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

The Community Imperative: Engaging in Conversations Rather Than Disseminating Information

Nick Nelson on May 21st, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Building Online Communities in B2B

What does effective marketing engagement look like?

In the common model we see today, it’s something like this: Brands push out relevant messaging, hoping to compel a response or interaction that leads to a conversation (and maybe ultimately a conversion). This can be anything from a comment on a social media post to a chat window initiation.

Nothing wrong with that. These back-and-forths between brands and individuals are important ingredients toward building trust and loyalty. The problem is that, as a sole method for driving engagement, the cast-and-wait approach is too dependent on explicit triggers to spark these interactions.  

Devising and creating content that drives targeted engagement is hard work. It’s worthwhile, but hard, and sometimes even well conceived plans miss the mark. What if you were able to develop a self-driven engagement engine, which fostered strategic conversations built awareness among your most valuable customers and prospects?

Caitlin Burgess

Content Curation Inspiration: Types, Examples, & Use Cases for B2B Marketers

Caitlin Burgess on May 16th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Content Curation Inspiration for B2B Marketers

If you create and share content, curation is part of your B2B marketing strategy. From seasoning a blog post with key third-party statistics to sharing an interesting article from an industry publication or influencer across your social channels, you’re curating.

But content curation has a place beyond adding an insight or two to your content.

With large volumes of information available today and short attention spans, curation allows content marketers to create more convenient, valuable content experiences for their target audience, while growing thought leadership, bolstering their content calendar, and increasing production efficiency.

What types of curation exist? How are B2B brands doing curation? When does it make sense to do curation? Let’s dive in.

Nick Nelson

Less Is More: Time to Cut Content Bloat & Create Content Connections

Nick Nelson on May 9th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

When it comes to the craft of writing, my favorite luminary is the late William Zinsser. His book, On Writing Well, is — in my opinion — the definitive work covering its stated subject.

On Writing Well is an essential read for anyone who wants to elevate their prose. Zinsser’s primary focal area is word economy. “Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly,” he implores. “Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Reexamine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work?”

That last question is especially pertinent to B2B marketing writers. The reader should always be our top concern when penning copy, but in this case, the stakes are even higher. Attention is at a premium with business professionals, so wasted words are especially costly. Content bloat leads to audience abandonment.

Joshua Nite

How to Promote Your B2B Podcast

Joshua Nite on May 8th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Online Marketing

How to Promote Your B2B Podcast

Over 1/4th of the entire population of the United States listens to podcasts at least monthly. That’s over 81 million people. What’s more, the most avid listeners log six and a half hours a week of listening time. Eighty percent finish every episode in its entirety.

There’s enormous potential here for engaging an audience. Think about how long someone might stick with a 1,000 word blog post (like this one). Five minutes? Ten? But they might listen to a 25-30 minute podcast on the same topic.

Podcasting holds a lot of promise for marketers, especially in the B2B space. Our agency has helped multiple B2B Fortune 500 companies produce and find an audience for their podcasts. It takes strategy and coordination, but the barrier to entry is relatively low. Of course, “making” the podcast is the easy part. As with any content, the challenge is successfully getting it to your target audience.

Lee Odden

Content Marketing Fitness: Are You Ready to Integrate, Optimize and Activate?

Lee Odden on May 6th, 2019     Content Marketing

Content Marketing Fitness

I’ve always thought of content marketing as a fast paced, agile and high energy approach to engaging the modern buyer.

So why does so much of the B2B content marketing that’s out there feel sluggish, low energy and bloated?

eMarketer recently reported that B2B decision makers’ top issues with marketing content reveal that marketers are clearly “out of shape” when it comes to a focus on what’s most important. The top issues shared by B2B decision makers were that content is too fluffy, not relevant, not personalized, misleading, behind a form or hard to find.

For the marketers behind these issues, a quick look in the mirror makes it easy to see why: Bad habit strategy, low metabolism execution, overly processed tactics and sugar high shiny object software that doesn’t get used properly if at all.

Anne Leuman

The B2B Content Marketing Derby: When & Where to Place Strategic Bets

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

When & Where to Place Smart B2B Content Marketing Bets

The Kentucky Derby has long been referred to as the fastest and most exciting two minutes in sports. And when it comes to your B2B content marketing efforts, getting your audience to sit on the edge of their seats, glued to your content for two whole minutes can be a major feat.

To generate Kentucky-Derby-like attention for your B2B brand, your content marketing strategy needs to leverage the right tactical mix for your audience, industry, product mix, and objectives. However, over the last decade, the content marketing field has become crowded and even convoluted with hopeful tactical and strategic champions. The field has evolved from traditional winners like blogging and eBooks to include a new breed of favorites like influencer marketing, interactive content, and more.

Anne Leuman

Everything Old Is New Again: Why & How to Refresh B2B Content

Anne Leuman on Apr 18th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Why & How to Refresh B2B Content

Content creation—it’s the linchpin of our B2B content marketing strategies. And 56% of B2B content marketers have upped their investment in content creation over the past year—more than any other spending area.

Without a steady cadence of fresh, quality content we can’t proactively adapt to our audience’s changing needs nor consistently reach, inform, engage, entertain, or inspire action within them. And for most content marketers, this effort is often grounded in creating net-new content. But freshness is the eye of the beholder; quality content creation doesn’t have to be done from scratch.

Refreshing existing content is a massive opportunity, playing an integral role within your always-on content marketing strategy. It’s not only more efficient to produce, but when done strategically, it can also boost results, improve user experience, and extend the life and relevance of the content you’ve worked so hard to produce.

Ashley Zeckman

5 Essential Questions to Guide Your B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy

Ashley Zeckman on Apr 11th, 2019     Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Online Marketing

Greetings friend! If you’re here, I assume it’s for one of three reasons:

  • You’re interested in the concept of influencer marketing and want to identify if it’s a fit for your B2B brand.
  • You’re dabbling in influencer marketing and are looking for ways to formalize your strategy.
  • You fell down some crazy internet rabbit hole and you aren’t quite sure how you got here.

Regardless of the reason, I’m happy you’re here.

Today, we’re going to dig into five essential questions that many B2B marketers are asking themselves about influencer marketing—everything from what it actually is (very important) to how to gain leadership buy-in and show value.

So dig in, enjoy the ride and be sure to add any of your own questions in the comments!

Nick Nelson

How to Get It Done: Project Management Tips for Content Marketing Managers

Nick Nelson on Apr 9th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

When I was in high school, we had a science class project in which we were grouped into teams, and tasked with building a catapult. Whichever contraption could launch a tennis ball the farthest would win the contest.

We quickly learned that the hardest part wasn’t constructing the actual catapult. It was wrangling all the team members, divvying up assignments, and keeping a collective group of energetic teenagers on track. In hindsight, maybe that was the point.

Managing Content Marketing Projects and People

Content marketing managers deal with these types of responsibilities on a daily basis. There are so many roles and functions typically involved with a time bound content initiative that we often must act as project managers, facilitating collaboration and ensuring that everyone is in a position to succeed.

Lee Odden

The Future of B2B Content: Data-Informed, Interactive, and Influential

Lee Odden on Apr 8th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing

Future of B2B Content

Before starting on any new marketing initiative or trying a new tactic, B2B marketers need to answer and essential question: Why?

While most B2B marketers won’t admit it, many still practice some “spaghetti/wall marketing” wherein each year they throw new digital tactics “against the wall” to see what sticks without really knowing why a tactic would work for their audience over another.

This is not to say that you should slow down on innovating and trying new things. But it’s important for success to be strategic and test. I challenge marketers to do more research around customer insights and preferences so that any changes they make are driven by data and informed hypothesis—rather than simply trying new things just to see if they will work.

Anne Leuman

B2B Marketers, Are Your Content Marketing Efforts Sparking Joy for Your Audience?

Anne Leuman on Apr 3rd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

How to Spark Audience Joy with Your Content

Best-selling author, tidying expert, and star of a massively successful Netflix show, Marie Kondo, is really on to something. Her simple yet effective tidying method is brilliant, but what it stands for is what’s truly inspiring.

All over the world, people are asking themselves a simple yet powerful question: Does it spark joy?

via GIPHY

But be honest, B2B marketers: When’s the last time you stopped to consider whether your marketing efforts were sparking joy for your audience? (Was it before, during, or after you dropped your latest white paper?)

Joy is a powerful emotion—it signals happiness, triumph, and exuberance. And in a time where delivering amazing, personalized experiences to our buyers is the new bar, we need to commit to delighting our audience throughout their journey. When we do this, we not only give them what they want and need, but we can also build a stronger connection with our brands.

Ashley Zeckman

Dear Friend: Secrets to Creating a Newsletter People Want to Read From Ann Handley

Ashley Zeckman on Mar 26th, 2019     Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing World

Do me a favor. Go and check your work email inbox.

Then, look to see how many newsletters from individuals or brands you’ve received in the past week (for me it was around 20). After you have that number, look to see how many of those newsletters you’ve actually opened (for me it was 3). Lastly, think about how many of those newsletters you engaged with in some way (replied, shared, etc.), or which ones contained memorable content that you’ve added to your memory bank (for me it was 0).

Yikes! Can you imagine the manpower and dollars that likely went into developing and distributing those email newsletters that are just sitting in your inbox gathering dust? And worse yet, are your subscribers feeling the same way that you do, but about the content that you’re sending out?