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Beyond the Blog Post: What a GREAT Marketer Does with Content


What is a blog post for?

Come to think of it, what is content for?

Sure, content should inspire our audience to form a relationship with the brand so they can be nurtured to a purchase decision that ultimately drives revenue. Duh.

Which is great. That’s what we want content to do. But—and forgive me for sounding like a broken record—what is it for?

The best answer I’ve seen comes from Dan Blumenthal: “Content Marketing is what web searchers are looking for.” Nine words. Mic drop.

That’s what our content is for—it’s for providing the best answer to people searching for information. It’s for delighting someone who clicks on your link in a search results page. If your content nails what it’s for, then it has a much better chance of accomplishing what you want it to do (form relationships/drive revenue/etc).

So, while a good marketer creates solid content based on a content marketing strategy, a great marketer takes it a step further. They make sure to be what web searchers are looking for. To do that, they optimize and amplify their content, then use it to capture an audience. Here’s how:

#1 – Optimize Content

Your content may be the answer to every web searcher’s dreams, but unless it actually shows up high in search results, their dreams can’t come true. That’s why great marketers bake SEO into their content.

That doesn’t mean you have to wade hip-deep into the mad science of SEO. You don’t have to know your penguins from your pandas. Just include keywords in your text that let searchers—and search bots—know what you’re talking about. And realize, as search engines get smarter, they get better at knowing what your content is about without you repeating the keyword twenty times. It’s useful to think of topic-based search as well as keywords, as Rand Fishkin explains:

Crosslinking is another way to raise visibility for your content library. Internal links help you build search engine credibility for multiple topics (see the links to other TopRank blog posts above. They add value for the reader, but also help us earn search engine cred).

#2 – Amplify Content

Strategic amplification of your content can help it reach people beyond the front page of Google. These days, social media is as much a destination for web searchers as search engines are. Social sharing brings more seekers to your content, which leads to higher search engine credibility, which leads to more social sharing…it’s a beautiful thing. These three tactics can help your content reach a wider audience:

Organic (earned) Sharing

The best way to make your content get shared is to make it 1)worth sharing, and 2)easy to share. Your content strategy should nail the first part, ensuring you create content people want to read.

For the second part, add social sharing buttons to content so people can share with a single click. You can also make shares more engaging by adding rich content, like Twitter cards.

You can also rehost your content on a social platform like LinkedIn. Publishing on LinkedIn can bring you a new audience and new opportunities to share.

Paid Amplification

Sites like Facebook are rapidly becoming pay-to-play, as the organic reach of posts steadily dwindles. That doesn’t mean you have to bust your budget with paid amplification, but a little strategic spending can go a long way. Facebook and LinkedIn give you plenty of control over budget and targeting to make sure you get the most for your investment.

Influencer Activation

There’s a reason influencer marketing is such a hot topic in marketing circles: It’s a cost-effective way to reach a much, much wider audience. The nuts and bolts of running an influencer campaign are a little complicated, but here’s a quick overview:

  • Identify influencers, using tools like BuzzSumo and Traackr*
  • Establish a relationship with influencers
  • Create content incorporating the influencers’ contributions
  • When the piece is published, provide material to encourage influencers to share

When done properly, an influencer co-created content boosts your credibility and theirs, and helps bring your content to a new audience.

#3 – Capture Leads With Content

As Dan said up top, content marketing is what web searchers are looking for. And it’s rare that a searcher is only looking for the answer to one question. They may start by searching for “cat shaving instructions,” but their ultimate goal may be to purchase the right razor to shave their cat with minimal injury to the animal or themselves. (TopRank Marketing does not endorse cat-shaving.)

For your content to be the best answer, then, it needs to lead readers into your marketing funnel, where they can be guided to what they’re really searching for. Each piece of content should contain a call to action—a clear next step for your reader to take. That could be signing up for your newsletter, subscribing to updates, reading gated content, or other lead capture methods. For those that leave your site without signing up, retargeting can help bring them back to stay.

What separates the great marketers from the good? Great marketers understand the business function of content, but also what it’s for. They make sure their content is designed to be the best answer: they optimize it so it can be found; they amplify to reach a broader audience; and they capture to make sure the relationship goes beyond the blog post.

To help you stay firmly in the “great marketer” category, we created this fun-sized storybook with the takeaways. Read it to your kids before bed tonight! Or, at least share it with your fellow marketers.

Need some great marketers on your side? How can we help?

Disclosure: LinkedIn and Traackr are TopRank Marketing Clients

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
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The post Beyond the Blog Post: What a GREAT Marketer Does with Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About 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.

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5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Marketers are still asking, what is B2B influencer marketing? Here’s a definition I’ve been using over the past 5 years or so:

B2B influencer marketing is activating internal and external subject matter experts with engaged networks to advocate and co-create content of mutual value that drives measurable business goals.

As the groundswell around influencer marketing rises and becomes a normal part of the B2B marketing mix, the volume of information and misinformation on the topic also increases.

One of the most popular questions people also ask about B2B influencer marketing focuses on what makes a good business influencer? By now we all know that popularity alone does not make someone influential. It’s certainly important, it's just not the only thing.

As B2B marketers mature in their understanding of the role influence plays and how the dynamic of brand content co-created with industry experts plays out with customers, they begin to realize that other factors matter. Topical relevance matters of course as well as resonance of the topic amongst an influencer’s community.

B2B Marketing Influencers

The intersection of individual expertise, how well that expertise resonates with followers and the size of network creates a baseline of characteristics when evaluating whether a certain influencer might be a match.

But there’s more than that. Understanding what makes a great influencer is both art and science, soft and hard skills. The success of identifying, qualifying and engaging influencers is also directly tied to how they will be engaged and to what end.

Some people reading this might think that influencer marketing isn’t the magic pill some are playing it up to be. There’s a reason for that, because it’s not magic. It’s more like alchemy.

The reality is, there’s no one formula for the perfect B2B influencer, but there are some common characteristics that B2B brands should look for in varying proportions according to what’s important to a program or activation. I call those characteristics:

The 5 Ps of B2B Influence

Proficiency - In B2B marketing, the vast majority of those considered influential possess deep expertise in the field they work in. This is a significant difference from many B2C influencers who are often self proclaimed as influential with clever media creation skills.

As B2C influencer content and engagement tactics evolve, some are crossing over into B2B with a trickle of opportunists successfully creating influence amongst B2B audiences not solely for their expertise, but for a combination of adept social media content creation skills and some expertise. B2B marketers who do their due diligence will be able to filter accordingly.

Popularity - While network size is not the only thing, nor is it the most important thing, it is definitely a metric to consider. Some marketers swing in the direction of ignoring audience size altogether because of lower engagement rates with popular influencers. This is simply foolish. All things being the same, I’ll take 2% engagement of an influencer with a million followers over 2% from someone that has 1,000 followers.

What matters is how network size factors in with the type of influencer you need. For example, popular influencers aka “brandividuals” are often best for top of funnel content. Niche domain expert influencers are better for middle and end of funnel content. Engaging a brandividual and expecting conversions is just naive.

Personality - If you’ve worked in B2C influencer marketing and been exposed to all the characters there, B2B is going to seem a bit dry. Now there are some colorful characters in the B2B influencer community, no doubt. But personality is often a trait that needs to be uncovered when you’re working with some types of business influencers.

The good news is that savvy influencer marketing practitioners know how to plant the seeds that can grow and blossom within an otherwise introverted influencer. You don’t need them to be a colorful character, ripe with personality per se, but you do want them to connect with the passion they have with their craft and how their expertise can help others be successful.

Publishing - Content is the media that conveys the ideas of influence and while B2B influencers are not expected to produce the same types and quantity of content as in B2C, it is ideal when there’s a platform where the influencer publishes. At a minimum, that would be social networks but to be a B2B influencer, it’s most likely that also includes articles contributed to publications if not research, books and presentations.

Promotion - The value a B2B influencer brings beyond adding expertise and credibility to brand content is the ability to share what they helped create with their network. Trust of brand content is at a low, especially with advertising. Customers yearn for authentic content and the right kind of influencer collaboration can give them that, delivered via the influencer’s own distribution channels. That means social networks for course but also potentially blogs, email newsletters, podcast, LinkedIn Live, contributed articles or columns in industry publications.

I know some people reading this are thinking there could be even more P’s like being Prolific, Persuasive or Passion. Yes, there could be so many more but we have to draw the line somewhere! It's important to be able to manage the data and insights necessary to factor these characteristics into selection, qualification and engagement.

Some of these traits will not fully reveal themselves until you work with an influencer on a few content activations. Others will fluctuate over time and that is normal. It's important to understand that influence is a temporal thing. It is not fixed or permanent. It’s important marketers realize that before they disengage an influencer in the short term due to lower performance. The same goes for high expectations after great performance.

Organic influencer engagement is a little dynamic and what you don’t spend on paid influencers like an ad buy you will (in part) need to invest in relationship management, education and even tips that will help the influencers be more effective.

B2B brands with high influencer churn or low performance often apply “ad buy” perspectives to a what is actually a relationship driven effort. Mismatched expectations are not helpful for anyone, so think about the 5Ps as you evaluate and nurture your influencer community. Consider where of each your ideal influencers need to score on the 5 Ps in order to be a good match for the kind of activation you have in mind.

When there’s 5P alignment, there's happiness: for customers, influencers and your B2B brand.

The post 5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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