Hello! So last year I wrote a blog post on how to make the best of your 2018 highlights. It was quite popular. So I decided to write an updated version so you can create your own highlights of 2019.
For this was the year of even more ways of being visible to your audience. Videos and in particular, Instagram Stories became even more of a thing. Sharing more personal bits of our lives became more important as we all suddenly/slowly realised that we were selling to human beans and therefore should probably act like them on social media.
So OK you're probably thinking. Where on earth do you start? 🤔
Perhaps you’re thinking any one of the following....hmm not sure what I did this year that's different from last year that anyone would care about apart from my mum, or....not sure what I would say, ....not sure whether I want that to be my first blog post in god knows how long.... hmm it’s sitting half complete in my drafts actually,....nah they're only for certain types of businesses, and certainly not for me!
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 only present different types of Best of 2019 blog posts but also, I’ll share with you how to make the most of this kind of blog post, and the added visibility (SEO and marketing - YAY!) benefits of creating this blog post.
Your best of 2019 isn't limited to those with lots of images (looking at you, fabulous photographers!), and it certainly doesn't always have to be a slideshow set to music. Of course this is a lush idea and works well if you're that way inclined, but there are many other ways you could present your Best of 2019.
Obviously, as your SEO Queen, I’m going to focus on the SEO benefits of having such a blog post. Creating a Best of 2019 is not only a FAB-ulous opportunity to reflect on how awesome you are, but also to repurpose the content that worked really well for you in the past year.
1. Blog your Top Ten Blogs using Google Analytics
One way to present your Best of 2019 is to create a blog post from your 10 most popular blog posts of the past year.
This idea makes the assumption that you have Google Analytics (or similar stats) installed
To do this, just log in to your Google Analytics.
Then, go to Behaviour on the left hand side menu
Click on Site Content
Click All Pages
Change your dates in the top right corner by manually typing in Jan 1 2019 and leaving today's date in the second box
Scroll down and you'll see your 10 most popular pages of your site in the past year. Chances are your blog posts may not be there, as your pages will be listed, so there's a small box saying Rows underneath - click this and change from 10 to 100
There you'll spot your blog posts as your 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 a visual business then it makes sense to. Otherwise, you could just list them like this... 😉
I was a little nervous about traffic this year as I have started to email out whole blog posts in my emails to my list with an option to click through to read the same post here on the blog, but it's been fine 🙂
2. Blog your Best Nine from Instagram
You could create a Best of 2019 blog post by linking to the 9 posts that were your most popular on Instagram, or simply using it as inspiration of course. This idea makes the assumption that:
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, the venues where the images were taken and any other fun details. People are nosier than you think, so give them an opportunity to engage with you.
Here's my best nine of 2019 - it was a fun year, one that made me see even more how I want to spend my time....
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 😉 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?
Here are some examples of numbers you could share...
X awards won X nominations X workshops hosted / attended X press features X podcasts listened to / been featured on
If you're a wedding supplier...
X amount of weddings planned X wedding fairs attended X styled shoots done X cakes made X berries picked X cake tastings given 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
If you're a destination wedding supplier or simply a travel lover:
X holidays booked X continents travelled to X amount of clients served X miles travelled X planes caught X amount of miles walked / run
If you're a movie/TV show/soundtrack binger like me then another way of attracting more of your ideal client is to share your favourite TV shows, movies, music and more. Honestly, I cannot tell you how much sharing about this stuff has made me more visible.
Of course if you're prone to sharing more personal fun stuff as well as work stuff then you could make the focus of your best of 2019 a round up of your personal goals. You could break it down into highs, challenges met and surprises along the way.
Launching my YouTube channel Gin and Magic where I chat to strong creative women about how they make their lives work was brilliant with such great feedback, and I have huge gratitude for everyone who came along to have a chat with me. I have many more videos recorded and cannot wait to share in the new year!
I moved back to London at last after a six year break and wanted to jump back in with movie + theatre + arts stuff. I joined the V&A and went to the Dior exhibition twice (gorgeous!). I went to see Hannah Gadsby (watch Nanette on Netflix and Please Like Me on Amazon Prime if you haven't already), Julie Andrews, mega fun Spice Girls at Wembley, an emotional Elton John with my parents, Emma Thompson, Jonathan Van Ness (from Queer Eye) and Ian McKellen (who I chatted to!) I dyed my hair pink, rose gold and blue after envying my unicorn hair friends for years. After eyeing them up on Instagram for 3 years, I joined the Wing, an all-female co-working space in central London.
Balancing the books regularly really helps
Getting a good accountant helps even more
Accountability for your goals really matters. I ask the participants on my Let's Get You Found program to share each Monday and Friday for good reason - it really helps!
Taking a holiday will not damage the business. It’s about having a structure in place and being organised about it - I went on two retreats to Sweden and a solo trip to Mexico and it was a bit nerve wracking but it was great for a mental health break
No one cares if you don't post on social media but they do care when you do (be prepared to play the long game)
No one single course, coach or program will solve all your problems but with expert support you can. But you do actually have to do the work.
I've been studying on a course all year that teaches how to use discovery calls to help more people and how to present your value. It hasn’t been nearly as terrifying as I originally thought, and actually the key is figuring out what the person is really looking for and not actively selling to them.
At the end of 2018 I took a big gamble and stopped offering quite a few services like copywriting + web design to new clients, Pinterest as a separate course (it's offered only as a bonus with other services now), and instead focused on my Done for You SEO service and my Let's Get You Found program. I love it!
I got even more specific with my goals - personal and work and therefore stripped back. Did this mean I earned more money? No. BUT this DID mean I stopped taking on sticky projects, difficult clients and panicky bookings. It DID mean that I had better boundaries. It DID mean I knew what failure meant = learning. I knew what I wanted from each launch / process / new project.
5. Best YouTube videos
Of course if you've been busy on IGTV or YouTube this year creating content, then you could link to your top five YouTube videos and whaddya know, here are my most played Gin and Magic videos (I didn't take into account how much they were played on Facebook where I've also been uploading them directly!)
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 5 of the best things you shared and post for 5 days about it 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 2019 blog post in your Autoresponder/Out of office
Link to the Best of 2019 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 have featured in your round up.
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. 🤣)
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 always there for you to sell directly but to make people more AWARE, demonstrate how you can be useful to them. Check your traffic on your best of 2019 blog post after you publish and you might be surprised by the results.
By taking the steps laid out in this blog post, you can achieve fantastic results.
What's that I hear you say? No Black Friday offer? Nope, not from me, not sure how I feel about it tbh so instead, I'm focusing on my usual #ThingsILoveFridays💖 where I celebrate all that went well each week, giving me the opportunity to stop, and be grateful! I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for doing all this hard work, right?
I've upgraded this into not only what I love but what I think you'll love too - useful, loveable, funny, no not just adjectives to describe me but also what I love to share....LOL.
And now I'm off to finish writing the challenge for next week, getting some pampering done before heading to Devon tomorrow for a James Bond party (and yes I will be putting my own spin on Bond - check out my Stories to follow the adventures!)
What did you love this week? Come and tell me on Instagram 🙂
Let's cut straight to the good stuff, shall we?? How do I rank for this keyword is one of the most common questions I get asked.
The kind that gets you grinning at four o'clock in the afternoon as another enquiry lands in your inbox.
That gets you high-fiving your(self? Cat?) as you wrap up another order.
Keyword ranking may not sound all that sexy, but it can do A-grade things for your creative business. So exactly what do you need to do to get in on the action, and which of the so-called tips and tricks are nothing more than myth?
It's time to be choosey
Whenever someone asks me (i.e. every day) 'how do I show up in search engines for this keyword?', then I ask them in return, how did you choose that word? It's so often picked at random, guided by the not-so-specific method of 'Ooh I like that yes', rather than what their ideal clients are actually searching for. It can be as simple as the choice between “floral designer” vs “florist” or “illustration” vs “painting” that really can make all the difference.
But, if you aren't sure, what else can you do? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to figure it out because yes, there are tools to help figure out the popularity of any particular phrase but if you don't do this ground work first you're going to be going round in circles.
Get a pen and notepad out and write down...
Where in the world are you based? Be specific
Where in the world is your audience based? Be specific
What do you offer
Are there different ways to sum up what you do?
Are you clear on how you differ from your competitors (this can be the difference between wedding bouquet illustrator and wedding day illustrator, both of which are great businesses but are quite different in terms of actual service where one shows up to the big day and the other does not)
Are you clear on how you add value to your audience's lives?
How well do you understand what they're looking for?
If you design clothes or take photos it's not just - my clients need clothes or they need new photos, it's the kind of clothes, it's the kind of photos they need, and what they will use them for.
One word: phrase
When is a keyword not a keyword? When it's a phrase! Don't get caught out by thinking your keyword is 'photographer' when actually it's probably more like 'Birmingham wedding photographer'. Because here's the secret: more often than not, that's what people are typing into Google. Think about the last searches you made, then apply the same logic to the queries your ideal client could use to find you.
Often, creative business owners bundle up hashtag and keyword choice in one fell swoop. Your time is valuable, so streamlining makes sense, but don't try and skip this key step just to save time (instead psst...find the places you totally CAN save time in your business right here). Keywords are what get you found on Google, hashtags group your social media posts. They're both ways to bring new eyes to your brand, but they work in different ways so don't assume one works for the other.
If I asked you to describe your ideal client, what would you say? (Apart from rolling your eyes, because isn't it enough that you've got one, do you really have to deep dive more?!?) Could you tell me their age, their likes, dislikes and favourite places to splurge? Could you tell me their pain points and the things that spur them on to get out of bed in the morning?
You may be feeling a bit smug right now as you've got this information down, but even if you haven't, don't let the research stop there. Include it in your keyword ranking planning too. You can find out how many people search each month for phrases linked to your business (start with Google Keyword Planner, but on my SEO course Let's Get You Found I teach you much more specific ways to do this). Check out your competition, too - what are they using? You always need to know what you're up against before you can take top spot, otherwise you're just fighting against yourself.
Play the game
Competing for number one takes courage, confidence and clarity (I talk about it in my free trainings, which you probably wanna hear more about, right?). If you've got your keywords right, you'll face plenty of competition in your bid to top the charts, so you need to play the game to win! Using the exact same keyword phrases on multiple blogs and pages means you'll be in direct competition with yourself - and only one page can be number one. So instead use similar phrases that mean the same thing on different blog posts you write. Get clear on where keyword phrases work best on your website. This very idea is debated widely amongst SEO experts and is different for every business, so take the time to work out what is best for you.
One size does not fit all
It used to be the case that you could create a page, add the search phrase, link the page on your menu or footer, name it with your keyword phrase and that would be enough to ace your keyword ranking. But as with most things in life, times change.
Google is getting cleverer than ever, tracking not just what people search but also their intent behind it. Make sure you tailor your keyword phrases specifically to each page to ensure they display in search for what potential customers will actually find.
Wrong place, right time
One of the most common mistakes I find on client websites is that they've used one keyword phrase in a lot of places, or they've not used enough at all. The trick to scoring great SEO results and watching that organic traffic roll in is to put the right keywords in the right places, every time.
Pare it back
When you've done your research for keyword ranking, it can be oh-so tempting to pour all that time and energy into the next post you write. Don't! Because trust me, we've all been there, done that and ended up with a post you can't make head nor tail of. Packing in every possible variation of your keyword phrase won't a readable page make, so choose one for this time, and save the others to enhance your strategy another day.
Once you've nailed your audience targeting, it's time to hone in on your strategy too. Strategy doesn't have to be a scary word, and in fact I love helping people sort theirs out. Scaling back your keywords to cover a chosen area or niche won't limit your potential. Far from it, in fact, because by doing this you'll appeal to the people who matter most.
OK, so you've done some thinking, come and tell me on Facebook which tip helped you the most....
Chat soon, Maddy
P.S. If you're in the mythbusting mood, you might also wanna check out my post on whether SEO is dead.....
It's all go pre-holiday this week which is why it's so good to look back on the week and go ahhh, I achieved a lot, had a lot of fun, but I'm quite ready for some time off 😀By focusing on what went well each week, it gives me the opportunity to stop, and be grateful! I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for doing all this hard work, right? I've upgraded this into not only what I love but wha I think you'll love too....so here’s what I loved this week:
I went to see a talk with Julie Andrews at Festival Hall (I cried, and that was nothing to do with the caiprinha I had at Ping Pong just before, haha)
So, in light of last Friday's #ThingsILoveFridays post, I'm sharing again here and phew! what a week. So good to reflect, look back on the week and check in with myself. Gives me the opportunity to stop, and be grateful! It sounds pretty out there, but I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for doing all this hard work, right? Right?!
Coming ever more into the realisation that with being more visible, you get just as many people not wanting to hear from you as people very much wanting to hear from you, and that doesn't mean they're not your ideal clients, and you don't have to take it personally!
Last week it kicked off on my social media. Someone had heard from someone else that SEO is basically dead. Time was when I would read these kinds of things and go OMG my career is over. I’m dead. How will I ever recover. OMG, I’m off to ask for a job at my local coffee shop. Goodbye cruel freelancing world. So, this kind of stuff happens most weeks and I’m sure in hundreds of other conversations that I’m not privy to. See also: a beer out with a friend a few weeks ago where they told me that they didn’t think people were using Google in the same way any more and that I needed to find something else to do. The thing is, is SEO dead?
So often people come to me and say "But XYZ is the thing now".
To them I say this:
The thing is, SEO isn’t dead. People (i.e. your potential clients) are googling stuff just as much as ever.
As a small business owner, you probably think SEO is a luxury. But to make more money from your website, you want more people to see it. To get more people to see it, you need to increase your rankings on search engines. To do this, you need to work on your SEO. You may have heard that SEO is dead and past it, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. My personal opinion is that people just say that so that they don’t have to work on their SEO. (Or worse yet, and this is truly cynical, that they are working on their SEO but don’t want to let on that they’re not doing well with it).
I hear every day that the market is saturated, but no one is talking about the really obvious solution: promote why you’re different. The way to do this is to work on your SEO. It really isn’t as dry and dull as it’s so often made out to be. Let’s pick it apart like a Terry’s chocolate orange (too early?) (for more on what is SEO you can check out my blog post here)
If you hop on to Google Trends or Google Adwords keyword research and start searching for your type of business and commonly asked questions you’ll find out how many people are looking for you….
which finger does a wedding ring go on - 12,100 people a month on average are searching for the answer to this worldwide! A perfect opportunity for you to showcase engagement photos, the I do moment in your favourite venues
london wedding photography - 1300 couples a month are searching for you, yes it’s competitive, but it’s not impossible
wedding songs 2019 - a whopping 18,100 a month and not enough people are embedding Spotify playlists and Youtube videos in blog posts in my opinion!
I could go on - London wedding venues 8,100 a month, Cornwall wedding venues 2900 a month, calligraphy wedding invitations 1600 a month
It's not just wedding suppliers either, 40,500 people a month are searching for a chocolate brownie recipe, 210 people a month are searching for the answer to "how do i know what to do with my life", 1900 women are searching for "dating advice for women" and 2160 people are searching for gifts for newborn babies.
Create more content based on the results (it doesn’t matter if it overlaps because people aren’t paying nearly as much attention to us as we’d like them to.)
It’s up to you to remind them you exist. So plan some blog posts to publish between now and the end of the year, share them strongly on social media. Don’t hold back (for tips on this check out my blog post "Six ways to put yourself out there")
If you work on it from now on and you’re consistent, your efforts should pay off in enquiries. You can't just turn up and expect to get lucky on the first date i.e. stop publishing one blog post a year and expect to get bookings from it. I wrote more about dating + SEO here.
Useful? Hit me back and let me know your favourite bit. I love hearing from you!