Q&A with Kerry Campion ☕
If you’re someone who writes copy, loves words, and is responsible for getting those words seen in the search engines, this one’s for you.
At Pointed, we have big feelings about search engine optimization (SEO).
We love it when it helps get our work seen by the right people. We hate it when arbitrary keywords come before the real needs of readers.
So when we noticed Kerry Campion had created a course that perfectly blended the two concepts together — without placing one above the other — we snatched up a subscription for the entire team.
We sat down with Kerry to find out where the idea for the SERP Slayer course originated, how she found her way into copywriting (no two stories are the same!), the mentors and copywriting courses that helped her along the way and how, even after an almost-career as a professional singer, writing gave her a different kind of voice.
And with that, let’s meet Kerry!
Have you always loved writing or was it an acquired taste?
I’m going to be really annoying and say always. As I had a stammer as a kid it really impeded my ability to communicate so I turned to writing as a way to express myself. Having a stammer can really derail your confidence and being able to communicate and express myself through writing was a savior in many ways.
It reminded me that I could be coherent and intelligent and that I had something to say. I’ve dabbled in most forms of writing; journalism, poetry, creative fiction, creative nonfiction and finally, copywriting.
Where were you when you had that lightning-strike moment that made you realize you wanted to be a professional copywriter?
It wasn’t so much a lightning-strike moment as a slow burner. I was an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher for about four years before I decided to try and make a go of it as an online business.
On my journey to growing that online business I started a blog and a podcast. Eventually I got curious about how to actually get in front of the people I was trying to help (aka marketing). I made my first investment in an online marketing course and one workshop was about copywriting. Realizing that you could write for a living outside of creative or journalistic writing was the closest thing to a lightbulb moment for me.
I did some more digging then invested in a copywriting diploma and then in a coaching program because I had no idea how to actually turn it into a viable career. I’m so glad I did that because it helped me quantum leap to where I am today.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve written in your copywriting career so far?
Is it terrible if I say my own sales page for SERP Slayer?
I’ve written lots of copy for clients that I’m proud of, but there’s something just so special about writing your own copy for your own product. I’d put in the initial work of doing customer interviews, I knew my market so intimately (because I was them) and I had a lot of fun breaking the fourth wall of sales copy.
It taught me something very important about the traditional “agitate the pain points” formula of copywriting: that I didn’t want to do it.
Writing for my own audience brought real people to the fore of my copy. I thought about how I could agitate their pain points and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
“Would I ever talk to Bea like this?” I thought.
“Imagine sitting down and saying this to Helen?” I said.
So I flipped the switch and decided to empower them through my copy by highlighting why they have exactly what it takes to become great SEO copywriters, not leveraging fear to wrangle a sale out of them.
That’s the energy I now bring to all my client projects.
What courses, coaches and communities helped you most when you first started?
Hands down Belinda Weaver’s Confident Copywriting coaching program.
Belinda is an absolute star and without her I would be nowhere near where I am today. Copyblogger was also a great launchpad with their free resources (and free course on Coursera).
SEO for the Rest of Us deserves a mention here also. Brendan was the first person who made SEO feel attainable for me and his insights are always presented so well (obviously his 10 years as a teacher shining through). He’s one of the few people out there who can translate SEO into something human.
Tell us about SERP Slayer. What made you decide to launch the course and what do you hope copywriters will gain from it?
At first I wanted to start a course about keyword research because that’s what everyone asked me about the most.
I put out requests for market research interviews and looked at everyone who agreed to chat with me: every single one was a copywriter.
I also noticed that the majority of the people on my newsletter were copywriters, the people who slipped into my DMs asking me for consults, coaching and courses were also copywriters.
After conducting some research interviews I realized that everyone thought their problem was keyword research, but that’s just the tip of the SEO copywriting iceberg.
The questions and doubts they had were much more symptomatic of a lack of understanding about SEO in general and wouldn’t be solved with a simple course on keyword research.
For example, “How do I know what’s too competitive for my client?” shows a lack of understanding about a crucial concept known as domain authority and how a website’s backlink profile, age and other factors affect what keywords are viable for them to rank for.
Giving someone a boat doesn’t make them a sailor, much like telling people how to do keyword research doesn’t make them an SEO copywriter.
So I decided to build SERP Slayer into a much more complete course, especially because I remembered how hard it was to piece all the puzzles of both SEO and copywriting together. Most courses taught either SEO or copywriting, few truly blended the two concepts.
As for what I hope our students get out of SERP Slayer I already know: support and continuous growth in their SEO copywriting career.
Our format is a little special, this isn’t just a DIY course. Our students get one year access to our God Save the SERP community (and an extra content portal with extra workshops, etc.) to get advice on how to tackle their projects and get feedback on their work.
As a former teacher I know that nobody learns in a silo. Applying knowledge in different contexts is where you really cut your teeth and having a network to help you do that will save you a lot of stress.
What are some of the biggest wins SERP Slayer students have had so far?
I don’t want to take credit for anybody’s wins but among some great wins there are:
- Members publishing content in big industry publications like the Content Marketing Institute
- Landing new clients for SEO web and blog projects
- Booking themselves out with regular retainer gigs (blog writing and SEO are a great way to bring in that regular income without getting more clients)
- One member was recently a speaker at the International Women’s Conference by the Costa Women’s Group
- One member got found by an ideal client by having a great SEO optimized Instagram page
- Another member is ranking well and attracting the local market she was hoping to attract at the beginning of the program
There are so much more and I don’t want to discard the smaller wins like finally feeling confident about things like keyword research or being more assertive and taking on a more strategic role for their client projects.
What’s the one thing you wish every copywriter knew?
Your writing alone can’t sell for you.
Seems weird, right?! I mean we’re copywriters after all, our copy SELLS, but so many copywriters neglect learning about how to be an effective salesperson on sales calls.
It’s been a massive shift for me personally and one thing I’m trying to translate for our members to help them close more of the (right) clients and finally feel confident about their sales abilities.
Another thing is that other copywriters are not your competition, in fact most of my own referrals come from other copywriters. Networking and building relationships with your peers will pay back dividends.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m a very good singer and I actually auditioned for X-Factor when I was a teenager.
So embarrassing! But thankfully my singing career did not work out (I couldn’t have handled the fame haha) and I stuck with the old writing.
Another thing is that I’ve written a full-length novel. I took part in the NaNoWriMo challenge in 2017 which is to write a full-length novel in just one month. It was a great challenge and one day I will edit it and hopefully get it published. Right now I’m just proud that I could even manage to see a full novel to the end.
Want to learn how to slay those SERPs? Where to find Kerry
Thank you Kerry for sharing your incredible story with us! 💖
Brittany is the Founder and Content Chief at Pointed Copywriting. She’s also an expat, entrepreneur, and ‘90s pop culture addict based in Nicosia, Cyprus. Brittany and the team at Pointed Copywriting are proud to serve quality copy and content strategy to groundbreaking SaaS, B2B and enterprise brands in over three countries and countless industry niches.