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

Don’t Let Your Content Marketing Fail Because of This One Thing

Content MarketingOnline Marketers world-wide are looking towards content marketing as a way to educate, connect with and influence prospects to become customers. Content can also play a big part in lead nurturing and engagement with existing customers.

With 9 out of 10 B2B marketers using content in their mix and predictions from the likes of Geoff Ramsey of eMarketer, “Content Marketing is Critical in 2011” and Ashley Friedlein of Econsultancy, “Content strategy & content marketing: the King is back” there’s much cause for optimism.

But like many increasingly trendy marketing topics, marketers often rush in without experience, expertise or realistic expectations.  Marketing with content has been the core of our own strategy at TopRank Online Marketing for many years. I personally read and research the topic daily and our team implements content marketing strategies and tactics with just about all of our clients, many of which are formidable content marketers themselves.

Lee Odden

Why Your Business Needs a Content Marketing Strategy

social media contentGoogle sites handle about 88 billion searches each month. YouTube is the second most popular search engine second only to Google. Facebook is now over 600 million users. Twitter has nearly 200 million accounts. LinkedIn is at 101 million users and FourSquare grew 3,400% in 2010.

The variety of options for customer marketing and engagement ranging from social media to SEO to email marketing to online advertising can be overwhelming. As a result, some of the most common online marketing questions I hear from client side marketers revolve around, “How to decide which tactics are best?”

Answering that question starts with a clear understanding of goals, customers and a flexible online marketing strategy that assembles the right mix of tactics and measurement practices. Most companies are looking for more customers and to retain those they have, but the question is,

Lee Odden

How Small Business Can Get BIG Online with Content Marketing

small business online marketingFor small businesses, looking “big” online isn’t so much about appearing as a large company when they’re not. Its about being a big resource for prospects and customers.  As the popularity of content marketing and brands as publishers heats up with large companies, many small businesses still have the advantage of being nimble and adaptive to new ways of engaging customers.  That ability to experiment and implement quickly as well as creatively can be a big advantage.

Here are a few ways small businesses can use content marketing in combination with some SEO and Social Media Smarts to be a “bigger” resource for their  online customers.

Lee Odden

Content Marketing Tips from 5 People Who Know

content marketingContent Marketing is a hot, hot topic right now as are social media, mobile and local.  Along with being a popular focus for marketers, there’s really a deluge of information being published and it’s not always clear what the best advice is.

The recent kudos for TopRank’s Online Marketing blog in the areas of Content Marketing (#1 on Junta42 list) and Social Media Marketing (#2 on Social Media Examiner list), made me remember what a great network of smart, accomplished, “walk the talk” content marketers I get to connect with.  So, I reached out to a few of the people I respect most in these areas to share a single tip on Content Marketing for the benefit of readers trying to make sense of where it might fit in their mix:

Lee Odden

Top Content Marketing Blogs to Start 2011

content marketing blogsThis morning I received a pleasant surprise email from the folks at Junta42 with congratulations to Brian Solis, Brian Clark, David Meerman Scott, Jay Baer and TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog on making the top of the first Junta42 Top Content Marketing Blogs list in 2011. It is more than a little humbling to be included amongst such talented and respected industry veterans.

Joe Pulizzi runs Junta42 and is the first person (that I know of) to really popularize the notion of “content marketing”. In that regard Joe and his team really walk the talk: He also runs the Content Marketing Institute, Chief Content Officer magazine and the upcoming Content Marketing World conference. The blogs and writers that make the Junta42 list also “walk the talk” with content marketing and serve as a great example for those that want to better understand how content fits within the marketing mix.

Lee Odden

SEOChat on Content Marketing and SEO

#seochatLast night I had the privilege of being the guest on #seochat – a fairly new but very active Twitter Chat that happens on Thursday nights at 8pm CT.  Twitter chats are familiar territory and can be very engaging, especially when they’re as well run as #seochat.  Thanks to @Dan_Patterson for inviting me.  You can read the whole transcript of our discussion on SEO and Content Marketing here.

Besides the host being organized, one of the keys to a successful Twitter Chat is the prep done by the guest. Time goes by insanely fast when 10, 20 or a few hundred people are all tweeting to the same hashtag at the same time. I received questions in advance from Dan and then took the time to construct Twitter friendly replies in a text document including stats and links to supporting resources. Below are my prep notes on the topic of Content Marketing and SEO.

Lee Odden

Content Strategy and the Dirty Lie about SEO

SEO Content StrategyA recent comment on Online Marketing Blog in response to advice on Content Marketing Optimization states: “Why not write less and give more to gain credibility …  reach the audience and the rest will follow?”    It makes sense to create great content that people will interact with and share, growing visibility over time naturally. But that’s a superficial and often naive approach to content marketing.

Here’s the full comment from Kal:

“I find a lot of content is wasted! You see the site ranking and click! All you see is garbage and you know it is written for the search engines and not for the reader, researcher, consumer or the surfer.”

Lee Odden

SEO Strategies for Content Marketers – Hub and Spoke Content Amplification

SEO Strategy Content Marketing

Hub & Spoke Content & Social Media Publishing

While there’s plenty of great Search Engine Optimization advice being published daily on blogs and industry websites, there’s not as much from a content marketer’s perspective.  Having been in the SEO game for over 10 years, I know there’s a tendency to give recommendations that focus on web pages, code, links and what those things mean, specific to search engines. There’s an increasing social media component to these audits too. Most SEOs will read that and say, “Of course, what else do you need?”

Lee Odden

Marketing Content During the Customer Lifecycle

Lifecycle MarketingWe’ve established the value of content marketing here through many different posts. Most of the focus has been on creating value from content at the top of the funnel in a buying cycle. That’s where a lot of marketing dollars are focused and it’s an area of focus for the consulting offered by many online marketing agencies.

Content is the source of why search engines exist and therefore, essential for any discussion of SEO. Content is also the means through which brands engage customers on the social web through helpful information, resources, advertorial and even entertainment.

Another perspective to consider is that when brands and individuals share information on social networks and media sharing sites the outcome is content. There are many ways to be more effective with social content creation, sharing and engagement that marketers are not taking advantage of.

Lee Odden

The Value of Storytelling & Persuasion in Content Marketing

While taking a short flight from Auckland to Queenstown, NZ I was thinking about the role of content as a tool of persuasion. Let me know what you think:

In every marketplace, when something new like technology comes along that requires a change in behavior, there’s a fairly predictable range of responses. Based on original research represented by Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle that means: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards.

Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I think there are some interesting implications for content and storytelling when it comes to influence on adoption of technology.

Let’s say you have an objective of persuading a group of potential customers to adopt a certain technology for marketing.  One of the first steps is to profile those potential customers in terms of demographics and behaviors. A few key questions to be answered:

Lee Odden

10 Steps to Better Content Marketing & SEO

Lee Odden     Content Marketing, SEO

content marketing optimizationHow would you rate your content marketing efforts? How well are you incorporating SEO and Social Media? If you’re not sure or need to improve, read on.

We’re big fans of content marketing as you probably know and there’s a presentation on Content Marketing Optimization that I’ve been doing at search conferences lately (SES SF, SES CHI, Pubcon and soon SES London) that has evolved each time I give it. See the bottom of this post for an embedded copy of the latest version from Pubcon.

While there are an increasing number of definitions of what content marketing is, I tend to prefer:

Content Marketing: Aligning customer and brand objectives through content.

While the primary platforms for our application of this definition are online and more specifically, through search, social, online PR, email and certain kinds of advertising, I think a timelessly relevant definition needs to be general.

TopRank Marketing Editor

Essential Tips for Social Media & Content Marketing

TopRank Marketing Editor     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Media

marketo user summitContent marketing is essential for B2B businesses providing both qualitative and quantitative returns.  And while 6 in 10 marketers are planning to increase content marketing spends this year, success-rates still vary greatly as it’s a new concept for most.

Maria Pergolino, director of marketing for Marketo (a TopRank Online Marketing client) shared a presentation at the Marketo User Summit on getting the message out, focused on social media and content marketing tips/tricks.

How do you succeed in content marketing?

  • Create content that sells
  • Create a content map
  • Optimize content for search
  • Repurpose content
  • Learn to succeed even in situations with little or no content