SEO Copywriting and the Alchemy of Linking Inking

SEO Copywriting and the Alchemy of Linking Inking

SEO Copywriting is corporate gold dust whose off-page incarnation relies for its efficacy on various shades of link building – planned or opportunistic. Either way, it’s been given greater impetus and recognition by the rise of Content Marketing.  SEO Copywriting of the off-page variety can be seen as part of the Content Marketing phenomenon. Of course, Content Marketing is about much more than SEO. It is, in fact, an end in itself that goes way beyond the narrow (albeit valuable) confines of aspiring to be top dog on Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Some would say that Content Marketing has given SEO a certain respectability it had lacked hitherto. By association, SEO Copywriting has benefited from the broad strategic scope of Content Marketing with its emphasis on the twin pillars of quality and authority.    Exploring the Interface   In exploring the interface between Content Marketing and SEO, the obvious questions are about how far they’re complementary, or whether they operate largely independently of each other? Without ‘content’, off-page SEO would not exist. Likewise, any editorial planning must always have an element of SEO at the heart of its strategic plan (notwithstanding other significant non-SEO benefits). ‘Content’ at its best should be part of a coherent SEO strategy. Call it old-fashioned integrated marketing if you will, but even Google acknowledges the validity of having a consistent theme running through all pieces of content. Without substance, ‘content’ can never amount to anything. And without a theme to the substance, the search engine has nothing to evaluate on behalf of its content-hungry searchers. Where ‘content’ has its own standalone validity is... Read more...
Notable Copywriters – Elmer Wheeler

Notable Copywriters – Elmer Wheeler

Whilst he may not fit the conventional ‘copywriter’ mould, Elmer Wheeler was nevertheless a hugely influential figure – a pioneer of persuasive writing. Wheeler’s great innovation was to establish the ‘Testing Institute’ in New York City. This was where he tested many thousands of words and sentences used by American advertisers in the Great Depression era. From this mine of information, he synthesized his five great principles of selling, the most famous of which is ‘Don’t sell the steak – sell the sizzle.’ His powerful insights (‘Wheelerpoints’ as they became known) found their way into his landmark book on selling, ‘Tested Sentences That Sell’, first published in 1937. Wheeler’s book remains the key reference point for advertisers and copywriters who want to tap into his tried and tested techniques that identified how language – and especially the written word – can be used to commercial... Read more...
Two Cheers For Annuities – R.I.P. 2015?

Two Cheers For Annuities – R.I.P. 2015?

George Osborne caused an almighty stir last April when he announced that, as of 2015, ‘Nobody will have to buy an annuity.’ He was referring, of course, to the biggest shake-up in the UK pensions industry for almost a century. More specifically, he was talking about giving the nation’s 13 million pensions savers ‘complete freedom to draw down as much or as little of their pension pot as they want. No caps. No drawdown limits.’ Since then, the media has been awash with scare stories ranging from feckless individuals blowing every penny of their savings on a Lamborghini, to the entire annuities and life assurance industry going into meltdown. It’s certainly true that the proposed reforms had an immediate effect on the providers of annuities. Share prices across the life insurance sector plummeted overnight, with many wondering if Armageddon had arrived ten years early. Among commentators and industry insiders, the writing had been on the wall for annuities for quite some time. A low-interest economic environment – alongside the perception that administration costs and margins were ominously high – are just two reasons why annuities were seen as fatally flawed. It didn’t help, of course, that savers could only access a maximum of 25% of their pension pot as a tax-free lump sum. To put your hands on the rest would invite an eye-watering 55% tax liability. A major effect of this was to discourage many savers from shopping around for a more lucrative investment vehicle at retirement age. Savers were persuaded, albeit reluctantly, to accept the lacklustre annuity options of their existing insurance company. Fortunately, the 2015 legislation... Read more...
Online Marketing: The Reality of Endless Change

Online Marketing: The Reality of Endless Change

 Using creative copywriting resources to  maximise online marketing opportunities     Have you ever wanted to halt ‘change’ in its tracks? If you’re in any way involved in marketing – as a copywriter, designer, account handler or marketing executive in a client-side organisation – the reality of today’s never-ending change will need no introduction. Online marketing is a powerful force driven by the conventions of Capitalism overlaid by the imperatives of online powerhouses such as search engines and social media giants. The acceleration of change is super-charged by the need to know more – the better to get ahead of the competition. This is a hunger that feeds off itself. The techniques available to satisfy those everyday pangs grow ever-more time consuming and competitive. Marketing has come to be fed by technology, in many cases to the exclusion of people and their preferences as customers. What is the solution to holding back the choking embrace of this information overload? How does an organisation, large or small, rise to the challenge of at once cutting a swathe in its own sector whilst at the same time fighting off the unwelcome distractions that the online world throws across everyone’s path? To state that copywriting skills could provide the answer may seem to be stretching a point. And yet, when you consider for a moment that most of the information on the web has in fact been created by copywriters, it may not seem so ridiculous after all.   The Origin of This Marketing Species If you’re blinded by the light of rapid change; and if you’re suffering from a failure to understand... Read more...
Content Marketing Needs ‘Once Upon A Time…’

Content Marketing Needs ‘Once Upon A Time…’

Remember that little minx, Ms Red Riding Hood? She who hopped into bed with Mr Wolf despite the size of his eyes/ears/teeth – and without so much as a by-your-leave. It was a helluva story – even when you were six. Temptation, horror, betrayal, gluttony… the fairy tales of that guy Grimm spared us nothing. Without stretching a point, even now we’re older – suited and booted, and masters of our respective universes – we all love a good story. Especially if there’s a crock of gold at the end of it. So, despite all the rubbish that’s spouted about Content Marketing, we all love to be in thrall to the prospect of a future-with-benefits. As Samuel Johnson said – and keeping it in the marketing way: ‘Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement.’ The most effective Content Marketing, reputedly, tells a story. It wasn’t for nothing that legendary comedian and Cockney raconteur, Max Bygraves, coined his own catch-phrase, “I wanna tell you a story.” So we don’t need research or split-testing, or even focus groups, to let us in on our very own dirty little secret. In the case of Content Marketing, we should be telling more than one story – so long as it’s ‘on-message’ and follows the corporate hymn-sheet. Consistency shouldn’t preclude originality of course. Persuasive content needs credibility too. That means you’ll need to find a copywriter with enough walk-on-water attributes to meet your needs. Continuing the biblical metaphor – experience begets insight begets originality. You will of course need to support this with useful and/or meaningful information. And as with all the... Read more...
Does Content Marketing Take Too Much Time?

Does Content Marketing Take Too Much Time?

The Internet is drowning in a sea of content – and the main culprit has to be so-called ‘content marketing’… The first-fruits of this come-lately type of marketing are supposed to be enhanced SEO/SERPs results; establishing yourself as an ‘expert’ in your field; and providing visitors to your website with the type of useful information that will encourage them to re-visit the site and/or share the content on social media. No-one could argue that these are laudable aims with tangible benefits. Everyone gains and this kind of activity earns valuable SEO brownie points from the search engines, whilst also validating their raison d’etre. One of the major problems with content marketing, however, is that an ‘average’ company will run out of the content that meets Google’s criteria for original, useful material in a relatively short space of time. Creating quality content – regularly! To produce content on a regular basis, so many companies are forced into dredging up sub-standard material from within their own industry or re-cycling material that’s already in the public domain. The net effect of this is the deluge of ‘me-too’ stuff that no-one really wants to read. It helps of course if you have a copywriter or marketing agency to come up with new and useful content, but you may well be left wondering about how many ways there are to skin a cat. For companies who may not want to invest in professional content creators, and for those who are sceptical about the ROI for these activities, there is always the DIY route. As everyone knows, ‘content’ is all around us – potentially… and... Read more...