Dandelions

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When I was a young girl, dandelions were a thing of magic to me. During the summer months, one of my most favorite past times was to go out on the lawn and pick dandelions. Now it wasn't dandelions in the yellow weedy variety that I loved so much. No, it was when they turned to the wispy white flower that many dreams and wishes were made.  At least, my wishes and dreams.

I remember how exhilarating it was for me to pluck a dandelion from the green earth. While holding the dandelion in my hand with my legs crisscrossed beneath me; I would close my eyes, make a wish and then blow. I then watched in amazement as my wishes and dreams floated away into the sky.

Looking back, I wonder if I was hoping they would land in the place where dreams came true.

I did this every chance I could get. It was like blowing out birthday candles every warm, summer day when my actual birthday was in the fall.

The wishes were of the typical young child variety: I wished I'd get that super cool pink bicycle for my birthday, or that my mom would get me that Barbie I had seen at the store.

But most of the time they were, typically, these two wishes:

  • I wished to become a nurse someday.
  • I wished my family would live forever.

What I didn't know then, but I do know now is that for those two wishes in particular – one has much more to do with hard work and dedication and the other, is left up to fate, chance and life decisions.

We were all young once and in time learned these lessons.

Regardless, on the occasional summer day, when the dandelions are in full bloom, like snowballs on stems in the summer – I still have the urge to run outside, sit in the grass, pluck one of those babies from the ground, close my eyes and make a wish.

Is there any reason why you shouldn't host a podcast?

Up this month, I answer the question: “Is there any reason a person shouldn’t host their own podcast?” Find out the answer, as you listen to an excerpt of my interview with Terry Green of BizEase Support Solutions, which includes three things you should consider before starting a podcast.

Click here to for the answer
(Length: 2 mins. 37 seconds)

The Value and Benefit of Starting a Podcast

What is the value and benefit of starting a podcast, with the business owner, speaker or coach in mind? Find out the answer, as you listen to an excerpt of my interview with Terry Green of BizEase Support Solutions.  PLUS, find out where you should be posting your podcast for the best exposure, search engine optimization and more! Click the audio player to listen:

Click here for the answer

In short: If you have a passion for a topic and a willingness to share your expertise, podcasting can be of value to you and your audience. Speakers and coaches, typically, have a message to share. Therefore, podcasting is a great platform for them to share said message in a fun and unique way. Podcasting is a great way to express oneself, be authentic and connect with your intended audience.

iTunes is just a small piece to your podcast launch

Launching and promoting your podcast does not end and start with iTunes. In fact, submitting your podcast to iTunes should be a very small part of your podcast launch. When launching your podcast and thinking about promotion, you should be focusing on: your current followers, their engagement and how you can increase their awareness of your newly launched podcast.

Here are some ways in which you can connect with your engaged followers and tell them about your podcast and later, about subsequent episodes:

  1. Email them: if you have been building your email list, your subscribers want to hear from you. Let them know of your podcast launch. Then, when you release a new episode, send them a quick email reminding them of your podcast, share your show notes and a link back to your website where they can find the complete episode.
  2. Social media: Share newly release episode announcements on your social networks. Your updates should include something about your podcast, like title, episode number and link. You can get creative with your updates, to entice users to click on your link and listen. If you are not great at copywriting, you can work with a copywriter to help craft social posts for your podcast.
  3. Your website: Post your podcast on your website. Always, always, always do this! Include a link titled, “Podcast” in your website navigation. When a user clicks on the link, they can access and view all of your released podcast episodes.

Submitting your podcast to iTunes is not the end all and be all of your entire podcast launch. Podcast directories should be thought of as a supplement to promoting your podcast. You do want to have your podcast listed in directories, as it gives  your current users a numerous way to subscribe to your podcast. Further, it allows for new users to find, explore and experience your podcast. Allowing these new users the opportunity to like your podcast, love your podcast and become an engaged user.

Podcasting, is it for you?

podcastreasonsEveryone seems to have a podcast these days. Right?  So the question I ask of you, is having a podcast right for you? Let's discuss, shall we?

First, podcasting has been around for over a decade. It's not new and will be around for many years to come.   Second, while it seems everyone has a podcast; it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone should be podcasting.

Anyone that wants to start a podcast, should at least give it a try.  However, if you want to start a podcast for business, consider these three questions below before starting:

  1. Do you have a topic that you are passionate about and can talk about endlessly, without tiring?
  2. Are you are creating a podcast, “just because you feel like you are going to ‘miss the boat’ on this whole podcasting craze”?
  3. Do you have at least 2-3 hours a month to devote to your podcast?

If you’ve answered NO to questions #1 and #3, and YES to question #2, you may not be ready to start a podcast. Yet.

It does not mean you won’t ever be ready. It may take some strategy sessions to help you establish a plan. And, that’s okay. Take the time you need to determine the following:

  • Why you want to create a podcast. Determine your why.
  • Brainstorm topics you are passionate about. Figure out your what
  • Devise a plan to help with time management. Create a plan to implement the production of your podcast. The plan can include outsourcing some podcast production tasks.

Once you’ve worked out the three parts above, you should be ready to move on and get started with your new podcast!

The main point of this post is to make it clear that podcasting is absolutely an awesome way to market and establish yourself as an expert in your niche. But, it's not the only arsenal in your toolbox. If it's not for you, that's okay! Don't force it. There are ways in which you can still share your knowledge and market your business in the digital world. Like: be a guest speaker on other podcasts, host or speak at online events, create videos or turn to blogging.

Want to find out what is involved in starting your own podcast? I offer podcast strategy sessions. Contact me today, to get started!

Your Virtual Assistant Doubles as an Accountability Partner

buddy upI was a guest on a podcast recently, discussing virtual assistance. I was explaining to the host how I help my clients and what I do. She responded, “Oh, so not only are you a Virtual Assistant, but you are a business coach for your clients too. You hold them accountable to tasks and items.” Wait, what? Hold the phone. Could she be right? It didn't really hit home, until I received the following testimonial from a client:

[Darlene] is extremely professional, organized, honest, fast and delightful to work with! Her preferred communication is email, which is perfect for me! She makes my ideas better and allows me to send out a professional, regularly scheduled newsletter every month.

Having Darlene on board also helps me stay on task because I’m held accountable. A huge benefit! -Pam Christenson, Pam Christenson Massage

When one thinks of partnering with a virtual assistant, many benefits come to mind. The most often-talked about benefit is having someone in which you can hand-off items.  Makes sense. But, what isn’t always clear and becomes so, after working together for a while; is that a virtual assistant can (and is) so much more. When you partner with a virtual assistant; one that provides a high-level of service (and most, if not all, do); you do gain an accountability partner.

Have you experienced any of the following:

  • Received a request or to-do from your V.A.?
  • Received an email from your V.A. to see how your blog post, podcast episode or newsletter content is coming along?
  • Or maybe, they’ve asked you how you’ve been implementing something they’ve created for you?

If you can answer yes to any of the above and you also get the feeling that you have to follow through because your V.A. is depending on you; then you, my friend; not only have a V.A., but a super awesome, secret weapon in your business: a virtual assistant, accountability partner extraordinaire.

Don’t have a Virtual Assistant yet? Well, what are you waiting for? I may be able to help you reign in the chaos of your busy-business life and help you stay on track. You can view a list of services that I offer to clients, here.

3 Things Your Podcast May Be Missing

missingAre you practicing the three “S’s” when it comes to your podcast's promotion? Below are three things that you should be doing in order to to help promote and grow your podcast audience: Darlene's Three S's to Podcast Promotion: Send an email to your subscribers when a new podcast episode launches. Let your "peeps" know about your latest and greatest episode. They want to hear from you, otherwise, they would not have subscribed to your list.  Show notes! Show notes is a blog post that includes a description of your podcast episode, a brief overview of main topics discussed, can include time stamps for pertinent information and includes links to anything you mentioned in the podcast. You should be creating show notes for each episode and posting them on your website. Make them keyword rich too. Whenever you promote or share your podcast, direct people to that specific episode's show notes. 

Social Media, you betcha'.  Spread the word about your latest episode on social media. Don’t just tweet or post about it once, and be done. Add promotion of your podcast into your daily/weekly social media schedule to capture interest and engage followers. Bonus: create Click to Tweets and include them in your episode’s show notes, making it even easier (and fun) for your audience to share your content. Need help implementing these three ‘S’s? Let's chat! Contact me today for a strategy session. We can devise a plan and promote your podcast, together!

 

Monkey Bar Challenge

monkeybarsHave you ever had a random 4-year old boy cheering you on as you attempted the monkey bars at the playground? No? Well, I have. This happened to me, recently:

While at the park with my husband, I decided to see if I could successfully swing on the monkey bars.  As I climbed up the ladder to make my attempt, I already had it in my head that I couldn’t do it. In fact, as I stood at the top of the ladder, ready to swing, I said aloud, “I can’t do it!”. I didn’t realize I had an audience. That was until a boy, who looked to be about 4-years old, shouted at me, “Yes, you can do it!"

Oh. I  guess I have to try now. I put out my arm, grabbed the first bar and…just kind of hung there. The little boy continued with his chant, "You can do it!"

I panicked for a moment and then dropped to the ground, defeated. As we were leaving the playground, the little boy ran toward us. I thought he was going to say, “Bye.” Instead, he looked directly at me and said, "You CAN do it!" Once in the car, the entire scenario that had just played out made me think. In fact, I couldn't shake it.

You see, sometimes, we get into our own heads and think (before even trying) that we can’t do something. Heaven forbid, what if we try and we fail? That is exactly what had happened to me. I felt bad. I didn't want to feel bad. I felt defeated. I did not want to feel defeated.

I knew I had to try again.  As we made our way home, we passed another playground.

I asked my husband to stop.   I made my way to the monkey bars. This time, they seemed a bit higher to me.

Doubt crossed my mind, again. However, I was not going to let that stop me. Not this time.

I reached out my hand and grabbed the first bar. Rather than reaching and grabbing the same bar, and dangling, I did what you are supposed to do on monkey bars; I swung. And...

I fell on my butt.

My husband laughed.

But,  you know what? That’s okay!

The important thing is, I tried. I tried because that little boy believed in me. More importantly, he helped me believe in myself.

Sure, the worst thing that could happen, did. I fell. No big deal. I didn't break any bones. I was never in any real danger. I got up.  I will be trying the monkey bars again. In fact, I’ll continue to try until I succeed. Sometimes in business, you are going to be faced with doing things you are scared of doing. Self-doubt will creep in. It’s human nature. When that doubt does creep in; remember my story about the monkey bars. Then, challenge yourself to try. Just try. If your butt (or more likely, ego) gets bruised: that's okay! 

Do your best and know that someone, somewhere does believe in you. If not the little 4-year old boy at the playground, perhaps a younger  version of yourself; that child that had no fear and could swing on the monkey bars all day long.

Increase Your Online Exposure, Be a Podcast Guest

Be aFor decades publicists have been booking clients on television and radio shows. Actors, humanitarians and people like you and me have been highlighted in articles both on and offline. Having your business featured in your local newspaper will help bring in new prospects, sharing your expertise on the radio where you mention your website address will likely bring new traffic to your site and talking about your expertise on a television show will most certainly help you gain some great exposure for your business. Traditional media coverage is great, but there is another media coverage market that you can tap into and gain even more exposure for your business. I am talking about Digital Media. Some examples of Digital Media include Blogs, Podcasts and online video (like those you see on sites like YouTube).

A podcast is much like a radio show, the only real difference is that is it available for listening at any time and can be produced by an independent production company or podcast producer. The idea is the same, in that you have the opportunity to talk with the show’s host about your business, product or service all the while sharing some great information and resources about your area of expertise.

Here are some tips that will help you book your first podcast guest spot:

  • Research your options. Podcasts usually have a very targeted audience. Do your research and find shows that you think have an audience in which your topic will appeal. Some podcasts have a media kit available that defines their audience demographic, this will aid you in your research. If you can’t tell who the audience is for a particular podcast by viewing their website, simply listen to a few podcast episodes (in fact, do this anyway!) after listening to two or three of them, you will be able to see if the show is the right fit for you and your topic.
  • Contact the show.  Send an email to a podcast producer telling them about your interest in being on their show. Provide some information about the topic you are interested in talking about. But please, do not send a pitch form letter! Form letters are just so, impersonal. You want to eventually have a fun and open conversation with the host, yes? So, make an authentic connection, make it personable and clearly define how/why you would be a good fit for their show. The worst thing that can happen is that they decline your request.
  • Prepare for your moment. Once you have been booked to be a podcast guest, it is time to prepare. While being a guest on a podcast is your time to shine, remember that you are still a guest on someone else’s podcast. If you plan on talking a little bit about a new product or service, it is always a good idea to mention this to the podcast producer before the interview. You may also want to ask the host if they would be willing to share with you a list of topics or questions they plan to discuss during your interview, so that you can be well-prepared.

Generally speaking, a podcast is a medium that provides information and resources to listeners… if you are out to simply sell a product or service and have no interest in talking about anything else, then a podcast may not be the right avenue for you to gain exposure for your business or area of expertise. And that’s okay, there are many other digital media avenues you can take to help gain exposure for your business.

If you have some great information to offer, as well as, increase awareness in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, then search out a podcast and be a guest!

If you would like to be considered as a guest on my podcasts, I'd love to hear from you. Visit DVpodcasts.com to learn more about my shows and then use the contact page to connect.

Happy Podcasting!

Handling a Professional Setback

setbackSetbacks; we all experience them at one point or another. Professional setbacks or personal – the emotions you feel may be similar. They range from sadness, anger, regret or uncertainty; just to name a few. But, this post is not about dwelling on the setback. It’s about how you react to one and how to move forward. For the sake of a business blog, let’s focus on professional setbacks. An example of a professional setback could be losing a high-paying, long-term client. In the moments after the break, you may feel upset, nervous; heck downright panicked. Here’s the thing, it’s just a moment. And, moments are fleeting. Here’s some advice (tried and true advice, by yours truly) on how to deal with a professional setback.

  1. Accept it – in all its terrible glory. Cry, scream and shout. It’s okay to do that. Setbacks suck. Allow yourself to experience your emotions. It's important to understand I am not giving you permission to dwell on it. Experience your emotions and then move on.
  2. Understand it – once you have given yourself time to work through your emotions, understand why it happened. Most times, a setback has nothing to do with something you did. Yes, sometimes it does. Understand how and why it happened. This is important.
  3. Plan for it – now that you have screamed and cursed and understand why the setback happened, you can put a plan into place to avoid such a setback in the future or at least help soften the blow; should it happen again.

Now, let’s go back to the loss of the high-paying, long-term client. Sure, this may very well happen again with a future client. However, by accepting the initial setback, understanding why it happened, you can now put a plan into place to ensure a full practice or consistent interest in your services. Perhaps marketing efforts were less than stellar prior to your setback. Now, by consistently marketing your business, you can keep your marketing funnel full; and thus lessen the fear of losing a client.

Remember, when one door closes, another one is right around the corner – open and letting in a cool refreshing breeze.

Marketing Ideas for Your Podcast

blog1Marketing your business takes work. Creating a website and/or hanging out a “We Are Open” sign isn’t going to bring you clients. It’s a start, you’re open. Awesome! You need exposure and must get the word out that you are open for business. Have a marketing plan, be persistent with it and re-evaluate what is and is not working. Don’t be afraid to make a change, if something within your plan is not working. Now, let’s say you’ve gotten your marketing plan and processes down for your business. Sweet! Taking that further, maybe one of the strategies is to create a podcast as a way to connect and engage with current and potential clients. Here’s the rub, sometimes businesses create a podcast for the purpose of marketing and then decide, after some time, the podcast angle is not working. After diving deeper, it seems they suffer the same mind-set as a new business owner. They create a podcast, assuming people will find it, without doing any marketing for the podcast. Adding your podcast to iTunes isn’t necessarily enough.

You should market your podcast a lot like you market your business. The same methods and strategies may be used. Sure, it may seem like a Catch-22 or redundant, especially if the reason for your podcast is to market your business. Sounds like a lot work, huh? It can be, but what’s the point of having a podcast if nobody knows about it? If you are unsure of how to market your podcast, here are some ideas:

  • Include a link to your podcast in your email signature
  • Use social media to share podcast episodes, create images with quotes to share.
  • Include your podcast url on your business card
  • List your podcast in various podcast directories, especially those in your specific niche(if they exist).
  • Join groups on social networks where your audience hangs out, connect with them and when appropriate share your podcast (always check groups’ rules first, before promoting your podcast!)
  • Post your podcast along with show notes on your website, as a blog post. Search engines love new content. If you are podcasting consistently and posting show notes, it gives Google a reason to keep coming back to your site to crawl. This means eventual higher search rankings. Score!
  • Talk about your podcast, especially at networking events. If you connect with someone and they want to learn more about you… tell them your website and mention you have an online radio show. Don’t be shy! This is also why it’s essential to include your podcast url on business cards.

That’s just scratching the surface. You can also be guest on other podcasts, cross-promote, be a guest blogger, place ads in industry magazines or newsletters (or be featured), or choose to be a sponsor for a specific event.

Eventually, all of your hard work WILL pay off. Choose the options that work best for you. You don't have to do everything on the list above. Get the word out that you have a podcast and remember ALWAYS include a call-to-action in your podcast episodes. A call to action should direct listeners to your website, inviting them to opt into an email list or perform some other measurable action.

If marketing for your podcast sounds like a lot of work and you think you need help implementing some of these ideas… contact me for help. My podcast management services can be of service to you. I am only an email away.

Happy Podcasting!

In Today's Online World, Remember What it Means to be Human

humanOver the last couple of weeks, I’ve been covering marketing as a topic on my podcast, “The Inspired Entrepreneur’s Guide.”  My guests have shared their insight and expertise about blogging, social media and networking, just to name a few.  Among all of the conversations I’ve had, there was one common theme my guests kept coming back to, as it related to online marketing. I’ll get to that in one moment. In today’s technological world, there is a misconception that we don’t connect with each other, our noses stuffed in our phones all the time. Yes, this is true.  But for many, we are still connecting.

Let’s circle back to the commonality that kept popping up in my conversations with my podcast guests about online marketing: they all said (in one form or another) that being authentic, honest and caring was the most important thing we can do to connect with our audience in today’s online world.

That’s right; the common thread had nothing to do with using a specific tool, device or a social network. It was not about the 80/20 rule of sharing on social media or how to send a specific,“tweet.”

It all came down to one simple thing: what it means to be human. It's so important to not fall into the practice of being a machine pushing out content or sending links haphazard on social media.  Be invested in what you put out into the online world and truly care.  Also, don’t be afraid to show your true self. Your audience will notice.  And, that will be the reason they choose to connect with you, the real you.

Check out recent episodes of The Inspired Entrepreneur’s Guide to hear some of the conversations with business owners about online marketing.

Podcasts, blog posts or e-newsletters are great ways to share relevant content in an authentic way. Contact me, I’d love to help.

What EVERY Podcast Should Have: An RSS Feed

rssYour RSS feed is the lifeblood of your podcast. No, seriously. It is what you submit to any podcast directory (including iTunes and Stitcher Radio) for people to subscribe and thus download your content.  Your podcast website should also include a link to your RSS Feed. You want subscribers. Much like making it super easy for people to contact you by having a contact page on your website, make it even easier for them to consume your content. RSS feeds are the key! When I created my very first podcast, I knew nothing about RSS feed creation. I quickly learned that an RSS file is simply a file created using XML (Extensible Markup Language).  I ended up teaching myself how to code an XML file. Then, for the first year of my podcast, I would update my RSS feed by hand. It was a cumbersome process.

If you are thinking, "Oh crud, do I need to learn how to code XML now?" You are in luck, you don't! There are many platforms available now that will allow you to create an RSS feed easily and without too much technical know-how. This means there is no excuse to skip having an RSS feed for your show. In fact, some would argue that you don't truly have a podcast unless you have an RSS feed.

Nowadays, there are several ways to go about creating an RSS feed. Here are two:

1 - Wordpress - Wordpress is a blog based platform. By utilizing blog categories, you can create an RSS feed for your podcast.  Check out this video to see my Podcast RSS feed creation tutorial using Wordpress.

2 - Libsyn - Don't have Wordpress? No problem! Libsyn is a podcast hosting provider.  You can utilize their RSS Feed and publishing tools to construct and manage your podcast RSS feed within your Libsyn hosting account.

The two examples above are just a couple of ways to create an RSS feed for your show. The determining factor of how you create your RSS feed will be where and how you host your podcast content. Once you have created your feed, test it before sharing it online and posting to online directories.  If you need help with RSS feed creation or podcast management, contact me!

Next time on the blog, podcast directories and other places to submit your RSS feed for increased visibility.

Turning Podcast Fans into Email Subscribers

connectPodcasting is a great way to establish yourself as the go-to person in your chosen niche. More than that, it can be used as a marketing tool to help connect you with your prospective clients. Creating and growing your email subscriber list usually falls within the top 3 marketing to-do's when working with marketing consultants and professionals. But, oftentimes creating an email opt-in is forgotten when it comes to podcasting.  Think about it though, when someone opts into your email list, it means they want to hear from you. In that respect, it's very much like when someone subscribes to your podcast. The difference: you don't typically have a face/name/or contact for your podcast subscribers. An email list opt-in for your podcast helps bridge that gap.

If you are a business owner producing a podcast to establish your brand, you should be leveraging your podcast for marketing purposes. How so, you ask? One way is to create a valuable proposition that your listeners cannot refuse in the form of an email opt-in.

Here are some ideas for valuable content you can offer:

  • A monthly e-newsletter  jam-packed with useful tools and content.
  • An awesome giveaway or prize drawing.
  • Podcast news clips: updates about future shows and guests' background, bios, etc.
  • A free guide with tips, tricks and tools that your audience finds relative.

As long as the content you provide is one of quality and your listeners want to consume, create an email list and start promoting it! Place the opt-in on your podcast website, Facebook page and mention it during podcast episodes.

Once your email list starts to grow, don't let it sit there! Engage your subscribers - send them monthly podcast highlights, special audio files just for subscribers and other newsworthy items. Ask them for feedback and show that you care about them.

Your email list and your podcast is a marketing tool you can use to help cultivate and grow your connections. Get started now!

Podcasting and Your Brand

1272015blogA brand may refer to your business or a product. More often, when it comes to podcasting, you are the brand.

Creating a podcast for your business or for self-branding is a great way to market your services, products or a topic that is super important to you. More importantly it establishes you as the go-to person for your chosen topic– much like article writing and blogging. With the growth in sales of smartphones, media technology and other mobile devices, creating a podcast for your business is a great marketing tool, now more than ever.

Here are three reasons why creating a podcast is good for your brand:

Reason 1: It’s an opportunity to talk to your “peeps”. Podcasting is a perfect way to get in front of a specific audience (your target market) and talk about a specific topic you are passionate about.

Reason 2: Podcasting is the gift that keeps on giving. Really it is. Once you produce a podcast and place it on the World Wide Web for others to hear, it is there forever (or at least until you decide to take it offline). A podcast episode you aired in 2013, although old news to you, at some point, will be new to someone else.

Reason 3: It makes marketing fun!  Some folks look at marketing as a long drawn out task they have to do in order to market their business, product or passion. If you like to talk, share your expertise and experiences — then podcasting is a fun marketing tool to use. When it is fun, it doesn’t feel like work… now does it?

Bottom Line: Podcasting is a way for you to provide quality content to your target market. It should be content they value, which will ultimately lead to them liking, knowing and trusting you. It helps build your brand, it helps your target audience to connect with YOU.

Turning subscribers into fans and filling your marketing funnel - next week on the DV Blog!

Finding Guests for Your Podcast

Be-our-guestRunning out of guests for your podcast...say it isn't so? While you may feel as though your podcast guest well has gone dry, there are countless opportunities that exist to find guests for you show. Heck, with over 7 billion people on this planet, you can bet your bottom dollar that at least 12, 30 or 50 of them would want to talk to you! So how do you find these people? First things first, here are two simple facts that you must remember when it comes to finding guests for your show:

    1. People like to  talk about their business, themselves and their area of expertise. If you show an interest in what they have to say, they'll most likely be happy to come on your show to chat. All you have to do is ask.
    2. Of course, some people may not have the time or inclination. That's okay. Understand that a response like, "No, thank you," does not mean failure. Move on to the next prospect. Keep going.

Now that we've gotten the facts out of the way. Here are some tips for finding guests for your podcast.

  • Reach out to other hosts in your podcast genre to see if they would be a guest on your show. I've done this in the past and hosts are almost always happy to oblige. Plus, it might allow for some cross promotion too.
  • Social media is your friend! Find guests on Twitter, Facebook, etc.  You follow people you like, I am sure. A quick direct message invite to someone that has caught your eye, is all it takes. Seriously, it is that easy. When I first started production of, A Virtual Perception, Twitter was my go-to place for finding and conversing with potential guests.
  • Invite people you know. If you are new to podcasting, it's a good idea to start with guests that you know. Invite friends, associates, clients or even family members. This will allow you to hone your interview skills. Then branch out from there.
  • When you do branch out, don't limit yourself! Maybe there is a particular person that you've always wanted to have on your show, but because of their status you feel intimidated. First, stop that! Second, INVITE THEM. Don't limit yourself. Once you realize this, the podcast guest floodgates will open.

Bottom line: People LOVE to talk about their area of expertise. If you see they are chattering about it on social media or on their website (via a blog, etc) - nine times out of ten they are going to say yes if you invite them. It's just a matter of reaching out and asking.

3 Rules of Podcasting for Business

You’ve created a podcast. You now have a handful of podcast episodes available online. First, congratulations! Producing a podcast and getting your first few episodes out there is no easy task. It is something you should feel good about.  But, producing and uploading to the web is really just the beginning.   You can’t stop there! To help you out, I am going to share my ‘3 Rules of Podcasting for Business.’

  1. Create a podcast around a topic you are passionate about. You may have heard me discuss this before – so I am going to simplify this rule: Passion keeps you motivated and allows you to put your very best content out to the public. A podcast topic you are excited about and can’t wait to share with others – that’s what you want. Your enthusiasm will come through!
  2. Make it easy for people to find your podcast! Have podcast, listeners will come. Right? Yeah, not so much.  The main point of having a podcast, especially if you are incorporating podcasting into your marketing plan, is to gain exposure. Like everything else in business, having a podcast takes work. First step: Be sure your podcast gets the proper exposure by posting it: to various podcast directories (like iTunes, Stitcher, industry-related podcast directories, and now even Google Play!), on your website, on your social media accounts, on your business card and email signature. I’ll be sharing other ways to promote your podcast in a future post.
  3. Be Yourself. I can’t say this enough. Your podcast is an extension of who you are and what you do. Always. People want to get to know, like and trust the people they do business with; your podcast is the perfect tool for this. Be yourself; those that want to do business with you, will. Those who don’t necessarily ‘get’ you…well, they probably aren’t your ideal client anyway.

There you have it. My “3 Rules of Podcasting for Business.”  Of course, there are more…there are always more, yes? But if you start out understanding these first 3, you are well on your way to understanding how to make a podcast work for you and your business!

Need help launching your podcast or submitting it to podcast directories, like iTunes and Google Play? I can help!

When a Podcast Is No Longer Right For You or Your Business

heartProducing a podcast takes work. Even if you have an assistant helping with production and editing; a podcast still requires a lot of your attention and input.     Some days, you may feel like a podcast isn't right for you or your business, anymore. It may be a passing thought or it may be one that comes up often, as time goes on. If you are no longer passionate about the podcast theme or topic, it might be a good indicator that a podcast is no longer right for you or your business.

The big picture is this – when you create a podcast, the overall topic needs to be one in which you are passionate. That passion will keep your momentum going and inspire you to create more podcasts. Without passion, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Without passion, you’ll be opening yourself up to an endless barrage of self excuses. A lack of passion for your podcast exposes some really ugly procrastination traits. Ack! You don’t want any part of that, really. Now do you?

So what happens if/when you do find yourself in a spot where you’ve lost that loving feeling for your podcast creation?

First and foremost - don't just throw in the towel! Not right away. Here are few things you can do:

  1.  Find your passion, again! It really is that simple. If the topic you’ve been discussing for months feels old and worn out, change it up! Be honest with your audience. They’ll respect you when you tell them you want to bring them fresh, new and inspiring content. Change is good, after all.
  2. Take a break. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from your podcast. The most important thing is to have a plan - determine when you will take the break, alert your audience that it is coming and have a date for when you'll begin podcasting, again. I currently run my podcast on a 'season' type schedule. Meaning that after a certain number of episodes, I take a break. Most often I break over the holiday season and come back with brand new episodes at the start of the New Year. Sometimes we all need a break to focus on other things.
  3. End your show. If you’ve done everything you can to find the passion for your podcasting topic and are coming up feeling even worse – then it’s time to stop. Or maybe you've shared all of the content you intended for this particular podcast series.  Let me tell you – there is nothing wrong with taking this option. You are not a failure. In fact,  if you’ve lost the drive and cannot get it back, ending a podcast on a high note is super important! Your listeners will respect you. Ending on a high note is far better than continuing to provide your audience with mediocre content. Quality over quantity rules here, at least in my opinion.

If you have questions or need help with your podcast, contact me at any time for help!

4 Steps that Will Make Asking for Help, Easier

helpAsking for help isn't always easy.  It can make you feel vulnerable or inept. However, as a business owner, knowing when and how to ask for help is very important. You can’t do it all or more importantly, there may be areas you just aren’t an expert. Let’s get this out of the way real fast, it is okay to ask for help. You can and should, in fact! Realize that asking for help can sometimes be the determining factor between failure and success. If you are like many business owners, sometimes you know you need to ask for help, but go about it the wrong way. Not intentionally, of course. Here are some tips that will assist you well before hitting the SOS button:

  • Understand your weaknesses – This is the most important part of the process. You need to understand the areas you are less than stellar and also areas you just don’t like working.
  • Have a plan – All businesses should have a plan. In fact, most will have a few plans; a marketing plan, a business plan, etc. Have a plan in place and know where you want to go.
  • Determine your needs – Now that you know your weaknesses and your plans for the future, you’ll be able to clearly recognize where you may need help at any given point in your business.
  • Ask for help before you need it – It’s not uncommon for a business owner to reach out for help when they are needing to meet a deadline or in times of stress. We’ve all been there, in fact, I’ve been there a few times myself. Connecting with providers before you need them to assist you; will prove beneficial to your business and your stress levels! Less stress equals happier you. And, a happier you mean a better attitude towards business.

In summary: Understand your weaknesses, have a plan, know your needs and then get help before you need it!

Will you need help with your next digital media project or podcast? If so, let's chat. Contact me!

Paying it Forward

bear1Last month, I announced my latest venture as an Independent Consultant for Usborne Books & More. Reading and childhood literacy are two things I am super passionate about. Over the last few months I've been able to utilize my knowledge and business savvy to help promote childhood literacy. This week I will be hosting a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of Central and Northern New Jersey and hope to donate 60 teddy bear/book sets for the children and families that use their facilities.

Ronald McDonald House provides a "home away from home" for families of pediatric patients who travel to Central and Northern New Jersey for medical treatment.  Comfort these children with a hug by donating a Cuddle Bear set to a child at the New Brunswick Ronald McDonald House.

As a former pediatric patient myself, I know firsthand how meaningful a gift such as this can be when you are sick and scared. 

Usborne & Kane Miller publish exceptional books for kids. Books offer comfort, entertainment, education, and most importantly hope for the future. Usborne Books & More will match the funds raised for this book drive by 50%; allowing us to raise even more for Ronald McDonald House of Central and Northern New Jersey!

A donation of $25 dollars will provide a Cuddle Bear book and accompanying plush bear to 1 sick child and his/her family. Through Usborne's 50% match, $1,000 in donations will sponsor books for 60 children!

If you are in a position to donate, you can learn more about the fundraiser here: YouCaring.com/cuddle4ronaldnj.

You would also be helping if you simply help me spread the word on Twitter, Facebook and with your friends or family.  Thank you!