Fresh Inspiration and New Ideas (You Haven’t Heard!) for Content Creation @SMX East

Looking for fresh ideas for content creation? Casie Gillette, Bill Hunt and Grant Simmons shared innovative ideas and examples of how to maximize engagement by creating content that really grabs your users. Read on to discover new content insights (that you haven’t heard before!) from SMX East’s “Content, Keyword Research & The Art of Audience Engagement.”

Content Creation speakers
Speakers Bill Hunt, Casie Gillette and Grant Simmons (click to enlarge)

What the Content Data Show: Casie Gillette

Casie Gillette (@CasieG) Director of Online Marketing at KoMarketing
Gillette, the director of online marketing at KoMarketing, shares some compelling data from Blue Nile:
• 20% of search queries are four words or longer (BlueNile) – long gone are the days of trying to have a keyword strategy with a one or two word phrase.
• 27 percent of search queries are questions.
• 70 percent growth in YouTube how-to searches.
• The average voice search query is 5–6 keywords.
How do we make sure we give people the answers to the questions they’re searching for? They’re not just on search engines. Where should digital marketers be looking to pinpoint their users’ search queries?
• Social media. Social may seem obvious, but it’s an important part of keyword research. Look at the hashtags, the terms, and what your competitors and the industry at large are using when it comes to terms.
• Quora is good.
• Check your referral data and see what people are saying about you.
• Review sites – research how people are talking about you.
• What questions are people asking in forums?
• Talk to your customer support. They’re the direct line to your customers and they are a treasure trove of information.
• Look at the logs from live chats with customer support.
Gillette mentions three free and useful tools: FAQ Fox and SerpStat give a look at what questions people are asking. Keyhole lets you input a keyword and get a host of hashtag information. (Gillette points out that you should never make up hashtags!)

Case Study: Industry Cabinet Client

KoMarketing had a cabinetry client that was using the term “cabinets.” KoMarketing had been working on the site for a year, and they started to dig into more data. They looked at a competitor’s forum and found the forum was using the term “industrial cabinets.” KoMarketing updated their client’s content to use “industrial cabinets” and derived a 50 percent increase in organic traffic and conversions after changing “cabinets” to “industrial cabinets.”

Case Study: Technology Product Client

KoMarketing went into forums and examined the questions people were asking. They scraped the questions and looked at the AdWords Search Queries Report, and then built a how-to section around the questions. Within three months, they saw a 53% increase in organic traffic.


You have to give your customers what they want. Target actual phrases. Know your customer. Give them the answers.

Understanding the Voice of the Consumer: Bill Hunt

Bill Hunt (@billhunt), president of Back Azimuth Consulting, gets right to the point, stating “the best tool out there is your brain.”
He shares an example of his brain in action. The Bellagio hotel was No. 3 for “Las Vegas Hotels” but the click-through rate was low — looking at the data, Hunt realized that 81% of these particular searchers were looking for discount hotels. Using his brain, Hunt put together that the phrases in the meta description (“ultimate Las Vegas hotel experience” and “luxury hotel”) were alienating searchers.

Further Insights

• When someone does brand name + price on a mobile device, you better believe they’re in a store. Can you insert a coupon to keep them in your store?
• People don’t search with solutions — they search with problems. And many websites make the mistake of basing their content on solutions rather than problems.
• You must have how-to information to rank.
Here’s an example of a brain #fail: 85% of queries for cloud computing are “What is cloud computing?” 9/10 of first page listings are answering that question, and there’s only one major brand in the top ten, and that’s because they answered this question. Why are all the other brands forgetting to address this?
Here’s an example of a brain #win: Hunt figured out that one of his alcohol clients was interested in whisky stones (nonporous cubes of soapstone used for chilling drinks). After adding whisky stones to a giveaway, there was a 124-percent increase in signups — because Azimuth took the time to figure out what people actually wanted in a giveaway, and it worked!

Tapping into Triggers: Grant Simmons

Grant Simmons (@Simmonet), VP, defines triggers as needs that need to be addressed.
“At, we look at triggers for home buying – pay raises, kids leave home, having a baby, getting married – all these things lead users into buying new homes,” he said.
So, they research triggers. And guess intelligently. They use tools like Google Keyword Ad Planner and, and understand their consumers better using free data like:
• (Bureau of Labor)
• University of Michigan research (

Triggering Content Ideas

• What would someone going through a foreclosure or eviction search for? Create content around “What happens to my stuff when I get foreclosed?
• minds their Q & A data every month.
• Understand user/trigger context: who, what, where, when, why, how
• 3-4 different pieces of content might answer a specific question differently depending on context.
• Translate your content to Spanish or other languages.
• Create videos.
• Inspire people with pictures. This is what Simmons calls tickles — create a desire or need in people by appealing to them with stimuli (like images). We’re all driven by emotions.
• Ask open ended questions rather than yes/no questions to better understand your consumers.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

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