4 Spooky Marketing Lessons from Classic Halloween Monsters

Halloween is objectively the best holiday of the fall-winter season. You don’t have to go broke buying people gifts. You don’t have to cook an enormous meal (then pass out after gorging on turkey). The only obligations for Halloween are to play dress up and eat candy!

Not to mention I’m somewhat partial to the holiday’s aesthetic. Give me skulls and bats over tinsel and garland any day of the week, and twice on Friday the 13th.

Sure, there’s a horror/scary element to Halloween. But it’s a fun, safe kind of scary. If you’ve spent an hour on social media recently, you know there are scarier things than ghoulies and ghosties.

But Halloween isn’t just fun. It’s educational, too! I realized this year that some of my favorite Halloween monsters are hiding valuable lessons for marketers. For example…

How We’re Building a Content Marketing Dream Team

A few members of the TopRank Marketing content marketing dream team.

As the digital landscape continues to grow and shift, digital marketing — particularly content marketing — has a majority stake in most brands’ marketing strategies these days. After all, nearly half of the world’s population now uses the internet, and we want our content to meet people where they are and when they’re searching.

As a result, brands and agencies alike are on the lookout for savvy, driven content gurus with proven writing, planning and strategy skills to add to their marketing teams — including TopRank Marketing.

How to Make the Switch to Content-Driven SEO #MNBlogCon

TopRank Marketing’s Joshua Nite made his debut on the speaker circuit this past weekend at the 8th annual Minnesota Blogger Conference held at Concordia University in St. Paul.

Charming the crowd with his unique brand of wit, creativity, mad content marketing expertise, and numerous “cats with hats” references, Josh delivered a The Good Place-themed presentation titled: “The Good News About Creative Content: From SEO-Driven Content to Content-Driven SEO.”

As someone who spent 12 years as a creative comedy writer for a video game called The Kingdom of Loathing, Josh said he was terrified by the concept of SEO-driven content when he made his transition into content marketing.

“The worst content to write, and the worst content for people to read, was the stuff that [search engine] robots liked to read to most,” Josh said.

Funny Content, Serious Business: How to Use Humor in Content Marketing

Everyone likes a good joke. Everyone wants to be entertained. But when it comes to using humor in content marketing, people still hesitate. We are, after all, not here purely to entertain. Our content needs to serve a business purpose, inspire action, and rack up the sweet, sweet conversions.

Can potential buyers really take your brand seriously if you make them laugh?

I call this the Roger Rabbit/Goodfellas conundrum, best expressed by these two quotes:

How do you get the Roger Rabbit benefits of making people laugh, without becoming a Joe Pesci-esque laughingstock?

It can be done. You can still be funny and do serious business. The question is not whether to use humor in your content, but how you use it.

Our Top 11 Content Marketing Takeaways from #CMWorld 2017

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.

How adidas Put Culture at the Core of Their Content Marketing Strategy

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?

Alicianne Rand Shares 4 Tips for Driving Sales Through Content Marketing #CMWorld

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.

Final Boarding Call for Content Marketing World: Don’t Miss these 10 Presentations

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.

Why HTTPS Matters for Content Marketers: Website Security, SEO, and Customer Trust

Full disclosure: As a content marketer, I’m still trying to round out my technological knowledge. The complex inner workings of the internet might as well be some combination of elves, gnomes, and unicorns. As long as it delivers my content (and a steady stream of memes and status updates), it doesn’t matter how the internet works, right?

But it’s time for all content marketers to get at least a little technical. There are new marching orders from our overlords at tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple, and they’re going to directly affect your content marketing strategy.

The issue is a web security protocol called HTTPS (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure). Other terms you might encounter are SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security).  Or you may just know it as the little green padlock in the top corner of your web browser:

How to Get Started with Video Content Marketing (Without a Blockbuster Budget)

Back in my day, all online content was text-based. If you had two animated .GIFs on a website, you had to wait 30 seconds for the site to load. Four .jpgs on a site would crash your browser. We were grateful when posts were just words! We didn’t whine about “visual stimulation” or “content variety” back then, let me tell you.

Of course, we also dressed like this:

So maybe we didn’t get everything right. For better or for worse, the early days of the Internet are long gone, and modern consumers want video content. Over half of all people online watch videos daily. And they’re not just watching cat videos and Jimmy Fallon clips: 59% of executives say if text and video are available on the same topic, they prefer the video. And 54% of senior executives share work-related videos with colleagues weekly.

6 Quick & Dirty SEO Research Tips for B2B Content Planning

When it comes to crafting compelling content that informs, engages and inspires action, seasoned B2B digital and content marketers know our content needs to captivate both humans and search engines to be effective. After all, 81% of B2B decision makers conduct research before reaching out to a vendor, so we know our content needs to meet them whenever and wherever they’re searching.

As a result, striking that “perfect balance” between SEO and user experience is a must—and that perfect balance is rooted in the content planning stage.

“SEO needs to be baked into the process early so that the optimization is as natural as possible,” Kevin Cotch, TopRank Marketing SEO analyst, says. “It can’t be treated as an afterthought. It’s not only more efficient to do your research up front, but it also enhances the content by helping you touch on the specific phrases your audience is using to search to solve their pain points or answer their questions.”

Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Comedian, Marketer Tim Washer

As we marketers long to make meaningful connections with our audience, we often look deep into our figurative crystal balls in hopes of finding a way to lay an irresistible field of content that will trap their attention. Unfortunately, we can end up putting our audience to sleep—leaving the door open for more colorful characters to swoop in and carry them away.

So, how can we take to the sky and get our audience to surrender to our content? By crafting a  narrative that has empathy, humility and wit. And there’s certainly no better person to look to for inspiration than comedic treasure Tim Washer, Creative Director of Marketing for the Service Provider Division for Cisco.