Viewing all posts by Heather Lloyd-Martin.

Does your company blend in? Or stand out?

Stand outYour company is amazing. You have a great story to tell – and unique benefits to highlight.

So, why doesn’t your SEO content showcase your awesomeness?

Maybe it’s because you’re actually writing afraid instead of owning your power.

Why blend into the masses and do what your competitors are doing? Instead, shout about your unique qualities! For instance:

Maybe your company has blenders so powerful, they can chew through iPads. Maybe your experience has helped other struggling business owners.

That “stuff” is important – to your customers, to your team, and to your prospects. And it helps you make sales.

Your SEO content challenge this week:  Pinpoint one thing that makes your company awesome. Then write about it.

That means finding your voice and showcasing what makes you different. After all…

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Dr. Seuss

(And yes, Dr. Seuss can teach you about copywriting. Here are some additional tidbits.)

Are you “too close” to your web content and you can’t see your company’s awesome opportunities? Let me help. Contact me today – I can help you showcase your expertise and drive more sales!

 

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:

Vitamix

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.

Stop chasing shiny things and write great content instead!

Shiny dollarIs your company trying to implement the latest marketing “it” thing…

…yet you hate your site content, it’s not positioning and you haven’t blogged in months?

You need to stop chasing the latest shiny marketing platform and go back to basics. Right now.

I know this is hard to do. Especially when you read blog posts saying, “It’s time to jump on the bandwagon…before your competitors do!”

Uh oh.

Lusting after the latest marketing platform isn’t bad. But you have to shore up the basics first.

- Do your product and services pages read the way you want?

- Does your content’s tone and feel resonate with your readers?

- Do you need to edit your content?

- Are you helping your readers make a change, or are you writing for Google?

Get your site in order first – and then go wild. You’ll be amazed at the difference (and the increased conversions, too!).

Have you been meaning to rewrite your content pages – but your team is already busy, stressed and frazzled? Let me help! Learn about my SEO copywriting services today.

 

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.

 

 

Are you overtraining your writing brain?

Overtrained copywriting brain

It’s OK to give your writing brain a break

Have you been furiously writing – and finding that the words just aren’t coming?

If the writing muse has been with you, it’s frustrating to feel writer’s block attack your brain. You read what you’ve written and know you could do it 100 times better (and faster.) You just don’t know how.

That’s when the paranoid thoughts start slipping in. “I’m on deadline. I don’t have time for this. How do I tell my boss/client that this is the best I can do?”

Writing is a lot like exercise. It take a long time to gain mastery. And, like exercise,  you can overdo it – basically, you overtrain your writing brain and need a break.

If this sounds like you, take a chill pill. Acknowledge the overwhelm monster. Ask yourself if you’re holding yourself back. Give yourself permission to take a break.

You’ll be back to creating spectacular content in no time. Trust me.

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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.

 

 

Is your about us page a real yawner?

Yawn

Does your about us page make your readers yawn?

Well-written about us pages can increase conversion rates.

So why do they often suck so bad? Instead of making a connection, they sound as dry as Ben Stein’s delivery in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Yawn.

Is this the impression you want to give your prospects? Nope. I didn’t think so.

Your SEO content marketing challenge: Show some personality

 
Why be boring when you can let your corporate freak flag fly? Review your about us page and check out these tips. Then, consider how you can actually connect with your readers – not just give the bare-bones company information. Would pictures help? Video? Think out of the box.

After all, if it was a real-life conversation, you’d share your company story. You’d discuss how you’ve helped other customers. You’d focus on the connection – not the corporate talking points.

Just a few changes can transform your sucky page into a stupendous one.

Need to outsource your SEO content to a company that gets it right the first time? Let me help. Learn more about my SEO copywriting services today.

 

 

 

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!

Wake up! It’s time to take control of your SEO content

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-alarm-clock-image18561200Your conversion rates are low.

Your SEO copywriter you hired did an “OK” job…but it’s not “standout” content.

Your frustration levels are through the roof.

Isn’t it time to take control of your SEO content?

(Short answer: Yes!)

I get it. I do. You want to make changes, but you’re overwhelmed. You aren’t sure where to start. You’re losing rankings to competitors (even ones with poor content experiences.) And you’re so close to the site that you can’t see even the most obvious headsmacking SEO copy ideas.

Instead of burying your head in the virtual sand, it’s time to take action. Now.

If you’re too close to your content, find a consultant who can show you the possibilities.

If your writers suck at creating SEO content (it happens,) get them trained.

If you need an SEO copywriter to fix your content, hire one.

Being in control feels good, doesn’t it?

Do your in-house writers need SEO copywriting training? I can help! Check out the SEO Copywriting Certification training and my customized training solutions. (Need testimonials? Here they are - and here are some more!)

 

 

Should you close your freelance copywriting business?

Should you close your freelance copywriting business?

Have you been thinking about closing your freelance copywriting business and working in-house instead?

Ouch. Talk about a difficult decision…

You may be thinking of closing up shop for a number of reasons:

- You aren’t hitting your financial goals, and you’re in debt (or heading that way.)

- You’re burned out and your heart isn’t in it anymore.

- You realize you could go farther, faster if you worked in-house.

- You’ve been offered a fantastic opportunity that’s too good to pass up.

I’ve gone through this myself. About 10 years ago, I was one fried woman. A number of huge life hits left me bruised and battered. I felt lonely, burned out and frustrated. Working in-house seemed like the perfect solution – it was a stable paycheck, and I could work with some great people.

(I lasted six months before I realized I made a mistake – but it was a great lesson.)

If you’re feeling this way, you are not alone. At all. I’ve talked to many freelance copywriters who dream about taking a “real job.”

But they don’t like to talk about it because they feel ashamed. Or, they may feel like they’ve failed or done something horribly wrong.

And that can’t be further from the truth.

There is no law that says you have to keep your business doors open forever. However, you’ll want to be very (very) sure that closing shop is the best thing for you.

If you’re facing this dilemma, here are some things you can do.

- Talk to someone. Don’t let this bottle up inside of you. You aren’t the first person to go through this, and you won’t be the last. It’s important to get this stuff OUT.

- Assess the core issue behind the urge to get a in-house copywriting job. Is it financial? Are you burned out? Are you tired of the self-employment stress?

- Be gentle with yourself. If you’re working 12-hour days, six days a week, of course you’re going to burn out.  Before you make a major leap, consider if you need a little self-care first. Once you’re stuck in burnout land, finding financial opportunities is challenging.

- Are your expectations realistic? Do you keep hearing about “six-figure copywriters” and wonder why you’re only making five figures your first year? Relax. Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous slippery slope.

- Ask yourself how you can improve the situation. Do you need business-building skills or a business mentor to help you with the financial aspects? If you’re feeling particularly stuck, chatting with someone can provide insights you may not figure out on your own.

- Consider creative solutions. Do you need a stable income? Some jobs will let you freelance part time. That way, you can keep your business, and still enjoy the security of a paycheck.

- Is the opportunity too good to pass up? Take it! Sure, you may not really want to take a “real job,” but some gigs are really cool…and ones you won’t be able to land as a freelancer.

As a side note:

Beware taking a job just for the money. No matter how many Benjamins an employer throws at you, you need to like the people, the company and what you’ll be doing. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a high-paying job you hate (and you may not be able to exit easily.) Trust me. A little company research goes a long way…

Are you burned out and need some business-building help? I can help. Check out my Copywriting Business Bootcamp and learn how to increase your income without working so darn hard.