What Literary Masters Can Teach Us About SEO Content Writing

by | Nov 19, 2015 | Content Marketing | 0 comments

What would you do if you were in a room full of literary masters? You’d ask them for advice and apply it to your life, right? Of course. Thankfully the Internet has given access to inspirational quotes that help us tap into the genius of writing legends. While most of these gems are in reference to penning novels, consider how we can applying them to SEO content writing.

“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself …” – Harper Lee

If you’re bored by your content’s focus, then it will bore your reader too. When you’re given a topic that makes your eyes roll far into your head, take a step back and see if you can apply the subject to your own life or learn about it in a way that benefits you personally. The end result will leave you interested in your project and with relatable content to share.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

Certainly writing SEO content won’t expose your inner demons in the way that writing a novel will, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never have an opportunity to discuss important topics that are an emotional subject to many people. When you come across those instances, do them justice by considering the sensitive reader who is struggling and seeking help and strive to create content that is thoughtful and honest.

“I write differently from what I speak …” – Franz Kafka

While having an engaging tone is always a plus, don’t make your writing so informal that it becomes unprofessional – unless that’s something your client requests, of course.

“Read, read, read. Read everything … Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.” – William Faulkner

Stephen King mirrored Faulkner’s sentiments by saying, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Does this only apply to reading and writing novels? Absolutely not. By absorbing the written word in all its forms, you can get a better sense of how language lives and breathes. But this is only half of the equation since you will never become a better writer unless you practice what you learned while reading.

“Do not use semicolons … All they do is show you’ve been to college.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s advice is a bit dramatic, but it is important to learn how to use semicolons properly before employing them. As an editor I’ve seen semicolons used in place of just about every punctuation mark possible, and not in a good way. If you’re not sure how to use semicolons, then don’t until you learn how. Your writing will be stronger for it.

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” – Neil Gaiman

Writing can be tedious, yet we keep on keeping on because we love it, or we’re insane. As a freelance writer, it’s important to understand that bad writing days are normal, and they are not always an indication that your skill level is questionable so you should throw in the towel. A good writing day is surely around the corner, so if you love writing, don’t give up.

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Nothing kills professional writing faster than exclamation points. Unless your clients want their content to sound like a late night infomercial, use exclamation points sparingly.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

It’s perfectly normal to be at a loss about how to approach an article. A great way to find inspiration is by hopping online and checking out what other people have written about the same topic. Just be careful that you don’t research too much. Doing so is a timewaster, and it won’t make your wallet happy either.

“Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity. Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.” – John Updike

Do your friends wrinkle their noses when they find out that you write about indoor plumbing and the advantages of hiring pest control services? Yeah, you do often discuss mundane topics while working as a content writer, but real life is mundane, folks. A creative end product has nothing to do with whether or not you started with an interesting topic; it’s all about your approach.

Literary masters are masters for a reason, so soak up their words and watch how they’ll benefit you and your writing. Comment below if you have a favorite quote that inspires you.

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