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

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.

Caitlin Burgess

The Experience Factor: It’s Time for Content Marketers to ‘Flip the Switch’

Caitlin Burgess on Jun 6th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Flipping the Content Experience Switch

I’d love to tell you everything. But in the spirit of brevity and relevance, I’ll cut to the moment it all clicked.

While enjoying a lovely dinner with an old family friend last week, he relayed his version of a classic Maya Angelou quote to me:

“You know, you meet so many people throughout your life. And you never really remember what they said or what they did, but you always remember the way they made you feel.”

via GIPHY

For decades, content marketers have been tasked with meeting buyers along their journey, striving to create best-answer content that satisfies curiosity, encourages brand engagements, and paints their product or service as the solution buyers are looking for.

Nick Nelson

The Relationship Between SEO and Social: It’s Complicated … and Complementary

Nick Nelson on Jun 5th, 2019     Content Marketing

Social media marketing and search engine optimization are often viewed as two disparate components of a holistic digital strategy. In some ways, they are distinct, but there is far more convergence and crossover than we’re often led to believe.

I find that looking at one side through the lens of the other invariably helps me better understand the more ambiguous aspects of each. So today I thought I’d share this perspective, with a focus on how these tactical areas can work cohesively to strengthen your brand’s visibility and impact on the web.

Similarities Between Social and Search

Let’s begin by exploring some commonalities between social media networks and social engines.

Alexis Hall

Pump it Up: How to Maximize Your B2B Content Marketing Campaign Investments

Alexis Hall on Jun 3rd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Let’s talk shoes for a moment. Years ago, I purchased a stunning pair Jimmy Choo stiletto pumps; they were all the rage at that time. I’d been eyeing them for months and I convinced myself that this rather spendy investment would pay dividends in style and wearability.

When my Choos made their public debut, I was showered with compliments on how gorgeous they were. I was feeling great.

via GIPHY

Of course, a few hours later a shooting pain in my Achilles tendon meant it was time to give them a rest, so I changed into tennis shoes.

Today, those shoes are collecting dust in my closet. And every time I see them, I feel a mixture of regret (perhaps not my wisest investment after all) and longing to take them out for another spin (with the right insoles at a sitting event).

Nick Nelson

B2B Content Not Making an Impact? Try These 7 Underutilized Promotion Channels

Nick Nelson on May 29th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Creating great content requires considerable investment, in terms of time, effort, and money. Knowing this, it’s crazy how often I see marketers and brands fail to follow through by promoting their content to the fullest and maximizing its targeted exposure.

It literally makes me sad. I’m tearing up as I write this. One moment… Talk amongst yourselves.

via GIPHY

Ahem. So the scourge of unseen quality content is one we must conquer. The path to doing so, I’m afraid, isn’t as simple as scheduling a bunch of links across the same old social feeds. This isn’t to say social media isn’t important, but this formulaic, reflexive approach is fast losing its luster.

Anne Leuman

Side-Stepping the Summer Slump: 5 Tips for B2B Content Marketers

Anne Leuman on May 27th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Marekting Tips for Avoiding the Summer Slump

Summer is coming.

For months we’ve been dreaming about barbecues, sun-filled vacations, long weekends at the lake, and the glorious start of summer office hours. It’s so close.

via GIPHY

But for B2B marketers, summertime often means distracted or out-of-office target audiences, prospects, and customers. We marketers may even sneak out of the office for a few days. And from dips in organic website traffic and social engagement to being short on internal resources while the sales team begs for more leads, the “summer slump” sets in.

The good news is that summer opportunities do exist for entertaining, nurturing, and strengthening connections with your audiences throughout the funnel, as well as help you test and refine your approach to finish out the year strong. Here are some tips worthy of consideration.