Semantic Writing Works
Business owners who want writing for their website often have an unclear picture of how a web writer works.
- It’s not about typing speed
- It’s not about words per hour
- It’s not about knowing the industry segment
- It’s not about getting the copy finished tomorrow
That being said, at its core, writing is simple - but not easy.
Many entrepreneurs have a problem with creating content or finding a writer.
- They understand the need.
- They’re not afraid to step out of their comfort zone.
- They’re willing to invest time and money into content.
But they don’t understand the basic strategy behind reaching customers with written words. Some things look easy - like choosing a title, or writing about a product. But unless you have a strategy to guide you in using tools and writing platforms - one that’s part of your larger business plan - then no quantity of site visitors will get you closer to your goals than you are today.
Telling site visitors how great you are is not the answer.
At its core, content writing is simple. You have a great product or service, and you communicate that to people who really need it. Simple.
But not easy.
Simple isn’t the same thing as easy.
Core web writing is almost indistinguishable from business strategy. It’s about figuring out who will be the one perfect customer for you, and what you need to offer them that they will love. It’s getting their attention, and locking them into a cycle of commitment and reward that will turn them into avid, loyal customers.
Hiring a writer to write “content pieces” will fill your website with words, but it is incomplete. In the absence of core strategy it is almost meaningless when it comes to your website visitors.
It’s like my son-in-law the French chef talking about this spice or that ingredient without working with a recipe or seeing the meal as a whole experience for the dining guests.
Content for content's sake isn’t just incomplete – without proper strategic thinking, that content could be on any website, possibly your competitor’s. It doesn’t differentiate your business. In the SEO world it’s called disambiguation - making it clear.
Content for website filler fails to achieve your goal - getting the customer to know, like and trust your business - and buy. The good news is that web writing is simple.
And as long as you’re learning from someone who understands how text for the web works – strategic writing, that is – to advance your business goals, it isn’t all that difficult to understand.
It’s simple, but it takes time.
Writing Strategy Basics
That business strategy is the reason I encourage business owners to write their own copy. Or, if they are not facile with words, to talk about their business and give me bullet points - their bullet points - that are aligned with their business goals.
It doesn’t matter if the business is general contracting for high-end home remodels, or cloud services for IT, or travel for students, the basic principles of business strategy for web writing hold true.
- Know your business values
- Know your business goals
- Know how your business is unique from competitors
- Know your one true customer
Every web page and every article incorporate all of those elements to deliver a unique core concept that addresses that one true customer.
Ranking gets people to your website, but then you have to speak to them in their language, provide a solution, and make it easy for them to use you as the solution.
Alignment: The Perfect Fit
The perfect fit with your customer is aligning content with who they are and their pain points. The first step to effective writing is to create a perfect fit between the people you’re trying to reach and the offer you make.
As marketing writer Dany Iny says in his Forbes article:
The very first thing you need to do is identify the perfect customer for your product or service. Who is it that has the more painful problem you can solve? And who will be receptive to your message, enthusiastic about your offer, and eager to tell their friends about the experience you create?
Need help? Kayak Online Marketing, in Canada, has the perfect Marketing Persona Tool.
Fleshing out this “customer profile” is important because once you know who they are, you tailor your offer to speak directly to them. The more specific you are the closer you are to reaching them in your content.
Creating the persona profile fits into your overall business strategy because when you know who you’re trying to reach, their values, wants and needs will all help to shape the foundations of your business - and the content.
Handing your writer two keywords and stating your industry segment is not enough to build that alignment.
What The Writer Does
Your semantic writer takes your business values, your goals, your differentiation, and your ideal client as the basis of fitting content into your overall business plan - your vision.
The “not easy” part that many “content writers” skip is collecting data about your current business position. Your writer will
- Look at your current website to examine how easy it is for the ideal customer to get to important content. (UX)
- Research a vocabulary for your overall website by examining core concepts like basic keywords, related keywords and phrases, and even words outside your industry that build relational value for search engines. Then do that all again for each piece of content.
- Examine key competitors to find aspects of the business that are not addressed on their site.
- Create an outline of the concepts to address in each piece of content.
- Research the places your core customer goes to discover basic habits and patterns of speech and tone that appeal to that customer
- Ask you questions to refine and define basic elements of content to address customer pain points
All this happens before the content creator writes one word.
Then, and only then, does the semantic writer begin writing using the syntax, vocabulary, and language of the ideal customer - not your industry - to explain the benefits of your product or service.
Zara writes semantic web content, ghostwrites books, and guides business owners in writing content for customer action.
Want to learn more about content writing? For a free consultation on where you are and what would work best for you call (503) 468-7008.
We’ll schedule a time.