Online Marketing News: Social Changing SEO, Science of Content, Facebook Live on Desktop

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How Mobile, Voice & Social Are Changing SEO [Infographic]
With SEO being a growing area of investment and interest for digital marketers, we tend to keep a very close eye on any changes that may affect organic search visibility. So how are mobile, voice and social changing SEO? HubSpot’s latest infographic, based on their State of Inbound Marketing report, has the details. HubSpot

The Science of Content: TFM Research Report On Content Across 10 Industries
Technology for Marketing just released a new study of content that resonates across 10 different industries. The report found, among other things, that understanding your specific industry and audience is the key to successful content. This means knowing what type of content they like best, the best time to post, and even what headline words will get their attention. Buzzsumo

Is Facebook Live Coming Soon to Desktop?
What originally rolled out for only mobile may now slowly be rolling out for Desktop — Facebook Live. Users have reported the added functionality this week, with the biggest reported difference being the addition of a comment bar for the broadcaster. It was also reported that screen sharing wasn’t available but the interface resembled a Google Hangout. Search Engine Journal

Twitter’s new, longer tweets are coming September 19th
Social media marketers, rejoice! The Verge reports that Twitter’s long rumored exclusion of links and images from their character counts is happening on Monday. This will also include videos and user polls along with user names at the beginning of replies. The Verge

A Snapshot of the World’s Ad Spend
Direct Marketing News reports: “Global advertising spend is projected to reach $548.2 billion by the end of this year—a 4.4% (or $23 billion) increase compared to 2015, according to a recent report by Carat. The global media network expects this figure to rise to $570.4 billion (a 4% year-on-year increase) in 2017.” Direct Marketing News

Which Marketing Channels Have the Best ROI Measurability?
Marketing executives surveyed by Millward Brown are saying that two marketing channels are easiest to measure in terms of ROI — email and search, with online ads coming in third. MarketingProfs also reports that nearly “74% of executives say they would increase spend on digital channels if it were easier to track ROI; 71% say they would increase cross-channel spend if ROI measurement were easier.” MarketingProfs


Ad Tech Companies Are Testing New Formats Like Virtual Reality and 360 Video
Brands like Jack in the Box, AOL, The New York Times and Vice are experimenting with virtual reality, and are reportedly happy with the results they’re seeing. With video becoming increasingly effective as a tool for marketers, 360 video and virtual reality are adding a new, immersive dimension that may prove to captivate viewers in new ways. AdWeek

Many Visitors Abandon Mobile Sites If Load Time Tops 3 Seconds
MediaPost reports: “Google’s latest study — The Need for Mobile Speed — found 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. One out of two people expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds. The data is based on analysis of more than 10,000 mobile Web domains.” Is your website up to speed? MediaPost

Snapchat Has Nearly All the 18-to-25-Year-Olds It Will Get, but Older Users Still Joining
Smartphone users are spending 87% of their screen time in mobile apps. While there are some apps that are used the most frequently, like Facebook and Pandora, Snapchat has seen the most growth with up to 55% of users app time, beating out Pinterest for the number 13 spot. While the Millennial market may be fully saturated, ComScore indicated they still have a large opportunity with the 35 and older market. Ad Age

What were your top online marketing news stories this week? 

I’ll be back with more news next week! Have something to share? Share your thoughts with me in the comments or tweet them to @toprank!

The post Online Marketing News: Social Changing SEO, Science of Content, Facebook Live on Desktop appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

September 16th 2016 Online Marketing

The 4 Essential Questions Your Content Must Answer in Less than 15 Seconds

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A rodeo cowboy gets eight seconds to become a champion. What can content marketers do with nearly twice that time?

HubSpot reports it takes less than 15 seconds for a reader to decide whether or not content is worth the effort. Think about that: In half of the Jeopardy theme, your reader’s mind is already made up.

You’re probably familiar with that statistic–it’s a marketing classic. But what exactly is happening in those 15 seconds?

There’s a series of subconscious questions anyone asks as they’re contemplating reading content. You ask them; I ask them; and our fellow human beings that we call an “audience” ask them, too.

Your content must answer these four essential questions, and fast.

#1: Are You Talking to Me?

Marketers would phrase this question as “Am I the intended audience for this piece?” In the mind of a non-marketer, though, this question is full-on DeNiro in Taxi Driver.

The hard part about addressing this question is that a “maybe” is the same as a “no.” If your reader can’t tell if they’re your intended audience straight away, they’re going to bounce like a ping-pong ball.

So don’t play coy; call out your audience in the first few minutes. Cut everyone else loose. Make it clear exactly who should keep reading.

Full disclosure: This post used to have 250 more words in the intro. I spent the first two paragraphs introducing a metaphor. Then I cut it to the bone, to start with a call-out to the audience. Are you a content marketer? Then yes, I’m talking to you.

It’s important your readers get an equally clear message.

#2: What’s in It for Me?

It may seem strange to have to address this question. After all, you created the content specifically to address your reader’s needs. You’d think it would be obvious what benefit they will get from reading it.

But think about how you search for content. If you’re like me, you do a Google search, and then click into the most promising couple of links to check them out.  In that context, the article that tells me exactly what I’m in for is going to win every time.

The folks at Social Media Examiner are great at answering this question. In the first paragraph or two of every post, there’s a bolded sentence that says exactly what’s in it for the reader. That’s part of the reason their posts get read and shared like nobody’s business.

#3: Says Who?

This question is all about the credibility of the source. Based on the scant information your reader gets in the first 15 seconds, they will decide whether or not to trust you.

The easiest way to fail this test is to either omit the author byline, or bury it at the end. If your reader sees no attribution at the top of the article, they may assume it’s a generic piece written by committee, solely to promote a corporation’s products.

If someone won’t even take credit for the content, how trustworthy can it be?

People want to read work written by humans for humans. Make sure your content has an author’s name, photo, and a link to their bio right up top.

#4: How Hard Will This Be to Read?

The last question your reader asks before committing is how much of a commitment you’re asking for, and how easy it will be to fulfill that commitment.

Now, I realize that not all content is text-based, but the phrase “consume content” give me hives. So we can apply this question to video and content like SlideShare presentations as well.

For text, make sure your content is optimized for web readability. Short paragraphs, headers, visual interest. You can write a 1500-word article and people will read it—but you have to make it easy.

The same applies to video. A single 50-minute video is a big ask. Five ten-minute videos is smaller. Three 5-minute videos that really get to the heart of things is even better. Once someone watches the first one, they’ll be more compelled to finish the series.

I’d say think of SlideShare presentations in the same way. It’s easy to put up the slides from your last webinar and ask readers to click through 192 slides. 192 slides that start, by the way, with greetings to your webinar attendees and instructions on how to ask questions during the webinar. In other words, with completely irrelevant information.

It’s possible to get readers to make that commitment. But imagine there’s another SlideShare that starts with a compelling intro aimed at the reader, and hits the key points in 20 slides…which one do you think wins?

A Lot Can Happen in 15 Seconds

The battle for readers’ attention takes place in 15-second intervals. And that’s a generous assessment. For a rodeo cowboy or a viral internet celebrity (remember Chewbacca Mom? Vaguely?), that is an eternity. For the rest of us, it’s a daunting deadline.

Before you post that next piece of content, take off your marketing hat for a moment and see if it answers these four questions. Is it clear your piece is:

  1. Calling out a specific audience?
  2. Providing a clear benefit?
  3. Written by an actual human?
  4. Not a chore to read?

The clock is ticking. Make every second count.

To add more spice to your content, check out 4 Tips for Writing Delicious Copy. And subscribe to the TopRank Marketing Newsletter for more content marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing advice that passes the 15-second test.

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September 14th 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Divine Email Delivery, Mobile Machine Learning & CMO Social Spend

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Email Deliverability: Unveiling the Divine Path to Subscribers Inbox
Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing tactics, and one of the longest standing. But, nothing can be effective if it doesn’t reach your audience. This infographic shows the considerations marketers need to make when sending their emails to ensure the best deliverability and common email marketing myths. Social Media Today

Google Injects Machine Learning Into Analytics App
AdAge reports: “Google said Friday it will provide a new stream of automated insights in its Google Analytics mobile app, allowing marketers to see key data metrics in a matter of minutes.” This will allow marketers to view valuable insights on the go, whether it’s from an android or iOS device. Over time, the app can actually learn your data habits and pull reports automatically. AdvertisingAge

What Share of Their Budgets Are CMOs Allocating to Social Media?
According to a recent survey, CMOs are reporting they currently spend 11.7% of their annual marketing budget on social media — up from just 7.1% in August of 2011. These same CMOs predicted that in five years, they’ll spend 22.2% of their annual budgets on social. With the increasing ‘pay-to-play’ nature of social media marketing, this seems right in stride, if not a little low. MarketingProfs

Social Media Users Don’t Want News in Their News Feeds (Report)
Social media users may not want so much news on their News Feed, according to a recent report. However, politics is still one of the top discussion topics for users to engage with in comments. This report shows that user interests vary, but more widely appealing topics like humor or food are Evergreen.  SocialTimes

Snapchat Ad Revenues to Reach Nearly $1 Billion Next Year
Snapchat has experienced amazing growth over the past year – and is forecasted to grow even more over the next. The social platform will generate over $366 million in ad revenue this year, but will nearly triple that number in 2017 with a predicted ad revenue of over $935 million. Currently, the Discover feature is generating the most revenue, but Stories are predicted to take the lead in 2017. eMarketer


Instagram Is Finally Letting Users Zoom In on Photos and Videos
AdWeek reports: “The Facebook-owned app today announced users can now zoom in on still and moving images, a feature that will likely be a welcome addition to the platform’s more than 500 million monthly users.”  Users can now pinch to zoom in on photos and videos in their feed. AdWeek

Mobile Coupon Users On The Rise
A new report from eMarketer found that “customers spend more money, buy more products, and adopt new technologies when they’re given a mobile coupon,” MediaPost reports. By the end of 2016, mobile coupon users will increase by over 11% year-over-year to 104 million in the US alone. That same study found an increase in basket size when mobile coupons are used and higher spend after receiving a personalized coupon. MediaPost

Report: More than two-thirds of digital media time now mobile, apps 50 percent
Smartphone apps now take up 50% of all digital media time, up from 44% one year ago. While mobile is a primary access point to the digital world, this doesn’t mean that designers and developers need to focus solely on the small screen. There must be a good and continuous user experience across devices, as desktop still leads the pack in metrics like digital conversions. Marketing Land

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more top online marketing news! Get your fix in the meantime by following @toprank on Twitter.

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Online Marketing News: Divine Email Delivery, Mobile Machine Learning & CMO Social Spend |

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September 9th 2016 Online Marketing

The Microsoft Factor: Scaling Influencer Marketing to Transform a Global Brand #CMWorld

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Influencer marketing has proven to be a very effective way for brands large and small to build credibility and trust with their audience. However, many influencer marketing programs fail before they even get off the ground. But why?

There are many reasons that these programs don’t work according to Traackr CEO Pierre-Loïc Assayag in his presentation with Microsoft’s Amanda Duncan and Eve Psalti at Content Marketing World. These reasons include:


Often times, these transient interactions with influencers yield limited results. Think of it like a lot of first dates that don’t develop the relationship further or lead to a marriage.

True influence is based on trust and built on relationships. And the secret to influencer marketing ROI is to play the long game. But how do you scale intimacy?

While there is no silver bullet, Microsoft has done a fantastic job at solving this problem and creating a scalable influencer marketing program. Below is a question and answer session with Amanda and Eve that uncovers how Microsoft has approached influencer marketing within their organization.

Why has influencer marketing become a priority at Microsoft?
At Microsoft (like other industries) we deal with users that do not want to be marketed to. They tend to be adverse to a campaign or communication because they don’t trust a large brand.

Instead, they depend on their peers and learn from each other. As an organization, we needed to make sure that we drove community learning with experts that our customers trusted in a more credible and authentic way.

There are so many places to get information these days and people tend to go to the same well over and over again. For example, if you get a restaurant recommendation and you enjoy the restaurant, you’ll go back to that source again when you need another recommendation. Similarly, when you’re a brand or company you want to incorporate those voices that your customers are going back to again and again to create authenticity.

What are some of the hurdles you’ve experienced in building influencer programs?
Sometimes, it can be as basic as making sure that you’re aligned with your team. It might happen that you look over at the person next to you and realize that you’re running the same race independently when you could have been working together. It’s incredibly important to spend a lot of time internally making sure you’re on the same page.

Within Microsoft, there are different business units that have a slightly different audience slant and mandate for the product. However, at the end of the day, it’s the same brand and collaboration between these teams is essential for success.

When brands have a global presence (like Microsoft)it’s important to deliver a message is universally accepted and compelling. There should also be the opportunity to adapt as needed to meet the audience.

What does a day-in-the-life of an influencer marketer look like?
To be honest, there’s a lot of travel and it’s not always to the most exciting places. However, it definitely makes a difference when you are able to talk to your influencers face-to-face. This also presents a good opportunity to show them new ideas and get their initial feedback.

Also, every day is different. The humanity and relationship element of what the Microsoft team does is incredibly important to the job.

We also spent a lot of time on the internet.

How does Microsoft identify influencers to work with?
Microsoft is approaching this a few different ways. There are people that they’ve collaborated with previously and there is the opportunity to leverage their networks to see who else they might be connected to. Additionally, there is a lot of keyword searching to find relevant influencers.

In all, there is definitely still a very large human component involved in identifying influencers.

The intersection of reach and relevance for an influencer on a particular topic is also incredibly important. You want them to have the right reach so their voice is heard. But you also need to make sure they’re relevant for the message to the audience.

Can you share some information about Microsoft’s openness to challenge?
At a high-level, Microsoft’s mission is to help every person on the planet achieve more. It is a try something different, try again sort of scenario.

You can’t be so afraid to make a mistake that you don’t try anything different. It gives you an opportunity to try more, to do more.

It’s also about realizing that each person has unique needs. If we look at our audience that has all these different devices, we need to make sure they get things done wherever they are. It’s about making them do great work. That means, making sure everything works with each other.

Thanks to Pierre, Amanda and Eve for Sharing Your Insights!
Organizations like Microsoft are truly leading the charge in creating successful and organic influencer marketing strategies. Additionally, tools like Traackr enable organizations to help identify and recruit influencers to join their influencer programs to create mutual value.

Disclosure: Traackr is a TopRank Marketing client.

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The Microsoft Factor: Scaling Influencer Marketing to Transform a Global Brand #CMWorld |

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September 9th 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Millennials on Social, Digital Lead Generation & Email Secret Sauce

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Survey: 41% of Millennials Use Facebook Every Day (Infographic)
A recent study showed that millennials spent the majority of their ‘online time’ on smartphones. The same study showed that Facebook was the most popular social network among millennials and non-millennials, followed by YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. SocialTimes

The Most Effective Digital Lead Generation Channels (Report)
A new report found that 45% of business people surveyed thought that content marketing and email marketing were the most effective online tactics used for lead generation. Following behind at a close second was social media marketing (39%) and SEO/landing page optimization (38%). MarketingProfs

Are Weekends The Secret Ingredient For Email Marketing?
According to a recent report, emails sent on Saturdays generate a 60% higher than average conversion rate, with Sunday driving the second highest conversion rate of 40% above average. Emails sent on Thursdays received the highest level of engagement. Of course, these stats should be taken into account with other factors, like industry and seasonal trends or events. MediaPost

Facebook now officially showcases vertical videos in mobile news feeds
After realizing in testing that users watch vertical videos longer and with the sound on when using mobile when presented vertically in the News Feed, Facebook is taking vertical video support out of the testing phase and rolling it out platform wide. This is in contrast to their traditional treatment, where they crop the video into a square format and the user has to click into it to view the full image. Marketing Land

Twitter to Open Pre-Roll Video Ad Program to Influencers
Twitter is opening its pre-roll video ad program to influential Twitter users — allowing them to capitalize on their social efforts. According to AdAge: “The ads play before the videos that people share on the platform, and they come with a skip button, much like the one on YouTube.” AdAge


Here’s What We Learned Analyzing 30 CMOs on LinkedIn
Direct Marketing News recently conducted a study of 30 CMO LinkedIn profiles and found some interesting results. Only 10% of the CMOs studied majored in marketing for their undergraduate degree, with 20% actually majoring in engineering. About half of CMOs had a graduate degree. Another noteworthy find is that their colleagues endorse them on LinkedIn most commonly for strategy/marketing strategy, start-ups, and product marketing. Direct Marketing News

Social media marketing spend has surged over the years, but falls short of estimates
ClickZ reports the CMO Survey, conducted by Deloitte and the American Marketing Association found: “Marketers’ spending on social media has tripled in the past seven years but falls way short of where marketers expected it to be when they peered into their crystal balls in 2009.” ClickZ

Google updates local reviews schema guidelines
Google has updated their local business reviews guidelines in terms of when you can and when you can’t use schema markup on reviews. Guidelines include that reviews must allow for both negative and positive sentiment, snippets can’t be written or provided by the business, and duplicate reviews are not allowed, among others. Search Engine Land

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? Write a quick note in the comments or tweet to @toprank!

The post Online Marketing News: Millennials on Social, Digital Lead Generation & Email Secret Sauce appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

September 2nd 2016 Online Marketing

Is Your Influencer Marketing Program Not Effective? Here’s Why

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At some point or another, we’re all guilty of falling into one fad or another. A fad is something that quickly blows up but is often short lived because people quickly realize that the quality simply isn’t there.

Many brands are in danger of allowing their influencer marketing programs to quickly become a passing fad. Why? Instead of taking the time to build relationships with influencers in a meaningful way, they’re just tapping them on the shoulder when they need something.

Let’s take a step back for a second and look at what influencer marketing programs should be. TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden defines influencer marketing as:

The practice of developing relationships with connected internal and industry experts to co-create content of mutual value to achieve measurable business goals.”

Influencer marketing programs should not be:

  • A burden on the influencer that doesn’t offer value.
  • An uncoordinated and random approach without an end goal in mind.
  • A one-way relationship where the brand reaps all of the benefits.

3 Ways to Build A Lasting Influencer Marketing Program

#1 – Take Your Time with Influencer Identification & Qualification

Many marketers are facing pressure to either create or maintain influencer marketing programs. There is a sense of urgency to compete with other brands that are already down the path.

Creating an effective content-centric influencer program takes time, dedication and certain level of finesse. Which means, it shouldn’t be rushed.

Brands should start by creating a hand-picked list of influencers that they would like to begin working with. Even if that list is small, it’s a start and will be more well-thought-out than trying to manage a large list that may not align with your business needs.

The influencers that you identify should be qualified based on a few factors including their relevance and resonance with your target audience.


“Everyone is influential about something.”Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing
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Many marketers think that the ever-popular brandividuals are the only influencers worth connecting with. However, a mix of brandividuals, industry experts (internal and external), as well as customers and prospects are all potential fits for an influencer content program.

Key Questions to Ask:

  • Do we share a mutual audience?
  • Is this person truly influential to my target audience?
  • Is what this influencer speaks about aligned with my brand message?
  • Does this influencer have a history of creating content that would appeal to my audience?

#2 – Focus on the Relationship & Respect Your Influencers

Just like any relationship, building trust and credibility with influencers doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, you may go through similar stages such as initial introductions, curiosity and interest, building a connection and finally a commitment.

Through every step of this process it’s very important to remember that the key to a successful program is just as much about building meaningful relationships with influencers as it is about what you co-create.


“Influencer marketing is about developing real relationships to champion your influencers to market with you.”Amanda Maksymiw, Fuze
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Some ways that you can begin building the relationship is by interacting with the content that your first-choice influencers are already creating. That can include very easy tasks such as commenting or sharing a post they created, or liking or sharing their posts on Twitter. This is a critical step that can’t be overlooked when beginning to build a relationship with an influencer.


“Comment on my posts, rate my podcast, review my book. I’ll return the favor in a heartbeat.”Andrew Davis, Keynote Speaker & Bestselling Author
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Keep in mind that most of today’s most-sought-after influencers are very busy people. Not only are they working full-time jobs, but they often wake up to an email inbox flooded with requests. Show that you empathize and respect their time by keeping your requests tailored to the individual, creative, short, easy to respond to and highlight what is in it for the influencer.

Key Questions to Ask:

  • What steps have I taken to build credibility with my influencers?
  • What further steps can I take to continue to evolve the relationship?
  • Am I giving influencers enough information about what I’m asking?
  • Do they have enough time to respond?

#3 – Create Value for Your Audience, Influencers & Brand


“The core of social influencer marketing lies in building a relationship to ensure mutual value creation.” Dr. Konstanze Alex-Brown, Dell
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The major objective of any influencer marketing program should be to create value for your audience. Influencer marketing can accomplish that by adding trust and credibility to your brand message in a way that forms a connection between the audience, the influencer and your brand.

All of the research from recent years has found that today’s self-directed buyers don’t trust brand messages. And why should they? They’re constantly being inundated with thousands of marketing messages each day that focus more on the benefits of a product or solution than they are on how they can help the audience with their pain points.


“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.”Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

In addition to providing value for the audience, you also need to consider what value is being created for the influencers. Depending on your overall approach (or even on a project-by-project basis) there are different types of value that can be offered. Some influencer relationships include monetary compensation for their contributions, while others simply offer the value of exposure to a shared audience in a way that helps amplify their message.


“Adding influencers helps validate your content while helping to promote influencers in your industry.”Jason Miller, LinkedIn
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An additional value add for influencers might include small tokens of your appreciation of their contribution. This can come in the form of small gifts, personalized thank yous, whatever you think will show the influencers that you truly appreciate their insights.

The brand also needs to benefit from the influencer relationship. This requires developing an influencer marketing strategy that is tightly aligned with business goals and objectives, tracking progress and optimizing your approach to get even more value out of the program.

Key Questions to Ask:

  • How will incorporating these influencers benefit my audience?
  • What value am I offering to influencers?
  • Is there something personalized or special I can give to influencers to thank them?
  • How will an influencer marketing program impact my business goals?

Time, Relationship & Value for the Win

If you want to see your influencer marketing program thrive, focus on taking your time, building relationships and creating mutual value. If you don’t, you’re at risk to see all of your hard work quickly fade away like a passing fad.

What do you think are your biggest opportunities to create a more effective influencer marketing program?

Disclosure: Dell and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

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Is Your Influencer Marketing Program Not Effective? Here’s Why |

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September 1st 2016 Online Marketing

11 Common (and Avoidable!) Content Marketing Mistakes, As Explained by Memes

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Question: How do you get better at content marketing?

Answer: You learn from your mistakes.

Follow-up Question: What’s even better than learning from your mistakes?

Answer: Learning from other people’s mistakes.

If you’re looking for bad content marketing, it’s a buyer’s market. Every brand is a publishing company now. Some are doing amazing work. Most are…not so much.

While bad content may not be of value to its target audience, it definitely is useful for content marketers looking to improve.

I know it’s no fun thinking about the (sometimes costly) mistakes content marketers make. And I definitely don’t want anyone to feel bad who has made these mistakes in the past. We’re not here to shame anyone; we’re here to do better.

So to lessen the negative emotional impact of these harsh lessons, I’m enlisting some of my favorite memes to help teach them.

11 Common Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them:

#1: The Random Act of Content

Dog Wearing Glasses at Computer Confused by Lack of Content Marketing Strategy

The Mistake: Content without strategy is like a baby deer on a frozen lake: lots of motion, but no progress. Yet many marketers are still slip-sliding around.

Don’t make me quote the B2B Benchmarks stats again, people. You know it’s true. A majority of marketers are creating and releasing content that serves no immediate purpose, has no measurable goal, and is not part of a larger whole.

How to Avoid It: First, it’s important to recognize that it is possible to directly measure the effectiveness of content marketing. Then, before you create a single new piece of content, create a content strategy that features concrete goals and the metrics you will measure to evaluate progress.

#2: The Lightweight

Milton from Office Space Lamenting Low Value Content Marketing

The Mistake: The old-school content strategy was to go broad and shallow. Copywriters would churn out 250-500 words on any topic their audience conceivably could be searching for. It didn’t matter if the content delivered on the headline’s promise—what mattered was driving traffic.

That’s a tactic that won’t fly anymore. Search engines are evaluating the quality of the copy, and the way readers react to it, to determine rankings.

How to Avoid It: Focus on the few topics that are of greatest interest to your highest-value reader. Don’t worry about attracting the attention of thousands of people who will hit your content and bounce—create something valuable for the dozens who will read it and buy. 

#3: The Island

Austin Powers Lives Dangerously with Poor Content Marketing Strategy

The Mistake: Even the most in-depth piece of content is unlikely to address every aspect of a topic. Yet marketers still publish content without a single link to a related post, or suggestions for further reading. The more time customers spend on site, the more likely they are to take a next step with your company. So it’s worth giving them a reason to stay.

How to Avoid It: As you write, look for opportunities to crosslink the reader to other valuable content. For example, that content strategy link up in the first entry leads to another blog post. It’s relevant, it’s useful, and it entices the reader to stick around.

#4: The Enstuffening
A Squirrel Stuffs a Nut into Its Cheek to Symbolize Keyword Stuffing in Content Marketing

The Mistake: Until recently, SEO was built around keywords. You find the word or phrase your audience might use, then stuff it in as many times as you can make it fit. As with lightweight content, it worked for a while—but no one was really happy with the arrangement. 

How to Avoid It: Search engines are now far more concerned with user behavior than keywords. Bake in your SEO by writing informative content that answers the reader’s question. You can start with a keyword, but use it as a jumping-off point to create content that resonates.

#5: The Sloppy Joe
Boromir from Lord of the Rings Encourages Content Marketing Proofreading

The Mistake: As publishing content gets more and more simple, it’s easy to sidestep the gatekeepers of language, spelling and grammar.

That’s a good thing overall, but can lead to beautifully-designed assets marred by typos, or blog posts with phrases so convoluted they’re impossible to parse. Sloppy copy can damage your brand’s credibility and cause readers to bounce.

How to Avoid It: Treat every bit of content you create, regardless of the channel or format, as though it were a multinational ad with millions of dollars behind it. Even if it’s a post for your personal blog or your LinkedIn Profile. If you don’t have the patience (or a patient friend) to edit, these tools can help.

#6: The Great Wall of Text

A Skeleton Reading Bad Content Marketing Waits for a Paragraph Break

The Mistake: We were trained early on to write in big blocks of text. The problem is, big blocks of text are torturous to read on a screen—especially on a small mobile device.

How to Avoid It: Optimize your text for digital consumption (which sounds like a disease, but means “reading stuff on a screen”). Use paragraph breaks every 2-3 sentences, wherever there would be a logical pause. Like here:

Include headers to provide a skimmable set of highlights for your piece as well. Readers will check out the headers before they decide to commit to reading the whole thing. If you don’t have these signposts, the reader will frequently opt out. 

#7: The Eye Exam

Morpheus from the Matrix on Content Marketing Tactics

The Mistake: Repurposing content is a fantastic habit to get into (more on that later). But sometimes what works in one format doesn’t quite work in another.

The slides from your presentation looked great on a 10-foot screen, but on SlideShare they’re illegible. Or the infographic you made looks awesome—until it’s compressed into a tiny window on your blog.

How to Avoid It: Make sure to adapt content rather than just putting it in a new wrapper. You can use those presentation slides to inform a new SlideShare presentation, for example, with less text, more visual interest, and a firm CTA to your blog.

#8:The Post and Pray
Julie Andrews from Sound of Music Laments her Lack of Content Marketing Success

The Mistake: So you create an amazing content asset that speaks directly to your audience’s needs. You promote it on your social channels and optimize it for search. Then you wait for the likes and shares to come pouring in…and you wait. And wait.

How to Avoid It: It’s no secret that social platforms are increasingly pay-to-play. It’s simply not enough to rely on organic sharing and search—if you believe in the content, it’s worth putting a few dollars behind it. Start with the channel your audience uses the most, make a minimum investment, and optimize from there. 

#9: The Authority Gap
Sarcastic Bear Says Your Content Marketing Lacks Credibility

The Mistake: You know that you’re a reliable resource for your content. So you naturally expect your audience to find you credible, too. Unfortunately, your target audience may not yet know how trustworthy you are.

How to Avoid It: There are plenty of ways to add credibility to content. Cite statistics from a respected industry source. Curate quotes from trusted individuals in your field (and don’t forget to let them know you quoted them). Even better, reach out to influencers to co-create content.

#10: The One and Done
Xzibit Encourages Content Marketing Repurposing

The Mistake: After pouring blood, sweat, tears and coffee into a great piece of content, it’s easy to publish it, forget about it, and move on. You may check to see if it’s gaining traction, but in general, you’re so over it. It’s an understandable attitude that leads to a lot of wasted content potential.

How to Avoid It: Repurpose your content by personalizing it for a different audience, changing the format, refreshing the stats, and more. Roll several pieces into an eBook. Turn the eBook into a SlideShare presentation (with legible text). Your content can find a new audience with every iteration.

#11: The Maze of Gates
Buzz and Woody Lament Gated Content Marketing

The Mistake: A potential customer sees a promising headline for what looks like a fun, entertaining read. They click through—only to see a subscription pop-up before they can start reading. Or a contact form for a download. They’re not ready to make a commitment, so they bounce.

How to Avoid It: Many smart marketers are experimenting with 100% ungated content. Whether that strategy would work for you depends on your audience. Regardless, it’s important to have plenty of top-of-funnel ungated content to pull in casual readers. Entertain them, offer value, then ask for a next step.

Even the Greatest Make Mistakes

If you’re currently making any of these mistakes, good news! That means you have some untapped potential to unleash. Use these as a checklist for making your marketing more effective.

If you have successfully avoided all eleven of these, congratulations! Your next move is harder: You get to go out and make all new mistakes that we all can learn from. I’ll be failing and learning right along with you.

What was your most educational marketing mistake? Tell me your story in the comments.

Speaking of content marketing, if you would like to know more about working with a talented content marketing agency, be sure to see “Optimize the ROI of Your Content Agency InvestmentandHow B2B Executives Need to Strategize in the World of Content featuring our CEO, Lee Odden, at Content Marketing World on Thursday next week.

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11 Common (and Avoidable!) Content Marketing Mistakes, As Explained by Memes |

The post 11 Common (and Avoidable!) Content Marketing Mistakes, As Explained by Memes appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 31st 2016 copywriting, Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Email Workflow, Google Cracks Down, Influencer Marketing Fails

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How to Optimize Your Email Production Workflow [Infographic]
This infographic takes a look at the email marketing production processes of over 900 marketers to help isolate helpful tips and tools to help optimize email marketing workflows. Helpful hints include the optimum production cycle, tips for strategy and goal setting, content creation, design and development. MarketingProfs

Google warns it will crack down on “intrusive interstitials” in January
Google has made another bold move on behalf of user experience — cracking down on intrusive interstitials. The platform says that these ads are problematic on smaller screens, like mobile devices. Sites affected are those that show a pop-up, either immediately or after the user has been browsing content for a while, after the user has arrived from search results and those that show interstitials that users have to dismiss to access content, among others. Search Engine Land

Why Marketers Fail at Influencer Marketing (Report)
According to a recent report, the biggest struggle in measuring influencer marketing efforts is proving value. 28% of marketers say gathering data is a challenge, and 13% of marketers surveyed didn’t know what metrics to track. However, over 60% of influencer marketers are tracking more than five metrics, including traffic to a specific web page and social shares. SocialTimes

Report: Video ads on Instagram are more common and getting longer
Marketing Land reports that a recently released report “presents mobile advertising trends on social media sites, and Instagram in particular. The report finds that one out of every four ads on Instagram is now a video ad. This coincides with Facebook’s effort to make “video ads” more broadly accessible to small businesses and in emerging markets.” Marketing Land


Study: Programmatic Ads Lead To 55% Lift In Offline Sales
MediaPost reports findings from a recent Accordant Media study: “Overall, there was a 55% lift in offline sales when serving programmatic ads over a control group not served the ad, with 35% incremental conversions, meaning that over one third of conversions would not have occurred without the programmatic campaign.” MediaPost

Facebook Is Letting Brands Build Slideshow Ads Right From Their Mobile Phones
According to AdAge, on Tuesday, Facebook launched tools for creating Slideshow Ads, “including the ability for marketers to create them right from their mobile Facebook pages. Slideshows are basically video ads, but use still images to string together a story.” Ad Age

Twitter’s New Button Enables People to DM you Direct from your Website
On Wednesday, Twitter announced the latest tool in their arsenal to allow users to more efficiently connect with each other, and with brands — a new button for websites that “enables site visitors to quickly and easily fire off a Twitter DM direct from the page,” according to Social Media Today.

Apple Weighs iPhone Video Editing App in Renewed Push on Social
In an effort to integrate more social networking apps in their mobile products, Bloomberg reports: “Apple Inc., seeking to capitalize on the popularity of social networks, is developing a video sharing and editing application and is testing new related features for its iPhone and iPad operating systems.” Bloomberg

YouTube prepares to expand beyond video with more social features
The video sharing platform YouTube is rumored to be adding new features that are out of the ordinary for the platform — its new suite of features called Backstage that will “give subscribers new ways to interact with content creators, including through “rich replies,” which are comments that feature multimedia content, including photos and videos.” ClickZ

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet us @toprank!

The post Online Marketing News: Email Workflow, Google Cracks Down, Influencer Marketing Fails appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 26th 2016 Online Marketing

[eBook] How to Build Your B2B Marketing Empire From the Ground Up

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Is your B2B marketing a skyscraper or a sandcastle?

It’s no fun to spend a day on the beach creating your dream house, only to have the tide wipe it out.

But if you were planning on moving in with your spouse and kids…well, that would be a problem.

It takes planning and strategy to build something that will stand the test of time. Right now, too many B2B marketers are building their empire–and betting the future of their business–on nothing but sand and water.

If your organization is building without a foundation, you’re not alone. We’ve all seen the stats: Nearly two thirds of B2B marketers have no documented content marketing strategy. So it’s not surprising only 30% say their efforts are effective. It’s time to develop a new blueprint for success.

To help marketers start breaking the sandcastle mindset, the team at TopRank Marketing has partnered with MarketingProfs to produce a new eBook, “How to Build Your B2B Marketing Empire from the Ground Up.”

The eBook is an introduction to the 10th annual MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum. In celebration of the forum’s “Build to Last” theme, it features advice from some Frank-Lloyd-Wright-caliber marketing architects.

In the eBook, you will learn how to build a B2B marketing strategy designed to stand the test of time:

  • The three fundamental questions a good strategy should answer
  • The elements of an unshakeable foundation
  • The ideal characteristics of your marketing team
  • How to build your career to last

And much more.

Take a peek at the eBook’s skyscraping insights with the quotes below, and share them with your own construction crew:


Michael Brenner: “Effective marketing programs focus on helping customers first.” tweet this

Andy Crestodina: “Decide what success looks like in Google Analytics and track that goal specifically.” tweet this

Doug Kessler: “Your B2B Marketing ‘rebar’ is a clear, compelling sense of who you are & the unique things you bring to the table.” tweet this

Chris Moody: “If your marketing strategy isn’t on paper (or digital), it isn’t happening.” tweet this

Jay Acunzo: “A willingness to break from ‘best practices’ and go craft on your own is an essential part of building a B2B marketing strategy.” tweet this

Scott Monty: “Without a doubt, one of the most important qualities for anyone in the marketing field is curiosity.” tweet this

Lee Odden: A successful career in B2B marketing requires: understanding what you want to achieve, honest assessment of your skills & a map for closing the gap.” tweet this

Mitch Joel: “Find team members who can make fast decisions, but take the time to nurture the right results.” tweet this

Jason Miller: Take a cue from KISS: Four unique team members sitting together, synced up beautifully to deliver a marketing experience.” tweet this

Jen Slaski: Hire people who are naturally passionate but instill the importance of asking, ‘What’s our goal?’” tweet this

Ann Handley: “Build teams that try to understand what it’s really like in your customer’s world.” tweet this

Ready to break ground on a new B2B marketing empire? Join us at the 10th Annual MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum.

The post [eBook] How to Build Your B2B Marketing Empire From the Ground Up appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 24th 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: CEO Social Success, Influencers Love Instagram & Pinterest Video

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content marketing and email marketing for lead generation


3 Things Every CEO Should Do to Succeed on Social Media [Infographic]
This new infographic from MDG Advertising illustrates three simple rules for CEOs on social media: Start with LinkedIn, pick a few networks outside of LinkedIn and stick with them, and avoid being boring. Why should CEOs be on social media in the first place? It gives the organization a human face, and it’s a great way to positively impact a company’s reputation. MDG Blog

Influencers: Instagram Is the Most Engaging Platform (Report)
A new report shows that 60% of influencers consider Instagram to be the most effective platform for engaging with their audiences, while only 18% said Facebook was the most engaging. The same study showed that 34% of influencers didn’t think that brands had a realistic understanding of the costs of influencer marketing. SocialTimes

Pinterest Says It’s Making a ‘Bigger Bet on Video,’ Debuts Promoted Videos
According to Ad Age, Pinterest “on Wednesday introduced Promoted Video ads, allowing users to expand its existing, animated Cinematic Pins to access a full auto-play video with sound. Brands can display six Buyable Pins beneath each video as it plays.” Ad Age

How to Outperform Fortune 500 Brands on Instagram [Research]
Content Marketing Institute analyzed a year of Instagram content from Fortune 500 companies and found four key takeaways: The most engagement is between 10pm-3am Eastern for F500 brands, F500 companies are posting mainly on weekdays but Sundays see the most engagement, pre-editing photos to post on Instagram isn’t a good idea and use hashtags and question marks rather than exclamation points. Content Marketing Institute

Marketers have high hopes for automated content
“In a poll conducted to accompany the ClickZ Intelligence Digital Trends 2016 report, nearly a quarter of respondents identified content marketing as the key trend for their company this year.” However popular, ClickZ also found that the majority of companies surveyed didn’t have a dedicated content marketing team. ClickZ

content marketing and email marketing for lead generation

3 Billion Shares: What We Learned from Analyzing the 1 Million Most Shared Articles from December 2015 to June 2016
Fractl and BuzzSumo paired up to analyze the 1 million most shared articles in the first six months of this year, and the results are enlightening. For example, Facebook accounts for 90.2% of social shares, and only 14 publishers averaged 5,000 or more shares per article. Fractl

Enterprise Marketing in 2016: Channel and Priority Trends
“Enterprise marketers say television advertising and social media are two of their top channel priorities this year, according to recent research from Clutch and R2i,” Marketing Profs reports. 34% of marketers say increasing brand awareness is their top priority this year, and 32% cite building customer loyalty as their top priority. MarketingProfs

Blab shuts down its live video platform
Blab co-founder Shaan Puri announced late last week that they’ve closed the platform, citing “user churn was a problem because live video streams require a user’s complete attention. Puri says only about 10 percent of Blab’s userbase visited regularly.” Marketing Land

Twitter Is Now Letting Brands Sponsor Its Emoji-Like Stickers
According to AdWeek, “In June, Twitter launched stickers that let users overlay searchable emojis and graphics on top of their photos. Now Pepsi is the first to launch a paid ad campaign using the visuals.” However, it’s not immediately clear how promoted stickers are sold. AdWeek

After redesigning Discover, Snapchat finds viewers grow but engagement drops
About two weeks after Snapchat launched their new Discover section, publishers are seeing an increase in overall viewers, but a drop in total views, completion rates and time spent per user. Publishers are also noticing that viewers are opening editions and only viewing the cover article, resulting in a 28% drop-off after the first snap vs. 13% prior to the redesign. Digiday

What were your top news stories this week?

I’ll be back with my lovely co-host, Josh Nite, next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet me @Tiffani_Allen or @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: CEO Social Success, Influencers Love Instagram & Pinterest Video appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 19th 2016 Online Marketing