Ep 262 Literary gifts for Christmas. And meet Bernadette Schwerdt, author of ‘How to Build an Online Business’.

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In Episode 261 of So you want to be a writer: Discover a whole heap of literary gifts for Christmas. Meet Bernadette Schwerdt, SEO copywriter and author of How to Build an Online Business. Plus we have a 12-book giveaway up for grabs. Don’t miss out.

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Show Notes

Listener Shout Out

Sasha Shearman from Australia

You’ve had a great idea for a novel for years, right? But, where to start? You don’t know how to write a novel and when you sit down with a pen in your hand or a keyboard hovering under your fingertips the blank page taunts you. If you don’t know how to get those ideas from your head to the page and from the page to the publisher, you need to listen to this podcast. Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait are published authors with years of experience between them and every single episode is crammed full of practical advice about the process of writing. There are links to websites offering advice about writing and publishing as well as informative interviews with published authors. The main theme is: Just Do It. Don’t keep the ideas in your head. Stop just thinking about the great novel. Just sit down and write, even a little bit every day, and the words will keep piling up until you have a first draft. This podcast is the inspiration I needed to start and if I lose confidence, just listening to an episode makes me feel like tackling the keyboard again. I’m really grateful to Val and Al for taking the time to share their knowledge about writing and publishing on this unique and entertaining podcast.

Links Mentioned
100+ gift book ideas for kids of all ages

Gift Vouchers

10 unique gifts for hard-to-please grown-ups

5 great holiday gifts for kids

Creative Writing Quest for Kids

SEO Copywriting

Writer in Residence

Bernadette Schwerdt
Bernadette Schwerdt has trained over 5,000 people in the art of writing words that sell. She is the author of the bestselling manual Writing For Profit.

She has a Bachelor of Business in Marketing and is an accredited MBTI and NLP practitioner. She was also an account director with advertising agency Wunderman Cato Johnson and the marketing reporter on Channel 9’s The Small Business Show. Currently, she’s the producer and host of The Sydney Morning Herald’s online video series, ‘Secrets of Aussie Online Entrepreneurs,’ and her book of the same name was published by Wiley in May 2015.

She has trained individuals and teams from a wide range of companies including AMP, Red Cross, Coles, McDonalds, Australian Conservation Foundation, Médecins Sans Frontières, Scoopon and dozens of others.

Her latest book is How to Build an Online Business.

Follow Bernadette Schwerdt on Twitter.

(If you click through the links above and then purchase from Booktopia, we get a small commission from this purchase. This amount is donated to Doggie Rescue to support their valuable work with unwanted and abandoned dogs.)

Competition

Win our 12-book summer reading pack!

This podcast is brought to you by the Australian Writers’ Centre

Find out more about your hosts here:

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Valerie Khoo

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Interview transcript

Valerie

Thanks so much for joining us today, Bernadette.

Bernadette

Thank you, Valerie, it’s a pleasure.

Valerie

Now, of course, we know you very well as one of our presenters at the Australian Writers’ Centre. And you teach a number of courses including Copywriting Essentials, How to Build a Successful Freelance Copywriting Business, SEO Copywriting, and others.

But one of the things I’d like to start talking to you about today is your latest book, How to Build an Online Business. And the subtitle is Australia’s top digital disrupters reveal their secrets for launching and growing an online business.

So firstly, I’m curious, why did you want to write this book about how to build an online business?

Bernadette

Well, Valerie, I have an online business. And I was always curious as to how other people did it. So I thought I would interview them. And so I actually wrote a book a couple of years ago called Secrets of Online Entrepreneurs, which was my first book.

And then after that, it became clear that things had progressed. And people had got a lot more sophisticated too. They are very savvy. And so what I wanted to do was provide a book that people could go to as a bit of a blueprint for how to build it from scratch. So how to, firstly, have an entrepreneurial mindset. What kind of questions do you need to ask before you even begin? How do you choose the product or service that you’re going to sell?

So that was kind of step one. Step two, was to think about, well, what kind of MVP do you need? Minimum viable product. How do you get it started? So there were five steps, in essence, in the book, and I just wanted to give people this step by step guide from beginners and novices, they could follow, and also people who already have an online business.

And when I say online, it’s a bit like Animal Farm. We’re all equal, but some are more equal than others. We’re all online, it’s just some are more online than others. So I just had to acknowledge that the title of the book is a bit odd because you think, we’re all online. But some are more online than others.

So it really became a sense of the experienced entrepreneurs to think about, well, how do you go to the next level? And what better way to learn than to look at what other entrepreneurs are doing who have done it brilliantly, and look at the patterns.

So I took all the interviews I had from my first book, I added a brand new set of interviews with interesting people, and I put all that research out there, and I applied my own marketing principles to that, and I came up with this five step plan. And that’s really what the book is. And it’s very much practically oriented. It’s tips. Lots of shortcuts, some hacks, lots of blueprints, templates, check sheets, all those sorts of things that people can find very accessible.

Valerie

But how did you come up with the five step plan? Did you identify the patterns amongst the people that you had already interviewed and saw the five most common things? How did you determine the blueprint?

Bernadette

It’s a good question because I actually didn’t have a blueprint before I started. I thought, what is the commonality amongst all these entrepreneurs? What do they always ask before they begin building their business? So I started to think what have they all got in common?

And the interesting thing about an entrepreneur with their singular business is they don’t necessarily know what other business owners are doing. They’re so engrossed in their own business that they don’t have the time to look around them. And being a writer and looking in, I had that privilege, I guess, to get those inside stories.

So I had to make it up myself, to be honest, Valerie. I just thought, where do we begin? I was just trying to pare it back, pare it back. How do you begin? What questions do you ask? What are the hallmarks of those who have done really well? What are the hallmarks of those who have failed?

And I spent a lot of time ordering and structuring the content, because it could have gone in a number of different ways. But at the end of the day, like any book, I had to rely on gut instinct and say, you know what? Make a decision. These are the five steps. These are the orders in which I want to progress. And basically toss bits and pieces into each of those pots and just make them work.

And they do overlap. Basically the entrepreneurial mindset would flow through the entire five step model. But you’ve got to start. And what I wanted to do with the mindset is say, well, you’ve got to think a certain way.

And if you don’t ask these key questions – like, a key question for any business owner is what do you want? Do you want a lifestyle business? Do you want it to be something you do between the hours of nine and three and the school kid pickup? Or do you really want something that’s going to go to an IPO? You’re going to retire in ten years and make this your life’s work?

Because depending on your goals, you will do different things. You will build different websites, you will choose different products and services. You will hire differently. You will collaborate differently. So it’s very important in those early stages to identify what is it you want. And that’s part of the entrepreneurial mindset.

Valerie

And so when you’re writing a book like this a lot of research is involved. You’ve obviously interviewed a lot of people. The companies that are in there, everything from Adore Beauty to Amazon to Booktopia to Deals Direct to Gettable, there’s countless companies in here.

So I’m interested in your research process. I guess there’s various steps. First, how do you determine who you want to feature in your book? How do you go about researching them? And if you ultimately do interview someone from that, how do you manage your research or file all the 10 million bits of information of all of the different companies and people who feature in the book?

Bernadette

Yeah. It’s a real elephant of a project. And I guess I had a starting point where I was a judge for an award, which was called the Online Retailers Industry Awards. They’re called the ORIAs, and they’re a bit like the Oscars, but for online. And I was a judge. And as a result of being a judge, I got access to all of the award applications. And there were these big thick documents of the award, the entry, outlining all their strategies.

Valerie

What a gift!

Bernadette

I know. And I didn’t realise it at the time. This was before I wrote that second book and I was just going through all this material and thinking, this is gold! You cannot get access to this. This is privileged information. And I am very keen to also let people know I had permission to reveal the secrets that some of those people mentioned in their applications because obviously it was confidential information.

But the beauty of that award process is I got to see all the applications. And as I was saying before, I got that access to this research all laid out in front of me.

So that was step one. I got the key questions that the award actually asks people to fill in. And I thought that was a really interesting template to think about. Because if you’re starting an online business, any business, really, you’ve got to know what your metrics are. What kind of things should you be focusing on? And when you look at the award questions, I thought – that’s interesting.

And I say that to all my students, my clients, whoever I coach – go to an award website, download the application, and look at the questions they are asking. They are guidelines as to what you should be thinking about with your business.

So anyway, that was step one. And when I saw all this information, and saw the detail that they were providing… And the interesting thing, Valerie, was things like software. Let’s say, heap map software, or optimising software, or user testing software. They all use the same stuff. And I thought, wow, that’s interesting. So it felt like a bit of a club, that they all knew what to use.

And anyone can find this information it’s just it takes a long time to sift through the websites that are available and the software.

Valerie

What do you mean by they all use the same stuff?

Bernadette

The software. Like take Hot Jar. It’s a heat mapping piece of software. Lots of them use it. Recommendations engines. They all use the same piece of software. When it came to A/B testing, they use the same sorts of software. And there’s multiple versions of this software out there, different companies do it, but they all use the same brand.

Valerie

Right.

Bernadette

And I just found that very interesting and I saw that on multiple occasions, and I thought, well, why would you go and test all this different software – trial and error, months and months, thousands of dollars, potentially, of purchasing software – when you can just use what the professionals are using.

Valerie

Yes. Right.

Bernadette

So that was a key learning for me.

The other thing in terms of managing… Researching, to start with, I’m a big newspaper reader. And I make the distinction between newspaper and online. Because for me, I just love newspapers. And when I’m reading a story, I feel like they’ve already been curated for me. The editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, and you’ve worked in papers, you know what it’s like, you do a lot of research to work out what stories you’re going to run with.

Whenever I read an entrepreneurial story I’d tear it out and I’d put it in a box. And I didn’t think too much about that, I’d just put it in a box, because I knew that another book was in the wings. And then when the day came when the book was going to be written, I got all that information out and I just basically piled it up into various topics. One might be entrepreneurial mindset. One might be MVP. One might be SEO marketing. Or SEM marketing.

So I basically put them in piles that I thought were homogenous. And so when it came to writing the book, I kind of had these piles of information sitting there that gave me a hint as to what those chapters could be about.

And just in terms of the writing process, I found it very helpful just to establish, what are the chapters? And I almost worked backwards. I thought, well, there can only be five to seven chapters in this book,, just standard. And if there’s only going to be five to seven chapters, what do each of these chapters need to do? And I asked the question, what do people want to learn? What are their questions? What are their needs? Where are their gaps? So I did kind work from a marketing perspective of if that’s my target market, what are their needs? And I wrote the book, and I sort of reverse engineered that.

So those five to seven chapters were my starting point. And then I thought, all those articles, and it was literally hundreds of newspaper articles, it was like a hoarder, in my study. I actually took a picture because I thought, I have to prove to everybody that this wasn’t just a small enterprise. It was this massive floor of paper.

And I just basically put them in piles, put them in pots. And I thought, there’s my five chapters. And that’s kind of how I worked.

Valerie

Cool. And what did you do with all those bits of paper, of the newspaper at the end? Have you had a bonfire?

Bernadette

I struggled to throw them out. Because it was literally years of research sitting in those boxes. And I had to do a recent tidy up because I’m getting some new shelving put in. And I had to make the call. You know, it’s been a year, and I did not look at any of those in the last year, so I tossed them. I kept one little pile that was my ideas pile.

But the other thing that writers listening might find interesting, and you asked, how did I manage all the research? And I took out a subscription to Scrivener. And I’d never used it before. And I found it really, really helpful. In fact, I did the Scrivener course that the Australian Writers’ Centre offers, so that was a really helpful tip.

But when I got stuck into it, I was able to use Scrivener almost as a pinboard. Just lots of different ideas, different topics. And it was all kind of contained. But I didn’t use Scrivener to actually write the content. Because when I started writing in Scrivener, I found the interface to be a little bit clunky. I love my keyboard, I love my Word document, and I’m very attached to that feel. When I was writing in Scrivener, it just felt different, and I couldn’t quite get my creative flow.

So I kept all the research in Scrivener, and then I’d just copy and paste it into a Word document. And I’d write it in my way, with my own user interface. And then I would plug it back into Scrivener when it was completed. So I had that kind of two screens going at the same time.

Valerie

Now, in your other life when you’re not writing books of this nature, you are also a copywriter. And as I’ve mentioned, you teach copywriting at the Australian Writers’ Centre. Can you just give us a brief idea of how you got into copywriting in the first place?

Bernadette

Yes. Well, I was working in an advertising agency and I was an account director. And I was working on the strategy side with clients like Colgate and American Express and Apple, and really enjoying it.

But I always had this view of the copywriters who sat in these other parts of the office. And I remember thinking, god they’ve got a good job. I would love to be doing what they’re doing. But in those days you really didn’t jump the divide. It was quite strict.

Anyway, long story short, I left advertising to work for Harry Miller. And got into sponsorship and celebrity publicity. And then I decided to become an actor, which is kind of another story. But while I’m supporting myself as an actor, I went back to my advertising agency. And I went back as a freelancer in account director, and they basically just hired me to do whatever they wanted me to do.

While I was there, I got the chance to write some copy. And that made me realise, you know what? You don’t need to be doing a degree to become a copywriter. You just have to understand marketing and have the flair for words. So I really understood that you can just pick up and run with it. You don’t have to study it for years.

And the courses, in terms of the training of copywriting, I got started because a company asked me to train their copywriters in real estate. And I basically put this course together; the course didn’t go ahead. So I had all this course material ready to run and I thought, well, that’s a waste. Why don’t I just run it myself as a short course through Melbourne Uni, where I was working at the time.

And that became a five week course, and then that just went off. People just enrolled. Because it was a bit of test. It was a minimum viable product. And I was kind of the first copywriting trainer to offer it outside of the industry. Because you could be trained within the industry bodies, but you could not be just a business owner or anybody and just get trained. It was kind of off limits.

So that was really where the copywriting started. And I remember a friend of mine, because I had this big issue about being a fake, about I don’t have the right to call myself a copywriter because I haven’t been trained.

And he said to me, do you write briefs in advertising? I said yes. He said, do you write reports? Yes. Do you correct the copy that comes back from the copywriters? Yes. And so he asked me these couple of questions and he said, you know what? You’re a writer. Don’t get hung up on it. You’re already writing. He said, I now anoint you a writer. Go forth and write.

And I remember that moment so clearly, because I kind of needed this permission from someone else to say, you know what? You’re already doing it. And out of all the coaching I do, Valerie, one of the key questions I get is – how do I build my confidence as a copywriter?

And the students who I work with, they always, almost always have amazing experiences in other areas that involve writing, but not copywriting. They might have done an academic thesis. They might be already writing tenders. Or they might be writing screenplays or something. And I say, you’re already writing something. You just don’t know that it’s writing.

And all those skills apply themselves to copywriting. And it’s just a restructuring of the templates and a different way of thinking. But you are already a writer. So don’t get too hung up on – you’ve got to spend three years in a marketing degree to get that. Because that is not the way you are going to become a copywriter.

Valerie

So there are an increasing number of people who are not yet copywriters but they are freelance writers, and maybe they’re used to writing features, or maybe they’re writing fiction. But copywriting can be appealing to some people because it’s a space where you can make decent money without having to wait for a whole novel to come out. And obviously that’s why you’re copy writing course is really popular.

What do you see as some of the opportunities, copywriting opportunities that are around these days that are quite popular? Because obviously the business world has changed a lot over the last even just five years, and different things come up. So what are the trends now, I guess?

Bernadette

Yeah, well, what’s happening in advertising is it’s been decentralised. Because in the old days you’d go to an agency and get all your work done. And the work for freelancers was a little bit limited. You had to go through an agency.

Now nobody, not nobody, but lots of small businesses do not want to go to an agency. Because they’re paying for the cream biscuits, they’re paying for the percolated coffee, they’re paying for the flowers on the reception desk and the marble reception.

These days, they just want the copywriter. And you can work freelance. You don’t need to have all the accoutrements of an agency behind you. So that would be one massive shift.

Secondly, the explosion for the need for copy. Because in the old days it was copywriting and now it’s called content marketing or content writing. And it’s a very slight difference between the two. But nonetheless, the explosion for that need has happened because websites, people need content. SEO is based on having great content.

And also this element of trust in terms of working with a… For example, if you’re trying to sell something, in the old days you could send an email or maybe a sales rep out and they would buy. But now there’s this big gap in the middle, which is content marketing. People want to read an eBook about the business. They want to see a video of you talking about the business. They want some case studies. They want more emails. So there’s a lot more content required in order to build the trust that enables the consumer to feel that this company is for them.

So that big pipeline of content needs to be written by somebody. And that’s where the copywriters come in.

And I think also people are realising that it’s not just something everyone can do. There is a process. It is an art. It is a science. And there are structures. And if you learn the structures, you can write very quickly, very efficiently. But most people struggle because they don’t understand. It’s like, you don’t know what you don’t know. But once you get your eyes opened to the process you go, oh, is that how it’s done!? Thank you!

So that’s really rewarding from a copywriting tutor’s point of view, because you really do help people write more quickly. And suddenly the creativity, inspiration aspect is taken off the table. Yes, it’s important, but it’s not the only thing. There are structured questions that need to be answered. There are processes that need to be followed. And once you know them, you can write more quickly.

Valerie

Yeah. There’s a real framework.

So another thing that a lot of writers are wanting to be more aware of these days is the art of SEO copywriting. Now is SEO, how important is SEO? And how important is knowledge of SEO writing to a copywriter?

Bernadette

Well, SEO is the art of search engine optimisation. And it’s a bit of an art in the sense that a lot of people don’t even know about it. And they put out a website and they get put on page ten of Google for their search terms and they wonder why. And when you brief them and you say, you know what, there’s a series of factors that are involved in getting your website from page ten to page one. And if you know what those factors are, you can influence it.

Now no one has the ability to guarantee it will go from page ten to page one. But if you follow those processes that Google put out, and they’re very publicly available, then you’ve got a better chance.

So in my mind, every purchase begins with research on Google. 75% of searches start with Google, 10% start with the Chinese search engine. So it’s the dominant search product. So you’ve got to go with it. And if you don’t understand what those search engine optimisation principles are, you are languishing. Because your website will never get on page one. It won’t even get close.

And the beauty of knowing some of these principles is that you can beat the bigger players. Because it’s not just about Coke dominating because they’ve got a bigger site. There are other factors involved that can influence you getting closer to where Coke are on page one. And that’s the nice thing about SEO, is that if you do the ground work, you can start to go head to head with the bigger players with deeper pockets.

Valerie

Do you think it’s essential for a copywriter to know SEO copywriting? Because obviously there are some copywriters who might write annual reports or brochures or stuff like that that don’t necessarily go online. They might be still writing flyers and stuff like that. So how essential is it?

Bernadette

Yes. Well, for me, it’s absolutely essential. Because in this era, if you work with a client, you can firstly offer a better service to them because you’re able to give them some assurances that the work you’re doing for them will actually influence their page rank. So that’s got to be worth something in terms of a premium of the copywriting fee that you charge.

Secondly, you will be able to provide a point of difference to other copywriters. Because there’s lots of copywriters out there now. I’ve trained many of them. I’ve sort of created this explosion of freelance copywriters on the market, and that’s fantastic. But in terms of who do you go with as a business owner, wouldn’t you want to go with a copywriter who has a background in SEO? Because you kind of get these two skills for the price of one.

So for those two reasons alone I think any copywriter would see it as a good investment. Not to mention, I’ll give you a third reason, is confidence. If you do the SEO course through AWC, you can almost guarantee that you’ll know more about SEO copywriting than 85% of the population, simply because you’ve got this focused effort.

All the research that I’ve created, it’s in the course. So you walk away thinking, you know what? I know exactly how to get started. So when you talk to a client who has no knowledge of SEO, you can really educate them. And you can really build this trust. And they get the sense, well, she or he knows what they’re doing. Let me defer to them. Every client wants to be led. They don’t want to have to know it all. They want to give over some of that control. And when you can provide clients with that assurance that you know what you’re doing, then it builds a great relationship.

And of course, SEO is not just a one off thing. You have to keep creating content. You have to keep adapting some of the material that you put online.

So for all those reasons I think it just gives you a sense of mastery about what you’re doing. Not to mention, staying ahead of the curve for the future.

Valerie

Yeah, absolutely. Now I think there’s been a real shift in say, I remember ten years ago, because when you thought of SEO writing ten years ago, I used to remember looking up websites and you would see just these random strings of words that didn’t quite make sense. And they were put in the meta tags or they were just put in the body copy.

And I think one of the things you’ve mentioned to me in the past is they used to be basically written by the IT guy or girl, whoever, the person in charge of IT. They would stuff it with SEO words.

But that has really shifted these days and is no longer the domain of the IT people and has moved towards the responsibility of copywriters. Is that correct?

Bernadette

Absolutely. The pendulum has really swung. Because you’re quite right. In the past, it was the domain of the IT department, or the web developer, and they controlled that.

And it is, there is an absolute technical element to it. No doubt about that. And that still remains. However, on top of all that tech background is the copywriting element. And as a result of this, the opportunities for copywriters to be able to provide their expertise to clients is increasing. Because it is about the words you choose. It’s the keywords that you decide on. It’s the keywords you put in your headlines, in your title tags. It’s the way you name your images. It’s the text you put in your hyperlinks.

All these basic little 1%-ers add up to a very big percentage in terms of how you get ranked. And I guess that’s the beauty of SEO. Once you know these key hotspots of where you have to put these keywords, then you are in a much greater position to influence your ranking.

Not to mention things like backlinks. Looking at getting other people to publish your material and have your website link on their pages, and that links back to you – big brownie point as far as Google is concerned. Citations. There’s lots of other things you can do from an outreach point of view that enables you to increase your ranking.

Valerie

Now if there are people who are listening to this who they’re not really wanting to be copywriters, but they are authors or they may have their own websites or blogs, and they would be interested in being found by Google or having their blog posts or whatever found by Google, now we obviously don’t have time to go through an entire course on a podcast episode, but if you could just give us a couple of principles of SEO that anyone can do, what might they be?

Bernadette

One thing that has to be asked at the very beginning is what are you selling? And what do you want to be found for? So once you’ve established that, then you have to work out what are people typing into Google to find what you’ve got?

And so it really starts from an instinctual point of view, is to think, just brainstorm in your own time what are people typing into Google to find you and those products? They become the foundation of your keywords. And then once you know what those keywords are…

And there’s another quick way, also, it’s when you type into the Google bar, Google gives you a bit of a predictive dropdown menu about what other people have searched for like that. That’s really worth paying attention to. Because what Google is saying is, this is what other people are looking for in terms of what they’re typing in. So from that volume point of view, that’s been very popular. So that’s giving you an instant clue as to what other people are searching for vis a vis your topic.

Valerie

I have to say that’s kind of hilarious. Because sometimes, I mean, we all Google ourselves at some point. And sometimes I type in Valerie Khoo and then the things that come up are Valerie Khoo husband, Valerie Khoo married, Valerie Khoo age.

Bernadette

Valerie Khoo has visited this page 20 times, yeah.

Valerie

Bizarre. Anyway, sorry, go on.

Bernadette

Well, you can go into Google incognito. There’s a little technique, just look up Google incognito, so you can actually look at it from a blank slate point of view. And also, if you go to a library or use someone else’s iPhone or use someone else’s iPad, use different devices and type up your words and just see what comes up. Because then you get a little bit more of an honest assessment.

Valerie

But that’s not, they’re not the things… I don’t search for “Valerie Khoo husband” or “Valerie Khoo married”. It’s obviously, they’re search terms what other people have searched for, which I find slightly strange.

Bernadette

Absolutely. Yeah, I know, isn’t it? It is. I’ve got, believe it or not, sometimes I look up me and they go “Bernadette Schwerdt hot”. It’s like, me? Are you kidding me? What’s going on with that?

Valerie

I love that.

Bernadette

I’ve never been hot in my life. It’s never been a phrase that’s been attached to me.

And also the old stuff comes back. Because I was in Neighbours many years ago, and it’s like, Bernadette Schwerdt, women of neighbours. So you’ve got old stuff going out there too. So nothing gets lost on Google.

So anyway, that’s just a basic principle. Just have a quick look and see what other people are typing in.

And then as I sort of just touched on a moment ago, you can take those key words or phrases, and then you pop them into the hot spots that Google are looking for. And first up, it’s the title tag. So when you type into Google and then you get the search results page, those nine or ten listings, they’re called search results pages. And each one of those represents a website.

The words that are in that top title, in the blue font, blue print, that text is super important to Google, because it tells Google what the page is about. And that text is written by the web owner. And there’s certain spaces you put it in in the backend. So just on that level, looking at your title tags, which represents a page on your website, make sure that’s got your keywords in it.

And then even in the description, those characters underneath, Google doesn’t necessarily look at that from a ranking perspective, but the reader absolutely looks to that to see if that’s of interest to them.

So I say to my students in the course, treat those as headlines for an ad. It’s a headline for the website. So that’s just stage one.

Stage two is once you get to the website, so taking header one, that’s the headline. So it’s worth putting in some keywords into that headline. Header two, which is basically the subhead, put some keywords in there.

It might be, as I said, some images that you’ve got. Normally they’ll just go to a default labelling, therefore you could maybe rename them using some keywords. And then you actually get found on Google images, as well. Because Google Images is a search engine in and of itself.

So there’s just a couple of ideas on how an author could be found more easily.

Valerie

Great. Okay. So obviously there’s more that listeners can found out more about in the course. But since you’ve gone there, Bernadette, which era of Neighbours were you in?

Bernadette

Well, it’s funny. I’ve been in four episodes. So I’ve played four different roles.

Valerie

Really?

Bernadette

Yeah, I’ve played a PR lady. I played a newsreader. I played a counsellor. And I played a farmer, believe it or not.

Valerie

That’s so funny.

Bernadette

And they just pop up on TV every now and then and I get texts from people saying, were you in Neighbours recently? So I do have a bit of a giggle. It’s a bit of fun.

But you know what’s funny? I was doing a costume fitting for this role that I was playing and they went to so much effort. It was like a button that they were trying to find. And I said to the guy, gee you put a lot of work in just to find this button. And he said, and he was very camp, he said, oh darling, don’t you know? This is seen by a billion people.

And I thought, he’s absolutely right. Because in my world, it’s just Neighbours. Something down the road in Melbourne that I go and shoot. But it is a big, you know, there are billions of people watching this show and have done for decades. And it just was a bit of a raincheck, that this is, it might be small in Australia but it’s a massive enterprise elsewhere.

Valerie

Yes. And sort of following on from that point, do you still juggle writing books, copywriting, teaching copywriting and acting?

Bernadette

The acting has taken a bit of a backseat, Valerie. I’ve got a family now, and it’s really hard to balance that. And to be honest, I get my thrills from speaking. I do a lot of professional speaking, and I’m on the stage and the lights are on and the audience is there. And to me, it’s not that big a difference from acting.

And the only difference is I get to write my scripts, I get to direct it, and I get to choose when and where I do them. And I get paid more, to be honest. And so it’s a bit more family friendly. And I absolutely get my jollies, because I still get nervous, I treat it like a show. And it’s as good a being a theatre production as doing something at a theatre show for a play.

So I’m not saying, I’m not shutting the door on it, and I love it. But it’s just more amenable to where I am in my life right now.

Valerie

I love it. That’s where you get your jollies.

Bernadette

I do. And you speak, you know. And people say, why do you like speaking? And I say, it terrifies me, but I love being terrified. Because it’s a sense of accomplishment, that I’ve overcome the fear. And I don’t want to be fearful of things in my life. I like to think, whatever makes me scared I tend to gravitate to. So it’s just part of that actor make up. You enjoy the thrill of putting yourself on the line.

Valerie

Yeah. Awesome. And on that note, thank you so much for your time today, Bernadette.

Bernadette

Thank you for having me, Valerie.

 


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