Introduction to Keyword Mapping for Content Managers

keyword-mappingHaving a website means almost nothing if no one is able to find it. Content managers know this; it’s why SEO has become so critical and why keywords have taken precedence in terms of marketing strategies and content creation. However, understanding how they work and creating a process that utilizes them to their highest potential isn’t always as simple.

When keywords first arrived on the scene, a simple strategy took over: use certain search terms as frequently as possible to get attention and to drive rankings. That was great, for a little while at least. Today, it’s much less effective. With constant Google algorithm changes and updates that fine-tune the search process, strategies must be more elaborate and developed to be effective. This is where keyword mapping comes into play; it is the answer and anecdote to outdated processes that do little in terms of results.

What Is Keyword Mapping?

Keyword mapping is simply the process of using specific keywords on different pages inside a given website to create a map that allows users – and search engine crawlers – to find the information they’re actually looking for in a timely, less-frustrating manner.

If you implement a keyword mapping strategy on your site, the result should ideally be:

  • Structured content funnels that guide navigation naturally
  • A keyword strategy that helps pull together your site map with topics and subtopics that are clear and easy to follow
  • Easy to navigate page systems that clearly connect pages associated with specific keywords

Keyword maps are helpful, not only for rankings, but for creating meaningful content strategies that do more than push information on a regular basis. They allow content calendars to be created that actually make an impact on SEO strategies, meaning they’re critical for content managers.

Ready to get started and to use keyword mapping inside of your site and content strategy? Keep reading to learn more.

Identify Your Keywords

Using the keyword planner from Google Adwords or another free option, start to put together a list of keywords that you’d like your site to be associated with. Your keywords should relate directly to your business or brand – meaning that if someone would search for a term and find your site, he or she would be able to find answers or relevant information. A brand like Garmin – which sells GPS tools for runners – might be able to gain more traffic by creating content relating to running shoes, but it probably wouldn’t be beneficial traffic that leads to conversions, regardless of how closely related the terms sound. Identifying relevant keywords is an excellent starting point.

If you have an existing keyword strategy that doesn’t necessarily include a map, you have a good starting point to work from. Look at the phrases and search queries that you’re currently working with; which have higher bounce rates? Could these be modified? Are there related search terms that may perform better?

Branch Out

Once you’ve identified your target keywords, branch out a bit. Look deeper at each keyword and at search volumes associated with each term. Look for related keywords that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. Looking at overall popularity and conversion rates will give you an idea of whether or not you are heading in the right direction.

Set Priorities

Once you’ve created an expanded keyword list, it’s time to start prioritizing. Think about which keywords are most relevant and have the highest chance at success: these are your starting points. These are the keywords that will remain fairly constant and will be tracked most extensively to determine the success or failure of specific campaigns.

Start Categorizing

Keywords should naturally fall into a set of categories. These categories closely relate to your business and should become your blog’s categories or tags. You need to regularly maintain your categories and especially your tags in order to ensure that they are still relevant and the best possible ways to categorize your content. I recently completed a keyword map for 12 Keys, a treatment center in Florida, and made sure that every blog post fell into a relevant set of tags. For example, this post containing an infographic about potential lifetimes lost to substance abuse falls into the “addiction” and “infographic” tags. Older posts especially were not well-categorized, because more relevant categories and tags had been added to the blog since their publication.

Set Preferred Landing Pages

Part of a successful keyword mapping strategy relates to landing pages. By “linking” priority keywords and categories to specific pages, your site will be more optimized for going forward. Certain pages may be relevant to only one keyword, or to many more than that.

Try to optimize each landing page for a specific keyword. Do everything you can on the back end – tags, titles, image titles and so on – to be sure that page, and the categories and tags it is linked with work together to create a fully optimized experience that helps with improving rankings and overall visitor experiences.

Start Writing

It’s amazing how much can go into a content strategy before content becomes a part of the picture. This is especially true with keyword mapping.

Once your landing pages are optimized and your priority keywords and categories are set, it’s time to fill it in with content. Look for ways to include keywords naturally in the content your brand creates. As always, make sure your content is relevant and actionable – search engines are becoming smart enough to know when content is just fluff.

Create a content calendar that touches on each keyword on a rotating basis to be sure the site remains fully optimized for each priority word and that your content has some variety. Structure is key for any successful content strategy.

In addition to keywords, engagement must remain a focus. Your goal is to increase time spent on each page, to decrease bounce rates and to encourage visitors to visit additional pages on the site. Use calls to action, internal linking and other strategies to keep conversations flowing – when possible – and to direct visitors toward conversions.

Measure and Refine

Like any other SEO initiative or endeavor, keyword mapping is not a once and done activity. Take the time to measure your results on a monthly basis. Look for keywords that are underperforming, eliminate them and replace them to try something new. For keywords that are performing above your expectations, find ways to keep utilizing them, perhaps through more frequent posts.

Keyword mapping can serve as an excellent foundation for any SEO strategy and, as such, should be a top priority for content managers. Whether you’re looking to redo a website, to increase your search visibility or to start from scratch, keyword mapping is a solid starting point. Learn more about the process and put it into action today.

About the Author

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer, designer and marketer. She loves dissecting strategies to see what makes them work. To see more of her work, follow @adrienneerin on Twitter or visit her design blog, Design Roast.

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Creative Commons licensed photo thanks to Annie Mole.

5 Questions That Will Make the SEO Writing Process 5 Times Smoother

Ask QuestionsIt doesn’t matter whether you’re new to writing online or you’re a vet who was writing back when keyword density was at the top of SEOs’ minds. There are few things more satisfying to a writer than successfully negotiating a new project with a new client. Agreeing on a price to produce new content lets you know that you’re a pro and people see you that way. But while it’s gratifying to see a proposal or pitch pay off, that rush usually dissipates once you focus on actually writing. And whether or not the time you spend at your computer is fruitful usually depends on how much info you gathered before you started.

Starting with a new client can be difficult, because something that may have left one client smiling might make your new one completely indifferent. In order to get a feel for your new gig, there are a few questions you need to ask in order to produce your best work and prevent frustrating hang-ups.

1) What Is The Goal?

This may seem simple, but writers frequently tap away at their keyboards with only a vague idea of what the client hopes to accomplish with a particular piece of writing. Should the page drive sales? Will it be shared on social media? If so, will the piece be promoted primarily on a brand’s Facebook page, reddit, or some other social network? Or should the piece make your client’s site look authoritative?

Knowing the goal will shape how you create the piece and help you nail the first draft. If you need to drive conversions, then you’ll know to include strong, active language. Social media content will be punchy and fun (check out this Facebook page as an example). And content that’s designed to boost a site’s authority will have a longer-than-usual word count and links to respectable sources.

2) Who Is The Target Audience?

Every product is different, every audience is different, and every client has slightly different tastes. Considering all that, it’s nearly impossible to write your piece in a way that will satisfy your audience if you don’t know who they are. You might as well guess what their favorite flavor of ice cream is without knowing anything about their favorite foods.

To focus your writing your next question should be: who are you writing for? All writing is a conversation, and an important part of conversation is context. You speak to your friends differently than your family and co-workers, and writers speak to different audiences in different ways depending on their values and experiences. Knowing who your audience is and understanding their age, education level, hobbies and other demographic facts will help you tailor the piece to your readers.

3) What Are Some Of Your Favorite Or Most Successful Pieces?

A quick way to know what your client likes is by examining their personal favorites. If you ask what kind of pieces your client really respects and which pieces were the most successful (however it is defined), then you can begin to understand what the client is looking for. If your client has done their due diligence by paying attention to their content analytics, they should know what works for them and what doesn’t.

Do they like long-form articles, or pieces that are brief and to the point? Do they like lots of bolded words and bullet points, or do they prefer well-structured paragraphs? Do they appreciate fanciful wordplay and clever turns of phrase, or would they prefer the writing to be more direct and clinical? All these questions, plus more you haven’t even thought of can quickly be answered by reviewing your client’s greatest hits.

4) What Is Your Editorial Process?

This can vary wildly from company to company. In some smaller operations, the editorial process will just be the owner reviewing the piece and giving the final thumbs up. In larger companies, the piece might be reviewed by an editor, then the director of marketing, and finally whoever is in charge of operations before it can finally be approved for publication. This question lets you know who and how many people you have to impress. Don’t be caught off guard if you suddenly find your inbox filling up with editorial notes from four different people.

5) What Is Your Editorial Schedule?

Time is money, so you should know how your new client likes to work at each stage of the writing process. What is the deadline for submission of the first draft? When should you expect notes and revisions (if any)? When do they expect another draft? Do they have a hard date when they’d like to publish it? Some companies have a very loose, free-form schedule, while other editorial departments are run with the efficiency of an assembly line. Either way, knowing how they work will get you on board with the person (or team) you’ll be working with. Plus, it will allow you to properly manage your time, giving you the ability take on more clients.

Information Is Power

Starting your piece without knowing what to do and how to do it is like throwing a basketball at a hoop with your eyes closed. There’s a chance you might hit your target, but you’ll increase your odds of success if you keep your eyes open and get all the important information before you make your shot. By asking the right questions, you’ll leave lots of happy clients in your wake and a lot more, and higher-paying, gigs in your future.

About the Author

Logan Strain is a writer who regularly contributes to Instant Checkmate’s blog, a father, and a podcast addict. When he’s not browsing reddit, playing with his daughter, or binge-watching Netflix, he’s creating top-notch web content. Follow him on Twitter @LM_Strain.

Increase your skills – and your income – getting SEO copywriting certified. Get started today and save nearly $200 on the course! Use coupon code FUN.

Creative Commons licensed photo thanks to Martin Pettitt.

SEO Copywriting Top 10: Aug. 20 to 26, 2014

Site AccessThis week, we dig into the SEO data! Erin Everhart shows us how to prove its value without drowning in data in post #9. How do you measure SEO performance in a not-provided world? SEO Book’s Peter D. has the answer in post #1!

Bill Slawski’s got another killer entity-types post in #3, and for those of you not ready to tackle Bill’s technical level, Andy Franco takes us back to the SEO basics in post #7.

Oh, and remember how Google did away with keyword match types in AdWords? What’s that? Oh, you’re still fuming about it? Well … Bing’s doing it, too. Miranda Miller fills you in with post #6.


1. Peter D. writes Not Provided: How To Measure SEO Perfromance for SEO Book.

2. L. Williams writes 6 Tips for Influencer Marketing from an Influencer for Content Marketing Institute.

3. Bill Slawski writes Identifying Entity Types and the Transfiguration of Search @Google for SEO by the Sea.

4. Smriti Chawla writes 4 Simple eCommerce Product Page Tests That Take Less Than an Hour for KISSmetrics.

5. Beth Gladstone writes 7 Simple Twitter Marketing Tips to Improve Your Results for Social Media Examiner.

6. Miranda Miller writes Bing Follows Google’s Lead with Close Variant Matching for WordStream.

7. Andy Franco writes Back to SEO Basics: Why Relevant External Links Matter by Vertical Measures for Vertical Measures.

8. Joanna Wiebe writes These Landing Page Copywriting “Best Practices” Turned Out To Be Fails for Unbounce.

9. Erin Everhart writes How To Prove The Value Of SEO Without Drowning In Data for Search Engine Land.

10. Kevan Lee writes Buffer’s Guide to Creating Amazing Content for Search Engine Journal.

If you’ve made it this far, I’m sad to say that this is my last roundup. It’s been a blast, and I’ll miss subjecting all of you to my wiles, but there are new adventures ahead and I must consolidate my workload down to just one job. You’ve been awesome and I thank you so much for reading. I’ll continue to be a part of the SuccessWorks community by keeping up with my SEO Copywriting skills through Heather’s site and continuing to hang on her every word. Really, she’s amazing! Thanks again, everyone, and I’ll see you in the comments and our LinkedIn group. 🙂

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Creative Commons licensed photo thanks to Sarah Stewart.

Are Your Online Sales Slipping? This Could Be Why …

Women on slip-and-slide

Don’t let your customers slip away!

It’s never easy to lose thousands of dollars every month to your competitors.

The company (let’s call it Company X) used to be at the top of their game. Product sales were brisk. Their testimonials were excellent. They dominated Google search results for their main keyphrases.

Then, things started to slow. “It’s seasonal,” thought the CMO. “There’s nothing to worry about.”

Two years and many seasons later, business was down by 50%. The product quality hadn’t changed. In fact, nothing internally had changed.

And that was the problem.

Externally, the marketplace had changed – a lot. There were new competitors. Some trends had shifted. The target audience was looking for slightly different benefits presented in a slightly different way.

People were still buying. But not from Company X. The fantastic reviews, great testimonials and top search rankings weren’t enough.

What happened?

Many companies look at outside causes when sales slow down. It’s the economy. It’s a seasonal slowdown. Times are tough “everywhere.”

Yet, the problem can often lie with something completely controllable.

The site copy.

If your sales are slowing and you don’t know why, it’s time to take a hard look at your site content. Here are some steps to take:

Pay close attention to new competitors. What is their unique positioning statement and how does it compare to yours? How well do they discuss their benefit statements? Are they using a tone and feel that resonates better with the target audience? You don’t want to copy a competitor’s strategy. But you can learn from them.

Consider how the marketplace has changed. A major benefit two years ago may get a “meh” response from prospects today. Survey (or preferably, chat with) current customers and learn what’s important to them now. The information you learn can help you A/B test different benefit statements and see what resonates with your audience.

Review your keyphrase research. When’s the last time you reviewed your keyphrase research? Phrases that worked great a few years ago may be too limiting today. See if you can capitalize on new keyphrases, especially ones that target prospects at an earlier phase of the buy cycle.

Review all of your marketing collateral. ALL of it. This means your autoresponders, your site copy, your LinkedIn profile – everything. Chances are, you’ll find some cringe-worthy blog posts, some typos and some messaging that’s outdated and stale. Figure out a plan for addressing your copywriting blind spots and fix them.  If you think your site sounds stale, just imagine what your readers think.

Get an outsider’s opinion. It’s easy to let our egos get in the way of smart sales copy. We may love our writing. But our readers may not. Your copy may be perceived as “too overwhelming.” You may not be providing enough information. Or, your content could be so filled with marketing speak that your reader doesn’t really know what you’re selling. Hiring a consultant (or even asking a trusted colleague to help) can often uncover some quick, easy fixes you can make.

Does this mean you may have to revamp all of your site content? Perhaps. Or, you may be able to make some strategic SEO and content tweaks that can have a huge impact. The key is to immediately develop a strategic plan and start doing something.  After all, there’s no reason to let your so-so content result in lost sales opportunities.

Like this post? Well, I like you! And I’d love it if you subscribed to the SEO Copywriting Buzz newsletter. You’ll learn the latest SEO writing tips, how to thrive as a freelance and in-house copywriter and more!

Creative Commons licensed photo thanks to Jeffrey Smith.

SEO Copywriting Top 10: Aug. 13 to 19, 2014

cat swipes toy

Create a copywriting swipe file!

You probably know what a copywriting swipe file is, and maybe you’ve been meaning to start one but haven’t figured it out yet. Well, check out post #2 to finally figure it out!

There’s a bunch about SEO this week, as John McTigue helps you create a Hummingbird-worthy website, Michael Martinez brings you back to the core essentials, Barry Adams helps out with your SEO strategy, and Barry Schwartz shares Google’s top milestones of the past year’s 890 search changes!

Also, don’t miss Chloe Mason Gray’s complete guide to online customer research in post #6. We can all use something to make that easier! 🙂

1. Michael Ofei writes 5 Systems You Need to Skyrocket Your Freelance Writing Career for Write to Done.

2. posts How to start a copywriting swipe file.

3. John McTigue writes How to Create a Website Google Hummingbird Will Love for Kuno Creative.

4. Joe Pulizzi writes 7 Thoughts That Will Change Your Content Marketing Strategy for Content Marketing Institute.

5. Michael Martinez writes Core Essentials of On Site Search Engine Optimization for SEO Theory.

6. Chloe Mason Gray writes The Complete Guide to Online Customer Research for KISSmetrics.

7. Barry Adams writes 4 Crucial Ingredients for a Successful SEO Strategy for State of Digital.

8. Nathan Safran writes How Content Is Changing And What Marketers Need To Know [Survey Data] for Marketing Land.

9. Kyra Kuik writes How to Create Evergreen Content that Builds Your Business for distilled.

10. Barry Schwartz writes Google’s Head Of Search 10 Biggest Search Milestones With 890 Changes In Past Year for Search Engine Roundtable.

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Creative Commons licensed photo thanks to Vanessa.

Dominate Your Branded Search Result

In most cases, SEO will focus on getting a website to rank for generic keywords that are relevant to the company’s products or services. However, often the most relevant keyword of all – the company’s brand name – is overlooked.

All too frequently SEO practitioners only perform a cursory check to see if a company website ranks for its own brand name. Does a branded search deliver the website as the first result? Yes? Tick that checkbox and move on.

Sometimes however, that can be too hasty a box to tick. Claiming the top spot for your own brand name isn’t always sufficient to claim all branded search traffic, especially if there is content out there on the wider web that could negatively impact public perception of your company.

It pays to make sure that you claim the entire first page of search results for your brand name, ensuring your official corporate presence is the only thing searchers see when they type your company name in to Google or other search engines.

How can you dominate your branded search result to this extent? It’s not particularly difficult:

1. Website with Sitelinks

Of course you want the very first result on your brand name to be your own company website. This will be the case in most instances, however; sometimes you’ll need to work a bit at claiming that top spot, especially if your brand name is a generic phrase instead of a unique name.

This can be accomplished through the usual SEO methods; ensure your website can be fully crawled and indexed, acquire a healthy amount of links with branded anchor text pointing to the site, and try to get plenty of online brand citations.

Whilst cheap directory links are often harmful to a website nowadays, for branded search it’s worth investing in placements on some of the remaining trustworthy online directories such as Yelp and Thomson Local.

Getting a block of sitelinks as part of your branded SERP is harder to do, as it relies mostly on Google properly interpreting the search as a brand name search, and its ability to make sense of your website’s structure. A solid information architecture is required so that Google understands your site’s hierarchy and can show relevant sitelinks.

result with sitelinks

Top result with sitelinks.

2. Social Profiles

The second thing to do is ensure your company has active accounts on all major social media sites. Due to the inherent online authority that most social media platforms enjoy, having a publicly viewable social profile on the main sites – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc – you are almost guaranteed to have several of these rank on the first page of search results for your brand name.

On top of that, when you include your website URL in these social profiles, this will also contribute to your website claiming the top result for your branded search result.

A Google+ Local page can be especially useful in this regard, as often you can get a knowledge-graph-like box on the right-hand side of the search results page, which is filled with information from your company’s Google+ presence:

Google+ Local

Google+ Local-powered information box.

3. Multimedia Content

Google likes to include elements from vertical search, like videos and images, in their main search results. To ensure your brand name claims all available space on search results pages, it’s worth investing in multimedia content to publish online.

For example, you could feature a set of YouTube videos about your company, ensuring these are optimized for your brand name. You could also have a number of images of your company logo and premises available for free use on sites like Flickr and Photobucket, again optimized for visibility on your brand name.

That way if Google decides to include multimedia elements in your branded search result, chances are it’ll be your own content that is displayed and not a competitor’s. This is especially useful if your brand name is also a generic phrase, and Google is more likely to include universal search elements.

image results

Image results on a generic phrase that’s also a brand name

Own Your Brand Space

Never take a branded search result for granted. You should periodically check on your branded SERPs and make sure your company claims all the available spaces on the first page, and ideally a majority on the second page, as well.

Branded search dominance ensures that you claim all branded searches for yourself, and also mitigates the risks of bad publicity ruining your online brand. With total brand dominance in Google, chances are no one will ever see a negative mention of your brand unless they specifically go looking for it.

About the Author

With over a decade of experience in SEO and digital marketing, Barry Adams is a leading SEO consultant based in Belfast, serving a wide range of clients throughout Europe. Barry is a regular speaker at digital conferences such as SMX, Friends of Search, and SAScon, and lectures on SEO and digital marketing for the University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast, and the Digital Marketing Institute. He is an editor and contributor for State of Digital and regularly blogs about SEO on his own website which was shortlisted for Best Blog at the 2013 UK Search Awards.

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SEO Copywriting Top 10: Aug. 6-12, 2014

Customer parking for Slayer only!

Your customers are unique. Give them a USP that can’t be copied!

Your clients are unique – and it’s that difference that sets them apart from the competition and makes them shine brighter to their customers. Your clients need a USP that sets them apart and cannot be duplicated. Matt Ambrose tells you how to capture the perfect USP in post #1.

For content goodness, Kelsey Meyer helps you discover why your content isn’t working in post #3, Heather Lloyd-Martin spices up your boring B2B biz in #4, and Ann Smarty helps you write a perfect headline.

Also, is your site over-optimized? Neil Patel helps shares the warning signs in post #6.

Check out these and the other terrific tips in this week’s SEO Copywriting Top 10!

1. Matt Ambrose writes Define Your Client’s ‘Why’ to Give Them a USP Competitors Can’t Copy for The Copywriter’s Crucible.

2. Jonathan Crossfield writes The Future of Social Media Content Strategy is Really Déjà Vu for Content Marketing Institute.

3. Kelsey Meyer writes Why Your Content Isn’t Working for Kapost Content Marketeer.

4. Heather Lloyd-Martin writes 5 Ways to Spice Up Your B2B Content for SEO Copywriting.

5. Bill Slawski writes Entity Mentions are Good: Brand Mentions are not the New Link Building for SEO by the Sea.

6. Neil Patel writes How to Avoid Over-Optimizing Your Website for KISSmetrics.

7. Julia McCoy writes The Future of SEO: Topics Instead of Keywords for Social Media Today.

8. Daniel Faggella writes Prep For Email Segmentation To Reap These 3 Benefits for Marketing Land.

9. Ann Smarty writes How to (Try to) Write a Perfect Headline for Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

10. David Towers writes Google confirms HTTPS as a new ranking signal: What are the implications? for Econsultancy.

Save almost $200 on SEO Copywriting Certification training with the coupon code FUN! This ends soon, so don’t wait!

Creative Commons licensed photo thanks to Seth Anderson.

5 Ways to Spice Up Your B2B Content

SpicesNews flash: B2B content doesn’t have to be boring.

I know, I know. Writing for B2B sites isn’t easy. Products like lanyards and construction helmets aren’t necessarily sexy. Your competitors’ sites are probably just as boring. And the powers-that-be may feel more comfortable with “just the facts” feature-filled content.

Yet, for many (most) B2B sites, there’s room for so much improvement. By adding just a little bit of spice, you can connect with your readers and boost your conversion rates.

Here’s how to do it:

Use the word “you” in your copy

You are not selling to robots. Nor are you selling to a “company.” You are selling to people. And people (otherwise known as your target readers) respond to the word “you.”  Using the word personalizes your message and makes your content more compelling. For a great example, check out Basecamp’s homepage. Their line, “Our job is to help you do your job better” is a fantastic mission statement. It’s punchy, personal and implies a pretty big benefit. Plus, it makes you want to look more closely at their services – so the content is definitely doing it’s job.

Shorten your sentences

Many B2B companies are guilty of zombie run-on sentences. You read one endless sentence and BOOM you see another one. They’re everywhere. And they suck the life out of the content.  Guess what? Nobody wants to read your 35+ word sentences.  If you find yourself writing long, paragraph-like sentences, mix up your sentence structure, stat! Write one longer sentence and then follow it up with a shorter one. Experiment. Your copy will be much punchier as a result.

Get inside your readers’ heads

What is your reader really thinking? It’s not, “Hey, I’m going to purchase these firefighting helmets for our team.” It’s probably something like, “I need to find the safest, most comfortable helmets for the best possible cost.” You shouldn’t start writing until you have fleshed out what your unique sales proposition is, what’s driving your reader to make a purchase and what motivates them. If companies in your industry are known for poor customer service, play up the fact that you have staff on call 24/7. If your solution is high value (and more expensive,) overcome any price objections within your copy and show how paying more is a great investment. The more you know what your reader is thinking when he or she reaches your landing page, the more persuasive your content.

Boost your benefit statements

Have you ever wanted to scream “HOW DOES THIS PRODUCT HELP ME?!” Yeah. Me too. Features are nice but they don’t tell the whole story. It’s one thing to sell a hard hat. It’s another to discuss how your hard hat won’t slip off, is ultra comfortable and won’t cause headaches. Statements like that will cause your target reader to sit up and take notice.

Dare to be different

I am so tired of people saying that their content has to be boring. Why? It’s “industry standard.” If they write it any differently, their target market may respond negatively. Look at companies like AppSumo. Their content for their Piktochart product not only tells a story, it tells a funny story – plus weaves in some impressive benefit statements. They even use the words “you” and “your.”  Their sales copy shows being different works and can truly differentiate your product line. Sure, I’m sure they’ve tested their results to confirm that the tone and feel is spot on. But at least they took a chance rather than following the herd.

Instead of making excuses, why not go out on a limb? Try one (or more) of these spicy techniques and see what sticks. Rewrite a landing page. Test new approaches via social media.

You may be surprised at the results. And you may make more money, too.

Photo thanks to Clyde Robinson. 

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SEO Copywriting Top 10: July 30 to Aug. 6, 2014


Hey, you can repurpose a toilet paper roll as a seedling pot. It’s even easier to repurpose your content!

If you’re not repurposing content, you should be!

Save time and energy on coming up with new content – and easily fill up that content calendar – by repackaging existing content in multiple ways. For more on how, check out Niki Payne’s guide to repurposing content in post #2.

Repurposing also helps for those times when you’ve – *gasp!* – lost your writing motivation. It happens to all of us, and Len Markidan offers help in post #4.

Also, to keep with the repurposed-toilet-paper-roll-as-seedling-pot that’s over to your right – get growing! Grow your subscriber list – because that’s where your money is! Rob Young tells you how to add 500 subscribers with a contest in #6, and write high-converting landing pages with Sean Ellis’ six principles of persuasion in #9.

OK, now get reading and get growing everyone! 🙂

1. Jason Acidre writes Using Modern SEO to Build Brand Authority for Moz.

2. Niki Payne writes 6-Step Guide to Repurposing Content for Bruce Clay Blog.

3. Mike Sansone writes Is Guest Posting a Good Business Practice? for ConverStations.

4. Len Markidan writes Lost Your Motivation to Write? The One Thing that Helps for Write to Done.

5. Joe Bunting writes How to Become a Better Writer in One, Simple Step for The Write Practice.

6. Rob Young writes How to Run a Simple Contest and Add 500 New Subscribers to Your List for Boost Blog Traffic.

7. Gabriella Sannino writes SEO and Content Audits: An Honest Look at Your Company’s Web Content for Level 343.

8. Rebekah Radice writes How to Deliver Outstanding Customer Service With Social Media for Social Media Examiner.

9. Sean Ellis writes How to Use the 6 Principles of Persuasion to Create Landing Pages That Convert for Unbounce.

10. James Parsons writes How to Immunize a New Website Against Negative SEO for Search Engine Journal.

Whoa! You’re in luck! Heather extended the Copywriting Business Boot Camp deal. Save $400 with coupon code VIP. Sign up now because this unbelievable deal won’t last much longer.

Creative Commons licensed photo thanks to Stacie.

5 Simple Tips to Make Your Copywriting Clients Deliriously Happy

Make your freelance copywriting clients deliriously happy!

Make your freelance copywriting clients deliriously happy!

We’ve all been there …

You speak to a new client. You’re excited to work with them. You’ve signed an agreement. Yay! This is going to be fun.

But when you start writing their web copy, you begin to feel a little insecure.

Is your copy good enough? Do you really understand their business well enough?

Writing for a variety of clients is great.

You get to know different people and different businesses.

But it can be challenging, too.

How can you learn enough about each business to make each client happy? How can you write copy that converts so your clients can grow their business?

1. Sneak into the head of your reader

“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

When you don’t know who you’re writing for, you can’t write good copy.

Before you start writing, ask your client who their ideal customer is:

  • Is he male or female?
  • How old is he?
  • What is he looking for? And how does your client help him achieve his objectives?
  • What makes him feel frustrated? And how does your client take these frustrations away?
  • What type of language speaks to him most strongly? Formal or informal? Rebellious or friendly? Streetwise or business-like?

After you’ve written your copy, imagine yourself phoning the ideal customer and reading your copy aloud to him. Are you inspiring him to buy? Are you taking away his objections to buying? Or does he slam down the phone because you sound so ridiculous?

When you know who you’re writing for, your copy becomes engages and seduces the right people. And that makes your clients happy because they’ll gain higher quality leads.

2. Dig up the details that make a business special

When you don’t understand enough about a business, your copy becomes wishy-washy, watery and ineffective.

Only when you understand the specific details, can you make your copy credible and compelling.

“When people perceive certain general statements as puffery or typical advertising babble, those statements are at best discounted or accepted with some doubts. By contrast, statements with specific facts can generate strong believability.” ~ Joe Sugarman

Learn as much about your client’s business as you can. Never be afraid to ask more questions, for instance:

  • When a client tells me their facilities are state-of-the-art, I ask them to explain to me why this is the case. What makes their facilities so special? What makes their facilities better than their competitor’s?
  • When a client tells me their customer service is excellent, I ask them to give me specific examples of how they treat their customers.
  • When a client tells me their customers are looking for modern interior design, I ask them to explain exactly what makes a modern interior appealing. And I ask for examples of the type of interior designs their clients admire.

Learn more details about a business, so you can write copy that’s more specific, credible and persuasive. That’s how your client can win more business thanks to your copy.

3. Focus on benefits

Readers aren’t interested in your client’s products.

They’re not interested in your client’s company.

They want to know how they can benefit.

Clients are often so wrapped up in their products and services that they forget what’s in it for their customers.

“The most frequent reason for unsuccessful advertising is advertisers who are so full of their own accomplishments (the world’s best seed!) that they forget to tell us why we should buy (the world’s best lawn!).” ~ John Caples

Your job as a copywriter is to translate features into benefits. Features are facts about a product, while benefits explain what’s in it for customers.

Always ask your clients why a customer should care about a feature. How does it make their life better? What problems does it take away?

4. Keep your web copy concise

Long sentences and long paragraphs make your web copy drab. They’re not inviting. They wear your readers down.
How can you be more concise? And keep web visitors reading on?

  • Make your copy easy to scan by using straightforward headlines and subheads.
  • Don’t be overly clever. Instead, use simple terms to get your message across.
  • Use bullet points. Because they’re easy to scan.
  • Avoid copy sagging under adjective sludge. Highlight all adjectives in your draft copy, and remove as many as you can.

Word count doesn’t indicate the value of your copy.

In contrast, your writing is most valuable when you communicate a clear message concisely.

5. Be compelling

What’s the purpose of each web page?

What would you like your reader to do next?

Should readers pick up the phone to call your client? Or should they sign up to an email list? Or buy straightaway?

Understand your client’s sales funnel, and how the website (and your copy!) should contribute to sales. Agree on website objectives and a call-to-action for each page.

Make your calls-to-action crystal-clear, and conversions will go up, making your client happy.

The Truth About Your Client’s Copy

To write persuasive copy, you have to become a super salesman, a supreme marketer and an excellent psychologist.

Get to know your client’s business at least as well as your client does.

Sneak into the head of their ideal customer. Tap into their desires and dreams; and take away their objections to buying from your client.

That’s how you write persuasive copy. And that’s how you make your client deliriously happy.

And happy clients means more business for you, and more referrals and higher fees.

About the author

Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and marketer. She’s on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.

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Creative Commons licensed photo thanks to Eric Danley.