SEO Writing vs. Social Media Consulting: Which Is More Lucrative?

Almost a year ago (March 2015), I shared this post — $22,000 to Manage Social Media for a Client: Just How Lucrative Is SM Consulting for Freelance Writers?

A freelancer wrote in asking for some advice on how to put together a social media strategy for a client. And when she pulled it together – oh boy was the potential payoff a big one: $22,000! Read the post, you’ll see.

Social Media Consulting and SEO Writing: Some Pros & Cons

Well, this past November, she emailed me again just to touch base (I know, I know, I’m so late posting this update). Quite a few freelancers keep in touch with me, which I love, especially when they contact me when they’re first starting out.

To see someone progress from writing for $8 an article, to charging $50 or $100 or more per piece of content without even batting an fills me with joy like you wouldn’t believe. It reminds me why I continue to blog, but I digress.

Anyway, back in November, following is what this now “very confident” freelancer wrote, in part:

Things are going well here. Still have a blogging client, but I’m actually doing more social media than anything else and enjoying it quite a bit.

Forgive me for not catching you up on the last scenario that I wrote you about [the $22,000 SM project] but, yes, you were right. They did come back around and we worked together for a hot second. Things were cool at first, but went downhill after a couple of months (long, unimportant story). That client is history now…a GOOD history lesson…and I’m better for it.
###

What It’s Like When You Add Social Media Services to Your Freelance SEO Writing Business

Picking up on the fact that she was doing more social media consulting than writing, I responded …

Thanks for the update.

I actually find SM easier than writing, of course. And from a $$ standpoint, you earn more (less work, less time invested). So good for you!
###

She agreed with me, responding:

Oh my gosh, yes, sooooooooo much less work with social media! My SM clients pay once a month and there are no meetings, back-and-forth emails, edit requests or any of that stuff. One client pays $600/mo and it takes me approx. one hour to set his postings up on Buffer for the entire week. Another pays $1200 a month and I spend roughly an hour and a half per day on scheduling his posts.

My writing client, on the other hand, pays $660/month and I have to have long redundant weekly video chats with a team of people who also like to email all week long. Oh, and those emails? They’re always a request to help with something else, answer a question, do something special, make a change in the schedule, edit a post, add a “quick” post about a trending topic, solve a problem, etc.

I spend about 10-15 hours per week on them and everyday it’s something different, lol. After I’m done with this one, I don’t think I’ll be doing much writing for clients. I’m going SM all the way and will reserve my writing skills strictly for my own personal projects (my website, blogging, self-publishing, etc.)!

I wasn’t even thinking about you sharing a follow-up with your audience in my last email. BUT if you do…be sure to tell them that that gig was my first official SM client and that it gave me the confidence to know that I could do it and that companies are happy to pay me to do so.

Since working with that first start-up company, I’ve had three other social media clients. One was another start-up that couldn’t afford to stick with it past a few months and the other two are still with me.

Have a blessed week, Yuwanda!
###

Providing Social Media Consulting and SEO Content Writing Services: Some Pros & Cons

PROS

Time: As this freelancer pointed out and I second, you spend less time on your work for social media clients than you do for your SEO writing clients. This of course means …

Earnings: You tend to earn more on average per hour with social media clients, but you tend to earn more overall with SEO writing clients because – as the point below underscores – interaction is driven by great content. So content tends to cost more than social media account management.

Easy: The work is relatively easy and straightforward managing social media accounts in that there’s not a lot of back and forth with clients outside of the initial contact.

Need: The need for this type of work is growing, as social media is one of the factors that Google figures into its algorithms. The reason it’s growing is because of this:

Activity and sharing on social channels leads to increased visibility and links, and links lead to higher rankings. Sounds simple, but that’s just the basic concept… For content to be shared, the audience has to be inspired. The goal is to create “contagious content (emphasis added)

See the link? The link is that content is needed before social media even comes into play, so if a client hires you to write their content, upselling them on distributing it via social media becomes easier.

CONS

Impatience: Clients tend to be impatient about results. They want to see new sign-ups and activity on their accounts almost immediately. FYI, while you can increase sign-ups via artificial means quite easily, getting people to really start interacting on social media requires some doing – even with great content.

Price: Most clients will expect a discount if they hire you to create their content and manage their social media account.

Time: You can spend a lot of time doing both, as opposed to one or the other for a client, eg, responding to comments; rushing to put together a post on “breaking” industry news/happenings; following up on queries asked by content managers and/or social media who work with/for your client; etc.

How Much Should You Charge for Social Media Consulting & Content Writing

It’s not cheap, that’s for sure .And it’s because it does require a time commitment. Following is a rundown of some of the industry-norm fees charged for creating a social media strategy:

Creating a comprehensive strategy for social media marketing and outsourcing all work for all channels (with a minimum of two social networks) costs anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 per month, with the industry average settling between $4,000-$7,000 per month. If you want the social media agency to start the accounts from scratch and consult on a 4- to 12-month contract, you’ll pay between $3,000-$15,000 per month.

So when the freelancer above came up with her estimate of $22,000, she wasn’t being ridiculous. Creating a strategy and implementing it takes time, and if a company wants you to provide the content and manage their social media community(ies), be sure to …

Charge Appropriately: As the freelancer who wrote me said in her post, “swing for the fence.” The value you’re providing a company by writing their content, distributing it and interacting with their social media communities is immeasurable. It’s a HUGE burden off of them.

When you charge appropriately for it, you won’t mind sitting down to do the work. In fact, you’ll look forward to it because if they’re paying you a pretty penny, you’ll want them to see a measurable return on their dollar. In other words, both your interests are aligned.

Conclusion

I’ve been saying this for five years now (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) – freelance writers should add social media account management to their list of services, simply because it goes hand in hand with creating (SEO) content. … And it pays very well.

Share Your Thoughts

Do you offer social media account management services to your clients? If not, why not? Do you plan to start? If so, how do you find the work — easy, hard, worth it, not worth it? Anything else you’d like to add to this subject? How did you land your social media clients? Are they existing SEO content clients? Please share in the comments section below.

P.S.: Starting an online writing biz? Learn why I trust HostGator for my web hosting needs.

P.P.S.: Get the Training You Need to Start a Successful Freelance SEO Writing Career.

SEO Copywriting Course Online

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you get the knowledge you need to take control of your career — and your financial future.

Writing Addictive SEO Content: 13 Must-Know Tips for Creating it – Now!

I promised to do this post a week and a-half ago, but have been busy banging out the book I’m working on, thanks to a trade publishing contract that fell into my lap. So sorry for the tardiness.

This post was inspired by an email I received a couple of weeks ago from a rep/writer for an online marketing company asking if I might be interested in sharing an infographic they’d created about how to write “addictive content” (just love that phrase!).

The infographic was inspired by 46 SEO and content marketing experts about what this really entails. Needless to say, some great advice was dispensed. As I read through the post, one stat stuck out to me.

50% of content created goes unread. 

You mean I poured three hours of my soul into writing that post — and nobody read it! Arrggghhhh!!

Yeah, the very thought of it can make ya mad as hell or want to cry in frustration, especially as you’ve been beaten over the head with ‘content marketing is where it’s at’ mantra. Ostensibly if you create more content, you get more sales, grow your subscriber list, get more blog readers, yadda, yadda, yadda, right?

Well not so fast there missy/mister! Not only do you have to create more content, you have to make people crave it like a crackhead. Seriously! So whether you’re writing for yourself, or for your clients, keep the following in mind to make readers crave  your addictive content.

Content Marketing Tips So Good They’ll Make You Forego Sand and Surf and Beer!

As I read through the 46 tips the experts gave, the following thirteen are the ones that resonated in my gut and made me spend a beautiful, sun-filled day inside creating this post – even though the ocean I could see from my balcony here in Jamaica was calling my wanted-to-be-bikini-clad-bottom.

1. Tell a Story

I’ve seen this pop up more and more in content marketing – become a master story teller. That often means finding a “human element” and expanding on it. I like to call it pulling on a writing thread. To explain, I love watching shows like Law & Order, 48 Hours and Criminal Minds. Of course, they involve solving crime.

And what I’ve learned by watching these shows is that the “break” usually comes from a small detail. Once that detail is examined further (ie, the string is pulled), it “breaks the case wide open.”

By looking for the thread of humanness, you make the reader care enough to connect. And this is true whether it’s bleach or baby diapers, as this post on how to master content marketing explains:

No matter how simple or boring your product may be, if you tell a good story you’ll have greater chances of getting the attention of your targeted customers. Storytelling is an art that requires great insight [and] … What will get their attention is something that can connect through to their lives.

So look beyond the product service. What story is buried there that the reader will care about. Hint: It’s found in a benefit of the product/service; almost never a feature.

Content Marketing Tips

2. Create an Editorial Calendar

More and more content is being produced these days. Just how much? Consider the following staggering statistics, taken from the linked-to post just above.

A typical consumer may process more than 100,000 words each day and the collective lot will make up to 700,000 searches in Google every minute. Add to this the tons of images, videos, graphics and other content they encounter each and every day. Throw in the 5.3 trillion ads marketed each year and you’ll soon have a clear understanding of the volume of data consumers get to sift through each day.

Creating an editorial calendar will keep your output consistent. You don’t have to produce the most content, but do be consistent with it.

3. Write Evergreen Content

In case you don’t know, evergreen content is content that is relevant for long periods of time. And, there’s an art to creating it. But learning how to do it well is a poster child for working smarter, not harder, in the content marketing trenches. How/why?

Because when people conduct searches a year, two years, three years down the line and find relevant content – even though it was written a few years ago —  they’ll no doubt poke around for more, maybe subscriber to your newsletter or podcast, and bookmark you to come back to later. This of course, sends more visitors your way. It’s a snowball effect.

Following is an explanation of a case study on how well evergreen content can drive traffic and sales for years.

One of our long-time clients is a small business that sells a digestive health supplement for horses. They have done extensive research and pioneered studies on GI ulcers in horses, with a special focus on ulcers in the equine colon which were previously unheard of.

We wrote an educational blog series in late 2010 for horse owners that detailed the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ulcers in horses as well as taught about the well-known stomach ulcers and less-known colonic ulcers.

The results? This series of five evergreen articles received a handful of visits per month when they were originally released. Four years later, they own the search results for terms related to ulcers in horses and those five articles together bring over 1,000 new visits to the website every month. Additionally, we posted the colonic ulcer article as a “Throwback Thursday” on Facebook recently, and it generated another 800 visits that day (plus 40 shares, 67 likes, and 30 comments).

Scores of websites, commenters, and forum posters have shared the link to this article over the years, as well. This is a great example of how the effort put into a great piece of evergreen content continues to deliver years later.

Tip: If you see that a specific post is out of date, but your web metrics show that the page is still attracting a lot of visits, update it to keep it evergreen.

4. Write Longer Posts

As was discussed in this post here on what clients are looking for in content these days, Google appears to be rewarding longer content. And we’re not talking 700 or 800 words. We’re talking monster posts – like 2,000 words. So get down and dirty when you write; explore the nitty, gritty details.

It’s what the search giant seems to want.

5. Answer Common Questions

One of the best ways to create ever green content that is long and detailed is to address all the most commonly asked questions your niche market have. As the case study details in #3 here, it can dominate search engines and drive traffic for years.

If you’re hired to write something like this for a client and you know little to nothing about their industry, besides asking them, Q&A sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers are great places to start to find out what people want to know.

The reason these sites are a great place to start is the questions are posed by real web surfers. And who are the customers of businesses? Those very same real web surfers.

FYI, here are 10 of the most popular Q&A sites on the web.

6. Optimize Your Posts

While you should always produce content with humans in mind, don’t forget to go back and optimize it for search engines, ie:

Tips for Optimizing a Blog Post

Use relevant keywords throughout;

Use keyworded titles in appropriate places;

Link to other relevant posts using appropriate anchor text (but don’t overdo it), etc.; and

Optimize images, videos, graphics, etc. (yes, these need to be optimized too!).

 7. Make Your Content Easily Shareable

There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to share a piece of content quickly, but not having a way to do that besides going to a site like bit.ly to make your own link, then copying it in Notepad, for example; then coming back and copying/pasting the title beside the link, then copying and pasting that whole thing to whatever social media outlet you want to share it on.

Uggghhhh, drives me crazy, especially when I’m in a hurry, but think the info is so good that I need to share it. Many times, I don’t. I may paste the link in a Notepad file with intentions of sharing it later, but never get around to it. How many visitors/sales could you be losing just by not having this simple little button?

Don’t put readers jump through hoops to share your content. See the Share/Save button at the top of every post on this site? It’s free. All you have to do is grab some code, plop into your site and whammo! – you’ve forever made it easy for readers to share the brilliant post you slaved over for three hours.

Now don’t you feel better already?

8. Follow Web Writing Rules

Although longer posts are advised these days, it doesn’t mean readers want with big blocks of text that make it feel like they’re about to be sucker punched. There’s a pretty standard web writing guideline that paragraphs should be no more than three to five lines. To be honest, I think five is too much. Where’ possible, stick with three to four. Use bullet points to further break up chunks of text.

Web readers tend to scan when they read. So use section headlines to clue the reader in as to what’s covered in that section. Here are some more guidelines to help you master the craft of writing for the web.

9. Spend Some Money on Social Media

Larry Kim, the founder of WordStream, and one of the experts who gave his opinion for the infographic we’re discussing here said the following:

I’ve found that paid social media advertising on Facebook and Twitter is more scalable and easier than doing link outreach by email or leveraging expensive PR firms.

I’ve had some personal experience with this (with Facebook), and I have to say, I agree, although I still think email is still remarkably effective.

I talk about some Facebook marketing I did for my line of romance novels – that is before my Facebook account got suspended. It kept my sales pretty consistent, and I was only spending a little bit of money. So again, I can see how this can be extremely effective. If I could still boost ads, I’d be doing it – and would most definitely have boosted my budget by now. It worked that well.

10. Well-researched

Needless to say, your content should be well written. But it should also be well-researched. Give readers other reputable sources to turn to if they want to learn more. Post links to case studies, white papers, industry reports. It gives even more validity to what you’re saying.

11. Define “Good” for Your Market

Content should definitely be personalized. What worked for Client A may not work for Client B. So when you think, “I want to produce good content,” ask “What does that mean exactly for this market?

And it all starts with what customers want to know; not what you want to sell.

12. Use Mixed-Media to Deliver Content

I’m definitely a reader.

I don’t really enjoy watching videos (unless they’re music videos on my TV);

I don’t care for deciphering the info presented on infographics; it can be the coolest infographic around, I just don’t want to comb through it; and

Slideshares drive me crazy! Don’t make me scroll please.

I prefer to see the written word. Sounds crazy, huh? But people consume content differently. Proof? A 2015 study by Fractl and BuzzFeed on how different age groups consume content concluded the following:

  • Blog posts take the top spot for all three generations, followed by images, comments and e-books.
  • Steer clear of quizzes if you’re trying to connect with Millennials or Gen Xers.
  • Trying to connect with Baby Boomers through memes may fall flat — leave this content type for the younger generations.
  • White papers, webinars, SlideShares and flipbooks are among the least consumed content for all three generations.

Hmmm, I’m not the only one who doesn’t like SlideShares. Anyhoo, the point is, you have to feed content to readers the way they like to consume it; not cram it down their throat via your preferred medium.

As an aside, I know I have to get up on the YouTube thing. Most days I’m working in my pajamas, with a bun on top or in back of my head, and no makeup. Not exactly camera ready. But at least once a week I’m gonna have to get over myself, turn on that camera and get to recording. I know! I know!

13. Plug the Content Hole

What does this mean? Simply find what’s missing in top-ranked content, and provide it. To do this, read a few of the top-ranked posts on a subject you’re thinking of writing.

What did they not say that you could say?

What did they not cover in-depth enough that you could explore further?

What did they say that you could put a different spin on?

The work is already there. Google obviously loves the content because it’s ranking high and you found it. So build on that. Do it better, or differently. And your content could be ranking right up there with the big boys.

Sweet!

Conclusion

As these tips illustrate, content marketing is maturing. SEO is evolving. The 46 content marketing tips these online marketing experts give in the infographic (and free ebook) on the linked-to site give you a plethora of ideas on how to help you create content — addictive content you’ll happily give up some beach time to consume.

I’d say you can’t get much more addictive than that. 🙂

Next Post: Update to the post “$22,000 to Manage Social Media for a Client: Just How Lucrative Is SM Consulting for Freelance Writers?

Share Your Thoughts

What tip caught your eye? Anything you’d add to this list? What was/is your favorite tip? Please share in the comments section below.

P.S.: Starting an online writing biz? Learn why I trust HostGator for my web hosting needs.

P.P.S.: Get the Training You Need to Start a Successful Freelance SEO Writing Career.

SEO Copywriting Course Online

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you get the knowledge you need to take control of your career — and your financial future.