“I got fame/My A&R’s a computer” — “All The Shine”, Childish Gambino
Okay so we’re on to part 2 of Laptop A&R, tweaking your content. Marketing wonks call this “content optimization” or search engine optimization aka (SEO). (Again with the marketing-speak, I know.)
This topic could be a a series of posts. It could be a book. It could be a whole blog. In fact there are a slew of blogs just on this topic alone. I’m going to hook you up with just enough knowledge to get you started.
The goal of tweaking your content, aka optimization,is to use words, phrases, and tools that give you the best shot at getting it seen by your audience. This comes with practice and eventually you will do it automatically without even realizing it.
Here’s what I do:
Pick a Topic Phrase:
I’m going to use blog posts for this example,but you can apply it to any form of content. Once you’ve decided what you are going to write about, pick one phrase or short sentence that explains your topic, then go Google it. What do you see in the search results, especially the top 5? If you see articles, links, or posts that are somewhat similiar to what you’re about to write, you are on point. While you are looking at the Google page, also glance at the ads which are displayed in the column on the right. Why do I do this? As I said, it lets me know if I’m focusing on a topic that people are looking for. As an example, let’s use “Synthesizers for beginners” as my phrase.
Write Your Headline:
One of the key parts of your post that Google prioritizes is your headline. I will break this down in more detail in Part 3, but here are a few tips for now:
Ask A Question How Can I Learn to Play Synth in 30 days?
Lists: 2o Ways to Make Your Synth Sound Like Stevie Wonder
Use Numbers: (see above) The Top 5 Synths You Haven’t Considered, But Should
State Your Opinion: Why Korg is Better than Moog for Beginners
Pick Some Keywords:
Do the same thing as above by Googling around 5 keywords that relate to your main topic phrase in step one. For our example topic, those words might be MIDI, Korg, pricing, size, sampler. Without getting ridiculous, make sure to use those keywords throughout your post. How do you know you’ve gotten ridiculous? If you read your post out loud to yourself, and it sounds crazy, it’s crazy. For example:
Right: When you are looking for a good beginner’s synthesizer, one thing you need to consider is MIDI compatibility
Wrong: When you are a beginning synthesizer player looking for a synthesizer, as a beginner you need to consider if that synthesizer has MIDI compatibility.
What’s equally important is Google will think you are trying to game the system to get add revenue, and give you the search smackdown, meaning you won’t show up in the search results. Don’t get spooky on this ok? Just use your common sense and you’re good.
When you mention a relevant artist, blog, news site, tool, product, etc you should strongly consider linking to their website or blog. The two main reasons for this are what we call “link love” and Google authority. Link love is like a digital version of “good looking out”. You are showing love to that site by referring to it and linking to it in your post. Secondly Google looks favorably on posts that link out to other sites,again,within reason, as well as posts and sites that are linked to.
Okay that should be enough on optimization to get you started.
The last point I want to make is, do not fall into the “paralysis of analysis” trap and focus on this part too much. Some people obsess over their SEO stats so much they forget the most important thing: their audience. Focus on creating valuable content and connecting with your audience, and the search results will come, I promise.
As always, leave me your comments. I know you will. –K