I’ve found that keeping running lists of particular words serve a number of purposes admirably. If the pursuit sounds mundane, maybe you should think again.
Keyword lists targeted to a specific niche market or industry:
Consider this: you’ve been asked to write a number of reviews for new automobiles. Unless you’re a writer on the inside track of the auto industry, chances are you don’t have the lowdown on the latest lingo. Do a bit of online research for auto reviews, read a couple of top auto reviewers and start a list of the terms they use, including auto features, technical jargon and descriptive terms that could be used to appeal to a car enthusiast (conversion content, man). I’ve saved my keywords to Excel spreadsheets where I can manipulate them in a variety of ways depending upon what I’m looking for. But you could just as easily save them in a Word doc.
See, you can refer to your keywords every time an assignment or content idea comes along that may require that particular know-how. As you discover new keywords or descriptors suitable for a particular keyword list, add them. It keeps your brain fresh and on point and also offers inspiration.
Lists of conversion-oriented words:
If you have ever been asked to produce “conversion” content you know it to be a pressure driven kind of writing. Conversion content is market-driven. You must craft compelling copy, but at the same time you must be acutely in tune with what motivates the site visitor and leverage your content for ACTION. It’s not cut and dried, but maintaining lists of conversion-oriented keyphrases and words is not only useful, but I’ve found it to be a downright lifesaver. My conversion list consists of three columns full of words and phrases:
Power, Action and Muscle Phrases.
I’ve given them those dorky names because they instantly “speak to me.” I know exactly what types of keywords and phrases fit where. I started this list a year or so ago. I add to it regularly and refer to it when I must create conversion content. The key: some words go quickly out of style–they’ve been burned–so you must stay on top of the latest and best marketing copy. Find a very successful web marketer you can stand and whose copy is persuasive.
Yes, creating word lists is additional work you’re not directly paid for. However, when you include dynamic lists of keywords in your web writing arsenal you will be a much more effective content producer than a less knowledgeable writer. I do believe that high quality content wins in the end. It has to, I have been paid too many times to renovate lousy content created by “writers” with one goal: vomit words on page as quickly as possible and move on.
Word lists…they are addictive.