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.

 

Nick Nelson

Breaking Down Barriers for Healthy B2B Marketing with Lee Odden #MPB2B

Nick Nelson on Oct 18th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, MarketingProfs B2B Forum

On Thursday morning at MarketingProfs B2B Forum, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden asked a room full of marketers, “Who here has tried starting a diet or exercise program before?” Pretty much every hand in the room shot up.

The percentage of those individuals who would rate their efforts as a satisfying success? Not quite so high.

Falling short of aspirations with fitness endeavors is an almost universally relatable experience. We embark on a diet plan, but we slip. We go all-in on a workout regimen, but we stop. Life gets in the way, and other priorities demand our attention. Alas, any temporary progress we make ultimately proves to be only that.

Many marketers are familiar with this pattern in their jobs: Campaigns yielding strong results, which quickly fade and leave us unfulfilled.

Nick Nelson

Content Marketing Lessons from Music Icon Lizzo

Nick Nelson on Oct 7th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Content Marketing Lessons from Lizzo

Here in Minnesota, home of TopRank Marketing and birthplace of yours truly, we tend to take great (excessive?) pride in famous figures who carry the “one of us” label. When you encounter a Minnesotan in the wild, you’re very likely to overhear some level of boasting about Prince, or Bob Dylan, or F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Why is this? Maybe it’s driven by an inferiority complex, stemming from our reputation as “flyover country.” Or maybe it’s just a natural extension of the “Minnesota nice” disposition. Whatever the case, we love to brag about our locally-sourced successes, and lately, that means showing lots of love for Lizzo.

Anne Leuman

Get Your Priorities Straight: How to Prioritize to Optimize Your Marketing Workflow

Anne Leuman on Oct 2nd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

How to Prioritize to Optimize Your Marketing Workflow

Here’s what marketers look like when everything is a priority:

via GIPHY

And here’s what marketers look like when everything gets prioritized:

via GIPHY

I think you can all guess which scenario is more efficient, effective, and less stressful. 

Throughout my marketing career, I’ve taken on roles that have challenged me to be a jack of all trades as well as a specialist—yet every role has required the ability to identify, assess, and tackle the tasks at hand in a way that makes sense for my clients, organization, team, and myself. Simply put, every marketing practitioner and leader needs to be able to prioritize and deprioritize work to be lean, mean marketing machine that drives results.

Nick Nelson

Return to Sender: Email Marketing Is NOT Dead, But It Needs Rejuvenation

Nick Nelson on Oct 1st, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing

Email Marketing Is Not Dead

Oh, look. Another death of email marketing headline. All too often, we see posts that lead with this provocative clickbait proclamation, while keeping the contradicting nuances under the surface.

Ironically, this kind of practice is exactly WHY email marketing has seen its reputation tarnished. The focus has shifted too far toward style at the expense of substance. Marketers became so singularly obsessed with compelling opens and clicks, through irresistible subject lines and poppy CTAs, that many of us lost touch with the core value of this digital channel: direct, one-on-one engagement.

I’m here to tell you that this value still exists, and might be more essential today than ever, in spite of (maybe even because of) the waters becoming so muddied. Recipients will welcome a little freshness and clarity in their inbox, from those brands and influencers that are willing to buck the trend.

Lee Odden

B2B Marketing Spotlight: Jay Baer on Employee Generated Content #mpb2b

Jay Baer Interview B2B Marketing

It was back in 2010 at SXSWi that I was in the blogger lounge networking with other social media savvy content creators and thought leaders like Brian Solis, Chris Heuer, Amber Naslund, Chris Brogan and Rohit Bhargava, when I met a fellow marketer who shared a metal bottle opener as his business card.

What a brilliant idea! Package your identity around something useful to trigger conversations.

Fast forward to 2019 and Jay Baer has continued to carry that message of utility, talk triggers and clever marketing savvy to his online media empire of Convince & Convert that includes an award winning blog, a network of podcasts, professional speaking, training and consulting.

Lane Ellis

Content Marveling: Wonder and Astonishment in Marketing

Lane Ellis on Sep 11th, 2019     Content Marketing

Northern lights over mountains with astounded person below.

Two little letters. On the surface that’s all separating your standard issue “marketing” from the extraordinary and entirely different practice of “marveling.”

Marvel Word Definition Image

At TopRank Marketing, “Content Marveling” is the practice of bringing greater wonder and astonishment to traditional content marketing, and can be applied in both the worlds of direct-to-consumer and enterprise business-to-business, to engage and delight your audience.

Marketing efforts spending huge amounts of paid placement advertising, ever-more-ludicrous click-bait headlines and tactics, and even illicit black-hat methods are all used to simply get us to pay attention to marketing messages.

Among senior B2B marketers, a sizable 82 percent view content as important for achieving marketing goals, however only 48 percent believe their content is somewhat effective — or even ineffective, according to recent study data.

Kelly Hogan

#CMWorld 2019 Recap: Top Insights & TopRank Marketing’s Favorite Moments

Kelly Hogan on Sep 10th, 2019     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

Content Marketing World 2019 Recap

It’s always fascinating when thousands of marketers, many of whom are competitors, can come together for a week to share ideas, innovations, and advice with one another to grow their business and push the boundaries of their industry. Content Marketing World 2019 was no exception to this act of selfless sharing. It was my first time attending and between the thought-provoking content, industry-leading speakers, and generously engaging attendees, I certainly hope it’s not my last.

At TopRank Marketing, we made it our mission to ensure our readers would share in the benefit of our attendance. Below are the ideas, people, and moments that we were grateful to experience last week, all of which are summarized for your consuming pleasure below. We hope that similar to our conference experience, you walk away with a notebook chock-full of ideas to grow your content marketing programs. Enjoy!

Joshua Nite

How to Drive Better Content Marketing Results with Integrated Marketing Teams: Top Tips from NewsCred’s Shafqat Islam #CMWorld

Joshua Nite on Sep 10th, 2019     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

Here’s a wild new idea: Consumers expect immediate, consistent, on-brand experiences across channels.

Just kidding about the “wild” and “new” parts. Most marketers likely have the phrase embroidered on a pillowcase by now. It’s fundamental.

But if we know that consumers demand an omnichannel experience… Why are so many marketing teams stuck in silos?

NewsCred Co-Founder and CEO Shafqat Islam believes this siloed structure is what’s holding marketers back from their omnichannel dreams. Integrated marketing requires integrated teams. During his Content Marketing World 2019 session, Shafqat shared how NewsCred reorganized to deliver better results.

Key takeaways: Integrated marketing is better for consumers and brands, modern marketing is collaborative, risk-taking content teams are best suited to drive transformation

Image courtesy Shafqat Islam & NewsCred.

Ashley Zeckman

Create a Stellar Audience Experience By Slowing Down with These Tips from Ann Handley #CMWorld

Ashley Zeckman on Sep 9th, 2019     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

You know a conference session is going to be good when literally hundreds of marketers are turned away due to an already packed room. And you know a session is going to be great when the amazing Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs, takes the stage and is visibly bummed that she didn’t get the chance to connect with those marketers.

Part of Ann’s magic is her ability to make herself and her content very accessible. She accomplishes this by sharing stories that are personal to her, things she observes in everyday life that inspire her inner marketer. And her session at last week’s Content Marketing World 2019 was no exception.

Joshua Nite

April Henderson on Data-Driven, Empathetic B2B Content #CMWorld

Joshua Nite on Sep 6th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

Forrester’s April Henderson started her Content Marketing World 2019 session with a classic cautionary tale:

Johann Rall was fighting for the British at the turning point of the Revolutionary War. The night before the Battle of Trenton, he was out celebrating at the home of a local Loyalist merchant. That merchant had seen General Washington amassing his forces and knew the attack was coming.

So what did the merchant do? He created relevant content! He wrote Rall a note and slipped it across the table. Rall nodded, put the note in his pocket… and continued his evening of revelry. The British were caught unawares, and the tide of the war began to turn. That lack of content engagement might be how America won the war.

Kelly Hogan

Zari Venhaus’s Framework for Gaining Executive Buy-In for Marketing Technology #CMWorld

Kelly Hogan on Sep 5th, 2019     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

I had the pleasure of sitting in on Zari Venhaus’s session at the second day of Content Marketing World 2019 where she laid forward a process to present martech business cases to senior leadership. She entered the room with a high level of energy and passion for the topic, making her an engaging speaker from the second she took the stage. 

After a quick bit about the company she works for, Eaton, which is a $22 billion power management company, she dove into a marketing technology business case she undertook as their Director of Corporate Marketing Communications. 

She insists she was not successful her first time creating a martech business case. It took living through many failures and successes to reach the process she uses today. Now, she feels ready to share those lessons with an audience like us so we do not have to suffer through the same trial and error. 

Joshua Nite

Lee Odden Shares His Secret to Content Marketing Fitness #CMWorld

Let’s face it: Too many of us are yo-yo marketers.

We deploy a campaign the way someone might approach a fad diet: With nothing but our initial enthusiasm to keep it going.

And like a fad dieter, we get results… for a little while. Then the campaign runs out of steam and we’re back at square one.

Wouldn’t it be nice if those initial successes could last? If we could go from “fad diet” marketing to lean, mean marketing machines?

At his Content Marketing World 2019 session, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden laid out a blueprint for how to do just that.

Not only is Lee a champion of always-on marketing that gets sustainable results over time, he’s also achieved a dramatic physical transformation in the past year. He’s lost 65 pounds and just finished his first half-marathon.