You should run your business like a publisher

why is content marketing important?

Amongst the buzzwords of entrepreneurship, content marketing is one that consistently rises to the top of the online business totem pole. And with a variety of pioneers spearheading the way for content marketers everywhere – from Dan Norris, to Pro Blogger, to the Content Marketing Institute – it’s near impossible to drown out the prophecy:

Content marketing is the machine you need to take your audience from connected to converted.

But in a world where businesses existed and thrived long before the word ‘blog’ entered the dictionary, why on earth is it that we need to be running our businesses like magazines? Do we all need to be publishing blogs? Isn’t the point of owning a business to provide that service or product we excel at, and focus on serving our customers’ and clients’ needs?

Au contraire, dear reader.

A great piece of content is a service, and your most valuable one at that.

 

Why do we need content marketing?

According to Neil Patel, co-founder of leading analytics apps KissMetrics and Crazy Egg:

"Content marketing is a way for a business owner to educate your customers and potential customers about your products and services. The goal is to offer tips, help, and education about anything that can be helpful to a customer. This kind of information can be shared in the form of blog, white paper, webinar, video or social post. The opportunities are endless." - Neil Patel

All of this might sound like dry marketing drivel to the artisan, product maker or values-based business. But the core of what Patel says can be translated thus:

Creating content is a way to bridge that emotional and educational divide between your service and your customers’ needs. The goal is to give away your secrets, knowledge and industry expertise in a way that provides value to their lives, but should also meet a core business goal of yours too.

Only when you create content of value, with volume and variety, will people be able to buy what you’re saying.

 

Content marketing is the bridge between their computer and your bottom line

You want to connect with your audience, because they’re the ones who keep your business alive. You want them to want more of what you have on offer, but you’re not sure how to tell them about your value. You want to provide all of this information for them, but advertising isn’t an option. You don’t have time for in-person workshops, the resources to sponsor events, or the resources to manage door-to-door sales. Maybe you’re hugely introverted, and would prefer to create an automated sales system that doesn’t feel so…computery.

This is where high value content comes in to play in your marketing game.

 

A great piece of content can:

  • Earn you new and long-term customers and clients (more value for everyone).
  • Cement your space within your industry as a leader.
  • Find its way into new markets (I unintentionally have become a go-to for adult products! Who knew?).
  • Help you align your ideas with a purpose, helping you to ‘write through’ problems. Like this post I wrote years ago on insomnia.
  • Cultivate connections between you and a large-scale group of potential customers and clients.
  • Spark more advocacy between you and clients, customers and collaborators as they share your work online.
  • Help you collaborate with others, like this guest post swap I did with Angela Ford.
  • Help your audience on a deeper, emotional level, allowing them to feel understood and supported. Like this post I wrote on why I quit Instagram a few years ago (I'm back on it now!)

 

But let’s be realistic here: content marketing is not just a fuzzy feel-good. It’s true that you want your content to align with your audience’s values, wants and needs, sparking an ‘a-ha!’ moment and maybe even a really nice email. But your content is a resource-heavy output, and it needs to have a concrete ROI in order to be worth your time.

It’s interesting to see how many likes and comments you get on a piece of content, but the real value lies within the metrics.

 

Content marketing ROI statistics you should know in 2017

  • Content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders (CMI, 2016)
  • Content produces brand recall, which increases engagement (CMI, 2016) 
  • Per dollar spent, content marketing generates more than three times the number of leads than paid search does. (Kapost/Eloqua, 2012)
  • 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council, 2011)
  • 60% of people are inspired to seek a product after reading content about it. (Demand Metric, 2014)
  • Website conversion rate is nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs. 0.5%). (Aberdeen Group, 2014)

Here’s the beautiful thing about content marketing: it’s not an all or nothing game. While making a start might be the hard part, along with paralysing comparisonitis, it’s also the most important part.

As a business owner, your goal is not to make the “best” content per se, but to create relevant content that resonates and builds authority and trust. Sure, your efforts at first may deliver small returns, if any at all. But the only failures are the business owners who don’t take that first step to enter the ring at all.

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 and Politix. Want to work together? Reach out! I'd love to hear about your next project.

Discover how these 3 brands boost their google ranking

boost google ranking with seo and empathy

In this first post on empathy and SEO, I talked about how SEO was based on a desire to fulfil the basic human need to feel understood.

And in this post, I want to provide context with concrete examples, so that you can better understand how to boost your Google ranking.

While performing this research, I kept in mind 5 key areas that needed to be addressed:

+ Were the keywords in all of the best places? These are the SEO title, the meta description, the h1 and h2 tags, the image alt tags, and of course, within the actual body copy itself.

+ Did the article use semantic key words? Google’s complex algorithm means it’s a highly intelligent machine, and actually built to understand synonyms. For example, if I’m looking for gluten-free products, it will also show me articles about celiac products.

+ Was the article recent?

+ Were keywords used in a way that was user-friendly, without any keyword stuffing?

+ Was the article actually useful? Did it address my search query, and was the article written for the human, and not just the machine?

 

How to boost your google ranking

Key phrase: How Do I Play Pokemon Go?

Winner: Trusted Reviews

When I type in ‘How Do I Play Pokemon Go’ into Google, Trusted Reviews is the third result on the page. Instead of clicking the first result, I chose the third. For me, it’s a matter of semantics, as the word ‘trusted’ hits my emotional buttons and makes me feel like I can, well, trust them.

And it looks like MOZ does too, giving them a Domain Authority score of 75.

As you can see below, the words ‘how to play pokemon go’ are repeated in the headline (called the h1 tag), as well as in the sub heading (called the h2 tag). In addition to those bits of data, ‘pokemon’ is used three times in the meta description.

how to boost your google ranking pokemon go

Another things which jumps out at me is their use of semantic words. By using all of the terms related to Pokemon Go – poke deck, master, catch ‘em all – Google can see that this page is actually full of content related to playing Pokemon Go. Yes, Google is that smart.

Other ranking signals include the use of alt text, and the fact that it’s a long-form article. FYI, despite what YOAST plugin tells you, Google LOVES long-form content.

Is it useful?

Yes. If I wanted to Pokemon Go, I probably would use this guide.

Usefulness score

MY query was addressed in all 5 key areas.

10/10

 

Key phrase: Vegan Gluten Free Cake Recipe

Winner: Organics.org

vegan gluten free cake recipe boost your google ranking

Cooking as a gluten-free vegan isn’t hard – and I should know! I’ve been a vegan for over 11 years, and gluten-free for 7 of those years. Generally, when I want to find a recipe, I turn to Pinterest because I’m visual like that. But Pinterest doesn’t have a huge Australian following, so I’d wager that the average person – not vegan or gluten-free – who needed to bake a cake for someone difficult like myself, would opt to search Google.

Take a look at this headline. It has my mouth drooling instantly.

organics uses seo and empathy to boost their google ranking

Their meta description (see the first image above) also appeals to me, because it speaks to those who are health conscious and have allergies. I’m vegan for health reasons, as many vegan people are. Interestingly, the keywords ‘vegan gluten free cake recipe’ isn’t even mentioned in the meta description.

And then the first paragraph. I don’t agree with everything that’s said here (“endure”? Really?), but it sure hammers the emotive message home. I feel this opening paragraph, which incorporates semantic keywords – ‘celiac disease’ – is written for someone baking for a gluten-free vegan. They want to bake a healthy, guilt-free option that their guest can enjoy. This person needs:

+ To feel like they’ve found the answer – providing a treat for someone ‘hard done-by’ (lol!)

+ To feel some form of positive reinforcement. They don’t want baking a vegan gluten-free cake to be a marathon task, so emphasizing the ease of the task is paramount (they are super easy to make).

+ To feel like they’re special, like they’ve found the key to all of their problems! They’re going to use one of these recipes, and they’re really going to impress one lucky person.

Other signals:

This article was shared 133 times on Pinterest, which is another big ranking signal for Google. Yes, social shares count!

Was it useful?

Yes, and it very tempting too.

Usefulness score

I couldn't find my key phrase used directly, but the article does use a lot of synonyms. The article didn’t use the exact key phrase vegan gluten-free cake, but Google is smart enough to know that a gluten-free and vegan cake is exactly the same thing.

10/10

 

Key phrase: Organic shampoo Australia

Winner: Nourished Life

nourished life uses semantics, seo and empathy to boost their google ranking

I’m a girl who cares about her appearance, but I also don’t want to be putting crap on my scalp and into the waterways. I’m in need of a high-quality shampoo! But as with a lot of consumers, I don’t trust promotional activity. I trust endorsements, recommendations and reviews. Which is why I clicked on Nourished Life’s link, which is #2 when searching for ‘organic shampoo Australia’.

 

One of the most important parts of this search result is that the year is prominent. Google loves up-to-date content, and so do consumers. They want the latest news and information, which is why a recent article would appeal to me over something published two years ago. You could argue that including the year of publication isn’t important for the headline, because Google already knows when new website content is published. But I don’t, and I’m curious to read the most up-to-date information.

Is it useful?

Interestingly, Nourished Life doesn’t use my key phrase ‘organic shampoo australia’ in their title tag or in their meta description. Like organics.org in the example above, they use semantics and associated key words, like ‘natural’. Although organic and natural aren’t one and the same, they’re phrases – or marketing spin – that appeals to eco-conscious females like me who want to care for their hair and the planet. In fact, I can’t detect my keywords on this page at all. But it’s a valuable article that doesn’t just provide me with a list of organic shampoos, but reviews and information about the results of using each. Which is what I really want and need.

an example of semantic keywords

 

Usefulness score: 8/10

My query wasn’t addressed in any of the 5 SEO areas, as I was after organic products, not just natural shampoo. However, the article empathises with my plight to be kinder to my hair and to the planet. I’m not just given a page of items to shop, but a wealth of information to help me make a more informed purchasing decision based on my hair type.

If you search for the key phrases, you might get different search results. But based on what country I’m in, what websites I’ve visited before and how I use Google, I’ve been given some fairly high quality articles all thanks to a bit of SEO best-practice and a whole lot of empathy.

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 and Politix. Want to work together? Reach out! I'd love to hear about your next project.

Does SEO really work?

does seo work?

There I was, sitting in a bar not too far up the road from my studio, being given the third degree.

My client, a referral from a business acquaintance, wasn’t sold on the benefits of SEO. He wanted to know how it worked, what it does, and the million-dollar question, if it would work for him.

I could have told him that yes it would. I’d gotten myself to #1 on Google for Melbourne copywriter (now sitting at #2), and was confident in my abilities to do the same for others.

But I don’t so easily try to sell people on the benefits of SEO these days.

Why?

It doesn’t always work.

And if someone tries to sell you SEO as the Chateau Lafite of digital marketing, they’re drunk on a $2000 bottle of wine.

 

Because if I’m being sincere, both SEO and conversion rate optimisation should be your priority.

Use SEO to swoop in and whisk your website to #1 on Google, and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) to actually, well, convert that traffic.

CRO copywriting is creating content with a focus on getting website visitors through the sales funnel using language that’s emotive, powerful and goal-oriented. And more importantly, content that’s useful.

And more importantly, content that’s useful.

And when you use the two together, that’s when you create meaningful content that attracts traffic, and converts it into customers and clients.

 

SEO copy + CRO copy = <3

Let’s say you have a website and you’re writing your copy, or you’ve hired another copywriter to do it for you. Hi there.

You want to focus on keyword-rich copy, ensuring all of your meta data is full of phrases that match an extensive spread sheet you’ve compiled.

Your copywriter has other plans in mind, involving puns and alliteration and creating a relevant and resonant tone-of-voice.

So what do you do? How do you find a middle line, where you create both content that gets traffic, and content that gets clicks?

Firstly, you need to understand three things: the benefits of SEO, how SEO works, and the benefits of conversion rate optimisation copywriting.

 

The benefits of SEO

On-page SEO is a relatively low-cost form of digital marketing. When you start getting higher rankings – you want to aim for the top 3 search results – you get more website traffic.

Below is an example of results I achieved for a client over a period of 6-months of content marketing. 

google-analytics-dashboard-example-of-does seo work

 

Most of that traffic came from Google.

By targeting keywords for each blog post and committing to a year of content marketing, I was able to more than double his traffic for a very niche audience of first homebuyers in Sydney.

 

When SEO doesn’t work

SEO is not an art; it’s an inexact science. Although Google is getting increasingly smarter and more intuitive by the day, you can’t rely on a machine to deliver perfect results each and every time.

For example, how often do you find precisely what you’re after when you’re on Google.

Let’s look at the search result below for the term “how to get high”.

In the image below, you can see that I’m directed to a number of instructional videos that will ensure I reach a state of euphoria.

And then a link to a copywriting webinar.

wtf google seo

 

WTF Google? WTF.

Who knows why Google decided I wanted to mix my copywriting education with a good old smoke sesh. I surely don’t. I checked these links out, and there was no mention of illegal substances.

That there is an example of the imperfect science of SEO.

But let’s say you are getting traffic to your website. You’re climbed your way to the first page of Google, and that traffic’s not converting?

That’s when SEO isn’t working either.

SEO isn’t just about ranking. It’s about providing useful, quality, on-page content. If people are landing on your website and then bouncing instantly, Google will pick up on this, and this will further decrease your rankings.

 

Other reasons why SEO might not work

  • You’re not using SEO best practices, like writing for readability or optimising your website design for userability. Beautiful, easy-to-use websites have people sticking and clicking longer, and Google records the time they spend on your website. There are a number of ranking factors involved in SEO, well beyond keywords.
  • You’re stuffing your pages with keywords. Keywords that aren’t grammatically correct, and don’t provide a pleasurable reading experience. Keywords are often abbreviated sentences, which often don’t make sense beyond Google’s search bar.
  • You’re not demonstrating that you empathise with your reader’s needs by providing them with useful content.
  • You’re making pages without original content, ripping off other people’s blog posts.
  • You don’t have user engagement top of mind. You’re not linking to other blog posts, giving them an option to subscribe to your blog or email marketing newsletter, or get in touch with you.

 

How to use CRO copywriting with your SEO copywriting

Like I mentioned above, CRO copywriting and SEO copywriting should work in tandem to boost your website traffic, and gain you more engaged readers that will genuinely listen intently to what you have to say (or write, for this purpose).

Conversion rate copywriting and SEO copywriting are both a science, not an art. On top of being creative and using emotional language to boost conversions, you also need to be looking at the data, testing, and then reiterating to get any value out of your copywriting.

Here’s how it’s done:

 

Focus on empathising with your audience’s needs

This goes beyond matching your keywords to their search terms, and involves market research and persona creation. When you truly understand what your audience wants, that’s when you can begin to create content for them.

For example, Moz, who create amazing SEO tools, use their blog as a way to generate leads. They provide most of their best content for free, optimising for conversions by truly empathising with their audience’s needs. They don’t just provide software, they educate on all things SEO and social.

Same goes with Hillary Rushford of Dean Street Society. This New York stylist creates highly emotive content that doesn’t just speak about fashion as a way to dress well every day, but as a way to express yourself and feel confident.

 

Nurture before you nudge

It’s unlikely that a prospective is going to buy from you straight off the bat, unless you’re a big brand like Apple. That’s why you need to nurture your leads with content, capturing emails that further their journey within the sales funnel. Focus on building authority, creating a connection, and then converting. Every blog post should have the aim to get people to hop on your subscriber list, either via an opt-in or via a straight-up subscription.

 

 

It might seem as though I’m flogging an old dead horse when I say that adding value and contextually relevant content should be the dual aims of your business. In fact, as a woman who has many other female readers, I feel like that point might not be doing anything for gender equality. We’re so often told to give and give without a focus on revenue, and we're still well behind earning as much as our male colleagues.

But truly, only when someone can see your value and the benefit you offer will you actually be able to retain and sustain lifetime customers and clients.

Use your empathy, offer a good experience, and nudge, don’t push.

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 and Politix. Want to work together? Reach out! I'd love to hear about your next project.