5 Interesting Insights from Buffer’s The State of Social 2016 Report

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buffer-the-state-of-social-2016

What does the social media landscape look like in 2017? What networks are going to help me drive awareness, conversation and conversions? What types of content will have the most impact on my audience? Is Snapchat a good investment?

As we near the end of 2016, these are likely just a few of the questions being asked by marketers everywhere. While I’d love to say there’s a magical crystal ball with all the answers out there, we all know that nothing is permanent or sure-fire when it comes to social media. But we do have some data and insights that can help.

In it’s The State of Social 2016 report, Buffer surveyed more than 1,200 B2B and B2C marketers to better understand how they’re currently using social media and where they plan to go in 2017. Those who participated work for companies of all sizes and across a variety of industries.

Below we offer a few key takeaways from the report as well as some tips for using those insights to guide your social media marketing efforts in the coming year.

#1 – Now is the time to invest in video.

Humans are highly visual beings, so it’s certainly no surprise that online video content is becoming a favorite source of information and entertainment across the digital landscape. As a result, marketers want to create more video content, but they often don’t have the time, resources or cash to do so. In fact, according to Buffer’s report 83% of marketers said they’d create more video if they didn’t have resource limitations. In addition, 30% said they would like to focus more on Facebook video in 2017.

With that said, now may be to the time to determine if video is right for your brand and audience, and aligns with your overall business goals, particularly when it comes to Facebook.

“Right now, video is hot and is standing out in the Facebook News Feed. But that won’t always be the way,” Buffer said. “As video creeps up in popularity and more and more brands and individuals are sharing it, it’ll be harder to get noticed. Eventually, brands may have to pay for video reach, just as many do already for sponsored posts and ads.”

As for the content of your videos, some options to consider are customer or client testimonials, product demos or how-to videos. At TopRank Marketing, each week we create an industry news roundup post that features a video of our team members discussing the latest happenings. Below is a recent example.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/VkqhTqfxmSM[/youtube]

Check out these resources for more video ideas:

#2 – Facebook is still a leading social platform for marketers.

Despite Facebook’s changes to its News Feed algorithm to favor content from users’ friends and family, and a general decline in organic visibility, marketers are not abandoning the platform. According to Buffer’s report, 93% of marketers still use Facebook for their business and 91% have dabbled with Facebook ads.

Whether you’re relying only on organic reach or paying to play, you need to find a way to get your content to stand out. A great first step is digging into your website analytics and Facebook Insights to uncover the types of posts that are really resonating with your audience. Look at the kinds of posts that are driving the most traffic to your website, as well as those that are garnering the most engagement on your page. Use that information to tweak your content plan, as well as your messaging.

Check out these resources to help boost your Facebook efforts:

#3 – Google+ is losing steam.

According to the report, marketers are beginning to abandon Google+, with 27% saying they’ll be using it less in 2017. For many of us, this may not be that surprising. While it showed a ton of promise when it launched five or so years ago, some of us have found it’s hard to get the engagement and ROI necessary to justify the efforts.

So, if you’re planning on jumping ship and putting your efforts elsewhere in 2017, you certainly won’t be alone. But, don’t let this statistic make the decision for you. Google+ still may be worth your time and effort. Read Buffer’s 5 Surprising Reasons To Reconsider Google+ (That You Can Act On Today) before you pull the plug.

#4 – Social media can be a powerful customer support tool.

Social media is an amazing tool for building brand awareness and encouraging engagement, but most aren’t harnessing the power it has as a customer service and support tool. According to Buffer’s report, just 21% of respondents said customer support was a reason for using social media.

The bottom line? Using social media to provide customer service is a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors, engage in meaningful interactions and grow the one-on-one relationships with your customers.

But, from my perspective, the caveat here is that you’ll have to be prepared for public displays of negative feedback. As I wrote in another recent TopRank Marketing post:

“Every brand and business dreams of complete customer satisfaction, but that’s rarely the case. Things happen and social media is often an easy place for your customers to air their grievances. While it can be scary to allow mistakes to be visible for the whole social media world to see, use any negative feedback as an opportunity to show humility, understanding and your drive to take care of your customers.”

#5 – The struggle to drive website traffic, generate leads and measure ROI on social is real.

Many marketers are struggling to inspire measurable action from their social media audiences. According to the report, 58% of marketers say driving traffic to their website is one of their biggest challenges, followed by lead generation (49%) and defining ROI and measurement (42%).

How do you overcome these challenges? First of all, make sure you have a detailed and documented social media marketing strategy. A documented strategy will help you plan and execute your efforts, and provides a foundation that can be refined as you analyze the data coming in.

Check out these posts to get more insights on social media strategy and inspiring audience action:

Read the full The State of Social 2016 report.

What something you’ll be adding or dropping from your social media marketing strategy in 2017? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post 5 Interesting Insights from Buffer’s The State of Social 2016 Report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

November 15th 2016 Online Marketing, Social Media

50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising Stars

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Having people that we can look to for guidance and inspiration is an incredibly important part of our professional development. In this post, I would like to shine a light on some incredibly talented and inspirational women that are making moves and serving as a shining examples for other digital marketers.

To create this list of inspirational women in digital marketing, we pulled 25 of the top brand marketers from our list last year (our North Stars), and asked each of them to nominate someone (our Rising Stars) that they thought were deserving of having a light shone on their awesome work.

In addition to featuring insights about these savvy digital marketers, we asked each of our North Stars to share their inspiration for their own work, and asked what inspired them about their Rising Star nominations.

The list is in no particular order as each of these women is number 1 in their own right. Please join me in congratulating each of these exceptional women for the work that they do.

Amanda Batista
amanda-batista-north-star

Senior Manager, Demand Gen Programs, Oracle
@AmandaF_Batista

Bio: Amanda’s background as a content marketing consultant has helped her work with a variety of companies to create content marketing strategies that support their value propositions. This experience has also lended itself to her current role at Oracle where she drives and executes Eloqua’s major content programs and initiatives

Amanda’s Inspiration: I feel privileged to work in the marketing technology space during an exciting time of innovation and collaboration. The Oracle Marketing Cloud is a continually evolving organization focused on fueling the best in Modern Marketing practice. The nature of the work environment fosters learning through collaborative planning and execution, and provides great opportunities to interface with and apply the latest innovations in technology. Personally I am motivated and inspired by my daughter, Estelle, to whom I wish to convey the same encouragement and drive that my mother did for me – to chase exciting opportunities that help you facilitate living the life you love.

Amanda Maksymiw
amanda-maksymiw-rising-star

Content Marketing Director, Fuze
@amandamarks

Why Amanda is a Rising Star: Amanda has done incredibly creative and successful work over the many years we’ve known each other. In each role she’d held, and in her current role, she focuses on creating audience-first content and messaging that fuels a successful marketing engine. Amanda is smart, tenacious, and aims to expand her marketing horizons with professional and personal growth opportunities. I admire her work and her professional spirit!

Laura Fitton
laura-fitton-north-star

Inbound Marketing Evangelist, HubSpot
@Pistachio

Bio: Laura is not only well accomplished, but she has a warm and engaging presence. She founded the first Twitter for Business consultancy in 2008 and is highly sought after for speaking on the topic of social media and Twitter specifically.

Laura’s Inspiration: Since a huge portion of my time is spent working on our annual industry event INBOUND, I have to say the looks on the faces of guests as they move around the BCEC for four days every year. Watching nearly 18,000 people come together and have their minds blown wide open is incredibly powerful and motivating.

Juliana Nicholson
juliana-nicholson-rising-star

Marketing Manager, HubSpot
@jb_nicholson

Why Juliana is a Rising Star: HubSpot’s blessed with an abundance of up and coming marketing talent, but Juliana has really blown me away this year in three ways. Her raw diligence (she’s one of the hardest working marketers I know), her versatility, and her powerhouse stage presence mean she’s already punching above her weight class, and I can’t wait to follow her career as it continues.

Suzanne Doughty
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Social Media Program Manager, Dell
@suzanne_doughty

Bio: Suzanne  takes an in-depth, hands-on approach to global social business strategy. She has experience in digital marketing, social media, content strategy and marketing communications.

Suzanne’s Inspiration: Think of any time you’ve been your best self at work – it’s always to meet a new challenge or solve an interesting problem. A huge challenge this year in our company was integrating Dell and EMC into a cohesive whole, without missing a beat, and without losing our main focus, which is people – customers, partners, team members. So it’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone, in both big ways and small, and working towards a common goal, with both new and familiar people.

Amy Heiss
amy-heiss-rising-star

Director of Social Media Activation , Dell
@AmyHatDell

Why Amy is a Rising Star: Amy leads a team that is the social heartbeat of Dell. Her award-winning Social Media and Communities University team trains thousands of team members on social media best practices. That’s huge but it’s only step 1. Her team then empowers employees to be savvy advocates with tools, news and info, and continuing ed to keep the social engine running smoothly. Bottom line: If you see a Dell team member adding value in the world of social, you can trace those roots back to Amy and her team.

Jeannine Rossignol
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Vice President, Marketing for Xerox HR Services, Xerox Services
@j9rossignol

Bio: Jeannine has spent nearly 20 years of her career at Xerox. She worked her way up from Manager, Product Marketing to the Vice President of Marketing for Large Enterprise Organizations. She is also a highly sought after speaker on the topic of content marketing.

Jeannine’s Inspiration: To say that I love my work as a marketer is an understatement.  The transition we’ve been making as marketers over the past few years has been exciting to be a part of, especially in the B2B space. We’ve stopped talking to corporations, and started talking to people (decision makers) about the things they value most. And it’s amazing! I’m also lucky to have amazing co-workers, partners and peers surrounding me that I’m able to draw inspiration from and learn from. We aren’t in the marketing world alone and for that I’m grateful.

Becky Dziedzic
becky-dziedic-rising-tar

Internal and Executive Communications Director, Xerox
@bdziedzic

Why Becky is a Rising Star: Becky simply lights up any room she enters. Her energy, humor and marketing fearlessness is so refreshing. It’s nearly impossible to leave a meeting with Becky without a smile on your face and a handful of fresh new ideas. She’s an incredibly talented communicator, gifted writer and authentic storyteller. Her mind is always firing on all cylinders and she finds creative and innovative ways to implement campaigns using the latest marketing trends. She helps others look good and sound good. The time has come for her to get a little of the marketing limelight and receive recognition for her amazing dedication and support to all around her.

Alex Hisaka
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Head of Content Marketing, LinkedIn
@alexhisaka

Bio: Alex’s passion for copywriting has offered here many experiences from PayPal to Salesforce, and now her current position at LinkedIn. Throughout her career, Alex has developed a unique skill set that encompasses content marketing, copywriting, design, SEO and social marketing.

Alex’s Inspiration: I’m grateful to work a company with so many brilliant, collaborative, and kind people. Their support and leadership have shaped the person that I am today and the person I aspire to be tomorrow.”

Vidya Subramanian
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Head of North American Demand Generation, Sales Solutions, LinkedIn
Find Vidya on LinkedIn

Why Vidya is a Rising Star: I can’t imagine where our demand generation team would be without Vidya’s diligent leadership over the past years. Her passion, drive and expertise have been invaluable, and I’m honored to work alongside such an amazing woman.

Melanie Mitchell
melanie-mitchell-north-star

RVP/Head of Central Region, Strategic Search, Microsoft
@MelanieMitchell

Bio: Melanie is a sought-after public speaker who has presented at search and public relations conferences around the world. In addition to her leadership role at Microsoft, she authored a popular series of eBooks on marketing and SEO on FT Press.

Melanie’s Inspiration:  My motivation and inspiration is a formula made up of three things:

  •       People (brainstorming, creativity, diversity, learning, developing)
  •       Mastery (continuous growth, stretch goals), and
  •       Purpose (serving a greater vision)

I have followed this formula in every role of my career as it continuously motivates me to achieve even greater goals for myself as well as my teams.

Emily Hutchinson
emly-hutchinson-rising-star

Sr. Manager, Paid Media, DeVry University
Find Emily on LinkedIn

What Emily is a Rising Star: I am impressed by Emily’s ability to always find the “yes” in the “no”, her drive to constantly learn in our ever changing industry, her ability to build relationships/connect with people and her unstoppable motivation to drive towards outcomes. I know when she is given a target, she will crush it. Additionally, her passion for digital is infectious as she knows how to tell a great story that connects all of the dots along the cross-platform path to purchase. Not only is she impressive in her results, but she is a pleasure to be around!

Alison Herzog
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Marketing Director, Global Social Business & Digital Strategy, Dell
@alisonjherzog

Bio: Alison’s focus at Dell is on creating customer experiences that are mapped to business impact, scalability and innovation. Currently, she is leading the social business integration between Dell and EMC (the largest tech deal in history).

Alison’s Inspiration: People are amazing. They are simple and complex creatures all at the same time. In digital, I get to leverage my focus and strengths around people and numbers so that at the end of the day, our customers get what they need and feel valued, and simultaneously the business grows in key performance areas. It never gets boring because it’s constantly evolving, just like people and technology.

Lucy Moran
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Vice President, Content & Demand Generation, Dun & Bradstreet
@lucymoran

Why Lucy is a Rising Star: Lucy deep dives into whatever problem is presented and always comes out on the other side, having transformed that space into an strength. She is phenom in digital when it comes to branding, lead gen, and content marketing.

Amber Naslund
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Senior Vice President of Client Strategy, Sysomos
@AmberCadabra

Bio: Amber’s 15+ years of professional expertise makes her a force to be reckoned with. She has successfully run multimillion-dollar fundraising campaigns, built and led executive communication and professional services teams, and launched and grown international brands.

Amber’s Inspiration: The “lightbulb moments” when companies move from grappling with digital transformation to embracing it, and you start to see huge strides made in everything from company culture to innovation and ideation to more traditional marketing once digital takes a prominent seat at the table. Teaching and inspiring people to push beyond their comfort zone and realize success from it never, ever gets old.

Kary Delaria
kary-delaria-rising-star

Social Media Manager, Allianz Life
@KaryD

Why Kary is a Rising Star: Kary isn’t so much a “rising star”, she’s more what I’d call an unsung industry veteran who never seems to be in the spotlight but is always doing really great work for her company in a traditionally challenging industry (healthcare).

Amanda Brinkman
amanda-brinkman-north-star

Chief Brand & Communications Officer, Deluxe
@AKBrinkman

Bio: Amanda is a veteran in the industry with a gift for the “big idea” that can turn a brand around. In 2015, Amanda and her team launched the “Small Business Revolution” campaign for Deluxe, using documentary film and photosets to document small businesses across the country and raise awareness of Deluxe’s small business offerings.

Amanda’s Inspiration: I am so inspired by my team and how important passion is to your work. What started as just an idea became a reality only because of the league of people who rallied around me and made it possible with their own touches of expertise. I am also moved that we, as marketers, can do work that truly matters and can help real people. I believe all brands are possible of finding a true purpose and using digital platforms to organically spread good through positive and inspiring movements.

Jamie Millard
jamie-millard-rising-star

Executive Director, Pollen
@jjmillard

Why Jamie is a Rising Star: Jamie is a force…Pollen was founded in a belief that every connection begins with a story, and the platform centers around featuring the remarkable stories that make up a community through media-rich, nonfiction narrative.

Laura Howe (Kimball)
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Manager, Reduced Risk Products Communities Development, Philip Morris International
@lamiki

Bio: Laura is passionate about online communities and has over 10 years of experience creating consumer advocacy programs and social media campaigns. She works hard to turn fans into advocates, and lift brands through the voices and actions of their most passionate consumers.

Laura’s Inspiration: I have the rare opportunity to be the direct connection between the consumer and the brand/company I work for. I get to have real-time conversations and discover their deeply personal relationship that they have with the product. Understanding what motivates them inspires me to create programs that benefit both the community and the brand.

Madeline Moy
madeline-moy-rising-star

Senior Community Manager, Starbucks
@madelinemoy

Why Madeline is a Rising Star: Madeline is one of the smartest digital brand marketers I know. Her work is dedicated to creatively engaging audiences through digital and is grounded in creating human connection and community. Prior to her work at Starbucks, she built and ran digital marketing programs for the Microsoft stores, Seattle Art Museum, and built the social media program at United Way of King County. She lives and breathes digital and is someone who everyone should know.  

Lisa Grimm
lisa-grimm-north-star

Associate Director, Social Media, Whole Foods Market
@lulugrimm

Bio: Lisa is an integrated marketing communications leader with a passion for building relationships between brands and customers through the combination of technology and communications. She has many specialities including digital strategy, social media strategy and community management.

Lisa’s Inspiration: I started my career in the service industry and have always thrived on creating an optimal customer experience. I love social because there’s a fluid feedback loop—it presents new and emerging ways to connect with people to deliver a superior experience. I can see where and how I should communicate upfront by listening to a group of people, and how that needs to evolve along the way based on emotional responses. This provides endless inspiration for what’s next.

Kaitlyn Cox
kaitlyn-cox-rising-star

Manager, it bed Activation, Sleep Number by Select Comfort
@kaitcox

Why Kaitlyn is a Rising Star:  I met Kaitlyn through an informational interview six years ago while I was at Mall of America. I was so impressed by her curiosity and smarts that I suggested to a colleague that she consider her for a PR internship. She did in fact become our intern, absolutely KILLED IT and has since gone on to crush everything she does. Kaitlyn looks at things holistically and is highly collaborative. She begins solving any marketing challenge by asking the right questions, culling insights and aligning those to a strategy and creative solve. She is lovely and I’m so grateful to know this incredible woman.

Lauren Vargas
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Chief Marketing Technologist, Aetna
@vargasl

Bio: Lauren was recently named one of the top 25 social business leaders by The Economist Intelligence Unit. In addition to leading social media and community development for Aetna, she serves as an assistant teacher at Harvard, helping foster online student communities.

Lauren’s Inspiration: I am never satisfied. While this can definitely be a weakness, I prefer to think it a strength. If I do not know something, I stop at nothing to research or surround myself with people who have answers or insights to share. Looking for new ways to communicate old ideas for fresh execution drives me to get up each morning and begin again.

Shelley Bernstein
shelley-bernstein-rising-stars

Chief Experience Officer, The Barnes Foundation
@shell7

Why Shelley is a Rising Star: I have followed Shelley as she forged a path for digital marketing exploration for cultural institutions beginning at The Brooklyn Museum. Shelley does not wait for others to lead. She pushes the boundaries of what is technically and cultural possible without breaking the spirit of either.

Shannon Paul
shannon-paul-north-star

Vice President, Social Media, Fifth Third Bank
@ShannonPaul

Bio: Shannon has over 7 years of experience leading social media marketing strategies for highly regulated industries. Her experience encompasses both B2B and B2C strategy, content marketing, web analytics and more.

Shannon’s Inspiration: I have a great team that helps me stay motivated and inspired. I think the banking industry is a really exciting place to be as well in terms of the pace of change that technology is having on the industry and the ability to have a positive impact on how people think about and manage their money. I also really love to learn new things, and since social is a place that continues to evolve, there is always an opportunity to grow and adapt to change.

Julie Niesen Gosdin
julie-niesen-godsin-rising-star

Vertical Content Marketing Leader, Zebra Technologies
@juliegosdin

Why Julie is a Rising Star: I met Julie shortly after relocating to Cincinnati where she and I both live. She’s a true expert in digital marketing and storytelling on several fronts. She knows her stuff from a technology trend perspective, and she continues to contribute to the local food scene through her writing on local news site WCPO and winemedinemecincinnati.com.

Kate (Dickman) Porter
kate-porter-north-star

Senior Social Media Program Manager, Office Depot
@KateMPorter

Bio: Kate saw the Internet’s potential for marketing early on, creating her first digital marketing business from her dorm room in college. She is a firm believer in the power of social media to connect consumers to brands.

Kate’s Inspiration: What inspires me and motivates me is the fact that the work that I do is always evolving and never gets stale.  The ability to continuously learn is existent and there’s never a shortage of fantastically smart people to partner with and learn from.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of an industry that is always keeping me on my toes.

Kara Hendrick
kara-hendrick-rising-star

Digital Marketing Manager, Velcro Companies
@KaraTweets

Why Kara is a Rising Star: Kara is super smart, witty and creative.  I’ve really enjoyed hearing her thoughts and ideas on digital marketing and think she’s a force to be reckoned with.  She’s absolutely a rising star in digital and I’m excited to see all of the future initiatives and successes she’ll be a part of.

Corinne Kovalsky
corinne-kovalsky-north-star

Vice President, Global Public Relations, Raytheon
@kovalskyc

Bio: Corinne won a 2015 Bronze Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America for her work with Raytheon. She is a trusted advisor to Raytheon’s senior executives, and works to build relationships with stakeholders through proactive media and public relations, and content marketing.

Corinne’s Inspiration: I have the opportunity to lead a great team and mentor a number of young professionals who will help redefine communications during their careers. I work with really smart people and get to hone my craft on a daily basis. I have the opportunity to learn from executives who believe in the value of communications as a business differentiator, whether they are inside or outside of the function.

Stephanie Schierholz
stephanie-s-rising-star

Press Secretary, NASA
@schierholz

Why Stephanie’s a Rising Star: At the moment, Stephanie is on a special assignment serving as press secretary to the NASA Administrator. Stephanie is an authentic and passionate advocate for space on all of her social channels. She has built a tremendous network, that she continues to nurture, from her earlier role as social media manager for NASA. I got to know Stephanie when she worked for me at Raytheon. Her creativity and steadfast commitment led to a number of firsts for our brand, particularly on Twitter.

LaSandra Brill
lasandra-brill-north-star

Head of Digital Planning and Analytics, NVIDIA
@LaSandraBrill

Bio: LaSandra’s experience includes delivering digital marketing plans for both paid and organic tactics. She is known for delivering one of the top social media strategies in Cisco’s history in her time as the head of Social Media Marketing.

LaSandra’s Inspiration: As far as what motivates me, I love digital marketing because of all of the new capabilities that the data driven world enables. We can personalize our conversations to be more relevant and timely than ever before. The possibilities seem endless and the ability to perfect the right message to the right person at the right time is exciting to strive for in every campaign.  

Anthea S. Louie
anthea-louie-rising-star

Sr. Director, Digital Business & Marketing Leader, Symantec
Find Anthea on LinkedIn

Why Anthea is a Rising Star: Anthea runs the Digital Business for the Website Security business unit at Symantec. This is largely an online business and Anthea manages a team of nearly 100 people analyzing data and making data driven decisions in digital to drive the business forward.

Barbara Young
barbara-young-north-star

Senior Manager, Global Paid Search Advertising, Oracle
@b_young

Bio: Barbara discovered the importance of online marketing when she built her own business, expanding her knowledge until she assumed a leadership role at Oracle. She brings considerable technological knowhow to inbound marketing, leading a team of content specialists, developers, and programmers to get results.

Barbara’s Inspiration: As a Digital marketer I have a genuine curiosity to learn about the behavior of customers. I am driven to use both technology and creativity to help connect & engage customers to achieve their goals.

Katie Russ
katie-russ-rising-star

Digital Marketing Manager, Pacifica Host Hotels
@katiemruss

Why Katie is a Rising Star: Katie is a young Marketing professional, organized, detailed, and her personality makes working with her so much fun. Her desire to contribute in ways that make things happen is what makes her successful.

Courtney Colwell
courtney-colwell-north-star

Director of Content Marketing , American Express
@courtneycolwell

Bio: Courtney works hard to help brands build and engage with their audiences across many formats, channels and industries. Her expertise lies in her ability to translate a brand mission, audience needs and business goals into compelling content that drives results.

Courtney’s Inspiration: What I love about content marketing is that I get to exercise both sides of my brain. I get to be creative and tell stories but also dig into analytics to determine what’s working and what’s not. Plus, there’s so much change and innovation, I’m constantly inspired.

Lindsay Mueller
lindsay-mueller-rising-star

Senior Wellness Editor, Mind Body Green
@wellaware_

Why Lindsay is a Rising Star: Lindsay is a talented editor and content marketer who really takes a customer-first approach in thinking about creating content people actually want.

Jennifer Heyman
jennifer-heyman-north-star

Vice President, Digital & Social Media, Wells Fargo
@jheyman

Bio: A seasoned Gen X’er, Jennifer Heyman is in her fourth year as VP of Wells Fargo leading the social media conversation across seven platforms. She leads a global team and marvels constantly at how fans and consumers are changing the landscape of personalized and real –time communication with today’s brands.

Jennifer’s Inspiration: I  thrive on the vibrancy of connection and how unique perspectives communicated through omni channel, real time marketing, are shaping the brand approach to serving their customers. I draw inspiration from the very local interactions with customers and consumers and spend most of my time delving into social media conversations to learn about fans personal passions and pain points. These insights help me to innovative in my work and to guide my team to deliver personalized and heartfelt social media conversation.

Aneta Hall
aneta-hall-rising-star

VP, Innovation Strategist, Wells Fargo
@anetah

Why Aneta is a Rising Star: A year ago, Aneta began a new career path with Wells Fargo leading marketing and strategy work with a specific focus on innovation within financial services. Her secret sauce is her passion for the story and creating a compelling and unique way to deliver it to Wells Fargo customers and the general public. Aneta’s approach is honest, inquisitive and fresh – three things key to success for any leader in brand marketing.

Marcia Hansen
marica-hansen-north-star

Global Digital Marketing Strategist, Intel
@marciahansen

Bio: Marcia is a self-described “avid reader, walker, and lifelong learner.” In her six years with Intel, she has helped create award-winning campaigns, including 2014’s Make It Wearable Challenge, for which she won an Intel Achievement Award.

Marcia’s Inspiration: I am inspired by leaders who actively promote teamwork and diverse perspectives. I am motivated every day to communicate better, faster or more efficiently than the day before.

Laura-Ann Mitchell
lara-mitchell-rising-star

Digital Marketing Manager, Intel
Find Laura on LinkedIn

Why Laura is a Rising Star: Laura is a smart and kind woman leading the charge managing our intel.com strategy and presence. She also has mad SEO expertise.

Jill Renslow
jill-renslow-north-star

SVP Business Development | Marketing, Mall of America
@jrenslow

Bio: Jill is a strong leader who brings vision and innovation to her role at Mall of America. Her initiatives to make the mall more than a shopping destination include a recent campaign that created an indoor snowfall in the mall when patrons tweeted the hashtag #twizzard.

Jill’s Inspiration: I have an extremely talented team and have the benefit of working with a brand that houses endless content (i.e. retail, dining, trends, gifts, events, entertainment, etc.).  We work collaboratively to create memorable experiences for our guests and use innovative tools and strategies to remain relevant and meaningful. We stay tuned into the retail and entertainment industry trends and find inspiration from other industries and influences.  We enjoy the opportunity to engage with new challenges and gather consumer feedback so that we can continually learn, refine, test and re-launch our ideas!

Emily Shannon
emily-shannon-rising-star

Director of Digital, Mall of America
@PrettyandPoor

Why Emily is a Rising Star: Emily leads our digital and social efforts at MOA.  I hired her just over three years ago and have been thrilled with her enthusiasm and drive to explore new opportunities.  She continues to grow as a female business leader in our organization as well as the industry, and I thoroughly enjoy her innovative thinking and supportive efforts to build new creative partnerships and activations aligned with our digital roadmap.  

Karen Thomas-Smith
karen-thomas-smith-north-star

Chief Marketing Officer, Ciox Health
@KThomasSmith

Bio: Karen is an inspirational leader committed to nurturing talent and building long-term collaborative relationships across silos. Under her supervision, Optum’s “Game Changer” campaign generated nearly $5 million in new business, winning a 2015 Killer Content Award.

Karen’s Inspiration: We all know that healthcare needs to be moved forward. The work that we do on a daily basis has the potential to aide in creating a healthier healthcare system, which ultimately will lead to a healthier nation. Being a part of that change inspires me daily.

Leslie Cozatt
leslie-cozatt-rising-star

Director of Marketing, Provider – Thought Leadership & Content Strategy, Optum
@LeslieCozatt

Why Leslie is a Rising Star: Leslie has been consistent in providing outstanding thought leadership in the population health space, which can really impact healthcare.

Jen Erickson
jen-erickson-north-star

Director of Digital Marketing, DocuSign
Find Jen on LinkedIn

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

Jen’s Inspiration: I’m inspired by the amazing leaders I’ve had the luck to work with  throughout my career- a great mentor / leader makes coming to work every day enjoyable when you have the freedom to be creative. On that same note- I am also very excited about the insane [and slightly overwhelming] growth of marketing technology and adtech. We now have endless ways of reaching people creatively in their digital / mobile lives!

Caitlin Angeloff
caitlin-rising-stars

Director of Marketing, Northern Europe, DocuSign
@caitlinangeloff

Why Caitlin is a Rising Star: Caitlin isn’t a rising star, she’s already a star. She is truly a social
media guru. She’s previously owned her own social media agency and is now running the show at DocuSign. Now that we’re all mobile-addicted, she’s at the center of everything brand marketing is focused on.

Debbie Barney
debbie-braney-north-star

VP, Integrated Marketing, Hitachi Data Systems
@debbiehds

Bio: Debbie is a dedicated marketing leader focused on building and motivating high-performance marketing teams. She currently oversees every aspect of the Hitachi Data Systems demand generation chain.

Debbie’s Inspiration: I get energized by making others successful. In the world of B2B marketing, that means connecting our customers with new ways to solve problems, add greater value and contribute to their organizations. I believe it’s my job to help inform, educate and enable them in that process — and I love both the creative and analytical components of doing that.

Kerri Vogel
kerri-vogel-rising-stars

Director, Marketing Programs & Operations, Americas, Hitachi Data Systems
@kerrileevogel

Why Kerri is a Rising Star: Kerri is a passionate and incredibly talented marketer who considers every detail of the customer creation process and pushes me and my team to get better every day. Her knowledge and commitment has been transformational to the Americas Marketing function at Hitachi Data Systems, resulting in a 437% Y/Y increase in MQLs in our most recent quarter.

Lauren Salazar
lauren-salazar-north-star

Director of Social Media, Weight Watchers
@sassandglitter

Bio: Lauren uses the same personal touch with the community management at Weight Watchers that she does with her own Twitter account. She does a great job of creating a true engagement by finding a way to really connect and relate to her audience.

Lauren’s Inspiration: I am constantly challenged in a good way by the power of Social Media as a medium. Reaching people in the places where they have some of their most intimate moments – where you see a baby photo for the first time, announce an engagement, reconnect with an old friend – and staying relevant, engaging and on message in those moments is a bar social marketers are constantly setting ourselves up to achieve.  At our best, this is as authentic, emotionally resonant and agile a marketing channel as it gets, and that is inspiring to work on in a daily capacity.

Amy Schuster
amy-shuester-rising-star

Consumer Marketing Director, truTV, Turner
@grandtheftamy

Why Amy is a Rising Star: Amy, a vet of Comedy Central and Oxygen who is now doing amazing things over at TruTv, is the total package of brand strategy and multi-platform marketing for this generation. She’s developing breakthrough campaigns across on-air, digital, and experiential for hilarious new shows like Those Who Can’t, Impractical Jokers, and Billy on the Street, and I especially love the recent work she’s doing with social video and at festivals like developing a massive  block party at Comic Con 2016.

Keep Shining Bright!

A special thank you to our North Stars for not only sharing their inspiration, but helping share their nominations for some of today’s top Rising Stars in digital marketing. You are all an inspiration for women and men around the world looking to have an impact with their digital marketing efforts.

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


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising Stars | http://www.toprankblog.com

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November 14th 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Unwrapping Shoppers, Growing Ad Revenue & Millennial Loyalty

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holiday-shoppers-2016-infographic

holiday-shoppers-2016-infographic

Unwrapping the 2016 Holiday Shopper [Infographic]
The holiday season is undeniably important for eCommerce brands — especially this year with a 17% YOY revenue increase. But how do holiday shoppers go about their research and purchasing? This infographic shows how users are browsing and shopping for their holiday purchases. Signal

Digital Ad Revenues Grow 19% Year-Over-Year in First Half of 2016, Hitting Landmark High of $32.7 Billion
IAB reports: “digital advertising revenues in the United States for the first half of 2016 have reached an all-time high, scaling to $32.7 billion [...] This represents a 19 percent increase over last year’s then record-setting half-year revenues of $27.5 billion.” This and many more insights can be found in their full report. IAB

Facebook Releases New Report on Brand Loyalty and Millennials
A recent Facebook survey of over 14k adults showed that 77% of people are considered brand loyal. 37% of those brand loyal Millennials make repeat purchases and consider themselves brand loyal, while 40% make repeat purchases but don’t necessarily consider themselves brand loyal. Social Media Today

Creative Sparks That Hit the Content Mark: 9 Lessons From 75 Brands
Sometimes, to learn the best kept secrets of expert content marketers, we must study their work. This new eBook from Content Marketing Institute studied content from 75 brands to help identify the path to content marketing success. The kinds of media studied varied from blogs and magazines to social media platforms and multichannel experiences. Content Marketing Institute

Google Webmaster Blog: Mobile-first Indexing
Since so many Google users are using mobile to search, yet Google is still using the desktop version of a site or page’s content to determine search relevance, the folks at Google have begun experimenting with mobile-first indexing to help make mobile results more relevant for searchers. Google Webmaster Blog

facebook-users-net-worth-revenue

The Most Shared Brand Blog Posts: Length, Language, and Title Trends
MarketingProfs reports: “Relatively long and fairly complex—though not overly difficult—blog posts by brands garner the most social shares, according to recent research from TrackMaven [...] Blog posts that are fairly long, between 1,200 and 1,400 words, receive the most social shares (428) per post, on average, the analysis found.” MarketingProfs

Facebook Shares Snapchat Attack Plan, Including a New Camera
Facebook is planning to build cameras right into their existing apps, according to a recent statement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. For example, in messenger, the camera would be more readily available, and include additional filters for users to overlay on their images. Ad Age

Google Says it is Now OK to Put Content Behind Tabs
Google has determined that it will now give content that’s hidden behind tabs — in an effort to improve user experience — full weight in terms of organic search. This means that crawlers are no longer ignoring ‘hidden’ content as they had previously. Search Engine Journal

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more marketing news stories. Have something to share? Leave a note in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: Unwrapping Shoppers, Growing Ad Revenue & Millennial Loyalty appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

November 11th 2016 Online Marketing

7 Steps to Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy

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tips-documenting-content-strategy

There is one thing that nearly 2/3rds of top-performing content marketers do, but only 13% of the least successful do. It’s a clear driver of content marketing excellence. Yet only 37% of all B2B content marketers are doing it.

That one thing is to developing a documented content marketing strategy. It’s that simple. Lay out your strategy, write it down, and you’ve drastically increased your odds of running a successful content marketing enterprise.

Documenting your strategy prevents random acts of content. It helps get buy-in from your whole team. Most importantly, it starts your content initiative with measurable goals and a plan to achieve them. It just makes every aspect of creating content and distributing it easier and more effective.

If your team wants to join the top tier of content marketers, it’s time to get that strategy written down. Here’s how to get started.

#1: Start with the Why

Why is content marketing a good fit for your company? Is there an audience hungry for the content you plan on producing? You can answer these questions with customer research—find the unmet needs that your content will meet.

#2: Establish Overall Goals

Once you make the case for your content to exist, get specific on what purpose your content is going to serve. Granted, your content program should serve multiple purposes, everything from attracting attention to securing loyalty. But in the end, it will serve specific business goals: Leads captured, cost per lead, and marketing-assisted sales. Express these goals in quantifiable terms and specify the metrics to measure them.

Don’t worry if these goals shift during the course of your implementation. It’s better to start with a few goals and get moving than to try and painstakingly predict the future. Your strategy can change as it’s implemented, based on response. In fact, it should be evolving constantly for better results.

#3: Document Your Audience

Who are the people in your neighborhood your content must reach? What motivates them? What role do they have in decision-making? Where do they get their content from? What channels are they already active in? All of these questions will help drive your strategy for content creation and amplification. Develop buyer personas based on solid research.

#4: Plan Content for Each Stage of the Buyer Journey

Call it a funnel, call it a spiral, call it late for dinner—there are generally three stages in the buyer journey. At TopRank Marketing, we call them “Attract, Engage, and Convert.” Most organizations without a strategy tend to invest heavily in Convert-level content. But great Attract-level content with clear next steps can be hugely effective. It’s important to have a healthy mix of all three stages.

#5: Draft Specific Goals for Content at Each Stage

These goals are the stepping stones to the big-picture business goals I discussed earlier. As with the big-picture goals, they should be expressed in quantifiable terms and paired with metrics for measurement. Here are a few quick examples of goals and metrics for each stage:

Attract:

  • Goal: Brand Awareness
    • Metrics: Views, Social Shares, Time on Page
  • Goal: Search Visibility
    • Metric: keyword rankings, content rankings

Engage:

  • Goal: Audience Engagement
    • Metrics: Comments, Shares, Clicks-Through
  • Goal: Building a Following
    • Metrics: Subscribers, Followers on Social Media, Gated Downloads

Convert:

  • Goal: MQL Capture
    • Metrics: Gated Downloads, Contact Forms Filled, Leads Converted to SQL
  • Goal: Sales Assist
    • Metrics: Sales Conversion Rate, Sales Cycle Length, Contract Size

#6: Plan Channels for Amplification 

Don’t wait until content is created to figure out amplification. Let your buyer research inform your organic and paid efforts. If you plan on using influencer marketing, this is the time to bake it into the process.

#7: Create an Editorial Calendar 

The editorial calendar pulls everything together into one actionable plan: Your big-picture planning, audience research, content mapping, and goals. It’s the central document your team will use for what content to create, when to create it, and how it will be amplified. The good folks at Curata put together a list of editorial calendar templates – experiment with a few and see which one best suits your needs.

These seven steps are a general guide to help get your content marketing strategy documented and running. It doesn’t have to be perfect—and your first draft likely won’t be. It will, however, be a jumping-off point you can return to and continually improve.

Simply by having a documented content strategy, you’re joining the elite top third of marketers. Stick to that strategy, continue to refine it, and you can rise even higher.

Check out this webinar (and accompanying blog post) to learn more about content marketing strategy.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
7 Steps to Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 7 Steps to Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

November 9th 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Shareable Infographics, Instagram Buyable Tags & YouTube End Screens

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shareable-marketing-infographics

shareable-marketing-infographics

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Shareable Infographics Using PowerPoint or Keynote
Infographics work to capture the attention of your audience and convey information in a digestible way. It can be tough to find the resources to creat them. But, what if creating infographics yourself was suddenly easier? This infographic will show you how. HubSpot

Instagram Is Letting Brands Test Taggable, Buyable Products in Photos
Instagram is letting select brands — like Kate Spade — test organic posts with taggable, buyable products in their photos. Brands can tag products for sale within their organic posts that will link interested viewers directly to their website to purchase. This, according to Instagram, is a play to make the user’s purchase experience frictionless. AdWeek

Keep ‘Em Watching with End Screens
YouTube launched ‘End Screens’ — a mobile friendly tool that lets video producers engage with their audience in a more targeted way at the end of their videos. The tool allows for hard-to-miss thumbnails to pop up after a video that prompt viewers to engage with other video content from that channel, subscribe to the channel and more. YouTube Creator Blog

Snaplytics launches Snapchat analytics
Marketing Land reports: “A Danish startup is now offering a new analytics service for Snapchat’s disappearing videos and photos that it says is ‘the only software-as-a-service analytics [exclusively] for Snapchat.’” The dashboard lets users see metrics like open rates, views, screen shots taken, and more. Marketing Land

the-top-2-desktop-google-text-ads

Google Ran Secret Video Ad Experiments and Here’s What It Found
Advertising Age reports: “The average completion rate for the average video ad on mobile devices is 22%, according to Google. On desktop, it’s 28%. The best-performing video in the test, one in which fast pacing was the dominant factor, achieved a 33% “view-through” rate on mobile., Google said.” Advertising Age

Manufacturing Marketers See Content Marketing Breakthrough [Research]
Last year, fewer than 20% of manufacturing marketers said their company was effective at content marketing or had a well-documented content marketing strategy. This year, 95% of manufacturing marketers report improvement in their content marketing, with 82% attributing that success to better content creation. Content Marketing Institute

The Top 20 Content Marketing Influencers of 2016
Ever wonder whom to look to for content marketing advice? This handy list provides 20 names of folks in the content marketing realm that are worth your attention. The list toutes big names like Joe Pulizzi, Ann Handley, Jeff Bullas and our very own Lee Odden. MarketingProfs

IAB: Search Ads Generate $16.3 Billion In First-Half 2016
Forrester research shows: “Mobile revenue rose 89% from the $8.2 billion reported during the first half of 2015 to $15.5 billion during the first half in 2016 of which mobile search contributed $7.4 billion.” Desktop and Mobile search ad revenue combined comprised 50% of the total. MediaPost

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Need a fix now? Follow @toprank for the latest industry news and insights.

The post Online Marketing News: Shareable Infographics, Instagram Buyable Tags & YouTube End Screens appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

November 4th 2016 Online Marketing

“Make Good Choices!” And Other Reasons Why We Celebrate Ann Handley

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ann-handley-birthday

Ever so often, you come across someone that inspires and motivates you to be better, to reach for more. Sometimes this will be someone that you know, but often, it’s someone that you admire from afar. For me (and many other marketers), that person is MarketingProfs’ Chief Content Officer, Ann Handley.

In addition to being an incredibly talented and brilliant B2B marketer, Ann is a wonderful person. Her wit, charm and friendly demeanor will wrap you up in a ball of marketing love and make you feel like you’ve known her your whole life.

Our team has had the distinct pleasure of partnering with with Ann on several projects. As busy as Ann is making B2B marketing magic, she is a fantastic collaborator and co-creator. I have been given the opportunity to work with her on several ocassions and have reveled in every minute of it.

This post is a tribute to Ann, the work she’s done and the inspiration she gives to today’s marketers (as well as my official announcement of my candidacy for President of the Ann Handley fan club). Here’s to you Ann!

How Does Ann Handley Inspire Other Marketers?

Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing

This one is a throwback!

This one is a throwback!

There’s a certain magnetism to Ann Handley that has attracted people to her for all the years I’ve known her. Or maybe she has a giant magnet hidden in her jacket. It’s hard to say. She’s truly genuine, thoughtful, super smart and has a great sense of humor. And she loves Instagram. Anyone that loves Instagram is insta-inspiring in my book. Oh yeah, she doesn’t really like made up hyphenated words though. Sorry about that Ann.

I think Ann inspires marketers most by walking the talk with her own content and bringing a reasonable voice to the overload of marketing information we are all confronted with on a daily basis. Ann’s empathy for others and a high standard for herself are what inspires me and many others to be better at marketing and how we communicate with each other. Happiest of Birthdays Ann!

 

Michael Brenner
CEO, Marketing Insider Group

ann-and-michael-b

Ann Handley is the humblest, kindest, smartest, and most creative person you will ever meet. Which is surprising because she’s kind of a big deal on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a host of other social sites where she has amassed 7 billion followers. That’s right, even unborn babies and dead people follow her every word. But what I admire most about her is how she keeps it real all the time. She has a quirky sense of humor that is just so darn relatable you almost want to hate her for loving her so much. Happy Birthday to the one and only Ann Handley.

 

Jay Acunzo
Vice President of Platform, NextView Ventures

Really Jay? [This selfie was manufactured by me]

Really Jay? [This selfie was manufactured by me]

What do I admire most about Ann? Probably her abilities to power clean and squat like a champ. I remember one time, during the 1996 Olympics, Ann competed for the gold. Granted, she’d power cleaned her floor and then squatted to pick up a cookie she’d dropped, Olympics playing in the background on TV … but you really gotta admire the effort. I mean, with such a clean floor, I’d say she had at least 15, maybe even 20 seconds before it was inedible. But that’s Ann for you — always going above and beyond to move fast and eat things. (That’s the Facebook motto, yes?) I mean, sure, she hasn’t won an actual medal in these things, but Ann Handley is my gold standard, that’s for sure.

 

Andrew Davis
Founder, Monumental Shift

ann-and-andrew-selfie

This totally counts as a selfie

Sure, Ann Handley is wonderfully kind, amazingly accomplished, and ever-inspiring. But no one person has shaped the way I write or express my ideas than Ann. (And I’m not the only one.) Happy Birthday, Ann!

 

Rob Zaleski
Marketing Manager, MarketingProfs

ann-and-rob

Aside from Ann’s quirky nature, which I think draws a lot of people to her, I love that she treats everyone like a friend. You could be a fan she’s never met before or a speaker she crosses paths with often, and she’ll make you feel like you’re the only person in the room. Though this actually makes it difficult to get her out of a room sometimes, I do find it to be one of her most endearing qualities—and probably why so many people really like her. She’s about as human as it gets, and a pretty great human at that.

 

Doug Kessler
Creative Director & Co-Founder, Velocity Partners

doug-and-ann-handley
I don’t admire Ann. I hate her. She’s great at everything I struggle with and is effortlessly better than me at everything I pride myself on. That’s not admirable, that’s just mean.

If people knew the real Ann instead of the ‘Ann’ she presents to the world — the one everyone ‘loves’ so much — they be horrified (at how identical they are).

Happy’ birthday, Stupid. If it really is your birthday.

 

Jason Miller
Group Manager, Global Content and Social Media Marketing

jason-miller-and-ann

I admire Ann’s eclectic style, quick wit, savvy marketing advice, and unbridled generosity. She’s my number one inspiration for becoming a marketer, and I celebrate her wisdom daily.

 

Tamsen Webster
Founder & CEO, Strategic Speaking

tamsen-webster
What do I celebrate and admire about Ann? That she lives the integrity she wants to see in the world.

B2B Marketing Words of Wisdom From Ann Herself


Make the customer the hero of your story. @annhandley
Click To Tweet



Great marketing starts with great stories. Be unique, inspire and connect. @annhandley
Click To Tweet



Good content isn’t about storytelling; it’s about telling a true story well. @annhandley
Click To Tweet




Make good choices! @annhandley
Click To Tweet


 (Ann says this in real life and it also happens to apply to marketing).


In an online world, our online words are our emissaries; they tell the world who we are. @annhandley
Click To Tweet



If you aren’t having fun creating content, you’re doing it wrong. @annhandley
Click To Tweet



Good writing serves the reader, not the writer. @annhandley
Click To Tweet


Happy Birthday Ann Handley!

Thank you again for all of the good that you bring to the world and to marketing. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know and work with you.

Has Ann inspired you in some way? If so, please feel free to share in the comments. Also, as Ann would say; “Make good choices!”.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
“Make Good Choices!” And Other Reasons Why We Celebrate Ann Handley | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post “Make Good Choices!” And Other Reasons Why We Celebrate Ann Handley appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

November 3rd 2016 Online Marketing

Ten SEO Gurus You Should Be Learning from Right Now

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You may have heard that "SEO is dead." Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. The reality, however, is that SEO is far from dead!

In a recent Search Engine Land article, Columnist Stephan Spencer puts it this way:

"While SEO is NOT dead, the way that you’re doing it might be. Does the following describe your approach? You’ve optimized your H1s and meta tags and you’ve built a few (hopefully white hat) links. Now you just sit back and watch your site rise to the top of Google, right?

Wrong. This sort of cookie-cutter approach to SEO — one that equates SEO to tuning a guitar or to following the steps to a pumpkin pie recipe — rarely works in today’s search landscape."

This quote illustrates the ever-changing nature of SEO. As with any industry that changes frequently, SEO is a field you can’t just "learn once" and walk away. Instead, you need keep up with its new developments regularly. And that’s where this list of experts comes in.

If you want to stay on the cutting edge of effective SEO, good teachers and influencers are key. So be sure to follow these experienced practitioners on Twitter, and refer to their blogs, to keep up with today’s leading SEO practices.

1. Christoph C. Cemper

Christoph is an SEO expert and the creator of Content Marketing intelligence software Impactana. Launched in 2015, this software helps marketers find content ideas that make an impact.

He began his work in online marketing back in 2003, when he provided SEO consulting and link-building services. In 2006, Christoph realized there was a need for accurate and reliable SEO software. So he developed the first internal tools. The software he developed became the basis for LinkResearchTools (LRT), a SaaS product containing four tools. It launched in 2009.

Today, thanks to continual research and development, LRT now offers 21 tools. It’s designed with ever-growing functionality that’s adapted to market requirements and Google changes.

Christoph also created Link Detox. Launched after Google Penguin rolled out, this software is designed for finding links that present a risk in a website’s backlink profile. He has written and spoken about link risk management since 2011, and he introduced the technology and process for ongoing link audits in 2012.

Founded:

Where to Find Christoph:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"Adding your site to any web directory just to get a backlink will have a negative effect on your website’s ranking. Most web directories out there provide no real value to the Internet users and Google has excluded them from its search results. You don’t want your website to be in there! Search for trusted directories. There are a few for every niche. These directories provide useful information to you, your target audience and your potential customers." (Source)

2. Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the founder/co-founder of several online businesses, including KISSmetrics, Quick Sprout, Crazy Egg, and Hello Bar. He’s known for his influence as an entrepreneur, SEO expert, and online marketer.

Neil has helped many world-renown companies achieve significant revenue growth. A few brands on his impressive client list include Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom.

Entrepreneur Magazine has said that Neil created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. Forbes said he’s one of the top ten online marketers, and the Wall Street Journal has called him a top influencer on the web.

Neil was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. He has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives.

Founded:

Where to Find Neil:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"When we talk about SEO, Google comes to mind for most marketers … Most marketers don’t consider that the second most used search engine can also be a lucrative channel … Since all marketers go after Google, Bing has lower competition. And, it has a decent market share, at 21.3%, in the US (including Yahoo search that’s powered by Bing). Further, Yahoo-Bing network also has an exclusive audience in most verticals." (Source)

3. Sagi Solomon

Sagi is the Head of SEO at InboundJunction. He’s respected as a tireless marketing enthusiast who’s never content with the status quo. Constantly looking for the latest SEO trends and tools, Sagi’s passion is formulating the most competitive search strategies possible. With a mix of technical prowess and creative vision, he has become a trusted problem-solver for his firm’s clients.

Where to Find Sagi:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"The speed of your website is one of the many factors that adds or subtracts to Google’s trust of your website. If your website is fast and error free, it’s less likely to cause any of Google’s searchers problems, therefore, making it more trustworthy and likely to appear in search results." (Source)

4. Jordan Kasteler

A digital-marketing consultant specializing in SEO and social media, Jordan has been avidly involved in Internet marketing since 2001. He has a history of entrepreneurship, co-founding such companies as BlueGlass Interactive – an industry-leading agency in social-media marketing and SEO.

Jordan’s experience includes serving as in-house SEO at Overstock.com, marketing strategy at PETA, and agency-level digital marketing. He’s a regular speaker at various Internet marketing conferences, and he authored A to Z: Social Media Marketing.

Jordan is also a regular contributor to Huffington Post, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Search Engine People, Social Media Today, Addicted2Success, Lead Change Group, and others.

Founded:

Where to Find Jordan:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"While your potential customers are less likely to be influenced by marketing campaigns, they’re incredibly receptive to content about your brand that comes from other users. In today’s world, your fans are likely to have more success selling your products than you." (Source)

5. On Yavin

With more than 15 years of experience with online marketing and SEO, On founded Online Performance, a company specializing in SEO, ORM and PPC solutions. As the active CEO, On is always monitoring the recent happens in the SEO world to make sure his clients get the best results possible.

On has a knack for enhancing SEO results with in-house technology tools his company developed to provide better results for his clients. As SEO develops, adding technology to the mix can amplify results and get a great competitive edge, he says.

On also enjoy sharing digital marketing and SEO tips on Business 2 Community, SEMRush, Tech.co and others. Expect to see a whole lot from On in 2017!

Founded:

Where to Find Ann:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"Experience shows that even today, there’s great importance to creating links for the purpose of web promotion. Any attempt to promote websites in categories that have medium to high competition without creating a hyperlink strategy is bound to fail. Even after many of Google’s algorithm updates, links have great significance when it comes to rankings." (Source)

6. Matthew Capala

Former New York University professor Matthew Capala is an internet entrepreneur, founder, and sought-after international speaker. According to Matthew: "I believe that showing up is 80% of success. Why? Because in a world where 80% of customers search online before they buy, invisibility is a fate much worse than failure."

Matthew founded the boutique SEO agency Alphametic, which helps clients with SEO, website optimization, Google analytics, and paid search. His clients have included brands such as L’Oreal (and Makeup.com,) Shopkeep, Hoval, Quest Diagnostics, and others. He also the publisher of Search Decoder.

Matthew’s work and ideas have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Digital Summit, Internet Summit, The Next Web, ePharma, Problogger and Huffington Post. He is also an international speaker and trainer. He’s given talks at Social Media Week, Internet Summit, and many others. Matthew wrote the award-winning international bestselling book SEO Like I’m 5, among others.

Founded:

Where to Find Matthew

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"If you don’t act on the technical audit and content strategies, you won’t see any improvement to your website’s online visibility. You need to get your hands dirty (either working solo or with an agency/consultant /developer/team). Put another way, it’s not enough to read about the history of the tree. You need get out there and pick the fruit!" (Source)

7. Matt Janaway

UK-based SEO expert Matt Janaway has over 16 years of successful digital-marketing and eCommerce experience. CEO of Marketing Labs, Matt uses the latest proven online-marketing techniques to consult high-end brands. His specialties include SEO, link building, PPC, content creation and management, blogging, meta data, and more.

According to Matt on his Marketing Labs site: "There have been multiple studies which have found that SEO is the soundest long-term marketing strategy and can have a higher ROI than any other strategy. Our clients have seen a growth of over 1000% in 3 year periods."

Founded:

Where to Find Matt:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"Growth hacking is a term that’s thrown around a lot, and many people are confused by it. Growth hacking simply refers to doing anything you can do to grow your business. It differs from marketing in the sense that you use any means necessary. I’ll be telling you how you can ensure that your business sees substantial growth, fast!" (Source)

8. Matthew Barby

Award-winning digital marketing consultant Matthew Barby is the head of growth and SEO at HubSpot. Specializing in developing growth strategies for businesses of all sizes, he’s worked with Blue Chip companies and local businesses across a range of industries.

Matthew is a regular columnist for a number of marketing publications – including Marketing Land, Moz, and Search Engine Journal. He’s also been featured in Forbes, Social Media Today, TechRadar, Entrepreneur.com, The Guardian, and many more.

Also, with the Digital Marketing Institute, Matthew has been a speaker and lecturer. He’s lectured

across the SEO and social-media Professional Diploma certified courses, including the creation of course material, mapping of the syllabus, and recording of video lecture content.

Where to Find Matthew:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"…It’s really easy to get disheartened during the early stages of your social media campaigns. Things are slow at the beginning and it can feel like you’re running in circles a lot of the time.

The reality is that most social media campaigns won’t really deliver any real results until you’ve got a fair few months into them. Even then, depending on what niche you’re in, it can take much longer. The most important thing to remember is to keep focused.

Have a strategy and stick to it – even if it feels like you’re going nowhere." (Source)

9. Christine Churchill

With over 15 years’ experience in Online Marketing, Christine specializes in organic SEO consulting, web site audits, PPC management, content marketing, holistic online marketing, and keyword research.

Christine is the president of KeyRelevance. The company offers results-oriented marketing programs for businesses of all sizes. Services include organic SEO and PPC management.

Christine has written on SEO and SEM topics for Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land, MarketPosition, SearchDay, Wilson Web, SitePoint, NetMechanic, and SearchEngineGuide. She’s also a regular speaker at Search Engine Strategies, Webmaster World Publishers Conference, Search Marketing Expo, and other Internet conferences.

Also, Christine has taught many online marketing classes through the International Association of Webmasters, Search Engine Strategies Seminars, Search Marketing Expo Bootcamps, and the Direct Marketing Association.

Where to Find Christine:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"You are never done fine tuning your landing pages. As you put out new pages, learn what worked on earlier pages but continue to try new things too. In this competitive market, getting even another percentage better can make the difference between success and failure. Google Website Optimizer is a free tool that allows the webmaster to perform multivariate testing. Software that did this used to be very expensive. Google provides the tool without cost and has made it straightforward to use." (Source)

10. Rae Hoffman

Rae has been an SEO specialist for over a decade. She’s the co-owner and CEO of PushFire, a full service digital marketing agency founded by industry veterans. The agency focuses on producing ROI for SEO, PPC, and online promotions.

Rae is also the CEO of Sugarrae. The company publishes various websites across several topic areas that are monetized by advertising avenues such as CPM, affiliate marketing, contextual advertising, and others. She’s also the primary author of the often-controversial (but well-regarded) Sugarrae Internet marketing blog.

Also, Rae is a frequent speaker at PubCon, Affiliate Summit, SMX, and other events. She’s also been a columnist for publications such as Search Engine Land, Amex’s Open Forum, and more.

According to Rae, "I often refer to myself as a ‘White Collar Redneck’. I’m a serial entrepreneur, proud born and raised Jersey Girl, an Honorary Canadian, an avid fundraiser for the AHA and am known for calling things as I seem them and never being afraid to speak my mind.

Founded:

Where to Find Rae:

Excellent Reads:

Words to Remember:

"I’ve become obsessed with site speed over the last six months, systematically working through each of my sites to improve their speed. Supposed SEO benefits aside, the faster your site is, the better the user experience. And the better the user experience, the higher the conversion rate – sales, leads or newsletter subscribers; whatever a conversion for your site may be. And that’s a good thing for your business – no matter what type of business model you have." (Source)

The post Ten SEO Gurus You Should Be Learning from Right Now appeared first on SEO Chat.

October 29th 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: The Art of Stealing, Twitter Closes Vine & Helpful Chat Bots

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How to Improve Blog Writing Through the Art of ‘Stealing’ [Infographic]
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or at least that’s the rumor. So, how can you (legally and ethically) ‘steal’ the high-performance content mojo from a fellow writer to help improve your work? This infographic explains how. MarketingProfs

Important News about Vine
Twitter announced on Thursday that they’ll be discontinuing their Vine app. The platform, which just announced a round of layoffs last week, says they’ll be ‘doing this the right way’ by keeping the website online so users can continue to access their content. Vine on Medium

4 chatbots to help you analyze ad campaigns right in Slack, Facebook Messenger & Google Sheets
The life of a digital marketer is always on the move — from platform and algorithm changes to juggling multiple campaigns at once. The good news? There are now chat bots inside frequently used apps like Slack, Google Sheets and Facebook Messenger that can give you the insights you need, right when you need them. Marketing Land

Facebook Launches a Big Ad Campaign for Facebook Live, With User Videos at the Core
Facebook Live, for how powerful it is, is still relatively unknown by the Facebook user community at large. This week, Facebook launched an international campaign to gain awareness, featuring a combination of TV ads and digital billboard creative using footage of actual user videos. AdWeek

Blogging Report: How to Drive Results From Your Company’s Blog
“A new report reveals that when blogging for business, companies are producing more content with less impact. It also uncovers specific tactics marketers can use to combat content overload and outperform their competitors,” Reports TrackMaven. The average number of posts published by brands has increased by over 800% in the last five years, while shares have gone down. TrackMaven

85-of-marketers-have-a-successful-martech-strategy

PayPal Announces New Integration with Facebook Messenger
On Wednesday, PayPal announced an integration with Facebook which allows users to use PayPal as a payment option within messenger. This fits with Facebook’s recent push to become more competitive with the business market. Social Media Today

New Occurrences of SEO Spam Discovered: Hacked Subdirectories on WordPress Sites
Sucuri released a statement this week about new occurrences of SEO spam which are secretly installing subdirectories on WordPress sites. Search Engine Journal reports: “The idea behind this black hat scheme is to abuse the server resources and storage by installing spammy sites within a WordPress subdirectory.”  Search Engine Journal

Client-side ranking to more efficiently show people stories in feed
Facebook announced in a blog post last week, “we redesigned the architecture of News Feed to allow stories to be re-ranked on the client after being sent from the server. We avoid spinners and grey boxes by 1) requiring stories to have all necessary media available before rendering them in News Feed and 2) being able to optimize the content in News Feed for each session.” Facebook

What were your top online news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? I’d love to hear it! Drop a note in the comments or tweet your thoughts to @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: The Art of Stealing, Twitter Closes Vine & Helpful Chat Bots appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

October 28th 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Google Has Changed, B2C Content Marketing and Video Ad Metrics

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google-search-is-changing-in-2016

google-search-is-changing-in-2016

How Google Search Has Changed in 2016 [Infographic]
As we all know, Google is no stranger to change. Keeping track of those changes and their connotations is an actual full time job. For example, MarketingProfs reports “Google’s search engine is displaying fewer organic results on it first page this year than it was last year, and it’s increasingly presenting different experiences for desktop and smartphone users.” MarketingProfs

[New Research] B2C Marketers Need to Give Content Marketing Time
Following their successful release of their B2B content marketing benchmarks report, Content Marketing Institute has shifted their research focus to B2C. What did they find? 60% of B2C marketers consider their organization’s approach to content marketing to be much more or somewhat more successful than it was just a year ago. Content Marketing Institute

What Marketers Need to Know About How Today’s Top Social Platforms Measure Video
Recently Facebook revealed that the reported amount of time users spent watching a video could be inflated by up to 80%. This has cracked open a conversation about standards of industry measurement among video advertising platforms. Since these metrics vary by platform, it’s important that advertisers understand just how they’ll be charged. Read on for a full breakdown. AdWeek

Google Panda demotes or adjusts your rankings down — it does not devalue
Gary Illyes from Google explained that unlike Penguin 4.0, Google Panda actually adjusts the rankings down of ‘spammy’ sites. He told Search Engine Land: “… it is an adjustment. Basically, we figured that site is trying to game our systems, and unfortunately, successfully. So we will adjust the rank. We will push the site back just to make sure that it’s not working anymore.” Search Engine Land

60-percent-of-marketers-are-using-ab-testing

Google Focuses On Mobile-First Indexing, Adds News Fact-Check Tag
Google is finding yet another way to differentiate quality content for users. MediaPost reports: ” Google said it will add a Fact Check tag to articles it indexes that points readers toward articles validating or discrediting claims. The engine already flags content with tags such as In-Depth, Highly Cited, Local Source, and Opinion.” MediaPost

Pinterest Is Working on a New ‘Explore’ Section for Publishers, Brands
Pinterest is rumored to be testing what’s essentially a sponsored page for brands that allows for multi-media content, even video, to be published and promoted. Pinterest has been criticised in the past for a lack of innovation in their advertising platform, so this may be a first step toward becoming competitive with other ad platforms, like those of Snapchat and Instagram. Advertising Age

Fueled by the Audience Network, Facebook advertisers saw higher Q3 spends & returns
Marketing Land reports: “A new report from social ad automation company Nanigans shows substantial growth in both YoY Facebook ad spend and on the overall Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). In Q3 2016, the average increase in ad spend was +249 percent YoY, while the average ROAS was also up 26 percent from 2015.” Marketing Land

SEO & SEM Ranks 9th on LinkedIn’s Top Skills List
LinkedIn (client) has released new data that reveals the top skills of 2016, with SEO and SEM ranking at number nine. While that’s a bit of a drop from their 2015 positions, those skills are still among the top ten. And while LinkedIn data shows that demand for marketing skills is decreasing due to more applicants with marketing skills being available, the data shows that marketing-related skills are very much in demand, but perhaps the face of marketing is changing. Search Engine Journal

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more online marketing news! Have something to share? Tweet it to @toprank or leave me a note in the comments.

The post Online Marketing News: Google Has Changed, B2C Content Marketing and Video Ad Metrics appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

October 21st 2016 Online Marketing

A Preview & Exclusive Insights for the 2016 MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum #MPB2B

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mpb2b-preview-post-2016

This week, members of the TopRank Marketing team are off to Boston to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum. It’s no mystery that this conference put on by Ann Handley and the incredibly talented MarketingProfs team is one of our favorites.

In addition to our CEO Lee Odden speaking at the conference on the topic of influencer marketing, a few of our team members will be live blogging some of our favorite sessions and connecting with other marketers.

Below is a preview of some of the sessions we’re most excited about as well as some exclusive conference insights from MarketingProf’s Marketing Manager, Rob Zaleski.

MPB2B Sessions You Can’t Miss

Session: Sexy Hot B2B Influencer Activation: The Art And Science Of Romancing B2B Industry Influencers To Collaborate, Co-Create, And Advocate Content Using Leading Influencer Marketing Tools

Date/Time: Thursday, Oct. 20 – 10am

Speaker: Lee Odden

Influencer marketing is a hot topic in the digital marketing world these days. Influencers not only add incredible insights, but also more depth, authority and credibility to your content and brand.

In his presentation, TopRank Marketing’s very own, Lee Odden, will help B2B marketers understand how romancing influencers can help scale quality content that is credible, trusted and amplified by contributors.

As part of the TopRank Marketing team, we’re excited to see our CEO in action. For other attendees, you should look forward to discovering influencer recruiting and outreach strategies, as well as the processes and tools that help make a successful influencer marketing program.


Session:
How to Build An Owned Media Empire For Top Of Funnel B2B Content Domination

Date/Time: Friday, October 21 – 10am

Speaker: Jason Miller

In his role at LinkedIn, Jason Miller is no stranger to dominating the content marketing game. In this session, you’ll take a rock n’ roll themed journey that will help you build a content strategy that drives true ROI.

At the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Identify conversations to own at the top of the funnel to better inform your content strategy
  • Understand and create the essential types of content that work best at the top of the funnel
  • Build an actionable dashboard for measuring success so you can earn your seat at the revenue table 

Session: Are You A Marketer Or A Mind-Reader? How To Know What Your B2B Buyer Is Really Thinking

Date/Time: Wednesday, Oct. 19 – 1:30pm

Speaker: Matthew T. Grant

With nearly 94% of marketer using some form of content marketing strategy to reach their audience, it’s more important than ever for us to be the best possible answer for them. That means we need to know what they want and where they want to find it.

In his presentation, Matthew T. Grant, Director of Content Strategy for the Aberdeen Group, aims to help us marketers grow our mind-reading capabilities so we can focus our content marketing efforts on the different phases of the B2B buyer’s decision-making journey.

We’re really looking forward to seeing data, insights and real-life examples Matthew plans to share, as well as learning how we can better use content and data to execute a brilliant strategy.

 

Session: How To Build A World-Class B2B Thought Leadership And Corporate Evangelism Program

Date/Time: Thursday, Oct. 20 – 3:15 p.m.

Speaker: Loren McDonald

Content marketing involves using a myriad of different tactics to attract, engage and inspire action from your audience. But how do you really get the most value out of all those efforts?

For Loren McDonald, Vice President, Industry Relations/Marketing Evangelist at IBM Marketing Cloud, the answer is through building thought leadership and a corporate evangelism program.

From studies to speaking to videos to social media, in his presentation Loren will dive into elements and examples of a solid evangelism program so we marketers can bring our content to life.

One of the pieces we’re most excited to learn about is to how to differentiate content from competitors by using true though leaders.

 

Session: Unthinkable: Content Creativity For The Hopelessly Uncreative (Yes You Can!)

Date/Time: Friday, Oct. 21 – 8:45am

Speaker: Jay Acunzo

Creativity is an incredibly important aspect of any successful marketer or the programs that they work on. But sometimes it can be really, really hard to breakout of boring.

That’s something Jay Acunzo’s session aims to help with. In his presentation, which promises to be hilarious, the creator and host of Unthinkable will challenge you to rethink your abilities to create high-quality and high-quantity work that’s anything but run-of-the-mill.

We’re eager to learn his five creative secrets and to get the inspiration to do something we may not have ever thought of before.

Session: Beyond the Hype: How to Use “Account Based Everything” As Your Best Outbound Weapon

Date/Time: Wednesday October 19 – 10:45am

Speaker: Jon Miller

The term “account based marketing” is a hot topic among marketers around the world, and has become a looming strategy for many marketing departments for 2017. In this session, Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio introduces us to an effective way of approaching account based marketing.

Miller will walk the group through how B2B marketers are:

  • integrating modern marketing and sales development tactics to build the pipeline
  • expanding existing relationships
  • and connecting with more decision makers

The TopRank Marketing  team is looking forward to learning how other B2B brands are applying this working knowledge to better target prospective customers.

Exclusive Conference Insights from Rob Zaleski of MarketingProfs 

#1 – What should attendees new to MPB2B expect to learn at the conference?

First and foremost, new attendees should expect to leave the conference with new friends, new ideas, and a renewed excitement for what they do. We have over 50 speakers, 30 sponsors, and hundreds of attendees, all who share a passion for our world of B2B marketing. Expect plenty of smart, actionable content on topics from account-based marketing to video content, and everything in between—with examples and case studies from actual B2B companies.

#2 – What are three “Conference Hacks” you’d recommend to people attending MPB2B? 

  1. Use the event app to get to know people before you arrive. There are so many great conversations already happening in our app, as well as people making plans to attend sessions, trade notes, and talk shop. Attendees continued to use the app for months after our event last year. It was amazing.
  2. Follow the conference hashtag #mpb2b before, during, and after the event. Lots of people make plans on Twitter, and you’ll be able to find out what is going on during the event (and sometimes catch surprise announcements here and there). Plus, many people will share their notes after a conference. It’s a great way to crowd source a lot of the concurrent sessions you may have missed and stay abreast of the conversations around the event.
  3. Attend networking events. Second to the educational content of sessions, the networking and evening events are where you really build memorable experiences and relationships that will last beyond the event. We have a Morning Mingle (speed networking to help those flying solo or just those who want to meet a lot of new people), a couple happy hours, and an evening event which all offer plenty of opportunities to get to know other attendees.

#3 – What does the theme of this year’s conference, “Build to Last” mean?

The “Build to Last” theme is all about going past the flash-in-the-pan, one-off ideas and about implementing sustainable strategies that let your marketing go the distance. It’s also applicable to the relationships you build. Taking the time to really get to know people and their passions make for memorable moments that carry on far beyond the event (and customer interactions). We want B2B Marketing Forum to be the place where you find ideas and relationships that will far outlast the week you’re here.

#4 – What are you looking forward to most at MPB2B?

My favorite thing about the event is the people. I get so pumped to be around the energy of marketers who are passionate and excited about what they do. As an employee at a remote company, it’s also great to have the opportunity to see all my coworkers in person. This will be my third B2B Marketing Forum, and I’m still friends with people I met in 2014, and excited to see some of them again in person this year. It really feels like a homecoming to me (and many of our staff and attendees). I’m also pumped to welcome so many new people into our world. It’s always a “more the merrier” atmosphere here.

How to Build Your B2B Marketing Empire From the Ground Up

This year, we partnered with MarketingProfs to bring you insights from some of our favorite speakers at the forum. Below you’ll get amazing insights on everything from how to approach your own career, to building a strong marketing team.

We Hope to See You There!

This post gives you a little insight into where we’ll be spending our time at the conference. Keep your eyes on TopRankBlog.com for live coverage of the conference and find us on Twitter at @TopRank, @leeodden, @azeckman, @CaitlinMBurgess and @Leiladfl.

We look forward to seeing old friends and clients and making new connections. If you see us, come say hi.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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A Preview & Exclusive Insights for the 2016 MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum #MPB2B | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post A Preview & Exclusive Insights for the 2016 MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum #MPB2B appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

October 19th 2016 Online Marketing