Digital Marketing News: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth

Instagram IGTV Announcement

With IGTV, Instagram Takes Aim at YouTube

Instagram has added the ability to upload videos up to an hour long, with the launch of its new IGTV feature, offering digital marketers a much bigger video canvas. Instagram also announced that it has broken through the one billion user barrier. Wired

Unilever stops working with digital media influencers who buy followers

Unilever has ceased working with social media influencers who buy followers, a first-of-its-kind effort to increase influencer transparency, the mega-brand recently announced. Marketing Land

Marketing-driven revenue from mobile apps has grown 80% since 2016

Marketers focusing on mobile may be on the right track, as mobile apps have driven a vast 80 percent marketing revenue expansion since 2016, according to voluminous new report data from Facebook and marketing analytics firm AppsFlyer, detailing major differences among the gaming, shopping, and travel markets. Venture Beat

For $150, Most Users Will Sell Personal Information to Brands

$150 would persuade most consumers to sell certain portions of their personal data to their favorite brands, according to recent survey data of U.S., U.K., and German Internet users. eMarketer

Reddit brings autoplay native video ads to desktop and mobile

Reddit’s traditionally sparse advertising will make way for new auto-play video ads on both its mobile and desktop sites, the increasingly popular social news aggregation, content rating, and discussion website announced recently. Tech Crunch

Instagram’s new shopping bag icon adds e-commerce element to advertisers’ Stories

Instagram has given certain advertisers new e-commerce features that will add a shopping bag icon to Instagram Stories, a move that could eventually be rolled out to all advertisers. Marketing Land

Google replacing video boxes with video carousel on desktop search

Google has moved almost completely to the carousel format for videos among desktop search results, providing new opportunities for digital marketers. Search Engine Land

Friday, June 22, 2018 News Statistics Image

Twitter Launches New Site to Provide Insights into How to Make Best Use of the Platform

Twitter launched its Twitter Media site to help digital marketers best make use of the platform’s latest features, including case studies and other best-practice-oriented content. Social Media Today

Bing Ads With Enhanced Targeting Settings & Dimensions Tab

Bing rolled out new advertising features including more precise location and device targeting, along with upgraded analytics information with a new Bing Ads Dimensions feature. SEO Roundtable

YouTube Like & Dislike Counts Are Now More Accurate

YouTube updated the way it tabulates video likes and dislikes, in an effort to combat spam, a move than should prove beneficial to digital marketers. Search Engine Journal

Want to Win Over Millennials and Gen Z? Vice’s New Study Says Brands Should Get Spiritual

The key elements marketers most need to tap into when targeting millennials and Gen-Z include surprises such as spirituality, according to new study data by Vice. Vice

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist Personalization Gap Cartoon

A lighthearted look at the personalization gap in marketing, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne – Marketoonist

The EU’s bizarre war on memes is totally unwinnable – Wired

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Flying Orange Man With Wieners on His Belt! – AdWeek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Ashley Zeckman – What’s Trending: Ride the Marketing Merry-Go-Round – LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden – The Keys to Successful B2B Content and Influence Programs – WriterAccess

What are your top content marketing news stories this week?

Thanks for stopping by, and please join us next week for another lineup 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: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth | http://www.toprankblog.com

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CMWorld Interview: Thinking Inside the (Answer) Box with Courtney Cox

In a digital marketing career that has spanned numerous roles, often with a heavy focus on SEO, Courtney Cox has watched plenty of trends come and go.

But like many of us, she’s convinced that answer boxes (or “featured snippets,” or “position zero,” as you will) hold the key to search success going forward.

Not only do these “best answer” results attain prime visibility on SERPs, but as voice search continues to grow more prominent, they are likely to become the only result for many user queries within a few years.

Recognizing the magnitude of this topic, Cox will dedicate her session at Content Marketing World to Position 0: Optimizing Your Content to Rank in Google’s Answer Boxes. Drawing from her experience at Children’s Health, where she’s tasked with helping modernize the digital experience in an industry that has been – by her own admission – a little behind the curve, she’ll offer up practical advice for claiming this crucial real estate.

As we eagerly await her afternoon session on September 5th in Cleveland, OH, we had a chance to ask Cox about some pertinent matters relating to her specialization. Here’s what she had to say about data-driven conversion rate optimization, strategizing through competitive analysis, speaking the language of coding as marketers, and more.

What does your role as Digital Marketing Manager at Children’s Health entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

I have a team of strategists and editors that manages the online experience for our patient families. This includes everything from the user experience of Childrens.com, SEO, paid search, and management of our local listings across the web.

We are currently in a major transition period. Our goal is to provide the best online experience of any pediatric healthcare system in the country. Healthcare as an industry is behind the times, and historically, we have been no exception. As the cost of healthcare goes up, our consumers place more scrutiny on the total value of their experience with our system.

We typically think of that experience beginning when patient families walk through our doors; however, the initial patient experience frequently begins online with a search and ends online with a review. It’s our job to use the digital experience to show the value of our clinical services, reduce the anxiety of our patient families, and provide them with the information they need to make the right decisions for their child.

This year, that means implementing rigorous user testing, redesigning nearly every template on Childrens.com, taking advantage of advanced search tactics such as structured data and accelerated mobile pages, and publishing reviews directly on our website.

 

What is one thing that most company websites could be doing better when it comes to driving sales and conversions?

Fair warning – I’m going to try not to get on my soapbox about this one, but it’s hard because I feel so passionately about it.

Digital marketers need to abandon the “gut feeling” approach to conversion rate optimization. In the days of expensive usability labs and split-testing software, businesses with limited budgets could be excused from making data-driven, customer-centered optimizations. Those days are over.

If you want to outperform your competitors, you must start listening to your customers and responding to their behavior. If you’re not using free tools like Google Optimize for split testing or one of the infinite number of inexpensive user testing options available, then I guarantee you are failing your customers in some way in which you’re currently unaware.


Digital marketers need to abandon the “gut feeling” approach to conversion rate optimization. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld

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Moving on to your subject of focus at CMWorld: Aside from the obvious placement benefits, why is it so important to aim for ‘Position 0’ on Google search results?

‘Position 0’ results (aka ‘Featured Snippets’, aka ‘Answer Boxes’) are important for a number of reasons. As you mentioned, prominence at the top of the search engine results page positions your website for more engagement and clicks than a lower position, but that’s not all.

Voice platforms like Google Home rely heavily on the position 0 results to give answers to voice queries from their users. For example, if you ask Google Home, “why can’t my kid sleep?” you’ll get an excerpt from Childrens.com that shows in the Google answer box for the same query on Google.

It’s been predicted that by 2020, half of all searches will be done through voice, and most of those searches will be headless (on a screenless device like Amazon Alexa or Google Home). In those cases, position 0 is the only result. You want to own that space.

 

How can competitive analysis improve our efforts to land an Answer Box?

The best thing to start with is to take inventory of the websites populating the answer boxes for queries you want to dominate. Then go look at what they’re doing on their pages. Are they using natural language in their headlines? Do they have structured data? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Is there a theme across all the sites that you can mimic?

Then, you’ll want to match what they’re doing right and take advantage where they’re failing. In my experience, most websites are not well-optimized for the answer boxes, and they’re ranking through dumb luck. A little effort goes a long way.


In my experience, most websites are not well-optimized for the answer boxes, and they’re ranking through dumb luck. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld

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When it comes to working toward Position 0, which optimization techniques pay dividends above and beyond the SEO impact?

Any time that you invest significant effort into providing quality content that answers your visitors’ questions in a well laid out and easy-to-digest format, you’re going to start seeing payoffs beyond rankings. I think most content marketing folks understand that.

To ensure our content is high quality and highly relevant to what our customers need, we’ve been using a new technique that starts with the “People Also Ask” questions on Google. Basically, we type in a query we want to rank for, take inventory of the “People Also Ask” questions that appear for that query, and answer those questions directly in our content with the question itself as an H2 on the page.

Google is giving us a gift; by revealing these questions to us, they give us a deeper look than ever into the aggregation and relation of their search data. We’d be foolish not to utilize this data to create the most relevant content for users and position ourselves as a valuable thought leader.


Any time that you invest significant effort into providing quality content that answers your visitors’ questions, you’re going to start seeing payoffs beyond rankings. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld

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What does the emergence of the Answer Box tell us about how search engines are changing to serve the user experience? What do you foresee as the possible next step in that direction?

The demands on our time are greater every day, and folks’ attention spans are ever shorter. We want answers, and we want them now. Answer boxes are just a response to that.

I won’t be surprised if five or 10 years from now, Google has enough functionality and feature sets that the majority of small businesses won’t need their own websites. You’ve already seen less reliance on individual ecommerce sites with the emergence of Amazon and even Etsy. Google could make this possible for service-based businesses like barber shops and coffee shops.

People get kind of anxious about that, especially those in the web development business, but the commoditization of the web has always been a reality. Those of us in digital marketing must adapt or die. And, on the client side, if Google is sending the business, why wouldn’t you want to reduce the cost of doing business by eliminating web hosting fees?

 

How can content marketers work more smoothly and seamlessly with development teams to get things done efficiently? Where do you see the most common snags?

I’m so lucky at Children’s because we have a marketing technology team that sits with us, and they are some of the most talented and easy-to-work with folks I’ve known in my career.

But I know not everyone has that luxury. I think the thing that has helped me most in my career is that I’ve also been a developer. While not every content marketer can go out there and learn a coding language, they should really try to learn as much about that world as they can. It helps when you’re requesting the implementation of structured data or Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that you understand the complexities or at least how much work it will take.

In my experience, developers really appreciate it when you consult with them about a request. “Have you heard about AMP? What do you think about it? I think it could really improve mobile traffic – does it have any downsides from your perspective?” That consultation goes a long way for buy in down the road.


While not every content marketer can go out there and learn a coding language, they should really try to learn as much about that world as they can. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

You mean besides Tina Fey?

I’m a real tech geek, so the “How to Use Artificial Intelligence to Build and Optimize Content” and “Let’s Chat: How Messaging Apps, Chatbots, and Voice Assistants Will Impact Your Business in the Next 3-5 Years” have really piqued my interest. These are the things I hope we can get ahead of the game on to become healthcare digital marketing leaders.

Unpack More Answers

We thank Courtney for her great answers, which were extremely enlightening even if they didn’t come in a box.

For more expert insights on all of your most pressing questions, dive into the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing below!


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Creating Content Connections: 10 Lessons in Resonance from Content Marketing Pros

Lessons in Content Marketing

Lessons in Content Marketing

Spot on.

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Truth.

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Yaaaaaaaaaas!

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It’s hard to contain the excited, “uh huh” head nodding when you read, watch, or listen to a piece of content that really hits home … strikes the right chord … illuminates something deep inside your soul.

And for us marketers, these moments should remind us of an important digital marketing truth:

Creating content that resonates is key to building rapport, credibility, and trust with our audience, and, ultimately, driving marketing results.

When a piece of content connects with a customer or buyer, it makes them feel like you get it, that you understand their point of view or struggle-and that you may be worth paying attention to.

In my time at TopRank Marketing, I’ve had the pleasure of reading, watching, listening, and talking to some of our industry’s brightest minds as they share insights or tips that really resonated with me as a content writer and strategist-teaching me and reminding me of the importance of resonance in the content we create and how we share it with our audience.

Below I share some of those lessons that you can hopefully use to create more meaningful connections across channels with your content.

#1 – Comedy creates some of the most intimate connections.

Tim Washer of CiscoAs part of our Behind the Marketing Curtain series, I was lucky enough to speak with Tim Washer, a comedy and marketing genius as well as Cisco’s Creative Director of SP Marketing.

As he shared his story and his perspective on comedy in marketing, his lesson in resonance was quite simple: Comedy demonstrates empathy-and empathy creates connection.

Let’s face it, a lot of true comedy comes from pain. So, when we can come out and touch on a customer pain point, we show them that we understand their point of view. When we do something that is self-deprecating, when we look vulnerable, and when we let our guard down a little bit that’s when we make a connection.

These days, there’s so little content out there that truly connects with people. … So much of marketing is telling people how great we are. But with comedy-especially in the form of video-we can show them that we’re not always going to tell you how great we are. And if you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make.

Marketers need to let their guard down if we want our customers and buyers to do the same-and you can do this “on brand.” Good comedy is certainly an art; you don’t just throw “something funny” at your audience. Use your audience and their pain points as your guide to thoughtfully create content that will connect and make them giggle.

Read my full interview with Tim.

Follow Tim on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”If you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make. – @timwasher #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#2 – If you want to connect with your audience, be dedicated to helping them learn.

Mina SeetharamanA common goal for many brands want to build thought leadership by creating authoritative, credible content. But pushing your amazing product or service is not how you get there, as Mina Seetharaman, Executive Vice President and Global Managing Director of Content and Marketing Solutions for The Economist Group, told us in our interactive, supercharge your digital marketing infographic.

Thought leadership is about solving, not selling. People wake up thinking about their problems, not your product. In our research, Thought Leadership Disrupted, only 28% of marketers cited helping their audience become more knowledgeable as a primary objective. True thought leaders don’t push product, they understand their audience and share ideas to help them tackle issues.

People are constantly searching for answers to their burning questions and resources that will help them learn and find ways to solve their problems. When you make it a point to be the best answer for their inquiry, you have the opportunity to make a real impact.

Find more tips for supercharging your digital marketing.

Follow Mina on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”True thought leaders don’t push product, they understand their audience and share ideas to help them tackle issues. – @minaseeth #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#3 – Less is often more.

2017 marked my first trip to one of the industry’s biggest events: Content Marketing World.

While there, I attended the incomparable Ann Handley‘s session. There she revealed five “radiant” writing secrets inspired by the classic novel Charlotte’s Web.

The MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer’s session was designed to help content writers become more thoughtful in how they approach content and make an impact on their audience. Ann challenged us all to:

Think of how Charlotte was able to save a life with just [a few] words. How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference?

It’s certainly no secret that we’re living in a world of content abundance. But if we want to create content that really resonates and makes our audience feel something, we need to remember that less is often more.

Read more from Ann’s session.

Follow Ann on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”Less is more in writing. How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference? – @annhandley @MarketingProfs #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#4 – When it comes to social content, don’t let your personal brand get in the way of your brand’s message.

Beverly Jackson Once again, our Behind the Marketing Curtain series gave me the honor of speaking with social, content, and customer experience wiz Beverly Jackson, now Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International.

When asked about a bad social media habit marketers needed to drop, her immediate response was: Too much self-promotion that gets in the way of a brand’s story:

The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects-not the marketers. And the bottom line is: marketers should never get in the way of that relationship.

Your brand needs to own the relationship with the audience if you want to make an impact. Of course, you should do what you can do evangelize your brand, but don’t confuse your audience by using your brand and its content to propel your profile. It can backfire.

Read my full interview with Beverly.

Follow Beverly on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”#SocialMedia allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects. Marketers should never get in the way of that.  – @bevjack #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#5 – Don’t settle for crappy content-your audience (and search engines) certainly won’t.

Josh NiteIn the fall of 2017, my talented colleague Joshua Nite made his speaking debut at a local bloggers’ event. During his presentation, he declared that it was time to flip the script on how we craft content.

With search engines getting smarter and our audience being more self-directed in research than ever, Joshua said making the switch from SEO-driven content to content-driven SEO is the key to resonating with both readers and robots.

There’s never been a better opportunity to write great content that people actually want to read and that will get seen in search results. So, go forth and be awesome. And please, please-don’t settle for writing crappy content.

While seasoned marketers may say “duh” to this little reminder, I’d wager we all have room for improvement here. So here it is: We can’t settle. We need to innovate. We need to be thoughtful. And above all, we need to create content that our audience will actually enjoy reading.

Read more from Josh’s presentation.

Follow Josh on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”Go forth and be awesome. But please, please-don’t settle for writing crappy content. – @NiteWrites #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#6 – Your audience is already telling you how to connect with them.

Another pro I had the pleasure of interviewing for the Behind the Marketing Curtain series was author, customer experience and social media expert, and marketing veteran Dan Gingiss, now the Vice President, Strategic Group for Persado.

While much of our conversation focused on social customer care, Dan said something simple-and perhaps even obvious-but it’s a good lesson nonetheless:

Always be listening. People will generally tell you everything you need to know about your business-what’s working, what needs fixing, and what could be your next big hit. Marketers need to embrace the feedback, including compliments, questions, and complaints.

From social media comments to customer surveys to inquiries or sales calls, brand or company has access to direct feedback from their ideal customers or buyers. They’re giving you an opening to make a connection. Use it to create content that answers their burning questions, quells their top concerns, or empathizes in a way that sparks agreement and head nodding.

Read my full interview with Dan.

Follow Dan on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”Always be listening. People will generally tell you everything you need to know about your business. – @dgingiss #LessonsInResonance #SociaMedia” username=”toprank”]

#7 – “Story” is everything-and influencers can be compelling characters.

Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAPMy most recent interview introduced me to Ursula Ringham, SAP’s Head of Global Influencer Marketing. As we chatted, a constant reference point was what she called her “love of story”-something that’s guided her throughout her career and something all marketers need to reinvest in. And influencers can help.

In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. Bring empathy and understanding, bring purpose, and bring insight-the latter of which influencers can certainly help with.

At a time when content is absolutely everywhere-and consumer trust is diminishing-marketers and brands need to be in the business of storytelling if you  want your content to resonate, inspire, and build trustful connections with our audience. You need to commit. You need to be thoughtful. And you need to consider who (e.g. internal or external thought leaders, current customers, prospects, employees) can help you tell that story.

Read my full interview with Ursula.

Follow Ursula on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. – @ursularingham” username=”toprank”]

#8 – Invite your audience to be part of the content creation process.

Dave CharestWhen most modern marketers think of content co-creation, they likely think of partnering with industry thought leaders. Of course, this is a method we at TopRank Marketing absolutely believe in.

But one co-creation opportunity marketers may not take advantage of, is partnering with your audience, as Dave Charest, Director of Content Marketing for Constant Contact, shared in Content Marketing Institute and TopRank Marketing’s “The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing” eBook.

When it comes to content creation, far too often content is created in a meeting room with a bunch of marketers without any thought for the day-to-day reality of the person consuming it. BIG mistake.

Level up your approach by creating content in partnership with members of your target audience. By including your audience in the creation process you’ll better understand what you need to create and how you need to create it. You’ll no longer be working in a vacuum and your content will better resonate with those you’re trying to reach.

There may be no better way to ensure a direct connect with your audience than asking them to be apart of your content process. From social media polls and other UGC to spotlight interviews or guest posts, there’s a range of ways you can include your target audience in the content creation process.

Follow Dave on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”By including your audience in the content creation process you’ll better understand what you need to create and how you need to create it. @DaveCharest #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#9 – Marketing integration is a must to deliver the best answer.

Lee OddenAs a digital marketing industry veteran, perhaps one of TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden‘s most famous lines is: “Be the best answer for your audience wherever and whenever they’re searching.”

When you become the best answer, you become sticky for your readers-and integration is key to achieving best-answer status. This quote sums it up well:

With content marketing so popular among brands and content high in demand from customers, why are many B2B marketers so challenged to stand out and be effective? One reason is that the inherent pressure to produce can result in content that does not resonate. …

The best content isn’t really that great unless it can be found, consumed, and acted upon by buyers. That is why an effective content marketing program is customer-centric and incorporates data from SEO, insights about format and topics from social media, topical relevance of content from buyer persona research, and awareness of what effect media and influencers can have on buyers’ research and purchasing decisions.

Read more from Lee on the importance of being the best answer in B2B marketing.

Follow Lee on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”The best content isn’t really that great unless it can be found, consumed, and acted upon by buyers. – @leeodden #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#10 – Resonance is rooted in long-held content marketing best practices.

Joe PulizziNo marketer has been untouched by the teachings of Joe “The Godfather of Content Marketing” Pulizzi. As someone who was relatively green in digital marketing when I joined TopRank Marketing back in 2015, Joe and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI)-along with my in-house team-were incredible resources as I learned the ropes.

One of the first pieces I read featuring Joe’s insights was from a session we covered at Social Media Marketing World back in 2014. His message was simple, but it’s something we all need a little reminding of from time to time:

If we only talk about ourselves, we’ll never reach customers.

Content marketing evolved out of the need to meet our audience where and when our audience is searching-and at whatever point they may be in the buying cycle. And ensuring that we’re answering their questions and educating them-not just pushing our product or saying how great we are-is a basic yet still-relevant best practice we should never lose sight of if we want to connect with our audience.

[bctt tweet=”If we only talk about ourselves, we’ll never reach customers. – @JoePullizi #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Follow Joe on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Go Forth to Create and Resonate

Another incredible marketing mind, Jay Acunzo, recently shared this go-to, “classic content marketing combo” tip. And it pretty much sums everything up:

Prioritize resonance over reach, and the latter (everything else you seek do do as a marketer) gets far easier.

Audiences want to connect with brands and companies that “get it.” So, give your audience great content. Give them guidance. Give them insight. Give them answers. And give them resonance.

Ready to create content that resonates? Take a cue from TopRank Marketing Nick Nelson and Honest Abe. Read our post on how to build trustful connections through storytelling.

Disclosure: SAP and Content Marketing Institute are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Creating Content Connections: 10 Lessons in Resonance from Content Marketing Pros appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Beyond the Hype Cycle: It’s Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing

It's Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing

It's Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing

Every marketer should consider getting a tattoo of Gartner’s Hype Cycle, as a reminder to keep us from chasing shiny objects.

The Hype Cycle goes like this:

  1. A new hotness emerges. It could be new technology, a new strategy or tactic, some new thing.
  2. There are wild predictions about how the thing will revolutionize the world.
  3. People scramble to get on board with the thing before they even understand it.
  4. The new thing doesn’t measure up to elevated expectations.
  5. People get disillusioned with the thing and decide it’s worthless.
  6. People actually learn how the thing works, get sophisticated in using it.
  7. The thing turns out to be pretty awesome and is used productively.

Marketers are just as susceptible to the hype machine as anyone else is. More so, even. Think of content marketing: We went from “content is king” to “content shock” in just a few years, and we’re just now hitting the plateau of productivity.

Now it’s influencer marketing’s turn to ride the downhill slope to the trough of disillusionment. It’s inevitable. We started with high expectations, a ton of hype, and a lot of investment before people really knew what worked.

Now the backlash is hitting. The latest Sprout Social Index is particularly sobering. Only 46% of marketers are using influencer marketing. Only 19% said they had the budget for an influencer program. And on the consumer side, people say they’re more likely to take a friend’s recommendation on social media than take an influencer’s word for it.

In other words: The party’s over. Now the real work begins. It’s time to redefine influencer marketing, get more sophisticated, and get productive. Here’s how to get out of the trough:

#1 – Redefining Influence

In the B2C world (and even in the B2B realm), influence and celebrity are often treated as synonyms. Whether it’s Rhianna or Matthew McConaughey or Pewdiepie, it’s people who have audiences in the millions. There’s some differentiation for relevancy – this YouTuber does makeup tutorials, that one is a gamer – but it’s mostly a numbers game. It’s paying people with huge followings to throw some attention at your brand.

As Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing for SAP*, told us in a recent interview on social and influencer marketing:

“People often think that influencer marketing is all about celebrities hawking a product. It’s truly not about that-especially in the B2B realm. It’s about highlighting experts who have real experience on the business challenges a brand’s audience faces.”

To become more sophisticated, you need to rethink what it means to be influential. Sure, a mega-star with a huge following is great – if they are relevant to your specific target audience and if their participation doesn’t break the bank.

However, you can get amazing results working with influencers like:

  • Thought leaders in the industry with a small but prestigious network
  • Experts with radical new ideas who are poised to become thought leaders
  • Subject matter experts within your own company
  • Prospective customers from influential brands you want to work with
  • Employees who will advocate for your brand given direction and material

That last one is crucial. Inspiring your internal influencers can give your content a massive boost in reach – LinkedIn* estimates that the average employee has a network 10x bigger than the brand’s social reach. Sprout says, in the key findings of their report:

“Social marketers in 2018 see the value in employee advocacy as a cost-effective, scalable alternative to influencer marketing.”

I would say “addition” rather than “alternative,” but it’s definitely an undervalued tactic.

Our experience is that a combination of industry and internal influencers can yield the most effective results. SAP Success Factors incorporated industry influencers, internal subject matter experts, partners and clients on a program that exceeded the lead generation goal by 272% with a 66% conversion rate.

The bottom line is, when evaluating influencers, look beyond their follower count. Their industry reputation, group affiliations, and level of engagement are all indicators influence, too. And don’t forget to include your customers, prospects, and employees in your potential influencer pool.

[bctt tweet=”When evaluating influencers, look beyond their follower count. Their industry reputation, group affiliations, & level of engagement are all indicators influence, too. – @NiteWrites #RedefiningInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#2 – Redefining Compensation

The rising cost of influencer marketing is another factor that has led to the trough of disillusionment. The majority of influencer marketing, especially in B2C, has been exclusively transactional. Big brands swept up top-tier influencers, the payments kept getting bigger for smaller results, and eventually the bubble had to burst.

To reach the plateau of productivity, that compensation model must change. At TopRank Marketing, we focus on building relationships with influencers and invite them to co-create with us. While there are instances in which financial compensation is part of the partnership, most often the compensation is the same both for our client and the influencer:

  • A cool, valuable asset to share
  • Cross-promotion to each other’s audiences
  • Boost to thought leadership
  • Access to a community of thought leaders

The relationship model is far more sustainable than a transactional-only approach. Again, if there is an influencer who prefers a transaction, and is of high value to the client, we’re not opposed to financial compensation. But these cases should be the exception, not the norm.

#3 – Redefining Measurement

Proving ROI is a crucial part of making your influencer marketing more sophisticated. Without the ability to show what your influencers have accomplished for the brand, it’s hard to sell management on continued investment.

It all starts with measurable goals and KPIs that hold your influencer marketing to the same standards as every other tactic you use. Tracking performance against those goals is the next step. We all have access to the tools and tech for this kind of measurement. We just need to use them more effectively to show how influencers are effective throughout the entire buyer’s journey.

Right now, marketers tend to focus on the top of funnel metrics, because they’re easy to measure: Social reach, influencer participation, engagements, likes, comments.

You need to get more granular than just those raw engagement numbers. You need to get from engagement to action. When you’re ready to amplify, give each influencer a custom URL to share. Then you can measure which influencers are actually inspiring people to leave social media and check out the asset you’ve created. From there, you can measure how those clicks convert to a lead capture, and track the lead through your pipeline.

[bctt tweet=”We all have access to the tools & tech for better measurement of #influencermarketing #ROI. We just need to use them more effectively. – @NiteWrites #RedefiningInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Redefining Influencer Marketing

It’s time for influencer marketing to graduate from the Hype Cycle and become a trusted part of your integrated marketing strategy. To get to the plateau of productivity, we must discard what doesn’t work, keep what does, and refine our approach for continued improvement.

It starts with reconsidering just what influence means and who has it. Once you find your true influencers, it’s about developing relationships and building communities, rather than ever-more-expensive transactions. Finally, it requires making your measurement as sophisticated as it is for the rest of your marketing tactics.

We have found that influencer marketing beyond the Hype Cycle is an indispensable part of our marketing mix. The proof is in the pie: Read how our Easy-As-Pie Guide to Content Planning drove a 500% increase in leads for client DivvyHQ.

*Disclosure: SAP and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Beyond the Hype Cycle: It’s Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Behavior & Analytics Studies, Facebook’s A/B Testing, & LinkedIn’s Carousel Ads

Perceived Influence Marketing Charts Graph

Perceived Influence Marketing Charts Graph

As Concerns Grow Over Internet Privacy, Most Say Search & Social Have Too Much Power

How Internet users perceive the influence a variety of popular online platforms have over their lives was among the subjects examined in a sizable new joint report by Ipsos, the Internet Society, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation, offering some surprising insight for digital marketers. Marketing Charts

Facebook Experiments with A/B Testing for Page Posts

Facebook has been trying out A/B testing of Facebook Page posts, a feature that if rolled out in earnest could eventually have significant implications for digital marketers. Social Media Today

CMOs Say Digital Marketing Is Most Effective: Nielsen Study

Accurately measuring digital marketing advertising spending’s return on investment remains a challenge, while the overall effectiveness of digital ad spend has grown, according to a fascinating new Nielsen study of chief marketing officers. Broadcasting & Cable

Snapchat Rolls Out Option to ‘Unsend’ Messages, New eCommerce Tools

Snapchat has added several e-commerce tools including an in-app ticket purchase solution, branded augmented-reality games, and has given its users the option to unsend messages. Social Media Today

People Are Changing the Way They Use Social Media

Trust of various social media platforms and how Internet users’ self-censorship has changed since 2013 are among the observations presented in the results of a broad new study conducted by The Atlantic. The Atlantic

Facebook launches tool to let users rate advertisers’ customer service

Facebook has added a feedback tool that lets users rate and review advertisers’ customer service, feedback the company says will help it find and even ban sellers with poor ratings. Marketing Land

2018 June 15 Statistics Image

Google’s about-face on GDPR consent tool is monster win for ad-tech companies

Google reversed its General Data Protection Regulation course recently, allowing publishers to work with an unlimited number of vendors, presenting new opportunities for advertising technology firms. AdAge

LinkedIn rolls out Sponsored Content carousel ads that can include up to 10 customized, swipeable cards

LinkedIn (client) has rolled out a variety of new ad types and more performance metrics for marketers, with its Sponsored Content carousel ads that allow up to 10 custom images. Marketing Land

Report: Facebook is Primary Referrer For Lifestyle Content, Google Search Dominates Rest

What people care about and where they look for relevant answers online are among the marketing-related insights revealed in a recent report from Web analytics firm Parse.ly. Facebook was many users’ go-to source for answers for lifestyle content, while Google was the top source for all other content types. MediaPost

Survey: 87% of mobile marketers see success with location targeting

Location targeting is widely-used and has performed well in the mobile marketing realm, helping increase conversion rates and how well marketers understand their audiences, according to new report data. Marketing Land

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist Short-Termism Cartoon

A lighthearted look at marketing short-termism, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne – Marketoonist

‘The weird one wins’: MailChimp’s CMO on the company’s off-the-wall advertising – The Drum

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden – Why Content Marketing is Good for B2B Companies – Atomic Reach
  • Lee Odden – Top 2018 Influencers That Might Inspire Your Inner Marketer – Whatagraph
  • Lee Odden – Better than Bonuses: 4 Motivators that Matter More than Money – Workfront
  • Anne Leuman – What’s Trending: Marketing GOOOOOAAAALS! – LinkedIn (client)

Thanks for visiting, and please join us next week for a new selection 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.

The post Digital Marketing News: Behavior & Analytics Studies, Facebook’s A/B Testing, & LinkedIn’s Carousel Ads appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

CMWorld Interview: Peter Krmpotic on Optimizing the Content Supply Chain

Content personalization is no longer a dream that marketers have for leveling up engagement with their audience, it’s become an essential combo for winning the content marketing game. Need proof? According to a study from Marketo, 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized. And Salesforce estimates that by 2020 51% of consumers will expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make suggestions, before contact.

But how can enterprise brands scale personalization efforts in a way that is efficient and effective?

Peter Krmpotic, Group Product Manager at Adobe, has focused heavily throughout his career on scaling personalization. He alo references the content supply chain (which is a framework for viewing content production, management and scalability) as a granular way to break down different structural elements and make them more manageable.

Applying personalization to an entire content marketing operation, especially at the enterprise level, might feel overwhelming. But applying it individually to different aspects of the process, piece by piece? This feels more feasible.

Peter will be joining other high-scoring content marketing experts at 2018’s Content Marketing World in Cleveland, OH this September. In anticipation of this awesome event, we sat down with Peter for the first interview in our series leading up to the event and asked him more about his role at Adobe, the importance of content personalization and the impact of technology on personalization.  

What does your role as Group Product Manager at Adobe entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

At Adobe, I focus on content marketing, digital asset management, and personalization at scale.

Throughout my career, I’ve developed a passion for customers, their use cases and building scalable software for them.

Specifically, my interests include next-generation technologies, evolving organizational structures, and industry best practices.

You’re a big believer in the importance of personalization. Where do you see the biggest opportunities for content marketers to improve in this regard?

First and foremost, personalization is a group effort which cuts across all functions of the content supply chain: strategy, planning, creation, assembly, and delivery.

Establishing and aligning these functions with each other is the first block in a strong foundation.

What we are doing here is leveraging the centuries-old concept of “divide and conquer,” where we break personalization down into manageable stages.

Once everything is in place, the biggest opportunity lies in providing relevant data that is actionable at each of the content supply chain functions.

While we all talk a lot about data-informed and data-driven content marketing, I still see addressing this data gap as the biggest opportunity by far.

Which prevalent pitfalls are preventing content from connecting with its audience, from your view?

We have the people, the data, and the tools to create engaging content at scale, yet we often jumpstart the process of creating content without the required thoughtfulness on the initial critical steps.

It is essential to be clear which audiences we are targeting and subsequently to define clear goals for the message we are creating.

To this day, most brands need to improve at this stage, otherwise the best content marketer in the world cannot create an effective piece of engaging content.

Developing scalable ways to create and personalize content has been a key area of emphasis in your career. How can marketers think differently about scaling for efficiency and impact?

Similar to what I said earlier of “divide and conquer,” break the problem into manageable pieces and thus build a content supply chain.

Then, optimize each piece of the supply chain as opposed to trying to improve the whole thing all at once.

Where do you see the biggest influences of technologies like machine learning and automation in the world of content?

Currently, many mundane tasks, such as gathering and analyzing data or making sure content is optimized for each channel, take up a lot of time and effort in content marketing, preventing us from doing what matters most.

Things that take weeks and months will gradually be performed in the background.

By eliminating these mundane tasks, the human capacity for creativity and intuition will be magnified and reach new levels that were unimaginable before.

Which aspects of marketing SaaS products and services could and should be instilled for pros in other verticals?

Marketing software has received the kind of attention and focus that very few verticals have ever received, and as a result, we now benefit from a variety of software options that is unparalleled. This has led to a lot of AI being developed for marketing first that will be deployed in other verticals later.

A result of this fierce competition is that marketing software tends to be the more flexible and user friendly than others, adapting to a multitude of use cases, which has set new standards across all verticals.

Lastly, even though software in general does not integrate well with each other, given its variety and busy ecosystem, marketing software has trail-blazed integration best practices, which other verticals will benefit from.

Looking back, is there a particular moment or juncture in your career that you view as transformative? What takeaways could other marketers learn and apply?

Joining Adobe was truly transformative, because it allowed me to engage with customers across the entire breadth and depth of digital marketing, as well as with colleagues across different products and solutions who are truly world-class at what they do.

My recommended takeaway is to look beyond your current scope of work – which is not necessarily easy – and to figure out ways to connect with people who can help you understand adjacent functions and disciplines.

Seeing the entire picture will help you with solving your current challenges in ways that you could not have imagined before.

Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

I’m looking forward to quite a few sessions, but here are 5 sessions I am particularly excited about:

  • Joe Pulizzi’s keynote on Tuesday. I am sure I am not the only one interested to hear his take on the industry and where it is headed.
  • Then Gartner’s Heather Pemberton Levy and her workshop on their branded content platform, Smarter With Gartner, which I am a big fan of.
  • Michael Brenner’s workshop on how to create a documented content marketing strategy, which I know a lot of brands struggle with.
  • And then two sessions that talk about leveraging data during content creation: Morgan Molnar and Brad Sanzenbacher on Wednesday, and Katie Pennell on Thursday.

Ready Player One

Big thanks to Peter for his enlightening insights. His final takeaway – “Seeing the entire picture will help you with solving your current challenges in ways that you could not have imagined before” – is at the heart of Content Marketing World, which will bring together a diverse set of voices and perspectives to broaden your view of this exciting yet challenging frontier.

Tap into some of the unique expertise offered by CMWorld speakers by checking out the Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing below:

 

The post CMWorld Interview: Peter Krmpotic on Optimizing the Content Supply Chain appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Ready Player One: Top CMWorld Speakers Dish Go-To Classic Content Marketing Combos

Over the years, content marketing has made incredible strides. What used to be considered more 8-Bit tactics such as print and articles, have evolved into more immersive tactics like interactive and video which truly brings audiences into the “game”.

And while the days of 2D 8-bit side scroller content may be gone, that doesn’t mean we should abandon everything we’ve learned about content.

To help uncover some of the tried and true content marketing tactics that have stood the test of time, we’ve tapped into the minds of some of Content Marketing World’s top speakers who shared expert advice in our new eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing.

But first, here are some fun fun 8-bit videos featuring your favorite content marketing experts and a preview into the type of game-winning advice you can find in our new guide.

Content Marketing Strategy Experts

Featuring: Robert Rose, Nichole Kelly, Tim Washer, Ellie Mirman, Peter Krmpotic and Tamsen Webster

Content Marketing Planning

Featuring: Amanda Todorovich, Courtney Cox, Eli Schwartz, Jay Acunzo, Carla Johnson, Heather Pemberton Levy, Zari Venhaus and Andy Crestodina

Content Marketing Creation

Featuring: Ann Handley, Melanie Deziel, Mitch Joel, Michelle Park Lazette, Pam Didner and Dave Charest

Content Marketing Amplification & Distribution

Featuring: Ian Cleary, Lee Odden, Vishal Khanna, Juntae DeLane, Doug Kessler, Joe Pulizzi, Justin Levy and Heidi Cohen

Content Marketing Measurement

Featuring: Christopher Penn, Mathew Sweezey, Michael Brenner, Michael Pratt, Ron Tite and Matt Heinz

34 Classic Content Marketing Tactics from Top CMWorld Speakers

Robert Rose

Chief Troublemaker, The Content Advisory

@Robert_Rose


Classic Content Tip: As part of the creation process, we have to ask how every piece of content we create delivers value to our audience first, and us second. It is an approach that will never fail. @Robert_Rose #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Nichole Kelly

Chief Consciousness Officer, The Conscious Marketing Institute

@nichole_kelly


Classic Content Tip: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Acting with integrity is a competitive advantage.@nichole_kelly #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Tim Washer

PowerPoint Comedian/Emcee, Ridiculous Media

@timwasher


Classic Content Tip: Interview customers to get short, actionable advice that other organizations can learn from. This can be published via video, audio or a simple text Q+A. @timwasher #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Ellie Mirman

CMO, Crayon

@ellieeille


Classic Content Tip: Time and time again, I turn to blogging: it’s a simple way to house a variety of content even as it evolves to serve different media, channels, and strategies. @ellieeille #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Peter Krmpotic

Group Product Manager, Adobe

@peterkrmpotic


Classic Content Tip: Aim for quick iterations, leading to faster insights, and creating a self-tuning system. @peterkrmpotic #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Tamsen Webster

Founder & CEO, Find the Red Thread

@tamadear


Classic Content Tip: Find the truth that makes a problem impossible to ignore. @tamadear #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Amanda Todorovich

Senior Director – Content & Creative Services, Cleveland Clinic

@amandatodo


Classic Content Tip: Great content answers questions and solves problems for your customers. When you do that – no matter what platform or format – it works and generates engagement every time. @amandatodo #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Courtney Cox

Manager, Digital Marketing – Children’s Health

@courtewakefield


Classic Content Tip: No matter how marketing changes, listening will always be the greatest asset of a content marketer. @courtewakefield #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Eli Schwartz

Director of Organic Product, SurveyMonkey

@5le


Classic Content Tip: Google’s non-English language ranking algorithm will always lag the advancements made in English search. @5le #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Jay Acunzo

Founder, Unthinkable Media

@jayacunzo


Classic Content Tip: Prioritize resonance over reach, and the latter (and everything else you seek as a marketer) gets far easier. To do so, look for a small number of people reacting in big ways to your work. @jayacunzo #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Carla Johnson

President, Type A Communications

@carlajohnson


Classic Content Tip: Put your customer first. Creating content that delivers value to them will always align your time, talent and resources with what delivers the best ROI. @carlajohnson #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Heather Pemberton Levy

Vice President, Content Marketing – Gartner

@heatherpemberton


Classic Content Tip: Always look in your rearview mirror at the traffic driving to your content and further down the road at the next content asset in the buyer’s journey. @heatherpemberton #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Zari Venhaus

Director Corporate Marketing Communications, Eaton

@zvenhaus


Classic Content Tip: Nothing beats knowing your audience. Today, there are so many more ways to target – the how is evolving, but nothing will ever replace understanding what drives your customers. @zvenhaus #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Andy Crestodina

Principal – Strategic Director, Orbit Media

@crestodina


Classic Content Tip: Learn something useful… Try it… Test it… Then teach it. @crestodina #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Ann Handley

Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

@annhandley


Classic Content Tip: Leaders are readers, as Harry S. Truman said. I’d add that leaders are writers, too. If you want to improve the quality of both your ideas and your thinking… you need to regularly write. @annhandley #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Melanie Deziel

Branded Content Consultant, Mdeziel Media

@mdeziel


Classic Content Tip: When all else fails, ask what you can teach your audience. Educational content provides evergreen value and proves your expertise to customers and potential customers alike. @mdeziel #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Mitch Joel

President, Mirum

@mitchjoel


Classic Content Tip: Write stuff that matters. Write stuff that has depth. Nobody else is doing this (well) anymore. It’s because they suck at writing (trust me ;). @mitchjoel #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Michelle Park Lazette

Writer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

@mp_lazette


Classic Content Tip: My chicken test is a set of 3 questions I use to vet any content idea. Does the topic involve or interest our target audience? Is the idea timely? And does the idea have a so-what? @mp_lazette #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Pam Didner

Author, Global Content Marketing

@pamdidner


Classic Content Tip: SEO! Invest time and resources into keyword research, analytics and scoping out your content. If you want your content to be seen, align your content marketing with your SEO goals. @pamdidner #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Dave Charest

Director Content Marketing, Constant Contact

@davecharest


Classic Content Tip: Stay focused on the fundamentals of human nature. Even as technology changes, the fundamentals that make us people do not. Understand how those fundamentals apply to a new environment. @davecharest #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Ian Cleary

Founder, RazorSocial

@IanCleary


Classic Content Tip: Relationship building. When you build up a network of influential friends it’s like having many pac mans in one game and they are all on your side. @IanCleary #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Lee Odden

CEO, TopRank Marketing

@leeodden


Classic Content Tip: Nothing gobbles up Pac-Dots like content co-created with highly credible experts. Influencers w/ active networks of relevant audiences can demystify marketing mazes and open up infinite opportunity! @leeodden #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Vishal Khanna

Director of Marketing & Communications, HealthPrize Technologies

@bediscontent


Classic Content Tip: Read employment listings for the types of prospects you target to find out how their success is measured, and then develop content that helps them succeed. @bediscontent #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Juntae DeLane

Sr. Digital Brand Manager, University of Southern California

@juntaedelane


Classic Content Tip: You need to be able to go where your audience is and speak to them in a language they can understand. Identify how and where they engage with content, & incorporate that info into your strategy. @juntaedelane…

Click To Tweet


 

Doug Kessler

Co-Founder & Creative Director, Velocity Partners

@dougkessler


Classic Content Tip: It’s really hard to fail at simply interviewing really smart people who know about the topic. Do your homework, ask good questions and stand back. @dougkessler #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Joe Pulizzi

Founder, Content Marketing Institute

@joepulizzi


Classic Content Tip: Email, email, email. Getting and keeping opt-in email subscribers continues to be the key to content marketing success. @joepulizzi #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Justin Levy

Public Speaker

@justinlevy


Classic Content Tip: The one tried and true tactic that I will always go back to even as marketing evolves is the need for a blog. @justinlevy #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Heidi Cohen

Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide

@HeidiCohen


Classic Content Tip: Like other forms of marketing, content marketing requires a documented strategy that ties your business goals to measurable results. @HeidiCohen #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Christopher Penn

Founder & Chief Innovator, Brain+Trust Insights

@cspenn


Classic Content Tip: Essential for any form of content is audience centricity. Do it in a way that provides value, educates, entertains and engages your audience. @cspenn #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Mathew Sweezey

Principal of Marketing Insights, Salesforce

@msweezey


Classic Content Tip: Ask! Ask what they want, don’t assume. Once you make it Ask if they liked it, and how to make it better. @msweezey #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Michael Brenner

Founder, Marketing Insider Group

@brennermichael


Classic Content Tip: Create content using the keywords buyers use, the content they read and share and the offers that convert. @brennermichael #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Michael Pratt

CEO, Panamplify

@mikepratt


Classic Content Tip: Try and discover what solutions to problems your clients are searching for and write content that becomes that solution. @mikepratt #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Ron Tite

Founder & CEO, Church+State

@rontite


Classic Content Tip: Massive wins come from doing something that has never been used before. @rontite #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


 

Matt Heinz

President, Heinz Marketing

@heinzmarketing


Classic Content Tip: Finish content with a question. Actively engage your audience. @heinzmarketing #CMWorld

Click To Tweet


Want More Game-Winning Content Marketing Advice?

For more from our Content Marketing World speakers, check out the full guide below:


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The post Ready Player One: Top CMWorld Speakers Dish Go-To Classic Content Marketing Combos appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group?

Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group

Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group

Despite its recent bubble of controversy, marketers still view Facebook as the prime destination for social media marketing.

The newly released Sprout Social Index 2018 reaffirms this, with 97% of social marketers saying they use the platform.

However, while almost everyone is incorporating Facebook into their strategies, not so many express confidence that it’s making the desired impact. Last month’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed only 49% reporting a belief that their Facebook marketing is effective.

With algorithmic changes deprioritizing publisher content on Facebook feeds, and thus suppressing organic reach for brands, marketers are feeling the crunch. As I wrote here recently, “Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there.”

One creative solution that marketers are increasingly turning to is Facebook groups.

Are they worth your time and effort? Let’s explore.

Why are Facebook Groups Gaining Steam?

Much like influencer marketing, Facebook groups present an opportunity to regain diminished reach by embracing the platform’s heightened focus on user-generated content.

According to the Sprout Social Index, social marketers point to increasing community engagement as their No. 2 biggest goal, right behind boosting brand awareness. Facebook groups are very much in line with this objective. They are mini-communities, where members are empowered to speak up and (in many cases) can engage directly with company reps, in addition to one another.

Although groups have long been available as a feature on Facebook, the brand-driven “Facebook Groups for Pages” were just rolled out last year. You can find a helpful primer on setting one up here, via Social Media Examiner.

What differentiates a Facebook page from a Facebook group, you might ask? AdWeek frames it as such:

“Pages (are) for pushing key marketing messages and product information, as well as an outlet for customer support. Groups is a dedicated space for more in-depth, meaningful conversations and relationships between a brand and its fans.”

Another attractive element of Facebook groups is the added analytical depth through Group Insights, which provides information about trends and usage patterns in your membership.

With growing emphases on engagement, authenticity, and community-building, it’s easy to see the appeal of Facebook groups as a marketing asset. And some are tapping into it very well. One notable example is Peloton, the cycling fitness company whose closed members group boasts an extremely active ecosystem of more than 92,000 members.

But not everyone is finding traction on this front.

[bctt tweet=”With growing emphases on engagement, authenticity, & community-building, it’s easy to see the appeal of #FacebookGroups as a #marketing asset. And some are tapping into it very well. But not everyone is finding traction. – @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

What’s Holding Back Brands on Facebook Groups?

Although the potential benefits are clear, the path to achieving them is a bit murky. For every success case like Peloton (which had the advantage of a three-year head start thanks to a preexisting member-driven community), there seem to be several examples of companies spinning their wheels in frustration.

While Peloton has hit its stride with groups, another popular fitness brand is searching for a second wind. As Digiday explained in May regarding Fitbit’s exploration of the tactic:

“The company created 12 different groups geared toward major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Each group has around 200 members, but that’s a far cry from the 2.4 million followers of Fitbit’s Facebook page. Fitbit’s group for fitness-focused San Francisco had only 11 posts in the past 30 days.”

The problem is that around 200 million groups exist on Facebook, making it difficult to gain visibility, especially for new creations. To assist with this, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year the integration of a Groups tab intended to “make groups a more central part of the Facebook experience.”

“In addition to the new tab,” TechCrunch notes, “the company is launching a new Groups plugin that admins and developers can add to their websites and emails that solicits people to join their Facebook group.”

Some marketers have understandably been reluctant to dive into this functionality over concerns that Facebook will change gears and renew its focus six months from now, but I believe it’s safe to say – based on the social network’s clear commitment to elevating active participation and “meaningful communities” – that groups are going to be a mainstay feature going forward.

Should My Company Start a Facebook Group?

In assessing whether a Facebook group is worth launching for your B2B or B2C business, we recommend asking yourself these questions:

#1 – Are community conversations relating to my product or service useful?

If community is core to your offering, then Facebook groups are most likely going to be a fit. But you don’t want to force it. The most resonant groups bring users together over a shared passion where they can transfer knowledge, stories, and ideas. For instance, the highly popular Instant Pot Facebook group has become a destination for owners of the electric cooker to troubleshoot and post their own recipes.

“You’re only going to get those super-users and superfans,” says Meg McDougall, Social Media Strategist at TopRank Marketing. “If you have that audience, it’s a great opportunity. But you’re not going to build it out of nowhere.”

[bctt tweet=”When it comes to #Facebook groups, you’re only going to get super-users & superfans. If you have that audience, it’s a great opportunity. But you’re not going to build it out of nowhere. – @megnificent #SocialMediaMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#2 – Do we have the bandwidth to run a group and grow it?

Don’t underestimate the commitment that running an active Facebook group can require. In order to get going, and especially to sustain, groups need attention and administration. You may want to have a content producer or community manager specifically designated for this task.

Also, be ready to have employees promote your group in various ways, such as mentioning it in content and including it in email signatures.

#3 – Is it truly going to be a value-oriented interaction hub, or simply another vehicle for brand promotion?

“If your brand starts a Facebook group, think of yourself as a facilitator rather than a marketer or blogger,” suggests Emily Gaudette in her post at Contently. “You’ll lose the group if you only promote your own work.”

This is pretty much a cardinal rule of content marketing in general, but especially important in these kinds of community-fueled endeavors. Oftentimes, the brand play should be very subtle, and customers will hopefully start associating your product or service with the topic because it’s where they go to talk about it and find good info.

The Bottom Line on Facebook Groups for Marketers

Without question, Facebook groups are more worthy of our attention than they were a year ago at this time. Dwindling organic reach for company pages on the platform, along with a strong commitment from corporate leadership to grow the feature, make this an intriguing frontier.

But as things stand, these spaces are really more about fostering and evolving engagement within your customer base as opposed to rapidly growing that base. And given the time and effort required to get it right, some brands might not find the payoff worthwhile.

In other words, don’t give in to groupthink.

“Look at what your end goal is for social,” McDougall urges. “If it’s reaching a ton of people, expanding your audience, and getting impressions, groups probably aren’t the best route. If it’s targeted interactions and deeper engagement, they can be really helpful.”

For more guidance on social media marketing that meets your objectives in a fast-changing environment, check out some of our recent write-ups on the subject:

The post The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Internet Trends Report Released, Twitter Joins S&P 500, & Reddit Gains Traffic

2018 Mary Meeker Report Graph

Mary Meeker’s 2018 internet trends report: All the slides, plus analysis

The highly-anticipated Internet Trends report for 2018 has been released, including data bound to prove helpful to marketers for months to come. For more than 20 years venture capitalist Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins, has researched and put out the report. Recode

Twitter Will Limit What Third-Party Apps Can Do, Starting August 16th

Twitter is gearing up for August changes that will hamper some popular functionality in third-party apps, including the elimination of streaming real-time tweets and limitations to push notifications in apps, the company recently announced. Search Engine Journal

Instagram Explains How Its Algorithm Works in New Briefing

Instagram has presented fresh insight into some of the signals that go into how its primary feed algorithm works, which could be a boon to marketers. Social Media Today

Infographic: Influencers Are Bigger Than Ever, and They’re Just Getting Started

Influencers are expanding their reach, and nearly 80 percent expect to create even more branded content going forward, according to new analysis outlined in infographic format. AdWeek

Facebook Removes ‘Trending’ Section Due to Lack of Use

Facebook has pulled the plug on its once-heavily-featured trending section, ending a four-year run, the social media giant announced this week in a move framed as helping Facebook’s news delivery trustworthiness. Search Engine Journal

Reddit surpasses Facebook to become the 3rd most visited site in the US

Reddit jumped ahead of Facebook to move into the third most popular spot on Internet traffic analysis firm Alexa’s list of top U.S. sites, leaving only Google and YouTube with more traffic, recently-released data showed. The Next Web

June 9, 2018 Statistic Image

Twitter Inc to join the S&P 500, replacing Monsanto

Twitter, which went public in 2013, has joining the S&P 500 U.S. index, a move that caused the firm’s shares to rise ahead of Thursday’s listing. Reuters

Facebook fan page operator has privacy responsibilities: EU court

Facebook fan page operators of all sorts may have new concerns after a European Union court ruled that one page’s operator was responsible for protecting the personal data of visiting fans, it was announced Tuesday. Reuters

Snapchat Publishes New Insights into Generation Z [Infographic]

Snapchat has released new data about Generation Z’s buying power and online habits, in a newly-published infographic detailing how the demographic’s importance to marketers has increased. Social Media Today

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist Branded Content Cartoon

A lighthearted throwback look at branded content, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne – Marketoonist

The 10 Best Ranking Contact Us Pages on the Web – Search Engine Journal

Facebook Less Popular With Teens Than Instagram, Snapchat – The Onion

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden – Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing will discuss how to grow influence in marketing – Exchange4Media
  • Lee Odden – Webinar: Leveraging Data to Transform Your Social Media Strategy – Rival IQ
  • Lee Odden – Is Twitter Follower Growth Slowing? [New Data] – Search Engine Journal
  • Lee Odden – Give your content the edge: Over-index on humanity! – PR Warrior
  • Content Marketing Institute (client) – What’s Trending: Question Conventions for a Fresh Look – LinkedIn (client)

Thanks for tuning in, and please join us next week for more of the very 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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The post Digital Marketing News: Internet Trends Report Released, Twitter Joins S&P 500, & Reddit Gains Traffic appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

How to Select the Right Type of Video for Your B2B Marketing Goals

Types of B2B Video & When to Use Them

Types of B2B Video & When to Use Them

Mugatu is onto something …

Video Marketing is So Hot Meme

According Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report, 72% of B2B marketers use pre-produced video content, 17% use video live-streams, and 4% create documentaries or short films. Combined, this makes video one of the hottest types of content among B2B marketers.

And it’s not without results, either. Video marketing boasts some impressive stats, including:

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. – Aberdeen Group
  • Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs. – Brightcove
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%. – Eyeview Digital
  • Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined – Brightcove
  • 51.9% of marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best ROI – HubSpot

It seems like a no-brainer, right? But like with most things in marketing, it’s knowing where to start and what to create that’s the hard part.

As with any marketing tactic, you want to choose the right content type and style to engage and nurture your audience. Plus, the content you create needs to align with and support your marketing goals-video is no different.

To help you figure out how to get started with video marketing and how to incorporate it into your integrated marketing mix, we’re breaking down the many types of videos for marketing and when to use them.

1. Teasers

The name implies it all-these videos are short, sweet, and meant to give audiences just a glimpse of what’s to come. More specifically, teasers are short videos that promote other content, services, products, or events and generate excitement or interest in them. At no longer than 10-30 seconds, this means you have to do your best with the time given to you through high-energy language, fast-paced content, and plenty of information; motion graphics are an especially great teaser format.

Teasers are great for generating excitement and are very short in length, making them a great fit for social media promotion, where you’ll be looking to generate buzz for an asset (i.e. eBooks, podcasts, infographics, blog posts, webinars). The biggest thing to remember about teasers is that they need to have a call to action that promotes another piece of content. The goal of a teaser is to spur action in an audience, whether that’s registering for a webinar, downloading an eBook, or listening to a podcast episode.

Length: 10 to 30 seconds

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media

Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Infographics, Blog Posts

Example: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions*, Secret Sauce eBook

2. Trailers & Previews

Trailers and previews are another type of short video content. However, where trailers differ from teasers is that a trailer actually features a sample of the content its promoting. For example, a teaser might use new visuals and graphics to get people excited, but a trailer will actually feature a preview of what’s to come. Just take a look at movie trailers-most of them show you scenes directly from the film.

If you’ve already created the content, you’ve already done most of the work for a trailer or preview. Just take content included in your videos, infographics, eBooks, and other assets and edit them into a trailer format that gets people interested. While trailers perform well on social, they’re also a great addition to landing pages as landing page videos have been found to increase conversions by 80% or more. Depending on where you’re planning to have this content live, decide if and when a CTA is appropriate.

Length: 30 seconds to 2 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Landing Pages

Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Long-Form Video, Infographics

Example: Eloqua, Journey to Modern Marketing

3. Explainers

We’ve already covered videos that are used to promote other pieces of content-teasers and trailers. But what about when you have a standalone topic you want to cover in a video? Maybe you want to create a tutorial on how to use your software or educate your audience on how to launch an employee wellness program. This type of marketing video is called an explainer. Explainers are original pieces of content that educate and inform the audience on a subject.

The best explainer videos focus on appealing to an audience’s curiosity by answering common questions or solving popular pain points. In providing useful and compelling information, the video helps add to your brand’s authority. As a video that can stand on its own two feet while offering helpful advice, explainer videos can make a great complement to a power page or blog post. They also perform well on social channels as it’s a quick and easy way for you audience to absorb a lot of information. And because all of the value is within the video itself, explainers typically don’t have a call to action. But again, depending on where you plan to have this content live, make a decision on if a CTA makes sense.

Length: 30 seconds to 3 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts

Example: Slack*, “So Yeah, We Tried Slack”

4. Video Essays & Companion Videos

Can you cover a topic in-depth in under three minutes? When you need to dive deeper than an explainer video allows, video essays are the perfect type of video to turn to. Video essays are original, long-form video content that explores a subject in-depth. A good video essay might be an 8 minute discussion that covers your thoughts on new changes in the market or new trends like cryptocurrency.

Because of their length, video essays are the perfect place to showcase your brand’s thought leadership and expertise through education and entertainment. In covering all sides of an issue or topic, you have more opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, improving trust and credibility among your audience. Jam-packed with valuable information, video essays are a great addition to power pages, blog posts, and social media channels.

But what if you’ve already covered the topic in-depth for a power page, blog post, or eBook? Should you still make a video essay? The answer is yes as 59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text. Given this information, your video essay could perform better than your existing content in terms of generating leads or strengthening engagement. In this situation, take your existing eBook, blog, or power page and turn it into a video essay, giving your audience an alternate channel to consume your content.

Length: 1 minute to 10 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts

Example: HubSpot, What Is the Difference Between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)?

Your Directorial Debut

Video is rapidly becoming the preferred way to consume content for many audiences with 82% of all web traffic expected to be video by 2021. If you’re not making videos as a part of your content marketing strategy, you could be missing out on an enormous opportunity to improve your organic traffic, landing page conversions, social engagements, and more.

And to make sure your videos are helping you reach your marketing goals, it’s important that you select the right types of marketing videos and content they will support. Using the guide above, you’ll be able to pair your video and content together in a way that fuels results.

Video can be time consuming to strategize, produce, and distribute. To help you become a more efficient and effective video marketer, check out our additional tips, examples, and guides:

*Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Slack are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post How to Select the Right Type of Video for Your B2B Marketing Goals appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.