SEO copywriting can learn from old media

SEO copywriting – a mix of tech magic and good writing

“Everyone has a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.” The quote, most often attributed to the essayist, journalist and intellectual Christopher Hitchens is perhaps more apposite today than ever before, even if it should perhaps be edited to replace the word “book” with “blog”.

It is estimated that before the end of 2017 more than 30 million pieces of content will be shared each day and, to engage in a piece of artful understatement, not all of it may be worth reading.

This is not to denigrate new media – there is, and was long before the advent of the internet age, plenty of chaff and column filler in old media, whether magazines, newspapers, periodicals or, indeed, literary fiction – it’s just that with the sheer proliferation of writing and writers on the internet it is increasingly easy for good writing (the pure, arresting and original stuff) to become lost in a sea of online copywriting noise.

In a way, it’s a new version of an old problem – old forms of media used to be very hard for the uninitiated to access and its gatekeepers frequently did little more than preserve the status quo while keeping new, exciting, unconventional, and less privileged voices firmly locked out.

This was also true for marketing. Old firms reigned supreme and newer firms found it hard to gain the necessary clout and exposure, but nowadays, for both the digital marketing firm and the aspiring writer, it is perfectly possible, and fairly easy, to get yourself published online.

However, whether you’ll be heard in the sea of noise is another matter. Without really effective SEO you might well end up feeling like the last whale left in your particular patch of ocean; a solitary swimmer sending sonar into a cold expanse. The content might be there but for all the readership it has, it may as well remain as unpublished as in the days of yore.

The secret is the tech spells of search engine optimisation – the total optimisation of all web content so as to ensure it sits highly at the top of the search rankings. We’re talking about pleasing the spiders here; with hierarchical URL structure and other such charms.

But, is it possible to advance digital content without great SEO? Some might advise that all you need to do is exploit social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or whatever else has taken the world by storm during the time it has taken to start and finish this list – but everyone else is doing this, so it can only be part of a marketing strategy.

For what it’s worth, and tech magic aside, good writing will always be the key to getting your message read. The lessons are the same today as they were 50 or even 100 years ago: do your research, write with a powerful and natural voice, fact- grammar- and spell-check your work resolutely, and ensure your writing credibility. Then, with the help of a great tech team – to include UX specialists, code masters, SEO supremos and yes, even social media darlings – your writing will win out in the content ocean.

And finally, I asked our tech wizards to give me their top tips on how they would advise a newbie online writer to get a digital diatribe viewed by the masses. Did they tell me their secrets? Yes! Can I divulge them to you? In a word, no – I’m a writer not a techie. You need a great team to create magic and that’s what we are lucky to have here at BORN.

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