Content Marketing Strategy Workshop - Keyword Research, Part 2 of 4

Posted by Mike O'Rourke on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 @ 11:44 AM

Beef up your content marketing strategy by generating related keywordsThe Content Marketing Strategy Workshop is a series of blog posts seeking to help you build your content marketing strategy from scratch.  This post is part 2 of 4 on the topic of keyword research, a process that will help you build a sturdy foundation for your content marketing.  Each week we’ll discuss a new step in the keyword research process until you have the tools and skills to identify the keywords that will help you land your next client.

Each part is designed to build on the exercises from previous steps, so if you're just discovering this blog series now, we recommend that you begin with Part 1.  However, if you've already brainstormed an initial list of keywords relevant to your product or service offerings, then feel free to proceed with Part 2:

2.  Generate Related Keyword Variants - While you may be able to brainstorm a fairly thorough list of keywords on your own, you’ll never be able to think of every keyword variation relevant to your offerings.  And since keywords serve as the foundation for your content marketing strategy, it’s vital to ensure that you’re not overlooking any keywords offering an opportunity to connect with prospective business.  

 Luckily, there are several tools available for free that will not only show you keywords related to those you enter, but will also give you valuable market information for each.  

For use our purposes, we recommend the free version of Traffic Travis, a tool with comprehensive search engine optimization, pay per click, and competitive analysis features.  Click here to register with Traffic Travis and download their software for free


Traffic Travis TabsTraffic Travis’ functionality is divided between 5 tabs displayed in the upper left-hand corner of its window.  When you’re using a newly installed copy of Traffic Travis, opening each tab will automatically play a video tutorial reviewing the selected tab’s features.  While we certainly recommend watching the videos to maximize Traffic Travis’ utility, some of the videos run a bit long so, unless you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, close them for the purposes of this exercise and return to the videos via the Help menu on the toolbar when you’ve got time to kill.

To start finding relevant synonyms and searches related to the keywords you brainstormed, you’ll need to navigate to the Research tab in Traffic Travis.  On the Research tab, simply click on the empty field below Keyword to open the keyword entry window and paste the first 5 keywords you brainstormed into it (the free version limits your searches to 5 keywords per search.  If you’re planning on doing keyword research regularly, you should consider purchasing the Pro version of Traffic Travis or investing in similar professional solutions like HubSpot). 

Traffic Travis Research Tab

Before clicking ‘Fetch’, maximize your results by clicking the numbered field to the right of the Keyword field, and selecting 100 (the free version limits you to 100 results).  Lastly,Inform your content marketing strategy with the right match type click Advanced Settings and select the radio button for ‘Exact’ under Keyword Match Type to ensure the search results are as relevant as possible to your initial keyword list (broad and phrase match tend to return less targeted results, but can be used to discover additional opportunities; try them out to see how your unique results differ).  When you click ‘Fetch’ to receive your results, Traffic Travis will automatically ask if you have connected it to a Google AdWords account. 


If you have an AdWords account, and wish to connect it to Traffic Travis, follow Traffic Travis’ directions for linking to your account now.  However, if you don’t have an AdWords account, or you’re just interested in capturing related keywords at this point, click ‘No’ when Traffic Travis asks you to add an AdWords account.

Use Traffic Travis for more than just your content marketing strategy by attaching it to your AdWords account

You’ll be presented with Traffic Travis’ list of related keywords and some useful data on both global and local monthly search volume as well as the level of advertiser competition for each.  See the below results for ‘motorola droid cases’ as an example:

data from the keyword tool is vital to your content marketing strategy

Now that you know how to use Traffic Travis to find keywords related to the queries your potential customers are using online, your next step will be to capture the keyword variants most related to your product or service offerings.  We’ll cover the process for identifying those keywords from Traffic Travis and exporting them for analysis in next week’s post.  For now, spend some time getting used to Traffic Travis and it’s various features to compliment your newly learned skills!

To ensure your access to part 3 as soon as it is published subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

M.Y. Edge specializes in content marketing strategy and stands ready to assist you with planning, implementation, execution, and measuring results.  If you have questions about keyword research, search engine optimization, or how a content marketing strategy could be tailored to your business, simply call 919-732-2842 or click the button below to scheudle a consultation with one of our content marketing consultants, free of charge.

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*Note: The original version of this post was edited to include updated tools.

Tags: Digital Marketing Strategy, Content Strategy, Content Marketing, Keyword Research, SEO

Content Marketing Strategy Workshop - Keyword Research, Part 1 of 4

Posted by Mike O'Rourke on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 @ 05:21 PM

guide your content marketing strategy with keyword researchOne of the simplest ways to increase traffic to your organization’s website is by developing and working a content marketing strategy.  Content marketing is the practice of building interest in your business and/or offerings by creating content relevant to your target market.

A content marketing strategy can help you to engage new customers more meaningfully while serving as the foundation for better search engine rankings.  The more relevant content your website contains, the more authoritative it appears to search engines like Google and Bing, allowing your pages to rank higher in search results.  But simply writing blog posts or creating new webpages will not result in higher search rankings.  To be found on a search engine, you’ll need to identify keywords you’re able to rank highly for, and build content strategically around those keywords. 

A content marketing strategy allows your organization to work smarter by identifying market opportunities and tailoring content to maximize its chances of being found and its impact on your bottom line.

The Content Marketing Strategy Workshop is a series of blog posts seeking to help you build your content marketing strategy from scratch.  This post is part 1 of 4 on the topic of keyword research, a process that will help you build a sturdy foundation for your content marketing.  Each week we’ll discuss a new step in the keyword research process until you have the tools and skills to identify the keywords that will help you land your next client. 

So before starting the time-intensive process of writing new content, take the time to do some keyword research ensure your content gets found and your time writing is well spent:

 content marketing strategy starts with focused brainstorming

  1. Start by Brainstorming Keywords Relevant to Your Business- The content you create is only useful if it is ultimately consumed by a prospective customer, and the easiest way to get your content found is by showing up on the search engines.


Because all searches start with your prospective customer entering a keyword, you should begin building your content marketing strategy by identifying the keywords that are relevant to your ideal customers.  Brainstorm a list of 15-20 search queries that someone looking for your products or services might enter into Google.  Include specific descriptors in addition to general terms.  For example, if you sell cell phone cases online, include the names of phone manufacturers and models that you support in addition to the more general keyword phone cases.

You can use Microsoft Excel or Word, or a simpler application like notepad to keep track of the search queries you brainstorm.  Your only requirement at this point is that they’re easy to cut and paste, as you’ll be working with various digital tools to expand and analyze your keywords in parts 2 through 4. 

For now, simply concentrate on brainstorming the different ways that a prospective customer might search for your content.  Once you’re satisfied with your list of prospect search queries, make sure you save them for reference because in step 2, we’ll show you how to discover related keywords and expand your list to include as many relevant keywords as possible.

To ensure your access to part 2 as soon as it is published subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

M.Y. Edge specializes in content marketing strategy and stands ready to assist you with planning, implementation, execution, and measuring results.  If you have questions about keyword research, search engine optimization, or how a content marketing strategy could be tailored to your business, simply call 919-732-2842 or click the button below to scheudle a consultation with one of our content marketing consultants, free of charge.

 Click me

*Note: The original version of this post was edited to include updated tools.

Tags: Digital Marketing Strategy, Content Strategy, Content Marketing, Keyword Research

Strategy - The Secret Sauce for Digital Marketing Success

Posted by Tim O'Rourke on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 @ 05:00 PM

Who can forget the infamous “dot com” bubble where business plans never showed a profit, when neither VCs nor VPs knew why their companies existed other than to show off some cool technology. Unfortunately, in Web 2.0, there is again potential for some glorious implosions.

Like the expanded professional sports leagues has reduced the quality of the average professional athlete, the sheer number of digital media consultants tells you that the depth of experience level per consultant is paper thin. Certainly, social media, email marketing, website optimization, PPC and other tools for digital marketing make sense in many situations. The key is knowing the business strategy well enough to know which tools support the achievement of the business’ strategic objectives.

As a subsidiary of a 40 year old business consulting company, we have access to seasoned strategists and the resources necessary to integrate digital channels with your marketing strategy to achieve real and ongoing results. The path to profitable digital marketing is a four step process:

Consulting Process

Unless such a process is used, you might as well be throwing digital mud against the wall to see if anything sticks. Stop wasting your time and start getting real, quantifiable results from your digital marketing. Schedule your consultation today. It cost nothing to discuss the your goals, our process, and how to align your digital marketing for maximum ROI.

Tags: Digital Marketing Strategy, Strategy, M.Y. Edge, Strategic Process, Integration

Financial Institutions Need Digital Marketing Strategy and Risk Management Policies

Posted by Tim O'Rourke on Thu, Apr 14, 2011 @ 06:55 PM

risk reward diceRegulators of financial institutions are concerned about digital media, and while a great deal of thought has gone into maintaining security of digital banking transactions, not much has been done with social media and other “inbound marketing” tools. In the uncontrollable world of social media, bank and credit union employees, as well as their customers and members, can engage in risky behaviors without thinking about the ramifications. Yet, the financial industry needs these tools in order to communicate with customers and the public at large in the new digital world.

The fact that social media has risks need not stop a bank or credit union from embracing an inbound marketing and customer/community engagement strategy. Banks are in the business of taking risks, but they need to get a better handle on the risks associated with digital marketing. Since no money transactions occur in most social media channels, the risks are more related to the security of private information and damage to your brand.

Every financial institution needs a Social Media Policy. Regulators will be looking for one the next time they do an IT examination (funny that they think of social media as IT). The policy should address the dos and don’ts of using social media for all employees and how to deal with situations in which customers make mistakes in your branded media. Common sense should be the rule, but in today’s litigious society you need to be clear about protecting customer information and protecting the company’s reputation. In helping banks and credit unions develop these policies, we have seen good policies and policies that backfired on the Company. An Australian bank set a policy that employees could be disciplined if their friends and family members posted negative things about the bank in any social media. Employees and their union took the bank to task and the bank finally admitted it was a mistake. They changed their policy.

orienteeringIf you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. Policy guides strategy and if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy, you are likely to make mistakes in your policy. So, before a bank or credit union sets out to develop a social media policy, an important first step is to think through the overall plan for digital media, inbound marketing and use of social media.  We’ll do more on bank and credit union inbound marketing strategy in future blogs. 

We would love to hear from banks and credit unions about what they are doing to plan their digital media strategies and mitigate the risks. Call us at 919-732-2835 or click here and complete the form on our home page and we will contact you.

Tags: Digital Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Banks, Financial Institutions, Risk Management, Banking, Integration, Credit Unions

A (New) Media Plan for 2011

Posted by Mike O'Rourke on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 @ 03:27 PM

distractedAs the 2010 draws to a close, smart businesses are taking a moment to step back and take in the big picture of how they spent their year. For more than a few folks in marketing, this time is being used to evaluate their successes and failures mixing it up with competitors across print, broadcast media, and online communities, networks, feeds and directories.

If you’re a marketer and you’re not ADD already, you’d better start fragmenting your attention now because the people you’re trying to reach certainly are, at least with respect to the way they consume their media. According to Nielsen, 60% of television viewers are simultaneously using the internet on their computers. I count myself among that 60% often, and the odds are good that you’re right there with me (if so, mute the TV now and focus on this article!).

While it’s almost impossible to gauge exactly how people are dividing their attention between their computer, tablet or smartphone and their TV, the point is that people are dividing it. This audience behavior can be overwhelming for marketers who want to embrace new media, but aren’t sure how to target campaigns and measure ROI. As Simon Mainwaring points out in his excellent article, What happens when everything is social media?:

Each media, whether its the iPad, mobile phone, television, movie, VOD, Xbox, game console, tablet or Hulu, has its own ‘use case’ (why someone is selecting that device) that has to be cross-referenced with the others and then measured as a whole. Only then can you know if your marketing spend is having any impact on share of conversation, brand awareness or sales.

Effective brands must now define themselves in prospects’ minds as the aggregate of the content and conversations about them (controlled and earned coverage). To truly communicate the value of your brand, you can no longer dominate one medium at the expense of the others. Chances are good that your prospects are just too distracted to effectively absorb your value proposition through a single channel.

How then, should marketers deal with this fragmentation of attention in 2011? Don’t start this year’s plan by budgeting media. Start instead by defining or reexamining your brand’s core value proposition. Refine it until it’s elegant (you’d be surprised at how many brands never take the time to define their unique value proposition in the first place!). Be able to tell prospects what you can do for them simply and effectively. Once you’ve defined your brand’s message, consider how best to communicate that message, and choose your media based on the capabilities that each brings to the table.

Traditional, one-to-many channels are refined and well understood. But they’re now sharing the stage with a more engaging and less controllable channel in the internet. Online, marketing objectives are won and lost by how brands contribute to the ongoing conversation, not only about themselves, but about their areas of expertise and influence.

This year, it will be vital to approach each channel based on its ability to reach and engage prospects, and to develop a plan that takes advantage of the unique strengths of each. When most of your prospects are engaging multiple media, simultaneously, mastery of a single channel will no long be enough to succeed. Quality marketing in a magazine looks very different from quality marketing on twitter, and with each year, fewer prospects have the time or attention to give to content that doesn’t match its medium.

To your marketing success in 2011!

Tags: Digital Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Television, Strategy, Marketing Integration, Media Planning, Advertising, Integration

A Digital Marketing Manifesto: Have You Been Misled?

Posted by Mike O'Rourke on Thu, Nov 04, 2010 @ 01:56 PM
A Digital Marketing Manifesto

The most frustrating challenge facing marketing directors today probably isn't how to convince their boss that they need to spend more time and money on digital marketing, although what may seem obvious to you may not be quite so crystal clear to the folks upstairs. It probably isn't figuring out which method of digital marketing can help your business succeed in accomplishing your greater marketing objectives; if your inbox is anything like mine, you’re inundated with a library of information on how search engine optimization, paid advertising (search engine marketing), social media, etc. can benefit your business every day. Not that anyone has the time to digest it all, but once you’ve read enough whitepapers and attended enough webinars, you probably have some solid ideas for how your business stands to benefit from a myriad of digital marketing methods.

My hunch is that the biggest challenge facing marketing directors and businesspeople of all kinds today is: knowing where to begin with their digital marketing plan?

Indeed, the agencies, consultants, and various service providers do such a splendid job of espousing the benefits of their services that it quickly becomes paralyzing unless you understand how each piece of the marketing puzzle fits together. While there are certainly a few things that every organization marketing on the web should have in place before aggressively seeking traffic online (we’ll go into greater detail on these basics in a later post), it’s important to approach your overall marketing plan from a macro level as well as a micro level. It can be very easy to get lost in the minutiae of the benefits of SEO versus SEM versus blogging and forget that there are many ways that these disciplines overlap, and feed each other.

Unfortunately, many marketers with limited experience online make the mistake of focusing their efforts entirely on one or two aspects of digital marketing while neglecting other complimentary or even essential aspects, dooming their plan from the get-go. As digital marketing service providers become better at what they do and more specialized in their respective fields, their advice and marketing messages often become more focused on their one area of expertise, often misleading their clients to believe that their method is the silver bullet for all their digital marketing problems.

I’ve even heard well-respected gurus advising their clients to avoid entire pieces of a marketing plan altogether because their web design service is competing with SEM for client dollars. The sad reality is there is no silver bullet in digital marketing, and yet there are people making millions of dollars a year on marketers and business owners who don’t know any better. I’m sad to say that from what I’ve seen, this cottage industry based on ignorance shows no sign of slowing down.

There are so many specialists in the market pitching their services, and not enough strategists helping marketers determine how to employ them for long-term success. In this environment, marketers need help developing a comprehensive, holistic marketing plan to increase efficiency of their marketing dollars and grow their organizations the smart way. No two organizations are the same, and I believe that a thorough understanding a client’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses combined with diligent research and marketing creativity can achieve a lot more than one-size-fits all, digital snake oil.

My purpose is not to insinuate that all marketing specialists can’t back up their promises. Coming from an agency background myself, I’ve seen firsthand what a relentless focus on your business’ core strengths as opposed to trying to be a jack-of-all-trades can accomplish. My purpose is to help you see how necessary it is to approach your organization’s digital marketing from the big picture so that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket, only to become bitter about its inevitable inability to live up to your expectations.

Tags: Digital Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Digital Marketing, PPC, SEM, SEO, Strategy