Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Google's Keyword Tool: How Authors Can Use It To Choose Their Blog Keywords

Remember in our early writing classes we were taught to not be cliché, to use interesting words and phrases to describe the world around us? Yeah, toss that out the window for this discussion. Keyword strategies involve using the same keywords over and over again so that search engines can process your posts. Today's algorithms are very, very smart, and have started to correctly process most metaphors and related terms the way a human would. But for professional writers, our more obscure metaphors do not translate.

Now this can technique can also be used for a blog on writing, but I am going to tackle the more elusive blog traffic we all want: readers.

Who is your perfect reader?

I don't want to hear any whining that you don't know who your reader is. Please. As writers, we get into the heads of our characters with the snap of our fingers. Do the same thing.

Who is my perfect reader? (This is not meant to exclude readers who don't fit this demographic, just gives me a target to shoot for. You might have different “perfect readers” each book!)


My reader has some education after high school, and she had a mother who read romance novels, but she considers herself above the “traditional” romance novels because she cut her reading chops on the more modern, contemporary “chicklit” tales. She works, and has to budget her money. She has a family member that is screwed up and causes drama in her life. She has had at least one serious relationship.

Her favorite stores are Kohl's and Target. She drives a foreign made sedan. For fun, she reads on her ereader, and in her group of friends, she's normally the one with plan or new thing everyone must copy. She doesn't do forums, and her social media is updated with her smart phone, because she spends enough time in front of the computer at work. When she comes home, she likes to unwind by reading, watching reality TV, and she has a secret thing for Johnny Depp. Like she owns every single movie he's ever made. On the weekends, she wears jeans, but at work she has to wear casual business clothes. She likes to cook, but also loves the convenience of food made for her. It's a luxury she indulges in more than she should if she wants to get ahead in her savings.

So that's my perfect reader, one I think would read Cancelled and LOVE IT.

Now let's look at some keywords (I highlighted above) with Google's Keyword Tool.

Let's tackle the easy ones first: “watching reality TV and Johnny Depp”

Reality TV Shows

I love “So You Think You Can Dance.” I typed that in as a keyword, searched, and found a great, low competition keyword: SYTYCD videos. Now here's what I can do. I can write up a blog post once a week highlighting 3 favorites SYTYCD videos on Youtube with them embedded. That's fun to me, and it gets searched 290 times a month in the U.S. alone. Now, I would also put in some other keywords, like “so do you think you can dance” which is searched 5,400 times a month and also has low competition.

Going a step further on my “platform” I could make a special video trailer for Cancelled that somehow worked in So You Think You Can Dance, such as a video that I think reminds me of a part in my book. For example, I LOVE Season 4's Bleeding Love by Mark and Chelsie, and it could easily be a video from Kellie's point of view in my book.

Even a post every week or two, over a few weeks would give me organic results. And I could pick other shows that I like, too.

Johnny Depp

I searched “Johnny Depp” and a result I immediately like is “mad hatter johnny depp” which is searched 5,400 times a month and has LOW competition. This is more of a creative type post idea. Mad Hatter Johnny Depp Mondays. I could share the absurd, the funny, or just play around with 6 words I have to turn into a story (flash fiction that many authors like to write). But see how I incorporate a keyword phrase? Linking to an image of Johnny Depp as a Mad Hatter would help even more, and this is the kind of post shared on Pinterest that would resonate well. Working with keywords ties into everything! :)

Her phone, her car, and her clothes

I imagined what my reader uses. This could go a few ways. I could blog about three great purse deals I find online that I think she'd like. “Purse deals” is another low competition keyword phrase with 4-5,000 searches per month. Saturday's Shopping Spree: Purse Deals gets TWO keyword phrases in there! “Shopping Spree” is searched 22,500 times in the US alone and has low competition. I could tie this into the next section, too. Make it an interactive thing where on the comments readers can share their great deals online in the comments and I'll put them in the blog post. My friends and I all LOVE to find great deals, but can't always spend the money. But if you blog about them, you get the kudos for finding them.

My reader's phone I could turn into a weekly syndicated post. I could go out and find helpful articles on how to use iPhones, Android phones, etc. and share little bits and link to the original article. This helps my traffic, gives those sites a pingback, and helps my readers get information they need.

Budgeting, Saving Money

Like the above keywords, this is another “educational” type keyword. “Money saving mom” is searched 49,500 times per month in the US and also has Low competition. I searched “funny money saving ideas” but that is only searched 39 times a month, so rather worthless. In the suggestions, Google had in there “money saving mom.” Now, that I could work with.

I could make the stories funny, like failed attempts to save money. I could write on serious things, like cutting the grocery bill. I could share great restaurant deals, remember my reader likes to eat out.

I know this is a lot to take in. But I hope you get the gist. Imagine your reader, make your keyword lists. Search them in Google's Keyword Tool and then choose 1-3 to make a regular feature on your blog. Make sure it's something YOU enjoy writing about.

BIG BIG NEWS, Micro-search engine optimization

Remember how I have said over and over again that keywords alone will not make or break your blog? Here's more proof:

When I am logged into Google (my gmail account) and I search a term, in my results are matches from the blogs and people I follow IN my social media. Yes! So if you really get into the head of your reader, you don't have to always worry if your taking on a highly competitive keyword, because Google will share your content with your followers!

This is all long-term blog audience building. Certainly, you can accelerate the reach by tweeting and sharing your blogs. But the basic building blocks of your blog should be there before you get busy with a social media campaign. Make sure your blog is pleasing to the eye (black text on light backgrounds) and that readers can easily find information they need.

Oh, and absolutely have a signature at the bottom of every blog post that sells you and your book. :)

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble 

WIP: STONE. Never up Mom's expectations, a clothing designer kicks "Mr. Right" to the curb.

Friday, June 1, 2012

eEKLY: The New Face of the Weekly Newsletter

The problems:

Email newsletters have notoriously low conversion rates for reader sites, even more for authors. Industry standards are well below 25% (mailchimp.com).

Clicks inside of email newsletters are even more abysmal.

The solution:

Test a new weekly publication that goes straight to a reader's ereader without charging the reader a subscription fee.

Although Amazon has experimented with a subscription type service for blogs and magazines, none of us have heard of any runaway success. If anyone knows of one, please share. But by and large, individual authors won't/don't have the time or resources to run a successful blog subscription service through Amazon's service.

Proposed: the eEKLY

The eEKLY is a weekly publication put out by an ereading community website, a publisher, or other group of authors with a similar marketing plan in mind. This electronic publication is made available in .mobi, .epub, and PDF so that readers can download or send the file straight to their Kindles, Nooks, or computer.

Benefits of the eEKLY

Links to books (and other products on affiliate sites) are hosted inside of the ereader so the reader has immediate access to a one-click buy environment.

Authors can use the eEKLY to give away a free copy (serialized over 3 to 4 weeks) in a qualified manner. No more thousands of downloads that who knows who will read? By serializing a "free" book, authors have access to their conversion rates of sampling, answering the question of how many readers who read the first section of your novel come back for more?

Serialized books through the eEKLY can foster discussion for a publisher or e-reading community as it taps naturally into a book club type setup, opening the door for direct author/reader interaction about the novel, because the community is on the same page with a novel at the same time.

By choosing other books to feature at the end of each section, including an author's other books and books in the same genre, there is an opportunity to humanize the "We Also Suggest" algorithm.

Readers receive a valuable publication, meaning there is content inside they WANT to open and read as opposed to an email newsletter that is 100% disposable.

Because the novel is serialized in 3-4 parts, readers will hold onto and possibly repeatedly reference the material inside each eEKLY.

Drawbacks of the eEKLY

Authors must be willing to serialize their novel, for free, with no expectation of royalties, up to 10,000 downloads or for 30 days (sites publishing the eEKLY would agree to take down the files 30 days from their release). Instead an archive file would be offered: a catalog of books that were featured that week.

Readers need training to sideload or send the file to their ereader. This is a great opportunity for authors involved in a specific eEKLY to talk to a reader about their ereader, but could also be a huge headache/cut down on reader adoption.

Eventually, involvement in the eEKLY would require a fee paid by the authors featured to compensate the editor for time compiling the files (There is no fee to be a part of the test, which is what this is).

So who wants in?

I am making a test prototype of the eEKLY (4 issues) for two ereader community sites, The-Cheap.net and eBookSwag.com. One of the books I am serializing for free is my own, but I am willing to serialize up 2 other books, and I can advertise books in each issue.

I am looking for up to 2 other titles to serialize (need word documents of manuscript and cover art to make ebook files of the eEKLY issues) that are romance, chicklit, contemporary fiction, or women's fiction oriented. There's nothing wrong with the other genres, and eventually, if the test is successful, there will be multiple genres for the eEKLY so that the "Also Bought" type algorithms are more humanly influenced.

I am looking for up to 15 additional titles per issue, for a total of 60 other books that I can feature. I will need an image of your cover (longest side 200 px) and the ASIN. I can match up and find the book on Nook if it's available there. If your book is on Nook too, first priority will be given to those titles because The-Cheap.net is strong Nook community.

If you are serializing your novel, you agree to allow each "chunk" to be made available for no more than 30 days or up to 10,000 downloads (as calculated by clicks).

What do you get?

Test out a new innovative spin to the reader newsletter housed within an e-reader for free.

Full disclosure of the clicks (Amazon) and # of downloads each eEKLY issue receives, as tracked through link clicks.

So let's get started!

Click here to register how you want to be featured in the first month of eEKLY issues.

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble 

WIP: STONE. Never up Mom's expectations, a clothing designer kicks "Mr. Right" to the curb.