A couple of days ago, a new SEO writer emailed me, asking the following:
I recently bought your excellent e-book, “How to Make $250+/Day Writing Simple, 500-Word Articles“. I’m so excited by your description of the work! Right now I’m busy creating sample articles for my newly-defined niche.
I’m wondering: when a company hires you to write an SEO piece for them, do they tell you exactly what kind of content they want? (emphasis added)
Beyond the keyword(s), I mean. Do they say, “We need 400 words outlining the benefits of X product, ending in such-and-such call to action”? Or do they leave the precise nature of the article up to you, as long as it’s optimized for the correct keyword?
Here is the quick answer I emailed back.
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My Quick Answer to This SEO Content Writer’s Question
First, thanks for the purchase. Glad you found the info helpful.
In answer to your query, most clients (about 60-70%) will give you keywords and let you write what you want — as long as it’s beneficial to their company. The rest will outline the content they want.
Will answer in more detail in tomorrow’s post for SeoWritingJobs.com.
My Expanded Answer
As I said, most clients will just give you the keywords and tell you to write what you want on – of course, as long as it’s informative and helpful to the reader (ie, no “junk, filler-type” info). You should produce useful content that will make readers want to respond to a call to action, eg, call, email for further info, download a free pamphlet, etc.
SEO Content Writers: How to Know What to Write About When Clients Give You Little and/or No Direction Beyond Providing Keywords
To do this, I usually tool around a client’s site – and competitor sites – to see what I can pick up on and expand on, explain better, talk about from a different angle, etc.
Another thing I do is check out Q&A sites like Yahoo! Answers to see what questions in that niche are really popular that I can write a client article on. FYI, you can get a ton of useful ideas to write on from answer sites.
Finally, I check article directories like EzineArticles.com to see which content has been produced and what the popular content in a given niche is (check how many times an article has been read).
SEO Copywriting Tip: Build an Idea File
If you know you’re going to have a client for the long haul, when you’re doing this type of research initially, jot down ideas for future articles – that way, you build an “idea file” and will never be stuck for what to write on.
SEO Copywriting Advice: Emails from Actual Clients Giving Direction about What They Want You to Write
To clarify further what clients want when they do give copywriting direction, I went back through my archives and dug up some actual exchanges I’ve had on what they want to give you an idea of what to expect.
Client #1: IT Firm
[Note: All identifying factors (eg, keywords, locations, etc., have been changed to protect client identity]
We will be launching an SEO campaign, and our SEO agency needs fresh content of 500 words/article on a monthly basis. We would like the content focused on “ABC Support Services” and “XYZ Computing.” Here are the keywords we’re trying to target: [list of keywords was given”]
I’d like to start out with purchasing:
1. Two (2) easy/breezy technical articles, both for XYZ Computing; AND
2. Two (2) foundational articles, one for XYZ Computing and the other for ABC Support.
I just paid for these articles using PayPal (see attached two receipts for $120 and $170).
A description of our services can be found here [website was linked to]. As I explained, ABC support is our traditional business, and we’ve only targeted local businesses using PPC campaigns. Our XYZ services are new and we’re still building out the infrastructure. Our plan is to roll out our XYZ services nationally using an SEO campaign, and since we’re at it, I figure we should include our traditional IT support business/keywords in the SEO campaign as well.
Since there isn’t any copy yet on our Web site (which is being modified to be more SEO friendly), here is a brief description of our XYZ services: [link to site was given]
Here are a few representative competitors: [links to 3 competitor sites was given]
Client #2: Realtor
Im looking to have local real estate related articles written about San Diego neighborhoods for my real estate website. Please let me know if your firm can help with this.
Editor Note: Sometimes, it really is as simple as this.
Client #3: Travel Website
I am managing an SEO campaign on behalf of my client – a tour operator based in US/Canada. As part of the campaign I have identified several priority themes / areas that could benefit from SEO articles posted to relevant / quality article submission sites.
What I need
Three – four original SEO articles per month complete with keyphrases [editor note: he meant keyword phrases] and links (I will review originality of content)
Keyphrase density of between 3 and 5
Article length: 350 – 500 words
SEO writing firm to send articles to me for sign-off
Submission to high page rank SEO article sites
Reporting to confirm submission
Primary: ‘ABC Holidays’; Secondary: ‘ABC from Zuma’
Key Points to Cover in Articles
This article will be designed for people from Zuma looking to travel to Timbuktu. Again the holidays include cultural tours by qualified tour guides so please mention these. For holiday product information – please see [link to page on their site was included]. Also mention island of Tripoli as well.
As you can see, some clients get very detailed, and others provide very little direction. Usually, the longer you write SEO content for a client, the less direction they give . . . UNLESS, their client changes something, eg, want to focus on different keywords.
Hope this insight helps, and that you’re prepared for a busy fall, as we discussed in yesterday’s post on this site’s parent site, InkwellEditorial.com.
P.S.: Learn how to create multiple freelance income streams. Get Living the Freelance Life! How I Live Internationally and Have Earned a Living Completely Online Since 2007 & You Can Too (on InkwellEditorial.com), a free ebook. SeoWritingJobs.com is an InkwellEditorial.com property.
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