Tag Archives: Blogs

Top 10 free keyword research tools for writing compelling headlines

Typewriter Whether you are writing headlines or copy for your website, blog posts, or news releases, keyword research can help you write better. You will know what words your audience cares about, how they search for things and how they group keywords together. Some of the benefits of optimizing keywords:

  • Increases website traffic
  • Improves visibility in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo
  • Raises your odds your audience finds it valuable to share via their social networks
  • Generates ideas for future content creation and curation

Keyword research is the foundation of a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and a key component of your content marketing strategy.

Here are 10 helpful keyword research tools worth exploring:

1. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

This headline analyzer scores your overall headline quality and helps you determine the right amount of words for your headlines. It also make sure you have a balance of emotional and power words to ensure your headlines are readable and compelling. Make sure you read: How To Write The Best Headlines That Will Increase Traffic.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer 2. SerpStat.com This website is so to the point, it doesn’t have a name. It is a free keyword suggestions tool, providing you with search suggestions based on popular keywords in Google searches and the different forms used by people looking for things. It collects and aggregates search suggestions and gives you a free report.

sg.SerpStat 3. WordTracker This tool reveals the best keywords related to your search term. It shows you how much traffic keywords get and what words you may want to focus on. The one drawback is that it is geared for you to sign up for their paid version with their “continue your research” button after you get the quick analysis.

Wordtracker 4. SEMrush This website provides you with analytics once you enter in your website, geared toward the digital marketer. You get information about your competitors and individual keywords that are performing well for them. You even get insight into keyword difficulty and backlink information.

SEMRush 5. SpyFu This website great for an overview of keywords. It provides you with number of monthly searches, ranking difficulty and profitable related keywords. You can enter in a name of a competitor and it provides you with an overview of what keywords, links are working well for them, what their pay per click ads look like and much more.

SpyFu 6. UberSuggest This tool provides you with helpful keyword suggestions where you can learn about specific topics. It gives you suggestions such as if you add a word that starts with an “a” to your set of keywords. It gives a word for every word of the alphabet to help you with long tail keywords. Make sure you read The Beginners Guide to SEO: Keyword Research.

Ubersuggest 7. Google’s Keyword Planner This website is the traditional one that most people use. Recently, Google has required you to sign up for a Google AdWords account before you can use it. It is a tool that provides you with keyword idea and traffic estimates.

Google Keyword Planner 8. Bing Keyword Research Tool If I mentioned Google, the # 1 search engine tool, it would be wrong if I didn’t mention the second most popular search engine: Bing. Here is a list of the most popular search engines.

Bing Keyword Research Tool 9. SEO Chat This tool shows you how keywords look side by side in sites like Google, Bing, YouTube and Amazon. It is great for brainstorming topics and content and showing how users may search differently on YouTube  for entertainment purposes vs. Amazon for buying purposes.

SEOChat 10. KeywordTool.io This website allows you to search keywords in Google, Bing, YouTube and the App Store. It generates more than 750 suggestions for every keyword. It is one of the only tools that allows you to search the App Store, according to InternetMarketingNinjas.com.

keywordtool.io Bonus! Don’t forget to use Google Trends to explore topics and see how the popularity of certain words have grown such as content marketing.

Google TrendsWhat free tools do you use to ensure you write headlines that command your audience’s attention?

Show your constituents some love

We’ve been featuring Alumni Valentines in our GW Colonial Cable alumni e-newsletter for three years running. I typically have some trouble finding couples to profile, but this year was different.

We leveraged social networks and asked couples whose relationship began at GW to share their stories. I posted a message to our GW Alumni LinkedIn Group and on Twitter (@GWAlumni) and watched the messages rolled in.

We received 25+ stories, more than enough for our e-newsletter, and enough to spill over into a “More Alumni Valentines” story next month. The story received two to three times as many click-throughs as our traditional feature story in our e-newsletter.

On this Valentine’s Day I encourage you to show your constituents some love by engaging them across your social networks to help you tell more interesting stories.

Know Your Audience

We try to segment our social media outlets and target our messages accordingly. Here is how we focus our communications on each of the GW Alumni social networks (recognizing there is some audience overlap):

LinkedIn– Build awareness of career services, opportunities, and news, encourage peer connections, find story ideas, and open conversation through “discussions”

Twitter – Quick hits to build prestige around the university and its alumni (top news and prominent alumni), support relationships, and find story ideas

Facebook – Promote events, share regional-specific information, encourage peer connections

YouTube – Share highlights from alumni and university events, build awareness of leadership in the university and alumni association

Flickr – Repository for event photos, maintain engagement

Social media is by its nature not about simply pushing information out, but learning about your constituents needs and engaging them in dialogue. GW graduate and social media consultant Steve Goldner recommends bringing an “LCR mentality” to your social media outreach – Listen, Conversation, Relationships.

One powerful way to encourage conversations and build relationships is by soliciting advice and feedback from your audience on story ideas. In this case, the quality of our engagement through social media is just as important as the quantity.

Recognize Your Reach…and Limitations

For most organizations, social media provides another platform to reach a certain segment of your audience. Our largest GW Alumni social network – LinkedIn, with 10,430 members – only represents about 5% of our alumni population.

According to research by Forrester (see Josh Bernoff’s post on Social Technographics) 17 percent of U.S. online adults are “inactive” on social networks and the largest percentage group are simply “spectators” who read, listen and watch, but do not take an active role in a conversation.

It is important to use a variety of communication platforms in your outreach. For our Alumni Valentines feature I solicited names of couples during in-person conversations, through e-mails, and on social networks. The story was e-mailed out through our e-newsletter, featured on our website, and posted on our Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook pages. The piece included a call to action for others to share their Alumni Valentine stories, which allows us to build off the original story.

Create Winning Content Through Collaboration

Some people are more interesting in 140 characters than others. Some videos on YouTube become viral hits and others flounder. Some individuals on LinkedIn spark thought-provoking discussions, while others come off as completely self-promotional. And some stories in your e-newsletter receive more click-throughs than others.

Creating content that resonates remains crucial. Develop content with input from your constituents on a variety of social networks and share that content across several different platforms. You will engage more individuals, hear more ideas, and produce a better end product.

How have you seen success by engaging your social networks in developing content?

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Matt Lindsay (@lindsam8). Matt is the director of alumni communications at The George Washington University (GW) in Washington, D.C.

10 ways to grow your Twitter influence

How do you grow your influence and measure it on Twitter?

That is the question that many companies, organizations and individuals are trying to answer, now more than ever.

Edelman has created a popular tool that measures an individual’s importance on Twitter called TweetLevel. This tool can help you understand and quantify the importance levels of Tweeters and their usage of Twitter. However, judging a person’s true level of ‘influence’ is tough to define, even though many people have provided a great start.

While doing research for this blog post, I came across several great articles, blog posts and resources to share. Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, wrote a great piece about 10 ways to increase your Twitter followers. Social media expert Brian Solis has a post about Make tweet love – Top tips for building Twitter relationships and prevential.com has an excellent resource titles How to attract and influence people on Twitter.

With all this information on this topic, I brainstormed my own list of tips for my readers to share ways to boost your ranking on this social media platform. Below you’ll find my top 10 ways to grow your Twitter influence.

1. Think like a reporter or a copy editor. With only 140 characters, every word, space and punctuation counts. Make sure each tweet is so compelling that your followers will stop to read what you have to say in the crowded and noisy Twitter universe. Today, it is all about telling a story and telling it well.

2. Content is King. Make sure you have content that is worth posting and that engages your followers and prospective followers. TheInternet Activity Index released by the Online Publishers Association provides a unique way of looking at consumer engagement online.

3. Be generous. Engage with other tweeters by re-tweeting content that you find interesting. Think of your tweets as your online journal that you can reference on your public timeline. It is easy to RT tweets that you like of others — and the added bonus is that you’ll have those tweets in your stream for future reference. Not only are you helping yourself, you are spreading the word for others. People you RT will be more likely to follow you back and spread the word about you.

4. Be a resource for others. Add value with each tweet or retweet. Make sure that when you are tweeting, you treat each one like an email. Sending too many emails decreases your credibility. Make sure that when you have something to say, your followers think it’s worthwhile.

5. Take Twitter offline. Arrange for a phone call or coffee meeting with interesting tweeps that you follow. Or attend or create a Tweet-up in your area. Check out Twtvite, an event manager tool that helps you create and learn about TweetUps.

6. Listen. Try to read of your followers Tweets and follow the most popular hashtags like #SocialMedia and #FollowFriday and industry hashtags that affect your job or interests like #PR or #Marketing. I would also suggest checking out the #hashtags Web site that tracks the most popular hashtags on Twitter and provides details about those hashtags.

7. Be relevant. Try as much as possible to link to articles or post something that is new and newsworthy. For example, I recently tweeted an article from TMZ that claimed the Tiger Woods injuries in the car accident were caused by his wife, not his collision. It was one of my most popular tweets.

8. Quality over quantity. There is a big temptation to get as many followers as possible. The key is to have a quality following over a large quantity of followers. As Twitter becomes more popular, more and more spammers (and the porn industry) will want to become your friend. Check out How to get more followers: Some methods that work for some more information.

9. Patience is a virtue. A large following doesn’t occur overnight. It takes a while to build a loyal following. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your following. Be persistent and continue to invest time in growing your network on Twitter.

10. Treat others as THEY want to be treated. It is a twist on the golden rule. Find out how your followers like to interact with others and engage with them in a similar fashion.

What do you think? What are some others ways you can grow your influence on Twitter?

Living in the social media age


More than 56% of marketers plan to incorporate social media into their businesses next year, according to a recent survey by the Center for Media Research.

With so many social media channel options to choose from, which one do you use for your marketing communications strategy?

In July 2009, Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law study of national business leaders highlighted that the most popular social media channels were the following:

  1. Facebook (80%)
  2. Twitter (66%)
  3. YouTube (55%)
  4. LinkedIn (49%)
  5. Blogs (43%)

In my first blog post, my audience confirmed that Facebook and Twitter were the most popular social media platforms. So, as a marketer, should I use the most popular social media channel or a combination of both? Well, the short answer is that it depends. Since each tool works in a different way and with the social media landscape changing everyday, the key is to find out what your targeted audience likes to use.

The bottom line is that you need to be a part of the conversation because these conversations are happening, whether you are in the social media game or not.


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