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  >    >  Virtual Meetup Summary on Everything Blogging and Podcasting!
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Hi everyone!! Thanks to everyone who attended our virtual meetup this evening! Please feel free to add a comment or question or post your own story, idea or advice on this forum! It’s for all of us to come here and connect and share ideas!!

As usual, here is the summary of today’s virtual meetup along with our weekly announcements! 😀

 

Purple Hood Adventures Weekly Announcements:

1. Again, ALL virtual attendees (this includes ANYONE who has ever attended one of our virtual meetups) receive 50% off any of our “travel in the home” fun events, our “starting a business and breaking free of the 9-5” support and mentoring services and also anything on the “Covid-19 Escape” private virtual event page! Again, if you HAVE attended and forgot the Promo Code, contact me and I will remind you! 🙂

2. New Blog Post ALL about Costa Rica!! Check it out! 🙂

3. Purple Hood Adventures is now on Pinterest! If you’re one of those Pinterest pros, I’m not (but I’m learning!)! Follow us here!!

4. ALL Purple Hood Adventures media is now ALL IN ONE PLACE! Shwew, right?! Get access to out our blogs, podcasts and videos here!

5. Next meetup scheduled for Monday, June 1st at 7pm all about US National Parks! Sign up with the calendar here!

6. Posted some travel coupons, discounts and sales for you all during you planning of your summer, fall or winter trip!! Check them out here!

 

OK so now onto our blogging and podcasting meetup summary!

Again, I have both a blog and a podcast myself and I consider myself sort of at a medium skill level so all you seasoned bloggers and podcasters out there, PLEASE feel free to post your own suggestions, thoughts and/or links to your content for the travel community in response to this post!! 🙂

 

Let’s Start with Blogging:

Step 1: find your niche and name yourself. Develop a special voice, if you will. For example, will you have a humorous tone? An informative one? How will you get your messages across? If you need help thinking of how to begin, I would be happy to help you come up with ideas!

Step 2: Choose a host and platform and a domain name. My host is called Host Gator. Bluehost is another popular one. They basically house all your files and your database. My domain name is “purplehoodadventures.com.” You can pick what sounds good for you and see if it is available to have as yours! As for website platforms, here are some options:

-Wordpress.org (THIS is the main one everyone talks about. It is also what I use and most people recommend)

-Wordpress.com (believe it or not this is different than Wordpress.org. It’s alright for basic blogging but the hosting is done for you and there is less flexibility in what you can do. It’s easier to begin but not quite as functional long term).

Check out WP engine to view some plans and deals!!!

-Squarespace- another good one

-Blogger

-Wix- This one is really easy to use but ultimately kind of clunky. I used to use it and my website stopped working. This is why I had to redo my entire site! Again, if you’re JUST going to do simple basic blogs without a ton of content, this option might be great for you but if you want more flexibility and also a better looking and functioning site, I don’t recommend it!

Step 3: Design, write and market your blogs (OK that was more like steps 3, 4 and 5!)

 

Why start a blog?

-To share your stories

-You like to write

-You want to make money

-You want to promote a business and this helps facilitate that

 

How do you make money on a blog?

You can make money either indirectly or directly from your blog. By indirectly, I mean you are marketing your business or referencing content that DOES bring you direct income. By directly, I mean you are specifically selling products or engaging in AFFILIATE MARKETING.

Let’s talk about affiliate marketing:

-What is it? It’s a way to earn commissions for people purchasing or clicking on links to items you have embedded in your blog posts. Different products or companies you affiliate with will have different rules when it comes to percentages of commission, EPC (earnings per click) and other criteria.

-How do you use affiliate marketing? You can place things like direct links or widgets and banners using HTML using your content.

-Make sure you trust who you’re affiliating with. Believe in what they sell and choose products and links which flow with your content. One thing I particularly personally hate about reading other blogs is that not only are they chalked full of ads (making it nearly impossible for me to get to their content) but most of the ads are irrelevant! Why would I want to buy a new toothbrush when I’m trying to read about your trip to Italy?! So I recommend using links and ads with good taste. Don’t overdo them, don’t let it take over your content and choose things that people MIGHT be likely to want to click on. Just my personal assessment!

-And speaking of affiliate marketing platforms, here are some good ones to start with:

-cj.com (Commission Junction)

-commissionfactory.com (based out of Australia I think)

-Booking.com

-clickbank.com

-Amazon Associates (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/)

Shareasale.com– OK so I JUST joined this one and I’m OBSESSED! It’s very user friendly, it’s easy to sort and you can sell content that is not JUST from big organizations like Amazon but you also get to market smaller businesses and sort of more authentic companies, if you will! The earnings also seem to be a bit better. So far, it’s my new favorite!

-One more point about affilate marketing is that most affiliates will have to approve you. Not all of them will accept your affiliate request and that’s OK. Don’t take it personally. They just have some type of specific standard they’re looking for or are particularly picky. It’s OK. There are many fish in the sea! 🙂

Marketing your blog:

-Social media is a great way (like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)

-Make use of hashtags to gain attention

-Think about SEOs (search engine optimization) and use of Adwords using keywords so that Google searchers are more likely to find YOUR content when they go to search for something specific!

-Things that influence to you ranking higher in the search engine realm: freshness of content and relevance of content. This means the more relevant and new your content is to a specific searcher (again, this is where Adwords and SEOs come into play), the more likely someone will see your stuff BEFORE other peoples’ stuff!

-And going along with SEOs, there are ways to maximize your success by using heading and title tags (telling what your page is about as well as referencing your blog name), using meta descriptions (brief descriptions of your content as an overview to draw people in) and using H1,H2H3 and ALT tags to tag your post (i.e. “Traveling to Costa Rica”I used on my most recent blog).

-This is a “brief overview so if you REALLY want to get into depth with this, read this article: https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/what-is-seo-and-how-it-works/

-IF this is all very overwhelming (and I totally know it is!) and you’re looking for some extra help and support, contact me with questions or advice. If you ARE interested in ongoing support and mentorship, IF you attended one of my virtual meetups, remember, you will get 50% off of this!!!

How much can or might you make blogging? This is the question you’re all waiting for!

-When all is said and done, Glassdoor reports that the AVERAGE blogger makes $32,800 a year with many successful full time bloggers making $200,000 or more with a 10-30 hour work week! Wouldn’t THAT be nice!

-BUT keep in mind that it may take awhile to get there and for a long time, you might not make anything on your blog or very little. Many people make far less than that average, but that’s OK! You can keep working on it and you WILL get there if you devote time and energy to it! 🙂

 

MOVING ONTO PODCASTING!

-I LOVE podcasting! I’m ready to record season 2 of mine this summer and unlike blogging, I think it can be a little less time consuming and also sometimes more fun! I am very NEW to podcasting and I literally recorded all of mine on my phone, but I had fun releasing every week! If you want to hear my serial podcast episodes (I swear the later ones get MUCH better than my beginning rough ones but we all start somewhere!), you can listed HERE on my website or you can listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts among others.

Can you make money on podcasts?

-The short answer is yes, you can. But it is more difficult and you’re likely to make less. I myself do NOT make money directly through my podcasts (yet). I don’t place ads in my content but I can market my website and business through it, so this is definitely one of those more “INDIRECT” ways of making money, at least for me.

-On average, if you DO things like paid ads and sponsorships in your podcasts, you can make around $25-$40 for every 1,000 listeners. Again, you can do this through advertising companies and also sponsoring product (but be careful of this as a newbie not to turn people off to your content…this is why I don’t do advertising yet!).

-Check out http://www.listennotes.com/podcast-academy to read more in depth about podcasting.

Who can make a podcast and how do you go about it? Where do I begin?

-I’ll start by telling you that I am living proof that ANYONE can record a podcast and you don’t need fancy equipment to do it! I downloaded an app on my phone called Anchor one day (it’s free), having listened to ONE podcast episode in my life (one about how to start a podcast, of course!).

-The Anchor app that I used was nice because it was free and you could add background music, intros and sound clips. You could edit your sound clips and creatively place them together and then they would take care of spreading your episodes to platforms like Spotify, Apple, Google and others. Also, they give you listener analytics which was nice. It’s GREAT for the beginner like me! The ONLY downfall I found was the Anchor app that they felt the need to place at the end of all of your episodes. I mean it IS free, so I guess that’s the one negative, right?!

So why start a podcast?

-It’s fun!

-You want to market your business

-You want to share content

-You want to connect with others!

Steps and things to think about:

-Get a niche or idea (again, if you need help with this, I’m more than willing to help you brain storm!)

-Decide how often you want to publish- will it be once a week? Once a month?

-Do you want to record all of your episodes and THEN release them every week or do you want to release them in real time as you record them (like that I did)?

-Get any equipment you want- is it just your phone or do you want to spring for a microphone, headsets and software?

-Decide whether you want your podcast episodes to be serial (connected and chronological) or separate content. When I did mine, I connected them all chronologically and would reference previous episodes BUT you could still listen to them without having to listen to previous episodes because content was always unique each week. You just might not get some of the references I make!

Types of podcasts:

1. Educational

2. Interview ones

3. Scripted nonfiction

4. Scripted fiction

How about length?

-There is NO ideal length. Some are 20 minutes and some are 2 hours. Mine were always around 50 minutes to an hour or so but my husband thought they were too long! Others liked the length so it just depends on your style! I tend to be wordy (I mean…you’re reading this post, right?!).

Let’s talk recording equipment and software:

-It can be as basic as mine using your phone and your closet (for acoustic sound absorption purposes!).

-Next step up is using your computer, recording software and a microphone.

-There ARE some free recording softwares you can download like Audacity or GarageBand (for Apple).

-Microphone: You can use the built in microphone on your phone or computer but sound quality might not be as good. You can also use headsets with microphones. In my opinion, having a microphone is a great idea BUT part of the thing I learned from my one and only podcast episode I listened to about how to make a podcast is that the cheaper microphones will work just fine. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on this unless your episodes are specifically centered around sound acoustics and quality!

Here are some microphone types:

1. Samson Meteor ($70)

2. Blue Snowball ($48)

3. More expensive ones like Blue Yeti USB ($120) or Electro-Voice RE320 ($289)

Let’s talk headphones:

-Some ideas that are well-known inclue Lyxpro Has-10 Closed Back Over-Ear or Audio-Technia-ATH-M30x Headphones.

How about Audio Interface Mixers?

-These are used to adjust input levels, edit audio, change quality or add audio.

Some podcasters also use shockmounds (designed to reduce extraneous background sounds)

-like PSM1

When publishing podcasts:

-When you AREN’T using an all-inclusive app like Anchor, you will want to get a host like SoundCloud. It is $15 a month for a pro unlimited account. It will connect your content with iTunes and will give you all your stats and analytics.

-Another tool for analytics is PodTrac-it will go on your RSS feed and track downloads.

Overall thoughts and other ideas I recommend when it comes to recording a podcast:

-Have a format in mind: Ideas may include a news section, a game section like in mine, calls at the end, interviews, etc.

-Record an intro and closing with background music summarizing the purpose of your podcasts and who you are!

-Don’t be afraid to record multiple times over and over until you get what you like!

-Publish with consistency (like weekly for me). Your audience likes to have predictability and they come to look forward to your episodes each week! Don’t leave them stranded! If you think you’re going to have trouble recording every week, do them ahead of time and plan to release them on certain days of the week!

Thanks again, everyone! Feel free again to post your own comments, stories, ideas or content right here on this forum! Enjoy the rest of your day!!

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