Understanding SEO Copywriting: When To Hire & a Do-It-Yourself Guide

Posted by Kim Stacey

Your funeral home website sits at the hub of your online marketing efforts; you simply can’t afford not to truly understand the importance of SEO copywriting. It’s what makes your families land on your website instead of your competitor’s.

It was way back in 2008 when Mortuary Management published an article I wrote titled, “Are You the Best Writer for Your Business?” Now, six years later, I’m returning to that same question but the years in between have not changed my perspective one whit. I still believe that most business owners shouldn’t write their own website content or sales copy. Most of the time, they can’t see the features and benefits of their business offerings as clearly as a seasoned copywriter can (one who asks all the right questions) and nine times out of ten, they don’t enjoy the writing process enough to excel at copy or content writing.

One thing has changed, however, and that’s my perspective on exactly what makes for compelling, persuasive content. Today, you have to write to please the search engines as much as you write for your human audience. After all, very few people will even see your content unless you provide search engine optimized content. This complication makes it even more challenging for a business owner to generate the kind of content both audiences – human beings and search engines – are looking for. That’s just one more reason you want to hire someone who knows what’s required; in short, you need an SEO copywriter. yes - notepad & pen

Not just any copywriter or content writer will do, either. You want someone who knows the funeral profession inside-and-out. And, you need someone who truly enjoys writing about the very important work we do.

When Someone Says “I’d  Rather Do It Myself”…Here’s What I Say

I’m really quick to tell them that it’s probably not a good idea. This isn’t because I assume I’m a better writer than they are. I’ve learned firsthand how little spare time funeral directors have. While their intentions are good, the reality is that they rarely have enough time to do it at all, moreover do it the way it needs to be done.

The second point I drive home is an obvious one: your funeral home website is clearly a major point-of-contact between your firm and your audience. It’s available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So I ask, “Can you really afford to do the work half-way?” I don’t believe you can (and usually they’ll agree).

But I’m Still Supportive

Every writer needs encouragement and if a funeral home owner is adamant about their desire to write their own website content, you can bet I’ll gladly take on the role of cheerleader. I’ll go one step further: I’ll give them a short course on the steps involved in SEO copywriting. Just in case you’d like to write your own persuasive, compelling, and search engine optimized website content, I tell you exactly what I tell them:

  • You Have to Do Your Research. You should use Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool allows Google Keyword Planneryou to know what people in your area are searching for when it comes to funeral or cremation services. The top performing keyword and keyword phrases are the ones you’ll use when writing. Unfortunately, there are lots of rules governing on-site keyword distribution; way too many rules to go into here. (Quite frankly, this is usually where the would-be-writer goes awry: not enough time is spent in keyword and target market research. This greatly limits the overall effectiveness of the content.)
  • Anticipate consumer objections. What questions or concerns commonly come up which stop people from doing business with you? Write them down and focus on creating informative, problem-solving content which reassures the prospect and affirms you are honest, forthright, and candid. Don’t forget to blend in those all-important keywords!
  • Collect compelling stories from your clients. Nothing pulls us in psychologically more than a good story. Humans are storytellers. It’s how we learn. So, if possible, get the reader interested (and emotionally involved)  with a hard-hitting short story. Then connect it back to what you’re really offering. Here’s an example, which has to do with some neighbors I once had. The wife was dying of stomach cancer, and it was not until she was really quite ill (too ill to make the trip to the funeral home comfortably) that her husband was able to broach the subject of her funeral plans. It was excruciating for both of them – in the last weeks of her life, that’s the last thing they need to be doing. Compelling pre-need copy could include a similar tale of distress, as well as a story (or two) of the comfort and peace-of-mind that pre-planning provides. (It should go without saying; real names are changed to protect privacy.)
  • Increase your credibility with testimonials from happy customers. Testimonials are designed to increase credibility and put a face on people who have had success with your services. Let them speak for you! Solid testimonials build trust and that’s the first step in creating strong relationships.

When you’re done, read and then re-read your copy. Have others read it. Read it aloud. Be critical. Take your time. Don’t get distracted by your daily workload; instead, commit to writing at least a couple of hours a day. One more important tip: make sure your content is 100% unique: run it through an online plagiarism checker, like Copyscape or Grammarly.

If It Sounds Like a Lot of Work…It Is

What should you do if you just don’t have time (or the desire) to do all this? For heaven’s sake, don’t just think you can cut and paste content culled from other websites. (This happens all too frequently, and the search engines hate it. Not to mention it’s plagiarism.) Instead, turn to a professional writer but make sure you are hiring someone who has an understanding of the unique business you are in! After all, you’re not selling cars, toasters, or carpeting.

I’ve been writing for funeral service professionals since 2005. Naturally, how I wrote then is different from how I write now; after all, today the search engines demand that I write totally unique, keyword-driven content.

yes - notepad & penWhen writing custom content for a FrontRunner client firm, I rely on the keyword recommendations of our SEO team and when I’m done, I run everything through Copyscape. Once in the hands of the SEO team, the content is uploaded to the site, and relevant page details (browser title tags, for example) are also optimized. That way, the client gets fully optimized content that has never been seen online before. (Unique content is worth its weight in gold.)

Okay. It’s time for me to get back to writing for our clients. I just wanted to make you aware of the reasons you should hire a professional SEO content and copywriter. I’ll take it a step further; if you’d like to speak with someone about FrontRunner’s custom content writing services, just pick up the phone and give us a call at 866-748-3625.)

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