Find your superpower and drive your business forward

What’s your superpower? If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, good fortune and connections will only take you so far.

At some point your business is going to float or sink because you are better at doing something than someone else.

Maybe it’s something really complicated. But it doesn’t have to be.

I’m a writer. I’ve paid my bills for over 25yrs hacking out content as an employee and then as a marketing guy with his own little agency.

But my superpower isn’t writing. Let’s face it, there are better writers reading this piece right now groaning about how I’ve shot through 5 paragraphs without actually getting to a point.  

My superpower is using my skill as a writer to articulate clients’ value propositions in a way that speaks to their ideal clients.

I don’t just take what they say and clean it up. I go deeper to understand who it is they need to connect with and then make their content relatable to the people who are most likely to hire them.

If I’m going to be really honest I didn’t come by this power because of a radioactive spider bite. But like Peter Parker it did start in high school.  In fact I can trace it back to my experience in drama class.

As a young actor I embraced the Stanislavski Method. If you’re unfamiliar with the term it requires an actor to portray emotions on stage by imagining themselves in the same emotional state as their character.

It was useful on the stage then and it’s useful on the page now.

When I engage with a client I use the same device that got me through Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town to put myself in the same head space of the people my clients need to reach and impress.

Over the last 24 months I’ve used this superpower to expand my business and deliver strategic business coaching to independent consultants, trainers and speakers.

I suppose the only real surprise is why it took me so long to see the opportunities right in front of me. I’m a writer and I’ve always been fascinated with other people’s business models. In fact I’ve always done this kind of work with friends in the “the biz.” It’s just that up until now, I didn’t charge for it.

As something that came so easily to me, I didn’t recognize my own value. My own superpower.

So helping fellow business owners articulate a stronger value proposition that resonates with their ideal clients is really a no-brainer service I should have been offering for years.

I show clients how to see their business from the perspective of the people they need to hire them. Once they understand this everything that needs doing becomes much clearer.

The next step is rewriting content and marketing material to align with this new perspective through a series of calls.

Then, because I’m also a tinkerer, I go in and update their websites myself.

I love what I do. It’s always interesting to engage with experts and show them how to market themselves better. But it’s absolutely thrilling when it becomes clear that “they get it.”

What’s your superpower? What special trick do you have that you take for granted but is actually a valuable, marketable skill? How can you leverage this into future business opportunities?

As the year ends, I’m looking forward to doing much more of this type of work. I’d love to talk to you about how this hybrid service of coaching/doing could help your business break big in 2019.

Book a complimentary 15 minutes and let’s talk about what you need.

What are you worth to your business partners?

No business is an island. We all have partners.

And whether your partnerships fall under some formal arrangement or are something looser there has to be something in it for everyone.

Partnerships don’t always involve money. Networking partners introduce you to potential clients or help you expand your reach in exchange for you doing the same for them.

If you constantly come up short, your networking partners will find someone else to fill your role.

But what about partners where a fiscal return is expected?

One of my more popular articles talks about How Professional Speakers Can Make $10,000 a gig. In essence speakers make $10,000 when they convince clients to pay them $10,000.

It’s all about value. Tell a good story and connect it to a return on investment that far exceeds the cost to bring you in.

With business partnerships we all bring a certain value to the table that our partners use to judge how hard they are going to push to make us successful.

If I do some subcontracting for an agency and I constantly knock the socks off their clients, I’m going to get a lot more work from them because they can charge a premium to have me on their projects.

If on the other hand I deliver work that is “fine” or “good” they will always be open to a better options that will help them cement their reputation for excellence and allow them to charge more.   

When there is no perceived value in a relationship in either the short or long term, the higher value partner isn’t going to put too much work into keeping it alive because there is no return on their investment.

What got me thinking about this was a discussion I had with a client a while back. Her fees seemed unusually low considering her experience and track record of success.

She also wasn’t bringing in the business like she used to.

It was a bit of a head scratcher.

From my end there was definitely some marketing polish required on her website and social media. That was all technical. It required some writing and a little business (re)modelling.

But how was she going to show her partners that she was valuable to them? In her case the partners were speakers bureaus. And at $3500, she was priced like a million other speakers in her niche.

What came next was a bit of a leap. I told her to triple her speaking fee.

“But I can’t get anyone to hire me at $3500! Who’s going to hire me at $10500?”

We had already done the work and clearly articulated her value proposition in her marketing material. But we needed partners to fight for her in the bureau world. And those partners are in the business of making money.

According to Speakers Gold a Speaker Bureau’s cut can be anywhere from 20%-35% of the speakers fee.

My thinking was simple. I imagined myself as the owner of a speakers bureau. If I was going to get a commission based on what my speakers charge, I’d fight harder to place the ones who were the most professional, delivered exceptional returns for my clients AND were going to make me more money.

By tripling her fee she is actually making her relationship with bureau partners more valuable because she is guaranteed to deliver the goods and she was also going to help them increase their revenue. 

It really is simple math.

Your business is built on the value you bring to all your partners. When you maximize your value to them, they’ll move mountains to make sure you’re successful.

Why you are wasting your time on social media

If you’re a consultant, trainer or speaker you’ve probably been told over and over again that to be successful you need to be very active on social media.

On the surface it sounds like good advice and social media can be an important part of your marketing strategy. It can certainly help you reach more people and get your message out to audiences who may never have heard of you. But let me be perfectly clear – you can build a business without constantly feeding an Instagram account with selfies.

Social media marketing is not a one-size fits all panacea for business success. But that’s the way it’s pitched to a lot of business owners.

Here’s what generally happens. A small business owner attends a conference or a seminar on social media and the speaker runs through a list of all the top sites and all the billions of people who are using them.

So you leave either inspired or frightened. Inspired about what social media can do to help you grow your brand or frightened by the amount of work it’s going to take to get you a million followers.

I’m here to confirm what your gut is already telling you. That’s a load of crap.

A lot of business owners are wasting their time on social media. Instead of concentrating on creating great content for the platforms where they’re most likely to connect with clients, they end up filling a Hootsuite queue with quotes and inane pictures that have nothing to do with their business and will never resonate with their prospects.

With great content and a sellable message you should be booking conferences, not posting pictures. Click To Tweet

I recently had a client who was signed up for everything by her social media consultant; Pinterest, Instagram, Tumbler, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. So instead of working on growing her speaking business, she was spending all her time trying to grow her social media followers.

If you have great content and a sellable message you should be booking conferences, not posting pictures.

That’s not to say social media in itself is a waste. But you do have to focus on the channels that are most likely to get you in front of the folks who are likely to write you checks for $10,000 or more.

And those folks are probably not on Instagram.

What about Facebook?

Yes, Facebook is huge and your clients are probably on it. But are the on it to be sold on your services or are they on it to keep connected to friends and family? I use Facebook as a hub for some content marketing. I have my blog and my social recycling plugins tied to it to distribute content automatically. I don’t pay too much attention to it. But it at least looks very active if a prospective client drops by when researching my credentials. I also use it for targeted advertising.

There was once a time when a Facebook business page could drive a lot of organic traffic back to your website – as all your followers would be likely to see your posts in their feed. But that changed with an algorithm update that deprecated business content distribution.

Now, if you want to get a piece of content noticed, you need to boost the post with an ad targeting your ideal client profile. That is the trend as social media companies increasingly monetize their data. It’s a pay to play world. So just get used to it.

What I tell my clients – who are primarily consultants, speakers, and sales trainers – is that they should play in the same social media sandbox  their clients are playing in. And for the most part that means LinkedIn and Twitter.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 4.23.52 PM

I’m not saying that all the other social media are a waste of time. But it’s very easy to make your time on them very unproductive. Tackle social media with  a strategy geared toward results and the time you save – not posting quotes – can be spent following up on real leads for proper jobs.

 

Your blog content is a business driver – not a cost

If you run a small business or consultancy you need think strategically about your website content. Even today it’s not hard to find business sites that are the same brochure-ware type setups that were popular 20 years ago. Obviously a lot has changed since Bill Clinton was president. So why haven’t these sites?

There are generally two arguments I hear when I bring up content creation. The first is that the site owner doesn’t have time. The second is that paying someone to write it isn’t cost effective.

Saying you don’t have time to write a blog is like saying you don’t have time to exercise – you have the time, it’s just that you’ve chosen to prioritize something else.

But let’s say you’re not about to change your priorities. What about paying someone to create original content for your website? Let’s say you pay a writer $100 a week to write an original piece of content that is targeted at your ideal clients. Does that sound like a good deal?

I’d argue it is.

In fact I’d suggest that any content you publish is actually a driver of business growth –  without any real cost at all – even if you’re paying for it initially. Blogging is an investment that will eventually show more substantial returns than any paid advertising you’re likely to do.

The traditional methods of lead generation are simply not as time or cost-effective as blogging. B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not. (source)

Another factor to consider is that websites with a blog generally have 434% more indexed pages on Google. (source). And more indexed pages on the Big G means more traffic and more opportunities to make the case for hiring you.

Content is more valuable than you think it is

Creating evergreen content that lives on the internet for months or years is amortised over time – with it’s cost going down every time it comes up in a search, is read by a prospect or is repurposed and shared on social media.

One of the big mistakes is simply writing a blog, publishing it to your site and then forgetting all about it.

Obviously if that’s your strategy, it’s not going to show you much of a return. But if that content is consistently re-shared on social media using a tool like Revive Old Posts, it can constantly find new audiences and bring them back to your site.

I have blog articles that I wrote 2 or three years ago that are still driving traffic to my site.

I write my own blog. So my investment is time. But even If I paid $100 to have someone else create something new and compelling and it drove 1 new prospect to my site every couple of days then, measured against cost per eyeballs, that investment would quickly drop to nearly nothing in a little over a year.

Writing a blog consistently also signals that the lights are still on at your business. I was recently speaking to a prospective client and discovered that their last blog post went up in 2012.

With so many businesses coming and going, having content that is current and relevant shows your prospective buyers that you’re still in business. Remember that most people do their research online before making a buying decision. So you are competing against others in your space who are already creating content on a regular basis.

In a study 47% of buyers viewed between 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a company. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) So if you don’t have content to read you’re already at a disadvantage.

So stop thinking about your blog as a cost or waste of time. Think of it as an investment that will show you returns well beyond your initial outlay and make a list of possible topics today.

You need to actually CONNECT on LinkedIn to find clients

I once made an analogy that some people collect LinkedIn connections like baseball cards. Regardless of value it’s more important for them to have 25000 or more people in their network, than it is to have the right people.

I’ve always thought this was a pointless exercise. With that many connections, it’s virtually impossible to sort the wheat from the chaff.

I use LinkedIn all the time. But I don’t just play the numbers game. I’m not interested in accepting every invitation or sending out invites to people when I don’t see some sort of professional alignment.

Recently I decided it was time to do a little bit more LinkedIn outreach than I’d done in a while. As noted, I have no interest in filling up on useless connections or or becoming a LION. I just want to find, connect and actually build some relationships with folks who may be ideal clients or know somebody who is.

So the trick is to find people who will make my time on LinkedIn worthwhile. And I think I’ve found a way to make it happen. The following is a breakdown of my LinkedIn strategy.  I can definitively say that it has resulted in some great conversations that are moving toward strong business returns. So hopefully this same approach can work for you!

Define your audience

I say this all the time. I don’t care if you’re in IT or professional services, you need to know who is interested in what you’re selling. More importantly do those people have the decision-making authority to make a purchase.

Once you know that open up LinkedIn and mouse over the search bar in the top left column.

Click “People”

Then click All Filters.

Already you can see the many different options you can use to whittle those hundreds of millions of people with LinkedIn accounts down to the ones you need to connect with.

In my case I used four filters:

Connections: 2nd degree

Industry: Professional Training and Consulting

Location: United States

Connections of: I’ll keep this one close to my chest. But it’s someone I know in the industry who is very well connected.

After doing my search I had a very manageable list of 138 people that I wanted to connect with. Now I say manageable because, let’s face it, a lot of folks have accounts and never use them. So I can expect a lot of these people to never respond. But those who do, are already distinguishing themselves as at least a little bit social savvy.

There are no shortcuts to building business relationships

With LinkedIn it’s too easy to simply send a connection request. And if I had one feature request for the guys and gals running things, it would be to ban the generic invite option and force people to compose a proper introduction every time.

That doesn’t mean that every introduction you send has to be unique – but it should stand out from all the others people receive throughout the day.

Here is a sample of one I sent out. Every one of my invites received some variation on this theme:

Hi Bob,

I see we have a few connections in common. I’d like to add you to my network to keep up with what you’re doing and maybe steal some of your ideas for my blog.

Cheers,

Aidan

Apologies if this is a note you received and are now feeling a bit used. You weren’t. I genuinely want to have you as a connection and I probably will steal some of your ideas for my own blog – with credit and a link back to your site of course.

This request showed a bit of my personality and it referenced connections in common. Remember, I used the 2nd degree connection filter  – so I shared at least one connection with each of those 138 people. In some instances I shared more than 50!  

But just adding a new connection means very little if you don’t do anything to follow up.

One of my tricks is to take the conversation off the LinkedIn platform and send a longer note to folks who engage with more than an “Accept.”

To those connections I might say something like:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for accepting my connection request. I love LinkedIn, but I find that it’s far too easy to “connect and forget.” So I’m going to send you a quick note via email so you have my real contact information and I have yours in case we ever need to chat.

Thanks again,

Aidan

It’s important to note that I am not adding Bob to my CMS. He’s not going to start getting spammed with newsletters or sales pitches. I’m actually going to send him a REAL communication from my REAL email address.

It’s actually quite simple to find the email address on Bob’s profile and send an email introducing myself. I’m not trying to sell anything in the email, I’m trying to establish a rapport with my connection.

If I’m interesting enough  – and they are interested enough –  this can then go to a phone call about their marketing. In the last 2 months, this has resulted in multiple conversations, with more than a few progressing to the proposal phase.

Getting connections on LinkedIn is easy. Finding clients takes work. There are no shortcuts. But if you are willing to put in a little digital elbow grease you can make the technology work for you and grow your business quickly.

Four reasons to get off your ass and build an online course


It has never been easier to create an online course and market it to the world. That’s the good news.

That’s also the bad news. Why? Well now just about anyone can do it with very little technical effort or experience.

In 2016 I released my first online course DIY Marketing for Speakers, Trainers and Consultants using a WordPress plugin from Flyplugins.com called WP-Courseware. It was easy to configure and integrated nicely with Woo-commerce to allow me to accept payments online. I still use it today. Excellent tool and definitely worth checking out.

It uses simple to set up modules and units that can include videos, quizzes, downloads and even generate a certificate of completion when someone finishes a course.

Most people are understandably apprehensive when it comes to starting a project like this.  But the truth is mapping out a new course once you’ve gone through the process once isn’t difficult. 

Traditionally online courses are sold to consultants and trainers as a set-it and forget-it revenue engine. But that’s a lazy way to think about what this technology can do for your business.

Beyond the revenue you might make from a course, let’s consider some of the other benefits.

Building your credibility with prospects

Having an online course shows that you are a content and subject matter expert. It tells prospects that you have seriously considered how to logically present your knowledge to an audience and have gone through the steps to make that knowledge accessible.

Scaling your business to reach bigger clients

If you build an online course on sales training it will probably be very general in its approach in order to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Perfect for one person looking for guidance in Poughkeepsie, but maybe not so useful to a sales team in Rochester.

By simply going through the process of setting up an online course and learning how to do it, you greatly expand your marketability because you can now offer the manager of that Rochester sales team a custom program that is specific to his or her company.

Better still, if that office in Rochester has additional branches across the country or around the world you can license your program for an extended period of time as an onboarding tool. That’s real revenue.

Providing a more cost-efficient option to price sensitive clients

I once worked with a trainer who offered two pricing models for the same program. The first was an automated 6 week pre-recorded course that was distributed to clients’ sales teams every week and the second was the same program delivered online via a popular webinar platform. It was virtually the same content – with some additional interactivity built into the second option.  How you price each of these options yourself is based on your business model and what the marketplace is willing to take. But I could easily see an in-demand trainer offering option one at a significant discount over option two if only to free up time for more lucrative work.

Using it as a content creation tool

Yes, it takes content to create a course. But it’s a two way street. When I completed my DIY Marketing Course, I had the videos transcribed and used them to write blogs. Later those transcriptions even became a big part of my book DIY Marketing for Consultants, Trainers and Professional Speakers.

And then as I was writing the book, I came across additional information that became part of a newly revamped course – you can order it  here for a super discounted $49.

So where do you start when building an online course

If you have expertise in any subject you can create an online course. Whether anyone buys it is another matter.

So define your audience before your create anything. Once you know who your ideal client is, ask yourself what problem can you solve for them using your expertise.

That becomes the topic for your course.

Now break that topic into smaller chunks. Those chunks become your main modules. Whether it’s 4 modules or 12 modules each module needs to be broad enough that you can break it down even further.

The temptation is to do a single video covering each module. But have you ever tried to stay focused on an online learning video for any length of time?  

“Psychologists say that the average human sustained attention span is 20 minutes. But for online videos, it seems to be about 60 seconds.” – Wistia.com

So you need to keep your units short, impactful and interesting.

This will give you a chance to go deeper into more parts of your subject matter and include more quizzes and accountability steps to make your course useful to individual or organizational clients.

Online courses are becoming a bigger part of the training and consulting economy every day. The best time to get into the market is yesterday. But unless you have a time machine there are still opportunities to make it a big part of your growth strategy going forward.

If you want to talk to me about setting up a course yourself go ahead and book a free 15 minute chat.

Your business blog is not your diary

Blogging and writing business articles is great way to build credibility with your ideal prospects.

But it only works if you deliver real value and engagement.

Recently I’ve come across a few blogs from consultants and entrepreneurs that are filled with other people’s embedded videos and personal reflections on subjects that have nothing to do with the writer’s business.

There’s already a place for this type of content – it’s called Facebook.

If you are a consultant, or any business for that matter, your business blog isn’t about you. It’s about your clients. It’s about identifying opportunities where they can make their business’ better – even if they don’t hire you to do it.

Every piece of content you create should be for the benefit of the people who are going to hire you. As a former music journalist/editor I could easily populate this space with indie rock and punk articles. But that wouldn’t help you become better at marketing yourself. And it certainly won’t push you to connect with me on LinkedIn or hire me to do some marketing consulting, training or web work.

In the end I don’t write for me. I write for you.

At the same time don’t be afraid to let a bit of your personality into the narrative if it’s going to keep people engaged.

If you want to attract the right type of clients (ie. the ones who pay), you better be ready to add some value at every point of contact – including your business blog.

As I’ve said in many articles, “Everyone” is not the right answer to “who is your ideal client?” It’s better to write a blog or article that speaks to a very specific audience than a piece that says virtually nothing to no one because you are afraid to get specific.

Generally speaking, clients don’t care about what you do or who you are. They care about what you can do for them.

So use your blog to demonstrate that you understand their business and that you have value to add.

So how do you do this?

First, create a list of broad topics where you are the expert. This could be sales, management, leadership or anything else you do.

Then break those topics into smaller chunks where your advice and expertise will make a difference to somebody.

Using those broad topics here are a few sample blogs you could write:

“What are the 5 mistakes millennials need to learn when it comes to selling person-to-person?”

“How has technology changed sales and what has been lost?”

“What can managers do to become better at their jobs?”

There’s three blog posts that basically write themselves and can help the person who publishes them establish credibility in very specific marketplaces.

So leave the cooking recipes to chefs and share the kitten videos on Facebook like everyone else. When it comes to writing your business blog, make sure it connects with the people who help you pay the mortgage.

How to promote your blog and get more clients

One of the first recommendations marketers, like myself, often tell clients is that they need to start creating content. And blogging is usually the safest place to begin.  

But blogging actually involves a lot more than simply stringing together 300-500 words of blather and posting them to a website. Like most things in life, you get a better return if you put in a little effort. And I don’t just mean when it comes to writing.

The problem with being an expert is that one tends to assume everyone already knows what you know and understands your rhetorical shorthand. In this regard marketers are as guilty as engineers or chemists.

So when I say “blog more” I’m not saying write a blog, post it to your website and then forget about it.

That’s not a strategy. That’s a waste of time.

If you’re going to create content and release it into the wild you need to do your best to get it noticed by the people who are most likely to appreciate it, share it and maybe even hire you for some work.

There are over three million blog posts published every day. So your job is not just to write, but actually promote your post so that it actually stands out.

I once read a great article that had a checklist of 50 things to do when you write a blog. Of course I didn’t do very many of them…who has the time?

So I’ve put together a more human list of things time-crunched professionals can do to give posts, videos, podcasts etc. a leg up when in comes to attracting some eyeballs and hopefully a few paying clients. There’s more or course. But these are things you can do with every post that won’t eat up the better part of a day.

Post it to LinkedIn

This is really a no-brainer. If you put any time into building a strong LinkedIn network then you need to keep those folks engaged with great content. If you write a blog, post it to LinkedIn as a status update. And then re-post it as a LinkedIn article. This is your professional network. So use it to show off your genius.

Tweet about it multiple times

Whenever I create a blog post I also create 5 tweets to go along with it. Then by switching out hashtags I turn those 5 tweets into a week’s worth of promotion by scheduling them to go out through Hootsuite twice a day. The trick is to use each tweet to target a different audience. I’m not simply fishing for retweets and likes. I really want people to come back to my site and hire my company to do some work.  Make this a habit and soon it will seem as natural as coming up with a title. If you scroll down, you’ll see the ones I wrote for this article.

Email it out (weekly or as a part of a newsletter)

We’ve all signed up for a newsletter or downloaded an ebook, only to find ourselves on the receiving end of daily drip campaign filled with promotional emails. If you write your blog as solid content, folks can use to improve their business practices, they won’t mind if you send it to them.  So along with your status updates, make sure you’re getting your amazing content in front of as many people as possible by leveraging your mailing list.

Boost your post on Facebook

Facebook recently changed its algorithm so that content on business pages isn’t shared organically even with people who like your page. It sucks, but the days of free promotion on social media channels is coming to an end.

Here’s the thing – it’s still pretty close to free. If you are going to invest hours writing a great blog post why wouldn’t you spend $5 to promote it? When you consider that $5 is going to get your post in front of people who like your page and their friends, it’s still a bargain.

So the next time you sit down to create some content, make sure you have a simple strategy in place to get it viewed by as many potential clients as possible.  Otherwise you’re just wasting your time.

Use these four simple strategies to promote every single #smallbiz blog you write to #prospects and #clients. Click To Tweet

 

Does your #business blog actually bring you business? Here’s how you can turn your #content into a real #prospecting tool. Click To Tweet

 

There’s more to writing a #business blog than simply creating great #content. Use these tips to get turn your blog into a real #lead magnet. Click To Tweet

 

Here are the simple and effective ways to increase #webtraffic and get your #business blog read by #prospects and #clients. Turn your #content into #leads Click To Tweet

Five Tips to Make Your Content Engaging

So you think you’re an expert? You probably are. Still, when it comes to sharing content with people by blogging, many experts stumble out of the gate. In fact, author and blogger Gary Vaynerchuk once said that “99.5 percent of the people that walk around and say they are a social media experts or gurus are clowns.”

There are a few reasons.

One, you may know things too well. Case in point: vlogger Hank Green, who uploads videos online with his brother John Green (who happens to be a successful young adult author), recently went to Twitter to note that when he talks to reporters, he’s apt to share more knowledge than necessary that is entirely off-topic (that is to say, he rambles).

Granted, this is when he’s talking to reporters. But many bloggers can suffer from a similar lack of focus. I’ve done this myself. You want to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about, so you just keep adding superfluous facts and arguments that don’t relate to your thesis.  You think you’re being smart, but you’re only filling space.

Two, you don’t your audience. You may assume readers already know who you are and what you’re trying to say. But in most cases visitors to your blog have know idea who you are. They’re suckered in with a snappy title and then quickly lose interest because what you’re actually writing doesn’t apply to them.

Three, you’re boring. Cue tumbleweeds.

However, there are a few ways to punch up your blog with a little zip and pizzazz.

Focus Your Writing

If you have a tendency to ramble-on or share too much knowledge at once, visitors are going to lose interest. You only have a few seconds to get people hooked on your content and as much as I hate to say it, there are more interesting things on the internet for people to waste their time on. Don’t make visitors work at figuring out what your point is.

A good strategy is to write an outline for what you want to say in your blog posts before actually blogging. This will help to focus your thoughts and cut down on the verbal diarrhea.

Show Who You Are

You need to show people exactly who you are. Write content that matches your business “voice.” It doesn’t even have to be your real voice. Create one that you use for your business. Just make sure that whatever “voice” you’re using is consistent and aligns with your brand. Keep it consistent and keep it engaging.

One way to do this is write as though you’re talking to people face to face. Prospective clients want to hear what a real human being has to say, not something that they can find in an instruction manual.

Post Great Pictures and Videos

Human beings are visual learners. According to Positionly, roughly 46 percent of people say design is the No. 1 criterion for evaluating trustworthiness and 40 percent respond better to visual content over plain text. Content with videos bring three times more links than blogs with plain text.

You don’t need to blow your budget, either. Obviously, you’ll want to be professional, but even the simplest videos and photos can improve your credibility. Plus, adding photos and video is a good way to break up your content and get away from paragraphs of plain ol’ fashioned (and sometimes boring) text.

And, as they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Build Relationships

Writing good content is half the fight. You need to keep your audience’s interest by commenting on other blogs, and engaging  through your social media channels. People tend to react more positively when they feel they are being listened to. So if  you include them in the discussion they will then be more likely to listen to you.

Be sure to share your content often. I like to say Reduce, Reuse and Recycle it. And don’t forget to include calls to action at the bottom of your posts.

Stop Selling

It is better to position yourself as a thought leader than someone who is pushing something on someone. People get turned off by sales pitches. Instead, focus on bringing value to your audience and giving them something worthwhile through your content.

If you’re an expert, stop being boring. Ditch the promo copy and connect with your prospects.

 

Are You Ready for Marketing as a Managed Service?

With services like Upwork, Uber and virtual assistants the gig economy is alive and well.

Today more and more small and medium sized businesses are looking to leverage this movement to improve operations without having to take on the expense of new full-time employees.

When I started Short Circuit Media as a marketing company for professional speakers, trainers and consultants back in 2010, I positioned myself as as “virtual marketing director.”

My job was to do the same work as an actual marketing director, but on a part-time basis.

The idea was that for a fraction of the cost, a small business would be able have their marketing taken care of for a reasonable monthly retainer.

At first it was just me. I built and managed websites, brainstormed and executed various marketing strategies and took care of social media and newsletters.

Of course as technology improved I was able to expand into all sorts of areas like self- publishing, ghostwriting blogs, books and articles and even handling webinars and podcasts.

As the business grew, I brought on other writers, podcasting producers and more.

Today the fashionable term would be to describe myself as a “fractional chief marketing officer.” But that doesn’t really jibe with what Short Circuit Media has become. What we really offer our clients is Marketing as a Managed Service.

Our goal is to come in with a team and simply become our client’s out-of-the-box marketing department; developing custom strategies based on their unique business needs.

These are then supported and executed without any extra expenses beyond our all-inclusive monthly retainer.

The benefit to our clients is an immediate professionalization of their marketing efforts as well as reduced levels of stress and financial investment.

It’s a business model that has certainly evolved over the years. And one that is going to keep evolving based on what the market is looking for.

If your business is looking for a marketing solution that takes a holistic approach to what needs to get done…and then actually gets it done, I’d like to talk to you. Send me a quick note and we’ll find 20 minutes to chat. I won’t even try to sell you anything. We’ll just talk about your business and what it needs.

Cheers,

Aidan Crawford
President
Aidan@shortcircuitmedia.com