An alternative title for this could be - How to stop overthinking everything and be more visible or "I’m feeling overwhelmed too. Here’s what I've been doing about it and you can too"
I wrote this post because this has been my experience and, when I speak to people, this is yours too. You want to get more done but you spend so much time dwelling, overthinking or worse panicking that you just don’t get what you want to done.
Ok so let me preface sharing these tips by saying - getting more done isn’t the key to success. Getting more of what YOU want to get done IS. A happy life is a successful life, no matter how you define that happiness.
I've been holding off sharing this blog post which, would you believe it, I started writing BA (that's Before Apocalypse - humour is one of my coping mechanisms, forgive me). I realised that now is an even more important time to share my tips because whilst there’s always going to be challenges, I believe we are much more resilient than we give ourselves credit for. We can use the worry + fear to stop us in our tracks or we can keep it practical, get a daily routine in place however new, and understand this one important fact:
There is no race.
Glad we got that out of the way. I’m working on a bigger thing so I can help you more with building your visibility in these challenging times but in the meantime please read on to learn my tips on what to say when you have no idea what to say.
In these dramatic times, people are spending more time online than ever and it’s up to you be involved as much as you want.
I repeat, as much as you want.
We all know by now that if we want to be found by our potential clients we need to be visible. But how? Whilst we may feel despondent, these negative thoughts and feelings can be usefully added to the list of reasons why we weren’t posting on social media or writings blogs (if at all) on our sites but this time we feel better about it because we know others feel the same.
But if you feel like this might actually be a good opportunity to get started with an actual Plan of Action (caps needed) then you’re in the right place.
If you’ve been following me for a while you know I have two keen focuses - SEO and self care. Because the way I see it, being more visible takes a lot of energy at the best of times but right now it may feel a lot so in this post I’ve got self care tips AND practical solutions for your business no matter where you're at right now.
10 Self Care Tips for Self Employed People
I'm not a professional at this. I wanted to share a few things that have been helping me cope and when I share them, others have told me they have helped them too.
Try not to allow the panic + overwhelm to halt your entire life. Do what you need to do to take each day one by one (I am fully aware I am not a parent. You lot deserve medals)
I made a list of things that I've survived + thrived both personal and business-wise. This was eye opening and reassuring. Like when 10 years ago during the recession, I lost my job on which I was way too emotionally dependent, I was up to my eyeballs in debt, I lost a family member and my flat all in the space of 3 months. It was a crazy year.
I had a good tidy up of my workspace - creating a designated workspace can apparently help tell your brain you’re in the place where you do work productively.
Creating an action list that helps keep my bigger goals in mind
Having a daily cry (I don't mind admitting this, I think it's perfectly normal in these circumstances tbh)
Creating a To Daa list (celebrating the things you’ve accomplished)
I've been reading actual books (The Middle Finger Project by Ash Ambirge is amazing and now I'm onto Elton John's autobiography)
I’ve been meditating a lot more than ever and I'm finding this book very useful (email me if you want a PDF version, they offer an electronic version out for free)
My pal Rowan has been amazing at sharing latest advice and what we can do to help ourselves as self-employed people.
Practical solutions for our businesses
Now more than ever we see how much we crave connection. Guess where we can still be connected? THAT'S RIGHT, THE INTERNET. People are spending more time online than ever, and they want something to look forward to so step into the light people, now is your time. Being a memorable brand which, let's face it, you want to be, requires the following points:
Creating a great customer experience
Are you in touch with your clients? A lot of people I know have been, and a lot of people I know are scared to be. I think the best solution is to take charge of the situation and contact them first. They'll want to hear reassurance from you to check that you have solutions in place to cover the bookings you've got together.
What questions do they have? This is where you can actually share your experience and expertise. What I always say to my clients is...you know more than the people who have hired you so share that experience, tell them your plans.
Refresh your portfolio page(s) on your website and divide it up into categories like London Wedding Cakes and Surrey Wedding Cakes, so they're more easily findable online
Update your text on your website - are you telling a story with the text on every page as well as the images?
Write those blog posts you’ve been meaning to put out for a while that you know will be useful for your audience when the time is right! Find ways to re-purpose your images and create 10 favourite X, 5 favourite X. It's a great way to then link to other content you've previously published!
Tell your stories
If you're wondering how to share about any of this and indeed whether it's flippant to continue sharing stuff that isn't pandemic related, then rest assured people WANT the escapism. They WANT something to look forward to. They WANT to feel inspired. You're sitting on the gold. Don't hide away. Publish that post. Share that content.
Speak your customer’s language
Your potential clients WANT to know the answers to question you know the answers to.
Create Instagram Stories around people's commonly asked questions
Write one blog post per question so that when people google those questions you have a better chance of coming up in the results
Re-share older blog content that was popular before so you don't have to constantly create new content (cheer people up! They want escapism!)
Create easy content
Put a call out on your Stories for requests to create a playlist related to what you do (first dance playlist, working from home playlist, etc) and create it on Spotify and then share on Stories / social media
Read my blog post about how to create your best ofand do some round up posts of your own. Doesn't have to be at the end of the year! It could be your 5 favourite first dances, 5 favourite bouquets, etc etc.
You could take this time to review your big picture. Look at your goals and remember it isn't a race. I am often met with surprise that a whole module of my Let’s Get You Found group course is dedicated to making goals. Those who have already set goals go ‘pfft I have those already’ and those who haven’t set goals go ‘yeah yeah I know I should have them but well, I don’t’. The goals I’m talking about can be either personal or business but honestly this is one of the biggest things I’ve learned in my business. People, I never set specific goals until a couple of years ago and it CHANGED MY LIFE.
Take this opportunity for a digital de-clutter like cleaning up files on your computer, sorting your photos out, deleting things you don’t need any more. It's quite satisfying and makes you feel like you're doing something useful. Which you are.
If you're worried you can't do the styled shoots as planned....get in touch with suppliers you planned the shoot with and write a guest post for one other supplier in that group
Reach out to suppliers you've been wanting to forge a connection with and offer to write guest posts for them wanting nothing in return except for a link back to your website.
So there we have it, a round up of self care tips and some simple visibility tips for you to put into action. What was your favourite tip? Come and tell me on Instagram 🙂
📸Verity Westcott Photography when I was speaking at South West Wedmeetup recently.
In my recent challenge, I showed hundreds of people how to take stock of their current visibility and what to do about it. One of those key areas was link building, and I wanted to go over a few tips on how to get more people to link to you and your website, and what is link building?
It comes down to this simple question - do enough people know about you to book you? If you are not getting enough bookings its’ because not enough people know about you. This means you have to have a bigger reach, you have to reach more people out there who are searching for your type of business but don’t know you exist yet. Your dream clients are out there frustrated that they cannot find the right person to book or to buy from.
You may have a beautiful website, but if no one is looking at it, it’s just a beautiful thing to look at for you only. You’re leaving valuable bookings on the table if you’re just relying on word of mouth.
There are millions of ways to get more people to check out your website, and you might feel a bit lost as to where to start.
There are now over 6 billion pages on the internet, that means there are many, many ways for you to connect with your clients, which is why I believe SEO really stands for Seeking Exciting Opportunities!
The fact is the internet is a giant web, with many many ways to connect to other pages. So many people say to me ‘But how do I get found in amongst the tonnes of other people doing my job?’
What is link building?
Link building is not often talked about in the creative industries because everyone is so focused on making their website look good. And yes, it’s important for your website to look good but especially if you’re new to building links, then you’ll want to pay attention to this
If your website isn’t well known then you need to get more well known websites to point to your website. Getting links back to your site is considered a vote of confidence so your website becomes more well known.
There are a great number of factors that go into what makes a website well known or not but I’m going to keep it really simple as if you’re reading this you’re probably new.
Every time a new piece of content is published anywhere, a new link is created.
Search engines use links in two ways:
To find new web pages
To help determine how well a page should rank
What not to do
The old school way to get links was to go after links from anywhere and everywhere. Especially in the creative and wedding industries, it used to be that everyone put their buddies on a list called LINKS I LOVE and linked to their websites, and those buddies? They did the same.
Thing is, Google cottoned on to this and now wants us to deliver quality content and be Useful People.
So now? It's increasingly about the quality of the website where you want the link from and the relevance / purpose to your site.
How to build links
So here's four ways you can build links to your website and get more people and therefore Google and therefore more people (and so on, and so on) to come and check you out.
1. Interview your buddies
Use your network - pitch to your contacts to ask to write a guest post for them, and offer to interview them on your own blog, like I did with my Gin and Magic YouTube channel - check out my interview with networking queen Hazel Parsons "How to make the most of your connections". Ask them questions you know they get asked frequently, film it or blog about it or both and when you go live with it, don't just post it once and forget about it. Continue to link to it in future content (like I just did!)
2. Write for other people (who doesn’t want free content?)
Write down 5 places where you want to be featured. What's the worst that can happen? They say no? People say no to me a lot and I don't let it stop me 😉 Worried about sharing too much of your expertise? Don't stress. Repetition is key to learning, we all know this. It actually breeds a sense of familiarity when people have heard some of your advice before. Also? You can phrase the same sort of information in different ways as this will then click with different people.
3. Collaboration pieces
This idea is something I very much encourage if you know a lot of people who do a similar job. With one of my longstanding clients Fiona Kelly, we wanted to address one of the commonly asked questions - what does a wedding planner do by inviting comments from several of her wedding planner and coordinator friends in the industry. Write down people you want to be more closely associated with in a work sense and think about what you get asked by your clients, and if they'd be interested in helping. Once it's published on social media, everyone shares the work. Of course this also works for creating styled shoots that are already so popular, but I would suggest going with these advice pieces as people then get to understand how you're an expert in your field (because you are, because no one is you, right?!)
4. Submit all your favourite work
No really, submit it, even older stuff. It's not too late! Send in your favourite work to your dream blogs and get published. If they so, try another! Yes, it's a lot of work but it is still worth it. So many people I speak to are put off submitting their work these days, but really? You're just being lazy. You may not get the drive of enquiries immediately but getting your work in front of your ideal clients more often is A Big Win. Latest research shows that your ideal clients have to see you at least 10 times before making a decision, some say even more! So go for it and submit all your favourite work to be featured. Maximise the shoutout every time you get featured - share it everywhere, multiple times! People don't remember us nearly as much as we'd like them to/are worried they will 😉
So, there you have it. What is linkbuilding, why it matters, what not to do and four ways to build links. Which tip are you going to put into action first? Come and tell me on Instagram here 🙂
Hello! So a while back I wrote this piece on how to tell Google you exist by submitting your sitemap and it was pretty popular, so I recently updated it with the latest settings (Google Search Console had updated in that time). After sharing this, I got bombarded with more questions and of course following my own advice where you need to share one question per blog post and answer it, here you go...how to connect Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Why is this useful?
In short, this is useful to do because you get access to more information that will benefit your business.
This post assumes two things that you must have in place before going any further....
I get asked this question a LOT so I thought it was high time I wrote a blog post - Does Google know I exist? In this blog post I talk about how to tell and how to change that. Just give me the download on how to do it 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:
Yes, a long time ago I think it was done
Isn't that the same as Google Analytics?
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:
Your website (ideally more than one page of your website)
Your social media links
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 tell Google you exist?
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.
What is the difference between Google Search Console and 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, what are the steps - does Google know I exist?
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!
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 🙂