Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 18 Jul 2018 10:35:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 What Does ‘Quality’ Really Mean in Content Marketing? http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/07/quality-content-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/07/quality-content-marketing/#respond Mon, 16 Jul 2018 10:38:29 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24494 Quality in Content Marketing

Quality in Content Marketing

Have you heard the good news about quality content? It’s the latest innovation that’s sweeping the nation. It’s going to revolutionize your content marketing efforts. If your current strategy is to crank out crappy content, then quality content is going to blow your KPIs away!

Okay, sarcasm aside: Every content marketer knows their content needs to be good to be effective. We call it “quality,” or “value,” or “usefulness.” But all of these traits can vary widely depending on your audience. For example, conventional wisdom might say that 500-word blog posts don’t connect with readers. But that word count may be just the right length for the people you want to reach.

So, when we get into the specifics, quality is relative and highly subjective. But it’s possible to define quality content marketing in a more universal way:

Quality content demonstrates to your audience that you are listening to them.

It’s that simple. Well, one step further:

Quality content demonstrates that you’re listening and you care.

We often think about what action we want readers to take. That’s a valid question; in fact, it’s the foundation of content marketing strategy. But for quality content we need to consider the flip side: How will the reader’s life be better after reading this content? Or, to really boil it down: What’s in it for them?

That’s the essence of quality content. And here’s how you can make sure your content passes the test. First, at the broadest level, there are two minimum requirements for quality:

All Content Marketing Should Be ...

#1: Hyper-Relevant

We talk a lot about best answer content at TopRank Marketing, content that:

  • Serves a proven search need
  • Addresses a customer’s burning questions
  • Is substantial and comprehensive

Basically, it means that you’re putting in time and effort into researching your audience, what they need and how they’re searching for it. Then you’re crafting content that acknowledges that search and makes a genuine attempt to give them exactly what they’re looking for.

#2: Non-Promotional

It’s hard to convince people you’re listening to them if all you can talk about is how great you are. Quality content has to be non-promotional. Now, some brands take this advice to heart, but create content that’s still promotional, just with a thin veneer of solving a problem. They’ll publish a “10 Ways to Be Better at X,” but each way just leads to their solution. That’s a cheat.

Real customer-centered content gives away valuable information that people can use even if they never buy from you.  For example, here’s Quicksprout’s “Advanced Guide to Content Marketing.” It’s massive. It’s ungated. Only a tiny fraction of it is related to the solutions they sell.

Advanced Guide to Content Marketing Example

Of course, your content mix should include some bottom-of-funnel content that will show how your brand solves a problem. But the majority of your content should focus on the reader.

[bctt tweet="It’s hard to convince people you’re listening to them if all you can talk about is how great you are. - @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

So, quality content demonstrates to your reader that you’re listening and care about them. It does this by being hyper-relevant and non-promotional. It’s a good working definition, but still a little vague. Here are five ways you can approach content to guarantee quality:

Five Ways to Create Quality Content

#1: Tell a Story

Humans are storytelling animals. We're wired to process narratives, to get pleasure from a good tale and retain the information within it. This is why people have a favorite novel or movie, but few have a favorite white paper or instruction manual. Tell a story that shows your reader you understand what their world is like. Tell a story that shows you understand what they wish their world was like. Even better, make them (or someone very much like them) the star of the story.

[bctt tweet="We're wired to process narratives. This is why people have a favorite novel or movie, but few have a favorite white paper or instruction manual. - @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

Read: Be Honest Like Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling

#2: Show Vulnerability

One of the quickest ways to make an emotional connection is to reveal your own shortcomings. Everyone has moments of failure; they’re what makes us human. Use your brand’s failings, and the lessons learned from them, to connect with the reader and help them improve.

The Buffer team is great at the kind of honest, meaningful discussion I’m talking about here. Their “5 Times We Failed at Diversity Big Time (and How We Fixed It)” is a good starting example.

Buffer Quality Content Example

#3: Help Them Look Smart at Work

What do most working people have in common, regardless of industry, function or seniority level? We all want to look good in front of our boss. If you are the boss, you want to look good in front of shareholders. Everyone can benefit from a little competitive edge, a tip or a trick or a bit of wisdom they can pull out at the next meeting.

#4: Help Make Their Job Easier

Another thing all working people have in common is that we would prefer to not work so hard. Anything that can help us get the job done quicker, with less effort, without sacrificing quality, is incredibly valuable. Keep that idea in mind when writing checklists, tools and tips, or how-to posts. It’s not just “here’s how you do this,” it’s “here’s how you do this better, regardless of your current skill level.”

#5: Help Them Improve Themselves

Your audience’s lives are bigger than their interaction with your brand. They’re bigger than the pain points your brand has the expertise to solve. If you can reach out to the broader sphere of their life experience, you can bring quality in new and unexpected ways.

This piece from LinkedIn's* Jason Miller, “How to Survive a Mid-Career Crisis in Marketing,” is a stellar example. It’s a guide that’s not really about marketing at all; it’s about finding your true voice and pursuing passion. Bonus: Notice that the piece tells a story and shows vulnerability, too.

LinkedIn Quality Content Example

Quality Is Job One

Have you ever said to anyone, “I consumed some quality content the other day?” I sincerely hope not. Instead, you likely said, “I saw the greatest article,” or “Check out this cool video.” When content is useful, valuable, and meaningful, it’s not part of the deluge of content that surrounds us. It’s signal, not noise.

That’s the only type of content we should be in the business of making. Not just because it gets better results — it does, but that’s only part of the equation. When we create quality content, that means the work we do is useful, valuable, and meaningful. Personally, I wouldn’t waste my time doing otherwise.

[bctt tweet="When content is useful, valuable, and meaningful, it’s not part of the deluge of content that surrounds us. It’s signal, not noise. - @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

Create content that connects. Check out these 10 powerful lessons in resonance from some of the industry's top marketing minds.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post What Does ‘Quality’ Really Mean in Content Marketing? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Quality in Content Marketing

Quality in Content Marketing Have you heard the good news about quality content? It’s the latest innovation that’s sweeping the nation. It’s going to revolutionize your content marketing efforts. If your current strategy is to crank out crappy content, then quality content is going to blow your KPIs away! Okay, sarcasm aside: Every content marketer knows their content needs to be good to be effective. We call it “quality,” or “value,” or “usefulness.” But all of these traits can vary widely depending on your audience. For example, conventional wisdom might say that 500-word blog posts don’t connect with readers. But that word count may be just the right length for the people you want to reach. So, when we get into the specifics, quality is relative and highly subjective. But it’s possible to define quality content marketing in a more universal way: Quality content demonstrates to your audience that you are listening to them. It’s that simple. Well, one step further: Quality content demonstrates that you’re listening and you care. We often think about what action we want readers to take. That’s a valid question; in fact, it’s the foundation of content marketing strategy. But for quality content we need to consider the flip side: How will the reader’s life be better after reading this content? Or, to really boil it down: What’s in it for them? That’s the essence of quality content. And here’s how you can make sure your content passes the test. First, at the broadest level, there are two minimum requirements for quality:

All Content Marketing Should Be ...

#1: Hyper-Relevant

We talk a lot about best answer content at TopRank Marketing, content that:
  • Serves a proven search need
  • Addresses a customer’s burning questions
  • Is substantial and comprehensive
Basically, it means that you’re putting in time and effort into researching your audience, what they need and how they’re searching for it. Then you’re crafting content that acknowledges that search and makes a genuine attempt to give them exactly what they’re looking for.

#2: Non-Promotional

It’s hard to convince people you’re listening to them if all you can talk about is how great you are. Quality content has to be non-promotional. Now, some brands take this advice to heart, but create content that’s still promotional, just with a thin veneer of solving a problem. They’ll publish a “10 Ways to Be Better at X,” but each way just leads to their solution. That’s a cheat. Real customer-centered content gives away valuable information that people can use even if they never buy from you.  For example, here’s Quicksprout’s “Advanced Guide to Content Marketing.” It’s massive. It’s ungated. Only a tiny fraction of it is related to the solutions they sell. Advanced Guide to Content Marketing Example Of course, your content mix should include some bottom-of-funnel content that will show how your brand solves a problem. But the majority of your content should focus on the reader. [bctt tweet="It’s hard to convince people you’re listening to them if all you can talk about is how great you are. - @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] So, quality content demonstrates to your reader that you’re listening and care about them. It does this by being hyper-relevant and non-promotional. It’s a good working definition, but still a little vague. Here are five ways you can approach content to guarantee quality:

Five Ways to Create Quality Content

#1: Tell a Story

Humans are storytelling animals. We're wired to process narratives, to get pleasure from a good tale and retain the information within it. This is why people have a favorite novel or movie, but few have a favorite white paper or instruction manual. Tell a story that shows your reader you understand what their world is like. Tell a story that shows you understand what they wish their world was like. Even better, make them (or someone very much like them) the star of the story. [bctt tweet="We're wired to process narratives. This is why people have a favorite novel or movie, but few have a favorite white paper or instruction manual. - @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] Read: Be Honest Like Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling

#2: Show Vulnerability

One of the quickest ways to make an emotional connection is to reveal your own shortcomings. Everyone has moments of failure; they’re what makes us human. Use your brand’s failings, and the lessons learned from them, to connect with the reader and help them improve. The Buffer team is great at the kind of honest, meaningful discussion I’m talking about here. Their “5 Times We Failed at Diversity Big Time (and How We Fixed It)” is a good starting example. Buffer Quality Content Example

#3: Help Them Look Smart at Work

What do most working people have in common, regardless of industry, function or seniority level? We all want to look good in front of our boss. If you are the boss, you want to look good in front of shareholders. Everyone can benefit from a little competitive edge, a tip or a trick or a bit of wisdom they can pull out at the next meeting.

#4: Help Make Their Job Easier

Another thing all working people have in common is that we would prefer to not work so hard. Anything that can help us get the job done quicker, with less effort, without sacrificing quality, is incredibly valuable. Keep that idea in mind when writing checklists, tools and tips, or how-to posts. It’s not just “here’s how you do this,” it’s “here’s how you do this better, regardless of your current skill level.”

#5: Help Them Improve Themselves

Your audience’s lives are bigger than their interaction with your brand. They’re bigger than the pain points your brand has the expertise to solve. If you can reach out to the broader sphere of their life experience, you can bring quality in new and unexpected ways. This piece from LinkedIn's* Jason Miller, “How to Survive a Mid-Career Crisis in Marketing,” is a stellar example. It’s a guide that’s not really about marketing at all; it’s about finding your true voice and pursuing passion. Bonus: Notice that the piece tells a story and shows vulnerability, too. LinkedIn Quality Content Example

Quality Is Job One

Have you ever said to anyone, “I consumed some quality content the other day?” I sincerely hope not. Instead, you likely said, “I saw the greatest article,” or “Check out this cool video.” When content is useful, valuable, and meaningful, it’s not part of the deluge of content that surrounds us. It’s signal, not noise. That’s the only type of content we should be in the business of making. Not just because it gets better results — it does, but that’s only part of the equation. When we create quality content, that means the work we do is useful, valuable, and meaningful. Personally, I wouldn’t waste my time doing otherwise. [bctt tweet="When content is useful, valuable, and meaningful, it’s not part of the deluge of content that surrounds us. It’s signal, not noise. - @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] Create content that connects. Check out these 10 powerful lessons in resonance from some of the industry's top marketing minds. Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post What Does ‘Quality’ Really Mean in Content Marketing? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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CMWorld Interview: Gartner’s Heather Pemberton Levy Shares How Story First Marketing Drives Success http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/07/cmworld-heather-pemberton-levy-full-story/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/07/cmworld-heather-pemberton-levy-full-story/#respond Wed, 11 Jul 2018 10:30:21 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24507 While digging through data and market research, it can be easy to get lost in the numbers. But when assessing these insights, what really matters is the stories they tell. This is a key point of emphasis for Gartner, and specifically its Smarter with Gartner content platform, which adds context and substance to trends surfaced [...]

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While digging through data and market research, it can be easy to get lost in the numbers. But when assessing these insights, what really matters is the stories they tell.

This is a key point of emphasis for Gartner, and specifically its Smarter with Gartner content platform, which adds context and substance to trends surfaced by the research firm’s findings.

So it is quite fitting that Heather Pemberton Levy, who helps guide Gartner’s strategic direction as VP of Content Marketing, champions the “Story Comes First” method. This concept served as a framework for her 2016 book, Brand, Meet Story: How to Create Engaging Content to Win Business and Influence Your Audience, and will also be in play during her workshop at Content Marketing World, entitled “From 0 to 60: Building a Mature B2B Content Marketing Organization.”

We talk frequently on our blog about the crucial importance of storytelling — recently we discussed its impact as a trust-building tool — so we’re definitely on board with letting relatable narratives lead the way in content. We are eager to hear how Pemberton Levy and her team have woven this directive, and other elements, into the process of building Gartner’s highly-trafficked content hub from the ground up.

While we wait for her September session, we did have a chance to ask Pemberton Levy for her views on some important content marketing topics. Here’s what she had to say about flipping the traditional marketing model, the value of “version 0.5,” lessons learned from writing a mommy blog, and more.

What does your role as Vice President of Content Marketing at Gartner entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

I lead content marketing for global marketing campaigns and the Smarter with Gartner and Gartner.com platforms. Gartner equips business leaders across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size, with the insights, advice and tools to achieve their top priorities. I manage a global team of contributors who create original content for all major business categories in the form of articles, infographics, eBooks, and videos based on Gartner’s proprietary insights.

My main area of focus is to ensure that our content is valuable to senior business leaders while meeting our key marketing priorities to attract prospects, engage and nurture them through the buyer’s journey. This involves continuously evolving our editorial and platform strategies, working with stakeholders throughout the organization, and evangelizing content marketing within the broader corporate marketing function.

You created the “Story Comes First” method. How does this flip the conventional marketing model and why is it important?

The Story Comes First method creates a structure for creating content that always begins with a story your reader can identify with and uses this moment to bridge their point of view with your brand’s unique selling point. Many marketers still talk about their products and services in terms of what they can do for their audience rather than what the audience cares about, why that’s important and how their solution can help solve the problem. Stories have the power to engage prospects with an emotional hook that endears them to a brand more successfully than standard marketing copy.


Stories have the power to engage prospects with an emotional hook that endears them to a brand more successfully than standard marketing copy. @heathrpemberton #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


How has social media changed the game for brand storytelling?

Brands are no longer dependent on publicity with traditional media to influence target audiences. Social media gave brands their own “subscriber lists,” effectively giving them their own distribution channels for content marketing.

You’ll be presenting at CMWorld on building a mature B2B content marketing organization. What, from your view, are the hallmarks of maturity on this front?

In my three years building a content marketing organization with my colleagues at Gartner, my views have evolved on what signals content marketing maturity in a complex global organization.

First, if you dig into your analytics, the data may tell a different story than what you see on the first page of your dashboard report. It’s not easy to get the right analytics so it’s important to constantly lobby for good data and pay attention to it.

Second, what people do with your content may be different than what you intended. If you’re willing to listen to the data, it will be necessary, at times, to upend your strategy and head in a new direction.


What people do with your content may be different than what you intended. @heathrpemberton #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


Which content marketing metrics and KPIs do you think are most critical to growth?

Rather than list specific KPIs, which is a longer discussion that I will cover in the workshop, I’ll note that it’s important to be crystal clear what you are measuring and why. Our content marketing strategy centers around three key objectives and we have specific KPIs and related metrics for each objective. Everyone on my team is measured based on these objectives and KPIs. This is the best way to work towards the right priorities for the organization.

What are some shortcuts you’ve identified in your career when it comes to striving toward content marketing maturity?

One of the hallmarks of Gartner corporate strategy is to “get to version 0.5 and then test” and improve from there. This philosophy has allowed us to be agile and put new ideas into the marketplace quickly to learn what works. It’s how Smarter With Gartner was built and we constantly remind ourselves that when we are planning a new strategic direction, it’s best to find a way to do something quickly with low impact on resources first and build it out further based on data from our audience.

Looking back, is there a particular moment or juncture in your career that you view as transformative? What takeaways could other marketers learn and apply?

I wrote a mommy blog for four years that helped me learn how to tell stories and use dialog – all of which I brought to my content marketing career. The experience reminded me that I am an editor and publisher at heart and helped me find ways to create content, eventually for brands.

My takeaway for other content marketers is to read and write what you love for recreation or as a hobby and bring the best of what you see across genres to your own work. You never know how it will fit but it’s important to stay exposed to the masters of our craft.


Read and write what you love for recreation or as a hobby and bring the best of what you see across genres to your own work.@heathrpemberton #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

I’m looking forward to the sessions on creating video since the format takes time and resources to make standout content. I’m also excited for the keynotes by Amber Guild of The New York Times Company and, of course, Tina Fey.

Story Comes First. What’s Next?

We’ll find out when Pemberton Levy takes the stage in Cleveland. In the meantime, we recommend tapping into illuminating insights from her and many other content marketing leaders in The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing:


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CMWorld Interview: Path to 1M Monthly Readers Has No Shortcuts, Says J.P. Medved http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/cmworld-jp-medved-monthly-blog-readers/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/cmworld-jp-medved-monthly-blog-readers/#respond Wed, 27 Jun 2018 10:30:31 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24458 In her introduction to The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing, Content Marketing Institute’s Cathy McPhillips draws several commonalities between content marketing and video games: the interactivity, the trial-and-error learnings, the camradery. But, while many marketers have their own personal “cheat codes” that help them gain an edge, there are no true hacks in content. Certain [...]

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In her introduction to The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing, Content Marketing Institute’s Cathy McPhillips draws several commonalities between content marketing and video games: the interactivity, the trial-and-error learnings, the camradery.

But, while many marketers have their own personal “cheat codes” that help them gain an edge, there are no true hacks in content. Certain video games allow you to tap in a series of commands and gain invincibility, or jump ahead to the next level. Content marketers, however, cannot magically produce an audience or monetization out of thin air.

As the Content Director for Capterra, and also an avowed lover of gaming, J.P. Medved understands this reality. His company’s industry-specific blogs have grown to 1 million monthly readers, and it wasn’t because of any secret elixir.

Instead, Capterra’s success owes to a proven, adoptable strategy tethered to the fundamentals of organization, goals, promotion, and experimentation. Medved will explain this formula in-depth during his Content Marketing World session, Better Than Hacks and Schemes: A Proven Approach to Building Your Audience, and was also kind enough to share some insights with us ahead of the September event.    

Medved has a reputation for being sharply honest and entertaining, and those traits definitely came through during our interview with him. Keep reading to find his thoughts on silent content, scalability, documenting strategies, and content marketing lessons learned from his experience writing fiction.

 

What does your role as Content Marketing Director at Capterra entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

My day-to-day as a Content Director involves a lot of email and meetings, at this point. We’ve grown to a team of nine writers, six of whom I manage directly, so a lot of my time is devoted to supporting them. I join monthly topic planning meetings with all of them, as well as frequent check-ins with the editors and the marketing folks that support the content we produce. I also now spend a fair amount of time in our analytics and various content management systems just checking in and tracking things.

As we’ve grown—and I suspect this is common in most roles—I’ve transitioned away from being a content producer, to being a content manager. I no longer write content myself, and we centralized editing early last year so I no longer edit individual pieces either. Instead I spend more time coordinating long-term content plans and calendars with other teams in the business, managing content experiments or helping new projects get off the ground, and working with the folks on my team to help advance their career goals.

 

Why should content marketers beware of “hacks” and shortcuts when it comes to growing their audience and impact?

The content marketing world, and the digital marketing space more generally, loves the idea of the Cinderella story. That blog that hits everything just right and experiences exponential, “hockey stick” growth and also there’s a royal wedding involved somehow. But our experience, and that of the vast majority of successful content marketing operations I’m aware of, is actually a lot more boring.

Jimmy Daley of the great animalz.co blog calls it “silent content;” that company that has just been plugging away and producing and refining great content for years, and grown a consistent, large audience and strong search position.  

With Capterra’s content, we’ve grown to a million readers a month, writing in an ostensibly boring, B2B software space, and we never had a breakout “viral” hit, or flashy media coverage, or exponential traffic growth (it’s all been linear). We’ve just been working away at it since 2013, publishing consistently and getting a little bit better each month.

I think if you waste all your time and energy chasing new “hacks” and shortcuts sold to you by whatever case study is making the rounds on YouMoz that week, you never get really good at the fundamentals of content marketing; the block-and-tackle of creating and promoting really great, helpful—if unassuming—content. As a result your growth, though it may experience the occasional spike, will actually slow and it’ll take you more time to build a sustainable traffic base in the long-run.


If you waste all your time and energy chasing new “hacks” & shortcuts, you never get really good at the fundamentals of content marketing. @rizzleJPizzle #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


What are the most pivotal roles in developing an effective and scalable content strategy?

Scalability is still something we struggle with, having grown the team 6X in the last four years. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is actually to bring on/promote other managers earlier than you think you need it. Assuming an average writer production schedule of two, 1,500 word articles a week, a full-time manager can effectively manage and edit 3-4 writers. If they’re not editing (you bring in a centralized editing team, or use a round-robin method, or delegate to senior writers), that number goes up to 6-7.  

But you should have someone in place to help you well before you hit that number, not only to give them time to ramp-up and learn management skills, but also to allow you to plan effectively for new hires and content coverage growth.


The biggest lesson content I’ve learned is actually to bring on/promote other managers earlier than you think you need it. @rizzleJPizzle #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


Why is experimentation so critical in the content creation process?

Most of our content fails. Like, over 90% of it. And that’s not at all uncommon in the content marketing world. If everyone knew the exact ingredients to a “viral” content piece, that’s all anyone would produce. But we don’t know. Pieces I think will do really well, more-often-than-not sink without a trace, and pieces that seem like throwaways can take off because they’ve tapped into some pent-up need in the marketplace of ideas.

So we try to test a lot. 50% or more of our content is trying out new topics or channels or formats, and the other 50% is either updating successful past content, or scaling up a content type that our previous testing has discovered works.

I differ here from the current received-wisdom in the content marketing industry. Right now it’s hip to say content marketers need to produce fewer pieces of longer, higher quality content. But I actually argue you should produce a higher volume of content (at least early on) to discover what “hits” with your particular audience, so you can scale that later.

Brian Dean of Backlinko is often the poster-child of the “publish less, publish higher-quality” model, and I love his content and he’s obviously been very successful. But might he have been more successful publishing weekly instead of monthly? Could he have sacrificed a little bit of length to experiment with a broader range of topic ideas earlier on before scaling the ones that worked? I think it’s possible.


You should produce a higher volume of content (at least early on) to discover what “hits” with your particular audience, so you can scale that later. @rizzleJPizzle #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


What are the most common mistakes you see individuals and companies make when developing and launching a blog?

The biggest one is not taking content marketing seriously. That manifests itself in two major tactical mistakes: not hiring someone to do content full-time, and trying to squeeze direct revenue out of content in the first year.

If no one’s doing content full-time, then content just becomes a side project for someone at your company who may-or-may-not get to it once they finish their “real work” for the day. We tried this model for years and never got any traction with our content until someone owned it full-time and could devote themselves to thinking about it strategically and producing content consistently.

And you should not try to monetize your content in the first year. It will distort your writing, even if you think you can guard against it, and result in lower-quality, less helpful, more salesy content. Focus on creating content that is genuinely helpful for your audience first, and you will build reader trust for any kind of monetization scheme you want to implement later down the road.


If no one’s doing content full-time, then content just becomes a side project for someone at your company who may-or-may-not get to it once they finish their real work for the day. @rizzleJPizzle #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


Why is it important for businesses to have a documented content strategy, as opposed to an intangible framework?

I think people get intimidated when you say, “You need to have a documented content strategy” because they envision this 30-page document written in corporate buzzwords that will take a month to create. But we literally started with nothing more than a two-page Word doc with some bullet points listing our short and long-term goals/metrics, the type of content we wanted to create, and who was responsible for what aspects.

The benefits to us of even something that basic have been huge. Actually writing it down forced us to think through the specifics and showed us where the gaps in our plan were, having agreed-upon goals and timelines upfront made for easier team and executive buy-in, and it gave us something to refer back to when we had questions about whether a new content idea fit our overall goals.

 

What have you learned in your ‘side hustle’ as a fiction novelist that applies to your day job as a content marketer?

For writing fiction I spent a lot of time studying story structure, and plot architecture, and all the elements that make a story really “flow” and feel effortless to people reading it. What struck me is how many of the same principles apply to a content piece.

You want to start off with a strong “hook” that introduces an element of mystery and makes the reader want to know more, your “climax” needs to deliver a memorable experience or information, and the dénouement has to be satisfying. A novel that doesn’t tie up loose ends in the last few chapters is as unsatisfying as a blog post that doesn’t include a concrete next step or call to action in the last few paragraphs.

 

Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

I love video games, so I’m excited to hear Jane Weedon of Twitch give her talk. I’ve also always been fascinated by the science behind online behavior, so Brian Massey’s talk on Behavioral Science for Content Marketers is high on my list as well.

Find Your Path to Content Marketing Greatness

Consistency, experimentation, and getting better each month: They might not be the stuff of Cinderella stories, but in the real world these techniques work and Medved’s team serves as living proof.

He is one of many CMWorld speakers who contributed to The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing, so as we look forward to seeing them on stage in Cleveland, make sure to soak in all their awesome advice by clicking through the slides below:


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5 Powerful Types (And Examples) of Link-Worthy Content http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/link-worthy-content-examples/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/link-worthy-content-examples/#respond Mon, 25 Jun 2018 10:28:18 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24429 How to Create Link-Worthy Content

How to Create Link-Worthy Content

Since the inception of the search engine, marketers have spent an obscene amount of time optimizing their content and strategy for search. And while the old days of keyword stuffing and other black-hat SEO tactics are behind (most marketers), there's two constants that remain the same for driving organic search results: The importance of good content and getting credible links to that good content.

In fact, Google’s former Search Quality Senior Strategist and current Partner Development Manager, Andre Lippattsev, made it official in a recent interview stating that content and backlinks were the top two ranking factors in Google’s elusive algorithm.

As a result, there’s little doubt that we marketers must create something irresistible for searchers and search engines if we want to score good results.

via GIPHY

To help you create link-worthy content that has the potential to generate credible referrals and backlinks, and give organic visibility a boost, here are five types of content worthy of consideration.

#1 - Original Research

Marketers are always looking for credible facts, statistics, and insights to not only understand more about their industry and keep up on trends, but also bolster their own content. As a result, original research can be an incredibly powerful and link-attracting piece of content.

For example, the Content Marketing Institute’s State of B2B Content Marketing Annual Report is a something we often reference and link to in our own blog posts.

CMI's 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report

With statistics that highlight common content marketing trends, patterns, and pain points for B2B marketers, their report helps us learn more about our industry, but also reinforce our some of our own marketing philosophies and present the facts. As a result, CMI’s 2018 report has over 2,000 inbound links.

018 B2B Content Marketing Report Inbound Link Results

Source: Moz Link Explorer

Conducting your own industry research, however, is a time- and resource-intensive task. We know this first-hand from our own experience working with DivvyHQ to create our 2018 Content Planning Survey.

To make sure that you’re putting together accurate, quality research, there are some guidelines you’ll want to follow. For instance, you’ll want to get a large enough sample size for your survey or study to ensure that your findings represent your industry accurately—you don’t want to collect only a few responses from people you know.

In addition, avoid open-ended questions when conducting research as you’ll want to make sure that your findings are quantitative. And as with any content you create, make sure you have a robust amplification plan in place to drive awareness.

In the end, if you’re able to put together fresh, useful research, your audience will find value and insight, and sources who cite your research will be compelled to link to your report, increasing your number of inbound links and (hopefully) rankings.

#2 - Infographics

Original research isn’t the only thing readers and sources rely on to find new, relevant insights that help them tell their stories. As a visual, engaging way to digest a lot of information at once, infographics are another type of linkable asset that resonates with readers and sources alike.

Loaded with quotes, graphics, statistics, and more, infographics house plenty of information without overwhelming your audience. Packed with helpful insights, it’s no wonder that other sites will link to a beautiful infographic over a text-heavy white paper.

For example, GetVoIP, a cloud communications advisory, created an infographic on “How To Get More Energy At Work.” The infographic resulted in 66 inbound links and was also picked up by Entrepreneur.com.

GetVoIP Infographic

If you’ve already done some original research as suggested above, creating an infographic is a great way to promote or get some additional life out of your research report. However, infographics can also be curated from credible sources representing statistics, quotes, and data in new, visual ways.

To create infographics that readers and sources alike will appreciate, look at your existing content for repurposing opportunities. For example, you could take one of your top-performing, stat-packed blog posts and turn it into an infographic for an easy win. Or, find credible sources with data points that support the tips or takeaways you want to share and turn them into fun graphics. And of course, make sure the data and facts included are highly relevant to your target audience, and you have an amplification plan in place.

#3 - Online Tools & Resources

The two previous types of link-worthy content focus heavily on earning links through data. However, data isn’t the only link-worthy type of content. Inbound links are also earned by providing helpful tools and resources to your readers. The more “bookmark-able” resources you can produce, the more links you have the opportunity to capture.

What kind of tools or resources are we talking about?

Check out HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator as an example below. While there isn’t a lot of visible content on the page, there is a lot of value in the tool itself as it can help solve a big pain point among their target audience: writer’s block.

HubSpot Ideas Generator Tool

And the results of providing something so useful are substantial with the tool generating over 12,000 inbound links and 200 ranking keywords.

Linking Results from HubSpot's Blog Idea Generator Tool

Source: Moz Link Explorer

Besides an idea generator, you could also create a calculator, calendar, or even just a listicle of helpful tools and resources. As an example, our own blog post featuring over 100 Search Engine Marketing Resources is one of our most linked-to pages with 3,114 inbound links.

#4 - Rankings

Rankings are also helpful, link-worthy types of content. People want to know who the best people are to follow on LinkedIn, what tools are best for employee advocacy, or what the top tactics are for generating leads. And creating a ranking is one of the ways you can offer those recommendations.

Content that shares valuable, must-know information is what earns the most links, and rankings definitely tick that box. Plus, the individuals or brands featured on your list are also likely to share and link to your ranking in order to promote their accomplishment. In fact, Great Place to Work published their annual list of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For and received over 350 inbound links in just under six months.

Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2018

When creating your own rankings, make sure you have a set process or methodology. There needs to be a clear rationale behind your choices. This shows your readers and potential link sources how you reached your ranking decisions, adding to the credibility of your list. And again, make sure you have an amplification plan in place before launch.

#5 - Guides & Tutorials

Another type of resource that gets a lot of attention from other sources on the web are guides and tutorials. As the “one-stop shop” for everything you need to know on a given subject or task, guides and tutorials are helpful links for others to add to their content. For example, Blockgeeks, a blockchain training and education platform, created an in-depth guide on Bitcoin containing over 2,800 words.

Bitcoin Tutorial Example

The power page has resulted in over 800 inbound links and 180 ranking keywords for Blockgeeks.

Linking Results From the What Is Bitcoin Guide

Source: Moz Link Explorer

To build those in-depth content opportunities, use tools like SEMrush.com to identify relevant variations of a keyword you would like to target. For example, if you want to cover the topic “document management,” the Keyword Magic Tool will give you a list of all of the related long-tail and question keyword variations to tackle in your guide like “document management software,” “what is document management,” “how does document management work,” and “why document management is important.”

Those keyword variations should then serve as the outline for your guide, ensuring that you cover all of the relevant questions and topics your audience and sources might like to learn about. And while it’s already been said in this piece, I’ll say it again: make sure you have an amplification plan beyond SEO to drive awareness, engagement, and clicks.

Give Them Something to “Link About”

Searchers and search engines are on the hunt for quality, insightful content to answer questions, bolster their research, and share with their audiences. By strategically creating guides, resources, research reports, or infographics, you can serve up useful, insightful, and link-worthy content that leaves them thinking:

via GIPHY

Just remember to keep quality and usefulness top of mind when creating your content. As our own CEO, Lee Odden, says:

No matter how many tactics you find here and elsewhere, there simply is no substitute for creating content that others may find useful.

[bctt tweet="No matter how many tactics you find here and elsewhere, there simply is no substitute for creating content that others may find useful. - @leeodden" username="toprank"]

Earning backlinks is one of the most important factors when it comes to improving your organic search rankings. Have a highly competitive word you want to rank for? Check out our guide on how to rank for competitive keywords.

The post 5 Powerful Types (And Examples) of Link-Worthy Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
How to Create Link-Worthy Content

How to Create Link-Worthy Content Since the inception of the search engine, marketers have spent an obscene amount of time optimizing their content and strategy for search. And while the old days of keyword stuffing and other black-hat SEO tactics are behind (most marketers), there's two constants that remain the same for driving organic search results: The importance of good content and getting credible links to that good content. In fact, Google’s former Search Quality Senior Strategist and current Partner Development Manager, Andre Lippattsev, made it official in a recent interview stating that content and backlinks were the top two ranking factors in Google’s elusive algorithm. As a result, there’s little doubt that we marketers must create something irresistible for searchers and search engines if we want to score good results. via GIPHY To help you create link-worthy content that has the potential to generate credible referrals and backlinks, and give organic visibility a boost, here are five types of content worthy of consideration.

#1 - Original Research

Marketers are always looking for credible facts, statistics, and insights to not only understand more about their industry and keep up on trends, but also bolster their own content. As a result, original research can be an incredibly powerful and link-attracting piece of content. For example, the Content Marketing Institute’s State of B2B Content Marketing Annual Report is a something we often reference and link to in our own blog posts. CMI's 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report With statistics that highlight common content marketing trends, patterns, and pain points for B2B marketers, their report helps us learn more about our industry, but also reinforce our some of our own marketing philosophies and present the facts. As a result, CMI’s 2018 report has over 2,000 inbound links. 018 B2B Content Marketing Report Inbound Link Results Source: Moz Link Explorer Conducting your own industry research, however, is a time- and resource-intensive task. We know this first-hand from our own experience working with DivvyHQ to create our 2018 Content Planning Survey. To make sure that you’re putting together accurate, quality research, there are some guidelines you’ll want to follow. For instance, you’ll want to get a large enough sample size for your survey or study to ensure that your findings represent your industry accurately—you don’t want to collect only a few responses from people you know. In addition, avoid open-ended questions when conducting research as you’ll want to make sure that your findings are quantitative. And as with any content you create, make sure you have a robust amplification plan in place to drive awareness. In the end, if you’re able to put together fresh, useful research, your audience will find value and insight, and sources who cite your research will be compelled to link to your report, increasing your number of inbound links and (hopefully) rankings.

#2 - Infographics

Original research isn’t the only thing readers and sources rely on to find new, relevant insights that help them tell their stories. As a visual, engaging way to digest a lot of information at once, infographics are another type of linkable asset that resonates with readers and sources alike. Loaded with quotes, graphics, statistics, and more, infographics house plenty of information without overwhelming your audience. Packed with helpful insights, it’s no wonder that other sites will link to a beautiful infographic over a text-heavy white paper. For example, GetVoIP, a cloud communications advisory, created an infographic on “How To Get More Energy At Work.” The infographic resulted in 66 inbound links and was also picked up by Entrepreneur.com. GetVoIP Infographic If you’ve already done some original research as suggested above, creating an infographic is a great way to promote or get some additional life out of your research report. However, infographics can also be curated from credible sources representing statistics, quotes, and data in new, visual ways. To create infographics that readers and sources alike will appreciate, look at your existing content for repurposing opportunities. For example, you could take one of your top-performing, stat-packed blog posts and turn it into an infographic for an easy win. Or, find credible sources with data points that support the tips or takeaways you want to share and turn them into fun graphics. And of course, make sure the data and facts included are highly relevant to your target audience, and you have an amplification plan in place.

#3 - Online Tools & Resources

The two previous types of link-worthy content focus heavily on earning links through data. However, data isn’t the only link-worthy type of content. Inbound links are also earned by providing helpful tools and resources to your readers. The more “bookmark-able” resources you can produce, the more links you have the opportunity to capture. What kind of tools or resources are we talking about? Check out HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator as an example below. While there isn’t a lot of visible content on the page, there is a lot of value in the tool itself as it can help solve a big pain point among their target audience: writer’s block. HubSpot Ideas Generator Tool And the results of providing something so useful are substantial with the tool generating over 12,000 inbound links and 200 ranking keywords. Linking Results from HubSpot's Blog Idea Generator Tool Source: Moz Link Explorer Besides an idea generator, you could also create a calculator, calendar, or even just a listicle of helpful tools and resources. As an example, our own blog post featuring over 100 Search Engine Marketing Resources is one of our most linked-to pages with 3,114 inbound links.

#4 - Rankings

Rankings are also helpful, link-worthy types of content. People want to know who the best people are to follow on LinkedIn, what tools are best for employee advocacy, or what the top tactics are for generating leads. And creating a ranking is one of the ways you can offer those recommendations. Content that shares valuable, must-know information is what earns the most links, and rankings definitely tick that box. Plus, the individuals or brands featured on your list are also likely to share and link to your ranking in order to promote their accomplishment. In fact, Great Place to Work published their annual list of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For and received over 350 inbound links in just under six months. Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2018 When creating your own rankings, make sure you have a set process or methodology. There needs to be a clear rationale behind your choices. This shows your readers and potential link sources how you reached your ranking decisions, adding to the credibility of your list. And again, make sure you have an amplification plan in place before launch.

#5 - Guides & Tutorials

Another type of resource that gets a lot of attention from other sources on the web are guides and tutorials. As the “one-stop shop” for everything you need to know on a given subject or task, guides and tutorials are helpful links for others to add to their content. For example, Blockgeeks, a blockchain training and education platform, created an in-depth guide on Bitcoin containing over 2,800 words. Bitcoin Tutorial Example The power page has resulted in over 800 inbound links and 180 ranking keywords for Blockgeeks. Linking Results From the What Is Bitcoin Guide Source: Moz Link Explorer To build those in-depth content opportunities, use tools like SEMrush.com to identify relevant variations of a keyword you would like to target. For example, if you want to cover the topic “document management,” the Keyword Magic Tool will give you a list of all of the related long-tail and question keyword variations to tackle in your guide like “document management software,” “what is document management,” “how does document management work,” and “why document management is important.” Those keyword variations should then serve as the outline for your guide, ensuring that you cover all of the relevant questions and topics your audience and sources might like to learn about. And while it’s already been said in this piece, I’ll say it again: make sure you have an amplification plan beyond SEO to drive awareness, engagement, and clicks.

Give Them Something to “Link About”

Searchers and search engines are on the hunt for quality, insightful content to answer questions, bolster their research, and share with their audiences. By strategically creating guides, resources, research reports, or infographics, you can serve up useful, insightful, and link-worthy content that leaves them thinking: via GIPHY Just remember to keep quality and usefulness top of mind when creating your content. As our own CEO, Lee Odden, says:
No matter how many tactics you find here and elsewhere, there simply is no substitute for creating content that others may find useful.
[bctt tweet="No matter how many tactics you find here and elsewhere, there simply is no substitute for creating content that others may find useful. - @leeodden" username="toprank"] Earning backlinks is one of the most important factors when it comes to improving your organic search rankings. Have a highly competitive word you want to rank for? Check out our guide on how to rank for competitive keywords.

The post 5 Powerful Types (And Examples) of Link-Worthy Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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CMWorld Interview: Thinking Inside the (Answer) Box with Courtney Cox http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/cmworld-courtney-cox-answer-box/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/cmworld-courtney-cox-answer-box/#respond Thu, 21 Jun 2018 10:30:18 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24427 In a digital marketing career that has spanned numerous roles, often with a heavy focus on SEO, Courtney Cox has watched plenty of trends come and go. But like many of us, she’s convinced that answer boxes (or “featured snippets,” or “position zero,” as you will) hold the key to search success going forward. Not [...]

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In a digital marketing career that has spanned numerous roles, often with a heavy focus on SEO, Courtney Cox has watched plenty of trends come and go.

But like many of us, she’s convinced that answer boxes (or “featured snippets,” or “position zero,” as you will) hold the key to search success going forward.

Not only do these “best answer” results attain prime visibility on SERPs, but as voice search continues to grow more prominent, they are likely to become the only result for many user queries within a few years.

Recognizing the magnitude of this topic, Cox will dedicate her session at Content Marketing World to Position 0: Optimizing Your Content to Rank in Google’s Answer Boxes. Drawing from her experience at Children’s Health, where she’s tasked with helping modernize the digital experience in an industry that has been — by her own admission — a little behind the curve, she’ll offer up practical advice for claiming this crucial real estate.

As we eagerly await her afternoon session on September 5th in Cleveland, OH, we had a chance to ask Cox about some pertinent matters relating to her specialization. Here’s what she had to say about data-driven conversion rate optimization, strategizing through competitive analysis, speaking the language of coding as marketers, and more.


What does your role as Digital Marketing Manager at Children’s Health entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

I have a team of strategists and editors that manages the online experience for our patient families. This includes everything from the user experience of Childrens.com, SEO, paid search, and management of our local listings across the web.

We are currently in a major transition period. Our goal is to provide the best online experience of any pediatric healthcare system in the country. Healthcare as an industry is behind the times, and historically, we have been no exception. As the cost of healthcare goes up, our consumers place more scrutiny on the total value of their experience with our system.

We typically think of that experience beginning when patient families walk through our doors; however, the initial patient experience frequently begins online with a search and ends online with a review. It’s our job to use the digital experience to show the value of our clinical services, reduce the anxiety of our patient families, and provide them with the information they need to make the right decisions for their child.

This year, that means implementing rigorous user testing, redesigning nearly every template on Childrens.com, taking advantage of advanced search tactics such as structured data and accelerated mobile pages, and publishing reviews directly on our website.

 

What is one thing that most company websites could be doing better when it comes to driving sales and conversions?

Fair warning – I’m going to try not to get on my soapbox about this one, but it’s hard because I feel so passionately about it.

Digital marketers need to abandon the “gut feeling” approach to conversion rate optimization. In the days of expensive usability labs and split-testing software, businesses with limited budgets could be excused from making data-driven, customer-centered optimizations. Those days are over.

If you want to outperform your competitors, you must start listening to your customers and responding to their behavior. If you’re not using free tools like Google Optimize for split testing or one of the infinite number of inexpensive user testing options available, then I guarantee you are failing your customers in some way in which you’re currently unaware.


Digital marketers need to abandon the “gut feeling” approach to conversion rate optimization. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


Moving on to your subject of focus at CMWorld: Aside from the obvious placement benefits, why is it so important to aim for ‘Position 0’ on Google search results?

‘Position 0’ results (aka ‘Featured Snippets’, aka ‘Answer Boxes’) are important for a number of reasons. As you mentioned, prominence at the top of the search engine results page positions your website for more engagement and clicks than a lower position, but that’s not all.

Voice platforms like Google Home rely heavily on the position 0 results to give answers to voice queries from their users. For example, if you ask Google Home, “why can’t my kid sleep?” you’ll get an excerpt from Childrens.com that shows in the Google answer box for the same query on Google.

It’s been predicted that by 2020, half of all searches will be done through voice, and most of those searches will be headless (on a screenless device like Amazon Alexa or Google Home). In those cases, position 0 is the only result. You want to own that space.

 

How can competitive analysis improve our efforts to land an Answer Box?

The best thing to start with is to take inventory of the websites populating the answer boxes for queries you want to dominate. Then go look at what they’re doing on their pages. Are they using natural language in their headlines? Do they have structured data? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Is there a theme across all the sites that you can mimic?

Then, you’ll want to match what they’re doing right and take advantage where they’re failing. In my experience, most websites are not well-optimized for the answer boxes, and they’re ranking through dumb luck. A little effort goes a long way.


In my experience, most websites are not well-optimized for the answer boxes, and they’re ranking through dumb luck. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


When it comes to working toward Position 0, which optimization techniques pay dividends above and beyond the SEO impact?

Any time that you invest significant effort into providing quality content that answers your visitors’ questions in a well laid out and easy-to-digest format, you’re going to start seeing payoffs beyond rankings. I think most content marketing folks understand that.

To ensure our content is high quality and highly relevant to what our customers need, we’ve been using a new technique that starts with the “People Also Ask” questions on Google. Basically, we type in a query we want to rank for, take inventory of the “People Also Ask” questions that appear for that query, and answer those questions directly in our content with the question itself as an H2 on the page.

Google is giving us a gift; by revealing these questions to us, they give us a deeper look than ever into the aggregation and relation of their search data. We’d be foolish not to utilize this data to create the most relevant content for users and position ourselves as a valuable thought leader.


Any time that you invest significant effort into providing quality content that answers your visitors’ questions, you’re going to start seeing payoffs beyond rankings. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


What does the emergence of the Answer Box tell us about how search engines are changing to serve the user experience? What do you foresee as the possible next step in that direction?

The demands on our time are greater every day, and folks’ attention spans are ever shorter. We want answers, and we want them now. Answer boxes are just a response to that.

I won’t be surprised if five or 10 years from now, Google has enough functionality and feature sets that the majority of small businesses won’t need their own websites. You’ve already seen less reliance on individual ecommerce sites with the emergence of Amazon and even Etsy. Google could make this possible for service-based businesses like barber shops and coffee shops.

People get kind of anxious about that, especially those in the web development business, but the commoditization of the web has always been a reality. Those of us in digital marketing must adapt or die. And, on the client side, if Google is sending the business, why wouldn’t you want to reduce the cost of doing business by eliminating web hosting fees?

 

How can content marketers work more smoothly and seamlessly with development teams to get things done efficiently? Where do you see the most common snags?

I’m so lucky at Children’s because we have a marketing technology team that sits with us, and they are some of the most talented and easy-to-work with folks I’ve known in my career.

But I know not everyone has that luxury. I think the thing that has helped me most in my career is that I’ve also been a developer. While not every content marketer can go out there and learn a coding language, they should really try to learn as much about that world as they can. It helps when you’re requesting the implementation of structured data or Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that you understand the complexities or at least how much work it will take.

In my experience, developers really appreciate it when you consult with them about a request. “Have you heard about AMP? What do you think about it? I think it could really improve mobile traffic – does it have any downsides from your perspective?” That consultation goes a long way for buy in down the road.


While not every content marketer can go out there and learn a coding language, they should really try to learn as much about that world as they can. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

You mean besides Tina Fey?

I’m a real tech geek, so the “How to Use Artificial Intelligence to Build and Optimize Content” and “Let’s Chat: How Messaging Apps, Chatbots, and Voice Assistants Will Impact Your Business in the Next 3-5 Years” have really piqued my interest. These are the things I hope we can get ahead of the game on to become healthcare digital marketing leaders.

Unpack More Answers

We thank Courtney for her great answers, which were extremely enlightening even if they didn’t come in a box.

For more expert insights on all of your most pressing questions, dive into the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing below!


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TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | CMWorld Interview: Thinking Inside the (Answer) Box with Courtney Cox | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Creating Content Connections: 10 Lessons in Resonance from Content Marketing Pros http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/lessons-resonance-content-marketing-pros/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/lessons-resonance-content-marketing-pros/#respond Wed, 20 Jun 2018 10:21:43 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24419 Lessons in Content Marketing

Lessons in Content Marketing

Spot on.

via GIPHY

Exactly.

via GIPHY

Truth.

via GIPHY

Accurate.

via GIPHY

Yaaaaaaaaaas!

via GIPHY

It’s hard to contain the excited, “uh huh” head nodding when you read, watch, or listen to a piece of content that really hits home … strikes the right chord … illuminates something deep inside your soul.

And for us marketers, these moments should remind us of an important digital marketing truth:

Creating content that resonates is key to building rapport, credibility, and trust with our audience, and, ultimately, driving marketing results.

When a piece of content connects with a customer or buyer, it makes them feel like you get it, that you understand their point of view or struggle—and that you may be worth paying attention to.

In my time at TopRank Marketing, I’ve had the pleasure of reading, watching, listening, and talking to some of our industry’s brightest minds as they share insights or tips that really resonated with me as a content writer and strategist—teaching me and reminding me of the importance of resonance in the content we create and how we share it with our audience.

Below I share some of those lessons that you can hopefully use to create more meaningful connections across channels with your content.

#1 - Comedy creates some of the most intimate connections.

Tim Washer of CiscoAs part of our Behind the Marketing Curtain series, I was lucky enough to speak with Tim Washer, a comedy and marketing genius as well as Cisco’s Creative Director of SP Marketing.

As he shared his story and his perspective on comedy in marketing, his lesson in resonance was quite simple: Comedy demonstrates empathy—and empathy creates connection.

Let’s face it, a lot of true comedy comes from pain. So, when we can come out and touch on a customer pain point, we show them that we understand their point of view. When we do something that is self-deprecating, when we look vulnerable, and when we let our guard down a little bit that’s when we make a connection.

These days, there’s so little content out there that truly connects with people. … So much of marketing is telling people how great we are. But with comedy—especially in the form of video—we can show them that we’re not always going to tell you how great we are. And if you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make.

Marketers need to let their guard down if we want our customers and buyers to do the same—and you can do this “on brand.” Good comedy is certainly an art; you don’t just throw “something funny” at your audience. Use your audience and their pain points as your guide to thoughtfully create content that will connect and make them giggle.

Read my full interview with Tim.

Follow Tim on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet="If you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make. - @timwasher #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - If you want to connect with your audience, be dedicated to helping them learn.

Mina SeetharamanA common goal for many brands want to build thought leadership by creating authoritative, credible content. But pushing your amazing product or service is not how you get there, as Mina Seetharaman, Executive Vice President and Global Managing Director of Content and Marketing Solutions for The Economist Group, told us in our interactive, supercharge your digital marketing infographic.

Thought leadership is about solving, not selling. People wake up thinking about their problems, not your product. In our research, Thought Leadership Disrupted, only 28% of marketers cited helping their audience become more knowledgeable as a primary objective. True thought leaders don’t push product, they understand their audience and share ideas to help them tackle issues.

People are constantly searching for answers to their burning questions and resources that will help them learn and find ways to solve their problems. When you make it a point to be the best answer for their inquiry, you have the opportunity to make a real impact.

Find more tips for supercharging your digital marketing.

Follow Mina on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet="True thought leaders don’t push product, they understand their audience and share ideas to help them tackle issues. - @minaseeth #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#3 - Less is often more.

2017 marked my first trip to one of the industry’s biggest events: Content Marketing World.

While there, I attended the incomparable Ann Handley’s session. There she revealed five “radiant” writing secrets inspired by the classic novel Charlotte’s Web.

The MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer’s session was designed to help content writers become more thoughtful in how they approach content and make an impact on their audience. Ann challenged us all to:

Think of how Charlotte was able to save a life with just [a few] words. How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference?

It’s certainly no secret that we’re living in a world of content abundance. But if we want to create content that really resonates and makes our audience feel something, we need to remember that less is often more.

Read more from Ann’s session.

Follow Ann on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet="Less is more in writing. How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference? - @annhandley @MarketingProfs #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#4 - When it comes to social content, don’t let your personal brand get in the way of your brand’s message.

Beverly Jackson Once again, our Behind the Marketing Curtain series gave me the honor of speaking with social, content, and customer experience wiz Beverly Jackson, now Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International.

When asked about a bad social media habit marketers needed to drop, her immediate response was: Too much self-promotion that gets in the way of a brand’s story:

The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects—not the marketers. And the bottom line is: marketers should never get in the way of that relationship.

Your brand needs to own the relationship with the audience if you want to make an impact. Of course, you should do what you can do evangelize your brand, but don’t confuse your audience by using your brand and its content to propel your profile. It can backfire.

Read my full interview with Beverly.

Follow Beverly on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet="#SocialMedia allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects. Marketers should never get in the way of that.  - @bevjack #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#5 - Don’t settle for crappy content—your audience (and search engines) certainly won’t.

Josh NiteIn the fall of 2017, my talented colleague Joshua Nite made his speaking debut at a local bloggers’ event. During his presentation, he declared that it was time to flip the script on how we craft content.

With search engines getting smarter and our audience being more self-directed in research than ever, Joshua said making the switch from SEO-driven content to content-driven SEO is the key to resonating with both readers and robots.

There’s never been a better opportunity to write great content that people actually want to read and that will get seen in search results. So, go forth and be awesome. And please, please—don’t settle for writing crappy content.

While seasoned marketers may say “duh” to this little reminder, I’d wager we all have room for improvement here. So here it is: We can’t settle. We need to innovate. We need to be thoughtful. And above all, we need to create content that our audience will actually enjoy reading.

Read more from Josh’s presentation.

Follow Josh on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet="Go forth and be awesome. But please, please—don’t settle for writing crappy content. - @NiteWrites #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#6 - Your audience is already telling you how to connect with them.

Another pro I had the pleasure of interviewing for the Behind the Marketing Curtain series was author, customer experience and social media expert, and marketing veteran Dan Gingiss, now the Vice President, Strategic Group for Persado.

While much of our conversation focused on social customer care, Dan said something simple—and perhaps even obvious—but it’s a good lesson nonetheless:

Always be listening. People will generally tell you everything you need to know about your business—what’s working, what needs fixing, and what could be your next big hit. Marketers need to embrace the feedback, including compliments, questions, and complaints.

From social media comments to customer surveys to inquiries or sales calls, brand or company has access to direct feedback from their ideal customers or buyers. They’re giving you an opening to make a connection. Use it to create content that answers their burning questions, quells their top concerns, or empathizes in a way that sparks agreement and head nodding.

Read my full interview with Dan.

Follow Dan on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet="Always be listening. People will generally tell you everything you need to know about your business. - @dgingiss #LessonsInResonance #SociaMedia" username="toprank"]

#7 - “Story” is everything—and influencers can be compelling characters.

Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAPMy most recent interview introduced me to Ursula Ringham, SAP’s Head of Global Influencer Marketing. As we chatted, a constant reference point was what she called her “love of story”—something that’s guided her throughout her career and something all marketers need to reinvest in. And influencers can help.

In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. Bring empathy and understanding, bring purpose, and bring insight—the latter of which influencers can certainly help with.

At a time when content is absolutely everywhere—and consumer trust is diminishing—marketers and brands need to be in the business of storytelling if you  want your content to resonate, inspire, and build trustful connections with our audience. You need to commit. You need to be thoughtful. And you need to consider who (e.g. internal or external thought leaders, current customers, prospects, employees) can help you tell that story.

Read my full interview with Ursula.

Follow Ursula on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet="In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. - @ursularingham" username="toprank"]

#8 - Invite your audience to be part of the content creation process.

Dave CharestWhen most modern marketers think of content co-creation, they likely think of partnering with industry thought leaders. Of course, this is a method we at TopRank Marketing absolutely believe in.

But one co-creation opportunity marketers may not take advantage of, is partnering with your audience, as Dave Charest, Director of Content Marketing for Constant Contact, shared in Content Marketing Institute and TopRank Marketing’s “The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing” eBook.

When it comes to content creation, far too often content is created in a meeting room with a bunch of marketers without any thought for the day-to-day reality of the person consuming it. BIG mistake.

Level up your approach by creating content in partnership with members of your target audience. By including your audience in the creation process you’ll better understand what you need to create and how you need to create it. You’ll no longer be working in a vacuum and your content will better resonate with those you’re trying to reach.

There may be no better way to ensure a direct connect with your audience than asking them to be apart of your content process. From social media polls and other UGC to spotlight interviews or guest posts, there’s a range of ways you can include your target audience in the content creation process.

Follow Dave on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet="By including your audience in the content creation process you’ll better understand what you need to create and how you need to create it. @DaveCharest #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#9 - Marketing integration is a must to deliver the best answer.

Lee OddenAs a digital marketing industry veteran, perhaps one of TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden’s most famous lines is: “Be the best answer for your audience wherever and whenever they’re searching.”

When you become the best answer, you become sticky for your readers—and integration is key to achieving best-answer status. This quote sums it up well:

With content marketing so popular among brands and content high in demand from customers, why are many B2B marketers so challenged to stand out and be effective? One reason is that the inherent pressure to produce can result in content that does not resonate. ...

The best content isn’t really that great unless it can be found, consumed, and acted upon by buyers. That is why an effective content marketing program is customer-centric and incorporates data from SEO, insights about format and topics from social media, topical relevance of content from buyer persona research, and awareness of what effect media and influencers can have on buyers’ research and purchasing decisions.

Read more from Lee on the importance of being the best answer in B2B marketing.

Follow Lee on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet="The best content isn’t really that great unless it can be found, consumed, and acted upon by buyers. - @leeodden #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#10 - Resonance is rooted in long-held content marketing best practices.

Joe PulizziNo marketer has been untouched by the teachings of Joe “The Godfather of Content Marketing” Pulizzi. As someone who was relatively green in digital marketing when I joined TopRank Marketing back in 2015, Joe and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI)—along with my in-house team—were incredible resources as I learned the ropes.

One of the first pieces I read featuring Joe’s insights was from a session we covered at Social Media Marketing World back in 2014. His message was simple, but it’s something we all need a little reminding of from time to time:

If we only talk about ourselves, we’ll never reach customers.

Content marketing evolved out of the need to meet our audience where and when our audience is searching—and at whatever point they may be in the buying cycle. And ensuring that we’re answering their questions and educating them—not just pushing our product or saying how great we are—is a basic yet still-relevant best practice we should never lose sight of if we want to connect with our audience.

[bctt tweet="If we only talk about ourselves, we’ll never reach customers. - @JoePulizzi #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

Follow Joe on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Go Forth to Create and Resonate

Another incredible marketing mind, Jay Acunzo, recently shared this go-to, “classic content marketing combo” tip. And it pretty much sums everything up:

Prioritize resonance over reach, and the latter (everything else you seek do do as a marketer) gets far easier.

Audiences want to connect with brands and companies that “get it.” So, give your audience great content. Give them guidance. Give them insight. Give them answers. And give them resonance.

Ready to create content that resonates? Take a cue from TopRank Marketing Nick Nelson and Honest Abe. Read our post on how to build trustful connections through storytelling.

Disclosure: SAP and Content Marketing Institute are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Creating Content Connections: 10 Lessons in Resonance from Content Marketing Pros appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Lessons in Content Marketing

Lessons in Content Marketing Spot on. via GIPHY Exactly. via GIPHY Truth. via GIPHY Accurate. via GIPHY Yaaaaaaaaaas! via GIPHY It’s hard to contain the excited, “uh huh” head nodding when you read, watch, or listen to a piece of content that really hits home … strikes the right chord … illuminates something deep inside your soul. And for us marketers, these moments should remind us of an important digital marketing truth: Creating content that resonates is key to building rapport, credibility, and trust with our audience, and, ultimately, driving marketing results. When a piece of content connects with a customer or buyer, it makes them feel like you get it, that you understand their point of view or struggle—and that you may be worth paying attention to. In my time at TopRank Marketing, I’ve had the pleasure of reading, watching, listening, and talking to some of our industry’s brightest minds as they share insights or tips that really resonated with me as a content writer and strategist—teaching me and reminding me of the importance of resonance in the content we create and how we share it with our audience. Below I share some of those lessons that you can hopefully use to create more meaningful connections across channels with your content.

#1 - Comedy creates some of the most intimate connections.

Tim Washer of CiscoAs part of our Behind the Marketing Curtain series, I was lucky enough to speak with Tim Washer, a comedy and marketing genius as well as Cisco’s Creative Director of SP Marketing. As he shared his story and his perspective on comedy in marketing, his lesson in resonance was quite simple: Comedy demonstrates empathy—and empathy creates connection.
Let’s face it, a lot of true comedy comes from pain. So, when we can come out and touch on a customer pain point, we show them that we understand their point of view. When we do something that is self-deprecating, when we look vulnerable, and when we let our guard down a little bit that’s when we make a connection. These days, there’s so little content out there that truly connects with people. … So much of marketing is telling people how great we are. But with comedy—especially in the form of video—we can show them that we’re not always going to tell you how great we are. And if you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make.
Marketers need to let their guard down if we want our customers and buyers to do the same—and you can do this “on brand.” Good comedy is certainly an art; you don’t just throw “something funny” at your audience. Use your audience and their pain points as your guide to thoughtfully create content that will connect and make them giggle. Read my full interview with Tim. Follow Tim on Twitter or LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="If you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make. - @timwasher #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - If you want to connect with your audience, be dedicated to helping them learn.

Mina SeetharamanA common goal for many brands want to build thought leadership by creating authoritative, credible content. But pushing your amazing product or service is not how you get there, as Mina Seetharaman, Executive Vice President and Global Managing Director of Content and Marketing Solutions for The Economist Group, told us in our interactive, supercharge your digital marketing infographic.
Thought leadership is about solving, not selling. People wake up thinking about their problems, not your product. In our research, Thought Leadership Disrupted, only 28% of marketers cited helping their audience become more knowledgeable as a primary objective. True thought leaders don’t push product, they understand their audience and share ideas to help them tackle issues.
People are constantly searching for answers to their burning questions and resources that will help them learn and find ways to solve their problems. When you make it a point to be the best answer for their inquiry, you have the opportunity to make a real impact. Find more tips for supercharging your digital marketing. Follow Mina on Twitter or LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="True thought leaders don’t push product, they understand their audience and share ideas to help them tackle issues. - @minaseeth #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#3 - Less is often more.

2017 marked my first trip to one of the industry’s biggest events: Content Marketing World. While there, I attended the incomparable Ann Handley’s session. There she revealed five “radiant” writing secrets inspired by the classic novel Charlotte’s Web. The MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer’s session was designed to help content writers become more thoughtful in how they approach content and make an impact on their audience. Ann challenged us all to:
Think of how Charlotte was able to save a life with just [a few] words. How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference?
It’s certainly no secret that we’re living in a world of content abundance. But if we want to create content that really resonates and makes our audience feel something, we need to remember that less is often more. Read more from Ann’s session. Follow Ann on Twitter or LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="Less is more in writing. How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference? - @annhandley @MarketingProfs #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#4 - When it comes to social content, don’t let your personal brand get in the way of your brand’s message.

Beverly Jackson Once again, our Behind the Marketing Curtain series gave me the honor of speaking with social, content, and customer experience wiz Beverly Jackson, now Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International. When asked about a bad social media habit marketers needed to drop, her immediate response was: Too much self-promotion that gets in the way of a brand’s story:
The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects—not the marketers. And the bottom line is: marketers should never get in the way of that relationship.
Your brand needs to own the relationship with the audience if you want to make an impact. Of course, you should do what you can do evangelize your brand, but don’t confuse your audience by using your brand and its content to propel your profile. It can backfire. Read my full interview with Beverly. Follow Beverly on Twitter or LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="#SocialMedia allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects. Marketers should never get in the way of that.  - @bevjack #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#5 - Don’t settle for crappy content—your audience (and search engines) certainly won’t.

Josh NiteIn the fall of 2017, my talented colleague Joshua Nite made his speaking debut at a local bloggers’ event. During his presentation, he declared that it was time to flip the script on how we craft content. With search engines getting smarter and our audience being more self-directed in research than ever, Joshua said making the switch from SEO-driven content to content-driven SEO is the key to resonating with both readers and robots.
There’s never been a better opportunity to write great content that people actually want to read and that will get seen in search results. So, go forth and be awesome. And please, please—don’t settle for writing crappy content.
While seasoned marketers may say “duh” to this little reminder, I’d wager we all have room for improvement here. So here it is: We can’t settle. We need to innovate. We need to be thoughtful. And above all, we need to create content that our audience will actually enjoy reading. Read more from Josh’s presentation. Follow Josh on Twitter or LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="Go forth and be awesome. But please, please—don’t settle for writing crappy content. - @NiteWrites #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#6 - Your audience is already telling you how to connect with them.

Another pro I had the pleasure of interviewing for the Behind the Marketing Curtain series was author, customer experience and social media expert, and marketing veteran Dan Gingiss, now the Vice President, Strategic Group for Persado. While much of our conversation focused on social customer care, Dan said something simple—and perhaps even obvious—but it’s a good lesson nonetheless:
Always be listening. People will generally tell you everything you need to know about your business—what’s working, what needs fixing, and what could be your next big hit. Marketers need to embrace the feedback, including compliments, questions, and complaints.
From social media comments to customer surveys to inquiries or sales calls, brand or company has access to direct feedback from their ideal customers or buyers. They’re giving you an opening to make a connection. Use it to create content that answers their burning questions, quells their top concerns, or empathizes in a way that sparks agreement and head nodding. Read my full interview with Dan. Follow Dan on Twitter or LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="Always be listening. People will generally tell you everything you need to know about your business. - @dgingiss #LessonsInResonance #SociaMedia" username="toprank"]

#7 - “Story” is everything—and influencers can be compelling characters.

Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAPMy most recent interview introduced me to Ursula Ringham, SAP’s Head of Global Influencer Marketing. As we chatted, a constant reference point was what she called her “love of story”—something that’s guided her throughout her career and something all marketers need to reinvest in. And influencers can help.
In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. Bring empathy and understanding, bring purpose, and bring insight—the latter of which influencers can certainly help with.
At a time when content is absolutely everywhere—and consumer trust is diminishing—marketers and brands need to be in the business of storytelling if you  want your content to resonate, inspire, and build trustful connections with our audience. You need to commit. You need to be thoughtful. And you need to consider who (e.g. internal or external thought leaders, current customers, prospects, employees) can help you tell that story. Read my full interview with Ursula. Follow Ursula on Twitter or LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. - @ursularingham" username="toprank"]

#8 - Invite your audience to be part of the content creation process.

Dave CharestWhen most modern marketers think of content co-creation, they likely think of partnering with industry thought leaders. Of course, this is a method we at TopRank Marketing absolutely believe in. But one co-creation opportunity marketers may not take advantage of, is partnering with your audience, as Dave Charest, Director of Content Marketing for Constant Contact, shared in Content Marketing Institute and TopRank Marketing’s “The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing” eBook.
When it comes to content creation, far too often content is created in a meeting room with a bunch of marketers without any thought for the day-to-day reality of the person consuming it. BIG mistake. Level up your approach by creating content in partnership with members of your target audience. By including your audience in the creation process you’ll better understand what you need to create and how you need to create it. You’ll no longer be working in a vacuum and your content will better resonate with those you’re trying to reach.
There may be no better way to ensure a direct connect with your audience than asking them to be apart of your content process. From social media polls and other UGC to spotlight interviews or guest posts, there’s a range of ways you can include your target audience in the content creation process. Follow Dave on Twitter or LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="By including your audience in the content creation process you’ll better understand what you need to create and how you need to create it. @DaveCharest #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#9 - Marketing integration is a must to deliver the best answer.

Lee OddenAs a digital marketing industry veteran, perhaps one of TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden’s most famous lines is: “Be the best answer for your audience wherever and whenever they’re searching.” When you become the best answer, you become sticky for your readers—and integration is key to achieving best-answer status. This quote sums it up well:
With content marketing so popular among brands and content high in demand from customers, why are many B2B marketers so challenged to stand out and be effective? One reason is that the inherent pressure to produce can result in content that does not resonate. ... The best content isn’t really that great unless it can be found, consumed, and acted upon by buyers. That is why an effective content marketing program is customer-centric and incorporates data from SEO, insights about format and topics from social media, topical relevance of content from buyer persona research, and awareness of what effect media and influencers can have on buyers’ research and purchasing decisions.
Read more from Lee on the importance of being the best answer in B2B marketing. Follow Lee on Twitter or LinkedIn. [bctt tweet="The best content isn’t really that great unless it can be found, consumed, and acted upon by buyers. - @leeodden #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#10 - Resonance is rooted in long-held content marketing best practices.

Joe PulizziNo marketer has been untouched by the teachings of Joe “The Godfather of Content Marketing” Pulizzi. As someone who was relatively green in digital marketing when I joined TopRank Marketing back in 2015, Joe and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI)—along with my in-house team—were incredible resources as I learned the ropes. One of the first pieces I read featuring Joe’s insights was from a session we covered at Social Media Marketing World back in 2014. His message was simple, but it’s something we all need a little reminding of from time to time:
If we only talk about ourselves, we’ll never reach customers.
Content marketing evolved out of the need to meet our audience where and when our audience is searching—and at whatever point they may be in the buying cycle. And ensuring that we’re answering their questions and educating them—not just pushing our product or saying how great we are—is a basic yet still-relevant best practice we should never lose sight of if we want to connect with our audience. [bctt tweet="If we only talk about ourselves, we’ll never reach customers. - @JoePulizzi #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] Follow Joe on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Go Forth to Create and Resonate

Another incredible marketing mind, Jay Acunzo, recently shared this go-to, “classic content marketing combo” tip. And it pretty much sums everything up:
Prioritize resonance over reach, and the latter (everything else you seek do do as a marketer) gets far easier.
Audiences want to connect with brands and companies that “get it.” So, give your audience great content. Give them guidance. Give them insight. Give them answers. And give them resonance. Ready to create content that resonates? Take a cue from TopRank Marketing Nick Nelson and Honest Abe. Read our post on how to build trustful connections through storytelling. Disclosure: SAP and Content Marketing Institute are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Creating Content Connections: 10 Lessons in Resonance from Content Marketing Pros appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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CMWorld Interview: Peter Krmpotic on Optimizing the Content Supply Chain http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/cmworld-peter-krmpotic-content-supply-chain/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/cmworld-peter-krmpotic-content-supply-chain/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 10:30:23 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24388

Content personalization is no longer a dream that marketers have for leveling up engagement with their audience, it’s become an essential combo for winning the content marketing game. Need proof? According to a study from Marketo, 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized. And Salesforce estimates that by 2020 51% of consumers will expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make suggestions, before contact.

But how can enterprise brands scale personalization efforts in a way that is efficient and effective?

Peter Krmpotic, Group Product Manager at Adobe, has focused heavily throughout his career on scaling personalization. He alo references the content supply chain (which is a framework for viewing content production, management and scalability) as a granular way to break down different structural elements and make them more manageable.

Applying personalization to an entire content marketing operation, especially at the enterprise level, might feel overwhelming. But applying it individually to different aspects of the process, piece by piece? This feels more feasible.

Peter will be joining other high-scoring content marketing experts at 2018’s Content Marketing World in Cleveland, OH this September. In anticipation of this awesome event, we sat down with Peter for the first interview in our series leading up to the event and asked him more about his role at Adobe, the importance of content personalization and the impact of technology on personalization.  

What does your role as Group Product Manager at Adobe entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

At Adobe, I focus on content marketing, digital asset management, and personalization at scale.

Throughout my career, I’ve developed a passion for customers, their use cases and building scalable software for them.

Specifically, my interests include next-generation technologies, evolving organizational structures, and industry best practices.

You’re a big believer in the importance of personalization. Where do you see the biggest opportunities for content marketers to improve in this regard?

First and foremost, personalization is a group effort which cuts across all functions of the content supply chain: strategy, planning, creation, assembly, and delivery.

Establishing and aligning these functions with each other is the first block in a strong foundation.

What we are doing here is leveraging the centuries-old concept of "divide and conquer," where we break personalization down into manageable stages.

Once everything is in place, the biggest opportunity lies in providing relevant data that is actionable at each of the content supply chain functions.

While we all talk a lot about data-informed and data-driven content marketing, I still see addressing this data gap as the biggest opportunity by far.

Which prevalent pitfalls are preventing content from connecting with its audience, from your view?

We have the people, the data, and the tools to create engaging content at scale, yet we often jumpstart the process of creating content without the required thoughtfulness on the initial critical steps.

It is essential to be clear which audiences we are targeting and subsequently to define clear goals for the message we are creating.

To this day, most brands need to improve at this stage, otherwise the best content marketer in the world cannot create an effective piece of engaging content.

Developing scalable ways to create and personalize content has been a key area of emphasis in your career. How can marketers think differently about scaling for efficiency and impact?

Similar to what I said earlier of “divide and conquer,” break the problem into manageable pieces and thus build a content supply chain.

Then, optimize each piece of the supply chain as opposed to trying to improve the whole thing all at once.

Where do you see the biggest influences of technologies like machine learning and automation in the world of content?

Currently, many mundane tasks, such as gathering and analyzing data or making sure content is optimized for each channel, take up a lot of time and effort in content marketing, preventing us from doing what matters most.

Things that take weeks and months will gradually be performed in the background.

By eliminating these mundane tasks, the human capacity for creativity and intuition will be magnified and reach new levels that were unimaginable before.

Which aspects of marketing SaaS products and services could and should be instilled for pros in other verticals?

Marketing software has received the kind of attention and focus that very few verticals have ever received, and as a result, we now benefit from a variety of software options that is unparalleled. This has led to a lot of AI being developed for marketing first that will be deployed in other verticals later.

A result of this fierce competition is that marketing software tends to be the more flexible and user friendly than others, adapting to a multitude of use cases, which has set new standards across all verticals.

Lastly, even though software in general does not integrate well with each other, given its variety and busy ecosystem, marketing software has trail-blazed integration best practices, which other verticals will benefit from.

Looking back, is there a particular moment or juncture in your career that you view as transformative? What takeaways could other marketers learn and apply?

Joining Adobe was truly transformative, because it allowed me to engage with customers across the entire breadth and depth of digital marketing, as well as with colleagues across different products and solutions who are truly world-class at what they do.

My recommended takeaway is to look beyond your current scope of work — which is not necessarily easy — and to figure out ways to connect with people who can help you understand adjacent functions and disciplines.

Seeing the entire picture will help you with solving your current challenges in ways that you could not have imagined before.

Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

I’m looking forward to quite a few sessions, but here are 5 sessions I am particularly excited about:

  • Joe Pulizzi’s keynote on Tuesday. I am sure I am not the only one interested to hear his take on the industry and where it is headed.
  • Then Gartner’s Heather Pemberton Levy and her workshop on their branded content platform, Smarter With Gartner, which I am a big fan of.
  • Michael Brenner’s workshop on how to create a documented content marketing strategy, which I know a lot of brands struggle with.
  • And then two sessions that talk about leveraging data during content creation: Morgan Molnar and Brad Sanzenbacher on Wednesday, and Katie Pennell on Thursday.

Ready Player One

Big thanks to Peter for his enlightening insights. His final takeaway — “Seeing the entire picture will help you with solving your current challenges in ways that you could not have imagined before” — is at the heart of Content Marketing World, which will bring together a diverse set of voices and perspectives to broaden your view of this exciting yet challenging frontier.

Tap into some of the unique expertise offered by CMWorld speakers by checking out the Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing below:

 

The post CMWorld Interview: Peter Krmpotic on Optimizing the Content Supply Chain appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Content personalization is no longer a dream that marketers have for leveling up engagement with their audience, it’s become an essential combo for winning the content marketing game. Need proof? According to a study from Marketo, 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized. And Salesforce estimates that by 2020 51% of consumers will expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make suggestions, before contact. But how can enterprise brands scale personalization efforts in a way that is efficient and effective? Peter Krmpotic, Group Product Manager at Adobe, has focused heavily throughout his career on scaling personalization. He alo references the content supply chain (which is a framework for viewing content production, management and scalability) as a granular way to break down different structural elements and make them more manageable. Applying personalization to an entire content marketing operation, especially at the enterprise level, might feel overwhelming. But applying it individually to different aspects of the process, piece by piece? This feels more feasible. Peter will be joining other high-scoring content marketing experts at 2018’s Content Marketing World in Cleveland, OH this September. In anticipation of this awesome event, we sat down with Peter for the first interview in our series leading up to the event and asked him more about his role at Adobe, the importance of content personalization and the impact of technology on personalization.  

What does your role as Group Product Manager at Adobe entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

At Adobe, I focus on content marketing, digital asset management, and personalization at scale. Throughout my career, I’ve developed a passion for customers, their use cases and building scalable software for them. Specifically, my interests include next-generation technologies, evolving organizational structures, and industry best practices.

You’re a big believer in the importance of personalization. Where do you see the biggest opportunities for content marketers to improve in this regard?

First and foremost, personalization is a group effort which cuts across all functions of the content supply chain: strategy, planning, creation, assembly, and delivery. Establishing and aligning these functions with each other is the first block in a strong foundation. What we are doing here is leveraging the centuries-old concept of "divide and conquer," where we break personalization down into manageable stages. Once everything is in place, the biggest opportunity lies in providing relevant data that is actionable at each of the content supply chain functions. While we all talk a lot about data-informed and data-driven content marketing, I still see addressing this data gap as the biggest opportunity by far.

Which prevalent pitfalls are preventing content from connecting with its audience, from your view?

We have the people, the data, and the tools to create engaging content at scale, yet we often jumpstart the process of creating content without the required thoughtfulness on the initial critical steps. It is essential to be clear which audiences we are targeting and subsequently to define clear goals for the message we are creating. To this day, most brands need to improve at this stage, otherwise the best content marketer in the world cannot create an effective piece of engaging content.

Developing scalable ways to create and personalize content has been a key area of emphasis in your career. How can marketers think differently about scaling for efficiency and impact?

Similar to what I said earlier of “divide and conquer,” break the problem into manageable pieces and thus build a content supply chain. Then, optimize each piece of the supply chain as opposed to trying to improve the whole thing all at once.

Where do you see the biggest influences of technologies like machine learning and automation in the world of content?

Currently, many mundane tasks, such as gathering and analyzing data or making sure content is optimized for each channel, take up a lot of time and effort in content marketing, preventing us from doing what matters most. Things that take weeks and months will gradually be performed in the background. By eliminating these mundane tasks, the human capacity for creativity and intuition will be magnified and reach new levels that were unimaginable before.

Which aspects of marketing SaaS products and services could and should be instilled for pros in other verticals?

Marketing software has received the kind of attention and focus that very few verticals have ever received, and as a result, we now benefit from a variety of software options that is unparalleled. This has led to a lot of AI being developed for marketing first that will be deployed in other verticals later. A result of this fierce competition is that marketing software tends to be the more flexible and user friendly than others, adapting to a multitude of use cases, which has set new standards across all verticals. Lastly, even though software in general does not integrate well with each other, given its variety and busy ecosystem, marketing software has trail-blazed integration best practices, which other verticals will benefit from.

Looking back, is there a particular moment or juncture in your career that you view as transformative? What takeaways could other marketers learn and apply?

Joining Adobe was truly transformative, because it allowed me to engage with customers across the entire breadth and depth of digital marketing, as well as with colleagues across different products and solutions who are truly world-class at what they do. My recommended takeaway is to look beyond your current scope of work — which is not necessarily easy — and to figure out ways to connect with people who can help you understand adjacent functions and disciplines. Seeing the entire picture will help you with solving your current challenges in ways that you could not have imagined before.

Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

I’m looking forward to quite a few sessions, but here are 5 sessions I am particularly excited about:
  • Joe Pulizzi’s keynote on Tuesday. I am sure I am not the only one interested to hear his take on the industry and where it is headed.
  • Then Gartner’s Heather Pemberton Levy and her workshop on their branded content platform, Smarter With Gartner, which I am a big fan of.
  • Michael Brenner’s workshop on how to create a documented content marketing strategy, which I know a lot of brands struggle with.
  • And then two sessions that talk about leveraging data during content creation: Morgan Molnar and Brad Sanzenbacher on Wednesday, and Katie Pennell on Thursday.

Ready Player One

Big thanks to Peter for his enlightening insights. His final takeaway — “Seeing the entire picture will help you with solving your current challenges in ways that you could not have imagined before” — is at the heart of Content Marketing World, which will bring together a diverse set of voices and perspectives to broaden your view of this exciting yet challenging frontier. Tap into some of the unique expertise offered by CMWorld speakers by checking out the Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing below:  

The post CMWorld Interview: Peter Krmpotic on Optimizing the Content Supply Chain appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Ready Player One: Top CMWorld Speakers Dish Go-To Classic Content Marketing Combos http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/cmworld-classic-content-marketing-combos/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/cmworld-classic-content-marketing-combos/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 10:30:53 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24391 Over the years, content marketing has made incredible strides. What used to be considered more 8-Bit tactics such as print and articles, have evolved into more immersive tactics like interactive and video which truly brings audiences into the “game”. And while the days of 2D 8-bit side scroller content may be gone, that doesn’t mean [...]

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Over the years, content marketing has made incredible strides. What used to be considered more 8-Bit tactics such as print and articles, have evolved into more immersive tactics like interactive and video which truly brings audiences into the “game”.

And while the days of 2D 8-bit side scroller content may be gone, that doesn’t mean we should abandon everything we’ve learned about content.

To help uncover some of the tried and true content marketing tactics that have stood the test of time, we’ve tapped into the minds of some of Content Marketing World’s top speakers who shared expert advice in our new eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing.

But first, here are some fun fun 8-bit videos featuring your favorite content marketing experts and a preview into the type of game-winning advice you can find in our new guide.

Content Marketing Strategy Experts

Featuring: Robert Rose, Nichole Kelly, Tim Washer, Ellie Mirman, Peter Krmpotic and Tamsen Webster

Content Marketing Planning

Featuring: Amanda Todorovich, Courtney Cox, Eli Schwartz, Jay Acunzo, Carla Johnson, Heather Pemberton Levy, Zari Venhaus and Andy Crestodina

Content Marketing Creation

Featuring: Ann Handley, Melanie Deziel, Mitch Joel, Michelle Park Lazette, Pam Didner and Dave Charest

Content Marketing Amplification & Distribution

Featuring: Ian Cleary, Lee Odden, Vishal Khanna, Juntae DeLane, Doug Kessler, Joe Pulizzi, Justin Levy and Heidi Cohen

Content Marketing Measurement

Featuring: Christopher Penn, Mathew Sweezey, Michael Brenner, Michael Pratt, Ron Tite and Matt Heinz

34 Classic Content Marketing Tactics from Top CMWorld Speakers

Robert Rose
Chief Troublemaker, The Content Advisory
@Robert_Rose


Classic Content Tip: As part of the creation process, we have to ask how every piece of content we create delivers value to our audience first, and us second. It is an approach that will never fail. @Robert_Rose #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Nichole Kelly
Chief Consciousness Officer, The Conscious Marketing Institute
@nichole_kelly


Classic Content Tip: Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Acting with integrity is a competitive advantage.@nichole_kelly #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Tim Washer
PowerPoint Comedian/Emcee, Ridiculous Media
@timwasher


Classic Content Tip: Interview customers to get short, actionable advice that other organizations can learn from. This can be published via video, audio or a simple text Q+A. @timwasher #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Ellie Mirman
CMO, Crayon
@ellieeille


Classic Content Tip: Time and time again, I turn to blogging: it's a simple way to house a variety of content even as it evolves to serve different media, channels, and strategies. @ellieeille #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Peter Krmpotic
Group Product Manager, Adobe
@peterkrmpotic


Classic Content Tip: Aim for quick iterations, leading to faster insights, and creating a self-tuning system. @peterkrmpotic #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Tamsen Webster
Founder & CEO, Find the Red Thread
@tamadear


Classic Content Tip: Find the truth that makes a problem impossible to ignore. @tamadear #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Amanda Todorovich
Senior Director – Content & Creative Services, Cleveland Clinic
@amandatodo


Classic Content Tip: Great content answers questions and solves problems for your customers. When you do that – no matter what platform or format – it works and generates engagement every time. @amandatodo #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Courtney Cox
Manager, Digital Marketing – Children’s Health
@courtewakefield


Classic Content Tip: No matter how marketing changes, listening will always be the greatest asset of a content marketer. @courtewakefield #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Eli Schwartz
Director of Organic Product, SurveyMonkey
@5le


Classic Content Tip: Google’s non-English language ranking algorithm will always lag the advancements made in English search. @5le #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Jay Acunzo
Founder, Unthinkable Media
@jayacunzo


Classic Content Tip: Prioritize resonance over reach, and the latter (and everything else you seek as a marketer) gets far easier. To do so, look for a small number of people reacting in big ways to your work. @jayacunzo #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Carla Johnson
President, Type A Communications
@carlajohnson


Classic Content Tip: Put your customer first. Creating content that delivers value to them will always align your time, talent and resources with what delivers the best ROI. @carlajohnson #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Heather Pemberton Levy
Vice President, Content Marketing – Gartner
@heatherpemberton


Classic Content Tip: Always look in your rearview mirror at the traffic driving to your content and further down the road at the next content asset in the buyer’s journey. @heatherpemberton #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Zari Venhaus
Director Corporate Marketing Communications, Eaton
@zvenhaus


Classic Content Tip: Nothing beats knowing your audience. Today, there are so many more ways to target – the how is evolving, but nothing will ever replace understanding what drives your customers. @zvenhaus #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Andy Crestodina
Principal – Strategic Director, Orbit Media
@crestodina


Classic Content Tip: Learn something useful... Try it... Test it... Then teach it. @crestodina #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Ann Handley
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
@annhandley


Classic Content Tip: Leaders are readers, as Harry S. Truman said. I’d add that leaders are writers, too. If you want to improve the quality of both your ideas and your thinking… you need to regularly write. @annhandley #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Melanie Deziel
Branded Content Consultant, Mdeziel Media
@mdeziel


Classic Content Tip: When all else fails, ask what you can teach your audience. Educational content provides evergreen value and proves your expertise to customers and potential customers alike. @mdeziel #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Mitch Joel
President, Mirum
@mitchjoel


Classic Content Tip: Write stuff that matters. Write stuff that has depth. Nobody else is doing this (well) anymore. It's because they suck at writing (trust me ;). @mitchjoel #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Michelle Park Lazette
Writer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
@mp_lazette


Classic Content Tip: My chicken test is a set of 3 questions I use to vet any content idea. Does the topic involve or interest our target audience? Is the idea timely? And does the idea have a so-what? @mp_lazette #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Pam Didner
Author, Global Content Marketing
@pamdidner


Classic Content Tip: SEO! Invest time and resources into keyword research, analytics and scoping out your content. If you want your content to be seen, align your content marketing with your SEO goals. @pamdidner #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Dave Charest
Director Content Marketing, Constant Contact
@davecharest


Classic Content Tip: Stay focused on the fundamentals of human nature. Even as technology changes, the fundamentals that make us people do not. Understand how those fundamentals apply to a new environment. @davecharest #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Ian Cleary
Founder, RazorSocial
@IanCleary


Classic Content Tip: Relationship building. When you build up a network of influential friends it's like having many pac mans in one game and they are all on your side. @IanCleary #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing
@leeodden


Classic Content Tip: Nothing gobbles up Pac-Dots like content co-created with highly credible experts. Influencers w/ active networks of relevant audiences can demystify marketing mazes and open up infinite opportunity! @leeodden #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Vishal Khanna
Director of Marketing & Communications, HealthPrize Technologies
@bediscontent


Classic Content Tip: Read employment listings for the types of prospects you target to find out how their success is measured, and then develop content that helps them succeed. @bediscontent #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Juntae DeLane
Sr. Digital Brand Manager, University of Southern California
@juntaedelane


Classic Content Tip: You need to be able to go where your audience is and speak to them in a language they can understand. Identify how and where they engage with content, & incorporate that info into your strategy. @juntaedelane…
Click To Tweet


 

Doug Kessler
Co-Founder & Creative Director, Velocity Partners
@dougkessler


Classic Content Tip: It’s really hard to fail at simply interviewing really smart people who know about the topic. Do your homework, ask good questions and stand back. @dougkessler #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Joe Pulizzi
Founder, Content Marketing Institute
@joepulizzi


Classic Content Tip: Email, email, email. Getting and keeping opt-in email subscribers continues to be the key to content marketing success. @joepulizzi #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Justin Levy
Public Speaker
@justinlevy


Classic Content Tip: The one tried and true tactic that I will always go back to even as marketing evolves is the need for a blog. @justinlevy #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Heidi Cohen
Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide
@HeidiCohen


Classic Content Tip: Like other forms of marketing, content marketing requires a documented strategy that ties your business goals to measurable results. @HeidiCohen #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Christopher Penn
Founder & Chief Innovator, Brain+Trust Insights
@cspenn


Classic Content Tip: Essential for any form of content is audience centricity. Do it in a way that provides value, educates, entertains and engages your audience. @cspenn #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Mathew Sweezey
Principal of Marketing Insights, Salesforce
@msweezey


Classic Content Tip: Ask! Ask what they want, don't assume. Once you make it Ask if they liked it, and how to make it better. @msweezey #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Michael Brenner
Founder, Marketing Insider Group
@brennermichael


Classic Content Tip: Create content using the keywords buyers use, the content they read and share and the offers that convert. @brennermichael #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Michael Pratt
CEO, Panamplify
@mikepratt


Classic Content Tip: Try and discover what solutions to problems your clients are searching for and write content that becomes that solution. @mikepratt #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Ron Tite
Founder & CEO, Church+State
@rontite


Classic Content Tip: Massive wins come from doing something that has never been used before. @rontite #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Matt Heinz
President, Heinz Marketing
@heinzmarketing


Classic Content Tip: Finish content with a question. Actively engage your audience. @heinzmarketing #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


Want More Game-Winning Content Marketing Advice?

For more from our Content Marketing World speakers, check out the full guide below:


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | Ready Player One: Top CMWorld Speakers Dish Go-To Classic Content Marketing Combos | http://www.toprankblog.com

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How to Select the Right Type of Video for Your B2B Marketing Goals http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/types-b2b-video-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/types-b2b-video-marketing/#respond Wed, 06 Jun 2018 10:05:32 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24365 Types of B2B Video & When to Use Them

Types of B2B Video & When to Use Them

Mugatu is onto something ...

Video Marketing is So Hot Meme

According Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report, 72% of B2B marketers use pre-produced video content, 17% use video live-streams, and 4% create documentaries or short films. Combined, this makes video one of the hottest types of content among B2B marketers.

And it’s not without results, either. Video marketing boasts some impressive stats, including:

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. - Aberdeen Group
  • Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs. - Brightcove
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%. - Eyeview Digital
  • Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined - Brightcove
  • 51.9% of marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best ROI - HubSpot

It seems like a no-brainer, right? But like with most things in marketing, it’s knowing where to start and what to create that’s the hard part.

As with any marketing tactic, you want to choose the right content type and style to engage and nurture your audience. Plus, the content you create needs to align with and support your marketing goals—video is no different.

To help you figure out how to get started with video marketing and how to incorporate it into your integrated marketing mix, we’re breaking down the many types of videos for marketing and when to use them.

1. Teasers

The name implies it all—these videos are short, sweet, and meant to give audiences just a glimpse of what’s to come. More specifically, teasers are short videos that promote other content, services, products, or events and generate excitement or interest in them. At no longer than 10-30 seconds, this means you have to do your best with the time given to you through high-energy language, fast-paced content, and plenty of information; motion graphics are an especially great teaser format.

Teasers are great for generating excitement and are very short in length, making them a great fit for social media promotion, where you’ll be looking to generate buzz for an asset (i.e. eBooks, podcasts, infographics, blog posts, webinars). The biggest thing to remember about teasers is that they need to have a call to action that promotes another piece of content. The goal of a teaser is to spur action in an audience, whether that’s registering for a webinar, downloading an eBook, or listening to a podcast episode.

Length: 10 to 30 seconds

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media

Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Infographics, Blog Posts

Example: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions*, Secret Sauce eBook

2. Trailers & Previews

Trailers and previews are another type of short video content. However, where trailers differ from teasers is that a trailer actually features a sample of the content its promoting. For example, a teaser might use new visuals and graphics to get people excited, but a trailer will actually feature a preview of what’s to come. Just take a look at movie trailers—most of them show you scenes directly from the film.

If you’ve already created the content, you’ve already done most of the work for a trailer or preview. Just take content included in your videos, infographics, eBooks, and other assets and edit them into a trailer format that gets people interested. While trailers perform well on social, they’re also a great addition to landing pages as landing page videos have been found to increase conversions by 80% or more. Depending on where you’re planning to have this content live, decide if and when a CTA is appropriate.

Length: 30 seconds to 2 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Landing Pages

Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Long-Form Video, Infographics

Example: Eloqua, Journey to Modern Marketing

3. Explainers

We’ve already covered videos that are used to promote other pieces of content—teasers and trailers. But what about when you have a standalone topic you want to cover in a video? Maybe you want to create a tutorial on how to use your software or educate your audience on how to launch an employee wellness program. This type of marketing video is called an explainer. Explainers are original pieces of content that educate and inform the audience on a subject.

The best explainer videos focus on appealing to an audience’s curiosity by answering common questions or solving popular pain points. In providing useful and compelling information, the video helps add to your brand’s authority. As a video that can stand on its own two feet while offering helpful advice, explainer videos can make a great complement to a power page or blog post. They also perform well on social channels as it’s a quick and easy way for you audience to absorb a lot of information. And because all of the value is within the video itself, explainers typically don’t have a call to action. But again, depending on where you plan to have this content live, make a decision on if a CTA makes sense.

Length: 30 seconds to 3 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts

Example: Slack*, “So Yeah, We Tried Slack”

4. Video Essays & Companion Videos

Can you cover a topic in-depth in under three minutes? When you need to dive deeper than an explainer video allows, video essays are the perfect type of video to turn to. Video essays are original, long-form video content that explores a subject in-depth. A good video essay might be an 8 minute discussion that covers your thoughts on new changes in the market or new trends like cryptocurrency.

Because of their length, video essays are the perfect place to showcase your brand’s thought leadership and expertise through education and entertainment. In covering all sides of an issue or topic, you have more opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, improving trust and credibility among your audience. Jam-packed with valuable information, video essays are a great addition to power pages, blog posts, and social media channels.

But what if you’ve already covered the topic in-depth for a power page, blog post, or eBook? Should you still make a video essay? The answer is yes as 59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text. Given this information, your video essay could perform better than your existing content in terms of generating leads or strengthening engagement. In this situation, take your existing eBook, blog, or power page and turn it into a video essay, giving your audience an alternate channel to consume your content.

Length: 1 minute to 10 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts

Example: HubSpot, What Is the Difference Between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)?

Your Directorial Debut

Video is rapidly becoming the preferred way to consume content for many audiences with 82% of all web traffic expected to be video by 2021. If you’re not making videos as a part of your content marketing strategy, you could be missing out on an enormous opportunity to improve your organic traffic, landing page conversions, social engagements, and more.

And to make sure your videos are helping you reach your marketing goals, it’s important that you select the right types of marketing videos and content they will support. Using the guide above, you’ll be able to pair your video and content together in a way that fuels results.

Video can be time consuming to strategize, produce, and distribute. To help you become a more efficient and effective video marketer, check out our additional tips, examples, and guides:

*Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Slack are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post How to Select the Right Type of Video for Your B2B Marketing Goals appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Types of B2B Video & When to Use Them

Types of B2B Video & When to Use Them Mugatu is onto something ... Video Marketing is So Hot Meme According Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report, 72% of B2B marketers use pre-produced video content, 17% use video live-streams, and 4% create documentaries or short films. Combined, this makes video one of the hottest types of content among B2B marketers. And it’s not without results, either. Video marketing boasts some impressive stats, including:
  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. - Aberdeen Group
  • Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs. - Brightcove
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%. - Eyeview Digital
  • Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined - Brightcove
  • 51.9% of marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best ROI - HubSpot
It seems like a no-brainer, right? But like with most things in marketing, it’s knowing where to start and what to create that’s the hard part. As with any marketing tactic, you want to choose the right content type and style to engage and nurture your audience. Plus, the content you create needs to align with and support your marketing goals—video is no different. To help you figure out how to get started with video marketing and how to incorporate it into your integrated marketing mix, we’re breaking down the many types of videos for marketing and when to use them.

1. Teasers

The name implies it all—these videos are short, sweet, and meant to give audiences just a glimpse of what’s to come. More specifically, teasers are short videos that promote other content, services, products, or events and generate excitement or interest in them. At no longer than 10-30 seconds, this means you have to do your best with the time given to you through high-energy language, fast-paced content, and plenty of information; motion graphics are an especially great teaser format. Teasers are great for generating excitement and are very short in length, making them a great fit for social media promotion, where you’ll be looking to generate buzz for an asset (i.e. eBooks, podcasts, infographics, blog posts, webinars). The biggest thing to remember about teasers is that they need to have a call to action that promotes another piece of content. The goal of a teaser is to spur action in an audience, whether that’s registering for a webinar, downloading an eBook, or listening to a podcast episode. Length: 10 to 30 seconds Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Infographics, Blog Posts Example: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions*, Secret Sauce eBook

2. Trailers & Previews

Trailers and previews are another type of short video content. However, where trailers differ from teasers is that a trailer actually features a sample of the content its promoting. For example, a teaser might use new visuals and graphics to get people excited, but a trailer will actually feature a preview of what’s to come. Just take a look at movie trailers—most of them show you scenes directly from the film. If you’ve already created the content, you’ve already done most of the work for a trailer or preview. Just take content included in your videos, infographics, eBooks, and other assets and edit them into a trailer format that gets people interested. While trailers perform well on social, they’re also a great addition to landing pages as landing page videos have been found to increase conversions by 80% or more. Depending on where you’re planning to have this content live, decide if and when a CTA is appropriate. Length: 30 seconds to 2 minutes Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Landing Pages Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Long-Form Video, Infographics Example: Eloqua, Journey to Modern Marketing

3. Explainers

We’ve already covered videos that are used to promote other pieces of content—teasers and trailers. But what about when you have a standalone topic you want to cover in a video? Maybe you want to create a tutorial on how to use your software or educate your audience on how to launch an employee wellness program. This type of marketing video is called an explainer. Explainers are original pieces of content that educate and inform the audience on a subject. The best explainer videos focus on appealing to an audience’s curiosity by answering common questions or solving popular pain points. In providing useful and compelling information, the video helps add to your brand’s authority. As a video that can stand on its own two feet while offering helpful advice, explainer videos can make a great complement to a power page or blog post. They also perform well on social channels as it’s a quick and easy way for you audience to absorb a lot of information. And because all of the value is within the video itself, explainers typically don’t have a call to action. But again, depending on where you plan to have this content live, make a decision on if a CTA makes sense. Length: 30 seconds to 3 minutes Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts Example: Slack*, “So Yeah, We Tried Slack”

4. Video Essays & Companion Videos

Can you cover a topic in-depth in under three minutes? When you need to dive deeper than an explainer video allows, video essays are the perfect type of video to turn to. Video essays are original, long-form video content that explores a subject in-depth. A good video essay might be an 8 minute discussion that covers your thoughts on new changes in the market or new trends like cryptocurrency. Because of their length, video essays are the perfect place to showcase your brand’s thought leadership and expertise through education and entertainment. In covering all sides of an issue or topic, you have more opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, improving trust and credibility among your audience. Jam-packed with valuable information, video essays are a great addition to power pages, blog posts, and social media channels. But what if you’ve already covered the topic in-depth for a power page, blog post, or eBook? Should you still make a video essay? The answer is yes as 59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text. Given this information, your video essay could perform better than your existing content in terms of generating leads or strengthening engagement. In this situation, take your existing eBook, blog, or power page and turn it into a video essay, giving your audience an alternate channel to consume your content. Length: 1 minute to 10 minutes Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts Example: HubSpot, What Is the Difference Between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)?

Your Directorial Debut

Video is rapidly becoming the preferred way to consume content for many audiences with 82% of all web traffic expected to be video by 2021. If you’re not making videos as a part of your content marketing strategy, you could be missing out on an enormous opportunity to improve your organic traffic, landing page conversions, social engagements, and more. And to make sure your videos are helping you reach your marketing goals, it’s important that you select the right types of marketing videos and content they will support. Using the guide above, you’ll be able to pair your video and content together in a way that fuels results. Video can be time consuming to strategize, produce, and distribute. To help you become a more efficient and effective video marketer, check out our additional tips, examples, and guides: *Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Slack are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post How to Select the Right Type of Video for Your B2B Marketing Goals appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Inform Your Content Strategy Using SEO Insights http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/seo-insights-content-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/seo-insights-content-strategy/#respond Wed, 30 May 2018 10:35:27 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24322 SEO Data Insights for Content Strategy

SEO Data Insights for Content Strategy

Marketers know that quality content and smart SEO are essential for driving toward their marketing goals, but that doesn’t mean success is easy to come by. With 53% of B2B marketers reporting their content marketing is only moderately successful, and another 23% reporting it as not at all or minimally successful, it appears that the majority of B2B marketers are struggling to see noteworthy results.

So, how can marketers improve their content marketing and achieve success?

The answer is in the data. More specifically, it’s in the insights you can glean from your data, especially SEO-related data.

Every marketer has access to this data. And it’s time to take that data, analyze it, and use it to inform your content strategy to create customized, relevant, and insightful content that is more valuable to your target audience. But knowing where to start on your data-informed and insight-driven content marketing journey isn’t always clear.  

To start creating more insight-driven content, search data can offer a gold mine of insights. Below we offer six SEO insights you can use to drive your strategy and results.

#1 - Nail down your audience’s search intent.

It's no secret that keyword data can tell you a lot about what your audience is on the hunt for. But it's the intent behind those search terms that really matters. Intent is what will enable you to create more valuable, “best answer” content for your audience.

For example, when looking in Google Search Console, if you see that one of your posts is ranking really well for a specific query, but has a low time on page, that could be an indicator that your content doesn’t match up with your audience’s intent. Because of this, your organic audience is probably bouncing from the page. If you can optimize that post to align with their search intent, you’ll likely increase the odds that they’ll stick around.

You can also use search intent to identify new content opportunities or gaps. When researching potential keywords in Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush, do your own recon and search the term in an incognito browser window. What content is ranking at the top for each query? What questions is it answering? What is so compelling about that page? (i.e. structure, video or other visual assets, etc.) Is there anything missing? Once you’ve analyzed what has made that page successful and helpful, you can apply those same tactics to your own content.

SEM Rush for SEO Research

#2 - Take advantage of older, high-performing content.

Both SEO and content are in it for the long haul. Your content needs to be long-living to maximize its SEO value and drive significant organic results. Plus, with frequent algorithm changes to search engines, what might have been a poor performer in the past could be your top piece of content in the future. Because of this, your existing content actually holds a lot of potential.

Using Google Analytics or Search Console, you can review the current keyword rankings, impressions, and clicks for your existing content. To draw insight from this data, you should ask yourself:

  • Are there any posts that have multiple page one rankings?
  • What is each page ranking for?
  • Which posts have the highest organic CTR or number of impressions?

These answers will help you surface your top performers that have the most SEO value. Once identified, you can link to those pages in future content to share that value and further boost your content’s organic performance.

#3 - Low volume doesn’t mean low value.

A common practice for marketers is to look to search volume data to determine target keywords and new content opportunities. Because search volume indicates the number of people searching for any given topic or question, it’s tempting for marketers to go after those searches with a high volume. Who wouldn’t want to capture all 500 monthly searches, right?

While it’s tempting to go after high-volume search terms, it’s not always the best choice. And with the rise of voice search, search queries are getting longer and longer.

When reviewing potential keyword targets, pay special attention to the long-tail variations of your short-tail topical areas to find the real questions people are asking (tools like answerthepublic.com are perfect for revealing this). Of the long-tail variations you identify, which ones have the least amount of competition? Is the estimated Cost Per Click high or low? This practice can help you find a niche, relevant keyword with a low competitive score that could be a quick, easy page one ranking that you didn’t have before.

Still want to go after those high-volume, competitive terms? We’ll walk you through how to rank for competitive keywords.

#4 - Review inbound links to find top performers.

Linking is an important component to any SEO strategy as it helps indicate to search engines that you are an authoritative and credible source of information. The better sites you have linking to your content, the better chance they have to rank higher in the SERPs. But what insights can it provide?

In looking at the number of sources linking to your content, you can see which topics others find the most helpful, giving you a framework you should try to replicate in future content. In addition, you can create supporting blog posts that further promote or amplify your most linked to content. To see your inbound link data and check the credibility of the sites they originate from, try using Moz’s Open Site Explorer. If you want to quickly find your most linked to pages, use the Top Pages view of the tool as shown below.

Moz Open Site Explorer

#5 - Track the behavior of your search traffic.

Once someone finds you through search, what do they do next? Do they bounce? Do they complete a form-fill? In mapping the next steps your audience takes for each keyword group, you can better understand where they are in the funnel and customize additional content that helps move them from stage to stage.

To do this, use the Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics and filter your audience segment to organic traffic to see how your organic audience is navigating your site. Using this method, you can see which pages are bringing the most people in from search engines and where they go next. If you’re seeing incomplete calls to action or audience drop-off, this is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes into play.

Through CRO and A/B testing tools like Google Optimize or Optimizely, you can make small changes to your existing content (e.g. CTA placement, content length, etc.) and see what resulted in more conversions — micro or macro, depending on what stage of the funnel your content is aimed at.

As for what this means for your content strategy, you should look for what specific changes moved the needle or caused a dip in performance. Armed with the results, you can take what worked well and apply it to both your past and future content.

#6 - Uncover new content opportunities with in-site search.

If someone isn’t finding what they need on your site, they probably tried searching for it. This could mean you have a ripe content opportunity resting right under your nose. Make sure to regularly pull data from your own site’s internal search bar — you just may find a new keyword or topic you haven’t covered yet. If you’re uncovering a lot of potential opportunities with this method, prioritize them using the number of times someone used that search term.

Not sure where to find that information? Log into Google Analytics and click on the Site Search report listed under Behavior. Here you can view data on the search terms used, how often they’re used, and a host of other data points. Using data from our own Site Search report (see below), it looks like a blog template might be a good idea for a future post or downloadable asset.

Google Analytics

Stay Data-Informed & Insight-Driven

Believe it or not, data shouldn’t drive your content strategy. Data is open to interpretation, which is why marketers need to be data-informed, not data-driven. Digging into why something failed or took off is more important than tossing out a failed tactic or doubling down on a successful one. Without this analysis and insight, you could be making rash decisions that don’t produce the results you’re looking for.

Instead, content marketers need to use insights to inform their strategy, not create it. For more insight on how to use data to your advantage, check out these data-informed content marketing tips.

The post How to Inform Your Content Strategy Using SEO Insights appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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SEO Data Insights for Content Strategy

SEO Data Insights for Content Strategy Marketers know that quality content and smart SEO are essential for driving toward their marketing goals, but that doesn’t mean success is easy to come by. With 53% of B2B marketers reporting their content marketing is only moderately successful, and another 23% reporting it as not at all or minimally successful, it appears that the majority of B2B marketers are struggling to see noteworthy results. So, how can marketers improve their content marketing and achieve success? The answer is in the data. More specifically, it’s in the insights you can glean from your data, especially SEO-related data. Every marketer has access to this data. And it’s time to take that data, analyze it, and use it to inform your content strategy to create customized, relevant, and insightful content that is more valuable to your target audience. But knowing where to start on your data-informed and insight-driven content marketing journey isn’t always clear.   To start creating more insight-driven content, search data can offer a gold mine of insights. Below we offer six SEO insights you can use to drive your strategy and results.

#1 - Nail down your audience’s search intent.

It's no secret that keyword data can tell you a lot about what your audience is on the hunt for. But it's the intent behind those search terms that really matters. Intent is what will enable you to create more valuable, “best answer” content for your audience. For example, when looking in Google Search Console, if you see that one of your posts is ranking really well for a specific query, but has a low time on page, that could be an indicator that your content doesn’t match up with your audience’s intent. Because of this, your organic audience is probably bouncing from the page. If you can optimize that post to align with their search intent, you’ll likely increase the odds that they’ll stick around. You can also use search intent to identify new content opportunities or gaps. When researching potential keywords in Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush, do your own recon and search the term in an incognito browser window. What content is ranking at the top for each query? What questions is it answering? What is so compelling about that page? (i.e. structure, video or other visual assets, etc.) Is there anything missing? Once you’ve analyzed what has made that page successful and helpful, you can apply those same tactics to your own content. SEM Rush for SEO Research

#2 - Take advantage of older, high-performing content.

Both SEO and content are in it for the long haul. Your content needs to be long-living to maximize its SEO value and drive significant organic results. Plus, with frequent algorithm changes to search engines, what might have been a poor performer in the past could be your top piece of content in the future. Because of this, your existing content actually holds a lot of potential. Using Google Analytics or Search Console, you can review the current keyword rankings, impressions, and clicks for your existing content. To draw insight from this data, you should ask yourself:
  • Are there any posts that have multiple page one rankings?
  • What is each page ranking for?
  • Which posts have the highest organic CTR or number of impressions?
These answers will help you surface your top performers that have the most SEO value. Once identified, you can link to those pages in future content to share that value and further boost your content’s organic performance.

#3 - Low volume doesn’t mean low value.

A common practice for marketers is to look to search volume data to determine target keywords and new content opportunities. Because search volume indicates the number of people searching for any given topic or question, it’s tempting for marketers to go after those searches with a high volume. Who wouldn’t want to capture all 500 monthly searches, right? While it’s tempting to go after high-volume search terms, it’s not always the best choice. And with the rise of voice search, search queries are getting longer and longer. When reviewing potential keyword targets, pay special attention to the long-tail variations of your short-tail topical areas to find the real questions people are asking (tools like answerthepublic.com are perfect for revealing this). Of the long-tail variations you identify, which ones have the least amount of competition? Is the estimated Cost Per Click high or low? This practice can help you find a niche, relevant keyword with a low competitive score that could be a quick, easy page one ranking that you didn’t have before. Still want to go after those high-volume, competitive terms? We’ll walk you through how to rank for competitive keywords.

#4 - Review inbound links to find top performers.

Linking is an important component to any SEO strategy as it helps indicate to search engines that you are an authoritative and credible source of information. The better sites you have linking to your content, the better chance they have to rank higher in the SERPs. But what insights can it provide? In looking at the number of sources linking to your content, you can see which topics others find the most helpful, giving you a framework you should try to replicate in future content. In addition, you can create supporting blog posts that further promote or amplify your most linked to content. To see your inbound link data and check the credibility of the sites they originate from, try using Moz’s Open Site Explorer. If you want to quickly find your most linked to pages, use the Top Pages view of the tool as shown below. Moz Open Site Explorer

#5 - Track the behavior of your search traffic.

Once someone finds you through search, what do they do next? Do they bounce? Do they complete a form-fill? In mapping the next steps your audience takes for each keyword group, you can better understand where they are in the funnel and customize additional content that helps move them from stage to stage. To do this, use the Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics and filter your audience segment to organic traffic to see how your organic audience is navigating your site. Using this method, you can see which pages are bringing the most people in from search engines and where they go next. If you’re seeing incomplete calls to action or audience drop-off, this is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes into play. Through CRO and A/B testing tools like Google Optimize or Optimizely, you can make small changes to your existing content (e.g. CTA placement, content length, etc.) and see what resulted in more conversions — micro or macro, depending on what stage of the funnel your content is aimed at. As for what this means for your content strategy, you should look for what specific changes moved the needle or caused a dip in performance. Armed with the results, you can take what worked well and apply it to both your past and future content.

#6 - Uncover new content opportunities with in-site search.

If someone isn’t finding what they need on your site, they probably tried searching for it. This could mean you have a ripe content opportunity resting right under your nose. Make sure to regularly pull data from your own site’s internal search bar — you just may find a new keyword or topic you haven’t covered yet. If you’re uncovering a lot of potential opportunities with this method, prioritize them using the number of times someone used that search term. Not sure where to find that information? Log into Google Analytics and click on the Site Search report listed under Behavior. Here you can view data on the search terms used, how often they’re used, and a host of other data points. Using data from our own Site Search report (see below), it looks like a blog template might be a good idea for a future post or downloadable asset. Google Analytics

Stay Data-Informed & Insight-Driven

Believe it or not, data shouldn’t drive your content strategy. Data is open to interpretation, which is why marketers need to be data-informed, not data-driven. Digging into why something failed or took off is more important than tossing out a failed tactic or doubling down on a successful one. Without this analysis and insight, you could be making rash decisions that don’t produce the results you’re looking for. Instead, content marketers need to use insights to inform their strategy, not create it. For more insight on how to use data to your advantage, check out these data-informed content marketing tips.

The post How to Inform Your Content Strategy Using SEO Insights appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/guide-to-conquering-content-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/guide-to-conquering-content-marketing/#respond Tue, 29 May 2018 10:30:15 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24320 PRESS START. These two words, which routinely appear on the title screens of video games, present both a prompt and a promise. You won’t advance until completing this simple command, but once you do, a world of adventure awaits. You can “press start” on a brand new CMWorld experience by scrolling down and clicking into [...]

The post Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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PRESS START.

These two words, which routinely appear on the title screens of video games, present both a prompt and a promise. You won’t advance until completing this simple command, but once you do, a world of adventure awaits.

You can “press start” on a brand new CMWorld experience by scrolling down and clicking into our Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing. Prepare to explore new stages and levels with a host of top players in the content marketing game as we unlock the secrets to success in 2018 and beyond.

Get in the Game

When the going gets tough, gamers can navigate to the options menu and turn down the difficulty level. How convenient!

Marketers, of course, don’t have that luxury, which is unfortunate because right now we face steeper challenges than ever in a crowded and rapidly changing environment.

Consider these statistics, from the 2018 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report (the B2B version includes largely similar numbers):

  • Nearly one out of four B2C content marketers (22%) rated their organization’s overall content marketing approach as minimally successful or not at all successful
  • More than half of respondents (51%) said that over the last year, it has become increasingly difficult to capture their audience’s attention
  • Only 36% of B2C content marketers rated the project management flow during their content creation processes as excellent or very good
  • Only 43% of respondents said they are measuring content marketing ROI, with “we need an easier way to do this” cited as by far the most common barrier

Needless to say, there is no shortage of pitfalls along the way to reaching our goals. That’s why we enlisted some of the field’s foremost leaders and experts to help provide guidance. You’ll find plenty in our new guide, which features exclusive tips and tricks from a diverse range of perspectives.  

With the help of this guide, you’ll learn how to craft a content strategy that fits together like Tetris blocks falling perfectly into place. You’ll rattle through your objectives like Pac-Man gobbling dots. And your reach will grow like Mario with a mushroom power-up.

Thank you to all of our experts for sharing their top tips for helping marketers win the content marketing game. Inside, you’ll gain insights from marketers including:

Robert Rose, Nichole Kelly, Tim Washer, Ellie Mirman, Peter Krmpotic, Tamsen Webster, Amanda Todorovich, Courtney Cox, Eli Schwartz, Jay Acunzo, Carla Johnson, Heather Pemberton Levy, Zari Venhaus, Andy Crestodina, Ann Handley, Melanie Deziel, J.P. Medved, Mitch Joel, Michelle Park Lazette, Pam Didner, Dave Charest, Ian Cleary, Lee Odden, Vishal Khanna, Juntae DeLane, Doug Kessler, Joe Pulizzi, Justin Levy, Heidi Cohen, Christopher Penn, Mathew Sweezey, Michael Brenner, Michael Pratt, Ron Tite and Matt Heinz.

Let’s have some fun. Press start and enjoy:

Expert Content Marketing Tips for Sharing

Have a favorite content marketing game tip from one of our talented speakers? Below are a sample of what you’ll find inside the guide. Feel free to share any of these insights to get individuals within your network in the game!


Flip your strategy from being the on-demand creator of content to the proactive editorial strategist. @Robert_Rose
Click To Tweet



Understand where the white space exists in your industry to create content that stands out in an otherwise crowded content marketing landscape. @ellieeille
Click To Tweet



Think about ways to expose data in the content marketing process, so that the data can be acted on. @peterkrmpotic
Click To Tweet



Sophisticated content planning requires historical analysis, an understanding of what’s changed and currently happening around your audience. @amandatodo
Click To Tweet



Marketing needs to slow down and think about substance and context. @annhandley
Click To Tweet



Give yourself permission to really focus on building great, helpful, informative, authoritative content first. It's much easier to monetize it later. @rizzlejpizzle
Click To Tweet



The content creation / promotion imbalance is a big problem for marketers trying to win the content marketing game. @leeodden
Click To Tweet



Content distribution for distribution’s sake is a waste of time. @joepulizzi
Click To Tweet



Look past engagement metrics, to really dig into if the content is moving people towards the next stage in the buying cycle. @msweezey
Click To Tweet


The Next Level

If you’re ready to find out what awaits at the 2018 Content Marketing World conference, click here to check out the agenda.

You can also keep up on the all the latest developments by tracking the #CMWorld hashtag and following CMI on Twitter.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Be Like Honest Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/building-trust-content-marketing-storytelling/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/building-trust-content-marketing-storytelling/#respond Mon, 28 May 2018 10:41:05 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24315 How to Build Trust Through Content Marketing Storytelling

How to Build Trust Through Content Marketing Storytelling

Pardon me for telling the same old story once again ...

Storytelling is a fundamental staple of content marketing.

This isn’t news. It has become a central talking point throughout the business world, and one we’ve discussed quite frequently here on the TopRank Marketing Blog.

Compelling narrative is impactful for fairly obvious reasons: it captivates a reader, keeps them engaged, and tends to leave a lasting impression. The psychological power of storytelling has endured from ancient times, and outweighs any new technology or tactic that comes along.

But one of the less-discussed benefits of storytelling might be among the most important in today’s context: it builds trust with your customers and prospects. Today, we’ll examine how this dynamic works and why every marketer should be on board.

Storytelling Was Abraham Lincoln’s Greatest Strength

Abraham Lincoln, President and Storyteller“Four score and seven years ago…”

With these six words, Abraham Lincoln launched the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous speeches in American history. He set up a persuasive argument in favor of human equality by calling to mind the nation’s origins, and the principles that formed its foundation.

Last year at Quartz, Dacher Keltner wrote about how good leaders tell stories that make people trust them with power, citing Lincoln as a prime example.

Keltner suggested that the 16th president’s “ability to shape moving narratives about the Civil War and the organizing principles of the United States was … crucial to navigating the fractious politics of his presidency.”

Modern marketers are not tasked with bridging a divided country, but we do face an uphill battle in this crowded, fractured digital setting. And with trust toward media, organizations and institutions diminishing, stories present an underrated vehicle for fostering connections and establishing credibility.   

Lisa Saffran, who teaches Storytelling in Public Health at the University of Missouri, explains that storytelling injects an element of humanity, which might be particularly helpful for B2B companies:

“Human beings are primed to tell stories but also to listen for the person behind a story being told. Storytelling, whether it’s reporting the news or writing a memoir, involves the active selection and ordering of some information and the omission of other information. Principles of selection inform what questions we ask and which answers we might receive. This directing, ordering and selecting reflects a human consciousness at work, a person with beliefs, assumptions and suspicions.”

Everywhere you look, the tactic is becoming more ingrained.

[bctt tweet="With trust toward media, organizations and institutions diminishing, stories present an underrated vehicle for fostering connections and establishing credibility. - NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #Storytelling" username="toprank"]

Stories Are Growing More Ubiquitous

Every content creator should consider themself a storyteller. When we write, we are invariably sharing a story: about our solution, about our customers, about the pains we can help solve. And the integration of narrative is extending beyond marketing copy.

Sales professionals are incorporating stories into their presentations and pitches. Companies use stories to attract quality talent. The video marketing movement is largely driven by storytelling and its innate resonance, reflected by the rapid growth of ‘Stories’ on social media platforms.

When people hear or see stories, their brains light up in different ways, tapping both the rational and emotional areas. Tying multiple pieces of information together in a coherent, chronological, and — above all — relatable way makes the message far more affecting. The content suddenly becomes experiential instead of merely educational.

It’s also what an audience craves. As Rachel Gillett wrote for Fast Company:

“Our brains are insanely greedy for stories. We spend about a third of our lives daydreaming–our minds are constantly looking for distractions — and the only time we stop flitting from daydream to daydream is when we have a good story in front of us.”

We can satiate this appetite by putting a good story in front of the people we want to reach. But it’s not that simple.

When it comes to building influence through storytelling, there are a few considerations worth keeping front-and-center.

[bctt tweet="Tying multiple pieces of info together in a coherent, chronological, & relatable way makes the message far more affecting. The content suddenly becomes experiential instead of merely educational. - @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #Storytelling" username="toprank"]

How to Maximize Storytelling as a Trust-Building Tool

Stories serve many purposes in marketing. In our current environment, building trust may be the most vital among them. If this is the goal, make sure you adhere to these imperatives.

#1 - Be Genuine, Authentic, and Transparent

Lincoln didn’t gain the nickname “Honest Abe” for nothing. Despite his physique, the gangly 6-foot-4 politician didn’t have a reputation for spinning tall tales (at least not in misleading ways).

Storytelling backfires when it strikes people as false or disingenuous. Share real anecdotes and back them with third-party evidence or quotes. Telling hard truths, even if it means acknowledging a shortcoming in your business, can be tremendously beneficial in the long run.

Even more than being true to the facts, you must be true to yourself, and your brand.

In his book, All Marketers are Liars, Seth Godin lays this out this first tenet of telling a great story:

“A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.”

[bctt tweet="A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. - @ThisIsSethsBlog #ContentMarketing #Storytelling " username="toprank"]

#2 - Make It Meaningful to Your Audience

You know who you’re trying to reach. Hopefully you know a fair amount about them and their circumstances. When crafting a story, you must ask yourself if there’s a relevant hook that will make it applicable for them personally.

As Ashley Zeckman has written here in the past: “Your customers should be able to see themselves in the story that you are telling through content.”

This dynamic makes case studies, customer testimonials, and content featuring industry thought leaders and influencers — featuring first-person perspectives from businesses very similar to the ones you target as prospects — tremendously powerful.

But even beyond that, it’s crucial to outline situations, scenarios, and challenges that your audience can relate to. Empathy is essential to gaining trust.

[bctt tweet="Your customers should be able to see themselves in the story that you are telling through content. - @azeckman #ContentMarketing #Storytelling" username="toprank"]

#3 - Implement Recurring Themes

As you can tell from the opening sentence of this post, and many of the links scattered throughout, this is not the first time we’ve discussed storytelling on this blog. But we only continue to focus on it because of its critical importance in content marketing today. And hopefully this ongoing emphasis helps crystallize this significance.

There’s an actual psychological phenomenon behind this: our brains give preference to the familiar. Once a seed or idea has been planted through effective and memorable narrative, people are more likely to notice and internalize it going forward.

In other words, telling the “same old story” isn’t such a bad thing, so long as you can find new angles and dimensions to explore. A robust, ongoing, expanding narrative has the capability to continually reinforce trust and confidence.

[bctt tweet="Telling the “same old story” isn’t such a bad thing, so long as you can find new angles and dimensions to explore. - NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #Storytelling" username="toprank"]

What’s Your Story?

via GIPHY

As you contemplate your brand narrative and how you’ll present it going forward, I encourage you to keep these three cornerstones in mind: authenticity, relevance, and familiarity. When storytelling incorporates all three elements successfully, it can build trust in ways unparalleled by other methods.

Storytelling can not only build trust, but also influence with your audience. Check out our post Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing for actionable tips and insights.

At TopRank Marketing, storytelling is a core component of our content marketing approach. Give us a shout if you’d like to hear the whole story.

The post Be Like Honest Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Build Trust Through Content Marketing Storytelling

How to Build Trust Through Content Marketing Storytelling Pardon me for telling the same old story once again ... Storytelling is a fundamental staple of content marketing. This isn’t news. It has become a central talking point throughout the business world, and one we’ve discussed quite frequently here on the TopRank Marketing Blog. Compelling narrative is impactful for fairly obvious reasons: it captivates a reader, keeps them engaged, and tends to leave a lasting impression. The psychological power of storytelling has endured from ancient times, and outweighs any new technology or tactic that comes along. But one of the less-discussed benefits of storytelling might be among the most important in today’s context: it builds trust with your customers and prospects. Today, we’ll examine how this dynamic works and why every marketer should be on board.

Storytelling Was Abraham Lincoln’s Greatest Strength

Abraham Lincoln, President and Storyteller“Four score and seven years ago…” With these six words, Abraham Lincoln launched the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous speeches in American history. He set up a persuasive argument in favor of human equality by calling to mind the nation’s origins, and the principles that formed its foundation. Last year at Quartz, Dacher Keltner wrote about how good leaders tell stories that make people trust them with power, citing Lincoln as a prime example. Keltner suggested that the 16th president’s “ability to shape moving narratives about the Civil War and the organizing principles of the United States was … crucial to navigating the fractious politics of his presidency.” Modern marketers are not tasked with bridging a divided country, but we do face an uphill battle in this crowded, fractured digital setting. And with trust toward media, organizations and institutions diminishing, stories present an underrated vehicle for fostering connections and establishing credibility.    Lisa Saffran, who teaches Storytelling in Public Health at the University of Missouri, explains that storytelling injects an element of humanity, which might be particularly helpful for B2B companies:
“Human beings are primed to tell stories but also to listen for the person behind a story being told. Storytelling, whether it’s reporting the news or writing a memoir, involves the active selection and ordering of some information and the omission of other information. Principles of selection inform what questions we ask and which answers we might receive. This directing, ordering and selecting reflects a human consciousness at work, a person with beliefs, assumptions and suspicions.”
Everywhere you look, the tactic is becoming more ingrained. [bctt tweet="With trust toward media, organizations and institutions diminishing, stories present an underrated vehicle for fostering connections and establishing credibility. - NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #Storytelling" username="toprank"]

Stories Are Growing More Ubiquitous

Every content creator should consider themself a storyteller. When we write, we are invariably sharing a story: about our solution, about our customers, about the pains we can help solve. And the integration of narrative is extending beyond marketing copy. Sales professionals are incorporating stories into their presentations and pitches. Companies use stories to attract quality talent. The video marketing movement is largely driven by storytelling and its innate resonance, reflected by the rapid growth of ‘Stories’ on social media platforms. When people hear or see stories, their brains light up in different ways, tapping both the rational and emotional areas. Tying multiple pieces of information together in a coherent, chronological, and — above all — relatable way makes the message far more affecting. The content suddenly becomes experiential instead of merely educational. It’s also what an audience craves. As Rachel Gillett wrote for Fast Company:
“Our brains are insanely greedy for stories. We spend about a third of our lives daydreaming–our minds are constantly looking for distractions — and the only time we stop flitting from daydream to daydream is when we have a good story in front of us.”
We can satiate this appetite by putting a good story in front of the people we want to reach. But it’s not that simple. When it comes to building influence through storytelling, there are a few considerations worth keeping front-and-center. [bctt tweet="Tying multiple pieces of info together in a coherent, chronological, & relatable way makes the message far more affecting. The content suddenly becomes experiential instead of merely educational. - @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #Storytelling" username="toprank"]

How to Maximize Storytelling as a Trust-Building Tool

Stories serve many purposes in marketing. In our current environment, building trust may be the most vital among them. If this is the goal, make sure you adhere to these imperatives.

#1 - Be Genuine, Authentic, and Transparent

Lincoln didn’t gain the nickname “Honest Abe” for nothing. Despite his physique, the gangly 6-foot-4 politician didn’t have a reputation for spinning tall tales (at least not in misleading ways). Storytelling backfires when it strikes people as false or disingenuous. Share real anecdotes and back them with third-party evidence or quotes. Telling hard truths, even if it means acknowledging a shortcoming in your business, can be tremendously beneficial in the long run. Even more than being true to the facts, you must be true to yourself, and your brand. In his book, All Marketers are Liars, Seth Godin lays this out this first tenet of telling a great story:
“A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.”
[bctt tweet="A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. - @ThisIsSethsBlog #ContentMarketing #Storytelling " username="toprank"]

#2 - Make It Meaningful to Your Audience

You know who you’re trying to reach. Hopefully you know a fair amount about them and their circumstances. When crafting a story, you must ask yourself if there’s a relevant hook that will make it applicable for them personally. As Ashley Zeckman has written here in the past: “Your customers should be able to see themselves in the story that you are telling through content.” This dynamic makes case studies, customer testimonials, and content featuring industry thought leaders and influencers — featuring first-person perspectives from businesses very similar to the ones you target as prospects — tremendously powerful. But even beyond that, it’s crucial to outline situations, scenarios, and challenges that your audience can relate to. Empathy is essential to gaining trust. [bctt tweet="Your customers should be able to see themselves in the story that you are telling through content. - @azeckman #ContentMarketing #Storytelling" username="toprank"]

#3 - Implement Recurring Themes

As you can tell from the opening sentence of this post, and many of the links scattered throughout, this is not the first time we’ve discussed storytelling on this blog. But we only continue to focus on it because of its critical importance in content marketing today. And hopefully this ongoing emphasis helps crystallize this significance. There’s an actual psychological phenomenon behind this: our brains give preference to the familiar. Once a seed or idea has been planted through effective and memorable narrative, people are more likely to notice and internalize it going forward. In other words, telling the “same old story” isn’t such a bad thing, so long as you can find new angles and dimensions to explore. A robust, ongoing, expanding narrative has the capability to continually reinforce trust and confidence. [bctt tweet="Telling the “same old story” isn’t such a bad thing, so long as you can find new angles and dimensions to explore. - NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #Storytelling" username="toprank"]

What’s Your Story?

via GIPHY As you contemplate your brand narrative and how you’ll present it going forward, I encourage you to keep these three cornerstones in mind: authenticity, relevance, and familiarity. When storytelling incorporates all three elements successfully, it can build trust in ways unparalleled by other methods. Storytelling can not only build trust, but also influence with your audience. Check out our post Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing for actionable tips and insights. At TopRank Marketing, storytelling is a core component of our content marketing approach. Give us a shout if you’d like to hear the whole story.

The post Be Like Honest Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Building Better Influencer Relationships: 7 Cues Marketers Can Take from Sales http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/influencer-marketing-sales/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/influencer-marketing-sales/#respond Wed, 23 May 2018 10:30:56 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24295 Influencer marketing is booming with B2B and B2C brands big and small dipping their toes in the water. And it’s certainly not hard to see why. From declining consumer trust to content overload to near-dead organic reach on social channels, working with influencers enables brands to build credibility, authority with existing and new audiences, as [...]

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Influencer marketing is booming with B2B and B2C brands big and small dipping their toes in the water. And it’s certainly not hard to see why. From declining consumer trust to content overload to near-dead organic reach on social channels, working with influencers enables brands to build credibility, authority with existing and new audiences, as well as connect with thoughtful industry experts.

And, of course, partnering with influencers can help drive marketing results. In fact, according to a Linqia survey, 94% of marketers who use influencer marketing find it an effective practice that can generate up to 11-times the ROI of traditional advertising.

But in order to keep your influencer partners interested, as well as drive results, thoughtful engagement is paramount. It’s all about building relationships — which is an art form, and an area where your sales team can be incredibly helpful. And I should know. I’m a recovering salesperson who’s now embedded in the influencer marketing world.

Below I share seven sales-industry strategies and ideas that can be used to boost and inspire your influencer relations activities.

#1 – Do your research.

Any successful salesperson will tell you that sales is really about making friends. And you can’t make friends if you don’t know who you’re contacting.

Sales teams are often well-versed in scouring and researching on LinkedIn and other online tools, looking for clues, connections and topics to discuss with their prospects or existing customers.

When it comes to researching influencers you’d like to work with, that research and understanding is not only important to learn if they’re a good fit for your brand, but also the kind of topics they’re talking about, the people they follow and engage with, and even their personality. And all this can inform how you should with them before, during, and after the first time your work together.

#2 – Use tools to save time and properly nurture.

I know salespeople who have a big Excel spreadsheet they use to keep track of their prospects and contacts. But as their list grows, managing contacts and relationships becomes cumbersome and inefficient. That’s why most sales teams use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to keep track of who their prospects and customers are, track their interactions and measure the likelihood the prospect will close.

The same best practice should be applied to influencer relations and marketing. You need a tool or a set of tools to keep track of prospective and current influencer contacts. This will not only help you be efficient (and preserve your sanity), but also help you properly nurture the relationship through informed communication. Some of these helpful tools include Onalytica and Traackr.

My advice, don’t go it alone. Use a tool.

#3 – Social selling rocks.

Nobody likes to be cold called. Eighty percent of decision makers won’t buy from a cold call and only 2% actually result in a meeting being scheduled. So, when I discovered social selling, I jumped in with both feet. I’d get to know my prospects on social media. Then, when I decided to reach out to them, they already knew me. It wasn’t a cold call, anymore.

Getting to know your influencers works the same way. As touched on above, through social media, you can understand what they like to share, start to build a connection, and then interact with them before you make an ask.

You can look at this as smart influencer engagement. TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden calls this the “Confluence Romance,” a framework for making and maintaining influencer relationships.

“Organic influencer engagement is all about warming the relationship,” he says. “And there’s no more efficient or effective way to do that than showing interest and care through social channels.”


Organic #InfluencerEngagement is all about warming the relationship & there's no more efficient or effective way to do that than showing interest & care through social channels. - @leeodden
Click To Tweet


#4 – “Say it with a smile.”

Did you know you can see a smile through the phone? It comes out in they way you write, too. I learned this in a sales class, and I’ve tested it. It really makes a difference if you smile through your interactions. People will be more likely to want to interact with you.

When it comes to your interactions with influencers, aim to delight people and show them you genuinely care by:

  • Thoughtfully commenting on recent social posts
  • Asking them about recent trips they’ve taken or events they’ve attended
  • Showing interest in their key subject areas

And, don’t forget. Let your smile come through in all your interactions.

#5 – Personalize Your Correspondence

More than ever, consumers and buyers want a personalized touch during their interactions with brands and salespeople — especially when it comes to email marketing, something that HubSpot spotlights in its article 18 Habits of Incredibly Successful Salespeople.

Just as forward-thinking salespeople work to create a personalized experience for their customers and buyers, marketers should do the same when reaching out to influencers.

It’s easy to send the same message to everyone you’re hoping to work with on a curated piece, larger asset, or ongoing campaign. But, a little personalization goes a long way. Consider mentioning a tweet or blog post you found interesting, or a previous conversation to show that you are not a bot.

And, there are tools to help. You might consider a tool like Crystal Knows, which will help you understand the personality of your influencer prospect.

Influencers expect and deserve a personal ask, so make the effort.


Influencers expect & deserve a personal ask, so make the effort. - @dfriez #InfluencerRelations #InfluencerMarketing
Click To Tweet


#6 – Ask for the Close

Salespeople are taught to find the best time to ask for “the close.” It may be a presumptive close, but the overall idea is to lead prospects to the outcome that includes “money being exchanged.”

Here’s where you want to stop me and say: “I’m a marketer. I’m not selling anything.”

Marketers, you’re selling your brand, the relationship, and the idea that working together will be mutually beneficial. You’re also trying to entice influencers take an action on a range of “offerings,” such as sharing a quote for an eBook or sharing something on social. You need to lead that influencer to an outcome that helps achieve your overall goal of solving a problem.

How do you shape the close for an influencer? As I’ve mentioned a few times, look to create a mutually beneficial relationship. Consider the influencer may want to promote their book, spotlight their thought leadership or help the greater community. So, frame the close in a way that speaks to what they’ll get out of it.

#7 – Sometimes They Say No

The hardest lesson a salesperson can learn is to accept “no” for answer. It’s a really hard lesson. After a “no,” the best think you can do is to access the sale process, and learn how you can do better the next time.

Sometimes, influencers say “no,” too. You ask them to attend an event, but they may have a prior commitment. Or, maybe they don’t feel like the subject matter matches their expertise.

When they say “no”, be gracious and ask follow-up questions to gain insight into why they made their decision. You might learn they have availability in two weeks, so your timing was just off. It is important to always be looking for the “next sale.” It is all a part of the process.

The Process of Building Better Relationships

At the end of the day, sales teams aren’t looking to close one-off deals. They’re looking to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with their customers.

Marketers need to strive to do the same with influencers. It takes time and dedication, but it’s worth it for both you and your influencers.

So, consider taking a cue from the land of sales to help you create a great relationships utilizing research, personalization, tools, social media, and a great attitude. You might find you’re getting fewer nos.

Are you ready to go make some positive influencer interactions?  You don’t need to go it alone. If you want help with an influencer marketing campaign, contact TopRank Marketing.  


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | Building Better Influencer Relationships: 7 Cues Marketers Can Take from Sales | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Calling All Content Marketers: Sound Off in Our Content Marketing Planning Survey! http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/content-marketing-planning-survey/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/content-marketing-planning-survey/#respond Mon, 14 May 2018 10:30:11 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24259 2018 Content Planning Survey

2018 Content Planning Survey

We’re all in this together.

Granted, it might not always feel that way. The current environment we operate in as marketers is a competitive one. But we do have the power to collectively drive our discipline forward, toward greater efficiency and productivity. This begins with sharing knowledge, and improving our understanding of the most prevalent challenges and obstacles being faced.

In this spirit, we’ve partnered with our clients and friends at DivvyHQ to whip up a new 2018 Content Planning Survey, and we’d love your input.

What’s Inside the Survey

The idea is to gather data from a wide range of marketers in efforts to form a clear and accurate picture of how today’s content teams operate and where the key opportunities lie.

[bctt tweet="“One thing marketers can do to improve their content planning is stop planning each piece of content. The key to an effective editorial plan is committing to a publishing cadence.” @brennermichael" username="toprank"]

Topics covered in this quick, five-minute survey:

  • Content planning processes and tools
  • Content team structure and collaboration
  • Content marketing tactics and metrics

Insights Content Marketers Will Gain

The more responses added from pros in the trenches like yourself, the more useful the results will be. Among the enlightening findings from DivvyHQ’s 2017 Content Planning Report:

  • 64% of respondents cited “developing a comprehensive content strategy” as a top challenge
  • Only 10% identified “creating clear defined objectives” as a successful aspect of planning
  • 58% of respondents said they were “too busy” to collaborate with peers
  • The most utilized content marketing tactics were email (89%), blog articles (88%) and video (80%)
  • 28% of respondents said they do not conduct regular content planning meetings

[bctt tweet="“There is such a thing as a bad slow in marketing. But there is a critical need for a good slow, too.” @annhandley" username="toprank"]

So please, add your voice by filling out the survey. The best part? While you aren’t required to provide an email address, if you do, you’ll receive exclusive early access to the report generated from the aggregated information.

A Fresh Look at Content Planning for 2018

What’s changed this year? Where will we be able to identify trends and prevalent changes in focus? By submitting your own survey, you can be among the first to find out.

Armed with these insights, you’ll be able to better assess how your team measures up against the content marketing world at large, helping to guide your strategy onward and upward.

Together, we can take content to new heights.

The post Calling All Content Marketers: Sound Off in Our Content Marketing Planning Survey! appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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2018 Content Planning Survey

2018 Content Planning Survey We’re all in this together. Granted, it might not always feel that way. The current environment we operate in as marketers is a competitive one. But we do have the power to collectively drive our discipline forward, toward greater efficiency and productivity. This begins with sharing knowledge, and improving our understanding of the most prevalent challenges and obstacles being faced. In this spirit, we’ve partnered with our clients and friends at DivvyHQ to whip up a new 2018 Content Planning Survey, and we’d love your input.

What’s Inside the Survey

The idea is to gather data from a wide range of marketers in efforts to form a clear and accurate picture of how today’s content teams operate and where the key opportunities lie. [bctt tweet="“One thing marketers can do to improve their content planning is stop planning each piece of content. The key to an effective editorial plan is committing to a publishing cadence.” @brennermichael" username="toprank"] Topics covered in this quick, five-minute survey:
  • Content planning processes and tools
  • Content team structure and collaboration
  • Content marketing tactics and metrics

Insights Content Marketers Will Gain

The more responses added from pros in the trenches like yourself, the more useful the results will be. Among the enlightening findings from DivvyHQ’s 2017 Content Planning Report:
  • 64% of respondents cited “developing a comprehensive content strategy” as a top challenge
  • Only 10% identified “creating clear defined objectives” as a successful aspect of planning
  • 58% of respondents said they were “too busy” to collaborate with peers
  • The most utilized content marketing tactics were email (89%), blog articles (88%) and video (80%)
  • 28% of respondents said they do not conduct regular content planning meetings
[bctt tweet="“There is such a thing as a bad slow in marketing. But there is a critical need for a good slow, too.” @annhandley" username="toprank"] So please, add your voice by filling out the survey. The best part? While you aren’t required to provide an email address, if you do, you’ll receive exclusive early access to the report generated from the aggregated information.

A Fresh Look at Content Planning for 2018

What’s changed this year? Where will we be able to identify trends and prevalent changes in focus? By submitting your own survey, you can be among the first to find out. Armed with these insights, you’ll be able to better assess how your team measures up against the content marketing world at large, helping to guide your strategy onward and upward. Together, we can take content to new heights.

The post Calling All Content Marketers: Sound Off in Our Content Marketing Planning Survey! appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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5 Reasons Why B2B Content Marketing Works & 5 Reasons It Doesn’t http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/why-content-marketing-works/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/why-content-marketing-works/#respond Wed, 09 May 2018 10:30:07 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24234 Why Content Marketing Works & Why It Doesn't

Why Content Marketing Works & Why It Doesn't

It’s no secret that content marketing is a widely adopted tactic. In fact, over 90% of B2B Marketers say they’re using it to reach their larger business goals, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report. However, just 24% of B2B marketers rate their content marketing as extremely or very successful.

Why is content marketing working extremely well for some marketers, but not for others? What makes content marketing so effective, and what holds (your content marketing efforts) back?

Well, let’s talk all about it. Content is at the center of everything we do here at TopRank Marketing. And below we dive into some of the key reasons why content marketing efforts succeed or fall short. Hopefully, this insight can help you level up your own content marketing strategy in a way that amplifies your results.

5 Reasons Why Content Marketing Works

#1 - You’re solving a problem.

While this is a fundamental marketing concept, it needs mentioning. Simply put, content marketing works when you’re able to create and deliver content that solves a specific, relevant problem for your audience.

Buyers are increasingly self-directed in their research and purchasing decisions, taking their questions to search engines to find answers. That’s why it’s no surprise that many searches start with question words like how, what, where, when, and why. Your audience is looking for content that can provide them with the best answer, tutorial, guide, checklist, or another resource that can help solve their problems.

So, when your content delivers exactly what your audience is looking for and where they’re looking for it, you can gain traffic, foster engagement, and nurture them to action.

[bctt tweet="Simply put, #ContentMarketing works when you’re able to create and deliver content that solves a specific, relevant problem for your audience. - @aleuman4" username="toprank"]

#2 - You’re targeting your ideal audience.

Successful marketing is rooted in being able to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time and on the right platform. The “spray and pray” method, where you’re blasting out content and hoping that your message sticks, can’t help you do this. But when done right, content marketing allows brands to target specific buyer personas and reach their ideal audience.

When content is personalized to address buyer pain points and common questions, you can capture more qualified traffic and leads, which increases the overall value of your content marketing efforts. In our experience, successful content marketers start by defining buyer personas, identifying their relevant pain points, and mapping them to content they might find helpful based on SEO opportunities and where they are in the sales funnel (e.g. checklists, definitions, infographics, etc.).

#3 - When you leverage customer data and insights.

We live in the age of big data. Every marketer has data. Every marketer knows data holds power. And the most forward-thinking marketers are leveraging data and their practical knowledge to draw insights that can be acted upon in their marketing strategy.

With data pouring into services like Google Analytics, you can see where your audience is dropping off, how they spend their time on your site, or what content has the best conversion rate. In addition, there are many public, third-party data providers that can be paired with your own data to gain more insight. Armed with this information, you can optimize your content marketing strategy based on your analysis to generate better results.

#4 - You’re climbing the rankings.

We all know that search engines help audiences find content. But without content, a brand has little SEO value.

As a result, successful content marketers don’t rely only on their brand’s main website pages to draw in organic traffic. Brands that are baking SEO in from the start are able to create strategic content in many forms across their owned digital channels to expand their footprint, greatly increasing their chance of attracting more organic traffic to drive results.

#5 - You’re showing credibility, not telling.

How do customers know that you’re an authority in your industry? Or that you’re a credible source of information?

When done well, content marketing allows you to become the best answer for your audience, showing them over and over again that you have the goods. This builds trust between you and your audience as they start to see you as an expert on the subjects you discuss. And because trust is strong, you can more effectively influence customers on their purchasing decisions.

Creating expert content that is seen as authoritative has other benefits as well. In fact, a study from inPowered found that expert content lifted awareness by 88% more than branded content, and increased purchase consideration by 38% more.

Building trust through credible content comes in many forms. Of course, capitalizing on SEO is an important piece of the puzzle. But successful marketers understand that tactical integration of a variety of content types is key. Among some of those different credibility-boosting tactics are influencer content, employee interviews, and original research and studies.

[bctt tweet="#ContentMarketing allows you to become the best answer for your audience, showing them over and over again that you have the goods. " username="toprank"]

Read: 8 Ways to Build Credibility & Trust with Content Marketing

5 Reasons Why Content Marketing Doesn’t Work

#1 - You don’t have the resources.

Content marketing is not a “one and done” marketing tactic. Brands who start publishing and can’t stick to a schedule may find that their audience becomes disinterested, causing traffic to dip and search engines to notice the lack of publishing. 

But maintaining consistency is easier said than done for most marketers. Each piece of content can take hours to research, edit, beef up with keywords, and crosslink to other pieces of content. All of this time quickly adds up, consuming additional resources and adding on to your content marketing costs.

Whether you decide on a daily, weekly, or monthly posting cadence, the key is to stick with it.

[bctt tweet="#ContentMarketing is not a “one and done” marketing tactic. - @aleuman4" username="toprank"]

#2 - You’re putting out quantity, not quality.

Another key to content marketing success is quality. Why? Your audience and search engines demand high-quality, authoritative content. Brands that don’t dedicate enough time or effort to their content, and making sure that it truly serves a purpose, likely find their audiences don’t want to listen to what they have to say.

With your audience tuned out, search engines could also see your content as less valuable, decreasing your rankings and impressions. And then you're left asking:

via GIPHY

Read: The Content Marketing Juggling Act: How to Consistently Create Quality, Engaging Content

#3 - Your competition is growing.

Everywhere you look today, you’re confronted with content. Content lives in our social media news feeds, email inbox, text messages, and more. Brands and media outlets alike are all competing for an individual’s attention through content, creating a very saturated market that is ripe with competition. And if you’re executing content marketing, you could quickly start competing with yourself.

For example, brands who post too frequently could decrease their overall engagement with their audience. Or, they could start creating content that’s similar to things they’ve published in the past, cannibalizing from their own work. CoSchedule experienced this dip in engagement when increasing their blog posts from two to three each week. The increase in blog posts per week resulted in a decrease of 236 social shares per post, and a decrease in page views per blog post.

#4 - The impact of your content is hard to see.

With metrics that don’t directly translate to revenue, proving the value of content marketing can be difficult. CMOs want to hear about the business you’ve been able to generate, not the page views you’ve garnered or your average session duration. While those things are valuable, they don’t prove that you’ve grown the business, supported your sales team, or produced new leads.

As an example, it’s challenging to prove that just because someone read your latest eBook that they felt motivated enough to purchase your software or use your services. Because the impact of content is so difficult to measure, brands struggle with determining if their content is working or not. In fact, this is likely what contributes to only 35% of B2B marketers reporting that they measure content marketing ROI.

#5 - You're impatient.

Generally speaking, content marketing does not produce immediate, short-term results like a traditional promotion or sale would. Content marketing strategies are designed to reach your audience at multiple touch points during their journey.

Of course short-term wins are often achieved with a strategic content marketing plan, but at the end of the day, content marketing really is a long-term play. It’s about producing long-term value and strengthening your client relationships.

As a result, this means you need time to really grow their content ROI into something that’s worth raving about and produces a positive return. So, if you aren’t in it for the long-haul, success will elude you.

[bctt tweet="If you aren’t in it for the long-haul, #ContentMarketing success will elude you. - @aleuman4" username="toprank"]

A Tailor-Made Content Strategy

From SEO value to thought leadership, there are a lot of reasons why B2B content marketing works for brands. But there are plenty of reasons it fails. Content is hard to tie into your pipeline and there are a lot of competitors vying for your audience’s attention.

But if you can create a content marketing strategy that overcomes those challenges and takes advantage of those benefits, you could see amazing results from your campaigns.

Not sure how you should start altering your strategy? Try starting by using these six questions you should use to guide your content marketing strategy.

The post 5 Reasons Why B2B Content Marketing Works & 5 Reasons It Doesn’t appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Why Content Marketing Works & Why It Doesn't

Why Content Marketing Works & Why It Doesn't It’s no secret that content marketing is a widely adopted tactic. In fact, over 90% of B2B Marketers say they’re using it to reach their larger business goals, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report. However, just 24% of B2B marketers rate their content marketing as extremely or very successful. Why is content marketing working extremely well for some marketers, but not for others? What makes content marketing so effective, and what holds (your content marketing efforts) back? Well, let’s talk all about it. Content is at the center of everything we do here at TopRank Marketing. And below we dive into some of the key reasons why content marketing efforts succeed or fall short. Hopefully, this insight can help you level up your own content marketing strategy in a way that amplifies your results.

5 Reasons Why Content Marketing Works

#1 - You’re solving a problem.

While this is a fundamental marketing concept, it needs mentioning. Simply put, content marketing works when you’re able to create and deliver content that solves a specific, relevant problem for your audience. Buyers are increasingly self-directed in their research and purchasing decisions, taking their questions to search engines to find answers. That’s why it’s no surprise that many searches start with question words like how, what, where, when, and why. Your audience is looking for content that can provide them with the best answer, tutorial, guide, checklist, or another resource that can help solve their problems. So, when your content delivers exactly what your audience is looking for and where they’re looking for it, you can gain traffic, foster engagement, and nurture them to action. [bctt tweet="Simply put, #ContentMarketing works when you’re able to create and deliver content that solves a specific, relevant problem for your audience. - @aleuman4" username="toprank"]

#2 - You’re targeting your ideal audience.

Successful marketing is rooted in being able to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time and on the right platform. The “spray and pray” method, where you’re blasting out content and hoping that your message sticks, can’t help you do this. But when done right, content marketing allows brands to target specific buyer personas and reach their ideal audience. When content is personalized to address buyer pain points and common questions, you can capture more qualified traffic and leads, which increases the overall value of your content marketing efforts. In our experience, successful content marketers start by defining buyer personas, identifying their relevant pain points, and mapping them to content they might find helpful based on SEO opportunities and where they are in the sales funnel (e.g. checklists, definitions, infographics, etc.).

#3 - When you leverage customer data and insights.

We live in the age of big data. Every marketer has data. Every marketer knows data holds power. And the most forward-thinking marketers are leveraging data and their practical knowledge to draw insights that can be acted upon in their marketing strategy. With data pouring into services like Google Analytics, you can see where your audience is dropping off, how they spend their time on your site, or what content has the best conversion rate. In addition, there are many public, third-party data providers that can be paired with your own data to gain more insight. Armed with this information, you can optimize your content marketing strategy based on your analysis to generate better results.

#4 - You’re climbing the rankings.

We all know that search engines help audiences find content. But without content, a brand has little SEO value. As a result, successful content marketers don’t rely only on their brand’s main website pages to draw in organic traffic. Brands that are baking SEO in from the start are able to create strategic content in many forms across their owned digital channels to expand their footprint, greatly increasing their chance of attracting more organic traffic to drive results.

#5 - You’re showing credibility, not telling.

How do customers know that you’re an authority in your industry? Or that you’re a credible source of information? When done well, content marketing allows you to become the best answer for your audience, showing them over and over again that you have the goods. This builds trust between you and your audience as they start to see you as an expert on the subjects you discuss. And because trust is strong, you can more effectively influence customers on their purchasing decisions. Creating expert content that is seen as authoritative has other benefits as well. In fact, a study from inPowered found that expert content lifted awareness by 88% more than branded content, and increased purchase consideration by 38% more. Building trust through credible content comes in many forms. Of course, capitalizing on SEO is an important piece of the puzzle. But successful marketers understand that tactical integration of a variety of content types is key. Among some of those different credibility-boosting tactics are influencer content, employee interviews, and original research and studies. [bctt tweet="#ContentMarketing allows you to become the best answer for your audience, showing them over and over again that you have the goods. " username="toprank"] Read: 8 Ways to Build Credibility & Trust with Content Marketing

5 Reasons Why Content Marketing Doesn’t Work

#1 - You don’t have the resources.

Content marketing is not a “one and done” marketing tactic. Brands who start publishing and can’t stick to a schedule may find that their audience becomes disinterested, causing traffic to dip and search engines to notice the lack of publishing.  But maintaining consistency is easier said than done for most marketers. Each piece of content can take hours to research, edit, beef up with keywords, and crosslink to other pieces of content. All of this time quickly adds up, consuming additional resources and adding on to your content marketing costs. Whether you decide on a daily, weekly, or monthly posting cadence, the key is to stick with it. [bctt tweet="#ContentMarketing is not a “one and done” marketing tactic. - @aleuman4" username="toprank"]

#2 - You’re putting out quantity, not quality.

Another key to content marketing success is quality. Why? Your audience and search engines demand high-quality, authoritative content. Brands that don’t dedicate enough time or effort to their content, and making sure that it truly serves a purpose, likely find their audiences don’t want to listen to what they have to say. With your audience tuned out, search engines could also see your content as less valuable, decreasing your rankings and impressions. And then you're left asking: via GIPHY Read: The Content Marketing Juggling Act: How to Consistently Create Quality, Engaging Content

#3 - Your competition is growing.

Everywhere you look today, you’re confronted with content. Content lives in our social media news feeds, email inbox, text messages, and more. Brands and media outlets alike are all competing for an individual’s attention through content, creating a very saturated market that is ripe with competition. And if you’re executing content marketing, you could quickly start competing with yourself. For example, brands who post too frequently could decrease their overall engagement with their audience. Or, they could start creating content that’s similar to things they’ve published in the past, cannibalizing from their own work. CoSchedule experienced this dip in engagement when increasing their blog posts from two to three each week. The increase in blog posts per week resulted in a decrease of 236 social shares per post, and a decrease in page views per blog post.

#4 - The impact of your content is hard to see.

With metrics that don’t directly translate to revenue, proving the value of content marketing can be difficult. CMOs want to hear about the business you’ve been able to generate, not the page views you’ve garnered or your average session duration. While those things are valuable, they don’t prove that you’ve grown the business, supported your sales team, or produced new leads. As an example, it’s challenging to prove that just because someone read your latest eBook that they felt motivated enough to purchase your software or use your services. Because the impact of content is so difficult to measure, brands struggle with determining if their content is working or not. In fact, this is likely what contributes to only 35% of B2B marketers reporting that they measure content marketing ROI.

#5 - You're impatient.

Generally speaking, content marketing does not produce immediate, short-term results like a traditional promotion or sale would. Content marketing strategies are designed to reach your audience at multiple touch points during their journey. Of course short-term wins are often achieved with a strategic content marketing plan, but at the end of the day, content marketing really is a long-term play. It’s about producing long-term value and strengthening your client relationships. As a result, this means you need time to really grow their content ROI into something that’s worth raving about and produces a positive return. So, if you aren’t in it for the long-haul, success will elude you. [bctt tweet="If you aren’t in it for the long-haul, #ContentMarketing success will elude you. - @aleuman4" username="toprank"]

A Tailor-Made Content Strategy

From SEO value to thought leadership, there are a lot of reasons why B2B content marketing works for brands. But there are plenty of reasons it fails. Content is hard to tie into your pipeline and there are a lot of competitors vying for your audience’s attention. But if you can create a content marketing strategy that overcomes those challenges and takes advantage of those benefits, you could see amazing results from your campaigns. Not sure how you should start altering your strategy? Try starting by using these six questions you should use to guide your content marketing strategy.

The post 5 Reasons Why B2B Content Marketing Works & 5 Reasons It Doesn’t appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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32 B2B Content Marketing Case Studies for 2018 http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/b2b-content-marketing-case-studies-2018/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/b2b-content-marketing-case-studies-2018/#respond Mon, 07 May 2018 10:15:38 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24174 One of the great honors of working in the marketing agency world is seeing your work recognized. For me, an even greater honor is seeing the work of our clients and my team recognized and that’s exactly what happened at the 2018 Killer Content Awards. This year the award in question went to our client Cherwell [...]

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B2B Content Marketing Case Studies

One of the great honors of working in the marketing agency world is seeing your work recognized. For me, an even greater honor is seeing the work of our clients and my team recognized and that’s exactly what happened at the 2018 Killer Content Awards.

This year the award in question went to our client Cherwell Software. Thanks to amazing work by Alison Munn and the Cherwell Software team (pictured above), as well as our team at TopRank Marketing, their integrated influencer content program drove 22% of all new sales pipeline revenue in 2017.

But this post isn’t about just one B2B content marketing story. It’s about 32 stories from an impressive collection of B2B brands. These award winners are case studies for content marketing that we can all learn from. A BIG THANKS goes to the team at B2B Marketing Exchange for sharing raw case study data and both Anne Leuman and Lane Ellis from my team at TopRank Marketing for their collaboration on word-smithing the content and capturing the images of this post.

Check out the case studies below covering a range of categories including:

  • Measurable ROI, Nurture Campaign
  • Multi-Touch Campaign
  • Account-Based Marketing Campaign
  • Sales Enablement Campaign
  • Buyer-Focused Content, Bundled Content
  • Influencer Content
  • Interactive Content
  • Short-Form Content
  • Video Content
  • Research-Based Content
  • Agency Partnership
  • Social Amplification

32 B2B Marketing Case Studies Featuring Killer Content and Performance Results

Ciox Health
#1 – Ciox Health

Project: Ciox Health partnered with Content4Demand to uncover new growth opportunities with target audiences (e.g. law firms). After creating detailed personas, they developed highly tailored content messaging for all stages of the buyer’s journey. The final campaign featured an infographic, interactive quizzes, interactive listicles, checklists, Q&A sessions, and mixed media video.

Results:

  • Reached 1,884 potential prospects
  • 42.8% open rate
  • 14.5% CTR

Equifax
#2 – Equifax

Project: Equifax developed a multi-touch campaign consisting of more than seven touch points, including emails, social posts, blogs, webinars, and promotional emails. Quarterly webinars were the centerpiece of the campaign, allowing Equifax to capitalize on existing economic trends and CreditTrends reporting that were relevant to their target audience.

Results:

  • Increased webinar registrations by over 200%
  • Nearly doubled webinar attendees

The Kount
#3 – Kount

Project: The Kount team, a provider of award-winning anti-fraud technology, created the Fraud360 worldwide tours, regular webinars, and video ads, which were designed to provide market-specific content and tailored insights that focused on specific trends and industries.

Results:

  • Average of 450 registered webinar attendees per session
  • Thousands of views on video ads
  • Reached thousands of professionals in target regions, including Asia, Australia, and EMEA

Xactly
#4 – Xactly

Project: In order to prove its knowledge of buyer pain points and the effectiveness of its solutions, Xactly rolled out the Power of X campaign. Using customer testimonials and product demos, Xactly strived to nurture existing relationships and drive demand through an integrated, buyer-focused campaign across all segments, featuring a landing page hub, social promotion, direct mail, customer videos, and webinars.

Results:  280 leads generated

SAP Ariba
#5 – SAP Ariba

Project: SAP Ariba wanted to create a complete lifecycle nurture program for each of its targeted personas: Procurement, Supply Chain, Finance, and IT. Working with DemandGen, SAP Ariba mapped all 80 emails appropriately and used non-promotional language to emphasize their “thought leadership” content.

Results:  454% higher open rate

ADP
#6 – ADP

Project: To identify potential buyers and convert readers into sales opportunities, ADP developed a flagship Research Nurture Program. The program leverages website analytics, marketing automation, and scoring to identify key buyer personas, customize content, and send nurture emails for longer-term engagement.

Results:

Generated thousands of influenced sales opportunities
Millions of dollars forecasted in total opportunity pipeline

Bottomline Technologies
#7 – Bottomline Technologies

Project: Bottomline Technologies breathed new life into its quarterly awareness email campaigns by introducing themes that aligned with pop culture events. By making subtle tweaks, the company was also able to create relevant messaging for different lines of business (e.g. strategic finance, controller, accounts payable), including infographics, white papers, and checklists.

Results:

  • 1,000 infographic downloads within 24 hours
  • 62% of downloads were net-new contacts

Veracode
#8 – Veracode

Project: Veracode created the Application Security Program Journey multi-touch campaign to drive awareness and generate demand for application security. The integrated, multi-touch campaign consisted of various content mapped against the buyer’s journey, as well as multiple inbound and outbound promotional tactics.

Results:

  • 4,000 inquiries
  • 479 opportunities
  • 241 wins

Optum
#9 – Optum

Project: To promote the launch of its new brand, OptumIQ, Optum created Data In Focus, an event to attract decision makers and influencers in person and via a livestream. Over a six-week period leading up to the event, the company unveiled key event details via an integrated campaign utilizing email, paid and organic social, digital advertising, retargeting ads, direct mail, and more.

Results:

  • 5,022 external registrations
  • Exceeded registration-to-attendee conversion rate goal by 33%
  • 13.6 million impressions
  • 886 marketing contacts

Broadridge
#10 – Broadridge

Project: With a sales cycle that can be quite lengthy, Broadridge sought to create a campaign that would steadily educate target buyers — finance executives and operations/IT leaders — on their value proposition. The full-funnel campaign included interactive infographics, eBooks, executive briefs, and Q&A’s that addressed buyer pain points. Broadridge paired this campaign with an internal guide to educate sales on the campaign goals, individual assets, and follow-up conversation starters to ensure quality interactions with buyers.

Results:

  • 2,133 MQLs
  • 6,995 content downloads

Grant Thornton
#11 – Grant Thornton

Project: The Growth and Future of Industry campaign from Grant Thornton was created to help business leaders understand ways to accelerate growth and manage disruption. With over 60 pieces of content and an extensive social media campaign, it is the single biggest research program and thought leadership campaign the company has ever undertaken. Grant Thornton also leveraged paid media — a first for the company — to improve campaign reach and visibility among clients and prospects.

Results:

  • Exceeded reach goal by 4x
  • Exceeded conversion rate goal by 7.5x
  • Industry-specific reach and conversion goals were also exceeded

Open Text
#12 – OpenText

Project: The OpenText Digital Disruption thought leadership campaign was launched to engage enterprise executives in a fun and engaging way as they strive to understand and embrace digital disruption. The campaign used a re-designed microsite to house a variety of assets with a fun superpower theme, allowing visitors to easily consume content — even binge it all in a single sitting.

Results:

  • 9:12 average session duration
  • Increased social traffic to the microsite by 1,062%

Cherwell Software
#13 – Cherwell Software 

Project: Cherwell Software partnered with TopRank Marketing to develop a comprehensive influencer program for the IT service management industry. A 24-page eBook called IT Service Management 2020, kicked off the campaign, featuring influencer opinions about the future of the ITSM industry. To generate pre-launch interest, Cherwell produced and promoted several blog posts, an infographic, and co-hosted a webinar with the influencers.

Results:

  • 100% share rate with influencers
  • 240% greater download rate than the average gated asset
  • 29% increase in web traffic to Cherwell.com from social
  • Leads from the campaign contributed to 22% of the revenue pipeline for 2017

Paycom
#14 – Paycom

Project: Paycom collaborated with best-selling author, keynote speaker and futurist Jacob Morgan on a series of content to give HR professionals a closer look into why employee engagement scores are at an all-time low despite increased employer investment. The campaign featured a two-part podcast, a webinar, and a series of thought leadership blog articles — all featuring Morgan.

Results:
255 live attendees, 30 of which signed up for a Paycom consultation
1,172 podcast downloads
494 podcast page views
1,410 blog post page views

Blackbaud
#15 – Blackbaud

Project: To differentiate the company’s two fundraising solutions, Blackbaud launched their Choose Your Solution campaign. The campaign featured an interactive quiz to help arts and cultural organizations identify the right fundraising solution based on their needs, and to help qualify leads faster and bypass repetitive introductory questions asked by sales reps.

Results:

  • 36 influenced opportunities that resulted in $34,000 in pipeline
  • 42% MQL-to-opportunity conversion rate

Uberflip
#16 – Uberflip

Project: Uberflip created an interactive marketing maturity assessment and companion eBook that asked marketers to take a hard look and identify where they stand in their marketing path. The assessment enabled Uberflip to provide their sales team with better MQLs and gain more information about existing accounts.

Results:

  • 907,843 impressions and 1,297 clicks on social media in just three months
  • 38% question completion rate
  • 64% average lead submission rate

Siemens PLM Software
#17 – Siemens PLM Software

Project: To educate customers and prospects on digital twins and digital threads, Siemens PLM Software created a thought leadership initiative. This initiative included creating a series of blog posts answering common buyer questions on digital twins and threads.

Results:

  • 3,800 page views across articles
  • Ranking No. 2 on google for “value of the digital twin” and No. 14 for “digital twin technology”

CAS
#18 – CAS

Project: In order to help scientists and research leaders at research and development organizations define important problems and highlight the opportunities additional time could give them, CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, developed the Where Does Your Time Go? infographic.

Results:

  • Generated 489 leads
  • 20,400 views

Oracle
#19 – Oracle

Project: Oracle developed The Modern Finance Leader blog series to establish itself as a leader in the world of finance. The blog targets finance executives across North America, EMEA, and APAC and provides content designed to educate and inform the audience on the latest trends and topics in finance.

Results:

  • 330 posts published
  • 90,000 unique visits
  • 500,000 page views
  • 63% increase in web traffic quarter over quarter

Bottomline Technolgies
#20 – Bottomline Technologies

Project: Bottomline Technologies partnered Content4Demand to develop an interactive eBook designed to showcase how three organizations — from manufacturing, healthcare, and property management industries — used their Paymode-X network to elevate efficiency and improve their bottom line.

Results:

  • 54.3% email open rate, 39.8% CTR, 73.4% click-to-open rate
  • 362 downloads through content syndication
  • 4 MQLs, 2 SAOs, and $3.2 million in associated pipeline

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
#21 – Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Project: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield collaborated with Skyword to revamp an existing piece of content, titled: The Benefits Guide. In response to new audience needs, Anthem pivoted the asset away from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) focus and replaced it with a newsroom that conveyed news and decisions relevant for plan holders.

Results:

  • 103% increase in page views and 102% increase in search views from Q2 to Q3 in 2017
  • 798,000 total page views from 2016 to 2017

SAP
#22 – SAP

Project: SAP launched its #LifeAt video campaign to highlight their many innovators, game-changers, and true entrepreneurs, but SAP also sought to humanize the brand for its target audience. The SAP team partnered with the video marketing agency Aftermarq to produce video stories of SAP SMB clients of varying lengths.

Results:

  • 4.5 million impressions
  • 31% view-through rate for 5:00 videos
  • 21% view-through rate for 1:00 videos

LinkedIn
#23 – LinkedIn

Project: LinkedIn’s Live with Marketers campaign is a live talk show by marketers for marketers, designed to resolve pain points around top-of-mind topics such as marketing attribution, ROI optimization, and driving business impact on social media.

Results:

  • 12,000 registrants
  • 5,000 live attendees
  • Increased projected revenue from deals closed through this series versus traditional webcasts

Matrixx Software
#24 – MATRIXX Software

Project: MATRIXX Software designed its 150 Points of Opportunity campaign to differentiate their content from that of their competitors, while also showcasing how their product delivers value to customers. The campaign featured a 44-page eBook and five standalone videos.

Results:

  • 77% return rate to the MATRIXX website
  • 43% increase in average session duration
  • 25% growth in C-suite interaction and target account engagement rate

Tempur Sealy
#25 – Tempur Sealy Hospitality

Project: Tempur Sealy Hospitality was looking for a way to present their high-quality mattresses to B2B buyers in the hospitality industry without having to lug around a physical sample. The company worked with The Mx Group to create an interactive mattress cutaway tool that allowed sales reps to digitally present and sell various mattresses to hospitality customers online and at industry trade shows.

Results: Achieved a 90% adoption rate with the sales force

LookBook HQ
#26 – LookBookHQ

Project: In an effort to re-engage lost opportunities and give the sales team more prospects that were more likely to convert, LookBookHQ created their Caveman campaign. The campaign consisted of an interactive digital experience built on the LookBookHQ platform, a direct mail component, and follow-up email outreach from sales.

Results:

  • Booked 300 meetings
  • Generated more than 50 new opportunities
  • Saw a 56% overall conversion rate, up 27% from the previous year

Channel Advisor
#27 – ChannelAdvisor

Project: ChannelAdvisor decided to create two unique ABM campaigns that targeted strategic accounts via direct mail. The two campaigns provided over 250 prospects with pre-loaded Amazon devices, featuring ChannelAdvisor skills and apps that educated prospects on e-commerce strategies that were relevant to them.

Results:

  • Achieved an ROI of 130%
  • 39% of generated opportunities were net-new

Trapeze Group
#28 – Trapeze Group

Project: Trapeze Group kicked off an ABM pilot with the objective to identify top accounts with which to deepen engagements and create personalized one-to-one messaging and campaigns — ultimately influencing closed-won opportunities. The ABM pilot has since been rolled out to 60 target accounts.

Results:

  • 111% increase in session duration
  • 100% response rate to the direct mail component

Harland Clarke
#29 – Harland Clarke

Project: To drive awareness for the company’s new product, GRC Spotlight, Harland Clarke created the “Keeping Up with Kevin” campaign. The star and subject matter expert for the campaign, Kevin Malicki, participated in video blogs that were shared over social media — primarily LinkedIn — to help deliver tips and real-world scenarios in the GRC space.

Results:

  • 33,000 LinkedIn impressions
  • Increased Malicki’s LinkedIn connections by 22%
  • Increased Malicki’s LinkedIn profile views by 110%

Ipswitch
#30 – Ipswitch

Project: Ipswitch created the “Defrag This” podcast and blog to help provide a trusted knowledge base for IT professionals that offers audience-centric content via social channels.

Results:

  • Nearly 200% growth in blog subscribers
  • 174% increase in monthly visitors to the blog
  • 133% increase in organic traffic to the blog

Radius
#31 – Radius

Project: Radius’ Revenue Ops campaign was designed to help educate prospects in marketing and sales operations on how their role in B2B business is evolving — from simple execution to providing data and insights to help drive revenue. The campaign was fueled by an eBook that Radius co-created with companies such as Heinz Marketing, Engagio, Forrester, and more.

Results:

  • 500 eBook downloads in the first two days
  • Engaged more than 300 top-tier accounts
  • Influenced more than $5 million in pipeline

Emma
#32 – Emma

Project: Emma wanted to learn what makes today’s marketers tick, as well as promote collaboration and learning within the community. The company surveyed roughly 200 marketers and interviewed more than 25 industry experts to gauge the goals, concerns, and pressures facing marketers, then compiled the data into its first Email Marketing Industry Report.

Results:

  • Over 41,000 unique views
  • Contributed to 37% of the company’s content downloads

Top Takeaways for B2B Content Marketers

Themes of success from this collection of B2B content marketing examples include: data informed personas, personalization, interactive content, integrated content, thought leadership and influence. Of particular note was the use of live video by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

As interactive content has become a more common feature in award-winning B2B content in 2018, I think video will take that spot in 2019.

There’s a lot to learn from with award winning content marketing programs and I congratulate all the B2B brands that brought him Finny’s this year. The awards give recognition to great work and they also give us a look inside what’s really working in the industry.

Have you noticed a B2B content marketing campaign this year that was remarkable? If so, please share in the comments why you thought it was special.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | 32 B2B Content Marketing Case Studies for 2018 | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Redesigning Your Website? Make Sure SEO & Content Have a Seat at Website Migration Table http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/seo-content-migration-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/05/seo-content-migration-strategy/#respond Wed, 02 May 2018 10:30:52 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24170 SEO and Content Integration During Website Migration

SEO and Content Integration During Website Migration

Digital marketers know their company’s website is more than a digital storefront. It’s a marketplace that must deliver a quality, engaging experience for prospects and customers once they arrive. So, it’s no surprise that the average company invests in a website redesign every three years to stay fresh, competitive, and meet evolving customer expectations.

In our experience, however, design faux pas aren’t the biggest marketing missteps that can lead to poor results after a migration—it’s the lack of a solid website migration strategy that encompasses both SEO and content considerations.

There’s no question that SEO needs to play a leading role in the planning, design, and execution of any website migration. But SEO can’t stand alone—it needs a content lens to ensure a solid performance after the switch is flipped.

Better Together: Content + SEO for Migration Success

A poorly planned and executed migration after a site refresh or redesign can lead to decreases in organic traffic and reduced search visibility in both the short- and long-term. And chances are, your marketing team has spent innumerable hours crafting content and optimizing your site for both user experience and search engine performance—and you don’t want it all to be for naught.

By baking content and SEO into your website migration strategy, you have the opportunity to:

#1 – Strike that oh-so-necessary balance between SEO and user experience.

If you’re embarking on a website redesign, chances are your goals are to improve user experience and optimize conversions paths, all while strengthening your organic search footprint. But without SEO and content working together, the steps you take to reach those goals can’t be fully informed or reach their full potential. The key is integration from the start.

[bctt tweet="For a smooth website migration process, integration of #content & #SEO is key from the start. - @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

#2 – Bolster top performing content (and weed out weak or irrelevant content).

Site migrations often involve some picking and choosing as far as what content needs to be kept, killed, updated, or created. The last thing you want to do is cut or disrupt the content your audience loves—but you also don’t want to pass up opportunities for adding or improving content with potential or killing content that’s no longer viable. As a result, this is definitely the sweet spot for SEO and content integration in a migration scenario.

From an SEO perspective, you can leverage Google Analytics and Google Search Console to analyze traffic, conversions, ranking, and engagement rates. Then content can be grouped into suggested buckets of what content stays, what content needs updates, what content can be killed, and what content you may be missing. From there, strategic content tweaks can be made with both SEO and user experience in mind before launch.

[bctt tweet="During a website migration, the last thing you want to do is cut content your audience loves. But you also want to take advantage of opportunities to improve content with potential. - @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

Read: How to Use Google Search Console to Increase SEO Visibility

#3 – Promote your new and improved site.

After making your shiny new site live, it can be tempting to relax and celebrate. But the work isn’t done. Of course, technical SEO considerations such as 301 redirects, site crawlability, site speed, mobile friendliness, and backlinks need QA and monitoring to ensure your content is working its magic on search engines. You'll also need to make sure your site map is updated in Google Search Console if any URL structures have changed.

But where does that leave your customers and prospects?

Communicating and promoting the changes you made is a must—but it’s something that is often overlooked. So, in addition to your post-migration SEO checklist, create a promotional plan (e.g. email newsletter update, social media, blog post highlighting key new features, etc.) to ensure you’re getting the word out.

[bctt tweet="The importance of communication & promotion after a website migration should not be overlooked. - @Alexis5485" username="toprank"]

#4 – Make ongoing tweaks that satisfy user and search engine needs.

After launching your redesigned site, you’ll likely be measuring like crazy to learn where users are dropping off, if you’re losing any traffic to key pages, and if you’re losing conversions from anywhere.

Of course, tweaks will be needed to capitalize on SEO opportunities. But just sprinkling in keywords isn’t the answer. You need context and insight—some of which can be drawn from the competitive content landscape—in order to make strategic content updates that better answer your audience’s questions, as well as send positive signals to search engines.

[bctt tweet="You need context & insight in order to make strategic content updates that better answer your audience’s questions & send positive signals to search engines. - @Alexis5484 #websitemigration" username="toprank"]

Integration = More Successful Migration

There’s little doubt that SEO needs be at the forefront of any website redesign and subsequent migration. But it shouldn’t stand alone. By pairing content and SEO together, you can make more thoughtful and strategic decisions that will help you bolster user experience as well as search visibility.

Looking for more insights and tips on SEO and content integration? Here’s some light reading:

Looking for a website migration partner? Look no further. We can help.

The post Redesigning Your Website? Make Sure SEO & Content Have a Seat at Website Migration Table appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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SEO and Content Integration During Website Migration

SEO and Content Integration During Website Migration Digital marketers know their company’s website is more than a digital storefront. It’s a marketplace that must deliver a quality, engaging experience for prospects and customers once they arrive. So, it’s no surprise that the average company invests in a website redesign every three years to stay fresh, competitive, and meet evolving customer expectations. In our experience, however, design faux pas aren’t the biggest marketing missteps that can lead to poor results after a migration—it’s the lack of a solid website migration strategy that encompasses both SEO and content considerations. There’s no question that SEO needs to play a leading role in the planning, design, and execution of any website migration. But SEO can’t stand alone—it needs a content lens to ensure a solid performance after the switch is flipped.

Better Together: Content + SEO for Migration Success

A poorly planned and executed migration after a site refresh or redesign can lead to decreases in organic traffic and reduced search visibility in both the short- and long-term. And chances are, your marketing team has spent innumerable hours crafting content and optimizing your site for both user experience and search engine performance—and you don’t want it all to be for naught. By baking content and SEO into your website migration strategy, you have the opportunity to:

#1 – Strike that oh-so-necessary balance between SEO and user experience.

If you’re embarking on a website redesign, chances are your goals are to improve user experience and optimize conversions paths, all while strengthening your organic search footprint. But without SEO and content working together, the steps you take to reach those goals can’t be fully informed or reach their full potential. The key is integration from the start. [bctt tweet="For a smooth website migration process, integration of #content & #SEO is key from the start. - @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

#2 – Bolster top performing content (and weed out weak or irrelevant content).

Site migrations often involve some picking and choosing as far as what content needs to be kept, killed, updated, or created. The last thing you want to do is cut or disrupt the content your audience loves—but you also don’t want to pass up opportunities for adding or improving content with potential or killing content that’s no longer viable. As a result, this is definitely the sweet spot for SEO and content integration in a migration scenario. From an SEO perspective, you can leverage Google Analytics and Google Search Console to analyze traffic, conversions, ranking, and engagement rates. Then content can be grouped into suggested buckets of what content stays, what content needs updates, what content can be killed, and what content you may be missing. From there, strategic content tweaks can be made with both SEO and user experience in mind before launch. [bctt tweet="During a website migration, the last thing you want to do is cut content your audience loves. But you also want to take advantage of opportunities to improve content with potential. - @Alexis5484" username="toprank"] Read: How to Use Google Search Console to Increase SEO Visibility

#3 – Promote your new and improved site.

After making your shiny new site live, it can be tempting to relax and celebrate. But the work isn’t done. Of course, technical SEO considerations such as 301 redirects, site crawlability, site speed, mobile friendliness, and backlinks need QA and monitoring to ensure your content is working its magic on search engines. You'll also need to make sure your site map is updated in Google Search Console if any URL structures have changed. But where does that leave your customers and prospects? Communicating and promoting the changes you made is a must—but it’s something that is often overlooked. So, in addition to your post-migration SEO checklist, create a promotional plan (e.g. email newsletter update, social media, blog post highlighting key new features, etc.) to ensure you’re getting the word out. [bctt tweet="The importance of communication & promotion after a website migration should not be overlooked. - @Alexis5485" username="toprank"]

#4 – Make ongoing tweaks that satisfy user and search engine needs.

After launching your redesigned site, you’ll likely be measuring like crazy to learn where users are dropping off, if you’re losing any traffic to key pages, and if you’re losing conversions from anywhere. Of course, tweaks will be needed to capitalize on SEO opportunities. But just sprinkling in keywords isn’t the answer. You need context and insight—some of which can be drawn from the competitive content landscape—in order to make strategic content updates that better answer your audience’s questions, as well as send positive signals to search engines. [bctt tweet="You need context & insight in order to make strategic content updates that better answer your audience’s questions & send positive signals to search engines. - @Alexis5484 #websitemigration" username="toprank"]

Integration = More Successful Migration

There’s little doubt that SEO needs be at the forefront of any website redesign and subsequent migration. But it shouldn’t stand alone. By pairing content and SEO together, you can make more thoughtful and strategic decisions that will help you bolster user experience as well as search visibility. Looking for more insights and tips on SEO and content integration? Here’s some light reading: Looking for a website migration partner? Look no further. We can help.

The post Redesigning Your Website? Make Sure SEO & Content Have a Seat at Website Migration Table appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Camera Shy: 7 Tips for First-Time Video Marketers http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/video-marketing-tips-beginners/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/video-marketing-tips-beginners/#respond Mon, 30 Apr 2018 10:31:53 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24163 Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers

Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers

Video isn’t for the faint of heart. You need to feel confident enough to put yourself, and your brand, out there. But it’s a medium that a lot of marketers are exploring as it holds a lot of potential.

In fact, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts that 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. Video is a main source of content consumption, including everything from the news to YouTube tutorials. And as marketers looking to demonstrate thought leadership and credibility, video presents a unique opportunity to get in front of and educate your target audience. However, 64% of marketers agree that video is the hardest type of content to produce, turning many people away from embracing video.  

Never one to shy away from a challenge, we’ve been diving in head-first here at TopRank Marketing. We’ve been doing video for a while through our Digital Marketing News casts, but we recently started expanding to include a video series (Crush-It!) that inspires the next generation of curious, courageous, and clever digital marketers. Each video features one of our internal experts, which brought both seasoned and green video personalities to the stage.

If you’re thinking that you want to enter the world of video marketing, check out our team’s video marketing tips from their own experiences in front of the camera, as well as behind the scenes.

Our Video Marketing Experts

Tiffani Allen TopRank MarketingTiffani Allen

Senior Account Manager

One of the anchors for our Digital Marketing News YouTube series, Tiffani is a veteran in front of the camera. Having starred in over 100 videos, as well as directed videos for a few of our clients, Tiffani knows how to organize and shoot effective videos.

Follow Tiffani on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Josh NiteJoshua Nite

Senior Content Marketing Manager

As Tiffani’s Digital Marketing News co-anchor, Josh also has plenty of advice for marketers going in front of or behind the camera. With over 100 videos under his belt as well, Josh is no stranger to video marketing.

Follow Josh on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Nick Nelson

Content Strategist

Recently appearing in one of our latest Crush-It! episodes, Nick has useful tips for first-timers. Having covered video marketing strategies and tips in the past for our own blog content, Nick’s also picked up some advice from leading brands and video experts.

Follow Nick on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Steve SlaterSteve Slater

Senior SEO and Digital Advertising Manager

Video isn’t widely known for being SEO-friendly. But as a dedicated SEO expert, Steve provides great insight into how you can still take advantage of video for search marketing. Steve has also appeared in our Crush-It series, becoming a breakout star with some helpful tips.

Follow Steve on Twitter and Linkedin.

7 Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers

#1 - Get ready for your close-up.

Video is all about “looks,” but looks don’t just boil down to your hair or makeup. It’s more so about making sure that your talented cast comes prepared and well-versed on the subject they’re going to be talking about. This will allow them to appear more comfortable, relaxed, and confident on camera. Afterall, everyone appearing in the video will be an extension of your brand. To help you get ready for your close up and put your best self forward, here are some tips from our team on your appearance and demeanor.

“If you appear nervous or lacking in confidence, it'll probably be visible to viewers. This is no easy task, especially for the camera-shy, but be mindful of the vibe you're giving off. Try as hard as you can to relax and have fun. It'll show.” - Nick Nelson

“Relax! It can be uncomfortable to be on camera, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Think of it as a conversation with your audience versus a video – it takes some of the pressure off. Also, avoid super busy patterns or lines when you’re picking out what to wear. It can make some really crazy things happen visually.” - Tiffani Allen

In addition to keeping your appearance in check, you also can’t stop once you start. This lesson can be applied to plenty of things you’ll try throughout your marketing career. But if you want to experience success with your videos, it will take a lot grit, determination, and outside-the-box thinking. Even if you aren’t getting the views or subscriptions you want, you have to keep at it, optimizing your approach along the way.

“You have to commit. The first video probably won't be great. It might not even be good. Keep going and it will get better.” - Steve Slater

We’ve been iterating on our approach to video since 2016, starting with the basics, learning as we go, and striving to make each take better than the next.

Here’s an early example from us from a couple years back.

And here’s a video from last week. We've been working on finding the perfect lighting scenario, experimenting with different cuts, angles, and interstitials, and other refinements.

#2 - You don’t need a blockbuster budget.

Video is an expensive endeavor. Or, it can be. Between lighting, audio, video, and editing equipment, it can quickly become a costly investment. But just because you have all of the bells and whistles, doesn’t mean your video will be a success. Instead, focus on the content of your videos to ensure that your video will be watched and appreciated.

“You don’t have to have a huge budget. You can work with what you have to create a great video, you just have to get creative.” - Tiffani Allen

Our own videos don’t have a huge budget. For example, we shot the below video in one of our offices and used the creative theme of meditation to engage our audience. It was an out-of-the-box idea, but it currently holds the title for longest watch time.

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

#3 - Practice your narrative, not your lines.

When it comes to film, there’s usually a script that’s followed. When it comes to your video marketing, you’ll also want a script that helps you stay on track and express all of your talking points. However, while it’s tempting to document everything you want to say, word for word, avoid that urge as best as you can. Having a script is helpful, but it can also cause your video to feel less organic or authentic. Check out our team’s tips below for practicing ahead of filming.

“I would recommend carefully planning out your talking points ahead of time and rehearsing them so they don't escape your mind on the spot. You don't need to memorize a script — in fact, you might not want to, as you'll likely come off as robotic and not very conversational — but memorize the things you'd generally like to say. This will help prevent the "ums" and "uhs" that can become stressful when the camera is rolling.” - Nick Nelson

“I would recommend going over your talking points to have a good understanding of what you want to say, but NOT scripting it out verbatim. You want to keep it sounding natural and human.” - Joshua Nite

“Practice your narrative, not your lines. If you try to remember what you’re going to say verbatim, you’ll likely need to do multiple takes and it may come off as rehearsed or inauthentic. Know what message you’re trying to deliver and you’ll have much more fun!” - Tiffani Allen

#4 - Nail down your intention.

If you’re writing a blog post, putting together an eBook, or drafting an email, there’s typically a call to action (CTA) with a link. When it comes to video, however, that type of call to action becomes harder to include. While links are important and can be included as bumpers or within the video description, we would challenge you to think more critically about the action you want to inspire from your audience.

Video offers a vastly different experience for your audience than physical text. This means your CTA can offer a different experience as well. Do you want viewers to subscribe? Like the video? Share it? Comment? All of those CTAs now become options. You need to decide what you want your audience to do before you think about a measurable CTA.

“This comes down to being creative. What are you really trying to accomplish? Know that first, then figure out what tools you have at your disposal to get there. Can’t embed CTAs in your YouTube videos? Use bumpers with short links and add them to the description.” - Tiffani Allen

For our own Crush-It videos, we added clickable CTAs at the end of our videos to subscribe to our channel or watch another episode.

Crush-It Video Calls to Action

#5 - Put someone in the director’s chair.

If you have a low-budget for your video marketing projects, odds are you don’t have a director or cameraman to back you up. While we don’t expect you to go out and hire someone to fill that void, simply enlisting a coworker or friend to press record has immense value. Even if they don’t have video experience, if they can help you start and stop your video clips, you can save hours in the editing chair.

“I think my biggest piece of advice is to have someone behind the camera. It really helps if it's someone who knows what they're doing (like our own video mastermind, Adam Dunn), but even just having someone to push the button and stand there made a drastic difference in how quick and easy it was to record.” - Joshua Nite

via GIPHY

#6 - Video transcriptions aren’t just for closed captioning.

Video has a reputation for not being SEO-friendly. Because video by nature has minimal crawlable text, the SEO value is perceived to be low. However, there’s a workaround we’ve discovered that can more than make up for a video’s lack of text. What’s that secret? Transcriptions that allow for supportive, repurposed blog content and increased search visibility.

“Transcribe those videos when you embed them on your website. Don't miss out on giving Google all that great content to index.” - Steve Slater

“If your video focuses on keywords and topics that are important to your audience, it might be worth creating a written transcript and having it accompany the embedded video in a blog post. This will enable you to gain SEO traction and draw more inbound traffic for the vid. Include optimized headers and everything for maximum impact. Moz sets a good example of this with their Whiteboard Friday sessions.” - Nick Nelson

Moz Whiteboard Friday Video Transcription

#7 - Be your biggest critic.

If you’re anything like me, you do not like the sound of your own voice or watching yourself on screen. But if you want to improve your videos, it’s something that you have to do to measure your own performance. Skipping out on watching yourself can lead to you repeating past mistakes.

“To quote the great LIttle Walter, ‘you better watch yourself.’ I know it isn't fun but watch your own videos. See how you look and act on camera.” - Steve Slater

via GIPHY

Lights. Camera. Action.

Video marketing is a large undertaking for any brand as it involves looping in your brand’s internal thought leaders, investing in new equipment, and putting your brand into uncharted territory. But if you let the fear of budget, failure, or judgement hold you back, you’ll never reach the results you’re looking for.

For your best chance at creating video that’s award-worthy, it’s important that you stay organized, authentic, and determined. And we speak from experience when we say that it can be challenging at times, but the payoff is video content that educates and inspires — a common goal for many marketers.

Not sure what your first video should cover or aim to do? Struggling to come up with a starting point? Check out our other video marketing resources for inspiration and guidance:

The post Camera Shy: 7 Tips for First-Time Video Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers

Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers Video isn’t for the faint of heart. You need to feel confident enough to put yourself, and your brand, out there. But it’s a medium that a lot of marketers are exploring as it holds a lot of potential. In fact, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts that 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. Video is a main source of content consumption, including everything from the news to YouTube tutorials. And as marketers looking to demonstrate thought leadership and credibility, video presents a unique opportunity to get in front of and educate your target audience. However, 64% of marketers agree that video is the hardest type of content to produce, turning many people away from embracing video.   Never one to shy away from a challenge, we’ve been diving in head-first here at TopRank Marketing. We’ve been doing video for a while through our Digital Marketing News casts, but we recently started expanding to include a video series (Crush-It!) that inspires the next generation of curious, courageous, and clever digital marketers. Each video features one of our internal experts, which brought both seasoned and green video personalities to the stage. If you’re thinking that you want to enter the world of video marketing, check out our team’s video marketing tips from their own experiences in front of the camera, as well as behind the scenes.

Our Video Marketing Experts

Tiffani Allen TopRank MarketingTiffani Allen

Senior Account Manager One of the anchors for our Digital Marketing News YouTube series, Tiffani is a veteran in front of the camera. Having starred in over 100 videos, as well as directed videos for a few of our clients, Tiffani knows how to organize and shoot effective videos. Follow Tiffani on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Josh NiteJoshua Nite

Senior Content Marketing Manager As Tiffani’s Digital Marketing News co-anchor, Josh also has plenty of advice for marketers going in front of or behind the camera. With over 100 videos under his belt as well, Josh is no stranger to video marketing. Follow Josh on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Nick Nelson

Content Strategist Recently appearing in one of our latest Crush-It! episodes, Nick has useful tips for first-timers. Having covered video marketing strategies and tips in the past for our own blog content, Nick’s also picked up some advice from leading brands and video experts. Follow Nick on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Steve SlaterSteve Slater

Senior SEO and Digital Advertising Manager Video isn’t widely known for being SEO-friendly. But as a dedicated SEO expert, Steve provides great insight into how you can still take advantage of video for search marketing. Steve has also appeared in our Crush-It series, becoming a breakout star with some helpful tips. Follow Steve on Twitter and Linkedin.

7 Video Marketing Tips for First-Timers

#1 - Get ready for your close-up.

Video is all about “looks,” but looks don’t just boil down to your hair or makeup. It’s more so about making sure that your talented cast comes prepared and well-versed on the subject they’re going to be talking about. This will allow them to appear more comfortable, relaxed, and confident on camera. Afterall, everyone appearing in the video will be an extension of your brand. To help you get ready for your close up and put your best self forward, here are some tips from our team on your appearance and demeanor.
“If you appear nervous or lacking in confidence, it'll probably be visible to viewers. This is no easy task, especially for the camera-shy, but be mindful of the vibe you're giving off. Try as hard as you can to relax and have fun. It'll show.” - Nick Nelson “Relax! It can be uncomfortable to be on camera, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Think of it as a conversation with your audience versus a video – it takes some of the pressure off. Also, avoid super busy patterns or lines when you’re picking out what to wear. It can make some really crazy things happen visually.” - Tiffani Allen
In addition to keeping your appearance in check, you also can’t stop once you start. This lesson can be applied to plenty of things you’ll try throughout your marketing career. But if you want to experience success with your videos, it will take a lot grit, determination, and outside-the-box thinking. Even if you aren’t getting the views or subscriptions you want, you have to keep at it, optimizing your approach along the way.
“You have to commit. The first video probably won't be great. It might not even be good. Keep going and it will get better.” - Steve Slater
We’ve been iterating on our approach to video since 2016, starting with the basics, learning as we go, and striving to make each take better than the next. Here’s an early example from us from a couple years back. And here’s a video from last week. We've been working on finding the perfect lighting scenario, experimenting with different cuts, angles, and interstitials, and other refinements.

#2 - You don’t need a blockbuster budget.

Video is an expensive endeavor. Or, it can be. Between lighting, audio, video, and editing equipment, it can quickly become a costly investment. But just because you have all of the bells and whistles, doesn’t mean your video will be a success. Instead, focus on the content of your videos to ensure that your video will be watched and appreciated.
“You don’t have to have a huge budget. You can work with what you have to create a great video, you just have to get creative.” - Tiffani Allen
Our own videos don’t have a huge budget. For example, we shot the below video in one of our offices and used the creative theme of meditation to engage our audience. It was an out-of-the-box idea, but it currently holds the title for longest watch time. Read: How to Get Started with Video Content Marketing (Without a Blockbuster Budget)

#3 - Practice your narrative, not your lines.

When it comes to film, there’s usually a script that’s followed. When it comes to your video marketing, you’ll also want a script that helps you stay on track and express all of your talking points. However, while it’s tempting to document everything you want to say, word for word, avoid that urge as best as you can. Having a script is helpful, but it can also cause your video to feel less organic or authentic. Check out our team’s tips below for practicing ahead of filming.
“I would recommend carefully planning out your talking points ahead of time and rehearsing them so they don't escape your mind on the spot. You don't need to memorize a script — in fact, you might not want to, as you'll likely come off as robotic and not very conversational — but memorize the things you'd generally like to say. This will help prevent the "ums" and "uhs" that can become stressful when the camera is rolling.” - Nick Nelson “I would recommend going over your talking points to have a good understanding of what you want to say, but NOT scripting it out verbatim. You want to keep it sounding natural and human.” - Joshua Nite “Practice your narrative, not your lines. If you try to remember what you’re going to say verbatim, you’ll likely need to do multiple takes and it may come off as rehearsed or inauthentic. Know what message you’re trying to deliver and you’ll have much more fun!” - Tiffani Allen

#4 - Nail down your intention.

If you’re writing a blog post, putting together an eBook, or drafting an email, there’s typically a call to action (CTA) with a link. When it comes to video, however, that type of call to action becomes harder to include. While links are important and can be included as bumpers or within the video description, we would challenge you to think more critically about the action you want to inspire from your audience. Video offers a vastly different experience for your audience than physical text. This means your CTA can offer a different experience as well. Do you want viewers to subscribe? Like the video? Share it? Comment? All of those CTAs now become options. You need to decide what you want your audience to do before you think about a measurable CTA.
“This comes down to being creative. What are you really trying to accomplish? Know that first, then figure out what tools you have at your disposal to get there. Can’t embed CTAs in your YouTube videos? Use bumpers with short links and add them to the description.” - Tiffani Allen
For our own Crush-It videos, we added clickable CTAs at the end of our videos to subscribe to our channel or watch another episode. Crush-It Video Calls to Action

#5 - Put someone in the director’s chair.

If you have a low-budget for your video marketing projects, odds are you don’t have a director or cameraman to back you up. While we don’t expect you to go out and hire someone to fill that void, simply enlisting a coworker or friend to press record has immense value. Even if they don’t have video experience, if they can help you start and stop your video clips, you can save hours in the editing chair.
“I think my biggest piece of advice is to have someone behind the camera. It really helps if it's someone who knows what they're doing (like our own video mastermind, Adam Dunn), but even just having someone to push the button and stand there made a drastic difference in how quick and easy it was to record.” - Joshua Nite
via GIPHY

#6 - Video transcriptions aren’t just for closed captioning.

Video has a reputation for not being SEO-friendly. Because video by nature has minimal crawlable text, the SEO value is perceived to be low. However, there’s a workaround we’ve discovered that can more than make up for a video’s lack of text. What’s that secret? Transcriptions that allow for supportive, repurposed blog content and increased search visibility.
“Transcribe those videos when you embed them on your website. Don't miss out on giving Google all that great content to index.” - Steve Slater “If your video focuses on keywords and topics that are important to your audience, it might be worth creating a written transcript and having it accompany the embedded video in a blog post. This will enable you to gain SEO traction and draw more inbound traffic for the vid. Include optimized headers and everything for maximum impact. Moz sets a good example of this with their Whiteboard Friday sessions.” - Nick Nelson
Moz Whiteboard Friday Video Transcription

#7 - Be your biggest critic.

If you’re anything like me, you do not like the sound of your own voice or watching yourself on screen. But if you want to improve your videos, it’s something that you have to do to measure your own performance. Skipping out on watching yourself can lead to you repeating past mistakes.
“To quote the great LIttle Walter, ‘you better watch yourself.’ I know it isn't fun but watch your own videos. See how you look and act on camera.” - Steve Slater
via GIPHY

Lights. Camera. Action.

Video marketing is a large undertaking for any brand as it involves looping in your brand’s internal thought leaders, investing in new equipment, and putting your brand into uncharted territory. But if you let the fear of budget, failure, or judgement hold you back, you’ll never reach the results you’re looking for. For your best chance at creating video that’s award-worthy, it’s important that you stay organized, authentic, and determined. And we speak from experience when we say that it can be challenging at times, but the payoff is video content that educates and inspires — a common goal for many marketers. Not sure what your first video should cover or aim to do? Struggling to come up with a starting point? Check out our other video marketing resources for inspiration and guidance:

The post Camera Shy: 7 Tips for First-Time Video Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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Marketers, Assemble! The Super-Powered Team-Up of Content Marketing Confluence http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/content-marketing-super-team/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/content-marketing-super-team/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 10:30:44 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24137 Content Marketing Super Team

Content Marketing Super Team

It’s been a spectacular decade to be a nerd. The superheroes we love leaped from the page to the multiplex, each movie connected to the rest with the kind of complex storytelling we love in comic books.

It started with Iron Man in 2008. This weekend, "Avengers: Infinity War" hits theaters, with over two dozen heroes throwing down against a celestial being with godlike powers (who, for some reason, has a chin that looks like a raisin).

[caption id="attachment_24138" align="aligncenter" width="232"]The Avengers and Content Marketing The California Raisins reboot looks really dark.[/caption]

I’m pretty stoked.

Team-up events like this are great because a superhero team is always more powerful than the sum of its parts. They can use their powers to complement each other in unexpected ways:

  • Spider-Man uses webbing to make a slingshot for Captain America’s shield
  • Thor throws his hammer through portals that Doctor Strange makes
  • The Hulk throws Hawkeye to safety

You get the idea. When a team is really working together, all of them do better.

Which, of course, makes me think all about content marketing. At TopRank Marketing, we believe the present and future of reaching an audience depends on confluence, a superhero team-up of all our content marketing tactics and channels working together.

Here’s a quick guide to the members of our superhero “team,” and how they assemble to amplify each other’s superpowers.

The Content Marketing Super Team

Content: Captain America

Captain America is the heart and soul of the Avengers team. He’s not the most powerful guy on the team, though he does pack a mean punch. His primary value lies in bringing humanity to a team of gods, aliens, and androids. He unites the team and gives everyone their marching orders, leading the charge on the ground.

Your content should be at the heart of your marketing super team, too. It should speak directly to your target audience on a human-to-human level. Your content can emotionally engage, deliver value, and ultimately persuade people to take action.

SEO: Spider-Man

Spider-Man is the lone “street level” hero on the Avengers team. He started out doing solo work cleaning up the streets of Queens. As part of the team, his main role is to assist the heavy hitters, tying their attacks together with his web-slinging, wall-crawling acrobatics.

SEO used to be the biggest deal in marketing, a strategy and tactic all unto itself. Now SEO works best as part of a team. Great content (preferably co-created with influencers) can benefit from a light dusting of SEO. Just remember that with SEO power comes responsibility: Use SEO to boost great content, not to trick search engines into ranking mediocre content higher.

Influencers: The Incredible Hulk

There’s one thing for sure about the Hulk: He’s a hard guy to ignore. Not only is he capable of punching an airplane out of the sky, he’s 10 feet tall and green. He’s not great on stealth missions, is what I’m saying, but if you want to make a splash, he’s your man.

Influencers share some of the Hulk’s properties (hopefully not the “giant rage monster” part). Some influencers make their living off of being seen, which means they have a built-in audience you can reach with their help. Some are more on the Bruce Banner side, with smaller followings that are still valuable if they’re your target audience.

Organic Social: Hawkeye

Hawkeye is one of two Avengers with no super powers, but he proves his value to the team with his technological savvy and arsenal of specialized arrows. He excels at precision strikes that hit valuable targets.

Organic social used to be a more high-powered team member, but the rise of the algorithm in social media feeds have reduced its reach and power. Still, it’s good for getting the word out to a select audience – you just have to be more strategic on your social channels to compensate for the lack of power.

Digital Advertising: Iron Man

Iron Man takes Hawkeye’s precision strike capability and adds extra maneuverability and power. He can swoop in and blast a target with an arsenal of rockets and pulse rays, all while delivering devastatingly sarcastic quips.

Digital advertising gives you the ability to hit precise audiences at scale. There’s more of a cost associated with it than with organic tactics, but it’s an investment that can get substantial returns.

The Content Marketing Super Team at Work

As you can see, each member of our super squad is powerful on its own. But the magic really happens when all these tactics work together. And you can’t plan that kind of teamwork in the heat of the battle, either. It has to start before a single word of content is drafted.

When we’re creating content, first we determine search demand. Looking at what people are searching for helps us narrow down our topics and makes sure the content will have SEO built in.

Then we search for influencers who are experts on the topic and have a sizable, relevant following. We invite influencers to co-create the content with us. True collaboration with influencers makes them far more likely to be    excited about the resulting assets, which means they’re more motivated to share.

Part of our content creation process is designing images and messages for organic social amplification. We provide influencers with everything they need to share the asset on social media. Influencer shares are crucial for reaching the target audience, so we make it as easy for influencers to share as possible.

Finally, we use paid social to amplify the content directly to our clients’ most valuable audience. We create unique social images and messages to compel people to take action.

It’s easy to see how the super-team approach makes each tactic work better. Each of the tactics is working toward the same unified goal: reaching an audience and persuading them to take action.

Content Marketers, Assemble!

What turns a ragtag group of marketing tactics into an elite audience-persuasion force? Strategy and communication. In our agency, we have a content team, an SEO team, a social media team, etc. But we make sure the teams are working together by design. We regularly meet together to make sure we’re all sharing the same vision. And we also share best practices with each other. The more each of us knows about everyone else’s area of expertise, the stronger we all are.

Want more insight into how content marketing tactics can be brought together for maximum impact? Here's some more light reading:

The post Marketers, Assemble! The Super-Powered Team-Up of Content Marketing Confluence appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Content Marketing Super Team

Content Marketing Super Team It’s been a spectacular decade to be a nerd. The superheroes we love leaped from the page to the multiplex, each movie connected to the rest with the kind of complex storytelling we love in comic books. It started with Iron Man in 2008. This weekend, "Avengers: Infinity War" hits theaters, with over two dozen heroes throwing down against a celestial being with godlike powers (who, for some reason, has a chin that looks like a raisin). [caption id="attachment_24138" align="aligncenter" width="232"]The Avengers and Content Marketing The California Raisins reboot looks really dark.[/caption] I’m pretty stoked. Team-up events like this are great because a superhero team is always more powerful than the sum of its parts. They can use their powers to complement each other in unexpected ways:
  • Spider-Man uses webbing to make a slingshot for Captain America’s shield
  • Thor throws his hammer through portals that Doctor Strange makes
  • The Hulk throws Hawkeye to safety
You get the idea. When a team is really working together, all of them do better. Which, of course, makes me think all about content marketing. At TopRank Marketing, we believe the present and future of reaching an audience depends on confluence, a superhero team-up of all our content marketing tactics and channels working together. Here’s a quick guide to the members of our superhero “team,” and how they assemble to amplify each other’s superpowers.

The Content Marketing Super Team

Content: Captain America

Captain America is the heart and soul of the Avengers team. He’s not the most powerful guy on the team, though he does pack a mean punch. His primary value lies in bringing humanity to a team of gods, aliens, and androids. He unites the team and gives everyone their marching orders, leading the charge on the ground. Your content should be at the heart of your marketing super team, too. It should speak directly to your target audience on a human-to-human level. Your content can emotionally engage, deliver value, and ultimately persuade people to take action.

SEO: Spider-Man

Spider-Man is the lone “street level” hero on the Avengers team. He started out doing solo work cleaning up the streets of Queens. As part of the team, his main role is to assist the heavy hitters, tying their attacks together with his web-slinging, wall-crawling acrobatics. SEO used to be the biggest deal in marketing, a strategy and tactic all unto itself. Now SEO works best as part of a team. Great content (preferably co-created with influencers) can benefit from a light dusting of SEO. Just remember that with SEO power comes responsibility: Use SEO to boost great content, not to trick search engines into ranking mediocre content higher.

Influencers: The Incredible Hulk

There’s one thing for sure about the Hulk: He’s a hard guy to ignore. Not only is he capable of punching an airplane out of the sky, he’s 10 feet tall and green. He’s not great on stealth missions, is what I’m saying, but if you want to make a splash, he’s your man. Influencers share some of the Hulk’s properties (hopefully not the “giant rage monster” part). Some influencers make their living off of being seen, which means they have a built-in audience you can reach with their help. Some are more on the Bruce Banner side, with smaller followings that are still valuable if they’re your target audience.

Organic Social: Hawkeye

Hawkeye is one of two Avengers with no super powers, but he proves his value to the team with his technological savvy and arsenal of specialized arrows. He excels at precision strikes that hit valuable targets. Organic social used to be a more high-powered team member, but the rise of the algorithm in social media feeds have reduced its reach and power. Still, it’s good for getting the word out to a select audience – you just have to be more strategic on your social channels to compensate for the lack of power.

Digital Advertising: Iron Man

Iron Man takes Hawkeye’s precision strike capability and adds extra maneuverability and power. He can swoop in and blast a target with an arsenal of rockets and pulse rays, all while delivering devastatingly sarcastic quips. Digital advertising gives you the ability to hit precise audiences at scale. There’s more of a cost associated with it than with organic tactics, but it’s an investment that can get substantial returns.

The Content Marketing Super Team at Work

As you can see, each member of our super squad is powerful on its own. But the magic really happens when all these tactics work together. And you can’t plan that kind of teamwork in the heat of the battle, either. It has to start before a single word of content is drafted. When we’re creating content, first we determine search demand. Looking at what people are searching for helps us narrow down our topics and makes sure the content will have SEO built in. Then we search for influencers who are experts on the topic and have a sizable, relevant following. We invite influencers to co-create the content with us. True collaboration with influencers makes them far more likely to be    excited about the resulting assets, which means they’re more motivated to share. Part of our content creation process is designing images and messages for organic social amplification. We provide influencers with everything they need to share the asset on social media. Influencer shares are crucial for reaching the target audience, so we make it as easy for influencers to share as possible. Finally, we use paid social to amplify the content directly to our clients’ most valuable audience. We create unique social images and messages to compel people to take action. It’s easy to see how the super-team approach makes each tactic work better. Each of the tactics is working toward the same unified goal: reaching an audience and persuading them to take action.

Content Marketers, Assemble!

What turns a ragtag group of marketing tactics into an elite audience-persuasion force? Strategy and communication. In our agency, we have a content team, an SEO team, a social media team, etc. But we make sure the teams are working together by design. We regularly meet together to make sure we’re all sharing the same vision. And we also share best practices with each other. The more each of us knows about everyone else’s area of expertise, the stronger we all are. Want more insight into how content marketing tactics can be brought together for maximum impact? Here's some more light reading:

The post Marketers, Assemble! The Super-Powered Team-Up of Content Marketing Confluence appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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What Content Marketers Can Learn From an Adept Dungeon Master http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/content-marketing-lessons-dungeons-dragons/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/content-marketing-lessons-dungeons-dragons/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 10:17:37 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24118 Content Marketing Lessons from Dungeons & Dragons

Content Marketing Lessons from Dungeons & Dragons

It’s probably not news to you that 91% of B2B brands use content marketing to attract, engage, nurture, and convert their audience. However, it might be surprising to learn that only 9% of those brands rate their content marketing as “sophisticated.” Sophisticated meaning that their content marketing is successful, scales across the organization, and provides accurate measurement to the business. This puts a lot of pressure on content marketers to elevate their game and provide more worthwhile and valuable content experiences.

Patrick PinedaAs an adept Dungeon Master (DM) of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) games, TopRank Marketing’s Motion Graphic Designer, Patrick Pineda, can relate.

It might sound a little odd at first, but Dungeon Masters and content marketers are more alike than you think. Responsible for creating meaningful and memorable experiences through content that takes people on a journey, you can see the similarities arise. Just like content marketers need to help guide people through the buyer journey, the Dungeon Master needs to guide players through a journey of their own.

After serving his friends as the go-to Dungeon Master, Patrick has learned a thing or two from creating lengthy campaigns—some successful, some not—that are both engaging and challenging. Discover Patrick’s lessons from the dungeon and how you can apply them to your content marketing campaigns and programs down below.

What Is a Dungeon Master?

For the unfamiliar, a Dungeon Master is the organizer for the wildly popular, 40-year-old tabletop role-playing game, “Dungeons & Dragons.” Not only do DMs organize the game, but they are also responsible for the game rules, details, and challenges. According to Patrick, the player experience hinges on a DM’s ability to create meaningful content that’s fun to explore.

One thing Dungeon Masters are not responsible for, however, are the players’ actions.

Like the self-directed buyers of today, D&D players are able to choose their own paths. As a result, DMs are challenged to make sure players finish the game. And just like your audience won’t read every piece of content you put in front of them, the same happens in a D&D game. Certain story elements DMs put together will never see the light of day because every player has a different play style, completes tasks in different orders, and takes different actions.

“The best Dungeon Master doesn’t just create a good story, but they also help players reach their goals,” Patrick claims.

Does any of this sound familiar? It certainly resonated for me.

5 Content Marketing Lessons From the Dungeon

Having created D&D campaigns that ruled and bombed, here are Patricks top five tips for developing content that resonate with your audience.

#1 - Your audience values originality.

If Patrick creates a campaign that plays to common tropes like a damsel in distress or small town disappearances, the story becomes predictable. But worse than that, the players feel condescended to as the game starts to feel dumbed down.

“Cliches and stereotypes will make players groan. It’s important when creating a campaign that I shake it up and play against common conventions,” Patrick says.

When examining your content and the story you’re trying to tell, it’s just as important to stay original and play with your audience’s expectations. For example, listicles with social media tips are a dime a dozen. Your audience might be more interested if you flip the idea on its head with social media mistakes. In changing it up, you’re giving your audience something new that they haven’t read before, capturing their interest.

[bctt tweet="When examining your content & the story you’re trying to tell, it’s just as important to stay original & play with your audience’s expectations. - @aleuman4 #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - Appeal to curiosity.

When it comes to creating an adventure for players to navigate, the DM has a seemingly impossible job. They need to create a unique and compelling world that is able to hold players’ attention—something not easily done. In fact, campaigns have taken Patrick days to put together. But that doesn’t come without its drawbacks.

“I’ve spent hours upon hours creating content for a campaign. But 80% of what I create may never see any playtime. It’s ultimately the players’ choice as to what tasks they want to complete and what quests they want to go on,” Patrick points out.

While the D&D world needs to have a unique and compelling narrative, it also needs to appeal to a player’s curiosity to ensure they keep playing the game and play the parts of the game that you want them to.

How does this apply to content marketing? Well, as you know, just because you’re producing content, doesn’t mean that your audience will find it. To find the answers they’re looking for, they might scour the internet, social media, and trusted experts for more information. Having an integrated content strategy that has multiple touch points throughout the buyer journey and an omni-channel approach, helps ensure you’re reaching your target audience whenever and wherever they may be searching.

Weaving SEO, social media, and influencer marketing into your content marketing strategy helps improve the reach and engagement of the content you’re producing. Through SEO, your organic rankings and click-through-rates will start to rise, improving your organic traffic. Social media messages that are well written and value-based help attract larger audiences from their social feeds. And, finally, tapping into industry influencers exposes your content to a wider network of like-minded individuals, as well as adding authority and credibility.

#3 - Avoid corraling your audience.

Nobody likes to be told what to do, including D&D players. While the DM writes the game and serves as a referee, they cannot influence a player’s actions. And if a DM attempts to, they could quickly lose a player’s interest.

“As a DM, it can be tempting to intervene and make sure that your players are playing the game the way you intended. But this is the one thing you cannot do.” Patrick emphasizes.

This is true in content marketing, too, as making calls to action (CTAs) with zero context can be a turn-off for your audience. If you insert a CTA before your audience can learn what’s in it for them, whether it’s downloading an eBook, listening to a podcast, or subscribing to your blog, they’re less likely to do it. In fact, QuickSprout found that placing a CTA above the fold on a page decreased their conversion rate by 17% and attributed it to their audience not fully understanding why they should complete the action.

Instead, make sure that your CTAs have plenty of context and explain what the audience will gain by filling out your form, reading another blog post, etc. This helps ensure that your content satisfies your audience’s quest for knowledge.

#4 - Customize content for your audience, not the other way around.

As we mentioned previously, the players are in charge of their actions and how they choose to play the game, making it impossible for DMs to have control over the game experience. This makes it important for DMs to know their audience ahead of time, so they can include important sought-after details into different game components.

“I’ll ask players before we start what they hope to get out of the game, whether it’s take down an enemy or just to have fun. Knowing this ahead of time, I can tailor the game to what each player wants to have happen,” Patrick says.

For content marketers, this lesson should hit close to home. You need to know your audience well in advance in order to deliver personalized content. If you create content and worry about your audience later, chances are you aren’t engaging the right people.

After taking a look at your own audience’s characteristics and interests in Google Analytics, create unique personas for each of your audience members. This allows you to create content that is tailored for each person you hope to attract and engage. For example, if one of your target personas is a Director of Business Development, creating custom content that addresses a unique pain points like identifying new business opportunities or tips from the experts on how to strengthen their existing client relationships.

[bctt tweet="If you create content and worry about your audience later, chances are you aren’t engaging the right people. - @aleuman4 #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#5 - Chart your course.

There is a lot going on in a D&D game. And for the DM, that number is amplified as you have to remember every detail about your players, what’s been completed, and what could come next.

“To make sure I’m on top of the game and can portray characters well, I chart the game’s relationships instead of story elements. If I focus on the story, it could quickly become useless as players might do things out of order or in a non-linear fashion. By focusing on the relationships and where they fit in the narrative, the game becomes more fluid and flexible for the players and I can keep track of their journey,” Patrick says.

Tracking the journey isn’t the only thing Patrick notes, however. He also documents player strengths, weaknesses, and stats as the game progresses.

“I keep a character sheet that details each player’s play style. For example, if a player is investing their skill points in intelligence, I can tailor future encounters in the game to focus on problem-solving instead of combat. The opposite is true for a player who invests in raw strength,” Patrick notes.

Through detailed charts, maps, and grids, Patrick is able to make sure that his players have a personalized, seamless experience for every campaign they play, regardless of how they play it.

Customer Journey & Dungeons and Dragons Journey

By taking the same approach with your content marketing, you can identify opportunities for customization and develop a strategy for weaving your content into the buyer’s journey. For example, by knowing which pieces of content attract a larger audience or drive more conversions, you can use that information to inform your content development and map your content to different stages of the funnel (see below).

Grid Assigning Content to Buyer Stages

To collect this data on your content and audience, review your Google Analytics behavior and conversion dashboards to find our which pieces of content excel at attracting, engaging, or converting your audience. Metrics like page views and entrances are good indicators for attraction, whereas time on page or number of pages per session can help you understand engagement. And, finally, the number of conversions through conversion tracking is the best way to find your top converting content. Armed with this knowledge you can create content plans that are tailored for your audience’s unique buyer journey.

Your Audience Is the Hero

A good Dungeon Master enables players to become the hero of the story through a personalized game with a compelling, original narrative. As a content marketer, it’s your responsibility to create content that transforms your audience into heroes as well, helping them solve seemingly impossible problems with your expert, best-answer advice.

Through an integrated content strategy with originality, personalization, and “best answer” content that’s mapped to the buyer journey, you can become the perfect Content Master for your audience.

For more ideas on how to become a masterful content marketer, check out these 25 content marketing tips, including how to tackle writer’s block, repurpose content, utilize storytelling, and more.

The post What Content Marketers Can Learn From an Adept Dungeon Master appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Content Marketing Lessons from Dungeons & Dragons

Content Marketing Lessons from Dungeons & Dragons It’s probably not news to you that 91% of B2B brands use content marketing to attract, engage, nurture, and convert their audience. However, it might be surprising to learn that only 9% of those brands rate their content marketing as “sophisticated.” Sophisticated meaning that their content marketing is successful, scales across the organization, and provides accurate measurement to the business. This puts a lot of pressure on content marketers to elevate their game and provide more worthwhile and valuable content experiences. Patrick PinedaAs an adept Dungeon Master (DM) of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) games, TopRank Marketing’s Motion Graphic Designer, Patrick Pineda, can relate. It might sound a little odd at first, but Dungeon Masters and content marketers are more alike than you think. Responsible for creating meaningful and memorable experiences through content that takes people on a journey, you can see the similarities arise. Just like content marketers need to help guide people through the buyer journey, the Dungeon Master needs to guide players through a journey of their own. After serving his friends as the go-to Dungeon Master, Patrick has learned a thing or two from creating lengthy campaigns—some successful, some not—that are both engaging and challenging. Discover Patrick’s lessons from the dungeon and how you can apply them to your content marketing campaigns and programs down below.

What Is a Dungeon Master?

For the unfamiliar, a Dungeon Master is the organizer for the wildly popular, 40-year-old tabletop role-playing game, “Dungeons & Dragons.” Not only do DMs organize the game, but they are also responsible for the game rules, details, and challenges. According to Patrick, the player experience hinges on a DM’s ability to create meaningful content that’s fun to explore. One thing Dungeon Masters are not responsible for, however, are the players’ actions. Like the self-directed buyers of today, D&D players are able to choose their own paths. As a result, DMs are challenged to make sure players finish the game. And just like your audience won’t read every piece of content you put in front of them, the same happens in a D&D game. Certain story elements DMs put together will never see the light of day because every player has a different play style, completes tasks in different orders, and takes different actions. “The best Dungeon Master doesn’t just create a good story, but they also help players reach their goals,” Patrick claims. Does any of this sound familiar? It certainly resonated for me.

5 Content Marketing Lessons From the Dungeon

Having created D&D campaigns that ruled and bombed, here are Patricks top five tips for developing content that resonate with your audience.

#1 - Your audience values originality.

If Patrick creates a campaign that plays to common tropes like a damsel in distress or small town disappearances, the story becomes predictable. But worse than that, the players feel condescended to as the game starts to feel dumbed down. “Cliches and stereotypes will make players groan. It’s important when creating a campaign that I shake it up and play against common conventions,” Patrick says. When examining your content and the story you’re trying to tell, it’s just as important to stay original and play with your audience’s expectations. For example, listicles with social media tips are a dime a dozen. Your audience might be more interested if you flip the idea on its head with social media mistakes. In changing it up, you’re giving your audience something new that they haven’t read before, capturing their interest. [bctt tweet="When examining your content & the story you’re trying to tell, it’s just as important to stay original & play with your audience’s expectations. - @aleuman4 #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - Appeal to curiosity.

When it comes to creating an adventure for players to navigate, the DM has a seemingly impossible job. They need to create a unique and compelling world that is able to hold players’ attention—something not easily done. In fact, campaigns have taken Patrick days to put together. But that doesn’t come without its drawbacks. “I’ve spent hours upon hours creating content for a campaign. But 80% of what I create may never see any playtime. It’s ultimately the players’ choice as to what tasks they want to complete and what quests they want to go on,” Patrick points out. While the D&D world needs to have a unique and compelling narrative, it also needs to appeal to a player’s curiosity to ensure they keep playing the game and play the parts of the game that you want them to. How does this apply to content marketing? Well, as you know, just because you’re producing content, doesn’t mean that your audience will find it. To find the answers they’re looking for, they might scour the internet, social media, and trusted experts for more information. Having an integrated content strategy that has multiple touch points throughout the buyer journey and an omni-channel approach, helps ensure you’re reaching your target audience whenever and wherever they may be searching. Weaving SEO, social media, and influencer marketing into your content marketing strategy helps improve the reach and engagement of the content you’re producing. Through SEO, your organic rankings and click-through-rates will start to rise, improving your organic traffic. Social media messages that are well written and value-based help attract larger audiences from their social feeds. And, finally, tapping into industry influencers exposes your content to a wider network of like-minded individuals, as well as adding authority and credibility.

#3 - Avoid corraling your audience.

Nobody likes to be told what to do, including D&D players. While the DM writes the game and serves as a referee, they cannot influence a player’s actions. And if a DM attempts to, they could quickly lose a player’s interest. “As a DM, it can be tempting to intervene and make sure that your players are playing the game the way you intended. But this is the one thing you cannot do.” Patrick emphasizes. This is true in content marketing, too, as making calls to action (CTAs) with zero context can be a turn-off for your audience. If you insert a CTA before your audience can learn what’s in it for them, whether it’s downloading an eBook, listening to a podcast, or subscribing to your blog, they’re less likely to do it. In fact, QuickSprout found that placing a CTA above the fold on a page decreased their conversion rate by 17% and attributed it to their audience not fully understanding why they should complete the action. Instead, make sure that your CTAs have plenty of context and explain what the audience will gain by filling out your form, reading another blog post, etc. This helps ensure that your content satisfies your audience’s quest for knowledge.

#4 - Customize content for your audience, not the other way around.

As we mentioned previously, the players are in charge of their actions and how they choose to play the game, making it impossible for DMs to have control over the game experience. This makes it important for DMs to know their audience ahead of time, so they can include important sought-after details into different game components. “I’ll ask players before we start what they hope to get out of the game, whether it’s take down an enemy or just to have fun. Knowing this ahead of time, I can tailor the game to what each player wants to have happen,” Patrick says. For content marketers, this lesson should hit close to home. You need to know your audience well in advance in order to deliver personalized content. If you create content and worry about your audience later, chances are you aren’t engaging the right people. After taking a look at your own audience’s characteristics and interests in Google Analytics, create unique personas for each of your audience members. This allows you to create content that is tailored for each person you hope to attract and engage. For example, if one of your target personas is a Director of Business Development, creating custom content that addresses a unique pain points like identifying new business opportunities or tips from the experts on how to strengthen their existing client relationships. [bctt tweet="If you create content and worry about your audience later, chances are you aren’t engaging the right people. - @aleuman4 #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#5 - Chart your course.

There is a lot going on in a D&D game. And for the DM, that number is amplified as you have to remember every detail about your players, what’s been completed, and what could come next. “To make sure I’m on top of the game and can portray characters well, I chart the game’s relationships instead of story elements. If I focus on the story, it could quickly become useless as players might do things out of order or in a non-linear fashion. By focusing on the relationships and where they fit in the narrative, the game becomes more fluid and flexible for the players and I can keep track of their journey,” Patrick says. Tracking the journey isn’t the only thing Patrick notes, however. He also documents player strengths, weaknesses, and stats as the game progresses. “I keep a character sheet that details each player’s play style. For example, if a player is investing their skill points in intelligence, I can tailor future encounters in the game to focus on problem-solving instead of combat. The opposite is true for a player who invests in raw strength,” Patrick notes. Through detailed charts, maps, and grids, Patrick is able to make sure that his players have a personalized, seamless experience for every campaign they play, regardless of how they play it. Customer Journey & Dungeons and Dragons Journey By taking the same approach with your content marketing, you can identify opportunities for customization and develop a strategy for weaving your content into the buyer’s journey. For example, by knowing which pieces of content attract a larger audience or drive more conversions, you can use that information to inform your content development and map your content to different stages of the funnel (see below). Grid Assigning Content to Buyer Stages To collect this data on your content and audience, review your Google Analytics behavior and conversion dashboards to find our which pieces of content excel at attracting, engaging, or converting your audience. Metrics like page views and entrances are good indicators for attraction, whereas time on page or number of pages per session can help you understand engagement. And, finally, the number of conversions through conversion tracking is the best way to find your top converting content. Armed with this knowledge you can create content plans that are tailored for your audience’s unique buyer journey.

Your Audience Is the Hero

A good Dungeon Master enables players to become the hero of the story through a personalized game with a compelling, original narrative. As a content marketer, it’s your responsibility to create content that transforms your audience into heroes as well, helping them solve seemingly impossible problems with your expert, best-answer advice. Through an integrated content strategy with originality, personalization, and “best answer” content that’s mapped to the buyer journey, you can become the perfect Content Master for your audience. For more ideas on how to become a masterful content marketer, check out these 25 content marketing tips, including how to tackle writer’s block, repurpose content, utilize storytelling, and more.

The post What Content Marketers Can Learn From an Adept Dungeon Master appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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