Talking Shop Wrap and Review: Getting Techy With It with Forest Linden and Chris Bleill

Learning and Community

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elcome to Talking Shop Wrap and Review!

In case you are new here, this is a monthly series where I will briefly delve into our latest Talking Shop show and the points that were especially smart, surprising, and useful (there are always so many).

If you are new to my little corner of the web or new to Talking Shop let me give you the lowdown: Talking Shop is a podcast now in its 5th year. It is hosted by Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady and moi. You can access every episode right here for free, and yes, you are welcome.Last week on Talking Shop we had the pleasure of chatting with two super fabulous guys, Forest Linden and Chris Bleill of Clarity Lab.

Now last month on Talking Shop we started our tech theme by exploring the ins and outs of SEO. This month we decided to broaden out a bit and talk to these two gentlemen about some of their favorite tech tools and tech rules. Theresa and I are both big fans of Forest and Chris – among the many things they do is review and vet various platforms and software choices (there are so many!) so that us busy entrepreneurs don’t have to sort through everything ourselves.

We knew that these were the guys to cover our A-Z tech needs.

Forest and Chris led out the gate with two really strong observations: the first, from Forest, is that technology is really a language. Viewing technology as a language allows us to do some pretty common sense things: for instance, we can choose the best way to learn the language for us. Some people like to hire a language teacher and learn step by step. Others (like me) function best with a full immersion experience (I learned about technology by building from hand my first website).The second point (made by Chris) is that technology does not equal perfection. As he put it, “this stuff breaks all of the time”. When working with technology – whether it is hardware or software, it is essential to understand (and schedule in) downtime when you, or someone on your team, is learning why – and fixing – the stuff that isn’t working the way it should. In my experience this is really essential to understand, technology can save us time and make things easier in the long run, but there is a learning curve with technology just like anything else and patience does pay off.

Finally, both Chris and Forest went through the big categories that we need to be aware of as we are setting up our online businesses. And while Talking Shop focuses on sacred arts businesses, this information is golden for any online business. Are you ready? Here is the information, straight from the guys themselves:

Category: Website – how and where to create your website.

Category: Hosting – your hosting company is the home your website lives in, there are many and these were some of the faves.

Category: Email Marketing – Email marketing services allow you to create and send out newsletters to your fan base.

Category: All In One Marketing Apps / Membership – These are robust applications for those of you who teach classes or have membership required access areas or programs.

Category: E-Commerce Platforms – E-commerce is a fancy way of saying “how you send and receive money, online” and also how and where you can sell you stuff, whatever that happens to be.

Category: Customer Support – this was new to me but I think it is brilliant, even small businesses can benefit from a dedicated customer support application.

BIG, HUGE, thanks to Forest and Chris for sharing their tech smarts with us! Next month we will take a break from the tech heavy stuff and chat with the one and only Danielle Cohen who will teach us about Creative Photography for Your Business! Yay!

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Talking Shop Wrap and Review: SEO Know-How with Liz Lockard

Learning and Community

W

elcome to the latest Talking Shop Wrap and Review.

In case you are new here, this is a monthly series where I will briefly delve into our latest Talking Shop show and the points that were especially smart, surprising, and useful (there are always so many).

If you are new to my little corner of the web or new to Talking Shop let me give you the lowdown: Talking Shop is a podcast now in its 5th year. It is hosted by Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady and moi. You can access every episode right here for free, and yes, you are welcome.

Last week on Talking Shop we had the pleasure of jamming with the incredibly smart Liz Lockard. Liz is dedicated to bringing in more business to small businesses and one of her primary tools to make that happen is Search Engine Optimization, known more commonly as SEO.

We know that any time we have a technical topic on Talking Shop it can make some of our listeners a wee bit anxious; tech stuff often seems so complicated, hard, and expensive and it is one of those areas where not knowing what you don’t know can become a significant pain point for your business and your bottom line.

Fortunately Theresa, the resident Talking Shop fearless leader and guinea pig had taken a course with this awesome teacher a year or so back that was all about SEO. She had learned a ton and put the lessons into action on her own site with great success. She also raved about the teacher who was a smart lady, able to break down complicated ideas with ease and help her students implement them effectively. The teacher of course was Liz!

When Theresa and I decided that it was time to tackle the SEO monster we knew we wanted Liz in our corner.

Liz started out by explaining one of the biggest benefits of SEO which I had totally overlooked. As it turns out when you create a blog post or a page on your site and you take the steps needed to optimize it for a search engine you have an “evergreen” asset. This means that your page or blog post will rank higher in search engine searches day after day and year after year.

One of the biggest complaints I have heard from people who want to “do” SEO but never get around to it is the time commitment involved. But the fact of the matter is that this is time well spent because the investment you make in SEO is a gift that keeps on giving (unlike say, a Facebook ad or sponsored Tweet).

Another really useful point that Liz made was about key words. One of the primary ways you can optimize a page or post for search engines is by giving that page a key word. Liz explained that often people miss the boat on this opportunity because they think about what they would like the key word to be instead of thinking about what the words are people will type into Google in order to find a specific thing that you offer on your site.

So those of you who create key words for your pages and posts already, make sure that you are thinking about it from the users perspective and those of you who don’t…well, there’s no time like the present!

A final (and really useful) point that Liz made? SEO does not have to be painful! If you have a site hosted on WordPress there are several good SEO plug-ins to choose from; the favorite of most people is Yoast. Snagging an SEO plug-in and making sure your site is connected to Google Analytics are the two essential steps that can really help you optimize your site in a painless way and play the long game with your business.

I hope you enjoyed checking out the highlights from our show. You can listen to the entire show here. We also invite you to join in for our next show which will continue our coverage of the intersection between technology and your Sacred Arts business: Getting Techy With It with Forest Linden and Chris Bleill

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Talking Shop Wrap and Review: Secrets to Writing a Perfect Speech with Dr. Michelle Mazur

Learning and Community

W

elcome to a brand new series: Talking Shop Wrap and Review.

This is a monthly series where I will briefly delve into our latest Talking Shop show and the points that were especially smart, surprising, and useful (there are always so many).

If you are new to my little corner of the web or new to Talking Shop let me give you the lowdown: Talking Shop is a podcast now in its 5th year. It is hosted by Theresa Reed aka The Tarot Lady and moi. You can access every episode right here for free, and yes, you are welcome.

This past week on Talking Shop we hosted the wonderful Dr. Michelle Mazur. This was Dr. Michelle’s second visit to Talking Shop and this time our topic was all about Speeches – how to write them, pitch them, and nail them.

Theresa and I create our show topics and put together our guest list a year in advance – often our guests are busy and popular because they are at the top of the game in their industry – so we want to make sure we give them plenty of time to pencil us into their planners!

Of course before we invite the guests we come up with the topics, and the topic of how to give a great speech was one that we had been itching to do for so long. We both really believe that the world needs to hear your unique voice and perspective AND we know that getting up in front of an audience and nailing a speech is something that makes many of our fellow sacred artists tremble in their boots. That meant it was the PERFECT topic for our show.

Once we knew we were going to talk about speeches we also knew we had to have Dr. Michelle back! Her primary focus is public speaking and speeches that place you, as she says, in a category of one.

We were extra excited because Theresa and I both have speaking engagements this year…I’ll be leading a Sacred Arts Sojourn in Santa Fe and later this Autumn speaking at St. Johns College and Theresa continues to speak and teach as she promotes her awesome book.

One of the big points that Dr. Michelle made right away is that a successful speech has a single main idea to drive home and no more than three supporting points to emphasize that core message.

This totally took me back to my debate days when we were taught to craft three main arguments to support our case, whatever that happened to be. It was also really welcome news for some of our audience members who can easily feel flummoxed by the question: where to begin??? Answer: Start with one idea.

Dr. Michelle also pointed out that contrary to what most people think and do, when you craft your speech the introduction and conclusion are the LAST parts that you craft. Do all of the body work and then circle back around to create an unforgettable opening and closing.

A final point that really stuck with me? Treat your speech as an offering, an extension of your business, not this weird “extra” thing that gets its own category. Treating your speech like a business means that you will figure out really basic questions up front (like how will you be paid) but also apply the professional standards you have to the entire process from start to finish.

We all agreed, for instance, that the minimum amount of time to give to speech preparation is a month, with Dr. Michelle advising at least three. That kind of time allotment is something most of us would assume going in when crafting a new offering but not necessarily what we would give ourselves to create a killer speech.

Of course, these are just a few of the highlights from our show. You can listen to the entire show here. We also invite you to join in for our next show which will cover a very important (but intimidating) topic: Search Engine Optimization with Liz Lockard.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.