Friday, December 15, 2017

Digital Marketing News: Google Best Answer, Twitter Threads, Most Viral on Facebook

Predictive Analytics
How Predictive Analytics Can Help Your Business See the Future. Now more than ever, predictive analytics are becoming available to small businesses looking to get ahead of the competition by mining their data and generating meaningful intelligence. From mapping customer purchase trends to optimizing product campaigns, predictive analytics can be the digital marketing solution your company needs. An investment in predictive analytics may give your business the competitive advantage it needs, helping you leave yesterday’s problems behind and focus on growth to come. Entrepreneur

These Emotions Are Said to Have the Greatest Influence on Brand Loyalty. Research from Capgemini’s, which correlated emotions and stated loyalty towards brands, has revealed that the three most important emotions are: Honesty; Trust; and Integrity. People also associate the emotions of “belonging,” “security,” and “familiarity” with loyalty. MarketingCharts

New Google Best Answer Carousel In Search Results Snippets. I have to say, I think this is a great idea! #BetheBestAnswer Google is testing the display of  a carousel of answers, with the “best answer” labeled first as such, allowing the searcher to swipe or click through the answers directly in the search results. Search Engine Roundtable

Accenture Puts A Number On Consumer Distrust: $756B. 49% of customers are concerned about privacy, yet subscribe to intelligent services designed to anticipate their needs, according to research from Accenture. Poor personalization and lack of trust cost U.S. organizations $756 billion last year, as 41% of consumers switched companies. MediaPost

‘Purchases on Google’ Shopping ads test is running on iOS devices. Purchases on Google ads enable consumers to buy products shown in Google Shopping ads right from Google-hosted landing pages when users have payments set up through their Google accounts. Search Engine Land

Google study warns of widespread video ad fraud, encourages wider ads.txt takeup. Publishers are losing up to $1.27bn a year due to fraudsters impersonating their inventory on ad exchanges, with such bad actors conducting up to 700m false ad requests per day, according to a study published by Google. The Drum

Five Trends That Will Shape Mobile Adtech in 2018. Trends to watch include: Industry Consolidation, The Innovating Dragon of China, Transparency and Accountability, Laggards and Late Majority, AI and Machine-Learning – MarketingProfs

Google is sending more traffic than Facebook to publishers — again. Google used to be the main source of referral traffic for web publishers. Then Facebook eclipsed it. And now, Google is back on top again. Facebook sent 25 percent less traffic to publishers this year, while Google increased its traffic by 17 percent, according to Parse.ly. recode

60% Of Marketers To Increase Focus On Organic Search in 2018. Organic search proved to be the top-performing channel in 2017, and will be a top priority for marketers in 2018, according to survey findings released by Search Marketing Platform, Conductor’s. Respondents listed “paid search” or “pay per click” media as their second priority for 2018, and “social” as their No. 3 priority for next year. MediaPost

Google Search Console beta adds 12+ months of data to performance reports. The new beta version of Google Search Console has now added over 12 months of historical data to the performance reports. Search Engine Land

40% of Millennial Women Say Instagram Is the Best Way for Brands to Reach Them. Still not sure how to reach that coveted millennial demographic through your brand’s messaging? Millennial-focused publisher Bustle conducted some research with 1,000 women to help brands understand those consumers a bit more. According to the findings, 81 percent of readers say social media is the most effective way to reach them. AdWeek

Most Effective Digital Marketing Tactics for 2018: Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Marketing Technology, Search Engine Optimization, Email Marketing, Search and Social Ads, Data Management. Ascend2 via MarketingCharts

B2C Marketing Statistic

The Most Shared Facebook Content 2017. The Top Viral Posts, Videos and Articles. To discover what content Facebook audiences love to share, like and comment on, BuzzSumo reviewed two billion articles and Facebook posts that were published in 2017. The findings include: content most shared, viral Facebook posts, expert insights.  BuzzSumo

Facebook announces Sound Collection and 360 Community Page for Creators. Creators of Facebook videos can now enjoy more robust audio, a hub for education and resources and even the ability to borrow 360 cameras. AdWeek

Instagram now lets brands feature Stories Highlights on their profile pages. To help brands get more value out of stories, Instagram will also now automatically save Story posts, which can later be added to a Story Highlights collection. MarketingLand

We actually like 280-character tweets, it turns out. Many Twitter users gave the platform grief for expanding the length of Tweets. It turns out that overall, users like it. New data from app maker and analysis firm SocialFlow shows people are responding well to longer Twitter posts the social network started allowing last month. As for me, I’m still not decided. CNET

Pinterest launches Facebook Messenger bot. Pinterest today launched its first Facebook Messenger bot to power Pin searches, as well as a chat extension to power collaborative visual search inside one of the most popular chat apps on the planet. VentureBeat

Twitter officially launches ‘threads,’ a new feature for easily posting tweetstorms. With the 280 character count, is this even relevant anymore? Apparently so. The threads feature is easy to use: There’s now a new plus (“+”) button in the composer screen where you can type out your series of tweets. TechCrunch

Now You Can Follow Hashtags on Instagram. Instagram has introduced the ability to follow hashtags, giving you new ways to discover photos, videos and people on Instagram. Still deciding on this one. Instagram

On the Lighter Side:

Invisible box craze becomes new viral internet sensation. There is no way on earth I will be able to figure this one out. Have you? Telegraph

TopRank Marketing in the News:

  • TopRank Marketing Team – What makes a great digital marketing and analytics shop? – ClickZ
  • Rachel Miller Interview with Rachel Miller on Social Strategy, Digital and Influencer Marketing – Onalytica
  • Amy Higgins & Lee Odden – PR and Marketing Cannot Stand Stagnation. Focus on Developing New Skills! – Prowly
  • Lee Odden – Does Traditional PR Really Matter Anymore? – RainmakerFM The Digital Entrepreneur Podcast 
  • Lee Odden – B2B Influencer Marketing (Seriously!) Lee Odden of TopRank – MarketingProfs, Marketing Smarts Podcast

What was the top digital marketing news story for you this week?

Be sure to stay tuned until next week when we’ll be sharing all new marketing news stories. Also check out the full video summary with Tiffani and Josh on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Digital Marketing News: Google Best Answer, Twitter Threads, Most Viral on Facebook | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Content Conversations: Content Marketing Predictions for 2018

Last year around this time, we asked reached out to a series of content experts (many of which are included in this post), to ask them for their top content prediction for 2017. By and large, the explosion of video content was a top prediction and rang true this year.

We also received predictions related to the mistrust of news sources (#FakeNews anyone?), the need for restructure within marketing departments as content marketing roles become more defined and the necessity for a defined content marketing strategy.

And while each of these predictions were spot on) or very close to what we’ve experienced this year), some of them were very aspirational. This year, content marketers have been through alot. They’ve had to do even more with less, focus even more on marketing performance and try to navigate a very saturated marketplace.

In the past few weeks we’ve discussed the biggest content lessons in 2017 and how to hit the ground running with content in 2018. This week we get a glimpse at some raw, grounded and actionable content marketing predictions for 2018.

Digital Platforms Will Evolve

The platforms and tools that we use on a daily basis are in the midst of a revolution. Advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are having a significant impact on the industry, one that we can’t ignore.

As content marketers begin to rely more heavily on this technology, they’ll find that they will have even more insights and data which should make for better, more impactful content.

Ann Handley

Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

“We’re going to see new art forms emerge for content in 2018.” @annhandley tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • What additional data do we need to create more impactful content?
  • What tools and plugins already exist that can help to better inform the content we create?
  • How will technologies like AI and Machine Learning shape our approach in 2018 and beyond?

Marketing Will Become a Profit Center

Traditionally, marketing has been viewed as a cost center within organizations large and small. Marketing is the thing that costs money, that doesn’t create new business and is often the first department to experience budget or resource cuts.

Jump to 2018, and it’s time to change that narrative. Good marketers have been lead and revenue obsessed for years, and use data to show their worth. Now it’s time for everyone else to catch up.

If content marketers can narrow their focus and spend time nurturing their audience and developing marketing strategies that move them through the purchasing funnel, they’ll begin to see the direct correlation between marketing and sales made.

Joe Pulizzi

Author & Keynote Speaker

“What if we can build a loyal audience, and generate direct revenue from that audience and have marketing be self-sustaining.” @joepulizzi tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • How does my company value our marketing department?
  • Are we a cost or profit center?
  • What steps can we take immediately to gather, analyze and act on data to become more efficient?

2018 Will Leave a Content Crater

Everyone and their dog (literally), consider themselves to be content marketers. The landscape is saturated with crappy content that is leaving many audiences unsatisfied and turned off, even when it comes to the good stuff.

We are in an era where people know that they need to be creating content, but they aren’t always equipped to create the right content. In the coming year, we’ll see even more people creating even more content without purpose.

Chris Brogan

CEO, Owner Media Group

“We’re on the tail-end of people knowing they need to create content. Content 2018 is Applebee’s announcing $1 margaritas every day of the week.” @chrisbrogan tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Does the content that we create have purpose?
  • What can we do to ensure we’re creating the right content for the right audience(s)?

Marketers Will Focus More on A/B Testing

Creating and promoting content a certain way because it’s “the way you’ve always done it”, won’t help you become a better or more successful marketer.

The best marketers, take the time to test different variations, analyze the data and optimize based on the results. When you do start an A/B testing initiative it’s essential that you keep the variables to a minimum. That way you can determine which variable had the impact and optimize your approach moving forward.

Alexandra Rynne

Content Marketing Manager – Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn

“In 2018, we’ll see a lot more companies A/B testing.” @amrynnie tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • What content or content promotion assets can we begin A/B testing immediately?
  • What types of content do we want to A/B test moving forward?
  • What tools do we have in place or need in order to effectively A/B test?

B2B Brands Will Inject Humor into Marketing

Most B2B marketers think that content is serious business. However, that notion runs counter to the buzzwords we’ve been throwing around for years about humanizing brands, showcasing authenticity and ultimately creating content for people.

Smart B2B brands will take the time in 2018 to begin testing adding humor into their marketing in a way that creates a more meaningful connection with their audience.

Tim Washer

Writer & Producer, Cisco

“2018 will be the year that we’ll see more B2B brands using humor in their content. Using humor is a wonderful way to share our flaws as people.” @timwasher tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Would my audience be open to consuming content from our brand that is more humorous?
  • How can we add humor to our content in a way that makes sense?

Content Measurement Will Reign Supreme

In 2018 marketers will need to be even more data driven than ever before. Reporting on KPIs will no longer be accepted as marketers have access to information that can help them measure true content impact and performance against business objectives.

Additionally, marketers will need to use this data to map the full buyer journey to determine the correct place for each piece of content.

Dayna Rothman

VP of Marketing & Sales Development, BrightFunnel

“Marketers will need to go above and beyond KPIs and determine what content is moving the needle for pipeline and revenue.” @dayroth tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Do I have access to the data I need?
  • What impact is my content having currently?
  • How can we create more impactful content that maps to business objectives?

Marketers Still Won’t Have a Documented Strategy

Documenting a formal content strategy still seems to be a struggle for many marketers. And while there is a slight increase each year in the number of marketers who do have a content strategy, it’s not enough.

Without a plan, it’s impossible to meet or exceed expectations. Simply formalizing your plan can provide a framework for how you’ll approach content, what your goals are and how you can make decisions based on the data you collect.

Chris Moody

Content Marketing Leader, GE Digital

“We have to get to a point where every marketer is data driven and showing ROI.” @cnmoody tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • If you don’t have a plan, what is hindering you from creating one?
  • What are your biggest content marketing goals for 2018?
  • How can you work backwards to determine how you will reach them?

BONUS: In 20 Years, Content Marketing Will Be ______

As an added bonus, we asked our experts to predict beyond the coming year and share their vision for content marketing in 20 years. Here were their responses:

What is Your Content Marketing Prediction for 2018?

Content marketing changes so quickly that these predictions can’t possibly cover all of the changes that we will experience in the coming year. So that begs the question: what is your top content marketing prediction for 2018?

Disclosure: BrightFunnel & LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Content Conversations: Content Marketing Predictions for 2018 | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

4 Search Trends That Made Waves in 2017

For the past two decades, the pinnacle of search sophistication was talking to a search engine like you’re Tarzan. “What are the best hiking boots for men?” became “best hiking boots men.” “How many ounces are there in a pound?” became “number ounces pound.” Question words, articles, adjectives, or any such linguistical fanciness would confuse the humble algorithms.

But search is finally getting smarter. Search engines can parse whole phrases, decipher intent, zero in on results that will delight the searcher. And search is moving beyond the desktop or even the smartphone touchscreen, accepting new kinds of input, and displaying output in other formats than the standard ranked list of links.

In short: What consumers expect from search engines has evolved, and search engines are changing to meet these expectations. Marketers need to adapt to the new search ecosystem. If we’re still optimizing for Tarzan, we’ll miss an ever-increasing amount of traffic.

Here are five major trends in search that made waves this year, and will continue to reverberate in 2018 and beyond.

#1: Visual Search

This first trend is the newest on the list, but it seems poised to change the search landscape substantially in the future. When every smartphone has a built-in camera, why bother typing or speaking queries when you can search with a picture? Google Lens is an app that can identify buildings, products, text, and read barcodes – and it uses machine learning, meaning it’s going to get more sophisticated over time.

Right now, you can take a picture of a movie poster, book cover, or even consumer products like shampoo or mouthwash, and the app will serve up search results based on the image. The technology isn’t perfect yet, but it should be on every marketer’s radar.

#2: Voice Search

Five years ago, the only reason to talk while using a phone was if you were having an actual conversation with another human being (gross, I know, but those were different times). Now, a growing number of conversations are with Siri and the nameless Google Assistant. Voice search has exploded in popularity, rapidly approaching the tipping point when it will overtake typed search.

Studies say one in five consumers use voice search on their smartphones, and industry experts predict 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

Voice queries tend to be more complex, more like natural human speech, than a typed search query. Marketers optimizing content for voice search should think in long phrases, whole sentences, questions and answers, rather than short keyword phrases. Think of how someone would ask you in person for the information you’re providing, and make sure your content addresses that type of query.

#3: Home Assistants (Smart Speakers)

Voice and visual search ultimately lead to the same result: A screen displaying search engine listings. Search on home assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo do away with the screen entirely. The entire interaction is verbal – you ask a question, the smart speaker responds with information.

There are over 35.6 million of these voice-activated assistants on the market right now, a 129% increase over last year. As these devices get smarter and cheaper, we can expect sales to continue to soar.

One of the reasons these home assistants are appealing is they simplify search results. Instead of a page of listings, they give a single definitive answer. To optimize for that type of search, marketers need to pay close attention both to local search and to sites that partner with home assistants, like Yelp and CitySearch for business reviews.

#4: Featured Snippets

For marketers, the point of a search is for the user to click on our link in the SERP and read our carefully-crafted content. For consumers, the point of search is most often to get a single piece of information. Google is on the consumers’ side in this case – they’re constantly adding new features to keep people from having to click search results.

Featured snippets occupy a “rank 0” space in search results, above the actual SERP:

Basically, Google pulls content from one of the top 10 search results and displays it, along with a link to the source. According to Ahrefs’ exhaustive snippets study, these little answer boxes can “steal” nearly 9% of clicks from the top organic listing. And Google is doubling down on the feature, displaying multiple snippets per query, increasing the length of text appearing in the box, even adding a carousel of options readers can browse without clicking through.

The good news for marketers is snippets most often appear for long-tail keywords. If your content is a comprehensive explanation of a topic with multiple sub-topics, you’re already optimizing for snippets.

Me Content, You Audience

Searchers no longer have to dumb down their queries, which means marketers shouldn’t dumb down content to please a search algorithm. Search is getting more convenient, more conversational, and accessible across a wider array of devices.  So it’s time for marketers to evolve our content to match. Unless, of course, your target audience is actually Tarzan.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

5 Purpose-Driven Companies Making an Inspiring Splash on Social Media

As our world becomes increasingly connected through the internet, social media and mobile technologies, consumer awareness and engagement around local and global social, economic, political and environmental challenges are soaring to new heights.

As a result, people desperately want to invest their time and money where their hearts are by supporting and working for companies that are making a positive and meaningful impact. And many companies are answering the call by throwing out conventional business models to tackle these challenges—while also bolstering and growing their bottom line. They’re finding and living their purpose.

For these companies, success isn’t grounded in simply offering “the best” product or service. Instead, it’s the purpose behind the creation and execution of those best-in-class products and services that drives success for all involved.

Of course, social media marketing is playing a major role in spurring awareness, engagement and action around what purposeful companies are all about. From breathtaking, tear-inducing photos to compelling video narratives, below I highlight a handful of these companies that have captivated my heart with their purpose and marketing mind with their social media work. And my hope is that you’ll feel the same.

#1 – Love Your Melon

If you’re regular reader of my example-heavy social media blogs, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Love Your Melon. Love Your Melon was founded in hopes of making the lives of kids battling cancer in America a little better by providing them with a special hat. With each item purchased by the public, 50% of the profits are donated to the organization’s nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer.

I encourage you to check out the video below about their story—of course, this has been uploaded natively to social to put all the feels out there.

Love Your Melon’s social media mix includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Across their channels, all the tried-and-true marketing best practices are working in their favor. But it’s evident that their purpose is the guiding light in how they tell their story on social. Using captivating imagery you don’t only see the amazing work being done—but you feel it, too.

Purpose-Driven Brand Love Your Melon

#2 – cuddle+kind

If you aren’t familiar with cuddle+kind, allow me to introduce you to this amazing brand where every fiber of its being seems to be dedicated to making a difference.

Started by the Woodgate family, cuddle+kind produces hand-knit, heirloom-quality dolls that not only help feed children around the world, but also provide women artisans in Peru with sustainable, fair trade income.

“As parents, we believe all children should have enough food to eat and the opportunity to thrive, so when we saw a documentary on the devastating impact of childhood hunger on millions of children around the world, it inspired us to help,” cuddle+kind’s website states. “On that day, we decided to start a company whose purpose is to help improve the lives of children and to make a difference.”

For every doll sold, cuddle+kind is able to provide 10 meals to children in need. At the time this article was written, they had already donated 2,988,823 meals.

Like Love Your Melon, cuddle+kind’s amazing visual content on social media is what draws you in—like this little number below from Instagram.

Purpose-Driven Brand Cuddle and Kind

Also, here’s a look at their most recent video release on Facebook.

#3 – Krochet Kids intl.

Founded in 2007, Krochet Kids intl. (KK intl.) is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by providing job opportunities for women in need. Every product is hand-signed by the person who made it and each artisan has her own profile page on the organization’s website detailing her story—with room for shoppers to leave a thank you or words of encouragement.

In honor of its 10-year anniversary, the brand launched a video series (some of them short films) highlighting the people and the stories that have made their work what it is today, which were uploaded to YouTube and shared across some of their social channels. Here’s a little taste:

Facebook is the brand’s top-channel, boasting nearly 74,000 likes, but they’re also sharing the work of their community on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. What’s really working on Facebook are the great visuals, but they also take advantage of the “Products Shown” feature to make it easy to click and shop.

Purpose-Driven Brand Krochet Kids Intl.

#4 – MudLove

MudLove was born in a tiny garage filled with big dreams and a lot of love back in 2009.

“With nothing more than an old stamp set, a box of clay, and a plan to support clean water projects in Africa, handmade creations emerged and MudLOVE was born,” MudLove’s website says. “We are artists and makers. Doers and thinkers. Number-crunchers and donut-munchers. With ‘mud’ in our hands and love in our hearts, the chance to make a difference is our inspiration to create.”

Through its partnership with Water for Good, for every product that’s purchased, a week’s worth of clean water can be provided to someone in need.

When it comes to their social media efforts, MudLove is on all the usual suspect channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Their posts are a blend of humor and hope, sharing their hand-crafted pottery pieces and bringing attention to clean water issues in developing African countries.

Purpose-Driven Brand MudLove

#5 – The Giving Keys

The Giving Keys bills itself as a “pay it forward company,” hoping to not only inspire the world to do just that, but also create jobs for those transitioning out of homelessness. Based in Los Angeles, the company makes jewelry out of repurposed keys, which are personalized with your choice of an inspirational word or phrase.

“We’re not a nonprofit, we’re a social enterprise,” the company’s websites boldly states. “So instead of raising donations, we sell product to provide jobs. A good job is a long-term solution for breaking cycles of generational poverty and homelessness. That’s why we place people on career paths and hand them the keys to unlock their fullest potential.”

On social media, their posts offer words of encouragement and inspiration, and stories of the people who they’ve been able to lift up. Of course, a smattering of pretty images of their finished products can also be found. This is one of my favorite recent Instagram posts:

Purpose-Driven Brand The Giving Keys

What’s Your Purpose?

Purpose is not your company’s mission statement. Purpose is not a set of company values. Purpose is the unique and authentic underpinning of what drives the work you do and the impact you want to make. And these brands certainly embody that, and they’re bringing it to life on their social media channels.

From our perspective, all organizations have the opportunity to uncover their true purpose. In fact, TopRank Marketing recently embarked on our own purpose initiative, which is in the discovery phase as we speak.

What have we learned so far? Each and every one of us cares deeply about a myriad of issues plaguing our networks, communities and the world at large. So, we’re starting there—we care to make a difference. And that’s where you can start, too.

Want to know more about the intersection of purpose and marketing? Read our post Evolve or Die: The Role of Purpose and Authenticity in Marketing, featuring insights from expert Mackenzie (Mack) Fogelson.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | 5 Purpose-Driven Companies Making an Inspiring Splash on Social Media | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Monday, December 11, 2017

3 Unusual Content Marketing Approaches That Actually Work

My favorite brand on social media is Denny’s. The diner chain eschews pretty much every marketing convention, and that’s exactly why its efforts stand out so much.

The company’s online personality has been compared to that of a “chill teenager.” Its Twitter feed is filled with juvenile humor, rarely promoting the restaurant’s actual food in any serious way. I doubt many people find the image of a pancake in a shoe appetizing. The Denny’s Instagram page looks like some sort of bizarre avant garde art project.

None of this goes by the book. But Denny’s scores tremendous engagement on almost every social media channel, and has developed a cult following of sorts on the web thanks to its quirky content. This has proven to be a significant differentiator for their business.

Right now, standing out with your content marketing efforts is more challenging than ever before. If you’re trying to adhere to the established “best practices,” I have bad news: so is everybody else.

This requires outside-the-box thinking. Those who go against the grain and pursue methods that counter the mainstream are frequently being rewarded, and in some cases maybe even setting new trends for the marketing world.

To illustrate, here’s a look at three unusual content marketing tactics and companies that have applied them successfully.

Get Ultra Niche

Sure, you could water down your content in order to make it appealing to the broadest possible audience. Plenty of businesses do just that.

Or, you could narrow your core following, and orient your messaging toward them directly. Speak their language, even if it might potentially alienate some folks who fall outside of that scope.

California-based apparel retailer Nasty Gal embodies this philosophy. Marketing to strong and independent young women in the mold of its founder Sophia Amoruso (of Girlboss fame), the brand’s voice is unapologetically sassy and in-your-face — sometimes even a little profane.

This was by design from the very beginning, as Amoruso told Wall Street Journal back in 2013:

“Nasty Gal really emerged from a conversation. I’ve probably spent more time than any other brand reading every last comment. To listen to people the way you’re able to online is very powerful. I think other companies are just starting to figure that out.”

Four years later, many are still figuring it out. Or too risk-averse to boldly embrace a targeted content style that borders on esoteric. Meanwhile, Nasty Gal continues to build affinity and loyalty with its very specific, adoring audience.

Stir the Pot

Last month on this blog, Josh Nite wrote about brands taking a stand based on values. That can be a scary thing. The standard playbook calls for companies to stay neutral on social issues, so as to avoid ruffling feathers and potentially turning away customers who lean strongly in another direction. As divisive and volatile as things can be these days, this mindset is magnified.

But as Josh noted, adopting an emphatic public stance can differentiate your business, define your audience, and inspire your employees. It can strengthen your company’s relationship with customers (and draw in new ones) who share your values, and generate positive third-party coverage. In many cases these benefits will outweigh the negatives.

Recently, outdoor clothing company Patagonia made waves by blacking out its website and replacing the usual ecommerce interface with this message, in the wake of President Trump’s decision to roll back public land protections in Utah:

For several days, in the thick of the holiday season, it was a bit tricky to go and even order a jacket from Patagonia online. (You could still access their store by clicking an X up in the corner, but it wasn’t all that obvious.) That’s not a traditionally advisable business move, and probably costs the retailer some money in the short term. But ultimately, it has the potential to build brand loyalty.

Focus on One Social Media Channel Exclusively

It’s easy enough to maintain a presence on every major social media channel, especially with tools that enable you to post on all of them from one central app. Sometimes it’s as simple as copy-and-pasting the same message across different platforms, broadening your reach without a whole lot of addition effort.

The problem with this approach, however, is that it can dilute your brand and prevent you from achieving true greatness on any channel. Instead of trying to create social content that will work for every social network, why not focus on mastering just one? Determine where your customers mostly like to hang and then put all of your social media marketing effort into making that account as good as it can be.

One company that exemplifies this is White Space Studio, a creative agency in Hawaii that exhibits its design savvy through a stellar Instagram page. Sure, the company also has Facebook and Pinterest accounts, but doesn’t do much with them. And White Space doesn’t even bother with Twitter.

Does this limit their potential exposure? Perhaps. But by concentrating their attention on Instagram, they’ve built an exceptional showcase for their brand while achieving bigtime engagement.

At TopRank Marketing, we love to get weird. Get in touch with us about your content marketing and we’ll help you develop some tactics that buck the norm.


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Friday, December 8, 2017

Digital Marketing News: Mobile Beats Desktop, YouTube Stories, Facebook for Kids?

Top Women Influencers in Tech

TopRank Marketing has partnered with Onalytica for the Women in Tech: Hot Topics and Influencers List for 2018. The list features influencers in the categories of Artificial Intelligence, FinTech, Blockchain, BigData, IoT, EdTech, MarTech, InsurTech, Virtual Reality, and Cyber Security. Onalytica Blog

Study: 80% Of Brands Plan To Boost Video Spending In 2018. Of course Facebook and Google dominate video advertising with Facebook accounting for 39%, and Google’s YouTube, 27% of digital video ad spend. The cost of producing targeted high-quality videos is prohibitive, and many marketers rely on agencies to create the ads. MediaPost

Facebook tests tool to make it easier for businesses to send message blasts on Messenger. Facebook is internally testing a tool called Messenger Broadcast that businesses would be able to use to send message blasts to people who had conversed with their accounts on Messenger. Of course that wouldn’t work of Messenger is down (see above).  MarketingLand

Black Friday Twitter engagements totaled nearly 785M. Black Friday-related terms and hashtags on Twitter had a total message volume of 1,982,019 and a potential reach of 27.5 billion. “potential”, ha! What’s interesting is that 63% of the messaging came from mobile devices and 37% from the web. MarketingDive

Email Generates $1.6 Billion On Cyber Monday (But Search Rocked It). Cyber Monday was the largest online sales day in history with sales increasing to $6.59 billion. Mobile continues to grow as an integral component of retail marketing, as revenue driven by smartphones reached a record $1.59 billion. Search was crowned the overall winner of the shopping bonanza with 41.7% of online sales. . MediaPost

YouTube is testing its own version of Stories. YouTube announced it’s rolling out the Community tab to all creators with more than 10,000 subscribers as well as a new feature called “reels”, which is like Instagram or Snapchat Stories. Reels allow creators to stitch together short videos shot from their mobile devices and add things like filters, music and text. Engadget

Mobile Ad Spend Surpasses Desktop Spend. Mobile is now the world’s second-largest ad medium expected to reach $98.3bn in 2017, representing almost a quarter (23%) of worldwide advertising expenditure. WARC

There are now 25M active business profiles on Instagram. It looks like my favorite network for personal use is finally growing up into the business world. Instagram also says that more than 80 percent of Instagram accounts follow a business, with 200 million users visiting a business profile every day.  TechCrunch

New Facebook App for Children Ignites Debate Among Families. While there is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as Coppa, that requires services aimed at children to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting information, how long before kids figure out how to “hack” that permission? I’m not a fan of this at all.  New York Times

CMO Ad Spend 2018

63% of B2B marketers currently buy advertising programmatically. Not only are B2B marketers combining programmatic and data to drive their ad buying and audience targeting, they’re also turning to data to drive their integrated marketing campaigns. In fact, almost 80 percent of respondents said they either use or want to use a solution that integrates ad tech and mar tech. Dun & Bradstreet (client)

Google is testing an answers carousel within the search results snippets. Even less reason to click through: Google has started testing and potentially rolling out a new feature in search that shows a carousel with a list of answers directly within the search results snippets. Search Engine Land

2018 Digital Marketing Plans Survey Summary Report. Highlights include: Social media marketing, content marketing and the marketing technology that drives these tactics, are most effective marketing tactics. The most critical challenge to the success of a digital marketing plan is data quality and 93% of digital marketing budgets will increase in 2018, with 41% increasing significantly. Ascend2

Content is the No. 1 contributor to an overall good event experience for IT buyers. Four out of five IT buyers say they are more likely to visit a booth if they have heard of, read about, or connected with an exhibitor before an event. This is why conference ebooks make so much sense! MarketingProfs

Global AR & VR revenues to grow from $4.1 billion in 2016 to $79.4 billion in 2021. ARtillry Intelligence has devised a disciplined and non-biased revenue forecast for AR & VR, segmented into their product areas: enterprise AR/VR and consumer AR/VR. From Pok√©mon Go to applications in manufacturing and design, it looks like the AR & VR space is coming in to its own. ARtillry

Sprout Social Acquires Social Analytics Firm Simply Measured. The social analytics market is expected to grow to $9.54 billion by 2022 and with Simply Measured full-funnel analytics, Sprout Social is certainly moving in the right direction to capitalize on that growth. Sprout Social Blog

On the Lighter Side

Facebook Messenger Went Down Globally and Everyone Freaked Out.  On Tuesday this week thousands of users reporting problems according to the Down Detector website, which logs reports of online service failures. Of course when one network is down, users flock to another to complain. In this case hundreds of users flocked to Twitter to vent their frustration. Fortune

Instagram adds content warnings for koala selfies. If you click on an offending hashtag like #koalaselfie, #lionselfie #koalahugs or #tigerpet, a new warning will pop up. “You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment,” the warning reads. CNN Tech

TopRank Marketing in the News

  • Ashley Zeckman – Why Brands Should See Ideas Everywhere (podcast) – Brand Driven Digital
  • Ashley Zeckman – Revolutionary Females in Marketing to Follow on Twitter – Devrix
  • Rachel Miller – 35+ Most Influential Women Leading B2B Marketing Technology – Data Captive Blog
  • Rachel Miller – Women in Martech: Hot Topics and Influencers List – Onalytica Blog
  • Rachel Miller & Lee Odden – Top 100 Social Media and Marketing Influencers – Digital Scouting
  • Lee Odden – 2018 Predictions on the Future of Customer Experience – Adobe CMO.com
  • Lee Odden – How to Apply Influencer Marketing Principles and Boost Your Sales – LinkedIn Sales Solutions Blog (client)
  • Lee Odden – LinkedIn Presents: The Future of Advertising Agencies (video) – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog (client)

What was the top digital marketing news story for you this week?

Be sure to stay tuned until next week when we’ll be sharing all new marketing news stories. Also check out the full video summary with Tiffani and Josh on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Digital Marketing News: Mobile Beats Desktop, YouTube Stories, Facebook for Kids? | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Digital Marketing News: Mobile Beats Desktop, YouTube Stories, Facebook for Kids? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

5 Outdated Content Marketing Tactics (And What to Do Instead)

Can I interest anyone in an iPhone? No, not the iPhone 8 or X. I’m talking about this bad boy:

No takers? But it has a 320X480 pixel screen, 128 Mb of RAM, and a single 2-megapixel camera! Back in 2007, this was the hottest phone on the market. People lined up in front of stores just to get their hands on one.

You get the point: State of the art quickly becomes laughably outdated. What used to thrill a consumer’s soul is now something we wouldn’t give a toddler to play with.

That kind of obsolescence isn’t limited to the tech industry, of course. The cycle from next-big-thing to the dustbin is even faster in online content. Yet many content marketers are using tactics that, while they once worked, are now as outdated as that original iPhone. What’s worse, some of us are still in the flip-phone stage.

If you’re using any of the following content marketing tactics, it’s time for an upgrade. Here’s what doesn’t work, why it doesn’t, and what you should try instead.

Ditch These Outdated Content Marketing Tactics

1. Broad and Shallow Content

Content used to be about sheer bulk rather than quality. Search engines prioritized sites that had a lot of keyword-rich (more on that later) content. Whether that content was actually useful didn’t matter. So writers churned out blog posts like they were getting paid by the word – and sometimes, we actually were.

But search engines have gotten smarter, and our content needs to get smarter, too. Pride of place in the SERP goes to content that actually serves a purpose for an audience. Shallow content gets few clicks, low time on page, and high bounce rates. All of these factors push your content down to the hinterlands of Google’s Page 2 (or lower).

What to Do Instead: Content can no longer be a commodity, churned out in a word factory. We need handcrafted artisan content. It takes longer to create, but you don’t have to make as much of it, either. Focus your resources on a few pillar pieces that deliver real value. Content that inspires readers to spend time on the page, explore further, and share with others will beat commodity content every day of the week. 

 

2. Single Keyword Stuffing

In the days of bulk content, a sure-fire way to get search engines’ attention was stuffing in keywords wherever they would fit. Keywords were stuffed in every header, every paragraph, multiple times in a sentence, and then in invisible text at the bottom of the page for good measure. It didn’t add anything useful to the content—in fact, it actively made the content worse – but it helped get eyeballs to your site.

Now, though, you’re likely to get the opposite effect from keyword stuffing. Google actively recognizes spammy keyword usage and moves that content down in the SERP.

What to Do Instead: Don’t focus on a single keyword. Start with a topic for which there is proven search demand. Then create a keyword group of similar terms, related topics, and long-tail derivatives. Use your keyword group to inform your content outline. Then, as you write your comprehensive, best-answer content, you will naturally include the relevant terms without stuffing them in. That way, you’re optimizing for humans and search engines alike.

3. Clickbait Headlines

Never has a tactic been so maligned and so effective as clickbait headlines were a few years ago. “7 of the Coolest Kazoos in the UK – Number 5 Will Shock You!” “They Said He Couldn’t Play His Kazoo at School – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!” Sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed drove millions of views with these headlines, and marketers were quick to pick up on the trend.

The problem is, if everything is “shocking,” “mind-blowing,” or “brain-melting,” nothing is. Readers caught wise to the hyperbole and stopped clicking through. Upworthy is still around, but has a fraction of the audience. Buzzfeed is still going strong, but only because they ditched the breathless headlines and focused on great content.

What to Do Instead: Offer a clear benefit to the reader in your title. Don’t promise a life-changing, unbelievable experience – promise to meet a specific need, and make sure you fulfill that promise.

4. Focusing on Bottom of Funnel Content

One of content marketers’ biggest challenges is proving how their content contributes to a purchase decision. So it makes sense that, historically, we’ve concentrated efforts on content designed to close a deal. That is, content that’s more, “Why Our Kazoos Are the Best,” rather than “Why Kazoos Are a Vital Part of an Orchestra,” or even, “Our 10 Favorite Kazoo Players.”

It’s true that bottom of funnel content is easier to tie to revenue. But without top of funnel content, you won’t have an established audience for the bottom of funnel stuff. You can talk about how great your product is out the kazoo, but who’s going to read it?

What to Do Instead: Most of your audience is going to be in the early stages of the decision-making process. To strike the right content marketing balance, use the funnel image as your guide – create the majority of your content for top of funnel, a little less for mid-funnel, and less still for the very bottom. Then make sure each piece of content has a next step that leads the reader further down the funnel. Or kazoo.

 

5.  “Viral” Content

There’s a potent high to having a piece of content go viral. Millions of impressions, thousands of shares, maybe even local news coverage, all organic and all free – it’s definitely intoxicating. When viral videos cracked the mainstream consciousness, marketers went chasing that high. And some of us are still trying to catch it.

As I’ve said before, viral is not a content marketing strategy. It’s a pleasant but unpredictable side effect of good content, and it’s ultimately irrelevant to your goals. How many of those millions of viewers are interested in your product? And how many just want to laugh at a dog playing a kazoo?

What to Do Instead: Don’t aim your content at the broadest possible audience and hope it goes viral. Focus on your most relevant audience and make a strategic plan to reach them. We use an integrated marketing approach that includes:

  • Best-answer, comprehensive content with SEO built in
  • Influencer co-creation for amplification
  • Social media amplification
  • Paid, highly targeted advertising

Get with the Now

The original iPhone was a technological marvel in 2007. Now, you’ll find it in a museum of technology, or on eBay as a “classic collector’s item.” But you won’t find it in anyone’s hip pocket.

Make sure your marketing stays up-to-date: Ditch outdated tactics like shallow, product-focused content and upgrade to valuable, customer-focused content, strategically planned and amplified.

Need help getting to the next generation of content marketing? We’re here for you.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | 5 Outdated Content Marketing Tactics (And What to Do Instead) | http://www.toprankblog.com

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