• February 15, 2021

    Operating a Business during a Global Health Pandemic

    A conversation with Dr. Sheila Brooks, president, founder and CEO of SRB Communications, about the challenges of operating a business in a pandemic.

    Question: What have been the biggest challenges to operating your business during the coronavirus pandemic.
    Answer: Operating during this global health pandemic has been one of the greatest challenges of my career, and I’ve been in business for more than 30 years. We left our downtown Washington, D.C. offices at the corner of Black Lives Matter Plaza on K Street in March, assuming that we would be returning after a lockdown of a few weeks, which turned into months. Of course, the pandemic stretched through the summer and the fall, and just when we thought it was getting better, it got worse. We will likely not return to the office before the summer or fall 2021.

    Question: What have been your biggest challenges?
    Answer: Like everyone else, we had to learn how to work remotely, among ourselves and with clients and partners. We are an advertising, marketing and public relations agency. Our business is all about people getting together and talking, ideation and messaging – whether it’s talking amongst ourselves to come up with ongoing campaigns for our clients or meeting with a client to assess their needs. We have a staff of 11 plus dozens of contract workers. The PPP money helped us to avoid furloughs, layoffs and staff cuts, as well as cutting company expenses.

    Question: How has that worked out?
    Answer: We meet mostly through Microsoft Teams. Our clients require that because of privacy concerns with other apps. We’ve had to learn how to have our weekly staff meetings, daily project outcomes meeting, and our ongoing client meetings remotely. We even had two employees who left during the pandemic and had to fill both jobs quickly during these uncertain times. Luckily, we able to fill the key leadership position with someone who had worked for us previously. Then we stepped up the skill level for the other position, opting to hire someone with more experience.

    Question: What has been the impact on staff?
    Answer: Believe it or not, I think we’ve all gotten to know each other better. 

    Question: What has been the impact of COVID-19 on Black-owned and women owned businesses? Have you lost business?
    Answer: The pandemic has been particularly devastating for Black-owned businesses. Some economists have said that 50 percent of Black-owned businesses in this country would not reopen their doors after the pandemic. We lost a pretty big multi-year contract early in the pandemic, but we’ve signed several new clients, while other clients have extended their existing contracts.

    Question: What’s your outlook for 2021?
    Answer: Believe it or not, we expect record revenue for 2021. Incredibly, one of our new clients is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), looking at the disease’s stigmas and mental impact on certain minority and underrepresented groups. Howard University leads this incredible public health initiative. We are very proud to be on the cutting-edge of expanding our business verticals to public health.

  • February 12, 2021

    Best Superbowl Ads of 2021

    Marketers eagerly await the Superbowl every year like the rest of us, but for a different reason. When everyone is taking a snack break during the commercials, that’s when marketers are glued to the TV. Superbowl ads are viewed as the height of excellence in the field. These ads are literally the NFL of the industry. Each brand is duking it to claim the spot of best commercial. Some fail almost as miserably as the Chiefs did this year, others claim victory after victory, like Tom Brady. Here’s a few that SRB team felt won this year’s battle.

    Drake from State Farm

    Drake from State Farm was a really fun commercial that I’m sure made a lot of people laugh. State Farm utilized two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in the first part of the commercial. Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes have been recuring spokesmen for State Farm, so the start of the commercial feels like any other one they’ve done. That is until they threw a classic Superbowl twist into the mix. Towards the middle of the commercial, they reveal they have more star power than just the two quarterbacks. Randomly Paul Rudd, a comedic and beloved actor, appears as Mahomes’s “look-alike” body double. Just when you thought the star power was over, the State Farm agent’s body double turns around and it turns out to be the one and only Drake. All and all, the star power and comedic plot made this one of the more memorable ads of the night.

    Last Year’s Lemons

    Bud Light highlighted their new Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade in their Superbowl commercial. This one ranks among the best because it said what everyone was thinking. The commercial plays off the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” 2020 gave us a lot of lemons and Bud Light used that to their advantage to promote the seltzer Lemonade. The clever part is, they never address what we experienced last year (or even what we are currently experiencing). Bud Light does an excellent job making light of a tough year without being too morbid or tone-deaf.

    The Neighborhood

    DoorDash’s business has boomed since the pandemic, but they see themselves as playing a vital role in helping the struggling local restaurants survive during this time. Instead of advertising the convenience of their service, they asked people to support the local restaurants in their neighborhoods. The message itself is good, but what made it a great commercial is how it was delivered, or rather who delivered it. Daveed Diggs, of Hamilton fame, sings along with the gang of Sesame Street throughout the commercial. Who better to sing a song about supporting the neighborhood than Sesame Street? It was all around a heart-warming commercial that brought a smile to people’s face.

    The Superbowl this year was obviously different and it’s no surprise that the sentiments were reflected in the ads that played as well. Some of the biggest names didn’t even join in on the commercials. Many put their budgets into COVID-19 vaccine campaigns or didn’t spend the money at all. However, we still enjoyed watching some of the most creative ads of the year… and the cringiest. Until next year. We hope it’ll look a little different by then.

  • January 15, 2021

    2021 Marketing Trends

    2020 brought forth a whirlwind of emotions and unexpected experiences. However, we have entered a new year and we now have new things to look forward to. 2021 is particularly going to be a unique year for marketing, and one of the best things that 2020 taught us was to be prepared for anything. This will be a transitional year in many ways as we hopefully come out of the pandemic and enter a new normal. Here’s a summary of what you can expect this year in marketing.

    Purpose Driven Brands

    The summer of 2020 ignited a renewed surge for racial justice in this country and put tremendous pressure on companies to make a “change.” We’ve seen many brands step up and take action. Some created programs to help racial equality in their own organizations and others started funds to support Black businesses and equality efforts. Overall, consumers are looking for brands that have purpose behind them. It is not just enough to “sell” anymore. Consumers want the brands they support to support the same issues they do. Companies have advantages that the average person doesn’t; such as influence, capital and reach. A brand that utilizes those resources to tackle an issue builds a strong connection with a consumer that shares similar views. 

    A brand shouldn’t support something as a business tactic. Consumers can smell a phony from miles away. A major part of becoming a purpose driven brand is authenticity. Each step you take needs to be out of an effort to help, rather than out of self-interest. This year more than ever, consumers are going to pay close attention to the brands they buy from. It’s on you, as the company, to transition authentically, as needed. 

    Black Lives Matter Protest

    Easy to Consume Content

    One trend that has been steadily growing over the past years is content that is easy to consume. This type of content comes in many forms; such as short videos, infographics and podcasts. They are all are easy to read, watch or listen and can be consumed nearly anywhere. Short videos are more prominent then ever since the rise of Tik Tok and other similar platforms. Google has even added these platform’s videos onto its video carousel that appears during a search. Infographics are effective ways to engage an audience by displaying the information you want to convey in a fun and interactive way. Last, podcasts have become one of the most popular forms of content. There’s even a war at hand… a podcast war that is. Companies from Spotify, Apple, and Amazon are fighting to become THE podcast platform. Each of these have one thing on common, they allow you to deliver the information you want to consumers… most of which have small attention spans.

    Point of view of women looking down at feet with her phone in her hand and headphones plugged in.

    Virtual Events

    Virtual events have existed in the past but never like this. 2020 made the digital word our reality. This was always going to happen; this past year just accelerated it. Now that virtual events are here to stay, you must know how to use them properly. These events can be extremely useful for your business by allowing your consumers to connect with you in a more personal way. There’s a lot that goes into setting up and hosting a virtual event. Luckily, we’ve done a whole blog on it that you can check out here.

    This year is going to look very different, so it’s important that you continuously listen for new trends that will emerge. We’re sure there’ll be many that we never saw coming. The SRB team is hopeful that 2021 will treats us better than 2020. Oh, and by the way…Happy New Year!

  • December 22, 2020

    Spreading Cheer with 2020’s Best Holiday Ads

    Here at SRB Communications, we believe that one of the best ways to raise spirits during the holiday is to share some cheer. What better way to do that, than to reflect on some impactful holiday ads? So, set aside your, “Bah Humbug!” and enjoy a few ads that we feel are the best of the season.

    1. Xfinity

    One of our first favorites came from Xfinity and their collaboration with Steve Carell as Santa. This ad addressed the current year head-on and touched on all of the challenges we have had to face, adapt to and overcome. This approach allowed for an optimistic rise as one continues through the rest of the ad. Steve Carell adds some much-needed comic relief and gives us a Santa that will make you look forward to the holidays ahead.

    Santa, played by Steve Carell, tasks his elves with creating new and exciting gifts to raise the spirits after the hard year.

    2. PayPal

    Our next choice comes from PayPal. This one takes a less direct approach at addressing the current state of society, but it’s clear that they aren’t ignoring it. One of the best parts of this one is the fact that there are no spoken words throughout the entire ad. The creativity comes from the story that the visuals represent. There’s a lot of little things you can pick up each time you watch this ad.

    A dad makes it his mission to create the perfect backyard stage for his daughter’s nutcracker dance after not being able to attend the real show in person. The dad makes several purchases online with PayPal throughout his journey.

    3. Microsoft

    The last ad we want to show you is from Microsoft. There’s not a lot to say here other than, who doesn’t love dogs? Microsoft reveals how simple it is to put a smile on our faces. Nothing will boost the spirits of the audience like getting plopped into the dreams of a dog. However, it does a good job of highlighting a lot of their products at the same time in a fun and creative way.

    A dog wanders to each of this human companions at home only to find them on a Microsoft device. After laying down to sleep, he dreams he is participating in all the activities the humans had been doing.

    Now, these are just a few of the ones we liked, but of course there’s plenty more out there. This holiday season we challenge you to pay attention to the ads that make you smile and spread some holiday cheer by sharing them with others. Happy holidays from the SRB team! See you in 2021!

  • December 11, 2020

    Holiday Marketing Tips for 2020

    2020 has dampened the Holiday spirit making it harder for businesses to market themselves. While this year’s Holiday season has already proven to be different, it doesn’t mean that we can’t create an effective marketing strategy and spread some cheer at the same time. So, strap on those elf ears, don those ugly sweaters, and let’s get to work with these 3 tactics.

    Email marketing

    The 2000s called and they want their email marketing back!  While email may seem like an out-of-date method to reach customers, it is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to make a conversion.

    Content is what matters most when it comes to email marketing. The Holidays are a busy time of the year, so offering customers convenience is key to increasing sales.  Making it easy to purchase the products they see is a must. That shirt they like better have a “buy now” button underneath or the sale is as good as gone. Overall, the name of the game is getting the customer to the checkout in as few clicks as possible.


    Less people are going to be rushing out on Christmas Eve to the mall to get that last-minute gift. That means that online shopping will be more important than any other year before.

    Your website needs to be up-to-date, welcoming, and easy to navigate. Go visit your website right now…Be on the lookout for any pain points a customer might experience on their way to the checkout. Pain points are revenue killers. Like we said, the holidays are a busy time and customers are looking for convenience. Your website should load fast and have user-friendly steps to get them to the checkout as smoothly and quickly as possible.

    While you’re already checking out your website, why not spruce it up a bit! Deck the halls with boughs of holly! Since we won’t have big Christmas parties or tree lightings to go to, make your website as festive as possible and give the customer a boost of Holiday spirit to spread to others.

    Girl holding out gift with candy canes

    Social Media Community

    It’s time we put the social back in social media. One of the best parts of the holidays is the sense of community we feel throughout the months. Obviously, much of what we love about the season has changed and people are searching for some sort of replacement. Engage with your followers. Reply to comments and spark conversations. Post things that foster the community they’re looking for. Use your social media to drive more people to interact with each other. As the hub of the new community, people will naturally begin to engage with your brand. It’s a great way to build an authentic persona for people to respond to; this year, people need that.

    Facebook App on Phone

    Above all, remember that this year has been hard for many. People are looking for a little cheer. Be authentic with every strategy you implement. Also, be safe, focus your efforts on online sales, and wear a mask!

    Happy Holidays!

  • November 27, 2020

    Building a World of Accessibility

    They say marketing is a reflection of society and society is a reflection of marketing. However, if you were an alien that just landed on earth and looked at the ads the marketing industry produce, you would never know people have disabilities. Our efforts to include everyone is often directed at ensuring diversity in race, gender and sexual orientation, but people with disabilities need representation too. It also important to focus on the accessibility of your marketing as well. So, we’ll look at the wrong and right ways to include people with disabilities in your marketing while also making that marketing accessible.


    According to the CDC, around 26%, or one in four people, have a disability of some sort. Besides the ethical obligations, lack of inclusion is just bad business. However, inclusion marketing is a balancing act. The end goal is inclusion and allyship, but too often marketers miss the mark. They either offer pity in the ad or use it as a source of inspiration. Pity is obviously not what people with disabilities want; they want inclusion. Inspiration doesn’t sound that bad but who is it inspiring. Often times, it actually makes a non-disabled person feel good and better for having watched it. These approaches are wrong and offer little to people with disabilities.

     A good way to ensure you’re focusing on inclusion is to ask yourself who the ad is for. If your intent is to include people with disabilities in the conversation and give them the same representation, use that to drive the message of your ad. It’s also important to acknowledge the intersectionality of a person with a disability. The disability does not define who they are; it’s valid to focus on the other things that make them who they are.

    Like any other group, representation matters within the industry as well. Diversity should be seen in the company at every level. The C-suite is made for everyone and people with disabilities can and should assume those positions. Often businesses create programs to offer resources and paths to executive positions for certain groups. Reflect on your own company’s efforts and see what you can do better to do the same for people with disabilities.

    Man using accessibility keyboard


    Accessibility starts with you and the choices you make every day. When you are hosting an online event, do you describe the pictures and yourself for those who may be visually impaired or blind? Do you make sure there’s captions for those who are hearing impaired or deaf? These are the things we should all be reminding ourselves. Accessibility is on you and your company.

    Other things you should focus on is your website. There are many ways to optimize your site for accessibility. Start by including images with alt text. This allows a person who is visually impaired or blind to still access all the content. You can also allow users to enhance the font size and reevaluate other content like videos to ensure their accessibility as well. It’s important to note that there are disabilities of all types; some you can see and others you can’t. Try to address everyone’s need in redesigning your site.

    One of the biggest problems with companies promoting themselves as accessible or “disability friendly” is that it means nothing. If you say on your site that your business is “disability friendly”, it’s like saying someone asking you what you do to make your business accessible and replying with, “Yes.” You gave no detail to actually explain what about your business makes it “disability friendly”. Instead of saying it, show it. Have “disability facts” listed on your site. These facts can include information about parking, bathrooms, alternative entrances, and other things your business offers.

    Pink sign showing accessibility entrance

    Diversity means everyone. It’s on all of us to start and live it as an ever day effort. It’s important to be conscious of it and push for more inclusion in our marketing, our companies, and our communities. There’s plenty of resources out there to help guide you on what to do; take the first step and build a community that is accessible no matter one’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or ability.

  • November 12, 2020

    How to Host a Virtual Event

    Kids are going to school… online. Adults are going to work… online. People are meeting up with friends… online. COVID-19 has truly pushed everything, and everyone online, so why would events be any different?  One thing is for sure, these events don’t need to be a somber reminder of the current state of the world; they can be just as good as any other event, if you take the following key tips into consideration!

    Select the best platform for your needs

    The first step in hosting a virtual event is choosing the platform to hold it on. To do this, you need to ask yourself what type of event you’re holding. The size, cost, duration other event logistics are important to consider when making a decision. There are many platforms to select from like Zoom Webinar, Google Meet, and Join.me.

    Obviously, there’s many more out there, so do your due diligence and research as many platforms as possible to find the one that’s right for you. Remember to think about cost; some platforms will take a percentage of what you charge attendees to register, or if you’re hosting it for free, they’ll have you pay per attendee. Also, many have a limit on the number of people that can register.

    Practice and Prepare

    Practice makes perfect, and to host a virtual event you need a lot of it. Hosting requires you to jungle many balls at once. You need to make sure the event is smooth and flows from topic to topic or speaker to speaker depending on the type of event you’re conducting. This will help retain the attention of the audience. We all know it’s much easier to get distracted on your computer than it is in person.

    Practice also comes in the form of familiarizing yourself with the platform you chose. Know what features come with the platform, specifically what you’re able to do and not do. Hosting a mock event is highly recommended as this will ensure you and your speakers feel comfortable. It’s better to learn and work out the kinks before the event than in the middle of the event.

    Part of your preparation is also to make the information for registration clear. Odds are this is new for people thus well-defined instructions on how to register, how to access the event, and who to contact for help are imperative.

    Engage the Audience

    As previously stated, it’s important to retain your audience’s attention. That means actively having them participate during the event. Some platforms are better than others for this. For instance, Zoom Webinar allows you to set private and group panelist chats for attendees and panelists. You can also manage and share audience input in Q&A dialog boxes and attendees can raise their virtual hand to be called on.

    If you don’t want to use a tool like this, use the tried and true method of live tweeting. This is a great way to have the audience be part of the conversation and even discuss among themselves without disrupting the event. This can also be utilized for a Q&A. It’s important to think about what hashtags you may want to use for your event and how they will be used. By doing this, you also allow for user generated content to advertise your event for either post event video release or future events you may hold.

    No matter the method you use, make sure to be active in the chat with your attendees. Pose questions to the audience, answer small questions people have, and keep the conversation going as well as moving. If the chat gets stale, people will lose interest. Make sure that somebody is responsible for keeping the chat lively.

    COVID-19 has changed how we behave, how we socialize, and how we work. These tips are important to perfect as we continue to battle this virus. And even when the world moves passed this pandemic and returns to “normal”, we can’t be sure our behaviors will. The world is changing. Technology is advancing, and it’s possible that COVID-19 only accelerated the timeline of virtual life.

  • October 23, 2020

    How to Build a Buyer Persona

    Hello, thanks for dropping by! You’re just in time to help me create a buyer persona for my new company. A buyer persona is an essential part of any marketing strategy. Personas help create categories in which a company can to tailor its messages to. For this business, we’ll have to construct a persona to better understand our target audience and its relationship with the company. Ready?

    What is a Buyer Persona?

    The obvious first step to creating a buyer persona is understanding what it is. A buyer persona is a fictional character you create based on a target market you’d like to message to. The more detailed the persona, the better. Give them a name, demographic details, interests, and behavioral traits. You should understand their goals for using the product or service you offer, what makes them hesitant to buy or use your product or service, and what they have relied on in the past. This should be a fun task. It’s not often you get to create an entire person from thin air.

    Find a Target Audience

    A buyer persona utilizes the data you collect on target audiences. You must find out who you audiences are before you can even begin to construct a persona. This requires data on your existing customers as well as predictions of who your future customers may be. Social media can be a great starting point by analyzing your followers and discovering which users are engaging most with the content. A company’s website is the treasure trove of data.

    Through Google Analytics, you can assess the users that interact with a website and where they’re coming from. Consider things like age, gender, geographical location, languages, income, interests, etc. No detail is too small to include; the information you collect will start to reveal patterns you can capitalize on. For this company, let’s say we’ve found that our largest audience is women 30-45 years old, middle class, and moms among other detail.

    Build a Character

    This is where the fun comes in. You can take all the data you learned about the target audience and compile it into a person’s identity. Given our data we can determine a few things. Since our largest target markets is female, let’s name our character Sally. From our data, we can also determine that Sally is 35, married, and has two kids. She doesn’t work and is in the middle class. As we start to add the bulk of our data, our persona becomes more and more real.

    Once we’ve added the basic information that make up a human being, we can begin to incorporate personality into the persona. For instance, we should start to ask ourselves, “What are Sally’s hobbies?” and, “Is Sally a social person?” Developing Sally’s personality allows you to create a marketing strategy that is finely revised and specific to the details of who she is. Rather than building a buckshot strategy that hopes to encompass every person, personas target the exact person who is likely to buy your product or service.

    Use Character to Craft a Message

    Now that we have created our lovely Sally, it’s time to put her to work. What message should we try and convey to her to make her more interested in our business? Having built her, we understand what motivates her, what her hopes and dreams are, and her everyday life. Now we can develop a message that fits this. Again, the more detail you can put into the persona, the better. Knowing Sally’s likes and dislikes can help create a highly detailed message that addresses the complexity that humans have. Generally, this is how it should go: you ask yourself what Sally is looking for out of your product or why she would need it, and then you make the messaging reflect that.

    This is an easy and fun process. Personas are a great exercise to advance your marketing on any campaign. As always, details are an important thing to remember. The more precise you are in the persona, the easier it becomes to make that perfect marketing strategy.

  • October 7, 2020

    SEO “How-To” Guide

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of those things that may seem too technical and complex for a small business to implement themselves. However, it’s easier than most people think.

    According to Moz, a leading expert on SEO, “It is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” Since we’re talking about search engines and Google has 90% of all searches on the internet, most of the best practices are with Google’s algorithms in mind.

    For the sake of learning, let’s pretend we’re a shoe company. Let’s begin, step by step. Welcome aboard SEO Shoe Company! Congratulations on your first day. Let’s get started!

    Google search bar


    Keywords are the foundation of how all searches are conducted and how your site is found. They are the words and phrases that people use when trying to find online content on a search engine.

    Your goal is to figure which keywords are most popular and most relevant to your business. That way, you can use them to optimize your online content. This will help you rank in the top results for those keyword searches. Finding the keywords can be easy. There are dozens of websites dedicated to identifying keywords that pertain to your business, which also have a high volume of searches. Remember to keep updating your information because the phrases people use and their popularity change over time.

    Here are some of ways you can implement keywords:

    • Use the keyword in the title of the page on your website
    • Use the keyword in the URL (ex. SEOShoeCompany.com/sneakers/blue)
    • Use the keyword, and variations of the keyword, on your site pages and in blog content
    • Link the keyword on one page of your site to another

    Keyword Questions

    Keywords that come in the form of a question are extremely valuable to businesses and their efforts to drive web traffic. Consumers often ask questions and the search engine will search websites to answer that question. If SEO Shoe Company can answer the question, that can bring amazing traffic to our website. Let’s say a consumer searches, “How to clean dirty sneakers?” It may not seem like a big deal for most. However, here at SEO Shoe Company, we know the power of that question. If they’re finding the answer on our site, that increases our brand’s recognition.

    Longtail Keywords

    Next are long tail keywords. These are long, specific phrases that consumers use when they are closer to making a purchase. For instance, someone who searches, “Men’s shoes,” is less likely to buy than someone who searches, “Men’s running shoes, blue, size 10, best prices.”

    Determining what kind of long tail keywords line up with the services and products your business offers can help boost traffic and hopefully sales. After finding these keywords, make sure you implement them naturally into your content. This could be within a heading of a blog, a blog itself, or a description of a product or service. Don’t just add in the longtail keyword, hoping for results. Also, ensure that you use different variations of the keyword to fill the gaps between different searches, so no potential consumers pass through the cracks.

    Keyword Density

    It’s critical to point out keyword density, the number of times the keyword appears. It may seem smart to overload your page and content with keywords, but this would be a critical mistake.

    In the early days of search engines, the content that would rank higher in search would be the pages that had the highest density of the relevant keywords. This became an obvious problem because we could just write, “Shoe, Shoe, Shoe,” over and over again and be the top page in the search results. Safe to say, Google and other search engines have updated their algorithms to prevent that and even penalize pages for breaking the rules.

    Hand holding the golden key

    Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

    Another way to optimize the site for search engines is by understanding how the backend of the website is structured. HTML is the code that makes up the website. Search engines, like Google, send out bots called “crawlers” to collect and catalog information from websites.

    Most think they have no control over the actions of the bot, but Google allows you to direct their crawlers in many ways. Likely, you’ll have pages that you don’t want bots to crawl such as admin pages or “Thank You” pages (displayed after a purchase).You can block the crawlers from looking at irrelevant pages using “robots.txt.” (i.e., SEOShoes.com/robots.txt).

    Here, you’re able to suggest which pages should and shouldn’t be searched, as well as the speed at which to crawl. You might want a crawler to spend more time crawling a page with lots of information as opposed to one with very little. Directing the crawlers helps optimize your “crawl budget,” which is the average number of pages a crawler will visit before leaving.

    HTML code


    Navigation is how easily each page is found and how clear that path is. Crawlers search the site’s pages by going from link to link. Navigation needs to be clear and ordered as to be as efficient as possible, so creating a sitemap is beneficial for you and the crawlers.

    The map helps you organize the site which in turn helps you manage it. You can’t let any important pages get lost through a convoluted strand of links. On the crawler’s side, it gives them a clear illustration of what is important to crawl. Google allows you to build and submit a sitemap here. This is a great tool to use but should not be a substitute for good, organized navigation.


    Lastly, you need to focus on where the pages end up. This is the index. It is where the pages are sorted based of the relevance of the user’s search.  This index is controlled by the search engines. This means when I search, “shoe,” on a search engine, the search engine will pull all the relevant pages from their index. Luckily, you also have influence on how the search engines index your site. Again, a good understanding of HTML helps here.

    Google’s site has lots of valuable SEO information. It has guides that will help you through multiple aspects of SEO, a reference page, updates on what is new to SEO guidelines, case studies, tools that help test your SEO efforts, and a help tab. It is a one-stop-shop for all your SEO needs.

    Hand mapping out navigation on white board

    SEO Shoe Company

    Let’s review what we just learned and see how it can be implemented for SEO Shoe Company. First, we learned that keywords are the foundation of SEO and there’s different types like questions and longtail. We, as a company, must find those keywords, and for us they would be things like, “Women’s heel size 6.5 gold,” or simply, “running shoes.” We can take those keywords and imbed them in our website. Whether it’s on the page title or in content that we’ve created, placing these words into our pages will boost our SEO for those types of searches.

    Next, we must get better about HTML. We should sit down and figure out which of our pages we want indexed and how we want them to be search. At the same time, we should also be thinking about how our website is laid out. It wouldn’t make sense for us to hide the sneaker section within the boots section nor would it make sense to not link the boots section to the home page. We need clear organized pages to ensure the crawlers can access all the material we want them to. We, at SEO Shoe Company, have a lot of work to do, but everything we learned today makes it that much easier to do.

    SEO is a dense subject. Entire books have been written on the best practices and many more will come. No matter how much information there is, it is not as complicated as it looks. It takes times and studying, but every business can and should implement good SEO practices. Where should you start? Try a search engine, we’re sure that can help you find some relevant content based on your keywords.

  • September 29, 2020

    Lessons Learned Series: Recruit and Retain the Best Talent

    This year marks the 30th anniversary of SRB Communications. In honor of this accomplishment, our blog series, Lessons Learned, will highlight five key lessons that founder and CEO, Dr. Sheila Brooks learned during 30 years as an entrepreneur. This week we offer the final piece of advice in this series – Lesson #5, Recruit and Retain the Best Talent. If you missed Lesson #1- Pivot the Business, #2 – Obtaining a Bank Loan, #3 –Writing a Growth Plan, or #4 – Customer First Mindset, click the links.

    You are only as good as the team that supports you. That’s why finding the best talent is imperative to the success of your business. The challenge doesn’t just stop there. Once you’ve found the talent, you need to get them to stay with your company.

    Obviously, the first step is filling a need. Business owners often make the mistake of hiring someone that they don’t really need in a misguided attempt at expansion. Growth in a company doesn’t come from hiring new people. In fact, it’s usually the opposite.

    When a company begins to expand, the opportunity to hire new people reveals itself. That requires you to pay close attention to your business and its needs. If you begin to turn down work because you don’t have enough people or lack people with the right skills, it might be time to hire. It never looks good for your business to appear incapable of handling the work of a client.

    Hiring a new employee can solve many problems in the company, as long as it’s the right fit. No matter the reason you feel you need someone, always ask yourself, “Will this person add value to my company?”

    Now that you have a position to fill, what does the best talent look like? It’s not necessarily the leading experts in the industry. Rather, it’s someone who fits the position but also fits your work culture. In order for a person to fit the position, they need the skills that are required to competently function in the job. This works both ways; just as you wouldn’t want someone under-qualified, you don’t want someone overqualified. It may seem counter-intuitive, but your goal is to retain the talent you find. Someone overqualified for the position may easily become bored and move on quickly in search of something that challenges them. That’s why finding the perfect fit is so important. A person who is equal to the position they take will stay engaged with the work they do and last longer.

    That said, no matter how well they match the position, they must match the work culture. Culture at a company is vital to its survival. Every owner should want an environment for their employees that make them feel good. You might find the best person for the job but if they don’t jell with the rest of the team and ruins the environment for other employees, it’s a bad fit.

    For example, if your current team is very serious and professional, adding a goofy and talkative new employee might not mix well into the culture. The best talent is often very different for each business and each position. Knowing exactly what you’re looking for in an employee allows you to narrow your focus and find the best for you and your business.

    There’s a number of ways you can find talent.

    There’s an app for that. We are fortunate enough to live in a world filled with technology and the phrase, “there’s an app for that,” is not untrue. There are dozens of apps and websites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, and LinkedIn. Most notably, LinkedIn has more than 706 million users. These sites allow you to post jobs, and based on the qualifications you require, it will search there userbase for people matching the description. This ensures that you’re not wasting your time and receive the best talent for your position to review.

    Networking. However, one of the best ways to recruit talent is through your personal connections. When SRB was still in production, I knew where the talent was. I had been a television journalist, but I also had experience in radio and newspapers. So, I was able to rely on those networks I developed to find talent. As a business owner, I make it a point to be active in professional organizations. Throughout the years, I’ve cultivated relationships with all of the national minority media organizations, like the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; industry groups like the American Advertising Federation, ColorComm, the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC), Leadership Greater Washington and various Chambers of Commerce. Networking like this allows me to have insight in the industry as a whole and build connections that may one day may turn into an opportunity for recruitment.

    No matter how good we are at finding talent, getting them to join and stay is a whole other challenge. In a competitive job market, you have to give people work-life balance and allow them the opportunity to grow. You need to provide them with professional development and show them that you believe that there are creative ways that they can advance themselves. Develop unique incentives that help you recruit and retain your talent; an extra week of vacation when you hire them, extra time off, cash bonuses, rewards, birthday parties, etc. You have to show employees that you really care about them because that’s what people are looking for.

    There is a remote culture and a travel culture growing in the professional world, and you have to adapt to those changes. If you understand what drives the talent you seek to recruit, you can craft your business to provide it. Whereas the older generations lived to work; the younger ones work so that they can live. Build a culture for them.