Case Study: An in depth review of Selena Soo’s Impacting Millions Community and how you can assess the foundation of your Facebook Group

Case Study: An in depth review of Selena Soo’s Impacting Millions Community and how you can assess the foundation of your Facebook Group

Case Study:  An In-Depth Audit of Selena Soo’s Impacting Millions Community: 
How to assess the 4 foundations of your Facebook Group.

Alrighty folks, you want to get a backstage pass to one of the best online course communities I’ve ever been a member of?

Saddle up for this exclusive behind the scenes look at the Impacting Millions community.  I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and showing you how to really maximize your own Facebook group through example.

Check out this 30 minute video audit here:

 

Also, if you want to learn more about getting publicity, I would highly recommend joining Selena’s once a year live training happening TODAY, Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th of March 2018,

FROM “BEST-KEPT SECRET” TO INDUSTRY LEADER:
Get the 3 Publicity Secrets to Multiply Your Revenue,
Reach More People, and Change the World.  

Get your spot here.  There are limited times available and she only does this once a year.


 

Now, back to the audit.  If you’d prefer to read it, then I transcribed the video below. Enjoy.

How to Review or Audit a Facebook Group

00:02          Hey Everybody, this is Diana Tower and I would love to take a minute to show you what a successful and engaged facebook group can look like, but also I wanted to take a look at one that already exists.

So we’re going to be looking at Selena Soo’s Impacting Millions course community, and we’re going to be looking at this for a couple of reasons.

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A, it’s going to show you what the setup can look like to give you an idea of what to sort of aspire for with your communities.

B, we’re going to take a look at some things that maybe they could do a little bit better, so you can learn and improve your group as well.

 #1 Assess Your Cover Image

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00:45          So, as you can see here, the first thing that you’re going to notice with a Facebook group is the image. And actually Selena just redid her logo this year. So this is different from when I first joined the community. Absolutely love it.

Ask yourself 2 things about your image:

01:00          #1 Do you know what the course is?  The main thing that you want is to obviously identify what course this community is going with (so including the name clearly is a must).

01:11          #2.  How does the image make your members FEEL?  So when I look at this and the goal, it feels almost like sparkly and magical, but also very kind of, elite, almost expensive like quality. There’s a definite feel of elite quality that’s being represented here and that’s what, you want people to feel depending on the type of course that you’re offering.

So with Impacting Millions Selena Soo is helping entrepreneurs with their publicity, getting media, getting guest posting opportunities, podcasting, podcasting opportunities, and getting on even in magazines and television.

01:54          The feel here that I’m getting is that it’s very, prestigious and elite and professional. And so in terms of this image, it really nails it.

So what can you do when you’re setting up your course community?

You want to make sure that this image is triggering emotions that you want your members to feel. So for example, here, this is Allon’s group for his course FOCUS like a World Class Athlete. And his course is all about focus and so he wanted to create this community as a place for people to be held accountable to check in, but also focusing.

And so take a look at his choice of photo. So first of all, you’ll notice that the name of the course is prominent and it’s not cut off, it’s not fuzzy, it’s very clear.

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02:48          The size of the image is correct and also it makes you feel like you’re sitting down and you’re having a cup of coffee and you’re getting to work. It’s very calming and focused and it makes you kind of feel like , maybe you’re getting together with someone for coffee, to talk about your work, this sort of thing. And that’s the feel that he wants to have there as well.

So that’s the first thing. Make sure your image is triggering the right emotions.

#2:  Group Description

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03:14          Second thing that we look at is the description. So you go in here and what do you do with the description? Some people maybe aren’t sure what to do with the description and in the case of impacting millions, there isn’t actually a description. So they decided or chose not to include it a description.

Why is a group description important and worth having?

03:38          I would highly recommend that you do for a couple of reasons.

First of all, it’s an additional piece of real estate or a place where people can get information about the group.  It’s a great opportunity to welcome people into the course – identifying the course again – but then also saying what this place is like, what is it for, how are you going to feel here?

Again, focusing on the emotions that you want people to feel like this is a safe space or this is a place to get shit done or this kind of thing. So it’s an opportunity to trigger those emotions as well.

Also you can add a little bit of housekeeping or guidelines. So if you haven’t got guidelines, which you definitely should, we’re going to get to that in a second. You could have quick guidelines right here.

04:27          So notice, you can ask questions, stay focused. One other thing that I would actually highly recommend as well if you want to promote your course a little bit is adding a link to your sales page or wait list.

Now this is the first time that Allon has launched his course, so this is fine, but in the future you can say that this is a community specifically for these paying clients. If you’d like to join, you can pop a link to your sales page or your waiting list.

Okay. So that’s an opportunity to use the description as a way to promote your course if someone happens just to find it. So like I said, impacting millions doesn’t have a description. I would highly recommend that they add one. That way you are making full use of the real estate that you have in the community.

05:19          So you’ve got your cover image, you’ve got your description, what’s next?

#3 – The Pinned Post

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05:26          What’s a pin post a just in case you’re not sure? It’s the post that is pinned or stuck to the top of the wall. Because the wall is constantly moving. It’s about, who last, posted or commented. So it’s not prioritised or in chronological order. It’s by the most recently active comment or post.

05:56          But this one post is static and now you’ll see here that Selena, has posted an update to the guidelines.

So a little bit of backstory on this; this is actually a really great approach to dealing with a situation. So a Facebook group guideline about promoting other courses and programs and events in the group. So Selena jumped in here and she’s pinned this post because she’s realised that their community guidelines may have been unclear.

06:24          This is fantastic. It’s also a really great example of why you need to have clear guidelines right from the beginning because if you have clear guidelines in place at the beginning, you can avoid having to put these update posts in.

This is great because it’s obviously an issue that they wanted to deal with. Also the way that they talk about, the situation is fantastic. It’s very respectful. You’ll notice that it’s also very encouraging.

The language that she uses and triggering emotions. It’s not to make people feel bad, it’s not super negative, it’s quite encouraging. But it’s also firm, because they obviously don’t want other courses being promoted in the group, because this is a course specific group.

So this is fantastic. Now, the only issue with this is that when new people come into this program, if this is the first post that they see, it’s good because it’s clarifying, but it doesn’t actually provide information on what they should be doing first.

07:33          And that’s actually what I would highly recommend anybody do, when you have a pinned post, you want that to be the welcome and getting started thread or “what do I do first thread?”, for people that are coming in and they’re not really sure what to do.

You want to make sure that they get information as soon as possible so that they can actually interact appropriately in your group. So then you don’t have to go and say, well actually you need to go do this here or changing things or sending messages.

You’re going to reduce the amount of policing that you have in your community. So for example, with Allon’s group we set up a welcome and how to get started thread that invites people to create a new post, and introduce themselves. We actually gave everybody a template as well to make it super easy, copy and paste, and then encourage people to connect with others.

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08:24          You’ll also notice here as well that we added a quick links section, which I would highly recommend. Like I said before, Facebook is scrolling, right? How do people keep track of things? How are they going to find the important posts that you want them to find?

By putting a kind of directory. Like a link directory in the pinned post because the pin post is always going to be there, right?

So in this case in his program, it’s a five week program. There’s five live calls on a weekly basis. And so what we’ve done here is we’ve set it up so that they can add a link to each of the threads you’ll see here, after each call Allon invites the members to share their biggest takeaway and also to share what they’re going to be working on this week and their powerblocks.

09:18          That is a great way to get people to post and share and sort of check in. You’ll also see as well that at the very bottom that there’s the member introduction directory. And this is actually something that I set up in a Facebook doc.

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So this is a Facebook, document that you can jump in. You could create your guidelines and put them in here, or you can create a check-in doc like this. So for example, each member has their own specific link to go to their introduction. So it’s a really easy way to find their threads. They don’t have to be scrolling to find their thread. They just come in, click it, boom, post an update, and they get out.

10:10          Especially because this course is specifically focused on focus. They want to be focused, they don’t want to be scrolling for days. So that is something to keep in mind.

Now this is also the idea of updating a pinned post, like in this situation here, they’re dealing with the fact that they want people to change their habits. This is totally reasonable and valid. The only thing I would recommend is adding the quick links list at the bottom.

For example, here’s a link to the guidelines or here’s a link to the welcome thread if that’s what you’ve set up in your group. So that’s the only thing that I would recommend doing there.

#4 Welcome Thread

This is how Selena kicked off the program, posting your intro on one thread. Comparing this to Allon’s group, where they introduce themselves on their own thread, you’re going to get to see two options.

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Here’s the, the one thread version versus separate introductions per person. So let’s take a look and I can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

10:58          So you can see here, super clear, very welcoming including the guidelines. So this would be at the very beginning of the course when it launches. This would be the pinned post. So people come in thinking  “what do I do? Oh, introduce myself on this thread.”

She gives people two things that you want them to do right away. So this is fantastic. Introduce yourself and read the guidelines. She also gets asked people to like the posts.

This is a great idea, although a lot of people might not do that. Then introduce you in yourself in the thread.

So what’s your business also feel free to post a photo and a link to your website with your intro says interesting. So it’s also giving people the opportunity to introduce themselves, a taste of self promotion because a lot of people, especially in the entrepreneur area, like to just show a link to their website and you can see like a lot of people who have posted so a 144 comments, so a lot of people are introducing themselves.

13:06          One thing I did want to mention as well, I’ll be fuzzing out, all of the comments directly, to respect people’s privacy, but you’ll notice or I can see here that Selena actually jumps in and she personally welcomes every single person.

I’m looking at all these threads and there is actually a written welcome from Selena and it’s not a copy and paste template. It’s specific, it’s unique, it’s different, it makes people feel probably incredibly special.

I know for myself that I felt really like, wow, Selena is messaging me, which is fantastic.

Definitely there are positives to that, but it also creates this idea that Selena is highly involved in the community, which down the line could create a situation where maybe, she can’t be in the community all the time.

I’m sure she’s very busy. She has other things to be doing. I remember a different situation, a couple of months into the program, they had to do another announcement post. This was two months into the program. So talking about tagging Selena in the Facebook group. Again, this is such a fantastic way to express a situation that they want to change.

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13:06          So the community manager went ahead and she posted this update post. This was pinned for awhile and it talks about tagging Selena in the Facebook group. So take a minute and look at the language that she’s using here.

So you can see here we’ve been so impressed with how active you are. We want to remind you what is said in the community guidelines. It’s best for you to post questions to the entire group and not just Selena as an individual. Great. Right?

So we’re reminding people the guidelines. So now also here, we’re informing everyone. Selena is active in the group on a daily basis, will be commenting on select posts, but with hundreds of students in the program, she’s simply won’t be able to answer every question asked in the group or review every media or bio pitch.

16:23          Seems totally reasonable, right? Since she already reads every post, which is awesome, also notice how it’s like it’s reassuring. It’s like Selena is here, she’s reading everything and then it’s a very nice ask. We ask that going forward. You do not tag her directly in your posts, right?

So it’s very clear, but it’s also very nice, right?

It’s not in a bad way, it’s not negative. Now notice they continue. We love watching you take massive action and we love cheering you on. Please continue posting in the group as it keeps our community alive and vibrant.

And notice the feels. It makes me feel like I want to be a part of this. Also more emotions. So we also want to thank and acknowledge those of you who’ve been helping others in the community.

Okay, so now we got gratitude coming in. So they’re triggering gratitude. They’re triggering appreciation that this is a very well written post in terms of the emotions that are triggering to make people feel good while telling them to not do something right. They could come in and just been like, hey guys, stop tagging Selena.

18:01          Notice again, “it makes us so happy to see fellow insider’s answer each other’s questions”, notice that they are praising the helpers and what’s that gonna do?

It’s gonna. Make those helpers feel even more special. And what’s that gonna do? It’s gonna get them to help more because they want to be acknowledged again. So there’s this idea of gratitude, acknowledging appreciation, like even just joy. So there’s a lot of emotions going on here and it’s so fundamental to the functioning of this community.

We also want to remind you that after we finished our six core modules will be having media mentors, so a little bit of information, and then again please like, or comment on this post we know you’ve read and understand it. Fantastic.

So this is a perfect example again of a post where they’re trying to get people to stop doing something or changing a behaviour.

19:01          So normally what we wanna do is we want to set guidelines so that this stuff doesn’t happen so that you will be able to set your guidelines and then it’s like, all right, people will just follow the guidelines and you won’t have to do these kind of updating posts, but this is the thing as well.

You’re learning as you go. So you set up your community, you’re going to see what people are doing and what the tendency is and then you can deliver one of these posts where it’s triggering the emotions you want your members to feel, but also informing them of how you want them to change their behaviour. So speaking of guidelines, we’re going to take a look at those right now. They are in the file section.

 #4 Community Guidelines

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19:50          First of all, you’ll notice that they’re in a Facebook doc, which I actually highly recommend. It looks really clean and it’s very easy to read. You can just go through and it’s very easy to create as well.

So actually here’s a very quick tutorial while we’re here, if you want to create a file for your group, but you’re not in this file section.  Until you make a file, this file section doesn’t show up.

So imagine you’re in your group and you’re thinking, “okay, how do I make a file?”

Well, what you’re actually going to do is click here and click add file.

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Okay? And you just click it and it’ll take you to the file section.

So with the community guidelines, what you’ll notice is it’s very clear, it’s very easy to understand and the first thing they kick off is welcoming people in.  Remember this idea of emotions, making people feel good, making people feel welcome and important, all of these emotions are addressed in the guidelines, but they are also establishing what this group is here for.

20:54          Okay? So what do we do here? What do we not do here? Notice it’s to get support with this coursework. To cheer people on, share publicity opportunities and get feedback and discuss best practices.

So it’s all about the course. So even by saying this, this is what the group is here for, there is this silent voice that is saying everything else is not welcome. But in a really nice way.

Here’s what you can expect from me, Selena. This is super important.  You need to tell people what to expect from you as the host, and this is something that people don’t do.

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This is basically guidelines for yourself. How much time are you going to be involved in your community? How much are you going to be, you know, how are you going to be involved?

21:46          Are you going to be answering questions? Are you going to be encouraging people? Are you going to be connecting? What can people expect from you?

So for example, with Selena, they could actually add in something here about not tagging her. Well actually they’ve already got it noted. But I didn’t notice it, right?

So right here I’ll be personally reviewing all posts in this group, but I asked you, do not tag me in every post.

This I would actually make a little bit more prominent. So even notice what I was going to say before I was going to bring up the whole tagging?

“oh, she should add it here, but it already is here.” And probably a lot of people skip it or don’t notice it. So even something as simple as, I’m excited to lead this group and get to know you all. I’ll be personally, reviewing all posts in this group. I do ask that you do not tag me in every post or even something a little stronger, like even just saying don’t tag me. That’s pretty harsh, right? It feels like there’s no wiggle room.

23:01          But even saying do not tag me in every post it, it leaves this gap of well, what, what does she mean by that? Like what does she mean by every post? Um, what is appropriate? What isn’t? So what you could say, for example, when I ask that you, use discretion when, when tagging me in your posts, or try not to tag me in every single one of your posts. Maybe save that for a specific type of post.

23:35          And even when you say that, so for example, save it for your questions. Don’t do that because we don’t want people questioning Selena directly, right? And for yourself. So I would say that this part here could be a little bit stronger. Even making it bold I think would make it better.

So I’ll be personally reviewing all post in this group, but I ask that you do not tag me in every post. This is really awesome. So she talks about, it’s basically emphasising the connection of people. So to give you guys some ideas, for guidelines, the main things are

A to establish what this community is for

B, what is and is not appropriate in the community.

C also giving people examples of how to interact. So for example, if you use a template in terms of titles, maybe adding that in as well.

24:30          Also just even the way that people interact. So if you don’t want people being really negative, you need to express that in the community guidelines. You’ll notice here, for example, she encourages people to add [WIN] or [QUESTION] at the beginning of the posts,

I highly recommend this. This is something that Jason Gaignard does and his groups where it’s GIVE, ASK, PRAISE. It’s a fantastic setup. It just makes people aware of what this post is going to be about.

So it’s like, oh, this is a question, okay.  This is when people can set their mind to that mode.  So if there, if it’s a question, oh, I’m going to try and help this person, if it’s a share, oh, I’m going to support them or encourage them or celebrate with them.

25:16         So that’s definitely something, you can do as well. You’ll notice that these are very detailed guidelines.

Now the only thing with this, I will mention this when there is a lot of this going on, like scrolling, people might not read it all and this is a really good point. There is 11 different points here and it’s quite detailed.

I’m not saying cut down guidelines, but making sure that you really highlight the most important or key guidelines that are going to actually, make a difference is going to be a good idea.

So for example, you can do a test if you’re writing your own guidelines and you have like 15 different points and you’re thinking, oh my God is way too long. You can ask yourself, okay, if I removed this guideline, would it make more work for me, that’s the first question, or would it create or would it detract from the experience of my members?

26:14          So for example, this right here, number seven, okay, so do not post any of the following types of promos. webinar links, offer links, registration links etc.  So if you removed this, would it make more work for you and would it detract from the experience of other members?

A, yes, it would make more work for you or your community manager because they’re going to be deleting posts were explaining to people over and over again, this is inappropriate or it’s self promotion and

B, it also then creates this noisy self promotional community that other people don’t want to be in, which kills engagement and people stop going to your community.

So that’s a great way you can kind of look at it if you’re trying to audit your guidelines or you’re trying to assess if they’re good or not.

27:06          That is a really great example of community guidelines. To recap, what have we looked at?

We looked at the cover image, we’ve looked at the description, we’ve looked at the pin post, we looked at the welcome threads and we’ve looked at the guidelines as well.

That is pretty much it. I think that when you’re starting out a community, if you can really nail the fundamentals, like if you really can just step back and say, okay, I did this, this and this.

They’re triggering the right emotions, I feel comfortable. It’s all set up especially if you do this in advance. If you do this before anybody’s in there, it’s really going to make your life so much easier.

Also, when you’re doing all this work, if you’re updating the, the description or you’re adding files, this sort of thing, Facebook will start adding updates on your wall. So what you can do is before you even launch, you get everything ready, boo boo boo boo. And then you can delete some of the unnecessary posts, on the wall here.

Also, so for example, just to give you another example here, you can close commenting, Here, this is a really good point. So notice that in impacting millions, they used one thread, right? For the welcome.

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28:37          It was just one thread and everybody posts, you know, 123 comments, all the people, boom, boom, boom, they’re all in one place. Okay? That’s one approach. The next approach is one that, we used an Allon’s group.

Now Allon’s group is much smaller. This is the first time he’s launched his program. There’ are 24 people. And also this community is focused on being a coaching tool.

It is providing aspects of community, but it is an extension of coaching so you’ll notice here that he’s inviting people to create a new post to introduce themselves. Why would he do that?

This is actually a fantastic technique for smaller coaching course groups. What you can do is each person creates their own introduction thread. Let me, let me grab mine.

29:35          Good. Boom, here is my introductory thread, right? First of all, it’s a place where people can get to know me a little bit better, but then what happens in the comments?

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First of all other people can introduce themselves, say hi, this sort of thing, but I am putting all of my updates as I work through that course in my one thread. Okay, and so what happens is every single person is doing the same thing and so it creates this journey or this story of the person when they first started.

So for example, look at these questions. What’s the number one reason you joined and what do you hope to accomplish from using this program? So you get an idea of where each of your clients is at the very beginning, and then as they go through the program, they post updates in the same thread and so it creates a documented journey of their their progress through the course.

30:34          Now, this is something that, for example, that Selena Soo could definitely do in impacting millions. The only issue with this is that it’s an existing community and it’s much harder to get everybody to do something that’s new once the community is launched, it’s like the ball is already rolling, but imagine this, just imagine what it would look like.

So each person would create a new thread to introduce themselves. They would add themselves to the doc, right?

This check in thread directory, that Allon has going on in his group, and then imagine that every time they get a new podcast opportunity or every time they get a win or every time they’re sharing something new or what they’re struggling with, it’s all in one thread. And so by doing that, it’s a fantastic way to create sort of story.  It gives you the ability to see how well you’re progressing.

31:28          So it’s great for students. It’s also fantastic for the community host because you can actually create super authentic testimonials from those stories.

So you can say, hey, Diana started here and this is what happened. And things started a little bit slow, but then she started getting more publicity opportunities.

Here’s one, here’s another, here’s the next one, and actually show kind of the story of how impacting millions has impacted, that person’s publicity efforts. So it’s definitely an idea.

Like I said, it’s much harder to get these things started once a community is existing. It’s definitely not impossible. I’m just requires a little bit more policing in terms of the community manager that’s dealing with the community and so that I believe lands it.

  • 32:28          So like I said, so we’ve looked at the importance of the, cover photo

 

  • We looked at the importance of the group description and why you would even have that.
  • We’ve looked at the pinned post and what you should include there and how to make it easier for your members.
  • We’ve looked at two different approaches to welcome threads. One is one thread and the other option is having individual threads for each person.
  • We’ve looked at guidelines and how to assess that and some tips on how to make sure that people actually read them.

And that’s it. So we’re going to land this plane.

I think that this is just a fantastic opportunity to really see behind the scenes under the hood of what you can do in the very beginning before you even launch a group, what you can do to really set the foundation so you can do it right and then you don’t have to worry so much about your community and then you can actually enjoy working with your people because you’re not worried about.

33:27          Making sure that you are just prepared and that you’re creating a vip space for your paying clients.

Thank you!

Also I just wanted to take a quick minute to give a huge thank you to Selena Soo and her team for allowing me to take you behind the scenes in this community because it is a private community.

Huge thank you to you guys and also a big thank you as well to Allon as well who allowed me to share behind the scenes in his community.

Hopefully this has been useful for you and I would love to know what’s the number one thing that you got from this video?

What did you not know about communities beforehand and what do you know now or how is this going to impact the way that you set up your own course community for your courses moving forward?

Got a question?

34:16          Okay, hope you’re having a great day. We’ll talk to you soon. If you dig this, if you like this, if this was useful, definitely hop on my list.

Have a fantastic day. Hope you enjoyed this and you found it useful and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

CASE STUDY:  Power Up Podcasting Course & Community by Pat Flynn

CASE STUDY:  Power Up Podcasting Course & Community by Pat Flynn

Back in October 2017 I was chatting with my good friends Primoz and Marc via Whatsapp about how I could infuse more fun in my business, help more people and {of course} get my name out there more.

I had been secretly toying with the idea of starting a podcast, and when I told them about my idea they encouraged me to go for it.  I wasn’t sure how it fit into my business exactly; all I knew was that I wanted to create content that would allow me to help entrepreneurs nail their online course community woes, while at the same time, sit down with some of my favourite entrepreneurs.

In this case study I wanted to highlight the Power-Up Podcasting (PUP) course community, so that you can see first had the importance of a community for your students, and how you can make your community insanely valuable.

I’ll also be sharing my own experience with Pat Flynn’s Power Up Podcasting course (as it’s hella good and it helped me launch The Diana Tower Show podcast).

Here’s a video that I made:

Disclaimer:  No Dianas were paid, compensated or offered any bling to write this post or make the following video.  It’s an honest review of a course that I’ve actually taken.  I also wanted to showcase the PUP course community and how it’s a crucial element to my success as a student, and how you can make YOUR course community help your students engage right off the bat (avoiding the dreaded crickets) and help them achieve their goals too.

Following my conversation with Marc and Primoz, I dove in and recorded 15 interviews and while it was exciting, I was kind of freaked out about the “under the hood” of what it took to do a podcast.

I started doing a bit of research on how to launch my podcast and I read an article from GrowthLab called, “Thinking of Starting a Podcast.  Don’t

It’s an amazing article by the creator of the “Art of Charm” podcast, Jordan Harbinger, which really makes you think, “Should I really be doing this?”

For many, it’s a NO. If you’re thinking that a podcast is going to make it rain Benjamins for you, then you’re probably going to be disappointed.

For me though, it wasn’t about making money…it was about creating useful content that would help my readers/listeners and have fun while I’m doing it.

I love interviewing people and talking into a mic is seriously fun for me.  I feel like a talk show host!

Not only that, it provides me with the outside accountability that my “obliger” self needs.  I wanted to help people with their online course communities and this was a fun way to do it.

I started doing research on how to start my podcast.

Why not just do it myself?  Cause, I’m the type of person that wants to do shit right the first time!

I knew that there would be A LOT of moving parts, and back end work to the podcast, but I didn’t have the time (or the patience) to test things and figure it out myself. Fuck that.

I wanted someone who had been there, done that, bought the podcast T-shirt and packaged up their learnings in a course.  Someone to take me by the hand and lay it all out there for me, in an easy to implement way.

So first, I grabbed Digital Marketer’s $47 Podcast Launch Plan.  

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed as it wasn’t a “from scratch” plan.  It was more of a how to launch successfully plan (which makes sense now as that’s the title of it!).  While it gives a good roadmap for launching, it doesn’t break everything down into actionable steps for where I was in the process (umm…GROUND ZERO).

Disappointed

It didn’t tell me what specific software and equipment to use either.  It was high level…when I was looking for my digital shepherd to take my hand and lead me the whole way.  Not surprising though, as it was under 50 bucks.

So I kept searching, and as I was Googling I asked myself, “Who is already doing this successfully?”  I mean, why reinvent the podcast wheel?

Scrolling through a list of random podcasts

That’s when I thought of Pat Flynn.  I mean this guy was NAILING podcasting like a boss and not only that, he seemed like such a nice guy too.  I wanted to tap into his brain and learn from him.

A quick google search later and I found his free podcast guide.

Dude…this guide alone was more useful for me than the $50 paid guide from Digital Marketer.  As I scrolled down the page that’s when I saw it.  That massive green button below.

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Ooh what's that?

Power-Up Podcasting?  What’s that?

So, I got my clickity-click on and gobbled up the sales page. I was nodding my head like a bobble head-hula girl on the dashboard of Lightning McQueen.

BUT there was this little voice in my head saying

“Diana?  ANOTHER online course? Are you serious?  Do you really need to pay for something else?”

I hesitated because when you’re starting your business and you aren’t making bank, you need to watch how you spend your money.  It can be hard to justify the investment sometimes.

The thing is though, I knew that I was going to launch a podcast (it was a WHEN not IF scenario) and I wanted to do it right…and without wasting time, which for me made signing up a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, there was a waitlist at the time, so I signed up and kept looking for other options.  I really wanted to get started then and there and I didn’t know when the course would open up.

I thought about it for a couple of days, considered doing it myself (gulp), when I got an email that the program was opening again!  AWW YEAH!

Then I saw the price.

SIGN ME UP.  Talk about a no brainer!

TAKE IT.  TAKE MY MONEY PAT!

I did it.  I jumped in and signed up and didn’t look back.

What’s it like working through Power-Up Podcasting?

Power-Up Podcasting is hosted on the Teachable platform and is SUPER easy to work through.  There are bite-sized videos with some written explanations and you can download a transcript PDF, the video and the audio from each section.

The course is divided into 7 modules which really helps you focus on where you are at, without getting overwhelmed.

  1. Pre-Launch // Step 1 – You and Your Future Podcast
  2. Pre-Launch // Step 2 – Planning Your Podcast Episodes
  3. Pre-Launch // Step 3 – Recording and Editing Your Show
  4. Pre-Launch // Step 4 – Preparing Your Audio File for the World
  5. Pre-Launch // Step 5 – The Launch Plan
  6. Launch Week
  7. The Post-Launch Plan

There is also a Facebook community (aw yeah…I love me some quality course community!), and it’s an intimate group of amazing people doing exactly the same thing…working on launching their own podcasts.

Everyone is super friendly and ready to support you, encourage you and answer your questions.  Especially Jason Skinner…what an absolute rockstar!

Pat is quite active in the community as well, in addition to hosting weekly live office hours.  It’s refreshing to see someone at his level still providing direct access and support from himself directly. Plus he really does care about the success of his students.

We’ll dig into the community more in a minute.

Time to get to work

What I loved about the course is that it’s broken down into tiny baby steps that you can work through at your own pace (and you get access to EVERYTHING from day one).  The videos are anywhere from 3-10 minutes long and it is the perfect way to introduce you to a small parts of the process.

So I put on my blinders and got to work.  I didn’t get overwhelmed thinking OMG I’M LAUNCHING A PODCAST, I simply focused on one piece of the puzzle at a time.

Creating my cover art, or setting up Garageband or Audacity.  Step by step (ooo baby…gonna get to your girl!)

Step by Step - NKOTB

More things that helped me launch my podcast?

Pat doesn’t just tell you what to do and how to do it, he goes as far as recommending specific equipment that he has tested himself, eliminating any guess work or decisions.  I ordered it all up (from Amazon) and it was so easy to set up because Pat sets everything up with you.

For under $200 I was able to get a great mic, mic boom and pop filter and not only does it work really well…it looks pretty bad-ass as well.

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It’s also worth mentioning how personal the course feels.  It feels like Pat is actually sitting across the table from you, talking you through everything and encouraging you every step of the way.  On the days that I was feeling particularly nervous or feeling “the resistance” it was great to have Pat encouraging me and helping me move forward.

So far I’ve been focusing on the course material, and you might be thinking, what about the community Diana?  You’re a community strategist.  Shouldn’t you be focusing on his community?

You’re right, but one thing that needs to be said, is that a course community is nothing without an outstanding course.  Think about it.  If Pat didn’t NAIL the course content, the community would be flooded with questions that should be answered by the content.

An online course community can’t save a shitty course.  It’s like putting a bandaid on a bullet hole.

So when you are creating your course community, ask yourself a couple questions.

  • Have I nailed my course content?
  • Have I gone above and beyond providing the BEST insights, and learnings in the course itself?
  • Is there anything I can do to make the course content easier to work through, digest (user experience)?

When your course is outstanding, your community will follow suit.

Now of course, if you’re running a beta program you might not be able to say yes to those questions YET.  That’s the whole point of a beta program, and your beta students will understand that as long as you message this from the get-go.

Then, it’s your job to use what you learn in the beta program to get 3 yeses to the questions above.

The Power- Up Podcasting Facebook community.

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Ok.  I’m not going to lie here.  When I first joined the FB community it was kind of intimidating.  Which was weird because I was SO comfortable with Pat and the course content…the way I felt in the community didn’t line up.

When I first joined the PUP community

Everyone seemed to already know each other and it looked like everyone was kicking ass and taking names.  Here I was, a total newbie and I didn’t know anyone.

  • What should I do first?
  • How could I break the ice?
  • What is ok to post and what isn’t?

NOTE:  This is what I call the “Late to the Wedding Syndrome” (LWS) and as a course creator or community manager it’s YOUR job to eliminate or minimize this feeling as soon as possible.

How could Pat have punched LWS in the face in his community?  By doing 2 things, that you should also do.

  1. Having a welcome thread.
  2. Having clear and easy to find guidelines.

1. A Welcome Thread

Having a welcome thread is a set it and forget it task, but once it’s done it can change the entire experience a new member has.  When you have a designated place to introduce yourself, people relax and know that what they are doing is ok.

People can also mingle and break the ice right off the bat, which helps squash LWS.  In terms of the PUP community, there wasn’t a designated place to introduce myself and so it felt a bit nerve wracking trying to figure out how to dive in (and I’m a freaking community strategist!).

Instead of me posting and getting involved I didn’t engage in the community for another 2 weeks!  I focused on the course work until I needed help, and then I turned to the community to ask a question, which I still felt awkward asking…because I felt like a stranger.

So what would you include in your welcome thread?  Here are some questions to ask yourself and answer with your thread.

  • Have you welcomed people into the group?
  • What emotion would you like your members to feel after reading the post?
  • What action do you want your members to take after reading the post?
  • Is there a specific way you’d like your member to introduce themselves?
  • Did you include an image to grab people’s attention?
  • Better yet, did you create a video to welcome everyone in and explain how to use the community and to encourage everyone to introduce themselves in the comments of that thread.

2. Guidelines

In the Power Up Podcasting community, there currently aren’t any rules or guidelines on what is and isn’t appropriate in the group, and this is a problem for several reasons.

Firstly, because it can create another barrier for new members to join.

How?

Because they don’t know what is and isn’t kosher…so they end up doing nothing.

That’s right.  Most of us peeps don’t want to mess up or do something out of line, so we’ll simply do nothing (which is NOT what you want happening).

Having clear guidelines allows your members to relax and know that they understand how things work in your community and they can feel confident when posting and interacting with others.

Now, not having guidelines might work for a while.  When you set up a group it can be easy to brush this off and “go with the flow”.  Not having guidelines might feel like you’re keeping things fun and light but it’s actually a recipe for a lot of problems down the line.

Here’s the deal, when you create guidelines you are setting the standard in terms of expectations.  As a result your members will act accordingly 99% of the time and this means less “policing” from you.

Also, it is MUCH easier to start a community with set guidelines than to try to incorporate guidelines down the line.  It’s like trying to get a river to flow in a different direction or reroute it.  The current wants to go the easy way, the way that things have always been and it can be difficult to get people to get on board with new guidelines.

Most people who create a course community don’t give guidelines much thought and tell themselves “let’s go with the flow” or that it’s not really all that important, but this is a mistake that will cost countless time and headaches down the line.

It actually sets you up to spend MORE time in the community dealing with fires than if you had simply set clear guidelines from the beginning.

So what should you include in your guidelines?

This is something I cover in my Ultimate Guide to Building a Profitable Online Business from Scratch at a high level, but here are some questions to ask yourself to ensure that your guidelines are serving your community and your business.

  • How do you want your members to FEEL in the community?
  • If your member were to describe your community to a friend or colleague, what do you want them to say?
  • Imagine any situations that would make you uncomfortable AND make other members uncomfortable or unhappy.  How could you blend in a point or two to address those situations?
  • Once written, ask yourself how a member will FEEL after reading them?  Be sure to focus on the benefits for them, not simply saying what they can and can’t do here.

Why is a course community so important?

People get stuck.  I got stuck in PUP too.

That’s right.  Despite having course content that was AMAZING, and knowing exactly what to do, I stalled when I needed to upload my audio to Libsyn (the host).

It wasn’t the course, or that I didn’t know what to do.  It was me feeling the resistance of pushing out of my comfort-zone.

Trying to do it alone wasn’t working.  I just couldn’t get myself to do it and I wasted a couple weeks focusing on “other things”.  That’s when I turned to the PUP community, and they got me back in the “action taking” saddle.

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It really is a tight-knit group of people all working towards the same goal, “launching a podcast”.  It’s wonderful to have a place to connect with people doing exactly what I am. And everyone is working off the same material so it was easy to get questions answered quickly (even outside Pat’s office hours).  The community was instrumental in me launching my podcast and working through the course material.

Do you see why it’s so important to give your students the gift of a course community?

It’s a win win for both you and your students.  They get the human connection and support that they need when their feeling stuck or not able to keep moving forward, and you get your students results.

Students finish your program, they love and appreciate you and they might even write amazing reviews or massive case studies about your program to share it with the world (kinda like I’m doing here).

Providing a course community is the cherry on top of going above and beyond for your students, and when done correctly (and strategically) it saves you time, energy and a whole lotta headaches down the line.

I launched…everyone celebrated.

Launching was pretty scary, but when I posted in the community, I got so much encouragement and celebration.  Pat even jumped in too.

It was amazing and felt so good to feel like I wasn’t alone.  Not only had I nailed my goal of launching a podcast, I had friends there with me giving me digital high fives and congratulations.

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The live office hours

This is a pretty awesome addition to the program.  Every week Pat sits down and answers our questions LIVE.  You can watch via FB live, or Zoom and you can post your questions in advance or live on the call.  It’s a great way to connect with Pat and other members of the program.

The one drawback though (cuz NOTHING is perfect right) is that it’s a Q&A, so there isn’t much structure.  If you have a question you need to be there for the entire call, and if you can’t attend live, you have to listen to the entire recording (1 hr) without knowing when your question will be answered.

Having to watch the entire hour long recording to hear your 5 minute answer can feel like a waste of time, but honestly…I’d rather have the opportunity to ask, then not have office hours at all.

That being said, that really is the only criticism I have about this program.  Everything else is spot on.

Plus, to be honest, I haven’t needed to ask Pat any questions because the course material explains everything really well.

Final Thoughts

So, as I sit here with my launched podcast, I am thrilled that I put my trust in Pat to walk me through the process.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him and the PUP community.

Well that’s not true.  I COULD have done it without him and wasted hours of time (that I don’t have):

  • researching equipment,
  • figuring out software,
  • trying to make decisions about which host to use,
  • how to set up the recording workflow,
  • if I should get professional music or voice over intros or not,
  • cover art,
  • how to add metadata into my episodes,
  • how to level out the volumes in my interviews,
  • which host to use,
  • how to get into iTunes and what other places to submit to,
  • how to create my RSS feed,
  • how to actually launch,
  • what do do once it’s launched and now how to keep moving forward.

Pheeewww, that’s not everything but you get the idea.  All of that and more is broken down into baby steps where Pat walks you through each step.  It really is that easy.

The final thing I wanted to mention was Pat’s attention to detail, that you might be able to do for your students as well.  Not only is the course itself impressive and super easy to follow and implement, he sent everyone official pins and stickers for being a part of the course.

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How cool is that?  It was such a treat to get a handwritten card from him and his team in the mail.  It made me feel like a valuable member of his community too.

YOUR TURN:  How can you apply this to your course community?

Is there a way that you can make your students feel special and taken care of?

Maybe it’s sending them a card, or hopping on a welcome call with you or a member of your team, or maybe it’s simply sending them a quick one minute video welcoming them to the program or thanking them for being a member.

And for anyone starting a podcast, I highly recommend getting Power-UP Podcasting to show you how to do it every step of the way.

Also, as I said at the beginning, I’m not an affiliate for Power-Up Podcasting.  This is simply my experience with an awesome course and I wanted to share my experience with the course; to help you improve your own course community.

BTW…being an affiliate wouldn’t change much, as I would only promote something that I truly believe in.