factor. But what if building the know, like, and trust factor isn't about manipulation but instead about showing up authentically and being vulnerable?" - Tristan Katz That said, we all have boundaries and we need to know when we're not resourced or available to share certain things. We need to decide what's for public consumption and what's not. So share what you’d like to share, but not more than that.
The most relatable content I have is when I say "I failed." I have an entire podcast series following me throughout a launch in which I didn't reach my goal. That is the real life situation, and it's helping my audience see me as a real person.
You can listen to the behind-the-scenes podcast series of my "failed launch" where I share how I didn't reach my goal here:
Episode #9: Planning for a Launch
Episode #11: Before I Hit the GO Button in my Launch
Episode #12: Halfway Through the Launch Update
Episode #13: Membership Launch Recap (and I didn't reach my goal)
There’s not just ONE way to grow your yoga business
Let's normalize that things don't always go perfectly or launch successfully.
Launches can be messy and tough. Give yourself space when you put something new into the world. The reality is - you might only get two people to join your offering, and that's okay. You can try reflect on the experience and try again in a different way.
There's not just ONE way to do things. Sometimes we think (or we're told) that it "should" look a certain way, we "should" post every day, we "should" have this offering," etc.
"These "should's" are helping us stay in this weird, toxic brain space that isn't actually true to where we are and who we are and where our boundaries are and where our passions are." - Tristan Katz
Understand that something might not work. How can you use that as information to inform the next thing you take on (rather than just shutting down and considering yourself a failure)?
"Get clear about how you're feeling when you start thinking about creating something or coming up with a new offering. There are some times when we're just not resourced enough for it. Maybe that's not what you need in that moment." - Tristan Katz
You have to align with where you are and what you need. Take care of yourself first before worrying about needing more followers or more students.
"How can you make the content creation process actually something that fits into your life rather than something you have to make fit into your life?" - Tristan Katz
How to make your marketing accessible for others
"There is this whole population of people who don't have the same abilities as me, and we're not just talking about physical abilities, but visual learners, people who can't hear, people who can't see. How are they engaging with our marketing content?" - Tristan Katz
1. Caption your videos
If we're going to create video content (whether on YouTube, Instagram, or any other platform), it's important to invest in the resources to provide captions for our videos.
"If we're going to reach large populations of people and think about people who are having different experiences moving through the world, we need to attune to what they need and listen when they tell us what they need." - Tristan Katz
Instagram has set up all kinds of features now to make that process easier. For example, in Stories, there's a function to automatically generate captions and edit them.
On a side note, it's also helpful because a lot of us are using Instagram with the sound off.
2. Add a content/trigger warning
If you're talking about something that could potentially trigger someone else's experience, put a trigger warning at the beginning of that content.
"There are so many different themes that a lot of might be speaking to in our content that might be really activating to other people's nervous systems and well-being. If we're going to think about a variety of people having a variety of different experiences and center the people who are being impacted negatively by some of these experiences, then we have to put a content warning on the top of that share." - Tristan Katz
This gives people the agency to decide if they want to keep reading knowing that's the content that will be shared. We need to give them the opportunity to opt out so that they can take care of themselves.
3. Image accessibility
Image accessibility is done two different ways on Instagram:
The first is through image descriptions essentially detailing all of the aspects that are being shared in the photo or graphic. This is important for people who are using screen readers to access Instagram content.
Alt-text is another format of image accessibility. This is something that's placed on the backend of photos. Right now on Instagram, you have to go into the advanced settings on each post to type in the alt-text.
"These things take more work, but if you want your content to reach more people with different abilities, this is part of your yoga. Yoga teaches us that we're all interconnected and that our well-being is bound to one another. We don't get well or heal in isolation, right? My healing relates to your healing and beyond. If we're going to think about the ways in which we're interconnected, then we have to think about how to position ourselves to understand what other people need to be well. And so if we think people of different abilities need yoga, then we need to be reaching them." - Tristan Katz
Your next step
Your next step is to take some time to identify what accessible marketing is for you. I know we will likely all want to make the tweaks to our social media captions, but more importantly, I’d like to encourage you to identify how you want to show up in your marketing. How to make marketing accessible for you.
Take time to figure this out so that you can start or continue to truly show up as your authentic self (with boundaries) in your marketing.
Until next time, give yourself permission to make marketing accessible for you and grace along the way.
"These things take more work, but if you want your content to reach more people with different abilities, this is part of your yoga. Yoga teaches us that we're all interconnected and that our well-being is bound to one another. If we're going to think about the ways in which we're interconnected, then we have to think about how to position ourselves to understand what other people need to be well. And so if we think people of different abilities need yoga, then we need to be reaching them." - Tristan Katz
About Tristan Katz
Tristan Katz (they/them) is a writer, educator, and digital strategist specializing in business and marketing coaching-consulting, web and graphic design. Based on the ancestral land of the Cowlitz and Clackamas peoples, now known as Portland, OR, Tristan teaches workshops and trainings centered around queer identity and trans* awareness with an intersectional lens, along with justice-focused digital marketing strategies for yoga and wellness professionals. Through their podcast, articles, digital resources, and workshops, Tristan supports those who seek to grow their work while staying aligned with the practices of yoga, equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
Tristan Katz's Links
Other links mentioned:
Looking for support and guidance in your yoga business?
In Thrive, my monthly membership for yoga teachers, you get social media and email templates, monthly Q&A calls, advanced trainings, business check-ins, a private community, and more. Thrive is a membership that can support you on every part of your yoga business journey - from the very beginning all the way to advanced challenges!