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The Lightbulb Podcast

Join Guernsey girl, Martine, for a weekly creative chat where she shares resources, actionable ideas and the occasional knowledge bomb (!) This podcast is for artists, makers and creative business owners interested in marketing, social media, business and technology. The Lightbulb Podcast is available to download and subscribe to in iTunes and other podcast directories.
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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 18, 2016

The one where I chat to Nicole Murphy from learntoloveemail.com about email marketing.

I’d normally do a transcript for podcast show notes. However, it’s a bit tricky when there are two people talking (my dictation software doesn’t like it). Therefore today’s show notes are a bit shorter than normal.

Welcome

In today’s episode, I interview Nicole Murphy from learntoloveemail.com. We’re talking email marketing.

Links Mentioned

Why is Email Important to Small Business Owners?

You own those email addresses. What happens if social media went away tomorrow?

It’s not as scary or intimidating as you might think.

Top Tips For Getting Started With Email Marketing

  1. Start collecting email addresses.
  2. Get a platform (MailChimp and Convertkit are recommended options).
  3. Send that first email… don’t overthink it. Just send!
  4. Try sending different types of emails (newsletters, glimpses behind the scenes, etc).
  5. Start using automation such as an automatic welcome email when people subscribe.

Takeaways

  • A small, engaged email list is way better than a large unresponsive list. It’s not about the numbers.
  • Learn from other people’s email newsletters. Don’t copy – but learn.
  • Keep an eye on those unsubscribes – if the number gets too high then it’s a good idea to assess the reasons.
  • If you are using a giveaway to grow your list make sure your prize is really targeted in order to keep entrants on your list.
  • Collect emails now!
Nov 11, 2016

The one where I reminisce about my blogging journey and share what I’ve learned.

(Transcript alert – this is an approximate transcript of the episode. It’s how I talk, not how I write!)

Welcome

Hello and welcome to episode 22 of the Creative Me podcast. In today’s episode, I’m going to reminisce about my blogging journey and share what I’ve learned to help new bloggers.

Before I start, I just want to let you know that I have created an exciting resource library on my blog and it’s available to anyone who is a member of my VIP email list. If you would like to access a wide range of really useful resources, for example, my blog and podcast checklists, as well as my e-book about productivity, The Quick and Dirty Guide to Getting Stuff Done, hop over to martineellis.com and sign up for my VIP email list. I’ll email you your password, and you can access a very cool library of resources.

My Blogging Journey

In preparation for this episode, I started thinking about how long I’ve been blogging for, and it turns out it well over 10 years.

My first public blog was actually about exercise. It was a training blog for my first London Marathon. It was an amazing experience of blogging community because it was part of a larger exercise website. They had a blogging platform built into their website so the result of that was I had really good engagement from other people training for their first marathon.

That was my first experience of blogging, and it was a fantastic one because I got so many comments and so much encouragement and also my friends and family who were supporting me during my training all checked in to my blog from time to time to see how I was getting on.

Fairly soon after that, I was bitten by the blogging bug. I was developing a handmade craft -related business so for a very large chunk of time after that,my blogging activities focused on handmade crafts, in particular knitting. I was also doing the iMake podcast at that time so those two activities intertwined beautifully.

That brings me to my blog of today at martineellis.com where I blog about small business, creativity and technology.

So, I’ve been blogging online for over 10 years, but when I was thinking about my blogging journey, I also remembered that as a teenager, for a number of years, I kept a diary. I wonder if keeping a diary was almost like a preparation for blogging. I wonder how many bloggers out there kept diaries as teens.

The blogging landscape has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. When I think about my first experience of blogging, my motivation for writing was simply that I wanted accountability and encouragement. I wanted to share my journey of training for my very first London Marathon. I didn’t give two hoots about search engine optimisation. I didn’t share my blog posts on social media. It was very different to where many bloggers are today

Top Tips

What I’d like to do now is share some top tips with you. These are things I wish someone had told me when I started blogging.

What Do You Want From Your Blog?

The most important thing to work out when you’re starting a new blog is what you want to get from your blog. I’m working on the basis that, at the very least, you want readers. If you’re putting yourself out there, I am assuming you want people to see.

But are you wanting to get an income from your blog? Are you wanting to review products and get free stuff sent to you? Do you want to build a business off the back of your blog?

If you work this out it will shape your approach to blogging clearly.

Allocate a Blogging Budget

If possible, allocate a small budget to your blog. I appreciate that this isn’t always possible for people, but I very much see a blog is an investment. So, rather than starting with a free platform like Blogger or Tumblr I would recommend a Squarespace blog.

That’s where I wish I’d started. I started with a free platform, but if you are in a position to invest, start with Squarespace. There is a small learning curve, but it’s certainly easier than going the WordPress.org route.

Most people will recommend you start with WordPress.org where possible but frankly, for me, it was just too technical.

I actually started on a free platform, WordPress.com, then moved to WordPress.org, freaked out that it was too technical, then went to Squarespace. I was very happy with Squarespace for a number of years and, only when I was confident with my technical skills, did I move back to WordPress.org.

Tag Line

Next, I would suggest you come up with a one-liner explaining the purpose of your blog.

We’ve talked about what you want to get from blogging, but now consider your reader; what are they going to get from your blog?

If you can describe this in one line, it becomes the tagline for your blog. If ever you feel your direction is a bit confused, go back to your one-liner.

I think a tagline for for a blog is really important and it will also come in handy when you start marketing your blog.

Who is Your Audience?

Your next step is to work out exactly who your audience is. Perhaps go a step further and design your ideal audience member – your audience avatar.

Who are they? What do they do? What are they interested in?

If you can do this, you will always write engaging content for your blog because you’ll be pitching it at that audience member.

Style Matters

Something that I’ve only worked out fairly recently is that having a cohesive style and brand on your website is really important. I’m sad to say that looks really matter when it comes to blogging. We do judge a book by its cover!

One way to do this is by creating a style guide for your blog. It’s a document that outlines exactly how you present and share things visually. I’m excited to let you know that I’m working on a mini course on creating a style guide for your blog at the moment. It will be a free course so keep an eye out for it on martineellis.com. Sign up to my VIP email list I will send you an email when it’s available.

Be Strategic

My last top tip is to be strategic and organised. Set up an editorial calendar; map out when you can do blog posts. Use checklists so you have a consistent approach to creating a blog post .

It will make all the difference – people really notice consistency.

Wrap Up

That’s all from me today. Feel free to leave comments on the show notes or chat to me on Twitter martineeellis. Thanks for tuning in – I hope you’ll join me next week.

Nov 5, 2016

The one where share strategies for managing my learning obsession.

Welcome

Hello, and welcome to the show.

It’s so great to be back. I took a couple of weeks off to do some administrative tasks. I’m working on updating the previous episodes of the podcast, so the show notes are more of a transcript. Confession time: I got a couple done, but not all of them. So, I think what I will do is set myself the goal of updating one episode a week, over the next few months, and hopefully everything will get done.

On the subject of setting goals, today’s episode is all about managing your learning.

My Learning Obsession

Hello, my name is Martine, and I am obsessed with learning… which is just as well because I spend half the week working as a teacher.

I’m constantly hungry for new information. There is such an amazing plethora of information out there that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed.

Surely I can’t be alone? There’s got to be other people out there like me.

I love courses, e-books, free online resources. I love going to the library. Anything I can watch, read or listen to… I want it! Are you the same as me, I wonder?

Strategies for Managing Your Learning Obsession

Due to this [very positive and productive] obsession, I’ve been forced to come up with strategies for managing my learning. And that’s what I’d like to share with you in today’s episode.

Here are three, perhaps four, ways to keep on top of things.

Get Pocket

The first tip is to use a free app called Pocket. Pocket is a “read it later” app.

I use Pocket mainly in my browser via a Chrome extension. There are also mobile apps so, depending on how you consume content, you can use Pocket pretty much anywhere online.

The reason pocket is helpful for managing your learning is that it allows you to defer your learning. If you’re in the middle of a task, for example, you’re researching something, and you get distracted by an unrelated blog post, you can send it to your Pocket. Instapaper is an alternative “read it later” app.

Schedule Learning

My second tip is to schedule a time to consume all this content. It is far more organised to consume content in specific time blocks than to be distracted by it. Your learning will be better, and you will be more productive.

Log Your Learning

The next tip is to use a project management system to log and manage everything you’re consuming that doesn’t go into Pocket, for example, e-books and online courses.

I manage all of this is through my project management tool of choice Trello.

Have a look at my public Learning Trello board below. You can copy this version to your Trello board by clicking the button below the screenshot.

trello-learning-board

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Use Audio

Audio is my favourite way to consume content because it’s efficient.

Podcasts are great – there is an incredible range of podcasts relating to your niche that can help you learn. You just need to look for them.

I love listening to audiobooks. I have some fiction on the go but also some non-fiction, with an educational emphasis, so I get the best of both worlds.

If you’ve not listened to an audiobook before, give Audible a try. And perhaps join my online book club!

Wrap Up

That’s all from me today. Feel free to leave comments on the show notes or chat to me on Twitter martineeellis. Thanks for tuning in – I hope you’ll join me next week.

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