Note from Lee: Content is royalty in the online marketing world whether it’s for search, social or email. Copywriting skills are essential for effective content and provide marketers a distinct, competitive advantage. I’ve asked one of our Account Managers, Ken Horst, to check out a SEO copywriting course to share with our readers. Please welcome him in his first post to Online Marketing Blog.
Like many experienced online marketers, I’ve been writing copy for websites and blogs for many years. But like any good internet marketer, I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills. Recently I came across a course on SEO copywriting that caught my fancy and it offers certification. Two things I’m interested in, becoming a better writer and getting transferable credit for doing so! I started the SEO Copywriting course about a month ago and this is a review of my experience so far.
The course is presented by Heather Lloyd-Martin, a 20 year veteran of copywriting and president of Success Works, an SEO copywriting company. It’s easy to understand her passion for the topic when you listen to her podcasts or participate in the twice monthly live coaching calls. Heather’s enthusiasm and depth of knowledge are two of the things that make this course both enjoyable and useful. I never thought I would say that about a class I was taking.
The course is designed for both the busy professional and the beginning blogger. As an experienced blogger who writes as part of my job, I am already being reminded of solid principles that I had learned long ago but forgot. Every professional in every industry would agree that it’s a good idea to get back to basics every once in awhile.
In addition to some of the solid basics I am relearning, Heather has also forced us to take a step back in our copy writing process and begin with a SWOT analysis of the company, product or service we are writing about. After that she had us developing personas of our target market. All this before we even started to get into the topic of writing.
I wanted to dive in and start writing right away, but as we learned early on, there is writing and there is writing well. If as SEO copywriters, we are interested in the latter, we need to build a solid understanding of our readers first.
As much as I hated slowing down for this part of the course, I started to realize how many times I put out less than awesome copy because I hadn’t taken the time to understand my audience. Thanks to Heather and her SEO Copywriting course, I won’t be making this mistake again anytime soon.
Three solid tips I’ve gotten from the course so far are;
- Study your competition – Do a search in Google for your most relevant keyword and examine the copy of the top ten sites. Things to notice are:
- Do you like the writing? Why or why not?
- Who is their target market? Is it the same as yours?
- What do they offer that you don’t? Conversely, what do you offer that they don’t?
- Does the site “feel” authoritative? If so, why do you think that is?
- Are there articles, blogs or product reviews?
- Conduct a SWOT analysis of your product or service – Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will highlight opportunities for topics, headlines, categories and content.
- Master your messaging – Start by brainstorming at least ten reasons why someone should do business with you or buy from you. This will generate some great ideas for content.
On a more technical note, the course is laid out in 8 modules followed by a final exam. Each module consists of a workbook, in the form of a PDF, a corresponding podcast, and included in many modules are forms you can use to keep track of your work and manage the tasks she assigns. In addition, there are two live coaching calls each month where you can ask questions and learn from the answers to other participant’s questions. I’ve also found Heather and her team to be very response to emails which was a pleasant surprise.
As a student, I also get access to the SEO Copywriting forum which offers feedback and insights from both Heather and the other students, a great resource. All in all my first month in the program has been very educational and enjoyable as the self-paced learning is perfect for my busy life. Lastly, I’m getting a bonus that I didn’t anticipate; this course has really got me excited about writing again!