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Blogging For Business: How We Do It

October 15th, 2021
person using laptop computer beside aloe vera

Blogging may be thought of as old-school now. In a world where it’s probably easier (for many people) to make a video than it is to write an article, I could forgive you for thinking that blogging is dead in 2021. If you thought that, though, you would in fact be wrong. And I can prove it.

While YouTube is undeniably a great way to speak to your market, blogging is still effective. Since starting Smart And Slick, we’ve aimed to post on the blog at least once every couple of days. In this article, I’m going to explain the strategy that has proved successful.

How Will The Reader Find The Article?

There are really only two major ways that a reader can find a blog article. They either search for something on Google and find it because it’s in the first 3 results, or they click a link from a social media platform. While there will be a minority of readers that find a blog article some other way, those two avenues account for more than 99% of readers.

So, I start with how I expect a particular article to be found. If I expect it to be found via Google, I need to optimise the article for a keyword phrase. And I pretty much title the article with the exact search phrase I’m aiming for. This gives it a good chance of ranking for that search term.

If I’m aiming to get clicks from social media, I need to fashion a title that creates intrigue and curiosity. I need to give social media users a reason to click my link. If I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll try and do both.

Write An Article People Want To Read

I’m not content with just getting the reader on to the page. Yes, I already have some wins if I can do that. I already have them in my Facebook Pixel audience and I can, at a price, reconnect with them or at least try. However, I could achieve that with cheap and annoying click bait. I hold myself to a higher standard than that. (I wish everybody else did, too.)

I try to write an article that people will actually want to read. This again starts with research and finishes with writing prose that flows (and rhymes!)

But the bottom line is this: I need to give the reader what I promised in the article title. And I also need to solve whatever problem they’re having, or show them how to get some of the way there. (It depends what the problem is.)

Make It Look Pretty With A Picture

Google likes a page to have an image. Images also help in social media shares because it’s easier to attract attention with an image that it is with a headline. So you’ll want to add a picture. And to avoid any expensive legal proceedings, you’ll want to use royalty-free images from a site like Unsplash (other free image sites are available). Handily, if you’re blogging on WordPress, there’s a plugin called Instant Images that can add images directly from the Unsplash database into your WordPress media library.

Be Consistent

Finally, do the above steps regularly. At least once a week and maybe more often than that depending on your niche. Research (in 2021) shows that Google rewards websites that frequently add new content with high search engine rankings. So there are some very good reasons to blog.

And if writing isn’t your think and you don’t like the idea of having to write an article every week, get in touch. We’re happy to help.

How To Soft Sell With Social Media

August 26th, 2021
assorted-color social media signage

Social media is just another way of gaining visibility by getting attention. In this regard, it is no different from using PR to get featured in print media, radio or television, or from doing traditional advertising. It’s just another way of getting attention.

And, like PR, it is a very soft sell. If you post a link to your sales page every day or even every few days, you are very unlikely to sell anything unless there’s a limited time offer associated with it.

Social media is a way of making yourself and your business known to people who might need it at some point in the future. It’s also a way of adding some personality to your brand.

So, if you can’t post offers every day, what should you post instead?

Forget about selling products and services to your followers and focus on selling yourself or your business or brand. Remember, selling your product requires you to first sell yourself.

Focus on adding value to your followers’ lives. There are two very consistent ways of doing this: help them out for free, or make them laugh. Our feeds try to do a bit of both.

Help Your Followers Out

Post useful content that might help them with their struggle. And do it for free.

This may sound like a huge amount of work to not make direct sales from. If you’re not a natural writer, writing a 500-1000 word article every day, or even once a week may seem like a daunting task.

You could outsource this to a company like us. We’ll do it for you.

Or you can post content from other blogs and websites (although not competing brands).

The most important thing with social media is post consistently.

Make Them Laugh

Humour is powerful.

It is psychologically impossible for people to dislike you if you make them laugh. Internet humour can be weird, but in 2021, it has the advantage of being a multimedia art form.

Video clips, memes, and straight up written word are all ways of producing humorous content and making your followers laugh.

This might sound like even harder work than writing helpful articles. And yes, comedy is a skillset but incidentally one that we possess. We can create humorous content for you and post it to your feeds on a regular basis.

Engage Your Audience

Both of the above strategies are likely to help engage other social media users. When they comment on your posts or respond to your tweets, answer them – write back. This is what adds ‘humanness’ to the technology. This is what will make them trust you even more. Because behind your branding, there are real people.

Is Social Media Marketing Right For Your Business?

I would not recommend spending money on social media marketing if you’re not yet profitable. It’s a soft sell and can take a while for you to see any serious business growth as a result of it.

But if your business is already making money and a couple of hundred pounds a month doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s definitely something to consider.

How To Become Famous

August 25th, 2021
close-up photography of red and white Coca-Cola trailer

I think it’s important that we begin by defining what we mean by famous. Because, let’s be honest, nowadays there are levels.

So for the purposes of this article I’m going to define fame as ‘people knowing who you are and what you do’. Because that’s really what is valuable to a business. You want your market to think of you, or your business or brand when they have a problem that you can solve. Ideally, you want them to skip the part where they go and research solutions to their problem, and just think of you and come straight to you.

Additional fame – Kim Kardashian style – is not particularly useful outside of certain niches in the entertainment industry. But to be honest, the strategies are the same.

So, from this point forward, within this article, I’m going to stop talking about fame and instead refer to it as brand visibility. That way, it is less likely to conjure up images of red carpets and celebrity after-parties and we can focus on the real nuts and bolts of achieving the goal in question rather than getting sidetracked by shiny things.

Why Would Anybody Want To Be Famous?

The greatest benefit of fame is market positioning. It benefits a business, brand or individual to be famous when it means that the market knows what that person, business or brand does. The market could be just a particular industry, or it could be the people who live in a particular area, or it could be the entire general population of a country or even the world. Which will depend on the brand and product in question.

This applies to everything. Even professional entertainers. If I see that, for example, David Mitchell (my favourite comedian) is on a panel show (because I flicked onto Dave), I’m more likely to leave it on because I know what David Mitchell is like. I know that he fairly consistently makes me laugh. And I therefore know that I’m more likely to enjoy this particular episode of the panel show more than another episode where David Mitchell isn’t on the panel.

So yes, he’s a real person, but he’s also a brand name. And the words ‘David Mitchell’ make a promise to an audience about humour, and specifically a particular type of humour. Likewise, every musician and band has their own sound. If I’m aware of what they do – e.g. play alternative rock songs – I know whether their music is to my taste.

Being famous does not result in everybody loving you or your business. How can it? There are very few things that are universally loved. What it does result is in everybody having an opinion. And that’s how it should be. Because for everybody to have an opinion, it’s necessary for everybody to know what your business or brand does.

The negative consequence of this is that some people are not as well informed as others, and it may lead some people to have very strong opinions about a person, business or brand that are based on partial or incomplete facts. This is why it is often not as simple as just getting famous – once a brand is created, it must be maintained.

How We Create Fame

In a nutshell, advertising and marketing over a long period will result in ‘fame’, perhaps not nationally, but at least in your local area. Though, if you wanted to take your brand to a national level, the rules are the same.

Identify Markets

First, we identify the markets of a particular brand. Who will want this brand’s products or services? Where are these people? What media do they engage with? Where do they go? What do they spend their time doing?

Choosing The Right Channels For The Brand

We choose the right channels for the brand. Which media and marketing channels will be the most effective at successfully reaching them?

And there are many to choose from:

YouTube marketing, traditional publicity, event sponsorships, and on and on.

Creating Specific Marketing Messages

We are bombarded with information all day long, every single day of their lives. Because of this, we all have mind filters which basically stop a lot of the information at the door – it never gets a go at being processed by our conscious minds or understood.

One of the best ways to bypass this problem is to create very specific marketing messages that are potent, short and easily digestible: bits of information the mind can very easily understand. Information like this is more easily accepted by our minds because it doesn’t take work to understand and immediately makes sense.

The most important part of our campaign to make a business or brand famous is to come up with these messages. What do we want people to remember about our client’s business or brand?

Create Content

Now, we set about generating content for the various channels we’ve chosen. This is the most labour intensive part of the campaign. Depending on the client, the business or brand and the length of the campaign, we could conceivable spend weeks or months creating content.

Positioning Your Marketing Assets

Parallel to those efforts, we also make moves to position your marketing assets where they will be seen by people you can help or who might like your products or services.

We get your website to the top of Google, such that people whose problems you can help solve, will find you when they look.

Done properly, those people whose problems you can solve will suddenly feel like your business or brand is everywhere.

Want to make your business or brand famous?

Now that you can see how it works and the possibilities it opens up, if you’re interested making your business or brand famous, get in touch and let’s discuss it!

Selling Is Easy When You Get These Three Things Right

April 26th, 2021
two people shaking hands

If you are struggling to sell your products and services, I’m willing to bet I know why. It’s one or more of three things. I’ve been there myself countless times in the past. Spending weeks developing a product or a website only to receive very little interest from the world.

Over many years, I came to the realisation that when a product or service will not sell, the problem is almost always one of the following:

Company Reputation

Do people like and trust the company? If they’re going to do business with the company, they need to trust it and believe that it will treat them well and deliver on its promises to them.

Companies spend a lot of money on branding and PR to maintain a positive image in the minds of their target market, but for a fledgling startup this reputation is going to born mostly out of your website design and online reputation.

4 Ways To Build Company Reputation

  • Encourage your customers to tweet a testimonial if they are pleased with your service.
  • Encourage your customers to write an online review on TrustPilot or reviews.io if they are pleased with your service
  • Invest in professional web design
  • Invest in PR campaigns
  • Invest in SEO – people still attribute status to the websites that appear at the top of Google

Website

Your website is very likely to be the first direct contact a new prospect has with your company. That means the prospect is going to judge your company and your product by your website. Website design is mission critical to most businesses.

Does it look professional? Does it give the impression that the company can be trusted? Does it give the impression that the product or service will be of good quality? The potential customer will make all these decisions and more based on your website.

Product/Service

Is the product or service something that a substantial number of people actually want and are willing to pay for? It’s surprising how many entrepreneurs create products and services that nobody really wants. Either they don’t solve a problem or they don’t solve a sufficiently big problem that people will pay to have solved. I’ve done it myself.

Often, those who try to take hobbies and turn them into business ventures can be guilty of this. They just want people to buy their hobby and little or no thought is spent pondering what problem your ‘service’ actually solves for the buyer.

When taking a product to market, it’s better to start from the other side of the table and try to identify a problem that a substantial number of people have and then propose a solution. Once you are confident your product or service solves a genuine problem, selling it is, in large part, about convincing people that your product or service will deliver on its promise to make their lives easier.

Search Engine Optimisation: Who Needs It And Who Doesn’t?

April 19th, 2021
monitor screengrab

While it may sound like one, this is not a rhetorical question. SEO is a visibility strategy much the same as billboard advertising or door-to-door flyers or any number of other methods of letting the general public know you exist and what you offer.

Search engine optimisation is the process of getting search engines to rank a website strongly so that it appears in search results when people search for keyword terms related to whatever the business in question is.

For example, if you are a carpenter in Hull making bespoke furniture, you might want to rank for the term “bespoke furniture” or “carpenter in Hull”.

But does every business need SEO? At Smart & Slick, we are not in the business of selling anybody a product or service that we do not genuinely believe will benefit their business. And the answer to this question is no. SEO is not for everybody because it will not benefit everybody.

Our carpenter in Hull. We’ll call him Hal. Now, Hal from Hull might be selling all types of furniture: bed frames, drawers, wardrobes, dining tables – literally anything they have at Ikea.

Now, if I want bespoke furniture, there is no brand name or organisation that instantly comes to mind. Ikea is not bespoke. Sliderobes might come to mind if I wanted wardrobes, but apart from that, I’ve got nothing. That is why I am likely to go to Google and search for “bespoke cabinet”.

Now, if Hal from Hull has a search engine optimised website, he might come up in the Google results for that search term and I might find him that way. And if his website is good and his marketing says all the right things and Hal can convince me that he can give me what I want, I might place an order.

Hal from Hull would clearly benefit from an SEO campaign because his business stands to benefit considerably if his website ranks for all of these terms relating to bespoke furniture: “cabinet”, “bed frame”, “wardrobe” and on and on and on.

But now let’s look at a different type of business.

Across the country in London, there’s Larry in London. Larry is a comedian. Now, Larry’s core business model is to sell tickets to public shows in theatres and comedy clubs. But it is highly unlikely that his customers are going to go online and search “comedy show” in order to find him. They’re far more likely to have been initially introduced to Larry by a method other than a Google search.

As such, Larry is probably not going to benefit much from an SEO campaign, except maybe for ranking #1 for his own name. But that’s likely to happen organically and is so easy that we don’t even really consider it to be SEO.

So while Hal from Hull would be well advised to invest his marketing budget into an SEO campaign, Larry from London would be much better off spending his marketing budget on YouTube marketing, social media and general brand building activities.

How To Get YouTube Subscribers

March 24th, 2021
youtube

Web video is the world’s most accessible medium. And YouTube is the current dominant platform for web video. Put those two facts together: Success on YouTube is worth the cost. It is one of the only media channels that we recommend to every single organisation we work with, regardless of their age or maturity. Whether you are a one day old startup or a ten year old company, YouTube can benefit you. In this article, we discuss how to grow your audience on the world’s largest video platform.

I was a little surprised when I did the research for this article. A lot of the search data suggests there are quite a few people out there looking for ways to get more YouTube subscribers with cheats and hacks. So, if that’s you, I have to tell you that I really wouldn’t advise it.

How We Get YouTube Subscribers Organically

There really is no need to cheat or hack YouTube. We build audiences and subscriber bases for businesses and brands using a simple white hat formula.

Professional Channel Branding

We make you look like you deserve to be taken seriously. Branding 101. By creating or commissioning professional graphics to use as your YouTube cover art and your profile picture, we immediately improve the first impression you have on YouTube users who are new to your channel. Regardless of your video content, one of the first things anybody is going to see when they visit your channel is your artwork. And they judge you on it.

Do The Research

We figure out what it is your particular market or demographic wants to watch. We have a process for doing this consistently.

Post Videos Regularly

This is the bit people find most difficult when they try to do it themselves alongside every other thing they have to do in their business. YouTube is extremely content hungry. And their algorithms reward accounts and channels that post regularly. This has also been shown consistently to be a creator behaviour that encourages new people to subscribe to your channel.

We Don’t Stop

This may sound obvious, but the truth is that most people do. Of course, if you’re on a contract with us, we will stop if you terminate the contract. But otherwise, we keep making videos and the snowball continues to grow in size.

How To Market Yourself: Be Seen As An Authority In Your Industry in 5 Seconds

March 16th, 2021

Whether you’re an author, an accountant, a consultant, an entertainer or anything else, marketing yourself is necessary. It has to be done. And your success in your career will, in part, be connected to how well you market yourself. In this article, I’m going to explain how we, at Smart And Slick, help to market people and businesses in many fields and industries from entertainment, to professional services.

8 Essential Elements For Creating Authority Status In Seconds

In the 21st century, your website is your store front. It’s the first marketing asset most people who are interested in your products or services will see. And we have a formula for positioning our clients to be industry authorities and even celebrities. And we can do it in 5 seconds.

How?

Because 5 seconds is the length of time it takes the average website visitor to absorb the content of the first fold of a website. (The first fold is the part of the home page that somebody sees when they load the page, without scrolling.

1. Being The Top Result On Google For Your Name

Most people nowadays will not type your website address into their browser address bar. They’ll just type your name into Google. And being the top result for that search is the first unconscious but very powerful status indicator that helps build your prospect’s view of you.

Unless you have a very common name, or share your name with a famous namesake, this usually isn’t all that difficult to achieve and can be done with a little SEO. (Check out “How To Get To The Top Of Google” for more info.

2. Clean & Professional Graphic Design

Graphic design is a language. It’s a form of communication. Colours, shapes and fonts rapidly communicate things in milliseconds that would take pages if you had to do it in words: Things like mood, style and vibe. Professional website is the first and most important step in shaking off any sense your prospects might get that you are, or look like, an amateur. In a nutshell, good graphic design says “this person is a pro” and poor graphic design says “this person is an amateur”.

3. Professional Photography

If you’re creating a personal brand, your first fold needs to feature a picture of you – probably a big one. There is no way to cut costs on this. If you don’t get professional photos taken, you will look like an amateur. Photographers have lots of specialist equipment to create images that are evenly lit and look great on your website. And amateur photos are the easy for anybody to spot.

We have partnered with photographers all over the country, to make this a seamless part of our service.

4. Presstimonials & Media Logos

Nothing blasts your status into the stratosphere quite like quotes from media outlets and the logos of media outlets you’ve been featured in. Of course, you do have to be featured in the media outlets first, but our Communications Department can help you with that.

When your website features a few of these, it’s basically impossible for anybody to see you as an amateur. You instantly become the real deal. And of course, the more famous the media brand, the higher your status will become.

5. Author Of, or Star Of

If you’re a consultant or offer some form of professional service, you can gain massive authority by writing the book on the subject. So an accountant might write a book about tax, or personal finance. A pharmacist could write about healthy living. A personal trainer can write a book about exercise (there are thousands). The only people who we don’t recommend to write teaching books are entertainers. Somehow a singer who writes a book about singing has reduced their status, not increased it.

But of course entertainers can be the star of their show or Netflix special or whatever. And musicians can have their music on Spotify.

6. Social Media Follow Counts

These are not nearly as popular as they used to be, mainly because it’s now fairly well known that you can buy followers or subscribers on any social media platform. Under no circumstances do we at Smart And Slick recommend that as a strategy, but either way it makes this easy to fake. However, if you have genuine followers or subscribers, particularly on a platform like YouTube, it could be worth finding space on your website’s first fold to brag about it.

7. Navigation Links

Now we’re getting into subtle territory, but don’t let that convince you that this is any less powerful than some of the other stuff we’ve covered. For most sites, these are more suited to being footer links than main navigation links, but the presence of website sections such as a “Press Office” and a section for “Investors”, if it’s applicable, are both strong indications that you’re not messing about. Of course, you will have to then create respectable pages for each section, but that doesn’t have to be difficult.

8. What Your Contact Page Says

For personal brands, #6 might not be so applicable. So instead, you can make up for it with a professional contact page.

On your contact page, list all the various reasons people might want to contact you and have different contact info for each one.

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So that’s it. Our celebrity building checklist. The combined power of all of these techniques and strategies will create unparalleled status and authority no matter what industry that are applied in.

And when you have the kind of status we’re talking about here, you’ll attract all kinds of opportunities. You’ll more than likely start getting offered public speaking opportunities, media appearances, and you’ll be able to command higher prices.

If you’d like a professional job, get in touch and we’d be happy to assist you.