5 Ways to Structure Content to Work Harder for Your Business

The biggest problem for content creators, who also happen to be experts, is they aren’t writers.

Simple website platforms like WordPress have opened up the world of publishing to anyone with an internet connection. One result of this revolution is everyone who can, now thinks they should. And that, my dear friends, is a terrible assumption.

A few years back I wrote a little piece called Just Because You can, Doesn’t Mean You Should. That particular little charmer was about not giving in to the pressure to use all existing technologies just because they happen to be available.

Blogging is exactly the same. Even if you’re a great writer, trying to capture your thoughts can be a tough slog through a muddy valley.

Writing is a lot harder than it looks

Creating an engaging narrative is not something that comes naturally to most folks. And even those who’ve spent the better part of their lives pumping out a prodigious amount of great work will tell you that it isn’t always easy.

So when I read a post from an expert I can generally tell within a few seconds if I’m going to get to the end.

It’s not meant to be a slag.  Just a reflection of different skillsets.  The biggest giveaway is formality. Nobody should write a blog to impress their 11th Grade English teacher – unless that happens to be your assignment. If so – go at it.

Save your formal writing for essays and business proposals. Blogs are not deserts. They shouldn’t be dry. If your expertise is in business development add some colour. A story. Anything to make what you’re trying to get across come to life.
Robots do read your blog. They just don't buy your stuff. #marketing Click To Tweet

Here are 5 simple steps to organize your blog content for success:

Add and image or video

One of the key indicators for Google is how long people stick around your site. So including compelling images and videos is a great way to improve that metric. Just look at the top of this article. There’s free video that was made using the Lumen5.com app. But more important than impressing Google – most people react better to videos. So your blog content actually becomes more engaging.

Break it up into sections

There is nothing worse than dense text. I once had a client who would literally right 2000 word tomes each week. The content was good. But the medium and presentation was all wrong. Make sure that you break you content into digestible nuggets of genius. Use headings and bullets and numbered lists so folks don’t get lost.

Link out to authoritative sources

When I’m researching a new topic I love lists that come with links to referral sources. So does Google – which is how I find them. When you link to outside sources – not only do search engines recognize it, so do your readers. And that gives what you say added credibility

Write for the reader – not a search engine

Robots do read your blog. They just don’t buy your stuff. Search engines are very smart robots. They index and sort everything on the web. But if you write for them – stuffing keywords and and awkward phases filled with even more keywords into your content – you’ll turn off the real people who are going to be your clients.

Go for more information and less selling

We’re all in sales – I get it. But that doesn’t mean that everything you create should be about you and how awesome your product or service is. Concentrate on what your reader needs and wants from your content more than what you want them to do. Use your content to become more like a trusted resource and thought leader that a shifty sales person.


Add a call to action somewhere

You aren’t going to be a shifty sales guy. But you need to pay your bills. Remember to have some sort of CTA on your page. If you look up towards the middle of this blog you’ll see a sign-up for a free online workshop. Go ahead and sign up. It will be well worth your time:-)


How professional speakers earn $10,000 a gig

Here’s the short answer: You’ll earn $10,000 when you convince someone you’re worth $10,000.

“So what do you speak about?”

That’s the way I start almost every conversation I have with speakers I meet at National Speakers Association Conventions.

After listening to each speaker give me their elevator pitch, I get down to business.

“I like what you’re saying,” I begin. “It makes sense to me. I would really love to pay you $10,000 to come and speak at my conference. But I need to know what the return on investment is going to be so I can justify the cost to my CFO.”

See what I did there? I immediately asked the tough question. What is the ROI?

I’ve spoken to some really fascinating people about many different topics over the years. But almost without fail when I mention the $10,000 number eyes glaze over.

The point I want to make right out of the gate is that it doesn’t matter how much you believe in the value of your content, you need to be able to prove that value to the people who hire you.

Here’s the thing, this discussion is exactly the same if the number is $1000 or $40,000. People want to know the money they invest in a speaker will show some sort of return.

Shockingly, the ROI question is one that very few people seem to have a good answer for.

There’s usually a lot of soft talk about employee morale, increased sales and happy workplaces – but that doesn’t really differentiate one speaker from another in a crowded market.

It doesn’t matter how much you believe in the value of your content, you need to prove it to the people who hire you. Click To Tweet

What speakers need to have is a strong statement; something that backs up the business case for bringing them in (and earning that $10,000 fee).

Give yourself a minute before going down through the next couple of paragraphs. Think about what the specific ROI will be for a company or conference if it hires you to speak at an event.

I don’t want to pick on anyone in particular. So I’m just going to make up a general persona to run through one discussion I had.

Me: So what do you speak about?

Speaker: I’m “The Communicator.”

Me: Okay. What do you speak about?

Speaker: I teach sales teams how to communicate effectively with clients.

Me: Hmmm? So who hires you? And why would they pay you $10,000 to speak?

Speaker: I make salespeople more effective in communications. That makes them better sales people.

I knew what he was trying to say. But I didn’t really think he was making a good case. So I suggested the following:

Every team has that ONE sales person. He or she is able to have great conversations with anyone in a room. What I do is turn every member of your sales team into “that guy.” Now think about how much more revenue your company would generate if every person on your sales team was producing at that level.

Sounds a lot better than “I’m the communicator.”

What speakers really need is to not only find their value proposition. They need to be able to articulate it in a way that fires up the client’s imagination.

Figure out how to do that and you’ll never be short of work.

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.



[Announcement] A unique branding service for senior executives


Toronto firm offers unique branding service to executives

Toronto, ON. Nov. 21 – Toronto based marketing firm Short Circuit Media launches new service for high level executives who want to use marketing tools to build a higher profile and increase their chances of landing the top jobs at large organizations.

Today CEOs not only have to be ready to lead, they must also be ready to be seen. So it takes more than a great resume and a successful track record to persuade a Board of Directors.

“I did a search on LinkedIn and found that there were over 6000 individuals in Toronto alone who were at the VP level or higher at companies with over 1000 employees,” says Short Circuit Media President Aidan Crawford.

“That got me thinking, what can these professionals do to make themselves stand out from the crowd when they apply for a job as CEO or other top positions? And the answer was marketing.”

Short Circuit Media has helped consultants, trainers and professional speakers market themselves better since 2010. However executives need more than a shiny website and some social media.

“In addition to creating a superior online presence, we partnered with an executive coach, a top LinkedIn trainer as well as a vocal and presentation coach to provide a program that not only raises a client’s profile, but also gives them the skills to succeed once they get shortlisted for a top job.”

To learn more about this unique new service please visit https://ShortCircuitMedia.com/ExecSuccess

About Short Circuit Media

Short Circuit Media is a Toronto-based marketing company that takes an integrated approach to building our clients profiles online and off. https://ShortCircuitMedia.com

Media Contact
Aidan Crawford
(416) 371-2680


What event advertising teaches us about marketing

Do you ever struggle to decide if you should spring for a few hundreds bucks of Google ads? If so try to imagine a bigger expenditure. Way bigger.  At this year’s Super Bowl a 30-second commercial cost as much as $5 million. That’s a lot of lattes.

But when you see those kinds of numbers it’s wise to take some notes on what works and what doesn’t. 

That’s because a significant amount of time and effort goes into creating these commercials to ensure they are representing the company’s product or service in a way that gets maximum bang for the buck.

Here are four lessons from this year’s Super Bowl ads that can teach speakers, trainers and other business professionals just like you how to market yourself better this year.

Attach your product or service to a timely message

One of the quickest ways to get your product, service or business noticed is by joining in on a conversation that is already happening, instead of trying to create a new one. This not only shows your current audience that you are up-to-speed on what is going on in the world, but it can attract a brand new audience who was also part of the conversation.

Regardless of where you stand on the political scale, the topics of diversity, equality and togetherness are hotter than ever. In an opinion piece by Alex Holder for The Guardian, he argues that sex doesn’t sell anymore, but activism does. Several companies saw this as a marketing opportunity and jumped at the chance to join the conversation and creating Super Bowl commercials that tackled the topics, including AirBnB’s commercial “We Accept and Coca-Cola’s commercial “It’s Beautiful

While these two commercials had nothing to do with the service or product that the companies provide, they were able to catch the consumer’s interest by focusing on things that they care about.

Use storytelling and personal anecdotes to your advantage

Everyone loves a good story, so much so that storytelling is actually an incredible marketing technique. Even though it is a subtler approach to advertising, it invites consumers to buy into an idea instead of a product or service.

Budweiser had the right idea with its Super Bowel commercial Born the Hard Way, which tells the story of how the company’s founder, Anheuser Busch, immigrated from Germany to the United States to eventually develop the Budweiser beer. The commercial doesn’t mention anything about the beer itself, but instead captivates its audience by selling a story instead.

Focus less on you and more on your audience

In Nintendo’s Super Bowl commercial, consumers do not learn much about the new product Nintendo Switch. Instead they are shown various scenarios of how easily and seamlessly the product could fit into their lives, regardless of their age or gender.

When businesses focus more on their consumers’ wants, needs and desires, they are more likely to develop a positive connection with them. And by giving the consumer an opportunity to focus more on themselves and their own lives, the more likely they are going to want to learn about the product or service a company is offering.

By showing consumers just how easy it could be to regularly use the Nintendo Switch — instead of bombarding them with all the interesting and innovative features the new product has to offer — Nintendo effectively created intrigue and left consumers wanting more.

Don’t be afraid to have fun with your content

Adding personality to marketing is more important than ever to ensure that you have a warm and inviting presence. Adding a bit of humour to your approach can pay off in a really positive way, if it’s done tastefully.

The 2017 Kia Niro commercial “Hero’s Journey”, which stars actress Melissa McCarthy, is funny and relatable yet stays on point and gets the marketing message across. You don’t need a celebrity and a millions of dollars to do the same. People remember things that make them feel good, so if your marketing approach can put a smile on their face you are more likely to make that sale, connection, etc.


Here’s a Quick Guide on How to Advertise Online

(Without Spending All Your Money)

social media advertising for professional speakersAdvertising sucks.

More specifically It sucks all your money away if you aren’t targeting it properly. So if you’re doing your own marketing and spending money on Google ads to reach a vaguely defined, general audience – stop.

I’ve seen dozens of speakers make the same mistakes with their advertising, and I’ve made some on my own. But if you want to do online ads, here’s what I’ve found: Twitter advertising gives you the most bang for your buck.

When you think of online advertising, your first thought may be of Google Ads. But here’s the thing about Google Ads: you’re only paying for the keywords. There’s no way to determine the searcher’s intention when they click your ad. That’s wasted clicks, which equals wasted money.

Social media is great because you can speak directly to your customer. So advertising your speaking business on social media is the way to go. And there is no better place to target an audience with specific interests at (relatively) low cost.

And there lies the rub…your audience. Before you even think about an ad, you must first define who you are advertising to. Be as specific as you can.

Facebook allows you to do this. And while I don’t use Facebook for business (and will gleefully ignore your friend request) I do have a business page on there. It allows me to define my audience. I can see people’s interests based on their likes, set aside a small budget, and create a targeted ad for them. Now we have a focused message for a specific group. And that’s how you advertise.

Even though Zuckerberg’s (first) baby deserves its praise, I’ve found that Twitter is even more efficient when it comes to advertising. First, Twitter ads are cheaper…way cheaper than Google Ads. Second, Twitter is #super-targeted. Hashtags allow for more qualified leads than other social media.

Let’s say you are a motivational speaker, and your target audience follows the TEDTalks hashtag. When you place your ad, you know that only people who follow that hashtag will see your ad. Create a interesting message and an appropriate landing page for those potential consumers. If someone clicks the ad, you are more likely reaching a person who will hire you or buy your product.

I’m a tinkerer by nature, so I’ve played with all these platforms. Anecdotally I can tell you that the first time I tried Twitter ads I targeted people who follow #nsaspeaker and #speakermag. Now I work with speakers and that’s who I want to see reach. But even I was shocked when within 24 hours of starting my campaign, and with less than $100 invested, I’d landed two new clients.
I’ve never had that kind of success again. But two years later those clients still have me on retainer. So the math on that investment is very simple for me to do.

So if you are a speaker who works with sales organizations, then you can target people who follow sales associations or even specific conferences. Imagine the possibilities!

A quick word on LinkedIn ads. Wait…there are ads on LinkedIn? Yes, and if you didn’t know that, that’s exactly why you shouldn’t advertise on LinkedIn. I’ve allocated over $1500 to LinkedIn and seen zero return on the investment. The ads get buried in the content and, when they are clicked, they cost about $7 or $8. Of course a single client would make me change my mind very quickly.

So, if you do your own advertising, consider Twitter before Facebook, and Facebook way before Google or Linkedin ads. Define your audience. Find them on Twitter and Facebook. Create an ad campaign for them, including a landing page. Adjust and repeat.


Did You find his content valuable? We now offer an online course to help speakers, trainers and consultants market themselves.


 Find out about DIY Marketing for Speakers

Are you creating content people care about?

The title is a bit misleading. Somebody is bound to care about your content. The real question is “are you creating content your clients care about?”

When you commit to writing a blog you are making a commitment to content, not a calendar.

It would be great if all of us were fascinating day in and day out, with a limitless supply of inspiration to feed the machine.

But that’s not generally how things work.

I’ve had speaking and training clients who simply post for the sake of posting on schedule. It makes them prolific. But it also dilutes the effect of what it is they are trying to say.

When you create content it should because you have something to say, not because you feel you have to say something.

Think about your potential clients. What is it they want from you? What specific knowledge or advice makes you the destination?

When you commit to writing a blog you are making a commitment to content, not a calendar. #marketing Click To Tweet

Who is your client?

I’m always surprised when someone can’t tell me who their ideal client is. It’s probably the most fundamental aspect of your business. And when you figure it out, creating compelling content will become a lot easier. Let’s say you’re a sales trainer.  Who is your client? Is it the individual sales person? Their manager? The VP of operations?

Maybe all of them are your client to some degree.

If that’s the case build a strategy around creating content that is targeted to each segment instead creating a lot of generalist sales posts that appeal to nobody.

If you’ve committed to three posts a week, create a post for individuals, another post for managers and yet another for the VPs  – all with separate calls to action.

That sounds like a lot of content. But you can save a lot of time if you simply  approach the same content from different perspectives.

Let’s think about a sales tip. Here’s how to present it to your 3 audiences:

  1. Sales tip for individual sales people
  2. How the specific sales tip can help improve team results for managers
  3. The reasoning behind your sales tip for VPs

Each of these posts are targeted and meaningful to a specific segment of your audience.

So stop boring people with generic content they don’t want to read. Learn who your audience is and write for them.

5 Reasons Why Your Brand is Destined to Fail

The story about David and Goliath may as well be based in this day and age. Considering the only rule applicable is no rules. We take a look at the reasons why your brand, as outstanding as you make it seem, is just big and not so fast.

Reason #1: Age old Marketing tactics

An article written by Peter N. Golder, Julie R. Irwin and Debanjan Mitra for Forbes mentions how leading brands tend to waiver over time. This study, conducted over a span of 15 years, indicates around 20% of the so-called leading brands tend to lose their leadership every fifth year. Keeping this in mind, being current is not just about having the best marketing team stuffed with business school graduates. It’s also about knowing your base. We all tend to lose track of our end customers because of our own deadlines and work dramas. Rather than working in silos based on merely function, move towards a more integrated personality for the company.

Reason# 2: Social Media

Let’s take the example of Vishal Gondal, Managing Director at Disney-UTV Digital. Also, a reputed social media channel. His Audi Q7 was given for servicing at an authorized Audi service station in Mumbai, India. The GPS tracking system showed his car was travelling all over the city when it was supposed to be at the service station. Someone’s joyride, somebody else’s misery. He tweeted the Audi India handle but didn’t get a reply from them for three hours. Meanwhile, the BMW handle tweeted Vishal and asked him to try out on of their cars for a week. End of story with the most perfect moral.

Reason # 3: Customer details

Remember how, as a child, a massive amount of time was spent of attaining the best cursive handwriting? Currently, it’s a colossal waste. You may have the best team, the best product, the best line up. Now for the grand pause. Many major brands don’t have consolidated information about their customers. When someone tweets or mails you, don’t ask them for the basic details as to when they bought your product or their contact number. It’s your prerogative as a brand to have a glitch-less customer database. Make it part of your culture. No customer left behind!

Reason #4: The way the brand is viewed

There’s a thin line of difference between being image conscious and being arrogant. Take for example, Hewlett Packard. The company spoke out about how the brand reached a stage of stagnation. They used this spotlight, churned in some existential questioning and look where they are now! This company openly admits that it’s time to change. They did it in 2001, they did it in again 2013. Everyone loves a company that admits they can do better and goes ahead to prove the same.

Reason #5: Not Reflecting

Ergo, not reinventing. There is never enough time but that’s not a viable excuse. Take Nike as an example. While the nature of the products dictates the brand in itself, they have given some very innovative and thoughtful additions to the basic line. It’s not just the clothes. It’s the entire package.

Remember, bad decisions make for good stories. Let the good stories come from your competitors’ side.

Tips for Operating a Successful Facebook Mobile Campaign

Reaching a billion users was an incredible milestone for Facebook, and with an expanding mobile market across the globe, that number could realistically push over two billion in only a few short years. Two years ago, that would have been wishful thinking; but with the rate of growth in the mobile market, 2014 will see more mobile subscriptions in the world than people.

If Facebook has taught us anything, it’s that at least a third of planet’s residents with steady Internet access log onto the site. Logically, once more people have ready access to the ‘net, you can expect to see Facebook’s numbers shoot through the roof.

What will you do to attract this market to your brand? If you’re not yet ready to market to the mobile crowd, here are four steps that should prepare you.

4  Steps to a Successful Mobile Campaign 

1. Offer Valuable Content

Valuable content to a mobile user is a bit different than valuable content to a desktop user. Obviously, you want to ensure the highest quality content, regardless of who you’re targeting or through which device, but mobile content needs to be a cut above the rest. You’re marketing to people who are sometimes literally on the go, sometimes only checking in out of habit. Eye-catching material that rewards their time will earn you more engagement. Think about memes, polls, contests, deals, and other valuable posts. When it comes to linking locations don’t forget you will also need to customize the design of the landing pages for mobile devices.

2. Use Ads Effectively

There are two types of ads on Facebook that will help increase your reach more than the others: Sponsored Stories and Page Post ads. As long as you’re following step one and are always creating high-quality, user-friendly content, you can apply that same quality to your ads and greatly increase the size and scope of your advertising. Plus, with the right third-party ad-management app and Facebook’s customization features, you can easily target any audience.

3. Optimize per Device

Simply catering to the “mobile” market can be misleading. They might all be coming to Facebook, but they’re logging on via different devices. The way Samsung Galaxy users and iPhone users view content is different. You should optimize your content for each device out there to ensure users are viewing the best of what you have to offer. Placement targeting will help you optimize entire campaigns based on a device.

4: Track Your Results 

Even following the steps above, you still have to track your results to ensure that things are going correctly and smoothly. You may encounter issues with an ad. You may find that one ad isn’t performing as well per a device as you would like. View your statistics in real time to stay out in front of any damaging issues. Check your analytics often to ensure that everything is running effectively.

The growth of the mobile market gives you an opportunity to jump aboard a fast-moving train. It might not create another “boom” like what happened in the mid to late 90s; that remains to be seen. But if another few hundred million people join Facebook through mobile devices, and if the economy bounces back in a big way, do you really want to miss out on that market?


This is a guest post written by Stanna Johnson from  Qwaya.  Stanna is an online writer and a social media enthusiast who loves to write about the latest social media trends. Feel free to leave your questions and comments below and she”ll surely answer it.