#21 A Story of Action and Feeling with Marsha Shandur

I stood in line to get lunch at the conference surrounded by nobody I knew and I was running the internal dialogue that I almost always get at conferences between sessions through my head "I'm here to meet people, I should talk to someone, I don't know anyone, do I talk about what's for lunch? Oh, they are already talking to each other, they don't want me interrupting them, I wonder where my friends are (look around hoping that they're coming to join me), Lara! You came to this event to meet new people not to stand around talking to nobody" when I heard someone in front of me talk about B-school. 

I'd taken B-School! I could offer insight about B-School! I should say that I took B-School. They probably wouldn't mind if I joined in. Okay! I can do this. So I picked up all my nerves and I piped up to the people in front of me who were not talking to me at all "I did B-School!" and they did not glare at me for interrupting, and they did not smile and nod indulgently and turn back to each other continuing to talk without me, but they happily included me in the conversation about the program and all the things we loved about it. The person who had brought up B-School was Marsha Shandur - one of the best contacts I ever made at a conference (I even went to summer camp because of her - find out more about that in episode 6 ) , and she joined me on the podcast this week to talk about storytelling. 

A story of action and feeling (2).png

Marsha has an incredible knack for storytelling online and in person. Her blog engages readers and creates an emotional connection with them - like you really feel like you're part of her inner circle by reading what she shares online. So, how can storytelling help your business? By making an emotional connection with your audience.

What is storytelling?

Storytelling enables you to emotionally connect with your readers which is important because our brains respond differently when we hear facts versus stories. Unlike with facts, we can picture ourselves in a story, which enables people to use a good story to really impact a person.

What makes a great story?

Less narrative.

Being able to incite emotional response.

Granular details! Share the little details – BE the story.

You don’t need a crazy story – just a regular story that people can relate to.

You don’t have to share the entire story. Share snippets! Bring people where you want them to be.

How can I tell a compelling story?

Walk around life with a notebook and pen or use your notes app on your smartphone noting anything you think is a story. Remember that it’s not about telling everyone everything about you; you’re sharing your personality and how you view the world.

Then write the story. Take out the extra details that don't impact the story and instead stick to the action scenes. They key is to not put into too much detail, but instead focus on feeling. Focus on how you felt without taking away the essence of the story.

Don’t start with the end of the story because people won’t pay attention or they’ll focus on the story based on the ending. And don’t throw in spoilers – movies don't reveal the result of action scenes before the movie really starts, so don’t do it in storytelling. Tell the story in chronological order.

Where can you use storytelling in your business? 

You can use storytelling on your blog, on sales pages, in person, at networking events, as a speaker – anywhere there is an opportunity to connect with people instantly.

Bonus Marsha tip about leaving comments on blogs

Comments on blogs are like sunshine pouring into your heart. They mean a lot to the people creating the content.

Resources & Links

Marsha Shandur’s Website

Marsha’s Special Secret Website for Social Media Simplified Podcast Listeners

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Simple Start Your Business Notification List

Join my FREE Online Community: The Biz Studio Facebook Group

#19 Creating Engaging Content For Your Community

This week Rebecca Stanisic from A Little Bit of Momsense joins me on the podcast to talk about creating great online content for your community.

Tips for getting started

  • It's important to remember that creating content is not all about selling, it's about building relationships.
  • Figure out what your voice will sound like and the feelings you want to convey. You're creating expectations for your audience so they not only know what to expect, but they also start wanting that kind of content.
  • Know your audience - have a clear picture of who you're talking to. This will help you figure out what kind of content they want so you can find it. It will also help you assess the content that you find.
  • Vet all your content - you shouldn't just share without reading and making sure that whatever you're sharing with your community really does fall in line with how you want to be known and what your audience expects.

The 4 Cs

Becky has 4 Cs that you can use when thinking about the content you are sharing with your audience.


Consistency is not only about consistently sharing content on a regular basis, but is also about making sure that your content is consistent with itself. Remain within your audience's expectations by having a clear idea of what you share and consistently delivering that.


Think about who you can build relationships with to help grow your online community. Are there businesses that are a good fit for your audience? Share their content and partner with them to create promotions to add value to your audience and open up opportunities to have them do the same for you.


Not everything needs to be exactly about what you do, but it needs to compliment it. If you are someone who sells children's clothing you can talk about other children's activities, but you wouldn't talk about plumbing. Figure out what makes sense at complimenting content for your audience.


Connect to your reader with emotion, or with their funny bone. Think about how your audience will react and make sure that it will speak to them on a level that will evoke emotion.

A great last tip from Becky, have a look at the last 10 things you've shared on any channel. Do they convey what you want people to know about you as a first impression? This is a great way to measure how you're doing.

Resources and Links

A Little Bit of Momsense (Becky's Blog)

Becky on Facebook

Becky on Twitter

Becky on Instagram

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

#18 How to Drive Traffic and Make Sales with Darlene Moore

Understanding topics like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and why you need Google Analytics on your website can be overwhelming for a business owner, but it is important to know so you can generate the kind of content you should be creating, and measure whether or not what you're doing is really working.

This week on the podcast I invited Darlene Moore of DriveTraffic Digital Marketing to join me to talk about some of the basics.

What are you trying to achieve?

Just like in all strategies, if you don't have clear and specific goals and reasons you want people to come to your site, it's hard to know if what you're doing is working. You don't want random people coming to your website, you want the RIGHT people who are going to want to work with you.

Once you know what you're trying to do, you can create the kind of content that works people towards those goals.

  1. Understand what you're trying to do
  2. Create the right kind of content
  3. Optimize that content for search

The importance of good quality content

Google wants to bring up search results that are valuable to people and they do this by trying to figure out if your content is of good quality. An example of the way they do this is by tracking how long people stay on your site when people land on your page.

By creating valuable content that people want to read, you are going to get better results in search engines.

What topics do you want to be known for?

Be clear on what topics you want to be known for and that will help you guide your content. You can also check to see what terms are getting people to your site now by using Google Webmaster tools (link below on how to do this) and deciding if you either want to change this or create content that better fits those search terms once they do arrive. 

The key is to :

  • Measure
  • Create Great Content
  • Repeat

For more information on how to optimize your content, visit Darlene's website and blog, and keep your eyes open for the course she's launching this year!

Resources & Links

Blog post: Optimizing Page Titles

Blog post: Search Traffic Analysis

Darlene's Website

Darlene's Facebook page

Webmaster Tools Search Console

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

#16 Online Marketing Strategies for 2016

It's 2016! I love a fresh new year with all of the possibilities it brings and all of the enthusiasm everyone has for their businesses. 

I'm back after a hiatus and have a lot of great content planned for this year on the podcast. Please leave me a comment if there's anything in particular you would like to see. 

In Episode 16 I share five tips to get your online marketing in order for a prosperous 2016.

Set goals and key messages

What do you want to achieve this year? What do you want people to know about you or your business? 

Are you looking to fill particular programs? Do you want to grow a new branch of your business? Or do you want to make sure people realize that you offer certain services? Write out all those pieces so that you can create content that speak to them. This is what will make the difference between content that is interesting and content that makes you more money.

Create content that supports your goals & key messages

Spend time with your goals and key messages - What can you write about them that supports them? What tidbits can you share? What basic information describes the programs, products or courses you're trying to sell? What topics set you up as an expert and lead to the next step of buying from you? Write a list of content that you can start creating.

Create themes

Spend time theming your months for the next three months. What topics can you talk about that will help you achieve your goals? Break it down and put it on your calendar.

Create daily themes for types of content you can share on social channels. For example, Monday: share tips, Tuesday: links from other experts, Wednesday: something from your website, etc. This will help you come up with types of content faster.


Don't waste your time trying to write something every day. Take an hour and pre-write a lot of social content. Commit a half day to writing blog posts for the month. Once you get a on a roll content starts flowing much faster.

Keep records

Don't just post your content directly online without saving it somewhere. When you come up with great tips, promotional phrases, etc., save them in a Word document so you can easily find them again later. You don't want to have to start from scratch every time you want to post online, and now you won't have to because you've already done the work. By creating files and saving your work you are creating processes that make sharing content regularly easier for you - and that's always the goal!

Resources & Links

Setting social media goals (blog post)

Key messages for your business (blog post)

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

#11 Getting Media Attention for your Business

Getting media attention for your business is an incredible way to get great content that you can share with your audience, increase your credibility (if the media thinks you're an expert, so will other people!), and widen your reach and get more people knowing who you are.

This week's podcast is all about how to do that. I had the pleasure of not only interviewing Media and Communications consultant, Christy Laverty when we were both at the Blissdom Canada conference last week, but also rooming with her for a night and getting to know her in person!

We had a chance to record a chat about how you can get media attention for your business. During our chat she shared many great actionable tips that we can all take and use to get more media attention.

Here are some of the key take away points from this week's episode with Christy Laverty:

  • You don't need a PR company to be able to get media attention. In fact, many reporters and producers WANT to talk to the person the story is about and not a "professional".

  • Media is looking for story ideas so they welcome you sending ideas to them.
  • Make sure that you figure out what angle to pitch your story. You want to fit in with something that makes sense for the producer. They have no interest in running a story that turns out to be a commercial for your business - make it interesting for listeners first.
  • Add a different opinion or voice to an existing story. Media will talk about a topic a lot over the course of a couple of days, but they don't want it to always sound the same. Help them make it interesting.
  • Tell them how you want to be described when you're being introduced. This is your opportunity to include your website or a title you want to be known by.
  • Media relations is free, you probably couldn't afford to advertise to an audience of that size. 

How do you find out what stories to talk about?

Set up Google Alerts or Check Yahoo News. Sign up for The Skimm, an email service that curates news headlines for you. Follow the headlines and then figure out how you can make yourself useful within those topics.

How to pitch?

No need for a news release. Send a personalized email. Propose a story idea and then ask when they have time to talk about it further. Know that a lot of producers and reporters have funny hours so you need to make yourself available to them based on their timelines.

Follow them on Twitter. Look and see who reporters and producers are following because they often follow each other. 

Remember the value of relationships. By being helpful and available when needed, they will remember you when you ask them for something.

Go on a media binge/diet. Spend time listening, reading and watching the kinds of shows your audience would listen to, read and watch. Make sure you understand the kinds of stories they run and how your story fits with that before you make a pitch.

Links & additional resources

Follow Christy online for more great information on building relationships with the media and getting media attention:

Christy A. Laverty's website

Christy on Facebook

Christy on Twitter

The Skimm

Google Alerts

Yahoo News

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher


#9 Community will help you grow your biz

I have no idea how anyone can grow a successful business without surrounding themselves with other entrepreneurs. It can be lonely and isolating and there is so much you just don't know until you've tried this entrepreneurial thing.

In this week's episode I talk about some of the ways that I think people should look for community based on my own personal experiences. 

1) Masterminds

I love my Mastermind group. I've been a part of a few over the years and I plan to help people set up their own groups in the future (stay tuned for more information on that). 

A Mastermind is a safe place to talk about all things business with people who not only are sympathetic and supportive, but who are also ready to tell you when you're wrong and send you truths you may not always be ready to hear. I think every business owner should be a member of one, whether they pay for it or create one themselves.

2) Follow people with knowledge

There are so many great and knowledgeable professionals out there. They're out there trying to create community - on Twitter, on Instagram, and on their Facebook pages. Be a part of their communities by taking part in conversations, by soaking up their knowledge and by asking questions. It's the best way to find the people you'll trust and be ready to pay to help you in the future too.

3) Online communities

There are so many great communities online. Some are a part of existing programs (all my Simple Start programs come with a private Facebook Group for example) and some are open to the world to join and take part in.

I've started my own group call the Biz Studio and I'd love for you to come over and check it out and join!

Links & additional resources

Mastermind Blog Post

Magical Business Academy

Freedomhackers Facebook Group

The Biz Studio Facebook Group

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

#8 Are you credible?

Personal branding is a topic that I've loved talking about for years. When it comes to what we want people to know about us, one of the biggest goals is wanting people to think we're credible. 

This week on the show my friend Shelagh Cummins joined me to talk about credibility. Shelagh and I have worked together for years and she has been instrumental in helping me build my business - she's got a lot of amazing knowledge that Shelagh!

Who is Shelagh Cummins?

A well-known voice on the speaker circuit, Shelagh Cummins is a trainer and business consultant specializing on a mission to help entrepreneurs create their own Profit PathTM to increase sales and revenue. She advocates entrepreneurs understanding how to run a profitable business - and own their value so they can charge what they are worth. Profit allows entrepreneurs to do more work they love and help more people.

How do I establish my credibility?

You are an expert. If you can solve someone's problem for them, then you know more than them. You need to own that and figure out how you can take that expertise and use it to establish your credibility.

How can I build my credibility online?

Be consistent. You don't need to be everywhere, but be consistent where you are. Make sure you're posting regularly and that you're posting the kinds of content that backs up your knowledge. Post with a purpose and if your audience is not on a specific social network, you don't need to be either.

How can I impact people?

You want to create an emotional connection with people that leaves them feeling like you are the right person to help them. You need to intentionally create that emotional connection. Share personal stuff, but also share your business stuff - share your good content. Ask yourself what feeling is being conveyed with your content? Write, create a video - have something out there so that people can get to know you.

Take your knowledge and teach people how to do something. You can do this with great content or by creating an online course. Shelagh's new online course is all about creating online courses and you can find out more and get some free training from her website at Create Profitable Online Courses.

Links & Resources

Shelagh Cummins Profit PathTM

Create Profitable Online Courses

Subscribe to Social Media Simplified on iTunes (and leave a review?)

#7 Is it time for you to hire a virtual assistant?

I've been working with virtual assistants (VAs) for a couple of years in my business now and it is honestly one of the best ways that I spend my money.

If I didn't have the support of a VA you would see far more typos in what I put out, you would see far less content being consistently put out, and I would probably have a lot more grey hair. My virtual assistant, Tracy, takes a lot of the stress out of my business.

As business owners, we're really busy people and having someone who can take care of the tasks that aren't part of the core of our business is important. It's why I often tell my clients that they should work with me and own their social media strategy, but they don't need to be the one to implement it. They can get someone on their team, or a VA to do the regular posting and even the writing - so long as they've figured out what the core messaging and intentions are.

This week I interview my VA, Tracy and we talk about what a VA is, how you should go about hiring one, and what kinds of tasks you might want to give them.

What is a VA?

A virtual assistant (VA) is a professional who works remotely (often from their home office) offering administrative, social media, marketing, communications and other services that support businesses and entrepreneurs.

Where can you find a VA?

You can find them through professional associations, such as the Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants (CAVA), the Global Alliance of Virtual Assistants (GAVA), and the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) or online - simply Google 'Virtual Assistant'.

Links & Resources

Tracy's tips on finding the right VA

Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants

Global Alliance of Virtual Assistants

International Virtual Assistants Association

Social Media Simplified on iTunes