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.

 

Alexis Hall

Use It or Lose It: 8 Ways to Make the Most of Your Digital Marketing Budget Surplus

Alexis Hall on Sep 13th, 2018     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

How to Make the Most of Your Marketing Budget

For all marketing leaders, effectively managing your digital marketing budget is a delicate balancing act. Spend too much too early, and you’re running ultra-lean for the balance of the year and risk falling short of your goals. Spend too little, and you’ll likely lose those dollars at year’s end—and perhaps put yourself in a position to see cuts next year if your frugalness is taken out of context.

In our experience, we often see organizations slow to spend the first nine months of the year and eager to spend in the final quarter. So, if you’ll soon find yourself in the “use it or lose it” position, absolutely use it—but be thoughtful.

Ashley Zeckman

Game On: How to Power-Up Your Content Marketing Game with Insights From #CMWorld

Ashley Zeckman on Sep 12th, 2018     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World, Influencer Marketing

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right.

If you’re a classic gamer, you’ll recognize the Konami Code used in popular games as a way to uncover gaming cheats or special effects. And if you attended Content Marketing World last week, you’ll recognize that sequence from trying to find your way through Huntington Convention Center to find your speaker sessions.

And even if you’re not a gamer and weren’t able to attend the conference this year, you’re in luck. The team at TopRank Marketing has compiled some top tips for powering up your event attendance and our coverage of stellar content marketing sessions from the biggest content marketing conference of the year.

Jane Bartel

Ashley Zeckman Dispels B2B Influencer Marketing Lies at CMWorld

Jane Bartel on Sep 12th, 2018     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World, Influencer Marketing

Ashley Zeckman at CMWorld

It’s no wonder that Ashley Zeckman, Digital Strategy Director at TopRank Marketing, drew a crowd last week at Content Marketing World: she promised to debunk the prevalent myth that influencer marketing is best suited for B2C brands.

Content marketers, just like everybody else, see loads of influencers promoting consumer brands. So, why can’t some of us get over the notion that involving influencers in B2B campaigns isn’t a good fit?

Because, as Zeckman puts it, content marketing is difficult. As it stands today, only 50% of marketers believe they’re achieving their marketing goals (Smart Insights). In addition, 75% of blog posts get fewer than 10 social shares, and get zero links from other domains (Buzzsumo & Moz). What’s worse, is that 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy (Altimeter).

Nick Nelson

LinkedIn’s Megan Golden on Building a Blockbuster Content Marketing Strategy

Nick Nelson on Sep 11th, 2018     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

LinkedIn's Megan Golden at Content Marketing World

“The good news about being a marketer in 2018 is that we have dozens and dozens of channels to share our marketing story,” Megan Golden, group manager of LinkedIn’s* global content and social media marketing, said in the opening of her session at Content Marketing World last Thursday.

“The bad news about being a marketer in 2018 is that we have dozens and dozens of channels to share our marketing story,” she added.

It’s true. We’re inundated with options for trying to reach our audiences these days, making it a challenge to narrow focus and find the right mix. But it’s safe to say that if you work in B2B, LinkedIn has to be in that mix. Hosting more than half a billion professionals, and boasting unparalleled targeting capabilities, the platform is tremendously powerful for those who know how to use it.

Jane Bartel

How Amanda Todorovich and the Cleveland Clinic Monetized Their Blog (And Why the Resulting Revenue is Just Gravy)

Jane Bartel on Sep 10th, 2018     Blogging Strategy, Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

In a room overflowing with content marketers hungry to find out how to turn a blog audience into a monetizable asset, Amanda Todorovich delivered.

Todorovich, Content Marketing World’s 2016 Content Marketer of the Year, became Director of Content Marketing at the Cleveland Clinic in 2013, when their blog was only six months old and had roughly two hundred fifty thousand views per month. Now, the Health Essentials blog gets six million views per month and is the number one most-viewed hospital blog.

So, how do Todorovich and her team continue to grow their blog and turn that traffic into revenue?  “You can’t think about the money first.” She stressed that trying to answer the question “what do we need to sell today?” is no way to decide what content will be most valuable for your audience.

Nick Nelson

Influencer & Content Marketing: Solving the Confluence Equation with Lee Odden

Nick Nelson on Sep 10th, 2018     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World, Influencer Marketing

Due to my lifelong contempt for math, I’ve been known to struggle with equations – especially complicated ones.

Luckily, understanding the “Confluence Equation,” as broken down by TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden at Content Marketing World, is quite straightforward. For modern marketers, it’s also absolutely critical.

Content + Influence = Confluence

Given the setting where Lee’s session was delivered – a massive conference with thousands in attendance – it goes without saying that there’s plenty of interest in content marketing right now.

But you might be surprised to learn that, at least through the lens of Google search trends, interest in influencer marketing has actually surpassed it, and continues to rise rapidly:

Nick Nelson

How Twitch is Breaking New Ground In Audience Engagement #CMWorld

Nick Nelson on Sep 7th, 2018     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

Last month, rapper Danny Brown made waves by unveiling his latest project on the live-streaming platform Twitch, dubbing it “the first-ever Twitch album.”

It was yet another step toward widespread cultural takeover for this burgeoning content hub, which is rapidly expanding beyond its distinction as strictly a host for video game communities. Twitch’s usage numbers, and creative new applications, demand the attention of marketers everywhere seeking to up the ante for audience engagement.

In her Thursday morning Content Marketing World keynote, Twitch’s Director of Business Development Jane Weedon shared some eye-opening stats and laid out an ambitious go-forward vision for the platform’s active audience participation model.

Nick Nelson

Allen Gannett Shares His Secrets to Racking Up Millions of LinkedIn Video Views #CMWorld

Nick Nelson on Sep 6th, 2018     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

This statistic, via HubSpot, conveys all you need to know about the opportunity that LinkedIn video presents: Only 38% of marketers are sharing video content on the platform, even though three-quarters rate it as a successful tactic.

TrackMaven CEO Allen Gannett is a prime example of what success looks like with this relatively nascent feature. The name of his session at Content Marketing World, “How To: 0 To 1 Million LinkedIn Video Views in 6 Months,” understates achievement, as his videos have now amassed around 3.5 million views – all organic.

Fortunately, Allen delivered on the “How To” part, serving up a bounty of practical tips that marketers can apply right now.

Ashley Zeckman

Andrew Davis Helps Content Marketers Grasp & Keep Audience Attention with the Curiosity Factor #CMWorld

Ashley Zeckman on Sep 5th, 2018     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

Image via @cspenn

If we are going to create better content we need to learn to consume content better. @DrewDavisHere #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Humans by nature are curious, but that curiosity is facing a very real threat: crappy content.

In his opening keynote at Content Marketing World, the amazing Andrew Davis dove headfirst into one of the top challenges all content marketers face today: getting and keeping the attention of their audiences.

Conventional wisdom from today’s content marketers is that content should be snackable, scannable and – in a nutshell – short. However, is our content really too long? Or is it that we aren’t building enough curiosity with our audience to keep them engaged? Below we’ll take a look at some of the top excuses we’re using to justify bad content, and the perfect formula for capturing audience attention.

Lane Ellis

10 Inspiring Expert Quotes That Honor Timeless Content Marketing Best Practices

Lane Ellis on Sep 5th, 2018     Content Marketing

10 Inspiring Expert Quotes That Honor Timeless Content Marketing Best Practices

When I started working in digital marketing in 1984, the first online ad I created was in 40-column ASCII text format on my Commodore 64 computer. It was a simple promotion for the 300-baud bulletin board system (BBS) I owned and operated.

Commodore 64

I created the text-only ad to post on other BBS systems, meant to drive traffic to my pre-website by listing the features my BBS offered and the basic information on how people could connect to it. Here’s an actual screen-shot from a few years later when I’d moved on to using a Commodore Amiga:

Anne Leuman

The Foundation of Effective PPC: Quality, Relevant, Best-Answer Content

Anne Leuman on Sep 4th, 2018     Content Marketing, Digital Advertising

Why Content is the Foundation of PPC

While digital advertising has been a valuable and important content marketing tactic for some time, in the age of “content shock,” near-constant algorithm tweaks, and voice search—it’s taking on a more pivotal role in many content marketing strategies. In fact, Nielsen’s inaugural CMO Report 2018 found that 82% of marketers expect to increase their digital media spend as a percentage of their total advertising budget in the next 12 months.

No doubt, paid search is on the digital spend list. It’s a tried and true method, helping brands secure visibility and compete in a crowded space. And in theory, upping your search investment can help you secure top ad placements across a variety of keywords and queries, exposing you to more searchers and, ultimately, generating traffic that will help you reach your marketing and sales goals, right?

Nick Nelson

Why Content Marketers Everywhere Need to Get Down with User-Generated Content

Nick Nelson on Sep 3rd, 2018     Content Marketing

Why UGC Needs to Be Part of Content Marketing Strategy

Authenticity: it’s treasured, but in short supply.

TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden had it right when he wrote recently that trust in marketing is at risk. The statistics speak for themselves: Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer reflects a general lack of credibility for businesses, and one poll from HubSpot found “marketer” to be among the least trustworthy professions.

The commonality among occupations ranking at the bottom of that HubSpot list (marketer, car salesman, politician, lobbyist) is that they all have perceived agendas and motives.

This is where the unique value in adding user-generated content (UGC) to your content marketing strategy lies.

Not convinced? Let’s explore.