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

How to Get Started with Video Content Marketing (Without a Blockbuster Budget)

Joshua Nite on Aug 22nd, 2017     Content Marketing, Visual Marketing

Back in my day, all online content was text-based. If you had two animated .GIFs on a website, you had to wait 30 seconds for the site to load. Four .jpgs on a site would crash your browser. We were grateful when posts were just words! We didn’t whine about “visual stimulation” or “content variety” back then, let me tell you.

Of course, we also dressed like this:

So maybe we didn’t get everything right. For better or for worse, the early days of the Internet are long gone, and modern consumers want video content. Over half of all people online watch videos daily. And they’re not just watching cat videos and Jimmy Fallon clips: 59% of executives say if text and video are available on the same topic, they prefer the video. And 54% of senior executives share work-related videos with colleagues weekly.

Caitlin Burgess

6 Quick & Dirty SEO Research Tips for B2B Content Planning

Caitlin Burgess on Aug 21st, 2017     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO

When it comes to crafting compelling content that informs, engages and inspires action, seasoned B2B digital and content marketers know our content needs to captivate both humans and search engines to be effective. After all, 81% of B2B decision makers conduct research before reaching out to a vendor, so we know our content needs to meet them whenever and wherever they’re searching.

As a result, striking that “perfect balance” between SEO and user experience is a must—and that perfect balance is rooted in the content planning stage.

“SEO needs to be baked into the process early so that the optimization is as natural as possible,” Kevin Cotch, TopRank Marketing SEO analyst, says. “It can’t be treated as an afterthought. It’s not only more efficient to do your research up front, but it also enhances the content by helping you touch on the specific phrases your audience is using to search to solve their pain points or answer their questions.”

Caitlin Burgess

Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Comedian, Marketer Tim Washer

Caitlin Burgess on Aug 10th, 2017     Content Marketing, Video

As we marketers long to make meaningful connections with our audience, we often look deep into our figurative crystal balls in hopes of finding a way to lay an irresistible field of content that will trap their attention. Unfortunately, we can end up putting our audience to sleep—leaving the door open for more colorful characters to swoop in and carry them away.

So, how can we take to the sky and get our audience to surrender to our content? By crafting a  narrative that has empathy, humility and wit. And there’s certainly no better person to look to for inspiration than comedic treasure Tim Washer, Creative Director of Marketing for the Service Provider Division for Cisco.

Caitlin Burgess

New Report: 5 Statistics You Need to Know on How Content Influences Purchases

Caitlin Burgess on Aug 3rd, 2017     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

These days there’s no question that great content is a foundational element of any marketing strategy—especially in B2B. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2017 benchmarking report, 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing to “attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

And thanks to yet another insightful report from CMI—the latter objective is our focus today.

Last week, CMI and SmartBrief released their How Content Influences the Purchasing Process report, featuring data and insights collected from 1,200 SmartBrief subscribers. The aim of the report was to dig into the minds of those who are actually consuming content, and uncover what types of content are most influential, how decision-makers perceive vendor content, and more.

Ashley Zeckman

[Infographic] The In-Flight Guide to Content Marketing

Ashley Zeckman on Jul 31st, 2017     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World, Online Marketing

Marketers who plan appropriately significantly increase their likelihood of success. Seems like a novel concept right?

You’d think so, but unfortunately the day-to-day grind can cause many marketers to lose sight of what’s important and essential for content marketing success. In today’s competitive landscape, everything from your strategy to the actual content experience and the way that you amplify content that is created (or co-created) are key factors in the success of your content program.

To help you take your content to new heights, we have topped into some of the top B2B and B2C marketing minds that will be speaking at this year’s Content Marketing World conference in September. Over the past months we have published a series of eBooks that take a deep dive into the content skills and tactics necessary to meet the needs of the modern customer.

Caitlin Burgess

5 TopRank Marketing Team Insights for Finding B2B Content Marketing Inspiration

Caitlin Burgess on Jul 27th, 2017     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

These days, there’s little doubt among B2B marketers that content is the foundation of digital marketing success. After all, studies show that nearly all B2B buyers do some form of online research before making a purchasing decision. As a result, we content creators are tasked with turning out informative, engaging and inspiring content that helps our brand be the best answer wherever and whenever our audience is searching.

But let’s face it, content folks. Despite being proven wordsmiths and marketers, our creative engine stalls from time to time. I’ll certainly admit that my computer screen and I have had some intimate moments—mostly me staring longingly at a blank document and praying the words will come.

Joshua Nite

11 Content Marketing Tips to Build Your B2B Business

Joshua Nite on Jul 24th, 2017     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

As the father of an 8-year-old boy, most of my disposable income is tied up in little plastic bricks. In my house, you’ll find thousands of them in bins, several elaborate sets on display, and a distressing number of the (razor-sharp) things underfoot.

I’m not complaining, really. I have as much fun building with them as he does. And as a marketer, having Lego around is a good reminder of the value of content marketing. Great content can drive marketing goals while providing something of real value to its target audience: The Lego Movie was a 90-minute commercial for Lego, but it was also entertaining and heartfelt. I laughed, I cried, I bought $100 worth of tie-in toys… everybody won.

Ashley Zeckman

CMWorld Interview: H&R Block’s Zerlina Jackson Explores Marketing in the Financial Sector

Ashley Zeckman on Jul 20th, 2017     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

Marketers in financial industries are in the midst of a major digital transformation.

Apps and mobile experience have become not a “nice to have” but a requirement from consumers. Additionally, financial institutions have started investing heavily in user experience for their web properties to focus on customers first.

The team at H&R Block has taken digital transformation to the next level by utilizing the artificial intelligence from IBM Watson to help tax preparers dig deeper and help customers save money.

To gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work in marketing at a financial institution, I reached out to Zerlina Jackson, Director of Web Experience at H&R Block. Zerlina has nearly eight years of marketing experience in the financial sector and was able to shed some light on topics that are top of mind for nearly every marketer.

Nick Nelson

4 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Building a Bustling Baseball Fan Community

Nick Nelson on Jul 18th, 2017     Content Marketing

[Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming another new author to TopRankBlog.com, Nick Nelson. Nick is a Content Strategist that has been with the TopRank Marketing team for a few months and spends his time creating great content for some of our enterprise B2B clients. Welcome Nick!]

If you build it, they will come.

Ah, if only it were that simple. But as any business proprietor knows, it is not. Even if you offer a great product or service, attracting customers takes time and effort. It requires creativity, dedication, and tenacity. That is where marketing comes in.

Joshua Nite

Why Content Curation Is an Essential Part of Your Marketing Mix

Joshua Nite on Jul 17th, 2017     Content Marketing

Imagine if an art museum contained every single painting created over a hundred-year period. It wouldn’t be much fun to visit, right? Hundreds of thousands of images, of wildly varying quality, without organization or context? It would be like a Google image search crossed with a garage sale.

Content curation is what turns a warehouse full of art and artifacts into a museum. A good curator sifts through the content to find pieces that are valuable for an intended audience. Their job is to direct attention to worthy content—and in doing so, make the museum a worthwhile place to visit.

Your blog readers and social media followers are drowning in content. You can be the content curator that helps direct their attention to what is most helpful, educational, or entertaining. Content curation, as part of your editorial strategy, can help make your blog a more valuable destination for your readers.

Caitlin Burgess

6 Best Practices for Nurturing B2B Marketing Qualified Leads

Caitlin Burgess on Jul 13th, 2017     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

The rise of the internet, digital technologies and social media platforms have transformed the way consumers make purchasing decisions—and not just for B2C consumers, but for B2B as well. In fact, according to CEB, B2B buyers are 57% of the way through a purchasing decision before engaging with a sales rep.

But, as a savvy B2B marketer, you already knew all this. So, you’ve designed an integrated strategy featuring a hearty mix of marketing tactics to help build trust and awareness as prospects do their research. You’re turning out thoughtful, relevant content that informs, engages and inspires action. You’re working with industry influencers to add credibility and authority to your efforts. Heck, you’re even driving what you believe are solid marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

Ashley Zeckman

CMWorld Interview: Citrix’s Justin Levy Takes a Dive into Top Social Media Opportunities

Ashley Zeckman on Jul 10th, 2017     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World, Online Marketing, Social Media

The lines between long-form content and social media marketing are becoming blurrier each day. Social networks now allow for native video viewing, live video and even some long-form content. They have essentially become their own content platforms competing with blogs and brand websites.

Facebook alone is on pace to hit approximately 2 billion users this year and other social networks are growing at a rapid pace as well.

To better understand the role that social media marketing plays in today’s digital world, I decided to pick the brain of one of today’s top social media leaders, Justin Levy. Justin is the Director of Social Marketing at Citrix and in addition to being an incredibly talented marketer, he’s very open to sharing what he knows to help other marketers learn and grow.