After many years as an SEO copywriter, I still have people asking me, “What do you do all day?” If I just answer, “I write”, the inevitable next question is, “What do you write?” There’s never an easy answer, so let me break it down into straightforward terms. What does it take to write an SEO article.
The catalyst to any writing work is being organized. Granted, unless you’re naturally gifted, it takes a few years and a little planning to get this part of writing down. Now we – meaning my co-workers and myself – have become so organized that we actually use Google Docs to share the workload on any given day. Because that’s just how we roll – go Google? 🙂
Let’s just give you a peek into the day of SEO copywriting. On any given day, I’ll write an article, blog post, web page or press release, or spend hours reading and researching on a given topic.
Clients sometimes send you the keywords they want you to include in their content and, come hell or high water, expect a certain density from those keywords (that’s another blog, but when every other word is supposed to be a keyword, it makes me cringe).
Then, THEN, comes the bane of writers everywhere – “writers’ block”. It happens to everyone, but especially when you can’t manage to be inspired about golfing, mobile phones, RVs… But write you must, and inspiration has to come from somewhere.
Some of us go for a walk; others sit glued to their monitors, reading tons of information, in order to get the creative juices flowing.
Dedication to the Cause
Of course, all the above leaves out the ultimate goal of SEO copywriting, which is helping the client rank in the SERPs, be found online, bring traffic and convert visitors. It seems simple enough, and this isn’t to say that you don’t sometimes get to write what you’re passionate about, but what if you don’t get inspired by mobile gadgets? What if, say, you really don’t care about which rims look best on which cars, but you have to write an article about the 10 Best Rims for a Four Wheel Drive?
So yes, SEO copywriting can be boring and frustrating, especially when you have a deadline and more than one job order. Without discipline and dedication, many will walk away; in fact, many that I’ve hired through the years have walked away after “trying it”, because they found out it was work. There, I finally said it and it’s out in the open. Many writers walk away rather than taking the time to hone their art.
Understanding the Topic
For the most part, clients will give you their own outline or, at the very least, discuss what they want you to write over the phone. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they’ll use the content. Are they using it as an article on their site or externally? This gives you a better sense of their audience. Are they driving traffic to this page via PPC or are they looking for organic keyword traffic? Knowing the audience and how they’ll land on the page will give you the angle and inspiration to write.
Remember, though, no amount of excessive formatting, witty plays on words or flowery writing is going to reach your target audience better than sound advice. Establish your credibility or, in the case of ghostwriter, your client’s credibility, then quickly move on to the most important part – the information.
4 SEO Copywriting Points to Ponder
Once authority is established, keep these solid points in mind:
- Providing original content isn’t easy. I can’t tell you how many clients have little or no information on their services. We actually did research once for a client and soon realized that all content we found was copy we’d previously written. While others may have written something vaguely similar, make sure your article or page isn’t covering exactly the same information, exactly the same way. Focus on writing your copy in a different, better way.
- What style and tone are the readers looking for? The right style and tone can keep the reader as an “active” participant; the wrong style and tone can have them clicking away in less than 10 seconds. Context is the key here. The tone for a government site wouldn’t work well at all on, say, a gossip site. Another example: you wouldn’t send an email to a friend with the same tone you would use with a business contact. If you’re stuck on style and tone, find similar sites and a style/tone you like. Don’t copy the content, but use the style/tone as a loose guideline for your own content.
- Grammar and spelling are a must. If you can’t see errors in something you’ve written, have someone else read it to spot those easy to avoid errors. Bad grammar and poor spelling can ruin an otherwise beautiful piece of writing.
- Get excited about the product or service. This isn’t an easy thing to do all the time, but if you can understand why/how the potential client/reader will be getting to the page, you can directly address their needs. Solve their problem; give them better understanding of the product/service/information.
Inspiration is often overrated. Yes, you need to figure out how to get the writing started, but grasping and understand the needs of both client and reader is what will pull your SEO copywriting content together.
Great post! I find that being naturally curious is helpful when you’re a writer. If I have to write on a topic that doesn’t particularly interest me, I try to find out unusual facts about the industry or the audience to make sure there’s something unique in the copy I write. I also tend to assemble every piece of info on the topic I can find, then edit it and craft it in the tone/language suitable to the project. I usually draft out the piece first, then go back and see the best placement for keywords (but not by stuffing them every other sentence!).
This is the best tutorial I’ve read on the subject. I do a bit of ghostwriting myself, and find it a challenge to speak in another’s voice. Nice work, and great tips. Thanks!
Hey Judy, what a nice surprise to see you reading our blog. Thanks, I’m glad you thought so. You know, what I found really amazing is that sometimes inspiration and what people want to read are right under our noses. I can’t tell you how many times my fingers fly across the keyboard, writing like a fool. Needless to say, the editor has a mess on her hands, but at least it’s being recorded. Other times, I’m literally a zombie on coffee, humming and hawing and finding another reason to take the dog for a walk.. for the fourth time that day.