Infographic: 14 Online Marketing Tips to Improve Design, Content & Conversions

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Winning With Authority Infographic Header

A trusted resource can be a friend, colleague or industry expert and we may turn to them from time-to-time for guidance.

Today’s online marketing landscape is crowded with advice from marketers that may have the power to influence you, but not necessarily the authority to give you sage advice.

In our eBook “Winning with Authority – 15 Experts on Integrated Online Marketing”, we pulled together advice from trusted thought leaders in the marketing field. Now we present you an infographic with even more insights from the industry experts that will be presenting at the upcoming Copyblogger Authority Rainmaker conference.

The “Authority Wins” infographic is brimming with advice from Authority Rainmakers like Chris Brogan, Joe Pulizzi, Danny Sullivan and Ann Handley. Just like the eBook and the conference, this infographic will continue to walk you down the path to integrating four key areas for online marketing success: Design, Content, Traffic and Conversion.

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AR 2015 Infographic

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Making Sharing a Snap!

We’ve also included some tweetable tips from the infographic below. Feel free to pick your favorite(s) and show that you’re an avid supporter of online marketers that radiate authority!

Featured Tips
Sonia Simone – Chief Content Officer at Copyblogger Media
Ask questions & be curious about everything. See something not awesome? Make it better! @soniasimone – tweet this

Bernadette Jiwa – Founder at The Story of Telling
Speak to one person. Treat your content like a conversation rather than a description or broadcast. @bernadettejiwa – tweet this

Danny Sullivan – Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land & Marketing Land
Understand that mobile visitors have a different mindset and needs than desktop users. @dannysullivan – tweet this

Brian Clark – Founder & CEO of Copyblogger Media
Copywriting for conversion means using the 5 P’s: Premise, Promise, Picture, Proof and Push to inspire action. @BrianClark – tweet this

Register for Authority Rainmaker Before the Storm Passes!

The advice shared by our expert Online Marketers may be around for years to come, but your opportunity to attend the Authority Rainmaker conference is passing quickly.

Join us on May 13 – 15 in Denver, CO.!

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Infographic: 14 Online Marketing Tips to Improve Design, Content & Conversions |

The post Infographic: 14 Online Marketing Tips to Improve Design, Content & Conversions appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

April 30th 2015 Online Marketing

Behind the Curtain: 4 Tips for Creating Landing Pages That Convert

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Behind the Curtain


Landing pages are still somewhat of a mystery to many marketers. In theory they sound simple, but it may feel like there are secrets or some mystic formula that has to be cracked in order to be successful.

Now you not only need a website that is filled with stellar content and optimized for conversion, but you must also create landing pages for different marketing tactics. The question is, how effective are they really?

According to Marketing Sherpa, 64% of marketers say that landing pages are the most effective way to test value proposition. Additionally, they’ve found that 48% of marketers build a new landing page for each marketing campaign.

Chances are, your competition is already at least testing the use of landing pages. We’ve decided to pull back the curtain and share 4 of our most practical landing pages tips to encourage conversion.

4 Landing Page Conversion Tips

#1 – Understanding Landing Page Types

Typically, marketers will use two different types of landing pages depending on the path of the consumer to the landing page, and their end goal.

Lead Generation Landing Pages
A landing page focused on lead generation should be used if you’re looking to build a list of contacts to begin marketing to. This type of page should also include some sort of fulfillment piece such as a helpful toolkit, eBook or something else of value.

Paid Search Landing Pages
If your visitors come to your landing page directly from Paid Search, your layout, copy and CTA should precisely align with the ad the drove them there. Ultimately, your conversion goal should center around completion of a contact form or the a direct call.

#2 – Specificity is Key

Let’s pretend that you’ve recently been online shopping and stumbled upon news from your favorite brand that they were hosting a blowout sale on a your favorite item. However, when you visited their website, the sale was in fact on a completely different item (that you have no interest in purchasing).

It is imperative that all paid and organic means of driving people to your landing page align directly with the message that appears once they reach your destination. If there is a specific offer, ensure that all of the information is correct and detailed for all tactics deployed within your campaign.

#3 – Create Headlines & Content That Speak to Need

A well written headline can greatly impact the success of your landing page. If you can, try to include a mention of insight into what they’ll find, and empathy for their pain point or need.

The content on your landing page should be short, impactful and easy to scan. Include a few sentences covering the premise of the landing page and then a bulleted list of details of the offer or ways you can help your visitor solve a problem.

#4 – Develop Forms That Encourage Conversion

Convincing your visitors to complete a form with their personal information can be quite the undertaking. Unbouce’s 7-day Lead Gen Landing Page Course contains some excellent information about creating forms that convert.

Unbounce recommends that you always include content that reaffirms what your visitor is signing up for (to be contacted or receive and offer). The actual form fields that you include on your form will vary by offer. Your call to action however provides another opportunity to specifically mention what it is that your visitor will be receiving by completing the form.

Avoid using phrases that contain negative words such as:

  • We won’t spam you
  • Our company won’t sell your email address
  • This isn’t junk

Additional Landing Page Best Practices to Keep in Mind

  • Third Party Validation: Include testimonials from clients or industry experts as a means of building trust.
  • Thank You & Confirm: This extra step provides confirmation that their information has been received and they should expect their offer or contact shortly.
  • Test, Test, Test: To get your landing page really humming along, you will likely have to test different designs, content and CTA’s. Don’t be afraid to try different elements on for size!

If you’ve never created a landing page before we hope that the insight we’ve provided has empowered you to take first step towards incorporating landing pages as a part of your digital marketing strategy. However, if you have built landing pages before we’d be curious to know what elements you believe have garnered you the best conversions.

Photo: Shutterstock

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Behind the Curtain: 4 Tips for Creating Landing Pages That Convert |

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April 29th 2015 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Facebook Says Hello, Twitter Gets More Direct, Google Gets Mobile-Friendly

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Periodic Table Of Social Media Analytics

The Periodic Table of Social Media There’s a science to social media. From content and metrics to terminology, here’s a fun way to test and verify your social marketing experiments. Direct Marketing News

New Direct Messaging Comes To Twitter With today’s changes, the ice cream shop can opt to receive Direct Messages from anyone; so you can privately send your appreciation for the salted caramel without any barriers. Twitter

Facebook, Twitter To See US Display Revenue Share Rise As Yahoo, Google Slip – Twitter is expected to supplant Yahoo as the third largest seller of display advertising in the US in 2015. Marketing Land

STUDY: Facebook Page Posts Net 2.6% Organic Reach in March – The average reach for posts from Facebook pages in March was 2.6 percent, slipping to 2.27 percent for pages with more than 1 million likes, according to the latest research from social analytics and reporting firm Locowise. SocialTimes

Facebook Introduces Hello – Billions of calls are made everyday on mobile phones and people often have very little information about who’s calling them. Today we are starting to test Hello, a new app built by the Messenger team. Hello connects with Facebook so you can see who’s calling, block unwanted calls and search for people and places. Facebook

Google Says There Are 4.7% More Mobile-Friendly Websites Today Than Two Months Ago – The fear of Mobilegeddon encouraged many webmasters to make their sites mobile friendly. Google says there was an uptick of 4.7% of sites that are now mobile friendly compared to two months ago. Search Engine Land

Survey: Nearly 60% of Marketers Plan to Boost Influencer Marketing Budgets – Influencer marketing is becoming an effective way for brands to generate big returns on social. As new influencers emerge on different social networks, businesses are looking to connect with those influencial people and their followers. Influencer marketing platform Tomoson recently polled marketers to get a sense of the current state of the market. SocialTimes

Mobile Email Conversions Jump 70% YoY In Q4 2014 With Mobile Delivering 20% Of Email Generated Revenue [Report] – Report claims responsive design helped drive a 40% increase in CTO rates over non-responsive marketing emails. Marketing Land

Google Rolls Out New URLs In Search Results – Google announced that they’ll change the way they represent URLs in search results. Find out what this means for your mobile search results and what you’ll need to change. Google

Facebook Updates Newsfeed To Balance Content From Friends and Pages – We get a lot of feedback from people and recently started asking people to rate their personal News Feeds to tell us how we can improve. Based on this feedback and our ongoing understanding of how people use News Feed, we are making three updates. Facebook

Twitter Updates Policy and Product Updates Aimed At Combating Abuse – Twitter has turned up the heat on its battle against trolls. The company announced today several policy and enforcement changes that it hopes will curb the online harassment that has plagued the social media platform. Twitter

REPORT: Facebook, Twitter to Make Up 1/3 of U.S. Digital Display Ad Market by 2017 – Facebook and Twitter will account for more than one-third of the digital display advertising market in the U.S. by 2017, according to the latest projections from eMarketer. SocialTimes

From our Online Marketing Community:

From Rejoining TopRank Marketing: 5 Career Lessons That Brought Me Back, Ryan Biddulph said, “Loving these lessons! For me, that passion thing is so huge. It shines through with Lee and you and the culture here and even though the site and brand is not directly related to my niche I do come back, read and comment because you guys really care about what you do.”

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Infographic: unmetric

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Online Marketing News: Facebook Says Hello, Twitter Gets More Direct, Google Gets Mobile-Friendly |

April 24th 2015 Online Marketing

4 Essential Tips for Content Marketers to Survive Mobilegeddon, Google’s Mobile Friendly Update

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mobile content marketing

Accessing content on mobile device

Internet users are spending more time than ever on their smartphones, which means Content Marketers must adjust their strategies to create a better user experience for those drawn to the small screen.

The release of Google’s new mobile-friendly update, aka “mobilegeddon”, has drawn a firestorm of attention to the need for improving website responsiveness and user experience on mobile devices.

There’s a good reason for this: A recent study by ComScore and Millennial Media found that approximately 56% of digital content is now consumed via smartphones. Knowing that a large portion of your audience likely searches, consumes and interacts with content on their mobile device should inform how you execute on your Content Marketing initiatives.

The good news is, despite the apocalyptic headlines on many blogs, Google has stated that the new mobile-friendly update only affects:

  • Search rankings on mobile devices
  • Rankings of individual pages, not entire websites

Even so, mobile content discovery and consumption is universal and it’s more important than ever to optimize for search and user experience with content on all devices. To help you save the day, we’ve compiled a list of 4 essential tips for content marketers to take a more mobile-friendly approach to content. Make Google happy. Make your customers happy. Everybody wins!

#1 – Understand Where You Are Now

Google has provided a very handly (albeit not 100% accurate) tool that can be used to quickly check to see if any website is mobile friendly. If you pass the test you’ll be shown a snippet of how Googlebot see your page as well as some additional resources on creating mobile-friendly web pages.

Google Mobile-Friendly Website

If your website fails the test, Google will provide reasoning for the failure as well as recommended steps for making the website mobile-friendly. Below is an example from Moz of a website that unfortunately did not pass the mobile-friendly test. In fact, this blog did not pass the test until recently, thanks to the efforts of Evan and Howie on our team to update our WordPress template.

Google Mobile-Friendly Fail

The third way you can assess if a website is mobile-friendly is by simply typing a query in your smartphone on Google. If the website is mobile-friendly it will be indicated just prior to the web page meta description.

website mobile test

#2 – Always Keep Your Audience in Mind

Google doesn’t make purchasing decisions, your customers do. So while it’s important to follow the guidelines that Google sets forth, your customers should always be top of mind when determining your Content Marketing strategy.

Rely on your data and what you know about your audience to help form the changes you will make to content in order to meet Google’s new mobile-friendly requirements.

#3 – Make Your Headlines Notable

Between smartphone apps, email and mobile web content, consumers are constantly inundated with digital content on their mobile devices. This means your window of opportunity to grab and hold their attention is very small. When crafting your content headlines, focus on:

  • Offering a teaser of the content to draw them in
  • Clearly articulating what they’ll find
  • Empathizing with their needs and pain points

#4 – Create Concise Content That is Easy to Consume

How your audience consumes and interacts with your website content on a mobile device can be much different than your desktop users. Keep in mind that your website must serve both mobile and desktop users in a way that is relevant. How can you make your website experience more meaningful for mobile users?

  • Website Home Page: Offer brief overviews and appropriate Calls to Action for the various focal points of your website.
  • Website Interior Pages: Provide a concise overview at the top of the page so that mobile users can quickly scan the content. As you move down the page you can dive deeper into your focus areas. This will ensure that both mobile and desktop users have access to the proper amount of content.
  • Blog Content: Focus your introduction on providing an overview of what they will find in the post. Again, this will allow your audience to determine if they want to consume the information on-the-go.

Google’s new mobile-friendly update shouldn’t be seen as an Armageddon-esque threat, but as an opportunity to better serve your online audience with content that is easy to find, consume and act on with mobile devices.

Hopefully the tips provided above take some of the fear, uncertainty and doubt out of the process and have provided a clearer path for making your content marketing efforts more mobile-friendly.

I am curious to know; What type of content does your mobile audience typically respond best to?

Photo: Shutterstock

April 23rd 2015 Mobile, Online Marketing

Rejoining TopRank Marketing: 5 Career Lessons That Brought Me Back

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Team TopRank Marketing

One of the most exciting parts of life is uncertainty. You never really know where the decisions that you make will lead you. Sure, you have a rough idea of where you may end up but there are always unforeseen factors outside your control.

In my first stint at TopRank Marketing, I was the agency Marketing Manager. This was a unique and very creative position that allowed me to work closely with our CEO Lee Odden. In that time, In that time I focused on being a sponge and soaking up as much as I could from the years of digital marketing knowledge contained within the walls of the TopRank office.

Eventually, I decided that I wanted to pursue building up some of my foundational skills. Since my departure, I’ve worked for companies large and small, ranging from workplace wellness to Digital Marketing. We all go through different phases in our careers where we are searching for what really drives us and makes us happy.

After a couple years of searching, what lessons did I learn that drew me back to TopRank and how can you apply them to your career?

Always Surround Yourself with People That Are Smarter Than You.

Over the last few years I’ve learned to truly listen and learn from the people that I work with. I consider myself to be extremely self aware of my strengths and weaknesses. This has led me to the conclusion that I need to rely on other people whose strengths compliment mine and that I can learn from.

Luckily, TopRank is flush with dedicated, smart and talented digital marketers that all bring unique perspectives to the table. Some are old friends, others I look forward to getting to know and work with.

Passion For The Business Is Essential & Has to Start At the Top.

Being in a leadership position is always challenging, and especially when you work in an industry where change is eminent and constant. Working with an upper management team that immerses themselves in the industry and has a true understanding of the in’s and out’s associated with everyday execution is one of the essential keys to success.

One thing I have always appreciated about TopRank’s leadership team was that they each bring their own “something special” to the table. Lee Odden is an authority on Content Marketing and is very generous in sharing information, Susan Misukanis is an idea machine and Jolina Pettice is an expert at driving change.

Upper management sets the tone for the rest of the team and TopRank is approaching it from the right angles.

Continue Your Own Education.

As I mentioned before, I try to surround myself with people who are more knowledgeable than I am. While it’s true that in some cases I may be considered the resident “expert”, it’s always important to gather input from others that have a different or complementary understanding of the challenge at hand.

Secondly, I am a person that craves knowledge. If there is one day that passes and I didn’t learn something new (no matter big or small), I am disappointed.

TopRank has always focused on ongoing internal training to make sure that their clients are getting the latest and greatest. Additionally, TopRank has done (in my opinion) a fantastic job serving as a training and education source for the online marketing community through daily posts on and industry events.

Trying & Failing is Ok As Long As You Try.

Sometimes we become so crippled by the fear of failing that it’s difficult to take the first step. Personally, I feel that I’ve learned just as much from my failure as my success.

Testing and innovation is always encouraged at TopRank. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get every single detail right the first time or that there won’t be hiccups, but it provides a breeding ground for new ideas that ultimately impact the level of service and quality of deliverables for TopRank clients.

I Want to Be Part Of Something Big.

In the time since I’ve been away from TopRank I’ve learned some very valuable skills and life lessons. I think this experience has made it possible for me to join TopRank at this juncture and be truly impactful.

TopRank is poised for enormous growth over the next few years. I mean this in terms of company size, range of services, areas of expertise, creativity of deliverables; the list could go on and on.

You never know where life will lead you, but that’s part of the adventure. With every passing day comes new challenges, lessons and opportunities. Re-joining the TopRank team is sure to bring all three of these in spades, but it’s a new chapter of life that I’m excited and truly honored to embark upon. What lessons have you learned throughout your career (long or short) that you carry with you on your journey?

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Rejoining TopRank Marketing: 5 Career Lessons That Brought Me Back |

April 22nd 2015 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: LinkedIn Gets Elevated, Foursquare Gets Pinpointed, The Firehose Gets Cut Off

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Content Creation VS Content Sharing

Content Creation vs. Content Sharing [INFOGRAPHIC] - If there were a magic wand to conquer the online content strategy, most, if not all, would give it a wave–or two. Unfortunately, there is no one magical solution to mastering your brand’s online presence, but there are a few ways you can revitalize it. See what content creation and content sharing can do for you. Social Media Today

Facebook, Twitter to Claim a Third of Display Ads in Two Years - A new forecast from eMarketer sees the two leading social networks claiming some $14 billion in display ad spending in two years, or nearly 34% of the estimated $37 billion category. Facebook will account for the major portion of those sales, booking $10 billion to Twitter’s $4 billion. eMarketer sees Facebook display revenues almost doubling Google’s in 2015, $6.8 billion to $3.5 billion. Direct Marketing News

Foursquare Launches Pinpoint: Cross-Platform, Location-based Ad Targeting - As Foursquare has pointed out through its partnership with Twitter, the company has a treasure trove of location data. Now it’s time to make more lucrative use of that. SocialTimes

Google Keyword Planner Tool Now Has Data To Compare You To Your Competitors - Google quietly announced on Google+ yesterday that the Keyword Planner tool within Google AdWords is being upgraded to add benchmark data so you can compare your performance to your competitors. Search Engine Roundtable

LinkedIn Introduces Elevate: Helping Companies Empower Their Employees To Share Content - Lots of professionals share content – like articles, blog posts, and presentations – on social and professional networks to strengthen their professional brands. But relatively few companies recognize that when they empower their employees to be social professionals, they not only change the trajectory of their employees’ careers, they change the trajectory of their businesses as well. LinkedIn [client]

Twitter Redesigns Embedded Tweets With Full-Width Photo and Video -  Twitter’s embedded tweets are about to get a makeover, the company revealed today in a blog post where it offered a glimpse of the new look. Search Engine Journal

YouTube Confirms Upcoming Ad-Free Paid Subscription Service - YouTube recently sent an email with new terms of service to its partners as it relates to a forthcoming subscription service. Following in the footsteps of YouTube Music Key, the site will soon offer an ad-free video experience for subscribers, and it will be splitting the revenue with creators. SocialTimes

Mobile Ad Spending Set to Double Desktop Ad Spending by 2017 - Mobile ad spending continued rising in 2014 and is expected to reach $28.7 billion this year, according to eMarketer’s “State of U.S. Digital Advertising” report released this month.  Ad Age

Google Quietly Drops In Depth Articles Title In Search Results - Google has quietly dropped the in depth articles title in the search results, blending them more into the organic listings. Search Engine Roundtable

Twitter Cuts Off Firehose Access to Third Party Data Resellers - News broke late Friday night that Twitter made a significant move towards bolstering its own big data business by cutting off firehose access to third parties. Twitter

Google Reveals Impact Of Store Visits On Conversions - Last year, Google added store visits to its Estimated Total Conversions feature. At the time, Google noted that “roughly 95% of retail sales take place in physical stores,” making the ability to measure the influence of online ads on offline sales of great importance. Econsultancy

Digital to Account for More Than a Quarter of All Ad Spend in 2016 - Data from 59 markets suggests that digital will, for the first time ever, account for more than a quarter of ad spend next year. Direct Marketing News

From our Online Marketing Community:

In response to Content vs. Advertising – Is There Really A Debate?, Mitch Joel – Mirum said, “Agree that you should/can pay to make your great content get more distribution and impressions. Still, I feel like most marketers pay instead of letting the content do the heavy lifting.”

And Claudio Leonel Ordóñez Urrutia commented, “All, what you have written, can give light to any Marketing Strategy. But these two sentences are a knockout for any “Marketing Myth”: “Ad” does not automatically mean “crap”. Likewise, “content” does not automatically mean “success”. Congratulations and greetings from Guatemala.”

And on Four Ways CMOs Can Differentiate & Optimize Their Content Marketing Strategy, minalmewada said, “I love this! This is an awesome article, it really answered a lot of my questions. Thanks.”

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Infographic: Social Media Today

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Online Marketing News: LinkedIn Gets Elevated, Foursquare Gets Pinpointed, The Firehose Gets Cut Off |

April 17th 2015 Online Marketing

Four Ways CMOs Can Differentiate & Optimize Their Content Marketing Strategy

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CMO content marketing

Content isn’t King, it’s the Kingdom

Taking inventory of the content we’ve produced over the past 10+ years, I realized I’ve written 1.4 million words myself on this blog as well as a book and numerous articles for industry publications.

Looking to the future of our own content marketing strategy and the need for more visually creative, data-informed and cross platform content that’s highly specialized for our audience, it’s clear that simply creating “more” content isn’t the answer.

I’m not alone in that assessment after having the opportunity to discuss pressing content marketing challenges with a group of CMOs and senior marketing executives recently. Thinking about some of these key issues, I think there are 3 key trends in the content marketing world to be aware of:

Understand the information environment. We live in an age of “Content Overload”:

  • 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past 2 years (IBM)
  • Consumers in the U.S. are presented with an average of 63GB of media per day (USC/ICTM)
  • By the year 2020 there will be over 50 billion internet connected devices (Ericsson)

Investments in content marketing continue – but there are challenges:

  • Over 90% of marketers are using content marketing (CMI / MarketingProfs)
  • Budgets for producing content have grown from 12.6% in 2013 to 23.3% in 2015. On track to surpass 33% by 2017 (The Content Council)
  • Only 42% of content marketers believe they are effective with it. (CMI / MarketingProfs)
  • 60-70% of B2B marketing content goes unused. (Sirius Decisions)
  • Only 44% of B2B Marketers have a documented content strategy. (CMI / MarketingProfs)

 While competition is high, so is the opportunity for content marketing:

  • 82% of senior executives say content is a significant driver in their buying decisions.” (Demand Gen Report)
  • 85% of consumers seek out trusted expert content when considering a purchase (Nielsen/InPowered)
  • 87% of B2B buyers say content has an impact on vendor selection (Social Media Today)

With those trends and statistics as context, I think brand marketers are faced with the need to create more meaningful content for the right audience at the right time and in a relevant, meaningful way. Content needs to be compelling and serve the interests of customers as well as the brand. Reaching that goal requires a focus in strategy and at the same time, in order to stand out, marketers need to differentiate.

Here are 4 ways marketers can do just that:

1. Make content buyer centric: discovery, consumption, action

  • Understand customer segments and the information journey: What is it, how does it work, how does it solve? Not brand, brand, brand
  • How do your customers discover solutions? Search, social, subscriptions, events, influencers?
  • What are your customer preferences for content consumption? Visual, audio, text, interactive, long form, short form
  • What offers compel them to action? Share, subscribe, refer, transact, advocate

2. Connect with influencers to co-create & promote brand content

  • Identify influencers with active communities – action is influence, not popularity
  • Co-create content with influencers for mutual goals – promote to their audiences
  • Help people become influential through community content co-creation UGC

3. Make content marketing investments efficient with modular content & repurposing

  • Create content plans with matrix topics by segment, buying stage
  • Use microcontent (tips, stats, quotes) for social, then compile into blog posts, eBooks, newsletters, presentations
  • Break large content down into microcontent and repurpose: eBook to blog posts, Videos to images, Blog posts to presentations

4. Keep content accountable: attract, engage, convert

  • Ensure all content assets are accountable for some level of performance
  • Attract – top of funnel discovery, search, social, referrals
  • Engage – content consumption and customer experience, social shares, conversations
  • Convert – buyer data captured through forms – registrations, subscriptions, transactions

By empathizing with the customers you’re after in a qualitative and meaningful way, brands can arm themselves with the kinds of insights to deliver differentiated, more relevant and meaningful content experiences.  Working with internal and external influencers will build amplification into the content assets themselves and a modular content approach creates efficiencies and facilitate personalization.

Most importantly, ensuring content is accountable to marketing and business performance goals means everybody wins – customers and the brand.

Photo: Shutterstock

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Four Ways CMOs Can Differentiate & Optimize Their Content Marketing Strategy |

April 15th 2015 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: No Millennial Trust, LinkedIn Gets Lynda, 5 Years Of YouTube Ads

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Visually Appealing Content

Content With Relevant Images gets 94% More Views [Infographic] - Do you want more eyes on your online content? It could be as simple as adding a photo or a video to your post. Visual storytelling is incredibly powerful. The good folks a Quicksprout recently published an infographic (below) outlining a few stats suggesting just how important “the visual” is on social media. Quicksprout

Facebook Launches Messenger For Web Browsers - Facebook offers web users separate messaging option, but has no plans to remove chat from main desktop experience. Marketing Land

84 Percent of Millennials Don’t Trust Traditional Advertising - Social media has changed the way brands engage with their consumers, say marketing experts from Crowdtap, Weight Watchers, and MRY, who believe brands must put people at the heart of their marketing strategy to create authentic social content. ClickZ

Study: Google Now Displays Rich Answers For 19.45% Of Queries - Rich answers are now displaying for targeted queries at a rate or 19.45% for targeted queries, according to a new study by Stone Temple Consulting. Search Engine Land

STUDY: Facebook Met Users’ Expectations More Than Other Social Networks - Facebook was the social network that best met customers’ expectations in the new Brand Keys 2015 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, while Facebook-owned WhatsApp topped the list of messaging applications. SocialTimes

Almost 60 Percent Of Marketing Pros Use Automation, 90 Percent Say It Works - A majority of marketing and business professionals surveyed say their companies currently use marketing automation to some extent, and nearly 90 percent call it a success. Marketing Land

Twitter Reveals ‘Retweet With Comment’ for Added Engagement - Microblogging website Twitter has launched a “retweet with comment” feature, allowing users to feature other tweets in their own posts without using up available characters and adding an extra level of engagement for consumers. Twitter said on Tuesday: “Say more with revamped quote tweet! Rolling out on iPhone and Web, coming soon to Android.” ClickZ

CMOs On Twitter: What They Share, How They Share It & The People They Retweet Most [Report] - Data analytics firm Neustar offers a comprehensive look at how high-ranking marketing execs are using the social platform. Marketing Land

Google Launches Streamlined Lite Version Of Mobile Search Interface For Slower Connections - Have a slow connection on your mobile device? No worries, Google will give you a lite version of the search interface to speed things up for you. Search Engine Land

LinkedIn Acquires Online Education Platform - LinkedIn made a move that should boost its content value, as the company announced Thursday that it has acquired online education platform SocialTimes

FTC Report: Google Purposely Demoted Competing Shopping Sites - Details from an FTC investigation into Google on anti-trust accusations have emerged, suggesting the search giant specifically worked to keep competitors out of its top results. Marketing Land

YouTube Celebrates 5 Years of TrueView Ads - YouTube looks back at the most popular videos of 2010 on the anniversary of the skippable TrueView ads, while also introducing “Cards.” ClickZ

From our Online Marketing Community:

In response to Content Marketing Tools A to Z That You Can Use in 2015 and Beyond, Gary Preston said, “Ok there are about 8 in there I’ve never heard of but now feel compelled to check out. Just as I was considering an early night. Thanks Lee :)

Puranjay added, “Whoa Lee, this is pretty exhaustive. Love it!”

And on Not Happy With Your Business Blog Performance? Try These 5 Tips:, Ryan Biddulph commented, “#4 is one of my faves ;) I’ve been scarce here recently; that’ll change after today. Being social helps you gain more readers and customers. It’s like magic, really. The second you comment on a few other blogs from your niche you’re on the radar. If you show up daily, folks will remember you, recalling you, and you’ll grow on them. It works, so darn well. Thanks for the smart share Lee!”

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Infographic: Quicksprout

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Online Marketing News: No Millennial Trust, LinkedIn Gets Lynda, 5 Years Of YouTube Ads |

April 10th 2015 Online Marketing

A Dangerous Threat to Your Small Business: Mediocrity.

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I think it’s safe to say that no one starts a new venture or a business simply to be average. There’s a drive, a passion and a vision of possibilities. There’s also confidence that great things can be achieved.

People who start new companies often risk a great deal with substantial investments in time and money to make their ideas a reality. Having some skin in the game also drives many entrepreneurs to succeed because it’s all they have.

Seasoned employees who join a small business also take some risks. But at the same time, they can have a substantial impact on the company through the investment of their experience and skills.

But what if you don’t have that kind of risk or investment at stake? What motivation is there to rise above the minimum?

There’s an expression I used to hear in a past career that talked about this disconnect: “Companies only pay employees enough so they don’t quit and employees work just hard enough not to get fired”. That’s hardly the formula for an innovative, successful business.

It’s hard to imagine a company or marketing program being successful where mediocre work is “OK”. And yet it exists with more than a few advocates of “just good enough“.


In the way that anti-intellectualism has grown in many schools (it’s not cool to be “smart”), a sort of “cult of mediocrity” has made inroads within many businesses.

Whether it’s a symptom of over-rewarded Millennials or due to a lack of leadership amongst management, mediocrity as a status quo is a dangerous thing for a business of any size. It’s certainly problematic when it comes to marketing. Focusing on the bare minimum to get by, shaving off a little here and there, can easily affect the success of everything in a business from HR to customer service.

 The perceived safety of being average is more of a risk to your business than competitors chasing your customers.

Of course, most Millennials are motivated and many are successful. At the same time, entrepreneurs do not have a monopoly on risk taking, passion and ambition. But when camaraderie based on “good enough” or even a cynical view of work starts to take seed in an organization, it needs to be addressed or the effects will reach everyone from highly motivated co-workers to customers.

In the digital world of today, markets are more competitive than ever with ubiquitous internet access and more content created on a daily basis than we could ever consume. But small businesses are increasingly empowered by technology to compete at many levels, especially in the marketing world. Unfortunately, the drive and demand for more content has caused a lot of mediocrity and information numbness.

If there’s one area where mediocre doesn’t work in a business, it’s content.  As my pal Ann Handley likes to say:

Your content needs to be ridiculously good for the audience you are trying to reach: It needs to be empathetic, useful, and inspired.

Did you read anything in there about mediocrity? Nope. Nada. Nix.

So how do you address the cult of mediocrity in a business and in marketing? Here are a few ideas on what organizations can do:

1. Create and communicate a strong company vision – What’s your “why” and what do you hope to accomplish? What does that mean for the overall business and individual employees?

2. Reinforce that vision as part of the company culture – Communicate the key principles of your business clearly and create an environment and work experience that supports those values.

3. Set clear expectations of performance for the company, groups and individuals with feedback on progress – There should be no ambiguity about what A plus marketing work is vs. C or D and the standards necessary to achieve success.

4. Celebrate the behaviors, outcomes and individuals that support the company vision and excellence – Recognize publicly the people and actions that represent excellence in your marketing and business overall.

5. Provide support, coaching or an invitation to exit for those who do not share the vision, culture or standards of excellence – Leaders must lead by example and provide the necessary direction and resources. If there is an irreconcilable difference in values, it will likely reflect in work performance.

It takes two to tango and in order for mediocrity to take its place at the bottom of the barrel in terms of company values, the people within the company must play a proactive part. Leadership must provide the vision and the people that are part of the organization can decide whether to work with that vision, against it, or even make suggestions on how to improve it.

Nimble small businesses with a great service or product and high regard in an industry can achieve great things – when members work together as a team. Employees of the company that think optimistically about their work and the contributions they make are part and parcel instrumental for the success of the business.

Attitude is a decision people can make on a daily basis. The ability to decide is one of the few things we have control over and those who decide to think beyond “just good enough” serve the interests of their co-workers with better contributions to team efforts and their own interests through more valuable work performance for which they are hired.

Many companies worry about competitors, their product quality and service – and rightly so. But I think for any growing business, the threat of mediocrity as a status quo is even more dangerous. Leading with inspiration and supporting passion and professionalism with a clear vision and strong company culture can help point people in a direction that supports the success fo all involved.

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A Dangerous Threat to Your Small Business: Mediocrity. |

April 9th 2015 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News: Twitter Gets Curating, Happy Birthday Pinterest!, Facebook Gets Riffing

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Evolution Of Keyword Tools

The Evolution of Keyword Research Tools [Infographic] - Keywords, phrases and topics are at the heart of search engine marketing. In a sense, words are the backbone of the Internet because without them, websites wouldn’t likely exist. Every website is built on “keywords” and topics. Check out this infographic to see how things have changed over time. Search Engine Journal

Link Encoding Goes Mobile With Deep Links From Bitly - As the market for apps gets more saturated, tracking impressions across platforms becomes harder. Companies like Facebook and Google have been competing to bring the best solution for tracking deeplinks. This week, Bitly announced its own linking encoding answer to the deeplink challenge. SocialTimes

Twitter Releases New Tool For Curating Best Tweets Around A Particular Topic - One of the greatest challenges on Twitter is cutting through the noise to find tweets with the most value, insight, and influence. This week, the company released a new tool designed to tackle that challenge. Search Engine Journal

Google Drops Who +1’d A Page In Google’s Search Results -  For years, Google showed in the search results, when signed in, which one of your friends on Google+ +1’d a page found in the search results. They’ve been doing this since 2012. Not anymore. Search Engine Roundtable

Facebook to Help Mobile Apps Auction Off Their Ads Using Facebook Data - Mobile app publishers can now sell their in-app display and video ad inventory through real-time auctions run by LiveRail, the company’s video ad exchange. Ad Age

Report: U.S. Smartphone Penetration Now At 75 Percent - Nearly 75 percent (74.9 percent) of mobile subscribers in the U.S. now own smartphones. In December 2013, U.S. smartphone penetration was 65.2 percent. By December 2015, it will be above 80 percent, perhaps closing in on 85 percent. Marketing Land

Google Strongly Encouraging Webmasters To Adopt Autocomplete On Forms For Mobile - Google says webmasters should implement autocomplete markup to improve mobile user conversions but does not go as far to say it will be a ranking factor. Search Engine Land

More People Share Personal Videos on Facebook Than YouTube, Says Study - Three-quarters of internet users in the United States have recorded and shared a personal video on Facebook in the last six months, compared to less than half who have done the same on YouTube, reveals a new study. SocialTimes

Twitter And Foursquare Collaborate To Tag Specific Location To Tweets - Twitter and Foursquare have both entered into a partnership that will tag specific location to tweets. The collaboration will bring the ability to tag specific locations to tweets via official apps and the web. The upcoming feature was tweeted on Monday by Tweeter, with a video showing how it will work in iOS, according to TechCrunch. SocialBarrel

Pinterest Celebrates 5th Birthday - Pinterest on Tuesday celebrated its fifth birthday, sharing some statistics showing how the company has grown in the last half decade. SocialTimes

Facebook Introduces Riff: Make Videos with Friends - Having fun with friends is at the heart of the Facebook experience. Recently, a few Facebook employees stayed after-hours to work on a side project. Our hunch was that if you could make videos collaboratively, the creative process would be more fun and the final product would be cooler. Today, we are introducing Riff, a creative tool to make videos with friends. Facebook

Instagram Followers Don’t Equal Engagement [Study] - A new study by digital think tank L2 found that Instagram content, rather than audience size or posting frequency, helps brands like Nike and Starbucks maintain strong engagement. ClickZ

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Infographic: Search Engine Journal

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Online Marketing News: Twitter Gets Curating, Happy Birthday Pinterest!, Facebook Gets Riffing |

April 3rd 2015 Online Marketing