MEET CLAIRE WINTER, FOUNDER OF CRACKING CONTENT
You may recognise Claire Winter as one of The Female CEO’s esteemed Guest Editors and columnists but did you know that Claire Winter is also the host of the Cracking Content podcast, as well as a Trainer and Coach. She is passionate about helping coaches and creative entrepreneurs to amplify their message through storytelling, creative content, and PR using their unique message to gain sales and make a more significant impact through 1:1 coaching, digital courses, and her community membership plan.
Claire currently writes for all 41 Families magazines that cover the UK, reaching up to 9 million parents each year. She has been a content creator for twenty years and helped thousands of business owners get more sales with their content marketing. A trained NCTJ journalist Claire started her career at ITN in radio and television. She also runs a fabulous Facebook community called Cracking Content, where she shares writing, content, and PR TIPs. I simply cannot wait to share her journey so far with you! Over to you Claire…
SO, CLAIRE, WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
I am passionate about storytelling, and it's my mission to help coaches and creative entrepreneurs to tell their own stories and increase their reach through content marketing and pitching to the press. I love what I do, and I fell in love with reading and writing from a young age. I started my career as a journalist at ITN, and I then went to own and edit and a magazine called Families when I had my children. I still write national content for the 42 Families magazines across the UK. It's a noisy online world, and I help coaches carefully map out their content making sure their message is crystal clear, and they can stand out from the crowd in a way that feels good for them.
OUR READERS WILL RECOGNISE YOU AS OUR REGULAR ‘CRACKING CONTENT’ COLUMNIST. CAN YOU TELL THEM SOMETHING THEY MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I am a qualified Nordic walking instructor! I am passionate about being outside and the link between walking and creativity! I genuinely believe you can walk your way to happiness, and I think now more than ever enjoying the simple things in life like a mindful walk can make all the difference. We all need to rest our brains, breathe, and remember what is important. It also helps you be more productive and creative!
YOUR NEW PODCAST, CRACKING CONTENT, MADE IT TO NUMBER 2 IN THE APPLE PODCAST MARKETING CHARTS AS WELL AS THE MARKETING BESTSELLERS LIST – CONGRATULATIONS! HOW IMPORTANT HAS IT BEEN FOR YOUR BUSINESS TO BRANCH OUT INTO PODCASTING AND DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR FELLOW CEO MEMBERS WHO ARE THINKING OF DOING SOMETHING SIMILAR?
It was a great OMG moment. I made it to number two in the UK marketing chart under the amazing Amy Porterfield, who is a 'shero' of mine!
Anyone that reads my column will know that I am a massive fan of creating core content for your business, whether it's videos, blogs, or podcast episodes. The brilliant thing about blogs and podcasts is that you can repurpose them. All my podcasts (apart from my interviews) are based on the four years of blogs I have written. Equally, you could record a podcast and turn the transcript into a blog to share on your website. I have reached a completely different audience with the podcast, and I am still thrilled when I get tagged on Instagram or other social platforms saying they are listening in. It is time-consuming creating quality blogs, videos, or podcasts, so I would pick the one that you think your audience would like the best and repurpose it into other types of content. It's much better to create quality content and use social media to amplify it. I come from a broadcast background, so sound and production quality is critical to me, so make sure you buy a decent microphone to record the podcast. I feel the same about all content, it's a reflection of your business, and personal brand, make it worthwhile for your listeners to listen, read, or watch.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE CRITICISM?
Great question, honestly when I was younger, probably not very well! But now I understand that feedback, whether it is positive or negative, can only make you and what you do better. So I don't mind constructive criticism at all. It is so important to ask your audience and clients how you can improve what you offer them.
IN YOUR EXPERIENCE WHAT IS THE BIGGEST HURDLE FACED BY BUSINESS OWNERS WHEN BEGINNING TO BLOG OR CREATE WEBSITE CONTENT? WHAT WOULD BE YOUR BEST ADVICE TO OVERCOME THE ISSUE?
Not knowing the tech and fear of being visible.
My advice is to take action. Get clear on what your values are and who you want to work with and invest in creating a website. You also need to choose a domain name and a hosting package. Getting a good website in place is essential as that is your shop window. Do your research and work with a web developer and designer if you can. If you want to create your own website, I am a big fan of using WordPress for blogging, but there are many other platforms. You can blog without a website on medium.com or create articles on LinkedIn, but it's much better to blog from your website to boost your organic search engine optimisation. Sharing blogs on social media is a great way to amplify the reach of your blogs too.
WHAT BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN BUSINESS?
Can I cheat and have three?
When I sold my first business
When I got to number two in the UK marketing charts with my podcast Cracking Content.
When I launched my first online course
All three were huge milestones for me.
YOU WERE THE EDITOR OF THE FAMILIES MAGAZINE THAT COVERED EAST BERKSHIRE FOR EIGHT YEARS, HOW DIFFICULT A DECISION WAS IT TO SET UP AS A NEW BUSINESS AND WHAT MADE IT A ‘MUST’ FOR YOU?
Being the editor of the East Berkshire Families magazine worked brilliantly when my children were small, I bought it when my twins were one year old, and my other daughter was four. The magazine is aimed at families with young children, so it was a great business to have while they were small. I worked school hours so I could still do the school run. I also got to interview some fascinating people, from Olympian Steve Redgrave to Basil Brush (yes really!). By the time I sold it, my children were about to start secondary school, I had published over 45 issues, and it felt like the right time to move on. I still write the national content for all the regional magazines across the UK, which I love doing.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
FREEDOM! I've been my own boss for ten years, and I love working from my shedquarters. At the time my 'Shedquarters' was quite an unusual idea, but the pandemic has fast-forwarded flexible home-working through necessity, and it has been a lifesaver in lockdown. Lots of people ask me about my garden office, it's even been featured in the Daily Mail! I love helping female entrepreneurs and business owners get online and share their knowledge with the world.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND DIFFICULT ON YOUR JOURNEY AND WHAT WOULD YOU AVOID IF YOU WERE ABLE TO DO IT ALL AGAIN?
I wouldn't doubt myself, making mistakes is part of the entrepreneurial journey. Learn from them all and move on.
WHAT’S YOUR TOP TIP FOR OUR AWESOME FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS READING THIS ARTICLE?
Look after yourself; you can't drink from an empty cup. In the past, I have burnt the candle at both ends and was in danger of burning out. Working harder doesn't mean you are working smarter. I am still work in progress when it comes to this!
IF YOU COULD PUT ON YOUR BEST SHOES AND GO OUT FOR COCKTAILS WITH ANYONE (ALIVE OR DEAD) WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?
Please don't make me choose! I would love to have cocktails with Emmeline Pankhurst, the founder of the suffragette movement what she did for women here in the UK was remarkable.
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER ONE SONG?
Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac; my kids love Billie Eillish
WHAT DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE?
That anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
DO YOU HAVE A BOOK OR FAVOURITE PODCAST RECOMMENDATION FOR OUR FEMALE CEO MEMBERS?
I've recently really enjoyed Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Atomic Habits by James Clear. Favourite podcasts, Online Marketing, Made Easy with Amy Porterfield and Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chaterjee.
I UNDERSTAND YOU’VE JUST SET UP A MEMBERSHIP PLATFORM FOR CONTENT CREATION! WHAT’S NEXT FOR MAKING WORDS COME ALIVE?
I love my membership the Cracking Content Club, we work on content marketing, content planning and pitching to the press. It's a great community, and I love seeing the members grow in confidence with their content marketing and PR. My goal is to double the membership and release some evergreen products like my blogging for business course and my content marketing Bootcamp.
WHAT MAKES YOU TRULY HAPPY AND HOW DO YOU HANDLE DOWNTIME?
Walking in nature. I love autumn; it's my favourite time of the year. I also love swimming in the sea and spending time with my kids, at the moment we are big fans of having a kitchen disco. I love reading fiction, although I always have business and self-development books on the go too. I love unwinding with a long bath and essential oils or a yoga session.