What Content Writing is All About: An Interview With Shabnam Kuraishi

Developing fresh, insightful, and optimized content can be a challenge for many businesses. This week we sat down with Shabnam Kuraishi, one of our seasoned content writers at HVAC Webmasters, to talk about her approach to crafting valuable content.

Watch the whole video of the interview on YouTube, or check out our Content Marketing page for more information.

Meeting With Shabnam Kuraishi

Madison: Hi, HVAC professionals. Welcome back to another episode of the HVAC Webmasters Podcast! I’m Madison McClure, and today we have with us a special guest: Shabnam Kuraishi.

Shabnam: Thanks for having me!

Madison: Yes! She is one of our spunky content writers here at the Webmasters, and she’s been with us…has it been a year yet?

Shabnam: Yeah! Over a year.

Madison: I still remember when you, Kellie, and the gang got here, and I’m like “Oh my gosh! Fresh blood!” It’s great.

Shabnam: Or new friends! You know, whichever one.

Madison: Yes, we were very happy to have you. Now, speaking of background, I wanted to hear a little bit about what led up to you joining the Webmasters.

Shabnam: Of course. Well, I graduated with a degree in Anthropology…

Madison: Anthropology?!

Shabnam: Ya, the connection is not quite there. But then I did social media marketing and blogging for some businesses.

Madison: Okay, so you really got some applicable experience there. That’s really cool though! It’s always fun to see writers come from a different background because it adds more flavor whenever they start writing about the different topics. Whether it’s blogging or a service page, it usually ends up being more flavorful, which is always great. Of course, that translates to more sales for your business, which is…what matters to HVAC professionals.

We went on to talk a little more about Shabnam’s two years of experience with writing. Then we broke into the writing process for developing content on a website.

The Writing Process

Getting Started on Content Writing

Madison: I want to go through and learn about your process as a content writer. Let’s start small. Say you’re starting with a service page, like “AC repair.” Now, how are you going to go through the process of planning and writing that page?

Shabnam: First I develop a skeleton. All the possible questions that relate to AC problems that could warrant a repair being done. Of course, you have to hit those keywords in the SEO, so I make sure to list them down as well, along with the topics. Basically, you wanna research your information to support those topics. A little background never hurts anyone.

You also want to add in those links. Hyperlinking to another page; I feel that’s a good way to get started as you flush out the page.

Madison: Okay, so you’ve definitely outlined and know what you’re going to talk about before you actually start writing it.

Shabnam: Yes! That’s important. That way you don’t get lost.

Maximizing Lead Conversion Potential

Madison: Now conversion is such a huge part of writing and making sure that you’re maximizing your chances of a prospect turning into a sale. ‘Cause that’s ultimately what our HVAC professionals are concerned about. Now what are you going to do to make sure that while you’re writing it that you’re maximizing that conversion potential?

Shabnam: It’s important to keep that sales mindset whenever your writing anything, ’cause you are essential doing web marketing essentially. So you’re going to put a list of the services that pertain to that particular page, as well as a call to action. If they have any questions, want to set up an appointment, give a phone number or in other cases connect to the Contact Us page as well.

A Good Call to Action

Madison: Ya! Call to action is very important. For yourself, what is the makings of a really good call to action?

Shabnam: I would say, have a call to action in the intro as well as the final paragraph. You always want to put in the phone number in those two places. If you want to spread that out throughout the page, go for it. It’s really up to you.

Something that’s encouraging… If you’re having trouble or having a problem figuring something out, reach out to us. We can help you. We’re the answer to your problem.

Madison: Okay, so you’re personalizing it a little bit and making it easier for the reader to find it?

Shabnam: Exactly.

Finding a Balanced Voice

Madison: Now a lot of HVAC company websites struggle with finding a balance on their service pages. Some are just like “Oh, we just want to be friendly with everybody. We’re not going to push them too much.” And others go the opposite direction and say “You should buy from us. You should definitely buy. Sell! Sell! Sell! Sell!”

That’s a real challenge to deal with for some people. Do you find that balancing that SEO with that natural reading experience, is that a challenge for you?

Shabnam: I think it was in the beginning! When you’re new to writing, you’re trying to figure out how not to sound robotic, because it can come off that way when a certain SEO [keyword phrase] is grammatically incorrect. You want to try to fit that in there. So try to blend it in there as best as you can. Make sure that the rest of the paragraph matches and try to keep a steady reading flow.

Madison: It sounds like you’ve gotten a really good hang of balancing those two. I know for myself, I think I was on the opposite end of the spectrum. I didn’t want to try to sell too much. As a result, my writing was like “Well, you know you can do this if you really want to.”

Shabnam: Ya, you are selling. They say a passive tone for selling is just not going to hit it. But you don’t want to be too aggressive either. Find a middle ground is your safe bet.

Beyond the Text

Important Non-Text Page Elements

Madison: We’ve talked a lot about the textual elements. Obviously, that natural writing is very important. But there are many not-text elements that go into a page. What do you think are the most important non-text pieces going into that page?

Shabnam: You want to look outside the picture of the computer screen. What you’re gonna see, you don’t want it to overcrowd. So you want to put something in to break up the text. Images, page breaks, bullet points. That way you’re not everywhere. It’s so important to have good visualization.

Madison: It’s so important, oh my goodness. If you look at some of the pages that are ranking on the back end of Google, you’ll see those humongous walls of text. You can always tell whenever somebody doesn’t have that writing experience, because they don’t actually format it and take the time to break it up. You absolutely right; all those images, formatting, and bullet points makes it such an easier reading experience.

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TLDR)

Madison: There is a saying nowadays that’s grown in popularity. It’s called TLDR, and it stands for “Too Long; Didn’t Read”. That can apply to an email. It can apply to a service page on a website. How are you making sure that your content is juicy enough, concise enough, and formatted correctly that people actually want to read through?

Shabnam: Have a voice that’s encouraging. Don’t be too pedantic with information. You’re not a professor instructing a student. You’re there to give them the bullet points of a service. If you want to bold information…once again, hyperlink information, that will get them to be engaged and maybe check another page out. Which is great for getting leads into the website.

User Friendly Page Elements

Madison: You’ve definitely established the setting for a wonderful reading experience there. For the average site visitor going onto a page, what do you think are the most important elements to keep them motivated to continue their search? What do you think keeps them on the hunt for their solutions and not bouncing back to Google for another website?

Shabnam: You want to make sure to answer all their questions that they have regarding that service. That way, all the answers are on one page instead of them being confused and going off the site, which is what we don’t want.

Madison: That’s a great point. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’ve seen a rise in the number of FAQs (the frequently asked questions) sections that are going into service pages. Those you’ll see pop up on Google Search results, because people know just how much value there is to…”Okay, what are people asking? Am I just speaking about what I want them to know or am I actually answering the questions that they have?”

And that’s one reason why when you answer those questions, people are much more likely to pick up the phone and contact your business.

A Larger Perspective

We took some time to expand the scope of the content writing process and explore ways to produce a fantastic writing standard for the entire website.

Madison: You’re working with dozens and dozens of pages across a single website – which can take weeks, by the way, to finish up – I know it’s very time consuming work sometimes. From a whole site perspective, what are you doing to make sure that our created content is successful? That it really resonates and it continues to make those sales as well?

Shabnam: The first thing that I make sure to have is consistency. I think that’s key. Whatever you’re doing as far as formatting, incorporating images / media, you want to have that spread out fairly evenly throughout the site. You also want to make sure that your voice is consistent throughout each page. Make sure to hyperlink throughout the pages as well.

Madison: That site structure / architecture is so important and a lot of research goes into, doesn’t it?

Shabnam: Yes, a lot. It’s important that you do it. Don’t skimp out on it, ’cause customers are keen about that. They’ll know if you’re just talking to get sales, vs you’re knowing what you’re doing but you’re also converting it to sales.

Madison: Mmhmm. Plus, if you’ve taken the time to organize things correctly, it makes it easier for people to actually find the services they want.

Final Thoughts on Content Writing

Madison: Let’s say someone came in at the last moment and they haven’t heard the rest of what we’ve talked about. If you have one thing for HVAC professionals to take away about content writing – whether it’s the process, the quality of content – what would you want them to hear?

Shabnam: For business and content writing, you want to make your business stand out from the others by providing a value to the customer. Why they should choose you vs the competitors. So, once again, make sure to know what you’re talking about. Be informative, yet concise.

Madison: That’s such a good point. I think a lot of HVAC professionals, they focus on what they do, not as much on why the person should select them. Because there’s dozens of people for them to choose from.

Shabnam: Exactly. There’s a lot of competition!

Closing

Madison: Shabnam, thank you so much for letting me interview you and ask you all these questions. Thank you, HVAC professionals for listening in. We’re happy to have you here. As always, if you need help with quality content writing, we’re here at the Webmasters to help you with that. So thanks for listening in. And thanks Shabs for being here.

We’ll see you next time!

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