Latest Marketing News

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

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 10:30:24 +0000

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 [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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

Thu, 21 Jun 2018 10:30:18 +0000

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 [...]

The post CMWorld Interview: Thinking Inside the (Answer) Box with Courtney Cox appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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

Wed, 20 Jun 2018 10:21:43 +0000

Lessons in Content Marketing

Lessons in Content Marketing

Spot on.

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Exactly.

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Truth.

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Accurate.

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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

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 10:00:16 +0000

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

Fri, 15 Jun 2018 10:30:17 +0000

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

Thu, 14 Jun 2018 10:30:23 +0000

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

Wed, 13 Jun 2018 10:30:53 +0000

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 [...]

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?

Mon, 11 Jun 2018 10:21:22 +0000

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

Fri, 08 Jun 2018 10:30:36 +0000

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 [...]

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

Wed, 06 Jun 2018 10:05:32 +0000

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®.

Digital Marketing Spotlight: An Interview With Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP

Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:15:48 +0000

Influencer Marketing Interview Ursula Ringham

Influencer Marketing Interview Ursula Ringham

They say curiosity killed the cat, but in Ursula Ringham’s case, curiosity is her special gift—both personally and professionally.

“I’m a fiercely curious person who loves storytelling,” Ursula told me. “I guess it’s my hidden talent; I can strike up a conversation with a stranger and get them to tell me their full life story. I’ll talk to anyone. I want to know people and how they think.”

Her curiosity and “love of story” have guided her throughout her marketing career—from early positions at Adobe and Apple to self-publishing a thriller novel to her latest role as Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP*.

“I’m no millennial, but I have the millennial mindset,” she says. “You have to go after what you want. You can’t let fear decide your future. And I know if I put my mind to something, I can do it.”

As influencer marketing booms and social media marketing experiences a quasi midlife crisis, I sat down with Ursula to talk misconceptions, tools, and tips on both marketing fronts.

Q&A with SAP’s Ursula Ringham

Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP1. Tell me about yourself. How did you come into the digital marketing space and eventually join SAP?

I was in the right place at the right time. As you know, I worked at Adobe and Apple, so I had a career in high-tech early on. I actually left Apple right before the first iPhone came out, and I stayed at home with my kids for about eight years.

When it was time to get back in, honestly, no one would hire me. They’d say: “You have great experience from back in the day, but you can’t compete.” Things had changed.

But even when I was at home, I was always doing something—I did some consulting and also worked on my passion for writing. That’s when I wrote and self-published my thriller novel, “Privileged Corruption.” I took creative writing classes, attended conferences and events when I could—and this is still something I do today; attend events to continue to develop because I still have several books in me.

Then in 2012, I was talking with a girlfriend and she said she needed someone to write customer success stories. And while I didn’t have the exact experience, I could write and I thought: “I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”

So, I got a job as a contractor; someone took a chance on me. And that someone was at SAP.

2. You have extensive experience with social media. What have you found to be the universal truths of social? (The things that stay the same no matter what platform or algorithm changes occur.)

Authenticity and storytelling; you need to own your brand—but you need to do it strategically.

As an individual on social or through your brand channels, you need to share the truths about who you are in a way that connects with your audience.

For me, these are the “five truths” I share with my following:

No. 1: My work.

Tell a story that enables people to come with you on the journey. Your audience doesn’t want to hear that your company just released a new product or service. They want to know how you’re solving problems or making a difference.

No. 2: My family.

I don’t give every detail here—just sprinkle some things in. This is how people see a different side and get to know me. You have to give something personal.

No. 3: My passion.

You have to share something you love. Dogs, skiing, Star Wars, poetry—the list goes on. Share something you’re passionate about because you’ll be able to form connections with people who have the same passions.

No. 4: Sports.

Whether you’re a sports fanatic or simply tolerate them, it’s something everyone can connect with and discuss—whether it’s your child’s little league baseball game or the NBA Finals.

No. 5: Third-party voices.

It could be an article from my favorite journalist or the latest commentary on the royal wedding. The point is to share things that you and your audience find interesting.

The bottom line here is: Be authentic. Be yourself (or your brand). But be strategic.

[bctt tweet="As an individual on #socialmedia or through your brand channels, you need to share the truths about who you are in a way that connects with your audience. - @ursularingham" username="toprank"]

3. What do you think is most misunderstood about influencer marketing?

For one, 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.

Secondly, it’s not always about the number of followers or connections an influencer has. Some people think: “Oh my God. We have to work with this person. They have a million followers.” Your influencers have to be able to relate to your audience and that skill isn’t necessarily determined by a large following.

Thirdly, influencer marketing is not a one-and-done tactic. You want it to be for the long haul, so influencer relationships are everything. You need to dig deep to learn who your influencers are and the expertise they bring, and build a relationship by consistent and thoughtful engagement.

Lastly, influencers can be found within your own company. Your employees can be influencers. People often forget this. You can and should combine internal and external influencers.

4. What’s one “influencer marketing must” that marketers often overlook?

You must have a call to action. What’s the point? What’s your end goal? How are you defining success? Where are you sending them?

Whether your goal is brand awareness or lead gen, if you’re telling a story that has people on the edge of their seat, you need to give them a natural next step to continue their journey.

[bctt tweet="Regardless of your goal, if you’re telling a story that has people on the edge of their seat, you need to give them a natural next step to continue their journey. - @ursularingham #InfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

5. Let’s say you’ve run into a long-lost marketer friend who’s considering working with influencers. Where do you tell them to start? What do you tell them to be cautious of?

The main thing is: If you want to succeed, you have to be in it to win it. You have to be on social media, you have to be engaged, you have to follow influencers, you have to engage with them, and you have to read, watch, or listen to their content. And all of this is before, during, and after you reach out for the first ask.

When it comes to vetting who you want to work with, start by digging into their social channels.

Twitter is a great place to learn about the topics and types of content they’re interested in. LinkedIn is great for this, too, but that’s where you can really vet whether they have the expertise and background to make a partnership a good fit. Facebook and Instagram are where you can see if you really want to work with them since you’re typically able to see more personality there.

As for something to look out for, as you’re viewing their social posts, see if they’re just sharing the same things on every channel. A post on Instagram with 10 hashtags will not work on Facebook. Every channel is different and if you keep seeing the same post, it’s like: Where are you? Where’s the authentic side?

Finally, you should be very selective on who you work with. You need to make sure they’re a good fit. Sometimes I’ll actually reach out to a mutual connection or a colleague at a different company to see if they’ve worked with an influencer before and get their read on them.

[bctt tweet="If you want to succeed at #influencermarketing, you have to be in it to win it. You have to commit. - @ursularingham" username="toprank"]

6. Where do you think GDPR and data privacy as it relates to social media and influencer marketing will have biggest impact on how brands engage? (What do brands need to consider?)

GDPR is going to be the stake in the ground for all data privacy—bar none. As GDPR kicks off, we’ll start to see lawsuits and controversies in the news and people will become increasingly aware and engaged. In the U.S., we’re already becoming more aware of data privacy issues, especially after Cambridge Analytica.

But bottom line, GDPR will be really important. And as a result, our influencers will become even more important and valuable. They’re going to be our trusted brand ambassadors; our trusted voices. They’ll be a huge asset because people don’t trust brands outright—they trust people.

[bctt tweet="In light of #GDPR, influencers will become even more important and valuable. They’re going to be our trusted brand ambassadors; our trusted voices. - @ursularingham #InfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

7. What’s in your social media marketing toolbox? (What platforms, tools or best practices are your must-haves for success?)

On the personal front, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. A key best practice for me here is tailoring the content and the messaging for each platform because my audience is different for each.

In addition, I post in the moment, every day. Authenticity is important, so I rarely use scheduling tools.

Now, for the brand marketers out there, you absolutely need a social media scheduling and management tool. You need help. And there are so many tools out there like Hootsuite or Buffer, but do your research and select one that meets your brand’s needs from a management and budgetary perspective.

8. How about your influencer marketing toolbox?

Brands engaging in influencer relations and marketing need a tool to help organize, identify, and manage relationships with influencers. A spreadsheet won’t get you very far. Tools can help you keep up with what your influencers are doing and sharing, so you can regularly engage and continue to build relationships.

Like with social media management tools, there are several options like Traackr or Onalytica, so do your research and pick one that’s the best fit.

9. Finally, what are you most excited for in your new role as Head of Global Influencer Marketing for SAP?

Building a world-class influencer program that helps SAP become a Top-10 brand. And we’ll do it through innovative storytelling. We make incredibly innovative products, so we need to tell our stories in innovative ways. And working with influencers will help us do that.

I love pushing the envelope. I love innovative content. And I’m excited about what can happen when we think a little differently.

10. Any final words for other marketers out there?

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.

Finally, embrace curiosity, think and do things differently, and embed yourself in your craft if you want to innovate.

[bctt tweet=".@ursularingham's message to #marketers: Embrace curiosity, think and do things differently, and embed yourself in your craft if you want to innovate." username="toprank"]

Ready to Take the Influencer Marketing Dive?

As Ursula so eloquently said, in order to succeed at influencer marketing, you have to be in it to win it. You have to commit. So, why not start with immersing yourself in influencer marketing tips, tactics, and strategies.

Check out some of these helpful posts to get you more in the know and help you make the leap:

Finally, a big thank you to Ursula for sharing her story and insights. You rock! If you want to connect with Ursula, follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Digital Marketing Spotlight: An Interview With Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: StumbleUpon’s Swansong, #Hashtags vs. @Handles, & Google Review’s Anonymity Revamp

Fri, 01 Jun 2018 10:30:37 +0000

Zenith Media Consumption Graph

Zenith Media Consumption Graph
StumbleUpon Shuts Down After 16 Years
StumbleUpon announced that it will shutter its content discovery platform at the end of June, 2018, ending a 16-year run that saw over 40 million users link to some 60 billion Web locations, with user accounts now moving to Mix.com, co-founder Garrett Camp’s new discovery service. Search Engine Journal

Google Dropping Anonymous Local Reviews?
Google may be moving to end anonymous reviews for its Maps and Local Business offerings, or to remove their star rating impact, according to a Search Engine Roundtable report. Search Engine Roundtable

Twitter looking to expand its programmatic offerings with Timeline Ad network pilot program
Twitter has begun seeking publishers for an expanded programmatic ad network that would allow timelines embedded on network partner sites to feature ads, the company noted on its revamped Twitter Timeline Ads Pilot site. Marketing Land

Get Woke: Time Spent With Media Approaching Total Awake Time
The amount of time consumers spend with media daily is expected to eventually fill nearly every minute not spent sleeping, according to new forecast data from Publicis’ Zenith unit, with North America topping the rest of the world. MediaPost

Pinterest is Growing Faster than Twitter and Snapchat, and Offers Significant Opportunities
Pinterest has grown its substantial user base faster than Twitter and Snapchat, a growth rate detailed in a new Mary Meeker Internet Trends report highlighting Pinterest's opportunities for marketers. Social Media Today

Snapchat launches its first Lens that reacts to sound
Snapchat has rolled out its first image filter lens that reacts not only to visual input but also to sound, opening new avenues to marketers. Engadget

Publicis / Zenith Media Consumption Forecast Statistic

Marketers’ newest shiny toy: GIF stickers
Instagram and Giphy have partnered to expand custom animated sticker GIFs, which are available for Instagram Stories and Snapchat libraries, including expanded tracking mechanisms for marketers. DigiDay

Facebook's size no barrier to deals in new areas: executive
Facebook sees no antitrust-related barriers to future large acquisitions should the social media giant wish to enter new markets, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said Tuesday. Reuters

Quora launches native image ads globally
Quora has expanded its image ads for mobile and desktop worldwide, after tripling its advertising base since last year, announcing that the question-and-answer site now has over 1,000 ad partners. Marketing Land

Consumers Respond To #Hashtags, Not @Handles
Hashtags have been more effective than brand handle mentions among social media consumers, according to new report data from Digimind that also examines global marketing trends. MediaPost

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Shifting Priorities Marketoonist Cartoon

A lighthearted look at shifting priorities, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Here are some of the funniest reactions to GDPR — Recode

What Amazon would’ve looked like in the 1980s — Co.Design

This is What Happens in an Internet Minute [Infographic] — Social Media Today

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Ashley Zeckman and Lee Odden — Top 2018 Influencers That Might Inspire Your Inner Marketer — Whatagraph
  • Lee Odden — The Role of Content: Is Building Awareness & Driving Conversion Enough? [Podcast] — Converge
  • Lee Odden — 5 SEO Questions with Lee Odden; Pro Content Tips for Mom and Pops — SEMrush
  • Lee Odden — 33 Quotes to Reignite Your Marketing Spark — Hatchbuck
  • (TopRank / Stephen Slater) — A Detailed (Step-By-Step) Look at Effective Ecommerce A/B Testing — BigCommerce
  • (Content Marketing World) — The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing – #CMWorld 2018 — Content Marketing World

We hope you'll join us next week for a fresh look at 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: StumbleUpon’s Swansong, #Hashtags vs. @Handles, & Google Review’s Anonymity Revamp appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

How to Inform Your Content Strategy Using SEO Insights

Wed, 30 May 2018 10:35:27 +0000

SEO Data Insights for Content Strategy

SEO Data Insights for Content Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEM Rush for SEO Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4 - Review inbound links to find top performers.

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

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

Moz Open Site Explorer

#5 - Track the behavior of your search traffic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google Analytics

Stay Data-Informed & Insight-Driven

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

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

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

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

Tue, 29 May 2018 10:30:15 +0000

PRESS START. These two words, which routinely appear on the title screens of video games, present both a prompt and a promise. You won’t advance until completing this simple command, but once you do, a world of adventure awaits. You can “press start” on a brand new CMWorld experience by scrolling down and clicking into [...]

The post Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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

Mon, 28 May 2018 10:41:05 +0000

How to Build Trust Through Content Marketing Storytelling

How to Build Trust Through Content Marketing Storytelling

Pardon me for telling the same old story once again ...

Storytelling is a fundamental staple of content marketing.

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

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

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

Storytelling Was Abraham Lincoln’s Greatest Strength

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everywhere you look, the tactic is becoming more ingrained.

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

Stories Are Growing More Ubiquitous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Maximize Storytelling as a Trust-Building Tool

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

#1 - Be Genuine, Authentic, and Transparent

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2 - Make It Meaningful to Your Audience

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

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

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

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

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

#3 - Implement Recurring Themes

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

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

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

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

What’s Your Story?

via GIPHY

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

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

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

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

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

Fri, 25 May 2018 10:30:50 +0000

Social Media Marketing Update: Preferred Platforms and Content Types in 2018 A multitude of the latest trends in social media marketing have been detailed in a new report from Social Media Examiner, revealing that Instagram has surpassed a declining Twitter in overall popularity, while B2B marketers continue to prefer LinkedIn. MarketingCharts Study: Millennial travelers’ Instagram [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: Preferred Platform Study, B2B Influencers & Blockchain For Marketers, & Travelers Turn To Instagram appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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

Wed, 23 May 2018 10:30:56 +0000

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

The post Building Better Influencer Relationships: 7 Cues Marketers Can Take from Sales appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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

Mon, 21 May 2018 10:38:57 +0000

2018 Social Media Marketing Trends from Social Media Examiner Report

2018 Social Media Marketing Trends from Social Media Examiner Report

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

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

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

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

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

#1 - Facebook is in flux.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Should I Do?

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

#2 - The ‘Gram is in.

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

via GIPHY

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

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

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

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

What Should I Do?

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

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

#3 - Video is the vision.

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

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

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

What Should I Do?

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

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

#4 - What about bots?

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

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

What Should I Do?

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

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

#5 - Measurement moving forward.

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

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

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

What Should I Do?

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

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

Solving Social Media Marketing in 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fri, 18 May 2018 10:30:03 +0000

Facebook has disabled almost 1.3 billion fake accounts over the past six months Facebook has stopped nearly 1.3 billion fake user accounts over the last six months, one of numerous statistics the company has revealed for the first time in a preliminary report announced this week. Recode Pinterest proves popular with dads, pointing to shifting [...]

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

Wed, 16 May 2018 10:30:22 +0000

Ingredients for Content Marketing Cobbler

Ingredients for Content Marketing Cobbler

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

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

via GIPHY

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

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

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

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

Ingredient #1 - Your pantry of existing content.

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

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

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

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

Mastering the Perfect Content Marketing Recipe eBook

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

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

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

Content Marketing Recipe for Inner Chef

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredient #3 - A drizzle of creativity and experimentation.

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

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

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

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

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

Cook Up Your Own Content Cobbler Recipe

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

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

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

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

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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