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Joe Pulizzi Shares What it Takes to be a Content Brand at #Pubcon Pro

The post Joe Pulizzi Shares What it Takes to be a Content Brand at #Pubcon Pro appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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The Art Of Crafting More Powerful Content: 5 Top Tactics from the Experts

Craftsperson working and creating.

Welcome to the second piece in our new multi-part “Collective Wisdom” series of content marketing strategy articles, where you’ll learn proven methods taking you from the beginning of the content planning cycle to its final post-publication conclusion, and featuring insight from some of the world’s most respected and successful digital marketers.

Previously in “How to Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts By Planning Ahead,” we looked at implementing a smart and robust content planning strategy. Now it’s time to take a look at the intrinsically important content creation stage of any successful content marketing campaign.

Crafting Powerful Content

As we’ll explore, skillfully crafting content is one of the most important steps on a successful content marketing journey. After all, content is the centerpiece you present to the digital world – so let’s examine some of the strongest tactics to incorporate in your next campaign.

[bctt tweet=”“Crafting content is a mélange in which you wear the varied hats of artist, air traffic controller, plumber, magician, statistician, salesman, marketer, and librarian.” – Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

Tactic 1: Incorporate Appropriate, Effective, and Engaging Visuals

Cinematographe Lumiere Monoco Postal Stamp

Should you use visual elements in your content? Here’s a hint: Yes!

Today’s marketing draws heavily on the use of interesting and compelling images and other visual content to both draw people in and clearly illustrate messages.

It’s no surprise that marketers use more visuals of all types – images, animated GIFs, videos, in-content playable games, and others – than ever before. Over time, a barrage of studies have shown their superior ability for us to remember them. Compared to plain text copy, which by some calculations has only about 10% recall after three days, some 65% of visual content stays in our memories after the same period of time, according to Dr. John Medina’s “Brain Rules” and other studies.

Furthermore, according to HubSpot research, visual content is over 40 times more likely to be shared on social platforms, and brands have become increasingly creative in using techniques including animated GIFs, such as the good examples shown in “10 brands using beautifully creative GIFs right now.”

Videos, graphic presentations, charts and other data visualizations, animated GIFs, stock photos, fine art photos, screenshots, scans, and experimental imagery should all be considered and used to fill your specific content needs. The trick is knowing what to use and where to incorporate it, and understanding your audience helps narrow down the most appropriate and effective visuals for any particular piece of content.

[bctt tweet=”“You’ve got seconds to grab your audience’s attention and only minutes to keep it.” – Dr. John Medina @BrainRulesBooks” username=”toprank”]

TopRank Marketing Senior Content Marketing Manager Joshua Nite has looked into the importance of choosing dynamic and compelling images to include in written content campaigns, as he deftly explains in “How to Choose Dynamic Images for Your Blog Posts.”

[bctt tweet=”“The right visual does more than take up space. It captures attention, creates a little mystery, invites the reader to dig into your carefully-crafted text.” – Josh Nite @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Aside from its use in blog posts, great imagery’s power of engagement carries over into the realm of content promotion.

Josh Nite

“Good visuals are doubly important for amplification, too: Your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn shares will all include an image,” Josh noted.

Knowing your intended audience and where they’re most likely to encounter a link to the shiny new content on your website is an important factor in choosing which visual elements will have the greatest pull and engagement.

For example, if your audience is clicking on a link to your new blog post or other content primarily on Reddit, the imagery and overall experience those people expect and find engaging is usually quite different than what someone finding your content on LinkedIn in looking for.

Use authoritative research on user experience to guide the visual imagery you choose, including the latest statistics on these elements, such as those Jeff Bullas has compiled in his “15 Visual Content Marketing Statistics That’ll Blow Your Mind.”

[bctt tweet=”“People will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Jeff Bullas @jeffbullas” username=”toprank”]

Tactic 2: Make it Easy For Readers to Share Your Content in the Ways They Prefer

Share Scrabble Tiles Image

You can have plenty of winning content in place, but without intuitive and expected methods in place to share your carefully-crafted work, it will likely remain largely a content island unto itself – a phenomena Lee Odden calls Invisible Content Syndrome.

Every audience has their own preferred means of sharing the things they find and love online. So, part of your content creation process should be to see that these methods are fully implemented, whether its as simple as having easily-found social sharing buttons and functionality, offering click-to-tweet messaging, or as advanced as using automatic copying of shortened and trackable URLs.

Heidi Cohen, Chief Content Officer at Actionable Marketing Guide, has gathered together some of her favorite ways of giving readers a variety of ways to share content, in “7 Ways to Get Extra Mileage From Your Blog Posts.”

[bctt tweet=”“It’s eye candy that attracts readers by making it easy for them to get the meaning of your post quickly.” – Heidi Cohen @heidicohen” username=”toprank”]

Heidi Cohen

More content than ever is including click-to-tweet functionality, as it provides a useful way for readers to quickly and easily share key takeaways or especially insightful quotes, however, it may not be right for your content if your audience is not generally using Twitter.

Tactic 3: Harness the Power of Gamification

Gamification Blueprint Image

Interactive content and entertaining game-based or game-like content, including elements such as quizzes, polls, and surveys, are a proven way to boost engagement and content stickiness, raising time-on-page rates as fast as racking up a high score.

According to data from DemandGen, 91% of B2B buyers prefer interactive and visual content, which should come as no great surprise considering that such content stands out and is often a sign of well-thought-out content strategy.

Caitlin Burgess

Live-streaming platform Twitch has grown to become the twelfth most-visited site in the U.S. according to Alexa data, and its 15-million-plus daily users have helped bring active audience participation into the mainstream, as our own content strategist Nick Nelson detailed recently in his fascinating “How Twitch is Breaking New Ground In Audience Engagement #CMWorld.”

Our own Caitlin Burgess recently examined the power of interactive content in “Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content from Boring to Bold,” a helpful deep-dive into not only why this form of content creates such strong engagement, but how to best use it in your content marketing campaigns.

[bctt tweet=”“The real opportunity with #interactivecontent doesn’t lay in the interactivity itself. The real value creation is in the excitement or connection that you can make with your audience.” – Caitlin Burgess @CaitlinMBurgess” username=”toprank”]

Or, as Liraz Rahmin Postan noted in her look at gamification for Outbrain: “As content marketers, it’s so important to keep your audience engaged and motivated to keep going. Fun, game-based and interactive content does this really well.”

Gamification can include video, as our team did ahead of this year’s Content Marketing World conference, with retro 8-bit videos featuring event speakers:

TopRank Marketing digital strategy director Ashley Zeckman shows the entire series of video in “Ready Player One: Top CMWorld Speakers Dish Go-To Classic Content Marketing Combos.”

Tactic 4: Run With Traditional On-Page SEO Tactics

Colorful SEO Dartboard Image

Crafting content wouldn’t be complete without using longstanding, tried-and-true SEO tactics such as basic metadata, some of which are so fundamental that they should always be used. Some of the same metadata elements I first used in 1993 during the pre-Google days are still wise to incorporate, including the ubiquitous-but-important HTML title and description tags.

Eighty-two percent of marketing influencers say that the effectiveness of SEO is generally increasing, according to MarketingProfs and Octos statistics.

Our own CEO, Lee Odden, explores some of these fundamental SEO questions in his “Power Pages and Best Answer Content: Should You Go Long or Short Form?” In addition, SparkToro’s Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz, also takes a look at just what SEO means today in his helpful piece “What Does It Mean to “Write for SEO” in 2018?

[bctt tweet=”“There’s no reason you have to use this old-school junk methodology that became like pseudoscience in the SEO world and had a recent revival. You should be using words & phrases that Google has related to a particular keyword.” – @randfish” username=”toprank”]

Rand Fishkin Image

SEO is so ingrained in the structure of the web that it’s been surprising to hear it being given the last rites by some in the industry.

However, from our perspective, SEO is not only still a viable tactic, but also necessary – you just need to put the time into thoughtfully analyzing the data so you can pull actionable insights.

[bctt tweet=”“Every marketer has access to this data. It’s time to 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.” – @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

Tactic 5: Creativity Is Key For Making Best-Answer Content That Stands Out

Paul Klee Image

No matter how many technical tricks or contraptions you use in a content marketing campaign, the road will be a long uphill one if you don’t present creative and useful information that fills a need for your audience.

Being the best answer is the key tenet of Lee’s “Be the Best Answer: 5 Steps to Grow Influence for Your Brand,” which shows how creating or co-creating relevant and credible content is a vitally important step in a successful digital marketing campaign.

[bctt tweet=”“Influence plays an important role in a ‘Best Answer’ marketing strategy.” – Lee Odden @leeodden” username=”toprank”]

The best content creation involves both art and creativity, as comic author Scott Adams once summed up by pointing out that, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep,” or as artist Paul Klee said, “One eye sees, the other feels.”

The greater the creativity you and your team have, the more of an an edge you can have on the competition, and creative content draws audiences in, entertains, and when done well, enlightens. It’s one of the main ways to differentiate your content.

Tying It All Together – What Next?

Tying The Strings Together Image

By incorporating appropriate, effective, and engaging visuals, making sharing easy, harnessing the power of gamification, using fundamental SEO tactics, and offering best-answer content, your content marketing will include the elements that give your strategy a much better chance at success.

These aren’t the only elements you’ll want to include in your content crafting tool bag, however, and next up we’ll take a close look at another group of important content creation tactics as we continue our “Collective Wisdom” series.

In the meantime learn more by catching us at an upcoming conference or webinar, including these four:

  • Pubcon Las Vegas 2018 on October 17 in Las Vegas – “5 Secrets to Growing Influence in Marketing”
  • ITSMA Marketing Vision 2018 on November 7 in Cambridge, MA. – “Influence the Influencers – How B2B technology companies can build brand awareness with content and influence ”
  • MarketingProfs 2018 Marketing B2B Forum on November 15 in San Francisco – “The Confluence Equation: How Content & Influencers Drive B2B Marketing Success”

The post The Art Of Crafting More Powerful Content: 5 Top Tactics from the Experts appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Google Shutters Plus, B2B Chatbots, Facebook’s Shiny New Pixel, & the Voice Search Bonanza

2018 October 12 News Adode Image

Google+ for G Suite lives on and gets new features

Despite Google shutting down Google+ after an API glitch allowed access to user data, its business version lives on and has even bene given new features. TechCrunch

Marketers struggle to keep up with content creation demand for their personalization efforts

New Adobe survey data shows the content scaling challenges digital marketers are increasingly facing as demand for content creation and personalization has risen. Marketing Land

Should You Entrust Chatbots With B2B Customer Communication?

With some predicting that by 2020 85 percent of customer interactions will be with chatbots, Forbes takes a look at their expanding role in B2B communications. Forbes

Your Move, Apple: Facebook Intros First-Party Cookie Option To Power Its Tracking Pixel

Facebook has launched its own first-party tracking-cookie-powered pixel, with October 24 set as the release date for the new option in its Events Manager. AdExchanger

How Advertising Pros Plan To Leverage The 70 Million Household Voice Search Bonanza

Forbes takes a close look at the increasing importance of creating a successful sonic brand identity, and the challenges of targeting the roughly 70 million U.S. households using voice search. Forbes

Facebook’s ‘Premieres’ videos now available to all global Pages

Facebook has announced its Premiers video format, along with Live Polls and Top Fans, three of the notable new features the social giant has recently rolled out. Marketing Land

Digital Media Content Consumption Posts 15% Gain

Consumption of digital media content has grown by 15 percent, according to a new analysis of recent Nielsen data. The report examines digital content use, with Google, Facebook, Waze, and YouTube all continuing to carry sizable shares. MediaPost

Video Swells to 25% of US Digital Ad Spending

Among U.S. digital advertising spend, video has grown to hold a full quarter portion, according to a new forecast that sees Facebook taking almost 87 percent of social video ad spending, among other findings. eMarketer

Generation Z Americans love Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube mobile apps: A Foolish Take

The Motley Fool looks at a collection of new survey findings showing that some 50 percent of Gen Zers couldn’t “live without” YouTube, one of several insights detailed. USA Today

Today’s CMO must tackle these 3 challenges

A look at some of the B2B marketing requirements CMOs face. MarTech Today

How Voice-Activated Tech Will Change Content Marketing

With 55 percent of U.S. adults expected to have a smart speaker by 2022, voice-activated technology is poised to change the way digital marketers utilize content marketing. Content Marketing Institute

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2018 October 12 Marketoonist Tom Fishburne Cartoon

A lighthearted look at customer satisfaction survey fatigue by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne – Marketoonist

‘Try It Now,’ Shouts Gogo Internet Technician Standing On Plane Wing While Fixing In-Flight Wireless Connection – The Onion

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden – Episode 78 Interview With Lee Odden – Reach or Miss
  • Lee Odden – 20 Digital Marketing Experts You Must Follow On LinkedIn Right Now – Samantha Marketing
  • Lee Odden – Kristen Hicks finds 3 content creation themes for writers at Content Marketing World – The Content Marketing Writer
  • DivvyHQ (client) – 8 Books Every Content Marketing Manager Should Read At Least Once – DivvyHQ

What are some of your own top content marketing news items for the week?

Thank you for joining us, and we hope you’ll check in once more next week for a new group of the most relevant digital marketing industry 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: Google Shutters Plus, B2B Chatbots, Facebook’s Shiny New Pixel, & the Voice Search Bonanza appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Google Shutters Plus, B2B Chatbots, Facebook’s Shiny New Pixel, & the Voice Search Bonanza

2018 October 12 News Adode Image

2018 October 12 News Adode Image

Google+ for G Suite lives on and gets new features

Despite Google shutting down Google+ after an API glitch allowed access to user data, its business version lives on and has even been given new features. TechCrunch

Marketers struggle to keep up with content creation demand for their personalization efforts

New Adobe survey data shows the content scaling challenges digital marketers are increasingly facing as demand for content creation and personalization has risen. Marketing Land

Should You Entrust Chatbots With B2B Customer Communication?

With some predicting that by 2020 85 percent of customer interactions will be with chatbots, Forbes takes a look at their expanding role in B2B communications. Forbes

Your Move, Apple: Facebook Intros First-Party Cookie Option To Power Its Tracking Pixel

Facebook has launched its own first-party tracking-cookie-powered pixel, with October 24 set as the release date for the new option in its Events Manager. AdExchanger

How Advertising Pros Plan To Leverage The 70 Million Household Voice Search Bonanza

Forbes takes a close look at the increasing importance of creating a successful sonic brand identity, and the challenges of targeting the roughly 70 million U.S. households using voice search. Forbes

Facebook’s ‘Premieres’ videos now available to all global Pages

Facebook has announced its Premiers video format, along with Live Polls and Top Fans, three of the notable new features the social giant has recently rolled out. Marketing Land

2018 October 12 Statistics Image

Digital Media Content Consumption Posts 15% Gain

Consumption of digital media content has grown by 15 percent, according to a new analysis of recent Nielsen data. The report examines digital content use, with Google, Facebook, Waze, and YouTube all continuing to carry sizable shares. MediaPost

Video Swells to 25% of US Digital Ad Spending

Among U.S. digital advertising spend, video has grown to hold a full quarter portion, according to a new forecast that sees Facebook taking almost 87 percent of social video ad spending, among other findings. eMarketer

Generation Z Americans love Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube mobile apps: A Foolish Take

The Motley Fool looks at a collection of new survey findings showing that some 50 percent of Gen Z’ers couldn’t “live without” YouTube, one of several insights detailed. USA Today

Today’s CMO must tackle these 3 challenges

A look at some of the increasing number of B2B marketing requirements that CMOs are faced with. MarTech Today

How Voice-Activated Tech Will Change Content Marketing

With 55 percent of U.S. adults expected to have a smart speaker by 2022, voice-activated technology is poised to change the way digital marketers utilize content marketing. Content Marketing Institute

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2018 October 12 Marketoonist Tom Fishburne Cartoon

A lighthearted look at customer satisfaction survey fatigue by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne – Marketoonist

‘Try It Now,’ Shouts Gogo Internet Technician Standing On Plane Wing While Fixing In-Flight Wireless Connection – The Onion

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden – 56 Speakers to See and Meet at PubCon Pro Las Vegas 2018 – Bill Hartzer
  • Lee Odden – 41 Experts Share Their Top Takeaways from Content Marketing World 2018 – Magnificent
  • Lee Odden – How It’s Done #12: Lee Odden from TopRank Marketing – Synup
  • Oracle, SAP, 3M, and GE Digital (clients) – Best Global Brands 2018

    Rankings – Interbrand

  • Lee Odden – Nimble Rated Market Leader in Email Tracking Software by Office 365, G Suite Users on G2 Crowd – VentureBeat
  • Ashley Zeckman – 5 things I’ve learned about the power of influencer-hosted webinars – Techstars

What are some of your own top content marketing news items for the week?

Thanks for joining us, and please check in again next week for a new array of the most relevant digital marketing industry 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: Google Shutters Plus, B2B Chatbots, Facebook’s Shiny New Pixel, & the Voice Search Bonanza appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Prepping for #Pubcon Pro Las Vegas 2018: 11 Presentations We’re Looking Forward to Most

Pubcon Pro

Pubcon Pro Las Vegas 2018 – the search marketing industry’s longest-running conference under the same name – will soon be upon us, and TopRank Marketing will be there speaking and giving you a diverse selection of live-blogging and social media coverage throughout the October 17 – 18 event.

Our chief executive Lee Odden will be a featured main-stage speaker on Wednesday, October 17 from 3:55 – 4:50 p.m., while senior account manager Tiffani Allen and I will be covering the event by liveblogging sessions and sharing useful tips through our social networks.

You can read all about Lee’s much-anticipated presentation in our “Learn to Grow Influence and Trust in Marketing with Lee Odden at #Pubcon Pro 2018” piece, and then dig in and get the inside scoop on 10 of the top speakers who’ll be presenting at Pubcon, in Lee’s “Stop Gambling with Your Marketing and Go Pro with Tips from Ten Pubcon Pro Speakers” conference preview and guide.

Pubcon Pro

We’ll be attending all of the major Pubcon keynotes, featuring Google’s Gary Illyes, Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi, and Mindset Digital’s Debra Jasper, and finally Pubcon Pro’s AMA Panel Closing Keynote.

Here are the sessions we’re looking forward to most, many of which will be liveblogged:

Roger Dooley

Neuro-Conversion: Science-based Ways to Sell More and Spend Less

Date Wednesday October 17

Time 10:30a 11:30a

Ashley Ward, Brian Mcdowell, Dave Rohrer

Data-driven Content Marketing Audit

Date Wednesday October 17

Time 11:35a 12:30p

Rob Woods, Bill Hartzer, Prashant Puri

Advanced SEO Auditing

Date Thursday October 18

Time 2:30p 3:30p

Susan Wenograd, Jim Banks, Dave Roth

Facebook Advertising

Date Wednesday October 17

Time 10:30a 11:30a

Joe Youngblood, Marty Weintraub, Bryant Garvin

Mining the Facebook Machine

Date Wednesday October 17

Time 11:35a 12:30p

Purna Virji

Microsoft: Optimizing Customer Experience in the age of Conversational AI

ate Wednesday October 17

Time 2:55p 3:50p

Lee Odden

5 Secrets to Growing Influence in Marketing

Date Wednesday October 17

Time 3:55p 04:50p

Lee Odden Speaking At Pubcon

Ashley Ward, Erik Stafford, Mark Traphagen

Storytelling and Social Media Messaging

Date Thursday October 18

Time 10:05a 11:05a

Scott Monty

Social Media 2018 – This Time, It’s Personal

Date Thursday October 18

Time 11:10a 12:10p

Lisa Buyer, Michelle Dvorak-Held, Adam Proehl

What’s Working and How to Audit Your Strategy

Date Thursday October 18

Time 1:00p 02:00p

Adam Riemer, Kevin Doory, Dixon Jones

Advanced Link Building and Outreach

Date Thursday October 18

Time 2:30p 3:30p

We’ll See You At Pubcon: Live-Blogging Coverage

This will be my 19th Pubcon*, which is always a unique event that draws a great number of speakers and attendees who don’t attend any other industry conferences. This is due in part to a combination of Pubcon’s more informal and networking-friendly atmosphere and it’s deep roots in the search marketing world, stretching back to Pubcon London in 2000 and earlier.  (*I was Pubcon’s lead editor for a decade.)

We look forward to seeing many of you in person at Pubcon Pro Las Vegas 2018. Keep posted for live-blogging throughout the conference, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank  as well as @Tiffani_Allen and @lanerellis 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 Prepping for #Pubcon Pro Las Vegas 2018: 11 Presentations We’re Looking Forward to Most appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

2019 B2B Content Marketing Trends: The 10 Biggest Opportunities for Marketers

For content marketers, each year’s publication of the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report should be truly exciting. Even more than the latest iPhone announcement. In fact, especially more than the latest iPhone announcement.

Don’t get me wrong: I love a slightly bigger screen, creepy new camera features and a higher price tag as much as the next guy. But the annual report from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs can actually make marketers better at our jobs.

The 2019 edition has officially been released, and there are plenty of thought-provoking stats in just the first couple of pages; high-level attributes of top performers and clear opportunities for improvement.

When I covered this report back in 2016, I focused on five habits of highly successful marketers. But now it’s time to go deeper. Here are 10 opportunities from deep in the 2019 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks – opportunities you may be overlooking.

10 Big Opportunities for B2B Content Marketers

#1: Get Sophisticated

Let’s start with an easy one: Only 11% of respondents clocked in at the “Sophisticated” level of content marketing maturity. Even among the most successful, the number is shocking low: 33%. Just a third of the people who are really rocking it with content marketing are sophisticated.

What needs to change? To get from “Mature” to “Sophisticated,” marketers need to provide accurate measurement to the business, and start scaling content marketing across the organization. That means working with other departments (like Human Resources, Customer Experience, and of course Sales) to find synergies and expand your efforts. And it means getting serious about measurement (more on that later).

[bctt tweet=”Just 11% of #B2B marketers say they’re at the ‘Sophisticated level’ of #contentmarketing maturity. @CMIContent @MarketingProfs” username=”toprank”]

#2: Create (The Right) Documented Content Marketing Strategy

Good news! More respondents had a documented content marketing strategy than last year. Bad news? Sixty-one percent still either don’t have a strategy, or don’t have it written down.

We know that a documented content marketing strategy is one of the strongest indicators of future success. But let’s dig a little deeper. Even for those who have a documented content marketing strategy, only 52% say their strategy makes it easier to identify which metrics to focus on.

If your strategy isn’t helping with measurement, it’s time to revise – even if it’s already written down. The right metrics make it possible to:

  • Experiment and improve
  • Measure conversions
  • Tie your activity to revenue
  • Report on said revenue to the C-suite

[bctt tweet=”61% of #B2B marketers either don’t have a #contentmarketing strategy, or don’t have it written down. @CMIContent @MarketingProfs” username=”toprank”]

#3: Add Paid Promotion

This stat isn’t as dire as the first couple, but it’s still jarring: Only 66% of respondents said they have used paid methods to distribute content. That means a third of marketers are relying on organic reach and existing subscribers to get their content seen.

Why rely on people to choose your content? Why not go out and get the people who will most benefit from seeing it? Paid social media and paid search ads are both critical parts of comprehensive content promotion.

#4: Build Your Community

Only 23% of B2B marketers say they use community building and audience participation to nurture audiences. For a modern digital marketer, this should be a no-brainer. We have more options than ever before to communicate and build relationships with our audience.

We should be participating in forums, available on social media, initiating dialog and encouraging conversation. Most importantly, we should be helping our audience form a community identity with the brand as its center.

[bctt tweet=”Just 23% of #B2B content marketers say they use community building and audience participation to nurture audiences. @CMIContent @MarketingProfs” username=”toprank”]

#5: Get Customer Intel from the Source

Data is a driving force for marketers, and big data is only getting bigger over time. But let’s not throw out the small data. The majority of respondents don’t use customer conversations as a top technique for audience research. Just 42% said talking directly to customers was a priority.

There’s no substitute for first-hand knowledge from real customers in real-time. Talk with Sales and Customer Service about their experiences, but also arrange for your department to collect data straight from customers, too.

#6: Match Content with the Buyer’s Journey

I’ll be brief: 52% said they craft content based on specific stages of the journey. That means nearly half don’t. They should.

The buyer’s journey should inform everything from keyword and topic selection to execution. Aim for a mix of Attract, Engage and Convert-stage content, with the majority on that first stage.

[bctt tweet=”The buyer’s journey should inform everything from keyword and topic selection to execution. – @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#7: Make Influencer Marketing an Integral Part

Here’s a disconnect: 64% said their organization places importance on building relationships with influencers. But only 24% said they actually partner with others on content marketing initiatives.

It’s good to develop relationships with influencers who can help promote your content. However, they’re far more likely to promote when it’s their content, too. Co-create with influencers and you’ll see a boost in motivation, amplification, and excitement for the finished product.

#8: Own Your Audience

Social media sites have made it painfully clear that we don’t own our audience on their platforms. We can only rent access to them, at rates that are continually getting steeper. That’s why it’s crucial to bring your audience to your own land.

Just 43% said they’re trying to build a subscribed audience with their content marketing. That’s a missed opportunity for over half of us. It’s powerful to have your audience opt into your content (and potentially into your community).

#9: Get Serious About Attribution

Marketers are excelling at top-of-funnel measurement. Fully 81% said they had successfully created brand awareness through content marketing in the past year. However, we’re still having immense difficulty proving success at the bottom of the funnel. Only 45% said they have successfully used content to generate sales.

We know content marketing can contribute to sales. The challenges are to create content across the funnel, then correctly attribute content-assisted conversion. We need to move away from last-click models and into more sophisticated weighted attribution. Which ties directly into…

#10: Plan to Measure ROI

Overall, 49% of respondents said they can measure the ROI of their content marketing. But the gulf between most successful and least successful is huge on this one: 72% of the most successful can measure ROI, while only 22% of the least successful can say the same.

The ability to prove the value of your work in straight return on investment is crucial for a number of reasons. First, it makes it easier to secure budget and expand programs. Second, it helps shift the perception of marketing from cost center to revenue center.

Perhaps most importantly, the ability to prove positive ROI requires a higher level of sophistication. It requires becoming both more effective and better at measurement and reporting. As such, proving ROI should be the goal for any organization looking to level up their marketing.

[bctt tweet=”49% of #B2B marketers say they can measure the #ROI of their #contentmarketing efforts. @CMIContent @MarketingProfs” username=”toprank”]

Keep Pursing Content Marketing Maturity

Content marketing has proven its value as a modern marketing tactic. We’re well past the trial stage, past the hype stage, and now we can settle into the refinement and sophistication stage. Use these 10 tips to start leveling up your content marketing now. After all, we only have 12 months until the next benchmarks report. Wouldn’t you like to be in the “most successful” section?

At TopRank Marketing, we believe content marketing success is rooted in becoming the best answer for your audience, wherever and whenever they’re searching. Your buyers have questions and you have the answers. But how detailed do you have to go? Check out Lee Odden’s post on long-form versus short-form content.

The post 2019 B2B Content Marketing Trends: The 10 Biggest Opportunities for Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

What You Need to Know About Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing

Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing

Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing

Why would B2B brands be interested in using Instagram Stories as a marketing channel?

It starts with a very simple premise: B2B customers are people, and people use Instagram, which eclipsed 1 billion active monthly users over the summer. And when it comes to the platform’s “Stories” format, it surpassed the similarly oriented Snapchat in users within a year of its 2016 launch.

Instagram Active Users

Of course, the issue here is more one of context. Can business-focused content really succeed on a social network that slants so strongly toward casual, leisure surfing?

As we’ll see, B2B companies are showing that yes, it can. And there’s plenty of opportunity to take it a step further.

Businesses Are Taking Interest in Instagram Stories

As Digiday noted last month, the popularity and versatile functionality of Instagram Stories have prompted advertisers to shift more of their ad spend to the platform. In the same piece, we learn that completion rates for Instagram Stories are on the rise, and younger age groups have been gravitating toward them.

With these insights in mind, it’s easy to see why Instagram Stories are attracting a larger share of commercial consciousness.

There’s also one feature in particular that makes this format appealing for marketers, even compared to standard Instagram advertising:

The ability to integrate links and calls to action.

Typically, Instagram only allows you to include an external hyperlink in your user bio. But with Stories, you can drop a CTA into each individual piece of content. For B2B brands, which are often more focused on measurable marketing outcomes than their B2C counterparts, this is huge.

This turns each piece of content into its own referral opportunity, and it allows connected pieces of content to be organized into a living content funnel,” writes Jonathan Crowl at the Content Standard. “While the experience of watching multiple pieces of connected content can function as a content funnel, qualifying users and leading them toward a conversion, each individual piece of content can potentially serve as its own CTA, leading users to a corresponding external destination relevant to their position in the content funnel.”

Reports suggest that links in Instagram Stories were generating “swipe-through rates” of 15%-25% within a month of the functionality being rolled out.

Why Instagram Stories Are Gaining B2B Buzz

In his aforementioned article, Crowl cites examples of IBM leveraging Instagram Stories for thought leadership, and MailChimp using it to showcase company culture. These are mainstays for B2B content marketing, and Instagram is well suited for them as a platform.

“Stories is the one place where brands are able to actually give people a peek behind the curtain in terms of who they are and what they’re all about,” said Instagram’s Morgan Cornelius in a recent interview with Fast Company. “This allows them to establish authenticity with their customers.”

As we frequently emphasize here on the TopRank Blog, authenticity is a critical differentiator for B2B brands, albeit a difficult one to nail down.

The other big advantage of Instagram Stories lies in serialized storytelling. This style of content delivery can drive much greater engagement and build trust with storytelling – both top B2B priorities.

Clever use of narrative in combination with the CTA functionality enables marketers to “create a mini-funnel to drive viewers toward a conversion,” suggests Nina Zoukelman of Oktopost, pointing to a campaign where Cisco strung together interactive visual insights from its Annual Cybersecurity Report before inviting viewers to click and download the PDF:

Instagram Stories Tutorial

[bctt tweet=”The other big advantage of #InstagramStories lies in serialized #storytelling. – @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

Why Many B2B Brands Remain Reluctant

As we alluded earlier, there are some lingering hold-ups when it comes to using Instagram for B2B marketing. One is the mindset and demographics of its users, who tend to skew younger and more casual.

There’s also the makeup of Instagram’s content, which is primarily visual. This often works well for B2C companies marketing products, but not necessarily as well for B2B companies marketing solutions or services.

The Instagram Stories format itself has some drawbacks as well. For instance, Digiday points out that these are not great for increasing your overall footprint on the platform: “Posts that aren’t Instagram Stories generate three times more reach on average compared to those that are.” This is offset by the highly engaging nature of this content, but if you don’t have much of a following on the ‘Gram yet, your brand may not find a ton of value in this approach.

The Untapped B2B Opportunity in Instagram Stories

According to annual benchmarking research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, Instagram adoption hasn’t increased all that much for B2B. In 2015 the percentage checked in at 24%, and here in 2018 it’s only up to 30%.

So clearly, despite its dramatic user base growth, Instagram still hasn’t caught on with the B2B marketing community at large, in part because of the downsides mentioned above.

While Instagram may always be a more B2C-friendly social channel, I have little doubt that it’s going to start gaining more B2B traction, with the business-friendly nature of Instagram Stories helping foster this growth. And since advertisers are still finding their way with Instagram Stories, the cost of placing ads within them remains relatively low compared to the main mobile feed format.

Creative and ambitious B2B marketers can get ahead of the curve by using this feature to:

  • Showcase thought leadership and behind-the-scenes company culture
  • Increase authenticity with audiences
  • Create content funnels leading to strategic CTAs
  • Craft compelling serialized stories that engage and inspire

Much like Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories offer a nascent playground for B2B marketing. If you’re looking to experiment with new channels as you peer ahead to 2019, these both stand out as great opportunities.

To learn more about the current social media marketing landscape from a B2B-centric perspective, check out these other posts from the TopRank Marketing Blog:

[bctt tweet=”Much like #FacebookStories, #InstagramStories offer a nascent playground for #B2BMarketing. If you’re looking to experiment with new channels as you peer ahead to 2019, these both stand out as great opportunities. – @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

The post What You Need to Know About Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Enterprise B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Amisha Gandhi, SAP Ariba

Amish Gandhi Influencer Marketing Interview

Amish Gandhi Influencer Marketing Interview

One of the pioneers in the enterprise B2B influencer marketing space that I’ve been most fortunate to collaborate with most is Amisha Gandhi, (AmishaGandhi) Vice President of Influencer Marketing at SAP Ariba.

Whether it was the SAP Leonardo launch microsite with interactive content and 30+ influencers sharing their expertise reaching 21 million views or campaigns like this one with Arianna Huffington plus internal and external influencers for SAP SuccessFactors, there’s a lot of success in the momentum Amisha has created in the B2B influencer marketing world.

As the creator of SAP’s Global Influencer Program, Amisha has numerous B2B influencer marketing case studies being used in articles and presentations all over the industry. Now her focus is specifically with the Ariba global program that also includes working with analysts, communities and brand partners.

In this interview, Amisha talks about going beyond creating awareness to working with influencers to engage specific customer personas across the entire customer journey. She also shares her favorite tools and her vision of what influencer marketing will be in 2020.

Many B2B companies focus on their influencer partnerships to raise brand awareness and engagement. How does working with influencers in B2B help drive leads, sales and revenue?

A lot of companies focus on the awareness piece of influencer marketing and that would be called influencer relations.

Influencer marketing focuses on the entire customer journey, driving demand, leads and to help with nurture. @AmishaGandhi @SAPAriba

Influencer marketing focuses on the entire customer journey, driving demand, leads and to help with nurture. This includes co-creating content for demand generation with influencers, having them as speakers on your lead generation activities such as webinars and involved with your high value, high touch customer activities.

With influencer marketing, you’re looking to offer a better experience to your customers and deliver knowledge-based educational content with a third-party voice. These experiences can be achieved through content, influencers speaking directly to customers, nurturing them through digital and high value assets. This is the approach with influencers will help you to drive sales journey and demonstrate pipeline touch.

How is influencer marketing positioned within your company? Ex: independent department that serves the brand and departments / business unites or is it more decentralized? What are the advantages of that structure?

Influencer marketing sits within global marketing at Ariba under corporate marketing. Ours is somewhat of an unconventional model with an influencer marketing team comprised of analyst relations, third party communities, external business influencers, and advocacy.

The advantage of this structure is that it allows us to bring communities of influence together to help drive real business outcomes across the entire customer journey.

What tips can you share about being more effective about influencer identification, qualification or recruitment?

The biggest piece of advice I can share is don’t just look at popularity metrics and social media following. Go beyond what the numbers are and see what that data really means. Don’t just look at followers, look at engagement. at who influencers are engaging with, how many comments they receive and how long they’ve been engaging.

Also, don’t just rely on social media. Look at which influencers are speaking at conferences and who else they are connected to. Often times influencers on a specific topic are at similar conferences and engaging on social with each other. Start seeing those connections because that’s going to help you create a more effective program.

Look at the conversations influencers are driving and take a deep dive across all their channels. @AmishaGandhi @SAPAriba

Look at the conversations influencers are driving and take a deep dive across all their channels. Discover what they are writing about and where and if it fits with what you are doing and the audience you are trying to reach.

When recruiting an influencer, make sure that it’s clear you’ve spent quality time getting to know what they care about and why they should care about you. Make it really clear what’s in it for them, not just what’s in it for you.

When recruiting an influencer, make sue that it’s clear you’ve spent quality time getting to know what they care about and why they should care about you. Make it really clear what’s in it for them, not just what’s in it for you.

What characteristics make for a successful influencer / B2B brand relationship?

The biggest misconception about influencer marketing is that it’s all about social media and that you should buy influence to shout out marketing messages. Companies should approach influencers as partners, not just as people that they can use for their marketing efforts and launches.

Companies should approach influencers as partners, not just as people that they can use for their marketing efforts and launches. @AmishaGandhi @SAPAriba

It’s really about building a relationship that brings value to both parties.

When you look at the characteristics for a successful B2B brand relationship you are:

  1. Looking at creating value for both parties
  2. Creating a long term and lasting relationship that is a two way street
  3. Setting up your influencers for success and arm them with knowledge before they walk into any kind of engagement
  4. Arming your brand stakeholders with information as well so interactions are high value between the company and the influencers
  5. Being clear with the influencers on what it is that you’re trying to achieve

Often times the influencers will share their view of the market bringing in insights that you don’t have, and you need to be open to this as well. You may not like what you always hear, but it can bring an outside-in perspective that can inform the business.

What advice can you share about measuring success with influencer marketing?

When you are implementing an influencer marketing campaign understand the business outcome that you are helping to achieve. Once you know the specific business outcome, put the metrics you want to track in a dashboard.

For example, with a campaign that involves an eBook, your metrics might include social media shares, social impressions to see how it was promoted by influencers, views or downloads depending on how it’s set up.

If you set up measurement correctly with the right tagging you can see how much touch the asset had. If you have Marketo you can see when people come to the asset and where they go after, which helps inform your customer journey and how the influencer marketing pieces are working within your entire marketing landscape.

Once you have those metrics in place you can use them as a benchmarks so the next time you have a program you can go back and see what your baseline measurements are.

A lot of marketers look at social media impressions and social engagement. In B2B influencer marketing, there’s a lot of focus on engagement with assets and the customer journey, so you will want to make sure you have like minded metrics that fit into your marketing landscape that people will understand.

Make sure that you have quantifiable metrics – but also don’t be afraid to bring up qualitative metrics as well. @AmishaGandhi @SAPAriba

For example, if you did a webinar with influencers, you might say you saw 2X leads and 4X engagement which is going to be important way to report performance. Even if you don’t have hard numbers, you should be able to share comparative metrics so that people understand the value of using influencer marketing versus not .

It is important to have both quantitative and qualitative metrics. It’s important to show both the art and science of influencer marketing.

Speaking of technologies, any favorite tools or platforms you can share?

Some of our favorite tools are Traackr, Marketo & Sprinkler.

  • Traackr is for influencer marketing
  • Sprinklr is for scheduling and putting content out on social media networks
  • Marketo is what can help you analyze the journey.

These are all tools that can help you show the measurability of influencer marketing and to quantify the program.

How do you think influencer marketing will have evolved in the next year or two? What will it look like in 2020?

I think influencer marketers will start to look beyond influencer relations. Today you see a lot of influencers at events and I think in the next few years you’ll see a lot more influencers during the demand cycle and involved with more content and activities deeper in the sales funnel.

In the next few years you’ll see a lot more influencers during the demand cycle and involved with more content and activities deeper in the sales funnel. @amishagandhi @sapariba

There is also a growing importance around micro-influencers in industries where macro influencers are covering wide ranging topics like artificial intelligence. There will be more micro-influencers involved with industry specific content (I.e, AI within manufacturing).

In the next few years I think we’re going to go away from influencer marketing and start thinking about what influences the customer journey. B2B companies will move more into influence marketing versus influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing will be seen more as a strategic function if you can stretch it across the customer journey.

In two years, I think we’ll go beyond influencer marketing. It will be about the intrinsic value of influence.

Thank you Amisha! 

B2B Forum 2018

If you would like to learn more about B2B influencer marketing from a panel of brand experts, be sure to check out our sesssion at MarketingProfs B2B Forum November 13-15th featuring Konstanze Brown from Dell, Amisha Gandhi from SAP Ariba and Lucianna Moran from Dun & Bradstreet.

Here are the details:

The Confluence Equation: How Content & Influencers Drive B2B Marketing Success

Content and influencer marketing are hot topics for B2B marketers all over the world as two of the most promising strategies for attracting, engaging and converting ideal customers. What many marketers don’t realize is how collaborating with influencers can create even more credible, relevant, and optimized experiences for target accounts. Join moderator Lee Odden and an expert panel of B2B brand influencer marketing executives from SAP, Dell and Dun & Bradstreet to learn how working with influencers and their communities can help scale quality B2B content that gets results.  You’ll learn:

  • The variety of benefits from B2B influencer collaboration
  • How major B2B brands plan, implement and measure influencer content
  • About processes and technologies that support influencer marketing success

We hope to see you there!

Be sure to check out the other Enterprise B2B Influencer Marketing interviews in this series:

Another resource that you might find interesting is this presentation on Big Brand Influencer Marketing:

The post Enterprise B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Amisha Gandhi, SAP Ariba appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Search & Social’s Strong Ad Growth, Facebook’s Breach Fallout, & Reddit Tops 1B Native Video Views

2018 October 5 News Image

Social and Search Forecast to Contribute Two-Thirds of Global Ad Growth Through 2020

By 2020 search and social are expected to account for 66 percent of global ad spend growth, according to new research data by Zenith. Video ad spend growth has also surpassed that of static images. Spending for online video ads is forecast to grow annually by 18 percent, while that of social media looks to grow by 16% annually. MarketingCharts

Reaction: Facebook advertisers on alert as network breach exposes 50m user accounts

In the wake of Facebook’s recent revelation of a security breach that exposed some 50 million user accounts, advertisers have reexamined their advertising with the social media giant, and some have pulled the plug entirely, at least temporarily, including Mozilla and Sonos. The Drum

Reddit Surpasses 1 Billion Video Views, Closes in on 1 Million Uploads Per Month

Reddit has announced that the social news aggregation and discussion site has topped the billion native video view mark, while also nearing a million video uploads per month. Reddit also revealed that its ad revenue has tripled over the past three years. DigiDay

Employers Are Looking for ‘Influencers’ Within Their Own Ranks

The Atlantic has taken a close look at how some employers are eyeing their own employees and customers as brand ambassadors. The Atlantic

SAP, Microsoft and Adobe announce data alliance

Adode, SAP (client), and Microsoft have announced a data alliance, with the launch of the joint Open Data Initiative. The move is meant to streamline interoperability between the business software firms’ respective platforms. Reuters

Seven Examples of Outstanding B2B Marketing Campaigns

MarTechSeries has examined some of the best recent B2B marketing campaigns, highlighting notable work from firms including Hubspot, Salesforce, Google, and SAP (client). MarTechSeries

2018 October 5 Statistics Image

LinkedIn steps into business intelligence with the launch of Talent Insights

Microsoft’s LinkedIn has recently announced a set of new business intelligence features. With Talent Insights, LinkedIn (client) further expands the firm’s position as an IT productivity tool. TechCrunch

Facebook Added a Premium Option for Its In-Stream Video Ads

Facebook has announced a new premium version of its in-stream video advertisements, with better placement available to a group of select publishers and creators. AdWeek

Pew: Internet adoption, social media usage have been flat since 2016

Social media use, device ownership, and the number of new Internet users have each remained largely flat since 2016, according to new survey research from the Pew Research Center. The report also looks at the issue of saturation. Pew Research Center

Facebook Publishes New Report on the Growing Benefits of Messaging for Business

Facebook recently released a new report exploring how messaging offers expanding benefits for businesses. The study also examines brand-consumer messaging on the platform. Social Media Today

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2018 October 5 Marketoonist Tom Fishburne Cartoon

A lighthearted look at evidence-based marketing by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne – Marketoonist

Being funny can make you money. Just ask Apple, IBM, and Taco Bell – Fast Company

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden – Episode 78 Interview With Lee Odden – Reach or Miss
  • Lee Odden – 20 Digital Marketing Experts You Must Follow On LinkedIn Right Now – Samantha Marketing
  • Lee Odden – Kristen Hicks finds 3 content creation themes for writers at Content Marketing World – The Content Marketing Writer
  • DivvyHQ (client) – 8 Books Every Content Marketing Manager Should Read At Least Once – DivvyHQ

What are some of your own top content marketing news items for the week?

Thank you for joining us, and we hope you’ll check in once more next week for a new group of the most relevant digital marketing industry 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: Search & Social’s Strong Ad Growth, Facebook’s Breach Fallout, & Reddit Tops 1B Native Video Views appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.