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 Or have outdated website copy?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.
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:
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.
Free SEO writing course
Do you want to dive right in to effective SEO writing?
Sign up for my FREE three day SEO writing ecourse. Just by popping in your details, you'll be emailed three easy but potent lessons over three days on how to improve your content articles, blog posts and website copy with foolproof SEO writing tips and techniques.
The three lesson ecourse will teach you about:
And yes, it's completely free! But don't delay, it's only free for a limited time so it's best you take advantage of the offer ASAP.
In today's world, SEO writing has become such an integral aspect of modern marketing that the growth of businesses of all sorts (and all industries) depends on choosing SEO over other marketing strategies. Marketing is itself tough enough a task— digital marketing even more so. The complex nature of SEO can make it seem like the most gruesome method for marketing your business online. However, this doesn't have to be so, because when done right, there's no better strategy for growing your business organically.
Created by professional copywriter and experienced SEO writer, Vanessa Jones, this easy to follow SEO writing ecourse will have you uplevel your knowledge in just a few days.
Marketing book for success
The Thirty Days to Conscious Success book is a workbook for those of you who are serious about success in your business.
It’s more than a book; it’s a thirty day program to eke out creative ideas and flood your marketing plan with easy to implement activities that will heighten the reach of your business or services.
Packed with useful marketing information and thought generating activities, this guide will take your promotional efforts from dull to dazzling in only a month. The mindful exercises and in depth exploration will also prove to be inspirational and transformational journey.
Each activity is cleverly crafted to connect you with your inner self as well as truly have an impact on your business.
Written with creative, complementary and wellness businesses and services in mind, you will use this book as a personal course to creating and implementing a marketing plan.
Best of all, it’s a lot of fun.
You’re just thirty days away from enormous success.
How to start a blog
A blogging platform is the internet based software that you will be using. I find the following the easiest to navigate and the most intuitive to set up and use:
Because of its diversity, WordPress is a great blogging and website platform. I’m going to run through the steps for starting a blog on WordPress but if you find that you would prefer another platform, most internet “how to” guides are useful and each platform has their own help guide which is usually designed for people who have never bloggedbefore.
If you are registering your own domain, the hosting company (WordPress or other) will offer you an additional service of privacy settings, where for a nominal fee they can hide your personal details that are linked to your domain. This is a personal choice and stops the lay person web searching your residential address and phone number. But know that anything you put into the internet, is discoverable by those who have more advanced skills, should they want to.
You can get a cheaper domain through hosting sites outside of WordPress but it does offer a very simple process of matching up your domain to your new WordPress site.
The following are some common web hosting services you might like to use:
I recommend using the free WordPress package option (at least for now), you can always upgrade to the bigger packages at a later stage and they probably aren’t necessary unless you are running a website that requires a lot of storage space. You can also have as many WordPress blogs/sites as you like!
Plan: free beginner
Domain hosting: choose a company (or use WordPress to host) Platform: WordPress
WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is the one to use if you are self hosting (that means you’ve bought a domain via an external company, such as Zuver etc).
WordPress.com is fine for beginners and people who don’t need a website with too much complexity. If you have some technical know how or know someone that does that can help you, and you intend to have lots of extras on your website (for example. you would like to run an online course, use more plugins, have your own custom design, discussion forums etc), then it is worth exploring WordPress.org.
WordPress use the analogy that WordPress.com is like renting a house and WordPress.org is like buying a house—you can make all the alterations and modifications to suit you but you’re also responsible if things break or go awry.
It’s worth noting that whilst you can still sell easily on a WordPress.com site, if online selling is your primary goal, then it’s advised to use WordPress.org.
Choose a theme via the dashboard function (you will need to be logged in). Go to Appearance > theme. Select your theme and click "Preview" to see what it looks like and “Activate”, once you have decided. You can customise it by clicking "Customize".
Choose a theme that represents your business and blog and is consistent with your branding.
WordPress has an array of themes to choose from, some are free and some with a fee attached. The free ones are adequate and customisable but sometimes you might want something a bit more unique or you have seen a design that you just have to have that will do your business justice and then it’s worth paying for your theme. Themes can generally cost approximately $30 -$130 for their lifetime. Their creators will often create updates for the theme (ironing out any bugs, adding more options etc— much like when you update your iPhone apps) and you’ll be alerted when you login to your WordPress blog as to when you need to do this. Often, it only involves clicking “update”.
Remember: your logo will need to be prominent, ideally in the top header/banner, so be sure to choose colours and design that will complement your logo and branding.
Don’t forget that the majority of people will be viewing your blog on their phone or tablet, so you need to make sure that it looks okay on these devices too. When you are customising the theme, there is a little icon that displays a computer, phone and tablet image and by clicking on each one, it will give you a preview of what it will look like on each device.
Pages are the static pages of text that can be chosen from the menu. One page will contain your blog posts and more often than not, this will default as your home page, although you can change this in the dashboard. It’s up to you which page you choose as your landing page (where people “land” when they type in your web address) but I recommend that it be your home page or your blog posts, which may be one and the same.
You may choose to have a home page that acts as an introductory text, especially if you are combining your website and blog into the one platform.
To add pages to your menu (or your menu may reside at the top or side of your page), go to: Dashboard> Appearance> Menu.
Posts are the rolling, usually reverse chronological order boxes of text that you will be regularly updating. This is where your blog posts will go. All your posts will sit on one page (unless you direct them to various pages, based on categories—this is an option for the more advanced users or the more complex site).
You can password protect any post that you wish. This may be a useful tool in case you have content that only some people are privy to; maybe it’s private information that you would like to keep for your friends or your regular clients. Or maybe you have a subscription service where people pay to access some of your content. WordPress has a plugin for more advanced users such as Membership, which helps to organise subscription services like a lot of modern news services offer these days or LMS plugins which allows you to run online courses. There is undoubtedly a plugin for everything you can think of. Try having a search through the plugin directory (you’ll need WordPress.org to install plugins).
Copyright belongs to you if it’s your own work. You are automatically granted copyright— you don’t have to do anything. On the other side of the coin—do not plagiarise! You’ll ruin your reputation at the click of a button. That applies for uploading other people’s images to your website or blog. You must fully accredit the creator of the image. Australian Copyright Council is a useful resource for all copyright information.
Once you've set up your blog there is nothing left to do but start blogging! Write all those interesting and rich posts and share with the world. You might like to read these posts to help with writing blog posts:
What makes a good content article?
How to develop excellent structure.
Want to start blogging? Here's what you need to know.
It’s really important to write with authority and establish credibility if you want to build an audience and/or following for your website or blog. It’s even more important if you want that audience to buy what you tell them to buy.
Writing with authority is about demonstrating your expertise and knowledge and defining where you sit in the market and in your industry. Are you renowned for selling multimillion dollar houses in the hills? Are you the most efficient bookkeeper that your clients have ever worked with? Do you have exceptional and up to date knowledge on what is happening with big data? By writing about your niche and using specific language choice, you can begin to assert your authority.
Below are five useful links to help you write with authority.
This post has many valuable key takeaways but one of my favourite is keeping your writing succinct. Including short words and short sentences.
Although it’s nearly three years old this post is from a really credible copywriting site and has very clear cut information on writing with credibility, with some snapshots from some of the most influential business leaders. One of the key takeaways is to just do the hard work.
Although this is written for fiction writing, it has a lot of valuable advice that can be applied to copywriting. My favourite advice of all time and I regularly employ it in my own copywriting is specificity. Honestly, I believe this is key to success in all types of writing.
This super simple post is ideal for the beginner. These six crystal clear tips will have you sharpen your copywriting in no time.
This content article is more indepth and has a lot more information and some super great bullet points to follow. A brilliant takeaway is ‘Put the important information at the beginning of the writing. Support the rest of your copy with the details.’
As part of your content writing strategy, you must have an editorial calendar so that you can plan out a year’s worth of content. Take a look here why it’s important to have a content writing strategy in place.
Download an editorial calendar template and plan your blog content out.
Not sure what you’re doing or too busy to plan? Book in for my content writing strategy now.