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The Foundation of Effective PPC: Quality, Relevant, Best-Answer Content

Why Content is the Foundation of PPC

Why Content is the Foundation of PPC

While digital advertising has been a valuable and important content marketing tactic for some time, in the age of “content shock,” near-constant algorithm tweaks, and voice search—it’s taking on a more pivotal role in many content marketing strategies. In fact, Nielsen’s inaugural CMO Report 2018 found that 82% of marketers expect to increase their digital media spend as a percentage of their total advertising budget in the next 12 months.

No doubt, paid search is on the digital spend list. It’s a tried and true method, helping brands secure visibility and compete in a crowded space. And in theory, upping your search investment can help you secure top ad placements across a variety of keywords and queries, exposing you to more searchers and, ultimately, generating traffic that will help you reach your marketing and sales goals, right?

Not so fast. There’s something you need to ask yourself:

Are you backing your paid search and PPC campaigns with the right content?

Paid search ads only bring more people into the funnel. Your content needs to get them through the funnel. And content is effective at doing so with six times the website conversion rate compared to other marketing tactics.

The bottom line? For your PPC campaigns to have maximum impact, you need to have quality content behind them and here’s why.

Content Converts

A whopping 73% of web users report getting frustrated by irrelevant content. Whether users are searching, researching, shopping, or simply perusing, they want, need, and expect relevant content. And many brands are missing that mark. According to The 2017 Meaningful Brands Study, 60% of content created by brands is “clutter” — AKA content that is poor, fails to deliver, and provides little value to the audience.

So, when it comes to getting the most out of your PPC efforts, success isn’t rooted in enticing a click. You can spend hours putting together compelling ad copy, but if the content behind your ad isn’t relevant to the right keywords and matches search intent, why bother? Visitors will quickly see they’re in the wrong place or a bait and switch occurred — and they’re not likely to stick around.

Simply put, there’s content behind every SERP. And if the landing page, blog post, or gated asset that you’re promoting isn’t relevant to your target audience, you’re wasting your money. It’s the content that comes after the ad (what they see after they click) that converts.

[bctt tweet="There's content behind every #SERP. And if what you’re promoting via #PPC isn’t highly relevant to your target audience, you’re wasting your money. - @annieleuman" username="toprank"]

Content Is Purposeful

Paid search advertising is great for quick visibility on those hard-to-nab keywords. And while, theoretically, you could continue your ad campaigns to hold top positions for tons of keywords, it certainly isn’t cost-effective and will no doubt exhaust your budget.

Essentially, you can’t pay for everything. For a better paid search ROI, you need to be strategic in what you back with money and which content can be created (or already exists) that can have play a supportive and organic role. And oftentimes, that great supporting content goes after longer-tail, specific queries that you can rank for without the help of paid tactics.

Why does long-tail matter? Over 50% of today’s searches contain more than four words, creating an opportunity for content marketers to write content that more accurately answers their audience’s specific questions. And generally speaking, you’ll likely see better results as this content is highly targeted and matched with intent; it’s best-answer content when done right.

Now, that’s not to say paid search should only focus on highly competitive, short-tail keywords. You can leverage PPC to promote your niche, specific content and bring that traffic in. If the cost-per-click (CPC) is high, you’re budget may not make it through the week. So, targeting longer-tail keywords with less competition (and volume) can help get relevant traffic to you site and make good use of your budget.

But again, at the end of the day, that specific, niche content needs to match the intent and needs of your audience if you want to get the most bang for your buck.

Content Is Trusted

It's been frequently reported that roughly 95% of searchers click on Page 1 results — including ad placements. So, we can make a reasonable assumption that paid advertising is an effective way to entice clicks and drive traffic to your content.

But just because your audience clicks, doesn’t mean they trust you just yet. Nielsen research has concluded that 53% of consumers don’t trust paid search advertisements.

People are slow to trust paid content. And if your content doesn’t align with your audience’s needs, search intent, or query, they’ll be even less inclined to trust your ad — they may even flag it.

As a result, you need to make the right content promotional choices that match the intent and stage of the customer journey when selecting your targeted keywords. If you’re targeting with top- or middle-funnel search queries, it’s probably not smart to direct to a product or solutions page just yet. Instead, a helpful resource or guide is likely more relevant.

Once they land on your content, it’s important that it is valuable and credible to overcome any trust issues with your audience. Content, unlike paid ads, allows you to cite your sources, incorporate industry thought leader perspectives, and feature real-life employee or customer stories. Together, these elements create credible, consistent content that your audience will trust when they come across it. And with more people trusting and clicking into your ads, you’ll have more people entering and moving through the marketing funnel.

[bctt tweet="You need to make the right content promotional choices that match the intent and stage of the customer journey when selecting your targeted keywords. - @annieleuman on #PPC and #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

Read: How to Build Credibility & Trust with Content Marketing

Putting the “C” in PPC

Pay Per Content. That has a nice ring to it. Without quality content, clicks on your paid search campaigns are worth very little and won’t result in the leads or ROI that you want it to. In order to reduce your CPL, increase conversions, and grow search visibility—as well as support your overall integrated content marketing strategy—quality and relevant content needs to be the driving force behind your PPC campaigns. 

How do you create that best-answer content that fuels organic and paid search results? Follow our guide on how to create best-answer content that resonates with your audience and answers their most burning questions.

The post The Foundation of Effective PPC: Quality, Relevant, Best-Answer Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Grow Your Email List With Pinterest

Do you have an engaged audience on Pinterest? Wondering how to get your Pinterest followers onto your email list? In this article, you’ll discover how to promote your email opt-in via your Pinterest profile, boards, and pins. Begin With an Email Opt-In That Provides Value to Your Ideal Audience The first step is to create [...]

The post How to Grow Your Email List With Pinterest appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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Why Content Marketers Everywhere Need to Get Down with User-Generated Content

Why UGC Needs to Be Part of Content Marketing Strategy

Why UGC Needs to Be Part of Content Marketing Strategy

Authenticity: it’s treasured, but in short supply.

TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden had it right when he wrote recently that trust in marketing is at risk. The statistics speak for themselves: Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer reflects a general lack of credibility for businesses, and one poll from HubSpot found “marketer” to be among the least trustworthy professions.

The commonality among occupations ranking at the bottom of that HubSpot list (marketer, car salesman, politician, lobbyist) is that they all have perceived agendas and motives.

This is where the unique value in adding user-generated content (UGC) to your content marketing strategy lies.

Not convinced? Let’s explore.

UGC: An Avenue to Authentic Awareness and Trust

Even the most well crafted and relatable content is inevitably viewed through a certain lens when it comes from a brand. Developing a genuine rapport with your audience takes time, and even then, there’s an inherent recognition that any public-facing message from a company is strategic and carefully positioned.

User-generated content offers a method to overcome this disconnect, by amplifying the voices of real people and actual customers. If your content marketing goal is authenticity, there’s no better bet.

[bctt tweet="#UGC offers a method to overcome disconnect, by amplifying the voices of real people and actual customers. - @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

One interesting section of the aforementioned Edelman report features data around the content people trust most:

Edeleman Trust Barometer on Company Content

As we see, folks are far more likely to trust content from a company they already patronize (60%) than one they don’t (31%) — not surprising, but also not great for businesses looking to attract new customers.

Ranking well ahead of both those sources, though, is “People like me” (66%), an option that’s second only to “My friends and family” (71%).

It only makes sense that a person would put more stock into the opinions and viewpoints of someone similar to them, especially where buying considerations are concerned. Global research from Nielsen famously showed that 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over ads and branded content.

This is why customer testimonials and case studies are so powerful, but such material sits toward the bottom of the funnel. Prospects are unlikely to encounter it unless already along the purchase path, or actively taking an interest in your brand.

The beauty of user-generated content is its function as a top-of-funnel asset for building brand awareness in an authentic and real way.

Benefits of User-Generated Content

#1: Making the Customer Your Story

Storytelling is one of the most essential tactics in content marketing, and customer-centricity is among the discipline’s central tenets. UGC presents a way to merge these two by actually making turning your customer into the storyteller.

Not only is this an extremely engaging role for the individual whose content is featured, but it makes that content vastly more relatable for those consuming it.

When TINT polled marketing professionals for its 2018 User-Generated Content Marketing Report, the most-cited advantage of UGC was its ability to “humanize marketing,” with 73% agreeing this form of content “makes marketing more authentic.”

#2: Building a Community and Boosting Engagement

Once others start noticing the presence of user-generated content on your website, blog or social media feeds, it can cause a contagious effect. In general, people like to participate in trendy or connective ventures, especially if there is a compelling and creative hook (Ice Bucket Challenge, anyone?).

For example, social media management platform Buffer introduced the #BufferCommunity hashtag on Instagram and receives regular submissions from all around the world. The content – which is frequently regrammed on the company’s official account, with credit – isn’t promotional, but it’s not supposed to be. It brings the product’s users together and raises general awareness for the brand.

Organic content in action is a beautiful thing (literally, in this case):

Example of UGC from Buffer

#3: Implementing Visuals

As we often preach here at TopRank Marketing, visuals are essential to content marketing but often difficult to produce with limited resources. UGC is primarily visual in nature so it represents an easy way to strengthen this dimension of your content mix. Plus, when regular people see other regular people in photos or videos, rather than models or actors, it adds to that relatable authenticity factor.

Via Travis Wright at Marketing Land:

Currently, photos and videos are the most popular forms of UGC. Fifty-four percent of adult internet users regularly create and share photos and videos, according to Pew. Photos are also the most common form of UGC created by Millennials, according to Statista.

#4: Conserving Your Budget

The costs of UGC can vary. Oftentimes brands will compensate contributors in exchange for the rights to feature their content. In other cases, there’s enough intrinsic motivational benefit for the user so as to make that unnecessary. (For instance, in the #BufferCommunity example cited above, there’s a major draw for Instragrammers in getting their work exposed to Buffer’s 40,000 followers.)

In either case, licensing user-generated content tends be less expensive than producing it professionally in-house.

How To Make UGC Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

There are a number of ways that brands encourage and leverage user-generated content. Here are a few for interested marketers to consider:

1. Invite social media users to post about your brand, and curate those posts on your own feed or embed them in relevant content.

One of my favorite examples of UGC is the @SlackLoveTweets Twitter account, which chronicles posts about Slack* from raving fans. Not only does this allow the brand to broadcast genuinely glowing remarks about its product, but the tweets can also be used elsewhere.

For instance, in this blog post a brief embedded user comment helps credibly substantiate the usefulness of a particular feature:

How Slack Uses UGC Example

2. Run a contest that incorporates your product or service in a creative way.

Everyone loves a contest, especially if there’s a fun twist. Say your company sells apparel; you could prompt customers to share pictures of their cats wearing (or sleeping on, or hopelessly entangled in) your t-shirts, with the winner earning a freebie.

If the promotion catches on, not only you will end up with a bounty of great content to share on your social accounts or elsewhere, but you might even sell some extra t-shirts to people who are adamant about sharing pictures of their cats online (which, by my calculation, is roughly 95% of internet users).

3. Crowdsource opinions and perspectives for your blog posts.

In the past, I’ve talked about the power of social media polls, which can allow your audience to become active participants in directing your content. The same concept can be applied with UGC. If you have an engaged social following, and you’re writing about a topic important to them, you could ask for their opinions and then round up the responses in a blog post, alongside stats and analysis.

By no means should UGC be viewed as a replacement for the high-quality content produced by marketing professionals, but it can absolutely be a helpful supplement. 

[bctt tweet="#UGC isn't a replacement for the high-quality content produced by #marketing professionals, but it can absolutely be a helpful supplement. - @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

4. Turn customer reviews into testimonials on your website.

There’s nothing wrong with enlisting a happy customer to cooperatively produce a testimonial advocating for your product or service. But organic reviews — appearing on neutral websites or social media channels — tend to come off as more earnest and unbiased. You could find a few positive ones and turn them into testimonials on your website or post on your blog (with the author’s permission, of course). In fact, if you’re really feeling bold, you could take a negative review from one of these sources and honestly address it.

Ready to Get Down with UGC?

The advantages of UGC are tough to argue: it is relatively inexpensive, community-driven, and highly customer-centric. But at the end of the day, it all comes back to that crucial imperative: authenticity. Letting actual people become the voice for your brand is as real as it gets.

But it’s not a simple matter of snapping your finger and making it happen. In order for UGC to work, you need to build it into your overall content marketing strategy, develop clear objectives around it, incentivize submissions, and – above all – foster an enthusiastic following that is excited to talk about, participate with, and advocate for your brand.

For inspiration to get you started, check out these examples of B2B user-generated content in action.

*Disclosure: Slack is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Why Content Marketers Everywhere Need to Get Down with User-Generated Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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3 Facebook Ad Types That Improve Sales

Want to improve your sales using Facebook ads? Looking for different ad formats to try? In this article, you’ll discover how three Facebook ad types can help you better present your products and drive sales. #1: Capitalize on Initial Awareness With a Facebook Carousel Ad The carousel ad is one of the most effective Facebook [...]

The post 3 Facebook Ad Types That Improve Sales appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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Facebook Group Admin Tools and Updates

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Facebook Groups admin tools and updates. Our special guest this week is Holly Homer. Tune In to [...]

The post Facebook Group Admin Tools and Updates appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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Digital Marketing News: Facebook’s User Ratings & Groups Pixel, Google’s Ad Strength Tool, & Surprising Gen Z Survey Findings

Facebook moves to rate users on trustworthiness: report Facebook has started assigning users a reputation score. Will the new user trustworthiness rating system, which has been refined over the past year, see eventual digital marketing uses? Reuters Machine learning reveals crazy advertising ideas that actually work Artificial intelligence aims to not only create but monitor [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: Facebook’s User Ratings & Groups Pixel, Google’s Ad Strength Tool, & Surprising Gen Z Survey Findings appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Build Better Stories With Collaboration and Improv

Want fresh ideas for your marketing content? Curious how improv techniques can help? To explore how collaborative storytelling can help you create engaging or interactive content, I interview Kathy Klotz-Guest. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with social media [...]

The post How to Build Better Stories With Collaboration and Improv appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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New Research: 2018 Content Planning Report from DivvyHQ & TopRank Marketing

2018 Content Planning Report

2018 Content Planning Report

Whenever failure strikes in content marketing and the post mortem is reviewed, there is almost always the same missing component: adequate planning.

The expression “a failure to plan is a plan to fail” is as true for content marketing as it is for navigating any aspect of business life. Why do so many marketers fail at content planning? Do they not have the skills or information? Maybe they don’t have the right tools or a fleshed out, documented strategy.

I’m pretty sure just about every marketer from early stage to advanced could do with some content planning optimization.

Lucky for you, we’ve partnered with our client, content planning software platform, DivvyHQ to find out where content planning stands today. We've also collaborated with top content marketing leaders including Michael Brenner, Carla Johnson, Robert Rose and Tamsen Webster for their strategic guidance.

Besides the fact that my team at TopRank Marketing helped conduct the research, analyze the data and compile it into a handsome-looking report, what I like most is that the information is broken down into actionable advice that ranges from top challenges to operations to the data that drives strategic content marketing success.

Here are a few highlights:

Top Content Planning Challenges

Content Planning Challenges

As Carla Johnson shared with us: “Great planning has more than one perspective. And that means you have to include people outside your normal circle. Instead of planning content for sales teams and then turning it over, have someone from sales in the meeting to share their perspective from the get-go.”

[bctt tweet="Include people outside your normal circle. Instead of planning content for sales teams and then turning it over, have someone from sales in the meeting to share their perspective from the get-go. - @CarlaJohnson" username="toprank"]

Top Content Planning Successes

Content Planning Successes

[bctt tweet="We simply have to stop measuring content and start measuring its impact on the audience. - @Robert_Rose" username="toprank"]

There's a lot to be said for the maturity of outputs versus outcomes when it comes to measuring success, as Robert indicates. While 78% of the survey respondents measure content planning effectiveness though consumption and 73% do so with content engagement, 27% of marketers have taken those insights to heart and changed their content planning significantly as a result.

Top Content Marketing Tactics

For the respondents of this report, blog content takes the top spot (83%) followed closely by social media content (81%) and emails (80%). These are the bread and butter content types for most content marketers. There's also appetite for visual content with video (74%) and infographics (63%) scoring well in their own right.

Content Planning Maturity Opportunities

Many marketing maturity models use levels of sophistication as a way to measure where the user base falls to determine the levels of maturity. In this report, 80% of survey respondents stated they use a content calendar in some way, which represents an early stage. 42% use calendars to track publish dates which is slightly ahead and 22% manage all milestones related to campaigns, production and publish dates which would represent more advanced use.

With marketers in this survey not showing signs of advancing maturity over 2017, there are many content planning maturity opportunities in the form of awareness, education, adoption and process/skills optimization. This is a challenge that TopRank Marketing consulting and DivvyHQ software eagerly accept!

Content Planning Report 2018

Take action towards advancing your own level of content planning and marketing maturity by downloading the 2018 Content Planning Report  here.

The post New Research: 2018 Content Planning Report from DivvyHQ & TopRank Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Create LinkedIn Video Ads

Do you want to reach more prospects on LinkedIn? Interested in using LinkedIn video ads to promote your products and services? In this article, you’ll learn how to plan and execute your first LinkedIn video ad campaign. #1: Define Your Target Audiences The first step is to determine what audiences you want to target with [...]

The post How to Create LinkedIn Video Ads appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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The Original List: 50 Content Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow into 2019

Content Marketing World 2018 will be here before you know it. The largest content marketing conference in the world brings together an incredible cornucopia of talent, curiosity, knowledge and aspirations for success. Marketers from all over the world come to Cleveland, Ohio for this event of epic proportions. Readers of our blog know we have [...]

The post The Original List: 50 Content Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow into 2019 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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