Part of a writer’s job is to support digital marketing campaigns by considering content management, design, usability, trending topics, and the driving of conversions and overall increased engagement, retention, and brand awareness. In terms of writing best practices (clarity of message, readability, correct syntax and semantics), much can also be learned from using SEO best practices to optimize content.
As a result of having worked closely with SEO/SEM experts, I can say my writing has improved two-fold in the last few years. My layering of messaging in the form of targeted, related, and optimal keywords is measurably more strategic. Similarly, now in the age of social media, the lessons that I learned years ago from pouring over the advice of the original Mad Men of copywriting have renewed authority. The practices of optimizing content for the web correlate nicely with good writing practices (and good layout, for that matter). It turns out that being searchable is natural, and in a time when search engines like Google are focused on continuously improving Natural Language Processing, well, the writing process can be downright organic.
I once bumped Walmart from the top Google search ranking for the keywords “manufacturers and sustainability.” How did a press release for a small architectural firm about an even smaller event about building materials transparency bump the billion-dollar, big-box store’s targeted messaging? My reign was short-lived at only a few days; I needed SEO expert help (I was working solo at the time) to stake out a long-term claim to page one. However, the experience was a lesson in how impactful quality content can be. Google’s crawlers loved my writing for several reasons. Keywords made sense in my body text and headers; the language flowed naturally. Furthermore, I achieved a balanced mix (plus the density felt unforced) of targeted keywords, long tail keywords, and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, which are closely related terms. Perhaps, most important, the press release was timely, in other words, illustrative of an increasing monthly trend topic.
The working relationship between your SEO expert and your writer should ideally reflect the push and pull of external and internal forces impacting your business. Understandably, your SEO person is interested in scoring but your writer considers the internal reasons (company branding, for example) or industry specific preferences for choosing one word over another. The magic happens when everything comes together and is supported by social media. The result is good content about your firm and, furthermore, content that organically sticks around.