There’s something about September that starts folks thinking about changing careers.
Maybe it’s because we’re used to “back to school” time and the dawn of an unknown school year. Maybe it’s because we don’t have summer’s sunny distractions.
Whatever the reason, I’ve receive five emails from folks considering SEO copywriting as a new career choice. And heck, if Yahoo can consider SEO content jobs like “bloggers” and “content managers” in their Hot Careers list, well, SEO copywriting has to be cool.
Why? Because SEO has become nearly synonymous with web copywriting and content marketing. If your clients are asking about search engine rankings, It is no longer enough to know direct response copywriting exclusively, no matter how fabulously well you may excel in the craft. As the reality of search engine optimization has taken center stage in copywriting and content marketing campaigns, the demand for SEO copywriters has also grown.
Can you make money? Yes? Can you work from home and support your family with your SEO copywriting skills? Yup, I know many folks who do just that. I also know some very savvy SEO copywriters who choose the in-house life, helping lead their company’s SEO content campaigns. In short, you have a lot of options.
If you want to be a freelance SEO copywriter – or work as an in-house writer – here are some things to consider:
- Know that good SEO content writing is more than just writing. It’s understanding what makes people think, act and buy. Study the art of art of copywriting and learn how to write in a way that connects with a target audience and elicits an emotional response. Not only will understanding the psychology behind what you’re writing help your writing be even better, but it also will help your client make more money. The books Buyology by Martin Lindstrom and Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini, PH.D are excellent. I would also recommend reading Jonathan Fields’ blog – good stuff, great writing.
- Know your SEO. Go to conferences, read books, articles, and blogs – in short, learn everything you can about SEO. SEO copywriting requires the writer to be familiar with SEO principles and best practices, to understand how the search engines work, and to know how to research key phrases and write top-converting titles. No, you don’t have to be a super-tech. But you do need to know some foundational SEO stuff. Conferences to consider are AWAI’s Web Writer Intensive and PubCon.)
- Understand that money will not magically drop from the heavens. I cringe when I see sites touting that you can make thousands of dollars a day as a SEO copywriter. Can you make thousands? Yes. But not at the beginning. Start up is start up no matter what business you run. And if you’re planning to work in-house, the same rule applies – you’ll have to pay your dues before making the dough. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make a very good income. It just means that building a career takes time. For more information, check out these FAQs on becoming a SEO copywriter.
- Work with experienced writers whenever you can. The best copywriters I know have worked with “master-level” copywriters and leveraged every training opportunity they could find. Why? Because learning how to write is more than reading a book and calling it good. It’s learning what we don’t know and honing our skills. It’s working with a writer one-on-one and having them gently say, “Um, there’s no benefit statement here.” If you’re a freelance SEO copywriter, find a mentor (for instance, Pam Foster mentors copywriters.) If you work in-house, work with the best writer there (or if you’re the only writer, beg to work with a consultant.) You’ll value your mentor relationship throughout your career. Trust me.
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