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Monthly Archives: January 2019

How to Share Documents in Your LinkedIn Posts: Marketing Tips

Want more visibility for your documents? Wondering how to better showcase your content in the LinkedIn feed? In this article, you’ll learn how to add clickable downloads, slideshows, and PDFs to your organic LinkedIn posts. What Is LinkedIn’s Document Sharing Feature for Organic Posts? LinkedIn’s document sharing feature lets you upload documents to organic LinkedIn […]

The post How to Share Documents in Your LinkedIn Posts: Marketing Tips appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Want to Partner Up? Earn Lifetime Revenue for Every Customer You Refer to Unbounce

Today brings an exciting opportunity! You can officially partner up with us and get paid. Yep, you can earn 20% of the recurring revenue for every customer you refer as part of The Unbounce Partner Program. It's our way of saying thanks.

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Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Video Specs

Last Updated: January 28, 2019 Staying relevant and capturing your audience’s attention is a constant challenge for marketers. And now that brands rely on Read more...

This post Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Video Specs originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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A Simple Three-Point Checklist for Documenting Your B2B Content Strategy Right Now

On the first day of 2019, I laid out a series of New Year’s resolutions for content marketers. At the top of the list was creating a documented content strategy.

Maybe you came across the post. Maybe you nodded your head while reading that particular item and said, “Yup, I’m gonna do that.” But most likely, you still haven’t yet. I’m not trying to be presumptive, just speaking in probabilities: research tells us that documenting a content strategy has been the subject of pervasive and perpetual procrastination across our field for some time.

What gives? Why do we keep putting it off?

“Usually procrastination happens because the task seems too difficult,” according to psychiatrist A. Chris Heath, MD (via PsyCom). Makes sense, based on my personal experience.

In this case, I think the difficulty and complexity seem a lot greater than they actually are. So, B2B content marketers, today I’m going to try and make both the “why” and “how” of this matter as simple and straightforward as possible.

The framework I'll use is one that TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden laid out in his book "Optimize" — a framework that is a core to our agency's approach for creating best-answer content

Why is a Documented B2B Content Strategy So Important?

There are two primary reasons.

First of all, neuroscience has found that we are more likely to accomplish our goals if we write them down. According to an article on Forbes last year from Mark Murphy, there are a couple of psychological factors driving this:

  • External storage: When your goals are written down, in a tangible and visible form (whether a physical piece of paper or even a digital document) they are harder to ignore. This is why Post-it Notes exist.
  • Encoding: The actual process of writing something down makes it far more ingrained in our memories. This owes to the generation effect, “a phenomenon where information is better remembered if it is generated from one's own mind rather than simply read.”

So that’s a big part of it. The second component is tangentially related, but has more to do with the collaborative nature of a marketing operation. When you’re trying to keep numerous individuals aligned around the same vision, it’s essential to have a single source of truth that’s accessible to everyone.

The above psychological principles come into play from a team aspect — your colleagues will better adhere to a strategy if they can actually see it, and the process of encoding will take place if everyone is collectively involved with documentation — but there are also more basic and practical elements.

When your content strategy is documented, you don’t have to re-explain things to people over and over again. You have a central point of reference for various freelancers, contractors, new hires, clients, external business partners, and so forth. It provides a concrete and objective basis for decision-making.

You also might spot flaws in your strategy more quickly (for example, an SEO specialist may see something amiss in the documentation and say, “We’ve gotta fix that,” whereas it may have gone unnoticed).

Are we all agreed on the value of a documented content strategy? Good. Let’s get one put together.

A Three-Point Checklist for Documenting Your B2B Content Strategy

In the interest of keeping things simple, we’ll flesh this out in high-level fashion. When you cut through all the variables and moving parts, content marketing strategy almost universally nests under three buyer stages: Discovery, Consumption, Action.

If our content is going to accomplish anything, it needs to be discovered, it needs to be consumed, and it needs to ultimately drive action (all with the right audiences, of course). As Lee so eloquently puts it, this means creating buyer-centric content strategy.

[bctt tweet="Making sure #contentmarketing plans are accountable to the buyer experience, and how they discover, consume, and act on info, empowers #B2B marketers with the ability to make their content accountable. @leeodden" username="toprank"]

Discovery: Who is your target audience and how will they find your content?

That first part is arguably the most important in this entire discussion. Who is your audience? What makes them tick? The more specific you can get, the better. When you gain a firm and comprehensive understanding of the people you want to reach — the challenges they’re trying to solve, the questions they’re trying to answer, the channels they tend to use — it can and should guide your entire strategy.

This is one foundational area where the documentation process is particularly valuable. Going through the exercise of articulating details about your audience can expose gaps in your knowledge, and force you to challenge existing assumptions.

The “Discovery” phase of your content strategy should account for the following:

  • Who is our buying audience?
  • What differentiates the various segments and buyer personas?
  • How can we develop an SEO strategy that aligns with their search behavior?
  • Which channels do they use?
  • Who do they listen to and respect in the industry or niche?
  • What topic clusters or editorial themes will dictate our content direction?

From here, you can build out your editorial plan and start focusing on consumption.

Consumption: How and why will people engage and interact with your content?

Once you’ve fleshed out a mix of channels and topics that align with your audience, the next step is focusing on engagement. Creating a bunch of content — even if it’s relevant and strategically aligned — won’t do you any good if people aren’t consuming it. Documenting your approach for making this happen will help keep everyone on the same page, while tying consumption to discovery.

The “Consumption” phase of your content strategy should account for the following:

  • How will our content stand out from competitors?
  • Are we optimizing on all fronts for mobile users?
  • How will we compel clicks with our headlines, meta descriptions and social messaging?
    What will be the timing and cadence for publishing?
  • What tools and technology will you use to plan, publish, and track your content?
  • How will you respond and interact to audience engagement? Whose responsibility?
  • Where do organic, paid, and influencers fit in?

With consumption covered, you’re to focus on action.

Action: What are your end goals, and how does your tactical mix connect to them?

Strategy is defined as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim,” so ultimately it all comes down to the outcome. We’ve listed this part last, to keep things chronological, but really you’ll want to start with your objectives and work backward. Your content strategy is a bridge between your purpose/mission statement and your goals. You have to know where you’re going before you can chart a course.

The “Action” phase should account for the following:

  • How will we convert our buying audience into customers?
  • How will we build and maintain relationships?
  • What are our key performance indicators (KPIs)?
  • Where do our benchmarks lie?
  • How will success ultimately be judged?
  • What ongoing steps are in place for conversion optimization?
  • How does every piece of the Discovery/Consumption framework above lead into this piece?

Create a steady stream of qualified traffic at the top, engage them through the middle, and drive action at the bottom. That’s a simple strategic content funnel, and as long as it keeps flowing you’ll be in good shape. Documenting strategy helps everyone in your organization rally around the same structure for making it happen.

Write It Down, Ramp It Up

If you can confidently check all three boxes above, you’ve got yourself a fundamental content marketing strategy that is built for success. There are plenty of extensions and additional elements that come into play, but for the sake of simplicity, this should cover your bases.

By documenting all of this, creating external storage and encoding it for your team, you’ll be on your way to full focal alignment, minimizing miscommunications and ambiguities that plague many operations.

And if you don’t have time to create that documented B2B content strategy at this moment? Make a note to yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of writing something down.

Want more resources from our blog to help solidify your content strategy? Check out these past articles:

The post A Simple Three-Point Checklist for Documenting Your B2B Content Strategy Right Now appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Use Facebook Automated Rules to Manage Facebook Ads

Spending too much time managing your Facebook ad spend? Want to manage your Facebook advertising campaigns more efficiently? In this article, you’ll discover how to use Facebook’s automated rules to save time managing Facebook ad performance. Why Use Facebook Automated Rules to Manage Facebook Ad Campaigns? There are two main phases of Facebook advertising: setup […]

The post How to Use Facebook Automated Rules to Manage Facebook Ads appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Facebook Group Changes: How the Invited Category Impacts Groups

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 YouTube recommendations and Facebook group membership changes with guests Owen Video and Bella Vasta. Watch the Social […]

The post Facebook Group Changes: How the Invited Category Impacts Groups appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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How to engage customers on social with brand storytelling

Brand storytelling on social media influences customers by increasing brand awareness, reach and attracting new followers. Your story is how your company will be Read more...

This post How to engage customers on social with brand storytelling originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Digital Marketing News: Buffer’s State of Social Report, LinkedIn’s Interest Targeting, Consumer Trust & Twitter’s Emojis

The post Digital Marketing News: Buffer’s State of Social Report, LinkedIn’s Interest Targeting, Consumer Trust & Twitter’s Emojis appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Google Data Studio: How Marketers Can Build Powerful Dashboards

Want an easy way to interpret your analytics? Wondering how to create dashboards? To explore how to create dashboards with Google Data Studio, I interview Chris Mercer, a measurement marketing expert. He’s the founder of MeasurementMarketing.io and the Measurement Marketing Academy. Mercer explains how dashboards and analytics reports differ and when to use each one. […]

The post Google Data Studio: How Marketers Can Build Powerful Dashboards appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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How Can B2B Brands Benefit from Collaborating with Influencers? Let’s Get the Scoop from the Experts

Top Benefits of Influencer Collaboration

Top Benefits of Influencer Collaboration

Spokespeople. Brand advocates. Experts. Sponsors. Thought Leaders. Influencers. Call them what you will, but leveraging the voices, expertise, appeal, and reach of influential people has been a standard marketing and advertising practice for at least a century. In the B2C realm, that is.

As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden recently pointed out: “B2B brands are running a little behind B2C in terms of influencer marketing sophistication and have not been investing as much in technology, staff or the influencers themselves.”

In fact, recent research shows that an impressive 48% of B2C influencer programs are ongoing, however, just 11% of B2B influencer programs are always-on. But on the flip side, research also shows that interest and commitment are growing. In fact, 65% of multinational brands will increase influencer marketing spending in the next 12 months, reaching $10 billion over the next five years.

So, how do we reconcile the different worlds these statistical snapshots create? From my perspective, it all comes down to perceived value. B2B marketers, who have the difficult task of nurturing buyers through a long and winding sales cycle, want to ensure that a traditionally B2C tactic can drive the kind of results they need and want.

In a digital landscape that’s bursting with content, bubbling with consumer distrust, and growing demand for personalization—influencer collaborations offer enormous value and benefits. But don’t just take my word for it; take it from influencer marketing leaders at a range of B2B brands.

Benefit #1: Influencers help you build a narrative of trust.

From security scandals and privacy concerns to consumers’ dwindling confidence in the world’s core institutions, consumer trust is on the downslide. That general distrust coupled with an historical skepticism of marketing and advertising messages makes it imperative that B2B marketers work to build genuine trust and credibility with buyers and prospects.

When you co-create content with influencers, you not only provide influential experts with a medium to share valuable insights, but can also provide your audience with a mix of perspectives—upping your storytelling capabilities and credibility.

“Year over year, we’ve seen consumer trust of brands decreasing, and people turning to seemingly more objective sources when making buying decisions: peers, third-party review sites, analysts, etc.” Whitney Magnuson, Global Head of Social Media and Influencer Programs at IBM, told us not long ago. “Partnering with an influencer allows you to highlight your brand’s own existing narrative in a new way, so that you can reinforce the proof points you really want your customers to know.”

[bctt tweet="Partnering with an #influencer allows you to highlight your brand’s own existing narrative in a new way, so that you can reinforce the proof points you really want your customers to know. @whitneymagnuson @IBMSystems #B2BInfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

Read our full interview with Whitney.

Benefit #2: Influencers bring a human element to your brand.

With low consumer trust and competition forever increasing, authenticity can be one of the biggest differentiators for brands. At the end of the day, your B2B buyers are consumers who are looking for partners that understand them and that they can feel comfortable with. Influencers can help you do through the content you create together.

“The main benefit is that influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo,” Rani Mani, Head of Social Influencer Enablement at Adobe, says. “Additionally, influencers raise brand awareness and engagement by giving companies access to an audience they may not otherwise have through a trusted and credible source.

[bctt tweet="The main benefit is that #influencers humanize a brand and capture the personality behind the logo. @ranimani0707 @adobe #B2BInfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

Read our full interview with Rani.

Benefit #3: Influencers help you garner relevant reach.

The modern digital landscape is not only overloaded with content and simmering with distrust, but demand for personalization and relevance is increasing. But influencers provide a way to overcome these obstacles and capture new content opportunities.

As Luciana Moran, Senior Vice President, Digital, Content and Creative at Dun & Bradstreet, shared with us, she sees two of the top benefits of influencer partnerships as “exposing your message to a new or different audience than you are currently reaching today, especially through your website or other organic channels,” and “adding credibility to your message by partnering with a trusted voice in the industry.”

[bctt tweet="Two of the top benefits of working with #influencers according to @lucymoran of @DnBUS: Reach and credibility. #B2BInfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

And Martin Jones, Senior Marketing Manager of Business Social Media, Content Marketing, & Employee Advocacy, at Cox Communications, is right there with her.

“[One of the] primary benefits of collaborating with influencers is to overcome evolving shifts in marketing that is making it increasingly difficult for brands to reach consumers,” he said. “For example, adoption of ad blockers is soaring and traditional banner ads have become ineffective. Organic reach for brands on social media hovers around 1-2%, and consumers trust in brand advertising is at an all-time low.”

He added: “Influencers connect with a much more targeted audience than banner ads have in quite some time,” Martin said. “Ad blockers do not impact influencers and their content still has significant social media reach. Trust from an influencer’s audience typically runs somewhere north of 90%.”

[bctt tweet="#Influencers connect with a much more targeted audience than banner ads have in quite some time. @martinjonesaz #B2BInfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

Read our full interviews with Lucy and Martin.

Benefit #4: Influencers help you keep a pulse on audience needs and pain points.

Deep audience knowledge is part of the foundation of your marketing strategy. Beyond demographics, you need to understand their needs, pain points, motivations, and how and where they search for answers. What better way to collect qualitative, near real-time intel than engaging and collaborating with an industry expert on a regular basis?

“Working with B2B influencers allows our brand to have a constant pulse check with purchase decision-makers,” Dr. Konstanze Alex, Head of Corporate Influencer Relations for Dell, said. “Informed influencers who share our vision of the future based on their own experience and expertise provide for independent, third party validation.”

She added: “Strategic partnerships with influencers provide for an outside in view when creating content for our customers. We need to constantly ensure that, as a brand, we don’t start talking to ourselves, but keep a keen focus on the evolving challenges our customers have and on language they use to express these challenges.”

[bctt tweet="Working with B2B influencers allows our brand to have a constant pulse check with purchase decision-makers. @konstanze @dell" username="toprank"]

Read our full interview with Konnie.

The B2B Influencer Benefit Bottom Line

You heard it from the experts. B2B influencer collaborations can help you create content that builds trust and credibility with your audience, humanize your brand, overcome ad and algorithm barriers to garner targeted reach, and keep your finger on the pulse of your audience.

Now for a final piece of wisdom to any B2B marketer who’s still on the fence, courtesy of our own “Influencer Marketing Influencer” Lee Odden:

“Influence is the ability to affect action,” he often says. “And everyone is influential about something.”

The bottom line? For any kind of content a business creates and releases to the world, there is an opportunity for collaboration with credible voices that have active networks interested in what those voices have to say.

[bctt tweet="Influence is the ability to affect action. @leeodden #B2BInfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

We have no shortage of strategic tips, tactical tricks, and amazing insights on influencer marketing. Take some time to peruse our recent posts on the subject.

The post How Can B2B Brands Benefit from Collaborating with Influencers? Let’s Get the Scoop from the Experts appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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