Is there one skill a successful SEO copywriter needs above all others?
There are many skills required for success as an SEO copywriter. But is there one that carries more weight than the others? I’m not sure. But if there is, I reckon it’s the ability to build a rapport with reader.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines rapport as “a close relationship in which people understand each other and communicate well.” As a writer you can’t build a close relationship with readers, but if you demonstrate an understanding of their needs, you’ll go a long way.
Focus on your customers, not you!
During my time in sales, the best thing I learned was the importance of focusing on the customer rather than me; I believe the same principle applies to copywriting.
Let’s face it; we all like to talk about ourselves. Any good sales person knows this and will listen twice as much as they talk and ask great questions along the way.
Part of my strategy for building my business as an SEO copywriter is to attend as many business or networking functions as I can — it’s cost-effective and there’s usually free food!
However, the strategies of some of the sales people I meet never cease to amuse and amaze me: the business-card-distributors methodically trawling the room to ensure that everyone has one of their cards or salespeople who home in on you, talk incessantly about themselves, and show very little interest in you.
Their success rates can’t be high, so I don’t know why they bother. To be honest, when they approach me, their cards usually end up in the bin.
Note to sales people and SEO copywriters: I only care about me!
Am I selfish? Maybe. Should I feel bad? I don’t think so; all consumers are.
So, how do you build a rapport with your readers?
Focus on the problems or desires of your customers
What is it that is on your customers’ minds? What problems can you fix? What dreams can you fulfil? It’s these things that you should emphasise in your copy. Rather than writing, “I am a freelance writer and I create content for websites,” write something like “Is your website failing to convert visitors into clients? I specialise in creating website content that will resonate with your prospects and encourage them to make a commitment.” Do you think that will have more of an impact?
Write in a suitable style
Isn’t it true that we adjust the way we speak and behave to suit the person we’re dealing with? The same should apply to copywriting.
If you’re in the business of supplying plumbing supplies to plumbers, then the content should be very different to if you were a law firm supplying employment advice.
Imagine what your clients look like, how they talk, how they dress, what positions they hold, what problems they face. You should mirror these characteristics in your content. If you don’t, then you risk alienating them.
Make it personal
Many businesses have a bad habit of writing in third person. For example, “Acme Supplies are in the business of working hard to save their customers time and money”. This approach can come across as cold and impersonal. A first-person approach is more direct and engaging. For example, “We are in the business of working hard to save you time and money.”