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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: February, 2017
Feb 26, 2017

The one where I pick Elna Cain's brain about writing for the web.

Some of the Links Mentioned

Elna's Top Tips for Writing for the Web

  1. Know your audience - who are you writing for? Ask them what they want.
  2. Find your voice - again, remember who you are writing for.
  3. It's not "all about you" - write for your reader. Help them.
  4. Topics that work: "how to" posts, authentic writing (share your mistakes), round-ups and lists. 
  5. Headlines - use power words (eg the worst, genius, hacks, secret) and test them.
  6. SEO - use Pinterest initially for researching keywords.
  7. Make reading your post a nice experience by using clear formatting and white space.
"Don't compare your chapter one to someone else's chapter twenty" - Elna Cain
Feb 18, 2017

The one where I attempt to answer the question “does social media automation kill authenticity?”

Welcome

Hello and welcome to episode 32 of the Creative Me podcast.

Before we get started, I have a little bit of housekeeping. I’m using new audio recording software today, so if there are any problems or anything you wish to let me know about the audio quality for this episode, please don’t hesitate to make contact. I’ll make any necessary adjustments. You can email me on martine@martineellis.com. Thank you.

Now let’s get on with the episode.

Today’s topic was inspired by a really interesting conversation I saw, and participated in, in The Lightbulb Club, my Facebook group (thelightbulb.club).

The person who started the conversation was Amy and her question was “does social media automation kill authenticity?” This was such a great question and there were some brilliant things discussed off the back of it. So in this episode, I really wanted to share my thoughts and also perhaps get you thinking about your answer to the question.

Does social media automation kill authenticity? Listen for my thoughts... martineellis.com/32CLICK TO TWEET

What is Authenticity?

But before we start, let’s think about what authenticity on social media is. For me, it’s my voice. I don’t necessarily mean my speaking voice, I mean my writing voice, my opinion, my feelings.

Actually, I think one of the reasons I enjoy podcasting so much is because for me to use my (actual) voice is as authentic as I can be.  It’s very difficult not to be your authentic self when you’re talking to a microphone.

Why Should You Be Authentic?

Well if you aren’t, you’ll get found out, and people don’t like that.

Putting my business hat on, we want to be authentic on social media so people develop a relationship with us. We want to create trust.

I’m sure I’ve said many times before, business hat on, people only buy products or services from people they know, like and trust. That’s one very good reason to be authentic.

The Time Issue

There is a problem, though, and this is where automation comes in. One of the biggest problems of establishing a really authentic presence on social media is time. It takes forever. That’s why we need help in the form of automation.

Now you know me, I love a bit of productivity chat as much as the next person, so I do think automation is a good idea, but it must be balanced with your authentic voice on social media.

What Others Say

Think of automation not as autopilot, but as cruise control. It takes care of the daily busywork which gives you the freedom to concentrate on the things that really matter – meetedgar.com

Automation should be used for the boring repetitive stuff, making it more accurate and leaving more time for the ‘value-added’ stuff that only a human can do well – Jane (Lightbulb Club member)

Things You Cannot Authentically Automate

Jane is bang on here because there are certain things you just can’t automate. You can’t automate conversation on Twitter or Facebook (or wherever you tend to live on social media).

Things You Can Authentically Automate

Distributing Your Own Content

What you can automate is the distribution of your blog and/or podcast content. On certain platforms you should distribute your content more than once, so for example, on Twitter, I always post my most recent podcast four or five times over the course of a week. This is because there is so much on Twitter it is easy for people to miss that particular post.

I don’t do this on Instagram. I only post once on Instagram and I post a couple of times on Facebook (but a lot less than I would do on Twitter). For me, it just makes sense to automate that particular process because, well, who’s got time to sit there and share this content again and again? I certainly don’t. I really want to be driving traffic to my blog and podcast episodes because that is my authentic voice. The key is definitely balance.

Repeating Posts

I automate the repeated discussion prompts in the Lightbulb Club because they are the same every week. We have a regular feature on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. I queue up the discussion prompts so I don’t forget and conversation can flow without me.

Distributing Evergreen Content

I’ve talked about Smarter Queue before. It basically allows you to recycle your evergreen blog content (or links, or quotes, or whatever it is you want to share a regular basis). I think is a good example of social media automation done well because I am distributing access to my authentic content on my blog and podcast and it would just take too much time to repeat those posts by hand.

What About Other People’s Content?

I have one more example of my own automation but it’s a bit controversial and I am not sure it is truly authentic. I’d love your input actually. I use a system called Quuu and it is a paid service. I got a really good deal on AppSumo so I didn’t pay a huge amount of money for it.

What Quuu does is it curates top-quality popular content in line with a number of themes that you’ve chosen (e.g. writing, blogging, social media – that sort of thing) and sends it to your Buffer. You have the option to check what Quuu has chosen for you, but honestly, I rarely do.

Is this an authentic use of automation? I am not sure. My followers seem to enjoy the content and engage with it, though.

What’s My Answer?

To answer the question “does social media automation kill authenticity?” my answer is “no… if you get the balance right”.

Manage Your Time

My lovely accountability partner, Jo, from the Shinybees podcast, dropped into the conversation and shared a little bit about her automation practices. She was very much was on the same page as me in terms of setting up automation to distribute your own authentic content. Then she sets time aside to drop into various social media platforms to engage off the back of that sharing. Jo said she spends something like 20 minutes a day doing this.

Your Thoughts?

Those are my thoughts on the topic – what about you? Let me know in the comments below or pop into The Lightbulb Club for a chat.

That’s all from me today I hope you enjoyed the episode thank you for tuning in and I hope you’ll tune in next time.

Feb 10, 2017

The one where I share seven quick and easy tips to help you be productive every single day.

Welcome

Hello, and welcome to episode 31 of the Creative Me podcast.

Today we’re talking productivity – one of my favourite subjects.

How to Be a Productivity Ninja

I’m listening to an audiobook at the moment called “How to Be a Productivity Ninja” by Graham Allcott. I feel confident the “ninja” word is used sarcastically…

One of the key things I’ve taken from this book is that Graham Allcott says time management is dead. He talks a lot about attention management. This really struck a chord with me.

It got me thinking about how I am very focused at certain points in the day, and other points, I’m not. Allcott talks about scheduling things that are going to take a lot of focus at those key points.

It makes a lot of sense.

Tips For Being Productive

Listening to this book got me thinking about some of the things I do to ensure I’m as productive as possible. Here are my seven tips for you:

  1. The whiteboard trick: I have a whiteboard in my office. When I try to focus on one specific project, but other ideas pop into my head, I grab a pen, write the thing that popped into my head onto the whiteboard and then carry on with the task. That way I remove the distraction from my head to deal with it later.
  2. Identify your MIT’s every day: MIT is not a new concept. It stands for most important task. I have three MITs a day maximum – these go on the whiteboard.
  3. Don’t work in complete silence: this is personal preference, but I find complete silence distracting (which I appreciate sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s true). I make use of a website called Focus@Will which gives a variety of different music options to help me concentrate. A free option, and it’s one I’ve mentioned before, is Coffitivity, which gives you the noise of a coffee shop. There are also lots of mobile apps which create white noise too.
  4. Work in short, focused bursts: this relates to what I said at the very start of the episode about identifying the points in the day where you’ve got the most focus.  Schedule your your more complex tasks then. Also, use the Pomodoro Technique.
  5. Don’t use your email inbox to manage your tasks: it’s not a task manager it’s an inbox for your emails! If you’d like to know more about this check out podcast episode 26 What Inbox Zero Really Is and How to Do It.
  6. Change location: this one works for me if I’m stuck in a rut and feeling distracted. I just grab my laptop going to a café with free Wi-Fi. If you are struggling to focus, consider changing locations (even if it’s just a different place in your home or office).
  7. Tidy your workspace: psychologically this seems to makes such a difference. There is a practical element too – you don’t waste productive, focussed time searching for things you need.

Over to You

Now it’s over to you. I’d love to hear from you. Join my private Facebook group, The Lightbulb Club, and let’s talk productivity.

Wrap Up

Thanks for listening.

Feb 3, 2017

The one where I start from the very beginning with email marketing and do a little jargon busting. Funnel, anyone?

Welcome

Hello and welcome to episode 30 of the Creative Me podcast; it’s great to have you with me.

Today I’m going to be talking about email marketing. This is not the first time email marketing has made an appearance on the Creative Me podcast. In episode 23 I interviewed email marketing expert Nicole Murphy, so if you haven’t listened to episode 23 it might be a good idea to check it out after this one.

Today’s episode is in response to some chat that was going on in my Facebook group The Lightbulb Club. If you’d like to join the club you can do so here. There was lots of talk about email marketing and it struck me that there are some basics people might not be aware of. Also, there’s lots of jargon being thrown around such as funnel, auto-responder, CTA and lead magnet.

Therefore, this episode will go back to basics and do a little bit of jargon busting.

Listen to the latest episode of the Creative Me podcast for an intro to email marketing…CLICK TO TWEET

Why Is Email So Important?

If you’re a creative business owner you might be thinking something like this…

I’ve got a really good community on Facebook and I’ve got 500 followers on Twitter, so why on earth do I need people’s emails?

You need emails because you are effectively building your house on other people’s land. Even though the idea of Facebook or Twitter disappearing one day seems absolutely bizarre to us, it does happen. Case in point: MySpace.

It is a really good idea to leverage social media platforms to create community, but just remember, if that social media platform disappeared or changed, you’d lose your followers. That’s why getting email addresses from people is crucial. You own those email addresses; they are an asset.

How Do You Collect Emails?

There are lots of email service providers on the market. The two that I have experience of are MailChimp and Convertkit.

I started with MailChimp and then I moved to Convertkit. Until you get to a certain number of subscribers, MailChimp is free so it’s a really good option for getting started. It is a different animal to Convertkit though.

Here’s a great article comparing Mailchimp to Convertkit.

What Now?

Now you’ve started collecting emails – you’ve put a nice little signup box on your website and you’ve got a couple of email addresses flowing in – what do you do?

Well, you need to do something, otherwise what you’ve got is a cold list. You subscribers aren’t used to seeing your name in their inbox.

My recommendation initially would be to set up a monthly email newsletter. This could contain all sorts of things. If you are a blogger you might recap some of the blog posts you’ve created that month. You might link to podcasts. Your email newsletter might contain reading recommendations or behind-the-scenes information about your business and what you do.

Consistency

The key is consistency if you say you are doing a monthly newsletter – make it monthly. For me, people live their lives in weekly cycles, so I’m a big fan of the weekly newsletter. But when you’re just getting started I think monthly is a great idea.

Give Loads of Free Value

Another golden rule of producing email newsletters is: don’t just say “buy my stuff”… you’ll lose subscribers quickly. You need to give a lot of free value before you will be allowed to make a pitch. Give, give, give and then ask.

Jargon Busting

I explained that this podcast episode was in response to a discussion on The Lightbulb Club. One thing that did crop up that there is SO MUCH jargon associated with email marketing. So I’m going to bust some jargon…

Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is an ethical bribe. You are offering something to your website visitor for free (usually a digital download) in exchange for an email address (in other words, permission to email that person). Don’t just offer a random thing – think hard about what your lead magnet is; make sure it would appeal to the type of prospective customer you wish to attract.

Content Upgrade

Next up we have the content upgrade. This is bonus content (given in exchange for an email address) and is typically used by bloggers and podcasters.You can see an example from my own blog here.

Examples of content upgrades include checklists, cheat sheets, ebooks and templates.

CTA

A CTA a call to action – it is a thing that makes you click, so usually a button with some text on it or something along those lines. Here are some great call to action examples.

Auto-responders

Earlier in the episode, I mentioned auto-responders. An auto-responder is a simple thing; it’s a series or a sequence of automated emails. In other words, you only write them once and don’t have to send them yourself. When someone clicks on a call to action the emails come out automatically.

An example of how I use an auto-responder is when a new person signs up to my email list. I send out a short series of emails over the course of about a week introducing myself, telling that person a little bit about what I do, sharing some links to popular blog posts and podcast episodes, and just giving them as much value as I possibly can.

Funnels

Finally, let’s talk about funnels; my favourite email marketing term (I have no idea why…!)

A funnel is a specific process – a number of steps – to guide people into making a buying decision. If you have an online business you will likely use an email sales funnel.

An email sales funnel is a very strategically crafted auto-responder sequence. Your first couple of emails might just be absolutely fantastic value pitched in a way that your prospective customer would appreciate. Then you might then address some of the pain points and any objections your customer might have with regard to purchasing your product or service. There will likely be a degree of gentle agitation of pain points too. Then more and more value, then a soft pitch – value – then a harder pitch.

Wrap Up

OK, so that’s my basic introduction to email marketing, including some jargon busting. I really hope it’s helpful. I think email marketing is a huge challenge for many people and as such, I intend to pop up on a Facebook Live stream in The Lightbulb Club soon to answer any questions you might have.

That’s all from me today, thanks so much for tuning in, I hope you’ll tune in next week.

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