A lot is written about how Content needs to serve the interests of SEO objectives with regard to keyword relevance, Titles, Descriptions and so on. You can almost see this as a mechanical process – writing to a formula that you believe will bring success. Far from it. A lot of creative energy is needed. We get dumped with so much content these days that the emphasis is not only on short copy, but enticing copy as well.
Headings and heirarchy – As readers we tend to ‘scan’ stuff on the Internet, rather than read it thoroughly, much like we glance through newspapers. That makes headings, subheads and lead paragraphs much more important. Yet it’s surprising how often you come across text that’s a solid slab of black on white. I don’t think this is the client’s fault, because he or she is not a copywriting expert. But somebody like me who makes his living from SEO-oriented copywriting for the Web needs to look at things differently. He needs to work according to his own high standards.
Jazzing up technical products – Take the example of a company making valves. They have a product catalog, an ‘about us’ page and a ‘contact us’ page. No great expectations here. Yet a creative copywriter can make the site read much better than the ‘standard fare’ of the client’s competitors. How? By looking for points of uniqueness and difference. Is there something that makes these valves special? Perhaps the finishing process? The quality of service? The ability to customize? There’s ALWAYS something if you’re prepared to dig for it! I actually enjoy the challenge of the About Us page, so that I can really turn it into a memorable text.
Finding the ideas – An SEO copywriter – or any writer, come to that – must be open to the Muse. This is a state of mind where you’re looking for new and interesting angles about the project before you. There’s no guarantee that the ideas will flow, which is why you have to look for them and not give up until they come. Sometimes it’s taken me two hours to compose one paragraph. Other times I’ve written a complete 500 word article ‘off the cuff’ inside an hour.
The Internet’s a great place to look for ideas and pick other people’s brains. For the valve-making company I may visit 6-7 competing sites. I won’t plagiarize their texts, but I may take bits of them and then recompose in a way that makes sense to me (and my client). When I’m done I’ll then ask myself “can this be written shorter”? Usually I can.
The writing process is never-ending and a good web site is constantly evolving. My advice to you is to keep visiting your own site to judge how appealing it is and to work with a copywriter who understands the Power of the Muse.