How Kathryn Read Livestreams on LinkedIn and YouTube to Grow Her Site
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A year abroad at university for Kathryn Reed piqued her curiosity in international trade; after that, there was no looking back. She eventually entered the field and traveled the world, and when she felt she had enough experience, she flexed her entrepreneurial muscles and opened her own consulting and coaching business.
Kathryn is using a lot of different strategies to grow her business. This includes everything from organizing events in the international business space and growing her blog to live streaming on YouTube and LinkedIn. Keep reading to find out more about everything she's trying.
In this interview, you'll learn more about:
- How she got her start in the industry
- Why she started her own company
- How her business evolved during the pandemic
- How and why she created her podshow
- All the inbound and outbound strategies she's using
- The traffic her blog is getting
- How she creates content for all of her channels
- The approach she takes with SEO
- How she does keyword research
- The way she uses Pinterest
- Her favorite resources and tools
- The biggest challenge she's faced
- Her greatest accomplishment
- Her advice for other entrepreneurs
- Meet Kathryn ReAd
- Why Kathryn ReAd Started Her Own Consultancy
- Her Strategies for Attracting Clients
- How Kathryn Read Grows Her Blog
- Her Top Marketing Strategy
- Her Unique Approaches Online
- The Importance of SEO for Kathryn Read
- Kathryn Read’s Email List
- How She Uses Pinterest
- Her Content Creation Process
- Achieving Current Revenue Levels
- Kathryn Read’s Favorite Resources
- Her Top 3 Tools
- Her Biggest Challenge
- Kathryn Read’s Greatest Accomplishment
- What She Wishes She Knew When She Started
- The Biggest Mistake She’s Made
- Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
Meet Kathryn ReAd
I'm originally from the UK. I grew up on the east coast of England, about three hours north of London, and I studied French and German at university.
A year abroad, which was a compulsory part of my studies, got me interested in international trade, exchange rate mechanisms, and how all of that works because I could see firsthand how it kind of impacted me as somebody living abroad.
After university, I did a postgraduate certificate in Austria in international business and export and started working in a company in the UK.
I spent five years in the UK working in both administration and sales, traveling around the world and dealing with emerging markets in the automotive industry before moving back to Austria in 1999. I've been here ever since.
In Austria, I had a brief intermezzo in the world of rubber stamps before moving into the infant formula and baby food industry, where I spent 18 years. During that time, I focused on covering many countries, from Eastern Europe through to Asia, especially China, and doing all aspects of business development there.
In 2019, I decided to become self-employed. Since then I've been consulting and coaching for companies looking to expand internationally. Especially for companies looking to expand into Europe, maybe from the US, Asia, or the UK (because of Brexit, of course, that's an issue). Also, helping companies from the US or Europe into Asia.
I've also done quite a lot of coaching for salespeople who are either new to international sales or who are new to selling in certain regions, such as Asia.
Why Kathryn ReAd Started Her Own Consultancy
I would say I started out with my own consultancy partly because I had always wanted to be my own boss. Also, I felt that the time was now right, having gained over 20 years of experience working for other people in a variety of industries and in a whole range of markets.
When I started out, it was around nine months before the pandemic started. And at that time, there was a reasonable amount of business, finding import partners for companies who were looking to export.
So I started marketing my services on LinkedIn and concentrating on cold-calling companies around the region where I'm based in Austria. I was also using existing contacts to gain introductions.
Then the pandemic came along. And for the first couple of months, I guess like everybody, I hunkered down and carried on with existing projects. As it went on, it became clear that I needed to develop different methods of outreach in order to gain new projects.
Her Strategies for Attracting Clients
At that time, I started to double down even more on LinkedIn. And I built my own website and started blogging. And in 2020, I also ran an event together with a colleague. We called it the "Business Beyond Borders” event, and we interviewed a number of experts in the international business space.
The attendees from that event were also the basis of my current email list. And then, in 2022 or at the end of 2021, I started out doing a LinkedIn and YouTube Live series called "International Expansion Explained." It’s kind of a podshow where I also interview experts. This has also been a good source of business for the past few months. I do a new one every 3 weeks or so.
Of course, I would say that my blog is at the core of the business, and everything else has been built on top of that. It drives traffic in and brings in a certain number of discovery calls that can be developed further down the funnel into clients. I started it in the fall of 2020, and I’m coming up on 100 posts. It’s really starting to bring in traffic now.
I have both an inbound and an outbound strategy for developing clients. The outbound side includes calling companies that I feel are relevant and attending networking events in the region and international trade events, such as the Biofach trade fair in Nurnberg. And for inbound, I'm mostly focused on the website.
How Kathryn Read Grows Her Blog
There's around a 50:50 split. First I have projects for companies who are looking for partners or who need strategic consulting, and then I offer coaching for clients who would like me either to support their team or who need some support themselves. This can be related to transitioning into new roles or learning about new markets, etc. and managing overseas teams.
The website has around 6,000 visitors per month which, for a niche website, for me is okay. Of course, it could always be more, but this has been growing quite quickly in the past few months.
Her Top Marketing Strategy
I would say that my main marketing strategies, are:
- Consistency on LinkedIn, where I post at least five days a week, and
- Consistency with my blog, where I produce one long-form content item per week
I've also been focusing more on producing consistent content for YouTube. So I think that consistency is really the key here, as that is the only way to build up a certain dynamic.
Her Unique Approaches Online
I've been using LinkedIn and YouTube live streams that I stream via Restream. I do this to establish my authority, and it also gives me longer-form content that I then repurpose into blog posts at a later point in time.
To livestream on LinkedIn, you need to use a third party platform like Steamyard or Restream.io. Restream lets me choose which channels I stream to. There are literally hundreds to choose from, but LI and YT are the most relevant for me. I create an event there, and it automatically creates an event on both YouTube and LinkedIn.
When I do lives, I see all the comments from both channels in one place in the Restream feed so that I can answer or deal with questions easily.
This is something that perhaps not too many people have been using. Lots of people also position themselves as experts by doing podcast interviews, which I also like to do. But there are not that many podcasts in the international business space. The number is growing, but it's not like popular topics like SEO or marketing.
The Importance of SEO for Kathryn Read
SEO has been critical to helping me grow the blog, and with it, the business, but like for anyone, it’s a work in progress.
In terms of SEO, I'm mostly trying to be consistent across the niche of international trade and international business. Also, I cover topics related to doing business in Southeast Asia, China, South Korea, etc.
I try to build pillar content around those topics, be that on my blog, on my LinkedIn profile, or on my YouTube channel.
I use Squirrly SEO to help me ensure that I'm optimizing my blog. For my YouTube channel, I'm using YouTube Buddy. I think there are a lot of tools out there that can help.
Also, I read pretty widely to try and keep up with new things, so for me one thing that I struggled with was optimizing my web page speed, but that’s something that I hope to work on more during this winter.
I have a set of core keywords and search for long tail keywords that I may have a better chance of ranking for. I use tools like Squirrly, Sealmetrics, Google, and SEO PowerSuite.
I subscribe to the HARO newsletter. I try to make sure that, at least a couple of times a week, I answer requests on there in order to help with my link building. Also, appearing as a guest on podcasts gives me backlinks, as do collaborations with some other niche websites where I have complementary knowledge and authority, so they're happy to link back to my website.
This is probably something that I would like to focus more on in the future, but there are only so many hours in the day. I feel that area is a little bit neglected right now because I only do it if I have the time.
Recently, I received a lot of backlinks to my pillar content from sites that found my content on Google and linked to it from their own blogs, but this is more by chance and not due to any specific strategy other than improved SEO bringing me visibility.
Kathryn Read’s Email List
I have a small but growing email list that I grow through the website. I drive traffic to my website via Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and podcast interviews. So if I've been a guest on somebody's podcast, then I usually can also gain a number of email subscribers. Those are the main ways that I'm growing my list.
How She Uses Pinterest
I make 3 pins for each post generally, and I often also make idea pins with short content summary videos. It's not a huge amount of traffic, but certain topics—especially anything related to international e-commerce—do quite well.
Her Content Creation Process
I keep a list with a mix of pillar content and trending topics, and whenever I see someone write an article about something in a parallel niche, I consider whether I could use it for my own content.
So if somebody writes about food trends in the US, it might inspire me to write about food trends in Southeast Asia or China, for example.
I also select a range of guests for my "International Expansion Explained" podshow and create summary blogs of our discussions. Until now, most of my guests are from LinkedIn, but now I’m receiving requests for specific topics from listeners, so I will need to expand my circle.
Achieving Current Revenue Levels
It's taken me about three years to get to where I am now. And whilst that's not a perfect situation, I do feel like the business is growing.
I'm certainly enjoying the way that this has taken on its own kind of dynamic and how things are progressing forward at the moment. But, of course, there are always ways that you would like to improve, grow, and restructure. So this is something that is going to be a work in progress for years to come.
Kathryn Read’s Favorite Resources
I think there are really a lot of great books and podcasts out there that can be very helpful if you're starting out.
For me, a few that really stand out are Laura Vanderkam’s "168 Hours." That really helped me with time structuring. I'm a big fan of Cloris Kylie's "Beyond Influencer Marketing" podcast as well as Chris Ducker's work.
And there are really so many brilliant podcasts out there that I'm sure that whatever your niche, you can find something that is specific to it. For example, in international trade, then great examples would be the "International Business Podcast," or the "Worldly Marketer Podcast."
Her Top 3 Tools
I guess the most important tool for me, on top of having a good laptop and great internet connection, would be LinkedIn. It’s such a valuable source of potential leads, marketing, and community as somebody who's a solopreneur starting out.
Secondly, I really love Asana, as this helps me stay organized.
And thirdly, my recent purchase would be a really good microphone for interviews online, as this has become even more important in the last couple of years since the pandemic.
Her Biggest Challenge
I would say my biggest challenge has been to run an Asian-focused business in the middle of a pandemic when I couldn't actually travel there.
Kathryn Read’s Greatest Accomplishment
One of my biggest achievements is the fact that I'm still surviving and still growing. Also, I still have my contacts and my network in Asia and China, and they’re even growing during this difficult time.
What She Wishes She Knew When She Started
I wish I'd known in the beginning that starting my own blog could really make such a difference.
In the beginning, I was focused on building the cash flow quite quickly, as that was essential for my survival. But it did mean that I didn't have such a strong foundation for the business when the pandemic came along.
I think if I were starting again, I would build the website much more quickly.
The Biggest Mistake She’s Made
Probably some of the biggest mistakes have been not managing client expectations well. In the beginning, maybe I didn’t tell clients how long a project could take, because export projects can take 9 to 12 months before they really come to fruition.
Sometimes there were frustrations on both sides when a client would expect that within a couple of weeks they would have a partner in an overseas market, and things just don't work like that.
If I was starting out again, I would try and manage those expectations much better right from the first discussions with any potential client.
Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
My advice to people starting would be to pick which channels you will do your marketing through and be consistent with those.
You've got to remember that it's a marathon. It's not a sprint to build a business. So you have to find a way to balance the need for cash in the beginning with building a long-term foundation for your business that you'll be able to maintain for many years.
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