SEO Copywriting for Digital Marketing Success | Ruth Clowes | Skillshare

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SEO Copywriting for Digital Marketing Success

teacher avatar Ruth Clowes, Professional Copywriter

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class and Project Overview


    • 3.

      SEO Copywriting Essentials


    • 4.

      Keyword Research and Selection


    • 5.

      Define Your Strategy


    • 6.

      Structure Your Ideas


    • 7.

      Write the First Draft


    • 8.

      Add Effective Subheadings


    • 9.

      Create a Clickworthy Title


    • 10.

      Craft a Persuasive Call to Action


    • 11.

      Enhance Readability


    • 12.

      Develop Your Writing Style


    • 13.

      Edit Your Work


    • 14.

      Master Microcopy


    • 15.

      Page Type Tactics


    • 16.

      Maintain and Update Your Copy


    • 17.

      Next Steps


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About This Class

Learn SEO copywriting to craft compelling digital copy that ranks high on search engines, draws in more visitors, and turns your online presence into profit.

At the end of this in-depth masterclass, you'll have the skills and knowledge to write effective, optimised copy for websites that shows up in search results and gets clicks.

What you'll learn:

  • The essential principles of SEO copywriting
  • How to conduct keyword research and select the right focus keyphrase for your content
  • A simple process to define your strategy, including your audience, message, purpose, and approach
  • Techniques for structuring your ideas and writing a first draft
  • How to craft effective subheadings, clickworthy titles and persuasive calls to action
  • Tips for enhancing your copy's readability and developing your writing style
  • How to write successful microcopy and adapt your skills for different types of web page
  • Strategies for editing and maintaining your copy to keep it fresh and relevant.

Why take this class?

I'm a professional copywriter. Businesses hire me to craft effective, search engine optimised copy that delivers results. So I know what works. In this class, I'm sharing the professional tactics I use to help you achieve outstanding results - fast.

This class is packed with detailed walkthroughs, real-life examples, and interactive activities that will help you apply the concepts in real-time.

Who this class is for:

This class is perfect for business owners, creative entrepreneurs, and personal brands looking to make a real impact online.

What you'll need:

You don’t need any special writing skills or experience. Just bring your passion for your brand, along with a clear understanding of its core mission and unique selling points.

Before you start the class, download your Workbook. It breaks down key points from each lesson and provides practical activities to help you put your new skills into action straight away.

Help and resources:

  • Your Workbook lists all the free online tools and sources of further information I refer to during the class.
  • Take a look at my Example Project, where I've created a blog post for Green Cat, a fictitious online store specialising in sustainable cat supplies.
  • If you have any questions or need feedback or help with your class project, don't hesitate to ask.

Ready to unlock the secrets of SEO copywriting and take your online presence to the next level? Hit play now and let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Ruth Clowes

Professional Copywriter

Top Teacher

I'm a full-time professional copywriter and copywriting trainer with over two decades experience in marketing and communications roles.

My job is to write promotional copy that increases sales, builds customer engagement and achieves marketing goals. So I know what works - online, on social media and in print.

I've been teaching on Skillshare since 2019. My mission is to demystify marketing copy and make powerful copywriting techniques accessible to everyone.

I'm a member of ProCopywriters and I trained with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Andy Maslen Copywriting Academy. Further training in SEO, Google AdWords and Google Analytics means I know how to write copy that sounds great and gets results.

See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: SEO copywriting is a vital skill for businesses, creative entrepreneurs and personal brands who want to stand out online, attract more visitors and turn their internet presence into profit. By the end of this SEO copywriting masterclass, you'll know how to write effective, optimised copy for websites that shows up on search results and gets clicks. Hello, I'm Ruth. I'm a full time professional copywriter who writes persuasive digital copy for businesses and charities. I'm paid to write search engine optimised copy that not only captivates the audience, but drives sales, sparks engagement, and helps achieve marketing goals. So I know what works. This is an in-depth class that will give you a thorough insight into all aspects of SEO copywriting, from unlocking the mysteries of keyword research, crafting irresistible subheadings, and enhancing readability to fine tuning your writing style. Each lesson is not only packed with detailed walkthroughs and real life examples, but also designed to be interactive, inviting you to apply these concepts in real time. Your workbook distills key points from each lesson and provides practical activities for you to apply your new skills right away. You don't need any special writing skills or experience to succeed in this class. All you need is a passion for your brand and a clear understanding of its core mission and unique selling points. The knowledge you're about to gain will transform your SEO copywriting and elevate your online presence. Let's get started. 2. Class and Project Overview: By the end of this lesson, you'll have a comprehensive toolkit to squeeze every bit of value from this class. I'll walk you through the different topics we'll be covering, the structure of each lesson, your class project and the resources I've got lined up to support your learning. We're going to start with the essential principles of SEO copywriting followed by an in-depth look at keyword research and selection. You'll then discover how to lay the groundwork for your success by clearly defining your strategy, including your audience, message, purpose, and approach. We'll look at how to structure your ideas effectively before writing the first draft of our web page, then adding effective subheadings that captivate your readers. Next, we'll unlock the secrets to crafting a clickworthy title and a persuasive call to action that's sure to get clicks. We'll then polish your skills by enhancing your copy's readability, developing your writing style, and editing your work until it shines. You'll master writing microcopy, including meta descriptions and image captions, And learn tactics to approach different types of web pages, such as about pages, product pages, and landing pages. And then we'll wrap things up with valuable strategies on maintaining and updating your copy to keep it fresh and relevant. That sounds like quite the journey, right?! But don't worry, I'll be right here with you, providing you with professional advice, efficient techniques, and some brilliant time saving hacks. Every lesson is filled with detailed walk throughs and real world examples. And you'll learn how free online tools can make your SEO copywriting even more streamlined and effective. While the SEO copywriting principles you'll learn can be applied to all web copy, the class project keeps things straightforward. You'll create a blog post from scratch adding to it with each lesson using the skills you learn along the way. That's where your trusted companion, the class workbook, comes in. This workbook is your go-to resource for this class, highlighting key takeaways from each lesson and providing practical examples to help you apply your new skills and complete your project. Your blog post doesn't have to be long. Simplicity is key here. If your website doesn't have a blog, no problem. You can draft a landing page or a product page instead. Now it's time to introduce you to an example I'll be using throughout this class to illustrate the principles and techniques of SEO copywriting. Meet Green Cat, a fictitious online store specialising in sustainable cat supplies. Green Cat is launching a new blog and I'll be leveraging my SEO copywriting skills to ensure its posts rank as high as possible on search engines. As we move through the class, I'll be crafting a blog post for Green Cat, demonstrating each technique I share with you in real time. I'll be using the class workbook and various online tools to create this practical example. You can see clearly how each technique works in a practical context. The tools and real life examples of best practice are referred to during the class are all listed in the workbook. As we progress, follow along in your own workbook applying the techniques to your own project as you learn. Before you move on to the next lesson, download or print out your workbook. You can find the link in the class description and resources tab. We're going to start by setting a strong foundation with some essential SEO copywriting concepts. Let's get to it. 3. SEO Copywriting Essentials: Let's begin at the beginning with a strong understanding of the basics. In this lesson, you'll learn what SEO copywriting is and why it's essential for your online content. We'll demystify key terms, debunk outdated myths, and discover the golden rule of SEO copywriting. With a clear understanding of these concepts, you'll be primed to unlock the full potential of this masterclass and create content that not only ranks high in search results but also resonates with your readers. Let's jump straight in. What is SEO copywriting and why does it matter? SEO, or search engine optimisation, is about optimising your website so it climbs higher in the search rankings. Copywriting is all about crafting compelling content that encourages your reader to act by clicking on your website, sharing your story, or buying your product. When these two specialisms collide, we get SEO copywriting: The craft of creating web content that not only helps your website rank high in search results, but also persuades your reader to engage and take action. You can think of it as a piece of music that has a balance of rhythm, (the structured, measured beat that keeps the song on track) and melody (the engaging, emotional content that you connect with) SEO copyrighting combines structured strategic elements like keywords, headers, and meta descriptions with creative engaging writing. The great thing is that the the best practices for SEO friendly content significantly overlap with engaging and persuasive copywriting techniques. This is no accident. Search engines like Google continually tweak their algorithms to prioritise results containing engaging, useful, and persuasive content. That leads us on to the first of two longstanding myths about SEO: That it's the enemy of user experience. In reality, they're on the same team. Today's advanced search engines recognise and prioritise quality, user friendly content. So, SEO and user experience? Best friends, not rivals. Look at this blog post by Backlinko. It's a clear, straightforward and interesting guide on how to find and fix broken links on a website. If you were looking for information on this topic, you would be pleased to find this article. The post is also effectively optimised for search engines, with the phrase "broken link" appearing 33 times throughout the text. This is an excellent example of how user experience and search engine optimisation can work together seamlessly. Another SEO copywriting myth is that you can still get away with using sneaky tricks like keyword stuffing or manipulating metadata to cheat search rankings. This was only ever partly true - these dodgy tactics invariably backfired in the past, but it's now completely wrong. Today's sophisticated search engines can spot such tactics and penalise websites using them. That's why we will only focus on ethical, effective strategies in this class that not only rank your content, but also deliver value to your audience. Today's search engines have come a long way from scanning for keywords. They now understand the context of your content, making it crucial to prioritise readability and structure. This means using natural language, keeping sentences and paragraphs clear and concise, and logically organising your content with relevant subheadings. Though Google can't recognise more subtle characteristics like style or tone (yet), these elements contribute to user engagement, which Google does measure. To return to our music metaphor, each piece of SEO copy is a unique composition that should evoke a specific reaction from your audience and guide them on a journey with your brand. Just as a piece of music stirs emotions and tells a story to its listeners. If all that sounds a little overwhelming, please don't worry. We'll tackle it all step by step in the lessons that follow. For now, the main thing you need to remember from this lesson is this great SEO copywriting isn't vastly different from great copywriting. While there are some unique considerations for the online world, which will cover in this class, at its core, SEO copywriting is about delivering clear, engaging content that serves your readers needs and holds their interest. So what's the golden rule of SEO copywriting? Simply this: Create content your audience loves and finds valuable. To help you navigate through the SEO jargon and buzzwords, refer to the glossary at the back of your workbook. It's your handy reference throughout this journey. And please, if there's a term used in this class that's not on the list, do let me know so I can add it in. Before you head to the next lesson about keyword research, make sure you've got a firm handle on the concepts we've just covered. You'll also need your brand's mission statement or about page copy. Understanding your company's mission, what it offers and what makes it stand out is beyond the scope of this class. But it's vital for successful SEO copywriting. If you don't have this information, consider a quick detour to my 15-Minute Mission Statement class. You can find the link in your workbook, where you should also add your brand's details for easy reference as you progress through this class. Are you ready to learn all about keyword research and selection? See you in the next lesson. 4. Keyword Research and Selection: The foundation of effective SEO copywriting is keyword research. In this lesson, you'll learn what a keyword is, its significance, and the different types of keywords. I'll share with you a practical three stage approach to conducting thorough keyword research, focusing on your brand, audience and competition. By the end of this lesson, you'll have everything you need to identify key phrases that align with your brand's voice, resonate with your target audience, and have strong potential for high search rankings. If keyword research sounds a bit boring to you, try approaching it as a treasure hunt. The keywords are the precious treasures that you're looking for. This lesson will equip you with a treasure map to help you find them. A keyword is a word or phrase that people type into search engines to find information, like "cat", for example. In SEO copywriting, using the right keywords helps your content show up in relevant search results. Keyword research involves understanding your audience's search language to create a list of keywords for your site to rank for. Central to keyword research is the focus keyphrase, the search term you're targeting for a specific post or page. As the Internet expands, it's becoming more common to use longer keyphrases over single keywords, because longer keyphrases can be more specific, so they can be easier to rank for, especially for smaller websites. We're going to split our keyword research into three stages, Brand, Audience, and Competition. As we move through these stages, we'll build and hone a short list of the potential keyphrases to target before choosing one as the focus keyphrase for our blog post. First, the Brand stage. Here, your brand's mission and unique selling points should guide the subtopics for your writing. Green Cat's home and about pages for instance, offer many keyphrase ideas from "sustainable cat supplies" and "ethical cat food" to "planet friendly cat products" and "eco-friendly cat toys". Don't overthink this stage. If you're familiar with your brand this part should be easy. These words and phrases should be the things you want to write about and you want your brand to rank for. Write your Brand Stage keyphrases in your workbook. Now it's time to move on to the next phase and focus in on your audience. With your mission in mind, you need to get into the heads of your potential buyers. What will these people be looking for? What kind of search terms could they be using while looking for your service or product? There's no need to guess. There are plenty of free tools out there you can use to help you figure it out. The first tool we're going to use is Google Ads Keyword Planner. To use it, you first need to set up a Google Ads account. But you don't need to spend any money or run any actual Google Ads. This tool is excellent for keyword research because it's managed by Google, by far the most popular and powerful search engine. It's suggestions are things real people are actually searching for. As a starting point, add a keyphrase you identified in the Brand Stage. For Green Cats, I might start with "sustainable cat supplies". Compare Google's keyphrases to the ones I identified earlier based on Green Cat's about page. Green Cat describes their products as "sustainable", "ethical", and "planet friendly". But just a few seconds of keyword research reveals that when people are searching for products like Green Cat's, they're using the phrase "eco-friendly". To appear in relevant searches, It's vital that Green Cat starts speaking the same language as its audience. You would be astonished how many brands make this language mismatch error. Don't be one of them when it's so easy to spot and fix. Armed with this information about the language people are using in searches, the next tool we're going to use at this Audience Stage is Google itself. This tactic is called Alphabet Soup. Start writing your main topic or keyphrase, then the letter "A". These are the most common things people search for in your niche that begin with "A". Continue through the alphabet, writing down the suggestions that fit your brand and topic. Continue to build and refine your shortlist of keywords by adding those that are align with your brand and crossing out ones you previously identified that aren't being used by your audience. Your refined list now consists of keyphrases that are relevant both to your brand and your audience. Lastly, the Competition Stage. Here we refine the list further to keyphrases we're most likely to be able to rank for. The easiest way of working out your competition is through a simple Google search of each of your shortlisted keyphrases. Visit the pages that rank highly for a potential keyphrase. What kind of information do they provide? Is their content well written? Consider what unique benefits you can offer that they don't. By analysing your competition in depth, you can identify what they do well and find opportunities to outperform them. Larger companies dominating the results might push your ranking down. Focus on the areas that are underrepresented or where you can add something different. For example, if I search for phrases containing the word "bikepacking", the website is invariably top of the results. This website does a brilliant job of covering all aspects of backpacking by bicycle with well written, engaging, and optimised articles covering all elements of the niche. If I was considering a keyphrase related to bikepacking, I might want to reconsider or identify a specific key phrase that wasn't already being covered by the leading website. As you're doing your competitor research, cross out the keyphrases in your workbook that are heavily dominated by strong competitors and highlight the ones where the competition seems weaker or less relevant. Now you've found the overlap between what you want to say, what your audience is searching for, and what isn't already being covered by your competition. That sweet spot in the middle is your refined keyphrase list. Before you move on to the next lesson, carry out your own keyword research using the three stage approach in this lesson. Use the workbook as a guide to help organise and document your findings. Select a focus keyphrase that you aim to target in your class project blog post. This keyphrase should resonate with your brand, be something your audience is searching for and have potential for ranking well in search results. In the next lesson, we'll zoom right in on our focus keyphrase and use it to define the audience, message, purpose and approach for our blog post. 5. Define Your Strategy: In this lesson, you'll learn another critical foundation for successful SEO copywriting - defining the strategy for your blog post or web page. I'll guide you step by step to identify your audience, hone your message, clarify your purpose, and choose your unique approach. Let's kick things off by understanding these essential concepts. Your audience refers to the WHO: The readers that your post will cater to. Your message is the WHAT: The information or idea you're aiming to deliver. Your purpose is the WHY: What you want to happen as a result of the post. And lastly, your approach is the HOW: The unique way you'll convey this message. Having these four components well defined before you start writing not only streamlines your writing process, but also sharpens its focus and direction. You can think of it like a party. Your audience is your guest list. Your message is your party theme. Your purpose is the reason for the celebration. And your approach is your unique personal touch. Let's get this strategy party started! In the previous lesson, you chose a focus keyphrase that you aim to rank for with your blog post. For our example brand, Green Cat, I selected the keyphrase "eco-friendly cat toys". Keep your chosen keyphrase front of mind during this lesson. Just like how you would tailor your guest list depending on the type of party you are throwing, defining your audience involves identifying the people who would be interested in your content. Understanding your audience means you can tailor your content to resonate with them. Start by building a profile of your ideal reader. For a post based on Green Cat's focus keyphrase "eco- friendly cat toys" The ideal reader might be a cat owner who prioritises eco- friendly products. This person likely values sustainability and is willing to invest in quality products that align with this value. They may also be seeking information about the benefits of eco- friendly cat products, or looking for recommendations on the best sustainable cat supplies. You might find it helpful to visualise an actual person who will be reading your copy. It might be an existing customer or someone you know who fits into your target demographic. A popular free online tool that can help with this is Xtensio's User Persona Template. It's really easy to use and guides you through the creation of a detailed user persona that captures all the information you need. It also looks great and will come in useful for more general marketing activities, not just your website. When defining your blog post's target audience, aim for precision. A narrower audience can make your SEO-focused writing much more straightforward. For instance, take the website Fermenting for Foodies. It's clearly designed for a specific group: enthusiasts of fermented foods. Exploring this site reveals how its articles are meticulously crafted to engage this distinct audience. Opting for a tight niche not only boosts SEO advantages but also simplifies the copywriting process. The party theme gives it its particular direction and sets the expectations for guests. Similarly, defining your message is about setting a clear and consistent theme for your post that resonates with your audience. This is the key idea or information that you want your audience to take away from your blog post. Your message should be directly connected to your focus keyphrase. For green cat, the message could be "eco-friendly cat toys are a sustainable choice that benefits both your cat and the environment". The message should be clear, concise, and valuable to the audience you defined earlier. At this point, you should also consider the purpose of your post, which leads on to what you want your reader to do when they've read it. For example, you might want them to buy a specific product, sign up to a newsletter, or download a resource. Or perhaps the purpose of your post is less tangible. For example, maybe you want your reader to see your brand as more authoritative, or to view your blog as somewhere they can find trustworthy, up to date, or funny content. After reading Green Cat's post, I want the reader to click through to see their range of eco-friendly cat toys and make a purchase. Alongside that, I want my audience to see Green Cat's blog as a go-to resource for information and advice on sustainable cat care. You can think of this action as the next step in the reader's journey. It should tie in with your sales strategy and overall marketing plan. It will be vital when it comes to writing your call to action later. We've defined the who, the what, and the why. Now let's move on to the how of your post. Every host adds their personal touch to the party, whether it's unique decorations, special activities, or signature recipes that sets it apart from other parties. In the same way, your unique approach is the distinct flavour you bring to your content that differentiates it from others and makes it memorable. One popular method is to build your post around a compelling story related to your topic. For instance, with our Green Cat brand, I might choose to share the intriguing story behind the creation of a specific eco-friendly cat toy. Another tactic is to incorporate research or data into your writing. By adding facts, figures, and findings, you can enrich your content and lend it credibility. For instance, Green Cat could weave in some statistics showcasing the environmental benefits of opting for sustainable cat products. You might consider addressing common myths or misconceptions relating to your subject. This approach can draw readers in by piquing their interest. So green cat might choose to debunk the myth that eco-friendly pet products are expensive. Other popular approaches include a 'how to' tutorial approach, using a case study or testimonial, framing your blog post as an interview with an expert or celebrity, a listicle, a question and answer approach, a timeline, a comparison between two or more products or ideas... The list is almost endless. I've listed some popular approaches in the workbook. You can do your own research by reading other blogs, especially those not related to your niche. And you can mix and match the approaches based on what best serves your message and appeals to your audience. For Green Cat's blog post about eco-friendly cat toys, my main approach will be a problem-solution approach that outlines the problem with traditional cat toys, and presents Green Cat's products as the solution to that problem. Before you move on to the next lesson, complete the strategy section of your class workbook. Clearly define the audience you're targeting. Try visualising a specific person as you write. Next, articulate your message, making sure it ties back to your focus keyphrase. Then pinpoint the purpose of your post. What do you want readers to do or feel? Lastly, let your creativity shine as you decide on your approach. Consider storytelling, data, debunking myths, or any of the many tactics that resonate with your brand. 6. Structure Your Ideas: Now that we've identified our focus keyphrase, defined our audience message and purpose, and chosen our unique approach, it's time to create a structure for our post. In this lesson, you'll learn how to generate ideas for topics to cover in your post, group these ideas into coherent, bite-sized chunks and order them effectively. I'll walk you through a practical four-step process that helps you move from a broad brainstorm to a refined and focused outline for your blog post. The theme of structure is going to underpin the next few lessons. Let's start by exploring it and what it means for users and search engines in a bit more detail. The structure of your blog post greatly influences its effectiveness. A well planned structure improves readability, benefits your SEO, and most importantly, increases audience engagement. That's because when we read web copy, we tend to scan text before we commit to reading all the way through. When we're scanning, we're usually looking at the same things: The start of the introduction, the subheadings, and the first sentence under each subheading. We call these core sentences as they often contain the main ideas of each section. If your subheadings are well thought out and your core sentences are engaging, you're more likely to keep your reader's attention and encourage them to read further. Also, a well structured text with logical transitions helps readers understand the connection between your ideas, making for a smoother reader experience. On the technical side, search engines like Google analyse your text using certain patterns. They've got fancy names like the "reasonable surfer" and "semantic closeness". This basically means that they're looking at how closely related your headings and titles are to the paragraphs they describe. If you structure your text well, you'll help understand the relationship between various parts of your content and that can positively impact your contents search ranking. We're going to cover core sentences, transitions, and subheadings in the next few lessons. In order to write those things though, we first need to create a structure to apply them to. Just like a well constructed house, any well structured piece of writing relies on a solid foundation (your message), supporting walls (subtopics that reinforce the message), and a logical layout (the order in which the subtopics are presented). Each room in the house is a subtopic serving a specific purpose, but all contributing to the overall function. Here is a simple four step process to follow to generate ideas for what you want to cover in your post and organise them into an effective structure. Begin with a free flowing brainstorm. Write down everything you want to cover in your blog post, no matter how minor it might seem. You can use tools like mind maps or sticky notes to visualise your ideas. This can help you see connections you might not initially notice. I'm using Miro, which is a free virtual whiteboard. As you're making your list, keep checking through it and add new topics that present themselves. Keep your strategy front of mind the whole time so the topics you choose align with your audience, message, purpose, and approach. For more ideas on what to cover in your post, revisit your keyword research and your competitor sites. Think about what questions people might have about your topic and answer them. Consider recent developments or trends in your field that could be relevant to your main topic. This is not only engaging, it also shows that your content is current. Next, organise your ideas into topics and subtopics. Look at your list and start grouping related ideas. Together, these clusters will become your main topics. Within each main topic, you'll likely have smaller points or details. These are your subtopics. For instance, in Green Cat's post about eco- friendly cat toys, I have a topic about the positive impact of the toys and the subtopics are the environmental benefits, the benefit to the cat, and the wide range of products available. The third step in the process is to sequence your topics. Decide on a logical flow for your topics. Which point serves as an introduction to the next? Which points build upon previous ones? Consider the reader's journey. There are various ways to order your content. It could be chronologically, sequentially, from basics to more complex aspects or problem-solution style. You choose based on what best fits your content. My Green Cat post is going to start with the problems caused by traditional cat toys, introduce the solution and list some products before moving into more detailed sections, then zooming back out to the bigger picture of eco-friendly cat care more generally. The final step is to refine and order within each topic. Order your subtopics, ensuring there's a smooth transition between each. This flow is vital for keeping your readers engaged and guiding them through your content. When you've mapped out the structure of your post, use the table in your workbook to lay out your blogs outline. This outline is flexible. Once you start writing, you might find a different order or grouping works better. The key is to keep your audience's understanding and engagement at the forefront of your decisions. Your blog will also have an introduction and a conclusion. These sections are very important, but at this point, leave them free of subtopics. I'll explain why in the next lesson. Structuring your ideas might seem daunting initially, but it's an essential step that can turn a good blog post into a great one. Trust the process and remember that every writer, no matter how experienced, spends time refining their structure. With practice, you'll find your rhythm and your readers will undoubtedly appreciate the clarity and flow of your posts. Before you move on to the next lesson, ensure that you've thoroughly brainstormed ideas for your post and organise these ideas into clear main topics and subtopics. Create a logical sequence for these topics that guides the reader's journey through your post. Make use of the table in your workbook to lay out your blog's outline. And remember that this outline remains flexible as a tool to guide your writing. After structuring your ideas, you should feel confident and ready to start writing the first draft of your blog post. 7. Write the First Draft: Great job! You've made it through the planning stage and laid a solid foundation for your blog post. Now it's time to bring your plans to life. In this lesson, you'll learn how to transform your detailed outline into the first draft of your blog post. I'll guide you through creating a skeleton post, developing engaging core sentences, and crafting the body of your post in a way that captures your reader's attention while naturally incorporating your focus keyphrase. A first draft is a bit like sculpting from clay. It starts rough and shapeless. Your task is to give it form and refine it. It won't be perfect and that's okay. The purpose is to translate your ideas into tangible text ready for refinement and perfection in subsequent drafts. The approach I'm going to show you today is straightforward and methodical. The first thing to do is transfer our outline into whatever app or platform we're going to do our writing in. For Green Cat's post, I'm using Wordpress. I used to write my posts in Google Docs or Microsoft Word and transfer them into Wordpress when they were complete. But with recent improvements in Wordpress, like this 'Focus Mode' for distraction free writing, I now find it easier and more streamlined to do it all within the platform. For now, let's title our blog with our focus keyphrase. That will serve as a useful reminder as we're writing. Your message is going to be the basis of both the introduction and conclusion of your post. Let's paste it in twice. Now we'll add the topics as headings and the subtopics as body text. I'm also adding a placeholder after every heading for those all- important core sentences. These are the first sentence under each subheading that your reader is likely to read as they're scanning your post to decide if it's worth their time, let's work on them next. Your core sentence should sum up the topic and subtopics that follow. It should also be compelling and encourage the reader to read on. For example, for this first section about the negative impact of traditional cat toys, the most straightforward approach would be to say something like "Traditional cat toys can harbour hidden environmental costs and potentially toxic materials, putting both our planet and our feline friends at risk." Here are five other techniques you can use to make those core sentences compelling. Use a shocking statistic, like, "millions of tons of pet toys end up in landfills each year". Use humor, for example, "just like a naughty cat that's knocked over a house plant, traditional cat toys are making quite a mess of our environment." Ask a question, such as, "Have you ever wondered what happens to the countless traditional cat toys that end up discarded?" Make a provocative statement or give a controversial opinion, like, "Traditional cat toys aren't just filled with catnip, they're packed with potential health hazards." Directly address your reader by starting your sentence with "remember" or "imagine" or "think about". For example, "Remember the last time your cat lost interest in a toy within minutes?" You can mix and match these techniques to keep your writing fresh. And if there's a technique that particularly resonates with your brand or audience, you can use it more often and make it part of your overall approach. That puts you well on your way to developing a unique writing style and tone of voice for your brand, which is something we'll talk more about in a later lesson. You should also include your focus keyphrase in your core sentences where possible. In this case, adding the words, "unlike eco-friendly cat toys" at the start of this second sentence is a simple way of doing that. With your core sentences in place, it's time to write the rest of your post in the same methodical way. Go through each topic and subtopic, presenting information or providing evidence supporting your message. Each paragraph should start with a sentence expressing the main idea, followed by an elaboration or explanation of that idea. There are a few points to bear in mind when it comes to crafting well structured paragraphs. Each paragraph should tackle one main idea, separated from others by white spaces. Don't put multiple subtopics into one paragraph unless it's done deliberately for a stylistic effect. A paragraph should contain more than one sentence. Some sections might benefit from being formatted differently. For example, this short tutorial within Green Cat's post about how to make your own toy will work best as a numbered list. Now that you're deep into your content, it's a good time to write your introduction. When crafting your introduction, your main goal should be to draw the reader in, provide an overview of what the blog post will cover, and highlight the benefits the reader will gain from the post. Your introduction should start with a hook, a compelling sentence or question designed to capture attention. Just like your core sentences, your hook could be a surprising fact, a thought provoking question, a powerful quote, or an intriguing statement. Shopify have done this brilliantly in this blog post about product liability insurance for small businesses, it sounds like quite a dry subject, doesn't it? But they've started their intro with a shocking story that gets your attention and makes it clear why insurance is so important. After hooking the reader and providing context, you should clearly state your main message. This gives the reader a clear idea of what the blog post is about and what they can expect from reading further. Your conclusion serves as the final impactful touchpoint with your readers. Solidifying the lasting impression your content will have. In this essential section, succinctly summarise the key points you've made throughout your piece and re-emphasise your central message. If you opened with a statistic or story, refer back to it in your conclusion to bring your article full circle, giving readers a satisfying sense of completion. Avoid introducing new information. In this section though - the conclusion is meant to wrap up and reinforce not to present fresh content. And of course, both your introduction and conclusion should include your focus keyphrase as a natural part of the writing. Speaking of focus, if you find it difficult to focus on writing your draft, some background noise might help. I recommend Noisily. This platform offers a variety of ambient sounds such as rain, coffee shop chatter, and white noise, which helps improve concentration and boost productivity by creating a distraction free environment. I'm a big fan. Before you move on to your next lesson, complete your first draft using the methodical approach we've covered. Begin by converting your outline into a draft within your chosen writing app or platform. Pay special attention to your core sentences, making them as compelling as possible. And ensure that your introduction and conclusion are aligned with your core message. Use the self review checklist in your workbook to make sure you've covered everything. 8. Add Effective Subheadings: Now that we have the main body of our text drafted, let's focus on enhancing its structure and readability with the addition of effective subheadings. In this lesson, you'll learn the importance of incorporating effective subheadings into your blog post. You'll explore how to craft engaging and descriptive subheadings that are concise and focused. You'll find out how to naturally incorporate your focus keyphrase into your subheadings for SEO benefits - without overdoing it. Lastly, I'll take you through the proper hierarchy of subheadings, ensuring your post is visually organised and enhances the reader's experience. Subheadings in your copy are like road signs. They guide your readers on their journey through your content, letting them know what's coming up next. They help break up the journey, making it easy for the reader to digest the information and stay engaged. Just like how road signs provide important information and guide travellers without them needing to stop, your subheadings should give your readers an idea of what the next section is about immediately, keeping their journey through your content smooth and enjoyable. Headings are also crucial for SEO because search engines use your headings to determine the topic of the content of your website. The great news is, because of the time we've put into carefully structuring our blog post at the start, we already have placeholder subheadings in all the right places. We just need to work into them a little, make them a bit more engaging, and refine the structure so that it suits the content of each section. My first tip for effective subheadings is to be descriptive. Your subheading should accurately reflect the content that follows. This makes it easier for readers to skim your content and find the information they're looking for. This is not the right place to get overly creative - stay factual. You may find that your placeholder subheadings are actually very close to the finished thing. Look how simple the subheadings in this Zillo blog about building a backyard fire pit are. This no-nonsense approach is perfectly suited to a step by step tutorial like this where users are looking for straightforward guidance. Zillo have also heeded my next piece of advice, which is to keep your subheadings short. Ideally, aim for five to ten words. Long subheadings can be difficult to read and could lose your reader's attention. Starting subheadings with action verbs can make them more inviting and create a more direct relationship with your reader. For example, instead of writing "The benefits of eco- friendly cat toys", I could write, "Discover the benefits of eco- friendly cat toys". Subheadings that are intriguing can entice the reader to continue reading. For example, a subheading like "The secret filling in our eco-friendly mouse toy" piques curiosity. If your content is solving a problem, clearly state this in your subheadings. This can be done by framing them as statements or questions. For instance, "How to make your cat care routine more sustainable" or "Ready to make your cat care routine more sustainable?" In your workbook, I've listed these different types of subheadings, as well as some extra ones we haven't covered here. Experiment with them and see which ones work best with your brand and approach. Incorporating your focus key phrase in your subheadings can boost your SEO. It signals to search engines that your content is relevant to that keyphrase. However, it's crucial not to overdo it. Keyword stuffing can lead to penalties from search engines. It's about balance. Aim to use your keyphrase where it naturally fits and makes sense. It should be easy, because after all, your post is about this subject and central to your message and purpose. As ever, your primary focus should always be your reader. Subheadings should enhance the reading experience by providing structure and making your content easy to scan and understand. For this reason, using hierarchy in your subheadings is important, and a simple approach is best. Your title is your primary H1 heading. Your topic headings are H2. Don't be afraid to leave it at that and not use H3 headings or lower if your post doesn't need them. However, H3 headings can sometimes be useful if your subtopics are clearly differentiated or lengthy, or if you want to draw attention to one of them. For example, in the final section of Green Cat's blog, it will aid the reader if I draw out the subtopics of "Cat food accessories" and "Sustainability tips". To return to our metaphor of subheadings being signs on a highway, you want to make sure the bigger destinations and attractions are well signposted, but you don't want to signpost every single place or you end up creating more confusion. In your workbook, I've linked to this article by Yoast, which takes a really detailed look at the subject of headings and their role in usability and accessibility. Before you move on to the next lesson, work through your draft and add subheadings. Ensure that each subheading is concise, descriptive, and engaging, inviting your readers to continue on their journey through your content. Reflect on the placement of your focus keyphrase within your subheadings so that it appears naturally and avoids keyword stuffing. And check the hierarchy of your subheadings so they guide your reader effectively without being overly complex. With that step, your post is really taking shape. It's about time, we gave it a title. Let's get to it. 9. Create a Clickworthy Title: They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but you should be able to judge a web page by its title. In this lesson, we'll explore different styles of titles and understand their unique advantages. I'll also share some practical techniques for title creation, such as using numbers, action verbs, and emotional triggers to make your titles more attention grabbing. Finally, we'll look at how to include your focus keyphrase in the title without losing its natural and engaging tone. Before we dive in, you might be wondering why we're discussing the title towards the end of the writing stage instead of at the start. What I find is that as I craft a blog post, my content can evolve unexpectedly, leading to new insights or a shifted focus. Writing the title last ensures it aligns perfectly with the final shape of your post, encapsulating all the key points. Think of it as sealing a jar. You want to be sure everything is inside before you put the lid on. The title of your blog post is your first chance to captivate your reader and impress search engines. It holds immense power in determining whether a reader will click to read more or pass by. From an SEO perspective, the title is a key factor search engines use to understand the content of your page. If done right, it can significantly enhance your visibility in search engine results. Now, as with the last lesson where we worked on our subheadings, the careful planning work we've already put into defining our message and approach should help us here. If I wanted to keep things simple, I could call Green Cat's blog post "Eco-friendly cat toys: The best choice for your cat and the planet." It's descriptive, clear, concise, and of course it contains my focus keyphrase. Aim for a title that's 50-60 characters. This length is optimal as it's short enough to display fully in search engine results, encouraging more clicks, while still providing enough space to include relevant information that appeals to both readers and search engine algorithms. Great news for fans of keeping things simple and efficient: All of the techniques we explored in the last lesson about subheadings apply to titles too. Starting with an action verb, creating intrigue, solving a problem, or asking a question are all excellent starting points for an effective title. Your approach might also suggest your title. For example, if you've written a 'How to' style post, you're probably going to want to start it with the words "How to..." There's really no need to overthink it! Let's look at a few other title ideas. Many of these can be used for subheadings too. If you experiment with them now, even if you don't use them this time, they might give you some ideas for what to write next. List titles, like "Ten reasons to choose Green Cat's eco friendly cat toys" offer clarity about the content structure and suggest a quick, informative read. Using a number like this is a powerful tactic in its own right. Just be sure that your number is written as a numeral and not a word. Many studies have shown that when used in a headline or title, numerals are more attention grabbing. They also make titles shorter. So it's a real win-win. Look what happens if I type facts about space into Google. Pretty much every title result has a number in it. It's no coincidence. Lists of facts or tips are more clickable when you put a number next to them, regardless of what the number is. Teaser titles, like "The surprising ingredient in Green Cat's eco-friendly cat food" invoke curiosity and suspense, luring readers in to find out more. Just make sure your article does indeed deliver on what it promises in the title. In this case, the ingredient needs to be genuinely surprising. If your headline lures people in with exaggerated claims and the content fails to meet those expectations, you risk high bounce rates, which can negatively impact your SEO. Testimonial or case study titles, such as "How Green Cat's eco-friendly cat toys transformed my cat's playtime" offer a personal touch and create credibility. or try using power words or emotional triggers. Words like "amazing", "powerful", and "revolutionary" can make your title more enticing. For example, "Discover Green Cat's revolutionary eco-friendly cat toys". For more help crafting your title, check out my Writing Persuasive Headlines class. It's packed full of examples for creating tempting headlines, titles, and e-mail subject lines. It also shares a tried and tested fall back headline formula you can use when you get stuck and need to come up with a great headline or title in a hurry. It's perfect for when you're on the spot and you need to come up with something quickly or you're having a creative block and you need to get your creative juices flowing. You can also try out free online headline tools like this one by Headline Studio. As with any automated tool, it's not foolproof, and the free version has limitations, but it's an excellent way of generating ideas. Of course, your focus keyphrase needs to appear in your title. But as we've discussed before, your focus keyphrase is effectively what your blog post is about. Including it should be a no brainer. If you're struggling to find a way of incorporating your focus keyphrase into a title that also accurately describes what your readers can expect from your post... I'll be honest, something's gone wrong. Maybe it's time to have a power nap, then start this class from the beginning. A note on URLs. Your blog post's URL is more than an address, it's an essential part of SEO. Usually, your blogging platform will auto- generate a URL based on your title, but it's wise to customise it. Aim for a clear and concise URL that includes relevant keywords. For instance, "10-eco- friendly-toys-your-cat-will- love" is better as simply "eco-friendly-cat-toys". Trimming the number from the post title is beneficial for another significant reason. It gives you the flexibility to edit your blog post later, either to add or remove content without making the URL inaccurate. This is crucial as altering your URL after the post has been published is something you want to avoid doing. It can break any existing backlinks to your article or potentially cause a 'too many redirects' error. Before you move on to the next lesson, take the time to practice crafting various styles of titles for your blog post and write them in your workbook. Experiment with starting your title with an action verb, using numbers or creating a sense of curiosity. Ensure that your focus keyphrase is naturally incorporated into your title and that it aligns with the content of your blog post. In our next lesson, we'll skip to the end of our post and look at how to craft a persuasive call to action. Keep up the good work! 10. Craft a Persuasive Call to Action: It's time to close the sale and convert your reader's interest into action. In this lesson, you'll discover how to write effective calls to action - CTAs. You'll learn how to strategically place CTAs within your content, how to incorporate your focus, keyphrase, and various techniques to make your CTAs clear, resonant, and compelling. Additionally, you'll understand the psychological triggers, such as urgency and reassurance, that can make your CTAs even more effective. A CTA is a prompt that inspires your readers to do something. Moving them from passive engagement to active participation with your brand. Much like a key is used to unlock a door, a CTA unlocks further interaction with your website or brand, inviting readers to sign up for a newsletter, download a guide, or make a purchase. It's a crucial element that opens the door to new possibilities and deeper engagement with your content. CTAs are also important from an SEO point of view because they can reduce the bounce rate and increase the time users spend on your site. Signalling to search engines that your site provides valuable content. You should aim to use your focus keyphrase in your CTA if possible because it reinforces the relevance of your content. But don't feel like you have to include it every single time. Your CTA is somewhere that can benefit from a more creative or direct approach, as we'll explore later. Remember at the start of this class, as part of defining your strategy, you decided your blog post's purpose? Now it's time to revisit that purpose to create a CTA that helps your reader accomplish what they and you want. First, let's talk about where to put your CTA. The obvious answer is at the end. And indeed, every post you write should have a CTA at the end of it. But you should look for opportunities to include more CTAs in the body of your post. Including CTAs within your content, and not just at the end, offers multiple benefits. Firstly, not everyone reads to the end. CTAs throughout your blog post catch readers at various engagement levels. It also allows for more relevant, context-specific prompts and gives you the chance to address different reader intentions. One might want more information, another might be ready to purchase. Multiple CTAs can also reduce the chance of readers leaving your site prematurely, known as bounce rate, enhancing your site metrics. But it's essential to be balanced. Overloading your content with CTAs can feel pushy. The key is ensuring they're relevant and not disruptive. One technique is to give a direct command. This strategy is all about simplicity and clarity. Start your CTA with a strong action verb. For instance, "Discover the difference an eco-friendly cat toy can make" or "Get your Green Cat eco-friendly toy today". These CTAs are clear, direct, and lead the reader towards the desired action. Neil Patel excels at this technique on his blog. His main CTA - "Book a call" - is direct and active, encouraging visitors to take immediate action without any confusion. The simplicity and directness of his CTA not only aligns with his straightforward expert approach to digital marketing, but also minimises friction, Making it easy for visitors to understand what the next step is and how to take it. Another effective technique is to channel your reader's voice in your CTA. Phrases like, "Yes, I want to make my cat's play time greener" or "I'm ready to switch to eco-friendly cat toys" can resonate powerfully with readers because it feels like you're echoing their own thoughts and feelings. A third tactic is to make it clear what the benefit or reward for taking action will be. For example, "Download your free guide to eco-friendly toys now" or "Claim your 20% discount on all eco-friendly toys today". By explicitly stating what they'll get you create a sense of value. There's something else These two examples have in common - the words "now" and "today". They create a sense of urgency which encourages people to buy. It may seem unlikely that people would be persuaded by just one additional word. It might even feel a little obvious or clumsy, but these magic words work. I've seen the evidence myself through split testing. We've talked about the power of questions before in this class when we looked at crafting engaging subheadings and titles. Questions can work brilliantly in CTAs too, because they engage readers at a psychological level. When someone reads a question, they instinctively want to answer it. This engagement process can lead the reader to think. If aligned with their thoughts and needs, it can nudge them towards the desired action. For Green Cat's post, an effective question might be "Looking for a cat toy that's fun and sustainable?" Notice how I've positioned the question so the most natural answer guides the reader towards the action I want them to take. Finally, another powerful psychological technique - offering reassurance. Making decisions online, especially when it involves spending money or sharing personal information, can be nerve wracking for many users due to the fear of scams, product quality concerns, or past bad experiences. Reassurance in CTAs helps alleviate these fears by providing a sense of security and trustworthiness. "Shop with confidence, 30 day money back guarantee" and "Trusted by over 10,000 cat lovers worldwide" could be just the reassurance Green Cat's potential customer needs to make a purchase. In your workbook, I've included a list of CTA templates you can adapt for your own blog post. There's also a link to this excellent Hubspot article, which is full of CTA inspiration from top brands. In summary, an effective CTA is more than just a concluding sentence. It's the catalyst that transforms your readers from observers to participants. Remember it's your final chance to persuade your reader to take action. Make sure your call to action is clear, compelling, and leads your reader towards a beneficial outcome for both them and your brand. Before you move on to the next lesson, take some time to practice crafting a persuasive call to action for your blog post. Think about the purpose you've defined for your blog and how your CTA can act as a key for your reader to take your preferred action. Try writing three different versions of a CTA for the same goal using the techniques we've explored in this lesson. Experiment with different action verbs, psychological triggers and reassurances. Afterwards, reflect on which version you find most compelling and consider why that might be. 11. Enhance Readability: What's the top thing your copy should be? How about readable? In this lesson, you'll discover the crucial role that readability plays in engaging your audience and improving your search rankings. I'll guide you through a variety of techniques to simplify your language, making your writing accessible and engaging for a diverse audience, all while retaining essential details that make your content informative and valuable. Think of your writing as a window. When a window is clean and clear, people can see the view beyond it without any obstructions. Similarly, when your writing is concise and clear, your message gets across to the reader without any confusion. If the window is dirty or foggy, it blocks the view. In the same way, if your writing is complicated or long winded, it clouds the message you want to convey. So it's important to keep your writing window clear and clean to deliver your message effectively. Simplifying your language doesn't mean dumbing it down. It's a skill to distill complex ideas into straightforward terms without losing essential details. And although you should consider your audience and adjust the reading level of your writing accordingly, by prioritising clarity, you're enabling your reader to focus more on your message and less on deciphering the language. This clarity is essential in the digital age where readers will quickly move on if content is hard to grasp. And with non-native English speakers outnumbering native speakers five to one, being mindful of language barriers and complexity is not just considerate, it's crucial. Lastly, readability isn't just about your readers. It's also a cornerstone of effective search engine optimisation. When your content is clear and accessible, it's human friendly, and that means it's search engine friendly too. Clear, engaging content encourages readers to stay on your page and respond to your calls to action. One excellent example of a website that successfully navigates these challenges is, the British government's official website portal. This website is known for its commitment to clear, straightforward and user friendly content, making complex governmental procedures and information accessible to everyone, regardless of their language, proficiency, or familiarity with the topics at hand. We've talked about why readability is important. Now let's talk about how to make your writing more readable. We've already covered some of the main ways, which are structuring your writing well with subheadings and short paragraphs starting with core sentences. So we're off to a great start. Another powerful technique is to use transition words like "and", "but", "so", and "because" to help guide your reader through your text. Transition words like these show how your ideas connect and help the text flow better. For instance, consider Green Cat's blog post about eco-friendly cat toys. Here is a paragraph without transition words. "Green Cat offers a wide range of eco-friendly cat toys. They are made from sustainable materials. Many customers have given positive reviews. Toys are on sale this month." Here is the same paragraph with transition words added. "Green Cat offers a wide range of eco-friendly cat toys because they are committed to sustainability. Since they are made from sustainable materials, you can feel good about your purchase. In fact, many customers have given positive reviews. If you're interested, remember that some toys are on sale this month." Notice how the version with transition words connects the ideas better and makes the text feel more cohesive. To implement this technique, first review your text and identify areas where ideas jump without a clear connection. Then choose the most appropriate transition depending on the relationship between the points. The most common relationships are adding information (and, also or plus), showing contrast (but, however or instead), giving a reason (because or since) or indicating a result (so or therefore). Notice that these are simple everyday words. Unless you're aiming for a very formal tone of voice avoid uncommon or old- fashioned transition words like moreover, conversely, thus, and hence. They can make your writing come across as academic and oddly robotic. While we're on the subject of using simple words, tactic number two for making your copy readable is to use straightforward language wherever possible. Check through your text and see if you can say anything in a simpler way. Then change it. For example, instead of "purchase" you can use "buy", instead of "utilise", "use", and so on. Using overly complicated language doesn't make you look clever, it just gets in the way of your message. Another tactic for clarity is to shorten long sentences to make them easier to read, Try to limit your sentences to 20 words or fewer. Look at this example from Green Cat. This long sentence is rambling and hard to follow. All it needs is a minor adjustment to the punctuation, and the message is much clearer. The goal is to make your writing as clear and simple as possible. You don't always have to use easy words or short sentences, but they should be your first choice. If you need to use a difficult word or a long sentence to explain something, that's okay, just make sure you have a good reason. If you're looking for a free online tool to help you implement the tips we've covered in this lesson, try Hemingway. It highlights long and difficult to read sentences and gives you alternatives to complicated words. It also helps identify use of the passive voice, which we'll talk about in a later lesson. In your workbook, you'll find a series of sentences from Green Cat's draft blog post. Each of them can be improved using one or more of the techniques you've just learned. There isn't one right answer, but you can check your improved versions against my suggestions at the back of the book. Finally, while it's important to liberally include your focus keyphrase in your text, overuse can harm readability and may be seen as keyword stuffing by search engines, negatively impacting your ranking. Use the search function in your document to highlight instances of your focus key phrase, helping you maintain a natural flow. For example, in this short paragraph, the focus keyphrase appears three times, which may warrant a rephrase. Conversely, if a long sentence lacks the key phrase, consider whether you've strayed off topic, or if the keyphrase could be naturally integrated. Before you move on to the next lesson, take time to reflect on your own writing. Apply the techniques you've learned in this lesson to a piece of your own content. Use an online tool like Hemingway to help identify long sentences and complicated words. Pay attention to how often you use your focus keyphrase. It should be present but not over used. Make the necessary revisions to ensure your writing is clear and simple, setting a strong foundation for the editing stage that lies ahead. In our next session, we'll shift gears and get creative as we explore how to develop a unique writing style. 12. Develop Your Writing Style: Are you ready to step outside your comfort zone and into something a bit more stylish? In this lesson, you'll learn how a unique writing style can serve not only to engage readers, but also increase your content's visibility on search engines. I'll share with you some creative exercises to help you discover and cultivate your own distinctive voice. Generic writing can be compared to mass produced cookie cutter biscuits. They all look and taste the same. While they may satisfy a basic need, they aren't particularly memorable or distinctive. On the other hand, developing a unique writing style is like creating handmade artisan cookies. These cookies have character. They're crafted with care and attention. And each one is unique in its shape, flavour, and texture. Just like these artisan cookies, a unique writing style stands out, leaves a lasting impression and makes readers come back for more. A unique writing style is not just good for your readers, it also serves an SEO purpose. When your content is engaging, your readers are more likely to stay on your page longer, reducing bounce rates, and are more likely to share your content. These are key factors that search engines consider when ranking pages. How do we go about developing a unique style? Let's start with a few creative exercises that can help, starting simple. In your workbook is a list of 20 different writing styles, or tones of voice, that you can consider when developing your own writing style. Highlight or select the two or three that resonate with you. Don't overthink it, pick the ones that you're most drawn to and most fit your brand. Your picks are a great starting point for developing a more nuanced tone. Our next exercise is especially good for developing a warm, conversational tone of voice. When we write for friends, we're unguarded and natural. Choose a topic you're passionate about and draft an e-mail to a close friend explaining it. Notice the language you use, the enthusiasm that seeps through, and how you structure your thoughts. This genuine and personable approach can be a powerful tool in making your writing relatable. An excellent example of a blog that nails this conversational tone of voice is Enchanting Marketing. Reading it feels like chatting with a friend at your favourite cafe, making you feel closer to the writer and the topic. A third technique is free writing. When you're constantly editing and censoring yourself as you write, you might stifle your own unique voice. Freewriting helps overcome this. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write without pause, judgment, or any regard for grammar or structure. This can unearth insights, memories, or phrasing styles that you wouldn't typically use, but are genuinely 'you'. Review what you've written after the timer goes off. You might be surprised to find some gems or patterns in language that reflect your true voice. For a different approach, use a writing prompt generator, like Writer Igniter, to write a story. This way you can still let your imagination run free, but you have a structure to work to. Let's stay with the subject of stories, but your own stories this time. Whether it's a memory from childhood, a recent interaction, or a tale from a trip you took. Stories make content memorable and unique. When crafting content, remember personal anecdotes or experiences related to your topic. Sharing these not only establishes a unique voice, but also builds a bond with readers as they start seeing themselves in your stories or are simply entertained by the narratives you bring to life. Next up, imitate to innovate. We all have authors, journalists, or bloggers we admire for their distinct style. While it's essential to develop your own voice, there's no harm in starting by imitating styles you love. Select a piece by your favourite writer and rewrite it in your own words. This will help you notice elements of their style that appeal to you. Over time, you'll begin to merge these elements with your style. It's a bit like learning to cook. You might start by following recipes, but as you grow confident, you start adding your twist to them. Finally, sometimes it's challenging to see our unique voice, but others can identify it easily. Write short pieces and share them with a trusted group, friends, family, or even writing peers. Ask them what they felt was distinct or resonated with them. Their feedback can help you identify and refine your style. If you want more tips and techniques for developing and working with a tone of voice, check out my Tone of Voice class. You'll learn how to reflect your brand voice confidently and consistently, as well as how to adapt it to different audiences and platforms. Developing a writing style isn't an overnight process. It's an ongoing journey of discovery and refinement. Before you move on to the next lesson, take some time to practice the exercises we've talked about. Start by highlighting two or three writing styles from the list in your workbook that resonate with you. Draft an e mail about a topic you're passionate about as if you were writing to a close friend. Engage in free writing for 10 minutes without self censoring. Experiment with storytelling by writing a personal anecdote related to your content. Try your hand at imitating a piece by a writer you admire and then give it your own twist. Finally, share a piece of your writing with a trusted group for feedback. Reflect on this feedback and think about how you can integrate these insights into your evolving style. In our next lesson, we'll continue our journey by learning how to polish our writing through careful editing. 13. Edit Your Work: In the words of Zadie Smith, "The secret to editing your work is simple. You need to become its reader instead of its writer." In this lesson, you'll learn the importance of editing your work to ensure clarity and professionalism. We'll explore how to approach the editing phase methodically, starting with distancing yourself from your work to gain fresh perspective, focusing on the structure of your post, and then zooming into the detail. You'll also learn the importance of seeking feedback from others to further refine your content. Picture yourself walking through a park. If the path is littered with pebbles and weeds, it can be uncomfortable and irritating, detracting from the overall experience. Similarly, a reader trying to enjoy your content might be put off by spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or unclear sentences, much like those irritating pebbles on the path. During the editing process, you clear the path for a smooth, enjoyable journey through your content. Editing is important because search engines value quality. Quality includes good grammar, and correct spelling and punctuation. Well edited copy signifies professionalism and authority, which can positively impact your SEO. Not to mention that errors disrupt the reading flow leading to a poor user experience and increased bounce rates, something we want to avoid. First off, give yourself some distance after writing, Step back for a bit. Maybe grab a coffee, play with your cat, or even better, sleep on it. I mean sleep on your blog post, not your cat(!) Returning with fresh eyes can make a world of difference. When you sit down to polish your copy, start with the big picture. Does your post have a clear start, middle, and end? Do your paragraphs each contain one central idea? It's easy to get distracted when you're writing a post and lose sight of the main message you chose at the start. The editing stage is a good time to check you're using the active voice. When you use the active voice in your writing, the subject of the sentence performs the action. Using the active voice tends to make sentences shorter and more straightforward, which as we know, can enhance readability. Imagine reading a Green Cat post about a new eco-friendly scratching post. Would you rather read "The scratching post was preferred by most of our feline testers" or "Most of our feline testers preferred the scratching post"? The active version not only gets the point across faster, but it gives our feline testers some well deserved agency. Here's another example. Imagine if this article by CNET was called "Web pages are summarised for instant insights by Google's AI powered tool" with the subtitle "Coding tips and instantly viewable definitions will be included in the search generative experience". Nowhere near as engaging is it? The active voice lends strength and clarity to your writing, but it can be challenging to master. To help you get a better grasp on it, you'll find a short exercise in your workbook. In this exercise, you're tasked with rewriting each of the provided passive voice sentences in the active voice. Next up, trim the fat. If you find yourself saying the same thing twice or using extra words, cut them out. For example, rather than "Green Cat offers a completely unique range of toys", I should just write "Green Cat offers unique toys". Another crucial aspect of editing is checking spelling. It sounds basic, I know, but even the best of us can sometimes slip up, especially when typing quickly. Spellcheckers have their strengths, but they also have limitations, especially with proper nouns or intentionally misspelled brand names. Suppose I'm writing about Green Cat's new "Purr-fectly green catnip mouse". If I mistakenly type "Perfectly green catnip mouse", a spellchecker will let it slide because "perfectly" is a correctly spelled word. But in this context, I've missed the unique brand spelling. Spellcheckers rely on dictionaries. They won't always spot errors like using "there" instead of "their", because both are real words. The error lies in context. While spellcheckers are a good starting point, don't rely solely on them. Do a manual check, especially for brand names or unique terms. If you are unsure about a word or name, a quick online search can save you from blunders and keep your content accurate and professional. On a similar note, always fact check by making sure that any claims you make are backed up by reliable sources to avoid misleading your audience. So, if you're claiming that your product is 100% recyclable for example, make sure that is actually true. You should also check that your writing doesn't contain too many cliches and idioms. For example, phrases like "thinking outside the box", "at the end of the day" and "low hanging fruit" are over used and can make your writing feel unoriginal. While a carefully selected idiom can infuse your writing with character and relatability, excessive use can muddle your message, especially for readers who aren't native English speakers. To help you strike the right balance, consider using a tool like Cliche Finder. It identifies cliches in your text, giving you the opportunity to decide whether they enhance or detract from your message. During the editing stage, it can be incredibly useful to read your work out loud. I do this with everything I write and it's invaluable when it comes to spotting errors I would otherwise have overlooked. It's important that you do actually read out loud and not just in your head. So prepare to feel a bit silly at first, but I promise it's worth it. As well as flagging up mistakes, it can also help you identify parts of your post that are repetitive, or confusing, or lacking in pizzaz. Finally, don't forget feedback. I often send drafts of my work to colleagues before posting. They've offered insights that have made the content stronger. Perhaps buddy up with someone who's at a similar stage in their SEO copywriting journey to you and read each other's posts. Before you move on to the next lesson, it's time to edit your blog post. Start by taking a short break before you review your work. Check the structure of your post - does it have a clear beginning, middle, and end? Look for areas where you can apply the active voice to make your sentences puncher and more direct. Be meticulous with your spelling and punctuation, and don't solely rely on spellcheckers. Read your post out loud and consider asking your friend for feedback. 14. Master Microcopy: Sometimes it's the little details that make or break a project. In this lesson, you'll learn about the significance of microcopy in enhancing user experience and guiding actions on a website. You'll explore how to craft compelling meta descriptions to attract readers, the importance of using descriptive anchor text for internal links, and how image captions and alt texts play dual roles in engaging your audience and optimising your site for SEO. Throughout, I'll guide you on how to seamlessly integrate keywords without compromising the natural flow of your content. Think of microcopy as seasoning in a recipe. A meal might have all the essential ingredients (the main content of your website), but it's the seasoning (the microcopy) that enhances the overall flavour and makes it truly delicious. Similarly, microcopy might not be the main content of your website, but it's these small pieces of text that improve user experience and guide user actions, and they can make the difference between a good website and a great one. First up, meta descriptions. This is the summary of your page that appears right under the URL in search results, that gives people a sneak peek into your content. This is your opportunity in about 150 to 160 characters to intrigue and attract readers to your content. Think of it as your elevator pitch to potential readers browsing search results. A great way to craft your meta description is to start with the key message you identified at the start of the process. For Green Cat's blog post, the meta description could be something like "Discover Green Cat's range of eco-friendly cat toys; Perfect for fun loving felines and eco-conscious owners". Notice how it's succinct yet enticing. It also naturally incorporates the focus keyphrase, "eco-friendly cat toys". While including your focus keyphrase is essential for SEO, It's just as crucial to ensure that the description sounds appealing and natural to your readers. Your goal is to get that click. Be sure your meta description provides a clear and enticing snapshot of what your page offers. There are a number of tools for seeing how your meta description will appear in search results. You may have one built into your blogging platform. If you're looking for a standalone free web tool, Portents SERP Preview tool is extremely easy to use. Simply enter your title tag, meta description and URL, and the tool generates a real time preview. It also provides character counters for both the title and meta description, helping you stay within optimal length. This tool is an excellent resource for fine tuning your snippets to maximise click through rates, making it easier to create SEO friendly content that stands out in search results. Let's move on to the next type of microcopy. When you're embedding links within your content, the clickable words that form that link are known as anchor text. It's more than just a tool for inserting links. It's a sign post guiding readers and search engines alike about the destination's topic. Using descriptive and relevant anchor text can enhance user experience and SEO value. Let's use Green Cat as an example. Instead of linking the generic phrase "Click here" to their eco- friendly toy collection page, I could use something more descriptive, like "Our range of sustainable cat toys". This way, readers know exactly what they'll find on the other side of that link. Plus, it subtly reinforces the topic of the linked page helping with its search ranking. However, a word of caution. Be mindful not to over optimise by stuffing keywords into your anchor text excessively. It should always feel natural within the context of the sentence and be genuinely helpful for your readers. Buffer do a great job of inserting anchor text naturally in their posts, as with this article about scaling success. Notice how the anchor text seamlessly blends with the rest of the copy. Now it might come as a surprise to learn that image captions, the short descriptions underneath images, are one of the most read pieces of text, both online and in print. So, it's worth paying these particular bits of microcopy an extra bit of attention. Image captions play a dual role in your content. Visually, they provide a brief description for readers offering context or an added layer of information about the image they're viewing. SEO-wise, they contribute to your site optimisation, making it more accessible and enhancing searchability. In Green Cat's post, I've included this lovely image of a cat playing with one of their eco-friendly toys. While the image grabs attention, a well crafted caption like "Mittens loves her Green Cat eco-friendly toy, safe for her and the planet" can amplify the message, making it more memorable and tying it back to the message I defined at the start of the process. Always ensure your captions are concise and relevant. While they are a great spot to integrate keywords naturally, the primary goal is to enhance the reader's understanding and engagement with the image and overall content. Alt text, or alternative text, is another crucial component for images on your website, though it often works behind the scenes. Its primary function is accessibility. It describes the content and function of an image to those who might not be able to see it, such as visually impaired users using screen readers. Let's revisit our example, the image of the cat playing joyfully with one of Green Cat's products. For a caption I wrote, "Mittens loves her Green Cat eco-friendly toy, safe for her and the planet." But the alt text needs to be more descriptive about the actual content of the image. In this case, a suitable alt text might be, "A tabby cat playing with a feather toy on a woven blanket." While captions are about adding context or a storyline, alt text is about giving a clear descriptive picture of an image. It ensures everyone, regardless of their ability to view images, understands your content. Beyond accessibility, alt text also bolsters SEO. Search engines can't 'see' images the way we do, but can read the alt text. This provides them with essential context about the image's content, helping in indexing it correctly. When crafting alt text be descriptive, straightforward, and where appropriate, incorporate relevant keywords without forcing them. Before you move on to the next lesson, revise your meta description to make it enticing and reflective of your content. Write descriptive anchor text for your internal links. Create engaging image captions and suitable alt text for all images in your blog to boost accessibility and SEO. And complete the quick quiz in your workbook to reinforce your understanding of these different elements of microcopy. In the next lesson, we'll explore different types of web pages and how you can tailor the techniques you've learned so far to make them SEO friendly. 15. Page Type Tactics: It's time to flex your skills. In this lesson, you'll learn how to adapt your SEO copywriting approach for various types of web pages. From the storytelling essence of an about page to the persuasive focused nature of a landing page. This lesson guides you in tailoring your writing style, tone, and keyword use for optimal results on each page. Just like a skilled worker uses different tools for different tasks. A hammer for a nail, a screwdriver for a screw, and so on. A skilled copywriter uses different tactics for different types of pages. An about page, a product page, a category page - Each of these calls for a different tool from your SEO copywriting toolbox. And knowing which tool to use for each task? That's what this lesson is all about. Many of the techniques we've covered in this class are universal and can be applied to any web copy. But some types of pages call for you to flex your approach or prioritise certain techniques, because each page on your website has its own unique purpose and target audience. Your about page tells the story of your company. It's often one of the most visited pages on a website, making it an excellent opportunity for SEO. When writing your about page, use your keywords naturally, focusing on your company's unique selling proposition. In addition to showcasing your company's personality and values, think of the about page as a way to build trust with your audience. People want to know the humans behind the business. Share the stories of your team members and explain how your journey led you to offer your product or service. This authenticity not only enriches the story you're telling, but also helps you connect on a deeper level with your audience. Which is great for user engagement. Since Google appreciates content that keeps visitors engaged, this could indirectly boost your SEO. Product pages are where the magic happens, where your audience makes the decision to purchase. Optimising these pages for SEO involves using relevant keywords in your product descriptions, titles, and meta descriptions. Remember to keep your descriptions clear and concise, emphasizing the benefits of your product, not just features and of course, including a strong call to action. Besides incorporating relevant keywords, consider the structure and formatting of your product pages. Write in a scannable, easy to read format, using headings and bullet points to break up large blocks of text. This helps the reader quickly identify the key benefits of your product, enhancing the user experience. Consider using customer testimonials or reviews directly onto the product page. These act as social proof and can significantly influence a potential buyer's decision. Landing pages are typically designed to convert visitors into leads or customers. Here it's all about persuasive, concise writing and clear calls to action. The copy should be centered around a single objective or message. Remember to include keywords in the headline, subheadings, and throughout the text. In addition to keyword placement, focus on creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity in your copy. Phrases like "limited time offer" or "exclusive deal" can entice visitors to take an immediate action. Make sure your page is clean and uncluttered, avoiding unnecessary elements that might detract the visitor from the primary goal - conversion. In this space, clarity and simplicity are your best allies. Category pages are the middle ground between your home page and your product pages. They help to structure your site and make it easier for users to find what they need. For category pages, use descriptive keywords, rich headlines, and short but engaging descriptions. This will help users navigate your site and boost your SEO ranking. Look at this page on the website of Office Shoes. You don't have to know much about SEO to work out that, on this page, Office are targeting the keyword "loafers". The word is everywhere on this page, but Office has just about managed to make this page summary sound natural, despite using the word "loafers" four times in three sentences. When crafting your category pages, you also need to think of the user's journey. Use internal linking strategies to guide visitors towards relevant products or subcategories. This not only enhances the user experience, but also distributes page authority throughout your site, which is a plus for SEO. And don't forget about the meta description for these pages. It's another opportunity to use your keywords effectively and encourage clicks from search engine results. FAQ pages can be a great opportunity to incorporate your keywords into helpful answers. Write clear, concise answers that address the questions accurately. Remember, people often phrase searches as questions. Try to align your FAQ questions with the phrases users might search for. In addition to helping your site's visitors, well constructed FAQ pages can be gold mines for featured snippets on search engine result pages. To optimise your FAQ page for SEO, make the questions headings and use schema markup to signal to search engines that this is a Q&A section. You can use Google's Markup Helper to help you do this. Use natural language and incorporate long tail keywords where they fit seamlessly. Don't shy away from addressing common challenges or misconceptions about your product or service. This can build trust and authority. Lastly, consider linking to other relevant pages of your website within your answers to encourage further exploration and improve internal linking. Let's move on to your contact page. The copy on this page should guide your visitors to the right method of communication. Whether you're asking them to fill in a form, call a number, or visit a physical location, make the process clear. In addition, add some persuasive copy to encourage the interaction. Highlight your readiness to help solve their problem or hear their suggestions. While the contact page might seem straightforward, it's also a prime spot for a sprinkling of SEO. Include local SEO elements if you have a physical location, such as your full address and landline number, which helps with local search rankings. Consider adding a short paragraph about the areas you serve using local keyword phrases. Before you move on to the next lesson, take a moment to practice what you've learned by creating engaging and SEO friendly headlines for each type of page covered in this lesson. Reflect on how the unique purpose of each page influences the tone and style of your writing. Use your workbook for this exercise. It contains space and examples to guide you. Make sure you understand the different strategies and tools that are best suited for each type of web page and how these tactics align with the overall goals of that page. This hands on practice is essential to solidify the concepts and will be a valuable reference as you write copy for actual web pages. In our next lesson, we'll delve into the art of maintaining and updating your web copy to keep it fresh, relevant, and engaging. 16. Maintain and Update Your Copy: In many ways, publishing your web page is just the beginning. In this lesson, you'll learn how vital maintaining, and updating your web copy is to ensure it remains engaging, relevant, and SEO friendly. We'll explore the significance of regular audits and how to align the tone of your copy with your evolving brand. Think of your web copy like a live stage performance. Just as a musician continually fine tunes and revises their set between shows to create the best possible experience for the audience, your web copy requires regular updates and edits to maintain its effectiveness. Keeping your web copy updated is crucial because the digital landscape is constantly evolving. Search engine algorithms change, new trends emerge, and the information we have can become outdated. Regularly checking and updating your copy helps maintain its relevance and search engine favourability. When it comes to revisiting your old content, timing is essential. A good rule of thumb is to conduct a thorough audit of your content twice a year. This allows you to catch outdated information and align with your content with any changes in your business strategy or goals. However, if your industry is particularly fast paced, like tech or healthcare, or if your business goes through frequent changes in products or services, you may need to assess your content more frequently. There are plenty of scheduling tools available to help you keep track. I like using Trello. The free version is brilliant and there are lots of templates to choose from. Just search for "publication schedule" and adapt the template that best fits your brand. When you do an audit of your copy, you should check several things. First, make sure that the facts and statistics are current. If you've mentioned specific figures or dates, check they're still correct. The internet is dynamic and what was true when you wrote the copy might have changed. For instance, if I cite a statistic about the popularity of eco- friendly cat toys in my blog post today, I'm going to want to revisit that regularly to keep it accurate. Next, look for opportunities to add new internal links, and check that existing links still work. A tool like Google Search Console can help with this. When you're updating your links, make sure you're using effective anchor text using the techniques we covered in the lesson on mastering microcopy. You should also assess CTAs in your older content. As your business goals and offers change, your CTAs should adapt accordingly. Make sure they still lead to the right places and prompt actions that align with your current business strategy. For instance, let's say Green Cat initially launched with a strong focus on eco-friendly cat toys, and many of its early blog posts included CTAs like "Discover our range of eco-friendly cat toys", directing readers to its product page. Since then, Green Cat has expanded its product line to include eco-friendly cat litter and grooming products as well. The company's current goal is to promote its new comprehensive line of sustainable pet care products. In this case, the CTAs in older blog posts should be evaluated. Instead of directing readers solely towards the toy range, it might be more beneficial to update these CTAs to reflect Green Cat's broader product offering. A revised CTA might read, "Explore our full line of eco- friendly pet care products." This ensures that CTAs are current, still lead to the right places and are aligned with Green Cat's evolved business strategy, which now includes a wider range of sustainable products. Consider tweaking your copy to reflect your evolving tone of voice. As you grow more comfortable in your writing, your style will naturally evolve. Make sure your older content isn't left behind by revisiting older posts and adjusting the language so it aligns with the more refined tone you've developed. Don't overdo it though. The evolution in your writing style is testament to your growth and authenticity as a writer, and your audience will likely appreciate that natural progression. It's perfectly acceptable for a blog post from five years ago to reflect the tone and perspective of who you were as a writer at that time. When you update older content, ethical transparency and SEO benefits should guide your approach. When making significant changes to a blog post, it's best practice to add a note within the post highlighting that it's been updated and displaying the new date. This transparent approach not only fosters trust with your readers, but can also signal to search engines that the content is fresh and relevant, which may positively influence its ranking. A prime example of effective updating is Healthline. At the end of their posts, such as this one about stretches to relieve back pain, they include a history of updates. This level of transparency reinforces Healthline's trustworthiness, a crucial attribute for a website providing health information. Also consider the SEO impact. If a post from years ago still drives substantial traffic, it indicates that the content is evergreen and holds value. In this case, occasional updates to keep the facts straight are beneficial. But if an old post doesn't attract much attention, it might be more effective to focus your energy on creating fresh new content that targets your current SEO goals and audience needs, rather than labouring over perfecting older pieces. Before you move on to our final lesson, set a schedule for maintaining your web pages and use the checklist provided in the workbook to guide your audits. The next lesson is the grand finale of this class, and it's one you won't want to miss. We'll be tying everything together and outlining your next steps on your SEO copywriting journey. Don't miss it. 17. Next Steps: Thank you so much for taking part in this class and congratulations on all your hard work! Together, we've dived into the world of SEO copywriting and surfaced with a better understanding of what makes great online content. We started with the essential principles of SEO copywriting, followed by an in depth look at keyword research and selection. You then discovered how to lay the groundwork for your success by clearly defining your strategy, including your audience, message, purpose, and approach. We looked at how to structure your ideas effectively before writing a first draft of your web page, then adding effective subheadings that captivate your readers. Next, we unlocked the secrets to crafting a clickworthy title and a persuasive call to action that's sure to get clicks. We then polished your skills by enhancing your copy's readability, developing your writing style, and editing your work until it shines. You've mastered writing microcopy, including meta descriptions and image captions, and you've learned tactics to approach different types of web pages, like about pages, product pages, and landing pages. And we wrapped things up with valuable strategies on maintaining and updating your copy to keep it fresh and relevant. Now it's your turn to share your knowledge with the community. Please share your blog post or web page as a project. I love seeing how you've applied what you've learned and I'm excited to read your unique stories. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or you want any additional feedback on your project. I'm here to help you every step of the way. If you found this class helpful, I encourage you to take a moment and leave a review. Your feedback helps me improve future classes, and it also helps other students find classes that will suit their learning needs. If you're hungry for more knowledge, I invite you to check out my other Skillshare classes for a solid grounding in the fundamentals of copywriting. My Copywriting Essentials class is a great starting point. Or if you want to boost your social media writing skills, join my Social Media Copywriting Masterclass. These classes come packed with detailed tutorials, real world examples, and professional templates that will take your copywriting skills to the next level. To view my full collection of Skillshare copywriting classes, visit my profile page. Don't forget to hit "Follow" to receive updates whenever I launch a new class. Thank you again for joining me on this journey. It's been a privilege to share my knowledge with you. Enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy using your new SEO copywriting skills!