Toss Out the Essay: The 7 Alternate Styles for SEO Copywriting


Whether you're a seasoned copywriter or just starting out, you already know that writing is serious business. It takes time and effort to produce good copy and when you're trying to make it SEO friendly, well, things just got even more challenging. But in the midst of keyword research, anchor text, and remembering to keep paragraphs short, there's something very basic you need to figure out first.

When you know what you'll be writing about, the next step is to choose the right format. Many of us skip this step and dive right in to the most common structure we know: intro, body, conclusion. But is this always the right choice for the task of making a subject interesting or compelling?

Writing formats are nothing new. When we were in grade school, we experimented with them all the time. We used templates in workbooks. We spent agonizing hours doing pre-writing exercises. We let writing prompts guide us along the way. It was a system where you always knew what was going to work. In SEO copywriting, that's not always the case.

So what can we do? We fall back on the classic essay structure that's been drilled into us for years. It's a natural reaction, but I challenge you to try something different. Experimenting with different writing formats make it more interesting for the reader. It also stretches your range as a writer. Think of it this way: trying something new can mean that you create something people actually WANT to read - not just another essay.

Here are some writing experiments you can try the next time you write SEO copy:

The Story


Powerful writing affects people. When you want to engage your reader, tell a story. Storytelling is at the core of human communication and it's something we all can relate to. Make your SEO copy interesting by telling a fairy tale, a tall tale, or even a true story. Stories make us feel connected to the subject and allow for us to form an emotional connection.

The Q&A

q a

Sometimes, we just want our questions answered. Take a look at your site's web analytics. You're likely to find that the FAQ or Q&A or Help documentation is one of the most frequently visited pages. Writing your SEO copy in a question and answer format can keep things simple, streamlined, and concise. Plus, it's great for subjects that come with many questions.

The How To


You always follow directions, right? How To formats can be very helpful, especially when you're dealing with a topic that's complex or complicated. Walk readers through how to do or how to use something step by step. If they're looking for the information, they'll stay with you from start to finish.

The Letter


When was the last time you received an honest to goodness letter in the mail? If you're like most people, it's been quite awhile. Letter may not always be in style, but when it comes to making writing interesting, letters can be a great way to connect with your audience while conveying information in a format that's easy to read and easy to remember. Even though it's a classic writing format, the letter can be more dynamic than the essay. Give it a try the next time you're stuck on a topic.

The Summary


Short writing can still be great writing. Summaries are great when you're faced with the challenge of having limited space on a page to work with. Yet summaries can be some of the most engaging writing out there. Try experimenting with short summaries instead of 1,000+ word documents. Don't worry about word count. See if you can lessen the number of words you need to tell the right story. It'll keep your writing conscice while encourating you to focus on the details.

The News Story


Give the reader the who, what, when, where, why, and how right in the beginning. Tell us who did what in the headline. People want to know details and we want them in an easily digestible format. The news story can keep us informed of the key information we need to know about something without clouding the core message. The language may be straightforward, but believe me, there's still plenty of room for creativity on this format. Start practicing by reading news stories. How do they get your attention?

The Journal


Sometimes you just have to get it all out. Streams of consciousness can be fun to read and when you share thoughts and emotions, you keep the writing human. Try making a subject that's cold or rigid into something totally unexpected. Journal about it. See where it takes you.

These are just a sampling of writing formats for you to try. There are countless others out there. If you've tried an unexpected format in SEO copywriting that worked for you, share it with us. We're always looking for some new inspiration!

About the Author: Mandy Pennington

Mandy (Boyle) Pennington is the Director of Internet Marketing at Net Driven. She is also a published freelance writer, lecturer at Marywood University, and co-founder of NEPA BlogCon. She enjoys theater, not taking herself seriously, and all things food.

Net Driven

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