Feeling the burn and seeking some balance



“Feel the burn!” If you hear this when you are working out, it is a good thing.

However, I have been feeling a different kind of burn lately. I’ve been:

  • Burning the candle at both ends.
  • Getting burned out.

I realized that I am about to crash and burn … and that’s not good.

Over the last six months, my life has gone through many ups and downs. Most recently, I shifted my copywriting business to an off-hours endeavor and started a 9-to-5 job (well 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) – mostly for financial security.

I chose a job outside of my field because I didn’t want to use all of my creative juices during the day and have nothing left for my own clients.

The good news: I’m not using all of my creativity during the day.

The bad news: I’m still burning myself out.

My new job has a rather long learning curve (which drives me crazy), and I’m still trying to hone my productivity so I can continue to meet my clients’ needs in the shortened amount of time that I have.

Of course, all of the pending projects that I had are now suddenly active.

Trying to survive a crazy schedule

On most weekdays, I leave my apartment by 8am (sometimes having done some work on my laptop before leaving); go to my day job; leave a little after 5 p.m.; drive to my office (maybe grab something to eat); and work for several more hours – many times until midnight or later.

I am trying to find balance, but right now that includes scheduling a social outing some nights … then coming home to work on my laptop. In the month that I have had my new job, I have come directly home from my day job maybe one time.

Overcome the online writing overwhelm monster

The other day I was preparing for a meeting with a prospective client, and I realized that I was going to crash and burn. By adding to my already overloaded workload, I was doing a disservice to my clients and myself. It was difficult, but I had to make the decision that I cannot take on new clients at this time.

My focus right now is taking care of the projects I already have and making sure my long-term clients are happy. And, I need to make sure I set up some real self-care foundations so I can overcome the overwhelm monster.

Are you setting boundaries?

You may not be working two jobs (or you might be), but most likely there are areas in your life where you are becoming a bit overwhelmed.

Are you taking on too many projects at work?

Do you have trouble saying “no” professionally and/or personally and take on more than you can handle?

Are you working from home while you try to run the household?

Don’t sabotage yourself.

I have already made the decision to not take new clients at this time, but I also have another goal for my schedule. I want to feel the burn again – in a good way. I am going to carve out a spot in my schedule for exercise. It makes me feel better and helps me focus.

Determine what is holding you back and find a way to change it. Even minor changes can make a big difference! Take some time this week to examine your life and find a place to make a positive change.

Yes, you do need an SEO copywriting strategy. Here’s why

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-selective-focus-map-chicago-image7356870Imagine this:

You suddenly decide to move to Chicago. Instead of lining up a job and doing your due diligence, you immediately jump in the car and start driving. You don’t take anything with you. Nor do you check Google Maps and figure out your route. You just point the car and go.

Would you make it to Chicago? Eventually. Would you make a lot of wrong turns (and probably cost yourself a bunch of money along the way?) Most likely. And you still wouldn’t have the results you wanted (a great paying job.)

This analogy reminds me of clients who don’t have an SEO copywriting strategy. They may know what they want (higher rankings and better conversions.) But they don’t have a plan to make it happen. They don’t revise their keyphrase research, check their customer persona and ask questions. Instead, they rewrite a bunch of pages hoping that something will do the trick.

When the results aren’t what they want, they blame the writer. Or they blame Google. Or their competition. But they very rarely point the finger at themselves and admit, “Yeah, we didn’t really know what we were doing.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to take a step back. When you’re moving to a new city, “taking a step back” means planning your driving route and making some initial employer contacts. When it’s around your website, it means asking questions and doing research.

Here are some SEO copywriting questions to ask:

– Are the current pages converting? If not, why do you think that is?

– What is the per-page keyphrase research strategy? When’s the last time you researched your keyphrases?

– What are the overarching company benefits? What about the specific product/service benefits?

– Who is coming to this page? Is it an admin assistant who is gathering information for his supervisor? A time-challenged COO? What do they need to see to feel comfortable with the content?

– What phase of the buy cycle is your prospect in when they reach a certain landing page?

– What do you want people to do when they reach your landing page? Is there a secondary goal (like subscribing to your newsletter?).

– What are the upsell opportunities?

– What products/services make your company the most money?

Getting good answers to these questions takes time – it’s not something you can accomplish in a couple hours. Having said that, if you’re planning to outsource, it’s a great way of separating the so-so copywriters from the smart ones. Good copywriters won’t start writing without an SEO copywriting strategy in place – they know the results won’t be what you want.

(As a side note, master SEO copywriters can often handle this phase for you. It can be useful to have someone outside your company create your campaign.)

Your SEO copywriting campaign is important. Take the time, develop an air-tight strategy and do it right.

You’ll be glad you did.

Save 25% on the SEO Copywriting Certification training through September 30th, 2013 – just use coupon code SEPTEMBER. Or, if your team is overwhelmed, my writers can help create top-converting content. Contact me for details.

Write sexy SEO content (for any industry!)

Are you faced with writing content for a “boring” industry?

You don’t need to replicate your competitor’s campaigns. Nor do you have to write page after dull page (resisting the urge to poke your eyes out with every word.)

You just have to think of an unique angle to “sexify” your content!

When I say “sexy,” I don’t mean pictures of well endowed women wearing low-cut shirts and push up bras. You may get some temporary play with that technique, but it will also turn off a certain segment of your audience.

What I mean by sexy is something that grabs your readers’ attention and doesn’t let go. Something that’s unique, viral – and miles away from what your competitors are doing.

Here’s an example:

Blend your way into your users’ hearts

Do a search for “blenders,” and you’ll find all sorts of resources. Buying guides, spec sheets, recipes – everything that you would expect. If you’re a hard-core juicer and foodie like me, you realize early on that conventional blenders won’t cut it anymore. You need a beast of a machine to grind nuts and smooth out the most kale-stuffed smoothie.

Vitamix is a premium brand well-known for their powerful blenders. Their home page is pretty standard:


Is Vitamix’s approach “wrong” or “bad” – no. But is the content inspiring? Meh. It’s cool, but not so cool that you want to run out and see one in action right now.

In short, it doesn’t inspire you to change.

Compare this to Blendtec’s “will it blend” campaign:

Will It Blend


Got an iPad? You can blend it. Got superglue? You can blend it. It kind of makes you want to grab a new Blendtec blender and start grinding things up, doesn’t it?

Now that’s sexy.

Look at your man…now back to me

Another example is the fantastic Old Spice ads. Aftershave commercials are typically pretty formulaic – man uses aftershave, hot women flock. And of course, these ads were typically targeted to men.

Old Spice did things dramatically differently. Yes, it’s a product for men – but certainly, the ad campaign was made for a woman (but done in a way that even men can appreciate it!).

Old Spice

(I still laugh every time I hear, “I’m on a horse.” The ad campaign may be an oldie, but it’s a goodie.)

Did this campaign work? Heck, yeah. Sales increased over 107 percent from June to July, 2010. Obviously, people changed their behavior and started buying Old Spice – even if a lot of men previously thought that Old Spice was what “their dad used to wear.”

Could you use a shirtless male model to sell pipe fitters? Probably not. But what the Old Spice and Blendtec example shows us is – you can do things differently. You can shake it up. And yes, your target audience will reward you for it.

It just takes a little out-of-the-box thinking.

What about you? What are your favorite “sexy” sites for boring industries?

Do you want inspiring content for your site? Yes! My team can write pages for you – or I can  personally train your team. Contact me for details.

What Seth Godin can teach you about SEO content

Heart puzzleTell me if this sounds familiar.

The marketing and SEO teams brainstorm the keyphrases, do the research and determine the keywords that represent strong content opportunities. Then, the writing team takes over and writes 500-word articles on “How to find the right cataraft for your trip,” or “Why Pilates reformer classes help people with back injuries.”

This process is technically accurate. But it doesn’t capture the essence of creating commanding SEO content. It’s a piece of the puzzle – but it’s not the whole puzzle.

What you really want to ask is: How can your content help people to change?

This difference struck me as I was reading a comment by Matthew Newman on this blog post. He quoted Seth Godin as saying:

“The only reason to build a website is to change someone. If you can’t tell me the change and you can’t tell me the someone, then you’re wasting your time.”

Certainly, the “someone” would be your target reader (if you don’t have a customer persona document, you need to implement this step before writing another word.)

But let’s talk about change.  Here’s the reality:

The content you create – whether you are a B2B or B2C – can help your readers make changes they want to make. In fact, the more your content prompts that change, the more successful your site will be.

Deep, yes. But think about it…

Buying behavior is driven by emotion, pure and simple. The unspoken question during every buying decision is how can this product or service help the purchaser:

  • Make more money
  • Feel superior
  • Feel sexier
  • Relieve themselves of guilt
  • Calm fears
  • (And a host of other emotions)

Sure, we say that our buy process is rational and logical. But that’s just what we tell ourselves. We don’t cancel our cable because of FOMO (fear of missing out.) We buy the anti-aging cream because we want to feel young and sexy. We invest in the get-rich-quick scheme because – well – the possibility of having unlimited funds feels powerful.

We buy solutions (not things and not services) that lead us closer to how we want to feel. We want more happiness, less fear and a whole lot of peace of mind.

Commanding SEO content taps into these fears, hopes and desires. Because that’s where the “change agent” lives. It’s not in the readers’ rational brains. It’s deep, deep down.

Rather than writing another dull buying guide, think about your reader. Really think about what turns her on, what makes her happy and what inspires her. That changes the focus from “write another guide” to “help someone make a change.”

The key to this is telling stories – stories you know will resonate with your reader.

If you’re writing about Pilates reformer classes for back injuries, you could share how people are finally living pain free – without drugs – for the first time in years. All they did is take a couple classes a week for three months. Interviews, video and before and after shots can help prompt that change (getting people to sign up for their first class.)

If you’re writing about catarafts, help the person feel the strength and security of the raft as it careens through Class IV Grand Canyon rapids. Pictures, stories and highly descriptive text can make your case (and help someone feel like they can make it through the Canyon successfully.)

It’s all about how you frame your writing.

Isn’t it fun helping people make a change?

Is it time for a change? Learn how my SEO copywriting services and my customized training solutions can help your company.



Is your corporate ego messing up your SEO content?

Woman writing for ego

Is your SEO content all about you?

A common SEO content marketing mantra is “Write for your reader.”

The challenge is, many companies have no idea what the heck that means. All they know is that they “should write lots of content.” Because “writing content helps get better Google rankings.”

Sure, the ranking benefits of SEO writing are important. I can’t deny that. But let’s pull SEO off the table for a second and ask the question…

Who are you writing for? Your ego? Or the people who can actually pay you money?

Long before Google, experienced copywriters would dive deep – very deep – into the readers’ psyche. We’d figure out what made them tick, what kept them up at night and how we can help solve their problems.

(If you’ve ever watched Don Draper’s client pitches on Mad Men, that’s exactly what he does. He’s a master at knowing what buttons to push.)

But then, SEO copywriting came to town. And companies started believing that the old writing rules no longer applied. It wasn’t about the customer anymore. It was about the Big G.

If you want to create commanding SEO content (and I know you do,) you need to break free of ego-based writing.

Here’s how to tell the difference between the two mindsets.

If you’re writing SEO content for your ego…

– Your top concern is getting Google rankings. Always.
– You don’t poll your readers and ask what they want to know more about.
– You don’t tap into common questions customer service responds to every day and use those topics as blog post ideas.
– Your sales copy is full of “me me me” statements. There’s not a lot of focus on benefits.
– You aren’t reviewing what your competitors are doing and learning from them (gasp – learning from a competitor? How COULD you?) :)
– You don’t care if people engage with your writing. High bounce rates are just fine.
– You write the way you want to write, dammit! You’ve never tried altering your site’s “voice” because that’s not the way you do things.

If you’re writing for your readers…

– You look at your bounce rates and see how you can make the pages even better.
– You can easily talk about your reader profile (or profiles) and the content they like to read.
– You’ve actually asked your readers what they want to read about. And you give them what they want.
– If the site’s “voice” wasn’t working, you’d rewrite the content – even if that meant hiring an outside source and spending money to make it happen.
– Your sales copy is reader-focused, with a very helpful, benefit-oriented slant.
– Although you write with SEO content best practices in mind, your first priority is making your reader smile – not a #1 Google ranking.

It’s time for your company to check your corporate ego at the door. That means going back to the basics and doing what  works – know your readers and give them what they want to read – the way they want to read it.

Next week, I’ll be sharing a little bit more about how to make that happen. Stay tuned!

What are your biggest challenges around in-house content writing? I’d love to read your comments!

Does your company want to create great content – but you aren’t sure how? I can show you how easy it is – really! Learn more about my customized SEO copywriting training.



The SEO content revolution is here. Are you ready?

SEO content paradigm shiftDo you want Google to care about your SEO content?

It’s time for a major paradigm shift.

The writing is on the wall. It’s not enough to have “OK” content. Or even content that’s slightly better than your competitors.

Your safest bet is to create what I call “commanding SEO content.”

Why “commanding?” If you check the definition, the word means “superior” and “authoritative.” The question is no longer, “What does Google want to see,” but instead, “How do we create SEO content that truly establishes our site as the top resource for this query?”

The industry has been talking about this paradigm shift. I’ve referenced articles by Eric Enge who talks about “standout” content. Rand Fishkin discusses how to provide unique value. Experts interviewed for this Koozai post all discussed the importance of quality, customer-focused content.

So, how does this change the game for companies?

– It is no longer safe to think of content as a commodity. As Jonathan Coleman says, and I love this quote, “Generally, our content sucks because — even in an industry that proclaims “content is king!” — we only value it as a commodity to drive incremental traffic growth, not as an expression of our brand that helps our users and customers to meet their goals, solve their problems, succeed at their tasks.”

Good SEO content is more than “OK content with keyphrases sprinkled in.” It’s specifically tailored to your customer persona and meets your readers goals. Plus, content like this tends to maintain its positioning (and conversion) effectiveness through multiple Google updates. If your concern is “How can we source this for the lowest possible cost,” you’re in for a rude awakening.

– In-house marketing departments need to get with the program. Instead of whining about how “Google doesn’t like our site,” you need to get off your defensive high horse and take action. You can control the situation and create commanding SEO content. But that also means you need to work. Hard.

– You need to stay on top of the game – even if you work with an agency. I’ve untangled many SEO content messes that started because, “Our agency said it had to be this way for Google.”

If an agency creates content for you (and that includes an SEO firm,) ask them about their process, their recommendations and why they feel their content is commanding. If you get mushy answers, find another vendor for content creation. Just because they are a big, well known firm doesn’t mean they know anything about SEO content. Heck, I even talked to one agency that wanted me to create doorway pages for their client – and this happened a couple months ago.

Over the next few Thursday blog posts, I’ll be discussing how companies can create commanding SEO content in-house. Following these steps should help your team understand what your readers are looking for – and what Google wants to see.

Sharpen your pencils, friends. This will be a fun journey.

Don’t miss future updates to the “Commanding SEO Content” series. Subscribe to the SEO Copywriting Buzz newsletter now. It’s fun, fast and free!

When to run away from an SEO copywriting company

Running away from an SEO copywriting firmWondering if you should hire a certain SEO copywriting company?

Maybe…depending on what questions they ask you.

Recently, I spoke with someone who had just hired an SEO content development firm.  This person really needed an SEO win – and he hoped adding content would help.

But here’s the problem.

There was no SEO content plan, other than “adding pages.”

There wasn’t a keyphrase strategy document.

Instead, they were going to “write pages” to “see if it helped in Google.”

:Insert sound of my head hitting my desk repeatedly.::

I don’t blame the client – he was doing what he could with the budget he had (and didn’t know any better.) What’s frustrating is when a SEO content company fails to address the educational basics. Sure, they made the sale – but will the pages really help the client?

Probably not – at least not without some sort of strategy and keyword focus in place.

So here’s the deal – when you’re hiring an SEO copywriting firm, it’s definitely a “buyer beware” situation. Some firms are awesome and do a great job. Some firms outsource the content to college students and have little (if any) quality control. It’s up to you to separate the good writers from the ones who merely say they’re good.

Here’s a list of questions any good SEO content firm will ask. They may ask some of these questions during the sales call – and others once you’ve signed. The point is: If the company is all that and a bag of chips, they will be asking a lot of questions.

If the prospective vendor fails to address most – if not all – of these points – run, run fast, and keep running. They won’t know enough about your company (and your content strategy) to do a good job.

–  Will we receive a keyphrase list and a per-page keyphrase strategy? (Note: If you don’t have a keyphrase list, a good company should offer to run the keyphrases for you and develop a strategy for an additional fee.)

– What’s your current content strategy and why?

–  Who is your target customer?

–  What companies represent your main online competition?

– What tone and feel (or “voice”) resonates with your target audience ? Can I see an example?

–  What’s the main conversion goal for the page? Do you have a secondary conversion goal (such as a newsletter signup page?).

– What are the main benefits of your product or service?

– What pages are currently doing well in Google now?

– What’s worked in the past? What approach hasn’t worked?

– What pages have the highest bounce rates? Why do you think that is?

– What makes your company unique? Why should people work with you?

– What information is crucial to include?

SEO copywriting is more than just putting words on a page. It’s creating a content strategy, researching keyphrases and writing content that prompts the reader to take action. If your SEO copywriting company isn’t asking some key questions, it’s time to find another provider. Fast.

Trust me. You’ll be glad you did.

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SEO Copywriting Checklist: Why your site needs a newsletter. Right now.

Newsletters have several SEO benefits for site ownersGreetings! Welcome to another installment in the SEO Copywriting Checklist video series.

In today’s video, Heather addresses a content must that a lot of small business owners – and even medium- to large-sized businesses – completely forget about, and that is having an email newsletter.

This discussion came up when Heather was doing the SEO Copywriting Certification training in Phoenix last week. She was talking about how newsletters can be really good for business, and people came back with: “Why do I need to worry about a newsletter? I already have a blog. Why would I have a newsletter on top of a blog?”

Tune in to hear Heather’s response: Here’s why your site needs a newsletter. Right now…

Think A RSS Feed Is All You Need? Think Again.

The folks at the SEO Copywriting workshop had a really good question about why the need for an email newsletter as well as their blog, because a lot of site owners think “Oh, I have a blog, and people can subscribe to it through my RSS feed, so I’m good. I don’t need to worry about taking that extra step.”

But the thing is…

– Many people don’t know what RSS is or how it works.

– Weekly (or monthly) newsletters provide quite a few benefits – and are definitely worth the time and effort.

Email Newsletters Have Some Great Advantages

Some of the benefits of email newsletters are…

– They can drive traffic to your site and increase social shares.

So for example, the SEO Copywriting newsletter that I run comes out every Tuesday. Even if I couldn’t tell the day of the week in analytics, I could certainly see that spike in web traffic and know it must be a Tuesday, because of the surge in social shares and site visitors.

And what I do to encourage that with my newsletter is to include a little preview of what the blog post is about, and then a link that takes readers directly to that post on the site.

So the article isn’t printed in the newsletter, just a little snippet with a link that sends readers back to the site.

– They provide you an opportunity to “connect” with your readers. 

Newsletters are a fantastic way to keep in touch with your readers. One of the things I enjoy doing with my newsletter is to write a brief introduction that maybe talks about the theme of the newsletter, or just about what’s been going on.

Especially if you are the brand, this is a great way you can connect with your readers as well!

– They are a great way to build a loyal following.

Newsletters also can help build an incredibly loyal following. You’ll have this core group of people who are really excited to read your newsletter every week. And they’ll even email you if they didn’t receive it, and say “I didn’t get your newsletter – can you send it to me? I really look forward to reading it!”

And that’s always fun!

– Newsletters help you sell more stuff.

Finally, newsletters provide an ideal channel for selling more stuff!

If you’re writing blog posts on a daily basis, chances are those posts are not promoting your products and services – because you’re writing strong, quality, informational content.

But say you’re having a sale, or there’s something special going on that you want folks to know about? Within the body of the newsletter, you can always include a little call-to-action block letting readers know about your sale or special event.

You can even set it up so that your newsletter subscribers are the first to know about sales or other special events. That way you can have that V.I.P. “velvet rope” appeal to readers, granting them access to exclusive benefits just by signing up!

So if you don’t have a newsletter, I encourage you to get one going. Or if you do have a newsletter but you haven’t done much with it in awhile, you might want to think about kicking it back into shape – and figure out what you need to do in order to build a bigger subscriber list and get more folks visiting your site.

Because I guarantee, once things start rockin’ and rollin’, you’re going to see some huge benefits!

Thanks for joining me! As always, if you have any questions or comments please let me know – you can leave them here in the comments below, or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd, or email me directly at [email protected].

photo thanks to FontShop

Are your conversions sluggish? Are your content efforts falling flat? I can help. Check into my low-cost SEO Content Review service today!

Scalable content generation strategy: The online marketer’s formula for success

To produce high quality content in volume, you need a scalable content strategyWhen you are a large company or an agency, generating large volumes of good content can be quite a challenge. It can get expensive pretty quickly.  It is also time-consuming.

And in the end, high quality content is not a guarantee of explosive attention and viral sharing.

In order for your content generation to be sustainable, it needs to be scalable. The formula for success is using fewer resources to generate more high quality content.

In addition, your content needs to provide an excellent user experience and convey a consistent brand message, in compliance with brand standards.

Yes, I know, it is easier said than done!

The only way you can sustain content generation without breaking the bank is by making your content strategy scalable.

Planning Your Content Strategy

Planning your content strategy can be broken down into three foundational steps: defining your target audience, doing a content audit and regular inventory, and setting your content marketing goals.

1. Audience.  You will be using your content to speak to the customers you are trying to reach.  Of course, it makes sense to learn about these people to determine what is important to them.  Why would they listen to you?

Once you know what they want and what message they respond to, you will be able to craft your brand message more effectively.

There are many ways to collect information about your website visitors.  You can run surveys, look at feedback and contact email, or talk to customer support. You can follow your tribe on social media. You can interview your most typical clients.

Once you know who your audience is, look at your website analytics. If you can, segment the data to fit your audience profile better. Trace their routes on your website and make note of what they are doing with your content.

Find out which content they like and share. Learn which content prompts them to take action and become your customer. And finally, which content does not affect them whatsoever.

Note what type of content they prefer – text, video, audio, etc. You will also notice if your audience likes to comment or they prefer sharing.

2. Content audit and inventory.  It is important to do a content inventory regularly.  Audit your content to avoid duplication and ensure accuracy and freshness.

You can combine the audit with your audience review.  The analysis will show if your content corresponds with the interests of your visitors.

When reviewing your site, mark the pages that need to be updated or expanded.  These should be popular pages that your visitors share and comment on.  Review the comments and note ideas for new pages or blog posts.

Some of the content can be re-purposed, some needs to be deleted.  Mark the pages accordingly.

3. Set goals. You know what your audience wants. You know what you have to offer.  It is time to define your content marketing goals.

Revise your business objectives and align them with your content strategy.  Use your business and branding goals to guide your marketing.

At this step, you need to craft your brand message:

  • What are you trying to communicate to your audience?
  • What is your tone?
  • What do you expect your audience to do once they receive your message?
  • Why would they care about what you have to say?
  • What is the benefit for them to know that you exist?

If you have answers to these questions, you are ready for the next step – implementation.

Implement Your Content Strategy

The only way to achieve scalable content generation is to have good processes in place.

You can start with a content schedule. Define tools and technology you will need to build work flows, help with the planning, approval, optimization, and distribution of your content.

Now you are ready for resources.  Train them. Assign specific roles for each person. Your staff needs to be held accountable for the results and, therefore, they need to own their part of the process. Outsourcing content generation is also an option.  With clear goals and processes, outsourcing can be very successful.

Create a process for generating a content pipeline. It should start with ideas. Then you can take each idea and cover different angles for a series of (un)related posts.

  • Take one idea and create content in multiple formats – video, audio, text, infographic, white paper, etc.
  • Use one idea, same content, but different delivery channels: blog, social media, email, press release, conference presentation, advertising, interview, etc.

Define types of content that match your goals.  Consider options like how to’s, tutorials, guides, checklists, or glossaries. These are usually very popular types of content.

Determine how much of each type of content you need. Create a process for generating each type of content.

Remember that content you needed to update? Go for it. Re-purpose those other pages. Put the deadlines on the content calendar.

Measure Results

Determine how you will measure success. Go back to your goals and objectives, review your content strategy, and set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and targets.

Define reports and their frequency. Who is your audience for the reports?  What are the next actions for them based on the data you are reporting?

What you measure will show you how you are doing.  Base your metrics on data that matters to achieving your goals. A high bounce rate on a blog post might be okay, if the time-on-page is high enough.  But a high bounce rate on a conversion page means that your message missed the mark.

Final Thoughts

Remember the formula to a scalable content generation strategy?

Fewer resources generating more high quality content make a scalable strategy.  Good processes will ensure that few resources are used. They will also streamline the very process of content generation.

As a result, you will receive large quantities of different types of content. Applying audience knowledge to your company message will solidify the quality.

About the Author ~ Lyena Solomon

Lyena is Director of Search at Milestone Internet Marketing. She is leading the SEO and analytics teams providing strategy, overseeing processes, facilitating and carrying out training and testing latest strategies to improve conversion and revenue.

Lyena has extensive experience in SEO, analytics, website usability and navigation. You can connect with Lyena on Twitter and Google Plus.


photo thanks to UggBoy<3UggGirl

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5 questions to ask before accepting a guest post

Guest blogger cautionGuest blogging is a hot marketing tactic right now. Blog owners love it because they get free content. Bloggers love it because it’s a way to build links and drive traffic back to their site. It seems like the perfect win/win for both parties, right?

Well, not necessarily…

Recently, especially post-Penguin, I’ve seen a lot of so-so (at best) guest posts. What do I mean by so-so? Grammatical errors, obvious sales pitches, poor writing…you name it. The overall blog may be strong, but some individual guest posts are definitely lacking.

That’s not good. The writer may “win” (they get a link, after all.) But the site owner is left holding the (stinky) bag. Now, they have content on their site that people don’t like, don’t link to, and don’t share.

What’s the answer? Vet your guest bloggers carefully. It’s like dating – you don’t have to (or want to) date everyone who asks you. Just the ones you “click” with and who meets your requirements.

Here are some ways to make sure that a blogger “clicks” with your site – and you should bring them on as a guest blogger:

How did you hear about them? 

Do you have a relationship with the blogger? Were they recommended by someone else? Or did they pitch you out of the blue? If they pitched you, how does their email read? If I find a typo or grammatical error in a guest blogging pitch, I tend to delete it immediately. Why? I figure if they can’t get their act together when they pitch me, their blog post isn’t going to be any better.

Why does this person want to blog for you? 

Guest blogging is about building relationships. I laugh every time I read a variation of, “I would like to provide you an original article in exchange for a link.” If I get an email from someone who is (obviously) more interested in what’s in it for them rather than building a relationship, I tend to be pretty unimpressed.

The pitches that I pay most attention to are from folks who take the time to say, “I noticed you had a great article about X. Have you considered a follow up article on Y? I can write that for you.” That shows me that the blogger has actually read my blog, they understand my audience, and they’ve taken the time to write a specific pitch. That’s way more impressive than just asking for a link.

What does the blogger’s site look like?

This is important stuff.  Recently, Matt Cutts released a video called, “Does Google take action on spammy guest blogging activities?” Matt says, “If your Website links to sites that we considered low quality or spammy, that can affect your site’s reputation.” Always review the blogger’s site first. Ask yourself: Would my readers be happy if they landed on this site? Does this look reputable? If the answer is “no,” pass on the blogger’s request.

What else have they done? 

Of course, the Holy Grail of guest bloggers is to land a high-profile blogger with a huge network. At the same time, “unknown” writers can churn out some really fantastic stuff. If you don’t know their work, ask to see past blogging samples. Read the samples very critically and look for things like typos, grammatical mistakes and overly long, “fluffy” writing. Ask yourself if their writing style would resonate with your audience. If the blog post doesn’t meet your requirements, pass.

How responsive are they to your email/phone calls?

So, the blogger passed the initial “smell test” and you’re interested in working with them – great!  But let’s say that you sent an email (or called them) and heard…nothing. For days. Not even a “I’m swamped, and I’ll get back to you soon” email. If you find yourself sending notes that say, “Um, did you get my last email,” you may want to reconsider working with the blogger. Why? If the blogger can’t be relied upon to get back to you via email, do you think that they’ll hit a deadline? Maybe…or maybe not. And that’s a chance that you may not want to take.

As a side tip, always have a few posts “in reserve” just in case. You may find that you need to edit a guest post much more than you planned. Or, your guest poster may send an “Oops, I can’t send the post on time” email (ah, I love it when that happens.) Having some “just in case” posts in your back pocket means that you won’t have a gaping hole in your editorial calendar (or you have to run a so-so post because you don’t have anything else.)

Have you thought about signing up for the SEO Coywriting Certification training or the Copywriting Business Bootcamp? Be sure to check the blog this Friday, November 16th. I’ll be running a very special sale…