Content Marketing

Joshua Nite

Empathy in Content Marketing: Three Stories to Tell Your Audience

Joshua Nite on Feb 24th, 2016     Content Marketing

content-marketing-empathy

You are (presumably) a person. The people you are trying to reach with your brand’s message are, amazingly, people as well. Content works better when it comes from a place of empathy—that is, when you know your audience and can speak to them on a personal level.

For example, I can use my astounding powers of empathy to read your mind right now. “For crying out loud,” you’re saying, “tell me something I don’t know, Nite. I know what empathy is. I know it makes marketing better. Quit wasting my time!”

See? It’s like magic.

Empathy starts with a deep understanding of your audience, gained by social listening, interviews, and persona-building. But you can have a deep understanding of your audience and still fail to tell the stories that will engage them. When you use the insight you have to tell a story that resonates, that’s empathy in action.

Ashley Zeckman

Heidi Bullock of Marketo Helps Uncover Ways to Engage Self-Directed Buyers

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 23rd, 2016     Content Marketing, Marketing PR Conferences, Online Marketing

heidi-bullock-marketo

Last week at the Content2Conversion conference, Heidi Bullock, VP of Demand Generation at Marketo took the stage and covered a topic that is top of mind for all marketers. That is, how to create the right message at the right time to meet the needs of customers.

Today’s self-directed buyers typically go through up to 90% of their purchasing journey on their own. Which means that marketers need to find a way to build credibility, without even speaking with customers directly. Below we’ll discover some best practices for creating engaging to better meet the needs of self-directed buyers.

Content Marketing for Self-Directed Buyers

According to a 2016 report from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers list “producing engaging content” as their top challenge, followed closely by “measuring content effectiveness” and “producing content consistently”. To help with this top need, Heidi provided a formula for creating engaging content:

Knute Sands

Content Marketing Lessons from Netflix: 5 Steps for Feeding the Content Beast From David Bruno

Knute Sands on Feb 19th, 2016     B2B Marketing, Brand Journalism, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

content-marketing-lessons-netflix

With more than 25 years of experience on the front lines of creative campaign development, David Bruno knows that, “content marketing” has been around for a long time, in one form or another.

During his Content2Conversion session, “Feeding the Content Beast” this past Wednesday, he artfully explained how content marketers can apply lessons from Netflix to their marketing.

Is Netflix “Content Marketing?”

Let’s back up. Many marketers wouldn’t consider Netflix a tale of content marketing success. Content marketing, they would argue, is meant to produce leads – and business results. Netflix is entertainment, not content marketing. Or, so the logic goes.

David argued (and I agree), that Netflix is a content marketing powerhouse. They mine user data, produce original content for a clearly-defined audience, and definitely drive profitable customer action. Consider the relationship between original content production, subscriber growth, and most importantly company profit:

Knute Sands

Marketing Strategy Secret Sauce: Exploring Nasdaq’s Brand + Content Marketing Overhaul

Knute Sands on Feb 18th, 2016     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

Nasdaq-Content

The financial sector is littered with marketing strategy failures. Don’t count Nasdaq them. First-time Content2Conversion speaker Jeremy Skule delivered a keynote that explored how Nasdaq used a combination of branding and content marketing to unlock an amazing marketing strategy (and results) for the brand. How did they do it? A well-timed one-two punch of brand overhaul and content marketing.

Below, I outline the secret sauce that made this amazing tale of B2B content marketing possible.

1. Using Vision, Voice & Visibility To Pivot the Brand

Just two years ago, Nasdaq was known primarily as a premium stock exchange listing brand. From a marketing perspective, the trouble was that less than 10% of company revenue came from their listing services. Nasdaq offered technology solutions, market performance tracking, market intelligence among many other services (which made up the other 90% of revenue).

Joshua Nite

Content Marketing: 5 Unexpected Places to Find Inspiration for Your Blog Content

Joshua Nite on Feb 16th, 2016     Blog Marketing, Blogging, Content Marketing

content-marketing-inspiration

Creative inspiration is like a butterfly: It’s beautiful from a distance, but full of weird insect parts up close.

Sorry, let me try that again. Creative inspiration is like a butterfly: Sometimes it seems like no matter how far you stretch, it flutters above your head, beautiful but just out of reach. Sure, you could sit perfectly still and wait for it to land, but your editorial calendar beckons. Few marketers have the free time to truly find their creative space. At the same time, you know that content with that creative spark will be far more compelling.

The next time your creative butterfly just won’t sit still long enough for you to get a good look at it, grab your butterfly net of proactivity and go after it. Here are five ways to get inspired when you’re stuck.

Ashley Zeckman

5 Steps to Perfecting Your Influencer Marketing Waltz

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 15th, 2016     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

influencer-marketing-waltz

A well-performed waltz can move those watching it unfold on the dance floor. The audience can get caught up in the seemingly intricate steps and the flow with which the dancers move.

However, one small misstep can change the entire vibe for both the audiences and the dancers. As with dancing, influencer marketing can be both beautiful, and filled with stumbling blocks.

Influencer marketing has become a much larger part of the way that successful brands approach digital marketing. In fact, a recent study from McKinsey found that influencer marketing (which falls under Word of Mouth marketing) shows an average of a 37% higher retention rate and twice the amount of sales when compared to paid advertising on its own.

Joshua Nite

5 Tools to Help You Be a More Effective Communicator

Joshua Nite on Feb 11th, 2016     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

5-tools-effective-communicator

Words. We like them. Words are good things. Words can make people buy our products through changing of their minds, which for revenue is also good. But this is depending on the just right perfect word to use for effectiveness. We must word better for results that are good.

As you may have just noticed, the ability to communicate clearly is an indispensable skill in marketing. Your thoughts must survive the journey from your brain to someone else’s intact, or they won’t have the intended effect.

Fortunately, good communication isn’t a genetic trait. It’s a learned skill. You can develop it with guided practice, and there are plenty of resources out there to help. Here are five tools we recommend investigating to increase your wording abilities.

Ashley Zeckman

Why Your Approach to Digital Marketing Should be Crafted Like a Well-Balanced Breakfast

Ashley Zeckman on Feb 10th, 2016     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Online Marketing

well-balanced-digital-marketing-strategy

I start each morning the same way: After feeding my spoiled dog his morning delicacy of premium dog food, hamburger, rice and veggies, I go about making my morning meal. I know that this is a luxury that many people will say that they don’t have the time to do and are instead getting ready, herding children and grabbing a pastry on the way out the door. However, I’m one of those people that loves a hearty, flavor-filled meal to start my day.

Many Americans skip breakfast saying they don’t have time or don’t need it, while foregoing what is arguably the meal that gives you fuel for the day, can seriously hinder your ability to be productive during the workday.

Joshua Nite

Is Content Marketing a Viable Lead Generation Tactic?

Joshua Nite on Feb 4th, 2016     Content Marketing

Does-content-marketing-lead-to-sales

Hi, I’m Josh. I’m a content marketer and proud to be one.

Content marketing is unique among marketing tactics. It aims to accomplish business goals by offering people something of real value that can make their lives better.

It’s not, “you are lacking something in your life, so buy our product.” It’s not, “Read these exaggerated claims about our product and buy it.” Content marketing (as part of an integrated digital marketing strategy, of course) only works if you provide value to your audience. How cool is that? You provide value, they buy stuff, and everyone goes home happy.

As nice as it sounds, though, the previous sentence is missing a sizable chunk in the middle. Without lead generation, this is your content marketing plan:

Debbie Friez

3 Examples of Brands Using Podcasts to Increase Sales, Offer Value & Build Audiences

Debbie Friez on Jan 28th, 2016     Content Marketing, Podcast Marketing

MIMA Event Podcasting

[Note From Ashley: TopRank Marketing team members Debbie Friez and Joel Carlson recently attended a Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) event in Minneapolis and collaborated to bring you the insights below from the event.]

Long gone are the leisurely evenings and weekends where people disconnected from the outside world and made time to relax. Today’s consumers are ALWAYS connected and constantly consuming information from a variety of sources.

The question for marketers is: how can you capture the attention of your audience while they’re on the go and multi-tasking constantly? One of the solutions that has surfaced in recent years is incorporating podcasts into your digital marketing mix.

Below we’ll dive in to three case studies MIMA social broadcasting event that uncover how different brands are working podcasts into their marketing strategy.

Ashley Zeckman

How to Decode The Connection Between Organic & Paid Content Promotion

Ashley Zeckman on Jan 27th, 2016     Content Marketing, Online Advertising, Online Marketing

Organic-and-paid-content-promotion

We often have new customers ask us what the best approach is for breaking the code of content promotion. Is it purely organic reach, social amplification or is paid promotion the way to go?

The short answer is, all of these and more.

When content marketing first hit the market, brands used it as an opportunity to follow a formula for something they already knew, online advertising. Banner ads, spam emails and other forms of advertising were a precursor to the more recognized forms that we see today. In the mid-nineties, brands were spending upwards of $11,000 a week for banner advertisements.

Joshua Nite

How to Write for People: 5 Ways to Create Connections & Personality in Your Content Marketing Efforts

Joshua Nite on Jan 26th, 2016     Blogging, Content Marketing

write-content-for-humans

Greetings, humans. It is I, a fellow human and certainly not a trench coat full of cats posing as human. I would like to tell you how to show personality in your writing so other cats—I mean, humans, like me—will enjoy reading it.

All cats aside, it’s surprisingly easy for marketers to forget that we are writing for people. We write for a persona, a target audience, an industry. When was the last time an industry sat down and read a blog post over their corn flakes? By trying to write for everyone, we can end up writing for no one.