So let’s talk about everyone’s favorite online topic: SEO. I joke! But seriously, search engine optimization is a key objective for any business. The better your SEO, the higher your site will show up in search results – and the more people you’ll reach. At Wix, part of our responsibility as a leading DIY website builder platform is not only to help our users create stunning sites, but also to give them the tools they need to get found online.
About 6 months after I joined the Wix Promote product team as their UX and marketing content writer, we were given a cannot-fail assignment: develop an end-to-end product to help Wix users easily take care of their SEO tasks and get their sites found on Google. I was responsible for the content writing for both the new product and the marketing materials.
Sounds cool, right? Yet there was one problem — I knew absolutely nothing about SEO.
To me, SEO was this mysterious algorithm-thingy that was so cryptic and ever-changing that even the experts couldn’t tell you exactly how it works. And now I had to teach users how to optimize it for their sites? I mean, I know content writers have superpowers, but I felt just a bit out of my league on this one.
Fast forward to today: just 14 short months after launching Wix SEO Wiz in May 2017, it’s now one of the top products at Wix and is being used on over 720,000 sites around the globe in 17 languages. Plus, a whopping 62% of these sites now show up on the first page of Google search results!
So how did I go from knowing nothing about this topic to writing content for what would eventually be such a successful Wix product?
Here are 8 ways I met this challenge head-on during the product development, along with practical tips to help you write engaging content for your own new products.
Simple competitor research isn’t always enough. If you’re at a loss of where (and how!) to begin, first get familiar with what exactly is going on. Before I even wrote a single word about SEO for Wix SEO Wiz, I spent a good chunk of time soaking in info from the SEO experts at Wix and consulting SEO industry blogs, articles and forums. This helped me get more comfortable with the lingo and learn what must-have elements our product should include.
As I started to dive into the project, I was soon confronted with a common writer’s dilemma: who exactly was my audience? The advanced user who would expect to read a lot of technical SEO jargon, or the basic user who just wanted to know what to do for their site, in plain-English? Together with my editor and the product team, I decided to go with a ‘keep it simple’ method; when the messaging called for a high-level word, I paired it with a more watered-down explanation to give context. There was no point in littering the content with heavy industry terms if it was just going to go over our users’ heads.
With a new product this large in scope and lots of different deadlines looming ahead in the (not so distant) Future, it wouldn’t take much for content to get lost in the shuffle. Starting from day one, I made a point of joining the kick-off meetings, sitting regularly with the PM and UX designers and drafting different content versions. This set the stage in which I was already a part of the product development process and would be able to be an active collaborator moving forward.
Of course, that’s the ideal. So just in case, always remember to…
Well, now I’ve gone and blown my cover. At the risk of alienating my teammates, I’ll just say this – info is your arsenal and you’ve gotta be proactive in filling your cache. As communicative as our team was, the process was still incredibly dynamic and it was hard to remember to keep everyone in the loop. You’d be surprised how many “small” feature decisions that directly affected content were inadvertently made without me. Nosing my way into other people’s discussions meant that I could bring up copy issues that may not have been considered.
You need to be your your own advocate and give your content the high priority it deserves. At various points in the product development process, I was working on as many as 7 different features at once. The only way to manage my tasks and deliver high-quality content was to stay informed about deadlines and push back when I was too overloaded.
Flex your OCD muscles and give them space to do their thing – you’ll need them here. Google Docs and Slides are your friends and one can never include too many links. I had a separate master content doc for each section of the product, with links for easy access to the relevant Jiras, Zeplins and InVisions. The translation keys were in this doc, too, so I could easily keep track of the context and make content updates in a snap.
Sometimes we can get so bogged down in what we’re doing that it all starts to become one big mashup of genius-sounding ideas that are really nonsensical combinations of words (wholly unlike that sentence! 🙂 ). Any time you’re feeling unsure of yourself during the content writing process, just turn to your trusty sounding board – editors, colleagues, friends, teammates – and try your ideas out on them.
When it seems like it’s all too much, take a step back and breathe. During the final rollercoaster weeks leading up to the product release, I was 3 months pregnant, filled with all those wonderful hormones that just make you want to curl up into a ball and, like, not talk to anyone. So, between you and me, going with the flow when it came down to crunch time was a tough personal challenge. My advice? Take it day by day, do the best you can and focus on the end goal.
By the time we launched Wix SEO Wiz, our team had created the content within the product, an email marketing campaign, a marketing landing page, site banners, 3 product videos, 4 triggered emails and an in-depth content hub with SEO best practices. Looking back on it, it’s hard to believe how much we learned in order to develop such a powerful product that has revitalized the online presence of so many Wix users.
It can be daunting when you sit down to start writing content for a new product. And when it’s related to a topic of which you know nothing about? All the more intimidating. But by sticking with this approach, you can build up your confidence and own your content.
So go forth, my noble content trendsetter, take your text into uncharted territories and mark your own path.
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