Keywords unlock opportunity for advertiser content

By Marcus Billingham-Yuen

News Corp Australia

Sydney, Australia


The role of commercial content has expanded to articulate a brand’s message and deliver value to the reader. Commercial content has to connect with the motivation of the audience: What are people feeling? What makes them laugh? What keeps them doom-scrolling?

For example, for an aspiring homeowner who wants to purchase a house, we can showcase the bank’s home loan offer as the message in sponsored content.

Helping advertisers find the right targeted audience members using keyword strategies is a win-win situation..
Helping advertisers find the right targeted audience members using keyword strategies is a win-win situation..

We can make this hit harder with keyword research that highlights the right intent to deliver value to the reader.

Keyword research can measure the specific pain points around the buying situation to increase mental availability for a brand because you have helped solve the actual needs of a search in real time through commercial content.

Going back to the example for that aspiring homeowner, the content could include whether the property is “suitable for pets” or “near a school” to raise kids, to add more relevant detail to the commercial content and solve the underlying needs of the consumer.

Tools for identifying keyword intent

Using the more common tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, TikTok’s Creative Center, and Meta’s Business Suite allow us to detect the actual contextual needs of the audience.

We can source the keywords and trends there to dive into pain points and uncover a deeper understanding of audiences to anchor content strategy.

Using the homeowner example, we can enhance the content by including research of the top performing short-tail keywords such as houses “near me,” and long-tail keywords like “available for viewing on a weekend.” This makes it even more relevant to the reader.

Importantly, by being more specific and descriptive, we can use a combination of these long- and short-tail keywords to grow traffic in the short term organically because of the intent-rich potential of the article. Again, this is about delivering value to the reader.

From an SEO point of view, adding this level of authenticity to commercial content can surface results organically for the brand and publisher. By optimising content toward the right signals, it allows the brand to climb ranks and become more trusted as the preferred and most authoritative domain on a topic. Again, this allows us to meaningfully articulate a brand’s message.

You can debate the merits of each industry tool, but the potential lies in forming and optimising content around emerging trends, which brings your community together around the brand in commercial content. This is where the human touch comes in with critical thinking and discernment to determine the relevance of the content.

This is a task that is easier said than done.

Navigating the risk in keyword stuffing

Overthinking and loading as many relevant keywords as possible to capture intent risks keyword stuffing. “Keyword stuffing” refers to spamming high-value keywords in your content. The result is a down-rank, and readers and search engines like Google will ignore the content, deeming it spam.

Additionally, catering to an audience’s needs now is indeed a problem from a growth perspective as it does not fuel interest for the future. It’s like having your favourite meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No matter how much you enjoy it, innovation is necessary for the consumer to continue liking the commercial content, or they get bored.

A path forward for the future?

Typically, the process involved in developing and approving sponsored content is laborious. Back-and-forth reviews, feedback, and revisions between brands and publisher editors is seemingly a never-ending tennis match to get to a final piece of commercial content.

By the time the process is over, the content and rich intent of the article is diminished from when it was conceived. This means it’s often missing the relevancy of the topic, especially if its newsworthy or time-sensitive. Imagine reporting about the boot brands football players wore in a game that was played six months ago.

An imperfect solution is bringing in principles from social news-jacking. Instead of the long-winded back-and-forth approval process, we can move toward guidelines instead.

Rather than debating with editors about which keywords and intent to focus on in commercial content, brands can set boundaries for the sponsored writers to integrate keyword intent. Then, they can simply trust that the commercial content output is effective.

Moving quickly like this allows the commercial content to build social proof with the brands’ audience — a positive connection that cultivates engagement and illustrates brand values in real time, which we’ve already seen in social media community practice.

This approach shortcuts the linear approval processes. This leads to a more freestyle expression for publisher editors, and it gives responsibility and choice to content creators in the realm of their expertise.

This is not a broad-stroke solution though; it won’t work for products that require far more compliance or legal approval like insurance.

Using keyword intent to spot and integrate emerging trends into articles is the next evolution of commercial content. The result? A story that genuinely meets the needs of your audience.

(I’d like to give a special shoutout to Pawena Kaniah, who helped keep me on the right track with her SEO expertise and wonderful advice for this article.)

About Marcus Billingham-Yuen

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