Do you have a process for writing your content? Mine is pretty simple, I just sit down and let it flow. When I am done, I edit, see where I need to trim things and where I need to bulk things up and lastly I think about aesthetics (adding formatting and images). But every once in a while, I sit down to write and nothing flows. That’s when things get interesting. Sometimes I work on something else and try again later. Sometimes I crank up my music and just zone out for a few minutes to clear my mind and then things flow. Sometimes I skim my Google alerts and look for inspiration there. Other times I go bounce a little bit (I have an exercise trampoline in my office and find a few minutes of good bouncing gets things flowing). Today none of that worked! So I decided to try something new:
I created a brain dump file. I just dumped all the things I could think of that I knew about SEO, social media, copywriting, marketing etc. Just quick bullet points to get the idea down. I figured after about 15 minutes I would be able to use my brain dump as inspiration and pick one item to expand upon and create an article. But then it struck me, maybe I should just share a chunk of my brain dump file and let you find the points that are of interest and benefit to you. I’ve organized it by category so it’s a little easier to digest. Let me know if you want me to flesh out any of these points into articles for future posts.
It’s important to know the difference between Features and Benefits when you are writing: A feature is something the product or service has. The benefit is the emotional statement to show prospects what they will get and how they will feel as a result of using your product/service.
Example of feature statement: Health Food products made with all natural ingredients.
Example of benefit statement: Natural health products that allow you to feel fit and younger looking.
Get creative, especially when you are feeling a little bit of writers block (see my suggestions above and then think about your own process – what can you do to whip up some inspiration?)
Focus on the reader, not on you. You should see “you” more than “I” or “we” in the content. It’s all about the reader/visitor/customer.
Don’t overlook calls to action. I see some great text that just falls flat at the end because it doesn’t guide users to the next step.
Create your site with clear a hierarchy and interconnection of pages. Your most important pages should never be more than one click away from your homepage. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
When you are looking at your conversion stats, be sure to check it by browser to see if your code is creating problems in a particular browser. There are big differences between the browsers and you can’t assume your site looks good and works well in all because it does in the one you use.
Worried about all the algorithm changes? Focus on quality content. Avoid the latest gimmicks, trick and “fast results” software and you should be fine.
Often site owners that handle their own SEO don’t get into the more technical details like Rich Data Snippets and canonicalization issues, authorship etc. Be sure you don’t ignore these issues. You may need to hire a consultant to help you out, but it’s worth it.
Revisit keyword research and find new keywords people are using. Searcher’s behavior and search habits continue to evolve, so your keyword list should too.
30% of all searches are local!
Make sure your address is listed clearly on your site, along with your phone number. The number on your site should match the number you use in your Local/Places/Maps listings. You can use Rich Snippets on your address for a better response from the engines.
When you can’t find good keyword data for local phrases (which is often hard), try using Google Suggest and see what common phrases other people are using.
Ranking reports are pretty meaningless, for many reasons, so focus on web stats to see how you are doing. You should see an increase in organic traffic and if the traffic is quality, you should see a decrease in bounce rate (unless you have major marketing issues with your site)
Always try to write unique product descriptions. Using the manufacturer provided description means your text will be the same as anyone else’s that is selling that item. The engines like fresh, descriptive content and so do visitors. This also allows you to get creative and write in a tone and style that matches your site.
In stores, there is staff to make recommendations on products. Websites are missing that. Try putting little notes next to certain products, like “Best seller” or “Kids favorite” or “Staff favorite” – just little notes to draw your visitors eye to certain products and make the experience feel a little more personal.
Don’t waste your thank you page! This is the perfect time to make an up-sell. People have already bought from you and should be open to other offers.
Make your opt-in box prominent and compelling. Building a list is vitally important to your business. Too often I see “Join Our Newsletter” – that isn’t enough. People get too much email and are protective of their email address. Give them a reason to trust you and invite you into their Inbox.
Be sure to use testimonials to build credibility and trust and also list any factors that differentiate you from your competitors (satisfaction guarantee, low price guarantee, free shipping etc).
Don’t just create noise – make sure you are sharing solid information or contributing to a conversation.
Don’t be afraid to be controversial – it gets attention.
Always be courteous and respectful.
Ask people to RT or share or Like, people want to help and will often comply if you just ask.
Sharing photos via social media gets more attention than content (usually) but you still want to create text links and share content so play with a strategy that allows you to do it all.
It’s amazing but I’m still seeing people that aren’t using a profile pic or completing the bio section of social media profiles. Make sure your profile is complete as it can possibly be.
Social media is interactive, there is give and take. Be generous with your Shares/Likes/Retweets.
Use social media to generate a buzz in advance of a product launch, event, webinar, sale etc.
Being active on social media is important and it’s the foundation of your success but you also need to have metrics in place to measure your reach and success. You can learn what works and expand on it and abandon things that are time wasters for you. Most people miss this step with social media. Find a good tool and immerse yourself in the data.
I hope some or all of those tips are helpful for you! Sharing some of my brain dump was helpful; I think I got my writing mojo back. Stay tuned for an inspired post next week!