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Monthly Archives: September 2018

New LinkedIn Ads Features

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 new LinkedIn ads features and Snapchat partnering with Amazon on new visual search tools. Our special guest [...]

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Stop Gambling with Your Marketing and Go Pro with Tips from Ten Pubcon Pro Speakers

In the fast paced world of search and digital marketing, what separates amateurs from professionals often comes down one simple distinction: marketing as a gamble or marketing as a planned, measured and iteratively optimized discipline. There are far too many marketing campaigns being implemented simply because “that’s how we’ve always done it”, as a reaction [...]

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Digital Marketing News: Adobe’s $4.75B Marketo Buy, Google’s 20th Anniversary Neural Matching, & Facebook Lets Pages Join Groups

Adobe’s $4.75 Billion Purchase of Marketo Will Boost Its Ability to Compete With Salesforce In its biggest purchase ever, Adobe has acquired Marketo, shoring up its B2B footprint and giving a vote of confidence to the marketing technology industry. AdWeek Google Begins Using Neural Matching to Understand Synonyms, Impacting 30% of Queries For its twentieth [...]

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How to Sell With Facebook Lead Ads

Want your Facebook funnel to be more profitable? Wondering how Facebook lead ads can help? To explore how to sell with Facebook lead ads in an unconventional way, I interview Oli Billson. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with [...]

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Power Pages and Best Answer Content: Should You Go Long or Short Form?

Long vs short form content

Long vs short form content

Buyers have questions and sellers better have answers that are easy to find, informative and inspiring. This is the cornerstone behind "Best Answer" content marketing strategy. But what qualifies as best answer content? How deep or wide do you need to go on a topic?

Is it better to use short form or long form content for content marketing?

From informal observations like ours on video and social media to formal studies in the marketing industry, much has been said about the topic of content length with some pretty compelling arguments in favor of long form content.

For example, BuzzSumo’s 2018 Content Trends Report says long form content consistently gains backlinks which is great for referral traffic and SEO. Another study from BuzzSumo and AppSumo reported in their analysis of 100 million articles that the longer the content, the more shares it gets. In Backlinko’s own research of 1 million Google search results, comprehensive content significantly outperformed shallow content. In that same study, the average word count of a Google first page result was found to be 1,890 words.

Does this mean you should always write 1,890 word blog posts? Do customers always want to binge on content?

Savvy marketers understand that statistical generalizations can be useful for making persuasive arguments but not always so useful in practice. As a long time B2B content marketing practitioner, here’s what I’ve found to be true when it comes to long form content.

Engagement and reach are intertwined when it comes to digital content. Search continues to be an important connector of brand solutions content with buyers at the very moment they need it. A number of analysis identifying the content types that fare best in search have superficially associated length with "better”.

“The idea that long form content is best can be misleading. Content depth and utility trump length for search engines and buyers." @leeodden

The reality is that depth is better than length. It just happens that much of the content that covers a topic thoroughly also has length. But it is not the number of words that has merit. It's the words used, structure, usefulness, citations and associated entities that matter most for search engines trying to understand and rank "best answer" content and people looking for solutions.

Google is essentially an answer engine and if companies want to be the "best answer" for what their potential customers are looking for, they'll want to invest in content that is comprehensive and engaging on the topic.

For powerful content, publish powerful pages. One of the tactics to become the best answer for topics that are and important to customers and that represent the solutions from the brand are what we at TopRank Marketing call, “Power Pages”.

Best Answer Content works in tandem with the idea of Power Pages, which are encyclopedic treatments of a specific topic and will often serve as the hub of an idea with spokes to tangential and related ideas in the form of other pages or posts. Insights about customer interests, goals, pain points and questions about the topic all inform the creation of relevant Power Pages that meet the demands of customer intent.

Power Page Layout

The information architecture with Power Pages is very logical with attention to be both search and buyer friendly. Exploration of an issue from what it is, to how it can be solved, to evidence of credibility and triggers to take action can all be found within a single Power Page and it's ecosystem of subordinate or related content.

For example, the Power Page below from Click Software on the topic of Field Service Engagement has performed incredibly well in search, on social and with customers.

Field Service Engagement

Powerful content drives search traffic. While Power Pages play an important part of a Best Answer Content Marketing Strategy irregardless of how that content is promoted, successful marketers are paying special attention to their ability to attract customers at the moment of need. Of course I’m talking about Search Engine Optimization.

Optimization should be part of your ongoing content process. There are many ways companies are making it easier and more effective for Google to crawl, index and rank brand content. From ensuring pages are fast and mobile friendly with useful, logical content to optimizing for clickthrough in SERPs and adding signals of credibility / authority to content through attracted links from credible sources, influencer quotes and credible content like statistics and cited excerpts, the list of search performance optimization tactics is always evolving.

Optimize for people and search engines. Here is a list of 9 potential places where you can decide to put your target keyword phrase in your (long or short) power page. as long as it flows well and satisfies your brand standards:

  1. Title tag - this is also what is often used to pre-populate social shares and used for bookmark text
  2. On page title using the H1 tag
  3. Body copy of your page - of course
  4. URL of the page with words separated by hyphens: firstword-secondword-thirdword.html
  5. Image alt attribute - good for usability
  6. Meta description to inspire clicks when displayed in search results
  7. As synonyms or concepts related to the focus phrase (a must if you cover a topic deeply)
  8. In the form of questions that customers might ask - then you can answer them in your content
  9. Anchor text to related pages on your site

Remember, these are just options for optimizing your power page - you don't need to use them all. The first priority should be to use the target keyword phrase with the frequency that will be useful to the reader.

So, is long form content really better than short form content? The answer is that your content should be whatever length and depth that will satisfy customer efforts to discover resources, understand solutions and to take action towards a solution. As questions these criteria are important to answer with every blog post or article:

  • What is it?
  • How does it work?
  • What do I do next?

For some topics, audiences and situations, the best approach might be content answers that go deep on a topic, but are not necessarily long on words. In other situations a topic might require a lengthy treatment in order to satisfy the buyers need to understand, consider and decide. The key is to create and optimize content that fulfills the customer's effort at discovering, learning and deciding on a solution.

When it comes to long vs. short form content, the lesson to learn is to avoid just checking off boxes that say you need to write 2,000 (or 1,890) words to satisfy Google. Know your customers well enough through data to create a best answer content strategy and content mix that is relevant, optimized for discovery, useful and actionable. Make the length of your content more about the depth of topic necessary to satisfy customers and their search intent and less about fulfilling a generalization about content that might not even represent what your customers care about.

This post was inspired by an article that I was interviewed for on Marcom Insights

The post Power Pages and Best Answer Content: Should You Go Long or Short Form? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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New Research: Social Marketers Still Can’t Prove ROI

Do you struggle to measure the return on investment (ROI) for your social media activity? Turns out you aren’t alone. In this article, you’ll discover insights from new research that addresses the age-old ROI challenge. #1: Measuring Return on Investment Remains Marketers’ Biggest Challenge Social Media Examiner’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that [...]

The post New Research: Social Marketers Still Can’t Prove ROI appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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Building Blocks: The Journey: Season 2, Episode 4

Have you ever struggled with setting a hard date to start something? Then watch The Journey, Social Media Examiner’s episodic video documentary that shows you what really happens inside a growing business. Watch the Journey In episode 4, Michael Stelzner (founder of Social Media Examiner) and his marketing team are wrestling with a common theme—when [...]

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How we’re redoubling our customer experience efforts in a time of constant change

One of the most powerful aspects of social media is the way it’s rapidly evolved to become part of the fabric of both society Read more...

This post How we’re redoubling our customer experience efforts in a time of constant change originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Is Anybody Out There? How to Get More Eyes On Your Blog Content

Tips for Better Blog Content Promotion

Tips for Better Blog Content Promotion

What’s more important than creating great blog content? What’s more important than writing with empathy, storytelling, and research? What’s more important than even knowing your audience better than they know themselves?

Amplification.

Stay with me. If you’re a content marketing writer like me, amplification is the less sexy part of the job. The rewarding part, the part that matters, is writing that amazing, useful content. I’d much rather build glittering cathedrals of words that compel people to read by the sheer power of my prose.

The trouble is, there are thousands of people out there writing amazing blogs. There is a ton of wonderful, beautiful pieces of content out there. And the only way people will find your blog is if you bring them to it. Without amplification built into your content marketing strategy, your blog is a diamond buried five miles beneath the surface of the earth. It’s pretty! It’s valuable! But it’s not doing anyone any good.

So, how are we content marketers doing with blog amplification? Are we using every channel? Getting the most mileage out of every paid service? Bringing in beaucoup eyeballs for the content we spend so much time creating?

Well, no. According to a recent report from Outreach Plus, we all have some room for improvement. Of the 500 business they surveyed, at least half are leaving money on the table.

Here’s how to amp up your blog amplification.

How to Unleash the Potential of Your Blog Content

#1: Put Your Social Promotion on Repeat. Also, Put Your Social Promotion on Repeat.

Repetition on social media is key, but it looks like the majority of marketers are holding back. Less than half of those surveyed posted the same blog post link more than twice on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest. Most marketers are posting to Twitter more than twice, but that platform is the outlier.

How Often Marketers Promote Blog Content on Social

Photo Credit: Outreach Plus

It’s important to remember two key points about every social media site:

  1. Your post’s organic amplification is heavily throttled.
  2. Your audience’s feeds are full and move fast.

So, don’t be shy about posting your content more than once. You’re not going to overload your audience. Odds are they didn’t see the first one, for either of the reasons mentioned above.

Do some testing to figure out the right cadence for reposting on each channel. In addition, vary your text and creative each time. But definitely start thinking beyond a one-and-done. Repetition on social media is key.

[bctt tweet="When it comes to promoting your blog content on #socialmedia, repetition is key. Also, repetition is key. - @NiteWrites #ContentPromotion" username="toprank"]

#2: Explore More Paid Channels

The survey also shows that marketers could stand to explore more paid promotion options. Sixty-three percent said they promote some posts on Facebook, while only 29% said they used Google Ads. Less than 2% said they used promoted tweets or LinkedIn ads.

Our experience as an agency has shown it’s wise to at least test on every channel. The results might surprise you. For B2B, LinkedIn* is one to bring to the top of the testing list, both through paid ads and as a spot for native-published content. The CPC on LinkedIn can be higher than other channels, but the quality of leads tend to be higher. It’s worth experimenting to see if your most valued audience is there; if you’re B2B, they likely are.

But remember, the success of your paid efforts is rooted in your content. The blog content that you promote has to be good, it has to be relevant, and it has to resonate.

[bctt tweet="Remember, any blog content that you pay to promote has to be good, it has to be relevant, and it has to resonate. #ContentPromotion" username="toprank"]

#3: Invest in Email

Some 39% of marketers surveyed promote every blog post to their email list. A whopping 22% either don’t have a list or don’t ever use it to promote content, while 39% promote sometimes.

In other words, the majority of marketers are missing out.

Email marketing is the Helen Mirren of marketing tactics. Yes, it’s older than most of our other tactics, but it’s somehow better than it was even a decade ago.

via GIPHY

Every marketer with blog content to promote should be building a subscriber list and serving it great, preferably personalized, content. As social media gets more and more stingy about letting you talk to your audience, that subscriber list is crucial. Focus on converting your traffic to subscribers; get them opted-in, invested, and onto your blog.

#4: Get Proactive with Outreach

Nineteen percent of marketers said they never reach out to people or websites mentioned in a post.

Repetition is key, so let me type that again, bold it, and italicize it. I’m in awe of the fact that one-fifth of marketers are missing so big of an opportunity.

Nineteen percent of marketers said they NEVER reach out to people or websites mentioned in a post.

In addition, 41% said they only outreach sometimes. That leaves only 41% who are doing their due diligence with outreach.

First, you need to mention people and websites in your post. Use them for third-party verification, credibility, and to highlight the contributions they’re making in your industry. Use inspiring quotes you’ve curated from thought leaders. Maybe, I don’t know, write a blog post about an insightful industry report someone did. ?

Once your content goes live, let those people know. You’re paying them a compliment, helping promote their work, and showcasing their expertise. Of course they’ll want to know about your content. Not only might they help promote the post, you might also be starting a relationship that leads to an opportunity to co-create content with an influencer.

#5: Measure & Optimize

Here’s another statistic that should give you a stomachache: 10% of marketers are not tracking their promotion efforts at all. Not even the most cursory glance at Google Analytics. That’s right, one in 10 marketers has no idea how their content is doing.

The majority of marketers are only looking at top-level metrics like traffic and social media shares to determine effectiveness.

How Marketers Track Content

Photo Credit: Outreach Plus

There is some value in these so-called “vanity metrics,” especially compared to not tracking at all. But there’s far more value to be had from measuring against meaningful KPIs and optimizing over time.

Measure your influencer shares. Use tracking URLs to measure how each influencer’s shares perform. Measure shares from different platforms. Compare paid versus organic. Go deeper than traffic and measure the signals that affect your search engine ranking, like time on page and bounce rate.

Measure and report, but don’t stop there. Optimize your blog content that’s not meeting your KPIs. Is the bounce rate high? Adjust your title and meta description to more accurately describe the post. Time on page low? Front-load your content with the good stuff, add a mid-piece CTA, and make sure it’s optimized to pull readers through to the end.

Measurement and optimization are not optional. For our team, they’re one of the most critical parts of the process. We want to continually sharpen our marketing, honing in on the combination of tactics, channels, content and audience that gets the best results. Without measurement — and measuring the right things — that kind of improvement is impossible.

[bctt tweet="Measure and report, but don’t stop there. Optimize your blog content that’s not meeting your KPIs. - @NiteWrites #ContentPromotion #Blogging" username="toprank"]

Maximize the Potential of Your Blog Content

Despite the content crunch, your organization’s blog is still a valuable place to engage potential customers. But it’s not enough to write great stuff and call it a day.

If you’re doing it right, you will likely spend more time amplifying a post than you did writing it. That’s as it should be. With the right promotion, one piece of content can do the work of 10 unamplified posts, educating your audience, building thought leadership, and nurturing prospects throughout their buying journey.

Need more ways to make sure your content gets seen? Check out these 50 content promotion tactics from a content marketing master.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Is Anybody Out There? How to Get More Eyes On Your Blog Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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4 Ways to Collect Email Leads From Your Facebook Group

Wondering how to build an email list from your Facebook group? Looking for tips to help? In this article, you’ll learn four ways to collect emails from your Facebook group. Why Gathering Emails From Facebook Group Members Is Important Facebook groups can be an awesome way to share content, engage with your followers, and build [...]

The post 4 Ways to Collect Email Leads From Your Facebook Group appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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