10 Ways to create a relevant website that ranks well: Part 1

create relevant contentThere are many ways to attract people to your website: you can advertise, you can encourage direct links from other sites, and you can promote your url on all of your marketing materials. All of these are useful and important methods but they need to be used in conjunction with one other key strategy – that is, ensuring your website is found in search engine results pages.  And to be ‘found’ you need to rank well, because very few people look beyond page 1 on Google. And to rank well your brand needs to be relevant.

One of the best methods to accomplish relevance is to create relevant content.

‘Relevance’ is not a stylistic issue as much as it is a systematic process that you can follow.  Remove the mystery surrounding the concept of relevance, remove the idea that some writer’s just ‘have it’ and take a look at the 10 points below that will help you create relevant content every time.

  1. Create a detailed customer persona

Your business, your service, your product, your story  is not relevant to everyone, therefore your content will not be relevant to everyone. And that’s great. Relevance is audience-dependent which means you need to know your audience intimately so you can create content that’s relevant to them.

Part of the mystery surrounding relevance is because writer’s often feel it is a static thing that needs to be ‘achieved’. In reality, relevance is fluid – it is a push-pull between the writer and the reader. Relevance is a conversation rather than the look of your website.

Creating an ideal customer persona is therefore incredibly important.  You need to have a very clear picture of who they are from a demographic perspective as well as understand what their pain points are, why they are searching for solutions, what they value, was motivated them, what their purchase habits are, what keeps them up at night, whether they are influencers or followers etc etc. You will never write relevant content, or position your business as relevant if you don’t know them intimately.

I suggest printing out a picture of your ideal client, giving them a name and then sticking it up on the wall near where you create content. You need to look this person in the eye when you write something for them to ensure it is true and valuable for them. You need to know why the information you are creating is relevant to them and why they would then buy your ‘thing’. Relevance starts with knowing.

  1. Know your user’s intention

Writing a list of keywords is not how you start SEO. After all, how are you going to arrive at a useful set of keywords?? They can’t only be based around your offering otherwise you’ll seriously miss the mark with your content.

A good keyword list comes about by knowing you user’s intent. And you come up with that user intent by understanding your persona (see point 1.)

When a user types a search query, it will typically fall into one of three categories: do something, know something, or go somewhere.

  • Do something – commercial queries: “Buy a picture book for 5 year old girls”
  • Know something – informational queries: “Picture book reviews for children”
  • Go somewhere – navigational queries: “Children’s bookstores”

By researching and interviewing customers or your ideal client you will get to understand ‘intent’ in more detail. Analysis of your website traffic will also assist in this process.

  1. Create a list of keywords

Remember, first and foremost these need to be useful for your user.

Search Engine Land explains it like this:

Just use common sense. Think about the words you want a page to be found for, the words you feel are relevant from your keyword research. Then use them naturally on the page.

Your users experience is paramount.  Deliver the right content for the right user and ensure they receive a valuable experience.  That’s pretty much all there is to it!

So, how do you come up with your list of keywords? Ask yourself;

  • What am I selling? What is the nature of my business? Then create a list of keywords that describe your offering (navigational and commercial queries).
  • What problem is my target customer experiencing or what solution do they want? Create a list of keywords that describe that problem and solution (informational queries).

‘Long-Tail keywords’, or search queries,  are going to generate more traffic for you than top-line generic terms. It’s almost impossible to compete with large organisations with huge SEO budgets on generic terms such as flowers, houses, cars, books etc. Instead use ‘native flowers on the Mornington Peninsula’, or ‘vintage car restoration in Victoria’.

  1. Do the SEO thing

The idea of ‘doing SEO’ can be daunting. It gets spoken about in mythical terms and agencies tell you how hard (and therefore expensive) it is to do. And yes, there are myriad factors to getting it done right – both on and off the page SEO need to work in harmony for real success. However, there are some simple – and free – things you can do to at least get you moving in the right direction.

Having a list of keywords is useless unless you know what to do with them. You need to use the right ones in the right place to get any kind of traction with your optimisation. Each article you write and each page on your website should target a specific keyword or phrase, with your home page targeting the most important ones.

There are four essential elements of on-page SEO. If you use your keywords or some variation of them in these 4 places you’ll be a long way to ‘doing SEO’.

  • The page title.
  • The H1 header.
  • In the content itself.
  • In all image alt tags.

Why is this important for ‘relevance’? Because your users are searching for something…they have an intent when they search…then they type in a query that suits their intent and if your website is successful at targeting that keyword (or phrase) you will rank in their query.

You have to ‘do SEO’ to be relevant. What’s the point of a website if it’s not ranking well in search engines? You have to be relevant to both your users and the search engines (but just make sure you NEVER right specifically for the search engine robots – your site will be penalised and humans will wonder why you’re talking weirdly!)

  1. Include keywords in your meta description

The meta description is the content that displays under the page title on a search engine results page. It tells readers what the page is about. The meta description doesn’t directly affect SEO, however, as it does speak to the user it is imperative that the description is relevant to them and their intention. It also needs to be congruent with the content on the page it is describing.

When you type a query into a search engine, you expect to see results that are relevant to your question. What makes a user decide to click on one or the other result is usually dependent on one of four things:

  • Position on the page
  • The relevance of the title
  • The appropriateness of the URL
  • The value of the meta description

If the meta description is relevant to the query it will usually contain one of the keywords or phrases that the user seeks. It could also use variations of the key word or phrase or at least describe the nature of the keyword.

These simple but effective techniques will help you create a relevant website that answers your users’ intentions and ranks well in search engine results.

Read on for part 2 of how to create relevant website that ranks well.

10 Ways to create a relevant website that ranks well: Part 2

how is this relevantCreating a website that ranks well in search results is dependent on a number of things.  First and foremost your content should answer the questions most commonly asked by your ideal client or customer persona.  You want to be sure that what you are offering and positioning in your content is relevant to your user’s intention. Do they want to know something? Go somewhere? Or do something?  Once you are sure that you’re answering these questions you need to be clever about how you structure your content so that your answers are more easily found than your competitors. You can do that through the use of keywords and phrases  throughout the content, and in the construction of the page i.e. in the page title, meta description and in the headings. This is called ‘on-page SEO.’

These things are described in more detail in Part 1 of 10 Ways to create a relevant website that ranks well.

Part 2 is about adding fuel to your fire of relevance so that you can be sure you are doing everything possible to create a relevant website for your business.

  1. Write sexy meta descriptions

Not only should your meta descriptions contain a keyword or phrase or variations thereof, but they should be written with flair and solid thought.

Remember that your meta description shows up in the search results and needs to make sense when viewed quickly. It should succinctly answer the question of the reader, peak their interest and describe what is on the content page.   Don’t try and trick the search engine robots either – just invite the reader to visit your website.


  1. Create a compelling page statement

When a user clicks through from the search results page they need to feel immediately that the page they have landed on is relevant to their query.  A strong short headline or a couple of lines of summary text will suffice if crafted carefully with the inclusion of keywords.  This summary text should bring the whole idea of the page together and be enough to reassure the reader that they have landed in the right spot.

Regardless of whether the page is static site content or a blog, you can accomplish relevance quickly by creating a summary headline.

  1. Solve a problem


Each of your pages should solve a problem for your reader. Understand and assess your customer’s problem then provide a solution for it in the body of the content. If you do that successfully your page becomes ‘relevant.’

Your user’s problems are the basis of your keyword list and therefore your content marketing strategy. As you solve problems, and create content that is laser-focused on your ideal client, you’ll become good not just at ranking in the search results but also in dominating your niche.

  1. Be timely

Your content should match current trends and events occurring in your niche. How ‘relevant’ you are can be proportional to how timely you are.

Here are two different angles to establishing relevancy with timely content:

  • Write about current events on your blog and social media, put your own spin on them and make them relevant to your niche
  • Write evergreen content for your website. Truly timeless content is just as important if it answers the right questions.
  1. There is no ‘right’ length for your content

Your solutions can be as comprehensive and lengthy as they need to be to successfully solve the problem of your ideal client.  Different platforms demand different levels of detail. So, regardless of whether it’s a 140 character Tweet or a 10,000 word eBook, your content goal should be to remain as relevant as possible to your audience whist answering their questions.



Creating a relevant website, or any other piece of content for that matter, is not just about the subject matter it’s about the mechanics as well.  Sometimes the most awesome writers are not creating the most relevant content. The best results come from a combination of skill, experience, technique and most importantly, the ability to truly understand your ideal clients’ problems.


Bed-hair can create opportunity….

woman in bed with bed hair and bird

So it was really really early, like 5.30am, when I met this guy at the gym. I’d seen him before but we were usually passing in the hallway so to speak. We started with the typical early morning – I’ve still got bed-hair and mascara under my eyes (me, not him) – kind of conversation. You know the kind, where you sort of look sideways whilst trying to glance at yourself in the mirror and hope to god you put your gym pants on the right way and picked two matching socks in the dark, whilst not sounding too chipper in case they’re not a morning person and just grunt at you?

“Cold isn’t it?”
“Yeah, and dark.”
‘Well done for getting here though.”
“Yeah, you too.”
“Have you noticed how hardly anyone is here in the mornings now? This place is almost empty every day.”
“Yeah, I know. It’s spring, and summer’s only around the corner, you’d think there’d be a few more here. I notice you’re here a few mornings each week.”
“Yeah, I try. (thinking to myself – one morning at best….hmm). It’s weird isn’t it…usually on Mondays there’s more people, but by Friday there’s hardly anyone here.”
“Yeah. Probably trying to make themselves feel better after the weekend, then they’re back on it by Thursday. I come regardless of how hard I’ve been partying. Makes me feel better! I’m here early because I start work at 7.30am, so it suits me fine. How about you?”
“I’m here early because my husband leaves for work at 6.30am and I have two young kids in bed.”

And then silence.
The body language shifted. The tone shifted.
“Oh god”, I though aghast. “Was he trying to pick me up??? Was he actually kinda flirting with me?? And has now just opened his eyes and realised I’m a middle-aged married chick with 2 babes in bed??”
Firstly, hilarious because it’s obviously been a while since someone tried to pick me up and I completely missed the signs. Secondly hilarious because it’s 5.30am in the morning and we are NOT at a nightclub. And finally, hilarious because the 5.30am version of me is not pretty in anyone’s books!

But what happened next was great. And perfect. And a relief.
His tone shifted again. His body language shifted again. And he proceeded to tell me that he actually had 4 kids at home in bed…..and that whilst he and his wife are in a trial separation, they co-parent their kids really well and all is very amicable and she’ll actually be at home making breakfast when he gets back….

We then went on to have a really decent chat about where he lives and the reno he’s doing on his garage to create a man-cave (something he’s always wanted but wasn’t allowed …) and then I told him about how we’re renovating our garage and how my husband wants it to be a man cave with a stripper-pole(!), but in actual fact it’s going to be my studio, my sanctuary and a place for my parents to crash….and then how he’s a concreter and knows some guys who could maybe help us and how he really needs some business and marketing advice to grow his business and could I help him, and blah blah blah….

And so it goes that a chance meeting in a gym at 5.30am which began innocently, then got awkward and momentarily icky, then was ok again once we both realised there was no agenda and that we both looked pretty unsexy at that time of the morning with our bed-hair and wrinkled gym clothes regardless of any mutual attraction or inclination, turned into a great meeting of shared renovation tips and business advice.

Never miss an opportunity to connect with people. Say ‘hi’, or ‘can I help you?’ even when you have mascara smudged under your eyes. You never know where it may lead….

What’s the value of a writer’s retreat?

book and computerWhether you’re a business-owning 40-something like me, a fresh university graduate, a middle-aged career-changer, or a retired widow, a writing retreat could be just what you need to start that book, finish your online course content, or finally get the blogging under control that you’ve been meaning to do all year.

It isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but it certainly is mine….and it’s also exceptionally useful, helpful and necessary when you lead a busy life and just need to get some stuff done.

Most people I speak with are completely mystified as to why I would want to run away and ‘just write’ for the weekend. They can’t fathom why I’d have to leave home to do that when I have a perfectly good space and computer at home (except for those entrepreneurial females I know who have young children…THEY get it!). They also don’t really understand when I say that I actually just want to write ALL day, like 8 hours per day, almost non-stop, except for good coffee and chocolate breaks.

The truth is, there is not a chance in hell I can be that focused at home or get that much done in my own space. And I bet you can’t either. What I know is that in this year, when I’ve managed to get away 5 times to work ON my business, I have made more progress than in any of the previous 4 years.  I absolutely adore my home and family, but I do have to get away from my ‘norm’ to rocket myself forward.  I simply value my time more preciously, immerse myself more completely in the task at hand and concentrate more fully on what I need to achieve.

But don’t get me wrong, it’s not always beers and skittles. There are plenty of headaches in the lead up to these trips, and occasionally I wonder why I bother given the stress and military-style organisation required before I go, BUT, it is always entirely worth it in the end.

So how do you manage a writer’s retreat, especially if time and money are scarce? And how do you maximise the value of it?

1. Be aware of the difference between a writing ‘conference’, where you’ll learn skills and techniques through classes and workshops, and a writing ‘retreat’.  Whilst a writing conference can be wonderful if you’re either a) new to the professional writing game and need to up the ante on your skills, or b) at a point in your career when you want to pitch your book idea to agents, or c) you fancy meeting and socialising with other writers/publishers, the truth is you will get very little actual writing done. As in, probably nada. There is no doubt enormous value and joy in hanging out in an environment where words matter, but writing conferences can be very pricey and more of a networking or education gig than actually a writing one.

2. There are as many different writing retreats as there are writers. You need to be really clear about your purpose for attending a writing retreat, then get a clear understanding of the goals of each different retreat. Some offer full food and board in luxury surrounds, with on-hand mentoring/editing available. These are for people who really desire to get their work done without distraction, in a short period of time.  It is also usually for those who value the personalised service and inspiration that comes with a higher price tag. Other retreats offer very spartan accommodation, maybe just a bed and a desk in a simple dormitory, with communal kitchen facilities and no mentoring included. You will certainly be rubbing shoulders with other writers but you will not usually have the same level of support available and you will need to share amenities. The lower price tag means you could stay for an extended period of time, however.

3. Any amount of time on retreat is a good amount of time. You don’t need to lock yourself away for a month, or even a week, if you simply can’t be away from reality for that long. If you can only manage a weekend, that’s cool. So much can be achieved in two or three days when you have little to no other distractions. A quiet space to retreat to for 48 hours is plenty of time to work on difficult writing issues you may have been facing. You can nut them out on retreat, and then have a solid plan in place to continue working on once you get back home.

4. Retreat with a friend. The value is immense. Not only will it usually make your stay more affordable if you share with a buddy, but you will also be able to use each other as motivation and accountability.  Whether it helps fuel your competitive streak, or simply provides comfort in the difficult times, having a pal on hand to read your work aloud to at night is very valuable. Just be sure the friend you bring is really keen to stay ‘on-task’ and is not too chatty! You need someone you can be honest with and who you can tell politely to ‘shut up’!

5. Allow yourself some breaks without feeling guilty. The tendency is to be hard on ourselves when we have invested time and money into something like a writer’s retreat. We always want to ensure we are getting maximum value from our investment. But don’t get too cross with yourself if you sleep in or want a siesta. You will need to refuel and re-energise – it’s vital to the creative process. Clearing the head by doing some exercise should also be a guilt-free break.

6. Be really clear – and realistic – about what you want to achieve in the time you have. Don’t go into a two-day retreat hoping to write the next great Australian novel from cover to cover. Check in with yourself and decide what the next most important writing project is for you, then break that up into sizeable chunks with clear deliverables. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect too much, especially if it is your first time. By the same token, don’t go away for a week and only task yourself with writing 4 blog posts…..

7. Go on a writer’s retreat a couple of times each year. Visiting your muse and taking time out to reconnect with your voice is vital for business communicators as well as fiction writers. It doesn’t happen without some effort.


I run writer’s retreats for business owners who need support, time and space to help their words flow. Whether it’s a confidence issue, a technique concern or an accountability obstacle, I provide writing guidance as well as commercial nouse to help bring your words to life and grow your business through your message.

Contact me to find out when the next retreat is running.

How to commercialise your purpose and not vomit

purpose into prosperityI’ve been speaking with lots of female business owners lately, most of whom are running what I would call ‘heart-driven’ businesses. They are doing the work they’re doing because they believe it’s their calling. They are really living and working in their purpose, doing what feels right,  and all of them are, no-doubt, excellent practitioners.

So you’d think they had it all figured out and were feeling flush with success, yes? That they were lucky enough to have found their calling early on and were living and breathing it every day? Uh, no. Not so. Most of them feel like they’re missing something – at least that’s what they’ve told me, and that’s intuitively what I’ve felt when I’ve spoken with them.  And that THING is the ability to commercialise their ‘purpose’. To really and truly make a good living from their magical superpower.

Being ‘commercial’ and being heart-centred or soul-focused may sound like a dichotomy. How can you be all spiritual and gorgeous and nurturing and gentle and floaty but then put yourself out there, pop your business hat on and actually ask for money for what you do? It usually makes these women feel sick to their stomachs and so they typically under-value themselves.

Then I also see and talk with those at the other end of the scale, the ones that the heart-driven types just can’t relate to.  The hustlers, the hard-arses, the masculine female types. But funnily enough, guess what? They have their own set of crazy problems when it comes to connecting with people and growing their business. How can there be any soul or meaning or heart whatsoever in the hard-faced bitches in their power suits that strut around saying they’re worth thousands of dollars every day, demanding people pay to merely talk with them for minutes, handing out business cards in every toilet line they find themselves in? Well, deep down, many of these women are quietly wondering why people aren’t lining up at the door to connect with them, nervous and knowing that something is amiss. (This is a whole other story, for another day, another blog.)

The truth is that most ‘woo-woo’ business owners* I’ve met over the years used to drive me mad with their lack of commercial nous. You see, I belonged to the second group. It used to make me wild that these ethereal and flighty beings, whilst completely endearing and in touch with themselves and the goodness of the world, had no idea about how to turn their ideas into real products that people could purchase.  I could see the value in what they were offering (god knows I’ve bought enough of their services), but they’d constantly bemoan the poor creative soul and almost wallow in their ‘poverty’, wearing it as a badge of honour. There was no plan to move beyond that point of pain and make a change, which frustrated the hell out of me – and they weren’t even my businesses! Being financially successful  and being woo-woo appeared to be at complete opposite ends of the spectrum – and never the twain shall meet.

Until recently.

Thankfully, as my views have altered/relaxed/matured, and in parallel the world of modern entrepreneurialism has changed, it’s perfectly valid and viable now to run a business that is both on purpose in a spiritual sense, is meaningful for the owner and that also makes money. Who would have thunk it???

What’s interesting for me is that as I grew up professionally in a very masculine world where, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was all about pricing, product, placement and promotion (plus deals being made on the golf course), the way I was trained to look at businesses first and foremost, was with a heavy focus on revenue streams.  It was always about how is the idea positioned, what are the competitive offerings and how can we smash them, how can we price this for best effect, what is the ceiling on your offering, how do we crash through that ceiling by changing up how we do things, how do we package up and bundle services, how do we reach untapped audiences, how can we cash in to best effect without having to work harder?

Well guess what? That stuff hasn’t really changed. But what HAS changed, is how I approach all of this. AND there are a couple of new questions to throw into the mix, namely:  how can we create passive income streams for you (using technology as a channel to market) so you make money in your sleep whilst offering massive value, how can we use YOU and your stories to connect with your audience through marketing rather than gimmicks or trickery or clever copy, and and how can you maximise your intellectual property without undermining yourself?

What’s really cool is that the answer is WE CAN do all of this. It really can be done. You can be woo-woo (all love and joy being sent your way) and commercial in the same breath, without compromising your values and beliefs. You don’t have to get a power suit and black patent pumps to rock your business (although a fabulous pair of black patent pumps NEVER goes astray in a wardrobe…). What has to be revealed though, is the connector between where you’ve come from and why you’re doing what you’re doing now, resulting in an honest understanding about what your value is to others. Your past experiences inform your present reality in a big way, but you get to choose which trajectory your stories take you on. The way you reacted to those experiences plus your innate personality will uncover your uniqueness; they provide the signposts to living and working in your purpose. When you’ve done that, there should be no question as to the value that you offer and the manner in which you can earn a living from what you do.

Looking beyond the actual ‘thing’ you do is really important. It’s not just a service you offer, it’s the manner in which you offer it and the reason you offer that particular thing. People buy into people (and dreams), not products or services. They want what you’ve got because it promises them a better version of themselves. The most powerful selling point you have is when you can demonstrate how that ‘thing’ worked for you. How it took you from A to B. Then they not only hear the value but see the value.

Compartmentalising the knowledge in your head is part of this process. Understanding the chunks of stuff that you know and the ways in which you impart that knowledge to create an affect on someone else (your clients) is really important. This is the content you can then use to blog about, to create marketing campaigns from, to build eCourses and programs from and to broaden your reach with. The little pieces of your life (both personal and professional) that are drip fed through your content are going to appeal to different people at different points in time. Someone will relate to one aspect of your journey whilst another may not be interested at all.  But the next time you write, the snippet may just resonate beautifully with that second person who found little of interest in your first piece of writing. Don’t keep it all the same. Change things up. Offer different variations of you and you will strike a chord with the right person at the right time.

When you categorise the knowledge you have, and understand the ways in which your story (your personality, your experiences and the reactions to those experiences) can touch different people at different times, you are ready to commercialise your purpose. It is then that you need to get objective – take a bird’s eye view of the information you are now familiar with and break it up into consumable pieces. Don’t be wedded to it as a lifetime body of work that must be given to all clients all at once. If you do that, you have nowhere to lead them. They have no reason to come back to you. Break up what you know into a logical order or process. It may be a blog series, an eCourse, a book, a coaching program, a workshop, a webinar series etc etc. You will be offering more value to the people who seek help from you AND you can help more people at once. THIS is when you can start to really grow your business. Stop trading hours for dollars and start to really leverage your knowledge.

It may seem a vile task to think about your beautiful gift in terms of cold hard cash. What I know though, is that if YOU don’t think about it, noone else will either. And then very few people will get to experience the gift that you have.



* Woo-woo is NOT a derogatory term, it’s just how I can best describe those people that operate on a realm that I, (until recently) had seriously no idea about! Happily I have embraced my inner woo-woo (in fact, I realised I was quite woo-woo as a teenager and then I was a bit of a pretend woo-woo at uni, and then I lost my woo-woo completely in my 20s….

11 simple ways to make your blog rock n roll.

rock n roll danceThe difference between a great blog and an ordinary one is simple. It’s all about giving the reader – your perfect, ideal client – what they want.

If you are constantly writing and getting little response it may be time to try a new approach.  It could be the technical execution, in which case you can learn some simple skills to sharpen that pencil.  Or it could be that you’re not truly understanding what it is that your readers need and want.

Blogging used to be the domain of techy nerds and news journalists. But that has all changed. It’s now become commonplace due to the low barriers to entry and amazing reach. Every man and their dog (or woman and their cat) seems to have a blog. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy….to get it right….

On the crowded platform that is the blogging world, there has never been more need for credibility and quality writing. You have to dig deep and understand the fundamental desires and pain points of your audience and then use your writing to speak to them in a way that resonates and offers value….otherwise you are one of the mere masses and your blog will be doomed.

Here are some tools to help you get over that hump where it’s just your mum who reads your blog…. It’s time for the big time baby!

1. Tell your story

Your story is your differentiator. It’s the thing that people relate to.  They’ll either love it or not. Either way, that’s ok. You add to your tribe or you rule people out of your world (which is equally cool, because you don’t need distracters or time wasters in your midst).

Even when you’re blogging about business, you should inject some of yourself and your story into it. It’s the stuff that makes you human, lowers the barriers and has people lean forward in their seats, saying “yeah, me too.”

Tapping into the emotions of your readers is where you will truly connect with them.  Remove the logic, remove the stats and reasons, just speak from the heart.

2. Be direct

People often confuse being personal and being casual or unprofessional. Even though  you are conveying thought through your own experiences and story, you should still be writing properly.  Don’t ramble and don’t run on sentences. Be precise in your message.

Every year the amount of content we are expected to consume increases. Every year out attention span shortens. Online, this paradigm is magnified enormously. We pretty much have no greater capacity to concentrate on any one thing than a goldfish….which means that as a communicator you have a tiny bubble in which to capture the attention of your people.  Be blunt. But not rude.

3. Get to the point

The first couple of sentences are the most important in blogging. Just as in old-skool journalism, where you state the case and give your view on it in the first sentence of a column, so too should a blog get to the point very early on in the game. If you don’t get your reader’s attention first up, they won’t continue to read on.

Try opening with your conclusion. Share the point of your post right up front, then the tell the story of how you got there. Surprise, intrigue and controversy are all things which keep people reading.

4. Show, don’t tell

Humans are very visual creatures. Use an image to illustrate your point wherever possible. Like here.don't tell show

Use words to make the point and hammer it home, but where possible, back up those words with an image which proves the point.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, even Twitter (more retweets occur when an image is included) all rely in imagery for impact.

5. Set the scene

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this:


It’s midnight and the house is quiet. You can only hear the light snoring of your cat on the comfy chair, wallowing in the warmth of the dying embers of the fire. Your children’s heads are full of purple unicorns and demon-fighting Lego men. Your husband tosses restlessly from side to side, knowing intuitively that you’re not lying next to him. You stare at the blank page on your screen, as you have done for the third hour in a row, wondering when the words will flow out of your wine-addled brain through your fingers and into some creative format called a story….

Help your reader explore their imagination and lose themselves in your prose. Put them in the story you’re telling, in the lead role.

6. Assemble your words properly

Formatting plays a huge role in how – or if – your blog is read. Skim reading is completely normal online. People have little tolerance or patience for large blocks of text that they can’t run their eye over and quickly be satisfied that they’ve understood the gist of the article.

Complaining about how people don’t read like they used to, will not only position you as a crotchety old nana, it won’t get you anywhere in this day and age of online writing. So, if you can’t beat ’em, join em! You should try to see this new style of reader as a challenge to be conquered.  Think about how you can communicate the most important parts of your post to someone reading it via a phone in the space of of just 1-2 minutes.

The best way to do so is to break up the big blocks of text into manageable chunks.

USE HEADINGS for guidance and bullet points to separate sentences. Highlighting the most important content is key.

7. Use references for proof

“Why should I believe you?” is the subliminal text running through most readers’ minds. Support your content and opinions with facts. Reliable information is a little hard to come by in our digital age….help make yourself more credible by using data or science or research to back up your claims.

8. Social proof

This is increasingly relevant and weighty. Hang around with clever cookies and you might be considered clever by association. Curating content or citing experts from within your field shows that you know who’s who. Bolstering your blog with credibility helps you gain exposure to new audiences, and position yourself as a reputable expert in your niche.

9. Compare and Contrast

Using an existing reference site/point/idea is a great way to point out how you (or your idea) are different and similar. Take a concept which is easy to relate to and throw the spotlight on it.

Entrepreneurs often to this in their BBQ pitch:

  • “It’s like Twitter, but for photos”
  • “It’s like Paypal, but more stable”

Building on a known reference point can often cause the “aha” moment you seek.

10. Recap

Of those who actually do read your post, many will skim read and others will just read the first and last paragraphs. Try then to summarise your main points at the top and tail of your blog.

11. Call to action (CTA)

Blogs are information, yes, but they are also a great source of leads for a business. Always be thinking of ways to offer value to your audience and then an easy way to opt in to working with you or learning from you further.

Do you want them to read another post? Opt in to your newsletter? Buy a product? Leave a review? Click on a link? Write a comment? Pick up the phone?

Your CTA should be clear and easily actionable. Your post is effectively the build up to the CTA – the thing that the reader should do next.

12. Practise

The final tip is practise. There’s nothing surer than that writing helps your writing. There’s no shortcuts. No magic bullet or wand.

Brian Clark from Copyblogger makes this point beautifully.

The top 10 steps to becoming a better writer:

  1. Write.
  2. Write more.
  3. Write even more.
  4. Write even more than that.
  5. Write when you don’t want to.
  6. Write when you do.
  7. Write when you have something to say.
  8. Write when you don’t.
  9. Write every day.
  10. Keep writing.

So what’s next?

My advice would be to go back over your existing blogs to see how they fare, knowing what you now know.

Are any of these tools in action? Can you easily revise some paragraphs to make them more readable? Are your readers able to understand the point quickly and succinctly?

You’ll probably find some are naturally better than others because you were using a handful of these methods without realising it. If you keep all these points in mind next time you write, your blogs will be rockin’ and rollin’ in no time.


Create a Catchy Business Name in 9 Easy Steps!

Creative-tips-for-picking-a-business-name-smallOne of the best time wasters for an entrepreneur embarking on a new venture is figuring out the right name for their business. Generating the business idea seems to be the easy bit – NAMING the idea often stumps people.  Securing the appropriate domain name…and then getting the business cards made….and then the website designed are usually the next time wasters waiting in the wings. Actually, there are HEAPS of great time wasters – but let’s just focus on the first one shall we? Below are some great tips to create a catchy business name (and then secure the appropriate domain name!).

Choosing the right name for your business can be tricky if you let it be. The key is in not trying to be too clever. If you create something that doesn’t work as a domain name, is too hard to remember, or doesn’t represent what you do, it will be a constant battle to market yourself.

As a quick reality check, don’t expect your domain name to be so amazing that just seeing it will inspire someone to pick up the phone and hand over their credit card details. That’s the job of your marketing materials, as well as your online and offline presentation and conversations.  However, certainly an attractive domain name can help entice prospects to your site and will greatly enhance recall once someone has visited once.Here are 9 tips to help you create a memorable and catchy business name that’s going to work FOR you not AGAINST you when it comes to marketing:1. Easy to read – Make sure your business name is clear and easy to read when written as a domain name. Sometimes a designated business name has an unintentional second meaning when the words are pushed together in a browser bar. The juxtaposition may have amusing – or terrible – consequences! For example: Therapist Finder is a Californian site dedicated to helping you find the therapist or counsellor you need. However when you read their domain name, you could be forgiven for thinking the website is for rather a more unsavoury search! www.therapistfinder.com

2. Easy to understand – Don’t make people think too hard when they see your business name; it creates doubt and hesitation and ultimately stalls action.

3. Shorter is better – Names with simple and short words are easier to remember and type and share. For example www.CoachJo.com.au is better than www.JoJohnsonExecutiveBusinessCoaching.com.au

4. Easy to remember – Make your name as easy as possible for people to recall and tell others about. If you overcomplicate it they won’t remember it.

5. You like it – The name should be something that sounds and feels good to you; hopefully you’ll be using it for many years to come!

6. Expresses a benefit – This isn’t always easy, but is ideal if you can manage it. Your target audience wants an answer to their questions which is why they’re seeking your help – if your domain name can offer this benefit it will be a winner. For example: www.OvercomeObstacles.com.au

7. Spells out what you do – There is nothing better than ending up on a webpage that is exactly what you expected after you click a link. It sounds simple but so often it’s not the case!  Thus a name like www.TheContentCoach.com.au would work well if the website has loads of information on it about coaching people to create content!

8. The domain name is available – Domain names are being bought by people every moment of every day. Many are bought specifically just to be sold for a higher price – they have become a commodity to trade in like shares. Make sure that the business name you are thinking of using has a matching domain name that is available. If there is no direct match, you could use a little creativity to still come up with a good one. For example, if www.SuccessCoach.com.au is taken, you could try www.YourSuccessCoach.com.au.

9. Go for a ‘.com.au’ over .net, .org, or any other extension. It is what people expect from a business operating in Australia. If you are marketing yourself overseas, then it’s a good idea to also buy the relevant domains for countries in which you want to be found.


Here are some examples of good domain names

www.FlatmateFinders.com.au – I know exactly what I’m going to get when I land on this site.www.BusinessCoachPhil.com – Easy to remember, spell and pass on to others. It states exactly what Phil does (or is).

www.WellnessCoachingAustralia.com.au – It’s obvious what the service is and where they operate.

www.DailyBlogTips.com – The promise of the offering is in the name.


In conclusion, remember not to fret for too long over the perfect business name. Take heed of the advice above and you should end up with a catchy business name that can be smartly and memorably marketed both on- and offline.

ps. These tips are equally valid to remember if you are trying to name a program or service within your offering.

Dragons and 7 year olds – the real purpose of your business

sun in handA couple of days ago I shared a post on my personal Facebook page and my business page about a conversation I had with Miss 7, regarding an author who visited her school. He – and his message – left a lasting impression on her. It got lots of amazing feedback, both verbal and on FB, so I thought I’d share it here, and elaborate further on the poignancy of it….

The author had helped the children see how ‘ok’ it is to be different and actually how important it is to celebrate that difference.

The story he wrote and read them was about a dragon who couldn’t fly and was teased because of it. But he could ride a scooter like a champion….
The lasting words etched in Miss 7’s mind were “Always follow your sun.”
She had an inkling of what it meant…”always look on the bright side of life?”
But when I offered another suggestion: “always follow your purpose”, the flood gates of enquiry followed, as did the prickles of tears in my eyes.
“What’s my purpose in life mummy? What will I be when I grow up? Why am I here? What’s YOUR purpose mummy?…..”

Wow. Ok, ummm….

As it happens, I’ve been working on my legacy and my purpose recently. I’ve been challenged on it and made to think quite deeply about it. And what I realised, is that it doesn’t matter what it is, so long as it comes from deep inside you and really REALLY resonates with every fibre of your being. That’s not to say that your purpose has to be exceptionally lofty or globally affecting. You don’t have to want to cure cancer or save the world from poverty for it to be valid; it can definitely be more humble than that. However, I do think it needs to run deeper than simply wanting to be rich or famous.

What I know is that it is very difficult to run a business effectively and sustainably if you a) don’t believe deeply that what you sell is of value and b) that there is a bigger reason beyond finances and fame for what you are doing.  Life as an entrepreneur/small business owner can be tough. There are many highs and lows, but the lows are particularly difficult to navigate if you don’t have a bigger end game in mind. Finding motivation to pull you out of the darkness is nearly impossible without a purpose.

So this exchange with my daughter was uncannily timely. Two weeks ago I found, hidden in the recesses of my mind, the reason I’m doing what I’m doing. And it took me by surprise if I’m honest, because I didn’t think I knew what my purpose was anymore. Things have changed so much for me over the last few years, and again more heartily in the last 9 months, that I felt that my ‘big ass why’ had gone westward. The truth is, I simply hadn’t been encouraged to voice it until recently, and because I hadn’t voiced it, I wasn’t entirely sure that it existed. I had a suspicion, but I was sceptical about the strength of it as my true driver.

Standing up in front of a group of open hearted women, in a safe and supportive space with nowhere to hide, helped the truth flow. It made sense as it gushed out of my mouth, and the tears and wringing heart told me it was real.

My wish for all of my clients and fellow entrepreneurs is that they voice their reason for doing what they’re doing to someone, anyone! By giving it language, by giving it breath, you fuel it.  Finding your true purpose for being on this earth is SO important. Finding it young is an amazing gift, because you get to live more of it. But finding it at 85 is still amazing and worthwhile and imperative.

Climbing trees and other entrepreneurial activities

IMG_5658What an incredible week I’ve had, hanging out with my mastermind tribe on the Gold Coast.  I’ve had an absolute blast, grown so much and got so much done. And there’s been some big lessons about ‘tribe’ that I wanted to share….

This group of female entrepreneurs are funny, clever, passionate, driven, authentic, inspiring, emotional, and very very human. We laughed together, cried together, drank, giggled, danced together.  We read tarot cards, manifested money, walked, skipped, and played together.  We had photoshoots, sang songs, told jokes, climbed trees and ate great food. And last but certainly not least we wrote blogs, created ads, built sales funnels, filmed videos, created programs, generated leads, wrote social posts and made sales – lots of them.

It’s such a powerful thing to find YOUR people who offer you insight into yourself and who help you shine. Then when you immerse yourself in them for an intense period of time the result is magnified by 100! There is so much gold to be uncovered during retreats such as these. The collective energy generated by a group of likeminded people who all want the best for each other is ridiculous. It’s so powerful and palpable.  You can actually feel it working its magic in the room. If you put yourself in a position to be stretched beyond your usual limits – emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually – you’ll experience incredible breakthroughs.

And you know what’s REALLY amazing about these gals? EVERYONE had to work hard to get here. And when I mean work hard, I mean organise kids/animals, ensure meal plans were done, au pairs were organised, husbands were on board, bills were paid, client work was done early, etc etc.  For some it was also a financial stretch, but every single one of us made it happen. Why? Because we care enough – about ourselves and each other – and because we know the amazing outcomes from intensive weeks like these.  When you dig deep and make shit happen, you propel your business and yourself forward, exponentially.

Forgive me my personal rant today, but I wanted to share this with you because I know there are learnings for each of you here. Whether you’re considering working with a mentor or coach, joining a mastermind group or you’re feeling alone in your business right now and are unsure of how to make that better, rest assured there are others who feel the same and there are people who can help.

Keep fighting for what you believe in, keep working towards your ideal perfect day…..

Happy writing!

Big hugs.

ps. The picture of me in the tree is to remind you that business doesn’t have to be serious to be successful….and also that when you climb high or change your perspective on things, your challenges will suddenly look more like opportunities.

pps. If you want to find out if I can help you build YOUR tribe, add your details in here and we can have a chat about what your next steps are.

6 Ways To Grow Your Business With Content Marketing

content ideasAll of us want to grow our businesses, otherwise why are we doing what we’re doing, right?  Here are a handful of ways you can use words to your advantage in growing profits for your business.

  1. Increase Your Profile

One of the first things people do before they buy from you is check you out – and so they should. Everyone wants to do business with people they like and trust. In this day and age it’s very easy to perform those checks – your digital footprint is already strong, whether you like it or not. It doesn’t take much to figure out who someone is, how they operate, who their friends are and what sort of service they deliver.

Potential customers will look at your website, nosey around all of your social media profiles, check out the profiles of your customers and read reviews. For these reasons it’s incredibly important to look after your online ‘face’ and ensure it represents you in the best light possible.

  • Always keep contact details up to date and highly visible
  • Keep an eye on review sites to see what people are saying about you and respond appropriately where necessary
  • Update your social profiles regularly – post new content and respond to queries/feedback
  • Publish information on your blog/website that helps customers see and feel the authentic version of you and your business
  1. Appeal To New Customers With Content Marketing

When it comes to increasing profits we tend to think about acquiring more customers. But how can you use content to entice these customers? By turning your website into a hub of valuable information that your prospects are looking for, you will begin attracting your ideal customers from a variety of different channels.

Increasing the number of website pages filled with relevant and unique content means:

  • More space to target keywords and phrases that can be searched via Google
  • More fodder for people to engage with on social media
  • More reasons to email your database with valuable information that generates interest
  • More ways to build rapport and increase your credibility
  1. Increase Customer Lifetime Value

Whilst clearly necessary, acquiring new customers is hard work! Another way to grow your business is by increasing the value of your existing client base.

There’s a couple of ways to do so:

  • Increase Purchasing Frequency

If you are consistently publishing new content that’s relevant to your customer base, you have a valid reason to contact them with it. It keeps you front of mind and brings your products and services back to the forefront for them. For someone who may purchase from you once every six months, content marketing can help inspire them to buy every three months instead. You therefore double their value as a customer.

Often people are in need of their next purchase but they’re simply not aware of it yet. This lag time is costing you money. By touching base more regularly you can reduce the lag time in purchasing frequency and increase your profits.

  • Build Longer Relationships

When you increase your communications schedule and deliver genuine value through your comms, you are going to build a stronger relationship and connection with your customers. When you make them part of your conversation they will feel more inclined to engage with you. It helps to extend the life of your relationships from one purchase to multiple purchases and from months to years.

Building a solid base of repeat customers with a high lifetime value helps iron out the cashflow highs and lows and gives you more revenue to acquire new customers with.

  1. Get More Customer Referrals

Creating content that is eminently shareable is the best way to increase word of mouth business. Give your customers something to talk about so that they proactively share your name with friends, family and colleagues. Publish content that gets cut through (is clever, witty, emotive) and is relevant to solving your customers’ problems. Then ask them nicely to share it with anyone they think may benefit. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive!


  1. Lower Your Sales Costs

Profits are equally tied to expenses as they are to revenue.   By leveraging content marketing you can reduce the amount of time and effort spent on sales thereby reducing costs.

Time is money. And if you’re spending too much time, or your sales person or team is spending too much time on mundane tasks that are not revenue generating, then you are wasting money. Your sales function needs to be as streamlined as possible and that means only working with high quality leads that can be closed quickly. If prospects come to your sales team further along the decision making process, well-qualified, how much better would that be for everyone?

Content marketing can definitely help with this. When you publish content that’s aligned with your ideal customer’s decision making process, you are creating assets that educate and nurture prospects; they’ll either qualify or disqualify themselves as a realistic lead for your business. This is great news! It makes the sales call that much faster and easier for everyone.

The use of marketing automation technology allows you to build these sequences once and then have them running without taking the time of anyone on your team. For instance, when someone visits your website and likes what they see, they download a free thing to continue their education. They then start to receive emails from you, which furthers their knowledge and helps them understand how you can help them. When it comes time to buy, they are more likely to call you, as your brand and know-how will be top of mind. Combining your content and technology in this way can be invaluable to your bottom line.

  1. Reduce Customer Support Time

The key to content marketing is providing information that is educational, entertaining, or valuable in some way. A great place to start is with a list of frequently asked questions by your prospects and customers. If you publish really detailed answers to all of these you will be saving your support team a whole host of time, whilst offering a very valuable service to your customers. The Q&A content becomes an asset to your business that can be used over and over again. Instead of writing a full email response every time a different client asks you a similar question, you can send them a link to your blog post that has already been written.

Having these content assets available on your website also reduces the amount of support phone calls you need to answer. Customers are likely to search on Google or browse your website for answers before they dial. They’ll appreciate you making the information easy to find.

Content marketing can and should be customised for every business. Don’t ignore it and don’t leave it to chance. Regular, relevant content is a fantastic way to increase the profitability of your business.

If you need a hand creating content for YOUR business, drop me a line and we can figure it out on a free ideas extraction session.


Recent Posts

Connect socially