“How To Build Your Own Podcast Program” – video training

Mike McHargue (better known as Science Mike) is an author, podcaster, and speaker who travels the world helping people understand the science of life’s most profound and mundane experiences. Mike’s the host of Ask Science Mike, and co-hosts The Liturgists Podcast with his friend Michael Gungor. In this 65 minute video presentation (including Q&A), Mike goes through all the steps necessary to develop your own podcasting platform, sharing what he has learned through developing his own.

Learn more here.

Creating Social Currency

In “Contagious” Dr. Jonah Berger establishes three key strategies to help create social currency that gives people a way to make themselves look good while promoting you and your ideas along the way.

1. Identify your inner remarkability. The key to finding your remarkability is to think about what makes you surprising, interesting, or novel. In my book “Social Media Explained,” I suggest that marketing strategy needs to begin by finishing this sentence: “Only we …” That’s a tough task, but it’s the essential path to discover your remarkability.

2. Help people achieve something with your content.

3. Make it exclusive. According to digital marketing savant Christopher S. Penn of SHIFT Communications. “Scarcity is actually more powerful than ever on the social web,” he said. “While content may be free, what has become extremely scarce is time, attention, and influence. These are hot commodities, rare commodities.”

– from “The Content Code” by Mark Schaefer

The Sharing of the Crowd


Harnessing the sharing of the crowd will often take you further than you think, and it is almost always the best place to start.

We have barely begun to explore what kinds of amazing things a crowd can do. There must be two million different ways to crowdfund an idea, or to crowdorganize it, or to crowdmake it. There must be a million more new ways to share unexpected things in unexpected ways.

In the next three decades the greatest wealth – and more interesting cultural innovations – lie in this direction. The largest, fastest growing, most profitable companies in 2050 will be companies that will have figured out how to harness aspects of sharing that are invisible and un appreciated today. Anything that can be shared – thoughts, emotions, money, health, time – will be shared in the right conditions, with the right benefits. Anything that can be shared can be shared better, faster, easier, longer, and in a million more ways than we currently realize. At the point in our history, sharing something that has not been shared before, or in a new way, is the surest way to increase its value.


– from “The Inevitable” By Kevin Kelly

It’s Not About You

If you’ve paid any attention to my posts, you know that I am bullish regarding the need for new authors to participate in social media and build a platform (a following of people who resonate with what you have to say, and who are thus likely to purchase your books, regardless of whether you work through a traditional publisher or self-publish).

But often I hear from early-stage writers that they are reluctant to do this because they don’t like self-promotion; they don’t want to “toot their own horn.”

My answer to this sentiment is two-fold:

1. Whether we are talking about social media or writing a book, the important thing is that it is not about you. It needs to be about your ideas that will help people. Why does someone buy a book? Because they want to learn, because they want to solve a problem, because they’re interested in the topic. Sorry, but you’re not a celebrity, and they really don’t care about you. They care about what is unique and valuable that you have to say.

If you have not already, this is a mindset I suggest you adopt, and it is incredibly freeing and focusing. What you are all about is helping people! What is better than that? It is freeing because it removes the guilt, and it is focusing because it forces you to concentrate on what really matters…

2. If you believe that God is working through you, then let it happen! Let God do the talking! Remember all of this Holy Spirit stuff that we say we believe. Then believe!

Attraction -> Affinity -> Action

Every business today, no matter its size or legacy, faces four massive challenges. They are:

– Clutter
– Competition
– Commoditization
– Consumer consciousness

Faced with unlimited choices, savvy consumers are becoming more discerning, and more companies are lining up to respond to their wants and needs.

For a long time, product development and marketing were about making stuff and creating awareness and the converting that awareness to attention in the hope that it would lead a prospective customer to take action and part with money.

Awareness and attention were the holy grails of every marketing strategy, so the way you became successful was to pay for more of both. But there’s a subtle change taking place. Brands that are starting small, that are customer-centric and not just focused on a single bottom line, are making inroads into territories once dominated by big, established players in the marketplace. People are choosing to spend their money with companies that take the time to get to know them and whose actions resonate with their values – companies that thrive by doing the right thing and making things customers love, instead of trying to get customers to love their things. Their advantage isn’t necessarily being faster or cheaper, bigger or better; it is that they take time to understand their customer before making what she wants.

Marketing has gone from this…

…to this…


It turns out that affinity that is earned, not attention that is bought and paid for, is what’s powering business growth now.

– from “Meaningful” by Bernadette Jiwa

22 Quick Ideas to Achieve Content Ignition

Paraphrased from “The Content Code” by Mark Schaefer

1. Add social sharing buttons to your website.
2. Give away your content; make it easy to access
3. Be entertaining, funny, and inspiring
4. When writing long-form content, make it easy to scan
5. Aim for conversation, not controversy
6. In today’s world, you must craft a descriptive, emotive, accurate, catchy, and “tweet-able” headline
7. According to a BuzzSumo analysis, adding a photo or illustration doubles the probability that your content will get shared
8. Use lists in your posts (and refer to the list in your headline – list this one!)
9. Use LinkedWithin to suggest similar content to your blog readers. At the bottom of each post it displays other relevant articles from your blog.
10. Reuse your “evergreen” content
11. Determine your best posting time (time of day, day of week)
12. Re-purpose content into various content forms (video, audio, text, meme, etc.)
13. Ask others for reviews and feedback
14. Provide content that is practical (usable by your target audience)
15. Learn to use hashtags effectively
16. Make everything look professional; no typos!
17. Concentrate on brand new research and ideas
18. Encourage comments and interaction
19. Tap into FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) with a teaser headline
20. Help your readers use your content to help others (and thus feel good about it)
21. Include “click to Tweet” boxes in your blog articles
22. Be yourself – include your personality!

– from “The Content Code” by Mark Schaefer

The Alpha Audience

I first introduced this concept in my book The Content Code. Alpha Audience refers to an elite circle of people – probably less than 2 percent of your entire social media following – who are responsible for sharing your content the most.

Research points to the amazing benefits provided by this special tribe:

  • The act of sharing content creates advocacy. When people share your content, in a virtual way they’re saying, “I believe in this, and you should too.”
  • Sharing content promotes understanding. According to a study by The New York Times, 85 percent of the people who share content say they better understand the person or organization who created it. The simple reason is that they’re probably not going to share content unless they trust you.
  • According to the Boston Consulting Group, the recommendations of the Alpha Audience account for eight times their own purchases.

Do you know who shares your content the most? Do you know your Alpha Audience … by name? If you spend any time at all nurturing an emotional connection with your followers, it should be with these special people.


from “Known” by Mark Schaefer


How Do You Find Influencers?

How do you find influencers who can make a difference to you? Here are five tips to find the people who are having an impact in your field:


  1. Use BuzzSumo’s free influencer search tool. You can use keywords and find Twitter handles of accounts sharing similar keyword-related content. Filters let you sort results by reach, authority, influence, and engagement.
  2. Try Followerwonk, a free app on Rand Fishkin’s Moz site. This tool lets you search Twitter users based on keywords in their bios and sort results based on their number of followers and social authority.
  3. Twellow is a very useful site that can help you build your audience in several ways. It allows you to search influencers by industry and breaks down results based on location, subject matter, and profession. Another way to find possible influencers by location is to Google it. For example, searching for “mommy bloggers in Pittsburgh” would return lists of top bloggers in the area.
  4. Check out industry-related conferences and scan the speaker list. These are likely to be well-known and influential leaders in your field.
  5. Hashtag research can help you identify influencers with similar interests. Search for a topical hashtag (like #organicfood, #librarian, or #electricalengineer, for example) on Google, Twitter, and Instagram to find others interested in a topic. Dig a little deeper to look at how many followers they have, the engagement they get on their posts, and what kind of content they publish.


Once you’ve created a list of influencers, it’s time to start finding ways to connect with them. Don’t “pitch” influencers. Befriend them.


from “Known” by Mark Schaefer



Be Proactive with Industry Leaders

“No matter what topic you want to be known for, you should be proactive with industry leaders,” Aaron said. “You need to mingle with other influencers who can help you along the way. The best approach is to leave your digital footprint everywhere. Do this by liking other people’s photos, commenting on blog posts, helping others out, retweeting, creating guest content on leading blogs, and participating in Twitter chats, to name a few ideas.”


from “Known” by Mark Schaefer


An Example of Influencer Marketing


Groove, a company that provides help desk software, is a perfect example of executing an influencer strategy with precision. They were a start-up company with literally no audience— and no time to build an audience—so they relied on borrowing the audiences of others. The result? 5,000 new blog subscribers in five weeks. Here’s how they did it:


  1. Build the influencer list. The company carefully considered which potential influencers connected to their target audience (web start-ups and small businesses) and which of those leaders would be able to get true value from their content and service. This is a critical step. Most influencers are deluged with spammy requests for their help, so doing careful research up front gives you the best shot at success.


  1. Forge relationships. Influencers may hold the keys to the audience kingdom, but simply making a cold pitch doesn’t work. Groove embarked on a plan to use the social networks to connect with them and move beyond the relational weak link. Their plan included tweets, blog comments, blog post shares, and emails. Here are other ways to engage with influencers:
  • Ask for a quote you’ll use in your article.
  • Re-tweet them consistently.
  • Provide them with a recommendation on LinkedIn.
  • Interview them for a video or podcast.
  • Ask them for feedback on an idea.
  • Link to something they wrote about (they will generally see this “pingback”).


  1. The Ask (part 1). By this time, the people from Groove were on the radar of their target influencers and it was time to make a move. But they didn’t ask for a favor. They asked for help—a subtle yet important difference. Most people have a hard time saying “no” to an honest request for help. This plea included a link to their site, a request for feedback, and emphasis on potential mutual benefits. Using this technique, Groove earned an 83 percent positive response rate from the influencers. “Help” is a more benign ask, and more importantly, it helped Groove start real back-and-forth conversations with industry experts.


  1. The Ask (part 2). Now that the company was ready to launch their blog, they needed a push from their new influencer friends. Since this group had been involved in providing feedback to the Groove team, they had a built-in stake in the company’s success. Groove sent these new advocates a link to the first blog post with a request for help promoting it.


  1. Results! Not only did most influencers promote the post, but almost all of them also commented on the new blog. This level of response provided proof to new visitors that the blog (and company) had traction. In 24 hours Groove had acquired 1,000 blog subscribers, and by following up with consistent, high-quality content, they attracted more than 5,000 subscribers and 535 trial sign-ups through five weeks of blogging efforts.


In this case, Groove methodically built relationships with influencers that led to measurable success. But there was another force at work here, too—the powerful, magnetic attraction of involving key audience members in your content creation and transmission.


– from “The Content Code” by Mark Schaefer


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