Content writers have it tough these days. There’s so much content. How do you get read? You get read by “selling” your stories, and getting free Web page advertising from Google and the other search engines.
I’ve been writing copy for over 30 years. Therefore I tend to look at everything in terms of advertising not only because that’s what I do, but also because it makes writing easier. Writing’s the art of communication. These days, when there’s more “communication” than any person could read in a thousand lifetimes, you need to sell everything you write.
Selling starts with your audience.
Who are they? What do they respond to? Why? What’s the story? Storytelling’s the big new thing in content creation; it’s hardly new, however. Copywriters — PR spin doctors and PR people in general — have always spun a sliver of news into a story. Often they do without the sliver, and just plain lie.
Britain’s tabloid press are past masters at this. 80% of the “news” comes from press releases; journalists spin. Watch the TV news: it’s news as entertainment. It’s almost impossible to sort the real from the nonsense these days. (Journalists get spun too, as well as spinning — viz this.)
Pay attention to your free Google advertising
It’s understandable therefore that in the battle for attention, content writers don’t pay as much attention as they should to the free advertising Google gives to Web pages. (I admit that Google’s capricious about this.)
Yes, Google gives you free advertising — via pages’ meta data. (Maybe, if you’re lucky and the wind’s in the right direction.) All your website pages (Google ranks pages, rather than sites) have meta data. Search engine bots scoop up the meta data, and display it to searchers. So, if you’re not paying attention to your page title, page description and keywords, you’re ignoring your chances to advertise for free, plus a major source of traffic.
As Search Engine Watch says:
At this point you may be thinking, “But we’re talking about Google organic. Aren’t ads for AdWords?” Technically the answer here is “yes”, but thinking of your web page titles and descriptions in terms of ad copy is a useful way to really understand what they are and what they can do for you.
I’ve been nagging clients for years about meta data as advertising snippets. It just takes a minute or two to create proper page titles and descriptions. Why miss out on free Web page advertising?
Yet, they do. My writing students forget the meta data advertising freebies too, so I nag them as well.
Are you ignoring free Web page advertising? Stop doing that. Search engines can’t read, or take action, so you’ll always write for readers… but don’t forget the gold hiding in your webpages’ source code.