How to make the most of your Best of 2018 blog post

Well hello there! Today I want to talk to you about your Best of 2018 blog post. You know, the ones where you summarise all your favourite bits of 2018 on your blog. Have you considered doing one?

Perhaps you’ve *just* published it, perhaps it’s sitting half complete in your drafts folder.

Perhaps you think they’re only for certain types businesses, and not for you?

Perhaps you’ve seen the super fancy lovely slideshows set to music and thought “Not only do I not know how to do that, I also don’t know if I have that many images that I love and the very task seems daunting”?

You aren’t alone, and I’m here to help.

In this blog post I will not present different types of Best of 2018 blog posts but also, I’ll share with you how to make the most of this kind of blog post and the added SEO and marketing benefits of creating this blog post.

Your best of 2018 isn't limited to those with lots of images (looking at you, wedding photographers!), and it certainly doesn't always have to be a slideshow set to music. Of course this is a lush idea, but there are many other ways you could present your Best of 2018.

Where do you start?

Obviously, as your SEO Queen, I’m going to focus on the SEO benefits of having such a blog post and it’s also going to inform how you choose your content. Creating a Best of 2018 is not only a fabulous opportunity to reflect on how awesome you are, but also to repurpose the content that worked really well for you in the past year.

Blog your Top Ten Blogs using Google Analytics

One way to present your Best of 2018 is to create a blog post from your 10 most popular blog posts of the past year. To do this, just look at your Google Analytics. Then, go to Behaviour on the left hand side menu, click on Site Content, then All Pages, change your dates to the past year in the top right corner of the screen, and finally look at the nd look at the most popular content over the past year.

You can then link to each blog post and add one image from each blog post. The text you use to link to the blog needs to be something very relevant to the blog post itself such as “Dorchester Hotel wedding - Tom & Rachel” because you want to attract more traffic for Dorchester Hotel weddings, right?

Of course, you don't have to add images, but if you're an visual business then it makes sense to. Otherwise, you could just list them like this... ;o)

My Top ten blog posts were:

16 Ways to Take Care of Yourself When You Work at A Computer

How to Install a Cookie Notice (Because 2018 was the year of GDPR!)

My Business Story told almost entirely in GIFs

What I Learned from Not Blogging for Two Months as an SEO Expert

Where to Start with Building your Own WordPress Website (Domains, Hosting, WordPress oh my!)

52 Reasons Why Blogging is a Good Thing To Do

Guest Blogging And Why You Want To Do It Really

How to set up Google Analytics (and why the hell you'd want to)

Why is blogging important for SEO anyway?

How long should a blog post be?

Blog your Best Nine from Instagram

You could create a Best of 2018 blog post by linking to the 9 weddings/projects that were your most popular on Instagram, or simply using it as inspiration of course. This idea makes the assumption that

a) you have Instagram
b) you have discovered your best 9
c) you blogged about each project.

If you don’t have Instagram, then skip to the next idea.

If you didn’t yet publish your best 9 then you can look that up by searching on your app store for Best Nine.

If you haven’t blogged about each of the projects that were on your best 9 then you don’t even need to refer to the best nine and instead just link to the ones you did blog about and/or add the best nine images to your slideshow if you're doing one, along with links to the photographers who took the photos.

Here's my best nine of 2018 - it was a fun year! More of me laughing in 2019 to come (gotta give the fans what they want!) 🙂

Photography credits from top left to right: Pink cafe fun with @nataliejweddings in Paris 💖Drinking at @snapphotofest (and no doubt laughing at my own jokes) thanks @leeallenphotos💖(2nd row) Teaching at @blovedhive thanks @jessgracephoto 💖 Being styled by the FAB.U.LOUS @domandink at @warehouseuk 💖 A quote by my amazing "wife" @deadlyknitshade 💖@veronicadearly telling it like it is 💖 (3rd row) A shoot in Bristol with the talented @luisastarlingweddings 💖 Pink doors forever have my heart in Paris @nataliejweddings💖 More @veronicadearly hilarity 💖

Blog your Top Ten from Facebook Insights

You could go through your Facebook Insights and check the most popular content from there and use that to create your top ten weddings and link to those blog posts on your blog. (Why do I keep going on about linking to other blogs in your blog post? It keeps traffic on your site which is AVGT i.e. A Very Good Thing) If you haven’t blogged those projects and instead they’re popular just from image alone, then you can link to blog posts where you’ve worked with that particular photographer, or supplier, or collaborator.

Go to your Facebook Page Insights, click on Posts on the lefthand side, scroll down to All Posts Published, continue to click "See More" at the bottom so you can see all posts from the year. Then you want to focus on the posts that had the most blue & pink numbers (Engagement & clicks) NOT orange as this is impressions only and counts everyone who thumbscrolls over you.

Blog your Numbers of the Year

Some people have done this as Facebook or Instagram updates and that’s cool but that’s not driving the traffic to your website, and your website is your best employee. Why not let it work for you?

Create a blog post where you list your numbers of the year. And no, I don’t mean publish your turnover, but by reviewing the year in this way, you celebrate your wins! And you could create quite a quirky list depending on your brand 😉

Here are some examples of numbers you could share

X amount of weddings planned
X holidays booked
X continents travelled to
X cakes made
X berries picked
X cake tastings given
X amount of clients served
X cream teas served
X Ubers taken
X miles travelled
X planes caught
X amount of miles walked / run
X amount of first kisses you cried at
X amount of Mums you hugged
X amount of times you had to help a bride to the loo
X amount of babies born
X amount of Brooklyn 99 episodes watched whilst editing (I bloomin' love Rosa, even though I am clearly an Amy)
You could link to your top 100 songs most played in Spotify (here's mine - teehee)
X amount of colours you put in your hair this year (looking at you, unicorn haired friends)
X amount of hours you've spent watching Black Mirror Bandersnatch (11 and counting for me, gulp)

So you’ve created your blog post, what now? What’s the best way to share this on social media?

Here are some ideas for you:

  • Choose an image from each of the 10 blog posts you’ve shared and share for 10 days.
  • You can mix it up on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest.
  • Pin each image to Pinterest with a detailed caption
  • You can paste the link to your Instagram bio, you can say something poetic or a line from a song you love to accompany the image.
  • You don’t have to always say it’s from your best of. Do not be afraid of repeating that it is, but at the same time you need to mix it up.
  • Link to Best of 2018 blog post in your Autoresponder/Out of office
  • Link to the Best of 2018 in your email signature
  • Email out to the couples who are in it with a link to your Facebook and blog post for them to share it.
  • Email the suppliers and collaborators you feature
  • Tag your couples, suppliers, collaborators each time you post. This will be more effective if you post one image at a time.
  • Email your list to tell them (if you have one!)

But wait, you haven’t even talked about creating a slideshow to music - how do you promote that?

Sharing the slideshow directly to social media will be most effective for engagement rather than just posting a link to your blog post with the slideshow in it. Make sure you still post a link to the blog post so your audience can continue to engage with you if they wish to.

Notes to Behold (this is my new meaning for N.B. 🤣)

  • Don’t include images of clients that didn’t fit your target client. You will attract what you promote. If they were let’s say, a little tricky, don’t include them in your Best of post, no matter how awesome the image is.
  • No one cares when you post it OR if you don't post it but they do care when you DO publish it. You can publish this whenever you like! Your audience wants to hear from you! Your potential audience is eager to see your work!
  • You don't need to do all of these ideas I've listed here. Just choose one! 🙂
  • Your website is your best employee, and your best employee represents your brand, promotes your values and works damn hard for you.
  • Don't have too many images - this will slow down your website a lot! No one wants to wait that long - be brutal with your culling (hence why I suggest top 10 for example)

But wait there’s more....

Now that I’ve planted these seeds, and you’re on board, you can use this information to spark future blog post ideas. What was popular this year? Blog more of that kind of content, particularly if it's a good excuse for you to share your expertise. It reminds people they're in the right place to find the solution they're looking for.

Like I said at the start, you want to create great excuses to repurpose content you already have. You also want to have great reasons to link to other content ideally published on your website but if not then external links that are highly relevant to your brand (submitted weddings or shoots, collaborations, etc)

And finally, remember that your blog is not there for you to sell directly but to increase awareness, show your expertise and to increase engagement and traffic. Don’t forget to measure these factors on Google Analytics, and on social media insights. By taking the steps in this blog post, you can achieve fantastic results.

Let me know how you get on,

Maddy xo

How to tell Google you exist (It’s quite important)

When I work with Shine clients, I always ask, have you submitted your sitemap to Google before? The question is often met with one of these responses:

  1. Yes, a long time ago I think it was done
  2. Isn't that the same as Google Analytics?
  3. What's that, then?

I then ask the same question but in another way:

What shows up when you Google your own business name?

Three things need to be showing up as a the very foundation of getting found online:

  1. Your website (ideally more than one page of your website)
  2. Your social media links
  3. Your Google Maps/Google My Business listing

Now, if you're not showing up when you Google your business name, it's almost certainly because you haven't told Google you exist.

How do you do that?

You need to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmasters. This includes whenever you make significant changes to your site, such as creating new pages, changing your menu, then you need to tell Google about it.

Fear not, I'm here to tell you what you need to do.

What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free online tool provided by Google. It used to be called Webmaster Tools and can still be found at that URL.

Why is it important?

The main reason you need to know about this tool is to submit your website to be read by Google so it will send over its spiders they look at the menu, the pages and posts, and what they're looking for is if your website is useful, is it a quick website, is it all seamlessly linked together- how useful you are.  And then it will know about all the pages and posts on your website.

Google Search Console is needed because a) we need to tell Google we exist and b) we're human and we make mistakes. This handy free tool tells us where we've made mistakes and helps us fix them, and then helps us make sure our sites are as error-free as possible. 

Google Search Console vs Google Analytics?

Google Search Console is different from Google Analytics but the two can connect smoothly. Analytics shows you a lot more information about how people are using your site, whereas Search Console shows you what people are searching for to find your site as well as tracking how your site shows up in search engine results.

OK, where do I start?

I'm so glad you asked. I've put together a PDF guide completely free with the step by step process on how to submit your sitemap to both Google AND Bing. Download it by clicking below!

Why should you hire a consultant for your business?

Why is it that when we make the jump to be self-employed, we immediately assume the titles of marketing, HR, strategy, finance, as well as implementing the service / product delivery and expect ourselves to be expert at all of these things otherwise we are clearly failures?

This is the same story I hear from clients time and time again and I call it a line of BS. Since I began my business I've hired consultants in the form of business coaches, mentors, web developers, accountants, virtual assistants, and so many more. Sometimes it's required a leap of faith (because oh my goodness, shouldn't I know this already?!) and sometimes it's been quite a simple choice, but I've always learned a lot and seen huge benefits in my business, and they haven't always been what I thought they might be.

Sometimes these people can be called coaches, sometimes they're called consultants. I'm doing a course at the moment where the teacher says there's no difference between the two, they're all the same thing as the dictionary definition of a consultant is: "engaged in the business of giving expert advice to people working in a specific field".

Have you ever considered hiring a consultant for your business? I know that when I invest in my business in this way, it's an investment in me and I know my clients feel the same way, but there's more to it than that, so I've shared four reasons why I see working 1:1 with an expert is beneficial to your business.

1. They help you grow your business quickly

Of course, the main reason you hire an expert is to help you grow your business. You want to grow steadily as a business, you have goals (however unreachable they may feel at times!) The expert will not do the work for you, but they will offer you the expertise and wisdom you need to implement. With my clients, I ensure that I make time in my calendar every week to implement the advice my coach gives me so that I can actually see my business growing right through from setting goals, understanding who I want to target, through to actually finding those clients and booking them. I know that when I work with my clients it's the same way. Just look at Fairclough Studios, a husband and wife photography duo from north west England who shared their results of working with me:

"We have 100% got more bookings as a result of working with Maddy. We were getting bookings but rarely our target client and at a much lower rate. We have now increased our prices, so we are earning more from fewer bookings which is ideal and this year we were booked out by our target clients. We are earning approximately 30% more now as a result."

2. They help you stay accountable to what works

It's incredibly powerful to have someone to stay accountable to when you're running your own business. Heavens know I've gone off on plenty of tangents only to come back to what I know works. Working together with an expert really gives a sense of purpose and motivation to do the work. I love checking in with fellow entrepreneurs but there can be a sense of wanting to put up a front to let everyone know you're doing ok, which is simply impossible to do with someone you're paying to speak to. By working 1:1 with a consultant, you know that you're going to get more bang for your buck when you stay accountable to what you intend to do that week. When clients work with me on my VIP program, we meet every 2-3 weeks, but they send me weekly updates with goals they've met and goals they plan to meet.

3. They support you

One of the biggest qualities you get working with someone on a 1:1 basis is that you get support, and it's extremely important to me that I offer this to all my VIP clients. I am available for questions through the time we work together. You don't have to do this on your own, anymore! I aim to motivate and encourage my clients, just as I am motivated and encouraged by my own coach to do the work I feel passionate about. Working on your own, it can be lonely, and whilst your partner/significant other/WhatsApp group can cheer you on, they don't know your business like an expert does!

4. They help you get a clear head and provide clarity

An expert will be able to see things you just can't see around your business, the way you work and the way you promote yourself. I particularly focus on creating and developing a marketing and search engine optimisation strategy with my clients which can be so fun because it actually goes to show you how you can have fun with these supposedly dry topics! You need an expert in your life to say "Yes, that's how you do it and here's how you can do it even better." You don't want to spend hours doing this on your own when you could be spending that time with your loved ones.

"It’s gone beyond a purely “give me the information and I’ll do the work” relationship. It can be like that with other courses and experts. We have a lot of trust in you. We aren’t insecure about admitting when something isn’t working, we know we can work together a solution together. The value of that relationship is worth more than anythingIf we didn’t hire you, we’d still be flopping around, with no idea what we were doing, lacking any structure." Fairclough Studios

Did you identify with this? If you're feeling ready to step up your game as we head into 2019 and develop a marketing and SEO strategy with me, come and check out my VIP marketing program. Through a series of six calls we grow your business together through marketing and SEO. It's currently on special offer to celebrate the holidays at £2200 rather than the usual £2400. Book a discovery call here to see if we're a good fit.

I'll be increasing the prices for 2019 so you best get in quickly! NOTE: You'll benefit the most from this program if you're not a newbie but rather if you have been in business for a while and you're ready to take that step up and invest in your business growth. Together we'll take your bookings to the next level (and have fun with it).This is your chance to see amazing results like these clients did.  The sky is the limit, let's do this!

"We are the most successful we’ve ever been thanks to working with Maddy. We’ve attracted the most ideal clients ever." Fairclough Studios

“She is awesome! Signing up to Maddy isn’t and never was a "quick fix" but rather a process of guidance. It's changed the way I think and behave, and I'll be forever grateful.” Christine McNally Photography

"I love the way she delivers above and beyond what she promises. I particularly love her passion and dedication to each project, her enthusiasm and thoughtfulness around the specific marketing needs of my business. Every session with Maddy has brought value and in every direction!" Brighton Lace

"Maddy helped us to make our business shine, literally, translating to a huge increase in bookings in less than a month!" Tredudwell Manor

Why is blogging important for SEO anyway?!

This week I had the great pleasure of being interviewed on The Flourishing Pantry where I was asked a fantastic question on the Live interview: why is blogging important for SEO? I realised then and there that perhaps you're persuaded that it's generally a good idea but not quite convinced of the SEO benefits of blogging

So, today I decided to share with you just how it helps specifically as I think it might help spur you on into blogging more often....!

SEO is not stand alone.

The first thing to note is that SEO is not a stand alone activity. It's not as cut and dried as that task is SEO related, that task is marketing related, it's ALL about driving traffic to your website. Once you have traffic on your website you then set up about converting that traffic into repeated traffic, and from there you have the opportunity to convert them into a sale.

Not every blog post is there to attract sales

People come to me all the time wondering why they didn't get enquiries as soon as they published a blog post, or an Instagram post. It doesn't work like that. This is the second key point. Not every blog post is written with the goal of attracting sales and therefore the social media posts that promote the blog posts should not have the goal of attracting sales. It's a rule of marketing (and therefore SEO) 101 that you can use the AIDA model: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. Most of the content you produce is there to create awareness and interest, in order to move onto the third and fourth stages of Desire and Action. I made a pink diagram to highlight this model 🙂

Create more content

The next thing to note is you are probably not creating enough content in order to get your audience to remember you and to buy from you. I get a lot of questions about blogging. People wanting to make sure they do it right. Guess what? Most of those people are using these questions as reasons not to blog more often. Create more content to get found by your audience. You need to constantly remind people that you exist. The easiest way to do that? Create more content.

But that doesn't mean get lost in creating a beautiful aesthetic on Instagram. That means providing valuable information that answers key questions that your audience has. For example, like writing a blog post about why blogging is important for SEO (see what I did there? ;o) )

What do you do with the blog posts?

You need to create content that attracts attention, that increases awareness of who you are and what you offer the world. You need to point this attention to your website. This is why LINK IN BIO is on Instagram posts (or should be!) and this is why people try to figure out the best way to post links on Facebook status updates (remove the image, post the link in the comments, the options seem to be endless don't they?)

On my last blog post I talked about what I learned when I didn't blog for 2.5 months as an SEO expert - talk about putting your money where your mouth is! This attracted a LOT of traffic. It piqued people's interest. It sparked people's motivation. It jolted people into action. It got people talking. The key thing was I tracked all this on my Google Analytics.

How did I get this traffic?

I posted the link on my email newsletter, I shared the link on Facebook page, personal Facebook profile, Instagram bio, tweeted it. I shared it via private message with a few people in my network. I can see from Google Analytics that people were sending it to each other too.

As a result, I watched my search engine rankings increase because more eyeballs were looking at my website.

But hang on I hear you question...if I have blog posts already on my site, can't people just see them and that will work for me without me having to focus on that for a while?

The short answer is nope.

Remember what I said earlier - people want a reminder that you exist constantly. Therefore, search engines LOVE regularly updated websites. The easiest way to update a website? BLOGGING. This is because you're much more likely to actually write these rather than update your main website pages. You're much more likely to attract traffic if you post a link to a new blog post on social media.

Every time you publish a piece of content online it creates a unique link. Search engines love websites full of juicy content with lots of pages and posts all linking to each other. Therefore, you need to create more unique links.

Don't try to shortcut this.

Don't get lost in creating hidden pages, black hat SEO techniques. Write more consistently on your blog. Publish the link to social media.

This is just the start.

There's much more to learn about SEO. SO much more. In fact I teach a whole course on this (are you on the waiting list?). But until you do this one thing of following my advice on blogging, you won't be able to grow your business and attract the enquiries you want.

So what are you waiting for? What will you blog about next? Come and tell me in my free Facebook group So Exciting Obviously SEO for Creative Women.

Talk soon,

Maddy

Photography is all by the marvellous Julia Gold