Successfully Bring Your SEO Copywriting In-House

The marketing manager of a large e-commerce site recently filled me in on a challenge she was having. She knew her content needed an SEO copywriting intervention—but she didn’t have the budget for a keyphrase editing or rewrite campaign.

So I asked her, “Have you ever thought of bringing your SEO copywriting in-house?”

And I could almost hear the light bulb flickering on above her head.

The reality is, SEO copywriting is one task that can often be brought in-house. With the right people and a little training, your existing team members can produce your content—and your company will save money on your search marketing campaign.

If this is the direction you want your company to go, here are some things to consider:

Decide who does the writing. This may seem like a no-brainer, as it’s easy to think, “Well, we have five people in our marketing department, plus all of our sales staff. They can all write copy.” However, some folks are more qualified to write than others—and choosing the best writers will help make your campaign much more successful.

Try to pinpoint possible in-house SEO copywriters by:

  1. Experience: Print/online copywriters and journalists are the easiest to train.
  2. Being realistic: Just because someone is an awesome salesperson doesn’t mean he knows how to write. Review a person’s past writing and be very, very honest about his capabilities. You can train a good writer in SEO copywriting. But you can’t train a naturally bad writer to write better copy—at least, not without putting in some major effort.
  3. Interest: Some folks don’t like to write. Period. They’ll do it when they’re forced to, but the results are less than stellar. Giving writing tasks to these folks won’t help you a bit.

You may decide that you have to hire someone on a full or part-time basis to handle some of the writing. That’s OK. Better to hire someone with experience to fill in the gaps, then transform people into writers who, well, really shouldn’t be the ones writing content for your brand.

Described as a fast-talking, fiery redhead, Heather Lloyd-Martin is a 20-year marketing veteran, a recognized author and considered the pioneer of SEO copywriting. Recognized worldwide as a first-generation search marketing expert, she has been training corporate in-house SEO copywriters and creating revenue-driving Web site content campaigns via her consultancy, SuccessWorks.

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Comments
  • http://AndrewGouty Andrew Gouty

    Some valid points here about internalizing some very critical SEO processes. A recent presentation at the 2010 SEO Moz summit from Avvo.com commented heavily on internalizing SEO.

    I would be wary however on focusing so heavily on Keyword Density, to the point where it borders on Keyword Spamming, both internally and in link building.

  • http://KathrynPomroy Kathryn Pomroy

    Absolutely some very valid points, however I would hesitate to assume that someone in house can actually write. This is not a task to be taken lightly, nor should it be. Writers…good writers are hard to come by. Great writers are few and far between. Be careful putting all your apples into one basket, as you may be worse off in the long run.

    Freelancers often charge far less then a writer employed by an agency, and freelancers are competitive by nature, so they may be willing to work within a budget.

    Consider all your options, and don’t rely on your own staff if they are not up to the task.

  • http://HeatherLloyd-Martin Heather Lloyd-Martin

    Hello!

    @Andrew: You are exactly right. There are so many instances where writers think that they have to write to X% keyphrase density – and the end result is a spammy article. It’s important to remember that you’re writing for people first – and if your article/webpage/press release sounds keyphrase-stuffed and spammy…well…it probably is! :)

    @Kathryn: Yes, I completely agree with you. There are many instances when a company should outsource their writing (which may be a future blog post, now that I think about it.) At the same time, there are many companies who don’t want to/can’t outsource. In that case, I always recommend training. If nothing else, training helps the internal staff understand SEO copywriting best practices and some basic copywriting theory – and the company can start seeing greater search engine/conversion success. It may not be the “perfect” option for the company, but it’s workable – and many times, the company will eventually outsource some pages (such as sales pages) that they need to be perfect for search engines and prospects.

    Thanks, guys, for your comments!

  • http://JonathanPainter Jonathan Painter

    This is a well written article and raises some valid points; however, it seems to pertain to larger businesses. Outsourcing is becoming increasingly common and sites such as Elance provide a great one-stop-shop. I found an outstanding writer for blog postings, press releases and other SEO related tasks and pay 1/10th of what it would cost to hire a new employee or train a current one.