Monday, April 28, 2014

How to do keyword research


keyword research
Keyword research is considered the most crucial element to search engine marketing.
Utilizing the appropriate keywords and phrases to connect with your target audience can greatly impact your search engine rankings.

According to Search Engine College, "Keyword research is simply the process you use to come up with appropriate keywords and phrases that you wish to target in search engines. In other words, the keywords or phrases that you believe your potential site visitors would type in to search engines to find products and services similar to yours."

Here are the steps for keyword research as recommended by Search Engine College.

Before You Start

Think about your search engine campaign requirements. Are you looking to connect with a certain demographic market? If so, where do they live? Are you trying to reach men or women? How old are the people in your target market?

As an example, Search Engine College uses a fictional florist located in Miami, Florida. Possible target markets include:
  • women in their early to late 20s
  • people living in Miami and surrounding suburbs
  • brides-to-be living in Miami and surrounding suburbs
  • dating males
  • couples (especially around Valentine's Day)
The next step is to create a "seed list" of keywords. As you yourself probably use a search engine every day, put yourself in your target audience's shoes and think about what you would type into a search engine to find the relevant goods and services.

Gather Your Seed List

As you think of appropriate search terms, write them down. Search Engine College suggests the following search terms for the florist example:
  • flowers
  • roses
  • bouquets
  • Valentine's Day
  • wedding flowers
  • florists
  • gifts
Since those seed terms are very generic, they need to be qualified.

Qualify Your Terms

Refining the search terms can help you connect better with your target market. For instance, the Miami florist probably wouldn't want to connect with people interested in growing roses or with people who live in a different state.

So, Search Engine College recommends adding the following terms to the original list:
  • [send] flowers [Florida]
  • [send] roses [Miami]
  • [wedding] bouquets [Miami]
  • Valentine's Day [gifts Florida]
  • [Florida] wedding flowers
  • florists [Miami]
  • [send] gifts [Miami]
That really narrows down the searches. After all, the goal is to connect with your target audience. You have something to offer them. By connecting with the target audience, hopefully they won't click away from your website.

One thing to note -- it's important to make reference to your target search terms in your website's body copy as well.

To expand upon your keyword list, ask people that you know what terms they would use to find your website. Visit your competitors' websites too -- you'll get some additional ideas there.

Keyword Research Tools

Each web page can be optimized for two to three keywords at the most. For a 10-page website, you would need approximately 30 target keywords. For good measure, your keyword seed list (in this instance) should have at least 60 phrases to choose from.

I like to use Raven Tools when conducting keyword research, as it provides a collection of tools. Google AdWords also offers its Keyword Planner tool.

These tools can provide you with information on how much competition there is for the keywords. You want to choose keywords that have enough traffic, but also aren't too competitive so your site has a fighting chance.


Remember your target audience for your website. It's no use to target very generic keywords. By targeting the keywords that tie most closely to your website, visitors will be pleased with what they find -- and hopefully convert to paying customers.

Allocate Your Keywords

The final step is to take your final list of words and decide which pages on your website they should be assigned to. By looking at the body text, hopefully this should be straightforward.

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Importance of content marketing


"Content marketing is to 2014 what social media marketing was to 2007." As the opening sentence in Cision's eBook, "Power Your Story: Content Marketing Essentials for PR," it provides insight into how integral content marketing is becoming in communications.

importance of content marketing
So what is content marketing, anyway? According to Cision, content marketing is "the process of developing and sharing relevant, valuable and engaging content to a target audience with the goal of acquiring new customers or increasing business from existing customers."

While marketing professionals have essentially done content marketing for decades, it has changed with the advent of social media and other online tools.

Here's a summary of the highlights from the Cision eBook (which I would recommend downloading, by the way).

Having a plan with measurable goals is the core of the Cision eBook as well as the best way to start. According to Cision, the five essential elements to a content marketing plan are: creation, curation, optimization, amplification and analysis.
  1. Creation -- It's not easy to create compelling content on a regular basis. Having a strategy is crucial, and knowing your audience is key to a successful strategy. Examples of tools to get to know your audience can range from Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to forms that customers and prospects are required to complete when accessing information such as white papers. Content creation goes beyond the press release; it includes much more, such as email newsletters, videos, social media posts, etc.
  2. Curation -- Content marketing is more than creation. Curating content also can provide value, because you are saving people time by sharing quality content. Think about the blogs that you read and the people whom you follow on social media. Share their thought leadership with your audience.
  3. Optimization -- Even if you have created outstanding content, it can only be effective when it's read by your target audience. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. The Cision eBook provides a brief overview of the factors that impact SEO. You can also read my SEO-related posts on this blog.
  4. Amplification -- In addition to sharing useful content, social media provides the opportunity for two-way conversation. Be open to others' points of view. Engage with your audience by responding to their comments or having online chats. Be helpful. Identifying and engaging online influencers also can amplify your content. The Cision eBook provides some excellent examples of how to do paid amplification as well as its benefits and examples.
  5. Analysis -- Cision recommends using SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals to measure your content marketing success. Look at some of the objectives of your content marketing, e.g., gaining new members, driving profitable business actions, etc., to determine appropriate goals.
Content marketing is more than just a buzzword; it's an integral part of connecting with target audiences.

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Webinars for IT buyers

Tech Content Marketing Infographic Series: Webinars
Explore more visuals like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.
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