Content Marketing

Content marketing is the planning, creation, promotion and measurement of content for a specific audience and intended to inspire a business outcome. With over 90% of B2B and B2C marketers engaging in content marketing, it’s more important than ever to make sure your content stands out from the crowd.

 

As the only blog to be named #1 content marketing blog three times by Content Marketing Institute, TopRank is dedicated to helping marketers understand the opportunities, best practices and current trends in the world of content marketing.

 

Browse our content marketing articles to find tips, guides, expert interviews, conference liveblogging and best practices.

 

Joshua Nite

5 Ways to Humanize B2B Content Marketing

Joshua Nite on Feb 13th, 2020     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Humanizing B2B Content Father and Son Cooking Together Image

“You’ve really got to put yourself out there. Don’t be too stiff.”

“Be honest and sincere!”

“Be vulnerable and relatable… and it doesn’t hurt if you can make ‘em laugh.”

Is this advice for a middle-aged man trying online dating for the first time? Or is it advice for B2B marketers?

Given the proximity to Valentine’s Day, can’t it be both?

The point is, as good as this advice may be for marketers, it’s as vague as it is omnipresent. We talk about “person-to-person” marketing and “humanizing the brand.” But what does it really mean to humanize a brand? 

Michelin Men Original Costumes

Yes, these were the original Michelin Tire mascots.

In some cases, apparently, it means high-octane nightmare fuel. So, maybe don’t try and make an adorable mascot for your software-as-a-service solution.

Caitlin Burgess

Break Free B2B Season 1 Wrap Up: Top Insights from the Marketing Industry’s Best and Brightest

Caitlin Burgess on Feb 6th, 2020     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Video Interviews

Break Free B2B Marketing Round Up

Three different hosts, 19 jam-packed episodes, 20 incredible guests—countless amazing insights gained.

TopRank Marketing’s inaugural season of Break Free B2B, a video podcast series featuring the expertise, experiences, and advice of diverse marketing minds, is officially wrapped. 

With the goal of delivering B2B marketers the encouragement and inspiration to break free of business-to-business norms to drive bigger, better, bolder results, we covered everything from change management to visual storytelling to what’s next in B2B influencer marketing. And of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to reflect and share some of our favorite tidbits from each of our incredible guests.

Throughout the season, there were a few key topical areas we honed in on:

Nick Nelson

The Science and Art of Best Answer B2B Marketing Content

Nick Nelson on Feb 3rd, 2020     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO

Colorful Image of Outer Space

As a marketer, I love experiencing the inner dynamics of our profession from the other side. Our agency talks so much about the value of delivering best answer content and fully satisfying a searcher’s curiosities; recently I experienced this value first-hand.

Let’s set the stage. A couple weeks ago I was mindlessly flipping through channels on cable TV and I came across an old favorite: Alien, the 1979 sci-fi horror flick from director Ridley Scott. 

This classic film also had a classic tagline: “In space, no one can hear you scream.” In my boredom, I got to wondering about the validity of that statement, so I pulled up a Google search on my phone and typed in: is there sound in space.

Caitlin Burgess

Break Free B2B Series: Margaret Magnarelli on the Psychology of Trust for Better Content Marketing

Caitlin Burgess on Jan 30th, 2020     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Video Interviews

Break Free B2B Interview with Margaret Magnarelli

Trust in marketing—how to build it and how to wield it for good—needs to be top of mind for every modern marketer. Why? Because nearly every decision people make, especially when it comes to purchasing decisions, has an element of trust built in. And content marketers have the opportunity to become trusty guides.

“No one knows everything about everything,” Margaret Magnarelli, Executive Director of Digital Product Evolution and Growth Marketing at Morgan Stanley, shared with us in a recent Break Free B2B interview. “So, we have to be able to give our customers as much information as we can… and take them as close to the line of purchase—to the experience of purchase—as we can.”

Nick Nelson

Break Free B2B Series: Emily Thompson on the Power of Content Marketing in Health Care

Nick Nelson on Jan 21st, 2020     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Video Interviews

Break Free B2B Interview with Emily Thompson

Trust is the linchpin of modern marketing. It plays a crucial role in every vertical, industry, or niche. But nowhere is trust a more essential crux than in health care, where the personal stakes are immense.

“We’re in an industry where, you know, it’s serious,” says Emily Thompson in her interview for Break Free B2B. “This is about people’s health and well being, and a lot of times people get very nervous — they’re scared, they’re sick.”

As a Boston-based freelance writer and content strategist who primarily focuses on the health care sector, where she has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from startups to enterprise, Emily acutely understands the impactful nuances of messaging. She says seeing things from the other side — as a first-time mother who frequently sought information online — helped her develop a more empathetic view.

Nick Nelson

Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing

Nick Nelson on Jan 14th, 2020     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Video Interviews

Break Free B2B Interview with Adi Bachar-Reske

Marketing leaders are at the forefront of a seismic transformation that continues to play out as we enter a new decade. 

Organizational dynamics are realigning. Power balances are shifting. Trust – both internal and external – is emerging as the most essential crux in business success. For people like Adi Bachar-Reske, it’s an exhilarating time to be leading the charge.

Her history in marketing dates back multiple decades, so she’s been helping shape this evolution. “Twenty years ago, everybody’s in a suit. I was the only woman in the room, always,” she says. “It has changed a lot.”

Nick Nelson

5 Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

Nick Nelson on Jan 13th, 2020     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

New decade, who dis?

We’ve officially turned the calendar to 201… er, 2020! First the first time in 10 years, we’ll all be writing a different numeral as that third digit. That’s a new habit that’ll take some getting used to. 

As B2B marketers, perhaps we can take advantage of this opportunity to form a few other new habits. Specifically, I’m talking about making adjustments to the way we approach our craft, so to align ourselves with the evolved marketplace of the 2020s. 

The New Year is always a fitting time for resolutions and aspirational goal-setting. With this particularly momentous milestone, I’m urging all my B2B marketing peers to think big and commit to some major shifts in mindset for the decade ahead.

Joshua Nite

B2B Content Marketing Lessons from 2019’s Nerdy Film & TV Franchise Finales

Joshua Nite on Jan 8th, 2020     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

B2B Content Marketing Lessons from Film & TV Franchise Finales

2019 may be remembered as the year we reached peak nerd.

When I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, nerd culture was still underground, something for weird kids and weirder adults. Now our biggest entertainment franchises are what used to be nerd stuff: High fantasy, epic science fiction, comic book heroe,s and horror movies. 

But 2019 was the year that cracks started to show in even the most lucrative franchises. Several high-profile series came to an end — and only one of them really stuck the landing. Let us take solace in the words of Jedi Master Yoda himself:

Yoda Captioned The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is

Marketers can learn a lot from each of the year’s biggest nerdy swan songs. 

Caitlin Burgess

Break Free B2B Series: Zari Venhaus on How to Scoot Your Way to Martech Transformation Through Storytelling

Caitlin Burgess on Jan 7th, 2020     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Video Interviews

Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Zari Venhaus

When it comes to securing buy-in from key stakeholders for marketing technology investments, are you preparing to deliver a pitch or to woo your audience through story?

According to Zari Venhaus, Director of Corporate Marketing Communications at Eaton, the latter is essential if you want to create understanding and gain approval from stakeholders at all levels—something she knows from experience.

“If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has,” Zari told TopRank Marketing’s Susan Misukanis in a recent Break Free B2B interview. “So, we had to learn how to storytell. We had to take our roles as marketers and turn it internally and really do that for our senior leaders.”

Lane Ellis

Learn From Our Top 10 Content Marketing Posts of 2019

Lane Ellis on Dec 24th, 2019     Content Marketing

Top 10 Content Marketing Post of 2019 Jumping Group by Sunset Image

Content — it encompasses nearly everything we read, view, or listen to online, and as our CEO Lee Odden said years ago, it’s also the primary reason search began in the first place.

We’re especially proud of the content marketing successes our team at TopRank Marketing have achieved in 2019, for a wide-range of B2B clients. As 2020 draws close we wanted to share our top content marketing articles of the year — each filled with best practices, research, examples, and the latest trends.

The excellent content marketers who make our award-winning blog one of the most popular in the industry include Anne Leuman, Joshua Nite, Nick Nelson, and Lee Odden.

Nick Nelson

How to Build a Binge-Worthy and Rewarding B2B Content Strategy

Nick Nelson on Dec 18th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Building Binge-Worthy B2B Content Strategy

As marketers, we’re accustomed to appreciating the rewards for a job well done. Create a piece of great content that resonates, and you’ll likely be greeted with those reinforcing indicators of impact: clicks, views, dwell time, pipeline growth, perhaps even third-party recognition.

But what’s in it for the person consuming this content? 

Sure, there is the inherent value derived from enjoying the content to begin with – learning something new, solving problems, or merely being entertained. But if we want our readers to stick around and continuously come back for more, the next step for marketers may well be to further incentivize heavier consumption of our content, especially as serialized formats and experiential marketing continue to take hold.

Naturally, the world of entertainment is leading the charge on this frontier.

Joshua Nite

What You Can Learn from Competitive Research to Improve B2B Content Marketing Performance

Joshua Nite on Dec 11th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Competitive Research for Better Content Marketing

Pablo Picasso famously said: “Good artists borrow; great artists steal.” 

Except that he probably didn’t come up with that zinger on his own. It’s been attributed to everyone from Mark Twain to TS Eliot. 

Which proves the point: For memorable content, steal what you can and make it your own.

Your content is competing for your buyers’ attention. To make an impression, you have to be more informative, more entertaining, and more engaging than your competitors, both direct and indirect.

We’re not suggesting plagiarism here. We’re encouraging you to get a deep understanding of the landscape by conducting some competitive recon. Here’s how to use competitive research to bolster your B2B content marketing strategy and ultimately improve performance.