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.

New Report: 5 Statistics You Need to Know on How Content Influences Purchases

These days there’s no question that great content is a foundational element of any marketing strategy—especially in B2B. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2017 benchmarking report, 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing to “attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

And thanks to yet another insightful report from CMI—the latter objective is our focus today.

Last week, CMI and SmartBrief released their How Content Influences the Purchasing Process report, featuring data and insights collected from 1,200 SmartBrief subscribers. The aim of the report was to dig into the minds of those who are actually consuming content, and uncover what types of content are most influential, how decision-makers perceive vendor content, and more.

Why Content Curation Is an Essential Part of Your Marketing Mix

Imagine if an art museum contained every single painting created over a hundred-year period. It wouldn’t be much fun to visit, right? Hundreds of thousands of images, of wildly varying quality, without organization or context? It would be like a Google image search crossed with a garage sale.

Content curation is what turns a warehouse full of art and artifacts into a museum. A good curator sifts through the content to find pieces that are valuable for an intended audience. Their job is to direct attention to worthy content—and in doing so, make the museum a worthwhile place to visit.

Your blog readers and social media followers are drowning in content. You can be the content curator that helps direct their attention to what is most helpful, educational, or entertaining. Content curation, as part of your editorial strategy, can help make your blog a more valuable destination for your readers.

Contagious Content Marketing: How to Give Your Content Viral Potential

For some marketers, going viral is the holy grail of content marketing. It’s easy to see why. You put out content, people organically start sharing it, and it takes off until you’ve racked up millions of views. Millions of brand impressions without a penny in paid promotion. You can’t blame marketers for chasing that particular dragon.

That said, it’s important to get one thing straight: “Going viral” is not a content marketing strategy. It’s a pleasant side effect that can happen with well-crafted content, yes. But the chance of virality is no substitute for well-researched, relevant content amplified to the most relevant audience through organic, paid, and influencer channels.

If you’re planning on going viral to get your content seen, you’re playing the lottery instead of investing in your brand’s future.

Don’t Skip Leg Day: 7 Content Marketing Must-Haves for Healthcare Marketers

Never skip leg day.

That is, when you’re working out, it’s important to change it up. Vary your routine and work different sets of muscles. It’s the difference between looking incredible, and looking like Mr. Incredible.

Your healthcare marketing needs just as much variety as your fitness routine does. Different types of content will appeal to different audiences, or the same audience in different ways. Stick with a single content marketing strategy—whether it’s white papers, webinars, or trade events—and you may see gains in one area. But you’re skipping leg day, and you’re going to end up top-heavy.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of variety to be had in healthcare content. With the content types below, you can build a well-rounded workout that will improve your content marketing’s overall fitness.

The Big Top: A New Model for SEO-Driven Content

For over a decade now, the fundamental unit of content marketing has been the blog post. Your post may be a block of text, an infographic, or a listicle about memes, but the underlying structure is the same. A regular cadence of posts to the company blog is the foundation of most content marketing strategies.

The problem is, each individual blog post has only a small window of effectiveness for SEO. A post might go viral, get hundreds of shares, and then sit in your archives for eternity. Identifying and promoting evergreen content can get more mileage out of a good post. But by nature and design, these posts aren’t built to be an enduring SEO resource. Think about it: When was the last time you clicked through on a blog post that was over a year old?

How to Inspire Your B2B Audience with Killer Content Marketing

B2B content marketers: It’s time to get over our inferiority complex.

Yes, the B2C folks are over there marketing cool stuff like basketball shoes and energy drinks, while we’re stuck with cloud software solutions and medical imaging machinery.

Yes, we’re marketing to business professionals on a buying committee that has to commit to million-dollar deals. Which would buy a lot of basketball shoes and energy drinks.

But that does not mean B2C has more fun. It doesn’t mean B2B is boring. It doesn’t mean we have to play it safe.

Can B2B content be as compelling, as emotional, as vibrant—let’s face it—as cool as B2C?

As we say in Minnesota, yabetcha.

New eBook: 30 Essential Ingredients to Stock Your Content Marketing Kitchen

My mother was the chief cook in our household. It was a thankless job. Her customers were three kids with radically different ideas about what was edible and what was, like, totally grody.

When we asked what was for dinner—one of her least favorite questions—she would frequently answer, “Well, we could make peanut butter sandwiches, if we had any bread. Or any peanut butter.”

In other words, regardless of what your diners are craving, you can only make what you have the ingredients to make.

Mom’s little proverb holds true for content marketing, too. We have finnicky readers to please, people who won’t settle for filet mignon when they really want a classic PB&J. They’re increasingly demanding a more personalized menu: Research shows that over 200 million people use ad blockers to cut out content that isn’t to their taste. To make a crowd-pleasing recipe, you have to stock the right ingredients.

Feeling Stuck? 5 Tips to Restart your Content-Creating Brain

Blank space: Great when it’s a song by Taylor Swift, not so great in content marketing.

No, wait. I already used that analogy. Now I need a clever new intro to this post about overcoming writer’s block and resetting your content brain. I’m staring at a white screen, trying to put words together, intimidated by all that blank space.

Hey, that’s like the Taylor Swift song… no, wait.

If you’re a content creator, the previous two paragraphs likely sound familiar. There are few things more intimidating to a writer than an empty page. Sometimes, despite your best efforts—the caffeine, the snacks, the just-right Spotify playlist—your content-creating brain just won’t turn over.

It’s almost like humans weren’t meant to sit at a desk in front of 1-3 huge monitors all day long, isn’t it?

A Day in the Life of a Content Marketing Manager at TopRank Marketing

These days, workplace culture is becoming a defining characteristic for most companies—as well as a marketing tool to retain and attract top talent. As a result, I’m often asked by industry peers and hopeful job seekers what it’s really like to work at TopRank Marketing.

The honest truth? It’s hard work. But, that’s the nature of the marketing agency beast. But at TopRank Marketing it’s also in our nature to nurture—and that’s evident in the culture we’ve built; a culture of support, understanding and teamwork to help ensure every individual and every client thrives.

Of course, things aren’t always perfect. But as author, researcher and speaker Brené Brown once said: “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.”

Content Planning for the Win: 10 Expert Tips to Keep Your Audience Engaged Again & Again

Blank space: Great when it’s a Taylor Swift song (or a nifty 20’s-style cover of same), not awesome when it’s on your editorial calendar. You want to publish with a steady cadence to keep your audience satisfied. But you know that filler won’t do—it’s got to be quality and quantity.

Great content is no accident. It requires careful planning to provide the value and variety your audience craves. At TopRank Marketing, we create content for dozens of clients. That’s a lot of blank space to fill. But when it’s over, we know the high was worth the pain (sorry, now I have Taylor Swift stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Hopefully you do, too).

Here’s how to create a content plan that’s designed to excel.