Hungry for More: What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Episodic Content

B2B Marketing Episodic Content

The cliffhanger is one of the greatest tools in entertainment. I’ll explain why later.

Seriously though, we’ve all experienced the cliffhanger: It’s that tension-building moment of uncertainty at the end of a chapter or installment that leaves the audience impatiently awaiting the next one. Some of my favorite binge-worthy TV shows and page-turning novels have been defined by this quality.

A perfect example from modern cinema is the conclusion of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. While I won’t give anything away, the movie ended with a shocking turn of events that seemed to leave little hope for the franchise’s heroic protagonists. In the 12 months that passed between Infinity War and its sequel, fans waited with rabid eagerness for answers and closure, reveling in theories and hyper-analysis.

Break Free B2B Season 1 Wrap Up: Top Insights from the Marketing Industry’s Best and Brightest

Break Free B2B Marketing Round Up

Three different hosts, 19 jam-packed episodes, 20 incredible guests—countless amazing insights gained.

TopRank Marketing’s inaugural season of Break Free B2B, a video podcast series featuring the expertise, experiences, and advice of diverse marketing minds, is officially wrapped. 

With the goal of delivering B2B marketers the encouragement and inspiration to break free of business-to-business norms to drive bigger, better, bolder results, we covered everything from change management to visual storytelling to what’s next in B2B influencer marketing. And of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to reflect and share some of our favorite tidbits from each of our incredible guests.

Throughout the season, there were a few key topical areas we honed in on:

Authenticity and Great B2B Content Marketing Go Hand In Hand

Circle of people holding hands image.

Are you using enough authenticity in your B2B marketing to build greater inherent trust into your brand purpose?

If you’re not sure, read on — and let’s examine how authenticity, influence, and trust go hand-in-hand to deliver great B2B content marketing.

Authenticity is a key factor in great B2B marketing, with the trust it builds powering campaigns that will stand apart from the crowd.

Influence plays two roles in authenticity, as those who have influence are seen as being authentic, and content built with authenticity creates its own inherent influence. This connection between influence and authenticity has a surprisingly lengthy history, as I explored in “10 Tips From Influencer Marketing’s Hidden 1,000-Year History.”

The Science and Art of Best Answer B2B Marketing Content

Colorful Image of Outer Space

As a marketer, I love experiencing the inner dynamics of our profession from the other side. Our agency talks so much about the value of delivering best answer content and fully satisfying a searcher’s curiosities; recently I experienced this value first-hand.

Let’s set the stage. A couple weeks ago I was mindlessly flipping through channels on cable TV and I came across an old favorite: Alien, the 1979 sci-fi horror flick from director Ridley Scott. 

This classic film also had a classic tagline: “In space, no one can hear you scream.” In my boredom, I got to wondering about the validity of that statement, so I pulled up a Google search on my phone and typed in: is there sound in space.

Break Free B2B Series: Emily Thompson on the Power of Content Marketing in Health Care

Break Free B2B Interview with Emily Thompson

Trust is the linchpin of modern marketing. It plays a crucial role in every vertical, industry, or niche. But nowhere is trust a more essential crux than in health care, where the personal stakes are immense.

“We’re in an industry where, you know, it’s serious,” says Emily Thompson in her interview for Break Free B2B. “This is about people’s health and well being, and a lot of times people get very nervous — they’re scared, they’re sick.”

As a Boston-based freelance writer and content strategist who primarily focuses on the health care sector, where she has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from startups to enterprise, Emily acutely understands the impactful nuances of messaging. She says seeing things from the other side — as a first-time mother who frequently sought information online — helped her develop a more empathetic view.

Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing

Break Free B2B Interview with Adi Bachar-Reske

Marketing leaders are at the forefront of a seismic transformation that continues to play out as we enter a new decade. 

Organizational dynamics are realigning. Power balances are shifting. Trust – both internal and external – is emerging as the most essential crux in business success. For people like Adi Bachar-Reske, it’s an exhilarating time to be leading the charge.

Her history in marketing dates back multiple decades, so she’s been helping shape this evolution. “Twenty years ago, everybody’s in a suit. I was the only woman in the room, always,” she says. “It has changed a lot.”

5 Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

Old Habits B2B Marketers Should Leave Behind in the 2010s

New decade, who dis?

We’ve officially turned the calendar to 201… er, 2020! First the first time in 10 years, we’ll all be writing a different numeral as that third digit. That’s a new habit that’ll take some getting used to. 

As B2B marketers, perhaps we can take advantage of this opportunity to form a few other new habits. Specifically, I’m talking about making adjustments to the way we approach our craft, so to align ourselves with the evolved marketplace of the 2020s. 

The New Year is always a fitting time for resolutions and aspirational goal-setting. With this particularly momentous milestone, I’m urging all my B2B marketing peers to think big and commit to some major shifts in mindset for the decade ahead.

B2B Content Marketing Lessons from 2019’s Nerdy Film & TV Franchise Finales

B2B Content Marketing Lessons from Film & TV Franchise Finales

2019 may be remembered as the year we reached peak nerd.

When I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, nerd culture was still underground, something for weird kids and weirder adults. Now our biggest entertainment franchises are what used to be nerd stuff: High fantasy, epic science fiction, comic book heroe,s and horror movies. 

But 2019 was the year that cracks started to show in even the most lucrative franchises. Several high-profile series came to an end — and only one of them really stuck the landing. Let us take solace in the words of Jedi Master Yoda himself:

Yoda Captioned The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is

Marketers can learn a lot from each of the year’s biggest nerdy swan songs. 

Learn From Our Top 10 Content Marketing Posts of 2019

Top 10 Content Marketing Post of 2019 Jumping Group by Sunset Image

Content — it encompasses nearly everything we read, view, or listen to online, and as our CEO Lee Odden said years ago, it’s also the primary reason search began in the first place.

We’re especially proud of the content marketing successes our team at TopRank Marketing have achieved in 2019, for a wide-range of B2B clients. As 2020 draws close we wanted to share our top content marketing articles of the year — each filled with best practices, research, examples, and the latest trends.

The excellent content marketers who make our award-winning blog one of the most popular in the industry include Anne Leuman, Joshua Nite, Nick Nelson, and Lee Odden.

Break Free B2B Series: John Joyce on Taking B2B Content Marketing Back 2 Basics

One of the central tenets of best-answer content is comprehensiveness. Your content needs to fully and artfully answer your buyers’ most burning questions. And as John Joyce and his team at Brennan Industries remind us, sometimes that requires going back to the basics.

It can be all too easy for B2B marketers and brands to get caught up in new trends, industry lingo, and the next big lofty concept in their niche. We grow conversant in these matters on a day-to-day basis. But to assume the same is true for all — or even a majority of — our audience is a mistake, and potentially a costly one.

In the latest entry of our Break Free B2B interview series, John shares how a content strategy rooted in educational content helped yield an 800% increase in leads for his company. 

Our Top B2B Content Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020

2020 B2B Content Marketing Trends & Predictions

Well, B2B marketers, it’s that time of year again. The holiday season is in full swing. The countdown to a new year and a new decade has begun. And of course, we’re all channeling our psychic powers, hoping to uncover what 2020 has in store so we can seize opportunities, prepare for challenges, and ultimately improve the effectiveness of our content marketing efforts. 

2019 was a bonding year for elevating experiences, with many B2B marketers making significant investments in interactive content, influencer content collaborations, and multi-faceted campaigns. 2020 will be the year where many brands will cement experience as a strategy.

So, what does this look like in 2020? Below we dive into our top 10 trends and predictions for 2020—each of which have overt or underlying ties to experience.

For a More Effective B2B Content Strategy, T.H.I.N.K.

What would you do with an unlimited content marketing budget?

Oh, the eBooks and infographics and blog posts you could make! Video and audio, whitepapers, research papers, guides galore… endless money means endless possibilities.

Okay. Deep breath. Snap back to reality.

James Franco Startled

We’re all working with limited resources to create a finite amount of content to fit into a crowded editorial calendar. 

So how can you make sure you’re making the most of what you have?

How can you know for sure that a proposed content project is worth your while — worth time spent researching, creating, amplifying and optimizing?

It’s simple: T.H.I.N.K.!

Let me explain. My wife is a middle school teacher (a moment of silence for her service). She has this poster on prominent display in her classroom: