When it comes to SEO content writing, working with a journalist can seem like a decent idea. Or being a columnist, you might think that jumping into this relatively new game is the way to make some extra cash and keep up with the expectations of the ever changing world.
But are journalists good in SEO content writing? Can you use what you’ve learned in the ‘field’ in this 100% online game?
So here is what I leaned in my 10 years in the SEO game. I know everyone is different, and don’t want to generalize with this article. I’m positive there are journalists who can produce great SEO content. I’d just like to show that sometimes journalistic writing and SEO writing can be so different that even for the greatest it is difficult to switch between the two.
Similarities Between Journalistic And SEO Writing
Let’s start with the similarities between these two types of writing. There are some, and this comparison can give you a rough idea of how to reuse journalistic writing knowledge in SEO content creation.
Both journalistic and SEO writing require ‘good’ content. What’s good is pretty subjective, but it needs to be compelling, grab the reader’s attention, and provide what’s expected.
Grabbing the reader’s attention for example in the first paragraph is one specific technique that journalists learn and they are terrifically good at. This is called ‘the inverted pyramid’ technique, and it’s actually a very important part of good SEO content writing. You need to grab the reader’s attention right off the bat because if they think your article is not relevant or interesting, they will simply click back to the search results and that’s a bad signal for ranking.
Also there are many similarities in the style. Both journalistic and SEO writing require mainly short sentences and simple words that most will understand.
Three Unbearable Differences
But here comes the problem. There are also very important differences between these two types of writing.
And as I stated before, I don’t want to generalize, but in my experience these differences not only make up for the similarities, but their effect is that most journalists unfortunately cannot produce good enough SEO content.
SEO content must be evergreen. Period. You write today, and your content will need at least a couple of months to rank. And then you want it to stay among the top results after a year, 5 years or even 10. Summer, winter, rain or shine.
And that’s the opposite of how journalists need to present their content. They need something newsworthy, current. Something that will grab the reader’s attention because it is related to an event, something happening in present time.
In my experience, this difference can be large enough for most journalists to unfortunately not being able to produce good SEO content. If you want to overcome this, you need to learn creating a completely different type of content, and be able to switch between those two types of writing depending on the situation.
This is somewhat related to the previous one. When you write for a keyword, you always want some kind of encyclopedic content. This is what readers want at the end of the day, answer for their question. And by the way this is one method of creating that evergreen content I was talking about in the last paragraph.
Whereas journalists need to produce sensational content, where not the facts themselves but the way of presenting them is what really makes or breaks the article.
Again something that can be overcome, but it requires a huge discipline from the writer to apply the right style that’s needed in the specific situation.
This one is easy and whether a journalist can be good at it depends on how open he or she is to learning new skills.
SEO writing basically has some technical requirements in order to be rewarding. This is about how to use the keywords, using headings, the number of words etc. Basically all the things that most people identify with writing SEO content.
This is not the most important part of successful SEO copywriting, but you definitely need to learn the ins and outs of this technique if you want to conquer the search results.
A good journalist can be a terrific SEO writer as he or she already possesses the most important skill; they can write engaging content.
But they have to have a very different mindset when it comes to this other type of writing, and they have to be able to switch between these two mindsets depending on what kind of content they are creating at the time.
They also have to be humble enough to admit that this is another type of writing with its own set of skills and requirements. And lastly but not least, a journalist who wants to create good SEO content have to accept that they have to learn these skills and requirements even if they are among the best in their current profession.