Content Marveling: Wonder and Astonishment in Marketing

Northern lights over mountains with astounded person below.

Two little letters. On the surface that’s all separating your standard issue “marketing” from the extraordinary and entirely different practice of “marveling.”

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At TopRank Marketing, “Content Marveling” is the practice of bringing greater wonder and astonishment to traditional content marketing, and can be applied in both the worlds of direct-to-consumer and enterprise business-to-business, to engage and delight your audience.

Marketing efforts spending huge amounts of paid placement advertising, ever-more-ludicrous click-bait headlines and tactics, and even illicit black-hat methods are all used to simply get us to pay attention to marketing messages.

Among senior B2B marketers, a sizable 82 percent view content as important for achieving marketing goals, however only 48 percent believe their content is somewhat effective — or even ineffective, according to recent study data.

Create a Stellar Audience Experience By Slowing Down with These Tips from Ann Handley #CMWorld

You know a conference session is going to be good when literally hundreds of marketers are turned away due to an already packed room. And you know a session is going to be great when the amazing Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs, takes the stage and is visibly bummed that she didn’t get the chance to connect with those marketers.

Part of Ann’s magic is her ability to make herself and her content very accessible. She accomplishes this by sharing stories that are personal to her, things she observes in everyday life that inspire her inner marketer. And her session at last week’s Content Marketing World 2019 was no exception.

April Henderson on Data-Driven, Empathetic B2B Content #CMWorld

Forrester’s April Henderson started her Content Marketing World 2019 session with a classic cautionary tale:

Johann Rall was fighting for the British at the turning point of the Revolutionary War. The night before the Battle of Trenton, he was out celebrating at the home of a local Loyalist merchant. That merchant had seen General Washington amassing his forces and knew the attack was coming.

So what did the merchant do? He created relevant content! He wrote Rall a note and slipped it across the table. Rall nodded, put the note in his pocket… and continued his evening of revelry. The British were caught unawares, and the tide of the war began to turn. That lack of content engagement might be how America won the war.

Ghosted: What’s a Content Marketer to Do When Your Audience Goes Silent?

How Content Marketers Can Deal with Audience Abandonment

The all-encompassing digital takeover has completely changed the way we communicate and interact as people. Naturally, in our professional realm we tend to tie this back to marketing, but the reality applies to just about every aspect of human relations. 

This includes dating and courtship, of course. The terms of engagement (so to speak) have transformed wildly. Whereas romance still can and does sprout through chance meetings, or encounters at the bar, or mutual college friend circles, it’s increasingly common for these fated connections to take place through online matchmaking sites and dating apps. (I would know — I’m marrying an amazing gal this weekend who I originally met on such an app!)

Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Have you been to a stadium concert lately? The big ones touring the country tend to pull out all the stops. It’s not just a singer on stage — they are usually supported by a giant jumbotron as backdrop providing flashy visuals, along with fog machines, laser lights, platforms rising out of the ground, special guest cameos… the works. 

Why is this? Because the bar has been raised. When fans plunk down the big bucks for tickets to see Drake or Carrie Underwood or The Rolling Stones, they expect more than seeing their favorite artists performing on stage. They expect an unforgettable experience that stirs all the senses.

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

“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.

How to Refocus on Your Audience for Better Content Marketing Results

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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. 

Standing Out From the Crowd: Insights From 12 Marketing Industry Leaders

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. 

Making the Case for Video at Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Video Marketing Statistics for Each Stage of the Buyer's Journey

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Video across the digital landscape is what buyers and consumers alike crave.

The average U.S. adult spends 5 hours and 57 minutes a day watching video. Compare that number to the average amount of time someone reads each day (16.8 minutes), and you’ll find that people watch videos over 21-times longer than reading text. Video informs, engages, and entices audiences, which means video can and should have a place within your B2B content marketing strategy.

But when and how should you leverage video? It’s not just a top-of-funnel tactic reserved for B2C brands. And here are the *stats that showcase it’s potential.

15 Video Marketing Statistics for Every Stage of the Buyer Journey

Attract

  1. 84% of marketers credit video with increasing traffic to their website. (3)

15 Reports Charting the Future of Content Marketing

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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

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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.

When & Why Net-New Content Creation Makes Sense—And When It Doesn’t

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.

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

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.”

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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.