In today’s digital landscape, chances are social media is a vital piece of your marketing mix. After all, people live on social platforms these days and projections show that worldwide social media users will surpass 3 billion by 2021. But as brands and marketers fight for visibility in crowded, “algorithm-enhanced” news feeds, how many of [...]
You might not know this but today, Sept. 18, is a national holiday to remember: National Cheeseburger Day. We know, we know, everyday now has an arbitrary national holiday that has little to offer outside of free food or funny tweets. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth celebrating. For our own National Cheeseburger Day [...]
Seven Tips for Writing Better-Performing Expanded Text Ads [Infographic]
Writing text ads is a challenge - how can you be compelling enough to drive a conversion with such limited space? There are several tricks of the trade explored in this new infographic. MarketingProfs
Google to Advertisers: Get Your Mobile Landing Pages Ready
Google recently announced that in two weeks, AdWords advertisers can use AMP pages as landing pages for their ads. This provides a seamless user experience when searching through Google and could have implications for page rank. Search Engine Journal
The print catalog era is over -- but Facebook wants to revive it on your iPhone
Do you miss the good old days of ordering from a catalog? Not many do. However, the lifestyle inspiration we all get from magazines is something that we haven't been able to replicate as well with our digital ads. Facebook is trying to close that gap with their new 'Lifestyle Templates'. Business Insider
Amazon Is Opening Up Its Ads Business, and Marketers See a Big Opportunity to Shake Up Search
According to AdWeek, "After testing search-based ads with agencies and brands, Kenshoo (a company that helps marketers manage search spend across platforms) is making Amazon ads readily available to all marketers through an API integration today." AdWeek
Instagram Expands Access to Branded Content Tools
After months of testing, Instagram has granted access to advertisers to its Branded Content tools. These will allow advertisers simplify the process for working with creators (and vice versa). Social Media Today
Google responds to Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention with AdWords tracking update
The news of Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari has upset the advertising industry - but as usual, we have Google to the rescue. According to Search Engine Land, "Google has developed a new Google Analytics cookie that will be used to capture campaign and conversion data from Safari in a way that conforms with ITP." Search Engine Land
Amazon ‘1-Click’ patent expires today, get ready for faster web-wide checkout
Amazon's patent on '1-Click' checkout has expired - this means that eCommerce platforms can now duplicate this functionality on their own sites. This is expected to reduce cart abandonment for shopping sites and make a more convenient user experience. Marketing Land
73% Of Broadband Consumers Want To Tightly Control Their Personal Data
According to MediaPost: "A large majority (73%) of U.S. broadband consumers express a desire to keep tight control over access to their personal data, with nearly half being very concerned that someone will access the data without their permission, according to a new report by Parks Associates." MediaPost
What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?
As the old saying goes: the more things change, the more they stay the same — a saying that certainly has resonance across the marketing industry right now.
As it stands, the top challenges many of us are facing in 2017 are, in essence, the same ones we’ve been battling for years. According to an expansive aggregation of digital marketing studies and reports from Getapp Lab, the industry’s top pain points include: lack of time, knowledge, and resources; difficulty converting leads into customers; and diminishing reach in an increasingly crowded digital environment.
The analysis offers a widescreen view of the current landscape for businesses, highlighting tactics that are leading the way, solutions being embraced to overcome prevalent hurdles, and emerging technologies that hint at the direction of the marketing industry for startups and enterprises alike.
With that said, below we run through some key takeaways from the roundup, as well as provide some additional insight and resources.
Don’t Sweat the Individual Techniques
Which digital marketing techniques are leading the way in 2017? Getapp shares a report from Smart Insights showing that content marketing and big data are leading the way in a preference poll, with marketing automation, mobile marketing and social media marketing not far behind.
(Photo Credit: Smart Insights)
Of course, none of these should really be viewed as disparate practices — rather quite the opposite. TopRank Marketing firmly believes in approaching digital marketing with an integrated strategy. For example, data ought to touch every branch of your marketing strategy. Mobile should be top-of-mind with all digital assets you produce. Automation can be integrated into almost every tactic for added efficiency.
But, with that said, it comes as no surprise that content and data lead the way as prioritized techniques. As our own CEO, Lee Odden, often says: “Content isn’t king. It’s the Kingdom.” So for us, these two cornerstones speak to the fundamental essence of modern marketing: understanding your audience and reaching them with relevant, best-answer content that informs, engages and inspires action.
Mobile is a Must
In today’s digital world, I think it’s safe to say that all marketers know the importance mobile plays in their digital marketing initiatives. But when companies or agencies devise and execute their marketing strategies, it typically happens in offices stocked with powerful computers and large monitors. As such, without concerted effort, it’s difficult to gain end-user perspective. But to put it bluntly, it’s no longer an option. It’s an imperative for success.
Operating in this constantly shifting domain can test one’s mettle. As a marketer, you’re busy enough doing your job and servicing clients or customers; add in a perpetual need to adapt as trends evolve, and nobody could be blamed for feeling overwhelmed.
The good news it that we live in an age of accessible tools for everything. The Getapp Lab report helpfully lists several solutions across categories such as Hootsuite for social media management, HubSpot for marketing automation and MailChimp for email marketing.
So, if you’re struggling with any of the three core challenges mentioned at the outset — lacking resources, conversion gridlock and dwindling reach — it’s worth investigating how new or additional tools might aid your efforts and enable you get more out of existing assets.
Among the many digital marketing trends in the Getapp report, here are a few others that caught our eyes:
Segmented email campaigns have a 14.3% higher open rate than non-segmented campaigns. Are you still relying on spray-and-pray? (Source: MailChimp)
Twenty eight percent of marketers consider video to be a key channel for driving growth. I’d wager this figure will at least double within the next year or two. (Source: GetResponse)
Technical SEO is important, but 72% of marketers still say relevant content creation is their most effective draw for search traffic. (Source: HubSpot)
In wrapping up its snapshot of where digital marketing stands in 2017, Getapp’s aggregated report concludes with a look ahead, highlighting three frontiers that are distinctly visible on the horizon: artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and virtual reality.
While they’re still in relatively youthful stages, these technologies open new possibilities surrounding automated customer service (chatbots!), interactive or experiential marketing (glasses and headsets), gamification and more. For example, when it comes to AI search engine developments at Google, our own Kevin Cotch, SEO Manager, said it best:
“Artificial intelligence will change, and has been, changing how search marketers should be optimizing websites [and content],” he says. “We have a lot of opportunity to focus on aspects that will provide a better experience for our users than traditional tactics like optimizing the metadata of a page. Of course, those metrics will still hold some relevance to search engines, but we can instead focus on what really matters to users.”
Last week, thousands of marketers from all over the world descended on the Rock N’ Roll capital of the world, Cleveland, OH, for the seventh annual Content Marketing World Conference and Expo. Featuring more than 130 speakers, keynotes and panelists, dozens of different tracks, and a whole lot of orange, the four-day event was exciting [...]
The pressure is on! Content marketers are being expected to create more with less. And often, that means creating more content without adding additional team members. Unfortunately, the content copywriters are often the ones that bear the brunt of these situations which can be exhausting and cause content burnout. To help ease the pain, Workfront’s [...]
Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips.
The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business.
But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories.
As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations.
Here’s a quick visual summary of his entire presentation, courtesy of Kingman Ink:
My favorite part is the lizard that represents your limbic brain. Visuals cut straight to that reflexive part of your brain, making a point quicker than listing facts and drawing conclusions.
Here’s how Adam suggests creating data-based visuals that speak directly to our inner lizards.
#1: Prepare Data for Analysis
Great data visualization starts with...well...data. More than that, it starts with a meaningful and manageable data set. The data you choose to include should be tailored to both the story you want to tell and the audience that’s going to receive it. For an example, when pulling internal data, your CEO might just want to know whether marketing is contributing to revenue. By contrast, your CMO will want revenue, engagement, and sales enablement data.
Adam recommends these three steps for data analysis:
Filtering: Make sure you’re getting high quality data. For example, in your website analytics, exclude bot and spam traffic from your traffic reports.
Sorting: Use the sorting that makes the most business sense. In most cases, a combined and weighted sort will be the most useful, organizing data along two variables.
Grouping: In Google Analytics, you can group data into categories. This can help you create more specific, focused visualizations.
#2: Tell Your Data Story
With the data in hand, you can create a visualization. Aim to create an image so simple, specific, and clean that it’s readable at a glance. In other words, the opposite of this:
Notice how your eyes flick back and forth between the legend and the chart, trying to make sense of it all. Compare that chart to this one:
There’s a mountain of data behind that visualization, but you can instantly grasp the point: vaccines eliminate diseases.
Such a stunning visual doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning. Adam recommends “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.
#3: Best Practices for Compelling Data Reporting
As with any kind of storytelling, the best way to visualize your data depends on your audience and your story. But there are some consistent best practices to follow. Adam recommends following these guidelines for visualizations in your internal reporting, regardless of audience or intent:
Keep charts and graphs simple. Don’t graph every data point--just enough to show the trend. Focus on what matters most to your story.
Tell the user what the point is. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess at the conclusion you want them to draw: Put it right in the title of your visualization.
Don’t spin the data. Ever. The point of data visualization is to get at the facts, not obscure them. Don’t abuse your audience’s trust with misleading visuals.
Make reporting part of your process. It’s easy to think of reporting as something tacked on to the end of a campaign, a final housekeeping task. Better to see reporting as vital to our ongoing marketing efforts and approach it with dedication and enthusiasm.
Use the right data for the right stakeholder. Make sure you personalize your reports for different audiences, sticking with only the most relevant data for each.
Be creative and have fun. Solutions like Google Data Studio make it easy to pull in data and play with visualizations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Data Points
When done properly, a single chart or graph can convey paragraphs of information at a single glance. Choose your data carefully, keep your visualizations simple and purposeful, and you can create a report far more compelling than a list of stats and figures could ever be.
There’s no question that video is an increasingly important digital marketing tactic. Humans are visual creatures by nature and, when done right, video allows brands to tell their story and create meaningful, emotional connections with their audience.
For California-based Jordan Vineyard and Winery, video content has become a central piece of their marketing strategy. Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing & Communications, shared how they’re winning at video during her Content Marketing World session “How Jordan Winery Crushed Content Marketing With a Video-Centered Strategy.”
For a little background, Jordan Vineyard and Winery has been around since the early 1970s, and until Mattson came on board, they’re marketing strategy hadn’t changed in more than 40 years.
“Even the finest wine has a shelf life,” Mattson said in reference to a brand’s image and personality. “You have to innovate.”
But before you get started with video content, Mattson said you need to answer some critical questions if you want your venture to be successful. Below I outline some of the key questions you need to consider.
#1 - Do you have the upper management support?
This one’s pretty simple. The success of any of your marketing initiatives, especially if you’re looking to add a new tactic like video to the mix, depends on getting buy-in from the top. When the leaders at the top support what you do and are excited about it, that trickles down.
#2 - Are you willing to embed yourself in other departments?
In order to create dynamic video content, you’re going to need to lean on folks in multiple departments. Not only are your colleagues going to be a source of inspiration for the type of content you create, but they may need to actually participate in the filming.
#3 - Are your spokespersons comfortable on camera?
Quite obviously, anyone you put on camera needs to feel comfortable there. If they aren’t, that discomfort will be obvious to your audience and turn them off.
#4 - Are you prepared for resistance from co-workers?
As mentioned above, you’re going to have to work with several people from several departments to create awesome video content. But video is time consuming. And your colleagues are busy and this will add more to their already full plate. As a result, you need to be prepared to be met with some resistance, and have a plan to help you work around it.
#5 - What are the best video stories to tell?
At the end of the day, you’re creating video to help tell your brand’s story. So you need to think critically about what types of stories are a good fit for the medium.
#6 - Can you run lean and mean?
If you’re just starting out with video, you likely don’t have a huge team of resources just yet — and maybe you never will. So, you have to be able to commit to running your video strategy “lean and mean.”
#7 - Do you have IT infrastructure?
Video content can take up a lot of bandwidth, so it’s essential to consider your IT needs from the beginning. Mattson recalled an instance where the retail sales department couldn’t process online customer orders because marketing was using so much juice to upload videos to YouTube. So, it’s absolutely critical to make sure you have the right IT infrastructure.
#8 - How big and thorough is your budget?
While it’s widely known that video costs more to produce, Mattson said you don’t need to have a huge budget. You just need to know what your budget is and make a thorough list of what needs to be included.
“Little things add up,” Mattson said. “You might need a little bit of stock footage, or maybe you need to buy some props, and that all costs money.”
She went on to share some of the specific items you’ll need to budget for upfront, including: lenses, camera body, external drives, iMac, lighting, tripod, audio, editing software, and miscellaneous. She estimated the investment to be about $14,000, which seems high. However, hiring a production company to create just one three-minute video, she said, could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.
#9 - What are the right skill sets and job responsibilities?
Of course, in order to produce high-quality video content, you need capable people to actually do it. Mattson suggested in embracing multi-talented positions, and hiring candidates with core skills and be willing to cross-train them. In addition, she noted that it’s important to know what skills simply can’t be taught, and that it’s important to set job expectations early and clearly.
#10 - Do you have an editorial plan?
For Mattson, consistency is the key to video success. As a result, you need to have a strategy content plan that helps you keep a cadence that will keep your audience coming back and make an impact.
As an extra tip, she also suggested leaving a little wiggle room in there to take advantage of what’s trending. For example, the song “Despacito” is going gangbusters on the radio, and they created a parody video about bottling their wine. You can watch it below.
According to Mattson, content might be king, but distribution is queen. Once you create an amazing video, you need to set it free to your audience and go beyond social media.
Some of the distribution considerations mentioned included: where you’re hosting your video content (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), paid placement, influencers, and search.
#12 - Do you have an audience?
This is the big one. At the end of the day, if you’re going to do video you have to make sure that you have an audience for it. Depending on your industry, product, service and type of customer, video may not resonate.
One Final Thought
When it comes to creating and executing on a video strategy — or your overall marketing strategy for that matter — there’s one big thing that Mattson said that really resonated with me:
[bctt tweet="People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. - @lisamattsonwine #video #CMWorld" username="toprank"]
For me, this comes down to storytelling. You need a compelling narrative that’s hyperfocused on why your organization does what it does.
It might only be 1pm in the afternoon, but it’s five o’clock somewhere – a perfect time for a great dry martini. Research “how to make the perfect dry martini”, and you’ll get over 1,560,000 results. Ask a content marketer “how to tell a good story”, and you’ll get about the same quality of results [...]
Jean Giraudoux once said, “The secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
It’s a funny indictment of how to take exactly the wrong approach to authenticity. But too often, brands and marketers miss the sarcasm. We target an audience, then carefully cultivate an image to appeal to them. We create the appearance of a culture that matches theirs. And then we’re surprised when our target audience sees right through it.
What if we stopped trying to fake sincerity and turned the whole process inside out? Instead of crafting a culture to match an audience, why not attract the audience that matches your culture?
In his presentation at Content Marketing World, adidas’ Frank Thomas shared how the athletic wear company defines their culture and broadcasts it to their potential audience. Frank and his team created Gameplan A, a content hub that expresses the company’s culture.
The twist is that the site is for internal and external messaging--same channels, same content. They’re not crafting an image, they’re broadcasting their identity. The content on Gameplan A clearly says, “This is what we are like. If you’re like us, this is your community, too.” That approach makes it easier for people to connect and form a lasting relationship with the brand.
Here’s how adidas puts culture at the core of their content marketing strategy.
Culture Is Content Marketing’s North Star
According to Frank, the digital world is so complex and volatile that our go-to tools for audience identification are no longer sufficient. Personas, scenarios, observed past behavior--they all change as fast as we can construct them.
Instead of trying to become what an ever-changing audience wants, Frank says, make culture your north star. Define what your brand stands for and you can become a beacon to your most valuable audience.
Frank identified four crucial components of a brand’s culture:
Values.What ethical notions form the foundation of the brand?
Ideas. What unique ideas arise from these values?
Convictions. What beliefs drive the brand’s actions?
Behaviors. How does the brand express these convictions, ideas, and values?
Added together, your values, ideas, convictions and behaviors form your identity.
Once your identity is established, you can move from product marketing to culture marketing. As Frank said, “We’re not selling shoes. We’re communicating on behalf of the brand, building trust in our target audience.”
Gameplan A aims to build a community of like-minded people, including employees, potential recruitment candidates, but also consumers who might become advocates for the brand. The brand’s culture, expressed through Gameplan A’s content, acts as a beacon for those who share the brand’s values.
How to Express Your Culture Through Content Marketing
When you filter content through the lens of your brand’s culture, you can form stronger, more valuable connections with your audience. Frank explained how his team uses Gameplan A to promote adidas’ culture:
#1: Align Internal and External Messaging
According to Frank, it’s crucial to start by engaging your employees. Make sure they understand your culture and believe it’s sincere. Then employees can help spread the message to your audience in a more authentic way.
When your internal and external messaging share the same culture, you can have a meaningful exchange of ideas with your community: Your audience can actually bring value to your continued cultural evolution.
#2: Find Your Uniqueness and Focus In
Sports are adidas’ primary focus. But they’re not just addressing people who love sports--that’s too large a segment to create a meaningful connection with. So they refined their audience segment further, zeroing in on people who are creative, collaborative, and confident: Entrepreneurs and drivers of change. Then they further focused in on those who are actively trying to make a difference, continually self-improving, striving for the new.
This process of segmentation, refinement, and focus can help you find the audience most aligned with your brand’s culture. That is, the audience most relevant and receptive to your messaging.
#3: Make Your Personality Shine
Once you establish your brand’s culture, don’t hide it on your “About” page. Apply your cultural filter to every piece of content you create.
For Gameplan A, Frank created a culture guide that creators can follow to make sure each piece of content meets their cultural DNA. The guide outlines what Frank calls “Mega Themes,” the key topics of interest where their expertise intersects with audience needs. Any new content must address one of these themes to be considered for publication.
#4: Commit Yourself for the Long Haul
It takes time to build a culture-driven brand, to build a community with content that expresses your brand identity. So it’s vital to set expectations and allocate resources accordingly. Prepare your team for a marathon, not a sprint, before you step onto the track.
#5: Involve Your Role Models
The people who inspire your brand’s culture can make powerful collaborators for co-creating content. Gameplan A curates content from their heroes, and works with them to create original content.
But it’s not just about working with influencers--some of your most inspiring role models are right in your community. Gameplan A offers their community the chance to suggest topics, ask questions, recommend content, and even submit proposals for drafting content to be published on the hub.
Keeping It Extra Real
To start building your community of like-minded individuals--your most relevant audience--don’t try to fake sincerity. Start by firmly establishing your brand’s culture. Document the values, ideas, convictions and behaviors that define your identity. Then make that culture the guiding light of your content marketing strategy.
When your culture is genuine, shared throughout the organization, and expressed in all you do, you won’t have to chase your most valued audience: They’ll be drawn to you.
Some pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble. In the classic E.B. White novel, Charlotte’s Web, these simple yet impactful words save a life and make another better. And for prolific writer, marketer and speaker Ann Handley, these words also make the title character the best content marketer in the world. “In just four [phrases] she had to [...]
The Hottest Visual Content Marketing Trends in 2017 [Infographic]
Visual content can help you boost your content marketing efforts in terms of engagement and resonance. This infographic shows the most common types of visual content marketing, what type of visuals consumers prefer and more. Social Media Today
Facebook’s Ad Metrics Come Under Scrutiny Yet Again
There's been some recent controversy over Facebook's estimated audience size that it gives to advertisers. A research firm recently compared their estimated audiences in the U.S. against the Census and found discrepancies totaling in the tens of millions in some cases. Fortune
Bing Ads Now Shows Remarketing Bid Adjustment Suggestions Based on CPA Data
Bing has announced that they'll be using advertisers' data to help them drive more leads through retargeting bid adjustments. This includes giving recommendations to advertisers and helping them estimated the changes in conversions they can expect. Search Engine Journal
Google reveals the top things people want to find out ‘How to’ do
Google partnered with Xaquin G.V., an interactive visual data journalist, to create a new interactive website that shows the answers to folks most common how-to questions. Apparently, those questions make up a large share of the queries typed into Google every day. TechCrunch
Digital Advertising Is Facing Its Ultimate Moment of Truth, and Billions of Dollars Are at Stake
Advertisers are demanding more transparency from their advertising and media partners in light of recent brand safety concerns and fraudulent advertising metrics. With more companies following this trend, it's time for advertisers to make a change. AdWeek
LinkedIn Debuts Its Own Audience Network, Making it Look Ever More Like Facebook
Ad Age reports that LinkedIn is launching its own Audience Network: "The new product allows marketers to reach LinkedIn members on apps and websites that aren't operated by the business-networking site. Such offerings are proving popular with tech companies: Yelp and Pandora made similar announcements last week." Ad Age
The Most-Deleted and Least-Used Mobile Apps [Infographic]
A new infographic shows user behavior when it comes to downloading and deleting mobile apps. What's really interesting is that 37% respondents said they avoid downloading mobile apps because they favor mobile websites instead. MarketingProfs
Google Data Studio Adds Third-Party Data Connectors from Supermetrics and Others
Google recently announced a beta product that will help users connect and visualize data from third-party sources. Marketing Land reports that Google has also "added the ability for users to embed interactive Data Studio reports on their websites. Select Report > File > Embed report, then put the HTML code snippet into an iframe." Marketing Land
What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?
We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news! Have something to share? Tweet @TopRank or to me @Tiffani_Allen.
What does it look like when content, influencers and social media come together to generate a metaphorical gold mine in terms of revenue and reach? To put it mildly, it’s drop dead gorgeous.
At least that was the view from my seat at Content Marketing World as Estée Lauder’s Executive Director of Global Content Marketing Alicianne Rand shared the incredible success her organization has achieved through their integrated content marketing strategy
Tip #1 - Use data to drive your content marketing strategy
At Estée Lauder, Rand and team have built a framework to simplify how they look at data.
Step 1: Track trends based on deep social listening, then look at how trends move from rising to evergreen and eventually declining patterns.
Rand cited a trend called “popsicle lips” that first launched at fashion week by Mac. At first, folks were skeptical, but it was quickly picked up by industry insiders, and then popsicle lips became the No. 1 trend of the summer.
“The trend started with a subculture that consumers may not have necessarily gravitated toward,” she said. “But then it moved into a creative expressions that consumers want to use and wear every day.”
Step 2: Analyze content and brand performance, and then use these insights to quickly experiment.
Rand said that her team constantly evaluates their performance against the competition.
“We ask: how do we perform against the competition in terms of market share?” she explained. “Our ability to grow that share over time is what we’re really concerned about.”
For Estée Lauder, that means mobilizing employees as influencers and trendsetters in the industry.
“Think about how you can activate your employees to make things real,” she suggested. “And really test and learn to figure out what works best.”
Step 3: Map everything against business goals.
At the end of the day, you need to know what you want from your content in terms of KPIs to determine whether it was successful. Do you want to generate a certain amount of views and engagement? Or are you looking for leads or revenue? So, determine what that goal is and regularly check yourself against it to optimize, learn and repeat.
Tip #2: Create products with content in mind
Rand said: “In the early stages of research and development, we’re already thinking about how this product will perform on social.”
This is a key element for their brand’s content because so much of the industry is socially driven. Think about it in terms of Kylie Jenner’s lipstick promotion generating billions of dollars from Snapchat.
However, this doesn’t mean that the brand owns all of the social around their product. In fact, Rand recommends the following formula for working with social influencers:
Ownership + Authenticity + 360 Engagement = Sales
“Ownership and authenticity are key to performance,” Rand said. “Give your influencers ownership over that product or that creative and you will see results.”
Tip #3: Know that creativity can come from anywhere and anyone.
In Rand’s words, “Everyone is a content creator. The trick is where you’re leveraging these influencers and what KPIs you have against each. There needs to be different strategies for different content creators.”
The key is synchronization, she said. There needs to be a strategic framework in place for success. Rand tasked the audience with four key elements to think about:
What is your overarching theme? What does your brand stand for?
What are your trying to promote? (i.e. What is your particular campaign?)
What are your chapters? This refers to evergreen content that the Estée Lauder team likes to call micro-narratives.
What are your moments? This is your always-on content, where you can do A/B testing and try out new trends you’re experimenting with.
Tip #4: Create new paths to discovery and conversion.
How can your content create new paths to conversion? What isn’t being done that can make an impact?
To illustrate this point, Rand cited the example of Smashbox thinking about retail as content. Every single store they have has a photo studio inside. They invite influencers to come in, do photo shoots using their products, and then give the photos to them for use on Instagram or other social profiles. In return, the influencers always tag Smashbox, giving their audience an opportunity to check the products out for themselves.
The Main Takeaway?
For content to drive sales and conversions, it needs to come from a place of deep understanding of your customers, the marketplace and your brand. Don’t start with what you want to get out of your content and work backward. A truly beautiful content strategy starts with why — not what.
It was all aboard the Content Marketing World Enterprise Wednesday morning, as TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden took marketers to the not-so-final frontier of marketing: influencer marketing.
Lee’s session, “Big Brand Influencer Marketing: Trends & Best Practices,” had the flight deck packed with eager marketers from brands big and small as well as agencies, all looking for insight to define, refine or inspire their influencer marketing journey.
While Lee covered enterprise influencer marketing trends, tools and interesting B2B and B2C case studies, much of the presentation focused on five best practices for creating a dynamic influencer marketing program with the perfect balance of great content and strong influencer relationships.
What are those five best practices? Read on to find out.
#1 - Goal Setting
Goal setting is part of a responsible marketer’s DNA. Your objectives are the foundation of your marketing strategy, guiding every decision and tactic that comes next. When it comes to goal setting for influencer marketing, Lee believes that means thinking about all of the possibilities and then drilling down into specific, measurable goals. Most large brands view influencer marketing simply as an advertising channel and like the Universe, there is so much more possible. That means understanding the role that influencer marketing can play in reaching marketing and PR goals as well as talent acquisition, customer support and many other corporate communications objectives.
#2 - Smart Influencer Engagement
As Lee said: “There are a lot of cowboys out there. … A lot of people are just shooting from the hip when it comes to influencer marketing.” When it comes to engaging with the influencers you want to create relationships with, you should absolutely be a little wild and free to pique interest, but at the right times.
Lee told the story of his first influencer content project, in which he reached out to about marketing influencers with several questions for them to answer, and not necessarily tailored to their expertise. As you can imagine, the response wasn’t great. He then walked the room through what he called the “Confluence Romance,” a kind of framework that helps you make connections, get on the radar, build and maintain relationships with influencers. The “steps” he outlined were:
Follow and interact with influencers on social channels
Recognize influencers on a featured list or blog post
Invite influencers to share a quote or a one-on-one interview
Use that interview or quote content as modular content to repurpose and continue to share
Engage with influencers in the real world
Invite them to become a VIP influencer
Of course, these steps are a bit nuanced and not one-size-fits-all, and need to be tailored to your brand, objectives and resources. But either way, it can serve as a helpful guide.
#3 - Co-Creation
Lee is an avid fan of co-creating content with influencers. As he’s been known to say: “If you want your content to be great, ask influencers to participate.” Influencers add perspective, insight and credibility, and in return you get to create an awesome piece of content that makes them look great.
For co-creation magic, Lee’s top tips were picking a very specific topic so you can easily match the best-fit influencers, and weaving influencers into your content planning.
“You always make sure that your content is accountable to targeted keywords, so why not also make your content accountable to influencers?” Lee asked rhetorically.
#4 - Amplification
At the end of the day, most marketers hope their influencer relationships and the content they’ve built with influencers is seen. And that’s where amplification comes in.
As for some best practices for this best practice, Lee offered up several. My favorite was openly sharing your content and marketing objective with the influencer. While some marketers may hesitate to do something like that, Lee believes that cluing influencers in on the purpose will give them the opportunity to be more effective.
#5 - Measurement
Marketers know that measurement is key to understanding how your marketing efforts are performing, as well as if you’ve reached your objectives. When it comes to influencer marketing, Lee suggested three different metrics to pay attention to:
Influencer community performance
Overall content performance
Be sure to check out Lee's full presentation below and boldly go where few marketers have gone before!
You Can Get Aboard the Enterprise, Too
Even if you were unable to attend CMWorld, you can still get insight and inspiration from Lee’s session. His presentation is available on SlideShare.
It’s certainly no secret that quality content is the foundation of every marketing strategy. And you may think the success of your content marketing initiatives rests in the capable and creative hands of your marketing team members. But you may be missing out on a big internal opportunity.
During her session titled “Driving Content Marketing Success in Your Organization: Sales, Product and Global-Regional Collaboration,” Jillian Hillard, the Director of Brand and Product Marketing for Electrolux Home Care and SDA, North America, emphasized the importance of enterprise-wide buy-in.
Using three rebranding case studies as examples, Hillard walked us through her process for getting key players from multiple departments to buy-in, get excited and see the value in content marketing.
“Everyone needs to have a seat at the table in the beginning,” Hillard said. “This creates community of openness, trust, camaraderie, support and gets everyone excited about the new journey.”
So, how can you win the buy-in of key departments within your organization to drive your content marketing strategy? Get started by understanding your key players and departments or as she referred to them: your cast of characters. When you need to understand your organization’s characters, you’ll be able to help them understand how content can make a difference for the business and the customer.
Character #1 - The Product Line
The folks working on product line and development quite obviously have intimate knowledge of how the product works and benefits your customers. They’re your subject matter experts. But they have a lot to gain from content marketing. You just have to show them.
“Your products are an extension of your story,” Hillard said. “And content is a must to help you sell and onboard your products.”
Character #2 - Sales
Hillard recognized that many marketers are hesitant to involve sales during early strategy development. But she argued that sales reps are your “on-the-ground storytellers,” so getting them to collaborate and share insights early can make or break your efforts.
“If sales is not behind your content revolution, you have lost the best resources for customer buy-in,” she said. “But, you need to show them that marketing is more than freebies and product catalogs.”
To achieve sales buy-in, it’s important for marketers to ask for feedback along the way, and sometimes this requires a meeting just for marketing and sales teams to work together and brainstorm. During these meetings, you can clearly layout what their role is in your organization’s content marketing journey.
Character #3: Finance
As Hillard put it: ”A well-funded story goes far.” So, if you can help your finance players see that content marketing is a business generator, that’s when you go from the spenders to the viable business drivers.
To get buy in from finance, share short- and long-term ROI possibilities. Then brief them on how content can contribute to a reduction in costs and increase in sales. Finally, include finance in any management presentations and milestone updates.
Character #4: Customer Service
Nobody spends more face-time with your customers than your customer service team. And as Hillard explained: “Customer service provides fuel for your content. Their insights allow the organization to take trending issues and feedback and proactively output content. That content then aids customer service as well by making answers and suggestions readily available for them to pass along.”
For customer services teams to hop on board with your content marketing plan, they need validation. They spend a lot of time listening to customers, so it’s important that you lend them your ear and give them a voice.
“Ask them to participate in editorial calendar brainstorms,” Hillard suggested. “They can also give insight on how the customer wants to receive their content. [In addition], offer trainings and easy ways for the team to access the content for their own use.”
The Main Takeaway?
In order to drive content marketing success for your organization, everyone in the organization needs a hand on the wheel. You need buy-in and collaboration from conception to execution, and ultimately optimization. Hillard said it best in the final moments of her presentation:
“Once your organization sees the value, then content marketing becomes contagious.”
The inimitable Andrew Davis is the best-selling author of Town, Inc. and an in-demand marketing speaker. After his presentation at Content Marketing World 2017, I can see why. He made me feel stupid. And I’m incredibly grateful. The best presentations make you feel stupid in retrospect. Of course! It’s so obvious that this is the [...]
I can’t, and I will only be attending my third year of this information-packed conference this week.
What Joe Pulizzi, Cathy McPhillips and the rest of the team at Content Marketing Institute have built over the past 7 years is truly amazing. Each day is filled with learnings from top content marketers, fun games and lunch and learns and awesome after-parties.
Below you’ll find fun some highlights from our involvement from Content Marketing World’s inception, to happenings at the conference this week. Enjoy!
2011: When it all Began
As I mentioned earlier, 2017 will be my third year attending Content Marketing World. But for a select few that have been around since inception, this will be their seventh Content Marketing World Experience. One of those lucky few is TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden. Lee has not only attended every conference since 2011, he is one of even a smaller number of speakers that has presented at each and every one.
Want proof? Here’s a photo of Lee at Content Marketing World 2011:
2012: Our First Co-Branded eBook with Content Marketing World
By the second year of the conference, content marketers were hooked! There were over 1,000 attendees from 23 different countries. Officially making Content Marketing World the largest content marketing conference on the planet.
For our team at TopRank Marketing (and me personally) there was another exciting opportunity on the horizon. In preparation for the 2012 conference, we partnered with the team at Content Marketing Institute to develop the first-ever conference eBook. This eBook uncovered top content marketing secrets from 29 of the speakers at Content Marketing World. This was a new experience for me and I was incredibly honored and excited to work alongside Lee and the speakers to create this amazing asset.
September 2015 was an exciting time. I was about to head to Cleveland for my first taste of Content Marketing World.
I was accompanied by my fellow team members Josh Nite and Alexis Hall. And while our road to Cleveland was a bit bumpy (if you see me at CMWorld ask me about it), we finally got there safe, sound and excited for the experience.
For his awesome help with the design, we sent JK a new sketchbook. And in return, he drew this lovely portrait for us!
2017: Bringing Endless Possibilities
This year may be our biggest year yet!
In addition to the workshop Lee ran on Tuesday that provided insights on creating an influencer marketing strategy, he also has a solo session today on Big Brand Influencer Marketing which is a must-see.
You will find myself and my fellow teammate Amy Higgins will both be moderating sessions on Thursday and you’re sure to see some other members of our team live blogging sessions and networking with you beautiful people including:
If you’ll be attending Content Marketing World this week I’d love to connect! You can follow me on @azeckman or feel free to follow our team on @TopRank, or look for our live blogs here on TopRankBlog.com
With over 200 speakers, moderators, panelists and workshop leaders at the 2017 Content Marketing World conference, it is a substantial task to investigate the influence of so many accomplished marketing professionals. For this year’s list of influential content marketing speakers, I went a step further and took into account those who have presented at Content [...]
Great Scott! The TopRank Marketing blog has been around since 2003, way back when content marketing and blogging were relatively new to the business world. We are proud of the fact that we were early adopters of the blogging trend—one of today’s leading content marketing strategies for improving brand visibility and engagement. Trends and predictions [...]
Is it Worth Doing SEO for Bing? These Usage Stats May Surprise You [Infographic]
In the SEO world we, unsurprisingly, hear about Google a lot. How much time have our collective SEOs devoted to Bing? With more than 5 billion searches per month and 59 million users, it's time for us all to take notice. This infographic outlines some interesting usage stats about Bing. Social Media Today
New Report: Millennials Hate Apps With Uncool Design
A new Comscore report shows that logos matter to millennials, and that they're eager to delete apps from their phone if they don't like how they look on their screen. Other findings from the report include Snapchat's return to popularity with millennials and Facebook's continued dominance of the mobile app market. Ad Age
Facebook Engagement for Brands and Publishers Falls 20% In 2017
New research from Buzzsumo shows that Facebook's engagement rate for brands and publishers fell by 20% so far in 2017. The study analyzed 880 million Facebook posts from brands and publishers and found that average engagements fell from 340 to 264 in the first half of this year. Buzzsumo
2017 Deliverability Benchmark Report
A study from Return Path shows that about 20% of marketing emails never reach the intended recipient -- globally, 14% went missing and the remaining 6% were vanquished to the spam folder. The results were similar for the US compared to the world at large. Return Path
Google Introduces Video to Google Maps Listings
Google has announced that they'll soon be giving Local Guides the ability to upload video with an android device -- allowing users to start seeing videos on Google Maps listings. While Local Guides can only upload via Android, the videos can be viewed by users on iOS, Android or Desktop. Search Engine Journal
Facebook Advertising Benchmarks for 2Q17
MarketingProfs says: "The average clickthrough rate (CTR) on Facebook ads increased significantly between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2017, according to recent research from Nanigans." The average global Facebook advertising CTR increased by 49% year-over-year. MarketingProfs
40% of Consumers Want Emails From Brands to Be Less Promotional and More Informative
A new study from Adobe found that 40% of consumers wants brands to be more informational than promotional in their emails -- however, 61% would rather receive promotional emails from brands vs. other tactics like direct mail or social media. AdWeek
Consumers Demand More, Forgive Less, Study Finds
MediaPost reports "Some 60% of consumers become less loyal to brands after poor website and app performance, a survey reveals, with more than 80% saying they would consider telling friends about their poor experience." The survey was multi-national, spanning from the U.S., to the UK and Sweden. MediaPost
What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?