I’m not going to tell you to start a company blog because there are other ways to communicate brand messages and gain online traction. However, if you do have a company blog, you should concentrate on making it better and providing more value to readers.
It’s easy to say, “Start a blog.” I know because I’ve suggested such things before; but, there are as many reasons not to blog as there are to blog. You don’t have to be like anyone else is an immediate suggestion if you do blog. Don’t chase the style of influencers or popular brands; chances are you won’t find the same ‘magic’ during your trials. However, you could make the blogging process your own.
Consider the following ‘normal blogging’ alternatives:
Text is boring
I love reading; but, not everyone agrees. Actually, I bet a lot of people rather view a slide show or watch a video than read lines of text. Think of your days as a student. Not many people retain information from a textual once over anyway. Your blog doesn’t have to be textual at all. Some people enjoy speaking, opting to share information in that format. Are you more of a talker than writer? Begin podcasting your ideas.
I’ve ghost written before for other individuals. I love writing. Like reading above, there are those who would disagree with my choice of passion. It’s understood. If in-house workers are not natural writers, then don’t try to mold them into it; they’re likely to resent the need. I’d love to see someone attempt to make me into a ‘number cruncher.’ Alternatively, think about outsourcing your writing needs to…a writer, someone who enjoys doing it. I would suggest limiting the number of them. I think the more people involved, the less likely all parties can accurately channel the personality of your brand. Perhaps your owner can closely work with one ghostwriter, who can accurately capture the owner’s insight.
Don’t Do It
I know. I’m an online marketer telling you to dismiss an online marketing objective. You don’t have to blog at all, especially if your brand is going to do a poor job of doing it. This is something I wish more brands would realize: doing something poorly can grossly counteract online initiatives, creating poor impressions. For instance, I can’t count how many handles do an awful job of social media participation. Some brands would benefit from retiring their Twitter and Facebook accounts because the accounts are so poorly managed and curated. I hope your blog isn’t poorly managed; but, it’s not an out-of-this-world notion.
Optimization Doesn’t Equal Conversions
If you rank well on major engines for words associated to your services and products, you’re business is in a good place. But how many people ‘fit’ on the first page? Not many. I think an excellent ongoing branding campaign (for some brands) is just as good as great rankings. Good rankings ensure more people notice your brand. Branding does the same, yet ‘optimizes’ your brand toward its target market. Isn’t that who you want to sell to? I’m not saying dismiss all notions of SEO; I’m saying notice the widespread tools of online marketing. You don’t have to be number-one on Google to be successful online; you have to be number-one with your customers to be successful.
How many articles have you seen cruise past your Twitter stream? I see hundreds of suggestions per day. Where does all that digital content go? Surely, the lifeline of posts is not long; there’s an incipient flood coming by the hour. However, from a curation perspective, there’s no reason for content to rest in peace.
Jacob Klein wrote a post yesterday on building links with video content. I thought the suggestions were great; it got me thinking of bounce rates and conversions. In the comments, I inquired about such. Jacob ensured me he had experienced longer on-page times due to inserting video into posts. It makes sense; people skim through written copy, but usually watch video from beginning to end.
In many cases, video galvanizes otherwise ‘boring’ or ‘dry’ content. Think about some product or service-related suggestions. Would you rather read about the proper way to paint your home’s interior, ‘seeing’ professionals at work, or read inanimate words on a page? What better serves the consumer, the readers’ needs?
Do you have older content? Has it experienced any visitors or grievers lately? Why not do some video experimentation, Dr. Frankenstein? Raise the old sentiments from the dead, recharging and reinventing insight with video implementation.
You’ve written a post. Now we know what you think. What about the opinions of others? Have you ever considered beseeching a running tally of opinions? Passionate professionals love sharing and expressing opinions. In many cases, more views make for a better piece of content. Two minds are better than one; what about a community of minds? Have you done any fiddling with Survey Monkey? The service is free and you can insert a customized survey at the bottom of your post.
Did you write a successful post? Did you write a not-so-successful post? Would you like to reintroduce the conversation? Pin a survey at the end and send it out to the community, asking for input. If you get enough responses, your brand can orchestrate a modern-day part II.
Graphic Design/Comic Strip
I wrote a guest post for Michael King a little while ago on sweet tweeting. When I sent him the rough copy, Mike told me to take a look at this post by Cyrus Shephard. Take a look. Cyrus makes some good points, yes? Have you released prior copy void of eye stimuli? Perhaps it’s time to loop back around and implement some pictures, infographs, or even comic strips. Take a look at Mike King’s comics; he’s known for them because he does a good job of illustrating points using visual stimulants. Could you pull rank, rising interest in old copy by emulating his artistic sympathies? I think so.
What other suggestions do you suggest, readers? Surely there are other ways to raise awareness about old content. Have you taken notice of our free white paper? Do you have more questions about SEO or online marketing? Direct your attention to the WebiMax contact page.
Sometimes copywriting can be a paine pain for professionals. I employ copywriting from a comfortable position. I produce for WebiMax. I’ve been working in the field of online marketing for over five years and still have a lot to learn (I’ll always remain writing teacher and student); but, I feel confident in my position, reading and writing daily upon a range of online marketing topics. However, I’ve written for a range of clients in the past; and, can say in retrospect, I have not always felt so comfy.
It’s not easy to communicate with clients as a writer sometimes. There may be no direct contact or weakened lines of communications regarding what a client expects, desires, and understands about copywriting implementations (from an online marketing perspective). Rather than point fingers, it’s best to ensure things get done, to address the client’ needs. In theory, communication is the best remedy; yet, during day-to-day hustle and bustle, things get lost in translation, leaving communication wanting of sufficiency.
As a seeker of copywriting services, consider providing writers with the following rights to say:
Your Service/Product is Boring
I’m sorry; I’m not saying your product or service is not of high quality or there is not a definite market for them; I’m saying the topic is boring to address via copywriting. I’m creative; I would like to inject some intrigue for (your) readers. Are you willing to grant your writers a license to thrill? Brands (and aligned businesspeople) come in a variety of personalities; some are more comfortable than others in granting writers carte blanche.
However, consider the purpose of the copywriting. Do you have strict on-page expectations or would you like the copywriting provider to extend the content’s reach, potentially making a post go viral? A just-the-facts philosophy is likely to address on-page needs (describing goods and services) but cascading paragraphs, describing plastic tubing, is not going to incite a large reader market. Are you interested in fishing in a larger reader pool? Allow your copywriting professional to employ some creative allure.
I’m Not a Star; You Are
Could you imagine if I attempted to pen SEO copy like Rand Fishkin? It would be alarmingly obvious and embarrassing for me. He is the Wizard of Moz. Compared to him, I represent the lollipop guild. I understand respective owners and clients seek copywriting due to time constraints. However, please put in the time to provide writers with industry resources, suggestions, and anything, which may help them sufficiently address your industry.
I’m not the star…you are.
This is important depending on the nature of services. Are writers describing your products and services? If so, a very broad understanding of the industry may suffice, mirroring the understanding of your target market. However, do you want something ghostwritten, positioning you as an authority figure? It’s not uncommon; you may be a ‘Shakespeare’ when it comes to your respective industry, but not a writer who will be remembered for centuries; you feel more comfortable leveraging a writing-convention translator, a copywriting service. Understood, but, ensure you are providing enough insight so writers can properly ‘channel’ you, emulating your sense of expertise.
I Need More Time
There was a time when copywriting (pretty much) meant the provision of textual content. However, nifty infographics, videos, and other varieties, comprise ‘content’ these days. I would suggest clients take a gander outside the traditional parameters of textual content. For many service and product providers, visual stimulants allow for much better communication and user/brand-target experience.
Do you see a difference?
Are you building a site and need immediate copywriting? Understood, the process does not take very long. Would you like something done ‘super-duper’ well, hosting a variety of visual implements and points of reader intrigue? I celebrate the sentiment; but, writers will need more time to produce such copy. The venture may warrant more time, resources, and investment. Speak with your service provider about the difference.
How would you rate the importance of copywriting on a scale to one to ten? If you didn’t admit to eleven or above, keep reading. It’s the core of communication. Content adopts a variety of online forms these days (video, infographics, sound bytes, etc) but to date, written content is a need for all online real estate.
So, your brand is new to the game. Nothing to be ashamed about, we all start from somewhere. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge online regarding copywriting. Some is great, while some is not worth your time. I’ve come across a considerable portion of advice from both sides of the fence.
Here are a few points I’ve consistently observed being employed and suggested by those with experience.
Yes! I Got Them!
What does marketing mean to you? Is marketing a way to lure the innocent or inform your consumers? I understand your business exists to make money; but, you’ll pay both figuratively and literally if your brand is not genuine. Are you writing for attention or to inform your public?
I’ll ask again because it’s that important; are you writing for attention or to inform your readers? I see a difference in advertising and marketing; the former is the ‘commercial’ side of getting attention (and needed); the latter is important in building a brand. Marketing involves proving you warrant the desired attention. There’s no better way to do it than adding to your community, giving rather than expecting. Respect and attention is earned online; go ahead, disagree and give me a tweet in a short while; let me know how that’s working for you.
Does your brand have the most unique name and product/service on the market? If so, keywords may not be a huge problem for you (unless your meaning of the word contrasts from that of others – read about negative keywords); however, for the other 99.9 percent, keywords are needed to communicate to users and search engines.
There was a time when intense focus of particular words and percentages of on-page insertion were the obsessions of newcomers; those who greedily leveraged the tactic like it would never go out of style. Guess what? It did. These days, brands attract traffic in a number of ways; ‘gaming’ the SEs and keyword stuffing offers you nothing.
For one, even if you (temporarily) got away with ‘gaming,’ what happens when browsers come to a site (with great SE rankings) with little value to offer? They bounce (figuratively and literally). Secondly, a good-rankings-low-value dynamic screams, “ALERT!” to any consumer with a little bit of online knowledge.
Read up on LSI (latent semantic indexing). Search engines are getting smarter; new trends allow for a better read and a much more natural writing experience.
By now, you’ve read the first sub-heading and pledge to always consider your user when copywriting. “Content is king” was a long-standing SEO mantra, and some in the industry still like to use it; however, if you traced new SEO trends, I think you’ll agree with me; the contented user is king. What makes your target market content? Would added amenities augment the message contained in the copywriting? Consider producing infographs and short video clips as well as inserting tables, graphs, and high-quality pictures in your real estate. This benefits your market, compelling them to return.
Thanks for reading.
- Copywriting Tutorials for Crafting Effective Copy (if you want to keep on the pulse of copywriting, the copyblogger site should be in your toolbar)
Being New and a Blogger
I wonder if Picasso threw paintings away after one day. That’s what happens to a lot of writers’ online works. Content is not physically “trashed”; yet, if it’s not evergreen (and even in those cases at times) the content kind of rests there, eternally at peace. It’s a sin we let content pass on in such a way. Shouldn’t we facilitate a longer existence? After all, copywriting professionals put in time and energy; we’d like to see our creations curated, raging against the dying of the light.
So digital curation is a wise thought, Anthony? Sure. I’ve been reading about it for some time now. Joanna Lord discussed it in her recent post on inbound marketing. Joanna references a Rand Fishkin post from 2009; if you read the post, you’ll get a broader perspective of how much of an asset inbound marketing has become since then.
Understand Your Audience
One of the key points provided in Joanna’ post is ‘understanding your target audience.’ Brands need to stop and think about how content is going to engage markets. In fact, Michael King largely bases his new SEO process on users.
Writing for Writing’ Sake
Over the weekend, I caught site of John Doherty’s Three Tenets of Content Marketing. He advises producing better, less, and planned content. Each brand must approach content generation from its own perspective, which may involve more or less production. However, John’s piece reminds us that producing numbers doesn’t guarantee results.
Traffic or Conversions?
I like John’s sentiment because it’s likely to be supported by your brand’s statistics. Dr. Pete did a post last week on 2 SEO metrics related to traffic and conversions. A robust, content-generative sentiment may attain SE exposure. Awesome! Then, a consumer clicks on a link ostensibly addressing their need. They get to a page hosting half-baked content; now what? As you would expect, the bounce rate gets high while conversions on such pages is low to nothing.
Each NFL team needs a long/short offensive game. I suggest the same for your brand regarding content. I understand time is a factor. Exceedingly great content, which could be labeled as ‘evergreen’ and perfect for curation, (see this excellent example of a curated link building piece organized by Jon Cooper – that’s how you develop an ‘evergreen’ piece) takes time; yet, such content attracts attention. While your brand produces ongoing content, ensure a strategy for content curation is implemented. Great content is a terrible thing to waste.
Thanks for reading. Don’t be shy about commenting.
Good day to you, online marketing blog readers! I hope you enjoyed the last full week of February as you prepare to wrestle out of winter hibernation and fly into spring off the top ropes. Speaking of, not all need to come out of winter slumber; Pandas don’t hibernate. Speaking of, SEL released a well-done 2011 Google Panda memorial infograph (I also liked the one done by Falling Up Media) yesterday.
It reminds us that natural link building (did you see Jon Cooper’s link building strategies resource? – wow!), the process of intriguing others to link to your content, is performed using a variety of implementations. Speaking of, John Doherty discussed the three tenets of content marketing on his personal blog.
Speaking of, Michael King (aka ipullrank) hosted Sweet Titled Tweets Fit the Wit in Twitter on his personal blog (thanks, Michael!) done by me (aka content muse). Why use an alias? Maybe it’s cool or maybe to keep social media worlds from colliding, I need to separate my social and professional worlds; but, I’m posting on a Saturday; it’s already begun! I wish I didn’t know those SEO suggestions… Speaking of…
SF Gate: Facebook’s mobile applications
The Street: Five Products You Shouldn’t Buy Online
Meet more “Maxers” via our Casual Friday video, addressing social media’s importance in SEO. The videos are arranged by our Digital VP, Todd Bailey, who also devises his Bailey Daily (yesterday’s post).
Todd manages our team of writers, who you can read ‘on the reg’ at our SEO blog. We can’t get along without him. Speaking of, we couldn’t get along without a man of modesty, Chris Countey, who proliferates as writer, speaker, overall SEO strategist, and great teammate. Speaking of, I have plenty others, like on the blog team. Have you met some of them? I think you should.
Durba wrote some good posts this week. I particularly liked one focused on Pinterest; it’s great to get catchall tips but Durba provides examples of particular brands using the marketing platform well. Durba also addressed new mobile application, Instagram. Is it just another or something different?
Ryan is an incredible addition, spanning the globe in his ISEO writings. For instance, he takes readers from NYC to Berlin, discussing Pinwheel and travel. Yesterday, Ryan embarked on part one of his Google’s ‘Get Your Business Online’ report. If you’re in front of your computer, or anywhere in the world leveraging Webimax mobile, be sure to land eyes on part deuce.
Bruce likes writing from our sister, SEOservices site. (Have you been checking out the content there? We’re building a community and would love your contributions!) Bruce helps the writers make the best use of time while penning his SEO 101 post, offering great insights for SEO newcomers, like his content goes social and enterprise SEO pieces.
Other great reads from the week:
Michael King – The New SEO Process (Quit Being Kanye)
Dr. Pete – 2 User Metrics That Matter for SEO
Anthony Mangia – The Last Link Building Strategy Your Business Will Ever Need (great discussions in comment section)
Vanessa Fox – Is SEO Killing America?