Content Marketing

Content marketing is the planning, creation, promotion and measurement of content for a specific audience and intended to inspire a business outcome. With over 90% of B2B and B2C marketers engaging in content marketing, it’s more important than ever to make sure your content stands out from the crowd.

 

As the only blog to be named #1 content marketing blog three times by Content Marketing Institute, TopRank is dedicated to helping marketers understand the opportunities, best practices and current trends in the world of content marketing.

 

Browse our content marketing articles to find tips, guides, expert interviews, conference liveblogging and best practices.

 

Joshua Nite

Creating Breakthrough Content: There Ain’t No Magic Feather #SMMW17

Joshua Nite on Mar 24th, 2017     Content Marketing, Marketing PR Conferences

If you want to write amazing content like Ann Handley, don’t be a Dumbo.

Dumbo was convinced he could only fly while holding a “magic feather.” When he lost the feather mid-flight, he plummeted toward the ground. It wasn’t until he believed he could fly without the feather that he was able to take off again.

Too many would-be content creators are searching for their magic feather–the book, online course, or perfect antique typewriter that will make them a writer. And while they search, they can’t or won’t write.

So Ann began her session at Social Media Marketing World by asking us all to recite a pledge out loud:

“I don’t believe in unicorns, fairies, or Santa. There is no magic feather.”

Joshua Nite

Broad Vs. Niche Content: How to Find the Right Content Marketing Balance

Joshua Nite on Mar 16th, 2017     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

’Cause whether you’re high or low, you gotta tip on the tightrope.” –Janelle Monae

Content marketing can sometimes feel like walking a tightrope through treacherous crosswinds. On one side, you have the need for brand recognition: Followers, likes, shares, all the metrics that make marketers feel good.

On the other, there’s the need to prove effectiveness through lead capture, conversions, and closed deals. These metrics used to be the sales department’s problem. As marketing becomes more data-driven, though, marketers are increasingly held responsible for proving their contribution to revenue.

Sometimes we end up swaying from one side to the other, constantly over-correcting. It’s hard to make forward progress if you’re just trying to keep your footing.

Lee Odden

What CMOs Need to Know About Data Informed Content Marketing

Lee Odden on Mar 15th, 2017     Content Marketing

Big Data

Driven by trends in lower performing advertising and changing consumer behaviors, many marketers have embraced content with the majority of companies adopting the practice.

According to CMI and MarketingProfs 2017 Content Marketing Benchmark report, the most successful B2B marketers spend an average of 39% of their marketing budget on content marketing and 39% plan on increasing spending in 2017.

However, even with the promise of greater marketing performance through content, organizations are challenged to produce a variety of engaging content on a consistent basis and there are a few key reasons why:

  • 41% of marketers are clear on what an effective content marketing program looks like
  • 36% are somewhat committed or not committed at all
  • 75% are minimally or moderately successful at content marketing
Joshua Nite

7 Interactive Content Tools to Delight Your Audience

Joshua Nite on Mar 1st, 2017     Content Marketing, Visual Marketing

Your audience is reading your content on a device that is capable of wonders. Whether they’re using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, it can do much more than display text. What’s more, they’re connected to the internet, with limitless potential for communication and conversation.

In this context, interactive content makes a whole lot of sense. Why serve up nothing but plain text if, with just a little more effort, you can offer engaging experiences?

Interactive content might seem gimmicky, especially to B2B marketers. And I’ll be the first to admit: It is gimmicky. It’s absolutely designed to grab attention. But if your content provides value—if it’s worth paying attention to—interactive elements can help you bring in an audience. Interactivity isn’t a substitute for quality, just a supplement.

Caitlin Burgess

5 Ways to Level Up Your Content Marketing Maturity

Caitlin Burgess on Feb 21st, 2017     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

Large or small. Growing or dwindling resources. New or experienced in the content marketing realm. Every organization is at a different stage in their content marketing maturity, looking for innovative and even practical ways to bring their efforts to the next level.

But as the old adage goes, you have to walk before you run—and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to growing your content marketing maturity.

Simply put. In order to grow your content marketing maturity, you have to understand where you’re at and create a strategy to get to the next step.

Using TopRank Marketing’s own content marketing maturity model—developed by CEO Lee Odden—below we offer insights to help you determine your current level of maturity, as well as tips to help you move on to the next.

Lee Odden

Hot Content Marketing Topics From Top B2B Brands at #B2BMX

Lee Odden on Feb 9th, 2017     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

B2B Content 2 Conversion 2017

What makes B2B content marketing hotter than having a conference at a Scottsdale, Arizona resort in February?

How about tips from 10 top B2B brands and industry experts including senior executives from Forrester, Microsoft, Aptos, Lenovo, BrightFunnel, Oracle and Marketo.

In advance of the upcoming B2B Marketing Exchange conference coming up later this month, I reached out to other speakers for practical tips as a preview to their presentations. For fun, I also asked them what their favorite thing is about a February event in Arizona. I know, that’s kind of obvious but this willing group shared some interesting answers.

Joshua Nite

In a Content Marketing Slump? Spice up Your Program with These Tips

Joshua Nite on Feb 8th, 2017     Blogging Strategy, Content Marketing

How can you turn out haute cuisine content on a fast food production schedule?

Your content team—especially if it’s a team of one—can be on the hook for creating a vast quantity of content. Between sales enablement, eBooks, white papers, and blog posts, it can be overwhelming.

The temptation to churn out uncreative but passable content is hard to resist, especially if you’re behind on the editorial calendar. This kind of rushed content can lead to each piece having a same-y feel—same format, same voice, same structure.

Not only is bland content hard for your readers to stomach, it’s not particularly inspiring to create, either. If you’re feeling like a short order cook instead of a celebrity chef, try these tips to spice things up.

Ashley Zeckman

Social Media Touchdown: How 20 Smart Brands Won the Biggest Content Game of the Year

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 6th, 2017     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Media

Yesterday was a huge day for sports fans and brands across the nation. Diehard football fans wait all year for this special game and hope that their team (or at least a team they support) hits the turf for the big game.

Let me preface my next statement by saying I mean absolutely no offense to the amazing athletes that played their hearts out yesterday. But if you’re like me, the day is really about the cheesy/gooey/delicious food, the Puppy Bowl and of course, the ads.

On this day, brands hope that their creative and entertaining ads will reach an engaged and attentive audience as they’re glued to the television. In fact, the average commercial costs approximately $5 Million for a mere 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl. That is some serious cheddar!

Lee Odden

Digital Summit Phoenix – Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing

Lee Odden on Feb 2nd, 2017     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

influencer marketing

Let’s just get this first bit out there: Later this month I will be the closing keynote at a conference where Beverly Jackson from MGM is the opening keynote. BAM! Seriously, Beverly is the epitome of “supercharged” and is a can’t miss speaker.

On top of that, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will be keynoting as well.

I feel pretty lucky. In fact, I feel supercharged! Maybe after reading this post, you will too.

Digital Summit Phoenix

Of course I’m talking about Digital Summit Phoenix, February 22-23. This is my first time speaking at Digital Summit and I’m really looking forward to it for a few reasons:

Joshua Nite

How to Create Best Answer Content: 6 Inspiring Examples

Joshua Nite on Jan 25th, 2017     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the expression “content shock,” coined by marketing expert Mark Schaefer.

With immense respect, I have to admit: I don’t believe in it.

The idea that there’s so much content out there, people are tired of content altogether? That no one’s giving new content a chance? That it’s too hard to get new content seen?

Not buying it.

I think what’s happening is simply this: People don’t want “content.”

They want answers to questions. They want a few minutes of entertainment. They want to learn something new. They want what they were searching for in the first place.

To reach our audience, we need to stop creating content and start producing the best answer to their queries.  Companies that adopt this content marketing strategy tend to top search engine rankings (Top…rankings…there’s an agency name in there somewhere, I can feel it).

Caitlin Burgess

Working Together in Perfect Harmony: Digital Advertising + Content Marketing

Caitlin Burgess on Jan 17th, 2017     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Search Marketing

Content marketing has emerged as an incredibly effective way to arm consumers with the information they seek and need, increase brand awareness, enhance engagement, and ultimately inspire action and conversions. As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden likes to say:

“Content isn’t King. It’s the Kingdom.”

But the kingdom is crowded. According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProf’s 2016 benchmark reports, 88% of B2B marketers and 76% of B2C marketers say they use content marketing.

With so many marketers in the content marketing game—many of them creating and publishing new content daily—competition is stiff. In addition, evolving algorithms for social media news feeds and search engine results make it even more difficult to get the right eyeballs on your content.

Ashley Zeckman

Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing

Ashley Zeckman on Jan 12th, 2017     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

Stories like Indiana Jones, The Goonies and Sherlock Holmes have all taught us a very important (and sometimes frustrating) life lesson: If you want to find the artifact/treasure/bad guy, you have to crack the code!

Even with all of the information available to us as marketers today, there is still so much mystery surrounding the “perfect” combination for content marketing success. Additionally, thousands of variables and quickly evolving customer habits add complexity to content planning and execution.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I can help you crack the code to building influence with content marketing! How? There are three essential steps to building influence with content and this post contains a “map” of each element. While the exact code might be slightly different from one company to the next, these steps can help you identify the key elements you need to deploy a successful and impactful content program.