How to Use Signaling Theory for Your Business

This podcast audio served as the source for the blog post “Use Signaling Theory to Improve Your Business.” 

The transcript was rewritten to produce the blog post, which is the cornerstone of the Shortcut Content system.

Shayla: Welcome to the Shortcut Content podcast. I’m talking with founder Dave Young today. Dave, you want to talk about signaling theory so why do you tell us what that is?

Dave: Signaling theory. It’s a really interesting concept. It’s typically something that’s known by biologists because animals use signaling theory. It’s how they can express their strength, and I’ll give you an example in just a second. But my friend Tom Wanek wrote this book called Currencies That Buy Credibility. And one of the foundations of this book is this idea of using signaling theory, which is what animals do in the wild, in a way for your business.

And so in a roundabout way, what I’m talking about is, what message does it create when you have a website that is just a dozen static pages, versus a website that has fresh, new blog post material every day?

So relate that, in Tom’s book, Currencies That Buy Credibility, one of the examples that he gives is the gazelle and the cheetah and gazelles have a pretty amazing little thing that they do. It’s called stotting. And what happens is if a cheetah is hanging out in the tall grass and sees all the gazelles, and then the gazelles spot the cheetah, the stronger gazelles will start jumping straight up into the air. And they’ll just continue to do that. They jump straight up into the air, kind of arch their backs, and then prances around like that and the cheetahs don’t chase those gazelles. They chase the gazelles that are conserving their energy, because they know they may have to run for their lives.

And so the signaling theory, the signal that the healthy gazelles are putting out is I’ve got a lot of energy. I’m a fast gazelle. You probably don’t want to chase me, Mr. Cheetah, because you’re not going to catch me, because I’ll out run you. And the weaker gazelles that aren’t stotting, are saving their energy. They can’t stot. They’re either too old or too young, or they’re not the ones that are going to go fast. So the cheetah is going to chase the ones that aren’t signaling that they are up for the game. So when we connect that back to your website, if you’re the business that has lots of expert information on your site, versus the business that doesn’t, and I’m a consumer checking out a couple different ones, trying to make my decision, the signal that you’re sending me, if you’ve got a healthy, active blog, is that you’re an expert, and you’re around and you’ve got a heartbeat and you care enough to share some of this information. And so that’s the signaling theory application for creating blog posts and doing podcasts and putting content on your website. You’re letting people know that you’re for real, that you’re credible, and that there’s an expert in here.

Shayla: And if someone’s listening and knows that they probably need to get that site a little bit more active, how do they go about starting the process with Shortcut Content?

Dave: You can reach out on our website on the contact page, there’s a form, there’s a phone number. We’re not hard to find. And if you’re interested in Tom Wanek’s book, Currencies that Buy Credibility, I highly recommend it and I think you can either catch that on his website, and we’ll find a link to it and put it in the comments, and I think it’s also available on Amazon. And look, it matches my shirt. That’s kind of nice.

Shayla: Alright, so for more information on anything Dave has talked about, I don’t know, where’d you get your shirt? Do you know?

Dave: At the shirt store.

Shayla: Oh, okay. We’ll link all of the in the comments then. If you have any questions about any of that, go to