As we careen into the holidays and end-of-the-year hoopla, I wanted to share some reflections with you on the year that was 2023 here at Red Slice and offer some best-of hits for your enjoyment.
This year, I was honored to present more empathy workshops for leadership training programs and conferences, interview amazing guests on The Empathy Edge podcast, and even deliver powerful brand story work to amazing clients.
Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite podcast interviews and blog posts from this year. Hope you enjoy!
As we go into 2024, I am still putting together my plan and goals. I know I want to continue working towards Joy, Impact, and Magic, as I did last year as I said last year at this time, (it’s okay to renew your themes and goals if that serves you. And I can’t WAIT to share my newest book with you, The Empathy Dilemma: How Successful Leaders Balance Performance, People, and Personal Boundaries – coming September 2024!
Wishing you a joyful holiday season and merry new year. As our world reels from so much tragedy, hate, and war, may we continue to find ways to find the light in the dark and bring empathy, kindness, and joy into our own homes, workplaces, and communities. This is the way.
Last week, I hit 100 episodes on The Empathy Edge podcast.. 100 episodes! In that time, I’ve had the chance to speak with best-selling authors, CEO’s, marketing leaders, psychologists, social and emotional learning experts, culture consultants, and DEI champions.
The podcast started in August 2020 as a way to keep my empathy research going. Spending three years writing The Empathy Edge, I immersed myself in the data, stories, and interviews. And then once the book was out, promotion began. And the research stopped.
Suddenly, I didn’t see that latest report. The data I was using was outdated. Oh, and a global pandemic changed the way we work and how we interact with each other.
As the topic of empathy became more mainstream and evolved, a podcast seemed like a great excuse to keep interviewing experts – the best part of working on a new book! And you know me – I love to talk about empathy.
A podcast is as much fun and as much work as I thought it’d be. But it’s the best kind. And it has taught me many valuable lessons about connection, conversation, and change.(TWEET THIS!)
Five Lessons From 100 Podcast Interviews
And, if you’re thinking of starting your own podcast, how this experience can transform you.
Never Go It Alone
When I set out, I knew I didn’t want to tackle this alone. What mic do I buy? How do I even list a podcast on Apple? Who will do my production and editing (because that makes me want to poke my eyes out). A friend connected me to a friend, Erica Mills Barnhart, who had her own podcast and she told me about her production team, Turnkey Podcast. I went to them and said, “Please help me make this happen.”They immediately put me in a Launch Your Podcast course. I got everything done that needed done and now this dream team edits and produces my podcast every week, just for you.
Learn How to Listen – and Ask on Behalf of Others
Having been on many podcasts before, I knew how to do my spiel. But hosting is another ballgame. You have to learn how to listen. And respond. It’s a lot like acting, really. Curiosity was not too hard for me, as I’m fascinated by my guests and their experiences. But I also have to ask the right questions to move the conversation along. I don’t like too many podcasts because it annoys me when the hosts ramble on and on about themselves, or don’t get the guest to answer the question asked – or the question I have as a listener. I have learned to think even more about my audience and what they would want to know. What do they need? My job is to get that info out of my guest for them.
A Podcast is A Great Way to Meet Amazing People
Forget the awkward LinkedIn connection request: My podcast enables me to reach out to anyone and everyone I find interesting and have a chat! If you are naturally curious like me, this is a wonderful way to build authentic connections. Some of my guests have even become clients, or have hired me as an empathy keynote speaker or empathy workshop leader at internal and customer events.. But that’s not why I talk to them. I invite them on because they have something to teach us all. And stories humanize us. The more stories I can help tell, the more I can create more empathy in the world.This is why I’m committed to inviting women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and other underrepresented leaders and experts to my microphone.
Organic Conversation is Authentic Conversation
We have talking points, sure. And prepared questions. But I invite my guests to feel like we are having a casual chat. It’s not just rote Q&A. It’s interaction. We add to each other. We interrupt each other.. We go off on a tangent if that’s the conversation’s next logical step. We embrace ad hoc joy for scripted humor. The best compliment I get is when people say they feel like they are sitting with us over coffee! When you do a podcast, yes, prepare, but keep room for organic flow for a much richer experience for both of you – and your listeners.
There are So Many People Working to Make the World a Better Place
I think the most valuable lesson I have learned from 100 interviews is that there is hope. If we seek out the changemakers who are doing hard things, we find that there are thousands, millions of ways people are making a difference. Whether they are a CEO of a social enterprise helping Ethiopian women escape human trafficking, a coach helping women find their own voice, a doctor helping children become more emotionally resilient, a DEI expert helping parents crack open tough conversations about race, a workplace crusader trying to help build cultures where people can thrive at work, a marketing leader using his company’s brand to stand up to racial injustice, or a community buidling expert sharing how to make online communities more authentic and connective for mutual benefit…..all of my 100 guests have shown me that you can work toward empathy in ways big and small.
Which one is my favourite? That’s like asking me to pick a favourite kid! But I invite you to take a listen and DM me on IG to let me know which one is YOUR favourite!
Enjoy this special three-part series on how to find Content Marketing success! If you missed it, head back to check out Part 1 and Part 2.
You’re all bought into that content marketing is the right way to attract the right clients and customers, showcase your expertise and build a long-term relationship.
Fabulous. Now, how the heck can you possibly get it all done?
Boost your brand with content marketing. But be super smart + efficient about it! (Tweet this!)
Here are some of my favorite best practices and tools ensure you can be efficient and more importantly, effective, with your content marketing efforts.
Make Content Shareable: No use creating all that luscious content if folks don’t do some of the sharing for you, right?
Use Forward to a Friend or Social Share Buttons on your website and emails.
Pre-write posts to share. My favorite tool is ClicktoTweet to enable your audience to share with the click of a button.
Use Images and Infographics: Two very important data points for you:
When people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (LifeLearn, 2015)
Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Buffer, 2014)
Use Free Images: Here are some of my fave free image resources. Be sure to add a photo credit, depending on rights agreement and terms.
Optimize Images for Each Social Network: Each network has its own size requirements so make your image comes out crisp and clear otherwise, there’s no point. Bookmark this Page! It’s an always- updated image sizing guide for every social network. How can you resize for all the right dimensions if you’re not a designer? Easy….use these free image editing tools:
Canva: Get every template you need, pre-sized and with compelling imagery. They have templates you can use or you can upload your own images.
PicMonkey: Re-size images to any size you like and add eye-catching banners, effects, titles, etc.
Milanote is a tool for organizing creative projects into beautiful visual boards. By design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.
Batch And Pre-Schedule Content: Be super efficient by cranking out a bunch of content, whether blogs, videos or podcasts, all in one sitting, maybe for the next month or even six months and scheduling it to publish over the long haul. Many successful bloggers operate this way.
Pre-schedule content delivery in advance so you can set it and forget it:
One caveat: If pre-scheduling to a Facebook brand page, only use Facebook’s native scheduler, not a third-party tool. Otherwise, the Facebook algorithm will not show the post to as many of your fans.
But…Set Aside Weekly Time For Live Engagement: You can’t just quite “set it and forget it.” Remember, social media is SOCIAL so make sure you are active within the platform
Schedule 15 minutes per day to dip into social networks and interact, even if you pre-schedule content.
Follow proper etiquette for each network. They all have their own rules so make sure you know what you’re doing. This is a great book on that.
Respond to comments, give shout-outs, thank people, share valuable content from other trusted sources, promote complementary businesses or organizations if applicable
Recycle and Reuse: You’ve put so much into your content. As your audience grows, many of them may not have seen your earlier stuff–or frankly, they may not remember it. Plus, people like to consume content differently. Avoid reinventing the wheel and repurpose what you have.
Spruce up old content for use again
Repackage into other forms: A blog post becomes a media pitch; an article becomes a podcast or video. A series of blog posts becomes a free guide.
Find at least three uses for every piece of content
Gather Continuous Feedback: Keep polling and interacting with your audience to figure out what they want and need. Do they want to see more of a certain topic? Do they have questions? Use this info to keep delighting them.
Monitor social media for questions, comments
Provide mechanism to solicit content ideas
Ask clients about your content efforts when they come in for appointment
Poll your audience annually
How Can I Get It All Done?!
Create a plan so it’s easier to divide the workload. This is why an editorial calendar is super useful.
Hire a full or part-time content marketing manager
Hire a virtual assistant specializing in content marketing/social media from somewhere like Worldwide 101.
Contact a local college or university and bring on an intern who is studying marketing, communications or journalism to build the plan and execute the content. You may be able to do this in exchange for course credit rather than pay!
Remember the most important tip: Have Fun!
This is your opportunity to showcase your unique brand personality and voice. Get creative! If you’ve never done video before, experiment with simply using your phone. If you’re a closet artist or photographer, create and capture unique images. The more you can have fun when creating content marketing, the more engaging the content will be to delight your clients, as well as attract new ones.
Enjoy this special three-part series on how to find Content Marketing success! You can read Part 1 right here. And Part 3 here.
Great! You’ve created your Content Marketing strategy as discussed last time and you’re ready to create some mind-blowing content to delight your ideal audience.
Only you can’t think of anything to talk about.
Maybe you think your business is not sexy enough: How creative can you get when talking about accounting services, you think to yourself? Or maybe you think writing is just not your “thing.”
Relax. You are the expert in your field and this didn’t happen overnight. You have years of rich wisdom and important information to share with your audience.
‘Oh, everyone knows that.’ No, they don’t. Share your wisdom! (Tweet this!)
Content marketing comes in many forms: videos, blogs, podcasts, newsletters, emails, social media posts, free guides, tip sheets and more.
In your content marketing strategy, you determined in which vehicles you want to invest. Maybe you love to write or hate being on camera. Maybe your audience adores podcasts and you love donning headphones and interviewing people. Pick what works for you and your target audience. Remember to only choose one or two things and do them really, really well rather than try to create everything under the sun!
You still need topics and ideas, though. So how do you determine what you should talk about?
First and foremost, survey your clients. I can’t believe how many business owners miss this obvious source of delicious information. What do they want or need? If you don’t have customers yet, find your ideal customers and interview them.
You’ll get oodles of content ideas. No topic is too basic. Remember that your “basics” could be mind-blowing insights for your audience.
Here are six more content ideas to get your brain in gear:
Answer common questions you get all the time.
Comment on hot trends or current news and give your professional take.
Share important advice you know your clients or customers need to know. Even if they don’t know they need to know it!
Interview other experts that may be of interest.
Curate, don’t just create! You don’t have to create everything from scratch. You are also a trusted curator. Share interesting articles, community events, links to great resources.
Poke around on social media or do Google searches and see what questions people are asking and for what they are searching.
Now you should have at least a page, if not more, of content topics. Enough to fill up the entire year. Build an editorial calendar and slot in the topics by date to keep yourself organized. This way, when you’re not feeling the inspirational buzz, you can just look at your calendar and instantly start creating, rather than staring at a blank page for too long.
In Part 3 of this series, I’ll show you my favorite tips and time-saving tricks to make content marketing fun, effective and efficient so it won’t consume your time and life.
Ready for a free mini-course on this blog? This is Part 1 of three-part series on how to master content marketing, create the right content, and manage it with ease. Oh, and a goodie for you at the end: A free Content Marketing cheat sheet full of tips, strategies and best practices. Delicious!
Sales has changed. You don’t just pitch your offering cold and shout “Buy Now!” Unless you have an infomercial. And then it better be damn good!
Most of you offer creative, value-based work to discerning audiences who are not buying solely based on price, whether you put on events, sell cheese, write books, design websites or coach executives.
These audiences greatly differ, but they all expect you to take them out on a first date and court them before they invest in you. You must prove your value and expertise before anyone spends a dime.
Enter CONTENT MARKETING.
I’ve talked about content marketing before and it’s not even close to new (remember free DVD’s and brochures if you “call right now?”) but technology has expanded the ways in which content can be created, delivered and consumed.
Good, consistent content will boost your visibility, attract your ideal customers and make your brand irresistible over time.
Content marketing helps you woo your audience before you ask for marriage! (Tweet this!)
But where to start? And how do you do it right?
In this three-part series, I’m going to share how you can make good content an effortless and integral part of your brand-boosting efforts.
Part 1: How to Create a Sensible Content Marketing Strategy
Before going on any trip, you need a map to get you there. Don’t just dive into tactics without a strategy.
First, as always, start with your brand strategy and story. Clearly determine your audience, your value, and your personality. Then build your content marketing strategy based on that.
A content marketing strategy lives above any specific vehicles, topics or dates. It should drive all of your efforts.
The strategy includes:
What are my content marketing objectives?
What does my audience want? What do they need to know?
What will I create?
Will I have monthly themes and seasonal topics?
Which vehicles will I use? What does my audience want AND what do I enjoy creating?
How will I measure success?
Taking a step back before you start cranking out blogs, videos and newsletters to answer these questions will guide your efforts for the rest of the year.
A word of caution as you plan: Don’t go overboard! Are you really going to write a daily blog, post three times a day on Instagram, film a video every week and whatever else you dream up? I get it, marketing is fun, but you still have to do your actual work and sleep, eat, spend time with your family, etc. Start small. Make it doable.
You want to make this easier on yourself, right? Take a few hours to unplug, pour yourself a latte and craft your content marketing strategy.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll tackle how to come up with brilliant content ideas and topics.