Finding Keywords SEO Tips for Writers

At some point in your writing career you’ll be asked about finding keywords or SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is a marketing skill, which writers may or may not have. I say it’s a good idea to become acquainted with the concept as it will make you more valuable to your clients.

Keywords SEO Tips

Finding Keywords for SEO

Most freelance writers spend time researching different topics online, which is good news because finding keywords involves the same skill: research. And, in fact, there’s a good chance you’re doing keyword research as part of your regular workflow. Brainstorming writing ideas, building content calendars or working on branding all involve some aspect of SEO.

This can be as simple or complex as you make it. I like to keep things simple.

SEO Tips

  1. Answer questions your audience is asking

    Think about the audience you serve and the types of questions they’re asking. Then take those questions and answer them. If you take the time to figure out what questions your target audience, customer or reader is asking, the more you increase your chance of them finding your answers. It’s amazing stuff.

    If you don’t know what questions are being asked browse through forums and Facebook groups. These are a gold mine when doing customer research. And if that fails, talk to some real people. Find out what they’re confused about and try and help clarify.

  2. Figure out three or four main topics for your website

    If you’ve done any type of editorial planning then you understand how this is done. If not, think about the main themes or categories of the product or service you’re writing about. Then break those main ideas down into smaller topic ideas or sub-categories. Continue breaking the ideas down into smaller and smaller ideas until you’re as focused as possible. You now have a HUGE amount of on-topic keywords to build articles and content around.

  3. And my favourite keyword hack

  4. Look at what others in your industry/niche are writing about

    Browse their websites and see what topics they’re addressing. Is there anything missing? Can you offer more information about one of those topics on your site? Can you go deeper on any of these themes? See what your competitors are doing and improve on it.

    If you don’t know who your competitors are you can open up an incognito browser and Google your theme or topic. See who ranks in the top (not counting ads) and check out the articles. Ask these same questions and see how you can improve on what’s already ranking well in search.

One last tip: Tech Tools

If you’re stumped for ideas online tools like Wordstream’s Keyword Tool or Google Trends will help you brainstorm ideas. They will also give you a good indication of how many people are searching for the term so you don’t waste your time answering questions no one is asking.

A few years ago my website was quite random and unfocused. I spent a lot of time writing about whatever struck my fancy and not much time wondering what people would like to read. One day I realized I was ranking as the number four search in Google for “DIY Chocolate Bubble Bath.” I thought that was pretty great until I realized I have no interest in the topic, offer no services or products on that topic and no one ever actually searches for that topic. Oops.

Conclusion

The closer your keywords are to the actual topics you cover and services you offer the better your SEO ranking will be. Part of your website’s value comes from how long people spend on your site. If you show up in search and people click on your link only for them to leave a second later, this tells Google the search result wasn’t relevant to the user and over time your ranking will go down until it disappears altogether.

There is a bit of a learning curve to figuring out keywords and SEO but if you keep it simple and think about what your audience is searching for online, you’re on your way to optimizing your writing.

At some point in your writing career you'll be asked about finding keywords or SEO (search engine optimization). To be clear, SEO is a marketing skill, which writers may or may not have. So you're off the hook there. That said, it's a good idea to become acquainted with the concept as it will make you more valuable to your clients.

Marketing Ideas for Writers Who Hate Marketing

It’s not like I haven’t written about marketing ideas or argued why writers need to pay attention to marketing before but it just seems to keep coming up.

Easy Marketing Ideas for Writers

So here we are again.

By the way, I talk about marketing and give out marketing ideas all the time because I believe in its power to transform people’s careers and businesses.

But what if you’re the type of writer who just wants to write and have people read it? You don’t want to bother with the muss and fuss of marketing. Or maybe you’re the type of writer who thinks marketing means selling out. Are you someone who thinks marketing makes you one of those pushy sales people who alienates friends and family?

Let’s get something straight: marketing doesn’t have to be like that. So when I hear excuses like I’m too busy to do marketing or I don’t need to do marketing or I don’t have the money to invest in marketing I think…you don’t get it. None of those things are valid.

If you’re saying any of these things here’s what you mean: you don’t want to do marketing. Marketing doesn’t have to take a lot of time and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. And it’s fine if you don’t want to do marketing. But don’t expect people to find you. “If you write it they will come” isn’t a thing. It doesn’t work like that.

End of tough love part. Beginning of marketing ideas part.

I wanted to give writers who hate marketing (or are afraid of it) a few easy marketing ideas for easing in. I do hope these help.

  • Learn how to incorporate your writing into casual conversation. There is a way to talk about who you are and what you do without coming across as promotional or insincere. Figure this out and you won’t even realize you’re marketing
  • Focus on the benefits your writing offers others. This is one of those amazing marketing things I love teaching people. Stop talking about YOU and YOUR work. Flip it around and talk about its impact. People don’t care about what you do, they care about the benefit they’ll get from working with you or reading your work
  • Talk about your writing on social media. Consider your social media platforms as places where you can attract new readers. Talk about your writing in a natural way, like you do with your friends, and see who you can inspire

Just a reminder, these days if you’re a writer hoping to become an author, you need to do your own marketing. And you need to do it long before your book comes out. No matter if you’re self-publishing or traditional publishing, you are the driver of the marketing vehicle. If you want to sell books/get an agent/get a book deal/people to read your writing you have to accept marketing as a part of your life.

It's not like I haven't written about marketing ideas or argued why writers need to pay attention to marketing before but it just seems to keep coming up.

Other marketing ideas for writers

How to Create Better Blog Post Images with Canva

In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need (nay, require) better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I’m a writer! I cannot! Even!

How to create better blog post images with Canva

And a few years ago I would have commiserated with you. Because there was a learning curve if you weren’t a professional photographer—you have to learn design and of course then you had to figure out Photoshop (and pay for it). If you gave up on taking photos yourself then you entered the world of stock photography and, a few years ago, the cost was high and the competition was low.

But the story is tres different today. There are so many tools available to non-designers and non-photographers it’s time to accept your need for better blog post images and hop on the bus.

For creating better blog post images I recommend Canva to anyone who asks. It’s a free design tool for non-designers—and it’s so easy to use. It’s in the cloud so you don’t have to download anything and you can use it from anywhere, including your mobile. You can design your own graphics if you’re inclined, or you can take suggestion from their huge template library.

The first thing you should do is figure out a few image templates you’ll use over and over in your blogs. This cuts down on decision fatigue and helps keep your blog brand consistent. Don’t freak out! This is all a part of creating better blog images. Templates are your friend. And remember what I said earlier? Canva has a massive template library! You’re going to be fine!

When building your templates you may get tripped up on fonts, images and colours. Since we’re not design trained I suggest we don’t trust our instincts. At least, that’s what I suggest to myself. Here’s what I do instead.

Create Better Blog Post Images with Canva

Fonts

First, you need to choose a font, which is no easy feat. There are bajillions of fonts to choose from. In the link I dropped I’ve offered a few ways to narrow it down but here are the main points: choose something readable and stick with it. Now, when you’re creating images you may want to use a couple different fonts—risky stuff! If you want to spice things up font-wise, use Canva’s free font combinations thingy. Select your main font and let Canva show you what will pair well with it. Done.

Images

While you can create graphics without photos there is still a decision to make here—will you be an exclusive image-only blog? Or just graphics? Or a mix of both? Figure out how you want your site to look and go from there. If you’re going with photos, Canva has a large stock photo library—some of which are free to use. There are many, many options online for stock photography these days so you have options if you want to use photos but can’t/don’t want to use your own. Even if you’re not planning on using many photos I still recommend finding a photo style you resonate with (be it nature, lifestyle, flat lay, etc.) as it will help you in your ongoing branding and in colour selection.

Colours

If you’ve chosen your website or blog branding colours then this isn’t a decision you have to make—stick with your branding. However, if you haven’t done this yet it’s time to pick a palette. And, since we’re not designers, how does one know what colours go together? I use Canva’s colour palette generator every time I need one. And I don’t just use it for my blog images—it’s how I chose my living room colours and how I decide the palettes for my knitting projects!

When you find your inspiration image, one that you feel represents the essence of your blog and/or brand, upload it to the colour palette generator and watch it do its magic. Because it’s magical.

In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need (nay, <em>require</em> better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I'm a writer! I cannot! Even!

As a writer, the subject of website images can be overwhelming. The goal of today’s post is to help simplify it—yes you should have images on your blog and yes, I think you can create better blog post images. Here are the highlights.

  • Use a program like Canva
  • Remember, templates are your friend
  • Build a visual brand using fonts, images and colours
  • Stay on brand!

How to Promote Your Writing on Social Media

When you’re a freelance writer it might seem a bit strange to promote your writing to others on social media but it’s an important step in marketing your work and showcasing your skills.

How to promote your writing on social media

Your first thought might be that you can’t share your freelance writing either because it won’t make sense to your social media followers, you’re ghost writing and it’s not exactly OK to take credit for ghost writing or you’re under a confidentiality clause. All very possible and very important reasons why you should not be sharing your stuff! But that doesn’t get you off the hook. Maybe you can’t share your freelance work but you can promote your writing on social media.

What writing you ask? Here are a few ideas.

How to promote your writing on social media

  1. You can write a blog and share individual articles on social media as they publish

    Write and publish articles on your website or on a platform like Medium. Whatever it is, you can share articles on LinkedIn, tweet links to them on Twitter, post about them on Facebook, talk about them on Instagram…you’re creating content, putting your work out there and engaging your followers all at the same time. Blogs are brilliant.

  2. What’s your area of expertise? Create tips and tricks to help your followers improve in that area and post about them on social media

    Maybe you offer a tip per week on Instagram or perhaps it’s a Facebook Live video each month…whatever it is you’re showcasing your skills on social media and helping potential clients get to know, like and trust you.

  3. Have you written a book? Then why not talk about that on social media

    Develop a content calendar and rotate through different ways to talk about your book—talk about who it’s for, what the benefit is to the reader, publish excerpts, put it on sale, etc.

  4. Post about what you learn

    Maybe you can’t post about the exact freelance work you’re doing but maybe you can post about ways you’ve learned to make it easier, more efficient, etc. Have you learned about a new place to get great gigs? Why not share about that? How about a new hack to get your brainstorms down in a quarter of the time? I’m sure people would love learning about that! When you share about things you learn you become a resource for your followers—someone they want to hear more from.

  5. If you can post your freelance work—do it! Share them all over social media

    When you share your latest article or post try and talk about it in a way that is interesting rather than “Here’s an article I wrote, check it out!” While that works every now and then if you become someone who drops links and just expects your followers to read it because you wrote it. Try and engage them by describing what’s in it for them if they take the time to click the link.

When you're a freelance writer it might seem a bit strange to promote your writing to others on social media but it's an important step in marketing your work and showcasing your skills.

For more ideas about promoting your writing check out these articles

I’ve Self-Published a Book…Now What?

You’ve worked hard for a while writing your book and then you worked hard and self-published your book. Wow! Well done! That’s a lot of work. So…now what do you do?

Self-published now what

In an ideal world you, the author, would have worked out your marketing plan before you wrote and self-published your book but from what I see and hear from the authors I know and work with…it doesn’t happen that way. The drive to write and publish becomes a hyper-focal point and no “you should plan your marketing!” bird chirping in the background will make any difference.

And if the entire goal is to get the book done and self-published then this is an awesome accomplishment. However, if selling the book is the goal then there are a few more steps to take. Well, maybe a lot more.

Once you’ve self-published your book the next step is to market it to your ideal readers

In essence this is simple—put your book in front of the people who will love it. Except finding those people is not always easy. You have to dissect your book and figure out what type of reader would be interested in your writing style and subject matter. And then you need to find them…what stores do they shop in? Where do they hang out? What is their favourite social media platform? What are their biggest fears? What do they care most about? What type of marketing will they best respond to?

There are a lot of ways you can find your ideal reader (or book buyer, however you want to see it) so it’s important not just to parrot what you see others doing online but to find something that works for you and feels natural.


If you are stuck for ideas here are a few you can consider to help market your self-published book.

  • If you’re looking to find new readers make the e-version of your book free and find a way to add them to your email list. This way you can nurture them and (hopefully) sell them your next book
  • Need sales fast? Run ads on platforms where your ideal readers are—consider Facebook, Amazon, BookBub, KDP Countdown, etc.
    If you want to dive deeper into ads here’s a helpful post from David Gaughran
  • Set up local readings or offer to speak free at local events in order to promote your book
  • Go on an online book tour (wondering how to set it up? Here’s a guide from Book Marketing Tools

You've worked hard for a while writing your book and then you worked hard and self-published your book. Wow! Well done! That's a lot of work. So...now what do you do? #writing #selfpublish

Other posts self-published authors will like