tips

Why Your Next Blog Post Should be Evergreen

By Lauren Fraser

What is it?

Evergreen content is also known as pillar content. You’ve probably heard that it’s super important for your blog, but often people forget to mention why that is and how you can make it work for your blog specifically.

So first, let’s cover the basics. Evergreen or pillar content is content that lasts all year round, for many years – just like the leaves on an evergreen tree. For blogging, this means that your post continues to attract readers to your site continuously after it is first posted.

Your evergreen content is often your most popular, because new readers keep finding your site through these ‘pillar’ posts.

As these types of post support your site with visitors in the long term, they need to really reflect your blogging brand and niche. They are the pillars or building blocks of your blog. When your posts do reflect your overall focus, the visitor to your site is highly likely to find other content on your site interesting and stay a little longer to look around.

Why Evergreen Content?

For us busy bloggers and biz owners, every moment is important. We wear so many different hats, being writers, social media whizzes, educators, salespersons, and more – you don’t need me to tell you our time is pretty stretched.

That is why evergreen content is the must-have type of content for your blog. Why? Because it has the biggest return on investment for your time (ROI).

Rather than constantly producing new content that will be forgotten the next week, your time is much better repaid by producing content that people will continue to visit weeks, months, and years later. A few hours of work for continuous return in visitors. Sounds good, right?

Even more importantly, by creating your evergreen content intentionally, the visitors it continues to attract will be the right kind of visitors. They will be interested in your blogging niche. This makes them more likely to click through to other posts on your site, to sign up to your mailing list, to share your content, and to buy your products and services.

Pretty valuable visitors, huh? And the content that keeps them coming – even more so.

Spoiler! You have already posted evergreen content

Some of your existing blog posts will already be pillar content.

You can usually find these types of post by looking at your analytics. Which posts attract the most page views? Which attract the most engagement through comments, likes, shares, and pins? These are the current cornerstones of your blog.

If these posts accurately represent your blog’s niche, then use them to guide the next blog posts you create. Look for a trend and create posts from different angles on the same theme.

Let me give you an example. I discovered that recipes including chocolate bars were really popular on Knead to Dough, so I produced more of those. As expected, these have all moved up to my most viewed posts and continue to bring visitors to my site. My target readers are foodie bloggers which many of these visitors are, but not all of them.

I also discovered that my how-to style blogging posts continued to attract traffic. As these directly appeal to my target reader, and the recipe posts offer valuable case studies to them, this is the more valuable of my two types of evergreen content.

It brings the right people to my site to then look at other recipes and my blogging posts. They are also likely to sign up to my free resource library, which includes some guides specifically for foodies as well as general content resources.

How to use evergreen content on your blog

So you know how I use evergreen content to boost traffic continuously for Knead to Dough, but how can you apply it to your own blog?

You’re already starting to assess your popular posts for their suitability as pillar content for your blog and using them as inspiration for more.

You can also create pillar content by creating content that is already known to be successful, shareable, and regularly searched. How-to and list posts are typically very popular as they usually provide in depth, valuable, actionable advice.

The key to writing successful evergreen content is to provide as much value as possible. Pick your frequently searched niche topic and cover it in depth. Don’t leave your readers with unanswered questions at the end. If your content is valuable and informative, people will continue to find it useful.

Set yourself the challenge to make every blog post evergreen for the next month. If you can, challenge yourself to do this forever.

Tip: don’t forget to update pillar content as and when changes occur that apply to that topic.

If you’ve found this post helpful, you can sign up for my FREE Resource Library full of content and social media tips for your blog here.

The takeaways?

§  Evergreen content gives you the best ROI for your time

§  It attracts the right kind of visitors who are likely to subscribe and buy

§  Create content intentionally to attract these visitors and provide them lots of value

§  How-to and list posts are great options for creating evergreen content

Lauren Fraser helps other blogs and businesses (especially foodies!) transform their social media and blogging strategies to get the traffic, engagement, and leads they want. You can find blogging resources and guides on her site, Knead to Dough, with a pinch of delicious recipes thrown in for good measure! 

4 Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes in Daily Communications

By Connie Sirois

So you're an entrepreneur or you want to be one. And your journey so far has taught you that you'll need to hire people to do tasks that you don't have the time or know-how to do: create your logo, build your website, brand your company, and more. Your journey has also taught you that you'll need to learn about marketing, social media, e-commerce, and so on. And certainly, on this journey, you have figured out that you will communicate a lot every day and that the skills needed to do this well are NOT ones that you can hire out. This part is all you, and surely, you want to impress.  

Here's the truth. Your daily communication doesn't show up as a line item on your financial balance sheet like marketing and advertising and consulting do, but when your daily communication is less than impressive, it does impact your bottom line.

So what are you to do?

You'll be communicating again in a few minutes probably, so here are four tips to help you improve your daily communication and change a potential liability into an asset. 

  1. Have an AUDIENCE FOCUS every time you communicate. (Know their needs; Respect their time.)
  2. Use the YOU ATTITUDE. (That "you" stands for the audience, not for "you" the communicator.)  Turn "I," "me," and "my" into "you" and "your." (But remember to avoid "you" for a negative. "You ruined the day" is never a good idea.)
  3. Keep a POSITIVE and CONVERSATIONAL TONE in all communications. (You'll get a better response, even for not-so-pleasant news.)
  4. Be CONCISE and CLEAR. (A few powerful words are better than many. And "clear" includes getting rid of grammatical and mechanical mistakes, as much as you may hate to think about this.)

As entrepreneurs, we have busy days, and often we will have to communicate with little time to formulate a response. These tips, once internalized, will make you a better daily communicator who is more effective and more respected by every audience. 

May business success follow you wherever you may go. 

For 20 years, Connie has taught and tutored thousands of students in the ways of communication, especially business communication. Most recently, she's launched a coaching business to bring this expertise to business professionals and entrepreneurs and work with them on communicating impressively. 

During these two decades, she's experienced the evolution in business communication. She has learned these changes, taught these changes, and gained a deep understanding of how business communication works and what clients and colleagues expect.

You can find her life and career coaching company at resetfocus.com and her business communication page at conniesirois.com

The 5 Stages of Reinvention

By Natasha Vanzetti

I made a statement the other day that I was the Queen of Reinvention! It surprised me that I said it so matter of factly, but then I realised that I was. I have reinvented myself many times over the years, in business and in life.

Although evolution is a natural part of life we can often buck against it. We can feel insecure in the unknown and unsure about what’s ahead.

Rather than fret about your next phase of reinvention, I want you to embrace it. Know that without it you can’t grow. Without it you’ll get very bored very quickly.

Knowing that there are stages we all go through during our reinvention can put our minds at rest a little. I know when I share this with my clients and audience they love to identify which stage they’re in and what’s coming up next.

Reinvention can be a small step or a massive leap, but I’ve found these stages are always the same.

At some stage you will get to that point where you start to reinvent yourself in a way that finally feels right to you.

1. Realisation

The first stage of reinvention is the realisation that where you are is no longer where you want to be. This can be a big one and a little scary, but it really is a vital part of your journey.

Quite often we’ll go through life and we’re quite happy with the situation we’re in. But then something shifts, something within us changes and we realise we need to change direction.

We want more, but we don’t know why. This can come along in a slow burn where you get tiny little nudges that start to get louder the longer you leave them.

Or it may be one particular event that makes you realise it’s time to move on.

Don’t settle for where you are if it’s not where you want to be.

2. Discovery

Now this stage can be really fun and exciting, but also pretty scary and unsettling. This is where you start to figure out what is working in your life and career, and what isn’t. This is a journey and a process, so don’t let the discovery phase put you off.

It can be really hard to answer the ‘what do I really want?’ question. You really need to open your heart and mind to what’s possible and let yourself figure this out.

Often when we realise that our career or business isn’t giving us the joy we want, we can get really stuck trying to work out the logical next step. I stayed stuck in this phase for years, never really knowing where my true value was and which direction to take.

My advice to you here is to ditch the logic, step back and look at 3 things.

  • Your Story – What’s changed for you? How have things shifted? What are some of the common themes that keep popping up for you?
  • Style – How do you prefer to work? When do you feel you’re most creative? What is it you love to do and what is it you never want to do again?
  • Experience – Your credentials, expertise & skills.

Harness your natural gifts, work with what comes naturally to you.

3. Fear & Doubt

Oh my lord! When you start to step away from your comfort zone and really go after what you feel inside is your path to take, it is so freakin’ scary. The fear, doubt and resistance just whacks you in the face. Sometimes it will sneak up on you and disguise itself as something else, other times it’s just blatant.

This is part of the process and also shows you’re on the right path. Think of it this way, if it’s not scaring you, it’s not important to you.

This also shows that you are human, so don’t let it stop you from taking that next step. The fear never goes away, although we can’t let it rule our world and stop us from going after what’s right for us.

Don’t let fear steal your dreams.

4. Action

This next step is a doozy and one we often find plenty of excuses against. But the truth is you have to take action to get past the fear and the doubt. Without action you will get really stuck, frustrated and overwhelmed.  

You might try and figure everything out in your head, but that’s not going to work. You need to figure things out with momentum. Understand that fear and doubt will never leave you, but taking small steps forward will help you manage and overcome the roadblocks that pop up for you along the way.

When I was transitioning into new ideas I always knew the fear was there, I was just really good at calling it other things and making up plenty of excuses. This got me nowhere.

It was only once I started taking action and then assessing with each step what felt right to me and what didn’t that I could find the clarity I needed.

You’ll be surprised at what you learn when stepping into action. I would never have found the work I do now as a Discovery Coach had I tried to figure everything out logically before I started. Taking action, trying new things and saying yes before I thought I was ready have led me to do the work I do now, and I am forever grateful for that.

I believe action inspires clarity and fuels confidence.

5. Coming Home

This is what makes it all worth it. This is the feeling of coming home, of feeling like you’re on the right path. It’s that inner feeling of contentment and relief. It’s a sense of release as you finally start to realise who you really are and what you’re really meant to be doing in the world. You’re happy and you know this is where you’re meant to be.

Coming home doesn’t mean your reinvention journey is over for good. It just means you’ve ventured further along your path and can settle in for a little while, until your next nudge of realisation kicks in.

Live how you want to live. Work how you want to work. Play how you want to play.

These stages of reinvention will have many times over your life. Embrace them and all that they have to offer. You’ll be grateful for the process.

Remember the gold is often found in the detours, so don’t be afraid to step of the path a little and find what’s waiting for you.

Now I’d love to hear which stage you’re currently at and what you’re fearing most. Know that it’s totally OK to be freaking out, or you may be completely thrilled about the journey you’re on. Sharing your stage will help others realise they’re not in this alone.

Natasha Vanzetti lives by the motto “Just because it doesn’t exist doesn’t mean we can’t create it”. As a Discovery Coach™ and Speaker, Natasha helps big-hearted entrepreneurs pin-point their business sweet spot. By using her innate ability to see what people can’t see for themselves, Natasha helps her clients discover where their true value lies and what’s standing in their way. The result – people feel excited & energized by their work, and have the confidence to go after what they truly want.

You can find out more at www.natashavanzetti.com


It’s all about the confidence

By Philiy Page

When you are just starting out and trying to set up a creative business on your own, the whole thing can seem…well, daunting! You have to be your own PR person, secretary, web designer, photographer and somewhere in that mix you need to answer emails, design products or find time to answer the phone.

I have worked as a freelancer all my working life, (21 years and counting.) I have set up business, folded some of them and created new ones. Every time I set out to develop a new business, I notice that it isn’t cash flow forecasting, who can design my website, or where I need to network, that are the most important things. I believe that the most important thing that you need to take care of before you start your business is confidence.

We have all compare someone’s middle to our beginning when we are starting out. We spend our time looking at beautiful blogs, analysing what freebies they are giving away, asking ourselves if we can we ever be as brilliant as them. The answer is yes, but you need to take a step back and work on yourself for a moment.

I run a company called Creative Women International, which offers support, networking and business training to women working in the creative industries. I train groups internationally and I am constantly surprised at how little the women believe in their capabilities compared to the men in the room.

We often feel like we can’t possibly know enough about a subject until we have a piece of paper from a University, proving we are an expert. We need to believe in the knowledge and experience that we already have, and learn the rest as we go along. There will always be someone who knows more about a subject than we do, but there will also be people who don’t know anything, and they will look to you to offer the knowledge you have gained from your life experience. As scary as it is, sometimes you need to start before you are completely ready!

School teaches women to be good, quiet and dedicated hard workers. We pass more school exams with higher grades than men, and more women in the UK enter higher education than men, with some UK Universities in 2013 taking double the number of female applicants; but we still don’t believe we are good enough.

I was plagued by shyness as a teenager. I was that girl who was always a foot higher than the rest of the class. I would dip my shoulders over and hang my head until my only view was counting the gaps between the paving slabs. I now deliver courses to rooms full of people, take part in panel discussions, and was even part of a BBC programme where they sent me to a deserted wind swept island and was filmed every day for 13 months. These days Iwork as a production manager running film sets- (yes, that is as scary as it sounds but also so much fun)! Despite all of this, I would still describe myself as shy. Shyness and confidence I believe can go hand in hand. Some of the tricks I have developed include ways of changing the language that I use during negotiations and in emails. It helps me to ‘appear’ more confident, and during the process I actually feel more confident!

Confidence isn’t going to magically make everything possible, but it might give you more opportunities and help you to cope with difficult situations.

Here are some of the things I recommend trying:

Channel your own Wonder Woman

Sometimes it is hard to feel confident when you know the situation that you are about to go into is tough, unfriendly or just down right scary. Often thinking about the situation is worse than the actual event. There is a wonderful social psychologist called Amy Cuddy who talks about the psychology and science of body language. (I recommend watching at her Ted talk called ‘Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are’) It has been proven that our body language really does change the way that we feel about ourselves, both mentally and chemically.

A great trick to try when you are not feeling confident, about to go onto to stage to give a talk, or pitch about your business, is to take yourself off to somewhere quiet and private for only 2 minutes. The toilets or an empty elevator work well. Imagine yourself as Wonder Woman (yes really!), put your hands on your hips and stand confidently with your shoulders back, imagine that great red and blue outfit, and all the sparkles that you are giving off. Think confident thoughts whist standing in this pose. Just 2 minutes actively changes the chemistry in your body and makes you feel less stressed and more confident. I use it all the time, and tell my students to do the same. It might be the difference between you getting that dream job or not!

Say hello to your fear

Knowing what your biggest fear is can actually make it smaller. As children if we didn’t know who the monster was that lived under our bed, how could we know if he was friendly or going to eat us in our sleep? It is the same principle that I advise for getting hold of your fear. Fear is a totally natural response to having to go to a big event, meeting new people or preparing for a talk. We shouldn’t be embarrassed that we are frightened. I see it as a positive thing; it means that we are about to do something big or exciting.

Getting to know your fear will help you to take control of it. Make a list of all of the things that you are frightened of. List the reasons why you are frightened, and what the worst-case scenario would be. Take each worst-case example and research the likely hood of that happening. List what it would mean to you if that happened and how you would deal with it. Really visualise it in your mind. Quite often when we have visualised it or proven that the chance of it actually happening is very small, we relax in the knowledge that we have already got a back up plan if the worst thing happened, because we have already thought it through.

Preparation is key

Remember those days at school when we had to prepare for a test or project? I want you to channel that inner school girl in the days leading up to a big networking event. I still get nervous about attending these events, but doing your home work can really help with your nerves.

If you are frightened of not knowing what to say when you meet someone new, and your worst fear is that you are going to stumble over your words or appear inexperienced, researching who is going to be there and who you want to talk to will really help. There is usually a participant list that the organiser can give you. If that isn’t possible you can ask for some recommendations on who would be interested in the work that you do. Make a ‘hit-list’ of people that you really want to talk to when you get there. You can ask the organisers when you arrive to introduce you to some people. A simple line like “We haven’t met yet, but I have been reading about your amazing X” will get the conversation flowing. And if going it alone is just too scary, partner up with someone and make it a game. Decide from the crowd who you are both going to meet next and head over to them in your pair. I have had some fun evenings with a colleague doing it this way, and we met some people we wouldn’t have had the chance to speak to otherwise.

Watch your language

Now I have helped you with the meet and greet experiences, I want you to focus on your emails. Have another look at emails you have sent when trying to negotiate fees or make a new client. Do the words, hopefully, would it possible, just, but or sorry appear anywhere? I want you to have another look at that email, and what would happen if you struck those words out?

We want to think of ourselves as equals with every email we write. I am not asking you to come across as arrogate, I am asking you to come across as confident. Words like hopefully or sorry put us in a lower position to the person that we are talking or negotiating with. When we use words such as just, we are telling the other person that we are unsure about something or that we don’t value our own question- ‘I just need to ask you ….”

The word but is also a word that you should try to avoid in your emails. It is a powerful and negative word that immediately makes the reader feel uncomfortable. Have a play around with other ways of getting your question or message across without using it. You will end up with a more open dialogue, which makes it easier to negotiate with.

My final tip is about the word sorry. You don’t need to apologise all the time (unless you have done something really bad, and if that is the case don’t write an email, pick up the phone!). I’m from the UK and the word sorry is over used every day. I can walk out of my door and someone might step on my foot and they would apologise to me! This is what a sorry in an email is. You haven’t done anything wrong. If it took you 3 days to get back to them, then that is what it took. Don’t say sorry, instead explain why it look three days to get back to them, if you think that is relevant. Sorry is a word that makes you appear less confident. You are a worthwhile human being, and I want you to write and think that way too.

We are all humans

My final thought will help you when you feel like you shouldn’t be somewhere. We all know that feeling when we think someone will tap us on the shoulder and ask us to leave. Even top-level entrepreneurs feel this way. It is more common than you think, and is called ‘imposter syndrome’.

The reason this happens is that as you create an amazing career for yourself, you will start to realise that no one actually knows anything and they are all making it up as they go along! We all had to start somewhere. I want you to remember that, even your boss was once a little girl or boy. They had to start at the beginning and figure things out. So when you are worried that you shouldn’t be there, take a moment to look around the room at the other people. Look at all of their faces and picture them as a small child. This is where they started out as well. We are all human beings, and we don’t all know the answers. The best thing we can do is to help each other on the way and share our knowledge with each other. 

Philiy Page has been a freelancer for over 21 years, with her first professional photograph published in the press when she was only 19. She has worked as an award winning photojournalist for The Guardian and Marie Claire (to name a few), a writer and publishing assistant, a documentary assistant producer for the BBC, a camera woman, a University lecturer in social media marketing and entrepreneurial skills for BA and MA students, and more!

All of this experience and enthusiasm Philiy pours into the Creative Women International. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


8 easy solutions for your workspace problems

By Julia Cartwright

Most of us know intuitively that the spaces we do our work in have a big impact on how we feel as we go about our work. For example, a dark, messy desk with no storage can make the mere thought of sitting down to get started seem like a burden.

It’s really important to ensure that you have a dedicated physical space to store all your materials and records. Some of you might choose to have a dedicated room or alternatively a dual-purpose area that also functions as a workstation.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort" Paul J Meyer

As a designer, I am passionate about creating spaces that are not just beautiful but functional in the best possible way – that help you achieve what you want to achieve in the space. And this principle isn’t something that I merely pay lip service to; I live by it! So, for example, when I was setting up the online arm of my business, it was just as important for me to create a space for myself that would help me get my best work done as it was to get my website and marketing stuff right (even though no one but me ever sees my home office!). I wanted it to feel inspiring and organised, which are great qualities to bring to any creative workspace.

“A nice workspace at home will encourage you to use your talents and give more structure to your ideas and work schedule. Working in a nice area will always bring out the best in you” Irene Hoofs, Blogger

Your workspace is structured around your activities and needs. As a quick start guide you may want to refer to the following steps to get you started - 

Step 1 – Assessing your needs and requirements is your first port-of-call

  • What type of work needs to be done?
  • Will clients be visiting the space?
  • Will my teammates visit for collaborative work?
  • What type of materials will be referenced and/or stored?
  • What type of equipment is needed?
  • When will I be doing the majority of my work?
  • Ensure you have thought of space for activities such as “storing”, “retrieving” and “processing”

Step 2 – Getting organised

After you have looked at your requirements, it is time to get your own workspace set up, let’s focus on how to get – and STAY! – Organised. To begin with, ensure you have undergone the following initial steps:

  • Look at your space and only use items that are purposeful and functional.
  • Clear the clutter and dead energy! This is so important for our creativity and for getting organised.
  • Ensure you have enough daylight as well as artificial direct light.
  • Set up your Wi-Fi and computer.

Step 3 – Mistakes to avoid

There are some common mistakes you should avoid and these are:

  • Not having enough storage
  • Having a shortage of space for reference materials
  • Holding onto out dated equipment
  • Not planning for all the cords and adaptors

Step 4 – Equipment

You may be wondering why I am touching on the geeky stuff? Forget about quick and simple décor, you want to ensure you have considered all your practical requirements that allow you to operate professionally.

It is important to invest in equipment that provides you with excellent speed and efficiency. Stay away from the big and ugly items, like the large printers. There is such a large selection to choose from these days that I am sure you can find one that is not too obtrusive in size and colour. If you install a business phone, I would ensure it is set up separately from your home phone. You can then make sure your phone has the capability for messaging, conferencing and speaker functions.

Step 5 – Lighting tips are especially important and you should ensure you

Surround yourself with as much daylight as possible.

  • Use a combination of general and task lighting. A great task lamp on your desk will be essential for evening work, and when the natural light is not enough.
  • Use daylight bulbs for task lamps.
  • Keep your screen away from a direct light source; this will result in eyestrain.
  • Are aware how overhead lighting can result in a direct glare on your computer screens.

Step 6 – Layout

  • Select a desk big enough to support your computer and work related items
  • To prevent chaos, look for storage solutions for papers that may accumulate on your desk
  • Use pencil cups or trays to keep all writing instruments in one place

Step 7 – Ergonomics

It is important to invest in a chair that supports your comfort and posture.

A good chair should have the following features:

  • Adjustable tilt tension and tilt lock
  • Adjustable armrest height, armrest width, and pivot
  • Sliding seat pan for adjustable seat depth
  • Adjustable seat height
  • Optional lumbar support adjustability

If you are someone who is on the computer for a long time, you need to consider ergonomic mouse instruments shaped to fit your hand and soft keyboard pads that allow rest and relaxation for the wrist.

Step 8 – Colours for your space

When it comes to your office it is important to revisit colour psychology.

  • I would stay away from blues, greens and violets, as they evoke feelings of calm and may send you off to sleep.
  • Green can foster concentration and balance, it also and add a freshness and vitality to a work environment
  • Yellow is a happy attention-grabbing colour. It evokes feelings of optimism. Stay away from bright yellows, as they might be distracting or overpowering.
  • Red is energetic and generates feelings of excitement. It should be used as an accent colour only.
  • White, ivory, Gray and tan are colours that are subtle and can be combined with accent colours for vitality and energy.
  • Purple have been proven to stimulate imagination, focus and concentration.

How are you going with setting up your workspace?

Julia Cartwright is an Interior Designer, Property Stylist, and Creative Director at Julia Cartwright Designs. Julia helps people turn outdated or empty spaces into places they love.

She specializes in Concept development, Up-Styling homes using existing furniture, and Pre-Sale Property Consulting. Julia also also has an e-course The designer home style program that helps you create a home that not that only looks gorgeous, but also helps you feel better, achieve more, and live the kind of life you want to be living.