Content creation—it’s the linchpin of our B2B content marketing strategies. And 56% of B2B content marketers have upped their investment in content creation over the past year—more than any other spending area.
Without a steady cadence of fresh, quality content we can’t proactively adapt to our audience’s changing needs nor consistently reach, inform, engage, entertain, or inspire action within them. And for most content marketers, this effort is often grounded in creating net-new content. But freshness is the eye of the beholder; quality content creation doesn’t have to be done from scratch.
Refreshing existing content is a massive opportunity, playing an integral role within your always-on content marketing strategy. It’s not only more efficient to produce, but when done strategically, it can also boost results, improve user experience, and extend the life and relevance of the content you’ve worked so hard to produce.
As it’s been sung, everything old can be new again. Below are all of the reasons why you need to identify refresh opportunities and how you should approach it.
3 Reasons to Refresh Existing Content
#1 – Content takes time to “mature in search”—and needs to be nurtured.
SEO is a foundational element of content marketing. You know your buyers are becoming increasingly self-directed in their search for answers, and you’re creating SEO-informed content to satisfy their queries. But if you just focus on new content creation, you’re leaving potential on the table.
We’ve all experienced those sweet, near-instant wins in search results after a new post goes live. But typically, it takes time and smart optimization to gain consistent organic traction. In its post analyzing top ranking factors, Moz’s Jeff Baker discusses three different correlations between the age of a post and its keyword position. Based on their research, it took roughly 100 days or more for a new article to realize its full potential.
Image credit: Moz.com
While pages need time to mature, without the proper nurturing their relevance can degrade over time; this is the “fresh” factor. Essentially, strategically updating older posts can improve rankings as search algorithms prefer fresh over stale content. Data and insight should guide the type of updates you make, but updates could include optimization tweaks to capitalize on new related keyword rankings, expanding or refining content around certain themes, and link building.
Once again, Moz illustrates how freshness can fade in the eyes of search engines.
Image credit: Moz.com[bctt tweet=”Content takes time to mature in search, and it needs to be nurtured. @annieleuman #B2BContentMarketing #contentrefresh” username=”toprank”]
#2 – Refreshing allows your content to grow WITH your audience.
Search is constantly evolving. Not only are search engines getting more sophisticated, but the way people are searching has changed as well:
- Half of all smartphone users use voice technology. (comScore)
- Mobile phones are expected to be used for 80% of all internet access in 2019, a 10% increase from 2017. (Quartz)
- Mobile searches for queries with questions like “do I need”, “should I”, and “can I” have grown by at least 65% over the past two years. (Google)
As queries get more specific and question-based with natural language, making tweaks to your content to match those relevant queries and opportunities allows you to better match users needs. It paves the way for being the best answer, whenever, wherever, and however your audience is searching.
#3 – Refreshing could give you leg-up on more than just your competitors.
Content marketing is no longer the new shiny object in the B2B realm. Content marketing is simply modern marketing. As content continues to proliferate you’re likely competing for visibility and reach with your direct competitors within your industry, as well as indirect competitors such as third-party review sites, industry publications, independent bloggers, technology providers, and so on.
There are hundreds of billions of webpages in the Google Search Index, and while serving different audiences and thought leadership purposes, there’s likely some overlap in keyword targeting. Let’s take “B2B content marketing” as an example—industry publications such as Search Engine Journal, tools like BuzzSumo or HubSpot, platforms like LinkedIn*, and of course B2B marketing agencies like us, have all produced content on this topic.
So, when it comes to refreshing content, you have the opportunity to see how your content is stacking up to all the competition and make data-informed tweaks to differentiate and personalize for your core audience.
How to Get Started with Refreshing Content
Identify Refresh Opportunities With a Content Audit
You’ve published a lot of content. And more than likely you have several that are top-performers, bringing in tons of traffic. You also may have some good performers or rising stars in there, as well as pieces that simply haven’t gained any meaningful traction.
Refreshes can help you bolster those top-performers and hopefully improve performance of other pieces.
To know where to focus your refreshing and optimization efforts, you need to know how your existing content is performing with an audit. By auditing your current content for current rankings, position changes, traffic trends, and more, you can see which posts have the greatest opportunity.[bctt tweet=”Content refreshes can help you bolster those top-performers and hopefully improve performance of other pieces. @annieleuman #B2BContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]
Put Experience in the Driver Seat
Refreshing is about both your audience and the search engine. So, when you revisit posts to make optimizations, you need to ensure you keep both parties in mind. Focusing solely on your audience could mean missing out on a critical SEO opportunity. And the opposite could be said when zeroing-in on SEO.
To tick both boxes, carefully research your content’s current user experience with metrics like time on page, click through rate, bounce rate, pages per session, or scroll depth. Analyzing these data points should give you an indication of which areas of the experience need the most attention and which sections of your content may need adjustments. This helps you avoid delivering an unsatisfactory user experience that results in drop-offs from both your audience and site crawlers.
Repurpose Where It Makes Sense
There’s refreshing and repurposing. Refreshing is updating something that already exists. Repurposing is taking something that exists and using it to create something new. And there’s a place for both in your content strategy.
When should you repurpose and when should you refresh?
A top-performing, broad post is a great repurposing opportunity. You’ve covered the topic with broad strokes. And through repurposing you can dig a little deeper into some of the specific themes or opportunities, using some of the existing content to support your narrative.
Conversely, in-depth content that is ranking for several long-tail keywords is another good repurposing opportunity. If you split the content into several pieces, with each one targeting a different long-tail variation, you could drastically improve those organic rankings and traffic — all by repurposing and restructuring the original piece.
In addition, repurposing can help you personalize content for specific verticals or audience segments. Through repurposing, you can take an existing article and tailor it for a different target audience with new data that’s relevant for them, solutions to their biggest pain points, and more.
Refresh for Success
Everything old can be new again. From SEO to growing your content to match your audience’s needs, there are several benefits that come from refreshing content. Refresh for success by conducting a content audit, keeping both humans and search engines in mind, and repurposing when and where it makes sense.
How else can you maximize the value of your B2B content? Get an inside look into the future of B2B Content.
*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.
The post Everything Old Is New Again: Why & How to Refresh B2B Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
The post Why Twitter Lists Are Still a Great Tool for B2B Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Page one. Answer box. The top result. In the minds of marketers, these prime destinations have largely been associated with SEO success.
From the days of keyword-stuffing and algorithmic alignment to more nuanced modern approaches accounting for semantic voice commands, influencer integration, and search intent, edging competitors on that SERP has been a key source of aspiration. As it should be: heightened visibility on Google makes a big difference in terms of driving traffic.
But it’s a little short-sighted to think only about that first, fleeting interaction — the search, the discovery, the click. What about the deeper impact? As customer experience becomes a central focus for brands everywhere, we should be more considerate of what happens after a user clicks through that search result, and how it affects your brand.
We talked recently about how best answer content helps fuel strong SEO results. But as part of our new “Trust Factors” series, which examines practical ways for marketers to strengthen trust with their audiences, we’ll shift our perspective and break down the critical benefits of effective best answer content when it comes to building credibility and authority in your niche.[bctt tweet=”As #CX becomes a central focus for brands everywhere, we should be more considerate of what happens after a user clicks through that search result, and how it affects your brand. @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #SearchMarketing” username=”toprank”]
Beyond the Click: The Lasting Impact of Best Answer Content
Brian Dean of Backlinko is a masterful creator of best answer content. He preaches, and practices, a quality-over-quantity approach. At the recent Social Media Marketing World 2019 conference in San Diego, Andrew Pickering and Pete Gartland (the hilarious speaker duo @AndrewAndPete) shared the story of how Dean decided on a plan of publishing one blog post every 4-6 weeks, investing huge amounts of time into making sure each of those pieces was as robust, useful, and comprehensive as possible.
To get an idea of what this output looks like, you can check out his SEO in 2019 or Link-Building for SEO, either by clicking those links or simply typing the basic terms into Google; his posts will show up near the top.
Using this approach, Dean reported his blog was receiving more than 200,000 unique monthly visitors with just 51 total blog posts, which is a pretty amazing feat. Obviously, the premium SERP placements have helped him achieve those gaudy numbers. But it’s the substance beyond the headlines and meta descriptions that really makes his content powerful.
Perusing one of his in-depth resources, you’re going to learn a ton. The posts are extensive but navigable; technical but understandable; fun but serious. They include videos and images to illustrate concepts and break up the copy. Most importantly, they answer pretty much every ancillary question a searcher could ask about their respective topics — accurately and actionably.
And that’s how Dean turned his SEO training company from a humble startup to a seven-figure business in five years. His credibility speaks for itself. People trust him and want to learn from him because of the content he creates — not because it ranks so well, but because of how it ranks so well.
How Best Answers Build Trust
He’s a great example, but Dean is hardly the one out there building trust through best answer content. At TopRank Marketing, this methodology is fundamental to our integrated strategy mix, and we’ve seen plenty of awesome results with our clients. As two examples, there was this content and strategic PPC campaign for DivvyHQ, and this SEO-driven content program for Antea Group.
While both of those efforts drove excellent results in terms of traffic and reach, what’s really heartening in both cases is the deeper business impacts.
“Lead quality has definitely improved,” said DivvyHQ Co-Founder Brody Dorland. “The prospects coming through our website front door are much closer to our ideal customer than they have been in the past.”
“We’ve been able to marry our field and digital marketing efforts together, resulting in numerous digital leads, real revenue opportunities to the tune of millions of dollars, and credibility with our clients, partners, and media as a go-to source for EHS&S information,” said Antea Group USA Solutions Marketing Manager Margaret Uttke.
As any sales team can tell you, prospects who are both well qualified and predisposed to respect your brand are vastly more likely to convert and become happy customers. Here’s how effective best answer content achieves these outcomes:
This more or less speaks for itself. When someone finds content on a topic they’re looking for and it gives them everything they need, expertly articulated, it paints your company as a trusted source: These people know what they’re talking about. They know how to present the info. They’ve done it well enough that Google’s algorithm — which now heavily weighs dwell time and quality inbound links — has elevated it above most or all others.
Sometimes, content marketing can get away from its essential purpose: providing value. Pressured to show results — even if just vanity results — some practitioners blur the line between pull and push with strictly gated content or thinly veiled promotion.
Best answer content gets back to the basics. When done right, it’s all about delivering value and earning trust before you ask for anything. Dean spends weeks researching and composing his hefty Power Pages, which are freely available to anyone who visits. He even makes them downloadable in PDF form if you can’t consume all of that content in one sitting, and while the assets are technically gated, in that you must enter an email address to receive them, you aren’t required to fill out a long contact form.[bctt tweet=”Best answer content gets back to the basics. When done right, it’s all about delivering value and earning trust before you ask for anything. – @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]
Yes, it’s helpful to outrank competitors for key terms because you are more likely to bring in that search traffic. But there is also an important reputation element. When you outrank a direct competitor, the optics are compelling. And even if you’re not at the top, simply ranking in the vicinity of a giant company or reputed publication enables you to soak up some of that “second-hand trust.”
It’s a simple psychological phenomenon, as Neil Patel explains on his blog: “This is not just a convenience issue for users. It’s a trust issue, too. When a result appears first, second, or third, users tend to trust it, believing that it is somehow more reliable, popular, or more legitimate than anything lower in the SERPs.”
Given that Google is increasingly structuring these SERPs based on indicators of query fulfillment, that’s a valid shorthand conclusion for searchers. And when your page delivers a definitive best answer to back up the ranking, you’ve made the right impression.
Organic and Inbound
It’s getting harder to build trust through ads. That doesn’t mean you should ditch the paid side by any means, but it does raise the stakes for organic content. As digitally native millennials grow to account for more and more of the buying population, we must be cognizant of their ingrained instincts. They are more likely to trust information they find themselves, as opposed to sponsored results or content that is (in truth or perception) pushed on them.
Gaining the Top Rank Is About More than Search Placement
Yes, it’s great to rank at the top of a SERP, for a variety of reasons. But it’s also vitally important to rank at the top of your audience’s mind for strategic topics, through content that satisfies their curiosities and provides legitimate value.
As Google’s algorithm continues to evolve and prioritize the most satisfying results rather than the most technically optimized results, you can trust that best answer content — which, when done right, covers both of those bases — is increasingly a no-brainer.
Want to learn more about TopRank Marketing’s best answer framework in action? Check out our CEO Lee Odden’s post on How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results.
The post Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
In honor of it’s fifth anniversary, LinkedIn has released a revamped edition of The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn. The eBook features a powerful array of digital marketing smarties, each who shared their insights and practical advice on how to get the most out of LinkedIn—from optimizing your profile to expanding your network. The TopRank Marketing team was privileged to work with LinkedIn team to identify, engage, and gather fresh insights from these brightest marketing minds.
If you’re anywhere near the B2B marketing world, social selling or recruiting, getting to know LinkedIn is more essential today than ever. Why? Check out these statistics:
- With over 610 million members in over 200 countries and territories, more than 1 out of every 3 professionals worldwide is on LinkedIn.
- Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
- LinkedIn counts executives from nearly all 2018 Fortune 500 companies as members
- More than 30 million companies are represented on LinkedIn
There simply isn’t another social network with that kind of community and momentum for business professionals. And while most professionals have been using LinkedIn for years and may see it as a jobs marketplace, many simply haven’t taken the time to optimize or maintain their profiles. They also haven’t discovered all the ways you can capitalize on LinkedIn as a marketing and social selling tool. The good news is that quite a few people have.
In The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, there are 55 pages of advice on reaching the right people and taking your marketing to the next level directly from marketers within LinkedIn, as well as some of the top B2B marketing professionals in the business.
There’s also an excellent list of 24 B2B marketing experts in the U.S. that LinkedIn suggests we get to know, selected by staff at LinkedIn—and that’s where we’d like focus today. Many of the names on the list will be familiar to you, such as our own CEO Lee Odden. But some are likely to be new discoveries.
Congratulations to those on the list and to anyone who downloads and reads The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn.
24 B2B Marketers LinkedIn Says You Need To Know
No list is ever perfect, so who would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.
If you’re ready to dig in to the 2019 The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, start now and grab your own copy here:
The post LinkedIn’s List of 24 B2B Marketers You Need to Know appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
The post 5 Essential Questions to Guide Your B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Gaining insight, advice, and new perspectives from top B2B marketing industry leaders is an incredible way to help scale your marketing skills and efforts to new heights. And podcasts, which are exploding in availability and popularity, can be a fantastic medium for getting access to those talented and seasoned industry leaders.
From the emerging B2B marketing trends to heartfelt stories of life’s great successes and bitter failures, there is so much we can learn by listening to people who have persevered and thrived. And lucky for you, we’ve compiled 20 of the best podcasts for B2B marketers right here.
We’ve touched on podcasts a time or two here, with Senior Content Marketing Manager Josh Nite bringing you a first edition of digital marketing podcasts to consider back in 2016. Many of those podcasts have continued to evolve, making it hard not to mention them again here. But there are some new kids on the block, too.
And with adoption as a marketing medium and a learning and entertainment tool rising, we hope you’ll find something that strikes your fancy.
[bctt tweet=”Great stories happen to those who can tell them. — This American Life podcast host Ira Glass @iraglass” username=”toprank”]
Now let’s fast-forward to our list of 20 diverse podcasts that will provide a fascinating array of ideas and trends to expand and improve your B2B marketing efforts, presented in random order.
#1 – Marketing Over Coffee
Summary: Marketing Over Coffee explores the intersection of marketing and technology, with news, tips, and author interviews.
- Hosts: Chris Penn and John Wall
- Recent Topics on Tap: Influencers, Social Media Listening Tools, Heirarchical Ontology
- Recent Guests: Brendan Kane, Samuel Monnie, Jocelyn Brown
- Episode Length: 25 – 30 minutes
#2 – Six Pixels of Separation
Summary: Six Pixels of Separation offers insights on brands, consumers, technology and our interconnected world.
- Hosts: Mitch Joel
- Recent Topics on Tap: Business, innovation, and the marketing landscape.
- Recent Guests: Joseph Jaffe, Bernadette Jiwa, Ekaterina Walter
- Episode Length: One hour
#3 – Marketing Smarts
Summary: Marketing Smarts talks to industry leaders and authors such as Chris Brogan, Ann Handley and Gary Vaynerchuk, as well as c-suite executives from organizations including IBM, National Geographic, Dell, and the Baltimore Ravens.
Hosts: Kerry O’Shea Gorgone
- Recent Topics on Tap: Livestreaming, Branding, and a Scientific Approach to Metrics, Measurement, and Marketing ROI
- Recent Guests: Laura Gassner Otting, Minter Dial, Brian Fanzo
- Episode Length: 25 – 35 minutes
#4 – Social Media Marketing Podcast
Summary: Social Media Marketing presents success stories and expert interviews from leading social media marketing professionals.
- Hosts: Michael Stelzner
- Recent Topics on Tap: Facebook organic marketing, How to Avoid Distraction as a Marketer
- Recent Guests: Mari Smith, Brian Solis, Nathan Latka
- Episode Length: 45 minutes
#5 – Scott Stratten’s Unpodcast
Summary: Scott Stratten’s Unpodcast presents real-life examples, tips and guidance from experts on human resources, marketing and branding, networking, public relations, and customer service.
- Hosts: Scott Stratten, Alison Stratten
- Topics on Tap: Instagram Stories, Influencers on Instagram
- Episode Length: 30 minutes
#6 – Adweek’s CMO Moves
Summary: Adweek’s CMO Moves podcast offers inspiring career advice and the personal success stories behind an array of top marketing leaders.
- Hosts: Nadine Dietz
- Topics on Tap: How to Win as a Team, The Hunt for a Signature Move
- Recent Guests: Emily Culp, Seth Freeman, Meredith Verdone
- Episode Length: 30 minutes
#7 – LinkedIn Live with Marketers
Summary: LinkedIn Live with Marketers is a video-based series that can also be enjoyed listening to only the audio, as the LinkedIn (client) hosts tackle challenges top of mind for marketers.
- Hosts: Jann Schwarz and others
- Recent Topics on Tap: The Staying Power of Breakthrough Ideas, Brand Awareness vs. Lead Gen: Battle or Balance?
- Recent Guests: Wendy Clark, Rob Norman, Peter Weinberg
- Episode Length: One hour
#8 – Lexicon Valley
Summary: Lexicon Valley digs deeply into language, from pet peeves, syntax, and etymology to neurolinguistics and the death of languages.
- Hosts: John McWhorter
- Recent Topics on Tap: Is Social Media Changing English?, One Tongue to Rule Them All
- Recent Guests: Deborah Tannen, Lane Greene
- Episode Length: 40 minutes
#9 – Should This Exist?
Summary: Should This Exist? is hosted by Flickr and Hunch co-founder Caterina Fake, and explores the impact technology in all its forms has had on humanity. “We’re seeing amazing new technologies that are emerging every day that we need to have a conversation about,” Fake recently told Fast Company.
- Hosts: Caterina Fake
- Topics on Tap: Affectiva: Software that detects how you feel, Halo: A headset that makes you learn faster
- Recent Guests: Neuroscientist Daniel Chao, entrepreneur and scientist Rana El-Kaliouby
- Episode Length: 35 minutes
#10 – The Art of Process with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo
Summary: The Art of Process sees hosts Aimee and Ted talk to friends across the creative spectrum to explore how they work, and the process of turning ideas into art.
- Hosts: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo
- Recent Topics on Tap: The rise of streaming services, How to tackle a blank page
- Recent Guests: Wyatt Cenac, Rebecca Sugar, Dan Wilson
- Episode Length: 50 minutes
#11 – Without Fail
Summary: Without Fail is hosted by former This American Life contributor and NPR journalist Alex Blumberg, and takes a weekly look at someone who’s taken a big risk and either failed or found success.
- Hosts: Alex Blumberg
- Topics on Tap: Bringing Brands Back to Life, The Man Behind the Iconic Apple Stores: Ron Johnson
- Recent Guests: Andrew Mason of Groupon, Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal and Girlboss
- Episode Length: 50 minutes
#12 -The Marketing Book Podcast
Summary: The Marketing Book Podcast fills each Friday with a new episode interviewing bestselling marketing authors.
- Hosts: Douglas Burdett
- Recent Topics on Tap: Marketing Flexology, Laughing @ Advertising, Questions that Sell
- Recent Guests: Guy Kawasaki, Jay Acunzo, Mark Schaefer
- Episode Length: 50 minutes
#13 – The BeanCast
Summary: The BeanCast is a weekly exploration and roundtable discussion of advertising trends that could have an impact your brand.
- Host: Bob Knorpp
- Recent Topics on Tap: Marketing Ethics, Branded Podcasting, Frictionless Brands
- Recent Guests: Jay Baer, Colin Glaum, Lisa Laporte
- Episode Length: One hour plus
#14 – Social Pros Podcast
Summary: Social Pros Podcast, named the best podcast at the Content Marketing Awards, provides inside looks at real people doing real social media work.
- Hosts: Jay Baer and Adam Brown
- Recent Topics on Tap: Why Your People Are the Secret to B2B Social Media Wins, How to Use Authenticity to Become an Iconic Business,
- Recent Guests: Seth Godin, Rohit Bhargava, Need James
- Episode Length: 50 – 55 minutes
#15 – The Marketing Companion Podcast
Summary: The Marketing Companion Podcast serves up insights and ideas to boost your marketing skills. It’s billed as “always fun, always interesting, and always on-target with insights and ideas that will turn up your marketing intellect to an ’11.'”
- Hosts: Mark Schaefer and Brooke Sellas
- Recent Topics on Tap: Social media burn-out, Mind-bending social media trends
- Recent Guests: Kerry Gorgone, Mitch Joel
- Episode Length: 25 – 40 minutes
#16 – Copyblogger FM
Summary: Copyblogger FM gets to the heart of the latest marketing tips, tactics, stories and strategies that provide acceleration for your business. Featuring a rotating lineup of analysts, this podcast covers a variety of tactical areas such as email marketing, content marketing, conversion optimization, and more.
- Hosts: Sonia Simone
- Recent Topics on Tap: Getting Your Big, Scary Projects Finished, The 3 Plus 1 Foundational Elements of Effective Persuasion
- Recent Guests: Amber Naslund, Pamela Wilson, Nathan Barry
- Episode Length: 25 minutes
#17 – Invisibilia
Summary: Invisibilia joins narrative storytelling and science to make you see your own life differently, with lessons applicable to marketers.
- Hosts: LuLu Miller, Alix Spiegel, and Hanna Rosin
- Recent Topics on Tap: The Remote Control Brain, Who Do You Let In?
- Recent Guests: Cord Jefferson, Max Hawkins, Renato Rosaldo
- Episode Length: 35 – 55 minutes
#18 – The Strategy Hour
Summary: The Strategy Hour offers actionable strategies and marketing tips for growing your business, plus in-depth interviews that go straight to the “meat and potatoes.”
- Hosts: Abagail Pumphrey and Emylee Williams
- Recent Topics on Tap: How to Listen to Your Audience, Why Creating Community is Crucial for Your Brand and Happiness
- Recent Guests: Kathleen Cutler, Sarah Peck, Nikki Porcher
- Episode Length: 35 – 40 minutes
#19 – Behind the Brilliance
Summary: Behind the Brilliance features “smart and funny” conversations and takes a weekly journey with leading innovators, creatives, and entrepreneurs.
- Host: Lisa Nicole Bell
- Topics on Tap: The link between self-awareness and success, The importance of starting small to make big changes
- Recent Guests: Laura Vanderkam, Jonathan Jackson, Paul Jarvis
- Episode Length: One hour plus
#20 – Women in Tech
Summary: Women in Tech explores marketing and technology featuring inspiring women who are Engineers, Founders, Investors, UX and UI Designers, and Journalists.
- Host: Espree Devora
- Topics on Tap: Women Empowering Technologies, Building technology-driven businesses
- Recent Guests: Kristine Kornilova, Linda Sinka, Marite Aleksandra Silava
- Episode Length: 11 – 40 plus minutes
Lifelong Learning From B2B Marketing-Focused Podcasts
Incorporating podcasts in the world of B2B marketing can be challenging, yet the advantages they offer make a strong case for considering them in your own campaigns. And it can be done.
For example, our client 3M conducted one of the largest science studies ever focused on global attitudes about science. The resulting State of Science Index research report led to the launch of 3M’s first podcast, the Science Champions Podcast.
Hosted by 3M’s Chief Science Advocate Jayshree Seth, the first season featured 21 science experts and influencers on topics ranging from an introduction to science in everyday life to careers in the field.
Results: The Science Champions podcast exceeded all expectations for downloads and engagement, resulting in the launch of Season 2 in March 2019. The podcast has also created relationships with science influencers and helped to showcase internal influencers.
As another example, Dell Technologies wanted to partner with industry influencers to create useful content for customers and increase the influence of their internal experts, which led to the creation of the Dell Luminaries podcast, hosted by influencers Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr.
The podcast highlights technology visionaries from inside Dell and out, and helps put a human touch on technology innovation.
Results: The Dell Luminaries project built a single platform that brings voices from multiple companies under the Dell brand together.
Our CEO Lee Odden recently wrote a Digital Marketing Institute article, which featured 3M and Dell’s podcasting success along with eight other B2B companies that have had strong results from influencer marketing.
It’s Only Just Begun — What Are Your Favorites?
This list only scratches the surface of the excellent marketing-related podcasts available. If you have a favorite not listed here, please leave a comment with a podcast that inspires your B2B marketing efforts.
Considering a podcast for your B2B brand? Get the what, why, and how lowdown on B2B podcasting from our own Joshua Nite.
When I was in high school, we had a science class project in which we were grouped into teams, and tasked with building a catapult. Whichever contraption could launch a tennis ball the farthest would win the contest.
We quickly learned that the hardest part wasn’t constructing the actual catapult. It was wrangling all the team members, divvying up assignments, and keeping a collective group of energetic teenagers on track. In hindsight, maybe that was the point.
Managing Content Marketing Projects and People
Content marketing managers deal with these types of responsibilities on a daily basis. There are so many roles and functions typically involved with a time bound content initiative that we often must act as project managers, facilitating collaboration and ensuring that everyone is in a position to succeed.
That’s tricky, because in most cases content marketing managers are not trained in project management. Your team is (probably) not a bunch of rambunctious high schoolers, but creatives and specialists can be fickle, and we all know that keeping them happy and harmonious is essential to producing quality work.
It’s also something the business world at large could be doing a better job at. According to the 2019 In-House Creative Management Report from inMotionNow and InSource:
- Only 45% of creative and marketing professionals report that morale on their team is high
- 72% say that “obtaining the necessary information to get started on a project” is the biggest administrative task that consumes their time
- 22% opine that collaboration between creative and marketing is ineffective
This study represents just one system in a much larger galaxy, but the results feel universally reflective. In the B2B content marketing realm specifically, the 2018 benchmarking report from CMI and MarketingProfs found about one-third of respondents rating their project management flows as Fair or Poor, with only 8% deeming theirs Excellent. (The 2019 report didn’t ask this question, but we’re guessing the percentages would’ve been similar.)
In the symbolic emoji measurement scale above, how can we shift the faces on our team from glum/shifty-eyed to smiling/delighted? Many organizations don’t have dedicated project managers on staff — or don’t have them available to assist with content programs directly — so this often falls on the content marketing managers themselves.
How to Improve Content Marketing Project Management
While orchestrating a variety of different individuals — all with their own personalities, preferences, and styles of working — can be highly challenging, there is a science to collaboration. So let’s map out some ways you can catapult your team to greater results.
Start with Creative Briefs
We’ve been harping on the importance of documenting content strategy, and creative briefs are important incremental steps in this process. This was a key theme in the aforementioned In-House Creative Management Report, which found teams that receive adequate information at project kickoff are:
- 26% more likely to say marketing leadership is effective
- 23% more likely to report high morale
- 14% more likely to get projects approved in three days or less
A good creative brief outlines expectations and deliverables for everyone involved, sets clear timelines, and firmly states the project’s objectives. It will take more time upfront to develop a comprehensive creative brief, but it pays off in the long run because team members can reduce confusion and answer their own questions.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Even with the right groundwork in place, it’s inevitable that things will pop up over the course of a project requiring back-and-forths with multiple team members. There is a delicate balance in enabling snappy and responsive communications while ensuring creatives have the uninterrupted time they need to produce.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. One company’s ideal communication methods will look vastly different from another’s. In some cases, daily standup/huddle meetings (popularized by the agile framework) are just the ticket. For others, an office communication tool like Slack or Skype is preferred. And sometimes even plain old-fashioned email can suffice, although this seems increasingly rare.
The best approach is to continually consult with your people and absorb their feedback. Figure out what works best for them and tailor it to the needs of your project.
Find the Right Tools and Partners
We mentioned a couple of popular office collaboration platforms in the previous section. There are others built specifically for project management — such as Trello, Workfront, and Basecamp — and others still that are customized for content marketing initiatives. These platforms include Contently, CoSchedule, DivvyHQ, Kapost, Percolate, and more.
If you manage a large, distributed team that produces high volumes of content, it might be worth your while to invest in such a solution for centralized organization and coordination. Many of the options offer free trials.
Additionally, you might consider working with a partner to can lighten your load with time- and resource-consuming projects. For example, an experienced agency that specializes in content marketing (I can think of at least one!) reduces stress in numerous ways, freeing up your people to fully plug into their own work while offloading much of the management and execution.
Standardize Your Review and Approval Processes
This has been an internal focus for us at TopRank Marketing. Quality assurance is a vital component of the content production process, and one where things frequently get bogged down. Nailing down the various considerations above will help smooth out reviews and approvals that push content over the hump.
There are a lot of handoffs, prompts, and dependencies in play during QA, so it’s critical to have those communication lines locked down. Editorial calendar and content management software frequently has built-in workflows for multiple rounds of review. A detailed creative brief will also help provide structure for edits and feedback.
Putting the Pieces Together
Ideally, you’d have a dedicated project manager running point on your content initiatives. But in reality, these responsibilities often fall on the content marketing manager’s shoulders, meaning we need to put on our PM hats and guide the ship as best we can.
Pushing projects to completion, efficiently and exceptionally, isn’t all that different from building a catapult or any other class project. It’s all about understanding your people, establishing clarity with everyone involved, and giving them the tools, partners, and resources they need to succeed individually.
If you’re curious about how my team’s catapult turned out, we decided to put our own twist on the assignment. We jury-rigged a spring-loaded baseball bat that — once triggered — swung forth powerfully and drove the tennis ball like a hundred yards.
Unfortunately we were disqualified from the contest because we failed to adhere to the actual guidelines.
I suppose that if our group had a documented plan, superior communication, suitable tools, and a more stringent review process, we might’ve delivered something more in line with the actual objective.
I guess I did learn something that day. Certainly not how to build a catapult.
Efficiency is often top of mind for any content marketing manager. How can you enhance your ability to manage your work and save time. Check out these tips to overclock your B2B marketing efficiency.
The post How to Get It Done: Project Management Tips for Content Marketing Managers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Before embarking on any new marketing initiative or trying a new tactic, B2B marketers need to answer and essential question: Why?
While most B2B marketers won’t admit it, many still practice some “spaghetti/wall marketing” wherein each year they throw new digital tactics “against the wall” to see what sticks without really knowing why a tactic would work for their audience over another.
This is not to say that you should stifle your desire to innovate and try new things. But you need to be strategic and test. I would challenge more marketers to do more research around customer insights and preferences so that any changes they make are driven by data and informed hypothesis—rather than simply trying new things to see if they will work.
Focusing Your Data Lens
For content, we focus on three types of customer data:
- Discovery: Where, when, and how buyers find information that helps them identify a solution.
- Consumption: Preferences for channels, content types, topics, formats, devices, and experience.
- Action: What triggers will motivate the desired action.
With buyer discovery, consumption, and action metrics, you’ll know how to create awareness, great customer engagement, and compelling offers that matter to your customers. And you’ll always know which approach to use to improve your marketing because it will be customer driven.
A New View of Content
What does that customer driven content look like in today’s landscape? It’s data-informed. It’s interactive. It’s influential.
For example, client Prophix provides Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software in an industry not known for exciting marketing. With an understanding that B2B buyers are also consumers, they decided to launch campaigns that would go beyond educating buyers to “info-taining” them.
To create a standout content experience for their annual report for the financial planning and accounting industry, they brought together financial industry influencers with an interactive online game. The quiz-themed game asked questions using data from the report as well as from the influencers who were represented as avatars within the game.
The creative element to the content plus the collaboration with trusted industry experts drove performance of this program above and beyond expectations, beating the benchmark for asset views by 600%.
With a taste for what interactive content and working with industry influencers for content and promotion can do, Prophix followed up with another campaign featuring a simulated voice assistant named Penny.
An interactive microsite highlighted the intersection of finance and artificial intelligence with Penny as the guide. By interacting with Penny, users were able to access a group of influencers that provided their expertise via audio and text. The microsite had 189% more views than the benchmark and 642% more engagement.
By taking what is often called “boring-to-boring” content and packaging it as an interactive experience with trusted experts providing useful information, Prophix was able to realize their “new lens” of marketing as something that was beyond a shiny object. It was effective marketing.
An Eye to the Future of B2B Marketing
B2B brands are increasingly investing in interactive influencer marketing to engage with industry influencers and co-create content that is packaged with brand content in an experience that is engaging for influencers and buyers alike.
The sheer volume of information and media that confronts people in the business world is overwhelming and often pretty boring. Creating compelling experiences with interactive content is one way to stand out, differentiate, and optimize for effectiveness. At the same time, buyers don’t trust advertising or brand marketing messages. Co-creating content with trusted experts brings credibility and interest to the brand message.
My upcoming presentation at the 2019 Clever Content Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 will help B2B marketers understand how to “break free of boring B2B” by exploring the top interactive formats, best practices for influencer engagement and case studies featuring mid-market and large enterprise B2B brands doing interactive influencer marketing right. Learn more about my presentation here.
If you’re thirsty for more on this topic, check out these other related posts:
- B2B Brands Go Bold: 7 Great Examples of Interactive B2B Content
- Bye-Bye Boring B2B: Lee Odden Shows B2BMX Attendees the Power of Interactive Influencer Content
- Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content From Boring to Bold
The post The Future of B2B Content: Data-Informed, Interactive, and Influential appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.