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

Content Marketing Interview: Annie Granatstein on Creating Emotionally Engaging Content Experiences #CMWorld

Nick Nelson on Aug 26th, 2019     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World, Interviews

Interview with Annie Granasteing of The Washington Post

We are all products of our environments, and the experiences we carry are invariably influential to the way we approach and think about our jobs. 

Recently we shared an interview with Margaret Magnarelli, who spent nearly a decade as a magazine editor before moving into a content marketing leadership role. With her background in journalism, she offers important perspective for marketers everywhere.

The same is true for Annie Granatstein, who lives at the center of the convergence between investigative journalism and brand marketing. Annie runs The Washington Post’s BrandStudio unit, which takes The Post’s award-winning proclivity for immersive digital storytelling and leverages it on behalf of brands and advertisers.

Nick Nelson

Wow Your Crowd: How Influencers and Media Integrations Can Add Pizzazz to Your Content Act

Nick Nelson on Aug 22nd, 2019     Content Marketing

3 Pointers for Adding Pizzazz to Your Content Marketing Act

Some performers take the stage all by themselves, with no props or partners to lend support, and capture their audience with a riveting solo act. Hilarious standup comedy routines and enlightening TED Talks exemplify this ability in action. 

As a content marketer, there are occasions where a well written piece will take off on its own, with no help required beyond a powerful message presented clearly. But more often, spicing things up with added elements of interactivity or visual pizzazz provides a necessary added boost in today’s busy digital environment. And incorporating the right strategic partners is a reliable way to increase your program’s reach and impact.

Nick Nelson

Content Marketing Interview: Margaret Magnarelli on Applying Journalistic Integrity to Content Strategy #CMWorld

Nick Nelson on Aug 20th, 2019     Content Marketing, Content Marketing World

Margaret Magnarelli Interview

Content marketers come from all sorts of different backgrounds, with each bringing its own distinct and valuable perspective. Recently we shared our chat with Andrew Davis, whose history in television inspires him to think like a TV executive when strategizing his content. Today we’re highlighting the insights of Margaret Magnarelli, whose ingrained journalistic mindset fuels a commitment to putting her audience — and their trust — above all else. 

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley as Executive Director for Audience Acquisition and Growth Marketing, Margaret served as Vice President of Marketing for Monster, and before that she spent nearly a decade on the editorial staff at Money Magazine, rising from Senior Editor to Assistant Managing Editor to Executive Editor.

Nick Nelson

Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections

Nick Nelson on Aug 12th, 2019     Content Marketing

“Perhaps more than any other art form, comedy cannot exist for its own sake,” according to comedian Andrew Orvedahl in an essay published a few years back. “Comedy requires a bond between performer and audience. And if either ingredient sucks, comedy doesn’t happen.”

He’s right, but we could swap in content marketing for comedy and the statement would still hold plenty of weight. If your content isn’t connecting and resonating with your audience, it may as well not exist. This is one of the most critical skills of the discipline, and also one of the most difficult to harness.

Nick Nelson

Wow Your Crowd: How Content Planning Sets the Stage for Unforgettable Experiences

Nick Nelson on Aug 6th, 2019     Content Marketing

Wow the Crowd with Content Planning

We’re coming up on the 10-year anniversary of the movie Avatar, which was released in December of 2009 and held the title of highest-grossing film worldwide for nearly a decade before being unseated by Avengers: Endgame earlier this year. 

James Cameron’s signature cinematic spectacle presents a model worth following for any content marketer hoping to amaze their audience. We don’t need a $200 million budget, as Avatar had, but we should aspire to adopt the meticulous planning and strategic foresight that drove the film’s galactic success. 

This was the leading subject in our new interactive CMWorld experience, Witness the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth, produced in collaboration with Content Marketing Institute to create ahead of next month’s festivities in Cleveland. The show-stopper theme of the conference, and this experience, is designed to place content creators in the mindset of an entertainer, where dazzling viewers is the foremost goal.

Nick Nelson

Content Marketing Planning: How to Build Your Editorial Calendar

Nick Nelson on Jul 30th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Building an Editorial Calendar

I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off!

Opening today’s post up with a bit of levity felt fitting, because calendars can cause much anxiety. They bring to mind deadlines, meticulous organization, and time crunches, which are often oppressive realities for marketers with a million things on their plates.

But the truth is that you’re likely to encounter much more dread if you don’t house your content planning within a documented and strategic editorial calendar for blogging. Building out a set schedule (with a bit of flexibility) ultimately makes your life easier because it provides a guiding light, and ensures your content strategy remains cohesive and oriented around your objectives.

Anne Leuman

Cooked to Strategic Perfection: The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna

Anne Leuman on Jul 29th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Few things in this world are as delicious as a corner piece of lasagna. For starters, the top layer of cheese is both gooey and crispy. The tomato sauce is sweet yet peppery. The meat? It’s flavorful and hearty. And don’t get me started on the ricotta and mozzarella layers—my favorite by far.

via GIPHY

Lasagna is the perfect dish. And its perfection is not just defined by quality ingredients, but how each ingredient is artfully layered together to bring satisfaction with each and every bite. That’s where the magic happens.

Cooking a delectable lasagna to perfection is not unlike crafting an integrated approach to content marketing. On their own, your tactics may whet your audience’s appetite, but don’t pack the tasty punch of working together to make a lasting impact or drive savory results. Paid, SEO, content, social, influencer, design—all need to work in tandem to ensure your marketing objectives are met.

Nick Nelson

The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel

Nick Nelson on Jul 23rd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Say Hello to the Trust Funnel

The marketing funnel as we know it is gone. Or at least it needs to be, if we as marketers want to move toward a truly customer-centric operation. 

In this new installment of our Trust Factors series, we’ll review the conventional models for customer acquisition and explain why they’re going out of style. Then, we’ll present an updated version, geared toward long-term sustainable growth.

The Funnel Fallacy

We’re all accustomed to funnels: marketing funnels, sales funnels, conversion funnels. These frameworks can be helpful in guiding our strategies, but there’s an inherent disconnect at play: they tend to commoditize our customers, because these models are solely focused on the end result (revenue). Traditionally, the funnel is designed to usher prospects from awareness, to consideration, to purchase, and then the job is done. 

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

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.