How to Turn Undervalued Content into Content Marketing Gold (The Trick is Repurposing)

Undervalued-Content-Marketing

Have you ever lost hours watching Antiques Roadshow marathons? Or do you lead a substantially more exciting life than I do?

I can’t help it; there’s something so compelling about finding treasures in your attic. That ashtray is really a Civil War-era candy dish! That punch bowl is really a 12th-Century chamber pot (we sincerely hope you washed it first)! Even though the most exciting thing I ever found in my attic is a dead squirrel, it’s fun to dream.

Think of your existing content library as one big, overstuffed attic. All the great stuff your team has written is still there. It may occasionally attract a visitor or two, but for the most part it’s just collecting virtual dust. So why are we in a constant mad dash to create new content? For most organizations, there is plenty of value left in the old stuff. With the right repurposing, content that proved valuable to your audience once can attract a new wave of traffic.

Repurposing your old content isn’t a lazy or cheap move. Odds are your audience has grown since you first posted it. And many might have missed your first round of amplification. Still others didn’t read the blog post, but would be eager to consume the content in another format.

In short, if a post is still relevant and valuable to your audience, it’s just as much a treasure as that ancient chamber pot/punch bowl. Here are five ways to take your treasures out of the attic and on to the roadshow.

#1 – Repost Evergreen Content

Every once in a while, we marketers get a lightning-strike of a post. Sometimes we even do it on purpose. We write something so useful, so comprehensive, so definitive that it stays relevant and attracts traffic for years. That’s evergreen content, and it couldn’t be easier to repurpose it: just post it again on all of your social media channels.

Many marketers feel guilty about reposting, or worry about boring their audience with reruns. But the hard truth of social media is you only reach a fraction of your audience with any given post. And the hard truth about your audience is they most likely haven’t read every post on your blog. So there’s a vast untapped market of people who have no idea this great resource existed and would be happy to hear about it. Pull a few stats and quotes from the piece, make some eye-catching social media images in Canva, and share away.

#2 – Freshen up Previous Top Performers

Just below the evergreen content in ease-of-repurposing are posts that were popular when first posted, but have lost relevance over the months and years since. They may have old statistics, broken links, or embarrassingly outdated pop culture references (Gangnam Style, Harlem Shake videos, etc).

Still, it’s far simpler to refresh these pieces than create something from scratch. Add new visuals. Get up-to-date stats. Add a section on new developments. Remove the Ice Bucket Challenge reference. When you’re done, you will have a like-new piece with a fraction of the work, all ready to provide value to a new audience.

#3 – Combine Thin or Repetitive Content

Let’s face it: Most organizations got into some shady business when SEO-driven content first became a thing. Back when it was all about quantity, we might have put out five shallow 300-word posts instead of a deep 1500-word one. Or we might have posted the exact same ten tips in three different posts, with slightly different keyword stuffing.

It’s okay. We all have our embarrassing phases. But it’s time to polish up that thin and repetitive content. Google is watching, and the quality of content on your site will affect your ranking, for better or for worse. So get rid of repetitive content, making sure to 301 redirect to the one version you plan to keep.

Then take your thin content and combine it, Voltron-style, into one strong Power Page. This is a good opportunity to polish and refresh, too. Not only will you avoid taking a hit for thin content, your new page can be a powerful force to pull you up in the rankings.

#4 – Change the Format

Have you heard that nobody reads anything anymore? Okay, that may be an overstatement. You’re still reading, right? At least, you’ve read this far. Thanks for that. Anyway, while people haven’t entirely given up on the printed word, turning text into visuals is a surefire way to earn attention from a new audience.

There are plenty of ways to go visual with old content. You can create a SlideShare that delivers your key points with well-designed flair. Pull out a few key paragraphs and make a short video out of them. Turn a how-to article into an infographic or a flow chart. Use the post as a jumping-off point for a podcast. Whichever way you go, you’ll be reaching out to an audience that might not have engaged with plain old text.

#5 – Start a Series

When the first Star Wars movie came out in 1977, it was just called “Star Wars.” It wasn’t until it made roughly seven hojillion dollars (adjusted for inflation) that it became “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” There’s a lesson in that for marketers, and it’s not just to be mindful of the living Force when you create content.

Say you wrote an article on Civil War candy dishes that your audience really enjoyed. After a few months, when the traffic to that article has slowed, write a new piece on Revolutionary War candy dishes, using the same basic format as the first piece. Add an editor’s note to each post explaining they’re part of your Candy Dishes of Conflict series, and link to the first post from the new one. You can drive new traffic to the old post, and encourage people to spend more time on your site by making sure each post links to the entire series.

Save Your Great Content from the Attic

There’s a good chance that content your audience found valuable in the past still has value for you and your readers. Some pieces may be good-to-go as-is; some will require varying degrees of dusting and polishing to show their worth. Whether you’re reposting, refurbishing, or transforming it, repurposed content can fill holes in your editorial calendar and keep your audience engaged.


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6 Things Brands & Publishers Need to Know About Native Advertising

Native-Advertising

As brands look to create deeper connections with their audience and publishers search for new ways to generate revenue, native advertising as re-emerged as a tactic that both can take advantage of.

For those who aren’t familiar, native advertising, also referred to as sponsored content or advertorials, has taken on many forms over the years-from advertorials in newspapers in the 1940s to infomercials and paid programming spots on television. Today, native advertising is a content marketing tactic that typically involves publishing informational and educational articles and videos (with an underlying advertising message) in print or digital publications and blogs.

For publishers, native advertising allows them to generate revenue by not only lending advertisers their platform, but also offering their editorial expertise, brand reputation and audience. For brands, native advertising allows them to create valuable content and another touchpoint within in the buyer’s journey as they work toward being the best answer for their audience.

But despite native advertising’s long history and its growth as a content marketing tactic in today’s digital world, many brands and publishers are still weary to jump on board. Publishers worry about blurring the lines between commercial and editorial, as well as their making their audience feel deceived by poorly labeled ad content, while brands can struggle with understanding how to execute native ad content and wonder if it’s actually effective.

In its inaugural report, Native Advertising Trends 2016 – The Magazine Industry, the Native Advertising Institute and FIPP – the network for global media found that while native advertising can be challenging, it still holds some great opportunities. The organizations surveyed 140 magazine executives from 39 countries to understand what they think of native advertising, how they’re using it or plan to use it, and where the greatest threats and opportunities lie.

Below are some key findings from the report-as well as some tips from me-that could help brands and publishers overcome some of their skepticisms or concerns about native advertising, or help make your current native advertising services/efforts more effective:

#1 – Native advertising will grow.

According to the report, 52% of publishers already offer native advertising as a service and another 37% are likely or most likely to add the option in the future. In addition, those who currently offer the service expect that 30% of their overall advertising revenues will come from native advertising in 2018, which is up from 19% in 2015.

If higher revenues are anticipated and more service offerings are being considered, that leads me to believe that publishers and their customers must be seeing value and results with native advertising.

But native advertising may not be right for every brand or publication. Both should do some research and a little testing. Determining whether its a good fit will ultimately depend on who your customer/audience is and your business goals.

#2 – Native advertising adds value.

The goal for any piece of content should be to inform, engage and entertain your reader–and native advertising content is no different. The survey found that 74% of publishers believe that native advertising actually adds value for their readers and viewers.

The best way you can provide a valuable native content is to understand your audience. Publishers can provide excellent insight on who their readers are and brands can use that information to see if it fits with what they know about their target audience. If it’s a match, native content will be more compelling and valuable.

#3 – Native advertising does spark some complaints.

Native advertising is not every reader or viewers cup of tea, with 16% of publishers saying that they’ve received customer complaints because of native advertising.

The best way to avoid ruffling feathers is to clearly label native advertising as promoted or sponsored content, as well as ensuring that the content itself is of the highest editorial standards. Readers and viewers expect and deserve transparency, and giving it to them provides value and an honest connection with your brand.

As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden once wrote: “Paid content only ‘works’ if the content meets similar standards to what’s normally published through editorial filters. ‘Salesly’ content published alongside high quality editorial will be ignored or worse, cause dissension against the publication and the brand that is doing the editorial advertising.”

#4 – Some publishers don’t label native advertising content.

More than half of publishers say they label native advertising pieces as “Sponsored Content” to differentiate it from editorial content, while others use other terms or change the actual look and feel of the content to set it apart.

However, 11% of publishers say they don’t label native advertising content at all.

As mentioned above, transparency is absolutely crucial to maintain the integrity of both the publication and the brand that’s advertising. Attempting to trick readers into believing that the content they’re reading is unbiased, journalistic content will almost certainly backfire on both parties.

#5 – Digital and printed articles, and video content perform the best.

Native advertising content can take on a variety of forms, but there are some that tend to be the most effective. According to the report, publishers see online articles (66%), video content (61%) and printed articles (50%) as the most effective types of native advertising content.

Again, use your audience knowledge to choose the type of native content that will be the most effective.

#6 – Telling real stories is key.

Native advertising is meant to seamlessly integrate with other editorial content, which means storytelling is an absolute must. Unfortunately, many publishers find that convincing their advertisers to tell real stories in their native content is difficult, with 37% saying it’s one of their biggest native advertising challenges.

Using overtly promotional language is not how you tell a story-or get your audience to connect with your brand. Telling real stories is a great way to engage with your brand in an authentic way, while also providing them with information and that entertainment factor.

Native-Advertising-Icon

Download the entire Native Advertising Trends 2016 – The Magazine Industry report through the Native Advertising Institute’s website.

What’s your take on native advertising? Love it? Hate it? Unsure? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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4 Pieces of Sage Healthcare Marketing Advice from Healthcare Marketers

Healthcare-marketing-advice

Healthcare marketers are intensely aware of the changing industry landscape. From new regulations and technologies to the rise of consumerism, many find themselves retooling their strategies and looking for valuable advice along the way.

On Wednesday, June 29, 2016 TopRank Marketing and Medicom Health Interactive are partnering for a free webinar to offer that advice and help healthcare marketers navigate, adapt and thrive in the new environment.

The event will feature a deep dive into the four-must have components of an integrated digital marketing strategy outlined in our recent eBook: Patient-First Marketing: Understanding the Anatomy of a Successful Strategy.

To whet your appetite, we’ve tapped into the expertise of four awesome healthcare marketers (who also appeared in our recent eBook) to share their biggest piece of advice for other healthcare marketers.

Advice for Healthcare Marketers from Healthcare Marketers

Pamela Maas

Pamela-Maas

Chief of Business Development & Marketing Officer

Gundersen Health System

Find Pamela on LinkedIn

A Little About Pamela

Pamela has over 25 years experience in marketing and takes a very results-oriented and strategic approach to all aspects including, planning, marketing research, communication plans and more.

Pamela’s Healthcare Marketing Tip

“Consumer behavior change is inevitable, but marketing involvement in digital solutions to engaging consumers in their health and wellness don’t have to be overly complicated. Stretch beyond traditional and don’t be leery of trying different approaches as there will not be one single, magic solution. Consumers needs will vary. Be thinking of building digital relationships to build loyalty, revenue will come later. And, be sure to establish measureable metrics to assess impact.”

Rob Birgfeld

Rob-Birgfeld---Inova

AVP, Chief Digital Marketing Officer

Inova Health System

Find Rob on Twitter

A Little About Rob

Rob started his career in marketing as a Communications Intern nearly 20 years ago. His expertise includes everything from business development, to brand management, content marketing, email marketing and social media.

Rob’s Healthcare Marketing Tip

“The digital space is so fast moving, don’t ever give yourself too much credit. There is always, always, always someone who knows more than you. A thirst for learning new technologies, new platforms, analytical approaches and exploration will keep you, your projects, your strategies relevant and honest.”

Adam Lee

Adam-Lee

Regional Web and Digital Marketing Manager

Adventist Health

Find Adam on Twitter

A Little About Adam

Adam is someone that has a passion for continuing to learn as much as he can about marketing and find opportunities to develop his professional skills as often as possible. Some of his expertise includes strategic website planning, marketing strategy, email marketing, social media and design.

Adam’s Healthcare Marketing Tip

“So often, doing what’s best for the patient is also the right marketing tactic. A little more intentional crossover between marketing and patient experience would be beneficial for both groups.”

Laura Boyd DeSmeth

Laura-Boyd-DeSmeth

Director of Digital Communications – North Texas Division

HCA

Find Laura on Twitter

A Little About Laura

Laura spent over 10 years as an Executive Producer before joining the world of healthcare marketing in 2009. Her expertise ranges from content marketing and social media engagement to creating integrated creative branding campaigns.

Laura’s Healthcare Marketing Tip

“Understand your audience and whatever you do, think about how you can make life easier for them. Whether that means helping them book an online appointment or tailoring and sharing truly practical content, respect their time, don’t waste it!”

Hungry for More Healthcare Marketing Advice?

We hope you enjoyed these healthcare marketing insights from our experts. If you’re looking for more, then we urge you to join us on June 29, 2016 for our healthcare marketing webinar.  Not only will you leave with actionable advice and inspiration, but you’ll also have the opportunity to get your most burning questions about healthcare marketing questions answered.

Patient-First Marketing Webinar


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3 SEO-Changing RankBrain Tips Marketers Can’t Ignore

SEO-RankBrain-Tips

The way that marketers think about, talk about and implement SEO is constantly evolving. Blackhat SEO tactics that once were incredibly successful, no longer garner the results that they once did. Both search engines and online audiences have become much more sophisticated, forcing marketers to ditch the slimy SEO tactics and focus instead on providing real value.

According to TNW News, 47% of digital marketers name SEO as one of their most effective tactics, but 39% also identify it as one of the most difficult.

To help ease the pain, I attended a presentation last week by WordStream’s Larry Kim that shone a light on why the traditional workflow of which includes inserting keywords in the “right” places needs to change. The presentation included what Google’s RankBrain actually is and why it matters, but the bulk of the talk dug into how to change focus in the face of algorithm changes like RankBrain and why exact term usage needs to be less of a focus moving forward. Read on to get 3 tips on where to focus your SEO efforts instead.

What is RankBrain?

Larry stated that “it doesn’t matter if RankBrain is an addition to the algorithm or an alteration. What matters is whether the change effects what content ranks”. In the case of RankBrain, this change certainly does matter.

RankBrain enables the interpretation of meaning. The interpretation of the meaning behind keyword searches and the interpretation of the meaning behind language used in meta, on-page, and site-wide. Beyond this, RankBrain learns about what content (and what types of content) appeals to specific search audiences in order to provide more useful, relevant search results.

Why Does it Matter?

Google being able to interpret the meaning of language used online makes a big difference. It means it’s easier to get your content indexed for relevant keywords, as long as that content is relevant to the search intent behind the keyword. It means inserting keywords isn’t a priority anymore – exact keyword usage does not make it easier to become indexed.

So, if we’re already indexed for the keywords we want to rank for, how do we rank? Here’s 3 tips from Larry Kim on how to switch focus away from keyword usage and indexation, and toward tactics that take advantage of the sophisticated qualities of RankBrain and how it measures and scores content quality to determine rank position.

Tip #1: Stop Inserting Keywords into Your Meta Titles

There is a negative correlation between exact keyword inclusions and CTR. High performing meta titles (above the average click-through rate at the given position) actually tend to not include the exact keyword. This is because RankBrain enables interpretation of the meaning behind language: interpretation of both the language used in the keyword search, along with the language used on-page and in meta.

Don’t Forget: align your meta message to speak to the intent of the search audience you’re targeting in order to encourage searchers to click your result. Inserting keywords is not important, and can actually be a disadvantage.

Tip #2: Remember What Actually Impacts CTR

So, you might be wondering: if I’m not supposed to insert keywords into my meta title, what am I supposed to do what it? Great question, here is some:

Use Emotional Triggers

Write headlines to an emotional persona based on basic emotional triggers: anger, urgency, fear, sadness, etc. By appealing to the emotions of your audience in a unique, catchy way, you can encourage them to click on your meta title for more.

Test with Paid

The best way to test your meta click-ability is to use AdWords to test 10 different headlines for different emotional personas. It’s a quick-and-easy 2 step process:

  • Step 1: Use broad match keywords to represent the variety of exact keywords that relate to the search audience you wish to reach
  • Step 2: Replace old headlines with the winner

Be Memorable, Become Familiar

Another important factor to consider is how “non-SEO” tactics actually make a huge impact on CTR from the SERP by creating a familiarity bias. Stated simply, this bias goes like this: if you’re familiar with a brand before you search, you’re more likely to click on their result. I’ll break down his advice into 2 steps to create brand familiarity in order to dramatically improve organic CTR:

  • Step 1: create familiarity with the brand by drawing people in with memorable, useful content that doesn’t try to sell anything.
  • Step 2: Ensure subsequent searches go your way by remarketing your most memorable content.

Tip #3: Focus on Engagement

Bounce Rate

Another highly impactful factor to rank is bounce rate. There are correlations that we see in nature that are non-causal, and there are correlations we see with algorithm inclusions. The correlation between bounce rate and rank looks very algorithmic. That being said, bounce rate is the #1 indicator that searchers aren’t liking your content. Focusing on providing additional useful links to more content is a great way to reduce bounce rate and start sending positive signals to Google about the quality of your content.

Dwell Time (bounce + time spent)

The metrics Google uses to determine whether or not content is satisfying searchers are also important. Some of these metrics are not accessible to marketers with Google Analytics. An example of this is dwell time. This is the time between when searchers enter the page from the SERP and how long they dwell on the page before bouncing back to the SERP. The advice Larry gave for leveraging this information is to use the combination of time spent on page and bounce rate to determine how well the page is measuring up against Google’s dwell time metric.

Conversion Rates

Conversion rate implies content appeal too, of course. Larry’s tip: change your offer dramatically to increase conversion rate if you’re not finding success. Honing your focus on conversion rate optimization isn’t just great for appealing to your audience at the bottom of the funnel, it’s great for attracting customers through search visibility across the entire funnel as well.

Poor Performing Content

If you can’t fix it, delete it. If you have consistently poor performing content, you should “delete your bad neighborhoods”. This is because studies that look at the relevance of domain authority vs page authority for determining rank strong suggest a domain-level engagement “score”, as well as a page-level engagement “score”. If you have content that performs badly and doesn’t provide value to users, this is content that will only negatively impact what your content quality looks like at the domain level.

Key Take-Away: New Rank Factors to Replace the Focus on Keyword Usage

Larry talked a lot about CTR from the SERP in his presentation. He brought up an important question: what came first, rank or CTR? The answer is they are reciprocal. Where top rank position impacts CTR, CTR also is measured and plays a part in determining rank position. But the reason he makes this point is to demonstrate that Google is measuring what implies searcher satisfaction. CTR is just one of these measurements. Once content is indexed, CTR is not the only thing that represents content quality. How searchers behave and engage with content after they enter a website from the SERP plays a huge role in the checks and balances of identifying truly useful content for searchers.

So if you’re going to remember one thing about RankBrain: it’s easy to get indexed, but make sure you’re appealing to the search audience and their intent from SERP to site.


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What You Need to Know About the Voice Search Revolution From Microsoft’s Purna Virji #MNSummit

voice-search-revolution

We may not already notice the change, but voice search is all around us. Voice search can help us complete tasks when we are occupied or busy multitasking. We unconsciously change the way we search on a computer or a text search compared to when we search with our voices. With the growing interest of voice search and digital personal assistants growing, we must ask ourselves as marketers how is voice search going to change the world for advertisers?

In her presentation at MNSearch Summit, Purna Virji from Microsoft stated that by 2020, 50% of search will come from voice (comScore). She outlined the steps to get prepared for voice search for paid and organic search queries. Since the growth of voice search is growing, now is the time to get ready for voice search and to become an early adopter.

Purna had the audience conduct an exercise that showed how people interact via devices compared to actually talking to the person next to them. When talking, people used a lot more words than when using a device (i.e. Twitter). The exercise showed that we are trained to do actions on different channels, like swiping (iPhone) or looking for reviews (Amazon). Below are some of the top takeaways marketers need to understand about voice search. 

Who is Using Voice Search?

The first thing to understand about voice search is who even is using it or personal digital assistants. People use voice search typically when they are:

  • Looking for quick answers
  • Otherwise occupied
  • Experiencing a typing challenge (i.e. when driving and cooking)

Once you understand who is using voice search, the next step is to know why it voice search is important for those users. Another thing to be aware of is that voice search has the potential to take away from organic search results, and show ads on the search engine results. 

What Can You Do Now?

Purna outlined five areas that we as marketers can do to get prepared for voice search.

#1 Rethink Keywords

Currently, text searches are concentrated around one to three words while voice search has around three to four words during searches. The voice search queries relate to the year over year growth of question phrases. When creating a keyword strategy, add verbs to phrases and schema markup everywhere to provide more relevance.

#2- Rethink Local Optimization

Pruna shared that mobile voice searches are three times more likely to be local-based than text search. When optimizing your local strategy, utilize localized keywords your audience would typically use when speaking to someone. For example use keywords like “by the sculpture garden” or “close to the lake.” Also, optimize local citations and schema markup throughout the site. For paid campaigns, use mobile preferred ad formats and location extensions to gather more interest.

#3 – Rethink Intent-Based Bids

Voice search intent is different than text based search queries. Voice search tells you exactly what the consumer is looking for because it is more specific. Since the intent is different, set different bids based off of those keywords.

#4 – Rethink Branding

Brand names that are difficult to pronounce like Porsche, Nutella, should take into account any ways that the brand could be mispronounced or spelled incorrectly. Marketers should also use negative keywords and ad extensions to help customers find your brand.

#5 – Rethink Creative

Once again since the intent is different than text based searches, focus on updating the creative of the ads and content to make it more visual. Add descriptors in your title (i.e. brand name, silk, size, M, etc.) to add relevant, high quality keywords. Continue to use help extensions like reviews and easy call-to-action buttons. Also, work together with the SEO team to create top-of-funnel content that focuses on the intent. Test the content with paid campaigns to get a better understand of what your customers are looking for.

After rethinking the five areas of focus, mainly start by selecting three or four questions that would be best for your audience and test bidding on those keywords. If we can test as marketers now and become early adopters, we can be ahead of the curve once voice search is being used by more people.

What We Can Expect

You may find yourself asking why to focus on voice search when there isn’t a huge market for it now. However, the number of voice searches is sure to climb and you need to be prepared to provide the user experience that your audience is looking for. There is also technology all around us that has the capability for voice search including:

  • Wearables
  • Onstar
  • Echo
  • Internet of Things (fridge)
  • Gaming Systems (xbox and playstation)
  • Phones (knows a lot of information about you)

With all these technologies being used already by many people, we need to know that there is no rush to monetize voice search.

Get Ready for Voice Search

Purna set the stage on the importance of voice search for any company. We are all in a good opportunity to test and prepare for the voice search queries before it becomes the norm. Are your content and paid campaigns optimized for voice search?  


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Search Marketing at its Finest: A Preview to #MNSummit 2016

mnsummit-preview

“There is no black magic to successfully attracting customers via the web.”

– Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz

For digital marketers, this quote rings all too true. For this reason, successful digital marketing requires constant self and team education and a willingness to experiment with groundbreaking tactics. In our quest to grow online ranking, traffic and leads, conferences like the 2016 MNSearch Summit help to guide us to these goals.

Friday’s conference is a digital marketer’s dream. In-person lessons on analytics, search and digital marketing from experts at Google, Microsoft, Moz and more. For four lucky members of the TopRank Marketing team, that dream will be a reality when we attend this sold out event in downtown Minneapolis.

If you are attending, or will be keeping up from afar, here are some of the sessions we’re most excited for at the 2016 MNSearch Summit.

Afternoon Keynote: The State of Search

Speakers: Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz and Wil Reynolds, Founder of Seer Interactive

Time: 1:40pm

Strategizing to help our clients reach their ranking and organic traffic objectives is where we specialize: we’re not called TopRank Marketing for nothing. We can’t wait to see these two mavens in the realm of search marketing, Fishkin and Reynold take the stage together to discuss the state of search in a town-hall style debate.

The TopRank Marketing team is excited to learn actionable insights and forward-thinking strategy to can be applied to our own expertise.

Valuing Moments that Matter – The Future of Attribution

Speaker: Stefan Schnabl, Product Manager at Google

Time: 4pm

One of the highest priorities for digital marketers is the ability to attribute KPIs (ie: traffic, inquiries, and behaviors) to marketing investments. Beyond identifying ROI, attribution is essential in helping us to understand which channels, messaging and tactics perform best.

In this session, Schnabl dives into why attribution matters and illustrates how it can be executed to improve customer value and business success.

Our team is most interested to see how Schnabl sees attribution shifting in the coming years and what the future of attribution will mean for marketers with boots on the ground.

Commonly-Missed Opportunities and New On-Page SEO Techniques

Speaker: Jon Henshaw, Co-founder and President of Raven Tools

Time: 4pm

Over the past year, Google algorithm updates like Panda and RankBrain have revolutionized the way SEO professionals address ranking and organic traffic objectives. In this session, Henshaw covers commonly-missed on-page and technical optimization opportunities, including issues related to robots.txt, Information Architecture (IA), and HTML semantic elements.

Technical SEO has been a hot topic in recent years, and we are eager to hear which technical items Henshaw deems most critical to the ranking success of a website.

Let’s Connect!

TopRank Marketing’s Vice President, Jolina Pettice, has been a member of the MNSearch Board of Directors for just over four years. Jolina, along with myself, Julia Ramos and Kevin Cotch are excited to join our fellow digital marketing peers for an amazing day of learning.

We look forward to meeting some new marketers and seeing some familiar faces this week. In between our networking and learning, we’ll also be live blogging and tweeting during sessions. Keep up with us on Twitter at @Leiladlf, @JuliaLRamos and @KCotch and on the TopRank Blog.


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8 Smart Social Media Platform Marketers Creating Awesome Content

8-Social-Media-Platform-Marketers

There is an art to planning and executing on a successful social media marketing strategy. Social algorithms are constantly evolving, new networks popping up and users are adapting the way that they use social platforms.

Keeping up with a steady and quality publishing schedule and engagement strategy for social media is no easy undertaking. To find relief, marketers have begun taking advantage of the many social media monitoring and publishing tools available on the market today. These tools help with everything from scheduling and publishing social posts, to providing insights into content performance and audience segmentation.

To help you keep abreast of the latest social news, I’ve uncovered 8 awesome content creators that work for some of today’s top social media monitoring platforms. In this post you’ll find information about these social media mavens as well as insight into some of their killer content.

Maggie Huston

Maggie-Huston

Senior Content Manager

Oracle Social Cloud

Find Maggie on Twitter and LinkedIn

A Little About Maggie

Maggie’s accolades speak for themselves. She is a three time Peabody award-winning journalist with a diverse background that includes both traditional and new media journalism. You can find Maggie’s award-worthy content on the Oracle Social Spotlight blog.

Awesome Content from Maggie

Alex York

Alex-York

SEO Specialist

Sprout Social

Find Alex on Twitter and LinkedIn

A Little About Alex

Alex is a writer and SEO Specialist at Sprout Social and  is responsible for content management and organic traffic. You can find his content on the Sprout Social Insights blog.

Awesome Content from Alex

Brian Peters

Brian-Peters

Social Media Manager

Buffer

Find Brian on Twitter and LinkedIn

A Little About Brian

Brian is an experienced content, digital and social media marketing professional. You can find all sorts of great content from Brian on the Buffer Blog.

Awesome Content from Brian

Jamie Netzer

Jamie-Netzer

Content Marketing Strategist

Spredfast

Find Jamie on Twitter and LinkedIn

A Little About Jamie

Jamie’s work has been published in media outlets and magazines such as USA Today Special Publications, Variety and SELF magazine. You can find Jamie making social media marketing magic on the Spredfast blog.

Awesome Content from Jamie

Scott Amerman

Scott-Amerman

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Sprinklr

Find Scott on LinkedIn

A Little About Scott

Scott has been the Product Marketing Manager at Sprinklr for 6 months and is passionate about bringing exciting new products to customers. You can find Scott’s social media smarts on the Sprinklr blog.

Awesome Content from Scott

Alexandra Zamfir

Alexandra-Zamfir

Social Media Executive

Falcon.io

Find Alexandra on Twitter and LinkedIn

A Little About Alexandra

Alexandra is always on the hunt for new trends and ways to uncover innovative use cases on social media. She identifies as a geek at heart and enjoys spending her time reading and taking online courses. You can find Alexandra’s creative social content on the Falcon.io insights hub.

Awesome Content from Alexandra

Rhianna Richards

Rhianna-Richards

Head of Content Marketing

Sysomos

Find Rhianna on LinkedIn

A Little About Rhianna

Rhianna specializes in many aspects of content marketing including information architecture, communication strategy and event management. You can find Rhinna’s helpful social content on the Sysomos blog.

Awesome Content from Rhianna

Veronika Baranovska

Veronika-Baranobska

Content Marketing Specialist

Sendible

Find Veronika on Twitter and LinkedIn

A Little About Veronika

Veronika is new in her role as a Content Marketing Specialist at Sendible but has experience as a creative marketer that empowers brands to reach their goals. You can find Veronika’s content on the Sendible blog.

Awesome Content from Veronika

Thanks For Creating Awesome Content!

Thanks again to all of these individuals as well as the vast array of other marketers that are creating great content about social media. Our combined expertise will make us all more strategic and more successful social media marketers!

 


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8 Smart Social Media Platform Marketers Creating Awesome Content | http://www.toprankblog.com

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12 Powerful Tips for Hosting a Successful Twitter Chat

12-Tips-for-Hosting-a-Successful-Twitter-Chat

Brands are always looking for new and interesting ways to connect with their audience, build awareness and showcase what they have to offer. Over the past couple years, Twitter chats have emerged as a marketing tactic that allows brands to do just that and more.

Twitter chats are public Twitter conversations that take place surrounding a specific hashtag at a predetermined date and time. The hashtag often provides some context for the topic or theme of the chat, and allows people to easily find the conversation and participate. Most often, Twitter chats are not one-off discussions, but rather recurring events.

With Twitter boasting more than 310 million monthly active users, Twitter chats can help brands make deeper connections with their audience. How? Because Twitter chats are a great opportunity for brands to be the best answer for their audience–something that we at TopRank Marketing believe to be the foundational goal of an integrated digital marketing strategy.

Twitter chats are not meant for out-right promotion of products or services. They’re meant to inform and engage. They’re meant to provide your audience with something of value. But they can also help your brand:

  • Build thought leadership and authority
  • Build brand awareness
  • Build relationships with influencers
  • Connect and engage with customers and prospects
  • Gain new followers
  • Showcase relevant, helpful and useful content

If you’re considering a Twitter chat or you’re in the midst of planning one, here are a few tips and best practices that will set you up for success:

#1 – Participate in a chat before hosting your own.

The best way you can prepare yourself for hosting your own Twitter chat is to participate in a few beforehand. This is where you can get your feet wet, see moderators and participants in action, and get an idea of how quickly things can move.

To find relevant chats to attend, check out Twubs or Tweet Reports for lists and schedules of active chats.

#2 – Choose the right topic for your audience.

Choosing a topic that is relevant and cared about by your audience is essential to the success of your chat. Ask yourself: What does my audience or social community care about most? What sort of information or expertise would be the most useful to them? Get some inspiration from trending topics that your audience is talking and tweeting about.

In addition, use the aforementioned chat lists and schedules to uncover any chats that are similar to the topic you’re considering. You’ll want to make sure that you can add something new to the conversation and set your chat apart from others.

#3 – Find the right date and time.

Of course, the key to a successful chat is having people show up to participate, so picking the right date and time is important. Take a look at your Twitter analytics to see when your audience is most active on the platform. In addition, utilize those lists of chat schedules to make sure the time you’re considering doesn’t coincide with another chat on a similar subject.

#4 – Choose the right hashtag.

Selecting the right hashtag is perhaps the most important part of the planning process. The hashtag is what brings it all together. Below are a few tips:.

  • Do your research to find something unique. Compile a list of 3-5 hashtags that you’re considering and use the search capabilities on all relevant social media networks to see if they’re currently in use.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Remember that you’ll be using this hashtag in all the communications to promote and execute the chat. Keeping it shorter will give participants more room to say what’s on their mind and make it easier for people to remember in the future.
  • Register your hashtag. While no one can legally own a hashtag, you can register your hashtag on Twubs so you can let the world know it’s part of your brand.

#5 – Choose the right moderator.

Every chat will need a moderator who is comfortable feeding questions and guiding the conversation along. You could moderate the chat yourself or bring in someone influential from your industry as a guest moderator.

Typically, moderators choose to use their own personal Twitter handles, rather than the brand’s official handle, to facilitate the discussion. This creates a more personal connection between the moderator and participants.

#6 – Invite relevant influencers and community members to participate.

Depending on the chat, influencers can be invited as featured moderators or panelists, or as general participants in the chat. Industry influencers and thought leaders add credibility, authority and value to your chat, which can help you maximize reach and engagement.

As for the others on your invite list, invite current customers or prospects to participate. This will not only help you further the relationship, but also get more insight into what’s important to them and the information they’re seeking.

#8 – Create a Chat Brief.

Your Chat Brief will serve as your outline for the entire conversation and help you organize all the moving parts. This is where you can house all the questions you’ll ask participants, how to get ahold of featured panelists, pre-written social messages to thank people for participating, and information on any relevant assets that you’ll promote during the chat. On the day of the chat, the moderator can use this outline to keep things moving.

#9 – Promote. Promote. Promote.

Promotion for your chat should be integrated with your other marketing efforts. Let people know about your upcoming chat with a blog post, share chat details on all your social channels and provide participating influencers and speakers with pre-written social messages for them to share with their followings.

In addition, use a event calendar tool such as Eventbrite to make it easy for people to add the details to their personal calendars. This will also make it easy to send reminders in the days leading up to the chat.

#10 – Get visual.

Adding a visual element to your promotional tweets as well as the Twitter chat itself can help you increase engagement. Period. In your promotional images, make sure to include the date, time, hashtag and any featured guest. This will not only give people all the necessary information, but also make it more shareable.

#11 – Consider using a tool to help you manage everything.

While using Twitter natively is certainly an option for your Twitter chat, there are several other moderation tools that could help you keep feeding questions, respond to questions and retweet great responses. A few options include:

In the end, choose the option or options that you feel most comfortable with.

#12 – When it’s over, showcase what people missed out on.

When your official chat has come to an end, you still have an opportunity to promote the awesome insights that were generated within it. Create a recap or roundup of some of the most quotable tweets in a blog post. You can also use Storify or Scoop.it to curate the entire discussion, and then embed the chat into a blog post.

Have you hosted or attended a Twitter chat? What other tips, best practices or things to avoid that you want to share? Tell us in the comments section below.


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5 Dangerous Myths About Influencer Marketing – Busted!

5 Influencer Marketing Myths Busted

The popularity of influencer marketing has made the field ripe for opportunists to capitalize. That’s what happens when new trends emerge into mainstream marketing: advice and experts start popping up everywhere.

Some of that advice is good, some is suspect and plenty is just pure mythology. Like a dragon – just as mythical but also potentially dangerous to your marketing.

Fantastic tales of fame and success ala the latest marketing tactic du jour rarely lead marketers to business success. Realizing the potential negative effects of alluring speculation and misinformation to marketers, I decided to take the pulse of our community on what the most common and dangerous myths about influencer marketing are.

Below are 5 of the biggest myths that emerged from my informal poll. I also included insights from established marketing industry leaders and experts – most from the UK. Why the UK? Well, that’s because this is all part of a presentation I gave today at the Digital Marketing World Forum in London along with Nicolas Chabot of Traackr.

Lee Odden Nicolas Chabot

That’s right, I co-created my presentation (and this post) on influencer marketing with influencers.

Along with the expert insights, you will also find my perspective, earned after many years of studying, experimenting with and implementing influencer marketing projects and programs for brands big and small. Together, we are the influencer marketing myth dragon slayers.

Myth #1: Popularity = Influence

Neville Hobson

Busted: “It is a Myth that Influencer Marketing is Marketing Based Only on Popularity, Mistaken for Influence.”

Neville Hobson – Senior Business Consultant, IBM Social Consulting

My take: A core expectation of working with influencers is for the brand to reach new audiences and therefore, one of the temptations of qualifying which influencers to work with has often focused on the convenient metric of popularity.

While audience and reach are very important, it’s what people do once you’ve reached them that pays the bills. What good is being promoted to a Twitter audience of a million followers if no one clicks the link, shares the tweet or is otherwise affected?

A great example is ZEFR’s analysis that compares talk show host Jimmy Fallon to YouTube star Connor Franta. Fallon has 207% greater reach with 38.4m vs. 12.5m average reach across social platforms, but Franta gets 66% more engagement despite having a smaller network. The other piece to this is, good luck getting Jimmy Fallon to be your influencer :)

Myth #2: You Should Buy Influencers Like You Buy Advertising

Stephen Waddington

Busted: “The notion that you can buy influencers like media is dangerous. It’s a relationship business, not real estate.”

Stephen Waddington – Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum

My take: It is true there is an organic and a paid approach to working with influencers just like anything else from search to social to content. The myth here is that you always need to pay influencers and that just isn’t true.

My observation is that it’s far more common for consumer brands to pay content “Creators” to whip up YouTube videos, Snapchats, Instagrams, etc and promote to their audiences. And it works! Just this morning my son said he chose a DiGiorno pizza because when confronted with the freezer of choices at the grocery store, he rememberd the gamers that made videos that included DiGiorno’s.

For B2B marketing where there are many opportunities to create content across the sales experience, it’s common to collaborate with influencers and co-create without direct compensation, although that certainly happens.

Paying influencers comes down to what they’re doing for you. When you pay someone that has talent AND and audience to promote to, it makes sense to pay them.

When you identify a brand fan or advocate and invite them to co-create content around things they already care about, that’s more of a collaboration.

pay influencers

It’s possible to do both in the same program and to be honest, it’s helpful to have people who are experienced with this sort of thing to plan and implement properly. Just don’t throw ridiculous money at influences and expect magic fairy dust to spout out of a unicorn’s a** for you.

Myth #3: Brands Don’t Have Time to Develop Influencer Relationships

Jason Miller

Busted: “Brands must make the time to authentically build relationships with influencers and there is no better way to do that, than co-creating content.”

Jason Miller – Senior Manager, Global Content Marketing, Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn

My take: Here’s a situation you might relate to. An amazing campaign is concepted, created and ready to drop. And it’s suggested that you reach out to some influencers to help you promote. There’s no time to create a relationship in this situation except for the monetary kind.

Alternatively, when influencers are included from the start, from planning to creation, they’re invested in the success of the end product. The act of collaborating on the creation of the content facilitates the relationship. By the time the content is ready to promote, the influencer is ready too.

Every influencer campaign we do adds more influencers to our influencer talent pool that we can engage with on future projects In fact, over the last 10 projects we’ve added over 150 influencers, many of them executives at brands we’d like to work with. These are relationships born out of collaboration and leading with value for the influencer first – not us selling anything. It sets the stage for a genuine relationship that’s meaningful, not mechanical.

Myth #4: Influencer ROI is Measured Through Participation and Social Media

Shonali Burke

Busted: “True influencer ROI goes way beyond social shares and output counts; it’s in the doors those influencers can open for you and the relationships they help you build.”

Shonali Burke – President & CEO, Shonali Burke Consulting

Mark Schaefer

“Are influencers really creating value for your brand? You’re never going to know until you do the research.”

Mark Schaefer – Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions

My take: It comes down to goals and how you will monitor progress towards those goals as well as achieving them. If your goal is simply to create more broad awareness for your brand, then increase in social network size, social shares and other engagement metrics may be your focus.

But if your goals are to inspire business outcomes like leads, sales, and revenue, then you have a different mix of metrics to work with.

Our approach to working with influencers almost always involves content and digital content is amazingly measurable.

In fact, we use an Attract, Engage, Convert model to make sure influencer content pulls in the intended audience (both from the brand community and the influencer’s community), creates an engaging and relevant experience with the content and inspires them to take action – whether it’s a share, a demo, trial, download, subscription, inquiry or transaction.

Myth #5: Influencer Marketing Replaces Existing Marketing

Joel Harrison

Busted: “Influencer marketing can and should fit into your existing marketing activities, complementing them and accentuating them.”

Joel Harrison – Editor-in-chief, B2B Marketing

My take: Some still see influencer marketing as a silo within PR and comms or marketing and others see it more holistically as something that could work cross functionally in your organization as depicted in the diagram below from Traackr.

cross functional influencer marketing Traackr

While I happen to agree that influencer marketing programs can actually be both, the myth that influencer marketing replaces other marketing is based in fear. Approaching marketing strategically, with empathy to the customer experience and with an understanding of what influences inspire action amongst your community, it would be foolish not to incorporate influencer engagement at strategic planning stages for marketing.

Being more strategic about influencer marketing isn’t a myth or something to be feared. It’s what smart companies are doing to scale quality content and relationships where it matters most.

Beyond these 5 “dangerous” influencer marketing myths are 20+ more from members of our community as well as from the team at TopRank Marketing. Consider these “myths” as you evaluate or revise your approach to a successful influencer marketing strategy.

Angela Lipscomb, Influencer Relations Manager, SAS

“That paying influencers devalues them as influencers.  Depends what they’re paid to do. A good one won’t take money to endorse.”

Peter Van Brunt, Enterprise Account Executive, Traackr

“That you have to pay influencers in order to work with them.”

Didier Rombaut, Social Enablement and Innovation, Cisco

“All influencers are not born equal Segmentation is key for a successful communication It’s labor intensive and not free.”

Ashley Faulkes, Founder/Consultant, Mad Lemmings

“That influencers are the only worthwhile “targets” for such campaigns. Often mid-level bloggers give more engaged results.”

Missy Berggren Voronyak, Group Director, Social Strategy and Engagement, WCG

“That influencers just want free stuff.”

Venkataraman Ramachandran, Digital Engagement Specialist, Cognizant

“That Micro-Influence can be gamed where long-term behaviors can be optimized within shorter time spans as per marketing cycles.”

Haroon Bijli, Head of Digital, BC&D, India Philips

That influence can be measured by the number of connects / follows / likes.

Diana Arhir, Communication Specialist @United Nations

“That one powerful influencer can fit all situations. Even if one is powerful, the impact he can have on one brand is going to be different on other. Depends on what one wants to achieve with influencer marketing.”

Shagorika Heryani, Head – Digital Practice, Bharat Bambawale & Associates

“A big myth is that influencer marketing is a bolt on to a marketing campaign or product launch. Rinse and repeat.”

Tony Saucier, Director of Enterprise Content, Life Time

“Talking to “influencers” means considering people with the largest followings.”

Hal Werner, Digital Content Strategist, Mitel

“That you can add their participation on at the end as a promotional tactic just like email or PPC.”

Michael Stricker, Lead Consultant, MSDesign

“Influencer marketing’s biggest myth is thinking that you can leverage personal brands without beguiling personalities.”

Derek Cromwell, Content Writer, Thunder Bay Media

“That it’s somehow only available to big brands with deep pockets. Too many people put price before relationship. When you put the relationship first it’s possible for anyone, of any size, to benefit.”

Kevin Cotch, SEO Analyst, TopRank Marketing

“A one-size-fits approach. I feel like too many people look at influencer marketing too narrowly, and doesn’t take in account the multiple levels it requires to run a successful campaign.”

Evan Prokop, Digital Marketing Manager, TopRank Marketing

“That there’s a one-to-one relationship between community size (i.e. followers) and degree of influence, specifically when deciding on who to include in your outreach attempts.”

Tiffani Allen, Account Manager, TopRank Marketing

“That outreach doesn’t need to be compelling, they’ll be happy to contribute for the ‘exposure’ rather than a clear benefit.”

Debbie Friez, Social Media Lead, TopRank Marketing

“That you will automatically have a successful campaign if you use influencer marketing.”

Ashley Zeckman, Director of Agency Marketing, TopRank Marketing

“That all influencers and all influencer content projects are created equal.”

Knute Sands, Account Manager. TopRank Marketing

“If my product marketing isn’t working, influencer marketing will solve the problem.”

Leila De La Fuente, Account Manager, TopRank Marketing

“That’s it’s only for large companies with large marketing budgets.”

Martin Jones, Senior Marketing Manager – Social Media & Content Marketing, Cox Business

“That a large social following does not equate to someone being a great influencer.”

Chris Garrett, Chief Digital Officer, Rainmaker Digital

“Getting influencers to endorse your product will guarantee ROI.”

Amber Naslund, SVP Marketing, Sysomos

“That influencer marketing can and does supplant foundational marketing strategies.”

Konstanze Alex, Corporate Social Influencer Relations Manager, Dell

“That influencer marketing equals celeb endorsement.”

Do you agree that these are major issues and myths when it comes to influencer marketing? What would you add?

If you’ve started an influencer program or are about to and want to improve your success rate at engaging influencers, be sure to check out this ebook:  How to Fail and Win at Influencer Engagement or you can check out our influencer marketing consulting services at TopRank Marketing.


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Online Marketing News: Marketing Excellence Journey, YouTube Director and Emoji Targeting

160611-how-to-make-progress-on-your-marketing-excellence-journey-infographic-preview

160611-how-to-make-progress-on-your-marketing-excellence-journey-infographic-preview

How to Make Progress on Your Marketing Excellence Journey [Infographic]

Successful marketing comes down to a simple concept: Being able to measure what people want, and being able to deliver it. This inforgraphic shows how to make progress toward successful marketing. According to MarketingProfs, “the hard lesson here is that marketing organizations that want to earn or keep their seat at the corporate leadership table must focus on both sides of the analytics coin: data and metrics.” MarketingProfs

YouTube Releases New ‘YouTube Director’ App to Help Businesses Create Better Video Content

YouTube has released a new app that aims to help advertisers create better video. It reportedly guides users through the video creation process with templates and step by step instructions. For those advertisers who spend over $150 and are located in one of four major metropolitan areas, they’re offering on-site assistance from a professional videographer. Since Facebook has reportedly posited that all content will be video content in the near future, this could mark a turning point for digital content creators. Social Media Today

Twitter Now Lets Advertisers Target Users Who Tweet Emojis

Today is World Emoji Day! To honor this very important holiday, Twitter is now allowing advertisers to target users based on which emojis they’ve tweeted, or which emojis are in the Tweets with which they interact. Brands who sell a certain product with a correlated emoji, like Chipotle and Burritos, for example, can target users that are using the emoji (anyone hungry for a burrito?). This has big implications for brands, as our modern lingo is so emoji laden — this could do wonders for sentiment analysis, real-time marketing, and even helping brands find new audiences that are interested in their offerings. AdWeek

Facebook Creates Online Creative Hub in Bid to Simplify Creation of Ads

Facebook announced the creation of their online creative hub to help make the creation of Facebook ads a more simple, collaborative process. They’re calling it an online space to foster collaboration, where advertisers can work together sharing, reviewing, testing and creating ads on the platform. AdAge

58% of Facebook users who share third-party content on the network say they do so at least once a week (1)

73% of Ad Players Cite User Experience as a Major Industry Challenge

AdWeek reported that “the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Kargo and Refinery29 surveyed 283 marketers and media agency executives last month and found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of them believe that user experience needs improvement in digital marketing.” This experience needs to be improved to ward off the oncoming prevalence of ad blocking software — one of many signs that the people consuming digital content aren’t enjoying the ads they’re served. AdWeek

Google search analytics report adds the ability to compare queries

This week, Google quietly launched a feature in the Google Search Console analytics report that allows users to compare two search queries to each other. According to Search Engine Land, users are only allowed to compare two queries at one time, but these comparisons could prove to be invaluable to search engine marketers along with content developers. Search Engine Land

Survey: Pre-roll ads are a major barrier to watching online news videos

According to Marketing Land: “In a new international survey of web users, less than 25 percent say they watch online news video content in a typical week. Pre-roll ads are a major reason why.” In fact, 35% of online news consumers avoid video news specifically because of not liking pre-roll ads. That same survey showed that online news consumers prefer text-based news by a fairly wide margin, which they described as faster and easier to consume. Marketing Land

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more marketing news, a special video guest star, and the usual hilarity and hullabaloo. Have something to add? Tweet me @Tiffani_Allen or @TopRank!

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