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

[eBook] Welcome to The 2016 Content Marketing Summer Games

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Content Marketing Summer Games Cover Image

Every year, thousands of high school students head to the track, pool, or stadium dreaming of greatness. Hundreds make it to college-level competition. A handful become pros. But when all’s said and done, just one athlete takes the gold.

Likewise, content marketing has become a highly competitive landscape. Thousands of writers, brands, marketers and entrepreneurs compete day in and day out for attention on the web. But did you know that a single consumer is exposed to thousands of marketing messages every single day? And that 50% of content marketers don’t know what success looks like?

To have a shot at connecting with your audience, you must become a champion content marketer. But what does that look mean?

In our latest eBook, The 2016 Content Marketing Summer Games, we uncover the 7 traits of champion content marketers, and tapped into medal winning advice from 7 content marketing athletes to help you train for content marketing greatness.

What Makes a Champion Content Marketer?

We all have the opportunity to do something great, but it’s the dedication to training and pushing yourself to be better that makes true champions. This eBook will identifies and provides guidance on traits of champion content marketers including: how to create a winning experience, ways to push content potential, how to confront your fears, and more!

Insights From Medal Winning Content Marketers

We were fortunate enough to gain some incredibly valuable insights from some amazing content marketing athletes at brands like LinkedIn, Uberflip, UPS and GE Digital. Here’s a preview of some of the medal winning advice you’ll learn from these champion marketers:

“Be careful not to stretch yourself too thin. Top athletes and top marketers have an unyielding sense of focus.” @amrynnie Tweet This

“Experience content the way your customers do by looking at your content experience with a fresh set of eyes.” @hanaabaza Tweet This

“When building your content marketing muscles, collaboration & conversation are key components of success.” @robzie_ Tweet This

“Every content marketer should schedule time to refresh old content. If you don’t schedule time to do it, it won’t happen.” @amywhiggins Tweet This

“Become a source of trusted answers by identifying pressing questions and answering them.” @cnmoody Tweet This

“Go outside of your comfort zone to spark creativity by getting a fresh perspective from new resources.” @JournoMaggie Tweet This

“Content curation should be an essential part of every marketer’s daily training routine.” @TweetsFromPawan Tweet This

Learn to Become a Champion Content Marketer

The tips, tactics and insights in this new eBook are all focused on one thing; helping you become a content marketing champion. Now’s the time to dust off your keyboard and start stretching your content marketing muscles to prepare for the race of your life! Take the first step by downloading The 2016 Content Marketing Summer Games


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[eBook] Welcome to The 2016 Content Marketing Summer Games |

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August 18th 2016 Online Marketing

20 Must-Have Content Marketing Tools for Writing Better Blog Posts

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Fans of high culture rejoice. We have finally realized our potential as a species. We have reached the pinnacle of creative expression.

That’s right. MacGyver is getting a reboot.

For those of you born in the 90’s, MacGyver was a TV show starring Richard Dean Anderson and his amazing mullet:


Image via Telestar

Breathtaking, isn’t it? MacGyver was a secret agent who used the power of feathered hair (and an array of improvised gadgetry) to fight the forces of evil. Give the man a paperclip and some bubblegum, and he could make anything from a deadly weapon to a stylish evening gown.

Content marketers tend to be the MacGyver of the marketing world. We may not have the hairdo (or any hair at all, in my case), but we’re used to making miracles with an improvised toolkit.

To celebrate MacGyver’s triumphant return, let’s put away our tin-foil-and-dryer-lint contraptions and give our tools a much-needed upgrade.

Here are tools you can use in every stage of creating a blog post, from creating concepts to adding visual interest.


Content marketing starts with audience and keyword research. After that, it’s time to take that research and turn it into actual concepts for individual posts. These five tools can help.

#1 – HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

 hubspot topic generator

This little wizard is still the gold standard for simple idea generation. You can enter up to three topics, and it will put together sample headlines for you. The suggestions are based on HubSpot’s own incredibly successful blog. They may be a little on the generic side, but they’re a good starting point.

#2 – Portent’s Content Idea Generator

portent idea generator

Put in a keyword, get a single headline. It’s a simple little generator, but one thing sets it above some of the other tools I considered for this list: It’s a teaching tool. Each component of the headline gets its own little mini-rationale.

#3 – TweakYourBIZ Title Generator


Unlike the first two, this title generator spits out multiple lists of ideas, organized by type of post. You may notice a lack of variety, but with this many options available, you’re bound to find a few winners.

#4 – The Content Discovery Tool

content discovery tool

This tool is a unique little beast. It’s built entirely in Google Sheets, using XML commands, JSON scripts, and unicorn blood to pull information from dozens of sources. Type in a topic and the sheet populates with trending articles from around the web. You can dig in and customize it, but it works well even for non-tech folks like me.

#5 – Buzzsumo


Sometimes seeing the top performing posts on your topic is the best inspiration. For that, Buzzsumo is an extremely useful tool. Type in a topic and see the most-shared posts of all time, or the past year, six months, month or week. You can even see what posts are about to hit big on the Trending page. Buzzsumo has a decent amount of functionality for free. Pro accounts unlock a host of other features and start at $99/month.

Headline Optimization

The concept generators can give you a good idea of how to approach your topic. These tools can help you write a headline that gets people’s attention.

#6 – CoSchedule Headline Analyzer


This tool is a favorite around the TopRank Marketing office—my colleague in content Caitlin Burgess mentioned it in her post on writing compelling headlines. This list would be incomplete without it, though. It’s easy to use, informative, and educational.

#7 – Sharethrough Headline Analyzer

 sharethrough headline analyzer

Similar functionality to CoSchedule here, but it’s always worth corroborating results. This one focuses more on the emotional feel of the headline, too, so it can deliver insights that you don’t get from CoSchedule.

#8 – KingSumo Headlines


After you analyze and optimize your headlines, this WordPress plugin can automatically A/B test them for you. Load it up with three different headlines when you post, and it will randomly serve them to visitors and monitor social shares. Over time, it can consistently deliver the best-performing headline. Nifty!


Now comes the hard part, and the fun part: Actually drafting. There aren’t any tools yet that can do the writing for you. Which is good, because it means people like me keep pulling a paycheck. However, there are tools that can help you focus on getting the job done.

#9 – Freedom


Freedom is a customizable distraction blocker. You can build custom blocklists for sites/notifications/apps you want to block, and on which devices you want to block them. Choose time limits, schedule your day, and get your productivity back. Free trial, plans start at $2.42/month.

#10 – FocusWriter


This program is essentially a stripped-down word processor. It hides all its menus and widgets off the screen until mouseover, so there’s nothing between you and the words you’re typing on the screen. It also helps avoid the eye strain with soft gray text on a translucent background. $5 download.

#11 – StayFocusd


If you’re using Google Chrome, this is the productivity taskmaster you’ve been looking for. Set up a list of time-wasting sites and it will block them completely, after an amount of allowed time that you specify. So if you say 30 minutes, then spend 20 on Facebook and 10 on Twitter, you’re done for the day. It also features the “Nuclear Option,” which blocks every site on your blacklist for a set amount of time and can’t be undone without uninstalling. It’s merciless—which is exactly what a writer needs sometimes.

#12 – Zen-Cast


Studies show a little ambient noise can help focus and productivity. This webpage is a simple, surprisingly customizable nature sound generator. Spend hours working by the seashore, in the rain, or under a waterfall, with insects and birdsong to boot. Although nerds (like me) might find this ambient sound more relaxing.


So your first draft is done. But unless this is your first rodeo, you know the first draft is the beginning, not the end. These tools can help you edit for the 4 Cs of quality content.

#13 – Word2CleanHTML


If you draft in Word and then upload to your CMS (like me), this little tool is a godsend. It strips out blank spaces, replaces proprietary tags with HTML standard tags, and converts special characters to universal ones.

#14 – The Hemingway App


This is another tool I have recommended before, but this list would be incomplete without it. The Hemingway App checks your writing for convoluted sentences, passive voice, and overuse of adverbs. It can even tell you what grade level you’re writing at. Just take the suggestions on sentence length with a grain of salt. Too many short sentences in a row makes writing feel choppy.

#15 – Readability Test Tool

 readability test

Similar to the Hemingway App, feed this test a URL or copy-and-paste your text in, and get a detailed analysis. This tool evaluates on a few more metrics than Hemingway does, and provides useful stats on average sentence length, percentage of complex words, and more.


The right image can be a compelling visual headline for your piece. These tools can help you find and customize your images.

Finding Images:

#16 – Pixabay


This site is my go-to for royalty-free images. It features hundreds of thousands of photos and a robust search engine that can actually return useful results.

 #17 – Stocksnap


Another collection of royalty-free images with a great interface for discovery. There’s a little overlap with Pixabay, but it has plenty of original content, too.

 #18 – rgbstock


This site has a less intelligent tagging system than the other two, and the way it displays results isn’t the best. But it does have pictures the other two sites don’t have. It’s worth braving the interface to get fresh photos.

Editing Images:

 #19 – Pixlr


This surprisingly feature-rich free web app has functionality to rival professional software. It’s good for everything from resizing images to in-depth layer-based composition.

#20 – Canva


Canva is the star player for creating social media images. It’s so simple, so intuitive, so easy to create cool-looking stuff. Make a free account and you get unlimited uploads, unlimited use of a big library of assets, and downloads in high-res and web optimized sizes. There are also huge libraries of elements you can buy for a dollar or two apiece.

Maximize Your MacGuyver Instinct

Content marketers are used to making the best of what’s around. But there’s no need to work with paperclips and chewing gum when there are dozens of free and low-cost tools to help with every stage of the process. From creating concepts to adding visual flair, these tools can help you make content as majestic as the mightiest mullet.

What are your favorite blog writing tools? Let me know in the comments.

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20 Must-Have Content Marketing Tools for Writing Better Blog Posts |

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August 17th 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Email Marketing CRO, Facebook Cripples Blockers & Twitter Video

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5 Email Campaign Ideas to Help Increase Conversion Rates [Infographic]
HubSpot reports: “Why is email is the most powerful channel for lead nurturing? Because it’s a one-on-one interaction, and it can be highly personalized based on where a lead is in the buyer’s journey. In terms of engagement, research shows that lead nurturing emails beat out individual email blasts by far.” HubSpot

Facebook Cripples Ad Blockers on Its Site, Gives Consumers New Control Over Ads
Facebook is making it easier for users to determine which ads they are served by allowing them to choose the ads they see based on brand and interest, and giving them the ability to opt out of ads from selected companies. For example, Facebook can tell a user if they’re on a brand’s email marketing list, and they’ll be able to opt out of seeing those ads in the future. AdAge

Twitter Video Ads Deliver Recall, Receptivity (Study)
New research finds, among other things, “Twitter was the only platform where cognitive effort, or information processing, increased for video ads, on both desktop and mobile, and attention levels remained constant on Twitter whether users were watching organic or branded ad content,” adding that mobile recall was “significantly higher.” SocialTimes

B2B Data Management: Marketers’ Top Goals and Challenges
New research from Openprise and Ascend2 shows that 72% of B2B marketers surveyed consider improving ROI measurability to be the most important part of a data management strategy, followed by 65% who said improving data quality was the most important part. Among top data challenges, marketers listed poor data use and accessibility (54%) and poor data quality (44%). MarketingProfs


Mobile Search Intensifies Duplicate Listing Challenge, Moz Local Attempts To Solve
According to MediaPost, “Moz Local on Tuesday released an update to its Duplicate Listing Dashboard that tracks more than one billion duplicate listings across the Web. The platform aims to provide an increasing amount of data and visibility into duplicate listings — but more importantly, can either remove those duplicates or update changes to the listings through aggregators and partners.” MediaPost

Facebook organic reach is down 52% for publishers’ Pages this year
Marketing Land reports that “From January 2016 through mid-July 2016, publishers’ Facebook Pages have experienced a 52-percent decline in organic reach.” This decline, however dramatic, should function more as a catalyst for publishers to create more compelling, more engaging content like video, to increase visibility. Marketing Land

Facebook to websites: stop clickbait headlines — or else
Publishers on Facebook that utilize clickbait headlines have been issued yet another blow from Facebook – and for good reason. Using a built-in filter that functions like a SPAM filter, Facebook will identify which posts are clickbait, and which pages or domains they came from. Links shared from those pages and domain will appear lower in the Facebook News Feed. CNN

Cision Release List of Top 100 Sites for Marketers
Keeping up with digital marketing can feel a lot like herding cats. Things are changing and evolving quickly in the digital sphere. In order to help digital marketers stay on top of their game, Cision released a list of the top 100 sites that are the best for “the latest news in marketing, PR and SEO,” including the TopRank Marketing blog. Cision

What were your top online news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more online marketing news! Have something to share? Tweet me @Tiffani_Allen or @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: Email Marketing CRO, Facebook Cripples Blockers & Twitter Video appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 12th 2016 Online Marketing

How B2B Marketers Can Rise Above Roadblocks with Influencer Marketing

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As the old joke goes, there are two seasons in my home state of Minnesota: Winter and Road Construction. Right now, we are smack in the middle of the latter.

I’m a guy who doesn’t like pony-sized potholes on my streets. So I try to make peace with the endless lane changes, reroutes, and slow-downs. But sometimes it seems like they go out of their way to mess up our routines, doesn’t it?

If you’re a B2B marketer, you may feel similar desperation looking at your marketing channels. It seems like every route between you and your audience is getting blocked or traffic jammed. Organic social visibility is way down: Each Facebook post you make will reach between 2-6% of your followers. A quarter of those who might be interested in your display ads are using ad blockers. Your content can only engage readers if they can find it, and there’s a lot of commodity content clogging the roads.

What’s the best way to navigate the stops and jams? Do what you wish you could do on the road: Rise above it.

Instead of dodging detours and fuming in traffic, reach your buyers via the people they’re already listening to. [Keep reading for a chance to win a free ticket to the conference!]

The Solution: Influencer Content

Lee Odden LinkedIn

To help marketers understand how to approach (and get more out of) influencer marketing, TopRank Marketing’s CEO Lee Odden will be presenting influencer content best practices to attendees at this year’s Überflip Experience.


Session Details
Date: August 25, 2016
Time: 10:50am
Session Title: Winfluencer Marketing: How B2B Companies Are Winning Hearts & Minds with Influencer Content

Session Description: 

Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising and recommendations from friends, peers and experts hold valuable influence in the mind of business buyers. Losing business to content overload, disappearing organic social visibility and the effects of ad blocking, B2B marketers are looking for better ways to attract, engage and
convert new business.

This presentation will provide the strategy, tools, and tactics for developing an integrated influencer content program that will put points on your ROI scoreboard.

Attendees will learn: 

  • The fundamentals of organic and paid influencer recruiting
  • Creative ways to engage influencers to co-create content
  • Top influencer marketing platforms and tools
  • How to maintain influencer relationships between campaigns

Snackable Q&A with Lee Odden: What is the most compelling reason for B2B companies to start influencer marketing?

“Buyers are tired of being bombarded by salesy brand content and more than 50% say they don’t trust advertising (Nielsen). What they do trust are peers, experts and influencers in their networks. By developing relationships with industry influencers to collaborate on content, B2B companies can scale the quantity of quality content they produce, boost their credibility and influence, differentiate from the competition and substantially extend their reach – all without a substantial increase in budget.”

3 Elements of Successful Influencer Marketing Programs

Create a Strategy for Influencer Alignment

All influencers are not created equal, but everyone is influential about something. It’s your job as a marketer to identify what it is that your customers care about and find influencers that align with those needs.

In addition to finding influencers that align with customer needs, they also should align with your brand message and marketing goals. Influencers that are properly aligned are much more likely to promote the content that you create together.

Develop Relationships with Influencers

Some brands hire influencers as a one-time, strictly business exchange. That’s fine, to a certain point, but developing ongoing relationships with influencers is better for everyone in the long run. Here are some easy tips to begin building relationships:

  1. Add Value First. Don’t propose on the first date. And definitely don’t propose before then, either. Start by following influencers on social media, commenting on their shares, and sharing their work with your audience. Provide value first.
  2. Start with an Easy Ask. Asking for a quick quote is a good way to begin an influencer relationship. It’s a low effort/high reward proposition, far easier than asking for an hour-long interview or a 1,000-word blog post.
  3. Make Promotion Easy. Many influencers are incredibly busy, make sure to provide them with the necessary tools to promote the content that you co-created.
  4. Follow up, Follow up, and then Follow up. Stay current with your influencers. Congratulate them when they make the news. Keep promoting their content. Show genuine interest even when (especially when) you don’t need something from them.

Don’t Just Collaborate, Co-Create

There’s no bonding experience quite like joining forces to create something cool. The influencers who are willing to truly co-create with you are far more likely to create with you in the future, promote you to their audience, and introduce you to other influencers.

The Cure for Content Traffic Jams

If your usual routes to reach your audience are blocked, influencers can help your content fly over the obstacles. Even a little influencer collaboration can go a long way. And once you start building relationships and regularly co-creating awesome content over time, the sky isn’t even the limit.

If you’re ready to rise above, join Lee at the Überflip Experience in Toronto, August 24th and 25th. Our President, Sue Misukanis, will also be there to answer any questions you might have. And our Director of Agency Marketing, Ashley Zeckman, will be attending and live-blogging sessions.

I know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t have a ticket!” Well, we can help with that.

If you’d like to win a conference pass (does not include flight and hotel) that is worth over $800, all you need to do is answer the question below in the comments. We are looking for the most creative response so give it your all!

What is a creative or innovative way that B2B marketers can use influencers to create awesome content?

Make sure to include your Twitter handle in your response. The winner will be announced on Friday, August 12th.

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How B2B Marketers Can Rise Above Roadblocks with Influencer Marketing |

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August 10th 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Facebook Livestream Ads, Native Video on LinkedIn, & Ad-Blocking Myths Busted

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Marketing News Video Marketing Infographic

The smart and talented Tiffani Allen will return for next week’s roundup. While we wait, let’s dive into what’s been happening in the news this week.

The Future of Social Video: A Brief Look into What’s Next [Infographic]
Video. Is there anything it can’t do? First it kills the radio star, and now it’s taking over social media. According to research from Adobe, over half of marketers say video content has the best ROI. If you’re feeling left behind, don’t worry: one out of four marketers and small business owners feel they’re not up to speed on video marketing. Check out the full infographic for a breakdown of video marketing by social media platform. Hubspot

This Week’s TopRank Marketing News Video Roundup

Instagram Takes a Page from Snapchat, and Takes Aim at It, Too
If your only problem with Instagram is that it isn’t Snapchat, rejoice! Instagram just introduced a new feature called Stories, collections of photos and videos (with added enhancements like stickers and drawing functionality) that, once published, will disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar? Facebook-owned Instagram is clearly taking a shot at the platform’s biggest rival. Do the kids these days need two disappearing-picture platforms? Time will tell. New York Times

Your LinkedIn Feed Is Coming to Life with Videos from LinkedIn Influencers
LinkedIn may be late to the native video party, but they’re coming at it from an intriguing new angle. They’re not launching the product to the whole subscriber base and waiting to see what people do with it. Only a select few LinkedIn Influencers will have access to native video (at least for now), and they will be using it for a specific purpose. Influencers will be posting 30-second videos answering questions from their followers, via an app that collects questions and does the recording. LinkedIn

Facebook is Testing Mid-roll Video Ads in Facebook Live
We knew it was coming: Facebook has settled on a way to monetize their live streams. Instead of pre-roll ads, though, they’re focused on adding 15-second ads mid-stream, when already-invested viewers will be less likely to bail. The wrinkle right now is none of the ad money goes to the content producer. Facebook pockets all the loot, although they do pay popular livestreamers directly for their content. AdvertisingAge

Twitter Awards to Highlight Top Marketing Efforts
If your brand has been sufficiently rocking it on Twitter, you might want to submit your campaign for the first annual #TwitterAwards. Categories include #Live, #Impact, #Creativity, #Scale, #Customer, and #Growth. Twitter’s VP of Global Brand and Creative Strategy says winners “may receive a coveted award perfect for mantels or glass cases.” Then again, they may not. #IGuessWeWillWaitAndSee. SocialTimes

Does the IAB’s First Ad-Blocking Study Provide “The Missing Stat?”
The one thing most marketers want to know about ad blockers is, “what can we do to make people not use them?” This study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) may be able to answer that question. In their study, 20% of participants used to have ad blockers but turned them off, either because the publisher asked them to in order to view content, or because the ad blocker itself blocked content they wanted to see. Marketing Land

Snapchat Launches ‘Geostickers’ for More Location-Activated Customization
In surprising news, Snapchat did not announce a new Instagram clone this week. Instead, they added new stickers that can only be used in a certain location, much like their popular Geofilters. The catch for users is they must have location enabled on their phones to use the new features, which will make it easier to serve relevant, location-based ads in the future. Social Media Today

What marketing news stories caught your attention this week?

Tiffani will be back next week with more marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet her @Tiffani_Allen, or tell the whole team @toprank.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client. 

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Online Marketing News: Facebook Livestream Ads, Native Video on LinkedIn, & Ad-Blocking Myths Busted |

The post Online Marketing News: Facebook Livestream Ads, Native Video on LinkedIn, & Ad-Blocking Myths Busted appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 5th 2016 Online Marketing

Boost Content Marketing Results & Learn How LinkedIn Grew Their Blog by 30X

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Conversations between digital marketers are always abuzz with the latest, greatest and most innovative content marketing techniques. Everything from different content types, to the newest ways to promote content are never far from their lips.

There is no doubt that content plays an incredibly important role as part of an integrated digital marketing program. And one of the most tried and true content marketing tactics that has stood the test of time is blogging.

In fact, 45% of marketers still say that blogging is the most important piece of their content strategy and marketers that use blogging as part of their strategy, generate 67% more leads than those that don’t.

The blog that you’re reading right now has been a staple of our content marketing for over 10 years and has produced a library of information for our readers, as well as providing us tremendous insight into what people want more (or less) of.  In addition to running our own blog, we’ve been able to help many of our clients increase online visibility, better connect with their audience and generate leads through blogging and amplification efforts.

How LinkedIn Grew Their Blog 31X (with Help From TopRank Marketing)

We have been fortunate to work with some amazing brands like LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. Over the course of our relationship, our two teams have found a rhythm for creating insightful, interesting and optimized content in a way that has proven to be attractive to LinkedIn’s audience.

Part of our program is focused on the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog. We’re happy to report that our combined efforts have created some incredible growth for their blog in a short amount of time. In just 18 months their number of subscribers increased 31X, and in only 12 months they experienced an increase in visitors by nearly 50%.

Learn How to Grow Your Blog with Advice From LinkedIn

Sean Callahan, LinkedIn’s Senior Manager of Content Marketing and his team recently released an eBook that shares insights into lessons learned in the past 18 months that led to their blog’s growth. If you haven’t already, you should download How to Grow Your Blog by 30X or More: LinkedIn Shares the Tactics That Grew Its Blog at Hyperspeed.

To whet your appetite, here are some great takeaways from the eBook (that really only scratch the surface).

Always Focus on Audience Needs

First and foremost, the cadence, content and optimization of your blog must put the reader first. That means marketers must keep a close eye on their analytics, social shares and even survey the audience so that the blog aligns with need.

Our core blogging philosophy hinges on our readers; there’s simply nothing more important.”

By focusing on the topics that matter most to your readers, in formats that make it easy for them to consume and share the information you’ll find that you’ll attract more readers that fit your target demographic and create long-term affinity with readers that keep coming back for more.

Don’t Dismiss the Significance of SEO

Search Engine Optimization has evolved so far beyond actual search engine preferences and  instead favors the needs, habits and preferences of the search audience. Simply put, content MUST be optimized for the audience that you want to attract.

Specific to blogging, TopRank Marketing Vice President Jolina Pettice says:

“By leveraging the right data, LinkedIn and TopRank Marketing discover what the target audience is searching for online, and together create content to help them solve the specific problems illustrated by that search intent. We then monitor and adjust our content plan based on the overall performance of posts.”

The Importance of Amplifying Blog Content

So many brands have made the mistake of investing countless hours and dollars into creating great content, and then failing to promote it once it’s complete. Don’t fall into the trap of content creation without amplification!

We’re equal opportunity promoters, telling our audience about our most recent blog posts via email, via social, and in person.”

There are a multitude of ways to promote blog content, but how exactly you do that ties back to understanding who your audience is, where they spend time and how to best reach them.

Sage Advice for Increasing Your Blog’s Performance

Creating and maintaining a successful blog that helps meet marketing and business objectives takes work. It’s important to be thoughtful about who you’re creating content for, and how the content is optimized and amplified so that new readers can find and share it.

For more insights and tactical tips into how LinkedIn grew their blog substantially in only 18 months, download their new eBook: How to Grow Your Blog by 30X or More: LinkedIn Shares the Tactics That Grew Its Blog at Hyperspeed.

LinkedIn How to grow your blog

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Boost Content Marketing Results & Learn How LinkedIn Grew Their Blog by 30X |

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August 3rd 2016 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Critical Personalization, Social Strategy Research & Marketers on Reddit

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Why Creating a Personal Online Experience for Your Visitors Is Critical [Infographic]
Did you know that 87% of companies that have implemented web personalization have seen an increased return in key metrics? There is certainly a strong case to create a personal experience for visitors to your website or blog. This handy infographic explains why one size doesn’t always fit all. MarketingProfs

What 51 Million Pieces of Content Say About Your Social Media Marketing Strategy [NEW RESEARCH]
TrackMaven analyses “the social media content from over 40,000 companies across 130 major industries on four major social networks —Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn — to provide businesses with relevant benchmarks for social media audience size, posting frequency, and engagement at an industry-specific level” in this new report. TrackMaven

Reddit Intros New Ad Offering, ‘Grows Up’ and Says It Can Be as Big as Facebook
Reddit announced that they’re allowing marketers to sponsor user posts on the popular social platform. AdAge reports “On August 4, Reddit will debut a new ad offering called Promoted User Posts, which will give marketers the ability to sponsor user generated posts on Reddit’s platform.” While the benefits to the users are unclear, this could make huge headway for influencer marketers and consumer brands trying to reach a tough-to-reach audience. AdAge

Google launches imported call conversions
Google is now allowing advertisers using their AdWords platform to import call data, so they can better attribute leads and revenue driven by their ads and connect that to their return on ad spend. This has been available in a rudimentary form previously, but this new ability will step up visibility into ROI and user behavior. ClickZ

Spotify Is Now Letting Brands Target Listeners Worldwide via Their Playlists
Last week, Spotify announced that the music streaming service will be offering programmatic advertising to its user base for marketers, with targeting based on demographics like age, gender, location and listening habits like playlist and genres. AdWeek

37 percent of US marketers struggle with creating the most efficient marketing mix across channels to drive results.

Google rolls out expanded text ads, device bid adjustments & responsive ads for native in AdWords
According to Search Engine Land, “Google has officially launched expanded text ads. The extra-long ads with double headlines began rolling out across devices Tuesday morning.” Google is also now allowing advertisers to start setting base bid adjustments by device, and announced the upcoming responsive display ads that will be served across the GDN. Search Engine Land

Facebook Reports Seeing 2 Billion Searches Daily
MediaPost reports that on Wwednesday, Mark Zuckerberg said that on Facebook, “people are doing more than 2 billion searches a day between looking up people, businesses, and other things that they care about … One of the big growing use cases that we’re investing a lot in is looking up the content in the ecosystem, and that is an area that we’re very excited about, which helps people find more content.” MediaPost

ACSI report: Customer satisfaction increases for e-business despite dips in social media
The American Customer Satisfaction Index has released their findings on how social media, search engines and news websites have impacted consumer perceptions of e-businesses. While satisfaction with e-businesses is continuing to improve, satisfaction on social media — attributed in part to the rise of social customer service — has dropped. Marketing Land

Financial Times: People find mobile ads ‘intrusive’ and ‘distracting’
Financial Times released findings from a study of 1,300 readers, of which Digiday reports: “Half of respondents to a survey the FT conducted with Quantcast said mobile ads are more intrusive than desktop, although 37 percent of them said they’d be more influenced if the mobile ads they saw were more creative.” Digiday

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back in two weeks with more digital marketing news! The lovely and talented Ashley Zeckman will be filling my spot on camera and on the blog next week with the latest and greatest in the world of digital marketing.

The post Online Marketing News: Critical Personalization, Social Strategy Research & Marketers on Reddit appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

July 29th 2016 Online Marketing