By now you’ve heard — probably too many times — that content is king. But before you rush out to hire an SEO copywriter, remember an inept king can lead his kingdom to ruin.
When the kingdom is your brand, you can’t afford a minor protest, much less a rebellion. It can take years to build a reputable brand, but a short time to destroy it. Messing with your brand’s identity can cost you your evangelists and your most loyal customers. (New Coke, anyone?)
Although you don’t necessarily have to hire the highest-priced SEO copywriter to handle your web copy, you do need to choose carefully.
How to spot a bad SEO copywriter
Five ways the wrong copywriter can screw your brand are by:
- Talking only about you: Your product or service may revolutionize an industry, but if you don’t address your audience’s pain points and tell them how your company will solve their problems, they won’t care. Potential clients want to know, “What’s in it for me?” If you can’t tell them, they will find another brand that can.
- Losing your voice: Your brand is unique, and your content should emphasize your distinct voice, not mimic someone else’s. If you sound like your competition, why should someone choose you? Also, if your message is inconsistent, your customers may wonder who you really are. Stay true to your brand and emphasize your unique selling proposition. If you don’t, you’ll get lost the crowd.
- Giving you super powers: Exaggerated claims like “We have Matt Cutts on speed dial” or “We know all of Google’s secrets” can cause your brand to lose credibility. If your website states, “We’re the best,” you better have proof to back that claim.
- Over-optimizing everything: Keywords are a reality of SEO copywriting, but content written strictly for search engines is a turnoff. Not only can keyword-stuffed copy cause a visitor to hit the back button, it can also keep a searcher from even visiting your website. A title in the SERPs comprised of nothing but keywords isn’t going to inspire a click through to your site or leave a great impression of your brand.
- Not proofreading (or not having a full grasp of the English language): Spell check is important, but it can’t replace proofreading. Correctly spelled words can still be incorrect. My guess is you didn’t want your client to “ass a salesperson for a sample.” Additionally, paying a low rate for copywriting could leave you with a less-than-stellar copywriter or a writer who doesn’t speak English on a daily basis. Even if you are just planning to use the copy offsite for inbound links, poorly written articles that are associated in any way with your company can damage your brand.
How to spot a good SEO copywriter
Before you hire an SEO copywriter, be sure to do your homework:
- Get references, preferably from people you trust
- Request and review samples
- Make sure your copywriter understands your unique selling proposition and brand tone
- Read any branded copy before it is posted
Choosing the right copywriter can protect your brand’s kingdom and give your content a smooth reign.
Amy C. Teeple owns ACT Web Consulting. An SEO copywriter and web marketer, Amy has more than nine years of professional writing experience. Contact her on LinkedIn or Twitter or by e-mail at email@example.com.