Our Top 10 Search Marketing Posts of 2018

Woman looking out from heart-shaped cave at sky with pink clouds.

Search marketing has continued to mature throughout 2018. At each twist and turn along the way, we’ve done our best to not only cover each change, but also offer insight and research-based strategy to help savvy digital marketers along the way.

We’re fortunate to have a fantastic group of digital marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank Marketing Blog, with our CEO Lee Odden, Associate Director of Search & Analytics Tiffani Allen, Vice President of Client Accounts Alexis Hall, Content Strategist Anne Leuman, and others, each contributing search marketing insights, tips, and tricks this past year.

To help our blog community grow its search marketing knowledge, we’re happy to offer this list of our most popular search marketing posts of 2018.

Our Most Popular Search Marketing Posts in 2018:

1. Google Game Changers: 5 Recent Updates and How They Affect Marketers — Anne Leuman

2018 Google Updates & What They Mean for Marketers
The talented Anne Leuman wrote the most popular search marketing post of 2018 on our blog, taking an important look at how to up your Google game by understanding and utilizing HTTPS warnings and numerous other factors that were being rolled out this year.

Anne broke down some the latest and greatest game-changing updates from Google, what they mean for marketers, and how marketers can adapt. Check out all of Anne’s posts here.

2. TopRank Marketing’s Top 6 SEO Predictions & Trends for 2019 — Tiffani Allen

SEO Trends & Predictions 2019
The second most popular search marketing post of the year is by Tiffani Allen, who deftly explores the top SEO predictions and trends marketers should know now and keep an eye on into the new year. Check out all of Tiffani’s posts here.

3. 5 Powerful Types (And Examples) of Link-Worthy Content — Anne Leuman

How to Create Link-Worthy Content
Anne also earned the No. 3 spot on our top search marketing posts of 2018 list, in an excellent post showing how to boost credible referrals, back-links, and organic visibility using five powerful types of link-worthy content.

4. Why Marketers Are Disenchanted with SEO — Anne Leuman

Why Marketers Are Turning Away from SEO
Anne also wrote our fourth most popular search marketing post of 2018, addressing why some marketers are disenchanted with SEO. She explores the modern marketer’s SEO struggles, and shows you why now is not the time to quit. Rather than abandoning a tried-and-true tactic, Anne looks at how to shift your search marketing strategy.

5. Redesigning Your Website? Make Sure SEO & Content Have a Seat at Website Migration Table — Alexis Hall

SEO and Content Integration During Website Migration
Alexis Hall earned spot the No. 5 on our top search marketing posts of the year list, with a helpful look at how SEO and content can combine to create a better website migration strategy. Alexis shows why SEO can’t stand alone, exploring how it needs a content lens to ensure solid performance after the migration switch is flipped. Check out all of Alexis’ posts here.

6. Power Pages and Best Answer Content: Should You Go Long or Short Form? — Lee Odden

Long vs short form content
Our CEO penned the sixth most popular search marketing post of 2018, with a detailed look at a perennial question — which is better: long or short-form content?

Lee explains how savvy marketers know that while statistical generalizations have their place, they aren’t always so useful in practice. He then dives into the intertwining of engagement and reach, and looks at depth-over-length and authority signals. Check out all of Lee’s posts here.

7. The Key to SEO & Content Marketing Success: Understanding Search Intent — Anne Leuman

Tips for Understanding Search Intent
Anne makes another appearance on our best-of-2018 list with another excellent post, showing the key to SEO and content marketing success. She dives into understanding search intent in its four incarnations — informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional — and goes on to offer three steps for building intent into your strategy.

8. How to Leverage Influencer Marketing for Improved SEO #Pubcon Florida — Lee Odden

How to Leverage Influencer Marketing for Improved SEO
Lee earned another spot on our top search marketing posts of 2018 list, with a take-away-filled live-blog piece from the Pubcon Florida conference. Lee shares an impressive number of insights from a session that featured Marcela De Vivo of SEMrush and Dixon Jones of Majestic, showing some of the best methods for leveraging influencer marketing to improve SEO.

9. SEO + Paid Search: An Aristotelian Lesson in Search Marketing Integration — Anne Leuman

Paid and SEO Search Marketing Integration
Making an impressive fifth appearance on our search marketing top 10 list, Anne provides us an Aristotelian lesson in how SEO can combine with paid search for powerful search marketing integration. In this helpful post, Anne shows how integration makes the digital marketing world go round and how it can bring balance and harmony to your efforts.

10. Relationship Powered Link Building #Pubcon Florida — Lee Odden

Relationship Powered Link Building Pubcon
In Lee’s third appearance on our top 10 list, this piece covers a session presented by Ann Smarty of Internet Marketing Ninjas during the Pubcon Florida conference, sharing numerous actionable tips for link-building through relationships.

We can’t thank Anne, Tiffani, Alexis, and Lee enough for these top 10 search marketing posts of 2018 — congratulations on making the list!

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

Thanks to each of you who read our blog, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels. We hope you find continuing benefit from these excellent search marketing posts from 2018.

We published dozens of posts this year specifically about search marketing, and plan to bring you even more in 2019, so stay tuned for a new year of the latest helpful research and insight.

Please let us know which search marketing topics and ideas you’d like to see us focus on for 2019 — we’d love to hear your suggestions. Feel free to leave those thoughts in the comments section below.

Help Us Celebrate 15 Years of Blogging – TopRank Marketing Blog

15 years of marketing blogging

I think it’s safe to say that there are not many marketing blogs that have hit the 15 year mark.

However, I am happy to say that the class of 2003 includes an impressive cohort of marketing blogs including several that have become industry standards like Search Engine Roundtable by Barry Schwartz and Search Engine Journal founded by Loren Baker.

While TopRank’s Online Marketing blog started with a focus on search marketing, we’ve grown and evolved over the past 15 years just like the marketing industry has. Plus, instead of me writing 3-5 posts a week myself (over 2,400 total), I now have a great team that does most of the hard work.

There have been many great contributors to our blog over the years and today I am thankful for Caitlin Burgess who handles much of our editing and blog operations duties, Lane Ellis who contributes posts weekly and creates our Friday News post + handles our agency social channels. Then we have Tiffani Allen and Joshua Nite who shoot the Friday News video summary which you can see archives of over at TopRankMarketing.TV. We also have regular contributors Nick Nelson, Annie Leuman, Alexis Hall, Jane Bartel, Debbie Friez and Ashley Zeckman.

It has been a fun 15 yeas of blogging with 4,310 posts using over 2.1 million words. Our Google Analytics started in 2007 and since then the TopRank Marketing Blog has had over 11 million visitors and 25 million pageviews.

During the past 11 years we have analytics, our most popular posts based on visitors are:

Master List of Social Media Marketing Tools – 250k visitors

21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions – 210k visitors

BIGLIST of Marketing Blogs – 186k visitors

It’s somewhat ironic that the BIGLIST of search marketing blogs was so popular, because we discontinued adding to the list several years ago. Even more interesting is that we’re bringing the BIGLIST back in 2019! Be sure to watch for the all new list of marketing blogs which will serve as a comprehensive resource for all things marketing coming in January 2019.

While it’s fun to reminisce about the distant past, 15 years is a like 1,000 years in internet time. So much has changed.

As we close out 2018 and enter a new year, I think it’s worth reflecting on some of the changes we’ve experienced with our blog. With the skyrocketing growth of social networks and mobile apps, people have questioned whether it still makes sense to have a blog. If corporate America is any indicator, blogs are alive and well. According to 2018 research by UMass Dartmouth, 53% of Fortune 500 companies on the 2018 list have a corporate blog, up 11% over 2017.

My experience is that blogs continue to serve as an effective hub of communications that tie together thought leadership, content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, influencer marketing, demand and lead generation activities. The hard part is finding a way to contribute a variety of engaging topics consistently and to break through the information overload competing for readers’ time and attention. Doing all those things well is no easy task, but I think our team has made great progress.

Some of the benefits we’ve realized from blogging include:

  • Unsolicited media coverage from The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times and many others
  • Speaking opportunities all over the world: New York, San Francisco, Moscow, Madrid, Sydney, Antwerp, London, Hong Kong, Auckland, Tonoto and even Coralville Iowa.
  • Consulting with major brands: General Mills, HP, Dell, McKesson, Staples, LinkedIn, Marketo, Oracle, SAP, 3M, and many others
  • Attracting a major book publisher, Wiley, through which I published my first book: Optimize – How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing
  • Recruiting top talent – smart, creative and focused on results!
  • Partnering with amazing conferences as a media sponsor and content partner including a 7 year relationship with the amazing team at Content Marketing World (UBM)
  • Source of marketing experimentation with content themes, SEO tactics, and other ways to attract measurable results

2018 has been a great year for our blog and more importantly for our business. We’ve refined many aspects of our content production process and took the first quarter of 2018 to evaluate our approach going forward. Starting out the year, we only published 3 times a week and after a few months of internal alignment and planning, transitioned back to our current cadence of 5 posts per week. A greater focus on quality and the tightening up of our editorial focus has yielded positive results.

There were two major catalysts for the changes we saw in our blog operation and performance in 2018.

First, Caitlin Burgess added Blog Manager to her agency duties as Senior Manager of Content Marketing. Each and every week she works with me on the editorial plan, wrangles our contributors, edits content and generally make sure our blog’s lights are on and publishing on target. Caitlin also writes posts herself and has taken the lead on moving our content planning and management over to the DivvyHQ platform.

Another catalyst for improvement has been Lane Ellis joining our team as Social and Content Marketing Manager, where he runs our agency social accounts and publishes our weekly news posts. Besides keeping our 200,000 agency social network connections well informed about industry and agency news, Lane also contributes tactics posts to our blog on a weekly basis.

Speaking of contributing, during 2018 we’ve had 11 different agency employee contributors publish 214 posts. It is with much gratitude that I share this list of those contributors along with their top post of 2018:

Lane Ellis
Lane Ellis
– 59 posts in 2018
59 career posts
50 B2B Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow Into 2019

Nick Nelson
Nick Nelson
23 posts in 2018
31 career posts
The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group?

Annie Leuman
Annie Leuman
21 posts in 2018
30 career posts
7 Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Rule 2018

Caitlin Burgess
Caitlin Burgess
18 posts in 2018
124 career posts
4 Top Trends in Customer Centricity to Drive Digital Marketing Success in 2018

Ashley Zeckman
Ashley Zeckman
17 posts in 2018
377 career posts
Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing

Josh Nite
Josh Nite
17 posts in 2018
129 career posts
How Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming Marketing

Tiffani Allen
Tiffani Allen
11 posts in 2018
101 career posts
Digital Marketing News: Social Media Trends, What CMOs Search For & Mobile Ads Soar

Alexis Hall
Alexis Hall
10 posts in 2018
42 Career Posts
Redesigning Your Website? Make Sure SEO & Content Have a Seat at Website Migration Table

Debbie Friez
Debbie Friez
2 posts in 2018
13 career posts
Building Better Influencer Relationships: 7 Cues Marketers Can Take from Sales

Jane Bartel
Jane Bartel
2 posts in 2018
2 career posts
Ashley Zeckman Dispels B2B Influencer Marketing Lies at CMWorld

Lee Odden
Lee Odden
37 posts
2593 career posts
25 Influential Women in Digital Marketing Who Rocked and Inspired in 2018

Thank you to all who have contributed and to our team members who have shared and helped promote the quality content published here at TopRank’s Marketing Blog.

Industry feedback on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog – As I travel around the world speaking at marketing industry conferences, I continue to be approached by people who say they’ve followed our blog for years and how it has been a great resource for them in the marketing career. I’ve also heard a tremendous amount of positive feedback from those who are featured on our influencer lists: content marketing influencers, social media marketing influencers, B2B marketing influencers and the women who rock digital marketing. Some have said the appearance on our blog helped them with promotions, job offers and speaking gigs.

It is incredibly satisfying to know that besides attracting and engaging new clients and talented staff, our blog has provided a service as a source of news and marketing best practices, benefitting hundreds of thousands of people every year.

On the topic of feedback, I asked a few of our team members to share their thoughts on contributing to TopRank’s blog:

“The TopRank Marketing Blog has become part of my core as a member TopRank Marketing team. For more than three years, I’ve had the privilege to not only regularly contribute thoughts, ideas, and insights that (I truly hope) resonate with and inspire my fellow marketers, but also work with and learn from an incredibly talented in-house team of creators. The TopRank Marketing Blog has built quite a legacy. It’s an honor to be a small part of it, and I’m eager to see how our team continues to nurture and evolve it for years to come.”
Caitlin Burgess

“It’s rare to find a professional blogger that has never let up publishing for even five years, however Lee has knocked it out of the park and tripled that with an amazing 15 years of writing über-relevant and research-based pieces since before the launch of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google. Congratulations to Lee and all of the stellar marketing professionals who have for 15 years contributed to making the TopRank Marketing blog an industry leader.”
Lane Ellis

“The TopRank Marketing Blog has been an amazing resource for me. I was terrified the first time I was asked to write for it! We have such a well-earned reputation for being thought leaders in the industry. I have learned a lot by reading other peoples’ contributions and am thrilled to contribute my own thoughts. Making the weekly news videos has been a delightful challenge–sometimes more delightful, sometimes more challenging. But I love being able to bring the news with some creativity and humor and the occasional Santa Troll.”
Joshua Nite

As we move towards 2019, we’ll be updating our blog design significantly and adding in more recurring columns that dig into marketing topics more deeply and highlighting more examples of great marketing in action. At the same time, we will continue our coverage of B2B marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing, search and social media marketing best practices. We’ll also continue our news posts every Friday, interviews with industry thought leaders, lists of influencers, conference liveblogging and coverage of industry reports.

If you’ve been a reader of our blog over the years, we’d love to hear your thoughts. What have you liked the most? What would you like to see more/less of? Has our content been useful to you and how can we be more useful to you in the future?

Myself and everyone on the team at TopRank Marketing wishes you a very Happy New Year!

Digital Marketing News: Google Lens & Visual Search Updates, Social ROI Study, & App Ad Market Growth

2018 December 28 Instagram Chart

Over 70 Percent of Millennials on Twitter Have Commented on Companies’ Customer Service
More than 70 percent of millennial Twitter users have left comments for the customer service accounts of at least one company, according to new survey data. 62.48 percent of surveyed Twitter users also say that personalized responses to their comments represent the top way brands can improve their social media customer care. AdWeek

[embedded content]

AppsFlyer: App ad market to grow 136% to $64.1 billion from 2017 to 2020
By 2020 app advertising will grow to become a $64.1B market segment, a 136 percent jump from 2017, according to new market research study data, representing a year-over-year rate of 34 percent growth. VentureBeat

A New Study Commissioned by Snapchat Reveals How Millennials Shop
Nearly three-quarters of millennials shopping preferences favor credit and debit cards over cash, one of several findings from a new Snapchat study. AdWeek

Survey: 60% of companies plan to expand creative team in first half of 2019
60 percent of marketing and advertising decision makers expect to boost spending on creative team additions over the first half of 2019, according to new research survey data from The Creative Group. The Drum

The most significant martech deals of 2018 and what they mean for the landscape
MarTech Today has examines the largest and most significant marketing technology firm purchases and acquisitions of 2018, offering several helpful insights for digital marketers. MarTech Today

Study: Mobile Transactions Rise For Brands Promoting Apps
The share of mobile purchasing transactions has continued to rise, accounting for 40 percent of all transactions in the U.S. and some 52 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, according to new research study data from Criteo. MediaPost

2018 December 28 Statistics Image

People love Instagramming billboards–and it’s great for advertisers
25 percent of U.S. residents have made at least one Instagram post featuring an image including an outdoor advertising billboard of some sort, one of several surprising revelations from recent Nielsen data. Fast Company

Google Outlines the Evolution of Google Lens, and the Future of Visual Search
Google has released new information about its Lens image search feature, detailing a slew of usability enhancements, and has revealed that the service can now identify over a billion products. Social Media Today

Report: ROI Is Top Concern Of Social Marketers
Return on investment (ROI) remains the leading concern for the majority of marketers in social media, topping other concerns including cross-channel intelligence and strategy creation, according to recent Sprout Social report data. MediaPost

Data Science and the Art of Persuasion
Today’s art of data science and persuasion has continued to mature, and the Harvard Business Review takes an in-depth look at how data analysis is affecting a growing number of areas in our lives. Harvard Business Review

Instagram’s Year in Review [Infographic]
Instagram has released its annual year-in-review list of some of the top elements that celebrate its uniqueness, including the most engaged communities among users, the most-used face-filters, and the most popular GIF images. Social Media Today

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2018 December 28 Marketoonist Cartoon

A lighthearted look at targeted holiday advertising by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Activision Blizzard CEO Cancels All Microtransactions After Being Visited by 2 Free Ghosts and an Additional Ghost for $3.99 — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — 2018 Year-end Episode of Marketing Smarts: What Marketers Need to Know for 2019 [VIDEO] — MarketingProfs
  • Lee Odden — The Essential 10-Step Guide To Building Your Personal Brand Online — Cooler Insights

Have your own favorite influencer marketing or content marketing news trends or stories for the week?

Thanks for taking the time to join us, and we hope you’ll return once again next week for a new array of the most relevant digital marketing industry news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The SEO Elevator Pitch – Whiteboard Friday

What is it you do again?

It’s a question every SEO has had to answer at some point, whether to your family members over the holidays or to the developer who will eventually implement your suggestions. If you don’t have a solid elevator pitch for describing your job, this is the Whiteboard Friday for you! Learn how to craft a concise, succinct description of life as an SEO without jargon, policing, or acting like a superhero.

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

Video Transcription

Hey guys, welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins, and I work here at Moz. Today we’re going to be talking about creating an SEO elevator pitch, what is it, why we need one, and what kind of prompted this whole idea for an SEO elevator pitch.

So essentially, a couple of weeks ago, I was on Twitter and I saw John Mueller. He tweeted, “Hey, I meet with a lot of developers, and a lot of times they don’t really know what SEOs do.” He was genuinely asking. He was asking, “Hey, SEO community, how do you describe what you do?” I’m scrolling through, and I’m seeing a lot of different answers, and all of them I’m resonating with.

They’re all things that I would probably say myself. But it’s just interesting how many different answers there were to the question, “What do SEOs do and what value do they provide?” So I kind of thought to myself, “Why is that? Why do we have so many different explanations for what SEO is and what we do?” So I thought about it, and I thought that it might be a good idea for myself and maybe other SEOs if you don’t already have an elevator pitch ready.

What is an SEO elevator pitch?

Now, if you’re not familiar with the concept of an elevator pitch, it’s basically — I have a definition here — a succinct and persuasive speech that communicates your unique value as an SEO. It’s called an elevator pitch essentially because it should take about the length of time it takes to ride the elevator with someone. So you want to be able to quickly and concisely answer someone’s question when they ask you, “Oh, SEO, what is that?I think I’ve heard of that before. What do you do?”

Why is this so hard?

So let’s dive right in. So I mentioned, in the beginning, how there are so many different answers to this “what do you say you do here” type question. I think it’s hard to kind of come up with a concise explanation for a few different reasons. So I wanted to dive into that a little bit first.

1. Lots of specialties within SEO

So number one, there are lots of specialties within SEO.

As the industry has advanced over the last two plus decades, it has become very diverse, and there are lots of different facets in SEO. I found myself on quite a rabbit trail. I was on LinkedIn and I was kind of browsing SEO job descriptions. I wanted to see basically: What is it that people are looking for in an SEO?

How do they describe it? What are the characteristics? So basically, I found a lot of different things, but I found a few themes that emerged. So there are your content-focused SEOs, and those are people that are your keyword research aficionados. There are the people that write search engine optimized content to drive traffic to your website. You have your link builders, people that focus almost exclusively on that.

You have your local SEOs, and you have your analysts. You have your tech SEOs, people that either work on a dev team or closely with a dev team. So I think that’s okay though. There are lots of different facets within SEO, and I think that’s awesome. That’s, to me, a sign of maturity in our industry. So when there are a lot of different specialties within SEO, I think it’s right and good for all of our elevator pitches to differ.

So if you have a specialty within SEO, it can be different. It should kind of cater toward the unique brand of SEO that you do, and that’s okay.

2. Different audiences

Number two, there are different audiences. We’re not always going to be talking to the same kind of person. So maybe you’re talking to your boss or a client. To me, those are more revenue-focused conversations.

They want to know: What’s the value of what you do? How does it affect my bottom line? How does it help me run my business and stay afloat and stay profitable? If you’re talking to a developer, that’s going to be a slightly different conversation. So I think it’s okay if we kind of tweak our elevator pitch to make it a little bit more palatable for the people that we’re talking to.

3. Algorithm maturity

Three, why this is hard is there’s been, obviously, a lot of changes all the time in the algorithm, and as it matures, it’s going to look like the SEO’s job is completely different than last year just because the algorithm keeps maturing and it looks like our jobs are changing all the time. So I think that’s a reality that we have to live with, but I still think it’s important, even though things are changing all the time, to have a baseline kind of pitch that we give people when they ask us what it is we do.

So that’s why it’s hard. That’s what your elevator pitch is.

My elevator pitch: SEO is marketing, with search engines

Then, by way of example, I thought I’d just give you my SEO elevator pitch. Maybe it will spark your creativity. Maybe it will give you some ideas. Maybe you already have one, and that’s okay. But the point is not to use mine.

The point is essentially to kind of take you through what mine looks like, hopefully get your creative juices flowing, and you can create your own. So let’s dive right into my pitch.

So my pitch is SEO is marketing, just with search engines. So we have the funnel here — awareness, consideration, and decision.

Awareness: Rank and attract clicks for informational queries.

First of all, I think it’s important to note that SEO can help you rank and attract clicks for informational queries.

Consideration: Rank and attract clicks for evaluation queries.

So when your audience is searching for information, they want to solve their pain points, they’re not ready to buy, they’re just searching, we’re meeting them there with content that brings them to the site, informs them, and now they’re familiar with our brand. Those are great assisted conversions. Rank and attract clicks for evaluation queries. When your audience is starting to compare their options, you want to be there. You want to meet them there, and we can do that with SEO.

Decision: Rank, attract clicks, and promote conversion for bottom-funnel queries

At the decision phase, you can rank and attract clicks and kind of promote conversions for bottom of funnel queries. When people are in their “I want to buy” stage, SEO can meet them there. So I think it’s important to realize that SEO isn’t kind of like a cost center and not a profit center. It’s not like a bottom of funnel thing. I’ve heard that in a lot of places, and I think it’s just important to kind of draw attention to the fact that SEO is integrated throughout your marketing funnel. It’s not relegated to one stage or another.

But how?

We talked about rank and attract clicks and promote conversions. But how do we do that? That’s the what it does.

But how do we do it? So this is how I explain it. I think really, for me, there are two sides to the SEO’s coin. We have driving, and we have supporting.

1. Driving

So on the driving side, I would say something like this. When someone searches a phrase or a keyword in Google, I make sure the business’ website shows up in the non-ad results. That’s important because a lot of people are like, “Oh, do you bid on keywords?”

We’re like, “No, no, that’s PPC.” So I always just throw in “non-ad” because people understand that. So I do that through content that answers people’s questions, links that help search engines find my content and show signs of authority and popularity of my content, and accessibility. So that’s kind of your technical foundation.

You’re making sure that your website is crawlable and it that it’s index the way that you want it to be indexed. When people get there, it works. It works on mobile and on desktop. It’s fast. So I think these are really the three big pillars of driving SEO — content, links, and making sure your website is technically sound. So that’s how I describe the driving, the proactive side of SEO.

2. Supporting

Then two, we have supporting, and I think this is kind of an underrated or maybe it’s often seen as kind of an interruption to our jobs.

But I think it’s important to actually call it what it is. It’s a big part of what we do. So I think we should embrace it as SEOs.

A. Be the Google Magic 8-ball

For one, we can serve as the Google Magic 8-Ball. When people come to us in our organization and they say, “Hey, I’m going to make this change, or I’m thinking about making this change.Is this going to be good or bad for SEO?”

I think it’s great that people are asking that question. Always be available and always make yourself ready to answer those types of questions for people. So I think on the reactionary side we can be that kind of person that helps guide people and understand what is going to affect your organic search presence.

B. Assist marketing

Two, we can assist marketing. So on this side of the coin, we’re driving.

We can drive our own marketing strategies. As SEOs, we can see how SEO can drive all phases of the funnel. But I think it’s important to note that we’re not the only people in our organization. Often SEOs maybe they don’t even live in the marketing department. Maybe they do and they report to a marketing lead. There are other initiatives that your marketing lead could be investigating.

Maybe they say, “Hey, we’ve just done some market research, and here’s this plan.” It could be our job as SEOs to take that plan, take that strategy and translate it into something digital. I think that’s a really important value that SEOs can add. We can actually assist marketing as well as drive our own efforts.

C. Fix mistakes

Then number three here, I know this is another one that kind of makes people cringe, but we are here to fix mistakes when they happen and train people so that they don’t happen again. So maybe we come in on a Monday morning and we’re ready to face the week, and we see that traffic has taken a nosedive or something. We go, “Oh, no,” and we dive in.

We try to see what happened. But I think that’s really important. It’s our job or it’s part of our job to kind of dive in, diagnose what happened, and not only that but support and be there to help fix it or guide the fixes, and then train and educate and make sure that people know what it is that happened and how it shouldn’t happen again.

You’re there to help train them and guide them. I think that’s another really important way that we can support as SEOs. So that’s essentially how I describe it.

3 tips for coming up with your own pitch

Before I go, I just wanted to mention some tips when you’re coming up with your own SEO elevator pitch. I think it’s really important to just kind of stay away from certain language when you’re crafting your own “this is what I do” speech.

So the three tips I have are:

1. Stay away from jargon.

If you’re giving an SEO elevator pitch, it’s to people that don’t know what SEO is. So try to avoid jargon. I know it’s really easy as SEOs. I find myself doing it all the time. There are things that I don’t think are jargon.

But then I take a couple steps back and I realize, oh yeah, that’s not layman’s terms. So stay away from jargon if at all possible. You’re not going to benefit anyone by confusing them.

2. Avoid policing.

It can be easy as SEOs I’ve found and I’ve found myself in this trap a couple of times where we kind of act as these traffic cops that are waiting around the corner, and when people make a mistake, we’re there to wag our finger at them.

So avoid any language that makes it sound like the SEOs are just the police waiting to kind of punish people for wrongdoing. We are there to help fix mistakes, but it’s in a guiding and educating and supporting, kind of collaborative manner and not like a policing type of manner. Number three, I would say is kind of similar, but a little different.

3. Avoid Supermanning.

I call this Supermanning because it’s the type of language that makes it sound like SEOs are here to swoop in and save the day when something goes wrong. We do. We’re superheroes a lot of times. There are things that happen and thank goodness there was an SEO there to help diagnose and fix that.

But I would avoid any kind of pitch that makes it sound like your entire job is just to kind of save people. There are other people in your organization that are super smart and talented at what they do. They probably wouldn’t like it if you made it sound like you were there to help them all the time. So I just think that’s important to keep in mind. Don’t make it seem like you’re the police waiting to wag your finger at them or you’re the superhero that needs to save everyone from their mistakes.

So yeah, that’s my SEO elevator pitch. That’s why I think it’s important to have one. If you’ve kind of crafted your own SEO elevator pitch, I would love to hear it, and I’m sure it would be great for other SEOs to hear it as well. It’s great to information share. So drop that in the comments if you feel comfortable doing that. If you don’t have one, hopefully this helps. So yeah, that’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday, and come back again next week for another one.

Thanks, everybody.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Our Top 10 Influencer Marketing Posts of 2018

Celebrating group of people dancing in confetti photo.

2018 saw a continuous rise of influencer marketing’s power and scope in both B2C and B2B industries. This was a continuation of last year’s explosion of interest in the practice and with more practitioners than ever going all-in, influencer marketing has been a primary focus of what we have explored on our blog throughout the year.

We’re lucky to have some of the strongest and most successful B2B influencer marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank Marketing blog, including our CEO Lee Odden, Ashley Zeckman, Joshua Nite, Caitlin Burgess, Anne Leuman, Nick Nelson, Tiffani Allen, Debbie Friez, the author of this post, and Alexis Hall, among others.

As an industry approaching $10 billion annually, Influencer marketing is no longer a shiny new object to savvy marketers. The insight and expertise our team has acquired helping some of the top brands in the world including 3M, SAP, LinkedIn, and Oracle plan, implement and measure influencer marketing programs has often made it here to our blog. To help our blog community grow their influencer marketing knowledge, we’re thrilled to offer this list of our most popular influencer marketing posts of 2018.

Of course, collaborating with influencers is something we do daily for clients and ourselves. Influencer engagement has become even more central to our B2B content marketing solutions, alongside social media marketing, SEO, and online advertising.

The influencer marketing posts that proved to be our most popular of the year based on web analytics and social media data are listed below. Hopefully they will help you ask the right questions and — of course — provide truly best-answer solutions to some of the most important challenges we’ll be facing in 2019.

We give a huge thank you to Lee Odden, Ashley Zeckman, Josh Nite, Anne Leuman, and Caitlin Burgess for their work in advocating influencer marketing best practices.

In addition to the list below, we’ve published several popular influencer lists this year, and while we won’t place them on the list, we wanted to share them here as they’re a great way to find and follow some of the top digital marketing influencers.

Our most popular influencer marketing posts in 2018:

Influencer Marketing Trends 2018
1. 7 Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Rule 2018 — Anne Leuman
Our Content Strategist Anne Leuman wrote the most popular influencer marketing post of 2018 on our blog, exploring some of the most important and relevant trends of the year. Highlighting the power of great tools including Onalytica, Traackr, and BuzzSumo, the move by brands to become both bolder and different, an increased focus on business results, the rise of brand ambassadors, and more higher-budget campaigns, Anne accurately accounted for many of the influencer marketing trends that rocketed to the top in 2018. Check out all of Anne’s posts here.

Facebook Zero Influencers
2. Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing — Caitlin Burgess
It was our Senior Content Marketing Manager Caitlin Burgess who wrote our second most popular influencer marketing post of the year, as she took a close look at the effects Facebook’s major news-feed changes had on digital marketing campaigns, and how to use them as an advantage through influencer marketing. Caitlin deftly showed that the time was right for getting into the influencer marketing game, with numerous ways to capitalize on the opportunity Facebook’s move brought front and center. Check out all of Caitlin’s posts here.

B2B content optimized influencer activated
3. 3 Reasons B2B Marketers Need Optimized & Influencer Activated Content — Lee Odden
Our CEO Lee Odden penned the third most popular influencer marketing piece on our blog this year, with a surprising and take-away-filled look at how optimized and influencer-activated B2B content can succeed in the wake of diminished organic social media sharing. Lee showed how keyword topics are King and influence is Queen when it comes to driving confidence, engagement, and action, along with sharing just what savvy marketers need to know to activate influencers and optimize for search. Check out all of Lee’s 2,592 posts here.

It's Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing
4. Beyond the Hype Cycle: It’s Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing — Joshua Nite
In the fourth most popular influencer marketing post of 2018, our Content Marketing Manager Josh examined the importance of making influencer marketing a trusted part of your integrated strategy, and how to do it best by redefining influence, compensation, and measurement, along with an in-depth look at the Gartner hype cycle. Check out all of Josh’s posts here.

Smarter Influencer Marketing
5. Just Getting Started with Influencer Marketing? 6 Things You Should Know — Lee Odden
Lee holds another spot on our top influencer marketing posts of the year list, with an extremely helpful guide for anyone just getting started in influencer marketing. Lee shares six things you should know to anticipate challenges, avoid short-term thinking, follow improvement opportunities, build relationships that drive ROI, utilize platforms and AI, and gain an understanding of B2B best practices — no wonder it’s one of the year’s most popular pieces.

Influencer Marketing Interview Ursula Ringham
6. Digital Marketing Spotlight: An Interview With Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP — Caitlin Burgess
Caitlin also earned the honor of having a second spot on our top influencer marketing posts of 2018 list, as her insightful interview with SAP’s Ursula Ringham struck a chord with our readers. Caitlin dove deep and got many helpful insights from Ringham, including her own universal truths in social media, a collection of favorite influencer marketing tools, and much advice, such as “In marketing, story is everything.”

B2B influencer marketing software
7. From Basic to Advanced, the B2B Influencer Marketing Software You Need to Succeed — Lee Odden
What are some of the best B2B influencer marketing tools available? In our seventh most popular influencer marketing post of the year, Lee offers a vast and helpful collection of both basic and advanced tools to identify, engage, and measure B2B influencer relationships.

Influencer Marketing Interview with Luciana Moran
8. Enterprise B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Luciana Moran, Dun & Bradstreet — Lee Odden
TopRank Marketing has interviewed an impressive array of B2B influencer marketing leaders throughout the year, and another that makes our list of the top for 2018 is Lee’s in-depth conversation with Luciana Moran of Dun & Bradstreet. Lucy shared her own unique story on entering digital marketing, and her expert insights on favorite platforms, top campaign structures, various compliance tactics, plus her look at future trends.

Marketing Challenges Solved by Influencer Content
9. 6 Top Marketing Challenges Solved by Influencer Content — Lee Odden
Overcoming difficult marketing challenges is never easy, but Lee has earned another entry on our top list of the year by offering solutions to no fewer than six major obstacles that influencer marketing can conquer. Offering real-world answers for combating ad-blocking, dealing with information overload, making SEO useful even to Google, increasing buyer trust in brands, scaling content, and overcoming lessened organic social reach, Lee’s answers have proven to be helpful throughout the year, and will likely see continued bookmarkable success long into 2019 and beyond.


10. How the Confluence Equation Can Help Marketers Get Better Influencer Marketing Results — Ashley Zeckman
Our Senior Digital Strategy Director Ashley rounds out our list of the top influencer marketing posts of 2018, taking a well-written and helpful look at a number of influencer marketing trends gathered from Lee’s presentation during the Social Media Marketing World conference. Chief among Ashley’s insights is how influencer marketing can help solve common marketing challenges using Lee’s “Attract, Engage, Convert, Retain, and Advocate” model. Check out all of Ashley’s posts here.

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

There you have it — a truly stellar group of 10 of our top influencer marketing posts for 2018.   We give many thanks to each of you who read our blog, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels.

We published dozens of posts this year specifically about influencer marketing, and we plan to bring you even more in 2019, so stay tuned.

Please let us know which influencer marketing topics and ideas you’d like to see us focus on for 2019 — we’d love to hear your suggestions. If you’d like to get a handle on influencer marketing trends, be sure to check out Ashley Zeckman’s post.

TopRank Marketing’s Top 6 B2B Influencer Marketing Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2019

B2B Influencer Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2019

How many of you can count the number of times you’ve purchased a product or made a decision based on a recommendation from a friend, acquaintance, review on the web or a celebrity endorsement? I’d venture to guess that most of you would say: “Too many to count.”

That’s because we all rely on advice from others to help us make sense of a complex world where we don’t always have all of the information we need to make a decision.

Influencer marketing has been around for ages (literally), but it’s only begun to build steam within the B2B world over the past few years. The good news is that for many, B2B influencer marketing is still in its infancy—which means there are plenty of opportunities to begin implementing influencer marketing today.

Interestingly, a report from Twitter found that recommendations from influencers are quickly gaining momentum and are nearly equal to receiving recommendations from actual friends.

To help you navigate the future of B2B influencer marketing and guide your approach, we’ve put together six trends and predictions to watch for in 2019.

#1 – Increasing Data Privacy Concerns Will Impact the Role of Influencers

This year new GDPR regulations took effect across the EU, which left many global brands scrambling to make sure that they were appropriately handling personal identifying information.

What many brands didn’t consider, was how it will impact influencer marketing programs. Some big brands have already begun evolving how they handle influencer information and what is needed in terms of documentation to properly meet new requirements. And that will only continue to increase.

As Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing for SAP*, told us earlier this year:

“GDPR is going to be the stake in the ground for all data privacy—bar none. As GDPR kicks off, we’ll start to see lawsuits and controversies in the news and people will become increasingly aware and engaged. In the U.S., we’re already becoming more aware of data privacy issues, especially after Cambridge Analytica.”

She added: “But bottom line, GDPR will be really important. And as a result, our influencers will become even more important and valuable. They’re going to be our trusted brand ambassadors; our trusted voices. They’ll be a huge asset because people don’t trust brands outright—they trust people.”

Bottom line, #GDPR will be really important. And as a result, our #influencers will become even more important and valuable. @usularingham #InfluencerMarketing #B2B Click To Tweet

#2 – Capturing Influencer Attention Will Become Increasingly Difficult

As the demand for working with influencers increases, it will become more and more difficult to capture and hold their attention. As a result, before reaching out to influencers to collaborate, it will be even more important to first determine and communicate what’s in it for them.

Showing influencers value and displaying that you understand what they’re interested in will help you begin building a relationship of mutual value. As Rani Mani, Head of Influencer Social Enablement at Adobe, told us in a recent interview:

“We at Adobe pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long term relationships with our influencers. We look at it as dating with an eye towards long term commitment which means we are always looking to establish a ‘give to get’ exchange where all parties come out ahead.”

The key that Rani touches on? Building lasting relationships, which will require more effort than simply reaching out when you need something. As Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing’s CEO, recently wrote

“Brands that use a shotgun approach to invite influencers only when they need them won’t see very high recruitment rates. The same goes for non-personalized, ego-centric messages from brands that are only concerned with what the brand wants to get out of the collaboration.”

And while we advise placing a lot of emphasis on building these relationships organically, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay your influencers where appropriate. Think about what you’re asking of your influencers and make sure that you understand their expectations as well.

Onalytica’s recent survey of brand and influencer relationships found that influencers have varying objectives, but many are most interested in building thought leadership and gaining exposure on specific topics followed by expanding their networks to reach new audiences.

Brands that use a shotgun approach to invite influencers only when they need them won’t see very high recruitment rates. @leeodden #InfluencerMarketing #B2B Click To Tweet

#3 – Emphasis on Specific Influencer Qualities Will Evolve

When you consider what makes for a good B2C influencer, the most sought-after quality is that they have an extensive network. For many B2B marketers, the emphasis has followed that same path.

However, influence is not solely based on the number of followers that an expert has, something that is becoming more clear in the wake of fake social media accounts and inflated follower counts.

True, social reach should be a consideration for your B2B influencer marketing program, but not the only one. Sometimes the influencers with the largest reach may not be engaging their audience in a meaningful way that leads to more users connecting with your content.

As a result, if you aren’t already, you need to be looking at a variety of influencer qualities (each of which are important) when identifying influencers to work with in 2019 and beyond.

As you can see in the chart below, different types of experts can positively impact your program in several different ways. As your influencer program continues to mature, begin determining what the right mix of influencers to include for maximum impact.

If you aren’t already, you need to be looking at a variety of influencer qualities (each of which are important) when identifying influencers to work with in 2019 and beyond. – @azeckman #InfluencerMarketing #B2B Click To Tweet

#4 – The Call for Tighter Topical Alignment

When many brands first start dipping their toes in the influencer marketing waters, it can be difficult to suss out exactly who to co-create content with. Unfortunately, one of the mistakes many brands make is working with influencers that don’t quite align with the topics they want to share with their target audience.

As a result, in 2019 and beyond, you need to commit to meaningful influencer identification and collaboration if you want to co-create content that informs, engages, and resonates with your audiences.

For example, if you want to collaborate with an influencer on the topic of “Account Based Marketing” it’s important to conduct critical research to determine what their take is on the topic, and if it’s a topic they publish content on frequently. Otherwise, you may not end up with the level of content that your audience is anticipating. Additionally, the influencer audience may not be a fit for the content topic which will not lead to the level of engagement you’re seeking.

Part of TopRank Marketing’s process with our clients is to conduct research internally and externally to determine which topics should be included in influencer co-creation programs to best target the audience. Below is an example of how these topics could be priorities:

But marketer beware. The goal is not to control the opinion of influencers. Instead, focus on finding the RIGHT influencers that already align with the message you’d like to create content around.

#5 – Influencer Video Content Will Reign Supreme

Video has been a rising content marketing star over the past couple years. But in 2018, video is officially dominating social media news feeds, search results, and the minds of our target audience. It’s everyhere, and the launch and refinement of native video and Stories features on top social platforms has heightened this demand.

Both live and pre-recorded video that can be uploaded natively on social platforms presents an opportunity for brands and influencers alike. Everything from talking head videos to interviews and motion graphics are all content co-creation moments that can be captured and shared again and again.

So, as the overall demand for video increases, so will the demand for increased quality. If you plan on co-creating video with influencers, you need to plan for the unexpected. If recording remotely, be sure to prep your influencers beforehand and run a test before you begin recording. If you’re recording onsite (at somewhere like their office or event) be sure to create a contingency plan in case your original setup is not conducive to capturing great video.

Both live and pre-recorded video that can be uploaded natively on social platforms presents an opportunity for brands and influencers alike. @azeckman #Influencer Marketing #B2B Click To Tweet

#6 – The Battle Between ROI & Awareness Will Continue

Every B2B marketer wants to enhance brand awareness, recognition, and advocacy. But they also want to drive a high volume of qualified leads. But to get from one end of the spectrum to the other, you need to deploy tactics and strategies that are tailored to your audience where they actually are in their buyer’s journey.

The same goes for influencer marketing programs. Not all are created equal. For example, if your goal in working with influencers is to build awareness, you’ll need to deploy a specific strategy and mix of tactics that are vastly different than if your goal is demand or lead gen.

In fact, the most recent Influence 2.0 Report from Traackr and Brian Solis found that the two top influencer priorities for marketers are to increase brand awareness followed closely by determining attribution and ROI.

Influencer marketing can absolutely have an impact on both lead gen and awareness programs. However, in 2019 and beyond, it will be essential that you build an approach that aligns with your objectives. And as influencer marketing programs continue to mature, it will be essential that brands nail down exactly what they need to measure and how they’ll measure.

Ready. Set. Connect

2019 stands to be a big year for B2B influencer marketing. Consumers and influencers alike will expect more from the brands they work with, which means that one of the most important steps you can take as a brand is to build your influencer marketing program on a solid foundation.

Instead of just throwing money at a program and expecting results, it’ll take time, effort and people to build meaningful relationships that will have a lasting impact.

Want to know what’s on tap for social media marketing in 2019? Check out our top social media trends and predictions to watch in 2019.

From Our Marketing Family to Yours, Happy Holidays, Marketers!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The smell of pine, cinnamon, and fresh-baked cookies are in the air. The jingle bells are ring-ting-tingling. And we’re all reflecting on months past and looking ahead to what the new year will bring.

2018 was quite a year for the TopRank Marketing team. We had the pleasure of working with an incredible book of clients—both longtime partners and new favorites. We welcomed new incredibly smart and talented team members, and said goodbye to some who went on to make their marks on different industries and brands. And 2019 looks awesomely bright, as we gear up for more projects and grow our team.

To celebrate the year, the holiday season, and each other, the TopRank Marketing team enjoyed a few days of festive fun. Take a peek!

Hot Cocoa & Ugly Sweater Day

What better way to enjoy each other’s company than to drink delicious hot cocoa?

Just one thing. Drinking hot cocoa while admiring each other’s fantastically awful holiday sweaters.

TopRank Marketing Ugly Sweater Day 2018

Patrick, delightfully pictured in his “Santa Cool” sweater and a very serious face (front right), was the crowd favorite—earning him an Amazon gift card.

Silly Ugly Christmas Sweater Photo 2018

The Back-By-Popular-Demand Christmas Cookie Exchange

Weeks before the holiday season commenced, many of our team members had their eyes on the prize. Several times I was asked if there would be another Christmas cookie extravaganza, so it had to happen.

Traditional chocolate chip bites. Sinfully soft and sweet pumpkin treats. Tasty white chocolate chip and cranberry delicacies. Our team members brought their A-game to the cookie exchange.

TopRank Marketing Christmas Cookie Exchange

Oh, and there were also Cheez-It-approved, peanut-butter chocolate sammiches.

TopRank Marketing's Jack Fitzpatrick Gets Cheez-It Shout Out

Super Santa Sweep

Limited to a handful of television viewing options, as a kid my sister and I watched several game shows to pass the time when we were kids—and Supermarket Sweep was a top favorite. (Go for the hams!)

via GIPHY

So, when it came time to plan an activity that would be engaging and help us spread some holiday cheer to those who need it most, Super Santa Sweep was born.

After heading to a local Target store, we broke into teams and each team was given a targeted shopping list. Teams were required to:

  • Get at least one of each item.
  • Stay together as a team (i.e. no dividing and conquering).
  • Complete their shopping in less than 15 minutes.

The team that came the closest to their budgets without going over would get a special prize.

TopRank Marketing Super Santa Sweep

Between the four teams, the dollar spread was roughly $5, with Team No. 2 reigning supreme—knocking out Team 1 thanks to a register error. Here’s Team 1 nervously waiting for the total to come up …

The best part? All of the items—everyday items such as toiletries, hats and gloves, towels, and cleaning supplies—were donated to Simpson Housing Services, a local nonprofit that helps transition folks out of homelessness. And when we brought the goodies to their staging place, we were informed that some of the items we brought were in need that very day, allowing us to make an immediate impact.

White Elephant Gift Exchange

The White Elephant Gift Exchange was an absolute riot. Team members were instructed to bring a wrapped, new or gently used item of their choice to pass on to another team member. We drew numbers and, in order, selected our gift of choice and unwrapped it for all to see.

Once all the gifts were unwrapped, in reverse order, team members could challenge another team member for a chance to steal their gift. The challenge? Best of 3 rock-paper-scissors.

The most coveted gifts included a Christmas cactus, a battery-operated microphone that could be used as a megaphone or app-enabled karaoke prop, and an 80s music trivia game.

TopRank Marketing White Elephant Gift Exchange

Pajama Day & Movie Day

In the spirit of cozying up for a few laughs and snacks, the team was encouraged to wear their favorite fluffy PJs and gather in the conference room to watch a holiday flick. After a very close voting process, Elf was the selected movie for our viewing pleasure. And of course, there was popcorn, soda, cookies, and candy to snack on.

via GIPHY

Sorry. I didn’t get a picture. I was too caught up in the magical moments.

Happy Holidays from Our Team to Yours

We’re so grateful for each other and the wonderful clients, thought leaders, and friends we’ve worked and grown with this year. So, from our family of marketers to yours, Happy Holidays!

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Join the TopRank Marketing Fun All Year Long

We’re hiring! Yay! Check out our Careers page for a full list of openings.

The Fastest Way to Write Better Blog Posts Today

I can tell you how to write better blog posts immediately. Ready? Start with the most important stuff first. That’s it. Start where you’re going to end. Start with the guts of what you’re covering. All of that. Up front. Start there.

I could end the post already. I just told you what you needed to know. But I’ll elaborate.

The Fastest Way to Write Better Blog Posts Today

Dear humans of earth: your readers are busy. They pick and choose how they spend their attention in a blur these days. You probably realistically get less than one second to earn their attention. They scan the title of your post and decide whether what you’re covering is for them or not. If they click through? Oh, then you’ve earned a paragraph.

Do Not Waste Your Shot

New and/or bad writers waste a lot of time in their articles doing what is called “throat clearing.” You’ve probably done it. We all have. You write something down, but the REAL article doesn’t start for a few hundred words or more.

That’s the problem. Readers aren’t giving you that time. You get the first sentence. Maybe two. That’s it. If it’s unclear what you’re going to give your readers in that time, they’re abandoning you.

Earn People’s Attention

Keywords, length of posts, layout, and blah blah blah. It’s not important. SEO professionals have all these mechanical details they need you to follow. That’s all built to get your article seen in the first place. Once someone gets there? You’ve lost them if you don’t lead with the most important stuff up top.

See My Point?

Everything below the first paragraph wasn’t nearly as important as my advice up at the top. That’s by design. Do this if you want to improve your engagement with the people you hope to serve.

And if You Agree With Me?

If you liked this and agree with the idea, would you Tweet This

Cool! Thanks!

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Our Top 10 Content Marketing Posts of 2018

Top 10 Content Marketing Post of 2018 High Five Group Image

Content — it encompasses just about everything we read, view, or listen to online these days, and as our CEO Lee Odden said years ago, it’s also the reason search began in the first place.

We’re especially proud of the content marketing success our team at TopRank Marketing has achieved in 2018, for a wide-range of B2B clients. As 2019 draws near we wanted to share our top content marketing articles of the year — each loaded with best practices, research, examples, and the latest trends.

The excellent content marketers who make our award-winning blog one of the most popular in the industry include Ashley Zeckman, Joshua Nite, Caitlin Burgess, Anne Leuman, Nick Nelson, Tiffani Allen, Debbie Friez, Alexis Hall, the author of this post, and our blog’s founder and agency CEO, Lee Odden.

Collectively this compendium of our top 10 content marketing posts of the year stands as a valuable resource, loaded with practical examples and relevant topics for digital marketing professionals from CMOs to copywriters. We hope you find these articles helpful well into 2019 and beyond.

We’re going to exclude our single most popular content marketing post — 25 Influential Women in Digital Marketing Who Rocked and Inspired in 2018 — from the list, because it’s not quite an article, however you’ll still find it a helpful resource, recognizing 25 of the brightest professionals in the content marketing including Mina Seetharaman, Ann Handley, Ty Heath, Beverly Jackson, and so many more marketing powerhouses.

Now, let’s move onward to the top 10! These most popular content marketing posts of the year are ordered by a combination of search visibility and social engagement:

B2B Content Marketing Case Studies
1. 32 B2B Content Marketing Case Studies for 2018 — Lee Odden
With 32 compelling stories from a strong group of B2B brands, it’s no wonder that Lee has garnered our most popular content marketing post of 2018, containing case studies from LinkedIn, Equifax, SAP, Uberflip, Oracle, Radius, and others. Lee has gathered together a goldmine of top take-aways for B2B content marketers. He’s also been the driving force behind the TopRank Marketing blog for what will be 15 years on December 28, and it’s posts such as this which have had professional marketers coming back for more year after year. Check out all of Lee’s 2,592 posts here.

Content Marketing Trends 2018
2. Content Marketing Evolution: 5 Major Content Marketing Trends for 2018 — Joshua Nite
Our Content Marketing Manager Josh examined five major content marketing trends for 2018 in this, our second-most-popular post of the year, and in addition to being a stellar writer, he proved to also be a top prognosticator, with all of his trend predictions proving to be some of the year’s most relevant in the industry. From the rise of long-form content and consistency and quality over quantity, to expanding influencer marketing ecosystems, new formats, and more focus on ROI and attribution, Josh’s aim proved true. Check out all of Josh’s posts here.

B2B content marketing research
3. 2019 B2B Content Marketing Trends: The 10 Biggest Opportunities for Marketers — Joshua Nite
Another excellent piece by Josh occupying a top spot on our list is an in-depth exploration of 10 opportunities for content marketers gleaned from the 2019 edition of the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report. Josh dug in to the report’s statistics and pulled out the most relevant and helpful gems of content marketing truth, which has struck a chord with marketers and made this our third most popular in the category for the year.

Content Marketing Value
4. How to Prove the Value of Content Marketing to Your CMO in 3 Easy Steps — Anne Leuman
Our Content Strategist Anne Leuman wrote one of our most popular content marketing pieces of the year by providing great answers to a question faced by many — what’s the best way to prove the value of content marketing to your CMO? With her clear, helpful, and thoroughly-researched insight, Anne explains how to identify goals, measure performance more effectively, and educate your CMO on content marketing’s value using conversions along with an Attract, Engage, and Convert system of metrics. Check out all of Anne’s posts here.

Lessons in Content Marketing
5. Creating Content Connections: 10 Lessons in Resonance from Content Marketing Pros — Caitlin Burgess
Creating content that resonates is key to building the rapport, credibility, and trust that drive marketing results, so it’s no surprise that our Senior Content Marketing Manager Caitlin has written one of our top content marketing posts of 2018 with this splendid and helpful piece. It features a treasure trove of insight from some of the best in the content marketing industry, including Tim Washer, Mina Seetharaman, Ann Handley, Beverly Jackson, Dan Gingiss, Ursula Ringham, Dave Charest, Joe Pulizzi, and others. Check out all of Caitlin’s posts here.

Data-Informed Content Marketing Tips
6. How to Become a Better Data-Informed Content Marketer — Anne Leuman
Anne’s talents have earned her another spot on our list, this time looking into the world of data-informed content marketing, and offering up five actionable tips to boost your content performance and create a more effective marketing strategy. Anne explains how to create a segmented content pipeline, the top methods for monitoring social activity and engagement, and why it’s important to build and refine new audience segments, among other excellent advice that has made this one of the strongest content marketing posts this year.


7. Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing — Ashley Zeckman
Loaded to the brim with helpful and relevant insight, including a 48-page tactical guide, our Senior Digital Strategy Director Ashley has written a fantastic examination of the latest methods for successful content marketing, including helpful tips from Robert Rose, Nichole Kelly, Tim Washer, Ellie Mirman, Peter Krmpotic, Tamsen Webster, Amanda Todorovich, Courtney Cox, Eli Schwartz, Jay Acunzo, Carla Johnson, Heather Pemberton Levy, Zari Venhaus, Andy Crestodina, Ann Handley, Melanie Deziel, J.P. Medved, Mitch Joel, Michelle Park Lazette, Pam Didner, Dave Charest, Ian Cleary, Lee Odden, Vishal Khanna, Juntae DeLane, Doug Kessler, Joe Pulizzi, Justin Levy, Heidi Cohen, Christopher Penn, Mathew Sweezey, Michael Brenner, Michael Pratt, Ron Tite and Matt Heinz. You’ll want to bookmark this helpful resource Ashley has assembled, which is one of our top content marketing posts of 2018. Check out all of Ashley’s posts here.

Collective Wisdom Series Part 1 Planning Ahead Chess Image
8. How to Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts By Planning Ahead — Lane R. Ellis
How can you boost your content marketing efforts by planning ahead? By documenting your plan, building a sharer list, incorporating reuse ahead of time, using audience personas, and finding your best distribution options, this post shows how planning ahead and doing appropriate marketing legwork can give you an important edge. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan,” and I’m honored to have this piece featured on our list of the year’s most top content marketing posts. Check out all of my posts here.

Design Tips for Non-Designers
9. Design for Dummies: 5 Tips to Liven Up Your Written Marketing Content — Nick Nelson
Our Senior Content Strategist Nick has put together a truly helpful collection of insight to liven up even the best content marketing writing with creative design, and it’s resonated with readers enough to make it one of our top posts of 2018 for the category. Nick teaches you how to find design tools you’ll love, explains why it’s important to think about design at each step along the way, and examines the benefits of simplicity in design, the importance of color, and pays special attention to getting creative with fonts and layouts, all in a way that works for writers. Check out all of Nick’s posts here.

LinkedIn's Megan Golden at Content Marketing World
10. LinkedIn’s Megan Golden on Building a Blockbuster Content Marketing Strategy — Nick Nelson
Nick has another fine top content marketing post for 2018 — with the only live-blog piece on the list — covering a Content Marketing World session presented by Megan Golden, Group Manager of LinkedIn’s (client) Global Content and Social Media Marketing. Nick’s excellent writing skills were more than up to the special task of live-blogging, as he shares the top take-aways from Megan’s session, including her three principles of blockbuster B2B content, top LinkedIn marketing tips, and more insight that makes this one of our top content marketing posts of 2018.

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

There you have it — a selection of 10 of our top content marketing posts for 2018. Special thanks go out to all of the top writers who have contributed truly stellar posts on content marketing topics throughout the year.

We published more than 160 posts this year specifically about content marketing, and we plan to bring you even more in 2019.

Please let us know which content marketing topics you’d like to see us to focus on for 2019? Whether it’s interactive, video, artificial intelligence, real-world case studies, or analytics, we’d love to hear your suggestions.

Many thanks to each of you who read our blog, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels.

Digital Marketing News: Google’s WordPress Plugin, Snapchat Marketing, Facebook & Google Ad Bidding, & Mobile RTB Spend Rises

2018 December 21 ZipChart Image

Google Introduces WordPress Plugin With Integrated Analytics, Search Console, More
Google has launched a WordPress plug-in called Site Kit that offers convenient access to various Google tools including AdSense, Search Console, Analytics, and PageSpeed Insights, among others. Search Engine Journal

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Marketers’ use of Snapchat is on the rise — but is still a fraction of Facebook and Instagram
Snapchat has seen an increase in use as a marketing platform, despite lacking some of the flexibility powerhouses like Facebook and Instagram allow, according to recent forecast data from eMarketer and others. L.A. Biz

Search Engine Marketing: Why People Click on Paid Search Ads
Seventy-seven percent of people are confident that they can recognize paid search advertisements, and 75 percent find paid search eases the buying process, according to new survey data. Clutch

Facebook Audience Network Joined Google’s Open Bidding Program
Facebook announced that publishers using its mobile Facebook Audience Network can now bid using Google’s popular Open Bidding program. The move was made in an effort to make things easier for digital publishers. AdWeek

Local Business Reviews on Google: Ranking and Rating Trends
More reviews and higher star ratings play a factor in Google local business search rankings, according to new report data from BrightLocal, one of several findings of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs

Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content
The Atlantic takes a look at how some Instagram users are using fake sponsored content to boost their online image, and the backlash the practice has produced. The Atlantic

2018 December 21 Statistics Image

Mobile Programmatic Advertising Budgets Continue To Rise
Automated mobile advertising spending has continued to rise, and programmatic budgets are forecast to rise 19 percent to $84 billion in 2019, according to recent research from Zenith. MediaPost

Instagram reportedly tests Creator Accounts for high-profile influencers
Instagram has begun testing a new selection of tools aimed at successful influencers using the platform, with special “creator accounts,” according to a recent report. CNET

Hulu introduces new programmatic marketplace
Hulu recently announced that it has expanded its automated programmatic advertising marketplace, allowing marketers a selection of new automation options. AdAge

Going Hyper-Local: How Sponsoring an Event Can Grow Your Business [Infographic]
Both B2B and B2C marketers can stand to benefit when incorporating event sponsorship in their playbook, and this piece takes a look at some of the reasons to consider such sponsorships. MarketingProfs

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2018 December 21 Marketoonist Cartoon

A lighthearted look at data, privacy, and brand trust by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Social Media Overtakes Newspapers As Source Of News — The Onion

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — 13 Social Media Experts Share Their Biggest Piece of Marketing Advice — Buffer
  • Lee Odden — An Evaluation of Brand Influencer Partnerships: Understanding Motivations, Challenges and Aligning Goals — Onalytica
  • Lee Odden — 2018 Year-end Episode of Marketing Smarts: What Marketers Need to Know for 2019 [VIDEO] — MarketingProfs
  • Lee Odden — Holiday Social Media Marketing Tips from 13 Experts
    Social Media Today
  • Lee Odden — Work-Life Balance Strategies: What 24 Marketing Experts Say About Work-Life Balance — Express Writers
  • Alexis Hall and Tiffani Allen — Top 10 Digital Marketing Articles of this Week: 14th December 2018 — PageTraffic
  • Lee Odden — 12 Expert Ideas to Improve Your Content Marketing for Better Leads — Content Marketing Institute
  • Lee Odden — The Essential 10-Step Guide To Building Your Personal Brand Online — Cooler Insights

Have your own favorite influencer marketing or content marketing news trends or stories for the week?

Thanks you taking the time to join us, and we hope you’ll return once again next week for a new array of the most relevant digital marketing industry news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.