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.

Effective Targeting: Who’s Buying What You’re Selling

It doesn’t matter what you have to offer. There is only a specific segment of the population that will ever buy what you’re selling. So why are you marketing to everyone?

It’s the difference between fishing and hunting.

With fishing you put some bait on a hook, toss it into the water and wait for something – anything – to bite.

You could sit there all day with tiny fish stealing your worms and go home with nothing more than a boatload of excuses.

In essence those worms are your marketing efforts.

If you spend your valuable marketing dollars trying to get a very specific product or service in front of people who will never buy, they will just nibble away until you’re broke. Learn to target the right people by figuring out who they are and where they spend their time.

With hunting you actually have the prey in your scope before you pull the trigger.

It’s efficient and the results depend 100% on your targeting.

In real life I’m not a hunter. I’ve never even held a gun. But I have spent a lot of time sitting on the banks of rivers and lakes with a fishing rod in my hand. So I know the frustration of losing the last worm and heading back to the car without anything to show for it.

If you only get 50 people to your site every day, but 5 of them convert you'll have more work than you will ever be able to handle. Click To Tweet

I’ve had clients who moan about having 50 people a day come to their site. But I always say that if those are the right 50 people and 5 of them convert they’d have more work than they would ever be able to handle.

At the same time if somebody is happy to have 500 people a day and none of them convert, they are wasting time looking at the wrong metric.

As a marketing guy, my job is to help clients understand who their ideal clients are and get their message, product or service in front of the decision-makers who are most likely to buy.

The very core of this is knowing who the client is and where they are likely to be. If you’re a speaker, trainer or consultant don’t go looking for a c-suite exec on Instagram.

Instead look to professional networking sites like LinkedIn or even Twitter. Speak at events where your clients are likely to be. Make that your focus and forget about the small fish who are not likely to buy, but will happily eat up your budget and waste your time.

In the end a bit of focus helps a lot when it comes to building any business. So stop drowning worms and learn how to target your ideal clients.

Breathe new life into old content with these simple plugins

adapting business to client needs.

Your business has to be adaptable to clients’ needs

adapting business to client needs.“I have to use it or lose it. ” That’s what he told me.

There was still a bit of money left for marketing. And if it wasn’t spent next year’s budget was going to be reduced.  I’d spoken to him before about doing some work and nothing had come of it.  Now he had some money and he didn’t want to waste it.

Obviously my full pop marketing retainer package was not going to work. Not for one month. It wouldn’t be worth it. But he wanted a pitch. So I thought about a package that would meet his budget and not undercut my own value proposition.

I presented two options.  The first was a marketing webinar to show his team how to align marketing content with sales.  The second was what I called a “social media makeover” where I would come in and connect all the content pipes to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to automate distribution across multiple channels.

Both options would take about the same amount of time and would come in at the numbers he needed. Neither option is a service I advertise or promote on my website. But I certainly do both on a regular basis for my clients.

When you have a set business model it’s easy to state what it is you do. In my case it’s marketing for consultants, trainers and professional speakers. But that’s not all I CAN do. Everyday I work across multiple marketing channels using skills that are transferable between most industries.

So if someone asks me to do something – even if it doesn’t fall neatly into the niche where I spend most of my time – I say yes. That’s because I’m adaptable to what my clients want. Unless it’s something I absolutely can’t do you won’t ever hear me say “I don’t do that.”

These smaller projects are rarely very lucrative in the short term. But they demonstrate value and a willingness to work with a client’s budget. So you never know if they are going to become something more in the future.

As a business owner you need to be ready when somebody offers an opportunity. You must see beyond your listed offerings and be able to think about what your clients need. If YOU still have some budget for marketing, let’s see what we can work out before the end of the year.

Contact me directly at 416-371-2680 or Aidan@shortcircuitmedia.com

tips on increasing blog conversion.

What should you do when your blog doesn’t convert?

tips on increasing blog conversion.You have a blog. That’s great. There’s just one problem. You don’t know what to do with it, and it shows because you’re seeing no conversions.

So what do you do if you have a fair amount of pageviews – and that’s a big if – and you find visitors bouncing out long before your call to action?

It’s actually a very common problem. According to Brafton’s 2017 CONTENT MARKETING BENCHMARK REPORT, B2C sites have an average bounce rate of 61%

So what can you do to reduce that number AND turn those visitors into paying clients?

Define your audience

This is the biggest factor when it comes to turning your blog into a proper marketing tool.  Simply filling whitespace with words is not a strategy. You need to know your audience well enough to keep them interested until the end.  Find out what age, gender, marital status, profession and interests your preferred blog readers are or have. Then ask yourself what challenges or problems they might encounter. Voila! You have blog post ideas that people are going to care about.

The very best blog posts that drive people to act on something are those that answer a question or help someone overcome a point of contention. These posts are great because the person is probably en route to buying something. That said, don’t answer all of the questions. Leave that to your call to action to get them to do something (such as contact you) to learn more.

Write a grabby title

You don’t necessarily want to write click bait (because people can smell desperation a mile away), but you want your posts to have attractive headlines. They’re what people are going to see first, and what they’re going to see in search results and on social media. It may very well be the one thing that convinces them to follow the link and read the article. So you need to be punchy.

There are headline analyzer tools out there, but the thing you want to do, as much as you can, is appeal to people’s emotions. Have a headline that tugs at the ol’ heart strings. That will be the key to getting people to read on.

Format articles for skimming

Your formatting will play a big part in how successful you are at getting people read to the end of your post. When people are online, they skim.  And as much as it kills me as a writer, I know that most visitors aren’t going to be paying too much attention to every single word.

So you’ll want to make sure you have headings to break up the text and have short paragraphs to avoid “paragraph soup.” Also use bulleted lists where you can. Also use images to break up the text and make sure your font sizes are legible.

Optimize Your Content for SEO

While you don’t want to do this too brazenly — stuffing your article full of keywords will more than likely get you penalized on Google — you do want to keep this in mind because, after all, you want people to find your content. So use keywords (if you can) in the headings and title of your piece and sprinkling them through your content. Use synonyms where appropriate and make sure your images have proper alt-text descriptions.

Have a Crystal Clear Call to Action

Always, always, always do this. You want people to do things with your article, whether it’s sharing it or clicking on a button for more content or contacting you. It really depends on what part of the buyer’s journey the article is speaking to. If your readers are just setting out doing their research on something you offer, the last thing you want to do is hammer them over the head with a sales pitch. Similarly, if people are ready to buy from you and your piece is solving a problem that only you can offer, get them to come to your physical location to close the sale – assuming you have a physical location.

If you’re struggling with the concepts and execution behind content marketing, we can help. Just contact us and let’s have a quick chat about how you can deploy great content and use it to achieve fantastic results.

Blog marketing tips

5 Tried and True Ways to Increase Your Blog’s Search Ranking

Blog marketing tipsIf you have a marketing blog, you’ll know the importance of ranking high in Google and other search engines. It is, after all, how most people are probably going to find you. The question is, how do you do this — especially if you have a new blog? Well, the answer isn’t easy: you may, in fact, have a bit of an upward battle ahead of you. The competition for eyeballs grows every day and most of these new bloggers know their way around search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines have also become more savvy over the years at figuring out what content has the highest value, which means you have a rough road ahead in terms of convincing them you should rank above everyone else.

It’s no longer about how many keywords you stuff into a blog post, it’s about how comprehensive and useful it is. Longer posts tend to get better rewarded — so long as you’re not putting the same keyword into every single paragraph and header. Still, what techniques should you use when it comes to making your blog rank higher in Google? This post will tell you a few of them.

Regularly Publish Quality Content First

It’s not so much about keywords anymore (though they’re still somewhat important and we’ll get to them a little later), it’s about how good your content is. If you write quality content for your intended users, you’re going to increase your site’s traffic and improve your authority and relevance — all things that a search engine looks at.

The other side of this equation is to be publishing quality content regularly. The more you publish, the more often search engines are going to visit you, and you may tend to rank higher as a result.

Put Your Content on Social Media

If you want to get higher rankings in Google, you have to promote your own content. You can do this by putting your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. If you put your content in more and more places online, Google will start collecting more information on it.

The other upshot is that if you provide crucial content to your social media following, they will start to visit your site and increase their engagement through their own social media channels. This creates backlinks to your content pages, which can help you rank higher in Google.

Just be sure that you aren’t “spamming” your followers. Always have useful information to share, but if you’re following tactic No. 1 up above, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Use Different Keywords and Keyword Phrases

If you’re going to focus on keywords at all, make sure that you’re using their synonyms, too. Use related phrases and concepts. Think of different ways your audience might look for information, and tailor your content to that. This will help you avoid “keyword stuffing” and be more useful and friendly to your audience, which will impact how highly your post ranks. However, try to be organic in your approach and use the keywords naturally. Otherwise, your content will look like it’s spam, and that can negatively impact your site ranking.

Be sure to add a keyword or two to your title, mostly the ones you want to be ranked for. Use focused keywords, not broad keywords. The more niche-like your keyword is, the more likely you’re going to rank higher for it.

Link to Older Articles That Are Relevant

Backlinks are a great way to get some of that “Google juice” happening. And one of the safer ways to do it is to link to older articles on your own site. If you already have an article published that’s related to something you’re now writing, link to it. You’ll help your SEO and also give the reader something of high value.

However, if you link to a page that has nothing to do with the current topic at hand, you’ll be doing more harm than good. So be judicious when using this tactic. Don’t link to something solely because you’ve noticed that a page isn’t ranking as well as it used to. And be sure to have relevant information in the text of your link — don’t just write “click here”.

Make Sure You’re Optimized for Mobile

Google is now saying that most searches from 10 countries have come from mobile devices. So you want to make sure that users can successfully view and search for your content on a smartphone or tablet. Make sure you do the following two things to get the most from this audience:

  • Ensure your pages, menus and posts are optimized for mobile.
  • Consider the different behaviours mobile versus personal computers may have in visiting your site, and tailor your content for that.

Are there any additional tips or strategies that you have for getting the most for your blog’s SEO buck? If so, feel free to comment below and tell us.

Align your marketing with sales

There was a time, not so long ago, when marketing teams had nothing to do with sales teams other than feeding them product information.

Then marketing took over the web portals at major companies. Next it was social media.

And sales just went along – business as usual.

But that model doesn’t work.

When products and services closely mimic each other across entire industries, finding a way to explain why your widget is marginally better than the widget made down the street is a tough task.

So how does your company stand out from the competition?

One of the buzz words you’re probably sick of hearing is customer engagement. This requires sales people to become more involved –  before and after the sale –  in order to keep existing customers coming back while also attracting new customers to the brand.

This is a role most salespeople are not used to; “Marketing is for marketers.”

Of course that’s a load of crap. In a business environment where most research is done online – marketing is everyone’s job.

So the number one goal of sales and marketing is to work together.

And the way to do that is to use the strengths of both to make the entire organization stronger.

Sales people are typically very good at communicating the benefits of the products and services they sell. While marketing are great at creating content.

So instead of producing brochures and web content focusing on benefits, marketing teams should instead give sales people content that builds credibility with clients and strengthens the brand.

How does this work?

Let’s say your company sells tires. Your tires might be great. But so are the tires other companies make. So how would your sales person get the attention of a fleet manager at a trucking company?

In the old days they might try emails and phone calls, just hoping to get past the gatekeeper.

But today you can find out a lot about a company simply by doing some research online. On LinkedIn you can find key employees and decision-makers quickly..

Once that’s done, it becomes a exercise in education and persuasion.

This is where marketing comes in. Instead of creating content around specific products, marketing can research and write content that appeals to the buyers’ interests.

Where once it was about telling people how amazing your tires are, the content, in the form of blog posts and articles become about safety tips, fuel efficiency, industry trends and regulatory changes. The tires are the product, but it’s the expertise and credibility that’s being sold.

So is your company still selling tires? You can always get cheaper tires. But expertise and experience are priceless.