Hello hello friends! Today we’re continuing our series on blogging for SEO, and today we’re sharing our best tips for writing well so people will read (and share!) your goods. This posts gives you a few key tips you can put into action today so that you have content that’s not only super helpful, but readable and easy on the eyes.
Have you been keeping up with our Blogging for SEO series? So far we’ve posted about why blogging is essential for SEO and how to get a revolving door of content ideas. There’s juicy stuff in here, so take a read!
How to write irresistible content that propels your SEO standings
1. Please, oh please, don’t bury the lead.
Tell us what you’re talking about right up front rather than at the end of long winded sentences that are so backward from the way you would normally talk. You’re not Charles Dickens getting paid per word, so make your message clear.
As a writer and as a reader it’s so annoying to read a sentence that is weighted down with SAT words when a simple story or analogy could have communicated the same message.
This happens a lot when someone is trying to explain something complicated and turns to long-winded stories.
Here’s one I found today: a linkable asset is any part of a website or organization that its target audience will genuinely perceive as worth citing/referencing to.
This isn’t bad exactly, but it’s just more confusing than necessary. And the key part is at the end. Keep the important stuff up front, and be sure to highlight it.
For example, here’s another way to write this: A ‘linkable asset’ is any content item you have that’s just so good, helpful, or compelling your audience can’t help but share it.
It’s much more readable, not stuffy with jargon, and communicates the same message with more strength.
2. Have perfect grammar.
As a person, of course I have grace for typos, we all have them! But glaring grammar mistakes are one of the quickest ways to show that you don’t care enough to fix it, or don’t know better to do it right. Hear me right: I’m not saying these things are true! But, for people who visit your site and don’t know you in person, the words you write online are the only thing they have to get to know you. A grammar mistake is like having dirty clothes on the couch when you’re expecting company. It’s easy to fix, but it’s pretty unsightly if you don’t.
Use Grammarly or other tools like Hemingway to make sure that the details of grammar don’t get lost: using passive voice too much, subject/verb agreement, and other tricky bits like its/it’s, affect/effect, and possessive pronouns. Grammar matters and is a quick way to sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about, even when you absolutely do.
3. Write in the Active Voice
At the risk of sounding like your high school english teacher, I can’t write this post without talking about active and passive voice. There are a few grammar rules that aren’t necessary to follow in everyday writing(like ending a sentence with a preposition), but this one is a must-know for anyone who wants to write readable content.
Perhaps people think that using passive voice makes them sound smarter or more educated? It makes for a more complicated sentence, but please don’t confuse complicated with high-quality. In practice using the passive voice is just lazy writing that’s hard to read and understand. Write to your readers like you would talk to them if presenting at a conference: be polished but relatable (so no fancy phrasing that you wouldn’t use in normal life)
Which sentence below sounds more clear and like how you would talk?
The blog was posted on by Jessica.
Jessica wrote a blog post.
The peas were thrown on the floor by Jimmy
Jimmy threw the peas on the floor.
A clear giveaway you wrote in the active voice is using the word “by” or the phrase “has been” (Or, to make that a passive voice sentence: ‘A clear giveaway the passive voice has been used for the word “by”).
Sure, there are some situations when passive voice is appropriate. But it’s not often. Passive voice is usually appropriate when you don’t know who did something, as in “Our house was broken into”. You likely don’t know who broke in, so passive voice is appropriate here. But almost always you do know who did something, so say it!
4. Write what people want to read!
Duh! 🙂 What questions is your audience asking? Are multiple people asking the same Qs over and over? Facebook groups are a great way to see what people are curious about–there are so many questions in there! Give the people what they want, and they will love you for it.
5. Tell people you linked to them.
If you include links, email the people you linked to–they’ll be flattered to hear about it, and are more likely to share or link to your post than if you didn’t let them know about it.
PS–This is all we’ll say in this topic for now because we have a WHOLE SERIES on link building coming up! For now, just know that telling people you linked to their site is a magic pill for good SEO backlinks.
6. Promote it.
Post about it on social media, include in an email recap, put your best content in a sidebar on your site or blog. This isn’t spammy or salesy, it’s making good use of what you’ve created, and as long as you’re coming from a place of helpfulness it will all be ok.
Did you know that people only see a small percentage of posts on Facebook? That’s right! There’s so much content zooming by that most of it goes unnoticed. There are tools out there to keep this from happening–we love MeetEdgar because it repurposes your content so that a larger percentage of your audience sees it! (PS–we’re not affiliates, we just love this product!).
7. Ask people to share it!
But instead of saying “Share with your friends!” reframe it into a way of helpfulness or in a way that shows your humanity.
My two favorite examples of this are Marie Forleo and Shay Cochrane. Marie always says at the end of her MarieTV posts and emails something along these lines, “Do you know someone who could benefit from today’s message? If so, then share with them! This could be just what they need to hear to get motivated/make a change for the better/address the elephant in the room with a coworker, etc”. It’s lovely because Marie truly cares and that comes through in her messaging.
At the end of every email from Shay Cochrane she says “Would you help spread the word about our little shop?” and then has links for follows etc. It’s endearing and likely and effective strategy for getting links and shares all while building a relationship with her readers. Shay knows that her audience is all small business owners, so she appeals to their sense of empathy about having a small business.
Friends, what tips from today’s article are you going to implement into your writing style? Tell us in the comments below! We’re so excited to read what you write, so if you put any of these tips into action, we’d love to hear about it!