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

The Importance of Storytelling in Content Marketing #MPB2B

Caitlin Burgess on Oct 20th, 2016     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

shane-snow-mpb2b-2016

Once upon a time …

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …

There once was …

These aren’t just classic fairy tale or movie beginnings. They represent memories. They evoke feelings. They get our minds churning. They signal that an exciting story is about to unfold—and those stories are powerful.

As content marketers, we need to be in the business of storytelling if we want our content to resonate and inspire. As Shane Snow, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Contently, said during his session Create, Connect, And Optimize Through Storytelling: The New Formula For Content Success at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum.

“When you engage in a story, your brain lights up.”

Caitlin Burgess

Marketer or Mind-Reader? 3 Ways to Find Out What the B2B Buyer is Thinking #MPB2B

Caitlin Burgess on Oct 20th, 2016     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Marketing PR Conferences

matthew-t-grant-mpb2b-2016

When it comes to creating quality content that informs, entertains, engages and inspires action from our target audience, we marketers wish we knew one thing: exactly what our audience is thinking.

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly possible. While we’d all like to believe we have amazing mind-reading capabilities, most of us really only have the informed assumptions we’ve built with research and data.

But what if I told you there were a few things you could do to get closer to savant status? Well, it just so happens that I received some nuggets of insights today on that very topic.

During their session Are You A Marketer Or A Mind-Reader? How To Know What Your B2B Buyer Is Really Thinking at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum in Boston, Aberdeen Group’s Director of Content Strategy Matthew T. Grant and Research Analyst Andrew Moravick shared three options for getting deeper into the minds of B2B buyers.

Kevin Cotch

Mastering the Art of Blogging: 6 Recipes to Help You Become A More Successful Content Creator

Kevin Cotch on Oct 17th, 2016     Blog Optimization, Blogging Strategy, Content Marketing

mastering-the-art-of-blogging

Last Saturday, Ashley Zeckman presented to a packed room of bloggers and shared a presentation titled: Mastering the Art of Blogging: 6 Recipes to Help You Become A More Successful Content Creator at the annual MN Blogger Conference.

The MN Blogger Conference offers a great opportunity for bloggers and content marketers to gather and learn insights on content strategy, search engine optimization, and social media. In her presentation, Ashley shared that unfortunately only 37% of companies have a documented content strategy (according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs) which presents an opportunity for content marketers to gain an advantage over competitors. Ashley was able to outline six recipes or strategies to gain your advantage. The six content marketing recipes include:

  1. Discovery Donuts
  2. Content Mission Canapés
Joshua Nite

[eBook] Influencer Marketing: It’s Time to Get Real

Joshua Nite on Oct 12th, 2016     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

influencer-marketing-in-real-life
If you’re interested in influencer marketing, let’s do a little thought exercise:

Imagine being invited to a party full of influential people. The moment you walk through the door, you approach the first famous face you recognize and say, “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but can you help me move this weekend?”

Imagine the stunned silence…the sideways glance…the “And you are…?” that is sure to follow. The hardest thing to imagine would be that strategy succeeding.

In real life, we take time to get to know someone before asking them for a favor. We take an interest in them as a person. We try to do something nice for them. After a good long time, we might lay a big ask on them—once we could make a compelling case for doing so.

Joshua Nite

5 Actionable Insights from the 2017 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report

Joshua Nite on Oct 5th, 2016     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

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If you’re a B2B content marketer, you likely remember where you were when the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs released last year’s B2B Content Marketing report. The same way different generations will always remember hearing about Elvis, Kurt Cobain, or Prince, that dark day is seared into our industry’s memory.

Last year’s report showed a decrease in documented content marketing strategy—even though a documented strategy was proven to be a vital part of success. It showed that fewer content marketers rated their efforts as effective than the previous year.

At Content Marketing World, Joe Pulizzi somberly declared content marketing had reached the “trough of disillusionment,” out of which we would have to climb.

Secluded in her tiny writing house, Ann Handley paused for a moment to wipe tears from her trademark glasses.

Joshua Nite

5 Cool Ways to Make Marketing Magic with Interactive Content

Joshua Nite on Sep 29th, 2016     Content Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Online Marketing

interactive-content-marketing-magic

On the occasion of the new trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I was thinking about the fantastical wizarding world of Harry Potter. Who wouldn’t want to live in a world with magical items like pictures that move, newspapers that automatically update themselves, portraits that speak?

Then it hit me: My smartphone can show moving pictures and auto-updated news, and it doesn’t have to be delivered by owl. AND it’s a lot more compact than the average Daily Prophet issue. Sure, we can’t play proper Quidditch yet—someone get Elon Musk on flying broomstick development—but as far as interactive content goes, Muggles have got it on lock.

Caitlin Burgess

5 Awesome Takeaways from HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 Report

Caitlin Burgess on Sep 26th, 2016     Content Marketing

state-of-inbound-2016

Today’s consumers are much more self-directed in their buying habits, leveraging the internet and mobile technologies to research, review, interact and buy the products and services they need or want. As a result, many brands and marketers are shifting their marketing tactics to join consumers on their buying journey, rather than interrupting their day with a random cold call or talking at them as they flip through a magazine.

That shift is toward inbound marketing tactics such as blogging, eBooks, whitepapers, social media marketing and dozens of other content marketing tactics—a way of effective marketing that TopRank Marketing is all about. And the growth and importance of inbound marketing is only going to grow, according to HubSpot.

Joshua Nite

Avoid Content Ennui: 10 Creative Blog Types to Serve Your Audience

Joshua Nite on Sep 22nd, 2016     Blogging Strategy, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

creative-blog-types

When it comes to blog content, a lot of us are serving breakfast when we should be serving dinner.

Let me explain. Odds are you have a go-to breakfast that you eat nearly every day. A bowl of cereal with a banana, some oatmeal with maple syrup, a haunch of beef seasoned with the tears of your enemies—generally there’s not much variety from day to day. On the other hand…

batsaneye

For dinner, we generally require some variety. Maybe it’s that no one is fully awake for breakfast, so it doesn’t matter what you eat. Maybe it’s the realization that eggs and bacon are perfect foods.

Lee Odden

Where to Learn About Influencer Content Marketing in Europe & the U.S.

influencer content marketing
As a fast growing content marketing agency, especially when it comes to working with influencers, TopRank Marketing has experienced great growth this year working with new clients in the U.S. and abroad.

To continue building awareness of the great work my team has been doing and to share the insights I’ve learned as an active practitioner and strategist, I will be giving keynotes, solo presentations and workshops in 4 different countries over a 60 day period during October and November. Of course I will be joined by an excellent cadre of talented and experienced marketing speakers covering a range of topics, so each event is a great opportunity to learn, network and get inspired for 2017.

Ashley Zeckman

How to Win Social Friends & Influence Your Customers @LeeOdden Keynote

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

How to Win Social Friends and Influence Your Customers

In his keynote at the Social Media Rockstar event yesterday, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden opened with a heartwarming story about building influence.

For anyone who doesn’t think that building influence is something they can do, this story is a must hear (or in this case, read).

The story is about a fifth grader named Sam. Sam is an influencer. An aspiring author, Sam decided to write a book and include some of his classmates as characters. To make editing and collaboration easy, Sam wrote his book on Google Drive and shared it with his classmates, asking them to review and make edits. This small ask quickly became a competition in his classroom to be included in the story and to be involved in the project. Sam become the center of attention. Sam become influential.

Joshua Nite

The 4 Essential Questions Your Content Must Answer in Less than 15 Seconds

Joshua Nite on Sep 14th, 2016     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

4-questions-content-must-answer

A rodeo cowboy gets eight seconds to become a champion. What can content marketers do with nearly twice that time?

HubSpot reports it takes less than 15 seconds for a reader to decide whether or not content is worth the effort. Think about that: In half of the Jeopardy theme, your reader’s mind is already made up.

You’re probably familiar with that statistic–it’s a marketing classic. But what exactly is happening in those 15 seconds?

There’s a series of subconscious questions anyone asks as they’re contemplating reading content. You ask them; I ask them; and our fellow human beings that we call an “audience” ask them, too.

Your content must answer these four essential questions, and fast.

Ashley Zeckman

Top Takeaways & Words of Wisdom From Content Marketing World 2016

Ashley Zeckman on Sep 12th, 2016     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

cmw16-wrapup
Last week, over four thousand marketers gathered together to immerse themselves in the world of content marketing. The 2016 Content Marketing World conference was filled with insights from some of the top content marketers on the globe and offered two days filled with education and networking. In just a few short days, attendees (and even those that weren’t able to attend) began sharing their experience on social networks. In fact, last week alone there were 45,000+ posts on social networks by over 10,000 users with estimated impressions of almost 4M.