Avoid Content Ennui: 10 Creative Blog Types to Serve Your Audience


When it comes to blog content, a lot of us are serving breakfast when we should be serving dinner.

Let me explain. Odds are you have a go-to breakfast that you eat nearly every day. A bowl of cereal with a banana, some oatmeal with maple syrup, a haunch of beef seasoned with the tears of your enemies—generally there’s not much variety from day to day. On the other hand…


For dinner, we generally require some variety. Maybe it’s that no one is fully awake for breakfast, so it doesn’t matter what you eat. Maybe it’s the realization that eggs and bacon are perfect foods.

9 Dos & Don’ts for Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines to Draw in Your Audience


Well, hello there. I’m so glad you’ve stopped by the TopRank Marketing blog today. I’m pretty sure I know why you’re here — you’ve been searching high and low for the most adorable cat video of the day. Well, here it is:

Okay. Okay. Just kidding. But I really do know why you’re here. You’re looking for a little headline help. And regardless of how you found this blog post today, you believed something valuable, educational and actually on the topic of writing headlines (not cat videos) was waiting for you when you clicked—and that’s all thanks to the headline.

Headlines are arguably the most important aspect of any piece of content. It’s the first thing—and often the only thing—users will read. In fact, 8 out of 10 people read headlines, but just 2 out of 10 will actually continue reading the rest of the content, according to Copyblogger.

Content Marketing: 5 Unexpected Places to Find Inspiration for Your Blog Content


Creative inspiration is like a butterfly: It’s beautiful from a distance, but full of weird insect parts up close.

Sorry, let me try that again. Creative inspiration is like a butterfly: Sometimes it seems like no matter how far you stretch, it flutters above your head, beautiful but just out of reach. Sure, you could sit perfectly still and wait for it to land, but your editorial calendar beckons. Few marketers have the free time to truly find their creative space. At the same time, you know that content with that creative spark will be far more compelling.

The next time your creative butterfly just won’t sit still long enough for you to get a good look at it, grab your butterfly net of proactivity and go after it. Here are five ways to get inspired when you’re stuck.

12 Content Marketing Lessons Learned in 12 Years of Blogging

Content Marketing Lessons LearnedHappy 12th Birthday to TopRank Marketing’s Online Marketing Blog!

In Malcom Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, he mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, which describes the key to achieving world class expertise in any skill as a matter of practicing for a total of 10,000 hours or so.

By many definitions, this humble marketing blog has involved many more than 10,000 hours of practice. While we’ve achieved many milestones from being the only blog ranked the #1 content marketing blog three times by CMI to helping our boutique digital marketing agency reach a worldwide audience, it continues to be a work in progress.

There are multiple dimensions for evaluating a blog’s impact. Here is some statistical trivia about TopRank’s Marketing Blog (thanks to BuzzSumo) representing some of this “practice makes expert” effort.

How to Create Content that Abides, Dude: Content Marketing Lessons from the Big Lebowski at #MNBlogCon


Does pondering content marketing strategy make you feel a little out of your element? Are you missing the key components that really tie a strategy together? Do you sometimes feel like stepping away from the laptop, pouring a White Russian, and zoning out to Creedence Clearwater Revival?

You’re not alone. Only 30% of B2B marketers believe they are effective at content marketing, and more than half don’t know how to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. And as buyers are inundated with more and more content, it can be difficult to get your message out there.

Fortunately, when it comes to content marketing success, there are rules. And at the 2015 Minnesota Blogger Conference, TopRank Marketing’s Directory of Agency Marketing Ashley Zeckman laid down the law, Big Lebowski-style. Here are the key takeaways:

5 Common Writing Clichés to Avoid for Better Content Marketing

blogging clichesEvery piece of content we produce as marketers makes an implicit promise to our audience. From beginning to end, each asset that is researched, created and published should be interesting, relevant, help solve a current pain point. The content will be informative, easy to read and provide value.

We must honor that promise to hold the reader’s attention and provide them with useful information. As Copyblogger founder Brian Clark says, “A great headline mixed with a lame opening is like inviting someone into your house, only to slam the door in their face as they approach.” Once you slam the door in a reader’s face, they’re not going to accept future invitations.

Not Happy With Your Business Blog Performance? Try These 5 Tips:

business blogging tips

For many companies, blogging is akin to content marketing. Of course there are many other content marketing tactics besides blogging, but because of the ease of publishing, promotion and optimization, it’s one of the more popular ways to connect with customers through content.

And yet there are challenges for many of the businesses that rely on blogging as an essential part of their content marketing mix. If you’re not happy with the performance of your business blog, here are 5 basic, yet often overlooked steps for making your blogging more effective.

1. Revisit Your Blogging Goals

Of course you’ve set goals for your blog. But how long ago was that? When was the last time you revisited those goals?

12 Tools to Help You Optimize Your Social Media Marketing Results

Friez and Cleary at #SMMW15

Strategy gives you direction, but tools help you get there quicker, says Ian Cleary, founder, RazorSocial at Social Media Marketing World. Once you have a strategy, then you need tools to help you save time and provide value.

Twenty-six percent of marketers spend 6-10 hours a week on social media. Let’s explore twelve possible problems and the tools that can help solve those problems and make you more productive.

12 problems and the tools to solve them

1. People not seeing your content? Consider using PostPlanner, which was just a Facebook planner up until it recently added Twitter. You can –

  • Schedule content
  • Decide what type of content to share
  • Discover new content
  • Allows you to create a queue of content

Is Business Blogging Still Worthwhile?


State of Blogging

When I started blogging a little over 10 years ago, there were about 1.5 million blogs (Technorati).  That’s about 1 million other people with no idea what they were doing – just like me.

Today, it’s hard to say how many blogs there are globally, but WordPress.com alone hosts 75.3 million blogs in over 120 different languages world-wide with 100,000 new blogs being created every day. In fact, WordPress.com blogs publish 40.5 million posts and 400 million people view 14.4 billion pages per month. (stats)  That’s a lot of blogging!

Tumblr as a blog platform, has over 170 million blogs and nearly 76 billion posts published.  You can continue this exercise with other blog hosting platforms like Google’s Blogger and Typepad too. And I’m not even mentioning the millions of blogs hosted on their own domains or blogs on platforms like Medium or LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

How To Make a Blog Post Go Viral

Mike Odden

Painting by Mike Odden

How can I make a blog post go viral?

People have been trying to answer questions like this for years: How can I make a song a hit? How can I play in the NFL? How can I become world famous?

The reality is, for the vast majority of people, this is simply never going to happen.

For the 5% of bloggers that are able to create blog posts “that go viral”, the answer is to work your ass off until you get lucky. Then try even harder to figure out what’s working and refine what you write to connect with those key elements that resonate with your audience.

5 Ways to Grow Your Blog Community and Readership

Grow Blog CommunityThe more relevant readers of your blog content, the more opportunities to attract, engage and convert those readers in your online sales efforts.

Content marketing, brand publishing, media sites that blog, and consumer publishing are all competitors for the time and attention of your target audience.

So how can a company increase the number of readers of its blog content?

Here are 5 tips I’ve implemented with many companies and for ourselves over the years.

1. Facts tell, but stories sell. Tell stories! Whatever it is that you’re trying to communicate – boring, exciting or neither – always think of what “the story” is. You can find good stories in anything.  Use metaphors and analogies as inspiration for stories. Facts and statistics do have their place of course and can provide some very compelling logic behind an interesting story.

How to Make the Most of Vine’s 6 Seconds #NMX

Vine, social marketing, NMXDoes your business utilize Vine for micro-content creation? The nascent video social network may not seem like a business-friendly target for social marketing, but there are several opportunities for engagement and retention within it. We may be conditioned to use Instagram or YouTube to tell longer video stories, but Vine’s six-second limit forces marketers to truly be creative with their time.

What makes a good, business-centric Vine video? Spud Hilton, Martin Jones, Jon Skogmo, Josh Entman and Richard Spalding explained the key traits in an NMX panel session.

Emphasizing mobile social marketing first

Vine is inherently mobile – they may have recently added a Windows client, but its foundation stems from mobile devices. That itself presents a unique opportunity for brands. Spalding noted that content created on Vine is instantaneous, spontaneous, and quickly shareable. Add the connection with Twitter, and you have a large audience at the ready.