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    1. How To Choose Scroll-Stopping Blog Images

      How To Choose Scroll-Stopping Blog Images

      A picture is worth a thousand words. There's certainly truth in that saying. With an ever-increasing flood of content available to your audience, they're looking for reasons not to read your content, including a bad (or missing) visual.

      TopRank Marketing Blog contributor Joshua Nite explains just how important it is to find the right image for your copy:

      The right visual does more than take up space. It captures attention, creates a little mystery, invites the reader to dig into your carefully-crafted text. Good visuals are doubly important for amplification, too: Your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn shares will all include an image. The visual alone can stop the endless, half-engaged scrolling people do on social media, buying you crucial seconds to compel a click or a tap.

      How can you find a disarming image for your next blog? It's all about personality - gone are the days of flat "professional" photos. Some guidelines:

      1. Ditch the crappy stock photos, particularly stark white offices, people with their arms crossed, and anything in front of a chalkboard.
      2. Make it weird...and beautiful. No one wants another obvious image. Take a cue from Instagram and look for evocative filters.
      3. Find a metaphor. Introduce that metaphor in your opening paragraph to give yourself options for a header image.
      4. Take your own photos. It's genuine and authenticity is key to getting eyes on your content.

      For more tips on finding the right image, check out the complete article on TopRank Marketing Blog.

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    2. Calculate Influencer Marketing ROI

      Calculate Influencer Marketing ROI

      Influencer marketing has quickly become a trend in the marketing sphere. Unfortunately, this tactic is largely underused in the B2B marketing subset. Only 11 percent of B2B companies are running ongoing influencer marketing programs, compared to 48 percent of B2C companies. This isn't surprising, "influencers" aren't nearly as self evident in the B2B marketing space.

      TopRank Blog Contributor Alexis Hall explains how Lee Odden is urging us to rethink influencer marketing:

      What if we think about influence more holistically. Lee points that you don’t have to be a Kardashian to be influential. From singing the praises of the battery life on your new iPhone8 or telling your coworker about the new software you’re testing in your department, we’re all influencing each other.

      Here are other ways you can improve or track your influencer marketing ROI:

      • Collect quotes: Use influencer quotes in multiple pieces of content. Repurpose their quotes by using them on social media, sprinkle them in blog posts, or do an influencer advice roundup and gate it to generate more leads.
      • Create relationships: Make sure you're "paying it forward" in the influencer marketing sphere. If you're not helping create value for influencers, it's unlikely they'll want to help you.

      For more on how to prove your influencer marketing is generating ROI, check out Alexis Hall's complete post below.

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    3. Is a Video Content Strategy Right for You?

      Is a Video Content Strategy Right for You?

      Whether it's live video, Instagram stories, a vlog, or virtual reality, the options and opportunities for video marketing are expanding. This expansion in choices has made many marketers feel they need a video content strategy. 

      If you're one who feels your organization needs a content marketing strategy, don't get ahead of yourself. TopRank Marketing's Caitlin Burgess believes video marketing can be successful with or without a documented strategy to back it.

      For me, this comes down to storytelling. You need a compelling narrative that’s hyper-focused on why your organization does what it does.

      One thing to bear in mind when determining whether to implement a video marketing strategy is the amount of involvement and buy-in you need from other departments. Customer Success has to help you secure video case studies, subject-matter experts need to be comfortable in front of the camera, and upper management should support your video initiative. 

      To help prove your case, consider these stats:

      If you're not ready for a comprehensive video marketing strategy, it's okay to start small. Try creating a couple of low-budget videos. Use the results to get more support from your peers. 

      For more on video content marketing, check out Burgess's complete article below.

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    4. Content Marketing World 2017 Must-Sees

      Content Marketing World 2017 Must-Sees

      If you're reading this, chances are your flights are booked and your bags are packed for Content Marketing World 2017. This year's conference is filled with grade-A speakers, networking opportunities, and vendors. 

      Top Rank Marketing's Joshua Nite rates this conference, despite any downsides.

      This trip is definitely worth the hassle. Just keep in mind how much you’re about to learn, how many amazing marketers you’re about to meet, and you can smile your way through the unpleasantness. 

      Top speakers this year include Global Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP, Amisha Gandhi. She's presenting on influencer marketing maturity. Attend this presentation if you want to bring your influencer programs to the next level.

      In addition, Tim Washer of Cisco and Erica Ayotte of Curata are speaking. They're presenting on spicing up "boring" B2B content and artificial intelligence in content marketing, respectively. 

      Want to get more out of your CMW experience? In addition to presentations, there are exciting networking events to attend and restaurants to try in Cleveland.

      We suggest attending the CMW 80s Dance Party at the House of Blues, enjoying some Midwest meat at Urban Farmer or Mabel's BBQ, joining the CMW running group, or heading over for some bowling at the Corner Alley.

      For more must-see presentations at Content Marketing World, check out Nite's complete article below.

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    5. How to Make Videos on the Cheap

      How to Make Videos on the Cheap

      Over half of people online watch videos daily. Fifty nine percent of executives prefer video to text. Fifty one percent of marketers name video as the marketing format with the best ROI. Viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch video compared to 10 percent when reading text.

      Unfortunately, a high quality video can be expensive and time consuming to produce. But video that works doesn't need to be either.

      TopRank Marketing blog's Joshua Nite elaborates on the importance of video:

      It’s extremely likely that your target audience wants video content. Brands that create useful, engaging video will quickly surpass their competitors who don’t. So whether your brand sells baby strollers or enterprise-level cloud-based SaaS solutions, it makes sense to get into video.

      To create successful videos for your marketing team, you need to incorporate video into your content marketing strategy. While this may seem obvious, it prevents you creating random or unplanned videos.

      Try creating videos where audiences don't mind low production values. This includes live-streaming videos, vlogs, and explainer videos for social. While higher production value videos are a nice-to-have, substance matters more for the above video types.

      For more on creating videos that work with little time and little budget, check out Nite's complete article below.

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    6. SEO Can Be Easier Than It Looks

      SEO Can Be Easier Than It Looks

      Search engine optimization is important for creating a successful blog post. Without ranking on Google, you're unlikely to generate a steady stream of traffic to your content. According to Imforza, 93 percent of online experiences start with a search engine, and 75 percent of searchers never scroll past the first page. 

      Unfortunately, many writers see SEO as confusing, or a hindrance to their writing. Caitlin Burgess at the TopRank Marketing Blog explains why this doesn't need to be the case:

      You don’t need to (sic) fanciest tools or a dedicated background in SEO to craft great SEO-driven content. Below are a handful of helpful research tactics you can use to make the most of your time and create a content plan that’s flush with solid topics.

      These tactics include:

      • Search incognito for your target keywords. Google personalizes search results based on geography and search history. This will give you a clearer idea of what you're actually ranking for.
      • Use the Google Adwords Keyword planner tool. This provides volume estimates, competitiveness, and relevancy to help you decide where to focus.
      • Study your evergreen content. Look at high-performing content you've already created to help determine which keywords are working, as well as ideal style and length. 

      For more on making your writing SEO friendly, check out Burgess's complete article below.

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    7. You Have a Marketing Qualified Lead: What Do You Do Next?

      You Have a Marketing Qualified Lead: What Do You Do Next?

      You've worked to increase traffic to your website. Your target audience has interacted with and enjoyed your content. Now you have marketing qualified leads. Once leads are in this stage, it's crucial that you engage them to help them through the sales funnel.

      Caitlin Burgess at TopRank Marketing blog weighs in on why lead nurturing is so important:

      Simply put, MQLs are warm prospects who are not ready to make a purchasing decision yet—and lead nurturing can help you turn up the heat. And most of you are probably doing some form of lead nurturing already. According to DemandGen Report’s 2016 Lead Nurturing Benchmark Study, 89 percent of marketers use lead nurturing programs as part of their demand generation strategy.

      Here's how to maximize your lead nurturing activities:

      • All Marketing Qualified Leads Are Not Created Equal: Understand where your MQLs are in the sales funnel and if they're part of your target audience. Develop a plan for each type of lead.
      • Start Small: Don't get caught up in giving each lead and persona a custom experience. Start by testing small lead nurture campaigns and fine tune from there.

      For more on improving your lead nurturing activities, read Burgess's complete article below.

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    8. Building Long Term Influence on Influencers

      Building Long Term Influence on Influencers

      Influencer marketing is a staple practice for marketing teams of all shapes and sizes. Marketing teams that achieve the best results from these programs have an ongoing process to keep their influencers involved. Ask yourself, “How can I regularly leverage the benefits of borrowed influencer stardom?” Consider these best practices when launching or fortifying an influencer marketing program.

      Look Beyond the Most Prolific Social Media Mavens

      Writing for a niche audience is an effective strategy for growing a loyal audience. To that end, influencers with large social followings typically appeal to a more general audience. Working with them may yield quality, short-term traffic results, but may not help significantly increase your targeted following.

      Mo’ Money, Same Problems

      As with most paid efforts, when the cash flow stops, so do the returns. A pay-to-play influencer strategy can be circumvented in a few ways. Ultimately, the key is to avoid ad-hoc “Can you help me?” interactions with influencers. (More on this in the next tip.)

      Think of an Influencer as a High-Value Sales Prospect

      Working with influencers should never be a “flash in the pan experience.” To build a more fluid relationship, consider this advice from Emily Hinderaker of Top Rank Marketing:

      “Keep the communication channel open and use an ongoing approach to your influencer marketing program. Share the co-created content and send pre-written messages to your influencer so they can share it with their networks on various platforms including social media. Thank your influencer for their contribution and continue to nurture the relationship, even after the campaign is over.”

      To learn more best practices for an ongoing influencer marketing strategy, check out Hinderaker’s original piece below.

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    9. Is There a Formula for Viral Content?

      Is There a Formula for Viral Content?

      Creating viral content is the ultimate and often, most difficult achievement for a content marketer. Content that's expected to perform wonderfully can flop, while content created as an afterthought can perform beautifully.

      Determining what's causing a piece of content to perform a certain way is confusing. Despite this, there are a few things you can do to significantly increase your content's chances of success. Joshua Nite, contributor to TopRank Marketing blog, shares his opinion:

      Instead of counting on going viral, take lessons from widely-shared content and use them to build content that will succeed with your target audience, whether or not it hits the zeitgeist and ends up on Ellen. Telling stories with data, taking a stand, and adding humor and human interest are all fundamental building blocks of great content marketing.

      One way you can succeed with visual data is going beyond the idea of an infographic. Making data visual is important for your content marketing's success. Think beyond the typical infographic to create something more interesting and creative.

      Another strategy is to create content that has a strong opinion. Like REI's #OptOutside campaign or Always's #LikeAGirl, content with a strong stance is interesting and inspirational to its advocates.

      For more ways you can improve your content's chances of going viral, check out the complete article in the link below.


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    10. Are You Investing Enough in SEO?

      Are You Investing Enough in SEO?

      Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important factors in successful digital marketing. According to Search Engine Journal, the first organic search result will get nearly 33 percent of clicks. And 75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

      Despite these numbers, many marketing teams struggle to get approval for an increase in SEO budget.

      Kevin Cotch at TopRank Marketing blog weighs in:

      There have been multiple times in my career that I needed to create a compelling argument for more budget for an SEO campaign. These types of recommendations are often challenged, yet thousands of dollars for PPC [pay-per-click] can be spent without blinking an eye. Some marketers would say it’s easier to see the ROI on ad spend compared to the SEO campaigns and initiatives that we are also running.

      In addition to struggling to prove ROI with SEO, a common perception of SEO could be impacting your ability to increase your budget. This is because while PPC has the notion of paying to play in the name, SEO is built around the idea of ranking organicallyor for free. 

      Use data and the investments in PPC to your advantage when arguing for an increased SEO budget. Create an SEO strategy around the keywords your company targets for PPC. Show how ranking number one in SEO is more valuable than showing up for PPC, and your long-term plan for getting to that point.

      For further tips for getting more SEO budget, read Cotch's complete article below.

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    11. How to Create A Written Strategy to Succeed in Social

      How to Create A Written Strategy to Succeed in Social

      Social media is, undoubtedly, and important part of most marketer's digital strategy. According to Social Media Examiner, 91 percent of marketers believe social media is important to their strategies

      There are, however, some road blocks. Most marketers (59 percent) don't know how to measure social media ROI. Social media is changing rapidly and consequently, creating a succinct, written strategy is difficult.

      Caitlin Burgess, contributor to TopRank Marketing Blog, believes creating this written strategy is the first place to start in creating a successful social media marketing program.

      As any successful marketer will tell you, the road to success begins by physically documenting your strategy. As for what needs to be included, below you’ll find some essential elements to consider.

      The first few steps in creating a successful social media marketing strategy are very similar to creating a successful content marketing strategy. Look at your brand's value proposition, define your goals and analyze your audience. Having a clear vision and understanding of who your marketing to is the key to successful social media marketing.

      From there, you can develop a clear strategy including your posting frequency, channel mix, content variety and more.

      For more details on how to figure out your posting frequency, channel mix and other details behind your social media strategy, check out Caitlin Burgess's complete article in the link below. 

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    12. How to Fix Your Social Media Engagement

      How to Fix Your Social Media Engagement

      For many marketers, social media has become a let down. Starting as a medium that allowed organic interactions between a brand and their audience, social media is now almost purely a pay-to-play endeavor

      According to Joshua Nite at TopRank Marketing, this could actually be a good thing:

      You’re free from having to post on Twitter three times a day, Facebook 1.5 times, and so on. Now you can focus on quality and relevance over everything else. Even with engagement rates in the single digits—even when they’re below single digits—quality content is always the path to the light side of the social media world.

      Other than producing high-quality social content, there are other factors to keep in mind when publishing to social media.

      Instagram is the number one platform for engagement, no matter the industry. Brands that don't have products typically considered to be visual like GE and Dell perform well on Instagram.

      Facebook has a huge audience but engagement is low. Twitter has become more about broadcasting than conversing, if used traditionally. For success on Twitter, focus on doing what others are not. Interact with other people's content and start direct conversations with them.

      For more on social media engagement, check out Nite's complete post below.

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    13. How to Make Influencer Marketing 2.0 Work for You

      How to Make Influencer Marketing 2.0 Work for You

      In an age where a marketer's tech stack is often just as, if not more important than the strategies built on them, a human approach to marketing stands out from the pack. According to a report by Traackr and TopRank Marketing, 63 percent of marketers want to improve customer satisfaction through influencer marketing.

      According to influencer and TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden, influencers are increasingly important in the digital marketing space.

      A more human approach to marketing means attention to empathy and a focus on customer experience. Influencers are credible, trusted individuals with active networks and the value exchange of their engagement with the community is where influence originates. Brands can tap into that influence to expand brand reach, create better customer engagement and even improve specific marketing goals like lead generation and increased sales conversions.

      Consider the following when implementing an influencer program at your organization. The maturity of your program will impact other departments, and should be examined before implementing new programs. Influencer marketing impacts content marketing the most.

      Lead generation is a common goal for influencer marketing, but it's not the only positive benefit. Influencer marketing can also benefit SEO and branding. Take this into account when developing a strategy for your brand. 

      For more on key insights into influencer marketing today, check out Odden's complete article below.

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    14. Tips and Tricks for Keeping Evergreen Content Fresh

      Tips and Tricks for Keeping Evergreen Content Fresh

      With a constant stream of new content being thrown at us, a post's usefulness often doesn't last much longer than a few days after creation.

      Usefulness declines for the reader as well as the marketer creating it. A piece of content's contribution to marketing analytics often dwindles or shrinks to nothing over time. 

      Joshua Nite at TopRank Marketing says to consider that:

      On one level, what content becomes evergreen is up to your audience. There will always be a blog post or two that get a surprising amount of sustained attention—posts that just happen to meet an ongoing need.

      While this is true, there are a few things you can do to help your content make an impact. Writing about something specific to an event, season, or something else that is otherwise frequently changing might be helpful to your audience at the time—but it's unlikely to have a sustained impact. Content should provide a top-notch solution to the question it's answering, and be made highly visible to your audience. 

      Identify pre-existing evergreen content by looking at your site's best performing content, or content that is still performing several months after publishing. Optimize this content by refreshing, gating, reformatting, or promoting it. When updating evergreen content, consider removing the date from the post and optimizing it for SEO.

      For more of Nite's advice about evergreen content, read the full article below. 

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    15. How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Content Marketers?

      How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Content Marketers?


      Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly prevalent in everyday life, from Siri to Google to Netflix. ‘Intelligent agents’ or AI will destroy six percent of all jobs in the US by 2021, according to Forrester Research. So it's easy to see why some wonder what artificial intelligence (AI) can do for marketers, and if the marketing profession is in jeopardy.

      TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden had this to say about how artificial intelligence could impact marketing: 

      Outside of considering all the ways AI and machine learning could help with extracting insight from large amounts of data and the ongoing optimization, my big takeaway from the demo was that as with all industries that change, those that adapt will survive and thrive. Those that don’t, won’t.

      AI could help marketers flourish in many areas where rapidly synthesizing, analyzing, and acting on data is beneficial to results. This includes subject line testing for emails, other forms of A/B testing, PPC and paid ads online, and recommended content on your website and blog.

      While there are many areas where AI can help marketers, it is unlikely to entirely eliminate the marketing profession. Marketers infuse creativity and provide a human aspect to marketing. Much like self-driving cars, human participation in marketing is integral to its success. 

      Odden has more on cognitive thinking and how AI will impact marketers in the full article below.

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    16. Keep Your Audience Interested with a Full Content Calendar

      Keep Your Audience Interested with a Full Content Calendar

      Most marketers recognize it's difficult to build an active and engaged audience without producing enough content to fuel their interest. 87 percent of B2B marketers surveyed by Forrester say they struggle to produce content that truly engages their buyers. 

      Joshua Nite of TopRank Marketing also believes a full editorial calendar is one of the keys to engagement. Here's how he suggests you keep your editorial calendar full:

      A blank content calendar can be daunting. But don’t fill it in with random acts of content. Start with your goals in mind, then match them with the topics your audience most wants to hear about. Plan for a good variety of content types and formats to keep things fresh, and make sure to fill the top of your funnel as well as engage the lower part.

      Producing regular content is important for audience engagement. But there are other factors around content creation that are just as, if not more important to your content's success. 

      In order to create content that truly engages, content marketers need to split their focus. Don't just look at the amount of content created. Examine your promotion strategy, social shares, and measure the results to ensure your content is optimized for engagement.

      Nite has more on how to plan content for a full editorial calendar below.

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    17. Data or Intuition: What's Behind Your Content Strategy?

      Data or Intuition: What's Behind Your Content Strategy?

      Data can help determine what content to create, how best to distribute it, how to personalize it to audience segments, and how to streamline your internal processes. 

      On average however, companies only analyze 12 percent of the data available to them. And according to Conductor, 38 percent of content marketers rarely even use data.

      While intuition and creativity are important to content marketing strategy, data is essential. Eighty percent of marketers agree that customer data is critical to their marketing and advertising efforts.

      Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, gives his opinion on where the disconnect lies:

      When it comes to content, creators are traditionally more art than science and using data to guide editorial planning is still not an advanced skill for many companies. In many other cases, content creators don’t have access to analysts to interpret data in a meaningful way or the tools and training to do it themselves.

      Odden advises utilizing data to enhance content marketing strategy in these three areas.

      • Where your audience is looking for answers and what solutions they're looking for.
      • Your audience's preferences for content format.
      • Deciding which content is driving the actions you want, and the actions each piece of content is driving. Use this data to spot trends in your content.

      We really can't learn from our successesor, arguably more importantly, show the impact on our business goals without data. It's the key to generating more leads and revenue.

      You can read more of Odden's data insights below.

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    18. How to Improve Influencer Relations With Content Marketing

      How to Improve Influencer Relations With Content Marketing

      Influencer marketing is increasingly trendy in 2017. Articles on the topic are increasing in popularity, and there are many theories on the best way to create an influencer marketing program that works. 

      Lee Odden, influencer and CEO of TopRank Marketing, gives his opinion:

      The most practical and useful way to engage influencers in a way that creates value for everyone involved is through content. In fact, 80 percent of marketers say content marketing is what working with influencers has the greatest impact on. Accept that truth and your path to influencer marketing ROI will be much shorter, painless and enjoyable. 

      Here are a few things to consider when making improvements to an influencer marketing program:

      • Approach influencer marketing with the idea of building relationships in mind. Suggesting co-creation, taking time to interact with influencers on social media, and exchanging tasks for assistance all help improve your relationship with an influencer.
      • Look internally for subject-matter experts to build your own influencer within the industry. This is an inexpensive way to leverage influencer marketing while further bolstering your brand.
      • Observe active networks to find new influencers.
      • Track your influencer marketing to measurable goals in the same way you track other marketing tactics.

      Read Odden's complete article via the link below.

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    19. Top Tips for a Mobile Marketing Strategy

      Top Tips for a Mobile Marketing Strategy

      Google reports more mobile searches than desktop searches. While mobile devices account for 60 percent of online traffic, they contribute to only 16 percent of online purchases. With these figures in mind, it's easy to understand why content marketers need to focus on their mobile content marketing strategy.

      Joshua Nite at the TopRank Marketing blog has this to say about the importance of mobile to your content marketing strategy:

      It’s clear that the future of content consumption will increasingly be on mobile devices. There’s definitely still value in long-form content for users to settle in with on desktops. But your content strategy should include a healthy dose of mobile optimized content.

      Here are some things to consider when creating content with mobile in mind.

      • Your audience is between activities. People check their phones while they're on the subway, cooking dinner, or waiting in line at the store. This means they have limited time and attention span. Combat this by providing value in your content early, keeping it short, and including a CTA near the beginning of your content.
      • Your audience is restless. Include headers and eye-catching images for easy scrolling.
      • Your audience wants to be entertained. Make sure your content is engaging. Some great ways to differentiate include animated video, interactive quizzes, and infographics. 

      For more tips on reaching a mobile audience, read Nite's complete article below.

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    20. Digital Advertising: Good or Bad For Your Content?

      Digital Advertising: Good or Bad For Your Content?

      Content marketing works. Unfortunately, as more content is created, it's more difficult to cut through the noise.

      Caitlin Burgess, contributor to the TopRank Marketing Blog gives her opinion on cutting through the crowded content landscape:

      With so many marketers in the content marketing game—many of them creating and publishing new content daily—competition is stiff. In addition, evolving algorithms for social media news feeds and search engine results make it even more difficult to get the right eyeballs on your content.

      So, what’s the solution? How can you get that great content you’re creating in front of your target audience?

      One solution is leveraging digital advertising to support your content marketing efforts. Here are some quick tips on using digital advertising can impact your content:

      • Get your content in front of more people: Pick one or two target audiences to focus on
      • Target a specific audience: Use tools to analyze what your competitors are doing
      • Drive content strategy with new insights: Have proper tracking set up so you can accurately collect data
      • Enhance brand awareness: Test different messaging styles and tones
      • Keep your brand top of mind: Spread and target over multiple channels

      Read Caitlin Burgess's full article on the TopRank Blog in the link below.


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    21. Is Your Content Marketing Designed for the New Customer Journey?

      Is Your Content Marketing Designed for the New Customer Journey?

      Content marketing is an effective way to give consumers the information they need to make a purchasing decision. However, as the volume of online content increases, the complexity and  breadth of options for content is increasing. Paths to purchase are becoming less linear, less defined and harder for marketers to track. With this understanding, marketers must create content with the new customer journey in mind. 

      Caitlin Burgess, contributor to the TopRank Marketing blog suggests constantly reassessing to find ways to improve your journey. Here’s what she has to say:

      You’ve done your audience research. You’ve created and executed an amazing, integrated content marketing strategy and content plan. Now is not the time to set things on autopilot. Now is the time to take a look at results and determine areas of opportunity for improving your content and therefore your customer’s journey.

       Dig into your website and social analytics on a regular basis to see what’s working and what isn’t, and then adjust your content plan and marketing tactics to bolster the good, cut out the bad and perhaps try a little something new.

      Here are some tactics you can take to make sure you’re content marketing will work for the new customer journey:

      • Know where your audience looks for information and how they learn
      • Integrate a variety of content types and channels to  optimize your impact
      • Create content that your audience cares about by being relevant and timely
      • Create a seamless use experience between content at different stages

      Click the link below to read Caitlin Burgess's full article on the TopRank Marketing blog.

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    22. How to Build a Written Content Marketing Strategy

      How to Build a Written Content Marketing Strategy

      Nearly 40% of successful B2B marketers use a documented framework to develop their content strategy. A written strategy provides a concrete vision for all stakeholders that ultimately ensures more efficient and effective execution of corporate goals. Joshua Nite of TopRank Marketing advises that:

      “...it starts your content initiative with measurable goals and a plan to achieve them. It just makes every aspect of creating content and distributing it easier and more effective.”

      Use the following steps to develop a structured content strategy.

      1) Why: Use the knowledge you have of your audience to develop the business case for your content strategy, and a mission statement to support it.

      2) Establish Goals: Create objectives that your content efforts can meet. Without overwhelming yourself, establish business goals for relevant departments such net new leads, or revenue influenced by content.

      3) Document Your Audience: Using the research from step 1, develop personas—but only as many as your resources can support. Keep it simple.

      4) Plan Content for Each Stage of the Buyer Journey: For most businesses you need content for each stage of the funnel: Awareness, Consideration, Decision. Be cognizant of the priority marketing challenges.

      5) Define Goals for Content at Each Stage: This will support the broader goals from step 2. Attach KPI’s to each goal to quantify success.

      6) Content Promotion Strategy: Buyers like to consume content differently. Use the research from step 3 to know where your audience is, and which channel(s) to leverage to reach them.

      7) Create an Editorial Calendar: This step keeps you on-pace for achieving your micro and overall goals. Mapping content projects to goals ensures you are not creating more (or less) content than you need, helps manage resources, and keeps management in the loop. These are the key fields to have in your content calendar.

      Have a look at Nite’s take on building a content marketing strategy in the link below.

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    23. Want B2B Content Marketing Success? Have the Best Answer

      Want B2B Content Marketing Success? Have the Best Answer

      Marketers currently spend 29% of their total marketing budgets on contentbut many feel their investments are falling flat. Pressure to create enough content that stands out can lead to underwhelming results.

      Lee Odden, digital marketing strategist, author, speaker, and CEO of TopRank Marketing explains one of the reasons why creating content that strikes a chord with potential buyers has become more difficult.

      The way business customers find and interact with information when researching solutions has evolved significantly, with changes that include the ubiquity of Internet access, growth of social media, and mobile.

      Self-directed business buyers pull themselves through most of the B2B sales cycle with whatever content they can find. At the same time, B2B brands are challenged to stand out among a deluge of competitive content and growing distrust of ads.

      Due to the over-saturation of content and ever-evolving digital landscape, marketers are prone to over-complicating their solutions. Odden argues that the key to marketing effectiveness is empathizing with your buyers and taking a “best answer” approach to content creation. Supplement this larger strategy by using data-informed content to speed results. Some questions to inform your content marketing strategy include:

      • Where does your specific audience discover solution content?
      • How does your buyer prefer to consumer content?
      • What triggers will motivate your buyer to take the next step?

      Click on the link below for Odden’s full article on how to achieve B2B success using a best answer approach. 

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    How to Feed the Content Beast (without getting eaten alive)

    Download this great resource to learn some new tips and tricks on optimizing your content, curated or original. Foreword by Ann Handley of MarketingProfs.