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Five Ways Starting a Podcast Changed My Life

Five Ways Starting a Podcast Changed My Life

….and other hyberbolic claims.

No, to be totally honest (and very, very serious) starting my podcast was a flippant, heartfelt and totally deep-in-gut-creatively driven decision that I haven’t ever regretted for a second. It was one of those PERFECT timing, perfectly synced moments when what a kinda ‘lightbulb’ moment turned into some planning, a little self-doubt, and a whole heap of work.

And the most unexpected results.

You know when people say, ‘say yes, and more doors will open’? Sidenote: that isn’t an actual, comonly used phrase but humans have definitely said something similar to me before okay? So it’s a thing and we can all just go with it.

 So, yes, when people proffer that wisdom I often recoil in horror. I hate blogging rules, I hate networking, I hate doing the things people tell me I should be doing. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll already know this. If not, this is new and fun info for you.

But podcasting? Well, nobody (in my echo chamber) was telling people to start podcasts as an extension of their blogging strategy. Which meant I was hopelessly (and, admittedly subconsciously) drawn to it.

Having no blueprint is scary though. Starting out when you haven’t seen your peers making mistakes you can dutifully avoid means you are the one making them. And in public too.

That’s not always comfortable, but it is motivating. It is empowering. And it has been the making of me.

Here are the myriad (okay, five) ways podcasting has changed my career: 

My income increased

In an old episode of the podcast Kayte Ferris shared the importance of diversifying our income streams.

This is exactly what I’ve done through my podcast, attracting speaking engagements, creating courses and trainings*, podcast sponsors, Patreon and increasing my overall profile to the point where my audience flow through my blog, email list and Instagram too. 

I found ‘my people’

As an INTJ personality type I’m used to being a loner (I make up less than 0.8% of the population).

Through the What She Said Facebook group (another whim!) I found a group of people who thought a lot like me. It’s mostly women, and we all support each other. We hate bullshit and we feel fear, often. 

And most of all, we crave connection with people who aren’t annoying. This might seem like a small thing but to this introvert with no crew it’s been life-changing; a way to share my fears and hopes in a safe enviroment AND to serve. To serve in a non-icky way where the purpose isn’t leading to sales.

I learned my strengths

So, as it goes, I’m pretty good at interviewing people. That’s something that has come up a lot. From the people I interview to my listeners it’s a beautiful complimentary thread I didn’t expect to received.

 As a journalist, I guess it’s in my (admittedly minimal) training to smell a story and I’m naturally prone to dig, dig, dig deeper until my curiositty and intuition is satieted. That means I like to get an interesting angle, and it often means I show a different side to my guests.

Tooting my own horn there 😉

I became an ‘expert’ 

Somewhat accidentally I might add! Doing it yourself either means you do it badly, or you learn to do it well. And while the latter is subjective what isn’t in question is the amount of hours spent teaching myself, reading around my subject and learning, learning, LEARNING.

And, as it goes, I’m quite a good teacher. I enjoy teaching others how simple it can be to start podcasting. Whether that’s a conference room of charity press officers, or in my home at a podcast workshop. Whether it’s through an online course or simply chatting about it on my podcast I LOVE seeing that ‘lightbulb’ moment in others. It’s magical. 

Creating content became fun again

I never wanted to start a YouTube channel, and becoming an Instagram Queen wasn’t super accessible or appealing to me either. Writing’s my bag, always.

But sometimes it gets boring doesn’t it? The task of creating content for nobody but yourself (even when you have an audience) means you must be self motivated. You need to find inspiration when you cannot.be.arsed. And sometimes, that means you give up. Especially when creating content isn’t your main source of income. Especially when you can.

Starting the podcast gave me a whole new way to create content. A way that meant I connected with my audience more intimately, more personally and, although it’s a whole heap of work, in a more creatively fulfilling way.

I still love writing the mostest ever. Like, the absolute mostest. But now I have a creative outlet that I rarely get sick of, one which fuels my writing and serves my content creation needs when writing is being a pain in the ass 😉 

L x

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HOW TO START A PODCAST!

Sign up for my live training and I’ll show you how to:

  • Plan and prepare for launch
  • Choose a niche and focus
  • Pick the right equipment and recording gear
  • Launch & grow your audience
  • Monetise/support your podcast

DATE: 26th July, 9.30am 

COST: £35

(PS – you don’t need to be there live!)

Pinterest Hack! Using Tailwind to QUICKLY Schedule Pins

Pinterest Hack! Using Tailwind to QUICKLY Schedule Pins

My FAVE Pinterest Hack ever…..

One of the misconceptions about Pinterest (apart from that it is a social media platform, which it IS NOT) is that it takes too much time and effort to master.

I honestly think folk think you are either a once a month pinner of fun DIY projects, a master Pinterest ninja driving insane traffic to your blog with nothing in-between. 

The truth is that most of us spend a little bit of time each month, perhaps every three months and leave Pinterest to do its thing. 

And when I say ‘leave it to do its thing’ I genuinely mean it. Not in that, “Just do this one simple strategy which involves creating  high quality content and engaging for three hours every day”, I mean really. Just leave it alone. 

I spend no longer than 30 mins on Pinterest a MONTH. And that includes creating new pins, pinning to group boards and Tribes AND filling up my Tailwind schedule with thousands of pins that’ll be pinned on autopilot.

And the clever little trick I use to do that is right here in this 6 minute video.

Enjoy!

L x

ps if you don’t already have Tailwind, you can grab a free month through my affiliate link below.

 

Five Ways Starting a Podcast Changed My Life

Five Ways Starting a Podcast Changed My Life

facebooktwitterpinterestinstagramlinkedin ....and other hyberbolic claims. No, to be totally honest (and very, very serious) starting my podcast was a flippant, heartfelt and totally deep-in-gut-creatively driven decision that I haven't ever regretted for a second. It...

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    5 Simple Productivity Hacks for Freelance Mama’s (Who Hate Hacks!)

    5 Simple Productivity Hacks for Freelance Mama’s (Who Hate Hacks!)

    I sorta hate this title. It feels dangerously close to me declaring myself a ‘mumpreneur’ and telling you how you can make your first 10k month using my patented methods.

    I’m not gonna do that. Promise.

    I’ve been working ‘around’ my little one, who is now two, for around eighteen months and I’ve learned a few things in that time. I’ve tried a few different options, and have had highs and lows in my own productivity…..and yes, the mum guilt has been ever-present throughout.

    For clarity, Anaïs goes to nursery and we’ve never done anything different to that bar the occasional stint of grandparent help. I work from home, and my husband works pretty long hours in an office job, albeit a local one, but that means that like most mothers I pick up the slack if/when Anaïs needs to come home early. If you want to learn about other childcare options I wrote a post about freelance childcare options.

    I ALSO decided to film a flipping video for this post! It felt like a good idea at the time, mostly because I’d just setup for my Patreon BTS video too. So there you go, a little unexpected treat!

    But back to my productivity tips for those who’d rather skip my face waffling on a poorly-edited video.

    1 | Childcare

    Super obvious statement alert but, erm, have you thought about childcare? Yes, Lucy, you absolute knobhead I have.

    Okay so this one is dependant on your situation but as I said, my situation has gone from zero childcare to some childcare (a day a week of grandparents) right through to a whole month of five days of 8-6 a week (that was expensive and nuts!)

    Right now, Anaïs goes to nursery 5 days a week from 8-1pm. She naps from around 2-4 so ostensibly I get a full days work. Most days. Although as I write this she is not napping, but painting because…well, she didn’t wanna nap and that’s okay.

    Although I don’t have any friends/family to help with childcare I am very lucky to have this setup. It works really well for us as a family and because I work, we also get tax free childcare which is an added bonus. And, as long as I continue to work, we will get 30 free hours of childcare when Anaïs is three. (COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS…..)

    I’ve never used a nanny/au pair or a childminder but we have also used our regular babysitters (one of whom works at Anaïs’ nursery) to plu any gaps as and when we need them: usually this is for random work meetings or trips I need to take. That’s the nature of freelance life!

    If you’d like to learn about the other options freelancers have I wrote all about it here.

    2 | Pomodoro

    Unlike my last point, this really is an actual productivity hack. I can’t remember who told me about the Pomodoro method but whoever they are is an absolute angel.

    The Pomodoro Technique was created by someone called Francesco Cirillo in the 80s and posits we work best on one thing at a time in bite size chunks.

    In theory, it’s working in chunks of 25 minutes with a five-minute break between each chunk. Then, after you’ve done four rounds of Pomodoro chunks you should take a longer break. I take 15 minutes here.

    How this works for me is that from 9-12 (I practice yoga/run/have a lie-in when I wake up, shower and start work at 9am….rarely before) I decide on my must-do tasks, then allot them a timeframe: Either one or two ‘PT’s’ aka 25 minute chunks.

    This really works for me at the moment because I struggle to do that whole, ‘a day dedicated to this part of my business’ or even batching work. I need to work on things in a really dedicated way knowing I’ll have a break soon.

    3 | Prepare

    When Anaïs first dropped down to shorter hours I was always getting caught short when it came to getting my bag ready for pickup.

    I’d mutter obscenities to myself as I packed a random, unappealing assortment of snacks and often forget my keys/wallet/coat. And I’d leave with a half-finished task, empty belly and stressed mind….which, I’d come straight back to once I got home and Anaïs was down for her nap.

    So I now take my daily snack prep seriously. I do it first thing while making my own breakfast and never skip it. Because it just makes life so much easier.

    Likewise I prepare my task list ahead of schedule. I use Trello to manage my recurring tasks, adding on new ones as they come in and plot them all out daily too. I know you can get a bit more jazzy with all of this but I keep it simple….I can’t cope with three or four to do lists; I’ve tried and failed multiple times!

    4 | Find Your Flow

    This has been a massive game changer for me. And before you think I’m going all Jess Lively on you (if you don’t know who that is, please watch this wonderful video where she writes to her intuition. I DIE.)

    When I talk about finding your flow I honestly just mean asking yourself when you work best. If that’s convenient, try to only work in that time….or, at least, do your hardest/must-do stuff then.

    For me. first thing is when I get my most techy stuff done; I’m talking podcast and video editing, planning, dealing with course stuff or editing photos etc etc etc. Writing comes easier a bit later in the day, so that’s when I sketch out blog posts, podcast scripts, newsletters or Instagram captions.

    And, realistically, at approx 5pm I may as well go to sleep. I never work past this time unless I really have to. Mostly because I can’t…..my kid would never let me work while she played independently, which is fine by me!

    5 | Do Less Stuff

    This is a tricky one and I’m still reminding myself to take on less stuff every damn day. But saying no, keeping a clearer diary and definitely saying no to projects that aren’t going to serve me in whatever season I’m in.

    This might mean my social life is a bit dry sometimes and it often means I say no to free stuff offered in exchange for Instagram coverage. Not because I’m against it (especially not with smaller brands) but because it’s gonna cut into my very precious time!

    And lastly, lower the damn bar. Especially when you have extra-curricular work stuff like……pregnancy, house moves etc etc etc. You know the drill with adulting!

    L x

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    FIVE SEO Myths you can ignore

    FIVE SEO Myths you can ignore

    Earning Google’s trust is the aim of the game in order to remove your site’s invisibility cloak.

    To do this though you will need a good handle on SEO. This is the exact reason why you should learn how to use it properly for your blog or website. Although, at first it may seem like SEO is some kind of weird, witchery hocus pocus, with words like Googlebot Spiders, Black Hats and White Hats… yep actual SEO terms!

    Along with all the jargon in SEO, Google like to throw a few algorithm changes around now and again. Which means, what might have worked last year may be detrimental to your site now. These constant changes means that there are lots of theories being bandied around by ‘SEO experts’ which just aren’t true.

    Here I have pulled together 5 SEO myths (without jargon) that I want to call BS on! In the hope to help you avoid making any simple SEO mistakes.

    Listen to my podcast episode with Simon Heyes all about SEO

    Myth 1 | SEO is complicated

    This is the myth I wanted to debunk first.

    Yes, there are a lot of elements to SEO and you could spend months studying it.

    However, you just need to figure out the basics and you’ll still be able to apply it and help improve the traffic to your site.

    Myth 2 | Listicles are the only way to rank

    I’m calling BS on this!

    Google has become wise to the click baity ways of some listicle posts and have moved towards favouring more long form content.

    The content must still provide value though, so good engagement from your readers will help your posts outperform listicles that may be full of keywords but do not have any engagement.

    Myth 3 | Guest posting is bad for SEO

    Guest posting can be bad for SEO…BUT it can also be good, if done correctly and following Google’s ethical guidelines.

    The myth has come from a statement from the former Head of the Google Web Spam Team, Matt Cutts who said “guest blogging had become overused by a bunch of low-quality, spammy sites”.

    The statement is actually true but you can avoid being penalised by making sure you’re guest posting on high quality, relevant sites with good content. The safest option is to guest post but have ‘no follow’ links and this will still generate referral traffic to your site.

    Myth 4 | Alt tags for images don’t matter

    This is one that many new bloggers overlook as it isn’t the most obvious part of SEO. It can also be a bit of a faff if you have lots of images on your site.

    All images on your blog or website can be optimised for SEO by adding descriptions to them which are known as ‘alt tags’. It’s basically an exact description of the image, including your keywords if appropriate.

    This means the Google Spider Bot (yes that pesky spider again!) can find your images as he doesn’t have regular human eyes :).

    Visually impaired people using screen readers also benefit from alt tags as they get an exact description of what’s on your page.

    Myth 5 | Optimising images isn’t important

    This is another faffy part of uploading images to your site but it’s another contributor to ‘good SEO’.

    Optimising your images means shrinking your image file size whilst keeping the high quality and resolution. Doing this will sure that your pages load quicker.

    There’s nothing worse than finding an article you really want to read and it takes forever to load! Google now focuses on user experience as a key ranking factor.

    If people are going back to search listings before your page loads, Google will see that as a negative user experience for your site thus affecting your ranking.

    I hope this has been illuminating and, more than anything, I hope this will help you feel a little more clued up on SEO and how darn simple it can be.

    If you’d like to learn more and take a big old deep dive into the dark arts, my self-paced course is right here.

    L x

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    How to Edit your Podcast (the Easy Way!)

    How to Edit your Podcast (the Easy Way!)

    I’ve been creating and producing a weekly podcast for two years now, and while in that time I’ve had production and editing support I have largely done it all myself.

    Which isn’t a brag. It’s a comforting bit of information because if I can do it…..ANYONE can. Fact.

    I’ve also been running courses, workshops and consulting for others who want to start a podcast/make their podcasts better.

    So I know a thing or two about it and that baffles me. Because….well, I’m a moron, mostly. Especially when it comes to scary new stuff.

    Yeah, I’m logical and geeky and I like the technical side of things (hello SEO!) but I absolutely detest the idea of creating video content, I hate the idea of using Photoshop to do crazy edits and I’d happily outsource everything bar writing and taking pictures.

    But podcast editing costs money and even when/if you start monetising your show it’s a necessary evil for most of us.

    I get asked about editing a lot. I think it’s definitely the thing most people worry about and it’s why I didn’t launch my own podcast for almost a year after coming up with the idea.

    In this post I want to dispel a few rumours about recording and editing, and show you how to do it, Lucy-style (aka with minimal effort!

    How to edit a podcast - image of computer with podcast headphones

    Content matters more than audio

    A note on why I like to keep the editing simple; to sustain a podcast it needs to be sustainable and that includes your budget, time and effort. Editing can take up all three of these elements and it’s a big part of why many of us consider giving up on our podcast before we even begin.

    Audio is SO important, but guess what? Content is more important. If your content is shit, if you’re parroting lines you’ve heard on another podcast or imitating someone else’s style then it doesn’t matter how slick and jazzy your audio is. Truly.

    I see this time and time again, when other podcasts in my niche are nominated for awards or pop up in my ether with slick artwork and, to be totally honest, not much substance.

    The bar has been set high in podcasting, so similarly to blogging, expect to see slick-as-fook blogs appearing to be successful (often winning those same homogenous awards). Try to ignore these and stay in your lane.

    I also see this the opposite in crappy, early episodes of some of the BEST podcasts out there; the ones that have stayed the course, stayed interesting and who’s hosts I respect.

    All that’s to say is that CONTENT MATTERS. And there’s time to improve on your audio.

    How to edit a podcast image of woman laughing

    Editing your podcast

    In this post I’ll cover:

    1. Essential equipment
    2. Recording
    3. Non-essential gear (nice-to-haves)
    4. My simple editing tips

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    1. Essential equipment

    The equipment is pretty exciting and I see so many people buying expensive stuff before they’ve even started. Which really isn’t necessary, although it is quite fun!

    I started with my iPhone headphones and my laptop and Sara Tasker told me she started with the same setup!

    iPhone headphones are particularly good as they cover both the headphones and microphone aspect and are cheap, In fact, you’ve probably already got some knocking about.

    But when you want to move to the next level I suggest the following….

    Microphone

    Depending on your

    I’ve used all of the below, or been recommended them by fellow podcasters. They vary in price and quality so bear in mind your own personal circumstances (budget, recording environment, podcast type) when you choose what’s best for you.

    • Blue Yeti: I love mine! GREAT quality, and comes with it’s own stand (although I use a boom stand and pop filter)
    • Blue Snowball: This is great value, easy to use, light and great for travel. You can get better for the same price though….
    • Rode Smartlav: I have two (plus splitter) and use for in-person recording into my smartphone.
    • Audio Technica ATR2100: Like a karaoke mic, this is GREAT value and great quality too. You need a boom stand for it though.

    Headphones

    If you record interviews like I do, via Skype, then you absolutely cannot skimp on using headphones OR let your guest get away without using them.

    But, as above, you could simply use the headphones that came with your smartphone (iPhone are best I think). (Note that smartphone headphones have an inbuilt microphone though so bear this in mind this when recording)

    I was lucky and in my second season I had a sponsor (Sudio Sweden) who made headphones so…..yep, I got a pretty decent pair! I haven’t used any others but have popped a selection for you below.

    Recording device

    This can feel more complex than it needs to be, especially as the bulk of information out there appears to be written by white men who love overcomplicating podcasting.

    Essentially all you need is something to plug your mic and headphones into……so, your phone, iPad, laptop, dictaphone or digital recorder.

    What you use depends on how you need to record, too. For in-person interviews you probably don’t want to use your laptop, so something portable (your phone!) is perfect.

    And if your microphone only has an audio jack, not usb, then you need to take that into account and get a converter or use a different piece of equipment to record.

    I use my laptop and record using a few different methods. See below…..

    2. Recording

    Like everything I’ve talked about already, where and how you record your podcast will entirely depend on what you need to achieve.

    If you are recording solo episodes then a simple mic and headphones into your laptop or phone will suffice.

    But when you need to record an interview with someone long-distance you have a few other considerations.

    It’s mostly a case of picking Skype, Zoom or Zencastr. I’ve used all three and would recommend choosing Skype with an additional piece of software called eCamm call recorder, which sits with Skype and records both sides of the call. You can record within Skype, but the recording you export will only be a one-track mP3: not good enough quality for editing.

    Whatever the scenario, ensuring your environment is quiet and fairly sound-proof is better than editing it to buggery afterwards.

    Soft-furnishings help (think bedrooms!) and you can drape a blanket over your head while recording too.

    I use a boom stand to make sure the mic is perfectly positioned to hear me and I also have a pop filter to block out extra noise/control my plosives (those ‘P’ and ‘S’ sounds we all make!)

    3. Non-essential gear (nice-to-haves)

    I use a boom stand to make sure the mic is perfectly positioned to hear me and I also have a pop filter to block out extra noise/control my plosives (those ‘P’ and ‘S’ sounds we all make!)

    You could also get a shock mount which stops the sound of any knocks and bumps affecting your mic. I don’t have one but might get one as my mic is pretty heavy so has a wee tendency to wobble.

    One of the cheapest things you can buy is a pop filter. You can even make one out of old tights but…..I just bought mine for £5 instead because CBA with crafting. A pop filter helps to block out any extra sound and adds a bit of polish to your sound.

    Lastly, you could buy a digital recorder even if you don’t technically need one because jazzy. I don’t recommend it buying one for the sake of it, but I also don’t believe in listening to other people’s rules so….do whatever the fook you want!

    4. My simple editing tips

    You might’ve gathered by now but I really like to keep thing’s BS-free and SIMPLE. Especially when it’s something men have consistently told me is hard, or needs to be done in a certain way.

    Not today, patriarchy, not today.

    When it comes to editing I follow The Podcast Hosts MEE process (minimal effort editing) which I’ve built on over the years to come up with my own, unique formula.

    My golden rules are:

    • Get the recording environment right
    • Prepare or leave the waffle in
    • Add minimal effects

    What this looks like in practice is……

    1. Record the podcast using good equipment in a good environment.
    2. If I make mistakes, I leave a pause and then click/clap three times so I can see it straight away when editing.
    3. Upload to Audacity and chop the beginning/end/any ‘click/clap’ sections off.
    4. Add music.
    5. Increase volume

    And that’s it. Genuinely!

    There are some specific settings I then use when it comes to exporting my MP3 (I edit in WAV) and subsequently uploading my file to Libsyn, my podcast host, but ostensibly this is the bulk of the work done.

    Does that sound simple or have I lulled myself into a state of tech-blindness whereby I’ve slightly lost it?!

    L x

    Psssst if you want to start a podcast but need some help getting it from seed to launch, I can help.

    I offer group courses or 1:1 consulting and aim to work on a sliding scale to ensure affordability. Email me for more details.

    How to Master Pinterest to Boost Your Blog Traffic

    How to Master Pinterest to Boost Your Blog Traffic

    A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I grew my blog. I thought it was all super simple stuff and felt a little silly even recommending stuff I thought everyone knew about already (hello imposter syndrome!) but I was SO wrong. It really seemed to resonate with people and I was overwhelmed with the positive response to it.

    Needless to say, I’ve gained a few coaching clients since then and the number one thing people are keen to work on is this: PINTEREST.

    (more…)