Google Hummingbird and Your Value as a Web Writer

Broad-tailed hummingbird female (Selasphorus platycercus) feeding

When you raise your fees and get more clients than ever this year, be sure to give a word of thanks to the hummingbird.

That little sugar-water swilling maniac was the inspiration for Google’s Fall 2013 update …

An update that has the potential to make online content more effective for your clients — but only if you’re the one who does it for them.

How does that work?

Well, in the ongoing war against “bad” content — keyword-stuffed fluff pieces, and articles that say nothing useful or even actively deceive — Google and other search engines have decided to make the of the writer a factor.

With programs like Google Authorship, Author Rank, and the Google Plus profile, writers can make themselves known to search engines as providers of good, quality content.

As a result, a new article from a “trusted” author outranks an article without a byline.

A blog post from a verified “real” writer gets more traffic than something from an anonymous poster.

And any company who wants to boost the effectiveness of their content marketing efforts can’t hire just anyone — they need to find a high-quality writer who also has a good reputation online.

So how can you tap into this trend toward rewarding quality writers … and turn your good reputation into serious cash?

First, you’ll want to establish a strong online reputation as a high-quality writer.

  1. Set up your Google Plus profile. Note that if you don’t currently have an account with Google (i.e., Gmail), you’ll need to set one up.
  2. Choose a niche where you can write informative, engaging pieces (blog posts, articles, and so on).
  3. Establish your own online footprint — ideally your own website — and start creating and publishing content.
  4. Link your content to your Google Plus profile to build your reputation as a high-quality writer. (An easy shortcut? Just follow the Google Authorship instructions.)

Next, you’ll want to translate your reputation into higher fees.

You can do this by becoming a Content Marketing Strategist. That’s the name given to writers who specialize in creating high-quality content for their clients.

You’ll help companies design and implement a specific brand image and brand message. And you’ll put your name on the final product, giving it extra value and search ranking power — thanks to the strength of your personal online reputation.

Yet the content you’ll be creating — blog posts, e-newsletter articles, special reports, and social media updates for the company — isn’t designed to feel “sales-y” or “hype-y.”

Instead, Content Marketing Strategists deliver conversational and informative content. You’ll be answering questions and providing helpful tips. This maximizes your power as a “good” writer putting out “good” content.

And while readers definitely benefit from finding more high-quality content online … businesses are also happy.

That’s because compared to traditional advertising campaigns, content marketing costs 62% less and generates three times as many leads, according to Demand Metric.

These kinds of results make Content Marketing Strategists an extremely valuable part of the marketing team. Plus, since so much of the visibility and traffic of the piece depends on the reputation of the writer, you’ll be able to charge premium rates for your work in that role.

After all, you’re the one with the great reputation … and since businesses can see in their bottom line what you’re able to do for them, they’ll happily write you checks all day long just to keep the traffic and money flowing.

Editorial Note: You can learn more about content marketing from these resources on Wealthy Web Writer:

You can also check out AWAI’s Content Mastery program. Based on expertise from Copyblogger’s CEO Brian Clark, Content Mastery is a step-by-step guide to becoming a highly-paid Content Marketing Strategist.

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Jen Adams

2 Comments

  • Jen,

    You said…

    “And you’ll put your name on the final product, giving it extra value and search ranking power — thanks to the strength of your personal online reputation…”

    Am I to understand that an online marketer with a website that I ghost blog for should link the articles I write to me, instead of saying “by XXX staff”? And that they will actually get better search results…

    …because you said, “As a result, a new article from a “trusted” author outranks an article without a byline.
    A blog post from a verified “real” writer gets more traffic than something from an anonymous poster.”

    Just want to make sure I understand these points in your article, thanks for the tips…look forward to your reply.

    • Hi Jerry,

      The move toward Google Authorship will mean that content developed by trusted authors will have a ranking advantage over content that is not. This may mean that your ghost writing client would benefit from you being recognized as the author. The exception is if they are trying to develop their own author rank, in which case they would want to continue having their own byline appear with the articles.

      Hope that helps.

      Heather

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