Stop to think for a second of how you reach your audience. Face-to-face? Of course that interpersonal relationship between business and client is so important to most companies. Social media? Sure, most brands these days have a steady presence on social. Your website? In 2017, it’s hard to find a company that doesn’t have a website.
But what about the content on that website?
That’s where content marketing comes into play.
Content marketing is a way of taking the search terms customers are using to find answers and providing content that will (hopefully) provide those answers.
For example, think about a roofing company. A homeowner likely does not need a roofing specialist frequently enough to engage with them all year – no matter the platform. The roofing company probably doesn’t like that scenario, however. So they decide to frequently publish blogs on a variety of topics that their clients can benefit from. Blog post examples could include unique Christmas light ideas for your roof or quick ways to fix a leak on your roof. Both of those ideas would come from keyword research, and the keyword would be prominently featured in the title and content.
But it doesn’t stop there. Keyword-related blogs and articles are perfect fits for social media and sharing. So not only is a company playing the long game with well-written, keyword-rich content consistently being added to its site, but it’s also content that may have a life on social – answering questions or providing entertainment for customers or potential customers.
Content marketing has its challenges. Above all else, it’s time consuming. You have to put in the effort to do the keyword research, research the topic, write the blog (and do it well), post the blog and share on social. But the potential positive of helping a potential customer should make it time well spent.
Every semester, Leadhub has a team of interns from Texas State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication learn a very specific skill – keyword marketing. What better way to talk about the internship program, however, than to allow the interns to speak for themselves? Here are some of their thoughts on keyword marketing, in general, and the things they learned during their semester with us at Leadhub.
What is keyword marketing?
Kiersten Ehr, senior: Keyword marketing is a method of advertising using search engine optimization with specific keywords that will help a client reach its desired audience.
Taylor Summer, senior: Keyword marketing is content put on websites to generate more traffic to the site based on a wider range of topics. Example: I wrote an article about split ends and included a water softener system in it for a water softener company. So when people search split ends, there is a better chance of the water softener company popping up in search results.
Taylor Martz, junior: Keyword marketing is the repeated use of certain words or phrases with the goal of making your content a top option when those words are searched for in search engines.
Kaylee Sullivan, junior: Keyword marketing is creating content that strategically uses words or phrases to increase a site’s ranking on Google. Keywords are word that people would commonly type into a search that would lead them to a particular site. By incorporating these keywords into blog articles, ads and webpages, a client can organically increase its ranking on Google.
Why is this valuable to clients?
Taylor Martz: Keyword content is valuable to our clients because it helps their possible customers or clients find their websites and articles with ease. Keywords also make it very clear the main idea or topic of an article or blog post.
Taylor Summer: This is valuable for clients because it allows their product to be seen by not only more people but also a wider range of people.
Kaylee: It is important for clients to use keyword marketing because it is the best way to organically increase their rankings on Google. By increasing your rank on Google, your site will have a higher placement in the search results which leads to more page visits.
Kiersten: Keyword marketing is valuable to clients because it helps them boost their campaigns, websites, blogs and business to their clienteles.
What did you get out of your internship?
Kaylee: This internship allowed me to create a wide variety of samples of work that I can use when applying for jobs in the future. Not only did it increase the amount of content I produced but it also increased the quality. Each week Dale returned an edited version of my work so that I now have a large file of quality writing samples.
Taylor Summer: My writing skills have improved so much over this semester. At the beginning, I was thinking there’s no way I can write about all these topics. By about a month into it, I noticed how easy the articles were becoming, and I looked forward to them every week. I now have an entire folder full of writing samples that I can show any future employer.
Kiersten: I felt that I gained many valuable skills in this internship. I learned my strengths in writing, grammar and punctuation. I learned how important it is to pay attention to detail, word count and writing in a consistent voice. I also learned how to write for different clients in different states that have different messages they want to include in their blog posts. I learned how important deadlines are. I developed my knowledge on researching for specific topics based on different keywords. I honestly learned a lot about topics that I didn’t have much prior knowledge on, such as plumbing, water softeners, air conditioning, apartment hunting, etc.
Taylor Martz: From this internship, I learned how to utilize keywords in the creation of content for a variety of clients. Not only did I learn more about writing blog posts and articles on a deadline, but with those articles I learned about a range of new topics and issues that I previously did not know much about. I experienced researching, writing and putting emphasis on keywords, which are all valuable skills to know for the future.
Would you recommend this internship to other students and why?
Taylor Summer: I would definitely recommend this internship. Writing is the one of the most important skills ANYONE can have for ANY job. Being able to write well will get you the furthest in life. I used examples of work from this internship at every interview I went to. It is very impressive to be able to write about such a wide range of topics and meet deadlines every week.
Kaylee: I would absolutely recommend this internship to other students because it kept me practicing my writing each week. It was rewarding in the way that I could feel my writing improve each week. It is a great way to gain experience with keyword marketing and create samples of work that will be useful in the future.
Kiersten: I think that this is great for anyone who wants to improve their experience in writing, keyword marketing, time management, grammar, punctuation and overall internship experience. This internship can be doable if someone has a busy school schedule and work schedule.
Taylor Martz: I gained a lot of knowledge and experience about keyword content creation, but it was not overwhelming for me to keep up with while I was simultaneously taking 15 hours of class. This is a great internship to have, especially if you’re currently in university trying to keep up with a large workload.
We want to thank this latest round of interns! They’re amazing – and you should hire them! Click the links above to find them on LinkedIn.
When you’re juggling a lot of responsibilities and content’s merely one of them, anything that can save you a few minutes (or hours) is worth a second look. I first heard about BuzzSumo in a Mozinar by Tori Cushing, in which she utilized the tool’s data in creating analytics dashboards. From there, the name just kept popping up so I had to give it a try.
Generating Content Ideas
If you have multiple clients each with a steady stream of content needs, there’s a lot of value in using BuzzSumo’s Content Research tool. Rather than scrambling around for fresh ideas, you can get a bird’s eye view of what people liked so much, they shared it. I use this often for home services topics like HVAC and pest control — each has their nuances dependent on weather and I can immediately learn whether it’s termite mating season again or if it’s time for readers to clean out their gutters.
Structured like a search engine, you can drop in your topic (and specify a domain if you’d like) to see which articles are shared the most (arguably the best metric in terms of content worthiness). These are broken down by social channels, and you can even drill down to content types like articles, guest posts and infographics. The date range parameters range from past 24 hours to the past year, giving you the option to see what’s trending now and what’s been crushing it over the long term.
Connecting With Influencers
Let’s say your client just came up with a revolutionary baby product that has solved diaper blowouts. To help get the word out, you could go to use the Influencers tool, which will drill down the top Twitter influencers by topic, then let you create contact lists. From there, you can even interact with the influencers within BuzzSumo. Et voila – you have access to the who’s who in the baby gear industry in a matter of minutes.
For those who use paid Twitter marketing, the Audience Builder tool can assist you in saving up users who have shared your content in the past. This enables you to retarget them later if, for example, your client’s diaper product is a finalist to appear on Shark Tank and you want everyone to know about it.
Have you ever wondered how some of your favorite social media channels seem to always be way, way on top of it? Are they just constantly plugged into pop culture and super nimble at connecting the latest celebrity breakup with barbecue wings? Er, maybe so but for the rest of us there’s the Trending Now tool. One of my favorite features of this tool is that you can drill down to topics like Health and Tech – in case, for example, you tire of digging through sports and political news.
What’s your favorite content marketing tool? Let us know and maybe we’ll feature it on the Leadhub blog!
Guest posts as an SEO strategy may get a bad reputation these days. However, if done right, they can be an essential, respectable piece of your digital marketing plan. As long as you are providing value to readers and aren’t doing anything black-hat, there’s much to be gained. Here’s how to get the most out of your guest post outreach.
Finding The Right Sites
Before reaching out to prospects, it’s good to brainstorm opportunities in your niche. Think about all of the topical angles you can play up, as well as any connections you may have. For example, Marci has a green dog grooming business. Topically, she can hit up sites about pet care, green living and general lifestyle. She’s also a member of her local Humane Society and ASPCA – two other places she can pitch her posts. The next step is to do some good ol’ detective work via Google to determine who she should reach out to.
One way to do this is through search operators that can narrow down your Google search by topic and the word “guest”, for example “dog grooming +guest post”. While these can be helpful, keep in mind that some sites may be trending away from “guest post” language for fear of drawing Google’s ire. However, guest posts – whatever you call them – have been around since newspapers (remember the columns section?) and won’t be going away anytime soon. Some sites call them contributors now or get more creative in their nomenclature, but if it’s a writer’s work featured on another site, it’s a guest post.
Screening A Site
When I first check out a site to see if it’s a good candidate for a guest post, I look at the quality of the site as well as the Domain Authority. There’s no magic number for the right domain authority, but if you look at your own and those of your competitor sites, you’ll get an idea of which sites can help you raise your reputation. (Think of it like Hollywood – if you’re a D-list actor, you’ll have a lot to gain by being associated with an A-lister.)
Some sites love having contributors, while others may not be accepting guest posts at this time. In addition to finding this out, also confirm whether the link(s) are follow or nofollow. You want followed links, or those lacking the “rel=nofollow” tag. This can be found out by using the Inspect Element tool on your browser, viewing a page’s source code or using a plugin.
When reaching out, keep it short and sweet while remaining polite and professional. Content coordinators are busy people and they just want to know what’s in it for their publication and what makes you so special. Help this along with providing writing samples and any pertinent credentials. Also have a clear idea of what you’re pitching – either in the form of a few well thought-out topic ideas or one really well thought-out idea with a paragraph including which points you plan on hitting. A lot of this is trial and error and finding something that works with your style – once you get into a rhythm, you’ll have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t.
One last important thing – don’t mention getting a link in your initial outreach. You can look at their site and confirm whether it’s something they do for their writers, but don’t just flat-out ask for a link right out of the gate. Not only could you be unwittingly violating Google guidelines, it’s also just kinda icky.
Make sure your guest posts is completely free of spelling and grammar errors. Use a tool such as Grammarly or have somebody else read your post with a fresh pair of eyes. Be sure you are writing something useful to your readers, something that only someone with your level of expertise could provide. If readers can find your information with a quick Google search, try to dig deeper or find another angle. Don’t forget to include your link in a byline or bio!
Guest post outreach and content marketing can feel like a bear when you’re first starting out. Pace yourself in a way that matches your available resources. If that means just getting one good piece published a month, that’s great! Remember that SEO is a long game, and consistent measures are what count.