Loadsa website copy, some email strategy and identifying what I could be doing better in my own business.
It’s been a fun and fairly consistent six months. Here’s what’s been happening in the world of Rose Crompton Content Marketer & Copywriter from July-December 2019.
Website writing gigs
‘Sexy’ is a good way to describe the last six months of website work. It’s been sexy in terms of new industries, sexy new website planning tools I’m playing with, and for one client the pages I’ve written are getting some sexy as hell results for them.
Sexy new industries
My relationship with the world of adult goes back to my Scarlet magazine days, but it was only in July that I got my first copywriting gig for an escort.
I’ve always thought of myself as sex worker friendly. I’m happy to provide my services to this industry. Sex work is work and just like other freelance and small businesses, the marketing services of a copywriter and content marketer are sometimes needed. But the opportunity to write copy for independent professional escorts has never come up. Then in the last six months I’ve had two people knock on my door at once.
The first project was writing a profile page for a male companion in Edinburgh. The second was a much larger website project for a female companion based here in Australia.
I learnt a lot about my writing style and headspace during these projects. Ghostwriting is part of my job. As is finding the emotional connection between my client’s business and their client. This bit might sound weird if you’re not a fellow writer, but I try to become the business person I’m writing about.
It’s all a bit ‘method’, but not to the level of Christian Bale.
Writing copy for these escorts took me to a whole other emotional level. Given the subject and nature of the industry this is hardly surprising. But I found it really interesting in terms of how I changed little things about myself when working on these projects.
By the end of it I felt emotionally drained. Each was tough in its own way. But I loved the challenge and I’m stoked with the results.
Sex work isn’t the only new industry I’ve written website copy for in these last six months. I’ve also started a project in the beauty and wellbeing sector and am regularly writing for a Las Vegas wedding company. It’s funny how I’ve ended up writing about love and relationships from two very different perspectives.
I’ve often wondered if I should have a better-defined niche. Honestly though, I love the variation in my list of clients. For me, a good client is someone who has a positive approach to their business, ethics and treat their clients with respect. It’s less about the industry they work in.
Sexy website results
While we’re on the subject of my wedding client, I’m stoked with the results I’m getting for them so far. Work on their copy started in August after Barb Davids, from Compass Digital Strategies connected us. We’re actually working together for this client and fuck me drunk, it’s proving effective.
A couple of the result highlights we’ve achieved for the website pages so far include:
- A page rewrite resulting in a 42% increase in search visibility in the first month
- Google snippet and featured in the ‘People Also Ask’ box for keywords
- Over 25 warm leads from two pieces of article content, since September
It’s nice to collaborate with someone who really knows about SEO. Tracking and seeing results like these allow me to refine the copy and messaging I’m putting together for the client so it becomes more and more effective.
Sexy website tool
A tough part of the website creation process is seeing how all the website copy I’m creating for them fits together across different pages. Like what pages link to what, what will be in the navigation menus and the topics each page will discuss. This is where a sitemap is handy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘sitemap’, it’s a diagram that lays out how your website looks. Here’s a crappy drawing of an earlier version of my website as a site map.
Anyway, to try and help my clients understand how their website comes together I’ve started using a sexy website mapping tool called Slickplan. Kate Toon put me onto and I flipping love it. My clients love it. And it makes explaining the vision you have for a website so much easier because you can add link lines, makes notes on what’s included in the page and with the paid versions you can even upload all the content you’ve written into the tab for that page. Great for when you’re ready to send the whole lot to the design/development company.
Delving into email strategy
When it comes to email marketing, my role tends to only go as far as writing the emails. I rarely plan the whole email sequence. Don’t think I’ve done that since my Harmony Store days. However, my wedding client wanted to review all the copy in her email onboarding process, which meant looking at the whole strategy.
To my surprise I totally geeked out and really enjoyed it. Mapping out the user journey and what messaging needs to come in at what point was a nerdy thrill. It helped that I had another fun new tool to play with. Called Miro (suggestion from copywriter, Matt Fenwick) you get to make nifty flow diagrams and agile boards.
When it came to presenting the strategy to my client, they seemed impressed. Triggers were clearly defined, the sequence was simple to follow and we were able to easily work out what emails were missing. It was great!
While website pages and emails have dominated my writing time in the last six months, I’ve also had chance to work on:
- Several press releases for TotallyMoney and my wedding client
- A sales landing page for another copywriter’s product (she was too close to it)
- Blogs for AdultWork
- Service pages and blogs for Keppel Dental.
What’s on the horizon
On the immediate horizon is a holiday. I’m heading back to the UK for a cold Christmas and to catch up with family. But once I’m back at my desk, it’s all systems go again.
I’ll write the beauty website I mentioned. This should be wrapped by March.
Keppel Dental will launch their blog and the extra services pages I’m writing.
Another escort has been in touch, so that could be a whole new project.
I’ll start work on the next set of blogs for AdultWork.
It’ll be FAQs and blogs for the wedding crew.
And to cap it all I’ve got my first podcast interview in January. Which is terrifying.
Wins and happy moments from the last six months
I’ve talked about the client work I’ve enjoyed, but I’ve also had lots of upbeat moments in my own business.
One of my biggest motivators is client feedback. I’m a people pleaser. The thought of someone being unhappy while working with me or hating the content I create for them makes me feel nauseous. So, when I get positive feedback it keeps me going. (And keeps the self-doubt at bay.)
I’ve had some pretty epic compliments from clients in the last six months, in the form of testimonials and cool things they share with me during email exchanges.
I’ve been learning how to put more of these little lines of praise to good use. If you follow me on social media you might have seen me share some of the above comments. Honestly, I know we talk about getting testimonials and sharing them, but I think if a client sends you an email or message that includes praise, ask if you can use it for your marketing. After all, you’ve earned it.
Hosting ContentClubUK Twitter chat
The #ContentClubUK community on Twitter is great. It’s a friendly, supportive bunch of creatives from across the world. Once a week we get together using the hashtag and answer the host’s questions. Sometimes the questions are about business, sometimes freelance life and other times it’s all about cake, biscuits and snacks.
It’s a great chat to be part of because you always learn something new. The amount of knowledge shared is brilliant. It’s an example of community over competition and, collectively, we’re all stronger for it.
I had the pleasure of hosting my first CCUK and it was nuts. The number of notifications and replies… It was tough to keep up. I asked the community about finding and attractive ideal clients. A lot of top-notch creatives shared their wisdom, which I compiled into this post here.
Always love those chats, so hosting one was a real pleasure. As long as time allows, I’ll do a couple more of in 2020.
Joining the Write52 challenge
Having a trillion ideas for blogs and content that would be useful to my business, but having no time to create and post them really frustrates me. I’m not the only business owner feeling this. And I’m not the only copywriter. It’s a running joke that copywriters spend more time writing everyone else’s copy then when it comes to doing our own, we’ve lost the will.
Fortunately, UK-based copywriter Ed Callow changed a lot of people’s thinking and attitude towards writing thanks to his Write52 challenge. The rules are:
Write something. Anything. And post it each week.
That’s it. You can read my first thoughts about the challenge and see all the posts I’ve written since I started the challenge. I was full of doubt as to how I’d manage. But 20 posts in (and an unbroken streak), I feel I’ve got a good handle on it. Spending 30 minutes a day from Monday-Friday is enough time for me to get that week’s article put together.
I’m loving it. And I’m getting lots of fresh new content for my site. If you fancy joining in, it’s not too late. New members are always welcome!
Or if you fancy reading some excellent posts on all manner of topics — from food recipes through to music articles, game reviews through to podcast tips — then sign up to the newsletter.
Refurbishing my newsletter
Speaking of newsletters, did you know I had a newsletter? No hard feelings if not. I did very little with it when I first launched it.
And then I decided it was shit.
And needed redoing.
That’s OK. These things happen. Not every business idea works out as planned. Some bomb.
My first attempt at email marketing was one of them.
The new approach has actually been influenced and inspired by what I saw on a few some escort sites. They weren’t offering downloads for date tips or promising to stuff people’s inboxes with blogs.
The hook was much simpler.
“Sign up to hear when I’m available.”
Makes sense. Serious clients want to know when they can book time with their favourite companion. And the companion wants people to book.
This is also what I want my clients to do. I want them to know when I’m free to work on their projects. So, it’s an approach I’m trying.
How’s it working out?
So far, no leads. But I only have 33 subscribers. Most are my mates. Who don’t need a copywriter. And I’ve only sent two emails.
Gotta start somewhere though.
Want to sign up? You can do so here.
Crappy bits from the last six months
I love my business, but it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. Here’s what’s been fucking tough in the last six months.
Overwhelm and saying “yes” too much
I got into a habit of saying “yes” to projects when I maybe didn’t have the time to comfortably fit the work in. This led to longer working weeks and quite a few “workends.” (Where you work on the weekend.)
As a result, other stuff got shifted around and knocked back. It all comes down to time management, which is something I’m forever working on. Tracking all my time using Toggl has helped. Using this tool gives me a better understanding of how long it really takes me to complete different copywriting tasks. Toggl, plus actually planning out my weeks means I’ve gotten better at seeing where I can fit ad hoc work in.
All that said, there are still times when I need to stop letting myself get carried away by how much I can fit in.
My blog demon
One. Fucking. Blog has managed to become my nemesis in the last six months. I just can’t seem to finish it.
I have all the quotes.
I’ve done the research.
I’ve got my angle.
But for some reason I’ve been putting it off, and, off, and off, and off…
It’s ridiculous and now I’m terrified of it. The article topic is a sensitive one. I’m worried I’ll get it wrong or not do it justice. But it’s getting to the point now where I need to just fucking finish it and let go of it.
Hopefully, by the time you read this I’ll have done it and submitted it to the client.
Closing the deal
In my last half-year check in I mentioned clients vanishing off the face of the earth. Well, I’ve had a bit more of that in this half of the year too. The situation arises when potential clients get in touch, I send a proposal and then silence. Thankfully, I’ve had the smarts to template and automate as much of this as possible so it isn’t a complete time suck. But it’s still galling when there are crickets.
What I need to work on is getting better at closing the deal.
To help, I’ve been trying to follow the advice of Andrew and Pete, a business coaching duo, who I discovered through the Being Freelance community. Pete kindly took the time to help me. He suggested renaming my proposals to a “discussion document.” I like this. It sounds less intimidating. He also gave me some ideas on booking potential clients in for a follow up call, which I like in terms of scheduling time to follow up with a client after the discussion document has been sent. So these are a few things I’m going to try and improve next year.
And that’s it. Ta-ra 2019
All in all, it’s been a big year. I’m capping it off by spending time back in the UK with my family and friends. Never thought I’d find myself “going on holiday to Leciester” but here I am. Funny how these things work out.
However you’re spending the festive season, I hope you have a good one and see you next decade!