Ashley Zeckman

Need Help With Content Topics? 5 Places To Find Inspiration For Blog Posts

Ashley Zeckman on Nov 18th, 2015     Blogging, Content Marketing


Blogging is a low to no-cost way for marketers to create owned content on a consistent basis. A consistent blogging schedule of high quality information creates a great way for your customers and prospects to gain a better understanding of how you can help them and the smarts that exist within your organization.

In fact, B2B marketers that incorporate blogging as part of their content strategy generate 67% more leads than those that do not. So if you aren’t blogging, it’s time to start.

Joshua Nite

How to Create Content that Abides, Dude: Content Marketing Lessons from the Big Lebowski at #MNBlogCon

Joshua Nite on Nov 17th, 2015     Blogging, Content Marketing, Marketing PR Conferences


Does pondering content marketing strategy make you feel a little out of your element? Are you missing the key components that really tie a strategy together? Do you sometimes feel like stepping away from the laptop, pouring a White Russian, and zoning out to Creedence Clearwater Revival?

You’re not alone. Only 30% of B2B marketers believe they are effective at content marketing, and more than half don’t know how to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. And as buyers are inundated with more and more content, it can be difficult to get your message out there.

Fortunately, when it comes to content marketing success, there are rules. And at the 2015 Minnesota Blogger Conference, TopRank Marketing’s Directory of Agency Marketing Ashley Zeckman laid down the law, Big Lebowski-style. Here are the key takeaways:

Joshua Nite

Content Marketing: Make Your Content Shine with These 4 Editing Tips

Joshua Nite on Nov 5th, 2015     Blogging, Content Marketing


A few years ago, best-selling author and wizard-ninja hybrid Seth Godin said, “content marketing is the only marketing left.” The industry took him at his word. Over the last decade, marketers have devoted ever more time and energy to creating content.

This year, 76% of B2B marketers plan to produce more content next year than this year. Only 2% plan to produce less.

As someone who creates content for a living, I find this trend encouraging. As a marketer who wants my content to be seen, the content explosion presents a challenge.

Seth expanded on his statement in an interview with Contently this year: “Real content marketing isn’t repurposed advertising; it is making something worth talking about.”

Ashley Zeckman

The Mortified Marketer: 8 Lessons To Help Evolve Your Content Marketing Strategy

Ashley Zeckman on Aug 4th, 2015     Blogging, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

The Mortified Content Marketer

Blogging, Day 1
Dear Diary,
Today I wrote my first blog post. Everyone is going to love it! I am going to blog every day.

Blogging, Day 10
Dear Diary,
I can’t think of anything to write. I’ve published one post, and the only person that read it was my mom.

The format above may sound familiar if you’ve ever heard the Mortified podcast (if you haven’t tuned in, you’re really missing out). In this podcast, adults get on stage and read passages from their journals, plays or fan fiction, all penned when they were children or teenagers.

Their understanding of how the world works (and their place in it) has vastly evolved from the time they wrote these entries, to the time they read them on stage.

Joshua Nite

5 Common Writing Clichés to Avoid for Better Content Marketing

Joshua Nite on Jul 14th, 2015     Blogging, Content Marketing

blogging clichesEvery piece of content we produce as marketers makes an implicit promise to our audience. From beginning to end, each asset that is researched, created and published should be interesting, relevant, help solve a current pain point. The content will be informative, easy to read and provide value.

We must honor that promise to hold the reader’s attention and provide them with useful information. As Copyblogger founder Brian Clark says, “A great headline mixed with a lame opening is like inviting someone into your house, only to slam the door in their face as they approach.” Once you slam the door in a reader’s face, they’re not going to accept future invitations.

Lee Odden

Not Happy With Your Business Blog Performance? Try These 5 Tips:

Lee Odden     Blogging, Content Marketing

business blogging tips

For many companies, blogging is akin to content marketing. Of course there are many other content marketing tactics besides blogging, but because of the ease of publishing, promotion and optimization, it’s one of the more popular ways to connect with customers through content.

And yet there are challenges for many of the businesses that rely on blogging as an essential part of their content marketing mix. If you’re not happy with the performance of your business blog, here are 5 basic, yet often overlooked steps for making your blogging more effective.

1. Revisit Your Blogging Goals

Of course you’ve set goals for your blog. But how long ago was that? When was the last time you revisited those goals?

Jolina Pettice

Is Your Business Blog Running on Empty? Here Are 4 Ways To Fill the Tank

Jolina Pettice     Blogging, Online Marketing


I’m a bit of a risk-taker when it comes to my gas tank. If you cared to check, most days you will find me driving around with the gas light on.

In fact, I’ve done this so long that I have it down to an art. I know how many miles I can go, and even how the car starts to drive when I’m operating on fumes.

Why, why on earth would anyone do this, you might ask. The answer is simple … because so far it’s worked. I haven’t found myself on the side of the road unable to keep going.

James Anderson

4 Ways Marketers Can Learn From a Journalist’s Approach to Content Planning


“Be the media” isn’t just a buzz phrase. It’s a live process and philosophy that brings in leads and moves products and services. It’s the concept of content as sales staff. It’s “write it and they will come.” OK, so I got ahead of myself with that last one. It’s not quite that simple.

As marketers have moved to content to help tell their stories that draw in customers, they have brought journalists in to help with the storytelling.  Now that many marketers and journalists are working side by side, they have developed similar processes and have begun to merge cultures. They are finding common ground, overlapping and crossing career paths.

Here are a few areas in which I think that content marketers can learn from journalists:

Lee Odden

How to Be the Best Answer with Topic Targeting

Lee Odden     Blogging

Be the Best Answer - TopRank

This weekend I had the good fortune to present at the Minnesota Blogger Conference where nearly 300 local bloggers gathered to learn, get inspired and network.

For my part, I gave a presentation on how blogs are still an incredibly useful tool for marketing. Keeping the reason for blogging top of mind as well as empathy for reader preferences in how they find, consume and act on information are essential if a blog author expects marketing outcomes from their efforts.

When a blog or any content hub can become “the best answer” for the topics that are important for buyers, the return on blogging goes way, way up. One way to execute a content plan to become known as an authority is through topic targeting.

Lee Odden

Better Business Blogging – 7 Lessons Learned from Writing 1 Million Words

Lee Odden     Blogging, Online Marketing

blogging tips toprank

Blogging for over 10 years has been quite a journey to say the least. During that time, I’ve had my share of challenges, opportunities, disappointments and surprises.

Back when I started, there’s no way I would have imagined having so many things to say for so long or anticipated what impact ongoing content creation would have on me personally and for our digital marketing agency – TopRank.

It’s true that a blog is not for every business, but every business that blogs, sees numerous advantages. For many, there are roadblocks and unrealized opportunities. Businesses can get caught up in those distractions and let their blogs die. As an example, IBM research shows that 80% of the blogs started there have fewer than 5 posts.

Lee Odden

Is Business Blogging Still Worthwhile?

Lee Odden     Blogging


State of Blogging

When I started blogging a little over 10 years ago, there were about 1.5 million blogs (Technorati).  That’s about 1 million other people with no idea what they were doing – just like me.

Today, it’s hard to say how many blogs there are globally, but alone hosts 75.3 million blogs in over 120 different languages world-wide with 100,000 new blogs being created every day. In fact, blogs publish 40.5 million posts and 400 million people view 14.4 billion pages per month. (stats)  That’s a lot of blogging!

Tumblr as a blog platform, has over 170 million blogs and nearly 76 billion posts published.  You can continue this exercise with other blog hosting platforms like Google’s Blogger and Typepad too. And I’m not even mentioning the millions of blogs hosted on their own domains or blogs on platforms like Medium or LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

Lee Odden

Two Marketing Tips for Creating More Meaningful and Profitable Content

Lee Odden     Blogging, Content Marketing

Content Tips

Understand Globally, Communicate Locally

Literally and figuratively.

While at networking event in Bucharest I met the head of global business development and partnerships for a well known video hosting platform. Working with professionals from so many different countries, cultures and customs requires careful attention to communications and behavior – not entirely unlike how marketers who create content need to flavor their message according to the unique needs of each target audience.

He shared with me how things like accepting a business card from someone in China and then writing on it or not greeting the most senior person first in a Middle Eastern country, can kill a deal. He also talked about the importance of structuring engagements in a way that not only empathizes with the business customs of the region, but also makes money for all involved.