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.

 

Ashley Zeckman

A Year in Blog Posts: TopRank Marketing’s Most Popular Content Marketing Posts of 2016

Ashley Zeckman on Dec 15th, 2016     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

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Each year, marketers are investing more time, effort and resources into creating content. The good news is that 45% of organizations believe that they have been more successful this year than they were last year.

The key indicators to this success has been largely due to increasing the quality of content, developing a strategy and prioritizing content creation.

As a content marketing centric agency, TopRank Marketing has covered various topics throughout the year that are aimed at helping other content creators find their way in a sometimes tricky industry.

Instead of just selecting our favorite posts of the year, we let our readers decide what was most useful. The 10 posts below represent our most shared content marketing posts of the year.

Joshua Nite

Content Marketing: 4 Ways to Make Sure Your Mobile Content Connects

Joshua Nite on Dec 7th, 2016     Content Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing

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How often do you use your smartphone as a phone? Personally, I think of it as more for avoiding human interaction than facilitating it:
phonechart

These days my desktop and home laptop are gathering dust; I can do it all on my phone. The only reason we still call them “phones” is “personal computation device” sounds too nerdy.

All of which to say: Mobile is the current and next frontier for content marketing. Reports show that 65% of digital media time is now spent on a mobile device. Not only that, all digital growth is now coming from mobile usage—expect to see desktop traffic stagnate or reduce while mobile traffic continues to grow.

Ashley Zeckman

The Future of Content Marketing: Experts Share Content Predictions for 2017

Ashley Zeckman on Dec 5th, 2016     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

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At a time in the not so distant future 2016 will come to a close and many content marketers will reflect on 2016 and think, “Man was that unfair!”. They’ve tightened their belts, worked hard to develop a content strategy and tried to stay up on latest content trends. But the sad reality is that content still isn’t having the business impact that they had anticipated.

In order for us to look to the future of content marketing, we have to take a critical look at the past and present. One  that we have always known to be true is that creating content just to improve rankings and to say that you “do” content marketing is never going to be good enough. So many marketers get caught up in creating content for content’s sake and find that they’ve wasted hours, months or years developing messages that nobody will ever read or share.

Caitlin Burgess

We Answer the Top 5 Questions People Have About Content Marketing

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

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As marketers, it’s our job to know our audience. To understand their pain points. To empathize. To provide them with the answers or solutions they’re looking for.

So how do we do all these things? One way is through content marketing.

Over the past few years, content marketing has been increasingly embraced by marketers. In fact, this year 88% of B2B marketers and 76% of B2C marketers said they used content marketing, according to the 2016 Benchmark, Budgets & Trends—North America reports from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

But there are still a lot people out there who are searching for some of the content marketing basics.

Caitlin Burgess

10 Kick-Ass Cyber Monday & Holiday Deals for Digital Marketers

Caitlin Burgess on Nov 28th, 2016     B2B Marketing, B2C Marketing, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

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Digital marketers everywhere—especially our friends in the B2C marketing world—have spent the last weeks and months perfecting their marketing strategies for the holiday season. Now that the most wonderful time of the year is officially here, we want to make sure our fellow marketers don’t miss out on deals that can help them perfect their craft.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season, we’ve put together this handy list of Cyber Monday and holiday deals that any marketer would absolutely love to scoop up. From books and conference tickets to free tool trials, you’ll find a variety of great deals.

Digital Advertising

#1- $100 Bing Advertising Credit

Bing Ads Cyber Monday Deal

Joshua Nite

Why Most Content Doesn’t Get Social Shares–And How to Get Yours Seen

Joshua Nite     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

content-social-shares

It’s been a little over a year since Buzzsumo’s Steve Rayson dropped a bombshell on content marketers. After his company analyzed over one million blog posts, it was Steve’s sad duty to inform us that:

  • 75% of posts received zero domain links
  • 50% of posts received 8 shares or less
  • 75% of posts received 39 shares or less

In other words, that beautiful content we spent so much time crafting? Half of it didn’t attract enough people to fill a baseball roster. Three quarters of it didn’t attract enough people to fill a school bus.

It’s hard to feel good about numbers like that. But you don’t have to feel hopeless and you don’t have to take it lying down. Your audience is out there, waiting for great content to rise above the swelling tides of mediocrity.

Joshua Nite

7 Steps to Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy

Joshua Nite     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

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There is one thing that nearly 2/3rds of top-performing content marketers do, but only 13% of the least successful do. It’s a clear driver of content marketing excellence. Yet only 37% of all B2B content marketers are doing it.

That one thing is to developing a documented content marketing strategy. It’s that simple. Lay out your strategy, write it down, and you’ve drastically increased your odds of running a successful content marketing enterprise.

Documenting your strategy prevents random acts of content. It helps get buy-in from your whole team. Most importantly, it starts your content initiative with measurable goals and a plan to achieve them. It just makes every aspect of creating content and distributing it easier and more effective.

Joshua Nite

Content Marketing: 10 Daily Habits to Create More Powerful Content

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Marketing is a game of inches. We tweak a headline to get fifty more clicks. Add visual interest for ten more subscriptions. Change the button on the landing page to get five more conversions. All the little gains add up over time to generate real results.

Writing more effective copy is a game of inches, too. You don’t write Twilight one week and Moby Dick the next. Instead, every day you can work to be a little bit better than the day before.

The tricky part is if you’re not steadily improving your writing, you’re actively moving backward. There’s no such thing as maintaining the status quo—it’s self-improvement or bust.

The following ten daily habits can help you make steady incremental improvement. Try as many as you can for 28 days, and be amazed at how those daily inches add up.

Joshua Nite

20 Jokes Only a Marketer Could Love

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It’s well past time for marketers to get serious about comedy. The best way to connect with an audience is by authentically appealing to them on a human level. Adding humor to marketing is one of the most powerful ways to make that appeal.

Telling a joke does more than provide a moment’s diversion. When people share in a joke, it creates a sense of belonging. If you’ve ever sat around trading in-jokes with your friends, you know what I mean.

Humor can be a way to draw a circle around a group and pull them in—to say, “If you understand this joke, we’re in the same tribe. You get me and I get you.” That’s a powerful message to send to your potential customers. And it’s a good way to get the less relevant folks to opt out, too.

Ashley Zeckman

Insanely Effective Content Marketing with Limited Resources, Budget & Time

Ashley Zeckman     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

chris-moody-ge-digital-mpb2b-2016

Marketing departments typically have unlimited resources, astronomical budgets and more hours in the day than your average person. Wait, that doesn’t sound right.

If the statement above sounds right to you, congratulations!

For the rest of us trying to find a way to do more (quality and quantity) with less, this is a topic that is typically top of mind, every day.

In his presentation at MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Chris Moody, Content Marketing Leader at GE Digital helped ease the pain for B2B marketers. Chris shared insight into some concepts that can you do more with less, as well as some tips and tricks to get you on the right path.

What is the Current State of Marketing?

He opened with a quote from one of my favorite shows, Silicon Valley.

Ashley Zeckman

Think Like A Rockstar: How to Build An Owned Media Empire With Epic B2B Content Marketing

Ashley Zeckman     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

jason-miller-linkedin-mpb2b-2016

True to form, LinkedIn’s Jason Miller rocked his presentation at the MarketingProf’s B2B Marketing forum by opening up with some inspirational words from The Clash:

If you don’t like the world, then change it.”

As Jason shared, the Clash changed the world, and so can today’s B2B marketers. But they’re facing some interesting challenges such as the fact that:

  • 60% of B2B content goes unused (Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs)
  • 44% of consumers consider ending a brand relationship because of irellevant promotions (Chief Marketing Officer Council)

How can marketers overcome these challenges? Below are a few ways that LinkedIn built their content empire.

Focus on Goals, Objectives, Strategy & Tactics

When starting down this journey, LinkedIn had a singular goal:

Caitlin Burgess

6 Truth Bombs Every B2B Marketer Needs to Hear About Creativity

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“Do you want to be creative?”

Jay Acunzo, founder, host and writer of Unthinkable.fm, asked marketers this question as he kicked off his session Unthinkable: Content Creativity For The Hopelessly Uncreative at MarketingProf’s B2B Marketing Forum last week in Boston.

Acunzo acknowledged the question was a bit silly. It’s like asking if you want more time in your day or more resources for your team. The answer is always an unequivocal “yes.”

But while this may seem like a weird question to ask marketers, it actually gets to the heart of the creative struggle we all feel: Of course we want to be creative; creativity is necessary and intertwined with everything we do. But we often find ourselves aspiring to be more creative than actually harnessing what’s already inside us as creators.