December 23rd, 2016 by Glenn Parkin

Ruby the VW Beetle


Well, we have gone a full week and I have managed to not talk about my favourite thing in the whole world… sorry Mrs P, but it’s Ruby the Beetle. It got me thinking about what I have been through recently with her restoration and how it is similar to SEO. Stay with me…

Ruby only has a small engine and getting anywhere is slow-going but it’s the quality of the journey – same with SEO – it’s a process that takes a long time.

With SEO you need three main things:

  • On-page technical work
  • Content
  • Outreach

With Ruby, she needs:

  • Solid technical work
  • A reliable engine
  • A full tank of super plus unleaded…

The on-page technical work is making sure your site is perfectly formed and runs as best as it can, going through the numerous checklists we have here at Boutique to make sure everything is as good as we can possibly get it.

Back in November I had the stressful time of getting Ruby through her MOT after the restoration, so a lot of effort was put in to go through the checklists to make sure she was tip top and everything was totally roadworthy.

The content of a website is essential; it has to be trustworthy so both Google and your visitors believe in it, and authoritative – you need to be an expert in your specialism to really provide both Google and your visitors with the best information they can get. You need to show you are an absolute expert in your industry and give unrivalled advice and knowledge to your visitors.

The most important part of Ruby is her engine so when it came to restoring this I had it rebuilt by an expert in air cooled engines. Now I have the total trust that when I go for a cruise, she will get me there!

And then there’s outreach – this is getting your content out and published on the web and shared with the main influencers in the industry to drive traffic back to your site, gaining valuable backlinks.

Ruby likes nothing more than a full tank of super plus unleaded; this gets her out on the road, cruising to shows and it means she gets shared with others who appreciate and love her as much as I do!

GP’s lesson of the day:

SEO is like VW Beetles. 

Boutique’s Big TV Roundup 2016

December 22nd, 2016 by Steph Feather

father Christmas watching television

A turbulent 2016 has almost gone in a flash and with it we’ve lost some absolute legends, been on a political rollercoaster and seen how even though TV is somewhat our constant, it continues to change as ever. With Christmas in touching distance, we’ve taken a look at the festive line up ahead and a roundup of the crazy year that was 2016.

Ex Factor

This year’s X Factor has fallen even further behind rival Strictly Come Dancing in the ratings battle – the 2016 finale struggled to reach 8m viewers, down a hefty 15% compared to last year’s finale. It’s the worst audience on record for the X Factor, ever. Earlier this year, ITV agreed to renew the show until 2019 – after 12 years of the same predictable format, maybe they should let X Factor rest up and make way for The Voice which debuts in January on ITV.

Great British Bake Off jumps ship

It was the hottest topic in the TV industry when BBC confirmed they weren’t renewing their contract with GBBO after Channel 4 paid a whopping £75m in a three-year deal. There was uproar and rumours as Mary Berry threw in the tea-towel, quickly followed by presenters Mel and Sue. For the Paul Hollywood fans amongst us, the only presenter left has confirmed the search for new bakers has begun – hooray! Before the show heads to its new home on Channel 4 in 2017, the old Bake Off team will be on BBC One for one final time on Christmas Day with a festive special. I’ll be tuning in for sure.

Planet Earth II rocks

The almighty Attenborough restored faith with another series of the natural history show which not only has incredible never-before-seen footage, but also a powerful conversational message that makes for perfect Sunday night viewing. It has become one of the few ‘feel good’ moments of 2016 – a weekly instalment of delight that has attracted more than 12 million viewers every week. Now the most-watched natural history programme for 15 years, Attenborough is still on top form at the ripe old age of 90. Not only that, the producer of the show has hinted that the BBC could return with a third instalment…

*Keep everything crossed*!

Christmas TV adverts return

Every year in the lead up to Christmas, big brands get their big guns out and release their festive TV commercials (albeit somewhat prematurely in Oct/Nov) to the world and they spread like wildfire on social media and the like. So many are a cause for conversation and controversy but this year feels like a slight step change from previous years. A shift from emotion to animation seems to be the focus of many brands – maybe it’s the pick-me-up we need after a heavy year of ups and downs. From a trampoline-loving dog to a carrot called Kevin and an all-singing-all-dancing James Cordon voice-over, my fav has to be an unexpected entry from Heathrow Airport with a heartwarming story of Coming Home For Christmas which I think rivals giants John Lewis and M&S.

The Guardian has rounded up its top 50 TV shows of 2016, with Planet Earth II sitting at number one.

Amen Attenborough.

Merry Christmas, you filthy animals!

December 19th, 2016 by Sarah Gough

christmas dinnr

As 2016 draws to a close, we’re reflecting on a pretty splendid December. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year, so here’s a lowdown of our festive frolleague highlights.


A few weeks ago on a fittingly frosty morning, we arrived en masse at the lovely Oulton Hall adorned with our best Christmas morning outfits. We were met by our photographer for the day – Guy Farrow – and his able assistant who tactfully negotiated their way around an 18-foot tree.

Christmas at Oulton Hall

With Steve extremely willingly dressed as Santa Claus (if you know Steve, you can imagine the quips that ensued), we were ready to shoot our family story time. We hope you like the resulting Christmas card!

Sitting in front of the fire at Christmas


As soon as was acceptable (1st December, apparently) we decked the halls with brand new trees. New office; new Christmas budget! I think these beauties speak for themselves.

Decorating Christmas trees

And finally, our Christmas party! The top dogs gave us a whole day off for festive frivolity, and we gladly obliged.

First up was a trip to The Great Escape in Leeds (best locked in game we’ve been to!) where between us we took on three very different rooms. Two groups escaped, one did not…

Escape Game Leeds group photo

Next up was a lively round of The Logo Board Game, a celebration of Tom’s impending 30th and a successful Secret Santa (see our Facebook live video to see what we got) before we headed to our trusty neighbour The Midnight Bell for an absolute corker of a Christmas lunch.

Collage of games and Christmas dinner photos

Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without mulled wine, faux fur and fairy lights, so we made our way to Thor’s Tipi Bar. The latest addition to Leeds’ festive market scene, we merrily settled in for the night. The rest, as they say, is history.

Collage of photos from Christmas markets

All that’s left to do is wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Boutique. See you in 2017!

Sarah Claus x

Gif me a giggle

December 12th, 2016 by Sarah Gough

woman with laughing emoji head looking at phone

A certain smirk adorns the faces of the PR team when we know we’ve nailed a gif. It’s exclusive to this occasion – unmistakable and closely followed by the words “wait for it”. For visualising purpose, it’s similar to the ‘I’ve emailed you a meme’ smirk, only with more linger. I know you know.

In communications we seek memorable engagement with our clients’ audiences. Video has long been hailed the future of marketing, because by its very nature we are likely to spend longer ‘absorbing’ it than we are with words or pictures. Gifs are video champions of our generation – short, succinct and widely appealing, they offer quick-fire fun in a fast-filling feed. When Twitter introduced a free bank of gifs, we rejoiced. When they ceased hogging character count, we fist pumped. Now, to top it all off, WhatsApp has jumped on the bandwagon and it’s a bloomin’ revelation.

Like all societal trends, brands are likely to increasingly jump on gifs and memes as a revenue and brand awareness stream. Whoever developed the gif function in WhatsApp must have been a Friends fan, because there’s Chandler-a-plenty. Every time I choose him, to some extent I’m re-igniting the Friends fire within myself and the gif recipient (and most recently Elf has naturally been the common theme). As we did when adverts started to appear on our Instagram feeds, we’re likely to feel a bit put out to start with, but I’m sure we’ll become accustomed and the more creative brands are, the more we’ll want to be in on the joke.

Gifs are the gifts that keep on giving. When you’ve picked the right one, it‘ll tickle you every time (see our #CowAppreciationDay Twitter post on 8th July.) We could do with a chuckle this week so go on – show us what you’re made of and give us a gif @WeAreBoutiqueUK.

That’s all from me,