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It's always gratifying when clients value your work. We developed this article a couple of years ago for Staples and they recently resurfaced and promoted it on Facebook because it performed so well the first time. Although we had to laugh at some of the comments on the Facebook post, which pointed out that nobody "uses" a cactus every day!

Check your analytics and look for content that performed well or ties into trending topics and breaking news. Then resurface those via social channels, promoted or not, to increase your return on marketing investment and drive more traffic.

A Staples promo of an article The Word Factory wrote on office minimalism

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The words we use are important, whether we're discussing the day's events in the break room or trying to persuade customers/users.

Last week, Seth Godin posted two helpful lists of words: One for early adopters and trend-setters, the other for those who like to go a little slower. Here are some examples:

  Early Adopters     Non-Disruptors  
  Pioneer   Secure
  Controversial   Accepted
  Dominate   Simple
  Brave   Certified
  Secret   Highest-Rated

How to Choose the Right Words

Learn how to use clearer language and more effective words to make your writing / content marketing more effective:


Cool photo by Steve A. Johnson


Most business-to-business and business-to-consumer content creators are accustomed to getting a list of low-competition key words from the SEO services team or agency. And we work hard to integrate them into our copy, metadata and headlines.

But as people who use search to background our own work (including the topics those KWs relate to), we know there's often a disconnect between low-comp KWs the SEO team is charged with identifying and the KWs people like us use when researching the topic.

Long-tail keywords, contextual keywords, whatever you call them they're more aligned with the way real people look for information online. And they deserve a prominent place in your content from metadata on down, whether your content is for lead generation, education or other activation.

Improving SEO with Keyword Research via Google Trends

A screen grab of the Google Trends homepageUsing more contextual key words in headlines, captions, metadata and copy make it easier for people to discover our work when searching. I've already talked about how to using long-tail keywords to increase search engine visibility. Here's another tactic to add to your list of SEO best practices: Google Trends.

Here's a low-drag way to use this high-impact tool:

  1. Pick 1-3 key words or phrases that relate to your topic. Think about the terms you’d use to in your own research of the subject.
  2. Choose the appropriate filters for geography and timeframe. (I like 30 days to 1 year for the timeframe, personally). Hopefully, your term shows up. If it doesn't, give it another go. Maybe add or delete quotation marks, or try another word or term altogether.
  3. Note how each word or phrase is trending. Up is preferable, neutral is OK, down is bad. If your first try is trending down, that doesn't mean you can't use it. There may be, after all, a business reason to buck the trends. But if it makes sense to drive search, try another term. 
  4. Choose the KW or phrase with the best trend line. If you have time, complete all the steps for each of your KWs or phrases to get the best picture of what's trending.
  5. Review Related topics to identify subjects that are semantically related to your original terms. The most promising ones are moving up the most or are labeled as Breakout. You can easily use these terms in your copy to support your main KWs and avoid being repetitive. 
  6. Look at Related queries to find even more trends. 
  7. Integrate the KWs identified by this SEO research into your copy from metadata to headlines, captions to body copy and articles.

Bonus Tip: If you're looking to piggyback onto trending topics, Google Trends serves that up for in real-time at right on the home page. This is an easy way to see what people are looking for and to see if you've got something relevant to serve up to them. Note I said "relevant". It doesn't serve your brand to glom onto a trend with a flimsy connection to your content or brand image.

This easy process is quick way to augment the KWs your SEO services group identified, making your content more discoverable through paid and organic search.

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Business and politics don't always mix, as we saw from the L.L. Bean/Donald Trump ruckus. While political contributions by members of a board may be hard to control -- as is the public response to those -- business advocacy for causes is both a moral/ethical and strategic decision.

You probably saw how Lyft lived its corporate values by making a donation to the ACLU in the wake of the President's executive order on immigration. Uber, which has frequently chafed progressives, issued its own response, but too late and then made it worse with what appeared to be a strike-breaking decision. (Read more about the #deleteuber campaign here).

If you want to advocate for something as a business owner or as a business, use this strategy to plan your statement. This is the tool we use with our business and nonprofit clients to help them think through their position and state it clearly and effectively for the right audience.

Flip through the slide deck, the download the strategy (with examples) for better advocacy writing:

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Everybody's talking about making more and more compelling visual content. CNN & Gigapixel just raised the bar considerably with this amazing visual. Most of us aren't going to be able to create something this awesome, so let it inspire you to up your own game as you can.

A screen shot of CNN's amazing Gigapixel of the Inaugruation

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