Marketing PR Conferences – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:02:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Content Marketing Tactics for Search Marketers – International Edition #SMXLmilan http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/content-marketing-search-smxlmilan/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/content-marketing-search-smxlmilan/#respond Thu, 26 Oct 2017 10:00:05 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23157 Content is both king and kingdom in a digital world full of stories. Brands and consumers alike are experiencing and publishing content on a daily basis. Between information overload, increased complexity of search engines and changes in consumer search behaviors, many marketers are less than confident about how to optimize their content marketing. How can [...]

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SMXL Milan Content Strategies

Content is both king and kingdom in a digital world full of stories. Brands and consumers alike are experiencing and publishing content on a daily basis. Between information overload, increased complexity of search engines and changes in consumer search behaviors, many marketers are less than confident about how to optimize their content marketing.

How can marketers best use content marketing to improve search marketing? How does search inspired content affect content, PR and marketing programs across channels?

At SMXL in Milan, Italy this November 15th, that’s exactly what a panel of experts will be answering. I will be moderating Content Related Strategies for Search with Ken McGaffin, Lexi Mills and Jey Pandian where we’ll be discussing strategies to help identify new opportunities to develop content based on business intelligence, competitive research and historical performance.

As a teaser for the panel, I’ve asked each speaker to share a preview of their talk with practical insights and tips.

Ken McGaffin

Ken McGaffin @mcgaffin
Online PR and Link Building Strategist at Audiential 

4 Rich Sources of People Stories
“If you’re reading this at 3 am, chances are that James Proud wants to put you in a deep slumber.”

That’s a great opening to an article on insomnia in the NYTimes.com. It paints a vivid picture, intrigues the reader and draws them in.

That’s the power of story – it elevates your content and makes it unique.

Content Marketing is a competitive business and your pitches have to be top notch to succeed. Stories make yours stand out – to the delight of your target publishers and their readers. Here’s some things we’ve discovered at Audiential:

  1. There’s no such thing as a ‘boring’ industry – every business involves people and people are inherently interesting.
  2. Don’t expect your clients to give you stories – they rarely know what makes a great story. You’ve got to seek stories out – and polish them into inspiring content.
  3. You only need 4 sources to systematically mine for stories:
    · customers
    · staff
    · founders
    · influencers

4. You must encourage people to open up and that means you have to listen. There’s an old saying, “We have two ears and one mouth, and we should listen and talk in the same proportion”.

Lexi Mills

Lexi Mills @leximills
Managing Director at Marquis Communications

Design for Trends and Play the Long Game with Research Content
Many media are using new technology to tell them what subjects they should be covering. In some cases over 50% of the content they produce has to align with the trends these tools show. Making sure you are designing your content inline with an anticipated trend or pitching it in a way that allows them to cover a current one will significantly improve your media relationships, coverage and inbound link profile.

Don’t plan to win on round one. Media are so busy these days that the likelihood of winning on the first point of contact is significantly lower than ever before. I have a strict rule with my team that they are not allowed to send an email or make a phone call without pre-planning what their follow up will be.

This can be anything from new images, interview slots becoming available to book or highlighting an emerging trend or event that the content fits in with. Not only does this ensure that they follow up in good time but it also feeds into the structure of campaigns.

Instead of releasing all research in one go we might decide to release it in phases or at a time when we know there will be a relevant event this allows for a more constructive follow-up. It also helps eliminate anyone tormenting a journalist with their pet hate…..an email that says “I just wanted to check you received my press release”.

Jey Pandian

Jey Pandian @jeypandian
Chief Digital Officer & Founding Partner at ONWARD Agency

Storytelling in the Age of the Omnichannel
Since the internet first started, the way people communicate has continuously evolved. Within each Search vertical, there are different types of content that need to be built out in order to meet customer demand. Jey will present a content framework that goes beyond search content to help lay the foundation for an omnichannel content play.

1. Analyze – Identify out where your audiences spend their time online on Social Media Platforms and Search Engines on a 24-hour timeline to figure out “moments of receptivity” and to ensure that content will be built and surfaced at the right time and place, in the right context.

2. Design – Study UX design patterns against each Search Engine design feature; whether infinite scroll, voice, mobile, and/or swiping patterns e.g. scrolling up and down or sideways to figure out how to design your asset for optimal consumer consumption.

3. Create – Understand your algorithmic limitations as it pertains to content consumption across each Search Engine; whether image, video, voice search and/or virtual reality to help figure out how to design your asset for optimal search visibility and in turn, consumer consumption.

audience SMXL Milan
This will be the second time I’ve presented at SMXL Milan. Last year I gave a keynote presentation on influencer content collaboration. There were several speaker dinners and I think we counted 15 different countries represented at one of them. This really is an international search marketing event.

Whether you’re simply trying to increase organic search visibility for the great content you’ve been publishing or if you want to create an advantage in a competitive market, leveraging search data can produce insights that are impactful for everything from storytelling, to media relations to omni-channel marketing. This panel with Ken, Lexi and Jey on Content Related Strategies for Search Marketing is ambitious and will cover many of these topics with plenty of time for audience Q and A.

I will be giving a solo presentation about content marketing at SMXL Milan on November 15th:

Lee Odden SMXL 2016

Photo of Lee Odden via Laura Caldarella @LaSagitta


How to Be the Best Answer for Customers with Content Marketing Integration
– 
Without content, there wouldn’t be any search engines and yet most marketers treat content as if it were simply a tactic for SEO. Content is the fuel that powers all forms of media on all digital channels where customers engage. The most successful marketers approach digital marketing with a customer and content-centric approach that integrates with SEO, social media and industry influencers in a way that helps the brand become “the best answer” wherever customers are looking.  This presentation provides an overview of how to plan, produce, promote and optimize influential content as a marketing approach that works with or without search engines. But definitely better with search engines. 🙂
SMXL Milan features a truly impressive roster of speakers including Bill Hunt, Rand Fishkin, Michael King, Aleyda Solis, Gianluca Fiorelli, Hana Abaza, Bryan Eisenberg, Kristjan Mar Hauksson, Larry Kim, Nichola Stott, Jon Myers, Phil Nottingham, Cyrus Shepard and many more international search and digital marketing professionals. If you’re a reader of our blog based in Europe, I hope you can make it to Milan in November!

Be sure to check out the conference website for more information.


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Break All the Social Rules: Advice from Spredfast VP of Strategy Spike Jones http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/break-social-rules/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/break-social-rules/#respond Tue, 26 Sep 2017 10:30:52 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22984 In this era of social media, brands need to look at their social outreach in a different light. Which means that sometimes, you have to break the social media rules. Spike Jones, Vice President Strategy at Spredfast outlined a new type of social success at the September Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) event. As Spike [...]

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In this era of social media, brands need to look at their social outreach in a different light. Which means that sometimes, you have to break the social media rules. Spike Jones, Vice President Strategy at Spredfast outlined a new type of social success at the September Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) event.

As Spike shared in his presentation:

“When it comes to social media, sometimes you need to follow the breadcrumbs.”

Why? Because you never know who you might find. Below are some of the top insights and takeaways from Spike’s presentation.

It’s not about the brand.

As marketers, we are often taught to include our brand’s logo, messaging tagline and any other branding we might have on everything we produce and influence.

Instead, says Spike, let the content be about the person. By spotlighting people and what inspires them, you will inspire others to look at your organization or company.

One example is Fiskars, makers of the orange handled scissors. They realized they were the conduit for scrapbooking. By highlighting what people were making with their Fiskars scissors, they were finding true fans.

Influencers come in many forms – Oprah vs. the Fiskar scrapbook superheroes

Not every customer is going to recognize your brand. Seek out your rallying cry and be the conduit, not the brand.

Don’t seek out influence. Create it.

Spike told the story of Jared Gaff who was very active on muscle car forums answering every question he could. Chevy interviewed Jared on video, and made him a Chevy Ignites Ambassador. Chevy did not post the video, but, instead, gave the video to Jared. The video has over 15K views, and Jared is a passionate ambassador.

Not everyone is your customer.

As social media professionals, we are sometimes asked to get likes and followers for our clients. But, don’t forget, that is not getting a customer. We need to look at who is truly our audience and speak to them.


Don't spend all your time talking to people who don't know you yet. Focus on fans, too. @spikejones
Click To Tweet


Think about content differently.

Spike encouraged us to give people reasons to talk about themselves If you find passion from your fans, elevate it. This is the key behind the best kinds of rewards or fan experiences. When you elevate passion, your fans will be more willing to share it.

For example, I recently had a craving for a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. OK, this is a common fall craving for me. When I got to the store, the line was really long, which I did not expect. I tweeted a photo of the line and Starbuck’s tweeted a fun, witty reply back.

I am a fan, and they just improved my experience by talking to me. They elevated my passion.

This works for B2B, as well. At TopRank Marketing, we connected with an up-and-coming influencer in the IoT space. He wanted to co-create content to improve his personal brand. Our work with him created a raving fan for our client and improved the following a personal brand recognition of the influencer.

How are you connecting your followers and fans to experiences?

Get more from social media.

When you are focused on getting more from your social, think about leveraging the 1 on 1 interaction. Mass audience messaging may not get you the following you need. Instead, show particular fans they are valued.

On leveraging the on-to-one generation:

  • 1:1 is growing, in every industry, every year
  • Find the right mix between 1:1 and 1:many
  • No one answers every Tweet – make sure you’re answering the right ones

The real marketing ROI

Every organization has (or should have) a crisis plan. But, Spike says, what is your ‘love’ plan? How do you get your customers and fans to love your brand?

One key strategy to your ‘love’ plan should include plugging it into every part of the company. Your employees are your best ambassadors. Learn how to leverage them.


People want to connect with people, not companies. @spikejones
Click To Tweet


If you never call your PR firm to implement the crisis plan, just think about the money you’ve saved because your ‘love’ plan worked.

Spike ended the with these key tips on encouraging people to engage with your content:

  • Feed their Ego
  • Give them Info(rmation)
  • Touch their Emo(tions)

Then, find a way to meet offline and give them something to talk about.

Refocus social on the customer

The key to true social engagement is moving toward a personal conversation. Brands need to find people to rally for them as true ambassadors. Your love plan needs to include true personal conversations that feed your ambassadors/fan’s ego, share information and touch their emotions.

Everyone wants to believe in something bigger than themselves. What is your social rallying cry?


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Top Insights, Takeaways & Favorite Moments from #SocialBrand17 http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/social-brand-forum-2017/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/social-brand-forum-2017/#comments Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:30:31 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22953 For the past six years Nick Westergaard has brought speakers from around the United States to the good people of Iowa for his annual Social Brand Forum. This event has drawn speakers like Lee Odden, Ann Handley, Joe Pulizzi, Jay Baer, Tim Washer, Scott Monty, Mitch Joel, Chris Brogan and many more! This year, I [...]

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For the past six years Nick Westergaard has brought speakers from around the United States to the good people of Iowa for his annual Social Brand Forum.

This event has drawn speakers like Lee Odden, Ann Handley, Joe Pulizzi, Jay Baer, Tim Washer, Scott Monty, Mitch Joel, Chris Brogan and many more!

This year, I was lucky to join some amazing speakers including Robert Rose, Melissa Agnes, Jason Falls and Marcus Sheridan as one of the speakers at this premiere Midwest event.

Since I know that many of you weren’t able to attend this awesome event, I’ve taken the liberty of pulling some of my favorite takeaways and moments from #SocialBrand17.

Nick Westergaard – The Man Who Made it All Happen

If you haven’t met Nick before, you should. He made every part of this experience amazing for speakers and attendees alike.

In addition to serving as a Chief Brand Strategist, Nick is also an author, professional speaker and an Associate Director, MBA Business Communication at the University of Iowa.

Nick believes that a scrappy approach to B2B marketing can help teams large and small get smarter with their digital marketing. His book, Get Scrappy is filled with great ideas and examples for brands looking to do just that.

Robert Rose – Reinventing Trust: The New Value of Brand Audiences & Owned Media

One of the key points of Robert’s presentation that stood out to me, was his thoughts on how technology has impacted the way we work (both positively and negatively).


Technology has enabled us to do so much that it has become a weakness. @Robert_Rose
Click To Tweet


As we start each year, we plan to accomplish great things with our content but quickly realize we need more content, more technology and more people to get it done. But the honest truth is, more isn’t always better.

Content teams should not become asset generators that simply pump out content, the focus should be on becoming more strategic and purposeful with content planning, creation, promotion and measurement.

Yesterday also marks the release of Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi’s new book, Killing Marketing. Keep your eye out for a review of this new book on our blog in coming weeks.

Melissa Agnes – Crisis Ready: Essential Strategies for Every Business

For most of us, the thought of a crisis doesn’t even cross our minds until we’re in the midst of experiencing one. And that is something Melissa Agnes set out to change in her presentation.

Key to successfully managing a crisis is having a crisis ready culture. A crisis ready culture is one that has developed a plan, shared the plan with the team and keeps the plan closeby in case it is needed.


Issues can escalate to a crisis but they can also present us with an opportunity. @Melissa_Agnes
Click To Tweet


One of the biggest takeaways for the audience was the fact that an issue and a crisis are not the same and how to deal with each scenario effectively.

Jason Falls – Hacking the Conversation

True to form, Jason started off his presentation telling jokes, stories and commenting on how hot it was on stage (I can attest, it was). I have seen Jason present a few times and each time is a great experience, but there was something extra special about this presentation.

In order to participate in or “hack” conversations your customers are having, you first need to know what they are. Unfortunately a lot of these conversations happen on more closed networks like Facebook which can make it difficult to uncover what is being said.


A true understanding of your customers will make your marketing much more impactful. @JasonFalls
Click To Tweet


Ultimately, marketers need to understand that keywords do not equal themes and raw data is not the same as actual insights.  

Marcus Sheridan – We’re All Media Companies

Marcus is a strong proponent of truly integrated sales and marketing teams. And he’s right, he’s proven how effective this approach can be. In today’s digital landscape, media is no longer reserved for publications.  

Brands have become publishers and let’s be honest, are publishing content at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, Marcus has found that most content starts as fluff when it should always start at the buyer.


More often than not, digital marketing is a program. It starts and then it ends. @TheSalesLion
Click To Tweet


Teams must begin thinking more strategically and utilizing content intentionally in the sales process and beyond to better meet the needs of today’s savvy buyers.

Ashley Zeckman – Your Marketing Golden Ticket

When I was creating my presentation for the Social Brand Forum, I began building out some tactics that I thought the audience would find interesting, then as I thought about it further, I decided that instead of tactics, we should focus on the common hurdles that content marketers face.

As a special treat, I’ve included a copy of my deck below so that you can experience the world of Wonka on your own time (if only I could get the GIFs to work in SlideShare!).

Additional Insights From the Attendees

Below are a few of my favorite tweets shared by the conference attendees:

What Did You Learn?

Whether you were able to attend in-person, or followed along online, I’m curious to know what you found to be the most interesting tidbits of information offered at the annual Social Brand Forum.


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Our Top 11 Content Marketing Takeaways from #CMWorld 2017 http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/11-content-marketing-takeaways-cmworld-2017/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/11-content-marketing-takeaways-cmworld-2017/#comments Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:30:30 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22932 Last week, thousands of marketers from all over the world descended on the Rock N’ Roll capital of the world, Cleveland, OH, for the seventh annual Content Marketing World Conference and Expo. Featuring more than 130 speakers, keynotes and panelists, dozens of different tracks, and a whole lot of orange, the four-day event was exciting [...]

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Last week, thousands of marketers from all over the world descended on the Rock N’ Roll capital of the world, Cleveland, OH, for the seventh annual Content Marketing World Conference and Expo.

Featuring more than 130 speakers, keynotes and panelists, dozens of different tracks, and a whole lot of orange, the four-day event was exciting and inspiring. And the TopRank Marketing team was out in full-force, providing live coverage, learning from some of the best in the business, dancing to 80s classics and making new connections.

While it’s nearly impossible to distill all the inspiring insights we collected during the event into this one post, we’re going to try. Below we share a handful of insights that really resonated with our team.

#1 – Shoot for resonance — not reach.

Content marketing was born out of the need to satisfy our audience’s thirst for knowledge and to satisfy their questions. But with so much content out there these days — it’s more important than ever to ensure your strategy is hyperfocused on who you audience is, what they need from you, and what will truly resonate — not just reach — your audience.

During his keynote address on opening day, Jay Acunzo, creator and host of Unthinkable.fm, encouraged the room to start thinking ourselves — not just rely on industry best practices — and have a renewed focus on creating content that makes meaningful connections with our audience.

“When we pay more attention to the customer than to the industry, then the customer will pay more attention to us,” Acunzo stated. “[We need to] stop focusing on reach and start focusing on resonance.”


Stop focusing on reach & start focusing on resonance. - @jayacunzo #CMWorld
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#2 – All you need is less.

It’s certainly no secret that we’re living in a world of content abundance. But if we want to create content that really resonates and makes our audience feel something, we need to remember that less is more, according to prolific writer, marketer and speaker Ann Handley.

Using the classic E.B. White novel, Charlotte’s Web, Handley declared the title character the best content marketer in the world. Using just four phrases — Some pig, terrific, radiant and humble — Charlotte was not only able to save little Wilbur’s life, but also make Farmer Zuckerman believe and feel he had something special.

“Think of how Charlotte was able to save a life with just [a few] words,” Handley challenged her audience. “How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference?”

The bottom line? You don’t need more content. You need better content. Content that helps your audience see, feel, taste, hear and touch the story you’re telling.


How can we use our words more intentionally to make a difference with our content? @annhandley #CMWorld
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#3 – Stories are all around you — and mostly right under your nose.

Marketers often feel they don’t have the time, budget or resources to effectively create compelling, story-driven content. But, according to GE’s Chief Marketing Officer Linda Boff, inspiration is closer than you may think.

As Boff imparted her experience and knowledge onto the crowd during her keynote address, one of her most compelling slides simply said: “Stories are right under your nose — we just might need to change the lense every now and then.”

So, leverage the people, resources and data that you do have to iterate on how you tell your story and come up with new ideas.


Stories are right under your nose. - @lindaboff #CMWorld
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#4 – Give everyone a seat at the content marketing table.

Quality content is the foundation of every marketing strategy. And while you may think the success of your content marketing initiatives rests in the capable and creative hands of your marketing team members, you may be missing out on a big internal opportunity.

According to Jillian Hillard, the Director of Brand and Product Marketing for Electrolux Home Care and SDA, North America, getting the content marketing buy-in of key players from multiple departments can give your strategy wings.

“Everyone needs to have a seat at the table in the beginning,” Hillard said. “This creates community of openness, trust, camaraderie, support and gets everyone excited about the new journey.”

Some of the departments — or characters as Hillard said — that need your consideration could be: product development, sales, finance and customer service.

“Once your organization [as a whole] sees the value, then content marketing becomes contagious,” she said.


Once your org sees the value, then #contentmarketing becomes contagious. - @JillianHillard
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#5 – Design video content to hold attention.

Video content marketing has gone from the next big thing to the current big thing. Brands that pump out a ton of text-based content are now flooding the attention marketplace with video. And just as we had to learn how to make content work for marketing, we’re all still figuring out how to make effective marketing video. That’s where the incomparable Andrew Davis, an author and in-demand speaker, provided some insight.

While we like to think our audience will click play and hang on to the end where our CTA lives, we know they bail early. So, our goal needs to be to occupy their interest and their desire to know over time. And to put it simply, it’s not lack of attention span that causes our audience to bail or become disinterested. It’s the lack of content designed to hold attention.


We earn attention by satiating the audience's desire to know over time. @DrewDavisHere #CMWorld
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#6 – Influencer marketing success is built on relationships.

Influencer marketing is booming — and it’s not hard to see why. Influencers add insight, credibility and authority to content, as well as help spread your message to new and larger audiences.

But as TopRank Marketing’s own CEO, Lee Odden, said during his presentation on enterprise influencer marketing: “There are a lot of cowboys out there. … A lot of people are just shooting from the hip when it comes to influencer marketing.”

As a result, if you want to create a dynamic influencer program, your strategy needs to have the perfect balances of great content and strong influencer relationships.

“The stronger your relation and community, the stronger the amplification of the content will be,” he said.


Stronger #influencer relationships = stronger the #content amplification. - @leeodden #CMWorld
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#7 – Content should focus on the why — not the what.

During her session, Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing & Communications for Jordan Vineyard & Winery, shared how their video-centric strategy is winning over their audience. But one insight bomb that she dropped goes beyond video:

Simply put, it all comes down to storytelling. You need a compelling narrative that’s hyper-focused on why your organization does what it does if you want to connect with and engage your audience.


People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. - @lisamattsonwine #CMWorld
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#8 – Prioritize work to guard against burn-out.

As Workfront’s Heather Hurst and Nordstrom’s Erica Gunn put it: It’s time to stop killing your content team. Your copywriters likely have a full plate and asking them to do more with less won’t work for long. So, if you want to keep your team happy and productive, you need to find a balance between what’s urgent and what’s important.

A project management system like Workfront can absolutely help ease this burden, but it’s also essential to make time for unplanned work. Hurst and Gunn suggested planning for approximately 60% of your team’s tasks so you have 40% wiggle room.


Budget time for unplanned work. - @heatherbhurst & Erica Gunn #CMWorld
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#9 – Stop telling your audience how amazing you are.

As comedian and marketer Tim Washer told the room during his session, when we use amazing words over and over again, they have the amazing ability to lose their amazing meaning. So, if you want to create video that is full of joy for your viewer, you need to stop telling people your company is amazing. Rather, you should start telling them stories and let them reach their own conclusion.


Stop telling people your company is amazing. Tell them stories & let them reach their own conclusion. - @timwasher #CMWorld
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#10 – Make culture your ‘North Star.’

According to adidas’ Frank Thomas, the digital world is so complex and volatile that our go-to tools for audience identification are no longer sufficient. Personas, scenarios, observed past behavior — they all change as fast as we can construct them.

So, instead of trying to become what an ever-changing audience wants, why not make culture your north star? According to Thomas, if you’re able to define what your brand stands for and you can become a beacon to your most valuable audience.


Instead of trying to become what your audience wants, make culture your North Star. - @framatho #CMWorld
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#10.5 – Creativity can come from anywhere and everyone.

During her presentation on driving sales through content marketing, Estée Lauder’s Executive Director of Global Content Marketing Alicianne Rand put it simply: “Everyone is a content creator.” And we really liked the sound of that. It’s definitely something we believe in. But Rand also said, we need to make sure our strategies and KPIs are a match for whomever is creating or contributing to the content.

A few things to ask yourself as you plan include:

  • What is my overarching theme?
  • What am I trying to promote?
  • What are my chapters?
  • What are my moments?

Everyone is a content creator. - @aliciannerand #CMWorld
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#11 – Data-driven content isn’t about the facts and figures.

Data. Data. Data. It’s safe to say all marketers agree that data provides the necessary insight to help us optimize content performance, personalize content and prove business value. But the thing is: data in a vacuum isn’t insightful or helpful. In the end, it’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories.

According to Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer, that’s where data visualization can come in pretty handy. Singer recommended “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.


Storyboard your visualizations before pulling in data. - @AdamSinger #CMWorld #datavisualization
Click To Tweet


Share Your Top #CMWorld Takeaways

If you were one of the thousands of content marketers in attendance, we invite you to share some of your favorite moments, insights and takeaways, too. Share them with us in the comments section below.


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4 Tips to Stop Killing Your Content Team from Workfront & Nordstrom http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/stop-killing-content-team/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/stop-killing-content-team/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 18:00:34 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22930 The pressure is on! Content marketers are being expected to create more with less. And often, that means creating more content without adding additional team members. Unfortunately, the content copywriters are often the ones that bear the brunt of these situations which can be exhausting and cause content burnout. To help ease the pain, Workfront’s [...]

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The pressure is on! Content marketers are being expected to create more with less. And often, that means creating more content without adding additional team members.

Unfortunately, the content copywriters are often the ones that bear the brunt of these situations which can be exhausting and cause content burnout.

To help ease the pain, Workfront’s Heather Hurst and Nordstrom’s Erica Gunn shared some great tips to help you scale work with the resources you have in their presentation at Content Marketing World.

Want to keep your content team happy and productive? Here’s what to do:

#1 – Build a Business Case

Ok listen up, this part is important:

Before you start anything, you need to understand why you’re doing it and whether it rolls up to the most important goals of your company.

Once you’ve developed your goals, it’s time to develop a strategic breakdown that will help you execute. Some key questions to ask include:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • How will you measure success?
  • Are you working on the right things?
  • What’s not going to help you succeed? Eliminate it!

Ultimately, customer data should help make content decisions. Traditionally, Nordstrom relied heavily on gut instincts combined with trends to lead their content strategy. Now, they’ve taken a much nimbler approach that includes weekly meetings so that the team can pivot quickly, as well as measurement of content daily, monthly and quarterly. This enables short-term and long term adjustments to planning and creation based on content goals.

#2 – Manage & Prioritize Work Requests

When you have fully tapped content resources, it comes down to finding the balance between what is urgent, and what is important.

Also, utilizing a project management system like Workfront (which we use at our agency), can help teams identify what should be prioritized when there is simply too much to get done.

It’s essential to make time for unplanned work as well. If you’re able to plan for approximately 60% of your team’s tasks, then that leaves 40% of available time to handle last-minute or unplanned items.

#3 – Leverage Existing Content to Build Assets

One of the most overlooked opportunities for creating great content efficiently is to repurpose existing content. And while many marketers talk about content repurposing as a tactic, few are doing it effectively.

To make repurposing simple, start by tagging content appropriately so that you have an easy way to look it up in the future.

Last year, our CEO Lee Odden developed a great blog post that covered 50 influencer marketing fails, many of which came from influencers themselves. After seeing some great success with this post (over 2,000 shares), we decided to turn it into an ungated SlideShare that featured insights from some of the influencers, but also included some new ways to win at influencer marketing. To date this SlideShare has had over 37,000 views!

#4 – Manage Change

In their presentation, Erica and Heather shared three ways to enact change:

  1. Communicate: Create a case and share it with your leadership team that includes recommendations for more structured intake, prioritization and resource management.
  2. Model: Make an effort to change your own intake, prioritization and resource management behaviors. That way everyone else can see that you’re doing it differently.
  3. Reinforce: Reward team members that are following suit or participating in the change of these new behaviors and consider consequences for those who are following the old behaviors.

A Happy Team is a Productive Team

When you get caught up in the day-to-day, it can be difficult to make time for evolving process. However, think about the amount of time you will save by throwing out antiquated content process and let’s be frank, looking for new talent if your team gets burnt out.

Start by collecting data about what is and isn’t working. From there, you can develop your plan, implement and then reassess and optimize your approach.

What have you found to be your biggest challenges in creating a manageable workload for your content team?


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | 4 Tips to Stop Killing Your Content Team from Workfront & Nordstrom | http://www.toprankblog.com

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How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/data-compelling-reporting/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/data-compelling-reporting/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 15:00:24 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22923 Google Analytics Data Visualization Adam Singer

Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips.

The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business.

But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories.

As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations.

Here’s a quick visual summary of his entire presentation, courtesy of Kingman Ink:

My favorite part is the lizard that represents your limbic brain. Visuals cut straight to that reflexive part of your brain, making a point quicker than listing facts and drawing conclusions.

Here’s how Adam suggests creating data-based visuals that speak directly to our inner lizards.

#1:  Prepare Data for Analysis

Great data visualization starts with...well...data. More than that, it starts with a meaningful and manageable data set. The data you choose to include should be tailored to both the story you want to tell and the audience that’s going to receive it. For an example, when pulling internal data, your CEO might just want to know whether marketing is contributing to revenue. By contrast, your CMO will want revenue, engagement, and sales enablement data.

Adam recommends these three steps for data analysis:

  1. Filtering: Make sure you’re getting high quality data. For example, in your website analytics, exclude bot and spam traffic from your traffic reports.
  2. Sorting: Use the sorting that makes the most business sense. In most cases, a combined and weighted sort will be the most useful, organizing data along two variables.
  3. Grouping: In Google Analytics, you can group data into categories. This can help you create more specific, focused visualizations.

#2: Tell Your Data Story

With the data in hand, you can create a visualization. Aim to create an image so simple, specific, and clean that it’s readable at a glance. In other words, the opposite of this: 

Notice how your eyes flick back and forth between the legend and the chart, trying to make sense of it all. Compare that chart to this one:

There’s a mountain of data behind that visualization, but you can instantly grasp the point: vaccines eliminate diseases.

Such a stunning visual doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning. Adam recommends “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.

#3: Best Practices for Compelling Data Reporting

As with any kind of storytelling, the best way to visualize your data depends on your audience and your story. But there are some consistent best practices to follow. Adam recommends following these guidelines for visualizations in your internal reporting, regardless of audience or intent:

  1. Keep charts and graphs simple. Don’t graph every data point--just enough to show the trend. Focus on what matters most to your story.
  2. Tell the user what the point is. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess at the conclusion you want them to draw: Put it right in the title of your visualization.
  3. Don’t spin the data. Ever. The point of data visualization is to get at the facts, not obscure them. Don’t abuse your audience’s trust with misleading visuals.
  4. Make reporting part of your process. It’s easy to think of reporting as something tacked on to the end of a campaign, a final housekeeping task. Better to see reporting as vital to our ongoing marketing efforts and approach it with dedication and enthusiasm.
  5. Use the right data for the right stakeholder. Make sure you personalize your reports for different audiences, sticking with only the most relevant data for each.
  6. Be creative and have fun. Solutions like Google Data Studio make it easy to pull in data and play with visualizations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Data Points

When done properly, a single chart or graph can convey paragraphs of information at a single glance. Choose your data carefully, keep your visualizations simple and purposeful, and you can create a report far more compelling than a list of stats and figures could ever be.

Speaking of beautiful data visualization, have you seen our interactive influencer marketing infographic?

 

The post How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Google Analytics Data Visualization Adam Singer

Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips. The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business. But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories. As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations. Here’s a quick visual summary of his entire presentation, courtesy of Kingman Ink: My favorite part is the lizard that represents your limbic brain. Visuals cut straight to that reflexive part of your brain, making a point quicker than listing facts and drawing conclusions. Here’s how Adam suggests creating data-based visuals that speak directly to our inner lizards.

#1:  Prepare Data for Analysis

Great data visualization starts with...well...data. More than that, it starts with a meaningful and manageable data set. The data you choose to include should be tailored to both the story you want to tell and the audience that’s going to receive it. For an example, when pulling internal data, your CEO might just want to know whether marketing is contributing to revenue. By contrast, your CMO will want revenue, engagement, and sales enablement data. Adam recommends these three steps for data analysis:
  1. Filtering: Make sure you’re getting high quality data. For example, in your website analytics, exclude bot and spam traffic from your traffic reports.
  2. Sorting: Use the sorting that makes the most business sense. In most cases, a combined and weighted sort will be the most useful, organizing data along two variables.
  3. Grouping: In Google Analytics, you can group data into categories. This can help you create more specific, focused visualizations.

#2: Tell Your Data Story

With the data in hand, you can create a visualization. Aim to create an image so simple, specific, and clean that it’s readable at a glance. In other words, the opposite of this:  Notice how your eyes flick back and forth between the legend and the chart, trying to make sense of it all. Compare that chart to this one: There’s a mountain of data behind that visualization, but you can instantly grasp the point: vaccines eliminate diseases. Such a stunning visual doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning. Adam recommends “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.

#3: Best Practices for Compelling Data Reporting

As with any kind of storytelling, the best way to visualize your data depends on your audience and your story. But there are some consistent best practices to follow. Adam recommends following these guidelines for visualizations in your internal reporting, regardless of audience or intent:
  1. Keep charts and graphs simple. Don’t graph every data point--just enough to show the trend. Focus on what matters most to your story.
  2. Tell the user what the point is. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess at the conclusion you want them to draw: Put it right in the title of your visualization.
  3. Don’t spin the data. Ever. The point of data visualization is to get at the facts, not obscure them. Don’t abuse your audience’s trust with misleading visuals.
  4. Make reporting part of your process. It’s easy to think of reporting as something tacked on to the end of a campaign, a final housekeeping task. Better to see reporting as vital to our ongoing marketing efforts and approach it with dedication and enthusiasm.
  5. Use the right data for the right stakeholder. Make sure you personalize your reports for different audiences, sticking with only the most relevant data for each.
  6. Be creative and have fun. Solutions like Google Data Studio make it easy to pull in data and play with visualizations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Data Points

When done properly, a single chart or graph can convey paragraphs of information at a single glance. Choose your data carefully, keep your visualizations simple and purposeful, and you can create a report far more compelling than a list of stats and figures could ever be. Speaking of beautiful data visualization, have you seen our interactive influencer marketing infographic?  

The post How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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12 Questions You Need to Answer if You Want to Launch a Video Content Strategy http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/12-questions-video-content-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/12-questions-video-content-strategy/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 10:30:28 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22903

There’s no question that video is an increasingly important digital marketing tactic. Humans are visual creatures by nature and, when done right, video allows brands to tell their story and create meaningful, emotional connections with their audience.

For California-based Jordan Vineyard and Winery, video content has become a central piece of their marketing strategy. Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing & Communications, shared how they’re winning at video during her Content Marketing World session “How Jordan Winery Crushed Content Marketing With a Video-Centered Strategy.”

For a little background, Jordan Vineyard and Winery has been around since the early 1970s, and until Mattson came on board, they’re marketing strategy hadn’t changed in more than 40 years.

“Even the finest wine has a shelf life,” Mattson said in reference to a brand’s image and personality. “You have to innovate.”

But before you get started with video content, Mattson said you need to answer some critical questions if you want your venture to be successful. Below I outline some of the key questions you need to consider.

#1 - Do you have the upper management support?

This one’s pretty simple. The success of any of your marketing initiatives, especially if you’re looking to add a new tactic like video to the mix, depends on getting buy-in from the top. When the leaders at the top support what you do and are excited about it, that trickles down.

#2 - Are you willing to embed yourself in other departments?

In order to create dynamic video content, you’re going to need to lean on folks in multiple departments. Not only are your colleagues going to be a source of inspiration for the type of content you create, but they may need to actually participate in the filming.

#3 - Are your spokespersons comfortable on camera?

Quite obviously, anyone you put on camera needs to feel comfortable there. If they aren’t, that discomfort will be obvious to your audience and turn them off.

#4 - Are you prepared for resistance from co-workers?

As mentioned above, you’re going to have to work with several people from several departments to create awesome video content. But video is time consuming. And your colleagues are busy and this will add more to their already full plate. As a result, you need to be prepared to be met with some resistance, and have a plan to help you work around it.

#5 - What are the best video stories to tell?

At the end of the day, you’re creating video to help tell your brand’s story. So you need to think critically about what types of stories are a good fit for the medium.

#6 - Can you run lean and mean?

If you’re just starting out with video, you likely don’t have a huge team of resources just yet — and maybe you never will. So, you have to be able to commit to running your video strategy “lean and mean.”

#7 - Do you have IT infrastructure?

Video content can take up a lot of bandwidth, so it’s essential to consider your IT needs from the beginning. Mattson recalled an instance where the retail sales department couldn’t process online customer orders because marketing was using so much juice to upload videos to YouTube. So, it’s absolutely critical to make sure you have the right IT infrastructure.

#8 - How big and thorough is your budget?

While it’s widely known that video costs more to produce, Mattson said you don’t need to have a huge budget. You just need to know what your budget is and make a thorough list of what needs to be included.

“Little things add up,” Mattson said. “You might need a little bit of stock footage, or maybe you need to buy some props, and that all costs money.”

She went on to share some of the specific items you’ll need to budget for upfront, including: lenses, camera body, external drives, iMac, lighting, tripod, audio, editing software, and miscellaneous. She estimated the investment to be about $14,000, which seems high. However, hiring a production company to create just one three-minute video, she said, could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.

#9 - What are the right skill sets and job responsibilities?

Of course, in order to produce high-quality video content, you need capable people to actually do it. Mattson suggested in embracing multi-talented positions, and hiring candidates with core skills and be willing to cross-train them. In addition, she noted that it’s important to know what skills simply can’t be taught, and that it’s important to set job expectations early and clearly.

#10 - Do you have an editorial plan?

For Mattson, consistency is the key to video success. As a result, you need to have a strategy content plan that helps you keep a cadence that will keep your audience coming back and make an impact.

As an extra tip, she also suggested leaving a little wiggle room in there to take advantage of what’s trending. For example, the song “Despacito” is going gangbusters on the radio, and they created a parody video about bottling their wine. You can watch it below.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBdg-lTYO7U[/embed]

#11 - Do you have distribution?

According to Mattson, content might be king, but distribution is queen. Once you create an amazing video, you need to set it free to your audience and go beyond social media.

Some of the distribution considerations mentioned included: where you’re hosting your video content (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), paid placement, influencers, and search.

#12 - Do you have an audience?

This is the big one. At the end of the day, if you’re going to do video you have to make sure that you have an audience for it. Depending on your industry, product, service and type of customer, video may not resonate.

One Final Thought

When it comes to creating and executing on a video strategy — or your overall marketing strategy for that matter — there’s one big thing that Mattson said that really resonated with me:

[bctt tweet="People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. - @lisamattsonwine #video #CMWorld" username="toprank"]

For me, this comes down to storytelling. You need a compelling narrative that’s hyperfocused on why your organization does what it does.

Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @CaitlinMBurgess, @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @amywhiggins and @azeckman.

The post 12 Questions You Need to Answer if You Want to Launch a Video Content Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

There’s no question that video is an increasingly important digital marketing tactic. Humans are visual creatures by nature and, when done right, video allows brands to tell their story and create meaningful, emotional connections with their audience. For California-based Jordan Vineyard and Winery, video content has become a central piece of their marketing strategy. Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing & Communications, shared how they’re winning at video during her Content Marketing World session “How Jordan Winery Crushed Content Marketing With a Video-Centered Strategy.” For a little background, Jordan Vineyard and Winery has been around since the early 1970s, and until Mattson came on board, they’re marketing strategy hadn’t changed in more than 40 years. “Even the finest wine has a shelf life,” Mattson said in reference to a brand’s image and personality. “You have to innovate.” But before you get started with video content, Mattson said you need to answer some critical questions if you want your venture to be successful. Below I outline some of the key questions you need to consider.

#1 - Do you have the upper management support?

This one’s pretty simple. The success of any of your marketing initiatives, especially if you’re looking to add a new tactic like video to the mix, depends on getting buy-in from the top. When the leaders at the top support what you do and are excited about it, that trickles down.

#2 - Are you willing to embed yourself in other departments?

In order to create dynamic video content, you’re going to need to lean on folks in multiple departments. Not only are your colleagues going to be a source of inspiration for the type of content you create, but they may need to actually participate in the filming.

#3 - Are your spokespersons comfortable on camera?

Quite obviously, anyone you put on camera needs to feel comfortable there. If they aren’t, that discomfort will be obvious to your audience and turn them off.

#4 - Are you prepared for resistance from co-workers?

As mentioned above, you’re going to have to work with several people from several departments to create awesome video content. But video is time consuming. And your colleagues are busy and this will add more to their already full plate. As a result, you need to be prepared to be met with some resistance, and have a plan to help you work around it.

#5 - What are the best video stories to tell?

At the end of the day, you’re creating video to help tell your brand’s story. So you need to think critically about what types of stories are a good fit for the medium.

#6 - Can you run lean and mean?

If you’re just starting out with video, you likely don’t have a huge team of resources just yet — and maybe you never will. So, you have to be able to commit to running your video strategy “lean and mean.”

#7 - Do you have IT infrastructure?

Video content can take up a lot of bandwidth, so it’s essential to consider your IT needs from the beginning. Mattson recalled an instance where the retail sales department couldn’t process online customer orders because marketing was using so much juice to upload videos to YouTube. So, it’s absolutely critical to make sure you have the right IT infrastructure.

#8 - How big and thorough is your budget?

While it’s widely known that video costs more to produce, Mattson said you don’t need to have a huge budget. You just need to know what your budget is and make a thorough list of what needs to be included. “Little things add up,” Mattson said. “You might need a little bit of stock footage, or maybe you need to buy some props, and that all costs money.” She went on to share some of the specific items you’ll need to budget for upfront, including: lenses, camera body, external drives, iMac, lighting, tripod, audio, editing software, and miscellaneous. She estimated the investment to be about $14,000, which seems high. However, hiring a production company to create just one three-minute video, she said, could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.

#9 - What are the right skill sets and job responsibilities?

Of course, in order to produce high-quality video content, you need capable people to actually do it. Mattson suggested in embracing multi-talented positions, and hiring candidates with core skills and be willing to cross-train them. In addition, she noted that it’s important to know what skills simply can’t be taught, and that it’s important to set job expectations early and clearly.

#10 - Do you have an editorial plan?

For Mattson, consistency is the key to video success. As a result, you need to have a strategy content plan that helps you keep a cadence that will keep your audience coming back and make an impact. As an extra tip, she also suggested leaving a little wiggle room in there to take advantage of what’s trending. For example, the song “Despacito” is going gangbusters on the radio, and they created a parody video about bottling their wine. You can watch it below. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBdg-lTYO7U[/embed]

#11 - Do you have distribution?

According to Mattson, content might be king, but distribution is queen. Once you create an amazing video, you need to set it free to your audience and go beyond social media. Some of the distribution considerations mentioned included: where you’re hosting your video content (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), paid placement, influencers, and search.

#12 - Do you have an audience?

This is the big one. At the end of the day, if you’re going to do video you have to make sure that you have an audience for it. Depending on your industry, product, service and type of customer, video may not resonate.

One Final Thought

When it comes to creating and executing on a video strategy — or your overall marketing strategy for that matter — there’s one big thing that Mattson said that really resonated with me: [bctt tweet="People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. - @lisamattsonwine #video #CMWorld" username="toprank"] For me, this comes down to storytelling. You need a compelling narrative that’s hyperfocused on why your organization does what it does. Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @CaitlinMBurgess, @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @amywhiggins and @azeckman.

The post 12 Questions You Need to Answer if You Want to Launch a Video Content Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Stop the Marketing Killjoy: 5 Ways You’re Turning off Audiences with Bad Video http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/video-marketing-killjoy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/video-marketing-killjoy/#comments Mon, 11 Sep 2017 18:00:18 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22918 It might only be 1pm in the afternoon, but it’s five o’clock somewhere – a perfect time for a great dry martini. Research “how to make the perfect dry martini”, and you’ll get over 1,560,000 results. Ask a content marketer “how to tell a good story”, and you’ll get about the same quality of results [...]

The post Stop the Marketing Killjoy: 5 Ways You’re Turning off Audiences with Bad Video appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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It might only be 1pm in the afternoon, but it’s five o’clock somewhere – a perfect time for a great dry martini.

Research “how to make the perfect dry martini”, and you’ll get over 1,560,000 results. Ask a content marketer “how to tell a good story”, and you’ll get about the same quality of results — except when you ask the fabulous Tim Washer. Like the perfect dry martini, Tim’s strategy for how to tell a good story is simple, neat, and well…perfect.

In his session at Content Marketing World, Tim not only shared how improv can help your B2B marketing, but he shared the five ways you can kill the joy in your videos.

What are his simple rules of how to stop the marketing killjoy?

5 Ways to Kill the Joy in Your Videos

#1 – Death by the Committee

Everytime I think about asking a committee for agree on a single answer, all I envision is that scene from Monty Python of the Knights Who Say “Ni!”. With every question you ask that the they don’t like, the committee responds with an answer you can’t understand – “Ni!”.

In order to find the joy again, keep your committee small. Also, make sure to not set an expectation that they are approving the entire video script. Instead, give them a short list of concepts to approve.

For example, imagine if the entire script for Van Damme’s ‘Epic Split’ Volvo Ad would have been asked for committee approval. We wouldn’t have this:

#2 – Death by the Explanation

As marketers, we sometimes forget to trust our audience. This causes us to feel the need to explain everything. We add in a lot of transitions or talk about items than our audience can easily figure out for themselves based on the imagery shared in the video.

Once you start explaining, you lose your audience.

#3 – Death by Talking About Yourself

We forget that we have customers or clients and talk all about our products or services. This is a sure fire way to kill the joy in your videos. And it must be stopped.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place to talk about the product. However, when you look outside the product and look directly at the customer’s pain of why they need the product or service, you hit their emotional center. This is a great place to find empathy, which creates understanding and a common bond.

Meaning > messaging.  Don’t change how people talk; change how they think.

#4 – Death by the Entire Story

We all have that one friend who tells the story of their latest vacation from beginning to very end. And somewhere between the story of their flight being delayed and them returning home to a dirty house, we miss the part about them meeting the love of their life at the hole-in-the-wall restaurant they happened to walk into on a rainy day in Paris.

When telling a story, share one point at a time and move forward. You can always expand on that point in other videos.

#5 – Death by Superlatives

When we use amazing words over and over again, they have the amazing ability to lose their amazing meaning. What’s the amazing-freaking point?

Stop telling people that your company is amazing. Instead, start telling them stories and let them reach their own conclusion.

For example, Tim used to work at Accenture. They thought they were unique until Deloitte came out with very similar messaging.

As videos become more of your marketing repertoire, don’t forget to help your audience find the joy in your story.

Bring Joy with Video Marketing

In the end, video is a means of which many people consume content but a bad video doesn’t make for a great experience. Focus your efforts on creating a great story that helps to solve the problems of your audience (in the same way you would with any other piece of content) and connects them to the content in a meaningful way.

What types of videos have you found to be most successful for your B2B marketing efforts?


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Stop the Marketing Killjoy: 5 Ways You’re Turning off Audiences with Bad Video | http://www.toprankblog.com

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How adidas Put Culture at the Core of Their Content Marketing Strategy http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/culture-content-marketing-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/culture-content-marketing-strategy/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22912 Frank Thomas of adidas

Frank Thomas of adidas

Jean Giraudoux once said, “The secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

It’s a funny indictment of how to take exactly the wrong approach to authenticity. But too often, brands and marketers miss the sarcasm. We target an audience, then carefully cultivate an image to appeal to them. We create the appearance of a culture that matches theirs. And then we’re surprised when our target audience sees right through it.

What if we stopped trying to fake sincerity and turned the whole process inside out? Instead of crafting a culture to match an audience, why not attract the audience that matches your culture?

In his presentation at Content Marketing World, adidas’ Frank Thomas shared how the athletic wear company defines their culture and broadcasts it to their potential audience. Frank and his team created Gameplan A, a content hub that expresses the company’s culture.

The twist is that the site is for internal and external messaging--same channels, same content. They’re not crafting an image, they’re broadcasting their identity. The content on Gameplan A clearly says, “This is what we are like. If you’re like us, this is your community, too.” That approach makes it easier for people to connect and form a lasting relationship with the brand.

Here’s how adidas puts culture at the core of their content marketing strategy.

Culture Is Content Marketing’s North Star

According to Frank, the digital world is so complex and volatile that our go-to tools for audience identification are no longer sufficient. Personas, scenarios, observed past behavior--they all change as fast as we can construct them.

Instead of trying to become what an ever-changing audience wants, Frank says, make culture your north star. Define what your brand stands for and you can become a beacon to your most valuable audience.

Frank identified four crucial components of a brand’s culture:

  • Values. What ethical notions form the foundation of the brand?
  • Ideas. What unique ideas arise from these values?
  • Convictions. What beliefs drive the brand’s actions?
  • Behaviors. How does the brand express these convictions, ideas, and values?

Added together, your values, ideas, convictions and behaviors form your identity.

Once your identity is established, you can move from product marketing to culture marketing. As Frank said, “We’re not selling shoes. We’re communicating on behalf of the brand, building trust in our target audience.”

Gameplan A aims to build a community of like-minded people, including employees, potential recruitment candidates, but also consumers who might become advocates for the brand. The brand’s culture, expressed through Gameplan A’s content, acts as a beacon for those who share the brand’s values.

How to Express Your Culture Through Content Marketing

When you filter content through the lens of your brand’s culture, you can form stronger, more valuable connections with your audience. Frank explained how his team uses Gameplan A to promote adidas’ culture:

#1: Align Internal and External Messaging

According to Frank, it’s crucial to start by engaging your employees. Make sure they understand your culture and believe it’s sincere. Then employees can help spread the message to your audience in a more authentic way.

When your internal and external messaging share the same culture, you can have a meaningful exchange of ideas with your community: Your audience can actually bring value to your continued cultural evolution.

 

#2: Find Your Uniqueness and Focus In

Sports are adidas’ primary focus. But they’re not just addressing people who love sports--that’s too large a segment to create a meaningful connection with. So they refined their audience segment further, zeroing in on people who are creative, collaborative, and confident: Entrepreneurs and drivers of change. Then they further focused in on those who are actively trying to make a difference, continually self-improving, striving for the new.

This process of segmentation, refinement, and focus can help you find the audience most aligned with your brand’s culture. That is, the audience most relevant and receptive to your messaging.

 

#3: Make Your Personality Shine

Once you establish your brand’s culture, don’t hide it on your “About” page. Apply your cultural filter to every piece of content you create.

For Gameplan A, Frank created a culture guide that creators can follow to make sure each piece of content meets their cultural DNA. The guide outlines what Frank calls “Mega Themes,” the key topics of interest where their expertise intersects with audience needs. Any new content must address one of these themes to be considered for publication.

 

#4: Commit Yourself for the Long Haul

It takes time to build a culture-driven brand, to build a community with content that expresses your brand identity. So it’s vital to set expectations and allocate resources accordingly. Prepare your team for a marathon, not a sprint, before you step onto the track.

 

#5: Involve Your Role Models

The people who inspire your brand’s culture can make powerful collaborators for co-creating content. Gameplan A curates content from their heroes, and works with them to create original content.

But it’s not just about working with influencers--some of your most inspiring role models are right in your community. Gameplan A offers their community the chance to suggest topics, ask questions, recommend content, and even submit proposals for drafting content to be published on the hub.

Keeping It Extra Real

To start building your community of like-minded individuals--your most relevant audience--don’t try to fake sincerity. Start by firmly establishing your brand’s culture. Document the values, ideas, convictions and behaviors that define your identity. Then make that culture the guiding light of your content marketing strategy.

When your culture is genuine, shared throughout the organization, and expressed in all you do, you won’t have to chase your most valued audience: They’ll be drawn to you.

The post How adidas Put Culture at the Core of Their Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Frank Thomas of adidas

Frank Thomas of adidas Jean Giraudoux once said, “The secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” It’s a funny indictment of how to take exactly the wrong approach to authenticity. But too often, brands and marketers miss the sarcasm. We target an audience, then carefully cultivate an image to appeal to them. We create the appearance of a culture that matches theirs. And then we’re surprised when our target audience sees right through it. What if we stopped trying to fake sincerity and turned the whole process inside out? Instead of crafting a culture to match an audience, why not attract the audience that matches your culture? In his presentation at Content Marketing World, adidas’ Frank Thomas shared how the athletic wear company defines their culture and broadcasts it to their potential audience. Frank and his team created Gameplan A, a content hub that expresses the company’s culture. The twist is that the site is for internal and external messaging--same channels, same content. They’re not crafting an image, they’re broadcasting their identity. The content on Gameplan A clearly says, “This is what we are like. If you’re like us, this is your community, too.” That approach makes it easier for people to connect and form a lasting relationship with the brand. Here’s how adidas puts culture at the core of their content marketing strategy.

Culture Is Content Marketing’s North Star

According to Frank, the digital world is so complex and volatile that our go-to tools for audience identification are no longer sufficient. Personas, scenarios, observed past behavior--they all change as fast as we can construct them. Instead of trying to become what an ever-changing audience wants, Frank says, make culture your north star. Define what your brand stands for and you can become a beacon to your most valuable audience. Frank identified four crucial components of a brand’s culture:
  • Values. What ethical notions form the foundation of the brand?
  • Ideas. What unique ideas arise from these values?
  • Convictions. What beliefs drive the brand’s actions?
  • Behaviors. How does the brand express these convictions, ideas, and values?
Added together, your values, ideas, convictions and behaviors form your identity. Once your identity is established, you can move from product marketing to culture marketing. As Frank said, “We’re not selling shoes. We’re communicating on behalf of the brand, building trust in our target audience.” Gameplan A aims to build a community of like-minded people, including employees, potential recruitment candidates, but also consumers who might become advocates for the brand. The brand’s culture, expressed through Gameplan A’s content, acts as a beacon for those who share the brand’s values.

How to Express Your Culture Through Content Marketing

When you filter content through the lens of your brand’s culture, you can form stronger, more valuable connections with your audience. Frank explained how his team uses Gameplan A to promote adidas’ culture: #1: Align Internal and External Messaging According to Frank, it’s crucial to start by engaging your employees. Make sure they understand your culture and believe it’s sincere. Then employees can help spread the message to your audience in a more authentic way. When your internal and external messaging share the same culture, you can have a meaningful exchange of ideas with your community: Your audience can actually bring value to your continued cultural evolution.   #2: Find Your Uniqueness and Focus In Sports are adidas’ primary focus. But they’re not just addressing people who love sports--that’s too large a segment to create a meaningful connection with. So they refined their audience segment further, zeroing in on people who are creative, collaborative, and confident: Entrepreneurs and drivers of change. Then they further focused in on those who are actively trying to make a difference, continually self-improving, striving for the new. This process of segmentation, refinement, and focus can help you find the audience most aligned with your brand’s culture. That is, the audience most relevant and receptive to your messaging.   #3: Make Your Personality Shine Once you establish your brand’s culture, don’t hide it on your “About” page. Apply your cultural filter to every piece of content you create. For Gameplan A, Frank created a culture guide that creators can follow to make sure each piece of content meets their cultural DNA. The guide outlines what Frank calls “Mega Themes,” the key topics of interest where their expertise intersects with audience needs. Any new content must address one of these themes to be considered for publication.   #4: Commit Yourself for the Long Haul It takes time to build a culture-driven brand, to build a community with content that expresses your brand identity. So it’s vital to set expectations and allocate resources accordingly. Prepare your team for a marathon, not a sprint, before you step onto the track.   #5: Involve Your Role Models The people who inspire your brand’s culture can make powerful collaborators for co-creating content. Gameplan A curates content from their heroes, and works with them to create original content. But it’s not just about working with influencers--some of your most inspiring role models are right in your community. Gameplan A offers their community the chance to suggest topics, ask questions, recommend content, and even submit proposals for drafting content to be published on the hub.

Keeping It Extra Real

To start building your community of like-minded individuals--your most relevant audience--don’t try to fake sincerity. Start by firmly establishing your brand’s culture. Document the values, ideas, convictions and behaviors that define your identity. Then make that culture the guiding light of your content marketing strategy. When your culture is genuine, shared throughout the organization, and expressed in all you do, you won’t have to chase your most valued audience: They’ll be drawn to you.

The post How adidas Put Culture at the Core of Their Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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5 Radiant Writing Secrets Inspired by ‘Charlotte’s Web’ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/5-radiant-writing-secrets/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/5-radiant-writing-secrets/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 10:30:44 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22910 Some pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble. In the classic E.B. White novel, Charlotte’s Web, these simple yet impactful words save a life and make another better. And for prolific writer, marketer and speaker Ann Handley, these words also make the title character the best content marketer in the world. “In just four [phrases] she had to [...]

The post 5 Radiant Writing Secrets Inspired by ‘Charlotte’s Web’ appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

Some pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.

In the classic E.B. White novel, Charlotte’s Web, these simple yet impactful words save a life and make another better. And for prolific writer, marketer and speaker Ann Handley, these words also make the title character the best content marketer in the world.

“In just four [phrases] she had to make her case. Wilbur was her product.” Handley passionately told Content Marketing World attendees last Thursday. “I mean she was looking to save this pig’s life people. … And Zuckerman was her audience.”

Handley’s passion for Charlotte’s marketing abilities stems from her “literary crush” on author E.B. White. She even attempted to purchase his Maine estate where we wrote 12 of his 14 novels, including Charlotte’s Web.

As a result of her extreme fandom, in her presentation, she revealed five insightful content marketing writing “secrets” from the pages of Charlotte’s Web.

#1 – Be a writer first and a marketer second.

According to Handley, the worst content strategies usually start with “We need a piece of content for X.” Instead, we all should begin by asking ourselves: “What does my audience need?”

“Charlotte figured out what would make [Farmer] Zuckerman feel better about himself,” Handley said. “[And her words] made him feel like he had something special. It made his life better. It elevated his status in the community. It made him feel like he was a better vision of himself.”

#2 – Hoard ideas like a fat rat.

Charlotte’s marketing initiatives were so successful because she had help from her research assistant, Templeton the rat. He would go to the dump and bring Charlotte back scraps of paper to inspire her web writings, in return for hoards of food, of course.

“The difference between creative and desperate is an abundance of ideas,” she said. “Always collect ideas. … And write every day.”

#3 – Observe like Fern.

Fern Arable, the young girl that’s the first to save little Wilbur’s life, is a big background character in the book and paints the full picture of what’s happening in the story.

“She observes,” Handley said. “She hears, smells, tastes and touches.”

Essentially, make your audience feel.

#4 – Write to your Zuckerman.

While most content marketers are working off personas or look-alike audiences to craft their content, Handley challenged us to find the one person that can be helped by our content and write to them.

“Who is your audience of one?” Handley asked rhetorically. “ [Think about it as] one goal to one person at a time.”

#4.5 – Find the axe.

At the beginning of the session, Handley remarked that the opening lines of Charlotte’s Web is perhaps the best of all time.

‘“Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”

This is when Fern discovers the runt of the litter is about to be slaughtered, which was a problem she felt compelled to solve.

“Find the axe,” Handley said. “Every story has to have a problem. So surface the axe.”

#5 – All you need is less.

It’s certainly no secret that we’re living in a world of content abundance. But if we want to create content that really resonates and makes our audience feel something, we need to remember that less is more.

“Think of how Charlotte was able to save a life with just [a few] words,” Handley challenged the room. “How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference?”

Be a Friend & a Good Writer

As I wrote this post, I felt compelled to remind myself how Charlotte and Wilbur’s story ends. As it turns out, it bolsters everything Handley said. The final line of the book reads:

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”

For me, this means you can be a true friend to your audience and leave a lasting impression when you commit to being a good writer.


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Alicianne Rand Shares 4 Tips for Driving Sales Through Content Marketing #CMWorld http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/driving-sales-through-content/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/driving-sales-through-content/#comments Fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:30:02 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22901

What does it look like when content, influencers and social media come together to generate a metaphorical gold mine in terms of revenue and reach? To put it mildly, it’s drop dead gorgeous.

At least that was the view from my seat at Content Marketing World as Estée Lauder’s Executive Director of Global Content Marketing Alicianne Rand shared the incredible success her organization has achieved through their integrated content marketing strategy

So, what needs to happen to take your content marketing strategy from drab to fab? Here are four tips straight from Rand herself.

Tip #1 - Use data to drive your content marketing strategy

At Estée Lauder, Rand and team have built a framework to simplify how they look at data.

Step 1: Track trends based on deep social listening, then look at how trends move from rising to evergreen and eventually declining patterns.

Rand cited a trend called “popsicle lips” that first launched at fashion week by Mac. At first, folks were skeptical, but it was quickly picked up by industry insiders, and then popsicle lips became the No. 1 trend of the summer.

“The trend started with a subculture that consumers may not have necessarily gravitated toward,” she said. “But then it moved into a creative expressions that consumers want to use and wear every day.”

Step 2: Analyze content and brand performance, and then use these insights to quickly experiment.

Rand said that her team constantly evaluates their performance against the competition.

“We ask: how do we perform against the competition in terms of market share?” she explained. “Our ability to grow that share over time is what we’re really concerned about.”

For Estée Lauder, that means mobilizing employees as influencers and trendsetters in the industry.

“Think about how you can activate your employees to make things real,” she suggested. “And really test and learn to figure out what works best.”

Step 3: Map everything against business goals.

At the end of the day, you need to know what you want from your content in terms of KPIs to determine whether it was successful. Do you want to generate a certain amount of views and engagement? Or are you looking for leads or revenue? So, determine what that goal is and regularly check yourself against it to optimize, learn and repeat.

Tip #2: Create products with content in mind

Rand said: “In the early stages of research and development, we’re already thinking about how this product will perform on social.”

This is a key element for their brand’s content because so much of the industry is socially driven. Think about it in terms of Kylie Jenner’s lipstick promotion generating billions of dollars from Snapchat.

However, this doesn’t mean that the brand owns all of the social around their product. In fact, Rand recommends the following formula for working with social influencers:

Ownership + Authenticity + 360 Engagement = Sales

“Ownership and authenticity are key to performance,” Rand said. “Give your influencers ownership over that product or that creative and you will see results.”

Tip #3: Know that creativity can come from anywhere and anyone.

In Rand’s words, “Everyone is a content creator. The trick is where you’re leveraging these influencers and what KPIs you have against each. There needs to be different strategies for different content creators.”

The key is synchronization, she said. There needs to be a strategic framework in place for success. Rand tasked the audience with four key elements to think about:

  1. What is your overarching theme? What does your brand stand for?
  2. What are your trying to promote? (i.e. What is your particular campaign?)
  3. What are your chapters? This refers to evergreen content that the Estée Lauder team likes to call micro-narratives.
  4. What are your moments? This is your always-on content, where you can do A/B testing and try out new trends you’re experimenting with.

Tip #4: Create new paths to discovery and conversion.

How can your content create new paths to conversion? What isn’t being done that can make an impact?

To illustrate this point, Rand cited the example of Smashbox thinking about retail as content. Every single store they have has a photo studio inside. They invite influencers to come in, do photo shoots using their products, and then give the photos to them for use on Instagram or other social profiles. In return, the influencers always tag Smashbox, giving their audience an opportunity to check the products out for themselves.

The Main Takeaway?

For content to drive sales and conversions, it needs to come from a place of deep understanding of your customers, the marketplace and your brand. Don’t start with what you want to get out of your content and work backward. A truly beautiful content strategy starts with why — not what.

Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @azeckman, @amywhiggins and @CaitlinMBurgess.

The post Alicianne Rand Shares 4 Tips for Driving Sales Through Content Marketing #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

What does it look like when content, influencers and social media come together to generate a metaphorical gold mine in terms of revenue and reach? To put it mildly, it’s drop dead gorgeous. At least that was the view from my seat at Content Marketing World as Estée Lauder’s Executive Director of Global Content Marketing Alicianne Rand shared the incredible success her organization has achieved through their integrated content marketing strategy So, what needs to happen to take your content marketing strategy from drab to fab? Here are four tips straight from Rand herself.

Tip #1 - Use data to drive your content marketing strategy

At Estée Lauder, Rand and team have built a framework to simplify how they look at data. Step 1: Track trends based on deep social listening, then look at how trends move from rising to evergreen and eventually declining patterns. Rand cited a trend called “popsicle lips” that first launched at fashion week by Mac. At first, folks were skeptical, but it was quickly picked up by industry insiders, and then popsicle lips became the No. 1 trend of the summer. “The trend started with a subculture that consumers may not have necessarily gravitated toward,” she said. “But then it moved into a creative expressions that consumers want to use and wear every day.” Step 2: Analyze content and brand performance, and then use these insights to quickly experiment. Rand said that her team constantly evaluates their performance against the competition. “We ask: how do we perform against the competition in terms of market share?” she explained. “Our ability to grow that share over time is what we’re really concerned about.” For Estée Lauder, that means mobilizing employees as influencers and trendsetters in the industry. “Think about how you can activate your employees to make things real,” she suggested. “And really test and learn to figure out what works best.” Step 3: Map everything against business goals. At the end of the day, you need to know what you want from your content in terms of KPIs to determine whether it was successful. Do you want to generate a certain amount of views and engagement? Or are you looking for leads or revenue? So, determine what that goal is and regularly check yourself against it to optimize, learn and repeat.

Tip #2: Create products with content in mind

Rand said: “In the early stages of research and development, we’re already thinking about how this product will perform on social.” This is a key element for their brand’s content because so much of the industry is socially driven. Think about it in terms of Kylie Jenner’s lipstick promotion generating billions of dollars from Snapchat. However, this doesn’t mean that the brand owns all of the social around their product. In fact, Rand recommends the following formula for working with social influencers: Ownership + Authenticity + 360 Engagement = Sales “Ownership and authenticity are key to performance,” Rand said. “Give your influencers ownership over that product or that creative and you will see results.”

Tip #3: Know that creativity can come from anywhere and anyone.

In Rand’s words, “Everyone is a content creator. The trick is where you’re leveraging these influencers and what KPIs you have against each. There needs to be different strategies for different content creators.” The key is synchronization, she said. There needs to be a strategic framework in place for success. Rand tasked the audience with four key elements to think about:
  1. What is your overarching theme? What does your brand stand for?
  2. What are your trying to promote? (i.e. What is your particular campaign?)
  3. What are your chapters? This refers to evergreen content that the Estée Lauder team likes to call micro-narratives.
  4. What are your moments? This is your always-on content, where you can do A/B testing and try out new trends you’re experimenting with.

Tip #4: Create new paths to discovery and conversion.

How can your content create new paths to conversion? What isn’t being done that can make an impact? To illustrate this point, Rand cited the example of Smashbox thinking about retail as content. Every single store they have has a photo studio inside. They invite influencers to come in, do photo shoots using their products, and then give the photos to them for use on Instagram or other social profiles. In return, the influencers always tag Smashbox, giving their audience an opportunity to check the products out for themselves.

The Main Takeaway?

For content to drive sales and conversions, it needs to come from a place of deep understanding of your customers, the marketplace and your brand. Don’t start with what you want to get out of your content and work backward. A truly beautiful content strategy starts with why — not what. Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @azeckman, @amywhiggins and @CaitlinMBurgess.

The post Alicianne Rand Shares 4 Tips for Driving Sales Through Content Marketing #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Lee Odden Shares 5 Best Practices for Enterprise Influencer Marketing #CMWorld http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/5-best-practices-for-enterprise-influencer-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/5-best-practices-for-enterprise-influencer-marketing/#respond Thu, 07 Sep 2017 15:03:59 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22897

It was all aboard the Content Marketing World Enterprise Wednesday morning, as TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden took marketers to the not-so-final frontier of marketing: influencer marketing.

Lee’s session, “Big Brand Influencer Marketing: Trends & Best Practices,” had the flight deck packed with eager marketers from brands big and small as well as agencies, all looking for insight to define, refine or inspire their influencer marketing journey.

While Lee covered enterprise influencer marketing trends, tools and interesting B2B and B2C case studies, much of the presentation focused on five best practices for creating a dynamic influencer marketing program with the perfect balance of great content and strong influencer relationships.

What are those five best practices? Read on to find out.

#1 - Goal Setting

Goal setting is part of a responsible marketer’s DNA. Your objectives are the foundation of your marketing strategy, guiding every decision and tactic that comes next. When it comes to goal setting for influencer marketing, Lee believes that means thinking about all of the possibilities and then drilling down into specific, measurable goals. Most large brands view influencer marketing simply as an advertising channel and like the Universe, there is so much more possible. That means understanding the role that influencer marketing can play in reaching marketing and PR goals as well as talent acquisition, customer support and many other corporate communications objectives.

#2 - Smart Influencer Engagement

As Lee said: “There are a lot of cowboys out there. … A lot of people are just shooting from the hip when it comes to influencer marketing.” When it comes to engaging with the influencers you want to create relationships with, you should absolutely be a little wild and free to pique interest, but at the right times.

Lee told the story of his first influencer content project, in which he reached out to about marketing influencers with several questions for them to answer, and not necessarily tailored to their expertise. As you can imagine, the response wasn’t great. He then walked the room through what he called the “Confluence Romance,” a kind of framework that helps you make connections, get on the radar, build and maintain relationships with influencers. The “steps” he outlined were:

  1. Follow and interact with influencers on social channels
  2. Recognize influencers on a featured list or blog post
  3. Invite influencers to share a quote or a one-on-one interview
  4. Use that interview or quote content as modular content to repurpose and continue to share
  5. Engage with influencers in the real world
  6. Invite them to become a VIP influencer

Of course, these steps are a bit nuanced and not one-size-fits-all, and need to be tailored to your brand, objectives and resources. But either way, it can serve as a helpful guide.

#3 - Co-Creation

Lee is an avid fan of co-creating content with influencers. As he’s been known to say: “If you want your content to be great, ask influencers to participate.” Influencers add perspective, insight and credibility, and in return you get to create an awesome piece of content that makes them look great.

For co-creation magic, Lee’s top tips were picking a very specific topic so you can easily match the best-fit influencers, and weaving influencers into your content planning.

“You always make sure that your content is accountable to targeted keywords, so why not also make your content accountable to influencers?” Lee asked rhetorically.

#4 - Amplification

At the end of the day, most marketers hope their influencer relationships and the content they’ve built with influencers is seen. And that’s where amplification comes in.

As for some best practices for this best practice, Lee offered up several. My favorite was openly sharing your content and marketing objective with the influencer. While some marketers may hesitate to do something like that, Lee believes that cluing influencers in on the purpose will give them the opportunity to be more effective.

#5 - Measurement

Marketers know that measurement is key to understanding how your marketing efforts are performing, as well as if you’ve reached your objectives. When it comes to influencer marketing, Lee suggested three different metrics to pay attention to:

  • Influencer performance
  • Influencer community performance
  • Overall content performance

Be sure to check out Lee's full presentation below and boldly go where few marketers have gone before!

 

You Can Get Aboard the Enterprise, Too

Even if you were unable to attend CMWorld, you can still get insight and inspiration from Lee’s session. His presentation is available on SlideShare.

Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @CaitlinMBurgess, @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @amywhiggins and @azeckman.

The post Lee Odden Shares 5 Best Practices for Enterprise Influencer Marketing #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

It was all aboard the Content Marketing World Enterprise Wednesday morning, as TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden took marketers to the not-so-final frontier of marketing: influencer marketing. Lee’s session, “Big Brand Influencer Marketing: Trends & Best Practices,” had the flight deck packed with eager marketers from brands big and small as well as agencies, all looking for insight to define, refine or inspire their influencer marketing journey. While Lee covered enterprise influencer marketing trends, tools and interesting B2B and B2C case studies, much of the presentation focused on five best practices for creating a dynamic influencer marketing program with the perfect balance of great content and strong influencer relationships. What are those five best practices? Read on to find out.

#1 - Goal Setting

Goal setting is part of a responsible marketer’s DNA. Your objectives are the foundation of your marketing strategy, guiding every decision and tactic that comes next. When it comes to goal setting for influencer marketing, Lee believes that means thinking about all of the possibilities and then drilling down into specific, measurable goals. Most large brands view influencer marketing simply as an advertising channel and like the Universe, there is so much more possible. That means understanding the role that influencer marketing can play in reaching marketing and PR goals as well as talent acquisition, customer support and many other corporate communications objectives.

#2 - Smart Influencer Engagement

As Lee said: “There are a lot of cowboys out there. … A lot of people are just shooting from the hip when it comes to influencer marketing.” When it comes to engaging with the influencers you want to create relationships with, you should absolutely be a little wild and free to pique interest, but at the right times. Lee told the story of his first influencer content project, in which he reached out to about marketing influencers with several questions for them to answer, and not necessarily tailored to their expertise. As you can imagine, the response wasn’t great. He then walked the room through what he called the “Confluence Romance,” a kind of framework that helps you make connections, get on the radar, build and maintain relationships with influencers. The “steps” he outlined were:
  1. Follow and interact with influencers on social channels
  2. Recognize influencers on a featured list or blog post
  3. Invite influencers to share a quote or a one-on-one interview
  4. Use that interview or quote content as modular content to repurpose and continue to share
  5. Engage with influencers in the real world
  6. Invite them to become a VIP influencer
Of course, these steps are a bit nuanced and not one-size-fits-all, and need to be tailored to your brand, objectives and resources. But either way, it can serve as a helpful guide.

#3 - Co-Creation

Lee is an avid fan of co-creating content with influencers. As he’s been known to say: “If you want your content to be great, ask influencers to participate.” Influencers add perspective, insight and credibility, and in return you get to create an awesome piece of content that makes them look great. For co-creation magic, Lee’s top tips were picking a very specific topic so you can easily match the best-fit influencers, and weaving influencers into your content planning. “You always make sure that your content is accountable to targeted keywords, so why not also make your content accountable to influencers?” Lee asked rhetorically.

#4 - Amplification

At the end of the day, most marketers hope their influencer relationships and the content they’ve built with influencers is seen. And that’s where amplification comes in. As for some best practices for this best practice, Lee offered up several. My favorite was openly sharing your content and marketing objective with the influencer. While some marketers may hesitate to do something like that, Lee believes that cluing influencers in on the purpose will give them the opportunity to be more effective.

#5 - Measurement

Marketers know that measurement is key to understanding how your marketing efforts are performing, as well as if you’ve reached your objectives. When it comes to influencer marketing, Lee suggested three different metrics to pay attention to:
  • Influencer performance
  • Influencer community performance
  • Overall content performance
Be sure to check out Lee's full presentation below and boldly go where few marketers have gone before!  

You Can Get Aboard the Enterprise, Too

Even if you were unable to attend CMWorld, you can still get insight and inspiration from Lee’s session. His presentation is available on SlideShare. Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @CaitlinMBurgess, @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @amywhiggins and @azeckman.

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The Secret to Achieving Enterprise-Wide Content Marketing Buy-In? Understanding Your Cast of Characters #CMWorld http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/enterprise-wide-content-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/enterprise-wide-content-marketing/#respond Thu, 07 Sep 2017 10:30:18 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22895

It’s certainly no secret that quality content is the foundation of every marketing strategy. And you may think the success of your content marketing initiatives rests in the capable and creative hands of your marketing team members. But you may be missing out on a big internal opportunity.

During her session titled “Driving Content Marketing Success in Your Organization: Sales, Product and Global-Regional Collaboration,” Jillian Hillard, the Director of Brand and Product Marketing for Electrolux Home Care and SDA, North America, emphasized the importance of enterprise-wide buy-in.

Using three rebranding case studies as examples, Hillard walked us through her process for getting key players from multiple departments to buy-in, get excited and see the value in content marketing.

“Everyone needs to have a seat at the table in the beginning,” Hillard said. “This creates community of openness, trust, camaraderie, support and gets everyone excited about the new journey.”

So, how can you win the buy-in of key departments within your organization to drive your content marketing strategy? Get started by understanding your key players and departments or as she referred to them: your cast of characters. When you need to understand your organization’s characters, you’ll be able to help them understand how content can make a difference for the business and the customer.

Character #1 - The Product Line

The folks working on product line and development quite obviously have intimate knowledge of how the product works and benefits your customers. They’re your subject matter experts. But they have a lot to gain from content marketing. You just have to show them.

“Your products are an extension of your story,” Hillard said. “And content is a must to help you sell and onboard your products.”

Character #2 - Sales

Hillard recognized that many marketers are hesitant to involve sales during early strategy development. But she argued that sales reps are your “on-the-ground storytellers,” so getting them to collaborate and share insights early can make or break your efforts.

“If sales is not behind your content revolution, you have lost the best resources for customer buy-in,” she said. “But, you need to show them that marketing is more than freebies and product catalogs.”

To achieve sales buy-in, it’s important for marketers to ask for feedback along the way, and sometimes this requires a meeting just for marketing and sales teams to work together and brainstorm. During these meetings, you can clearly layout what their role is in your organization’s content marketing journey.

Character #3: Finance

As Hillard put it: ”A well-funded story goes far.” So, if you can help your finance players see that content marketing is a business generator, that’s when you go from the spenders to the viable business drivers.

To get buy in from finance, share short- and long-term ROI possibilities. Then brief them on how content can contribute to a reduction in costs and increase in sales. Finally, include finance in any management presentations and milestone updates.

Character #4: Customer Service

Nobody spends more face-time with your customers than your customer service team. And as Hillard explained: “Customer service provides fuel for your content. Their insights allow the organization to take trending issues and feedback and proactively output content. That content then aids customer service as well by making answers and suggestions readily available for them to pass along.”

For customer services teams to hop on board with your content marketing plan, they need validation. They spend a lot of time listening to customers, so it’s important that you lend them your ear and give them a voice.

“Ask them to participate in editorial calendar brainstorms,” Hillard suggested. “They can also give insight on how the customer wants to receive their content. [In addition], offer trainings and easy ways for the team to access the content for their own use.”

The Main Takeaway?

In order to drive content marketing success for your organization, everyone in the organization needs a hand on the wheel. You need buy-in and collaboration from conception to execution, and ultimately optimization. Hillard said it best in the final moments of her presentation:

“Once your organization sees the value, then content marketing becomes contagious.”

Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @azeckman, @amywhiggins and @CaitlinMBurgess.

The post The Secret to Achieving Enterprise-Wide Content Marketing Buy-In? Understanding Your Cast of Characters #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

It’s certainly no secret that quality content is the foundation of every marketing strategy. And you may think the success of your content marketing initiatives rests in the capable and creative hands of your marketing team members. But you may be missing out on a big internal opportunity. During her session titled “Driving Content Marketing Success in Your Organization: Sales, Product and Global-Regional Collaboration,” Jillian Hillard, the Director of Brand and Product Marketing for Electrolux Home Care and SDA, North America, emphasized the importance of enterprise-wide buy-in. Using three rebranding case studies as examples, Hillard walked us through her process for getting key players from multiple departments to buy-in, get excited and see the value in content marketing. “Everyone needs to have a seat at the table in the beginning,” Hillard said. “This creates community of openness, trust, camaraderie, support and gets everyone excited about the new journey.” So, how can you win the buy-in of key departments within your organization to drive your content marketing strategy? Get started by understanding your key players and departments or as she referred to them: your cast of characters. When you need to understand your organization’s characters, you’ll be able to help them understand how content can make a difference for the business and the customer.

Character #1 - The Product Line

The folks working on product line and development quite obviously have intimate knowledge of how the product works and benefits your customers. They’re your subject matter experts. But they have a lot to gain from content marketing. You just have to show them. “Your products are an extension of your story,” Hillard said. “And content is a must to help you sell and onboard your products.”

Character #2 - Sales

Hillard recognized that many marketers are hesitant to involve sales during early strategy development. But she argued that sales reps are your “on-the-ground storytellers,” so getting them to collaborate and share insights early can make or break your efforts. “If sales is not behind your content revolution, you have lost the best resources for customer buy-in,” she said. “But, you need to show them that marketing is more than freebies and product catalogs.” To achieve sales buy-in, it’s important for marketers to ask for feedback along the way, and sometimes this requires a meeting just for marketing and sales teams to work together and brainstorm. During these meetings, you can clearly layout what their role is in your organization’s content marketing journey.

Character #3: Finance

As Hillard put it: ”A well-funded story goes far.” So, if you can help your finance players see that content marketing is a business generator, that’s when you go from the spenders to the viable business drivers. To get buy in from finance, share short- and long-term ROI possibilities. Then brief them on how content can contribute to a reduction in costs and increase in sales. Finally, include finance in any management presentations and milestone updates.

Character #4: Customer Service

Nobody spends more face-time with your customers than your customer service team. And as Hillard explained: “Customer service provides fuel for your content. Their insights allow the organization to take trending issues and feedback and proactively output content. That content then aids customer service as well by making answers and suggestions readily available for them to pass along.” For customer services teams to hop on board with your content marketing plan, they need validation. They spend a lot of time listening to customers, so it’s important that you lend them your ear and give them a voice. “Ask them to participate in editorial calendar brainstorms,” Hillard suggested. “They can also give insight on how the customer wants to receive their content. [In addition], offer trainings and easy ways for the team to access the content for their own use.”

The Main Takeaway?

In order to drive content marketing success for your organization, everyone in the organization needs a hand on the wheel. You need buy-in and collaboration from conception to execution, and ultimately optimization. Hillard said it best in the final moments of her presentation: “Once your organization sees the value, then content marketing becomes contagious.” Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @azeckman, @amywhiggins and @CaitlinMBurgess.

The post The Secret to Achieving Enterprise-Wide Content Marketing Buy-In? Understanding Your Cast of Characters #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Tips for Making Video Content that Earns Attention from Andrew Davis #CMWorld http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/video-content-earns-attention/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/video-content-earns-attention/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:52:03 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22890 The inimitable Andrew Davis is the best-selling author of Town, Inc. and an in-demand marketing speaker. After his presentation at Content Marketing World 2017, I can see why. He made me feel stupid. And I’m incredibly grateful. The best presentations make you feel stupid in retrospect. Of course! It’s so obvious that this is the [...]

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The inimitable Andrew Davis is the best-selling author of Town, Inc. and an in-demand marketing speaker. After his presentation at Content Marketing World 2017, I can see why.

He made me feel stupid. And I’m incredibly grateful.

The best presentations make you feel stupid in retrospect. Of course! It’s so obvious that this is the way to do it! Why haven’t we been doing it this way the whole time? Feeling stupid after-the-fact means you just got smarter.

You see, video content marketing has gone from the next big thing to the current big thing. Brands that pump out a ton of text-based content are now flooding the attention marketplace with video. And just as we had to learn how to make content work for marketing, we’re all still figuring out how to make effective marketing video.

Over the course of 45 minutes–which included exploding watermelons, Ice Road Truckers, and impromptu dance breaks–Andrew laid out exactly what is wrong with how most marketers are approaching video. And, more importantly, how to fix it. Here are some key takeaways. I hope they make you feel stupid in the best possible way.

Creating Video Marketing that Holds Attention

As Andrew explained it, video is a linear medium. We want viewers to hit the play button and barrel down the tracks to the end, where our CTA lives. But people rarely take that straight journey. They can skip forward or backward, or even bail entirely.

When people bail on a video, conventional wisdom holds that the video’s too long for a short attention span. It’s not the lack of attention span, though: It’s the lack of content designed to hold attention. As Roger Ebert said, “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”

Our goal, then, is to occupy our audience’s interest – their desire to know – over time. How can we do that?

#1: Raise questions to drive content.  What keeps a person watching is the desire to have a question answered. As Andrew put it, “Eliminate our audience’s desire to answer a question, and we eliminate interest in our content.”  Is your content giving it all away up front? If you answer the audience’s burning question in the first fifteen seconds, without promise of further answers to come, what’s their motivation to watch the next three minutes? Or six minutes? “When someone says your video is ‘too long,’” Andrew says, “they’re really saying, ‘I have no more questions.’”

#2 Create suspense. The primary method to keep the audience asking questions–thereby keeping them watching–is to create suspense. Show your audience something the character desires, then threaten it. Raise obstacles to the character’s goal. Leave the outcome in doubt. Raise the stakes over time and you keep the questions going – what’s going to happen next? How will this problem be solved?

#3 Put your CTA before the payoff. The suspense you’re building will lead to a moment of catharsis, when the questions are answered and all is revealed. But don’t put your CTA after that moment–see the previous comment about “I have no more questions.” Rather, put it right at that peak of interest. Think of it like the commercial break before the big reveal on a reality show. Just make sure your payoff is worth your viewer’s invested time and emotion.

Think Like a Reality TV Editor to Tell Compelling Stories

To build suspense and keep the audience guessing, we need to draw from the masters of suspense. Yes, reality TV shows, especially makeover and talent shows. The editing tricks of the TV trade can help make your content compelling, even if it’s not about toddler beauty pageants or salmon fishing in Alaska.

Consider these key elements as you edit:

  • Music. Too many corporate marketing videos use the same generic jaunty tune all the way through. Use music to set the mood and change that mood throughout the video.
  • Beats. No, not drumbeats or overpriced headphones. Beats are little moments of pause, a breath or two to let the audience process what you’re telling them. Don’t be afraid to pause and let things sink in–if you’ve earned the audience’s attention, that will build tension rather than dissipate it.
  • Pacing. You control the rate at which you give information to your audience. Withholding information builds suspense, balanced with the need to keep moving forward.
  • Narrative structure. Too many testimonial-type videos start with “This product is great and solved my problems, which were….” and the viewer says, “I have no more questions. You told me the product was great and solved your problems.” Instead, work toward the solution in a way that builds suspense and raises stakes:
    • Start with the problem
    • Intensify the problem
    • Show the struggle for a solution
    • Hint at the solution
    • Reveal the solution

Your Best Asset: A Critical Eye

Being aware of these elements and tactics is the first step. However, you can only truly master the form through conscious studying. Andrew said, “You will become a better video producer when you learn how to watch videos better.” The next time a video captivates your attention, study it. How is it continually raising questions? How is it building suspense? What editing, beats, and music choices make it compelling? Start watching video with a critical eye, see what works, and don’t hesitate to steal it.

In other words, what makes video marketing effective is exactly what makes any video effective: It tells a compelling story with tension, stakes, and a moment of catharsis when the tension is resolved.

Feel smarter? I know I do.

Ready to get going? Here are some easy ways to get started with video content marketing.


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An Ode to Content Marketing World: A Look Back at Some of Our Favorite #CMWorld Moments http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/content-marketing-world-moments/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/content-marketing-world-moments/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 10:30:33 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22875

Can you imagine life before Content Marketing World?

I can’t, and I will only be attending my third year of this information-packed conference this week.

What Joe Pulizzi, Cathy McPhillips and the rest of the team at Content Marketing Institute have built over the past 7 years is truly amazing. Each day is filled with learnings from top content marketers, fun games and lunch and learns and awesome after-parties.

Below you’ll find fun some highlights from our involvement from Content Marketing World’s inception, to happenings at the conference this week. Enjoy!

2011: When it all Began

As I mentioned earlier, 2017 will be my third year attending Content Marketing World. But for a select few that have been around since inception, this will be their seventh Content Marketing World Experience.

One of those lucky few is TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden. Lee has not only attended every conference since 2011, he is one of even a smaller number of speakers that has presented at each and every one.

Want proof? Here’s a photo of Lee at Content Marketing World 2011:

2012: Our First Co-Branded eBook with Content Marketing World

By the second year of the conference, content marketers were hooked! There were over 1,000 attendees from 23 different countries. Officially making Content Marketing World the largest content marketing conference on the planet.

For our team at TopRank Marketing (and me personally) there was another exciting opportunity on the horizon. In preparation for the 2012 conference, we partnered with the team at Content Marketing Institute to develop the first-ever conference eBook.

This eBook uncovered top content marketing secrets from 29 of the speakers at Content Marketing World. This was a new experience for me and I was incredibly honored and excited to work alongside Lee and the speakers to create this amazing asset.

Be sure to stop by Lee’s Big Brand Influencer Marketing session today for more about this story!

2014: Content Marketing in Wonderland is a Hit!

For the third year in a row, Content Marketing Institute and TopRank Marketing partnered to bring conference attendees inside insights from top speakers at Content Marketing World.

And this year, we leveled up. Big time (with some major help from Content Marketing Institute’s designer, JK).

Together, the teams developed four eBooks featuring 40+ conference speakers, four infographics to accompany the eBooks as well as long-form interviews on TopRankBlog.com

The audience was hooked! In fact, there were over 323,000 views of the series on SlideShare alone.

For the rest of the series see Content Marketing ROI, Audience Development and Content Marketing Strategy on our SlideShare page.

2015: My First Time at Content Marketing World

September 2015 was an exciting time. I was about to head to Cleveland for my first taste of Content Marketing World.

I was accompanied by my fellow team members Josh Nite and Alexis Hall. And while our road to Cleveland was a bit bumpy (if you see me at CMWorld ask me about it), we finally got there safe, sound and excited for the experience.

Here were a few of my favorite sessions in 2015:

Incorporate Participation Marketing for More Scalable Content Marketing - Lee Odden

4 Ways Brands Can Use Creativity & Comedy to Create Award-Winning Content - Tim Washer

Break the Cycle of Content Marketing Addiction - Drew Davis

Also, the big picture conference theme lended itself to yet another great opportunity to co-create content with some amazing speakers.

For the rest of the series see Big Picture of Content Marketing and Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing on our SlideShare page.

For his awesome help with the design, we sent JK a new sketchbook. And in return, he drew this lovely portrait for us!

2017: Bringing Endless Possibilities

This year may be our biggest year yet!

In addition to the workshop Lee ran on Tuesday that provided insights on creating an influencer marketing strategy, he also has a solo session today on Big Brand Influencer Marketing which is a must-see.

You will find myself and my fellow teammate Amy Higgins will both be moderating sessions on Thursday and you’re sure to see some other members of our team live blogging sessions and networking with you beautiful people including:

And since I know you were waiting for it, we have our latest partnership with Content Marketing Institute, the In-Flight Content Guides featuring insights from 2017 speakers.

For the rest of the series see Creating a Memorable Content Experience and Making the Most of Your Content Journey on the Content Marketing Institute SlideShare page.

Hope to See You at CMWorld!

If you’ll be attending Content Marketing World this week I’d love to connect! You can follow me on @azeckman or feel free to follow our team on @TopRank, or look for our live blogs here on TopRankBlog.com

The post An Ode to Content Marketing World: A Look Back at Some of Our Favorite #CMWorld Moments appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

Can you imagine life before Content Marketing World? I can’t, and I will only be attending my third year of this information-packed conference this week. What Joe Pulizzi, Cathy McPhillips and the rest of the team at Content Marketing Institute have built over the past 7 years is truly amazing. Each day is filled with learnings from top content marketers, fun games and lunch and learns and awesome after-parties. Below you’ll find fun some highlights from our involvement from Content Marketing World’s inception, to happenings at the conference this week. Enjoy!

2011: When it all Began

As I mentioned earlier, 2017 will be my third year attending Content Marketing World. But for a select few that have been around since inception, this will be their seventh Content Marketing World Experience. One of those lucky few is TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden. Lee has not only attended every conference since 2011, he is one of even a smaller number of speakers that has presented at each and every one. Want proof? Here’s a photo of Lee at Content Marketing World 2011:

2012: Our First Co-Branded eBook with Content Marketing World

By the second year of the conference, content marketers were hooked! There were over 1,000 attendees from 23 different countries. Officially making Content Marketing World the largest content marketing conference on the planet. For our team at TopRank Marketing (and me personally) there was another exciting opportunity on the horizon. In preparation for the 2012 conference, we partnered with the team at Content Marketing Institute to develop the first-ever conference eBook. This eBook uncovered top content marketing secrets from 29 of the speakers at Content Marketing World. This was a new experience for me and I was incredibly honored and excited to work alongside Lee and the speakers to create this amazing asset. Be sure to stop by Lee’s Big Brand Influencer Marketing session today for more about this story!

2014: Content Marketing in Wonderland is a Hit!

For the third year in a row, Content Marketing Institute and TopRank Marketing partnered to bring conference attendees inside insights from top speakers at Content Marketing World. And this year, we leveled up. Big time (with some major help from Content Marketing Institute’s designer, JK). Together, the teams developed four eBooks featuring 40+ conference speakers, four infographics to accompany the eBooks as well as long-form interviews on TopRankBlog.com The audience was hooked! In fact, there were over 323,000 views of the series on SlideShare alone. For the rest of the series see Content Marketing ROI, Audience Development and Content Marketing Strategy on our SlideShare page.

2015: My First Time at Content Marketing World

September 2015 was an exciting time. I was about to head to Cleveland for my first taste of Content Marketing World. I was accompanied by my fellow team members Josh Nite and Alexis Hall. And while our road to Cleveland was a bit bumpy (if you see me at CMWorld ask me about it), we finally got there safe, sound and excited for the experience. Here were a few of my favorite sessions in 2015: Incorporate Participation Marketing for More Scalable Content Marketing - Lee Odden 4 Ways Brands Can Use Creativity & Comedy to Create Award-Winning Content - Tim Washer Break the Cycle of Content Marketing Addiction - Drew Davis Also, the big picture conference theme lended itself to yet another great opportunity to co-create content with some amazing speakers. For the rest of the series see Big Picture of Content Marketing and Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing on our SlideShare page. For his awesome help with the design, we sent JK a new sketchbook. And in return, he drew this lovely portrait for us!

2017: Bringing Endless Possibilities

This year may be our biggest year yet! In addition to the workshop Lee ran on Tuesday that provided insights on creating an influencer marketing strategy, he also has a solo session today on Big Brand Influencer Marketing which is a must-see. You will find myself and my fellow teammate Amy Higgins will both be moderating sessions on Thursday and you’re sure to see some other members of our team live blogging sessions and networking with you beautiful people including: And since I know you were waiting for it, we have our latest partnership with Content Marketing Institute, the In-Flight Content Guides featuring insights from 2017 speakers. For the rest of the series see Creating a Memorable Content Experience and Making the Most of Your Content Journey on the Content Marketing Institute SlideShare page.

Hope to See You at CMWorld!

If you’ll be attending Content Marketing World this week I’d love to connect! You can follow me on @azeckman or feel free to follow our team on @TopRank, or look for our live blogs here on TopRankBlog.com

The post An Ode to Content Marketing World: A Look Back at Some of Our Favorite #CMWorld Moments appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Final Boarding Call for Content Marketing World: Don’t Miss these 10 Presentations http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/content-marketing-world-2017-presentations/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/content-marketing-world-2017-presentations/#respond Wed, 30 Aug 2017 10:30:16 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22842 Does anyone look forward to getting on an airplane anymore? Sure, you may be excited about where you’re going or what you plan to do when you get there. But anyone happily anticipating the screening, boarding, and flying part—well, I’ll have whatever vitamin supplement they’re on. If you’re headed to Content Marketing World, odds are [...]

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Does anyone look forward to getting on an airplane anymore? Sure, you may be excited about where you’re going or what you plan to do when you get there. But anyone happily anticipating the screening, boarding, and flying part—well, I’ll have whatever vitamin supplement they’re on.

If you’re headed to Content Marketing World, odds are there’s a flight in your immediate future. Fortunately, this trip is definitely worth the hassle. Just keep in mind how much you’re about to learn, how many amazing marketers you’re about to meet, and you can smile your way through the unpleasantness.

To help you get the most out of your trip—enough to sustain you through a legroom-free flight home—make sure you attend the following ten sessions. These first-class (get it?) marketers have all logged hours of flight time sharing their knowledge all over the world. Each one is uniquely qualified to be your marketing coach (get it?). They’re in a business class (GET IT?) all their own.

So put your tray table up, stow your carry-on, and add these sessions to your schedule. And in the case of a water landing, this post can be used as a flotation device.

Ten Can’t Miss Sessions at Content Marketing World 2017 

#1: Linda Boff

Linda is the CMO of GE, with over 15 years of experience in their marketing department. Under her leadership, GE has been absolutely dominating the content game, with an energy and creativity that’s rare in B2B. Their Instagram has over 300,000 followers.  They did a hit science fiction podcast, The Message. They held a robot rock concert to showcase their electricity infrastructure solutions. In short, Linda is helping make B2B content cool, and I’m excited to hear what she has to say.

The Session: Imagination at Work: Lessons in Storytelling from GE

Linda’s session is a keynote, so you don’t have to pre-register for it. Just set your alarm early and plan to get to the main hall by 8 a.m. on Wednesday the 6th.

 

#2: Andrew Davis

Andrew is the best-selling author of Town Inc., a sought-after keynote speaker, and a brilliant marketer with a history of fantastic content, from documentaries to blog posts. He’s also the only presenter at Content Marketing World who has worked with the Muppets. If you’ve never seen Andrew speak before, you’re in for a treat: He’s a dynamic presenter who will drop knowledge while keeping the energy level high.

The Session: Show Me: How Inventive Video Marketers Spin Stories into Revenue

We all know that video content marketing is not even the next big thing – it’s the current big thing. But connecting the marketing to the ROI is still a challenge. Andrew’s session should help you find the gold in them thar videos.

 

#3: Amisha Gandhi

As the Global Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP, Amisha is helping to bring influencer marketing out of the “Wild West.” She’s helping develop the best practices that will help marketers reach a higher level of influencer marketing maturity and sophistication. Her insights are a crucial component of our eBook, Influence 2.0.

The Session: Implementing a Global Influencer Program at a Large B2B Enterprise

Amisha is uniquely qualified to lead this session, in that she is currently implementing a global influencer program at SAP. This nuts-and-bolts session is sure to be packed with practical knowledge you can use in your influencer marketing efforts.

 

#4: Ann Handley

A tireless crusader in the war against mediocre content, Ann Handley has helped thousands of marketers find their unique creative voice. She’s the best-selling author of Everybody Writes and co-author of Content Rules, and is the Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs. She’s also a whip-smart, engaging speaker, ever ready to cut through the nonsense to inform and inspire.

The Session: Writing Secrets from Prolific and Productive Writers (The Jerks!): How to Create Better Content When No One Has Enough Time

Ann’s sessions are always (justifiably) extremely popular, so you have two chances to catch her presentation this time around. Make sure to register early! Even if you’re not directly in a content role, Ann’s advice can help improve whatever writing you do.

 

#5: Heather Hurst

Heather is the Director of Corporate Marketing at Workfront, helping create content resources that match with the company’s vision of helping people be more efficient and effective at work. Under her leadership, the Talking Work blog has become a destination for smart content from her team and from experts worldwide.

The Session: Stop Killing Your Content Team: How to Scale Your Work with the Resources You Have

Producing quality content at scale has been a thorny problem for the industry, and Heather is just the person to address it. From prioritization to resource allocation to the power of repurposing, this session should help close the resource gap.

 

#6: Lee Odden

You know that old Wayne Gretzky quote about not going for where the puck is, but going for where the puck is going to be? Lee is the Wayne Gretzky of marketing. He was into SEO before it was cool, was a pioneer of influencer marketing, and is now leading the charge for integrated, holistic marketing. As CEO of TopRank Marketing, Lee has turned a boutique digital agency into a global powerhouse, equally at home working with Fortune 100 companies and local small businesses. He’s also a pretty great boss (we’re hiring). And, should you meet him at one of the networking events: It’s pronounced OH-den, like the Norse god, not ODD-en.

The Session: Big Brand Influencer Marketing – Trends and Best Practices  and Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy: A to Z.

TopRank Marketing’s philosophy of influencer marketing goes far deeper than one-off endorsement gigs. Lee’s strategy aims to create ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships with the people truly influential to your target audience.

#7: Robert Rose

Robert is the Founder of the Content Advisory and Chief Strategy Advisor at Content Marketing Institute. He’s one of the original masters of content marketing—together with Joe Pulizzi, he helped write the rules of effectively using content to drive business purposes. His latest book, Killing Marketing (co-authored with Joe), is all about achieving the holy grail of content marketing: making it a profit center rather than a budget item.

The Session: Becoming an Audience Company: Moving beyond Media in a Post-Digital World and Return on Audience: Rebooting Content Marketing and Building a Scalable, Measurable Strategy

Not only can Robert’ sessions help you realize business benefits from your content marketing, he can show you how to make content itself a business. And he should know: Content Marketing Institute itself is a prime example of a business built content-first.

 

#8: Adam Singer

Data is what turns content into content marketing. Every content creator should have a handle on the analytics that tell us what our audience is interested in, how our content is resonating, and how our results translate into revenue. Adam is the Analytics Advocate at Google, and he’s tasked with helping marketers understand how to use Google’s tools to make their marketing work better.

The Session: Reporting, Google Data Studio and Data Visualization for Marketers

If you’re a content creator, this session is a great opportunity to round out your skillset. Learn how to dive into the data and generate insights you can use to fuel your next round of content. If you’re already a data nerd, this is your chance to get even deeper inside the Google-verse.

 

#9: Amanda Todorovich

The Content Marketing Institute named Amanda their Content Marketer of the Year last year, and she’s returning this year to share her secrets of creating award-winning content. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Amanda has both practical knowledge and creative inspiration to spare. She’s currently the Director of Content Marketing at Cleveland Clinic, helping bring compelling content to the healthcare industry.

The Session: The Inside Story of How Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials Drives Consistent Web Traffic and Builds an Audience

Healthcare is a tough industry for marketers, with changing markets and regulations constantly putting pressure on content creators. That makes Amanda’s success story all the more compelling. She’s sure to have ideas you can put into action, regardless of your industry.

 

#10: Tim Washer

Tim has a unique pedigree as a marketer: He’s a stand-up comedian and a comedy writer for shows like Saturday Night Live, in addition to his pioneering work as the Creative Director of SP Marketing at Cisco. He clearly demonstrates how creativity and humor can spice up even the most “boring” B2B content. Simply put, this is a guy who can make hilarious videos about internet infrastructure solutions.

The Session: How to Use Improv Techniques to Improve Your B2B Storytelling

Improv workshops are all the rage in corporate America right now, and it’s not hard to see why: Improv requires quick thinking, teamwork, and extraordinary empathy for the audience to succeed. Tim’s session is guaranteed to crack you up and make your content livelier.

The Captain Has Turned on the Content Marketing Insights Sign

There are hundreds of sessions to choose from at Content Marketing World this year, all of them presented by some of the brightest minds in marketing. The TopRank Marketing team will be there in force, and we’ll be seeing as many of them as we possibly can. Check the blog throughout the conference for takeaways, liveblogs, and bonus content. And make sure to reserve time in your schedule for these ten sessions.

If you’re attending the conference, keep an eye out for me and the whole crew: Susan Misukanis, Amy HigginsAshley Zeckman, Caitlin Burgess, Tiffani Allen, and Knute Sands. We look forward to meeting all of you!


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Principles and Books for Looking into the Digital Future from Lee Aase http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/digital-future/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/digital-future/#comments Wed, 23 Aug 2017 10:30:04 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22823 When asked to share digital trends and predictions to kick-off the inaugural Minnesota PRSA Digital Skills Workshop, Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network, took an alternative approach. I’ll share the trends that I’ve observed, and the books that I have read or heard at least two times, but generally more. And link you [...]

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When asked to share digital trends and predictions to kick-off the inaugural Minnesota PRSA Digital Skills Workshop, Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network, took an alternative approach.

I’ll share the trends that I’ve observed, and the books that I have read or heard at least two times, but generally more. And link you to the Audible store, while the future I cannot foretell these principles will serve you well.

Digital media is changing fast, so Aase, a leader in utilizing social media, shared insights for getting your mind moving in new directions. Along the way, he shared some of his favorite audio books, and  joked if you subscribe to the one book per month plan on Audible, you will be set for the next year. (Note – one book is free.)

Principle 1: Extrapolation is the Best Starting Point for Prediction

We start our research by looking back at digital media. Aase reminisced about the big three TV networks and newspapers. Their monopoly over the news and advertising was staggering until Ted Turner came along and created CNN. Eventually, the internet meant new production and distribution was democratized.

These two revolutions have turned both news and advertising on their heads. Just look at the value of Facebook, which far outweighs the traditional media giants.

The books to consider to open your mind to digital opportunities include:

Principle 2: Improbable Events Will Have Outsized Influence in Your Life

Aasee told the story of how Mayo Clinic came out of an improbable event. A  tornado that destroyed much of Rochester, MN moved a group of nuns to ask the doctors Mayo to help with a hospital they wanted to build.

Now, the Mayo Clinic was rated the best hospital by U.S News and World Report.

Disruptive innovation comes in several forms. Consider the introductions of the iPod, Flip camera or IPhone. How did they change your world?

At TopRank Marketing, we know disruption can prove to have great value. Trying new disruptive techniques or tools challenges the team and often provides the client with new and better outcomes.

Books to consider:

Principle 3: Mindset Matters More Than Skill

As a digital marketer, it is important to remember these basic skill sets for presenting yourself well:

  • Speaking skills
  • Digital production skills
  • Writing skills

Writing represents you when you are not present, says Aase, so use an active voice and avoid cliches.

Key to remember — have the mindset that you can do new things.

Book to consider:

Principle 4: The Growth Mindset Creates Optionality

As a trailblazer in social media, Aase uses the mindset, “Proceed until apprehended!” He was one of the first to use platforms like Facebook and Twitter in a medical setting.

As an example, when Mayo Clinic doctors separated conjoined twins Aase applied the the principles from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, the art of stress-free productivity:

  • Collect. Process. Review. Do.
  • The Creative Catalyst of inbox Zero
  • The Two-Minute Rule
  • “Is this actionable?”
  • Do-Delegate-Defer-Delete
  • What’s the next action?

This stressful event led to  new options with additional press and his first Tweetcamp.  

More books to consider:

Principle 5: Think Analogically

Social media is now part of the DNA of Mayo Clinic. Aase’s team provides guidelines, best practices, training and consulting to their healthcare professionals. As the head of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network (#MCSMN) he uses social media to lead a revolution in healthcare.

Principle 6: Develop a “Barbell” risk profile

At the heart of any success is almost always a willingness to take risks.

Books to consider:

Principle 7: Pursue Personal Growth

Take care of yourself, personally, suggests Aase. He advised subscribing to The Tim Farriss Show podcast, and reading (listening to) these books:

What marketing digital disruption will you predict? Or lead?


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Digital Summit Minneapolis: A Look Back at What We Learned http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/digital-summit-minneapolis/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/digital-summit-minneapolis/#respond Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:46:20 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22806 Parting [ways after an amazing conference] is such sweet sorrow. Your energy is high, your brain is full and you feel the love of other like-minded marketers. Sometimes however, it’s hard to keep that drive alive once the closing keynote has commenced and you resume your normal routine. But what if instead of going about [...]

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Parting [ways after an amazing conference] is such sweet sorrow.

Your energy is high, your brain is full and you feel the love of other like-minded marketers. Sometimes however, it’s hard to keep that drive alive once the closing keynote has commenced and you resume your normal routine.

But what if instead of going about business as usual, you keep the momentum going?

Our team was very fortunate to participate in an event this week in our own backyard, the 2017 Digital Summit in Minneapolis. In addition to speaking, we had a large group of team members attend to gain new knowledge, created live blog coverage of the event, and hosted an attendee happy hour and dinner.

If you need a refresher to keep your marketing wheels turning or were not able to attend and would like some marketing insights, let the content below be your guide.

Top Digital Summit Takeaways

If you’re looking for snackable nuggets of information, where better to go than Twitter! Below are some of the top conference takeaways from our very own TopRank Marketing team members.

Interactive Infographic: 15 Quotes to SuperCharge Your Digital Marketing

To help you supercharge your marketing success, we reached out to some of the most trusted voices in the digital marketing world speaking at the upcoming Digital Marketing Summit Minneapolis conference for their quotable advice. Marketers from companies like 3M, Thomson Reuters, IBM, The Economist Group, BMC Software, Pandora, Salesforce, Adestra, Schwinn Bicycles, SEMRush and our own agency, TopRank Marketing have joined experts including Seth Godin and Ann Handley to share their pithy tips on a variety of digital marketing topics.

Check out the interactive infographic here.

Supercharge Digital Marketing Infographic

TopRank Marketing Conference Coverage

Lee Odden Shares Ways to Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing

Many marketers are searching for ways to supercharge their marketing but aren’t quite sure how to get started. Incorporating influencers into your marketing strategy can add credibility and authority, read this post to find out how!

 

Learn how to Become a Better Storyteller with Insights from GoDaddy’s Shawn Pfunder

Stories affect actions. But how can your harness the power of storytelling to engage your audience? In his session, Shawn provided three story templates to live by.

 

Elevate Your Marketing Career with One Simple Word: Strategy

What does marketing strategy really mean? According to McLean Donnelly, it’s choosing what not to do. Find out how to use math, execute on a strategy and empower your team in this post.

 

Using Audio to Engage in a Connected World

The future is here! Now is the time to start consider not only the second or third screen, but the screenless marketing opportunities that exist today. Learn how to adapt and thrive in a connected world.

 

Taming the Wild Wild West of Social Media Digital Reputation

Social media is inevitably part of every business today. But many organizations are struggling to create governance and guidelines around how it should be used for business. If you need help taming your team, this post is a must-read.

 

5 Ingredients to Master the Perfect Content Marketing Recipe

Today’s consumers are overwhelmed and tired of the same run-of-the-mill content being produced by every marketer out there. Now is the time to begin focusing on content impact by serving your customers delicious content they are sure to devour.

TopRank Marketing Events

We were lucky enough to host not one, but two events during Digital Summit Minneapolis. On behalf of myself and my team, I would like to thank everyone that joined us for either happy hour or dinner to connect, network and gain knowledge from other like-minded marketers.

What’s Next?

Thank you to everyone that attended Digital Summit Minneapolis and helped make it awesome! If you’re interested in engaging with the TopRank Marketing team more, here are three ways to do so: 

 


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Lee Odden Shares How to Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/lee-odden-influencer-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/lee-odden-influencer-marketing/#comments Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:06:29 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22795 Sitting across the aisle from a renowned digital marketing strategist and speaker on a daily basis has tendency to allow you to take for granted the knowledge stockpile that is just a few feet away. Tuesday was a good reminder of that. When Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, promised the crowd at the 2017 [...]

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Sitting across the aisle from a renowned digital marketing strategist and speaker on a daily basis has tendency to allow you to take for granted the knowledge stockpile that is just a few feet away. Tuesday was a good reminder of that.

When Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, promised the crowd at the 2017 Digital Summit Minneapolis 45 minutes of content in his 25-minute closing keynote, he was not joking.

Eloquently arranged into this 25-minute time frame, Odden opened eyes of marketers to the still-in-it’s-infancy-field of influencer marketing, and how influence can literally supercharge marketing programs. But, don’t take the summary from just me, his desk neighbor. Audience members let me wrangle them on the way into post-conference happy hour to share their favorite parts of the presentation too.

Why Influence?

In 1900, cars zoomed down the road at a blistering 45 MPH. Within 8 years, a car could travel 100 MPH. How? The supercharger: a seemingly magical collaboration between oxygen and the automotive engine causing unheard of increases in horsepower and torque.

How do you supercharge your marketing? By adding your own supercharged–influencers. Influencers provide valuable, trustworthy content and incredible amplification opportunities you couldn’t otherwise realize.

How much added “horsepower” can you see from influencer marketing?

  • $9.60 in earned media value for every $1 spent (Burst Media)
  • 10x increase in conversion rate (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 37% higher retention rate (McKinsey)

These stats alone are fantastic! But what kept many audience members on their toes throughout the presentation, was that influencer marketing is still a relatively new form of marketing, and taking what they learned, they could help their organization “still get in while it’s hot.”

And, let’s just say, it IS still hot. Odden also shared data from Altimeter, Traackr and TopRank Marketing’s recent research report, Influence 2.0. Our research found influencer marketing was the number one underfunded area of marketing today, with less than 10% of budgets allocated toward it. Of those influencer marketers surveyed:

  • 50% of marketers spent less than $100k per year on influencer marketing
  • Yet, looking ahead, 55% of marketers plan to increase their spend on influencer tactics next year

What is Influence?

When you think of influence, if you think of Kim Kardashian holding a product, think again.

Odden explained:


Influence isn’t about popularity. It is the ability to affect action. @leeodden
Click To Tweet


What got the #DSMPLS audience excited was that everyone and anyone can be an influencer. As you’re selecting the right influencers for your situation, hone in on Odden’s definition: 

Influencer marketing is developing relationship with internal and industry experts with active networks to co-create content that helps drive measurable business goals.”

What are the basic steps to implement influencer marketing?

The audience members I spoke with also appreciated Odden’s sneak peek into three steps for implementing influencer marketing.

  1. Activation: Start the conversation and build relationships. Listen to influencers and align on what you have in common.
  2. Co-creation: Develop content together. Compose a goal and make it fun and easy for influencers to participate.
  3. Amplify: Provide influencers with ammo to share your content. Make it easy and show them how it benefits them.

Lee also added ongoing influencer nurturing is the like the rinse and repeat of this three-step shampoo bottle.

B2B or B2C?

Influencer marketing has proven to be successful in both B2B and B2C situations. The Influence 2.0 research showed that of those with influencer marketing programs, B2C brands were ahead of B2B in maturity:

  • 55% B2C brands have ongoing or integrated programs
  • 15% of B2B brands have ongoing or integrated programs
  • 49% of B2B brands are still experimenting

If you’re in B2B, don’t let maturity of use in the industry intimidate you. Start creating your influencer marketing strategy today to get ahead of the curve.

Is this a pay-to-play space?

Brands large and small, deploying successful influencer marketing programs have seen success using completely paid, completely organic and a mix of paid and organic efforts with their influencer programs. The best choice will be dependent on your business goals and the value your influencers will receive.

Types of Organic Influencer Engagements

In my pre-happy hour prowling, I also learned the audience loved hearing about the three types of influencer engagements and the powerful examples of each Odden shared.

  • Microcontent: Short-form quotes, tips or insights from individual influencers added to brand content.
  • Campaigns: Longer-form content contributed by individual influencers often as a part of a larger campaign.
  • Community: A dedicated group of influencers that contribute a variety of short- and long-form content for brand communications.

Let’s dive in.

Microcontent: Influencer Marketing is Like Dating

Microcontent can be quickly produced by asking influencers questions centered around keywords. Wa-laah, just like that, you have a keyword-centered answer ready to gain rankings.


Influencer marketing is like dating. You should ease into it. @leeodden
Click To Tweet


Microcontent can show up in many formats as an ingredient to a bigger piece: from influencer roundup blogs and SlideShares to adding snippets within a brand-developed piece of content.

Campaigns

Once you’re “dating” your influencers – okay that doesn’t sound right – once you’ve nurtured your influencers and grown the relationships, you can begin to engage them in campaigns.

Within a campaign, you’ll want to map content against the stages of a purchase journey. Think about the genuine questions your target audience is asking. What’s keeping them up at night? Then decide from whom each answer should come: your brand or an influencer.

It’s important to select influencers who are aligned with your message so both parties gain the full value of an influencer campaign. If you aren’t on the same page, the brand won’t relay the correct message and the piece won’t be as valuable to the influencer which will likely decrease their amplification and deter future collaboration.

Influencer integrated campaigns are where you really see that supercharge in action. In one impressive B2B example Odden shared, with the use of gated assets, long-form interview blogs and social promotion, a brand drove 200,00 views, 4,000 downloads and over 1,000 leads!

Or try another B2B brand who with the help of just one – but impressive – influencer, Shep Hyken, drove $570,000 in qualified sales leads and $1.5 million in projected pipeline revenue in 30 days!

Catch your breath. I know, that blew me away too, and I sit next to the team who designed and executed the latter example.

Community

A structured formal influencer community is a sign of a mature influencer program. In this situation, influencers know (and are likely proud) they are part of the brand’s influencer community. Influencers are asked to contribute to short- and long-form content for brand communications at a regular cadence.

There may or may not be a paid component to being a part of a structured influencer community. But even if there reimbursement, it’s not like what Lebron pockets from Nike, or one-off tweet (an estimated $185k).

Influencers become and stay a part of a brand’s community because their beliefs and values align with the brand’s. And because participating provides them with value.

Odden cited the Adidas Tango Squad as an effective example of a B2C influencer community. Squads of 100-250 youth ages 16-19 in 15 cities worldwide are looped into exclusive content and new product releases before it goes live elsewhere. Adidas stands by their investment arguing content is far more authentic if you give it to 500 kids with 2,000 followers compared to a global influencer with a million followers.

Community’s also work strikingly well for B2B: think employees, execs, clients, industry thought leaders, media and analysts.

Operationalize Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is not a task or even a project. To fully gain the value of the supercharger, integrate influencer marketing in every step of your marketing planning, execution, measurement and optimization.

Ready to supercharge your marketing but not sure where to start? We’d love to help. Learn more about our influencer marketing services or reach out, today.


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Elevate your Marketing Career with One Simple Word: Strategy http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/marketing-career-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/marketing-career-strategy/#comments Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:00:41 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22784 Not everyone can say that within 4 years, they went from being an individual contributor to the VP of a billion dollar company. McLean Donnelly can. How did he do it? As someone with a design background, you might expect the answer was jaw-dropping designs. But that is only part of the magic. It is [...]

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Not everyone can say that within 4 years, they went from being an individual contributor to the VP of a billion dollar company. McLean Donnelly can.

How did he do it? As someone with a design background, you might expect the answer was jaw-dropping designs. But that is only part of the magic. It is the well-paired designs with outstanding business cases that propelled Donnelly’s career forward. And, his ability to grow the talent he manages, the product he sells and the bottomline.

So, how did he get there? In his Digital Marketing Summit presentation on Tuesday, Donnelly shared what he learned through his MBA, adding “business IQ” to his repertoire of design skills. Here are the three areas he suggested you can grow in – with or without an MBA.

#1 – Learn the Math

Even if you haven’t taken a math class since 10th grade, you can still learn the “business math,” as Donnelly called it. Buy your accountant a burrito for lunch one day or check out a quick course from Khan Academy and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can learn.

  • Income Statement: Understand the basics on an income statement. It is the blueprint of understanding a business model. And, don’t just focus on the revenue sources. If you can find opportunities to reduce cost, you can drive profit just as quickly. For instance, at Expedia, Donnelly learned if a customer spent more than X seconds on a customer service phone call, the company began losing money. Opportunity? I’d say.
  • Statistics: Get the hang of statistics. And it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. For instance, in Google Analytics, you’ll find your eCommerce conversion rate = the # of visitors / the # of conversions. Really dig into the data, question it. Once you have a solid understanding of statistics and the income statement, you can take this business math to the next step:
  • Building Models: Identify the business case before even working on a specific design opportunity (writer’s note: apply this train of thought to every marketing tactic to drive stellar strategy). Then, build a model to test your designs against metrics that lead to ROI. And to get started, keep in mind a quick Google search will find you free design templates for testing revenue models.

#2 –  Execute on a Strategy

Backed by a strong business case, you can now be strategic in the tactics you’re implementing. Donnelly cited Michael Porter’s – the Lebron of business – definition of strategy:


The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. @McLeanDonnelly
Click To Tweet


All too often in business we get caught up on what we’re supposed to do or what was in the plan. Constantly stepping back to reassess “why” and determine what not to do will drive results more quickly.

To help us execute on strategy, Donnelly took us through his favorite creative approach – Human Centered Design. Human Centered Design is a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process. Here are the four pillars Donnelly covered:

  • Find the emotional connection: Every brand experience has an opportunity for an emotional connection. Find yours. Help your team figure out customers’ emotional connection to your brand by mapping a customer journey collage. At Shutterstock, Donnelly’s team brings in customers to share what they want to feel at each stage of the journey. When they’re designing that photo book, they want the warm fuzzies, whereas while they are about to check out, they want to trust the site’s security and speed of product delivery.
  • Solve for the users’ worries/problems: Look for honest, constructive dialog from your customers about your product and company. Easy place to find it? On social media. Value that input rather than worry too much about the negative feedback. You can address it and learn from it.
  • Talk to your customers: No, seriously. Talk to them. “If you’re not having actual face to face convos with your customers, you’re not going to succeed” CTT See how their voice and facial expressions change when they talk about each interaction with your brand. Customers can’t just be data points in Google Analytics.
  • Find your signature experience: Figure out what is unique about your brand. Eye glasses shopping once took place in a store where you snapped a photo of yourself and texted your friends for input. Today, you can have your top frame picks delivered to your door, and make an evening of the experience, gathering friends and sipping on cocktails. Donnelly highly recommends leveraging the Northstar Workshop to drive these insights. Gather team members from every department in one room to foster an open conversation and create a sense of investment in the customers’ problems you are solving for. You can set this type of meeting at a regular cadence, or like some organizations, work in SCRUM 100% of the time.

#3 – Empower Your Team

Empowering his team is what really got Donnelly started down the path of getting his MBA. “When I got my first report, it’s when I realized how much I love being a manager. Getting my MBA was a way to scale my passion for management. I am now better able to help grow talent and the organization as a whole,” Donnelly explained.

Posted at his desk, Donnelly’s daily inspiration are Dr. Edward Deming’s 14 points. “It has been transformational in how I think as a manager,” Donnelly shared. Dr. Deming was a visionary in empowering employees. He believed “A bad system will beat a good person every time.” Often called the father of LEAN, Deming advocated process reduction and a push toward individual ownership.


I can tell you first hand, allowing for individual ownership is how you succeed. @McLeanDonnelly
Click To Tweet


Here are Donnelly’s favorites from Deming’s 14 points:

  • Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team to foresee problems of production and use that may be encountered with the product or service.
  • Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place. Mass inspection is not scalable, not empowering and just doesn’t work. Put quality back on the worker, giving them that ownership.
  • Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

Add Strategy to Your Work Today

Do you sometimes feel like you’re going through the motions, executing marketing tactic after tactic? Take a step back today, huddle with your cross-functional team and ensure you’re on point with WHY. Use your newfound business IQ to inform your tactics and in Michael Porters’ words, take the time to “Choose what not to do.”

What should you stop doing at work today?


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