Content Writers: This is How You Get an Edge on the Competition

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You write well. Great. So do plenty of other people vying for the same jobs and contracts as you. How do you stand out? Really great writing will help, but great writing is only part of the package.

If you really want to be the BEST choice for a content role or contract, you need to be awesome at SEO and trend management too. Putting content - great or otherwise - onto the web without factoring in SEO and trends is like shouting into the abyss.

When you make SEO and search trends part of your content writing strategy, it’s more like shouting into a ticket-buying audience where people have actually sought you out and want to hear what you have to say.

Doesn’t SEO require a technical background?

There is a technical side to SEO and it helps to understand the (very) basics of that side, but no, you do not need a technical background to write SEO-optimized content. You don’t need to know how to code. You don’t need HTML, JavaScript, or anything else.

In most cases, the technical side of SEO can be handled by… a technical team. It’s also often a case of getting a website’s technical ducks in a line before the ongoing SEO strategy is taken over by a marketing team, with a strong content strategy as part of those efforts.

SEO and content creation

For the uninitiated, SEO stands for search engine optimization. A big part of that is optimizing content (web site text, blog posts, articles, social media posts, video content, meta content, etc.) to align with search engine rules and best practices in order to get that content ranked on search engines and found by search engine users.

That means keywords, but also keyword strategy: researching, analysing, mapping, etc. It means understanding how meta content fits into the picture, where and how listings will be seen, how mobile comes into play, and more.

None of this requires a technical background to master, and all of it will make you a far better content writer, from a business perspective.

I get SEO, but what about trend management?

Trends refer to the peaks and dips in search volume for particular keywords and phrases. For example, we expect searches for the phrase “winter tires” to peak in winter and searches for “restaurants with patios” to peak in summer.

Trend management goes further and looks at actual data to understand when peaks start to ramp up (in the “winter tires” example, maybe the peak starts long before a business is starting their campaigns and they’re missing out on a prime opportunity) and when they drop. It looks at off-season trends to identify opportunities, lower competition keywords to target, etc. Essentially, it gives you ideas for new content that are data-driven, meaning you can establish a baseline and actually measure results.

There are trend management tools that facilitate this research. They don’t require a technical background either and, once you understand how to use them and read the reports they generate, they are incredibly user friendly and provide invaluable insights.

Become the full package

Being a strong content writer is great. From a hiring perspective, being a content writer and strategist is even better. When you have the skills to create successful strategies to back up your amazing content, your CV goes to the top of the pile.

So are you happy with just “Content Writer” after your name, or are you ready to become “Content Writer & Strategist”?

See how McGill can help you bring that knowledge to the next level. Check out our marketing programs at

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Tarek Riman

Tarek Riman

International best selling author of "The Camino Within", "The SEO Way" and "The Secret to Capitalizing on Analytics", Tarek Riman has worked with 200+ agencies, SMBs and Fortune 500s. An instructor at the McGill University School of Continuing Studies with over 30 certifications in digital marketing including AdWords, Analytics, Bing, Hubspot, Woorank, Facebook & Hootsuite, Tarek also contributes posts to the Huffington Post, Thrive Global & Social Media Today.

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