March 1, 2022

The Surprising Reason Your Messaging Isn’t Working (and How To Fix It) with Kathryn Thompson

The Surprising Reason Your Messaging Isn’t Working (and How To Fix It) with Kathryn Thompson

If your current marketing keeps falling flat, the problem likely isn’t your marketing ideas, but your messaging. Today’s guest teaches you how to use the power of words—in everything from emails to social media content—to authentically create instant appeal AND draw in your ideal clients.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how do you feel about the results of your current marketing?

The truth is you can have the best marketing ideas in the world, but without the right messaging, you aren’t going to reach your people.

Today’s guest, Kathryn Thompson teaches you how to use the power of words — in everything from emails to social media content — to create instant sales appeal in a way that feels authentic to YOU. 


  • The mistake you’re making in your marketing that’s causing you to get overlooked
  • The surprising reason your messaging isn’t resonating with your ideal client (and the marketing ideas you need to fix it)
  • Why repetition in your messaging is a GOOD thing (and how it will save you time on social media content creation!)

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.

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© Copyright 2022 | The EffortLESS Life®


Courtney Elmer 0:00  

Welcome back. It's the System's Made Simple™ Podcast and this is episode 111.


Courtney Elmer 3:11  

Today we are talking about messaging, the marketing thorn in the side of entrepreneurs and content creators everywhere. What do I say? How do I say it? How do I say it differently from the people out there with a similar message to me? How do I speak persuasively but not come across as pushy, or needy? 

How to create a message that really grabs my ideal person's attention and resonates with them when marketing? Rather than adding to the noise? Chances are if you're like most entrepreneurs, you've asked yourself these questions before, and you've probably done some work on your messaging and marketing at one point or another.

My special guest Kathryn Thompson is going to relieve the pressure you might be feeling right now to get your messaging and marketing. Instead she's showing you how to use the power of words, to create instant appeal for whatever it is that you're marketing in a way that feels completely natural and authentic to you. 

Now, Katherine is an award winning marketing and communications expert. She's got over 15 years of experience in the field. And after growing one of her companies to almost a million dollars in sales, and under four years, she sold it with a single email. And she's here today to show you first and foremost, the surprising reason why your messaging isn't resonating with your ideal clients with your marketing and what you can do today to fix it. Katherine, welcome. I'm so excited you were here today, I have been looking forward to this conversation.

Kathryn Thompson 6:33  

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be here Courtney Elmer. And like you said, you helped me put my podcast out into the world and broaden that reach with my message. So it's such an honor to be able to share with your listeners what I do and my expertise around messaging and marketing.

Courtney Elmer 6:48  

This is a really fun topic, because I feel like this is one we could sit here and we could pick apart all day long. I feel like it's something so many entrepreneurs struggle with is a knowing if they have the right messaging be knowing if it's really effective in their marketing. Katherine, I'd love to ask you start us off with what is it about messaging that people struggle with in their marketing? Why does messaging seem to be this nut that we can't crack?

Kathryn Thompson 8:49  

You covered a bunch of different topics that I kind of want to dive down a bit Courtney Elmer. And I think the big one, is that whole multi passionate piece, right? I'm equally a multi passionate. That's one of the things that can hang a lot of people up, especially in the marketing space, where we're told you got to pick one niche, you got to speak to one pain point or one pain problem. And I think the bigger idea around this is that why people get so hung up with their messaging is because they feel like there is a right way to do it right there is this one right way that they've got to kind of master in the moment right now before they can go out and even attract clients, when in fact, your messaging is the thing that's going to sort of be refined and honed over time. So many of my clients and even my own message, there's a lot of people in the background that are lurking and watching your marketing, right? Who don't actually maybe like or comment or share, but will book a call with you.

Courtney Elmer, You talked about that whole lead gen thing, right is generating leads in your business is is kind of the indication that your message is landing with your with your audience, which takes testing and time. Over the years, you said, like, five years in business and you're you're trying to hone that marketing message down, it can take time to really refine it over time, it's about really giving yourself the grace and patience to do that. 

Then obviously, if you're a multi passionate really honor that because multi passionate, manifesting generators in the human design world, we don't fit into the box, we don't fit into a lot of the way that traditional marketing has been taught, or even traditional messaging has been taught. And so it can feel really restricting over time, and we can feel like we're not doing it right, which then ends up what ends up happening is we dilute our message, or we try to fit ourselves into some prescribed marketing prescription, which doesn't end up working out very well for us.

Courtney Elmer 11:27  

I think this has been one of the biggest hang ups for me. My messaging through the years is this multi passionate piece of it all, because I always felt that even if I would hire an outside expert to come in and help me hone my messaging and make sure it was clear for marketing. It never failed. I could share that message with one person. 

And they would say, oh, my gosh, yes, that makes so much sense. And then I could share it with someone else. And it wouldn't seem to land the same way. It wasn't until much later in my business that I realized, people aren't necessarily connecting with my message. They're connecting with me and how I'm marketing that message.

Kathryn Thompson 12:36  

100% Courtney Elmer. And that's the whole energetic piece behind the message that we often or we don't talk about, and why I feel like I'm on such a mission, because of the way that the marketing and messaging and content creation. Everything's been taught for so many years. it's worked. But when when you're disconnected from it, or you've got a lot of doubt running through your mind, like is this going to work? Is it not going to work? 

Courntey Elmer, Your audience feels that energy behind the message before you ever speak any words. So you could have the perfectly scripted piece of markeing content, whether it's a blog, or an email, or a social media post, or a beautifully recorded reel. But if you're feeling uncertain, or if you're questioning your own message, they're going to feel that through the markeing post itself. More times than not, it's the energy that's blocking. It's not actually the marketing content, or the video that's been recorded.

Courtney Elmer 13:49  

This is so fascinating, because I find it goes back to my love and my first love of my life, which is psychology. And it's like psychology is everything, how we show up. The whole thing about our unconscious beliefs, informing how we're able to show up how we speak, how we write, how we deliver our message. I want to dive deeper into this. But I want to share an example first, and the example that's coming to mind is, you can read a social media post, I want you to think of any influencer, that you really, really resonate with someone that you can't wait to see their message pop up in your feed. Now think about someone, an influencer, that you might follow because everyone else is following them. 

And maybe you see their posts and you don't really resonate with it. It's not that they're bad. They're written fine, but you don't feel anything when you read it. And that's the difference. It's kind of hard to put into words, you could probably say this so better than I can and I want you to go here next and talk about this energetic piece. But but it's a feeling that is evoked in you When you feel connected to someone, because of their energy that's coming through. 

I can't tell you the number of times that I have read something from someone, and you can tell it with something, maybe they wrote on the fly, but it's almost like you can hear the passion in it, you can hear the energy behind the marketing, because they were so excited in that moment that they wrote it. And that is leaping through their choice of words on the page and leeping through the way they wrote it, it might even be leaping through the typos on the page, because they were writing it so fast, because they were so excited in that moment, as opposed to something that was maybe very well said, but kind of fell flat.

Kathryn Thompson 15:38  

That's such a good example Courtney Elmer. Take a look around at the thought leaders or the people's messages that you really resonate with. And it's often not necessarily how perfectly written it was. But the the feeling that you got in your body. Even word choices, right, when we use different types of words, or we show up and we speak a certain way, like tone, the nuances, eye contact, all of these things emit some type of emotion in somebody's body. And a lot of the way the marketing is taught is what I say and brain based approaches. Where we're thinking through our brain to come up with the perfect, piece of content, or the perfect blog or whatever that's going to ultimately either attract clients, or sell the thing that we want to sell.

We've now disconnected ourselves from how we want somebody else to feel in their body. Because if you want to attract people into your space, they have to feel good in their body, or that subconscious and something in them when they read your post versus somebody else's, if they resonate with you, or they resonate with somebody else more. Sometimes they're like, I don't feel I something feels off with that poster person, I don't resonate with that marketing. 

One of the things I often hear from people is I have this really powerful message, and I know it's valuable, and it can really make a difference. And when I put it out there, and then they see someone else market something similar that gets way more likes and way more comments or perceived more attention. They can't figure out why. It's usually some type of energetic misalignment on a lot of different levels that the way they showed up in the post the intention behind the marketing. Are they actually putting it out there because they actually want to make a difference and make an impact? All of those play a factor in how that's going to land in somebody else's body and the way they make them feel?

Courtney Elmer 18:17  

What I'm hearing is that it's not about the words at all. It's about your intention and how you're showing up when you're delivering that marketing content, number one, and then number two, have someone else's receiving that in terms of how you're making them feel and the feeling that is really subconsciously and unconsciously passed through that exchange of information. 

When that's out of alignment, then of course, there's not going to be the response that we're hoping for, would usually we make the mistake of internalizing and thinking oh, it's something to do with me, or my marketing or messaging isn't quite right. When really, it's that we're out of energetic alignment. So can you speak to us a little bit more about that? What does it mean to be out of alignment? How can we identify when we might be out of alignment in our marketing? And then what can we do to bring ourselves back into alignment so that our marketing content is delivered with feeling and that it evokes that feeling in someone else?

Kathryn Thompson 19:41  

Yeah, that's a that's a great question Courtney Elmer. There's a couple things that can impact that energetic alignment. One of the big things I see a lot of entrepreneurs do is create offers or products that they maybe are 100% passionate and they put it out into the world. With the notion that they want to make sales. But they end up not really loving what they do. And so they put that marketing offer out and right then and they're out of energetic alignment. Because you're not 100% passionate about it, passion is not the only thing that's going to evoke emotion. If you don't stand behind what the what you're offering, they're going to feel that in any sort of sales copy or marketing template that you're following, they're going to feel that it's not going to land with them.

And the other big one that I often see entrepreneurs, Courtney Elmer, is the promises that they make. For example, I promise in 60 days from now you're going to find the love of your life, or I promise in 60 days from now you're going to be in the best health you've ever been in, they have a hard time making those definitive promises, but when so when they go to put that in their marketing content, they're wobbly on on that promise, they're wobbly on the results that they can deliver, which then that energy is admitted out.

If your audience doesn't feel confident in what you're marketing, they're not going to invest in it. So any kind of mindset blocks, even the imposter syndrome- any of those things that you're questioning, as you're creating marketing content, those emotions are going to be felt. And so you go back to a lot of that inner work that needs to be done, it doesn't mean that you're not going to attract clients in the meantime. At every stage of business, you're going to run into some of these blocks and fears at every stage, it's a matter of how quickly you start to identify and are aware of them. Another really big block or hang up that a lot of people have is they follow a lot of scripts, templates, content, headlines, how to write this hook this way while marketing. Oftentimes feels very disjointed for people they feel restricted in a box.

If you feel restricted in that creative process of writing, again, they're going to feel that on the other end of it, it's not going to sound like you, it's not going to come across in your tone and your voice and your energy. So,the scripts are great to give you inspiration and ideas and how to structure things for marketing. But to get people in that creative flow in writing you mentioned, oftentimes you can tell that something was written on the fly. Most of the posts for me that do really, really well are written like a passion post or intuitive hit that comes through. When you get those intuitive hits, it's likely you're being called to share on that. And those are the ones to me that usually get the most traction, so to speak is when I'm writing mostly from my heart instead of from my head.

Courtney Elmer 23:43  

This image came to my mind, as you were sharing that was this image of a mirror. How you in writing your content is a reflection of your feeling that then gets reflected out. And other people see and feel that in your marketing. And that almost gives me chills to think about because when you can think of the impact that you can have through your marketing, simply by getting in touch with how you feel about something.

Allowing that to come through sharing it anyway, even if it feels vulnerable, even if it feels a little opinionated, even if it feels whatever it might feel for you. And you're wondering, oh gosh, should I water this down? If everyone's gonna receive it well, to share it anyway because that is the piece of content that people are going to resonate that your people are going to resonate with.

Kathryn Thompson 24:39  

Absolutely Courtney Elmer. It's absolutely that it's like what energy are you in when you sit to write because oftentimes, you'll hear people say, I sat and I recorded that reel like three times and it didn't upload and I was frustrated. So you plug in play it into a script or a marketing template or something along those lines, but it's gonna fall flat. It's like a note in music, right? If the guitar isn't tuned, and somebody is trying to play it, it's not going to sound very good. The same is with your messaging and your marketing content. If you're going in with this unto negative energy, or frustrated energy, they're gonna feel it.

Courtney Elmer 25:43  

Can we speak practically here for a minute, then let's talk about this writer's block, because I know we've all experienced this. There are those moments where we have those intuitive hits. And , quite honestly, now this is where I create most of my marketing content, I keep a journal, when those hits come, I write it down. 

That's what gets shared with my assistant. And she turns that into my content. And so it's this beautiful process, because when I was in the moment creating that, it came from a very felt place. It was a place of feeling when I was in that moment, but that doesn't happen every day. I don't have these amazing insights every day. So what about what do we do when we don't feel that when we don't have this head of inspiration? And maybe we don't have a marketing content bank built up? What do you usually recommend in those instances?

Kathryn Thompson 26:46  

Courtney Elmer, I used to try to force myself through that I would be like, I have to post I have to come up with something. And you're absolutely right, you're not going to have intuitive hits every day. And that is totally okay, you've got to move with your energy, the more you try to force yourself into writing marketing content, the more you're going to block that creative process.

There's a couple things that I do if I feel like I need to come up with stuff. For me, it's about getting out in nature, going for a walk, stepping away from the computer. But your process is beautiful, I have a similar one, I have all my stuff on notes on my phone, or audio recorded, I send it over to my VA gets turned into graphics. So I have a bit of a bank of marketing content that I've built up. But if you don't have a bank of marketing content, you can one either skip a day or you can repurpose a post that you maybe posted months ago that got a lot of traction.

Think about how you can repost more often or repurpose marketing content more often. Because not everybody that saw that post a month or two or five ago is going to be the same people that saw it. So repetition in your marketing content is actually really beautiful, because it creates more of that cohesive message. So repurposing marketing is a really great way to get around the feeling of oh my God, I need to post today.

Courtney Elmer 29:01  

This is something my team and I were having a conversation this morning about on our meeting today about how a even if someone were to see that same piece of repurposed marketing content, it's going to be a reminder to them, and they're going to be in a completely different place than they were the first time they saw it. It's going to be almost like another layer, another dimension, another facet, another layer of depth there. Keeping that in mind like you're not boring people.

I have an influencer that I follow. And she is a multi passionate and she posts about all kinds of stuff. But there are some posts that I see consistently from her literal exact same posts and even like recreated like the same thing every two to three months. And it's the marketing that has performed the best for her. And every time I see it, guess what, I'm not aggravated by it.

I don't feel tempted to unfollow or anything. And if anything, it reminds me of what she posted months ago that I had simply forgotten about. I needed that, so thank you for reposting that marketing. I used to be afraid of that myself, people would think she's all talked out, she has nothing else. But it's not true.

Kathryn Thompson 31:05  

Absolutely Courtney Elmer. I've been doing marketing communications for 20 years, but I started my online business I was running challenges all the time. And in the last six months, I've started getting back into the group coaching and really being able to create impact there. And it's interesting, because right now I'm getting a lot of women booking calls with me, and I can see from my email provider, where they're coming from, and they were all women from my 2020 challenges. 

At that moment, when I ran the challenges, the marketing content I was putting out, is fairly similar to the marketing content I put out now. But they were at a different state. And now they're ready to book calls with me. You've got to think of it that way. Like you said, Courtney Elmer, the receiver that's receiving the message, depending on the state they're in, they might not be ready to receive that message.

Courtney Elmer 32:32  

This is something else to be said for all of this in terms of marketing, messaging, content, creation, copywriting, branding. It's all part of a much longer game. It's a long game marketing strategy. We've seen those influencers grow on Instagram, so we tend to go jump on the next thing, because we want that same quick success. And often when that frustration or that lack of what we currently have in business is the driver.

We think that that's what's going to get us to the place where we want to be then we approach everything with this urgency and this frantic energy. So we're posting things left and right. And we're doing all the things and of course, we quickly reach burnout be it's unsustainable.

Posting 12 times on Instagram is not gonna bring you seven figure business in a year from now, either it's about posting the right kinds of content. And by right I mean, aligned to who you are aligned to your brand aligned to your heart. Posting that with intention and removing the urgency that you're placing on yourself to have that success. 

Like you said, these women are now reaching out to you from over a year ago, but they've stayed in your world, and they've stayed in your network, and they've continued following your marketing. And now they're ready and you're the person who they're reaching out to I think there's so much to be said for that. That's powerful.

Kathryn Thompson 34:38  

It's that long game attitude right Courtney Elmer? The proof is in what's happening with me and my business right now. I've got women reaching out from 2020 that are like, Okay, I'm ready now to to look for your support. I wasn't ready, then. They were watching my marketing from the sidelines, so to speak. And so that's why I often say, engagement can be skewed and can allow us to create decisions or make decisions based on not getting the engagement, when in fact, people are actually watching your marketing from the sidelines, and they might not be responding to your emails or liking comment and sharing or slipping into your DMS, but they're there and when they're ready, they will reach out to you.

Courtney Elmer 36:10  

For someone listening today, then who's like, Okay, I hear what you're saying, this actually feels really good to know that I can share what I feel in my heart, I need to share not following some sort of script. When you share authentically, from who you are, there's such a connection piece there that is so life giving. 

So maybe someone's listening right now. And they're like, Okay, this sounds good. But what's the first step? I still don't know if me typing this out is going to resonate with someone. What's the first thing that you would recommend to them in terms of what action they can take?

Kathryn Thompson 36:58  

Courtney Elmer, I think the first one, anytime, when you're looking at your messaging when marketing is really start to gain, clarity around who you are, what you stand for, and what makes you different. Also, what are you marketing? What are you selling? Knowing that there's no right or wrong way. That whatever you feel on your heart, is the thing that you're being called to share. And that most times is you think you don't have clarity, but you actually really do, in your heart, what you want to share, it's you're thinking in your head that there's a right way to do it. So get really clear about what that what impact you want to make what marketing message you want to share. And that message, the one that you're called to share is going to be the one that's going to land on people's hearts through your marketing.

Courtney Elmer 38:26  

So well said. Thank you for being here today to give us the freedom in our messaging to express ourselves through marekting. You've helped me with that so much in terms of my multi passionate-ness and how all of that comes together. And how I communicate this great big vision that I have for the EffortLESS Life® brand. And what that all looks like in terms of how I'm communicating that right now, at this stage of growth in the business.

Kathryn Thompson 39:33  

100% Courtney Elmer it's been such a pleasure to be able to share with you and give you the freedom or permission to do right your messaging and your marketing content the way that you want.

Courtney Elmer 39:54  

Katherine, for those listening that want to reach out to us connect with you learn more from you. Where should they go to do that?

Kathryn Thompson 40:03  

Courtney Elmer, I hang out mostly on Instagram, but I am on Facebook, Creatively owned is my handle.

Courtney Elmer 40:11  

We will link that in the show notes. Kathryn thank you for being here today.

Kathryn Thompson 40:16  

Yes, thank you so much for having me Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer 40:19  

Coming up next week on the show we are talking about how to reduce your workload and create more breathing room in your business without sacrificing your momentum. Join me back here next Tuesday and until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®.

Kathryn Thompson Profile Photo

Kathryn Thompson

Messaging Strategist & Copywriter

Kathryn Thompson is a Canadian-based entrepreneur who inspires people to use their stories to create change in the world. She's an award-winning marketing and communications expert with over 15 years of experience. After growing one of her businesses to close to a million dollars in sales in less than four years, she sold it with a single email. Kathryn is now the founder of Creatively Owned, a marketing and communications firm that helps entrepreneurs use the power of words to create instant appeal for what they are selling and the host of Be the Sought-After Entrepreneur podcast.