Lee Odden

Help Us Celebrate 15 Years of Blogging – TopRank Marketing Blog

Lee Odden on Dec 28th, 2018     Blogging Strategy, TopRank Agency News

15 years of marketing blogging

I think it’s safe to say that there are not many marketing blogs that have hit the 15 year mark.

However, I am happy to say that the class of 2003 includes an impressive cohort of marketing blogs including several that have become industry standards like Search Engine Roundtable by Barry Schwartz and Search Engine Journal founded by Loren Baker.

While TopRank’s Online Marketing blog started with a focus on search marketing, we’ve grown and evolved over the past 15 years just like the marketing industry has. Plus, instead of me writing 3-5 posts a week myself (over 2,400 total), I now have a great team that does most of the hard work.

There have been many great contributors to our blog over the years and today I am thankful for Caitlin Burgess who handles much of our editing and blog operations duties, Lane Ellis who contributes posts weekly and creates our Friday News post + handles our agency social channels. Then we have Tiffani Allen and Joshua Nite who shoot the Friday News video summary which you can see archives of over at TopRankMarketing.TV. We also have regular contributors Nick Nelson, Annie Leuman, Alexis Hall, Jane Bartel, Debbie Friez and Ashley Zeckman.

It has been a fun 15 years of blogging with 4,310 posts using over 2.1 million words. Our Google Analytics started in 2007 and since then the TopRank Marketing Blog has had over 11 million visitors and 25 million pageviews.

During the past 11 years we have analytics, our most popular posts based on visitors are:

Master List of Social Media Marketing Tools – 250k visitors

21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions – 210k visitors

BIGLIST of Marketing Blogs – 186k visitors

It’s somewhat ironic that the BIGLIST of search marketing blogs was so popular, because we discontinued adding to the list several years ago. Even more interesting is that we’re bringing the BIGLIST back in 2019! Be sure to watch for the all new list of marketing blogs which will serve as a comprehensive resource for all things marketing coming in January 2019.

While it’s fun to reminisce about the distant past, 15 years is a like 1,000 years in internet time. So much has changed.

As we close out 2018 and enter a new year, I think it’s worth reflecting on some of the changes we’ve experienced with our blog. With the skyrocketing growth of social networks and mobile apps, people have questioned whether it still makes sense to have a blog. If corporate America is any indicator, blogs are alive and well. According to 2018 research by UMass Dartmouth, 53% of Fortune 500 companies on the 2018 list have a corporate blog, up 11% over 2017.

My experience is that blogs continue to serve as an effective hub of communications that tie together thought leadership, content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, influencer marketing, demand and lead generation activities. The hard part is finding a way to contribute a variety of engaging topics consistently and to break through the information overload competing for readers’ time and attention. Doing all those things well is no easy task, but I think our team has made great progress.

Some of the benefits we’ve realized from blogging include:

  • 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, Oracle, SAP, 3M, 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 and content partner including a 7 year relationship with the amazing team at Content Marketing World (UBM)
  • Source of marketing experimentation with content themes, SEO tactics, and other ways to attract measurable results

2018 has been a great year for our blog and more importantly for our business. We’ve refined many aspects of our content production process and took the first quarter of 2018 to evaluate our approach going forward. Starting out the year, we only published 3 times a week and after a few months of internal alignment and planning, transitioned back to our current cadence of 5 posts per week. A greater focus on quality and the tightening up of our editorial focus has yielded positive results.

There were two major catalysts for the changes we saw in our blog operation and performance in 2018.

First, Caitlin Burgess added Blog Manager to her agency duties as Senior Manager of Content Marketing. Each and every week she works with me on the editorial plan, wrangles our contributors, edits content and generally make sure our blog’s lights are on and publishing on target. Caitlin also writes posts herself and has taken the lead on moving our content planning and management over to the DivvyHQ platform.

Another catalyst for improvement has been Lane Ellis joining our team as Social and Content Marketing Manager, where he runs our agency social accounts and publishes our weekly news posts. Besides keeping our 200,000 agency social network connections well informed about industry and agency news, Lane also contributes tactics posts to our blog on a weekly basis.

Speaking of contributing, during 2018 we’ve had 11 different agency employee contributors publish 214 posts. It is with much gratitude that I share this list of those contributors along with their top post of 2018:

Lane Ellis
Lane Ellis
– 59 posts in 2018
59 career posts
50 B2B Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow Into 2019

Nick Nelson
Nick Nelson
23 posts in 2018
31 career posts
The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group?

Annie Leuman
Annie Leuman
21 posts in 2018
30 career posts
7 Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Rule 2018

Caitlin Burgess
Caitlin Burgess
18 posts in 2018
124 career posts
4 Top Trends in Customer Centricity to Drive Digital Marketing Success in 2018

Ashley Zeckman
Ashley Zeckman
17 posts in 2018
377 career posts
Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing

Josh Nite
Josh Nite
17 posts in 2018
129 career posts
How Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming Marketing

Tiffani Allen
Tiffani Allen
11 posts in 2018
101 career posts
Digital Marketing News: Social Media Trends, What CMOs Search For & Mobile Ads Soar

Alexis Hall
Alexis Hall
10 posts in 2018
42 Career Posts
Redesigning Your Website? Make Sure SEO & Content Have a Seat at Website Migration Table

Debbie Friez
Debbie Friez
2 posts in 2018
13 career posts
Building Better Influencer Relationships: 7 Cues Marketers Can Take from Sales

Jane Bartel
Jane Bartel
2 posts in 2018
2 career posts
Ashley Zeckman Dispels B2B Influencer Marketing Lies at CMWorld

Lee Odden
Lee Odden
37 posts
2593 career posts
25 Influential Women in Digital Marketing Who Rocked and Inspired in 2018

Thank you to all who have contributed and to our team members who have shared and helped promote the quality content published here at TopRank’s Marketing Blog.

Industry feedback on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog – As I travel around the world speaking at marketing industry conferences, I continue to be approached by people who say they’ve followed our blog for years and how it has been a great resource for them in the marketing career. I’ve also heard a tremendous amount of positive feedback from those who are featured on our influencer lists: content marketing influencers, social media marketing influencers, B2B marketing influencers and the women who rock digital marketing. Some have said the appearance on our blog helped them with promotions, job offers and speaking gigs.

It is incredibly satisfying to know that besides attracting and engaging new clients and talented staff, our blog has provided a service as a source of news and marketing best practices, benefitting hundreds of thousands of people every year.

On the topic of feedback, I asked a few of our team members to share their thoughts on contributing to TopRank’s blog:

“The TopRank Marketing Blog has become part of my core as a member TopRank Marketing team. For more than three years, I’ve had the privilege to not only regularly contribute thoughts, ideas, and insights that (I truly hope) resonate with and inspire my fellow marketers, but also work with and learn from an incredibly talented in-house team of creators. The TopRank Marketing Blog has built quite a legacy. It’s an honor to be a small part of it, and I’m eager to see how our team continues to nurture and evolve it for years to come.”
Caitlin Burgess

“It’s rare to find a professional blogger that has never let up publishing for even five years, however Lee has knocked it out of the park and tripled that with an amazing 15 years of writing über-relevant and research-based pieces since before the launch of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google. Congratulations to Lee and all of the stellar marketing professionals who have for 15 years contributed to making the TopRank Marketing blog an industry leader.”
Lane Ellis

“The TopRank Marketing Blog has been an amazing resource for me. I was terrified the first time I was asked to write for it! We have such a well-earned reputation for being thought leaders in the industry. I have learned a lot by reading other peoples’ contributions and am thrilled to contribute my own thoughts. Making the weekly news videos has been a delightful challenge–sometimes more delightful, sometimes more challenging. But I love being able to bring the news with some creativity and humor and the occasional Santa Troll.”
Joshua Nite

As we move towards 2019, we’ll be updating our blog design significantly and adding in more recurring columns that dig into marketing topics more deeply and highlighting more examples of great marketing in action. At the same time, we will continue our coverage of B2B marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing, search and social media marketing best practices. We’ll also continue our news posts every Friday, interviews with industry thought leaders, lists of influencers, conference liveblogging and coverage of industry reports.

If you’ve been a reader of our blog over the years, we’d love to hear your thoughts. What have you liked the most? What would you like to see more/less of? Has our content been useful to you and how can we be more useful to you in the future?

Myself and everyone on the team at TopRank Marketing wishes you a very Happy New Year!

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.