They fight, they fly, they crow, they write outstanding SEO content. Each month, the Hook writers pump out a whopping 82,000 words combined — and growing! But writing SEO content that converts takes more than just making our monthly word count. We add value by using our individual skill sets, and some handy-dandy tools to ensure the content we write on our clients’ behalf legitimately grows their business. Plus, we want to make them look good while avoiding the dreaded TL;DR content.
We Determine the Proper Tone of Voice & Writing Style
Ghostwriter is not just a teenager’s riddle-solving sidekick from the 90’s Nickelodeon TV show — it’s also what we do as SEO writers. We are responsible for writing content that converts on behalf of our clients. This means we need to nail down their characteristics, tone of voice, and writing style to properly rep their brand. We want them to feel just as confident as if they’d written it themselves.
A simple meet and greet to ask a few crucial questions right out of the gate can help us gain more insight into how our client wants to represent their brand. We also get an overall vibe of what they are comfortable with, and how they represent themselves. Sometimes we can pick up on it immediately based on how the client interacts with us in our initial conversation.
Examples of Tone of Voice:
- Innovative & Informative
- Technical & Formal
- Funny & Casual
- Dependable & Friendly
- Energetic & Positive
- Irreverent & Informal
Listening to how the owner or marketing manager speaks about their brand and looking at their on-site content, we have a pretty good idea of how to write on their behalf. For some, it might take a little more investigating, but we always get to the root of their intended tone of voice and how they want to engage with their ideal customer.
We Know that Different Writing Styles Work for Different Industries
A majority of our clients are small businesses in the construction and roofing industries. We know pretty well the ins and outs of how to produce valuable content for those clients. We know that location-specific landing pages work, but we don’t need to list every possible city visibly on their website. We know that listicles and DIY guides work for exposure and an inevitable hire. These are things we’ve learned over time working in a similar niche. Plus, I’m pretty sure we know way too much about roofing for people who’ve never actually done it in real life.
But what about a new client from a new industry?
We have had some clients in the plumbing industry and the healthcare industry come on board. We know that those same writing styles and techniques are not going to work the same for them as it would for a roofing client. So, we strategize! We use our SEO knowledge and expertise to diagnose precisely what they need to succeed.
Questions we ask clients when determining writing style and tone of voice:
- Do you have any brand guidelines you can send us? (ok if not, but it helps)
- Do you speak in 1st or 3rd person on your website? How would you like to talk about your brand?
- What tone of voice do you want to have? Laidback or formal? Funny or serious? Technical or Informative?
- What are some of your favorite brand commercials or ads?
- What is your ideal customer or target audience?
We ask further questions about their ideal customer and target audience that gives us a glimpse into who we will be talking to. Sometimes this puts them on the spot, but no one knows their ideal customer more than them!
Knowing who we are talking to, and how, sets up the best possible writing style and tone of voice we need to connect with their current and potential customers. Since we write on our clients’ behalf, this step is one of the most important. We never want to overstep or mislead customers by not speaking in their voice or represent their brand appropriately.
Once we determine the proper writing style and tone of voice, we use that and some good persuasive writing techniques to write compelling content that accurately reads from their perspective.
We Open Up Our Handy Dandy Tool Kit
As much as we’d like to claim we are — no, we are not copywriting geniuses all on our own. We have a unique toolkit and a few tricks up our sleeves that allow us to write only the best, most optimized SEO content for clients. And yes, we are willing to share a few of our favorite content creation tools to help YOU pump out valuable SEO content.
Tools Used for Editing
Spelling & Grammar
Obviously, when we write in Google Docs, we click that spelling and grammar button. But guess what? It couldn’t be less effective when it comes to actually editing your document if it tried. Google Docs or Word, or whatever program you are writing in, will catch blatantly misspelled words, or extra punctuation, but not much more than that.
If you spell a word wrong, but it ends up being another correctly spelled word—for example, their or there, not or knot, etc. Spelling and grammar will turn a blind eye. It will not notice the error within the sentence based on relevant words. It also cannot determine proper sentence structure, correct grammar, or other formalities like other editing programs can. So, while it is helpful to call out glaring spelling errors, and assist with auto-correct, it should never be the end all be all editing tool.
Grammarly is an incredible tool for anyone wanting to write better content, or articles, or papers — whatever it may be. It’s completely free and can be installed as a plug-in with Chrome. Grammarly actually allows us to set the audience, tone, formality, and intent of the content. The program ensures it falls under those parameters. It’s incredibly useful for anyone who writes content, sends emails, sends out newsletters, or any other written materials representing a business or organization.
Tools Used for SEO Optimization
At Hook we exclusively work with clients who use WordPress. And WordPress itself has a few internal tools that can assist in SEO optimization and editing. You can view word count, and our BFF, Grammarly, can be added as a plug-in automatically if you use Chrome. It comes in very handy when you can click right into editing mode from your WordPress backend.
Rank Math or Yoast are two examples of SEO tools that you can use within WordPress as well. It is a tool that allows you to set your intentional keywords, get an SEO “score” and ensure your content has all elements of proper SEO content. It will display as checkboxes and call out whether you included any inbound and outbound links, images, and the right amount of headers. We always utilize these tools to provide our clients with legitimate content that ranks on Google.
Finally, Surfer SEO is a great tool that allows us to use relevant keywords in our content without keyword stuffing. Surfer SEO will take your desired keyword and give you a jumping-off point to which LSI or conceptually related keywords to use. We can include these keywords in addition to our main H1 or H2 keywords in the content. It’s an added bonus that pays off for our clients and helps us write the most applicable piece of content we possibly can. We love you, Surfer SEO.
We Utilize Our Team’s Many Talents
Believe it or not, we do have talents outside of writing amazing SEO content. Yes, it’s true.
Since we are a well-rounded team, with our own individual skills, we make sure to take full advantage of those talents. From having a successful personal blog to being an entrepreneur to having a background in photography and graphic design — we all possess some not-so-hidden talents that easily apply to the work we do creating content for clients!
Our multifaceted team assists each other using our unique talents. For SEO content to be excellent, it should always include video and image assets. With both a video editor and photographer/designer on the team, we can quickly and easily edit videos and images to suit what we need for a piece of content. We can quickly and easily design and edit infographics, which are great to include in the content. They can be shared and linked back to your website from other blogs or social media posts.
Note: we only use images that were either taken by our clients themselves, or we found perusing the many sites that offer royalty-free images and stock photos. We’ve found some weird ones out there, folks. Fun fact; if you use Google images, simply click on Tools and set “Usage Rights” to include only “labeled for reuse” images. You’ll get a quick search of images you can use for free.
On the content side of things, we also edit each other’s work. Even the best writers need a second set of eyes on their work. After we put our written content through our editing tools and programs, we still give it a final review within the internal team. This allows our teammates to ensure it reads well, fits the client, and includes all the elements of a good SEO piece of content.
The best part of working as a team rather than individually is that we learn from and inspire each other. We can capitalize on everyone’s expertise to put out content that converts every…single…time.
We Are Effective With Our Time
Periodically, we have attempted to track our time and find out how to be most effective with our time. To keep from burning ourselves out by writing all day, for eight hours straight, we switch things up and do other tasks. But, on average, we find ourselves writing about five-and-a-half hours within an eight-hour workday. The rest of the time is spent researching, optimizing, editing, and taking breaks.
Being in a position where we are more focused on results than time spent on a piece of work, we often focus on being more effective than productive. This means that we aren’t just focused on hitting that daily word count. We are focused on writing valuable content that actually converts and is suitable for a client’s SEO. We take our time to diligently optimize as we go, review and edit each piece, and learn how to get better each and every time.
Personal education is a big part of what we do, as the SEO landscape continues to change and evolve. The benefits of being driven by deliverables and not billable hours allow us to improve our work while also meeting deadlines and expectations. Our main goal is to continue to grow as content writers, creators, and editors as time goes on. This way, we not only get the work done, but it also gets better and better. Our time effectiveness goes above and beyond to ensure results-driven content leaves our hands at the end of the day.
ABC: Always Be Content-Optimizing
Do content additions to pages or blog posts that already rank on Google help? Will adding a few hundred words, a couple of images or a video be the difference between selling a new customer or ranking in the top 10 on Google? Short answer: yep!
Revisiting old content, whether it’s ranking well or not, can indeed help to boost it on Google. At Hook, we’re firm believers in content additions and what it can do to help your website receive more traffic and convert more leads. We recently had a post from two years ago all of a sudden rank on Google thanks to optimizations done to it that let it grow and grow over time. That’s why it’s a part of our standard process for every client.
Content additions are a great way to add more value to existing blog posts or website pages. Content additions can come in many different forms and lengths. Sometimes it looks like adding 300 – 500 words to a blog post. Other times we add images or seek to write content that we can use links with.
Optimizing and adding content has shown tremendous results and helped take blog posts or pages with low traffic to top-ranking pages on our website and client websites.
The Value of Links
Everyone is always talking about how vital links are when it comes to SEO. What links are better than others? Do they do anything for your site? Let’s dive into outbound links.
Is it helpful to include outbound links wherever possible? There are differing opinions on this topic. But I like to stand by the idea that if it’s practical to include a relevant link, you should probably include that link. It provides a resource for your readers to do further research and also helps readers see that you’re a credible source for the information they are receiving.
Inbound Links or Backlinks
Inbound links or backlinks refer to links from other sites back to your site. Most often, these links will come in the form of blog posts or similar types of content. Inbound links are extremely valuable for your website’s domain authority. They can also help you get more traffic to your blog. One of the best ways to get inbound links is to create appealing visual content that people want to link back to. Here are some more examples of ways to gain backlinks.
A great thing that you can do for SEO while writing content is using internal links. Internal links are links that specifically point to different places within your website. Writers at Hook are particular in their use of internal links. Our content strategy contains elements of the hub and spoke model. Content written within the vein of the hub-and-spoke model works to create a hierarchy of content. One pillar piece or central piece of content is written, and then more sub pieces of content are written with internal links running in between them. These links are beneficial to your avid readers and also to your website because the content will work together to rank instead of each piece individually. Refer to the picture below as an example.
Landing Page Optimization
Optimizing landing pages and services pages are also great ways to see more tangible results. Many times these landing pages or services pages already exist and have some traffic. In those cases, content additions and adjustments are used to better target audiences that would benefit from the services provided. Landing pages are all about conversions and creating sales qualified leads.
One thing that we love to do at Hook is to create location-based landing pages. With unique keyword strategies and custom-designed landing pages, our clients can look professional and develop local markets and ideal prospects for their business. Our copywriting team also customizes each landing page so that there’s never duplicate content on your site.
How Our Results Lead to Client Retention
High Word Counts
Word count can make a significant impact on how effective SEO and content marketing services are. Our standard SEO package is 3,000 words a month. It is custom curated by a specific writer that will work with you to develop the tone of voice and brand image used within your blog.
Some clients who see success with our standard SEO services might opt to increase the monthly word count that we produce. In some cases, we’ve written 4,500 or even 6,000 words a month. This has led to these clients seeing an even faster increase in traffic to their websites. The expansion to 6,000 words has helped their new website reach 1,000 pageviews each and every month in a short time.
As writers at Hook Agency, we feel a sense of ownership over our client’s websites. We want to see not only their blogs be successful but also their websites. A successful website is a website that brings in more leads and more conversions.
One thing that Hook writers will do is add to or edit web copy for our clients. At times we include this in our monthly retainer, and other times, we just want to help by making your website a bit more consumer-friendly. The hook writing team has a combined five years of experience in web copywriting and lead generation. If your website needs to be spruced up or if you think your website would benefit from having a little life blown into it, then we’d be happy to work on it with you.
One of our main goals, always and forever, is client retention. We provide a client with a service that goes above and beyond their expectations, so they continue to work with us is the end goal. If we can do that, we’ve done our job.
In one very niche client’s case, we have been able to grow their organic traffic on almost all fronts. A near triple increase in organic traffic YOY from June 2019 to June 2020 — from 489 to 1,072. Wow!
One big win in organic traffic was becoming the number one result on Google for the keyword auto-adjudication. The average person probably doesn’t know what that means, but the Hook SEO strategist sure does! And essential people in their healthcare sector are finding them above all other competitors for that term. That’s amazing!
Over time, these wins led to this client asking us to sign on for another retainer for their other website. This is the ultimate retention plan when a client asks us to do more work for them, thanks to due diligence. SEO is a beast of a thing, and being able to execute organic growth for clients, so they stick around is what we do best.
In conclusion, our efforts to add value include utilizing our many talents, working as a team, being as effective as we are productive, and making continuing education a top priority. As Hook SEO Content Strategists, we make it our duty to bring the highest quality content that converts to our clients, but the work doesn’t stop there.