SEO copywriting and content writing: my process
In truth, this post is to remind me what the hell I’m doing as an SEO copywriter (and SEO content writer – covering all bases there). 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
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 good stuff 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:
- Get seen: be visible to those who want what you offer
- Attract clients: hook in prospects with excellent writing
- Build trust: show what you know and people will buy
Who’s all this writing for?
I’m a B2B copywriter. In plain English, I write SEO content for other business types.
I could have just said that – saved some time, but why do that when I can over-explain things? I blame mother. She gives me pointless 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 and dance naked at the Legion.”
Where was I? Ah, yes…
Putting the ‘SEO’ into SEO copywriting
I’ll try to make this quicker than a teenagers’ first time.
Content has its own 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, that also includes:
- Understanding why you create content
- Knowing your audience like your own private parts
- Being savvy about your prospects search behaviours
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)
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
We 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.
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.
I’ll be writing as you (or me, if you want me as a guest blogger) and based on all the info I gather, you’ll get original wordage for your brandage.
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.
TRUST your content 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 or 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.
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.
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.