Subscribe for latest news & serialized work

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

What's the Difference Between SEO and SEM- and Why it Should Matter for Writers

So you've probably heard of SEO and SEM but not quite sure what they actually mean and why it's important for a writer to know? The Internet has made some significant shifts with the way websites are found on search engines, and while this new shift may prove a bit challenging for the small business owner and sole proprietor, there are abundant doors of opportunities that are opening for creative writers and storytellers who want to earn a living providing content for digital marketing companies to use. But first, an explanation of what the difference is between SEO and SEM: 


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. If you have a website or run a blog, certain keywords you use in that platform will increase the chances of your website to appear higher in a search engine's rankings. Knowing what keywords people are using to search on a web browser, like Google, for example, and craftily displaying those keywords on your online platform will increase your chances of your website to appear on the first page of a person's search results, rather than it appearing on the second or third page. 


Search Engine Marketing lets you buy ad space in the search results. In other words, businesses pay to advertise to people who are searching for a specific keyword online. This works in the form of an auction system, where businesses compete to get their ads displayed by bidding on certain keywords.The highest bidder wins that ad space, which will often turn out on the first page of this search engine's page. Google anything and your search results will render a list of major companies ranked at the top of that list first. This is often frustrating for the little guy who owns a small business and cannot compete with corporate giants with large budgets, who are taking up that space on those search listings, but many small businesses and sole proprietors are leveraging the power of content to stay relevant and even crush their Goliath-like competition. So, why is content crucial for a business survival?

Content is Important 

Although a website is important for all businesses to get found on today's web listings, the average consumer uses the Internet in many different ways. Understanding those ways provides a great opportunity for business owners to engage with an audience and potentially convert them to customers. So what are those ways? People watch videos, search for recipes, read e-books on their Kindle or Nook, listen to podcasts, get on social media and re-share posts, read and share relevant email, subscribe to blogs of interest and sign up for newsletters. A saavy business owner, particularly one with a digital marketing budget, understands the power behind word-of-mouth advertising and knows how to provide content for some or all of these platforms that are linked to his/her website. Why, you may ask? Because it can potentially turn a follower of that content into a loyal customer. 

Once again, the small business owner doesn't always have a sizeable monthly budget to pay thousands of dollars a month for someone to manage a blog, social media, etc. and competing with large companies for ad space in search listings is even more of a challenge. They simply don't have the time. Many of them turn to content mills like FIVERR, but paying $5 for something is really a toss up: sometimes the stuff you get is good and other times, you know how the old saying goes, you get what you pay for if the person contracted has no understanding of the business person's goals, brand, clientele, or how to use words and phrases that motivate the observer to a call to action. That call to action may be in the form of persuading the follower to perhaps sign up for a newsletter or Ebook, purchase a product, or like a page. 

More Writers are Needed

With that said, if you are writer, with experience in a particular field and would like to make a living writing, digital marketers are looking for writers who can create content for blogs, video scripts, crafty informational post for social media, newsletters, and email. You're probably wondering, how do I start? 

My advice is to start with what you know. Do you have experience in a particular field of interest? Are you currently working for someone who could use a writer to perhaps start a blog for their business? Or, perhaps this business owner may want to add content to their social media site in small bits of information that people on their social media platforms will find helpful and shareable (see sampe to the right). They don't have to be long-winded and drawn out. Most people don't have time to read long-winded posts or emails anymore. But if you enjoy research as much as I do, and can break things down into easy-to-understand digestable chunks, there are so many creative ways to distribute that information, and this is where being a creative writer will come in handy.  

Once you've selected your writing niche, if you don't have basic skills in marketing, blogging or copy writing (which is the skill of mastering the power of persuasion through writing, and not actual copyright laws), go to your local library and teach yourself how to strengthen your skills. Sorry, I'm old school. I still go to the library and read books, but yes, you can also use the web, since it also provides many opportunities to take online classes that can help you harness those skills.  If you're interested in digital marketing, find an online group in-the-know that you can learn from. I'm partial to the Content Marketing Institute, but there are several that I follow on Twitter. Find out what your area of interest is and bookmark the ones you want to stay abreast with the latest trends and news. 

I've been blogging, selling stories to different media outlets, and indie publishing my own novellas and short stories for the last fourteen years. I had to stradddle work I didn't like, overcome some difficult health issues, and LIFE-ing made it more challenging, but I finally burned my ship at the beginning of this summer to dedicate myself to my business full-time, so I can fund my own story writing projects, and I absolutely LOVE the freedom of managing my own time around my family and myself. 

Now, I use that experience to provide services to other independent authors who need Kindle covers or book trailers. If you want to see samples of the type of work I do, click here, or the "Freelancer" picture on the right margin of this site. I also help create social media content for small businesses and sole proprietors like personal trainers and coaches. Occasionally, I run packaged deals like the one I'm doing for this week (see below)

Because I also publish my own novellas, I limit my clients to only a few a month to ensure that I don't bite off more than I can chew, since I don't like to rush through any projects. I'm not a content mill, and providing quality work is important to me. But, you can decide how many you want to do. It's your business and you're in control of your own ship!

I'm not gonna lie. It won't be easy, but if this is something that you feel you always wanted to do, the Internet has opened so many doors for writers to dive in and explore the endless paths available for them to make an actual living writing for a living, and I encourage you to never give up trying to find a way to bust open that door of opportunity and seize it. The possibilities are endless. I wish you well in your endeavors. Keep writing! 

No comments:

Post a Comment