C-Suite Network™

Marketing Personal Development

In your clients own words

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portraits Speaker Consultant Lou Diamond working on computer

Stop talking and let those you serve speak on your behalf.

So, I have this problem where I like to talk a lot, especially about the work I do with speakers, authors, and other expert-based businesses.

I get very excited, the sweat starts going, the cursing gets ramped up and my hands start to flail around like they have a mind of their own.

I sometimes have to catch myself, but never do. 

It’s because I love talking about visual storytelling and lifestyle portraiture – it’s in my blood and wholeheartedly believe every word I say. 

Although I understand that sharing this level of passion for the services I provide my clients is important, I also understand that my words alone are not enough to pique people’s interest in hiring me for my specialized help.

They need to hear from people who’ve experienced the process. 

They need to hear from people who were in their shoes and have come out on the other side much better off for the experience working with you.

For many years, I was under the impression that the work I created with clients speaks for itself.

Guess what?

It doesn’t.

Although a picture is worth a thousand words, it never opens its mouth to share them. 

That’s why I provide space for my clients to do so…

…and so should you!

Whether in written, audio-only or in video format, sharing your client’s thoughts on how you helped them with some aspect of their business is an extremely effective way for you to gain the attention of those who need you most. 

In addition to it representing social proof, these testimonials provide your audience an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of the person whose life and business has improved as a direct result of your products, services, and specialized attention. 

This helps create a direct connection between you and your audience, which goes a long way to developing a deeper connection and trust. 

Once you gain their trust, that’s when these audience members become paid clients who buy your book, attend your workshops and sign up for your online training programs. 


Keep one important point in mind:

These testimonials are not for you. 

They’re for those who read them so they can understand how you solve people’s points of friction in their businesses and lives.

Please don’t simply ask them to write a sentence or two about how amazing you are! 

This isn’t enough. 

What your audience wants to know is why the experience was amazing. And it’s your job to guide your clients when they’re crafting these testimonials to do just that.


When I first started sending out a list of questions to my clients, I felt very uncomfortable about it. I felt that it was a burden.

But then I started reading the testimonials I received and realized that this exactly what was needed in order to paint the full picture of the experience. 

In addition, I received a few thank you’s from those who leveraged the questions to create the testimonial because it made their lives easier.

They didn’t need to guesstimate what I wanted them to talk about – they simply answered the questions, combined them into several paragraphs and posted it to my LinkedIn page.



Everyone has their own way of communicating and sensibilities, so, rather than talk about how you word your questions, I feel it’s more valuable to talk about the types of questions that need to appear in your testimonial request.

Remember, it’s not a blurb of how amazing you are.

It’s a story that shares the value of how you positively affected someone’s life and business. 

Here’s how you can set up that story.


This is an extremely important question for your clients to answer. This is the entry point for those reading to start relating themselves to this person. 

This question fleshes out your testimonial clients initial points of friction that necessitated them booking a call with you.  Either the reader has the exact same friction in their life, or they can relate to it.

And this is exactly what you want. 

You want the reader to compare themselves to your testimonial client. While this question elicits an answer that’s all about their pain, there’s a happy ending to this story. 

Allow readers to envision themselves experiencing that same happy ending. 


Allow your testimonial client to share all of the juicy goodness that represents working with you.

Now this could actually be fleshed out through a series of questions that each focus on one particular aspect of your service, depending on how you structure your service offerings.

Make sure to allow your testimonial clients to highlight specific aspects of their experience through the questions you offer.

For example, don’t assume they will talk about how the on-boarding process set them up for success if you don’t specifically ask them to talk about it. 

Remember, you have options if an answer isn’t forthcoming or shaped in the way that you want.

One, you can ask them to elaborate on what they’ve written or two, you can strike it from the testimonial altogether.

But don’t assume anything.


Value has many meanings.

If you don’t offer questions that lead your testimonial clients down a path that describes the value you want prospects to know about, you’re running the risk of having them leave the good stuff out.

Questions that touch not only the quality of deliverables, but the empowerment that they feel now that they’re on the other side of working with you are also essential to offer. 

Remember – people don’t make buying decisions based on what they think – they base it on how they feel. If you create testimonials that touch on both, then you’re creating powerful marketing assets that get attention.

So, that’s pretty much it.

All you need are three types of questions and that will tell an effective story on your behalf. 

At the end of the day, these testimonials validate you in a way that you simply cannot do for yourself. 

It takes a little extra work and prodding of your past clients.

But, when potential clients consume these testimonials, the juice is worth the squeeze.

And, oh by the way, they’ll put a smile on your face, too, 🙂


John DeMato is a NYC branded lifestyle portrait photographer and storytelling strategist who serves speakers, authors, coaches and high-level entrepreneurs across the country. His 50+ page e-book, S.H.A.R.E. M.A.G.I.C.A.L. I.D.E.A.S., lays out the how, what and why behind creating a memorable and referable online presence – sign up to get your FREE copy today.

Marketing Personal Development

Here’s Why Your Book is a Content Goldmine for Social Media

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Thought Leader Pia Silva Book Baddass Your Brand

Pull Quotes from your Book and Leverage Them on Social

Creating consistent content that illustrates your expertise, life as a business owner and life as a human being is a lot of work – ask anyone who’s done it for any amount of time!

For me, it took YEARS to get to a place where I consistently posted valuable, informative and inspiring content that aims to create solutions for those I serve. But, when you’re a published author, your social content creation workload has been drastically cut down! How so? Well, that book that you’re currently promoting also happens to be a goldmine of social media content.

Quite frankly, there’s a lot of meat on that bone in terms of repurposing content!

The moment that I find out that I’m working with an author, I immediately get excited at the prospect of diving in and building out content pieces from that book that repurposes their expertise that they’ve crafted and honed over time. This presents a unique opportunity to create a solid foundation of content by creating a hyper-focused strategy that can offer a lot of content for months, even YEARS, on end. During pre-session strategy calls with my author clients, I first direct them to identify interesting passages, chapter titles, and sentences throughout their books, and use those words to create short, social media posts that elaborate on the concepts introduced in those words and phrases.

Usually, I instruct them to specifically choose passages that they can build a unique story around that teaches a lesson that is relatable to the audience they serve.

Example of Repurposing a Chapter Title

For example, I was working with an author/coach client the other day, and as we were flipping through his book, and we came across this page:

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Thought Leader book

I asked him if he felt he could write a valuable story that’s not the same anecdotes that he mentions in the book that focused on fear in a way that would serve his audience.

I suggest that clients mix it up and not always use verbatim passages from the book in their social media as a way to keep their content fresh and not literally a complete copy/paste job. Does that mean pulling entire paragraphs are illegal in some way?

Of course not – but, mixing in new stories with what you’ve already written allows the author the opportunity to provide some variety. It allows offers those in your audience who’ve already read the book a new spin on what is an old theme for them.

In any case, he had no problem creating a new story around the FEAR chapter title, and that’s when I snapped this photo and it became a part of his image content portfolio.

It’s that simple.

Why Not Simple Repurpose Content with Words Only?

I’ve often heard the counterpoint that it’s just easier to copy/paste the chapter title, sentence or passage into a simple text graphic for social.

And they would be right – it is MUCH easier.

That’s always an option, sure, but, the whole point of creating social posts is to gain your audience’s attention and inspire them to act on whatever call-to-action you set out at the conclusion of the post – comment, share, sign up for an offer, pick up the phone and call you, etc.

If you simply create a text on-screen graphic of the quote, yes, that certainly works, but, there is more dimensionality to an actual shot of the book itself – it’s more tangible, more real. It gives the impression to the viewer that they are reading the book themselves.

Photos like this draw people in by breaking down the fourth wall between you and them, and thus, becomes more relatable.

When you factor in that you’re competing against the rest of the noise in your audience’s newsfeeds, leveraging compelling images like this will help inspire them to stop, look and read…

…oh, and buy your book, as well, 🙂

John DeMato is an NYC branded lifestyle portrait photographer and content creation expert who serves speakers, authors, coaches and high-level entrepreneurs across the country. His 50+ e-book, S.H.A.R.E. M.A.G.I.C.A.L. I.D.E.A.S., lays out the how what and why behind creating a memorable and referable online presence – sign up to get your FREE copy today.

Marketing Personal Development

The Art Of Visual Punctuation

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Speaker Coach Kristi Data

See the art of visual punctuation in action…

…as illustrated by one of my clients.

It’s one thing to simply talk about how to properly leverage your image content.

I mean, I can talk – and HAVE talked – until I’m blue in the face about how important it is to use your images in a way that visually punctuates the sentiment and emotion of every story that you share with your audience.

It’s quite another to see it actually play out effectively on a living, breathing, social media feed.

One of my clients who is an expert at leveraging her images to visually punctuate her content is health and nutrition speaker/coach, Kristi Data.

I conducted a session with her a couple months ago, and since that time, she’s been burning up the socials with a barrage of image content that, quite frankly, makes me smile every time I see a new post pop onto my newsfeeds…

…not because everything she writes is sunshiney and happy-time, mind you; my joy derives from the way that she identifies and leverages photos from her massive, image content library to aptly compliment the informative and inspiring stories and lessons she shares with those she serves.  

Although Kristi posts a variety of branded lifestyle portraits and cameraphone images of herself, the posts that truly capture my attention are her quote posts.

Quote posts are when you incorporate a phrase, sentence or paragraph directly onto an image – usually positioned in the space opposite the person sitting in the frame –  in order to give your audience the chance to easily digest the sentiment before they move on to read the story listed in the caption.

These images are a wonderful way to simultaneously create a powerful piece of content, while also being visually attractive enough for your audience to stop, click and read the post.

I went to her Instagram feed and pulled a couple examples to specifically illustrate what I mean. Although Kristi generally complements these quote posts with a long-form story, I just want to focus on the actual image content for the purposes of this conversation.


NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Speaker Coach Kristi Data

This image/quote pairing is wonderful for many reasons.

Her facial expression immediately reads as focused and reflective as she works on her phone. When you factor in the dramatic lighting on her face, that further enhances this sentiment because it creates a very moody vibe, which speaks to the “moments when you think you can’t go on…” section of the quote.

In addition, the black and white tone strips away all potential distractions in the frame, which allows the viewer to focus on only two things – the facial expression and the words. And, since the words are adjacent to the expression, the impact of the overall message is extremely palpable.

Everything in this image aims to visually punctuate the quote, which then compels the viewer to scroll down and read on to learn more.


NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Speaker Coach Kristi Data smiling

I’m a sucker for capturing magical smiles – it’s ever-present in all of my work, which makes sense since I work with speakers, authors and coaches who empower their clients get past what’s holding them back in order up to show up in the world exactly the way they want.

A natural smile is a testament to this goal.

In the case of this image, Kristi’s smile is a wonderful visual punctuation of the sentiment of “choosing her(self)” over other influences in her life that doesn’t serve her ultimate goals and purpose in life.

Whereas in the first image where black and white served to enhance a reflective and pensive tone to the image, the color in this photo serves as a perfect compliment to the empowerment tone of the quote.

It’s bright and lively – and that’s how you will view life if you choose you over all else, 🙂

It’s addition by subtraction – and this photo visually punctuates that sentiment.


NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Speaker Coach Kristi Data Headshot

I love the play on words here, and this portrait – her expression, in particular – truly visually punctuates that catchy sentiment.

I wouldn’t say her smile is devious or sneaky, but, it has this level of quirk and smirk to it that aptly complements the “slay” portion of the phrase on the right side of the image.

I’d also say that her smile has a certain level of confidence and badassness to it, which also visually supports the phrase, overall.

On a more technical note, her text placement on the image is lovely because it falls directly in line with the severely out-of-focus portion of the image, which gives it a natural resting place within the image.

When you create your own quote posts, be sure to place your text in the image in a way that doesn’t obstruct or distract from the main area of attention – in this case, her body and face. If you do, it will disrupt the visual balance of the frame and not present itself as well as it should.


NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Speaker Coach Kristi Data reflective and pensive

In this post, Kristi used a black and white image again to enhance a sentiment of reflection, but, this time, the image is meant to visually punctuate a powerful affirmation.

Before I took out the color in this photo, her top is burgundy and the wall is a salmon/pink – all of that color is a bit distracting, so, choosing a desaturated image only serves to bring the audience’s attention to her facial expression, head angle, and the quote itself.

What I find very compelling about this image/text combo is that it feels like Kristi is saying this affirmation over and over again in her head, as she looks down and repeats it to herself as if it were her daily mantra.

It’s an interesting and powerful way to visually express the importance of this sentiment to her audience.

Her reflection on the right side of the frame only serves as an amplification of the importance of repeating this positive and empowering self-talk to yourself – and, I mean, it does add a cool, visual wrinkle to the image overall, too 🙂

As you can see, when you capture a variety of branded lifestyle portraits across a wide emotional range, you have a lot of creative opportunities to leverage these images in a way that visually punctuates the sentiments of the stories and messages that you share with your audience.

My hope is that you will see the flexibility within your own image content portfolios and start creating magical posts that move your audience to get past what’s holding them back, 🙂

John DeMato is a NYC branded lifestyle portrait photographer and content creation expert who serves speakers, authors, coaches and high-level entrepreneurs across the country. His 50+ e-book, S.H.A.R.E. M.A.G.I.C.A.L. I.D.E.A.S., lays out the how, what and why behind creating a memorable and referable online presence – sign up to get your FREE copy today.


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