No matter how many online articles I come across about SEO copywriting, one thing I never quite seem to see much of is what it's like actually working with a freelance SEO copywriter. The process, how it starts, that kind of thing. This may be because freelancers like to keep such things a secret (maybe), or it may be because it's different for every job and impossible to give a general idea (absolutely!). Either way, if you're looking for a freelance SEO copywriter and you've never worked with one before, you may be slightly reticent and you're going to want to have some idea before you jump in. In this blog post, that's exactly what we'll be covering.
Stage 1 – getting the copywriting brief straight
Let's cut the mystery out straight away. It usually goes something like this: 1) I get an email from someone asking if I can do the work. 2) I reply saying either Yes I can or No I can't, depending on my current work-load and if I think I'd be suitable to do the job. 3) I ask the client for a precise idea of the brief, or at least a general outline of what they are thinking of having done – without this, giving a quote is almost impossible. 4) I give a quote, it's either accepted or not accepted, and then we move forward (sometimes there's a deposit involved, but not always). By this stage, I usually know if SEO is going to play a key role in the copy or not. If it is then I work together with my online marketing colleague on this, formulating the best strategy for using keywords in the content. If it isn't, it's (usually) a simpler job which involves much less SEO – like an About Us page for a firm who are already well-established and simply want a captivating story to make their customers smile.
No worries if you'd prefer talking over the phone to email, either. We can do that – it's up to you how you want to play it.
Stage 2 – things an SEO copywriter needs to know
It's impossible to overstate this fact: every SEO copywriting job is different. Some are fast and easy – the client knows precisely what is needed and directs my work-load (this is most often the case with project managers at digital agencies). Some are anything but, through no fault of the client. When a person is unfamiliar with SEO and copywriting, it can take a while to extract the right amount of information needed to do a sound job. In both cases, I'll send out a questionnaire. In the first case it's usually straightforward and short. In the second case, I'll first need to examine what the client wants to achieve with the copy. After having a look at their website and studying the brief – and possibly chatting with my online marketing colleague – I'll put together a detailed series of questions. Which brings us to Stage 3...
Stage 3 – the more information, the better and smoother things will be
One thing which some people struggle with is that SEO copywriting can require a fair bit of assistance from the person wanting the content. You want a plumber, you call them in, point at a sink and explain the problem. Easy. The problem gets fixed. You want an SEO copywriter, things are different. Much as a copywriter spends all his or her time writing for people, he or she is not a mind-reader. By answering the questions fully and spending some time before the copy is written, you're guaranteeing that the writing will be informative, insightful and interesting. Three things which all copy simply has to be, or else you're dead in the water before you've even started.
Stage 4 – fine-tuning
Most times, when I have a brief ready and a series of answers to very important questions, I'll begin writing the copy. But this isn't always the case. Sometimes I'll need to ask a couple of further questions. This may sound like a headache, but it needn't be. Spend more time at the beginning and the end result will be better and more efficiently produced.
Stage 5 – first draft
With so much information amassed, writing the copy usually flows quite well. At this stage, it's still possible for me to integrate new ideas and information into the copy. By the time it's written, things should be looking good.
Stage 6 – crucial client feedback
Now I've written the copy and I'm happy with it (or as happy as I can be...an SEO copywriter's work is never done!) I'll be back in touch with the first draft. This is your chance to ask me to change a few things. I do this free of charge, although if you want a substantial amount of information included which wasn't written into the brief, this may cost a little extra.
Stage 7 – finishing up
With any necessary changes made, the job is sorted, and I'll send you an invoice. All being well, I'm happy, you're happy and the content will go on to do great things for your online traffic and reputation. Yes!