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.

 

Lee Odden

How SEO Can Work With Content Strategy

Content Marketing OptimizationRecently I spoke with Content Strategist, Margot Bloomstein, who was conducting research for an upcoming publication about Content Strategy intended for a variety of audiences. In particular, we discussed productive interactions and exchanges between Search Engine Optimization professionals and Content Strategists.

Organizations advance their reach and engagement goals through content and Strategists work to audit, develop strategy, plan, create and maintain that content. Ahava Leibtag provides an excellent and practical approach at CMI in her post, “Creating Valuable Content” which outlines how content should be: Findable, Readable, Understandable, Actionable and Shareable.

SEO and content strategy intersect in more ways than optimizing web pages with keywords. My take on Margot’s question, “How does SEO and content strategy interact?” starts with understanding customer segments, behaviors and preferences for information discovery, consumption and sharing. Knowing what customers care about and how those concerns and interests manifest as search keywords and social topics folds very well into the keyword research practiced by professional SEOs.

Lee Odden

Content, Social & SEO Lead Customers to Great Experiences

Content Social SEOMy friend Bob Knorpp has a good piece on AdAge this week:”Why Marketers Should Break Free of the Digital Content Trap” about the fallacy of content. He makes some good points about companies going through the motions of creating and promoting content on social channels with motivations of retweets, likes, shares and links over real engagement. I have to agree where he says, “content alone is a dead end for ongoing engagement”.

While many savvy online marketers don’t see content as a shortsighted substitute for social strategy or simply as a SEO tactic, but a proxy to creating customer experiences, there are even more who do.  Content is a vehicle for discovery, engagement and sharing.  Content is the mechanism for storytelling and if social and search optimization are also involved in a qualitative way to aid in discovery and sharing of those stories – then all the better.

Lee Odden

Effective Use of Keywords in Content Marketing

Keywords Content Marketing

Wordle Cloud Using the Text of This Article

I recently had an interesting discussion with Ron Jones who is writing a book specifically on using keywords for online marketing called “Keyword Intelligence“. He was researching for the content marketing portion of the book and we talked about where keywords fit. These kinds of discussions are great for blog posts so here are a few ideas for you on keywords, SEO, Social Media and content.

Content marketing is customer centric and therefore often focused not only on creating information to educate prospects and customers about product/service features and benefits, but also about topics of interest relevant to the situations that cause people to need or want those products and services.

Brian Larson

4 Must See Social Media & SEO Sessions at SES Toronto

SES Toronto 2011If you’re wondering, “Who’s Brian Larson?”, you’re not alone. Before I jump into the details of some of the can’t miss sessions at the upcoming SES Toronto conference, I’ll borrow a line from Austin Powers: “Please allow myself to introduce…myself.”

I’m a SEO Account Manager at TopRank Online Marketing – which means I have the enviable job of developing and managing SEO programs for several TopRank clients. One of the many benefits of my job is that I have the opportunity to work daily with some of the most intelligent and forward thinking companies around (you know who you are).  As I head to SES Toronto, I go with my clients’ goals and needs at the front of my mind.

Lee Odden

Content Marketing: Definition & Tactics

content marketingContent Marketing – Tactics and Best Practices

Here is a series of practical tips on tactics that marketers can use to complement their content-focused online marketing efforts.

The idea of content marketing seems to vary with different people, so to start, my definition of content marketing is: “Aligning business and consumer information needs with content.” We’ll see if that holds as we build out a deep dive on each of these different tactics.

A lot of the information on content marketing that we promote here on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog offers process, strategy and models of approach. This series makes the bold assumption that the reader has already considered goals, audience, strategy and measurement and is looking for tips on tactics that fit within their planned digital marketing mix.

Lee Odden

Blog Marketing Strategy: 7 Steps to Social SEO Success

Blog Marketing Social SEO At BlogWorld Expo in New York this week I presented a session about Dominating Your Niche with Social Content and SEO.  It was crammed with information and I know there are many online marketers looking for practical advice on business blogging and blog marketing that didn’t attend.  Based on the blog marketing we do here at Online Marketing Blog and in the consulting that I do, here are  7 practical steps online marketers can take for social media and SEO success with a blog.

All marketing efforts should start with a goal and means for measuring success, so I do not get into specifics on those tasks in this list, but focus more on the content and promotion.

1.  Social SEO Personas

Personas Social Media SEO

Lee Odden

Infographic Marketing Tips: 11 Ways to Promote

infographic marketingMarketing with infographics is a hit with online marketers this year and as more companies hire designers to artfully represent data in creative and engaging ways, many fall short when it comes to infographic promotion. It’s the old “great content will attract it’s own audience” scenario. As I’ve always said, “Content isn’t great until someone shares it.”

While there are many other smart posts about creating compelling infographics to attract attention, links and traffic, the information on promoting that type of content seems a bit light. If you’ve invested in creating great infographic content and need advice on how to promote, here are a few ideas:

1. Involve credible sources in the data collection and then encourage those sources to help you promote the resulting graphic.

Lee Odden

Core Content SEO Tools: Keyword Glossary & Editorial Plan

Content SEO ToolsIt’s funny when you work in an industry for a long time that the basic things you create to make life a little easier can save others who are new to the field, a lot of time. I’ve done a few webinars and speaking events in the past few months where one of the tools suggested was a Keyword Glossary (spreadsheet) for managing category and page level optimization, keyword mapping and competitor keyword mapping.

Another tool was an Editorial Plan that documents articles/blog posts, media, promotion and planned re-purposing. There are basic building blocks for becoming more efficient with search engine optimization tasks, but I’ve received a lot of requests for them.  I thought they might be useful to our readers to use for inspiration to create their own and maybe even modify and mashup into something better.

Lee Odden

Wicked Smart Interview with Ann Handley of MarketingProfs

Ann HandleyIf you’re looking for one of the most influential and “wicked smart” voices in online marketing, Ann Handley is an easy conclusion. Add a sense of humor and brilliant writing skills and she’s easily #1 in my book. A journalist and co-founder of ClickZ, you’re more likely to know Ann as the Chief Content Officer for the wildly popular MarketingProfs which boasts over 388,000 subscribers. Ann is also co-author with C. C. Chapman of one of my favorite marketing books, Content Rules.

A perk I enjoy most from blogging and working in this industry is getting to meet and know smart marketers. Smart + funny just takes it to another level and you can count on Ann for plenty of both. Along with the accomplishments, contributions, influence and energy she brings to our industry, Ann is genuine and grounded, plus she’s not afraid to “tell it like it is”. I appreciate those qualities a great deal.

Lee Odden

3 Benefits of Content Promotion for B2B Online Marketing

B2B Marketing Content Promotion“Build it and they will come”.

It’s a well-known and often over-used quote from the movie, “Field of Dreams”, used to describe the fallacy of great content as a marketing tool. In my opinion, great content isn’t great until someone shares it. And they share it with their friends, and so on and so on.

With content marketing, great content is the beginning not the end objective. An effective content marketing strategy includes information about target buyer personas, search keywords and social topics, an editorial plan and a plan for promoting all the high quality content being created. Today’s Internet and social web are full of information overload. Buyers can easily be distracted and so it’s important to stand out and stay connected.

Lee Odden

Making the Leap: Egocentric to Empathy in Content Marketing

Egocentric to Empathy in Online MarketingImagine this scenario:  Company XYZ has developed a great business creating products and services, developing marketing programs that explain the features and benefits of those offerings and making sales.  The mix of SEO, advertising and newsletter is focused on explaining the solutions offered with the intention of educating and persuading prospects to buy. This is the way it’s been done in the past and it’s what current marketing programs are based on. Pretty common right?

But let’s also imagine in our hypothetical situation that sales growth has started to slow down or even slumped. Competitors are starting to eclipse Company XYZ in search results, the blog doesn’t really get many shares, likes, links or comments and it’s nothing but crickets chipring on the Facebook Fan page, on Twitter and the YouTube channel.  The staff responsible for creating content are running out of ideas. Seem familiar?

Lee Odden

29 Content Marketing Tactics to Attract, Engage & Persuade Customers

Content Marketing TacticsContent Marketing is a near and dear online marketing tactic and there’s been an explosion of attention and advice over the past year. SEOs and PR professionals are “seeing the light” if you will, of the value in creating and curating content that delivers value as part of their online marketing and public relations strategies. In an online marketing model with a defined strategy, goals and understanding of the target audience, what mix of tactics makes the most sense?

Many marketers limit themselves to a handful of content types and formats leaving substantial business to the competition. To be competitive, it’s essential to be open to a mix of content marketing tactics in order to provide relevant information discovery, consumption and sharing experiences for customers. This matters at the top of the funnel as much as it does after the transaction and into engagement and evangelism.