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fact or fiction

SEO Writing Fact or Fiction: Let’s Test Your Knowledge

So here we are, seasoned SEO experts and newbie writers that aren’t even sure of SEO’s meaning. What do we know about SEO writing and what do we think we know?
 

What Do We Know About SEO Writing?

 
Below, I will share four facts and four myths that are believed, in some cases, more than the facts are. You can see which ones resonate with you in particular.

 

A Successful Blogger Posts Twice a Week Writing More Than 300 Words Per Blog

Fact. The longer the blog post, the more valuable the content is considered to be. Likewise, the more often the blog posts are made the more current the blog is viewed to be. With these factors in mind, success is only a thousand words and two blog posts away.

Blogs should draw in the readership and develop a working relationship with them. People should feel camaraderie with the writer, or at least be able to understand your viewpoint and respect it so they want to read more of what you write. The fact that bloggers who write more in each post and write more often are successful supports the idea that people are developing a connection with that writer, even if it is a virtual one.

 

Providing Less Information Draws In The Reader

Fiction. Some companies are under the impression that sharing limited information will get interested parties to call for more. This can actually have the opposite effect. If the person is a potential customer that wants a better idea of services offered or prices charged, and they can’t get that from a company website, they will turn to a competitor who does share this information before they will make a call to gather the info. This is why it is important to answer the pertinent questions regarding services or prices instead of creating a website that only leaves the visitor hanging.

 

Three-Quarters Of Users Don’t Go To The Second Page of Search Results

Fact. Here is where SEO writing comes into play in a big way. For most people, they type a term or phrase into the Google search bar and start looking through results. The ones that catch their interest or seem most likely to hold the answer to their query are the ones that get clicked on. If the answer isn’t found on the first page, over 75% of the search engine visitors do not go beyond page one of the search results, no matter how many or few pages there are total. Also, users tend to choose the natural results more than the sponsored results, although this is only by a narrow margin.

 

Search Drives More Traffic To Sites Than Social Media By 100%

Fiction. It is more than that; it is actually by 300%. Sorry, that one was a bit tricky.

Search is the number one driver for web site traffic. Does that surprise you? According to Search Engine Journal, this is true and is one of many statistics that people don’t expect when it comes to SEO importance to traffic driven to the average website.

Social Media is a method of research and demographic information. However, that does not mean it is also going to be THE answer to creating more traffic for a website. Some people take the information on social media at face value and never track back to the professional website of the business in question.

 

Search And Email Are The Most Popular Internet Activities

Fact. This explains, obviously, the importance of that spam email you are always battling with and the quality copy to draw readers to the website of a particular business. These areas are the big draw. Therefore, the chance of a potential customer just happening onto your site among the millions on the Internet is slim to none. SEO writers understand this is why we have our jobs and are (hopefully) good at them.

 

Titles Aren’t Important When It Comes To Search Or Content

Fiction. A blog at Wordstream notes the exact opposite. Taking time and effort to create a clickable title that is informative for the reader goes a long way in making successful, quality copy that reaches the intended audience and keeps them interested.

The title in a news article is meant to gain attention. The title in an online article can lead to further information or new and unexpected data. Use these possibilities for your—the writer’s—benefit. Make the title work for you and for the reader.

 

The Search Engine Industry Is Estimated To Be Worth $16 Billion

Fact. This industry is money in spades. Understanding the importance of the search engine industry and working to determine the best way to use that to your advantage is a huge step on the way to your own success. Don’t ignore search engines as secondary or unimportant. Recognize them for the impact they have on daily Internet use. In fact, throughout the world each month, there are over 100 billion searches done. That means millions of searches Per Day. Those numbers are nothing to scoff at, if you ask me.

 

Writing For A Particular Audience Or Researching Keywords Are Time Wasted

Fiction. Both of these are methods to success that are forgotten or delayed in such a way their benefits are lost. The audience should be your first thought when writing anything. They are the ones you are trying to reach, and as such you always need to be thinking of them. Likewise, the audience is looking for a particular phrase or a certain product or service that can be found by searching for a particular keyword or keyword set. If the keyword is not researched to make sure it will have the desired effect, it may fall very short of its intended goals.

 

For SEO writers, separating fact from fiction may not be vital but it is helpful. Understanding the business is important, and knowing the aspects that are more important than they are portrayed is a big step toward improving your hold in this career field.

 

classic advertising

Take Inspiration from 4 Old Marketing Campaigns to Power Up Your Holistic Inbound Marketing

Organic content marketing.

Non-paid search engine optimization.

Holistic inbound marketing.

Whatever name you call it, this type of marketing is all you need to get noticed online.

Paid search and advertising can only take you so far – you need to keep funneling money into these channels to keep them alive and working. You’re paying for a top spot on Google.

The investment in organic content marketing, on the other hand, is up-front. You put money into content creation and SEO, publish your stuff, promote it, and then sit back. After a few months, with the right attention to quality and optimization, your content starts climbing the SERPs.

That’s the major difference between paid, outbound marketing and organic, inbound marketing: One keeps building momentum as it nurtures leads. The other halts and drops dead the second the dollars and cents do.

Okay, so paid search has its benefits (immediate visibility on Google’s first page), but it only lasts as long as you keep paying.

So what about traditional advertising? Where does that get you?

Well…

Paid Ads and Cold Sells Do Not Nurture the Customer – Holistic Marketing Does

Traditional ads are one-and-done.

They’re the cold sell to end all cold sells.

They appear in front of a target pretty randomly – when they’re driving by a billboard, when they flip to a live TV show, or when they read a magazine at the doctor’s office.

Seeing an ad once is not enough to nurture a connection with a customer. That’s why you’ll see the same ads over and over – the companies want you to remember them, whether you want to or not.

These days, that type of approach feels irrelevant, intrusive, and, mostly, annoying.

Marketing as Holistic Relationship-Building

Of course, the way a holistic marketing strategy works is to draw people to your brand who are likely to buy from you. HubSpot calls this crucial first step the “Attract” stage:

You attract the right people with relevant, high-quality content that’s targeted for your potential leads’ state of mind. The value of the content you provide builds a relationship with your readers, one that stands on a foundation of trust.

Ultimately, that relationship and trust are what lead to a sale.

Newsflash: This Is Not a Novel Concept

This idea isn’t new…

In fact, it’s older than you may think.

Let’s turn back the clock and take a peek at how content marketing blossomed during the early days of advertising.

These old marketing campaigns from household brand names provided value that nurtured relationships with potential customers.

More than that, they may just inspire you anew with your own content ideation and creation.

Turn away from paying out your ears for ads or top SERP spots and follow me to…

5 Old Marketing Campaigns That Demonstrate the Awesomeness of Holistic Inbound Marketing

Before the internet, there was print content marketing. Here are four outstanding examples.

1. John Deere’s News Magazine

John Deere is a tractor and farm equipment manufacturer in the U.S.

The company’s most famous marketing campaign might serve as one of the earliest examples of organic content marketing.

John Deere has been around since 1837, but it wasn’t until 1895 that they launched their farming news magazine, The Furrow.

Volume VI of The Furrow, published in 1901

This publication is a fantastic example of long-form content marketing. It’s still published monthly, in fact, because it is:

  • Comprehensive
  • Targeted for John Deere’s customers
  • Informative/entertaining
  • A relationship builder between the company and their audience
  • Authoritative – it puts the emphasis on the company’s clout and know-how in the industry

The 1976 Bicentennial Issue

Today, the magazine still has an audience of about 2 million worldwide subscribers and is printed in 14 languages. Back issues are digitized on the magazine’s website:

Readers and farmers can check out articles that address topics like land conservation, the food system, sustainable farming and best practices, and the importance of plant diversity for crops.

This incredible content marketing initiative is undoubtedly part of the reason why John Deere is still a household name today.

2. American Express’ Travel Guides

American Express is a world-renowned financial services company.

How did it get there? With a little help from its comprehensive and user-focused content marketing through the decades.

When the company opened in 1850, it was initially a courier service in New York state. Then, by 1915, it added traveler’s checks and travel agency services to its roster. (Additional banking services came later.)

When it moved its focus to travel in the early 20th century, American Express decided it wanted to be the travel company of the United States.

How would they do it? With some really great holistic inbound marketing.

The company started publishing travel guides that became go-to resources for any traveler. They were informative, useful, colorful, interesting, and appealed to the average American Express customers – travelers, jet-setters, and professionals.

Here’s an early example of a guide to the French Riviera from 1917:

Check out this guide to Alaska tours from 1931:

And this guide for Americans traveling to Europe, circa 1948:

Later, the company moved from small guides to big publishing ventures. They bought the magazine Camera and Travel in 1968, which they later renamed Travel + Leisure. It went on to become a best-selling magazine.

Today, American Express is one of the biggest companies in the world. Their travel/financial services have grown and expanded to include exclusive airport lounges, travel insurance, business credit cards geared for traveling professionals, and more.

And, their content marketing has moved onto the digital sphere, of course, where they still offer travel guides and tips:

3. Sunkist’s Early “Infographics”

If you want an early example of using infographics in marketing, look to Sunkist, the fruit-grower, and their early ad content.

Sunkist started in 1893 when citrus growers in California banded together to better market their sweet crops. Back then, oranges and lemons were viewed as luxuries that people only ate on holidays or received as Christmas gifts.

By 1908, Sunkist launched their first campaign to make citrus fruits daily necessities in the minds of Americans.

A few of these early ads bear a surprising resemblance to the infographics of today, using a combination of text and imagery to inform or enlighten readers.

In particular, the ad below (“Every-Hour Uses for Good Lemons”) gives us eight practical ways to use lemons, then advises us to “send for a free book containing many others.”

If you took them up on the offer, the company would mail you a mini guide showcasing all kinds of ways to use lemons in everyday life, including cooking, baking, beauty rituals, and cleaning.

(If you’re curious, you can browse through the whole book digitally thanks to Duke Digital Repository. A few of the suggestions include using lemons to clean brass, remove stains on clothing, help cure a cold, and “invigorate the heart and muscles.”)

Here’s another Sunkist ad that resembles a blog post/infographic hybrid. It instructs us how to correctly serve tea with lemon:

Wait… There’s an incorrect way? (Along with the content, Sunkist also displays their headline prowess here.)

The result from Sunkist’s marketing efforts: The orange was the first branded and advertised fruit. Eventually, lemons and oranges became synonymous with the Sunkist name and still are to this day.

4. Fleischmann’s Recipes and How-Tos

If you’re a baker, you may be familiar with Fleischmann’s Yeast in the yellow and red packaging.

Since the 1870s, this company has been producing yeast for home bakers who want consistently fluffy and well-risen bread or baked goods. They even innovated Active Dry Yeast, which can be stored in the cupboard or pantry and activated with warm water, during World War II.

In the early days, Fleischmann’s used holistic content marketing to help their customers bake the best bread possible using their yeast products.

In 1920, they published small recipe booklets with tips, tricks, and methods for delicious homemade bread, called “Fleischmann’s Recipes.”

Similar to Sunkist’s “infographic” ads, Fleischmann’s also used a similar method to promote their “High Vitamin Yeast” in 1939:

Of course, like the other names on this list, Fleischmann’s is a common brand, one you’ll find in most modern bakers’ kitchens.

Meanwhile, their modern content marketing continues a long-standing tradition of providing useful information for their customers and guiding them on their baking journeys:

Holistic Inbound Marketing: A Time-Honored Strategy for Better Leads

Old marketing campaigns are full of inspiration ready for the taking. If you turn back the clock, you can quickly see that it was pretty common.

As it turns out, content marketing isn’t all that modern – lots of big brands were doing it as far back as the late 19th century.

Here’s why it keeps getting reinvigorated throughout the decades, and why it’s having a major renaissance right this second:

It works.

Do you need any more reason to dive in than that?

SEO copywriting

5 Basics of Good SEO Copywriting

Much of the time, when businesses say they want good copywriting, they mean they want good SEO copywriting.

There’s a great reason for this:

SEO copywriting helps your page rank in the search engines, which helps drive traffic to your site.

That’s a big deal. It also helps you become a big deal on Google.

Copyblogger also rightly states that modern SEO copywriting is about creating compelling, useful, valuable content that people will want to share and link to like crazy.

These links pointing back to you give you an even bigger SERP (search engine results page) boost – bigger than what keyword-optimized content can do alone.

So, the reasons for optimizing your copywriting for SEO are solid. You have to do it if you want to rank for certain keywords.

Thankfully, there are some basics you can follow to ensure you’re on the right track. Hit these, and you’ll position yourself for a big ol’ helping of SERP domination.

SEO copywriting

The 5 Basic Commandments of SEO Copywriting

It’s best to think of these SEO basics as commandments. You need to follow them to the letter to make sure you are optimizing your copy at the ground-floor level.

As the Google gods commanded it, so let it be:

1. Thou Shalt Optimize Thy Titles

Good SEO begins with optimizing the title of your piece with the keyword you’re targeting.

This helps tells the search engines exactly what your page is about from the get-go.

However, it’s often not enough to simply insert your keyword into your title – you need to place it where it will be most visible. That means inserting it naturally as close to the beginning of your title as possible.

You should also focus on creating a title/headline that is arresting, curiosity-inducing, or emotion-grabbing as well as descriptive, honest, and accurate.

It’s also important to create titles that are the right length. Otherwise, your titles will appear cut-off or truncated when they turn up in search results.

As you can see from this example, the title showing up in search has been truncated (indicated by the ellipsis at the end):

Thankfully, this title is written in a way so no important information is lost where it’s cut off.

If you must use a longer title than what Google allows in the search results, keep your focus keyword – and the most important part of your title – at the beginning.

For reference, Search Engine Watch and Moz recommend keeping your titles 50-60 characters long if you don’t want them cut off in the SERPs.

2. Thou Shalt Optimize Thy Meta Descriptions

Sometimes, but not always, the search engines will grab your meta description to use as the “snippet” text that shows up below your link.

Needless to say, this is an important bit of text. It could mean the difference between getting a click from a visitor or having them choose someone else’s link.

This snippet used to have a character limit of 160, but that has recently changed. Best practice right now is to keep your metas under 320 characters.

For good SEO, write metas for the users who will be reading them, not the search engines. A useful description that’s also enticing can help you grab that click from a searcher.

For good measure, include your focus keyword near the beginning of your meta description. This will also help your reader know that your page contains the exact information they need.

3. Thou Shalt Not Let Thy Content Quality Slide

The quality of your content matters to SEO just as much as any other factor.

To put it bluntly, high-quality content ranks higher.

In fact, according to Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors, content quality is the #1 ranking factor for on-the-page SEO:

What does high-quality look like? It is:

  • Well-written with no spelling or grammar errors
  • Factually accurate and up-to-date
  • Easy to understand and readable
  • Organized well, with logically arranged sections and sub-sections with subheaders
  • Scannable and easy to digest (note: this is a natural by-product of clear writing and good organization)

If your copy and content are not high-quality, all the other SEO activities you use won’t matter. You must create the best content possible, otherwise, Google will not consider you for first-page status.

4. Thou Shalt Use Keywords Intelligently in Thy SEO Copywriting

The use of keywords in your copywriting will serve as the foundation for your SEO efforts.

Without those keywords there, intelligently and strategically placed, the search engines won’t have any idea what to do with your content.

However, using keywords is not a science – it’s more of an art.

Along with adding your focus keyword to your title and meta description, you should also sprinkle it into your content as naturally as possible.

  • If you want to make it easy for the search engines to figure out what your page is about and rank you for the right keyword, include it as early in your first paragraph as possible.
  • Don’t overuse it, though – that’s keyword stuffing. Google may smite you because of it.

  • Instead, use synonyms and related terms to help search engines understand your page’s relevancy.

A good practice to follow to avoid over-using keywords:

  1. Consciously write your first paragraph to include your focus keyword.
  2. Then, forget about keywords altogether and write the rest of your piece normally.
  3. When you do this, you’ll find yourself naturally and effortlessly using synonyms and related terms in your copy, and it won’t feel like pulling teeth.

During the editing process, you can go back and scan your copy for these natural instances of keyword usage. Grab one or two synonyms and add them to one or two subheaders for good measure.

You can do a quick search of the document to see how often you used certain keywords. In Microsoft Word, for instance, simply type “Ctrl + f” to open the “search document” feature.

5. Thou Shalt Link to Relevant Web Pages in Thy Content

Link-building is as essential to SEO as keywords. The links you make between your site and other relevant, high-quality sites helps Google understand your relevance for user search.

And, the more relevant your high-quality page is, the better you will rank for your target keyword(s).

Conversely, according to Moz, a website that links to spam is probably spam itself.

In other words, if you want to rank highly, you need to be linking out to the websites you want to be associated with. This is called your “link neighborhood.”

Part of this must include earning quality backlinks as well as making sure you only link to trusted sites and resources in your copywriting.

“Backlinks” are links from other sites that point back to you and your content. You can earn these squarely based on the merit of your content, but you can also engage in link-building to help your SEO.

Before you dive into that, however, focus on creating solid links in your copywriting. Here’s how:

  • When you use sources for your writing, only cite those with a high domain authority (DA). To evaluate the DA of each site you want to link, use tools like the MozBar, SEOquake, or Open Site Explorer.
  • Always use relevant anchor text when linking to other sites. Switch it up, though, because Google will penalize you if you create tons of links with identical anchor text. (Anchor text is just the words you use to link to another site. The links throughout this blog are all examples of anchor text.)
  • Deep-link to pages from your own site within your content, when relevant. This does not mean linking to your homepage or “contact” page – instead, link to:
    • Blogs you published a long time ago
    • Specific product pages and landing pages

These links are pretty far out on your site’s link tree, but linking to them in your fresher content creates more connections between your pages. This, in turn, helps the website search crawlers index your pages better, faster, and in your favor, according to Neil Patel.

Follow These 5 SEO Copywriting Commandments and Go Higher in the SERPs

Search engines are fussy for a reason. They have to sift the spammy, useless, bad content from the valuable, helpful, informative, great content.

It’s all about giving users the best search experience possible.

This means, above all, always write for people for good SEO.

If you have a genuine desire to make your content as intuitive, organized, readable, and informational as possible for your human readers, you’ll go far.

Use these tips to help people find you, and the search engines will, too.

Could you use help with your SEO copywriting? The team at Express Writers has you covered! Head over to our Content Shop to learn how we can help you.

seo copywriter

How You Can Be a Better SEO Copywriter in 3 Steps

3 Ways to Tap Into Your Creativity Like Never Before

Being a better SEO copywriter takes one thing, and one thing only:  more writing.  The old axiom is to commit to write 500 words every day, and maintain that schedule no matter what you’re writing about, but how are you supposed to come up with consistently great ideas for topics to write about?  Content is king when it comes to SEO copywriting, and maintaining consistently great content is the key to success in the online realm, but many business owners can feel more than a little out of his or her depth when trying to keep up with a rigorous writing schedule, even if it is only 500 words per day, if they key to maintaining success is consistently engaging content.

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seo copywriting hook

SEO Copywriting Is Like Fishing: It’s All About the Hook

Good marketing through SEO copywriting is a careful balance – you have to take care of the needs of your current customers without even neglecting the need to always be catching the eye of new leads.  If you’ve been neglecting your marketing efforts, believe me, you’re not alone.

SEO Copywriting: 4 Tips That Will Hook Readers Every Time

One of the easiest ways to drive your marketing car is by constantly adding new and fresh content to your website.  If your site doesn’t have a blog page, consider adding one.  The benefits you could gain from adding a blog will far outweigh the relatively small amount if time it will take to set one up.

For those of you who do have a blog, or are just starting one, you may be struggling to find ways to keep fresh content rolling out on it.  Developing a regular posting pattern is definitely advisable, and choose a schedule you can stick to.  If that means one post per week, that’s fine.  If it’s three, that’s even better.  Consistency is key, and over time you can even develop a regular readership.

Now, setting a schedule is one thing, but filling that schedule with good SEO copywriting is another.  I get it.  Sometimes as a SEO copywriter you can start to feel like a broken record, covering the same topic in seemingly every way you can.  The key when developing the same tired old topics into fresh material is to attach a hook to every post, and that is what this article is here to help you do.

What is a “hook?”
“Hook” is a term borrowed from songwriting (and fishing).  Put simply, it’s a turn of phrase or particular line that causes a song to be memorable and enjoyable.  The band Blues Traveler has a song about this concept (you’ve probably heard it, the chorus (and hook, actually) begins, “The hook brings you back”), and it’s as true in SEO copywriting as it is in music.  In copywriting, the hook is the art of the headline.  It’s the subtle skill of spinning a topic this way or that, making it seem more inviting, enticing, or informative for the reader you’re looking to grab.  In this article we’re going to look at some common tactics for hooking new readers with your newfound SEO copywriting skills.

1.  The Problem-Solver Hook

If you’re in a business, then chances are your customers all have problems, and they’re probably pretty similar.  Spend some time brainstorming, and ask yourself: how do I solve the most common problems of my customers?  Spin those ideas into headlines:  “Check Engine light in?  This may be why.”  “Get rid of ants in a week with this home remedy.”  “8 amazing hairstyles you can do yourself.”

These are just some examples. You may notice that none of these headlines are sales pitches.  To the contrary, they seem to be encouraging your readers to fix these problems themselves – and you’re correct!

This may seem like the opposite of asking for business, but don’t fret.  If you help a reader solve a simple problem themselves, this lends credibility and an air of respectability to you, and later, when that customer has a bigger problem, you’re going to get that call.

2.  The Horror Story Hook

As a general rule, customers want to do business with a person and not a company.  We develop personal relationships with our doctors, not with the receptionists or the clinics where they work.  There’s no better way to humanize your business than with a disaster story.  Every business has its blunders.  Tell your readers about your biggest disaster, and of course include the punchline where you were able to turn the situation around and solve the problem.  Your readers will be wowed at your ingenuity, and will love the fact that your sense of humor enables you to share such a disastrous tale.

3.  The FAQ Hook

You probably hear the same questions over and over again.  Creating a series of posts, or even video blogs, addressing these most frequently asked questions will save your customers time when they’re searching for someone to do business with.  If you can address the most common concerns without ever speaking with a potential customer, then you’re making a connection with them without even trying!

4.  The Newsroom Hook

News from the industry that’s relevant to your readers is another great way to spin the same old topics in a new way, and there’s a bonus here:  if you’re sharing and reacting to industry news, this is a perfect way for you to use your competitors’ announcements to improve your own search results.

Did that dry-cleaner downtown just open yet another new location?  Use that as an opportunity to explain that the competition’s rampant expansion is causing poor results, and that your small, family owned dry cleaning shop will always do a better job.

make readers love you

Make Your Readers Love You With These SEO Copywriting Tips

When doing SEO copywriting, it’s easy to get bogged down in the “textbook” methods, and lose sight of the reader.

But writing without your reader in mind is simply a waste of time.

After all, being on the front page of Google isn’t going to do you any good if your content isn’t relevant, compelling, or engaging enough to draw a reader in.

At the end of the day, your goal as a copywriter should be to make readers love you.

That’s not to say you should completely ignore the basic tenets of SEO.

But you do need to find a balance between appeasing Google’s webcrawlers as well as your human audience.

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seo copywriting

What Not To Do In SEO Copywriting

The goal of SEO copywriting and inbound marketing strategies is simple:

Gain leads that have a high chance of conversion.

Unfortunately, once you’ve gain these leads, it’s not all that difficult to lose them.

But let’s take a step back. Not only can the simplest mistake cause you to lose the leads you’ve worked so hard to gain, but it can also hinder your chances of gaining new leads in the future as well.

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you want your copy to enhance your chances of gaining leads.

But if, for some reason, your aim is to drive your audience away, take a look at the following tips to help you do so.

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seo copywriting

Who Are You Writing For? How to Build an Audience Persona and Discover Your Ultimate Reader

Marketing 101:

You can’t market to everyone. It’s just not possible.

That’s why marketers hone in on specific audiences for their brands.

Here’s the logic: For every product or service, there exist ideal buyers who will be totally into it, desperately need it, or some ratio of both.

No, you can’t market to each of them individually.

But, you can distill their similarities into an overall audience persona.

This persona is a fictional human you create who has all the traits common to your target audience.

This sounds great in theory, but why should you create one for your brand? How do you get started?

The answers are right here.

Why Create an Audience Persona?

Besides the fact that using personas can boost your success rates (one company reported an increase in sales leads of 124% as a direct result of using targeted personas), what are some other reasons to use them?

1. Talk to Exactly Who Will Buy From You

Imagine standing on a stage and looking into an audience full of people. You want to talk to the ones who will buy what you’re selling – but how? Right now, they’re just a sea of random faces.

Now, imagine if you could shine a spotlight on an audience member who represents your ideal targets. This person’s interests, behavior, demographics, job, income, etc. are all indicative of your ultimate buyer.

In fact, if you could pool your ideal buyers, take their common traits, and mold them into a new person, this is what that person would look like.

All of a sudden, by singling out this one persona, you have the opportunity to speak directly to your buyer and get them to engage. If you tailor your messages to them, you’ll not only grab their attention – you’ll hold it, which will lead to profitable results across that audience segment.

2. Keep Your Messaging, Copy, and Content Consistent

Besides being representative of a segment of your target audience, your persona is also a tool to use in your copy and content.

When you create a persona, you create a person to write for – someone you can get to know intimately. You’re no longer writing to anonymous people, but to someone with preferences, needs, wants, and traits.

Much of writing is about the audience. Your persona will guide how you write so it’s more pointed and powerful for the exact right people.

Plus, personas are tools you can use for your business at every level to make sure your entire team is referencing and addressing the same targets.

3. Waste Zero Time on Non-Prospects

When you create a targeted audience persona, you weed out the people in your audience who don’t need what you’re selling or won’t buy from you.

These people may be interested, but there’s no urgency in it. Here’s how HubSpot frames that conundrum:

“If only 1 out of 10 people in your target audience needs your solution, and 9 of them aren’t prospects, you’re wasting 90% of your time and resources.”

If you try to address your entire audience with the exact same message, it won’t be as effective for some as it is for others. This is because they’re at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Creating personas that target specific types of people in your audience, and then creating messaging and content for each of them, eliminates this problem.

How to Build a Persona for Your Audience: Research, Compile Data, and Get Personal

Over and over, you’ll find that researching is the best way to approach building an audience persona.

Then you can compile what you find and distill it into one, two, or a few different personas that represent your audience segments.

Step One: Research Your Audience

For research, there are some wide-ranging options for gathering data about your targets:

  • Use Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook has a tool you can use to research your audience and build multiple personas, and you don’t need an advertising or business account to access it. (You just need a profile.)

You have two options in this tool: research using all of Facebook’s existing user base, or just research people who are connected to your account.

Moz recommends the former option just in case your account connections have been “dirtied” in some way (i.e. if you have paid for followers in the past, your connections might not be an accurate representation of your target audience).

After you choose which type of data to research, you can search various interests related to your industry and then narrow down the audience based on what you find.

For example, say you sell books in Missouri. You would enter that information to find out who you should be targeting. As you can see, 67% of people in Missouri with an interest in books and reading are women:

With this in mind, let’s narrow down our target audience to women only. Then we can look at demographics and stats for their household, like income and home ownership:

Now we have more information for our persona: She should be a woman who makes $50-75K and owns a home.

You can keep going into further detail from there as you browse the sections and continue to narrow down this woman’s traits. Check out this guide from Moz for a deeper how-to.

  • Create Surveys

Find out more demographic information about your audience with surveys. A simple survey can tell you exactly where your audience lives, their income, their education, family size, age, job industry and title, and more.

Tools like SurveyMonkey are perfect for the job. You can create your own surveys for free and distribute them yourself, or you can pay to use SurveyMonkey Audience to collect data from a pre-qualified target audience with attributes you select.

  • Chat 1-on-1 with Customers

Don’t forget to go back to basics. Just take some time to have a chat with your customers to find out their preferences, interests, behaviors, and demographics.

This can be as easy as commenting on social media, or you can get more formal and request to do an interview through email, Skype, or over coffee.

  • Talk to Your Sales Team for Insights

Your sales team is out there in the trenches, talking to customers day-in and day-out. They will have plenty of insights about them and can share what they’ve learned from these crucial sales interactions.

  • Review Analytics

Review data on your website about consumption, like page views, open rates for emails and newsletters, downloads, click-throughs, and bounce rates. This information can give you valuable insights into your audience’s preferences and needs.

Step Two: Compile the Data

Once you’ve researched and gathered enough data, it’s time to sort and compile it into trends you see happening.

When you see that a large section of your audience possesses certain traits or demographics, you can add those to your persona profile.

Eventually, you should end up with a list of common attributes among a segment of your audience.

Step Three: Get Creative

Here’s the creative part of building an audience persona. It’s time to take that compiled data and turn it into a profile of your ideal buyer.

Content Marketing Institute recommends giving your persona a name and a picture. This helps you and your team imagine this fictitious person better and think of them as a real person.

Ideally, you should turn your persona into a shareable asset you can pass around to various departments or team members in your company.

Most businesses create a profile card of their persona with a quick run-down of that buyer’s name, demographics, preferences, and habits.

Persona example via Buffer

Video game enthusiasts will note how much the resulting profile looks like a character card, which gives you an overview of a character’s strengths and weaknesses.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and detailed with personas. Your writers, content creators, and other team members will be more inspired if it’s engaging and helps them use their imaginations.

Your Brand Audience Persona Is a Valuable Tool

Ultimately, the benefits you receive from creating an audience persona will make the effort worth it.

Your entire team can use the persona to help them craft consistent, pointed, targeted content that truly speaks to your ideal buyer.

Keep one handy for reference, and don’t forget to update it periodically to reflect your changing audience and business needs.

If you need help creating content that resonates with your target audience, our team of expert writers can help! Learn more about our available services in the Content Shop.

CTA strategic ROI content

web content

Should the Focus be on Your Web Content or Keywords?

Keywords will improve your web content search engine ranking, but should they really be the main focus in copywriting?

Although the content on your website is being created to generate more traffic to the site, the true desired result behind of all your SEO efforts is to convert that very traffic into customers. Visitors are great, but sales are what you will need to keep your site running.

If every article and webpage on your site is so overly saturated with keywords that it distracts from the actual content, your potential customers will be turned off. They will quickly move onto the next website that is listed by the search engine and they will not give yours a second thought.

web content

Web Content: It Should Provide Value to the Reader

Relevant and informative web content is the key to a successful website.

Most people focus mainly on the technical choices when developing a new site, because there are so many necessary decisions regarding servers, hosting options, advertising systems, shopping carts, and payment processing. They forget that without an effective copywriter for the website and for future content, no one will stay on their site long enough to use the other services.

Your Web Content Should Sell for You

The copy on your website should be your best salesperson. It should be compelling and comprehensive. Customers should land on your site and easily learn exactly what you do and why you do it better than anyone else. Every heading, subtitle, paragraph, and sentence is a chance to communicate directly with potential customers.

Experienced copywriters understand there is a significant amount of power that can be unleashed by quality keyword-rich content. Search engine crawlers and your readers will be swayed by well-written, helpful content that serves a purpose. It should answer commonly asked questions about the product or service you are selling, provide real advice that makes the decision making process easier, and clearly showcase how purchasing it can enhance the user’s life.

5 Ways to Create Content For Your Reader

Here are five tips on how to create web content focused on your reader:

#1 Create Catchy Headlines

A good headline should attract attention while clearly summarizing the section that is to follow.

#2 Focus on the Customer’s Needs

The copy should be directed specifically on how the product or service can enhance the client’s life. Focus on how it benefits them.

#3 Create an Emotional Connection

Try to appeal to their emotions whenever possible. Buying is a decision often triggered by emotional needs.

#4 Add Credibility to Your Claims

Testimonials are a great way to show you care what your clients think, plus it provides uncertain leads proof that your business follows through on its promises.

#5 Don’t Forget the Call-to-Action

There needs to be a persuasive conclusion that inspires the reader to act.

All copy should have a link at the end engaging the reader to make a purchase.

Conclusion: Write Great Web Content to Solve a Problem

These five tips will help make sure you create catchy ad copy that directly speaks to the customer by addressing their needs and making an emotional connection. By backing it up with positive testimonials and a persuasive call-to-action, you should be able to convert more traffic into customers.

You will still need to strategically scatter relevant keywords throughout the content, but the real emphasis should be on creating content your audience actually wants to read.

The keywords will fall into place naturally if you focus on writing about the information your leads really want to know.