Dr. Kelly Wade

Kelly is a successful business content writer, copywriter and content marketing strategist. She specialises in creating well-researched, SEO-friendly, persuasive and engaging content, with more than 10 years of professional writing, research project management, teaching and business experience, Kelly’s expertise is in providing the full scope of strategy, planning, education, execution and promotion required for successful content marketing.

We recently asked her some questions about her approach to content creation.

What is it you enjoy about creating content?

I have always loved creative things. There’s something about making unique pieces that makes me happy. And when it comes to creating content, my joy is twofold because I get to create unique content and it helps awesome businesses achieve their goals and help their clients and customers. That means happy me, happy businesses and happy customers. Talk about a win-win-win!

Tell us about your journey to become a content creator

It’s a bit of a convoluted story. When I finished high school, I went to university to study science and completed a Bachelor of Forensic Science. I then went on to do a PhD because I wanted to teach at the university level and that’s generally a requirement in Australian universities. Unfortunately, my postgrad studies deterred me from seeking employment in the university sector (though I do still love teaching and education). So, in an effort to use my science degrees in a meaningful way, I went to work in a few science areas of the Australian Government for a while.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find that career very rewarding. The constant changes of government and leadership within my department meant that almost every piece of work I did was soon reversed by a new directive. I was also too far removed from the people who might benefit from my efforts and I felt like my work wasn’t really making an impact even when it wasn’t undone. As a result, when I went on maternity leave for my first child, I took some time to reconsider what I wanted to do.

During that time I realised I really love writing. I wrote a picture book for newborns after my daughter was born and while I had been waiting for my PhD supervisor to review drafts of my thesis, I wrote my first gardening book. I really enjoyed both those experiences and despite how I felt about my government role, I’d even enjoyed writing content and copy for ministers and the public during that time.

I also found I enjoy strategic thinking. Whether it was developing Australia’s international science strategy or marketing strategies for my books, building strategies had given me a buzz. Being able to plan out a framework for the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of a project and then bring it to fruition through my own creative efforts, had been really rewarding.

So, I decided to turn my love of writing and strategy into a career and at the same time take the opportunity to really use my skills to help people. It was a good move as I find the thought processes involved in creating great writing are really complemented by the different way of thinking that’s required to build a successful marketing strategy — combining the two works my brain in two complementary ways. 

I decided to start my own writing and strategy business rather than work for an agency because that meant I could work directly with the clients I wanted to help and I would have the freedom to choose to work with businesses that sell products and services that really help their customers.

What is the piece of content you are most proud of?

That’s a tough question. I’m probably most proud of the novel I’m still writing at the moment but as that probably doesn’t count, I’d have to say the ultimate guide to breast pumping that I recently wrote for Minbie. It’s a blog post that’s over 8000 words and is designed to help mums with the most important aspects of expressing breast milk. As any of your readers who are mums will know, breastfeeding is hard work and in some respects, expressing milk can be even more challenging, so I found it really rewarding to write a piece of content that helps mums overcome those challenges. I’m pleased with how the piece turned out and proud of how well it’s performing even though it was only published very recently.

What value does content bring to a client’s marketing strategy?

I’d argue that content is one of the most valuable parts of the marketing puzzle. In order to be successful, brands need to engage with and build the trust of their prospects, leads and customers, they need to demonstrate that they’re leaders in their industry and they need to prove they can solve their target market’s problems. Short of hitting the streets and demonstrating products and services, content is the only way to accomplish those objectives.

Of course, content isn’t the only thing brands need in order to be successful. Content has to align with the brand’s voice, it needs to be strategic and it needs to contribute to selling a product or service that actually fulfils a need, so brands need good products/services, marketing strategies, tone of voice guidelines and all the other bits and pieces that go into effective marketing campaigns. But content is the vehicle that actually gets brands from A to B.

What’s your approach in bringing a client’s story to life through brand journalism?

It very much depends on the piece. But broadly speaking, I look for ways to connect readers with the brand and its products and services on an emotional level. This involves focussing on the little things, like using language that’s consistent with the brand’s voice, as well as on the big things, like painting a picture with words about why the brand’s founder wanted to develop the product.

How do you determine the tone, voice and style is right for a piece of content?

I look at the: 

  • brand’s guidelines — if the brand has guidelines, I will always use those.
  • brand’s existing content — new content needs to be consistent with existing content unless the brand is starting to overhaul their image.
  • brand’s industry and purpose — e.g. content for a law firm is going to need to be written in a different way to content for a wedding photographer.
  • purpose of the piece — e.g. is it to inform, educate or entertain?
  • use to which the piece will be put — e.g. is it going to disseminate breaking news? Is it a customer service piece for a FAQ? Is it a brochure that will promote the brand/offering to people in a waiting room (so it will be read in complete isolation)? The brand’s voice needs to remain consistent across all communications, but the tone and style will vary depending on what the piece will be used for.
  • target audience — e.g. the tone, voice and style that works best for teenagers is going to be very different from what works best for over 50s. And what works for CEOs is going to be different to what works for interns.

What is the most useful thing a marketer can provide you in the brief that allows you to understand their brand?

When I’m seeking to understand a brand, I look at its mission statement, history, products/services, existing communications and what others are saying about the brand. As such, assuming none of that is missing from the brand’s website etc., in the brief I want to know how the brand wants to be viewed by its prospects/leads/customers/competitors. This helps me detect any inconsistencies.

If the brand’s website doesn’t clearly convey the brand’s mission or raison d’être, then that’s the most useful thing a marketer can include in their brief.

What makes successful content?

Well, a successful piece of content is a piece of content that achieves the goals for that piece. A piece of content can go viral and bring lots of attention to a brand but if the goal for that content is to pre-qualify leads, then it’s not doing its job and can’t be deemed successful. As such, there isn’t a formula that can be followed to always create successful content.

But there are some general qualities that contribute to successful text-based content. Such content needs to:

  • be well written in language that’s appropriate for the target audience — If members of the target audience can’t read and understand the piece, it’s going to fail.
  • match the tone, voice and style of the brand for that class of content and be consistent with the rest of the brand’s content — When content doesn’t consistently reflect a brand’s image, it doesn’t convert as well.
  • meet the needs of the target audience — If no one reads it, it can’t be successful.
  • be shareable and/or SEO-friendly — If no one can find the content, it won’t be successful. And short of spending mountains of cash on advertising, the way to ensure content is found is to get it ranking well in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and/or doing the rounds on social media (and via email etc.).
  • be relevant to the brand’s products/services but not always about the brand or its products/services — There’s no point in a cat food business producing content about dog grooming, even if that content is really popular, because dog owners aren’t going to buy cat food (unless they also own a cat). But that doesn’t mean the brand’s content always needs to be about cat food. For example, the brand could publish blog posts about how to grow a cat-friendly garden. Such blog posts could attract new prospects that can be converted into loyal customers.
  • be strategic — Every piece of content published needs to contribute to the goals of the brand. It needs to be the right piece of content at the right time. If a business publishes a whole bunch of content that’s designed to attract new prospects but then waits months before publishing anything that nurtures leads or converts them into customers, the prospect-attracting content is likely to be wasted. That’s why content should be driven by a good strategy.

 

You can find Kelly and her creative portfolio on the Fabulate platform, by clicking and viewing her profile here.