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Lee Odden

Where Brand Journalism and Native Advertising Can Fit Within Content Marketing

Lee Odden on Nov 26th, 2014     Content Marketing, Integrated Marketing

integrated content marketing

Over the past year the discussions about what content marketing is and isn’t as well as the role of content within marketing and PR functions of a business have been interesting to watch. Especially the discussions around whether brand journalism and native advertising fits in the content marketing mix. Here’s my take on it.

Content Marketing is all about customers and providing them the information they need to inspire action. The themes that align buyer interests and brand goals as part of a content marketing strategy can inspire the focus of any content or media whether it’s part of a brand journalism effort, native advertising or content marketing program –  just in different ways.


Lee Odden

How a Shift from All SEO to Social & Influencer Content Boosted Page Views by 500%

Lee Odden on Nov 25th, 2014     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing, SEO

social influencer content

A small business technology company was focusing their online marketing efforts on SEO and this approach proved to be effective for several years.

Research revealed relevant keywords in demand from searchers actively looking for solutions in this software category. Existing content was optimized, cross linked and new content was created where needed. Content was promoted to attract links and social shares to ensure a presence on crawlable social media platforms.

But then organic traffic began to slow down in growth and eventually decline, despite following SEO best practices capable of the most specific Google scrutiny.

A decision needed to be made: Will more aggressive SEO tactics be used or was it time to shift perspective?


Lee Odden

20 Magicable Takeaways From 5 Social Media Marketing Case Studies at @smbmsp

Lee Odden on Nov 24th, 2014     Social Media

Social Media Gnome

On Friday nearly a dozen members of the TopRank Online Marketing team had the privilege of attending a packed house at 514 Studies downtown Minneapolis for Social Media Breakfast aka #SMBMSP72.

The topic? Social Media Marketing case studies. And gnomes. And bacon. And made-up words like “magicable”.

Featuring case studies about local and national brands including Land O’ Lakes, Thomson Reuters, Axonom and two Fortune 100 technology companies, presentations were given by Jaclyn Grossfield @jaclynanng, Casey Hall @CaseyHall_ and myself.

While the Minneapolis / St. Paul Social Media Breakfast events are always well attended, this one was particularly so because of the insatiable interest in practical social media marketing insights. That and maybe the introduction of the “Social Media Gnome” pictured above. Instead of “Elf on a Shelf” think of him as a “Gnome in Your Zone” watching to make sure you’re following best practices. [Cue laugh track]


Ben Brausen

Online Marketing News: Shoppers Don’t Share, Men Pin Too, Facebook Groups Up

Ben Brausen on Nov 21st, 2014     Online Marketing, Online Marketing News

98% Of Brands Use Twitter

96% of Brands Worldwide Use Twitter - The use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram has become almost mandatory for brands, with more than nine in ten companies around the world using these platforms, reveals a new study. AllTwitter

Facebook Reducing Overly Promotional Page Posts in News Feed - One of the main reasons people come to Facebook is to see what’s happening in their News Feeds. Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see. That’s why we often look to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve. As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content. Facebook


Lee Odden

15 Women Who Rock Social Media at Top Tech Companies – Career Advice & Insights

Lee Odden on Nov 20th, 2014     Social Media

Women in Tech Social Media

To honor women who “rock” the social web, we’ve been publishing a list for the past 4 years and  2014 marks the 5th. That’s about 100 social media pros we’ve featured ranging from marketers to business owners to those using social media to advance a cause. Many of those honorees have reached out to share they’ve benefitted in many ways from those lists ranging from general notoriety to career advancement.

During research within my own personal network for the 2014 list, I noticed an impressive group of social media marketing pros in the tech space that represent some of the top brands from IBM to Adobe to Intel. This group of 15 women represents some of the talented executives and practitioner social media smarties that me or my team at TopRank Online Marketing have had the good fortune to work with, collaborate with on projects or meet (IRL or virtually).


Lee Odden

Are Marketing or Public Relations Industry Associations Worth It?

Lee Odden on Nov 18th, 2014     Marketing & PR Industry

Marketing PR Associations

As a long time digital marketing and PR practitioner, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with a diverse mix of marketing and communications industry associations: DMA, PRSA, AMA, MIMA, SEMPO, IABC, BMA, MN Search and while not technically an association, SMBMSP.

Most industry associations provide a core set of benefits to members ranging from education to networking to industry advocacy, relying heavily on a combination of volunteers and sponsorships to make things possible.

Sponsoring and volunteering are means for both individuals and companies to contribute to the greater good of the industry and local business community. Doing so provides benefits in the form of exposure and an investment in raising awareness of the particular industry overall. A rising tide lifts all ships and all that.


Lee Odden

3 Content Curation Best Practices to Optimize Your Content Marketing

Lee Odden on Nov 17th, 2014     Content Marketing

content curation best practices

Blending a mix of new content with the filtering and management of other useful information streams is a productive and manageable solution for providing prospective customers a steady stream of high quality and relevant content.

There are several good services that facilitate curation tasks and software can help, but on it’s own, software isn’t the answer.

Pure creation is demanding. Pure automation doesn’t engage. Curating content can provide the best of both. Here are several best practices to help you with curation sources, types of content and where to publish.

1. Sources of News to Curate

  • Industry specific newsletters sent to you via email
  • Links to content and media shared on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Reddit and other social sharing websites
  • Google Alerts, Google News or Google+ Search

Ben Brausen

Online Marketing News: Facebook Dwarfs Everyone, Influenced Youth, Twitter and Adblockers

Ben Brausen on Nov 14th, 2014     Online Marketing, Online Marketing News

State of SEO Agencies 2014

The State of SEO Agencies 2014: An In-Depth Study by linkbird [Infographic] - During the period of August and September 2014, linkbird conducted an in-depth study on the international SEO services industry. In this post I’m publishing the results of our study with some of the most important insights and recommendations based on the results. But first: a short prelude. Search Engine Journal

40% of Twitter Profiles Use an Adblocker - New platform Ello is generating interest with the promise of advertising-free social networking, positioning itself as the “anti-Facebook” within the space. Of course, it’s not just Facebook that shows ads to social media users; Twitter does, too. However, a new study has revealed that two in five Twitter users have an adblocker installed on their internet browser, second only behind Reddit amongst all social channels. AllTwitter


Lee Odden

New @Marketo Guide to Engaging Content Marketing – @TopRank Style

Lee Odden on Nov 13th, 2014     Content Marketing

Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing

Marketo is known for their content marketing (top 20 content marketing brand) and especially their definitive guides to all things related to B2B marketing.

The most recent is The Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing which includes over 100 pages of practical and highly usable information on Planning, Creating, Designing, Publishing, Promoting and Measuring content marketing.

For this eBook the folks at Marketo reached out to a group of content marketing pros including Joe Pulizzi, Ann Handley, Brian Solis, Rebecca Lieb and many more (including me) for some perspective. While some of my interview is included in the guide, I thought I’d share the full Q and A here.

You obviously produce a lot of amazing content. Where do you get inspiration for new blog posts/ebooks/presentations, etc.?


Lee Odden

Customer Insights Are Key for More Persuasive Marketing Content

Lee Odden on Nov 12th, 2014     Content Marketing

Persuasion Content Marketing

For experienced marketers it’s no surprise that understanding the motivations of buyers and what influences them can be instrumental for creating persuasive content marketing campaigns.

While that statement makes sense intellectually, old habits die hard.

Most marketers continue to focus on how digital channels like email, social networks and search work vs. how customers understand those platforms or even why they use them. Day after day, content is being created and keyword optimized by marketers with little more than intuitive insight into customer interests and preferences for content discovery, consumption or engagement.

This is a source of great disconnect and dissatisfaction when “best practices” content marketing and SEO tactics don’t produce the intended results. An increase in search and social traffic isn’t very valuable when those visitors don’t engage and the content doesn’t resonate.


Lee Odden

Forbes’ 50 Most Influential CMOs of 2014

Lee Odden on Nov 11th, 2014     Influencer Marketing

Influential CMOs 2014

Forbes recently published a list of the 50 most influential CMOs of 2014 in conjunction with the folks at Appinions. According the to AdAge article where I discovered the list, “the CMOs were ranked by how they have established themselves by sharing opinions that and generate significant reactions.”

More specifically, Appinions analyzed over 100 million articles from news, blog, and social media sources, noting opinions from and reactions to CMOs from 500 of the Forbes Global 2000 largest companies. From that analysis, they created an influence score and ranking.

eMarketer has reported in the past that consumers appreciate brands more when C-level executives are active on social media. Social media is a great way for CMOs to show their “people” skills and their digital savvy in today’s world of all digital, all the time.


Lee Odden

3 SEO Predictions I made in 2005 – Was I Right? What About Search in 2025?

Lee Odden on Nov 10th, 2014     Online Marketing, SEO

Future of SEO

I gave my first public presentation about online marketing just under 10 years ago for MIMA (Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association) called “Search Engine Smarts – Organic, PPC, SEO, Blog – What Does it All Mean?”.

It was at the J.J. Hill Library in Saint Paul early one morning and about 60 people showed up. To say I was nervous is an understatement.

Back then TopRank Online Marketing was focused mostly on search marketing. My, how things have changed.

Or have they?

In the presentation there’s basic advice about SEO such as:

Use keywords in content: Research keywords and ensure their presence in unique title tags, on-page headings, in text links between pages, as image alt text and within the body copy – but don’t overdo it.


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