SMS is here to stay :) To get the user to send keywords to a short code is a very effective distribution model, easy to track and the perfect way to engage your customers.
However, if you look around you will find diverse ways of telling the poor user how and what to do. Especially when the keyword consist of two parts, i.e. one “main keyword”, then a variable part, for example the email address.
To illustrate, a trend I have seen in Norway is this notation:
"Send SMS <NEWS> to 9999"
What does this tell the user? Well, we experience that many users will do exactly that; typing and sending it which results in no keyword found, because the keyword is not <NEWS> but NEWS.
The notation <> is used for “variable input”, for example the end user’s email address. Example:
"Send NEWS <your e-mail> to 9999"
So, skip the <> around keywords, you are only confusing the user. You may emphasize the keyword using capital letters, colors, bold etc. Then, for variable input, you can use the <>.