B2B Marketing News: Rising B2B Ad Spend, Enterprise Chatbot Usage Doubles, B2B’s Purpose Gap, & New Tools From Google & Facebook

2020 September 25 MarketingCharts Chart

US B2B Digital Advertising 2020
B2B advertisers are relying more than ever before on paid ads, with a 22.6 percent increase for 2020 in B2B digital ad spending, contributing to a total spend that is expected to top $8 billion in the U.S. alone by the end of the year, according to newly-released forecast data of interest to digital marketers. eMarketer

The ‘Purpose Gap’ Facing Many B2B Brands
86 percent of senior-level B2B professionals see clear brand purpose articulation as important, however just 24 percent see activated purpose within their organization — two of several insights of interest to online marketers in new survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and others. MarketingProfs

How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies
88 percent of B2B marketers see quality data as important in executing a successful account-based-marketing (ABM) strategy, while some 27 percent aren’t certain how much of their data is accurate, according to recently-released survey data. Demand Gen Report

Chatbot Usage Has Nearly Doubled in B-to-B Marketing This Year
The use of chatbots in conversational marketing has risen 92 percent year-over-year, while live chat usage expanded by some 35 percent and social media interactions grew by 31 percent over the same period, according to recently-released survey data. Adweek

Facebook launches Facebook Business Suite, an app for managing business accounts across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger
Facebook has rolled out its tool for businesses to manage multiple Instagram, Facebook and Messenger profiles and pages in a unified location, with the release of its Facebook Business Suite utility, featuring post scheduling, ad creation, and insight data, the social media giant recently announced. TechCrunch

Global brands advance towards ‘holy grail’ of cross-media measurement
An ambitious global cross-media measurement proposal framework featuring a new publisher log-based solution utilizing Virtual ID (VID) has been put forth as part of a major push by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and brands, the WFA’s Cross-Media Working Group recently announced. The Drum

2020 September 25 Statistics Image

Google Combines Custom Affinity and Custom Intent Into Custom Audiences
Google has rolled out changes giving advertisers new Google Ad audience features across display, YouTube and discovery campaigns, refining and combining previously separate audience intent and affinity tools, the search giant recently announced. Search Engine Journal

LinkedIn launches Stories, plus Zoom, BlueJeans and Teams video integrations as part of wider redesign
LinkedIn (client) has rolled out its ephemeral video and photo LinkedIn Stories feature, expanded platform search functionality, and video chat for direct messaging — three of an array of new additions of interest to digital marketers, the firm recently announced. TechCrunch

New open source robots.txt projects
Google has released a specification testing tool for websites seeking to adhere to its Robots Exclusion Protocol, along with a parsing and matching utility for improved robots.txt web crawler indexing information, the search film recently announced. Google Webmaster Central Blog

What Should B2B Vendor Websites Focus on as the Pandemic Affects Purchase Behavior?
68 percent of B2B buyers say that their purchase cycles have lengthened since 2019, with the most common buying journeys lasting between one and six months, while 53 percent consider web search a top research method, followed by 41 percent who consider vendor websites a top evaluation method, according to recently-released data. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 25 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “lifestyle brands” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Overwatered Houseplants Hoping Woman Goes Back to Work Soon — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Stop Telling The Same Old Story — Mark Armstrong
  • Nick Nelson — 10 Tips for Changing the Way You Think About Your Small Business — Small Business Trends
  • TopRank Marketing — Why Convenience Is Essential — Forbes

Have you found your own key marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

Accessible Machine Learning for SEOs — Whiteboard Friday

Machine learning — a branch of artificial intelligence that studies the automatic improvement of computer algorithms — might seem far outside the scope of your SEO work. MozCon speaker (and all-around SEO genius) Britney Muller is here with a special edition of Whiteboard Friday to tell you why that’s not true, and to go through a few steps to get you started. 

To see more on machine learning from Britney and our other MozCon 2020 speakers, check out this year’s video bundle. 

Get my MozCon 2020 video bundle

Accessible Machine Learning

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to this special edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we are taking a sneak peek at what I spoke about at MozCon 2020, where I made machine learning accessible to SEOs everywhere.

This is so, so exciting because it is readily at your fingertips today, and I’m going to show you exactly how to get started. 

So to kick things off, I learned about this weird concept called brood parasites this summer, and it’s fascinating. It’s basically where one animal tricks another animal of the same species to raise its young.

It’s fascinating, and the more I learned about it, the more I realized: oh my gosh, I’m sort of like a brood parasite when it comes to programming and machine learning! I latch on and find these great models that do all the work — all of the raising — and I put in my data and my ideas, and it does things for me.

So we are going to use this concept to our advantage. In fact, I have been able to teach my dad most of these models that, again, are readily available to you today within a tool called Colab. Let me just walk you through what that looks like. 

Models to get you started

So to get started, if you want to start warming up right now, just start practicing clicking “Shift” and then click “Enter”.

Just start practicing that right now. It’s half the battle. You’re about to be firing up some really cool models. 



All right. What are some examples of that? What does that look like? So some of the models you can play with today are things like DeOldify, which is where you repair and colorize old photos. It’s really, really fun. 

Another one is a text generator. I created one with GTP-2 — super silly, it’s this excuse generator. You can manipulate it and make it do different things for you. 

There’s also a really, really great forecasting model, where you basically put in a chunk of time series data and it predicts what the future might have in store. It’s really, really powerful and fun.

You can summarize text, which is really valuable. Think about meta descriptions, all that good stuff. 

You can also automate keyword research grouping, which I’ll show you here in a second. 

You can do really powerful internal link analysis, set up a notebook for that.

Perhaps one of the most powerful things is you can extract entities and categories as Google perceives them. It’s one of my favorite APIs. It’s through Google’s NLP API. I pull it into a notebook, and you basically put the URLs you want to extract this information from and you can compare how your URL compares to competitors.

It’s really, really valuable, fun stuff. So most importantly, you cannot break any of this. Do not be intimidated by any of the code whatsoever. Lots of seasoned developers don’t know what’s happening in some of those code blocks. It’s okay.

Using Colab

We get to play in this environment. It’s hosted in Google Drive, and so there’s no fear of this breaking anything on your computer or with your data or anything. So just get ready to dive in with me. Please, it’s going to be so much fun. Okay, so like I said, this is through a free tool called Colab. So you know how Google basically took Excel and made Google Sheets?

They did the same thing with what’s known as Jupyter Notebooks. So these were locally on computers. It’s one of the most popular notebook environments. But it requires some setup, and it can be somewhat clunky. It gets confused with different versions and yada, yada. Google put that into the cloud and is now calling it Colab. It’s unbelievably powerful.

So, again, it’s free. It’s available to you right now if you want to open it up in a new tab. There is zero setup. Google also gives you access to free GPU and TPU computing, which is great. It has a 12-hour runtime. 

Some cons is that you can hit limits. So I hit the limits, and now I’m paying $9.99 a month for the Pro version and I’ve had no problems.

Again, I’m not affiliated with this whatsoever. I’m just super passionate about it, and the fact that they offer you a free version is so exciting. I’ve already seen a lot of people get started in this. It’s also something to note that it’s probably not as secure or robust as Google’s Enterprise solution. So if you’re doing this for a large company or you’re getting really serious about this, you should probably check out some other options. But if you’re just kind of dabbling and want to explore and have fun, let’s keep this party going. 

Using pandas

All right. So again, this is basically a cloud hosted notebook environment. So one thing that I want to really focus on here, because I think it’s the most valuable for SEOs, is this library known as “pandas”.

Pandas is a data frame library, where you basically run one — or two — lines of code. You can choose your file from your local computer, so I usually just upload CSVs. This silly example is one that I really did run with Google Search Console data.

So you run this in a notebook. Again, I’m sharing this entire notebook with you today. So if you just go to it and you do this, it brings you through the cells. It’s not as intimidating as it looks. So if you just click into that first cell, even if it’s just that text cell, “Shift + Enter”, it will bring you through the notebook. 

So once you get past and once you fire up this chunk of code right here, upload your CSV. Then once you upload it, you are going to name your data frame. 

So these are the only two cells you need to really change or do anything with if you want. Well, you need to. 

So we are uploading your file, and then we are grabbing that file name. In this case, mine was just “gsc-example.csv”. Again, once you upload it, you will see the name in that output here. So you just put that within this code block, run this, and then you can do some really easy lines of code to check to make sure that your data is in there.

So one of the first ones that most people do is “df”. This is your data frame that you named with your file right here. So you just do “df.head()”. This shows you the first five rows of your data frame. You can also do “df.tail()”, and it shows you the last five rows of your data frame.

You can even put in a number in here to modify how many rows you want to explore. So maybe you do “df.head(30)”, and then you see the first 30 rows. It’s that easy just to get it in there and to see it. Now comes the really fun stuff, and this is just tip of the iceberg.

So you can run this really, really cool code cell here to create a filterable table. What’s powerful about this, especially with your Google Search Console data, is you can easily extract and explore keywords that have high click-through rate and a low ranking in search. It’s one of my favorite ways to explore keyword opportunities for clients, and it couldn’t be easier.

So check that out. This is kind of the money part right here. 

If you’re doing keyword research, which can take a lot, right, you’re trying to bucket keywords, you’re trying to organize topics and all that good stuff, you can instantly create a new column with pandas with branded keyword terms.

So just to walk you through this, we’re going “df[“Branded”]”. This is the name of the new column we’re going to create. We have this query string “contains,” and this is just regex, (“moz|rand|ose”). So any keywords that contain one of those words gets in the “Branded” column a “True”.

So now that makes filtering and exploring that so much faster. You can even do this in ways where you can create an entirely different data frame table. So sometimes if you have lots and lots of data, you can use the other cell in that example. All of these examples will be in the notebook.

You can use that and export your keywords into buckets like that, and there’s no stall time. Things don’t freeze up like Excel. You can account for misspellings and all sorts of good stuff so, so easily with regular expressions. So super, super cool.

Conclusion

Again, this is just tip of the iceberg, my friends. I am most excited to sort of plant this seed within all of you so that you guys can come back and teach me what you’ve been able to accomplish. I think we have so much more to explore in this space. It is going to be so much fun. If you get a kick out of this and you want to continue exploring different models, different programs within Colab, I highly suggest you download the Colab Chrome extension.

It just makes opening up the notebook so much easier. You can save a copy to your drive and play with it all you want. It’s so much fun. I hope this kind of sparked some inspiration in some of you, and I am so excited to hear what all of you think and create. I really appreciate you watching.

So thank you so much. I will see you all next time. Bye.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


Ready for more?

You’ll uncover even more SEO goodness in the MozCon 2020 video bundle. At this year’s special low price of $129, this is invaluable content you can access again and again throughout the year to inspire and ignite your SEO strategy:

  • 21 full-length videos from some of the brightest minds in digital marketing
  • Instant downloads and streaming to your computer, tablet, or mobile device
  • Downloadable slide decks for presentations

Get my MozCon 2020 video bundle

What Does Award-Winning B2B Influencer Marketing Look Like?

Professional businessman making a heart with his fingers image.

Professional businessman making a heart with his fingers image.

In a time of increased competition and uncertainty, standing out is more important than ever.

Of course there’s plenty of B2B marketing that stands out, but what kind performs? Is it ads, content marketing, SEO, social, ABM or influence?

At TopRank Marketing we make it our business to deliver on and exceed expectations for content experiences that will inspire customers through influencer marketing. But what does award-winning B2B influencer marketing look like?  How can you infuse your own campaigns with the type of powerful elements that combine to deliver stellar marketing performance?

To help answer those questions, let’s take a look at two highly-successful efforts from our clients LinkedIn and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) to find out what common elements both campaigns share to make for decidedly uncommon success.

Award Winning B2B Influencer Marketing in Action

Awards Image

We were thrilled that the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) B2 Awards awarded TopRank Marketing its silver winner in the social media category, for our work with LinkedIn in the successful “LinkedIn’s Social-First Approach to Engaging Influencers & Audiences Alike” campaign, and that the 2020 Content Marketing Awards has selected TopRank Marketing as a finalist in its best content marketing program in technology, for our work with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) in the successful “IT Vanguard Awards” campaign.

The ANA’s B2 Awards recognize the top performing B2B marketers with a unique focus on driving demonstrable business results, and in 2020 entrants submitted in 47 categories which have evolved to reflect the growing role of B2B marketing and rapid industry changes.

The 2020 Content Marketing Awards recognize and award the best content marketing projects, agencies and marketers in the industry each year, recognizing all aspects of content marketing, from strategy to distribution, from design to editorial, and is the leading international awards program for corporate content creation and distribution.

LinkedIn’s Social-First Approach to Engaging Influencers & Audiences Alike

LinkedIn Case Study Image

The average daily time that a user spends on social media is approximately 153 minutes (Statista). And, with 706+ million registered users (63 million of which are in decision-making positions), the LinkedIn platform presents a big opportunity for brands to engage their target audience. (LinkedIn).

But reaching and connecting with both marketers and sales professionals has become increasingly difficult due to the overload of information thrown at them each day. The brand LinkedIn also faced this challenge, even on their own platform.

So, in order to better reach these decision makers, LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Sales Solutions set out to create a social-first campaign that would communicate authentically to then attract attention to specific LinkedIn Showcase Pages. Goals included:

  • Increase engagement and continue to humanize LinkedIn as a brand by partnering with well respected industry experts to share real-life struggles, stories and obstacles with a focused audience.
  • Drive new audiences to the targeted Showcase Pages via the influencer’s audiences (that were not already following or engaging with the LinkedIn brand).
  • Continue to nurture and grow relationships with the influencers themselves as part of an ongoing influencer program.
  • Engage the audience in-channel (versus sending to alternate content off platform).

LinkedIn Campaign Insights & Strategy

LinkedIn Image

To create and optimize this social-first influencer content campaign, specific insights and strategies were leveraged:

  • High-level audit of the LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Showcase pages to identify the most engaging content based on:
    • Content Length
    • Topic
    • Visuals
    • Featured Influencers
    • Best Publishing Time/Day
  • Identification of best-fit target influencers based on:
    • Audience Relevance
    • Participation Likelihood
    • Best Stories
    • Relevance and/or admiration of target audience
  • Research into appropriate hashtags for the campaign.

Based on these insights a campaign approach was created, including:

  • A messaging/post formula including:
    • Context at the beginning of each post
    • Tagging the contributing influencer
    • Showcasing their story/insights
    • Utilizing hashtags
    • Compelling visuals
  •      Activation of influencers when posts went live.

Influencer Content Campaign Concept

In order to better reach an overloaded audience, we focused on the idea of partnering with influencers to make professional networking more personal vs. more traditional “best practices” content that fills most professionals’ social feeds.

Instead, relevant influencers we asked to share real-life stories based on 3 key questions:

  • Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped you as a marketer or sales professional.
  • What is one thing not on your LinkedIn profile that people should know about you?
  • Who is one rising star in your field that you’d like to recognize? What makes them amazing?

By shifting from purely professional content to a combination of professional and personal, LinkedIn was able to better connect with the audience around their own professional opportunities and provide them a platform to engage directly with experts they respect.

B2B Social Influencer Campaign Results

Results for this influencer marketing and social media program exceeded all target goals. Below is a breakdown of the results:

#MyMarketingStory

  • 239% above reaction benchmark
  • 348% above comment benchmark
  • 150% above shares benchmark
  • 100% influencer activation around the campaign

#MySalesStory

  • 247% above reaction averages/goal
  • 215% above comment averages
  • 400% above shares averages
  • 100% influencer activation around the campaign

Influencer Metrics

  • 14 influencers activated (leading to 75+ over time)
  • 228 total social posts (excludes LinkedIn data)
  • 853 engagements (excludes LinkedIn data)
  • 5.84M estimated reach (excludes LinkedIn data)

LinkedIn Social Influencer Campaign Insights

The goal of this campaign was to drive authentic engagement, on platform, between LinkedIn and their customers. With over 706 million registered users including 63 million in decision-making positions, LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Sales created a powerful and successful social-first campaign leveraging LinkedIn Showcase Pages by connecting with content on both a personal and professional level.

LinkedIn Looks at What’s Next in Marketing Content Together

“At LinkedIn, we’ve worked with the TopRank Marketing team for about two to three years now, and what I really like about working with TopRank is they really, truly come to the table as collaborative partners,” Judy Tian, marketing manager at LinkedIn observed.

“I’ve worked with a number of agencies where in marketing, I’m asking for deliverable A and they just give me deliverable A. But what’s great about TopRank is they also think about B, C, and D and really try to push my thinking of what’s next,” Judy added.

“I think in marketing you are only as good as the creativity of your team and your ideas. The more voices that we bring to the table and the more proactiveness and willingness of everyone contributing ideas, the better off your marketing campaigns will be, and for us at LinkedIn, TopRank has truly become an extension of our own marketing team,” Judy explained.

TopRank Marketing & Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Not Afraid To Innovate: The IT Vanguards Awards Program

Alcatel Screen Shot

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE), a 100-year-old business technology company, decided it was time to raise the stakes in sales funnel management. While ALE had hundreds of contacts, the company was not achieving the desired traction with their current methods.

Their big idea was a recognition program for IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders. By celebrating industry leaders, ALE hoped to forge stronger relationships with clients and prospects — and build a more robust contact list.

But how could ALE make sure that this seed of an idea produced the desired fruit — not only in its inaugural year but in years to come? The company looked to TopRank Marketing to help them create an innovative program, unlike anything that had been done before.

TopRank Marketing provided end-to-end support for the initiative, collaborating with ALE on branding the IT Vanguards program, and then executing a strategic marketing plan which included influencer engagement, press releases, LinkedIn Pulse content, emails, and blogs.

The IT Vanguards website doubled as a way to collect nominations and celebrate the winners. Once the winners were announced, the IT Vanguards website was populated with the honorees’ top leadership advice. These insights positioned both the winners and ALE as thought-leaders while also providing meaningful value long after the close of the program.

All milestones — from announcing the program to celebrating the winners — were promoted using a strategic blend of content marketing, influencer marketing, and social media. The content was amplified on social channels through paid ads as well as posts by ALE employees, program judges, honorees of the IT Vanguards program, and relevant third-party organizations and industry associations.

Results of the IT Vanguards Program

By all definitions, the IT Vanguards program was a resounding success. With more than 50 quality, relevant nominations, the IT Vanguards program was an effective means to identify and celebrate the best IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders.

The program also excelled as a way to generate brand awareness and engagement. There were nearly 14,000 combined landing page views during ten weeks of contest promotion. On social channels, the program boasted 100% engagement from program judges and honorees through activities such as direct conversations with the ALE and TopRank Marketing teams, social sharing, and internal sharing.

The program also spurred third-party recognition of the honorees’ prestigious achievement, including press releases and special ceremonies held by the honorees’ local governments, school boards, and companies. These activities further heightened the credibility of the IT Vanguards program and the market leadership position of ALE.

Lastly, the IT Vanguards program delivered in terms of business development. Using the IT Vanguards program to celebrate the IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders, ALE generated opportunities for meaningful conversations with prospects. The company attributes three million in the pipeline to the campaign.

We’re honored…

…to win the ANA B2 Awards silver award for our combined efforts with LinkedIn — an especially strong campaign as we outlined above, and to be named a finalist at the 2020 Content Marketing Awards in the best content marketing program in technology category for our joint efforts with ALE.

Get Your Own Award-Winning Results From TopRank Marketing

TopRank Marketing, the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, delivers award-winning work to clients including LinkedIn, AT&T, Adobe, SAP, Dell, 3M, monday.com and others. Contact us today to discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you.

For additional new case studies and to learn more about B2B influencer marketing trends, best practices and predictions for the future, be sure to access the all new 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, which features insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more.

B2B Influencer Marketing Report Preview

The post What Does Award-Winning B2B Influencer Marketing Look Like? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

What Does Award-Winning B2B Influencer Marketing Look Like?

Professional businessman making a heart with his fingers image.

In a time of increased competition and uncertainty, standing out is more important than ever.

Of course there’s plenty of B2B marketing that stands out, but what kind performs? Is it ads, content marketing, SEO, social, ABM or influence?

At TopRank Marketing we make it our business to deliver on and exceed expectations for content experiences that will inspire customers through influencer marketing. But what does award-winning B2B influencer marketing look like?  How can you infuse your own campaigns with the type of powerful elements that combine to deliver stellar marketing performance?

To help answer those questions, let’s take a look at two highly-successful efforts from our clients LinkedIn and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) to find out what common elements both campaigns share to make for decidedly uncommon success.

Award Winning B2B Influencer Marketing in Action

Awards Image

We were thrilled that the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) B2 Awards awarded TopRank Marketing its silver winner in the social media category, for our work with LinkedIn in the successful “LinkedIn’s Social-First Approach to Engaging Influencers & Audiences Alike” campaign, and that the 2020 Content Marketing Awards has selected TopRank Marketing as a finalist in its best content marketing program in technology, for our work with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) in the successful “IT Vanguard Awards” campaign.

The ANA’s B2 Awards recognize the top performing B2B marketers with a unique focus on driving demonstrable business results, and in 2020 entrants submitted in 47 categories which have evolved to reflect the growing role of B2B marketing and rapid industry changes.

The 2020 Content Marketing Awards recognize and award the best content marketing projects, agencies and marketers in the industry each year, recognizing all aspects of content marketing, from strategy to distribution, from design to editorial, and is the leading international awards program for corporate content creation and distribution.

LinkedIn’s Social-First Approach to Engaging Influencers & Audiences Alike

LinkedIn Case Study Image

The average daily time that a user spends on social media is approximately 153 minutes (Statista). And, with 706+ million registered users (63 million of which are in decision-making positions), the LinkedIn platform presents a big opportunity for brands to engage their target audience. (LinkedIn).

But reaching and connecting with both marketers and sales professionals has become increasingly difficult due to the overload of information thrown at them each day. The brand LinkedIn also faced this challenge, even on their own platform.

So, in order to better reach these decision makers, LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Sales Solutions set out to create a social-first campaign that would communicate authentically to then attract attention to specific LinkedIn Showcase Pages. Goals included:

  • Increase engagement and continue to humanize LinkedIn as a brand by partnering with well respected industry experts to share real-life struggles, stories and obstacles with a focused audience.
  • Drive new audiences to the targeted Showcase Pages via the influencer’s audiences (that were not already following or engaging with the LinkedIn brand).
  • Continue to nurture and grow relationships with the influencers themselves as part of an ongoing influencer program.
  • Engage the audience in-channel (versus sending to alternate content off platform).

LinkedIn Campaign Insights & Strategy

LinkedIn Image

To create and optimize this social-first influencer content campaign, specific insights and strategies were leveraged:

  • High-level audit of the LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Showcase pages to identify the most engaging content based on:
    • Content Length
    • Topic
    • Visuals
    • Featured Influencers
    • Best Publishing Time/Day
  • Identification of best-fit target influencers based on:
    • Audience Relevance
    • Participation Likelihood
    • Best Stories
    • Relevance and/or admiration of target audience
  • Research into appropriate hashtags for the campaign.

Based on these insights a campaign approach was created, including:

  • A messaging/post formula including:
    • Context at the beginning of each post
    • Tagging the contributing influencer
    • Showcasing their story/insights
    • Utilizing hashtags
    • Compelling visuals
  •      Activation of influencers when posts went live.

Influencer Content Campaign Concept

In order to better reach an overloaded audience, we focused on the idea of partnering with influencers to make professional networking more personal vs. more traditional “best practices” content that fills most professionals’ social feeds.

Instead, relevant influencers we asked to share real-life stories based on 3 key questions:

  • Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped you as a marketer or sales professional.
  • What is one thing not on your LinkedIn profile that people should know about you?
  • Who is one rising star in your field that you’d like to recognize? What makes them amazing?

By shifting from purely professional content to a combination of professional and personal, LinkedIn was able to better connect with the audience around their own professional opportunities and provide them a platform to engage directly with experts they respect.

B2B Social Influencer Campaign Results

Results for this influencer marketing and social media program exceeded all target goals. Below is a breakdown of the results:

#MyMarketingStory

  • 239% above reaction benchmark
  • 348% above comment benchmark
  • 150% above shares benchmark
  • 100% influencer activation around the campaign

#MySalesStory

  • 247% above reaction averages/goal
  • 215% above comment averages
  • 400% above shares averages
  • 100% influencer activation around the campaign

Influencer Metrics

  • 14 influencers activated (leading to 75+ over time)
  • 228 total social posts (excludes LinkedIn data)
  • 853 engagements (excludes LinkedIn data)
  • 5.84M estimated reach (excludes LinkedIn data)

LinkedIn Social Influencer Campaign Insights

The goal of this campaign was to drive authentic engagement, on platform, between LinkedIn and their customers. With over 706 million registered users including 63 million in decision-making positions, LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Sales created a powerful and successful social-first campaign leveraging LinkedIn Showcase Pages by connecting with content on both a personal and professional level.

LinkedIn Looks at What’s Next in Marketing Content Together

“At LinkedIn, we’ve worked with the TopRank Marketing team for about two to three years now, and what I really like about working with TopRank is they really, truly come to the table as collaborative partners,” Judy Tian, marketing manager at LinkedIn observed.

“I’ve worked with a number of agencies where in marketing, I’m asking for deliverable A and they just give me deliverable A. But what’s great about TopRank is they also think about B, C, and D and really try to push my thinking of what’s next,” Judy added.

“I think in marketing you are only as good as the creativity of your team and your ideas. The more voices that we bring to the table and the more proactiveness and willingness of everyone contributing ideas, the better off your marketing campaigns will be, and for us at LinkedIn, TopRank has truly become an extension of our own marketing team,” Judy explained.

TopRank Marketing & Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Not Afraid To Innovate: The IT Vanguards Awards Program

Alcatel Screen Shot

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE), a 100-year-old business technology company, decided it was time to raise the stakes in sales funnel management. While ALE had hundreds of contacts, the company was not achieving the desired traction with their current methods.

Their big idea was a recognition program for IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders. By celebrating industry leaders, ALE hoped to forge stronger relationships with clients and prospects — and build a more robust contact list.

But how could ALE make sure that this seed of an idea produced the desired fruit — not only in its inaugural year but in years to come? The company looked to TopRank Marketing to help them create an innovative program, unlike anything that had been done before.

TopRank Marketing provided end-to-end support for the initiative, collaborating with ALE on branding the IT Vanguards program, and then executing a strategic marketing plan which included influencer engagement, press releases, LinkedIn Pulse content, emails, and blogs.

The IT Vanguards website doubled as a way to collect nominations and celebrate the winners. Once the winners were announced, the IT Vanguards website was populated with the honorees’ top leadership advice. These insights positioned both the winners and ALE as thought-leaders while also providing meaningful value long after the close of the program.

All milestones — from announcing the program to celebrating the winners — were promoted using a strategic blend of content marketing, influencer marketing, and social media. The content was amplified on social channels through paid ads as well as posts by ALE employees, program judges, honorees of the IT Vanguards program, and relevant third-party organizations and industry associations.

Results of the IT Vanguards Program

By all definitions, the IT Vanguards program was a resounding success. With more than 50 quality, relevant nominations, the IT Vanguards program was an effective means to identify and celebrate the best IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders.

The program also excelled as a way to generate brand awareness and engagement. There were nearly 14,000 combined landing page views during ten weeks of contest promotion. On social channels, the program boasted 100% engagement from program judges and honorees through activities such as direct conversations with the ALE and TopRank Marketing teams, social sharing, and internal sharing.

The program also spurred third-party recognition of the honorees’ prestigious achievement, including press releases and special ceremonies held by the honorees’ local governments, school boards, and companies. These activities further heightened the credibility of the IT Vanguards program and the market leadership position of ALE.

Lastly, the IT Vanguards program delivered in terms of business development. Using the IT Vanguards program to celebrate the IT network and IT enterprise communications leaders, ALE generated opportunities for meaningful conversations with prospects. The company attributes three million in the pipeline to the campaign.

We’re honored…

…to win the ANA B2 Awards silver award for our combined efforts with LinkedIn — an especially strong campaign as we outlined above, and to be named a finalist at the 2020 Content Marketing Awards in the best content marketing program in technology category for our joint efforts with ALE.

Get Your Own Award-Winning Results From TopRank Marketing

TopRank Marketing, the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report, delivers award-winning work to clients including LinkedIn, AT&T, Adobe, SAP, Dell, 3M, monday.com and others. Contact us today to discover how we can help create award-winning marketing for you.

For additional new case studies and to learn more about B2B influencer marketing trends, best practices and predictions for the future, be sure to access the all new 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, which features insights from hundreds of marketers surveyed as well as expert analysis by the TopRank Marketing team and contributions from top B2B influencer marketing professionals from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, Adobe, Traackr, IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more.

B2B Influencer Marketing Report Preview

How to Turn One Piece of Content into Multiple for SEO

As most SEO specialists have learned, you must create quality content to grow organically. The same thing can be said for businesses that are building a social media presence or a new newsletter following.

But as people consume more and more content each day, they become less receptive to basic content that doesn’t provide a new perspective. To counter this issue, you must make sure that your content is native to each platform you publish on.

However, that doesn’t mean that you need to start from scratch. There’s a way to take one content idea and turn it into multiple, which can scale across multiple platforms and improve your brand awareness.

It takes time to write a brand-new blog article every day, especially when you’re an in-house team with a low number of resources and budget. The biggest challenge here is building a content strategy at scale.

So, how do you create a lot of great content?

You start with video.

If you have a video on a relevant topic, it can be repurposed into various individual pieces of content and distributed over a period of time across the right channels. Let’s walk through the process.

Using video to scale content

Did you know that the average person types at 41 words per minute (WPM), but the average person speaks at about 150 WPM? That is about 3.5 times faster speaking rather than typing. 

In fact, this article was transcribed.

For every article you write about, you must do extensive research, write out your first draft, edit, make changes, and more. It can consume an entire workday.

An easier way to do this? Record yourself on Loom or another video software, save it, and send the video file to an audio/video transcription service. There are so many tools, like Rev.com or TranscribeMe, that do this for relatively cheap.

Of course, even if you’re relying on text-to-speech, there’s still editing time to take into account, and some would argue it will take MORE time to edit a text-to-speech transcription. There isn’t a “best way” to create content, however, for those who aren’t strong writers but are strong speakers, transcription will be a powerful way to move at a quicker pace.

The step-by-step process 

Once you write out your content, how do you ensure that people read it?

Like any other content strategy, make sure that the process of planning, creating, and executing is written down (most likely digitally in a spreadsheet or tracking tool) and followed.

Let’s break down how to get the most out of your content.

1. Grab attention with your topic

Sometimes, content ideation can be the most challenging part of the process. Depending on the purpose of your content, there are various starting points.

For example, if you’re writing a top-of-funnel blog article where the goal is to drive high amounts of organic traffic, start by performing keyword research to craft your topic. Why? You need to understand what your audience searches for and how to ensure you’re in the mix of search results. 

If you’re creating a breakdown of your product or service, you may want to start by interviewing a subject matter expert (SME) to gain real-life details on the product/service and the solutions it provides to your target audience. Why? Note what they’re saying are the most important aspects or if there is a new feature/addition for the audience. These points can be tied into a topic that might pique the target reader’s interest.

2. Create an outline for the blog

When you’re building out your blog structure, record a video similar to how you would write a blog article.

In this case, by creating an outline for the article with the questions that you ask yourself, it’ll be easier to format the transcription and the blog after you record.

3. Pick your poison (distribution strategy)

Now that you’re ready to begin recording your video, decide where your content will be distributed.

The way you’ll distribute your content heavily influences the way you record your video, especially if you’re going to be utilizing the video as the content itself (Hello, YouTube!).

For example, if you run a business consultancy, the videos that you record should be more professional than if you run an e-commerce surf lifestyle brand. Or, if you know you’re going to be breaking the video up, leave time for natural “breaks” for easy editing later on.

By planning ahead of time, you give yourself a better idea of where the content will go, and how it will get there.

4. Your time to shine

There are numerous free video recording software available, including Zoom and Loom.

With Zoom, you can record the video of yourself speaking into your camera, and you will get an audio file after you hang up your call.

With Loom, you can use the chrome extension, which allows you to record yourself in video form while sharing your screen. If you have additional content, like a Powerpoint presentation or a walk-through, this might be the tool for you.

Regardless of the way that you record, you need an audio file to transcribe and transform into other content formats later on.

5. Transcribe your video

The average writer transcribes one hour of audio in around four hours, but some of the best transcribers can do it in as little as two hours.

To put that into perspective, the average one-hour audio file is about 7,800 words, which would take the average writer around three and a half hours to write.

Additionally, you have to add research time, internal linking, and many other factors to this, so on average it’ll take around an hour to write 1,000 words of a high-quality blog post.

Transcription shortens the length of this process.

When looking to transcribe your audio, you can send files out to transcription tools including Rev or TranscribeMe. Once you send them the audio file, you’ll typically receive the audio file back in a few hours (depending on the demand).

6. Alter transcription into blog format

You’ll receive the transcribed content via email, broken out by speaker. This makes it much easier to format post-transcription.

If you properly outlined the blog prior to recording, then this editing process should be simple. Copy and paste each section into the desired area for your blog and add your photos, keywords, and links as desired.

7. Chop your video into digestible parts

Here’s where things get interesting.

If you’re using your video for social media posts, shorten the video into multiple parts to be distributed across each platform (and make sure they’re built to match each platform’s guidelines).

Additionally, quotes from the video can be used to create text graphics, text-based social posts, or entire articles themselves.

Think of the watering holes that your target audience consumes information on the internet:

  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Each platform requires creating a different experience that involves new, native content. But that doesn’t mean you have to start at zero.

If you have a 10-minute-long video, it can be transcribed into a 2,500-word blog that takes about 10-15 minutes to read.

Boom. You have another resource to share, which can also include proper keywords so it ranks higher on the SERP.

Let’s say you end up editing the video down to about five minutes. From here, you can make:

  • A five minute video to post on YouTube and your blog
  • Ten 30-second videos to post across several social media platforms
  • Twenty 100-word posts on LinkedIn
  • Thirty 50 to 60-word posts on Twitter

Woah.

Not to mention there are other platforms like Reddit and Quora, as well as email marketing, that you can also distribute your content with. (Turn one of the 100-word LinkedIn posts into the opening in your latest newsletter, and attach the full video for those who want to learn more!)

By starting off with an all-encompassing video, you extend your content capabilities from a regular blog article into 50+ pieces of content across multiple social media platforms and search engines.

For example, Lewis Howes (and many other brands and marketers) are famous for utilizing this method.

As you can see below, Howes had an interview for his podcast with Mel Robbins, which is scaled across YouTube and podcast platforms, but he took a quote from her in the interview and scaled it across Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

When you build out your content calendar, simply copy and paste certain sections into an excel spreadsheet, and organize them based on date and platform. Make sure they make sense on the platform, add an extra line or two if you need to, and work your magic.

This will save you hours of time in your planning process.

8. Distribute

Now that you have created your various forms of content, it’s time to make sure it appears before the right eyes.

Having a consistent flow of relevant content on your website and social media platforms is a crucial part of empowering your brand, building credibility, and showing that you’re worth trusting as a potential partner.

As you repurpose older content as well, you can repeat this process and pull together another 50+ pieces of content from a previously successful article.

Improving organic search visibility

“Discoverability” is a popular term in marketing. Another way to say it is “organic search visibility”. Your brand’s search visibility is the percentage of clicks that your website gets in comparison to the total number of clicks for that particular keyword or group of keywords.

Normally, you can improve your visibility through writing a piece of content that reflects a target keyword the best and build links to that page, which improves your rankings for that keyword and long-tail variations of that keyword.

However, as you begin to grow your business, you may begin heavily relying on branded search traffic.

In fact, one of the biggest drivers of organic traffic is branded traffic. If you don’t have an authoritative brand, it’s challenging to receive backlinks naturally, and therefore more difficult to rank organically.

One of the biggest drivers of brand awareness is through social media. More than 4.5 billion people are using the internet and 3.8 billion are using social media.

If you want more people to search for your brand, push relevant social media campaigns that do just that.

But even further than that, we are seeing more and more social media platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter showing up as search results and snippets. For example, below is the SERP for the keyword “how to make cookies”, where a series of YouTube videos show up:

And this SERP for the keyword “Moz“ has the most recent Tweets from Moz’s Twitter.

Writing content that ranks will continue to be important — but as Google keeps integrating other forms of social media into the SERPs, make time to post on every social media platform to improve search visibility and make your brand discoverable. 

But, duplicate content?

Duplicate content can be defined as the same content used across multiple URLs, and can be detrimental to your website’s health. However, from what we have seen through multiple conversations with marketers in the SEO world, there is no indication that websites are getting penalized for duplicate content when reposting said content on social media platforms.

Conclusion

Say goodbye to the time drain of creating one piece of content at a time. The most effective way to create a successful content marketing strategy is to share thought-provoking and data-driven content. Take advantage of this process to maximize your output and visibility.

Here are some final tips to take away to successfully launch a content marketing strategy, using this method:

  1. Consistently analyze your results and double down on what works.
  2. Don’t be afraid to try new tactics to see what your audience is interested in (Check out a real-world content strategy I helped get results for here).
  3. Analyze the response from your audience. They’ll tell you what is good and what is not!

Have other ideas? Let me know in the comments! 

5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Boost Productivity and Focus

Focused and Productive B2B Marketer

Focused and Productive B2B Marketer

Across every industry, profession, and discipline, work productivity is in peril.

How could it not be? Outside distractions have mounted over the course of the year, from a global pandemic to rampant social unrest to a headline-hijacking presidential election, all in the midst of economic turmoil. Through it all, many of us have been acclimating to a remote work setting that upends our established workflows and routines.

Frankly, we all deserve a pat on the back for being able to stay focused on work at all. So go ahead and give yourself one. But with plenty left to accomplish here in 2020, there’s little time to sit back and take a beat.

Marketing is a field that’s especially susceptible to negative productivity impacts at a time like this. We’re scrambling to adapt to changing circumstances for our companies, clients, and strategies. We’re rewriting best practices on the fly. And in a job where creativity is often a driving force, we’re trying to keep our minds clear and energized enough to produce unique and high-quality content.

If you find yourself looking for new ways to power up your team’s productivity (or your own) and get more done each day, here are a few suggestions that might help.

Boosting B2B Marketing Productivity

Based on my own experiences and some tips shared by others around the web, here are five techniques that are working when it comes to finding your groove and producing great work in tough times.

1 — Find and Preserve Your Productivity Pockets

Right now, each day can feel like a constant barrage of forces beckoning us away from the work we are trying to get done. Setting aside everything happening in the outside world, there are the things going on in your own space — maybe kids at home from school, or increased familial commitments, or a roommate who’s sharing an “office” (living room) with you.

As I wrote when sharing my own experiences as a content marketer in the pandemic, I believe it’s essential to carve out “productivity pockets” — dedicated periods of time where you can completely tune into your work, uninterrupted. Use this pocket to tackle your most intensive tasks.

It may be that your circumstances aren’t conducive to routinely scheduling this productivity pocket during standard work hours. In these cases, aim to create asynchronous structures that enable active collaboration with your coworkers, even if it’s not simultaneous.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s essential to carve out ‘productivity pockets’ — dedicated periods of time where you can completely tune into your work, uninterrupted. Use this pocket to tackle your most intensive tasks.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

2— Scrutinize the Purpose Behind Meetings and Video Calls

At Digital Summit MPLS 2019, Workfront’s Mike Riding shared marketing productivity tips and noted that almost two-thirds of marketers point to meetings as the No. 1 barrier that gets in the way of their work. One year later, the environment has changed but that underlying issue has not; if anything, it’s magnified.

Zoom fatigue is real, y’all.

Riding listed five reasons why meetings exist:

  1. Give information
  2. Get information
  3. Develop ideas
  4. Make decisions
  5. Create warm, magical human contact

I would argue that in many cases, only the last one requires an actual meeting (and while the warmth and magic may feel a bit more artificial through a computer screen, they are still plenty valuable). Now more than ever, his recommendations for managing meeting overload are worth heeding:

  • Shave meeting times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes when possible.
  • Decline meetings that don’t have a set agenda.
  • Stack meetings back-to-back so as to minimize unproductive gaps in between.
  • And, as suggested above, block out time for your real work that is off-limits for scheduling meetings.

3— Consume New and Unfamiliar Content

Yes, it’s worthwhile to keep an eye on what your peers in the B2B marketing world are doing to stay informed and inspired. But I would also advise moving outside of your typical lane or comfort zone. Look into successful examples of B2C marketing campaigns to see how brands are connecting with their customers in empathetic, humanized ways. Watch a show or movie on Netflix that is beyond your usual genre mix. Play a story-driven video game. Read a new book.

Sameness, silos, and unrelenting routines can be destructive for creativity and productivity. As we like to say around here … Break free!

4— Unplug During the Weekend

Just as it’s important to have dedicated and uninterrupted work time, it is equally important to have dedicated and uninterrupted non-work time. The nature of our current situation is that work/life balance can be exceedingly difficult to maintain. If you can, try to keep the weekends to yourself.

This doesn’t mean you need to lay around and do nothing all day on Saturday and Sunday. In a recent post at Forbes on developing weekend habits to boost happiness and productivity, Syed Balkhi offers up ideas like going on solo “dates” and conducting weekly personal check-ins. The idea is to occupy yourself with enjoyable and invigorating activities, so you can return to the grind on Monday morning feeling refreshed and motivated.

Bottom line? It’s tough to be professionally productive if we aren’t personally content and fulfilled.

5— Manage Attention, Not Time

We recently helped our clients at monday.com put together a collection of tips on maximizing creative team output from a varied field of influential experts. All of the insights are worth perusing for those interested in the subject at hand, as is the accompanying guide, 7 Habits of Highly Productive Marketing and Design Teams. One concept that was raised multiple times in these contributions was a shift in mindset: from time management to attention management.

“The biggest challenge for getting important work done is not that we don’t have enough time. It’s that we have too many distractions,” said author and speaker Maura Nevel Thomas. “This is especially true for creative professionals who need to maximize their imagination, innovation, and inspiration. Instead of time management, focus on attention management.”

“One often-undervalued component of this is daydreaming,” she added, “which is when new ideas and insights form — a necessity for creative professionals.”

This ties back to the first recommendation above. You may very well produce more (and better) output during the one hour in the evening where you can fully focus and commit yourself to the work, as opposed to three hours during the day where you’re being continually pulled away by family, emails, chat messages, and meetings.

[bctt tweet=”“The biggest challenge for getting important work done is not that we don’t have enough time. It’s that we have too many distractions.” — Maura Nevel Thomas @mnthomas” username=”toprank”]

Find Your Edge and Finish Strong in 2020

Talent, tactics, technologies … they all contribute to successful results for B2B marketing organizations. But heightened productivity is that one difference-making intangible that can really set apart high-performing teams.

Finding and maintaining a strong level of productivity may require different mindsets and techniques than it did a year ago. Identify habits and routines that work for you and your teammates, get locked in, and produce your best work for the rest of the year and beyond.

Want more guidance on doing more with less? Uncover 5 Time-Saving Tips to Overclock Your B2B Marketing Efficiency from our own Lane Ellis.

The post 5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Boost Productivity and Focus appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Boost Productivity and Focus

Focused and Productive B2B Marketer

Across every industry, profession, and discipline, work productivity is in peril.

How could it not be? Outside distractions have mounted over the course of the year, from a global pandemic to rampant social unrest to a headline-hijacking presidential election, all in the midst of economic turmoil. Through it all, many of us have been acclimating to a remote work setting that upends our established workflows and routines.

Frankly, we all deserve a pat on the back for being able to stay focused on work at all. So go ahead and give yourself one. But with plenty left to accomplish here in 2020, there’s little time to sit back and take a beat.

Marketing is a field that’s especially susceptible to negative productivity impacts at a time like this. We’re scrambling to adapt to changing circumstances for our companies, clients, and strategies. We’re rewriting best practices on the fly. And in a job where creativity is often a driving force, we’re trying to keep our minds clear and energized enough to produce unique and high-quality content.

If you find yourself looking for new ways to power up your team’s productivity (or your own) and get more done each day, here are a few suggestions that might help.

Boosting B2B Marketing Productivity

Based on my own experiences and some tips shared by others around the web, here are five techniques that are working when it comes to finding your groove and producing great work in tough times.

1 — Find and Preserve Your Productivity Pockets

Right now, each day can feel like a constant barrage of forces beckoning us away from the work we are trying to get done. Setting aside everything happening in the outside world, there are the things going on in your own space — maybe kids at home from school, or increased familial commitments, or a roommate who’s sharing an “office” (living room) with you.

As I wrote when sharing my own experiences as a content marketer in the pandemic, I believe it’s essential to carve out “productivity pockets” — dedicated periods of time where you can completely tune into your work, uninterrupted. Use this pocket to tackle your most intensive tasks.

It may be that your circumstances aren’t conducive to routinely scheduling this productivity pocket during standard work hours. In these cases, aim to create asynchronous structures that enable active collaboration with your coworkers, even if it’s not simultaneous.

“It’s essential to carve out ‘productivity pockets’ — dedicated periods of time where you can completely tune into your work, uninterrupted. Use this pocket to tackle your most intensive tasks.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN Click To Tweet

2— Scrutinize the Purpose Behind Meetings and Video Calls

At Digital Summit MPLS 2019, Workfront’s Mike Riding shared marketing productivity tips and noted that almost two-thirds of marketers point to meetings as the No. 1 barrier that gets in the way of their work. One year later, the environment has changed but that underlying issue has not; if anything, it’s magnified.

Zoom fatigue is real, y’all.

Riding listed five reasons why meetings exist:

  1. Give information
  2. Get information
  3. Develop ideas
  4. Make decisions
  5. Create warm, magical human contact

I would argue that in many cases, only the last one requires an actual meeting (and while the warmth and magic may feel a bit more artificial through a computer screen, they are still plenty valuable). Now more than ever, his recommendations for managing meeting overload are worth heeding:

  • Shave meeting times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes when possible.
  • Decline meetings that don’t have a set agenda.
  • Stack meetings back-to-back so as to minimize unproductive gaps in between.
  • And, as suggested above, block out time for your real work that is off-limits for scheduling meetings.

3— Consume New and Unfamiliar Content

Yes, it’s worthwhile to keep an eye on what your peers in the B2B marketing world are doing to stay informed and inspired. But I would also advise moving outside of your typical lane or comfort zone. Look into successful examples of B2C marketing campaigns to see how brands are connecting with their customers in empathetic, humanized ways. Watch a show or movie on Netflix that is beyond your usual genre mix. Play a story-driven video game. Read a new book.

Sameness, silos, and unrelenting routines can be destructive for creativity and productivity. As we like to say around here … Break free!

4— Unplug During the Weekend

Just as it’s important to have dedicated and uninterrupted work time, it is equally important to have dedicated and uninterrupted non-work time. The nature of our current situation is that work/life balance can be exceedingly difficult to maintain. If you can, try to keep the weekends to yourself.

This doesn’t mean you need to lay around and do nothing all day on Saturday and Sunday. In a recent post at Forbes on developing weekend habits to boost happiness and productivity, Syed Balkhi offers up ideas like going on solo “dates” and conducting weekly personal check-ins. The idea is to occupy yourself with enjoyable and invigorating activities, so you can return to the grind on Monday morning feeling refreshed and motivated.

Bottom line? It’s tough to be professionally productive if we aren’t personally content and fulfilled.

5— Manage Attention, Not Time

We recently helped our clients at monday.com put together a collection of tips on maximizing creative team output from a varied field of influential experts. All of the insights are worth perusing for those interested in the subject at hand, as is the accompanying guide, 7 Habits of Highly Productive Marketing and Design Teams. One concept that was raised multiple times in these contributions was a shift in mindset: from time management to attention management.

“The biggest challenge for getting important work done is not that we don’t have enough time. It’s that we have too many distractions,” said author and speaker Maura Nevel Thomas. “This is especially true for creative professionals who need to maximize their imagination, innovation, and inspiration. Instead of time management, focus on attention management.”

“One often-undervalued component of this is daydreaming,” she added, “which is when new ideas and insights form — a necessity for creative professionals.”

This ties back to the first recommendation above. You may very well produce more (and better) output during the one hour in the evening where you can fully focus and commit yourself to the work, as opposed to three hours during the day where you’re being continually pulled away by family, emails, chat messages, and meetings.

“The biggest challenge for getting important work done is not that we don’t have enough time. It’s that we have too many distractions.” — Maura Nevel Thomas @mnthomas Click To Tweet

Find Your Edge and Finish Strong in 2020

Talent, tactics, technologies … they all contribute to successful results for B2B marketing organizations. But heightened productivity is that one difference-making intangible that can really set apart high-performing teams.

Finding and maintaining a strong level of productivity may require different mindsets and techniques than it did a year ago. Identify habits and routines that work for you and your teammates, get locked in, and produce your best work for the rest of the year and beyond.

Want more guidance on doing more with less? Uncover 5 Time-Saving Tips to Overclock Your B2B Marketing Efficiency from our own Lane Ellis.

Search Intent and SEO: A Quick Guide

Understanding search intent can be the secret ingredient that brings your content strategy from okay to outstanding. As an SEO Strategist at a digital marketing agency (Brainlabs), we often find clients on the brink of ranking success. They’re sitting on stellar content that simply isn’t ranking for their target keywords. Why? Oftentimes, the keywords and the intent simply don’t match.

Here we’ll discuss the different types of search intent, how to determine the best intent for given keywords, and how to optimize for search intent. First–let’s iron out the basics.

What is search intent?

Search intent (also known as user intent) is the primary goal a user has when searching a query in a search engine. Many times, users are searching for a specific type of answer or resource as they search.

Take pizza for example. Searching for a pizza recipe has a different intent than searching for a takeout pizza, which is also different from searching for the history of pizza. Though they all revolve around the same overall topic (pizza), these users all have different intents.

Why is search intent important for SEO?

Google cares about search intent

The short answer is: Satisfying search intent is a primary goal for Google, which in turn makes it a primary goal for SEOs. When a user searches for a specific term and finds irrelevant information, that sends a signal back to Google that the intent is likely mismatched.

For example, if a user searches “How to build a website,” and they’re shown a slew of product pages for CMS platforms and hosting sites, they’ll try another search without clicking on anything. This is a signal to Google that the intent of those results do not reflect the intent of the searcher.

Broaden your reach across funnel stages

When it comes to running a business and building a successful content marketing strategy, I can’t stress enough the importance of remembering search intent, and letting that be the driving force behind the pieces of content you create and how you create them.

And just why is this so important? The more specific your content is to various search intents, the more users you can reach, and at different stages of the funnel. From those who are still to discover your brand to those looking to convert, you can increase your chances of reaching them all by focusing your efforts on matching search intent.

You can improve rankings

Since Google’s primary ranking factors are relevance, authority, and user satisfaction, it’s easy to connect the dots and see how improving your keyword targeting to mirror search intent can improve your overall rankings.

Relevance: This has to do with your user’s behavior. If they find the information they’re looking for on your site, they’re less likely to return to Google within seconds and explore a different result (pogo-sticking). You’ll notice a difference in such KPIs as click-through rate and bounce rate when your content is relevant to search intent.

Authority: While much of a site’s authority is connected to backlinks, it’s also important to develop a strong internal linking strategy that signals to Google “I have a lot of content covering all angles and intents surrounding this topic” to rank well. Additionally, you can increase brand authority and visibility by creating valuable content around topics your brand is well versed in, that satisfies various intents.

User satisfaction: Does the content you create provide value and is it relevant to your audience? End of story.

Types of search intent

While there are endless search terms, there are just four primary search intents:

  1. Informational
  2. Preferential/Commercial Investigation
  3. Transactional
  4. Navigational

Now you may be thinking, that’s all well and good, but what do they mean for my content? Luckily, I’ve broken each one down with example terms that suggest intent. Keep in mind, however, that searches are not binary –– many will fall under more than one category.

Informational

As you may have guessed, searches with informational intent come from users looking for… information! This could be in the form of a how-to guide, a recipe, or a definition. It’s one of the most common search intents, as users can look for answers to an infinite number of questions. That said, not all informational terms are questions. Users searching for simply “Bill Gates” are most likely looking for information about Bill Gates.

Examples:

  • How to boil an egg
  • What is a crater
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Directions to JFK Airport

Preferential/Commercial Investigation

Before they’re ready to make a purchase, users start their commercial investigation. This is when they use search to investigate products, brands, or services further. They’re past the informational stage of their research and have narrowed their focus to a few different options. Users here are often comparing products and brands to find the best solution for them.

Note: These searches often include non-branded localized terms such as “best body shop near me” or “top sushi restaurant NYC.”

Examples:

  • Semrush vs Moz
  • Best website hosting service
  • Squarespace reviews
  • WordPress or wix for blog

Transactional

Transactional searchers are looking to make a purchase. This could be a product, service, or subscription. Either way, they have a good idea of what they’re looking for. Since the user is already in buying mode, these terms are usually branded. Users are no longer researching the product, they’re looking for a place to purchase it.

Examples:

  • Buy Yeti tumbler
  • Seamless coupon
  • Shop Louis Vuitton bags
  • Van’s high tops sale

Navigational

These searchers are looking to navigate to a specific website, and it’s often easier to run a quick search in Google than to type out the URL. The user could also be unsure of the exact URL or looking for a specific page, e.g. a login page. As such, these searches tend to be brand or website names and can include additional specifications to help users find an exact page.

Examples:

  • Spotify login
  • Yelp
  • MOZ beginner SEO
  • distilledU

How to determine search intent

Consider keyword modifiers

As we briefly noted above, keyword modifiers can be helpful indicators for search intent. But it’s not enough just to know the terms, you may also be wondering, when it comes to keyword research, how do you find these terms?

Thankfully, there are a range of trusted keyword research tools out there to use. Their filter features will be most useful here, as you can filter terms that include certain modifiers or phrases.

Additionally, you can filter keywords by SERP feature. Taking informational intent for example, you can filter for keywords that rank for knowledge panels, related questions, and featured snippets.

Read the SERPs

Another way to determine search intent is to research the SERPs. Type in the keyword you’re targeting into the search bar and see what Google comes up with. You’ll likely be able to tell by the types of results what Google deems the most relevant search intent for each term.

Let’s take a closer look at search results for each intent type.

SERP results for informational intent

As mentioned above, informational keywords tend to own SERP results that provide condensed information. These include knowledge grabs, featured snippets, and related questions. The top results are most likely organic results, and consist of Wikipedia, dictionary, or informative blog posts.

SERP results for preferential/commercial research intent

Preferential intent is similar in that results may include a featured snippet, but they’ll also include paid results at the top of the SERP. The results will also likely provide information about the brands searched, rather than topical information.

In the example below, the organic results compare product features between competing site hosts, rather than explaining what site hosts are and how they function.

SERP results for transactional intent

Transactional SERPs are some of the most straightforward to spot. They usually lead with paid results and/or shopping results, shopping carousels, and reviews. The organic results are largely product pages from online and brick and mortar retailers, and depending on the search, can include maps to their locations.

SERP results for navigational intent

Since users with navigational intent already know which website they’re looking for, these results usually feature the most relevant page at the top: e.g. if the user searches “Spotify”, Spotify’s homepage will be the first result, whereas the login page will take first position for “Spotify login.”

Additional features such as site links, knowledge cards, and top stories may also be present, depending on the specific search.

Look at the full picture

Keep in mind that terms often have more than one search intent, so looking only at keywords or the SERP is rarely enough to truly define it. That said, taking this holistic approach will bring you closer to the most prominent intent.

It’s also important to note that SERPs are volatile, so while a keyword may rank for one intent this month, that could change next month.

How to optimize for search intent

Match metadata and content type to the intent

You’ve done your research and know which keywords you’re targeting with which pages. Now it’s time to optimize. A solid place to start is with your pages’ metadata –– update your title tag, H1, and H2s to reflect your specific keyword targeting. To increase click-through rate, try to leverage your title tag with some snappy copy (without creating clickbait).

Examine the competition

As with most competitions, it’s a good idea to suss out the current winners prior to the event. So, before jumping in to creating new pages or reformatting existing content, take a look at the top-ranking pages and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How are they formatted?
  • What’s their tone?
  • Which points do they cover?
  • What are they missing?

You can now use your answers to create the best, most relevant piece of content on the topic.

Format content for relevant SERP features

Just as you used the SERP features as clues to search intent, they can also be used to inform your pages’ formatting and content. If the featured snippet contains a numbered list, for example, it’s safe to say that Google appreciates and rewards that format for that term.

In a similar vein, if the SERP returns related questions, be sure to answer those questions clearly and concisely in your content.

Key takeaways:

When creating SEO content around search intent, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Understand the search intent before optimizing content
  • When discovering new terms, use specific modifiers in your keyword research
  • Use the SERPs to determine optimal formatting and content options
  • Provide valuable, quality content every time

Creating SEO optimized content for specific search intents is simple, but not easy. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to giving users the content they need in a format that they want.

For a deeper dive on fulfilling search intent, be sure to check out this informative Whiteboard Friday from Britney Muller.

B2B Marketing News: 3 B2B Pandemic Marketing Studies, YouTube Launches Shorts, Twitter Tests Audio & New Emoji Performance Report Data

2020 September 18 Edelman Chart

2020 September 18 Edelman Chart

Now Is the Time for B2B Content
During the pandemic, video and webinar content has seen the largest increase in views according to recently-released survey data, while views of unique content assets during March through May climbed by 40 percent compared to earlier in 2020, with the average number of sessions per visitor up some 43 percent. ANA

Google Shares Exclusive Data On How B2B Buyers Changed, Adapted During COVID-19
64 percent of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video during the pandemic, with overall online marketing use rising by 88 percent including 45 percent who started using digital for the first time during the global health crisis, according to newly-released report data. MediaPost

Instagram Adds ‘Suggested Reels’ Display in Main Feed, Launches Monthly Reels Trend Insights
Instagram has expanded the visibility of its short-form vertical video feature Reels on the platform, bringing a prominent new suggested Reels section and the ability to recommend Reels clips for inclusion as featured content, the Facebook-owned social media firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Building YouTube Shorts, a new way to watch & create on YouTube
YouTube just launched a beta trial of its new YouTube Shorts 15-second vertical video creation function — presently only for users in India with a global rollout planned — joining Instagram’s recent test of its similar Instagram Reels mobile-friendly capability. YouTube

Twitter’s Testing Audio Clips in DMs with Users in Brazil
Twitter has begun testing the ability to record up to 140 seconds of audio for inclusion in direct messages sent through the social platform, expanding on similar functionality recently added to public tweets, Twitter recently announced. Social Media Today

Podcasts outperform traditional media, digital display on brand awareness, study says
Podcasts have driven B2B brands to 77 percent greater levels of brand awareness, according to recently-released survey data, a rate as much as 30 times higher than brand awareness lift rates achieved by other media channels. Mobile Marketer

2020 September 18 Statistics Image

Facebook Announces New Limits on How Many Ads Pages Can Run Concurrently
Facebook has given notice that advertisers will face new limitations on the number of allowable simultaneous page ads, and that four new tiers of advertiser categories will be implemented in February 2021, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

Emojis in Email Subject Lines: Do They Affect Open Rates? [DATA]
Recently-released survey data from nearly four million emails shows where emojis tend to work and not work, including a look at the diminutive visual embelishments’ sometimes-sizable impact on click-through-rates (CTRs) and other metrics. Search Engine Journal

Forrester: How to differentiate your brand with ethical marketing
Forrester has taken a look at the importance of transparent pricing, social responsible, fairness, and honesty and their significance when it comes to differentiating brands, and CMO examines recent findings of interest to digital marketers. CMO

How B2B companies are adapting customer engagement strategies during Covid
46 percent of B2B executives say marketing spending is being scrutinized more closely for its direct sales impact during the pandemic, while 50 percent say its important for their firms to redefine their mission, purpose, and offerings — two of numerous findings of interest to digital marketers in newly-released survey data. Edelman

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 18 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at the “sales impact of advertising” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Amiga Fast File System makes minor comeback in new Linux kernel — The Register

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — CMWorld 2020: Break the Rules and Market Bravely in 2020 — Content Marketing Institute (client)
  • Lee Odden — CCO: Lee Odden – Use Influencers Effectively [VIDEO] — Content Marketing Institute
  • Lee Odden — The Juice Newsletter — Joseph Jaffe
  • TopRank Marketing — El 91% de los responsables de Marketing buscan influencers con audiencias relevantes para sus marcas [In Spanish.] — Puro Marketing

Have you found your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: 3 B2B Pandemic Marketing Studies, YouTube Launches Shorts, Twitter Tests Audio & New Emoji Performance Report Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

B2B Marketing News: 3 B2B Pandemic Marketing Studies, YouTube Launches Shorts, Twitter Tests Audio & New Emoji Performance Report Data

2020 September 18 Edelman Chart

Now Is the Time for B2B Content
During the pandemic, video and webinar content has seen the largest increase in views according to recently-released survey data, while views of unique content assets during March through May climbed by 40 percent compared to earlier in 2020, with the average number of sessions per visitor up some 43 percent. ANA

Google Shares Exclusive Data On How B2B Buyers Changed, Adapted During COVID-19
64 percent of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video during the pandemic, with overall online marketing use rising by 88 percent including 45 percent who started using digital for the first time during the global health crisis, according to newly-released report data. MediaPost

Instagram Adds ‘Suggested Reels’ Display in Main Feed, Launches Monthly Reels Trend Insights
Instagram has expanded the visibility of its short-form vertical video feature Reels on the platform, bringing a prominent new suggested Reels section and the ability to recommend Reels clips for inclusion as featured content, the Facebook-owned social media firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Building YouTube Shorts, a new way to watch & create on YouTube
YouTube just launched a beta trial of its new YouTube Shorts 15-second vertical video creation function — presently only for users in India with a global rollout planned — joining Instagram’s recent test of its similar Instagram Reels mobile-friendly capability. YouTube

Twitter’s Testing Audio Clips in DMs with Users in Brazil
Twitter has begun testing the ability to record up to 140 seconds of audio for inclusion in direct messages sent through the social platform, expanding on similar functionality recently added to public tweets, Twitter recently announced. Social Media Today

Podcasts outperform traditional media, digital display on brand awareness, study says
Podcasts have driven B2B brands to 77 percent greater levels of brand awareness, according to recently-released survey data, a rate as much as 30 times higher than brand awareness lift rates achieved by other media channels. Mobile Marketer

2020 September 18 Statistics Image

Facebook Announces New Limits on How Many Ads Pages Can Run Concurrently
Facebook has given notice that advertisers will face new limitations on the number of allowable simultaneous page ads, and that four new tiers of advertiser categories will be implemented in February 2021, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

Emojis in Email Subject Lines: Do They Affect Open Rates? [DATA]
Recently-released survey data from nearly four million emails shows where emojis tend to work and not work, including a look at the diminutive visual embelishments’ sometimes-sizable impact on click-through-rates (CTRs) and other metrics. Search Engine Journal

Forrester: How to differentiate your brand with ethical marketing
Forrester has taken a look at the importance of transparent pricing, social responsible, fairness, and honesty and their significance when it comes to differentiating brands, and CMO examines recent findings of interest to digital marketers. CMO

How B2B companies are adapting customer engagement strategies during Covid
46 percent of B2B executives say marketing spending is being scrutinized more closely for its direct sales impact during the pandemic, while 50 percent say its important for their firms to redefine their mission, purpose, and offerings — two of numerous findings of interest to digital marketers in newly-released survey data. Edelman

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 18 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at the “sales impact of advertising” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Amiga Fast File System makes minor comeback in new Linux kernel — The Register

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — CMWorld 2020: Break the Rules and Market Bravely in 2020 — Content Marketing Institute (client)
  • Lee Odden — CCO: Lee Odden – Use Influencers Effectively [VIDEO] — Content Marketing Institute
  • Lee Odden — The Juice Newsletter — Joseph Jaffe
  • TopRank Marketing — El 91% de los responsables de Marketing buscan influencers con audiencias relevantes para sus marcas [In Spanish.] — Puro Marketing

Have you found your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.