I taught Freshman Composition for a bunch of years. During those years, I spent countless hours hammering away at trying to impress on my students the importance of audience and purpose as the two foremost considerations before ever setting pen to paper or finger to keyboard. We are, of course, talking about SEO-content writing here (website articles, blog posts, press releases, and so on), but writing is writing – and the fundamentals never change.
A Carefully Delineated Audience for Great SEO Content
Above all, you’ve got to know whom you’re speaking to, the audience you’re trying to reach. If you don’t, you’ll wind up with something like the 1040A instruction booklet – bland, vapid, boring, and aimed at no one in particular because it’s aimed at everyone in general. Just how much fun is it to read that thing?
Maybe the best way to think about this is in terms of letter writing. Back in the days when we used to write letters on paper to, say, family members and friends, we would first sit down and think about the person to whom the letter would be sent (the audience). Then, while holding that person before our mind, we would custom craft a letter for that particular person, keeping in mind all the while her likes and dislikes, education level, favorite topics, and all the rest of what made the person unique. And so it should be with SEO-content writing.
It’s your responsibility, then (in part), as a content buyer, to provide as much information as possible about the target audience for your online content, including:
- Age range
- Marital status
- Ethnic background
- Social stratum
- Geographic location
- Web browsing habits
You simply cannot have too much information about your audience. And the more audience information you provide your writer, the better – more fully custom tailored and thus more effective – the content will be. So, the very first step is to draw up a detailed audience profile.
A Clear Statement of Expected Results for Great SEO Content
Once you’re clear about exactly whom you’re addressing, you need to figure out precisely what you want to accomplish with the content, that is, the expected results. Usually, that means asking this question: “After they read the website article or blog post, what do I want them to do?” When you can state that clearly, you’re good to go.
Keep in mind, though, it’s not always as obvious as it seems prima facie. Your ultimate goal may be to get readers to buy your Deluxe Blue Widgets, but that may not be the immediate goal and the expected result for the content. The expected goal for the content may be simply to position yourself as an authority on Widgets in general. And if you can do this, the reader, who of course has an unquenchable interest in Widgets, will keep coming back to your site to read more about widgets, after a while opt in to your list, and eventually purchase a very high-dollar Deluxe Blue Widget. Think long and hard about this.
Then, having determined exactly what results you expect from the content, you need to communicate that clearly to your writer.
Both Sides of the SEO-Content Coin
Now, to really increase your odds of getting great content, you need to be aware through this whole process that there are two sides to the coin, a reciprocal writer-client relationship. Maybe, after considerable research and thought, you simply can’t pin down your audience or determine what result to expect. A good writer will help you with this.
A good SEO writer will work with you to delineate the audience and define the purpose. That is, after all, one of the things that make a good writer stand out above the rest. But you do need to come to the table with some idea of what you want to accomplish and with whom. The better you understand these two crucial considerations, the likelier you’ll be to get the kind of SEO content you want and need.
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