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Lee Odden

What’s the One Most Important Skill for a Content Marketer?

Lee Odden on Mar 10th, 2014     Content Marketing

content marketing empathyFocus and simplicity help ideas grow.

The changing, competitive and often complex world of content marketing could use some simplification and that’s why it was refreshing to get the following question recently:

What’s the one thing that has been instrumental for you to be successful at content marketing?

My gut reaction of course was, there is no “one thing”. There are many things and they vary depending on the industry, types of product/services, target audience, maturity of the company’s marketing, resources, timeframe and so on. In fact, I posted about an array digital marketing skills just 2 weeks ago.

But really, for me there is one thing that seems to stand out.

Nicolette Beard

Content Marketing With Real-World Events: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

Nicolette Beard on Feb 18th, 2014     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

Lee OddenConferences, symposiums, summits, trade shows, roundtables and world expos. From intimate, invitation-only events to sprawling Las Vegas-style exhibit halls, most of us have attended at least one industry-specific event.

While the business value has been debated off and on over the years, and it was predicted that webinars and other digital forms of online training would eventually replace live events, there is just no substitute for face time when you want to establish rapport with people who share your interests and business goals.

As content marketing strategy continues to gain momentum, an interesting phenomenon is occurring – real-world, in-person events are starting to edge out trendier content tactics, like video. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, in-person events have been ranked as the most effective content marketing tactic over the past four years by B2B marketers.

Nicolette Beard

Print Newsletters as Content Marketing Tactic: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

Nicolette Beard on Feb 11th, 2014     Content Marketing, Integrated Marketing

Print Newsletters Mail DeliveryOne of the oldest forms of content marketing are printed newsletters that arrive by snail mail, providing valuable, information-rich content that your customers and prospects want. They can be an effective compliment to online promotions or serve niche markets where print is a preferred format.

Given the overall decrease in postal mail, a print newsletter can stand out to the recipient, unlike an online newsletter that can get lost in an already too full in-box. Conversely, due to the continuing rise of postal costs, newsletters are more likely to be concise and targeted, providing special appeal.

According to the 2014 B2C & B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report for North America, B2C marketers use print newsletters with greater frequency at 29% compared to their B2B counterparts at 22%. In addition, customer retention/loyalty is cited as a top marketing goal for B2C compared to lead generation for B2B.

Lee Odden

3 Ways to Raise the Bar on Your Social Media and Content Marketing Strategy

Lee Odden on Feb 6th, 2014     Content Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Media

Unlock Social Media SuccessWhen marketers approach Content Marketing and Social Media as a symbiotic relationship, there’s no limit to the business goals you can achieve.

To make that happen, marketers really need to start raising the bar on their approach.

It’s far too easy to get caught up in the distractions of the latest social media and content marketing tactics. Unlocking success with social media and content marketing means developing a solid strategy: A thoughtful, data-informed approach with goals, defined target audience and measurable outcomes that you monitor and optimize for.

This post outlines 3 simple ideas that can help you break free of the crowded marketplace of content and social media du jour to stand out with those that matter most to your business.

Nicolette Beard

Print Magazines for Content Marketing: Pros, Cons, Brand Examples and Best Practices

Nicolette Beard on Feb 4th, 2014     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

Print Magazines for Content MarketingOver 100 years ago, a tractor company set out to get the attention of farmers. They didn’t buy advertising or hire salesmen to go door-to-door. Instead, the John Deere Company created a custom print magazine, called The Furrow, designed to educate farmers on developing technology and trends in agriculture. With over 1.5 million copies currently in print and distribution in over 40 countries, this iconic company based in the heartland of America could be considered the first content marketer.

While John Deere Company was an early, early adopter, for many years, print was the sole purview of magazine publishers.

Lee Odden

What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Content for Links? The Wrong Answer Could Cost You

Lee Odden on Jan 29th, 2014     Content Marketing, SEO
Chubby Spiderman

This Spiderman aims to please, but he’s just not the real thing

As someone with roots in the search marketing community it’s been amazing to see how the the phrase “content marketing” has been adopted and redefined.

Whether it’s opportunism or simply being adaptable to the times, the difference in approach to what content marketing is between digital marketing communities like Content Marketing Institute and many in the SEO and social media marketing world is striking.

For brands investing in content marketing, the difference between content for links / SEO and content for customers can be costly in terms of risk, return on investment and performance.

What’s the difference? 

Nicolette Beard

Online Magazines & Apps for Content Marketing: Brand Examples and Best Practices

Nicolette Beard on Jan 21st, 2014     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Visual Marketing

Online Magazines and Apps

“Think like a publisher” has become the mantra for many marketers over the past 2 years.

While experienced marketers already recognize the value of great content, the lines are blurring between traditional publishers and brand publishers as more companies adopt more sophisticated content marketing practices.

Just as publishers are creating digital magazines and apps to better engage audiences, so too are brands who want to engage directly with target audiences as part of their owned media demand generation programs.

But what kind of content makes sense in a digital magazine? What effect does interactive digital content have on creating compelling customer experiences? And how do online magazines fit with other digital marketing efforts like social media and online advertising?

Lee Odden

Rock & Roll Social Media & Content Marketing Interview with Jason Miller of LinkedIn

Lee Odden on Jan 20th, 2014     Content Marketing, Interviews, Social Media

Jason MillerAs Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Social Media at LinkedIn, Jason Miller is responsible for leading the content and social media marketing efforts for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. (Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank client)

Not only is Jason an avid fan of 80’s rock and roll, but he’s a marketing rockstar by any definition – with a digital marketing “catalog” that would make any marketer envious.

I can’t count how many times I’ve had discussions with industry thought leaders about creative content and high impact social where Jason’s name was volunteered to me as a go-to resource for best practices in action. But that’s no surprise, as our history with Jason goes way back.

Lee Odden

Content Plus Social is A Sweet Song to Sing – Interview with Amy Higgins of Concur

Lee Odden on Jan 15th, 2014     Content Marketing, Interviews, Online Marketing, Social Media

Amy Higgins ConcurOne of the truly great things about working at TopRank Marketing are our clients. On a daily basis we get to connect with and solve marketing problems with some of the smartest marketers on the web.

Take for example, Amy Higgins, an ex-Googler that is now the Content and Social Media Manager for Concur SMB. Concur is an automated expense tracking solution that is growing by leaps and bounds. Amy is super smart, goal and customer focused, very nice to work with and highly networked.

While I could talk about the successful engagement we’re having with Amy and Concur, this interview will instead focus on Amy and her unique and valuable insights as an accomplished content and social media marketer. We need more Amys in our world!

Nicolette Beard

What You Need to Know About Mobile Content Marketing: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

Nicolette Beard on Jan 14th, 2014     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

Mobile Content StrategySuccessful mobile marketing is all about context.  A study by Nielsen and Google found that “in the moment” searches are by far the most popular with 85% of smartphone users looking for local information and 81% following up to take action.

But what kind of content makes sense on a mobile device vs. the content marketing being published online? What effect does mobile content have on creating compelling customer experiences and how does mobile fit with other online marketing efforts like SEO, social and ads?

One thing that has become clear is that since Google’s Hummingbird update, mobile can no longer be viewed as a separate channel. For forward-thinking marketers, the practice of optimizing for mobile across the span of customer touch points must be incorporated into your integrated marketing mix. If not, you risk alienating your customers.

Nick Ehrenberg

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

Nick Ehrenberg on Jan 9th, 2014     Blogging, BlogWorld NMX, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

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.

Nick Ehrenberg

How to Build Your Brand’s Voice Through Blogging #NMX

Nick Ehrenberg on Jan 8th, 2014     Blogging, BlogWorld NMX, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

Branding, #NMX, content marketing, online marketingWhen you think of your brand’s online voice, what comes to mind? Perhaps it is embodied by the people running your social media accounts, or by the marketing professionals that craft content for your website. In any case, your online brand goes far beyond the logo – and it needs to be nurtured with a robust content marketing strategy.

Digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi used her NMX session to stress the importance of identifying and optimizing brand voice and reputation. Businesses that don’t tend to their online identities risk appearing isolated and disconnected from their audiences.

The process for building or repairing an organization’s online identity begins with an analysis of the current situation: How are people talking about your brand now?

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