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

consulting business model

Are you chasing somebody else’s business model?


I was talking to a small business owner recently who told me a story about a competitor who was copying every move she makes in order to poach some of her clients.

She seemed worried. But I didn’t think she needed to be.

Her business model is her own. And it’s been working for years.

From where I’m standing the competitor is either jealous or desparate.

And a competitor planning a business strategy from either position isn’t a threat.

Any #competitor that develops a #business #strategy based on desperation or jealousy isn’t a threat to your operation. Click To Tweet

McDonalds and Subway are competitors in the fast food space. They serve the same market, but they certainly don’t serve the same food. Both are successful because they’ve figured out their own niches and developed business models to service them well.

As a small business owner or consultant it’s up to you to find your own niche and develop a business model of your own that works.

That doesn’t mean you have to ignore competition and best practices. You can certainly learn from the people who are doing things right. Take a look at the strategies that are working for those in your space and apply them to what you’re offering. But I can tell you that a simple “cut and paste” of someone else’s service offerings isn’t going to help you.

Even if your expertise is similar to what someone else is offering, you need to be able to differentiate yourself. Find an angle that is unique to you and appeals to a under-serviced part of the marketplace.

Define your clients and then create offerings that appeal to them. Don’t let your competitors drive your thinking.

Copying anyone else’s business model and targeting the exact same clients is not a recipe for sustained success.

In the case of the small business owner I was speaking to, the competitor’s efforts were actually driving traffic her way, because a quick Google search brought up her site and all the services her competitor was trying to copy.

If you are struggling with your business model, I’d like to talk to you. Send me a quick email and let’s set up 20 minutes to speak about what you’re doing now and what you should be doing tomorrow in order to make your business grow.

online-marketing-for-speakers-and-consultants

Is your site secure enough for Google?

online-marketing-for-speakers-and-consultants

Remember Y2K? For those of us working in the online world back in late 1999 it was the magical, hysterical 6 month period leading up to the millennial new year.  

Due to a programming oversight in the early days of computing history, the year 2000 was going to default most systems back to 1900 and cause chaos by wiping out bank accounts, collapsing power grids and causing all sorts of other shenanigans.

I remember my boss at the time wheeling in a massive back up generator to make sure the servers kept running in case the world fell apart during Auld Lang Syne.

In the end nothing really happened other than an unusually bad new years hangover.

So what is the bogey man this year? And should you be concerned?

If you haven’t already noticed SSL certificates are becoming increasingly important for all websites. These allow your site to display with an https:// in front of the domain.

Since 2015 an SSL certificate has been an important element when it comes to Google search ranking. And currently if your site doesn’t have an SSL installed then visitors using Chrome see a visual warning in their address bar.

But come July it’s going to become even more explicit as Google adds “Not Secure” to the warning.

Still I don’t hear the sirens ringing to get this issue fixed and a lot of small business owners are going to be very surprised this summer. Just the other week I was talking to a client who said his SEO company told him that if he wasn’t taking credit cards online he didn’t need to have an SSL certificate.

AN SEO COMPANY SAID THIS!!!!

If you are a small business owner or consultant this is a big deal. If Google is going to tell your prospects that your site isn’t  secure how are they going to view the rest of your business?

Installing an SSL certificate is a priority

Thankfully installing an SSL certificate on your site is not as difficult at is once was. Services like Let’s Encrypt make the process a lot simpler than it used to be.

But it does still require a bit of knowledge to get your certificate installed and configured so you don’t experience any unnecessary downtime.

To this end I’m setting up a temporary service to install and configure SSL certificates ahead of the deadline for a small one time fee.

To install an SSL Certificate on your website quickly and easily click here. 

A professional email address is your most important branding element

Reduce, reuse, recycle – your great content

There is an old saying that the most frightening sight for writers is a blank page.

It’s even worse if you’re not a writer and you’ve committed to pumping out a blog on a regular basis. Staring at a blank computer screen and trying to figure out 300 – 500 words of engaging content that actually resonates with your ideal clients can be the stuff of nightmares.

For years Google has advised site owners to focus on creating great content. So when it comes to marketing and attracting visitors to your website a regular blog is not only advisable – it’s essential.

But a solid content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be stressful. If you already have great content it’s not that hard to repurpose it into blogs, articles or whitepapers.

I generally work with consultants, professional speakers and trainers. In each instance it’s unique knowledge and insight that drives these businesses to profitability.

This  expertise is usually demonstrated in presentations, webinars, seminars, interviews or keynotes. Sometimes there’s even a book.

If you are mining for content, all of that is gold.

Let’s look at some of the ways you can use this existing content as the basis for blogs and articles.

Transcribe everything

Whenever you deliver a presentation, webinar, seminar or anything else to an audience, make sure it’s recorded. Then use a service like Upwork.com to have it transcribed. Even if you are fully scripted, you will be surprised by the off the cuff knowledge you toss out as asides as you “perform.”

I’ve found that a simple 45 minute presentation can help you create four or five 350 word blog posts.

Cannibalise your book

It’s a safe to say that most people haven’t read your book and are never going to buy it. Those that have are already your fans and know who you are. So once your book has been out for a couple of months, start hacking it up for blogs and articles. I’m not suggesting that you simply cut and paste pages. Instead take a chapter and rework the different elements within it to create multiple blogs. You can even quote from the book and add some additional thoughts.

Start a Podcast

There was an article in Canadian news satire site, The Beaverton, not so long ago that said more people make podcasts than actually listen to them. It’s hard to argue the point – even if it is satirical. Podcasts aren’t generally going to do much more than help you build your brand and position you as an expert. But they have a secondary role and that is to provide more content for you to transcribe which can easily be turned into blogs.

This is a strategy I’ve used for multiple clients. Here’s an example from Ascent Dental Solutions where there is a Podcast with Dr. Howard Farron from Dentaltown that was then transcribed and used as a blog.

It’s the same content repackaged for two different mediums. In fact that podcast is probably good for a few more blogs.

Create an online course

This is a good strategy for trainers. Simply break down your topics into a simple to follow syllabus and record some videos to accompany it. I’ve done this strategy myself. Here is my online marketing course. As you can see, it’s broken down logically. I also had each of the videos transcribed. I’ve used the transcriptions for blog posts. I’m also using these very same transcriptions for a book that should be out later in the spring. Of course as I write the book I add in even more thoughts and details which will then be cannibalised for more blogs later.

As you can see a little bit of knowledge and expertise can go a long way. Every piece of content you create needs to be properly leveraged to maximize its impact across multiple media channels so that it keeps Google happy and helps you reach more of your ideal clients.

If you want to talk to me about how we can get a content marketing program started  for you just send me a note Aidan@shortcircuitmedia.com

 

 

How to Get Your Content Seen By People

Let’s face it: getting your content seen by people is hard. You have a lot of competition. There are 59.3 million blog posts written on WordPress each month alone. That works out to about two million per day. Realistically, a lot of these posts are not going to get very much, if any, traffic. So how do you rise above the din and make yourself get heard? Well, there are a few things you can try.

Work Social Media

You’re probably saying to yourself right about now, “Well, duh.” Social media can drive traffic to your site. However, it’s all about how you use social media. Are you posting new content regularly to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn? Are you republishing older content on a regular basis? Have you built up a network of professionals and people who share your interests, and are you targeting them? Are you sharing other people’s content? (The 80/20 rule to sharing 80 percent other people’s content and 20 percent your own seems to apply well to social media.)

Remember: It’s not just what content you share, but how you’re sharing it (and how often).

Use Social Bookmarking Platforms

Sites such as StumbleUpon, Twitter, Digg and Reddit are great social bookmarking platforms that can do the following for you:

  • Have your website quickly indexed by search engines.
  • Give your site authority and excellent backlinks.

Again, if you use these sites, you have to target the right audience. You also should comment on other people’s bookmarks to get heard and share opinions. Once you do, chances are people will want to take a look at what you’re sharing, including your own content.

Get Involved in Discussion Forums

Another thing you should be doing is finding discussion forums pertinent to your business and interests and sharing in them. Without getting spammy, you can share solutions to problems and how your product or service solves them. Provide information that is of use and is insightful about topics that come up on the forum and you may get in front of eyeballs that are related to your business.

Do a “Round Up” Blog Post

One thing you can do to increase visibility is to quote an influencer in a blog post, and share that content with them. If they share it in turn, your visitor stats may go through the roof. Another popular tactic is to gather a group of people who have a large social media following, and do a “round up” discussion type of blog post, such as “How [X Number of] Marketing Professionals Feel About [Topic Pertinent to Your Business].”

You may have to do a bit of grooming and appeal to their ego to do work for you. You could also just pay them for your time. Regardless, people who have a large social media following will get requests for this type of blog post on a regular basis, so you’ll have to likely do some convincing to get them to spend some time writing for you.

Pin a Post to Your Twitter Feed

If you pin a post to your Twitter feed, that will be the very first thing that people will see when they visit. You can change it or remove it as often as you like, and it’s a great and easy way to make sure people are seeing content that you want to push on a regular basis. All you have to do is find a Tweet you want to pin, look under the “More Options” icon (the three dots underneath a Tweet), and select the option to pin your Tweet. Easy as that!

Email People Who Have Shared Similar Content

This is an effective strategy, but it does take a bit of time and effort for it to catch on. Using a tool such as Buzzsumo, you can find people who have shared the same content as you or have linked to similar content. You then email them, one by one, to let them know what you’re doing and what you’d like to share. This can work, because many people are looking for new content to share. It helps if you’ve built a relationship with them, so it may help to share some of their content, too, first.

What do you do to get your content seen? If you have any tips or strategies, feel free to share them with us below.