I came across Jon Wuebben’s book Content Rich: Writing Your Way to Wealth on the Web recently, and found myself immediately captivated by his tips for writing search engine optimized copy. Eighteen chapters later, and a journey through an extraordinary appendix of online resources, I became a full-fledged fan.
Impressions through Media and Weber Media Partners are honored to have author Jon Wuebben join us as a special guest in a Q & A.
In the introduction to your book, Content Rich, you mention that you started doing pro bono work for non-profits as you were getting grounded in the world of SEO copywriting. From your experiences, is there–or should there be–anything distinctive about the way non-profits vs. for-profit businesses write their online content?
Good question. I would say, first, that non profits should focus on using the names of the communities they serve in the copy and in the meta tags so they come up in local searches. So, if they are a women’s shelter in Springfield, Illinois, be sure to use this phrase and others like it so they can be found online. The other thing I would say is they should focus on a key constituency – donors – by having a page dedicated to this group on their site. Fundraising is the life blood of most nonprofits, so this is important.
Marketing Sherpa’s recent report “2009 Social Media Marketing and PR: Benchmarks and Best Practices” indicates that of the companies they surveyed, businesses say social media and emailing to house lists are the two tactics they’ll spend their marketing dollars on this year–essentially leaving behind nine other tactics they used; paid search, telemarketing, online display advertising, mobile marketing, direct mail, event marketing, radio/tv ads, emailing to rented lists and print advertising. Does this surprise you?
No, because both of these activities are low cost and can have a high return. It’s a no brainer. The problem is that most companies don’t do either right. The important sites in the social media arena for businesses would be StumbleUpon, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. In terms of email marketing, make sure you have a good list, great email creative and a good landing page. And then have a simple form on that landing page in order to get their contact information.
In the same Marketing Sherpa report, businesses who aren’t using social media say the key reason why they’re not using social media is due to staffers “Lack of Knowledge.” What do you think about that?
It’s not as intimidating as one would think. The critical thing is for these executives and companies to remember is that they need to take off their “selling” and “corporate” hats and put on their “let’s build a community” hat. That’s what it’s all about. Also, no need to use MySpace or Digg. I would focus on the ones I mentioned above. Yes, the social media space can be a bit confusing at first, but it’s certainly not just for the younger generation anymore. And if staffers say they “don’t know it”, well then I, as the CEO, would say, “learn it”. Its too important not to get in the game.
In your recent email newsletter you wrote that there are “too many blogs out there, and many aren’t very good.” You suggest that one of the problems is there aren’t “blog standards.” Here’s your opportunity, we’re interested: what would you include as standards for good blogging?
That’s a tough one. I’m not sure what the standards would be, but in terms of how you do it, I think the best and easiest way would be for someone out there to start an organization or association that judges the quality of a site and works with Google (and probably others) to place a small icon on each site that shows the grade. It would be a huge undertaking, and yes, Google already lets the “cream rise to the top” with the way they rank sites, but if I was able to see a quick grade for a site as soon as I landed on a page, I would know immediately to click away. It would be hard to enforce and people would game the system, but that’s true with anything. I just want a better way to weed out the garbage.
Do you have a regular routine for writing?
No, inspiration can strike at any time. When it does, or I’m feeling particularly creative at a certain point in the day, I know its “go time”. Mornings and late at night do seem to work out best however, when we all are closer to the subconscious mind. Interesting how that works.
You’ve written that we’re in the middle of a “Twitter Revolution.” What do you tweet about? What qualities or type of content do you appreciate about others business tweets?
I tweet about blog posts I read that I liked, events that I’m speaking at, a particularly interesting client project, etc..In others Tweets I like to read specific examples of tips, tricks, ideas and suggestions that may be new. And also to get a “pulse” on what’s going on out there in the industry.
You’ve been writing online copy for a long time. How do you stay passionate about your work?
I am a creative person. It took me a while to discover that. Most of the time, I am simply channeling the words I write. But any artist would tell you it can be a burden as much as it is a benefit. When I’m not writing copy or managing my business, I’m writing songs. Exchanging one type of creative activity for another can be very beneficial…it can re-charge the batteries for both!
The other way I stay passionate is because I love helping other businesses succeed. It’s a total rush.
Thank you, Jon, for joining us, and for sharing more of your rich content!