Do You Really Need Another Blog Post? Why Content Marketing Needs More Flexibility

For at least a decade, the 500-word blog post has been the atomic unit of content marketing. Marketers like Joe Pulizzi and Marcus Sheridan built their entire careers on blogging. In Joe’s case, he started the blog without a business plan or a product, and developed both after building an audience through insightful, valuable blog posts. Even TopRank Marketing relied on blogging as a tactic for building thought leadership and establishing authority.

When new clients partner with our agency, they’re frequently looking to follow in Joe and Marcus’ footsteps. They want 15, 20, 30 short blog posts a month as the foundation of their content efforts.

That typically translates into requests for “X blog posts a month.” However, we’re more likely to think in terms of content units—the amount of effort the content team will put in, rather than the specific output.

Should you focus your time and resources on a blog? Are there better ways to serve your audience? Here’s how our agency is changing the way we think about content.

Why Short-Form Blog Posts Are No Longer the Atomic Unit of Content Marketing Strategy

Short Blog Posts Are Losing Search Visibility
One of the chief purposes of a blog is to capture search engine rankings. You write useful content, people find it via search, they subscribe and keep coming back for more. But short blog posts aren’t great at capturing rankings anymore. There’s just too much short-form content out there for even the most optimized post to rise above it.

Quality Beats Quantity
Longer-form content tends to dominate search rankings. Comprehensive, in-depth best answer content will not only rank higher for the main search term, it’s more likely to include (and rank for) long-term keywords as well.

Just ask Neil Patel, of Kissmetrics fame. He posts 1500+-word blog posts on the regular. You’ll find his posts on any list of highest-ranked or most-shared content on any topic he addresses. 

Most of us don’t have the time and resources to post best answer content every day, but that’s okay—a steady drip of high-quality content is still preferable to a deluge of shallower takes.

Blog Posts Are Temporary by Design
The very structure of a blog means that old posts are less likely to be read than the latest post – and the latest one quickly joins the seldom-seen archives. This kind of content is good for satisfying subscribers, but not great for long-term search visibility. The end goal of repurposing content is to take old blog posts and turn them into evergreen assets – so it makes sense to actually design evergreen assets as part of your strategy. 

The Way People Consume Content Is Changing
Last year, mobile internet use outstripped desktop use for the first time ever. In other words, all new internet traffic is happening on mobile devices. That’s significant for content creators, because 84.9% of smartphone time is spent in apps, versus on the mobile web.  While desktop users might have spent more time reading blogs and visiting websites, mobile traffic is concentrated in apps like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. These apps require a different type of content to earn audience attention.

Blogs Are Still a Thing – But Not the Only Thing
That’s not to say that blogging is dead, of course. A blog can be a great place to interact with customers and prospects, build credibility, establish thought leadership, and round up subscribers. But focusing exclusively on creating a ton of blog content is no longer the best strategy.

More Flexible Content Alternatives

Instead of creating a set number of blog posts a month, focus on the outcomes you want to achieve. The deliverable should match your goals, not the other way around. You’ll end up with a more efficient use of your time and resources, and content assets that get the job done.

Long-Form Assets
For example, if your goal is to top the rankings for a specific keyword, roll three posts’ worth of effort into crafting a long-form resource. Then put that resource on your Features page, or give it its own slot on your navigation header – don’t bury it in the blog. The closer your page is to your site’s root directory, the more weight it carries for ranking purposes. That is, Google will give preference to “www.yourcompany.com/awesome-resource” than “www.yourcompany.com/blog/2017/October/awesome-resource.”

Video Content
Trading short-form blog posts for video content is another useful tactic. Video can be embedded in a blog post, but also find another life on Facebook and YouTube. Our client DivvyHQ recently published a video series with the videos hosted on YouTube. They can serve their blog audience, but also reach out to a new audience through the YouTube app. TopRank Marketing creates a weekly news video that we post to Facebook, and each video earns hundreds of views natively on the platform.

 Influencer Content
If your daily blog responsibilities have kept you from exploring influencer marketing, it’s high time to devote attention to it. Influencers can help boost your credibility, increase visibility, and create relationships that will serve your business in the long-term. A single influencer co-created asset can achieve far higher visibility than the most comprehensive blog post.

Blog On – But Blog Wisely

The humble blog post had a good run – it dominated content marketing strategy for the 00s and most of the 2010s. But the content landscape is changing, and we need to change with it. Don’t ditch your blog just yet, but do examine how you’re using the time and resources available to you.

Focus on your desired outcomes rather than a rigid set of deliverables. Give your content team the flexibility to explore new strategies, and you can evolve your content mix along with your audience’s demands.

 


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | Do You Really Need Another Blog Post? Why Content Marketing Needs More Flexibility | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Report: What Marketers Need to Know About the ‘State of Video Marketing’

These days, there’s little doubt among marketers that video content is an incredibly powerful content marketing tool. After all, humans are visual creatures by nature, so it stands to reason that video often satisfies our content appetite. In fact, according to a Think With Google study, 50% of internet users said they’ve looked for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store.

But as more brands and marketers jump on the video content marketing bandwagon, it’s more important than ever to examine your strategy to ensure you’re getting the most out of your efforts. And a great starting point is to get the lay of the current video marketing land and emerging trends.  

Thankfully, Demand Metric and Vidyard recently published the 2017 Video Content Marketing Benchmark Study, featuring data and insights collected from marketers at B2B or mixed B2B/B2C companies—all of which reported revenue growth in the previous fiscal year, as well as using video to some degree.

Below I highlight some of the findings that I found most interesting, as well as what that means for you as you begin or refine your video marketing efforts.

1. Video marketing usage is not only on the rise, but the amount of video being created is growing rapidly.

According to the study, for the fourth consecutive year, over 90% of study participants reported that video is becoming more important to their efforts. But what’s more, the average number of videos being produced annually jumped from around 29 in 2016 to 38 in 2017.

Video Marketing Production

Of course, smaller companies are producing less video than big companies, but the gap is narrowing. For example, 2016 numbers showed that more than one-third of small companies were producing less than five videos every year. But in 2017 that number shrunk to just one-fifth.

What does this mean for marketers? While video seemed like the answer to overcoming content overload and capturing audience attention, the competition for creating high-quality, engaging and compelling video is growing. So, it’s more critical than ever to make sure you’re not just “doing” video, but that it’s a strategic and thoughtful piece of your overall content marketing mix.


It’s more critical than ever to make sure you’re not just “doing” #video. @CaitlinMBurgess
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2. The types of video marketers are investing in are expanding.

Product, demos and explainer videos lead the pack in terms of the most common types of videos being created, which isn’t a surprise. This type of content highlights a company’s product or service offerings, and expertise in a visual way. However, more forms of video such as how-tos, live streams, social media and those focused on company culture are becoming more widely used.

What does this mean for marketers? To me, this signals that video can and does enhance the customer journey at every stage of the funnel. Just as you craft written content to satisfy your audience’s quest for knowledge at different stages, video can be used in the same way. Furthermore, it can be used to achieve a variety of different marketing objectives such as recruiting new talent, humanizing your brand or sparking real-time engagement.


Video can & does enhance the customer journey at every stage. #videomarketing
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3. Video can inform, engage and convert.

Video, both produced and native, has long-been dubbed as a great way to inform and engage your audience. Studies have shown that we spend a huge chunk of our online time watching video, often multiple times a day. (My personal favorite are all those Tasty videos of recipes I’ll probably never make.)

But if you’ve been skeptical on the conversion power of video, don’t be. According to the report, roughly 70% of participants said video converts better than other forms of content.

Video Marketing ROI

What does this mean for marketers? Building off my point in the previous section, if you really want to commit to video and drive the ultimate objective of getting conversions, you should aim to create relevant, quality video content for every level of buyer’s journey.


70% of marketers say #video converts better than other content forms. @DemandMetric @vidyard
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4. Advanced measurement is key to unlocking the best ROI.

As with any marketing initiative, measurement is critical to understanding how you’re performing and uncovering opportunities for improvement. However, most marketers are just tracking and analyzing the basics such as views or shares—making it difficult to map video to ROI.

According to the report, just 13% of respondents said they’re using advanced metrics such as views by embed location, viewer drop-off rates, heat maps and attribution to sales pipeline. However, of that 13%, 71% say that these metrics help report much better on video ROI.

“A true and accurate measurement of the ROI of video (or any type of content) requires the adoption and use of advanced metrics,” the report states. “When advanced metrics are not in use, ROI determination is an estimate at best. When advanced metrics are in use, marketers have the information they need about video content performance to achieve even better results.”

What does this mean for marketers? Marketers are often looked at as the spenders within an organization. And while video can no longer be considered a “rising” trend, it can still be hard to get buy-in and more budget if you can’t prove its value. According to the report: “The best way to capture and exploit advanced metrics is to integrate video viewing data into Marketing Automation and/or CRM systems.”


Advanced #videomarketing metrics are key to achieving better results. @DemandMetric @vidyard
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Looking for Video Content Marketing Best Practices & Tips?

Check out these helpful resources on the TopRank Marketing blog:

  • How to Get Started with Video Content (Without a Blockbuster Budget)
  • How 7 Brands Connect with Audiences Through Long-Form Video Content
  • Going Native: Tips & Examples for Effectively Incorporating Native Video Into Your Social Strategy

In addition, if you want more on the state of video marketing, read the full report here.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | Report: What Marketers Need to Know About the ‘State of Video Marketing’ | http://www.toprankblog.com

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What You Need to Know About Optimizing Content for Voice Search

Voice Search Content Optimization

Voice Search Content Optimization Thanks to the emergence of technologies such as mobile personal assistants, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Cortana, and others, there’s no doubt that voice search is on the rise. These days, consumers can send text messages while driving or use a mobile personal assistant to complete simple actions. In fact, Gartner predicts that about 30% of searches will be conducted without a screen by 2020. In addition, another study from ComScore, states that voice searches will account for nearly 50% of searches, too. That means we marketers need to start thinking how we can get our content in front of our audience via voice search channels. While optimizing content for voice search can seem daunting, there are a few easy tips that can help you start gaining more visibility for those types of queries.

Focus on Featured Snippets

We continue to see featured snippets more and more in search engine results pages (SERPs). These SERP features show qualified results right on the SERP, which can lead to quicker answers to questions. In addition to speeding up the way people are receiving answers on Google, we know that featured snippets drive more organic website traffic, too. Featured snippets can help you leapfrog competition on a SERP to gain more visibility as opposed to only relying on a main keyword ranking. Here’s an example of one of TopRank Marketing’s own featured snippets. Featured Snippet Example Back in July, Britney Muller of Moz gave a presentation at MnSearch about the future of SEO. One area that she focused on was how to rank for featured snippets. The reason Muller focused on this area for the future of SEO was because voice search is fueled by them. With that in mind, she outlined what she thought was the top five ranking factors for featured snippets:

  • Links
  • Quality content
  • On-page optimization
  • Engagement metrics
  • Speed

Each ranking factor is not new to the SEO industry, but they make sense to focus on. Links are still an important ranking factor, as well as content quality and on-page optimization. Engagement metrics and site speed have also been important, but the focus is increasing for these areas. Both areas relate to the experience on mobile devices, since that is where the majority of voice searches are coming from. To find featured snippets to target, use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to reverse engineer the content. Most of the time, the featured snippets are around 40 to 50 words, so it is important to keep your content clear for the intent. To trigger a featured snippet, use conversational language and/or questions. A quick way to leverage question based featured results is to create a FAQ page with common questions about your business or industry.

Use Conversational Keywords

Speaking of conversational keyword queries, they help reveal the intent more clearly than the “money” (or more traditional) keywords. This often leads to longer queries for voice searches. For example, a traditional “money” keyword may be something like “content marketing software.” But a more conversational, voice search keyword query may be something like “what is the best content marketing software.” Google has been encouraging this type of behavior for years, especially with the Hummingbird update back in 2013. People communicate with conversations, not just keywords. Associating the right keywords with concepts helps the overall content quality as opposed to targeting only one or a couple keywords per page. So, it’s important to identify the keywords that people search for, but focus on creating the content that is more conversational. When it comes to local search, include keywords or landmarks that people in the neighborhood would use. That way, search engines can correlate the content with a geographical area, which can help increase the local visibility for that piece of content. After all, many voice searches are from people looking for directions to local businesses. Another area to get more conversation queries is from your chat feature on your website (if you have one). People will use a conversational dialog when using a chat function, which could lead you to create content that your audience is directly looking for.

Add Structured Data Markup

Schema markup helps search engines understand what the content is on websites. By helping search engines understand the context of the content, they can provide more informative results for users. Adding schema markup for local businesses can help a business show up in local results for general business information. This information can be highly beneficial for voice searches for directions and phone numbers. Schema.org is a great place to start if you want to learn more. Schema.org Homepage If you have a brick and mortar location, you should add schema markup for each place and create a Google My Business listing (and other local citations) to help your audience find you. Voice searches greatly impact local SEO for review websites like Yelp and other third-party websites. Optimize your local citations to make sure they are all correct and consistent. Here’s an example from Target. As you can see, the listing includes information on its headquarters and number of locations, as well as links to social profiles. Google My Business Listing for Target

Beyond Voice Search

While the rise of voice search deserves your attention and action, it’s still just one piece of your content marketing strategy. As always, it’s important to focus on creating content that helps solves your audience’s problems. From our perspective, by creating quality, conversational and structured content, you’ll not only be optimizing your content for voice search, but for the future, too. Why? Because voice search is not the end of the search revolution. Beyond voice search, we will soon be coming across predictive response, which is related to getting your products or services in front of a targeted audience without them evening looking for it. With that in mind, it will be important to create content that is conversational and impactful.

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Google AMP and call attribution — 5 things you need to know

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google’s open source initiative to improve web page speed and performance for mobile users. But that speed comes at a cost for digital marketers. AMP eliminates scripts — including the scripts that help you track mobile calls. On October 19, join…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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

AMP up your call conversions: 5 things you need to know

In Google’s world, site speed matters. And the search giant is pushing hard on AMP, its open source initiative to improve web page speed and performance for mobile users. But that speed comes at a cost for digital marketers. AMP eliminates scripts — including the scripts that help you track…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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

Everything You Need to Build a LinkedIn Marketing Tactical Plan

Over the last five years, we’ve seen an evolution in the way B2B marketers are talking about and using social media. We’ve evolved from asking “Should we be doing it?” to “Is what we are doing worth it?” to now “How do I make this really effective channel even more effective?”.

According to a recent study from Oktopost, 79% of B2B marketers believe social media is an effective marketing channel (Oktopost). And for many B2B marketers, LinkedIn is THE social media channel. In fact 43% of marketers say they’ve sourced a customer from LinkedIn (Hubspot).

But could we be doing better? Can we use LinkedIn more effectively?

To help answer that question, Alex Rynne, Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Chris Wilson, Inbound Consultant from Hubspot, provided B2B marketers with an actionable, detailed plan to drive bigger, better performance from LinkedIn tools at last week’s B2B Marketing Forum in Boston.

Four LinkedIn Opportunities and How to Take Them

Linkedin Company & Showcase Pages

LinkedIn Company and Showcase pages are great opportunities to establish and build your company’s identity. It’s a completely free tool that allows your brand to connect professionals with your employees and your brand to share knowledge with your community.

LinkedIn Showcase pages allow you to create dedicated pages for individual brands and are another opportunity to build individual brand identity.

Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Thought leader
  • Event Registrations

KPIs:

  • Page followers
  • Post clicks
  • Engagement
  • Comments
  • Inquiries
  • Event Registrations

What to Share:

  • Showcase your expertise with large assets like webinars and eBooks.
  • Engage with short digestible stats and quotes.
  • Illustrate industry savvy with 3rd party content. Alex shares that no one wants to talk to the person at the party that only talks about themselves. 3rd party content shows you’re on top of trends within the industry, creates opportunities for engagement with your audience and helps build influencer relationships.

LinkedIn Company and Showcase Page Action Items:

  • Post 3-4xs per day.
  • Engage with and respond to followers comments:  Don’t ignore your followers. If they take the time to engage with you, show them your appreciation and build strong engagement by responding.
  • Change your header image every 6 months: Chris compares the header image to the front door of your LinkedIn page. Make it attractive and people will want to come in.  Take advantage of the header real estate and switch it up periodically to promote to campaigns or messaging.

Publishing on LinkedIn

According to Alex, over 1 million  unique  publishers  publish  more than 130,000 posts a week on LinkedIn and 45% of LinkedIn readers are in the upper ranks of their industries (i.e. managers, VPs, CEOs, etc.). So publishing content is a great way to connect with key people in your industry and further establish your professional identity.

Objective:

  • Thought Leadership

Key Metrics:

  • Post reviews & Profile views
  • Demographics of your readers
  • Likes, comments and shares

What to Share:

Although there is no silver bullet for exactly what and how often you should publish. Alex and Chris shares examples of what tends to work best.

  1. Publish when you feel passionate. If you post when you are creatively inspired, about something you care about, this is when your work will be most likely to resonate with your audience and inspire engagement. Content about lessons learned and your professional expertise will be most relevant to your audience.  
  2. Crowdsource content. Look at the questions your audience is asking and identify their pain points. This content will undoubtedly resonate.
  3. Share relevant, timely content about events or industry news. Tap into the conversations that are already happening by posting an opinion or tips related to something current in the news.

Action Items:

  • Publish when you feel passionate (this is listed twice because it is that important).
  • Recommended bi-weekly or once a month.

LinkedIn Sponsored Content

LinkedIn Sponsored content allow you to reach a target audience of people who are not already following you.

Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead Generation
  • Thought Leadership

Key Metrics:

  • Engagement Rate
  • Inquires
  • Impressions

Best practices:

  1. Visual is the new headline. There is so much content in the feed, make sure your content is really eye catching. If you can, move beyond stock photos and do your own photoshoot.
  2. Keep it short & sweet. Be mindful of your mobile users and make content easy to consumer.
  3. Snackable stats work wonders. Provide your audience with 3rd party validation to backup your message.
  4. Variety is the spice of life. Variety allows you to avoid creative fatigue but also see what resonates the best with your audience.

What to Share:

  • Webinars
  • Content that asks readers to participate i.e. survey, nominations
  • Statistics
  • Repurposed, straightforward content

Always be Testing:

With the amount of content clutter, testing is a great way to find out what is most likely to work with your audience and make the most out of what you are publishing. Alex and Chris recommend testing anything from word choice (i.e. eBook versus guide), content (inclusion of a stat or benefit), and images (photo or graphic).

Action Items:

  • Select a compelling visual.
  • Run 2-4 posts per week.
  • Run the test for 3 weeks, to ensure you have an actionable result.
  • Add URL tracking codes to measure post click actions (site visits and conversions)
  • Setup campaigns by audience and make sure you tailor the content to the audience (i.e. managers versus c-suite).
  • Shift budget to the audience with the highest engagement rate. Spend your money where you are going to get the most impact.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

LinkedIn InMail allows you to send personalized messages to the people who matter most to your business. InMail can work even better than email at reaching certain audiences.

Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead Generation
  • Program Certification
  • Enrollment

Key Metrics

  • Open rate
  • Inquiries and leads
  • Event registration
  • Program application and brochure downloads

What to Share:

  • Webinar an industry event invitations
  • eBook launches
  • Product one sheets
  • Program demos
  • Infographics
  • Blog subscription campaigns

Action Items

  • Keep copy under 1000 characters (but AB test).
  • Use a clear CTA in the top right banner.
  • Choose a sender that is credible to your audience. If audiences have never heard of your brand before, your open rates will be lower, than if it’s from a person they know.
  • Leverage personalization. InMail allows you to add the recipient’s name or other customized information.
  • Have a hyperlink early in the body of the message.
  • Select a concise subject link.
  • Set up A/B test to learn what resonates.

Bonus Opportunity: Linkedin Conversion Tracking:

Obviously, tracking is so critical to reporting the results of your campaigns, but also to optimize and iterate for the go forward.

Chris outlines the steps for setting up LinkedIn conversion tracking:

  1. Use a Google Analytics tracking code for easy set up.
  2. Assign a Conversion value: If you don’t know this, create an estimate based on product value and close rate .
  3. Tie it all together: This way you can show clear value, nice argument for executives that you need more value.

Don’t do Social Campaigns, Make Every Campaign Social

Using a tactical plan like the one Alex and Chris shared will allow you to really harness the power of LinkedIn. Once this happen, you can truly integrate social into all of your campaigns in order to engagement with your audience and accelerate the impact of your content.

Interested in other LinkedIn related tactics? Find out everything you need to know about LinkedIn’s new native video feature.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | Everything You Need to Build a LinkedIn Marketing Tactical Plan | http://www.toprankblog.com

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LinkedIn Native Video: What Works, What Doesn’t, What Marketers Need to Know

Video content is eating the internet. It started with video-specific platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Then Twitter and Facebook added support for live and pre-recorded video. Now these insatiable moving pictures are becoming serious business: LinkedIn now supports native video.

What would compel a buttoned-down, professional networking site like LinkedIn to embrace video? Simply put, people—even businesspeople—want to watch. Fifty-nine percent of executives say that if text and video are available on the same topic, they’re more likely to choose video.

There’s no denying that marketers should embrace video content as a general rule. If your audience wants video, it’s wise for your brand to be the one supplying it. But why publish natively on LinkedIn?

Here are the upsides, downsides, and what-you-need-to-know-sides.

How to Create a LinkedIn Video

LinkedIn has been slowly rolling out its video capabilities, starting with a few influencers and expanding out from there. Most members who have the most recent version of the mobile app should have the capability now.

If your account has video enabled, you will see a camera icon available where you normally post to your feed. On mobile, you can create a video (not a live stream…yet) or upload from your photo gallery. On desktop, you can only upload a pre-recorded video. Nearly every common form of video file is supported.

To record a video, just tap the camera icon, give the app permission to access your camera, and go. To upload video, just navigate to the file you want to add and select it—there’s no learning curve there.

Your file must be at least three seconds long and no longer than 10 minutes, but LinkedIn suggests between 30 seconds and 5 minutes for better engagement. The maximum file size is five gigabytes, which should be plenty of space.

Your post will look…well, a lot like a post with an embedded video, just without the link out at the bottom:

Why Marketers Should Care about LinkedIn Video

You can already embed YouTube video in your LinkedIn feed posts, of course. But posting native video may get you more engagement. On Facebook, native videos typically get 10x more shares than embedded videos. If that trend holds for LinkedIn, you could be missing out on a substantial chunk of potential audience by linking to a YouTube video.

So native video matters—and for virtually all B2B marketers, LinkedIn matters. While Facebook videos can be dominated by memes and entertainment, the LinkedIn audience is specifically there for business. They’re browsing their feeds looking for something that can help advance their career, give them a competitive edge, or just do their jobs better. Useful, professional video content is likely to fare better on LinkedIn than on Twitter or Facebook.

The other reason to go native on LinkedIn video is LinkedIn’s analytical capability. Their demographic data is likely to be more useful to B2B marketers than Facebook’s data is. You can zero in on job function, job title, and seniority of the people who view your video. That data will help you adjust your strategy to hit and engage the right audience.

As native video is more widely adopted by its userbase, LinkedIn is likely to give it preferential treatment over embedded video. LinkedIn has already switched from a pure timeline feed to an algorithm-based feed. Just as Facebook currently gives pride of place to native videos, LinkedIn is likely to prioritize it in their feeds, too.

Downsides to LinkedIn Video

Since this is a new feature, there are some still some quirks to be ironed out, and a few features that are missing. These negatives won’t keep your video from being seen and appreciated, but they’re worth noting:

  1. No playback speed or picture quality settings. Users can’t customize the viewing experience the way they can on YouTube.
  2. It’s hard to link out. the URLs for a video-embedded post are unwieldy: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6316276929771245568/, for example.
  3. The video isn’t embeddable on other sites. It’s definitely intended for consumption on LinkedIn.
  4. Only members can post, not companies.
  5. There’s no dedicated video tab, which can make video content hard to find. I’m willing to bet some kind of tab or filter is in the works, but we don’t have it yet.

What to Use LinkedIn Video For:

Given the limitations of the format, it’s best to think of video on LinkedIn as an add-on to your current marketing strategy. Use it to build your personal brand, or go behind-the-scenes at your company, or interview co-workers and executives.

Many users are already using the format to do quick tips, like this video from Viveka Von Rosen. That kind of informal, live-shot video is an easy way to get started.

There are a few people attempting to create series on the platform, too. Building an audience for a series could be tricky without a dedicated video tab, but Mike Morgan’s Humans of LinkedIn series is making a go of it. If more people start serializing their videos, LinkedIn is likely to add tools that support the practice.

LinkedIn to the Future

If you’re marketing to a B2B audience, native video on LinkedIn is well worth a try. Instead of linking out to YouTube, upload the video natively to LinkedIn and keep an eye on how it performs. Make sure to include keywords and relevant hashtags in the post so your video is easier to find, keep an eye on your analytics, and let the data guide your next steps.

Need more help? Check out these easy ways to get started with video content marketing.

Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing is a TopRank Marketing client.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | LinkedIn Native Video: What Works, What Doesn’t, What Marketers Need to Know | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

12 Questions You Need to Answer if You Want to Launch a Video Content Strategy

There’s no question that video is an increasingly important digital marketing tactic. Humans are visual creatures by nature and, when done right, video allows brands to tell their story and create meaningful, emotional connections with their audience. For California-based Jordan Vineyard and Winery, video content has become a central piece of their marketing strategy. Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing & Communications, shared how they’re winning at video during her Content Marketing World session “How Jordan Winery Crushed Content Marketing With a Video-Centered Strategy.” For a little background, Jordan Vineyard and Winery has been around since the early 1970s, and until Mattson came on board, they’re marketing strategy hadn’t changed in more than 40 years. “Even the finest wine has a shelf life,” Mattson said in reference to a brand’s image and personality. “You have to innovate.” But before you get started with video content, Mattson said you need to answer some critical questions if you want your venture to be successful. Below I outline some of the key questions you need to consider.

#1 – Do you have the upper management support?

This one’s pretty simple. The success of any of your marketing initiatives, especially if you’re looking to add a new tactic like video to the mix, depends on getting buy-in from the top. When the leaders at the top support what you do and are excited about it, that trickles down.

#2 – Are you willing to embed yourself in other departments?

In order to create dynamic video content, you’re going to need to lean on folks in multiple departments. Not only are your colleagues going to be a source of inspiration for the type of content you create, but they may need to actually participate in the filming.

#3 – Are your spokespersons comfortable on camera?

Quite obviously, anyone you put on camera needs to feel comfortable there. If they aren’t, that discomfort will be obvious to your audience and turn them off.

#4 – Are you prepared for resistance from co-workers?

As mentioned above, you’re going to have to work with several people from several departments to create awesome video content. But video is time consuming. And your colleagues are busy and this will add more to their already full plate. As a result, you need to be prepared to be met with some resistance, and have a plan to help you work around it.

#5 – What are the best video stories to tell?

At the end of the day, you’re creating video to help tell your brand’s story. So you need to think critically about what types of stories are a good fit for the medium.

#6 – Can you run lean and mean?

If you’re just starting out with video, you likely don’t have a huge team of resources just yet — and maybe you never will. So, you have to be able to commit to running your video strategy “lean and mean.”

#7 – Do you have IT infrastructure?

Video content can take up a lot of bandwidth, so it’s essential to consider your IT needs from the beginning. Mattson recalled an instance where the retail sales department couldn’t process online customer orders because marketing was using so much juice to upload videos to YouTube. So, it’s absolutely critical to make sure you have the right IT infrastructure.

#8 – How big and thorough is your budget?

While it’s widely known that video costs more to produce, Mattson said you don’t need to have a huge budget. You just need to know what your budget is and make a thorough list of what needs to be included. “Little things add up,” Mattson said. “You might need a little bit of stock footage, or maybe you need to buy some props, and that all costs money.” She went on to share some of the specific items you’ll need to budget for upfront, including: lenses, camera body, external drives, iMac, lighting, tripod, audio, editing software, and miscellaneous. She estimated the investment to be about $ 14,000, which seems high. However, hiring a production company to create just one three-minute video, she said, could cost anywhere from $ 3,000 to $ 10,000.

#9 – What are the right skill sets and job responsibilities?

Of course, in order to produce high-quality video content, you need capable people to actually do it. Mattson suggested in embracing multi-talented positions, and hiring candidates with core skills and be willing to cross-train them. In addition, she noted that it’s important to know what skills simply can’t be taught, and that it’s important to set job expectations early and clearly.

#10 – Do you have an editorial plan?

For Mattson, consistency is the key to video success. As a result, you need to have a strategy content plan that helps you keep a cadence that will keep your audience coming back and make an impact. As an extra tip, she also suggested leaving a little wiggle room in there to take advantage of what’s trending. For example, the song “Despacito” is going gangbusters on the radio, and they created a parody video about bottling their wine. You can watch it below.

#11 – Do you have distribution?

According to Mattson, content might be king, but distribution is queen. Once you create an amazing video, you need to set it free to your audience and go beyond social media. Some of the distribution considerations mentioned included: where you’re hosting your video content (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), paid placement, influencers, and search.

#12 – Do you have an audience?

This is the big one. At the end of the day, if you’re going to do video you have to make sure that you have an audience for it. Depending on your industry, product, service and type of customer, video may not resonate.

One Final Thought

When it comes to creating and executing on a video strategy — or your overall marketing strategy for that matter — there’s one big thing that Mattson said that really resonated with me: [bctt tweet=”People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. – @lisamattsonwines #video #CMWorld” username=”toprank”] For me, this comes down to storytelling. You need a compelling narrative that’s hyperfocused on why your organization does what it does. Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @CaitlinMBurgess, @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @amywhiggins and @azeckman.

The post 12 Questions You Need to Answer if You Want to Launch a Video Content Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

6 things you need to know about Google’s Q&A feature on Google Maps

Noticed the new “questions & answers” section in Google Maps app listings? Columnist Joy Hawkins shares her observations about this helpful new feature. The post 6 things you need to know about Google’s Q&A feature on Google Maps appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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

State of Enterprise SEO 2017: Overworked SEOs Need Direction

Posted by NorthStarInbound

This survey and its analysis was co-authored with North Star Inbound’s senior creative strategist, Andrea Pretorian.

In the spring of 2017, North Star Inbound partnered up with seoClarity and BuzzStream to survey the state of enterprise SEO. We had a fair share of anecdotal evidence from our clients, but we wanted a more objective measurement of how SEO teams are assembled, what resources are allocated to them, what methods they use, and how they perform.

We hadn’t seen such data collected, particularly for enterprise SEO. We found this surprising given its significance, evident even in the number of “enterprise SEO tools” and solutions being marketed.

What is enterprise SEO?

There is no single fixed-industry definition of “enterprise” beyond “large business.” For the purposes of this survey, we defined enterprise businesses as being comprised of 500 or more employees. “Small enterprise” means 500–1000 employees, while “large enterprise” means over 1000 employees.

Industry discussion often points to the number of pages as being a potential defining factor for enterprise SEO, but even that is not necessarily a reliable measure.

What was our survey methodology?

We developed the widest enterprise SEO survey to date, made up of 29 questions that delved into every aspect of the enterprise SEO practice. From tools and tactics to content development, keyword strategy, and more, we left no stone unturned. We then picked the brains of 240 SEO specialists across the country. You can check out our complete survey, methodology, and results here.

Team size matters — or does it?

Let’s start by looking at enterprise team size and the resources allocated to them. We focused on companies with an in-house SEO team, and broke them down in terms of small (500–1000 employees) and large enterprise (>1000 employees).

We found that 76% of small enterprise companies have in-house SEO teams of 5 people or less, but were surprised that 68% of large enterprise companies also had teams of this size. We expected a more pronounced shift into larger team sizes paralleling the larger size of their parent company; we did not expect to see roughly the same team size across small and large enterprise companies.

Chart_Q4_170522.png

Interestingly, in larger companies we also see less confidence in the team’s experience in SEO. Of the companies with in-house SEO, only 31.67% of large enterprise teams called themselves “leaders” in the SEO space, which was defined in this survey as part of a team engaged broadly and critically within the business. 40% of small enterprise teams called themselves “leaders.” In terms of viewing themselves more positively (leaders, visionaries) or less (SEO pioneers in their company or else new SEO teams), we did not notice a big difference between small or large enterprise in-house SEO teams.

Large enterprise companies should have more resources at their disposal — HR teams to hire the best talent, reliable onboarding practices in place, access to more sophisticated project management tools, and more experience managing teams — which makes these results surprising. Why are large enterprise companies not more confident about their SEO skills and experience?

Before going too far in making assumptions about their increased resources, we made sure to ask our survey-takers about this. Specifically, we asked for how much budget is allocated to SEO activity per month — not including the cost of employees’ salaries, or the overhead costs of keeping the lights on — since this would result in a figure easier to report consistently across all survey takers.

It turns out that 57% of large enterprise companies had over $ 10K dedicated strictly to SEO activity each month, in contrast to just 24% of small enterprise companies allocating this much budget. 40% of large enterprise had over $ 20K dedicated to SEO activity each month, suggesting that SEO is a huge priority for them. And yet, as we saw earlier, they are not sold on their team having reached leader status.

Enterprise SEO managers in large companies value being scalable and repeatable

We asked survey takers to rate the success of their current SEO strategy, per the scale mapped below, and here are the results:

Chart_Q8_170522.png

A smaller percentage of large enterprise SEOs had a clearly positive rating of the current success of their SEO strategy than did small enterprise SEOs. We even see more large enterprise SEOs “on the fence” about their strategy’s performance as opposed to small. This suggests that, from the enterprise SEOs we surveyed, the ones who work for smaller companies tend to be slightly more optimistic about their campaigns’ performance than the larger ones.

What’s notable about the responses to this question is that 18.33% of managers at large enterprise companies would rate themselves as successful — calling themselves “scalable and repeatable.” No one at a small enterprise selected this to describe their strategy. We clearly tapped into an important value for these teams, who use it enough to measure their performance that it’s a value they can report on to others as a benchmark of their success.

Anyone seeking to work with large enterprise clients needs to make sure their processes are scalable and repeatable. This also suggests that one way for a growing company to step up its SEO team’s game as it grows is by achieving these results. This would be a good topic for us to address in greater detail in articles, webinars, and other industry communication.

Agencies know best? (Agencies think they know best.)

Regardless of the resources available to them, across the board we see that in-house SEOs do not show as much confidence as agencies. Agencies are far more likely to rate their SEO strategy as successful: 43% of survey takers who worked for agencies rated their strategy as outright successful, as opposed to only 13% of in-house SEOs. That’s huge!

While nobody said their strategy was a total disaster — we clearly keep awesome company — 7% of in-house SEOs expressed frustration with their strategy, as opposed to only 1% of agencies.

Putting our bias as a link building agency aside, we would expect in-house SEO enterprise teams to work like in-house agencies. With the ability to hire top talent and purchase enterprise software solutions to automate and track campaigns, we expect them to have the appropriate tools and resources at their disposal to generate the same results and confidence as any agency.

So why the discrepancy? It’s hard to say for sure. One theory might be that those scalable, repeatable results we found earlier that serve as benchmarks for enterprise are difficult to attain, but the way agencies evolve might serve them better. Agencies tend to develop somewhat organically — expanding their processes over time and focusing on SEO from day one — as opposed to an in-house team in a company, which rarely was there from day one and, more often than not, sprouted up when the company’s growth made it such that marketing became a priority.

One clue for answering this question might come from examining the differences between how agencies and in-house SEO teams responded to the question asking them what they find to be the top two most difficult SEO obstacles they are currently facing.

Agencies have direction, need budget; in-house teams have budget, need direction

If we look at the top three obstacles faced by agencies and in-house teams, both of them place finding SEO talent up there. Both groups also say that demonstrating ROI is an issue, although it’s more of an obstacle for agencies rather than in-house SEO teams.

When we look at the third obstacles, we find the biggest reveal. While agencies find themselves hindered by trying to secure enough budget, in-house SEO teams struggle to develop the right content; this seems in line with the point we made in the previous section comparing agency versus in-house success. Agencies have the processes down, but need to work hard to fit their clients’ budgets. In-house teams have the budget they need, but have trouble lining them up to the exact processes their company needs to grow as desired. The fact that almost half of the in-house SEOs would rank developing the right content as their biggest obstacle — as opposed to just over a quarter of agencies — further supports this, particularly given how important content is to any marketing campaign.

Now, let’s take a step back and dig deeper into that second obstacle we noted: demonstrating ROI.

Everyone seems to be measuring success differently

One question that we asked of survey takers was about the top two technical SEO issues they monitor:

The spread across the different factors were roughly the same across the two different groups. The most notable difference between the two groups was that even more in-house SEO teams looked at page speed, although this was the top factor for both groups. Indexation was the second biggest factor for both groups, followed by duplicate content. There seems to be some general consensus about monitoring technical SEO issues.

But when we asked everyone what their top two factors are when reviewing their rankings, we got these results:

For both agencies and in-house SEO teams, national-level keywords were the top factor, although this was true for almost-three quarters of in-house SEOs and about half of agencies. Interestingly, agencies focused a bit more on geo/local keywords as well as mobile. From when we first opened this data we found this striking, because it suggests a narrative where in-house SEO teams focus on more conservative, “seasoned” methods, while agencies are more likely to stay on the cutting-edge.

Looking at the “Other” responses (free response), we had several write-ins from both subgroups who answered that traffic and leads were important to them. One agency survey-taker brought up a good point: that what they monitor “differs by client.” We would be remiss if we did not mention the importance of vertical-specific and client-specific approaches — even if you are working in-house, and your only client is your company. From this angle, it makes sense that everyone is measuring rankings and SEO differently.

However, we would like to see a bit more clarity within the community on setting these parameters, and we hope that these results will foster that sort of discussion. Please do feel free to reply in the comments:

  • How do you measure ROI on your SEO efforts?
  • How do you show your campaigns’ value?
  • What would you change about how you’re currently measuring the success of your efforts?

So what’s next?

We’d love to hear about your experiences, in-house or agency, and how you’ve been able to demonstrate ROI on your campaigns.

We’re going to repeat this survey again next year, so stay tuned. We hope to survey a larger audience so that we can break down the groups we examine further and analyze response trends among the resulting subgroups. We wanted to do this here in this round of analysis, but were hesitant because of how small the resulting sample size would be.

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