The one where I share my first impressions of Facebook Live and challenge you to give it a try.
Hello. It’s Martine here. Welcome to Episode 29 of the Creative Me podcast. Today I’m talking to you about Facebook Live. I’ve got a little bit of a disclaimer before I start talking about Facebook Live: I am a newbie. I’ve only live-streamed twice. However, I thought it was a good idea to record my thoughts from a newbie’s point of view and share with you some of the things that I’ve learned through doing just two livestreams. Without further ado, let’s get started.
It’s a live video streaming service unsurprisingly based on Facebook. You can stream live for up to four hours on Facebook. I’ve not seen any streams that are quite that long, but it’s good to know. Most of the streams I’ve seen so far have been 10 to 30 minutes. That seems like a really good length.
You can live-stream from profile pages, groups and Facebook pages. One of the best things about Facebook Live when you compare it to similar options, for example, Snapchat and Instagram Live, is that the replay of your Facebook livestream is available straight afterwards and it doesn’t disappear. For me, that is absolutely fantastic, and it means the majority of my livestreaming moving forward will most likely take place on Facebook.
Instagram Live, as far as I’m aware, hasn’t hit the UK yet, but it’s going to any minute. I might have a bit of a play with it; but if like Snapchat, the replay disappears after 24 hours or whatever the time is, I don’t see myself spending as much time there as I will on Facebook Live.
Let me tell you a bit about my experience. I did two livestreams in my private Facebook group. This is The Light Bulb Club, which you are very welcome to request to join. The group has approximately 80 members at the moment. For me, it felt like a safe environment to do my first couple of livestreams.
Actually, on reflection now, I don’t think I’ll be streaming anywhere else. I’m not sure I’ll be streaming on my Facebook page because the interaction in my group is so much better.
In The Light Bulb Club group, I talked about Pinterest for the first stream and social media automation for the second. Both streams were a response to topics that had been discussed in my Facebook group, so I was responding directly to issues my members were experiencing. For my first couple of streams, that was a really good approach because specifically, the individuals who started the conversation about those issues were pleased I had taken the time to reply to them live.
If you run your own Facebook group and you’re struggling to think about what you could stream live, then have a look at what your members are discussing. Pick a few key topics and talk about those if you can. I’m really pleased that I approached my first livestreams in that way because it seemed to help the interaction.
I’ll be honest, not many people tuned in live. My group is still fairly small in comparison to others. A few did, and it was really nice to see them. A lot of people watched the replay. My streams were about 10 minutes long if I remember correctly. They aren’t a huge time commitment. I was pretty chuffed with the numbers on the replay. People left comments and asked questions and things like that, so the interaction was great.
The first thing is to get started straight away. I must admit I picked this tip up from someone else so I was quite conscious of doing this in the first instance, but nevertheless, I wanted to share it with you. Because a lot of people will catch your stream on the replay, it’s pretty boring watching someone waiting to be joined live. Just get started. Even if you’ve got nobody watching you, get started straight away.
After that, introduce yourself. This is something I don’t think I did on the first livestream. Say hello, explain who you are and what you’re going to talk about, which leads me on to my next point…
I didn’t plan rigorously for my two livestreams. I like the spontaneity of it. However, I did have a couple of bullet points. I knew what I wanted to talk about.
Possibly one of the most important things I learned from my Facebook Live experience was it’s not as scary as you think it’s going to be. I’ll be honest I was petrified. I really was. Sometimes you’ve just got to get outside your comfort zone and have a go. That’s exactly what I did, and it was nowhere near as bad as I expected.
Also, I watched back the replay, and I never watch myself on video. It was all right. I wasn’t shocked or horrified, and it made me want to do more. I definitely will be doing more Facebook Live because I enjoyed it. I can’t believe I’m saying that. I enjoyed being on video. That’s not strictly true. I enjoyed the interaction with my followers.
A big learning curve for me was that you need good wifi, you need a decent connection to stream live, and my wifi connection is rubbish. I am shortly upgrading to super-fast broadband, so that will help enormously. My poor wifi connection meant that Facebook wasn’t actually that keen on me going live, but I did anyway. The broadcast cut out a little bit. That would be frustrating for anyone watching live. Thankfully on the replay, it was just a very brief pause, but I am aware that’s an issue, and it’s something I’m going to fix ASAP.
I’ve already mentioned the interaction, but for me, that’s one of the best things about being on video and being live. The interaction is fantastic.
Another top tip is I’ve realised it’s a very good idea to tell people in advance that you’re going to be streaming live. If you’re in a Facebook group or on a page, put a little message up saying when you’re going to be streaming, what you’re going to be streaming about and what time and day it’s going to be. When you explain the time, don’t forget to include the time zone.
When you set up your Facebook Live post, you have the opportunity to include a description of what you’re going to be talking about. Make that as catchy as possible, check in some Emojis if you like. That will help people engage with your stream.
When people join you live, respond to them. Say hello. Answer questions.
When you reach the end of your livestream, I recommend you make it clear that you’re wrapping things up, have a final thing that you say. For me, it would be something like “I hope you tune in next time I’m live streaming,” something like that.
Another learning point for me, and I’ve only just found this out, is you can customise who sees the video. There’s a little dropdown box. If you want to make your video totally public, you can. Mine defaults to just people in my group, and I’m quite happy with that.
Finally, something I discovered today is that live video ranks high on news feeds. The replay doesn’t rank so high; but when you’re live, it will be high on people’s news feeds, and that’s great.
If I haven’t convinced you to answer the question why should you be using Facebook Live, I would say it’s quick, you have to do minimal preparation, and it is fantastic for engaging with your followers. People like to see your face, and they like to be able to engage with you live.
If you’re struggling to think what you could broadcast about, I have a few ideas. You could do a Q&A type session; an ask me anything. You could collect questions in advance if you wanted to when you advertise your livestream in your group or on your page. You could demonstrate something. Like me, you could answer a specific question. You could interview someone, or you could perform. If you’re an artist or a musician, you could perform something. Those are just a few ideas to get you started on Facebook Live.
I’m about to wrap things up. Before I go, I challenge you to try Facebook Live. I challenge you. Do let me know how you get along. I am willing to promise you it is not as scary as you think it’s going to be. Let me know how you get on.
Thanks so much for tuning in to today’s episode. I really hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you’ll tune in next time.
The one where I look at why selling feels gross and share strategies to help you get over it.
Hello and welcome to episode 28 of the Creative Me podcast. Today we are talking about selling. Yes, sales. It doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Be prepared for a bit of tough love in this episode.
I imagine you’ve got a product or service for sale if you’re listening to this podcast. You need to sell because, if you don’t sell, you are not going to make money. Businesses are businesses because they make money. If you’re not planning to make money from your business, I hate to I hate to tell you this, but you don’t have a business. So making money is quite important.
Why, oh why, does selling feels so gross? Is it actually possible to sell something without feeling disgusting?
Let’s unpick this a little bit.
If I say the word “sales”… what do you think? What do you see? I think of words like pushy, discomfort and lies. All negative words – I suspect you are the same.
Selling doesn’t have to be unpleasant, pushy or dishonest.
The main aim of today’s show is to reframe the word “selling”. I want you to start thinking about selling as helping.
In order to start thinking this way, you need to truly believe in the product or service you are selling.
Ideally, your product or service will solve a problem and if it doesn’t solve a problem, then it will make your customers’ lives better.
People who sometimes struggle with this concept are artists; people who create beautiful things. This is because, quite often, a beautiful thing doesn’t solve a problem. But a beautiful thing does enrich someone’s life and it can help them become the person they aspire to be.
So you’re nodding your head at this point… but you still feel awkward selling your stuff.
My question to you is this: what’s wrong with your stuff? What’s wrong with your product or service? I suspect your discomfort is down to some fear surrounding your product or service. If this is the case, get feedback from a peer in your niche (not a family member). Review your offering and make it better.
Next question: why are you focusing on your feelings? You should be thinking about your customer. Find out what their needs are and give them what they need (selling is helping).
You can sell through teaching. Give your customers a lot of free value – give first, then ask. By doing this you establish authority and develop relationships. Remember people only buy from people the know, like and trust.
When you are ready to sell/help, focus on the benefits of your product rather than the features. In marketing circles, this is referred to as selling “the sizzle not the sausage”.
Selling done well doesn’t feel horrible; certainly not to the person on the receiving end. In fact, people usually love buying stuff.
People don’t like being sold to in the way we described at the start of this episode. However, people do like it when their problems are solved. They also want to be offered the chance to become a better version of themselves.
If selling is helping, the relationship with your customer does not end as soon as the sale is over. Care for your customer after the sale.
Please let me know your thoughts on selling in one of the following ways:
The one where I explain how I have planned my blog and podcast content this year, and how you can do it too.
Hello, and welcome to episode 27 a the Creative Me podcast. Before we get started with today’s show, I’ve got two things to mention.
The first is that I’ve started a brand-new Facebook group. It’s a closed group, so you have to do ask to be added to the group, but if you ask, I will add you, so do go ahead and ask!
The group is called The Light Bulb Club and it’s aimed at creative business owners, entrepreneurs and bloggers. It’s a safe space to talk about the challenges you face in your business, ask for feedback and advice, and share all the good stuff. So please do join us there. I did my first Facebook live stream in the group yesterday, so I’m hoping to share lots and lots of value with you.
In other news, I’ve launched a brand-new service this week called Fast Feedback for Busy Bloggers. It is a blog feedback service so basically what happens is, if you are a blogger wanting to improve your blog, you contact me. I send you a questionnaire to find out exactly what you are looking to improve. Then I take a look at your blog and give you feedback. I video the whole process, so you get to see me as a new-ish visitor to your blog navigating it talking about areas for development.
You get lifetime access to the video; it will be a minimum of 15 minutes worth of feedback. I also follow it up with an action plan and links to resources I mention in the video. You can also have an email exchange with me to ask any questions about the feedback that I’ve provided (just in case you require any clarification or have more questions).
OK let’s get on with the show. Today I’m talking to you about planning content. I’ll be honest it’s not the sexiest subject in the world, but this year I have made an extra special effort to plan all the content I produce, and I am already noticing the benefits. So I thought I’d share what I’ve done with you.
This episode is for content producers – people who produce visual, written or audio content (e.g. bloggers, podcasters, video makers etc).
My two main forms of content are blog posts and podcast episodes. While I handle them separately, I approach them both in the same way. This is how I did it:
I worked out how many times a week I wanted to release a blog post and a podcast episode. I decided one blog post and one podcast episode a week was achievable.
Now, I’m normally a digital girl, but for this part of my process I used a massive whiteboard annual planner (like this). I put the dates on and then I added week numbers so I could plan on a week-by-week basis. I allocated the day of the week that I produce a podcast and write a blog post (with wiggle room). Fridays are for podcasts and Sundays for blog posts.
After that, it was time for an epic brain dump of content topic ideas.
Initially, I did this on a whiteboard, and then I started bringing those ideas across into my content calendar in Trello. I have a separate list for blog and podcast ideas. Bringing the ideas from the whiteboard to Trello allowed me to refine them a little.
At this stage, I’m not coming up with a proper headline; I’m just putting the essence of the idea down.
With very little effort I was able to come up with a good 30 or 40 topics that could either work as blog posts or podcast episodes or indeed both.
After I had got these topic ideas down in my brain dump area, I started assigning them to specific weeks.
Again, I refined titles a little, but they still aren’t the final article. I always run my blog and podcast titles through Coschedule’s Headline Analyser to ensure they are SEO friendly etc.
In Trello, I created a card for each week number then added the topic idea.
When you go through this process, bear in mind any seasonal topics you might cover – perhaps build these out first.
I planned half the year’s blog posts and podcast episodes for a quarter. This seemed sensible. My blog content is more evergreen whereas my podcast topics tend to respond to things going on at the time.
In a couple months’ time I will do another ideas session another brain dump and start planning another couple of months worth of topics.
However you approach planning content, keeping a repository (whether it’s online or in paper format) for ideas is essential.
When I have published a planned blog post or podcast episode I move it into my “published” list and assign a date to it, so I can see my progress
That’s it from me today. Do let me know how you are planning your content – I’d love to hear from you.
Also, don’t forget to join The Light Bulb Club
Thanks for listening.
***Grab your free Trello content calendar template here: martineellis.com/27***
The one where I bust the Inbox Zero myth and share actionable strategies for mastering your email inbox.
Hello and welcome to episode 26 of the Creative Me podcast.
First things first, if I sound a little bit croaky today, I’ve been suffering from a cold and sore throat, so you’ve got the husky version of Martine today! Not an ideal way to start 2017, nevertheless I’m powering through, and I’m not going to let it stop me achieving everything I have planned for this month and the months to come.
Because it’s the start of a brand-new year, I thought it would be a good idea to focus today’s episode on productivity; specifically the concept of Inbox Zero. It’s not a myth; it is a real thing, but it’s not necessarily what you think it is.
Most people think Inbox Zero is JUST about having an empty email inbox. That’s not exactly true. The creator of the Inbox Zero concept, Merlin Mann, explains:
“It’s about how to reclaim your email, your attention, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many messages are in your inbox – it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.”
Inbox Zero is all about the process you use to manage your email inbox.
It is possible to completely fake Inbox Zero. I heard this referred to once as “declaring email bankruptcy”. You could go through your inbox and delete everything, working on the basis that if something super urgent, they’ll email you again.
But this isn’t Inbox Zero because in a matter of days your inbox will fill up again and you’re going to be in the same situation that you were last time. Clearly, this isn’t a sustainable way to get on top of your emails.
I’ll elaborate on these issues (particularly number 4) in a future blog post.
To start the Inbox Zero process, you are going to need to dedicate some time having a big clean up of your inbox. You’re going to have to start with a reasonably blank slate to implement a new process and to make a success of it.
Here’s how to do your clean up:
You only need one archive folder; you don’t need different folders for different topics. The search function on most email programs now is powerful enough to help you locate any archived email you need quickly and easily.
The emails left in your inbox now are those which require action. Leave them there for now.
This is a side note, but bearing in mind your email inbox is not a task manager, you do need to have a separate to-do list system. Options include:
To complete your email processing system, you need to set up two more subfolders (you already have ARCHIVE). These are REPLY and WAITING.
Here’s an explanation of what each folder is for:
The two-minute timeframe is really important to explain. When you are processing your inbox, I encourage you to apply the two-minute rule. If you have an email that will take two minutes or less to deal with, you may as well deal with it there and then because it’s going yo take you longer than two minutes to process it.
Check out the diagram outlining the Inbox Zero workflow at the end of this post.
Feel free to share your productivity hacks with me via Twitter (martineeellis) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The one where I share my theme for the year, along with some top tips for achieving your goals in 2017.
Hello and welcome to episode 25 of the Creative Me podcast.
I have three important words for you: happy new year! It’s New Year’s Day; the first day of 2017, and I thought I take the opportunity to record a happy New Year message.
I’m going to give you some top tips for sticking to your goals for the year. I’m also going to share my theme for the year with you – that’s the main show topic.
If you are on my email list, you’ve probably heard what my theme word is already, but I just wanted to explain a bit more about it and encourage you to set a word for your year as well.
If one of your goals for your business this year is to increase the size of your email list I encourage you to check out listgoal.com. It is a Chrome extension that talks to most major email service providers. I am not going to tell you too much about it now, as this is going to be a short episode. However, if growing your list is important to you, and you use Google Chrome, this extension will help you enormously. I’ve been using it for the past few weeks, and it is helping.
My second top tip is to get an accountability buddy.
I’ve talked about my accountability partner, Jo, a few times on the podcast (check out episode 2 Group Hugs Optional). If you need some help achieving your aims, I can’t tell you how important having somebody keeping you accountable is. Ideally, it will be someone who understands your struggles but will kick your ass when needed.
Tip number three: find the project management tool, or list tool, that makes tracking your goals and breaking them down into tiny chunks easy.
I love Workflowy and Trello. They serve two different purposes for me. Trello is my project management tool and Workflowy is my list/brain dump/trusted place.
These systems might not work for you. Perhaps you are an Asana person. Whatever your tool, find it and use it to track and achieve your goals.
My final top tip and the theme of this particular episode is set a word for your year. A theme word.
My word is identity.
Early in 2016, I was exploring a new niche; I was re-training in surface pattern design. I knew I needed to niche down and focus on one thing to become recognised for it. So I picked a niche and went for it.
I loved it and still love it, and see it as part of my future, but it turns out it wasn’t the right niche for my business. I had some success designing fabric and launched successful stationery subscription box.
But it was not the right niche for me. I had a massive learning curve to conquer with surface pattern design. If you are going to be selling products, iterating and learning in public isn’t the best way to go.
I’m still passionate about surface pattern design. I’m still keeping up my illustrations in my spare time, but it’s not what I’m focussing on as my business.
I am now focused writing and blogging. I really want to help people become better writers and bloggers and to conquer their fear of technology when it comes to getting their message out.
Going back to my theme of identity for 2017: it’s about establishing my business identity and ensuring people know who I am and what I do. That way, I can help the right people.
I think the word identity also stretches into my personal life a little bit. 2016 has been a bit on the rough side (I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me), but I’ve had some back problems, so I’ve been in a lot of pain pretty much on a daily basis. I’ve not been able to exercise. My painkillers have made me exhausted, and I’ve piled on the pounds.
However, I’ve put some steps in place for 2017 to make all of that a lot better. Health and wellbeing will be a key focus of 2017, and it will come before everything. I think that feeds into identity – being the best version of yourself.
Initially, I set my word for the year just for my business then I realised that it flows into my personal life as well.
Will you consider setting a word for your year? If you do, have it prominently displayed on your screensaver, mobile phone wallpaper, your office wall – anywhere you will see it often.
Anytime you need to make a decision about anything think about your one word. Decisions should align with your word.
That’s it for me today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this short and sweet episode.
By the way, I am thinking about starting a Facebook group – what do you think?
Thanks for listening, I hope you’ll tune in next week.