Content Marketing

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lee Odden

Essential Search and Social Media Promotion Tips for News Content

Lee Odden on Apr 17th, 2017     Content Marketing, Online PR, Social Media

Serena Ehrlich BusinessWire

Marketing and PR greatness must include equal parts intelligence, creativity and a focus on results. But there’s one more important ingredient necessary to help you stand out: enthusiasm.

Serena Ehrlich from Business Wire has all of these characteristics and at the Digital Summit LA conference, she shared a cornucopia of practical advice about media relations and promotion of news content with zest and gusto.

Here are a few highlights.

Serena EhrlichIt’s common sense and supported by research that industry media is a source of news and trusted information for buyers of every kind. Consumers and journalists have changed right along with the technology used to discover, consume and engage with content.

Therefore, it’s essential that marketing and communications professionals empathize with their audience to understand their preferences and give them what they want.

Ashley Zeckman

New Report: Top Content Marketing Growing Pains for B2B Enterprise Marketers

Ashley Zeckman on Apr 13th, 2017     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Every organization experiences growing pains when it comes to growing their content marketing program. Customer needs quickly evolve which means that brands need to be agile enough to meet consumer demand.

The group that maybe has it toughest of all is B2B enterprise marketers. The added complexities of supplying content for multiple business units and product sets, geographical locations and therefore, multiple customer groups is no easy undertaking.

While many B2B enterprise marketers have managed to crack the code for successful content marketing, others are still struggling to manage expectations with reality. The new 2017 B2B Enterprise Content Marketing report from Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and Knowledge Vision helps to uncover some of the top opportunities that exist for B2B enterprise marketers.

Below, I’ve pulled out four of the top opportunities uncovered by the report as well as some helpful tips for overcoming these common hurdles.

Joshua Nite

Content Planning for the Win: 10 Expert Tips to Keep Your Audience Engaged Again & Again

Joshua Nite on Apr 12th, 2017     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Online Marketing Strategy

Blank space: Great when it’s a Taylor Swift song (or a nifty 20’s-style cover of same), not awesome when it’s on your editorial calendar. You want to publish with a steady cadence to keep your audience satisfied. But you know that filler won’t do—it’s got to be quality and quantity.

Great content is no accident. It requires careful planning to provide the value and variety your audience craves. At TopRank Marketing, we create content for dozens of clients. That’s a lot of blank space to fill. But when it’s over, we know the high was worth the pain (sorry, now I have Taylor Swift stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Hopefully you do, too).

Here’s how to create a content plan that’s designed to excel.

Ashley Zeckman

20 Inspiring & Actionable Influencer Marketing Tips for The Modern Marketer

Ashley Zeckman on Apr 10th, 2017     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

The heat is on for marketers to incorporate influencers into their marketing strategy. The problem is, the sheer amount of bad advice about influencer marketing can make it difficult to separate the good from the bad.

While the pursuit for influencer marketing success doesn’t appear to be slowing down, many marketers are unsure which direction to go. In fact, the new Influence 2.0 report that we developed in partnership with Altimeter Group and Traackr, 48% of marketers are still experimenting with incorporating influencers into their marketing.

The way that different organizations define influencer marketing vary greatly. However, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden describes influencer marketing as:

“Developing relationships with internal and industry experts with active networks, to co-create content that helps drive measurable business goals.” 

Ashley Zeckman

Top Tips for Making the First 30 Days in Your New Content Role Really Count

Ashley Zeckman on Apr 6th, 2017     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

For me, starting a new job is always a steady mix of overwhelming excitement and sheer terror. I think about all of the things that I am going to accomplish (very quickly of course) and then at some point realize that the comfort of knowing the in’s and out’s of my previous job, are now gone.

As someone that has worked in numerous marketing and content roles throughout my career, I’ve learned some easy (and some very tough) lessons. In the end, I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter how much I think I know walking in on my first day, it’s how I take advantage of the training and onboarding available that has the biggest impact. 

Joshua Nite

The 5 W’s (and an H) That Guide Your Content Marketing Strategy

Joshua Nite on Apr 5th, 2017     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

Journalists make excellent content marketers. It’s not just because they’re used to writing clean, compelling copy. Or that, given the state of the modern news industry, there’s a wide talent pool for marketing departments to choose from.

No, journalists make great marketers because they have finely-developed instincts for chasing down a story. They know how to collect the facts thy need to make a full report. They ask the right questions and make sure they get a straight answer, before they write a single line.

Couldn’t your content marketing use a little journalistic edge? Not just for the copy, but for your entire strategy?

When reporters are researching a story, they go through the Five W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why & How (Yes, I know that’s five w’s and one h. This is the country that brought us the three R’s: reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic).

Joshua Nite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua Nite

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lee Odden

What CMOs Need to Know About Data Informed Content Marketing

Lee Odden on Mar 15th, 2017     Content Marketing

Data Informed Content Marketing

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

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

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

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

7 Interactive Content Tools to Delight Your Audience

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

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

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

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

Caitlin Burgess

5 Ways to Level Up Your Content Marketing Maturity

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

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

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

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

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

Lee Odden

Hot Content Marketing Topics From Top B2B Brands at #B2BMX

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

B2B Content 2 Conversion 2017

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

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

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