Do you write for Social Media or do you write for search engines?
Maybe some of you just write to have an article, and that’s it. Or maybe you write for your audience, and you don’t care about the Social Media networks or the search engine results.
But the smart content marketer will always remember these 2 things:
- Who is my audience and what is my purpose with this type of content?
- Am I writing for Social Media or for Search Engines?
In this article I want to focus more on the second point: writing for Social Media and for Search Engines.
I don’t have thousands of fans and readers on my blog. I don’t have hundred of thousands of fans on my Facebook page, or on my Twitter profile. I’m writing this because I’m learning constantly how to write for social and search engines and I want to share my ideas, my thoughts and what I learned until now with you.
A. Writing for Social Media
So, let’s start talking about writing for social.
Do you have a blog and you want to grow your website traffic using Social Media? There are 2 options to do it.
- Start creating a community - this is the long term strategy
- Start doing paid advertising on Social Media - this is the short term strategy
What will you choose?
The problem with these 2 options is that there are a little bit too cliche and let’s say that you don’t have the amount of time to create a community or to invest a lot of money.
That’s why I’m always recommending to start creating content that get’s social interaction.
Write for social interaction?
Social Media is created by the interaction and engagement people are making every day. There are photos of puppies, videos with athletes, celebrities, politics and other things that make the community share it and interact with it.
If you go right now on Facebook and start scrolling through your timeline, you will see a lot of content that is shared, created to engage and interact (just don’t get into the magic of a cat playing with a laser point and come back to this article).
Writing for social interaction means that you are writing for what is trending at that moment and you have an opinion about it.
Many bloggers understood the power of writing for Social Media, and they started creating articles for what is in trend. There are also web publishers who are doing a great job writing for Social Media.
Think about publishers like Mashable, Buzzfeed or New York Times. There are hundred of writers who are looking on what is trending now and start creating articles that made their community share it, engage with it, commenting it.
But to write this kind of articles you need to invest a lot of time and energy.
For example, Pete Cashmore started Mashable when he was only 19 years old. Today he is 31 years old and he builds an entire empire from Mashable. He founded Mashable in 2005 and covered news about Social Media and technology.
It started as a simple blog when he was living with his parents in Scotland. But after only 18 months, more than 2 million people started reading Mashable every month.
Let’s not forget that was 12 years ago when Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin wasn’t a big thing and blogging was something really weird in that day.
Today Mashable is read by more than 23 million people every month and they are growing fast and doing a lot of interaction on Social Media.
Check out this article to read how Pete founded Mashable.
But what if you don’t have the amount of time to invest in your blog, you can’t write every day 4 or 5 articles and you don’t have hundreds of people on your team.
Then you focus on the thing that is most important in Social Media when it comes to articles:
I really love how Andy Crestodina wrote in Copyblogger about headlines (in fact, that article made me wrote this piece of article, so thank you very much guys)
Articles don’t get shared, only headlines do.
This means that you need to create headlines that are interesting at the first view, easy to read and understand and make the user from Social Media to click on it. But don’t forget that your headline is your promise, so if you broke your promise, your trust would be shaken.
A good headline always has the next ingredients:
- It is short and easy to read and understand
- It brings curiosity
- Use numbers because the person who will click on it will know what is easy scannable - this is what Buzzfeed is doing very well.
I always tell that a good story without a powerful visually supplement won’t get shared on Social Media. Images are one of the most powerful “tools” in Social Media.
In fact, if you look at what are the types of content that Facebook, Instagram, and other top social networks are optimizing the most is the visual content: images (photos, gifs), videos (live videos, native videos, snackable videos)
Every time you share an article on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ or other social networks, make sure that you have a featured image in your blog post and people will see it.
3. Strong opinion
The best articles I found shared on Social Media are the one with a strong opinion about a fact, an idea or even some news that is trending right now.
Think about the moment when Apple is launching their new iPhones, how many bloggers and publishers are talking about the new iPhone, reviews, opinions, and facts about the phone. It’s something that is trend and people want to know more than just it was launched.
The best articles are the ones who have a strong opinion, create an emotion or give valuable information to the reader.
Actionable tips: Encourage your followers to share their opinion on the posts and products you made, to celebrate a holiday, big or small, no matter how important it is for the majority, if it made a difference for one of your users, it means it was successful.
B. Writing for search engine
Why do you want to write for the search engine? Isn’t Social Media the most powerful industry and network at this moment.
Well, let me ask you a thing, every time you have a question do you go and search it on Facebook or do you open Google and type your question in the search tab?
If Social Media is for engagement and connection, then search engines are for questions and answers. So the website who have the best answer for a certain question will be on top of rankings.
But how do you write for the search engine? How do you create articles that can be on top of Google when somebody is looking for a question?
Well my friend, this a really hard thing to do and as a content strategist and marketer I myself get stuck in how to do it.
But let me tell you what I’ve done to create an article that is ranking on the position zero and that it’s bringing to our website a lot of traffic.
First of all, I identify the targeted keyword that I want to build my content around it. Or how the Dental Marketing Guy is explaining: “Velscoping” Your Keywords.
For this article, I used the keyword “banner ads.”
But I wanted to be sure that it’s not a general word, so I went a little deeper and found out that the most searched question about banner ads is “how banner ads work”
So I started from this point, how banner ads work.
Then I used the main keyword in combination with this question in several important points that is required from SEO perspective: title, header, meta description, body text and first paragraph.
My purpose was to target the topic around the keyword, not only the keyword.
Many content creators who are creating content from a SEO perspective are too aggressive with their keywords and you will see a lot of those keywords, used in their article, some of them even bolded.
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The main important thing to remember is to create an article around your topic using a certain keyword but also create that reading experience that will solve your reader’s problem.
Create content around a topic, not around a keyword!
Because the user is having an intention when he is using a search engine: to find a solution for a problem, to identify a situation, to learn something new or to optimize its work. So think about the user intent, not to the SEO intent.
But I didn’t start writing the article only on these points. I also did my research using the keyword on what are the most shared articles on this topic.
So I went on Buzzsumo and read the top 5 articles that are talking about this topic.
I was also very interested in using images that are helping the reader have a pleasant experience while he was reading the article.
I didn’t start writing the article before I made a simple wireframe on how the article will look like. The introduction, where I can link to with it. What questions I will use. What visuals I will use. How I will optimize the visuals. What are other phrases semantically connected to the keyword?.
After this, I started writing the article. Finished. Optimized it. Proofreading it and publish it.
Then the magic happened. It is ranking on the first page on Google at the first spot, using a high-quality visual and answering in a short paragraph “how banner ads work”
Writing for social and search it’s not the same thing but it’s also very different. It’s a good way to attract new readers on your blog and also create a great community on Social Media, but it requests a lot of work, patience and a lot of research before the work.
You know the quote - Content is the king.
But it depends on which kingdom.
Now back to you, let me know if you are writing for social or for search and what is your process of doing it.