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.

 

Lee Odden

A Content Marketer’s Guide to Social Media & Search Strategy

Internet 60 Seconds InfographicWhat happens on the internet in 60 seconds? 1,500 Blog Posts, 60 New Blogs, 98,000 Tweets, 20,000 Posts on Tumblr, 600+ New Videos Uploaded to YouTube, 6,600 Images Uploaded to Flickr, 79,000+ Facebook Wall Posts and over 695,000 Facebook Status Updates. What does all that activity have in common? It’s content, it’s social and presents a ripe opportunity for optimization.

Content Marketing is a hot topic and deservedly so.  According to an AOL Nielsen study in May 2011, 53% of all time on the internet is content consumption. In the U.S. alone, 27 million pieces of content are shared per day.  In the Junta42 and MarketingProfs B2B Content Marketing study, it was reported that 90% of marketers use content marketing and 51% plan to budget more than the previous year.

Lee Odden

5 Tips on Crowdsourcing Content for Marketing

crowdsourcing contentContent is an essential vehicle for corporate storytelling, attracting and engaging customers to buy. Organizations are beginning to get that, but struggle with content sourcing and how to scale. Besides hiring an editorial staff complete with corporate journalists, one of the most valuable sources of content for online marketing comes from your brand’s community.

Tapping in to what customers care about related to your products /services and what your brand stands for can be a gold mine of meaningful content.

I wrote about this recently on ClickZ, “Crowdsourcing and User Generated Content“, offering pros and cons plus a few tips. Here are 5 of those tips with some additional commentary based on discussions with audience members at the recent SES San Francisco conference:

Lee Odden

Content Marketing Optimization: 8 Content Ideas for Business Blogs

Blogging ContentAt the SES conference this week I gave several presentations on Content Marketing: “Content Marketing Optimization” and “The Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing”.  In the CMO session, I provided SEO tips for each spoke in a hub and spoke model. The hub in this situation was a blog and one of the most common issues with business blog success is fresh content. In fact, one of the most common reasons companies don’t start a blog is over their concerns with creating useful content.

I can empathize with that concern and have addressed it with many companies over the past 7+ years that I’ve been blogging here on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog. To help anyone interested in ideas for creating business blog content, check out the following 8 tips. They’ve worked for us and for many of our clients and may very well work for you too.

Lee Odden

Optimize for Search, Optimize for Share – #SESSF

Content SEOFor the past 8 years I’ve been a big fan of using content as a marketing vehicle to acquire new customers. In fact, during our agency’s 10 year history, we’ve never had a sales person and have engaged in very little outbound marketing (long before the notion of “inbound marketing” became popular).

The growing popularity of content marketing within the SEO world has evolved from white hat SEOs that would proclaim “content is king” to recent declarations that Google’s Panda updates have now validated the need for quality content. But if Panda is the primary reason your SEO efforts are focusing on best practices content marketing, then you’ll still be at a disadvantage.

Lee Odden

Social Media & Content Marketing Success: Short & Long Term

Social Media Content ROIThe number of inquiries we get at our Online Marketing Agency has stayed pretty steady over the past few years but there’s been a notable shift in interest specifically towards social & content marketing.  What’s interesting is the focus on leveraging social media marketing solely for direct consumer acquisition. What’s the problem with that? Nothing. But there’s a lot of missed opportunity by focusing only on the short term benefits of social media & content.

Here’s a typical approach: Create a campaign that leverages a creative content object (hub) supported by PPC, social ads, email, online PR and social content (all optimized for keywords of course) to drive traffic & awareness. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, we love integrated campaigns because there’s so much to work with in terms of promotable content, digital assets to be optimized and social engagement. This can be a great mix, but if the company never runs another campaign, or runs them without any coordination between campaigns, it can be like starting over each time.

Lee Odden

Optimize: 5 Essential Customer Touchpoints for Online Marketers

customer centric online marketingA lot of self-centered corporate marketing is giving way to customer-centric ways of communicating the value of doing business.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot in terms of online marketing and have been sharing these ideas through client content marketing strategy. At the same time, more companies are actively seeking expertise with a customer-centric approach to content.

One area of change is search engine optimization and going after the most popular keywords (relevant to products & services) and optimizing to attract customers. The assumption is that the search result will compel users to click and the destination page visit results in a conversion.

Before search, there are many other behaviors to consider that influence the consumer’s confidence in what they find. It’s a lot more complex than needing something, searching, finding & buying with no other influences.  I believe you can optimize for those influences.

Lee Odden

Brands As Publishers & Publishers Are Marketers

brands as publishersThe trend towards “brands as publishers” over the past year has an increasing number of businesses entering the world of content in ways that are creating new opportunities for online marketing. The notion of brands publishing editorial is nothing new of course and has been known as Custom Media or Custom Publishing for years.

For example, P&G‘s “invention” of the radio and TV Soap Opera or both “Food and Wine” and “Travel and Leisure” magazines published by American Express.  Interestingly, corporate editorial content publishing often overlooks the value of SEO as a way to extend reach and grow readership.

Publishers on the other hand, are becoming much better marketers. While online and offline media have always been reliant on growing distribution and readership to warrant advertising based business models, the changing nature of media, shifts in consumer behaviors and increased competition has warranted even more marketing savvy to capture, maintain and grow readership.

Lee Odden

Socialize & Optimize with Content Marketing at SES San Francisco 2011

SES San FranciscoCertainly one of the best cities in the U.S. for a conference is San Francisco and in a little over 2 weeks the famous ClickZ Connected Marketing Week returns with 5 days of deep dive online marketing education, networking and knowing SEOs, plenty of fun.  A big part of the week is the SES San Francisco conference.

I’ve been attending SES conferences since 2005 and while both the online marketing industry and the SES conference have changed quite a bit, that change has spurred continuous innovation to the benefit of attendees, sponsors and speakers. You’ll find many sessions at 90 minutes instead of 45 or 60, so speakers can really get in-depth with their topics. There are also a number of sessions completely programmed by specific advisory board members, an approach that is new to this SES. To Win a Free Pass to SES San Francisco, Read on!

Lee Odden

How SEO Can Work With Content Strategy

Content Marketing OptimizationRecently I spoke with Content Strategist, Margot Bloomstein, who was conducting research for an upcoming publication about Content Strategy intended for a variety of audiences. In particular, we discussed productive interactions and exchanges between Search Engine Optimization professionals and Content Strategists.

Organizations advance their reach and engagement goals through content and Strategists work to audit, develop strategy, plan, create and maintain that content. Ahava Leibtag provides an excellent and practical approach at CMI in her post, “Creating Valuable Content” which outlines how content should be: Findable, Readable, Understandable, Actionable and Shareable.

SEO and content strategy intersect in more ways than optimizing web pages with keywords. My take on Margot’s question, “How does SEO and content strategy interact?” starts with understanding customer segments, behaviors and preferences for information discovery, consumption and sharing. Knowing what customers care about and how those concerns and interests manifest as search keywords and social topics folds very well into the keyword research practiced by professional SEOs.

Lee Odden

Content, Social & SEO Lead Customers to Great Experiences

Content Social SEOMy friend Bob Knorpp has a good piece on AdAge this week:”Why Marketers Should Break Free of the Digital Content Trap” about the fallacy of content. He makes some good points about companies going through the motions of creating and promoting content on social channels with motivations of retweets, likes, shares and links over real engagement. I have to agree where he says, “content alone is a dead end for ongoing engagement”.

While many savvy online marketers don’t see content as a shortsighted substitute for social strategy or simply as a SEO tactic, but a proxy to creating customer experiences, there are even more who do.  Content is a vehicle for discovery, engagement and sharing.  Content is the mechanism for storytelling and if social and search optimization are also involved in a qualitative way to aid in discovery and sharing of those stories – then all the better.

Lee Odden

Effective Use of Keywords in Content Marketing

Keywords Content Marketing

Wordle Cloud Using the Text of This Article

I recently had an interesting discussion with Ron Jones who is writing a book specifically on using keywords for online marketing called “Keyword Intelligence“. He was researching for the content marketing portion of the book and we talked about where keywords fit. These kinds of discussions are great for blog posts so here are a few ideas for you on keywords, SEO, Social Media and content.

Content marketing is customer centric and therefore often focused not only on creating information to educate prospects and customers about product/service features and benefits, but also about topics of interest relevant to the situations that cause people to need or want those products and services.

Brian Larson

4 Must See Social Media & SEO Sessions at SES Toronto

SES Toronto 2011If you’re wondering, “Who’s Brian Larson?”, you’re not alone. Before I jump into the details of some of the can’t miss sessions at the upcoming SES Toronto conference, I’ll borrow a line from Austin Powers: “Please allow myself to introduce…myself.”

I’m a SEO Account Manager at TopRank Online Marketing – which means I have the enviable job of developing and managing SEO programs for several TopRank clients. One of the many benefits of my job is that I have the opportunity to work daily with some of the most intelligent and forward thinking companies around (you know who you are).  As I head to SES Toronto, I go with my clients’ goals and needs at the front of my mind.