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.

 

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:

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 Strategy, Content Marketing

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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

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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

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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.