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James Anderson

Content is not just a platform: Why I left journalism and joined TopRank Marketing

James Anderson on Dec 10th, 2014     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

stack-of-newspapers

[Note from Lee: TopRank has made many advancements in the content marketing space over the past 5-6 years and that leadership has resulted in growth – including the addition of 15 new people to our team in the past 7 months.  Among those new faces is content marketing smartie, James Anderson, our new agency Director of Content Marketing.  

James spent over 9 years as a journalist and editor before moving into the brand publisher space. And now he’s made the full move over to the marketing realm.  You’ll be seeing a lot of James here in the coming days and weeks as he helps me advance the TopRank content marketing machine even further – please make him feel welcome!]

Lee Odden

Where Brand Journalism and Native Advertising Can Fit Within Content Marketing

Lee Odden on Nov 26th, 2014     Content Marketing, Integrated Marketing

integrated content marketing

Over the past year the discussions about what content marketing is and isn’t as well as the role of content within marketing and PR functions of a business have been interesting to watch. Especially the discussions around whether brand journalism and native advertising fit in the content marketing mix. Here’s my take:

Content Marketing is all about customers and providing them the information they need to inspire action. The themes that align buyer interests and brand goals as part of a content marketing strategy can inspire the focus of any content or media whether it’s part of a brand journalism effort, native advertising or content marketing program –  just in different ways.

Lee Odden

How a Shift from All SEO to Social & Influencer Content Boosted Page Views by 500%

Lee Odden on Nov 25th, 2014     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing, SEO

social influencer content

A small business technology company was focusing their online marketing efforts on SEO and this approach proved to be effective for several years.

Research revealed relevant keywords in demand from searchers actively looking for solutions in this software category. Existing content was optimized, cross linked and new content was created where needed. Content was promoted to attract links and social shares to ensure a presence on crawlable social media platforms.

But then organic traffic began to slow down in growth and eventually decline, despite following SEO best practices capable of the most specific Google scrutiny.

A decision needed to be made: Will more aggressive SEO tactics be used or was it time to shift perspective?

Lee Odden

Customer Insights Are Key for More Persuasive Marketing Content

Lee Odden on Nov 12th, 2014     Content Marketing

Persuasion Content Marketing

For experienced marketers it’s no surprise that understanding the motivations of buyers and what influences them can be instrumental for creating persuasive content marketing campaigns.

While that statement makes sense intellectually, old habits die hard.

Most marketers continue to focus on how digital channels like email, social networks and search work vs. how customers understand those platforms or even why they use them. Day after day, content is being created and keyword optimized by marketers with little more than intuitive insight into customer interests and preferences for content discovery, consumption or engagement.

This is a source of great disconnect and dissatisfaction when “best practices” content marketing and SEO tactics don’t produce the intended results. An increase in search and social traffic isn’t very valuable when those visitors don’t engage and the content doesn’t resonate.

Lee Odden

How to Incorporate SEO and Influencer Content

Lee Odden on Nov 5th, 2014     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing, SEO

Optimize Influencer Content for Search

Make no mistake, discovery of content through search engines is more important than ever. But the practice of optimizing content for search visibility has changed substantially.

As search engines look for signals of credibility amongst content and links, humans do the same thing. In the way that links alone used to drive the search visibility of a web page up, endorsements and mentions from industry influencers can still boost the visibility of a brand. As a result, the trend towards influencer and advocate marketing is on the rise.

While SEO and influencer content might seem more meatball sundae than PBJ, I assure you, the combination can be whatever you want it to be, because it’s content. Understanding demand for topics reconciled with the brand’s ambitions around a topic, search optimization insights applied to an influencer content program can boost both the quantity and the quality of attraction.

Lee Odden

10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015

Lee Odden on Oct 29th, 2014     Content Marketing

must read content marketing posts

Over the past 5 years we’ve published over 380 articles about content marketing here on Online Marketing Blog. It’s a big topic after all – with plenty of opportunity to help marketers better understand the planning, creation, management, promotion, measurement and performance optimization of content.

After digging in to our web and social media analytics, I’ve identified 10 of the most popular posts on content marketing that I’m sure you’ll find useful. From our Content Marketing Maturity Model to tips, tools and measurement – the 10 posts summarized below will help you finish off 2014 in style and put your planning for 2015 in the right direction.

TopRank Content Marketing Maturity Model

Lee Odden

How to Be the Best Answer with Topic Targeting

Lee Odden on Oct 27th, 2014     Blogging

Be the Best Answer - TopRank

This weekend I had the good fortune to present at the Minnesota Blogger Conference where nearly 300 local bloggers gathered to learn, get inspired and network.

For my part, I gave a presentation on how blogs are still an incredibly useful tool for marketing. Keeping the reason for blogging top of mind as well as empathy for reader preferences in how they find, consume and act on information are essential if a blog author expects marketing outcomes from their efforts.

When a blog or any content hub can become “the best answer” for the topics that are important for buyers, the return on blogging goes way, way up. One way to execute a content plan to become known as an authority is through topic targeting.

Lee Odden

When do B2B Tech Companies Need Content Marketing? Inspiration for 2015 Marketing Planning

Lee Odden on Oct 14th, 2014     B2B, Content Marketing

B2B technology content marketing

Speaking at both a B2B Marketing and a Public Relations conference in the space of a week has yielded some insightful discussions. Many of those conversations have focused on the transition from where the B2B companies are today – a mix of tactics directed squarely at the C-level customer – and where a content marketing strategy might take them.

With my involvement in the B2B marketing space, I get to talk to a lot of marketing and PR professionals about marketing and communications programs. The desire to “do more” and innovate marketing isn’t unique – it’s pretty common across the board, especially with 2015 planning under way.

Lee Odden

Actionable Content Marketing – Interview with Heidi Cohen

Lee Odden on Sep 4th, 2014     Content Marketing, Interviews

Heidi Cohen

Whether you’ve been in the digital and content marketing game for just a few years, or since before the expression “content marketing” was popular, the tools exist for bright minds to create a brand and communicate their thought leadership. Powered with experience, great ideas and a passion for knowledge attainment and sharing, people like Heidi Cohen have walked the talk with content marketing by using content to advance their position in the digital marketing world.

As the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies and the Chief Content Officer of the Actionable Marketing Guide, Heidi Cohen‘s content marketing experience ranges from being a long time direct marketer for companies like The Economist, a columnist at ClickZ for many years, and past adjunct professor in the Masters in Integrated Marketing program at NYU. Based in New York City, Heidi publishes a very popular blog on all things marketing: Actionable Marketing Guide.

Lee Odden

Interview with Content Curation and Marketing Software Guru Pawan Deshpande of Curata

Lee Odden on Aug 28th, 2014     Content Marketing, Interviews

pawan deshpande interview

In the world of content marketing, curation plays an instrumental role for companies that want to become a single source destination for industry news and information related to their area of expertise. Interest in curation has grown significantly and to meet demand, a number of software companies have emerged.

Curata is one of the leaders in the content curation and content marketing software space, lead by Pawan Deshpande.

As the founder and CEO of Curata, Pawan is responsible for the company’s vision, management and advanced development initiatives. His work at Curata has been recognized through the 2010 Boston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award, and through the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council’s 2012 Sales & Marketing Technology of the Year Award. Before founding Curata, he held software engineering positions at Microsoft, Google.

Lee Odden

Lessons on Marketing Strategy and Content Marketing ROI – Michael Brenner Interview

Lee Odden on Aug 21st, 2014     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World, Interviews

Michael Brenner interview

One of the key players and innovators in the world of content marketing is Michael Brenner. During his time at SAP as Vice President of Marketing & Content Strategy and the Managing Editor for the SAP Business Innovation site, Michael also co-created one of the most popular B2B marketing websites, Business to Community.

Today, you’ll find him working as Head of Strategy at NewsCred as well as writing for his B2B Marketing Insider blog. We’ve covered Michael’s B2B marketing presentations in the past and it was great to catch up with him for this interview.

In the lead up to Content Marketing World, our discussion with Michael touches on some of the key questions marketers are trying to tackle, from developing a strategy to growing an audience to the importance of measuring content marketing performance. Michael also shares a business lesson from one of his favorite childhood stories.

Lee Odden

Infographic: Create Better Visual Content – 10 Tips from EMC, Cisco, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Tumblr

Lee Odden on Aug 20th, 2014     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

Visual Content Marketing Infographic

“And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversation?”  Alice in Wonderland

Tell me something. When you look at your email inbox, feed reader or favorite social network, are you underwhelmed with information?

I didn’t think so.

It’s funny to think that way back when, you could get up and grab a cup of coffee while your email downloaded though a dial up connection. Today, it’s all information overload wherever you go: laptop, tablet or smartphone. The Cheshire Cat would probably like being able to blend in with all that information noise but we have businesses to run and customers to attract!

That’s why visual content is so important. Content with images gets noticed, is more interesting and people engage with visual content more. But how?

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