All Posts By

Natasha Courtenay-Smith

Why I’m obsessed with Facebook custom & lookalike audiences – and you should be too (if you are using Facebook ads in your business)

By | Digital strategy | No Comments

On Wednesday evening, I’m delivering my first ‘official’ training session on behalf of Facebook (it’s going to be at the British Library: tickets here).

So I’ve been preparing my content and thinking about, from everything I learned at Facebook HQ, what, given I’ve got just an hour, are the most important things to tell other people so they can use Facebook and Instagram more effectively in their marketing? What MUST I say!?

My talk is about achieving both organic reach on Facebook and also the paid side. And it’s the paid side of Facebook that gets me really excited because the ads can deliver such fantastic results and can also hurt so much when it goes wrong. Note the use of the word ‘can….’

Great results aren’t guaranteed and bad results can be avoided.

Me and the other Facebook trainers at FB HQ

So the main message I want to deliver on Wednesday to anyone considering the paid or advertising route on Facebook is this: Get Obsessed With Laying Good Foundations and Get Obsessed With Building Custom & Lookalike Audiences.

You see, when you first run ads on Facebook, it’s very easy to get really excited by all the targeting options. If I’m a luxury brand, I can start hopping around from side to side with glee saying to myself  ‘Look at all these people who like other luxury brands just like mine like Net A Porter and Matches, I can now target them, yippeeeeeeeee’.  
And that can work, but equally, you can easily spend a lot targeting these people because you think that they are your ideal person. And then you wake up one day and realise that person either wasn’t your ideal target person or no matter how much you wanted them to be, but they weren’t interested after all.
Custom and lookalike audiences remove the guess work and our own ideas about who we think is our ideal person from the equation.
Custom audiences include those who have already visited our websites or engaged with our content. They have one thing better than those we ‘think’ will be interested, they have shown us they are interested. And lookalikes are groups of people who are similar to these people but determined by an algorithm far clever and less emotional and idealistic than we ourselves are. 
So whereas I might say ‘Sally and Susie will get on so brilliantly and are so similar to each other because they both grew up in Portsmouth‘ (I mean seriously, there are plenty of people who grow up in Portsmouth who are NOT similar to each other) Facebook’s algorithm will say ‘Sally and Susie ARE similar as they are both exhibiting the same interests and behaviours over thousands of datapoints….‘ Who is more likely to be right? 
Generally, in the client campaigns I run, I see the lowest price per click and conversion from custom audiences, a middle price from lookalike audiences and those ‘core’ audiences where really I am guessing, even if these are educated guests. Well guess what, they end up costing the most and performing the least. So why spend on a hypothetical group who really are just guesses?  
So the question is, how do you get a great custom audience in the first place?
Well, if you have the Facebook pixel on your website and are actively building your email list, you might have one already (of website visitors) and can create one (of newsletter subscribers) easily. 

But it is with your custom audiences in mind that you must, before starting any paid campaign, planning and developing your content and traffic strategies. You wouldn’t build a house with drawing up a plan for it – well hopefully not. So don’t just launch blithely into Facebook ads and expect to see results without laying the foundations first and getting more traffic to your website, more subscribers to your email lists and engagement on your social channels! 

A piece of artwork from Facebook’s canteen

And then once you’ve done that, then you’ll see return from your Facebook ads. 

How to plan, create & launch a website that builds your personal brand/business AND makes money.

By | Web design | No Comments

Over the past few years, I’ve designed, built and now manage dozens of websites for business owners, experts and celebrities. And of course I work endlessly on my own.

The one thing I know to be true is that websites are so much more than a vanity project. 

And I think most people know this (in principle).

But creating a website that works just as hard as you do and delivers results is another matter altogether – and that’s not even talking about the technical side of things.

I get a lot of great comments about my website (thanks guys!)

But getting it to where it is today has been a journey and involved a lot of work on various different aspects of my offering and work, both online AND more importantly in the real world.

It has been through various reincarnations that I prefer not to think about, and I’ve tried things that haven’t worked too – but luckily with a website you can just hit the delete button. 

If I was now writing a recipe for a great website it would include the following

  • proper branding
  • professional photography
  • a clear understanding of the key messages
  • the productisation of services (especially for experts)
  • tiered services
  • real world credibility indicators
  • And an understanding of the front end and back end of the donkey (both in terms of the sales process and the technical/functionality side of the website)! 

My next webinar is called Websites that Convert, and it’s all about how to plan, create & launch a website that builds your personal brand and/or business AND makes money.

This webinar is going to be perfect for you if you’re thinking about a relaunch for an existing website, are considering a website built from scratch, or even if you have a website already that you feel could work harder for you.

I’m running this webinar over a lunchtime. And it will take place on Tuesday, March 21st.

So grab your sarnie (not that I think anyone would eat the devil’s food, aka bread) and pull up a chair, and I’ll see you there! 




How to write a book, win friends & influence people

By | Blog | No Comments

They say the most important book in your life is the one you write yourself.

Writing a book is still one of the most powerful ways to up your game as an entrepreneur, visible expert or business owner.

And talking about this today is particularly apt because just yesterday, for example, I was on invited onto the Chris Evans breakfast show on Radio 2 to talk blogging. Apparently Chris’ wife wants to start a blog and so they were looking for an expert. And a good old Google & social media search unveiled me and my book!

Obviously, it’s great to go on such a high profile programme regardless of what happens next BUT within minutes my book had become an Amazon bestseller (the 48th top selling book in the entire of Amazon), and, ahem, it actually SOLD OUT! Well, Amazon ran out of stock so there were frantic emails to my publishers who were immediately loading up a van to take more over to Amazon….. #drama

Meanwhile, I tweeted Chris saying the book had sold out and he’s retweeted me this morning instantly adding HUNDREDS of followers.

And speaking generally, ​since my book, The Million Dollar Blog, came out, it’s become so much easier for me to do all the things we are all trying to do, such as build my email list, get publicity, raise my profile, secure new opportunities…..


I know that many of the people I work with want to put writing a book at heart of their strategy.

My advice is to DO IT. There’s no better way to raise your profile, establish yourself as an expert and charge a premium for your services.

I can’t think of a better example of this than my good friend (and mentor) Shaa Wasmund MBE.

Shaa’s now written three #1 bestsellers, sold over 100,000 books and just last month reached Sunday Times Bestseller status with her most recent release.

Her first book ‘Stop Talking, Start Doing’ knocked Sir Richard Branson off top spot and went on to hold it for a record 14 consecutive months in WH Smiths.

Her book and its follow up ‘Do Less, Get More’, has opened up so many doors for Shaa.

Not only has she launched three successful businesses in the last two years and built a seriously impressive personal brand; she’s been awarded an MBE for Services to Entrepreneurship and been named one of the Top 20 Most Influential Entrepreneurs by The Sunday Times.

And Shaa, being Shaa, has been even more strategic about this than I was with my book!

She didn’t just set out to write any old book. She very deliberately plotted to create a #1 bestseller.

She invested heavily in herself to learn from the best, including spending £10k and travelling to America to learn from Tim Ferriss’, author of global bestseller The 4-Hour Work Week. She studied how and why people buy books; figured out what the top publishers expect to take and promote your book; and worked out what else she needed to do to guarantee her book was a bestseller.

Now – for one day only – she’s going to show you how to do the same. And I’m going to be on stage with Shaa talking about how I secured a deal for The Million Dollar Blog and the direct impact it’s had on my personal brand and business.

If you’ve ever thought of writing a book or are looking to raise your profile or take your business to the next level, please come and join us next Friday.

Shaa Wasmund MBE Business Bootcamp

How To Write A Book, Make Friends And Influence People

Friday 17th March 2017

The Cavendish Conference Centre, Central London



You’ll get to hear direct from Shaa how she plans, writes and markets her bestselling books. You’ll also be able to ask her questions, including whether or not your book is likely to sell, or how to change it to make it work.

And you can ask me any questions you like too!

Shaa’s Bootcamps always totally sell out so book now before this one does.

And please (as someone on my email list) make sure you seek me out and come and say hello!


What is it about visibility when you’re building a personal brand?

By | Blog | No Comments

Over in my new Facebook Group #GetVisible this week, we’ve been talking about visibility.

And specifically, what is it about visibility that, when you’re an expert, professional or authority figure (ie when YOU are your business) is the struggle. 

I ran a quick poll and actually thought the top answer would be about the technology. I thought the issue would be that we have all these mediums to create content and get visible at our disposal but how can one ‘normal’ person learn to do them all properly and efficiently.

Well, I was wrong.

It turns out the the top struggle over visibility for many expert types trying to build personal brands is self confidence and limiting beliefs.

In theory, if you’re building your personal brand or a business around yourself, you know you need to build your profile.

But inside you there’s a little voice saying ‘Who are you to think you can do this‘ – or whatever YOUR little voice says!

(At this point, I’d love to say that I have never experienced this and offer you loads of practical tips on what to do!)

But that would be a shameless lie!

I’m not a confidence expert (although I did study psychology at university) so here is my thruppence on this one.

I know I ‘appear’ confident (sometimes) but that is not strictly true! And all the people who are on my mailing list or who read my blog including

  • My mum
  • My partner Ally
  • My school friends
  • My clients
  • (and anyone else who knows me in the ‘real world’ especially my friend Marianne)

Will know this! 

Like anyone else I have what is commonly known as ‘Imposter syndrome’ and occasional (ahem) thoughts of ‘Erm, did they actually meant to commission me to write that book/give that talk/ get that accreditation/do that thing or did they mix me up with someone else?!’ 

My best piece of advice – and this is what I said inside the Facebook group – is to take next steps regardless of these feelings. 

It’s not just you

There is even a brilliant quote by Kate Winslet where she says something like how she felt like a fraud as just a girl from Reading (which is where I’m from too #glamour)

One thing I have learned from writing my book and working with loads of fabulous (and famous) people who really seem to have the world at their feet is so many people feel this way and limiting beliefs must just be some default caveman-esque brain setting that once had a point for survival but isn’t really relevant anymore. 

My friend, the super star blogger Honest Mum Vicki Psarias has a brilliant saying which is about just cracking on regardless (I love that phrase, crack on)

So all of us in #GetVisible are agreeing to adopt the mentality of doing things regardless of self confidence and belief.

We are trying to understand/accept that occasional lack of it is just a ‘thing’ a bit like other things such as rainy days and traffic jams on the M25. You can’t necessarily change it but you can get through it. Join us in #GetVisible for the journey



What I wish I had known about Facebook ads

By | Digital strategy | No Comments

Recently, I was talking to one of my one-to-one mentoring clients about Facebook ads, and telling her about how I recently used them to run a client webinar which went on to have 500 sign ups at an ad cost of around £100, and has so far generated over £15k in sales. And I also shared how I use them for my own webinars, which consistently earn more than they cost, so basically enabling me to reach brand new people and build my email list without any financial cost. 

I said to my client: ‘I should put out one of those blog posts called ‘How I generated to 10 million fold return on investment (or whatever) using Facebook ads’. 

And that could have been the title for this blog post!

But I think the lesson I’d actually like to share is far more powerful.

You see, I have myself had a bumpy journey with Facebook ads, and just over a year ago I even ‘invested’ quite a lot of money via a Facebook ads agency and the whole experience left an extremely unpleasant taste in my mouth! But they say all these things bring us to where we are today right…… 

Me at Facebook HQ last month

I see so many people desperate to plunge into Facebook ads to once their websites go live and I understand that urge. I was there too. 

But now I know how to make Facebook ads work, and how to get great returns using them, this is what I wish I’d known and what I’d like you to know too before you plunge in. 

  1. You have to be properly productised, and you need clear offers at different price points. You need your sales funnels and offers properly built out and thought through although you CAN and WILL continue to change and edit both your funnels and your offers.
  2. You main priority is not running ads, but putting the Facebook pixel on your website and doing activities on your website (ie blogging) and on social media (ie posting and sharing). Way way way before your ad campaign, you need to be increasing website traffic and engagement on social media so that you can build custom audiences of people who have visited your website and engaged with your content. I have said that the success we had with the client webinar (which is driving leads to a bricks and mortar business) has resulted from the year’s worth of this activity we did beforehand. You don’t need to wait a year before running Facebook ads, but you do need several month of focus on building custom audiences inside Facebook before you pay any money for ads.
  3. Once you’ve got your custom audiences, you must then create lookalike audiences of these people. You know what, my most successful ad campaigns run only to these custom and lookalike audiences: people who have visited mine or client websites, people who ‘look like’ those people, or people who have engaged with our content on our feeds or people who ‘look like’ those who have engaged. I would not now be running FB ads to ‘cold’ audience who I am targeting through ‘interests’ inside Facebook, such as this person is interested in gardening and likes the X Factor. Too random. You can still narrow down lookalikes by interest but at least you are starting from a more refined point.
  4. Although during my training at Facebook HQ, the focus was very much on FB’s own ad manager inside Facebook, I don’t use it. Hear that? I never schedule ads inside Facebook itself. I use a 3rd party Ad management system called Adespresso, who are an official FB partner. This is a game changer in terms of seeing and understanding how an ad is performing.
  5. Don’t just keep running an ad for the hell of it. There are 3 steps to success: the ad part, the landing page part and the conversion part. Firstly, are people clicking on your ad, if not, stop and change it. If they are clicking on your ad and getting to your leadpage or website, then what. Is that part ‘working’ for you? If they are not converting, then stop. Change the landing page, improve it, optimise it, change the offer, change the words, change the pictures. Don’t keep running ads to a page that isn’t converting just because the ad part seems to be working.

So there you are, not a post about 10 million fold returns on investments, but about the real actual practical things which will make a difference between your Facebook ads being successful and a painful experience that you don’t want to repeat. 


19 Amazing Statistics About The Power Of Video In Business

By | Video | No Comments

If you’ve ever thought perhaps you should be using video as part of your business visibility strategy, then you were right! Check out these 19 amazing statistics on the power of video and reach right now for your camera…..

  • According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, 1.8 Million words is the value of one minute of video. If you write an average of one web page an hour, it would take you 150 days of writing to achieve the impact of one minute of video.
  • 100 Million is the number of internet users who watch online video each day.
  • 500 million people are watching videos on Facebook every day.
  • People spend on average 2.6x more time on pages with video than without.
  • YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of all people on the internet
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
  • Companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic than those who don’t use video.
  • Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines.
  • 4X as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
  • According to Online publishers association, 46% of users take some sort of action after viewing a video ad.
  • More video content is uploaded in 30 days than all three major U.S. T.V.  networks combined have created in 30 years.
  • According to 70% of marketers, video produces more conversions than any other type of content.
  • 74% of millennials find video helpful when comparison-shopping while 60 percent prefer to watch a video to reading a newsletter.
  • According to Adobe – 40% of consumers state that video increases the chance they’ll purchase a product on their mobile devices.
  • 90% of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website who said they find video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions. Retailers who provide online video to show off their products report that the products with video sell a lot more than products with no video.
  • Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video.
  • According to comScore, the average user spends 16 minutes and 49 seconds watching online video ads every month.
  • In 2010, Implix email marketing survey found that including a video in an introductory email increased the click-through rate by 96%. That’s nearly twice as many people clicking through to your website when you include a video in your marketing emails.
  • According to research by Visible Measures, 20% of your viewers will click away from a video in 10 seconds or fewer.

From the serious to the sublime: 10 things I learned at Facebook HQ this week (and photos from inside FB HQ!)

By | Digital strategy | No Comments

For the past 3 months, I’ve known that I would have the opportunity to become one of only 8 Facebook accredited She Means Business trainers in the UK (and here I am with my certificate!)

Research suggests that 900,000 more businesses would be created if the UK achieved the same level of female entrepreneurship as in the US, resulting in an additional £23 billion gross value added to the UK economy. In England alone, 150,000 extra businesses would be created per annum if women started businesses at the same rate as men.

When women do better, economies do better. That’s why Facebook is celebrating women who have built and run businesses, and delivering resources to help those who might one day do so themselves.

The goal of Facebook’s She Means Business campaign is train 10,000 British women in digital skills via the 8 trainers including myself and via online events in 2017. And it’s rolling out around the world.

I’ve had to keep quiet about all of this until last week when She Means Business launched in the UK. And on Wednesday and Thursday, I flew Facebook HQ in Dublin to be trained by Facebook themselves in how to use Facebook and Instagram for business.

It was a wonderful two days and I’ve come away armed with training materials on Facebook and Instagram which I’ll be teaching at live events (register interest here). But first of all, in a brief recap, I thought I’d share my photos, and write about 10 things that I saw and learned.


  • The food is incredible (and there’s a DJ in the canteen)

Let’s start with the most important thing. Food!! OMG, the Facebook canteen. Can you even call it a canteen?! You literally would never need to eat anywhere else. It’s an all day foodie feast at FB HQ, shifting from breakfast to morning tea to lunch to afternoon tea to dinner. And it all changes every day with once a week an international day coming in. We were there on a normal day and a Chinese day.

My favourite thing: the panda cupcakes, the Kale crisps and the tomato salad. AND this pudding…..


  • It’s all about video

Video is the best way to drive engagement and reach on the platform. But you only have  3 second audience window. Video as made for TV doesn’t work. Put your brand and message at the end, and you’ll get nowhere. Brand at the front is the best key practise. If you are creative enough, there is no trade off between having your brand at the front and video watch time.



  • Facebook walks the talk & leads with inspiration

I’ve spent much of my time in mainstream media, which is a fraught, tense environment a lot of times. I’m sure Facebook is too. BUT the building itself leads with artwork, chill out zones, and there are inspirational posters everywhere. My favourites….





The top floor is a futuristic art installation of everything Facebook is doing around the world and new technology they are developing PLUS it has a pool table, sweet bar and ice cream stand, and huge decking area.


  • Build your videos for no sound.

Use captions and great visuals first. And fine, if the sound comes on, but make sure nothing is lost from having a video without sound.


  • The 3 key things to consider when making Facebook ads are reach, resonance and reaction.

The 3 ‘r’s of today! No more reading, writing and arithmetic. 


  • Facebook is always optimised for friend content first.

The user is prioritised above business reach or even paid business reach. That is what keeps people coming back and protects the user.


  • A few tricks for paid ads

Don’t encourage optimisation of ads for post engagement. There is no correlation between more likes and more sales. Optimising for lifetime budget of an ad campaign over daily budget normally has an advantage. Having a cap on your daily spend will mean others ads gets prioritised as they are willing to spend more and your ads will be cut off when the budget runs out. Lifetime spend optimisation runs in ups and downs but delivers a better average. A

lso include behaviour optimisation in your ad campaigns. A lot of people target others by interests. But interests are only what we declare to Facebook we are interested in. Behaviours are how we use Facebook. Behaviours don’t always show interests, but they change over time and are the most up to date info on which we can build audiences and target people.


  • There are some users on Facebook who are more ‘clicky’ than others and who click more things! 

Strange eh!


  • Young people are NOT leaving Facebook because their parents are on there.

This is an urban myth. Both Facebook and Instagram are growing across all age groups.


  •  Next month is Facebook’s 13th birthday. 

13 is the age you can join Facebook. Facebook is about to have a whole new raft of new members who have never known a world without Facebook.


To be the first to know about the She Means Business events hosted in conjunction with Facebook and Enterprise Nation, click and register here.

Introducing Facebook’s #shemeansbusiness campaign

By | Blog | No Comments

Today, I attended the launch of Facebook’s #shemeansbusiness campaign. The whole idea behind it is that when women succeed, we all win.

And the campaign, which is partnering with Enterprise Nation, aims to train 10,000 women in Facebook For Business skills in 2017.

And there’s an extra special reason this was exciting

I’ve been invited by Facebook to become one of the very first eight people in the UK to become official accredited ‘Facebook for Business’ trainers.

On Wednesday, I’m flying to Dublin to go to Facebook HQ, where I’ll spend two days learning from the people who actually know exactly how Facebook works, and then I’ll be helping deliver this training to 10,000 women this year.

I’m not massively in to thinking about gender divides when it comes to small business.

I tend to think that you are either into entrepreneurship or not, but the figures presented by Facebook this morning are pretty compelling.

There are 5.4 million small businesses in the UK, and only ⅕ of them are set up by women.

In the US, one third of businesses are set up by women. America still lags behind in terms of the gender diversity of their population, but we are lagging even further behind.

Last year, Facebook surveyed thousands of women and asked them why they weren’t setting up their own businesses.

And the answers were that 3 out of 4 women said they wouldn’t set up a business for a number of clear reasons, the first being lack of confidence, fearing a lack of credibility (listen, I heard today that even Nicola Mendleson, the VP of EMAE at Facebook in the UK experiences imposter syndrome and if she does, then it’s not so bad if the rest of us do right?!) and finally not knowing how they will balance the business with their family.

The other presiding reason that women don’t set up businesses is that they feel they lack the skills, particularly online skills, that they need for that business to be successful.

Over half of the women identified online marketing and tech skills as areas they knew they needed to improve, but they didn’t know how or where to turn.

Now I’m an official Facebook trainer, I am going to casually wear this pen on my ear…..


So it’s Facebook to the rescue with their #SheMeansBusiness campaign which will empower 10,000 women across the UK with the skills they need to use Facebook and online marketing to build their businesses

Today, one of the women there asked me how I’ve done it – as in set up a business, make it work, sell a business, have two children and set up the business I have now. I always feel slightly uncomfortable when people ask me that as I am not entirely sure of the answer and I also think I could have/should have done so much more!

I definitely have not been naturally or genetically fuelled by the things that the women Facebook surveyed identified as feeling without, such tons of confidence. I am not sure I have done an amazing job of the ‘juggle’ of work and family and just try and do the best I can like every other working mum. I sometimes feel like imposter but I am fairly philosophical about that and recognise its something a lot of people feel so I carry on regardless.

But the one thing I have forced myself to conquer that has made a difference is tech skills, both fear of not understanding and genuinely not understanding! 

I strongly believe that out of all the things that hold us back, tech can be learned. If someone had said to me even a few years ago that I would be building and launching websites, I would have laughed. Yes, I was running an online business that was entirely SEO dependent then so I knew something about websites, but building them, no way. I would have thought it beyond me. 

But I took myself down to the local college and learned how to build them alongside a bunch of 21 year olds. Same with video production and editing, and graphics. I just learned how to do it. It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t impossible either.

Just this week I needed to use the sound editing software Audacity.

I thought to myself ‘It will be like iMovie, it will be easy’ (note to self, two years ago I never would have described any video editing software as ‘easy’).

Anyway, I downloaded Audacity. I opened it. And arrgh. It wasn’t like iMovie. I couldn’t work it straight away. I hated it. It’s layout looked stupid. There was nothing intuitive about it. It made me cross, really cross. I started Googling other sound editing alternatives and was just about to delete Audacity from my laptop.

Then I thought, ‘Hang on there are tons of people who use Audacity and they are not all brain surgeons. I must be able to understand it.’ I went to Youtube to watch videos. Literally 15 minutes later I edited my first audio track, cutting out problems, adding in music and even fading the music in and out! It was learnable. 

Don’t let fear of technology hold you back

I see technology and not understanding how to do things from update a website to resize an image to editing a video holding so many of my clients back. I’m passionate about showing that it is all learnable but you can’t learn it without effort and discomfort, and huge amounts of irritation as I went through with Audacity. 

Yes, there is new vocabulary, and lots of buttons, and data overload and moments when everything crashes and nothing makes sense. But none of it is life threatening, it’s all fixable and it’s all learnable. 

That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of Facebook’s journey as they move into strategically demystifying how to use the platform for business. I’ll keep you posted on how the trip goes.


What’s your One Word?

By | Personal branding | One Comment

Last year, when I was researching my book The Million Dollar Blog, I interviewed this fantastic, hugely succesful American guy called Evan Carmichael about personal branding.

At 19, he built then sold a biotech software company. At 22, he was a VC helping raise $500k to $15mil. Evan was named one of the Top 100 Great Leadership Speakers for your Next Conference by Inc Magazine and one of the Top 40 Social Marketing Talents by Forbes. He has been interviewed or featured as an entrepreneur expert in The New York TimesThe Wall St. Journal, Forbes, Mashable, and elsewhere.

He now runs and ​coaches entrepreneurs for peak performance. 

The reason I wanted to interview Evan (aside from his success online of course!) is that he stood out to me because of his single word tagline ‘Believe.‘ When it comes to building a stand-out personal brand, your tag line and/or mission statement are hugely important and his single word seemed both impactful and also different to everyone elses.

I asked him the story behind it and he told me: My tagline for ages was ‘motivation and strategies for entrepreneurs’. It tells you what I do. But it’s boring! It doesn’t have an emotional connection. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it and I started writing down a list of loads of things I liked. I initially thought ‘believe’ was too short, but I kept coming back to it’.

Obviously I immediately said ‘I want a single word Evan!! How do I do it?’ And he continued:

‘I think it’s about understanding what you stand for – start with that. Ask yourself, ‘what do I stand for? What’s the impact that I want to have?’ I think the world needs more ‘belief’, that’s a personal value. I believe in people. 

I realised ‘Believe’ is my personality, the one word that represents my brand and it goes into everything I do. It’s at the heart of the content that I create and what I inspire others to do. And the deeper exercise for bloggers and entrepreneurs is that it becomes a tagline that you’re marketing yourself under, but to you, it’s not just a tagline, it’s who you are and your core value. It becomes your guiding light and motivation.’

Obviously, when I heard Evan written a book called Your One Word: The Powerful Secret to Creating a Business and Life That Matter, all about finding your own one word, I rushed out and bought it (ok, so that’s not strictly true, I asked him to send it to me!!!).

In the book, he goes into much more detail about how to find your One Word. I’m currently half way through, and I have a shortlist for my One Word. All I can say is BUY IT – and I’ll keep you posted as to my final one word. 

New website and personal brand launch for menopause guru Maryon Stewart

By | Business, Personal branding | No Comments

I’ve loved working with author (of 26 books!), menopause guru and coach Maryon Stewart. 

Maryon, a super well known health expert in the UK, wanted a new website to relaunch her personal brand following a few years off. Using her years of knowledge and expertise, Maryon coaches women in understanding the information, tools and techniques needed to get well, to the point that they are able to be completely symptom-free during menopause.

Our project involved visual branding, content editing and website build and Maryon is now one of the students in my Blogstar Academy.

If you want to watch someone build their profile and following with huge speed and total fearlessness, then I suggest you hop over to Maryon’s Facebook where, in less than 6 weeks, Maryon has embraced Facebook Live, has had half a million views on her videos and created a community called Midlife Switch with over 3000 members.

In the Blogstar Academy, we’re working on creating guest blogs for high profile websites as well as getting Maryon publicity (Ok so PR isn’t exactly blogging but if you want to be well known, you need PR!).

I absolutely love it when clients take action over everything else and that’s exactly what Maryon is doing, putting herself out there and spreading her message despite being new to this whole online world. 

Maryon plans to sell online courses and one-to-one coaching for women going through menopause, as well as have her own audience for when she publishes new books and launches new products, and it’s totally clear already that she’s going to be a huge success.

You can see Maryon’s new website here:


How to build a personal brand

By | Personal branding | No Comments

I recently sat down with the lovely Anthony Gell, the founder of the online platform Leaders In (a platform that showcases the opinions and views of some of the ‘world’s greatest leaders’ – I mean seriously! What an honour to be featured there!!!!).

Anyway, we discussed all sorts of things such as accidental entrepreneurship, online success and visibility, blogging, entrepreneurship and personal branding. 

And over the next few weeks, I’ll share some short snippets with you, starting with this one about personal branding.

The term branding has long been linked to companies, but today almost every individual has a personal brand. Building a personal brand is key to getting yourself and your business noticed, so if you’re looking to build your personal brand you should start by outlining two key element:  

What do you want your personal brand to say about you?

When I started my previous online business Talk to the Press, I realised that no one really trusted journalists. So if  I wanted to build a company that people relied and trusted I would have to do somethign different, and that would be pushing forward my personal brand into the forefront of the company message.

I thought if I can show I am a nice, honest, kind person, then I can build the integrity of my company – that is when I really started to learn about the value and importance of a good personal brand. Your personal profile can enhance your company: just look at business leaders such as Branson and Dyson.

Have a mission statement that is bigger than you are and bigger than you can ever achieve

Having a mission statement makes you more memorable and makes you stand out from your competition. People with strong brands are clear about who they are, what they value, what their strengths are and what their mission is. They know what they know about and who they can help.

For example my mission statement is: “I want to help every business and person become better known for what they do.”

In reality I probably won’t achieve this – I mean, helping everyone. That’s not going to happen. But leading with a mission statement gives me purpose and helps other people understand me quicker and more easily.

However, it’s no use you just knowing your mission, other people need to know it too. So clarify it on your about page, in your posts, in your online profiles and across social media, and seek opportunities that allow you to showcase and demonstrate your strengths.

See my full interview on the Leaders In website.

She let go – a lesson to welcome in 2017

By | Blog, Opinion | No Comments
I’m not a mad fan of poems BUT this one landed on my Facebook feed a few days ago, and I thought it was perfect for welcoming a new year. Whether you’re a she or a he, it’s all about dumping all the baggage and nonsense that holds us back from our grand plans!
She Let Go
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments. 
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back. 
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. 
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. 
She didn’t journal about it. 
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. 
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. 
She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go. 
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. 
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. 
She didn’t call the prayer line. 
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. 
There was no applause or congratulations. 
No one thanked her or praised her. 
No one noticed a thing. 
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. 
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. 
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. 
A small smile came over her face. 
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.


Written by Rev. Safire Rose.

Does doing social media mean there is no need for SEO?

By | Digital strategy | No Comments

This is a question a client asked me recently, and I know it’s something a lot of people wonder about.

And as always when it comes to a digital strategy and the online world in which everything works both separately and together, the answer is yes – and no.

Let me explain

If you think about all the ‘doors’ through which people can find you (which is a metaphor I use to explain online visibility), clearly a social following and activity on these platforms are doors.

People who are following you on social media have found you and can find their way from your social platforms to your website.

So you will be getting website traffic through your ‘social doors’ and you might think ‘oh I have enough traffic now who cares about more’.

BUT I don’t actually believe any ambitious person would think they have enough traffic.

If you are anything like me, you will want more traffic regardless of how much you already have.

You see, social doors are not a ‘Google door’ per se, and do not capture those people turning to Google and searching for things that might relate to what you do and offer.

And as well know, there are a heck of a lot of Google searches every single millisecond.

How many people are Googling what you offer?

So if you think there are lots of people ‘Googling’ whatever is you offer (which there probably are) then SEO is definitely worth doing.

And as for whether or not active and popular social channels can influence a website’s ranking and remove the need for SEO – well, although a lot of people believe that it must do in some way, Google has categorically stated it doesn’t….

Although, that said, social channels like Youtube (that double up as search engines) are owned by Google, and that content will rank in a search engines result so there is an impact there. Confused?!

Taking a holistic approach

The best way to look at things is to take a holistic approach towards your online visibility, in which all sorts of factors come together. Social activity is one. SEO is another.

Yet they work together too. All your blog posts for instance are a form of content persuasion and a display of authority – which Google loves. Your blog posts also give you something to share onto social media.

So if you can’t afford an SEO company, or don’t want to learn about the technical side of SEO yourself, then blogging will improve your website’s ranking AND help your social media activity.

Your goal is to create a win win situation by developing a holistic strategy in which everything you do online, from your social media to your videos, to your website to the keywords in your blog post, compliment and work together. And SEO AND social media will be a part of that winning result.

How to blog for business

By | Blogging, Business | No Comments

We live in a world in which content creation equals visibility – thanks to our new rulers, Google and the giant social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And while sometimes they can seem like monsters that need feeding, what is absolutely the case is that when you feed the monster (and feed it in the right and a consistent way), your brand grows online.

It all starts on your blog, which lives on your website, because it is here that you are ultimately trying to bring people back to, and it’s this long form content that you can edit down into social posts that are both on message and get your message across.

  • Get your content type right.

The type of content you create is closely related to what you sell, but you are trying to educate, inform and entertain potential and new customers – and in a way that makes them know you, like you and trust you. A large proportion of your efforts should go in to ‘evergreen’ content. Most business owners focus on ‘live’ content because the pressure of an upcoming event they need to sell tickets for, or a new product launch, spurs them into action. Of course live content is important, but evergreen content that has value all year round and remains relevant for the long term is too because it can be repurposed and shared out multiple times (more on that later!)

  1. Take content seriously

Content-writing is not a job that can be delegated to a part-time PA or landed on the plate of an already busy employee. It requires thought – and a schedule. Even if you only publish once each week, the week can quickly roll round with the next blog post still not written. Make it someone’s responsibility.

  1. Think about what your customers are asking you…

And then write up the answer as a blog post. Their questions are the best source of inspiration all the time, but especially when you are starting out. Using these topics, you can also extend your thinking to include what you would like your customers to know about your business or understand about the industry you operate in.

  1. Use your industry news for inspiration

All industries have their own news, and you can use developments and happenings in your industry to inspire your blog posts, and make you appear like the industry leader you are. Try to be one of the first to offer your comment or opinion on major industry developments, suggestions as to how the industry as a whole can improve. Set up Google alerts for keywords that relate to your industry and use these news stories for inspiration.

  1. Write on themes that are wider than just your business

This year, the UK Blog Awards company category finalists included a huge variety of businesses using content in an inspiring and successful way. I loved the way the finalists were writing on themes wider than just what they offer which will make their content more engaging. Take this comment by finalist Cottages & Castles self catering cottages: ‘Our blog shows another, more personal, side to our self-catering letting business. We understand that going on holiday is about the whole experience – where you can go, what you can do and how you can get the most out of your visit. We have built a library of posts which share hints, tips, advice, and inspirational stories showing Scotland off as the fantastic holiday destination it is.’

  1. Set your expectations right

The downside today is that there is an ocean of content out there. You’re not going to get visibility overnight. It might take a year, even two years, to get the attention that you want. But each post increases traffic, and if you want to spread the word about what you do, creating useful useful valuable content really works. Your other option is an expensive PR or advertising campaign. Of course, they work too, and for maximum visibility you’d have both. The brilliance of content though is you can just get on and do it. No waiting for editors, for print runs, for space, for publication dates – and it’s usually the lowest cost option.

  1. Forget what you learned at school

Good skimmability involves short paragraphs of 3 – 4 sentences with the occasional one sentence paragraph for effect, subheads, interesting bullet lists and highlighting specific texts with block quotes.

  1. Rinse your content for all it is worth.

This means finding ways to repurpose and reuse the same piece of content again and again to get maximum value from it. For example, you might pull one or even five key quotes from a blog post, change them into ‘quotable’ images, and then edit the original post into different captions. Suddenly that one blog post has given birth to five different social updates. Step two of this is loading it into a social media scheduling tool that contains a library that circulates content out again and again in a never ending cycle (good examples are Meet Edgar and Sendible).


Join me for a one day event – The Ultimate Visibility Masterclass

By | Digital strategy | No Comments

I’d love to invite you to join me and two of the UK’s most successful visibility experts for the ultimate day long masterclass on how to raise your profile and increase sales.

This workshop is for anybody struggling to drive traffic to their website, secure new clients and customers, or failing to stand out in a crowded market.

Learn how to build brand kudos and position yourself as the leader in your field

  • Publicist to the stars Jessica Huie MBE
  • Digital strategist and author of The Million Dollar Blog (that’s me!)
  • And website & lead generation guru Julie Hall, founder of The School of Marketing. 

With a day long crash course on PR, marketing, SEO, blogging, video in the digital space and social media, you’ll emerge equipped to get more clients and customers, more profile and visibility, turn your website into a lead generator and cash machine, build your brand, become known and ultimately grow your business.

The Ultimate Business Visibility Masterclass is on Wednesday, 22 February 2017, 10:00 – 17:00 GMT. Earlybird tickets priced £147. 



How can we remind ourselves success is in the journey?

By | Opinion | No Comments

When I worked for national newspapers, I used to go out and about up and down the UK, interviewing all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds.

Over the years, I’ve sat and I’ve listened to people from the most diverse of backgrounds, who live both the most chaotic and privileged of lives, and who normally have the strongest of opinions and the most polarising of views and attitudes (and you know what, I’ve liked most of them).

I have been to some of the most beautiful houses and I’ve seen the bleakest of living conditions where all those things you see on the news about people with no food or heating, and no joy or purpose, are actually playing out in reality.

There were moments that were so surreal – such as when two Weimaraners sat on either side of me, literally pressed up against me, their heads level as with mine and kept turning their heads sideways to gage my reaction with every revelation the interviewee made – that I still chuckle about them now.

But there’s one particular person I’m remembering right now, who taught me a valuable lesson about success, what it is and how it’s experienced. And this memory came back to me this week.

Let me explain why

In this particular interview, I went to meet a woman who was the same age as me then, but the complete opposite to me.

There she was with a life that was a chaotic, imperfect, comprised a small, messy but happy council flat, a blended family, and a front door on which neighbours and family seemed to constantly knock, checking in and popping in.

I have never done any interview before in which SO many people dropped in to see how things were going.

We started out with just her and I, by the end, there were probably 14 people in the room: cousins, aunties, neighbours, sibings and various ex’s.

And they were ALL chiming in with their own version of events.

It was the sort of situation I never would have considered – not at first glance at least – enviable. But I sat in that living room and thought ‘This person has got so much right.’

Not much money but actual happiness and simple, achievable goals that are relished and celebrated by a huge cheery group when achieved.

This week I saw this brilliant post on Facebook, and it reminded me of this woman again.

A thought for those of you who are struggling to be successful. Success is not a point you can ever reach. For when we reach our goals and targets, we experience momentary pleasure and then the joy disappears. Success therefore is found in the journey.

Only when we enjoy the journey can we truly say that we are successful. So enjoy today and doing what you love. Do not think you are not successful yet. If you are enjoying what you are doing today, you already are successful!!

You see, the other side of being that interviewee, or living according the above quote, is to spend your life doing what I do to myself  (and maybe you do too!). In which goal posts constantly get moved forward, standards get higher, ambitions grow and grow, and you wonder what will ever be enough!

And that can be – at times – kind of torturous!

Well, don’t worry, I’m not about to change personality, or pledge to be more realistic or more moderate. We are who we are.

But when I read that quote on Facebook, I remembered that interviewee and I wanted to give myself a slap for never pausing to enjoy or celebrate the victories and successes that I’ve had.

You know, when my book came out, my partner said to me ‘We must go and celebrate’ and I thought ‘Why?’

The book was out! That part was done. I’d already yanked that goal post right out of the ground and replanted it 100 meters ahead. And it had only taken me about 5 minutes to start treating a published book as though it was yesterdays news! 

So, in homage to that interviewee I’ll never forget, and the person who posted that quote on Facebook, today, I’m asking you to just stop for one moment, remember a recent success.

And you know what, enjoy it!