Can you believe it? On this day in 2003 our first “hello world” blog post for TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog was published. 1,328,500 of my own words plus tens of thousands more from our team later, it’s amazing to think it has been 10 years already.
Wow, how time flies!
A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to you, our readers, who have engaged, shared and interacted with us over the years. Your feedback and interactions have inspired us with ideas that we’ve been able spread all over the world.
In fact, I’ll be sharing the top 10 lessons I’ve learned from 10 years of blogging as one of the opening keynote presenters at NMX BlogWorld the first week in January. As I reflect on the awesome contributions from our team and our community to the success of TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog, I’ll share a few of those lessons here.
Blogging has been good for our business. Many readers have become our clients, others have joined the TopRank team and many more have learned and shared the advice here amongst their own networks in the digital marketing, public relations, search, social and content marketing worlds. Blogging has also enabled coopetition amongst other digital agencies, many of which we’ve been able to partner with. We’ve realized other benefits too:
- Unsolicited media coverage from The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times and many others
- Speaking opportunities all over the world: New York, San Francisco, Moscow, Madrid, Sydney, Antwerp, London, Hong Kong, Auckland, Tonoto and even Coralville Iowa.
- Consulting with major brands: General Mills, HP, Dell, McKesson, Staples, LinkedIn, Marketo, Radian6, and many others
- Attracting a major book publisher, Wiley, through which I published my first book: Optimize – How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing
- Recruiting top talent – smart, creative and focused on results!
- Partnering with amazing conferences as a media sponsor, content partner: Content Marketing World, Social Media Marketing World, NMX BlogWorld, ClickZ Live and others
- Source of marketing experimentation with content themes, SEO tactics, and other ways to attract measurable results
The thing is, our blog isn’t a success just because of what we publish. It’s a success because of the the online to offline dynamic of networking and interacting with people in the industry. We crowdsource ideas, content and leverage offline to online interactions for a cycle of interaction with priceless effects. Find smart people to interact with on relevant topics and then recognize them publicly when they contribute. This is how we’ve grown our social community to over 3o0,000.
The magic formula for community growth: Ask, Recognize. Repeat.
The proof is in the feedback. I can’t count how many times people have approached me at conferences and industry events to say they’ve been reading our blog for years and how it has helped them improve their marketing and even get jobs, promotions and inspire them to start their own consultancies. Not only is it satisfying to know our efforts to contribute have helped others, but it’s inspiring others to do the same. A rising tide lifts all ships.
Our business blogging philosophy: Give to get.
With the real-time, visual and mobile web exploding, blogging still holds an important place in the digital marketing mix – and always will for our team at TopRank. While we’re a boutique digital marketing agency, our blog has helped us achieve industry awareness, reputation and respect on par with a agency that is multiples our size. We’ve been included in numerous lists as a top blog and are often considered a publisher on par with many industry publications. Becoming a go to resource for topics your community is interested in helps you become the center of attention when it matters most. It helps your customers bypass industry publications and connect with your brand directly as a trusted source of answers, resources and solutions.
If you want to ensure your brand gets in the media, then become the media yourself.
As a communications and marketing tool, the importance of blogging cannot be underestimated. Blogging has been an instrumental part of growing our business from a few marketers working with a handful of clients from home to a sweet office on Lake Minnetonka where we get to work with some of the biggest companies, best known B2B brands, and smartest client marketers on the web. The best part is, as we share our knowledge, we also hypothesize, test and learn in a continuous cycle. Blogging facilitates that cycle of learning that we can share with our community.
A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.
For 10 years, creating content has been the core of our communications strategy to attract, engage and inspire action from prospective customers, potential employees, industry media, influencers and bloggers. Seeing the millions of dollars in ROI from our blogging efforts, I can’t imagine that strategy will change in the next 10 years. Creating content as information, specifically useful and personalized for a target audience and as an overall experience across channels will be even more important in 2014 and beyond. Content is more than blogging, but blogging help you create more and better content that can reach the audience you’re after.
Content isn’t king, it’s the kingdom
When it comes to creating impactful content with minimal resources, I believe we walk the talk like few other companies can. Then we pass that insight on to your, our clients and community nearly every day. Competition for time and attention is only going to increase. At the same time, it’s essential that marketers become even more effective at being useful and info-taining when and where it matters to their target audience. Whether it’s a search, a social network, email, an industry publication or an event, companies need to be present and top of mind for buyers. Blogging is a fantastic platform for asking and answering the questions that buyers are asking and that Google is beginning to favor. Remember, content is the reason search began in the first place.
Marketing Strategy for 2014 and beyond: Be the best answer.
Thanks to our team of contributors and very small number of guest posts, we’ve published nearly 3,500 blog posts including hundreds of marketing conference liveblogs, industry trends, tips and how to’s, interviews, book reviews, software reviews, polls and our beloved lists. I hope you’ve found them useful and continue to visit and share our humble little blog as often as you can.
I’ll be sharing more insights and specific thank you’s to TopRank staff, contributors, influencers and our community during the rest of this week as our 10 years of blogging celebration continues.
Thank you for reading, using and sharing!