Probably a lot more than you might think. Google likes deep content from subject experts. For a long time, I have told my clients and marketing seminar audiences, that “the more you write, the more you sell.” When someone asks me, for example: “How many words should I write within a blog?” my standard answer used to be 300 words. However, this number is now edging up. As you read the following, please remember that I am only the messenger (as you might not like the message).
If you really want to get noticed by Google, write extended blog posts of more than 1000 words. Some sources say that circa 1,500 words is a good target to aim for as this word count takes about 5 minutes to read. (If you are wondering how many words there are in this post, the answer is just over 1000). Google prefers a high word count, as long body copy means that the piece contains more expertise and more keywords. After all, if you are writing about a subject in reasonable depth, 1000+ words enables you to argue your case in more depth than 300 words does. However, you have to provide insights. Which means that you must know what you are talking about. Which in turn means that if you pay $5 for someone on the other side of the world to write your blog posts, Google will probably notice. Bear in mind that the Google algorithm is now smart enough to figure out whether you actually know your subject and what you are writing about (kind of scary, really, isn’t it?)
This is one of the reasons why I don’t outsource any of my writing and why I don’t advise that my clients do so. After all, no one knows their subject in quite the same way that they do. I think that it is fine if someone else edits their words, as this means that they are providing a better service to their readers. (During the next copywriting for the web training course, we will be discussing how writing and editing are two separate skills).
There are clearly a number of challenges here, aren’t there? For a start, you have to have quite a bit to say in order to hit 1000 words on any given subject. Having said this, if you continually read about your subject, launch new services / products and are reasonably creative then this is less of a problem. I often work provide marketing advice to independent professionals and business owners who need a little help with their marketing strategy in general and their content marketing in particular (which = the brave new world of marketing). For example, they realise that they can write about their enterprise, services, products and customers. But what else can they write about? Perhaps it is easier for someone ‘looking in’ rather than someone ‘looking out’ to see the numerous possibilities that exist.
Personally, I have found that the more you write and the more frequently you do so, the easier it gets. I imagine that all of these little copywriting and idea generation neurons are busy talking to each other, no matter what I am doing.
Another challenge is how are you going to get all of these words into a machine? I was ill one summer, when I was 16 years old. My father gave me a book which taught me how to touch type. So I know what home keys are, on a keyboard (they have little raised areas for your fingers to find) and I am a reasonably fast typist who can look at the screen whilst I type, not at the keyboard. If you ‘hunt and peck’, I suggest that you learn how to touch type (age is no barrier to learning, is it?)
The average typing speed is 39 words per minute, in other words 2,340 words per hour (the record is an astonishing 216 words per minute). Yes, I know what you are thinking. Probably something like: “There is no way that I could write a 1000 word blog in half an hour.” OK, I accept this. So here are a few ideas which might help:
* Walk around with a note book and pen (i.e. a paper note book). When you have an idea for a blog, write it down. Yes, I know that your fingers will feel clumsy handling the pen as you probably haven’t used one for a decade, but hey, old skills can be useful. Why this 20th century approach? Because all of the novelists I know do this and it would appear that the act of writing with a pen sparks off more ideas than using the virtual keyboard on your smartphone.
* Write regularly, ideally every day – even if it is only 100 words (the words will soon mount up).
* When you read don’t just read about your profession. Ideas come from many different sources. As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Realise that everything connects to everything else.”
* Write directly into your blog software (i.e. WordPress). If someone has to edit / review / clear your words – get them to do so online, ideally within the blog software itself.
* Blog at least once a week and share your blog posts via social media.
By the way, if you are realistically never going to become a touch typist, then I suggest that you start using dictation software. Everyone tells me that it is getting better and better. The alternative would be to work with someone who can make it happen for you i.e. help you to come up with the ideas and actually get them published via your blog, MailChimp newsletter and social media accounts. There are many ways to get all of this done, without soaking up all of your working day.
Here are some other blog posts on content creation which may help:
Coming up with new ideas and finding time to think
How to generate ideas for content marketing blogs
I will be discussing these issues during my next Writing for the Web training course.
Written by marketing consultant, trainer, speaker and author Nigel Temple.
3,000+ clients over a 30 year period.
Nigel is available for hire as a marketing consultant, marketing trainer or marketing speaker.
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