Ashley Zeckman

Why Your Approach to Digital Marketing Should be Crafted Like a Well-Balanced Breakfast

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 10th, 2016     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Online Marketing

well-balanced-digital-marketing-strategy

I start each morning the same way: After feeding my spoiled dog his morning delicacy of premium dog food, hamburger, rice and veggies, I go about making my morning meal. I know that this is a luxury that many people will say that they don’t have the time to do and are instead getting ready, herding children and grabbing a pastry on the way out the door. However, I’m one of those people that loves a hearty, flavor-filled meal to start my day.

Many Americans skip breakfast saying they don’t have time or don’t need it, while foregoing what is arguably the meal that gives you fuel for the day, can seriously hinder your ability to be productive during the workday.

Tiffani Allen

Data-Driven Marketing from Mad Men to Rabbit Holes

Tiffani Allen on Feb 9th, 2016     Online Marketing

Mad-Men-BMA

Last week, the Business Marketing Association of Minnesota hosted an educational panel event: From Mad Men Advertising to Rabbit Hole Marketing. The panel consisted of four B2B marketing and data experts and was moderated by the brilliant Rebecca Ramsden of SmartBase Solutions. The panel included Patrick Dunn, director of sales and marketing for GetWireless; Mike Bernard, VP of services at Relationship 1; Jason McConnell, director of marketing communication for Sport Ngin; and Bob Peterson, research director for SiriusDecisions.

Knute Sands

Ignite Your B2B Content Marketing Effectiveness at #C2C16

Knute Sands on Feb 8th, 2016     B2B Marketing

B2B Content Marketing Tips from Content2Conversion

The opportunity to surround yourself with top content thought leaders and practitioners is one that you should always take. That’s just what we will be doing February 15 -17 at the 2016 B2B Content2Conversion conference in Scottsdale Arizona.

We’ll be packing our bags and leaving the cold Minnesota climate for warmer weather and three days filled with top-notch B2B content marketing education. But before we dig into that, lets review the current state of content marketing for B2B marketers and why conferences like this are so essential.

A recent Content Marketing Institute study revealed that a full 88% of B2B marketers have adopted some form of content marketing. Go a layer deeper in this same study and you’ll discover that 55% of these same folks are unsure what B2B content marketing effectiveness really looks like. Is it time to pump the brakes on content marketing? Or, are half of B2B marketers simply missing the mark?

Tiffani Allen

Online Marketing News: Facebook Algorithm Changes, Samsung Ad Blockers, and Snapchat Statistics

Tiffani Allen on Feb 5th, 2016     Online Marketing, Online Marketing News

How are people really using snapchat

How are People Really Using Snapchat? [Infographic]
When it comes to any medium, but social media in particular, we tend to assume that everyone uses it the way we do — or worse, the way we marketers want them to. Knowing how someone else uses a social platform is one of the first steps to properly using it to attract and engage with prospects and members of your digital community. So how are the over 100 million daily active users spending their time on Snapchat? Check out this handy infographic to find out. Social Media Today

Joshua Nite

Is Content Marketing a Viable Lead Generation Tactic?

Joshua Nite on Feb 4th, 2016     Content Marketing

Does-content-marketing-lead-to-sales

Hi, I’m Josh. I’m a content marketer and proud to be one.

Content marketing is unique among marketing tactics. It aims to accomplish business goals by offering people something of real value that can make their lives better.

It’s not, “you are lacking something in your life, so buy our product.” It’s not, “Read these exaggerated claims about our product and buy it.” Content marketing (as part of an integrated digital marketing strategy, of course) only works if you provide value to your audience. How cool is that? You provide value, they buy stuff, and everyone goes home happy.

As nice as it sounds, though, the previous sentence is missing a sizable chunk in the middle. Without lead generation, this is your content marketing plan:

Lee Odden

Influencer Content Marketing: The Art of Relationships and the Science of Software

Lee Odden on Feb 3rd, 2016     Influencer Marketing

Influence Content Marketing

Much of influencer marketing is about advocacy and as the industry matures and includes more digital marketing intentions than PR, I believe influencers will be viewed more as partners than simple proxies for message distribution.

Or at least as chatty dinner guests like the motley crew pictured above from a NewsCred influencer dinner (LtoR: Rohun, Bryan, Joe C., Alicianne, Joe P., Chad, Jon, Drew, Ann, Sheryl, Michael, Rebecca, Moi and Michael.)

It’s a very surreal experience sometimes being treated as an industry influencer one moment and then working on influencer marketing programs the next. But hey, I’m not complaining. Seeing both sides helps me empathize and pass those insights on to our consultants and clients.

Ashley Zeckman

Social Media Images Part 2: Creating Brand Recognition & Learning From Inspiring Brand Examples

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 2nd, 2016     Online Marketing, Social Media

social-media-brand-recognition

Each day customers are becoming increasingly self-directed, and are using search engines, content assets and social media to help guide purchasing decisions. Need proof? The average person now spends approximately 8 hours each day consuming some sort of media.

There is an enormous amount of opportunity for brands today to incorporate strong visuals as part of their overall digital marketing strategy. One of the biggest opportunities is on social networks.

Recent research has found that people only retain 20% of text that is read without visuals. What that should tell you is that in order to help your prospective and customers retain information, you MUST include compelling imagery.

In Social Media Images Part 1 we discussed the proper image sizing, best practices and tools. In part 2 we will explore inspirational brand examples and tips for uncovering imagery.

Ashley Zeckman

Book Review & Interview: Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 1st, 2016     Book Reviews

meaningful-the-story-of-ideas-that-flyFor every startup that succeeds, many more fail. But what is it that makes the difference between a successful company, and one that just doesn’t quite hit the mark?

Bernadette Jiwa uncovers that and more in her new book, Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly. According to Jiwa, many companies miss an essential opportunity to focus on the customer story and what they want, and instead focus on the story that they want to tell.

The mix of customers and innovation is a key focus for the book and how those two concepts can be used to change the life of the people that use your products or services.

Ben Brausen

Online Marketing News: Facebook Optimizes Audiences, Bots Cost Billions, Gentrified Google Guidelines

Ben Brausen on Jan 29th, 2016     Online Marketing, Online Marketing News

10 Types of Visual Content Your Brand Should Be Creating Right Now

10 Types of Visual Content Your Brand Should Be Creating Right Now [Infographic] – Over the past few years, we’ve seen content become more visual. Marketers have experimented with infographics, videos, and more — and they’ve made plans to keep it up this year. To help narrow your focus, check on this infographic from Canva below. From quote cards to infographics, this helpful list is designed to inspire your next visual project. Canva

Facebook Now Tracks Call-to-Action Clicks via ‘Actions on Page’ Insights Tab – Facebook is giving page owners a deeper understanding into how active those call-to-action buttons are. SocialTimes

Debbie Friez

3 Examples of Brands Using Podcasts to Increase Sales, Offer Value & Build Audiences

Debbie Friez on Jan 28th, 2016     Content Marketing, Podcast Marketing

MIMA Event Podcasting

[Note From Ashley: TopRank Marketing team members Debbie Friez and Joel Carlson recently attended a Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) event in Minneapolis and collaborated to bring you the insights below from the event.]

Long gone are the leisurely evenings and weekends where people disconnected from the outside world and made time to relax. Today’s consumers are ALWAYS connected and constantly consuming information from a variety of sources.

The question for marketers is: how can you capture the attention of your audience while they’re on the go and multi-tasking constantly? One of the solutions that has surfaced in recent years is incorporating podcasts into your digital marketing mix.

Below we’ll dive in to three case studies MIMA social broadcasting event that uncover how different brands are working podcasts into their marketing strategy.

Ashley Zeckman

How to Decode The Connection Between Organic & Paid Content Promotion

Ashley Zeckman on Jan 27th, 2016     Content Marketing, Online Advertising, Online Marketing

Organic-and-paid-content-promotion

We often have new customers ask us what the best approach is for breaking the code of content promotion. Is it purely organic reach, social amplification or is paid promotion the way to go?

The short answer is, all of these and more.

When content marketing first hit the market, brands used it as an opportunity to follow a formula for something they already knew, online advertising. Banner ads, spam emails and other forms of advertising were a precursor to the more recognized forms that we see today. In the mid-nineties, brands were spending upwards of $11,000 a week for banner advertisements.

Joshua Nite

How to Write for People: 5 Ways to Create Connections & Personality in Your Content Marketing Efforts

Joshua Nite on Jan 26th, 2016     Blogging, Content Marketing

write-content-for-humans

Greetings, humans. It is I, a fellow human and certainly not a trench coat full of cats posing as human. I would like to tell you how to show personality in your writing so other cats—I mean, humans, like me—will enjoy reading it.

All cats aside, it’s surprisingly easy for marketers to forget that we are writing for people. We write for a persona, a target audience, an industry. When was the last time an industry sat down and read a blog post over their corn flakes? By trying to write for everyone, we can end up writing for no one.