3 Tips for DIY Small Business SEO Content Writing
I’ve said it before – small businesses can write killer SEO content. When the owner’s passion for their business is translated to the page (or, in this case, to the site,) the end result is entertaining, persuasive and powerful. I’ve profiled two small businesses, Portland Adventure Bootcamp and Studio Blue Pilates who have both gone the DIY route and seen some spectacular results.
However, many site owners – even folks who are fairly SEO savvy – make some common copywriting 101 mistakes. Here are three most common ones:
- Embrace your size – don’t hide it! Why is it that we’re all size queens when we’re talking about our company? Even if we’re a company of one, we say “we” when we talk to prospects (As in, “We’d be happy to discuss your marketing strategy,) count pets as “team members” and make ourselves sound as big as the big boys. People, small (business) is beautiful. Really. Small businesses provide many advantages that big firms just can’t offer: Flexibility, customization, customer service – sometimes even pricing. Making your company sound bigger than it is can actually lose sales – if people get a whiff that you’re not being completely honest with them, they’ll scoot to your competitor.
- Let your passion shine through. There’s something about the writing process that makes people feel that they’re back in high school English class. The purpose of your site is to connect with your customers, and you can’t do that if you start your home page with, “Welcome to our website. You’re visitor number [insert counter here.]” To break through your block, sit down and think of what you’d tell a prospect during a phone conversation. Now, write that down. See the difference? One version is formula and personality-free, while the other version lets your passion shine through.
- Tell people how you can help. It’s easy to think, “Well, I’m a Pilates studio, so the benefits are pretty self-explanatory.” Yes they are – to you. Your prospects aren’t as familiar with your product or service. They don’t have the history. They aren’t thinking, “Pilates will help me sleep better and have more energy throughout the day.” In fact, your prospects are often thinking negative information like, “Last time I tried an exercise program, I didn’t lose an ounce. Can these guys help me, or is it more of the same B.S.?” Showcasing your benefits isn’t “bragging” or “talking about yourself.” It’s merely helping your prospects understand how your product or service meets their needs.
Why aren’t I mentioning keyphrase placement? Of course DIY small business owners should go through the necessary keyphrase research and SEO content writing steps – that’s just smart marketing. At the same time, focusing on these three foundational copywriting steps in addition to your keyphrase placement will help convert curious prospects into committed clients. It’s really that easy.
Have a SEO copywriting tip for small businesses? Tell us about it!
Wonderful tips. Effective copywriting may well be the hardest part of the SEO process for my clients.
You asked for tips, and here’s one: focus on your customer, not yourself. Talk about benefits, not features. We have a blog post about this that links to a neat customer-focus calculator. Check it out here: http://www.rankmagic.com/blog/2009/11/02/write-customer-focused-copy/
This are three easy to follow common sense tips, yet very common mistakes.
I completely agree, that the tendency when writing content for a small business is to embellish the size of the company through the term “team” yet being a small company can work as a marketing vantage point. For example “As a small business we like to understand each customers individual needs in order to create a bespoke kitchen handcrafted in our family run workshop.” This makes it sound like you will get great service from a small family run company who take the time to understand their customer as a opposed to a leading competitor from a national chain.
Funny, I’m struggling with this right this very instant. I’m putting together my website copy, staring at the word “we,” knowing that always means “I” and only sometimes “we.”
Your thoughts make perfect sense…now that I’m here.
Thanks for taking the time to post!
You’re welcome! It’s so tempting to use the “universal we” when we’re writing – and in some cases, it may be appropriate. However, there are also lots of benefits by marketing yourself as a “force of one.” Sounds like you found the post at the perfect time. :)
Thanks for your comment! Have a great day! :)
Bill, I am more than a little frustrated right now with clients who want to write for themselves. Clearly I’m failing at effectively communicating to them what an effective approach should be, and they insist they know better. I’m thinking maybe I just to set about finding more savvy clients, instead of wasting my time. Any tips on how to get through to them?
Google loves content, without which your seo campaign will face a shortage of quality traffic to your website