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

Boost-content-marketing-results-linkedin-blog

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

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. | Boost Content Marketing Results & Learn How LinkedIn Grew Their Blog by 30X | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

How FanDuel grew from humble Scottish startup into an American fantasy sports giant

FanDuel


The daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry has taken one hell of a beating these past seven months, with states from New York and Illinois to Nevada concluding that “betting” on virtual sports teams compiled from real pro and college athletes isn’t a game of skill after all — it’s illegal gambling.

The two most prominent players in the saga have been Boston-based DraftKings — founded in 2011 and with $ 445 million in VC cash to its name so far — and FanDuel, which has raised north of $ 360 million in financing since its inception in 2009. The DFS industry in North America sits in something of an awkward position, with some states declaring it illegal gambling, some passing new legislation to accommodate it, and some still to make their minds up either way. And this surely can’t be good for business.

In FanDuel’s latest annual report, announced just this week, auditor Deloitte highlighted the “uncertainty” created by this situation:

It is possible that the number of states where the state attorney general may issue opinions against the group’s activities could expand and the group’s activities could be determined to be unlawful in those states and therefore prohibited from operating.

The potential for such an outcome represents a material uncertainty that casts significant doubt upon the group and the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

Despite legal challenges, FanDuel has confirmed it has suspended operations in both Nevada and New York, which surely doesn’t bode well for its bottom line. But FanDuel cofounder and CEO Nigel Eccles poured tepid water on such notions. “The loss of turnover in the states in which the group has suspended operations pending further legal clarity represents less than 20 percent of total turnover for the 18 months ended June 30, 2015,” he said.

FanDuel’s predicament helps highlight how much can change in a year. In July, the New York-headquartered company cemented its unicorn status when it raised $ 275 million from big names such as Google Capital and Time Warner. One week later, it made its first acquisition. Less than 12 weeks later, New York’s attorney general was knocking on its door after reports surfaced that a DraftKings employee had used inside knowledge to scoop $ 350,000 in a FanDuel fantasy football contest. The employee in question was soon cleared, but this event — in conjunction with an eye-popping amount of TV advertising that catapulted fantasy sports into the mainstream — opened the floodgates for scrutiny.

VentureBeat paid a visit to Eccles in his home city (hint: not New York) to learn more on where the company came from, where it’s at, and where things could go from here.

FanDuel: Edinburgh HQ, May 12, 2016

Above: FanDuel: Edinburgh HQ

Image Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

In the beginning …

Before its rise to daily fantasy sports supremacy, FanDuel was actually known as Hubdub, a news-prediction platform based in Edinburgh, Scotland, with about seven employees. Hubdub let users bet with virtual money on the outcome of key events — for example the presidential election. Though the company received VC investment in its former incarnation, Hubdub closed in 2010 to focus all its efforts on a separate product it had launched a year earlier — FanDuel.

“It was a classic pivot,” said Eccles. “2008 was an election year, and we thought it would be cool to build a prediction market where you could predict the outcome of running news stories. And the election was one of the biggest ones. Users loved it; we had a ton of engagement. But the fatal flaw was that there wasn’t really a business model. So even though we were getting the scale in users, we just couldn’t figure out how we would turn it into an interesting business.”

The company then went Stateside to South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, and it set about figuring out how to move the business forward. “We said we seem to know how to build games that people like to engage with, but we really want something with more of a robust business model,” added Eccles. “And we also wanted something that people were willing to pay for.”

Noting that sports was one of the most active categories on Hubdub at that point, and fantasy sports in general was a significant market, Eccles and co. scanned existing fantasy sports products and concluded it had room for improvement. For starters, they weren’t particularly mobile-friendly at a time when the smartphone and accompanying app ecosystems were starting to snowball.

“We thought we could make them a lot better, we could make it more mobile friendly, and we could make it faster — and that was the genesis to FanDuel,” said Eccles. “Even the very earliest version, in 2009, we designed it for mobile. And now, over 80 percent of our users are mobile.”

What Hubdub had were effectively two products — the main Hubdub prediction platform, and its new FanDuel offshoot. But with fresh investors on board, the team was nervous about pivoting so soon, so it continued with both products in parallel to avoid shocking its backers. “It was much easier to say, ‘let’s work on two things,’ but once we started coding the new product, I don’t think we ever touched Hubdub again,” said Eccles.

The world was in a state of financial uncertainty at that point, with many companies missing their numbers, but after explaining to their investors what it wanted to do, it received the greenlight to go all-in on FanDuel. “Eventually they just said, ‘We backed the team, there’s five of you, we always knew it was super-early stage so if the team wants to go in that direction, let’s see where you go,” he added.

Today, FanDuel counts 360 employees around the world. Eccles dividing his time between its two biggest offices in Edinburgh, where engineers represent the majority of the 140-strong headcount; and New York, the company’s official headquarters and operational hub for 160 people. Orlando, Los Angeles, and Glasgow (Scotland) make up the remaining employees, covering roles such as marketing, customer support, and engineering.

Given that FanDuel is essentially split between two key hubs on either side of a large ocean, does this cause any operational headaches?

“The challenge hasn’t been so much operations, the challenge has been more inter-office communications,” said Eccles. “From the East Coast, there’s a 5-hour time difference, so you’re only starting on emails from New York at around lunch time, and for me, 10 p.m. is when my emails start to settle down. Sure, there are a lot of evening calls, and a lot of early morning calls from New York. That can be hard, getting everyone together in one room.”

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Social – VentureBeat

3 Ways Atkins Marketing Solutions Grew Profits with PPC

The world of digital marketing offers amazing opportunities for businesses of all sizes to reach new audiences with their products and services. It’s also an incredible opportunity for experienced marketing professionals to branch out on their own and launch their own agencies and consultancies.

Customer Spotlight Atkins Marketing Solutions logo 

However, as any marketer or agency professional could tell you, it’s ferocious out there, and the pressure of not only taking care of existing clients but also trying to find new business is brutal. Even skilled, experienced marketers need help, as Stuart Atkins of Atkins Marketing Solutions discovered while growing his agency.

How It All Got Started

Stuart Atkins, founder of Atkins Marketing Solutions, knows more than a thing or two about marketing. The author of two books – Winning the Battle for Attention: Internet Marketing for Small Business and Small Business Marketing: A Guide for Survival, Growth, and Success – Stuart also teaches marketing at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics in Fullerton, California. A seasoned 20-year marketing veteran with corporate heavyweights such as Toshiba America and Kingston Technology, Stuart founded his agency in 2008 and never looked back.

“After going through a layoff in 2007, I reinvented myself and Atkins Marketing Solutions was created,” Stuart says. “I started teaching part-time. We help businesses audit their marketing, tell their story, and find their customers. Our marketing services cover PPC, product management and naming, branding, website usability and content development, email marketing, and WordPress website development. Our PPC business is growing and becoming more of a niche service offering for our clients.”

Despite his considerable marketing experience, the pressures of running a full-service marketing agency soon became apparent: a need for greater focus, in less time, with fewer resources. Stuart knew he needed help, and so began searching for a partner that would help him deliver greater ROI to his clients and grow his business.

That’s when Stuart discovered WordStream’s software, and started using it to grow his agency and better serve his clients. Here are a few ways that Stuart has improved his PPC campaigns since he signed on as a WordStream customer.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

Stuart says he first heard about WordStream while evaluating tools that could help him handle his increasing workload and take on more ambitious projects.

“I needed a PPC management tool to help me navigate more volume and complexity in my agency accounts,” Stuart explains. “I also realized that taking on more PPC clients requires increased time efficiency. I started the dialog with WordStream at Constant Contact’s annual OneCon conference. I was really interested, but did not sign up yet.”

It wasn’t until later that Stuart realized how WordStream could fit into his existing workflow and allow him to take on more ambitious projects and client work.

“A few months later a large high-tech potential client heard me speak on PPC and requested a proposal,” Stuart says. “At the time, I did not have the needed management tools and support to handle this account. I then started searching for the right tool. I called the leading PPC management companies and one of the world’s largest enterprise PPC management companies actually recommended WordStream for handling multiple small- to medium-sized PPC accounts. I was convinced. I signed on and only wished I had done so earlier.”

Customer Spotlight Atkins Marketing Solutions WordStream 20 Minute Work Week dashboard

Stuart began to see the results of working with WordStream almost immediately. WordStream quickly became part of Stuart’s wider approach to PPC strategy, and allowed him to give his clients the focus they deserved while saving him valuable time – all without disrupting Stuart’s preferred PPC management workflow.

“For new accounts, I first look at negative keyword queries to help filter any unwanted spend,” Stuart explains. “I then check keyword performance seeking a balance of both clicks and CTR, then optimize my bidding. I usually bid aggressively to ensure clients appear in position 1-3 for both mobile and desktop, especially since Google removed sidebar ads recently.”

Improving Lead Intelligence with Call Tracking

For both Stuart’s own agency and for many of his clients, calls are an incredibly important lead type. When he started using Call Tracking, a feature that allows users to listen to, record, and track incoming phone calls generated from PPC ads, he was able to secure new business for his agency and provide greater insights into his clients’ performance. This is intelligence that has proven extraordinarily popular with Stuart’s clients.

Customer Spotlight Atkins Marketing Solutions quote

“The call recordings reinforce to clients my agency value,” Stuart says. “Plus, you know the keywords that generated the call. That’s invaluable. In fact, the Call Tracking feature helps me close new clients. They love the idea. As for the reporting tool, it saves me time and documents more value to my clients. Call Tracking reinforces ROI in their advertising and PPC management spend. It also gives them a window into the world of live customer engagement.”

Stuart found that, in addition to the tools, functionality, and workflow improvements offered by WordStream Advisor, his relationship with his Customer Success Representative was invaluable to maximizing the potential of WordStream.

Customer Spotlight Atkins Marketing Solutions WordStream Call Tracking

“My Customer Success Rep has been fantastic,” Stuart says. “I did all the basic training but he opened my eyes to the details that mattered. There is no substitute for live interaction regarding the actual data coming in from a client account. In fact, the WordStream support team has been fantastic overall.”

Two Great Tools that Work Great Together

When it comes to AdWords, Stuart says, WordStream can be a valuable tool to any agency, but added that his previous experience and WordStream’s tools has been a winning combination for him and his agency.

Customer Spotlight Atkins Marketing Solutions WordStream Advisor

“PPC is both an art and a science,” Stuart explains. “WordStream adds another dimension to the AdWords management platform. In fact, they both work well together as I still also use Google management platform in conjunction with WordStream. This management dimension is critical for success if one wishes to bring out the full potential of a PPC campaign. WordStream works best if you know and understand Google AdWords. Having a grasp of the fundamental nuances of PPC structure and design enhances WordStream’s tools all the more.”

Stuart’s agency may be small – “We are an army of two employees right now,” he says – but working with WordStream has helped him provide greater value to his clients and succeed in an incredibly competitive market, both of which are a recipe for further growth.

“WordStream helps me close and keep new clients,” Stuart says. “It has given me the confidence to know I can handle more and higher-end clients. Even though I’m fairly new to WordStream, it has opened my eyes to dream much bigger PPC dreams as an agency and consultant. It has shown me what’s possible and now has me thinking with much more scale and PPC client growth in mind.” 


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