Month: July 2017


Interactive Quiz: 5 Steps to Creating a Stellar Content Experience for Your Audience

This month marks exactly 181 years since the first advertisement was ever published. The ad in question appeared in the French newspaper, La Presse, and other papers quickly began following suit. For the first time in history, businesses were using “content” distributed to a large audience to formally promote their products and services.

Clearly a lot of time has passed since that initial ad in 1836, but has our approach to content evolved at a similar pace? True, many advancements have been made in the way we deliver content and marketers have gotten better at attempting to deliver meaningful insights to their audience. But, one thing that many marketers still haven’t been able to nail, is creating a great content experience.

It’s no surprise that content has become the epicenter of modern marketing strategies. And while an integrated digital marketing strategy performs best, any marketing strategy that does not include content will likely not see the light of day.

But when 90% of today’s data was created in the last two years alone, how can marketers cut through the noise?

To earn the eyes, hearts and wallets of the modern customers, marketers need to do more to stand out. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to be creating MORE content. Instead, we need to focus on creating content that has impact and creates a great experience for our audience.

To help answer what it takes to create a great content experience, our team at TopRank Marketing partnered with SnapApp to bring you our new interactive quiz: 5 Steps to Creating a Stellar Content Experience for Your Audience

In addition to an opportunity to test your content engagement smarts, you’ll also gain access to exclusive tips and insights from leading industry experts including Ardath Albee, Seth Lieberman, Amisha Gandhi, Mari Smith and Lee Odden. 

If you’re ready to test your knowledge, get started below:

Please enable javascript!

Stellar Content

When content isn’t performing.

Right before launching a campaign.

Prior to developing your content strategy.

When you have time.

Create content that is creative, engaging and visual.

Keep doing what you’re doing. They’ll catch on.

Follow what other brands are doing.

Test every single content type to see what works.

Pay for better content distribution.

Co-create content with influencers.

Ensure all brand standards are met.

Explain to the audience why the content is credible.

They consume and share the content.

You can just tell.

There were no negative comments.

The content was credible so of course they liked it.

Providing answers customers are searching for, where they’re searching for them.

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var s = document.createElement(‘script’);
s.type = ‘text/javascript’;
s.async = true;
var host = (document.location.protocol == ‘http:’) ?
‘cdn.snapapp.com’ : ‘scdn.snapapp.com’;
s.src = ‘//’ + host + ‘/widget/widget.js’;
s.id = ‘eeload’;
document.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);
})();

Is Your Content Experience a Hit or Miss?

How did you score on the content experience quiz? While some of these answers may have seemed like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised at how many marketers often overlook the very basic elements required to create a stellar content experience.

At the core, a successful content experience should delight your audience and turn skeptics into fans and fans into advocates. It doesn’t matter how much time and money you put into optimizing and advertising your content, if it doesn’t create a good experience for your audience, they’ll quickly abandon your carefully crafted words and move on to the next opportunity.

What steps have you taken to improve the content experience for you audience? Share in the comments below!

 


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What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature

Influencer marketing is booming—and it’s not hard to see why. Influencers lend authority and credibility to your brand and content, help connect you with new audiences, and typically deliver more ROI than traditional digital marketing tactics. As a result, brands large and small are forming both paid and unpaid partnerships with influencers—and using social platforms to spread their message.

For those brands and marketers engaging in paid partnerships with influencers on Instagram, a change is on the horizon. Last week, Instagram officially announced it would soon roll out its new “paid partnership with” tag for posts and stories.

“The relationships people form on Instagram are what makes our 700M+ community so unique,” Instagram said in its announcement. “It’s here where the world comes together to discover and connect to their passions. Because of this, creators (influencers & publishers) and businesses often join forces to tap into Instagram’s passionate communities with branded content. As more and more partnerships form on Instagram, it’s important to ensure the community is able to easily recognize when someone they follow is paid to post content.”

According to SocialMediaToday, Instagram began testing the partner tag feature—which is similar to what parent-company, Facebook, implemented last year—back in March. And while there’s no official deadline, Instagram said the rollout will be happening slowly over the next few weeks.

So, what do brands and marketers need to know about the new feature? Below are a few key takeaways from the announcement.

#1 – The new feature will enhance transparency—and credibility.

Enhancing influencer marketing transparency is at the core of Instagram’s decision to launch the new tagging option. Not only does the company want to ensure followers can easily recognize sponsored content, but they want to make it easy for influencers and businesses to provide that clarity. In fact, according to TechCrunch, Instagram’s Creative Programs Director Charles Porch said businesses are “looking for ways to be super transparent with their followers when they have a partnership.”

The good news is that brands can use this new level of transparency to their advantage. Simply put, influencers help brands make authentic and meaningful connections with their audience, as well as build brand awareness and credibility. And more transparency means more credibility and authenticity—something modern consumers crave and respect.

In addition, this enhanced transparency will help brands better comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure policies. Back in April, the FTC reported that it had sent out more than 90 letters to marketers and influencers “reminding” them to clearly disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products on social media.

#2 – You’ll get access to new data and insights.

Perhaps the most attractive perk brands and marketers will enjoy with the new tagging feature is access to data on influencers’ posts.

“When the partners use this tag, they will both have access to Insights to track exactly how their branded content posts and stories are performing,” Instagram explained. “Creators will continue to see metrics in their Instagram Insights, and business partners will see shared reach and engagement metrics in their Facebook Page Insights.”

As you can imagine, having this data will give you insight into the real impact of your influencer marketing efforts, and help you make informed decisions on where to go next.

#3 – Adding the tag will be quick and easy.

As you can see from the sample photo below, the tag will be prominently, yet simply, displayed at the top of each post. As far as the mechanics of tagging a partner go, an “Add Partner” option will reportedly be nested under the “Tag People” selection—making it incredibly easy to add to any post.

#4 – An official policy and enforcement procedure is in the works.

At this point, Instagram has not announced it’s official policy on tagging paid partnerships, nor how it plans to actually enforce it. But, according to last week’s announcements, it’s in the works and is expected to be announced in the next few months.

Are Paid Influencer Marketing Tactics Right for Your Brand?

As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden often says: “Everyone is influential about something.” As a result, nearly every brand could benefit from adding influencers into their marketing mix. Whether paid tactics are the right course, there’s no one-size-fits all answer. Like any other marketing tactic, you need to consider your industry, business objectives, budget, current marketing mix, target audience and types of influencers you want to work with to make an informed decision. (Of course, if you need help crafting a plan, we’d love to help!)

What’s your reaction to the new Instagram partner tag? Tell us in the comments section below.


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What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature | http://www.toprankblog.com

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In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey

What does content marketing success look like to you? Is a healthier pipeline? Increased client retention? Or something completely different? While every marketing team might have a slightly different goal for content, the message is the same: You have to create a predictable way to gauge the impact of your content.

The content marketing journey can be perilous at times. At every turn there is a new competitor, shiny object or new “best practice”. This can cause teams to get so caught up in the creation of a quantity of content, that content amplification strategies are an afterthought, or even worse, not executed at all.

We appreciate that you’ve travelled 1,000’s of miles with us on this content marketing adventure. We’ve packed and prepped for our content expedition through developing a content strategy and hiked our way to creating a memorable content experience. But what good is content strategy and creation if you don’t have a plan to get your content in front of the RIGHT people?

While it can be tempting to end your journey once you’ve developed content, it’s really just the first leg of the adventure. Now it’s time to focus on top amplification and co-creation opportunities to make your content soar.

For this edition, please join me in thanking our crew of experts including: Peg Miller, Arnie Kuenn, Jessica Best, Lee Odden, Deana Goldasich, Amisha Gandhi, Maureen Jann, Cathy McPhillips, Pierre-Loic Assayag, Justin Levy, Zerlina Jackson, Robert Rose and Anna McHugh!

Share Insights From Our Content Crew Members

If you’d like to share tips from your favorite crew members, simply click below to tweet!


Stay close to your customer & sales team, & you’ll never run out of content ideas. @PegMiller
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Set aside a budget to amplify your content to improve reach. @ArnieK
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The most engaging content is a response. @bestofjess
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Ask prospective customers for preferences & invite them to share topical expertise. @leeodden
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You must be committed beyond the spray & pray posting of content. @goldasich
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Create memorable experiences with interactive content that adds value. @AmishaGandhi
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Messages must be crafted to fit both consumption mode & the marketing funnel. @MaureenOnPoint
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Make it easy for your influencers to share content with prewritten messaging. @cmcphillips
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Partnering with influential experts is crucial to creating engaging content. @pierreloic
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Paid social can help greatly improve reach & engagement if used properly. @justinlevy
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Develop strategies to deliver content beyond your website. Zerlina Jackson
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Better work inherently drives deeper engagement. @Robert_Rose
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Be passionate about the content you’re creating and truly believe in the value. @amchughredhat
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What’s Next?

It’s time to book your ticket for Content Marketing World 2017!

Content Marketing World 2017

To connect with this content marketing crew of experts in person, be sure to check out the agenda for the 2017 Content Marketing World conference.

You can also follow along and participate in conversations via Twitter by using the hashtag #CMWorld, by following CMI on Twitter (@CMIContent) or by subscribing to our blog.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look

The Hipster’s Guide to ROI [Infographic]
Marketing lingo has expanded and with all of the acronyms, it’s hard to decipher and differentiate combinations of letters. This infographic will show you the most common acronyms and esoteric language related to marketing ROI, giving you an explanation of what they are and why they matter. (LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog)

SEMrush Ranking Factors Study 2017
Google ranking factors constantly updates with every major algorithm change. In this report, the 12 most substantial and controversial factors (including website visits, pages per session and content) were chosen to show what impacts search results and to identify consistent patterns in the ranking mechanism that could be helpful to the SEO community. (SEMrush)

Check Out Our New Look!
Twitter has listened to the feedback from its users and have made some updates to the design. Some of the new features include: Typography has been refined to be more consistent with bolder headlines and rounded profile photos, Tweets are now updated instantly on the mobile app with replies, retweets and like counts so you can see real-time conversations and links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in iOS so you can easily access accounts on websites you’re already signed into. (Twitter Blog)

LinkedIn Adds Images in Comments, New Opportunities for Job Listings
There have been many small yet impactful new updates to LinkedIn recently, due to audience demand. One new feature is you can now add images into comments on posts within the LinkedIn platform. Another boost for LinkedIn is Google’s new tool which helps people find jobs directly through Google search, which sorts through various listings, including LinkedIn. (Social Media Today)

Instagram Stories Now Has 250 Million Daily Active Users, Heating Up Its Rivalry With Snapchat
Instagram Stories is the section of disappearing posts, which recently pulled ahead of Snapchat with an increase of 50 million users in just two months. Instagram also announced that users are now allowed to replay live video instead of it immediately disappearing. (AdWeek)

Google’s Job Listings Search is Now Open to All Job Search Sites & Developers
Google is now offering a formal path for outsiders to add job listings in Google search. Although it doesn’t have an official name, it’s part of the Google for Jobs initiative. You can also track how well your job listings are doing in Google search with a new filter in the Search Analytics report in the Google Search Console. (Search Engine Land)

Oh, How Pinteresting!
Pinterest rolled out a fresh new look for Lens, and instead of only being able to recreate your favorite restaurant dishes at home, Lens can now recognize and recommend outfit ideas including shoes, shirts, hats and other styles. The new interface and built-in tools make it easy to Lens the world around you. (Pinterest Blog)

The Most Important Skills for B2B Tech Marketers
B2B technology marketers rely on many skills for their niche market. The most important skills among Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers were soft skills, including communication and people management and writing skills. Others included digital media marketing and content marketing. (MarketingProfs)

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news stories. Craving more news in the meantime? Check out TopRank Marketing on Twitter @toprank!

The post Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Contagious Content Marketing: How to Give Your Content Viral Potential

For some marketers, going viral is the holy grail of content marketing. It’s easy to see why. You put out content, people organically start sharing it, and it takes off until you’ve racked up millions of views. Millions of brand impressions without a penny in paid promotion. You can’t blame marketers for chasing that particular dragon.

That said, it’s important to get one thing straight: “Going viral” is not a content marketing strategy. It’s a pleasant side effect that can happen with well-crafted content, yes. But the chance of virality is no substitute for well-researched, relevant content amplified to the most relevant audience through organic, paid, and influencer channels.

If you’re planning on going viral to get your content seen, you’re playing the lottery instead of investing in your brand’s future.

However, by happy coincidence, the attributes that give your content viral potential are also hallmarks of great content. Creating shareworthy content as part of your overall strategy is a great idea, whether or not you hit the viral jackpot.

Here are six ways to create great content that just might go viral, complete with examples to inspire you.

#1: Make Data Beautiful

The average person today has more data available to them than anyone has at any other point in history. It’s an ocean of facts, figures, and statistics, and most of us are drowning instead of surfing. If you can take information that’s relevant to a large audience and display it in a beautiful, functional form, you have a good chance at racking up the shares.

Example 1: Infant Sleeping Patterns

This example is from an individual rather than a brand, but it’s too good to leave out. Redditor Andrew Elliot tracked his newborn infant’s sleep patterns for the first four months of her life, then charted the data in a unique circular format. The circle represents a 24-hour clock, with midnight at the top and noon at the bottom. A spiraling line tracks the infant’s sleeping and waking cycles, blue for sleep and orange for awake, starting in the center. Each complete revolution represents a single day.

At a glance, you can see how the early days are chaotic, but by the latter revolutions, the daytime hours are mostly awake and nighttime is mostly asleep. Andrew’s data visualization hit the front page on Reddit, and is still the top rated post in /r/informationisbeautiful, with over 51,000 upvotes.

Example 2: The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People

For a more commercial example, project management software company Podio converted a blog post into an interactive visualization of how famous creative types spent their days.

Not only is the graphic beautiful and informative (and the interactivity is top-notch), it’s relevant to Podio’s potential audience. They help people organize time to be more productive, so someone with an interest in how famous creatives managed their time might also be interested in their solution.

Podio’s nifty visualization picked up over 45,000 shares on Facebook.

#2: Take a Stand

A recent survey of over 1,000 consumers sought to discover what makes people form an emotional connection with a brand. The top two reasons people connected with a brand were:

  1. I feel like they care about people like me.
  2. I feel like they are making a positive difference in the world.

If we want to make an emotional connection with our audience—and who doesn’t—it’s important to think beyond the product-pain point interaction. Content that takes a stand on an important issue covers both of the two reasons above, and definitely has viral potential.

Example 1: REI, #OptOutside

In 2015, sporting goods retailer REI created a viral marketing campaign by doing something truly unexpected: Closing its doors on the busiest retail day of the year. The brand announced that its stores would stay closed on Black Friday. Then they introduced the #optoutside campaign to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors the day after Thanksgiving, instead of trampling people to buy a flat-screen TV.

It was a bold decision, not without backlash, and missing the day’s revenue was definitely a sacrifice for the chain. But the campaign went viral, with thousands trading the hashtag and signing up for the #optoutside movement on REI’s microsite.

REI’s stand resonated with their target audience and caught a wave of popular sentiment. The campaign is still going strong two years after the fact.

Example 2: Always, #LikeAGirl  

I’ve written about this campaign before, but it deserves a mention in any discussion of viral branded content. It’s a stellar example of how far a brand can stray from their product offering and still be hyper-relevant to their target audience.

Always sells feminine hygiene products. Therefore, their audience is women. Therefore, anything that’s relevant to women is relevant to the brand.

So Always took a firm stand on the way women are subtly demeaned in society, taking the epithet “you [do something] like a girl” and turning it into empowerment:

Always’ target audience loved the message and shared it, and the video racked up more than 64 million views. And it still makes me cry.

#3: Get Silly

One of my favorite quotes about humor in marketing comes from Tim Washer: “For those of you who think comedy won’t work for your brand, ask yourself: Will it work for your customers?”

By my estimation, 99.9% of people enjoy a good laugh. It only takes a few people to like and share your hilarious content to start it on the way to full-fledged virality. Granted, humor can be tricky—there’s tone, audience, and appropriateness to consider. But when you get it right, you can create something that’s sublimely silly and still gets your message across.

Example 1: Old Spice, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

How do you communicate through a computer monitor the way your body wash smells? Old Spice seems to have considered the problem, and opted to punt. They built a commercial around “the man your man could smell like,” a studly muscle man who travels through a rapid-fire set of wish-fulfillment scenarios, from a shower to a boat to horseback in 30 seconds.

This video was inescapable back in 2010, with over 55 million views on YouTube, and it helped launch an entirely new creative direction for Old Spice.

Example 2: Metro Trains Melbourne, “Dumb Ways to Die”

The traditional form of railway public safety ads is to introduce a smiling couple, or a cheeky kid, then have them brutally killed in a grisly railway accident. They’re not ads meant to be enjoyed; they’re meant to scare the pants off of you.

Metro Trains Melbourne decided to trade the horror for something silly and adorable instead, and “Dumb Ways to Die” was born:

The catchy tune and cartoon mayhem earned over 100 million views on YouTube, the song landed in the Top 10 Downloads chart on iTunes, and a spinoff app got over 10 million downloads. Best of all, the content actually accomplished a purpose beyond virality: Metro Trains Melbourne says the campaign helped reduce train accidents by 30%.

#4: Warm Some Hearts

Think about consumer-produced content that goes viral. Now subtract the cute animal videos and the “hilarious injury” stuff. What’s left is heartwarming human-interest stories. Think Chewbacca Mom, or the kid who loves garbage trucks, or 95% of the stuff on Upworthy.

How can brands bring a little heartwarming human interest to the mix? Here are two of my favorite examples.

Example 1: Volkswagen, “The Fast Lane”

This viral video from Volkswagen works on two levels. First, they did a real-life publicity stunt: They installed a slide on the stairs at a busy commuter train hub and encouraged people to use it. Then they filmed people’s responses and edited together an uplifting video:

There are kids delighted to see the slide, adults a little scared of the slide, and business executives in three-piece suits taking a ride, briefcases on their laps. You can sense how much fun the stunt was for everyone involved, and if the video doesn’t make you smile, your face may be on too tight.

Example 2: American Greetings, “World’s Toughest Job”

What would you say to a job with no salary, no benefits, and 24-hour on-call demands? Would your response even be printable? That’s the question American Greetings asked unsuspecting consumers in this video. The reveal: The thankless, uncompensated job is being a mother. Watch the reactions when people figure it out, and have a hankie nearby:

The message is clear from a brand standpoint. Buy a card and send it to mom. But the human interest elevates it beyond a promotional message—as more than 27 million viewers demonstrated.

Aspire to Virality – But Don’t Ditch the Strategy

I’ll say it one more time: going viral is not a valid content marketing strategy. Viral is not a go-to amplification channel. If someone asks you to create viral content, tell them as much. And if someone promises to make something go viral for you, take that with an entire shaker of salt.

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.

Learn more about creating a stellar content experience with our new quiz.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Contagious Content Marketing: How to Give Your Content Viral Potential | http://www.toprankblog.com

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How 7 Startups Skyrocketed to Success with Content Marketing

[Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming Anne Leuman to TopRankBlog.com. Anne is a Copywriter that joined TopRank Marketing earlier this year and specializes in creating awesome B2B content for some of our amazing Enterprise clients.]

I’d venture to guess that you’re no stranger to content marketing. Content Marketing Institute reports that 89% of all organizations use content in their marketing efforts. But is content your main driver of growth? It might not be, and that’s okay, but we’re here to show you how successful content can be.

Take a look at startups for example. Startups are known for viral growth. To attract or keep investors, they need to grow at staggering rates. So how do they do it? A lot of them rely on content marketing. And with good reason.

There is no denying that content marketing is one of the most cost effective marketing tactics. In fact, Demand Metric reports that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times the leads. Yet, 52% of companies don’t have a formal content strategy.

If you’re looking to double down on your content strategy, see how these seven startups skyrocketed to success with content:

#1 – HubSpot

It’s hard to imagine HubSpot as a startup, but back in 2006 they were a fresh-faced business. And they grew on the back of quality, innovative content. They earn our #1 spot because over 75% of their generated leads come from content.

HubSpot accomplished this by offering free white papers, case studies, eBooks, and webinars, and hiding them behind a form. In order for visitors to get the free content, they had to provide their information and become a lead. In addition, HubSpot added a call to action at the bottom of every blog post. An action that tripled the amount of leads generated by their blog, according to HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe.

#2 – Blue Apron

Blue Apron, an ingredient and recipe delivery service, grew 500% in 2015. And they attributed that success to their content marketing strategies.

Blue Apron wanted to get subscribers excited about recipes before they showed up at their door, creating a more satisfying product experience. To do this, they created educational, fun cooking content including recipe histories, cooking techniques, and kitchen timesavers. With this method, they have engaged over 1.7 million Facebook fans to date.

Beyond engaging a larger audience and creating a better experience, educational content allowed Blue Apron to form more meaningful relationships with their subscribers. They became the go-to source for anything kitchen related, building trust and loyalty among their customers.

 

#3 – Mint

Content put the pressure on Mint’s competitors. When Mint, a personal finance app, started in 2007, blogging wasn’t widely adopted by companies. And if they did adopt it, they weren’t blogging often. Mint created the MintLife blog and steadily produced finance tips, videos, and news roundups. This gave Mint a competitive edge and allowed them to rank on search engines ahead of market leaders—including ranking number one for personal finance.

Oh, and this all happened before the launch of their product. With this strategy, they were able to have 20,000 subscribers before releasing their application. This allowed them to drive substantial traffic to the app on launch day. By 2009, Mint would be purchased by Intuit for $170 million. An achievement partially credited to their content strategy.

#4 – Buffer 

Buffer, one of the most widely used social media tools today, was launched with content. At first, they pitched their app to well-known blogs and media outlets, hoping they would write about the tool and gain a large audience. But the big players turned them down. This forced their founder, Leo Widrich, to try gaining an audience another way.

Leo started guest blogging. He wrote over 150 posts on social media and published them on numerous blogs. By creating guest blogging relationships, Buffer gained the audience of other blogs and grew to 100,000 users in just 10 months. Guest blogging was the strategy that gave them the most initial growth.

 

 

#5 – Design Pickle 

Imagine if your first 1,200 customers were generated solely by content. That was the case for Design Pickle and its founder Russ Perry.

Design Pickle was created to make graphic design a more convenient and available service. They started a subscription service where subscribers could receive unlimited graphic design help for one easy, flat rate.

Perry’s launch strategy centered around employing guest blogging. Russ wrote blog posts on marketing and design and posted them on affiliate blogs. Inside each post, Russ was able to offer promotions and information about his services. With this strategy, Design Pickle was able to capture their first 1,200 customers. They have now served over 100,000 project requests.

 

 

#6 – KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics, a marketing analytics platform, is one of the most popular marketing brands today. But it was a struggle to get it off the ground in 2008. Hiten Shah, co-founder of KISSmetrics, attributes their initial success to content curation and the new (at the time) microblogging platform, Twitter.

Blogging wasn’t popular when KISSmetrics was getting started—they didn’t even have one. So how did they gain an audience? They used curated content from Twitter and hashtags to reach large audiences and gain a following. Hiten says, “Sharing other marketers’ content was the perfect way to spread goodwill, promote great content, and build our own Twitter audience.” Eventually, their website was beaming with Twitter referrals. Since then, KISSmetrics has evolved to become blogging experts, with blogs accounting for over 70% of their leads and 82% of their website traffic.

#7 – Glossier 

Experts in all things beauty, Glossier started out as a beauty blog called Into The Gloss, which still exists today. But it quickly grew into something more. Known for providing great advice from real women—Into The Gloss, started by Emily Weiss—was one of the largest skincare and makeup blogs. With a passion for beauty and a captive audience, Emily decided to use her blog to launch her own beauty line.

In writing her blog, Emily already had all of the market research she needed and began producing skincare and makeup products. She then directly involved Into The Gloss’s audience in her new venture by teasing her new brand, Glossier, and documenting the process. By the time she officially launched, Glossier had 15,000 followers who didn’t even know what it was. Her stellar content and engaged audience (including 500,000 Instagram followers) allowed her blog to turn into a successful retailer.

 

 

Implementing content marketing and doing it well has the power to propel your business to success. The (former) startups above are a testament to that. Check out these 10 infographics to elevate your content marketing even further.


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How 7 Startups Skyrocketed to Success with Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

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3 Important Ways Social Media Can Boost Your SEO

Today, there’s little doubt among marketers that SEO and social media are two must-have components of any effective digital marketing strategy. After all, SEO is arguably the founding-father-tactic of digital marketing, and social media is the place on the web where our audiences gather, share and engage every day.

But over the years, there’s been some confusion on how these two tactics work together to achieve marketing results—and understandably so. Back in 2010, Google told Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan that links shared on Facebook and Twitter were used as a ranking signal. Then in 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts released a video stating Facebook and Twitter pages were “currently” treated like any other web page for search—i.e. social media was no longer a direct ranking factor.

However, regardless of whether social signals are used as a ranking factor—when done right—social media can most definitely enhance your SEO efforts. How? Below I share three reasons why, as well as some tips to make your social content more SEO friendly.

#1 – Your social media efforts can lead to quality backlinks.

While ranking science on backlinks has evolved over the years, the number of quality backlinks a website has is still an important ranking factor for search engines. As a result, link building or link earning is still a widely-used tactic among marketers—and your social media pages can be the perfect staging ground for enticing links.

The logic here is pretty simple. Social media marketing is all about sharing your best of the best content, and fostering engagement around that content. The more engaging your content, the more people will share, and the more opportunities people will have to find and link to your content.

#2 – Social media increases the visibility of your content—which is ultimately the goal of SEO.

Social media pages give your website and blog content another place to live and encourage discussion. And while your pages can be so much more than a promotional platform, one of the greatest social media benefits is the potential reach your content could get.

Of course, I asked my TopRank Marketing comrade Steve Slater, Digital Advertising & SEO Manager, to weigh in here, too. Here’s what he had to say.

“Whether or not social shares and metrics have an impact on ranking without them you are 100% at the mercy of Google organic,” he said. “Without social or paid or any promotional efforts, you are basically hitting publish and hoping for the best. You’re hoping that your content will just ‘go viral and take off.’ So, I think the question is not really, do social signals impact rankings? But rather, is anyone going to see this if I don’t promote it?”

#3 – Social media helps build brand awareness—which can carry over to users’ search queries.

Your social media pages add another digital space for your target audience to find you and engage with you, allowing you to build up your audience and your brand. Of course, when this happens people will more easily recognize you in search and be more inclined to click. In addition, that brand awareness you’ve built on social could mean more branded organic search traffic coming to your site or your other social pages (since those often rank in branded searches, too).

Quick Tips to Intertwine Social & SEO

While social media can add a nice little boost to your SEO efforts, the reverse—of course—is also true. Here are a couple quick tips for marrying social content and SEO.

  • Optimize your posts and profiles. Social media platforms are search engines. So, make sure craft your posts with both users and SEO in mind. In addition, optimize your social profiles with the same logic.
  • Leverage hashtags in the right way. Especially when it comes to Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are how people find the content they’re looking for; hashtags are their search queries. Research hashtag best practices for each platform to understand if and how to use them. In addition, make sure you understand what hashtags actually mean, so you can use them in the appropriate way for each platform. Use the native search box within social platforms, as well as tools such as Hashtagify.me or Hashtags.org.
  • Draft optimized social messages when you’re crafting new content. Any content you’re creating for your website or blog should have an SEO component. As you’re creating this content, create several optimized social posts to go along with it. This will help you create relevant messages that can be found in native searches.
  • Use mentioning and tagging to build more relevance—and signal influencers. Mentioning and tagging other pages and users in your content is one of the best ways to amplify your posts. Not only do those you tag and mention get notified when you do so, but they’ll be more compelled to engage on your post or share your post with their audience. And as mentioned above, the more shares and engagement, the better the reach and the more potential for driving quality traffic and backlinks.

Be the Best Answer for Your Audience

At TopRank Marketing, we practice what our CEO Lee Odden likes to call “The Best Answer Strategy.” For marketers, this means crafting an integrated marketing strategy that helps you be the best answer for your audience—whenever and wherever your audience is searching. And a component of that strategy is certainly leveraging social media marketing and SEO individually, and together.

For more best answer tips, continue to peruse the TopRank Marketing blog, and feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments of any post.


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You Know Influencers: 5 Tips to Unlock Powerful Employee Advocacy

[Editor’s Note: I am pleased to introduce you to Will Peterson, another new contributor on TopRankBlog.com. Will is an Account Manager that services many of our B2B Enterprise clients. Welcome Will!]

Don’t look now, but you’re surrounded by influencers. You may not realize it, and they may not realize it themselves, but you and everyone you work with carry an immense amount of potential influence. Read on to discover how to uncover a powerful hidden force that can add significant value to everything from your company’s social media presence all the way down to its bottom line.


Everyone is influential about something. @leeodden
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Are you in a book club? Do you share recipes with friends? Are you an avid reader and contributor of motorcycle racing forums? Anytime you’re discussing your interests with someone else, be it online or in person, you are exerting your influence on that discussion. The same goes for your employees, team members, and coworkers. Without going too much into the weeds about how to exactly define an influencer, we can safely say that your co-workers, team members, and employees each have their own sphere of influence. A look at some recent research shows that 88% of employees are personally active on at least one social media site. That means your people have people, and they are talking to them, tweeting at them, and sharing with them. So how do you encourage all that potential social influence to work for your team?

Influence the Influencers

Your employees or fellow employees are also consumers, and consumers in this day and age know how to sniff out a salesy marketing pitch. That being said, consumers trust other consumers, and according to multiple studies on trust, we know employees are seen as more credible than executives. Employee advocacy is a powerful marketing tool and encouraging your employees to speak as influencers about your company is a wonderful way to increase brand engagement. Follow these steps to capitalize on that trust and help your employees tap into their influencer power.

#1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. Remind your employees that their positive comments about your company on social media make life better for everyone. With an improved online profile, your company will have an easier time recruiting top talent, earning top clients, and keeping top customers. Once your team realizes that they are only helping themselves, they will be more motivated to share!

One benefit of employees sharing their high opinions of our company has been TopRank Marketing being named one of the Top 100 Places to Work in Minnesota two years running. This has helped tremendously with hiring great people!

#2. All Social is Good Social

Not everyone has social media accounts on every channel. I barely touched my twitter account until I joined the team at TopRank Marketing. Now I regularly post about clients, company mentions in the news, and other marketing-related topics there and on my LinkedIn page as well. I don’t do much on Facebook however, because I’d rather keep it more personal and less professional. Don’t force your employees to use one channel over the other. If they’d rather sing your praises on Google Plus than Pinterest, encourage them to do so!

#3. The Right Tool for the Right Job

My dad always says you can do anything if you have the right tool for the right job. Make your employees lives easier and introduce them to Buffer, Hootsuite, or some other social media management tool. These can be incredible time savers and will increase the likelihood of your influencers getting the word out there more regularly. In just a few minutes each week, they can appear to be full-time social media mavens.

#4. Prevent Writers’ Block Before It Strikes

Some employees may fret that they “just wouldn’t know what to say” about their company. Not to fear, the Weekly Social Messaging Email is here! Send one email per week with some content ideas for your team to share. This could be anything from recent mentions in the news, client updates, relevant news stories for your industry, or even personal victories for your team members. The point is to get them comfortable with the process and help them build their voice on social channels so their spheres of influence hear it more often.

#5. To the Victors Go the Spoils

Track engagement of your company’s social mentions and let the team know who the biggest sharers (aka influencers) have been for the past week. Using a tool like Hootsuite Amplify, LinkedIn Elevate, or Dynamic Signal can create ease of use and make tracking a snap. Make it a challenge they want to win! Offer an extra drink at the company happy hour or a piece of company swag for the top dog each week! This kind of gamification is a great way to encourage participation among employees.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now that you know the benefits of tapping into the marketing influencers around you at work, and some of the ways to encourage them to get active on social media, get out there and make it happen. Your employees will feel good about this easy way to contribute to the success of their company.

What else can you do to influence your influencers?

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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Digital Marketing News: Content Is Still King, Purchases from Email, B2B Tech Influencer Marketing

Here Are 7 Reasons Why Content is Still King in 2017 [Infographic]
The way content marketing draws attention and helps build genuine relationships with the audience is what sets it apart from other marketing tactics. Smart marketers are using content marketing to approach their target audience in a more subtle way to ensure the customer needs are met while building brand credibility and trust. (Social Media Today)

What Influences Consumers to Purchase From Marketing Emails?
A recent survey conducted of 1,004 consumers who have received marketing emails in the past year reports how the different generations are influenced in their purchase decisions. Consumers are most influenced to make purchases from marketing emails by sales/discounts and brand reputation. (MarketingProfs)

The Rise of Influencer Marketing in B2B Technology
B2B marketing has definitely shifted with new challenges when it comes to influencer marketing in enterprise technology. To better understand these shifts and get actionable solutions, 10 industry experts have weighed in about implementing and scaling influencer marketing. (TraackrClick here for the Influence 2.0 study from today’s video!

See How You Stack Up With Inline Competitive Metrics
Six new metrics are available at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels in the main UI and Reports tab in Bing Ads. You can also access these reports via the Bing Ads API. Advertisers can now see how their campaigns, Ad groups and keywords stack up against the competition. (Bing Ads Blog)

Google to Stop Using Information in Gmail to Target Personalized Ads
Google announced that the enterprise version of Gmail and the consumer version will more closely align later this year. Both enterprise and consumer versions of Gmail will not be used to target personalized ads. The ads shown will be based on a user’s settings, including the option to disable personalized ads altogether. (Search Engine Journal)

New Ways to Protect Your Pinterest Account
Pinterest is rolling out a two-factor authentication to everyone in the next few weeks to add security by requiring a verification code every time you log in. You can receive the code via text message, or for added security, download Twilio’s Authy app. If the two-factor authentication is enabled, it works across your entire account on all devices. (Pinterest Blog)

Adobe Is Launching AI-Powered Voice Analytics
Adobe is adding voice analytics to the Adobe Analytics Cloud which will help people better understand how media is consumed via voice-enabled devices. You can track voice usage by intent and add specific parameters and a brand can measure top-of-funnel metrics, as well as trends and patterns at scale over time. (AdWeek)

Messenger Just Added More Fun to Your Video Chats
Facebook Messenger has added new features to video chats. You can now use animated reactions, filters, masks and effects. You can also take pictures of your one-on-one and group video chats and share them with your friends. (Facebook Newsroom)

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news. For more news and expert insights, follow @toprank on Twitter!

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