I am very proud of my clients at Heads and Tails for realizing they need not only more, but better, content on their website. I hear you thinking, “it’s a lovely image” and “what’s wrong with that”? Yes, it is a lovely stylized photo and there is nothing amiss with a menu of services.
Are Photos All the Content You Have?
Photos and images should be part of a purposeful content strategy.
Many of us are visual. We like to see what a place looks like before we eat there. And, we can certainly read text such as the above menu. However, and this is a big BUT, if images are all you have, your site is not being well optimized. Google spiders like to read text. How can google tell by this image that this is a local beauty business in Philadelphia? It can’t. #notgoodforbusiness
Press releases are another type of image that can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you want everyone to see that you made it to the cover of xyz. The only problem is that the image itself doesn’t inform the search engines the same way that a blog post would. So, yes, it’s great you got mentioned, but how many people know about it? Let’s improve those numbers. Here we went from a series of photos to a list of recent posts.
Images + Text = Better for Search
Images plus text are better for search and also for the searcher. Text is a multi-tasker. Here is what I mean. Text is read by humans and search spiders. So, a simple solution to the above menu problem is to convert it to a written menu instead of a static image. Which I did. It is a purposeful and easy to execute content strategy.
Finally, text can be a timesaver. It allows you to elaborate. What do I mean? I will leave you with that thought. Let me know when you are ready to take your content to the next level.
Creative writing is pretty loosely described. We associate creative writing with narratives, character development, prose and poetry. And sometimes, flow.
People ask me all the time “what kind of things do you write?” and I usually answer ‘business writing’ seeing as this is an accurate description of my work week. Or I will say something like, “writers, write” or “I’m versatile”. It seems like a cop out. And an apology for not having a spot on the New York Times Bestseller list.
But, when all is said and done, doesn’t creativity have to infuse web content? Does it not require creativity to find a vocabulary, navigate compliance, and get across a prescribed message? I think so. Feel so. I mean, you get these ingredients (search phrases, a product to sell, a certain number of hours, a specific audience). Then you have to actually create a piece that will both inform and sell. And be readable.
Creativity in the Digital Age
We need to expand the bounds of what defines creative writing. I do not mean add alternative facts. What I do mean is that for those of us who write content for websites, we shouldn’t feel that we have the short end of the creative writing deal. In fact, the internet has jettisoned words and sentences so that we no longer have to go out of our way to read. And with the short attention span of today’s reader, if you can get someone to click a link and sign up, buy your product or request information with some creative business content, hat’s off! That is a win.
Don’t Go Stale
Sometimes, a project can feel heavy. The subject is hard to grasp, resources are as scarce as water in the desert, and compliance has you up in a corner. When this happens to me I feel like stale bread. Useful but dry. I think these are moments to take a walk, a photo or doodle. Also, to remember that what got you here was something deeper than your ability to write what you have to.
For today, here is a poem from my own vault. Enjoy
The Breath is Dancing
Embrace the metaphysical moment in time
Breathe deep and deeper still
Lift up, lift up…
Feel the Spirit Soar
The vibrations sing and resonate within
Clear the negativity from the psychic space
The breath arrives as inspiration
Dance with the inner heartbeat of joy
Exhale in long, languid, sensuous surrender
Celebrate the temple of human being
Relax the mind and let it flow
Allow the inner creator to begin
Watch the design of light unfold
Eyes smiling, rejoice, renew
The happiness in the cells is bliss
Magic mood enhancing melody
Rise up, like sunshine overflowing
Move in compassionate calm and soundless action
Sadness is an illusion in the dreamer’s mind
Get into the grove of hope
The warrior protects the meditative trance
Lift up, Lift up… Dance…
by Rana Waxman copyrighted
I recently attended the ICC where one of the best sessions I attended was about writing for SEO. This is what I do for my job so I admit, I have been less than diligent about posting on my own blog. So what is my motivation? I am reading a new book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. I’m not that far into it, but the theme can be applied to writing style as much as to organizing a closet. So the topic for today is: Are you writing for SEO or Streaming of Consciousness? How to stay relevant to search without getting messy or too wordy and how to tidy up your act.
If you are writing for SEO, you want to make use of search phrases. However, you don’t want to just stuff the same key words into one paragraph. That is akin to putting all your clothes in a bundle on your floor.
The act of tidying is a series of simple actions in which objects are moved from one place to another. It involves putting things away where they belong ~ Marie Kondo
I found, ironically, that the few first paragraphs of this book are cluttered. Repetitious. I’m not disparaging it. For a novel, stream of consciousness writing is acceptable. If you don’t like the author’s style, you don’t have to read the book. Arguably, if you are writing for a website, your goal is two fold: write for the audience, and write for the spiders. Some repetition is necessary although keeping it spaced out is a better option. Akin to hanging your white blouses on separate hangers.
Cleaning up your act: Writing with style and SEO in Mind
Writing for content generation is a layering process.
I believe as writers, we need to have integrity in what we express; this comes across in our writing style or voice. The other component is the idea of practical and functional expression, if what we are doing is to be relevant in digital marketing.
Interviewing Josepf Haslam
This is an interview with @Josepf, well known for SocialSEO, strategy and his Udemy courses among other things.
ME: I was teaching a workshop the other day, and one of the participants mentioned that he had been advised not to write for keywords. As an SEO expert, I thought I would ask you what you thought of this.
J: It’s more accurate to say ‘search phrases’. If you’re not writing to be found then you can completely ignore key words and search phrases, but if you do want to be found for either a key word or a search phrase, you damn well better write for it.
ME: I understand you are presenting at the Intelligent Content Conference (ICC) in March. I look forward to hearing you speak. Would you give us a snippet of what your seminar will be about?
J: My approach is that most people have learned how to use toilet paper and clean up after themselves. I’m giving away 10 expanded pro tips on how to optimize your content for SEO and Social before you publish. Each of these tips is as easy and necessary as using toilet paper. If you’ve mastered the first part, I’m sure you can master these tips.
ME: What is the number one misconception about SEO out there?
J: Unfortunately SEO has been likened to a snake oil salesman and there is a lot of truth to that stereotype. The best way to think about SEO is that you are actually writing for 2 audiences; the search engine spiders and people. You need to understand how to write for the spiders of you’re never going to be found by the people.
ME: What do you feel makes a good blog stand out?
J: A good blog is one that understands the 4 “S’s” of content marketing
No doubt you have at least one social media profile, whether it be Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter. We have become a society who probably picks up the phone less than past generations, relying on texting and IM chats. We document our travels, food preferences, shout out birthday greetings, and curate coats on a variety of different platforms. This can be a way to have online (social) relationships with people we know but live far from. Personal social media is pretty social. We engage.
Business Use of Social Media
So many awesome people working in digital marketing to inspire new campaigns. The most successful ones are cultivating a purposeful presence online by building engagement and getting people to be excited about their products. While you may think that getting likes gets you noticed, getting your content shared, and sharing your own content, has marketing potential.
Once you’ve chosen the right social media technology and created a great participant experience around a compelling purpose, only one question remains. Will they come? Maybe not. ~ Anthony J Bradley/Mark P McDonald.
My friend Ty made me into a meme:
Here are a couple of reasons I like to use social media channels:
To create conversations around something I might be doing, such as writing a new post, or advertising an event
To build engagement with audiences. Maybe we can share each other’s wisdom, or learn new things
To network. You can meet interesting people who share your interests, or want to hire you.
Good for organic SEO.
Often overlooked, some pages get a lot of comments but don’t seem home. It’s like not answering your phone. I try to answer questions, or at least thank people for their comments. I would recommend, if you are trying to build a faithful network, or audience, that you check your page and at least “like” the fact that someone left a remark. Think long term fan base. Think engagement.
My personal preference is to keep my posts short and sweet, use a link to drive traffic to my site or a particular blog post. Long winded commentaries do not necessarily feel like conscious content.
If you are looking for a few tips to make your Facebook business page more fantastic check out this paid piece I wrote here. You can also contact me for social media management!