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The Power of Podcasting: Your Guide to Amplifying Your Message

If you have been curious about how podcasting might serve you and your business – you are not too late as the podcasting game is still on the rise. And if you’re not leveraging this medium to amplify your voice and connect with your audience, you’re likely missing valuable opportunities.

But don’t worry, I’ve got your back, let’s get ready to dive into how you can use podcasting as part of your communications and marketing strategy.

Why Podcasting Is a Game-Changer

Yes, blogs and videos have their place. But podcasting? It’s in a league of its own when it comes to forging that oh-so-valuable sense of intimacy with your listeners. There’s just something about that voice-to-ear connection that makes listeners feel like you’re their friend, confidant, and trusted advisor all rolled into one.

Not to mention, podcasts are crazy accessible. Your audience can tune in while commuting, working out, or even doing chores around the house. It’s content consumption at its most convenient.

From Passion Project to Podcast Powerhouse

Okay, so you’re fired up and ready to claim your slice of the podcasting pie – in launching your own podcast (or finding podcasts where you would be an ideal guest). But where do you start? 

First things first, you need to get crystal clear on your unique point of view and areas of expertise. What sets you apart from the crowd? What burning questions can you answer for your audience? Nailing down your niche is podcast planning 101.

Once you’ve locked that down, it’s time to put on your researcher hat. Scour the podcast sphere and see what’s already out there in your space. Look for gaps, opportunities, and ways to differentiate yourself from your peer group and competition. 

With that competitive analysis under your belt, you can start crafting a compelling name and description for your show. This is your chance to make a sizzling first impression, so don’t hold back!

And if you are only interested in being a stellar guest, it’s time to craft your perfect pitch. 

Bringing Your Podcast and Expertise to Life

Now for the fun part – actually producing your podcast! Will you go solo and let your brilliant mind run free? Or will you invite guests to join you for insightful interviews and lively discussions? Maybe a dynamic combo of both is more your style.

No matter which format you choose, there are a few key considerations:

– Episode length (short and snappy or long-form deep dives?)

– Release frequency (weekly, monthly, or something in between?)

– Production support (DIY or enlist an editing pro?)

Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust as you go. The best podcasts are constantly evolving to better serve their audiences.

Promoting Your Podcast (or Podcast Interviews) Like a Boss

Even if you’re putting out the most wildly entertaining, insanely valuable podcast episodes ever, none of it matters if you don’t get strategic about promotion.

Luckily, you’ve got a whole arsenal of content marketing tools at your disposal to drive visibility and engagement for your show:

– Repurpose episodes into blog posts, social snippets, and email newsletters

– Leverage AI-generated transcripts, takeaways, and bonus content 

– Collaborate with guests to cross-promote to each other’s audiences

– Make it easy for listeners to leave reviews and share your podcast

The key is to integrate your podcast seamlessly into your overall marketing strategy. Treat it as the powerful asset it is, not an afterthought.

Podcasting Mastery Awaits

There you have it – a comprehensive game plan for podcasting – whether launching your own or being a guest on other podcasts. By tapping into the intimacy and accessibility of this incredible medium, defining your unique perspective, and strategic promotion, you’ll be well on your way to establishing yourself as an audio authority.

Website Refresh Checklist: Essential Elements and Best Practices For Increased Visibility and Engagement

How can I make my website more marketing savvy?

Even in this era of social media proliferation, your website is still a key marketing tool for you and your business. As it is controlled by you (not a mega platform that changes the rules of engagement frequently and unexpectedly), it makes sense to regularly check that your website is working as hard as it can for you.

No matter what you or business offers, the goal of your website should be inviting, easy to use and engaging as possible, so that it encourages visitors to take action.

I was recently asked by a client to give them my advice for important elements or components that they should consider or review for the next version of their website to make it more “marketing savvy”. Below is a fairly comprehensive checklist to help you get the most out of your website.

13 ways to elevate your website for success

1. Focus on an easy, inviting, navigation and visitor experience once on site.

Having an easy-to-navigate site is crucial. Visitors need to be able to easily find what they’re looking for on your site, and you need to make sure that they have a good experience when they do. Start by creating an easy, simple navigation and engaging visitor experience.

2. Make sure it is responsive and functions really well on mobile.

You know that responsive design or even “mobile first” is a must-have for any business. Not only does it make your site look great, but it also makes it easier for customers to use. Your site will feel more like a real place, instead of some virtual void.

3. Highlight a quick video about who you are and who you serve on the homepage (or your About page).

The video could be a short explanation of what your business does, or maybe it’s just a fun fact about yourself that makes you excited to work with other people. It could also be a funny story about how you came up with your name, or an inspirational quote about perseverance. Whatever it is, make it quick and fun!

4. Include thoughtful CTAs, (calls-to-action) throughout the site.

CTAs (calls-to-action) are an important part of any website, and they should be thoughtful and well-placed. They’re meant to entice users to take the next step in their journey with you and your brand. But if you’ve ever tried to write a CTA, you know how tricky it can be!

5. Design an easy opt-in, lead gen and/or sign up for your downloadable content and email newsletters.

Your website is the first thing people see when they land on your site, so it’s important that it’s easy to navigate and provides the information visitors need. Create a simple opt-in page that allows visitors to sign up for your newsletter or other offers in one click.

6. Visitors would love to see previous client testimonials and press, ie. some sort of third party endorsements throughout the site.

When you want to refresh your website, it’s easy to get caught up in the details. But the reality is that most people just want to know what it’s like to use your services and products, and if you’re offering those things, the testimonials of happy customers and you sharing your thought leadership with the media are going to be extremely valuable.

7. Provide a better online calendar or event experience, both in navigating and in sharing on social media.

If your business is heavy on events, consider adding a better online calendar/event experience. You want your visitors to make it easier for them to get the most out of your events.

8. Make a friendly, inviting, easy path to join your community or membership.

Your membership (if you have one) should be easy to sign up for and access, so that people feel like they’re getting as much value out of their membership as possible! 

Make sure that all of the information about how to join is easily accessible from one place without having to search through multiple pages on your site (or email correspondence).

9. Add a search bar or search function to easily find all of your great content.

Searching for content on an especially robust and comprehensive blog is a pain. You don’t want your visitors scrolling and scrolling. They can’t just type in some keywords and hope to find everything. Include a search bar or search function so visitors can find specific content easily.

10. Ideally all pages (not just blog posts) should be easy and user-friendly to share in social media – and look good when shared.

We’ve all been there: You’re looking at your Facebook or Linkedin post and you see that your latest blog post has only a few likes and comments.

“What happened?” you ask yourself. “It looks great! And I know it had more likes than that!” The answer is simple: Your post wasn’t easy to share on Facebook. The image was wonky, it was hard to read, and it looked bad when shared as a social media post. 

And so what happens? People don’t share your content on social media because they don’t want to deal with the hassle. So make it easy for them to share your content in a way that makes them and your content look good.

11. Make sure your social media icons (with the correct links) are easy to find (even if in footer) for people who want to find and follow you in different ways.

Have you ever been on a website, and all of a sudden, you get this nagging feeling that the site is missing something? Maybe it’s the little icon at the bottom of the page that tells you where to find the contact information or how to unsubscribe.

It may seem like a small thing, but it can completely change how your visitors feel about using your website. 

12. Create a special “landing page from social / IG” instead of using “linktree” or “linkinbio”.

Leads are the lifeblood of a business. It’s not enough to just have great services, you need to be able to capture leads and turn them into customers. There are many different ways you can do this and many use linktree or linkinbio.

You could also consider creating a hidden page on your website – that features the most immediate content and CTAs you’d like your Instagram (or other social media) fans to see. 

This is an excellent tool for increasing your online presence. It allows you to build and manage all of your links in one place and gives you access to any link at any time, even if it has been removed from the index by Google or another search engine.

Ninja but necessary…

You should not forget to make sure that the site “plays nicely” with Google and all of the search engines, so make sure to:

13. Optimize for Google and best search practices

It’s important to make sure your site is search-engine friendly. Not only will this help you attract more potential customers, but it will also help ensure that your website stays atop of the rankings.

The first step to ensuring your site is optimized for search engines is to make sure you have a domain name that allows you to optimize your content for SEO purposes. Make sure that it has certain keywords in the name and that you have an active website with relevant content.

13a) Properly set up for Google Analytics 4

Keep in mind that Google is the king of search engines. That means that if you want to get the most out of your site, you need to make sure you are set up with the most recent and updated version of Google Analytics – GA4!

Now that Google is using GA4 for tracking visits, you’ll get a much better sense of how “engaged” your audience is. You can also see which pages they’re clicking on and when they visit them. This information will help you determine which pages are working best for your business and what kind of content you should be creating.

13b) Be thoughtful with your navigation hierarchy and headline strategy

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of refreshing your website and forget that it’s not just about the look and feel. Setting up your site so that it’s search engine friendly is just as important as making it look great!

A strong navigation hierarchy and headline strategy improve user experience by making it easier for visitors to find relevant content. Additionally, clear navigation and strategic headlines enhance the crawlability (yes that’s a word!) of your site for search engines, allowing them to understand the structure and relevance of your content, ultimately boosting your SEO  (search engine optimization) performance.

13c) Ensure images are also optimized for best practices and accessibility compliant

Optimized images contribute to better search engine rankings, as search algorithms favor fast-loading and accessible websites, thus improving overall visibility and organic traffic. It enhances user experience by improving site loading times, especially on slower connections, leading to higher engagement and reduced bounce rates. And accessibility compliance ensures that all users, including those with disabilities, can access and understand the content, promoting inclusivity and widening the audience reach.

Are you ready for a website refresh?

Your website visitors are your community! Make sure your site is as welcoming and easy to navigate as it can be. If your site is out-of-date, confusing or hard to find, then it is going to decrease your chances of growing your community, engagement and enhanced visibility. 

Make sure that the user always knows what they can do next, don’t make them jump through hoops or miss out on your core message because you haven’t presented it in a clear and logical way.

You’ve got a great message, product, service to share with your audience – LET’S MAKE IT SHINE!

I’d love to hear which of these things you want to update for your website. If you’re having trouble getting started, need someone to brainstorm with, looking for a planning partner or just need some accountability then let’s chat. I’d love to see how I can help!

[*Full disclosure: This cobbler has no new shoes and is about to work on her own site for the first REAL REFRESH in nearly eight years! Do as I say NOT as I do – but I will be bringing you along for the journey!!! Stay tuned!]

Marketing Advice from the Front Lines (of Bookstores)

No surprise: what’s good for the bookseller is good for the book author.

At this year’s ABA Winter Institute, I attended a conference session called “The New Marketing and Media Strategy” hoping to get caught up on the latest tips and trends. From the panel that featured my friends from last year’s USA Today / The Novel Neighbor collab along with a couple of other independent booksellers, I was  curious to learn what marketing insights they found most useful and effective. 

The New Marketing and Media Strategy panel: (back, left to right) Kassie King, The Novel Neighbor and Cris Siqueira, Lion’s Tooth; (front, left to right) Kalli King, Rediscovered Books and Laura Trujillo, USA Today.

While everyone is always looking for a magic wand and crystal ball when it comes to success in the ever-changing social media environment, it turns out that much of the panel’s guidance for increased visibility and community engagement was quite similar to advice that would work really well for authors and thought leaders too. 

Let’s dive into what they shared…

Be in line with your mission. Be in line with your brand.

Remember why you went into this kind of work in the first place. You don’t need to be all things to all people. Let your purpose and your values guide your marketing and messaging. 

Make it “personal” to you and your readers.

Show and share your passion, enthusiasm, your team and /or your process when you are sharing your content. It’s what distinguishes you from everyone else. 

Working with “partners” is good for community building and sharing.

You don’t have to do everything on your own. Find your key community members, co-collaborators or general fans to help you get the word out. 

It takes a long time to get there.

No one on the panel was an overnight success (or went from zero to thousands of followers) without lots of time, trying, tweaking and constantly re-calibrating. 

Creating the content you want to read makes it shareable and fun!

If you are creating content that you want to see and it’s fun to make, then ideally it’s going to be just what your audience wants to see and share too.

Focus on authenticity; it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Luckily the world of short form video has given us permission to be less than perfect (though many make it still look perfect), but please know it’s OK to get your message out there in a way that is best for you and means the most to you. Your authenticity will come across far more powerful than a perfect picture, image or caption. 

It’s not about the platform! 

This is huge. There is no right place to be. One of the booksellers shared a delightful “mini-zine” that they produced monthly (on one sheet of colored paper, folded into eighths) and handed out as a business card, brochure and bookmark. 

Repurpose your content across platforms.

Focus on your content first, then figure out how to share it across your marketing channels. It’s like the tail wagging the dog (not to mention exhausting and inefficient) if you focus solely on what each platform needs individually. 

Give yourself grace.

Do the best you can. Most of us were not planning on having “chief marketer” as part of our title. If you do have someone who is that person and can help – great! If you don’t, you are not alone! You’re doing great!

I’m curious which of these resonated most (or least) with you – or are there others that you would want to add! As always, I’d love to hear from you and chat about where you are in your “new media strategy” journey – you can set up a call here.

Plunging Into the New Year

Technically, I like to say my new year starts on February 1st. This gives me the space and grace to go into January feeling OK and open – NOT overwhelmed! It also allows me to fully enjoy the holidays with family and friends. 

So instead of beating myself up about busted resolutions by the end of the month, I spend January getting some foundations set and some housekeeping out of the way.

What exactly does that mean you might ask? For me this is what it has looked like so far this month: 

  • Cleaning up Asana (project management software)
  • Moving from Goodreads -> StoryGraph (not owned by Amazon)
  • Moving personal finance tracking from Mint  -> Quicken
  • Finishing up a big CRM overhaul 
  • Finalizing my ONE WORD for 2024
  • Mapping out big ideas in the “Big Ass” notebook – IYKYK!
  • Having conversations with the people I want to see and work with this year
  • Blocking and locking in important events* and trips on my calendar

Usually, I have a better idea of how my year is shaping up as I head into it, but moving into this year has seemed more hazy and unclear than usual. My intuitive friend and coach Patty Lennon tells me it’s because we are moving from a “7” year to an “8” year – which, when I researched it a bit more, makes total sense.  

Regardless, I am happy to report that new energy and enthusiasm for this year is on the rise, and I’m moving forward even if I cannot see exactly where I’m headed. I’m excited!

What about you? How are you plunging into the new year? Are things rock solid set in place or fuzzy and all over the place? I’d love to hear about it – or if I might be able to help. Book some time to chat – now!!!! 

Top Podcasts for Inspired Writers and Authors

This week I ran across this list of “25 Podcasts for Authors on Writing, Publishing, and Book Marketing” from the team at bookbaby.com. While it’s thorough, thoughtful, and cleverly organized, I was surprised to see that several of my go-to writing / author / book publishing focused podcasts were NOT listed. 

So I’m sharing some of my favorite, most useful, accessible and often funny podcasts that will certainly up your writing game and help you on your book journey. 

#AmWriting with Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell’Antonia and Sarina Bowen

#AmWriting is an entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity, and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell’Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

Bound + Determined with Richelle Fredson

Bound + Determined is an Intimate and Unfiltered Conversation on Books, Brands and Business. Each week Richelle dives into an unabashedly truthful conversation with authors, publishers and thought leaders to reveal a behind-the-scenes look at the business of books and what it means to be an author today.

Book Marketing Action Plan with Becky Robinson

The Book Marketing Action Podcast is a resource where you can get actionable advice to build your author platform, plan a book launch, launch your book successfully, and sustain interest in your book after launch

All Things Book Marketing from the Smith Publicity host Olivia McCoy

The Smith Publicity ‘All Things Book Marketing’ podcast explores all facets of book publicity and book marketing, with great expert guests sharing vital information for both authors and publishers.

*NEW* Book Bound with Fran Hauser and Bethany Saltman 

Critically acclaimed authors and bestselling book coaches Fran Hauser and Bethany Saltman are your hosts of Bookbound, the podcast for aspiring nonfiction authors who want to learn how to transform their ideas, expertise, and obsessions into successful books and publishing deals. 

Authors Who Lead with Azul Terronez 

If you want to know how bestselling authors find the time to write their books, the methods they use to be productive and how they find their ideas you will love this podcast.

I’d highly recommend writers, authors and book lovers check out these and other podcasts to stay inspired, hone your craft, and guide your journey. What writing podcasts do you love? I’m always looking for new shows to add to my list!