#29 Podcasting: What is it and why should you care?

"What is it and why should I care" is something I hear a lot of when it comes to digital marketing, and is a statement I have addressed many times over the years. It's commonplace for people to hear about digital marketing tools over and over again, but don't really know what they are, and more than that, don't know why they should care or if they need to pay attention to that particular tool.

This week the tool I talk about is podcasting - because I often meet people who don't quite understand what a podcast is and whether or not they should be listening to them (let alone figure out how to start one of their own). So, this week I dig in to what a podcast is, why you might care about them, and how you can find good podcasts to listen to.

What is a podcast?

Podcasting, according to Wikipedia is:
A podcast is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio, video, digital radio, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and  automatically through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.[1] The word is a portmanteau of "(i)Pod" and "broadcast."

In my own words: A podcast is an audio or video file that someone created (anyone, really - that's the beauty of podcasting) that people can download and listen to at will. You can sometimes stream podcasts from someone's website, but people who really get in to podcasts have episodes downloaded to their portable devices.

Why listen to podcasts?

Podcasting - what is it
  • Podcasts are great on the go! Cleaning, driving, running, shopping? You can listen to podcasts while completing these tasks. Podcasts allow you to learn or be entertained while doing something else (it's hard to read a book while driving!).

  • You can listen to podcasts when you want and about whatever you want. No need to worry about schedules or having to listen to a topic that does not interest you. You can pick any subject matter and find content that fits it (and your mood in that moment) to listen to or watch.

  • You can pause/stop and listen later. You don't have to miss the end of a podcast because you arrived at your driving or walking destination. And if you are listening to a podcast with someone else, you can stop a podcast and discuss an interesting point with the person you're listening with without missing the next three points.

How do you listen to podcasts?

Some people will have an episode embedded on to their website so you can listen right from there (like I do at the top and bottom of this post). Most listeners, however, listen to podcasts from an app on their mobile devices that downloads the content right to their device.

On an iDevice there is a podcast app already installed, called Podcasts. From this app, you can find and subscribe to podcast shows and new episodes will automatically download.

On Android devices a commonly used podcast app is called Stitcher.

I have links below to both to be able subscribe to this show - you should do that :) 

How can I get started with my own podcast?

A lot of times people will get started with their own podcast only to realize that it is a lot of work. You will be expected to produce a podcast on a regular basis. It is more note than a blog... especially with show notes, which are great for those who do not want to listen to the podcast and prefer to learn by reading, like a blog post.

Do your research. You want to get your podcast out to a lot of people and build momentum. The more you build and produce within the first eight weeks of a podcast, the higher your chances of being successful with it.

If you decide to start a podcast, make sure the content is both informative and conversational. Make sure the podcast is relevant to your brand and think about what the goal of your podcast is before you launch.


Do you subscribe and listen to podcasts? Or do you have a podcast of your own? Will you start? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Resources & Links

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher



#28 - A Twitter Challenge

Twitter is the first online space that I really started getting social on. I would go to Twitter to have conversations with people on a regular basis, many of whom I had never met before or met because of Twitter. My tribe was on Twitter. My business started with Twitter.

Twitter Challenge

Twitter has changed since the early days and there are seemingly less conversations, but that’s the evolution of social networks. Twitter is still relevant though and people still ask me if they should be on Twitter.

Sure it’s changed since 2006, but the entire online space has become busier and noisier, so how do you decide if Twitter is worth your time?

Here is what you need to know to get the most out of Twitter:

  • Before joining any social network you need to ask yourself what are you trying to do with that network? Do you want to be known as a thought leader? Are you just looking at your competition? What is the purpose of being in that space?
  • Are you looking to reach out to people you wouldn’t normally have easy access to, such as experts and celebrities? Twitter enables people to have conversations and interactions with people we have never met or never thought we could communicate with, and while these people may not always respond, sometimes a simply “like” is enough to know they care.

    Think about who you want to reach out to and why. You need to have conversations, not just broadcast and promote yourself. You also need to have a goal for these conversations. Are you trying to get people to visit your website? Buy a product? Be a guest on your podcast? Twitter is the perfect online space to liaise with people through conversations. You can even create lists to pay particular attention to specific people, or just follow those who are of interest to you and your business.

How to use Twitter

Here are a few basic Twitter tips to help you get started or feel more comfortable.

-       Say what you want to say in 140 characters – be concise.

-       Use hashtags where appropriate – it will help people find you based on your content.

-       If you start a tweet with a person’s username i.e. @LaraWellman, then the only people who will see that tweet are those who follow both you and that person.

-       Spend at least 10-15 minutes a day on Twitter engaging with others to get the full benefit.

Twitter Challenge

Starting the last week of May I will be running a Twitter Challenge out of my Facebook Community, The Biz Studio. It is going to be a five day challenge designed to get you started on Twitter and to help you identify your goals with this social network. It will also help you decide if it is an online space you need to invest your time and resources, or if you should be focusing somewhere else.

If you're not sure if Twitter is worth your time, or how to make the time you spend there more effective, I challenge you to join me! Click here to sign up for the Twitter Challenge!

#27 Instagram Advertising for Small Business

Should you be using Instagram advertising for your small business? It's a question a lot of people have so I was thrilled to have Jordon Meyer join me on the show this week to talk about Instagram advertising, why it's a good idea, and how to get started. 

Jordon is the Founder and President of Granular, a leading PPC agency based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jordon and the team at Granular have managed over $50 million in pay per click ad spend, ranging from startups to leading companies like Best Buy, Master Lock and Summerfest. He is frequently asked to write and speak on the topic of search marketing. His most memorable moment in PPC is spending over $300,000 in a single day, during Cyber Monday at Best Buy. He also initiated the implementation of Shopping Ads at Best Buy; before he joined the team they were not using PLAs.

Instagram advertising is your opportunity to get in front of specific audiences. Instagram uses the same audience data as Facebook, which lets you get REALLY specific.

Where do you start with Instagram Advertising?

You need to go to the Facebook advertising platform to advertise on Instagram. 

You create an ad as you would for a regular Facebook campaign and then select Instagram from the choice of options for where it should be displayed (newsfeed, sidebar, mobile, Instagram, etc.).

Instagram Advertising for Small Business.jpg

When you create the ad however, make sure to create it with Instagram in mind and run it only to Instagram. This will give you better data and probably better results compared to just pushing an ad to Instagram that was planned for Facebook. 

Setting up targeting strategies is really important: Who do you want to have see the ad? Geographic area? Age? Gender?

Make sure you have the Facebook ad pixel installed on your website. This will allow you to target ads to people who have already been on your website (called warm leads).

Are Instagram Ads Effective?

Instagram ads are the only clickable things in your Instagram newsfeed which gives them a huge advantage (though they now require two clicks instead of just one, to confirm you are looking to leave the Instagram app and that you didn't click accidentally).

Questions to ask yourself when advertising on Instagram:

1) What's your goal?

  • Are you hoping to have people click through to your site?
  • Watch a video?
  • Download an app?

Think about what you're looking to have happen before you start advertising.

2) What is your budget?

You can start fairly low: $50 - $100

3) How long do you want to advertise?

Pick a start  date and end date - two weeks is a good test length. By having a start and end date you have clear data afterwards to measure how your ad did.

4) What's your end goal?

Write down what you want to have happen in the end: More page likes? More downloads? More sales? 

5) Who are you targeting?

Sometimes people think if you're using Instagram you have to target who they think are on Instagram. With the power of the targeting with Facebook and Instagram ads you can target so specifically that even though your audience may not make up a huge percentage of the people on Instagram, you can find them and advertise specifically to them.

#26 Processes, Systems and Delegation with Amy Wright

Many people start a business to have a certain lifestyle and then find themselves busier and more stressed out than before. Processes, systems and delegation are ways to make sure you don't end up in that situation or, if you are already in that situation, are ways to get yourself out.

This week I spoke with Amy Wright, a business consultant who helps business owners improve their project and time management, teaches them how to hire and delegate effectively, and helps them develop customer service systems that work. In essence, she helps business owners get unstuck and get their acts together (but, Amy uses more colourful language than that). ;)



Outsourcing is hard, but so worthwhile. It's like the first time you have to take your kid to daycare, an analogy I know a lot of you are able to relate to. It's hard, there may be kicking, screaming and crying (from mom/dad or kid) but ultimately you know that it's in the best interest of everyone if daycare or school is in the picture.

It's the same thing with delegation. You need to let go of the reigns, even when it's hard, because ultimately it will help you be a better business person.

Have a plan for your day

Most entrepreneurs get caught up in a reactive state. They are replying to emails, trying to share on social media, responding to inquiries and suddenly it's the end of the day and they feel like they haven't really accomplished anything - because they haven't!

A plan can make all the difference but sometimes it's hard to stop and take time to make the plan because we're so busy IN our business. But a plan NEEDS to be a priority so that you don't get burned out and continuously feel frustrated. 


How do you figure out what needs to go in your plans? Spend time to assess where you're at and where you're going.

Spend time thinking about your goals. What do you want to be working on? How much do you want to be making?

Track your time - what you are spending time on? Are there any key areas that you really shouldn't be spending time on and that could be delegated?

How easy/hard is it to start delegating?

Some people fear that delegating is a huge time and financial commitment. Start with three hours a week. Even if you have more, start small and get comfortable and build trust with the person you're going to be working with.

Process versus System

A lot of people mix these words up. A process is the steps you take to get from point 'a' to point 'b'. Step-by-step: how you manage your customer service, communications, and how do you plan out your blog posts (topics, fonts, layout, promotion).

Systems are the tools you use to manage those processes, such as MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Quickbooks, and Boomerang.

Create an Operations Manual

An operations manual isn't a big stodgy document. It's a working document that tracks what you do and how. The best way to put one together is to screen capture the processes you have, step-by-step. Tools like Jing and Camtasia are great for this. Then when you are ready to delegate you don't need to spend huge amounts of time on training, instead you just give them access to the operations manual.

Challenge yourself to spend two hours a week to capture what you do and create your operations manual.

#25 - Simple Digital Marketing Tips with Rebecca Stanisic

Planning, blogging, email marketing, Facebook, Instagram and content creation –these are topics familiar to myself and this week’s guest, Rebecca Stanisic from A Little Bit of Momsense. You may remember Becky from episode 19 where we discussed how to create engaging online content for your community. It was through this discussion as well as many coffee dates that Becky and I decided to put together a one day live Digital Content Framework Planning Day on May 5th in Ottawa, Ontario.

Create Digital Content: A Framework Planning Day

The Framework Planning Day will focus on blogging, Facebook, Instagram and content creation – with the idea that attendees will leave with the ability to create a digital content plan and with content ideas and a plan they can put into action right away.

Here is some of what we will be discussing:

Planning Tips

One of Becky’s biggest planning tips is to utilize any common planning tools available – for her it is a Google calendar and physical planner. She uses her Google Calendar to input and keep track of deadlines. She also inputs fake deadlines that act as a reminder i.e., if she has not started a project by such-and-such a date, she is reminded by a pop-up reminder on her smartphone, computer or tablet that she needs to start now. This allows her to effectively plan her work days.

Another planning tool Becky uses is a physical planner in which she also inputs daily deadlines and events in a way that shows her what her week looks like. This allows her to easily say yes or no to last minute opportunities as they arise.

I use goals – and not just the goal to make more money. I write out specific goals in my planners and calendars. Think about what your specific goals are. These goals could be growing your mailing list by a certain number by a specific date or getting a certain number of likes on your Facebook page by a specific date. By writing these specific goals out or inputting them in a digital calendar, it will keep you accountable. These goals can then help with what content you want to share and create online.

Blogging Tips

Becky built her business around her blog. One of her blogging tips is to write in drafts. This helps get content out there even on days when your creative inspiration is at a minimum. Write out your ideas in drafts and then they will always be there for you when you need them.

My blogging tip has to do with format. Make sure your blog posts can be easily skimmed. Readers are often overwhelmed at the amount of online content available to them, so sometimes a quick read is what they are looking for. You can make your blog 'skimmable' by adding an image, and using headings and subheadings. The use of headings gives readers the outline of your blog and they can then decide whether or not they want to read further. Images and headings also increase your search engine optimization (SEO).

Email Newsletter Tips

As an avid newsletter reader, Becky prefers nuggets of information with links and images she can click that redirects her if she wants more information. Doing this drives traffic back to your website, which is your ultimate goal.

Many businesses and bloggers have a tendency to think they don’t need to send newsletters frequently and then when they do send them, their newsletter is jam packed with too many articles, images and news. Newsletters should be as brief, therefore instead of sending your newsletter quarterly, try sending bits of information once a week or even bi-weekly; send less information more frequently versus sending a lengthy email every three months.

Social Media Tips

According to Becky, businesses and bloggers need to pay attention to Facebook and Instagram for sales conversions. Curate your content based on your followers or who you follow. Constantly paying attention to your followers and those who follow people similar to you, helps you find potential new relationships and find new people you may be interested in learning more about. Doing this creates a rich feed that will tie into quality content that you can then share with your readers. 

Facebook, and soon Instagram, rely on engagement in order to show more people what you post. A common question I get is how to get people to engage with content. My main piece of advice is to ask simple questions. Keep your questions simple so that people can answer without thinking. Your goal is to get people talking and simple questions are the most effective way to do that. Once people get used to engaging with your content they may be more inclined to consistently engage.

Content Curation Tips

Finding good content does not mean finding and sharing viral content because there is no guarantee that it will do well on your page. Instead find content that is equally or more interesting and share that – become a leader in sharing things that are new and different.

Look for content by looking at your stats; where are people coming from? Are there certain social media posts that were popular and drove people to your website? Find similar content to those posts and share them.

Think about what you want people to know. Keep your content in line with what you want people to know about you and your business.


Becky and I will be digging deeper into these tips and sharing much more in our live one day Content Planning Framework Day on May 5th. If you’re in the Ottawa area we hope to see you there! 

#24 - Marketing Lessons From Disney

I just returned from a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This trip has been on my bucket list and on my vision boards for a while – so to see it actually happen was incredible – for myself, my husband and my three kids!

From the moment I set foot at Disney I could not help but see and pull many business and marketing lessons from my experience there. I think being out of my everyday business opened my eyes to what others are doing, and this is what I learned:

The Importance of the Little Things

Because we stayed on the resort, each member of my family received something called a magic band. These bracelets contained everything we needed to eat, get into our rooms, etc. I did not need to carry a room key or wallet – it was great, but was even better was that each bracelet was personalized with our names.

This simple touch meant a lot and blew me away. It made me realize that something as simple as using someone’s first name or remembering their birthday can really help grow a relationship – and it doesn’t take much time to do or cost much money!

Small things can make a huge impact on clients!

When someone is into you – they can be really into you

Once someone believes in you, your work or your product they won’t care as much about the cost. At Disney, for example, lineups are not such a big deal because everyone there is so enamoured with the Disney experience that they don’t either care or notice that they are waiting two hours in a lineup to meet a character or a ride a rollercoaster.

This also falls true in your business, the clients who keep buying or investing in you need to be nurtured and recognized. Keep building those relationships and clients will increasingly trust you and your brand, and will invest more time and money into you or your product.

Make sure you give people opportunity to buy

While at Disney, I was given a plethora of opportunity to buy anything Disney – hats, balloons, stuffed animals, etc. No one was in my face asking me if I wanted to buy something, but the products were everywhere I looked. Walking down the streets, at the restaurants and even on the hundreds of super fans wearing the BB8 ears. There was Disney memorabilia everywhere I looked – and seeing BB8 ears everywhere made me HAVE to have a set of my own!

Never forget to give your clients the opportunity to buy from you. You don’t need to be in their face, but make sure what you sell is obvious on your social channels and on your website and give people many opportunities to buy. Given enough opportunity and people will buy from you.

Everyone does things differently

My Disney experience was different from a lot of other people’s experience. We weren’t up at the crack of dawn every morning to get in line for rides and we didn’t stay up to watch any of the firework shows at night, and we didn’t watch any of the parades… but we still had the time of our lives! We didn’t feel overwhelmed and although we were tired, it was a good tired. We found a balance and didn’t try to put every single Disney experience into our days.

We had the Disney experience that we wanted and needed to have and I think this falls true for business as well. For some business owners, working 80 hours a week every week makes them happy, but for others working a regular eight-hour day is enough to make them happy – and both are okay. We all have hopes, dreams and goals for our business, and they are all different – and that’s okay! You define your own success!

There you have it – four business lessons I learned at Disney! The next vacation on my vision board is a month in Italy with my family – imagine what lessons I will bring back from that trip! What marketing or business lessons have you seen from visiting places like Disney? I would love to hear them so leave a comment and let me know.

#23 Facebook Advertising with Taylor Manning

Facebook advertising is a hot topic! Most of us know that it's important to be spending money on Facebook advertising to increase our reach and audience, but we also know there is so much more to it than just hitting "Boost Post" and paying Facebook.

Taylor Manning joined me on the Social Media Simplified podcast and we had a chat about Facebook ads - it's such a broad topic we could probably have three more chats about it (and maybe we will!)

Here are a few of the highlights from our discussion:

Boost vs Ads Manager vs Power Editor

There are multiple ways that you can set up Facebook advertising - one is to hit "Boost Post" right from your page and get more exposure. Another is to use the Ads Manager, which you can find easily in your side bar. Power Editor needs to be installed and gives you even more power behind your advertising options.

What should you pick and why? Boost Post is the easiest option, then Ads Manager, and then Power Editor. If you're looking for easier, go with Boost Post or Ads Manager. But why would you pick Power Editor? It literally has more power. It gives you access to more options, let's you include more text and gives you access to a lot more insight information. 

Power Behind Facebook Ads

Why should you be using Facebook ads? Because you can reach your current audience and you can reach new audiences because of how specially you can drill down with your ad targeting.

Step one is to really know who you're talking to - this is why understanding your audience is so important. 

You can target ads to people based on things like age, gender, marital status, location, etc., but beyond that you can also target people based on their interests. For example, you can send an ad to someone who likes a specific page.

So, let's say you run a website that sell recipes, you could target ads to people who like the pages of big magazines that share a lot of recipes, because you know that those audiences are fairly likely to also be your audience.


Pixels - pixels are a piece of code that Facebook gives you that you can put on your website. This helps you know if your ads are converting well and it also gives you the opportunity to target ads specifically to people who have already been to your website. 

Pixels are a really great feature of advertising on Facebook, but one people often skip because they get scared of the code side of things (this is where hiring someone might be a good idea.)

Advertising to warm leads

There are several ways you can advertise specifically to people who are already paying attention to you (they are more likely to pay attention than people who have never heard of you).

A few ways to advertise specifically to people include: targeting ads to the people who already like your page, targeting ads to people who have been to your website (this is done with the pixel), and by uploading your email list to Facebook and having ads run to anyone who has a Facebook account that uses that email account.

How much money should you spend?

How much you should spend and what is a good conversion price to get someone to do what you're wanting them to do is a tricky question because there are so many variables.

The simple answer is always the least specific answer, but you should know that if you can, spending more at the beginning of an ad campaign will give you better results on testing than spending less, therefore, $25/day is a great place to start. If you can't spend that much $5 is still okay.

What is a decent amount to spend on a conversion? Again - this can vary, but the simple answer is that $1 is often pretty good. Some people spend a lot more per conversion, but this depends on how popular the audience is (if lots of people are trying to advertise to the same audience, it gets more expensive to reach them).

The important piece is to look at how your ad is performing and you can change and tweak as you go (something you could never do with traditional advertising).

We barely scratched the surface with Facebook ads in this interview, but there is a lot of great introductory information shared. If you have more questions for Taylor, check out the links below!

Resources & Links

Taylor's Web Site

Taylor's Facebook Group - The Creative Corner where she answers Facebook ads questions every Wednesday

Taylor mentioned Facebook Groups several times and uses them to market yourself - check out episodes 20 and 14 for more on that) 

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Join my FREE Online Community: The Biz Studio Facebook Group

#22 The Power of Social Media

This week's podcast is a little different. I recap a speech I did for Toastmaster's about social media and how I believe it gets a bad rap and that many people have misconceptions about social media. I discuss the friendships I have made online and outline some benefits to social media.

Have a listen and let me know if you agree with my thoughts on social media.

Have A Question?

Is there a digital marketing topic you would like me to talk about on the Social Media Simplified podcast? Leave a comment and let me know!

Special thanks to everyone who has emailed, commented and left reviews about the Social Media Simplified podcast on iTunes - if you haven't already left a review, I would love it if you did!

Resources & Links

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Join my FREE Online Community: The Biz Studio Facebook Group

#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

#20 Facebook Community with Jordana Jaffe

I love online communities. I love being able to make business connections, friends and clients. Lately one of the places I have spent a lot of time with are Facebook Groups, including my own Facebook Group, The Biz Studio. But are Facebook Groups a good tool to market your business?

Facebook Groups are a great way to engage with other entrepreneurs and also a great place to find people to work with – including clients. I recently interviewed Jordana Jaffe, a Facebook Group Strategist, who not only runs her own successful Facebook Group, but also offers paid programs on how to manage a successful Facebook community.

Jordana created a Facebook community in October 2014 that has become super successful and then figured out how to replicate it by going backwards and retracing her steps to find out what worked and what didn’t work.

What are some of the advantages of a Facebook Group?

Facebook communities allow you to connect with others and grow your network while you are home in your cozy PJs.

The perfect networking tool for introverts and homebodies.

Can a Facebook Group help grow your business?

Absolutely. In fact, last year 90-95% of Jordana’s clients came from Facebook Groups and she had a six-figure income with 60% profit! If you are excited about something and commit to it, success can come from it.

Tips to running a successful Facebook Group:

Consistency – post and comment consistently (don’t just ‘like’ posts)

Know your intention

Share inspiring content

Be real – share messy moments as well as successes; humanize yourself

Open yourself to vulnerability

Remember, your Facebook community will only be as engaged, active, and present as you are!

Resources & Links

Jordana Jaffe’s Free Gift

Jordana Jaffe’s Facebook Group (Gena + Jordana & Your Magical Business)

My Facebook Group : The Biz Studio Facebook Group

Sign up for the Simple Start Your Business Notification List

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

#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

#17 The Importance of Creativity and Play in Your Business

Why is creativity important for your business?

In episode 17, Joanne Lauzon joins me as we talk about the importance of creativity and play - a topic that is near and dear to me after discovering just how impactful it has been for me in the last year.

Joanne regularly inspires me to be creative and that helps me to be a better entrepreneur and more creative in the work that I do and the information that I share online.

What is Play?

Play reminds us to be imaginative, which everyone thinks is amazing in children, but has a reputation in adults for being about daydreaming and distraction. What science has shown us is that it is important for adults to do things that are just for fun.

Definition of play by Stuart Brown:

  • Play is something that is voluntary and not a chore
  • Play is flexible and can change during the experience
  • Play is enjoyable and fun

Why are Play and Creativity Important for Adults?

Among many other benefits, play's effect on our brains has been proven to decrease stress, improve brain function, helps with problem solving, and improves relationships.

Why are Play and Creativity Important for Entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs get stuck IN their businesses. If you get stuck in a rut, how will you get out? Play and creativity can help and they don't need to take a lot of time to have impact in your life and business.

When you are finding yourself spinning your wheels or feeling like your self talk is negatively effecting you, spend 10 minutes stepping away from your work and draw something or go outside for a few minutes of joy.

Reasons to prioritize finding time for play and creativity:

  • Offers new ideas and perspectives on problems
  • Triggers innovation
  • Increases physical energy
  • Minimizes burnout

Ten-minute solo play idea

  • Lego: 15 or 20 pieces to see what you can build
  • Adult colouring books (they're creative and meditative)
  • Play dough
  • Sketch books
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Juggling balls or bean bags - practise for a few minutes to improve your skills

Resources & Links

Joanne's website (sign up for her newsletter for updates and ideas on creativity and play for entrepreneurs)

Events Joanne is hosting (use code SMSPLAY for $10 off!)

Find Joanne on Facebook

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

#15 Email Marketing is a must for your business

I'm a huge fan of email marketing. In this week's episode I go over some of the main reasons that you should be considering making it a top marketing priority for your business.

Stop thinking Email marketing is annoying


As long as you have permission from your audience to email them and you're sending them valuable content, sending out regular communication is not annoying. I encounter so many business owners who go in to email marketing thinking they're going to be "bugging" their audience. 

Remember that you're there to give them what they want and that isn't annoying. Don't be hesitant! Work to find content that your audience will want to get, and they'll look forward to getting it.

Tell people what's in it for them

Figure out what you're going to be giving your audience of value - information? discounts? entertainment? You need to give them something to make it worth their time.

Once you know what you're giving them, make sure to let people know: "Sign up for my newsletter to get free weekly tips and tricks on how to use digital marketing to grow your business online."

You need to give people a reason to give you permission into their inbox and you need to make it clear what that reason is.

Be consistent

In my opinion, the ideal frequency to send emails to your audience is weekly. This is a great way to stay top of mind. If that feels too daunting then once every two weeks or once a month is also great. The most important piece is to be consistent. The more consistent you are, the more people will start to anticipate and look forward to getting your emails.

Don't go less than once a month though or people may start to forget who you are and that they even signed up to your email in the first place.

The subject line is THE most important piece of content in your email

The subject line in your email is what convinces someone to open your email. Make sure that it isn't generic and that it properly entices people to open the email to find out what you're talking about. 

Grow your list by offering an opt in

A great way to grow your list is to offer something for free, such as a webinar, an infographic or a free monthly planner. Think of this freebie as something you are selling in exchange for someone's email address.

If you aren't already signed up to my newsletter, I invite you to come and grab my free monthly planner, which is designed to help you organize your content on a monthly basis.

Resources & Links

5-part email marketing course ($99 CDN)

5 reasons to start sending newsletters (blog post)

Extra info on the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (blog post)

The tool I use for pop ups, sign up pages and text signups: Leadpages (affiliate link)

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

#14 Using Facebook Groups for your Small Business

Facebook Groups are an incredible tool that I think people don't use enough for their businesses.

In this episode I talk what Facebook Groups are and how you can use them for your business.

What are Facebook Groups

A group is like a discussion forum.  It is created by one person but everyone within the group can post to the rest of the group.  There are a variety of different kinds of groups, public ones (which are called open), private ones (which are called closed and secret ones that can’t be found by search at all.

How can you use them?

For teams and committees - this is a great way for people who are working together to easily stay connected on what the others are doing and it's a great way to keep communication all together.

For paid programs - I always set up a Facebook group whenever I'm running any kind of paid program. It becomes a bonus for anyone taking part in a course to talk about what they're learning and to have access to you or someone from your team.

This can also be done for clients (members only Facebook Group support system for people at a gym, anyone who has bought a product, etc) without there needing to be an online course.

As a place to build a community. People are always looking for community - spaces to feel understood and safe to talk about topics they feel passionately about. Create a space for your ideal client that is of value to them and you'll start to see the results in the relationship you can build with those people within that group.

Additional Links and Resources

Come and join one of my Facebook Communities to check out what they're all about!

The Biz Studio Facebook Group

The Kids in the Capital Facebook Group

What's the difference between a Facebook page, account or group (blog post)

Should your business have a Facebook page (podcast episode 4)

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

#13 Can you design your own graphics?

There is an ever growing need to have images in all that you do for your business. You want to make sure that you are creating a business that looks professional and that stays in line with the brand that you want to be associated with.

This week I sat down with Rachela Brisindi of Butter & Honey Graphic Design and we talked about the importance of good design and whether or not you can do some of the design in house.

Simple tips for creating your own designs

- Know what your most important point is and make it the most prominent

- Use good quality images that you have the rights to use (no Google image searches!)

- White space is your friend, don't overcrowd your designs

What should you go to a designer for?

Your logo is the most important design piece for your business. You want to make sure that it is not only well designed, but that you have all of the right files types and information to go with your logo.

Designers are also great at create brand guidelines which you can use moving forward to create your own images.

Links & additional resources

Follow Rachela online and check out her web site and free mini course. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to get all the new episodes automatically.

#12 Getting and Using Testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to prove that you aren't the only person who thinks you're good at what you do - people who have worked with you think so too! Social proof is a really important part of proving your credibility and getting testimonials is a great way to do that.

In this week's episode I talk about ways to get testimonials and where you can use them.

How to get testimonials

Customer satisfaction survey - send customers a survey after you've worked with them and at the bottom ask for permission to use comments as testimonials.

Writing comments feels easier than writing testimonials, which people worry about getting "just right."

Offer to write it for them and get their approval - often when you're working with someone they will say things about working with you, what they enjoyed and what really worked. Instead of just saying thank you, ask them if you can use what they just said as a testimonial.

Offer to write it up and send it to them for their approval before you share it online. You just took the hard work out of writing a testimonial for them.

Be specific about what you're looking for - when you leave something too wide open it can make it more difficult for a person. If you tell them to just write whatever they want they have no idea where to start, so they don't start. Make it as easy as possible for people by giving them a context. Tell them what you're hoping they'll talk about and what results you believe it got them. That way not only are you helping them have an easier time with the writing, but you're getting a testimonial that's useful for your purposes.

Where to use testimonials

Now that you have the testimonials you want to make sure that you're highlighting them so that people actually see them and that they were worth the effort getting them.

On your website - make sure you create a testimonials page on your website where you can highlight a lot of the great things people have said about working with you.

On sales pages - make sure to include testimonials on every sales page that you have. By including testimonials that speak to what you are talking about on the page, you are putting social proof right in front of people without making them look for it.  

On Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - once a week, or at least a couple of times a month, share a testimonial on your social networks. Frame it so that people know what to take from it.

"I love when my clients tell me that my courses are easy to understand, it means I've done my job well" - insert testimonial about someone who felt social media was complicated, but is now easy because it was explained in a way they could understand.

"This client is on fire, she's been surpassing every sales goal she's made over the last year" - insert testimonial about how working with me has helped them make more money.


I challenge you to go out and get three new testimonials this week and start sharing them. Leave me a comment below so I can check them out!

Links & additional resources

Asking for Recommendations on LinkedIn

My Testimonials page

Subscribe 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


#10 You need to be on LinkedIn

There's a definite trend with people I've been talking to lately (and apparently the people THEY have been talking to) about LinkedIn. More and more of my clients are telling me that someone told them they absolutely need to be on LinkedIn and focus all of their attention there.

I don't necessarily agree. Facebook can also be a really important tool for business owners because it's where the most people spend their time, but having said that, I also think everyone needs to be paying attention to LinkedIn.

If you have a business and people might have a reason to look you up online at all, you want to have a solid LinkedIn presence.

What does that mean?

Have a well filled out profile.

Make sure that your headline describes what you do - it's the thing that people see first other than your photo and your name.

Make sure that the summary section is complete with detailed information about what you do, how people can work with you and is full of keywords you want to be found for.

Use recommendations and endorsements 

Endorse people as a way to connect with them in a simple way.

Use other people's endorsements as a way to know if what you're putting out into the world correctly describes what you do.

Ask for and give recommendations. These testimonials are great ways to connect with people and the more recommendations you have the more social proof there is that you're great at what you do.

Publish content to the network

Use the publishing tool to publish existing content to your profile. It's an opportunity to get more exposure for your content and they get prominently listed on your profile. It's a great way to showcase your expertise. 

Links & additional resources

The value of recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn (blog post)

Connect with me on LinkedIn

The podcast can now also be found on Stitcher

Social Media Simplified on iTunes

Come and join my Biz community on Facebook: The Biz Studio Facebook Group