How to Inform Your Content Strategy Using SEO Insights

SEO Data Insights for Content Strategy

SEO Data Insights for Content Strategy

Marketers know that quality content and smart SEO are essential for driving toward their marketing goals, but that doesn’t mean success is easy to come by. With 53% of B2B marketers reporting their content marketing is only moderately successful, and another 23% reporting it as not at all or minimally successful, it appears that the majority of B2B marketers are struggling to see noteworthy results.

So, how can marketers improve their content marketing and achieve success?

The answer is in the data. More specifically, it’s in the insights you can glean from your data, especially SEO-related data.

Every marketer has access to this data. And it’s time to take that data, analyze it, and use it to inform your content strategy to create customized, relevant, and insightful content that is more valuable to your target audience. But knowing where to start on your data-informed and insight-driven content marketing journey isn’t always clear.  

To start creating more insight-driven content, search data can offer a gold mine of insights. Below we offer six SEO insights you can use to drive your strategy and results.

#1 – Nail down your audience’s search intent.

It’s no secret that keyword data can tell you a lot about what your audience is on the hunt for. But it’s the intent behind those search terms that really matters. Intent is what will enable you to create more valuable, “best answer” content for your audience.

For example, when looking in Google Search Console, if you see that one of your posts is ranking really well for a specific query, but has a low time on page, that could be an indicator that your content doesn’t match up with your audience’s intent. Because of this, your organic audience is probably bouncing from the page. If you can optimize that post to align with their search intent, you’ll likely increase the odds that they’ll stick around.

You can also use search intent to identify new content opportunities or gaps. When researching potential keywords in Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush, do your own recon and search the term in an incognito browser window. What content is ranking at the top for each query? What questions is it answering? What is so compelling about that page? (i.e. structure, video or other visual assets, etc.) Is there anything missing? Once you’ve analyzed what has made that page successful and helpful, you can apply those same tactics to your own content.

SEM Rush for SEO Research

#2 – Take advantage of older, high-performing content.

Both SEO and content are in it for the long haul. Your content needs to be long-living to maximize its SEO value and drive significant organic results. Plus, with frequent algorithm changes to search engines, what might have been a poor performer in the past could be your top piece of content in the future. Because of this, your existing content actually holds a lot of potential.

Using Google Analytics or Search Console, you can review the current keyword rankings, impressions, and clicks for your existing content. To draw insight from this data, you should ask yourself:

  • Are there any posts that have multiple page one rankings?
  • What is each page ranking for?
  • Which posts have the highest organic CTR or number of impressions?

These answers will help you surface your top performers that have the most SEO value. Once identified, you can link to those pages in future content to share that value and further boost your content’s organic performance.

#3 – Low volume doesn’t mean low value.

A common practice for marketers is to look to search volume data to determine target keywords and new content opportunities. Because search volume indicates the number of people searching for any given topic or question, it’s tempting for marketers to go after those searches with a high volume. Who wouldn’t want to capture all 500 monthly searches, right?

While it’s tempting to go after high-volume search terms, it’s not always the best choice. And with the rise of voice search, search queries are getting longer and longer.

When reviewing potential keyword targets, pay special attention to the long-tail variations of your short-tail topical areas to find the real questions people are asking (tools like answerthepublic.com are perfect for revealing this). Of the long-tail variations you identify, which ones have the least amount of competition? Is the estimated Cost Per Click high or low? This practice can help you find a niche, relevant keyword with a low competitive score that could be a quick, easy page one ranking that you didn’t have before.

Still want to go after those high-volume, competitive terms? We’ll walk you through how to rank for competitive keywords.

#4 – Review inbound links to find top performers.

Linking is an important component to any SEO strategy as it helps indicate to search engines that you are an authoritative and credible source of information. The better sites you have linking to your content, the better chance they have to rank higher in the SERPs. But what insights can it provide?

In looking the number of sources linking to your content, you can see which topics others find the most helpful, giving you a framework you should try to replicate in future content. In addition, you can create supporting blog posts that further promote or amplify your most linked to content. To see your inbound link data and check the credibility of the sites they originate from, try using Moz’s Open Site Explorer. If you want to quickly find your most linked to pages, use the Top Pages view of the tool as shown below.

Moz Open Site Explorer

#5 – Track the behavior of your search traffic.

Once someone finds you through search, what do they do next? Do they bounce? Do they complete a form-fill? In mapping the next steps your audience takes for each keyword group, you can better understand where they are in the funnel and customize additional content that helps move them from stage to stage.

To do this, use the Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics and filter your audience segment to organic traffic to see how your organic audience is navigating your site. Using this method, you can see which pages are bringing the most people in from search engines and where they go next. If you’re seeing incomplete calls to action or audience drop-off, this is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes into play.

Through CRO and A/B testing tools like Google Optimize or Optimizely, you can make small changes to your existing content (e.g. CTA placement, content length, etc.) and see what resulted in more conversions – micro or macro, depending on what stage of the funnel your content is aimed at.

As for what this means for your content strategy, you should look for what specific changes moved the needle or caused a dip in performance. Armed with the results, you can take what worked well and apply it to both your past and future content.

#6 – Uncover new content opportunities with in-site search.

If someone isn’t finding what they need on your site, they probably tried searching for it. This could mean you have a ripe content opportunity resting right under your nose. Make sure to regularly pull data from your own site’s internal search bar – you just may find a new keyword or topic you haven’t covered yet. If you’re uncovering a lot of potential opportunities with this method, prioritize them using the number of times someone used that search term.

Not sure where to find that information? Log into Google Analytics and click on the Site Search report listed under Behavior. Here you can view data on the search terms used, how often they’re used, and a host of other data points. Using data from our own Site Search report (see below), it looks like a blog template might be a good idea for a future post or downloadable asset.

Google Analytics

Stay Data-Informed & Insight-Driven

Believe it or not, data shouldn’t drive your content strategy. Data is open to interpretation, which is why marketers need to be data-informed, not data-driven. Digging into why something failed or took off is more important than tossing out a failed tactic or doubling down on a successful one. Without this analysis and insight, you could be making rash decisions that don’t produce the results you’re looking for.

Instead, content marketers need to use insights to inform their strategy, not create it. For more insight on how to use data to your advantage, check out these data-informed content marketing tips.

The post How to Inform Your Content Strategy Using SEO Insights appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing

PRESS START.

These two words, which routinely appear on the title screens of video games, present both a prompt and a promise. You won’t advance until completing this simple command, but once you do, a world of adventure awaits.

You can “press start” on a brand new CMWorld experience by scrolling down and clicking into our Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing. Prepare to explore new stages and levels with a host of top players in the content marketing game as we unlock the secrets to success in 2018 and beyond.

Get in the Game

When the going gets tough, gamers can navigate to the options menu and turn down the difficulty level. How convenient!

Marketers, of course, don’t have that luxury, which is unfortunate because right now we face steeper challenges than ever in a crowded and rapidly changing environment.

Consider these statistics, from the 2018 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report (the B2B version includes largely similar numbers):

  • Nearly one out of four B2C content marketers (22%) rated their organization’s overall content marketing approach as minimally successful or not at all successful
  • More than half of respondents (51%) said that over the last year, it has become increasingly difficult to capture their audience’s attention
  • Only 36% of B2C content marketers rated the project management flow during their content creation processes as excellent or very good
  • Only 43% of respondents said they are measuring content marketing ROI, with “we need an easier way to do this” cited as by far the most common barrier

Needless to say, there is no shortage of pitfalls along the way to reaching our goals. That’s why we enlisted some of the field’s foremost leaders and experts to help provide guidance. You’ll find plenty in our new guide, which features exclusive tips and tricks from a diverse range of perspectives.  

With the help of this guide, you’ll learn how to craft a content strategy that fits together like Tetris blocks falling perfectly into place. You’ll rattle through your objectives like Pac-Man gobbling dots. And your reach will grow like Mario with a mushroom power-up.

Thank you to all of our experts for sharing their top tips for helping marketers win the content marketing game. Inside, you’ll gain insights from marketers including:

Robert Rose, Nichole Kelly, Tim Washer, Ellie Mirman, Peter Krmpotic, Tamsen Webster, Amanda Todorovich, Courtney Cox, Eli Schwartz, Jay Acunzo, Carla Johnson, Heather Pemberton Levy, Zari Venhaus, Andy Crestodina, Ann Handley, Melanie Deziel, J.P. Medved, Mitch Joel, Michelle Park Lazette, Pam Didner, Dave Charest, Ian Cleary, Lee Odden, Vishal Khanna, Juntae DeLane, Doug Kessler, Joe Pulizzi, Justin Levy, Heidi Cohen, Christopher Penn, Mathew Sweezey, Michael Brenner, Michael Pratt, Ron Tite and Matt Heinz.

Let’s have some fun. Press start and enjoy:

Expert Content Marketing Tips for Sharing

Have a favorite content marketing game tip from one of our talented speakers? Below are a sample of what you’ll find inside the guide. Feel free to share any of these insights to get individuals within your network in the game!


Flip your strategy from being the on-demand creator of content to the proactive editorial strategist. @Robert_Rose

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Understand where the white space exists in your industry to create content that stands out in an otherwise crowded content marketing landscape. @ellieeille

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Think about ways to expose data in the content marketing process, so that the data can be acted on. @peterkrmpotic

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Sophisticated content planning requires historical analysis, an understanding of what’s changed and currently happening around your audience. @amandatodo

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Marketing needs to slow down and think about substance and context. @annhandley

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Give yourself permission to really focus on building great, helpful, informative, authoritative content first. It’s much easier to monetize it later. @rizzlejpizzle

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The content creation / promotion imbalance is a big problem for marketers trying to win the content marketing game. @leeodden

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Content distribution for distribution’s sake is a waste of time. @joepulizzi

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Look past engagement metrics, to really dig into if the content is moving people towards the next stage in the buying cycle. @msweezey

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The Next Level

If you’re ready to find out what awaits at the 2018 Content Marketing World conference, click here to check out the agenda.

You can also keep up on the all the latest developments by tracking the #CMWorld hashtag and following CMI on Twitter.


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Be Like Honest Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling

How to Build Trust Through Content Marketing Storytelling

How to Build Trust Through Content Marketing Storytelling

Pardon me for telling the same old story once again …

Storytelling is a fundamental staple of content marketing.

This isn’t news. It has become a central talking point throughout the business world, and one we’ve discussed quite frequently here on the TopRank Marketing Blog.

Compelling narrative is impactful for fairly obvious reasons: it captivates a reader, keeps them engaged, and tends to leave a lasting impression. The psychological power of storytelling has endured from ancient times, and outweighs any new technology or tactic that comes along.

But one of the less-discussed benefits of storytelling might be among the most important in today’s context: it builds trust with your customers and prospects. Today, we’ll examine how this dynamic works and why every marketer should be on board.

Storytelling Was Abraham Lincoln’s Greatest Strength

Abraham Lincoln, President and Storyteller“Four score and seven years ago…”

With these six words, Abraham Lincoln launched the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous speeches in American history. He set up a persuasive argument in favor of human equality by calling to mind the nation’s origins, and the principles that formed its foundation.

Last year at Quartz, Dacher Keltner wrote about how good leaders tell stories that make people trust them with power, citing Lincoln as a prime example.

Keltner suggested that the 16th president’s “ability to shape moving narratives about the Civil War and the organizing principles of the United States was … crucial to navigating the fractious politics of his presidency.”

Modern marketers are not tasked with bridging a divided country, but we do face an uphill battle in this crowded, fractured digital setting. And with trust toward media, organizations and institutions diminishing, stories present an underrated vehicle for fostering connections and establishing credibility.   

Lisa Saffran, who teaches Storytelling in Public Health at the University of Missouri, explains that storytelling injects an element of humanity, which might be particularly helpful for B2B companies:

“Human beings are primed to tell stories but also to listen for the person behind a story being told. Storytelling, whether it’s reporting the news or writing a memoir, involves the active selection and ordering of some information and the omission of other information. Principles of selection inform what questions we ask and which answers we might receive. This directing, ordering and selecting reflects a human consciousness at work, a person with beliefs, assumptions and suspicions.”

Everywhere you look, the tactic is becoming more ingrained.

[bctt tweet=”With trust toward media, organizations and institutions diminishing, stories present an underrated vehicle for fostering connections and establishing credibility. – NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #Storytelling” username=”toprank”]

Stories Are Growing More Ubiquitous

Every content creator should consider themself a storyteller. When we write, we are invariably sharing a story: about our solution, about our customers, about the pains we can help solve. And the integration of narrative is extending beyond marketing copy.

Sales professionals are incorporating stories into their presentations and pitches. Companies use stories to attract quality talent. The video marketing movement is largely driven by storytelling and its innate resonance, reflected by the rapid growth of ‘Stories’ on social media platforms.

When people hear or see stories, their brains light up in different ways, tapping both the rational and emotional areas. Tying multiple pieces of information together in a coherent, chronological, and – above all – relatable way makes the message far more affecting. The content suddenly becomes experiential instead of merely educational.

It’s also what an audience craves. As Rachel Gillett wrote for Fast Company:

“Our brains are insanely greedy for stories. We spend about a third of our lives daydreaming–our minds are constantly looking for distractions – and the only time we stop flitting from daydream to daydream is when we have a good story in front of us.”

We can satiate this appetite by putting a good story in front of the people we want to reach. But it’s not that simple.

When it comes to building influence through storytelling, there are a few considerations worth keeping front-and-center.

[bctt tweet=”Tying multiple pieces of info together in a coherent, chronological, & relatable way makes the message far more affecting. The content suddenly becomes experiential instead of merely educational. – @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #Storytelling” username=”toprank”]

How to Maximize Storytelling as a Trust-Building Tool

Stories serve many purposes in marketing. In our current environment, building trust may be the most vital among them. If this is the goal, make sure you adhere to these imperatives.

#1 – Be Genuine, Authentic, and Transparent

Lincoln didn’t gain the nickname “Honest Abe” for nothing. Despite his physique, the gangly 6-foot-4 politician didn’t have a reputation for spinning tall tales (at least not in misleading ways).

Storytelling backfires when it strikes people as false or disingenuous. Share real anecdotes and back them with third-party evidence or quotes. Telling hard truths, even if it means acknowledging a shortcoming in your business, can be tremendously beneficial in the long run.

Even more than being true to the facts, you must be true to yourself, and your brand.

In his book, All Marketers are Liars, Seth Godin lays this out this first tenet of telling a great story:

“A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.”

[bctt tweet=”A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. – @ThisIsSethsBlog #ContentMarketing #Storytelling ” username=”toprank”]

#2 – Make It Meaningful to Your Audience

You know who you’re trying to reach. Hopefully you know a fair amount about them and their circumstances. When crafting a story, you must ask yourself if there’s a relevant hook that will make it applicable for them personally.

As Ashley Zeckman has written here in the past: “Your customers should be able to see themselves in the story that you are telling through content.”

This dynamic makes case studies, customer testimonials, and content featuring industry thought leaders and influencers – featuring first-person perspectives from businesses very similar to the ones you target as prospects – tremendously powerful.

But even beyond that, it’s crucial to outline situations, scenarios, and challenges that your audience can relate to. Empathy is essential to gaining trust.

[bctt tweet=”Your customers should be able to see themselves in the story that you are telling through content. – @azeckman #ContentMarketing #Storytelling” username=”toprank”]

#3 – Implement Recurring Themes

As you can tell from the opening sentence of this post, and many of the links scattered throughout, this is not the first time we’ve discussed storytelling on this blog. But we only continue to focus on it because of its critical importance in content marketing today. And hopefully this ongoing emphasis helps crystallize this significance.

There’s an actual psychological phenomenon behind this: our brains give preference to the familiar. Once a seed or idea has been planted through effective and memorable narrative, people are more likely to notice and internalize it going forward.

In other words, telling the “same old story” isn’t such a bad thing, so long as you can find new angles and dimensions to explore. A robust, ongoing, expanding narrative has the capability to continually reinforce trust and confidence.

[bctt tweet=”Telling the “same old story” isn’t such a bad thing, so long as you can find new angles and dimensions to explore. – NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #Storytelling” username=”toprank”]

What’s Your Story?

https://giphy.com/embed/Idz7cyLRe2bVm

via GIPHY

As you contemplate your brand narrative and how you’ll present it going forward, I encourage you to keep these three cornerstones in mind: authenticity, relevance, and familiarity. When storytelling incorporates all three elements successfully, it can build trust in ways unparalleled by other methods.

Storytelling can not only build trust, but also influence with your audience. Check out our post Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing for actionable tips and insights.

At TopRank Marketing, storytelling is a core component of our content marketing approach. Give us a shout if you’d like to hear the whole story.

The post Be Like Honest Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Preferred Platform Study, B2B Influencers & Blockchain For Marketers, & Travelers Turn To Instagram

Marketing Charts Platform Usage Graph

Social Media Marketing Update: Preferred Platforms and Content Types in 2018

A multitude of the latest trends in social media marketing have been detailed in a new report from Social Media Examiner, revealing that Instagram has surpassed a declining Twitter in overall popularity, while B2B marketers continue to prefer LinkedIn. MarketingCharts

Study: Millennial travelers’ Instagram use has grown 375% since 2013

U.S. millennial travelers have turned to Instagram 375 percent more than they did in 2013, according to new research on social media usage among travelers, while Google stayed the top overall travel site. Marketing Dive

Facebook Releases Latest ‘Topics to Watch’ Report, Highlighting Key Trends

U.S. marketers now have access to Facebook’s latest list of topics to watch, as the social media giant released its “Topics to Watch” list for April, 2018, including the fastest-growing conversation topics on the platform. Social Media Today

A leaked look at Facebook’s search engine for influencer marketing

A glimpse inside Facebook’s possible future influencer marketing search engine plans has been published, including a branded content marketing tool. TechCrunch

The Best Days and Times to Post on Social Media [Infographic]

The most successful times and days for posting social media content have been examined in new study data from Unmetric, showing differing posting sweet spots for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. MarketingProfs

Instagram Officially Launches Ability to Re-Share User Posts in Stories

All Instagram accounts have been given the ability to re-share public user posts to Instagram Stories, with a new “Create a story with this post” feature, the company recently announced. Social Media Today

May 25, 2018 Instagram Statistic

2018: The year of influencer marketing for B2B brands

B2B influencer marketing has come into its own so far in 2018, and is expected to play significantly in predicted total brand spending of $101 billion by 2020, which Michael Brito explores. Marketing Land

What Blockchain Could Mean for Marketing

Digital marketers could benefit from learning how blockchain technology is making waves in the marketing world, and Harvard Business Review has examined the expected forthcoming data-driven boom. Harvard Business Review

Facebook updates Ads Reporting & introduces new ‘creative reporting’

Facebook has introduced expanded ad and creative reporting options, rolling out to all advertisers over the next month. Marketing Land

Adobe Buys Magento for $1.68 Billion to Target E-Commerce

Adobe has agreed to purchase Magento in a $1.68 billion deal aimed at boosting Adobe’s e-commerce market share, the firm announced Monday. Bloomberg

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Being Agile Marketoonist Cartoon

A lighthearted look at being agile, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne – Marketoonist

Try Not to Laugh: 7 Hilarious Ways to Use Humor in Your Emails – Sleeknote

MoonPie’s Social Media Strategy Has a Secret Ingredient: Character – Skyword

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Ashley Zeckman – 20 Experts Give Their Best Advice for Engaging Email Copy That Converts – Delivra
  • Lee Odden – 33 Marketing Quotes to Keep You Motivated – Depositphotos
  • Lee Odden – Conférence Marketing de contenu: créativité et engagement au cœur des stratégies (In French) – Infopresse
  • Caitlin Burgess – 10 Tips for Saving Time and Getting Better Results with Your Content Marketing – Small Business Trends

Please join us once again next week, when we’ll have a new array of the latest digital marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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Digital Marketing News: Preferred Platform Study, B2B Influencers & Blockchain For Marketers, & Travelers Turn To Instagram | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Building Better Influencer Relationships: 7 Cues Marketers Can Take from Sales

Influencer marketing is booming with B2B and B2C brands big and small dipping their toes in the water. And it’s certainly not hard to see why. From declining consumer trust to content overload to near-dead organic reach on social channels, working with influencers enables brands to build credibility, authority with existing and new audiences, as well as connect with thoughtful industry experts.

And, of course, partnering with influencers can help drive marketing results. In fact, according to a Linqia survey, 94% of marketers who use influencer marketing find it an effective practice that can generate up to 11-times the ROI of traditional advertising.

But in order to keep your influencer partners interested, as well as drive results, thoughtful engagement is paramount. It’s all about building relationships – which is an art form, and an area where your sales team can be incredibly helpful. And I should know. I’m a recovering salesperson who’s now embedded in the influencer marketing world.

Below I share seven sales-industry strategies and ideas that can be used to boost and inspire your influencer relations activities.

#1 – Do your research.

Any successful salesperson will tell you that sales is really about making friends. And you can’t make friends if you don’t know who you’re contacting.

Sales teams are often well-versed in scouring and researching on LinkedIn and other online tools, looking for clues, connections and topics to discuss with their prospects or existing customers.

When it comes to researching influencers you’d like to work with, that research and understanding is not only important to learn if they’re a good fit for your brand, but also the kind of topics they’re talking about, the people they follow and engage with, and even their personality. And all this can inform how you should with them before, during, and after the first time your work together.

#2 – Use tools to save time and properly nurture.

I know salespeople who have a big Excel spreadsheet they use to keep track of their prospects and contacts. But as their list grows, managing contacts and relationships becomes cumbersome and inefficient. That’s why most sales teams use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to keep track of who their prospects and customers are, track their interactions and measure the likelihood the prospect will close.

The same best practice should be applied to influencer relations and marketing. You need a tool or a set of tools to keep track of prospective and current influencer contacts. This will not only help you be efficient (and preserve your sanity), but also help you properly nurture the relationship through informed communication. Some of these helpful tools include Onalytica and Traackr.

My advice, don’t go it alone. Use a tool.

#3 – Social selling rocks.

Nobody likes to be cold called. Eighty percent of decision makers won’t buy from a cold call and only 2% actually result in a meeting being scheduled. So, when I discovered social selling, I jumped in with both feet. I’d get to know my prospects on social media. Then, when I decided to reach out to them, they already knew me. It wasn’t a cold call, anymore.

Getting to know your influencers works the same way. As touched on above, through social media, you can understand what they like to share, start to build a connection, and then interact with them before you make an ask.

You can look at this as smart influencer engagement. TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden calls this the “Confluence Romance,” a framework for making and maintaining influencer relationships.

“Organic influencer engagement is all about warming the relationship,” he says. “And there’s no more efficient or effective way to do that than showing interest and care through social channels.”


Organic #InfluencerEngagement is all about warming the relationship & there’s no more efficient or effective way to do that than showing interest & care through social channels. – @leeodden

Click To Tweet


#4 – “Say it with a smile.”

Did you know you can see a smile through the phone? It comes out in they way you write, too. I learned this in a sales class, and I’ve tested it. It really makes a difference if you smile through your interactions. People will be more likely to want to interact with you.

When it comes to your interactions with influencers, aim to delight people and show them you genuinely care by:

  • Thoughtfully commenting on recent social posts
  • Asking them about recent trips they’ve taken or events they’ve attended
  • Showing interest in their key subject areas

And, don’t forget. Let your smile come through in all your interactions.

#5 – Personalize Your Correspondence

More than ever, consumers and buyers want a personalized touch during their interactions with brands and salespeople – especially when it comes to email marketing, something that HubSpot spotlights in its article 18 Habits of Incredibly Successful Salespeople.

Just as forward-thinking salespeople work to create a personalized experience for their customers and buyers, marketers should do the same when reaching out to influencers.

It’s easy to send the same message to everyone you’re hoping to work with on a curated piece, larger asset, or ongoing campaign. But, a little personalization goes a long way. Consider mentioning a tweet or blog post you found interesting, or a previous conversation to show that you are not a bot.

And, there are tools to help. You might consider a tool like Crystal Knows, which will help you understand the personality of your influencer prospect.

Influencers expect and deserve a personal ask, so make the effort.


Influencers expect & deserve a personal ask, so make the effort. – @dfriez #InfluencerRelations #InfluencerMarketing

Click To Tweet


#6 – Ask for the Close

Salespeople are taught to find the best time to ask for “the close.” It may be a presumptive close, but the overall idea is to lead prospects to the outcome that includes “money being exchanged.”

Here’s where you want to stop me and say: “I’m a marketer. I’m not selling anything.”

Marketers, you’re selling your brand, the relationship, and the idea that working together will be mutually beneficial. You’re also trying to entice influencers take an action on a range of “offerings,” such as sharing a quote for an eBook or sharing something on social. You need to lead that influencer to an outcome that helps achieve your overall goal of solving a problem.

How do you shape the close for an influencer? As I’ve mentioned a few times, look to create a mutually beneficial relationship. Consider the influencer may want to promote their book, spotlight their thought leadership or help the greater community. So, frame the close in a way that speaks to what they’ll get out of it.

#7 – Sometimes They Say No

The hardest lesson a salesperson can learn is to accept “no” for answer. It’s a really hard lesson. After a “no,” the best think you can do is to access the sale process, and learn how you can do better the next time.

Sometimes, influencers say “no,” too. You ask them to attend an event, but they may have a prior commitment. Or, maybe they don’t feel like the subject matter matches their expertise.

When they say “no”, be gracious and ask follow-up questions to gain insight into why they made their decision. You might learn they have availability in two weeks, so your timing was just off. It is important to always be looking for the “next sale.” It is all a part of the process.

The Process of Building Better Relationships

At the end of the day, sales teams aren’t looking to close one-off deals. They’re looking to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with their customers.

Marketers need to strive to do the same with influencers. It takes time and dedication, but it’s worth it for both you and your influencers.

So, consider taking a cue from the land of sales to help you create a great relationships utilizing research, personalization, tools, social media, and a great attitude. You might find you’re getting fewer nos.

Are you ready to go make some positive influencer interactions?  You don’t need to go it alone. If you want help with an influencer marketing campaign, contact TopRank Marketing.  


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From Messenger Bots to the Growth of ‘Gram, Social Media Examiner’s Annual Report Reveals Trends to Watch

2018 Social Media Marketing Trends from Social Media Examiner Report

2018 Social Media Marketing Trends from Social Media Examiner Report

Engagement is down. Trust is dwindling. And the most popular social media marketing platform is now riddled with uncertainty.

For marketers, the social space has never felt more daunting or perplexing. Luckily, Social Media Examiner recently released its 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, the latest annual snapshot of where things currently stand in this critical frontier.

While the report doesn’t answer all our questions, it does offer some helpful clarity and context.

We’ve gone through Social Media Examiner’s in-depth report, which gathered input from more than 5,700 respondents, and distilled some of the most noteworthy nuggets for marketers to noodle on and insights on how you can improve your efforts.

Here’s what you need to know about the state of social media marketing in 2018.

#1 – Facebook is in flux.

Although it continues to be easily the most prioritized social network for marketers at large, Facebook has become a source of quandary.

This pie chart, displaying responses to the question, “My Facebook organic post reach has declined in the last year,” illustrates this quite well:

That’s a remarkably even split, but the bottom line is this: more than half of marketers either agree or strongly agree that their organic reach has dropped since 2017. This comes as no surprise, since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has all but admitted that the platform is shifting feed prioritization away from branded content in favor of user-generated posts.   

Despite this, Facebook remains the most-utilized social channel for marketing with 94% penetration, nearly 30 percentage points above the next-highest, and 67% of respondents point to it as their most important platform.

Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there, as only 49% of respondents feel their marketing is effective on the platform.

[bctt tweet=”Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there. – @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing” username=”toprank”]

What Should I Do?

Obviously, paid will play a major role; 67% of marketers plan on increasing their use of Facebook ads in the coming year. But, as TopRank Marketing’s Caitlin Burgess has written, influencer marketing also offers a path to capturing attention in the age of diminishing organic reach. And that’s an opportunity that fewer marketers are hip to, with 61% reporting that they are not working with influencers as part of their social media efforts.

#2 – The ‘Gram is in.

While Facebook continues to rule the roost, its prized subsidiary is most noticeably on the rise. Instagram is now the second most commonly used social media platform for marketers, jumping up from the No. 4 slot in 2017 with a 54% gain.

https://giphy.com/embed/uo6rcjwHSAFsQ

via GIPHY

Our own Josh Nite recently coined the term “hopping on the ‘gramwagon,” which I love, and there’s definitely a widespread movement in that direction. Two out of three marketers said they plan to boost their organic activities on Instagram in the next year, while 53% intend to increase their investment in ads on the platform.

This makes sense given that 80% of marketers cited visual images – core to Instagram’s interface – as their most commonly used type of social media content and 32% said it was the single most important type, beating out blogging (27%), videos (24%) and live video (9%).

Seeking to take advantage of its growing momentum, Instagram is in the process of rolling out several new features for businesses.

As you might guess, Instagram is a more popular focus for the B2C cohort (72%) than B2B (57%), where LinkedIn remains the most prevalent non-Facebook option.

What Should I Do?

Is it time for your business to jump on the ‘gramwagon? Not necessarily. Instagram has a sizable audience and some great features, but isn’t the right fit for every business type. Determining whether it’s a good fit will ultimately depend on who your ideal customer and audience is, as well as your business objectives and available team and budgetary resources.

These insights and examples around Instagram marketing might help inform your decision.

#3 – Video is the vision.

The marketing community at large is taking a keen interest in the world of video.

Fifty-eight percent of marketers said they plan to increase their YouTube organic activities in the next 12 months. And while only 24% of marketers currently peg video as the most important social media content type, 77% expressed an intention to grow their reliance on it going forward, topping the list.

When asked which forms of content they wanted to learn more about, respondents chose video (77%) and live video (68%) above all others.

What Should I Do?

The beauty of video is that it doesn’t follow a linear format. You can and should experiment to find the right format for your message and audience’s tastes, as well as to match what you’re trying to accomplish at different stages of the funnel.

If you’re among those eager to learn more about video, our team recently shared some tips for first-time video marketers. And if you’re already exploring this tactic, our Annie Leuman shared examples of brands connecting with audiences through long-form video.

#4 – What about bots?

Facebook Messenger first launched an API for bots back in 2016, but there still aren’t too many marketers wading into this pool. Only 15% of respondents said they’re currently using Facebook Messenger bots as part of their marketing mix. However, 51% said they plan to include this tactic in future marketing.

One does wonder, however, if such plans will be altered by Facebook’s maneuvers to restore faith amid privacy concerns. The company quietly paused the ability of developers to add new chatbots in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

What Should I Do?

This remains a relatively nascent tool for engagement, but it’s worth getting familiar. Why? Because it has the potential to be an “always-on” marketing team member. But like any new feature or technology, you need to be thoughtful and engaged as you develop and launch your plan, as well as monitor

To provide some recognizable context, this blog post does a nice job laying out the similarities and differences between email and messenger bots.

#5 – Measurement moving forward.

Here at TopRank Marketing, we’re big on concrete reporting and analytics, so we’re glad to see 44% of marketers now stating that they’re able to measure ROI from social media activities, up from 38% last year.

That’s still less than half, and only 10% strongly agreed, so there remains considerable room for improvement.

Incidentally, Seb Joseph wrote earlier this month at Digiday that advertisers questioning ROI might be Facebook’s biggest threat.

What Should I Do?

Most of the major social platforms have deep measurement functionality that you might not be utilizing. Make sure to explore back-end dashboards and pinpoint metrics that align with your objectives. Additionally, Sprout Social compiled a list of the best social media analytics tools of 2018.

[bctt tweet=”Most of the major social platforms have deep measurement functionality that you might not be utilizing. Explore back-end dashboards & pinpoint metrics that align with your objectives. – @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Solving Social Media Marketing in 2018

The constantly changing dynamics of social media marketing make it an especially challenging landscape to navigate, but the sheer number of users and level of activity make it one that none of us operating in the digital world can afford to ignore.

While the latest Social Media Marketing Industry report points to several areas of of uncertainty and shortcoming, it also shows that marketers are moving in the right direction when it comes to grasping ROI, embracing video, and diversifying their strategies. Hopefully the tips we’ve provided here can help you with these initiatives.

While its standing is still impressively strong, I’ll be curious to see if Facebook loses its dominant footing in the year ahead, and how other players might pivot to take advantage.

Want to read the full report? Head on over to Social Media Examiner. Looking for additional social media insights, trends, and tips? Peruse our lineup of recent social media marketing blog posts.

The post From Messenger Bots to the Growth of ‘Gram, Social Media Examiner’s Annual Report Reveals Trends to Watch appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Millennial Pops’ Pinterest Passion, Facebook’s Housecleaning, Closing Klout, & Google’s Latest

Facebook Housecleaning Graph May 2018

Facebook has disabled almost 1.3 billion fake accounts over the past six months

Facebook has stopped nearly 1.3 billion fake user accounts over the last six months, one of numerous statistics the company has revealed for the first time in a preliminary report announced this week. Recode

Pinterest proves popular with dads, pointing to shifting parental role

Pinterest has increased its popularity among millennial dads, with 42 percent of U.S. fathers in that demographic reporting that they find new products on the site, while nearly half of overall U.S. dads with a household income of $100K or more use Pinterest, according to new analysis data. Marketing Dive

Out of Klout: The social media scoring service is shutting down

Klout will shut down on May 25, ending a 10-year run by the firm that was among the first to use social media analytics to gauge influencer reach, the San Francisco-based company announced recently. AdAge

Google to Notify Users When Businesses Respond to Reviews

Google has rolled out automatic e-mail notifications to users when businesses reply to reviews posted on Google My Business, the company announced recently, in a move aimed at helping firms communicate with those leaving reviews. Search Engine Journal

Google Search CPCs Decline for B2B Advertisers

Google’s average business-to-business search ad cost-per-click fell slightly during the first quarter of 2018, while mobile search’s share rose, according to new report data from Marin Software. MarketingCharts

New AMP features announced for geotargeting content, as well as some GDPR support

Google has added geo-targeting features to its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) framework, plus new tools to help businesses comply with upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, the Internet giant recently announced. Search Engine Land

May 18, 2018 Pinterest Statistic

Google: Search Snippets Are Now Shorter on Average

Google has shortened the average length its dynamically-generated search result snippet function pulls from meta description tags, the company noted this week. Search Engine Journal

‘National Geographic’ Ranks As Top Brand On Social Media

National Geographic was ranked the top brand on social media for the fourth consecutive year, with over 1.6 billion social-related actions during 2017, according to new report data from Shareablee. MediaPost

Are Brands Using Email and Marketing Automation Effectively?

Only eight percent of marketers rate their e-mail and marketing automation efforts as highly effective, according to new research data from GetResponse and SmartInsights. MarketingProfs

Google Updates Image Search Guidelines For SEOs & Publishers

Google has updated its image search guidelines relating to user experience, how Google Image uses structured data, and other best-practices for SEOs and publishers, the firm recently announced. SEO Roundtable

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Brand Standing Marketoonist Cartoon

A lighthearted look at brand-standing, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne – Marketoonist

CafePress.com Announces Sweeping Privacy Changes After Improperly Sharing The T-Shirt Sizes Of Millions Of Americans – The Onion

It’s Not You, It’s Yanni… Wait, Laurel – Mad Magazine

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden – Top 100 Digital Marketers 2018 – Brand24
  • Lee Odden – What’s Trending: What Should Guide Your Marketing Decisions? – LinkedIn (client)
  • (TopRank) – Top 50 B2B Marketing Agency Blogs for Inspiring and Actionable Content – Jumplead
  • (TopRank) – 5 successful women in digital marketing – We Are Marketing
  • (Lee Odden) – That Valuable Space Where Content and Influencer Marketing Meet – Versa Marketing

Please gather with us once again next week, when we’ll share a new round-up of the very latest marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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The post Digital Marketing News: Millennial Pops’ Pinterest Passion, Facebook’s Housecleaning, Closing Klout, & Google’s Latest appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

A Tasty, Strategic Addition to the Content Marketing Table: ‘Repurposed Content Cobbler’

Ingredients for Content Marketing Cobbler

Ingredients for Content Marketing Cobbler

If you didn’t know, tomorrow, May 17, is home to a very special holiday: National Cherry Cobbler Day.

I know, I know-every day seems to be home to some strange, random, or innocuous holiday these days, but this one has a special place in my heart.

https://giphy.com/embed/MQ8kAiQ2yZM1a

via GIPHY

While my palate generally prefers more savory options, fruit cobbler is my jam. (Does that count as a pun? No? OK.) And as it turns out, not only is cobbler of all varieties deliciously satisfying to eat-but it also serves up a tasty slice of content marketing inspiration.

You see, cobbler was an innovation in both sweet and savory cooking, originating in the British American colonies. Settlers didn’t have access to suitable ingredients or equipment to make their traditional puddings and pies, so using a little creativity with what they did have, the cobbler was born.

Like America’s early settlers, content marketers need to adapt to their new, challenge-filled surroundings. From information overload to the death of organic social reach to age-old challenges such as the lack of time, budget, and internal resources, consistently creating new quality, engaging, and inspiring content is an ever-present challenge.

The good news? You likely already have a lot of the ingredients you need to create a tasty, strategic content cobbler. And the baking tactic is repurposing those ingredients into something your audience can’t resist.

Ingredient #1 – Your pantry of existing content.

If there’s one thing that every content marketer has in spades, it’s a fully stocked content pantry. From white papers and eBooks to blog posts and original or third-party research, all of that robust and niche content has the potential to be sliced, diced, and repurposed into something new and fresh.

For TopRank Marketing’s CEO Lee Odden, microcontent is one tasty repurposing ingredient.

“Snackable content can often be managed and repurposed like ingredients to create a main course,” Lee says. “On their own, short form content like quotes, tips, and statistics are useful for social network shares and as added credibility to blog posts, ebooks, and articles.”

And I have a very fitting example of both microcontent and more robust content pieces being repurposed into a tasty dish: the Mastering the Perfect Content Marketing Recipe: 30 Essential Savory & Sweet Content Ingredients eBook.

Mastering the Perfect Content Marketing Recipe eBook

In our quest to be the best answer for our audience, the TopRank Marketing team had created individual, robust blog posts on 30 unique content marketing tactics, all featuring definitions, quotes, examples, and best practices.

And as an integrated digital marketing agency, we wanted to bring all of those tactics together under one roof to give our audience a little strategic food for thought.

We plucked and tweaked the best practices content from each of the blog posts to form the meat of the asset. Then we seasoned it with microcontent-namely original and curated quotes from internal and external experts-to add additional insight and authority. Finally, we topped it off with some new, original content to add a little extra flavor.

Content Marketing Recipe for Inner Chef

[bctt tweet=”Snackable content can often be managed & repurposed like ingredients to create a main course. – @leeodden #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Ingredient #2 – Your spice cabinet of flavorful data and insights.

Herbs and spices often hold the key to unlocking the full potential of any dish or desert-and any good cook has the essentials on hand. So, when it comes to making sure your repurposed content cobbler tastes just right for your audience, it needs to be seasoned with the right data and insight.

“We live in the age of big data. Every marketer has data. Every marketer knows data holds power,” TopRank Marketing’s Annie Leuman stated in her post 5 Reasons Why B2B Content Marketing Works & 5 Reasons It Doesn’t. “And the most forward-thinking marketers are leveraging data and their practical knowledge to draw insights that can be acted upon in their marketing strategy.”

Dig into the data to draw insight on what is resonating most with your audience-as well as what’s leaving a bad taste in their mouth. Then take action on those insights as you repurpose to help improve reach, engagement, completed calls to action, and more.

[bctt tweet=”When it comes to making sure your “content cobbler” tastes just right for your audience, it needs to be seasoned with the right data & insight. – @CaitlinMBurgess #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Ingredient #3 – A drizzle of creativity and experimentation.

Cobbler was born thanks to the creativity of America’s early settlers. And the truth is, marketers, we all have unique creative insights that can be added to the repurposed content cobbler mix to create something different and relevant for our target audiences.

As I heard Jay Acunzo say during his 2016 MarketingProfs B2B Forum presentation on content marketing creativity:

“You’re the key to your creativity. You’re the starter.”

We often feel like we don’t have the tools, technology, the team, or the talent to be highly creative. But we marketers are scrappy in the content kitchen. We’re innovative. We can and have made the absolute most out of whatever resources we’re given. But the key to success here isn’t luck. You have to tinker. You have to experiment. You have to practice. This will not only help you refine your recipe, but also find opportunities to use your resources in new ways.

[bctt tweet=”We #contentmarketers are scrappy in the content kitchen. We’re innovative. We can and have made the absolute most out of whatever resources we’re given. But you have to tinker.” username=”toprank”]

Cook Up Your Own Content Cobbler Recipe

Like early settlers, content marketers need to adapt and innovate in the ever-changing marketing landscape using the resources they have to consistently create quality, engaging, inspiring content.

So, it’s time to get to the kitchen, throw open your content pantry, data and insight spice cupboard, and add a dash of creativity and experimentation to find unique ways to repurpose content that resonates and drives value.

To get the creative juices flowing, check out our Mastering the Perfect Content Marketing Recipe: 30 Essential Savory & Sweet Content Ingredients eBook mentioned above to beef up your content marketing strategy and inspire your own recipe for repurposed content cobbler.

The post A Tasty, Strategic Addition to the Content Marketing Table: ‘Repurposed Content Cobbler’ appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Calling All Content Marketers: Sound Off in Our Content Marketing Planning Survey!

2018 Content Planning Survey

2018 Content Planning Survey

We’re all in this together.

Granted, it might not always feel that way. The current environment we operate in as marketers is a competitive one. But we do have the power to collectively drive our discipline forward, toward greater efficiency and productivity. This begins with sharing knowledge, and improving our understanding of the most prevalent challenges and obstacles being faced.

In this spirit, we’ve partnered with our clients and friends at DivvyHQ to whip up a new 2018 Content Planning Survey, and we’d love your input.

What’s Inside the Survey

The idea is to gather data from a wide range of marketers in efforts to form a clear and accurate picture of how today’s content teams operate and where the key opportunities lie.

[bctt tweet=”“One thing marketers can do to improve their content planning is stop planning each piece of content. The key to an effective editorial plan is committing to a publishing cadence.” @brennermichael” username=”toprank”]

Topics covered in this quick, five-minute survey:

  • Content planning processes and tools
  • Content team structure and collaboration
  • Content marketing tactics and metrics

Insights Content Marketers Will Gain

The more responses added from pros in the trenches like yourself, the more useful the results will be. Among the enlightening findings from DivvyHQ’s 2017 Content Planning Report:

  • 64% of respondents cited “developing a comprehensive content strategy” as a top challenge
  • Only 10% identified “creating clear defined objectives” as a successful aspect of planning
  • 58% of respondents said they were “too busy” to collaborate with peers
  • The most utilized content marketing tactics were email (89%), blog articles (88%) and video (80%)
  • 28% of respondents said they do not conduct regular content planning meetings

[bctt tweet=”“There is such a thing as a bad slow in marketing. But there is a critical need for a good slow, too.” @annhandley” username=”toprank”]

So please, add your voice by filling out the survey. The best part? While you aren’t required to provide an email address, if you do, you’ll receive exclusive early access to the report generated from the aggregated information.

A Fresh Look at Content Planning for 2018

What’s changed this year? Where will we be able to identify trends and prevalent changes in focus? By submitting your own survey, you can be among the first to find out.

Armed with these insights, you’ll be able to better assess how your team measures up against the content marketing world at large, helping to guide your strategy onward and upward.

Together, we can take content to new heights.

The post Calling All Content Marketers: Sound Off in Our Content Marketing Planning Survey! appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Facebook Teases Ad-Free Subscriptions, Google Tests SERP Questions, & Online Ad Spend Jumps

Digital Ad Spending Graph eMarketer

Digital Ad Spending Graph eMarketer

Facebook Weighs Ad-Free Subscription Option

Facebook is considering an ad-free paid subscription option for users, and has recently conducted market research on how such an plan would go over at the company, which brought in the vast majority of last year’s revenue of $41 billion from ad sales. Bloomberg

Instagram quietly launches payments for commerce

Instagram has been testing its own direct payment system among certain app users and partners, in a move that could increase the firm’s native payment footprint. TechCrunch

Google Tests Submitting Question Directly In Search Results

Google has recently tested question forms within search results that allow users to submit questions directly by text or voice to the Internet giant and its various publisher partners. SEO Roundtable

eMarketer Releases New Global Media Ad Spending Estimates

Digital advertising totals could surpass spending on all other media types by 2020 or 2021, according to new report data from eMarketer, rising from this year’s predicted 43.5 percent to 49.9 percent in 2020 and 52.1 percent in 2021. eMarketer

Microsoft and Amazon Show Alexa and Cortana Becoming Friends

Marketers in the Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa voice-controlled personal assistant arena will soon find it easier to work with both platforms, as the firms recently demonstrated a mashup combining the two competing systems. Bloomberg

Facebook is using Instagram photos and hashtags to improve its computer vision

Facebook has utilized Instagram photos and hashtags to make a better image recognition system, which could ultimately help marketers save time and reach wider audiences through so-called weakly supervised learning. VentureBeat

eMarketer Global Ad Spend Stat

May 2018 Google Webmaster Report

Google made a multitude of changes in recent weeks, from mobile search prominence and algorithm adjustments to local search and SEO changes, and many are compiled and covered here. SEO Roundtable

For all the hype about VR, advertisers are more excited by AR (for now)

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) at companies including Facebook and Snapchat have competed for advertising spend, with brands favoring AR recently. DigiDay

What Marketers Should Know About Personality-Based Marketing

Harvard Business Review has taken a close look at personality-based marketing and the research behind the evolving field. Harvard Business Review

Podcasts: Who’s Listening, and What It Means for Marketers (Infographic)

The number of podcast listeners and related advertising spending were both up and trending towards sizable growth, according to a variety of new study data from IAB, Rakuten Marketing, and podcast ranking firm Podtrac. eMarketer

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Influencer Fatigue Marketoonist Cartoon

A lighthearted look at influencer fatigue, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne – Marketoonist

Here Are The Most Amazing Flying Car Designs Featured At Uber’s Elevate Conference – Fast Company

Commodore 64 owners rejoice: The 1541 is BACK – The Register

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden – Looking to Reach Prospects? Consider Going Micro – Chief Marketer
  • Lee Odden – Lee Odden to speak at Indian Digital Marketing Awards (video) – exchange4media

We hope you’ll join us again next week, when we’ll share a new batch of the latest marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Facebook Teases Ad-Free Subscriptions, Google Tests SERP Questions, & Online Ad Spend Jumps appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.