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 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

5 steps to building a powerful SEO copywriting business network with LinkedIn

Guest Author, Pam Foster

After 2-3 years of trying several different social networks for my SEO Copywriting business, I had a breakthrough in the past 6 months where most of my biggest web projects came from one source: LinkedIn.

I’ve come to realize that my LinkedIn connections have been more fruitful for my business, BY FAR, than any other marketing method I’ve tried. Here’s why I believe it’s a terrific resource for you too:

  • Your LinkedIn connections are truly business-focused connections.
    People are using LinkedIn primarily for business conversations, sharing business tips, finding business contacts and opportunities, and asking questions about business success. I have not found this to be true with the other social media.
  • LinkedIn connections are often from companies with decent marketing budgets.
    The clients who reached out to me via LinkedIn were mainly from companies looking for a skilled SEO Copywriter to help improve an existing website or launch a new site. This work was in their marketing budget for the year and they were ready to go. They were happy to find me and were willing to pay my fees for quality SEO Copywriting. The same can happen for you too.
  • Linked connections represent all types of opportunities for your business. Over the last couple of years, I’ve connected with more than 600 people I know personally from my career and my school days. I have connections with former colleagues, associates I met through business groups, college classmates and friends, high school friends, graphic designers, web developers, ad agency people I’ve met, fellow copywriters, industry leaders like Heather, and many, many other types of people. Any one of them can be a great source of referrals or business. You never know!

It’s not just me that’s having better luck with LinkedIn than some other social networks when it comes to finding business clients. HubSpot’s 2011 State of Inbound Marketing report shows that, “the effectiveness of particular social media channels varies according to the type of business.”

In a survey of over 600 professionals, they found that “LinkedIn is clearly more effective (than Facebook) for B2B businesses.

So why not try it and see for yourself? It’s incredibly easy and it’s FREE. Try these 5 ways to dive in and create a powerful network for your business, all from the comfort of home:

1. Create an optimized profile of yourself.

For example, include the phrase “SEO Copywriter” in your SUMMARY and in the description of current business. Include all past work you’ve done as a virtual resume under EXPERIENCE, but be sure to showcase the work you’ve done that’s relevant for today’s potential clients. You don’t need to do it all at once, but eventually you’ll want to create a robust profile with relevant content in each prompted section.

2. Start connecting with the most obvious folks on your list.

This will include current employers (if you’re still working at a company), current colleagues, past colleagues, college friends, local business folks you know… anyone who comes to mind. You might make a big list on paper and then search for those people in LinkedIn’s SEARCH area. When you send a request to connect, always add a little personal note to say HI and let the person know what you’re doing. Here’s an example, “Hey Bob! Great to see you here. Just letting you know I’m now a Certified SEO Copywriter focusing on improving website performance for clients. Perhaps you know someone who could use my help? In the meantime, I’d love to add you to my LinkedIn Connections. What are you up to these days? Cheers, Pam”

3. Continue connecting with “People you may know.”

As you begin building a network of connections from all your past jobs, etc., LinkedIn feeds you a list of people who you may know based on your new connections. This list is a goldmine, so make the most of it!  You’ll find people you completely forgot about or you haven’t seen in years. With a quick invitation to connect, you suddenly strike up a new relationship that could lead to a great referral or project. I check out the “People you may know” at least once a week and send out at least 10 invitations each time. It adds up quickly.

4. Join Groups that are relevant to your business.

If your SEO copywriting work is for a particular niche market (which I highly recommend), join groups in that market. For example, I’m focused on the pet industry, so I’ve joined Pet Business groups and Veterinary groups. Joining groups helps you keep track of questions and topics that are important to your specific market, and when it makes sense, chime in on a discussion (without promoting your business of course, because no-one likes spammy participants).

5. Be an amazing contributor.

Whenever you can, use the “Share an update” box on your home page to post helpful tips, links, ideas, questions, answers, sources, industry news, etc. that your connections may find helpful. Try not to be overly promotional. Just be helpful. That’s the simple rule of thumb for all your social media efforts. And don’t forget to use relevant keywords in your posts! This helps potential clients find you in LinkedIn search.

Bonus tip: Ask for Recommendations and Give Recommendations.

LinkedIn makes it very easy to reach out to folks and ask for a personal recommendation of your work. By clicking on the Recommendations button, you can send a simple request via email. Be sure to add a personal message and offer to return the favor. Not everyone will stop and write a recommendation, but it’s great when some people do take the time. I’ve accumulated a nice list of testimonials through this feature.

This gives you a solid start on making the most of LinkedIn. There are many other ways you can make the most of this free resource once you get your foundation going.

Have you experienced any LinkedIn successes. … or heard about any from other SEO Copywriters? Please let us know. Also let us know if you have any other thoughts or findings related to LinkedIn.

Keep linking and good luck!

Pam Foster

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Author, The Web Copywriter’s Clear Path to Profits
SuccessWorks Certified SEO Copywriter and Sr. Content Marketing Consultant
ContentClear Marketing and


Interview with Ken Lyons of Measured SEM

Ken Lyons, Measured SEM

Ken Lyons has been in Internet marketing for more than seven years and is co-founder of Measured SEM, an inbound marketing agency in Boston, Ma. He’s an avid blogger and has been featured in Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, and Website Magazine. He also writes a monthly Web strategies column for

So tell us a bit about how you came to establish Measured SEM

In 2009, I started working at WordStream, a venture-backed startup in Boston that provides search marketing software. That’s where I met my current business partner, Tom Demers. Tom and I headed the SEO and inbound marketing efforts for WordStream. We worked really well together and in one year were able to grow site traffic at from 2,000 monthly visits to 200,000, which was no small feat considering we were slugging it out in hyper-competitive, organic search verticals dominated by some of the top SEOs and SEO agencies on the planet.

Ultimately, Tom and I decided to launch our own boutique inbound marketing agency, Measured SEM, which we did this past February. With Measured SEM, we knew that we could apply the same strategies and tactics that transformed into a traffic and lead generation machine to other companies in other niches and see similar results. So far, so good 🙂

What is the make-up of your clientele?

Currently, we have a roster of 30 clients that range from smaller mom and pop shops, who want local SEO/geo-targeting traction, to larger SMBs software vendors where we manage their online marketing campaigns from end-to-end, to ecommerce clients where we develop and execute content-based link marketing campaigns.

So how did you determine your niche market?

Starting an inbound marketing agency that would grow site traffic and online lead generation for companies seemed like a logical extension of our experience, skill sets and passion. What’s more, despite the economic slowdown, the search marketing space continues to thrive each year. So it made sense to continue working in an industry that’s enjoying rapid growth and still relatively young with a lot of upside.

What kind of SEO services do you provide?

Our SEO services include technical site audits, SEO strategy, keyword research, on-page optimization and SEO copywriting. We also offer a range of content marketing and link building packages, that include everything from infographic creation and promotion, to group interviews with industry thought leaders, to our popular guest blog posting service.

The overriding goal of our services is to provide exponential value to our clients. So for example, if you spend $X amount with us per month we want you to see $2X worth in return.

How big a role does copywriting play in the services you provide?

Copywriting is pervasive in almost everything we do at Measured SEM. Think about it: good copy touches so many aspects of traditional SEO–from crafting clickable title tags, to persuasive meta descriptions, to compelling page titles. In addition, we produce search-driven content for clients, which includes informational content (blog posts, expert articles, authoritative industry reports) and transactional content (SEO landing pages that are designed to convert).

Great copy also plays a major role in our content marketing campaigns, where we not only research and generate the content/linkable assets, but we also promote the content via outreach, which in itself involves writing a very persuasive pitch letter to compel the recipient to not only look at your content but to share it with their audience as well.

Any advice for those considering starting up their own SEO copywriting business?

There’s a lot of competition out there, from cost-effective content shops, like Text Broker, to higher-quality resources like Level343, so you really need to distinguish yourself and provide a strong value prop. The best way to set yourself above the pack is to over-deliver on every project. This is especially true if you’re just starting out. Make the client feel like they’re getting more than they’re paying for and you’ll minimize churn, create a loyal customer base and get tons of referrals.

Tell us about your most difficult challenge as an SEO business.  How did you resolve/deal with it?

Setting client expectations is the most challenging aspects of what we do, but it’s vital to the health of every project. You need to set realistic, achievable expectations for clients right out of the gate so everyone is on the same page. Then, you over-deliver 🙂

Do you recommend keeping SEO copywriting in-house, or outsourcing as a new biz?

For new businesses, it probably makes the most sense to outsource for a few reasons:

  • Copywriting is one of those tasks you can outsource and not suffer on quality.
  • Given the uncertainty of success for a new biz, its one less fixed expense. It’s a lot easier to dial back your commitment to a consultant than to lay off an employee if your business hits a rough patch.

However, once you start to gain momentum and generate consistent revenue growth, I think there are advantages to having a copywriter on-staff. Anyone who’s embedded in your company is going to acquire valuable institutional knowledge and have a much better understanding of your space, your industry and your business. For the in-house copywriter, that means knowing how best to speak to and connect with your target audience.


Interview with Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking on many panels with the wonderful Mr. O. Not only is Lee a nice guy, he is incredibly smart in the ways of content marketing. I’m very honored to feature his guest interview today. — Heather

So how did you come to be the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing?

After working in numerous roles from late 1996 to 2001 for a web development and marketing agency, I left as VP of Online Marketing and joined with Susan Misukanis to launch a Marketing PR consultancy. I started TopRank as a product for the agency and it grew to become the company itself. Somewhere in that transition I became the CEO.

A good portion of our client base are B2B companies like StrongMail, PRWeb ,and McKesson, so the need for content to educate during longer sales cycles has always been an integral part of our SEO and Social Media consulting practice. Until a few years ago we called it “Editorial Marketing” until Joe Pulizzi helped popularized the phrase “Content Marketing.”

From your perspective, how has content marketing evolved over the past few years?

The biggest change I’ve seen is that more people are jumping on the bandwagon of creating content with the multitude of tools and publishing platforms available. While the value of great content to engage and persuade customers has always been important, I guess it took a while for a lot of online marketers to catch on.  Now content is an essential piece of any robust online marketing effort whether it’s B2C or B2B.

As more companies get into the “brand as publisher” business of creating content, I think many will burn out and turn to content curation as a way to provide value. Many of them are doing that now but will need to be aware of how Google deals with short form and duplicate information if they expect search to be a significant driver of traffic.

What would you say are the most important influences affecting content marketing today?

As far as the industry goes, there are rich information sources like Content Marketing Institute and the growing number of blogs (like this one) rich with information about marketing with content. My opinion is that anyone in a position to create content also has influence over how the organization plans, produces and promotes content.

When it comes to influences on the practice of content marketing, I’d say it’s the ability for companies to understand the people they’re trying to connect with, a.k.a. “audience,” “customers” or “community,” and then putting that understanding into an accountable content strategy. There is an accelerating quantity of content and digital information created every day and content marketing will evolve as changes in how people discover, consume and share information occurs.

What are your thoughts about the relative influences/intersections of Social Media and SEO on content marketing?

In the customer lifecycle from prospect to evangelist and everywhere in between, the information a brand publishes and exchanges with the community involves (or can involve) search-optimized content for discovery, social media for discovery, as well as content creation and sharing.  As consumers change how they find, interact and engage with digital information, marketers must anticipate what that means for their own messaging and methods of engagement.

Imagine the difference between these two scenarios:

Let’s go back a few years. Customer A needs a blender. She searches Google, is presented with results showing retail stores that sell blenders and visits several until she sees one she likes and buys it. A little simplified, but you get what I mean.

Fast forward to today. Customer B also needs a blender. She Tweets, “I need a new blender that can handle my monster smoothies, any recommendations?” (Yes, that’s under 140 characters). She might also message a few friends on Facebook asking a similar question. Some recommendations come her way and she “Googles” the brand / model names.  While she’s on the retailer website(s) there are product reviews, and some have articles and downloadable recipe books. Another links to a food/cooking community. After careful consideration she decides to buy one. Then she posts a thank you to her Facebook friends for helping pick out a new blender with photos of her first smoothie.

In the first example, our content is pretty much focused on the web pages that show up in search results. In the second example, content takes many forms including web pages, Tweets, reviews, social networks, and images. Maybe even video if margaritas we involved. Search and social increasingly drive discovery of new content. Social media facilitates sharing of that content.

The takeaway is that knowing consumer preferences should lead to making content findable, whether it’s search or social (or both), and shareable. That’s the intersection of Social SEO and Content in my book.

There’s been much discussion about content curation and creation — where are your thoughts on that?

Actually, I think it really depends on the strategy and resources of the business.  For many companies, original content is difficult and out of budget. In their search for other options, a strategy focused on becoming a single source of news and information around niche topics might be implemented through content curation. There are tools like Curata (a client) or Curation Station that provide companies with the ability to create these types of news destinations focused on specific topics. There are other tools like Amplify, Storify, and Eqentia that do similar things.

I’m a bit biased towards a mix of creation and curation. Most importantly, I think creating a content marketing strategy that is focused on providing customers with useful information and resources in a way that inspires them to buy and refer my clients’ products/services is the most effective.  In some cases that means 70% greenfield content and in others it might be 25%, with the balanced focused on being a filter of useful industry information for the community.

If there were any words of advice for the new content marketer, what would you tell him/her?

Turn around, run! Don’t look back. No, really: Study great sites like and visit CMI (mentioned above) for great tips and case studies on how companies are implementing and innovating with content. Network with other content marketers and find a way to experiment. Build a base of knowledge and get wicked smart with analytics so you can demonstrate the impact of your awesome-sauce work.

Lee Odden, Founder and CEO of TopRank® Online Marketing, regularly shares his content marketing expertise at TopRank Blog.

Since 2001 TopRank® has helped Fortune 500 companies (and a few Fortune 20’s as well) increase traffic, sales and brand visibility online through a holistic internet marketing approach.





How good pick-up lines can help you write better B2B Web copy

When you were single, did you use the same pick-up line every time?

If you were talking to the smart guy (or girl,) you probably led with a brainy comment. If a hockey fan caught your eye, you’d chat about the Stanley Cup and the Bruins. If you thought an outdoorsy-looking person looked hot, you may mention your love for everything REI.

The key is, you’d change what you’d talk about depending on your, um, target audience. I bet it even came naturally. You’d do it to make a a better connection, faster – and move him or her to your next conversion step (asking them out.)

Why don’t we take the same care with our Web copy?

Many B2B Websites use the same pick-up line, expecting it to work with every audience they work with. Rather than personalizing the reader pitch, their Web copy is the equivalent of “Hey, baby. How YOU doin’?”  It’s general. It’s untargeted. It’s all about them. And it doesn’t show that the company understands anything about their target audience.

Sure, this approach may work some of the time. But it won’t work most of the time. Here’s what to do instead:

I’ve talked before about creating vertical-specific landing pages for B2B copy. This gives companies two distinct advantages:

  • You can speak specifically to what’s important to a defined customer persona. For instance, dental offices and real estate agents buy mailing lists. However, the benefits to a real estate agent (finding possible home buyers within a certain demographic group,) is different than dental offices (finding families within a certain zip code.)
  • Splitting your pages up by vertical allow you to capitalize on less competitive (but still highly targeted) keyphrases. For instance, it could be tough to gain a competitive ranking for the phrase “mailing list.” It’s a heck of a lot easier to position for “real estate agent mailing lists.” Plus, searchers entering your site off that phrase would be highly targeted.

For instance, let’s look at this example from Constant Contact:

You can see how the company was able to customize the copy (and the application list) for the target audience.

Compare this to another Constant Contact page targeted towards consultants:

See what they’re doing? Their pick-up lines are personalized for the audience. They know what real estate agents and consultants want to hear – and it’s addressed in the copy. The “voice” is personal and friendly, not the B2B equivalent of “How YOU doin’?”

In short, the way they wrote their copy helps them make a better connection, faster, with their audience.

And I bet their copy converts like crazy, too.

What do you think? What’s your favorite way of connecting with your target audience?

Does your SEO copywriting sound like a bad date?

Before I entered the wonderful world of married bliss, I was the woman who always had the best (or would it be worst?) dating horror stories. Still lives with his mother? Check. Texting his ex-wife while sitting at dinner? Check. You name it. It happened to me. People thought I was cursed.

As I was remembering those “bad old days,” I realized that going on a first date is a lot like visiting a site for the first time. In that split-second before you hit the site (or you see your date at the restaurant,) there’s always an anticipatory moment of, “I really hope they have what I’m looking for.”

And then, sadly, there’s the letdown when you realize, “Oh no. They are obviously not what I want.”

For all those “bad date” Websites out there, please stop doing the following. Immediately. Thankyouverymuch.

  • Quit talking about how hot you are. Ever been on a date where your partner’s conversation was all about them? They’ll talk about their cool executive job, their latest trip to London and their high-powered relationships…but they never, ever ask a thing about you. People visit websites to solve a problem – not to hear about how wonderful your company is. Focus your content on your prospect, and explain how you can solve her needs. The more customer-focused your content, the higher your conversion rates will be.
  • Don’t expect an immediate conversion. You want to think that after a first date (or a first site visit) that the other person found you so spectacular that they want to marry you (or in the case of a website, contact you for more information or immediately make a purchase.) But guess what? It rarely happens that way. Your prospects may need to “date” you a few more times first. There are a few more micro-conversion steps to take. Hope for the fast conversion, yes, but make sure that you have other site content that’s more than “buy now.” Articles, blog posts, white papers and tweets are a great way to showcase your expertise – and move your prospect closer to taking the action you want them to take.
  • Don’t repeat yourself, repeatedly. Ever had dinner with someone who said the same thing, three different ways, over and over and over? If you’re shoving your page full of keyphrases to meet some magical (and totally bogus) keyword density percentage, you’re irritating your prospects and causing them to tune out. Quit repeating yourself and concentrate on creating really awesome content. It will be much more powerful than repeating keyphrases. Trust me.
  • Know your target audience. Once upon a time, a man (who I had known for awhile) took me to Dunkin’ Donuts on the first date. Outside of the obvious huge miss (Really, Dunkin’ Donuts? Really?) everyone knows that I’m a Starbucks kinda gal – except for this guy, who obviously didn’t know a thing about me. It’s the same with your web copy. Create a customer persona before you start writing, and follow it to the letter. Writing that “misses the mark” often has so-so conversion rates at best.
  • Don’t be a bore. We’ve all gone on dates where the other person is nice – really nice – but just a little…boring. We feel bad for not wanting to date them again, but we just… can’t. I know that marketers (especially in the B2B space) are often afraid of “punchy” copy. But baby, don’t fear adding a little bit of personality to your writing! If your copy is dull, you run the risk of your prospects finding another site that’s just as qualified to help – but sounds much more interesting to work with. Remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression – and well-written, interesting content trumps “boring, just the facts” every time.

Side note: Great minds think alike. After I wrote this, it was brought to my attention by @lisabarone that she had written a very similar blog post – and the original pic I had for my post was the exact same one as hers (and no, I hadn’t read her post!) I switched out my pic, and highly encourage folks to read Lisa’s expert take on the topic. Enjoy!

Think CIAO for B2B SEO copywriting

Whenever I chat with in-house and freelance SEO copywriters, I’m typically asked “the B2B question.” It goes something like this:

“I think I understand how to write optimized Web copy for B2C sites. But what about B2B SEO copywriting? Isn’t it different?”

It’s true that B2B SEO copywriting often has a slightly different tone and feel than its consumer counterpart. After all, if you’re targeting executives with buying authority, the copy will read differently than if you’re writing about pet accessories or Pilates mat classes.

But that doesn’t mean that B2B copywriting has to be straight, dull and “just the facts.” Nor does B2B copywriting have different SEO copywriting “rules.” If you’re confused about writing for the B2B market, just remember one simple acronym: CIAO. Here’s how it breaks down.

C – Customer focused copy. Your first step before you start writing is to develop a customer persona – who will purchase this product or service, what are their pain points, what are they reading/buying now and how can you help? Just like in B2C SEO copywriting, every word you write should be laser-focused towards your audience’s needs. Consider how your product or service helps to shave expenses, provide peace-of-mind, improve profits or somehow simplifies a process. Specific benefits sell in the B2B market – so make sure you tell your prospect exactly how you can help them.

I – Interesting copy. B2B copy doesn’t have to be boring. Spec sheets, product features and case studies are important. However, the information doesn’t have to put people to sleep. In fact, one way to instantly differentiate from competitors is to write engaging copy that speaks directly to the prospect while providing benefits in an easy-to-read manner.  It’s true that you won’t necessarily be able to use a “peppy” tone and feel like you could with a B2C page. But you do you have more creative room to move than you think.  A quick rule of thumb: If you’re even bored by the copy, it’s time for a rewrite.

A – Action-oriented. It’s scary to see product or service Web pages without a call-to-action. The last thing you want to do is frustrate your prospects when they’re trying to make a purchase or contact you for more information. If you want folks to make a purchase, make the purchase link prominent. If you want folks to contact you, make sure you tell them and make it easy for them to take action. If your prospects have to hunt around your site just to figure out how to buy from you, there’s a good chance that they’ll boogie away and find another vendor.

O – Optimized. The B2B world can be highly competitive, and optimization can make the difference between a nice site that gets a little bit of traffic – or a huge powerhouse site that gains massive market share. Just know that the same “rules” apply when optimizing a B2B site. Hire a content marketing strategist to help plan your campaign. Choose specific keyphrases. Create a clickable Title and strategically insert your keyphrases within the copy. Remember, just like a B2C SEO copywriting campaign, skipping a step (like creating strong, keyphrase-rich Titles) can decimate your campaign, rendering so-so results rather than stellar.

See? SEO copywriting for the B2B market is easier to create than you think! Just follow the same “rules” you would for B2C SEO copywriting (keeping in mind that you’ll need a different tone and feel) and you should be fine. Ciao, baby!