9 SEO copywriting questions every small business should ask

Is your small business stuck in the “no time/no budget/no idea what to write about” trap?

I received this question the other day…

“One of my biggest concerns has been, in addition to writing good copy, how can we keep our websites fresh and changing? Top management lacks the understanding of how important this is in keeping clients/prospects engaged, so I’ve tried educating them more about why it’s important. I think they are beginning to understand the benefits, but their question (and mine) is how does our company do that? How do we keep our site from being stagnant and better engage our clients with the resource constraints we face as a small company?  As our companies are quite small, we don’t really have much as far as our own research and lack the industry “expertise” that larger companies offer.

I totally understand this woman’s pain. When you read an interview with a small business owner, it seems like the owner can easily handle the marketing, Tweeting, Google +ing and Facebooking without missing a beat.

The reality is typically very different.

Many small business are completely overwhelmed by SEO content creation. Reading articles that scream how “everyone” should promote on Google +” and “you should blog every day – more if you can” adds to the pressure. The business owner (or marketing person) always feels like she’s not doing enough. Sadly, what ends up happening is nothing gets done – and everyone feels like they aren’t doing “what they should.”

That’s a pretty un-fun place to be.

Is there an easy answer? No. Can you leverage SEO content marketing for your business – even if your company is small, you don’t have many resources, and you just have a few hours a week? Yes. It just means focusing your efforts.

Here are 9 questions to help get the ball rolling and help jump-start a strategy.

How do you drive leads? What’s working now – and what’s worked in the past? Did a Facebook promotion kick butt? Do you have scads of Twitter followers? Even direct mail can drive traffic to the site – so remember that offline content can still help make you money. It’s important to measure ROI and do more of what works, rather than trying 1,000 different things without measuring your efforts.

How are your sales pages performing?  Check your analytics (or have someone help you with this) and look at your bounce rates, your conversion rates, and time on site. Remember that some people may visit your site and call you (rather than filling out a form or sending an email,) so don’t forget to ask callers how they heard about you.

How much do you really know about your target market? Has your target audience changed over time? You may find, for instance, that your prospects aren’t on Facebook – but they love monthly newsletters. If you aren’t sure, consider surveying your clients and see if you can gain any insights. (For more information, check out my post on how to create a customer persona.)

What’s important to your readers? There are lots of ways to figure out what to write about. For instance, what questions do you hear from prospects/clients? Remember, you can take those questions and turn them into blog posts (check out this blog post for details.) Or you could curate your content and establish yourself as a must-read resource. Another way is by asking your social media followers what they want to know more about.

Who will handle the writing/Facebook posting/Tweeting? Don’t dump this job on just anyone on your team (or figure that you have to do it.) Your writer – whether that’s you or someone else – needs to be passionate about your business, a good writer, knows the SEO copywriting fundamentals and has time. If they (or you) don’t have time – or writing isn’t their strong suit – you’ll want to outsource.

If outsourcing is your best bet, how do you see that happening? What content would you want the writer to create? Do you need someone to check over your site and provide some copywriting ideas? What’s your preferred budget?  Are you open to working with a really good writer that’s a little outside your preferred budget? For more things to think about, here’s how to hire an SEO copywriter.

What other ways can you generate new content? For instance, can you reach out to members of your community and ask for a guest post? Or, could you find bloggers online – for instance, sites like MyBlogGuest connects site owners with bloggers.

Do you think some short-term consulting help could get you moving faster? A consultant can often provide some great money-making content ideas that you may not have considered – and give you the momentum you need to get started. Plus, a consultant will be able to pinpoint an unique angle that will differentiate you from your competition and make your writing pop.

Finally, ask yourself if you’re moving forward – or you’re just beating up on yourself for “not doing enough.” You may not have the resources to create 10 videos a week. That’s OK. The key is figuring out the content you want to create  (even if it’s not very much,) setting up your editorial calendar and making it happen. Once the results start rolling in, you can expand your initiatives. Right now, just focus on what you can do…even if it’s taking little content baby steps.

What other advice would you give to a small business?

Need content creation help? Look no further! SuccessWorks provides SEO copywriting services – and can even train your team on how to write Google-safe copy. Contact me for details!



4 replies
  1. Isla McKetta says:

    Great post, Heather! I recently left a small office where I was trying to lead this effort from the trenches, but I think I was asking too much too fast.

    Now that I have some perspective, I should have told our ED that even a small change is a good way to start. If we could have come up with one good blog post per week, it would have been a huge improvement over our static page. It would have also given her a chance to see the ROI.

    • Heather says:

      Baby step content development tends to work well for small businesses. The business owner (or marketing person) can produce content more easily if it’s just a few pages per month. Plus, it helps keep the budget at manageable levels, too. :)

      At the same time, I know how exciting it is to see scads of client content opportunities! You want them to implement all of the ideas RIGHT NOW – because you know how much it would help. But when the client hears the ideas, they overwhelm and shut down. Yeah. I’ve definitely been there.

      Thanks so much for your comment! Enjoy your day! :)

  2. Charleen Larson says:

    Oh, how I can relate. I feel like I’m spending more time trying to come up with content ideas than it takes me to actually write the content.

    I have various Google Alerts set up to help but I need more.

    • Heather says:

      Hi, Charleen!

      I hope the blog post helped to spark some content ideas! Another thing you can try is carrying a small notebook with you and jotting down ideas as you have them (you can send yourself an email, too, if you’re using a smartphone.) Sometimes, just being away from the office helps to get the creative juices flowing!

      Good luck! :)


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