How Customer Photos Improve Mobile Shopping

Mobile commerce is expected to grow nearly 50% in the next four years.

But even with the rapid rate of tablet and smartphone technology, there are still many advantages of web over mobile for creating a seamless online shopping experience. This is strongly reflected in the still lagging mobile conversion and purchase rates—mobile’s conversion rate lags over 3.5x behind desktop. With consumers spending more and more of their online time on mobile, brands are turning to content generated by their customers to improve the mobile shopping performance.

Mobile commerce still lags significantly behind desktop when it comes to e-commerce.

  • Mobile conversion is generally terrible (0.6% conversion on smartphones in 2013 vs. 2.2% conversion on desktop)
  • Consumers rate mobile as the “most difficult” method for completing an online purchase compared to other purchasing channels
  • Customers rarely make purchases through mobile devices, and when they do, transactions made on mobile are on average much smaller.

Some reasons for mobile’s low reviews include:

  • Low bandwidth that limits photos and load times
  • Small screen that clutters and/or eliminates information
  • Difficulty in mobile app downloads

User-generated content from social media has become a valuable resource to combatting the mobile commerce chasm. For one, your customers are using social media on mobile (social media usage from mobile increased 23% in 2014.)  They are browsing and posting pictures across social channels on their mobile devices.  This means that when it comes to using their phones– your customers are mostly being exposed by content generated by their friends and/or influencers they follow. By displaying customer photos within native shopping apps and on mobile e-commerce websites, your brand can begin to bridge the customer experience gap between social media and mobile commerce.

So what are the general takeaways to why customer photos and social media content are so effective at improving the mobile shopping experience?

  1. Consumers are accustomed to seeing social photos from their mobile devices
  2. Integrating social content into mobile commerce helps connect the shopping experience to the larger consumer mobile behavior
  3. Customer photos are incredibly engaging and offer strong social proof of brands and products
  4. User-generated content is more engaging than custom or stock photography

Kenneth ColeCharlotte Russe

Kenneth Cole and Charlotte Russe place user-generated content on their mobile sites to enhance the customer shopping experience.

Social media plays a large role in improving the mobile experience and can be more than a channel for customer engagement. Customer photos can be leveraged to help personalize the mobile shopping experience and offer strong social proof of your brand and products. By integrating user-generated content into native apps and mobile web, your brand will begin to move the needle to drive higher mobile conversion rates and sales.

 

Kyle_Wong_PixleeKyle Wong is the CEO & Co-Founder of Pixlee, a SaaS platform that helps brands leverage customer photos to improve marketing. Kyle has been featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List and is a regular speaker and domain expert on influencer marketing and driving consumer engagement through social media.

 

How to Avoid Competing on Price Alone

Competition

photo credit: Small Town Snails via photopin (license)

Without understanding and defining your true core message, people are going to compare you to your competition on price alone.  This is a tricky situation to be in.  Sure people want the best deal possible, but they also want to be taken care of.  They want to buy from companies they can get behind.  They want to understand the purpose.

Here are two important elements to focus on while developing your core message:

  • A true core difference – do the research and make sure none of your competitors are preaching the same thing
  • An idea that resonates with your clients – take the time to understand what your clients love about you and develop your core message from there

Doesn’t sound too difficult right?  Below are 4 easy steps to break down the important elements and how to avoid competing on price alone.

Learn what your competitors are preaching

Time to kick off the research!  Visit your top 5 competitor’s sites and read through their “About Us” pages.  Copy and paste the overview from the about page and put them all in one document.  Do the same for your site.  Go through and read the descriptions and highlight some of the common themes you see throughout each.   I am guessing “great customer service” and “years of experience” might be mentioned in a few of them.  Take it one step further and delete any mention of the companies names in your document.  Pass it around to members of your team and see if anyone can correctly identify your description and each of your competitors.  This alone might be an eye opening experience.

Give your competition props

It’s now time to spy on your competition.  Set up a listening station to keep tabs on what you competitors are doing.  Everything from monitoring social media to signing up for their newsletter to tracking keywords.  Understanding what your competition is doing, what works for them, will provide you with a bit of direction.  I am not saying copy your competitors marketing efforts, simply suggesting you might be able to learn from what they are succeeding at.  They wouldn’t be focusing on gaining 1000s of Twitter followers if it wasn’t paying off on some level.

Listen to the people that matter the most

Your clients are the most important people to your business.  Take the time to listen to them, show them you care, and learn from them.  Sit down with 10-15 of your best clients (most profitable and refer you the most) and interview them.  Ask them about their experience with your company and how you can make it even better for them.  Take their feedback and continue to improve but also use it to develop your core message using words that actually resonate with the people you serve.

Here are a few of my favorite questions:

  1. Why did you choose us in the first place?
  2. Why do you stay with us?
  3. What do we do that others don’t?
  4. What could we/our products/services do for you that we don’t?

Communicate your difference

You have taken the time to do the research.  It’s now time to create your core message –  this message should be a short statement that becomes your marketing message workhorse.  Commit to it, stick to it, and resist the desire to change.  It may develop over time, however, the core statement should be something you are proud to preach over the years.

I would love to hear from you.  What is the core message you are ready to commit to – one that will help your clients understand your purpose?

Sara HeadshotSara Jantsch is the Director of Community at Duct Tape Marketing.  It is Sara’s job to see to all the little things that make our community members feel appreciated, informed, special and looked after.  She is also a Marketing Consultant and has a strong passion for working with small business owners.  Connect with Sara on twitter.

 

3 Effective Ways to Use a Blog to Boost Your Retail Business

Depositphotos_41742531_smallA million times you’ve heard that you need a blog to get more customers. Maybe you even created a blog for your retail business. You created the blog, wrote a bunch of articles with eager anticipation of the customers who would stampede through your door. You stare at your door waiting…

The flood of new customers never arrives. Heck, it seems like not a single additional customer came in due to your blog. What’s wrong? Maybe you’ve avoided creating a blog because of similar stories you’ve heard from others who have tried and failed. Whether you have tried a blog and had no success or avoided starting a blog, this article is for you.

What nobody explains about blogging for a retail business

Nobody explains just HOW to blog to bring customers through your door, but I’m here to help you with that. The first mistake that everybody makes is blogging about them self. The truth is your customers don’t care about you. Customers care about themselves. They’ll never come into your shop just to put money in your cash register; they’ll only come to get something they want or need for themselves. So, blog about how your customers benefit from your products.

Here are 3 things that will help you attract customers to your store.

1. Demonstrate your products being used

Few stores show their product being enjoyed or put to best use.

Write a blog post showing how your product can be used. If your product is a tool, show it being used by an expert to fix things. If it is clothing, show it being worn with other items you sell and inspire your customers to make their own fashion statement. How-to articles are one of the most popular types of blog posts. People are always searching for ways to do something. Demonstrate what problem your product solves or how people are happier using your product.

IKEA’s Share Space blog allows people show the creative ways they have used IKEA products. The blog is written in a casual, friendly tone and includes lots of pictures of people’s projects.

2 Establish trust in your industry

Over 80% of people do research on the web before making a purchase. A blog is the perfect place to give people a buying guide to the products you sell. Start by answering questions that your customers regularly ask.

River Pools and Spas started writing content on their blog that simply answered their customers’ questions. Today their blog gets more traffic than any other pool company site in the world.

Do not be a salesman when you write a guide. Write the post as if you were talking to a dear friend that you wanted to know the honest truth. Use some photographs in the article and help people understand why one feature is better, in what circumstances, and what its shortcomings are. Giving people honest expert advice to make a purchase will build a rapport with your customers.

Create an article that explains, step-by-step, how to use or make something with your product. Add a checklist, or questions to ask when shopping and you have given your customers a goldmine of information. Strive to inform in a way that doesn’t have the goal of making you money. Instead, help everyone better informed about your products.

3. Show off your shop’s personality

More and more, people are buying from those who they know, like and trust. A blog gives your shop personality. Like I said earlier, you don’t want to sound like a salesman. When you write blog posts, be personable.

Use empathy with your customer when writing. By sharing common experiences with your customers, you are building a relationship with them because you have a shared interest in common. This increases the bond you and your customer have and will increase traffic through your door.

The Artists Frame Service does a good job of mixing in their personality with their blog.

Your customers are online and you should be there too

Retail blogs fail because they don’t focus on what the customers want; blog about topics that your customers find interesting. A blog is the easiest way to link your brick and mortar store with the online world. If you use it right, you’ll have a major advantage over your competition.

Your customer will be much more likely to find you in search engines. You’ll not only answer all their questions but show them that you really get them. They will remember you for it, and from then on they will much rather come to your shop over others.

robert-newmanRob Newman is CEO of Get Web Clients. If you’d like to learn more about what it really takes to get more visitors to your website, build your email list, and become an authority in your niche, subscribe today.

 

5 Ways to Make Trust Your Most Important Marketing Asset

trust

There was a time when all you had to do to land a sale was to look good and say all the right things. If it turned out that some of those things you promised didn’t always materialize, no big deal, move on and find someone new.

Today, buyers have access to information and tools that leave every business exposed to a much closer version of the truth.

If you screw up now – and don’t honor your promise – you may find an entire highly indexed YouTube channel dedicated to your suckiness.

Trust has always mattered, but I believe it is perhaps the most important long-term marker of success and businesses need to acknowledge trust building and amplification as an essential marketing tactic.

The thing is, you know what to do – the online world and all these new tools often get people thinking they need to do things in ways that don’t fit who they are – use your instincts, they’re probably better than you think.

Trust building must be seen as one of the intentional goals of your message, content, promise, promotion, delivery, follow through, and measurement.

When today’s buyer is considering a purchase, they certainly need to know that you’re an option and they certainly need to like what they see when they start checking you out. Ultimately, however, they must trust that you can deliver and they will Google you, test you and ask about you in their social networks before checking that box or even setting a meeting.

Below are five considerations when it comes to building a strong case for trust.

Your rep on the street

What others say about you reveals a great deal. There are some businesses that live and die today on the reviews from customers. This is an area that you must pay attention to. Reviews impact SEO and they provide some measure of proof that you do what you say.

This is no longer about simply doing good work, you must intend to mine the glowing reviews of your customers and show appreciation for every kind word said about you as part of the trust signals that are now a plainly public part of the mix.

Who you hang out with

Social networks reveal more about you than you might know. Your connections to other connections create subtle hints about who knows you and who you (theoretically) hang out with.

How you connect, how you add value, and how you show up in these networks sends important trust signals.

Who you partner with, who you collaborate with, and who you mastermind with are all part of the trust puzzle – but is it intentional?

What you do and say

My parents would on occasion access the age-old parental standby – “do as I say, not as I do” when questioned on some finer point of advice. So much of what we do as a business is public today. A prospect can effectively check you out and even engage to some extent without your knowledge.

People are watching how you interact on Twitter, how you provide service, how you respond to a negative Yelp review and even how market and promote yourself.

I get the cobbler’s children syndrome, but if your business is not a shining example of the point of view and service you’re asking your prospects to embrace, there’s probably going to be a trust disconnect at some point.

Ease of use

This one is a big bucket. You can do and say all the right things, nail your value proposition and promote scores of reviews from raving fans, but if the first thing a customer faces is a hoop jumping circus, all that trust building you worked so hard on will be for naught.

Convenience has become a value proposition and we just want things to work the way we think or have grown accustomed to them working.

At least once a quarter go through the process of becoming a customer with a customer and go over and above to understand how they actually experience your business.

Proof

One of the greatest challenges for business just getting started is they can offer no proof or existing customers getting great results. Funny thing is very few business focus on this element enough.

One of the greatest ways to garner trust is to offer proof of results. If a prospect can see documented results from someone that has their very same issue it gets much easier to imagine getting that same result for their business.

You must work very hard at measuring, reviewing and documenting the tangible results of your work on behalf of your clients if you want to demonstrate the ultimate trust marker.

Building trust as a marketing asset isn’t about making things up that allow you to look and sound good, it’s about amplifying the fact that you can be trusted to perform as promised and that you value your reputation so highly you make room in your crowded days to cherish how your customers experience your business.

9 Reasons to Consider Old School Sticker Marketing

9reasonsGraphicFor over 65 years, stickers have been helping politicians get elected, building companies, establishing brands, advertising, starting conversations and increasing exposure. Yet despite being long-lasting and having a low cost per impression, not enough attention has been paid by marketers and businesses to the power of this sticky marketing tool.  Here are nine reasons astute businesses shouldn’t ignore this powerful, low-cost marketing medium.

1. Beyond The Bumper

Stickers are no longer just “bumper stickers”. The days of big, white, rectangular stickers for car bumpers are disappearing and being replaced with promotional stickers of all shapes and sizes for application to windows, water bottles, laptops, equipment, signs, phones, people… anywhere.

2. Old School Social Media

Promotional stickers are physical, off-line forms of social media and broadcasting. People were ‘liking’, posting, pinning, tagging and starting conversations with stickers long before the Internet. Designed and distributed properly they continually generate low-cost exposure, impressions and word of mouth marketing.

3. The Power of Word-Of-Mouth

Think off-line marketing is passé or not as effective as social media for word-of-mouth? Think again. Recent studies show that 90% of people trust word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know (Nielsen). And, 90% of word-of-mouth about brands is taking place off-line (Keller Fay Group). Yet tools, like stickers, used to encourage and amplify off-line (as well as on-line) word of mouth are often overlooked by many businesses. This is an obvious mistake.

4. Anti-Advertising / Personal Endorsements

Advertising/marketing has shifted to more permission and connection based models. Advertising that interrupts or is lost in a sea of other pitches is (usually) no longer cost-effective, especially for small businesses. The power of stickers lies in the fact that when displayed they are not perceived as advertising at all. They are personal endorsements, recommendations and badges of support for a message, product or organization.

5. An Engaging “Gift”

Regardless of whether promotional stickers are displayed in public they can still be very cost effective. Whether handed out or mailed, quality stickers have a higher perceived value than other promotional mediums (business cards, brochures, flyers, etc.). They are viewed more as a gift than “advertising”. And, like promotional products they are harder to throw away immediately and can engage the recipient… “Where could I stick this?” “Who could I give this to?” “I haven’t donated in a while.” “I need to stop in there.” “I love these guys.”

6. Place and Promote

Promotional stickers are not always a give-away item, of course. They are also an inexpensive way to brand products, packaging, signage and serviced equipment. You can’t always rely on others becoming advocates that spread your message and brand, but you certainly can do it yourself, whenever possible, in tasteful and effective ways.

7. Micro Marketing/Identity Development

Because of the succinct nature of a promotional sticker, the process of development and design can help clarify and focus other marketing efforts (logo, website, advertisements, business cards, headlines, press releases, etc.). The same core questions need to be asked and analyzed:

  • Who do I want to communicate with (who is my market)?
  • Where do I find them? How do I make contact?
  • What are their interests (what do they want/need)?
  • What is my unique offering, message and/or story (identity)?
  • How do I communicate and broadcast my message/identity cleanly, simply, graphically and quickly to my market and prospects?

8. Compliment and Enhance Other Marketing Efforts

Besides branding and efforts to increase exposure, stickers can be leveraged in other ways to enhance and strengthen marketing programs. Free stickers can be traded for addresses. Opinions and conversations can be encouraged on-line in social media to engage fans and customers. Valuable information or promotions can be delivered on the back of a sticker. Stickers improve the open rates of direct mail. Stickers can strengthen communities and awareness of a particular message. Cooperative campaigns with others can reduce costs and increase distribution and impressions. Successful or interesting sticker campaigns can generate excellent PR. And, much more…

9. Sell As A Profitable Product

Promotional stickers, done right, can also become profitable products themselves. A brand name, slogan or image can become a sticky product. You don’t have to be Life Is Good or a popular band to create stickers that fans will pay for. If you’ve got retail options, a unique angle to a specific market, or fans and advocates, you can definitely create a sticker with enough perceived value to warrant people wanting to show it off, and willing to pay for the privilege. Just make sure the sticker fits the customer’s personal needs and preferences, not just your own marketing/branding needs.

To sum up, marketing is about relationships; communicating what makes you unique and of value to the people who will benefit and are willing to support you. Stickers can be used in a number of ways to strengthen that bond and encourage that the word is spread. That is sticker marketing – utilizing one of the lowest-cost, highest exposure marketing tools available to make and strengthen connections. But, remember, like any form of marketing or advertising, sticker marketing requires proper planning, design and execution to maximize its effectiveness.

 

Jeff Nicholson Profile PhotoJeff Nicholson is the founder and Creative Director at Freely Creative, Inc. and Websticker.com, a marketing company specializing in the design and production of promotional stickers, decals, and labels. He is the author of Stick This! Using Promotional Stickers To Build Identity, Create Word Of Mouth and Grow Sales.

Why MORE Marketing Isn’t What You Need

photo credit: Unsplash

photo credit: Unsplash

Your marketing isn’t quite getting the results you want. In fact, it seems like the latest “thing” is taking far too long to work.

So you decide that what you really need to do is add another tactic to the mix because it just may be the thing that helps you reach your goals. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, does this scenario seem familiar?

You’re not alone. We’ve all been conditioned to believe that more is better. More marketing must equal bigger results. Right?

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Trying to be everywhere and continuously adding to our lineup of marketing tactics is likely working against you. When the focus is simply on adding more marketing to the mix, often it’s simply adding to the noise instead of cutting through to reach your ideal clients.

What if instead we decided to try a different approach to our marketing?

After coaching thousands of solo-preneurs, I realized the ‘be everywhere’ mindset of more marketing was backfiring for my clients. They were completely overwhelmed with the unending list of marketing tactics and frustrated that instead of doing what they loved, they were spending all their time marketing!

Our solution? Do less and do it better. By focusing in on their business sweet spot, we can determine the right marketing strategy for their business. When your marketing is in alignment with your business sweet spot, suddenly you’re playing to your strengths. It’s a “lean” approach to marketing mashed up with leveraging your zone of genius.

Here are a few ways to help you cut the marketing that’s not working and find your business sweet spot:

#1. Assess What’s Really Driving Results in Your Marketing

The average small business owner uses multiple social media channels, along with any combination of email marketing, blogging, podcasting, video, search engine optimization, and the list goes on and on. The reality is that few of us can do all of these things well, and we’re diluting our results when we’re spread too thin across strategies.

Take some time and make a master list of everything that you’re focusing on in your marketing. Then look at each one with a critical eye to determine if they are working for you. Keep this objective! Can you tie your strategy back to a measurable result? Having a large follower count on Facebook doesn’t matter if you aren’t able to convert that number into relationships and ultimately, sales.

One of my favorite ways to check in with my marketing strategy is to think through your top clients from the past 6 months. Simply making a list of your top 10 clients, then asking “how did they find me?” can cut through the confusion quickly! In fact, despite being an online business, I’m amazed that over 50% of my private consulting clients come from a personal referral. Now I spend more time focusing on nurturing referral relationships!

When reviewing your list, see if you can cut it down to the three most effective things. Then assess if you can let the rest go. You may quickly find ways to trim the fat or at least open up your eyes to gauge the real ROI on your marketing activities.

#2. Discover Where You Truly Shine

We all come to the table as business owners with our own unique set of skills, experiences, and personality traits. Some of us are at our very best in the maven role where we can build a large platform and shine on stage. Others may do their best in more intimate small group or one-on-one situations where they facilitate meaningful change and mentor clients.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy.

As a complete introvert, I’ve found that attending large events or conferences completely stress me out. Instead of feeling excited, I feel depleted. It takes days for me to recover! Not the best strategy for me – my marketing is much more effective when I leverage my strengths as a writer and teacher.

On the other hand, one of my colleagues adores attending events. She always makes great connections and walks away with new clients for her corporate consulting work. But spending most of her time behind a screen? Just the idea of an editorial calendar makes her feel restricted.

Not sure where you shine? Think about what your clients and community most thank you for. Alternatively, consider where you are most energized and what type of work you most enjoy. By tapping into that information, you can find clues that tell you how to best focus your marketing.

#3. Simplify and Streamline Your Marketing Strategy

Look at where you shine. Compare it to what’s working. You’ll likely find a clear pattern connecting the two – that’s your Sweet Spot! That’s where you should focus the bulk of your marketing time and energy to get the most powerful results.

By working in your sweet spot, you can jump off the marketing hamster wheel and say yes only to those marketing activities that are most aligned with what best works for you and your business.

What things have you found that are in your marketing sweet spot? What activities is it time to let go of? Share in the comments below.

RachealCookSquare-150Racheal Cook, MBA is an award-winning business strategist who believes entrepreneurs can grow their dream business while living their dream life, right now. You can connect with Rachael and get more of her mindful marketing advice by joining the Fired Up + Focused Challenge.

 

Are Paid Content Distribution Platforms Cost Effective?

Content Distribution img3_BK_HoCCreating great content is only one aspect of digital marketing. In order for that content to be effective you need an audience, you need eyeballs and traffic.

Generate enough traffic and that content will drive a steady uptick in conversions and a return on your marketing budgetary spend. Finding that audience is often the hardest challenge.

Social and Guest Blogger Networks

Social media is becoming an increasingly pay-to-play environment, especially on Facebook. Organic traffic to Pages is below 2%.

With over 100,000 factors influencing who sees your content on Facebook, if a post isn’t popular enough it may only reach a few hundred unless you put some ad money behind it.

An alternative is to target bloggers and media outlets directly. Ask to be published as a guest blogger. Get enough outlets in your network, and you could have hundreds of thousands of new readers and fans of your content, which ultimately leads to conversion upticks. This approach does take time, but it works. Buffer, a popular social media sharing tool, leveraged a guest network to generate millions in revenues.

Paid Content Platforms: A Distribution Alternative?

Not unlike creating a sponsored post on Facebook, a range of content distribution platforms have emerged over the last few years, aiming to automate the challenge of finding an audience for your content.

They broadly work in the same way: you upload the content (which is published locally, on your blog), set the budget and timescale, then launch the campaign. Anyone familiar with online publishing and managing ad campaigns should be fairly well accustomed to the technology and processes.

The following are some of the most popular distribution platforms on the market.

Outbrain

Content Distribution img2_BK_HoCCost-per-Click (CPC) $0.25–$0.35

Outbrain boasts a global reach of over 560 million (as of September 2014, comScore), with 80% of the world’s leading brands already working with them. They have a distribution network (which is ultimately what you are paying for) which includes real estate on some of the most high-profile media outlets, including CNN and ESPN.

Nativo

The Outbrain link appeared at the bottom of an article on the Independent websiteViewable CPM rates (vCPM): $10–$18

Rather than just an iteration on the Outbrain model, Nativo has two key differentiators: Firstly, it charges vCPM rates rather than CPC rates, which means you know people have seen your content. Secondly, content is published within media outlets and blogs, like Entrepreneur.com.

They work with over 1,700 publishers and claim a 300% increase on the performance of native ads. It is like having an external content network, with all the heavy lifting taken care of.

Taboola

CPC: $0.25–$0.30

Similar to Outbrain and other competitors, such as Disqus, Taboola provides a content distribution platform on a CPC model.

How to implement (while factoring in downsides)

With all of these you can target using geography. None will get you as close as a sponsored post on Facebook, so all come down to trial and error. Have a budget and timescale that will allow for some fine tuning. Most also provide detailed analytics, which allows you to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Depending on your budget and resources, doing a side by side comparison (depending on your audience and the content) with promoted content across social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr – where the average promoted post gets reblogged 10,000 times). See which works best for your brand, which results in the highest upticks in traffic and conversions.

Winning the distribution game is key to making the most of your content marketing. As Gary Vaynerchuk noted, content may be king, but without distribution you have no queen and your household will be a mess.

Benjamin+KerryBenjamin Kerry is Managing Director of Precise English, an SEO copywriting agency in Stockton on Tees, England.  He specialises getting businesses set up online, from well-written content to designing and developing a beautiful & functional website.

 

9 Reasons to Take Keyword Research Beyond SEO

keyword research
When the marriage of Content + SEO + Social became official back in about 2009 (although some states still don’t recognize it) the act of keyword research became a vastly different animal.

While SEO pros still use keyword research today as a means of identifying terms and phrases to use to optimize pages on a website, the act of keyword research implies so much more in the modern marketing world.

Today, I use the art of keyword research to:

Optimize existing content – relying heavily on the Google Keyword Planner tool and the paid ad sets function in particular I try to determine key foundational phrases to build our entire online presence around. Obviously this is work is informed by our marketing strategy and some understanding of who we are trying attract and what we want them to do.

Conduct on page optimization – Again, relying pretty heavily on data from the Google Keyword Planner and competitive research using tools like MOZ, keyword research is used to work on under the hood things like title tags, alt image attributes and page descriptions.

Spot opportunities for new content – Most of the folks I’ve worked with over the years don’t have nearly enough content or in some cases any content focused on some of the most important and most profitable aspects of their business. I use keyword research to help build a content strategy.

Create content themes – I’ve long promoted the use of an editorial calendar as a tool to help properly build out your content and publishing routine. After brainstorming with a client’s team, I turn to keyword research to start building editorial themes. I then take my proposed theme list to BuzzSumo and start looking for the most shared content around these themes. I might also create content alerts for my themes in BuzzSumo so I can start passively monitoring when my themes are written about.

Build influencer lists – Once I know what my themes are going to be for the year I know that I want to start building lists of individuals who can support those themes. I believe that building industry influencer lists based on content and keyword themes allows you to create a more focused list than one that relies simply on large followings as a metric. My go-to tools for this step are BuzzSumo and Inkybee. I might also employ the MOZ Followerwonk tool to help segment Twitter lists and followers.

Build journalist lists – Just like the step above I always want to use my keyword themes to help identify a small list of journalists that might be influential in spreading the word. Once I create the list I generally create a Twitter list and employ BuzzSumo alerts to get notification when one of my journalists puts something out. I might also employ a tool like Toucan that sends me alerts when any journalist puts a query out matching my keyword phrases.

Build blog lists – Often times the best way to learn about an industry or keep tabs on what my clients, competitors, influencers and journalists are doing on a day to day basis is to create lists of blogs for each and add my keyword research to help identify new voices writing about my terms. I use BuzzSumo and Inkybee to help turn up these new blogs and then employ Feedly to easily group and scan these blogs.

Build guest lists – Another tactic that bubbles to the surface during this expanded view of keyword research is that of building lists of potential guest bloggers and potential blogs where I might try to place my content. Again, my key themes are at play here once you have a good idea of your themes you can start to unearth people who like to write guest posts and places that accept guest posts. One trick is to simply use your keyword phrases with the added term “guest post” into BuzzSumo or Topsy and see what turns up.

Build link lists – I’ll end up with a core SEO tactic that I believe is so much better informed by keyword research coupled with many of the elements above. Using tools like the MOZ Open Site Explorer you can easily build a list of backlinks to your competitors, but by thinking in terms of content themes and all of the list building and networking involved in previous steps you start to build a much more organic and potentially more useful list of backlink opportunities.