Latest Marketing News

Marketers, Assemble! The Super-Powered Team-Up of Content Marketing Confluence

Wed, 25 Apr 2018 10:30:44 +0000

Content Marketing Super Team

Content Marketing Super Team

It’s been a spectacular decade to be a nerd. The superheroes we love leaped from the page to the multiplex, each movie connected to the rest with the kind of complex storytelling we love in comic books.

It started with Iron Man in 2008. This weekend, "Avengers: Infinity War" hits theaters, with over two dozen heroes throwing down against a celestial being with godlike powers (who, for some reason, has a chin that looks like a raisin).

[caption id="attachment_24138" align="aligncenter" width="232"]The Avengers and Content Marketing The California Raisins reboot looks really dark.[/caption]

I’m pretty stoked.

Team-up events like this are great because a superhero team is always more powerful than the sum of its parts. They can use their powers to complement each other in unexpected ways:

  • Spider-Man uses webbing to make a slingshot for Captain America’s shield
  • Thor throws his hammer through portals that Doctor Strange makes
  • The Hulk throws Hawkeye to safety

You get the idea. When a team is really working together, all of them do better.

Which, of course, makes me think all about content marketing. At TopRank Marketing, we believe the present and future of reaching an audience depends on confluence, a superhero team-up of all our content marketing tactics and channels working together.

Here’s a quick guide to the members of our superhero “team,” and how they assemble to amplify each other’s superpowers.

The Content Marketing Super Team

Content: Captain America

Captain America is the heart and soul of the Avengers team. He’s not the most powerful guy on the team, though he does pack a mean punch. His primary value lies in bringing humanity to a team of gods, aliens, and androids. He unites the team and gives everyone their marching orders, leading the charge on the ground.

Your content should be at the heart of your marketing super team, too. It should speak directly to your target audience on a human-to-human level. Your content can emotionally engage, deliver value, and ultimately persuade people to take action.

SEO: Spider-Man

Spider-Man is the lone “street level” hero on the Avengers team. He started out doing solo work cleaning up the streets of Queens. As part of the team, his main role is to assist the heavy hitters, tying their attacks together with his web-slinging, wall-crawling acrobatics.

SEO used to be the biggest deal in marketing, a strategy and tactic all unto itself. Now SEO works best as part of a team. Great content (preferably co-created with influencers) can benefit from a light dusting of SEO. Just remember that with SEO power comes responsibility: Use SEO to boost great content, not to trick search engines into ranking mediocre content higher.

Influencers: The Incredible Hulk

There’s one thing for sure about the Hulk: He’s a hard guy to ignore. Not only is he capable of punching an airplane out of the sky, he’s 10 feet tall and green. He’s not great on stealth missions, is what I’m saying, but if you want to make a splash, he’s your man.

Influencers share some of the Hulk’s properties (hopefully not the “giant rage monster” part). Some influencers make their living off of being seen, which means they have a built-in audience you can reach with their help. Some are more on the Bruce Banner side, with smaller followings that are still valuable if they’re your target audience.

Organic Social: Hawkeye

Hawkeye is one of two Avengers with no super powers, but he proves his value to the team with his technological savvy and arsenal of specialized arrows. He excels at precision strikes that hit valuable targets.

Organic social used to be a more high-powered team member, but the rise of the algorithm in social media feeds have reduced its reach and power. Still, it’s good for getting the word out to a select audience – you just have to be more strategic on your social channels to compensate for the lack of power.

Digital Advertising: Iron Man

Iron Man takes Hawkeye’s precision strike capability and adds extra maneuverability and power. He can swoop in and blast a target with an arsenal of rockets and pulse rays, all while delivering devastatingly sarcastic quips.

Digital advertising gives you the ability to hit precise audiences at scale. There’s more of a cost associated with it than with organic tactics, but it’s an investment that can get substantial returns.

The Content Marketing Super Team at Work

As you can see, each member of our super squad is powerful on its own. But the magic really happens when all these tactics work together. And you can’t plan that kind of teamwork in the heat of the battle, either. It has to start before a single word of content is drafted.

When we’re creating content, first we determine search demand. Looking at what people are searching for helps us narrow down our topics and makes sure the content will have SEO built in.

Then we search for influencers who are experts on the topic and have a sizable, relevant following. We invite influencers to co-create the content with us. True collaboration with influencers makes them far more likely to be    excited about the resulting assets, which means they’re more motivated to share.

Part of our content creation process is designing images and messages for organic social amplification. We provide influencers with everything they need to share the asset on social media. Influencer shares are crucial for reaching the target audience, so we make it as easy for influencers to share as possible.

Finally, we use paid social to amplify the content directly to our clients’ most valuable audience. We create unique social images and messages to compel people to take action.

It’s easy to see how the super-team approach makes each tactic work better. Each of the tactics is working toward the same unified goal: reaching an audience and persuading them to take action.

Content Marketers, Assemble!

What turns a ragtag group of marketing tactics into an elite audience-persuasion force? Strategy and communication. In our agency, we have a content team, an SEO team, a social media team, etc. But we make sure the teams are working together by design. We regularly meet together to make sure we’re all sharing the same vision. And we also share best practices with each other. The more each of us knows about everyone else’s area of expertise, the stronger we all are.

Want more insight into how content marketing tactics can be brought together for maximum impact? Here's some more light reading:

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A Non-Agency Guy Reflects on His First Year at TopRank Marketing

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 10:30:59 +0000

TopRank Marketing Team

TopRank Marketing Team

Liking where you work is not an optional luxury. At least it sure shouldn't be.

Spending 40 hours of every week at a place you dread is a tough way to go through any stretch of life. I've been there and I'm sure many of you have as well — especially if you work in digital marketing, which can often be a fast-paced, demanding, and stressful field.

So last year, when I decided to pursue a new professional venture, finding the right culture fit was a huge priority for me. As I started exploring the possibility of joining the TopRank Marketing team, I had some reservations; not because of anything specific to the company, but because it’s an agency.

I hadn't work at agencies much in the past. I was familiar with the stereotypes, the paradigms, the lamentations. While confident in my skill set being very applicable in this world, I couldn't help but wonder if it was the right world for me.

Would the constant reality of client demands stifle my creativity? Would the permeating structure of workflow management systems prove suffocating? Would I be intimidated as a newbie working alongside people who've been in such a setting forever?

Well, as you can tell, I took the plunge. And I'm very glad I did. I'm coming up on my one-year anniversary here at TopRank Marketing and can happily say that up to this point, it has been an extremely rewarding experience, unhindered by those negative agency archetypes mentioned above.

If you're a talented writer, strategist, SEO or analyst considering a career move, I highly recommend checking out TopRank Marketing — even if you've never worked in an agency. Here are five reasons I've felt right at home.

#1 - Business Casual

I'm not just talking about dress code. The environment here here strikes the right balance between business and casual. In the years prior to coming aboard, I'd spent time working downtown at a big corporate bank as well as at an ultra-leisurely tech startup, so I've experienced both ends of the spectrum and didn't love either extreme.

I know from speaking to others that certain agencies can veer a little too far in the direction of informality, with flip-flops and Monday morning mimosas and lax attendance standards. From my view, these kinds of things can quickly become distractions, preventing people from being seriously focused on their work. At TopRank Marketing, the vibe is laid back enough that it's always comfortable and easygoing, but not so much that anyone is apt to lose sight of their duties or commitments.

#2 - Cool Clients

Working with big-league clients also helps us keep our eyes on the prize. One thing that has become quite clear to me in my time at TopRank Marketing is that we are very deliberate about the businesses we engage as an agency. There's a strong emphasis on finding the right fits and aiming high.

Partnering with recognizable and respected enterprise companies such as Dell, LinkedIn, and SAP keeps us on our toes and challenges us to raise the bar. I'm continually impressed by the innovation and big thinking on display in these organizations.

During client meetings, I get to interact with sharp people and I find there's a high degree of mutual respect. I haven't personally encountered exasperations with companies that just don't "get it," which I hear a lot about from friends and peers working at other agencies.

#3 - Awesome Team

Not only do our clients keep me on my toes — so do my coworkers. To me, this is probably the most invigorating aspect of working at TopRank Marketing. Each day I get the chance to absorb knowledge from tremendously adept and skilled pros in various disciplines. This is by design; attracting and retaining high-caliber talent is central to our operation.

The collaborative culture enables our team to collectively reach new heights. I'm fortunate to build out my own expertise by learning from our specialists in search, SEO, strategy, analytics, design, content and more. Hopefully I'm able to impart some of my own knowledge as well. 

#4 - Growth Opportunities

Just a few months after starting here at TopRank Marketing, I was able to attend Digital Summit Minneapolis and rub shoulders with some of the industry's biggest names as a representative of our agency. It was a cool opportunity right out of the gates, and speaks to the windows that are opened for anyone with such aspirations. I've also gotten to write several times for the renowned TopRank blog, providing me with a platform for visibility and brand-building in the marketing community.  

As employees we are adamantly encouraged to branch out, gain new competencies, take on speaking engagements, and become public faces for the agency if they show that initiative. There's a very legitimate and earnest focus on personal development that I believe to be rare.

#5 - Taking Pride

It's honestly cool to tell people where I work.

I've quickly learned that TopRank Marketing has a stellar rep, fueled in large part by our CEO Lee Odden, who regularly appears as a keynote speaker all around the world promoting our brand and extolling our talent. Being able to work with prestigious international clients gives me a daily feeling of impact and accomplishment. There's also a certain thrill inherent to being on the cutting edge with so many tactics and frontiers — most notably B2B influencer marketing at the moment.

I Guess I’m an Agency Guy Now

I'm not going to say it's easy, nor that every day is free of stress or struggle. But I’m not sure I would even want that. I will say that on those more difficult days, I always have the support and structure necessary to overcome.

I had no idea what to expect with my first real venture into the agency world, but what I’ve found at TopRank Marketing is an accommodating environment, meaningful work, amazing colleagues, clear avenues for growth, and a real sense of pride.

That pretty much covers the checklist I had coming in. If yours looks similar, and you think you’ve got a professional skill set befitting one of our openings, you should get in touch and see if TopRank Marketing might be a match for you. Even if the word “agency” makes you bristle a little bit.

I might be biased, but not without good reason.

The post A Non-Agency Guy Reflects on His First Year at TopRank Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Gen Z’s Snapchat Love, LinkedIn’s GIFs, & Google Gets More Time

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:30:02 +0000

Snapchat Remains Teens’ Favorite Social Platform, Instagram Their Top Marketing Channel Snapchat has remained the top social platform among teens, who also see Instagram as the best way for brands to communication with them, according to Piper Jaffray’s latest semi-annual “Talking Stock with Teens” survey. MarketingCharts LinkedIn Teamed Up With Tenor to Add GIFs to [...]

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What Content Marketers Can Learn From an Adept Dungeon Master

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 10:17:37 +0000

Content Marketing Lessons from Dungeons & Dragons

Content Marketing Lessons from Dungeons & Dragons

It’s probably not news to you that 91% of B2B brands use content marketing to attract, engage, nurture, and convert their audience. However, it might be surprising to learn that only 9% of those brands rate their content marketing as “sophisticated.” Sophisticated meaning that their content marketing is successful, scales across the organization, and provides accurate measurement to the business. This puts a lot of pressure on content marketers to elevate their game and provide more worthwhile and valuable content experiences.

Patrick PinedaAs an adept Dungeon Master (DM) of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) games, TopRank Marketing’s Motion Graphic Designer, Patrick Pineda, can relate.

It might sound a little odd at first, but Dungeon Masters and content marketers are more alike than you think. Responsible for creating meaningful and memorable experiences through content that takes people on a journey, you can see the similarities arise. Just like content marketers need to help guide people through the buyer journey, the Dungeon Master needs to guide players through a journey of their own.

After serving his friends as the go-to Dungeon Master, Patrick has learned a thing or two from creating lengthy campaigns—some successful, some not—that are both engaging and challenging. Discover Patrick’s lessons from the dungeon and how you can apply them to your content marketing campaigns and programs down below.

What Is a Dungeon Master?

For the unfamiliar, a Dungeon Master is the organizer for the wildly popular, 40-year-old tabletop role-playing game, “Dungeons & Dragons.” Not only do DMs organize the game, but they are also responsible for the game rules, details, and challenges. According to Patrick, the player experience hinges on a DM’s ability to create meaningful content that’s fun to explore.

One thing Dungeon Masters are not responsible for, however, are the players’ actions.

Like the self-directed buyers of today, D&D players are able to choose their own paths. As a result, DMs are challenged to make sure players finish the game. And just like your audience won’t read every piece of content you put in front of them, the same happens in a D&D game. Certain story elements DMs put together will never see the light of day because every player has a different play style, completes tasks in different orders, and takes different actions.

“The best Dungeon Master doesn’t just create a good story, but they also help players reach their goals,” Patrick claims.

Does any of this sound familiar? It certainly resonated for me.

5 Content Marketing Lessons From the Dungeon

Having created D&D campaigns that ruled and bombed, here are Patricks top five tips for developing content that resonate with your audience.

#1 - Your audience values originality.

If Patrick creates a campaign that plays to common tropes like a damsel in distress or small town disappearances, the story becomes predictable. But worse than that, the players feel condescended to as the game starts to feel dumbed down.

“Cliches and stereotypes will make players groan. It’s important when creating a campaign that I shake it up and play against common conventions,” Patrick says.

When examining your content and the story you’re trying to tell, it’s just as important to stay original and play with your audience’s expectations. For example, listicles with social media tips are a dime a dozen. Your audience might be more interested if you flip the idea on its head with social media mistakes. In changing it up, you’re giving your audience something new that they haven’t read before, capturing their interest.

[bctt tweet="When examining your content & the story you’re trying to tell, it’s just as important to stay original & play with your audience’s expectations. - @aleuman4 #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - Appeal to curiosity.

When it comes to creating an adventure for players to navigate, the DM has a seemingly impossible job. They need to create a unique and compelling world that is able to hold players’ attention—something not easily done. In fact, campaigns have taken Patrick days to put together. But that doesn’t come without its drawbacks.

“I’ve spent hours upon hours creating content for a campaign. But 80% of what I create may never see any playtime. It’s ultimately the players’ choice as to what tasks they want to complete and what quests they want to go on,” Patrick points out.

While the D&D world needs to have a unique and compelling narrative, it also needs to appeal to a player’s curiosity to ensure they keep playing the game and play the parts of the game that you want them to.

How does this apply to content marketing? Well, as you know, just because you’re producing content, doesn’t mean that your audience will find it. To find the answers they’re looking for, they might scour the internet, social media, and trusted experts for more information. Having an integrated content strategy that has multiple touch points throughout the buyer journey and an omni-channel approach, helps ensure you’re reaching your target audience whenever and wherever they may be searching.

Weaving SEO, social media, and influencer marketing into your content marketing strategy helps improve the reach and engagement of the content you’re producing. Through SEO, your organic rankings and click-through-rates will start to rise, improving your organic traffic. Social media messages that are well written and value-based help attract larger audiences from their social feeds. And, finally, tapping into industry influencers exposes your content to a wider network of like-minded individuals, as well as adding authority and credibility.

#3 - Avoid corraling your audience.

Nobody likes to be told what to do, including D&D players. While the DM writes the game and serves as a referee, they cannot influence a player’s actions. And if a DM attempts to, they could quickly lose a player’s interest.

“As a DM, it can be tempting to intervene and make sure that your players are playing the game the way you intended. But this is the one thing you cannot do.” Patrick emphasizes.

This is true in content marketing, too, as making calls to action (CTAs) with zero context can be a turn-off for your audience. If you insert a CTA before your audience can learn what’s in it for them, whether it’s downloading an eBook, listening to a podcast, or subscribing to your blog, they’re less likely to do it. In fact, QuickSprout found that placing a CTA above the fold on a page decreased their conversion rate by 17% and attributed it to their audience not fully understanding why they should complete the action.

Instead, make sure that your CTAs have plenty of context and explain what the audience will gain by filling out your form, reading another blog post, etc. This helps ensure that your content satisfies your audience’s quest for knowledge.

#4 - Customize content for your audience, not the other way around.

As we mentioned previously, the players are in charge of their actions and how they choose to play the game, making it impossible for DMs to have control over the game experience. This makes it important for DMs to know their audience ahead of time, so they can include important sought-after details into different game components.

“I’ll ask players before we start what they hope to get out of the game, whether it’s take down an enemy or just to have fun. Knowing this ahead of time, I can tailor the game to what each player wants to have happen,” Patrick says.

For content marketers, this lesson should hit close to home. You need to know your audience well in advance in order to deliver personalized content. If you create content and worry about your audience later, chances are you aren’t engaging the right people.

After taking a look at your own audience’s characteristics and interests in Google Analytics, create unique personas for each of your audience members. This allows you to create content that is tailored for each person you hope to attract and engage. For example, if one of your target personas is a Director of Business Development, creating custom content that addresses a unique pain points like identifying new business opportunities or tips from the experts on how to strengthen their existing client relationships.

[bctt tweet="If you create content and worry about your audience later, chances are you aren’t engaging the right people. - @aleuman4 #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#5 - Chart your course.

There is a lot going on in a D&D game. And for the DM, that number is amplified as you have to remember every detail about your players, what’s been completed, and what could come next.

“To make sure I’m on top of the game and can portray characters well, I chart the game’s relationships instead of story elements. If I focus on the story, it could quickly become useless as players might do things out of order or in a non-linear fashion. By focusing on the relationships and where they fit in the narrative, the game becomes more fluid and flexible for the players and I can keep track of their journey,” Patrick says.

Tracking the journey isn’t the only thing Patrick notes, however. He also documents player strengths, weaknesses, and stats as the game progresses.

“I keep a character sheet that details each player’s play style. For example, if a player is investing their skill points in intelligence, I can tailor future encounters in the game to focus on problem-solving instead of combat. The opposite is true for a player who invests in raw strength,” Patrick notes.

Through detailed charts, maps, and grids, Patrick is able to make sure that his players have a personalized, seamless experience for every campaign they play, regardless of how they play it.

Customer Journey & Dungeons and Dragons Journey

By taking the same approach with your content marketing, you can identify opportunities for customization and develop a strategy for weaving your content into the buyer’s journey. For example, by knowing which pieces of content attract a larger audience or drive more conversions, you can use that information to inform your content development and map your content to different stages of the funnel (see below).

Grid Assigning Content to Buyer Stages

To collect this data on your content and audience, review your Google Analytics behavior and conversion dashboards to find our which pieces of content excel at attracting, engaging, or converting your audience. Metrics like page views and entrances are good indicators for attraction, whereas time on page or number of pages per session can help you understand engagement. And, finally, the number of conversions through conversion tracking is the best way to find your top converting content. Armed with this knowledge you can create content plans that are tailored for your audience’s unique buyer journey.

Your Audience Is the Hero

A good Dungeon Master enables players to become the hero of the story through a personalized game with a compelling, original narrative. As a content marketer, it’s your responsibility to create content that transforms your audience into heroes as well, helping them solve seemingly impossible problems with your expert, best-answer advice.

Through an integrated content strategy with originality, personalization, and “best answer” content that’s mapped to the buyer journey, you can become the perfect Content Master for your audience.

For more ideas on how to become a masterful content marketer, check out these 25 content marketing tips, including how to tackle writer’s block, repurpose content, utilize storytelling, and more.

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6 Top Marketing Challenges Solved by Influencer Content

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 10:22:10 +0000

Whether you’re a new Marketing leader at a company in need of establishing wins quickly or part of a growing organization with ambitious revenue goals, the challenges within marketing today are greater than ever. To help make sense out of these challenges, I’ve listed 6 of the top obstacles to brands achieving effectiveness out of [...]

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Digital Marketing News: Cryptofluencers, Google’s Infinite Scrolling, Influencer Trust Grows

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 10:30:22 +0000

Influencer Marketing Has Hit Cryptoworld The proliferation of cryptocurrencies over the past several years has led to a sharp recent increase in the number of paid influencers hired to help promote and legitimize both small and large players in the cryptoworld. Digiday Google launches Reach Planner for YouTube & video ad forecasting in AdWords Google [...]

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Relationship Powered Link Building #Pubcon Florida

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 19:37:45 +0000

Keywords, content and links. This is the currency of the Search Engine Optimization world and the rules for spending that currency seem to be in a constant state of flux. At TopRank Marketing, we take a conservative approach to attracting links through purely organic means. Our focus is on creating content that’s actually worth being [...]

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How to Leverage Influencer Marketing for Improved SEO #Pubcon Florida

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 19:04:40 +0000

This session on influencer marketing and SEO is the first up for me on day one of Pubcon Florida, which has grown from a one day to a two day event. It’s easy to see why: The speaker line up is chock full of current smart search marketing advice from a great collection of expert [...]

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Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 10:02:20 +0000

Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018

Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018

Social media marketers, how are you feeling? Take a minute to breathe if you need to. The last few months have been a wild ride. Fatigue, vertigo, and even a little nausea are perfectly understandable.

As I said before, social media isn’t dying, but it is changing. Marketers are used to quick changes, naturally, but it’s important to be sure we’re making the right changes. We should approach evolving our social media with the same data-driven, strategic rigor that applies to everything else we do.

The good folks at Rival IQ recently published their 2018 Social Media Benchmarking Report. The data points to some clear directions for the next evolution of social media marketing.

Here are some of the key data points – and, more importantly, what you should do about them.

#1 - Influencers Have the Highest Engagement Rate on Facebook

Facebook Engagement Benchmark 2018

The report breaks down engagement by platform and by vertical, which invites some intriguing comparisons. If you’re in the food & beverage industry, congratulations! You’re likely seeing some of the highest engagement.

If you’re not, however, there’s no need to roll out a new Cloud-Based SaaS brand of soft drink. Influencers are also hitting the top engagement rate (a whopping .24%, but more on that later).

What to Do:

TopRank Marketing has been talking about influencer marketing since before it was cool. These stats underline the importance of co-creating content with influencers who are relevant to your audience. It’s incredibly tough for brands to make a connection with organic social. Influencers can provide the person-to-person relationship that most people want out of social media interaction.

Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

#2 - More Posting Doesn’t Equal More Engagement

The highest post frequency on Facebook is in the Media vertical, with an average of over 10 posts per day. That’s an artifact of an old way of thinking about social media: Flood your page with posts and hope one or two stick. That strategy doesn’t seem to work anymore. Media has the lowest engagement rate, at .08%. Especially with Facebook, upping your posting frequency is counterproductive. The algorithm will show your posts in fewer feeds, fewer people will interact with them as a result, and you start a vicious cycle that ends up slashing your organic reach.

What to Do:

Stick to one or two posts per day, and really make them count. That’s right at the industry average, and seems to be the threshold on most platforms for how much an audience wants to see branded content. If you have ten potential posts, get ruthless: Pick the two that are most interesting, most relevant, most valuable to your audience. Then save the rest for a roundup blog post at the end of the week.

#3 - Engagement Rates Vary Widely by Platform

We tend to talk about social media as though it were a single monolithic platform. Of course we know there are differences between channels, but the report underscores just how much they can vary. The engagement rates for Instagram are above the 1% mark, with some verticals seeing over 3%:

2018 Instagram Engagement Benchmarks

2018 Twitter Benchmarks

While Twitter has an average engagement of .046%. That’s 4 hundredths of a percent, or engagement on one out of every 4,000 posts.

What to Do:

If Instagram fits your brand, and your audience is there, these stats are definitely an endorsement for hopping on the 'gramwagon. But don’t count Twitter out completely. There is a great deal more content posted on Twitter than Instagram, and Twitter moves a lot faster. So that low engagement rate shouldn’t scare you off completely. Instead, use Twitter to boost your brand awareness, provide customer service via social media monitoring, and to engage with potential influencers.

Paid posts on Twitter can also have a powerful impact. One of our technology clients initially ruled out Twitter completely. We were able to prove they had a potential audience on Twitter and helped them run a paid program. In the end, their Twitter engagement was far higher than engagement on any other platform.

#4 - Engagement Is Low on Every Platform

More than anything, the report shows just how low the benchmarks are across the social media spectrum. If an email marketing campaign had a .046% average open rate, we would be throwing in the towel writing our resignations at the same time.

The drop in engagement makes sense, though, with how social media platforms have evolved. They used to be based on delivering all the posts the user opted into seeing. Whatever accounts the person chose to follow, that was what filled their feed.

Now every major social site is curated by algorithm. The user doesn’t control what they see, and neither do brands.

What to Do:

There are two key ways to thrive in the Age of the Algorithm. We’ve already covered the first: Start thinking of most of these channels as pay-to-play. Take your most compelling content and throw some paid promotion behind it on your highest-performing platform. Then A/B test your audience targeting until you find the sweet spot.

The second is to produce the type of content that the algorithm will promote. For Facebook and Twitter, that increasingly means native video. Facebook in particular has been explicit about their favoritism for video. Posts that match what the platform wants to promote will get a bigger initial push, which can help you get engagement, which will signal the algorithm to promote it more.

It’s also a good idea to explore the major platform that’s missing from Rival IQ’s report: LinkedIn*. The reported engagement rate on LinkedIn is .054%, lower than Facebook but higher than Twitter. However, it’s easy to more than double that benchmark with a little optimization, as this infographic from LinkedIn shows.

You can also branch out on LinkedIn by having your C-suite post their own thought leadership content on their own accounts. Personal posts are likely to get more engagement and more shares.

Stay on Your Mark and Don’t Get Benched

Social media marketing is still one of the newest marketing disciplines there is. We’re still developing best practices as the platforms continue to evolve. It’s a little like trying to build a train while you’re going 60 miles per hour down a track built on top of a pool of lime Jell-O.

These benchmarks can provide a starting point for the next iteration of your strategy. They might not speak to your specific vertical or audience, but they do highlight the broad changes taking place across social media. To make sure your train keeps rolling, focus on just a few high-quality posts per day, boosted with paid ads on your most valuable channels.

Need help mastering social media marketing? Here’s how we helped one company expand their reach.

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.

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Crushing Conclusions: Why Content Marketers Shouldn’t Skip the Ending

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 10:26:31 +0000

Importance of Conclusions in Content Marketing

Importance of Conclusions in Content Marketing

We marketing writers spend a lot of time crafting a piece of content. In fact, according to Orbit Media’s most recent blogger survey, most writers spend about three and half hours crafting one blog post—which is a one-hour jump from its first report in 2014, highlighting to me the focus on quality over quantity of output.

But let’s be honest, regardless of how long we spend on a piece of content, we have our priorities in terms of how we spend that time. The title, while just a few words, is how we grab audience attention or entice the click. The introduction is how we hook the readers. And, of course, the body is at the heart of it all where we make good on everything we’ve promised in the headline and introduction.

But when it comes to tying it all up with a solid conclusion, I’d argue that many of us aren’t giving that component the thought and care it deserves.

In today’s crowded content landscape and increasing numbness to marketing messages, we can’t afford to leave any opportunity for engagement, connection, and conversions on the table. So for me, conclusions shouldn’t be an afterthought, but rather an essential marketing storytelling element for three main reasons—which is something I detail in this little video shoot I did with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis.

Take a peek at my video debut if you want the Cliff's Notes, but I encourage you to keep reading to get more depth and examples that can inspire the next piece you craft.

3 Reasons Conclusions Deserve Content Marketing Care

#1 – Content consumption is bite-sized.

First of all, it’s no secret that humans have short attention spans. How short? Roughly 8 seconds. And in an age of so much content at our fingertips, so much content that is ready to be consumed—it’s overwhelming. As a result—whether we’re curious about a new trend, researching something we may need to purchase, professional development—we often scan or skim content to get satisfy our need for credible, quality content in the shortest amount of time.

All that said, there are absolutely moments when we’re willing to commit to diving deeper and give something our full attention—which brings me to my next point.

#2 – If we’ve done our jobs and we’ve enticed a reader to the end, we absolutely want to leave them with something of value.

At a minimum, you should be circling back to your main points to give your audience a great summary and then providing them with a next step. Depending on your industry, audience, topic and stage in the funnel, there’s a few different considerations here:

The Engagement Play

Keeping folks on-page and encouraging them to interact with the content. The easiest example here is asking a thought-provoking question that relates to the topic and gives readers a chance to lend their voice.

Here’s an example from my recent post regarding Facebook’s latest algorithm changes and what they meant for influencer marketing.

As you can read, there’s a summary, actionable next steps from a takeaway and other reading standpoint, and then a related question to encourage discussion.

Engaging Conclusion Example for Content Marketers

The Emotional Play

Appealing to your reader’s emotions by leaving them with a little food for thought, inspiration or encouragement is a great way to reinforce every word up until that point and create a more personal connection. From my perspective, this route is especially great for thought leadership pieces.

In my journalism days, one of my go-to tactics here was to end with a compelling quote from one of my sources. I’d bring it all back together and then frost it with an interesting, uplifting, or sometimes a little heart-wrenching quote to really drive it home.

Here’s a subtle example from the *LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog. Titled Play Ball! How Marketers Can Apply the Principles of Spring Training and Experimentation, this baseball-themed post discusses how marketers can use spring training as inspiration for validating and optimizing social ad campaigns. With baseball season kicking off, the metaphor itself has a great hook for appealing to their audience’s interests.

When it comes to the conclusion, the minimum best practices of circling back and providing a summary are in play. And it’s done with the inspirational, “you can do it” sentiment woven throughout. Then the final line—”Step on up to the plate and give it a try”—gives readers “permission” to try a little something new. Of course, there’s a related CTA, too.

Emotion Evoking Conclusion Example for Content Marketers

The Tactical Play

This one is simple and probably one of the most widely used. This is all about giving readers something to do next. You’ve addressed a pain point or issue, you’ve offered insights and some solutions, but now the question is: What do they do next?

I want to be careful to say that this isn’t just a simple call to action. The conclusion should absolutely lead them to believe that the end CTA is worth their time.

Here’s a lovely example from TopRank Marketing’s Anne Leuman. Her recent post on search marketing integration, which featured a philosophical theme, she reinforces her main point and highlights key benefits. When it comes time to deliver the next step, she uses a “but wait there’s more” approach that tells the reader they have more integration possibilities to discover.

Tactical Conclusion Example for Content Marketers

Play Integration

These three plays don’t stand alone. They can be played with and combined to fit your topic, audience, and natural next steps for readers.

In our own Nick Nelson recent post In a World of Diminishing Trust, Data-Driven Marketers Can Turn the Tide, Nick tackles consumer mistrust and what that means for marketers moving forward. He begins with data-mishap story, outlines the trust issue, talks about the solution, and then it’s time for the conclusion where he artfully leverages a combination of the plays above.

His first few paragraphs tug at the emotional and inspirational heartstrings, but also delivers tactical value with next steps and takeaways.

Conclusion Example from Nick Nelson

But his final line really drives it all home:

Final Line of Nick Nelson Conclusion

Finally, the related CTA isn’t just a simple “Read more” line.

CTA in Nick Nelson Conclusion

#3 – Every great story has a great ending.

Last, and certainly not least—and although it may sound a little hokey: Every great story has a great ending. No actually, every great story deserves a great ending. Period.

In Conclusion …

< Wow. No pressure or anything. >

We marketing writers are dedicated to our craft, spending hours to develop click-worthy headlines, compelling hooks and valuable body copy. But let’s not forget that every great story needs to have a great ending.

At a minimum, you should be circling back to your main points to give your audience a thoughtful summary and then providing them with a next step. And depending on your industry, topic, audience, and stage in the funnel, you should blend tactics to leave readers with something of value—whether that be inspiration, food for thought, actionable nexts steps or takeaways, or a little mix of everything.

The bottom line? Take it from the Master of Conclusions, Tom Smykowski:

Don't Skip the Conclusion Meme

Looking for ways to up your writing productivity, while also delivering on quality? Getting started can be the hardest part, so why not start with your conclusion? Get more content productivity hacks to help you take creation from failing to flying high.

What are your thoughts on the importance of conclusions? Do you agree with me? Disagree? Share your thoughts on the subject.

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Crushing Conclusions: Why Content Marketers Shouldn’t Skip the Ending appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: CMO Diversity Shortfalls, Goo.gl Retirement, Facebook’s New A/B Tests

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 10:30:25 +0000

Brands Fail to Meet the ANA’s Diversity Goals, Too Progress has been strong in CMO gender balance while ethnic diversity continues to face significant shortfalls, according to new research from the Association of National Advertisers and its inaugural CMO scorecard. While 45 percent of top marketer positions examined in the ANA member data were female, [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: CMO Diversity Shortfalls, Goo.gl Retirement, Facebook’s New A/B Tests appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

To Gate, or Not to Gate? Answers to an Age-Old Digital Marketing Question

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 10:11:34 +0000

When Not to Gate Your Content

When Not to Gate Your Content

Modern marketers understand that quality, engaging and relevant content is at the core of any integrated digital marketing strategy. After all, in a world where consumers are increasingly self-directed in researching their options to make purchasing decisions, that quality, engaging and relevant content aids their journey and decision-making.

But let’s face it. While marketers want to inform and engage their audience, they ultimately want to generate viable leads to meet their goals and grow their respective businesses. Oftentimes, that means deciding when, where and how to gate certain content assets. In fact, perhaps one of the most common questions we get from our book of clients is: “Should I gate my content?”

The answer? It depends.

It depends on your objectives. It depends on your brand or product’s maturity in the marketplace. It depends on your content ecosystem. It depends on the “content of the content.” And it depends on your lead nurturing capabilities.

As a result, strategic decision-making is crucial, otherwise your content may never see the light of day. With that said, there are several situations where we believe gated content should be left off the table.

#1 -  When you’re looking to build brand awareness.

Simply put, if you’re hoping to get eyeballs on your content and drive traffic and on-page engagement, give your content away “for free.”

If you’re an emerging brand or part of a younger or smaller company, brand awareness is an important step in building your audience. By providing your prospects with great, accessible content throughout the funnel, you can plant seeds and strengthen your perceived value—which can pay off later.

For more established brands, you know that just because you have high visibility and a strong reputation doesn’t mean a focus on brand awareness is no longer necessary. Awareness is still key for growing your audience, staying top of mind or gaining share of voice when a new product or service is released into the wild. So, if you’re creating content with the goal of strengthening awareness at the top and middle of the funnel, leave it ungated.

[bctt tweet="Simply put, if you’re hoping to get eyeballs on your content and drive traffic and on-page engagement, give your content away “for free.” - @Alexis5484 #DigitalMarketing #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - When your brand, product or service is new to market.

This point is particularly important for startups or rising brands in a competitive marketplace.

For those pioneering a new field, you’re likely up against little to no demand for your product or service—meaning you’ve created a solution for a problem your audience doesn’t know they have yet. So, how can you expect someone to “pay” for content if they don’t know anything about your purpose, function or value?

For those rising brands in more established sectors, you’re likely competing with well-known or long-standing brands the same share of voice. And while you may be desperate for leads, providing quality, relevant content for “free” is where you should start in order to stand out.

#3 - When you don’t have quality, ungated content to bolster a gated asset.

When you gate a content asset, you’re signaling to your audience that what you’re offering is of premium value; content that requires a bit of payment to be enjoyed. So at the very least, you need to ask yourself if the content is truly valuable and worthy of that payment.

In addition, you need to make sure that your “free” content is up to par, too. Think of it this way: Your ungated content serves as an appetizer for your audience, allowing them to gauge whether their entree, a gated ask, may be worth it. So, it’s important to ensure you have a strong ecosystem of ungated content to bolster any gated content. It’s as simple as that.

[bctt tweet="It’s important to ensure you have a strong ecosystem of ungated content to bolster any gated content. - @Alexis5484 #DigitalMarketing #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#4 - When you don’t have a thoughtful nurture strategy in place.

We’ve established that all marketers are hungry for leads and gated content helps satisfy that hunger. But once you get those new leads in, do you have a lead nurturing strategy in place to support them?

If your plan only involves a standard “thank you” email and then sending the names off to sales, you’re not ready to gate an asset. You need to put together an automated email nurture first, as well as tracking and testing, to make sure you can optimize and personalize the experience for prospects.

#5 - When you’ve co-created content with influencers.

When you co-create a piece of content or asset with influencers, you want them to be proud of the finished product and ultimately share it with their followings. However, in our experience, if that content is behind a wall they’ll be far less likely to promote it.

Why? For a couple reasons:

  1. If your influencer partnerships were unpaid, some may feel uncomfortable with you “charging” for their content and expertise—especially if it comes as a surprise at launch. Or they may feel like they deserve further compensation, which you probably haven’t budgeted for.
  2. Your influencers have more skin in the game if your content is gated. Think about it. If they’re promoting a gated asset to their followings, they’re sending the signal that this content is premium. If at the end of the day they don’t feel it’s worthy of payment, they may not share.

Now, there is a slight caveat to this. If you’ve developed an integrated influencer content campaign with multiple content types, a gated asset may be mixed in there. However, something needs to be left ungated not only to demonstrate value to your target audience, but also to make it easy for influencers to share.

Gate With Care

Gated content absolutely has a place in the digital marketing mix. But you need to be thoughtful and strategic when choosing which assets to gate—otherwise you run the risk of investing time and resources into content that stays mostly hidden.

So, as you ponder whether to gate or not to gate, consider your objectives, market position and industry, current content ecosystem, nurture strategy, and influencer partners. This will help you see the bigger picture, while also enabling you to align your objectives and expectations.

Looking for a way to build and bolster your content marketing strategy? Check out these seven steps for documenting your strategy.

What other factors do you consider when choosing to gate an asset? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The post To Gate, or Not to Gate? Answers to an Age-Old Digital Marketing Question appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

SEO + Paid Search: An Aristotelian Lesson in Search Marketing Integration

Mon, 02 Apr 2018 10:20:09 +0000

Paid and SEO Search Marketing Integration

Paid and SEO Search Marketing Integration

The first search engine was created in 1990, over two millennia from when Aristotle, the famed Greek philosopher, walked the earth. Having never lived in a world that included a search engine, let alone paper, you might be wondering what advice Aristotle could possibly offer when it comes to search marketing, but one of his most famous quotes offers an invaluable lesson:

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” 

Even in ~330 BC, Aristotle understood that combining two tactics together results in powerful outcomes that are greater than their individual parts.

Adopting this classic teaching to your modern paid search and SEO tactics, means getting more bang for your buck in search marketing. For starters, integrating paid and organic search has been found to increase conversions by 200%, according to Search Engine Watch. If you want to maximize your potential return on your search marketing efforts, they need to work together.

At TopRank Marketing, we believe integration makes the digital marketing world go round, bringing balance and harmony to your digital marketing efforts. To help you weave your paid search and SEO tactics together, we asked TopRank Marketing’s own search marketing philosophers, Joe Manier and Steve Slater, to share their advice and insights.

A Complementary Pair

Since we're being philosophical and metaphorical, paid search and SEO are the pizza and beer pairing of digital marketing. They’re both awesome in their own right, but in coming together, they give you a more satisfying meal.

With “search” in the name of both tactics, you might already have an indication of why they make such a great pair. But in case you didn’t know, Joe and Steve give their reasons why they complement each other so well.

“SEO and paid search are two ways of coming at the same goal of getting clicks from searchers you care about,” is how Joe explains it.

For example, both tactics aim to earn high visibility in search results for target keywords. In order to reach that goal however, they utilize different strategies and techniques, allowing you to cover more ground in search results.

“SEO is not a promotional strategy. When you need to get eyeballs to a webpage, SEO can take time and the results come slowly. But when you turn on a paid search campaign, you instantly get traffic to your web page. Using the two together leads to instant impact and long-term results,” Steve says.

Not only do paid search and SEO go after similar goals, but they do it in two different ways, opening up the possibility of increasing your results exponentially.

[bctt tweet="Paid search & #SEO are the pizza & beer pairing of #DigitalMarketing. They’re both awesome in their own right, but in coming together, they give you a more satisfying meal. - @aleuman4" username="toprank"]

4 Lessons from Our Own Search Marketing Philosophers

To bring the two tactics together and get those high-flying results that Aristotle mentions, you need to use paid search to influence SEO and vice versa to create a truly synergistic relationship. To help you create that relationship, this is the advice that Joe and Steve have to offer.

#1 - Use paid search to test your hypothesis.

Because paid search is a way to “cheat” your way into a top ranking, you can actually glean a lot of insights from your search ads. Taking up the top four spots, ads receive a lot of impressions on search engine results pages (SERPs), giving you valuable information on what attracts clicks or conversions and what doesn’t.

“I use paid search as a testing method for what content resonates with searchers. After a campaign has run, I can see what messages led to higher click-through rates (CTR) with each of our target audiences. Then, I apply those insights to title tags and meta descriptions on high impression keywords or pages to boost organic CTR,” Joe says.

And by naming your campaigns strategically, you can immediately see what types of messaging perform well. For example, Joe has found success with solution-based ad messages, earning a great number of clicks and conversions. Knowing this, he can then insert more solution-based messages into organic meta content to try and replicate those same results.

Using the same principle, paid search could be a faster method for A/B testing any meta description or title tag changes as it doesn’t require that you actually update your website.

[bctt tweet="Use paid search as a testing method for what content resonates with searchers. - @joemanier #SearchMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - Take stock of conversions and the competition.

Paid search campaign data isn’t only good for meta content, it’s also great for assessing the keywords you want to target.

“If you want to know exactly what keywords lead to a conversion, you can run a paid search campaign and pretty easily start to fill in the blanks,” Steve explains.

In this scenario, you can look at the results of your paid campaign in Google AdWords (see below) to determine which keyword bids led to conversions. Those top converting keywords can then serve as focus areas for your SEO efforts.

Keyword Results from Google AdWords

In addition, AdWords data can help you identify which keywords are more difficult to go after. If you notice that a target keyword has a high average cost per click (CPC), it’s safe to assume that there’s a lot of competition driving the bids up. Given this information, you may want to adjust your optimization efforts towards lower-difficulty keywords that you have a better chance of ranking for.

#3 - Form your paid strategy based on current rankings.

We’ve shared how paid can influence your SEO strategy, but what about the other way around?

Well, if you have a keyword glossary, Joe likes to use it to divvy up which keywords are ideal for SEO and which are better to go after with paid search.

“I like to combine newly finished keyword research with ranking reports from the get-go as it gives instant visibility into how we're doing organically. Then, I sort the keywords based on if they'd be a better fit for SEO (such as long-tail question keywords) or paid search (keywords where we stand little chance of seeing organic wins in the near-term),” Joe offers.

In analyzing the different type of keywords you rank for, you can more easily identify keywords you should bid on in your paid search campaigns.

If you’re hoping to improve those organic rankings, however, you shouldn’t rely on your paid campaigns to move the needle.

“One thing you should not expect when it comes to running paid search and SEO together is even better rankings. Turning on paid search is not going to improve organic rankings,” Steve warns.

To improve organic rankings, it’s best to stick to alternative methods like on-page optimization around target keywords, internal cross-linking, or additional content.

[bctt tweet="Don't make the mistake of thinking that #PaidSearch will move organic rankings. - @TheSteve_Slater #SearchMarketing" username="toprank"]

#4 - Adopt an SEO philosophy when structuring paid search campaigns.

Using an SEO mindset when structuring a paid search campaign is another method that can be very beneficial. For example, tapping into SEO knowledge can help you earn higher quality scores for your AdWords campaigns.

“The quality score largely determines how a keyword performs in your AdWords campaign. The quality score is calculated by factoring in expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. When you think like an SEO it's pretty easy to break these elements down.

“As an SEO, you understand how bots interpret a page and search intent, helping you craft relevant ad copy and an easy-to-use landing page experience that increases CTR and your quality score,” Steve says.

According to Google, ads with “higher quality scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions.” Increasing your score means optimizing your ads for increased visibility and clicks while lowering your CPC.

[bctt tweet="Tapping into #SEO knowledge can help you earn higher quality scores for your #AdWords campaigns. #SearchMarketing" username="toprank"]

A Timeless Lesson With Infinite Possibilities

Aristotle was onto something all the way back in ~330 BC and his advice is still relevant today.

While paid search and SEO can stand on their own and increase your search marketing results, if they’re paired together correctly, they can increase your CTR, boost impressions, and expand your keyword umbrella even further.

But that’s not the only opportunity for you to integrate your marketing strategies to drive incredible results. Find out how social media and SEO make an unlikely, yet beneficial pairing.

The post SEO + Paid Search: An Aristotelian Lesson in Search Marketing Integration appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: New AdWords Tool, Global Digital Adspend Up, LinkedIn Video Filters

Fri, 30 Mar 2018 10:30:45 +0000

Google AdWords Releases New Keyword Planner Tool An updated and more feature-rich Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool has been released, including a newly-designed forecasts area showing a unified overview and the ability to add multiple keywords in bulk, all now available to anyone with access to the latest iteration of the AdWords experience. Search Engine [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: New AdWords Tool, Global Digital Adspend Up, LinkedIn Video Filters appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

How to Survive the Social Media Midlife Crisis

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:30:34 +0000

Time moves faster on the internet. Last month’s memes are about as relevant as a 1920s vaudeville show. Even a bona fide viral phenomenon from just a few years ago seems quaint and dated.

Twitter and Facebook are only 12 and 14 years old, respectively. But they’re aging at internet speed. And right now they’re having a midlife crisis. Instead of buying a sports car and taking up craft brewing, though, that crisis is manifesting as existential dread and intense soul-searching.

The people who run the platforms are publicly examining their purpose and societal impact. More importantly, the people who use the platforms are asking tough questions:

What am I getting out of my time spent here?

Who is this platform structured to benefit?

Should I be trusting my data with this platform?

Is this a positive or negative thing I have let into my life?

As marketers, we have to ask ourselves the same questions. And we should add one more: Is our social media marketing valuable to our audience?

If we’re not adding value, we’re adding to the problem.

Social media is in crisis right now. But that doesn’t mean marketers should abandon ship. It means we have to do our own soul-searching. We need to take our social media accounts off of autopilot and approach them mindfully. Here’s what marketers should consider as we weather the social media midlife crisis.

How Does Your Social Media Marketing Make People Feel?

A recent Hill Holliday report found that a majority of 18-24 year olds were at least considering abandoning social media. Over a quarter said that social media hurts their self-esteem or makes them feel insecure. Thirty-five percent said there was too much negativity, and 17% said they were considering quitting because social media makes them feel bad about themselves.

Connecting with your brand on social media should make a person feel better. They should feel that your brand shares values with them, is paying attention to them, can help meet needs and solve problems.

It’s worth evaluating what your brand is posting on social to make sure it’s helping spread positivity. The old days of scaring or shaming people into buying a product are more than over. The overarching message of any brand on social media should be some variant of: “This is what we’re like. If you’re like that too, you’re awesome. Here’s some help you didn’t even know you needed. Here’s something to make your day a little brighter.”

[bctt tweet="Connecting with your brand on #socialmedia should make a person feel better. They should feel that your brand shares values with them, is paying attention to them, can help meet needs & solve problems. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Is Your Brand Using Social Media to Be…Well…Social?

Let’s be honest with ourselves, shall we? No one opens their Facebook app saying: “Gosh, I hope I have some satisfactory brand interactions today.” People use social media to connect with other people — you want to see if your high school best friend had her baby, check out your uncle’s kitchen remodel, or see pictures of your parents’ second honeymoon.

Most brands on social media have been pretty lousy at giving people that type of person-to-person interaction. Which explains why people are moving their conversations out of the public eye, into private groups in apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

How can brands be more social on social media? It starts with transparency and honesty. I love Wendy’s’ sassy Twitter account as much as the next jaded Gen X’er, but snark only takes you so far. Use your social media posts to introduce the people behind your brand and the values they stand for. Then aim for meaningful interaction: When someone reaches out to the brand, make sure the reply is prompt, personal, and useful.

[bctt tweet="How can brands be more social on #socialmedia? It starts with transparency & honesty. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Is Your Brand Connecting with People Your Audience Trusts?

At the heart of it, there’s a limit to how well your brand can connect with individual people. Even when you’re honest, transparent, and engaging, a brand is still not a human being. The relationship dynamic will always be a little strained.

That’s one of the many reasons why influencer marketing works so well. Influencers can co-create content with you and amplify it to their audience on a much more personal basis than your brand could manage on its own. Find the people your audience already follows — in other words, the ones they want to interact with. Then work with these influencers to bring their audience great content that only your brand could have helped create.

Working with influencers helps put the personal, social touch back into social media marketing. It puts the emphasis of your brand interaction where it belongs: person to person.

[bctt tweet="Working with influencers helps put the personal, social touch back into #SocialMediaMarketing. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

Getting Beyond the Crisis

When social media platforms first launched, most of us jumped right in. We found our high school classmates. We connected with friends from college. We added co-workers and family members and friends of friends, and we shared everything. Over time, we developed routines. Now, people are finally starting to analyze just what social media means to them. Most will keep their accounts open — but the majority will change the way they interact with the platforms.

Sound familiar? Most brands jumped headfirst into social media, developed routines, and then many of us went on autopilot. Now it’s time to question what we hope to get out of social media, and whether our tactics are getting us closer to those goals. And most importantly, making sure our goals match what our audience wants from us.

Need help with social media marketing? We have you covered.

The post How to Survive the Social Media Midlife Crisis appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Better Together: Why Your Content Marketing Campaigns & Always-On Programs Should Work in Harmony

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 10:30:12 +0000

Campaigns + Always-On Strategy = Content Marketing Harmony

Campaigns + Always-On Strategy = Content Marketing Harmony

Regardless of industry or niche, nearly all B2B marketers—91% to be exact—are focused on leveraging content marketing to reach, resonate and inspire audience action. But budget and resource constraints and lofty lead generation goals—not to mention increasing buyer numbness to marketing messages and the extinction of organic visibility on social media—means you have to get scrappy when designing a content marketing strategy that drives toward business goals.

Oftentimes, this leads brands and marketers to focus on content marketing campaigns to quickly generate buzz, spike awareness and foster audience engagement. However, in our experience, campaigns alone will not help you reach your short- and long-term marketing goals.

Why? They’re simply not sustainable. Campaigns create spikes in activity that can quickly die out if there’s not a significant investment in ongoing promotion—specifically paid promotion.

But does that mean it’s time to drop campaigns from your marketing mix? Absolutely not. Quite the opposite, actually.

Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts. Below I highlight a few reasons why.

#1 – Integration enhances your nurturing capabilities.

Content marketing aims to create multiple touchpoints with your audience whenever and wherever they’re searching—and wherever they may be in the funnel.

Campaigns can absolutely drive valuable spikes in traffic, engagement, or conversions, as well as help you target specific audiences or verticals. But you need to be able to nurture the audience you’ve built beyond the confines of the campaign—otherwise you’re not only wasting your budget, but also leaving longer-term value and opportunity on the table.

By building campaigns as part of your overall strategy, you can nurture your audience or leads more effectively, as well as enhance the buyer’s journey.

[bctt tweet="By building campaigns as part of your overall #ContentMarketingStrategy, you can nurture your audience or leads more effectively, as well as enhance the journey. - @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

#2 – Integration helps you get the most out of your campaigns.

Campaigns are often used for promoting a new idea or product, or generating or leveraging the buzz around an industry conference, event or hot topic. But once the newness wears off or the event passes, your campaign can become stale if you fail to iterate on the content or neglected to consider how it could enhance your other efforts.

Regardless of how successful your campaign is, your work shouldn’t stop once you’ve released everything into the wild. You want the momentum to continue so you should be continually optimizing your campaign for maximum performance and longevity.

But campaign content is also the perfect repurposing candidate, helping fill your editorial calendar, find opportunities for extending the conversation, and enable you to experiment with other content forms—all while helping you keep the people, trends or topics covered in the campaign top-of-mind.

The bottom line here is that you can get more out of your campaign by thinking strategically about how the content can be refined and used again and again to drive continued success.

[bctt tweet="You can get more out of your #contentmarketing campaign by thinking strategically about how content can be refined and used again and again to drive continued success. - @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

#3 – Integration helps you build stronger influencer relationships.

If you’re looking to add influencers to your marketing mix, a campaign featuring influencer talents and perspectives can be a great starting point. Oftentimes, an influencer campaign will feature multiple experts and content types, but it’s anchored by a big and snazzy asset—which not only gets influencers excited about what they co-created with you, but for future opportunities, too.

But the key to influencer marketing success is building lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial—not just reaching out when you have a need. Baking ongoing influencer relations into your overall content marketing strategy will help you focus on building those relationships, while also boosting your campaign efforts.

[bctt tweet="Baking ongoing #InfluencerRelations into your overall #ContentMarketingStrategy will help you focus on building those relationships, while also boosting your campaign efforts. - Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

#4 – Integration helps you create a steady drumbeat.

There’s no denying that campaigns are invaluable for generating buzz and excitement, but once the campaign has run its course that excitement and relevance will fade. By coupling your always-on program with campaigns, you have the opportunity to create a steady drumbeat of awareness and thought leadership to drive traffic, engagement, and leads, while also adding pops of variety to reinforce your brand and give your audience a little something special.

[bctt tweet="By coupling your always-on #ContentMarketing program with campaigns, you have the opportunity to create a steady drumbeat of awareness & thoughtleadership. - @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

Strike Balance & Harmony

At the end of the day, there’s no doubt that campaigns can be wildly effective and successful. However, those results aren’t sustainable if there isn’t a larger integrated strategy backing it up. So, when it comes to developing your next campaign, think critically about how it can enhance within your overall content marketing strategy, how you can sustainably promote and repurpose content, and create harmony to get the most bang for your buck.

Looking for more B2B content marketing insights or inspiration to help you recalibrate your strategy, check out this roundup of six B2B brands using content marketing to fuel their business.

The post Better Together: Why Your Content Marketing Campaigns & Always-On Programs Should Work in Harmony appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: More Constantly Online, Google’s Digital Graffiti, AI’s Big Data Push

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 10:30:31 +0000

Roughly One in Four Americans is Online ‘Constantly’ More than a quarter of U.S. adults consider themselves online “almost constantly” according to survey data recently released by the Pew Research Center, a figure that jumps to nearly 39 percent for younger people in the 18-to-29-year-old age group, and Kurt Wagner looks closely at some of [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: More Constantly Online, Google’s Digital Graffiti, AI’s Big Data Push appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

54 Artificial Intelligence Powered Marketing Tools

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 10:07:29 +0000

The expression, “Marketers are data rich and insight poor” is more true today than ever. Marketers all over the world are working to optimize marketing operations and effectiveness using their abundance of data. Many are turning to tools and platforms powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI promises to make sense of all the [...]

The post 54 Artificial Intelligence Powered Marketing Tools appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

3 Reasons B2B Marketers Need Optimized & Influencer Activated Content

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:12:15 +0000

We’ve all read the headlines about the death of organic social media and BuzzSumo’s recent report on the huge drop in social sharing reinforces the news that the free for all days of social media are coming to a close. Add to that the distrust of branded content and advertising and it’s easy to see [...]

The post 3 Reasons B2B Marketers Need Optimized & Influencer Activated Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: YouTube Beats Facebook, Twitter Verify for All, Gen Z Bailing on Social

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 10:13:58 +0000

Social Networking Platforms’ User Demographics Update 2018 –  The most widely-used social media platform in the US isn’t Facebook. It’s YouTube. This new report from Pew Research explores data from the top social networking platforms for 2018 including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. MarketingCharts Forrester Says Only 15% of B-to-B Marketers Are [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: YouTube Beats Facebook, Twitter Verify for All, Gen Z Bailing on Social appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Benefits of Using Instagram

13 Jun 2013 01:47:31 Z

Many business owners are unfamiliar with the benefits of using Instagram. This mobile social platform makes it easy to share photos of everything related to a company. It can be used to showcase products, company events, employees, and behind-the-scenes activities....

How to Segregate Personal from Business Social Media Accounts

18 May 2013 01:20:25 Z

There is much confusion about how to segregate personal from business social media accounts. Much of the uncertainty stems around setting up Facebook pages, but many people also use social venues such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. There are many...

Creating a Bullet Proof Marketing Strategy with OMDNA

13 May 2013 04:42:53 Z

Creating a bullet proof marketing strategy is essential for every business owner. In order to attract and retain customers, companies must develop a plan that aligns with their demographic market. To accomplish this necessitates having an understanding of the company's...

Understanding Lifetime Value of Customers

10 May 2013 03:20:37 Z

An essential aspect of marketing is understanding lifetime value of customers. Owners who take time to develop and maintain strong relationships can take their business to new heights with minimal expense. One of the greatest benefits of understanding lifetime value...

Why Video is Still Getting 70 Percent of All Internet Traffic

06 May 2013 23:42:03 Z

The topic of why video is still getting 70 percent of all Internet traffic was brought up in a recent mastermind meeting. Most people thought it was due to the popularity of YouTube, but videos can be published through many...

Hiring the Right SEO Company for Your Business

06 May 2013 22:19:01 Z

There is little doubt that hiring the right SEO company for your business can pay off handsomely. Skilled professionals can assess which online marketing strategies are best suited for your industry and overall goals. They can implement proven techniques to...

Building an Opt-In Email List

06 May 2013 22:01:13 Z

When it comes to building an opt-in email list, business owners ought to spend time developing a plan to ensure they maximize their efforts. As with all marketing endeavors there are some do's and don'ts that should be followed. One...

3 Cross Channel Marketing Tips

30 Apr 2013 00:02:36 Z

Cross channel marketing is one of the most powerful strategies business owners can use to maximize their online presence. Utilizing a variety of ad platforms, companies can tap into a larger base of consumers and expand brand recognition. Getting started...

How to Use Pinterest

24 Apr 2013 23:49:08 Z

Recently, there's been a lot of talk about how to use Pinterest to market a business. Many owners are uncertain of how this virtual bulletin board can be used to strengthen brand recognition or boost website traffic. Those who are...

LinkedIn Social Media Marketing

22 Feb 2013 06:12:45 Z

Regrettably, most business professionals aren't using LinkedIn social media marketing to the fullest. People tend to create their business profile, connect with colleagues, and leave it at that, but those who take the bull by the horns can reap many...

Twitter Vine

20 Feb 2013 21:13:14 Z

There's been a lot of talk about the launch of Twitter Vine mobile service that makes use of abbreviated videos. Just as Twitter abbreviates tweets, now users can integrate six second videos to showcase products and special events. Learning how...

Online Marketing Content

14 Jan 2013 23:52:41 Z

Everyone knows online marketing content is a necessary part of conducting business via the Internet. After all, search engines are designed to deliver websites containing the information searchers are looking for. Learning how to capitalize with online marketing content will...

Social Video Marketing

10 Jan 2013 20:58:22 Z

Business owners who take advantage of social video marketing can create a tremendous amount of brand buzz as long as videos are high quality and enjoyable to watch. Learning how to produce video ads and promote them in social networks...

Facebook Email Test

09 Jan 2013 21:24:39 Z

There is a lot of talk about the Facebook email test which was unveiled the end of December 2012. The experiment is aimed at generating new revenue for the popular social networking group by assessing a $1 fee to send...

Roofer Facebook Business Fanpage

04 Dec 2012 06:48:43 Z

Will Your Roofing Business SurviveThe Death of Traditional Marketing?Amazingly Simple "PROVEN SYSTEM" To Dominate Your Local Market...


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