2 Blogging/Marketing Tips

It’s been a while since I’ve provided any tips/tricks or advice related to blogging, so I figured tonight’s a perfect time.

If you’re looking to expand your blog to a wider audience, to get more hits, and to have even more regular readers who continue coming back, try these two things:

The first piece of advice is to post content regularly. The easiest, most effective way to gain regular readers is to post content regularly. If someone reads your blog and is interested enough to come back, make sure there’s new content for them to see when they come back to your blog.

This doesn’t mean that you need to post daily. This means that you need to post regularly. If you want people to return to your blog, you need to be posting on a schedule. Whether you determine that’s every day, twice a week, twice a month – whatever you have time to commit to – let your audience know. If you want to post once a week, tell your audience they can come back for new posts on Mondays. If you want to post twice a month, tell your audience to come back on the first and the fifteenth. The simple act of having the schedule will create a psychological call to action for them to come back and read what you have to share.

POST REGULARLY. Whatever you’re able to commit to, do it. If you don’t, it’ll be a lot harder for you to garner the audience you so desire with your blog.

The second piece of advice that I have is to relate pop-culture and news stories to your blog content. If something happens in the news, share your take on it!

Now hear me out – a lot of people think that the best way to attract the web to their blog is through click-bait. Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and YouTube are filled with clickbait. People are trying to get attention through dishonest tactics. For some it might work in the short term. Long term, though, there’s no sustainability in trying to lie to your audience repeatedly and hoping they care for you.

How do you get people to care? Relate your content to something they care about.

For example, let’s say that you write a blog about travel. People love travel. The odds are, if you’re sharing content regularly, a certain amount of people can, and will, find your content. You’ll get decent feedback and your blog will be ‘cruisin’. But if you’re looking to expand, perhaps you share your story about a certain country. Now, let’s say that you notice the news is talking this week (right now on September 14, 2021) that the Arc De Triomph in Paris has been wrapped up. People all over the world are googling why the Arc De Triomph was wrapped up. Now would be the perfect time to share your stories and photos from the last time you visited the Arc De Triomph. Mention in your post you saw the news story about why it’s been wrapped (more for search engine crawlers then anything) and then share your content.

Your story and photos about the Arc De Triomph could/would get double, triple or five times the views if you decided to write about it/post about it this week, versus had you done it a month ago. Take advantage of what’s in the news – what people will inevitably be using Google to search for right now, in the present.

When someone gets to your blog to read about the Arc De Triomph, perhaps then and there is when they see “suggested posts” and read other posts, and you convert them to a reader. They stumbled upon you accidentally, when googling why the Arc De Triomph is wrapped, and now you get to keep them as a reader.

Both of these suggestions obviously take some time, effort and a little bit of planning. But, if properly executed, it’s an easy, free and honest way to increase traffic to your blog. You don’t need to post clickbait. You don’t need to beg for traffic on Twitter. You just need to be strategic about when you’re posting and when. Strategy is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

Acronym Only

In follow up to this story, Acronym Only has launched a new advertising campaign that directly calls out my company. Acronym Only controls a solid 80 percent of the market share in our industry, and now, they have an advertising campaign that directly calls out my company.

You know how good that makes me feel?

I got under their skin. They’re quaking. Their users are leaving their company for mine and they don’t know what to do about that.

In marketing, one of the worst things you can do is call out another company by name in an advertisement. Why? Because no product is perfect. Coke doesn’t want people to ask how Pepsi compares. Coke wants people to only think about Coke. Nike doesn’t ever want to acknowledge Adidas because as soon as they do they know they’ve opened the door for people to consistently and continuously ask them ‘well what about Adidas?’

Acronym Only has created a campaign that says ‘You could go with [My company], or you could stick with the best’.

  1. Best is subjective.
  2. Have fun answering questions all about the features my company offers that yours pails in comparison too.
  3. You’re losing market share and you’re scared and that shows.
  4. My company (myself through use of company platforms) now has space, rent free, in the head of whomever is making these decisions. I FUCKING LOVE THAT.

Now I have to think about this campaign and figure out a way to use it to my advantage.

Sleepy Vee

I worked from 8:00 am to 11:15 pm yesterday and I am tired.

There’s a well known company in the digital technology world, known largely known only by acronym, that’s been following the digital footprint I’m leaving for my company around the web since January. It’s like they woke up and just decided they were going to follow my strategy and ‘one-up’ it all the way through. If I pay for logo placement in third, they’re coming along a month later and paying for logo placement in second. Needless to say, it’s become quite tedious to try and differentiate ourselves when they seem hellbent on keeping us in the same breath.

Everyone’s always told me that they don’t market because they’re so big that they don’t need to. They control [X] amount of the market space, so why waste their dollars on marketing? Well, this year they’ve seemingly changed their minds. Their marketing strategy is to stalk my company’s LinkedIn and then do exactly what we’ve done.

Everyone’s always told me that they don’t attend shows and conventions because they’re so big that they don’t need to. They control [X] amount of the market space, so why waste their dollars on conventions? Well, this year they’ve seemingly change their minds. They seem to be attending no more, and no less, then the exact amount of shows I’ve signed the Texas crew up to attend.

Coincidence? I don’t work for them so I cannot speak to what they’re doing at this stage. I can speculate that they’re watching my company’s LinkedIn page and mirroring what my company is doing. I can also say that it’s really pissing me off.

When I took on this position last year I realized pretty quickly that I mass advertising wasn’t going to do me any good. With ‘Acronym Only’ company controlling such a giant share of the market, I decided that my best approach was not going to be casting a wide need, but rather, a targeted net. Instead of doing nation wide campaigns, or international campaigns, I’ve been specifically targeting sections of the population in certain states and regions of specific countries around the world. This has allowed my company’s profile to multiply five-fold in just a year’s time because people are seeing that one of our strongest suits is not being a multi-national corporation. (I say that in the figurative sense of the term, as my company is by all legal perspectives both a corporation and multi-national)

The problem that I think ‘Acronym Only’ company has is that they’re so big and they have so many people on staff and they have so much money to work with that they’ve lost touch with their ability to really reach people on an individual scale. I have exploited that. It was always my goal to exploit that.

When you call ‘Acronym Only’, you’re directed to a call centre from one of more than a dozen countries where a 10 minute long answering machine will help direct you to the right support person. You have a better chance of winning the lottery then talking to the same support person twice. When you call my company, you get the support team at my company. They’ll tell you their names, office phone and email address so that if your issue persists, you can contact them again. People need that. Despite the trend of massive conglomerates who can automate literally every aspect of their business they don’t want to do these days, people need to know that a company cares.

Well, this year ‘Acronym Only’ has decided to try and prove that they care. The way that they are trying to prove they care is by one-upping everything my company, and I, are doing.

I honestly don’t think its my personal strategy they’re trying to steal. I just think that they’re so big and have so many staff that they really don’t understand how to connect with people on a personal level anymore. I think they found a company they thought appeared to be doing it well, and they’re mimicking that. Which is sad and pathetic, really.

It’s making for some long ass days for me, though.

Trying to stay on top of a multi-billion dollar company wasn’t something I wove into my marketing strategy for the year. Reassessing takes more time than proper planning and execution did.

I think it goes to show, though… money can’t buy you everything. A good strategy is about making the best use of the tools available to you. It’s not about how much money you have to spend.

Instagram giveaways are more valuable for them then they will ever be for you

I’ve noticed a new trend on Instagram in which, instead of doing giveaways with a singular influncer, brands are now doing giveaways with a handful of influencers all together. I can only assume this was the brain child of a manager at a common management agency they all share. Nevertheless, this idea, from the business perspective, is actually genius.

Influencers who do solely internet based influencing for their career have managers. Instead of reaching out to a brand and asking if they can have free shit, their manager will do that. Their manager will email a marketing representative at said brand and say ‘Hey, I’ve got [Influencer Name] with [X] followers. They’ll shout you out to said followers if you give them free stuff. They’ll provided target, specific content for your brand if you give them something to give away’.

Let’s use Peloton, for an example. (Using Peloton because I’ve seen several groups of influencers giving away a peloton lately)

Here’s some basic Marketing related math for you.

  • Peloton sponsors an influencer that we’ll call Jill. They give her one bike for herself and one bike to give away to one of her 500,000 followers. Jill tells her 500,000 followers to follow Peloton in order to be entered to win.
  • Jill has a potential to reach 12-18 percent of those followers on an average post, but typically with giveaways you can reach 25 to 30 percent. If we guestimate that she reaches the smallest percentage of followers with her post, 12 percent of 500,000 is 60,000 followers.
  • If we factor in that of those 60,000 followers reached, about 10 percent of them will actively follow Peloton, which is 6,000 new followers for Peloton. 6,000 new followers for the price of two bikes means that these bikes have already paid for themselves.
  • Now, if we factor in that of those 6,000 new followers got, roughly 2% of them are actually inclined to just go buy the Peloton themselves and have the spare change to do so, there’s roughly 120 people who could potential purchase the bike outright after seeing the giveaway.
  • Considering they have already made their money back with the followers earned, even if only one of those 120 people purchase a Peloton after seeing Jill’s sponsored post, that’s pocket change for Peloton. That’s profit. Measurable profit. Imagine if ten people bought them? 20?

When I say that Jill’s post has the potential to reach 12-18 percent of followers and that 10 percent of them will actively act on seeing the post to follow Peloton, these numbers aren’t pulled from thin air. They’re basic guestimates used in the industry for ROI calculations.

Where the management company comes in is that they’ve realized a way to increase the value to the brand and the influencer, whilst minimizing the work for everyone. How do they do that? Instead of one influencer giving away one bike, five influencers are now giving away one bike. Not each, total. This means Peloton is giving away one bike, and instead of having access to just Jill’s followers, they now have access to Jill’s followers, Jen’s followers, Sarah’s followers and so on and so forth.

Instead of Jill propping up Peloton, Jill is now propping up Peloton and each her four friends. Jills four friends are also doing the same thing for her.

If Jill, Jen, Sarah and the rest of them all have half a million followers, for example, Peloton has multiplied the math of their original outcomes five-fold. In the process, each of these influencers are also seeing their own follower count growing, for the Peloton sponsored content that’s 1/5th as valuable as it was before.

As an Instagram user, your chance of winning has gone from 1 in 500,000 to 1 in 2.5 million. As an Instagram user, you’ve gone from having to follow one extra user, to having to follow 5 extra users. As an Instagram user, you’re doing the work for them. They’re posting a 15 second story to Instagram and offering you 1/5th the chance you had before. In the process, they’re improving their stats for future advertisers. What are you doing? Filling your Instagram feed with annoying influencers in hopes of being the 1 in 2.5 million people who wins a $2,000 bike?

Peloton has millions of dollars to set aside each year for giveaways. Millions. Paying $2,500 (or however much it costs for the bike with shoes and whatnot) to give away one bike, that gives their brand the potential to reach 2.5 million people is PENNIES. Literal pennies.

Long story short: Influencers get the followers. The brand gets followers and sales. Instagram users get… to follow five extra, potentially annoying accounts, for 1/5th the chance at a prize they would’ve had in previous years.

If you’re someone who doesn’t care who you follow on Instagram, please don’t @ me. I’m not saying that having to follow five people is arduous work. I’m merely suggesting that a management company has created a model in which brands and influencers invest absolutely nothing in people and people invest everything in brands and influencers. That’s what drives the influencer industry – they influencers and brands do as little work as possible and users pay for it with their social media currency, their time, their attention and their dollars.

My Day Job

I keep posting this and then sending it back to my drafts folder to make edits. I really should just leave it up.

When it comes to work, I’ve talked a lot about how I work in marketing, communications and public relations. This is all true. My position is one of those chameleon positions that tends to change based on the day. I don’t have a set description of duties because those duties change depending on what is happening.

Here’s a little bit of an explanation of what being Director of Marketing entails:

I draft emails, press releases and professional reports for distribution and print in three countries on two continents, hoping to expand to eight countries on three continents in the next 12 months. I also edit emails, press releases and professional reports and act as the last set of eyes to see information before it’s distributed externally.

I maintain the company website. This involves daily maintenance and upgrades, adding and removing content, collecting registration information, optimizing SEO for the company and much more. I also use the company website to run the company blog – something that has become a bit of a behind the scenes look at the magic my coworkers create.

I create and maintain Google Ads for the company as a measure to help direct even more people to our company website. This is done through identifying what terminology is important to our executives, as well as using an SEM/Keyword Search Tool to stay up to date on what the most popular trends on Google are.

I encourage clients to leave reviews about our company and the software that we sell because I understand the importance of reviews to people who are considering investments of six figures in specialized software like that which we sell.

I manage a sales team of seven people. We’ve been developing and executing a sales plan over the past five months to grow awareness of our products around the world, and hopefully increase our clientele.

I am in charge of graphic design for the company. This includes adding any new design templates to our website, creating info-graphic advertisements for both print and digital publications, designing animations for our YouTube channel and I’m sure a half dozen other places that I can’t think about at the particular moment that I’m writing this. I have more than 800 fonts on my computer and I can tell you which are good fonts for which occasion by the back of my hand. Types of fonts, colours, sizes of documents/images/graphics, they all matter deeply when it comes to consumer purchasing trends.

I make videos for our YouTube channel. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

I manage the company’s social media platforms, ensuring a balance between promotion and showcasing the lifestyle of our company and employees. I’ve given our company platforms a very sassy personality and people seem to be enjoying it. I think it’s a nice change from the otherwise very bland topics that run our industry. I seek growth, I seek to share knowledge and I seek to make an impact with our platforms that is enough for people to want to continue coming back.

I develop presentations for sales calls, events, tradeshows and conventions (that last two have been online the past year) and investment meetings.

I watch daily, weekly, monthly and annual trends within the industry to ensure that our company stays relevant, that we continue to grow and that we maintain our knowledge of competitors to keep a competitive edge.

I send monthly email campaigns/newsletters to 20,000 people to share about our corporate structure, goals, services and products. I keep all analytics from these campaigns to ensure that I improve on each message the following month.

I track our company’s analytics across all platforms. What pages people visit, what emails people open, what videos people watch, how much time they spend doing each activity… these are all important statistics to help my team do a better job in the future.

I organize press conferences for the company. These haven’t happened that often lately, largely due to COVID, and when they have they’ve been more of a virtual feed that we send to journalists. But, I’m that person that’s ensuring there are no wrinkles in the curtain being used as a black background because I know small things like that can look unprofessional and distract from messages you’re trying to deliver.

I host professional development courses for scientists around the world, teaching them the basics of our software. I highly recommend the tactic of using your own products to teach someone something knew. Those who seek knowledge become guinea pigs for your own products and they often don’t even realize it.

I work with charitable organizations across North America to ensure that we donate a portion of our funds back to people in need. Prior to COVID my company did a lot of physical, in-person, volunteering. Since COVID began, though, we’ve switched to a model solely focused on donations because we understand that a bunch of extra heads in and around charitable organizations right now could be dangerous to the spread.

I try my best to understand everyone. I don’t always agree with them. Actually, I don’t agree with them a lot of the time. But, I understand them. I understand them because marketing is about understanding people. It’s about being able to put yourself in their shoes, and being able to know where they’re coming from. If you can know where they’re coming from, you can know how to appeal to them and how to help them. Realistically, that’s all anyone wants.

I think one of the most important things I do is provide a balance. My coworkers often come to me and ask my thoughts on something they’re working on – they treat me as somewhat of a trusted resource and I’m really proud of that. They know I’ll be honest with them and I know they’ll be honest with me. I think this is a reason why we improve upon our communication and messaging each month. I think this is why we’re growing steadily. We’re not afraid to be honest with one-another if something sucks. This pushes our entire office to be better. And, when we operate at a higher level of quality, continuously, people recognize that.

There’s a lot that goes into marketing. And, sharing this isn’t necessarily about bragging, although I’m sure that the majority of this post sounds like I am bragging. I just wanted to explain that there are facets to this type of work that a lot of people don’t think about, or understand. And that’s totally fine. Just… know… know that when I rant about marketing, when I share tips and tricks, it comes from a good place. I’m very passionate about marketing and the difference it can make in what you, I, or anyone is able to accomplish.

Marketing is important. Marketing can make, or break, a company/person. At the end of the day, everything tied to marketing is based upon understanding people. This is why you can always tell when good marketing is happening and… when people really understand the audience they’re marketing towards.

The one where I rant about Marketing

So, I’m sitting in a conference virtual session this morning, and I’m listening to a woman spew absolute bullshit about marketing that is infuriating.

The ticket to this conference costs $500. My work is paying $500 for me to be at this conference, and they’re also still paying my salary while I’m not ‘in the office’ doing office things for the next two days, which is another bunch of money. So, we’re invested.

The lesson this woman is teaching: to grow online, follow as many people as you possibly can, wait a few days and then unfollow anyone who didn’t follow you back.

This isn’t marketing. This is fucking stupid. Don’t do this, people. Don’t play the ‘how many people can follow me back’ game. Just don’t do it. We’re not in high school. We’re not trying to get people to sit with us at lunch. Marketing is about real-world engagement. I know people typically roll their eyes at me when I tell them that, but it’s true.

The goal with marketing is not to get 100,000 followers. Sure, 100,000 followers sounds great in theory, but if 99,600 of them don’t give a rats ass about what you’re doing, then what’s the point in them following you? The goal is to find people who resonate with your content, your products or what you’re trying to share. If you run a small store that sells candles, you want people who like to buy candles following you. If people don’t buy candles but they follow you, they’re not contributing to you, your business or your marketing efforts. If you run a blog about parenting, you want moms and dads to follow you. If people following you are 16 year old kids who don’t read your content, or even remotely pay attention to your blog, you’re essentially speaking into the void. Marketing is about finding your people, your niche and your space on the internet. Marketing has absolutely nothing to do with quantity of followers, and everything to do with quality of followers.

If you’re good at marketing, it won’t matter if 50 people read your blog or 50,000 people read your blog. They’re all going to pay attention because they care about what you have to say. What’s the point in having 50,000 following you if only 50 of them actually read your blog? There isn’t a point.

Marketing is about appealing to people.

Marketing is about resonating.

Marketing is about creating messaging that matters. Telling a story that’s worthy of being listened to.

Marketing IS NOT adding as many people as you can to try and get them to follow you back to that you can look popular. Looking popular doesn’t translate to real interaction.

If you’re using digital platforms to try and make friends, you don’t need 100,000 friends. You won’t ever have 100,000 friends. So even still, playing ‘how many people can I get to follow me back’ is ridiculous.

Real growth online is slow. It’s calculated. It takes effort. It takes communication. It’s thoughtful. It’s garnering an audience who is exactly who you would wish for your content to reach. If you sell candles, it’s building an audience of candle lovers. If you write about parenting, it’s building an audience of people who care about parenting. It’s not going after the entire population of the planet…

I’m pretty sure this isn’t coherent due to my having been ranting so long. I’m going to end this here.

Algorithms that I predict will ‘pop off’ in 2021

On blogs, on vlogs, on podcasts, YouTube, social media and beyond, these are some of the subjects I predict will see exponential growth in popularity throughout 2021.

BUDGETING

With the world still deep in the throws of this pandemic, tens (if not hundreds) of millions out of work and a lot of those still working truly struggling with their finances, I predict we will see a shift in the digital paradigms away from ‘hauls’ and frivolous spending, towards budgeting.

What is a budget? How do you budget? What’s an appropriate budget for a single person, or a couple, or a family? While it might seem like second nature, it definitely doesn’t take the importance in the high-school curriculum that Pythagoras Theorem did. I predict people are going to be using the resources they still do have to research how to make better use of their money going forward.

Where does one go to get budgeting advice when they cannot afford the fees of a financial advisor? The world wide web.

COOKING/MEAL PREP/ELIMINATING FOOD WASTE

Food prices are going up in 2021. In a lot of places they have already begun to rise. $100, or whatever you spend on your budget, isn’t going to stretch as far as it used to.

I predict people will, in droves, be searching advice of how to meal prep, how to cook and eat from home (rather than going out) and how to eliminate food waste. Gone are the days in which purchasing a $5 salad kit only to have it go bad in your fridge over two-three weeks is acceptable. People will be doing all that they can to eat the food that they purchase and get as much food as they can for as little as they can (how to shop sales).

PREGNANCY/BABY RELATED CONTENT

The pandemic baby boom has already started, and will only continue to grow as quarantine babies are brought into this world.

I’ve already seen a lot of these moms sharing their stories on various digital platforms. From what they need for pregnancy to what they need for baby. From how they adjust to being a parent to what it’s like giving birth in a world that’s anything but stable, the mom content is going to grow in popularity over the next year. Moms will search other moms. Prospective parents will search moms. Random people will find moms and stay for the fascination aspect.

RECOVERY RELATED CONTENT

Another topic that will be popular due to a direct result of the pandemic and how it’s affected people. Yes, people struggled with drugs, alcohol and other substances prior to 2020, but 2020 made it just that much worse for a lot of people. As said people come to grips with their reality of addiction and try to find recovery, I do believe they will search for positive reinforcement and someone who understands what they’re going through.

Recovery. Healing. Acceptance. Rock bottom. Mental Health. These subjects all sort of… intertwine. I see 2021 being a big year for all of them in the digital sphere.

INVESTING

I don’t quite fully understand why this one has picked up so much steam so quickly, but it has. Gone are the days of investing being owned by the fiscally well-off, responsible, nearly a grandma/grandpa group. The promotion of investing from any age is taking hold. Simple blogs nurturing knowledge about penny stocks are garnering hundreds of thousands of views per week. Teenagers are becoming millionaires and convincing other’s to do it as well. I truly believe more people will seek out investing as their side-hustle, and if they do well enough, their primary hustle. (It’s worth noting it’s more of a rarity for it to become a primary hustle… in spite of what they want you to believe on the podcasts)


I’m already starting to see a shift into self-reliance and independence. I’m also seeing a shift away from ‘buy all the things’ to ‘us what you have’. I think that subjects elevated in 2021 will largely be about self-improvement. Last year everyone tie-dyed their clothing and learned how to make bread, this year they’re going to face their demons, their shortcomings and probably try to teach themselves how to play guitar.

**I need to make a mental note to come back to this post in one year’s time to see how close, or far off, I was from what turned out to be the year in trends.

I don’t have a good feeling about this

The CEO, without consulting me, signed our company up for a contract with a B2B Agency in the United States. I learned of it in the December company staff meeting. Apparently I am set to start working with them in January and he’s arranged everything.

The CEO is also on holiday until January 2nd.

I will preface this story by saying that I don’t have a lot of faith in B2B Agencies. While I am sure there are a few good ones scattered here and there, the majority of the industry is… kind of a giant money grab. There, you’ve heard my bias. Now, on with the story.

This morning he sent an email to the gentleman who will be an account manager for us at the B2B Agency. He cc’ed me on this email so I both know the account manager’s name, and the business name now.

Since the CEO is off for the next two weeks, I thought I’d do a little bit of research to find out what he’s signed me up for in January.

My first issue – when I google the company, they don’t come up on the first page of google. They don’t even come up on the second page of google. This is a company that charges tens of thousands of dollars to tell you how to revamp your digital footprint, and all that’s listed on the front page of google when you search them is a street view of their supposed office address and a link to their Instagram and Facebook pages. Considering they claim to have been in business since 2009, how have they never invested in SEO?

My second issue – the Company website of this B2B agency is a shell. What does that mean? There’s a whole lot of flashy pictures and important buzzwords, but there’s not much else there. At all. For a company that specializes in digital marketing, social media and using your online footprint to generate leads, they haven’t seemed to invest anything into their own footprint.

My third issue – there are three different physical addresses listed for this company. On their Google business page they are listed as having an address that is a Dollarama store. On their Facebook page they provide an address that is a house in a different city. The third address, found on their company website, lists them as being in a somewhat famous building in the heart of the city. The building, famous for it’s only having four floors amidst skyscrapers that have 50+ floors, has a listing of tenants online. This B2B Agency is not in the listing of tenants. Okay, so I told myself that they moved from the house to the Dollarama location to the office building and just never bothered to update their addresses online. Then I told myself they only moved to the office building recently, so that’s why the tenant list hasn’t been updated. In my investigation, I called the building’s lobby and said that I was headed down their to visit the B2B agency and that I wasn’t sure where there was parking and I was wondering if they would provide any insights. The building lobby said ‘Who are you coming to see?’ I repeated the name of the company and the person said ‘I think you might have the wrong address’.

Okay, so… if it’s a company operating out of a house, there’s nothing wrong with that. Why are they lying and pretending to be in an office downtown, though?

My next issue – their shell of a website claims they specialize in B2B Marketing and Lead Generation through enhancing a companies digital footprint for strategic placement in ideal markets. (Marketing speak for ‘WE DO SOCIAL MEDIA’) This multi-million dollar B2B agency has five different Instagram pages, none of which have been updated since 2019. Oh, did I mention the Facebook page of their’s that I found the house address on hasn’t been updated since 2018? They also haven’t updated their Twitter since 2015. Weirdly, these Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages all manage to rank higher on Google than their company website. So, are they showing potential clients what to not do with their online footprint?

Their website claims that they have 200 employees, but their staff directory claims to have four.

Okay, so all of these coincidences have my spidey senses tingling that this is some sort of a sham, take your money and give you a crap already written report type of B2B agency. So, I kept digging.

The CEO, CFO, COO and CMM (the only four listed employees in the staff directory) all have private LinkedIn accounts. Okay, they want to keep their information private? I can understand that. Except, they literally sell a service that is… their expertise. So keeping yourself private on LinkedIn is… I don’t understand that motivation. Oddly, all four of them have have exactly 387 contacts on LinkedIn. No more, no less. 387 contacts.

Their website claims they have over 1,200 happy clients yet there is not one review of their company/services seemingly anywhere on the internet.

Their website claims they have worked with some big name brands like Nike and Samsung and one particular major market sports team in the United States. There’s nothing that says anything about the work they did, though. And when you google the two company names together – the B2B name and Nike, for example, NOTHING comes up. If Nike is your claim to fame for a client/agreement that you’ve had and done, how is there no trace of that business relationship anywhere on the internet accept for your partnership page?

My spidey senses are really tingling at this point in time.

I am not crazy, I promise. I just… one or two coincidences I would consider acceptable. Everything that I found today seems too much to be true. Could every last one of these oddities be a coincidence? And they all just happen to be true and look weird? Could I be overthinking this?

Our CEO is a really smart individual when it comes to a lot of things, but he’s openly admitted several times before that he knows next-to-nothing when it comes to marketing and promotion, and that’s one of the reasons he hired me. I fear he is walking us right into a… costly, poorly executed trap.

SEO for WordPress bloggers

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is such a loaded subject. If you’re new to SEO it can be extremely overwhelming to subject to try and comprehend. Heck, even if you’re a seasoned vet with SEO it can be an extremely overwhelming subject to try and comprehend.

I’m no expert when it comes to SEO. But, I have learned a thing or two over the past decade. So, included in this post are some of my basic, easiest to understand suggestions to help you improve SEO for your blog. Whether you use the free WordPress plan or the Business WordPress Plan take some small steps and watch how your stats change.

SEO TIPS

If you have the WordPress business plan, use the Yoast plugin. This won’t be applicable unless you have the business plan. But, if you have the business plan, Yoast gives you what is essentially a step-by-step guide of how to take a post from a basic post to an SEO superstar.

Pick a valuable keyword for your content. Keywords are are words or phrases that describe the content on your page or post the best. Essentially, a keyword is what you think people will search on Google to find the post that you’re writing. It’s important to pick a keyword that speaks to what you’re sharing, and that it also be something people will search. Keep in mind that if you pick too generic, you might not get indexed. And, if you pick too specific and people might not actually search it often… if at all.

Utilize keywords throughout your content. It’s important to ensure that selected keywords (subject matter) for your posts are woven throughout your content. This means trying to include your keyword within the title, any headings and subheadings used, DEFINITELY within your introductory sentence, and the concluding paragraph. Do not put your keyword in places where it is not applicable.

Optimize any images shared. If you’re uploading a photo to your blog, include keywords in the file name. If you have a business account, use a keyword rich description in the ATF. If you do not have a business account, use a keyword applicable caption.

Reference both internal and external links within your posts. With respect to your content, you should think of your blog as a sort of… digital spider web.

  • An internal link is one that links from your post to another page or post on your site. This is really quite simple, actually. If you make a post, link other similar posts. If you frequently talking about anxiety, link other posts you’ve made about anxiety. If you talk about parenting frequently, link some similar posts where you speak about parenting. Doing this creates a digital spiderweb within your own site, which tells search engines you’ve been around for a while.
  • An external link is one that goes elsewhere on the web. You can link to posts made by other bloggers. You can link to the site that possibly motivated you to write your post. When you are linking externally, make sure the site you’re sharing a link to is one relevant to your article. Don’t just link to link. Quality links are a valuable piece to any site looking to rank higher on search engine pages and the digital spider web you’re trying to weave should speak to your blog and it’s content/value

Use social media to broaden your reach and share your blog posts. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are all great resources for sharing your posts and garnering more views. You can make new friends and acquaintances on these sites, grow your audience and your blog’s reach. And, in sharing links to your posts on social media, you’re both adding to the digital spider-web of your blog, and creating valuable back-links to your website.

Have a user friendly website. If your website is difficult to navigate, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your menu is difficult to find, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your text is a neon green colour that can be difficult to read, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. The sites which rank the highest within search engines are the ones that are most user-friendly to the masses. It makes sense if you think about it – why would google recommend a website to you that’s going to give you a headache trying to navigate? If your website is confusing, maybe it’s time to make some upgrades.

Fix broken links. Broken links can do a lot of harm to you when you’re trying to get your site indexed for search engines. If you do everything you can to have your content indexed but you do have broken links within your site, those broken links are going to ‘delegitimize’ your site/blog to search engine crawlers responsible for indexing. Think of broken links like people who try to clean by shoving everything in the closet and shutting the door. The mess is still there, you’ve just hidden it. Even if you’re taking every other step possible to be indexed, if you’ve got broken links within your site, your mess is still there, it’s just hidden.

Fix your blank pages. If you have a menu item on your site that goes nowhere at all, that’s going to harm your ability to be indexed. Even if it has nothing to do with your post content. If there’s a blank page somewhere on your site, search engine crawlers could possibly believe your site is incomplete and deem it not worthy of being indexed.

Make your posts content easy to read and understand. Use short sentences. Use headings. Use subheadings. Use bolded sentences when you’re trying to accentuate a point. Break up the content into small chunks so that, even if someone is an idiot, or if they have a short attention span, they can make it through your post. When you’re sharing your content you should be dumbing it down so that the stupidest person on earth could read it and understand it. The reason for this is, search engines want to rank pages highest that are easiest for everyone to read. One long run-on paragraph is going to be harder for people to get through. Content that is rich in technical language is going to be harder for people to get through. If something is difficult for people to consume, search engines are not going to rank it as reader friendly.

TO CONCLUDE

As with every suggestion, tip or trick I offer on this blog, please take all information provided with a grain of salt. Use what works for you and leave what you don’t want

SEO is such a convoluted subject that there’s a lot of advice floating around the interwebs. Quite honestly, you could probably take any number of the first two hundred suggestions that come up from a quick google search and see some improvements in your site rankings. To be successful with SEO, it’s all about doing including the small details and taking those extra little steps to make you content user/reader friendly.

If you have made it through all of this and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer whatever I can.

Let’s talk about Sales

Disclaimer: If you disagree with anything I’ve written in this post, please feel free to share your opinions with me in the comments section. My only ask is that you would be kind about it. Sales is a subject matter that is not one-size-fits-all, so if you read this and think something is a good idea, please make sure you adapt it to properly fit your good or service being offered. If anything doesn’t make sense, or you have questions, ask me in the comments below and I’ll try to clarify.

The past few months I’ve noticed a lot more people using their platforms (blog, social media, podcasts, etc…) to make sales. Whether it books, clothing, consulting services… whatever it is, there’s been a huge influx in people selling.

While I deeply admire those who are exhibiting the entrepreneurial spirit in the best way possible, showcasing their goods and creativity, I have noticed a lot of people could be being smarter about the way they’re selling.

Now, that’s not to say that anyone is doing it wrong. If you’re doing it, that’s one hell of a great first step. But, I think it’s important to keep in mind that, very much like life, you should always be looking to improve.

How many sales have you made this week? This month? This year? Are you satisfied with the sales you’ve made? Are you looking to make more? How do you make more sales?

WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?

Are you selling your products to a business? Are you selling your products to individuals? Are you selling to men, women or both? Perhaps you’re selling to Gen Z, or even Gen X. Whoever you’re trying to sell your products or services to matters greatly with respect to how you sell. Knowing your audience is so important.

WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE MARKET?

You know, I don’t want to be a debby downer here, but COVID has brought a lot of the world to a screeching hault. There are two things people don’t want right now… ‘nice to haves’ and commitments.

Unless you’re selling an essential good or service, you’re likely going to see some suffering in your ability to make sales. If people don’t need what you’re selling then a lot are likely going to skip purchasing it. This nothing against your product or service, this is a reflection of uncertain times and a desire to keep the money they do have for the things they need, or ‘just in case’ scenarios that could come up.

To speak about commitments… from a psychological perspective, very few people are signing up for something that requires a commitment because of the fact that no one knows where we’re going to be or what the situation will be in a week, two weeks, five weeks or more. If they can’t see that far ahead, the don’t want to sign themselves up for something that commits them to that far into the future.

WHAT IS YOUR VALUE VERSUS MARKET VALUE?

This is a controversial topic because a lot of people believe that if they lower the price of their goods or service they’re lowering the value they provide. When, in reality, it’s likely that your product is only valued at that lower cost anyway.

Take a house, for example. Your house might be appraised at $500,000 (hypothetical numbers). The housing market, while it hasn’t drowned in a COVID world, has taken a bit of a hit. The market value of the home might only be $400,000 right now. That’s not a reflection of the home itself, that’s a reflection of the market. The house is still the same. It’s not as though there’s less of it, or it’s damaged. It’s just a reflection of the market.

Pre-pandemic, people might have spent $50 for what you’re selling because they had the $50 to spend. During pandemic pricing can’t be a reflection of pre-pandemic life. People don’t have that extra $50 to spend right now. They might only have $10. You, selling your product or service at $10 does not devalue the product itself, it shows that you understand market fluctuations. Just let people who purchase know that you reserve the right to raise the price again in the future when the world becomes more stable.

Besides, selling 5 at $10 is better than selling 0 at $50. Maybe, for those 5 people who you’re selling at $10, work out a deal that they also provide you with an online review. Reviews are HUGE for making sales.

Selling a house for $450,000 is a lot better than not selling at all because you’re so damn stubborn. Sure, the housing market could bounce back… eventually. How long are you able to hang onto the house for before you go bankrupt? Sometimes you just have to accept the time the world is in.

ARE YOU PROVIDING CONSUMERS ENOUGH TIME?

This one is very important. In my corporate job, one of the things I’ve been teaching my team is that it takes time for a company to decide upon purchasing our product. It’s an investment. They need to think about it, discuss it, work it into their budget. This isn’t just the case with companies purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of software, this is the case across all industries, platforms and audiences. See, unless your clientele is strictly people with the wealth of Bill Gates, they need to think about the purchases before they make them.

If you’re saying ‘Buy this, it’s such a great deal and it’s only on sale until Monday’… well, whether it’s Tuesday and people have six days or Sunday and people have one day, that’s not enough time.

If someone is very interested in your product or service, at the very least, they need time to budget for it.

When is a typical pay day? Are you factoring in that as a consideration? The first of the month is when rent is due and typically around the time a lot of mortgage payments are due. (Not everyone, just a lot) Often times the start of the month people have less money to play with in their budget then in the middle of the month. If you’re offering a ‘steal of a deal’ that’s only good until the 5th of the month, are you doing yourself any favours? Are you doing your potential customers/clients any favours? No, not really.

Whether your product or service is $10 or $10,000 dollars, you need to provide people adequate time to determine whether or not they can, want to, or should purchase.

DON’T OFFER PAYMENT PLANS

This is an entirely personal opinion, but just don’t do it. Not unless you’re selling a car or house. You’re not a debt collector and you don’t want to be seen as such.

Payment plans are in place for people who require a good or service now, but cannot afford the full price at this moment in time. Thigns like ‘Quad-Pay’ drive me crazy. Payment plans are meant for essential goods, not a purse or a lego set. If someone can get by without what you’re offering, then you’re doing them a disservice by putting them on a payment plan and adding another bill to their long list of bills each month.

If you’re not offering an essential good or service, but you’re offering a payment plan, you’re taking advantage of people by selling them something they cannot afford.

WHAT ADDED VALUE ARE YOU PROVIDING?

This is something we talk a lot about with my day-to-day job. People aren’t purchasing your product to purchase your product, they’re purchasing your product to purchase you. I truly mean that.

How’s your small talk?

How’s your real talk?

Do you care about the people you’re speaking with?

My work sells software. Everyone on earth sells software. If you’re reading this post, you’ve bought software and are using it right this very instant. What makes people buy from us? Not the software, that’s for certain. People purchase from us because of the customer service we provide. People buy from us because of the team of extremely intelligent people with masters and doctorates who line our support staff and are at their beck and call whenever needed. People choose our software because they know they’re not getting software, they’re getting the company too.

How does that relate to individuals, you ask? Well the same concept applies. If you’re an indie author, very few people in this world are just going to purchase your book solely for the reason that it exists. Very few people are going to purchase your book for the reason that it belongs to a genre they enjoy. People are going to purchase your book because of the connection it has to you, and because of the connection that you have to them.

LASTLY, IF YOU CAN, JUST GIVE IT AWAY

You can trial software for several weeks before determining whether or not you wish to purchase it. You can drive cars before determining whether or not you wish to purchase it. There are umpteen thousand things on earth that offer you the opportunity to try, test, read or view said good/service before purchasing.

Why? Because if your product/service is so superior, then providing a free sample of the product/service is going to hook people.

It’s not manipulative, it’s smart.

If you’re a graphic designer just starting out, offer the first design free to show someone what you can do. After that, charge them per design. Until you’re well established, this is going to be a good means for you to drum up business and increase awareness of your capabilities.

If you’re an author and you’re legally allowed, post the first chapter, or even just the first few pages, of your book. Get people excited about the content they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

If you’re a social media phenom, teach someone the strategy to one platform and they’ll come to you seeking the strategy to others.

I am in no, way, shape or form saying that you should give away everything that you do. I’m saying that you should give away a teaser. Give away a piece… something to excite people… something to get them talking. It incentivizes people.

TO CONCLUDE

Whatever you’re selling, however you’re selling it, just remember to put yourself in the mind of your ideal consumer. Think like they think. Do what they do. If you can truly understand the people you’re trying to make sales to, you’ll have a far easier time making connections and eventual sales.

Remember that sales is not a one-size-fits-all business plan. It differs from person-to-person, industry-to-industry. Do your research. Be flexible. Be confident. Lastly, but certainly not least, be proud. be proud of what you’re providing.