Tag Archives: Content Writing

Using customer location data for effective content writing

Customer location data for effective content writing

Customer location data for effective content writing

Location data is normally used for location-based marketing.

But it can also be used for effective content writing.

Location data is the geospatial information of your average customer or client.

It may not give you the precise location of the customer because that would be a violation of her privacy, but it gives you enough information to know where the person lives, and sometimes, where the person goes for shopping.

Although content writing based on location data may be a new concept, business places and marketers have been using such information for centuries.

Take for example a conventional shop.

The shop owner often becomes chatty with the customers.

She becomes familiar with their likes and dislikes.

Based on this information, she suggests merchandise the customer would prefer.

In the age of the Internet, the same data has become “big data” and organizations use it to draw unparalleled insights for targeted marketing.

Customising and aligning content writing with customer location data

Most of the businesses want to target their customers at a personal level, preferably based on their physical location.

Customized content can be broadcast to customers based on the region, the major events taking place in the region, their proximity to a landmark and even their buying decisions based on where they live.

Content can be written across the entire customer life cycle right from discovery, till the purchase, and even beyond that.

This helps in long-term engagement and retention.

Listed below are a few ways you can use targeted content writing using location data.

Targeted email campaigns

People may subscribe to your mailing list from all over the world.

As you regularly use a mailing service like MailChimp, you begin to gather data about their demography.

Suppose, you have subscribers from different countries like India, America, Canada, and Australia.

The Independence Day (15th of August) celebrated in India is different from the Independence Day (4th of July) celebrated in America.

There is no use sending an email for Independence Day greetings to all the countries.

Through segmentation, you can write content exclusively for people in India, or people in America.

Similarly, Black Friday sales happen in America and in a country like Australia, people may not even know the concept of a Friday being black.

Therefore, you can write an email campaign on Black Friday sales exclusively for your American subscribers.

Content on local events

Writing content on local events can generate immediate traffic.

For example, people in Gujarat celebrate the festival called “Garba” where, usually, young couples dance with each other.

A lot of interest is generated during this festival and people are looking for Garba-related content.

If you write content on such a local event, it generates immediate traffic for your website or blog.

Not just website or blog, even if you have a shop or a restaurant, your content writing can generate buzz and get you search engine traffic, that in turn, can drive foot traffic to your shop or restaurant.

Location-based content writing helps you target customers at a granular, personal level.

The content is written based on their physical location.

The focus points can be their proximity to a business center, or a major event (like a World Cup) happening in the region.

Content can be written targeting their entire journey including discovery and purchase, to engagement and retention.

What is the biggest example of location-based marketing that you encounter in your day-to-day life?

Google search.

When you search for “coffee shop near me” and you live in New Delhi, it is not going to show you a coffee shop in Manhattan.

It is going to show you different coffee shops, not just in New Delhi, but near you.

If you live in Lajpat Nagar, most of the coffee shops displayed in the search results are going to be from Lajpat Nagar.

Where does location data come from?

There are special apps that draw location data from mobile phones.

Different mobile apps ask their users to consent to share their location data.

This location data then is used in campaigns and notifications.

There are many third-party services that can provide you location-based data.

Most of the location-based data right now comes from mobile phones.

How to use location-based data in different forms of content writing?

You can write dedicated landing pages based on geo-targeting.

Targeted advertisements can be written.

You can write targeted content on social media websites, blogs and forums.

You can do mobile targeting by sending notifications that are relevant to some ongoing local event.

How deeply you use location-based data as a content writer depends on your access to the data.

If you are doing content writing for a client, then your client will be providing you the location data that you can then incorporate into your writing.

If you are writing for your own website, you will use different services such as Google Analytics or MailChimp to find information on where most of your visitors come from.

It isn’t necessary that you first get location data and then you write content based on that.

You can also target locations through content writing.

I have been writing content for an accounting client who is trying to target different countries for accounting outsourcing services.

We have written dedicated pages for different locations.

Location data is also used with within malls and shopping complexes.

Precise location of a person can be picked from the mobile phone and highly targeted SMS notification content can be beamed to the prospects.

As humans we care more about what’s happening around us, in our own neighbourhood, in our own locality.

Also, we like to read and hear about places we often visit.

We like local food.

We like local trends.

We want to read about what’s fashionable in our neighbourhood.

We want to update ourselves on what major events are happening in our locality.

In most of the cases we are proud of our hometown and hence, we want to read more stuff about it.

This need can be satisfied with location-based content writing.

What is the difference between blog writing and content writing?

Difference between blog writing and content writing

Difference between blog writing and content writing

I’m answering this question because people seem to be asking it on Quora what is the difference between blog writing and content writing, otherwise, there is a very thin line between being a blog writer and a content writer.

Every content writer can be a blog writer but can a writer providing blog writing services also provide content writing?

This is a tricky question.

I don’t mean to undermine any form of writing, but in terms of increasing expertise, I would like to arrange different categories of writing as

  • Blog writing
  • Content writing
  • Copywriting

I will tell you why.

Right now, on an average I am working with 15 content writers.

Some of them are very good at blog writing.

Some do good content writing.

None can do copywriting.

Copywriting services are needed for writing the main website content.

It is different from merely writing content or blog posts.

Not a single writer has been able to satisfy my clients when it comes to writing content for websites.

But for this blog post, I’m solely focusing on blog writing and content writing.

Difference between blog writing and content writing

Blog writing can be a habit.

It can be a passion.

You can write a personal blog sharing your opinions on politics, environment, literature, philosophy, and any other topic that catches your fancy and inspires you to write regularly.

Blog writing is less formal and more conversational.

A blog can be written by a person who is not a trained writer and still make a good impact.

Blog writing is not a profession whereas, content writing is.

It doesn’t mean you can provide content writing services and not blog writing services.

I offer blog writing services to many clients.

Just like content writing, blogging can be professional too.

Almost every business that has a website also has a blog.

Businesses hire content writing services for blog writing on regular basis.

Blogging is good for maintaining buzz around your business.

It improves search engine rankings because Google prefers blogs over conventional websites.

This is because blogs have fresh content, and they are updated regularly.

Most of the content on conventional websites is static.

There is really something fresh to offer to Google from websites.

Whereas when it comes to blogs, since they are constantly being updated, there is always something new to offer.

Therefore, most of the businesses and entrepreneurs try to publish a blog regularly to improve their search engine rankings.

Blogs can be written on different topics.

Every subtopic can have its own unique blog post.

This gives people an opportunity to write and publish lots of content.

Sometimes quality of writing is compromised but still, much benefit can be derived as long as the readers find value in the writing.

To quickly wrap up, a content writer can write a blog post but not every blog writer can write content for websites.

Since I have been writing professional content for the past 17 years, I can quickly wear different hats and provide my services as a blog writer, a content writer, and a copywriter.

Compared to blog writing, content writing is formal.

When you are writing content for the main website, you also need to have copywriting skills because your writing is supposed to generate business for the website owners.

What stops your content from improving your search engine rankings?

What stops your content from improving your search engine rankings

What stops your content from improving your search engine rankings

Have you been posting content without much success with search engine rankings?

This can be frustrating.

Especially when you are putting in lots of effort and money into publishing high quality content on a regular basis.

How well your content ranks on search engines depends on multiple factors.

High-quality, relevant and engaging content is fundamental.

Without good content there can be no rankings.

Your search engine rankings depend on

  • How much content you have already published.
  • Your content publishing frequency.
  • Your content publishing consistency.
  • The niche of your content.
  • The topics you have been covering.
  • The relevance of your topics.
  • Your click-through-rate on search engine listings.
  • Your bounce rate.
  • Search engine optimization level of your content.
  • Social proof your website and individual links attract.
  • The quality of incoming links from external websites.
  • Internal linking of the content within your website or blog.
  • How easy or difficult it is for the search engine crawlers to access your content.
  • The age of your domain.

There are 200 odd factors that decide the search engine rankings of your content.

The factors that I have listed above are under your control.

There are many factors that are not under your control and they occur over a period of time, provided you keep publishing and promoting your content.

Nonetheless, how you write your content, how you choose your topics, and how you format your content, can have a significant bearing on your search engine rankings.

Over the years I have observed two types of problems that clients face:

  • Less search engine traffic.
  • Decent traffic but no business.

Less search engine traffic happens when content is not published regularly.

Decent traffic but no business happens when incorrect topics are chosen – topics that are not relevant to the target customers and clients.

Below I am listing a few reasons why your content may not be ranking well on search engines.

You are not choosing the topics your readers want

There is no direct connection between what you are publishing and what your readers are looking for.

This may result in your website attracting good traffic but not generating much business, or not generating traffic at all.

You need to have a clear idea of what people are searching for in relation with your business.

For my Credible Content blog I want to attract search engine traffic for the following topics

  • Content writing
  • Copywriting
  • SEO copywriting
  • SEO content writing
  • Email marketing copywriting
  • Social media marketing content writing

And such.

All my topics involved one of these expressions.

When you are writing content to improve your search engine rankings it is very important that in the topics you use the language and the expressions that are normally used by your target audience.

You are choosing topics that are too competitive

Are you writing on topics 25 other websites already rank on top?

It is normal tendency to want to write on topics that you are easily finding in search results thinking that they are in high demand.

Yes, they are in high demand, but many top-ranking websites have already occupied the top space for those topics.

SEO copywriting tips Google screenshot

SEO copywriting tips Google screenshot

Instead of going for very popular topics, use longtail keywords to come up with topics that are highly useful, but not very competitive.

For example, for me, it would be better to not write on “SEO copywriting tips”, but write on something like “10 SEO copywriting tips for beginners”.

I may attract fewer visitors, but at least, there is a chance I will get higher rankings for a less competitive title and there will be an audience for it.

You are not publishing content with greater frequency

This is important in the beginning when the Google search engine crawler hasn’t yet started crawling your website.

The crawling frequency depends on the frequency of content publishing.

The more often you publish, the greater is the frequency of the Google crawler.

If there is no routine, if you don’t publish content regularly, the crawler does not visit your website or blog regularly and hence your content is not included in the search engine index.

Even when it is included, it may take months before it can appear in search results.

So, what should be your content publishing frequency?

In the beginning, I would suggest, if your budget allows, two blog posts or web pages everyday.

I know, you may think it is too much, but if you want to improve your search engine rankings fast, then this is a good way to go.

Publishing twice and then submitting your URL to Google will get your content indexed faster.

You let Google know that your website is being updated with great frequency and hence, it should be crawled accordingly.

Once your content has begun to show up in search results, you can gradually reduce your frequency from two publications to one in a day.

It is recommended that you update your website at least 16 times every month even if you have good search engine traffic.

You are not using your keywords properly

How you use your keywords is very critical to the success of your search engine optimization campaign.

You need to use your keywords as exact phrase and as different parts.

Your main phrase must appear in the title of your web page or blog post.

For example, if I want to optimize my blog post for “SEO copywriting tips”, then this phrase must appear at least once in the title.

It can be a part of a bigger sentence or a bigger phrase, but it must be there.

Your main keyword must also appear within the first 100 words of your blog post, article, or web page.

There is a reason for that.

When search engine crawlers crawl your content, they may not get enough time to crawl the entire piece of content.

Midway they may leave for other sections of your website, or may even leave your website altogether.

Hence, use your main keyword in the beginning itself – this is because your main keyword represents the fundamental idea of what you are writing.

Without overusing, use different combinations of your main keyword (in my case, it would be “SEO”, “copywriting”, and “tips”) all over your text.

Use the exact phrase in some of the headings and subheadings.

If possible, also use the exact phrase at least once in bulleted points.

Also make sure you don’t over use your keyword.

In my case, instead of constantly using “SEO copywriting tips” I can use “writing tips”, “SEO writing”, “SEO tips” and “tips on SEO copywriting”.

With practice you learn to strike a balance.

You are publishing thin content

Most of the SEO experts recommend that your individual web pages and blog posts must be a 1000 words or more.

My blog posts average around 1000-1300 words.

Although Google considers less than 400 words as thin content, how many words you need depends on your competition.

If you run your longtail keyword through a tool like SEMRush it will tell you, based on your competitors, how many words your present blog post or web page must have to get a decent chance of ranking well.

Most of my clients ask for 800-1000 words, which is fine.

Personally, I believe, as long as you are publishing relevant content, there is no such thing as thin content.

Nonetheless, research has shown that the top 10 pieces of content that rank on Google, are more than 1000 words.

If, despite publishing regularly, your content is not ranking well, this could be one of the reasons.

For a couple of months, try publishing blog posts and web pages that are more than 1300 words.

Your Google click-through-ratio is low

Your search click-through-ratio is the number of times people click your link divided by the number of times your content appears in search results.

If, despite appearing in search results, fewer people are clicking your links, it tells the Google algorithm that the current rankings of your links are not solving their purpose, and as a result, your current rankings are lowered.

Therefore, despite the fact that sometimes your content is appearing in search results, just because people are not clicking your links, your rankings are lowered until they are way down the listings to be found.

Your bounce rate is high

I’m talking about the bounce rate in terms of traffic coming from search engines like Google.

Bounce rate means the number of people immediately leaving your website after finding your link on Google divided by the total number of people finding your link on Google, clicking it, and then coming to your website.

Google knows how much time people spend on your link once they find the link in search results.

If, after finding your link on search results and then clicking it, people hardly spend a few seconds on your web page or blog post, the Google algorithm assumes that your link doesn’t deserve its current rankings for the keyword it is showing up right now.

It assumes that the link does not have the information people are looking for, for the associated search term, and hence, your rankings are lowered.

These are a few factors that stop your content from ranking well on search engines.

There may be more factors that are directly in your control, or not in your control, but as far as your content goes, if you can take care of the above, you can significantly improve your search engine rankings.

How to write an effective content writing brief for your content writer

Writing an effective content brief

Writing an effective content brief

For more than two weeks I have been interacting with a client trying to understand what he really requires for his accounting website.

If you are wondering why I talk so much about accounting websites these days it is because, due to my improved rankings for phrases like, “content writer for accounting websites” I’m getting more work from accountants.

But I digress.

So, it has been more than two weeks.

Now, the client has begun to complain that the work hasn’t yet started.

The problem on my side is that I’m not getting a proper brief from the client.

What is a content writing brief?

A content writing brief can be a dedicated document, or it can be simply sent by email.

As long as there is a brief, I don’t even mind clients describing it to me on WhatsApp.

Some clients, especially agencies, sent content writing briefs even for individual blog posts and articles.

Many agencies use tools like SEMRush and with these tools, minute details about individual blog posts can be extracted based on keywords, competitor blog posts, and the number of words required vis-à-vis the competition.

Some agencies use a standardized template that asks you to follow a format something like

  • SEO title
  • One-line description
  • Target audience
  • Primary keywords
  • Secondary keywords
  • Meta description
  • Word count
  • Internal links, if any
  • Some competitor articles
  • CTA
  • Additional notes

Why is content writing brief important?

There are two types of content briefs.

One is the general brief that a client sends about the entire website.

This includes page titles, target audience, keywords and reference websites.

The other is the individual brief for blog posts, web pages and articles.

A content brief makes it easier for the content writer to focus on your core need.

It also prevents rewrites and reduces the number of revisions needed.

The content writer doesn’t miss critical bits of information because you have mentioned everything in the content brief.

Remember that when the content writer’s time is being wasted, your time too is wasted because the delivery of your content is delayed.

Before starting a project, here is the information I need from a typical client:

Clearly defined titles of the web pages

This is the site map.

Over the years I have learned that if the client and I are not on the same page about the exact titles of the web pages, it becomes difficult to write content.

Most of the client send me a bulleted list of web page titles they want me to work on.

We first mutually agree on the bulleted list and then I start working on the content writing process.

But this particular client has just told me the basic nature of his business – accounting outsourcing – and that’s it.

He keeps on saying that I should visit other websites and see how they have structured their content.

It doesn’t work that way.

Every website is unique

They have their own service descriptions.

Even if the basic nature of a business is the same – accounting outsourcing or engineering parts – people provide different sets of services and products.

No two websites are the same.

Why I need to be specific?

The clients are not paying an hourly rate.

They either pay per page or per word.

Hence, I need to be very specific about what pages I’m working on, otherwise, I end up wasting lots of time making changes because suddenly the client thinks that that was not the page he or she was looking for.

Whether I spend one hour or three hours on a document, they are going to pay the fixed rate, and hence, I need to have as much specific information as possible from them.

A list of reference websites

Most of the clients send me a list of reference websites whose content they prefer and the writing style they want me to emulate.

Of course, due to the problems of plagiarism nobody wants me to directly copy the content.

It’s just that when we have a list of reference websites, we have a clear idea of how the content flow must be and how various ideas must be expressed.

It also reduces my workload.

Finding my own reference websites is like throwing darts in darkness.

I can do that – find reference websites on my own – but then, as I have mentioned above, it rarely happens that a client pays an hourly rate.

When you are doing research, you never know how much time it is going to take.

Since the client is managing his or her business, I assume he or she has a better idea of which websites precisely represent their business.

A list of keywords

Although I provide SEO content writing and blogging services, I’m not an SEO agency.

Since most of the clients are paying for content and not for SEO research, I don’t subscribe to expensive SEO tools that are normally used for keyword research.

I’m not saying every business requires SEO tools.

If you have a good understanding of your customers, it is easier to create a basic list of keywords to target for.

As a content writer, I see keywords as a guideline for formulating language.

People use Google and other search engines in their own language.

They type the queries in the language they use in their day-to-day interactions.

The same language must be used when writing content so that it is easier for people to find it on search engines.

This is why a basic list of keywords is important.

Some writing-related guidelines

These are not absolutely necessary but there are some clients who have very specific requirements.

I have been writing content for more than 17 years now and I pretty well understand how content must be written for the web.

I know how it should be formatted for better SEO.

I know how to write content that is easier on the eye.

Nonetheless, sometimes there are certain words and terms the client wants in the content that I may not be aware of because I’m not from that profession.

For example, there must be some legal terms for a law attorney that must be used on the website.

Architects use different jargon – although I discourage the use of jargon, sometimes they are important to express certain concepts.

Then there are some words that need to be avoided.

I have another client who doesn’t want certain words to appear in his content and in the beginning, he hadn’t informed me of that.

After having worked on 15 documents suddenly he realized that the words he didn’t want on his website were appearing in the content.

He wanted those portions to be either deleted or revised.

Wasted lots of time.

A content writing brief saves lots of time

On the client side, it hardly takes 30-60 minutes to write a good content writing brief.

The problem is that some clients cannot understand that a content writer works on a tight schedule simply because the clients are not ready to pay an hourly rate.

On the other hand, they expect a content writer to work as a hired hand, which is not possible.

Two hours wasted in revisions and to and fro communication means two hours of lost revenue for the content writer.

When I had just started working as a content writer I must have wasted hundreds of hours simply because the clients didn’t give me the right content writing brief.

Now I am savvier in that regard.

Take for example the above-mentioned client whose work has been delayed by almost 2 weeks.

I’m not going to spend a few hours finding information that he should have found and delivered to me.

That’s his or her job.

Are you doing customer centric or products centric content writing

Should content writing be customer centric pr product centric

Should content writing be customer centric pr product centric

How do you draw the difference between writing customer centric or product centric content?

I was reading this blog post on the importance of being customer centric or product centric when designing products or mobile apps, and thought that this philosophy is also applicable to content writing.

What is customer centric content writing?

In simple terms, customer centric content writing means focusing on benefits rather than features.

Features are important.

A mobile phone that comes with 280 GB memory sounds quite impressive.

This is a feature – our phone has this much memory.

What is the benefit to the customer?

You’re not going to have to delete data to make more space very soon.

Many phone users face this problem.

They go on making videos and taking photographs unmindful of the space they are taking, and then suddenly, they begin to get the warning that they are running out of space.

280 GB is a lot of space.

You can tell your customers that they can store up to 10,000 videos (depending on the length).

You can tell them that they can store more than 100,000 photographs.

They are not going to have to delete data for at least a few years.

As a content writer, you need to be the customer’s advocate.

It is the customer who buys a product or a service.

It is the reader who reads your content.

If there is no connection, the customer is not going to buy, and the reader is not going to read.

How to write customer centric content?

To be able to write customer centric content you must understand what the customer needs.

Instead of thinking about what you are offering, think about what the customer wants.

Here are a few things you can do to write customer centric content.

Use the language your customers use

Every industry has its own set of jargon.

Jargons may be important within the industry because they make your communication unambiguous and eliminate scope for contradictions and confusion.

Sometimes, something that can be explained in a couple of sentences can be explained in a single word using a jargon.

But your customers may not understand them.

Take for example if someone tells you, “Give me a hard copy.”

Most people won’t know what “hard copy” means unless they have used the word before.

They won’t be able to make out that “hard copy” simply means giving some information on a printed sheet, through a printer.

Hence, if you are writing content for a printer, instead of saying, “it gives you 500 hard copies per cartridge” you can say, “you can print out 500 sheets per cartridge.”

Write in a very simple language

Although I don’t believe in dumbing down readers, when people are quickly reading, they don’t want to spend time deciphering what your sentences mean.

When I’m writing content, as much as I can, I use simple sentences.

When I’m writing content, my intention is not to showcase my prowess as a writer or a content writer.

My only purpose is to make my writing convincing and simple so that people do business with my clients.

Sometimes my sentences contain just three words.

In a copywriting e-book I read that even if sometimes you make grammar mistakes, don’t worry.

Though, I don’t agree.

Grammar mistakes make you look unprofessional.

Nonetheless, use as many simple sentences as you can.

Avoid writing compound and complex sentences as much as you can.

Write for a clearly defined persona

Write for a person.

Don’t let it be a vague person.

Before starting to write your main content, on a sheet of paper or in a Word Doc, make a list of the attributes the person has (for whom you are writing).

You can write her age, her income, the region she comes from, her marital status, how much she generally spends on similar products and services you are promoting, how she has conversations, what are her habits, and so on.

Creating a persona can be time-consuming but it improves the customer centricity of your content writing process.

Once you have defined the persona, imagine the person is sitting in front of you and you are talking to her.

Have a conversation – use a conversational tone.

It is very important to use the language your customer uses on day-to-day basis.

Answer all the questions and fears your customer may have

Your customers may react with “so what?”

They must come up with, “what if?”

Suppose you’re promoting a cloud-based accounting software.

Think of all the questions your target customer may have.

Think of all the apprehensions.

Make a list of all the reasons why that customer may not take a decision in favor of your cloud-hosted accounting software.

Will they be able to port their existing data as it is?

Is there a steep learning curve?

Is the software going to cost more in terms of time and money compared to their existing software?

Is the software accessible on all devices?

Is it customizable?

How many reports does it generate?

How is it going to improve your accounting?

Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages to such an extent that they should start using the software?

Why shouldn’t they use your competitor’s software?

And so on.

Think in terms of what your customer may think.

Speak in a definitive language

Instead of telling them many people are using your software, tell them 1500 people are using your software.

Don’t just tell them that yours is the best software – show them the accolades it has acquired.

Tell them stories of people who have improved their businesses or their personal lives with your software.

Don’t use vague expressions like “etc.” or “so on”.

Even if you have just three claims to make, just make those three claims and then leave it up to the customer whether she wants to be impressed or not.

Write a list of problems your product solves

Customers are more interested in knowing what problems your product solves rather than what cool features it has.

Your mobile phone has haptic touch? What does it mean?

How does it solve the phone user’s problem?

How does it give more feature to the user?

You offer storage space in the cloud?

How easy is it to upload and sync files?

Can the files be synced across all devices?

How much data can be stored?

How secure is the data on your servers?

Don’t assume solutions to what sort of problems people are seeking.

Talk to them.

Conduct interviews.

Conduct survey and polls.

Have one-on-one chats.

What is product centric content writing?

Product centric content writing is when you talk about the features and the parameters of the product without telling your customers how these features and parameters are going to improve their lives.

There is a dialogue in a Kevin Costner movie, Field of dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

This is pertaining to the Las Vegas city that was being built, but does it hold for products?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

When Steve jobs came up with the idea of an iPhone people laughed at him.

It was hard to imagine a mobile phone without a keyboard.

Nonetheless, he went ahead with the innovation and the rest is history.

In such a context, you can say that sometimes the product-centric approach works.

But these are rarest of the rare events.

When writing content, you must strike a balance between customer centric and product centric content writing.

Even when you talk about features, talk about them in such a manner that they read like benefits to the customers.