How to write high-ranking copy for your one-page site

Welcome back! In this week’s Web-writing video tip, Heather addresses a question that she’s been asked repeatedly in the past week: “How can I write high-ranking copy for my one-page site?”

You may be wondering why you would even want a one-page site, thinking “wouldn’t I just want to build out more content to the site?” And in most cases, yes, you would. But some companies decide on a one-page site for various, specific reasons, which Heather explains.

Of course, the biggest challenge of having a one-page site in the post-Panda SEO world is being found and ranked well in the search engines. So tune in as Heather discusses how you can optimize your single-page site with four specific strategies…

Many companies have one-page sites

  • Direct response sales pages

You probably have seen a one-page site that is essentially a very long direct sales letter. The purpose of that page is to get you to buy something or to sign up for something – and the site itself is just that one page.

  • Lead generation pages

You may also have encountered a one-page site if you’ve searched for something like car or home insurance. These are often lead generation pages that have their own separate domain name/URL, and where the sole purpose of the site is to collect your contact information.

  • Home pages (and the rest of the content is behind a firewall)

This third scenario is one in which the site technically isn’t just one page. There may be hundreds or even thousands of additional pages on the site, but all the yummy, meaty content is behind a firewall.

With this type of site – where all the “goodies” are reserved for paying members – the only page visible to “non-members” and the search engines is the home page.

In this scenario, the only page the site owner has to work with for optimization is the home page.

So if you have a one-page site that suits your purposes, that’s cool…

But here’s the challenge…

  • The search engines reward resource sites…and one-page sites aren’t considered a resource.

Resource sites are larger (than one page) sites that go in-depth about a particular topic, and one-page sites don’t fit that description. They are not considered a resource – no matter what.

  • You can tweak the content until you’re blue in the face…but it won’t position.

For example, if you have a one-page site about “internet marketing” and you pit that site against all the thousands of other sites out there that have multiple pages dedicated to internet marketing, your site is not going to position – no matter what you do, and no matter how many times you tweak the content.

In order to position that one-page site, you will have to do more to it…

So what can you do?

  • Can you make the one-page site part of your main site?

What a lot of companies do when faced with this SEO dilemma is rather than having that one-page site as a separate domain, they incorporate that landing page into their main site.

This is a really easy workaround. This way, you’re not marketing two separate domains, and you’re not worried about two domains: everything is happening on your one main site.

  • Can you build out the site with informative, keyphrase-rich content? (This will take some time).

Now if you’d rather not go with option #1 (above) because you have an awesome domain name for your one-page site and you want to do more with it, you can just go the traditional route of building out more content.

That way, you’ll build relevancy for your single-page site, and you will see not only a search engine ranking boost, but also more people sharing your content – because there’s more content to share!

The flip side is that it’s going to take some investment of time as you’ll be writing a lot of content as you build out the site.

  • Can you make any of the password-protected content public?

If you have a membership-exclusive site, or a similar situation where the majority of the content is password-protected, then the best-case scenario is if you can pull some of that content out to your home page so it is accessible both to non-members and the search engines.

Granted, you’d still have the “meat” of the content behind a firewall, but you’ll have more content that the public can look at and the search engines can work with.

This is actually a great way to work with conversions off of membership site: non-members can get a little taste of what they’d get in the way of content if they were to sign up for member status, and that can encourage them to convert a bit faster.

  • If worse comes to worse…what other ways can you drive traffic to your one-page site?

Finally, if none of the above strategies appeal to you, and you want to keep that one-page site as it is, then consider other ways to drive traffic to it.

It should be clear that traditional SEO via organic search is not going to work for you – but certainly there are other ways you can drive traffic and get the targeted visitors you want landing on your site. Explore social media, and all the other options available to you!

Thanks for checking in to this week’s SEO copywriting how-to video! Do you have a burning question about SEO, Web writing, or content marketing? Fantastic! Zip an email on over to Heather via [email protected], or tweet her @heatherlloyd. And be sure to tune in next week – we’ll see you then!


Do you have questions about SEO Copywriting Certification training? Writing services? Customized SEO copywriting training? Heather’s always available to help you out! Feel free to email her at [email protected] or tweet her @heatherlloyd.


photo thanks to Danard Vincente



3 ways to transform your sucky sales copy into conversions-driving gold

Welcome back! In this week’s SEO copywriting how-to, Heather builds on her video of last week: How to tell if your sales copy sucks.

Realizing there are several more ways to tell that your sales copy sucks, here Heather addresses three more characteristics that mark bad sales copy – and then shares on how to go about fixing them so that your sales content pops off the page.

Tune in to learn how refining your website’s tone and feel, sharing specific benefits with your readers, and using keyphrases deftly can transform your sales copy from sucky into conversions-driving, reader-focused gold!

1. The tone and feel is off base

While this is an issue that mostly affects B2B sites, any website can suffer from this malady.

  • Think about your reader when you’re writing your copy – what would you say if you spoke with them in person?

There’s something about sitting down and writing something – especially Web copy – that flashes some folks back to high school English class.

They then create this very formal-sounding document that would stand up really well in an English class, but when it comes to communicating and connecting online it falls short.

  • A more “formal” tone and feel does not make you sound smarter.

In another scenario, there are some companies that believe that a formal tone and feel makes them sound smarter, and automatically conveys that they are an “expert” in their field.

  • Newsflash! Formal tone and feel does not an expert make.

So instead of flashing back to that high school or college English class, or thinking that a formal tone and feel is what you need (which, in some cases it could be, depending on your audience and subject matter), again try to think about how you would communicate with folks if they called you directly.

Then, try to translate that to what you are writing online so that some warmth and personality shine through.

  • If you’re not sure if you’re connecting in this fluid and natural way online, consider sharing your sales copy with someone who knows you, as well as your company.

Ask them: “Does this sound like me?” and “When I talk to folks online, is it the way I usually sound, or am I making myself sound different somehow?”

A trusted colleague or editor can give you some valuable feedback about how you can loosen up and warm up your copy with personalized content, but still manage to convey a solid and credible business tone and feel.

2. You don’t provide any real information because “you want people to call you.”

Sharing just a hint of your helpful information that doesn’t give away too much may seem savvy. Wrong!

Yes, it may sound edgy, it may sound interesting, but at the end of the day it doesn’t convey the benefits your company can provide prospects.

  • Guess what? People probably won’t call you.

If you’re going down this path as a marketing strategy, the very real possibility is that folks probably won’t bother to call you. After all, your competition is only a back-click away.

It’s so easy for folks to realize that “Given company X isn’t providing me with any helpful information, let’s check out what company Y has to offer.”

  • Always showcase your value, expertise and benefits.

So be sure to track what your competitors are doing (and not doing) and make sure that you provide substantive information that addresses what your audience cares about.

Giving your readers solid information is a fantastic way to showcase your expertise and value, as well as inform them about exactly what you can do for them.

3. You add a bunch of keyphrases “just in case.”

  • It won’t help.
  • It will turn off your readers.
  • Did I mention that it won’t help?

It’s somewhat (darkly) funny that Google Analytics demi-god Matt Cutts has come out with a video discussing the myth of keyphrase density, and the myths surrounding the myth – only to hear folks say “Well, I know what he said, but I still have this feeling that if I add a few more keyphrases to my content that’s going to make all the difference – I’m going to make all sorts of money and my life is going to be grand!”

Ah, if only it were so. But it’s not real or realistic, so please: Don’t do this.

Instead, focus on your readers and do those things that will best help them.

Remember: focus on your reader, not SEO for SEO’s sake

  • Yes, you do want to add keyphrases to your content.
  • Yes, you want to make sure that you have those SEO copywriting bases covered.
  • But adding random keyphrases or repeating keyphrases or doing anything that detracts from valuable content is not going to help you and it’s gonna turn off your readers, so DON’T DO IT!

Thanks for joining us for this week’s SEO copywriting how-to video! If you have a question for Heather, you can tweet it to her @heatherlloyd or email her via [email protected]. And be sure to check back next Monday for another hot Web-writing tip – it may well answer your question. See you then!


Learn the latest SEO copywriting and direct response skills while realizing your full freelancing career’s income potential: check out the only industry-recognized and highly proclaimed SEO Copywriting Certification training program today!

photo credit to trindade.joao













How to tell if your sales copy sucks

Greetings! In today’s Web-writing video, Heather discusses how to check your sales copy to detect common and costly mistakes – those she has witnessed time and again in her long SEO copywriting career.

It’s true, writing sales copy is really difficult if you’ve never done it before. There are several ways you can inadvertently go wrong, and many DIY folks don’t know how to go about checking their sales copy to see if they’ve done it right.

So without your knowledge, much less your intention, your sales copy might suck!

Don’t despair. Tune in as Heather addresses the most common sales copywriting mistakes, and how to check your sales copy to ensure you’re not making them…

Your writing focuses on the product/service – not the reader.

  • How many times did you include your company name and the words “we” and “our”?
  • Readers want to know what’s in it for them.

When you’re brand new to sales writing – or even when you’re experienced, but things just aren’t clicking when you sit down to write – it’s all too easy to focus your copy on your company, and/or your product or service. You’ll use the words “we” and “our” a lot, and mention your company name over and over.

  • What you want to do is change the focus of the sales content from features to benefits, telling your readers how your product/service helps them.

One of the things you can do when double-checking the focus of your sales copy is to go through and count how many times you’ve used the words “we” and “our,” as well as your company name.

  • Or, you can try this cute little tool called the “wewe” monitor. Simply put your sales page URL into the “wewe” tool and it will give you a score that reflects how many times you have focused on the company rather than on the reader. It’s a fun tool worth checking out!

You’re repeating yourself. Repeatedly.

  • Repeating yourself = sloppy writing.
  • Tighten up the copy and delete any repetitive content.

Repetitive copy is not a mistake reserved for brand new sales writers – it can mar the content of experienced writers who just haven’t quite got the flow of a new writing project yet.

With repetitive copy, the writer might mention a concept or a benefit statement in one paragraph, and then again in the next paragraph – maybe in a slightly different way – and yet again further down the page…

  • That is sloppy writing, because it stretches the sales page out longer than it needs to be. Also, repeating a benefit statement may preempt the inclusion of another – possibly even more powerful – benefit statement while cluttering your copy.

So check your sales copy for repetition, tightening it up and deleting any repetitive content.

  • If you’re having difficulty seeing where that repetitive content is, then it might be a good idea to give your sales page to an editor, or a trusted someone who can check your work and give you honest feedback.

Your copy is TDL (too damn long)

  • Long-form sales letters/Web pages work – if you know what you’re doing.
  • Don’t make your readers scroll through useless information.
  • Try splitting your information up on multiple pages instead.

Often, a sales page will run too long if the person is new to sales writing, or if they’re experienced but haven’t quite gotten into the flow of the project.

In either case, the writer is throwing everything s/he can think of into the sales page to see what sticks. Besides ending up with a really long sales page, chances are the copy has repetitive content.

  • You want your sales page to be as long as it needs to be to convey the information you want it to convey.

While there’s no hard and fast rule for sales page length, the “sweet spot” is usually around 250 to 500 words…BUT that depends completely on your target audience!

You want to avoid writing a long-form sales letter unless you really know what you’re doing. People who know how to write lengthy sales copy online have tested a lot of approaches – it’s what they do, they’re experts. Anybody else who tries it is not likely to see the same results.

What most likely will happen is you’ll end up with 10 pages of copy that your readers will have to scroll through to find out how to take action. You don’t want to do that.

  • If you find that your page is getting TDL, but you have so much that you want to say and it’s important information that you what on your site somewhere, try splitting the content up on multiple pages. That way, your readers won’t be overwhelmed with this long, 15,000-word essay!

Thanks for joining us for this week’s SEO copywriting how-to video! If you have a question for Heather, you can tweet it to her @heatherlloyd or email  [email protected]. And be sure to check back next Monday for another hot Web-writing tip – it may well answer your question. See you then!

Want to learn more about sales writing and SEO? Check out SuccessWorks’  SEO copywriting training options to see what program suits you best!

photo credit to josef.stuefer


Make more money with this smart pricing strategy

Welcome back!  In today’s SEO Copywriting video, Heather shares an “old school” copywriting tip on how to make more money simply by re-structuring your price list.

If you have a price list on your website, or if you’re a small business owner and produce a printed price list for your clients, then you’ll find this pricing strategy how-to especially useful. And it’s a fun tip, besides!

How many times have you seen a page like this?

The first screen shot is of a web page that describes the pricing for project management software. As you can see, there are a lot of different product packages listed, with checkmarks to help people understand what product features come with each package.

What about this…?

Now, compare the first project management software price list with the second example from Basecamp. Here, you have three choices: the most expensive plan on the left, the least expensive on the right, and the middle option.

The middle plan is even called “the sweet spot”: it is clearly highlighted and catches your eye.

So the folks at Basecamp have drilled it down to three choices. What is interesting is that beneath the graphic, in regular text, they ask “Looking for something else?” and list a couple of more choices.

  • What they’re doing with the pricing graphic is streamlining the experience and essentially saying “here are your three options”: it makes it much easier to make a buy decision.

The reasoning behind this price list strategy is based on “compromise choice.” Compromise choice reflects how people think when they are researching and buying a product or service.

How “compromise choices” work

  • People compromise between what they need at a minimum and the high end of what they’ll pay.
  • If there are three choices, the “middle choice” is often chosen.

Sometimes the compromise choice is essentially based on price, as with the left to right pricing graphic from the Basecamp example. In this instance, the middle choice represents the compromise middle ground in dollars.

See how the middle choice is highlighted?

In the next screenshot of ice cream makers, the compromise choice strategy is applied a bit differently. Here, the least expensive of the three products listed is highlighted as the middle choice, and in italicized, red font it reads “Exclusive.”

Perhaps the retailer needed to move a lot of that particular product quickly, and used compromise (middle) choice and the eye-catching highlights to influence the buyer’s decision. It definitely works in grabbing your attention!

Make it easy for people to buy from you.

Here’s all you have to do to make it easy for people to buy from you – and make more money…

  • Reduce your choices.
  • Place the most expensive option first – everything else looks like a bargain…and/or
  • Highlight the choice you want people to make.
  • Don’t forget benefit statements.

Want to learn more about SEO copywriting and effective direct response techniques? Consider enrolling in the SuccessWorks’ SEO Copywriting Certification program. (Learn what others are saying about Heather’s SEO Copywriting Certification program!)

Thanks for tuning in! Do you have a question for Heather? Tweet it to her @heatherlloyd or email her at [email protected]. And 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: AMagill

How to use “free” to boost conversions

Welcome back! Today, Heather elaborates on her power words video blog series, focusing on the word “free.” (Bet your eyes just snapped on the word already!)  Like the word “you,” “free” is a very powerful power word and yet one that many copywriters fail to use correctly.

If you’re just catching up, in the last couple of weeks Heather’s been talking about “power words” – those conversions-driving words that have been tried and tested by the copywriting community since pre-internet time. When weaved into your content, these power words can help increase your conversion rates by eliciting an emotional response from your readers.

So… how can you fail to correctly leverage that sexy power word, “free”? As easily as you fail to let your readers fail to understand the real value of it.

Tune in as Heather discusses how to use that mighty power word, “free,” so that it both conveys value to your readers and helps increase your conversion rates.

Will using the word “free” in your online copy help increase conversion rates?

If used correctly, you bet!

  • “Free” is one of those powerful power words that definitely gets your attention.  But it is also one that requires some finesse in its use if it is to mean something of value to your prospects and help you with conversions.

So today we’ll be talking about how to effectively use and leverage the word “free” in your online copywriting.

The word “free” is a power word…

  • The challenge is that within a sales situation, many copywriters don’t know how to use it correctly.

Think about the word “free” from the prospect’s perspective. The prospect is coming to your site and finds that you’re giving away a product or service for free.  Well, in their mind….

“Free” has no value…

  • People aren’t thinking about the deal that they’re getting…
  • They’re merely focusing on the word “free”

Your prospects aren’t considering the long hours, the research, the considerable investment that you’ve put in to create this “free” product or service. They’re not thinking about the intrinsic value of the freebie, they’re just transfixed on the word FREE.

So what can you do instead? Simple:

To get your prospects to really understand the value of what you’re giving away, and to increase conversion rates, here’s all you need to do:

  • If you’re providing an incentive gift, simply include the value of the gift:

As shown on the left, specifying “a $47 value” reassures prospects that they’re already ahead of the game, making them much more comfortable with their purchase as they see high-value extra’s thrown in.

  • If you’re offering a “savings,” tell your prospects how much they’re saving:

Looking at the example of “Adult Costumers: Grease Cool Sandy,” you’ll see that the full retail price of $47 is shown, followed by the site’s price of $34.95. Prospects will immediately see the value in purchasing from the website as opposed to paying full retail somewhere else.

  • It is much more powerful to demonstrate the value of your “free” offering than it is to simply state the word “free.”

That’s a wrap for today – thanks for dropping by!  If you have a question for Heather, please zip it to her at [email protected] and be sure to tune in next week. See you then!

photo credit to Mike Licht















Are you harnessing the power of “you”?

Greetings Web Writers, and welcome to Heather’s latest SEO copywriting video how-to! Today, Heather expands on last week’s “power words” vlog with harnessing the power of that magical customer-centric word: you.”

You. Such a seemingly simple word packs an incredible punch, as it centers your web copy around them. Coupled with customer-oriented web content, using “you” in your copy is a proven strategy for engaging the prospect and improving conversions.

Tune in to this Monday’s video and find out how to make your web copy rock with “you” and customer-oriented messages.

As discussed in last week’s video blog, the use of “power words” long precedes online writing as an “old school” strategy of direct response copywriters to improve conversions. 

These power words have been tested throughout “copywriting time” and have been found to increase conversions because they help to elicit an emotional response from the reader.

Words like:

  • Now
  • Exclusive
  • Save

are among the longstanding favorites. So strategically placing these power words within your copy can help boost your conversions and engage your customers.

But there is one power word that trumps them all…

  • YOU.

Yes, you.  Using the word “you” in your content is really powerful and incredibly important, because…(drumroll, please)…

PEOPLE are reading your content…

  • And they want to know what’s in it for them/their customers.
  • So focus on your target customer – not your company.

Website owners tend to forget this. They write all about THEIR company and THEIR wonderful staff and THEIR mission statement and so on, but at the end of the day, the folks reading the copy want to know if the company they’re evaluating can help them meet their needs, whatever their needs may be.

  • This is a truth applicable to both B2B and B2C sites: the copywriting rules are the same.

So whenever you have that simple, powerful word “YOU” in your content, it helps to build that connection with your prospect. It takes the focus off of your company and puts it on your target customer, where it should be. You are speaking to your target customer and explaining the benefits of your products/services that matter to them.

How to evaluate your writing for customer-centric messaging

First, look at your content. Does it talk about your company? Or does it talk about your customer?

  • Check out your website and see if you’ve fallen prey to writing more about your company than your customer. It’s a very common thing to do, but also a very easy mistake to fix.

Evaluate how many times the word “you” appears in your web copy – or if it even appears at all!

  • If you find the word “you” scant or completely missing from your web copy, then this presents a great opportunity to re-write your content to put the focus back on your customer.

A fun, free tool to check your website’s customer focus: the WeWe Calculator

A tool offered by FutureNow, Inc., the “WeWe Calculator,” is fun and free. It evaluates the words on your website to find out how customer-focused your content really is, and is definitely worth checking out for an objective view.

Thanks for checking in to this week’s web-writing video! Do you have a question for Heather? Send it on over to her at [email protected], and be sure to tune in next Monday!  See you then.

photo gratitude to vitevu




Boost your conversions with “power words”

Good day! Today we’re taking it back to “old school” copywriting, as Heather addresses how to boost your conversions with “power words.”  Back in the day – before SEO copywriting, even before Web writing – copywriters focused on adding “power words” to their content, such as their direct sales letters, to improve conversions. It’s a tried and true strategy that’s been used by copywriters for many, many years.

Tune in as Heather explains what power words are, how they work, and how you can use them to strengthen your copy with their conversions-driving mojo:

What are “power words” and how do they work?

Long before copywriters added keywords to their online copy, they focused on adding “power words” that helped boost conversions.  Tested for “phraseology,” these select words have been proven to elicit an emotional response from readers. They get people excited about the product or service being offered and help them take that next action step.

  • Power words help with “emotional selling.”  They’re about getting people excited, engaged, and taking action (making that conversions step).

What are some typical power words?

A partial list of some typical power words include:

–       Now

–       Proven

–       Exclusive

–       Bonus

–       You

–       Power

–       Powerful

–       How to

–       Results

–       Guarantee

It’s interesting, once you read the list, how many places you’ll see these words used in web copy and direct mail, and hear them used in radio and television ads.

Of these power words, “You is very important.  Writing the word “you” in the copy and thereby personalizing the experience for the reader can really help boost conversion rates. “You” is a word that has proven to be incredibly powerful in both the online and offline copywriting world.

What does this mean to your online writing?

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, there are ways to integrate power words into your content so they flow naturally and fit with your site’s overall tone and feel.

  • Try using a “power word” in your headlines and measure the click-throughs and re-tweets.
  • See if you can weave a power word into your calls-to-action.
  • It’s important to not overdo it. You want your copywriting to appeal to your prospect – not be heavy-handed.

Experiment with using power words – try using them to begin a sentence or paragraph. Don’t be afraid to use them. Play with them and get a feel for what works for your site. Applied skillfully, power words are every bit as effective in boosting conversions as they were way back when.

Do you have a question for Heather? Please feel free to zip it to her at [email protected], and be sure to check in next week!  See you then.

photo courtesy flickrSeattle Municipal Archives


Want better conversions? Get specific with your benefit statements

Welcome back! This Monday’s SEO copywriting how-to video post is about how specifics in your online writing help you sell more. Heather developed this piece in response to a reader question about how to increase the effectiveness of their web copy. In looking through the reader’s web content, Heather realized that one of the opportunities the copywriter could leverage was to make their marketing copy more specific.

While the general reader benefit statements were powerful, honing them to highly tangible and specific “what’s-in-it-for-me” language is what this copywriter needed to do to improve their conversions. So for those of you who have been struggling with writing better sales copy and are looking for any advantage you can find, you should find this most helpful:

1. So these are so-so benefit statements. (Let’s make them better…)

  • Boost your revenue!
  • Let us help you save time!
  • Save money!

The challenge? People have different ideas about what “boosting revenue,” “saving time” and “saving money” mean. The web copy doesn’t paint a picture. This is where the specifics come in…

2. Specifics take a good marketing statement and make it sexy

  • Boost your revenue by 30%!
  • What would you do with an extra hour every day?
  • Slice your expenses by $2,000 a month!

So you can see how these highly specific benefits, expressed in such personalized, concrete and precise terms, can be something simple to leverage…

3. So what does this mean to your online writing?

  • Track how you’ve helped your customers – what specifics can you uncover?
  • Try to back up any “general” benefit statement with an exact number or percentage.
  • Don’t feel compelled to “round up.” If you’ve boosted profits by 27.6%, it’s OK to use that stat.

If you haven’t yet asked your customers for testimonials, now would be a great time to start. Ask them if they can provide you with any precise specifications in terms of numbers and percentages. Studies have shown that accurate, factual spec’s (e.g., 27.6% as opposed to 25- or 30%) are found to be more credible by prospects. And besides, it’s the truth of the matter!

Try these suggestions and watch your conversions improve!

Thanks for tuning in and please drop Heather your question  at [email protected]. See you next Monday!


Interview with the Conversion Scientist, Brian Massey

The Conversion Scientist, Brian Massey

Brian Massey is the Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences and he has the lab coat to prove it. His rare combination of interests, experience and neuroses was developed over almost 20 years as a computer programmer, entrepreneur, corporate marketer, national speaker and writer.

Conversion Sciences was founded to fill the Web with helpful, engaging and entertaining online Web sites that convert visitors into leads and sales. Brian has helped dozens of businesses transform their sites through a steady diet of visitor profiling, purposeful content, analytics and testing.

So how did it come to pass that you became the “Conversion Scientist?”

Well, I knew that few business owners were waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweats screaming “I need an online marketing strategist,” which is what I technically do. Even fewer are screaming for a “Conversion Scientist.” However, the next best thing to having someone say, “Oh, I need someone like you,” is having them say, “You’re a what?” And I can explain conversion in a sentence.

The Sciences theme plays to the fact that my practice is very data-driven: “I get no pleasure if we don’t measure.”

In your opinion, where is the art of conversion copywriting going?

I think it is going cross-channel. To be a good copywriter, you must be able to be persuasive on a landing page, home page, product page, etc. To be a good Conversion copywriter, you have to be able to write a video script, summarize the major points for the landing page, create the series of blog posts that tease the video, compose the white paper that the video pitches, integrate the search key words in all of this and then cram it all into 140 characters… all in a week.

The only way to really know what to write without doing a lot of research is to watch your results. You have to know which topics get clicked. You have to know which headlines get sales. You have to know which search terms like which offers.

A good copywriter watches the numbers.

Do you have any words of wisdom for SEO copywriters about conversion optimization?

Get comfortable reading Adwords analytics and site analytics. Figure out what works for humans (conversions) as well as the search engine (visits). Then practice, and when you get good, charge a whole lot of money.

Besides actual text, what are other ways to induce conversions?

Use big buttons that call people to action. Draw boxes around important points you want to make. Strike stock photography from the site. Add a video. Shorten your signup form. Add trust symbols and logos to your pages and shopping carts. Most importantly, know the person who typed in the page URL or search term, and why they did so at this point in their life. Then make them glad they did.

Where do SEO copywriters “fit” in the overall conversion equation?

Copywriters have more ability to affect conversion rates than any other contributor to the online marketing equation. Richer images can be drawn with words than with Photoshop. Headlines can be more emotional than photographs. Designers assume they have 8 seconds to get someone’s attention. Good writers will capture visitors for minutes. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s still the words that count.

Why does it sound like I’m so full of shit? Because writers don’t know how to defend themselves. Most marketing firms believe that, because they own Word, they are qualified to edit a writers’ work. As a result, writers suffer from PRPSD: Post Red Pen Stress Disorder. By the time a corporate committee has finished “reviewing” their work, the storytelling, metaphor and color have all been bled out of the best copy. Copywriters begin to just do what the client asks rather than fight the battle. Copywriter heal thyself. Every situation is different, but I would recommend the following:

Be the most expensive in your industry/area /subject matter. This gives you the freedom to rewrite and do more research if necessary.

  1. Set expectations up front: “I won’t let just anyone edit my copy.”
  2. Don’t EVER assume that the client knows their customers, especially on the Web.
  3. Get good at doing personas of Web visitors. These fake people will rise to your defense when your copy is attacked.
  4. Threaten to fire clients frequently.
  5. Gather data from every client you don’t fire to demonstrate your prowess.
  6. Call yourself a Copy Scientist, Persuasion Editor, or Conversion Linguist… and then kick ass.

Start adding conversion skills to your arsenal NOW. Subscribe to the Conversion Scientist by email or risk missing something very important to your work. Sign up at The Conversion Scientist.™




SEO copywriting vs. social media writing: What’s the difference?

It’s not often that something leaves me speechless.

I was chatting with someone who said, “SEO copywriting is so 10 years ago. Now it’s all about social media writing.”

Uh, what?

That’s when I realized that some people believe that SEO copywriting and social media writing are two different skill sets.

Back in the day (around 2001,) “SEO copywriting” was more commonly referred to as “writing for search engines.” It encompassed any keyword-based online writing, including directory listings (I remember when getting a Yahoo directory listing was a big deal,) articles, PPC ads and sales-oriented pages.

The term “SEO copywriting” came about to differentiate the unique direct response writing style that grew out of this new niche.  Copywriters were forced to satisfy two “target audiences”: The automated, soulless search engines (making sure the right keywords were in the right places the right way,) and prospects (using proven direct-response techniques to encourage the sale.)  As far as I know, it’s the first time that copywriters were “forced” to include certain words in the text just to make sure that their target audiences could find the page in the first place.

Granted, us “writing to sell” copywriters were still creating articles, white papers and other types of “non-sales” writing. We just lumped any keyword writing service under the SEO copywriting umbrella.

Now, we have blogs, Twitter and Facebook. We’re communicating with folks in real-time, breaking down the stuffy corporate Website walls and humanizing our companies. We write linkbait posts to drive traffic, send targeted Tweets about our companies (knowing that tweets appear in Google and Bing search results, too,) and pray that people Stumble and Sphinn our latest musings.

From where I sit, social media writing is just SEO copywriting in a different wrapper. Social media writers need to understand keyphrase research (like SEO copywriters.) They need to understand the audience and write incredibly engaging content (like SEO copywriters.) They are writing content to meet a specific goal: More subscribers, more search engine traffic, more referrals from Twitter, more interest in a product or service.

In short, the same thing a SEO copywriter typically does – just with a more trendy name. :)

Having said that, there are some important differences.

  • Not all social media writers know how to write to sell. Direct response copywriting is a very unique skill set that’s based in neuropsychology, psychology and years of testing. A general blogger (who doesn’t usually write sales copy) may not write copy that converts as highly as a dedicated copywriter. To paraphrase Austin Powers, direct-response writing, “may not be their bag, baby.”
  • By the same token, some copywriters can’t shake the sales out of their writing no matter how hard they try. They try to write an informative blog post and make it sound like a squeeze page. The immediacy of Twitter, (“What do you mean I can’t edit my Tweet once I’ve hit send. What if I think of another way to say it?”) freaks them out. Sales copy keeps them happy. Anything else…not so much.

What do you think? Are there any other major differences between SEO content writers and social media writers? What do you call what you do for a living (or what your in-house copywriters do?). Copywriter or social media writer?