As the content manager at Half a Bubble Out, part of my job the past couple quarters has been to focus on improving our performance around 11 different keywords.
However, we’ve been doing this keyword rotation long enough now that we got to a point where it felt like we were fighting the keywords. We were having trouble coming up with original angles, and quickly becoming impatient with the content creation process. It just feels likes we’ve been there, done that, you know?
Since I have the privilege of reading and editing each and every blog article that we post, I’ve recognized patterns during these last 9 months about how our staff members brainstorm ideas, create headlines, and use the keywords -- and how sometimes our crazy ideas actually turn into great blog posts! So I thought I'd share some of the strategies we use when it feels like the well of ideas for important keywords is running dry. I hope one of these strategies will help you, too.
1) Become the Super Researcher
The Super Researcher just can’t get enough. They could sit all day and research (and if they aren’t careful, they will). The Super Researcher is very detail oriented and it’s important to them to provide some real meat in their blog posts, not just fluffy samples. They do this by researching, reading, and clicking on just about anything that looks interesting.
If you like researching, try this approach to research, read, and relate it to your keyword.
2) Become the New Angler
The New Angler sees things differently. They can take a keyword phrase that has been done over and over again and totally rock it to appeal to a different business persona.
For example, one of our keyword phrases has been “what makes a good website.” Instead of focusing on a different aspect of what DOES make a good website, the New Angler might do something like this: “What Makes an Otherwise Good Website Completely Useless.” Totally made a 180 with the keyword.
I love this because I’m so not a New Angler -- so I love it when I see it. If you’re stuck on how to use your keyword, try looking at it in a negative light “what not to do…” or “5 elements you’re missing." It might spark an idea.
3) Become the Case Studier
The Case Studier sees how things work together. If an individual or company has done something right -- or wrong for that matter -- recognize it and talk about how it relates to your keyword.
The same is true for your own company, too. If you have a client or have performed a service that you think is exceptionally noteworthy -- write about it in an educational manner (not a promotional one).
Here's an example of how to use a keyword phrase and relate it to a case study: We used the phrase “why is social media important” and wrote a blog post about WestJet and how its recent Christmas Miracle video went viral with the help of social media. Check it out to see an example of this technique in action.
Now, this type of keyword strategy probably isn’t the best because it’s kind of dependent on what news is out there -- but when it works. it works like a charm, and is one of the best ways to add a fresh perspective to a seemingly tired keyword phrase. So jump on that bandwagon!
The Newsjacker is skilled at using their knack for always knowing what’s going on, and applying it to their keyword. If Facebook just announced a new feature called “Promoted Posts,” for instance, use that to talk about how it can help you with lead generation techniques for your business. (Did you guess that “lead generation techniques” was the keyword?)
5) Become the Life Lessoner
The Life Lessoner does just that -- uses things they’ve learned or experiences they’ve had, and writes about it.
Write what you know. It’s a good place to start. The Life Lessoner is honest, sometimes sentimental, and knows themselves well enough to be able to use a keyword phrase and relate it to a piece of their life. It can be as simple as talking about an experience with a client that taught you to view a situation differently, or as "out there" as relating the public transit in Boston at Inbound to what makes a good website. (And it worked. Take a look here.)
6) Become the Out-of-the-Box Thinker
The Out-of-the-Box Thinker isn’t afraid to try new ideas. They might just work! And ... they might also suck. But you won’t know until you try.
One way to think outside the box when writing content is rethinking the format that content appears in. For instance, if you're used to writing how-to and list posts, perhaps you should try creating those posts in the form of a video, a piece of static visual content, or even a list of memes. Even if the idea seems a little too bizarre, remember that you can rebound quickly from a poorly performing piece of content ... just write something else!
7) Become the Whatever Comes to Minder
I didn’t reveal the name of each lovely co-worker I identify with each keywording style above -- I thought it would be fun for them to try and figure it out -- but I will say that the “Whatever Comes to Minder” is me.
I get my writing inspiration from the strangest places sometimes. For instance, I had a toenail fungus keyword looming over my head. It's for a podiatrist client, and while reading The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss to my one year old daughter, I was inspired to write a blog offering foot care tips from a podiatrist and Dr. Seuss. The client enjoyed it, and maybe even more importantly, I enjoyed writing it.
Another example ... one day I was driving in my car and the song “More than Words” by Extreme came on, and it gave me the idea to write about how your blog is more than words; you know, all that other stuff Google cares about like conversion rates, social shares, etc. The Whatever Comes to Minder will have something totally random just pop into their mind and wonder if they could use a keyword and create a blog out of it. If this happens to you, don’t brush this off. Just write it down because I’m willing to bet you’ll think of some inspiring ways to create excellent, keyword-friendly content.
Hopefully one or all of the strategies we use at Half a Bubble Out helped you. When you feel like you’re fighting your keyword, talk to those around you and relate your keyword to the world around you. Every good fighter has a team that surrounds them. Use yours to get your keyword fight on.
Originally published Jan 6, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017