6 Podcasts Perfect for Work, Self-Improvement and Fun

Podcasts have been having a moment since Serial hit the airwaves in October 2014. Now, everywhere I go, I hear friends and colleagues talking about podcasts instead of TV shows. As a lover of both, I could never choose, but I have been enjoying listening to podcasts while I drive, clean my house or walk the dog. To avoid burnout, I switch it up between podcasts for work, self-improvement and fun. Here are 6 that I bring up almost every time one of those podcast discussions takes place: 

For Work

Goal Digger

If you're a lady who owns (or hopes to own!) your own business, you've got to have a weekly date with Jenna Kutcher's Goal Digger podcast. This workshop-style sound bite is full of interviews, helpful tips and real women sharing their successes and failures in business. Jenna is hilarous and incredibly down-to-earth, and I listen to this everytime I feel like I have no one to talk to about the ups and downs of business ownership. 

Unemployable

I'm a sucker for a good name, and Brian Clark got me with this one almost immediately. In his own words, "Unemployable provides actionable strategies for thousands of freelancers, consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs." As a copywriting/marketing dork, I've enjoyed hearing from big-name guests like Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk. Really, Unemployable is for anyone ready to dip their toe into entrepreneurship. 

For Self-Improvement

Happier

It's no secret that I love Gretchen Rubin. Her book The Happiness Project, helped pull me out of a serious funk, and her podcast Happier is just an extension of that. Each week, she and her sister have a conversation about their lives, maintaining balance and tips to cultivate a happier life. It's approachable, actionable and I really enjoy it. 

Invisibalia

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I'm embarrassingly obsessed with self-improvement anything, particularly as it applies to personality traits in different people. NPR's Invisibilia only adds fuel to the fire. In their own words, "Invisibilia (Latin for invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions." It's also a great source for casual party conversation and interesting fun facts. If you love powerful storytelling and learning more about what shapes us as people, you'll love this one. 

For Fun

My Favorite Murder

If you've ever spoken to me more than twice, you probably know how much I love crime shows, especially Law & Order SVU. My Favorite Murder is that with some laugh-out-loud dark comedy sprinkled in. If you aren't into that, you'll know right away, but for those weirdos like me that are fascinated by crime shows and love a good laugh, you'll love Karen Kilgariff and Georiga Hardstark breaking down their favorite murder stories each episode. Also, the tagline is the best: "Stay sexy. Don't get murdered."

Death, Sex & Money

Death, Sex & Money was started as a way to share stories on three taboo topics that most people say are not up for discussion: death, sex and money. In their own words, "Death, Sex & Money is a show that gets very personal about the dilemmas we all share." Anna Sale, the host, is unapologetically inquisitive as she interviews people about the topics from which we usually shy away. 

What's your favorite podcast? Let me know in the comments!

Tech Talk: The Apple Watch

Tech Talk is a monthly series where I highlight pieces of technology that have helped streamline and improve my business and personal life. Let me know your favorite tech tools in the comments! 

I'm going to be honest with you—I love technology, but when the Apple Watch was released, I was skeptical. The price was way outside of my budget, and, as someone who's already glued to my phone, I was worried that having one would only help technology monopolize more of my time. But, when my mom so kindly gave me one for Christmas, I was excited to give it a shot. 

I've had it for three months now, and I've been pleasantly surprised by its ability to cut down on my tech-time instead of increasing it. I get a lot of questions from people asking if I think they're worth the investment, so I've decided to share the top Apple Watch features that have helped me run my business and my personal life more efficiently. 

Texting/Call Capabilities

I thought that the Apple Watch would make me more attached to my phone because you get notifications on your wrist when you get a call or text, but it's been the opposite. Because I get the messages straight to my wrist, it's freed me from having my phone nearby all the time. Now, as long as my phone in my apartment with me or in my pocket or bag when I'm out, I know I'll get any messages to my wrist and I can scan them and decide whether or not they need to be addressed on my phone right away. 

I also love the ability to answer phone calls on your wrist. Not only do I feel like James Bond, I also can catch up with friends or family on the phone while doing something else, like cleaning my room or cooking. 

Phone Finder

I lose everything. I mean EVERYTHING, and my phone is one of the biggest victims of my forgetfulness. The Apple Watch has a great feature to "ping" your phone anytime you misplace it, and I use it at least once a day. 

Activity Tracker

I was a big Fitbit fan for awhile. It helped me increase my exercise, but once I got out of the habit of wearing it, I never put it back on again. Because the Apple Watch does more than track my steps, I'm more diligent about wearing it every day. The activity tracker marks your active minutes and calories burned, and it helps remind me that every little bit of activity counts and adds up during the day. It's helped me get moving more, and I've lost 10 pounds since January because of it! 

I also love that I can connect with friends and family and get notifications when they complete workouts or hit their goals. Getting a message that my husband, brother or friends have completed a workout is the perfect extra bump of motivation when I'm having a lazy day!

Stand-Up Reminders

The activity tracker also sends you an hourly reminder to stand up if you haven't in the last 60 minutes. I get a little buzz on my wrist the last ten minutes of every hour if I have been sitting the whole hour. Working from home, this really helps remind me to get moving, even when I'm in the zone!

The Timer

I never would have imagined this would come in handy so much, but we cook so often that it does! Anytime I'm cooking and need to set a timer, I can say, "Hey Siri, set a timer for X minutes" and it starts right away. This hands-free tool has been so helpful while trying to juggle multiple tasks in the kitchen. 

Do you have an Apple Watch? What do you think about them? Let me know in the comments! 

Quick Copy Tip: When to Nix the Numbers

"Yes, what you say is crucial. But how you say it can make all the difference."

Amen, Copyblogger. Amen. They hit the nail on the head in this post

Sales copy is often packed with statistics and numerical information to illustrate a bigger point. But is that the best way? 

Consider this example from Copyblogger. Which would you rather read?

OPTION ONE: A typical bag of movie popcorn has 37 grams of saturated fat, while the USDA recommends you have no more than 20 grams in an entire day.

OPTION TWO: A medium-sized ‘butter’ popcorn contains more artery-clogging fat than a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, a Big Mac and fries for lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings — combined!

Option two is clearly more powerful because it uses a statistic to tell a story. Many audiences glaze-over when presented with a barrage of numbers, but most are attracted to and remember a relatable comparison - even if it holds no numerical evidence. 

How can this apply to your business? Consider impressive, "fun-fact" information that you can present to your customers in a more visual, dynamic way. For example:

  • If your restaurant wants to illustrate the number of happy customers it served last year:
    • OPTION 1: "We're honored to have served 36,500 happy customers last year!"
    • OPTION 2: "Last year, we were honored to serve enough people in our community to fill five hundred school busses!" 
  • If your Greek yogurt brand wants to illustrate its high-protein content: 
    • OPTION 1: An 8 oz. serving of our product has in 23 grams of protein!"
    • OPTION 2: "Just one serving of our Greek yogurt packs more protein than four eggs and a fraction of the fat."  

QUICK COPY FIX: Look through your website copy today. Are there places you're using numbers instead of illustration-infused copy? Are their claims that could be better backed by presenting the information in a new way? Let me know what you find in the comments! 

5 Quick Steps to Crafting Better Captions

This is a guest post that I wrote for one of my client's blogs. Imagine Media Consulting is THE BEST social media management agency in the biz, and it's an honor to work with them. Thanks for letting me guest-post, gang! 

It’s no secret that social media is a visual business. As companies up the ante on visualization, stylized photography is almost a necessity to keep customers engaged with your brand. However, that doesn’t mean the little caption box below your beautiful photos should be ignored!

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but just a few well-placed words in a caption can pack a serious punch. Here are five of our tried-and-true quick steps to better caption writing.

1. Always Speak To Your Audience

As a copywriter, there is one earth-shattering talk I have with each of my clients before beginning any project: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Your social profiles, your marketing collateral, your website, even your ABOUT page are NOT about you. It’s about your target customer, their problems and how your product or service can solve it for them.

Once you realize that, it makes writing a lot easier. I encourage my clients to to picture who their ideal or current customer is (it’s okay to have a few!) -- what do they look like? What are their needs? What do they find entertaining? What media do they digest when they aren’t interacting with you? Why are they drawn to you?

When you have an idea of WHO you’re talking to, even if it’s imaginary, you can picture them as you write anything for your business. If you imagine you’re writing to THAT person every time it won’t feel as impersonal.

2. Engage, Educate and Entertain

Now that you know WHO you’re writing to, we’ve got to dig deep and find out WHAT to write to them. For that, I lean on my three E’s to better caption writing: engage, educate and entertain.  Every piece of content that you put out into the world should fill one of these buckets, and you should have a clear idea of which you’re trying to achieve with each caption.

  • Engage: attempts to involve your followers in a discussion. Imagine Media is all about building relationships, not profiles so this is a key step for the team! Consider captions that ask questions, re-post user-generated content or build community. This is all about getting your ideal customer INVOLVED with your brand instead of merely listening.

  • Educate: This does not always mean sell. This means providing your followers with information that they find useful. Own a yoga studio? Share healthy recipes. Sell glasses? Share eye care tips. This establishes expertise and trust with your followers.

  • Entertain: This is important, but is not the same for every brand. Humor, memes and GIFs aren’t for everyone - for some brands, this simply means providing a smile, motivation or inspiration instead of a laugh.

I see many brands fail in the social space because they rely too heavily on one of the three buckets - too much entertainment, not enough product or industry education. Or, on the other hand, too many education-driven sales captions and not enough entertainment. It’s all about finding balance that makes sense for your brand’s audience.

3. Cash-In on Calls-to-Action

The simplest tip I offer to brands complaining about lack of follower engagement is to occasionally place a call-to-action in your captions. This doesn’t always mean, “Check out our product - link in bio!” Although that works for many, here are a few I keep in my back pocket:

  • Tag a friend who _____

  • Double tap/like/RT if you agree!

  • What’s your favorite _____? Tell us in the comments!

4. Run It By Someone

I love puns. I mean LOVE them. But, they aren’t for everyone (and remember, it’s not about you!). To keep my punning in check, I always run “questionable” captions by a friend, colleague or family member or two. It’s not enough to ask if they like it, though. Here’s my formula:

“Hey, (friend whose opinion I trust and is always willing to be brutally honest). I wrote this caption for a brand that’s ideal customer is _____. Do you think this would resonate with that audience?” Bonus points if the friend IS the ideal audience, but it’s not necessary.

5. Test, Measure, Re-Test

Running it by someone is a pre-test, but you’ve still got to check-in after publishing. Every week or two, I like to look at the analytics or scroll through a client’s content to see how each photo/caption combo performed. Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into performance analytics - time of day, visuals, the caption, the platform - but, you can usually pick up on trends. My best advice is not to be too tied to any idea - a lot of captions that I think will be a smashing hit totally tank. Don’t take it personally, just learn it’s not for that audience and move on!

What caption copy tricks do you have up your sleeve? Let us know in the comments! (Holla, rule number 3.)

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