Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Melissa Bugaj

Photo Credit: Melissa Bugaj

Photo Credit: Melissa Bugaj


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:


Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Melissa Bugaj, co-founder of and According to Mags blog.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke met Melissa during the Podcasting 101 session at the BlogHer 2012 Conference in New York City. After the session, they chatted about Melissa’s podcast series. Ananda became an instant fan!


Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I began using social media in 2008 when we started our podcast, Night Light Stories. I started a Facebook page and then followed with a Twitter page.

3) What has social media allowed you to do in your life (personal, professional, business, nonprofit, community)?

Social media has allowed me to connect with other people who share the same interests. It also has given me opportunities to learn more about podcasting and blogging. I’ve been able to utilize social media to view professionals in this area and learn from their expertise.

4) In her 2011 Digital Women: from geeks to mainstream presentation that was given at the WIFT International Women Conference for Digital Women, Dr. Taly Weiss, a social psychologist and CEO/Founder of Trendspotting, concluded that “women are dominant digital users – they breathe and live digital.”  Dr. Weiss’ conclusion echoes BlogHer’s 2011 Social Media Matters Study findings.  They include 87 million women (18 to 76 years old) are now online, 69 million women use social media weekly, 80 million women use social media monthly, and 55 million women read blogs monthly. These facts illustrate the power and presence women have in the digital space. Now that’s Digital Sisterhood!

How has social media helped you carve out leadership roles as you interact online and offline?

Since we have been producing the podcast for five years, we have helped others who are launching podcasts or thinking of starting one. We gave them tips on what we have learned through the years.  An example would be when we asked to interview the “Mommy Podcast” founders. We compared stories and shared our recording skills which helped to improve our podcasts. Everyone had something to share.

5) Social media has helped women become Digital Sisterhood Leaders, ambassadors of social expression who share what they are passionate about online.  In her upcoming book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (2013), Ananda Leeke, founder of the Digital Sisterhood Network, writes, “Without even knowing it, women have become Digital Sisterhood Leaders as they use their social media platforms to advocate causes; to build communities; to create apps, art, books, businesses, products, publications, services, tools, and webisodes; to curate content; to educate and inform; to give voice to their thoughts as subject matter experts, thought leaders, and brand ambassadors; to share information and experiences; to explore and experiment with new technologies as early adopters and trendsetters; to engage in social good; to influence others with their lifestyles and personal interests; to inspire and motivate; to mentor; to network; to tell their personal stories; and to promote and celebrate the expertise, gifts, and talents of others.  Based on my online and offline interactions, I have identified 12 key leadership roles they play: advocate, community builder, creator, curator, educator, influencer, mentor, motivator, promoter, social do gooder, storyteller, and thought leader.”

What other types of leadership roles do women play in social media?

Women are also trailblazers in social media. There are always new types of media or subjects to address. Women usually take a more sensitive subject and bring it into light with a little bit of sensitivity.

6) What types of leadership roles do you play in social media?

I am a storyteller, an educator, a creator, and an advocate for family time and providing positive learning to children.  We have built a community of listeners. I mentor my friends who are just starting out in the social media world. I promote myself and others who I find influential. You should always share other resources that are positive and useful. I think that by working together and supporting each other, that can help to build a strong sense of community.

7) What lessons have you learned as a leader in the digital space?

I have learned that you are nothing without the support of others around you. Everyone out there has something to offer. You never know how you can help someone each day. Wen you do help someone, it makes you feel like you are contributing. You can’t do it all on your own and finding people who can share ideas is invaluable.

8) Do you have plans to expand your leadership roles in the digital space? If so, what are they?

I would really like to be able to expand my leadership roles in the digital space. One thing I would like to do is apply to speak at conferences about podcasting or writing. I feel that after five years of experience of producing this podcast with my husband, we have some useful information and tips to share.

9) Who are your favorite social media women leaders and why?

One of my favorite social media women leaders is Mur Lafferty, host of “I Should Be Writing” and the editor of Escape Pod (science fiction podcast). Mur is a writer who interviews other authors on her podcast in order to learn from them and share valuable writing and publishing tips with her listeners.

I also admire MommyCast founders Gretchen and Paige. They were one of the first groups of “mommy podcasters.” They interview the latest movies, products, and ideas for raising kids.

10) Share three ways women can use social media to define and express their personal leadership brand.

In the 21st century, women are providing a multi-model experience. This is a way to draw in a maximum amount listeners and readers. It will help make others to feel comfortable in communicating with you as a host if you are seen in writing, video, and audio.

BlogHer Podcasting 101 Digital Treats – 9 Benefits to Podcasting

Podcasting Mic

Happy August and Happy Digital Sisterhood Wednesday!

It’s almost time for the BlogHer Conference and the Podcasting 101 Panel that Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke will be moderating on August 3 from 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Check out the digital treat below that offers nine benefits of podcasting that Ananda learned over the past five years.  Also, be sure to take a look at the Podcasting 101 Digital Treats below. Enjoy!

Podcasting 101 Digital Treats:

Nine Benefits of Podcasting (an excerpt from Digital Sisterhood: Fierce Living Online for 25 Years by Ananda Leeke):

1) Podcasting allows you to express your thoughts and opinions as original content with leading edge technology that many people are not using. It helps you stand out among the crowd!

2) Podcasting strengthens and highlights your expertise as a thought leader.

3) Podcasting helps you develop and demonstrate your skills as a speaker, moderator, panelist, workshop facilitator, and seminar leader for events.

4) Podcasting helps you to create a personal connection with listeners by delivering original content in a portable and convenient manner.  Because podcasts are like magazines, people can subscribe to them. They can download them to their computers, mobile devices, and mp3 players. Also, people can choose to listen to podcast episodes whenever they want to.

5) Podcasting is an easy and cost-effective way for you to market your skills, services, and products. Most podcast platforms free or inexpensive to use (BlogTalkRadio,, and are free for basic services).

6) Podcasting helps you cross promote and market your web site, blog, social media sites, products, services, and events.

7) Podcasting helps you highlight the work, accomplishments, services, and products of others. Your efforts can create social capital that leads to loyal fans, brand advocates, collaborative partners, colleagues, and sponsors who will support your efforts.

8) Podcasting expands your audience for your web site, blog, and social media sites.

9) Podcasting helps you build and nurture relationships and networks with listeners who represent potential or existing clients, customers, collaborative partners, donors who contribute to your crowdfunding projects and social good efforts, and sponsors.

Digital Sisterhood Network Headed to BlogHer Conference

Happy August! Happy Digital Sisterhood Wednesday!

Photo Credit: BlogHer

Digital  Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke is headed to the BlogHer Conference to moderate the Podcasting 101 Panel on August 3 from 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Hilton New York in New York City. Her co-panelists are Deborah Shane and Jasmin Singer, two amazing women who rock the web with their Internet radio and podcasting skills. Click here for more details.

Podcasting 101 Digital Treats:

PS:  Ananda will be live tweeting throughout the conference. Follow her on Twitter @digitalsisterhd and on for audio blog updates and interviews with conference participants. She will post a series of blog recaps during the week of August 6 (photos, audio blogs and videos).

Digital Sisterhood Radio Tips for Launching A Podcast or Internet Radio Show

NOTE: This blog post is an excerpt from Digital Sisterhood: Fierce Living Online for 25 Years by Ananda Leeke (2012) 

Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke

Podcasting represents a type of digital media that allows you to create audio content, organize it into an episodic series of audio files that can be subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer, lap top, netbook, tablet, or mobile device when it is convenient to the listener.

Podcasting is used to:

  • Generate conversations through storytelling, sharing information, and interviewing others.
  • Create, curate, and market content.
  • Advocate and promote causes and campaigns that promote social change, social good, social justice, and other issues.
  • Build and engage community.
  • Market and promote events, products, and services.
  • Develop thought leadership expertise and speaking skills.
  • Gather research and document best practices.

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley

Podcasting entered Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke’s life as a content marketing strategy for her first novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One in 2007. When Leeke held her first online book party for Love’s Troubadours on Myspace, she used her radio experience as a volunteer calendar reader for WPFW 89.3 FM to develop a podcast series with Gcast, a free mobile software application. Her podcasts featured excerpts from her novel, reflections about her writing process, and event notices about book readings and author talks. The more she recorded and posted podcasts with her cellphone to her author blog and member pages on various social networking sites, the more connected and engaged she became with her audience. Through her active participation in Black Author Showcase social networking site, she learned about and BlogTalkRadio, web-based radio platforms, and was inspired to create two Talkshoe shows, BAP Living Radio and Go Green Sangha Radio, in 2008. That same year, she decided to strengthen her podcasting skills by attending Podcasting 101, a workshop taught by Fanshen Cox and Heidi Durrow, the founders of Mixed Chicks Chat, at the Blogging While Brown Conference. The workshop exposed Leeke to Utterli, a mobile micro-blogging tool that she began using to post weekly audio blogs about her creative adventures as an artist and an author. She also used Utterli to live blog and conduct interviews at events, meetups, and conferences. In 2009, she began using BlogTalkRadio and Cinchcast, a micro-blogging tool, to host author chats and to promote her book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery. She also launched Digital Sisterhood Radio to document the accomplishments of women in social media and to discuss feminism online. To date, Cinchcast has become her favorite podcasting tool to use with her smartphone as she live blogs and conducts interviews at conferences, events, and meetups. Visit Ananda Leeke Cinchcast – and Digital Sisterhood Radio – (series will return in late 2012).

Are you ready to launch a podcast or Internet radio show? If yes, check out Leeke’s 14 tips for launching a podcast or Internet radio show below.

14 Tips for Launching a Podcast or Internet Radio Show

1) Listen to several podcasts and Internet radio shows to get an idea of how they are organized and hosted.

2) Take time to answer the why, what, how, who, and when podcasting questions.

  • Why do you want to launch a podcast?
  • What themes will your podcast focus on (general themes, episode themes, and guests)?
  • How will you host your podcast (podcasting platforms such as BlogTalkRadio,, and
  • Who is your audience (gender, age, ethnicity, geographical location, lifestyle choices, profession etc.)?
  • When will you launch your podcast and how often will it air (5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.)?

3) Create a name for your podcast that supports your brand (blog, web site, social media sites, book, products, and services).

4) Select a podcasting platform (i.e. BlogTalkRadio,, and that accommodates your schedule, finances, and technical skills.

5) Decide if your podcast will include audience participation with questions from a chat room, phone, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

6) Determine if you need a digital producer or assistant to help you manage the podcast (introduction, questions in chat room and from guests, live tweeting etc.). Select individuals who are reliable and are able to commit to your schedule.

7) Develop an episode schedule with themes, guests, and back up guests. Make sure your themes allow you to provide original content or present content in an original way.

8) Spend time making your podcasting site look visually stimulating with your logo or photo and a clear and concise description of the program’s themes, episodes, and guests.

9) Contact guests well in advance to schedule interviews. Use face-to-face meetings at events, a phone call, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, other social media sites, or email to make the initial contact. Follow up with an email that includes a brief introduction about your show (if they don’t know about it), detailed instructions on how to access the podcast, interview questions, additional information about other guests, your contact information, and a request for the guest’s contact information (web site, social media sites, and phone number). You may also want to ask the guest for a short bio (200 words or less) and a photo for promotion of the show in a blog post.

10) Promote your podcast on your web site, blog, video blog, and social media sites, and wherever your audience hangs out online. Schedule your notices in advance (post a full schedule in advance and monthly or weekly reminders).

11) Practice using your podcasting platform several times before your first show. Set up mock interviews with others to practice your interview and hosting skills. Record the shows and listen to them to learn how you can improve your skills. Ask others to listen to the recordings and provide feedback.

12) Know that your podcast will evolve over time. So be patient with yourself as you learn and grow.

13) Be yourself!

14) Have FUN!

PS: Guess what? Leeke will be moderating a Podcasting 101 Panel at BlogHer on August 3 from 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Hilton New York in New York City. Her co-panelists are Deborah Shane and Jasmin Singer, two amazing women who rock the web with their Internet radio and podcasting skills. Click here for more details.

Check out the Podcasting 101 Pinterest Board for resources.