Hi, my name is Marjorie.
I'm a relatively new addition to the Mindscape team - I accepted a position here in June (although I've been working with Mindscape as a contractor for close to a year). My background in creative writing, search engine optimization (SEO) and both B2B and B2C marketing have given me a unique skill set which I'm excited to add to Mindscape's arsenal: digital copywriting.
So let's talk about digital content, for a minute.
To start, there are some misconceptions about digital copywriting - and about digital content in general - that I'd like to address. For example:
"It's just content for my website. Nobody reads that anyway. It doesn't really matter."
"Writing for the web doesn't require as much skill as copywriting for print or TV."
"SEO copywriting is just stuffing content with keywords. It's easy."
No, and nope.
Truly sustainable digital marketing and branding (i.e. SEO that doesn't get you blacklisted or cause your rankings to plummet every time Google has a new update) is built on well written, creatively conceived SEO copywriting. So I often end up saying things like this:
"Most companies pay quite a bit for copywriting for brochures and advertisements - why wouldn't you spend a similar amount on copy that is the digital representation of your brand?"
"You wouldn't hire a plumber to fix a computer. Why ask a business owner or company employee to write website copy? It's best to hire someone who's qualified for the job."
Pandas and Penguins and Updates, oh my!
It's really, really important that business owners and marketing managers understand what digital content (SEO copywriting) is (or, rather, should be) and why it's important to their company's bottom line - not because it saves me the trouble of justifying my rates - but because it's become the crux of the digital marketing industry.
Let me show you how and why.
"Content is King" has been a buzzphrase in the SEO industry since 2008, and it's increasingly become the focal point of SEO discussions. Last year, Google's Panda updates seriously altered search results pages, particularly for "content farms" - high volume, low quality content sites (such as those put out by Demand Media). The update was aimed to weed out "fluffy" content (churned out in order to attract large volumes of visitors to support advertisers) in favor of genuinely authoritative sites with quality content.
The takeaway for SEOs: article marketing - writing lots of low quality articles and publishing them on hundreds of content farms for links - is no longer a viable strategy.
That was a big blow to businesses that relied on weak content to gain high rankings.
Most recently, Google's Penguin updates have been carving out even bigger changes in the digital marketing landscape. While these updates are still being rolled out, we do know that Penguin is having a huge impact on sites with questionable and low quality links. This has wreaked havoc on many sites' rankings already, and it will only do more in the near future.
The takeaway for SEOs: cheaply built links - i.e. via directory submissions and other forms of traditional link building - are no longer viable SEO strategies.
Down to brass tacks: Digital Content = SEO, and SEO = Business.
So, then, what ARE viable SEO strategies?
They're the same as they always have been. Build thoughtful, well-planned, easily navigated sites which provide relevant, valuable and interesting content. Build relationships with other industry websites. Attract links by being an authority in your field. Simple, right?
So what does that actually mean?
It means carving out a digital presence that is ripe with interesting, valuable and relevant content. And that could look like a number of things:
- building a website with excellent navigation, user-friendly layout and well written, expert content
- bi-weekly blog posts
- whitepapers and ebooks
- fun infographics which explain complicated concepts
- a series of how-to videos
- engaging - i.e. having a two-way conversation - in social media.
A successful digital marketing campaign will most likely leverage many, or even all of these. This kind of content - often called "link bait" - attract links from industry authorities, prominent bloggers, major media and even the holy grail of links: Wikipedia.
Next Steps for Businesses
Social media, well planned content marketing strategies, engaging content, a consistent digital brand voice - this is the future of SEO. Knowing where to start can be a challenge. Maybe your website is in need of redevelopment - a fresh website is always a good way to start. If your website still provides a good user experience and allows the site owner to add content easily, then maybe your company's first step is an SEO audit and content strategy. Is your business brand social? It should be.
If you're unsure where to begin, it might seem tempting to immediately create social media profiles and begin flinging tweets, updates and blog posts out into the void. Be aware, however, that the more carefully planned your digital strategies are, the more successful - and measurable - they will be. Begin with goals; do the market research (including keyword research); see what your competitors are up to, then get creative.
If you're having trouble figuring out how to navigate your brand's digital marketing, just let us know. We can put you in touch with some great digital marketers and writers.