It’s already day five of our holiday marketing extravaganza! Today we’re forgoing those five golden rings for some quick tips for writing courtesy of SuccessWorks’ Heather Lloyd-Martin.
Nothing is more important when developing a content strategy than employing good writing. Your site content is the first impression you make on your customers– and sloppy, boring content is the virtual equivalent of a limp handshake. If you want to benefit from the four calling cards of great content, you better have an excellent writer on your side.
That’s why we’re so pleased to have an expert writer like Heather Lloyd Martin on our side to give our CopyPress readers some writing tips. We’ll be discussing how to write for search engines and readers, the importance of headlines, and why a killer content strategy is pretty much the best thing ever.
Featured Blogger: Heather Lloyd-Martin
Heather Lloyd-Martin is a pioneer of SEO copywriting with over 20 years of marketing experience under her belt. Heather is the owner of SuccessWorks and the resident blogger at SEOCopywriting.com. She’s also an author, a frequent public speaker, and the developer of the SEO Copywriting Certification Program.
1. What is the first step toward better online content strategy?
I would say that the first thing would be developing a reader (or customer) persona. So many people start writing without having a clear idea of the target reader. It makes a huge difference when you approach the content thinking, “OK, the typical reader is male, he’s between 35-50 years old, and he makes approximately $75,000 a year and spends a good chunk on electronics.” as opposed to “I write articles for guys.”
I like to say that you should know your target reader as well as you know your best friend. Some copywriters even post a picture of their “target reader” near their computer – that way, they can look at a picture of him/her whenever they’re feeling stuck.
Once you know who you’re writing for and what’s important to her, the rest of the writing is easy. What specific benefits will appeal to her? What objections will she have? What ways can you write your posts to encourage a greater response? Your customer persona provides a very clear blueprint – so the rest of the writing goes so much more smoothly.
When you write “general” copy, you get so-so results. When your content is targeted towards a specific reader, you’ll see a huge increase in conversion rates.
2. Why should someone with no web presence invest in creating online content?
Because they have no web presence, and good online content will help. Seriously, there are scads of reasons why someone should invest in content creation (whether that means investing time, money or both.) The benefits include:
- Well-written content helps you connect with your prospects/readers/customers. It introduces them to your blog, product or service – and makes them want to read more. It helps them make informed buying decisions. It showcases your company’s benefits and explains “here’s what we can do for you.” It can even give people hope – you want folks to think after reading your content, “Finally, here’s a company that sounds like they understand what I need.” This helps you…
- Make more money from your Website. Good writing will help you sell more stuff (or gain more readers.) People like to share smart content, too – so great content can help you reach new audiences. Plus, there’s always the…
- SEO benefits – who doesn’t want better (and more) search engine rankings? Who doesn’t want to see their company name pop up on a variety of targeted keyword searches? Drive more traffic and expand your audience? Yes, please!
3. What is your favorite blog and why? (Other than your own blog, of course.)
I enjoy reading the 37signals blog. It offers really good content with great tips – and also a glimpse into the company. I think the HorsePigCow blog is fantastic, too – it’s good, in-your-face advice for entrepreneurs.
4. How important are headlines?
Very. I always compare headlines to the blurbs that you see on magazine covers. Blurbs like “8 ways to tell what he’s really thinking” are specifically designed to grab their reader’s attention and get them to buy the magazine. Online, a good headline gets clicks. I’ve seen some great tweets where I’ll click the link just because I like the headline. If you know how to create a killer headline – and you can include your main page keyphrases – you are sitting on a very powerful skill-set.
5. How do I write for search engines and readers?
There are certainly SEO copywriting best practices – you need to know and follow them. But the main thing is – write for your readers first. Don’t compromise your content quality because you want a better Google ranking. Google doesn’t pay your bills – your prospects do. If you create poor content in the hopes of gaming the system, you won’t see the results (and most importantly, the conversions) you want.
More from the 12 Days of Marketing
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the gift of Get Links-a-Building to learn how a strong link building strategy is vital to your SEO and marketing success from Debra Mastaler of Link Spiel. Check out our 12 Days of Marketing calendar to see the entire series schedule. On day twelve we will have something you don’t want to miss – the CopyPress team singing along to the song of “The 12 Days of Marketing”.