This isn't a stock photo, I shot it today. Our sons and I hiked up to watch the first sunrise of 2023 this morning.
I don't know what they were thinking, but I was thinking that optimism might be just as powerful as discipline and commitment. Optimism lets us take on new challenges without realizing how hard they'll be. Optimism lets us do it again, and again, and again even when they didn't work out the last time.
If resolutions are your thing, optimism is what lets us make them every year, even if they didn't stick last year. But isn't a month of a new resolution every year better than none of that new resolution? A realist might skip resolutions because they won't stick, an optimist will make them over and over again... maybe that's how we make progress.
Professional creatives - we all need a little help sometimes. Here are three that help me and my work:
1. "Building a Storybrand" taught me how to apply traditional story structure to a business.
2. "Storyworthy" is full of tactical advice to make stories better.
3. "The War of Art" is the kick in the behind I need from time to time to keep creating.
What would you add to the list? (note all links are Amazon affiliate links)
Is your content still KING? Or QUEEN ...or maybe PRESIDENT (I mean we're a democracy right?).
Want more videos like this? Subscribe to the show that Paula Jenkins and I (Marion Abrams) host weekly on YouTube at PodcastingContent.com
The 5 secrets:
1. Originality - we don't need more copies! Be yourself, be vulnerable, take risks.
2. Community - listen, include, don't just broadcast.
3. Trust - it's more rare and therefore more valuable than ever before.
4. Ecosystem / Virtuose Cycle - your content can't stand alone.
5. Relevance - to your brand & to your audience.
This episode (vlog meets podcast) takes you with me to Podfest Expo 2022 in Orlando. You'll hear from the show floor at Podfest and from YouTube experts, live streaming experts, Podcast Network experts, and storytelling experts.
Guests on this episode:
And at the end of the episode, I will share a wrap up of my biggest takeaways from the event, what I learned and what it's got me thinking. The format of this episode is kind of a creative experiment for me. I was having fun with it. And I want to know if it works for you.
Roberto’s Book https://amzn.to/3xd0XvM
Roberto’s podcast “Create Something Awesome Today” https://podfollow.com/1006743050
Horse Radio Network https://podfollow.com/384081509
Interview Vallet https://interviewvalet.com/
Evergreen Podcasts https://evergreenpodcasts.com/
BG Adgroup http://bgadgroup.com/
Here are a few excerpts from this month's round up, sign up for emails to get the monthly round up.
On the Grounded Content Podcast I asked Jon Outaev what he thought made the Elon Musk meme post he created for Spartan go viral, he said it:
1. Related to a trending or hot topic
2. Was on brand, something the community would get behind and
You can watch the video here.
But then it got more interesting
I received a private message that said
"I think this is a really slippery slope and feeding the misinformation machine. If brands are using misinformation and doctored imagery as fuel to create awareness/buzz/virality, it's literally the opposite of authentic (and it hurts any sense of trying to make social media a trusted space). The implications of this spiral in a number of ways and I'd heavily advise against."
What do you think?
Here's how I responded on LinkedIn.
What Makes a Story EFFECTIVE?
Story experts and co-creators of Storymode, Beth Nyland and Jill Pollack joined me for a full episode of Grounded Content to teach us all about story, and the secret brainstorming technique using the number 39.
1. Start with the audience in mind
2. Know what you want to happen at the end of the story
3. Know who you need to reach
4. How do they feel now?
5. How do you want them to feel at the end so they will feel compelled to take action
For the full conversation (it’s a good one) listen to the podcast episode "Storymode and the Power of 39 with experts Beth & Jill."
Podcast Industry News
What you say as a podcast or livestream guest is the most important thing, and how you say it comes next. But that should all sit on a firm foundation of good audio and video quality. Here are a couple of tips to look and sound like a professional when you are invited to guest on a podcast, video or livestream.
1 . Find a quiet space where you won't be interrupted by friendly people, loud sirens, vacuum cleaners or snoring dogs.
2. You will sound better with a microphone, here are a few options:
- A versatile inexpensive (about $70) but good sounding mic is the Samson Q2U. It comes with a USB cable that will plug right into your computer, a very basic stand, a windscreen and an XLR cable in case you work with a pro recording device.
- If you only have a USB c connector try the AKG Lyra (it sounds good and it’s stylish too!)
- If you prefer a clip on lavalier style mic this is one with a USBc connection try the Sennheiser Pro XS Lav.
- And if you are looking to level up but still connect directly to your computer with a USB cable (no techy interface device needed) try the Shure Mv7. It costs about $250, but take note you will also need to buy a desktop mic stand or boom arm with this one.
3. Consider headphones, especially if video isn't being recorded. Sometimes the sound from the interviewer playing on your speakers will feed back into the microphone creating strange echos. Wearing headphones will prevent that.
Once the mic is hooked up here are some hints to make sure it's set up properly.
AND here's a quick video on mic technique, this can have a huge impact on the sound of your interview and costs you nothing!
First take a look at what's behind you that will be visible in the shot. If it’s a bright window see if you can turn your set up around so you face toward the window letting that natural light hit your face.
After that the simplest way to make the image look better is to add a small light.
- This model from Lume Cube that attaches right to your monitor or laptop with it's own suction cup.
- If you decide to go with a ring light remember - ring lights were designed to go AROUND the camera to create an even flattering light. If you don't use it that way then it's just a round light, nothing special.
- If you want a versatile and more permanent solution, I love these desk lights from Lume Cube. When you are not recording, they look and function like a modern style desk lamp, but they rotate and create a flattering soft light for your virtual recordings.
Check the Connection:
And finally - don't forget to check the internet connection and make sure it's stable and fast enough to carry the signal. Ookla Speed test is a useful tool for that.
If you're a content creator, a content strategist, a brand, or an entrepreneur struggling to make effective content, how do you know if your content is any good? You can look at numbers, you can look at rankings, and download status, but those don't actually tell you if the content is good. They tell you if you've reached your audience yet if your audience is growing.
If you've heard any of my advice about growing an audience, you know that I talk about three important pieces to audience growth and audience development. You can think of them in terms that might be familiar, customer acquisition, customer service, and customer retention. The acquisition, that's where you go out into the world, you tell people about your show, your product, or your channel, and you get them to come back and find you. Customer service, or audience service, that's making sure once they do find you, you keep that promise you made to them. You make it a place they want to be, they feel like they got what they came there for. And third, customer retention or audience retention, they listened to an episode, they read a post, how do you get them to come back for more?
If you don't have that second piece, the audience service piece, in place all the growth and all the advertising you do won't work. That second part is about having great content.
One way to know if you have great content is to listen. If you have a podcast, one of the easiest ways to improve your content, is to listen like your listener listens, not during the edit, not during the scripting, not during the recording. But once the show is published, put on the earbuds and listen on your run, listen in the gym, listen in the car on your commute, listen when you're folding laundry, listen the way your audience listens. It's like the advice you get when you're writing an article, change the font or print it out, and you'll see the mistakes. Your mind skips over the things you already know unless you change the context. If you listen to your podcast, like your listener, you will hear things that you wouldn't have noticed before.
Then ask yourself these four questions. They're the same four questions that I asked when I needed to get a 3 hour rough cut of my documentary down to 1 hour for broadcast. I went to my friends, my trusted colleagues, and I said, "do me a favor, the best favor you can do for me is answer these four questions." These are the same four questions that you can ask yourself when you listen to your own content.
#1 When did you get bored? When did you find your mind wandering?
#2 When did it feel repetitive? Like you'd already heard that idea before?
#3 When was it confusing? When was a link missing? You couldn't quite get from point A to point B, there was some context that hadn't been included.
#4 Where did it grab you? Where did you have to hit that rewind button and hear it again, because it was so interesting and exciting?
Those four questions can be a guide to making your content even better. A lot of people new to content creation, are afraid to listen to their own content, because they don't want to hear it. But if you don't want to hear it, how can you expect your audience to?
Don't listen, to be hard on yourself. Listen to find places where you can make it better.
Want to Be a Good Podcast Guest?
Here’s a 1/2 hour primer on how to get on more podcasts, be a better guest, AND to get results from the appearances. I interviewed Tom Schwab from Interview Vallet, they land 50% of every pitch they make, and Tom explains how they do it.
Collective Story, Culture Hacking & Culture Jamming
Jeff Gomez worked on projects like Pirates of the Caribbean and Avatar, he talks about the importance of the AUDIENCE in every story, and also the difference between culture hacking and culture jamming and the power and danger that each hold.
Help a Podcaster & World Central Kitchen #Reviews4Good:
Pochaser brings back #Reviews4Good for the third year. Leave a review for any podcast on Pochaser this month and they’ll donate. DETAILS here… and in case you want to review Grounded Content here’s the direct link .
Is Your Content Any Good?
Watch it or listen to it and ask yourself these 4 questions.
Podcast Strategy and more:
I’ve been on some podcasts lately, and I love the thought provoking questions the hosts have asked.
What Am I Listening to this Week?
I LOVE being a guest on podcasts. No for the "exposure," but because it helps me be a better podcaster and a better podcasting coach. I see everyone's systems - there are a lot of great one's out there - AND I have an opportunity to hone my message, my library of stories, and my speaking skills. I see what questions people have, and what they are thinking about. AND ... bonus ... how many times have you wished you could listen back to a conversation and think about what you did well and what you could have said better? With these podcasts I can.
I'm honored that both Robbie Samuels and O’Brien McMahon took the time to create these shows and allow me to join them.
On the People Business Podcast we talked about:
-> Whether everyone should be their own content creator?
-> How does someone determine a good resource from a bad one? (how to spot the BS)
-> Advice for someone dealing with the angst of starting to build a presence online?
-> How to think about showing different parts of your persona online.
-> Exercises to help people find their voice
-> Aligning yourself as a person with the business content you put out
-> My system of 5 P’s
On the On the Schmooze Podcast we talked about:
-> Leadership: “Leadership is keeping everyone focused on the ultimate goal”
-> Lessons from life in a small town
-> The BEST library story you might ever hear in your life
-> How and why I started podcasting
-> The importance of knowing and understanding goals along with the resources available to you
-> How to create a truly engaging experience for both your podcast guest and your audience.
"If your goal is a content creator is to get more listeners and more people engaged and get people to actually take action, then you need to be thinking about what they need from you, not how you need to show up for you." ~Alex Perry
Every podcast is looking for ways to grow its audience. There are 3 main components to podcast growth:
1. Bring in NEW listeners
2. Serve those listeners
3. Get those listeners to come back or subscribe
I usually like to focus on the second one of these, but in this podcast episode my guest Paula Jenkins and I go through a list of 15 ways to do the first. 15 ways you can get new listeners and grow your audience.
1. Email list
2. Paid social media
3. Organic social media
4. Ads in podcast apps
5. Ads in podcasts
6. Podcast guesting
7. Podcast promo swaps
8. SEO & blog posts
11. Innovate (we give examples)
14. Link in bio
15. Link in email signature
Here's what's in the first email roundup, sign up below to get the info in your inbox.
Hi Friends - I’ve decided to start sending out a monthly round up of the most interesting ideas and information on my podcast coaching and content strategy radar. My plan is to make it a clean simple resource for you. This is new for me and the list is small - so please reply and let me know if this was worth opening, and what you’d like included in the future.
Want 5x the Exposure for Your Content
You’ve probably heard about repurposing content, it might be simpler than you think. This 25 minute podcast episode runs through 5 ways to repurpose your content for greater exposure … and several don’t require any editing!
Should you Put Your Podcast on YouTube?
Click here for YouTube expert Scott Simson’s answer (the video is less than 1 minute). If you want to hear more about YouTube strategy (like how to hook the audience and what an “open loop” is) you can listen to the whole Grounded Content Podcast interview here.
How Should Brands Use Community?
Jackie MacDougall, founder of “Grown-Ass Women’s Guide” says most brands get THIS wrong about building communities. You can hear her complete interview HERE.
Keep an eye out for the #ClaimPodParity campaign this month headed up by Elsie Escobar. As she points out - there are already so many talented and influential women in the podcast industry, it’s time they get more attention. If you’re writing an article or thinking about an interview - consider including more diverse voices. They are out there. Here’s a list of podcasting experts to get you started.
What About Filters?
Every podcast or content interview series should have a set of three filters - A topic filter, a guest filter, and a question filter. HERE’s what I mean.
What Am I Listening to this Week?
Get on the list:
Zach Kazin is the senior director of content partnerships at Vox creative. In this episode, we talk about how he thinks about that role and about content partnerships. What's the difference between an indie or hobby content creator, and one who does it professionally? What's his advice for creators looking to build a career? How do business goals and creative goals intersect? And most important - what makes great content?
Interview with Zach Kazin:
The sun’s starting to dip behind the mountains.
I can't stop shivering.
That's a good thing, when you stop shivering that’s when you need to worry about hypothermia.
I can’t recall the year, it was 2000 something.
I’m in Lake Placid in the middle of winter standing on top of a rickety 20’ high tower with 60 pounds of camera equipment and no immediate route down.
I’ve been shooting Inverted Aerials at the US Freestyle Nationals from the best seat in the house. Eye to eye with some of the most amazing athletes on the planet. Capturing them as they flip, turn and twist their way through the sky.
But now the competition is over, night is falling, and the cold is working it’s way to my core.
These skiers have put in thousands of hours to get here.
Years later Alex Fererreira took silver at the Olympics doing similar tricks off the lip of a halfpipe. In our podcast “Spartan Up,” he explained the preparation: “[First do it] in your head 100 times, do it on the trampoline 100 times, go to water and do it 100 times there. THEN you bring it to an airbag. … You do that into the bag probably 100 times. … And then after you've done it there, then you bring it to snow. “
Back in Lake Placid I'm waiting for the rest of the camera crew to get their gear wrapped so they can bring me the ladder I’ll need to climb down.
At 5’ tall my body mass to surface area ratio makes me especially vulnerable to hypothermia.
When these skiers launch into the air they’ve put in so many reps their body knows the way, the movements become intuitive and natural. Real experience, in a variety of circumstances, is critical.
How many reps have you put into your podcast?
Are you ready for the days when the winds shift or the judges don’t rule the way they should?
It’s something I think about a lot. In a world of constantly shifting tools and technology, what value does 30 years of experience give me? Reps. I’ve put in the reps. I’ve exceeded my 10,000 hours. 100s of reps editing, 100s of reps telling stories, 100s of reps handling difficult clients, tricky scenarios, unreasonable deadlines, and hard problems.
And 1000s of reps finding the best way to get the story told.
Weathering the shifts is easier when the reps have built that firm foundation.
Eventually the ladder appears, and we manage to get me and all my equipment down safely. I get the car started and focus shifts to next steps. Hot liquids. Hot shower. Set the alarm for tomorrow. Sleep.
Thank you to everyone who battled the snow, donned their masks, and attended our monthly meeting. We started AmeUp believing there’s a place where business, creativity, and community overlap in the Upper Valley. Growing attendance at our events continues to affirm our belief.
Today's NFT presentation by Ryan Munn was extremely informative and we are so grateful to him for sharing his insights, and to CATV Executive Director Samantha Davidson Green for providing the venue at CATV's White River Junction, Briggs Studio location.
A Bitcoin investor since 2013, owner of 1 CryptoKitty, and the host of interchain.live, Ryan spoke of how artists and creative-minded entrepreneurs are successfully using NFT's in the digital marketplace. The discussion and networking afterward was very instructive.
Thank you CATV for hosting us, CATV is a 501(c)3 community-building organization that enables open public dialogue, expression, and government transparency by providing access to the expanding world of media. For information about their lifelong learning offerings, go to: https://catv8.org/learn/
Marion & Elizabeth
When I was about 10 our babysitter came in with a new comb "it's unbreakable" he said.
"Is it really unbreakable?" I asked, "or is that just what they say in the advertisement?"
"It's unbreakable," he told me proudly.
So 10 year old me bet him a dollar that I could break the comb. I tried bending it in my hands but it just bent back. Determined and curious I took it to the basement and put it in my father's vise, tightened it, grabbed the comb with a pair of vise-grip pliers, and put all my weight into it. SNAP! The comb broke in two.
What's the message of the story? What does it have to do with your podcast or your content strategy? Is the story evidence of some essential truth in the world of content?
It's not, but it's a story that tells you a lot about who I am. Even today I'm sometimes socially oblivious, I'm always curious, I love to challenge ideas and take nothing at face value, I'm stubbornly determined when it comes to completing a task, and inventive when it comes to finding Solutions.
There are 5 essential Ps to your podcast strategy. The second P is "Point of view." What's your take on the world? Your personality? That unique combination of things that makes you you? What makes your show about knitting, or boxing, or coffee roasting different from the hundreds of others about that?
PS - I'll help you understand how to use this and the other 4 Ps to grow your podcast In my 90 day development process for podcasters. How do you find your voice? What's unique about your take on your topic? To join you must have a minimum of 10 episodes podcast published. More info on the "Grow your podcast" page.
I can't believe how many smart people are paying attention to the wrong things. Do you need to sound good? Of course. Just like you need to be able to read the type when you open a book. But that isn’t what makes a book interesting & worth reading.
Decent sound quality is not the hard part, and yet it's all so many podcasters worry about.
Let's take the writing analogy a little farther. There are very few great writers who haven't worked hard on their craft. Not how they hold their pen or the choice of word processing app. They dedicate effort to the craft of writing. Whether novels, biographies, magazine articles, or ad copy - most writers work, and work hard, to understand how to craft their messages, develop their ideas, and keep their readers engaged.
I'm not suggesting you script your podcast.
I'm telling you that if you want to be great - put more care, practice and intention into what you say and how you say it. And worry less about the mic you use.
And PS - if you wonder how to learn this, I’ll be running a small group of podcasters through my process starting in January.
Grounded content strategy is practical strategy, who better than the founder of Duct Tape Marketing to help us with this? John Jantsch has a new book "The Ultimate Marketing Engine, 5 steps to ridiculously consistent growth." Everything we talk about comes from his real-life experience building businesses for his clients.
Get two free chapters of his book The Ultimate Marketing Engine.
Whether you're working on a podcast, a social media channel, creative projects for yourself, artwork, photography, social media, writing, journaling, almost any creative endeavor, you can use this technique to help you make a breakthrough to push yourself to the next level. And this works whether you're doing client work or personal work.
First - an important question. Do you want to do more? To be more? To make a breakthrough? Maybe you want to try solo episodes, or keep to a production schedule, add video, or do more social media, get on tick-tock, or study more, read more, learn more about your topic, learn more about your guests, maybe you want to pick up a whole new skill. That's what this process of creative challenges can do for you.
In these two episodes, I explain, step by step, why this structure works, how to execute on it, how to design the right challenge for yourself, what to do to increase the chances of success and what to do when you fail.
Sales. That word freaks some people out and excites others. In this episode of the Grounded Content podcast I talk to Donnie Boivin, he's one of those guys who LOVES sales. He brings all those grounded qualities we love on GC to the mindset of selling. Make no mistake, he is a hard-driving salesperson. He's effective. He knows how to get the deals done, to sell what he needs to sell. And he teaches others how to do it. I think this will change the way you think about sales.
Find information about his programs, summit and podcast at DonnieBoivin.com
If you have a podcast and you want more reviews - make it as easy as you can for your listeners. Unfortunately it's not easy to find the "write a review" button in the apple podcast app from your phone, but once you do the rest is easy. Consider making a video like this (or feel free to steal mine) or posting the steps to your website or social media (I have them below if you'd like to steal them feel free!)
Whatever it is you want your listeners to do more of, think about how you can make it as easy as possible for them.
Here are the steps to leave a podcast review on the apple podcast app from your phone:
1. Open the apple podcasts app
2. Enter the name of the podcast you want to review in the apps search bar
3. Click on the show
4. Scroll down through the list of episodes to the "ratings and reviews" section
5. Just below it you'll see the words "leave a review" - click on that
6. Pick a number of starts, enter a headline and write your review
7. Click "send" at the top right.
Is your content creating measurable results for your business? It should be. In this episode of Grounded Content podcast I go through a 5 step process you can use to get the tangible results you are looking for from your podcast, emails, youtube channel or social media.
Steve Watt attracted my attention on LinkedIn, his posts are human and effective. He's the marketing director at Seismic and a pro on LinkedIn where he has a solid following. Steve explains that he advises the entire team at his company to be a part of the marketing process by being active on LinkedIn. You'll hear the guidance he gives them, the reasons that he believes it's beneficial both for the company and the employees, and what he thinks makes an effective post - the right mix of attention, curiosity, and information.
FollowSteve on LinkedIn
Find Marion on Instagram
Find Marion on Linkedin
Show host / producer: Marion Abrams
Show editor: Kris Zarnoch
What creates viral success? The content? The strategy? The product? All three? Tru Earth founder and CMO Ryan McKenzie gives us a look behind the scenes at Tru Earth's viral strategies. How he thinks about his marketing strategy and how they execute on the viral video releases. AND it wouldn't be an episode of Grounded Content if we didn't ask that essential question - does the end justify the means? If the product makes the world a better place, does it matter how you "pitch" it?
AND - because this product DOES make the world a better place - BUY IT.
Ryan McKenzie is the co-founder and CMO of Tru Earth®, a leading eco-friendly household product company dedicated to the elimination of plastic from landfills and oceans. Concerned about the future of his three young kids, Ryan’s passion for the future of the environment lead to exploring issues around climate change, overpopulation, food and job shortages, and ultimately, to the creation of #TruEarthMovement™. Through his work, he has built a genuine community and a movement of environmentally conscious consumers More than 200,000,000 watched Ryan's videos, and more than 50,000,000 read his articles.
This blog is a place I share some of the things I think about, the photos I take, and the videos I make. They are about life, family, work, content strategy, content creation and podcasting.