Ashley Zeckman

Content Conversations: Content Marketing Predictions for 2018

Last year around this time, we reached out to a series of content experts (many of which are included in this post), to ask them for their top content prediction for 2017. By and large, the explosion of video content was a top prediction and rang true this year.

We also received predictions related to the mistrust of news sources (#FakeNews anyone?), the need for restructure within marketing departments as content marketing roles become more defined and the necessity for a defined content marketing strategy.

And while each of these predictions were spot on (or very close to what we’ve experienced this year), some of them were very aspirational. This year, content marketers have been through alot. They’ve had to do even more with less, focus even more on marketing performance and try to navigate a very saturated marketplace.

Nick Nelson

3 Unusual Content Marketing Approaches That Actually Work

My favorite brand on social media is Denny’s. The diner chain eschews pretty much every marketing convention, and that’s exactly why its efforts stand out so much.

The company’s online personality has been compared to that of a “chill teenager.” Its Twitter feed is filled with juvenile humor, rarely promoting the restaurant’s actual food in any serious way. I doubt many people find the image of a pancake in a shoe appetizing. The Denny’s Instagram page looks like some sort of bizarre avant garde art project.

None of this goes by the book. But Denny’s scores tremendous engagement on almost every social media channel, and has developed a cult following of sorts on the web thanks to its quirky content. This has proven to be a significant differentiator for their business.

Joshua Nite

5 Outdated Content Marketing Tactics (And What to Do Instead)

Can I interest anyone in an iPhone? No, not the iPhone 8 or X. I’m talking about this bad boy:

No takers? But it has a 320X480 pixel screen, 128 Mb of RAM, and a single 2-megapixel camera! Back in 2007, this was the hottest phone on the market. People lined up in front of stores just to get their hands on one.

You get the point: State of the art quickly becomes laughably outdated. What used to thrill a consumer’s soul is now something we wouldn’t give a toddler to play with.

That kind of obsolescence isn’t limited to the tech industry, of course. The cycle from next-big-thing to the dustbin is even faster in online content. Yet many content marketers are using tactics that, while they once worked, are now as outdated as that original iPhone. What’s worse, some of us are still in the flip-phone stage.

Caitlin Burgess

How Employee Engagement Helps Drive the Success of Your Marketing Efforts

Caitlin Burgess     Digital Marketing, Public Relations

As our world becomes increasingly driven by digital technologies and the workforce experiences generational shifts, employee engagement is rising as a top focus area for many companies. After all, according to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace study, just 16% of the American workforce is “actively” engaged.

Of course, when employees aren’t engaged, they’re a flight risk. In fact, Gallup’s research also revealed that 51% of employees are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings. Furthermore, those employees who fall into the “actively disengaged” category, are almost twice as likely as engaged employees to seek new jobs. And when employees leave, that can have a big impact on your bottom line when it comes to recruiting and back-filling costs.

Anne Leuman

How 5 B2B Brands Are Using Snapchat and Instagram Stories

B2B brands are usually slow to jump on the latest social media craze train, and with good reason. Their audience might not even be on those social media networks. For example, Snapchat was originally full of teenagers and controversy — not a great place to grow brand awareness or share thought leadership. But my, oh my, how far we’ve come.

Today, networks like Snapchat, Instagram, Messenger, and other marketing channels are becoming new breeding grounds for B2B brands. But with frequent product updates introducing new features and advertising tools, brands are often left wondering what the best approach is.

Ashley Zeckman

Content Conversations: How to Hit the Ground Running with Content Marketing in 2018

Ashley Zeckman     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

We are in the final stretch of 2017 which means 2018 will be here before we know it. And unfortunately, Q2 will be here in the blink of an eye.

All too often we spend weeks or even months creating a content strategy, and quickly find that by the middle of March, we’ve already abandon our best laid plans. Instead, we should be spending our efforts developing a plan that is tied to a core group of objectives that we can reference as soon as it feels like things may be getting off track.

Ashley Zeckman

The TopRank Marketing Team Reflects & Gives Thanks

Ashley Zeckman     Digital Marketing, TopRank Agency News

Today is a day that has become a cornerstone of American tradition and many of you are preparing for a day of fun and feasting with your love ones.

Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions. For many families, you spend the day cooking, eating, conversing and eating some more. Others (like myself) take a more non-traditional approach and host a Friendsgiving with no turkey (don’t worry, there is prime rib).

The team at TopRank Marketing has our own Thanksgiving tradition which includes asking our team members to share thanks on a specific topic each year. Last year we shared why we were thankful for our clients and the year before we focused on why we were thankful for our team members.

This year, we decided to focus on what we are most thankful for in our career and what we’ve learned in our time at TopRank Marketing.

Ashley Zeckman

Content Conversations: Top Content Marketing Lessons Learned in 2017

Ashley Zeckman     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

One of the best ways to improve your skills as a content marketer is to learn from the successes and failures of other marketers. And as we near the end of 2017, many marketers are reflecting on what has (and hasn’t) worked in the past year and looking to what this means for content goals and plans for the coming year.

It doesn’t matter if you are a team of one or a team of one hundred, outside insights can be incredibly valuable for improving your approach to content marketing.

Since we know you’re likely busy working, wrapping up 2017 and planning for 2018, we’re here to help. Recently we had the chance to sit down (or stand up?) for some great content conversations with some of today’s top marketers.

Below you’ll find their top content lessons learned in 2017 as well as how you can apply these insights to your own content marketing approach.

Lee Odden

The State of Minnesota Marketing: Insights from 6 Minnesota Brands

Lee Odden     Digital Marketing
State Minnesota Marketing

Minnesota is home to numerous nationally and internationally known brands, ranging from household consumer names like Target and Best Buy to giants like Cargill and United Healthcare. Given their broad focus, their home state isn’t a singular marketing focus for these big companies. But what about brands where the state brand plays a part of the company brand? What impact does that have on marketing?

That was the topic of a brand panel at the recent Minnesota Marketing Summit in Minneapolis.

Moderated by Nicole Shannon, Executive Director, Advertising for Star Tribune, the session opened up to a standing room only crowd. Panelists were on-hand from Minnesota brands including Explore Minnesota, Minnesota State, Sunrise Banks, Sun Country, Children’s Minnesota and the Minneapolis Downtown Council to discuss: What is the Minnesota brand and how does it relate to marketers and brands of companies operating here?

Joshua Nite

How to Choose Dynamic Images for Your Blog Posts

I’m a content writer, not a graphic designer. My job is to make the words dance, to convey useful information in an entertaining way.

As such, for a long time visuals were just an afterthought for me. Yeah, a blog needs a header image. So after I’m done writing I’ll slap something on there, check that box, and send it off to the client.

As content continues to proliferate, though, that laissez-faire approach isn’t enough. Your potential audience has far more content available to them than they’ll ever be able to read. That means they’re actively looking for reasons not to read your content. A weak—or worse, missing—visual is a perfect excuse to move to the next thing.

Dan Rasmussen

Learn How to Connect Actions to Results Using Marketing Attribution

We’ve all been there. The big marketing campaign you spent months on just ended, it was a smashing success! Champagne was popped, there were pats on the back all around, life was good. But when the dust finally settles, you’re left staring a mountain of data square in there eyes, wondering if the marketing attribution you set up tells the real story.

Fortunately for you, during this year’s MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, Dayna Rothman of BrightFunnel broke down how you as a savvy marketer can orchestrate the buyer journey and turn it into a science by properly leveraging data and analytics.

The “Marketing Holy Grail” is to turn the buyer journey into a science by sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

Ashley Zeckman

2018 B2B Content Marketing Report Indicates Marketers are Finding Content Marketing Success

Ashley Zeckman     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

As a community, content marketers have experienced some significant ups and downs over the years. For every step forward we take toward content success, it sometimes seems like we take a couple backwards.

But perhaps, this will be the year that changes.

Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs just released their annual report–The 2018 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends.

We’ve come to rely on this report to be a definitive content marketing guide of sorts that provides a finger on the pulse of our industry and shows how we align (or don’t) with our content marketing peers.

In order to move forward, we have to know where we are today, including what is working and what is not. Below are what I consider to be some of the top learnings from the report.