Gin & Magic: Top Tips on running an award winning wedding florist business with Emma Soulsby

Well hello! On today’s show we have an award winning wedding florist, the simply incredible Emma Soulsby. Emma is determination personified as well as being an incredibly down to earth and funny person.

In just two years she has completely rebranded herself into a luxury florist brand as well as launching an online flower school - AMAZING!

I knew she would have a lot to say about the faith, resilience and determination it takes to make a business work successfully, how to use Instagram as a powerful shopfront, as well as fascinating insights on prioritising self care AND SO MUCH MORE!

In her own words, "I love making my clients' dreams come true through creating unique installations."

If you like what you see, don’t forget to give me a thumbs up, leave a comment and hit subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on any future videos.

Thanks again Emma, it was so much fun to chat with you and find out more about how you run your business.

If you agree, please don't forget to hit subscribe, like the video and leave a comment.

Find out more about Emma here:

For Emma Soulsby Flower School:

We'll be back again next week with the next female entrepreneur interview for Gin & Magic! But in the meantime, check out some of the other videos on Gin & Magic here.

See you next time!

Maddy Shine

Gin & Magic: Top Tips on running a successful Wedding Photography Business with Kari Bellamy

Well hello! On today’s show we have a brilliant guest - the fantastically funny Kari Bellamy, a successful London wedding photographer for some years now so I knew she would have a lot to share about how to make it work, recognising your expertise, how Kari attracts 50% of her bookings through SEO, how she manages her busy schedule and some fantastic top tips on self care (and mac and cheese!) AND SO MUCH MORE!

In her own words, "I work with brides and grooms that are passionate about their wedding photography, helping them in any way I can to ensure they are going to throw an amazing party for their family and friends."

If you like what you see, don’t forget to give me a thumbs up, leave a comment and hit subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on any future videos.

Thanks again Kari, it was super fun to chat with you and find out more about how you run your business. If you agree, please don't forget to hit subscribe, like the video and leave a comment.

Find out more about Kari here:
Chua & the Bell YouTube channel

We'll be back again next week with the next female entrepreneur interview for Gin & Magic! But in the meantime, check out some of the other videos on Gin & Magic here.

See you next time!

Maddy Shine

How To Use Social Media For SEO

I hear this all the time - isn't social media separate from SEO? They're so different, aren't they? How can I make them work together? Shrug emoji, shrug emoji. If this is the first time you've thought about putting social media and SEO together, don't worry! You're definitely not alone and today, I'm going to show you how it works in my latest blog "How to use social media for SEO".

But I know as a creative business owner, you've got a jam-packed schedule and to-do lists coming out your ears, so first I'll talk you through why it's worth it to use social media for SEO (and how it could even save you time!).

Why is social media important for SEO anyway?

If you think only your website will show up in a Google search, think again! Your social media profiles will rank too. Try it now by Googling yourself and see what you find.

Search engines are constantly on the hunt for the best websites and content to display. They work that out in many different ways, from site speeds to backlinks, including looking at your social media content.

Google will give you a huge great tick if your posts are regularly shared, commented on and liked. Search engines want you to create content that people engage with and enjoy. That includes content shared on your social media channels.

And remember that when your post is shared, if it contains a link to your site, they're reposting that too. Result!

Used correctly, social media can bring in a lot of traffic (read: couples!) to your website, improving your SEO score as a result.

What should you post on social media for SEO?

If there's only one thing you take away from this blog post covering how to use social media for SEO, let it be this. People crave visuals and it's your job to supply them.

Add branded graphics to your photos and videos, embed links to blog posts alongside a picture and link to your website when you share quotes, infographics or images. You're providing quality content that people want to engage with, while ensuring a solid boost for your marketing and SEO.

Next up, it’s time to make sure your posts reach as many people as possible. That’s the aim of the game after all.

Tag any suppliers you've collaborated with, post at the optimum time for each platform and mix up your approach and content depending on where you're sharing it. What people expect on Twitter versus Instagram are different – respond to that.

How can you reach more people with posts?

If you’re serious about levelling up your SEO, you should be blogging as often as possible.

Each time you create a blog, share it twice on social media on the first day. Do this within a few hours of the post going live and use different platforms. You could share the article first to Facebook, then to Instagram and later to Pinterest, for example.

Create a social media calendar so that you know what you're sharing and when, then schedule in three more shares of that blog post in the coming week.

But don't just cut and paste the original post. How many times do you really want to see the same photo, after all?

Mix and match the images and copy each time. The perk of this approach is afterwards, you can assess what combination worked best to replicate for future success. The Facebook Insights tool is handy for this.

Collaboration is the key to using social media for SEO

Tagging suppliers who are connected to your updates should become your go-to style. Not only will this increase awareness of your brand, it'll also help you reach more people. This, in turn, can drive more traffic to your post and ultimately, your business.

Sharing your blog posts is another way to tap into the power of other people and promote engagement. Why not email all the suppliers you mention in a blog post to let them know it's live and ask them to share it?

Everyone has an ego (whether they admit it or not!) They'll love to be featured, you'll love the publicity from being shared and Google will love the backlinks that suggest your site is useful. It's a win-win-win!

Using social media for SEO is simpler than you think. With a little bit of planning, you can give your social channels a boost, attract more website visitors and see your Google ranking climb. Even better, because social media is something you're already doing, using social media for SEO won't add to your workload.

So is that it? Can I just implement these and then that's all there is to know?

These are the tips to get you started sure, and I'm excited to hear how you implement them. But I go into much more detail on my SEO course Let's Get You Found. Sign up to the waiting list here.

Chat soon!
Maddy Shine x

How to make time to do wedding SEO

I know, I know. You’ve got consultations to plan, quotes to send and a whole host of wedding bookings to work on, before you even consider your wedding SEO.

Finding time to look after your SEO too can feel like an impossible task, but there is a way to make time for it in your schedule. And with the possibility of bringing new bookings your way every day, it’s time that’s very well spent.

In this blog post, I want to help you to step up your search engine rankings in just four easy-to-implement steps.

Make a date with yourself

As with all things business-related, the key to getting your wedding SEO done and done well is to dedicate time to it. That may be an hour a month to research trends and check your ranking for keyword terms. Or it may be checking in once a week.

Little and often is the key

If you tackle SEO each time you publish a blog post or webpage, you’ll never have to face a mountain of content to optimise. Blasting through a short to-do list is achievable. Tackling wedding SEO for 30 posts? Not so much.
Avoid overwhelm by taking a proactive approach to SEO and you’ll soon see that the results it brings really are ‘So Exciting Obviously’.

Batch your tasks together

Whether you’re researching sites to guest blog on or planning your next keyword phrases, doing 10 at a time is almost always more efficient than doing it individually on 10 different occasions.

Make an overall wedding SEO plan covering all the elements you want to tackle. This includes the technical side of SEO like improving your site loading times, as well as assessing keyword phrases. Then take one section at a time, pace yourself and tick it off your list.

Don't be tempted to cut corners

When you’ve only got 30 minutes to spare and you just want to get a blog post published, it’s all too tempting to gloss over some (or even all) parts of wedding SEO. Don’t!

You’ve taken time to create this epic content, so make sure it reaches the audience you want it to. That means optimising for a carefully chosen keyword, setting an SEO title and writing a meta description. It even includes reducing your image file sizes.

You want to boost your wedding SEO score at every opportunity. Leaving small things undone could drag it down and let competitors take your space.

With four simple steps, you can make significant headway in improving your search engine ranking. Do so and you’ll draw in more visitors and stand out as the fabulous business that you are.

Sounds pretty simple when I break it down like this, doesn't it? Go on, try it out and keep me posted.

Maddy Shine x

Photography by Luisa Starling

All gifs from Giphy

Do I really need to blog?

I get asked a LOT "Do I really need to blog?" For people who work visually whether it's creating photographs, styling events, painting portraits, I know it's a challenge. If you want to have more content to promote yourself online then blogging really is the easiest way to do it. But whyyyy I then hear people reply. So I wrote a list of reasons....

I mean, the obvious ones are there - it's free, it's not complicated, it's a great way for your audience to get to know you, but I know what it's like. There are literally a million reasons why you'd prefer to do something else sometimes. But those excuses are always there, will always be there and you haven't let those excuses get in the way of growing your business before, so why do it now? That isn't what you signed up for when you became self employed. If you want to know more about why blogging is good for SEO you can check out my post about that here too.

So grab a pen and post it notes, have a read of my 65 reasons, write down your favourites and pin them above your desk, What's more - when you get to the end of the list there's an exciting news I'm dropping in to celebrate International Women's Day next week. Yasss.

    1. It's a free way to promote your business
    2. It’s great for building your brand
    3. It gets you noticed
    4. It builds trust in your readers' minds
    5. It makes you stand out from the crowd
    6. It helps you grow in confidence
    7. It gives you content to use on social media and newsletters
    8. It ensures your latest work is always published
    9. It’s a chance to offer value to your clients
    10. It shows potential clients more in-depth information about the products you sell
    11. If the posts are engaging, gives people a reason to return to your website
    12. It’s a way of sharing helpful advice, tips
    13. It’s a source of pride in your website - you’re happier for people to look at it
    14. It’s great for getting found online by a new audience
    15. By publishing more, you improve and attract more
    16. It’s a great way to practice writing
    17. It increases your audience’s confidence in you
    18. It’s a way for you to express your creativity
    19. It brings traffic to your website
    20. It shows off your best work
    21. It establishes authority in your readers' minds
    22. It lets you help others
    23. It’s a way of sharing examples of your work
    24. It shows experience in specific areas
    25. It updates your website with new work
    26. It lets people know that you’re still here
    27. It’s a way to communicate your values
    28. It helps you guide them
    29. It’s a way of getting to know you, so they can proceed to the next stage of decision making
    30. It’s a great way to build relationships with others you mention
    31. It gives others content to share
    32. It gives your target audience content to share
    33. You can send specific posts to people who enquire to help them with their questions
    34. It provides a good reason for sorting the cream of the crop images to update my gallery
    35. It gives you content for sharing on social media.
    36. It challenges you, and being challenged is good, it stretches you
    37. You learn how to do a new thing
    38. When you monitor traffic coming to your site, it’s motivating
    39. It allows you to share your thoughts and develop them
    40. It has a higher reach than your website alone
    41. It creates new opportunities
    42. It documents your work and life
    43. It shows you care
    44. It sets the tone for what you’re like to work with
    45. It’s a way to share your expertise and experience
    46. It helps you stay in touch with your audience
    47. It keeps your shopfront updated
    48. It can be fun to share something you’re passionate about
    49. Readers can relate to you
    50. It shows off your ideal clients so you attract more of the same
    51. It gives you a voice
    52. It reminds your clients you exist
    53. It's a fantastic way to express your values and message to the world.
    54. It enables you to showcase your latest work.
    55. By adding content with different keyword phrases you improve your SEO
    56. By giving your opinion you pitch yourself as an expert in your field
    57. It builds the "knowing who I can trust" factor.
    58. It gives your audience an excellent opportunity to show images of behind-the-scenes.
    59. It gets you writing and writing is a fantastic way to show your creative talents
    60. It gives people a glimpse of what it's like to work with you
    61. It gives people an insight into who you are
    62. It calls out to your ideal client
    63. It drives traffic to your website
    64. It helps build your network
    65. It enables you to share your knowledge

Wowsers, what a list, right? So hopefully this will satisfy your question 'Do I really need to blog?'

I promised you some exciting news so here it is - next week to celebrate International Women's Day I'm running a competition in my Facebook group So Exciting Obviously SEO for Creative Women and it's strongly related to this post. Come and join me as I go live on Friday 1st March at 2pm in the group where I will help you to stop overthinking everything and get cracking with improving your SEO.

See you there!

How to create 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