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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5 SEO copywriting tips for B2B companies

I love working with B2B companies. Many times, they have scads of unique content opportunities – they just need someone to point them out and send them in the right direction.

If you work for a B2B company and you’ve been wondering, “Why are people bouncing out of our site so fast” or “Why don’t we position for X keyterm,” read on. You may benefit from one (or all) of these five SEO copy tips.:

  • Do you know who you’re writing for? Who is your target audience? Do you serve multiple target audiences?  For instance, you may serve real estate agents, solopreneurs and large corporations.  That means three different audiences (or personas) – and each persona will have different goals, motivations and needs. Creating personalized content for your company’s different personas allow you to customize the content around what they need to see – and can help conversion rates skyrocket. For instance, Paymo clearly outlines their target markets on their home page, and lists persona-specific benefits.

  • Qualify your keyphrases for the B2B market. Many B2B keyterms can cause “keyphrase confusion” if they aren’t qualified for your market. For instance, when you think “blades,” you may think “server blades.” However, “blades” could also mean “hockey blades,” or “razor blades.” If you were a B2B company focusing on the single term “blades” when you really mean “server blades,” you’ll be missing the search engine boat.

Adding the qualifying word (in this case, “server”) will help the page position for the B2B phrase. Here’s how Dell does it:

  • Consider your tone and feel. One of the easiest ways a B2B company can differentiate itself is through well-written, engaging copy. That doesn’t mean that the content should sound “fluffy” or be inappropriate for the brand. But it does mean that you probably have more room to move than you think. For example, check out FreshBooks’ home page. I never thought an invoice could “Earn the awe of your clients,” but hey, the copy gets the point across in a fresh, snappy way.
  • Create clickable Titles. A common B2B Title is structured like this:  keyword | keyword | keyword| (insert company name here.) You wouldn’t write a headline like that – so why would you let the first opportunity for conversion (getting the click from the search engines results page) pass you by?  Create a compelling, “clickable” Title by including a benefit statement or even a call to action. For instance, check out this example from PSPrint. Their Title has keyphrases. It has a benefit statement. And it positions in the top ten, too. Triple score!

  • Leverage the content you have. B2B companies tend to have many content opportunity. For instance, newsletter content can be re-purposed for a blog post. You could create transcripts of past Webinars and post them online. Existing site copy could be transformed into top-positioning SEO copy through strategic keyphrase editing. The possibilities are out there – it’s just uncovering them, setting an editorial calendar and making it happen.

Save 20% on the SEO Copywriting Certification training while Heather’s out of town! Use coupon code CATSAWAY until June 17.

You inherited crap legacy content. Now what?

Does your company's site content make you cry?

Does your company’s site content make you cry?

Good news: You were just hired as the content manager for a well-established site.

Bad news: The content is horrible, it hasn’t been optimized for SEO and every page makes you want to cry.

This scenario is extremely common. Maybe it’s because the company has had various people overseeing the site’s content. Or, no-one “owned” the content before – so there’s no strategy, no cohesion and everything is a big, fat mess.

If this sounds like your company, take a deep breath and relax. The key is to tackle your site in baby steps. Here are some places to start:

Review the site’s analytics.

Even crappy pages can convert – maybe not to their full potential, but they can do it. Determine the pages that contribute the most to the conversion process. These top pages will probably be the ones you “touch” first. You’ll also want to review bounce rates and time on site. If people are clicking into your site and not taking action, you know you have a problem.

(As a side note, if your company doesn’t have analytics and goals in place, get those set up first. You can’t manage what you can’t measure.)

Review the existing customer persona.

Is it still relevant? Do you need to create a new one? If your company is serving a new vertical market, is there content just for them?

Check out your existing keyphrase document (assuming there is one.)

Do the keyphrases represent all phases of the buy cycle? Or are they mostly brand-specific terms that are only relevant when someone wants to make a purchase? Just to be safe, I’d re-run the data. You may find opportunities the previous person didn’t see.

Determine the overarching primary and secondary issues.

For many sites, the core issue is that the pages haven’t been optimized. This means poor Titles, and inconsistent (or no) keyphrase usage. Other sites may suffer from a variety of different writing styles that don’t fit the customer persona. Once you determine what the main problems are, you’ll be able to focus your efforts and get more done.

Are the pages written to sell? Or do you have a “meh” response?

A huge problem many companies (especially B2B companies) face is their sales copy is boring, benefit-free and basic. Tightening up the top sales pages and rewriting them can often result in an almost immediate “win” (that is, you’ll make money.) Consider testing pages with services like Optimizely. That way, you’ll KNOW what works rather than making an educated guess.

Can you find any easy wins?

Rewriting sales pages can certainly be an easy win. So can optimizing existing blog posts that lead to conversions. If you know a page is important to the sales cycle and it’s keyphrase-free, making it more SEO friendly can often have a huge impact. You’ll be able to drive more qualified traffic that should result in increased leads or sales.

Get organized – not overwhelmed.

Remember those top pages that drive conversion rates? Tighten those up and make those shine first. After that, have a plan for going through the site in organized, sequential chunks. That may mean focusing on your “easy win” pages next. Or focusing your efforts around a particular site section. Tie your efforts back to what you know makes your site money rather than doing a little bit of everything. You’ll see better results, faster, if you do.

Reviewing your site is something you can easily do yourself. Or, if you need an outside opinion, it sometimes pays to bring in a content expert who can develop an action plan. That way, someone with a fresh perspective (and perhaps a better understanding of the latest SEO content techniques) can help you along your path.

The good news is – even crappy legacy content can be transformed into a top-converting asset. It may take some time and you’ll be working in baby steps. But the end result will be a site that you’re proud to be associated with (and won’t make you cry when you look at it.)

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Thank you, migasun, for the great photo!

 

 

 

 

5 Easy-to-Give SEO Gifts that will Make You A Better Writer in 2014

You'll actually want to keep your SEO giftsYou’ve got a bunch of names on your gift list this year, but your name probably isn’t one of them. After all, we’ve been taught it’s better to give than receive. But what if you could do both? By giving yourself these 5 simple SEO gifts, you’ll also receive the boost you need to take your writing to a new level as we bid goodbye to 2013.

SEO Gift #1: Learn More About Your Industry

Some of us spend our careers writing for a single industry, while other SEO copywriters work across multiple industries on a daily basis. Either way, you need to know every detail you can about what your audience knows and what they expect. Learn the jargon, who the industry leaders are, unusual ways products or services are used and any other insider info you can get ahold of. This will make it easier to find low-competition keywords (especially long tail) that others may have neglected. It will also help you write more comfortably and honestly, and that’s something your human audience will appreciate.

SEO Gift #2: Tune up Your Basic Copywriting Skills

Just like practicing fundamentals is important in sports, focusing on copywriting basics can do wonders for your SEO writing. Search engine spiders aren’t very particular (yet) about well-written content. Your flesh-and-blood audience is. Write copy that is interesting and uses sentence structure (shorter is almost always better) and vocabulary that engages your readers. Keep paragraph structure and page layout in mind. Most people don’t really read online; they scan. Do them and yourself a favor by employing headlines, sub-heads, callouts, and paragraph breaks. And finally, always include a call to action. This is something we all learn in Copywriting 101, but many of us forget down the road. Help your site visitors by telling them exactly what you want them to do next. They’ll thank you with their dollars.

SEO Gift #3: Broaden Your View of Keywords

When it comes to keywords, many of us write with blinders on. We identify a few keywords we want to use and write without looking around. This gets the job done but causes us to miss semantic search cues, long-tail keyphrases, and partial matches that we should be picking up. The next time you identify primary keywords for a project, take a few extra minutes to look at related terms, synonyms and suggestions in your keyword tool. Make a secondary list of single words to be sprinkled into your copy as they fit. These words can help avoid keyword repetition, make your copy easier to read and help you pick up incremental onesie-twosie search traffic you aren’t specifically optimizing for.

SEO Gift #4: Trim the Fat

Raise your hand if you’ve ever written filler copy just to use a keyword a couple more times on a page. (Author sheepishly raises his hand.) It’s a crutch we’ve all used when writing for the spiders – and it can work well. Unfortunately, it’s a huge turn-off for your human readers. If you bring visitors to your site only to drive them away with long, boring or repetitive copy, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. The next time you face the decision to fill or not, don’t do it. Only write additional copy if it is engaging and helpful to your human readers.

SEO Gift #5: Do Something for Yourself

Question: What is an SEO Copywriter without an optimized Web presence? Answer: Hard to find. Make it easy for prospective employers or clients to find you by creating and optimizing a website that’s all about you and your writing. If your name is fairly unique, buy that as a domain and set up shop there. If you have a common name or suffer the great online misfortune of sharing your name with a celebrity, you’ll need to take a different approach. Add location-based keywords to start and build your individuality from there. For example, I might go with something New Hampshire related, like www.nhseocopywriter.com or just www.nhseo.com. Whatever you choose, be sure to optimize it just like you would a client’s site, and make yourself easier to find.

There you have it – 5 simple SEO gifts you can give yourself this holiday season. Best of all, you don’t have to wrap any of them.

What other SEO gifts do you recommend?

About the Author

Richard Hostler writes engaging copy that generates sales. He is currently the SEO Copy Manager at Brookstone, where he connects online customers with the best gadgets and gifts. When he’s not writing, Richard can be found training for and racing triathlons around New England. You can follow him through his websiteLinkedIn or twitter.

 

Photo thanks to waferboard (Tacky Gift Exchange-101219-03)

Speaking of giving yourself an SEO copywriting gift – save 25% on the total purchase when you take 2 or more of Heather’s SEO Copywriting courses!

Does your B2B content strategy target all the key influencers?

Your B2B content strategy should reach all key influencersI came across this great post on HubSpot the other day that answered and negated the commonly cited shortcomings of inbound marketing their sales teams often hear from site owners and marketing managers.

This section in particular really stuck with me:

Claim: Decision-makers don’t spend their time online researching products and services…The idea is that the typical C-suite executive doesn’t spend his or her time online reading blogs, conducting searches in Google, or participating in social media.

Rebuttal: Decision-makers are influenced by online channels when it comes to purchasing decisions…Even if a C-suite executive doesn’t spend a lot of their time reading blogs, using social media, and conducting research online, that doesn’t mean there aren’t others within their company who are doing those things. And chances are, these people have some level of influence on the decisions of those C-suite executives.

The B2B content marketing challenge: multiple influencers throughout the buying cycle

A lot of B2B companies struggle with content creation in one way another, whether it be coming up with topics to write about or having a hard time publishing a steady stream of content. Either way, most B2B companies realize the importance of content marketing but some still struggle with the actual implementation.

One of the most common issues I see is that B2B content marketing doesn’t take into account all of the possible influencers, nor each stage of the buying cycle.

B2B content marketing campaigns might be too heavily weighted at the beginning of the buying cycle, which is great for driving information-seeking visitors to your site, but not as good at actually converting them. Or, they are too heavily weighted at the end of the buying cycle, so companies are missing the opportunity to connect with potential customers early on.

For instance, say your company sold various enterprise software products. Your end decision maker is probably the CIO or CTO, right? But is that CIO the one actually doing the grunt work and investigating all the possible vendors out there? Probably not.

Perhaps the Director of IT is the one that does a lot of the leg work and presents the CIO/CTO with the top few choices. But is the Director of IT the only one involved in the research and information gathering process? Again, probably not.

A B2B content strategy scenario…

Say one of the products your company offered was a contact center software product. The CIO isn’t the one actually using that product, your enterprise’s contact center agents are. But they don’t have the authority to make a buying decision, so they turn to their contact center manager with their needs/complaints about their current system.

The contact center manager in turn might look up the chain of command to the Customer Experience Executive or the Chief Customer Office, and explain why/how a new contact center software solution can help improve the customer experience. They, in turn, have to get the okay from the CTO or CIO to make sure this new software will work within their existing system that in turn might have to check-in with the CFO to get the budget approved.

Each person, from the contact center agent all the way up to the C-suite, can influence the final decision in one way or another, and each individual is looking for different pieces of information.

The call center agent wants to make sure that your software will actually make their jobs easier, not harder. The contact center manager wants to know that your software will easily integrate and “play nice” with other applications already being used so their agents don’t have to waste time learning a new program.

The CCO wants to see how a software program can actually impact the customer experience and everyone wants to know how spending money on new software will help them make or save money in the long run.

Content marketing that targets all of the influencers

Does your B2B content marketing campaign hit each of those influencers and their needs? If not, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with and influence each member of your target audience.

In a large enterprise, unlike a small business, no one person makes a decision that impacts the rest of the company on his or her own. Many B2B sales and buying cycles are extremely long and involved, and require a substantial monetary investment from your potential clients.

You don’t want them to have any lingering questions or doubts regarding your product or company, and your B2B content marketing campaigns are how you answer those questions.

 

About the Author ~ Nick Stamoulis

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a Boston-based search marketing firm that specializes in B2B SEO services. With over 13 years of industry experience Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 120,000 opt-in subscribers.

photo thanks to Robert Gaal

Want to be the go-to SEO content marketing influencer in your organization? Check into the SEO Copywriting Certification training, where you’ll learn best practices for SEO copywriting and content marketing!

 

 

 

 

 

Your B2B site doesn’t need more freakin’ words

Hi. My name is Heather, and I’m pissed off (“Hi, Heather!”)

Here’s why.

Last week, an SEO agency called me. They represented a B2B company that was in need of content – OK, that’s fine.

And then, the prospect started talking about the gig…

“The client needs three blog posts a week, all an average of 500 words. That’s what Google wants, you know”

“The pages should have a keyphrase density of 6.7 percent.”

“We don’t want to spend much for this content – our budget is around $30/article.”

That was strike one, strike two, and strike three for me.

The client pointed me to an example page, and here’s what I found:

– The content was filled with grammatical errors

– There was no call-to-action anywhere. So, it was a content “dead-end” page that wasn’t helping with conversion rates.

– The post didn’t dovetail with anything that the client offered.

– The post drifted off and stopped making sense at about the 300 word mark. Obviously, the writer tried to “fluff it up” and added an additional 200 words because they were “supposed to.”

And who only knows how much the agency charged the B2B end client. I’m willing to bet that the $30 content “investment” turned into a $250-$300 content charge to the client.

I had a little fun with the agency person and started asking hard questions like, “So, tell me how X post is converting for the client? What’s the call to action here? Is this the right voice that works with the target audience?”

Sure, I was letting my inner bitch come out and play – but I asked nicely. And they were highly valid questions.

The agency person didn’t know what to say. He stammered and hemmed and hawed and finally said…and I bet you can say it with me…

“Well, the content is good for Google – so that’s all we care about.”

Here’s the deal:  Google doesn’t give a shit about your word count. Nor does it care how many blog posts you upload a week. And it really doesn’t care about keyword density.

What your site needs are the right freakin’ words. Not necessarily MORE words – the right ones. The ones that connect with your prospects, build trust and encourages a conversion.

Sadly, this attitude is extremely common with SEOs and agencies (not all of them – there are “good guys” out there. But the crappy ones outweigh the good ones.) They may talk a good game and say that “content is king.” And then they turn around and order cheap content that has nothing to do with the site’s conversion goals and pass it off as SEO gold.

What’s worse – the poor B2B client doesn’t know. They think that the SEO is looking after their best interests.

So, here are a few reality checks:

– If your SEO/agency is recommending daily blog posts (or any other kind of content,) ask them how that content ties into your conversion goals. If they say the content is “for Google,” – and that’s the only benefit – don’t do it. The world doesn’t need more crappy content.

– If your first concern is the content price – you’re having the wrong conversation. Good content makes you money, period. It’s like paying a higher salary to a sizzling-hot salesperson who closes big deals. That doesn’t mean that you have to pay $500 a page every time. But it means that you have to weigh the cost of the content against return on investment. The best writing firm (or writer) isn’t the cheapest writer. The best writer is the person who will make you more money.

– If your SEO/agency is pushing “more content” when your sales copy sucks, run away. You need to pay attention to where your money comes from – and that means taking a hard look at your sales and lead generation pages. I’m sure that your CEO didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Our new mission statement is to have our content +1’ed all over the place.” The name of the game is to make more freakin’ money. Shore up your sales pages first. Make sure that they are connecting with your customers and converting like crazy. THEN look at your other marketing collateral.

Sheesh…rant over. :)  But the situation did give me an idea…

I’m working on an weekly mentoring class for B2B companies that want to take back their content, see what’s really working and find proven ways to connect with their prospects. There’s no reason to pay an SEO to do this for you when you’re perfectly capable of taking care of it yourself.  Ping me if you’re struggling in-house (or struggling with your outsourced provider) and need help – I’d love your feedback and ideas. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Thanks!

Do you work in-house for a B2B company? Can you please help me by answering a few short survey questions? I promise that it won’t take more than 2-3 minutes of your time. Thank you so much!

 

 

How to make prospects want you, again & badly!

Greetings! Glad you’re back, as Heather has created another awesome SEO copywriting video! Today, she talks about how to make prospects desperately want your product or service…even more than before…and right now!

Of her favorite copywriting strategies, Heather discusses how to tap these most compelling buyer buttons: exclusivity & perceived value. And this is really fun, as it applies to day-to-day life!

Ever go to a club or restaurant and see this?

  • Wow… looks exclusive, doesn’t it?

 If you’ve ever gone out to an exclusive night club or a highbrow restaurant, or per chance just walked by and spotted that velvet rope with that long line of people, cued up waiting to get into the place…

  • Don’t you want to visit even more than before?

Even if you didn’t want to go into that club or restaurant before, you can’t help but think “Wow! I wonder what’s going on in there?” because it helps build perceived value and it looks exclusive.

  • The “velvet rope effect”

This is something that is called “the velvet rope effect” and it helps to bolster “perceived value.”

 So instead of your prospects feeling like “Wow – everyone has access to this, so it’s not a big deal,” they think about it as: “Only a select few people get to know what I know,” and so it helps make them feel special.

So here’s how you can work with this exclusivity/velvet rope message in your own marketing:

How the velvet rope effect can strengthen your marketing

  • Increase Twitter sign-ups by promising followers that they will be the “first to know” about any special sales.
  • Mention in your copy that your “services aren’t for everyone…just for a select few.”
  • Give “special” customers early access to sales
  • Increase your prices!

So for example, if you want to get more Twitter followers, one thing you can do is say that when you release a sale or something special goes on, you’ll tell your Twitter followers first!

You can also do this via a newsletter, so that way folks will realize that they are the “V.I.P” That way, your core group of subscribers will realize that they are all that and a bag of chips, VIP: they will get that that information before anyone else, and so they’ll be more likely to sign up for whatever you are offering!

 

Interested in learning more about SEO Copywriting? SuccessWorks offers several options for SEO Copywriting training, including certification! Check out our guide to find the training program that suits you best!

 

 

photo thanks to Don Hankins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Dr. Seuss can teach you about copywriting

Confession time: I love Dr. Seuss.

The words to One Fish, Two Fish are stuck in my brain. I have a Dr. Seuss watch. I have Dr. Seuss books on my iPad. I watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” ever year. I even have a limited edition print hanging in my bedroom.

Why? The words that Theodor Geisel (otherwise known as Dr. Seuss) wrote had an impact on me. Yes, his books taught me how to read (and they always bring back fond memories of my mother reading them to me.) But it’s more than that.

His books taught me that reading (and writing) is fun. And engaging. And interesting.

(I’m guessing that many readers feel the exact same way.)

What makes Dr. Seuss so great? Back in the day of Dick and Jane, he rejected the “normal” children’s book style and blazed his very own path. Heck, Geisel even made up words that are part of our every day vocabulary. Ever wonder where the word “nerd” comes from? The first reported usage is in the 1950 story “If I Ran The Zoo.” 

What’s more, his writing is spot on – 50+ years later. And that’s pretty cool.

Here are five things that his books can teach you about copywriting.

Good writing celebrates the written word. Feeling bogged-down by corporate-speak? Why not have fun with your writing instead?  I love the 37 signals site because the writing is lighthearted and personal. They don’t stuff their keywords. They don’t use buzzwords. It’s good writing that actually makes project management sound fun.

Good writing “speaks” to the reader. Geisel was challenged by William Ellsworth Spaulding, the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin to write a book that first graders couldn’t put down. The result? The Cat in the Hat. Prior to that, kids were reading about Dick, Jane and Spot… which was not as fun (nor as creative) as a talking cat with a striped hat. The lesson? Think out of the box and try a different “voice” (and yes, that applies even if you’re a B2B company.) You may not be able to work Thing One and Thing Two into your copy – but you usually do something creative that grabs your readers’ attention.

Good writing is tight – not fluffy. Did you know that Green Eggs and Ham contains just 50 different words? The Cat in the Hat has 225 words – and that’s a much shorter word count than the average blog post or sales page. Think about how this relates to your own writing. If you find yourself adding extra words for some stupid “we think Google wants 500 word blog posts,” reason – stop it. Be like Dr. Seuss and write tight. Fluffy is only good for, well, green eggs.

Good writing is compelling.  Geisel was a master of getting a message across in a very low-key and powerful way. The Sneetches is a fun book – but it also talks about respecting folks who are “different” than you. The Lorax is thought to be Geisel’s take on environmentalism. Think about your audience, and consider how you can approach your topic just a little bit differently. Compelling writing is what gets shared, liked and cited. Boring stuff that you’ll find on every other site is just…boring.

Good writing is memorable.  How many of us can still remember Dr. Seuss’ Hinkle Horn Honking Club? Or can finish the sentence, “Look what I found in the dark…in the park…?” Good writing burrows into our brain and takes root. Think about the best book that you’ve ever read. Sure, the story was compelling. But it’s the writing that really brings it home. If your website copy sounds like Dick and Jane (that is, boring) why not try rewriting some pages? You may be surprised at how much people will want to read your content (and yes, even buy from you, too!)

I’ll leave you from a quote from The Lorax that perfectly applies to copywriting (especially SEO copywriting.)

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

If you write crappy content, your readers won’t care, Google won’t care and your conversions won’t get better.

It’s time to care a whole awful lot.

 

Are you reaching your target B2B audience?

Greetings! Today’s SEO Copywriting video post is in response to a question put to Heather during her recent Inbound Writer webinar (7 Steps to SEO Copywriting Success):  “How do you address competing keywords where the keyword attracts multiple audiences?”

This is a very good question, and one that poses a particular challenge for business-to-business (B2B) copywriters.  Tune in to learn the common mistakes made by B2B writers in their keyphrase research – and hence, site optimization – and how to avoid (and correct) them:

Challenge #1: Using too broad a keyphrase

A big challenge is when a B2B company employs copywriters who may not be that savvy in SEO and keyphrase research: they may make the easy mistake of optimizing a webpage or entire site for too broad a keyphrase.

For example, let’s look at the screenshot of a chemical blender company and the search results shown on the right side of the page. Now, within that company folks might routinely refer to their chemical blenders simply as “blenders.” So it may be that the copywriter who is unfamiliar with SEO would optimize the product page for the word “blenders.”

  • The challenge is, in Google’s world, when you type the word “blenders” into the search query box, what you come back with are consumer results – not B2B industry results. The consumer results aren’t focused on mixing chemicals, they’re instead talking about how to mix smoothies.

So copywriters who do not understand SEO – the search engines’ way of seeing things – end up optimizing their webpage or site for too broad a keyphrase (or a single keyword) that fails to reach their intended audience and drive that targeted, quality traffic.

Challenge #2: Not understanding SEO keyphrase research results

A second B2B challenge (and common mistake) comes from not understanding keyphrase research results.

  • The inexperienced copywriter might be using keyphrase research tools, but upon seeing that “chemical blenders” isn’t returning that much traffic they may make the mistake of going with the more generic keyword, “blenders,” because hey! Look at all that traffic!

Again, the problem is that while “blenders” may be far more heavily trafficked, those folks searching the term “blenders” aren’t looking for “chemical blenders” – they’re looking for consumer blenders. So again, the copywriter ends up optimizing the webpage or site for the wrong term, and the business doesn’t get the target traffic and sales they need to see.

Tip: Quick keyphrase research reality check using Google search

For a quick reality check of your research results, one of the things you can do is to feed your keywords/phrases into Google’s search query box and see what kind of results come up.

For example, using the word “blade”: in the I.T. world, that word can mean “blade server,” but in Google’s world, it can mean it’s an online paper, or it’s a local hair studio, or it’s a film…

  • So if you see those kinds of mixed results, then you’ve a huge opportunity. By looking at your keyphrase research through a search engine’s literal eyes, you can start targeting those folks who are actually looking for your products or services.

Think “specific” when choosing keyphrases

In the “blade” example, you can see how changing from “blade” to “blade server” dramatically alters the search results.

  • If you’re in B2B copywriting, think “specific.” Go into Google and double check your keyphrases and be sure the results returned are relevant to the webpage you’re optimizing for and don’t have a lot of consumer results mixed in.

Is your B2B company in need of skilled SEO copywriting? Check out our SEO copywriting services! You can also train your copywriting staff through one of our SEO copywriting training programs. You’ll soon have a pro on board!

Thanks for tuning in! If you have a question, tweet it to Heather @heatherlloyd or email her at heather@seocopywriting.com. Be sure to check back next Monday for another hot SEO copywriting video tip – it may well answer your question. See you then!

photo credit to: cliff1066™

 

Does your Website copy suck the life out of your conversions?

What’s scarier than zombies, witches and vampires combined?

Bad sales copy that sucks the life out of your conversions.

You may say, “Well, our sales copy is performing OK – I check our analytics.” And that’s good. But I want to teach you how to transform your “good” sale copy into “great” – and turn your sales up to a Spinal Tap 11.

And all it’s going to take is a little bit of time.

It’s easy to develop a blind spot around our Websites. Although we may see it every day, we probably aren’t looking at it very closely. Spending some time reviewing your site can uncover a huge list of opportunities – and help you decide what to tweak.

So let’s get started!

For the purposes of this initial review, focus on your top sales pages first. Then, you can repeat the exercise around other site sections (for instance, your blog or resource pages.)

First, you’ll want to read your copy as if you were a prospect.  Ask yourself:

  • Does the copy adequately explain what you do? If you were talking to someone in person, would you provide the same information in the same way?
  • Is it so stuffed with keyphrases that it detracts from the flow?
  • What if your prospects have questions? Is it easy for them to contact you?
  • Does the content address common prospect questions (Note: If you keep hearing the same questions from prospects after they’ve read the content, the answer to this would be “no.”)
  • Does the copy pop off the page? Or is it so-so?
  • Is your sales copy the same as other sites (this is especially important if you’ve been using content provided by the manufacturer.
  • Are the benefits still important to your prospects? Or, are your prospects responding to different benefit statements now?
  • Does your content even have benefit statements? ;)

Next, you’ll want to go through the ordering process as if you were a prospect. Here are some things to consider:

  • How easy is it to take the next conversion step (usually making a purchase, or contacting someone for more information?) Do you have to hunt for a “contact us” or “order now” button?
  • When you place an order or make contact, is there a confirmation email or page? What does it say? Does it manage expectations (when the order will ship and/or when you will contact the prospect.)
  • Does your follow-up information help or hurt your brand? Is it written well, or was the copy quickly thrown together?  (Here’s more information on why your marketing collateral is so important.)

Finally, it’s time to look at your page from an SEO perspective:

  • Is the content optimized for keyphrases? Or was it written without them?
  • If your copy does include keyphrases, when is the last time you conducted keyphrase research? A keyphrase focus that was applicable one or two years ago may not be applicable today.
  • Does the copy read like it was overoptimized? If you’re not sure, try reading your copy out loud. If it sounds like “keyphrase, keyphrase, keyphrase,” your answer is “yes.”
  • How are your pages ranking in Google currently?
  • Do your pages have original, keyphrase-rich Titles? Consider if you need to rewrite them for better positions and click-through.
  • How are your meta descriptions (this is a HUGE opportunity for many sites.) Consider if you need to rewrite them for Google’s new sitelinks format.

If you’re feeling stuck, see if another team member can review your content and make suggestions. Or, if your internal team is “too close” to the content, consider hiring an expert consultant to help. An SEO content consultant can quickly point out your successes and challenges – and then your team can make all the necessary tweaks. It may cost your company a little bit of cash, but the results (and the improved sales) will be well, well worth it!

 

 

Photo gratitude goes to mollystevens