Online Copywriting that Combines Storytelling and SEO is Easier When You Model a Proven Formula (AKA Swipe File)

Putting all the elements together to satisfy both the reader and Google

In our Gold Member Mequoda SEO copywriting workshops we’re sometimes asked how we create rapid conversion landing pages and sales letter landing pages that both tell engaging stories and combine our targeted keyword phrases for search engine optimization.


The answer is the same as the punch line to that old joke. “Hey taxi driver, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Reply: “Practice, practice, practice.”

For me, practice usually translates to “find a good model and then copy, copy, copy.” After all, it is called copywriting, isn’t it?

I’m not extraordinarily creative. You’ll seldom find me writing something wholly new and original.

But if I can find an outstanding example that someone else has created, I can usually develop a reasonably good imitation that is modeled on the original. That’s why I maintain an extensive swipe file of exemplary sales letters and headlines.

Here’s one you can model, if you think it’s worthy. I do.

In the following example, the targeted keyword phrases are how to grow orchids and orchid growing.

One way to increase your odds of success is to limit the number of keyword phrases you target. With only these two keyword phrases, it wouldn’t be too difficult to tell an engaging story and optimize the sales letter for Google search.

For best results, be sure to follow these SEO best practices.

The pre-headline is the attention grabber, defines the target audience, and gets the <H3> tag.

“If you want to learn how to grow orchids, do yourself a favor — get this book.”

The headline, for SEO purposes, must include the name of the product. It gets the <H1> tag.

Download a copy of The Flora Daily Orchids Handbook right now.

The subhead explains the offer, begins the emotional story, and states the call to action. It gets the <H2> tag.

Kindly old Dr. Gardner gave me my first orchid plant — along with lots of advice on growing orchids. That’s how I first learned how to grow orchids. Now you can learn his secrets to growing orchids, even if you’re just starting out. The fact is, if you want to learn how to grow orchids, you have a simple choice.

The sub-subheads also get the <H3> tag, without penalty from Google.

Option 1: You can spend time, money and effort trying to get your orchids to re-bloom, but instead of beautiful flowers, you will more than likely be left with just foliage and no flowers at all.

Option 2: You can consult The Flora Daily Orchids Handbook, learn these orchid growing secrets, and then look out over the splendor of your orchids, basking in their exquisite beauty. Learning how to grow orchids is easy when you have expert guidance.

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With this multiple headline treatment, we have a lot of attention-grabbing information above the fold, while maintaining the best practices for Google search engine optimization.

Now we follow with the text of the sales letter and its intriguing, emotional story — all of it optimized for our two keyword phrases.

Here’s how it all fits together:

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“If you want to learn how to grow orchids, do yourself a favor — get this book.”

Download a copy of The Flora Daily Orchids Handbook right now.

Kindly old Dr. Gardner gave me my first orchid plant — along with lots of advice on growing orchids. That’s how I first learned how to grow orchids. Now you can learn his secrets to growing orchids, even if you’re just starting out. The fact is, if you want to learn how to grow orchids, you have a simple choice.

Option 1: You can spend time, money and effort trying to get your orchids to re-bloom, but instead of beautiful flowers, you will more than likely be left with just foliage and no flowers at all.

Option 2: You can consult The Flora Daily Orchids Handbook, learn these orchid growing secrets, and then look out over the splendor of your orchids, basking in their exquisite beauty. Learning how to grow orchids is easy when you have expert guidance.

Dear friend and fellow flower enthusiast,

When you were a kid, was there a Dr. Gardner in your neighborhood?

In the little town where I grew up, there was one man who was known and admired by men, women and children alike. I don’t remember what he did for a living — perhaps he was a professor at the college — but he had two hobbies that were his passions, and everyone knew about them.

First, Dr. Gardner had an extensive model railroad collection. He invited all the neighbors in to his home to see it around the holidays.  The train set was truly magical and he taught the children and adults alike to operate the controls — much to their delight.

Dr. Gardner’s other passion was just as spectacular. He had a talent for growing orchids — the most magnificent orchids any of us had ever seen.

His orchids were simply legendary, and if Dr. Gardner really liked you, he might give you an orchid plant to take home and care for.

That’s how I fell in love with orchids and caught the “orchid fever.” Kindly old Dr. Gardner gave me my first plant — along with lots of advice on growing orchids. That’s how I first learned how to grow orchids.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that the world is full of Dr. Gardners — generous, kindly enthusiasts who are always happy to share their orchid growing expertise with others.

In fact, while researching The Flora Daily Orchids Handbook, I found dozens of orchid growers who were eager to share their expert tips, techniques, instruction and advice on orchid growing — without holding back.

So now, you, too, can succeed at cultivating orchids with the greatest bloom, and here’s the best secret of all:

Growing orchids — one of the most beautiful, fascinating groups in the entire world of flowers — is easy when you have expert guidance.

Orchids are among the most popular and widely grown plants around the world, yet they have an undeserved reputation for being difficult to grow. Like most skills, growing orchids is easy when you have expert guidance.

When we began researching The Flora Daily Orchids Handbook, we were fortunate that so many leading orchid experts were willing to share their expertise about how to grow orchids.

As you will see from their stories, orchid growers are incredibly passionate about their plants. What began as a hobby for most of them has taken on a life of its own. Their passion for growing orchids will not only inspire you, but also encourage you to grow more orchids.

Etcetera…

So, what’s in your swipe file?

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Have you had experience combining storytelling and SEO as two elements of online copywriting?  Please add your comments or questions to the website version of this blog post.

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Peter A. Schaible is Mequoda’s Chief Copywriter. For more of his unique perspective on copywriting, you can subscribe to his complimentary series on Targeting Your Prospective Customer by Type: How to Position Your Brand to Trigger an Emotional Response, available at SunDanceNewMedia. No obligation.

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Comments
    Valerie

    I’ve always thought this was really difficult to do, but this article makes it seem so easy! Thank you.

    Reply
    Peter S.

    Hi Valerie,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Like so many other tasks in life, the first time you try something is usually the most difficult. But with a little practice and experience, it gets easier.

    For me, the truly amazing thing about copywriting is that, although it is a cerebral activity, I get the best “storytelling” results when I put my brain in neutral. That doesn’t mean I shut the engine off, I simply relax, UNfocus, and let my imagination run away with itself.

    It took me nearly a lifetime to recognize and embrace this simple process. And now I know the secret.

    For me, it’s not about concentrating harder; it’s about opening up my mind and being receptive to all the unconscious influences that spring up from my life’s experience.

    In other words, the less intensely I try, the more inspired I get.

    All you need to do is get yourself in a quiet place, quiet your mind, and let the rest happen automatically.

    — Peter

    Reply

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