Ashley Zeckman

Incorporate Participation Marketing for More Scalable Content Marketing – Lee Odden #CMWorld

Ashley Zeckman on Sep 10th, 2015     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World, Online Marketing


“The best should win, but creating the best is a challenge.” – Lee Odden

Yesterday at Content Marketing World, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden delighted a packed room of marketers by providing inspiring and actionable advice on how to successfully approach participation marketing. Lee assured marketers that if they wanted to produce quality and scalable content, without having to scale marketing budgets, this was the place to be.

So, how can we get some relief from all of the hard work it takes to create a truly impactful participation marketing program?

Among the many things covered in his session were:

  • A methodical approach for deconstructing and repurposing marketing to make it more useful.
  • How to integrate influencers, social and SEO into your content plan.
Joshua Nite

Michael Brenner’s Tips, Tools, and Templates to Build Your Content Marketing Strategy #CMWorld

Joshua Nite on Sep 10th, 2015     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World


“The world has changed. Most content stinks. Attract people through stories they love.” –Michael Brenner

NewsCred Head of Strategy Michael Brenner knows the challenges facing content marketers. Consumers no longer accept that content has to be ad supported. They–or, rather, we, since we’re all consumers–no longer tolerate interruptions. Not only that, but the best content we as marketers create still has to compete for attention with pictures of babies and puppies.

Michael’s solution? Create content your customers will love. Talk to them, understand their questions, and leverage the intelligence your organization already has. Michael estimates that “50% of the content you need is already present in your organization.” Auditing your existing content, and tapping your knowledgeable co-workers, can get your content hub off to a roaring start.

Alexis Hall

5 Step Algorithm Hack to Achieve Greater Social Visibility from Erin Monday #CMWorld

Alexis Hall on Sep 9th, 2015     Content Marketing World, Online Marketing


I would consider myself an excellent Googler. As a consumer and a digital marketer, I have believed that you can find almost anything with a few quick keystrokes into the search engine.

However, recently I found myself querying “healthy smoothie recipes”. Millions of results, but the first page of results were mostly mass produced round ups, not what I was looking for. I opened Instagram on my phone and searched again “healthy smoothie recipes”.  Bingo. Hundreds of beautiful foodie images appeared. I become a follower, consumer of content and a prospect of at least 5 new brands.

User behavior, like mine, is evolving. Whether social media provides better results or is just more convenient because you’re already on the app, more people are using social media to research and discover than ever before. According to Twitter, there are 19 billion searches on Twitter every month.

Joshua Nite

Ian Cleary Discusses Essential Tools to Optimize Your Content Marketing #CMWorld

Joshua Nite on Sep 9th, 2015     Content Marketing World


RazorSocial Founder Ian Cleary is passionate about using tools to make content marketing better. At RazorSocial, he trains companies to use technology to increase their reach, search ranking, and audience relevance.

Ian took us on a whirlwind tour through 15 common content marketing problems and the tools he uses to solve them. Here are my picks for the top five:

Problem #1: Blog Posts Don’t Get Ongoing Organic Traffic

After the initial post-launch spike, you may find your traffic results dwindling. In most cases, organic traffic dies off completely.

Solution: Create Content Designed for Continued Visibility

Use a tool like InboundWriter to see what topics will be more successful in the long term, and what keywords to use that will keep your content visible to search traffic.

Ashley Zeckman

Cleveland Rocks! TopRank Marketing Kicks off Content Marketing World – #CMWorld

Ashley Zeckman on Sep 9th, 2015     Content Marketing World, Online Marketing


It’s fitting that the kickoff for Content Marketing World is at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This year’s speakers and workshop leaders are rock stars of the industry. Each one has a solid back catalog of hits; together, they’re a content marketing supergroup.

So for those about to rock, we salute you. Team TopRank (Alexis, Ashley, and Josh) will be bringing you highlights, insights, and takeaways throughout the event. Keep an eye on the blog if you can’t make it to the big show, and if you’re here, please seek us out.

Here are just a few of the presentations we’re excited to attend over the next few days:

15 Essential Tools to Optimize Your Content Marketing

Joshua Nite

Break These 6 Bad Content Marketing Habits to Set Your Content Free

Joshua Nite on Sep 8th, 2015     Content Marketing


It’s a feeling that all content marketers have experienced, and it’s not a pleasant one. You research your audience, you create content that speaks directly to their needs, and you say “Fly and be free!” as you release it into the world.

And then it falls flat on its metaphorical face. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone: Over half of marketers say they struggle with making their content effective.

There are chains that keep content marketing from soaring. They’re bad habits that you might not even know you’ve developed. Let’s shine a light on these chains and break them—with light? Special chain-breaking lights? Maybe lasers. Lasers break chains, right?

We’ll address the perils of mixed metaphors in another post. For now, let’s focus on breaking six bad content marketing habits to help your content soar.

Ashley Zeckman

The TopRank Marketing 7 Point Email Marketing Engagement Cheat Sheet

Ashley Zeckman on Sep 7th, 2015     Email Marketing

email marketing engagement

Email marketing presents a whole host of opportunities (and challenges) for companies that want to engage prospects and customers on an ongoing basis. You may have found that creating quality email content on a consistent basis can seem like a lot of work. Which leads you to question if it’s really worth the effort.

In 2014 eMarketer found that email marketing was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States. With research like that backing up the usefulness of email marketing, it’s a tactic you can’t afford to ignore.

If you’re tired of seeing your unsubscribe and spam rates increase at a steady pace, incorporate these 7 steps to connect with your email audience on a more engaging level.

Ben Brausen

Online Marketing News: LinkedIn & Instagram Get The Message, 1 Billion Facebook, Google Penalizes Pop-Ups

Ben Brausen on Sep 4th, 2015     Online Marketing, Online Marketing News

Emojis By State

United States Of Emoji – The Most Popular Emoji in Each State [Infographic] – Which emoji does each state use more than others? SwiftKey put together an interactive infographic that allows you to see which emojis are used more or less in each state and compare your state to any other. SwiftKey

Instagram Direct Messaging Features Get Significant Update – Facebook’s focus on messaging has trickled down to Instagram, which announced several enhancements to the Instagram Direct messaging features it introduced in December 2013. SocialTimes

Top 100 B-to-B Advertisers Spent $4.8 Billion on B-to-B Ads – The 100 largest business-to-business advertisers spent an estimated $4.8 billion on U.S. b-to-b ads last year, up 0.9% from 2013, according to Ad Age Datacenter’s analysis of measured-media spending from Kantar Media. Ad Age

Nick Ehrenberg

Influencer Marketing: Should You Pursue High Profile or Socially Authoritative Brand Advocates?

Nick Ehrenberg on Sep 3rd, 2015     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing


We’ve been talking a lot about influencers lately – and with good reason. The right mix of thought leaders and valuable content can catapult any integrated marketing campaign into vast new heights and audiences. Finding and connecting with those ideal influencers, however, has always been the challenge.

While there are multiple discovery tools available for influencer marketing research, identifying your influencers is only part of the battle. The next part is reconciling them with your overall program objectives. It’s here that we’ve witnessed disconnects between marketing teams and their executive leadership – and where the need for executive buy-in is crucial for any influencer marketing campaign. Executives may crave big names – chief executives of major industry organizations who may/may not have an active social presence.

Lee Odden

Digital Marketing Spotlight: Jeff Marcoux, CMO Lead at Microsoft

Lee Odden on Sep 2nd, 2015     Digital Marketing, Interviews

Digital Marketing Spotlight

What is predictive marketing and what are the future marketing technologies we should be paying attention to?

To answer those questions and more, I am happy to share the next in our series of digital marketer interviews featuring Jeff Marcoux (@jeffmarcoux), CMO Lead, Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft.

At Microsoft, Jeff has driven cross product and team collaboration, supported multiple product releases and believes that every touch point with a customer is a marketing experience – from marketing to sales to customer service.

In this interview, Jeff talks about the most fun job in the world at Microsoft, marketing technology and predictive analytics, marketing executive career advice and how he stays current in the digital marketing world. We also get to peek into his crystal ball for upcoming digital marketing trends.

Debbie Friez

3 Ways to Measure the Value of Your Social Media Marketing Program

Debbie Friez on Sep 1st, 2015     Online Marketing, Social Media


Inherently knowing that there is value in social media marketing and being equipped to show value are two different things.

Social media provides a unique and often-challenging opportunity to connect one-on-one with customers, prospects and fans of your business. However, only 42% of marketers feel that they are able to accurately measure the value of their social media efforts.

“Social media enables relationships to be built regardless of traditional barriers like distance or language. For brands, this provides a forum to listen and learn – and if you’re smart, take action based off of what you learn,” says Alison Herzog, Marketing Director, Global Social Business & Digital Strategy at Dell, (a TopRank Marketing client).

Lee Odden

How to Improve Influencer Engagement? Avoid These 50 Fails

Lee Odden on Aug 31st, 2015     Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

Brands: Stop Doing These Things!

Influencer Marketing is hot and that means the value of influencer relationships is higher than ever.

Working hard to romance in-demand experts to collaborate, co-create and even advocate can be a substantial investment. The mutual benefit from these long term relationships can mean anything from hugely successful marketing programs for brands to top billing at speaking events, book deals and consulting work for the influencers.

Unfortunately, outreach communications, expectations and negotiations with influencers to work together are often so lacking of empathy, relevant context or even courtesy that the industry expert “checks out”. Losing influencers is sad and wasteful.

But it doesn’t have to be that way if you know what makes them leave. Trust me, I work on influencer outreach nearly every day (sending and receiving) and am both guilty of committing some of these influencer marketing sins and having them committed against me.