Investing time and money into search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best choices that you can make as a business owner. When done the smart way, optimizing your website for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo can bring in more traffic (and sales!) than any other method out there.
But how do you know that the content that you're sharing with the world is going to get you the attraction that you want and need?
By working with an SEO content professional, of course!
This post is the first in the content marketing success series, Content that Clicks. We're going to talk about finding a freelance SEO writer that you can count on to deliver the SEO-focused and keyword-rich content that you need to boost your search engine ranking and get your company in the spotlight.
Tip #1: Get your SEO strategy down pat
Before you launch yourself into the process of hiring the right freelance writer to handle your SEO writing needs, you need to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what they are.
What type of SEO content do you think would be the best for your business?
If you find that you just plain old don't know the answers to these questions, your best bet might be to hire an SEO consultant first to get your search engine optimization strategy on firm ground, and then move onto starting your SEO writer search. First things first, am I right?
Tip #2: Focus on the writer's skills and experience
Just like filling any other open position in your company, you need to focus on the abilities and skills of your SEO writer.
Have they done this type of writing before? What is their writing "voice," and will it work well with your content needs?
Look for a writer who:
Has experience with SEO - Writing is not an easy task no matter the industry, but especially so when it comes to SEO writing. The writer needs to have at least a basic understanding of long tail keywords, heading usage, and writing for the search engines. Bonus if they can write for audiences and Google ... you'll end up with engaging and valuable content that also helps you climb the ranking ladder!
Brings creativity to their work - SEO writing used to be as easy as stuffing as many keywords into a piece of content as possible, with no concern for the quality of the content itself. This is no longer the case. Google has become focused on valuable and engaging content, and not just the keywords themselves. Your SEO writer needs to have a high level of creative ability in order to not only come up with related keywords for the richest and most effective content, but also be able to place those keywords into their writing without coming across sounding like an SEO robot.
Is reliable, professional, and friendly - Nobody wants to work with a diva that can't be bothered to get their projects finished and submitted on time. This is especially true when it comes to writers. Look for a freelancer that is easy to get in contact with, has an open and accessible personality, and can show you positive feedback from other clients.
Can meet (or beat) deadlines - The old saying "time is money" could have been created for the content marketing industry. You need your content to be published consistently and on time, and in order to do that, you need to work with a writer that can deliver the goods in a timely fashion. Make sure to find out about the writer's track record when it comes to deadlines, and ask them their average turnaround time for the type of content that you need written. Bonus if they can get work submitted before the requested deadline date!
Tip #3: Clarify, clarify, clarify
The best way to narrow down the list of qualified SEO writing candidates after checking out their background and qualifications is by asking the right questions.
Be sure to ask the writer:
Tip #4: Start with a test run
Once you've chosen your writer, it might be tempting to jump right in with both feet and give them a ton of pieces to write for you, especially if you have a backlog of content that you need created.
Don't risk it!
You need to give your new writer a "trial run" to make sure that the two of you will make a good fit and that the writer really can produce what they have promised, when they have promised it.
Start with a small sample project, and pay them their asking rate for their time. This will ensure that you're getting what you need, and that the writer will take you seriously. Sadly, there are people out there that request sample pieces and then just disappear after getting the writing they wanted done.
You've put a lot of effort into finding the right SEO writer for you, and you don't want to lose them! Starting with a paid test run will give you and your writer the confidence that you need to continue on with a long and profitable working relationship.
Do you have a blog (and use it)?
If you haven't been living under a rock since approximately 2006, you know that blogging is not just big, it's huge. Blogging can make the difference between your business thriving or failing. Honestly.
Think about it. The Internet is out there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's answering people's questions, giving them directions and helping them figure out what products and services to use.
If you're not putting your own content out there for potential customers to see, guess what they're doing? If you thought that they're sitting around hoping and praying for a business like yours to fall into their laps, you're dead wrong. They're finding your competitors content and buying from them, instead. Yikes!
So what can you do? Get yourself out there. You don't need to spend a fortune on digital marketing firms or fancy schmancy website design. You need a URL and a blog. That's it. If you don't have a blog, get one. Seriously. Right now.
Are you sharing valuable and well-written content?
Ok, so you got yourself a blog. Awesome. Now, what? You start sharing your knowledge. Yep, that's it.
You offer what you know in an effort to help others, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and watch your SEO grow exponentially.
You're trying to do it all yourself? Seriously?
The one thing that all business owners have in common is the lack of enough hours in the day to get everything done. They are just stretched too thin between administrative tasks, staffing concerns, and making sure that their business runs as smooth as possible.
So how are you supposed to implement an amazing content marketing strategy?
One word: outsourcing.
You don't have to do it all yourself. You can delegate the content creation to a freelance writer and focus on what you do best - running your business - all while you have that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from knowing that your content is making (and not breaking) you, after all.