Content Marketing: Who's Your Best Bet?

Content Marketing: Who's Your Best Bet?

Given the growing importance of content marketing in the quest to attract sales leads and conversions – not to mention the significance of ‘social sharing’ and the contribution this makes to SEO – it’s not unreasonable to ask which marketing professionals will give you the best bang for your buck. By starting at the beginning and asking what are you expecting content marketing to achieve, you’ll have a clearer idea of who would be your best partner.  To be effective, content marketing must have high quality, original content at its core… content that readers will find useful, practical and valuable enough to ‘share’ on social media sites. This is a complex brief – and certainly not a job for the amateur.  To begin with, there must be a strategy that will target relevant content towards well-defined market segments.  This includes identifying the most suitable media platform and devising an editorial programme that will engage with your target audience. The challenge is to identify which group of marketing professionals can provide the most effective service.  That includes the skilful creation and placement of various types of ‘content’ – blog posts, articles, white papers, e-books, newsletters and so on.  (It may also include non-written content such as infographics, videos, podcasts etc). The wide-ranging demands involved in creating such a diverse range of content place varying expectations on the skill-sets of suppliers.  Take a look at the following options – then decide which is the most appropriate for your particular needs. IN-HOUSE – This is the first (and most obvious) option to consider – but do you have your own home-grown writing/design/production... Read more...

Website Copywriting Makes The Link With Content Marketing

‘COPYWRITING SHORTS’  #104 With ‘content marketing’ being the catch-all phrase of the moment, it’s hardly surprising that website copywriting is right up there, riding in the slipstream. As a highly experienced copywriter, creating ‘content’ is what I’ve always done.  The trick nowadays is to align your content with a meaningful marketing strategy – and therein lies the challenge. The optimal starting point has to be with your website.  This is the home of your online content, the hub to which everything else you do is linked.  The ‘content’ we’re talking about here includes what goes on your web pages, what goes into your blog, and what external content you choose to provide or engage with. These building blocks of your online content marketing strategy can be brought together brilliantly by social sharing on the sites of the usual suspects – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn et al.  In case you’re not sure, ‘social sharing’ has become the go-to skill-set for post-Hummingbird SEO. How your content marketing strategy dovetails with the totality of your online marketing activities is a topic for another post.  In the meantime, you can find an introduction to copywriting techniques for your website and SEO by visiting the following Buzzwords’ pages: Web copy: www.buzzwords.ltd.uk/website-copywriter SEO:... Read more...

Seismic Shifts In Search: Google’s ‘Land-Grab’ For Online Revenues

Website copywriting is something I’ve been doing for over ten years.  During that time, changes have been many and far-reaching.  The techniques that drive and define online ‘success’ today are vastly different to what they were, even two or three years ago. Anyone who follows this industry will know that Google has been exercising its SEO muscle.  They’ve been hard at work driving out the ‘black hat’ SEO merchants who’ve used every trick in the book to help their clients achieve top search engine rankings for the most lucrative keywords in their industry. To be fair to Google, I’d say their actions are long overdue.  On the other hand, a major flaw in the search engine’s modus operandi has always been that the companies which achieve top rankings on search page listings (SERPs) are not necessarily the best at what they do.  They are top of the pile because their SEO is better than the next man’s. An attempt to change that came with Google’s Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates to the many criteria that go into creating what they call their ‘algorithms’.  Unfortunately, in driving out the ‘black hat’ SEO people, Google has also made it difficult for those who play by the rules to implement workable techniques. Rich Promise One by one, Google has all but trashed the techniques which have hitherto delivered on their promise of higher rankings.  Examples include keyword placement in meta tags and on-page copy; link building; online PR – and many others. Aspects of these criteria are still valid of course.  Keywords will always have a degree of significance (or how else... Read more...

Are Synonyms the New SEO?

Until recently, keyword research had been about what DIFFERENTIATES the meaning of words.  Hence the SEO obsession with targeting long-tail keywords.  In the wake of Google’s algorithm updates – Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird – a new and more subtle approach may be needed to accommodate more clearly what UNITES the meaning of words… and thereby extend the DEPTH OF REACH of SEO copy. For more effective SEO copywriting, we should be looking at using keywords or phrases that are broadly synonymous – as semantic ‘alternatives’ rather than ‘options’.  This observation was prompted by a recent article on Wordtracker’s blog – but also by my own vast experience as a website and SEO copywriter. The difference between ‘alternative’ and ‘optional’ may not be immediately apparent, but consider this nugget from a 2011 Google patent (that was also quoted in the Wordtracker article): ‘A search query for a search engine may be improved by incorporating alternate terms … that are semantically similar to the terms of the search query.’ Now this can obviously be open to interpretation – especially what looks like the mis-use of the word ‘alternate’ – but here’s how I see it from a copywriting perspective… The best copywriting response to a ‘search query’ (as Google describes it) is obviously a keyword-based solution.  If Google then says that a specific search approach can be ‘improved’ by including ‘alternate terms’, it obviously places a totally different onus on the copywriting response! Setting language free… Long before Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird, I had often felt that optimising web pages for a narrow keyword range was somehow missing the point in... Read more...

SEO copywriter has a flash of inspiration

I was musing earlier (they can’t touch you for it!)… Like a near-death flash it came over me: I was ahead of my time when it comes to SEO!  Maybe I’d learnt to think in a Google-inspired way but … it made sense even as far back as two years ago to write and distribute great articles, blog posts and news releases to the audiences that mattered.  It was somewhere between article marketing and the kind of SEO-link building that’s pretty much mainstream nowadays (with a touch of optimised media relations thrown in). Alas, like so many aspects of marketing, there’s a conservatism among both clients and practitioners that favours procrastination over realisation.  Even if I’d shouted from the rooftops, there’s a limit to what even the most rabid evangelism can achieve.  As it happens, the rest of the world has (kind of) caught up.  I shan’t be changing my name to ‘Messiah’ anytime soon – but maybe some people will catch the drift of this experienced SEO... Read more...

Whither Website Copywriting?

Website copywriting has changed.  Most people in the industry would recognise that.  Although keywords still count for something in the great Google casino, the SEO emphasis has shifted to off-page link building when it comes to significant ranking criteria.  Keywords remain important for inclusion in headline and title tags (after all, the search engine robots need to use something when matching the words typed into a search query).  The function of keywords is now more about providing signposts along the way when it comes to setting out immediately what a web page is all about. There’s a world of difference between what pertains now and what the keywords ‘norm’ was as recently as 12 months ago.  Even to say ‘use keywords judiciously’ may be over-egging things as far as Google is concerned.  It’s now more about achieving a natural flow of copy in an informative piece that is highly focused around a central theme as hinted at in the title and headline tags. With omni-present social media sharing options featuring on most web pages nowadays, it suggests that web page copy should be written in a more engaging style that will encourage comment – more in the style of a blog post. The page content can be made even more attractive by using visual images such as photos and charts, videos, infographics and many other aspects of content marketing that people use nowadays.  One of the best exponents of this approach can be seen on the Social Media Examiner website where every page manages to combine multiple visuals in an interactive format. This isn’t necessarily revolutionary, simply because the... Read more...