Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®
Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®Limited Resources? Here Are 9 Clever Ways to Create Live Video on Social MediaThe Future of Content Marketing: Experts Share Content Predictions for 2017Online Marketing News: Content Deluge, Spotify Data Stories and Cyber Monday Breaks RecordsCurb End-of-Year Marketing Burnout with These Digital Marketing Quick Tips6 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Your Social Media MarketingWe Answer the Top 5 Questions People Have About Content Marketing10 Kick-Ass Cyber Monday & Holiday Deals for Digital MarketersOnline Marketing News: Retail Holiday Social, Instagram Live & Online Shopping Accelerates12 Reasons The TopRank Marketing Team is Thankful for Our ClientsWhy Most Content Doesn’t Get Social Shares–And How to Get Yours Seen7 Tips for Running a Successful Social Media Marketing CampaignIs Bing A Thing? The Answer: It DependsOnline Marketing News: ‘Tis Pinterest Season, Self-Serve InMail and Nutella Spreads HappinessArtificial Intelligence is Here: 5 Brands Implementing AI11 Brain-Training Exercises for Your Content Marketing Team5 Interesting Insights from Buffer’s The State of Social 2016 Report50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising StarsOnline Marketing News: Unwrapping Shoppers, Growing Ad Revenue & Millennial LoyaltyGet the Marketing Budget You Need in 2 Steps7 Steps to Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy

http://www.toprankblog.com Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:23:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.4 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/live-video-social-media/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/live-video-social-media/#respond Tue, 06 Dec 2016 11:36:49 +0000

Limited Resources? Here Are 9 Clever Ways to Create Live Video on Social Media


For many brands and marketers, video is becoming an increasingly important part of their overall digital marketing strategy, particularly when it comes to their social media efforts. And it’s not hard to see why. We humans are visual beings, and these days we crave and expect video. According to a HubSpot infographic, one-third of all […]

The post Limited Resources? Here Are 9 Clever Ways to Create Live Video on Social Media appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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create-live-video

For many brands and marketers, video is becoming an increasingly important part of their overall digital marketing strategy, particularly when it comes to their social media efforts. And it’s not hard to see why.

We humans are visual beings, and these days we crave and expect video. According to a HubSpot infographic, one-third of all online activity is spent watching video. When used as a marketing tactic, compelling video content helps capture attention, encourages engagement and—in some cases—reaches a more prominent position in social media news feeds.

But quality video content is far more time consuming and costly to produce than other types of content, making it more difficult for marketers and brands with less manpower, time or budget to create video.

The solution? Live video.

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly said on his Facebook page:

“Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. … This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.”

The beauty of live video is that is more raw and honest than professionally produced video—which can help you attract, engage, entertain and build relationships with your target audience in a more authentic way.

With that said, below I offer nine ideas for using live video in your social media marketing efforts, as well as a few examples of companies in action.

#1 – Share what’s happening at a live event.

A live event provides the perfect backdrop for live video on social media. Not only do events give you plenty of interesting content to share, but it’s also a great way to bring your audience along for the ride and make them feel like they’re there, too.

When the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 this fall, BuzzFeed offered a live video stream of the massive crowd that had gathered outside of Wrigley Field to celebrate the victory.

Live Video on Social - BuzzFeed

See the full video here.

#2 – Tease a new or in-the-works product/service.

Want to create some buzz about a new product that’s in the works or about to roll out? Live video can be a great way to get the word out about what’s to come.

Before launching your live video session, tease the announcement you’re about to make so people know when they need to tune in for your live event.

#3 – Do a live reveal of a new product or special promotion.

People love feeling like they’ve gotten the exclusive on something, so using live video to give people the first look at a new product or service is a great way to get them excited and talking.

In my opinion, this tactic is working incredibly well for many independent sales consultants for brands such as Herbalife, LulaRoe, Scentsy and LipSense. Like any business, these consultants want to attract new customers as well as retain their existing base, so giving their audience an exclusive look at new products through video is a great way to keep interest piqued.

You likely know at least one or two of your social media acquaintances that are in this type of business. Check out some of their live videos to get a feel for what they’re doing and the type of engagement they’re getting to get a little inspiration.

Again, as mentioned above, get people excited about the live video event before it happens by teasing it on social media beforehand.

#4 – Offer a look behind-the-scenes.

Another great way to engage, entertain and draw your audience in is to offer them a glimpse behind the curtain of your product or company, where company outsiders don’t typically get to go.

Before getting started, brainstorm some possible concepts for where you would take people and why they would care to see it. After all, you want to get eyeballs on your video, so you want to make sure you’re showing something worth watching.

Here’s a great example from Dunkin’ Donuts. National Donut Day was June 3 this year and Dunkin’ Donuts gave their audience a glimpse inside their “top-secret” test kitchen in honor of the holiday.

live-video-dunkin-donuts

Watch the full video here.

#5 – Hold a contest or campaign.

Social media contests and campaigns are great ways to drive awareness, engagement and action from your audience—and adding a live video element can add some visual flair to the contest.

Use live video throughout your contest or campaign to encourage people to participate by highlighting some of the submissions you’ve already received. When you’re getting close to the submission deadline, use live video to create more urgency to get those last participants in. Once the contest is over, announce the winners live.

#6 – Hold a Q&A session.

One of the best ways to get to know your audience better, as well as form stronger relationships with them, is to have meaningful conversations with them. Holding a live Q&A session can be a great way to do just that.

My suggestion would be to pick a topic your audience cares about and prepare answers to a couple commonly asked questions. Open the video by addressing a couple of those, then start taking questions from those who have tuned in.

Benefit Cosmetics is regularly using Facebook Live to highlight its products, offer beauty tips and tricks, and answer audience questions. The video below was part of their “Tipsy Tricks” video feature, where hosts sip cocktails while offering advice and answering questions.

live-video-benefit

Watch the full video here.

#7 – Conduct interviews with industry thought leaders.

Including industry thought leaders and influencers in your digital marketing efforts is a fantastic way to lend credibility and authority to your brand, as well as reach new audiences. Take the content you create with industry influencers to a different level by conducting a live video interview.

If you go this route, make sure you have a strong relationship and rapport with the thought leaders you include. You want to make sure that personal connection translates into the video. Also, take a couple practice runs through your questions before going live. This will get both of you comfortable with what’s about to happen.

#8 – Give a how-to presentation or product demo.

How-to and demonstration videos seem to be King in the social media landscape. While most of what you see these days are produced videos, live video can be great because it shows viewers exactly how to do something or how something works in real-time.

Here’s a great example from IBM. In this video, IBMer Ryan Anderson opens up his home lab to show how tech can be used to “build and hack” things together.

live-video-ibm

Watch the full video here.

#9 – Profile your employees.

Your team is representative of what your company is all about—and an employee profile using live video can be a great way to further humanize your brand.

Profile new or longtime employees to show your audience who’s working behind the scenes to deliver a great product or service. My advice would be to keep it light and entertaining, not going too heavy on the “I love working here because …” stuff. The whole point is to show people you have rock solid, well-rounded people working for you.

Some Helpful Resources

If you’re looking for more insights on creating live video, check out some of these other blog posts:

How do you use live video on social media? What’s worked best for you? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Limited Resources? Here Are 9 Clever Ways to Create Live Video on Social Media | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Limited Resources? Here Are 9 Clever Ways to Create Live Video on Social Media appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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The Future of Content Marketing: Experts Share Content Predictions for 2017


At a time in the not so distant future 2016 will come to a close and many content marketers will reflect on 2016 and think, “Man was that unfair!”. They’ve tightened their belts, worked hard to develop a content strategy and tried to stay up on latest content trends. But the sad reality is that […]

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2017-content-marketing-predictions

At a time in the not so distant future 2016 will come to a close and many content marketers will reflect on 2016 and think, “Man was that unfair!”. They’ve tightened their belts, worked hard to develop a content strategy and tried to stay up on latest content trends. But the sad reality is that content still isn’t having the business impact that they had anticipated.

In order for us to look to the future of content marketing, we have to take a critical look at the past and present. One  that we have always known to be true is that creating content just to improve rankings and to say that you “do” content marketing is never going to be good enough. So many marketers get caught up in creating content for content’s sake and find that they’ve wasted hours, months or years developing messages that nobody will ever read or share.

Our not too distant future holds many opportunities for content marketers, but there will be bumps and challenges along the way. To keep yourself from being distracted by the shiny objects that the future will inevitably hold, you must focus on what is most important. When approaching any content initiative, consider the following:

  • For content to be effective, you must have impact.
  • In order to create impact, your content must be memorable.
  • In order to be memorable, you must understand your audience.

Ann Handley
ann-handley-2017-prediction

Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
@annhandley


“The smartest companies will ground their marketing into something substantive.” – @annhandley
Click To Tweet


Two things. One small and tactical; one big and strategic.

First, the small tactical thing: Companies that aren’t strategically tapping into the power of video get left behind. (And as a consequence they will end up eating friendless and alone, living in squalor in a sad walk-up tenement wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a gravy-stained T-shirt.)

Why is a writer telling you to think about video in 2017? Because embracing video doesn’t mean we ignore text and writing. Quite the opposite: Writing is the foundation of a good story. And well-chosen words can greatly enhance whatever video you’re creating, too.

Notice I said “strategically tapping,” too. Not “randomly tapping.”

Which leads me to the bigger-picture trend: In 2017, the smartest companies will slow the $*(@)$*%& down. Next year (is it really just one month from now?), the smartest and more successful companies go deep into purpose and identity to ground their marketing and content strategy in something substantive—so that our programs can find a place within the context of what our customers care about.

There is such a thing as a bad slow in marketing, but there is a critical need for a good slow, too.  

Carlos Abler

carlos-abler-2017-prediction
Leader – Content Marketing and Strategy – Global eTransformation, 3M
@Carlos_Abler


“Mistrust of news sources leads to new opportunities for Truth as a Service.” – @Carlos_Abler
Click To Tweet


The accelerating mistrust of news sources triggered by the imputed impact of fake news in the US presidential election, will not only create new points of friction for paid media distribution and credibility of journalism and journalist-like tactics, but leads to new business model opportunities for Truth as a Service.

For example there is a significant opportunity for Facebook (or someone) to fuze a content curation, with a snopes-like editorial service; a new trending topic information portal for articles with ratings filtration (white list  validated/non-validated, medium-trustworthy validated/non-validated, low trustworthy validated/non-validated); a corresponding “Truth-ometer” rating model for in-stream content; and an affiliate model of gated higher rated articles from paid sites e.g., at a .50 cents per article fee for access, or a charge for aggregated researched original articles or info-graphic display owned by the host aggregator.

Joe Pulizzi

joe-pulizzi-prediction-2017
Founder, Content Marketing Institute
@JoePulizzi


“More brands will launch print magazines as a way to cut through the clutter.” @JoePulizzi
Click To Tweet


Print custom magazines, as a content marketing tool, have finally hit the bottom, and more brands will launch print magazines in 2017 as a way to cut through the clutter that is proving so difficult on the web.

Amy Higgins

amy-higgins-prediction-2017
Account Manager, TopRank Marketing
@amywhiggins


“We will see a shift in team structure as the role of content marketer becomes more clearly defined.” -…
Click To Tweet


I believe the biggest change in Content Marketing in 2017 will be centered around the structure of the marketing team. As the role of Content Marketing continues to expand and grow, many companies are still struggling with how to structure their marketing teams. Some have Content Marketing as a function of a single department, like Demand Gen or Social Media, while other Content Marketing teams are a shared resource among the entire Marketing team.  To date, there is not a best practice for the team structure. In the next year, we will begin to see a shift in team structure as the role of a Content Marketer becomes more clearly defined.

Chris Moody

chris-moody-prediction-2017
Content Marketing Leader, GE Digital
@cnmoody


“Having a written content plan helps marketers anchor against business objectives.” – @cnmoody
Click To Tweet


B2B marketers will come around and the number of documented content marketing strategies will increase for the first time in three years. In 2015, 35% of B2B marketers had a documented content strategy and in 2016, that number dipped to 32% (CMI/MarketingProfs). Research shows that those with a documented content marketing strategy are 300x more effective than those without. 2017 is the year that this improves. Marketers realize that having a written plan helps anchor them against business objectives and supports them being more effective.

If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first of many to bang my head against my desk and question the existence of two-thirds of my marketing friends who are doing stuff without a documented plan. Without that documented plan, that’s all your marketing is…stuff. Gone should be the days of activities-based marketing. Let’s drive action, results and revenue and improve the perception of our industry.

Jason Miller

jason-miller-prediction-2017
Group Manager – Global Content & Social Media Marketing, LinkedIn
@JasonMillerCA


“As video grows, marketers are going to have to focus on quality over quantity.” – @JasonMillerCA
Click To Tweet


The “Content Shock” that Mark Schaefer called out a few years ago is going to happen with video in 2017. As video grows in importance and live video becomes the norm, marketers are going to have to focus on quality over quantity. Upping the production value of an iPhone video and focusing on smart editing and razor sharp audio will be differentiator.


Know Your Audience. Be Memorable. Have Impact.

It’s clear that there are key themes that tie each of these expert’s predictions together. If you’re going to run a successful content program in 2017 focus must be on content quality, planning and cutting through the clutter to create a great experience for your audience.

Want more? Learn how TopRank Marketing developed an interactive microsite to create a memorable experience for a client’s target audience.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client


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Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
The Future of Content Marketing: Experts Share Content Predictions for 2017 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post The Future of Content Marketing: Experts Share Content Predictions for 2017 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/content-marketing-predictions-2017/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/online-marketing-news-120216/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/online-marketing-news-120216/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:30:01 +0000

Online Marketing News: Content Deluge, Spotify Data Stories and Cyber Monday Breaks Records


influencer-marketing-lee-odden

influencer-marketing-lee-odden

What Can Be Done About the Content Deluge? Insights From 42 Content Marketing Influencers [Infographic]
Content marketing isn’t easy. Although it’s not a new tactic by any stretch of the imagination, marketers are still struggling to spread their message to an increasingly inundated audience. So, how can marketers make their content marketing stick? These 42 influencers, including our own Lee Odden, have some helpful tips. Business to Community

[embedded content]

Spotify Crunches User Data in Fun Ways for This New Global Outdoor Ad Campaign
Spotify mined user data for a delightful purpose – a playful new outdoor campaign thanking 2016 for, frankly, being really weird. Some highlights include showing some love to the 1,235 guys who loved the “Girl’s Night” playlist this year, and wondering why someone would need to play “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day. AdWeek

Report: Cyber Monday was the largest e-commerce day in history
This year, Cyber monday was the largest day in history for eCommerce, bringing in $3.4 billion in revenue. For comparison, eCommerce revenue for Black Friday was $3.34 billion. Interestingly enough, 53% of that revenue came from mobile — 44% via smartphone and 9% via tablet. Marketing Land

Google is Saying Goodbye to Content Keywords
Google announced this week that it’s retiring the Content Keywords feature in Google Search Console. Not to worry – this same data and much more can be found by using the Fetch as Google feature within GSC, which enables users to test how Google crawls and renders an on-site URL. Google Webmaster Central Blog

Four top digital priorities for B2B marketers: Report
A new study from Adobe and eConsultancy shows the top digital marketing priorities for B2B marketers, including catching up on content optimization, targeting and personalization, mastering the tools and analytics for data driven marketing and implementing a customer experience strategy. eConsultancy

8-in-10-b2b-marketers-reported-using-social-media-82-and-content-marketing-81-2-for-customer-acquisition

Instagram Is Facebook’s Biggest App Advertiser. Twitter Is Banned.
Instagram is advertising on Facebook – and quite successfully. Twitter doesn’t share the same luck. Ad Age reports: “Instagram has grown to 500 million monthly users today from 100 million monthly users in 2013, likely aided in part by its promotion on Facebook. But social-media competitor Twitter, whose 317 million monthly users are growing only slowly, is barred from advertising on Facebook.” Ad Age

Programmatic To Grow 31% In 2017, Ahead Of All Other Channels
A recent report from Zenith suggests that programmatic will grow by 31% in 2017, which is faster than all other digital marketing channels, like social media (25% growth) and even online video (20% growth). The report also found that the U.S. is the largest programmatic ad market, valued at $24 billion this year and making up 62% of total programmatic spend. MediaPost

Blogging Benchmarks: Writing Time, Post Length, and Media Use
A recent survey showed that 56% of bloggers say that it takes them three hours or fewer to write a typical blog post. 25% of survey respondents say it take them between one and two hours, 24% said between two and three hours, while only 8% said it takes them less than one hour to write a blog post. MarketingProfs

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with my lovely co-pilot, Josh Nite, to bring you more online marketing news. Have something newsy to share? Tweet it to @toprank or leave it in the comments!

The post Online Marketing News: Content Deluge, Spotify Data Stories and Cyber Monday Breaks Records appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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influencer-marketing-lee-oddeninfluencer-marketing-lee-oddenWhat Can Be Done About the Content Deluge? Insights From 42 Content Marketing Influencers [Infographic]
Content marketing isn’t easy. Although it’s not a new tactic by any stretch of the imagination, marketers are still struggling to spread their message to an increasingly inundated audience. So, how can marketers make their content marketing stick? These 42 influencers, including our own Lee Odden, have some helpful tips. Business to Community

[embedded content]

Spotify Crunches User Data in Fun Ways for This New Global Outdoor Ad Campaign
Spotify mined user data for a delightful purpose – a playful new outdoor campaign thanking 2016 for, frankly, being really weird. Some highlights include showing some love to the 1,235 guys who loved the “Girl’s Night” playlist this year, and wondering why someone would need to play “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day. AdWeek

Report: Cyber Monday was the largest e-commerce day in history
This year, Cyber monday was the largest day in history for eCommerce, bringing in $3.4 billion in revenue. For comparison, eCommerce revenue for Black Friday was $3.34 billion. Interestingly enough, 53% of that revenue came from mobile — 44% via smartphone and 9% via tablet. Marketing Land

Google is Saying Goodbye to Content Keywords
Google announced this week that it’s retiring the Content Keywords feature in Google Search Console. Not to worry – this same data and much more can be found by using the Fetch as Google feature within GSC, which enables users to test how Google crawls and renders an on-site URL. Google Webmaster Central Blog

Four top digital priorities for B2B marketers: Report
A new study from Adobe and eConsultancy shows the top digital marketing priorities for B2B marketers, including catching up on content optimization, targeting and personalization, mastering the tools and analytics for data driven marketing and implementing a customer experience strategy. eConsultancy

8-in-10-b2b-marketers-reported-using-social-media-82-and-content-marketing-81-2-for-customer-acquisition

Instagram Is Facebook’s Biggest App Advertiser. Twitter Is Banned.
Instagram is advertising on Facebook – and quite successfully. Twitter doesn’t share the same luck. Ad Age reports: “Instagram has grown to 500 million monthly users today from 100 million monthly users in 2013, likely aided in part by its promotion on Facebook. But social-media competitor Twitter, whose 317 million monthly users are growing only slowly, is barred from advertising on Facebook.” Ad Age

Programmatic To Grow 31% In 2017, Ahead Of All Other Channels
A recent report from Zenith suggests that programmatic will grow by 31% in 2017, which is faster than all other digital marketing channels, like social media (25% growth) and even online video (20% growth). The report also found that the U.S. is the largest programmatic ad market, valued at $24 billion this year and making up 62% of total programmatic spend. MediaPost

Blogging Benchmarks: Writing Time, Post Length, and Media Use
A recent survey showed that 56% of bloggers say that it takes them three hours or fewer to write a typical blog post. 25% of survey respondents say it take them between one and two hours, 24% said between two and three hours, while only 8% said it takes them less than one hour to write a blog post. MarketingProfs

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with my lovely co-pilot, Josh Nite, to bring you more online marketing news. Have something newsy to share? Tweet it to @toprank or leave it in the comments!

The post Online Marketing News: Content Deluge, Spotify Data Stories and Cyber Monday Breaks Records appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Curb End-of-Year Marketing Burnout with These Digital Marketing Quick Tips


For many marketers, the holiday season is one of their busiest times of year. But let’s face it, focusing on solving your top marketing problems when you have a holiday party to go to and a new year just around the corner isn’t always easy. This year, let’s change our perspective. Instead of letting things […]

The post Curb End-of-Year Marketing Burnout with These Digital Marketing Quick Tips appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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digital-marketing-quick-tips

For many marketers, the holiday season is one of their busiest times of year. But let’s face it, focusing on solving your top marketing problems when you have a holiday party to go to and a new year just around the corner isn’t always easy.

This year, let’s change our perspective. Instead of letting things slip with the notion that you’ll pick back up in the new year, finish 2016 with a bang!

This post has a little bit of everything to keep you motivated and ranges from social media marketing, to email marketing and SEO.

Pick the top one or two items that you’re struggling with most this time of year and commit yourself to maintaining a laser focus through the end of the year.

Need to Inspire Engagement with Social Media Marketing?


Content is KING, but engagement is QUEEN, and she rules the house! – @MariSmith
Click To Tweet


  • Listen and empathize – Learn the current situation, goals and troubles involved as well as the ability to empathize with both the brand marketer and the customers they’re trying to reach.
  • Social Media program Audit – Inventory your assets and examine current social performance. This will help you determine where to focus efforts, and what to let go.
  • Community building and distribution of content – It’s more than pushing brand content, it’s making active efforts to attract and engage a community.
  • Improve Social User Experience – SUX – Make it easy for users to find your brand social channels from your company website. Include social sharing widgets on your blog to make it easy for readers to share on their favorite social network.

Social Media Advertising Just Not Hitting the Mark?


Be so good they can’t ignore you. @SteveMartinToGo
Click To Tweet


  • Find the right platform – One message does not fit all social media platforms.
  • Tailor messaging – Always create content that speaks directly to your audience. Messaging for a CEO should be different from that for a Manager or Consultant.
  • Ad targeting – Test different types of targeting within your  social media advertising campaigns to find the best mix.
  • Incorporate compelling imagery – Creating images that are unique, bright and energetic will go a long way.
  • Rethink your CTA – If users aren’t signing up for demos or more information, consider offering a gated downloads.

Experiencing General Digital Marketing Burnout?


Attention is a precious commodity. @briansolis
Click To Tweet


  • Read a book and explore new places – Stories give us new perspectives and a vacation can provide new scenery to provide new and fresh perspectives.
  • Spark your personal life – Have a good diet, sleep 7-9 hours and exercise that makes you sweat.
  • Mix up your work life – Network with other digital marketers to gain inspiration from by talking about what you do and try attending conferences to rev up your marketing know-how.
  • Jumpstart creativity – Go to local theaters, art museums or concert halls to feel cultural. It can help in supplying you inspiration and motivation to keep creating.

Struggling with Influencer Marketing?


Everyone is influential about something. @leeodden
Click To Tweet


  • Defining influence – Take into account their ability and willingness to affect action – not just achievement of high fan, friend and follower counts.
  • Don’t get distracted – Don’t be blinded by the prospect of fame by association. Popular influencers  won’t necessarily create positive effects for brand marketing and PR goals..
  • Validate influencers – Narrow down a short list of influencers by finding correlations across multiple influencer discovery tools and then validating through manual inspection of their work.
  • Share a game plan – Provide examples of a thought leader who is already speaking to your target audience. Share steps for how you might attract, engage and partner with those influencers.
  • Be the expert – Help your boss & constituents understand what influencer marketing is and isn’t.
  • Be mindful of results – Focusing on social shares vs clickthroughs and actions creates fuzzy influencer results.

Want to Take Your Optimization Strategy Beyond Search Engines?


Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first. @emom
Click To Tweet


  • Create a connection – SEO can deliver content-rich answers to buyers at the moment of need, and social media can provide the means to connect and engage.
  • Be where customers are searching – 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 success – More than keywords and links, search engine optimization is an important part of the success equation when it comes to content marketing.
  • Be conversational – 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.

Email Marketing Campaigns Failing to Nurture Leads?


Email is the glue that binds everything together. @Mike_Stelzner
Click To Tweet


  • Segment your list – Begin incorporating and requiring segmentation information in lead capture forms by adding simple qualifiers.
  • Develop a lead nurturing strategy – It may be worth taking the time to develop a few user personas based on the data that you have. Proper persona development can help guide your strategy for different communication streams.
  • Set lead nurturing goals – Understanding what exactly you want to accomplish can help drive your lead nurturing strategy and execution.
  • Consider marketing automation – Marketing automation can simplify the lead nurturing process. However, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Marketing automation can be a large investment and requires the appropriate resources to execute effectively.

End the Year with A Bang!

This calendar year isn’t over until it’s over. Take the time that you have left and focus on the marketing activities that will help you have the biggest impact throughout the end of the year. If there are any additional quick tips or inspirations you’d like to share with our other readers, include them in the comments below!


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Curb End-of-Year Marketing Burnout with These Digital Marketing Quick Tips | http://www.toprankblog.com

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/digital-marketing-quick-tips/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/holiday-social-media-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/holiday-social-media-marketing/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2016 11:30:33 +0000

6 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Your Social Media Marketing


“On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact midpoint, everybody stops, and turns, and hugs, as if to say ’Well done. Well done, everyone! We’re halfway out of the dark.’” -Doctor Who Last night, I drove home from work in the dark. I hadn’t stayed late putting […]

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social-media-marketing-holidays

“On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact midpoint, everybody stops, and turns, and hugs, as if to say ’Well done. Well done, everyone! We’re halfway out of the dark.’” -Doctor Who

Last night, I drove home from work in the dark. I hadn’t stayed late putting the finishing touches on another devastatingly brilliant blog post. It was just that, after the long Thanksgiving weekend, the darkness has finally caught up with the end of the work day. And there’s plenty more dark to go before the days get longer.

On the bright side, that means the holiday season is here. There are at least four major holidays and plenty of minor ones to go around.

All this festivity offers us unique chances to make a connection with potential customers. ‘Tis the season for savvy social media marketing.

You don’t have to drape your Facebook page in tinsel or string lights on your Twitter feed to catch the holiday spirit. In fact, the bigger, tackier celebrations are less likely to feel authentic, and more likely to alienate those who don’t celebrate a particular holiday.

It’s better to celebrate the holidays on social media the same way you do everything: With your audience’s needs and wants firmly in mind.

Here are a few ideas for getting your brand into the spirit.

#1: Go Behind the Scenes

Your audience always wants to see the people behind the brand. During the holidays, those who are celebrating will enjoy seeing others celebrating, too. Snap candid shots of decorated desks, bedecked halls, and your annual office party.

Collect memorable holiday stories and favorite recipes from your co-workers, too, and share them with festive holiday portraits. Ugly sweaters and santa hats are optional, but encouraged.

#2: Encourage Your Audience to Share Holiday Photos

During the holiday season, most people’s thoughts turn to happy childhood memories. We recall the warm glow of the menorah, or waking up early to see the presents under the tree–these memories are indelible. For kids born in the 70s and 80s, these precious moments were captured in pictures that look pre-Instagrammed.

Encourage your audience to share their favorite memories and photos with your brand. Create a branded hashtag you can use on Instagram to collect cool retro holiday photos and the stories that go with them.

#3: Shine Light on a Worthy Cause

One of the most powerful ways your brand can get noticed this season is to turn the spotlight away from the brand. Instead, highlight a charity that your brand can support, and offer a way for your customers to lend their support, too.

British retail chain John Lewis came up with a great way to support a good cause last year. Their annual holiday ad campaign centered on helping lonely senior citizens. On the campaign’s landing page, customers could watch a heartstring-tugging video and donate to the charity.

#4: Focus on What Your Customers Need

This time of year consumers are drowning in a flood of holiday-related advertising. Everything from $500 cell phones to $40,000 cars are positioned as perfect holiday gifts. Every retail outlet is playing some variation of Christmas music non-stop.

It seems brands desperately want to put their customers in a holiday buying mood. But that’s not what customers want. They want ways to deal with stress, or help finding the perfect gift, or a moment of silent reflection. B2B companies want help making their budget for next year, closing out 2016, making sure their customers feel appreciated.

Take some time to think about what special wants and needs your specific audience has this time of year. Better yet, ask a few of them. You could end up creating some powerful, useful content instead of more holiday dazzle. For example, last year on this blog we created an online retailer’s checklist to help our audience.

#5: Sum up the Year

Not every consumer spins a dreidel or stuffs stockings this time of year. But the vast majority do celebrate the New Year. It’s a time to look ahead and to reflect over the past year.

If Christmas carols or Kwanzaa lights don’t suit your brand voice, New Year’s is still a safe bet. Take the opportunity to tell your current and potential customers about your brand’s year. Let them know how the company grew, what you learned, and most importantly how you are planning on treating them even better in 2017.

#6: Highlight What Unites Us

This season is about more than lighting candles and giving gifts. It’s a celebration, as the quote up top reminds us, of being alive, being together, and being halfway out of the dark. Your brand can celebrate these ideals–family, togetherness, love–without committing to a single holiday in particular. Instead of singling out a specific group, you can remind everyone we’re all in the same group. Regardless of race, creed, gender, or political leaning, we can all agree Nick Offerman is a national treasure:

Click here to view the embedded video.

What is your brand doing to make the holidays special for your customers? Let me know in the comments.

Stay tuned for pictures from TopRank Marketing’s upcoming ugly sweater and cookie bake-off events. Sound like fun? We’re hiring.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
6 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Your Social Media Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/holiday-social-media-marketing/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/answering-top-5-questions-people-content-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/answering-top-5-questions-people-content-marketing/#respond Tue, 29 Nov 2016 11:30:23 +0000

We Answer the Top 5 Questions People Have About Content Marketing


As marketers, it’s our job to know our audience. To understand their pain points. To empathize. To provide them with the answers or solutions they’re looking for. So how do we do all these things? One way is through content marketing. Over the past few years, content marketing has been increasingly embraced by marketers. In […]

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top-content-marketing-questions-answered

As marketers, it’s our job to know our audience. To understand their pain points. To empathize. To provide them with the answers or solutions they’re looking for.

So how do we do all these things? One way is through content marketing.

Over the past few years, content marketing has been increasingly embraced by marketers. In fact, this year 88% of B2B marketers and 76% of B2C marketers said they used content marketing, according to the 2016 Benchmark, Budgets & Trends—North America reports from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

But there are still a lot people out there who are searching for some of the content marketing basics.

Our team recently dug into content marketing related keywords and keyword categories, as well as related SERPs and our own data, to identify what people really want to know about content marketing. As a result, we identified five common questions users have about content marketing—and we’ve answered them all below.

Let’s dive in.

#1 – What is Content Marketing?

Simply put, content marketing is a strategic marketing technique that aligns business and consumer information needs with relevant content.

At TopRank Marketing, we believe in an integrated approach to content marketing, using multiple content marketing tactics to help our clients be the best answer for their customers, wherever and whenever they’re searching.


Wherever your customers are looking, be present, useful and “info-taining.” @leeodden
Click To Tweet


From blogging and social media to infographics and eBooks, content marketing is most effective when you employ a variety of tactics to consistently inform, persuade and build rapport with your customers—without trying to sell them something outright.

For a deeper dive into this topic, check out our post What is Content Marketing? Definition, Examples & Resources for Learning More.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) own resource on what content marketing is. Find that resource here.

#2 – What is a Content Marketing Strategy? (And Why Do I Need One?)

A content marketing strategy provides the answers to the why, who and how a content marketing program will help you achieve your business objectives. It’s your infrastructure. Your game plan. Your roadmap.

Without a strategy in place, you’re throwing content out there and hoping it sticks. With a strategy in place, you’re able to plan, produce, promote and measure the effectiveness of your content, and use that information to propel your efforts forward.

Get more on this topic by checking out our post What is a Content Marketing Strategy (And Why Do I Need One?).


“Build an audience first and define products and services second.” @joepulizzi
Click To Tweet


#3 – How Do I Create a Content Marketing Strategy?

Your content marketing strategy is your foundation and it should be uniquely tailored to your brand and audience. Here are some best practices to get you started on creating your content marketing strategy:

  • Identify who your target audience is and their paint points. This will allow you to come up with valuable and relevant content concepts, and address the needs of your audience.
  • Define your objectives. (e.g. more brand awareness, increasing site traffic, increasing conversions, newsletter signups, etc.)
  • Identify the content marketing tactics you plan to use in your strategy. (e.g. blogging, PPC, webinars, social media, etc.)
  • Identify the social channels your plan to use to engage with your audience. Ask yourself: What channels does your audience use the most? What content do they respond to the best?
  • Define how you will measure results. (What metrics and tools will you use to see if what you’re doing is working?)

Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue. @DrewDavisHere
Click To Tweet


Resources

#4 – Why Content Marketing?

In today’s digital world, buyers are self-directed. Research indicates that 71% of B2B buyers get their information online. Content marketing is a way to satisfy your customers’ quest for answers and arm them with the information they need to make decisions. Content marketing also creates signals across the web that build credibility, authority and rapport with your audience, along with many SEO benefits.

In addition, research shows that content marketing is typically more cost-effective than other forms of advertising or marketing, can drive higher conversion rates and increases audience engagement.


If your content marketing is encouraging engagement, that’s a sign of relevance. @JasonMillerCA
Click To Tweet


Resources

#5 – How Do I Do Content Marketing?

Content marketing is not just one tactical technique—it involves using a myriad of techniques within your strategy to drive toward your goals. We call this an integrated content marketing approach. Below are just some of the content marketing tactics that you can use:

  • Blogging
  • Co-creating content with industry influencers and thought leaders
  • eBooks
  • Social media
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters
  • Email marketing
  • Content curation

Writing is thinking. And for us as marketers, good writing is good marketing. @marketingprofs
Click To Tweet


For more information on all of these tactics, as well as more than 20 others, check out our post: Content Marketing – Tactics and Best Practices. Here we offer pros, cons, best practices, industry expert insights, examples and resources for 30 content marketing tactics.

Resources

What other questions do you have about content marketing? Ask them in the comments section below!


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
We Answer the Top 5 Questions People Have About Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post We Answer the Top 5 Questions People Have About Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/answering-top-5-questions-people-content-marketing/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/deals-for-marketers-2016/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/deals-for-marketers-2016/#comments Mon, 28 Nov 2016 11:30:03 +0000

10 Kick-Ass Cyber Monday & Holiday Deals for Digital Marketers


Digital marketers everywhere—especially our friends in the B2C marketing world—have spent the last weeks and months perfecting their marketing strategies for the holiday season. Now that the most wonderful time of the year is officially here, we want to make sure our fellow marketers don’t miss out on deals that can help them perfect their […]

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10-deals-for-digital-marketers

Digital marketers everywhere—especially our friends in the B2C marketing world—have spent the last weeks and months perfecting their marketing strategies for the holiday season. Now that the most wonderful time of the year is officially here, we want to make sure our fellow marketers don’t miss out on deals that can help them perfect their craft.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season, we’ve put together this handy list of Cyber Monday and holiday deals that any marketer would absolutely love to scoop up. From books and conference tickets to free tool trials, you’ll find a variety of great deals.

Digital Advertising

#1- $100 Bing Advertising Credit

Bing Ads Cyber Monday Deal

Depending on your product or business, Bing Ads could be a great way to drive traffic, sales and ROI. If you’re ready to dabble in Bing Ads, the holiday season may be a good time to do it, as the search engine is offering a $100 advertising credit through Jan. 15, 2017.

Get the deal.

Tools, Software & Web Services

# 2 – Free SEMRush Trials (PRO or GURU)

SEMRush Cyber Monday Deal

SEMRush is an incredible tool that can help you conduct SEO and PPC keyword research and track digital marketing efforts, among other things. If you’re thinking about signing on for this tool, now is the time to do it.

Until Nov. 30, 2016, you can get a free one month trial of the PRO plan, which is priced at $69.95 a month. In addition, a free 14-day trial for the GURU plan, priced at $149.95 a month, is also available through Dec. 11, 2016.

Sign up for the PRO deal.

Sign up for the GURU deal.

#3 – 20% of Everything on Yoast.com

Yoast Cyber Monday Deal

Yoast, notably known for its SEO plugins for WordPress, is offering 20% off everything on its website on Cyber Monday.

Browse offerings here.

#4 – Up to 40% Off GetResponse for Life

GetResponse Cyber Monday Deal

GetResponse is an all-in-one online marketing platform that allows you to create and deliver emails, host webinars, and build, publish and host landing pages, as well as marketing automation.

Currently, the software provider is offering 15% off all plans. But there is also a 12- and 24-month pre-pay discount for EMAIL, PRO or MAX that is up to 40%.

Get more details here.

#5 – 50% off Envato Market Website Tools

Envato Market Cyber Monday Deal

Envato Market offers more than 9 million digital products to design and build beautiful websites. On Cyber Monday, the company is offering 50% off of over 500 different items, including web templates and themes, video and stock footage, and graphic templates. The sale will last until 2 p.m. Dec. 1, 2016.

Browse all sale items here.

#6 – Over 60% of BlueHost Plans

Bluehost Cyber Monday Deal

In the market for a new hosting service? BlueHost might be worth your consideration, especially now that they’re offering over 60% off on their web hosting services. The discount applies to the first term and goes to the regular rate upon renewal.

Check out the deal and the different plans available here.

Professional Development

#7 – $520 off Social Media Marketing World Tickets

SMMW Cyber Monday Deal

The next Social Media Marketing World event is set for beautiful, sunny San Diego, CA—and you could get a huge discount on your ticket. The event is offering 100 tickets at $520 discount until Dec. 2, 2016 or until they’re sold out. The normal price of the ticket is $1,597, so you’re getting about a 33% discount.

Register for SMMW here.

Books

There are a number of fantastic and inspiring digital marketing books that any marketer would love this holiday season. Below are a few of our favorites. (And you can bet that Amazon will be a great place to get them for a great deal on Cyber Monday).

#8 – Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

In this book from marketing veteran (and one of TopRank Marketing’s favorite marketers), Ann Handley, you’ll find some inspiration for writing better content and being a sport in the content marketing world.

Find the book on Amazon.

#9 – X: The Experience When Business Meets Design by Brian Solis

Book by Brian Solis

In this book, bestselling author and experienced marketer Brian Solis shares why great products are no longer good enough to win with customers and why creative marketing and delightful customer service too are not enough to succeed.

Find the book on Amazon.

#10 – Optimize by Lee Odden

Optimize book by Lee Odden

If you didn’t know, TopRank Marketing’s very own CEO Lee Odden is also an author. Optimize, his debut book, was designed to give readers a practical approach to integrating search and social media optimization with content marketing to boost relevance, visibility, and customer engagement.

Find the book on Amazon.

What other Cyber Monday and holiday deals have you found for marketers? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
10 Kick-Ass Cyber Monday & Holiday Deals for Digital Marketers | http://www.toprankblog.com

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/deals-for-marketers-2016/feed/ 3 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/online-marketing-news-112516/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/online-marketing-news-112516/#respond Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:30:14 +0000

Online Marketing News: Retail Holiday Social, Instagram Live & Online Shopping Accelerates


holiday-retail-customer-expectations

holiday-retail-customer-expectations

Retailers Will Get 30% More Social Messages This Holiday Season [Report]
What do customers expect from brands this holiday season? 38.8% are looking to brands to spread holiday cheer, followed by 19.5% who are looking for updates on promotions. In addition to looking to brands to help them make purchasing decisions, about 33% of survey respondents said they’re likely to post about a gift on social media. The takeaway? It’s time to spread that holiday cheer on social — before and after the holiday. Sprout Social

[embedded content]

Instagram Launches Live Video on Instagram Stories: Here’s All You Need to Know
As part of the now seemingly ‘official’ war between Facebook and Snapchat, Facebook owned Instagram has released live video on Instagram stories. That’s not all — Instagram also announced the release of disappearing photos and videos from groups and friends. Buffer

Online And Mobile Shopping See Seasonal Acceleration
The holiday season this year will be a big one for online retailers, according to a recent round of predictions. Shoppers are planning their online purchases in advance, and in great numbers — 77% of shoppers plan to avoid physical stores this holiday season. Online retailers, take heed: Release your online holiday promotions early, and make sure your team is prepared. MediaPost

Moz beefs up Moz Local with new features, distribution and automation
Moz local users will be thrilled with this week’s news. Moz has announced some awesome new features of their Local suite, including Google My Business automated sync, listing alerts, reputation monitoring/management, expanded distribution via NavAds and improved SEO metrics. Search Engine Land

LinkedIn Rolls Out Audience Insights
LinkedIn (client) has announced the launch of audience insights on their mobile app, while desktop audience insights are following close behind. SocialTimes reports: “Tapping on the “Me” on users’ content in the LinkedIn mobile app will bring up real-time insights on who has read their posts, what companies they work for, their job titles, their locations and how they discovered users’ content.” SocialTimes

facebook-pages-get-5-billion-messages-per-month

Reap the Benefits of the Most Wonderful Time of the Year All Year Long [Infographic]
The holiday season, as we all know, is the most wonderful time of the year for marketers and consumers alike. Then, along comes January to spoil the fun. But it doesn’t have to. This infographic shows how to keep that holiday cheer — and results — going all year long. Marketo

Facebook launches a unified inbox for businesses on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram
In response to one of their most frequent requests — to combine inboxes to make it easier for brands to reply quickly — Facebook has combined inboxes for Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram to help brands more effectively and efficiently manage their direct messaging. TechCrunch

Mobile Apps Capture Consumer Attention 37 Minutes a Day – Up 20% From the Beginning of 2016
A recent report from Opera Mediaworks found that mobile app use duration is on the rise, even since the beginning of this year. This time is reportedly taken from other viewing activities, like TV programming. This report is packed full of app engagement related information. Opera Mediaworks

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet to @toprank or @Tiffani_Allen, or leave a note in the comments.

The post Online Marketing News: Retail Holiday Social, Instagram Live & Online Shopping Accelerates appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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holiday-retail-customer-expectationsholiday-retail-customer-expectationsRetailers Will Get 30% More Social Messages This Holiday Season [Report]
What do customers expect from brands this holiday season? 38.8% are looking to brands to spread holiday cheer, followed by 19.5% who are looking for updates on promotions. In addition to looking to brands to help them make purchasing decisions, about 33% of survey respondents said they’re likely to post about a gift on social media. The takeaway? It’s time to spread that holiday cheer on social — before and after the holiday. Sprout Social

[embedded content]

Instagram Launches Live Video on Instagram Stories: Here’s All You Need to Know
As part of the now seemingly ‘official’ war between Facebook and Snapchat, Facebook owned Instagram has released live video on Instagram stories. That’s not all — Instagram also announced the release of disappearing photos and videos from groups and friends. Buffer

Online And Mobile Shopping See Seasonal Acceleration
The holiday season this year will be a big one for online retailers, according to a recent round of predictions. Shoppers are planning their online purchases in advance, and in great numbers — 77% of shoppers plan to avoid physical stores this holiday season. Online retailers, take heed: Release your online holiday promotions early, and make sure your team is prepared. MediaPost

Moz beefs up Moz Local with new features, distribution and automation
Moz local users will be thrilled with this week’s news. Moz has announced some awesome new features of their Local suite, including Google My Business automated sync, listing alerts, reputation monitoring/management, expanded distribution via NavAds and improved SEO metrics. Search Engine Land

LinkedIn Rolls Out Audience Insights
LinkedIn (client) has announced the launch of audience insights on their mobile app, while desktop audience insights are following close behind. SocialTimes reports: “Tapping on the “Me” on users’ content in the LinkedIn mobile app will bring up real-time insights on who has read their posts, what companies they work for, their job titles, their locations and how they discovered users’ content.” SocialTimes

facebook-pages-get-5-billion-messages-per-month

Reap the Benefits of the Most Wonderful Time of the Year All Year Long [Infographic]
The holiday season, as we all know, is the most wonderful time of the year for marketers and consumers alike. Then, along comes January to spoil the fun. But it doesn’t have to. This infographic shows how to keep that holiday cheer — and results — going all year long. Marketo

Facebook launches a unified inbox for businesses on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram
In response to one of their most frequent requests — to combine inboxes to make it easier for brands to reply quickly — Facebook has combined inboxes for Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram to help brands more effectively and efficiently manage their direct messaging. TechCrunch

Mobile Apps Capture Consumer Attention 37 Minutes a Day – Up 20% From the Beginning of 2016
A recent report from Opera Mediaworks found that mobile app use duration is on the rise, even since the beginning of this year. This time is reportedly taken from other viewing activities, like TV programming. This report is packed full of app engagement related information. Opera Mediaworks

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet to @toprank or @Tiffani_Allen, or leave a note in the comments.

The post Online Marketing News: Retail Holiday Social, Instagram Live & Online Shopping Accelerates appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/online-marketing-news-112516/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/toprank-marketing-thankful-clients/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/toprank-marketing-thankful-clients/#respond Thu, 24 Nov 2016 11:30:52 +0000

12 Reasons The TopRank Marketing Team is Thankful for Our Clients


Today is Thanksgiving and for many people around the nation, that means gathering with friends and family to give thanks for the things that they have, and the things they’ve learned. This year, our team at TopRank Marketing would like to shine a light on some of our clients and give thanks for the many […]

The post 12 Reasons The TopRank Marketing Team is Thankful for Our Clients appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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toprank-marketing-gives-thanks-clients

Today is Thanksgiving and for many people around the nation, that means gathering with friends and family to give thanks for the things that they have, and the things they’ve learned.

This year, our team at TopRank Marketing would like to shine a light on some of our clients and give thanks for the many ways that they have inspired and guided our team over the years.

We are incredibly honored and thankful to work with such an amazing group of clients. To celebrate these great people, I’ve reached out to some of our team to share what they are thankful for and have learned from our rockstar clients.

Lee Odden – CEO

lee-odden

I am thankful for our clients, who have placed their trust in our agency team to deliver thoughtful, creative and effective marketing programs. Our clients are our partners in success and without them, we have no business.

Our agency has had a great year and more importantly, created the groundwork for even better growth in the years to come. I am very thankful for the teamwork that has helped make our clients successful and the increasing levels of marketing sophistication and passion for learning that exists amongst our group of professionals. I also appreciate that functions like operations and marketing can be effective whether I am meeting with prospective clients in another country or in the next room.

Last, I am also thankful for an agency management team that works as hard and smart as anyone I know. They quickly adapt to changes in ourbusiness and the industry and help their teams do the same, all with a focus on client success!

Alexis Hall – Director of Client Accounts

alexis-hall

I’m consistently impressed with how much our clients know about their current and target customers. The depth of insight that they are able to provide is incredibly useful and allows our team to focus on creating marketing strategies that are tailored specifically for that audience.

Kevin Kotch – SEO Analyst

kevin-kotch

It is hard to say that I’ve learned just one thing from a client that I’m thankful for. In their own way, each client teaches me how to become a better marketer. However, the team at Sisal Rugs did teach me that a pug can be an awesome taco too.

Leila de la Fuente – Account Manager

leila-de-la-fuente

I learned that we shouldn’t be scared to deploy B2C tactics for B2B clients. Behind all businesses are people, it’s all in how you approach it! I’m thankful for a new perspective.

Josh Nite – Content Marketing Lead

joshua-nite

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in general, and Jason Miller in particular, taught me that it was okay to show personality in content. I was timid about adding that flair when I first started, but am a lot bolder about it now.

Amie Krone – Operations Manager

amie-krone

I’m thankful for learning the answer is never ‘no’. If you’re creative, determined and willing to put in effort, there is always another way.

Knute Sands – Content Marketing Manager

knute-sands

I am thankful for our clients who are willing to take risks, trust our team and try innovative marketing tactics. Even “best practices” fail from time to time, which means we are constantly tweaking our tactics to get the best results. Trust is a big part of this process.

Ashley Zeckman – Director of Agency Marketing

ashley-zeckman

I am thankful for clients that put their trust in our team, but expect amazing work in return. Having both our internal leadership team and our client teams constantly raising the bar helps all of us strive to be better each day. Knowing that many of our clients consider us partners instead of just vendors allows us to have the easy and the hard conversations, both of which positively impact our ability to deliver great results!

Julia Ramos – SEO Copywriter

julia-ramos

I’ve learned that integration cannot stop at the agency level. It takes effective communication and collaboration within the agency-client relationship to realize the full potential of both the information we share and the tactics we recommend.

Caitlin Burgess – Content Marketing Lead

caitlin-burgess

I’m thankful that our clients are passionate about what we do together, which has showed me that passion is a key ingredient in maintaining a great agency-client relationship and driving results.

Tiffani Allen – Account Manager

tiffani-allen

I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to disregard conventional wisdom and go for a totally out of the box solution to even a common marketing quandary – especially when it scares you a little bit.

Evan Prokop – Digital Marketing Manager

evan-prokop

I’m thankful to our clients for challenging me to be constantly innovating, learning and evolving. Our clients are from a wide variety of industries, but the commonality is that they all come to TopRank expecting great results, and finding ways to help them get there keeps my days interesting.

Have A Wonderful Holiday!

No matter where you are or what you’re doing, we’d like to wish you a happy thanksgiving. Take this time to love the ones you’re with, appreciate what you have and celebrate what this year has brought.

If there is anyone in your professional life that has inspired you, we’d love to hear more about it in the comments!


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
12 Reasons The TopRank Marketing Team is Thankful for Our Clients | http://www.toprankblog.com

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/toprank-marketing-thankful-clients/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/get-your-content-seen/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/get-your-content-seen/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2016 11:30:51 +0000

Why Most Content Doesn’t Get Social Shares–And How to Get Yours Seen


It’s been a little over a year since Buzzsumo’s Steve Rayson dropped a bombshell on content marketers. After his company analyzed over one million blog posts, it was Steve’s sad duty to inform us that: 75% of posts received zero domain links 50% of posts received 8 shares or less 75% of posts received 39 […]

The post Why Most Content Doesn’t Get Social Shares–And How to Get Yours Seen appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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content-social-shares

It’s been a little over a year since Buzzsumo’s Steve Rayson dropped a bombshell on content marketers. After his company analyzed over one million blog posts, it was Steve’s sad duty to inform us that:

  • 75% of posts received zero domain links
  • 50% of posts received 8 shares or less
  • 75% of posts received 39 shares or less

In other words, that beautiful content we spent so much time crafting? Half of it didn’t attract enough people to fill a baseball roster. Three quarters of it didn’t attract enough people to fill a school bus.

It’s hard to feel good about numbers like that. But you don’t have to feel hopeless and you don’t have to take it lying down. Your audience is out there, waiting for great content to rise above the swelling tides of mediocrity.

Here’s how to create and promote content that will get you out of the ignored 75% and into the top 25.

Great Content Starts with Clairvoyance

How are your personas working for you? More importantly, how did you create them? For a long time, the industry standard was to sit around a table and think really hard about potential customers and what they might be like.

In other words, imagination instead of empathy. Projecting instead of listening. Which results in content being created for fictional characters.

Great content demands a deep understanding of your potential audience that can only come from data. Dig into keyword research. Comb through your support inbox to see what people are asking. Check your competitor’s content to look for holes you can fill. Ask your current customers, potential customers, and the ones that got away.

Social media and technology make it easier than ever to read your customers’ minds. If your content starts with clairvoyance, you’re well on the way to creating something genuinely useful.

Great Content Has a Point of View

Once you have that mind-reading-quality data, use it to write content that is essential. By that I mean it has a manifest reason to exist.

At this point we usually talk about “adding value” and “being useful.” Both of these concepts are great. But odds are there’s already content out there about your specific topic, bringing the same level of value and utility as yours will.

Point of view is the differentiating factor. It’s what you have that every competitor does not.

My brand is uniquely qualified to write this content because…

That’s the sentence you’ll need to finish before you draft the content. The answer should be obvious to your reader before they hit your first subhead:

  • Because everyone else overlooks this critical point
  • Because I, the author, have unique personal experience with this
  • Because the prevailing industry opinion on this is wrong
  • Because doing it this way will save time/money/headaches

Stir up controversy; speak from authority; show a better way. Don’t be shy about it, either. That’s how to create content worth sharing.

Great Content Is Amplified by Great Strategy

Let’s be honest: If it were enough to create essential content based on solid research, the numbers up top would be a lot more favorable. As it is, creating content isn’t even half the battle; it’s more like a quarter of it. The remainder, what turns your content into content marketing, is amplification.

Ideally, your content should come with amplification strategy baked in. It has stats you can pull out to make cool social media images. It has an eye-catching visual to compel a click. It includes influencers who are primed and motivated to share.

And, most importantly, it has some kind of budget behind it for paid promotion. As our friends (and clients) at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions say, “Organic is good. Paid is better.” Think of it this way: Is it better to reach the audience that happens to come by, or better to reach out and grab the exact people who are going to be most interested in your content?

Definitely take all the organic traffic you can get, don’t get me wrong. But don’t rely on it. Use the next-level targeting available on social media to put the content right in front of your best audience.

Great Content’s Impact Is Measured Beyond Social Shares

The points above can help your content earn social shares. The next step is to consider the value your content brings in that can’t be measured in likes, retweets, or re-grams (that’s what shares on Instagram are, right?).

The post that gets 1800 likes but not a single conversion is not your best post. The post that hits Buzzsumo’s average of 39 shares, but gets 20 people to download an eBook? That’s worth celebrating. Don’t judge all content by the top-of-funnel metrics of traffic and shares.

This is especially true for B2B. Think of Volvo’s ad with Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits:

Click here to view the embedded video.

It’s a seriously cool ad. It won awards, justifiably so. It’s a work of art. And it’s sitting at nearly 85 million views.

But Volvo didn’t sell 85 million big rigs from this ad. The better number is 1100: That’s the number of commercial truck owners and buyers who saw the video and said they were more likely to choose Volvo. By the right metric, it was a success. The view count was just gravy.

Ready to Create Better Content? Great!

We marketers produce approximately eleven hojillion pieces of content a year. And that number’s not going to get any saner in the future. It’s on us to create content that rises above mediocrity. Content that arises from intensive buyer research, presents value with a strong point of view, and is strategically amplified to hit the audience it is written to delight. And it’s on us to measure that content’s impact beyond watching numbers go up on a social share counter.

Are you passionate about making content that stands above the rest? TopRank Marketing is hiring.


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Why Most Content Doesn’t Get Social Shares–And How to Get Yours Seen | http://www.toprankblog.com

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/get-your-content-seen/feed/ 5 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/social-media-marketing-campaign/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/social-media-marketing-campaign/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 11:30:23 +0000

7 Tips for Running a Successful Social Media Marketing Campaign


In today’s digital world, social media is a staple tactic within most marketing strategies, with 92% of companies considering social media important for their business. But as a widely adopted tactic, many brands and marketers are finding it more challenging than ever to stand out in news feeds, grow their follower base, and maintain or […]

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social-media-marketing-campaign

In today’s digital world, social media is a staple tactic within most marketing strategies, with 92% of companies considering social media important for their business. But as a widely adopted tactic, many brands and marketers are finding it more challenging than ever to stand out in news feeds, grow their follower base, and maintain or increase engagement. Of course, recent platform tweaks aimed at improving user experience have thrown a wrench into the mix, too.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, it may be time to get more creative and deliberate with your social media marketing strategy. How? By designing and launching a unique social media marketing campaign or contest to liven things up.

Social media campaigns and contests are targeted events or promotions that have a specific focus and goal, and are integrated into your overall social media marketing strategy. For me, some well-known examples that come to mind are the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Dove’s multi-faceted Real Beauty campaign.

So, if you think a social media campaign or contest is a good next step for your marketing efforts, consider some of the following tips to help you find some success.

#1 – Create a detailed campaign strategy.

Taking the time to create and document your campaign strategy will help you think critically about your campaign goals, how you’ll execute tactics, and how you’ll measure success. In addition, your strategy can be used as a handy guide to keep you on track throughout the life of the campaign.

Ask yourself the following questions as you work to create your campaign strategy:

  • Who is my audience? (What motivates them? Are there any pain points I’m trying to address?)
  • What is my campaign objective? (What do I want my target audience to do?)
  • Which social networks are the best fit for this campaign or contest? (Which social platforms are the best match for reaching my audience and my campaign goals?)
  • What tactics will I use to execute my campaign? (Blog content? Video? eBooks? Webinars? Influencers?)
  • Which of my own team members will play a role in this initiative? (Who is responsible for executing each part of the campaign?)
  • How will this campaign fit into my overall social media marketing strategy?
  • How will I measure success? (Website traffic? Engagement metrics? Contact forms? Downloads? Purchases?)

#2 – Offer something of value.

People need a reason to pay attention and participate in your campaign or contest. Discounts and giveaways are certainly powerful motivators.

As an example, TopRank Marketing client Welter Heating, a family-owned HVAC company, put on a social media trivia contest, with the prize being sets of four front row tickets to an upcoming baseball game. The goal was to drive social awareness and engagement, as well as website traffic. Calls for entries were posted on their main social media pages and a small budget was allocated to sponsored Facebook posts.

Ray Welter Heating Contest

In the end, we saw a 166% increase in overall website traffic as compared to the same period the previous year. The contest even generated a couple calls for service.

But it’s important to note that your offer doesn’t have to start and end with a valuable prize. You can also offer value by promoting your participants contributions. For Welter Heating, that meant highlighting winners in a blog post and also sharing images of them enjoying their prize winnings.

Social Media Marketing Contest - Welter Heating

#3 – Research campaign and contest rules.

Each social media platform has unique rules and guidelines for conducting campaigns and contests. Do your homework ahead of time to make sure you know and understand the rules so you don’t face consequences later.

Explore the links below to get started with your research:

#4 – Don’t forget SEO best practices.

All social media platforms contain their own search engines and many of them can be indexed by Google, Bing and other third-party search engines, making SEO an important component of any campaign or contest.

Before launching your campaign, compile a list of targeted keywords, as well as any relevant hashtags, that you’d like to rank for socially. Once you have your list, conduct native query searches for the terms to discover who or what kind of content is coming up in searches. Theses insights can help you refine your keyword list, ensure relevancy, and potentially get a glimpse of the competition.

#5 – Create a campaign or contest landing page on your website.

If one of your objectives is to drive traffic to your website or a specific asset on your website, creating a tailored landing page is a must. A landing page can help assure your audience that they’ve landed where they need to be to take action. It’s also helpful for tracking how your audience is engaging with your campaign content, rather than just sending them to the homepage.

#6 – Actively engage with participants.

The best way to organically boost campaign or contest engagement is to actually engage with your participants. At a bare minimum, every positive engagement should get a like or a favorite out of you. But for maximum impact, make an effort to be real and encourage more conversation. If you do this, there’s a good chance the

Whether you’re tracking comments, mentions or hashtags, use your preferred social media management tool to keep pace with activity so you can quickly respond. If you’re in the market for a new tool, there are several options—both free and for a fee—out there. Some of those options include: Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Sprinklr, Spredfast and Buffer. Choose the one that best matches with your budget, goals and the networks you’re using.

#7 – Repurpose the UGC you receive.

If you’re asking your audience to share photos, stories or feedback, their responses can be great fodder for blog content or additional social promotion.

BeCharming.com, a certified-PANDORA retailer based in Minnesota and a TopRank Marketing client, launched its #BeCharming campaign in the spring. The goal of the campaign is to encourage PANDORA-lovers to share how they express themselves with PANDORA jewelry through photos on Instagram.

Several of the submissions have been featured in related blog posts. One of the most recent stories discusses how PANDORA has helped a mother and daughter honor special memories and grow their bond.

social-media-campaign-pandora-example

The Big Takeaway

Social media campaigns and contests can be an effective way to add some lift to your social media marketing efforts. The big thing to remember is that your campaigns and contests don’t have to be huge productions with a ton of money behind them, but they do need a thoughtful strategy with your audience and their needs at the center.

What social media campaign or contest has really resonated with you? What can other brands and marketers learn from it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Disclosure: Pandora MOA and Welter Heating are TopRank Marketing clients. 


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
7 Tips for Running a Successful Social Media Marketing Campaign | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 7 Tips for Running a Successful Social Media Marketing Campaign appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/social-media-marketing-campaign/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/is-bing-a-thing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/is-bing-a-thing/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 11:30:17 +0000

Is Bing A Thing? The Answer: It Depends


It’s no surprise that Google is the most popular search engine in the world. In fact, according to NetMarketShare, it owns over 75% of the desktop search engine market share and over 94% of mobile/tablet search engine market share.   And it’s stats like these that have SEO and digital marketing professionals everywhere focusing solely […]

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is-bing-a-thing

It’s no surprise that Google is the most popular search engine in the world. In fact, according to NetMarketShare, it owns over 75% of the desktop search engine market share and over 94% of mobile/tablet search engine market share.

Desktop Search Engine Market Share - October 2016

Desktop Search Engine Market Share – October 2016

Mobile/Tablet Search Engine Market Share - October 2016

Mobile/Tablet Search Engine Market Share – October 2016

And it’s stats like these that have SEO and digital marketing professionals everywhere focusing solely on Google, when looking to improve organic search visibility. Why focus on optimizing for Bing, or Yahoo, or AOL, when they take up such a small piece of our search pie?

So when we’re asked the question, “Is Bing a Thing?” we’re quick to dismiss the need for optimization focused on Bing’s ranking algorithm; but the truth is, the answer should be “It depends.”

Understanding Bing’s Role in Your Audience’s Search World

The first place to start is your website analytics.

Just yesterday, we saw our client’s Bing traffic hit an all-time high – now accounting for over 5% of the traffic to their site and over 10% of their revenue. What does this tell us? That visitors that find their site through a Bing search are more likely to convert than those on other sources of traffic. In this case, we may want to consider optimizing the website for Bing, where applicable.

What differences in search algorithms do Bing and Google have? According articles from HubSpot and Ignite Visibility, here are a few:

  • Bing favors factually relevant results over socially relevant sites
  • Bing places more weight on only websites with official domain names like .gov or .edu
  • Bing places more emphasis on social media signals
  • Bing still considers keywords used in page title, meta tags, and meta keyword field

What’s important to realize is that every site’s audience is different, and their search preferences are different too. Take a look at your website’s organic search traffic sources over the past 12 months. If you’re seeing that month-over-month, Bing’s piece of the search pie is increasing, then it’s time to consider taking steps to optimize your site to meet Bing’s ranking factors as well as Google’s.

The Future of Bing

In the first quarter of 2016, the comScore released news of Bing’s growing market share. The data showed that as Bing gained a few points of market share, Google lost a few. Sources like SEOChat and SearchEngineJournal theorized on the possible continued growth of Bing this year, with new contracts and acquisitions in the works to improve capabilities and accessibility.

So, as 2016 comes to a close, do these theories hold up? Comment below to let us know if you’ve experienced a notable change in search engine market share in your own analytics.


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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/is-bing-a-thing/feed/ 2 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/online-marketing-news-111816/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/online-marketing-news-111816/#respond Fri, 18 Nov 2016 11:00:10 +0000

Online Marketing News: ‘Tis Pinterest Season, Self-Serve InMail and Nutella Spreads Happiness


pinterest-holiday-shopping-marketing

pinterest-holiday-shopping-marketing

Holiday Marketing Campaigns: ‘Tis the Season for Pinterest [Infographic]
MarketingProfs reports: “People on Pinterest tend to spend twice as much as the general public, and 67% of them will be using Pinterest to plan for holiday purchases.” Learn more from this holiday spirited infographic from Pinterest. MarketingProfs

[embedded content]

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail goes self-serve
LinkedIn (client) has opened up their Sponsored InMail ad solution to be run through LinkedIn Campaign Manager. Previously, this solution was only available to marketers with an account representative to execute these campaigns. Marketers can now self-service Sponsored InMail, targeting users by location, industry, title, and more. ClickZ

How Nutella’s First Branded Content Series Will Spread Happiness
Nutella is spreading the happiness in their new documentary series ‘Spread the Happy,’ featuring ‘real people and real stories.’ AdWeek reports: “The release of the series is timed to the holiday season. There are four episodes total with a new one released each week on the brand’s YouTube channel.” Is this a new face for content marketing? Time will tell. AdWeek

More Than One-Half of Consumers Prefer Social Customer Service (Report)
According to a recent report, 54% of consumers prefer to access customer service through social media or SMS messaging. This is a continuation of the trend of social-first customer service. As we’ve seen, social connections bring about brand advocacy, with 46.7% of consumers saying that personal responses from brands strengthen their brand loyalty. Social Times

Instagram Stories get better with new features
While Instagram stories were once rumored to be a duplication of Snapchat’s stories, they’ve found a surprising way to differentiate their service. Instagram stories are now allowing links for verified accounts, mentions and Boomerang — their unique video loop. Marketing Land

b2b-marketers-spending-on-programmatic

Google, Facebook Move to Punish Fake News Sites With Ad Rules
Bloomberg reports: “On Monday, Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it’s implementing a new policy that pulls its popular advertising tool from websites that run ‘misrepresentative content’ although it stopped short of banning fake news from its pages. Facebook clarified existing rules that it won’t integrate or display ads in apps or sites that are illegal, misleading or deceptive.” Bloomberg Technology

Google expands AMP, as it presents a friendly face to publishers
Google is expanding AMP — Accelerated Mobile Pages — to include AMP for Ads, extending to native and video ads. Google is reportedly doing this as it’s a tough time for publishers, and the company wants to help secure their financial future through the open web. Data released seems to back up that assertion, as most of the publishers they surveyed, 80% or more, have higher visibility and click through rates. Digiday

Facebook Reports More Measurement Glitches
Ad Age reports that on Wednesday, Facebook “said in a new blog post that it had given marketers and publishers faulty numbers in a few other spots, inflating how many people visited their Pages and how long they spent reading Instant Articles.” Coming out after the platforms’s recent bout with faulty email metrics, this is causing some concern among social advertisers. Ad Age

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back soon with more online marketing news! Have something to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: ‘Tis Pinterest Season, Self-Serve InMail and Nutella Spreads Happiness appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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pinterest-holiday-shopping-marketingpinterest-holiday-shopping-marketingHoliday Marketing Campaigns: ‘Tis the Season for Pinterest [Infographic]
MarketingProfs reports: “People on Pinterest tend to spend twice as much as the general public, and 67% of them will be using Pinterest to plan for holiday purchases.” Learn more from this holiday spirited infographic from Pinterest. MarketingProfs

[embedded content]

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail goes self-serve
LinkedIn (client) has opened up their Sponsored InMail ad solution to be run through LinkedIn Campaign Manager. Previously, this solution was only available to marketers with an account representative to execute these campaigns. Marketers can now self-service Sponsored InMail, targeting users by location, industry, title, and more. ClickZ

How Nutella’s First Branded Content Series Will Spread Happiness
Nutella is spreading the happiness in their new documentary series ‘Spread the Happy,’ featuring ‘real people and real stories.’ AdWeek reports: “The release of the series is timed to the holiday season. There are four episodes total with a new one released each week on the brand’s YouTube channel.” Is this a new face for content marketing? Time will tell. AdWeek

More Than One-Half of Consumers Prefer Social Customer Service (Report)
According to a recent report, 54% of consumers prefer to access customer service through social media or SMS messaging. This is a continuation of the trend of social-first customer service. As we’ve seen, social connections bring about brand advocacy, with 46.7% of consumers saying that personal responses from brands strengthen their brand loyalty. Social Times

Instagram Stories get better with new features
While Instagram stories were once rumored to be a duplication of Snapchat’s stories, they’ve found a surprising way to differentiate their service. Instagram stories are now allowing links for verified accounts, mentions and Boomerang — their unique video loop. Marketing Land

b2b-marketers-spending-on-programmatic

Google, Facebook Move to Punish Fake News Sites With Ad Rules
Bloomberg reports: “On Monday, Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it’s implementing a new policy that pulls its popular advertising tool from websites that run ‘misrepresentative content’ although it stopped short of banning fake news from its pages. Facebook clarified existing rules that it won’t integrate or display ads in apps or sites that are illegal, misleading or deceptive.” Bloomberg Technology

Google expands AMP, as it presents a friendly face to publishers
Google is expanding AMP — Accelerated Mobile Pages — to include AMP for Ads, extending to native and video ads. Google is reportedly doing this as it’s a tough time for publishers, and the company wants to help secure their financial future through the open web. Data released seems to back up that assertion, as most of the publishers they surveyed, 80% or more, have higher visibility and click through rates. Digiday

Facebook Reports More Measurement Glitches
Ad Age reports that on Wednesday, Facebook “said in a new blog post that it had given marketers and publishers faulty numbers in a few other spots, inflating how many people visited their Pages and how long they spent reading Instant Articles.” Coming out after the platforms’s recent bout with faulty email metrics, this is causing some concern among social advertisers. Ad Age

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back soon with more online marketing news! Have something to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: ‘Tis Pinterest Season, Self-Serve InMail and Nutella Spreads Happiness appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/online-marketing-news-111816/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/artificial-intelligence-5-brands/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/artificial-intelligence-5-brands/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 11:30:01 +0000

Artificial Intelligence is Here: 5 Brands Implementing AI


To most people, artificial intelligence (AI) is represented in terms of robots with human-like similarities. Today’s reality is that of AI powering technologies and driving companies to complete tasks and make things easier. Companies are using AI more than ever, even for tasks that you may not consider. To understand how AI impacts your business, […]

The post Artificial Intelligence is Here: 5 Brands Implementing AI appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Artificial Intelligence Marketing

To most people, artificial intelligence (AI) is represented in terms of robots with human-like similarities. Today’s reality is that of AI powering technologies and driving companies to complete tasks and make things easier. Companies are using AI more than ever, even for tasks that you may not consider.

To understand how AI impacts your business, it’s important to understand exactly what artificial intelligence is. According to Merriam Webster artificial intelligence is, “an area of computer science that deals with giving machines the ability to seem like they have human intelligence.” These machines allow technologies to seem like they have a human element while improving the efficiency and consistency of the company.

Below are five companies that leverage an artificial intelligence system to provide a better user experience for each user.

Google – Machine Learning Algorithm

google-ai

As mentioned in a previous post on the impact of artificial intelligence, Google is using artificial intelligence to help their algorithms understand and learn. Google can use AI to make the results more accurate for each user, which provides a better use experience. Google has always been focused on providing the best result for each user.

Besides using artificial intelligence for their algorithms, Google is using the technology for the self-driving cars too. The goal of self-driving cars will be able to analyze the road ahead of it and make decisions in advance by learning from past experiences. The more experiences the self-driving cars encounter the more it can learn to make sure the people riding in the car are protected.

Lastly, like Siri from Apple, Google uses AI to help power its own personal assistant on smartphones. Google will use the technology to learn about certain locations a person typically goes to or eats at. Google also pulls in information from events and emails to show people the information they might want to see as quickly as possible. Google’s personal assistant over time while learn more about the user to help them find the information they are looking for as quickly as possible.

Rare Carat – Kayak of Diamonds

rare-carat-ai

Rare Carat is a website that calls itself the “Kayak of Diamonds.” Rare Carat uses the IBM Watson technology to compare the price of diamonds across various online retailers. The technology allows users to find diamonds at the right price without feeling like they are paying too much if they happened to go to a traditional brick and mortar jeweler. Besides using the technology to find the best diamond, Rare Carat is looking into more AI options that would walk a user through the entire process, much like what you would find in the store. That AI technology would would act like a representative that would answer questions and concerns while someone is making the purchase.

Under Armor – Personal Fitness Advice

under-armor-ai

Under Armor leveraged IBM Watson to create a health-tracking app call “Record.” Record is an app that will track and analyze workouts, sleep data, and nutrition, while also importing data from other fitness tracking apps. The biggest benefit of the fitness-tracking app is the ability to provide personalized recommendations for nutrition and training advice. By using AI, the app will change the way people can seek fitness advice by basically getting a personal trainer experience without going to the gym.

Wayblazer – Language recognition API

wayblazer-ai

Wayblazer, like many other companies, leverages the IBM Watson technology for the travel industry. Wayblazer focuses on the language recognition API to analyze cues and triggers from the traveler’s search to yield personalized hotel recommendations. The AI technology will allow personalized experiences to each user which can lead encourage them to select the right hotel without extensive research.

Spotify – Finding the best music

spotify-ai

Like other music and video streaming services, Spotify uses AI and deep learning to provide recommendations on similar music that users will enjoy. The application monitors the listening preferences and inserts them into a learning algorithm to make the song recommendations. You can see the deep learning being used with the Discover Weekly playlists that show related music based off of preferences. Also, Spotify has been showing suggested songs based on the type of music a user listens to more frequently. This use of AI may not be as advanced as other companies but it still uses predictive analytics and AI algorithms to learn about each user, enhancing the product.

Artificial Intelligence to the Rescue

Artificial intelligence is already pushing companies in the right direction to creating the best user experience. The tools and technologies that are being driven by AI will only increase. Artificial intelligence can help companies become more efficient and create more technologies to help each individual user.

Ask Yourself: Is there an opportunity to leverage AI in your business to help your customers?


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Artificial Intelligence is Here: 5 Brands Implementing AI | http://www.toprankblog.com

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/artificial-intelligence-5-brands/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/brain-training-content-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/brain-training-content-marketing/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2016 11:30:00 +0000

11 Brain-Training Exercises for Your Content Marketing Team


Eventually, even the most creative content marketer feels drained. We start thinking of content in commodity terms: If I fill this many buckets full of words, I will have justified my paycheck for today. We churn out content that adds to the mountain of commodity content, instead of writing engaging copy that flies above it.  […]

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brain-training-exercises-content-marketing

Eventually, even the most creative content marketer feels drained. We start thinking of content in commodity terms: If I fill this many buckets full of words, I will have justified my paycheck for today. We churn out content that adds to the mountain of commodity content, instead of writing engaging copy that flies above it. 

If your content marketing team is exhibiting signs of burnout, it’s time to break out of the routine. Time for exercises that will bump everyone’s brain out of well-traveled grooves, while allowing for some fun as well.

Twice a month at TopRank Marketing, we have company-wide meetings where we learn new things, lift each other up, and play games that spark creative thinking.

(It’s pretty great. Did I mention we’re hiring?)

Here are 11 games that can spark new creativity in your content marketing team. Even if that team is just you.

#1: How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?

This game is about matching your tone to your audience. It uses purposefully bad writing to train good writing habits.

Take a piece of content from your brand—a blog post or social media message—and rewrite it directed at a specific audience. But your task it to be as bad at targeting that audience as possible. Try to make each other laugh. Really pile it on thick. Aim for this level of disconnect:

fellow-kids

Writing copy that is purposefully awful for your target audience is a sneaky way of thinking about the best ways to reach them. Your brain gets the point, while you get to share hilarity with your team.

#2: Buyer’s Journey Storyboard

This game helps content marketers think about the buyer’s journey in a more specific, concrete way. We tend to ponder the hypothetical journey a lot, but this exercise helps ground that thinking and spark creative expression.

Have your team talk about the last time each person made a specific large purchase, like a car or signing an apartment lease. Work together to tell the story of reaching that purchase decision in 6-8 frames of a comic strip or storyboard.

This exercise distils the purchase process down to its essence, from a real-world model, and can help inform all manner of content creation.

#3: Fine Art Headlines

This game has two major functions: To think about using visuals in creative ways, and to think about how headlines inform the perception of a visual.

Take a trip to an art museum (or if that’s not in the budget, use Google Image Search and print out some classic art). Give each person a list of emotions to evoke with headlines that match the image. For example: fear, sadness, happiness, laughter, awwww, outrage…

whistlers_mother_high_res

Black is the New Black: Top Fashion for Mourners

Your team will stretch their creative muscles figuring out how to, say, evoke fear with a headline captioning the Mona Lisa. And they’ll be thinking of more creative ways to use visuals than overly literal stock photos.

#4: Aware Turtles

This game exercises the ability to speak persuasively regardless of the subject. It’s a skill that’s especially important for agencies with diverse clients, but also for marketers who feel stuck with a “boring” solution to market.

Use these random adjective and random noun generators to create two lists of ten. Each person picks a combination of adjective and noun from the lists, and has to market the resulting product to the team.

This game is good for getting laughs while thinking about what makes speech persuasive, and how the product is less important than the narrative marketers can create.

#5: Final Cut

This game helps sharpen awareness of sloppy writing. It helps the team think about how much you can pare down a message while retaining its essence.

Start with a film synopsis from Wikipedia, like this 700-word monstrosity from Batman V Superman. Ask your team to convey the same information in half the word count. Then half of that. Then half of that. See how few words are required to explain the film’s plot.

There is a visceral joy in whittling down someone else’s work that makes this exercise fun, while demonstrating how to write only what is essential.

steve-jobs

*Review of “Jobs” Courtesy Haiku Movie Review

#6: Dead as a Cliché

This game highlights clichés that should be stricken from your team’s copywriting, while encouraging creative thinking to generate more colorful metaphors.

Give your team five minutes to brainstorm as many clichés as they can: Dead as a doornail; quiet as a mouse; sharp as a whip. Then assign each person one of the clichés and have them write as many new ways of communicating the idea as they can. Share each person’s results with the whole team.

Clichés are an enemy of expressive, personable writing. This exercise encourages more creative forms of expression that can better connect with readers.

#7: Headline Variations

This game helps your team think about the power of a headline, and how different headlines strike different tones and appeal to different audiences.

Start with the headline of one of your team’s recent blog posts (or other content). Have everyone suggest ways to rewrite the headline. For example:

  • 11 Brain-Training Exercises for Your Content Marketing Team
  • Train Your Content Marketing Team with these 11 Brainy Exercises
  • 11 Creative Exercises to Train your Team
  • Feeling Less Creative? These 11 Exercises Can Help

Then discuss the different headlines everyone generated. What feelings do each invoke? How do they attract or repel different audiences?

This exercise can help your team write better headlines, naturally. But it also serves to inspire more critical thinking about audience and tone that will more deeply inform content creation.

#8: Reverse Logic

This game helps your team find new buyer’s paths for your customers, which leads to more creative content strategy.

Work with your team to imagine the buyer’s journey for your ideal customer. But don’t start at the top of the funnel, with someone looking to solve a problem. Start with the purchase decision. What was the final thing that motivated the decision? Then take a step back and ask what motivated that decision. Keep going until you get all the way to the top.

Thinking about the process backwards frees your team from your established customer narrative. They may generate new ways to reach existing customers, or even identify a new audience.

#9: Superhero Problem-Solving

This game uses hyperbolic thinking to generate creative ideas to solve your team’s most pressing problems.

For this game, brainstorm a list of problems that is keeping your content marketing from being effective. Identify internal and external problems, from “We’re not properly attributing leads” to “Our customers are burned out on content.” Then generate a list of superheroes—Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Wolverine. Have your team match a superhero with a problem, and tell how the hero would use his or her superpowers to solve it.

astonishing-xmen-15-pretty-wolverine

Wolverine is an amazing problem solver.

Creating these little narratives is a good exercise in storytelling, and helps break out of conventional thinking to address a problem.

#10: Thinking outside the Spoon

This game is an exercise in pure creative thinking, a concrete example of a mindset that can apply throughout a content marketing team’s workday.

Divide your team into groups of 2-3 people. Give each group a common object, like a spoon or a refrigerator magnet. When we played the game, one object was a pink plush unicorn, which inspired much creative thinking. Ask each group to generate a list of all the different purposes the object can be used for that aren’t directly related to its primary purpose. Then have each team share their most creative ideas.

Since we played this game, our team frequently asks, “Is this just using a spoon as a spoon?” It’s become shorthand for “Are we pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, or getting lazy?”

#11: Movie Genre Swap

This game is about how word choice and tone influences the emotion that copy can evoke.

Divide into groups of 2-3. Have each group pick a movie and keep it secret, then write descriptions of the plot in different genres. Have each group present their synopses and let the rest of the team guess the movie.

For example, take The Wizard of Oz:

  • Horror: A bloodthirsty menace drops out of the sky and murders an old woman, then teams up with a living doll, a cyborg, and a man-beast to kill again.
  • Drama: A woman forced to emigrate against her will pines for her homeland against the backdrop of a nation in political upheaval. She must rely on unconventional friends to navigate this strange culture and appease the dictator who can grant her safe passage home.
  • Action: A young woman goes on a quest for justice in a land that never belonged to her. She didn’t start this fight… but she has the heart, brains, and nerve to finish it.

This exercise is great for brain-stretching, as it requires completely altering the mood of a story while still keeping all the recognizable elements.

Exercise Your Creativity

In the words of Jay Acunzo, “Our jobs are not to be creative. Our jobs are to create.” Creativity is less some elusive state of mind and more a muscle that needs to be exercised to get stronger. These games can help get your team’s creative minds out of a slump, off of the metaphorical couch, and out on the jogging trail.

How do you exercise your team’s creativity? Let me know in the comments.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
11 Brain-Training Exercises for Your Content Marketing Team | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 11 Brain-Training Exercises for Your Content Marketing Team appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/brain-training-content-marketing/feed/ 4 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/buffer-state-of-social-2016-report/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/buffer-state-of-social-2016-report/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 11:30:25 +0000

5 Interesting Insights from Buffer’s The State of Social 2016 Report


buffer-the-state-of-social-2016

buffer-the-state-of-social-2016

What does the social media landscape look like in 2017? What networks are going to help me drive awareness, conversation and conversions? What types of content will have the most impact on my audience? Is Snapchat a good investment?

As we near the end of 2016, these are likely just a few of the questions being asked by marketers everywhere. While I’d love to say there’s a magical crystal ball with all the answers out there, we all know that nothing is permanent or sure-fire when it comes to social media. But we do have some data and insights that can help.

In it’s The State of Social 2016 report, Buffer surveyed more than 1,200 B2B and B2C marketers to better understand how they’re currently using social media and where they plan to go in 2017. Those who participated work for companies of all sizes and across a variety of industries.

Below we offer a few key takeaways from the report as well as some tips for using those insights to guide your social media marketing efforts in the coming year.

#1 – Now is the time to invest in video.

Humans are highly visual beings, so it’s certainly no surprise that online video content is becoming a favorite source of information and entertainment across the digital landscape. As a result, marketers want to create more video content, but they often don’t have the time, resources or cash to do so. In fact, according to Buffer’s report 83% of marketers said they’d create more video if they didn’t have resource limitations. In addition, 30% said they would like to focus more on Facebook video in 2017.

With that said, now may be to the time to determine if video is right for your brand and audience, and aligns with your overall business goals, particularly when it comes to Facebook.

“Right now, video is hot and is standing out in the Facebook News Feed. But that won’t always be the way,” Buffer said. “As video creeps up in popularity and more and more brands and individuals are sharing it, it’ll be harder to get noticed. Eventually, brands may have to pay for video reach, just as many do already for sponsored posts and ads.”

As for the content of your videos, some options to consider are customer or client testimonials, product demos or how-to videos. At TopRank Marketing, each week we create an industry news roundup post that features a video of our team members discussing the latest happenings. Below is a recent example.

Check out these resources for more video ideas:

#2 – Facebook is still a leading social platform for marketers.

Despite Facebook’s changes to its News Feed algorithm to favor content from users’ friends and family, and a general decline in organic visibility, marketers are not abandoning the platform. According to Buffer’s report, 93% of marketers still use Facebook for their business and 91% have dabbled with Facebook ads.

Whether you’re relying only on organic reach or paying to play, you need to find a way to get your content to stand out. A great first step is digging into your website analytics and Facebook Insights to uncover the types of posts that are really resonating with your audience. Look at the kinds of posts that are driving the most traffic to your website, as well as those that are garnering the most engagement on your page. Use that information to tweak your content plan, as well as your messaging.

Check out these resources to help boost your Facebook efforts:

#3 – Google+ is losing steam.

According to the report, marketers are beginning to abandon Google+, with 27% saying they’ll be using it less in 2017. For many of us, this may not be that surprising. While it showed a ton of promise when it launched five or so years ago, some of us have found it’s hard to get the engagement and ROI necessary to justify the efforts.

So, if you’re planning on jumping ship and putting your efforts elsewhere in 2017, you certainly won’t be alone. But, don’t let this statistic make the decision for you. Google+ still may be worth your time and effort. Read Buffer’s 5 Surprising Reasons To Reconsider Google+ (That You Can Act On Today) before you pull the plug.

#4 – Social media can be a powerful customer support tool.

Social media is an amazing tool for building brand awareness and encouraging engagement, but most aren’t harnessing the power it has as a customer service and support tool. According to Buffer’s report, just 21% of respondents said customer support was a reason for using social media.

The bottom line? Using social media to provide customer service is a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors, engage in meaningful interactions and grow the one-on-one relationships with your customers.

But, from my perspective, the caveat here is that you’ll have to be prepared for public displays of negative feedback. As I wrote in another recent TopRank Marketing post:

“Every brand and business dreams of complete customer satisfaction, but that’s rarely the case. Things happen and social media is often an easy place for your customers to air their grievances. While it can be scary to allow mistakes to be visible for the whole social media world to see, use any negative feedback as an opportunity to show humility, understanding and your drive to take care of your customers.”

#5 – The struggle to drive website traffic, generate leads and measure ROI on social is real.

Many marketers are struggling to inspire measurable action from their social media audiences. According to the report, 58% of marketers say driving traffic to their website is one of their biggest challenges, followed by lead generation (49%) and defining ROI and measurement (42%).

How do you overcome these challenges? First of all, make sure you have a detailed and documented social media marketing strategy. A documented strategy will help you plan and execute your efforts, and provides a foundation that can be refined as you analyze the data coming in.

Check out these posts to get more insights on social media strategy and inspiring audience action:

Read the full The State of Social 2016 report.

What something you’ll be adding or dropping from your social media marketing strategy in 2017? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post 5 Interesting Insights from Buffer’s The State of Social 2016 Report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

]]>

buffer-the-state-of-social-2016buffer-the-state-of-social-2016What does the social media landscape look like in 2017? What networks are going to help me drive awareness, conversation and conversions? What types of content will have the most impact on my audience? Is Snapchat a good investment?

As we near the end of 2016, these are likely just a few of the questions being asked by marketers everywhere. While I’d love to say there’s a magical crystal ball with all the answers out there, we all know that nothing is permanent or sure-fire when it comes to social media. But we do have some data and insights that can help.

In it’s The State of Social 2016 report, Buffer surveyed more than 1,200 B2B and B2C marketers to better understand how they’re currently using social media and where they plan to go in 2017. Those who participated work for companies of all sizes and across a variety of industries.

Below we offer a few key takeaways from the report as well as some tips for using those insights to guide your social media marketing efforts in the coming year.

#1 – Now is the time to invest in video.

Humans are highly visual beings, so it’s certainly no surprise that online video content is becoming a favorite source of information and entertainment across the digital landscape. As a result, marketers want to create more video content, but they often don’t have the time, resources or cash to do so. In fact, according to Buffer’s report 83% of marketers said they’d create more video if they didn’t have resource limitations. In addition, 30% said they would like to focus more on Facebook video in 2017.

With that said, now may be to the time to determine if video is right for your brand and audience, and aligns with your overall business goals, particularly when it comes to Facebook.

“Right now, video is hot and is standing out in the Facebook News Feed. But that won’t always be the way,” Buffer said. “As video creeps up in popularity and more and more brands and individuals are sharing it, it’ll be harder to get noticed. Eventually, brands may have to pay for video reach, just as many do already for sponsored posts and ads.”

As for the content of your videos, some options to consider are customer or client testimonials, product demos or how-to videos. At TopRank Marketing, each week we create an industry news roundup post that features a video of our team members discussing the latest happenings. Below is a recent example.

Check out these resources for more video ideas:

#2 – Facebook is still a leading social platform for marketers.

Despite Facebook’s changes to its News Feed algorithm to favor content from users’ friends and family, and a general decline in organic visibility, marketers are not abandoning the platform. According to Buffer’s report, 93% of marketers still use Facebook for their business and 91% have dabbled with Facebook ads.

Whether you’re relying only on organic reach or paying to play, you need to find a way to get your content to stand out. A great first step is digging into your website analytics and Facebook Insights to uncover the types of posts that are really resonating with your audience. Look at the kinds of posts that are driving the most traffic to your website, as well as those that are garnering the most engagement on your page. Use that information to tweak your content plan, as well as your messaging.

Check out these resources to help boost your Facebook efforts:

#3 – Google+ is losing steam.

According to the report, marketers are beginning to abandon Google+, with 27% saying they’ll be using it less in 2017. For many of us, this may not be that surprising. While it showed a ton of promise when it launched five or so years ago, some of us have found it’s hard to get the engagement and ROI necessary to justify the efforts.

So, if you’re planning on jumping ship and putting your efforts elsewhere in 2017, you certainly won’t be alone. But, don’t let this statistic make the decision for you. Google+ still may be worth your time and effort. Read Buffer’s 5 Surprising Reasons To Reconsider Google+ (That You Can Act On Today) before you pull the plug.

#4 – Social media can be a powerful customer support tool.

Social media is an amazing tool for building brand awareness and encouraging engagement, but most aren’t harnessing the power it has as a customer service and support tool. According to Buffer’s report, just 21% of respondents said customer support was a reason for using social media.

The bottom line? Using social media to provide customer service is a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors, engage in meaningful interactions and grow the one-on-one relationships with your customers.

But, from my perspective, the caveat here is that you’ll have to be prepared for public displays of negative feedback. As I wrote in another recent TopRank Marketing post:

“Every brand and business dreams of complete customer satisfaction, but that’s rarely the case. Things happen and social media is often an easy place for your customers to air their grievances. While it can be scary to allow mistakes to be visible for the whole social media world to see, use any negative feedback as an opportunity to show humility, understanding and your drive to take care of your customers.”

#5 – The struggle to drive website traffic, generate leads and measure ROI on social is real.

Many marketers are struggling to inspire measurable action from their social media audiences. According to the report, 58% of marketers say driving traffic to their website is one of their biggest challenges, followed by lead generation (49%) and defining ROI and measurement (42%).

How do you overcome these challenges? First of all, make sure you have a detailed and documented social media marketing strategy. A documented strategy will help you plan and execute your efforts, and provides a foundation that can be refined as you analyze the data coming in.

Check out these posts to get more insights on social media strategy and inspiring audience action:
Read the full The State of Social 2016 report.

What something you’ll be adding or dropping from your social media marketing strategy in 2017? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post 5 Interesting Insights from Buffer’s The State of Social 2016 Report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/buffer-state-of-social-2016-report/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/50-influential-women-digital-marketing-stars/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/50-influential-women-digital-marketing-stars/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2016 11:30:09 +0000

50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising Stars


Having people that we can look to for guidance and inspiration is an incredibly important part of our professional development. In this post, I would like to shine a light on some incredibly talented and inspirational women that are making moves and serving as a shining examples for other digital marketers. To create this list of […]

The post 50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising Stars appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

]]>

50-influential-women-digital-marketing-2016

Having people that we can look to for guidance and inspiration is an incredibly important part of our professional development. In this post, I would like to shine a light on some incredibly talented and inspirational women that are making moves and serving as a shining examples for other digital marketers.

To create this list of inspirational women in digital marketing, we pulled 25 of the top brand marketers from our list last year (our North Stars), and asked each of them to nominate someone (our Rising Stars) that they thought were deserving of having a light shone on their awesome work.

In addition to featuring insights about these savvy digital marketers, we asked each of our North Stars to share their inspiration for their own work, and asked what inspired them about their Rising Star nominations.

The list is in no particular order as each of these women is number 1 in their own right. Please join me in congratulating each of these exceptional women for the work that they do.

Amanda Batista
amanda-batista-north-star

Senior Manager, Demand Gen Programs, Oracle
@AmandaF_Batista

Bio: Amanda’s background as a content marketing practitioner supports Oracle Marketing Cloud’s demand gen initiatives specific to driving engagement with the media/adtech persona. Amanda works collaboratively with content, product, and other marketing teams to develop Oracle Marketing Cloud’s global integrated demand strategies, and to support emerging markets.

Amanda’s Inspiration: I feel privileged to work in the marketing technology space during an exciting time of innovation and collaboration. The Oracle Marketing Cloud is a continually evolving organization focused on fueling the best in Modern Marketing practice. The nature of the work environment fosters learning through collaborative planning and execution, and provides great opportunities to interface with and apply the latest innovations in technology. Personally I am motivated and inspired by my daughter, Estelle, to whom I wish to convey the same encouragement and drive that my mother did for me – to chase exciting opportunities that help you facilitate living the life you love.

Amanda Maksymiw
amanda-maksymiw-rising-star

Content Marketing Director, Fuze
@amandamaks

Why Amanda is a Rising Star: Amanda has done incredibly creative and successful work over the many years we’ve known each other. In each role she’d held, and in her current role, she focuses on creating audience-first content and messaging that fuels a successful marketing engine. Amanda is smart, tenacious, and aims to expand her marketing horizons with professional and personal growth opportunities. I admire her work and her professional spirit!

Laura Fitton
laura-fitton-north-star

Inbound Marketing Evangelist, HubSpot
@Pistachio

Bio: Laura is not only well accomplished, but she has a warm and engaging presence. She founded the first Twitter for Business consultancy in 2008 and is highly sought after for speaking on the topic of social media and Twitter specifically.

Laura’s Inspiration: Since a huge portion of my time is spent working on our annual industry event INBOUND, I have to say the looks on the faces of guests as they move around the BCEC for four days every year. Watching nearly 18,000 people come together and have their minds blown wide open is incredibly powerful and motivating.

Juliana Nicholson
juliana-nicholson-rising-star

Marketing Manager, HubSpot
@jb_nicholson

Why Juliana is a Rising Star: HubSpot’s blessed with an abundance of up and coming marketing talent, but Juliana has really blown me away this year in three ways. Her raw diligence (she’s one of the hardest working marketers I know), her versatility, and her powerhouse stage presence mean she’s already punching above her weight class, and I can’t wait to follow her career as it continues.

Suzanne Doughty
suzanne-doughty-north-star

Social Media Program Manager, Dell
@suzanne_doughty

Bio: Suzanne  takes an in-depth, hands-on approach to global social business strategy. She has experience in digital marketing, social media, content strategy and marketing communications.

Suzanne’s Inspiration: Think of any time you’ve been your best self at work – it’s always to meet a new challenge or solve an interesting problem. A huge challenge this year in our company was integrating Dell and EMC into a cohesive whole, without missing a beat, and without losing our main focus, which is people – customers, partners, team members. So it’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone, in both big ways and small, and working towards a common goal, with both new and familiar people.

Amy Heiss
amy-heiss-rising-star

Director of Social Media Activation , Dell
@AmyHatDell

Why Amy is a Rising Star: Amy leads a team that is the social heartbeat of Dell. Her award-winning Social Media and Communities University team trains thousands of team members on social media best practices. That’s huge but it’s only step 1. Her team then empowers employees to be savvy advocates with tools, news and info, and continuing ed to keep the social engine running smoothly. Bottom line: If you see a Dell team member adding value in the world of social, you can trace those roots back to Amy and her team.

Jeannine Rossignol
jeannine-rossignol-north-star

Vice President, Marketing for Xerox HR Services, Xerox Services
@j9rossignol

Bio: Jeannine has spent nearly 20 years of her career at Xerox. She worked her way up from Manager, Product Marketing to the Vice President of Marketing for Large Enterprise Organizations. She is also a highly sought after speaker on the topic of content marketing.

Jeannine’s Inspiration: To say that I love my work as a marketer is an understatement.  The transition we’ve been making as marketers over the past few years has been exciting to be a part of, especially in the B2B space. We’ve stopped talking to corporations, and started talking to people (decision makers) about the things they value most. And it’s amazing! I’m also lucky to have amazing co-workers, partners and peers surrounding me that I’m able to draw inspiration from and learn from. We aren’t in the marketing world alone and for that I’m grateful.

Becky Dziedzic
becky-dziedic-rising-tar

Internal and Executive Communications Director, Xerox
@bdziedzic

Why Becky is a Rising Star: Becky simply lights up any room she enters. Her energy, humor and marketing fearlessness is so refreshing. It’s nearly impossible to leave a meeting with Becky without a smile on your face and a handful of fresh new ideas. She’s an incredibly talented communicator, gifted writer and authentic storyteller. Her mind is always firing on all cylinders and she finds creative and innovative ways to implement campaigns using the latest marketing trends. She helps others look good and sound good. The time has come for her to get a little of the marketing limelight and receive recognition for her amazing dedication and support to all around her.

Alex Hisaka
alex-hisaka-north-star

Head of Content Marketing, LinkedIn
@alexhisaka

Bio: Alex’s passion for copywriting has offered here many experiences from PayPal to Salesforce, and now her current position at LinkedIn. Throughout her career, Alex has developed a unique skill set that encompasses content marketing, copywriting, design, SEO and social marketing.

Alex’s Inspiration: I’m grateful to work a company with so many brilliant, collaborative, and kind people. Their support and leadership have shaped the person that I am today and the person I aspire to be tomorrow.”

Vidya Subramanian
vidya-subramanian-rising-star

Head of North American Demand Generation, Sales Solutions, LinkedIn
Find Vidya on LinkedIn

Why Vidya is a Rising Star: I can’t imagine where our demand generation team would be without Vidya’s diligent leadership over the past years. Her passion, drive and expertise have been invaluable, and I’m honored to work alongside such an amazing woman.

Melanie Mitchell
melanie-mitchell-north-star

RVP/Head of Central Region, Strategic Search, Microsoft
@MelanieMitchell

Bio: Melanie is a sought-after public speaker who has presented at search and public relations conferences around the world. In addition to her leadership role at Microsoft, she authored a popular series of eBooks on marketing and SEO on FT Press.

Melanie’s Inspiration:  My motivation and inspiration is a formula made up of three things:

  •       People (brainstorming, creativity, diversity, learning, developing)
  •       Mastery (continuous growth, stretch goals), and
  •       Purpose (serving a greater vision)

I have followed this formula in every role of my career as it continuously motivates me to achieve even greater goals for myself as well as my teams.

Emily Hutchinson
emly-hutchinson-rising-star

Sr. Manager, Paid Media, DeVry University
Find Emily on LinkedIn

What Emily is a Rising Star: I am impressed by Emily’s ability to always find the “yes” in the “no”, her drive to constantly learn in our ever changing industry, her ability to build relationships/connect with people and her unstoppable motivation to drive towards outcomes. I know when she is given a target, she will crush it. Additionally, her passion for digital is infectious as she knows how to tell a great story that connects all of the dots along the cross-platform path to purchase. Not only is she impressive in her results, but she is a pleasure to be around!

Alison Herzog
alison-herzog-north-star

Marketing Director, Global Social Business & Digital Strategy, Dell
@alisonjherzog

Bio: Alison’s focus at Dell is on creating customer experiences that are mapped to business impact, scalability and innovation. Currently, she is leading the social business integration between Dell and EMC (the largest tech deal in history).

Alison’s Inspiration: People are amazing. They are simple and complex creatures all at the same time. In digital, I get to leverage my focus and strengths around people and numbers so that at the end of the day, our customers get what they need and feel valued, and simultaneously the business grows in key performance areas. It never gets boring because it’s constantly evolving, just like people and technology.

Lucy Moran
lucy-moran-rising-star

Vice President, Content & Demand Generation, Dun & Bradstreet
@lucymoran

Why Lucy is a Rising Star: Lucy deep dives into whatever problem is presented and always comes out on the other side, having transformed that space into an strength. She is phenom in digital when it comes to branding, lead gen, and content marketing.

Amber Naslund
amber-naslund-north-star

Senior Vice President of Client Strategy, Sysomos
@AmberCadabra

Bio: Amber’s 15+ years of professional expertise makes her a force to be reckoned with. She has successfully run multimillion-dollar fundraising campaigns, built and led executive communication and professional services teams, and launched and grown international brands.

Amber’s Inspiration: The “lightbulb moments” when companies move from grappling with digital transformation to embracing it, and you start to see huge strides made in everything from company culture to innovation and ideation to more traditional marketing once digital takes a prominent seat at the table. Teaching and inspiring people to push beyond their comfort zone and realize success from it never, ever gets old.

Kary Delaria
kary-delaria-rising-star

Social Media Manager, Allianz Life
@KaryD

Why Kary is a Rising Star: Kary isn’t so much a “rising star”, she’s more what I’d call an unsung industry veteran who never seems to be in the spotlight but is always doing really great work for her company in a traditionally challenging industry (financial services).

Amanda Brinkman
amanda-brinkman-north-star

Chief Brand & Communications Officer, Deluxe
@AKBrinkman

Bio: Amanda is a veteran in the industry with a gift for the “big idea” that can turn a brand around. In 2015, Amanda and her team launched the “Small Business Revolution” campaign for Deluxe, using documentary film and photosets to document small businesses across the country and raise awareness of Deluxe’s small business offerings.

Amanda’s Inspiration: I am so inspired by my team and how important passion is to your work. What started as just an idea became a reality only because of the league of people who rallied around me and made it possible with their own touches of expertise. I am also moved that we, as marketers, can do work that truly matters and can help real people. I believe all brands are possible of finding a true purpose and using digital platforms to organically spread good through positive and inspiring movements.

Jamie Millard
jamie-millard-rising-star

Executive Director, Pollen
@jjmillard

Why Jamie is a Rising Star: Jamie is a force…Pollen was founded in a belief that every connection begins with a story, and the platform centers around featuring the remarkable stories that make up a community through media-rich, nonfiction narrative.

Laura Howe (Kimball)
laura-howe-kimball-north-star

Manager, Reduced Risk Products Communities Development, Philip Morris International
@lamiki

Bio: Laura is passionate about online communities and has over 10 years of experience creating consumer advocacy programs and social media campaigns. She works hard to turn fans into advocates, and lift brands through the voices and actions of their most passionate consumers.

Laura’s Inspiration: I have the rare opportunity to be the direct connection between the consumer and the brand/company I work for. I get to have real-time conversations and discover their deeply personal relationship that they have with the product. Understanding what motivates them inspires me to create programs that benefit both the community and the brand.

Madeline Moy
madeline-moy-rising-star

Senior Community Manager, Starbucks
@madelinemoy

Why Madeline is a Rising Star: Madeline is one of the smartest digital brand marketers I know. Her work is dedicated to creatively engaging audiences through digital and is grounded in creating human connection and community. Prior to her work at Starbucks, she built and ran digital marketing programs for the Microsoft stores, Seattle Art Museum, and built the social media program at United Way of King County. She lives and breathes digital and is someone who everyone should know.  

Lisa Grimm
lisa-grimm-north-star

Associate Director, Social Media, Whole Foods Market
@lulugrimm

Bio: Lisa is an integrated marketing communications leader with a passion for building relationships between brands and customers through the combination of technology and communications. She has many specialities including digital strategy, social media strategy and community management.

Lisa’s Inspiration: I started my career in the service industry and have always thrived on creating an optimal customer experience. I love social because there’s a fluid feedback loop—it presents new and emerging ways to connect with people to deliver a superior experience. I can see where and how I should communicate upfront by listening to a group of people, and how that needs to evolve along the way based on emotional responses. This provides endless inspiration for what’s next.

Kaitlyn Cox
kaitlyn-cox-rising-star

Manager, it bed Activation, Sleep Number by Select Comfort
@kaitcox

Why Kaitlyn is a Rising Star:  I met Kaitlyn through an informational interview six years ago while I was at Mall of America. I was so impressed by her curiosity and smarts that I suggested to a colleague that she consider her for a PR internship. She did in fact become our intern, absolutely KILLED IT and has since gone on to crush everything she does. Kaitlyn looks at things holistically and is highly collaborative. She begins solving any marketing challenge by asking the right questions, culling insights and aligning those to a strategy and creative solve. She is lovely and I’m so grateful to know this incredible woman.

Lauren Vargas
lauren-vargas-north-star

Chief Marketing Technologist, Aetna
@vargasl

Bio: Lauren was recently named one of the top 25 social business leaders by The Economist Intelligence Unit. In addition to leading social media and community development for Aetna, she serves as an assistant teacher at Harvard, helping foster online student communities.

Lauren’s Inspiration: I am never satisfied. While this can definitely be a weakness, I prefer to think it a strength. If I do not know something, I stop at nothing to research or surround myself with people who have answers or insights to share. Looking for new ways to communicate old ideas for fresh execution drives me to get up each morning and begin again.

Shelley Bernstein
shelley-bernstein-rising-stars

Chief Experience Officer, The Barnes Foundation
@shell7

Why Shelley is a Rising Star: I have followed Shelley as she forged a path for digital marketing exploration for cultural institutions beginning at The Brooklyn Museum. Shelley does not wait for others to lead. She pushes the boundaries of what is technically and cultural possible without breaking the spirit of either.

Shannon Paul
shannon-paul-north-star

Vice President, Social Media, Fifth Third Bank
@ShannonPaul

Bio: Shannon has over 7 years of experience leading social media marketing strategies for highly regulated industries. Her experience encompasses both B2B and B2C strategy, content marketing, web analytics and more.

Shannon’s Inspiration: I have a great team that helps me stay motivated and inspired. I think the banking industry is a really exciting place to be as well in terms of the pace of change that technology is having on the industry and the ability to have a positive impact on how people think about and manage their money. I also really love to learn new things, and since social is a place that continues to evolve, there is always an opportunity to grow and adapt to change.

Julie Niesen Gosdin
julie-niesen-godsin-rising-star

Vertical Content Marketing Leader, Zebra Technologies
@juliegosdin

Why Julie is a Rising Star: I met Julie shortly after relocating to Cincinnati where she and I both live. She’s a true expert in digital marketing and storytelling on several fronts. She knows her stuff from a technology trend perspective, and she continues to contribute to the local food scene through her writing on local news site WCPO and winemedinemecincinnati.com.

Kate (Dickman) Porter
kate-porter-north-star

Senior Social Media Program Manager, Office Depot
@KateMPorter

Bio: Kate saw the Internet’s potential for marketing early on, creating her first digital marketing business from her dorm room in college. She is a firm believer in the power of social media to connect consumers to brands.

Kate’s Inspiration: What inspires me and motivates me is the fact that the work that I do is always evolving and never gets stale.  The ability to continuously learn is existent and there’s never a shortage of fantastically smart people to partner with and learn from.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of an industry that is always keeping me on my toes.

Kara Hendrick
kara-hendrick-rising-star

Digital Marketing Manager, Velcro Companies
@KaraTweets

Why Kara is a Rising Star: Kara is super smart, witty and creative.  I’ve really enjoyed hearing her thoughts and ideas on digital marketing and think she’s a force to be reckoned with.  She’s absolutely a rising star in digital and I’m excited to see all of the future initiatives and successes she’ll be a part of.

Corinne Kovalsky
corinne-kovalsky-north-star

Vice President, Global Public Relations, Raytheon
@kovalskyc

Bio: Corinne won a 2015 Bronze Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America for her work with Raytheon. She is a trusted advisor to Raytheon’s senior executives, and works to build relationships with stakeholders through proactive media and public relations, and content marketing.

Corinne’s Inspiration: I have the opportunity to lead a great team and mentor a number of young professionals who will help redefine communications during their careers. I work with really smart people and get to hone my craft on a daily basis. I have the opportunity to learn from executives who believe in the value of communications as a business differentiator, whether they are inside or outside of the function.

Stephanie Schierholz
stephanie-s-rising-star

Press Secretary, NASA
@schierholz

Why Stephanie’s a Rising Star: At the moment, Stephanie is on a special assignment serving as press secretary to the NASA Administrator. Stephanie is an authentic and passionate advocate for space on all of her social channels. She has built a tremendous network, that she continues to nurture, from her earlier role as social media manager for NASA. I got to know Stephanie when she worked for me at Raytheon. Her creativity and steadfast commitment led to a number of firsts for our brand, particularly on Twitter.

LaSandra Brill
lasandra-brill-north-star

Head of Digital Planning and Analytics, NVIDIA
@LaSandraBrill

Bio: LaSandra’s experience includes delivering digital marketing plans for both paid and organic tactics. She is known for delivering one of the top social media strategies in Cisco’s history in her time as the head of Social Media Marketing.

LaSandra’s Inspiration: As far as what motivates me, I love digital marketing because of all of the new capabilities that the data driven world enables. We can personalize our conversations to be more relevant and timely than ever before. The possibilities seem endless and the ability to perfect the right message to the right person at the right time is exciting to strive for in every campaign.  

Anthea S. Louie
anthea-louie-rising-star

Sr. Director, Digital Business & Marketing Leader, Symantec
Find Anthea on LinkedIn

Why Anthea is a Rising Star: Anthea runs the Digital Business for the Website Security business unit at Symantec. This is largely an online business and Anthea manages a team of nearly 100 people analyzing data and making data driven decisions in digital to drive the business forward.

Barbara Young
barbara-young-north-star

Senior Manager, Global Paid Search Advertising, Oracle
@b_young

Bio: Barbara discovered the importance of online marketing when she built her own business, expanding her knowledge until she assumed a leadership role at Oracle. She brings considerable technological knowhow to inbound marketing, leading a team of content specialists, developers, and programmers to get results.

Barbara’s Inspiration: As a Digital marketer I have a genuine curiosity to learn about the behavior of customers. I am driven to use both technology and creativity to help connect & engage customers to achieve their goals.

Katie Russ
katie-russ-rising-star

Digital Marketing Manager, Pacifica Host Hotels
@katiemruss

Why Katie is a Rising Star: Katie is a young Marketing professional, organized, detailed, and her personality makes working with her so much fun. Her desire to contribute in ways that make things happen is what makes her successful.

Courtney Colwell
courtney-colwell-north-star

Director of Content Marketing , American Express
@courtneycolwell

Bio: Courtney works hard to help brands build and engage with their audiences across many formats, channels and industries. Her expertise lies in her ability to translate a brand mission, audience needs and business goals into compelling content that drives results.

Courtney’s Inspiration: What I love about content marketing is that I get to exercise both sides of my brain. I get to be creative and tell stories but also dig into analytics to determine what’s working and what’s not. Plus, there’s so much change and innovation, I’m constantly inspired.

Lindsay Mueller
lindsay-mueller-rising-star

Senior Wellness Editor, Mind Body Green
@wellaware_

Why Lindsay is a Rising Star: Lindsay is a talented editor and content marketer who really takes a customer-first approach in thinking about creating content people actually want.

Jennifer Heyman
jennifer-heyman-north-star

Vice President, Digital & Social Media, Wells Fargo
@jheyman

Bio: A seasoned Gen X’er, Jennifer Heyman is in her fourth year as VP of Wells Fargo leading the social media conversation across seven platforms. She leads a global team and marvels constantly at how fans and consumers are changing the landscape of personalized and real –time communication with today’s brands.

Jennifer’s Inspiration: I  thrive on the vibrancy of connection and how unique perspectives communicated through omni channel, real time marketing, are shaping the brand approach to serving their customers. I draw inspiration from the very local interactions with customers and consumers and spend most of my time delving into social media conversations to learn about fans personal passions and pain points. These insights help me to innovative in my work and to guide my team to deliver personalized and heartfelt social media conversation.

Aneta Hall
aneta-hall-rising-star

VP, Innovation Strategist, Wells Fargo
@anetah

Why Aneta is a Rising Star: A year ago, Aneta began a new career path with Wells Fargo leading marketing and strategy work with a specific focus on innovation within financial services. Her secret sauce is her passion for the story and creating a compelling and unique way to deliver it to Wells Fargo customers and the general public. Aneta’s approach is honest, inquisitive and fresh – three things key to success for any leader in brand marketing.

Marcia Hansen
marica-hansen-north-star

Global Digital Marketing Strategist, Intel
@marciahansen

Bio: Marcia is a self-described “avid reader, walker, and lifelong learner.” In her six years with Intel, she has helped create award-winning campaigns, including 2014’s Make It Wearable Challenge, for which she won an Intel Achievement Award.

Marcia’s Inspiration: I am inspired by leaders who actively promote teamwork and diverse perspectives. I am motivated every day to communicate better, faster or more efficiently than the day before.

Laura-Ann Mitchell
lara-mitchell-rising-star

Digital Marketing Manager, Intel
Find Laura on LinkedIn

Why Laura is a Rising Star: Laura is a smart and kind woman leading the charge managing our intel.com strategy and presence. She also has mad SEO expertise.

Jill Renslow
jill-renslow-north-star

SVP Business Development | Marketing, Mall of America
@jrenslow

Bio: Jill is a strong leader who brings vision and innovation to her role at Mall of America. Her initiatives to make the mall more than a shopping destination include a recent campaign that created an indoor snowfall in the mall when patrons tweeted the hashtag #twizzard.

Jill’s Inspiration: I have an extremely talented team and have the benefit of working with a brand that houses endless content (i.e. retail, dining, trends, gifts, events, entertainment, etc.).  We work collaboratively to create memorable experiences for our guests and use innovative tools and strategies to remain relevant and meaningful. We stay tuned into the retail and entertainment industry trends and find inspiration from other industries and influences.  We enjoy the opportunity to engage with new challenges and gather consumer feedback so that we can continually learn, refine, test and re-launch our ideas!

Emily Shannon
emily-shannon-rising-star

Director of Digital, Mall of America
@PrettyandPoor

Why Emily is a Rising Star: Emily leads our digital and social efforts at MOA.  I hired her just over three years ago and have been thrilled with her enthusiasm and drive to explore new opportunities.  She continues to grow as a female business leader in our organization as well as the industry, and I thoroughly enjoy her innovative thinking and supportive efforts to build new creative partnerships and activations aligned with our digital roadmap.  

Karen Thomas-Smith
karen-thomas-smith-north-star

Chief Marketing Officer, Ciox Health
@KThomasSmith

Bio: Karen is an inspirational leader committed to nurturing talent and building long-term collaborative relationships across silos. Under her supervision, Optum’s “Game Changer” campaign generated nearly $5 million in new business, winning a 2015 Killer Content Award.

Karen’s Inspiration: We all know that healthcare needs to be moved forward. The work that we do on a daily basis has the potential to aide in creating a healthier healthcare system, which ultimately will lead to a healthier nation. Being a part of that change inspires me daily.

Leslie Cozatt
leslie-cozatt-rising-star

Director of Marketing, Provider – Thought Leadership & Content Strategy, Optum
@LeslieCozatt

Why Leslie is a Rising Star: Leslie has been consistent in providing outstanding thought leadership in the population health space, which can really impact healthcare.

Jen Erickson
jen-erickson-north-star

Director of Digital Marketing, DocuSign
Find Jen on LinkedIn

Bio: Jen has been in her leadership role at DocuSign just over one year, after five years with Oracle. She specializes in campaign globalization and international marketing, supervising digital campaigns across verticals.

Jen’s Inspiration: I’m inspired by the amazing leaders I’ve had the luck to work with  throughout my career- a great mentor / leader makes coming to work every day enjoyable when you have the freedom to be creative. On that same note- I am also very excited about the insane [and slightly overwhelming] growth of marketing technology and adtech. We now have endless ways of reaching people creatively in their digital / mobile lives!

Caitlin Angeloff
caitlin-rising-stars

Director of Marketing, Northern Europe, DocuSign
@caitlinangeloff

Why Caitlin is a Rising Star: Caitlin isn’t a rising star, she’s already a star. She is truly a social
media guru. She’s previously owned her own social media agency and is now running the show at DocuSign. Now that we’re all mobile-addicted, she’s at the center of everything brand marketing is focused on.

Debbie Barney
debbie-braney-north-star

VP, Integrated Marketing, Hitachi Data Systems
@debbiehds

Bio: Debbie is a dedicated marketing leader focused on building and motivating high-performance marketing teams. She currently oversees every aspect of the Hitachi Data Systems demand generation chain.

Debbie’s Inspiration: I get energized by making others successful. In the world of B2B marketing, that means connecting our customers with new ways to solve problems, add greater value and contribute to their organizations. I believe it’s my job to help inform, educate and enable them in that process — and I love both the creative and analytical components of doing that.

Kerri Vogel
kerri-vogel-rising-stars

Director, Marketing Programs & Operations, Americas, Hitachi Data Systems
@kerrileevogel

Why Kerri is a Rising Star: Kerri is a passionate and incredibly talented marketer who considers every detail of the customer creation process and pushes me and my team to get better every day. Her knowledge and commitment has been transformational to the Americas Marketing function at Hitachi Data Systems, resulting in a 437% Y/Y increase in MQLs in our most recent quarter.

Lauren Salazar
lauren-salazar-north-star

Director of Social Media, Weight Watchers
@sassandglitter

Bio: Lauren uses the same personal touch with the community management at Weight Watchers that she does with her own Twitter account. She does a great job of creating a true engagement by finding a way to really connect and relate to her audience.

Lauren’s Inspiration: I am constantly challenged in a good way by the power of Social Media as a medium. Reaching people in the places where they have some of their most intimate moments – where you see a baby photo for the first time, announce an engagement, reconnect with an old friend – and staying relevant, engaging and on message in those moments is a bar social marketers are constantly setting ourselves up to achieve.  At our best, this is as authentic, emotionally resonant and agile a marketing channel as it gets, and that is inspiring to work on in a daily capacity.

Amy Schuster
amy-shuester-rising-star

Consumer Marketing Director, truTV, Turner
@grandtheftamy

Why Amy is a Rising Star: Amy, a vet of Comedy Central and Oxygen who is now doing amazing things over at TruTv, is the total package of brand strategy and multi-platform marketing for this generation. She’s developing breakthrough campaigns across on-air, digital, and experiential for hilarious new shows like Those Who Can’t, Impractical Jokers, and Billy on the Street, and I especially love the recent work she’s doing with social video and at festivals like developing a massive  block party at Comic Con 2016.

Keep Shining Bright!

A special thank you to our North Stars for not only sharing their inspiration, but helping share their nominations for some of today’s top Rising Stars in digital marketing. You are all an inspiration for women and men around the world looking to have an impact with their digital marketing efforts.

Disclosure: LinkedIn, Oracle and Dell are TopRank Marketing clients.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising Stars | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising Stars appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/50-influential-women-digital-marketing-stars/feed/ 6 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/online-marketing-news-111116/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/online-marketing-news-111116/#respond Fri, 11 Nov 2016 11:30:10 +0000

Online Marketing News: Unwrapping Shoppers, Growing Ad Revenue & Millennial Loyalty


holiday-shoppers-2016-infographic

holiday-shoppers-2016-infographic

Unwrapping the 2016 Holiday Shopper [Infographic]
The holiday season is undeniably important for eCommerce brands — especially this year with a 17% YOY revenue increase. But how do holiday shoppers go about their research and purchasing? This infographic shows how users are browsing and shopping for their holiday purchases. Signal

[embedded content]

Digital Ad Revenues Grow 19% Year-Over-Year in First Half of 2016, Hitting Landmark High of $32.7 Billion
IAB reports: “digital advertising revenues in the United States for the first half of 2016 have reached an all-time high, scaling to $32.7 billion […] This represents a 19 percent increase over last year’s then record-setting half-year revenues of $27.5 billion.” This and many more insights can be found in their full report. IAB

Facebook Releases New Report on Brand Loyalty and Millennials
A recent Facebook survey of over 14k adults showed that 77% of people are considered brand loyal. 37% of those brand loyal Millennials make repeat purchases and consider themselves brand loyal, while 40% make repeat purchases but don’t necessarily consider themselves brand loyal. Social Media Today

Creative Sparks That Hit the Content Mark: 9 Lessons From 75 Brands
Sometimes, to learn the best kept secrets of expert content marketers, we must study their work. This new eBook from Content Marketing Institute studied content from 75 brands to help identify the path to content marketing success. The kinds of media studied varied from blogs and magazines to social media platforms and multichannel experiences. Content Marketing Institute

Google Webmaster Blog: Mobile-first Indexing
Since so many Google users are using mobile to search, yet Google is still using the desktop version of a site or page’s content to determine search relevance, the folks at Google have begun experimenting with mobile-first indexing to help make mobile results more relevant for searchers. Google Webmaster Blog

facebook-users-net-worth-revenue

The Most Shared Brand Blog Posts: Length, Language, and Title Trends
MarketingProfs reports: “Relatively long and fairly complex—though not overly difficult—blog posts by brands garner the most social shares, according to recent research from TrackMaven […] Blog posts that are fairly long, between 1,200 and 1,400 words, receive the most social shares (428) per post, on average, the analysis found.” MarketingProfs

Facebook Shares Snapchat Attack Plan, Including a New Camera
Facebook is planning to build cameras right into their existing apps, according to a recent statement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. For example, in messenger, the camera would be more readily available, and include additional filters for users to overlay on their images. Ad Age

Google Says it is Now OK to Put Content Behind Tabs
Google has determined that it will now give content that’s hidden behind tabs — in an effort to improve user experience — full weight in terms of organic search. This means that crawlers are no longer ignoring ‘hidden’ content as they had previously. Search Engine Journal

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more marketing news stories. Have something to share? Leave a note in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: Unwrapping Shoppers, Growing Ad Revenue & Millennial Loyalty appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

]]>

holiday-shoppers-2016-infographicholiday-shoppers-2016-infographicUnwrapping the 2016 Holiday Shopper [Infographic]
The holiday season is undeniably important for eCommerce brands — especially this year with a 17% YOY revenue increase. But how do holiday shoppers go about their research and purchasing? This infographic shows how users are browsing and shopping for their holiday purchases. Signal

[embedded content]

Digital Ad Revenues Grow 19% Year-Over-Year in First Half of 2016, Hitting Landmark High of $32.7 Billion
IAB reports: “digital advertising revenues in the United States for the first half of 2016 have reached an all-time high, scaling to $32.7 billion […] This represents a 19 percent increase over last year’s then record-setting half-year revenues of $27.5 billion.” This and many more insights can be found in their full report. IAB

Facebook Releases New Report on Brand Loyalty and Millennials
A recent Facebook survey of over 14k adults showed that 77% of people are considered brand loyal. 37% of those brand loyal Millennials make repeat purchases and consider themselves brand loyal, while 40% make repeat purchases but don’t necessarily consider themselves brand loyal. Social Media Today

Creative Sparks That Hit the Content Mark: 9 Lessons From 75 Brands
Sometimes, to learn the best kept secrets of expert content marketers, we must study their work. This new eBook from Content Marketing Institute studied content from 75 brands to help identify the path to content marketing success. The kinds of media studied varied from blogs and magazines to social media platforms and multichannel experiences. Content Marketing Institute

Google Webmaster Blog: Mobile-first Indexing
Since so many Google users are using mobile to search, yet Google is still using the desktop version of a site or page’s content to determine search relevance, the folks at Google have begun experimenting with mobile-first indexing to help make mobile results more relevant for searchers. Google Webmaster Blog

facebook-users-net-worth-revenue

The Most Shared Brand Blog Posts: Length, Language, and Title Trends
MarketingProfs reports: “Relatively long and fairly complex—though not overly difficult—blog posts by brands garner the most social shares, according to recent research from TrackMaven […] Blog posts that are fairly long, between 1,200 and 1,400 words, receive the most social shares (428) per post, on average, the analysis found.” MarketingProfs

Facebook Shares Snapchat Attack Plan, Including a New Camera
Facebook is planning to build cameras right into their existing apps, according to a recent statement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. For example, in messenger, the camera would be more readily available, and include additional filters for users to overlay on their images. Ad Age

Google Says it is Now OK to Put Content Behind Tabs
Google has determined that it will now give content that’s hidden behind tabs — in an effort to improve user experience — full weight in terms of organic search. This means that crawlers are no longer ignoring ‘hidden’ content as they had previously. Search Engine Journal

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more marketing news stories. Have something to share? Leave a note in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: Unwrapping Shoppers, Growing Ad Revenue & Millennial Loyalty appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/online-marketing-news-111116/feed/ 0 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/marketing-budget-you-need/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/marketing-budget-you-need/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2016 11:30:46 +0000

Get the Marketing Budget You Need in 2 Steps


It’s November 10th and my Christmas lights are up. To be honest, I hung them November 1st, but don’t tell anyone. The end of the fiscal year is fast approaching, and for us marketers, it’s more than holiday parties and eggnog; that means it’s time to stake our claim of 2017 budgets. In the review […]

The post Get the Marketing Budget You Need in 2 Steps appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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marketing-budget-you-need

It’s November 10th and my Christmas lights are up. To be honest, I hung them November 1st, but don’t tell anyone.

The end of the fiscal year is fast approaching, and for us marketers, it’s more than holiday parties and eggnog; that means it’s time to stake our claim of 2017 budgets.

In the review of any digital marketing budget proposal, executives are going to look for the answer to these two questions:

  1. What did you do drive business this year?
  2. How do you plan to drive business next year?

Your budget proposal presentation should hand these answers on a shiny silver platter to those responsible for approval. I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of marketing professionals as they prepare for this big moment, and there are two important elements that prove to be most effective at earning budgets year after year: proving your ROI, and mapping potential to dollars.

Prove Your ROI

The first step in creating any marketing budget is to show that your marketing efforts are capable of achieving results – last year, this year, and of course, next year. To effectively be able to reflect how your digital marketing efforts contributed to the growth of the company, there are several metrics that you should keep close tabs on throughout the year.

  • Total website sessions
  • Organic sessions
  • User engagement (time on page, pages per visit, bounce rate)
  • Number of leads/conversions from online marketing activities
  • Conversion rates
  • Cost per lead

The majority of this data should be available within your website analytics platform. If you’re working with an SEO or PPC agency, they can also provide you with useful data that will help to paint a picture of how marketing contributed to sales, leads, visibility, etc.

TIP: There’s a difference between reporting data and insights. Avoid copying and pasting screenshots throughout your EOY report; call out insights and wins in plain English for all to understand quickly.

Run the Numbers to Calculate Monetary Potential

It’s far more effective to present estimated monetary return on investment, than to try to get sign off for 100,000 more impressions.

For E-commerce sites, it’s easier to calculate potential return on investment using website analytics. Say for instance your 2017 goal is to increase online memberships by 20% YOY, which data reflects would be equivalent to 100 additional memberships, at $200 apiece. If you come to your boss and say, “I’d like to make you $20,000 extra, and it’s only going to cost us $1,000 in X channel,” the decision is very clear.

For marketers that aren’t tied to an E-commerce site, there’s hope for you too! Google Analytics offers the ability to assign monetary value to actions taken on your website. Are you taking advantage of this?

What is it worth to your company to have someone fill out the contact form? It may seem like an impossible question to answer, especially if you’re not using a CRM, but it’s simpler than you think.

  1. Figure out the average number of contact form submissions you receive every month.
  2. Speak to your sales team or consult your CRM to see what percentage of these inquiries result in actual sales.
  3. Calculate the average dollar amount of sales (S) that originate from an online form inquiry.

Now you have the data to calculate what each form inquiry is really worth to your company.

TIP: Ask for more than you need. Just like in any negotiation, leave your budget some room for superiors to counter at a lower amount.

Looking for more ways to earn more marketing budget? Read the post 4 Steps Marketers Can Take Towards Increasing Their Digital Marketing Budget.


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Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Get the Marketing Budget You Need in 2 Steps | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Get the Marketing Budget You Need in 2 Steps appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/marketing-budget-you-need/feed/ 1 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/content-marketing-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/content-marketing-strategy/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2016 11:30:19 +0000

7 Steps to Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy


There is one thing that nearly 2/3rds of top-performing content marketers do, but only 13% of the least successful do. It’s a clear driver of content marketing excellence. Yet only 37% of all B2B content marketers are doing it. That one thing is to developing a documented content marketing strategy. It’s that simple. Lay out […]

The post 7 Steps to Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

]]>

tips-documenting-content-strategy

There is one thing that nearly 2/3rds of top-performing content marketers do, but only 13% of the least successful do. It’s a clear driver of content marketing excellence. Yet only 37% of all B2B content marketers are doing it.

That one thing is to developing a documented content marketing strategy. It’s that simple. Lay out your strategy, write it down, and you’ve drastically increased your odds of running a successful content marketing enterprise.

Documenting your strategy prevents random acts of content. It helps get buy-in from your whole team. Most importantly, it starts your content initiative with measurable goals and a plan to achieve them. It just makes every aspect of creating content and distributing it easier and more effective.

If your team wants to join the top tier of content marketers, it’s time to get that strategy written down. Here’s how to get started.

#1: Start with the Why

Why is content marketing a good fit for your company? Is there an audience hungry for the content you plan on producing? You can answer these questions with customer research—find the unmet needs that your content will meet.

#2: Establish Overall Goals

Once you make the case for your content to exist, get specific on what purpose your content is going to serve. Granted, your content program should serve multiple purposes, everything from attracting attention to securing loyalty. But in the end, it will serve specific business goals: Leads captured, cost per lead, and marketing-assisted sales. Express these goals in quantifiable terms and specify the metrics to measure them.

Don’t worry if these goals shift during the course of your implementation. It’s better to start with a few goals and get moving than to try and painstakingly predict the future. Your strategy can change as it’s implemented, based on response. In fact, it should be evolving constantly for better results.

#3: Document Your Audience

Who are the people in your neighborhood your content must reach? What motivates them? What role do they have in decision-making? Where do they get their content from? What channels are they already active in? All of these questions will help drive your strategy for content creation and amplification. Develop buyer personas based on solid research.

#4: Plan Content for Each Stage of the Buyer Journey

Call it a funnel, call it a spiral, call it late for dinner—there are generally three stages in the buyer journey. At TopRank Marketing, we call them “Attract, Engage, and Convert.” Most organizations without a strategy tend to invest heavily in Convert-level content. But great Attract-level content with clear next steps can be hugely effective. It’s important to have a healthy mix of all three stages.

#5: Draft Specific Goals for Content at Each Stage

These goals are the stepping stones to the big-picture business goals I discussed earlier. As with the big-picture goals, they should be expressed in quantifiable terms and paired with metrics for measurement. Here are a few quick examples of goals and metrics for each stage:

Attract:

  • Goal: Brand Awareness

    • Metrics: Views, Social Shares, Time on Page
  • Goal: Search Visibility
    • Metric: keyword rankings, content rankings

Engage:

  • Goal: Audience Engagement

    • Metrics: Comments, Shares, Clicks-Through
  • Goal: Building a Following
    • Metrics: Subscribers, Followers on Social Media, Gated Downloads

Convert:

  • Goal: MQL Capture

    • Metrics: Gated Downloads, Contact Forms Filled, Leads Converted to SQL
  • Goal: Sales Assist
    • Metrics: Sales Conversion Rate, Sales Cycle Length, Contract Size

#6: Plan Channels for Amplification 

Don’t wait until content is created to figure out amplification. Let your buyer research inform your organic and paid efforts. If you plan on using influencer marketing, this is the time to bake it into the process.

#7: Create an Editorial Calendar 

The editorial calendar pulls everything together into one actionable plan: Your big-picture planning, audience research, content mapping, and goals. It’s the central document your team will use for what content to create, when to create it, and how it will be amplified. The good folks at Curata put together a list of editorial calendar templates – experiment with a few and see which one best suits your needs.

These seven steps are a general guide to help get your content marketing strategy documented and running. It doesn’t have to be perfect—and your first draft likely won’t be. It will, however, be a jumping-off point you can return to and continually improve.

Simply by having a documented content strategy, you’re joining the elite top third of marketers. Stick to that strategy, continue to refine it, and you can rise even higher.

Check out this webinar (and accompanying blog post) to learn more about content marketing strategy.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
7 Steps to Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy | http://www.toprankblog.com

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