Great content articles begin with a content audit
Have you been blogging for a year or more? Or have outdated website copy?
A content audit is very important to make sure that you always have fresh content, that it’s performing as well as it can and that you’re refreshing your SEO activities regularly.
Furthermore, your editorial planning will become a breeze and a content audit is well worth the time and effort.
What is a content audit?
A content audit is a structured process of reviewing your website’s content with the view of keeping a record of what you have live, how it can be improved and what function it serves. Broken down, that means going through every single blog post that you’ve ever published and keeping a record of it.
It helps you go through your existing content to see which pieces meet your marketing objectives and which don’t. It will also provide an opportunity to see what content is missing and any gaps that need to be filled. It will also help immediately identify the strengths, weaknesses and challenges in all the existing content.
Ideally, a content audit should be performed regularly, such as every six or twelve months, depending on how often you blog. Given that SEO best practices can change quite frequently, it also helps you to keep on top of them and position yourself well.
How to do a content audit
Firstly, start with a spreadsheet of all the posts ever published. The spreadsheet should contain title, topic, keyword, URL, external links, internal links, category, what type of content it is (eg evergreen, listicle, time sensitive etc) and include a section for actions required.
Although it depends on your business goals and marketing objectives, here are some basics to look for when conducting your content audit:
Benefits of a content audit
Having a content audit and being able to clear see what content you have, will be useful for getting the whole team on board and utilising the content. For example, if you have a series of blog posts that answer some of the most frequent questions that your sales people have to answer, you can save your employees time and resources. This is such a prevailing step because a lot of content gets lost and not used to its full potential. ‘SiriusDecisions estimates that 65 percent of B2B content ends up languishing unused.’
Taking inventory of your blog posts will also provide an opportunity for you to view potential curated posts. As I did in Best five copywriting posts of 2018, you can see your top performing posts and curate them into one post for the ease and benefit of your readers. Be sure to write original blurbs introducing each post, rather than cutting and pasting from the original posts, to avoid Google penalties.
Using Google Analytics and your website’s own data, compile a list of the top ten (or whatever number) best performing posts. Performance can be determined in alignment with your marketing and business objectives, eg are your performance metrics based on how many people read it? Or how many conversions (eg how many buy a product from your site)?
Analyse the top performing posts and work out why they performed so well. Did they receive better attention when it came to spreading the word? Did you write about something unusual and unique? Or was it directly written to what your audience really wanted to know? One of the keys to a great performing website is to repeat what is working well.
Similarly, you can identify which content can be repurposed easily. A lot of existing content is often ripe for repurposing, not just as content articles but other forms of content (such as downloadables, ebooks, videos etc).
Having this bird’s eye view of your content will supply an easy and thorough opportunity to create recommendations for powerful content going forward. Here are some examples of content recommendations that I posed when undertaking a recent client content audit:
Recommendations to capitalise on these posts include:
As a bonus, you might rediscover content that you had forgotten about. This forgotten content can be added to your social media strategy, outreach or PR campaigns.
Although it may fill you with dread and seem like it will take ages, the amount of effort and time you invest in doing a content audit each year will save you time in advance by making your content articles more useful, targeted and usable.
Here are some top audit tools to help with your blog audit.
My content writing strategy offers a thorough and actionable content audit as part of the package.
Marketing strategy template
What are your top three strategic goals for your business in 2019? And what marketing activities will you undertake to achieve them?
Have no idea? I've created a marketing strategy template that will help you work out all this and more.
Get one sent straight to your inbox (for zero cost) by signing up to my enewsletter list
Without a marketing strategy, you are basically just spending a heap of money and time on marketing activities with no real direction. Because humans change their mind frequently, you could be enthusiastic about your digital marketing to achieve a goal without results and then change direction without warning the next week! With a marketing strategy, you're more likely to stay on course until you achieve that goal, whether it be to make more sales, improve your branding or reach more people.
Need marketing assistance? Or want to check out my other marketing templates?
Guest post by Glance.
A brief overview of the role technology has played in recent history proves emerging innovations are constantly impacting countless aspects of daily life for people throughout Australia. From developing iOS apps that make life easier to Android solutions that streamline once complex processes, it’s clear that recent advancements have already had a major effect on society. This trend continues today. Virtual reality (VR), for instance, may soon usher in another technological revolution. However, before VR becomes widespread, we might first see the rise of augmented reality tech. That’s because the devices and platforms that make VR experiences possible don’t have mass consumer appeal just yet. Augmented reality (AR) will bridge the gap in the meantime.
Understanding augmented reality
Pokemon Go! (which became very popular very soon after its release in Australia) and Snapchat are two apps that introduced AR to the average smartphone user. AR tech essentially allows apps to superimpose virtual elements (images, sounds, data, and more) onto real world features.
It’s not quite VR. Instead of immersing users in completely new surroundings, AR lets users encounter and manipulate virtual elements within their current environments. As of now, AR is more feasible than VR, as developers can create AR apps for relatively ubiquitous devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers
AR’s role in business
AR is poised to disrupt numerous industries. Some businesses have already used it to improve marketing efforts.
For instance, U.S. Bank is leveraging AR to help customers find ATMs in unfamiliar cities. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has developed an AR app which overlays real estate and property information over the real world when viewed through a smartphone screen. Furniture retailer IKEA released an AR app that lets users insert virtual renderings of furniture into their homes; this helps ecommerce shoppers determine if certain larger items are worth purchasing. Sephora’s AR feature allows customers to virtually “try on” a product before buying it.
These few examples clearly prove AR can substantially improve marketing campaigns for many types of businesses. As the tech continues to develop, more organisations will find smart ways to take advantage of it.
AR makes gaming immersive
Again, many people know about AR thanks to the success of Pokemon Go!. It’s easy to understand why users embraced this new type of gaming experience. AR simply turns the world around a player into the setting of a game.
Another AR game, Zombies, Run!, uses the technology to make players feel as though they must run from attacking hordes of the undead. It makes for a much more dynamic gaming experience than sitting in place and staring at a screen.
Of course, gaming and marketing aren’t the only sectors that could stand to benefit from the rise of AR. We’ll soon find it has far more potential applications than most people could imagine. We’ll also see how the emergence of AR will help lead the way to the development of widespread VR tech as well.
You may also like... Sensory marketing.
One of the beauties of using Google Analytics is that it lets me know which blog posts are the most read. At the end of each year , I love to do a brief calculation to see what people are actually interested in reading and what appeals the most. Here are my most popular blog posts of 2018.
The most popular blog post for this year was the history and evolution of copywriting which was an interesting— and surprising— recount of where copywriting originated from. I bet you didn’t know it started in the 1600s!
I’ve worked with a lot of authors and potential authors over my professional career, especially at SA Writers Centre, so I compiled a fundamental guide to creating an author website, which is a crucial building block in your author platform.
Features tips on what to include, ideas on how to make the most of your author website and examples of great author sites that you’ll get inspiration from.
I’m surprised this post isn’t the top of the pile, to be honest. Especially as it’s a common question I see in Facebook groups and a really great starting place for people to begin to improve their website, either as an individual or small business.
Includes a useful template to write your About me page.
Everyone loves a useful listicle. Here’s a multipurpose list that offers a collection of ideas of what to post on your social media channels to help with your business marketing.
One for every day of the month!
I am particularly pleased that this post is in my five most popular blog posts this year as it showcases some of South Australia’s best talent. If you’re looking for some new reads over the summer holidays, you might like to add these books to your collection by Adelaide authors.
What about you? Was there a blog post of mine in 2018 that made a difference to your copywriting or marketing? If so, please do let me know!
Take a look at my posts on:
Brand story writing tips
The best way to stand out and get attention in today’s media saturated world is by telling a compelling brand story. Brand stories create a consistent relatable story arc that shows what your brand has to offer by showing what you really care about and what you stand for as a company.
Without a brand story, the rest of your communications not only fall flat but will be inconsistent with each other and be devoid of emotion. I recommend really nailing your brand story before proceeding further with your other communications materials.
Big corporations like Coca-Cola and Apple have long realised the power of using their unique brand story to build connections with their audience. Below is all you need to know about writing a compelling brand story.
Brand storytelling tips
A compelling brand story should be able to generate consumer trust straight away and not just any story will do. Your brand story should have the right elements to stimulate emotion and connect with the reader. Here’s how you can do that:
Your story should show brand personality
A brand story is not an impersonal thing like a clickbait or a marketing tool, instead, it is a way of showing brand persona. A great brand story should be driven by your brand’s personality whilst clearly demonstrating who work for you. And don’t forget the people who have been instrumental in your business’s growth and success! Most big tech brands today share their personality by telling the stories behind their creation, think of Steve Jobs and Apple or Jeff Bezos and Amazon.
However, your brand story shouldn’t end up being an individual’s biography. Rather, it should tell the evolution of the brand, showing how it was inspired by an individual’s personality and it should definitely be a relatable journey (at least in the beginning). This way, it provides someone real that your customers can trust, since people are more likely to trust other people rather than an abstract concept or corporation.
Your story should connect with your customers
At its core, your brand story isn’t really about your company. Its goal is to establish a connection with your customers. Therefore, it should be able to tell your customers that you understand them and you’re on their side. It should also be able to make your brand relatable and distinguishable. For example, Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company was able to raise millions of dollars by creating a brand story that connects people to its non toxic household goods products.
‘Research indicates that the human brain responds to the descriptive power of stories in deeply affecting ways, influencing both the sensory and motor cortex. To read a story is to feel an experience and to synchronise our minds with the subject of the story,’ Neil Patel states.
Your story should be simple
A simple brand story is better and easier to tell whereas an overly complex story can erode trust. Every good story has a beginning, a middle and an end and your brand story should follow this fundamental structure. No matter how bulky the description of your brand’s story it should conceptually follow the following process:
Your story should shape your existence
A compelling brand story should describe the whole reason for the existence of your company. Explaining why your brand exists builds trust and answers the question of why people should buy from you. Just like the way the TOMS shoe company shows that for every pair of shoes purchased, they donate a pair to someone in need. This explains the reason why they exist, to improve the lives of those in need. It also helps to elicit empathy and altruism in whoever reads their brand story, which is a very powerful motivator within humans.
Remember this iconic television commercial from Chanel No. 5? It employs classic storytelling techniques and has a clearly identifiable brand story that provides the foundation for their infamous product.
Remember, by answering the question of why your brand exists with a story, you can build the trust of your customers. It’s also worth refining the tone of voice and getting the structure super clear and readable. Don’t just ramble on with whimsical overwritten blurbs just because they sound fun. It might pay to revisit the five building block questions of writing.
Overall, a terrific brand story is a powerful way of building a foundation of trust and establishing a business that people want to align themselves to and which breeds loyalty.
You might also like... Content writing
Do you love short stories? Here I am reading a little snippet from one of my stories called The Book of Elizabeth Purdon from my micro collection of short stories called Uneasy.
You can grab your own copy of Uneasy here.
There is a marketing branch coined sensory marketing. According to Rieunier (2002), the sensory marketing approach tries to fill in the deficiencies of traditional marketing which is too rational.
Almost all marketing traditionally focuses on two senses: sight and sound. That leaves an enormous opportunity to appeal to the other senses that could be highly effective. Given how closely related to memory smell and taste are, these underutilised facets have the potential to really emphasise the way people relate to your brand. If you’ve ever walked past a Lush, Aesop, Subway or Janesce store, you know exactly what I’m talking about. They are distinctive smells that you can’t disassociate with in a hurry!
‘Sensory branding is a type of marketing that appeals to all the senses in relation to the brand. It uses the senses to relate with customers on an emotional level. Brands can forge emotional associations in the customers' minds by appealing to their senses. A multi-sensory brand experience generates certain beliefs, feelings, thoughts and opinions to create a brand image in the consumer's mind,’ Wikipedia.
This form of embodied cognition that is integrated into marketing asserts a holistic approach that not enough businesses are taking advantage of, which, if done correctly could put you ahead of others and set you up for long term success.
And it works! In South Korea, a Dunkin’ Donuts branch strategically releases a coffee smell on cue with their company jingle on a bus, which has seen an increase in sales Dunkin’ Donuts at nearby shops by nearly thirty per cent.
How can you promote your business using each of the five senses? Come up with one unique way for each sense. You can be as extravagant or as small as you wish. Examples might include: sending a flavoured tea bag with your logo on it, a complete virtual reality experience or send distinctive incense or a fragrance vial with a brochure.
If you sell products, change the wrapping to incorporate a sensory experience. Pringles have their signature “pop” when you open their can and KitKats have the “snap” of the break in the chocolate. How often do we associate a champagne’s corking popping with celebratory aspects?
Feeling stuck? Write down the first thing that came to your mind, no matter how ridiculous or expensive and unachievable it seems at this time. Remember, we’re brainstorming, not writing anything in stone.
Want a bit of homework?
Once you’ve written your five senses marketing list, pick one and complete it. Don’t be afraid to go big and bold.
You may like to read the book:
Customer Sense, How the 5 Senses Influence Buying Behavior by Aradhna Krishna
This is an extract taken from my book, Thirty Days to Conscious Success. Grab your copy today.
Self help books by Adelaide authors
You might not even be aware of this but Adelaide is such a hub for creative professionals, particularly conscious entrepreneurial women who are wholeheartedly invested in their business and offerings to the world. Those same high achieving businesswomen are inclined to take on extra projects as they are so determined to share their wisdom and message with the broader community than their current clientele through powerful mediums such as self help books.
I’ve collated a selection of self help books written by Adelaide authors that are all designed to help you in your business or personal life and improve it and be the best version of yourself.
Align + Attract by Kerry Rowett
The creator of Align and Attract and a professional kinesiologist, Kerry Rowett, has authored a book of the same name about getting more alignment within your business (a favourite topic of mine).
In her own words, ‘this book is really designed to spark your own insights and transformations and... there's even a beautifully designed journal you can download with all the prompts to help you reflect and take your own action.’
Kerry is dedicated to empowering her clients to create more alignment in their businesses and lives and has been a kinesiologist for more than a decade.
Discover more about Align and Attract and buy the book.
Letting Go by Rebecca Mezzino
In another thread, Rebecca Mezzino is a professional declutterer and probably someone we all need in our lives.
She runs her own business called Clear Space Organising Services where she is a declutter coach and spends her whole professional realm improving people’s lives. Her book, Letting Go: how to choose freedom over clutter, is more than just a tidy up book. It’s a guide to help you deal with what’s going on inside your mind and offer you more peace and freedom.
Grace and the Wind by Kristina Dryza
A little different from the ‘get your life together’ books listed above is Kristina Dryza’s book, Grace and the Wind.
Kristina is a futurist and trends predictor, which is a much needed profession in the current climate. She is also someone with their finger on the pulse and often shares her insights and transformative concepts with the world and is a recognised speaker.
Kristina has written a fiction novel called Grace and the Wind, which cleverly incorporates her core concepts in the form of a narrative. In her own words, it’s a ‘…modern allegorical novel on how the very nature of life itself is expressed and experienced as rhythmic patterns of energy.’
The Truth of Your Reality by Nereeda McInnes
Author of The Truth of Your Reality, Nereeda McInnes is another Adelaide author that has a heart led business and mission. Her book provides insights on the game of life and how you choose to play it. And who doesn’t need a little guidebook on this ruleless game that is life?
Nereeda’s book will remind you of your own power and who you really are and uncover the secrets of the suffering and success and everything in between.
Passionate about self development and personal growth, Nereeda is also a writer, life coach and business mentor. And because she is a lover of all things positive, she has started a movement called One Such Thing, which encourages everyone to share good stuff and encourage smiles upon smiles.
Relaunch My Life by Juliet Lever
Poised as a teaching memoir Juliet’s lifestyle guidebook, Relaunch My Life, is the namesake of her business which is designed to help people redesign how they live and ease them through personal and spiritual transformation.
Juliet is dedicated to teaching people across the world with her unique workshops that incorporate many techniques to help people rediscover themselves.
The book offers tips, guidance, inspiration and support and will help you reconnect with your soul and redesign your future.
Thirty Days to Conscious Success by Vanessa Jones
It’d be remiss of me not to mention my books, Promote Your Spiritual Business and Thirty Days to Conscious Success.
Primarily, both of these books are marketing books but they just happened to be interwoven with mindful and heart centred concepts that help bring you into alignment with success and promoting your business and message far and wide. It’s ideal for those who need marketing help but want a different way of understanding it.
This list of fabulous self help books should keep you busy reading for the next few weeks at least and once through it, you'll come out the other side a completely transformed human!
Book editing tips
Idioms are a colloquial way of phrasing something.
‘An idiom is a common word or phrase with a culturally understood meaning that differs from what its composite words' denotations would suggest.’
Here are some examples of idioms:
‘Sick as a dog’
‘Out of the blue’
‘Barking up the wrong tree’
When writing memoir, it’s wise to limit your use of idioms. Although this really does depend on your intended readership and what language they use.
Using a lot of idioms takes away from the specificity of your stories if overused. And one of the keys to really interesting writing (both fiction and non fiction) is specificity, especially when it comes to including the details.
It also limits your audience and may make it difficult for those who have English as an additional language and speaks purely to Australian readers if your idioms are Australian. This can exclude a lot of readers.
The expression ‘show, don’t tell’ would be useful to learn more about to help you write the specifics. You may have included a lot of great statements about what you think and feel in certain situations but without any real “showing” how you got there.
Here are some helpful articles on show, don’t tell:
Show don't tell
Show don't tell mantra
Write practice: show don't tell
This is quite a common writing mistake that I see when I am copyediting clients’ books.
Be extra careful of repetition – often, in sentences, you can be predisposed to saying the same thing but in slightly different wording. Or multiple sentences or paragraphs can have the same essence. Take care to eliminate any repetition in your writing and be cautious about using a sentence that can be reduced down to much fewer words.
Here are a few ways that you can reduce repetition:
Be sure to add credibility to your story. Just because it’s a personal recount of something that happened or an overview of your life, doesn’t mean that it has to be devoid of credibility and authority. Here’s how to write with authority.
Often contradiction can occur when writing memoir, which happens when you are writing everything through a very personal lens. The best way to avoid this is by sticking to the facts of what really happened and then adding the emotive aspects over the top. For example,
‘I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster,’Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle.
The facts are that she was sitting in a tax in the evening and saw her mum going through a dumpster. She didn’t say, ‘It was such a sad sight to see my mum being a homeless person and her life falling apart.’
You can also add credibility by using the term ‘I think.’ For example, ‘I think there were five people at my party,’ reads much better as ‘The five people at my party were…’
Removing those two small words adds more assurance to what you’re telling your readers and gives confidence that the memories you are providing are as reliable as they can be. No one wants to read a “wishy washy” recount of an occurrence.
Furthermore, be sure to back up any bold statements with statistics, resources or research especially if it’s medical or science based. For example, ‘Many people die from…’ is much more powerful when you write ‘According to Credible Journal, three people die each day from…’
If you want your memoir or autobiography to be publication ready, it's well worth investing the time in editing and then editing it again. In all seriousness, you should be considering editing your entire manuscript at least three to eight times!
Read to write your book? Book writing coaching services.