Tag Archives: Big Ideas Writing

Big Ideas Begin with Writers

By Erica Dix, former BIW Writer

They say that you can do a lot of different things with a degree in English. Some routes are obvious to everyone, like becoming an English teacher, or going on to law school. However, many students choose English because they have a passion for writing. Of course, not everyone is cut out for writing the next great American novel, so what’s an English major to do?

The fact is, writers are in high demand, and bringing creativity to writing is a truly marketable skill. As an English major, the important thing is to know that your writing is valuable, and to explore where it will be valued.

I enjoyed learning about great literature and critiquing fiction, but I never guessed it would translate to the world of marketing communications. However, in English class, we are taught to come up with big ideas, create content from prompts, and analyze text for meaning and direction, which is exactly what is necessary to be an effective writer who can create engaging content for websites, blogs and more.

Enter Big Ideas Writing

While I was a student at DePaul, I was lucky enough to intern at my mom’s company, Big Ideas Writing, a marketing strategy and content marketing firm. I learned the basics of freelancing, and how to work independently.

One of the toughest skills I learned was how to focus myself and stay motivated even when the boss isn’t around, and you are working at home, surrounded by distractions. I learned to meet deadlines despite the allures of Netflix or the constant barrage of unanswered texts and emails. I also learned that people who are good writers have many job titles like Marketing Strategist, Social Media Manager, Project Manager, and Communications Specialist.

Every person with a liberal arts degree can turn those essay-writing skills into a great career in marketing communications if they are willing to learn a few things outside of the classroom. Here are some practical, tangible skills that Big Ideas Writing taught me, that many businesses are looking for right now.

How to write a press release. Like the iambic couplets I studied in Shakespeare class, I learned to write press releases within certain parameters to convey information in a specific way. Press releases are designed to provide information to the media, and they have to be as straightforward and informative as possible, all within a word limit. Being able to write within a very specific set of rules can be very rewarding, and hone your creativity.

How to create social media posts for business. Companies like writers who can put together a creative Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post. When you write for social media, you have to be brief, pointed, and keep your eye on the prize: increased exposure for your client. Like the essay outlines we are taught to create in English class, social media calendars and posts help us hit the objectives of our campaign and organize our ideas into relevant content.

What SEO keywords are and how to use them. Search Engine Optimization is not something that they teach in English class, but if you have a way with words, knowing a little about SEO can get your digital content found on the internet. As English majors, our attention to detail in grammar and style makes us experts at inserting SEO keywords in a natural way.

How to write a “share-worthy” blog post… like this one! In the classroom, the professor that we English majors write for is a captive audience. With a little creative problem-solving, writers can produce an informative, persuasive or disruptive blog that reaches the public and generates those views, likes and shares. Creating online content will bring your writing into the 21st century!

How to edit my own work. Everyone likes to imagine that their first draft is perfect, but anyone who rereads their first draft the next day will realize that it’s not. For many writers, that journey begins in college where professors have students rewrite essays. The novice writer is easily frustrated by revisions and criticism, but by graduation, English majors have the humility and patience that it takes to revise like a pro.

How to always look for new opportunities. Having no boss sounds like fun… until you realize that you have to become your own boss. If you’re too easy on yourself, you will never meet deadlines and strive to be your best. The only way to succeed in freelancing is to be disciplined and passionate. Never stop searching for your next project, always promote yourself, and think from the client’s perspective. Figure out what clients need, and make it available to them.

Speaking of looking for opportunities, I am currently on the hunt for my next big one. I sadly say goodbye to Big Ideas, but the skills that I learned while working there are ideal for work with a marketing agency or association, preferably one in science, medical or environmental issues. I have always had a mind for science, and minored in Environmental Studies, so I am especially interested in work that is related to science and health. I also live in Chicago and am interested in loop locations. You can check out my work portfolio here. I will always be thankful for the lessons I learned at Big Ideas Writing, and I am excited to launch a long and prosperous career in content writing and marketing.

If you are interested in referring me for a position working in content writing, please email me at erica@bigideaswriting.com.

An American Speller in Great Britain

london guardAs some of you know, I recently returned from a vacation “across the pond”, with London being my first stop. As someone who has never really been out of the country, I soaked up the atmosphere and culture as much as I could in my four days there. As a writer, I found myself paying great attention to signs and advertisements. After hearing and seeing certain “British” words on TV and in movies, it was fun to see the word “lift” over the elevator, and even consult Google when we couldn’t decipher the sign “no busking” which was posted in an underpass. (It means no street performing!)

Back home, I have often found myself reading blogs on content marketing originating from the UK but only realized it when I hit one of their famous telltale spellings—for example, authorise, instead of authorize or flavour instead of flavor. In honor of my visit, I decided to look into the origin of this difference between American and British spellings.  Here’s what I found.

Basically, spelling was never standardized across all the various English-speaking countries! In the 19th century, two distinct versions of English spelling appeared: British English and American English, and which is correct will depend on where you are.

Today, British English is used in part of Great Britain, as well as in most Commonwealth countries such as Canada. Each nation has a few variations within the language, with a few American spellings incorporated into the standard of the country.

The real difference, though, lies in the origins of the words. British English tends to keep the spelling from the language that the root word is borrowed from (such as Old French or Latin), while American English spells words more phonetically. Just like us Americans to make things easier, right?

Here’s how “we” remix the British version of our words:

  • Words ending in -re became -er: Centre is closer to the original Old French, or Latin word, centrum. We Americans prefer center.
  • Words ending in -our became -or: Words like colour or favourite are also derived from the Old French word of the same spelling. Again, we prefer color.
  • Words ending in -ence became -ense (defence versus defense).  Words like defence are derived from Middle English and Latin.
  • Words ending in –ise became –ize: Words like apologise are also derived from Latin and Greek.

Part of the joy of travel is experiencing the differences between your home and the place you are and for me, that included a study of words I saw. Go ahead and confess…do you have a fondness for any British-spelled words? Do you think we Americans should revert to any British spellings? Leave me a comment and let me know!

SANTA BABY…from Big Ideas Writing!

Holiday-BlogSo it’s Christmas time, and if you’ve ever read my blog at the end of December, you may have noticed that I usually try to get funny, or rather “punny” with my post. Who can forget “A Social Media Night Before Christmas” or last year’s “12 days of Content“? Well, this year is no exception. With apologies to the composers, I’m letting loose with a parody of “Santa Baby” in the only way you will ever hear it from me…words without music!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Santa baby, just slip a iphone under the tree, for me;
Tech’s an awful good choice, Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa baby, a spell checker that actually thinks, not stinks;
Perfect docs are a must, Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the good I’ve done;
Servicing the clients each and every one.
Next year I could be twice as good… if you check off my Christmas list.

Santa baby, I don’t enjoy accounting so look, my books,
You can do them all year, Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa honey, one little thing that would be sublime….
More time…to get the deadlines all met, Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with all I need, like leads,
Never can have enough, Santa cutie,
and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree with testimonials from ones I’ve made happy;
I rock my clients’ brands all year, 
Making them smile from ear to ear.

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing…to bring.
Another year like this one Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight!

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry, tonight!

Pare it Down: Why You Need a Content Writer

Edit-ContentI was recently at a lovely meeting of WESOS (Women Entrepreneurs Secrets of Success). We we were given the opportunity to give our “elevator speeches” to each other, then were asked to perform a gesture that best expressed our business. I was truly impressed by the creativity in the room, and surprised that my gesture came to me immediately. I held both arms wide, indicating a large amount, then brought my hands in quickly, just a few inches apart, to indicate a small amount. Why? Because as a content writer, this is what I do for many of my clients.

For most businesses, they don’t come to me to figure out WHAT to write for their business..they usually have a plethora of information for me. The problem is, they need it to fit into a certain space as succinctly as possible.

For example, they may need to encapsulate their business model into a catchy tagline.

They may need website page copy that is short, to the point, but does a good job of converting the customer.

Their linkedin profile may be too short or too long. I can help them make it just right.

They may need their typically used 250-word bio condensed to a 50-word introduction for a special event or speaking engagement.

They may need a press release written from the pages and pages of information they have about their project.

Their resume is four pages long and they don’t know what to cut.

They need brochure copy developed from their lengthy website content.

These are just a few times when a content writer can come to the rescue….in a flash.

Why?

Content writers are ruthless editors. Don’t misunderstand. A content writer worth their salt will always retain the information that puts you, your company and your products and services in the best possible light, but when they are not the author, they can be completely objective. In fact, usually content writers have developed the skills to be completely objective when editing their own work.

We’re used to working within constraints. Remember when you were little and you double-spaced to make your half-page paper into one-page to meet the requirement for your English essay? Well, content writers don’t usually have that problem. For example, first drafts are usually too long because chances are there is too much to say about your wonderful business! But there is always a word count, an appropriate length that needs to be respected, and content writers see these as surmountable challenges, not constraints.

Content writers have a thick skin. We’re used to being pared down. Yes, there are times when I tear up inside because my client tells me the beautifully eloquent product description I just wrote is no longer necessary because they are not going to release that product version anymore, but in general, experienced content writers can take any editing parameters that the client can dish out. It’s part and parcel of the job.

Content writers care about the words. People who don’t like to write, don’t care about words. Writers think about words a lot. They pay attention to them, look up definitions and am intrigued by usage. Then they put their passion on paper, which is hopefully evident to the client.

Do you have content you need “pared down?” Pass that mighty content potato, eyes and all, over to Big Ideas Writing and let me pare it down for you. Contact me for your next project at 630.778.6182.

HOW TO CREATE A BROCHURE FROM YOUR WEB CONTENT

Web into BrochureAs a freelance copywriter, I am often retained by agencies to serve clients looking for an integrated marketing strategy. In short, this means they want to develop a brand with accompanying marketing messages, then carry them through to their new website and marketing collateral materials. I enthusiastically apply myself to the project, which usually begins with the website content. The published website content then becomes the basis for anything else I write for the client, for example, their brochure.

While most companies allocate a larger budget and more resources for their website, a brochure or printed flyer can still be a valuable leave behind. Easier on the eyes, with a tactile appeal, brochures can be a nice respite in an ocean of screen reading. The sensory experience alone, combined with slick graphic images presented on a silky or cottony stock can make an impression that helps the reader remember your message.

Depending on your clientele, the brochure can be as important as the website. For many salespeople, it provides an essential connection with the client after they leave the office or walk away from the trade show exhibit. However, when it is time to write your brochure content, it’s important to remember that because the brochure is viewed and digested differently than web content, it must be written differently as well.

Here are some tried and true tips for creating a brochure from your web content.

1. Write Your Brochure With a Linear Construction.
Website pages are read separately, and sometimes completely independent of the other pages on the website. Consequently, it’s easy to write or revise a website in a “piecemeal” format, page by page. Website visitors jump from page to page, in whatever order they want. A brochure, on the other hand, presents the information about your company in one static document. The brochure’s presentation of information must be organized and pleasing to your audience, which typically occurs with a linear construction.

With a linear construction, each section of the brochure must pave the way for the presentation of the next portion of the brochure. It’s best to organize the content into an information funnel, travelling from general to specific. For example, the typical order of a brochure is to begin with a general statement about the company, then lead down to specific benefits of the products or services.
The content organization within a typical brochure looks a little like this:

• Mission/purpose of business and audience
• Services
• Competitive Advantages
• Testimonials
• Call to Action
• Contact Information

While your order can vary with your design or industry, the most important thing is to present all the necessary information in an organized, easy to follow fashion for your reader.

2. Mercilessly Edit Your Website Content for Design and Readability.
Space is much more affordable on a website than in a brochure. Since you pay in printing costs for every word on the brochure, every word must count.

Also, the design of a brochure is even more critical because the reader is a captive that cannot “scroll” anywhere and must digest the information as presented. Therefore, white space (or strategically placed blank areas in the brochure design) is key to leading the reader to the most important items to know. How do you get more white space into a brochure? Reduce your content. How do you reduce your content? Here are some tips:

• Use bullet points rather than listing items in a sentence

• Create main point bold headlines out of your paragraph topic sentences in your website content

• Have an objective eye edit your work. What you see as necessary, an objective bystander will be able to judge as essential…or not. (By the way, a freelance copywriter can be very helpful in this situation)

• Distribute content evenly throughout the brochure

After all that editing, you may feel worried that you’ve cut something important. That’s why the next tip is important!

3. Allow the Brochure to Complement, Not Replace the Website.
The hardest thing to do when putting together a brochure is to forgive yourself for not including everything on your website within your brochure. It is perfectly acceptable to refer the reader to your website for “more information,” “a full list”, or our “latest developments.” In fact, this is often necessary in businesses where the products and services change rapidly. It could even be the prime objective of the piece!

4. Include Your Branding Material.
In the midst of your frantic editing, spare the delete key on your branding elements—logo, tagline, mission statements—in short, anything that you have written that identifies the uniqueness of your company. These are (or should be) your key marketing messages that you bring to the client to help them differentiate you from your competitors. Under no circumstances should you omit them from your brochure. In fact, any designer worth their salt will give them a place of honor within the piece!

Turning your web content into brochure content is not difficult but can often use a professional’s touch. If you have a wonderful website but are interested in producing an accompanying brochure or marketing piece, please contact Big Ideas Writing at 630-778-6182.

COPYWRITING AND CONTENT WRITING–WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

CopyContent

For years I used to introduce myself as Karen Dix, freelance copywriter.  Lately, though, I tend to introduce myself as Karen Dix, web content writer.

The truth is, I am both. And I’ve never met a company that at some point or another, didn’t need both copywriting and content writing.

Many people outside of the industry wonder, however, what exactly is the difference between a copywriter and a content writer?

Although there are several differences, the biggest is the overall OBJECTIVE of the writing. If you ask yourself if you need copy or content, you’re asking yourself if you need the words to primarily sell or inform.

COPYWRITING is as old as advertising. Because that’s what it is: the art of producing intelligent, sometimes clever but always persuasive or motivating text for the purpose of selling something or calling the reader to an action. Good copywriting addresses features and benefits of the product it is trying to sell.

Copywriting is subjective. It boldly expresses opinions, makes an argument and takes a side. The subject of the copy is unequivocally, “the best” and the definitive answer to the problem for the reader.

Copywriters write the words to sell products both online and offline products through:

online iconONLINE

Advertisements (PPC)
Eblasts
Website
Catalog Descriptions
Directory Listings

offline iconOFFLINE
Print brochures
Direct Mail
Flyers/Brochures/Marketing Collateral
Advertising (Print, Outdoor, TV, Radio)
Presentations

We’ve all seen examples of ad copy. It takes many formats:

1) Headlines. These brief lines pull the reader into an ad to tell you more and hopefully, sell you something. The ideal headline is targeted at an audience, as brief as possible, attractive to read and makes the reader want to know more. Headlines work in concert with graphics to create an overall impression that captivates the reader. Here’s an example of some advertising headlines that might just keep you reading…

THE BEST JUST GOT BETTER.

INTRODUCING A NEW WAY TO WASH YOUR DISHES.

EAT THIS TO LOSE WEIGHT!

2) Taglines. These are used to describe a company’s services, or identify their brand. Can you guess what company goes with what tagline?

I’M LOVIN’ IT

IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER.

DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT.

3) Body Copy  One of a copywriter’s specialties is selling a product in as few words as possible. Printed selling pieces such as brochures, advertisements, sell sheets, direct mail, marketing collateral, websites and even exhibits have space constraints and need concise text. Therefore, copywriters choose their words very carefully.

Good copy attempts to speak personally to the reader. It can appeal to their senses and invoke a longing for the product or service.

Here’s a sample of body copy I recently wrote for a Christian summer camp in Lake Geneva:

Conference Point is located in William’s Bay, WI on Lake Geneva, a summer playground for young and old alike. Comfy cabins feature porches with views of the lake and cool breezes off the water. Together, couples and families enjoy a retreat from the hustle and bustle of work, home and children’s activities and spend time enjoying each other and God’s great creation.

Or just take time for yourself. Settle back in one of the many Adirondack chairs around the grounds and enjoy an afternoon read. Let the sounds of the waves and the rustling trees soothe your mind and soul.

Feeling hungry? Our dining hall has delicious, hearty meals all ready for you, each guaranteed to please every palate in your party.
Conference Point is the perfect, restful getaway!

My body copy was written to inform, but you could tell by my word choice that I was trying very hard to sell the place. My objective was for the reader to see the features (comfy cabins, views of the lake, a respite, dining, etc.) while I alluded to the benefits (time for yourself, soothing natural wonders, time with the family, no meal planning necessary). While I explained, I sold. There was nothing objective about it because the purpose of the copy was to motivate you to make a reservation. The audience for this piece will also be “captive.” If they bother to read the brochure, they are already somewhat open to going there.

CONTENT WRITING has seen an explosion with the millennium. The purpose of content writing is to educate, bring value and as a result, build relationships. If you have a website that imparts valuable content, you can make friends with all kinds of prospective customers who appreciate the information you give them. The purpose is to keep your company name at the forefront of their mind when they need your products and services.

Content is objective. It does not advertise, but offers valuable information that comes from a reliable source. Producing good content can be part of a strategic marketing plan and set the author as an authoritative source in their field.

Content, for the most part, is written for the digital medium and comes in a variety of formats such as:

online iconWebsite Content
Blogs
Digital Press Releases
Social Media Posts
Online Profiles and Biographies
Case Studies
White Papers
Enewsletters

Content is created to be shared. My copywriting example above, which was produced for a written piece, could be shared if the client posts a pdf on their website or social media. However, the original intention of the text or “copy” was to sell the conference within the printed brochure. Chances are it will only be shared (or accessed) by those directly interested in the product, which is in this case, a venue. Copy then, has more of a “captive” audience than content.

Does that mean the copy does not have to be written as expertly as does content? Absolutely not. It must be written just as well, for a different audience and a different purpose. Some folks would argue that the copywriter is under fire for RESULTS since their job is to directly call the reader to action. The content writer, however, produces a piece that indirectly calls the reader to action. They produce their valuable, informative piece of content and release it into cyberspace in hopes that it will be exponentially shared. It could have a call to action, but the real goal here is sharing.

Every day, people share millions of blogposts, social media posts, etc. over the internet with an audience that appreciates the value of the information each contains.

So while both kinds of writing—copy and content—benefit a business, the big question a client has to ask is if they need words to sell or inform. If you’re in business, chances are you could use one or both in your advertising and/or marketing efforts. If you’re looking for a solid, all around writer who is experienced in both copy and content, look no further.  Contact me today.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION FOR YOUR CONTENT MARKETING? NOT SO FAST!

content-marketing-resolutionIt’s the start of the new year which leads us all to think about the year ahead and make resolutions, both personally  and professionally. It’s also a time that many of us set goals for our content marketing in the coming year.

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of goal-setting deadlines, mainly because they often force us to come up with “a solution” before we’re ready. Sure, we can amend our lackluster attempts later on while we enjoy the feeling of accomplishment for making our deadline. However, as my mother always said, “haste makes waste.” When it comes to setting your marketing goals for 2014, I advocate a slower, more methodical approach. In fact, I’m not unashamed to admit that I don’t quite have my marketing goals solidified for 2014. I will though. Soon.

The best way to achieve anything is to have a process, and I plan to use this “four-parter”.

First, look at the year in review.  This is a no-brainer, right?  Well, maybe not. If you were working without a clear plan in the past, you will probably notice a pattern of knee-jerk responses to possible opportunities throughout the year.  If you had a plan, hopefully you can look at your KPIs (key performance indicators) to reveal your success or failure in each area.  Either way, let the past be your guide as you consider your new content marketing goals for 2014.

Second, look at your target audiences and demographics.  Did you reach them? Are you reaching them adequately? Have they changed over the years or in 2013? If you are now offering a new product or service, you must connect with a new audience by using existing channels of communication, or by putting new ones in place to do the job.  To evaluate whether or not you have succeeded in reaching your audiences, you can check your social media or blog sites for increases in positive actions such as “likes” and “followers” and by checking the health and demographic information of your company’s database.

Third, evaluate your current marketing channels in place.  Did they perform adequately for you? If not, what is missing?  Do you need to try something new (and possibly scary) such as video, mobile marketing, social media or a blog?  Sometimes this is a hard question to answer, and a marketing professional or professional content writer can guide you in the right direction. Making the jump to a new format can be scary but the results can be life-changing for any company.  If the time is right, make it a goal in 2014.

Finally, set your goals!  A company’s marketing goals usually include quantifiable projections for increases in sales, new products, territory, etc. In the case of content marketing, sometimes augmenting existing efforts rather than launching new ones, can make a powerful difference. For example, in the case of a content marketing strategy, you may have a blog but fail to post regularly so it is difficult to determine customer response.  You may have a well-designed website but you are failing to capture visitor information.  Is there an area of interest for your customers that you have not touched upon in your content marketing? It may make a worthwhile content marketing goal for 2014.

There are many considerations for setting goals for your 2014 content marketing. How do you do create yours? Leave me a comment and let me know. If you need help with your content marketing efforts in 2014, I’m here to help!  Contact me.

12 DAYS OF CONTENT

Web-Content-Writer-Blog

It’s time to wish all my clients and friends Happy Holidays and my best wishes for a prosperous New Year, including a profitable content marketing strategy! So my holiday gift to you is the following parody entitled “The 12 Days of Content.” Hum along and learn the many ways a web content writer like Big Ideas Writing can help you communicate your goals and reach your 2014 marketing goals.  The first step is to develop a marketing plan to guide the journey towards success!   

 Here we go..

 On the first day of content my writer gave to me…A strategic content marketing plan.

 

 On the second day of content, my writer gave to me… Two website concepts,

And a strategic content marketing plan!

 

 On the third day of content my writer gave to me… Three catchy taglines

 Two website concepts, and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

On the fourth day of content my writer gave to me….Four case studies,writing icon

Three catchy taglinesTwo website concepts,  and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

On the fifth day of content, my writer gave to me…Five landing pages, 

Four case studies,  Three catchy taglines Two website concepts,  and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

 On the sixth day of content my writer gave to me… Six testimonials,

 Five landing pages,  Four case studies,  Three catchy taglines Two website concepts, and  a strategic content marketing plan!

 

 On the seventh day of content, my writer gave to me… Seven blog ideas, 

 Six testimonials,  Five landing pages,  Four case studies,  Three catchy taglinesTwo website concepts, and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

facebook logoOn the eighth day of content my writer gave to me.. Eight Facebook postings,

 

Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts, and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

 

On the ninth day of content, my writer gave to me… Nine press releases,

 Eight Facebook postings, Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts, and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

On the tenth day of content, my writer gave to me… Ten Linkedin profiles,

linkedin inmage

Nine press releases, Eight Facebook postings, Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts and a strategic content marketing plan!

On the eleventh day of content, my writer gave to me…eleven SEO keywords,

Ten Linkedin profiles, Nine press releases, Eight Facebook postings, Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts and a strategic content marketing plan!

On the twelfth day of content, my writer gave to me…twelve company bios,

Eleven SEO keywords, Ten Linkedin profiles, Nine press releases, Eight Facebook postings, Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts….

 andstrategic content marketing plan!

 Merry Christmas from Karen Dix @ Big Ideas Writing!

 

 

SEO COPYWRITER’S CHECKLIST FOR WRITING SEO BLOGS

  • SEO-Checklist-Blogs

Do you write your blog for SEO, or search engine optimization?

There are a million reasons to write a blog: to inform clients of a new product or service; take a stance on an issue; impart information on the industry, etc. In most situations, the rules on style, word choice, etc. are  completely up to you.

Writing a blog for search engine optimization, or SEO, however, is a different matter.  You should take certain, particular steps to optimize your post so Google can find, index, and rank it as highly as possible in the search engine results. These steps include proper use of keywords, including backlinks in the copy and attention to the length of the blog elements.

An SEO freelance copywriter can help you craft your blog posts for search engine optimization but if you are doing it yourself, this checklist can help you make sure your blog is properly optimized before you press the “publish” button. Use it regularly to ensure your blog posts will rank highly in the search engines!

KEYWORD SELECTION AND INCLUSION The first step to writing anything with search engine optimization value is keyword selection. If you don’t know what your SEO keywords should be, try google keyword planner.  There you can plug in different ideas and see how many searches are launched a month for each keyword. It also provides new keyword ideas and tells you how high the competition is for each keyword.  After you’ve selected your best two or three keywords, it’s time write content for the blog post, using the keywords you select.

TITLE w/keyword and 65-70 characters. This is the length Google wants to see. Also, make sure one of your keywords is in the title tag of your blog’s page.

KEYWORD DENSITY of no more than 3% per keyword. It’s detrimental to stuff your blog full of keywords. There are many free, online keyword density checkers, but my favorite is the Live Keyword Analysis.

KEYWORD IN FIRST PARAGRAPH Try to get a keyword in the first sentence of your blog. In this case, I have done that by using my keyword “writing for SEO?” in the first paragraph.

SEO BLOG POST KEYWORDS IN SUBHEADS. See what I did there? My keyword for this post, SEO bblog post, is slipped into the subhead.  Subheads are a good place to use SEO keywords.

KEYWORDS IN IMAGE TITLES  When you name your “image” for your post, don’t just name it “blog image.” Seize the opportunity to add a SEO keyword.  For this post, the name of my blog image is checklistseo-blog.

LENGTH LONG ENOUGH TO BE INDEXED AS RELEVANT Google likes longer posts.  Shoot for a minimum of 500 words.  Longer is better, but only if you are adding value.  If your post is repetitive, nobody will read it and you could risk alienating your audience.

3-5 BACKLINKS If someone is reading your blog, perhaps they would be interested in the other posts you have done.  However, they need some incentive to go there.  Here’s where backlinks come in. Your backlinks can be to your website pages, including other related blog posts, your web pages (and not just the home page!), online samples of your work, or press notices of your achievements.  You can also offer backlinks to industry resources, strategic partners or other service professionals, but consider the consequences. If your reader leaves your site to access the backlink, they may not return.

BACKLINK IN CTA  A call to action should always appear at the end of the blog, to motivate the reader to “do something,” whether it be call for an appointment, make a donation, seek more information, etc. Here is a good place to put in a backlink to make it as easy as possible for the reader to follow through on the desired call to action.

COMMENTS/SOCIAL SHARING Ideally, your blog should have a place for your readers to share your work. Provide if you can.

Would you need help writing a blog post for SEO or for web content writing? I’d be happy to speak with you about your needs.  Contact me today.

 

 

A THANKSGIVING FOR CLIENT APPRECIATION

 

freelance-copywriter-thanksgiving-client-appreciationAt Thanksgiving time, we usually reflect on how much we appreciate our family, friends and loved ones in our lives, but as a woman in business, this year I found myself adding my clients to the gratitude pile.  As a service provider of freelance copywriting services, I am truly grateful to the clients in my life who have touched me both personally and professionally.  If you are a service provider with clients, you know what I am talking about. As you perform your service over time, you get to know them on a personal level.  The relationship is one of give and take, and hopefully, a harmonious one.

It’s easy to take clients for granted and never show them how appreciated they are. I’ve been guilty of this. We even have those days when we hit a bump in the road with our clients and the relationship turns sour. In solid relationships however, disputes get resolved and the relationship continues, but at that moment it is easy to lose sight of all they give us besides fair (or sometimes what we perceive to be unfair) payment for our services. 

This Thanksgiving, however, I am looking back at a prosperous year with true gratitude to my clients who have made it happen.  I even was inspired to send some handwritten Thanksgiving cards with notes to them and as I did so, I reflected upon the many ways they have helped shape my life. I discovered my client relationships provide much more than a paycheck.  What, you may ask? Well, there’s the obvious ones…

Referrals. Chances are your client has already referred you to at least one other business whether you know it or not!

Validation.  Your service is good and you know it because your clients pay for it. You are undisputedly a professional!

Portfolio/Resume Growth. Clients give us challenging projects that provide the opportunities to succeed. In other words, they are directly responsible for our bragging rights!

Credibility by Association.  When you are servicing a well-respected client, it reflects well on your own business and your expertise.

But on a deeper level, clients can give you so much morejust as mine have!

 Professional Growth.  Clients offer the opportunity to try something new, learn a new technique, or break new ground in your skill set.

Personal Fulfillment.  I’m happy with my work as a professional freelance copywriter. I’m doing what I love to do and I’m grateful for the clients who allow me to do it!

Mentoring.  Ever learn anything new from a client?  I have. I’ve asked them questions, listened to their seminars and read what they write. Their collective knowledge is impressive!

Participation in your mission. Often, it’s your clients who come to your ribbon cutting, comment on your social media post or invite you to an important networking event. They support you by participating in your mission.

Friendships.  Not always, but sometimes, the business relationship reaches a new level. I have a client that I’ve worked for since the 90s.  At this point, we’re definitely more friends than business associates!

What ways have your clients touched your life?  Thanksgiving is the perfect time to pause and be thankful for them.  And feel free to leave me a comment if there are any other reasons you’re thankful for your clients this Thanksgiving!

Have a beautiful, gratitude-filled Thanksgiving holiday!