I hear from a lot of my Start SEO Writing students who want to add blog posts, copywriting and other types of content to their services. And time and again, I tell them not to. Marketing SEO articles and other types of content together is just fucking dumb. (If you missed my post on the differences between SEO articles and blog posts and are wondering what the hell I’m making such a big fuss about, check it out here.)
If you’re going to sell SEO content, that should be the only thing you sell. And likewise, if you’re going to sell blog posts, copywriting, et al, you should obliterate any mention of SEO from your website (which is why I encourage my students not to include ‘SEO’ in their URL or business name). If you want to move on to other types of content that are better paid and more fulfilling (so, that’s all of them), that’s totally understandable, and I encourage you to do it.
But if you’re going to do that, you need to stop marketing yourself as an SEO content writer. Here’s why:
SEO Content and Other Content are for Different Types of Client
The most face-smackingly obvious reason is that SEO content is sold to different markets than other types of writing. If you’re going to market yourself as an SEO writer, you’re pretty much exclusively going to be approaching SEO companies. SEO writing has one purpose: to help websites rank more highly in Google. But if you just hand a bunch of SEO articles to the owner of a business who wants to rank his website more highly, he’s not going to know what to do with them. Instead, he will hire an SEO company to boost his website up the ranks of Google, and that SEO company will employ the use of SEO articles as part of their overall strategy.
On the other hand, a business owner will hire you to write blog posts for their website, or to rewrite the copy on its pages, or whatever. Because that’s a simple thing to understand and implement: they just take what you write and publish it to their own website. Easy.
It’s not just the business owners that will hire you to write this ‘other content’, either; digital marketing agencies, which are essentially a more up-to-date take on the SEO company (by which I mean their end goal is still to land a business more limelight and sales), and other companies that need content for their clients will also hire you. These types of companies do not want SEO articles, but rather quality content they can use to engage potential customers and build trust with them.
You’ll Confuse Prospective Clients
If you list ‘SEO articles’, ‘blog posts’, ‘web content’ and a whole host of other services on your website, you’re going to confuse people. There are a lot of blurred lines between what an SEO article, blog post, page of content, etc. are these days. Sure, you know what each of them means to you — but that doesn’t mean that’s how your clients perceive those things. Some people think of blog posts as articles, SEO articles as blog posts, content as articles, and so on. So basically: people won’t understand exactly what the hell you’re offering.
You’ll Look Like You Don’t Know What You’re Doing
So, as well as confusing your prospective clients, you may also make them think you have no idea what you’re fucking doing. Which is a fair assumption, because if you don’t understand why you shouldn’t list SEO articles and blog posts together, you probably don’t know what you’re doing. But hey, that’s what I’m here for, right? I’ll set you right, my little courgette (that’s a zucchini).
You’ll Screw Yourself Out of Money
You can be damn sure that somebody who wants a detailed, well thought out article is only going to see the rates for your SEO articles, despite the fact that you list your prices for ‘blog posts’ — which is what you would consider what they’re asking for to be — right underneath your rates for SEO articles. Then these clients will be annoyed when you tell them you’re going to charge them a shitload more for what they want, and will probably either talk you down to your SEO articles rates or just decide not to work with you.
I can’t count the number of students of mine who’ve been pissed off when a client requested an ‘article’, SEO article rates were agreed upon, and then the brief for a gargantuan, difficult task (AKA a 2000-word blog post) was placed before them.
You’ll Damage Your Reputation as a Writer
SEO article writing is not a difficult task. Pretty much anyone can do it. That’s why it’s not very well paid or particularly fulfilling. I have always said this, and I have always maintained that this makes it an easy, non-scary way to start getting paid for your writing — but also that you should intend to move on from it one day, because a business based on SEO article writing is doomed to eventual extinction.
SEO article writing does not have a good reputation in today’s quality-content-driven world. And nor should it, because most of it is tosh. If you’ve taken my course, you know it’s not that fun to write 500 words about Kelvar mower belts. (But fortunately, some people are still willing to pay for this kind of writing. And that’s why I still teach a course in how to do it. But when the day comes that it’s impossible, or even merely difficult, to get a freelance writing business off the ground with SEO writing, I will stop teaching it.)
So, back to my point — listing SEO articles under your list of services will tarnish your reputation in the eyes of somebody who is looking for a good freelance writer. Somebody who wants in-depth, well-researched blog posts, for example, is going to immediately shun you when they see you offer SEO articles — because that’s the quality they will expect from you. And it’s not what they want. (This could also explain why all of your current clients are wankers, by the by.)
Here’s What It Comes Down To
Listen, I know you’re hesitant to remove SEO articles from your website completely. Because what if nobody wants to hire you to write copy? Or they think your blog post prices are too high? So far, SEO articles have been your sole source of income from writing. You know you can do it and you know people will pay you for it. So instead of removing those services altogether and leaping into the scary abyss of blog posts and copywriting and ‘proper’ content writing, you try to shuffle your way in gradually, offering these fancy new blogging services alongside your old, reliable SEO writing services.
But you’re shooting yourself in the goddamn face. Not even the foot. THE FACE. Because doing this is a surefire way to kill your writing business. There’s no need to be afraid, unless you’re a shitty writer, but — oh god, I’ve started you off again, haven’t I? ‘But what if I AM a shitty writer, wah wah wah.’ Listen, in my experience (and I have quite a bit) the people who are genuinely good writers are almost always the ones who panic that they’re not good enough. Often, the shitty writers are completely oblivious to the fact that they can’t string a sentence together or that they don’t know how to use a comma properly. So, if you’re worried you’re not good enough to do this, you probably are. It’s when you think you’re shit-hot that you should worry.
One of the things that gets me down about my SEO writing course is that my best students all seem to think that $25 an article is the most their writing is worth. They find themselves struggling to get higher rates, or doing better and better quality work and getting paid no more for it. And they are — as detailed above — scared to try to make the leap into quality content writing.
That’s what inspired me to create my new course. I want to help people dive into the world of well-paid, fulfilling, good-quality freelance writing, because I know that trying to shuffle in sideways from SEO article writing just doesn’t work. There has to be a clear divide between the two, and I am here to help you step over it. If you’re interested in finding out how I can help you build a freelance writing business you love from scratch in 6 weeks, check out my new course, which begins on 14 September: Start Content Writing.