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.

 

Caitlin Burgess

Learn How to Create a Better Customer Experience with Omni-Channel Marketing

Caitlin Burgess on Mar 30th, 2016     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

omni-channel-marketing

In today’s world, the customer experience extends beyond the walls of a brick and mortar store. Customers engage with your brand through content that’s spread across multiple channels and accessed by multiple devices. And with so many possible touch points, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to ensure consistency throughout–especially for their millennial audience.

A survey by SLD, a customer experience software and services provider, revealed that 44% of millennials surveyed expect their experience to be consistent across all devices. In addition, 60% said that they expect the same experience across all customer touch points–from phone service to in-store and digital interactions.

So how do you create that consistent customer experience? Through omni-channel marketing.

Caitlin Burgess

What is a Content Marketing Strategy (And Why Do I Need One?)

Caitlin Burgess on Mar 29th, 2016     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

what-is-a-content-marketing-strategy

With traditional marketing tactics becoming less effective as the Internet breeds more self-guided buyers, content marketing has risen up to provide marketers with another way to engage with their target audience.

Rather than pushing out a one-size-fits-all message, content marketing allows you to give your audience tailored, relevant and meaningful information. It helps you build a trusting relationship with your audience–often times before they even become a customer.

But just because you do content marketing, doesn’t mean you’re doing it effectively. According to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs annual research report, 55% of marketers said they didn’t know what content marketing success or effectiveness looked like. This is where a content marketing strategy can help you define a path to successful content creation.

Ashley Zeckman

Learn Where Influencer Marketing Fits in the B2B Customer Journey

Ashley Zeckman on Mar 28th, 2016     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

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When you lose a potential customer to a competitor it can leave you reeling with questions and wondering what they did to set themselves apart and how they did it. Companies that work hard to be the best answer wherever their customers are looking and build trust and credibility early in the sales cycle are typically those that win new business when it comes time for customers to make a decision.

One way that brands can begin building trust and credibility early on with prospects is to incorporate influencers into content meant to represent different stages of the buying cycle. In fact, recent research has found that 51% of marketers believe that incorporating influencers into their marketing helps them get better customers.

Caitlin Burgess

What is Content Marketing? Definition, Examples & Resources for Learning More

Caitlin Burgess on Mar 24th, 2016     Content Marketing

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Thanks to the rise of the Internet, today’s consumers are much more self-directed in their buying journey. With so much information at their fingertips, they’re taking the research reigns and using the information they discover to make their purchasing decisions. In fact, research shows that B2B buyers conduct an average of 12 searches before ever going to a brand’s site.

Of course, this means that traditional advertising and marketing techniques are becoming less effective, and many marketers are looking for another way to successfully reach their audiences. And that way is through content marketing.

What is content marketing?

Let’s dive in.

Joshua Nite

Embody the Form: How to Master SEO & Influencer Marketing

Joshua Nite on Mar 22nd, 2016     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

mastering-SEO-and-Influencer-Marketing

Here’s a parable about SEO and influencer marketing mastery:

I can play the guitar. If there’s no one else in the room who knows anything about guitar, I can pass for a guitarist. Give me a chord sheet for your song of choice, and I can lead a sing-along like nobody’s business. Unless there are weird chords like C#m7, of course.

Stevie Ray Vaughan could also play guitar. In his hands, the guitar seemed like a living creature. It moaned; it wailed; it could sound happy or sad or righteously ticked off. Give him a backbeat and a bass line, and his fingers could fly up and down the fretboard, no chord sheet required.

So what’s the difference between my clumsy strumming and Stevie’s divine riffing? Mastery.

Joshua Nite

What’s the Secret of the Most Powerful Content Marketing Strategy? Simplicity

Joshua Nite on Mar 15th, 2016     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

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Imagine all the content created from the dawn of recorded history all the way up to 2003. Cave paintings, Renaissance artwork, Egyptian hieroglyphics, sacred texts, romance novels. The whole grand multicultural enchilada.

How long would it take us, in 2016, to replicate that staggering volume of content? According to Google’s Eric Schmidt: 48 hours.

Humanity creates more content every two days than our ancestors managed in 6,000 years. Those slackers.

Sure, that’s an impressive achievement for the human race (quality of the output notwithstanding), but it’s a challenge for every marketer hoping their content finds an audience. With multiple civilizations’ worth of data published every day, how can even the snazziest of infographics earn attention?

Caitlin Burgess

How Social Media Can Drive Success on Your Content Marketing Roadtrip

Caitlin Burgess on Mar 8th, 2016     Content Marketing, Social Media

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I think most marketers would agree that social media and content marketing compliment each other nicely. Need proof? Recent research has found that 93% of B2B marketers list social media as one of their top five content marketing tactics.

I like to think of social media as the vehicle that drives your content where you want it to go. But as social media continues to evolve, it’s important to remember that we’re not driving down a one-way street. Social media presents more opportunities than just a dissemination platform. It can also be used as a means for engaging your online community, publishing and targeting specific content and building brand awareness.

Lee Odden

LinkedIn: 31 Sophisticated Content Marketing Thought Leaders to Follow

Lee Odden on Mar 7th, 2016     Content Marketing

31 Sophisticated Content Marketers - LinkedIn

The team at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (client) recently published a fantastic resource for content marketing called The Sophisticated Marketers Guide to Content Marketing for 2016.

At Content Marketing World 2014, LinkedIn’s Jonathan Lister proclaimed that LinkedIn was “All in with content marketing”. While that reference was mostly about the ability for users to publish content on LinkedIn, the content marketing efforts from the team at LinkedIn over the past 2 years has been nothing short of impressive.

This most recent eBook is a great example of depth, design, and utility that also serves as a case study for “big rock” content. Along with smart advice from marketing rock stars Jason Miller and his team (Sean, Alex, and Megan pictured on the cover below), industry thought leaders and influencers are included as well. Bringing in outside expertise to co-create content adds credibility, subject matter expertise and balance to what would otherwise be “brand content” – a smart move.

Joshua Nite

Beyond the Blog Post: What a GREAT Marketer Does with Content

Joshua Nite on Mar 1st, 2016     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

Great-Marketer-Content

What is a blog post for?

Come to think of it, what is content for?

Sure, content should inspire our audience to form a relationship with the brand so they can be nurtured to a purchase decision that ultimately drives revenue. Duh.

Which is great. That’s what we want content to do. But—and forgive me for sounding like a broken record—what is it for?

The best answer I’ve seen comes from Dan Blumenthal: “Content Marketing is what web searchers are looking for.” Nine words. Mic drop.

That’s what our content is for—it’s for providing the best answer to people searching for information. It’s for delighting someone who clicks on your link in a search results page. If your content nails what it’s for, then it has a much better chance of accomplishing what you want it to do (form relationships/drive revenue/etc).

Joshua Nite

Empathy in Content Marketing: Three Stories to Tell Your Audience

Joshua Nite on Feb 24th, 2016     Content Marketing

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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

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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

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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: