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.
Working with a freelance writer not only saves you time and money, it can also save you from the embarrassment of just plain ol' horrible writing.
The folks behind some of these 15 hilariously awful signs could have saved themselves some trouble by consulting a freelance copy editor before unleashing all of this wrongness on the world.
Hilarious Reason #1: Find vs. Fined
This sign is the perfect example of what a big difference one little letter can make.
If the company in charge of making sure that parking is under control had taken the time to proofread their sign, those using the parking garage would have known that they could expect to be fined $50, as opposed to having a lucky day with their $50 find.
Hilarious Reason #2: Clear as Mud
Signs are meant to be a quick and easy means of communication, but when no one has any idea about what you're trying to say, confusion ensues.
What exactly was this business trying to get across? No one is really sure, and so this sign is a waste. If only they had taken the time to work with a freelance writer, we might have some clue as to the meaning of this mistakenly mysterious sign.
Hilarious Reason #3: Practice What You Preach
This business got themselves into the ultimately awful and embarrassing situation...offering a service that they can't even perform for themselves!
Make sure that you're practicing what you preach when offering your own services by running your copy (and signage!) by a professional copy editor before letting it hit the streets.
Hilarious Reason #4: A Little Imagination, Please
Consumers like to know that they are getting their money's worth by working with businesses that offer some creative backbone and gumption.
This business would have done better to have a bit more imagination with their billboard.
Hilarious Reason #5: It Takes a Village
When it comes to raising and educating children, parents can use all the help that they can get.
As long as that help comes in the form of the correct education. Don't fall into the same sales pit as this company by offering a great product with an awful (and incorrect) advertisement.
Hilarious Reason #6: What's Cheaper Than Cheaper?
There are so many things wrong with this one, it's hard to know where to start.
Comparing something with itself is never the best way to wow customers. This business might have considered adding some "umph" to their advertising copy with a comparison that actually makes a comparison.
Then there's the improper use of quotation marks -- they're not for emphasis, folks!
And the ever-popular incorrect use of "your," in place of the correct use of "you're."
All in all, this sign is a big mess. Don't make the same mistakes as this unfortunate company!
Hilarious Reason #7: So, You're Open? Or Maybe Not?
One of the most important reasons to use signs is to impart a clear message to your customers.
This sign is sending a mixed message that is sure to cause some confusion and lost sales!
Hilarious Reason #8: The Professional Difference
As a business, you need to appear professional to attract paying customers. Simple as that.
I don't think this sign is going to be doing these businesses any favors!
Hilarious Reason #9: Ownership or Management? Or Both?
A business coming under new ownership (or even management) can sometimes mean great things.
But what about when no one knows which one is which?
Working with a professional writer can help you to appear as a knowledgeable expert in your field, instead of just confused, like this company.
Hilarious Reason #10: Please be Quite Quiet
Words have power -- when they're used smartly.
This sign makes you feel confused, and even embarrassed for whoever was behind it.
Should we be quiet, or quite impressed at the interview that's in progress?
Hilarious Reason #11: Our Specials Are Special
Ah, those tricky words that sound the same but are totally different!
This business got so close to hitting the mark, but they're construction special sign fell short of their (they're?) intended mark.
A professional writer can help make sure that you don't step in a wrong word mess, like they did.
Hilarious Reason #12: Brain Food Facts
Whoever wrote this sign definitely missed out on their brain food that day!
Here's another example of what a big difference one tiny little letter can make when it comes to sounding like a professional, versus sounding like someone who didn't make it through school.
Hilarious Reason #13: Make the Right Move
Such a simple mix-up, with such sad results.
Don't lead your customers astray with the wrong message -- working with a professional writer or copy editor can help your company get its message across the right way, the first time out.
Hilarious Reason #14: Cater to the Right Audience
One of the most common (and annoying) grammatical errors out there is the unnecessary apostrophe.
This sign is double trouble with two unneeded apostrophes, and a complete misspelling.
Their customers probably don't even know who this company caters to!
Hilarious Reason #15: Too Rude!
This sign not only shows ignorance of the English language, it also puts across the wrong message for a successful business.
You don't want to turn prospective customers away before they even get a chance to become paying customers by appearing rude and uneducated!
A content marketing writer can help you to make sure that your copy is correct and appealing.
Laughing at these horribly hilarious examples of bad writing might be fun, but what if you were on the other side of the joke?
Remember that good copy isn't just error-free copy -- it also makes the correct use of words and packs the most content marketing punch possible.
Are you starting to see why working with a professional writer just makes cents? (Okay, that's the last one, I promise!)
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.