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.

You should be using positive language on your sales page

positive language in seo copywriting

Words are powerful weapons. See what I did there? With a turn of phrase like that, your brain might have likely kicked into defence mode, your brow furrowing and mouth turning up at the corners.

Words have the potential to soothe. Feeling better? Perhaps, if you’re like me, a sentence like that is akin to a bath for your brain. Words, whether used in battle or used like metaphorical hugs, have the potential to do great things to our emotional states. 

 

The power of positive language

I bring up the nuance of emotive language because I’ve learned in the past year that I can be an incredible cynic. I litter my sentences with ‘buts’, negating any statement that came before, and generally am always quick to draw a negative conclusion. I’m doing it right now, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. Thinking and speaking more positively is something I’m actively retraining my brain to do, and is a lesson I’m weaving into my copywriting more and more.

 

Words that sell: a personal story

Why is it so important that we use positive language to speak for our business, rather than resorting to a fear-based mentality? How do you motivate outside of a culture of FOMO, where people are happy, willing and excited to open their wallets, again and again? Doesn’t contentment breed complacency?

Potentially, but science and personal experience proves otherwise.

I was 24 and my manager was telling me that fearsome language was the catalyst for increased brand loyalty. The product I was trying to sell? Domain locking. I was the designated content marketer for a domain registrar, and we were putting together a series of triggered emails for people who purchased new domains. Domain locking ensured that no one would steal a customer’s domain name, an unlikely occurrence even without domain locking.

It was my job to boost conversions, and to trigger a series of clicks via language that instilled panic.

Spoiler alert: it didn’t really work.

 

Why positive language delivers a better ROI

The human brain thinks in pictorial form. If you tell someone ‘Don’t miss out!’ or ‘Don’t be the last one to…’, they first have to imagine this, and then reconcile how they’ll avoid it.

If you tell someone ‘Don’t sit on your ass’, you’re essentially telling someone to do two different things, rather than just one. This is because negative language, like ‘but’, ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’, create obstacles instead of entry points.

On top of that, negative language engenders pessimism. When someone’s in a pessimistic frame of mind, they’re not motivated to take action, because they already feel like the situation is hopeless. They’re afraid, a response in the brain that researchers far smarter than me have studied.

Amongst them is Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher at the university of North Carolina. She published a landmark paper way back in 2004. It’s one of the most often cited studies that demonstrates the potential to change behaviour and our physical health through positive thought patterns.

While her study doesn’t necessarily focus on the power of positive language per se, it does show a strong correlation between language and thoughts.

 

The case for positive language

Fredrickson tested the impact of positive emotions on the brain by setting up an experiment. She divided her research subjects into 5 groups and showed each group different film clips.

The first two groups were shown clips that created positive emotions. Group 1 saw images that created feelings of joy. Group 2 saw images that created feelings of contentment.

Group 3 was the control group. They saw images that were neutral and not intended to produce any extreme positive or negative emotion.

The last two groups were shown clips that created negative emotions, like fear and anger.

At the end of the viewing, each participant was asked to imagine a similar situation where those feelings would arise and to write down how they’d deal with it. Each participant was handed a piece of paper with 20 blank lines that started with the phrase, “I would like to…”

Participants who saw images of fear and anger wrote down the fewest responses, indicating a lack of motivation to take action and a general feeling of helplessness. Meanwhile, the participants who saw images of joy and contentment, wrote down a significantly higher number of actions that they would take, even when compared to the neutral group.

What does this all mean?

Positive emotions fuel psychological resilience, widening a person’s potential to see more possibilities and to take action.

Which begs the question – how do you harness the power of positive thinking within your own sales copy?

 

The goal is to spark a positive urge with a broadened mindset

What if you could get your customers to not only buy from you willingly, but with a smile on their face and an intent to recommend your brand to friends?

The best place is by framing your brand, services and products with positive language.

It’s what Fredrickson called the ‘broaden-and-build’ theory. In a nut shell, positive emotions promote discovery, trying new things, and taking creative action. Like purchasing something that adds value to their lives, perhaps?

 

Avoiding sales suicide with words to throw away

The easiest place to begin is by identifying negative language, and then finding a way to reframe your message. But don’t feel bad if you’re having trouble identifying what these words are – one study showed that negative words dominate the English language (and interestingly, Spanish as well). 

 

Below is a very short of the most common and easy words to exile from your sales copy. If you’re looking to replace them with more positive language, I’ve created a PDF of alternatives frames to use. The key is to keep it simple and don’t use hyperbole.

don’t can’t,, won’t, but, should, could, unfortunately, don’t hesitate to, maybe, if.

Of course, you could argue that all of this is a case of semantics and swapping plain English for euphemisms. It’s only half of the story, after all. And one could argue that it’s sales fluff, empty optimism, and in direct opposition to my post on the case for pessimism.

And therein lies the rub: it all depends on your audience, and how your empathy is framed. Your sales copy doesn’t need to appeal to everyone, and positive language mightn’t yield the best results 100% of the time.  

But there’s one thing I know for sure: words colour our meaning with nuance. Nuanced, yet powerfully potent messages. And with a thoughtful approach to our copywriting that examines the effects of these words and how to create positive change, we’re likely to persuade more easily, powerfully, and with a far better result. Not just for our business, but for our customers too.

That’s why I frequently recommend A/B testing and constant iterations. Always try and see what works, and course correct if the data says your current method isn’t working. With an increased understanding of what your audience wants, you’ll be better placed to deliver messages that clearly resonate with their needs.

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.

 

The key to a sustainable digital nomad life = communication

digital nomad copywriter

It’s been roughly 12 hours since I snapped an image of Melbourne’s sunrise from aboard my flight. It feels surreal to be back from my temporary digital nomad lifestyle, back in my room folding away clothes, and even stranger getting sunburnt.

Home 💗🇦🇺

A photo posted by Camilla Ruth (@millycatmeow) on

Although it’s not clear to me that I now need to cycle on the left hand-side of the road and wear a helmet, I know one thing for sure:

I learned many things over the past 3 months, but what stuck out most to me was that for all my talk about open communication, I definitely had room for improvement. And mastering your communication and reliability is key to creating a sustainable digital nomad lifestyle.

Do this, and you’ll build trust with your clients, credibility with your brand, and maintain a regular client base for the duration of your adventure.

There’s a litany of methods and apps to help you improve, but here are the 5 ways I would personally optimise my next trip for smoother client management and a more sustainable digital nomad lifestyle.

 

Know your exact time zone

I encountered this problem when I first landed. And if I’m going to be honest here, it was a problem I was still encountering up until my last week. My problem? I kept getting the time zones mixed up. My first mistake was a rookie error - I thought I had a Skype call with a client at 830am, and it was actually 730am. Easy mistake, given it was my first day abroad. But the second and third times? They could have easily been avoided.

My problem was that I was making meetings with clients based on three different time zones. For example, I was in Berlin, scheduling a call for London time for the week I would be there. I would then forget to adjust my Google calendar from Berlin time to London time. Ugh. Frustration, apologies and head slamming ensue.

Key take away: If you’re using Google calendar, make sure you manually set your time-zone. I made the error of assuming I’d set it to automatic, but I hadn’t. If you have in your mind that you need to manually set it, I’d wager that you probably would, rather than relying on a machine to do the job for you.

 

  • Open your Google Calendar.
  • Click the Settings drop-down menu at the top right.
  • Click Settings.
  • Click the drop-down menu next to your current time zone to select the time zone.
  • Click Save.

 

Premium conference call quality is always best

Do you like to use video during your Skype meetings so that you can form a genuine connection with your clients?  I know that I do, and it also prevents us talking over the top of one another if we have visual cues for responsiveness.

Unfortunately, Skype’s connection works better when you turn video OFF. I’m almost certain my clients assumed I was lounging about in my pyjamas instead of turning on video. But I maintain that it was for the sake of me not having to ask them to repeat themselves.

Key take away: turn video off, or use an alternative:

Google Hang Outs – free and easy to use. Not my favourite, as many of my clients don’t actively use Google.

Voxox – free and paid calls like Skype, but with arguably better call quality.

Appear.in - my personal favourite. Free to use, just create a URL for others to paste into their browser and voila! You’ve just created a virtual meeting room.

 

Get tech-savvy and avoid roaming charges + missed calls

I bought a new sim card in Berlin because it was cheaper than buying a data pack through Optus. This was great for calls and texts within the country, but I couldn’t call overseas numbers (which wasn’t explained to me at the store. German customer service is very…um…laissez fair?). So because I didn’t have my Australian sim card in, and my clients didn’t have my German number, we couldn’t communicate via one of our usual mediums - the phone. It’s not often that a client will call me out of the blue, but I understand it’s disconcerting to find your supplier’s phone is turned off.

My regular clients knew I was travelling. But for potential clients who I hadn’t yet spoken with, they could have easily gotten frustrated with not receiving a call-back and just gone elsewhere. This was a huge oversight on my part.

Key take away: This requires a little bit of technical knowledge, but you can actually divert your mobile number to divert to your Skype app on your mobile, which then diverts to your overseas number. Hey presto! You can connect with clients back home AND avoid roaming charges. 

 

Set up your virtual Do Not Disturb sign

I’m a huge fan of an email app called Airmail, bar one major flaw – you can’t set up an auto-responder. It’s such a beautiful app, but it pains me that I can’t set up an out-of-office reply. I also love Spark for my iPhone, but I can’t set up an auto-responder using that app either.

However, iOS and Mac’s Mail app have their own auto-responder functionality. I’m not a fan of these apps, but for the sake of having a professional auto-responder, I’ll put up with their poorly designed interface temporarily. If you have clients who like to live in their inboxes, an auto-responder is like a virtual Do Not Disturb sign. They won’t bother you until you’re out of transit - hopefully!

 

Honesty is always the best policy

When I was approaching my departure date back in September, I was in two minds about whether to be upfront about my global gallivanting. Should I tell clients that I was going to be temporarily roaming Europe, living out of my suitcase? Or should I pretend that I really, really prefer 630am call times. In my opinion, any lack of disclosure reeks of shadiness. In hindsight, I wish I’d swallowed my pride and told every client of my whereabouts. I now know for the future that honesty, as always, is the best policy. Your mother was right.

 

Granted, I’m relatively new to the digital nomad life. And if I’m going to take my own advice, I’ll be honest and say it’s not a label I can rightfully claim. I still call Melbourne home, and will for the next couple of months. But as I’ve found with most conflicts in life, communication really is key. Learn to harness your communication skills, and the technology to help you do it with ease, and your whole life will improve - not just your work.

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.

How to use empathy to fuel amazing SEO results

How do empathy and seo work together? 

A friend of mine alerted me to a recent interesting read via the New Yorker. The article, written in part as a reaction to the recent US election and the alleged fake news items that social media spread, reminded me of why I always start off with empathy when approaching a new SEO campaign.

The article critiques technology’s absolute power to corrupt and persuade the public. Should they not, the journalist argues, use all of this data for social good?

“Silicon Valley’s biggest failing is not poor marketing of its products, or follow-through on promises, but, rather, the distinct lack of empathy for those whose lives are disturbed by its technological wizardry. Two years ago, on my blog, I wrote, “It is important for us to talk about the societal impact of what Google is doing or what Facebook can do with all the data. If it can influence emotions (for increased engagements), can it compromise the political process?”

 

SEO gives us the power to persuade actions. If we focus on keywords and not on humans, we’re not addressing uniquely humans wants and concerns.

This means we’re going to be faced with two problems:

1.    We’ll send unqualified leads to our website.

2.    We won’t be able to convert website traffic.

 

Not to mention the ethical quandary of keyword stuffing!

So here’s my case for empathy-based SEO, and a more human-centric approach to keyword research and SEO copywriting.

 

How to use empathy to fuel your SEO results

1.    Start with market research

So many businesses initially turn to keyword research to try to understand their audiences more. While honing in on long-tail keywords can deliver some insights, your first stop should never be Moz's Keyword Explorer or SEMRush. Start with some old-fashioned market research. This doesn’t require hiring a marketing company and forking out lots of money. You can do this all yourself quite inexpensively.

If you have a product-based business, one useful tip I learned from Joanna at Copyhackers is to mine Amazon and similar websites for product reviews. These types of websites are a haven for customer concerns, and I’ve found that Amazon’s reviews are of high quality. If you happen to own a cosmetics-based business, you’ll love the reviews on MakeUpAlley.com.

Other avenues for market research include:

  • Facebook Groups
  • Joining a mastermind
  • Reddit
  • Whirlpool (great for technology and finance-related topics)
  • Survey Monkey for sending questionnaires to an engaged audience, like a nurtured email list.

 

2.    Create your personas

If you’re a member of Marie Forleo’s B-School or you’ve joined any similar online course designed for female entrepreneurs, you’ll be well aware of this activity. If not, it’s a process where you create a character with wants, needs, traits and physical attributes that match your ideal customer. Also known as a customer avatar, this exercise is designed to get you inside the heads of those you provide a service or product for. When you understand their day-to-day lives, aspects of their personalities, and their particular lifestyle needs, only then can you effectively and efficiently craft copy that will engage them.

Not sure where to start? My worksheet is a great place to begin creating your audience persona. You can download it instantly when you subscribe to Communique, my e-newsletter on all things content, SEO and business.

 

3.    Ask for testimonials

When you ask existing or previous customers and clients why they chose you and continue to do so, you’ll gain a world of insight. Questions to ask include:

+ Why did you choose me/us?

+ What was your primary concern when looking for our product/service?

+ What did you enjoy about the process of working with me/us?

+ Any room for improvements?

 

If you have an online store, you might think that this might be impossible for you to do. Depending on how engaged your audience is, one option is to send out the survey in an e-letter, and provide an incentive for filling it in.

 

4.    Understand that you’re not perfect

A common error that many businesses make is that they want to be everything, to everyone. But when we assume that our mastery can fulfil the wants and needs of all, we fail to recognise and empathise with the unique desires of individuals. I can’t be a copywriter for corporates – they can’t handle my quirk. But fashion copywriting? And working with lifestyle business, and those in the health and wellness sphere? This I can excel in. And I do. So I speak to the needs of marketing managers, small business owners and entrepreneurs in those industries.

Radiant Roots, a coaching business for spiritual women, does this quite well. The website’s language speaks to the needs of women specifically, who likely work round-the-clock, and are receptive to language the has esoteric connotations. In other words, not CEOs in need of corporate coaching.

 

an example of empathy in seo copywriting

 

The increasing need for empathy in SEO doesn’t come from those who’ve designed the Google algorithm, or even from the business owners themselves. It comes from a lack of outward thinking that forgets the people on other side of screen. A poorly converting website is a reminder that you’re not addressing a distinctively human need, not that SEO doesn’t work or that Google is evil. Remember that the language you use affects real people, for good and bad.

Did you like this post? Next time I’ll be writing about websites that demonstrate stellar usage of both empathy and SEO best-practices. Subscribe and you won’t miss 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 and Politix. Want to work together? Reach out! I'd love to hear about your next project.