Things are changing on Unseen Beauty!

This is just a short post to tell you about a couple of changes that I’m making to Unseen Beauty and what will be coming up for the rest of the year.

1. Blog posts

I’ll be doing Blogmas for the first time this year and I’m really looking forward to it. This means there will be some new content from 1st to 24th December featuring festive posts and the unboxing of my beauty advent calendar. If you’re doing Blogmas too, let me know in the comments as I’d love to check your posts out too!

There’ll also be a blogger mystery box swap coming up soon, so if you’re interested in new posts, make sure to follow the blog or to sign up for my updates.

The featured products page

I’ve updated the featured products page. There are now 86 things in the skincare section that have been reviewed on this blog, and I’ve got a few more to add soon. Basically there is a list of sections, then you can click the one that interests you, and you’ll see a table with the list of products, where you can buy them, and a link to the post where I talked about them on the blog.

I’ve just added a free things and discounts section to this as well so people can find out about the brands that I support. The things in this list are more general, but if I find out about a sale or a one-off, you’ll find that as a new feature in Unseen Beauty news.

I do have some affiliate programmes going on, but I am transparent about affiliates and PR samples, and I only ever promote things that I genuinely like and have tested. Some things will just be on my site because I like them, and not because I have any connection to the brand.

If you want to see the changes, you can check out the featured products page,

Unseen Beauty news

I want my email updates to be more than “hey check out the new post on my blog”, so they’re going to be a bit different from now on. They will still be roughly twice a week – usually Tuesdays and Fridays, but sometimes life happens!

From now on they will include one or two other links that I think my readers will like, either blogs or articles, as well as any good deals or sales that I hear about from the brands that I love. I hope you like the new format!

Would you like Unseen Beauty News emails?

If you’d like me to email you twice a week with information about what’s new on the site, and other things that I have been enjoying, you can sign up using this contact form.

11 things you shouldn’t do when pitching ideas

This post is about mistakes that people make when they are pitching ideas – whether it’s a blogger who wants to do some guest posts, or a company who wants to let people know about their new product or service.

I haven’t used any names, but all of these examples are messages that I have actually been sent as someone with a podcast, 2 blogs, and an online business.

I want this post to be a bit light-hearted, because it’s not just a major rant, but I also want to have a look at the effect these things have on the person reading them. I also don’t want to seem unapproachable, because I love collaborating and working with others, but there’s a good and a not so good way to do it!

Let me know in the comments if you can add any more to this list!

1 but it’s free!

Here I’m not talking about freebies, sign-up bonuses or opt-in promotions that people use to encourage people to sign up to their site. There’s a reason to do that – you’re giving people added value and those people are already interested in your site.

I’m talking about books that are free for a specific period of time, limited-time trials of products or services, or things that are free for review.

Yes, it’s great that they are free, and everyone thinks their products and services are wonderful, but it’s only a good deal if the other person wanted that thing in the first place.

Making people aware of the free thing is fine, but coming back to people when they don’t want it and saying “but it’s free! Why don’t you want it!” looks a bit desperate! It’s better to spend the time and energy on people who do actually want, and who stand to benefit from it. There is so much free stuff out there nowadays, that being free isn’t enough if it doesn’t add value to a particular person.

2 I want a call with you!

Why?

I’m not talking about people who want to learn English – in fact I generally do have a call with them first to talk about what I can offer and how I can help them.

I’m talking about complete strangers who contact me on social media, ask for a call, and give me no idea as to what it’s about.

I know that some cultures place more value on building a relationship and don’t want to get straight down to business, but we’re all busy, and if I don’t have an idea what a meeting with a complete stranger is going to be about, I can’t make an informed decision about whether I want to attend, and I’m unlikely to say yes!

It doesn’t have to be all the details, but I do have two very different websites, and when people want to get in touch with me, it’s good to know why!

3 your website is rubbish

Well thank you! Aren’t I lucky that you’re here to save the day!

To be fair, nobody has actually said that my website or podcast are rubbish, but It’s implied with phrases like “your website doesn’t communicate your key message” or it “doesn’t reflect your values” or “you will never reach your potential audience”.

It’s obvious that SEO professionals, web designers and copy writers have to identify a need that they can fill, but saying that the current offering is not fit for purpose is unlikely to get a good response, unless you like to cash in on people feeling bad. Maybe someone does feel that their current set-up is terrible, but there are nicer ways to start the conversation like

Do you wish that you had someone who could help you with…?
Do you want to be better at …?
Is … something that frustrates you?

4 This service is for x so you need it too

These people have usually identified a niche, such as teachers, but they forget that there is diversity in the niche. It’s not that I expect them to know exactly who will be interested in their offer, but to tell me I definitely need something when it doesn’t fit my business model is kind of annoying. I don’t need an HR system because I don’t employ staff. I don’t need a new way for students to pay, because I’m happy with the one I have, and anyway who’s going to want to pay using a site that has no social proof? I don’t need an online calendar because I hate them!

Again, I don’t expect people to know what I want, but

Do you need …?
Is better than
Your business will fail unless you have …

I know this goes against some of the common marketing techniques that dredge up the worst emotional words that you can think of, but there are people in the world who don’t respond well to those tactics.

5 why didn’t you reply to my spam?

Oh yes, replying to spam is right there at the top of my to-do-list!

Of course people don’t think that their message was spam, but spam is unsolicited mail that you haven’t signed up to. Follow-up is fine, but 3 times in one week chasing someone who hasn’t even agreed to work with you is pushy.

6 You need a blog post on this obscure thing that nobody has ever heard of

Because my readers are going to love that and it really adds value to my audience!

Pitching guest ideas is great. Pitching original or unusual ideas is also fine, as long as they fit with the site that you’re pitching. But if someone says “no”, you need to respect that. Also, the “no” is unlikely to miraculously become a “yes” if you try to start an argument about the fact that you know more about the obscure thing than the person who doesn’t want a post about it!

7 I haven’t read your content because using a standard template is easier

Ok, so I should take the time to reply to you, even though you haven’t done any research about me or my site. Sounds fair?

Recently someone has even been selling software that sends out a load of customised emails – sometimes not even that well customised (dear enter name here), in the hope that some of them will generate interest in guest content.

I think that’s really disrespectful.

I’ve even had people wanting me to pay them for guest-written posts that don’t fit in with what my site’s about!

It’s great to tell people that you enjoy their blog, but if you say “I enjoy every post you write and learn something every time”, it could apply to any number of educational sites. However, if you say “I particularly enjoyed your post on …” it at least shows that you’ve read one of them and it’s not just a standard message to many bloggers.

8 I know you only work online with adults, but why won’t you test our product for small groups of children?

There’s no harm in asking, but if someone says your product or service isn’t right for them, move on! Or are you the kind of person who goes into the shoe shop and complains that they don’t sell cabbages?

Don’t get me wrong – I love testing products, but if there’s something that isn’t relevant to my business, or some kind of product that I know I will never use in my free time, it’s better for both of us that you find someone who will love it!

This isn’t really aimed at brands in the beauty and lifestyle world, but companies trying to get me to buy things for my business. In terms of being sent blogger mail, it’s an honour and a privilege. I am really grateful. But I can’t run something if I don’t think it fits with my brand or what my audience is interested in.

9 Podcast guests on shows that don’t take guests

I’ve had a couple of guests on the podcast, and I think in all cases I approached them to ask if they would do it. If a guest came up that would be a good fit, I’d be open to that too, but when people approach me because they want publicity for their new book, that has nothing to do with any of the topics I cover, that’s not adding value to my audience. A bit of research would show that, and also highlight some other podcasts that would be a much better fit.

10 you’re not using our app

This came up because of a discussion in a forum where someone was complaining about an email that said “You’re not using our app! Download it here!” The feeling was that it came across as bossy rather than helpful, and something like “did you know that we have an app?” would have come across better.

11 I’ll use your platform to post my advert

Because everyone goes to the trouble of building a platform and loyal following just so that they can give others free advertising. Even better if you’re offering exactly the same products or services as the person who owns the website! Don’t do it!
Direct sales links on posts that have nothing to do with that topic are not cool either! It’s like that pushy person at a social gathering that everyone tries to avoid because all they want to do is talk about themselves!

Never miss another post!

If you’d like me to email you when new posts come out, usually once or twice a week, you can sign up using this contact form.

Birthday give-away winner

I announce the winner of my birthday give-away!

Hi everyone,

A really quick post this morning to let you know that I drew the winner for the prize draw.

I gave everyone a number and then told Siri to generate a random number.

The winning number belonged to …. Andrea! I’ve emailed Andrea and will get her prizes sent off once I have her address.

Thanks to those who took part! If you didn’t win this time, I have future plans for similar things, so make sure you follow or sign-up for updates if you want to know what is happening on Unseen Beauty in the future!

Never miss another post!

If you’d like me to email you when new posts come out, usually once or twice a week, you can sign up using this contact form.

September give-away

September is my birthday month, and to celebrate, I’m doing a give-away for readers in the UK.

This give-away is to thank my readers for their support since Unseen Beauty started at the beginning of the year.

I’ve bought a couple of my favourite skincare products from the Body Shop, and added in some other skincare products. Details of how you can win are below. The draw will be open throughout September and I’ll notify the winner at the beginning of October.

What you can win

  • Body Shop mango body butter
  • Body Shop grapefruit hand cream
  • Body Shop satsuma shower gel
  • Face mask and muslin cloth
  • 2 mini Sanctuary Spa candles
  • Sanctuary Spa face mask
  • Sanctuary Spa body scrub
  • Lavender soap
  • Maybelline duo contour and highlight cream stick

The Body Shop products are from my favourite ranges, so I do hope you like fruity things!

I’ve tried to stay away from make-up because I think this is a more personal choice and I don’t want people to get colours that they don’t like, or that don’t work for them.

I know the cream contour and highlight won’t be the right shade for everyone. I originally bought it for myself, but as the two colours are on the same stick, it will be hard for me to use it because I can’t see where one ends and the other begins. I really wanted a double-ended one, so hope someone can get some use out of this – I’m all about the creams! If it’s not your colour, maybe you have a friend who would like it!

What do you have to do to enter?

All you need to do is enter your details in the form below. The questions are to make sure that you’re a real person, and they also give me the chance to find out what people like, and what other blogs I can check out. This is a UK-only give-away.

Terms and conditions

  1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on Saturday September 30th 2017 and I’ll draw the winner on Monday 2nd October.
  2. 1 entry per person.
  3. This is a UK only giveaway, so the winner will need to be able to provide an address in the UK for the prize to be sent to..
  4. I will give each person a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number.
  5. I will contact the winner on 2nd October to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.
  6. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

Finding your writing voice

Today’s post is a guest post that I wrote for the UK Bloggers’ site. It’s about some things to consider when you’re developing your unique style of writing, or your blogging voice. How do you want to sound to readers? What parts of your personality do you want to bring out?

There are plenty of posts about how to get more readers or take great pictures, but your own blogging voice is a powerful tool – and it’s one that only you have!

You can check out the article here.

Never miss another post!

If you’d like me to email you when new posts come out, usually once or twice a week, you can sign up using this contact form.

Update to the featured products pages

Today’s post is just to let you know that I’ve been busy updating the featured products pages.

When you click on the main featured products page, it takes you to a page with a list of categories.

From here, you can choose the one that most interests you. For example, the one that has the most content is skincare, where there is a table with all the good skincare products that I have mentioned so far, where you can find them, and the link to the post in which I talked about them.

Other categories include bath and shower products, hair care, fragrance, and make-up.

If I didn’t like a product, it won’t be featured on these pages.

I hope this will make it easier for people who are interested in what I have written about specific types of products.

Never miss another post!

Picture of Kirsty

Podcast

I’ve been running my podcast for language learners for around a year and a half now. I know that many beauty and lifestyle bloggers have Youtube channels, but I really don’t want to do that. I don’t like producing videos and I don’t have the skills to edit them. I have, however, learned how to make podcasts, and this is something that I enjoy doing. Therefore I decided to do a little experiment and see whether people who prefer to consume content as audio would be interested in a podcast.

At the moment, I’m uploading past content. When I’ve caught up, the new blog post and the audio files will go out on the same days – usually Tuesdays and Fridays.

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can find it on iTunes or Player FM.

The URL for the podcast feed is
https://player.fm/series/unseen-beauty

The discussions will still take place here on the blog, but it’s another option for people who like audio content. Please share the information if you think your friends will like it!

Never miss another post!

Picture of Kirsty