Not a lot of people know this, but I used to blog about something wildly different – my fertility journey. I wasn’t particularly successful by conventional metrics partly because, at the time, I knew nothing about SEO. I was afraid that optimizing my blog would compromise my writing. Obviously, I’m pragmatic about it now. What good is writing that no one can find? Balancing technical SEO with digestible storytelling can be overwhelming, but it’s totally possible!
5 Strategies for Balancing Storytelling with SEO
These five strategies will help you tell a good story without wrecking your blog’s SEO.
1. Use keyword research to focus your ideas.
To blog, you need to start with a topic – a keyword. The keyword is how your potential clients find you. After choosing your keyword, stay focused on that. If you need guidance on choosing a keyword for your blog post, check out this brief introduction to Ubersuggest. It’s my favorite keyword research tool.
2. Avoid keyword stuffing.
Now that you have your keyword, you might be eager to pepper it into your blog post like a toddler who keeps throwing sprinkles in her yogurt. Hold on there! You may be in danger of keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is jamming in as many keywords as possible into your copy to try to game Google. To encourage more natural prose, Google’s AI actually docks sites for keyword stuffing. Make sure you don’t overuse keyword and that the sentences sound natural. Google uses natural language processing (NLP), a vaguely dystopian AI tool, to flag awkward copy.
3. Give it structure.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your focus to a keyword or two, give your blog post some structure. You’re going to lose people if you make a list of unconnected thoughts. Maybe, like me, you went through a William Faulkner phase. That’s cool, but potential clients aren’t on your blog for stream of consciousness writing. They want headings that tell them what to expect and copy that is informative.
4. Keep it conversational.
This relates back to Google’s use of NLP. To rank well and keep people reading, your blog copy should feel conversational. Definitely make sure the tone is consistent with your brand voice, but avoid being overly formal. In my decade of teaching college and high school, I always told my students: Read your work aloud. If a sentence is clunky, rewrite it.
5. Throw in something unexpected – but on brand.
If you consume a lot of wedding photography blogs, like your potential clients and I do, some of the copy can sound redundant. Keep people engaged by giving them a little something they didn’t necessarily expect. For example, in this blog post, I revealed my ambivalence about AI and nerdy love of literature. It’s not news that this writer loves to read, but it humanized me. It also gave you, the reader, a little lagniappe, as we say in New Orleans. Drop in a reference or anecdote into your blog copy to make your potential clients feel connected to you.
Balancing the technical demands of SEO with the art of storytelling can be a big ask of a busy entrepreneur. At Brandcendent, I specialize in copywriting for photographers. Compelling, SEO-driven blogging is my bread and butter! Let’s chat about how I can help transform your blog.