Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge part of building a web presence for your business. Hiring an SEO copywriter can be a wise investment for companies and individuals doing business online. Will you be preparing for SEO success or setting yourself up for failure? Here are five things that can start you off on the wrong foot – and ways you can avoid them.
1. Fail to identify the unique selling proposition (USP).
“We need writing for our Widget McWidget website.”
“OK. What’s so special about Widget McWidget?”
“Huh? Uh, we were hoping you could tell us that.”
What makes your business stand out? Why should people buy what you’re selling? What special value do you offer your current and potential customers? That’s your unique selling proposition.
Don’t waste your time or your SEO copywriter’s by forcing them to try to figure this out. Copywriters don’t create value. Copywriters communicate value. They translate the idea of a business into language that engages and compels people to take interest. SEO copywriters do that and make it easier for your customers to find you on search engines.
2. Provide inadequate details about what is needed.
“We need a blog.”
“Uh-huh. For what?
“Ummm, everyone else has a blog?”
If there’s anything that will set a client up to be disappointed, it’s the lack of clear guidelines for the work they need done. SEO copywriters are not mind readers. If they were, you would hire them to do that instead.
At the very least, before you hire an SEO copywriter, you need to know: What do you want? Who is it for? When do you need it? Where is it going? Why do you need it? How should it look, sound or feel? Better to err on the side of information overload than find yourself disappointed because you provided inadequate information.
3. Have no budget.
“We saw your ad, and we’d love to hire you as an SEO copywriter.”
“Great. What kind of budget do you have for this project?”
“Oh, that. Hmm. How low can you go?”
Would you buy a car without knowing how much you were willing to pay for one? How about a hi-definition TV? A house? Why should the decision to hire an SEO copywriter be any different?
As cheap as possible is not a budget. $3 per blog post is not a budget. $35 an hour is not a budget. Your budget needs to reflect what you’re willing to invest in SEO copywriting. Once again, this is your job. Before you even bother to contact someone, you need to do your research. If you have a three-figure budget, why would you waste time trying to hire the six-figure SEO copywriter? If the industry standard for SEO web copy is $450 per page, why would you only budget $600 for a whole website?
4. Forget to sign a contract.
“Hey, your payment’s way overdue.”
“We decided that we didn’t like what you did so we’re not going to pay you.”
“Er, say what?”
You can imagine how quickly this can turn real ugly.
Contracts protect you by spelling out exactly what you’re paying for. They keep your SEO copywriter sane by letting them know how much work they have to do and when they’ll get paid. Contracts don’t have to be complicated “legal speak.” They can be simple and straightforward, especially for a small job.
5. Pay peanuts.
“How many articles did you need?”
“10 or 15.”
“Uhhh, what’s your budget again?”
If you pay peanuts, you’re better off hiring monkeys instead of SEO copywriters. That “short” 500-word article you need written that “should only take 45 minutes” realistically takes closer to 3 or 4 hours if you want it to say anything worth saying. And on top of that, you want keywords, relevant links and such.
SEO copywriting is more than stringing words together or plugging in keywords. It is real work that real people do, so you need to pay real money. Want original well-written content rich with keywords and strategically placed links? You have to pay for it.
Of course, there are many more ways to get it wrong, many more mistakes you can make when hiring an SEO copywriter. But when you hire an SEO copywriter, remember that you’re not dealing with a word machine. You’re getting a human being with specialized knowledge. If you treat your SEO copywriter like a skilled professional, you are far more likely to get it right.