This post showcases the pre-launch re-launch series of nine episodes of the MIX/SIZZLE & SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS Podcast on the way to reach 100 shows! These nine extraordinary episodes lead to a milestone of 100 shows published using my old buddy and friend, the anchor.fm app.
Not only will the show hit a big milestone, but the kickoff of this website is a longtime project now coming to life, so I’m so pleased you’re here! Thank you.
I’m going to string this post together as the shows publish using a Table of Contents (see below) but, for now, I’m starting with Show Notes and resources from the first three published podcasts already in circulation. Then, I’ll keep updating this post for you as the last six podcasts release. I hope you enjoy this post, the shows, the new website, and the new direction the show is taking as it plows into the future of everything business and content!
- #1- Just Keep Doing Like My Mom
- #2- Get Set for Social Sharing & Engagement Plus an Intro to Twitter for Business
- #3- LIVE Examples of Podcast Topics on Business & Marketing
- SUBSCRIBE NOW 🎧 SO YOU WON’T MISS A THING! 🎤
- #4- Content Marketing Starring Sharon Hurley Hall
- #5- Anatomy of a Blog Post
- #6- Lisa Sicard with a 🎉 Big Announcement!
- #7- 3 Topics Helpful to Your Business
- #8- Shifting Your Ad & Marketing Mindset
- #9- Blogging 101: An Interview With Cori Ramos
#1- Just Keep Doing Like My Mom
Sometimes you have to make a comeback in your business, or your life. In this first revival episode of nine, I’m not afraid to love, praise, highlight, and get vulnerable enough to say aloud that sometimes things are hard.
Sometimes unforeseen matters interrupt your flow but, in the end, you need to pick yourself up and keep doing. Keep doing and moving and trying. Keep going forward. When you are staying in motion, good things happen. This lesson my mother taught me, and it reminds me of how I will never be as fantastic as my mom. And, how I look up to her in every aspect of life.
Listen in and hear a little more about the incomparable Jan Wetzel and her recent honors with Re/Max and in the local community as well. She’s a worker and a fighter and the kindest person in the world. My mom is a businesswoman to aspire to and a best friend in my life. Lucky me.
In this episode, there’s also a business lesson, and a reminder to make choices for your life and business that allow you to spend your time doing what you want to do.
#2- Get Set for Social Sharing & Engagement Plus an Intro to Twitter for Business
Working as a mentor in the Biz of Writing learning group developed by the ultra-smart Sharon Hurley Hall is the inspiration for this second re-launch episode’s discussion. You see, jumping into social media is scary and there’re things you may want to consider and get set before the actual plunge. Or, if you’re already swimming in social, these may be hints for improvements or things you overlooked. I don’t know. It seems if people are just starting out, these are good things to know or to put in place for better results.
I feel like there are some pre-requisites for using social media and many I didn’t know at first. So, that’s why I scribbled down an outline to offer to Sharon’s group before providing the meat of the “Twitter for Business” topic. But, it turns out these Steps (see below) are pretty meaty so they seem worth sharing on the podcast.
4 First Steps to a Better Social Path
Social Share Buttons
Be sure to use social share buttons on your website. You can start with a free plugin and move to the premium version as you’re ready. Plus, make sure to offer click-to-tweet options to make sharing to Twitter inviting and smooth, even if you aren’t on Twitter.
Why is this important?
✔promotion & distribution strategy
✔find key audiences where they hang
✔grow reach & traffic via social outreach
✔help others help share you
Content Worth Sharing
You need to be sure to create quality content that’s share-worthy or no promotion/distribution strategy you try will ever work. There are many facets to share-worthiness, but it starts with the content itself, how it’s structured, delivered, and more.
What makes quality content?
✔informational & educational
✔interesting & entertaining
✔value-added materials: thoughts, ideas, questions, new spin or angles on a subject, industry discussion, etc.
Add Shareable Assets
By adding shareable assets like visuals to your content, you make it more noticeable, memorable, and shareworthy, so make sure you take your game up by adding more valuable content assets to your work.
Ideas for other visuals assets?
✔graphics, illustrations, photos, etc.
✔infographics & SlideShares
✔subheads, fonts, bold or italics
✔bullet points, quotes, outlines
Creating versatile content allows you to craft multi-media formats and to mix formats to recreate content assets for multiple channels. Crafting powerful content means taking a strategic look at expanding reach.
✔create mixed formats at the onset
✔make visuals adaptable to SlideShare, blog post visuals, videos, infographic, etc.
✔craft social media specific versions
Map From the Path to Suit Your Audience & You
If you think about multiple purposes at the planning stages in your content creation process, you may increase your reach. And maybe, find new audiences. Plus, you can decrease production time as you fine-tune your content creation practice over time.
Create versatile pieces, consider social media versions and specs, plan mini-campaigns for particular social channels like a tweet series, for example. Also, don’t forget to hone your process. You may even want to create a checklist in the order you prefer to work-through your premiere work.
Don’t forget other powerful channels like YouTube for your video collection, a Pinterest plan, perhaps, or Flipboard. How about an audio version?
To sum it up, optimize your site, your content, your additional media and content assets, etc. as you create them for easy social sharing and engagement!
Primer to Twitter for Business
People don’t seem to “get” Twitter, but I have a few good reasons why I love it.
- Twitter allows me to keep the conversation going over time because it’s not about the feed but the connections you make.
- The feed is a vast resource and research tool where I find some of my very best sources.
- My best business contacts leading to real work and ongoing business originates from Twitter! It’s true:)
But, the main reason Twitter was my first pick to experiment with in social media is that it seems like the easiest platform for a beginner. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it works well for me. But again, just like with the general tips above, Twitter for Business has some prerequisites as well.
These are the 7 tips for setting your Twitter platform up for better social sharing and engagement before we get waaay deeper in Twitter for Business Tips with Lisa Sicard from Inspire to Thrive, over the summer.
7 Twitter Tips to Get You Going:
- Get your bio right and give a “taste” of what you’re about. A photo of you is required. Think about using hashtags or the @ in your bio as you are sending people away if they click on those. Is that what you want? Utilize this prime real estate with intention.
- Make sure your visual background “speaks” for you, but visually, by telling something about you without use of words. Make yourself a billboard to deliver a deeper message without words.
- Think carefully and strategically about the one link you have in your profile. Create a likable path right to you.
- Pin a meaningful item to the top position on your Twitter feed to highlight your business. Make this count to showcase yourself or your work.
- Make an effort to use and understand Twitter lists to help you make the most of the platform and create organization to make it easier to use.
- Hone in on your peeps with proper use of #hashtags and find your favorite topics and interests quicker.
- Follow and unfollow with discretion so you are focused in your use of Twitter for Business.
Not only is it best you feel comfortable in trying out different social platforms for a social media marketing promotions and distribution plan, but selecting social channels based on where your target market exists is equally important.
Links to things in this episode:
- Social Warfare or Social Pug for social share button plugins for your site.
- Ultimate Blocks plugin for Click-to-Tweet box and other extras for Gutenberg editor.
#3- LIVE Examples of Podcast Topics on Business & Marketing
In this episode of the MIX/SIZZLE & SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS Podcast, a reminder that Sharon Hurley Hall is the star of the next episode is announced, and the news that we will be discussing the topic, Content Marketing! Do tune in for super Sharon:)
Next, I talk about the decision to continue the podcast and note the first set of reasons as written in an article for Sarah at Sarke Media when I first started the show. These reasons are all still valid.
Take a look and see why and how audio content may work for you, too. You can use audio content to:
*Reach a new audience
*Repurpose quality/key content
*Reach customers in a new way
*Add a narrative to core communications
*Add a voice and personality to your brand
*Increase marketing and media mix options
*Find creative ways to craft your digital space
*Grow authority and recognition in your industry
*Offer content in easy to consume format, for people on-the-go
*Increase your audiences by offering valuable audio programming
*Show off a little bit with thought leadership, creativity, and new ideas
*Expand on topics from your website, articles, or relevant current events
*Find your voice and practice your presentation, teaching, and scripting skills ~as originally seen on Sarke Media
Beyond all these good reasons, I also have more, though some are on a more personal level.
Personal Reasons to Podcast for This Girl
Besides thinking I could be like Mike Lange, the voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League, I admit I think podcasting is fun, though not easy, and I’m enthusiastic about topics I talk about on the show.
But, there’s a lot more. Some I tell and some things, maybe not so much. For instance, I enjoy staying behind the curtain, making the magic happen yet remaining in the background. I think as I look back over many years in my career, I’m pretty sure I suffered outright panic attacks on my way to personal appearances for events we handled in the early years. I couldn’t breathe and sometimes sobbed uncontrollably. Not many people know this, and I don’t know why I’m saying it now. But it may explain my anxiety over even the thought of doing video, even though I want to stay relevant, digitally.
Besides, there’s a truckload of things to talk about after 30 years as a business owner, you know?
I like that there’s a little personality peek in podcasting. Also, I like the ease-of-use for people to tune in to check out the content. While on the one hand, it seems less invasive; on the other, it lets you reach out to a wider possible audience.
But the most exciting thing to make me want to keep going is the positive remarks and feedback, messages, and emails from a person here and another there, about the show. It tickles me, absolutely delights me, to help you.
Business, content, and all things related are things I can talk about all day and are also crucial for your business.
And Speaking of Business
The final kicker for me to stay with podcasting is the evidence I stumbled on indicating a lack of women who are part of the podcast movement and doing it well. So how perfect is it that my rebranding of the show for this website came out as MSSYBiz, or short for MIX/SIZZLE & SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS!!
Anyway, I hope you’ll support the MSSYBiz Podcast. And, I’m really hoping to be a woman-hosted business podcast that delivers TONS of valuable content each week for you. I hope to grow with your help:)
Each Tuesday, tune in for a new episode, talking everything business and content, to help you MIX, SIZZLE & SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS with a thought, an idea, a lesson you can use in YOUR business!
SUBSCRIBE NOW 🎧 SO YOU WON’T MISS A THING! 🎤
The LIVE examples in this episode are: “notes to self™” and Bravo’s “Project Runway” and “Volkswagen” introducing gamification into their new Loyalty and Rewards Program.
#4- Content Marketing Starring Sharon Hurley Hall
In this episode, it’s a pleasure to have Sharon Hurley Hall, professional writer, marketer, and so much more, in the house to talk about a mega important topic for business, Content Marketing.
Since Sharon Hurley Hall is a colleague and a friend, there may be a little extra laughter in this episode! And excuse my gravelly cold-not-gone throat noises, too, please. But, for sure, this is a value-packed discussion as Sharon reveals insights and information key to creating an effective Content Marketing Strategy for your business or blog.
I took a few notes for you from the episode and I sure hope I can get Sharon to come back to share more goodies on the MSSYBiz Podcast again, soon. Thanks, Sharon!!
Content Marketing is the Anchor
Content Marketing is the anchor to your inbound or attraction marketing strategy, and enhances your digital visibility, increasing digital “word-of-mouth” marketing. Sharon suggests, “First, ask yourself what you want your site, blog, or business to achieve.”
But, don’t stop there. You also need to ask yourself, what does your audience want or need? What are they looking for?
Then, to go one step further, you need to ask, where are your customers? You need to go to them to get started. Market research is necessary as well as reviewing analytical data from your site and social channels.
Plus, Sharon advises you have a time strategy for taking the steps you need to execute your content plan well.
Next, we talk about the significance of traffic to your website or blog and point out, emphatically, that it’s not about traffic as a whole, but more about targeted traffic. Further, the volume of traffic isn’t an indicator of business success, either. For many freelancers and small business operations as well, a handful of core customers may be lucrative without numbering too many.
Sharon points out the importance of understanding the point of interaction a prospective customer or site visitor may be in as a guide to the kind of content you create. Remember your Content Marketing Strategy must address and speak to people in various stages of getting to know you. The idea is to make each touchpoint a positive experience with you. The old AIDA formula reminds you of the points of interaction where people need content that connects.
The stages are Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. In creating awareness, stirring interest and desire, and finally, to initiate an action, the content you create must be intentional and resonate with your particular audience.
Map The Path
Your objective is to create the logical content puzzle, educating people and building relationships that foster trust in you, making people want to come back for more. In other words, when the time to buy from you comes along, it will be a no-brainer for people to jump at the chance to work with you. They will gladly want to buy.
If you always consider audience needs for topics and formats, answer their burning questions, and provide free information and plenty of correct help, your reputation will grow.
Content Marketing is about building an intimate relationship between you and your audience.~Sharon & Sue-AnnMSSYBiz.com Podcast Episode 6/7/2019
Mixed content styles and formats are okay and you don’t have to follow the leader. Or guru. Just start somewhere recommends Sharon, 1500 words or whatever the case, and go from there. Over time, you will learn what content resonates with your blog’s specific audiences.
Use micro-conversions as stepping stones to bigger conversions and business. Every small win counts. Hard selling is off-putting so building a relationship with each touch takes visitors along a pleasant path you want them to take to know, like, trust and finally, do business with you.
Your Content Marketing Strategy is the individually unique “relationship builder” you design to entice people to connect and interact with you and your brand and business.
Wow! That was a good show, huh? Thank you for listening.
#5- Anatomy of a Blog Post
In this episode, a smaller part of Content Marketing is the subject of discussion, starting with what it takes to construct compelling blog posts. You know, the kinds of posts that work to build relationships with customers and attract new business, too.
Rather than jump right into blog structure, the Anatomy of a Blog Post episode first talks about things to make your blog posts better than the rest — things to help you write for engagement.
What you write about varies by your subject matter, business type, audience preferences, and other factors. But, the ideas for your blog writing are an essential part of the process if you want to gain notice, authority, and build your digital reputation. I suggest the ideas you come up with and work from when creating your blog assets are core to strategic blogging and authority-building. Organizing your blog content and understanding cornerstone content as the pillars for your blog site structure is step one.
Also, collecting ideas for blog posts is an ongoing process. It’s crucial that you add to the conversation and not merely repeat the same information as everyone else in your industry. A new spin, an opinion or contrarian point-of-view, asking questions, and giving your take on a topic are types of blog content to help you stand out.
Before You Write
An idea is nice, a big idea is even better, and a strategically aligned original idea is the ultimate hot ticket to start a post. But, before you jot down even one letter, let alone a word, ask yourself what the purpose of the post you are going to create is; and, what action you want people to take when they check it out.
Having a goal in mind at the onset of your project is a factor in constructing better work and getting the results you want. Now you’re ready to succeed with moving through the appropriate blog post structure. These are the elements that make any piece of content more relevant to a digital audience, in particular.
However, remember that while the elements are universal to some degree, the process for how you write and produce your best posts will vary. Always go with what works best for you. Your blog content, your writing process, and even your audience are unique to you. That said, here are the essential elements making up the Anatomy of a Blog post. Use them as a guide.
Anatomy of a Blog Post
You may want to start with covering the essentials like any journalist by answering the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions for readers for a well-rounded approach. But in the digital space and when vying for attention in a crowded online space, the following outline makes a good checklist for the structure of powerful blog assets for your website:
- Headlines…are your one chance to gain attention and get clicks to your site
- Visuals…are a must, starting with a Title Visual, at the very least
- Outlines…are optional for organizational help in blogging and structuring flow
- Lede…or a lead is the introductory part of a post and needs to be powerful, magnetic
- Body…the main copy of your post, the explanation, with examples, ideas, research, etc.
- Close…with a bang makes your post memorable, sums things up, makes a final impression
- Design…for online using white space, quotes, heads, bullet points, etc. for ease of use
- Edits…on every tiny detail in writing and format, again, and one more time, please!
I always note, “Even an editor needs an editor,” so remember to polish your posts and keep the professional image intact. Overall, editing shows you care about your audience and your work.
Links to things in this episode:
- This post gives you headline formulas as well as free headline analyzer tools to check out.
- Henneke helps alert you to writing weaknesses to avoid for better blogging.
- This one is more advanced for writing with rhythm but is one of my favs from Henneke.
- Take a look at how to use visuals to power up your content for ideas you can use now.
- And finally, don’t look at editing and revisions as work, but as magic with Henneke’s help.
- The purpose of your blog is to add resource-rich content assets to your digital efforts.
The Promised Henneke InfoDrawing for the Path to Excellent Blog Writing:
29 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills and Escape Content Mediocrity, courtesy of Henneke at Enchanting Marketing
Stay tuned for Lisa Sicard from Inspire to Thrive on the next episode!
#6- Lisa Sicard with a 🎉 Big Announcement!
Lisa talks about starting a new business with her digital property, Inspire to Thrive, allowing her to step into the new role of business owner, full-time, working from her blog and bringing it to her real life. Her new career in digital is interesting and inspiring so please listen to hear Lisa’s remarkable stories and fantastic tips.
And in other BIG NEWS, Lisa announces her new website, SmallBizTipster.com! I know it will be a huge success because Lisa has the magic touch and the positive and helpful spirit that a great business owner needs.
Oh, oh, I almost forgot, here’s the post we talk about on the new site which is a business lesson within my own business story. You’ll understand why you need JUST ONE CALL in your business plan too. Let me know what you think…
#7- 3 Topics Helpful to Your Business
This episode talks about 3 topics, helpful to your business.
First, as promised, I share the post on Lisa Sicard’s new blog, SmallBizTipster.com, including a personal story from my first successful small business. An important business tip for any business, any size, and a little share about myself, too.
The point for your business from this part is to make sure you have a trusted resource(s) you can go to at any moment for guidance, an opinion, or help. Having a Board of Directors, or sounding board of some kind at your disposal is indispensable for making decisions, meeting challenges, and handling trying situations. Plus, you never know when you “need a guy,” for something or other!
Even an accountability partner can help you keep your sanity and give you a place to ask questions to decide on next moves for your business.
Next, I borrow a note from Donald Miller, owner of StoryBrand, and remind you to focus on the things that matter most for the good of your business growth. Figure out the tasks that create your “moneymaker” and concentrate your biggest efforts there. Assess this for yourself and for every individual part of your operations or team. Revenue and sales are the keys to a business.
Finally along the same lines of discussion as “Shake Your Moneymaker,” the question I pose: “Is There an SEO-less Way to Win in the Digital Space?”
Sure, SEO, or search engine optimization, is a smart tactic and important blogging skill. However, winning in business doesn’t necessarily mean conquering Google for top rankings. Maybe time and resources are better directed at getting business results in other business-building ways. I throw this out there as something to think about and consider in your digital strategy for success. Check out the post and topics and see how people are weighing in on Ryan’s blog.
Can’t wait to see you again soon and thank you for listening to the MSSYBiz Podcast, too.
#8- Shifting Your Ad & Marketing Mindset
Advertising is on the edge of a major shift. Companies need to think carefully or RETHINK where their ad spend will go.
But first, an apology to Cori Ramos, who gave me the perfect interview on the topic, Blogging 101, and then I messed up and didn’t get the recording!! OH NO. OH MY. And I’m so sorry for not only using Cori’s precious time but also for promoting it on Facebook to friends. Now I’m a double butthead!!
Companies are now drilling down on advertising via engagement. They then hone in and focus new ads more specifically by putting the spotlight back on their customer-users. User-generated content, therefore, is evolving into user-generated advertising and marketing in many instances.
Experiential Marketing Takes Control
From a digital perspective, Mark Schaefer suggests you (as a marketer) try to stop doing things people hate. In the post, he talks about annoying people with popups on your site.
Further, Search Engine Journal says this about popups, “Intrusive interstitials are essentially popup ads. They tend to block most or all of a page, leading to a bad user experience for desktop and mobile users alike.” In the SEJ post, they explain that even Google is against intrusive pop-ups. Why? Well, because they’re not conducive to positive user experience (UX) of course. And, as of January 2017, sites can lose ranking over the use of them.
Still, one of my Twitter friends piped in upon my share of Mark’s post saying essentially that popups work for him. He doesn’t let what people hate in marketing guide his work. He mentions his popups are added at the right moment and are right in line with what his customers want. If that’s the case, then your popups are not a problem.
The thing is, I have felt good and thankful for popups on sites NEVER. But, maybe that’s just me and making content interruptions and blocking content works for you. For me, this is one of the biggest things about a website that bugs me!
In the meantime, as the popup debate rages on, the point is more to encourage marketers to shift their mindset. Customers are not happy (maybe never were) to be blasted with ads and marketing. Instead, they are becoming an integral part of the process.
I guess this post and podcast episode too, are a little Mark Schaefer influenced. Although I flubbed up my explanation on the podcast, I mention my favorite post by Mark. In it, he explains how audiences are like individual Greek Islands and only marketers who are invited in are allowed to market them.
What I hear and am trying to promote is the all-out human to human ad and marketing spin necessary to rise above in a digital world. I’m saying that businesses need to adjust their attitudes and embrace a customer interactive marketing environment. This means an attitude adjustment by business owners and C-level executives as I talk about on Ryan Biddulph’s site, in this recent post.
#9- Blogging 101: An Interview With Cori Ramos
In Part 1 on the topic, Blogging 101 with Cori Ramos, you get the REAL story on what a blog is, how to get started, avenues to take, first priorities and more. Checkout: CorinaRamos.net
I asked Cori to talk about Blogging 101 and I think you’ll find the insights we discuss are not necessarily what you will usually hear so this show is a good one! One of the things we explore during this two-part discussion is the vast number of ways you can work and earn from your blog. Like me, she discloses how she was a complete beginner at the onset of her digital career.
Cori’s blog services cover everything from website design to virtual assistant duties to teaching newbie and mommy bloggers. She also helps manage social media for clients, visuals, and so much more. I love how Cori explains her services as sometimes the “training wheels” to help get blogs of all kinds off the ground.
We start by talking about blogging misconceptions and the two main points Cori shares are important ones. First, she warns that creating a successful blog, whether for an established business or as a business, is not an easy undertaking. Besides NOT EASY, Cori makes note that expecting to make money on day one is also unrealistic and most often, a fallacy.
If your blog goal is to make money, the best advice we give you is to adopt a business mindset, meaning you need to look at your blog as a business and treat your blog operations as such. So, with time and work as your first commitment, take your blog higher by treating it as a business.
Be Happy to Start with Nothing
Working for yourself is challenging but when you love what you do, it can be fun and exciting for you all along the way. That’s why Cori recommends you combine your passion and knowledge in coming up with your blog topic. While you want to enjoy what you’re doing, you also need to know your subject matter inside and out for best results.
Like my great-niece, Ryder, confidently jumping in the river, the best way to start your blog is by taking action. (It turns out Ryder loves the water as much as Aunt Suz–that’s me!)
Besides loving your topic and getting brave enough to jump in, you can further help your cause by doing some research, and especially, take time to do a competitor analysis, Cori suggests.
Your initial blog investment can be small but includes a few major details. First, your platform. WordPress is the best selection according to Cori and I wholeheartedly agree along with the majority of all websites. WordPress.org that is, so be sure not to confuse it with WordPress.com.
WordPress.org offers what is known as a self-hosted website which means you can create your website and blog using free WordPress open-source technology as your framework, once you select a hosting service provider. Also called a host, Cori suggests HostGator as a reliable, low-cost self-hosting service provider.
NOTE: My years of experience with HostGator for shared hosting were very good as well. For a more robust and dedicated hosting provider as you grow, I love my sites’ hosting service, WPX Hosting, and I think you will too.
Getting your domain name is another initial expense. (Selecting a name is another whole topic!)
Another smart investment to get you off to a good start is to get the help of a web designer to make your website your own, Cori advises. Customization is one of the best things about a WordPress site. Better yet, you can learn as you go.
Adding a “feel” to your site via a unique design is an asset to your business and reflects your brand. Adhere to best practices for ease of use and clarity in your website design.
Finally, Cori recommends you invest in yourself to learn the trade. Even if you just invest your time and practice, Cori explains how YouTube is a free resource and place to pick up info and skills for starting.
Also, invest in other resources like eBooks, online courses, training, and membership groups to learn skills related to your digital business. Network with other blog owners and ask questions.
A Few More Pointers
Cori and I discover, we both bought and read Ryan Biddulph’s eBook about writing an eBook. Ryan offers resources for bloggers from eBooks, to eLearning, to content galore, including free videos lessons, and more. Lisa Sicard, Cori’s secret friend to get her blog onto WordPress, is celebrating her first year anniversary running her Inspire to Thrive blog as a full-time business.
And because the blogging world sometimes intersects, I happen to write for Lisa’s blog and talk about Ryan’s eBook about writing an eBook in this post.
To be continued…