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Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

The Marketer as Philosopher: 3 ways to achieve excellence in yourself and in your marketing

True marketing helps people make the right decision. So the marketer must escape the negative connotation of the role and embrace the power of marketing as a force for positive change in our world

The post The Marketer as Philosopher: 3 ways to achieve excellence in yourself and in your marketing appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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7 Simple Steps to Master Instagram for Business

Let’s begin with the elephant in the room: No, it’s not too late to get started on Instagram. Not by a long shot. Although Read more...

This post 7 Simple Steps to Master Instagram for Business originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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How to deliver brand authenticity & create connection on social (with free download)

Joining the social team here at Sprout has given me a crash course in brand authenticity on social media. A lot of marketers talk Read more...

This post How to deliver brand authenticity & create connection on social (with free download) originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Have you been to a stadium concert lately? The big ones touring the country tend to pull out all the stops. It’s not just a singer on stage — they are usually supported by a giant jumbotron as backdrop providing flashy visuals, along with fog machines, laser lights, platforms rising out of the ground, special guest cameos… the works. 

Why is this? Because the bar has been raised. When fans plunk down the big bucks for tickets to see Drake or Carrie Underwood or The Rolling Stones, they expect more than seeing their favorite artists performing on stage. They expect an unforgettable experience that stirs all the senses.


In content marketing, we see a continuing shift toward delivering full-on experiences. This emerging focus is evident in the steady growth of the term “content experience” in Google Trends over the past 10 years, and is now reaching a fever pitch as technology enables unprecedented sparkle and scintillation, while the shortening attention spans of our audience demand it. 

The theme for this year’s Content Marketing World extravaganza, as well as our interactive preview and the series of blog posts wrapping up today, all lead back to this crucial edict: elevating experiences and wowing the crowd. The good news is that there are endless ways to creatively approach this initiative, and today we’ll draw inspiration from CMWorld speakers who will be taking the stage next week in Cleveland to offer up some memorable experiences of their own.

The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth

3 Expert Tips on Stepping Up the Content Experience

#1 - Create Serial Content

It’s tempting to think about high-caliber content experiences in terms of pageantry and spectacle, but there are many simpler elements at play. Your audience wants content that it can contextualize, compartmentalize, and reliably look forward to. There’s a reason that almost every big Hollywood release these days is a spin-off, sequel, or reboot — viewers thrive on familiarity. For this reason, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert says serial content, steeped in quality and consistency, is a must.

“This aids in recognition and findability and taps into the truism that multiple exposures are often needed to drive behavior,” Jay explains. And he says another key is making this serial content as easy as possible for your audience to get to.

[bctt tweet="Ask yourself how your information and insights can be accessed with a minimum amount of effort or hassle for the consumer. - @jaybaer on minimizing content friction #CMWorld " username="toprank"]

There are any number of ways to serialize your content. Maybe it’s breaking a big idea up into a series of blog posts, dissecting various components. Maybe it’s a run of videos mirroring the format of a TV season. And of course, podcasts are gaining fast popularity as an inherently serial form of content. 

At TopRank Marketing, we’re all about serial content. You can reliably find our Digital Marketing News roundups (both blog and video) every Friday. Recently we’ve been running a Trust Factors series, examining the vital topic of trust in marketing from various angles. And in fact, you’re reading the final installment of a four-part series right now! Check out the previous “Wow Your Crowd” entries below: 

#2 - Use Tools and Technology Thoughtfully

There are so many eye-catching technologies out there offering new ways to package and deliver content. But don’t be blinded by bells and whistles. Add-ons like interactivity only make sense if they actually serve a meaningful purpose. 

“The key for brands is to not just pursue these programs for the sake of doing it, or to ‘be cool,’ but to have a clear purpose and value-add,” says SAP’s Amisha Gandhi

For example, when scrolling through the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth experience created by TopRank Marketing and Content Marketing Institute, you’ll be able to play games like shoot-the-duck and bop-the-clown. But these interactive gamification elements weren’t just thrown in for the heck of it; they’re meant to play up the midway/carnival vibes of the asset (and this year’s CMWorld conference).

[bctt tweet="A memorable experience goes a long way. - @AmishaGandhi on raising the bar for content experiences #CMWorld" username="toprank"]

#3 - Measure and Optimize

The trouble with all this talk about content experiences is that they can feel difficult to quantify and report on. I mean, how do you measure audience delight? What is the ROI of someone grinning with glee while bopping clowns on their browser?

To some degree, the benefits of a great experience are intangible, at least in the short-term. But we can still measure the impact by connecting consumption metrics with bottom-line results. 

“I think of content marketing metrics in two dimensions: Business outcomes (how content is contributing to the business) and engagement metrics (a proxy for how much the target audience likes the content),” says Chris White of Capital One. 

He breaks them down like this: 

Engagement Metrics: 

  • Views
  • Total view time
  • View-through-rate
  • Percent of target audience (in relation to total viewers)
  • Comments
  • Likes/Reactions
  • Scroll depth
  • Pages-per-session
  • Bounce rate 
  • Time-on-site

Business Outcomes

  • Brand awareness/consideration
  • Remarketing audience size
  • Web traffic
  • Conversions
  • Customer behavior (e.g., retention, adoption rate, referrals, etc.)  

If you’re getting it right with customer experiences, you’ll see growth across all of these metrics over time. From our view at TopRank Marketing, engagement metrics and business outcomes (or proof of ROI) are among the seven essential elements for content marketing performance dashboard. Also included: benchmarks, goals, real-time KPI monitoring, traffic trends, and breakdowns by topic/persona.

[bctt tweet="Every initiative is paired with a specific business outcome to evaluate performance. Although we keep tabs on engagement metrics, they do not dictate success by themselves. - Chris White of @CapitalOne on measuring content performance   " username="toprank"]

Experience Is Your Content Differentiator

Turn content experience into your competitive advantage. Create things that amaze your audience and leave them yearning for more. Utilize new trends and tech when appropriate to elevate your content. And, at all times, validate your efforts by measuring the right things and letting your customers dictate your direction.

Is it silly to think about content marketing on the same terms as stadium concerts? I’d say it’s silly not to. 

We’re counting down the days until the grand experience unfolds at Content Marketing World 2019 on Sept. 3, 2019 in Cleveland. Before then, you can find plenty more guidance on taking your programs to the next level in our interactive experience, The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth.

The post Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Create LinkedIn Articles That People Will Read and Share

Do you create written content? Wondering how LinkedIn articles can improve your exposure? In this article, you’ll learn how to create LinkedIn articles that amplify your reach and engagement on LinkedIn. LinkedIn Articles vs. LinkedIn Posts: What Is the Difference? While LinkedIn posts and status updates are limited to 1,300 characters, LinkedIn articles can be […]

The post How to Create LinkedIn Articles That People Will Read and Share appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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The Currency of Influence in Marketing — Buy, Sell, or Trade

Paper currencies from many nations image.

Paper currencies from many nations image.

Influence is its own form of a modern digital currency. Influence is able to overcome almost any obstacle, and more than ever, it's the powerful (sometimes-hidden) global fuel that helps drive our multi-trillion dollar online business world.

In fact, according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer “In Brands We Trust?” report, 63% of consumers trust what influencers say about brands much more than what brands say about themselves within their advertising messages.

An even more telling statistic from the same study is that 58% said they had purchased a product in the past six months because of an influencer, as shown below.

2019 Edelman Trust Influencer Image

As the internet has matured since its 1991 creation, networking between people around the world has expanded to truly astounding heights, helping make wonderful projects and partnerships happen.

[bctt tweet="It’s not about who has the most followers, or the gaudiest personal brand. It’s about who resonates most with your specific customers and prospects. — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

By learning the importance of influence, how best to incorporate it into your own life and marketing, and how to deal with some of its primary challenges, B2B marketers and brands can harness the power of influence and reach new levels of business and personal success.

Whether you call it influence, networking pull, or professional persuasion, connecting with successful people in your industry will bolster your own efforts both today and long into the future.

Buy: Influence Is Loaded With Strengths

Influencer Word Highlighted by Marker

Successfully wielding online influence today puts the world at your fingertips.

As with gold or paper money, the currency of influence can be earned, accumulated, spent, traded, or used towards philanthropic causes.

When influence is willingly shared it has the special quality of creating other new introductions and connections, setting in motion a sphere of professional networking and knowledge that can keep growing as long as you put in the effort to understand and maintain it.

[bctt tweet="Working with influencers is about building solid relationships that last over time, not just a summer fling. — Ashley Zeckman @azeckman" username="toprank"]

Just as influence comes in vastly varying degrees, so to do influencers, who can take the form of micro-influencers or other specialty varieties. Recent data from several surveys shows that micro and niche-influencers are forging stronger target audience connections and boosting long-term loyalty.

Heather-Mae Pusztai of Buffer recently took a close look at micro-influencers, in “Why Micro-Influencers May Be the Most Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy.”

[bctt tweet="Topically, the influencers you work with must have relevant expertise, insight, interest, and audience, ultimately aligning with your goals and expertise of your brand. — Caitlin Burgess @CaitlinMBurgess" username="toprank"]

More and more brands are looking to harness the power of influence through influencer marketing initiatives. In fact, influencer marketing spending in the U.S. and Canada has seen 83% year-over-year growth, accompanied by second-quarter spending of $442 million, according to recent research data from Instascreener. Over the next 12 months, 65% of multinational brands plan to increase influencer marketing spending, according to the World Federation of Advertisers.

We’ve explored the unique strengths of influencer marketing in many recent articles, including these helpful takes:

Sell: Influence Is Rife With Challenges

Woman rock climber scaling vertical wall.

Who really has influence and who is merely claiming to? Building influence is time-consuming, so why should I even bother?

There’s little doubt that celebrity influencers have faced increasing skepticism, but the process of finding true B2B industry experts who are hyper-relevant to your industry is as important as ever, and we’ve looked at how to go about this in several recent pieces:

The challenges influencer marketing has faced are real yet surmountable, especially when campaigns are conducted for the long term, with proper planning, key performance indicators (KPIs), and goals.

When done well, it’s no wonder that 95% of respondents to a recent DGR survey favor credible content from industry influencers, a 30% increase over 2018.

[bctt tweet="Cutting edge B2B influencer marketing focuses on both online and offline engagements. — Konstanze Alex @konstanze" username="toprank"]

The topic of influencer marketing was present during this year's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, as Maja Pawinska Sims covered in "Cannes: Brands Can Avoid Being Fake By Shifting To Niche Influencers," and in our recent "6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020."

Trade: Influence’s Future Strong Yet Still Unfolding

Woman holding ball of energy image.

Measuring influence has changed over time and will continue to evolve.

Will the ability to achieve and grow online influence remain fully accessible to everyone, or will those holding little influence and clout face insurmountable obstacles in the future?

Will a backlash against celebrity influencers — or perhaps even twinfluencers — continue, or will methods and systems evolve that help us filter out pretenders and make it easier to discover and connect with true industry experts?

[bctt tweet="The growth of influence on individual and organizational effectiveness in the B2B marketing world will continue for years to come. @leeodden" username="toprank"]

Educator and writer Lillie Marshall recently took a look at the challenges that even using the word influencer can sometimes present, and the role diversity can play when considering the quality of influence. She ultimately prefers using the word "sway" over influence, a fine synonym in my book as well.

[bctt tweet="It’s a fine balance to embrace the power and joy of our voices, yet honor what audiences truly desire. — Lillie Marshall @WorldLillie" username="toprank"]

Several additional resources we've compiled to dig in and explore how influence and influencer marketing can intertwine to help B2B firms are these:

[bctt tweet="Whether you’re tired of or wired for 'influencer marketing', make no mistake: The growth of influence on individual and organizational effectiveness in the B2B marketing world will continue for years to come. @leeodden" username="toprank"]

Influencer Marketing Offers a Win-Win Partnership

Win-win Scrabble tiles image.

Whether you call it influencer marketing or working with top relevant experts in your industry, the quality of influence itself has a timeless and unmistakable power to drive successful marketing campaigns.

[bctt tweet="When identifying and qualifying influencers, go beyond what the numbers are and see what that data really means. — Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi" username="toprank"]

Here are three articles with examples of how influencer marketing has helped B2B firms achieve strong results:

With enough hard work, great fortunes of influence can be earned and put to use, whether in marketing campaigns or other areas of our lives.

Finding a marketing agency specializing in influencer marketing can be difficult enough, and if you need one focused on the world of B2B, the challenge can be all the more daunting.

Thankfully, the number of marketers realizing the power of influencer marketing has grown, and even esteemed measurement groups like Forrester have begun listing B2B agencies that specialize in influencer marketing. TopRank Marketing was thrilled to be the only such agency listed in Forrester’s most recent “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.

Want to dive deeper into influencer marketing tips, tricks, tactics, and strategies? Then take a gander at our vast collection of influence marketing insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog.

The post The Currency of Influence in Marketing — Buy, Sell, or Trade appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Organize Your Team for Successful Organic Social Campaigns

Do you want to do more with your organic social media activities? Is working with many different team members and departments slowing you down? In this article, you’ll discover how to increase the success of your organic social activities while working with many people. #1: Gather Your Foundational Campaign Elements Start by building your organic […]

The post How to Organize Your Team for Successful Organic Social Campaigns appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Content Marketing Interview: Annie Granatstein on Creating Emotionally Engaging Content Experiences #CMWorld

Interview with Annie Granasteing of The Washington Post

Interview with Annie Granasteing of The Washington Post

We are all products of our environments, and the experiences we carry are invariably influential to the way we approach and think about our jobs. 

Recently we shared an interview with Margaret Magnarelli, who spent nearly a decade as a magazine editor before moving into a content marketing leadership role. With her background in journalism, she offers important perspective for marketers everywhere.

The same is true for Annie Granatstein, who lives at the center of the convergence between investigative journalism and brand marketing. Annie runs The Washington Post’s BrandStudio unit, which takes The Post’s award-winning proclivity for immersive digital storytelling and leverages it on behalf of brands and advertisers.

Peruse BrandStudio’s archive and you’ll find a wide range of multimedia techniques applied to bring stories to life. These include 360-degree environments, photo tours, augmented reality applications, choose-your-own-adventure journeys, and more. With the theme of this year’s Content Marketing World being show-stopping experiences that delight our audiences, the work being done by Annie’s team deserves our full attention.

She was one of the CMWorld speakers who contributed to our interactive conference preview experience, where she proclaims that engaging our audiences emotionally should be an utmost priority. 

The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth

In her extended interview with TopRank Marketing, Annie elaborates on how BrandStudio is pursuing this objective, with plenty of examples and insights to illustrate.

Annie Granatstein on Immersive, Emotional Content Experiences

1. What do your day-to-day duties as Head of WP BrandStudio entail? 

I oversee a multi-disciplinary team of content strategists, writers, editors, interactive designers, developers, program managers, producers, and social media and onsite performance strategists. We work together to conceive, create, and promote branded content programs for Washington Post advertisers that are story-first, data-driven, technology-forward. On any given day I move between pre- and post-sale, and also between high-level management and hands-on creative oversight. So I might spend some time developing business strategy or strategizing team structure and then move to editing an article, giving notes on a video cut, or providing creative direction on proposals.

2. Compelling stories are table stakes for content marketers these days. To stand out, we need to elevate these narratives through more immersive and engaging experiences. How can we all better embrace this central philosophy of BrandStudio?

The key to creating more immersive experiences is collaboration between different types of talent. As a content leader you must find ways to continuously encourage and improve that collaboration. One way we’ve done this is by creating multi-disciplinary initiatives such as our Emerging Media Taskforce. 

This group of about eight creatives from across the Studio’s disciplines gets together once a month to discuss which innovations in storytelling are most promising, plan for researching and prototyping them, and report back to each other. Innovations such as in-browser AR and development of proprietary emotion recognition technology arose out of this Taskforce. We then can use these innovations to create out-of-the-box content for advertisers. One example is we used the emotion recognition technology in a 360 campaign for Mike’s Hard Lemonade where our audience was able to see how good news affects their emotions in digital content (see The Good News Effect) and at an exciting experiential event.

In addition, it’s essential to use data to show advertisers the ROI of immersive experiences. For example, we have found that immersive experiences tend to drive higher time spent, and we’ll show this data to advertisers to encourage them to invest in this type of content. 

[bctt tweet="The key to creating more immersive experiences is collaboration between different types of talent. @anniegranat" username="toprank"]

3. Your team uses a variety of multimedia techniques to bring content to life, including 360-degree experiences, photo tours, motion graphics, illustrated articles, and more. Which formats and features do you see as most promising and versatile in the marketing world?

It’s all about what works best on mobile since the majority are engaging with content on the small screen. Certain interactive experiences are truly mobile-friendly or even mobile-first such as 360 experiences which can be navigated with your finger or by moving your phone. 

Augmented reality is still fledgling but exciting as it’s truly mobile-first, and recent technological developments have allowed for the experiences to be available in-browser (versus in-app), reaching a larger audience. For MGM National Harbor, for example, we enhanced an article about cherry blossom season with an AR experience of cherry trees blossoming through your phone (open Hanami at Home on your mobile device). As we made this experience available in browser we saw 4x the scale of AR experiences only available on the Washington Post app. 

Custom podcasts are also a great way to reach people on mobile—deeply. We’ve had a lot of success engaging audiences for long periods of time with a variety of podcasts, including multiple seasons of a personal finance podcast for T. Rowe Price, The Confident Wallet, which garnered six-figure downloads and 4.5/5-star average ratings on Apple Podcasts.

[bctt tweet="Custom podcasts are a great way to reach people on mobile—deeply. We’ve had a lot of success engaging audiences for long periods of time with a variety of podcasts. @anniegranat" username="toprank"]

4. Given the diversity of topics you cover, what are some steps BrandStudio takes to better understand specific audiences, and what might resonate most with them?

So many! Understanding The Post’s different audiences is a number one priority for the team. The better we know our audience, the better we can create content that resonates with them, providing more value to our advertisers.

We tap into many data sources, like content performance and audience interest surveys. We test experiences in our UX Lab. We derive insights from this data to understand what will resonate with different audiences. We also think of our audience in three categories — consumer, business, and thought leader — and use these insights to dive deep into the characteristics, interests, and content habits of each. We then use these insights to inform the story, content type, and distribution tactics.

5. Can you cite one or two of BrandStudio’s most successful and well-received programs, adding your perspective on what made them pop with audiences?

For Optum, a health services innovation company, we created a multimedia investigative feature on the opioid crisis, Working to End the Epidemic, that blended educational elements such as infographics and interactive maps to inform our audience of the scope of the epidemic with emotional, human elements such as video interviews with recovering addicts and treatment providers. 

The program was incredibly successful, garnering high time spent, a flurry of social media activity (including organic tweets from important influencers such as Katie Couric), earned media (named to the top of Ad Age best branded content partnerships list), and awards. This blend of educational and emotional elements on a pressing topic resonates deeply with our intellectually curious and highly intelligent audience.

6. Which speakers and/or sessions are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Content Marketing World?

I’m always interested to hear the perspectives of folks leading content inside brands since it’s the flipside of my perspective running a publisher-based content studio. So, really looking forward to talks from execs, such as:

  • Maliha Aqeel, Assistant Director of Brand, Marketing & Communication, Ernst & Young
  • Carlos Abler, Leader of Content Marketing Strategy, 3M
  • Ann Bakuniene-Milanowski, Director of Editorial, Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic is also a valued, long-term partner of WP BrandStudio and The Washington Post overall. We have created truly innovative and important content together such as this multimedia feature on treating brain disorders as we age, Keeping Your Mind.

More Memorable Stories Await

You’ll be able to witness plenty of of immersive storytelling on-stage at Content Marketing World 2019, and you’ll definitely want to check out Annie’s session on Sept. 4 at 11:20 a.m.: Speaking Their Language: How to Engage Different Types of Audiences with Content that is Uniquely Meaningful.

Until then, you’ll find plenty of uniquely meaningful content (plus a couple of fun games to play) in our interactive experience, The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth!

The post Content Marketing Interview: Annie Granatstein on Creating Emotionally Engaging Content Experiences #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Set Up a Facebook Ad Funnel for eCommerce Products

Wondering how to sell your eCommerce products with Facebook ads? Looking for an easy-to-follow Facebook ad funnel you can adapt to your business? In this article, you’ll find a step-by-step guide for creating a complete Facebook ad funnel that works. #1: Set Up Your eCommerce Site With Facebook Before diving into how to set up […]

The post How to Set Up a Facebook Ad Funnel for eCommerce Products appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Facebook Group Privacy Changes and What Marketers Need to Know

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 updates to Facebook Group privacy with Dana Malstaff and new chat features being tested on Twitter with […]

The post Facebook Group Privacy Changes and What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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