2 Easy Pieces: How to Make Simple, Attractive Content for Your Keyword

 

Do you ever find yourself struggling for inspiration?

Ever just need a quick boost to get you over the content-creation hump? This is definitely the blog post for you!

Today, let’s identify a keyword, and create two new pieces of content for that keyword using easy online tools. I want to show how simple it is to come up with a good idea and execute it in a very short amount of time, even if you’re not the world’s greatest designer.

So which keyword should I choose?

Grand Rapids Marketing Keywords

I feel that I’m lagging behind in keywords featuring “grand rapids.” That city is a large employment hub on my side of Michigan, so it would be a great keyword to rank highly for in my field.

Keyword “grand rapids” it is then, with particular attention to “grand rapids marketing.”

What content can I create that’s simple, eye-catching, interesting, and fun with these two online tools?

Canva

Canva is a simple online click-and-drag graphic design tool that can help create beautiful images, even if you’re not the best graphic designer. Simply choose your layout, drag the design elements you want to use, and you’ve got a slick image.

For this experiment, I searched the keyword “grand rapids,” and chose the first result which happened to be the city of Grand Rapids’ official website, ExperienceGR.com. From this site, I’ve chosen to highlight some of the attractions that Grand Rapids has to offer, and show them off in a visual collage that could easily serve as marketing collateral.

Grand Rapids Michigan

Piktochart

This is a great site to make cute, easy infographics. Staying with the theme, I’ve chosen to visualize the fun facts section of ExperienceGR.com.

Fun Facts about Grand Rapids Michigan

See how easy that was? I could spend a day just making that infographic myself in Photoshop. But why waste time when I can use an online template and get two pieces of content finished and published in time for lunch.

 

Where to Eat in Grand Rapids During Art Prize

Whether you’re a Grand Rapids local, or visiting the city specifically for Art Prize, don’t get stuck in the crowds while you’re hangry (that’s hungry and angry, which is no fun at all).

I’ve put together this checklist of restaurants and dishes you have to try while you’re in Grand Rapids for Art Prize. These recommendations were compiled using reviews from Yelp and an interactive map of the event.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Let’s start it off with a bang! If you’re visiting the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see their collection of entries (including a full outdoor display!), then you don’t want to miss an extraordinary experience at The Chop House. Upscale dining in a classic atmosphere (and you’ll probably need a reservation).

Diners recommend:

  • Try the Cheddar Au Gratin Potatoes
  • Stay warm with a bowl of Lobster Bisque
  • Finish with a good old fashioned steak

25 Ottowa

HopCat Grand Rapids

There are seven pieces on display at this indoor venue, which has been recently upgraded to provide a beautiful Arena District experience. While you’re near, definitely check out HopCat, a popular brewery and pub.

Diners recommend:

  • Sample one of their many craft beers
  • A thick, juicy Bar Zee Burger with all the fixings (and jalapenos!)
  • Don’t forget the Crack Fries, which are better than you’ve heard

Women’s City Club

Continue your cultural trek at the historic Grand Rapids Women’s City Club. This gorgeous two-story villa serves as a reminder of classic 19th century architecture of the area. For an eclectic day out, why not mix it up a bit and go for some spicy sweet Thai cuisine?

Diners recommend:

  • Slightly sweet Pad Ped flavored with coconut milk
  • Deliciously spicy Curry Pad Thai
  • Thai Iced Tea if you’ve got a sweet tooth

Frederik Meijer Gardens

Clique Coffee Bar in Grand RapidsIt wouldn’t be a proper trip to Grand Rapids unless you visited this gorgeous garden and sculpture park. When you’re done taking in the sights, just roll on down the street to Clique Coffee Bar to warm up.

Diners recommend:

  • Great coffee, lattes, and espressos
  • Silky, smooth cappuccino
  • Big, locally baked cookies to finish off your day!

Where to Eat in Grand Rapids During Art Prize

Have a recommendation to add to the list? Leave a comment below!

Which Type of Content is Right For Your Keyword?

You’ve chosen your keyword.

You’ve performed competitor analysis. You’ve determined that you can easily rank high in the search results for that particular keyword through a combination of great content and outreach.

You have a lot to say about that particular topic and have gathered plenty of research and data to back it up.

Now what? Which type of content is right for your keyword?

There are so many different ways to present your content. You could write yet another blog post of course, or you could explore the many other possibilities for displaying your information in a compelling, useful way to your target audience.

Here are just a few examples of the different ways you could present your keyword topic.

Keyword Content

As you can see, it all comes down to a few factors:

  1. Who’s your audience?
  2. What would provide your audience the most value?
  3. How much information are you presenting?
  4. Do you have textual elements that will contribute to SEO?
  5. How have your competitors shared this info…and can you do it better?
  6. Where do you want to share this content?

In an upcoming post, I’ll take you step-by-step from choosing a keyword, to choosing the right piece of content, to sharing it with the right audience.

Don’t want to wait? Want to see what I can do for your business right now? Email me at ajdaughe@gmail.com 

My SEO: Personal Brand Keywords 1 Week Check-up

I began this SEO project one week ago.

Since then, I’ve written blog posts on plus size email marketing, how to boost personal brand keywords, and how these concepts can help Kalamazoo industries.

How are my personal brand keywords doing in the search results now?

Anna Daugherty SEO Keywords

I think they have a word for this on the stock market: volatile.

Considering I didn’t rank in the top 250 for some of those keywords when I began this project one week ago, I’d say I’m doing fairly well.

I rank in the top 5 for “anna daugherty marketing” and “anna daugherty kalamazoo” alongside my LinkedIn profile. I bounced into and out of the the top 10 for “inbound marketing kalamazoo” and “kalamazoo inbound marketing.” And I rank in the top 100 for other important personal brand keywords that may get me noticed.

So what’s next?

My plan is to go keyword-by-keyword to create a content plan that focuses on high-priority rankings. I’ll attempt to think out of the box to produce interesting content at no cost that will land great results.

Stay tuned this week as I show you how to plan a piece of content from beginning to creation to distribution and hopefully give those keywords a kick in the SEO pants.

How Inbound Marketing Can Help Kalamazoo Businesses

Kalamazoo is a pretty great place to live and work.

In fact, Kalamazoo was voted one of the top 10 best cities for work-life balance by NerdWallet in 2014. That means you get all the perks of city-living without the hassle.

Between a robust corporate culture, amazing educational opportunities for kids and college students, and even a thriving craft beer industry, the outlook for Kalamazoo businesses is great.

How Can Inbound Marketing Help Kalamazoo Businesses?

Simple. The same way inbound marketing helps businesses of all varieties by creating awareness, converting leads, and delighting customers so that they advocate for your business.

Top Kalamzoo Industries

For the top three industries in Kalamazoo, there are lots of ways to utilize inbound marketing methodology to attract and retain customers.

Here are some interesting ideas that each industry could possibly use to attract attention to their brand.

Kalamazoo Healthcare Industry

 Employers such as Borgess, Stryker, Bronson, and Pfizer make up the bulk of this industry in Kalamazoo, with each offering something a bit different. While healthcare might seem like a cut-and-dry industry on the surface, a creative inbound marketer could create interesting content for a variety of uses for these businesses.

  • Create an eBook corresponding with ways to stay healthy at work. Offer the eBook free through a contact form as a way to attract businesses looking to add an employee wellness program to their benefits package.

Kalamazoo Education Industry

Education is valued in Kalamazoo as evidenced by leading community education initiatives such as the Kalamazoo Promise. Home to Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College, a student could earn a great education in this city. A Kalamazoo inbound marketing specialist need only look around to take inspiration from the students, faculty, and facilities around town.

  • Chronicle the life of a successful Kalamazoo Promise student who has chosen to use their scholarship at a Kalamazoo college or university. Tell their story through a photo slideshow and distribute it to Michigan bloggers and news outlets to show the education community’s commitment to local students.

Kalamazoo Beer Industry 

The craft brewing community in Kalamazoo is awesome and ever-growing. This could be the most fun industry to work in as an inbound marketer. Think of the potential! Beer for breakfast, beer for lunch, hard cider for dinner (I’m working on my figure).

  • Put together a landing page with a moving timeline on the beer industry in Kalamazoo. Visitors can watch the industry from its inception and see breweries pop-up throughout the years. At the end, collect email addresses to spread the word about the upcoming launch of a new beer product.

These are just a few of the many, many ways Kalamazoo businesses can use excellent content to generate interest and gain leads. Like what I have to say? Email me at ajdaughe@gmail.com

What Works in Plus Size Email Marketing (and what doesn’t…)

I haven’t worn pants in 5 years.

As you can imagine, a pants-less existence requires an almost unlimited supply of dresses and skirts. As a plus-sized person, I need to do a lot of shopping to get the right look and fit. Cute dresses don’t just fall out of the sky, you know.

While I don’t have a never-ending sartorial pasta bowl of plus size fashions, I do have an unlimited supply of emails from plus size clothing sites that I frequent.

Opening yet another email from one of my favorite plus size clothing sites this morning got me thinking: what actually works in plus size email marketing? What made me click on that email all nestled away in the Promotions folder in Gmail?

Let’s check out the contenders. Here are a few of my observations about several recent plus size email marketing campaigns from some of my favorite online retailers.

Lane Bryant – The Classic

Founded in 1904, Lane Bryant was a pioneer in the plus size clothing industry, offering clothes in larger sizes before most people knew there was even a market for that.

So how are they doing at email marketing?

Lane Bryant Plus Size Email Marketing

I’d say the answer is pretty darn well.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding their #PLUSISEQUAL campaign. Most of this controversy has to do with the lack of inclusion of various body shapes and types in their quest for plus size visibility. I understand this frustration, and yet I have to say, this campaign is sharp.

The hashtag has a feeling of unity and empowerment behind it. The header image is beautiful. And who could turn down a stunning landing page like this.

I want my marketing slick and eye-catching, so I immediately wanted to click on that image and see what it was about.

Isn’t that the goal of any effective email marketing campaign?

ModCloth – The Quirky Cousin

I’ve loved ModCloth’s aesthetic for more than 5 years now, ever since I started living a pants-free lifestyle. So when they announced several years ago that they were introducing a new plus size category, I was all over that email list.

Interestingly, I have yet to purchase anything from their plus size section. That might be a combination of price point, stock, or more factors, but they haven’t quite yet converted me into a buyer.

I wonder why that is?

ModCloth Plus Size Email Marketing

Their emails have that quirky style that I love, but I never feel like their target customer. Clicking on that header image takes me to this landing page which is full of great looks…

…but none of them are in my size.

I searched my inbox for ModCloth and the words “plus” or “plus size.”. Zero results. Which means ModCloth has never sent an email with Plus Size in it, or I’m just out of the loop.

Am I not in the right email list? Have they not segmented out their plus size shoppers? I definitely have an account that they could use to track my data and shopping habits since I completed a survey about bringing plus size clothing to ModCloth back in the day.

So what gives?

I decided to log back into my account and see for myself. To my surprise, there are a lot of ways they’re gathering data from customers: measurements, favorited items, curated suggestions. I haven’t filled out any of that information, so I guess I’m just Ginny Generic to them. Even so, you’d think they’d include one or two plus size emails in their generic email marketing, just in case.

Now that I’ve filled in some information, I’ll keep a look out and see if I receive more relevant email marketing.

Unique Vintage – The Old School Beauty

This is one of my very favorite stores. I love a good ’60s look, and they sell a wide variety of clothing inspired by different eras. Their plus size section is pretty great, as well.

When it comes to plus size email marketing, they’re almost there.

Unique Vintage Plus Size Email Marketing

Great image. Clean, classic style. Easy to see call-to-action.

But what’s going on with that awkward copy?

“Every body stun—at every size.” What does that even mean!?

The answer might lie in the subject line for this particular email campaign.

“The Secret to a Perfect Body.”

That’s a pretty great clickbait subject line. If I didn’t know better, I might be incited to go all angry Tumblr user and tell them off!

“A perfect body? That doesn’t exist! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!”And so on, etc.

Thankfully, the moment you open the email, you’re greeted with a body-positive ending to that potentially inflammatory statement.

Still doesn’t explain the rest of that confusing copy, though.

Gwynnie Bee – The Upstart

I’ve been a Gwynnie Bee member in the past (in the days of milk and honey) and I LOVED it.

A $35 per month subscription gets you 1 plus size piece of clothing at a time, but you get an unlimited amount of swaps per month. Genius idea originally touted as the Netflix of plus size clothes, back when Netflix was still the Netflix of Netflix.

Since then, Gwynnie Bee has been aggressively trying to win back my business. Whether that’s through custom coupon codes, curated clothing suggestions, or even emails that look like letters from their President asking me to resubscribe, I have to appreciate their hustle.

Gwynnie Bee Plus Size Email Marketing

This is an example of their awesome tailoring techniques. They know I was a former customer. They know I logged in recently, since this email arrived a day after I logged in. They’ve got this user data and automation workflow thing locked down.

Tempting, Gwynnie Bee. Very tempting.

Let me get this Digital Marketing job I’m after and I’ll get back with you.

Personal Brand Keywords

How To Boost Your Personal Brand Keywords

So, I’ve had a little bit of success.

I’ll share that with you later in the post, but for now I want to impart a few pieces of common wisdom for ways to get your personal brand keywords up where you want them in the search results.

These tips have all been acquired through personal experience and lots of study and research on the topic. You can trust me!

Write Awesome Content

An important way to rank for your personal brand keywords is to make sure that there is excellent text content on your site featuring these keywords. Think about what your reader is interested in, and write to your audience. If you have great content with keywords that are in context, search engines will be able to find your content more easily to determine if it’s worthy of ranking.

Don’t go overboard, however. Stuffing keywords where they don’t belong can have a negative impact on your rankings.

Earn Authoritative Backlinks

According to lots of studies and analysis by sites with people who are way more experienced than I am, the most important keyword rankings are determined by the amount and quality of websites that link back to your site.

The importance of the backlink factor in determining keyword rankings is undisputed, but what does matter is who’s linking back and how they’re doing it.

  • Dofollow or nofollow – when someone links back to your site, if they’ve included the rel=”nofollow” tag in the link, it means Google will not follow the link from their site to your site. These links aren’t necessarily as important as links without this tag, but they can still be valuable if they send quality traffic to your site.
  • Alt text matters – The words that are used in the visible link from the site are important. If you have a relationship with the person who published the link, try to make sure that they’re linking what you want them to, whether that’s a personal brand keyword or your name.
  • Spam sucks – The word to remember here is “authoritative.” You don’t want a bunch of crappy spam sites to link to you because that can negatively impact your rankings.

There are a few ways to go about acquiring backlinks, but the best idea is to identify where you want your site to show up. What makes the most sense for your personal brand keywords? Local blogs or news sites? Business listings in your market? You can even find queries from writers looking for input on sites like Helpareporter.com.

Once you’ve identified your targets, find the right point of contact for the site (whether that’s a journalist, blogger, or webmaster), politely introduce yourself and make the ask. You might have to get creative with your pitch, but always be friendly, transparent, and above all, helpful. You want to provide them with an additional resource for their readers or users.

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The third most important factor that will boost your search engine rankings is what I call internet magic. It’s a cocktail of important website things including page load time, title text, alt-image tags, and a whole lot more. That is to say, there are so many factors and proprietary measurements in play depending on the search engine; any number of things could affect where your site falls in the SERPs. The best thing you can do is follow best practices provided by SEO industry leaders such as MOZ.com.

Profit!

Once you put the work in, and if you’ve chosen appropriate keywords and correctly estimated their difficulty, you should start seeing results. It may take a few weeks or even months, but you’ll get there.

Fortunately for me, it only took two days to start seeing movement.

Updated keyword rankings for Anna Daugherty

I’m happy that the “anna daugherty” keywords saw so much movement, but I’m honestly surprised by how quickly “inbound marketing kalamazoo,” “email marketing kalamazoo” rose in the ranks!

I can almost certainly attribute this rapid movement to a great backlink placement in this excellent article about unprofessional speech on Inc.com.

Keyword backlink to Anna Daugherty

Following the ideas I listed above, I contacted this journalist, gave him my helpful quote for his article and a backlink, and blammo. Authoritative link on a big publication with no cost and very little time involved.

I encourage you to reach out to sites that you think make sense for your business or personal brand. With thoughtfulness, time, and effort, you could see results.

And it never hurts to try.

What do you say. Can’t live without my Digital Marketing skills for your business? Email me at ajdaughe@gmail.com and let’s talk.