SEO without an established brand is a waste of your time.

I know that I ramble a lot, so I am going to try to keep this brief.

First and foremost, if anyone doesn’t know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. 

In layman’s terms – SEO is trying to make your webpage appear at, or near the top, of google, bing, duckduckgo, etc… when people search certain terms.


SEO without an established blog and brand is a waste of your time.

But why?

Well, the idea of SEO is ranking your blog/website high on search engines so that when people search certain terms, your blog/website is one of the first things that they see. It’s the idea of gaining raw, organic traffic to your site.

But, and this is a big but, if your brand and blog are not established, what’s the point of ranking at the top of search engines? Heaven knows, if you actually write something that goes viral, without an established brand for your blog, people are going to accidentally stumble on your page, read only the searched term and leave.

Now, if you’re thinking ‘hey, at least I got that traffic!’ I would strongly recommend you readjust your thinking. Successful blogging involves building a community. You want readers to find your blog, read your blog, fall in love with your blog and want to come back. You want them to hit that follow button, like your posts, or submit their email address for subscriptions. Why? Because this is blog growth.

If you write something that does happen to go viral, you want people to read it and to want to come back. If your blog isn’t established, what are people coming back for?

I see a lot of bloggers feel the desire to jump on the SEO bandwagon right away. As much as I hate the statement, you really ought to learn to walk before you can run.

Build that blog. Create that community and that space which you’re damn proud of. Make it a place for people to come, fall in love with you, what you share and who you are. Make it yours. Design a layout. Talk about your passions. Make a safe space for thoughts, hopes and dreams, and everything that you love to write about.

Picture it like you’re building a house. Jumping on the SEO bandwagon before your blog and brand are built is like moving into your master bedroom when the roof hasn’t been put on the house.

SEO is a great tool, when you’re established. And when you’re established, it’s something that you’ll find a great deal of fulfillment in learning and trying to master. But, until you’re established with your blog, any of your posts ranking highly on search engines will likely garner only temporary attention. A day or two of a lot of a traffic might be exciting in theory, but in reality, it’ll show a fatal flaw in your blogging structure in that, you’ll be failing to keep any of that traffic as a piece to your community.

I’m not saying don’t ever establish SEO for your blog, I’m just saying that there are more important steps to establish first.

Build the blog (people will find you from WordPress during the process) then invite the people from the interwebs.

Adventures in job hunting: a clarification

I know that my adventures in job hunting series can, for the most part, come across as quite negative. Anyone who’s been unemployed for any length of time is aware that job hunting is quite stressful and can be filled with a lot of false leads, unfortunate events and people who just don’t seem willing to be honest and up front about what they’re looking for.

This is not to say there aren’t positives in this process. Because there are. But I like to talk about the negatives and rant about the employers who seem to be conducting their hiring processes all wrong because, quite frankly, I know I’m not alone. These types of things happen to everyone.

Through the past few months, being selected as one of the final two candidates several times, getting hired and then having my job offer rescinded (due to “corporate restructuring”) and so on and so forth, I’ve learned to be a little more mum about the things I’m excited about… the things I’m hopeful for. Why? Because when I get excited, it often ends in disappointment. Actually, since I’m still technically unemployed, I’m batting 0 for the year and, it always ends in disappointment. That doesn’t mean these weren’t good experiences though. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good HR people out there. That doesn’t mean that nothing good ever comes from job hunting.

For me, it’s hard to get my hopes up, to get excited about it and to really believe it’s going to happen only to have my dreams quashed when they ‘take a different route’. That’s not to say I have any negative feelings or ill-will towards that company, that’s just to say they didn’t want me.

There are good people working in HR. I’m sorry if it comes across as my bashing HR. I have had good experiences. There are good hiring managers in this world. I’m sorry if it comes across as my consistently bashing these workers. Because in spite of all the idiots and assholes I cross paths with, there are some really good ones in this world.

It’s just, when I’m dealing with the disappointment of making it all the way to being final two and then I don’t get selected, it’s tough to then turn around and tell stories of my consistently not being good enough. For that reason, ‘Adventures in Job Hunting’ tends to be a series more about the epic failures of companies that I cross paths with in this unemployment journey. Adventures in Job Hunting is all about the struggles that I, and all too many people go through to try and find a job. It is by no means a reflection of job hunting as a whole.

I just like to vent about the shitty stuff, the assholes and the liars. Because venting about it helps me get over it and move on faster.

Because… I’m onto the next. I’m not giving up. I can’t give up. Someone, somewhere out there is going to realize my value and what I could bring to their office. Someone is going to know they need to hire me. Until they do though, I’m sure there’ll be many more ‘Adventures in Job Hunting’ posts to come.

Sorry, not sorry. That’s life.

Adventures in job hunting: Misleading job descriptions.

I had a phone interview for a job scheduled for today at 11:00.

The job that I applied for was for a Marketing Coordinator for one of the most major beverage companies in the world.

I read the job description and it talked about creating and implementing a marketing plan, determining new markets and sectors for which to expand the brand, using communication platforms to deliver messages and promotions of the products and deciding events to sponsor. These are all typical marketing related tasks.

The ENTIRE job description mentioned that it was for this particular beverage brand. NOWHERE in the job description did it mention that it was for any other brand, or anything but this particular beverage brand.

Get three minutes into the phone interview and he lets me know that the job isn’t actually for this brand at all, it’s for one of their subsidiaries.

Fine.

Whatever.

Then, he asks me what makes me want to work for this brand – the subsidiary, not what I thought I was applying for.

I told him the position seemed like a challenge that I would be great for and I was excited at the prospect.

Then he said ‘No, not why you want this position, why do you want to work for this brand (the subsidiary)?

I again mentioned the position seemed like something that would excite me.

And again, he said ‘I know why you think the position is great, but why did you want to work for this brand (the subsidiary)?

Well, sir, I didn’t actually know I was applying for a job with this subsidiary until about a minute ago when you told me. There was no listing of the subsidiary anywhere in the job posting. At all.

Scuffles on the other end of the phone.

‘You’re not very quick at thinking on your feet, are you?’ he asks.

‘Guess not!’ I said and tried to laugh it off, knowing this was going to be held against me.

Then he goes on to say ‘Well, I’ll explain to you a little more about the position. As a member of our sales team..’

Hold up.

Nothing in the job description mentioned ANYTHING about sales. ‘Oh, the job description didn’t mention anything about sales?’ I calmly, casually suggested.

He says ‘Well Marketing Activation is, by definition, sales’.

I disagree with that statement on its face. But whatever.

He goes on to explain that this position is a sales role and commission based.

So I applied to a job that I believed was going to be branding, marketing and establishing this company into new avenues in Western Canada.

The job was actually for a sales position for a subsidiary company in which the job-holder is to drive around the prairie provinces asking different gas stations and arenas and venues if they’re willing to carry this product and what kind of deal I could arrange to sell them these products.

Dear Influencers, you’re not relatable anymore.

Yeah, I’m talking about those influencers who have built their careers around a sense of relatability.

Influencers who, as more and more people connect with them and who they are, they start changing, ever so slowly, to reflect their new-found popularity. And, eventually, they wind up becoming so far removed from where they started their careers that they no longer have the qualities about their personalities that people gravitated towards in the first place.

At one point in time, you were relatable. At one point in time, I felt like you were just like me. But, these days I see you in your multi-million dollar homes, or $5,000 a month apartments, driving around your multiple $80,000 dollar cars and consistently telling us that we need to click your referral links, buy your crappy brand collaborations and give you money because you’re ‘just like us’ and I can’t help but think of how far removed you are from the reality that most of us experience, that you’re really not relatable to any of us anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with making money and there’s nothing wrong with finding success.

My issue is with the fact that, as you jet off to various exotic locations on holiday’s you’re not paying for, you claim to be one of us. You claim to understand what we go through. My problem is that, as you dip your finger in that $85 dollar lip balm that you’re telling us all to buy, you don’t even know how much it costs… because you don’t have to buy it yourself, you get it given to you.

There’s nothing wrong with making a lot of money. There’s nothing wrong with getting gifts. But I’d like you to remember that the majority of us, we don’t get these gifts and we certainly don’t have $85 dollars to spend on a single lip balm. Nor do we have the funds available to jet around the world and stay at these lavish hotels you’re vacationing at, that we know you aren’t paying for.

I appreciate the game, I do. And I am happy for you for finding the success that you have. I just don’t think that you understand, the very people who are the reason for your success in the first place are the very people you seem to be alienating these days. It’s clear that the money has changed you. And while we all evolve in life (yes, all of us evolve), pretending you’re still the same person you always were, while sitting in that million dollar mansion, it’s rather transparent. Pretending that nothing has changed and acting as though we, the viewers, don’t know any better really belittles the intelligence of your audience.

We see you peddling products in a sponsored video only to never be seen or acknowledged ever again. We see you blurring out the logo on your car as to not show what kind of vehicle you drive. We see you promoting sustainability to us whilst leading a life of over-consumption and materialism. So what is it? What’s the message you’re trying to promote her? Do as I say not as I do?

My advice to you: embrace who you are. Stop trying to pretend you’re the same old soul we fell in love with. Because you’re not. And that’s okay. Perhaps, if you embrace this newfound wealth and popularity and stop trying to ‘pull the wool over our eyes’, everyone could be happier. You could find a new audience, an audience that embraces your wealth and privilege, and stop treating your ‘die-hard OG Subscribers’ like they’re idiots. Because that’s what you’re doing. Trying to pretend you’re your regular old self is a lie. And when you lie to your subscribers, you’re treating them like idiots.

My further advice… be more conscious. Conscious of your footprint. Conscious of your over-consumption. Conscious of the fact that aren’t you once were. Conscious of the fact that, you’re not always going to be liked.

Also, be humble. Be grateful. You literally got where you are off the support of others. So please stop acting like you’re god’s gift to youtube. Because without all of those people who watched supported you, you wouldn’t have a dime. So please stop saying ‘I don’t owe you anything’. Because when you really break it down – you do owe your viewers. This beautiful life you’re leading is because of them.

I recently watched a video on youtube in which someone, I’m sure you all know the name of, bought every pumpkin in a pumpkin patch to fill his back yard with pumpkins so that his family members didn’t have to go all the way to the pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin for Halloween.

Cute, right? Totally cute. Egregious, over-the-top and completely unnecessary? Abso-fucking-lutely. Considering they only ended up using four of the pumpkins, what did they do with the rest? Did they give them to neighbours? Did they donate them? Did they send them back to the pumpkin patch so that people in his area didn’t have to go to the pumpkin patch to find out there weren’t any there? We don’t know. Because they don’t tell us. They simply flex their wealth and opulence and then end the video… because they don’t ‘owe anyone anything’.

All I’m saying is, acknowledge that you’re not the person you once were. Acknowledge that the eight vehicles in your garage are because you lead a really privileged life, and that not everyone gets to live that way. Stop trying to pretend you’re a regular ‘folk’ when you believe it’s appropriate to ‘try and keep us believing’.


Please note that while I’ve only given one specific example of a youtuber in this post, that is not my picking on them, it was just for example’s sake. Really, I believe this applies to A LOT of people who make their living being an ‘Influencer’.

Lest We Forget

My grandfather never spoke of the war. At least not that I can recollect. And, in spite of all of the things I’m sure that he saw during WW2, in spite of all of the friends he lost, the worries he had, the struggles he went through, he was one of the happiest people I’ve ever known. I have profound admiration for him, all that he accomplished in his lifetime and the legacy he left behind with, not only my family, but everyone he knew.

My cousin Ian, since serving several tours in Afghanistan, has gone on to become a police officer who continues to deal with some of the most difficult situations one could possibly imagine. I have never, not once, heard him talk about the horrors he’s experienced with war, or continues to experience working in major crimes. He is, to this day, one of the most positive people that i know who always manages to see the good in life. I have a profound admiration for him and the impact he leaves on my family and in this world.

I wear a piece of them in my heart wherever I go and keep a piece of every person, past and present, who has served and sacrificed and continues to serve and sacrifice so that I can have the blessings I have today.  I will never forget. 

Thank You.

It’s not enough, but it’s all I have.

May we always remember the people who are the reasons for the peace we have today.

Another year around the sun.

31 today.

I’m not quite sure how I feel. I do know that I have been having quite the freak out the past few days leading up to it. I don’t know why I set these arbitrary deadlines for myself, but it’s almost like my brain cannot stop it.

The introvert in me wants to just read a good book, maybe go to the movie by myself tonight. Just spend the time by myself, doing what I please.

The reality of my life is that I’ve got six people coming over here tonight for dinner (that I didn’t invite and only found out about a half hour ago), so my mother is spending the day vacuuming and cleaning the floors with a carpet cleaner, so it looks like I’m in for a lot of noise the next few hours.

I’m trying to not let it get to m.

Wow, this post is sounding a lot more negative than I intended it to be.

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

I’m genuinely happy about that. I just wish people would let me spend it the way I wanted to.

Anyways

Thank you, dearly, kindly, wonderfully to every beautiful soul who purchased one of the #MillennialLifeCrisis shirts. It means a great deal to me and I hope that when your shirts show up you love them as much as I love mine! Today is the last day the #MillennialLifeCrisis shirts will be listed on the TeeSpring store. The other shirts will stay up there for now because it’s an experiment for me to try and crack the Pinterest Alogirthm. But, the #MillennialLifeCrisis shirts will be disappearing as of midnight tonight. If you purchased one, thank you. If you’d still like to purchase one, they’ll be up until midnight PST.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your consistent support this year. Thank you for talking me down from my anxiety attacks and for supporting me at my lowest of lows and celebrating me at my highest of highs. For a bunch of strangers, you feel like a giant family to me, and that’s a pretty great feeling to have.

Here’s to 31.