Fashionable takeovers: your guide to stylish guest posting

how-to-guest-blog

Australian consumers love their fashion blogs. From reality TV series that follow the glamourous lives of our coveted sweethearts, to branded content courtesy of household names themselves, fashion blogging is showing no signs of slowing down. Why?

64% of social shoppers turn to social media and blogs for inspiration before making a fashion-related purchase decision.  Beauty and fashion advice seekers are turning to each other for direction.  Whether it’s to discover chic products or learn how to create the perfect cat eye, consumers trust social media and blogs the most for their answers. (Source)

But if you’re a new style-minded business, you might be thinking:

What is the secret is to a successful blogging strategy for my brand?

And the answer is this: there are many secrets (please, refrain from hate mail). But for the sake of not overwhelming you – which is not what this blog is about at all – I’m going to go over just one secret today.

Whether you’re a stylist, own an ecommerce boutique or are a burgeoning fashion blogger, this post is for you.

 

Stylish takeovers – my guest blogging tips for fashion-forward businesses

It’s fairly common to believe that in order to drive more customers to your website, you should keep all the content on your domain (your own blog). But it’s this exact thinking that I’ve seen hold so many brands back from achieving their business goals: more website traffic and conversions.

 

Guest posting is the missing piece of your content marketing puzzle.

As the Content Marketing institute puts it:

[Guest posting is] content authored by experts within your company published by third-party media already consumed by your target audience.
— Kelsey Meyer for Content Marketing Institute

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve read somewhere on the internet that guest posting is a dead SEO technique, and if you start guest posting you’re going to be banished from the internet FOREVER.

Take heed, because that’s not true.

Yes: spammy, short-form articles created by content factories that serve no value to customers are worthless and will do nothing to improve your ROI.

But a considered, thoughtful, in-depth, and well-written guest post? The kind that gets clicks, Likes, shares and fondled in all sorts of digital ways?

It’s gold for your business in acquiring new qualified leads.

 

The value of guest blogging

When you create a guest post for another website, you tap into their audiences. And when these audiences are engaged and listening to what you have to say, you introduce them to the top of a sales funnel, with your guest content positioned at the top.

Allow me to illustrate:

guest posting tips

 

Guest posting is at the top of this sales funnel, as a guest post may often be the first point of contact that a potential lead has with your brand.

As your reader embarks upon their sales journey, they’re then introduced to authority-building content on your website via a link in your author credit, or a link within the body of the post itself. If you have a sales funnel set up on your website that captures emails (think pop-ups, content upgrades, etc) these readers are then introduced to gated content that increases engagement. From there, and in an ideal scenario, you’ll build brand loyalty, and eventually, increase sales.

 

Why is guest blogging important?

Your guest post achieves a few things for your brand:

  • Allows you to tap into a new audience.
  • Can help boost your Google ranking with more backlinks (links from other websites pointing to your website).
  • Positions you as the authority in your niche.
  • Builds trust and credibility for your brand.
  • Allows you to create relationships with third party publishers.

 

Get your high-heeled foot in the door: my technique for a fashionable guest blog 

1.     Find guest posting opportunities

First thing's first: where to guest blog? It's time to find a publisher for your literary masterpiece. Backlinko calls these publishers “linkreators”, because they consistently generate backlinks for other businesses. They could be fashion bloggers, influencers, other businesses, or an association for those within your industry.

Backlinks are imperative for a successful SEO strategy, as the number of links, as well as the quality of links, that you have pointing back to your domain, the more likely you’ll be able to boost your SEO ranking. For example, if you were to pen a guest post for The Daily Life on wireless bras, such a reputable domain would generate amazing traffic for your website. As a high quality website, they’d also pass on their magic “link juice”, which is their authority. You’re cool by association.

You can begin finding an appropriate publisher by determining what blogs your ideal audience is reading. If you’re an interior decorator, you might want to contact an interior styling blog. If you own a luggage company, you might want to get in touch with a travel blog to write a post about packing tips.

The best place to start? I like to search Instagram for potential publishers. If you search for niche hashtags in your industry, you can find accounts that might have a similar audience to yours. You can also expand your search by looking for similar account suggestions. 

Important: Read a publisher’s media kit first. Sometimes guest posts are called sponsored posts, and you might have to pay a fee in order to be featured on their website.

 

2.     Form relationships first

I’m going to write an entire blog post about this soon, but it’s crucial that you treat each publisher and editor as a person. Many of my guest posts have come to fruition after a period of authentic, consistent engagement. For example, Instagram Marketing queen Mackayla of Social Stylings recently penned a piece for me on Instagram captions. This post came about after almost a year of messaging each other on Instagram, expressing mutual respect and admiration for each other’s work. I wanted to have Mackayla on my blog because she's a valuable source of marketing knowledge, uses an accessible approach to social media marketing, and we share a similar audience. It’s the perfect partnership!

Do your research on what types of content your chosen publication will publish, and create exclusive content for them. Never spam multiple outlets with the same pitch.

 

3.     Allocate marketing resources to, you know, actually write the darned thing

Who will be authoring the guest post? Yourself? Another writer? Many copywriters (ahem) will ghost write for you, offering you full attribution.

Ideally, your guest post should be written for those brand new to your brand, services and products. Keep technical terms to a minimum, and treat each guest post as a virtual handshake, introducing yourself to new, qualified prospects.

 

4.     Update your content calendar

As part of my own content marketing efforts, I like to schedule a guest post for once a month. This is in addition to my twice-monthly blogging and of course, sending out Communique to my valued subscribers.

Still not sure if you need outside help with your content marketing?

Let’s get to the bottom of it.

 

I'm Camilla Peffer, and I'm a Melbourne copywriter who creates engaging, results-driven content for fashion and lifestyle brands. From website copywriting, to fashion copywriting, content strategies and SEO audits, I've created clicks and conversions for the likes of Sportsgirl, Seed Heritage, CoYo, Ralph Lauren and Politix. Want to work together? Reach out! I'd love to hear about your next project.

The curious truth about burnout and busyness

burn out.jpg

Like many young professionals, I possess a somewhat grandiose sense of confidence. I just typed that, and I’m ok with admitting it. It’s that kind of confidence that sees me dodging late fees with my gym membership, altering menu items at restaurants on the weekend, and speaking publicly about my sex life in front of 500 people. My confidence helps me navigate parts of life with ease, like when I quit my job in 2014 to become an SEO copywriter. But it also made me very, very sick this year.

Because I am young (and I am – I’m 29-years-old), I’m prone to dreams of invincibility. I blame the Mark Zuckerbergs and the Sophia Amorusos who earned their first million at an age far younger than I am now. It’s a comparison that we’re all guilty of as we scroll through Instagram, and for myself, this lack of self worth led to burnout. It’s this burnout that saw me sick in bed staring at the ceiling, developing an addiction to Vanderpump Rules, and yelling at my cats to quit jumping on me. I even started to hate Melbourne and blame my lethargy on the city’s weather, of all things.

Like many overachievers, I tried to deny it for some time.

But truthfully, this control freak was losing her grip, knuckles white with failing determination.

 

What is burnout?

Otherwise known as physical and mental exhaustion, burn out is caused by a state of chronic stress. And what is chronic stress? A prolonged state of anxiety and depression that persists over time.

Now, stress can be hugely beneficial to productivity and problem solving. But when you’re waking up dreading phone calls and yelling at your phone company, stress is getting the better of you. You think, “Aha! This is not going to happen to me.” And so too did I.

I’d felt the instability of this tipping point coming for months as I teetered over the edge of irrational thinking and 24/7 grumpiness. Every time a friend mentioned burn out, a caricature would spring to life in my brain like an inflatable air dancer at a car dealership, flailing its arms  in an attempt to have me heed the warning signals. I’d ignore it, and soldier on into entrepreneurial martyrdom. Armed with three cups of coffee a day, my bullet proof oil and the determination of a puppy with a pair of fluffy slippers, I was adamant that I would pull through, dammit. Just you watch me try to manage three businesses on my own.

And if you were watching me, you would have seen me teetering over the edge of sanity like a baby giraffe walking in high heels.

 

My moment of revelation? When did I finally realise I needed to slow down?

A collection of moments gathered together to reflect a complete picture of a woman over extending herself. Here are the common signs of burnout which I suffered from most acutely:

 

-       Lethargy (I was sleeping around 10 hours a night and was still exhausted).

-       Cynicism and detachment (You know something’s up when not even your martini can perk you up).

-       Withdrawal (Sorry I didn’t call for months, ma).

-       Forgetfulness (I was forgetting meetings, deadlines, people’s names, always my keys, when bills were due – basically everything.)

-       Increased illness (I had bronchitis for over a month).

-       Anger and irritability (I’m a particularly hot-headed person, and during this time completed many apology tours as a result of my rage).

 

There wasn’t one event that led me to realise I was completely burnt out. Like clinical depression and generalised anxiety – burnout’s close cousins – mental and physical decline happens gradually, and then suddenly. The onset is a slow and steady decline in happiness and fulfilment, and then one day you realise you’ve been seeing the world through turd-stained glasses for quite some time.

 

Hello Europe

A year ago last Wednesday, I took a 3-month trip around Europe. And in April of this year, I booked myself in for another adventure in August. This time I went for a much shorter period, and the reason is two-fold: I thrive in stability and couldn’t mentally handle another long-haul jaunt, and I knew that taking 5 weeks off work wouldn’t be too hard to manage in terms of cash flow.

So on the 10th of August, I headed off to London, Amsterdam and Italy for over a month of relaxation. And if I’m to be honest here, a lot of pizza and Aeperol.

For the first week, I barely left my friend’s couch in Hackney, choosing to watch Game of Thrones and to listen to podcasts over pub-crawls and rides on the London eye. I know, I know, London’s not exactly a city to find zen, and its appeal lies within the endless list of activities on your doorstep. So I did make time to see a play on the West End, visit Hampstead Heath, go shopping, and ensure I checked out London’s prime vegan restaurants…eventually.

I didn’t manage to fully unwind until halfway through my trip, when I found myself moving throughout the day without a sense of urgency. I was no longer checking my phone on autopilot, and no longer opening my computer first thing. Entire days were mine, and aside from completing a bit of work for regular content marketing clients, I was a free woman.

 

This was the first proper holiday I’d had in over 5 years.

As a self-employed copywriter, I generally work public holidays, my birthday, other people’s birthdays, New Years, every day up until Christmas, and even when I’m sick. An entire weekend off is what I would call a retreat.

But as a pair of phlegmy lungs most recently taught me, time off is essential to your productivity and mental health.

Here are just a few of the ways I’ve noticed my health improving over the past few weeks:

-       Improved cognitive capacity. I’m able to concentrate for longer periods of time…as long as I turn my phone off.

-       Increased creativity. When your mind is darting off in other directions – my podcast, my friends, family, dating, what to eat for lunch, have I bought cat food? – it’s hard to produce high quality work. When you’ve given your brain a chance to regenerate, it’s been found that you can produce your most creative ideas. This is why meditation is proven to be so beneficial. https://www.wired.com/story/googlers-avoid-burnout-secretly-boost-creativity/

-       Stronger ability to solve complex problems. When you’re stressed out, even the smallest problem can turn into an emotional volcano. With a fully rested mind and body, I found little hiccups like cancelled accommodation and misplaced items easier to manage.

-       Renewed motivation. After almost 5 complete weeks off work (bar a few blog posts for regular clients), I’ve found myself actually EXCITED to return to my computer and begin writing. Nothing makes you appreciate your job more than spending time away from it (and realising that the reason you CAN take 5 weeks off work is because you’re your own boss).

 

All of this isn’t to say that I didn’t have my sacrifices to bear. In order to enjoy this trip, I turned down a very high-paying contract job, a speaking opportunity, two podcast interviews for All We Cannot Say and a writing job for a luxury property development. But these are the brunts one must bear when self employment is your status. Taking a holiday without passive income streams means decreased cash flow. But for the sake of my health and happiness, it was worth it.

I want to know why, in this age of busyness, and despite all that we know about chronic stress, we’re still making ourselves sick with productivity. If we’re not making time for the normal, daily things that bring us joy outside of our pay checks, when does work become life? When work time stretches into Me Time, it’s easy to lose your identity and sanity amongst a sea of open tabs.  It’s my greatest wish that our literal and our internal hard drives don’t crash before we lose our mental bandwidth.

I'm Camilla Peffer, and I'm a Melbourne copywriter who creates engaging, results-driven content for fashion and lifestyle brands. From website copywriting, to fashion copywriting, content strategies and SEO audits, I've created clicks and conversions for the likes of Sportsgirl, Seed Heritage, CoYo, Ralph Lauren and Politix. Want to work together? Reach out! I'd love to hear about your next project.

 

How To Write The Perfect Instagram Caption With Social Stylings

instagram copywriting

As a marketing professional who works with fashion and lifestyle businesses, I know that Instagram is one of the most engaging, fun and profitable channels. So many shoes! So many new brands to discover! In fact, I've found the majority of my new favourite fashion brands on Instagram.

But it's not just what products they're promoting that has me scrolling for far too long in the morning. I'm also drawn to a strong tone of voice, great emoji game and an ability to get to the point, fast. It's definitely a unique skill to hone, and mastering the art of engaging Instagram captions is crucial to getting those click-throughs.

But what's the secret to creating amazing Instagram captions? You know the ones that make you feel like they're talking to you directly? That ask all the right questions, hint at all the right answers, and send you in search of more?

Enter Mackayla of Social Stylings. I discovered this Instagram boss earlier in the year, and I've been adoring her posts ever since. Her super power is her ability to make Instagram marketing easy, fun and achievable for small businesses like myself. So naturally, I had to pick her brain to find out how I (and you!) could boost my Instagram caption game.

 

 

Not only is your Instagram visual content absolutely gorgeous and engaging for your particular target audience, your captions are structured and well written. Do you follow a particular formula?

That is a great question! The formula that I follow differs between my short and long captions, however, there is one thing that is the same - the first few words have to be intriguing!

 

Instagram cuts your captions off when they appear in the newsfeed, usually only displaying the first sentence of your caption. If that first sentence doesn’t make your followers want to read any further… why would they?

I like to think of my Instagram posts as individual, bite-sized blog posts. Make sure they have a beginning, middle, and an end.

 

When did you realise that Instagram captions needed a particular format? What purpose does it serve?

When I first started out I was very focused on educational content as I knew I had to show that I knew what I was talking about to prove that I was a good marketer. The only issue is I could talk for hours about marketing, and while I love writing long captions, I needed to make them easy on the eyes so people would actually read them!

I quickly found after some trial and error that I could make my captions appear shorter by utilising correct formatting as well as throwing in some spacing by using emojis or full stops to ensure that there are clear paragraphs in my longer captions.

 

As a copywriter, I know how important it is to nail your brand’s tone-of-voice. With my own clients, I take them through a process to flesh out their copy personality so that we can weave particular themes through their copy, and concentrate on using particular language that resonates with their audience. Do you do something similar?

Yes! I know that a lot of freelance marketers don’t usually do this, but it is one of my biggest pet peeves. Brand voice is so important to nail, especially if you plan on eventually outsourcing your marketing. All of the big brands that have successful social media marketing campaigns get those results because they know their brand voice, and they know the way their customers want to be spoken to online.

I am actually writing an e-book on nailing your brand voice and caption-writing for launch on the 11th of July!

CLICK HERE to join the virtual launch party!

 

I like to slightly tweak my tone of voice for each channel, as each channel serves a different purpose. For example, my Instagram tone of voice is a bit more cheeky and fun, and of course, the length of my captions are shorter. How else can I optimise my Instagram tone of voice for maximum engagement?

That is very smart! With the clients I work with who have multiple social media platforms on the go, I encourage them to look at the demographics of the people engaging with them on each network and adjusting their marketing strategy accordingly.

For example: one of my clients is a national skincare brand. On Instagram, they are targeting the younger spectrum of their target market, and with their Facebook the more mature. That is why we have chosen to promote certain products (i.e. acne solutions) via Instagram. I have also found that it is easier to sell your entry-level products or services via Instagram, and your higher end services elsewhere online or further down in your sales funnel once they’ve become a loyal customer.

 

One thing people always express frustration with is not knowing what to write as a caption! Where would you suggest someone to start if they’re not a natural wordsmith?

I would definitely start by grabbing a copy of my new e-book! (hehe)

Take a moment to consider the different types of captions you could write - Educational, Motivational, Conversational, or Promotional. You never want to get boring with your content so mix it up with your captions!

Many of my clients haven’t dedicated much of their time to Instagram as they feel they’re not witty enough. If someone’s lacking a funny bone, how can they make their instagram captions engaging?

You don’t necessarily have to be humorous to be on Instagram, so don’t worry too much about that! One of the best ways to engage people on Instagram whether you are a personal brand or a business brand is to create conversational content.

A brand that does this really well as an example is Birdsnest Clothing. They ask their followers questions that relate to their interests - they tap into trending TV show finales, start conversations about favourite childhood memories, and they generally know how to get their community excited!

In my own experience, I engage my audience the most (based on analytics) when I chat to them about my background, my business journey, and the lessons i’ve learnt along the way.

 

Should you speak in first person, or third person?

That is a great question! Again, it depends on what kind of brand you are.

If you’re a personal brand like me, where you are the face of your business and you are technically a #solopreneur, you must use first person.

Some brands like Frank Body use first person, and they do it wonderfully! They have succeeded because they have personified their product and given it a cheeky personality of it’s own.

If you are a team of people you would use third person.

 

What’s your stance on emojis?

Oh, how I love emojis! However you have to be careful to ensure you use them appropriately.

One time I had to explain in a Facebook Group why the #(eggplantemoji) had been shadowbanned on Instagram…. that was an interesting conversation for sure!

In my business I have chosen about 5 emojis that I consistently use when responding to comments and in captions. I am now known and recognised for using certain emojis that they have become an additional part of my brand.

 

How many drafts should a person write before they publish?

I actually use my first draft – always.

When I write I generally edit out words or make word choice changes as I go, and by the end I am pretty chuffed. I also have a typing speed of 90WPM so I am a little bit speedy!

Most of my clients struggle with writing captions the first time around, and that is exactly why I am launching my caption writing e-book in the next week.

 

As someone who wants to outsource their Instagram marketing themselves, who do you think should write Instagram captions? The client, or the social media manager?

I would definitely say the Social Media Manager - that’s their job! However, you should absolutely be approving of all of the captions before they are uploaded. This needs to be communicated to the manager when you hire them, as all freelancers and agencies have different practices they follow.

When I used to offer management, for the first few months of working with a new client I would send through a Word Document of all the captions for the month for them to be adjusted to ensure the client was happy. I have found this is the best method for quality control and brand voice consistency.

Over time you won’t have to check them as much as the manager should be seeing some similarities in the changes you are making and will start making a conscious effort to eliminate certain words and phrases.

 

I see a lot of fashion bloggers writing captions that have nothing to do with the visual content. Do you think there needs to be a connection?

I personally am quite particular about ensuring that the imagery and chosen hashtags are in alignment, but with the caption you can be a bit more lenient.

However, as you can see from most of my posts for Social Stylings I often like to let the image lead me to what I want to say rather than the other way around.

 

Calls-to-action are super hard on Instagram, as you can only supply one link. How do you maximise your links?

Well, I’ve got a hack for that! There’s a great tool called Linktr.ee which allows you to host up to five different links on a mini landing page so that you can direct people to different web pages.

It will save you time and hassle from constantly changing from your blog link to your sales page link to your Facebook page link…. it’s just the best!

 

Let’s talk hashtags. There’s so much conflicting advice online. Some blogs say 30 hashtags, others say keep it 4. What do you think delivers the best results?

During the writing and research period of my Must-Have Hashtags e-book, I also came across a lot of conflicting advice.

The way I like to look at it is this - you don’t have to pay for Hashtags. Hashtags are completely free, and they allow you to target your ideal customers very easily with minimal effort. Why would you not take every single free opportunity you have to make sales for your business?Because someone might think you look desperate? Those people just don’t get it.

Just make sure to put your Hashtags in the comments section, out of your caption, and out of the way.

 

Instagram has a crazy stance on banning hashtags. Where would someone go to find the full list of banned tags?

Unfortunately that list doesn’t quite exist. However, my good friend and the founder of my favourite Instagram Scheduling tool PLANN has written an incredible blog post all about it.

 

What’s the best length for an instagram hashtag?

That’s an interesting question! There really isn’t a set limit, it is moreso about how many people are actively using and looking at that particular Hashtag.

If you are trying to come up with your own branded Hashtag for your customers to use when sharing your products online, keep it at a maximum of three words.

Did you know that you can also hashtag emojis? It’s so funny!

 

And finally, how else can someone optimise their Instagram caption?

The best way to make the most out of your Instagram captions is to keep a close eye on the ones that perform well and result in comments from your community.

Use an analytics tool like Iconosquare to analyse your most engaging posts and take a moment to sit down and think about what the similarities are between those top performing captions.

Mackayla Paul is an Instagram Marketing Specialist from Brisbane, Australia.
Her mission is to educate and empower female business owners in the Fashion and Beauty industries so that they can stay competitive and stop settling for mediocre marketing results.
Work with Mackayla to turn Likes into happy, paying customers! She offers highly valuable 1:1 consulting and Instagram Masterclasses all over Australia.
 

Here's why you have to stop blogging now

sea-backlinks-and-blogging

I’d been blogging for Mr A for over a year, and things were not going well. Every week, I would send him a long-form blog post, as per the editorial calendar. I’d pepper our post with our chosen keywords used in a natural way, looking to add value for readers as much as I was looking to drive traffic from Google.

The aim was to make him the go to in his industry, a hotly competitive industry with a saturation of similar experts. And that’s just in the real world. Online? It’s the Wild West. Huge brands already had monopoly over any keywords related to his field of work, so attempting to boost his Google ranking was already a hard task.

Don’t get me wrong: we did manage to get him ranking for a few keywords here and there, and celebrated some small wins along the way. But while we’d quadrupled his traffic and hit a few KPIs, we weren’t smashing his other goals out of the SEO park.

His bounce rate was far too high, his pages viewed far too small, and his conversion rate was abysmal.


Why am I writing about my content marketing failures?

I want to be honest with you about what I've learned, and how I've adjusted my services to provide more value.

Not to mention, actually achieve results.

Like many others who turn to blogging as part of an inbound marketing strategy, my client and I were making a huge mistake. 

We were doing ZILCH to build his SEO backlinks.

I'd mentioned SEO backlinks to him before, but it wasn't included in the scope of my contract. The ball was in his court, but as a busy family man who was running a business, SEO backlinks were not a priority to him. 


Why you need to stop blogging and build your SEO backlinks

Over my near two-year tenure blogging for Mr A, I learned a lot about content marketing and what does and doesn’t work.


Firstly, here’s a list of everything we were doing right:

  • Produced regular content on timely, relevant topics

I’m not an expert on real estate, so I relied a lot upon Mr A’s wisdom, expertise and direction. Additionally, I would always check the news, interest rates, announcements from the RBA, trending topics on Google Trends, popular content on Buzz Sumo, frequently pinned items on Pinterest, and search online forums like Whirpool. Mining these resources gave me plenty of topics to choose from, and more than enough to create a pool of content for us to choose from.

  • Used keywords naturally within copy

I don’t believe your h1 and h2 tags ALWAYS have to feature exact match key phrases. But I do believe your content needs your keywords at least once (but sometimes there are exceptions, mentioned in this post I wrote here).

Keeping my client’s tone of voice in mind, I’d use industry-relevant long-tail and medium-tail keywords in a way that was designed to drive traffic, but also to appeal to a reader on an emotional level.

  • Ensured his website copy had a consistent tone of voice

If your blog tone of voice doesn’t match the tone of voice on your website, the user experience can be quite jarring and sound fake. Make sure all of your channels are aligned to create a consistent experience.

  • Used a documented strategy with KPIs

In my first year as a full-time copywriter in Melbourne, there were many a time where I'd gone to create a strategy, scribbled a few lines in a note book, and then treated myself to ice cream for all my hard work. Needless to say, I don’t do this anymore.

Because here’s the thing: a strategy is not a few haphazard goals or a good intention to post frequently on Facebook and Instagram.

A strategy is a larger document that goes beyond creating, distributing and sharing content. It should be a couple of pages long, with multiple sections, and shared internally amongst all involved in the process.

A content marketing strategy outlines audience personas, organisational goals, the ways different types of content can be used across a buyer’s journey, KPIs to gauge success, roles of team members, budgets, and a mission statement, just to start with.

When you have a content marketing strategy, you’ll be better placed to measure your success and figure out what needs to change should you not reach your KPIs.


What we were doing wrong:

  • We weren’t building links

When people think of content marketing, they believe they’ll create content that Google loves, and then this will get pushed to social media. And bada-bing, bada-boom. Improved Google ranking, social media love and droves of happy customers – right?

Wrong.

If I’ve learned one thing in this past year, it’s that you absolutely need to focus on building authoritative, editorial back links, in additional to social media sharing.

When myself and Mr A didn’t focus on building external links and relationships with other credible websites, we were shooting ourselves in the foot.


What is an SEO backlink?

An SEO backlink is an external link (in other words, not from your domain) that points to your website.

The following are all examples of SEO backlinks that are worth pursuing.

  • Editorial links from organisations
  • Links from other popular blogs
  • Directory listings on highly reputable domains

Google loves back links because they’re like credibility votes. If I write something for a website with a high domain authority and a high Google ranking for a few keywords, then Google looks at my website and thinks my website must be credible too, just by pure association.

FYI, SEO backlinking is one of the biggest ranking signals.

The more credible backlinks you have, the more SEO juice Google will send your way.


The difference between a NoFollow link and a DoFollow link

There are two types of backlinks: NoFollow and DoFollow. If I write an article for another blog, I always make sure they give me a DoFollow link. This ensures that they pass on their SEO juice to my website.

A NoFollow link is usually implemented when a website can’t keep track of the links on its website, like on news website that relies on comments for engagement. As you can imagine, often blogs get hit with a lot of spammy comments with spammy links. And linking out to a spammy website can be detrimental to your domain authority and Google ranking too.

That's not to say there isn't value in commenting on blogs. Blog comments can send traffic to your website, but they don’t have as much value as a natural, editorial link.


How to begin your SEO backlinking strategy

An easy way to begin building your portfolio of links is to guest post for others in your industry. It’s a matter of finding those influencers, asking to post on their blog and asking them to share other articles of yours via there social channels, or within their website.

But where do you find these influencers? How do you know who’s credible and who’s not?

Introducing: The SEO Workshop – Growing Popularity and Backlinks

My new workshop is on July 15 in Melbourne.

If you rely on your website to be your number one sales person, boosting your search engine ranking is crucial to your success.

Back linking is one of the best ways to do this. And in this 4-hour hands-on workshop, you’ll find out exactly how it’s done.

Reserve your spot today. Subscribe to Communique and save on full ticket prices.

I'm Camilla Peffer, and I'm a Melbourne copywriter who creates engaging, results-driven content for fashion and lifestyle brands. From website copywriting, to fashion copywriting, content strategies and SEO audits, I've created clicks and conversions for the likes of Sportsgirl, Seed Heritage, CoYo, Ralph Lauren and Politix. Want to work together? Reach out! I'd love to hear about your next project.

10 SEO tips for a successful e-boutique

ecommerce seo tips for fashion businesses

If you own a stylish e-boutique, optimising your website for Google is one of the best ways you can turn your website into your number #1 salesperson.

But much like it takes time to train the right hire to meet KPIs, it also takes time to tackle every component of e-commerce SEO. And when you feel overwhelmed, it’s easy to close the tab and scroll through Hayu in such dire times. No judgment – it’s hard out here for us all.

After you’ve recovered from the malaise that mastering new technology can spur, the best place to start is you e-commerce SEO journey is with some simple tactics. They can have a profound impact on their own, and a compound affect when used together.

To make search engines work for you without feeling overwhelmed, try one tip at a time. Once you’ve completed one task, move on to the next e-commerce SEO tactic.

 

Set up Google Analytics (GA)

Want you don’t measure, you can’t improve, especially when it comes to tracking e-commerce analytics.

And I get it – Google Dashboard isn’t as exciting as Dior’s new lipstick. But it’s just as essential (for helping your website looking good online!).

Why? Without GA set up on your website, you have no way of telling:

  • What products your customers love the most
  • Where your traffic is coming from
  • How long your customers spend on your website
  • How many potential customers you have every day

As with a lot of SEO tips, setting up GA isn’t as hard as you think.

Here’s a video which walks you through every step of the process. In this video, the author refers to WordPress websites. If you’re not in charge of your CMS, ask your website manager to set it up for you.

 

After you’ve set up GA, creating custom reports and dashboards can further help you quickly access key metrics. Your dashboard and your reports are where you're able to see all of that invaluable data easily.

By creating custom reports and dashboards, you’re able to ‘drill down’ on data, which means you get to explore very intricate and often fascinating user behaviour.

And guess what – you’ll barely have to lift a finger to install the best dashboards around.

Explore this post here from Practical Ecommerce. I've imported several of these dashboards to my own GA account.

 

Install Sumo

Sumo is one of the best analytics tools on the market for small businesses, as it gives you rich insights into how users are behaving on your website. If you’re a visual person, you’re going to enjoy using Sumo. Best of all? A lot of its features are completely FREE.

Sumo can:

  • Tell you where exactly your users are clicking with heat maps
  • Tell you how far down a page a user will scroll, indicating what information might be worth cutting or moving
  • Integrate easily with Google Analytics so you don’t have to switch between tabs, making reporting quicker and easier
  • Help you grow your email list with sign-up boxes and welcome mats
  • Add social media sharing widgets to your website, allowing users to easily post your content to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
  • Expand your reach on Twitter with the Sumo Highlighter. When people highlight a phrase on your site, a box will appear asking them if they would like to tweet it.
A heat map provides web masters with visual data. This data, call heat spots, can tell you what elements of a web-page are most popular, and what can need further optimising.

A heat map provides web masters with visual data. This data, call heat spots, can tell you what elements of a web-page are most popular, and what can need further optimising.

 

Add and verify your website with Google Search Console (GSC)

Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is a free service that lets you learn more about your website and its users. Sound familiar? GSC does share a lot in common with Google Analytics (GA). While GA focuses more on who is visiting your website – traffic, sessions, source acquisition, etc – GSC puts the focus back on your website's data. This includes displaying information on which websites link to your website, and which keyword queries people are using to find your website.

Adding your website to GSC is easy, especially if you’re set up GA yourself. To get access to the Search Console, you have to verify that you own your website.

 

a)    Log in to GSC.

b)   On the next page, enter your website’s URL in the box provided.

c)    Click Add Property.

google search console add property

d)   Next, you’ll be asked to verify your website.

e)    There area a number of ways to verify your website, including adding an HTML tag to <head> section of your website. Once you’ve added the code to your <head> tag, go back to SC and click ‘verify’. Google will then scan your website’s source to confirm the code has been inserted.

 

Link GSC and GA

To get the most of out of both services, it’s best to link GSC and GA. When you do this, you’re able to access additional reports that are only displayed once the two services are linked.

a) Once you’ve set up both services, go to your GSC dashboard.

b) Click on the site you’re trying to connect from the list displayed.

link google analytics and google search console

c) Click on the gear icon in the right corner underneath your profile picture, and click Google Analytics Property.

d) This will bring you to a list of GA accounts associated with your Google account. All you have to do is choose the desired Google Analytics account and hit "Save." Easy, right? That's all it takes to start getting the most out of GSC and GA.

 

Optimise your product pages with unique content

Once you receive your products from your suppliers and upload them to your CMS, it’s easy to copy and paste their product descriptions. Why reinvent the wheel, right?

The problem with copying and pasting these product descriptions is that they’re never really written that well, and you’re using the same content as other websites who stock the same product.

And if you want to stand out in the online marketplace, you can’t do what everyone else is doing.

It’s important to talk about duplicate content here, as it’s a common SEO myth that receives a lot of lip service online.

Here’s the thing: duplicate content and Google penalties are a myth. Google will not banish your website from search engines if you publish the same article on two different websites. However, duplicate content does nothing for your website’s SEO if you’re not ranking highly already.

Google will just display whatever domain they think has higher credibility and value, depending on how else that domain has optimised their website.

I have a whole post on the various ways you can optimise your product pages for conversions over here.

 

Create category pages

When you go to a department store like David Jones, you generally find a list of sections on display somewhere near the elevator or escalator. Categorising your product pages provides the same journey for customers, directing them to the right section of your website to find what they’re looking for.

Ideally, your category pages should contain keywords that are useful for your customers.  For example:

  • Onlinestore.com.au/denim-jackets
  • Onlinestore.com.au/maxi-dresses
  • Onlinestore.com.au/faux-fur-throws

Don’t create too many categories, and don’t keyword stuff. If you’re unsure about how to create categories, it’s best to speak to the person in charge of your content or building your website.

 

Register your Google My Business listing

Does your business have a bricks and mortar shop front? It’s essential you create a Google My Business listing for local customers. I work with clients all over the world, but many businesses are after a copywriter in Melbourne. For this reason, I’ve created my own Google+ Business listing. This ensures that my business is displayed as a local business for my potential Melbourne clients.

There are few steps involved to register your business, and it's crucial you actually have a physical location as Google will mail you a unique code to verify your location. Aside from waiting for postie, it's fairly straight forward when you follow the steps over here.

ecommerce seo google my business listing

 

Competitor research

I once worked with a client who refused to check out his competitors as he believed they weren't important. Although I admired his confidence, I don’t believe you can be that short sighted in any vertical. Studying your competition and learning their techniques is not a matter of spying and becoming a carbon copy, or admitting that your business is sub par.

It’s a matter of learning what works for others businesses, what works for their customers, and what opportunities you might find in learning all of this information.

For example, every time I take on a new client, I look at a few competitors and key areas of their website and content strategy to find out what works for them.

I pay attention to:

  • Meta data – what keywords do they use? Do they define their SEO title, meta description, image alt tags?
  • Tone of voice – how would I describe their tonal personality? Does their copy exude excellence, authority, humour or helpfulness?
  • Who is linking to their domain? To find out what link building strategy a business has, using Open Site Explorer is the best place to begin. This is a Mozscape-powered app, used to identify back-links and research link-building opportunities.
  • Blogging frequency and quality – are they creating unique content that resonates with their audience, or generic, look-book type content? Do they publish once a week, once a day or once a month?

 

Influencer outreach

I’ve stressed before how important it is to create content that resonates with a reader’s needs. It’s critical to boost your Google ranking, as participants in my SEO Copywriting Workshop find.

But it’s also critical that you create content which influencers and other authorities will want to share. This is called link building.

Think of it this way: there’s several slices to the SEO pie. Optimisng on-page content is one tactic, and having a link building strategy is another.

 

What is link building?

Growing a portfolio of links refers to ensuring your website is linked to from external sources. There are a number of ways to build your links, and these include:

  • Advertorials, where you pay a website to be featured in an article on somewhere else on their website.
  • Listing your website and business in high quality directors, like Business Chicks or the League of Extraordinary Women.
  • Natural editorial links, where you’re quoted in an article for your authority. A great way to take advantage of this is to sign up to SourceBottle as a source, and respond to call-outs from journalists.
  • Guest posting, by contacting other websites, authorities and bloggers who have a similar audience to yours. For example, I generally guest post on websites that cover a broad variety of marketing topics, who have an audience of small entrepreneurs who are more often than not, female.
  • I’ve guest posted for Blogger BossIt’s the Now and Daily Bread Mag, just to name a few.

 

Create a blog. No, really.

I’m a huge advocate for running your business like a magazine, providing quality articles that inspire, educate and build your authority within your niche. But when I talk about creating content, I specifically refer to quality over quantity, and approaching your content with a strategic direction in mind.

Because at the end of the day you’re not operating a hobby blog. You’re operating a business, and your aim is to make a profit by using your content to push a prospect further down the sales funnel.

Types of content include:

 

Putting all pieces of the SEO puzzle together is key to making search engines work for your business goals.

And this July, I’m hosting two workshops to help you do just that.

The SEO Copywriting Workshop is running again on July 8, where you’ll learn how to optimise on-page content with keyword research and content that converts.

And in my NEW class, SEO Workshop: Growing Popularity and Links, you’ll discover how to create an effective link-building strategy using the content you’ve already created.

Come to one, or come to both. They're beginner-friendly, and designed to help you implement a few core SEO tactics in real-time.

Any questions? Feel free to email me. I'd love to see you there!

I'm Camilla Peffer, and I'm a Melbourne copywriter who creates engaging, results-driven content for fashion and lifestyle brands. From website copywriting, to fashion copywriting, content strategies and SEO audits, I've created clicks and conversions for the likes of Sportsgirl, Seed Heritage, CoYo, Ralph Lauren and Politix. Want to work together? Reach out! I'd love to hear about your next project.

 

 

SEO Copywriting Guidelines 2017

seo guidelines in 2017

Today I want to take some time to talk about something that’s important, geeky, and occasionally quite an esoteric subject:

How to make sure your blog or website is getting some lovin' from Google, that monolithic digital god that no one seems to quite fully understand.

SEO is not something I’d ever bring up at a party, but if you’re a blogger looking for SEO tips to get on Google’s radar, this post is for you. It should hopefully answer some pertinent questions, and help you write content that improves all of your conversion goals, and hopefully the lives of your readers, too. Not to mention, help see your Google rankings slowly yet steadily climb.

 

Once upon a time, I used to work as a content writer for a big company. As big companies outsource a lot of their marketing efforts, they hired an external SEO company to take care of their rankings.

But there are good SEO companies, and not so great SEO companies. We had the pleasure of working with the latter, who hired sub-par ESL writers to create our content.

And it was my job to edit it, and to try to make keyword search terms compatible with basic grammar.

You see, I understood that this company wanted to rank #1 for certain keyword terms, but what I didn’t understand was why we needed to forego the basic rules of English in order to do so. Which is exactly what we were doing! Producing very unfriendly content that wasn’t likely to get click-throughs.

The reason? Keyword targeting. The SEO company wanted to scatter keywords throughout the copy, without caring if a person was actually reading it. So there we were, under the guidance of a so-called SEO expert, who was shepharding the way into black hat SEO territory.

It sounds fairly ludicrous, right? And it was. But…it worked. For a time, anyway.

Today in 2017, it’s unlikely such tactics would deliver those kinds of results.

 

Which begs the question – do you need to focus so hard on SEO keyword research and keyword density when writing for your blog? Can you just wax on poetically about beautiful things and leave the geeky stuff to the geeks?

 

Let’s say you have a blog about how to make money writing ebooks. How do you begin to see some actual traffic come through Google? Do you keep writing ‘make money writing ebooks’ everywhere on your website, or actually focus on topics like the pros and cons of InDesign, or how to find a great graphic designer? Do you just upload content and then hit publish, share a bit on social media, and then expect armies of customers to hurl their wallets at you?

If you’re reading this post, I’m going to take a stab in the dark and assume you know what SEO keyword research is. You’ve used Google’s Keyword Planner Tool before, and maybe Uber Suggest as well. You also have Google Analytics set up, and you have tabs on your monthly traffic and acquisition. But you’re not seeing much traction on your blog. What are your next steps?

 

SEO content writing guidelines 2017: it starts with value

Create shareable content

This sounds like a tired, old, cliche. After all, what is shareable content?

Beyond cute animals and Instagram bikini bodies, there is much more to the internet of interesting things.

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania published the results of hundreds of studies which examined what makes content go viral. They came up with 6 attributes:

Utility - useful and practical how-to posts.

Length - longer articles elicit a feeling awe and make people want to share.

Memorable - most content online is forgettable. Interesting concepts, creating proprietary techniques and custom visuals are far more memorable that stock-standard listicles and stock photography.

Social currency - in 1986, psychologists Hazel Markus and Paula Nurius recognised that there's conflict between our “now self” and our “possible self.” We're more likely to want to share a positive article which portrays the ideal version of ourselves. If we share a funny article, we're demonstrating our humour as an extension of the share. 

As the authors themselves so eloquently note:

Possible selves contribute to the fluidity or malleability of the self because they are differentially activated by the social situation and determine the nature of the working self-concept. At the same time, the individual’s hopes and fears, goals and threats, and the cognitive structures that carry the are defining features of the self-concept: these features provide some of the most compelling evidence of continuity of identity across time.

Positive emotions - Matthew Lieberman, a UCLA professor of psychology and of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences and author of the book Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect, noted:

Our study suggests that people are regularly attuned to how the things they’re seeing will be useful and interesting, not just to themselves, but also to other people. We always seem to be on the lookout for who else will find this helpful, amusing or interesting, and our brain data are showing evidence of that.

Storytelling - Named by Forbes as the 'Biggest Business Skills of the Next 5 Years' storytelling is an art form that serves as memory glue. By telling a story, we create emotional resonance with our audience. This emotional resonance makes ideas and concepts far easier to understand, remember and engage with.

 

By using a combination or just one of these attributes, you're more likely to create content that gets shared online. And more shares = more authority = more Google love.

Once upon a time, you might have persuaded Google to rank your blog posts highly using a smattering of keywords in your SEO title, your meta description and your actual copy. But Google is smarter these days, and with recent changes to its algorithm – which goes by the insanely cute name ‘Panda’ – Google knows if you don’t give a crap about your audience.

Here’s a fun fact: Google is beginning to teach itself how to learn. And without getting too into the technical side of things, Google knows exactly how people are using your website.

From the SEO gurus at Moz:

You no longer need an exact keyword to offer a relevant search result, says Cyrus Shepard, director of audience development at Moz. “In the old days, it was about getting the click. Now search engines are seeing how people are interacting with your website: are they going back and clicking on results, or are they finding the answers they’re looking for when they’re on your site? Today it’s about the post-click activity. Not only do you have to get the clicks, but you have to satisfy user intent.

Show you care about your end user and provide them with value, and write with them in mind, always. Are you answering a hard question your audience has been asking? Are you writing in a way that is engaging and informative? Does your post have utility? Is it memorable? Keep in mind that if you’re not creating quality posts for your audience to enjoy and share, they’ll likely click away and go elsewhere.

 

It’s about SEO-soning with keywords, not keyword stuffing

I once had a client who insisted on inserting his grammatically incorrect keywords into his SEO title, his h1 tags and all throughout his body copy. Nothing read nicely, and his titles –arguably the most important part of his page! – weren’t grabbing anyone’s attention.

Needless to say, I advised against.

He didn’t listen.

No offence to him, but I still can’t see him on Google’s first page for those search terms.

Why? Because Google’s smart enough to understand context and semantics. It knows that if you type ‘best camera for beginners’ that you’re looking for a basic entry-level DSLR, so it’s going to show you those results, even if those pages don’t use the exact terms you searched for. See for yourself:

SEO-EXAMPLE

 

Create for mobile-first

If your blog or website isn't easy to read, you'll increase your bounce rate and decrease the time people spend on your website. When this happens, Google thinks "God, this one's a stinker. Down you go!" and swiftly pushes your website down the ladder.

As champion SEO authority MOZ says: 

Google is steadily moving to a mobile-only world. Mobile-first indexing seems like the inevitable consequence of a year (or more) almost exclusively dedicated to evangelizing and forcing a change of mindset from desktop to mobile.

If you have Google Analytics set up, you should have a good idea of how many people are viewing your blog or website on their mobile. For my website, I only have 27% of my readers viewing it on their mobiles (up from 12% in 2016). But every website is different, and if you have a blog that you promote on social media, it’s going to want to look pretty on anything from an iPhone 5 to a Samsung Galaxy. And, depending on your resources and traffic, it might even be a good idea to create custom mobile content.

Because I don't get a lot of traffic from mobile, I choose not to create custom mobile content (although my website is responsive and will display differently depending what device you're using). But if you're getting more than 30% of your traffic from mobile, I would create a custom mobile website, particularly if you have an e-commerce website.

Why? Because the way people read and consume media on mobile is different to desktop. Granted, there are a select few who still enjoy reading long-form journalism, and I can include myself in that group. But generally speaking, people have absolutely no time for navigating a sea of poor design. They want things to be simple, and they don't want to get RSI from scrolling. So in short, your blog or website needs to cleaner, sharper, shorter and easier for them to click on things. 

I personally use Squarespace, which has this responsiveness built in, and I recommend Instapage for landing pages.

In the example below, I've used a landing page I created for my ebook using Instapage.

As you can see, the mobile version only asks for an email, while the desktop asks for a name and an email.

landing-page-example

 

For Le Rose, an online boutique that makes bridal robes, I focused on a mobile-first approach by using bold statements as headings, and keeping sentences and paragraphs brief.

seo copywriting guidelines for 2017 - mobile first!

How to optimise for people glued to their phones:

  • Front load content by placing the most important information above the fold.
  • Keep sentences short and succinct. Two lines per sentence is best, and get to the point quickly.
  • Make everything scannable with headings and short paragraphs. 
  • Use bullet points. 
  • Choose your Calls-to-Action carefully. Mobile use has sky-rocketed over the past few years, but there’s still a large number of users who take a cross platform approach. This means that they might visit your website on a lunch break, get the information they want, and then make up their mind when they're back at their desktop computer. You might want to take it easy on the hard sell with your mobile website, but check your Google Analytics first to see how your mobile conversions fare.

 

Give your old-school blog posts a makeover

Do you ever look back at posts you wrote a few years ago and immediately want to drown your embarrassment in a bottle of Pinot? I know I do. There are a few things I could do with scrapping completely, but for the rest, a revamp is in order! And more Pinot, obviously.

Go through your old blog posts and pick what could do with a style session.  Some of that content might still be performing well, but all it needs is a bit of an update to bring it into 2017.

Ask yourself:  Is it relevant? Does it conform to 2017 web standards? Are there a bunch of dead links in here? Can I refresh it without butchering it?

You likely won’t need to create new URLs, but if you do, make sure you do a 301 redirect. You should look into what new queries people might be using. It’s also worth creating new calls-to-action to promote new offers you might have, and of course, re-promoting across social media.

Personally, I’m pretty happy that there’s less of a focus on keyword research and keyword density these days. Because that’s not really what writing is about for me, and never has been. Words – as I say on my About page – are about illucidation, and creating meaning. They’re about colouring your message, and demonstrating your individual flair. If you can climb through the ranks on Google, then gold star for you. But if no one is actually staying on your page and liking what you have to say, you likely won’t be at the top for long.

 

Want to learn how I got to #1 on Google?

I used a combination of the tactics described in this blog post + so much more.

And on May 27, I’m hosting The SEO Copywriting Workshop in Melbourne.

It's for business owners like you who want to create GREAT content that both customers + Google love. The results speak for themselves – more traffic and more customers.

AND, when you’re a member of Communique, you get a HUGE discount on ticket prices.

Pssst: If you're already a member, I'll send you the discount code too ;)