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Podcasting Experiments

Podcasting Experiments is all about experimenting with your podcast. We explore ways you can implement and test different ideas to improve your podcast by looking at different strategies and ideas from other podcasters.
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Jan 27, 2015

We've been looking at blogging and writing as our primary focus, but we are going to switch gears for this week.

We all have unique skills. Each one is different, and we can learn to use them in different ways. Blogging is one way, but there are many other ways we can create content using these skills.

I have Brian Hull with us, who uses his unique skills in very creative ways. He has started to use his skills on his Youtube channel and working on doing voice acting.

I first learned about Brian because of his viral rendition of "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen.

Here's a preview of what we'll look at for the rest of this semester:

Session 10 - Networking with Mark Sieverkropp
Session 11 - Marketing your blog through e-mail and social media
Session 12 - Monetizing strategies for your blogging efforts
Session 13 - SEO and Google analytics

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!

The post How to use your unique skills to create content (2-9) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Jan 27, 2015

We've been looking at blogging and writing as our primary focus, but we are going to switch gears for this week.

We all have unique skills. Each one is different, and we can learn to use them in different ways. Blogging is one way, but there are many other ways we can create content using these skills.

I have Brian Hull with us, who uses his unique skills in very creative ways. He has started to use his skills on his Youtube channel and working on doing voice acting.

I first learned about Brian because of his viral rendition of "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen.

Here's a preview of what we'll look at for the rest of this semester:

Session 10 - Networking with Mark Sieverkropp
Session 11 - Marketing your blog through e-mail and social media
Session 12 - Monetizing strategies for your blogging efforts
Session 13 - SEO and Google analytics

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!

The post How to use your unique skills to create content (2-9) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Jan 21, 2015

As we have been examining several aspects of blogging, we have generally been assuming that you are blogging alone. This is probably the most common scenario that you will find yourself in. Sometimes, though, you may find yourself working with someone else. One case would be with guest posting.

Another situation may involve a multi-author project, such as was the case with Jim Woods and Erik J. Fisher. I was able to talk to them about their process of working together on a writing project (writing two books together) back in Semester 1, Session 17. They shared some great insight and things to consider when approaching a partnership like that.

Now, their project didn’t really involve blogging, although Jim did blog about several of the concepts while they were in the writing process. Many of the principles, though, can apply to a blog-based project with multiple authors.

Multi-author sites
There are many sites that utilize multiple authors. Much like an online newspaper or magazine, these authors contribute articles (blog posts) on a regular basis. There is usually some sort of schedule where each one will post a certain times.

This can be a great option for some people. You could draw from many different sources and points of view. You can also provide a higher volume of high-quality content by having daily postings (or several times a day). This can provide a great increase in website traffic and, as a result, higher chance of monetizing through the site.

Some draw backs could be that individuals get lost behind the overall brand of the site. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can see the author getting overlooked because the reader is just concentrating on the actual content itself.
Multi-author collaboration
Another format is where multiple people collaborate together to provide a single piece of content, much like Jim and Erik did with their books. There can be an even greater chance of the individual getting lost behind the brand, but there can be some great benefits, too.

I started such a project. It started back in May/June of 2013. That is when it was announced that a new season of “24” would be coming the following year. I had been podcasting for a few months at that time, so the thought of starting a podcast based on the show came to mind. I didn’t want to do the show myself, so I looked for a possible co-host.

I remember my friend, Mark Sieverkropp, mentioning once that he loved the show, so I asked him if he’d be interested in joining me. After a couple e-mail exchanges, he agreed. We spent June and July watching the news and planning how we would approach it. We decided that we would try to cover each of the previous seasons before the new season started. We launched the podcast (The 24 Podcast) in August, giving us about 9 months to cover the 8 seasons of the show.

It was an intense 9 months because we were trying to re-watch as much of the show as possible. What we couldn’t watch, we looked for summaries to jog our memories. We were also able to get two other guys to come on as guest hosts periodically.

As the new season started, we would watch the episode that Monday (or Tuesday morning online). We would then record and episode on Tuesday or Wednesday, giving our commentary on it. We got a lot of great feedback and interaction from people on Twitter.

Then, the season came to an end.

We were faced with a decision: what do we do now? We didn't know if another season would come or not and we had already recapped the entire series.

One thing we had done throughout the podcast was give our predictions and story ideas. Some of them panned out, and others flopped. But that gave me the idea to try writing our own story line. A fan-fiction project. This idea was also mentioned by Jim Woods, who had no idea I was already thinking about it.

At the time, I had no idea what it would really look like or what it w...

Jan 21, 2015

As we have been examining several aspects of blogging, we have generally been assuming that you are blogging alone. This is probably the most common scenario that you will find yourself in. Sometimes, though, you may find yourself working with someone else. One case would be with guest posting.

Another situation may involve a multi-author project, such as was the case with Jim Woods and Erik J. Fisher. I was able to talk to them about their process of working together on a writing project (writing two books together) back in Semester 1, Session 17. They shared some great insight and things to consider when approaching a partnership like that.

Now, their project didn’t really involve blogging, although Jim did blog about several of the concepts while they were in the writing process. Many of the principles, though, can apply to a blog-based project with multiple authors.

Multi-author sites
There are many sites that utilize multiple authors. Much like an online newspaper or magazine, these authors contribute articles (blog posts) on a regular basis. There is usually some sort of schedule where each one will post a certain times.

This can be a great option for some people. You could draw from many different sources and points of view. You can also provide a higher volume of high-quality content by having daily postings (or several times a day). This can provide a great increase in website traffic and, as a result, higher chance of monetizing through the site.

Some draw backs could be that individuals get lost behind the overall brand of the site. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can see the author getting overlooked because the reader is just concentrating on the actual content itself.
Multi-author collaboration
Another format is where multiple people collaborate together to provide a single piece of content, much like Jim and Erik did with their books. There can be an even greater chance of the individual getting lost behind the brand, but there can be some great benefits, too.

I started such a project. It started back in May/June of 2013. That is when it was announced that a new season of “24” would be coming the following year. I had been podcasting for a few months at that time, so the thought of starting a podcast based on the show came to mind. I didn’t want to do the show myself, so I looked for a possible co-host.

I remember my friend, Mark Sieverkropp, mentioning once that he loved the show, so I asked him if he’d be interested in joining me. After a couple e-mail exchanges, he agreed. We spent June and July watching the news and planning how we would approach it. We decided that we would try to cover each of the previous seasons before the new season started. We launched the podcast (The 24 Podcast) in August, giving us about 9 months to cover the 8 seasons of the show.

It was an intense 9 months because we were trying to re-watch as much of the show as possible. What we couldn’t watch, we looked for summaries to jog our memories. We were also able to get two other guys to come on as guest hosts periodically.

As the new season started, we would watch the episode that Monday (or Tuesday morning online). We would then record and episode on Tuesday or Wednesday, giving our commentary on it. We got a lot of great feedback and interaction from people on Twitter.

Then, the season came to an end.

We were faced with a decision: what do we do now? We didn't know if another season would come or not and we had already recapped the entire series.

One thing we had done throughout the podcast was give our predictions and story ideas. Some of them panned out, and others flopped. But that gave me the idea to try writing our own story line. A fan-fiction project. This idea was also mentioned by Jim Woods, who had no idea I was already thinking about it.

At the time, I had no idea what it would really look like or what it w...

Jan 7, 2015

When you are blogging, you also want to consider your website as a whole.  Not only do you need to focus on the content on the blog posts, or in the overall site design, but you also want to look at the pages you have.
9 website pages to consider
Depending on your unique situation, some of these pages may not apply. You can at least learn what they are and maybe you can adapt it your site. Some of these were covered in a previous podcast session (5 Key Components for Your Website).

1. About page

2. Contact page

3. Guest post guidelines

4. Hire me page

5. Store page

6. Resource page

7. Getting Started page

8. Archive page

9. 404 page - 404 to 301 plugin

The post The 9 website pages you may want to consider (2-7) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Jan 7, 2015

When you are blogging, you also want to consider your website as a whole.  Not only do you need to focus on the content on the blog posts, or in the overall site design, but you also want to look at the pages you have.
9 website pages to consider
Depending on your unique situation, some of these pages may not apply. You can at least learn what they are and maybe you can adapt it your site. Some of these were covered in a previous podcast session (5 Key Components for Your Website).

1. About page

2. Contact page

3. Guest post guidelines

4. Hire me page

5. Store page

6. Resource page

7. Getting Started page

8. Archive page

9. 404 page - 404 to 301 plugin

The post The 9 website pages you may want to consider (2-7) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Dec 31, 2014

Many are concerned about the design and layout of their websites. This session covers several things that you want to consider regarding your website design:

WordPress Theme
Clean layout
Minimalism
Sidebar - to have or not to have?

Your website design
As you get started, you want to put a good consideration into the theme that you choose. A great design for your website isn't a one-size-fits-all - everyone's needs are different. Take enough time to choose wisely.
Your website theme
You can choose between free and premium themes. There are also great WordPress frameworks available, such as the Genesis Framework (which this site it built on).

 

The post Simple web design and layout tips for your blog (2-6) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Dec 31, 2014

Many are concerned about the design and layout of their websites. This session covers several things that you want to consider regarding your website design:

WordPress Theme
Clean layout
Minimalism
Sidebar - to have or not to have?

Your website design
As you get started, you want to put a good consideration into the theme that you choose. A great design for your website isn't a one-size-fits-all - everyone's needs are different. Take enough time to choose wisely.
Your website theme
You can choose between free and premium themes. There are also great WordPress frameworks available, such as the Genesis Framework (which this site it built on).

 

The post Simple web design and layout tips for your blog (2-6) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Dec 23, 2014

If you are blogging, you are likely wanting to create a conversation with your readers. A great way to do this is utilizing a comment system.
Why you may not want comments
There are some cases where you may not desire to have comments. There are some thought leaders that have opted to disable comments on their blogs. Seth Godin, for example, doesn't allow comments. He chooses to give to his readers and have them share the post on social media. He wrote a post about his reasons back in 2006.

One reason you may choose not to allow comments is the potential time commitment. Especially if your readership grows, the number of comments will grow. This increases the amount you need to read and potentially respond to. This increases the amount of possible spam comments or trolls looking for a fight.
Why you might want comments
Despite the work involved, you want to cultivate a deeper relationship with your readers by creating a conversation. You start the conversation in the body of the post, then the readers respond to it, and hopefully the conversation with continue.

You may be looking for the extra perspective that your readers may provide. You probably don't know everything about your subject, and your readers may be able to provide a different perspective that you hadn't considered. Maybe you'll be able to get ideas for future blog posts based on the comments and questions in the comment section.
Managing the comments
1. Use a commenting system
WordPress comes with a built-in commenting system. Some people use it and love it. Personally, I don't care for it too much. I like using a third-party plugin. Two that I have used are Livefyre and Disqus (pronounced "discuss"). I started with Livefyre several years ago, but switched to Disqus after seeing and using it on many blogs I followed.

Both Livefyre and Disqus require you to sign up for an account, which is simply providing your e-mail address or utilizing one of your social media accounts. They both also have a feature that e-mails you future comments on that post, allowing you to keep up with the growing conversation. (note: as the blogger, you'll receive notifications of comments anyway, but your readers that comment will be notified as well.)

One important aspect is spam filtering. Both of these systems help filter spam out. It's not fool-proof, but it's pretty good.
2. Use a spam filter
One popular spam filter is Akismet, which is a plugin that comes pre-installed on WordPress. You'll need to either sign up for a Wordpress.com account or connect to it to enable Akismet. There are different price points for Akismet, both free and paid.
3. Moderation
There can be debate on moderation of comments. One suggestion is to have all comments approved before they appear on the site. This is the best way to make sure spam or hurtful comments don't make it to the public. On the flip-side, it can hinder some of the interaction that can take place on the blog.

Based on recommendations from some top bloggers, like Michael Hyatt in his book Platform, I think that you should make it easy for people to leave comments. If you use a system like Disqus along with Akismet, you won't have to worry much about spam. The occasional may still show up, but you can easily blacklist them on the admin dashboard.
4. Comment policy
It would be wise to have a comment policy on your site. Michael Hyatt has some great resources regarding this: Do you need a comments policy?
5. Interact
One of the main reasons for having comments available is so you can interact with your readers. If you write your blog post and let your readers comment, but you don't show up again, you're being rude. Imagine doing this at a dinner party: would you start a conversation with someone and then walk away while they are talking?
Other helpful plugins

Dec 23, 2014

If you are blogging, you are likely wanting to create a conversation with your readers. A great way to do this is utilizing a comment system.
Why you may not want comments
There are some cases where you may not desire to have comments. There are some thought leaders that have opted to disable comments on their blogs. Seth Godin, for example, doesn't allow comments. He chooses to give to his readers and have them share the post on social media. He wrote a post about his reasons back in 2006.

One reason you may choose not to allow comments is the potential time commitment. Especially if your readership grows, the number of comments will grow. This increases the amount you need to read and potentially respond to. This increases the amount of possible spam comments or trolls looking for a fight.
Why you might want comments
Despite the work involved, you want to cultivate a deeper relationship with your readers by creating a conversation. You start the conversation in the body of the post, then the readers respond to it, and hopefully the conversation with continue.

You may be looking for the extra perspective that your readers may provide. You probably don't know everything about your subject, and your readers may be able to provide a different perspective that you hadn't considered. Maybe you'll be able to get ideas for future blog posts based on the comments and questions in the comment section.
Managing the comments
1. Use a commenting system
WordPress comes with a built-in commenting system. Some people use it and love it. Personally, I don't care for it too much. I like using a third-party plugin. Two that I have used are Livefyre and Disqus (pronounced "discuss"). I started with Livefyre several years ago, but switched to Disqus after seeing and using it on many blogs I followed.

Both Livefyre and Disqus require you to sign up for an account, which is simply providing your e-mail address or utilizing one of your social media accounts. They both also have a feature that e-mails you future comments on that post, allowing you to keep up with the growing conversation. (note: as the blogger, you'll receive notifications of comments anyway, but your readers that comment will be notified as well.)

One important aspect is spam filtering. Both of these systems help filter spam out. It's not fool-proof, but it's pretty good.
2. Use a spam filter
One popular spam filter is Akismet, which is a plugin that comes pre-installed on WordPress. You'll need to either sign up for a Wordpress.com account or connect to it to enable Akismet. There are different price points for Akismet, both free and paid.
3. Moderation
There can be debate on moderation of comments. One suggestion is to have all comments approved before they appear on the site. This is the best way to make sure spam or hurtful comments don't make it to the public. On the flip-side, it can hinder some of the interaction that can take place on the blog.

Based on recommendations from some top bloggers, like Michael Hyatt in his book Platform, I think that you should make it easy for people to leave comments. If you use a system like Disqus along with Akismet, you won't have to worry much about spam. The occasional may still show up, but you can easily blacklist them on the admin dashboard.
4. Comment policy
It would be wise to have a comment policy on your site. Michael Hyatt has some great resources regarding this: Do you need a comments policy?
5. Interact
One of the main reasons for having comments available is so you can interact with your readers. If you write your blog post and let your readers comment, but you don't show up again, you're being rude. Imagine doing this at a dinner party: would you start a conversation with someone and then walk away while they are talking?
Other helpful plugins

Dec 17, 2014

We all have an inner-editor that can help us improve the quality and flow of our writing. But, there is tremendous value in having someone else take some time to edit your work.

Today, Jim Woods joins us to talk about editing, and his experience on both sides of the process. You can check out his website, connect with him on Twitter, or join his Facebook group, Writers Unite.
Resources:
Five incredibly simple ways to help writers show and not tell

Bury the "I"

Common words/phrases in Scrivener
An example of an edited blog post
Jim Woods edited a blog post I did ("What's the ideal post length"), and I show you the before and after of this process in this PDF:

Editing a Blog Post Example

Quotes from the conversation
[Tweet "It's amazing how much extra #perspective can really help. - @jimwoodswrites"]

[Tweet "Most #writers are intimidated by the process of #editing. - @jimwoodswrites"]

[Tweet "A good #editor has the best final piece in mind. - @jimwoodswrites"]

[Tweet "You have to put out your best product. - @jimwoodswrites"]

[Tweet "What's logical for you may not be logical for your ideal reader. - @jimwoodswrites #editing"]

[Tweet "Sometimes we hit the publish button too quickly. - jimwoodswrites #editing"]

The post How to utilize the power of editing your blog posts with Jim Woods (2-4) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Dec 17, 2014

We all have an inner-editor that can help us improve the quality and flow of our writing. But, there is tremendous value in having someone else take some time to edit your work.

Today, Jim Woods joins us to talk about editing, and his experience on both sides of the process. You can check out his website, connect with him on Twitter, or join his Facebook group, Writers Unite.
Resources:
Five incredibly simple ways to help writers show and not tell

Bury the "I"

Common words/phrases in Scrivener
An example of an edited blog post
Jim Woods edited a blog post I did ("What's the ideal post length"), and I show you the before and after of this process in this PDF:

Editing a Blog Post Example

Quotes from the conversation
[Tweet "It's amazing how much extra #perspective can really help. - @jimwoodswrites"]

[Tweet "Most #writers are intimidated by the process of #editing. - @jimwoodswrites"]

[Tweet "A good #editor has the best final piece in mind. - @jimwoodswrites"]

[Tweet "You have to put out your best product. - @jimwoodswrites"]

[Tweet "What's logical for you may not be logical for your ideal reader. - @jimwoodswrites #editing"]

[Tweet "Sometimes we hit the publish button too quickly. - jimwoodswrites #editing"]

The post How to utilize the power of editing your blog posts with Jim Woods (2-4) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Dec 12, 2014

As we dive further into blogging, we are going to look specifically at the content itself.

Utilizing some of the ideas from the previous session (looking at search engine optimization), there are several key areas that we need to look at regarding our content. Remember that SEO covers both the front end (the visual end) and the back end of your website. We are just looking at the front end today.

1. You need a powerful headline
This is one area I need to really work on improving. Headlines are the title of your post. They are the second thing people usually see (after a relevant image) and the first thing people read. They are the doorway into the post, so you want to make it as appealing (yet truthful) as possible.

Copyblogger has some great resources regarding magnetic headlines.
2. You need an intriguing opening
If the headline can be compared to the door of a house, the first sentence and paragraph would be the entrance welcoming you to come further. Just as the entrance to a house can set the mood for the entire house, the tone is set in these first few words.

Jeff Goins suggests starting with a quote, a question, or a bold, audacious statement. A short, relevant story can help draw the readers' attention and create a desire to keep reading.
3. You need headings and sub-headings
It's an older study, but the Nielson Norman Group deduced in 1997 that 79% percent of Web users scan content rather than read it. One reason they give is that it is more difficult to read on a screen than it is to read on paper, slowing the person down. If you couple this with the fast-paced society we live in, people what to quickly find what they are looking for.

Heading and sub-heading help to make the major points stand out. A scanner of your content should get a good idea what you are talking about just from a quick look through. Hopefully, you can entice them to slow down and read more thoroughly, but you should make it easy for them.
4. You need shorter sentences and paragraphs
Longer, complex sentences make it more difficult to read. I know, I know. In English class, you were taught to write with a variety of sentence structures. But that doesn't always work well online.

Remembering that many people are just scanning your content, they will miss more if there is a large sea of text. Shorter, simple sentences make it easy to see the point. Short paragraphs make it easy to visually break things up.

White space is good.
5. You need to emphasize your text
Well, don't emphasize all of your text. Just the text that needs to stand out more. Not everything can fit as a heading, but still needs more attention that the text around it.

You can emphasize text by using bold, italics, or strike-through.
You can use lists, both numbered lists and bullet points.
Underlining is not a good method because it can look like a link.
Putting a word or single sentence on its own can help bring emphasis, too. (white space is good)

Other considerations
I plan on covering some more regarding the content itself, but here are some other things to keep in mind:

Post length - short or long?
Call to action
Images
Links
Guest posting
Republishing

Question: How can you improve your content? Is there anything you would add to this list?

The post How to improve the content you are creating (2-3) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Dec 10, 2014

As we dive further into blogging, we are going to look specifically at the content itself.

Utilizing some of the ideas from the previous session (looking at search engine optimization), there are several key areas that we need to look at regarding our content. Remember that SEO covers both the front end (the visual end) and the back end of your website. We are just looking at the front end today.

1. You need a powerful headline
This is one area I need to really work on improving. Headlines are the title of your post. They are the second thing people usually see (after a relevant image) and the first thing people read. They are the doorway into the post, so you want to make it as appealing (yet truthful) as possible.

Copyblogger has some great resources regarding magnetic headlines.
2. You need an intriguing opening
If the headline can be compared to the door of a house, the first sentence and paragraph would be the entrance welcoming you to come further. Just as the entrance to a house can set the mood for the entire house, the tone is set in these first few words.

Jeff Goins suggests starting with a quote, a question, or a bold, audacious statement. A short, relevant story can help draw the readers' attention and create a desire to keep reading.
3. You need headings and sub-headings
It's an older study, but the Nielson Norman Group deduced in 1997 that 79% percent of Web users scan content rather than read it. One reason they give is that it is more difficult to read on a screen than it is to read on paper, slowing the person down. If you couple this with the fast-paced society we live in, people what to quickly find what they are looking for.

Heading and sub-heading help to make the major points stand out. A scanner of your content should get a good idea what you are talking about just from a quick look through. Hopefully, you can entice them to slow down and read more thoroughly, but you should make it easy for them.
4. You need shorter sentences and paragraphs
Longer, complex sentences make it more difficult to read. I know, I know. In English class, you were taught to write with a variety of sentence structures. But that doesn't always work well online.

Remembering that many people are just scanning your content, they will miss more if there is a large sea of text. Shorter, simple sentences make it easy to see the point. Short paragraphs make it easy to visually break things up.

White space is good.
5. You need to emphasize your text
Well, don't emphasize all of your text. Just the text that needs to stand out more. Not everything can fit as a heading, but still needs more attention that the text around it.

You can emphasize text by using bold, italics, or strike-through.
You can use lists, both numbered lists and bullet points.
Underlining is not a good method because it can look like a link.
Putting a word or single sentence on its own can help bring emphasis, too. (white space is good)

Other considerations
I plan on covering some more regarding the content itself, but here are some other things to keep in mind:

Post length - short or long?
Call to action
Images
Links
Guest posting
Republishing

Question: How can you improve your content? Is there anything you would add to this list?

The post How to improve the content you are creating (2-3) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Dec 3, 2014

In this episode, Ilya Fainstein joins us to share his tips regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You can contact Ilya on his website.

SEO is basically sending out a proper signal to the search engines so they can interpret what your website is about, make a judgment about your website, and then rank your site accordingly in search results.
Submitting your site to search engines
Sometimes you may get e-mails or see advertisements for people offering services to submit your website to search engines (making you think that you won't be found if you don't).

It's not really necessary to do this because the search engines are good at finding sites. Through Google Webmaster tools, you can submit an XML sitemap to them. This may accelerate the process, but it's nothing to worry too much about.
Back-linking
It is one of the most important thing in SEO, but it has changed. There were bad practices of paying for rubbish links to your site - this will lead to negative consequences from Google.

A good example: you write a blog post and then someone authentically links to your article from a relevant site.
Get quality links!
Meta tags
Meta tags are really important, but not to SEO rankings. There is no need for stuffing the keyword meta tags - Google ignores these for ranking purposes. You have to write your meta-tags like a good ad. They won't help your ranking, but will help the click-through rate.
Keywords
Consistency is key.
It is half-art, half-science.

Have the keyword be consistent throughout the entire structure of the post:

Post title
Post url
Throughout the body of the post

Use the keyword naturally!
Use synonyms - Google is smart enough to figure out that you may use other variations throughout.
Creating content
Just creating great content isn't enough. It is vital, but it doesn't stand on its own.

Write your content for people (not computers), but you have to get out there and promote your content.

Derek Halpern talks about an 80-20 rule regarding this: 20% content creation, 80% promotion.
Extras
SEO is a very confusing topic. There's a lot of information and things change quickly, so you need to pick your sources carefully.
SEO is not dead!
As long as Google provides search results, SEO will be very much worthwhile.

The post Search Engine Optimization with Ilya Fainstein (2-2) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Dec 3, 2014

In this episode, Ilya Fainstein joins us to share his tips regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You can contact Ilya on his website.

SEO is basically sending out a proper signal to the search engines so they can interpret what your website is about, make a judgment about your website, and then rank your site accordingly in search results.
Submitting your site to search engines
Sometimes you may get e-mails or see advertisements for people offering services to submit your website to search engines (making you think that you won't be found if you don't).

It's not really necessary to do this because the search engines are good at finding sites. Through Google Webmaster tools, you can submit an XML sitemap to them. This may accelerate the process, but it's nothing to worry too much about.
Back-linking
It is one of the most important thing in SEO, but it has changed. There were bad practices of paying for rubbish links to your site - this will lead to negative consequences from Google.

A good example: you write a blog post and then someone authentically links to your article from a relevant site.
Get quality links!
Meta tags
Meta tags are really important, but not to SEO rankings. There is no need for stuffing the keyword meta tags - Google ignores these for ranking purposes. You have to write your meta-tags like a good ad. They won't help your ranking, but will help the click-through rate.
Keywords
Consistency is key.
It is half-art, half-science.

Have the keyword be consistent throughout the entire structure of the post:

Post title
Post url
Throughout the body of the post

Use the keyword naturally!
Use synonyms - Google is smart enough to figure out that you may use other variations throughout.
Creating content
Just creating great content isn't enough. It is vital, but it doesn't stand on its own.

Write your content for people (not computers), but you have to get out there and promote your content.

Derek Halpern talks about an 80-20 rule regarding this: 20% content creation, 80% promotion.
Extras
SEO is a very confusing topic. There's a lot of information and things change quickly, so you need to pick your sources carefully.
SEO is not dead!
As long as Google provides search results, SEO will be very much worthwhile.

The post Search Engine Optimization with Ilya Fainstein (2-2) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Nov 26, 2014

After a break, we are finally opening up the second semester of the Creative Studio Academy! I will be talking about the platform for your website and some of the basic settings that are often overlooked. Before that, though...

At the end of last semester, I hinted at some of the changes that would be coming. If you are new to the Academy, please go back and check out the first semester sessions. From the things I mentioned before, here is what we are looking at moving forward:

Narrowing the focus for the semester. This semester, we will focus more on blogging. We will also touch on writing e-books and improving your website (especially in light of blogging).
Regular blog posts. Especially since we will focus more on blogging, I will be dedicating myself to writing at least one blog post a week in addition to the podcast sessions. There may be additional posts, but nothing that I can promise now.
Improved newsletter. I was thinking about going to a bi-weekly newsletter, which will include an article (not found on the website), some tips, and links to previous blog posts/podcast sessions. I will also have an e-book available that covers things that you need to get started with your website. I also hope to have another e-book that will cover how to take your website to the next level.
I really want to increase the engagement that we have. I have received a few comments and several iTunes reviews, but I really want to have regular interaction. I started this site by stating that I am not the expert, but I do have experience and knowledge I can share. And so do you! Even if you don't think you have done much, there is still someone that you can help influence. I want to hear from you in the comment section, via e-mail, and now I have a voice mail number you can call right from your phone. I'd also like to schedule time to talk with  you one on one.

The 2015 Winter Semester

Even though we are technically starting in 2014, most of this semester will fall in 2015. With our focus on blogging, I have created a mindmap of the topics that we will be trying to cover. We may not get to all of them, or we may not get deep into some of them. If you would like to download the PDF of this mindmap, you can do that here or click the image of it.
Your Platform
The platform for your website is important. Whether you are looking at a platform for a blog or a full-purpose website, my recommendation is a self-hosted WordPress site. We talked about WordPress several times last semester, and we were able to get some great information about it. I honestly have not used some of the others, like Joomla, Drupal, and Square Space, but based on many reviews I heard and read, WordPress brings both simplicity and power to the user.

Note: While WordPress can be simple, there is still a learning curve, but much of it can be grasped in a short amount of time. Dave Jackson (School of Podcasting and Weekly Web Tools host) says that if you can use Microsoft Word, you can create a post on WordPress. This is true. But to take this analogy a little further, most people that create simple documents in Word barely scratch the surface of what the software is capable of, and it takes a little bit to learn them. Same with WordPress.

When it comes to WordPress, there are two options: WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress. While these are basically the same at the core, there are some differences. I will try to have a blog post up in the near future to show these.
Settings
When you get WordPress installed, you get so excited about creating the content, that there are several settings that can easily get overlooked (check out this simple tutorial if you need help installing WordPress).

General Settings

Site title
Tagline
Timezone

Permalinks

Choose "Post Name"

 

The post

Nov 26, 2014

After a break, we are finally opening up the second semester of the Creative Studio Academy! I will be talking about the platform for your website and some of the basic settings that are often overlooked. Before that, though...

At the end of last semester, I hinted at some of the changes that would be coming. If you are new to the Academy, please go back and check out the first semester sessions. From the things I mentioned before, here is what we are looking at moving forward:

Narrowing the focus for the semester. This semester, we will focus more on blogging. We will also touch on writing e-books and improving your website (especially in light of blogging).
Regular blog posts. Especially since we will focus more on blogging, I will be dedicating myself to writing at least one blog post a week in addition to the podcast sessions. There may be additional posts, but nothing that I can promise now.
Improved newsletter. I was thinking about going to a bi-weekly newsletter, which will include an article (not found on the website), some tips, and links to previous blog posts/podcast sessions. I will also have an e-book available that covers things that you need to get started with your website. I also hope to have another e-book that will cover how to take your website to the next level.
I really want to increase the engagement that we have. I have received a few comments and several iTunes reviews, but I really want to have regular interaction. I started this site by stating that I am not the expert, but I do have experience and knowledge I can share. And so do you! Even if you don't think you have done much, there is still someone that you can help influence. I want to hear from you in the comment section, via e-mail, and now I have a voice mail number you can call right from your phone. I'd also like to schedule time to talk with  you one on one.

The 2015 Winter Semester

Even though we are technically starting in 2014, most of this semester will fall in 2015. With our focus on blogging, I have created a mindmap of the topics that we will be trying to cover. We may not get to all of them, or we may not get deep into some of them. If you would like to download the PDF of this mindmap, you can do that here or click the image of it.
Your Platform
The platform for your website is important. Whether you are looking at a platform for a blog or a full-purpose website, my recommendation is a self-hosted WordPress site. We talked about WordPress several times last semester, and we were able to get some great information about it. I honestly have not used some of the others, like Joomla, Drupal, and Square Space, but based on many reviews I heard and read, WordPress brings both simplicity and power to the user.

Note: While WordPress can be simple, there is still a learning curve, but much of it can be grasped in a short amount of time. Dave Jackson (School of Podcasting and Weekly Web Tools host) says that if you can use Microsoft Word, you can create a post on WordPress. This is true. But to take this analogy a little further, most people that create simple documents in Word barely scratch the surface of what the software is capable of, and it takes a little bit to learn them. Same with WordPress.

When it comes to WordPress, there are two options: WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress. While these are basically the same at the core, there are some differences. I will try to have a blog post up in the near future to show these.
Settings
When you get WordPress installed, you get so excited about creating the content, that there are several settings that can easily get overlooked (check out this simple tutorial if you need help installing WordPress).

General Settings

Site title
Tagline
Timezone

Permalinks

Choose "Post Name"

 

The post

Oct 21, 2014

Over the past 3 months, we have covered several things regarding content creation. From blogging to podcasting, websites to marketing. Further below, you'll be able see the list of the 20 sessions so far.

With that, we will be having a short break. We'll come back mid-November with the second semester.

There are a couple things I'd like to modify:

Narrowing the focus for the semester
Regular blog posts
Improved newsletter
eBook about website basics (middle of writing it now)
Homework assignments (more engagement)

Homework - What I need from you:

Help spreading the podcast via social media (links below!) and iTunes reviews
Your questions, comments, and other feedback

Please let me know what you would like to see and hear from me. I would love to have a segment where I can answer questions that you may have about content creation. Leave your thoughts below in the comment section.
Semester 1 Podcast Sessions:

1-1 I'm an impostor
1-2 You need more than a quality website; what is content creation?
1-3 Mark Sieverkropp share the benefits and struggles of content creation
1-4 5 key components for your website
1-5 Greg Hickman discusses the importance of a mobile-mindset
1-6 Jared Easley shares his researching and interviewing tips
1-7 Daniel J. Lewis shares how to overcome assumptions
1-8 Matt McWilliams talks about his principles for networking
1-9 Jim Woods talks about his process and tips for creating content
1-10 Doc Kennedy shares his experience creating videos
1-11 Dustin Hartzler help us dive deeper into WordPress
1-12 Leslie Samuel gives practical tips to take your blog to the next level
1-13 10 key things to make your website better
1-14 Online marketing tips from Joel Fortner
1-15 Podcasting tips from Dave Jackson
1-16 Dave Stachowiak shares some online leadership principles
1-17 Collaborative projects with Jim Woods and Erik J. Fisher
1-18 Joel and Dr. Pei talk to entrepreneurs about Relaunching and podcasting
1-19 Diving into eLearning and online training with Jeff Long
1-20 When to quit a creative project with Alex Barker
 

The post Semester 1 Wrap Up (1-21) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Oct 21, 2014

Over the past 3 months, we have covered several things regarding content creation. From blogging to podcasting, websites to marketing. Further below, you'll be able see the list of the 20 sessions so far.

With that, we will be having a short break. We'll come back mid-November with the second semester.

There are a couple things I'd like to modify:

Narrowing the focus for the semester
Regular blog posts
Improved newsletter
eBook about website basics (middle of writing it now)
Homework assignments (more engagement)

Homework - What I need from you:

Help spreading the podcast via social media (links below!) and iTunes reviews
Your questions, comments, and other feedback

Please let me know what you would like to see and hear from me. I would love to have a segment where I can answer questions that you may have about content creation. Leave your thoughts below in the comment section.
Semester 1 Podcast Sessions:

1-1 I'm an impostor
1-2 You need more than a quality website; what is content creation?
1-3 Mark Sieverkropp share the benefits and struggles of content creation
1-4 5 key components for your website
1-5 Greg Hickman discusses the importance of a mobile-mindset
1-6 Jared Easley shares his researching and interviewing tips
1-7 Daniel J. Lewis shares how to overcome assumptions
1-8 Matt McWilliams talks about his principles for networking
1-9 Jim Woods talks about his process and tips for creating content
1-10 Doc Kennedy shares his experience creating videos
1-11 Dustin Hartzler help us dive deeper into WordPress
1-12 Leslie Samuel gives practical tips to take your blog to the next level
1-13 10 key things to make your website better
1-14 Online marketing tips from Joel Fortner
1-15 Podcasting tips from Dave Jackson
1-16 Dave Stachowiak shares some online leadership principles
1-17 Collaborative projects with Jim Woods and Erik J. Fisher
1-18 Joel and Dr. Pei talk to entrepreneurs about Relaunching and podcasting
1-19 Diving into eLearning and online training with Jeff Long
1-20 When to quit a creative project with Alex Barker
 

The post Semester 1 Wrap Up (1-21) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Oct 9, 2014

This session features Alex Barker, host of the Leadership Dojo podcast. We first met on 48Days.net (I would highly recommend this great community). A few months ago, Alex made a decision to stop the podcast, despite some of the successes it was achieving. We'll dive in a little deeper into his story and what we can learn from it.

Begin with the end in mind.

- Steven Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
After finishing school to become a pharmacist, Alex began to decide if he really wanted to be a pharmacist the rest of his life. Learning about podcasts and listening to them for 5-6 months, he decided that he wanted to start one himself. Using Pat Flynn's course of starting a podcast, he began preparing for the podcast. He also joined John Lee Dumas' Podcaster's Paradise.
What were your expectations when you launched the podcast?

Alex didn't have a plan or goals, or even what to expect.
If you choose a niche about something you don't know a lot about, it's very hard for you to create products and services for a very  eager audience and for them to buy from you.
He desired to make money from coaching and  mastermind groups.

Did your expectations change along the way? Did your expectations just not work out?

After 5 months, Alex noticed that it became a chore for him to do the podcast. The work he was putting in was exceeding the return he was expecting.
You really need to look at your expectations and what you really need to do to get there.

Exit strategy
If you're about to launch something, you need to have an exit strategy.
When will you evaluate your journey and be willing to pivot. Be specific and set a deadline.

The birth of Alex's second daughter caused him to go through another evaluation.
Know your why
Alex's why is tied to his family, and he was spending so much time away from them.
The future
Alex's idea was to have someone to take over, but he is just putting it on the back burner. He may revisit later.

He has started a new site, Pharmacy School HQ. He is taking the things he learned from launching a website and building a platform and meshing it with his training as a pharmacist.
You can't keep doing something that is not meeting your expectations or that the passion isn't there like it used to be.
Know your expectations.

The post When to quit a creative project with Alex Barker (1-20) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Oct 7, 2014

This session features Alex Barker, host of the Leadership Dojo podcast. We first met on 48Days.net (I would highly recommend this great community). A few months ago, Alex made a decision to stop the podcast, despite some of the successes it was achieving. We'll dive in a little deeper into his story and what we can learn from it.

Begin with the end in mind.

- Steven Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
After finishing school to become a pharmacist, Alex began to decide if he really wanted to be a pharmacist the rest of his life. Learning about podcasts and listening to them for 5-6 months, he decided that he wanted to start one himself. Using Pat Flynn's course of starting a podcast, he began preparing for the podcast. He also joined John Lee Dumas' Podcaster's Paradise.
What were your expectations when you launched the podcast?

Alex didn't have a plan or goals, or even what to expect.
If you choose a niche about something you don't know a lot about, it's very hard for you to create products and services for a very  eager audience and for them to buy from you.
He desired to make money from coaching and  mastermind groups.

Did your expectations change along the way? Did your expectations just not work out?

After 5 months, Alex noticed that it became a chore for him to do the podcast. The work he was putting in was exceeding the return he was expecting.
You really need to look at your expectations and what you really need to do to get there.

Exit strategy
If you're about to launch something, you need to have an exit strategy.
When will you evaluate your journey and be willing to pivot. Be specific and set a deadline.

The birth of Alex's second daughter caused him to go through another evaluation.
Know your why
Alex's why is tied to his family, and he was spending so much time away from them.
The future
Alex's idea was to have someone to take over, but he is just putting it on the back burner. He may revisit later.

He has started a new site, Pharmacy School HQ. He is taking the things he learned from launching a website and building a platform and meshing it with his training as a pharmacist.
You can't keep doing something that is not meeting your expectations or that the passion isn't there like it used to be.
Know your expectations.

The post When to quit a creative project with Alex Barker (1-20) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Oct 1, 2014

Jeff Long joins us today to share some things that we can learn to help with eLearning and online training. He provides help with eLearning (as well as video production and web design) at True Focus Media. You can also connect with him on Twitter.
What is eLearning and training?
It's not new - it's as old as the internet. It includes engaging videos and flexible websites.

Many companies haven't even thought of this possibility! Instead of having a trainer come in or having the HR manager do the training, eLearning can benefit companies. Some

Incentvies
Rewards
Gamification

Are there any industries that would benefit more from eLearning?

Software companies
Medical training companies (brainynurses.com is an example)
Non-profit

Styles or formats for eLearning
How you present your material may be determined by your budget.

It may also depend on your audience - what works for them?

Filming a presenter
Power point slides
Quizes and Tests
Webinars
Story-driven/scenario

First steps for eLearning preparation

What do you want to deliver?
What do you want the person to take away?
What are the three or so points to facilitate that?

Keep it simple!

Do your research - make sure you're creating what your client needs!
Resources to get started

ScreenFlow (Mac) or Camptasia Studio (Windows) for screen capture
Udemy
Skillshare
Youtube (use unlisted and embed on a password-protected web page)
eJunkie
Membership plugins for Wordpress
Learning management plugins

Just get started (this theme keeps coming back!). Don't let the technology scare you.
Mark Sieverkropp was a previous guest and has provided several gifts for you as a listener and supporter of this podcast:

"Start a Conversation With Anyone, Anytime" (for sale on Amazon...free to you!)
4 Keys to Great "Reach Out" Emails PDF
Free Sample of my book, Project: Success
Great weekly content on how to grow your network

Get these great resources now!
In the comment section below, please share one of the following:

What is something that you can share with your business/audience in the form of eLearning?
How can I use eLearning to help meet your needs? (I'm planning to put together some tutorials and training soon - I need your input!)

The post Diving into eLearning and online training with Jeff Long (1-19) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Sep 30, 2014

Jeff Long joins us today to share some things that we can learn to help with eLearning and online training. He provides help with eLearning (as well as video production and web design) at True Focus Media. You can also connect with him on Twitter.
What is eLearning and training?
It's not new - it's as old as the internet. It includes engaging videos and flexible websites.

Many companies haven't even thought of this possibility! Instead of having a trainer come in or having the HR manager do the training, eLearning can benefit companies. Some

Incentvies
Rewards
Gamification

Are there any industries that would benefit more from eLearning?

Software companies
Medical training companies (brainynurses.com is an example)
Non-profit

Styles or formats for eLearning
How you present your material may be determined by your budget.

It may also depend on your audience - what works for them?

Filming a presenter
Power point slides
Quizes and Tests
Webinars
Story-driven/scenario

First steps for eLearning preparation

What do you want to deliver?
What do you want the person to take away?
What are the three or so points to facilitate that?

Keep it simple!

Do your research - make sure you're creating what your client needs!
Resources to get started

ScreenFlow (Mac) or Camptasia Studio (Windows) for screen capture
Udemy
Skillshare
Youtube (use unlisted and embed on a password-protected web page)
eJunkie
Membership plugins for Wordpress
Learning management plugins

Just get started (this theme keeps coming back!). Don't let the technology scare you.
Mark Sieverkropp was a previous guest and has provided several gifts for you as a listener and supporter of this podcast:

"Start a Conversation With Anyone, Anytime" (for sale on Amazon...free to you!)
4 Keys to Great "Reach Out" Emails PDF
Free Sample of my book, Project: Success
Great weekly content on how to grow your network

Get these great resources now!
In the comment section below, please share one of the following:

What is something that you can share with your business/audience in the form of eLearning?
How can I use eLearning to help meet your needs? (I'm planning to put together some tutorials and training soon - I need your input!)

The post Diving into eLearning and online training with Jeff Long (1-19) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Sep 24, 2014

In this session, Joel and Dr. Pei from The Relaunch Show join us to share their experience with radio and podcasting.

Joel has a history with radio and television. Back in  2006, he started a radio show, Finding Your Voice. He also has a book with the same name.  The next step for them was The Relaunch Show.

As they started, they didn't know what they needed to do or have the equipment necessary. They emphasize not to let that stop you from starting. Learn as you go.

"Get it done, then get it right."
What are some tips for people just getting started (specifically for podcasting)?

Learn to respect your listener's time.
Choose the right topic - not just what you know, but something that gets you excited.
The listener has the power, so you need to speak to that listener.

Are there any great lessons that you've gleaned from the many interviews you've had on Relaunch?

Don't second guess yourself. Trust yourself. Move forward anyways.
Fail fast. Fail often.

Final Thoughts
We have a responsibility to take action as it relates to us in our careers, family, and spiritually.
Resources

Finding Your Voice book is a guidebook to help people get in touch with their inner voice.
3 Tips to Find Your Life's Message

In the interview, Joel referenced Indiana Jones. Here's a clip of that scene:

Website consultations
I am looking to expand my website consulting business, Dev By JR. I am offering 15-20 minute consultations for free. So, if you are looking to start or improve your website, go to jrivers.us/schedule to schedule a time to talk to me (either via Skype or phone). If you have a current website, make sure to include the link so I can check it out before we talk. Be prepared to answer at least these two questions:

What is the purpose of your website?
Who is your target audience?

The post Joel and Dr. Pei talk to entrepreneurs about relaunching and podcasting (1-18) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

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