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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Make the most of your Sprout trial

Now that you’ve signed up for your Sprout Social 30-day free trial, you may be wondering: what should I do next? To answer that Read more...

This post Make the most of your Sprout trial originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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#CMWorld 2019 Interview: Andrew Davis on Showing, Not Telling

The post #CMWorld 2019 Interview: Andrew Davis on Showing, Not Telling appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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5 Facebook Tools to Optimize Your Facebook Ad Campaigns

Want better results from your Facebook ads? Looking for ways to optimize your ads? In this article, you’ll explore five free Facebook tools to help you improve your Facebook ads’ performance. #1: Facebook Creative Hub Tool The creative you use in your Facebook ads has a huge impact on ad performance. No matter how good […]

The post 5 Facebook Tools to Optimize Your Facebook Ad Campaigns appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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255 Blog Post Ideas That’ll Tantalize Your Readers in 2019

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an ultimate list of blog post ideas? A definitive resource you could bookmark and reference whenever the need arises? We thought so too. So, we decided to create it. This is the biggest, most in-depth list of blog post ideas available on the web. (Seriously. We’re pushing 12,000(...)

The post 255 Blog Post Ideas That’ll Tantalize Your Readers in 2019 appeared first on Smart Blogger.

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Content Marketing Planning: How to Build Your Editorial Calendar

Building an Editorial Calendar

Building an Editorial Calendar

I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off!

Opening today’s post up with a bit of levity felt fitting, because calendars can cause much anxiety. They bring to mind deadlines, meticulous organization, and time crunches, which are often oppressive realities for marketers with a million things on their plates.

But the truth is that you’re likely to encounter much more dread if you don’t house your content planning within a documented and strategic editorial calendar for blogging. Building out a set schedule (with a bit of flexibility) ultimately makes your life easier because it provides a guiding light, and ensures your content strategy remains cohesive and oriented around your objectives.

In other words, editorial calendars are no joke. Here’s how you can construct one that seriously drives your company’s blog (or any other content initiative) forward. 

Fortify Your Editorial Calendar in Five Steps

Whether you’ve already got a content calendar, which you hope to refine and improve, or you’re starting from scratch, these five steps will put you on track.

Step 1: Crystallize Your Objectives

The biggest issue with many content plans is that they’re aimless and wayward. When you’re figuring things out on the fly, it can be difficult to tie everything back to the same goals and desired outcomes. So the first step is to zoom out and nail down what you’re trying to achieve with the content in question. For instance, if your blog is designed to generate leads with specific audiences, are you tethering each piece on your calendar back to this outcome in some way? 

Placing objectives front-and-center is a key benefit of documenting your content strategy, and making them the underpinning of your planning will help ensure everything you publish has a purpose. 

via GIPHY

Step 2: Chart Your Pillars and Timely Focuses

With objectives clearly defined, you can formulate content pillars that will serve as the cornerstones of your editorial calendar. Also known as topic clusters, these are the general categories that all of your content will nest under. Pillars are determined by the intersection of what you want to be known for, and where demand exists. They should be informed by SEO research around keywords and queries, hitting the sweet spot between search volume, expertise, and buying intent.

Here on the TopRank Marketing Blog, our pillars are aligned with our agency’s core services — content marketing, SEO, influencer marketing — and so pretty much everything we create for the blog approaches these topics from various angles for people who are interested in learning about them and looking for insight.

Don’t view content pillars as restricting; there are a wide range of ways you can address almost any topic, either directly or tangentially. Organizing your calendar around them will help ensure you stay focused, and relevant to your target audience. In addition to identifying a topical mix, you can start to define your content types — how-tos, thought leadership, influencer collaborations, conversion-driven pieces, etc. These can be aligned with various stages of the buying cycle, and mapped back to the key objectives established in Step 1.

At this point, it’s also smart to map out industry events or seasonal milestones that you’ll want to create content around. 

[bctt tweet="Don’t view content pillars as restricting; there are a wide range of ways you can address almost any topic, either directly or tangentially. @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #ContentPlanning" username="toprank"]

Step 3: Coordinate with Your Broader Strategy

This is a vital consideration that is all too frequently overlooked. Whatever channel you’re scheduling content for — be it a blog, email, social, etc. — think about ways you can coordinate with other departments or disciplines in the organization. For example, does your sales team experience higher volumes of inquiries at certain times of year? Or are they attending a trade show next month that you could support with content? Maybe one of your executives will be speaking at a conference, and you want to queue up some thought leadership around the subject of their talk in the days leading up.

A strong editorial calendar should reflect the company holistically. In this sense, it can be helpful to make your calendar visible to everyone and not just the folks on your team. 

[bctt tweet="A strong editorial calendar should reflect the company holistically. @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #ContentPlanning " username="toprank"]

Step 4: Plot Your Cadence and Schedule Out Your Content

How often will you create content? And why? We all know it’s valuable to publish regularly, because this is how you build an invested and trusting audience, but “regularly” can mean different things under different circumstances. Is it daily? Three times a week? Multiple times per day? This decision shouldn’t driven by guesswork, but by data. 

Although it’s a little older now, HubSpot has a helpful post on determining how often companies should blog based on variables like company size and B2B vs. B2C. But you’ll also want to dig into your own visitor behavior analytics and draw conclusions on what your audience wants. Test different cadences and compare the impacts. As a general rule, more publishing equals more traffic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be worth your while to create new content each day. 

As Alfred Lua of Buffer writes: “I would recommend experimenting and finding a suitable editorial cadence based on your content goals and the amount of time you have. There is no one right editorial cadence. HubSpot publishes several articles a day while Backlinko publishes less than once a month.” (As a side note, we highlighted Backlinko’s quality-over-quantity approach here earlier this year.)

Having made this decision, you can start filling out the calendar appropriately, using your content pillars and organizational directives as guides. Plan as far out as you’re comfortable (at least one month, but forecasting three or more months is even better). Make sure you’re building in enough topical variety to keep things fresh and diverse. Once you get your schedule documented, it becomes easy to spot gaps or overloads. 

Step 5: Leave Room for Change

Note that you don’t want to completely fill out your editorial calendar. As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to leave some flexibility so you can nimbly address timely matters as they arise and account for the (expected) unexpected. Contently editor-in-chief Jordan Teicher proposes a 75/25 rule, wherein one out of every four slots in your calendar is left blank. 

“In my years managing the site, I’m certain of one thing: s*** happens,” Teicher writes. “People miss deadlines. Sources don’t respond in time. The design team can’t find the right image. My day gets stuffed with meetings, which prevents me from editing a draft. A flexible content calendar is about more than just coming up with ideas for the current news cycle. It’s also about realistic expectations.”

Smart Practices for Getting the Most Out of Your Editorial Calendar

The five steps above will help you solidify your calendar. Here are a few additional tips to help make the process smoother and more effective.

  • Hold group brainstorming sessions. Usually, the toughest thing about building out a content calendar is coming up with enough concepts to fill it in. I recommend setting up a time where a bunch of your creatives come together to load up the pipeline with ideas (run these ideas past your content pillars and SEO research to assess strategic viability). Make sure to incorporate voices from various departments. 
  • Slice up and repurpose. It’s always valuable to get the most mileage possible out of your content. If you’ve got a big, meaty blog post planned on a certain subject, why not divvy it up into three parts and run it as a series? If you’re looking for a reliable performer next month, why not take your most successful piece from last month and flip it into an infographic, or conceive a follow-up post that expands on it? Repurposing is a great way to get the most out of your content leftovers.
  • Lean on the right tools. For some content teams, a spreadsheet or even a Word doc can be sufficient for organizing your editorial calendar. In other cases, this initiative can be run through your project management software. But for high-volume teams with many elements to track and account for, it might be helpful to go with a dedicated content-centric solution. There are plenty of them out there, including Contently, DivvyHQ, Kapost, CoSchedule, and more.
  • Create comprehensive coverage. What this looks like can vary in different scenarios. It might mean approaching your topical pillars with best-answer content that addresses every subtopic your customers are interested in learning about (especially those queries carrying any level of purchase intent). If you’re in a crowded niche, it might mean gobbling up every bit of white space your competitors are missing. If your content is oriented toward B2B buyers, it might mean creating content for every role on distributed buying committees, and speaking to each stage of a lengthy purchase cycle

Right on Schedule

If you feel apprehensive about building an editorial calendar from scratch, you’re not alone. It can feel intimidating to schedule out so far in advance, and to consistently manage and maintain this resource. But I assure you, once you get into the groove, your life will be much easier and your results will improve. 

Following the steps and recommendations above will help you stay on target and derive maximum value from your efforts.

Want to add further efficiency and foresight to your strategy? Learn more about getting ahead with your content planning

The post Content Marketing Planning: How to Build Your Editorial Calendar appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Get More Social Media Engagement on Any Platform

Want to improve your engagement on social media? Wondering how to keep the conversation going with your followers? In this article, you’ll discover how to get your audience to engage with your social media posts, videos, and live videos. The 3 Rules of Social Media Engagement Before jumping into the tips, let’s make sure you’ve […]

The post How to Get More Social Media Engagement on Any Platform appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Christmas in July! Create Smarter Ecomm Landing Pages for the Holidays

We've teamed up with some of the marketing world's heaviest hitters to give you the rundown on planning and creating landing pages for the holidays (in July!).

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Cooked to Strategic Perfection: The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna

Few things in this world are as delicious as a corner piece of lasagna. For starters, the top layer of cheese is both gooey and crispy. The tomato sauce is sweet yet peppery. The meat? It’s flavorful and hearty. And don’t get me started on the ricotta and mozzarella layers—my favorite by far.

via GIPHY

Lasagna is the perfect dish. And its perfection is not just defined by quality ingredients, but how each ingredient is artfully layered together to bring satisfaction with each and every bite. That’s where the magic happens.

Cooking a delectable lasagna to perfection is not unlike crafting an integrated approach to content marketing. On their own, your tactics may whet your audience’s appetite, but don’t pack the tasty punch of working together to make a lasting impact or drive savory results. Paid, SEO, content, social, influencer, design—all need to work in tandem to ensure your marketing objectives are met.

What are the essential layers for a scrumptiously integrated content marketing lasagna? Here’s a little cooking demonstration.

The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna

Layer No. 1: Structural SEO Noodles

Noodles are to lasagna as SEO is to content marketing. These are the support layers, helping bind the rest of tactical ingredients together while baking. They provide the structural integrity of the marketing dish—and add some much-loved, comforting carbohydrates. 

From providing insights about the competitive landscape or revealing content or optimization opportunities based on your current search positioning, SEO tactics help provide context and actionable next steps for developing (and optimizing) your best-answer content marketing strategy. And without multiple layers of topical focus or the right contextual firmness, it all falls apart.

[bctt tweet="Noodles are to lasagna as SEO is to content marketing. These are the support layers, helping bind the rest of tactical ingredients together while baking." username="toprank"]

Layer No. 2: Meaty and Savory Content

Most of the nutritional value of lasagna is rooted in the meat—or vegetables if that’s your thing. (Yes, I choose to believe lasagna is very nutritious and essential for a healthy body.) When it comes to content marketing, the content you create is what brings value to your audience. It’s what gives them delectable insights, solutions, and answers to their burning questions as they make their journey.

However, to really succeed here, your content layer needs to be flavorful, well-seasoned, and fresh. It needs to be the best answer with a great user experience, impressive visuals, incredible storytelling, and valuable information.

This means the flavor profile of your content needs to be multidimensional, including different content types (e.g. text, video, and/or audio, or interactive) and fit with your audience’s unique tastes.

Layer No. 3: Saucy and Seasoned Influencers

While well-seasoned meat and perfectly cooked pasta noodles can satisfy hunger in some cases, it does not yet make for a flavorful lasagna dish. This is where the tomato sauce comes in. 

via GIPHY

Tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic come together to make a delectable tomato sauce to mix with the meat and coat the noodles. But there’s one key ingredient content marketers can add to make an especially spicy sauce: Influencers.

Influencers add authority, credibility, flavorful insight, and even more meat to your content. Their seasoned advice also helps bring new, untapped audiences to the dinner table. But the key here is to season with care. It’s important to select, qualify, and recruit the right influencers depending on your goals, target audience, topic, and so on. Take their reach and follower size out of the equation—focus on the unique and relevant flavor they can bring to your content and audience.

[bctt tweet="Identify the topics that are most important to your audience and how they align with the topics you want to be known for. Then identify the right types of relevant influencers. @azeckman" username="toprank"]

Lay No. 4: Cheesy Brand Goodness

As I mentioned, the ricotta cheese mixture is my absolute favorite lasagna layer. This creamy goodness envelops the meat sauce, adding a subtle flavors and elevating the dish as a whole.

Your brand voice and personality is this cheesy, creamy goodness. Your audience needs to get a taste of who you are and how you can help, without having their senses overpowered with product messaging and misplaced calls to action.

While under most circumstances I’d argue the more the merrier when it comes to cheese helpings, when it comes to crafting an integrated content marketing strategy that helps your brand shine, balance is the name of the game.

[bctt tweet="Your audience needs to get a taste of who you are and how you can help, without having their senses overpowered with product messaging and misplaced calls to action. @annieleuman" username="toprank"]

Layer No. 5: The Promotional Parmesan

You know when you’re eating at your favorite Italian restaurant and you’re asked if you’d like some fresh parmesan to top off your meal? Of course, you reply in the affirmative and wait until there’s a lovely dusting (or a solid coating if you’re like me) of freshly grated cheese for you to enjoy. 

That final, top layer of cheese is key for any good lasagna or any integrated digital marketing strategy. But just because it’s the last layer added, doesn’t mean it’s an afterthought. Your promotional parm has been planned all along. 

Organic social media. Email marketing. Paid social, search, or display ads. Third-party editorial. Influencer activation. Cross-site promotion. As you pull your freshly baked content marketing lasagna out of the oven, the tantalizing top layer is the first thing your audience will see. How will you attract your audience? How will you entice them to take a bite? How will you ensure they’re satisfied and asking for more?

[bctt tweet="Content promotion can’t be effective if it’s an afterthought. Your best practice would be to make promotion part of content planning. @leeodden" username="toprank"]

Read: 50 Content Promotion Tactics to Help Your Content Get Amazing Exposure

Cook Your Integrated Marketing Lasagna to Perfection

A well-crafted and delicious lasagna has expert layers, with each layer’s flavors and textures coming together to deliver perfection in every bite. A great content marketing strategy does, too. 

Leverage SEO tactics to provide foundational insights that can be built upon with meaty content. In addition, perfect your secret influencer sauce to coat your content and SEO noodles in flavor and insight. Finally, ensure your top layer of ooey gooey cheese is part of your cooking strategy from the beginning.

Looking for more tasty content marketing recipes? Learn how to whip up a strategic and mouthwatering Repurposed Content Cobbler.

The post Cooked to Strategic Perfection: The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Create an Instagram Content Plan for Your Business

Do you want to improve your organic Instagram content? Looking for an Instagram content marketing guide to follow? In this article, you’ll find out how to plan, create, and optimize Instagram content for your business. #1: How to Establish a Content Theme for Your Instagram Profile The first step to running a successful Instagram account […]

The post How to Create an Instagram Content Plan for Your Business appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Twitter Rolls Out Improved Conversation 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 Twitter’s newly enhanced and improved conversation features with special guest, Dan Knowlton. Tune In to the Social […]

The post Twitter Rolls Out Improved Conversation Features appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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