Daily SEO copywriting candy – Gee, honey, I’m SO sorry!

Sorry heartSometimes, all companies can say is….”Oops…sorry”

And then shut up, put their heads down, and start doing some major damage control.

Anyone who has ever been in a relationship can recognize “that moment.”  You say something that’s not meant to be bad. Hell, it may even be meant as a compliment. And then you see your partner’s eyes narrow, their mouth do that “I’m pissed off,” pursed thing,” and steam start flowing out of their ears.


One of the most interesting things about SEO copywriting (and marketing in general) is you have to be very, very careful about how you say what you say. In your head, you may be thinking one thing. However, your target audience is perceiving things a completely different way.  What you think is clever and edgy can actually be…well…insulting. Here’s some examples:

  • Who hasn’t been somehow touched by the financial crisis? During a time when layoffs are incredibly common, G2’s latest ad comes across as “insensitive to the unemployed” according to AdAge. Oops.
  • Let’s face it: It’s funny to read something  that’s been translated so very badly. In the business world, however, translation and localization is a big deal.  Yes, I know that you’ve already written your copy once already (for a U.S.-based audience.) And yes, I know that it’s so much cheaper to run your copy through free Web translation sites. But really, do you want to be one of those companies that win awards for major, major gaffes?  Learn why translation and localization of your SEO copywriting  is incredibly important for international business. As the article says, “even one misunderstanding is too many.” Agreed.
  • There are many “celebrity SEO’s” who are actually more well-known than their company. Although some people argue that this is a good thing, promoting your personal over your business brand can be dicey. I’ve heard of many companies feeling mighty offended that their employees were brand-building on company time – even if that branding ultimately leads to business. As in any good relationship, a smart conversation about boundaries is helpful.  If you’re an employer, define what you need and leverage your team member’s talents – and don’t just get pissed because your employee is a better marketer than your company. And if you’re the employee, stay within those boundaries and show how you’re providing value – and not just promoting yourself. At the end of the day, it’s all about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes – and knowing that saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can cost you some pretty major conversions.

Are you feeling the need to confess your own SEO copywriting relationship sins? Zip me a Tweet on Twitter.

SEO copywriting daily candy: Should you write an ebook?

Candy mouseHappy Monday, all! It’s a fast-and-dirty daily candy today as I’m out the door for a Seattle-area meeting. This is me, praying that my windshield wipers are working…it’s not raining yet. But any minute…

A very common SEO content strategy question is, “What about writing an ebook?  How will an ebook help me?” Of course, there is always the obvious answer of how an ebook can help estabish your company as an expert. And, if you’re looking for an additional revenue source, ebooks can be mighty profitable.  But is an ebook really right for your company? Let’s see…

  • So, your Website content is fresh, your blog has an air-tight editorial schedule and you’re looking for new content marketing strategies.  Enter the ebook. Whether you’re looking for lead generation or simply to get the word out, ebooks can be a great way to establish your thought leadership dominance. Discover 5 reasons why writing an ebook should be a part of your marketing strategy.
  • Still not convinced about the power of ebooks? Patsi Krakoff from Writing on the Web weighs in with her 5 (more) reasons an ebook is a content marketing must.
  • Yes, free ebooks can be great for lead generation. At the same time, free ebooks are -  gasp -  free. Ebooks can turn a healthy profit, and if you charge what the information is actually worth (rather than conforming to a Kindle pricing-limit of $9.99,) you could have an incredible new revenue channel on your hands.  If you want your ebook content marketing to drive cash, read Sean D’Souza’s great article, “Why publishers are stupid.”

Hey, only two weeks left until the new and improved SEO Copywriting site – and a new online SEO copywriting training program. Want to know the latest and greatest as it happens? Follow me on Twitter today!

Daily SEO copywriting candy: More ideas for controlling the online marketing controllables

CupcakeEarlier this week, I discussed why controlling the SEO copywriting controllables was so important in any down economy. It’s too easy to take the economy personally and figure that there’s nothing you can do. Unfortunately, that’s like watching your market share drip away when a quick knob twist would halt the torture.

Remember folks – it’s not enough to just “hold on” during this economy.  Yes, it’s an accomplishment just keeping the doors open for some companies – I get that. At the same time, there are ways to position a cash and client-poor business for the future in a way that (1) doesn’t strap immediate cash flow and (2) sets the foundation for lots of business…later.  Fortunately, other bloggers are sharing ways people can make sense of this super-strange economy and streamline their online marketing.  Here are some helpful tips to get you through.

  • It’s tempting to slice expenses across the board just to save a buck…but that strategy often comes back to bite you later. Thank goodness Marketing Profs has an excellent article about what budgetary items to cut, and what to keep (important hint: don’t skimp on long-term customer retention.)
  • Is now really the time to hire key people? Yes, according to an article by Justilien Gaspard. His take: it’s OK to enter into new markets and try new things right now, as long as you’re focused on long-term results.
  • And speaking of trying new things – I know that I’ve waxed poetic about Twitter before. Although it can seem like standing around a giant water cooler with 500 of your closest friends, Twitter is actually a great way to do some one-on-one marketing and get the word out. Still not convinced? This article teaches you how to measure your Twitter engagement.  Think about it: writing Twitter posts is SEO copywriting…just with a shorter character count.

Hey, and if you aren’t following me on Twitter – what are you afraid of?  Follow me and drop me a line.

Oh, and we’re about 2 weeks (or less) away from launching the new site along with the new logo and new…well…everything. Stay tuned!

Daily SEO copywriting candy: Is A-B-C for y-o-u?

Candy bagBack in my 20’s, I was an outside sales rep for a local newspaper. Living solely on commission, I quickly learned what’s called my “ABC’s” in the sales biz (always be closing.) The more sales I closed, the more money I made, and the more efficiently I could pay my rent. It was all good.

It’s just as important to know your online ABC’s, too. The key is, “closing” can mean different things to different sites. It may be lead generation, and “closing the online deal” is obtaining an email address. Or, you may be selling a super-special widget, and moving units is where it’s at. The key is using your direct-response and SEO copywriting skills to figure out the exact right approach for a successful sale. Today’s Daily SEO copywriting candy focuses on the ABC’s – and shows how we can close our sales just a little bit better.

  • The Secret of How to Sell Everything? Wow, you have to love the headline. Although the advice seems basic, it’s amazing how many companies skip the “what do our customers really want” step altogether (and it’s the foundation of any SEO copywriting campaign.) If you’re needing a back-to-basics slap, this is the article for you.
  • OneUp Innovations of Atlanta had an interesting problem: How could they close more sales with customers who may be too shy to ask questions. Makers of the Liberator, an adult “bedroom accessory,”  the company found live chat was the perfect way to get customers talking – and buying. Makes you wonder – if you expanded the way you communicated with your customers, would you close more sales? Hmm….
  • Ever have a client say, “Well, we like the copy. We do. But we’re afraid that the close is a little too…hard?  Could you tone it down?”  It’s true that some folks are afraid that “closing” will be perceived as pushy – and no-one wants to be that guy (or that Website) with the super-smarmy hard-sell copy.  Enter Bob Bly with his question “Must you always be closing.” The answer? Perhaps.

Hey, are you following me on Twitter yet? If you just can’t wait for the latest SEO copywriting musings, follow me today!

Daily SEO copywriting candy: When weird marketing is good…and bad

Candy chickensAm I the only one who thinks that the latest Burger King ads are a little…well…disturbing? Subservient Chickens? Whopper Virgins?  At the same time, a good campaign gains sales and mindshare – and sometimes the weirdest ideas have the most legs (after all, who doesn’t remember the “Where’s the Beef” ads of the 80’s?)

It’s one thing to create a unique and edgy SEO copywriting campaign that’s ripe for viral marketing goodness. It’s another to create a campaign that backfires, leaving you with a reputation management mess (and no sales.)  Here are some top good and bad examples from today’s headlines:

  • Remember the Motrin Moms snafu? Motrin wasn’t the only brand to get slammed in the search engines, Twitter and blogs – there have been many other companies who crossed the line from cute into insulting. Check out iMedia Connections list of the most offensive campaigns.
  • 300,000 YouTube hits in just two weeks? Who knew that a mounted talking fish could gain such a following? Learn what made McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish advertising a (weird) viral sensation.
  • The holy grail of wacky marketing is to not only attract new customers and build brand awareness – but also create a new profit center. No-one does this better than the folks at BlendTec, who created the WillItBlend.com site. With over 100,000 YouTube subscribers, a huge increase in blender sales and a new profit center – advertising and DVD sales on the WillItBlend.com site – these guys have mastered monentizing the wacky and wonderful. Learn more from Tipping Point Labs.

Today’s SEO copywriting challenge: How can your company think out of the box and do something a little different?  Maybe a new PPC campaign?  Or you could test a Web page to see if a new tone and feel worked for you. Sometmes, going outside the norm can net some fantastic results.

Daily SEO copywriting candy: Control what you can

Candy bricksThere’s rain and grey skies – and then there’s this!  Greetings on a very dreary Monday morning here in Portland, OR.  Am I upset? Hell no!  Grey, rainy days are the best business-planning days. I enjoy reviewing goals and asking myself, “Am I on track? Is there anything else that I could be doing better?”  However, the big challenge for everyone is: How can we do better when we feel like there’s so much we can’t do a darn thing about. The economy is sluggish. Customers aren’t buying. It’s easy to get so caught up in what you can’t do that you forget what you can control – like your SEO copywriting campaign.

If you’re wondering what you can do now to gain control, right now (or at least feel a little better,) check out today’s Daily Candy posts.

  • So many small businesses believe that “everyone is in our target market.”  The problem is, that statement is definitely not true – and makes writing highly-specific copy with laser-focused benefits darn near impossible.  If you skipped the “who’s really our market” step – or if the economy has completely changed the marketing game for you, discover how understanding your buyer personas can make you more money (really!)
  • Anyone who knows me knows that I talk (a lot) about controlling the controllables. During a time that’s stressful at best – and terrifying at worst – it’s easy to think that business is in a free-fall and there’s nothing you can do. Enter this article by Sean D’Souza. Try this for one day: Instead of freaking out about your Website, why not do something about it. Write an article. Do keyword research. Plan an editorial calendar. Trust me. You’ll feel a little bit better.
  • Some small businesses suffer from size envy. Rather than embracing their smallness and rocking it out, they put on big business airs (that, trust me, don’t fool anyone.)  Mike Moran discusses how making your company look larger than it really is can be a bad thing…

Daily SEO copywriting candy: March12, 2009

Clover patchOk, I admit it. I’m having a tough time today conforming to any sort of routine. As I sit here with my fingers poised over the keyboard trying to come up with a great theme for today’s SEO copywriting candy, it suddenly hit me … who says I have to have a theme? With so many newsworthy items circling the Web these days, it’s tough to narrow it down to three seemingly related topics. So today I’m giving you the best of what I think is the best! Sure they have nothing in common, but who says I have to conform to the “norm” all the time? Let’s shake it up!

  • Good news for SEOers? It’s been said that businesses are expected to use SEO throughout 2009. However, a new report from Conductor finds that “Fortune 500 companies are struggling with the implementing the strategy.” Read the report from SEO technology/services company Conductor now.
  • I’m a gadget geek. There, I said it out loud. Which is why I’m always searching for cool new tools. Jordan Kasteler wrote an interesting piece called, “5 SEO Tools You Might Be Missing from Your Aresenal.
  • What’s a quality blog post without some sexy spice ;-) Megan Musilli & Dan Skahen each give their he said/she said two cents in a hot little article called, “Sex in the ‘Seo: Is a relationship really what you call it?”

Daily SEO copywriting candy: March 11, 2009

marketing-booksI’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about education. As we endure the recession, the housing market crisis and job loss, how and where do we find the silver lining in all this negativity? We put our heads down and plow forward. And we embrace these tough times as an opportunity to improve ourselves and prepare for a brighter future! As long as the Internet continues to exist, so too will search engine optimization and online marketing. Take this time to improve your SEO knowledge!

  • Check out P.J. Fusco’s article to learn how to use free link analysis tools like Google PageRank, mozRank’s Linkscape Report from SEOmoz, and Yahoo Site Explorer.
  • Stephan Spencer heads up Shop.org’s Online Marketing Workshop takes place May 4-6, 2009 in Scottsdale, AZ. Here you’ll learn about advanced content optimization, building powerful link bait, and social media.
  • Dixon Jones of Receptional, has recently published a new collection of SEO Tools — check them out and let us know what you think.

Daily SEO copywriting candy: March 10, 2009

abcEver heard the phrase, “Life is a journey, not a destination”? I heard it on the radio this morning and thought, “No kidding–talk about an ongoing learning curve!” Just when we thought we had keywords figured out, people start talking about care words. What the heck is the difference between a care word and a keyword? And just when we thought we had our favorite search engine figured out with all it’s cool little functions, Microsoft pops up with a new service called Kumo. And just when we think we’ve mastered the HTML basics we need as SEO copywriters … ya right, who are we trying to kid, we never really *master* HTML. But we’re thankful for the tips and tricks we find online from other pros! With that, enjoy your daily SEO copywriting candy.

  • Search words or care words? What’s a care word? According to Gerry McGovern, “One set of words to bring customers to your website. Another set of words to bring them through it.” Read his article in the New Thinking newsletter.
  • Microsoft is sinking in search traffic–and now, according the The Wall Street Journal, they’re testing a new search service called Kumo (which means spider in Japanese). Get the scoop!
  • Every SEO copywriter needs a little coding know-how. Fear not! Ivan Strouchliak talks about code and its role in search engine optimization in his article of nearly the same name, “Coding and Search Engine Optimization.”

Daily SEO copywriting candy: March 9, 2009


Happy Monday! Is everyone else as slow starting today as I am? I love the fact that we just gained an extra hour of daylight in the evening, but man-o-man was I exhausted this morning! Ah well, daylight savings means that spring has officially sprung (at least in my mind)! Now let’s get right down to your daily SEO copywriting candy.

  • This Video SEO White Paper caught my attention this morning. Razorfish and Expo Communications have teamed up and released  “How Non-Video Sites Can Employ Video for SEO.” Check it out.
  • Are you leaving a trail of Bread Crumbs? Read Ann Smarty’s blog post that explains how bread crumbs (single lines of text used to show where a page is located in the hierarchy) are helpful both for SEO and usability.
  • And here’s an interesting little tidbit: apparently Facebook is sending more traffic than Google to some sites. Read Michael Learmonth’s article, which explores the question, “Will Search-Marketing Dollars Also Shift to Social Media?