Digital Marketing News: Data by the Minute, Email in 2017 & New Instagram Features

How Much Data is Generated Every Minute? [Infographic] This infographic reveals what happens online every minute. The world internet population now represents 3.7 billion people. The findings on data usage includes social media platforms, video usage and the other most popular data generation websites and apps happening right now. Social Media Today How Email Is Accessed in 2017: Top Devices, Platforms, and Clients The report that was based on 27 billion emails opened between May 2016 and April 2017 highlights the devices on which email is accessed most frequently, the most popular email clients and the most popular email platforms that consumers are using. MarketingProfs Introducing New Features to the Instagram Platform API Brands are now able to access valuable insights in the Instagram API. You can keep track of organic content performance and have access to comment moderation by being able to hide or toggle on and off. To access these new features, you must have a business profile for Facebook. It is available for Facebook and Instagram Marketing Partners. Instagram Blog Facebook’s Video Helps Drive $ 9B in Ad Sales, Up 47% AdAge reports: “Facebook ad sales topped $ 9 billion last quarter, proof that its heavy investment in video is paying off, according to industry watchers… Its nearly $ 9.2 billion in ad revenue represented a 47% gain over the period a year earlier.” AdAge Easier Way to Block Comments With Links From Your Videos Video publishers can now block comments that contain links and hashtags with a new setting found in Creator Studio. Once enabled, this setting will hold comments containing links for review before being published. YouTube Help Forum Google Has Dropped Google Instant Search Google Instant showed search results as you type them, and Google has removed the feature from Search. Due to the recent changes in how searchers use mobile, Google decided to get rid of the feature. You will only see search suggestions that you can click on, but will no longer load any result pages without clicking on the suggesting, or hitting enter. Search Engine Land Amazon Launches Spark, A Shoppable Feed of Stories and Photos Aimed at Prime Members Inspired by Instagram’s use of shoppable photos, Amazon launched a new feature called Spark. The feature is available on the Amazon mobile app only for right now. Start by selecting at least 5 interests you want to follow, and with this information, Amazon Spark will create a customized feed of products and ideas of things to learn more about or shop for. TechCrunch Facebook is Now Letting Brands and Media Companies Create Their Own Groups Within Pages Brands and media companies are now able to create their own groups without having to rely on admins to set up the groups from personal accounts. This gives Pages administrators the ability to boost engagement with niche groups, and social media managers more privacy and separation from work. AdWeek What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We’ll be back next week with more top marketing news! Have something to share? Dying for more news? Follow @toprank on Twitter or sound off in the comments.

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

5 TopRank Marketing Team Insights for Finding B2B Content Marketing Inspiration

These days, there’s little doubt among B2B marketers that content is the foundation of digital marketing success. After all, studies show that nearly all B2B buyers do some form of online research before making a purchasing decision. As a result, we content creators are tasked with turning out informative, engaging and inspiring content that helps our brand be the best answer wherever and whenever our audience is searching.

But let’s face it, content folks. Despite being proven wordsmiths and marketers, our creative engine stalls from time to time. I’ll certainly admit that my computer screen and I have had some intimate moments—mostly me staring longingly at a blank document and praying the words will come.

So, what’s a B2B content marketer to do when our creative engine breaks down—or rather before it loses steam? Where can we find inspiration?

For me, my salvation lies in my fellow TopRank Marketing team members. As the old adage goes, two heads are better than one, so I often tap outside perspectives to kick-start my creative juices. So it’s only natural that this piece includes tips and insights from some of those team members.

Whether you’re planning content or looking to weave a creative metaphor into a piece, below my team members share how they overcome creative challenges and find content inspiration in the B2B space.

1. Mining for gold in SERPs.

“Lately I’ve been performing more incognito searches for priority keywords. Whether you need contextual clues surrounding search intent, or need to brainstorm ways to one-up your top competition with an even better answer, there’s gold in them thar SERPs.”

Jesse Pickrain, Senior Content Marketing Manager


There’s gold in them thar SERPs. – @jpickrain on finding #B2Bcontentmarketing inspiration
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2. Finding the pulse.

“For me, it’s all about tapping into topics that are occupying our societal consciousness at the moment. What are people talking about? Where are they focusing their attention? Why are these matters so magnetic? I’ll peruse Google News, Buzzsumo and various blogs in efforts to press my finger on the proverbial pulse. It doesn’t even need to be business-related; sometimes entertainment and politics can provide valuable fodder enabling us to look at B2B marketing in new and enlightening ways.”

Nick Nelson, Content Strategist


Entertainment & politics can enable us to look at #B2Bmarketing in enlightening ways. @NickNelsonMN
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3. Adding some visual stimulation.

“I go to free image sites like Pixabay and Pexels, and just browse the most recently added pictures. It’s a soothing stream-of-consciousness tour through visual content that will frequently spark a creative idea.”

Josh Nite, Content Marketing Manager


I go to free image sites & browse new pictures to inspire #content creativity. @NiteWrites
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4. Giving the people what they want

I spend a lot of time researching and reading to stay on top of what is happening in the world of marketing. A lot of my inspiration comes from the stories I read from other smart marketers. I like to find a ways to help our team create content that aligns with the needs of our audience.

Like Nick, Buzzsumo is a fantastic tool for uncovering top stories (across multiple verticals) that people are sharing. You can also use the tool to identify who the top sharers are to see if they are either part of your target audience, or influence your target audience.

I also spend a significant amount of time reviewing the performance of our own content to see what is resonating most with our audience. This can help determine where we should invest more time and effort. (Give the people what they want!).

Ashley Zeckman, Director of Agency Marketing


Inspire your #B2B #contentmarketing by staying on top of the latest industry happenings. @azeckman
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5. Being in the “brief”.

I routinely use Anders Pink to stay up on the latest news and find inspiration. This web app allows me to create a “briefing” where I can see everything trending in B2B content marketing. If I want to see what resonated the most with audiences, I can filter the briefing down further by limiting results to the past 24 hours, three days, or even three months.

Annie Leuman, Copywriter


I routinely use @AndersPink to stay up on the latest news & find #content inspiration. @aleuman4
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Looking for More B2B Content Marketing Inspiration?

Then allow me to suggest a few other posts to give you a creative boost:

  • Feeling Stuck? 5 Tips to Restart your Content-Creating Brain
  • How to Create Best Answer Content: 6 Inspiring Examples
  • How 7 Startups Skyrocketed to Success with Content Marketing
  • Is Your Content Marketing Designed for the New Customer Journey?

If you’re looking to tap the talented TopRank Marketing team to inspire your efforts, learn more about our approach to B2B content marketing.

Where do you find creative inspiration for your B2B content marketing efforts? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Meet the fake news of the online marketing world (that Google loves!): Review sites

Move over, fake news. Columnist David Rodnitzky takes a look at fake facts about online marketing vendors and why Google’s SEO algorithm isn’t separating the fake review sites from the real ones. The post Meet the fake news of the online marketing world (that Google loves!): Review sites appeared…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation

Posted by Angela_Petteys

To say marketing automation is a complex subject is putting it mildly. On the surface it seems simple enough, but once you get just a little bit deeper into it, it’s overwhelming. Even if you work with marketing automation on a daily basis, it can be hard to describe.

When used correctly, marketing automation can be useful in helping sales and marketing teams do their jobs more effectively so they can reach their goals. But there are also a lot of misunderstandings about what marketing automation is and isn’t. Let’s try to get a better understanding of what marketing automation is and how it can potentially help a business.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the use of software to deliver personalized messages to customers and leads. The software allows you to create a dynamic series of messages to send to your contacts. The message a person receives is decided by factors you specify, like what their spending habits are, where they are in the buying process, and past interactions they’ve had with your site.

Delivering content that’s tailored to a person’s needs and interests helps build stronger relationships which, in turn, can help increase conversions and revenue. Marketing automation can help you accomplish all these things while streamlining your operations at the same time.

In the broad scope of things, marketing automation incorporates several different aspects of marketing and business development, including email marketing, content development, conversion rate optimization, and lead generation.

The benefits of using marketing automation

By far, one of the biggest benefits of marketing automation is that it helps sales and marketing teams work more efficiently. People love personalized content; sending out personalized emails generates six times more revenue than sending non-personalized emails. But manually sending out customized messages to contacts simply isn’t practical. Marketing automation platforms handle the mundane and repetitive work that goes into delivering personalized content, giving sales and marketing professionals more time to focus on things that are more interesting and challenging.

Not only does marketing automation make it easier to deliver messages, it makes it easier to figure out where people are in the conversion process. Marketing automation programs typically have a lead scoring feature which helps users quickly identify which leads are the most sales-ready.

One of the most common reasons why businesses consider using marketing automation in the first place is because they want to improve their conversion rates and revenues. Marketing automation is a way to encourage customers to stay engaged longer, making it more likely they’ll stick around long enough to convert. On average, companies that use marketing automation have 53% higher conversion rates and an annual revenue growth rate 3.1% higher compared to companies that don’t.

For products and services with longer conversion cycles, marketing automation can also help speed up the process. In one example cited by VentureHarbour, Thomson Reuters was able to reduce their conversion time by 72% by using marketing automation software.

What applications are there for marketing automation?

While marketing automation has several different applications, email messaging and lead generation/nurturing are among the most common.

Yes, email is still relevant as a marketing tool. While it’s easy to say things like “Everybody’s on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram,” it’s simply not true. However, most Internet users do have at least one email address. Email inboxes also tend to move at a slower pace than social media feeds, giving you the best chance at making a direct connection with your contacts. There’s a multitude of ways marketing automation can be used with email:

  • Welcome messages
  • Product retargeting
  • Abandoned cart reminders
  • Personalized product recommendations

And that’s just to name a few.

Many companies use marketing automation to solicit feedback from their contacts, regardless if they’ve converted or not. Whether it’s by sending out surveys or asking people to send comments directly to them, the information they garner can be extremely valuable in guiding changes that will help improve their revenues in the long run.

Given that personalized emails generate so much more revenue than non-personalized emails, marketing automation can be an effective way to nurture your leads. According to Marketo, about 50% of leads in any system are not ready to buy and nearly 80% of all new leads will never become sales. With marketing automation, the goal is to give people something of value when they need it most so that they’re more likely to convert. Effective lead nurturing generates 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. Nurtured leads also tend to make larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Marketing automation platforms are also often commonly used to manage social media campaigns, create landing pages, and conduct ongoing A/B testing.

B2B vs. B2C marketing automation

Businesses of all sizes can potentially benefit from marketing automation, but whether a business has a B2B or B2C model is going to have an impact on the type of messaging used in their campaigns. While both types of businesses would have the main goals of improving conversions and revenue, there are differences in how they’ll reach that goal.

B2B sales

B2B sales tend to have longer conversion cycles than B2C sales and often involve products or services that require a more long-term commitment. (Of course, there are some exceptions.) Because of this, B2B messaging has a greater emphasis on long-form content like whitepapers, case studies, and e-books. When major purchases are being considered for a business, multiple people are often involved in the decision-making process, so it’s not always a matter of winning over one person like it is with B2C sales. It’s important for the business with something to sell to establish themselves as an authority in their industry — offering in-depth informational content is a great way to do that.

B2C sales

Since B2C sales move at a faster pace, the content used in their messaging is typically much simpler. For example, Sephora customers aren’t going to be interested in long case studies about a product, but they might appreciate a 30-second video demonstrating how to use a product instead. For B2C companies, the focus tends to be more on brand building and giving customers reasons to come back, so their messaging typically includes things like abandoned shopping cart reminders, personalized product recommendations, and offers tailored to specific types of customers.

Key concepts

Although many different aspects of marketing and business development come together in marketing automation, the whole process is ultimately driven by a few core concepts.

Conversion funnels

A conversion funnel is the process a person takes toward becoming a customer. Now that it’s so easy to find product reviews and shop around, a lot of people don’t just buy things from the first place they see it for sale. Marketing automation is a way to keep people engaged so they’re more likely to convert.

The conversion funnel can be broken down into a few basic stages:

  • Awareness: The customer initially becomes aware of a company, product, or service. It’s too soon for a person to want to make any decisions, but a business has made its way onto their radar.
  • Interest: Not everyone who is aware of a business/product/service is going to have a need for it. At this point, those who are interested will start becoming more engaged by doing things like requesting a quote, signing up for a free trial, following a business on social media, looking for reviews, or reading blog posts and other content on a company’s site.
  • Consideration: By now, a person is familiar enough with a business to know they like what’s being offered. They’re not quite ready to make a decision, but a business is in the running.
  • Action: This is the point where a person decides to convert. You’ve won them over and they’re ready to do business with you.

Ideally, after a person converts once, they’ll be so happy with their decision that they become a repeat customer. But as people move through the conversion funnel, whether they do it once or several times, some of them will always drop out at each level. On average, only 1–5 % of people who enter a conversion funnel actually convert. When people drop out, it’s known as churn, and while some churn is inevitable, marketing automation can help reduce it. By understanding the needs and interests of people at each stage of the conversion funnel, you’re better able to keep them engaged by providing them with the type of content they’re most interested in.

For example, let’s say a company installs vinyl windows and they advertise heavily in the local media. At any given time, a large percentage of the thousands of people who see their ads won’t take any action after seeing one because they either don’t need new windows or because they live in a rental property. No amount of additional messaging will win those people over. But since replacing windows can be very expensive, the people who actually do need them typically spend time doing research to make sure they choose the right type of window and get the best price. If this company were to send additional information about vinyl windows to the people who contact them to get an estimate, they may be able to convince more people to convert.

Feedback loops and metrics

One of the basic laws of physics is that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. A very similar concept also applies in the world of marketing automation, and it’s known as a feedback loop. When you send a message to a person, the recipient will have some kind of reaction to it, even if that reaction is to do nothing at all. That reaction is part of your feedback loop and you’ll need to pay attention to your metrics to get an idea of what those reactions are.

Feedback loops and metrics are a reflection of how effective your marketing automation strategy is. Whether a person converts, clicks through to your site, ignores the message, flags it as spam, or unsubscribes from your list, that tells you something about how the recipient felt about your message.

When you look at your metrics, you’ll ideally want to see high open rates, clickthrough rates, and maybe even some forwards, since those are signs your content is engaging, valuable, and not annoying to your contacts. Some unsubscribes and abuse reports are inevitable, especially since a lot of people get confused about the difference between the two. But don’t ignore those metrics just because they’re not what you want to see. An increasing number of either could be a sign your strategy is too aggressive and needs to be reworked.

User flow

While conversion funnels refer to the process taken toward converting, user flow refers to the series of pages a person visits before taking an action.

When you have traffic coming to your site from different sources like PPC ads, social media, and email messages, you want to direct users to pages that will make it easy for them to take the action you want them to take, whether it’s buying something, signing up for a free trial, or joining an email list.

You also have to keep in mind that people often have different needs depending on how they arrive at a page, so you’ll want to do your best to make sure people are being taken to a page that would appeal to them. For example, if a person is directly taken to a product page after doing a search for a long-tail keyword, that’s fine since they’re clearly looking for something specific and are more likely to be ready to convert. But someone who clicks on a PPC ad and fills out a form on a landing page is probably going to want more information before they make any decisions, so it’s not time to give them a hard sell.

Workflows

Workflows are where the automation part of marketing automation comes into play. Your workflow is the series of triggers you create to deliver messages. Creating a workflow involves taking yourself through the entire process and asking yourself, “If this happens, what should happen next?”

Workflows can consist of many different triggers, such as how long it’s been since a person has taken an action, interactions you’ve had with a person, or actions they’ve previously taken on your site. Some types of workflows commonly used by retailers include sending discount codes to customers who haven’t made any purchases in a while, reminding people to review products after they’ve had some time to enjoy their purchase, and sending reminders to people who have recently added items to their cart without actually making a purchase.

Important steps in creating a marketing automation strategy

1. Define your goals

This might seem like an obvious point to make, but before you do anything else, you need to decide exactly what you want marketing automation to help you achieve so you can plan your strategy accordingly. Are you trying to generate more leads? Working to build up business from return customers? Trying to boost sales during an off season? Each of those goals is going to require a different strategy, so it’s important to understand exactly what your main objectives are.

2. Identify who to target

Of course it’s important to understand the needs of your customers at all points of the conversion process. But depending on what your main goals are, your time and energy may be best spent focusing on people who are at a specific point of the process. For instance, if you’re not really having a problem with lead generation but you want more people to convert, your time and energy would be better spent focusing on the middle and lower parts of the conversion funnel.

3. Map user flows

By using marketing automation, you’re trying to get people to take some kind of action. Mapping user flow is a way to visualize the steps people need to go through to be able to take that action.

Depending on the way a person arrives at your site, some people might need more information than others before they’re willing to take that action. You don’t want to make people go through more steps than are necessary to do something, but you don’t want to hit people with a hard sell too soon, either. By using state diagrams to map user flows, as recommended by Peep Laja of ConversionXL, you’ll see exactly how people are arriving at a page and how many steps it takes for them to take the desired action.

4. Segment and rate your leads

It’s important to remember that not all leads are necessarily equal in terms of quality. Your database of contacts is inevitably going to be a mix of people who are on the verge of buying, people who are still researching their options, and people who probably won’t convert, so it’s not possible to create broad messages that will somehow appeal to all of those types of people. Rating your leads helps you figure out exactly who needs further nurturing and who is ready to be handed over to a sales team.

The interactions a person has had with your content and the actions they’ve taken on your site can be a reflection of how ready they are to convert. A person who has viewed a pricing page is most likely going to be closer to buying than someone who has simply read a blog post on a site. A person who has visited a site multiple times over the course of a few weeks is clearly more interested than someone who has only visited once or twice in the past year. Marketing automation software lets you assign values to certain actions and interactions so that it can calculate a score for that lead.

Marketing automation also lets you segment your database of contacts to a very high degree so you can deliver messages to very specific types of people. For example, when working with a B2B business, a marketer might want to target messages to people with certain job titles who work at businesses of a certain size. With B2C sales, a retailer might want to segment their lists to give special offers to people who have spent a certain amount of money with the company or send product recommendations to people who live in certain locations.

Building and maintaining a contact database

There’s no easy way around it: Building a high-quality database of contacts takes time. Marketing automation should come into play once you already have a fairly sizeable database of contacts to work with, but you will need to keep adding new names to that database on a regular basis.

One of the most effective ways to build a database of highly qualified contacts is by creating informative content. Blog content is great for providing high-level information, and it helps businesses build trust and establish themselves as an authority in their field. On the other hand, things like whitepapers and e-books are best for attracting people who want more in-depth information on a subject and are more inclined to be interested in what a business is offering, which is why those types of content are usually gated. With gated content, a person’s contact information is essentially the price of accessing the content.

For businesses that offer a service, free trials are an excellent way to get contact information since the people who sign up for them are obviously interested in what’s being offered.

Just say “no” to purchased lists

Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to buy a list of contacts. Purchased lists may give you a quick boost up front, but they’ll work against you in the long run.

First of all, high-quality lists of contacts aren’t for sale. The kinds of lists you can buy or rent are typically full of invalid and abandoned email addresses. Even if a person actually does see your message, they likely either won’t be interested or will be skeptical about doing business with a company they’re not familiar with.

If you were to start sending messages to a list full of contacts of questionable quality, you’ll most likely end up with high bounce rates, lots of unsubscriptions, low open rates, and a whole lot of abuse reports. Email service providers pay attention to those sorts of metrics and if they start seeing them on a regular basis, they’ll view you as a spammer, which will only make it harder for you to get your message to more qualified leads once you have them.

Best practices for marketing automation messaging

Get to the point

Make your point quickly and make it clear. We all have a limited amount of time each day and one thing people have little patience for is long messages. People just want to know what’s in it for them. How would your product or service solve their problem? What’s unique about what you’re offering?

Keep it active

By implementing marketing automation strategies, you’re trying to keep people engaged. Therefore, your messages should be written in an active tone and encourage recipients to take some kind of action, whether it’s downloading a whitepaper, reading a blog post, watching a video, or making a purchase.

Remember where people are in the process

Don’t forget that some types of content will be more appealing than others depending on where a person is in the conversion funnel. People who are just starting to learn more about a company or product are not going to be happy if they get hit with a hard sell, but highly promotional content could potentially be effective on someone further down in the conversion funnel.

Avoid looking spammy

When used correctly, marketing automation is not spam — we’ll talk more about why that is in just a little bit. But don’t give your contacts the wrong impression. Certain things will always look spammy, such as typing in all capital letters, overusing the color red, and using too many links in the body of the message. If you’re going to use symbols in your subject lines or messages, don’t use too many of them. Avoid using words known to trigger spam filters.

If you’re unfamiliar with the CAN-SPAM Act, take some time to learn about what it means for your campaign. Subject lines need to be accurate and not misleading. Companies that send marketing messages through email need to provide a physical mailing address. (PO box addresses are allowed.) You also need to provide an unsubscribe option in all messages and make sure all opt-out requests are honored as soon as possible.

Hone your list

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to contact lists. One of the key goals for marketing automation is to get your message to precisely the right people. Pay close attention to your metrics so you know who your most qualified leads are and get rid of the ones who aren’t responding anymore. You’re better off with a smaller list of highly qualified leads than with a large list of contacts who don’t care. If it’s been months since a person last opened a message from you, just remove them from your list and focus more on the leads who are more interested.

Misconceptions about marketing automation

It’s impersonal

When done correctly, marketing automation can and should feel personal. In all fairness, it’s easy to understand how people get the wrong impression here — after all, the word “automation” is usually associated with things like computerization and robots. But for a marketing automation strategy to be successful, there needs to be a human touch behind it. Marketing automation simply makes it easier for you to get your message out there. It’s up to you to come up with content that will appeal to people and to create the strategy for getting it out there.

It’s spam

We all know how obnoxious spam is — marketers included. Marketers also understand how ineffective it is. While spam is an unsolicited message promoting something irrelevant to the vast majority of its recipients, the goal of marketing automation is to deliver highly relevant messages to users who clearly express an interest in it.

Unlike spam, marketing automation also frequently involves non-promotional content. Marketing automation messages absolutely can be promotional in nature, but ultimately, the goal is to foster positive relationships by offering something of value — and that doesn’t always involve a hard sell.

You can set it and forget it

This is another case where the word “automation” can give the wrong impression. When you think of something being automated, it’s easy to think you can just set it up, sit back, and let it run on its own. In reality, marketing automation is anything but a hands-off process. Marketing automation needs constant attention and refinement to make sure it’s as successful as possible. Many people use the A/B testing functionality of marketing automation software to run ongoing tests to see which sorts of content, subject lines, design variations, and CTAs people best respond to.

It’s just email marketing

Email is a significant part of marketing automation, but marketing automation isn’t just a new name for email marketing.

First of all, the types of messages involved in basic email marketing and marketing automation are distinctly different. When most people think of email marketing, they’re thinking of broad email blasts that go out to an entire list of contacts, but that’s just what you’re trying to avoid doing with marketing automation. Marketing automation messages are much more fine-tuned to a user’s interests and needs. Although basic email marketing programs do allow for some list segmentation, marketing automation programs allow you to get much more hyper-segmented.

Basic email marketing and marketing automation programs also offer different functionality and insights. While regular email marketing platforms give some basic information about how people interact with your message, marketing automation programs offer more measurable, in-depth insights.

While marketing automation offers a lot of benefits, it’s not going to be an ideal solution for all businesses. For some types of businesses, basic email marketing is all they really need. Studies have shown that marketers often feel like marketing automation software isn’t worth the investment, but many marketers also fail to use it to its full potential or businesses try using it before they have a large enough database of contacts to truly make it worthwhile. Before using marketing automation, the key things to consider are whether or not you have the time and resources to dedicate to training on the software so they can use it to its full potential.

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11 Content Marketing Tips to Build Your B2B Business

As the father of an 8-year-old boy, most of my disposable income is tied up in little plastic bricks. In my house, you’ll find thousands of them in bins, several elaborate sets on display, and a distressing number of the (razor-sharp) things underfoot.

I’m not complaining, really. I have as much fun building with them as he does. And as a marketer, having Lego around is a good reminder of the value of content marketing. Great content can drive marketing goals while providing something of real value to its target audience: The Lego Movie was a 90-minute commercial for Lego, but it was also entertaining and heartfelt. I laughed, I cried, I bought $ 100 worth of tie-in toys… everybody won.

Your B2B offering may not have that Lego coolness factor. The Industrial Turbine Movie is unlikely to score with critics or with audiences. But content can still help you build your business.

If you’re just getting started with content marketing, start with this guide to content marketing strategy. Then use the following tips as an advanced class to make your content even more valuable to your audience. And, most importantly, to connect that audience to your business goals.

10 Content Marketing Tips to Build Your B2B Business

#1: Find the Intersection of Brand Expertise and Customer Needs

The Venn diagram of what your brand wants to talk about and what your customers want to learn about is never going to be a perfect circle.

The value lies in the overlap of your brand’s knowledge and your customer’s questions. It doesn’t help anyone to write informed content on an irrelevant topic, or uninformed content on a relevant one. Find out where your Venn diagram overlaps and start there. Then add a unique angle—something your brand is uniquely qualified to bring to the table.

#2: Help Prospects Succeed at Their Jobs

Note that you’re not just addressing the intersection of your company’s solution and customers’ needs. If your only helpful advice is, “Buy our product, here’s how it solves your problem,” you’re not really serving the audience.

B2B marketers frequently hear, “This content doesn’t address our product’s features, so it’s not relevant.” But anything that helps your potential buyer do his or her job better is acutely relevant. Helpful content builds brand recognition, establishes trust, and leads to loyalty when it’s time to make a purchase.

#3: Start with a Single Channel

In his book Content, Inc., Joe Pulizzi suggests focusing on just one channel for publishing your content. Create a repository of content on your owned real estate, using organic and paid social to drive traffic back to your home turf. The end goal should be creating a destination for visitors, who can become subscribers and eventually customers.

#4: Beef up Your Core Content

Before you start filling out your editorial calendar, make sure your site has a bare minimum of useful static content. The most compelling, viral blog post can’t get business results if your site lacks some of these basic building blocks:

  • An “About” page with your company’s philosophy and mission statement
  • A product page that explains exactly what your offering is and does.
  • A differentiator page explaining why your offering is unique.

#5: Encourage C-Suite Thought Leadership

Make sure there is a variety of voices in your content. That means tapping internal subject matter experts, certainly. But it’s also worth encouraging executives to contribute to content as well. Your C-suite is influential both in your organization and in your industry. Help them see the real business value of thought leadership content in building an audience, accelerating sales cycles, and lifting brand recognition.

 

#6: Collaborate with Influencers (and Prospects)

We’re pretty sold on influencer marketing at TopRank Marketing, for at least a dozen reasons. Influencer co-created content helps you reach a wider audience, boosts your credibility, and helps build mutually beneficial influencer relationships, for starters.

Start seeing your prospects as influencers, too. The next time you’re creating an influencer asset, look to people working at your most valuable target companies. Promote their content, make contact, and ask them to share their expertise. Working together to make something cool is a great way to start a relationship.

#7: Set a Cadence of Quality

How often should you publish content? As often as you can without sacrificing quality. If you can publish in-depth, supremely useful, world-beating content every day, go for it. But it’s better to post one great piece of content a week than 7 mediocre ones.

Set a cadence you will be sure to keep up with, and publish regularly to get your audience in the habit of visiting your site.

 

#8: Plan a Full-Funnel Content Mix

It’s easy to focus on bottom-of-funnel content—the ultra-specific stuff designed to lead directly to a purchase decision—because that content is perceived as having the greatest effect on the bottom line. But if all your content is at the bottom of the funnel, you don’t have a funnel.

Plan to cultivate a healthy content balance that addresses every stage of your buyer’s journey. That means more top-of-funnel than bottom-of-funnel content, and middle-funnel content that connects research to purchase intent.

 

#9: Create a Variety of Content Types

Nothing against the venerable white paper, that staple of B2B content marketing, but modern buyers are looking for a little more variety. Spice up your content mix with infographics, short video, SlideShare presentations—anything that adds visual interest can make your content stand out from the crowd.

When your content plan has diversity in content type, funnel stage, and authorial voice, you’ll be far better equipped to make your site a destination for readers.

 

#10: Include Logical Next Steps

Building a business with content is all about laying out a journey your customer can take. Their path may loop, move backwards, or leap forward, but each piece of content should clearly point them to the next destination. Every asset should have at least one call to action, whether it’s to read a piece of content further down the funnel, download an asset, subscribe, or schedule a demo.

 

#11: Gate Assets Sparingly

A gated eBook is most B2B marketers’ go-to lead capture tool. It’s a fine tactic, and one that we regularly employ to great success. It’s important, though, to make sure you have a healthy portion of ungated content. And it’s vital that your gated content provide value that’s worth the customer giving up their contact information.

For the most part, save your gated content for middle and bottom-of-funnel content. Keep the content highly specific and targeted at those most ready to purchase, and you can pre-qualify your leads. Gating top-of-funnel content can lead to either a high influx of low-quality leads, or (more likely) precious few people making the conversion at all.

Lego of Your Fear and Start Creating Great Content

You don’t have to be a billion-dollar toy corporation to create content that moves people to take action. With these tips in mind, you can develop a relevant, dynamic, compelling content marketing mix. Superlative content gets results, whether you’re selling little plastic bricks or million-dollar cloud software solutions.

Need help building your content empire? Learn more about TopRank Marketing’s content marketing services.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | 11 Content Marketing Tips to Build Your B2B Business | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Digital Marketing News: Email Marketing Facts, Gen Z Media Usage & Snap Publisher Tool

119 Facts About Email Marketing [Infographic] Discover 119 facts you didn’t know about email marketing including, why email marketing works, biggest email trends for 2017, most common types of emails, most used email marketing tactics, segmentation and personalization, mobile email statistics and more. (MarketingProfs) Gen Z is The Largest, Most Diverse Group of Media Users, According to a New Report From Nielsen A new report from Nielsen’s Total Audience Report for the first quarter of 2017 highlights how unique and diverse Gen Z is in media consumption. This report shows a device ownership and other technology breakdown by generation, and why Gen Z is more able to adapt to new technologies than other generations. (AdWeek) Snap Inc. Launches ‘Snap Publisher’ Ad Creation Tool Snap Inc. recently launched a new self-serve ad tool to encourage more advertising spend, which is now global, instead of limited to certain regions. A new creation platform was also announced to launch soon called Snap Publisher. This new platform offers templates to create ads and simply upload your brand logo, tagline, content and video. (Social Media Today) Ask A Question, Get an Answer in Google Analytics If you know what data you need, and want it quickly, just ask Google Analytics and get your answer. This new voice feature uses the same natural language processing technology as other Google products like Android and Search, and will be available in English to all Google Analytics users over the next few weeks. (Google Analytics Solutions Blog) Work Smarter and Stay Connected with the New LinkedIn App for Windows 10 The new LinkedIn app for Windows 10 gives LinkedIn members more options for how they connect with their professional network. The app is for desktop users and includes many features to make it easier to connect and full control to customize your experience while using the app. (LinkedIn Official Blog) Google News Feed Now With Machine Learning & Follow Buttons Google Search is now making it easier to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters most to you. You can follow topics based on search queries that helps Google understand what you’re interested in, and your news feed will be based on your interactions with Google. (Search Engine Roundtable) Facebook Always Wins: Data Shows Publishers Are Buying Far More Facebook Traffic Publishers are buying more traffic from the platform despite declining organic reach and monetization issues. The average number of paid monthly impressions from Facebook over the last 18 months has doubled, and publishers are using Facebook to distribute content profitably to achieve their business goals. (DigiDay) Google Expands Home Service Ads to More Markets, More Business Categories Google’s Home Services ad product is now available for more business categories in more cities than before. As a customer of this service, your ads can be featured at the top of SERPs with added trust and prestige due to the strict qualifying criteria that advertisers must meet to publish their ads. (Search Engine Journal) What were your top online marketing news stories this week? We’ll be back next week with more news! Need more in the meantime? Follow @toprank on Twitter.

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

CMWorld Interview: H&R Block’s Zerlina Jackson Explores Marketing in the Financial Sector

Marketers in financial industries are in the midst of a major digital transformation.

Apps and mobile experience have become not a “nice to have” but a requirement from consumers. Additionally, financial institutions have started investing heavily in user experience for their web properties to focus on customers first.

The team at H&R Block has taken digital transformation to the next level by utilizing the artificial intelligence from IBM Watson to help tax preparers dig deeper and help customers save money.

To gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work in marketing at a financial institution, I reached out to Zerlina Jackson, Director of Web Experience at H&R Block. Zerlina has nearly eight years of marketing experience in the financial sector and was able to shed some light on topics that are top of mind for nearly every marketer.

Zerlina will be presenting at Content Marketing World this September and was kind enough to provide insights into what her role at H&R Block entails, what it truly takes to create an exceptional customer experience and some takeaways from her presentation at the conference.

What does your role as Director of Web Experience at H&R Block entail? What does your day look like? What do you like best?

I manage the strategy and day to day operations for hrblock.com, blockadvisors.com, and other pre-authentication web properties that influence client conversion. We focus on two strategic disciplines to optimize our web experiences; driving traffic and closing traffic. Our driving traffic strategy consist of developing programs to ensure our information is found beyond hrblock.com (i.e. google quick answers, local listings, optimizations for SEO). While our closing traffic strategy ensures that our prospects and clients have the best experience possible when engaging with our web properties.

At H&R Block, no two days are the same. One of the things that surprises most people is that we’re developing things year-round. In a typical day, I could develop a web strategy plan, consult on user experiences and designs, develop a project plan, analyze program results, evaluate new technologies, and meet with business/agency partners. We definitely keep ourselves pretty busy. But the best part of my job is that I get to work with an amazing team of smart people every day that are all in a constant pursuit of excellence. And we get to do some really cool stuff.

How have the other positions you’ve held in your career impacted how you approach digital marketing today?

I’ve been lucky to work for some amazing organizations. I started my career at Domino’s Pizza and I worked with some of the most innovative digital marketers around (ordering a pizza online changed lives). The great thing about Domino’s (besides the fact that there was an official company cheer) was that we were in uncharted territory. It was great to be part of a team that was doing something that hadn’t been conquered before and there wasn’t a blueprint.

At PNC I worked managing the website for the Corporate & Institutional Banking business which was very different from selling pizzas online. The sales cycles for closing a Corporate Banking deal was years, and the needs of the clients were much different. The website didn’t play a major role in the sales cycle but provided bankers with the information needed for client engagement.

Although both roles were different (Dominos with fast consumer sales cycle vs. PNC with slower business sales cycle), I learned a valuable lesson from both. At Domino’s & PNC it was all about develop the best possible experience for clients to ensure that you maximized conversion. The conversions were clearly different at each organization, but the notion of ensuring that the digital experience is optimized to the client, has stuck with me throughout my career.

What do you think it really takes to create an exceptional client experience in today’s fast-paced and overloaded digital world?

Take the 3 second rule of capturing a user’s attention before they bounce from a website, combine that with the new normal of simultaneous device use, and it creates quite a challenge for UX designers. However, I believe in keeping things simple. The two questions we ask prior to creating any experience is:

  1.    What does the user want to know or do?
  2.    How can we meet their goals with the least amount of friction (easy to understand / easy to take action)?

We keep everything focused on our user goals and then align business goals to those experiences. Once we create an experience, we constantly validate our theories through testing and optimization programs.

Has there been a defining moment in your career that you credit for your success and if so, what was it?

Prior to entering the web world I was working in IT and completing my Master’s degree when I took a marketing course and fell in love. I moved to the digital team because I thought it would be a great way to combine those two passions. Then I decided to go work in the financial industry at the height of the financial crisis (not the smartest decision I’ve ever made). There I met a mentor who challenged me to grow my UX skills. And then I came to H&R Block to challenge myself again and continue to grow in a new direction. So, I don’t think I would say there was one defining moment, but several small moments that has allowed me to do amazing things with amazing people.

Do you have any advice for other marketers who are making the transition from content creation and strategy to a marketing leadership role like yours?

It can be a difficult transition to go from program executer and actual SME to leader and supporter of SMEs. You must let go of having all the answers (project statuses, timelines, and details) and trust your team so that they can do their best work. My advice would be to lean into your new role of learning how to develop people, clear roadblocks, influence executives, etc. and allow your team to lean into their new roles as well. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s ok but have that same level of grace with people who are learning your old position. Someone once told me, “Just because your title changed doesn’t mean you are a leader. Leadership is developed with each interaction within and outside of your team.” I’ve always found that to be a helpful reminder that how I represent myself, represents my team.

In your presentation at Content Marketing World you’ll be sharing the insights into how content marketing and agency collaboration can drive qualified traffic. Without giving it all away, what are 3 things attendees will learn from your session?

We can’t wait to share some of our learnings from this season! Three things we want attendees to walk away with are:

  1.    Why this initiative was a vital part of the overall H&R Block content strategy and how it may be applicable to your organization as well.
  2.    Tight deadlines, competing priorities, and dev restrictions were all challenges that we had to overcome. We want to share how we brought it all together.
  3.    How to be innovative and experiment without disrupting your normal workflow.

Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2017?

This is such a great lineup it’s hard to choose but I honestly can’t wait to hear from Colson Whitehead.

Want More?

Thank you for sharing your insights and expertise with us Zerlina!

If you’d like to learn more from Zerlina and 14 of her fellow Content Marketing World speakers, check out the final eBook in our series, In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey.

In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey from Content Marketing Institute

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | CMWorld Interview: H&R Block’s Zerlina Jackson Explores Marketing in the Financial Sector | http://www.toprankblog.com

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4 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Building a Bustling Baseball Fan Community

[Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming another new author to TopRankBlog.com, Nick Nelson. Nick is a Content Strategist that has been with the TopRank Marketing team for a few months and spends his time creating great content for some of our enterprise B2B clients. Welcome Nick!]

If you build it, they will come.

Ah, if only it were that simple. But as any business proprietor knows, it is not. Even if you offer a great product or service, attracting customers takes time and effort. It requires creativity, dedication, and tenacity. That is where marketing comes in.

A fortuitous series of circumstances led to my involvement as a cofounder of Twins Daily, which now counts itself as one of the nation’s biggest completely independent fan sites covering a pro sports team. Through five years of ups and downs with this passion hobby and labor of love, I’ve gained some insights that prove indispensable in my day job as a content marketer.

Today, in my first entry here on the TopRank Marketing blog, I thought I would share some of those lessons, and how I apply them in serving our clients. In the spirit of a baseball diamond with its four corners, we’ll cover the bases before bringing it home.

But first…

What is Twins Daily?

It’s the brainchild of four fan bloggers who sought to end hunger. Not in any noble way, mind you, but there was an appetite for baseball coverage in the Twin Cities market that wasn’t quite being satiated by mainstream media.

In 2012, I teamed up with John Bonnes, Seth Stohs, and Parker Hageman to launch the site, envisioning a community where Twins fans could find exceptional daily content and then stick around for intelligent conversation with like-minded users.

Since then, Twins Daily has piled up 12.5 million visits and 45 million pageviews, generating traffic that surpasses many of the resource-rich professional outlets in town. In 2014, our site was the subject of a cover story in Twin Cities Business magazine. We continue to grow, and in mid-June set a new daily traffic record when Minnesota made the first overall selection in the MLB Draft.

This traction has been driven not by us, but by the community we’ve brought together. When you create energy and participation around your content, there is no telling where it can go. Whether the goal is generating engagement, selling a product, or simply establishing a corporate narrative, this is critical to remember.

The following takeaways are worth keeping in mind for a marketer looking to build and foster online communities with purpose, even if those communities are blog readerships, social media followings, or brand audiences. You don’t need a shared passion like baseball to propel your messaging – only a sound strategy from the ground up.

#1 – Hit the Ground Running

When kicking off our new venture, we had a built-in advantage that is awfully tough to replicate: an established audience. Each of our four disparate blogs had its own sizable readership, giving us an intrinsic head start. However, we weren’t prepared to rely solely upon regulars migrating to the new destination. We needed to generate momentum and excitement. We needed to re-earn their patronage.

So we spent weeks teasing the site, on our personal blogs and our social channels. We planned out a launch on the first day of spring training, with baseball fever hitting a high point. When the big day arrived, we each made announcements on our own sites, and made sure that visitors would find plenty of great content right away at the new hub.

As a result of these collective efforts, Day 1 traffic blew away our expectations, and many who stopped by came back, again and again.

On the flip side, a few years after Twins Daily came into existence, we tried to replicate the formula for other local sports teams, with sites dedicated to the Vikings and Wild. We came out of the gates flat, failed to get everyone on the same page, and never built much of an audience. The ventures fizzled out. It was a harsh learning experience.

When planning out content strategies, it is important to have everyone collectively focused on starting strong with each new campaign.

First Pitch: Initial impressions matter most, and you only get one. Don’t waste it.

#2 – Feed Your Audience What it Wants

It sounds obvious, right? But it really isn’t. Too often do content creators try to dictate what users wish to consume. Too rarely do they consult the analytics and deeper metrics to let the readers tell them what they want.

We wondered: there isn’t going to be a thirst for Twins baseball content every day, even in the middle of winter, right? There was. We wondered: people aren’t going to read about obscure minor-leaguers and trivial minutiae, right? They did.

On plenty of occasions, I have spent hours putting together a lengthy story that I figured would be a home run, only to end up with a swing and miss. I try to continually monitor the traffic trends for each individual piece and draw out correlations, so as to inform future content direction.

The leading mantra here at TopRank Marketing: Optimize! (Our CEO Lee Odden wrote a book on that very subject.) Those principles should be applied to any type of Web-based initiative here in age of ubiquitous metrics and measurement tools.

Read Your Scouting Reports: Content strategy should not comprise of guesswork.

#3 – Events Fuel Engagement

Before we ever conceived Twins Daily, we were already holding informal gatherings for the readers of our blogs. These would usually involve getting together at a local bar to watch a road game, drink beers, and bask in mutual nerdiness.

These events build real connections. In fact, the enthusiastic participation was one of the main things that convinced us we could make something more out of this. Now, we hold annual events like our Winter Meltdown, which takes place around Target Field after TwinsFest in January and features giveaways, photo opps, and Q&As with guests from the organization.

Shaking hands with readers, and affixing faces to usernames, has helped me and our other founders bond with community members in a meaningful way. I know the reverse is also true. These gatherings aren’t big money-makers, but that isn’t the intent.

It’s all about engagement. With a site like ours, which relies not just on people coming to read stories, but sticking around to converse in the comments or on the message board, that is the name of the game.

In the B2B world, summits and conferences are networking gold. You’ll catch plenty of the TopRank Marketing team members at Digital Summit in Minneapolis next month. Say hi!

Take Them Out to the Ballgame: The value of community events goes beyond financial gain.

#4 – Do What You Can With What You’ve Got

In the decade before we set sail with Twins Daily, the Minnesota Twins went to the playoffs six times and fielded a winning team almost every season. Naturally, we came along in Year 2 of an extended downswing that would see them scuffle along as one of baseball’s worst clubs. From 2011 through 2016, the Twins lost 90-plus games five times, erasing the boost of a new ballpark and dramatically reducing general fan interest.

To compensate, we shifted our focus. We searched for creative and entertaining ways to talk about a terrible team. We made it our goal to differentiate in other areas, like unparalleled coverage of the minors and the draft. We turned our forums into a support group of sorts, where disheartened fans could commiserate.

Most businesses aren’t at the mercy of a sports team’s win/loss record, but uncontrollable outside forces are almost always at play — be it the economy, market trends, PR hiccups, etc. In these cases, seek a different perspective or approach that might break through. In the immortal words of Don Draper: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

Play It As It Lies: Make the best out of situations you cannot control.

(Also, note to self: Don’t use golf metaphors in a baseball-themed article, doofus.)

Bringing It Home

Marketing guru Jay Baer once offered this advice: “Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards.”

These four guiding principles have helped us activate our fans, and can serve as a blueprint for helping any content marketer do the same. When you reach a higher level of engagement with readers and community members, the connections become infinitely more profound and fruitful.

My experience with Twins Daily has certainly helped me, implanting valuable knowledge I’m able to bring to work each day as I try to knock it out of the park for our big-league clients.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | 4 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Building a Bustling Baseball Fan Community | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Why Content Curation Is an Essential Part of Your Marketing Mix

Imagine if an art museum contained every single painting created over a hundred-year period. It wouldn’t be much fun to visit, right? Hundreds of thousands of images, of wildly varying quality, without organization or context? It would be like a Google image search crossed with a garage sale.

Content curation is what turns a warehouse full of art and artifacts into a museum. A good curator sifts through the content to find pieces that are valuable for an intended audience. Their job is to direct attention to worthy content—and in doing so, make the museum a worthwhile place to visit.

Your blog readers and social media followers are drowning in content. You can be the content curator that helps direct their attention to what is most helpful, educational, or entertaining. Content curation, as part of your editorial strategy, can help make your blog a more valuable destination for your readers.

But the benefits go both ways; as you help your readers find great content, you’re helping your organization, too. Here are just a few ways curated content can help advance your marketing goals, and some of our favorite curating tools.

The Benefits of Content Curation

#1: Fill Your Editorial Calendar

It takes consistent publishing of quality content to make your blog a destination for readers. TKeeping up a regular cadence can be tricky, especially with a small (or non-existent) content team. Curation helps fill in the blanks with less effort than it takes to create new content.

 

#2: Provide Variety from Promotional Content

One of the top reasons people unfollow brands on social media is too much promotional content. Even if your content genuinely adds value beyond promoting the brand, people can get burned out on your brand’s voice. Pulling in content from other sources gives readers variety without pushing them off your site.

 

#3: Enhance Your Brand’s Credibility

Your brand content should have a definite point of view, taking a strong stance on issues that affect your industry. That’s a vital part of developing thought leadership. But don’t go it alone; curate supporting content from other respected industry players. Add context to this third-party support to show how it matches your brand’s philosophy, and you can boost your credibility.

 

#4: Expand Your Audience

Curation not only helps you better serve your existing audience, it can help you reach a new set of relevant readers. Share your curated post on social media and tag your sources, and they’re likely to share the post with their audience as well. 

 

#5: Spark Influencer Relationships

When you’re seeking to engage an influencer, it helps to give before you ask. Start by following your influencers on social media, then include some of their existing content (properly quoted and credited) in your curated post. Then when you make initial contact, you can show that you’re already promoting them. Many of our most valuable long-term influencer relationships started with a curated post. 

Content Curation Tools:

#1: Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo finds most-shared content based on a keyword, topic, or even a domain. It’s my go-to tool for weekly or monthly roundups. The “trending now” feature is fantastic for surfacing content that’s just starting to gain traction, so you can share it before it goes viral. There’s a free version with limited functionality, but I’ve found the paid version is well worth the investment.

 

#2: Feedly

Feedly is a great way to keep up with multiple content streams, to find the pieces that will be most valuable to your audience. You can customize it with RSS feeds from your favorite sites and see everything in one place. Replace your daily content crawl with a single organized list.

 

#3: Pocket

Pocket makes it possible to curate content wherever you are, from your morning commute to your late-night Facebook crawl. It’s especially useful for saving content when you see a promising headline, but don’t have time to peruse the article. Essentially you can fill your Pocket throughout the day, then evaluate what you’ve saved and choose what to use.

 

#4: Twitter Lists

If you follow more than a few people on Twitter, odds are your main feed is a quick-scrolling, impossible-to-follow mess. Twitter lists can help organize the information into something actually useful. Create a list of accounts that regularly tweet curation-worthy content, and it can be a valuable resource.

 

#5: Industry Newsletters

Email marketing is in something of a creative renaissance right now. As a marketer, it’s a great tactic for reaching your audience. As a curator, though, you should check out email newsletters from the audience side. Sign up for newsletters from your colleagues in the industry—perhaps even competitors—to find more content you can share with your audience.

Help Your Audience Find the Good Stuff

Content curation is good for your audience—it helps cut through content clutter so they can focus on the good stuff. And, of course, what’s good for your audience is good for your business. Add curation to your content strategy to provide value for your audience, expand that audience, and lay the groundwork for influencer co-created content in the future.

For more influencer marketing tips, check out our research guide Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing.


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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look

The Hipster’s Guide to ROI [Infographic] Marketing lingo has expanded and with all of the acronyms, it’s hard to decipher and differentiate combinations of letters. This infographic will show you the most common acronyms and esoteric language related to marketing ROI, giving you an explanation of what they are and why they matter. (LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog) SEMrush Ranking Factors Study 2017 Google ranking factors constantly updates with every major algorithm change. In this report, the 12 most substantial and controversial factors (including website visits, pages per session and content) were chosen to show what impacts search results and to identify consistent patterns in the ranking mechanism that could be helpful to the SEO community. (SEMrush) Check Out Our New Look! Twitter has listened to the feedback from its users and have made some updates to the design. Some of the new features include: Typography has been refined to be more consistent with bolder headlines and rounded profile photos, Tweets are now updated instantly on the mobile app with replies, retweets and like counts so you can see real-time conversations and links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in iOS so you can easily access accounts on websites you’re already signed into. (Twitter Blog) LinkedIn Adds Images in Comments, New Opportunities for Job Listings There have been many small yet impactful new updates to LinkedIn recently, due to audience demand. One new feature is you can now add images into comments on posts within the LinkedIn platform. Another boost for LinkedIn is Google’s new tool which helps people find jobs directly through Google search, which sorts through various listings, including LinkedIn. (Social Media Today) Instagram Stories Now Has 250 Million Daily Active Users, Heating Up Its Rivalry With Snapchat Instagram Stories is the section of disappearing posts, which recently pulled ahead of Snapchat with an increase of 50 million users in just two months. Instagram also announced that users are now allowed to replay live video instead of it immediately disappearing. (AdWeek) Google’s Job Listings Search is Now Open to All Job Search Sites & Developers Google is now offering a formal path for outsiders to add job listings in Google search. Although it doesn’t have an official name, it’s part of the Google for Jobs initiative. You can also track how well your job listings are doing in Google search with a new filter in the Search Analytics report in the Google Search Console. (Search Engine Land) Oh, How Pinteresting! Pinterest rolled out a fresh new look for Lens, and instead of only being able to recreate your favorite restaurant dishes at home, Lens can now recognize and recommend outfit ideas including shoes, shirts, hats and other styles. The new interface and built-in tools make it easy to Lens the world around you. (Pinterest Blog) The Most Important Skills for B2B Tech Marketers B2B technology marketers rely on many skills for their niche market. The most important skills among Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers were soft skills, including communication and people management and writing skills. Others included digital media marketing and content marketing. (MarketingProfs) What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news stories. Craving more news in the meantime? Check out TopRank Marketing on Twitter @toprank!

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®