Head of content: Mawla Agency

by Portfolio, Blog content, Website Copy

Kerry is an absolute boss. She spent a heap of time understanding my product and industry. She was tremendous value for money. She made a point of building a network and profile in my industry while working with me and helping me grow Mawla. She always wanted to understand why I wanted to do a thing and worked to try help me solve the problem not the symptoms. Her content and output was always well written, timely and rich. She wrote content with a purpose, trying to understand partners, opportunities, keywords, SEO etc. It’s in-house quality copywriting and a full-stack digital marketing experience.

Dan Malone

Founder, Mawla

The company

Mawla is a B2B headless CMS development agency based in Dublin who can count companies like Salesforce and Burger King among their clientele. Their tone-of-voice is witty, innovative and concise.

What brought Mawla to me?

Mawla were struggling to communicate the value of their very technical services into terms their prospects could fully resonate with.

“We’re really confident when it comes to the web development and web design of websites”, says Dan. “However, when it comes to articulating ourselves and getting our message across, we were having a lot of trouble with that. That’s what made me decide to reach out to someone who was better at interpreting what I wanted to say and rephrasing it so my ICP would understand it.”

What’s more, Mawla had a unique messaging problem: they had to speak to two audiences at once. In order for Mawla to close contracts they had to win over both CTOs and CMOs. The former were interested in what technology was being used to build the site and wanted all the specs, while the latter were more concerned with how user-friendly their new CMS would be for their teams to use. I wanted to get my agency’s brand messaging strategist, Natalie, to build our “Brand Messaging Manifesto” to help us nail Mawla’s messaging and positioning strategy.

After extensive customer research which involved 1:1 interviews and reviewing sales calls etc., Natalie came up with Mawla’s messaging and positioning guide. We focused on the shared problem that both CMOs and CTOs have when it comes to their CMS: it’s too complicated for the marketing team to use so they’re constantly having to rely on dev support. This problem slows the marketing team from making crucial updates and creating even the simplest of assets, like landing pages. It’s also a problem for product teams because their devs spend too much time updating the website, distracting them from product development.

Armed with our new core promise (“we build sites that marketing teams can actually update–without developer assistance”) and messaging guide, my work as Head of Content could begin.

96% increase in organic traffic & other SEO goodies

Mawla’s SEO had been slowly declining so one of my first jobs was to figure out why. I conducted a full site audit, crawling their site using Screaming Frog and pulling together all their active URLs. What I discovered were a lot of thin, low-quality pages, many of which were competing for the same target keyword. Given that these pages all had the same search intent, trying to rank them for the same keyword contributed to keyword cannibalization, effectively reducing the ranking of all of the pages.

My first job was then to decide which pages to rewrite and which ones to delete then set up permanent redirects to the new, updated pages. I also built out more unique services pages (similar to what I did for another B2B service provider) to boost our rankings for other bottom-of-funnel, high-commercial intent keywords.

96% increase in organic traffic

Our average position dropped overall as we began to rank for more and more long-tail keywords, which is pretty normal. However, thanks to nailing the search intent of our target queries and improving our rankings for more key pages, our organic traffic shot up by 96%. Note how we weren’t generating mad numbers, but given how bottom-of-funnel our new traffic was we didn’t need that much to start generating new leads. What I wanted to avoid were spikes in traffic but flatlining conversion rates which often happens by targeting too many top-of-funnel queries.

From position 19 to top 10 for JAMstack agency

It’s important for Mawla to filter out companies looking to build their sites on WordPress. We wanted to attract those CTOs who were already sold on using JAMstack to build their company’s site. This allowed us to improve the quality of leads coming from search.

From position 19 to top 10 for Sanity Agency

This was a valuable keyword in particular because it brings in searchers who aren’t just sold on using headless, but who are already sold on using Sanity as their CMS. This means it’s one less job for Mawla’s sales team to convince them of its benefits.

Getting *the* influencer of Headless SEO to contribute and distribute our content

As part of my research I found that a lot of marketers and SEOs were sceptical about using a headless CMS because they believe it negatively affects SEO. This was a harmful myth that we wanted to dispel which is why I wrote a key piece of thought leadership content called Headless CMS and SEO: will it wreck your organic traffic? I wanted the piece to showcase our own expertise on the topic, but also collaborate with *the* industry influencer on all things headless SEO: Lidia Infante, who was Head of SEO at Sanity at the time. (Really, Google Headless SEO, most of the SERP is Lidia).

I reached out to Lidia asking if I could pose a couple of questions to her on the topic and she kindly agreed to contribute. Furthermore, I also sent out a request on sites like Help a B2B Writer for quotes from companies who had seen benefits from using a headless CMS, as well as asking a few people from my own network. These days I don’t use sites like HARO or Help a B2B Writer because AI has turned them into spam cesspools…but back then they were still pretty decent.

These quotes from Lidia and marketers who had successfully implemented a headless CMS gave the piece the added credibility I was searching for to assuage fears that a headless CMS would damage a site’s SEO.

What’s more, we even got Sanity themselves to distribute and share the article, gaining us an important backlink and public recognition about our expertise on the topic.

Driving pipeline

Another key result I achieved for Mawla was driving more pipeline. Through a mixture of conversion-focused copy and more visibility in search engines from better-fit leads we were able to see a noticeable increase in conversions, which we defined as enquiries about our services via our contact form. My personal highlight was during a kick-off call one client said; “I read your website copy and just thought, yes! This is exactly what I’m looking for. You really spoke to me.” He then asked me “Did you write that? Well done!”

Read some of the content

Headless SEO Article

UI & UX Design Services

JAMstack development services

Two women posing for a photo at a desk. Tactical Marketing with 4Zero Marketing

Hi I’m Kerry

I’m a copywriter and content marketer who helps brands like yours own their messaging, soar in search engines, and convert more leads into customers.


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The raw, unfiltered newsletter for copywriters where I share my hard-won lessons about growing a career in copywriting.

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