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

How to Refocus on Your Audience for Better Content Marketing Results

Joshua Nite on Jul 16th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

Clearly focused eyeglasses on a blurry background image.

Is your content audience-centric?

“Of course it is!” Says the hypothetical person I just made up. “We do intensive research for all our content. We look at questions our audience is asking, we hit up SEMrush and BuzzSumo…our content is all about our audience!”

Marvel's Thor sarcastically asks "But is it, though?"

Here’s the big question:

Beyond learning about your brand, which will enrich their lives in many exciting ways, what is your consumer getting out of your content? 

Creating or deepening a brand relationship can’t be the only reason your content exists. Raising brand awareness can’t be the only reason your content exists. That’s not audience-centric content. People will quickly realize that and move on.

Most marketers want to offer a genuine value exchange to our consumers. We’re not shriveled-hearted gargoyles trying to trick people into paying attention to us. 

Anne Leuman

Standing Out From the Crowd: Insights From 12 Marketing Industry Leaders

Anne Leuman on Jul 15th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Standing Out in the Crowd

It’s time for B2B content marketers to stand out. You know it. I know it. We all know it. 

But capturing attention in a crowded content room is hard to do, especially when content creation has seen the biggest uptick in spending among your fellow B2B content marketers. You can’t be subtle. You can’t be boring. But you also can’t be obnoxious; relevance and resonance are paramount. You have to accept and adapt to what your audience needs and wants at any given moment. It takes speed, flexibility, bold ideas, fearlessness, and more.

Where do you start? How about starting with a little inspiration and insight from industry leaders?

Below we have insights and advice from 12 marketing and customer experience leaders on how to stand out from the crowd and create content your audience can’t ignore. 

Ashley Zeckman

Your Interactive Guide to Creating Showstopping Content with Insights From Top #CMWorld Speakers

Ashley Zeckman on Jul 11th, 2019     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World, Online Marketing

Content marketing wears many (top)hats. Brands incorporate content marketing as an avenue to help them reach, engage and convert their audiences. It’s also a tool for attracting the RIGHT people to your brand. And in the end, great content can inform, persuade and connect with your target audience on a deeper level. 

In Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 B2B Content Marketing report, they found that 95% of the most successful B2B marketers agree that their audience views their organization as a credible and trusted resource. Ask yourself: Would your audience say the same about your brand? 

Lane Ellis

5 Content Promotion Tactics To Make You (Almost) Famous

Lane Ellis on Jul 9th, 2019     Content Marketing

Woman embracing beautiful world from a dock overlooking water image.

Not all forms of content creation will make you famous, but some come with built-in amplification boosts that can put you well on your way to star-quality promotion.

Working with industry experts and influencers to co-create content is a proven tactic for adding more inherent promotion right from the start of your campaign.

Harnessing the power of industry events, keeping abreast of trend forecast data, and incorporating interactive elements are also tactics that can significantly up your content promotion game.

Let’s take a look at all of these methods and more, and see how to best utilize each, including examples showing how each tactic has driven star-quality success.

via GIPHY

Tactic #1 — Co-Creation With Industry Experts & Influencers

Women's rowing team image.

Anne Leuman

Making the Case for Video at Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Anne Leuman on Jul 8th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Video

Video Marketing Statistics for Each Stage of the Buyer's Journey

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Video across the digital landscape is what buyers and consumers alike crave.

The average U.S. adult spends 5 hours and 57 minutes a day watching video. Compare that number to the average amount of time someone reads each day (16.8 minutes), and you’ll find that people watch videos over 21-times longer than reading text. Video informs, engages, and entices audiences, which means video can and should have a place within your B2B content marketing strategy.

But when and how should you leverage video? It’s not just a top-of-funnel tactic reserved for B2C brands. And here are the *stats that showcase it’s potential.

15 Video Marketing Statistics for Every Stage of the Buyer Journey

Attract

  1. 84% of marketers credit video with increasing traffic to their website. (3)
Nick Nelson

How to Educate, Engage, & Persuade Buyers Over Lengthy Sales Cycles

Nick Nelson on Jul 3rd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Content Planning Strategy for Long Sales Cycles

In the world of consumer goods, purchase decisions are often made instantaneously and on a whim. 

“This blouse is exactly my style! I’ve gotta have it!”

“I’ve been wanting a PlayStation 4 forever. Finally it’s mine!”

“This tent is just what we were looking for. I don’t even need to ask the wife, I’m buying it now.”

Even large, life-changing purchases can sometimes be triggered in a snap.

“This car is perfect for me. I was going to check out a few other dealerships but no need; I’ll take it!”

Of course, in B2B, this is rarely the case. Recently, we discussed the expanding nature of today’s buying committee, which is part of the reason business purchase journeys are only growing longer

Ashley Zeckman

11 Qualities You Should be Looking for to Find Your B2B Influencer Match

Ashley Zeckman on Jul 2nd, 2019     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

At one point or another, we’ve all kept a mental list of the qualities we’re looking for in our perfect match. And over the years, that list has likely changed. Qualities that were once deal breakers (Justin Timberlake lookalike circa 2001), have now become “nice to have” or even “what was I thinking?”.

And over the years, influencer marketing has also matured in its tastes. Instead of simply focusing on the number of people in an influencer’s network, savvy marketers have begun to take a critical look at the qualities that REALLY make for a great influencer match.

At the core, working with influencers is about building solid relationships that last over time, not just a summer fling. B2B brands looking to partner with influencers should focus more on the quality of those relationships, and find ways to create mutual value for the individual experts that they co-creating with.

Lane Ellis

15 Reports Charting the Future of Content Marketing

Lane Ellis on Jun 26th, 2019     Content Marketing

Office interior with graphs and diagrams - Image.

How can you be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible for the complex and challenging future ahead for content marketing?

Here are 15 insightful reports loaded with B2B data to help you define and chart your optimal content marketing future, and provide the best-answer and trust-building solutions clients expect today.

The reports here, presented in random order, are all excellent sources of information to help you gain a clearer understanding of B2B content marketing, while keeping more than an eye open towards the future as marketers push onward to 2020.

1 — Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study

Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study Image.

The 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn* B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study examines the theme that thought leadership digital content is in high demand, and that it remains hard to find, presenting an opportunity gap.

Joshua Nite

12 Must-Have Skills for B2B Content Marketers

Joshua Nite on Jun 25th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

B2B Content Marketing Skills

Scene from a dinner party:

“So, Josh, what do you do?”

“I’m in marketing.”

“Oh, like Mad Men? Ad campaigns and stuff?”

“No, it’s content marketing.”

“Oh, like the Wendy’s Twitter account?”

“…Sure… like that.”

I’ve had variations on the above conversation more times than I can count. I’ll usually leave it at “Wendy’s Twitter account” in the interest of changing the subject. No one has the patience for, “I write business-to-business content designed to help people do their jobs better, which also builds affinity for a client brand, with the end goal of influencing purchase decisions.”

So most people think I just write fun stuff all day, that it’s a purely creative job. But my fellow B2B marketers know better. Content marketing requires an incredibly diverse set of skills, and “innate writing ability” isn’t even the most important one.

Lee Odden

Infographic: 5 Must Have Ingredients for a Great Content Marketing Strategy

Lee Odden on Jun 14th, 2019     Content Marketing

ingredients content marketing strategy

If you’re still struggling with establishing your content marketing strategy for 2019, you’re not alone. Only 12% of respondents to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute felt successful at their current efforts to strategically manage content. What’s particularly striking about this is that the vast majority of organizations surveyed – 91% – used content marketing to sell their products. Where’s the disconnect?

To help answer that question, I’ve collaborated with the folks at Oracle Marketing Cloud to create an infographic featuring 5 must-have ingredients for a great content marketing strategy. You can download the full infographic here.

We could talk about the talent gap or the technology gap, but I believe that content marketing success really comes down to five basic ingredients:

  1. Goals
  2. Operations
  3. Insights
Lane Ellis

5 Examples of Remarkable Content Marketing in Action

Lane Ellis on Jun 12th, 2019     Content Marketing

Mountains and wildflowers image.

Remarkable content marketing is able to inspire us to reach out and try for newfound levels of success, through powerful storytelling and the kind of compelling and relevant information that provides best-answer results.

Here are five recent examples of how this kind of remarkable content marketing wins minds, hearts, and wallets — utilizing tactics that are memorable, well-targeted, and helpful.

#1 — Sigstr’s Customer-Fueled E-book

Sigstr Example Image

Email marketing platform Sigstr prominently incorporated some of its brand customers into a fashion-styled e-book for a recent campaign, a unique twist on a tried-and-true format that garnered the campaign the first-ever B2B Choice Award at B2B Marketing Exchange’s eighth-annual Killer Content Awards — The Finnys — in addition to the event’s customer lifecycle marketing award.

Anne Leuman

When & Why Net-New Content Creation Makes Sense—And When It Doesn’t

Anne Leuman on Jun 11th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

When New Content Creation Makes Sense

1996: The year content was named “king” in a burgeoning digital world.

2001: The year “content marketing” was officially coined and the modern content revolution began.

130 trillion and counting: The number of webpages currently indexed by Google.

One zillion infinities: The number of pieces of content you stand to create during your B2B content marketing career.

Zero: Perhaps the number of times you’ve asked yourself, “Do I really need to create a new piece of content?”

If the last one strikes a little too close to home, we’re not passing judgement — rather we’re reminding you that you don’t always have to start from scratch.