{Video} How to Start a Video Podcast | Behind-the-Scenes

If you don’t know already, last year I launched a podcast called Journeys in Business. It’s a weekly interview show that I absolutely love recording because I get to have real, insightful conversations with a ton of inspiring entrepreneurs.

When I started the show though, I didn’t know if I’d actually like doing it or if it would be way more work than it’s worth to manage it long-term. Turns out, running a podcast can actually be pretty simple.

In this video, I’ll show you the system I use to keep my podcast, Journeys in Business, running smoothly every single week.

17 Tips for Increasing Brand Visibility

I’ll admit, goal-setting has never been a big focus for me in my business. I tend to be less of a planner/dreamer type, and a bit more of a do-er/action-taker. When I get good advice or learn about a strategy I think I could use, I take action and implement it right away.

Up to this point in my business, I’d think that being an action-oriented do-er has definitely served me. I’ve been able to bypass the traps of over-thinking, over-planning and aiming for perfection -- traps that so many early-stage creative entrepreneurs get stuck in.

This year I decided I wanted to take things to the next level. For me, that meant setting some clear goals and getting a little more strategic about the actions I’m taking to in 2017. So in this post, I’m sharing 17 tips that have all been inspired by the lessons learned so far while setting and working toward my 2017 goals.

But this year I decided I wanted to take things to the next level. For me, that meant setting some clear goals and getting a little more strategic about the actions I’m taking to in 2017.

My big goal for 2017 was to build brand visibility, by being featured 35 times.

Some of the tips in this post relate to goal-setting, in general. You’ll find those in the section titled “Setting Business Goals” and other tips relate to increasing visibility, which you'll find in the second half.

So in this post, I’m sharing 17 tips that have all been inspired by the lessons learned so far while setting and working toward my 2017 goals.

Setting Business Goals

Tip #1

Get help with your action plan if certain goals are in “unfamiliar territory” for you.

Visibility is a big thing for me this year. I’m working to increase mine by landing more podcast interviews and guest posts on popular blogs. But I’m not a PR expert and I didn’t know much about pitching to podcasts and blogs. So, I hired Brittney and she helped me out in this area.

Tip #2

Start slow if certain goals are in “unfamiliar territory” for you.

If you’ve got a goal to do something totally new, you might not know how long certain steps or milestones will take you to achieve or how much work is actually required. So, give yourself space in your schedule in case things take longer than expected (because they usually do your first time around).

Tip #3

Keep track of your action steps as you work toward your goals.

I’ve got a Google spreadsheet to track outreach for podcasts and blogs. Then, if/when I’m featured I’ll make a note of when the content will go live so I can share it on my social media, etc. It’s just a good way to stay organized and keep track of the effort you’re putting in.

Tip #4

Break it down into smaller chunks.

I broke my goals down per quarter. And, of course, they’re “SMART” goals so I can measure the progress I’m making. That way I always know if I’m on track to hit my bigger, year-long goal.

Tip #5

Work ahead to make progress when you can.

I made a lot of progress toward my goals in January, so I’m almost a little bit ahead of “schedule.” But that doesn’t mean I’m just going to hang out and not do anything until the date of my next “milestone” rolls around. I’ll keep working at a steady pace so that I’ve got a buffer if I face any roadblocks that set me back later this year.

Tip #6

Write down metrics related to “results” before you begin.

In my situation, if I improve my brand visibility, I can assume my social media following, email list size, etc. would increase in relation to that. So, I wrote down those numbers on the 1st of January this year, so I can look back later and see results related to working toward my goals.

Increasing Brand Visibility

Tip #7

Guest blogging is a good place to start.

If you’re looking to increase brand exposure online, search for guest blogging opportunities on sites related to your niche. Many blogs accept guest bloggers, so you’ll be a lot more likely to get a guest-blogging opportunity than say, a podcast interview.

Tip #8

Decide on “your thing” before pitching to get in front of someone else’s audience.

What value will you bring to the table? If it’s more of a step-by-step tutorial type of value, consider going for more guest blogging opportunities. Podcasters typically favor more inspirational, story-centered content.

Tip #9

Practice storytelling if you plan to pitch podcasts.

The podcast host probably won’t want to have you back if you ramble or if you’re a dull storyteller. Before you pitch, consider the value you’ll offer and the stories or examples you could use to communicate that value. Then practice telling those stories and sharing example with friends or family before pitching or going on a show, so you know your communication is clear and captivating.

Tip #10

Consider the audience.

This one might seem simple. But when you’re pitching blogs, podcasts, etc., consider the audience demographics and interests. Are the readers/listeners people who should know about you and your business? Are they likely to become clients/customers of yours? Consider this before spending a ton of time pitching platforms that won’t end up serving you in the long run.

Tip #10

Connect on social before pitching.

Nobody likes a cold call. And nobody likes a cold pitch either. Now, it’s so easy to connect on social media with your favorite blog writers, podcasters and other influencers, that there’s no reason NOT to interact with them at least a little bit online before sending a pitch email their way.

Tip #11

Listen to podcasts + read blogs you’re pitching.

It’s important to know the content format and topics covered on the platforms you’re pitching. It shows you care about contributing value for their audience.

Tip #12

Consider topics that have been covered recently.

If the platform you’re looking to pitch has recently covered the same exact topic you want to cover, you’re less likely to be features. At least any time soon. Put a different spin on your pitch or come up with a new idea altogether.

Tip #13

Pitch in advance.

A lot of podcast and blogs create their content months in advance. So if you’re wanting to be featured on a specific platform at a specific time (or at all), the sooner you reach out, the better.

Tip #14

Offer incredible value in your pitch.

For example, if you’re pitching a popular podcast and you know the host has an online course, you could always pitch an episode topic that would make for a great pre-launch show leading up to their course launch. Going above and beyond will make sure your pitch stands out.

Tip #15

Teach what you know and love.

Teaching is a big part of my brand. So, I’m spending more time teaching this year via live workshops and in my Facebook group. I don’t pitch during most of these teaching opportunities, so I make sure I’m teaching topics that excite me. That way, it’s a valuable use of my time regardless of the clients the come from it.

Tip #16

Collaborate with friends when it makes sense.

I love to collaborate with other entrepreneurs for workshops, summits, etc. It’s an extra treat when I get to collab with a biz friend! But I only do this when it makes sense for both of our businesses. That said, unless there’s some way for me to tie in design or websites during our collaboration, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for my business. And since I’ve got goals I’m working to hit, I’ve got to be focused and intentional with how I spend my time.

Tip #17

If you’re planning to pitch, have an offer that relates.

Like I said, for the most part, I’m not pitching during the workshops I’ll personally host this year. But for collaborative workshops, I will. So, I always try to make sure that I’ve got an offer related to the content I’ll be sharing. This way it will feel natural and truly serve the audience for me to share that offer with them.

As I work hard to achieve my goals this year, I’m so glad I’ve got the support of an online community full of incredible freelancers and creative entrepreneurs. We’d love for you to join us in Visual & Visible, click here for access to the free Facebook Community!

Which of these tips was most helpful for you? Let me know in the comments below!

{Video} How to Design a Good Facebook Ad

Whether you want to promote an online course, an eBook, a workshop or even a live event, Facebook Ads are one of the best ways for creative entrepreneurs to advertise online.

For the most part, Facebook Ads are pretty easy to set up, and they tend to be incredibly affordable. One of the biggest Facebook Ads struggles I hear about is people not knowing how to create Facebook Ad graphics that appeal to their target audience.

I don’t want this to hold you back from being able to share your offer with the right people. In fact, it’s a quick fix! Canva offers great templates to help you DIY your own Facebook Ad graphics.

In this week’s video, I’ll show you how to use Canva to create Facebook Ad Images that will attract your ideal audience.

Branding Your Online Course: What You Need

These days a lot of creative entrepreneurs and freelancers are creating online course offerings as a way to earn passive income, while sharing valuable information in way that inspires their audience to take action.

Online courses gives people a lower-commitment (and typically lower-priced) taste of your brand experience. They’re a great way to serve more people, without having to continuously work more hours.

Additionally, if you do it right, your online course can actually help you grow the service-based offerings in your business.

Online courses gives people a lower-commitment (and typically lower-priced) taste of your brand experience. They’re a great way to serve more people, without having to continuously work more hours.  Additionally, if you do it right, your online course can actually help you grow the service-based offerings in your business.

That said, your online course is an extension of your brand, so you want it to provide a great experience for your customers/students. It’s also important to make sure it’s developed and designed to be cohesive with the overall look and feel of your brand.

In this post, I’ll share design assets needed, mistakes to avoid and a few other tips to help you have a successful experience creating and launching own online course offering. 

Design assets for online courses

Below is a comprehensive list of every type of graphic you could possibly need as you’re creating and promoting your course. (These are all of the assets I design for my clients who buy my Launch Graphics package!) Chances are, you won’t need ALL of these items. But wanted this list to be a reference you can use create your own list of specific design assets you’ll need for your own course and promotion strategy.

  • A sales page (this might be hosted on your site or on your course-hosting platform)

  • Landing pages for webinars, if you’ll be hosting them

  • Slide decks for webinars or course content

  • Social media ads for Facebook, Instagram, etc. (LEARN HOW!)

  • Social graphics for organic posts about your course, separate from ads

  • Sharable graphics for customers/students to share on their own social media

  • A course workbook or PDFs

  • Templates for random posts to promote your course in Facebook groups, etc.

  • Facebook Page + Facebook Group cover photos

  • Cover photos for other social profiles

  • Video intro graphics for video ads, course videos or launch videos

  • Course members area design items

  • Website banners

  • Opt-in freebies and an opt-in page for pre-launch list-building

  • Email graphics

  • Certificate of completion

Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments. If you want feedback on your course design assets, join my Facebook group -- I’m in there all the time giving feedback and answering questions!

Branding your course

You might be thinking, wait... I need to brand my course? Yes. You may not need (or want) a fancy-schmancy logo – a simple, text-only logo will suffice! But, creating a brand for your course is important to help raise awareness around it.

When you create a brand for the course, you'll also make it easier on yourself to design all the various pieces above. You won't have to try and come up with a good font or color combination for each item – you'll pull the info right from your brand style guide. 

I don't believe that the brand for your course has to be identical to the brand of your business. It should feel like it's part of the same family though – meaning, similar fonts and colors. If your brand is pastels, don't jump to neon colors for your course. 

A few mistakes to avoid

I wanted to list a few, common design mistakes people make when creating courses and promotional content. Hopefully, knowing these ahead of time will help you make better design decisions during your own experience.

  1. Trying to fit tons of text on social media graphics. Less text is better because it’s more readable in a fast-moving feed. Stick to just the course name or key info. Put everything else in the caption.

  2. Using photos that have nothing to do with the course content. Occasionally I’ll see someone will be promoting a business course using social media images of a couple holding hands, or someone promoting a health course and the sales page has images of laptops and notebooks. Just make sure your images make sense with the course content, so that people understand what you’re offering.

  3. Including worksheets and workbooks can increase the value of your course. Plus, these interactive tools help your customers/students get a lot more out of the entire experience. BUT, organizing them in a way that makes sense is often over-looked. 

If you want help designing a highly valuable workbook to include in your online course, I’m hosting a free workshop as part of the 2017 Online Course Creators Summit!

Register here so we can get your workbook designed and ready to go!

{Video} Blogging on Squarespace

I can’t say enough about how much blogging has helped me grow my business. It’s been a total game-changer for me.

Starting a blog can be a little intimidating at first. But if you’re starting your blog on Squarespace, there are actually a few simple things you can that will make starting, and growing your blog, so much simpler.

In this video, I’ll show you my favorite beginner tips to help you start your blog on Squarespace.

Do you have more questions about setting up your blog on Squarespace? Ask away in the comments below!