Can you keep a secret? Specifically, a secret from Tim …
I’m not that into SEO.
But because it’s a topic I wasn’t initially interested in, I have three practical hacks to share with you.
These tips allow writers to take advantage of search engine results — and no keyword research is required.
Good SEO is good content marketing
I like being wrong, so it’s important to note that I needed to get over my SEO skepticism.
Since, at first glance, SEO can look like sketchy tricks that fool search engines, it’s a turn-off for many creative writers.
However, SEO is an essential part of content marketing because it connects you to your audience. That’s the bottom line.
Your audience wants to solve a problem or fulfill a desire. You can solve that problem or fulfill that desire. SEO helps you find each other.
Tim teaches all of the best SEO practices you need to know, so I wanted to highlight a search engine result you can completely control without any other knowledge of the subject.
Your name: the foundation of your content portfolio
Your name is the most basic piece of information someone else knows about you after they find out you’re a writer.
And there are a variety of ways a prospect can discover you:
- Were you interviewed on a podcast?
- Did you author a guest post?
- Pass out your contact information at a virtual event?
Don’t forget about word-of-mouth marketing.
Anyone interested in hiring you is going to Google your name, therefore your content should appear on the first page of Google search results for your name.
When you claim spots online that show what you do, you have the opportunity to stand out as a subject-matter expert who meets a prospect’s writing needs.
Let’s take a look at how search engine results can start displaying you as a writer.
1. Your website
Want to know the first place I was regarded as a writer?
It was in my own imagination.
It’s common for writers to acknowledge their creative abilities in their own minds before anyone else has a clue they want to write for a living.
The next step is getting out of your head and spilling your writing skills over into the physical world.
If you’re a writer and the first page of Google doesn’t show results that demonstrate you can actually write well, how is anyone supposed to believe you’re the best writer to hire?
Your own website with writing samples that gets displayed in search engine results for your name is the fastest way to establish yourself as a service provider.
2. Your social media
You should consider anything you write on social media to be a part of your writing portfolio.
But not just any part of your writing portfolio — the most personal part.
Every tweet or LinkedIn update builds the know, like, and trust factors that people need to do business with you.
And let’s not forget the content format that gives a stranger the most complete picture of who you are: video.
Do you have YouTube videos where you share your expertise? How about a podcast?
Use your real name (or the only pen name you go by online) in your social media profiles.
If you have a brand name that you want to eventually become synonymous with your own name, include it somewhere in your profile, but make sure your primary name is there as well for search engines to recognize.
3. Your supplemental samples
When it comes to writing for sites other than your own, start small.
It may be tempting to pitch articles to the biggest sites in your niche, but that’s not always the most productive strategy.
Smaller sites are typically more open to guest writers and their audiences are usually made up of interested, enthusiastic people who you’d like to eventually become members of your own audience.
In the future, when you’re ready to write for larger sites, these previous bylines show your credibility and experience.
Supplemental samples could also include writing you post on sites like Medium or Tumblr.
No audience? The first step for new writers
All writers have something in common.
One day, they decided to stop overthinking and start writing. Rather than dismissing their little ideas, they knew it was time to thoroughly explore them with words.
After they make that decision, they work with their best possible idea at the moment and follow it through to completion.
There’s no more waiting for the “perfect topic,” “perfect angle,” or “perfect writing conditions.”
You have to build a narrative for people to check out and follow before you can grow an audience over time.
So, start building that narrative under the search term that no one can take away from you — your name.
Read next: No Audience? The First Step for New Writers