How to write SEO content for website

How to write SEO content for a website

There’s been an awful lot written about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on the internet, and there’s good reason for that. Optimising your site for the search engines is one of most impactful things you can do to get targeted traffic to your website that’s genuinely interested in what you do.

So that’s why you want SEO content for your website, but what is SEO content?

We’ve covered this in far more detail in our article on what is SEO copywriting, but here are the basics:

SEO copywriting is, very simply, writing for your ideal audience first, and writing for the search engines a close second.

In 2017, SEO content writing isn’t a case of stuffing your keywords into your content as much as you possibly can. You need to write naturally for your audience and give them the type of persuasive content they can’t wait to read, with the aim of getting them to take action, either by actually buying something, or signing up to your mailing list.

But in addition to that, you need to carefully use your keywords and phrases throughout your copy, so that the search engines gauge your site to be useful on your subject matter, and your audience can find you when they put those keywords into a search engine.How to write SEO content for website

Bruce Bendinger, in his book The Copy Workshop Workbook, defined copywriting as:

“Copywriting is a job. A skilled craft. Verbal carpentry. Words on paper. Scripts to time. And one more thing. Salesmanship.”

SEO copywriting is a part of your wider marketing strategy to satisfy the search engines, drive traffic to your website, build your brand, engage your customers, and persuade them to buy.

Now here are the practicalities of how to write SEO content for websites:

1. Know your keywords

Working out what keywords you want to target and why has got to be the first step, before you write any content.

Luckily, there are plenty of keyword tools you can use to find the right ones for your business.

Free keyword tool

Google Adwords Keyword Planner – This is the planner you would use if you want to create Google Adwords, but it’s free to sign up and to use, without having to create any ads.

Free to a point, and then paid

SERPS Tool Keyword Research – Another Google keyword research tool, which still gives you search volume, cost per click, and a whole list of related keywords that you might want to target, too. You can do 3 free searches before you have to sign up, but even then, there’s a 30-day free trial before you have to pay, which should be plenty to get you started.

SEMRush – This one’s brilliant in terms of how much detail you get, with related keywords, keywords for ads, long-tail keywords, analysis of what works on desktop and mobile, and even keywords in other languages from 26 countries. The downside? You can’t even search for one keyword to try without having to enter your email address, and the paid version starts at $99.95 per month. However, if you’re truly serious about getting your keywords right and you have the budget, it could well be worth it.

SERPStat – Similar to SEMRush in many ways, but if you sign up, you have 30 free searches per day, and plans start at only $19 per month. You get competitor analysis, organic and paid keywords, long-tail keywords, and cost per click.

SpyFu – Want to know what keywords your competitors use? Of course, you do! Well, here it is. SpyFu can bring you up to 11 years of data on where your competitors are on Google, the keywords they use, ads they’ve run, and a lot more. You can even export the results as a PDF. And for all that info, prices start at a pretty reasonable $33 per month.

Try using SERPstat and SpyFu together and comparing the results so you know you’re getting the best possible information.

Now you know what your keywords are, you’re ready to plan content that wows your customers and the search engines.

2. Know what your customers want

There’s no point in writing brilliant, perfectly keyworded content if it’s not going to attract and engage your ideal customer.How to write SEO content for website

If you’ve done your research and you have your buyer personas already worked out, you’re likely to know a lot about your potential customers, from their tastes and where they shop, to what they like to read.

If you haven’t done that exercise yet, here’s a fantastic article from Optin Monster on how to do just that, with plenty of examples and templates you can use.

Now you’re well on your way to being able to write perfectly targeted content that converts.

3. Create content that your customers can’t wait to read and share

Having done all that preparation before you started writing, you’re now in the best position possible to write content that hits the spot with your customers, and the search engines.

A mix of videos, audio/podcasts, infographics, short tips, short blogs and long-form content tends to work well. People learn and absorb information in different ways. Some people like to watch a demonstration, others like to listen to the information, and yet others prefer to read. A good mix of all of those formats gives you the best chance of reaching a wide, engaged audience.

Where to get content ideas

This could be an article all on its own, as there are so many sources of inspiration around, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

• Look at Quora. When you sign up, you get to choose the topics you are interested in, and there are thousands of questions being asked every week on a huge range of subject. Look at the questions being asked, and there are your topic ideas.

• Special days and events. Every year there are days celebrating all sorts of subjects and occasions. While the main holidays, such as Christmas, are obvious, have a look at these calendars for inspiration: Awareness Days and Days of the Year.

• Remember SERPstat that we mentioned above? When you do your keyword research, have a look at the search terms under Content Marketing. Why? Because those terms on their own could be great topics for your blog, and if you cross one or more topics, you can easily come up with new content ideas.

• Check your competitors’ blogs. We don’t mean that you should steal their ideas, but there’s nothing wrong with getting inspiration.

• Look at your blog comments and your competitors’ blog comments. What are people asking? What points are people raising? Those could make brilliantly targeted blog posts, too.

When you’re looking for content ideas, always go back to your buyer personas and double check that your idea fits with what you know they want.

And for more on how to write great content, check out our guide.

4. Check how you are doing

How to write SEO content for websiteThe search engines never stand still. They’re always updating and refining their results to give users a better experience. That means you can’t stand still either.

Here are a few activities you should employ to ensure your website stays fresh and relevant – meaning you stay in prime position in the search engine rankings:

• Keep reading and staying up to date on the latest SEO developments, and continuously improving your results.

• Check Google Analytics regularly to see how you’re doing in terms of gaining traffic, what terms people are searching for when they find you, where your traffic is coming from, and more.

• Keep checking SpyFu to see how your competitors are doing.

• Regularly give your content an SEO audit.

For further reading on SEO, here is a superb checklist of SEO tips from Pixel Kicks.

Getting your content right is a whole lot of work. It’s worth it, but it can take up a considerable amount of time. If you’d like those results, without quite so much effort, why not hire a content writer?

 

Main image credit: NOGRAN s.r.o.
Image credits: Perzon SEO, Elaine SmithPerzon SEO

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copywriter portfolio examples

7 creative copywriter portfolio examples

Whether you’ve never written an article or blog before in your life, or have just dipped your toe in the freelance writing waters, you’ve probably realised fairly quickly that having a killer copywriter portfolio is a necessity. With hundreds of individuals all popping up on Google or social media with the claim that they can turn words into sales and ad campaigns into hot leads, you’re fighting against tough competition. What distinguishes you against these? How do you stand out? Quite simply, it is through your creative copywriting portfolio.

Getting started

It may feel like a catch 22 situation – you need opportunities to write in order to get work, but without a portfolio, finding those opportunities is difficult. However, there are plenty of ways in which you can master this problem quite effectively.

Firstly, you can offer your services out for free initially to see if anyone would like anything written for them. This is a great way of meeting people, showcasing your skills, building an archive of samples for potential clients, and potentially even finding new clients who will want to work with you because they are so impressed with what you have done.

In a similar vein, you could also offer people a free taster before they work with you as another way of showcasing what you have to offer – a sort of ‘try before you buy’ if you like. You could also opt to take a copywriting course, where the material you produce while studying will also double up as a portfolio for once you’re completed. Alternatively, you could start writing for a site like Copify where the work is there waiting for you without you needing to go and seek it out.

However you choose to start, you may find you really want inspiration from other writers who have tackled the portfolio challenge before you. If you search on Google you will be inundated with options. From the large sites to the independent, there are plenty of ways in which copywriters have creatively demonstrated their talents to potential clients.

Pinterest

Although this social media platform is dictated and led by images, it is a great way of also sharing your portfolio – particularly those where your work may have accompanied striking imagery – or getting ideas for how you can present yours. Whether you type in the search bar ‘Find a copywriter’ or ‘Copywriter portfolios’, you’ll undoubtedly find a lot of results that can help you. Terri Lively is just one example where she showcases her work on other websites as well as blogs she follows. Or, if you are looking to work with a copywriter, Pinterest can lead you to the right person for you. All in all, it’s a creative way to share your work with others.7 copywriter portfolio examples

Facebook

It may seem unusual to find a portfolio on Facebook – where would you even start looking? However, when we typed ‘Copywriting Portfolio’ into ours, the first person that popped up was ‘Jared Friedberg’s Copywriting Portfolio’. His clever way of using keywords in his name and description meant a writer in Toronto popped up on a feed in the UK, simply through a search term. Although Facebook is typically for socialising, more and more businesses are tuning into its marketing potential. In many respects, your page and everything you write is a portfolio in itself. If you have lots of typing errors, these will count against you if someone looking to hire you sees it.

Carbon Made

Although you will be featured alongside many other copywriters, Carbon Made is a great way of getting yourself noticed. It has a more visual feel than text but is a creative way to showcase your work. You can include both images and clear lists of who you have worked with, as well as a biography of who you are and a contact section so people can easily get in touch with you. Joshua Allen, for example, has worked with the likes of Groupon, IBM and Dell – and this can all be seen in his portfolio.

7 copywriter portfolio examples

Contently

You can find hundreds of creative copywriter portfolios on Contently. The platform has specifically been developed to showcase the work completed by writers, journalists and copywriters. You can directly link to all your projects, meaning it is very easy for people to read your work. It’s also free to use, meaning little investment on your part other than maintaining your feed. It is possible to filter by clients and include details about who you are, including a link to your website and description. Sharon Hurley Hall, for example, has written 881 projects for 81 clients so far, and Contently provides her with a fantastic place to track all of this.

Evan Benner

Evan’s website is a visually led copywriting portfolio. He clearly lists all his featured projects down the side to give a clear overview of who he has worked with. You can then see images that connect with these on the right-hand side with dates for when he completed each project. Evan’s portfolio arrived as a Google result, showing just how valuable it can be to have your own website when showcasing your portfolio.

Clare Barry

Another creative copywriting portfolio comes from Clare Barry, aka Copy Clare. Like Evan, Clare has used her personal website as a way of showcasing her work. Her presentation of her portfolio is simple but direct. Her URL title is quite striking: ‘Warning – I don’t do boring’. Then, when you land on her page, the headline is simple and to the point ‘I write down ideas for money’. Her website is an advertisement of her writing style in itself for those looking for no-nonsense content.

7 copywriter portfolio examplesShe also has a page named ‘Hire me’. Her about section is likewise witty and honest – ‘People pay me money to think of attention-grabbing ideas and fearless concepts for big named brands.’ She has a blog on her website, in which she can share her thoughts, improve her site’s SEO ranking, but also give readers a chance to get a feel for her writing and what style she adopts. Her portfolio is a mixture of images and words, showcasing how what she writes can evolve into fully designed adverts.

Stephen Marsh

Another great copywriter portfolio comes from Stephen Marsh, whose website is clear and direct – ‘Read less of what I say. See more of what I’ve done’ his headline reads. You can open his portfolio or download it as a PDF, which is a handy way of being able to make an impact with big clients who will often print off your portfolio so more than one senior team-member can take a look. He has also produced numerous case studies to detail his work, which adds a further description on each of the projects beyond just giving the final text.

 

Main image credit: barnimages.com
Image credits:  Terri Lively, Joshua AllenClare Barry

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How to create winning copywriting samples

How to create winning copywriting samples

When starting out as a copywriter, getting enough copywriting samples together to make a portfolio can seem like a mammoth task.

It’s now that the jobhunter’s age-old dilemma comes into play: you need samples and experience to get the job, but you need the job before you get samples and experience!

But luckily, there are plenty of things you can do in order to get that all-important copywriting sample under your belt and start your journey towards working for yourself as a writer. In this blog post, we’ll share some of our top tips for acquiring copywriter samples and building out your portfolio until it looks tip top.

Work for free – at first

When you’re trying to build a business as a copywriter and earn your own way through self-employment, it may seem counter-intuitive to make the conscious decision to work without payment.

How to create winning copywriting samples

But sometimes it’s got to be done, and when done properly it can act as a great way to build your portfolio and pad out your offer to those with the cash available to pay high rates.

Often, leading websites will have so many applicants and writers that there simply isn’t enough money to pay them all. This means that when you appear offering to write a piece for free, you’re likely to be able to jump the queue and secure that all-important byline.

The key thing to do here is to keep your free work in check. You should only accept briefs with no payment very infrequently and with the express intention of getting a byline for your work and including it in your portfolio.

Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of working for nothing on a repeated basis: there should always be something in it for you!

Make the most of online tools

One great thing about being a copywriter in the digital age is that there is a wealth of tools out there designed to help you create excellent copywriting samples.

When it comes to writing for a client, it’s essential that you develop excellent spelling and grammar skills. Although the client’s main aim is always to get a conversion or raise awareness, it’s also vital that they look professional – and there are plenty of tools out there to assist with this.

For spelling, searching for words you’re not sure about in the Oxford English Dictionary is a good bet, while downloading extensions such as Grammarly can also help.

Once you’ve ensured that your copywriting sample is top notch in terms of spelling and grammar, you might also want to make sure that it follows a certain style guide. This is useful for ensuring that any specific usages you go for are used consistently: a common style guide followed by many copywriting agencies is that of The Guardian, so it may be a good idea to familiarise yourself with this.

Here at Copify, we also have a few content creation checklists designed to help you along as you write that killer copywriting sample.

With a little bit of planning and a lot of double checking, your copywriting sample is bound to look great!

Get studying

When it comes to copywriting, some people think that anyone can do it. “All you have to do is slap a few sentences on a page, intersperse a few keywords and then hope for the best,” they may say.How to create winning copywriting samples

But as any seasoned copywriter will tell you, that’s far from the truth. Copywriting is both a skill and an art requiring very specific abilities, and that’s why copywriting samples are so important.

For example, the average visitor only reads around 20% of a web page’s content – so you need to ensure your writing is as appealing and concise as possible to get your message across.

And as the team over at Kissmetrics have pointed out, big brands like Apple often use soundbites or nuggets of information in their sales copy rather than long-winded paragraphs.

As a copywriter, you need to demonstrate specific skills such as these, as well as excellent grammar, persuasive vocabulary choices plus a flair for business and commerce. And if you can’t prove these abilities through your copywriting samples, you’ll struggle to get hired.

That’s why taking a course in copywriting is a good idea. It will give you the skills you need to craft that killer copywriter sample when you start pitching to agencies and businesses, and it will also mean you’ll be able to put yourself inside the head of the client much more easily.

Keep the client’s priorities front and centre

When clients order a piece from a copywriter, they often have a clear set of aims in mind.

Some may simply want to get sign-ups on their mailing list, while others are hoping to target new customers to purchase their products.

SHow to create winning copywriting sampleso when you write your first copywriting sample, it’s a good idea to get a very clear idea of what your client needs. That way, you’re more likely to get positive feedback you can include alongside the clipping!

And when you present your sample either in your written or online portfolio, you should list alongside it what the client’s priority was. For example, if you were crafting an email marketing piece designed to get conversions, you should make this clear.

Create some conceptual work to show off your skills

If you’re finding it really difficult to secure either paid or unpaid copywriting samples, you could also consider drafting an experimental brief for yourself in order to show off your skills.

The beauty of this idea is that you don’t have to have an actual client in place in order to demonstrate what you can do. All you need is a bit of creativity.

Before beginning, you should be clear in your mind what your particular strengths as a writer are. That way, you can mould your conceptual brief around what you’re good at. Just remember to make it clear that the piece was written as an experiment and not directly for a client.

 

Main image credit: Perzon SEO
Image credits: FolsomNaturalLoren KernsRyan

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Freelance writing opportunities for beginners

6 freelance writing opportunities for beginners

Becoming a full-time freelance writer is proving to be an increasingly popular career choice for people all around the globe and, at least from the outside, it can look like a pretty cosy job to have. But, in reality, many people fail to succeed or give up along the way because of the difficulty in finding freelance writing opportunities for beginners.

With so much competition for work, it can be difficult to make yourself stand out and to secure clients that are willing to pay you what you know yourself to be worth. Well, the good thing is that plenty of people do succeed and that there is an abundance of opportunities available for budding freelancers looking to gain greater independence and pursue their passions. To overcome those initial first steps and to get your career off to a strong start, here are 6 of the best ways to find freelance writing opportunities as a beginner.

1. Guest post

There’s a reason that guest posting appears first on this list and it’s certainly not because it will start paying your bills from the outset. In actual fact, guest posting is something that you should actively seek and be willing to do for free – even when you’ve ‘made it’ as a full-time writer.

Though it doesn’t bring in money straight away, it offers you the chance to hone your skills as a writer and to get your name and work out in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. In turn, being a popular guest writer gives you more things to add to your portfolio and allows you to reach more potential clients than you can in other ways.

2. Speak to friends and relatives

Freelance writing opportunities for beginners

Unless your inner circle of friends work for major publications, it’s unlikely they will land you the dream writing job you desire. However, you may be able to pick up some smaller pieces of work to keep you going. Also, by letting everyone know that you are looking for writing work, they can recommend you to their friends and anyone they feel might need your services.

At the start, try and be open-minded and take on even minor writing roles, such as freshening up someone’s CV or a covering letter for a job they are applying for.

3. Join a copywriting service

Many businesses want to find top quality copywriters but don’t have the time or patience to post endless job requirements or sift through resumes. In turn, they use popular copywriting services like Copify.

To join, you don’t necessarily need the greatest amount of experience, but you do need to pass some test articles to make sure your writing skills are to the right standard. If you do get accepted, you get the chance to write about a wide number of topics that excite you and give you a breadth of real-world copywriting experience.

4. Join job boards and freelance marketplaces

Freelance writing opportunities for beginners

Another popular route for businesses to find copywriters is by posting job listings on job boards or in freelance marketplaces.

In recent years these have become quite overcrowded and it can be hard to make yourself stand out. But, if you’re willing to work for low amounts to start and to then build up reviews, they may prove a great way to find opportunities that are available and find long-term clients.

Here are some places to get started:

Upwork
Freelancer
Guru
Blogging Pro
All Freelance Writing
Problogger
Student Gems

Note that many of these services aren’t free or may require you to pay a monthly subscription to apply to any more than just a few postings each month.

5. The freelancing community

To be successful from the outset, you need to become a part of the freelancing community. For starters, there is a wealth of information available helping you to become a better writer. Beyond that, it’s a great way to find new and intriguing ways to find jobs and to even have work referred to you.

Say, for example, you build great relations with a writer who is in the marketing industry who receives a request from a client to produce some work relating to health and fitness. If they really have no idea on the topic but know that you do, or if they are flooded with jobs, it is likely they could refer your services instead.

6. Cold pitching

Freelance writing opportunities for beginners

Of course, the ideal freelance writing opportunity for beginners is getting your own long-term clients on board. Finding clients that have a need for a writer is one of the hardest parts and that’s why many turn to jobs boards. But to really exploit all opportunities, you should start cold pitching potential clients.

Cold pitching is by no means easy and most people simply give up after sending out 1,000 emails to various businesses and not getting any feedback in return. The problem isn’t that businesses aren’t looking for writers, the problem lies in how writers choose to approach them. Here are some rules to follow:

  • Don’t send out a mass blanket email to as many email addresses as you can get your hands on. Instead, send emails only targeted to businesses that actually centre around your chosen topic.
  • Don’t send the same email to all of your chosen businesses. An email that has simply been copied and pasted is easy to spot and will rarely get a response; instead, make each email personalised in some way.
  • Don’t go straight in for the sell. In your first email, try to gauge their interest and highlight what you offer and why it could benefit them specifically.
  • Don’t pitch the wrong stuff. Make sure you scan their website to check out what kind of content they publish, see if they have writer guidelines and how they like submissions to be made. Many websites and publications also post calls for submissions on their blog and social media profiles so be sure to follow them – even if just to familiarise yourself with their content and tone of voice.

Cold pitching will take effort and will require you to be patient and not let the “no’s” get to you. However, have a strategy to make it easier. Decide how many and what publications you are going to target over a specific time period and with what ideas to make it easier to track. You’ll also know which ones to follow up on if you haven’t heard back.

Never underestimate the importance of planning and perseverance

As stated throughout this article, finding the ideal freelance writing opportunities for beginners is not an easy process nor is it something that can be achieved overnight. Instead, invest time into planning out a few strategic avenues, focus on achieving small goals and set yourself regular deadlines. Over time, you should start to see results, and if not, then employ more tactics and techniques, such as building one-to-one conversations with key influencers and developing a skill or knowledge in a niche area of copywriting, until you get the results you need.

 

Main image credit: Ritesh Nayak
Image credits: David Swiftwww.Pixel.la Free Stock PhotosAlena Vinokurova/Strelka Institute

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