Constantly updated, fresh, new content is the search engine optimization mantra of choice, regardless of whether or not you’re a website owner trying to run a business and carrying out the SEO yourself or have given up and outsourced to a professional agency. Professional SEO agencies will often not have experienced copywriters on staff or employ PR professionals. This is because content that engages and functions is a specialist skill that post-dates traditional optimization techniques such as title tweaking, coding, and link building. The online PR bandwagon is only just starting to leave the station – but for such a new area of SEO, there’s already a seemingly bottomless pit of advice and experience for the newcomer to draw upon…
1. What’s the reward?
Talking about rewards in the context of online marketing is often mistakenly taken to mean that you must offer some sort of financial reward or freebie to anyone arriving at your landing page. While this can be a good strategy in certain circumstances, it’s usually not viable long term, so other forms of reward need to be incorporated. When writing copy for search engine optimization purposes, the reward can be as simple as assuring the viewer of well-researched, informative and original content (which is free to view) designed to educate, assist, or entertain.
A good site is made up of building blocks of good quality content, so writing copy that is appealing and intriguing is essential to the future success of your site. Good content will not only help with search engine rankings by providing an incentive for others to link back to your site but it will also help with conversion and repeat visits – your content is one of the benchmarks by which your site is judged by new visitors. Did you give enough information? Could they easily find the answer to their search query? Was the site clear and concise? And was there enough content to maintain their interest and encourage them to come back for future updates?
2. Where’s the emotion?
Facts, figures, and statistics can all make a piece of content interesting but they can also render it too impersonal. Crafting a piece of content that is optimized for search engines, original, rewarding and provokes emotion is a big ask. It’s a formula that can take a while to get right but it’s worth persevering with. Provoking emotion can be achieved by something as simple as writing a review on a product or service within your own or dependent industries. If well-informed and with a clearly defined point of view, there are sure to be readers with complementary and opposing opinions. Similarly, talking about a new piece of legislation or proposing changes to standard practices in your particular field can all stir up reader passion and opinion. This type of article will help with search engine optimization by generating links back to the original piece. Particularly well suited to social media link building, anything that provokes a reaction tends to thrive on bookmarking, blogging, and networking sites.
3. What impression does it leave?
Creating content as regularly as is required for SEO purposes demands quite a large investment of time, energy, and creativity. It can be difficult to think of new topics day after day, let alone ensure business interests and branding are accurately represented in each piece. If you have a blog or tend to focus content on social media sites, then it’s even more difficult to accurately manage your brand image. Add time constrains and the need to sometimes tap out a quick piece just for the sake of adding a new article or news story to the site and it’s easy to see how branding can get left behind when writing optimized website content.
However, making sure you portray your business in a positive light and subtly enhance your unique selling points and special offers in each and every piece is vital. An easy way to reinforce your credentials in an online PR or business article is to get a quote from the CEO or similarly accredited professional. Seek out the person whose comment is most likely to add gravitas to the piece – so if you’re compiling a news release about record sales, go to the sales manager, get a quote and include some concrete figures. If you’re writing a piece about a new product or service, speak to the person who was responsible for the research and development and get industry or client quotes if possible. All of these actions will help position your company as a thought leader, professional, reliable and transparent – all essential qualities of any brand leader.
4. Who is the piece intended for?
Whatever the subject matter, you can be fairly sure that not every piece you write will be suitable for consumption by all audiences. If you offer more than one product or service or deal with different types of industries on a daily basis, you’ll almost certainly have to create niche content suited to each audience type. Being particular about who reads what content will also help with the off page element of your SEO campaign because links built for each piece will be from very relevant third party websites, adding a quality mark to your link strategy.
If you plan to send out your online PR and be proactive about getting it published online (rather than simply uploading it to your own website or social media profiles and hoping for a good pick up rate), then you’ll need to be very selective about who you send which piece too. Think of a journalist like you would a potential client – you need to sell the story to them and you can only do that by tailoring the information they receive from you according to their publication’s interests.
By asking questions of your content before you even plan the layout and subject matter, you can make your writing job much easier and ensure that your piece will be digestible by the search engines as well as being a tasty treat for your audience.