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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.