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Why I don’t give a f&$k about the International Women’s Day

Photo of disappointed man for long post on International Women's Day at thisissamstown.com

Women, rejoice! Not only the International Women’s Day but also the International Women’s Week are happening now.

Hell yeah! Picture that, a whole week dedicated to the “weaker sex” and a special time to acknowledge women’s achievements, struggles and path to walk forward.

A time to elevate women, celebrate them and (try to) shatter gender inequality.

Not being against a little controversy, I decided to put together this post to add my two special cents to the discussion – and seize the opportunity to blatantly bait trolls at the same time (maybe). For those of you, 10%ers, who have actually opened this article and read it this far, well done! You will understand (or, for those who know me, confirm) what I really mean by my teaser of a title.

One Week, One Day

In a similar way to Valentine’s day (ONE specific day to celebrate love and finally care about your other half, once a year…) why just a week to show respect to women? We should not need to have a dedicated week. We should not even need to have this talk about gender inequality. Why inequality in the first place?

In a somewhat candid way, I only saw this matter become a major topic in recent years and, as such, started paying more attention.

But I did not notice it before not because I did not care nor because it did not exist; I did not notice it because, for all the years I can remember, I had never even thought about seeking a difference between men and women (beyond the obvious gender difference, of course. Yes, I am not completely dumb 🙂 ).

A historical bias

Looking back, I come from a background – and family environment – where equality existed de facto. When I started my career, entering the “professional” world, in my first job, women represented 60% of the staff and held positions at all levels; over the years, I actually worked under more female bosses than males and actually brought more women onboard projects I worked on than men.

I had never really taken the time to look at my career in terms of gender presence but here are the facts. That does not make me a “good guy” but it just illustrates how easy it is not to care about gender and actually consider people for their skills and personality instead. Oh and if you are too lazy to bother, no worries, it does not require any extra effort to be a decent human.

A tie or a dress do not shout “skills”. People are the ones with the skills, the ability to deliver, to empower, to… get shit done!

Why create a difference where there is none? Why perpetuate some prehistoric crap?

manly man vintage picture

History and stereotypes

At the end of the day, are you a man because you wear a beard and a checkered shirt (while my grandmother can certainly chop more wood than most modern “lumberjacks” do) or are you a man/(decent) human because you are actually able to show respect to everyone and do not create differences and inequality where they do not exist?

Inequality, segregation, etc… have all been created by so-called civilisations, by self-proclaimed “superior” people.

Yet, I have learned from these normal, if not inferior people, that these “differences” do not matter. An awful lot of women are smarter than I am, stronger than I am and I am more than happy to say that. What in the world would give me the right – or power – to belittle these women, to require that they earn less or give me their seat at the table of success?

So, while I applaud women, while I fully back the International Women’s Day’s message and purpose to celebrate and empower women, I do not give a f&$k about the International Women’s Day.

That day is every single day.

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Influencer Marketing: What is an influencer on social media?

Photo of tattooed hands holding a cane and hat on samuelpavin.com

Have you recently come across “Influencer Marketing” in publications or on social media? Do you actually know what it relates to?

Well, it is THE marketing for 2017. A tactic that relies on influencers, key opinion leaders, stars, or whatever you decide to call people with “influence”. Whether they be self-proclaimed or publicly acknowledged as people with influence.

At the end of the day, influencer marketing is little more than actual marketing – or even, advertising.

Do you remember George Clooney sipping a cup of Nespresso on TV?

Influencer marketing is about George Clowney ( 😉 ) snapping a picture of his Nespresso cup and posting it on Instagram (or any other channel of influence) with a witty or delighted comment about the brand.

That is influencer marketing in a nutshell.

Of course, the influencers need to have influence (…). The latter being defined by their profile, number of followers, niche, etc… . The criteria vary a lot, showing that the industry still has to get to grips with the concept and define a way to vet said influencers. And that goes beyond the scoring of the likes of Klout, Kred, etc… .

Yet, influencer marketing works. Not only because of audiences but because of the one quality advertising can not offer: trust. This tactic builds on the authority of influencers and the trust they have built with their audience in order to create a “word-of-mouth”-type of advertising which, compare to traditional media publications, boasts far higher conversion rates.

With an average – lowest – return on investment of about three times the funding spent, the road ahead looks quite clear for influencer marketing and the growth potential is basically rocket sitting on the launch pad – ready to soar.

With 2017 already underway, is influencer marketing on your plans? If not, it is time to get take action and shift gears to high growth!

PS: I write this piece while bearing an influencer status (as a Huawei Key Opinion Leader and recent shortlisted member of the Australia Top 50 Influencers Award among others).

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Death is certain…

Design of pirate skull on samuelpavin.com death and life

The world is filled with natural wonders. Among these, the most amazing one is what brought us all here, on this planet, life.

Life takes many forms, stems from so many organisms and is born in so many ways. But life, for all, bears one certainty: Death.

As ominous as this post may sound from this short introduction, my point here is actually a positive reminder.

Death is certain, LIVE with it! -Samuel Pavin

In a world where uncertainty surrounds us, why bother or fear the only certainty we have. We are born to die. As such, life is precious and should not be wasted.

Live life for the moment because everything else is uncertain! -Louis Tomlinson

Now, spend a few moments reflecting on your own life; in particular think about its importance and meaning to you; how much it is consistent with your personality and values; whether your life brings you joy or stress and frustration;

From there, make it your goal to (truly) LIVE life.

How does this translate to business? To marketing?

Do not let fear hinder you. Do not let failure stop you. Never settle for the minimum but shoot for the stars!

Make the most of every minute of this life. You know for sure that it is going to end someday.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. -Pope Paul VI

Wishing you “all the best” for 2017!

All the best - Black and white happy new year meme

It is that time of the year again. Please allow me to take a moment of this 2017 to wish you all the best – and more!

Beyond the polite wishes, did you pay attention these past months? Did something feel any off? (that is, obviously, beyond whatever 2016 could throw in your face until its very end).

No posting, no problem?

It seems my witty writing was not sorely missed. Or was it?

In any case, at the end of 2 dry months (of course, one would not be enough to truly create scarcity), the statistics – and conclusions drawn – are harsh and cold-blooded.

*Dramatic tune playing*

One month without writing – or, to be exact, publishing – any blog post led to a slight decrease in traffic (around 20%). An acceptable figure and a move which could still be compensated by other social media activities. Yes, Twitter, you are the best.

Two months in, though – not to mention December time – the overall traffic saw a decrease of more than 50%. This is the point where the lack of novelty hits hard. Google bots get bored and so do the readers. Beyond a constant social media activity and presence on other media, the actual lack of content on the site now impacts its very referencing and ability to draw traffic and readers.

Comes January, it is about time to end the drought and resume a healthy writing – and posting – habit.

Scarcity shall be limited to products while content should stay regular and relevant.

Here is to your 2017 of quality content, increased traffic and, above all, actual conversions!

Picture of a lego figure holding a Ctrl computer key - Samuel Pavin blog - how to optimise SEO

How to optimise SEO for your website in just a few easy steps

Optimising SEO is the life-long quest of marketers, bloggers and all businesses out there. As Google updates show – mind you their search algorithm changes about 500 times a year (!) – “mastering” SEO requires not only knowledge and understanding but also adaptability. With new social networks popping up here and there, new channels can also be leveraged to increase ranking and SEO.

Yet, Google still does reign supreme when it comes to working on, and improving, SEO (although Bing and some local search engines – China, Russia – may not be rules out). And with Google came – recently – the value of actual content, beyond keywords.

Content, content is the word

After quite some time, Google made a sensible change (with Google Panda and Penguin), from keywords to actual content quality. A move that, if it made creating content a little more demanding for some, finally gave back actual writers what they deserved; a good – or improved – SEO ranking.

We keep telling people that they need to craft quality post. That they need to write about what people need and provide value. However, until recently throwing in some keywords was enough to rank well; even if we should assume that a poorly crafted post would most likely not generate returning readers.

Content is supposed to be a part of your overall marketing plan. As such, you should have defined your audience, their preferences and, more importantly, their needs.

This is what should feed your content – not just the trending keywords on Google.

Looks matter (for SEO)

Once the right subject for your post has been defined, the ideas are flowing and it is beginning to take shape, it is important to remember that the form matters too.

Everybody is a writer nowadays. Looking even at national publications, it does seem that this trend has at least hurt one thing: grammar.

Sure, grammar ticks the grammar police more than the random reader; but Google too has an interest in your grammar as it does have an impact on the overall quality of your piece. If this is a skill you are missing, tools like Grammarly exist to turn your gibberish into a production worthy of Hemingway.

Size matters (for SEO, still)

It does seem to be an everlasting debate… . Let us talk long form here. If you use (or have used) WordPress and Yoast (SEO plugin), the general recommendation when writing a post is for it to contain at least 300 words. To be honest, it comes a little short from the general requirements when writing guest posts or contributions which usually start at a minimum of 500 words.

Now, from a sheer SEO point of view, Google tends to favor long form. By long form, I mean in-depth articles which will, ultimately, display your knowledge of a topic (or your ability to throw an awful lot of BS in an article).

Articles ranging from over a thousand words, between 1,500 and 2,500 should benefit from the best ranking from Google.

Go mobile

Have you been part of any Mars project for the past year or more? If not, you must have seen some bits and pieces of information about mobile traffic and mobile usage.

To make it short, mobile rules the world.

Desktop is not dead yet but content must now be optimized for all platforms, from desktop to tablets to mobile.

Again, WordPress offers responsive themes that are supposed to display properly on each type of device. That is only the beginning.

Google introduced AMP, Facebook, Instant articles and China is considering their own standard. For what? For mobile display speed.

In the same way that websites need to load fast on desktop, the race has now caught  up to mobile and can have a serious impact on ranking.

To simplify the process, there are plugins available and Google / Facebook also provide explainers.

In any case, get mobile-ready now to not miss out on traffic and leads.

Keep the content light

How can I tell you to write 2,000 words AND keep the content “light”? Well, quite easily in fact.

Words are not too “heavy”; but images are.

On a side note, you like keywords? Put them in your images. Yes, they also work for your SEO.

Images, photographies, are heavy pieces of data contained in your articles. Using images is recommended – we are visual animals, are we not? – but they need to face a bit of trimming in order to do the job right and not impair speed.

The bigger the image, the slower the loading speed. And… your reader is already gone.

Make sure to resize images that you are posting with your content (it is also good to see some consistency in sizes throughout the text) and, ideally, use some plugin to reduce – and optimise – their volume.

Your content, website and SEO will thank you for that.

Picture of monk writing - Samuel Pavin blog - How to optimise SEO

Regularly, publish you must

Not good at that have I been (by the way). This is a key feature of content marketing and imrpoving your SEO. Publish content regularly. It does not even need to be long, thoroughly crafted pieces. Smaller (say 500 words still) articles based on current topics – or news – can do as long as they fit in your editorial calendar.

Notice the calendar? That is the secret weapon for good content creation. Define topics, a publishing schedule then get writing and you have your content engine rolling.

Now, this is not necessarily easy. Writing regularly is hard. Finding new topics to write about is even harder if you do not fancy writing for the sake of it. Or are not a master of BS who will re-craft the same post a dozen times.

But that is necessary for success and solid SEO results.

Share on social media

You know that tweets are referenced by Google, right? Well, social media are a great way to share your content, for a start, but also provide social validation and add to your traffic and ranking.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are sites with “authority” as far as Google is concerned. The more sites with authority/credibility link to your site (say backlinks), the better for your SEO. Even Google+, still half-dead, half-who knows, is still an amazing plaform for that.

Be smart with social media and align their use with your strategy and editorial calendar.

Last, adapt to the platform

One last point here. Not all platforms are created equal; and they do not rank the same content in the same way.

I mentioned leveraging social media to get links to your content (ideally on your blog/website) but remember that Twitter is not Facebook which is not LinkedIn which is not Instagram or Pinterest.

From a sheer reach point of view, whatever the text you have crafted, you will want to leverage native images – or videos – on Facebook for extended reach. On Twitter, an image will still matter but also the use of a couple of relevant hashtags. Or better than a picture, you may want to use a Twitter card (which you could “automate” with a plugin on your blog).

In any case, this comes down to being prepared. Do your research, your strategy, planning and editorial calendar, then get going writing and kicking a$$!

Keep in mind that it is a great time to be working on your SEO with content marketing. Google have put an emphasis on quality that has given back power to professionals and not to keyword-pushers.

Plan – write – publish – Win at SEO!

Rocking guy with hair flying. Samuel Pavin blog - how to optimise SEO