Does Not Compute

I remember sitting in my office with an online producer who was working on the website for my magazine, Garden Design. It was eight or more years ago, and I was completely immersed in print publishing. As an editor, I focused my attention on photos, stories, headlines, freelance writers, great locations…all things that very much matter in the digital publishing world. But I didn’t think about how all those things translated in the digital space, or how stories could get found online.

Brent, the online producer tasked with improving the magazine’s website, was so patient as I resisted giving him keywords. I twisted and turned, recoiling from the process. I didn’t like the idea of reducing our Very Important Magazine to some “popular” keywords that seemed generic to me. I just didn’t get it.

The idea that keywords should be inserted strategically into articles so that we could expand our online audience sounded preposterous to me. It seemed wrong. I likened it to changing around verses in the Bible to make them more appealing to readers. Even the concept of “content” offended me. Content? What’s that? Let’s just call them stories.

The Value of Keywords

If I only knew then what I know now! Keywords can be seamlessly woven into web copy without depreciating stories. Keywords can even lead the way to story development, resulting in web content that best meets readers’ needs. Purity is great. Responsiveness is even better.

Luckily, our magazine had a Group Publisher who DID get it. Jay was so forward-thinking about the website that his ideas had the online team buzzing. Where I went cold, he got hot, and our website was the better for it. No wonder he went on to be a Director of Content and Social Media in his next role.

And luckily, he reached out to me to contribute stories to his new venture. He saw how keyword strategy paired with great stories was a powerful combination for driving business.

Getting Over Myself

After I left Garden Design, I fell in love with the web and became an avid consumer of tips, tricks, and helpful articles about content marketing. Now, I’m a keyword ambassador!

Sometimes I sit down with new clients to dig into a conversation about keywords, and I see that old, familiar look on their faces. I imagine what they’re thinking as I strategize keyword-oriented content with them. Keywords? I’ve poured my whole life into this company and you want to talk about keywords? Does not compute!!!

I get it. I’ve been there. We’ll get through this together!

Sarah Kinbar

Sarah Ristorcelli is Co-founder of Orlando Content Marketing. She is a writer and editor with 20 years of experience in publishing and communications.