Friday, March 23, 2018

Digital Marketing News: More Constantly Online, Google’s Digital Graffiti, AI’s Big Data Push

Roughly one in four Americans is online ‘constantly’ according to new Pew Research Center survey data.

Roughly One in Four Americans is Online ‘Constantly’
More than a quarter of U.S. adults consider themselves online “almost constantly” according to survey data recently released by the Pew Research Center, a figure that jumps to nearly 39 percent for younger people in the 18-to-29-year-old age group, and Kurt Wagner looks closely at some of the survey’s fascinating statistics. Recode

Facebook Introduces ‘Store Sales Optimization’ and Other Ad Improvements for Retailers
Facebook has added three new options for retailers, announcing its expanded store sales optimization, tabs for Canvas, and product categories for dynamic ads, all aimed at improving mobile and offline conversions. Greg Sterling takes a look at some of the details. Marketing Land

Twitter to Prohibit Range of Cryptocurrency Ads
Sky News reports that Twitter has plans to eventually ban advertisements for cryptocurrencies, token sales, and initial coin offerings (ICOs), in a move that would follow similar policies implemented by both Facebook and Google this year. Sky News

Data Suggests Surprising Shift: Duopoly Not All-Powerful – Amazon and Snapchat Are Experiencing Faster Growth
Amazon and Snapchat are among the firms making faster-than-expected gains into Facebook and Google’s substantial shares of digital ad spending, according to new data. eMarketer

An AI-Driven Big Data Catalog Will Impact B2B Sales — And It’s Closer Than You Think
Combining artificial intelligence with big data can be an unbeatable approach to B2B marketing, and Larry Myler takes an in-depth look at this powerhouse combo. Forbes

Programmatic Adtech for B2B Marketers
Investment in programmatic adtech among B2B advertisers has increased due to better predictive analytics and attribution and advancements in data management, and Chitra Iyer examines six reasons why. MarTech Advisor

Advertisers Can Now Target Quora Users Via Their Email Address
Question-and-answer service Quora has added a feature allowing marketers to target its users by e-mail, with its new List Match Audience update announced recently, expanding on the firm’s advertising platform. Jess Nelson has details. MediaPost

Pinterest Expands Shopping Ads For Retailers
After graduating from a pilot program, Pinterest is rolling out its “Shopping Ads” advertising platform, bringing more ad types and campaign management features to retailers in the comiung months. Product catalogs and showcase items that can be shown in context are among the program’s new offerings. AdAge

Google’s New Experiment Lets You Tag Digital Graffiti In The Real World
With the release of an experimental app called Just a Line, Google has made it possible to create and tag 3D graffiti in augmented reality, paving the way for some potential creative marketing uses. FastCoDesign

Facebook Pilots Program to Help Creators Build Advertiser Relationships & Drive Fan Engagement
A new Facebook pilot initiative that hopes to both drive fan engagement and boost revenue for creators has been announced, allowing an “In App Purchase” label in the App Store and on Google Play. Marketing Land


The Customer Journey
Take a look at mapping the customer journey – Marketoonist

How a Copywriter’s Amazing Tribute to Sprite Got Him Hired at W+K – AdWeek

How brands have used satire in advertising – Econsultancy


  • Lee Odden – Interview with Lee Odden, Pubcon Florida 2018 Keynote — Pubcon
  • Alex Rynne of LinkedIin (client) and Lee Odden – B2BMX 2018 – THE B2B Marketing event that helps you define your voice – Netline
  • Lee Odden – The Evolution of Influencer Marketing: A #CMWorld Chat with Lee Odden – Content Marketing Institute
  • Lee Odden – How to Tame Agency Work Chaos – Workfront
  • Lee Odden – Winning B2B marketing campaigns — LinkedIn Pulse
  • Lee Odden – 20 Inspiring Digital Marketing Experts That You Need to Know — Vbout
  • Lee Odden – 9 Business Experts You Should Be Following on Facebook — AllBusiness

Be sure to check in next week, when we’ll be sharing all new marketing news stories, or you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

54 Artificial Intelligence Powered Marketing Tools

AI Powered Marketing Tools

The expression, “Marketers are data rich and insight poor” is more true today than ever.

Marketers all over the world are working to optimize marketing operations and effectiveness using their abundance of data. Many are turning to tools and platforms powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI promises to make sense of all the dark data companies are sitting on as well as structured and unstructured data online to surface insights about customer behaviors, opportunistic content and emotional triggers to inspire conversions.

In an age of too many choices, increased competition for customer attention requires every advantage to optimize for reach, engagement and conversion. Marketers are using AI to automate and optimize their marketing because that’s what it will take to meet customer appetite for personalized experiences.

  • In a study by Smart Insights, AI and Machine Learning were rated the #3 marketing activity that will make the largest commercial impact on business in 2018.
  • Another study by Salesforce found that high-performing marketing teams are more than 2 times as likely to use AI in their campaigns than under-performers.

What are marketers doing with AI? Areas of focus include advertising automation and optimization, chat bots for service and assisting in sales, and content personalization to name a few.

Chat apps and bots are increasingly being used beyond light customer service to engage customers during the sales process. In fact, 1.82 billion people worldwide are projected to use a chat app in 2018 and by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.

Make no mistake, the artificial intelligence platform market is growing fast: it’s estimated to be worth $9.88 billion by 2022.

As Josh Nite mentioned in his recent post, “This changes everything. AI is transforming digital marketing.” From A to Z and then some, here are 54 tools that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to make your marketing smarter, more efficient and effective.

Acquisio Turing – A set of 30 high frequency predictive algorithms working together to ingest search marketing campaign data across platforms. Data such as seasonality, times of day, times of week, location, positioning, ad platform, campaign and others enable the platform to self-learn and make smart bid and budget decisions in real-time. @acquisio

Acrolinx – Built on an advanced linguistic analytics engine, this software platform “reads” content and guides writers to make it better. @Acrolinx

Albert – An autonomous platform that uses AI: predictive analytics, machine learning, natural language processing and other proprietary algorithms to execute seamlessly across all channels, paid and non-paid, including email, mobile, social, search and display. @albertaimktg

Atomic Reach – Delivers a deep understanding of what makes your content perform and how to perfect it. @Atomic_Reach

Automat -AI and machine-learning technology that helps brands deliver messaging experiences that are tailor made for each individual consumer and dynamically optimizes conversion for the best results. @automat_inc

Bloomreach – An open and intelligent platform for businesses to build, extend, personalize, analyze, test and optimize their digital experiences across all channels. @bloomreachinc

Boost Linquistics – AI-powered platform for your team to drive revenue by personalizing search and browse experiences at scale and AI to improve site structure, content, and landing pages, maximizing SEO at scale and driving traffic. @boost_ling

CaliberMind – Connects, unlocks, and activates data to help high-growth B2B SaaS organizations to acquire new buyers, grow revenue, and improve the customer experience. @calibermind

CONCURED – Uses AI to analyze people’s behavior towards content at scale in order to prescribe what you should create next to maximize engagement and ROI. @concured

Conversica – AI Sales Assistant helps companies find and secure customers more quickly and efficiently by automatically contacting, engaging, qualifying and following up with leads via natural, multi-channel, two-way conversations. @myconversica

CORTEX – A social media content optimization platform for marketers and agencies to continuously improve post engagement. @meetcortex

Crayon – Market and competitive intelligence tools to track, analyze, and act on everything happening outside of the four walls of your business. @Crayon

Datorama – One Platform for all marketing data, investments, KPIs, and decisions to connect data, report across channels and campaigns, and surface the right insights instantly. @Datorama

Demandbase ABM – A comprehensive set of ABM solutions driven by artificial intelligence: platform, targeting, engagement, conversion. @Demandbase

Drift – A conversational marketing and sales platform (chatbot) that connects your business with the best leads in real-time. Like a virtual assistant for your website, Drift lets you turn any conversation into a conversion. @drift

Emarsys – Understand each contact as an individual customer and execute highly personalized campaigns at scale with AI solutions. @emarsys

FindTheRipple – The AI-driven platform supporting marketers in creating content with impact, finding untapped trends and resonating digital assets for target audiences. @findtheripple

Genie – AI-powered recommendation engine from Grey Jean Technologies that provides accurate predictions of consumer purchase behavior. @getgenie

Google Cloud AI – Build chat bots, do analysis of video, images and text. @gcpcloud

HubSpot – Content Strategy Tool helps marketers discover and validate new content ideas that perform well. @hubspot

IBM Watson – Cognitive marketing platform that provides journey pattern analysis, real-time personalization, marketing insights, weather effects and cognitive tagging. @IBMforMarketing

Idio – Demand Orchestration platform that learns from each interaction to improve engagement and accelerate demand at large B2B enterprises. Automates 1:1 engagement with target accounts, at scale & across all digital channels. @idioplatform

Intellyo – The Creator Engine leverages machine learning and data-driven analytics to automatically tell you which actions to take to build quality into your content. Features include topic research, workflow management, content quality analyzer and customizable service integrations. @intellyo

Invoca – Enables granular campaign attribution to understand why customers are calling, gain real-time intelligence about who’s calling and analyze what’s being said in conversations. @invoca

Jetlore – Artificial intelligence-powered “learning to rank” technology that helps retailers build stronger customer loyalty, higher conversions and increased revenues. @Jetlore

KYNDI – Explainable Artificial Intelligence platform for government, financial services, and healthcare with AI products that analyze massive amounts of data, making organizations and people 100X smarter, 100X faster. @kynditech

Lexalytics – Text Analytics & Survey Analysis with customizable Sentiment Analysis, Categorization & Named Entity Extraction. Platform leverages machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing to allow enterprises to create custom analytics solutions to address their unique data problems. @lexalytics

LiftIgniter – Machine learning personalization recommendation and discovery engine enables every website and app to have a 1:1 “conversation” with users. @liftigniter

Lucy – Solution from Equals 3 powered by Watson. Lucy delivers insightful conclusions, refined segmentation analysis, killer marketing plans, and world-conquering media strategies. @equals3ai

Market Brew – Artificial Intelligence Platform for SEO Teams. @mktbrew

MarketMuse – AI-powered research assistant that accelerates content creation and optimization so you can win in organic search. @MarketMuseCo

Motiva AI – Learns to adapt your messaging to customers automatically and delivers better engagement, at any scale. @MotivaHQ

Nudge – Access new accounts, analyze deal risk, and measure account health – powered by relationship intelligence. @nudgeai

Onespot – Technology platform for personalizing content marketing across digital channels. @onespot

Oribi – Simplifies analytics to enable marketing and product teams to get valuable data without any help from developers. @getoribi

PaveAI – Turns Google Analytics data in actionable insights + reports with our data science AI algorithm. @paveai

Path – An intelligent messaging platform that helps businesses generate more leads, close sales faster, and improve client service. @chat_path – Automatically capture all sales activity to drive intelligent sales management and marketing insights. @ppl_ai

Persado – AI generated language that resonates the most with any audience, segment or individual. @persado

Phrasee – Enterprise marketing solution that uses artificial intelligence to generate brand compliant marketing language on a client-to-client basis. @phrasee

Quill by Narrative Science – Powered by Advanced Natural Language Generation, Quill is an intent-driven system that automatically transforms data into Intelligent Narratives at scale, in conversational language anyone can understand. @narrativesci

Rocco – AI powered social media marketing agent that will suggest fresh content that your followers are likely to engage with. @Rocco_Ai

Salesforce Einstein – A layer of artificial intelligence that delivers predictions and recommendations based on your unique business processes and customer data. @salesforce

Sentient Ascend – A patented AI Conversion Optimization solution that mimics biological evolution, enabling it to quickly learn, adapt and react to determine the best performing design from the building blocks you provide. @sentientdai

Smartly – Facebook and Instagram advertising automation and optimization platform with machine learning. @smartlyio

SmartKai – AI-powered assistant that manages your social media marketing. @thesmartkai

Stackla – AI-powered enterprise platform to discover, manage and display the most engaging user generated visual content across all marketing touchpoints. @stackla

The Grid – Molly, a AI-powered web design platform uses machine learning combined with constraint-based design and flow-based programming to make form dynamically adapt to content. @thegrid

Unmetric – Xia provides AI powered social media marketing insights to create compelling content. @unmetric

Vestorly – Vestorly uses artificial intelligence to build personalized touch points with news, blogs, or your own content. @vestorly

Wordsmith – Solution from Automated Insights that uses natural language generation to convert data into content. @ainsights – An artificial intelligence personal assistant who schedules meetings for users. @xdotai

Yseop – Artificial intelligence software writes and explains data in six languages using natural language generation. @YseopAI

ZetaHub – Marketing Automation powered by AI. @zetaglobal

There you have it. 50 plus tools that leverage artificial intelligence for marketing. For your convenience, I’ve made a list of all Twitter accounts on this AI Marketing Tools list here, in case you want to follow the category easily.

Whether you’re trying to get more out of existing marketing software like analytics or automate content generation or boost your ability to understand customer behavior for better personalization, there’s a tool or platform for you.

At the same time, very few of these AI powered marketing solutions are “set it and forget it”.  They still need humans for optimal performance. That’s why I like the expression “Augmented Intelligence” as a reflection of how people and technology can work together for more optimized marketing. And when it comes to marketing people, I don’t know any better than the team I get work with at TopRank Marketing.

What AI powered marketing tools did I miss? Which do you use? Please share in the comments.

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Monday, March 19, 2018

3 Reasons B2B Marketers Need Optimized & Influencer Activated Content

B2B content optimized influencer activated

We’ve all read the headlines about the death of organic social media and BuzzSumo’s recent report on the huge drop in social sharing reinforces the news that the free for all days of social media are coming to a close. Add to that the distrust of branded content and advertising and it’s easy to see that marketers need to rethink their approach.

If buyers are not engaging with brand social media and content, then where is their attention?

This is not a new question and the way we’ve been finding the answer is through insights about buyer preferences for solutions content: discovery, consumption and action.

The Customer Information Journey. Buyers pulling themselves through the majority of the research process for finding solutions do so with content. But where do they discover that content? What are their preferences for content types, topics and platforms for consumption? What sources do they trust? Of equal importance is what signals of credibility produce the confidence to inspire action within that content?

Customer Empathy. As B2B marketers are faced with an ever growing list of demands for content and channels, empathy with the customer experience is more important now than ever. What’s also important are the solutions for attracting, engaging and inspiring action that actually work.

Optimized And Influencer Activated Content. At TopRank Marketing we are fortunate to work with an innovative team and brave clients that trust our advice on how to optimize B2B buyer experiences. By leveraging integrated SEO, Content and Influencer programs, we’ve been able to achieve marketing performance results like 550% more leads and generating 22% of all new revenue for the year from a single integrated content program.

To help marketers make the shift from dead end social media and brand-centric content that buyers don’t turst, here are 3 reasons why now is the time for B2B brands to capitalize on content optimized for search and influence:

1. Keywords are King:

Ignoring social and brand content means paying attention to something else. It comes down to trust and credibility. At every stage of the buying cycle from awareness to consideration to purchase, buyers use search engines to find solution content.

WIth everyone on the content marketing bandwagon, many B2B marketers are so focused on creating content they’re not allocating much more than an afterthought of paid social and ads to content promotion.

With content optimized for the solutions information and keywords that buyers are looking for, B2B brands can be useful at the very moment of need. That kind of credibility is what drives confidence, engagement and action.

The challenge: Is your content optimized for specific solutions keywords? Have you done the homework to find out if those are the keywords buyers are using? That are in demand? Are you creating topical hub and spoke content for focused internal linking that drives organic search visibility?

2. Influence is Queen:

B2B marketing industry research shows buyers trust peers and experts more than advertising. Whether it’s a question to an expert in a forum or reading expert advice in an industry publication, B2B buyers seek useful information from credible sources.

B2B brands are still behind when it comes to engaging influencers to add expertise and credibility to content. Our research with Traackr and Altimeter found that only 11% of B2B companies have ongoing influencer programs vs. 48% of B2C companies. B2B content without influencer contributions is like eating a baked potato plain. Boring! Including influencer contributions to B2B content is like adding your favorite toppings (salt, butter or sour cream) to that potato.

The challenge: Who are your brand’s influencers? Who is actively evangelizing your products or services? Which influencers could really make a difference for your marketing if they were associated with your brand? What are you doing to build quality, ongoing relationships with industry experts?

3. Activate Influencers & Optimize for Search:

When content programs leverage keyword research to optimize content and use those same keywords to help identify credible industry experts to contribute to that optimized content, it creates information that is both trusted and credible.

Many B2B brands do optimize their content for customer focused keywords. Others are moving from experiments to ongoing influencer programs. B2B brands that integrate both SEO and influence create a compelling opportunity to be found when it matters and to be trusted when it matters more.

The challenge: Are you leveraging your keyword research for SEO to also find influencers that are relevant for the same topics? Are you engaging those influencers to co-create content on those topics? Are you inspiring the influencers to publish keyword rich content on their websites linking back to your brand? Are those influencers also engaged for earned media in industry publications and blogs on target topics with links back to your brand?

With an understanding of keyword demand, B2B marketers can tap into the opportunity to be the best answer for buyers with content at the very moment of need. Even better is that influencer contributions to that optimized content will give it the credibility and engagement needed to inspire action.

Here are a few steps to get started:

  1. Identify top, relevant search keywords
  2. Create hub and spoke content architecture (big topic & derivatives)
  3. Map keywords to to content
  4. Keyword optimize content + links
  5. Leverage keywords to identify & recruit relevant influencers
  6. Ask influencers keyword rich questions
  7. Incorporate influencer contributions in mapped content
  8. Encourage influencer promotion and linking to content
  9. Implement media and blogger relations using influencer content
  10. Repurpose content according to best performing keywords/influencers

You can go a lot deeper than this and there are a number of sub-steps, but this list should provide a good overview. Of course we specialize in B2B programs that integrate SEO, content and influencers, so feel free to check out our influencer content marketing case studies for inspiration.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Digital Marketing News: YouTube Beats Facebook, Twitter Verify for All, Gen Z Bailing on Social

Social Media Statistics 2018

Social Networking Platforms’ User Demographics Update 2018 –  The most widely-used social media platform in the US isn’t Facebook. It’s YouTube. This new report from Pew Research explores data from the top social networking platforms for 2018 including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. MarketingCharts

Forrester Says Only 15% of B-to-B Marketers Are Fully Compliant With GDPR – According to results of a report released this week by Forrester, only 15 percent of b-to-b marketers are fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while 18 percent are still wondering what to do. In fact, of the 66 marketing professionals surveyed in January, less than half of marketers had even even assessed all points from which they collect data. AdWeek

Why Consumers Leave E-Commerce Sites and Apps Without Purchasing – An item’s price and its shipping costs, along with not being able to find the right item are among the top ten reasons why consumers have abandoned a brand’s online shopping system, according to an Episerver report compiled from a survey of over 4,000 consumers worldwide. Ayaz Nanji of MarketingProfs takes a look at this report in his recent piece “Why Consumers Leave E-Commerce Sites and Apps Without Purchasing.” Marketingprofs

Twitter may eventually let anyone become verified – Someday Twitter may allow any user to get a verified account, If the intentions company chief executive Jack Dorsey recently made come to pass. During a recent livestream Dorsey expressed a desire to allow more Twitter users to achieve the blue checkmark giving to verified profile, as part of a goal to increase openness through the firm’s health metrics proposal. Colin Lecher explores Dorsey’s statements in his recent article in of The Verge, “Twitter may eventually let anyone become verified.” The Verge

Twitter moves to boot meme stealers and accounts that force tweets to go viral – Twitter has taken suspended the accounts of several users with hundreds of thousands and up to millions of followers in an attempt to counter so-called “tweetdecking” and other methods for gaming the firm’s current system. Adam Rosenberg takes a look in his Mashable piece, “Twitter moves to boot meme stealers and accounts that force tweets to go viral.” Mashable

Gen Z is quitting social media in droves because it makes them unhappy, study finds – Generation Z consumers may be spending less — or in some cases no — time on social media, because the platforms can make them unhappy, according to recent research from Hill Holliday, despite nearly 80 percent of participants in the study noting generally more benefits than drawbacks to social media site use. Oliver McAtee takes a closer look in Campaign US’s “Gen Z is quitting social media in droves because it makes them unhappy, study finds.” Campaign

‘An engineered feel-good factor’: Why autoplay video will persist – Autoplay video ads may be one of the industry’s biggest collective sins yet are not likely to go away anytime soon, according to a survey explored by Lucinda Southern in her recent Digiday piece “‘An engineered feel-good factor’: Why autoplay video will persist.” Digiday

Content Marketing Statistic

The 5th Wave Of Branding: Brands That ‘Do’ – The latest insight into five waves of branding first begun by emotional branding pioneer David Ogilvy are being continued and expanded in Ogilvy & Mather chief executive Miles Young’s newly-released “Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age.” Joe Mandese takes a look at some of the book’s new research in MediaPost’s “The 5th Wave Of Branding: Brands That ‘Do’” MediaPost

Why So Many High-Profile Digital Transformations Fail – Harvard Business Review examines the failure of several high-profile firms to successfully implement meaningful digital transformations, laying out the lessons we can learn from strategies that didn’t pay off. Thomas H. Davenport and George Westerman explore the details in “Why So Many High-Profile Digital Transformations Fail.” Harvard Business Review

AI, Content & Search: 5 Macro Market Trends for Micro Marketing – AI-enhanced content marketing campaigns, personalization, and increased awareness of the customer journey are all pieces of today’s online selling puzzle, each explored in the new piece by Andy Betts in Search Engine Journal’s “5 Macro Market Trends In AI, Content & Search.” Search Engine Journal

Google Images update: Captions added to images, pulled from the page title tag – Google Images has moved to show captions alongside mobile search results, and Michelle Robbins of Search Engine Land takes a look here. Search Engine Land

Google search results page displays answer without any search results – Google is showing answers in the search results without showing any organic listings or ads or anything but the answer. Search Engine Roundtable

On the Lighter Side:

Welcome to the world of “micro-influencers” and “nano-influencers” – Marketoonist

Amazon Says It Has Fixed Randomly Laughing Alexa Speakers – Bloomberg

TopRank Marketing (And Clients) In the News:

  • Steve Slater – Top 3 Tools For SEO – Digital Kaizen
  • Rachel Miller & Lee Odden – Top 100 Social Media and Marketing Influencers – Digital Scouting
  • Lee Odden – Top 30 Marketing Influencers for 2018 – ExoB2B
  • LinkedIn – Hotter than Hot: Introducing the New Secret Sauce Recipe for Marketing on LinkedIn – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog

Be sure to check in next week when we’ll be sharing all new marketing news stories or you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for daily news. Also, be sure to check out the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | Digital Marketing News: YouTube Beats Facebook, Twitter Verify for All, Gen Z Bailing on Social |

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

B2B Podcasting: What, Why and How

The What, Why & How of B2B Podcasting

The What, Why & How of B2B Podcasting Okay, B2B marketers, time for a pop quiz:
  1. Which content marketing tactic can hold an audience’s attention for a half hour or more at a time?
  2. Which tactic inspires an audience to subscribe to your content and make a regular appointment to consume it?
  3. Which tactic can help boost thought leadership, raise awareness and engage influencers in your industry?
  4. Which tactic is in the title of this blog post?
The answer, of course, is podcasting. These long-form audio programs first emerged in the early 2000s. Back then, they were a niche format for hobbyists and tech nerds (like me). But the rise of the smartphone brought podcasts to the masses. Now, there are hundreds of hours of programming available on every conceivable subject, in every genre from true crime to horror to musical.  But we haven’t hit content shock for podcasts it’s still a growing market. If your brand is looking to boost thought leadership and reach a new audience, now is the perfect time to add a podcast to your content marketing mix. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What Is a Podcast, Anyway?

There’s a wide variety of types of podcast out there, so it can seem tricky to find a definition that covers everything. Some are live interviews or panel discussions; some are fully scripted and produced audio plays; some are cryptic monologues about a bizarre southwestern town.  But they all share two attributes:
  1. There are multiple recordings for each title, and
  2. They’re organized in an RSS feed you can subscribe to.
Whatever genre the audio is, whatever platforms it’s available on, as long as you have multiple recordings brought together by an RSS feed, you have a podcast.

Why Should B2B Content Marketers Care about Podcasts?

The way that people consume podcasts make them an ideal channel for your high-quality content. People tend to listen while working out, driving, cooking dinner — in other words, podcasts fill sizable chunks of otherwise idle time. You wouldn’t expect someone to read your white paper or eBook during their morning commute, but they might settle in with your latest episode. The demographics for podcast listeners are attractive for B2B marketers, too. Edison Research’s Podcast Consumer 2017 report found that:
  • 24% of people ages 18-54 listen to podcasts monthly
  • Podcast listeners are almost evenly split between men and women
  • Podcast listeners tend to be affluent, educated consumers
  • In the 25-54 demographic, monthly listening has grown year over year for the past four years
In other words, your target audience is likely spending a significant amount of time listening to podcasts already. And those who already listen to at least one podcast are likely to be on the lookout for more.

What Marketing Goals Can a B2B Podcast Serve?

Podcasts work best for the attract and engage phases of the customer journey. You can use your podcast to build brand awareness and establish thought leadership in your industry. Thoughtful, valuable content can help your brand stand out from the competition, and encourage listeners to build a relationship with the brand. The most successful B2B podcasts tend to be in the Q&A or panel discussion style. Hosts can welcome new guests each week to share their insight. This type of format is perfect for influencer marketing: You can boost your internal subject matter experts, form relationships with influencers in the industry, even feature your potential prospects. The Dell Luminaries* podcast is a great example of thought leadership B2B podcasting. Each episode features a guest with useful and often fascinating — thoughts to share with the audience. Some guests are internal experts at Dell, while others are influential entrepreneurs and executives from across the tech industry. Dell Luminaries Podcast Since podcasts have a low barrier of entry, they’re a good way to reach a niche audience, too. SAP’s recently-launched Customer Support Podcast * is a worthy example. Each episode features quotes from a wide array of influencers, internal and external. SAP Customer Support Podcast These podcasts succeed because they do what all great content does: deliver valuable information to a specific audience in an entertaining format.

How Do I Get Started?

It’s never been easier to launch a podcast. There are dozens of free and low-priced tools available to streamline every part of production, from recording to amplification. Here’s a quick rundown.

#1: Recording

To start recording, all you really need is a laptop and a decent-quality USB microphone. We get professional-sounding results with a Blue Yeti. For my personal podcast, I use an MXL 770. Either are more than adequate to get you started. Later you can invest in a whole sound studio’s worth of mixing boards, microphones, and accessories if you like, but start simple. If you plan to interview guests on the show, likely you will be recording remotely over Skype, Google Hangout, or another VOIP. Don’t try to record your guest’s audio through your computer speakers or phone; have them create their own recording on their end, then edit the conversation together. We've been experimenting with Zencastr, which handles recording and VOIP coordination automatically, and have been pleased with the results. For recording software, Audacity is still the best entry-level program. It’s free, has a host of useful features, and you don’t have to be a sound engineer to get great audio.

#2: Syndication

Once your audio is recorded and edited, you need a place to host the file, and an RSS feed to submit to podcast directories.  You can host the files locally and create your own RSS feed in raw html, but there are plenty of free-to-cheap platforms that can handle the grunt work. Most use an uploading interface similar to publishing on WordPress. So if you know how to upload a blog, you can create a podcast feed. We have had good results with both Libsyn and Podbean. Both have free options and inexpensive paid plans with a few added features, and both provide stats that can help you track listenership. Most importantly, they both will walk you through the process of listing your podcast on various directories: Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and more. That’s a crucial step in making sure your podcast is available on your audience’s preferred listening platform.

#3: Amplification

Once your podcast is published, there are a few easy ways to get the word out and start building your audience. First, activate your existing blog audience: Post a blog post for each episode with the audio embedded (Libsyn and Podbean both enable live-streaming embedded audio). Include an optimized title and meta description and a transcript or SEO-optimized introduction. And, of course, make sure to include a call to action to subscribe! If your podcast includes influencers, create social media assets for them to share, including messaging and custom images. Share the podcast on your social channels as well, making sure to tag your influencers.

Cast Your Pods to the Wind

Podcasts are a rare type of content marketing: Interest in them is steadily growing, people go out of their way to seek out new content, and they’re relatively cheap and easy to produce. B2B marketers are constantly challenged to deliver the right content to people in the right format to earn their attention. If your target audience has a morning commute, a workout schedule, or other quiet time to fill, your podcast may be just what they’re waiting for. Try these 10 marketing podcasts to make your own free time more productive. *Dell and SAP are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post B2B Podcasting: What, Why and How appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Monday, March 12, 2018

4 Integrated Content Marketing Insights From the Trenches of Online Dating

Left. Left. Left. Right. Left. No, this is not an army drill. These are the swiping habits I’ve picked up from my time online dating. Done in a split second, I can swipe faster than most people can snap their fingers. If you’ve ever dabbled with dating apps or online dating, you know that these snap judgements start to become second nature.

With the average human attention span lasting just 8.25 seconds, there’s something to be said about those snap judgements. As a marketing copywriter who’s working day in and day out to woo my audience with clever prose and charming insights, it’s my job to make a great first impression on my audience. If I fail, they’re going to move on to something (or someone) else. And I don’t want my audience dating around — I’m after that exclusive kind of relationship.

However, simply writing great content won’t get the job done. You need to have multiple tactics in play from SEO to social and beyond to really woo your audience whenever and wherever they are. It’s why our own client programs at TopRank Marketing have an integrated content marketing strategy driving them. Content, while a key component, is only a piece of our formula for fueling results.

To help you elevate your content marketing efforts to “swipe-right” status and spark instant chemistry with your audience, here are a few of my tips inspired by my time on the front lines.

#1 – Looks are everything, which means visual and visually appealing content is an imperative.

In the app and online dating world, looks are everything when it comes to make a first impression. Profile pictures are your first glimpse into who your dating prospects are, and the more interesting and compelling, the more likely it is that I’ll stop and give the full profile my time. And, as you may have already guessed, the same can be said for your content when it comes to visual appeal.

If visual content isn’t a key component of your content marketing mix — from native or produced video on social to the actual structure of your content — it probably won’t do much to stop scrolling thumbs from passing over you. What kind of visual content am I talking about? A header image should always be included, but in today’s digital marketing landscape video, infographics, charts, tables, and even special formatting. Bulleted lists, article structure, broken up paragraphs, and other formatting elements give readers the impression that your content is easy to digest. A wall of text is a huge turnoff.

For images that really stand out, avoid using common stock photography — odds are, someone else has already used it for a similar topic, which rings a little too close to catfishing for my taste. Instead, go for sources that other brands avoid like Flickr’s creative commons, make your own custom image in Canva, or get out your smartphone and snap your own pic. Even better, if you have an in-house designer, take advantage of their talents to create something custom.


#2 – Your average pick-up line isn’t going to cut it on social media.

Nothing is more annoying than thinking you’ve found a good candidate only to find out their bio has a solitary ? emoji in it (this really happened, by the way). That does nothing to pull me in. Instead, it makes me immediately want to swipe left. (Is the thumbs up saying they’re a good person? Saying I’ll have a good time with them? Letting me know that they will only communicate in emojis? What does it mean?!)

Whether your audience enjoys longer form content or want you to keep it short and sweet, organic visibility is next to zero on Facebook these days, and Twitter and LinkedIn feeds move fast and have their own ways of prioritizing content.

At the most basic level, this means that perceived value, engaging messaging and visuals, proper hashtag usage, and authenticity are non-negotiables. Next, this means that paid social promotion is a new norm for achieving reach. And finally, influencers can provide a killer hook to capture attention and inspire action.

#3 – Cease and desist all SEO catfishing.

When it comes to online or app dating, catfishing is always a risk — which adds a level of skepticism in the minds of any single looking for love. If someone has a profile picture I’ve seen associated with a different name, comes across as fake, or is just crazy out of my league, I’m definitely not swiping right in an effort to avoid a catfish.

When it comes to infusing SEO into your content, the days of prioritizing the search engine above your audience are long gone. Not only are old-school tactics like keyword stuffing make for the most enticing or accurate read, you’re just asking for search engines to put a permenant swipe-left on all your content.

In addition, clickbait title tags and meta descriptions need to go to (this goes for any social promotion, too. Simply put, you need to be walk the line of honesty and intrigue with your audience, or else you’re no better than a catfish and you’re audience will bounce.

A great example of transparency and piquing interest comes from fellow TopRank Marketing employee Joshua Nite. He’s the king of injecting humor into his writing, which translates into his title meta content to pull people in from search (see picture below). Not only are his descriptions funny, but they’re also accurate to what’s on the page. And it works, too, because his posts have some of our highest organic traffic. In fact, his post, 20 Jokes Only a Marketer Could Love, had an average CTR of 11.42% in SERPs over the last 90 days.


#4 – Know your type to find perfect matches with digital advertising.

If someone’s a gym junkie, I’m swiping left. If someone’s a big football fan, I’m swiping right. Why is this? One’s my type and one isn’t. And knowing my type, I can widdle down my options and find a better match than if I was just playing a guessing game. If I give my own profile the same treatment, I can expect I am attracting a like-minded person.

Understanding who I want to attract and who I don’t, ensures that I am only receiving quality matches and gives me ammo to reach out to them with. This same practice should be applied to your paid social promotion where you can target specific audience segments with customized messages.

Before launching paid content promotion, you should know the audience segments you want to target using their job title, company size, age, location, values, and interests using your website analytics service. And if you have a Facebook Pixel on your site, you can discover even more helpful information about your audience and how to target them. Once those segments are defined, you can use solutions like LinkedIn Campaign Manager or Facebook Ads to target those individuals with personalized posts that are more relevant to them. Through targeted posts, you can feel confident that you’re attracting the right audience.


Entice the “Swipe”

When it comes to reaching, resonating, and captivating your audience, you know simply publishing a good piece of content isn’t enough. Like creating swipe-right-worthy profile, you need to go beyond a simple photo and one-sentence bio if you want to attract well-matched prospect.

Integrating a mix of interconnected tactics such as compelling visual content and content infrastructure, honest and intriguing SEO, smooth social promotion, and digital advertising that hones in on your perfect match, are key for enticing your audience.

Once you’ve gotten the “swipe,” what comes next? Captivate them with good conversation (aka: get them to stick around for all 800+ words.). For your best chance at retaining your audience, check out these pointers for consistently creating quality, engaging content.

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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | 4 Integrated Content Marketing Insights From the Trenches of Online Dating |

The post 4 Integrated Content Marketing Insights From the Trenches of Online Dating appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Digital Marketing News: International Women’s Day, Google Warning, Facebook Tops YouTube

McDonald's International Women's Day

McDonald’s Flipped Its Famed Golden Arches for International Women’s Day – McDonald’s made a major play to celebrate International Women’s Day this year, taking its famed golden arches and turning them upside down across social media and at an owner-operated location in Lynwood, Calif. The effort is getting both kudos and criticism as a marketing ploy. Of course it is, but that doesn’t have to mean it’s bad, right? AdWeek

Also drawing attention to International Women’s Day: Here are two thoughtful videos from TopRank Marketing co-founder Susan Misukanis and Content Marketing Manager Christine Berres on the importance of women in the workplace and how to be the best you.

The 2017 Inc. 500 & Social Media: Finding Its Place in the Marketing Mix – LinkedIn and Facebook are reported as the most effective social media platforms while Twitter and YouTube are ranked among the least effective platforms for the Inc 500 companies. UMass Dartmouth

Analytics 360 Suite customers can now set up ‘user groups’ in Google Analytics – Individuals on internal teams at agencies and consultancies often have various levels of access to a Google Analytics account. Overseeing all those individual permissions — particularly as people come and go — is getting easier with the introduction of user groups in Google Analytics. Marketing Land

Google Engineer Issues Warning About Google Crawler – A Google engineer issued a “public service announcement” notifying web publishers that Google does not support CSS custom properties which means that Google’s crawler will not be able to render the web page properly and that can mean a lower ranking. Search Engine Journal

Google Is Helping the Pentagon Build AI for Drones – Wait, what? Anybody else think Google should stick to search and Pixel phones? The DoD partnership is to help develop AI for analyzing drone footage and quite a few Google employees are not happy about it. Gizmodo

Pew Research Social Media 2018

Facebook Tops YouTube In Branded Video Space -According to a survey by video ad-tech company Clinch, Facebook’s platform is home to some 46% of all branded video campaigns, topping YouTube, which has 41% of the campaigns. Digital News Daily

Facebook’s Testing a New Option Which Enables Brands to Mass-Send Promotions via Messenger -Facebook’s rolling out a new test of a self-serve sponsored messaging tool, which will enable brands to mass-send promotional messages to anyone who’s already initiated a conversation with them on the platform. Social Media Today

Forget Facebook? Why Marketers are Embracing Both Pinterest and Instagram – Both platforms are interest based and both Pinterest and Instagram provide a better frame of mind for shopping and let’s face it – Facebook just isn’t what it used to be. AdWeek

Forrester Calls Amazon, Voice New Search Opportunities -Findings in a new Forrester report suggest that retail brands will invest 55% more in online marketing and advertising by 2023. Publicis, Omnicom, and WPP plan to boost their ad spending with Amazon between 40% and 100% in 2018, according to Forrester, citing online reports. MediaPost

On the Lighter Side:

  • Heinz Brings in a Real Hostage Negotiator to Resolve Parent-Child Standoffs at Dinner – AdWeek
  • Amazon Says It Has Fixed Randomly Laughing Alexa Speakers – Bloomberg

TopRank Marketing and Clients In the News:

  • 3M has launched the Champions of Science podcast series (client) – 3M State of Science Survey
  • Lee Odden – 5 Expert Tips to Refine Your Content Marketing Strategy for 2018 – Marketing Insider Group
  • Lee Odden – Influencer Marketing Summary of Lee Odden at Social Media Marketing World: EAR Model – JM Internet Group
  • Lee Odden – What’s Trending: Linking Your Social Media Strategy – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog
  • Lee Odden – 20 Inspiring Digital Marketing Experts – VBout
  • Lee Odden – Top 55 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Follow in 2018 – Status Brew
  • Alex Rynne of LinkedIn (client) and Lee Odden – [Video] Millennials & Influencer Marketing: How To Organize & Optimize For B2B (client) – B2BMX
  • Lee Odden – Is less more in content marketing? A data-driven answer –

Be sure to check in next week when we’ll be sharing all new marketing news stories or you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for daily news. Also, be sure to check out the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | Digital Marketing News: International Women’s Day, Google Warning, Facebook Tops YouTube |

The post Digital Marketing News: International Women’s Day, Google Warning, Facebook Tops YouTube appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.