The Sarky Type – content with more bite

I know what you’re thinking, this is total bullshit. 

Content creation is about giving your clients what they want, right?

It’s always about the client. There isn’t a day that goes by when the client doesn’t come before everything: your own child (in my case, dog), your personal safety – in essence, your actual life.

“Bitch, don’t you dare deviate from your client-centric purpose”

I read a lot of posts that talk about this (I don’t ever finish the posts because I’m usually so fucked off by them). One post, in particular, got me a little bent out of shape. The author was repeating the standard marketing party line:

“Create content that your clients want to consume”

How can you possibly know what ALL your clients want to consume?

But marketers say that, and as a content writer, I’ve said it – up to a point. And that point is my own fulfilment. I often wonder if some digital marketing types actually believe the stuff they peddle but that’s for another post. 

You come first.

I have a keen sense of self. I revel in my own autonomy and I have no problem creating boundaries, or saying no. I have established all of those good habits despite enmeshment family relationships.

I don’t accept that the client always comes first, in the same way, I don’t think the customer is always right. It’s only after you build a decent relationship with your client that you value them and they, you but before that happens, it’s all about me – sorry, you. No one wants fake empathy. The obsession with putting potential clients (strangers) before your own desires is weird.

But…

I do talk about writing from their perspective. I babble on about solving problems and talking to them like a human. However, the way I create content starts with what I enjoy.

Content creation.

In the context of the content I put out for my business, my first thought is always, is it worth me getting out of bed for? If I only think about what my audience wants, and not what I like to create, what incentive do I have to carry on doing it? We all know that marketing needs a consistent approach, that’s another thing we hear on repeat. I’m not some selfless, altruistic person when it comes to how I make my living. Who am I kidding – I’m not like that in life! 

If I’m just doing what my prospects want, what’s in it for me?

Content creation for me first doesn’t mean my audience disappears, they don’t sod off because they’re upset that I’m enjoying myself. They’re not sending me angry DMs stating that I didn’t put them first. Some of them are enjoying it too.

  • For the record, the DMs I get are:
  • “Hi”
  • And:
  • “Do you have a softer, less scary side that’s more appealing to heterosexual men?”
  • Also:
  • “Would you be up for a synergistic business opportunity?”
  • Finally:
  • “So, why The Sarky Type?”

Different strokes.

If your ideal client works in cybersecurity, you’re probably banging out tailored content on that subject.

Let’s suppose the medium you use, is the one you like. Sadly some of that audience won’t engage with it. That’s because everyone is different, including people in your niche. If your media is primarily video, there will be a few Katrinas and Ahmeds in cybersecurity that hates video content.

So what do you do, stop creating video content because some of your target audience hate it?

You could vary your media to try and grab more of that audience. Ultimately it’s up to you but you could carry on doing what brings you joy and accept that you can’t please everyone. You’re lucky if you please a fraction of your audience, but pleasing yourself is always a good place to start.

Find your thing.

You don’t have to pick one thing, experiment, the point is to find something you like to do. I write, so it’s no surprise that I like text posts but I also like to make videos, and they’re often not business-related. And the reason I make those videos is because it’s fun. They make some people laugh believe it or not and I get a kick out of that.

I’m actually giving some of my audience what they want but I’d stop pretty soon if it was a chore to do it. Once you create content you like, you will then be in the best place to bring your message to your audience. We all want to give our clients something useful, and of value, it’s up to you to decide how you do that.

What is value?

I am really opening up a can of worms with this one. 

Value is another overused word that has been stripped of its meaning

Again, value is perceived differently by different people.

Free tips and resources are valuable, making someone laugh is valuable. Your audience isn’t going to agree. Not only does it change per person, each one of those individuals will see value differently within the context of each product or service they buy.

You’ll never provide blanket value for your entire demographic.

The content you like to consume is a great guide when you’re creating your own material because if you like it, chances are others will too.

We are all someone’s audience. You’re more than qualified to know how to create engaging, valuable content. 

Let’s wrap this up.

If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know that I promote the freedom to just be. Yes, there is best practice, especially when it comes to things like SEO. You can’t just do what you fancy with organic traffic but your content should have fluidity. If you’re rigid about marketing practices you’ll end up sounding like everyone else, you’ll be using words like ‘authentic’, ‘mindset’, ‘entrepreneurship’, and ending your posts with ‘agree?’.

If you don’t break out from the marketing crowd you’ll forego your individuality, and we need that now more than ever. So, do what you want first, your audience will follow. 

Agree?

     
SEO copywriting

In truth, this post is to remind me what the hell I’m doing as an SEO copywriter and content writer. It’s also to help those who might hire me. If that isn’t you, go and do something else. 

Putting the ‘writing’ into SEO copywriting and content writing.

Forget about SEO for just one moment and let’s talk about words. I’m not bad with words, I enjoy writing them.

They’re fun to be around – much more fun than any human even the ones I think are interesting and/or bangable.

And unlike the people in my life, they’re easily manipulated. I put them in whatever order I want and sometimes magic happens.

I’m making the point that writing well is the greatest gift you can give to your website and online environs. SEO-optimised text – with zero writing ability is keyword cramming. And that reads like shit.

Going keyword bonkers is shooting yourself in the SEO foot.

Don’t be this mug:

“We are artisan bread makers in Hull. We bake our artisan bread on-site in our bakery in Hull. We are passionate about artisan bread and are the leading artisan bread supplier in Hull”

I think you’ll agree, that was terrible.

Here are my three degrees of SEO copywriting and content writing:

  1. Get seen: be visible to those who want what you offer
  2. Attract clients: hook in prospects with excellent writing
  3. Build trust: show what you know and people will buy

Ok, I need to clear this up: SEO content writing attracts people to your yard (website) and copywriting compels them to take some kind of action whilst they’re there.

If you wanna know more about the difference, go here.

Who’s all this writing for?

So, I’m a B2B SEO content writer and copywriter.

In plain English, I write search engine optimised content and copy for other business types.

That sounds really lame and implies there’s no fun in the writing. Not so, I only pen brilliantly engaging content and copy for businesses that view themselves as misfits and agitators.

I apologise if I overexplained that, I blame mother. She gives me endless details about mundane events, like meeting deaf Anne at Tesco:

“You remember deaf Anne – she lived at the bottom of grannies garden”

Deaf Anne sounds like a hedgehog.

“Had two sons. Married a welder”

Nope, I still have no idea.

“She was a part-time pirate. Liked to drink shots and dance naked at the Legion.”

Putting the ‘SEO’ into SEO copywriting and content writing.

I’ll try to make this quicker than a teenagers’ first time.

Content SEO.

Content has its own SEO category because it’s IMPORTANT.

And yet, keywords are all people talk about. The only keywords I really get giddy for are the long-tail sort (LTK) because they get to the heart of what you’re really all about. 

For example, why be an ‘accountant’ when you could be an ‘accountant helping big earners with tax avoidance schemes’. Seriously though, why be an accountant? 

I think I’ve made it pretty clear, writing shit-hot words is SEO copywriting and content writing but that also includes:

  • Understanding why you create content 
  • Knowing your audience like your own private parts
  • Being savvy about your prospects search behaviours

Technical SEO. 

I don’t fiddle with the arse-end of websites, and I don’t write code (I google code). In terms of content writing, the (sort of) technical aspects of SEO that I dabble in are:

  • Permalink structures (the links for each post/page)
  • Meta titles and descriptions (the snippet that shows in the search results)

On-page SEO.

SEO is about making what you’re selling, easy to find but also, easy to consume. Text-dumping on a page without formatting is a shoddy way to behave. When I write something nice for you I’ll also be doing this:

  • Creating a hook-worthy title
  • Laying down some subheadings 
  • Recommending internal links
  • Suggesting outbound links (to back up any claims made)
  • Add keywords
  • Include a CTA (Call To Action)

Adding the LOLs to the copy.

Humour sells.

Some of us like to laugh, and we remember the ad campaigns that made us snigger. I write copy for businesses that want that. Humour is subjective and so is great branding.

I’m telling you now, you shouldn’t try to be the everyman in your industry.

It doesn’t matter if your business sells to other companies or the great unwashed, you need to decide who’s buying your product. A client will usually give me a starting point (favourite comedian or funny brand) as inspiration and off I go, giving them that thing. It’s like acting only I don’t have to leave the house.

Here’s how I work.

Having to deal with rubbish clients grinds my gears but it means I’ve refined my process to avoid the dickwads. I now get the prospects I want.

What I need from you.

A sense of humour and a lot of information. I’m going to ask you questions, lots of questions, and some might be tricky to answer but answer them you must for I won’t be able to produce top-notch ‘hilarious’ content without those answers.

Research.

I online stalk your business. I research your industry, the chosen topic, and your target market. I check out your potential clients’ search behaviours, and research long-tail keywords that are relevant to the copy.

Writing.

I’ll be writing as you and based on all the info I gather, you’ll get original wordage for your brandage.

First draft.

I understand you’ll want to make sure I’m giving you what you want. I’ll hand you the first draft to check through and you’ll get to pop all your suggested edits under each section of the copy.

But…

TRUST your writer.

Some folks like to act as editor-in-chief when they get the first draft, it does something to their brains. If you’ve hired me to write words, chances are you’re not very good at the job yourself.

The original content needs to remain the same. I won’t accept a draft back if it’s been tampered with.

The deal is, I edit my own work. You’re not paying me to edit yours. And if you harbour desires to write, don’t hire me and start a personal blog.

There might be times when I disagree with your suggestions.

I’ll always give you a decent reason, it’s up to you to accept my ability to know how to write content over yours.

Some of your ideas might work – in truth, you’re much more likely to hamper the copy with unnecessary words and clichés. In reality, it will take more time to edit your version of the text than mine.

Proofreading.

This is the right time for suggested edits and grammatical fixes.

But not by you (or me) – someone qualified. Humans are shit at spotting their own mistakes. Doesn’t matter a damn if they write for a living because writers are humans too (yes, even me). Having fresh eyes on the text is something I won’t do without, and it will make your new copy infinitely better.

Completed project.

Hello to shiny new content. Pretty isn’t it. Having a focused brief and rigorous planning stage means there will never need to be endless rewrites. You get one chance to moan about the work, so make it count.

You’ll probably moan less if you hire someone you like and whose ability you trust and value.

If that someone is me, hit the button.

       

Swearing in business. Not this old chestnut again. Yes, I know, but I don’t feel I’ve fully exorcised this demon. As Father Merrin stands by my bedside shouting “the blood of christ compels you!” I vomit this – I too, am getting tired of talking about it.

Swearing follows me wherever I go. Like a spirit possession I just can’t shake off.

Censorship in business content.

I was booted off LinkedIn because of it, “it goes against our policy agreement Sarah.”

As does nuance and irony.

White, upper-middle-class rapists get treated better (and why should a “promising future” be ruined by non-consensual sex with an unconscious student? Brock Turner, you piece of shit).

While incels spout their lady hate, racists become emboldened by our political climate, It’s odd that I’m gaining a reputation as a controversial figure. All because of swearing. But not just swearing, swearing in business.

Naughty words are part of my vernacular, sure, but I do use other words. And no Karen, I don’t think about how it might offend people because I honestly don’t give swearing that much thought.

Swearing doesn’t define me.

It has no bearing on how good I am at my job either.

Sure, I throw a few swears in my blog, that’s me but when my integrity is questioned by a condescending Karen who hates bad language, I start to question what fucking decade we’re living in.

Just stop swearing in business.

No, I bloody won’t.

And please don’t tell me it displays a limited vocabulary, a phrase much used by people with a limited vocabulary. Sadly social platforms like Linkedin are cracking down on profanity.

Our so-called progressive society is becoming increasingly prudish and puritanical – our very civil liberties are at stake! Yeah, I dunno if they are. I have a thing for the dramatic.

LinkedIn is confusing hate speech and online abuse with being British.

These huge corporations that rule our online world – actually, our lives all seem to be headed by a group of Sunday school teachers.

They are also American, who even now, still don’t allow swearing on late-night TV.

The Brits show love for one another by trading insults. But often the way we are is lost on everyone else and these social media giants haven’t built that into their algorithm.

It’s unprofessional.

This archaic view of what is expected in business is bollocks.

Social media knows so much about us, how we interact in all settings, business trends, marketing parlance, it’s down with all the personal brand stuff (and other shit I hate but have to know about). They are manipulating our brains so they make more money, swearing is hardly pushing the fucking envelope of acceptable behaviour.

You decide.

I think, as adults, we’re capable of choosing what content we like to engage with.

It’s the same when we choose what food to eat or who we decide who to work with. If you don’t like swearing, especially from a woman, then I’d rather you know now before we hop on a Zoom call. I like to filter out the conservative misogynists before I embark on any kind of relationship.

Let’s move on.

Swearing in business

Can we? Because I’d really like that. How nice would it be to banish this notion of not being professional because some of us get a little sweary from time to time? Can we also stop asking “are tattoos acceptable in the office?”. We are not living in the 1900s. Gone are the days when only convicts and sailors were inked up.

When you choose to part with your cash, and work with me, or some other person, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they any good at their job?
  • Do I like them?
  • Will we have, a bit of a laugh?

You might be thinking about other things too, like integrity and trust, but for me, that’s all part of the “are they any good at their job” bit. And if you really can’t handle any swearing I suggest you see someone about that.

If it’s good enough for Stephen Fry and Brian Blessed, it’s certainly good enough for me.

Want some content with, or without swearing? Hit the button.