Elayne Whitfield, BA, MVA ~ VA Industry ExpertSubscribe Now

Using Your Social Network Presences to Promote Your Podcast

Promoting Podcast on Social MediaUnless you’re just now emerging from several years under a rock, you’ll know that social networking has taken the world by storm. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all excellent platforms for connecting with your friends and family but they are also fantastic tools that you can utilize to promote your podcast and acquire new listeners. These sites give you the ability to promote to their millions of users but best of all, they are easy and often cheap or free depending on what social media marketing strategy you choose to engage in.

It’s important to diversify social network platforms when planning your marketing efforts and remember not to limit yourself to only using the big sites. There are a number of niche social networks you can tap into. To begin with, take a look at services like Ning. Ning allows its users to create their own social networks, often for very specific interests. Seek out and become a member of these micro social networks. You may not be promoting to many people at once through these sites, but if you've carefully selected the right networks to tap in to, you should be able to establish a high conversion rate for those who you do connect with. They have the same interests, after all!

Targeting by Groups, Fans, Likes, or Dislikes

Most large scale social networks employ some method or function that allows users to tag or become part of a group related to a topic they are particularly interested in. Take the time to find these niche groups of fans and promote your podcast to them. If you can narrow your promotion down to the right relevant groups you will be able to garner much more positive attention than if you were to just try and appeal to the broader population of users.

Bulletins & Announcements

Utilize your social network's announcement and notification system. Have you recently released a new podcast or do you have some exciting news to share with your audience? Let everyone on your friends list know about it. You may spark interest in people who haven't thought about your show for a while which can help regain old listeners. Remember, not everyone uses RSS feeds or has the time to keep up-to-date with all of their favorite sites and content producers. That being said, it certainly does seem like everyone today has time to log into their favourite social network to see what's going on.

Getting the Most Out of Your Friends List

Trying to add as many people to your list as quickly as possible can be time consuming, expensive, and most likely very ineffective. Instead, narrow your focus and consider what specific kinds of people listen to your show. If you can, try and compose an audience profile and determine what your ideal listen would look like. This should include information like the average age of your listeners, if a certain gender tends to listen to your show more, and what their relationship or financial status generally is. By targeting your marketing efforts towards these individuals you'll produce much more effective results.

Social networking sites are powerful platforms and, if used correctly, can be one of the most effective ways to promote your podcast. When trying to use these platforms for marketing, always remember to be genuine in your efforts. If you focus on promoting yourself to people who will be more likely to be interested in what you have to say, gathering a large following is a very real possibility.

Tips for Sharing Your Unique Voice and Vision with the World

Colourful image of person singing or speakingYour blog, website, email newsletters, social media posts and other means by which you communicate with the world is how you share your voice, vision and perspectives. The ideas presented on these platforms are unique to you and this should be clearly reflected to your audience. If you want to stand out from your competition, there are many things you can do to separate yourself from the ordinary.

* Blog Regularly - The first thing you need to know about getting your vision and voice out into the world is that you need to do it regularly. Blog regularly, update social media regularly, appear as a guest regularly, and take every opportunity you can to be yourself representing your personal brand.

* Mix up the Formats - A blog doesn’t have to be text based. It can be in the form of infographics, memes, podcasts, videos and more. Use every content format that you can as long as it fits within your brand and the image you want to portray to your audience. Re-purpose content into new forms to get the word out to more people.

* Create a Plan of Action - The content that you create should have a purpose. The best way to ensure that the purpose matches your goals is to develop a plan that you will use across all channels; one that encompasses all promotions planned and events scheduled. Additionally, your plan can include current events and updated news if you’re ready.

* Understand Your Niche - You can never study your niche enough. Devote some of your time each week to understanding who your audience is and should be, inside and out. Study the history of your industry as well as what is happening today and what might happen in the future. Keeping your ear to the ground will make you a go-to expert in your niche and will keep your blog current.

* Know Your Audience - While you do want to add your own vision and voice, it’s also important to understand how far you can go without upsetting your core audience. For example, if you start a blog for people who are vegans and then change your mind, that’s okay, but realize that you’re going to change your audience entirely as well as the focus of your blog and this could disrupt what you have already established.

* Don’t Be Afraid to Be You - One of the most wonderful aspects of being online is the ability to be free to be yourself. You will find support and belonging for any lifestyle but you’ll also find detractors. To be truly authentic you cannot worry too much about your detractors. Put your audience and your true self first and foremost all the time.

* Be Consistent Across all Channels - Whether it’s your blog or a social media channel, it’s important that you keep the same flavor, voice, and vision apparent in each space. This will make you appear more trustworthy and help your audience get to know you even better.

* Engage Authentically with your Audience - Outside of blog posts, social media posts and other forms of content that you put out into the world, there are also discussions and comment sections in which you can engage. Be yourself when you interact with your audience, too. They want to know what you really think and this is a great way to do so.

Each blog post or other content platform that you send out into the world is important all on its own. Content spreads your message, establishes you as an expert, and drives traffic through keywords and more. Each deserves the attention called for to bring your unique voice and vision to them.

Even if you hire someone to write for you as a ghostwriter, it’s important that you edit the content to bring more of yourself to the blog. Whether it’s a sign-off phrase you want to use, or a special way with words that impacts your readers, be yourself. What matters is that you’re consistently yourself no matter where the content appears.

3 Tips for Crafting an Effective, Tweet-able Message

Twitter bird logoFew social networks encapsulate public discussions more effectively than Twitter. Thanks to its condensed nature and enormous audience, a single topic or thought can often evolve into a completely natural case study for marketers. Be it immense disapproval or the enormous success of a single meme, Twitter offers a unique look into the heart of any conversation.

Given this amazing resource that is Twitter, how can you make these conversations happen to suit you, regardless of your particular product, sales team, or industry? While it's very difficult to create a conversation out of nothing, especially when a product or service is inherently uninteresting, it's very easy to optimize a discussion so that it spreads throughout the social media landscape like wildfire.

Apply these three tactics to your next Twitter promotion, compare them against your past experiences, and realize how a few creative copywriting tweaks can enhance your social media ROI.

1) Learn to love the '…'

Add an ellipsis to the end of your tweets and you stand to experience a 20% increase in click-through traffic. This timeless tweak has been used by performance marketers for decades, both online and off. Whether you're tweeting a message or advertising a product on Adwords, this simple tweak can help you instantly increase the amount of readers who visit your linked page.

2) Use numbers, instructions, and summaries

Numbers catch the eye; instructions can increase involvement; and summaries attract users looking for information, particularly those who are looking to better understand a particular topic. These Twitter tricks were all mastered by copywriting professionals years ago, and they're still just as effective today. Use them if you’re not doing so already and you'll see an increase in traffic.

3) Get people scared, and promote distrust

In order to increase the amount of time that readers spend thinking about your product, it's important to project a situation where they wouldn’t normally be thinking about it. If you want to increase the sales of your pest removal product, remind readers about the dangers of bed bugs and how certain companies wouldn’t want you to know about these dangers – especially at around 11:30PM or right before bed time.

Got an investment to pitch? Promote fear in people by reminding them that others could get ahead of them if they choose not to leap at the opportunity. People respond to fear and distrust, even if it's minute and fairly inconsequential. Use 'fear words' in your tweets to draw in readers, and use your additional content to make them familiar with your brand, your company, and your product's advantages.

Three Tactics for Responding to Social Media Criticism

Social Media CriticismResponding to social media criticism is difficult – a short, punchy response can make you look too aggressive, while a reasoned response is often lost on an audience out for blood. In an age of Internet anonymity, people from all walks of life will spew whatever they want, wherever they want online no matter how it may affect those on the other side of the screen. This medium of communication, especially when it deals with businesses interacting with their customers, is a relatively new game that can seriously influence public perception. The process of analysing online feedback is now so important to major organizations that the United States Air Force has created a procedure for responding to bloggers, encouraging PR experts to only respond to comments in certain situations.

These three tactics can help you take on a social media criticism problem, particularly one that stands to damage your organization's reputation. If you've spent the last day staring at an angry blog post, a snarky column, or a rather rude comment, apply these tactics and judge its negative value before you craft a reply.

1) Ignorance is bliss, at least in the eyes of Google

As tempting as it may be to put a biased blogger in their place, doing so may cause more damage than you'd think. Blog posts, like other dynamic pages, tend to gain PageRank and search visibility through the work of their readers. Inbound links, comments, and activity can all contribute to high search placements, often for terms that you'd rather not see attached to your company's name. Simply ignoring these negative posts will make it less likely that they meet the eyes of more readers.

2) Some people just aren't rational; resist the temptation to use reason

A reasoned response should be enough, right? Often it's not, particularly on blogs that earn their keep through generating (and capitalizing on) controversy. If you're being picked on by a gossip blog or questionable online publisher, leave the event to die out on its own. A response, however reasoned and valuable, might just provide more fuel for the hungry critics. The more attention you give them, the more they’ll feel that what they’re doing is working.

3) Think in terms of value. Will a response help your business?

Some marketers think that more is always good. They're wrong, especially when it comes to content that's steeped in controversy. You should only ever respond to public criticism when it could change your business, especially for the worst. If the audience appears to have made up their minds without any input from your business, leave them be and focus on developing value elsewhere. Genuine complaints from reasonable people do happen however and clearing these up can greatly improve your image.

Professional Branding Tips for the Job Hunter

Professional Branding Tip - ImageHaving a professional brand is not a new concept for job hunters. It’s the image you present to potential employers wherever you are. In a competitive job market, it’s essential to build your own professional brand so that you will stand out from the rest of the pack and build a consistent reputation. Your brand will also help people remember who you are so that when they are asked if they know someone good for a job, you’ll be more likely to come to mind.

What Determines Your Professional Brand?

There are four key elements that make up the image and brand you present to the public:

1. What you look like. This includes the clothes you wear, your features, your haircut, your cleanliness, and your makeup (if you wear any). No matter what anyone tells you, people do judge a book by its cover.

2. How you behave. Your behavior is demonstrated through things like your personality, the way you speak, any mannerisms you exhibit (such as twirling your hair), the way you smile (or not), the way you shake someone’s hand, and other actions and statements that demonstrate your values.

3. What you know. Your education gives some indication of what you know. But people will be primarily looking at the skills, knowledge and talent that you possess when assessing your professional brand.

4. How you are different. Your professional brand must include anything that demonstrates how you are different from others. Potential employers are always looking at how you would add value to their company.

Where Will People See Your Professional Brand?

You exhibit your professional brand everywhere, both online and offline, in everything you do. Online, you find your brand reflected in search engine results, social media, any blogs you write for, photos of yourself, or any articles you’ve written. Whether good or bad, your brand is also reflected wherever someone mentions your name.

Offline, you demonstrate your personal brand in any face to face encounters with people. For example, in networking lunches, business meetings, interviews or casual introductions people give you. Anywhere you are mentioned or shown in print, or any offline publications you’ve done will also help build your brand.

Tips for Building the Professional Brand You Want

Here are a few tips that will help you build and maintain the type of professional image and brand that you want potential employers to see:

• Plug your name into the major search engines and see what results come up. You’ll need to make an effort to move good stuff up the rankings and the not-so-good down the list where people are less likely to find them. You can do this by adding more content to the sites you want to appear. If possible, you can even delete some things, though it might take time to disappear.

• Keep your personal life private. Check the privacy filters on anything you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see. Wherever possible, keep personal information offline, unless it is relevant or helps build the image you want.

• Practice your elevator speech. Think about what your main skills and knowledge are and how you add value for an employer. Put that into a short 1 minute blurb and practice saying it out loud. You often only get a minute to make an impression when networking, so you need to spark an interest as fast as possible without giving a sales pitch.

• Use the same professional photo. Wherever you need to upload or supply a photo of yourself, try to make it the same one. If necessary, get a professional one taken. Whatever you do, take down that photo on your Facebook profile of you and the gang partying on the beach.

• Be active on social media, or stay away. Social media and blogs are all about the interaction and social element. If you’re not going to be active on these sites, don’t be there at all and don’t have a profile there. While it’s important to show up online, it’s better to not be there than to seem apathetic by posting once or twice and then disappearing for weeks at a time.

• Educate yourself consistently. Stay up to date on what is going on in your industry and the world in general. Read the top blogs and publications in your industry, watch the news, read the latest hot business book, etc.

• Do your research. Whenever you are scheduled to have a networking meeting or interview, make sure you have done your research into the company in advance. Demonstrate your knowledge and interest.

The internet has made it easier than ever to establish your own professional brand. However, it is just as easy to project a bad image of yourself as a good one. Work on building a consistent professional brand that is visible to potential employers both online and offline. It can help you stand out from the crowd and land that ideal job much faster.

The Top 7 Time Management Tactics of Successful Internet Marketers

The Top 7 Time Management Tactics - ImageThe really successful internet marketers seem to get so much done in a small amount of time. To some degree, that's because they are doing the same thing over and over and they have it down to a science. However, they also follow some tried and true time management tactics to stay focused and make the most of every minute. Here are 7 top time management tips that will help you get more done every day, leading you to the success you deserve.

Tip 1. Schedule Your Work

Whether you are working on your business full time, part time, or sporadically, make sure you set aside specific time each day or week to focus on work. Put your personal life into a separate compartment that you can open at a different time in the day.

Tip 2. Chunk Everything

Break down your work into tasks and priorities for each day. You should identify 3 key things you want to accomplish that day, plus minor tasks that come second.

Tip 3. Time Yourself

It’s amazing how much faster you can work if you know you have a time limit. Allow yourself about 20 to 30 minutes to complete a specific task. Then use a timer to keep yourself honest. You’ll spend less time perfecting every little detail and more time just getting everything done. A kitchen timer works perfectly, or you can use a timer app or alarm on your smart phone or computer.

Tip 4. Go With Your Rhythms

Most people have a specific time of day when they are most productive and focused. Take advantage of your best time of day and schedule the work that requires your highest concentration for then.

Tip 5. Make a List

Creating a list of tasks is akin to developing an action plan. At the beginning of the week, preferably Sunday night, make a list of priority tasks that you need to complete by the end of the week. Put them in a logical order based on how big a difference they will make to the growth of your business. Also consider whether there are other people or tasks that depend on whether you get your part done.

Tip 6. Keep Your Momentum

Some people find it most effective to set aside specific types of tasks for different days of the week to take advantage of the momentum they gain focusing on one item. For example, do your keyword research on Mondays, email list building on Tuesdays, product development on Wednesdays, etc.

Tip 7. Put on Blinders

Block out everything except the task you need to get done. Shut down or close any other windows or applications except the one you’re working on. The elimination of distractions alone will help you get more done in a short space of time.

While not every one of these tactics will work for everyone, they are the top proven ones used by successful marketers. You'll hear them being recommended over and over again. That's because they work.