Where Social Media and SEO Fit in Today’s Content Marketing Mix

Search Social Content Marketing

Whether your role is in search, social media, marketing communications or PR, the importance of content marketing is unmistakable.

Brand content budgets and participation are up with the vast majority of B2C and B2B marketers now using content marketing. The industry is coming together on best practices and organizations are evolving their structures to include roles like Chief Content Officer and Brand Journalist.

While there is growing synergy between search, social media and content marketing, they don’t often function collaboratively in organizations. There are also some misconceptions about what content marketing really is.

This post will dig in to some of the realities of incorporating an integrated approach that leverages the best of search, social media and content marketing, while dispelling some of the myths that keep integrated efforts apart.

Be the Best Answer

Optimized, socialized, publicized and influencer activated content is essential for reaching information hungry, multi-tasking audiences who are bombarded with new messages every day. In order for brands to be credible and prominent on the search and social web for their customers, they’ll need to understand the best of each discipline and how to put them together. SEO can deliver content-rich answers to buyers at the moment of need, and social media can provide the means to connect and engage. Both publicity and influencer relations provide credibility and reach. All rely on content to achieve success.

While many marketers will debate what comes first, content, social media or SEO, the most practical approach is to use the tactics necessary for your target audience in order to “be the best answer” wherever customers are looking.

SEO is the Condiment, Not the Sandwich

More than keywords and links, search engine optimization is an important part of the success equation when it comes to content marketing. While SEO has traditionally been able to drive online marketing performance on its own, search engine updates to address content quality and the more conversational nature of search behavior have combined with the growing popularity of social networks to change the SEO landscape forever.

Think of SEO this way: If a customer-focused content marketing program is the sandwich, then SEO is the mayonnaise. It touches nearly everything and enhances the overall flavor of the sandwich. But on it’s own, not very appetizing.

SEO for Content or Content for SEO?

Many SEO-turned content marketers are focused on creating more content or creating content as a means to attract links. This is a similar approach as when social media became popular in the SEO world. Social networks and media use was focused on attracting attention to further attract links, not to create relationships, engagement or inspire transactions and referrals.

A simple comparison tells the tale: Having 500 optimized blog posts on every derivative of a 50 phrase keyword list that no one wants to read is no more useful than attracting 50,000 drive-by visitors to your site for 10 seconds each from Reddit. Being held accountable to superficial performance metrics drives superficial tactics. Do you really want your marketing characterized as superficial?

Understanding the difference between mechanical tactics and meaningful outcomes is an important distinction when hiring content marketing professionals or a content marketing agency. It can mean the difference between a keyword hell of thin content, or a content portfolio that serves real customer interests and proudly represents what your brand stands for.

Optimize Your Opportunities

Search marketers are, by their nature, opportunists. Each time a major trend in online marketing emerges, from blogging to social media, SEOs have adapted and engineered their way to discover every possible workaround or tactic to create a marketing advantage. This opportunism has extended to content marketing as well.

Operating within the guidelines of quality marketing, such adaptability is a highly valuable perspective to take. However, when opportunism bleeds into manipulations outside the scope of search engine guidelines, the risks can turn out to be painful and sometimes disastrous to a business.

But here’s the thing: Google is a battleground for SEOs and those with real, on the ground experience that have been able to adapt successfully can become some of the most valuable marketers you will ever find.

Being both creative and analytical as well as lateral thinkers, marketers with an optimized state of mind are particularly adept at finding solutions to complex marketing problems. But those SEOs that are still stuck on content marketing as “more fuel for keywords” and social media as “link building” should probably be avoided.

Social vs. SEO Focused Content Marketing

There are any number of benefits for engaging a SEO focused agency for content marketing compared to a social media agency. They each play essential roles for content amplification at all stages of the buying cycle. Here are a few common characteristics of each:

SEO Focused Content Marketing

  • Tactical approach: more content equals more search presence
  • Topics derived from actual search demand
  • Keyword managed content plans tied to performance
  • Continuous cycle of performance improvement using search analytics
  • Organic amplification is “built-in” to content creation
  • Content promotion, link building and social promotion
  • Good SEO is good user experience
  • Technical optimization
  • Performance is focused on search KPIs and conversions

Social Media Focused Content Marketing

  • Topics focused on brand and messaging
  • Shorter form content: status updates, blog posts, image tiles
  • Topics managed by social content calendar
  • Social monitoring surfaces new, real-time content opportunities
  • Amplification is often organic but increasingly paid
  • Influencers engaged to co-create and promote through social
  • Performance is based on views and engagement
  • Conversion and ROI are more difficult to measure with confidence

What should companies look for with search and social media when considering content marketing resources?

Goals and accountability are essential for an optimized and socialized content marketing program to succeed. For an integrated approach, here are three of your most important considerations to ensure content performs for customers and your brand.

  1. Attract –  How will the particular content object attract exposure? Will your content perform as part of an ongoing narrative? Will it be a part of a sequence? Will it be connected to other content objects through links, repurposing or curation? Where content is promoted on social networks will matter for attraction as much as what phrases and questions are used for search engine optimization.
  1. Engage – How will the content object be meaningful to the reader such that they interact, react and respond to it?  What context needs to exist in order for the content to be so relevant that it inspires action? Social Media and Search both play a role in developing the context for engagement. When they interact with what they find, does the customer think, “Yes, that’s exactly what I was looking for”, or something else?
  1. Convert – How will the optimized content object persuade the reader to take the next step? Each content object can play a role in guiding the reader from one stage to the next in a brand and customer relationship. From awareness to purchase to advocacy, conversions are happening at each stage whether it’s a social share, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a white paper, signing up for a webinar, filling out an inquiry form or making a referral.

Within your content plan, think about how you can make these actions easy and intentional for the target customer.  An optimized content plan means being accountable to discovery, how it’s best consumed and what messages will inspire action.

Remember, content is the reason search began in the first place.  Take an optimized approach to incorporating search, social media, publicity and influencers with your content marketing programs. Make sure your content is accountable for attraction, engagement and conversion. With that focus on accountability, the investment you make in high quality, optimized and socialized content will pay returns over and over again.

If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check out Optimize for a full plan on developing an integrated content marketing program.

Image: Shutterstock


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13 Marketing Stars Show The Big Picture of Content Marketing Strategy

The-Big-Picture-of-Content-Marketing-Strategy-Cover

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’” –Audrey Hepburn

Content marketing can quickly become a whirlwind of creation, promotion and evolution of tactics. New platforms are constantly popping up and directives can change at the top of a hat. So, it’s no surprise when content campaigns become disorganized and lose focus.

If your content marketing isn’t having the impact it could, you’re not alone: Only 37% of B2C and 38% of B2B marketers say their content marketing is effective.

If you are in the vast majority of marketers who aren’t sure their performance is Oscar-worthy, the Content Marketing Institute is here to help with a dose of old-school Hollywood magic.

As part of the run-up to Content Marketing World 2015, we have rounded up some of the biggest stars in the content marketing world for the first eBook in our trilogy titled “The Big Picture of Content Marketing Strategy”.

In this eBook, you will learn tips for maximizing your content marketing effectiveness at each stage of the process. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also have access to advice on building a solid content strategy from the thorough planning that lays the groundwork for success, to the amplification that helps your killer content reach your audience.

Whether or not you can make it to Content Marketing World’s star-studded premiere, this eBook has plenty of blockbuster insights. Below is a sneak preview of of what you’ll find from these content marketing stars, in handy tweetable form:

eBook-one-blog-post-image

Robert Rose: “Content marketing strategy has everything to do with your business, but rarely your product.” @Robert Rose tweet this

Sarah Compagnoni: “Great content marketing strategy starts well before anyone clicks a link.” @saracompagnoni tweet this

Chris Moody: “To improve your content marketing, use customer feedback to inspire blog content.” @cnmoody tweet this

Cleve Gibbon: “Content marketing tactics without strategy is noise before defeat.” @cleveg tweet this

Joanne Cleaver: “Freelancers are a ‘halo’ of content talent for thinly staffed agencies & companies.” @jcleaver tweet this

Carlos Abler: “Become your customer’s hero by using archetypes to find the best fit for their needs.” @Carlos_Abler tweet this

Jay Baer: “Like trying to cut your hair sans mirror, content w/o strategy is possible, but not advisable.” @JayBaer tweet this

John Jantsch: “Today, SEO doesn’t really exist outside the context of content marketing strategy.” @ducttape tweet this

Loren McDonald: “Develop “umbrella” content that can be leveraged into multiple forms.” “@LorenMcDonald tweet this

Kristina Halvorson: “Marketers need to advocate beyond content delivery & focus on building customer relationships.” @halvorson tweet this

Brian Clark: “Put yourself in the customers’  shoes to experience the journey from their perspective.” @brianclark tweet this

James Moat: “The power of employees generating & sharing content is a greatly undervalued strategy.” @digecomm tweet this

David Beebe: “Content marketing is about serving customers something valuable & creating raving fans.” @davidbeebe tweet this

Ready For Your Close Up? “Watch” the Full Feature Below:

Preview of Coming Attractions

Coming up next is the dynamic middle installment of the content marketing trilogy, “Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing”, is coming to a laptop, mobile device or tablet near you on June 15. And don’t miss the thrilling final chapter, Measuring Your Content Marketing Box Office Success, on June 22.

ebook CMW preview

This September 8th-11th, CMWorld 2015 brings the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood to Cleveland, Ohio. To learn more about the conference and reserve your place on the red carpet, visit the Content Marketing World website.

Lights, camera, action!


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Best Practices for Incorporating Sponsored Posts & Ads In Your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

POT-OF-GOLD

For many B2B marketers, LinkedIn can prove to be a figurative and literal pot of gold. While there’s no majestic rainbow to show you the way, I can show you how to incorporate social media advertising as part of your LinkedIn Marketing strategy.

A few years ago, HubSpot surveyed B2B organizations and found that 65% of them reported that they have acquired a customer by using LinkedIn and its paid advertising features.

Many organizations have found LinkedIn users to be incredibly receptive to seeing ads and sponsored updates within their feeds. Because LinkedIn is professionally focused by nature, users expect to be having conversations about business.

The best practices below provide some helpful insights into LinkedIn paid advertising basics and can help drive the performance of your campaigns.

Sponsored Updates vs. Sponsored Updates

In our experience, sponsored Updates drive much higher engagement than LinkedIn Ads for the majority of the clients we work with. Below is a sample of conversion rates for both sponsored updates and LinkedIn Ads.

Ad and Sponsored Conversion Rate

Why is There Such a Gap in Conversions?

  1. Sponsored updates appear in the users news feed, which makes them hard to miss. Ads however, appear within the right hand column and can be easily looked over.
  2. A sponsored update is only noted by small gray text that says “Sponsored” if not looking closely, users may not even notice that they’re clicking on boosted content.
  3. Sponsored Updates give the marketer much more flexibility with messaging and imagery compared to ads that have much stricter guidelines.

linkedin image 2

LinkedIn Ads have their place within a social advertising strategy and can often help marketers meet their hit their fiscal goals. However, if you’re just starting out and want to get the most out of your marketing dollars, we recommend focusing your efforts on sponsored updates.

Target Your Audience

LinkedIn has an entire suite of targeting options for you to choose from. If targeting is too broad, your messaging will lose its effectiveness.

We always recommend testing different types of targeting within your LinkedIn campaigns. For example, you can test targeting by title, then grouping. Alternatively you can target by group and then title. Our clients have seen a great deal of success by targeting specific titles within groups, as well as targeting titles within specific companies.

The bottom line, experiment with your targeting to find the best mix for your audience.

Create Messaging That Resonates

Be social, be interesting and be conversational. Sometimes you may have to remind yourself that users flock to platforms like LinkedIn because they add a social element to their personal and professional life.

The messaging used in sponsored updates and ads should focus on your target’s problem and the solution that you offer to meet their need(s). Your prospects may not care about your new eBook or whitepaper, but they will care if your content helps them solve a business problem.

Remember to always create content that speaks directly to your audience. Messaging for a CEO should be different from that for a Manager or Consultant. That’s the beauty of LinkedIn; you have the opportunity to be the answer to all of those unique questions, so tailor your answer/solution accordingly.

You only have 160 characters for direct sponsored posts, so make sure your CTA or your primary takeaway is front and center.

Be Mindful About Images

Rule of thumb, if you have an alternative to stock photos, use it. LinkedIn is filled with stock imagery so creating images that are unique, bright and energetic will go a long way.

Your imagery should be used to support your content.

In the first image below you can see that the visual used of IBM and Facebook clearly aligns with the message of their partnership. The two images on the right however, don’t particularly match up to the message that is being promoted.

IBM Facebookopal financial group

Be sure to update your messaging and imagery frequently. We typically recommend that messaging is adapted every couple of days. Your audience will gravitate towards different messaging and images so I will typically launch new campaigns as opposed to revising existing so we can keep track of which messages work best.

Call to Action

We always recommend using some sort of download as your CTA. A demo or meeting may be your ultimate goal but from an engagement standpoint, a download always wins hands down. It’s easier asking for that demo once they’ve gotten the information from you.

As you can see below, we have typically found that downloads have a much higher conversion rate than demos.

demo and download rate

Budget & Bids

Your daily budget should be dictated by your audience and the bids that LinkedIn is recommending. If you apply the lowest bid acceptable, it will greatly reduce the number of impressions your campaign will be severed. If you feel that your activity is low, that normally means your bids are too low.

Go Forth & Find Your Pot of Gold

Be mindful that success with LinkedIn sponsored posts and advertising takes time. If you know your audience and can be nimble in your approach, your chances of success will greatly increase.

If you’ve used LinkedIn advertising in the past, what were the biggest lessons that you learned?

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Online Marketing client.

Top Image: Shutterstock


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The first fully solar-powered school district should happen this summer



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Students in a small region of southern Iowa again see the great technological changes in the fall. The more workers were to transform school buildings in the first district of Iowa completely powered by the sun.

In January, the district WACO farm installed a large solar collector behind the building of the primary school in Crawfordsville. In July, work should begin in another solar farm next to the main building of the school in Wayland. When all is done, solar energy should provide more than 90 percent of the electricity needs of the district.

From the street, WACO elementary as little primary school building in the city. But Superintendent Darrell Smith said that when he heard the buzz of the orders of the collector panel behind the school, it’s the sound of money in the bank.

“The first conversation we had was, ‘How can we reduce General Fund spending and save money for the district wanted to help the general fund and has evolved”? We were the first to go full sun in Iowa, “Smith said.

The director said that the initial configuration of the solar panel has already had an impact, saving about $ 20,000 in energy costs, while from the beginning of the year. After that, Smith began looking for ways to expand the use of solar energy throughout the district.

Another large solar park is expected to land next to the main building of the school in Wayland. Smith believes will bring the percentage of the area supplied by the sun to more than 90 percent. Given cloudy days in Iowa, he said here that almost 100 percent of solar energy as expected.

On sunny days, the solar panels should provide the district as much as 110 percent of the energy used. With net metering, the surplus is returned to the system of Alliant Energy and brought credit to the district.

WACO solar Conversation became a teaching moment this spring as 5 and 6 students took daily measurements ahead and calculates the output power. Professor Chad McClanahan said students began rooting for sunny days for the system to produce more energy.

“That gives you a sense when you can see what is happening and it makes a difference when it comes to science and green energy, and then say” Come look, “he said.

Superintendent Smith said WACO struggled trying to reach the final push spring sun. The original solar park was financed by a tax of one cent local option. But this money might not cover an additional system. The district wanted to take advantage of solar tax credits and private investment needed to buy the system with a lease-back and eventual sale of the district. Iowa law has no rules to cover this type of financial agreement.

Smith said the Iowa Department of Education has worked with the neighborhood and eventually found a way to make the project a reality. So when the sun shines at the end of August, this means more savings for the district of about 500 students.

It is expected that members of the Board of Directors of the WACO school for open tenders and approve the solar expansion in mid-June At least a dozen school districts in Iowa contact the responsible WACO ask how they did it.

If You Want Your Content Marketing to be Great, Ask Influencers to Participate

participation marketing with influencers

With ubiquitous internet connectivity and billions of people empowered to create and publish online, digital marketing competition is greater than ever. Companies are increasingly challenged to create quality content that can stand out to attract and engage new customers.

How can businesses grow their reach and improve content quality in such a market?

Through participation marketing with industry influencers.

Over the past year, the expression “influencer marketing” has exploded in popularity and many marketing communications professionals are continuing to see influencers in the light of “celebrity endorsements”.

There’s more to influencer marketing than advocacy.

But there’s more to influencer marketing than advocacy and all influencers are not created equal. With participation marketing, companies can take a view of working with influencers of different types to produce a variety of benefits – all through content.

What kind of benefits? The investment in co-creation of content between brands and influencers enables quality content at scale. With brands and influencers working together, co-created content can reinforce mutual authority for all involved. In such a cooperative scenario, influencers can gain exposure, brands can reach new audiences, and customers are “info-tained” and inspired to engage. Everybody wins.

At TopRank Online Marketing, we’ve worked with over 200 influencers in the past 5 years to create numerous content assets ranging from our famous conference eBooks to videos to blog posts to infographics. These assets have driven over 800,000 views and well over 1,000 leads. Content co-created with influencers also continues to serve attract and engage objectives as long as they are live online.

Establishing a successful influencer content program requires a framework for identifying, engaging, and managing relationships. Here’s a 5 step approach to do just that.

influencer content goals

1. Set Goals for Marketing and Influencers

In order for co-created content to be successful for marketing, specific audiences and goals should be identified.

Think about: What do you hope to achieve with an influencer content program? How will influencers benefit? More importantly, how will your customers benefit?

Think about the distinct audience that you’re after with the content being co-created and set goals specific to what your idea of success looks like. Quantify those goals as well, whether it’s to increase the reach and engagement of your brand to the influencer’s community or to inspire more leads and sales by a certain percent.

Also, set goals for the influencers. For short term projects, focus on participation quality. With longer term programs, focus on participation, marketing outcomes and the relationship.

influencer content focus

2. Pick Your Theme and Focus Topic

You can start by asking, “What does your brand want to be known for?”

Themes facilitate planning content and also serve to focus the sourcing of the right influencers. Themes that are meaningful to all parties involved: brand, influencer and target audience will be far more successful.

In addition to branding goals, themes in co-created content programs are often driven by key customer questions that can be answered by brand marketing. Looking at distinct customer segments and the buying experience at each stage should reveal the themes and triggers that your content program will focus on. What is the solution? How will it work for me? What do I do next?

Consider what questions your customers are asking at awareness, consideration and purchase stages. Then think about the themes that will drive asking and answering those questions through influencer content.

identify recruit influencers

3. Find, Qualify and Recruit Influencers

Beyond the famous “brandividual” influencers in your industry, consider niche experts that have an active and passionate following. Also consider subject matter experts within your own company.

To start, talk to executives, marketing, PR and sales to identify a seed list of influencers. Then use an influencer discovery tool like Traackr or BuzzSumo to filter them out and add new influencers your team didn’t know about. Results are better when influencers matches are found on more than one tool.

When reaching out to influencers, be sure to accentuate the positive and the mutual value. Focus first on what’s in it for the influencer. If possible, find out what their goals are and see how working together can move them towards reaching those goals whether it’s overall exposure and being associated publicly with your brand or early and unique access to information.

Influencer participation pitches should be credible, succinct and offer a clear description of what is being asked.

Once a topical list of influencers is identified, they can be engaged in a variety of ways including:

  • Share their status updates on social networks
  • Comment on their blog posts or industry articles
  • Follow on social networks
  • Write about them
  • Interview them

Influencer participation pitches should be credible, succinct and offer a clear description of what is being asked. Pitches should also be very easy to act on. In other words, make it really easy to participate. For example, writing takes time, so offer to do a phone interview instead.

Other tactics that work include: humor, high degree of personalization, incentives and association with other influencers already on board.

CoCreate Influencer Content

4. Content Co-Creation is Participation Marketing

Influencer content co-creation might best begin with small, easy projects that advance the relationship to more robust and substantial time commitments.

Any content type you can create in a content marketing program can be co-created with influencers.

After content is collected from influencers, assemble, edit and package in a promotable format. Then share a preview to inspire their continued participation to promote. Be sure to set expectations by sharing your timeline for production, publishing and promotion.

Any content type you can create in a content marketing program can be co-created with influencers, from eBooks to videos to articles to social microcontent.

Measure Influencer Content

5. Promote and Measure

Provide influencers with tools such as sharing images, pre-written tweets, embed codes and short URLs. Making it easy to participate and promote can substantially increase the success of your influencer content program.

Offer influencers feedback on what’s working and what is not. Since they’ve invested in the creation of the content, it’s in their interest to see the promotion succeed.

You’ve Got This!

By partnering with influencers, marketers can tap into a wealth of knowledge and a breadth of exposure for brand messages. These are not self-promotional messages though, they are the things that the brands’ customers care about.

The mutual investment in creating useful and engaging content can pay dividends for all involved. This is especially true for the resource-strapped marketer looking to scale content quantity, while not sacrificing quality. The icing on the cake are the relationships built that can fuel content collaboration, partnerships and even new business in the future.

A version of this post originally appeared at Brand Quarterly

Watch for our latest influencer content project featuring speakers from the 2015 Content Marketing World conference publishing throughout the month of June.

Photos Shutterstock: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


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B2B Marketing Roundup: Resources, Trends and Case Studies to Prep for #BMA15

BMA 2015 Speakers

For nearly 900 B2B marketers, this week will bring a cornucopia of ideas, insights and networking opportunities to the BMA National conference in Chicago. There’s a lot going on in the B2B marketing space from the increase in humanization of business marketing content to the application of big data, the impact of video, mobile and ecommerce.

The need to innovate isn’t owned by B2B marketers of course – CMOs are looking hard at differentiating their marketing and digital marketers are always looking ahead to see what marketing trends are worth exploring, experimenting with and adopting.

Making sense of it all takes time, so as part of my prep for the event, I’ve curated a nice mix of helpful resources, thoughts about future B2B marketing trends and even some case studies.

b2b marketing infographic

B2B Marketing Trends, Research and Statistics:

2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends - North America

B2B Marketing Strategy

B2B Marketing Tactics and Case Studies

As I mentioned above, I’ll be attending BMA’s Global B2B Marketing conference this week in Chicago. Here are the sessions and people I’m really looking forward to most. You’ll see several of these presentations liveblogged later in the week and next here at TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog:

  • Capitalizing on Change: Skills for the New Era of B2B MarketingMichelle M. Smith, SPIM, CRP, VP, Research, BMA, and VP, Marketing at O.C. Tanner
  • Being 3MJesse Singh, SVP of Marketing and Sales at 3M
  • The Rise of the Data-Driven MarketerRussell Glass, Head of Products, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions; Founder, Bizo=
  • Here’s Why You’re Failing at Content MarketingJoe Pulizzi, Founder at Content Marketing Institute
  • Predicting the Future: Unlocking the Power of Big Data in B2B MarketingLaura Ramos, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research
  • Taming the Marketing Technology Beast and Teaching It to Fetch (Customers)Scott Brinker, Co-Founder and CTO at ion interactive
  • The Cloud Games: Catching Fire – A big panel featuring:
  • INSPIRED: How Brilliant Brands Create a Sudden Urge to ActAndrew Davis, author, Brandscaping
  • Putting Editorial Content at The Heart of B2B MarketingJohn Bell, VP, Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers
  • Successfully Making the Tectonic Shift from B2C to B2BMark Wilson, SVP, Marketing at BlackBerry
  • Face-to-Face Marketing RulesRuth Stevens, President at eMarketing Strategy
  • Big Data, Little Data and Marketing at the IntersectionTheresa Kushner, VP, Data Governance at VMware
  • B2B Video: The Comedy Writes ItselfTim Washer, Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media at Cisco Systems

If you’re attending BMA, I hope to see you there.


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Akon hopes to Provide 600 Million Africans with solar power



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Akon began its “Akon Lighting Africa” “to bring millions in Africa electricity through solar energy.

According to reports, rapper and producer tries to get people in Africa to electricity thanks to this initiative.

The eyes of the Academy ultimately provide 600 million people in many African countries currently without electricity there.

Co-founder of the foundation Baithily Samba said: “Africans expect graduates of this center to develop new innovative solutions, technical He told the Academy, which can benefit from Lighting Africa Akon and go further..”

70 percent of Africans are said to be under 35 Akon Lighting Africa also eyes that provide thousands of jobs for job seekers.

Does Your Home Deserve Solar Power?



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The term “solar energy” is often used these days, but some owners have considered a realistic option. Without estimates, most people assume that the cost of installation would be completely outweigh the potential benefits. While green energy has come a long way since its inception, many people still view this technology as trapped in its infant stage. With its recent progress, however, solar panels are becoming not only an affordable option, but also the most logical step that you can take to save energy in your home.

Rebates and incentives

The federal government and many states are beginning to realize that the country must seriously begin to focus on reducing the carbon footprint of all Americans. If you install a solar energy system that provides some of the energy needs of your home, you may qualify for a tax refund of up to 30 percent of project costs. In most cases, the refund applies to both provincial and federal taxes, doubling the return on your investment. Many utilities also promote reduced energy consumption, offering discounts, rebates and incentives to offset further installation cost for customers that reduce the carbon footprint of their homes. With all these options to offset the initial cost, the initial cost seems minimal compared to the future return on investment.

Reduce energy costs always

You’ve found the home that your family will live forever. The house is paid for, but you still have decades of monthly recurring costs before you. Since you know you will not move again, long-term improvements you make to the house directly benefit the long-term savings. They will also benefit directly to their children when they inherit the house, if they wish to sell or live in it. With solar energy, energy that is drawn from the mains is significantly reduced, minimizing their electricity bills. What was once a major recurring cost of ownership becomes a trivial monthly expense, immediately put money in your pocket.

Location, location, location

Another major concern for many homeowners is to have bulky trash your house and yard black panels. While the main function of solar panels requires absorbing the sun’s energy, technology has become much more customizable. entrepreneurs in energy efficiency provide a free quote and discuss your aesthetic concerns. Moreover, as the solar industry becomes more competitive, more products and services are available, allowing your contractor to tailor a system to your specific needs. Contractors can work with you to maximize system efficiency without sacrificing aesthetics of your home.

If you have never studied the feasibility of improving your home to use solar energy, maybe now is the time to consider it. Talk to a local contractor and make your home and your wallet service to explore the options available. You owe it to your home and family for all necessary information before making a decision.

Top Digital Marketing Takeaways From Authority Rainmaker

Brian Clark Authority Rainmaker Cover

What does it take to become an authority in your industry? How can we make better sense out of an integrated approach to digital marketing?

According to the presentations we saw at Authority Rainmaker 2015, it takes the passion to learn and pursue knowledge, the expertise that warrants credibility and respect of your peers and the time and effort to earn your place as an industry thought leader.

While only in it’s second year, Copyblogger’s Authority conference brought the passion and expertise that will no doubt result in achieving authority status among digital marketing events in the industry.

Alexis Hall, Lee Odden and I had the pleasure of representing TopRank Online Marketing for this informative and entertaining event, which took place at the beautiful Ellie Caulkins Opera House in downtown Denver Colorado. We met interesting people, created great blog and social content and learned lots of great digital marketing tips to share with our agency team.

Here are some of our favorite takeaways:

Buyers Hold the Power – Daniel Pink

D Pink AR2015

Today’s buyers are extremely savvy. They have access to information and tools, that previously were only available to the sellers. Marketers have an enormous opportunity to begin serving these customers in a more meaningful way.

Find out how by reading The New Era of Sales and Content Marketing – Daniel Pink

Content Marketing Pros Follow Similar Paths to Success – Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi

Content marketing has exploded in popularity and for very good reason. Done right, it gets huge business results at a fraction of the cost of more conventional marketing tactics. Several trail-blazing businesses and thought leaders have been instrumental in driving the adoption of content marketing by not only proving the model, but in many cases defining it.

For companies who have yet to achieve content marketing greatness, make sure you’re on the right track by following Joe Pulizzi’s 6 Steps to Building a Massive Audience

Cleverness Doesn’t Pay When it Comes to Landing Pages – Sonia Simone

Sonia AR2015 2

Clever titles may work great for BuzzFeed and Reddit content, but they can be confusing in the context of landing pages. The goal of any landing page isn’t to get a laugh, it’s to motivate action and confusion is the enemy of action.

Learn how to turn your landing page CRO up to 11 in Dr. Evil’s Guide to Landing Page Design and Optimization.

Search Engines Are Getting a Lot Smarter – Danny Sullivan

D Sullivan AR2015

As powerful and revolutionary as search engines are, the past year has seen some truly game-changing upgrades at Google. From the Hummingbird algorithm update which moved Google ranking factors far beyond just keywords and links, to the Mobile Friendly update which is helping to usher in a new era of mobile friendly websites, search marketers have had plenty to keep them busy.

Learn more about the where search is now and likely to be going in: Danny Sullivan on the State of Search Marketing in 2015 

Craving More Authority Rainmaker Insights?

This eBook features additional insights and tweetable tips from the marketing experts that appeared at Authority Rainmaker 2015.

Complete List of Coverage From Authority Rainmaker 2015

Below are links to the presentations we covered at Authority Rainmaker:

Thank you to Brian Clark, Jessica Commins and the Copyblogger team for putting on a such a great event! I know most of the attendees would agree, this is a digital marketing event worth repeating and we’re looking forward to what’s in store for next year.

Whether you attended Authority in-person or vicariously through social shares and posts like this, what were your favorite takeaways from Authority Rainmaker?


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Top Digital Marketing Takeaways From Authority Rainmaker | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Top Digital Marketing Takeaways From Authority Rainmaker appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Good Content Vs. Good Enough Content: A Fight for Sore Eyes with Ann Handley

Ann Handley Authority Rainmaker 2015

“Do you have any mustard?”

“Give me the mustard.”

“Pardon me: Do you have any Grey Poupon?”

These three statements mean the same thing, but each is a unique way of asking for the desired item. Often, it’s not what you say, but how you say it.

In her session at Authority Rainmaker 2015, Ann Handley shared the belief that brand voice is key to creating good content marketing that will set you apart.

There is this idea that as quantity of content increases, quality takes a nose dive. So how do you maintain or increase quality of content while increasing quantity?

It starts with being really good at the basics, like brand voice.

Not More Content…Ridiculously Better Content

  • 77% of B2C organizations are using content marketing. (Source: CMI)
  • 69% of B2C organizations are creating more content than they did 1 year ago. (Source CMI)

You aren’t just competing with your competitors anymore, but you’re competing with yourself and everyone else for mind share. Sometimes it may feel like you need more content in order to get attention.

The answer IS NOT more content…it’s ridiculously better content.

Good Writing is About Getting Inside the Heads of Other People

Producing engaging content is the biggest challenge for content marketers. Producing engaging content means becoming a better storytelling and a better writer.

According to Ann, writing is the guts of content marketing. And good writing isn’t just about grammar. It’s about knowing what your audience needs and wants and telling that story in a really interesting way.

This is where your brand voice comes into play. Ann gave us five steps to create and use a brand voice.

Step 1: You Do You (it’s not what you sell, it’s who you are).

AH 1

At a very basic level, branded web content should answer these three questions:

  • Who are you?
  • Why do you do what you do? This means what value do you offer that no one else does.
  • What are you like to deal with? This means what story are you telling more broadly when people come to your site.

Brand voice reflects your culture, amplifies your story and communicates empathy to people you want to reach.

Ann used the example of CrowdRise. The CrowdRise home page reads: “Raise money for a awesome causes and have the most fun while you do it”. The tagline says “if you don’t give back no one will like you”.

Definitely a distinctive voice: irreverent, fun and inspiring.  According to Gary Wohlfeill, Director of Marketing at CrowdRise, this is more than just copywriting. This is a calculated move to talk about who CrowdRise is and use it as a differentiator.  The copywriter isn’t just brought in at the end. They are there every step of the way.

Step 2: Write it Down

Once you know who you are broadly, then distill it down, so it’s easy to communicate and embody.

Complete this Marketing Madlib.

Our brand is (go ahead and fill out three adjectives):

1.

2.

3.

Ok – keep that handy.

Step 3: Re-frame

A Handley 3

Now that you know who you are, re-frame the three adjectives from your Madlib and put your customer into the story. Your website should be built around who you are and what that means to your customer.

Another example Ann provided was that of Tufts University. Their three adjectives are reassuring, helpful and humorous. So now let’s spin those adjectives to include their target audience, prospective parents and students applying for college.

  • Reassuring becomes relax
  • Helpful becomes no BS
  • Humorous becomes let’s not get too nutty about college

Re-framing the adjectives transforms content about “you” into content that offers a unique value for your audience.

Step 4: Do Not Dilute

AH 4

Writing in a distinctive brand voice is about taking some risks. Content marketing is a magnet that is meant to attract like minded people, and repel those who are not.

If you dilute your brand voice so you don’t offend anyone, it will be that much less powerful. Remember, this is about building an audience, not just getting eyeballs.

Step 5: Sweat the Small Stuff

An Handley 5

Brand voice touches beyond those things you typically think of as content, it’s everything you put out there. Find interesting ways to say boring stuff on your ‘about us’, landing pages, microcopy, and subscribe buttons.

Matching every word on your site to your brand voice (re-framed for your audience) shows empathy, a powerful motivator for consumers.

Quantity and quality don’t have to be enemies. By getting back to basics, who you are, your brand can create a strong voice which attracts the right audience with quantity and quality.


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Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Good Content Vs. Good Enough Content: A Fight for Sore Eyes with Ann Handley | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Good Content Vs. Good Enough Content: A Fight for Sore Eyes with Ann Handley appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.