Online Marketing News: Search Ranking Factors, 2017 Digital Trends & New Mid-Roll Ads

The Most Important Google Search Rank Factors [Infographic]
Search rankings are a key consideration for many aspects of a digital marketing strategy — and the ever-changing nature of search algorithms doesn’t necessarily make it easy to determine where the most impact can be made. This infographic spells out the top 20 most important Google search rank factors. MarketingProfs

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCSDKHfL6Ws]

Edelman Digital’s 2017 Trends Report
Edelman released their annual digital trends report and things are looking good for virtual and augmented reality, as well as programmatic digital ad spend. What else will be trending this year? The 50 page report has all the details. Edelman

Facebook is Going to Start Showing Ads in the Middle of its Videos and Sharing the Money with Publishers
Facebook will be showing ads in the middle of publisher videos and giving half of that revenue to the publishers whose content is showing the ad. The videos need to be over 90 seconds long, and the ads will show after 20 seconds of viewing. Recode

Google Confirms Rolling out the Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty
On Monday, Google confirmed their penalty for sites which show intrusive interstitials on mobile pages. The penalized interstitials include popups that cover the page’s main content, standalone interstitials you have to dismiss to view content, and layouts where above the fold content appears to be a standalone interstitial with the page’s content underneath the fold. Search Engine Land

Instagram Will Show Ads to the 150 Million People Viewing Stories Daily
Instagram will begin showing video and photo ads in their Stories feature while users are swiping from one Story to the next. These ads will be powered by Facebook’s ad network, and are only shown when users go directly from one story to another. Marketing Land

Snapchat Is Testing New Ad Features to Improve Ecommerce and Lead-Gen Marketing
AdWeek reports that Snapchat is releasing two new features directed at ecommerce and lead gen — deep-linking and auto-fill: “For Snap Ads, which is the platform’s between-stories video offering, consumers can swipe up and tap a link to be taken out of Snapchat and directly into a new app—to a playlist in a music app, or a product page in an ecommerce app.” AdWeek

72% Of Marketers Say Data Analysis More Important Than Social Media Skills
“A new report by ad-tech provider Blue Venn finds that 72% of marketers consider data analysis more important than social media skills,” reports MediaPost. Other notable stats: 27% of marketers hand over data analysis to IT departments and 80% of large enterprises find data analysis to be a vital skill. MediaPost

71% Plan to Spend More on Digital Marketing Activities in 2017 [DATA]
According to a recent poll by Search Engine Journal, 71% of people surveyed planned to spend more on their digital marketing activities in 2017, while 14% plan to spend less, and 15% plan to spend around the same. This means an increase in digital marketing investments is likely in 2017. Search Engine Journal

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back with more marketing news for you next week. For your daily dose of marketing goodies, follow @toprank on Twitter.

The post Online Marketing News: Search Ranking Factors, 2017 Digital Trends & New Mid-Roll Ads appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The Most Important Google Search Rank Factors [Infographic]
Search rankings are a key consideration for many aspects of a digital marketing strategy — and the ever-changing nature of search algorithms doesn’t necessarily make it easy to determine where the most impact can be made. This infographic spells out the top 20 most important Google search rank factors. MarketingProfs

Edelman Digital’s 2017 Trends Report
Edelman released their annual digital trends report and things are looking good for virtual and augmented reality, as well as programmatic digital ad spend. What else will be trending this year? The 50 page report has all the details. Edelman

Facebook is Going to Start Showing Ads in the Middle of its Videos and Sharing the Money with Publishers
Facebook will be showing ads in the middle of publisher videos and giving half of that revenue to the publishers whose content is showing the ad. The videos need to be over 90 seconds long, and the ads will show after 20 seconds of viewing. Recode

Google Confirms Rolling out the Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty
On Monday, Google confirmed their penalty for sites which show intrusive interstitials on mobile pages. The penalized interstitials include popups that cover the page’s main content, standalone interstitials you have to dismiss to view content, and layouts where above the fold content appears to be a standalone interstitial with the page’s content underneath the fold. Search Engine Land

Instagram Will Show Ads to the 150 Million People Viewing Stories Daily
Instagram will begin showing video and photo ads in their Stories feature while users are swiping from one Story to the next. These ads will be powered by Facebook’s ad network, and are only shown when users go directly from one story to another. Marketing Land

Snapchat Is Testing New Ad Features to Improve Ecommerce and Lead-Gen Marketing
AdWeek reports that Snapchat is releasing two new features directed at ecommerce and lead gen — deep-linking and auto-fill: “For Snap Ads, which is the platform’s between-stories video offering, consumers can swipe up and tap a link to be taken out of Snapchat and directly into a new app—to a playlist in a music app, or a product page in an ecommerce app.” AdWeek

72% Of Marketers Say Data Analysis More Important Than Social Media Skills
“A new report by ad-tech provider Blue Venn finds that 72% of marketers consider data analysis more important than social media skills,” reports MediaPost. Other notable stats: 27% of marketers hand over data analysis to IT departments and 80% of large enterprises find data analysis to be a vital skill. MediaPost

71% Plan to Spend More on Digital Marketing Activities in 2017 [DATA]
According to a recent poll by Search Engine Journal, 71% of people surveyed planned to spend more on their digital marketing activities in 2017, while 14% plan to spend less, and 15% plan to spend around the same. This means an increase in digital marketing investments is likely in 2017. Search Engine Journal

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back with more marketing news for you next week. For your daily dose of marketing goodies, follow @toprank on Twitter.

The post Online Marketing News: Search Ranking Factors, 2017 Digital Trends & New Mid-Roll Ads appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

20 Talented Brand Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn

Marketers are always looking for new ways to inform, engage and inspire action from our target audiences, often looking to both established and well-known brands for motivation and creativity.

Thankfully, behind many of our favorite brands there are bright and talented marketing experts whom we can learn from and be inspired by.

With that said, below are some gifted brand marketers you should be checking out, connecting with or following on LinkedIn.

1. Jason Miller

Group Manager of Global Content and Social Media Marketing, LinkedIn

As the leader of global content and social media marketing for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, Jason Miller is dedicated to helping marketers understand how to take advantage of digital advertising and content marketing opportunities on the professional social network.

In addition, he’s a sought after speaker for B2B marketing conferences taking place around the world, been named to numerous “Top Marketer” lists such as Forbes’ “The World’s Top 40 Social Marketing Talent,” and received a handful of awards for his work. He’s also published a number of helpful and insightful marketing posts on LinkedIn.

Follow Jason.

2. Amisha Gandhi

Senior Director of Influencer Marketing, SAP

Amisha Gandhi is an experienced marketing and communications professional, working with technology and media companies large and small in her career thus far.

Amisha is currently the Senior Director of Influencer Marketing for SAP, and has currently held positions with Burson-Marsteller, a public relations and communications firm, and Citysearch. In addition, she’s another fixture on the conference circuit, most recently speaking at Content Marketing World 2016 and Social Tools Summit 2016.

Follow Amisha.

3. Carlos Gil

Global Head of Global Social Media, BMC Software

In his role as Global Head of Social Media at BMC Software, Carlos Gil is responsible for driving marketing strategy and execution for all corporate social media channels, which includes its social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Carlos is also a regular keynote speaker at conferences such as Social Media Marketing World, a Snapchat influencer, and has also published a number of social media-related posts on LinkedIn.

Follow Carlos.

4. Alex Hisaka

Head of Global Content Marketing, LinkedIn

Alex Hisaka has been passionate about content and people since a young age, parlaying the passion into a career in traditional advertising and then digital marketing. As Head of Global Content and Marketing for LinkedIn, Alex is involved in a little bit of everything including content and campaign strategy, and defining key messaging, and brand voice and personality.

Before coming to LinkedIn, Alex worked for other recognizable brands such as SalesForce and PayPal.

Follow Alex.

5. Heather Hurst

Director of Corporate Marketing, Workfront

Heather Hurst has more than 15 years of brand marketing experience, holding positions at inContact and Digital Technology International before going to Workfront in December 2012.

She bills herself as someone who tells brand stories and getting those stories attention through both traditional and non-traditional marketing tactics.

Follow Heather.

6. Stephanie Losee

Head of Content, VISA

Stephanie Losee is a former owner of a content marketing consultancy where she worked with major brands and agencies to craft editorial content strategy. She’s also an author, a board member for a variety of organizations including the Native Advertising Institute and The Content Council.

Currently, Stephanie is Head of Content for VISA and can occasionally be seen and heard speaking at various content marketing conferences such as Content Marketing World.

Follow Stephanie.

7. Shelley Ryan

Global Content Strategist, Dell

Shelley Ryan, who says she’s obsessed with building brand credibility through third party content, is Dell’s Global Content Strategist, heading up global influencer marketing strategy.

Before going to Dell in 2011, Shelley was the Director of Public Relations for the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children for nearly seven years.

Follow Shelley.

8. Tami Cannizzaro

Vice President and Head of North America Marketing, Oracle

Tami Cannizzaro is a senior marketing executive boasting more than 15 years of experience in the technology space, and a known leader in the world of B2B marketing. Tami currently leads marketing in North America for Oracle, and has also held positions at eBay and IBM.

Tami, who is also the author of “Digital Age of Marketing” blog, is often a speaker at industry marketing events, but she’s also a guest lecture speaker for Boston University and Rutgers University MBA programs.

Follow Tami.

9. David Beebe

Vice President of Global Creative and Content Marketing, Marriott International

David Beebe has had had a fascinating career, working for many years in the entertainment industry for big brands such as Disney/ABC Television Group, DIRECTV and Showtime, and even taking home two Emmy awards.

Now, David leads global creative and content marketing for Marriott International’s portfolio of 19 different brands. He’s also known as an industry thought leader, often being a keynote speaker at conferences such as Contently Summit, Content Marketing World and several others.

Follow David.

10. Ellen Gomes

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Marketo

Ellen Gomes is a skilled digital marketer with loads of experience in content and social media, who say’s she always looking to talk with new people about new ideas. Like many of the marketers on this list, Ellen is also a conference speaker.

Ellen has been with Marketo since September 2014, rising in the ranks from a Content Marketing Specialist to a Content Marketing Manager and to her current position as a Senior Content Marketing Manager.

Follow Ellen.

11. Loren McDonald

Marketing Evangelist/Client Success, IBM

Loren McDonald’s title “Marketing Evangelist” says it all. Loren is a marketing executive with more than 32 years of experience building brands, awareness, leads and revenue through thought leadership programs.

He’s a frequent speaker at industry events, with one of his most recent appearances being at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum (where I heard him speak for the first time).

Follow Loren.

12. Pawan Deshpande

CEO, Curata

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a content marketing software provider who is also a frequent speaker at technology, entrepreneur and marketing events, and teaches courses on content marketing.

Before founding Curata nearly a decade ago, Pawan held research and engineering positions at Microsoft and Google.

Follow Pawan.

13. Chris Moody

Content Marketing Leader, GE Digital

At GE Digital, industry thought leader Chris Moody helps lead content marketing efforts to educate and raise awareness of the power of the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Before arriving at GE Digital, Chris built an award winning content and social media team at Oracle Marketing Cloud.

Chris is also a frequent guest lecturer on the topics of content and social marketing at local universities.

Follow Chris.

14. Laura Cameron

Vice President of Digital Marketing, KeyBank

As a member of KeyBank’s Digital Marketing team, Laura Cameron leads new client acquisition programs through digital channels, managing paid and organic search programs and measurement. Recently, she was a featured speaker and panelist discussing the increasing importance of creating mobile moments for your audience at Content Marketing World 2016.

Follow Laura.

15. Buddy Scalera

Senior Director Content Strategy, The Medicines Company

Buddy Scalera is a content strategist who has been working in pharmaceutical marketing for 17 years. He’s also the author of six books on visual storytelling and a noted speaker.

In addition to his experience marketing for pharmaceutical companies, he’s also quite the creative writer, freelancing for Marvel Entertainment and other publishers from 2000-2014.

Follow Buddy.

16. Amanda Duncan

Senior Communications Manager, Influencer Relations, Microsoft

Amanda Duncan has more than 10 years of marketing and communications experiencing, working for companies such as Wells Fargo, Nokia, Brit+Co and now Microsoft.

Amanda is a part of the Influencer Relations Team at Microsoft, working to create, execute and support company-wide announcements, news stories and events, and specifically focusing on New Media Influencers.

Follow Amanda.

17. Justin Levy

Director of Social Marketing, Citrix

In his role as Director of Social Marketing at Citrix, Justin Levy is an advisor on all social media activities across the company, working on a wide range of projects to develop social strategies and scale social media.

During his career, Justin has worked with brands of all sizes including Sony, SAS and PepsiCo. In addition, like many others on this list, Justin is a sought after public speaker on social media, marketing and technology topics.

Follow Justin.

18. David Edelman

Chief Marketing Officer, Aetna

David Edelman has held several leadership positions at management consulting firms and digital agencies and boasts more than 1 million followers on LinkedIn.

Currently, David is the Chief Marketing Officer for Aetna where he leads research, design, strategy and implementation of enterprise-wide marketing initiatives. He also speaks frequently at industry events and conferences, blogs on a variety of topics and regularly publishes content on LinkedIn.

Follow David.

19. Dennis Goedegebuure

VP Growth & SEO, Fanatics

Dennis Goedegebuure is an award winning marketer and SEO expert who’s worked for recognizable brands such as eBay and Airbnb. Currently, he heads up global SEO strategy for Fanatics, focusing on growth and new SEO.

Dennis is a frequent speaker at industry events, with some of his most recent appearances being at SEOktoberfest, MNSummit 2016 and Zenith Digital Marketing, and he’s eager to connect with new people on LinkedIn.

Follow Dennis.

20. Jen Erickson

Director of Digital Marketing, DocuSign

Jen Erickson has been in her leadership role at DocuSign just over one year, after spending five years with Oracle. She specializes in campaign globalization and international marketing, supervising digital campaigns across verticals.

Jen was also included in TopRank Marketing’s 50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing list in 2015 and 2016.

Follow Jen.

Ready, Set, Follow

Whether you’re looking to expand your network, stay up to date on the latest digital marketing news or want actionable tips to boost your marketing efforts, following or connecting with your fellow marketers can be incredibly helpful.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to follow and connect with TopRank Marketing on LinkedIn. Find our company page here. If you’re interested in connecting with me, you can find my profile here.

What bright and talented marketers do you follow on LinkedIn and other social channels? Tell us in the comments section below.

Disclosure: LinkedIn, SAP, BMC, Dell and Oracle are TopRank Marketing clients. 


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
20 Talented Brand Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 20 Talented Brand Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Marketers are always looking for new ways to inform, engage and inspire action from our target audiences, often looking to both established and well-known brands for motivation and creativity.

Thankfully, behind many of our favorite brands there are bright and talented marketing experts whom we can learn from and be inspired by.

With that said, below are some gifted brand marketers you should be checking out, connecting with or following on LinkedIn.

1. Jason Miller

Group Manager of Global Content and Social Media Marketing, LinkedIn

As the leader of global content and social media marketing for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, Jason Miller is dedicated to helping marketers understand how to take advantage of digital advertising and content marketing opportunities on the professional social network.

In addition, he’s a sought after speaker for B2B marketing conferences taking place around the world, been named to numerous “Top Marketer” lists such as Forbes’ “The World’s Top 40 Social Marketing Talent,” and received a handful of awards for his work. He’s also published a number of helpful and insightful marketing posts on LinkedIn.

Follow Jason.

2. Amisha Gandhi

Senior Director of Influencer Marketing, SAP

Amisha Gandhi is an experienced marketing and communications professional, working with technology and media companies large and small in her career thus far.

Amisha is currently the Senior Director of Influencer Marketing for SAP, and has currently held positions with Burson-Marsteller, a public relations and communications firm, and Citysearch. In addition, she’s another fixture on the conference circuit, most recently speaking at Content Marketing World 2016 and Social Tools Summit 2016.

Follow Amisha.

3. Carlos Gil

Global Head of Global Social Media, BMC Software

In his role as Global Head of Social Media at BMC Software, Carlos Gil is responsible for driving marketing strategy and execution for all corporate social media channels, which includes its social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Carlos is also a regular keynote speaker at conferences such as Social Media Marketing World, a Snapchat influencer, and has also published a number of social media-related posts on LinkedIn.

Follow Carlos.

4. Alex Hisaka

Head of Global Content Marketing, LinkedIn

Alex Hisaka has been passionate about content and people since a young age, parlaying the passion into a career in traditional advertising and then digital marketing. As Head of Global Content and Marketing for LinkedIn, Alex is involved in a little bit of everything including content and campaign strategy, and defining key messaging, and brand voice and personality.

Before coming to LinkedIn, Alex worked for other recognizable brands such as SalesForce and PayPal.

Follow Alex.

5. Heather Hurst

Director of Corporate Marketing, Workfront

Heather Hurst has more than 15 years of brand marketing experience, holding positions at inContact and Digital Technology International before going to Workfront in December 2012.

She bills herself as someone who tells brand stories and getting those stories attention through both traditional and non-traditional marketing tactics.

Follow Heather.

6. Stephanie Losee

Head of Content, VISA

Stephanie Losee is a former owner of a content marketing consultancy where she worked with major brands and agencies to craft editorial content strategy. She’s also an author, a board member for a variety of organizations including the Native Advertising Institute and The Content Council.

Currently, Stephanie is Head of Content for VISA and can occasionally be seen and heard speaking at various content marketing conferences such as Content Marketing World.

Follow Stephanie.

7. Shelley Ryan

Global Content Strategist, Dell

Shelley Ryan, who says she’s obsessed with building brand credibility through third party content, is Dell’s Global Content Strategist, heading up global influencer marketing strategy.

Before going to Dell in 2011, Shelley was the Director of Public Relations for the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children for nearly seven years.

Follow Shelley.

8. Tami Cannizzaro

Vice President and Head of North America Marketing, Oracle

Tami Cannizzaro is a senior marketing executive boasting more than 15 years of experience in the technology space, and a known leader in the world of B2B marketing. Tami currently leads marketing in North America for Oracle, and has also held positions at eBay and IBM.

Tami, who is also the author of “Digital Age of Marketing” blog, is often a speaker at industry marketing events, but she’s also a guest lecture speaker for Boston University and Rutgers University MBA programs.

Follow Tami.

9. David Beebe

Vice President of Global Creative and Content Marketing, Marriott International

David Beebe has had had a fascinating career, working for many years in the entertainment industry for big brands such as Disney/ABC Television Group, DIRECTV and Showtime, and even taking home two Emmy awards.

Now, David leads global creative and content marketing for Marriott International’s portfolio of 19 different brands. He’s also known as an industry thought leader, often being a keynote speaker at conferences such as Contently Summit, Content Marketing World and several others.

Follow David.

10. Ellen Gomes

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Marketo

Ellen Gomes is a skilled digital marketer with loads of experience in content and social media, who say’s she always looking to talk with new people about new ideas. Like many of the marketers on this list, Ellen is also a conference speaker.

Ellen has been with Marketo since September 2014, rising in the ranks from a Content Marketing Specialist to a Content Marketing Manager and to her current position as a Senior Content Marketing Manager.

Follow Ellen.

11. Loren McDonald

Marketing Evangelist/Client Success, IBM

Loren McDonald’s title “Marketing Evangelist” says it all. Loren is a marketing executive with more than 32 years of experience building brands, awareness, leads and revenue through thought leadership programs.

He’s a frequent speaker at industry events, with one of his most recent appearances being at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum (where I heard him speak for the first time).

Follow Loren.

12. Pawan Deshpande

CEO, Curata

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a content marketing software provider who is also a frequent speaker at technology, entrepreneur and marketing events, and teaches courses on content marketing.

Before founding Curata nearly a decade ago, Pawan held research and engineering positions at Microsoft and Google.

Follow Pawan.

13. Chris Moody

Content Marketing Leader, GE Digital

At GE Digital, industry thought leader Chris Moody helps lead content marketing efforts to educate and raise awareness of the power of the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Before arriving at GE Digital, Chris built an award winning content and social media team at Oracle Marketing Cloud.

Chris is also a frequent guest lecturer on the topics of content and social marketing at local universities.

Follow Chris.

14. Laura Cameron

Vice President of Digital Marketing, KeyBank

As a member of KeyBank’s Digital Marketing team, Laura Cameron leads new client acquisition programs through digital channels, managing paid and organic search programs and measurement. Recently, she was a featured speaker and panelist discussing the increasing importance of creating mobile moments for your audience at Content Marketing World 2016.

Follow Laura.

15. Buddy Scalera

Senior Director Content Strategy, The Medicines Company

Buddy Scalera is a content strategist who has been working in pharmaceutical marketing for 17 years. He’s also the author of six books on visual storytelling and a noted speaker.

In addition to his experience marketing for pharmaceutical companies, he’s also quite the creative writer, freelancing for Marvel Entertainment and other publishers from 2000-2014.

Follow Buddy.

16. Amanda Duncan

Senior Communications Manager, Influencer Relations, Microsoft

Amanda Duncan has more than 10 years of marketing and communications experiencing, working for companies such as Wells Fargo, Nokia, Brit+Co and now Microsoft.

Amanda is a part of the Influencer Relations Team at Microsoft, working to create, execute and support company-wide announcements, news stories and events, and specifically focusing on New Media Influencers.

Follow Amanda.

17. Justin Levy

Director of Social Marketing, Citrix

In his role as Director of Social Marketing at Citrix, Justin Levy is an advisor on all social media activities across the company, working on a wide range of projects to develop social strategies and scale social media.

During his career, Justin has worked with brands of all sizes including Sony, SAS and PepsiCo. In addition, like many others on this list, Justin is a sought after public speaker on social media, marketing and technology topics.

Follow Justin.

18. David Edelman

Chief Marketing Officer, Aetna

David Edelman has held several leadership positions at management consulting firms and digital agencies and boasts more than 1 million followers on LinkedIn.

Currently, David is the Chief Marketing Officer for Aetna where he leads research, design, strategy and implementation of enterprise-wide marketing initiatives. He also speaks frequently at industry events and conferences, blogs on a variety of topics and regularly publishes content on LinkedIn.

Follow David.

19. Dennis Goedegebuure

VP Growth & SEO, Fanatics

Dennis Goedegebuure is an award winning marketer and SEO expert who’s worked for recognizable brands such as eBay and Airbnb. Currently, he heads up global SEO strategy for Fanatics, focusing on growth and new SEO.

Dennis is a frequent speaker at industry events, with some of his most recent appearances being at SEOktoberfest, MNSummit 2016 and Zenith Digital Marketing, and he’s eager to connect with new people on LinkedIn.

Follow Dennis.

20. Jen Erickson

Director of Digital Marketing, DocuSign

Jen Erickson has been in her leadership role at DocuSign just over one year, after spending five years with Oracle. She specializes in campaign globalization and international marketing, supervising digital campaigns across verticals.

Jen was also included in TopRank Marketing’s 50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing list in 2015 and 2016.

Follow Jen.

Ready, Set, Follow

Whether you’re looking to expand your network, stay up to date on the latest digital marketing news or want actionable tips to boost your marketing efforts, following or connecting with your fellow marketers can be incredibly helpful.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to follow and connect with TopRank Marketing on LinkedIn. Find our company page here. If you’re interested in connecting with me, you can find my profile here.

What bright and talented marketers do you follow on LinkedIn and other social channels? Tell us in the comments section below.

Disclosure: LinkedIn, SAP, BMC, Dell and Oracle are TopRank Marketing clients. 


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
20 Talented Brand Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 20 Talented Brand Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Is Your Content Marketing Designed for the New Customer Journey?

Thanks to the rise of the internet, the explosion of social media and the development of mobile technologies to feed these two innovations, the customer buying journey has become much more self-directed. According to a Forrester, 74% of business buyers say they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.

As a result, content marketing has emerged as an incredibly effective way to arm consumers with the information they seek and need, increase brand awareness, enhance engagement, and ultimately inspire action and conversions.

But content marketing isn’t about creating and sharing as much content as possible. It’s about creating quality content that allows you to be the best answer, whenever and wherever your audience is searching. And understanding today’s customer journey will be paramount to your content marketing success. Below is a great illustration from Forrester on the many intricacies that journey can entail. As you can see, it’s not an easy, neat sales funnel these days.

B2B Customer Buyer's Journey - Forrester

Photo Credit: Forrester

The bottom line? Your content marketing efforts have to be optimized in a way that allows you to reach your customers and prospects at multiple touch points during their journey.

To do that, as TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden said, you have to: “Stop creating content. And start making answers that are relevant to your buyers at each stage of their journey.”


Stop creating content. And start making answers. – @leeodden #contentmarketing
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Below we offer you a few tips and considerations to help you do just that.

#1 – Know your audience inside and out.

In order to serve your customers and prospects with the best content at the right time, you need to understand their motivations and pain points, as well as the questions they’re asking and where they’re looking for answers.

Keyword research and your own site’s analytics are good places to start. When looking at your analytics, pay special attention to your top and worst performing pages, and which sources and devices are driving the most traffic. This will help you understand the kind of content that is or isn’t resonating with your audience, as well as how they like to find content. In addition, get in touch with your sales team. Sales reps are interfacing with prospects and customers on a daily basis, making them amazing resources for gathering insights.

The bottom line? You can’t provide answers if you don’t know the questions your audience is asking—and where they’re asking them. So, do your homework.


You can’t provide answers if you don’t know the questions your audience is asking. – @CaitlinMBurgess
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#2 – Take an integrated approach.

The customer journey is far from linear, so it’s important that your content marketing strategy integrates a variety of different tactics and channels into the mix for maximum impact.

How do you do this? Here are a few steps you should take:

  • Based on the audience research you’ve done, determine which types of content will be the most effective and engaging at multiple stages of the funnel, and how that content can be optimized to follow SEO best practices and still provide an excellent user experience.
  • Determine how social media channels can be leveraged for sharing content and engaging your audience in conversation or boosting brand awareness.
  • Research and identify influencers who could add credibility and insight to your content, and where they make the most sense to use.
  • Consider the different paid digital advertising options that are available and decide which could be good fits for your audience and content.

For more insights on this piece, check out the post How An Integrated Approach Can Help You Become Content Marketing Royalty.

#3 – Use a variety of different tactics.

To expand a little bit on the content component of an integrated approach, offering content in different formats can enhance user experience by allowing your audience to consume content the way they want to or make it easier for them to take it all in. In addition, depending on where customers and prospects are in the funnel, some content tactics might be more effective than others.

Some of the most-used tactics include: blog posts, infographics, eBooks, case studies, email marketing, content curation, and social media. But, depending on your goals, resources and audience, more interactive content such as live video, podcasts or webinars are excellent options.

Check out our resource Content Marketing: Definitions & Tactics to discover the basics of 30 different content marketing tactics.


Offering content in different formats can enhance user experience. – @CaitlinMBurgess
Click To Tweet


#4 – Be relevant and timely.

In order to effectively reach your customers and prospects at any point in their journey, content has to be useful, valuable and served up at the right time.

ur audience research and knowledge to craft a content plan that includes originally produced evergreen, curated and/or influencer infused content. Also, stay on top of industry news or trends that would allow you to create timely pieces that can get you in on what’s currently being talked about and trending.

In addition, plan how you’ll make sure you’re getting the content in front of your audience at the right time to guide them onto the next part of their journey.

#5 – Personalize your content to meet your specific audience’s needs.

Chances are there isn’t just one type of customer you’re trying to reach, but rather you have a handful of different buyer personas who research, consume and make decisions in different ways.

Personalizing your content to different buyers’ journeys will help you serve up that relevant and timely content, and stand out from your competition.

#6 – Aim to create a seamless user experience.

Every brand has a story to tell. A story that shows their audiences who they are, what they stand for and how they can be of service in a time of need. An important part of successfully conveying that message is through creating a positive, consistent customer experience with your brand on every channel, at every stage of the journey. This is often referred to as omni-channel marketing.

To achieve a seamless user experience, some best practices include:

  • Using consistent imagery
  • Establishing a consistent voice
  • Personalizing content for each channel

Dive deeper into creating a seamless user experience by reading our post: Learn How to Create a Better Customer Experience with Omni-Channel Marketing.

#7 – Constantly look for ways to improve the customer journey.

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.

Be the Best Answer

Whether you’re brand is large or small, you can create the perfect tactical mix for creating and sharing content that resonates with your customers and prospects wherever they’re searching and they are in the funnel.

With that said, here’s a little something to think about anytime you sit down to create a piece of content.


Are you creating content? Or Answers? – @leeodden
Click To Tweet


What content marketing tactics have been the most effective for reaching your audience at the various stages of the customer journey? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Is Your Content Marketing Designed for the New Customer Journey? | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Is Your Content Marketing Designed for the New Customer Journey? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thanks to the rise of the internet, the explosion of social media and the development of mobile technologies to feed these two innovations, the customer buying journey has become much more self-directed. According to a Forrester, 74% of business buyers say they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.

As a result, content marketing has emerged as an incredibly effective way to arm consumers with the information they seek and need, increase brand awareness, enhance engagement, and ultimately inspire action and conversions.

But content marketing isn’t about creating and sharing as much content as possible. It’s about creating quality content that allows you to be the best answer, whenever and wherever your audience is searching. And understanding today’s customer journey will be paramount to your content marketing success. Below is a great illustration from Forrester on the many intricacies that journey can entail. As you can see, it’s not an easy, neat sales funnel these days.

B2B Customer Buyer's Journey - Forrester

Photo Credit: Forrester

The bottom line? Your content marketing efforts have to be optimized in a way that allows you to reach your customers and prospects at multiple touch points during their journey.

To do that, as TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden said, you have to: “Stop creating content. And start making answers that are relevant to your buyers at each stage of their journey.”


Stop creating content. And start making answers. – @leeodden #contentmarketing
Click To Tweet


Below we offer you a few tips and considerations to help you do just that.

#1 – Know your audience inside and out.

In order to serve your customers and prospects with the best content at the right time, you need to understand their motivations and pain points, as well as the questions they’re asking and where they’re looking for answers.

Keyword research and your own site’s analytics are good places to start. When looking at your analytics, pay special attention to your top and worst performing pages, and which sources and devices are driving the most traffic. This will help you understand the kind of content that is or isn’t resonating with your audience, as well as how they like to find content. In addition, get in touch with your sales team. Sales reps are interfacing with prospects and customers on a daily basis, making them amazing resources for gathering insights.

The bottom line? You can’t provide answers if you don’t know the questions your audience is asking—and where they’re asking them. So, do your homework.


You can’t provide answers if you don’t know the questions your audience is asking. – @CaitlinMBurgess
Click To Tweet


#2 – Take an integrated approach.

The customer journey is far from linear, so it’s important that your content marketing strategy integrates a variety of different tactics and channels into the mix for maximum impact.

How do you do this? Here are a few steps you should take:

  • Based on the audience research you’ve done, determine which types of content will be the most effective and engaging at multiple stages of the funnel, and how that content can be optimized to follow SEO best practices and still provide an excellent user experience.
  • Determine how social media channels can be leveraged for sharing content and engaging your audience in conversation or boosting brand awareness.
  • Research and identify influencers who could add credibility and insight to your content, and where they make the most sense to use.
  • Consider the different paid digital advertising options that are available and decide which could be good fits for your audience and content.

For more insights on this piece, check out the post How An Integrated Approach Can Help You Become Content Marketing Royalty.

#3 – Use a variety of different tactics.

To expand a little bit on the content component of an integrated approach, offering content in different formats can enhance user experience by allowing your audience to consume content the way they want to or make it easier for them to take it all in. In addition, depending on where customers and prospects are in the funnel, some content tactics might be more effective than others.

Some of the most-used tactics include: blog posts, infographics, eBooks, case studies, email marketing, content curation, and social media. But, depending on your goals, resources and audience, more interactive content such as live video, podcasts or webinars are excellent options.

Check out our resource Content Marketing: Definitions & Tactics to discover the basics of 30 different content marketing tactics.


Offering content in different formats can enhance user experience. – @CaitlinMBurgess
Click To Tweet


#4 – Be relevant and timely.

In order to effectively reach your customers and prospects at any point in their journey, content has to be useful, valuable and served up at the right time.

ur audience research and knowledge to craft a content plan that includes originally produced evergreen, curated and/or influencer infused content. Also, stay on top of industry news or trends that would allow you to create timely pieces that can get you in on what’s currently being talked about and trending.

In addition, plan how you’ll make sure you’re getting the content in front of your audience at the right time to guide them onto the next part of their journey.

#5 – Personalize your content to meet your specific audience’s needs.

Chances are there isn’t just one type of customer you’re trying to reach, but rather you have a handful of different buyer personas who research, consume and make decisions in different ways.

Personalizing your content to different buyers’ journeys will help you serve up that relevant and timely content, and stand out from your competition.

#6 – Aim to create a seamless user experience.

Every brand has a story to tell. A story that shows their audiences who they are, what they stand for and how they can be of service in a time of need. An important part of successfully conveying that message is through creating a positive, consistent customer experience with your brand on every channel, at every stage of the journey. This is often referred to as omni-channel marketing.

To achieve a seamless user experience, some best practices include:

  • Using consistent imagery
  • Establishing a consistent voice
  • Personalizing content for each channel

Dive deeper into creating a seamless user experience by reading our post: Learn How to Create a Better Customer Experience with Omni-Channel Marketing.

#7 – Constantly look for ways to improve the customer journey.

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.

Be the Best Answer

Whether you’re brand is large or small, you can create the perfect tactical mix for creating and sharing content that resonates with your customers and prospects wherever they’re searching and they are in the funnel.

With that said, here’s a little something to think about anytime you sit down to create a piece of content.


Are you creating content? Or Answers? – @leeodden
Click To Tweet


What content marketing tactics have been the most effective for reaching your audience at the various stages of the customer journey? Tell us in the comments section below.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Is Your Content Marketing Designed for the New Customer Journey? | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Is Your Content Marketing Designed for the New Customer Journey? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media

For the past decade, many small business marketers have taken an “If you build it, they will come” approach to Facebook. They share engaging content, encourage conversation, and optimize their Facebook page to meet their goals. Unfortunately, too often the expected outcome doesn’t quite match the reality:

Facebook has an average of 1.71 billion active users a month—that’s an audience worth addressing. Yet business owners struggle to convert Facebook users into organic traffic to their websites.

Business app discovery platform GetApp recently surveyed 500 owners of small and medium-sized businesses. Less than 30% of respondents reported that Facebook was moderately to extremely effective at driving organic traffic to their sites. By contrast, 20.1% rated it slightly effective, and over 25% said it was not effective at all.

If you’re a small business owner and Facebook is the focus of your marketing efforts, it may be time to branch out. Here are a few ways to use a little strategy and a small budget to increase traffic to your website.

#1: Make Sure Your Shares Encourage Website Traffic

Some businesses do a great job creating a fun, relatable feed. They have memes. They use emoji in a cool, not cringe-worthy way. They even share valuable content from around the web.

All of that is great for building your audience on Facebook. But it’s not enough to build a hip Facebook page, put your URL in the sidebar, and watch the clicks roll in. Make sure to regularly share content hosted on your website, with an eye-catching visual and a summary that compels a click.

If you’re already doing that, keep reading for more tips. But if you haven’t been explicitly, actively, repeatedly encouraging your Facebook audience to visit your site, this is an easy win.

#2: Use a Little Strategic Paid Promotion

“Stellar work, Nite,” I hear you say. “So the way to generate more organic traffic is to pay for traffic?”

Hear me out, though. Organic traffic is free(ish), and that’s great. It’s wonderful when people opt to look at your content. But what’s better is traffic from a more relevant audience of your choosing. Facebook makes it easy to get results with a really small budget.

Take your top-performing organic content—the post that already has likes and shares, so you know people like it—and put $5 behind it. Target it to a specific audience that is valuable to you. Most importantly, use the “Create a Lookalike Audience” option to reach a new audience.

Keep a close eye on your $5 investment and use what you learn to optimize the next round. The small investment is worth it, if it pays off in more relevant traffic. As you attract a new audience, you can start to pull them from Facebook to your own site.

#3: Turn Facebook Followers into Subscribers

As Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi puts it, “Don’t build your house on rented land.” As long as your audience is exclusively on Facebook (or any other social media platform), the platform determines how and when you can reach them. If Facebook has a choice between allowing you organic reach or demanding a ransom—well, you can guess which way they’ll go.

So when you share links to your site’s content on Facebook, make sure there are prominent opportunities to subscribe. Whether it’s to your blog feed or a weekly newsletter, give your audience the option to opt in.

You can also add a Subscribe button to your Facebook Page. When you’re logged in as the page, you will see the “Add a Button” option right under your header image. Choose the “Sign Up” button and link it to a subscription landing page.

Make sure the page has a quick but compelling statement of benefit and very little else—just a quick form to fill out and a big shiny Subscribe button.

#4: Look to LinkedIn*

If your business is B2B, Facebook is likely not the best fit for a primary marketing focus. LinkedIn tends to be a better place for B2B business to build an audience and generate leads—according to research, 80% of B2B leads are sourced through the platform.

LinkedIn isn’t exclusively for B2B, however. You can create a Company Page and build an audience for your B2C company as well. You can also use long-form posts on LinkedIn to promote your personal thought leadership. Use the platform to build credibility and visibility that can transfer to your business. Great content leads to more profile views, and you can construct your profile to lead visitors to your business’ website.

Do You Believe in Life after Facebook?

Facebook can still be a good place to build an audience and boost your business’ brand awareness. But don’t rely on likes and follows to do any heavy lifting. Make sure what you share on your feed is strategically created to encourage action. Don’t be afraid to invest $5-10 every few weeks on targeted promotion, or to try other social media platforms better suited to your company’s offerings. Finally, the end goal should be to amass an audience on your own site, not someone else’s platform.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

For the past decade, many small business marketers have taken an “If you build it, they will come” approach to Facebook. They share engaging content, encourage conversation, and optimize their Facebook page to meet their goals. Unfortunately, too often the expected outcome doesn’t quite match the reality:

Facebook has an average of 1.71 billion active users a month—that’s an audience worth addressing. Yet business owners struggle to convert Facebook users into organic traffic to their websites.

Business app discovery platform GetApp recently surveyed 500 owners of small and medium-sized businesses. Less than 30% of respondents reported that Facebook was moderately to extremely effective at driving organic traffic to their sites. By contrast, 20.1% rated it slightly effective, and over 25% said it was not effective at all.

If you’re a small business owner and Facebook is the focus of your marketing efforts, it may be time to branch out. Here are a few ways to use a little strategy and a small budget to increase traffic to your website.

#1: Make Sure Your Shares Encourage Website Traffic

Some businesses do a great job creating a fun, relatable feed. They have memes. They use emoji in a cool, not cringe-worthy way. They even share valuable content from around the web.

All of that is great for building your audience on Facebook. But it’s not enough to build a hip Facebook page, put your URL in the sidebar, and watch the clicks roll in. Make sure to regularly share content hosted on your website, with an eye-catching visual and a summary that compels a click.

If you’re already doing that, keep reading for more tips. But if you haven’t been explicitly, actively, repeatedly encouraging your Facebook audience to visit your site, this is an easy win.

#2: Use a Little Strategic Paid Promotion

“Stellar work, Nite,” I hear you say. “So the way to generate more organic traffic is to pay for traffic?”

Hear me out, though. Organic traffic is free(ish), and that’s great. It’s wonderful when people opt to look at your content. But what’s better is traffic from a more relevant audience of your choosing. Facebook makes it easy to get results with a really small budget.

Take your top-performing organic content—the post that already has likes and shares, so you know people like it—and put $5 behind it. Target it to a specific audience that is valuable to you. Most importantly, use the “Create a Lookalike Audience” option to reach a new audience.

Keep a close eye on your $5 investment and use what you learn to optimize the next round. The small investment is worth it, if it pays off in more relevant traffic. As you attract a new audience, you can start to pull them from Facebook to your own site.

#3: Turn Facebook Followers into Subscribers

As Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi puts it, “Don’t build your house on rented land.” As long as your audience is exclusively on Facebook (or any other social media platform), the platform determines how and when you can reach them. If Facebook has a choice between allowing you organic reach or demanding a ransom—well, you can guess which way they’ll go.

So when you share links to your site’s content on Facebook, make sure there are prominent opportunities to subscribe. Whether it’s to your blog feed or a weekly newsletter, give your audience the option to opt in.

You can also add a Subscribe button to your Facebook Page. When you’re logged in as the page, you will see the “Add a Button” option right under your header image. Choose the “Sign Up” button and link it to a subscription landing page.

Make sure the page has a quick but compelling statement of benefit and very little else—just a quick form to fill out and a big shiny Subscribe button.

#4: Look to LinkedIn*

If your business is B2B, Facebook is likely not the best fit for a primary marketing focus. LinkedIn tends to be a better place for B2B business to build an audience and generate leads—according to research, 80% of B2B leads are sourced through the platform.

LinkedIn isn’t exclusively for B2B, however. You can create a Company Page and build an audience for your B2C company as well. You can also use long-form posts on LinkedIn to promote your personal thought leadership. Use the platform to build credibility and visibility that can transfer to your business. Great content leads to more profile views, and you can construct your profile to lead visitors to your business’ website.

Do You Believe in Life after Facebook?

Facebook can still be a good place to build an audience and boost your business’ brand awareness. But don’t rely on likes and follows to do any heavy lifting. Make sure what you share on your feed is strategically created to encourage action. Don’t be afraid to invest $5-10 every few weeks on targeted promotion, or to try other social media platforms better suited to your company’s offerings. Finally, the end goal should be to amass an audience on your own site, not someone else’s platform.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing

Stories like Indiana Jones, The Goonies and Sherlock Holmes have all taught us a very important (and sometimes frustrating) life lesson: If you want to find the artifact/treasure/bad guy, you have to crack the code!

Even with all of the information available to us as marketers today, there is still so much mystery surrounding the “perfect” combination for content marketing success. Additionally, thousands of variables and quickly evolving customer habits add complexity to content planning and execution.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I can help you crack the code to building influence with content marketing! How? There are three essential steps to building influence with content and this post contains a “map” of each element. While the exact code might be slightly different from one company to the next, these steps can help you identify the key elements you need to deploy a successful and impactful content program.

Identify Audience Needs

The sheer number of options available today have enabled consumers to become much more selective about which brands they interact with online. There is another cause and effect to this influx of options: consumers are overwhelmed.

To truly capture and keep the attention of current or potential customers, brands must identify who their customers are, what they care about and who influences them. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to attract and engage different members of your audience. Preferences will vary on everything from content types to topics and goals.

Who Are Your Best Customers?

To better reach these different audience members, focus on identifying key traits of your current ideal customers. Once you’ve uncovered that information, you can develop customer profiles or personas which can serve as a guide for your content strategy.

3 Ways to Uncover What Customers Care About

Access to your customers will vary greatly based on your industry and offerings. Three simple ways to uncover customer needs include:

  1. Asking Customers Directly: surveys, social polls, customer calls
  2. Review Analytics: content types, key phrases
  3. Keyword Research: uncover top questions customers are asking online

Circle of Influence

The last piece to identifying audience needs is developing an understanding of who influences them. For example, if your target profile is a Director of Marketing, you will want to research the different types of people that influence their decisions. Below is an example of how this might look:

Including influencers in your content provides a great opportunity to maximize exposure and build credibility. The information that you uncover about who influences your audience can be used to determine which influencers will have the most impact on your audience.

Develop Content Based on Identified Needs

Once you’ve developed customer profiles, you can begin planning the details of your content creation. For each profile, it’s important to create content that meets the needs of every stage in the buying cycle. By following an attract, engage, convert model, you can ensure that you have content for that customer at every stage.

When building a model to optimize across the sales cycle be sure to include:

  • The channel that the content will publish on.
  • What keywords/phrases will be incorporated into the content.
  • Which devices the content should be optimized for.
  • Content topics that map to the different stages.

Test Different Content Types

Different segments of your audience will have specific preferences on the types of content that they want to engage with. Even with little resources and budget, it’s important to test different content types to appeal to your audience.

TopRank Marketing has published a list of 30 different content marketing tactics that includes definitions, pros/cons as well as some great examples from other brands to get you started.

Create A Content Brief

Every larger piece of content (eBooks, white papers, research reports) should include a project brief. A detailed brief will serve as a guide for the project and help ensure that your team stays aligned with the objective of the content.

Your brief should include things like:

  • Identifying who the content is for.
  • Detailing the problem that this content solves for the reader.
  • A clear directive of what the reader should do next.
  • Goals and details of how success will be measured.

Maximize Content Impact

At the end of the day, we need to be intensely focused on developing, publishing and promoting content that has a maximum impact on our audience and on our marketing goals. The difference between good and great content can be summarized by a few different characteristics.

Incorporate Storytelling Into Content

Stories help create a connection between the content and the reader. While it may take some extra effort, adding a storytelling element to your content has many benefits including:

  • Creating a shared experience.
  • Helping readers develop an emotional connection to the message.
  • Differentiating you from your competitors.
  • Assigning meaning to the content.

Visual content & creative storytelling create an emotional connection with buyers. @leeodden
Click To Tweet


Additionally, a great story is very sharable which can help increase the exposure of your content. Sometimes the simple addition of a widely recognized metaphor can be just the extra boost that your content needs to make it more interesting and enticing for your audience.

Content Should Be Visual

Compelling visuals alongside great storytelling makes for a killer content combination! Because of the amount of information available, consumers eyes can quickly begin to glaze over when they’re faced with a wall of endless content.


Be sure to include creative visuals that compliment different types of content. Below is an example of a blog post that included “horror stories” from top content experts. Based on the experiences that they shared, our team was able to develop a series of horror movie “posters” to compliment the content.

Content Amplification

Every piece of content should have an amplification plan to maximize impact. Some best practices for content amplification include:

  • Develop compelling visuals to encourage social share.
  • Create unique messaging for each social platform.
  • Encourage employees to amplify your content.
  • If you worked with influencers, develop messages for them to share.

Take These Steps to Build Influence with Content

Truly cracking the code takes time, testing and iterations of your approach. However, you can use the three steps above to build a solid foundation that will speak to the needs of your audience, solve their pain points and maximize content efforts.

If you’re interested in learning more about how TopRank Marketing can help you build influence with your audience through content marketing, contact us today for a consultation!


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Stories like Indiana Jones, The Goonies and Sherlock Holmes have all taught us a very important (and sometimes frustrating) life lesson: If you want to find the artifact/treasure/bad guy, you have to crack the code!

Even with all of the information available to us as marketers today, there is still so much mystery surrounding the “perfect” combination for content marketing success. Additionally, thousands of variables and quickly evolving customer habits add complexity to content planning and execution.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I can help you crack the code to building influence with content marketing! How? There are three essential steps to building influence with content and this post contains a “map” of each element. While the exact code might be slightly different from one company to the next, these steps can help you identify the key elements you need to deploy a successful and impactful content program.

Identify Audience Needs

The sheer number of options available today have enabled consumers to become much more selective about which brands they interact with online. There is another cause and effect to this influx of options: consumers are overwhelmed.

To truly capture and keep the attention of current or potential customers, brands must identify who their customers are, what they care about and who influences them. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to attract and engage different members of your audience. Preferences will vary on everything from content types to topics and goals.

Who Are Your Best Customers?

To better reach these different audience members, focus on identifying key traits of your current ideal customers. Once you’ve uncovered that information, you can develop customer profiles or personas which can serve as a guide for your content strategy.

3 Ways to Uncover What Customers Care About

Access to your customers will vary greatly based on your industry and offerings. Three simple ways to uncover customer needs include:

  1. Asking Customers Directly: surveys, social polls, customer calls
  2. Review Analytics: content types, key phrases
  3. Keyword Research: uncover top questions customers are asking online

Circle of Influence

The last piece to identifying audience needs is developing an understanding of who influences them. For example, if your target profile is a Director of Marketing, you will want to research the different types of people that influence their decisions. Below is an example of how this might look:

Including influencers in your content provides a great opportunity to maximize exposure and build credibility. The information that you uncover about who influences your audience can be used to determine which influencers will have the most impact on your audience.

Develop Content Based on Identified Needs

Once you’ve developed customer profiles, you can begin planning the details of your content creation. For each profile, it’s important to create content that meets the needs of every stage in the buying cycle. By following an attract, engage, convert model, you can ensure that you have content for that customer at every stage.

When building a model to optimize across the sales cycle be sure to include:

  • The channel that the content will publish on.
  • What keywords/phrases will be incorporated into the content.
  • Which devices the content should be optimized for.
  • Content topics that map to the different stages.

Test Different Content Types

Different segments of your audience will have specific preferences on the types of content that they want to engage with. Even with little resources and budget, it’s important to test different content types to appeal to your audience.

TopRank Marketing has published a list of 30 different content marketing tactics that includes definitions, pros/cons as well as some great examples from other brands to get you started.

Create A Content Brief

Every larger piece of content (eBooks, white papers, research reports) should include a project brief. A detailed brief will serve as a guide for the project and help ensure that your team stays aligned with the objective of the content.

Your brief should include things like:

  • Identifying who the content is for.
  • Detailing the problem that this content solves for the reader.
  • A clear directive of what the reader should do next.
  • Goals and details of how success will be measured.

Maximize Content Impact

At the end of the day, we need to be intensely focused on developing, publishing and promoting content that has a maximum impact on our audience and on our marketing goals. The difference between good and great content can be summarized by a few different characteristics.

Incorporate Storytelling Into Content

Stories help create a connection between the content and the reader. While it may take some extra effort, adding a storytelling element to your content has many benefits including:

  • Creating a shared experience.
  • Helping readers develop an emotional connection to the message.
  • Differentiating you from your competitors.
  • Assigning meaning to the content.

Visual content & creative storytelling create an emotional connection with buyers. @leeodden
Click To Tweet


Additionally, a great story is very sharable which can help increase the exposure of your content. Sometimes the simple addition of a widely recognized metaphor can be just the extra boost that your content needs to make it more interesting and enticing for your audience.

Content Should Be Visual

Compelling visuals alongside great storytelling makes for a killer content combination! Because of the amount of information available, consumers eyes can quickly begin to glaze over when they’re faced with a wall of endless content.


Be sure to include creative visuals that compliment different types of content. Below is an example of a blog post that included “horror stories” from top content experts. Based on the experiences that they shared, our team was able to develop a series of horror movie “posters” to compliment the content.

Content Amplification

Every piece of content should have an amplification plan to maximize impact. Some best practices for content amplification include:

  • Develop compelling visuals to encourage social share.
  • Create unique messaging for each social platform.
  • Encourage employees to amplify your content.
  • If you worked with influencers, develop messages for them to share.

Take These Steps to Build Influence with Content

Truly cracking the code takes time, testing and iterations of your approach. However, you can use the three steps above to build a solid foundation that will speak to the needs of your audience, solve their pain points and maximize content efforts.

If you’re interested in learning more about how TopRank Marketing can help you build influence with your audience through content marketing, contact us today for a consultation!


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Cracking the Code: 3 Steps to Building Influence with Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The Top 5 Most Shared MarketingExperiments Content from 2016

Yes, yes. 2016 was a bad year. We get it.

But it wasn’t all bad. We published some fairly exciting stuff here on MarketingExperiments. It was so exciting that a good portion of our audience found the time to share it with their followers. Just these five pieces from 2016 were shared 1,435 times.

Read on to view what our audience felt were the top five most shareworthy pieces in 2016.

#1: How Does Page Load Time Affect Conversion Rate? New Research Shows Significant Correlation

Most marketers understand that a slow page produces low conversion rates. But how significant is the correlation? How fast do customers expect sites to load? Are customer expectations for page load time changing?

Continue Reading…

#2: The Best Conversion Rate optimizers do NOT make changes to webpages…

I remember I once I designed and ran four tests in a row — two product page tests and two homepage tests — for a Fortune 500 industrial supply company, and lost every time. The designs were solid — better navigation, easier to find buttons, improved copy and value proposition — but they all lost.

When I look back at it, these four tests lost because I was trying to optimize webpages.

Continue Reading…

#3: Copywriting: 3 tips for optimizing your next direct mail campaign

It might come as a surprise, but according to research conducted by our sister site MarketingSherpa, 54% of U.S. consumers would prefer to receive regular updates and promotions in the mail. That’s the highest percentage of any other method.

While we know stated preferences and actual behavior can differ, it’s still extremely interesting that physical mail ranked higher than email.

Continue Reading…

#4: Homepage Optimization: 5 Marketing blind spots that inhibit conversion (and how you can correct them)

We all have blind spots. Some of us more than others. But if we’ve learned anything from the last 100 years or so of marketing and advertising, it’s that marketers have some of the worst blind spots imaginable.

Continue Reading…

#5: Build a Better Home Page Strategy: How multiple objectives on a homepage increased clickthrough to a single page by 52%

In a test from the MECLABS Research Library, a large healthcare company was dealing with all of these issues and more. Their homepage was originally focused on a single objective — to get customers onto the “find a treatment center” page further down their funnel.

Continue Reading…

You might also like:

Optimizing Software Landing Pages: How to minimize anxiety and maximize conversion in a free download

Do Rotating Sliders Work? Optimizing the first 4 to 6 inches of your landing page

Ecommerce Optimization in 8 Minutes: How to increase the performance of your category pages with a clear value proposition

Yes, yes. 2016 was a bad year. We get it.

But it wasn’t all bad. We published some fairly exciting stuff here on MarketingExperiments. It was so exciting that a good portion of our audience found the time to share it with their followers. Just these five pieces from 2016 were shared 1,435 times.

Read on to view what our audience felt were the top five most shareworthy pieces in 2016.

#1: How Does Page Load Time Affect Conversion Rate? New Research Shows Significant Correlation

Most marketers understand that a slow page produces low conversion rates. But how significant is the correlation? How fast do customers expect sites to load? Are customer expectations for page load time changing?

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#2: The Best Conversion Rate optimizers do NOT make changes to webpages…

I remember I once I designed and ran four tests in a row — two product page tests and two homepage tests — for a Fortune 500 industrial supply company, and lost every time. The designs were solid — better navigation, easier to find buttons, improved copy and value proposition — but they all lost.

When I look back at it, these four tests lost because I was trying to optimize webpages.

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#3: Copywriting: 3 tips for optimizing your next direct mail campaign

It might come as a surprise, but according to research conducted by our sister site MarketingSherpa, 54% of U.S. consumers would prefer to receive regular updates and promotions in the mail. That’s the highest percentage of any other method.

While we know stated preferences and actual behavior can differ, it’s still extremely interesting that physical mail ranked higher than email.

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#4: Homepage Optimization: 5 Marketing blind spots that inhibit conversion (and how you can correct them)

We all have blind spots. Some of us more than others. But if we’ve learned anything from the last 100 years or so of marketing and advertising, it’s that marketers have some of the worst blind spots imaginable.

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#5: Build a Better Home Page Strategy: How multiple objectives on a homepage increased clickthrough to a single page by 52%

In a test from the MECLABS Research Library, a large healthcare company was dealing with all of these issues and more. Their homepage was originally focused on a single objective — to get customers onto the “find a treatment center” page further down their funnel.

Continue Reading…

You might also like:

Optimizing Software Landing Pages: How to minimize anxiety and maximize conversion in a free download

Do Rotating Sliders Work? Optimizing the first 4 to 6 inches of your landing page

Ecommerce Optimization in 8 Minutes: How to increase the performance of your category pages with a clear value proposition

Online Marketing News: Content for Millennials & Boomers, Top Data Trends & PPC for Research

Infographic: How Millennials and Baby Boomers Consume User-Generated Content
Content and recommendations from other consumers are generally considered more trustworthy than content coming from a brand. This infographic lends more credibility to that idea. Although Boomers and Millennials consume content differently, they have one key preference in common: 76% of consumers believe that content shared by average people is more honest than advertising from brands. AdWeek[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DjEiFW5lHQ]The Top Three Data Trends of 2016
Ad Age discusses the top three data trends of 2016: The customer ID movement, growth in data sharing and the location data tracking boom. What’s the common thread? Collecting more data to enable greater personalization for the consumer, and to foster a better understanding of your audience, were keys strategic elements of 2016. Ad AgeGoodbye Google Keyword Planner, Hello Keyword Research Using PPC
Now that Google is taking away free full access to the Google keyword planner, MarketingProfs proposes conducting keyword research via a small PPC campaign rather than investing in a paid keyword research tool? Sound crazy? It makes more sense than you may think. MarketingProfsAmazon launches Digital Day, a new sales holiday for digital products
According to Marketing Land, “The first Digital Day will be a 24 hour event held tomorrow, Friday December 30th and is marketed like a Black Friday for anything digital. These offerings include games, books, TV shows, apps, music and more. Some of the marketed deals include: 80% off of video games, 50% off of movies & TV and 75% off of digital comics.” Marketing LandLinkedIn Changes: What Marketers Need to Know
LinkedIn has made changes to improve the way you find new contacts, interact with connections, and write posts. The homepage has a new, cleaner look — and what was the ‘Profile’ section is now the ‘Me’ section, where you can go to edit your profile, privacy settings and more. Social Media ExaminerDon’t Get Too Excited Just Yet About Retailers’ Merry Holiday Sales
eMarketer reports: “Retailers, which typically close their fiscal fourth quarter end of this month or early next month, are expected to see their critical holiday quarter profit decline 1.9% on average, according to Retail Metrics […] In fact, 53 retailers, or about half of the group tracked, are expected to see lower fourth-quarter profits.” eMarketerGoogle Has 5 of the Top 10 Apps in 2016, According to Nielsen Rankings [REPORT]
5 of the top 10 downloaded apps in 2016 were owned by Google: YouTube, Google Maps, Google Search, Google Play and Gmail. Google continues to be a leader on the mobile front, and of the 88% of US mobile subscribers that use smartphones, 53% are using the Android operating system. How will the Google Pixel shape these trends? Search Engine Journal2017 Digital Marketing Plans [Report]
Ascend2 reports: “While nearly one-third (31%) describe the success of their digital marketing as “best-in-class” compared to competitors, a total of 23% still consider their organizations’ efforts unsuccessful.” 63% of respondents said brand websites are one of the most effective channels for their 2017 digital marketing plan, 52% say email is one of the most effective channels, 49% say social media and 31% listed organic search. Ascend2What were your top online marketing news stories this week?We’ll be back next week with more top online marketing news. Have something to share? Sound off in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Online Marketing News: Content for Millennials & Boomers, Top Data Trends & PPC for Research appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Infographic: How Millennials and Baby Boomers Consume User-Generated Content
Content and recommendations from other consumers are generally considered more trustworthy than content coming from a brand. This infographic lends more credibility to that idea. Although Boomers and Millennials consume content differently, they have one key preference in common: 76% of consumers believe that content shared by average people is more honest than advertising from brands. AdWeek

The Top Three Data Trends of 2016
Ad Age discusses the top three data trends of 2016: The customer ID movement, growth in data sharing and the location data tracking boom. What’s the common thread? Collecting more data to enable greater personalization for the consumer, and to foster a better understanding of your audience, were keys strategic elements of 2016. Ad AgeGoodbye Google Keyword Planner, Hello Keyword Research Using PPC
Now that Google is taking away free full access to the Google keyword planner, MarketingProfs proposes conducting keyword research via a small PPC campaign rather than investing in a paid keyword research tool? Sound crazy? It makes more sense than you may think. MarketingProfsAmazon launches Digital Day, a new sales holiday for digital products
According to Marketing Land, “The first Digital Day will be a 24 hour event held tomorrow, Friday December 30th and is marketed like a Black Friday for anything digital. These offerings include games, books, TV shows, apps, music and more. Some of the marketed deals include: 80% off of video games, 50% off of movies & TV and 75% off of digital comics.” Marketing LandLinkedIn Changes: What Marketers Need to Know
LinkedIn has made changes to improve the way you find new contacts, interact with connections, and write posts. The homepage has a new, cleaner look — and what was the ‘Profile’ section is now the ‘Me’ section, where you can go to edit your profile, privacy settings and more. Social Media ExaminerDon’t Get Too Excited Just Yet About Retailers’ Merry Holiday Sales
eMarketer reports: “Retailers, which typically close their fiscal fourth quarter end of this month or early next month, are expected to see their critical holiday quarter profit decline 1.9% on average, according to Retail Metrics […] In fact, 53 retailers, or about half of the group tracked, are expected to see lower fourth-quarter profits.” eMarketerGoogle Has 5 of the Top 10 Apps in 2016, According to Nielsen Rankings [REPORT]
5 of the top 10 downloaded apps in 2016 were owned by Google: YouTube, Google Maps, Google Search, Google Play and Gmail. Google continues to be a leader on the mobile front, and of the 88% of US mobile subscribers that use smartphones, 53% are using the Android operating system. How will the Google Pixel shape these trends? Search Engine Journal2017 Digital Marketing Plans [Report]
Ascend2 reports: “While nearly one-third (31%) describe the success of their digital marketing as “best-in-class” compared to competitors, a total of 23% still consider their organizations’ efforts unsuccessful.” 63% of respondents said brand websites are one of the most effective channels for their 2017 digital marketing plan, 52% say email is one of the most effective channels, 49% say social media and 31% listed organic search. Ascend2What were your top online marketing news stories this week?We’ll be back next week with more top online marketing news. Have something to share? Sound off in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Online Marketing News: Content for Millennials & Boomers, Top Data Trends & PPC for Research appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.