5 Examples of Effective B2B Content Marketing in Times of Crisis

Woman wearing facemark image.

Woman wearing facemark image.

There has been no greater disruption to business in the modern era than the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, it seems as though the world has stopped turning. For marketers, it seems as though now is the worst time to try to promote anything.

But as our CEO, Lee Odden, said, “While there will be a period of adjustment, these changes do not mean the work stops. It doesn’t mean companies don’t need information, solutions, support, products and services.”

And he couldn’t be more right. Your audience may even have a greater need now for your solutions or expertise. They’re trying to navigate through this uncertain time, too. And they’re looking for help now more than ever before.

To help you answer those calls for help and know what types of content are successful in times of crisis, I’ve gathered five examples of effective B2B content marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

#1 – HealthcareSource

Healthcare workers have always been essential. And with a pandemic afoot, they’ve become the most essential. As a result, hospitals and healthcare providers need to ensure they’re fully staffed, but that’s easier said than done. Declining revenues have led to job cuts. Doctors catching the virus has led to job growth. Hiring for healthcare is undergoing constant fluctuations.

As a proven talent management software for healthcare providers, HealthcareSource saw that they were in a unique position to help. Through a long, thoughtful blog post, loaded with examples from healthcare systems around the world, HealthcareSource created a great resource to help healthcare organizations manage their hiring, onboarding, and talent acquisition strategies. They also created an on-demand webinar with in-depth tactics on how to manage these constant fluctuations in job demand and supply.

Healthcare Source Screenshot

#2 – Zoom

Zoom, a favorite video conferencing tool for any organization, has seen their number of daily active users jump from only 10 million to over 200 million in just three months. They’ve grown from hosting business meetings to hosting virtual classes, happy hours among friends, family game nights, and more for hundreds of millions of people. COVID-19 and social distancing have invariably helped grow their user base. However, that comes with its own set of challenges.

They now have to train hundreds of millions of people on how to use Zoom, how to adjust their mic settings, how to ensure their Zoom is secure and private. They’re users needed support, fast. So they created an in-depth COVID-19 resource with every relevant training users could need. But what makes this resource even more helpful is that they segmented it based on use-cases. Need help while working remotely? You have your own section. Need help teaching your class? You have your own section, too. It’s a great example of how tailoring content for each audience segment creates a better experience; help is easier to find and the experience feels more personalized.

 

Zoom Screenshot

[bctt tweet=”“Tailoring content for each audience segment creates a better experience.” — Anne Leuman @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

#3 – monday.com*

Lockdown. Quarantine. Social distancing. Between those three mandates, it’s clear to see why the number of people working remotely is reaching unprecedented heights. For monday.com, a work operating system provider, this presented an interesting opportunity. They saw that teams needed help transitioning to a remote work environment with the least amount of friction. They needed help ensuring they had the right technology, process, and structures to make remote work successful. They needed help knowing how to best use monday.com remotely instead of in a physical office.

To ease the remote work transition, monday.com created a new page on their website educating others on how to use their software for remote work. This new page helps existing clients and potential prospects on how monday.com can help ease the challenges of working remotely. They also made the smart decision of adding this page to their main site navigation, making it extremely easy for visitors to access. In addition to this new product page, the team at monday.com also created a custom video and content hub to ensure their users can get answers to all of their questions.

monday.com Screenshot

*monday.com is a TopRank Marketing client.

#4 – Slack

Slack was already a popular piece of software for any business, helping streamline team communications and collaboration. With more workers at home, I’m sure businesses — including our own — have become even more reliant on Slack to carry the burden of all text communication between teams. And while they could have taken a page from Zoom or monday.com and created dedicated resources to help train new users or customers who may be relying on Slack a bit more during this time, they didn’t. They saw a different opportunity to help their audience.

During a crisis, the value of information skyrockets. Business leaders want to know; what’s happening to the economy? Will their market be impacted? How is this affecting their workforce? Slack created a report to help answer those questions, especially as it relates to remote workers and the challenges they face. They recognized that key decision makers in their target audience desired more information to help them solve top challenges like transitioning to remote work, improving their employee experience, and more. With this report, they were able to provide those insights, helping their audience optimize how they work together during a pandemic.

Slack Screenshot

#5 – Dropbox

Do you know what distributed work is? I didn’t know what it was, either. And this is where Dropbox’s latest content marketing really shines.

Dropbox saw that while most of the world was focusing on transitioning to remote work, they really needed to focus on distributed work. Organizations sorely needed to be educated on the difference between the two and how they require different strategies. As Dropbox points out, “remote work is a discipline for the individual worker, but distributed work is a discipline for the entire organization.” That’s a very important distinction to make as organizations attempt to navigate social distancing and still get the work done.

Their thought leadership content around distributed work is truly eye-opening. Positioned high up on their blog and given its own content hub, their distributed work content is a must-read for any organization operating remotely during this time. And it all happened because they recognized a key, relevant term that not many were focusing on.

Dropbox Screenshot

Be Helpful. Be Successful.

The true key to success in B2B content marketing is to always come from a place of empathy. The more you’re able to understand and empathize with your target audience, the more likely you are to surface content opportunities that help them overcome their pain points and challenges. And helping them = success.

That doesn’t change even in times of crisis. In fact, it becomes all the more important. Use the B2B content marketing examples above as a guide when creating your own content and remember to be empathetic to their needs.

If you want to help your audience during this time, learn how to build trust with your audience through authentic content.

The post 5 Examples of Effective B2B Content Marketing in Times of Crisis appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Why B2B Marketers Should Give a DAM: Top Tips on Digital Asset Management

Businesswoman at wall of digital assets image.

Businesswoman at wall of digital assets image.

Why should B2B marketers give a DAM?

When that DAM is digital asset management, you’re looking at a system that will improve all forms of online marketing, whether it’s B2B influencers, social, search, content, video or always-on marketing.

It’s also one of the top investments an organization can make for successfully leveraging a digital environment that will only expand with more data in the coming years.

It’s no wonder the global DAM market was valued at $3.4 billion in 2019, and is expected to reach $8.5 billion by 2025, according to report data from IMARC.

Just What Are Digital Assets?

Robot with magnifying glass looking at file folders image.

As we explored in our introduction to DAM technology, “Why Digital Asset Management Matters in B2B Marketing,” digital assets are simply any computer files, stored anywhere — whether on your phone, tablet, desktop, network, or in the cloud.

DAM software runs either on a local computer network or in the cloud, and is built to pull in and make it easy to organize an unlimited number of files — all those digital assets that organizations create and use daily.

The more complex your marketing strategies and organization are, the greater the benefits of DAM will be, especially when accumulated over time.

The pandemic has also brought to light weaknesses for some organizations, as remote workers place additional strains on systems not necessarily designed for unified online access to digital asset libraries.

Let’s look at how adding a DAM system to your mix can help improve six major forms of digital marketing.

[bctt tweet=”“The more complex your marketing strategies and organization are, the greater the benefits of digital asset management (DAM) will be, especially over time.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

1 — Use DAM to Augment Your Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing campaigns, especially in the B2B realm, can involve many people and projects, often with a variety of images, document files, videos, and other digital assets.

Tracking multiple versions of files — with varieties specifically created for each social media platform involved in a campaign — can get complicated, and many firms either use a cobbled together make-shift approach that may be known only to one or a few people in the organization, or end up bouncing around from one software solution to another.

A good DAM database, however, can be used company-wide and is expandable enough to accommodate any change in file types, for as long as the DAM is supported by its developers.

The best DAM solutions also offer transparent and robust import and especially export routines, so that organizations aren’t locked-in to one DAM environment with their digital assets held hostage, unable to easily migrate to other solutions if needed.

Influencer marketing benefits from DAM through increased efficiency and time savings, which ultimately make influencers happy and better able to share co-created content.

2 — Expand Your Content Marketing With DAM

The type of savvy content management offered by DAM systems could save marketing teams 13 days annually per staff member, according to report data from Canto.

The same research found that 41 percent of marketers said that digital filing inefficiencies had caused delayed project releases, and 54 percent noted that they experienced frustration with inefficient filing systems.

By its very nature content marketing involves vast quantities of content in all its various digital forms, and a powerful DAM system enhances content marketing by making it easy to find all the digital assets a business has ever created, both for current campaigns and when gathering past performance and return on investment (ROI) data.

Brands such as Under Armour use DAM systems to manage over 12 terabytes of content including more than half a millions digital assets for some 7,000 products that change seasonally, a task that while possible without using a DAM, really shows off the benefits of a solid organizational and archival solution.

3 — Make a Move to DAM to Improve Your Video Marketing

As with static digital assets, a good DAM system easily ingests and organizes video content, putting it at the fingertips of each person in an organization who needs it, from video editor to social media manager to corporate executives.

Digital video has remained a leading performer for marketers, with 92 percent saying it’s an important part of their marketing strategy (HubSpot), and with the arrival of the global health crisis initial reports have shown that more video than ever is being viewed, including 5.5 percent higher video view rates on Twitter.

One of the many benefits a top-notch DAM solution offers is the ability to find otherwise hidden static content in your organization’s archives that can work well in creating video marketing, oftentimes also avoiding time-consuming efforts to re-do work that has already been completed but can’t easily be found.

4 — DAM Shines in Always-On Marketing Environments

Always-on marketing replaces on-again off-again campaigns with a fluid ongoing effort, continually cultivating and carefully building efforts that allow businesses to seamlessly adapt their marketing efforts, rather than playing catch-up, stopping a campaign, and waiting to build a new one.

For B2B marketers, the shift to always-on is swiftly advancing, and in always-on marketing DAM shines brightly, as it removes many of the bottlenecks slowing down traditional marketing by offering easy and swift access to a firm’s digital asset archive.

We recently launched a new ongoing series for B2B brands looking to explore the many benefits of always-on influence, as our CEO Lee Odden took a close at in “Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed.”

Marketing technology also thrives when DAM is involved, and MarTech Advisor recently took a look at 10 of the major players in the DAM market.

[bctt tweet=”“Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

5 — Search Marketers Find Success with DAM

Search marketers also benefit from a powerful DAM system, being able to systematically find search campaign assets, analytics data contained in spreadsheets or other formats, in ways that help make more data-informed search marketing efforts a snap.

In a way the so-called findability of search marketing goes hand-in-hand with a smart DAM solution, as both are centered around finding things — whether in the form of search engine query answers or finding a file you know you have but haven’t been able to successfully locate until the arrival of a DAM system.

6 — B2B Marketers Get Social with DAM

Social media marketers too can gain advantages by using a DAM workflow, easily accessing digital assets destined for a variety of social platforms, whether they involve static or video content, advertising copy in text documents, or social analytics data in any number of file formats.

Social media marketing is also enhanced by DAM through time savings, but also by the extra insight it can bring helping to open up an organization’s digital asset library. Re-purposing content on social platforms can take on an entirely new and all-encompassing level when every digital asset can easily come in to play and be combined in relevant new ways, thanks to a powerful DAM system.

Invest in Your Firm’s Long-Term Success Using DAM

Whether you specialize in B2B influencer marketing, social, search, content, video or always-on efforts — or a combination of these primary digital marketing practices — finding and implementing the right digital asset management system is an investment in the long-term success of your organization.

Finally, to help you learn more about DAM solutions for marketers, including a list of many of the top providers, have a look at our article exploring the subject.

The post Why B2B Marketers Should Give a DAM: Top Tips on Digital Asset Management appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Why B2B Marketers Should Give a DAM: Top Tips on Digital Asset Management

Businesswoman at wall of digital assets image.

Why should B2B marketers give a DAM?

When that DAM is digital asset management, you’re looking at a system that will improve all forms of online marketing, whether it’s B2B influencers, social, search, content, video or always-on marketing.

It’s also one of the top investments an organization can make for successfully leveraging a digital environment that will only expand with more data in the coming years.

It’s no wonder the global DAM market was valued at $3.4 billion in 2019, and is expected to reach $8.5 billion by 2025, according to report data from IMARC.

Just What Are Digital Assets?

Robot with magnifying glass looking at file folders image.

As we explored in our introduction to DAM technology, “Why Digital Asset Management Matters in B2B Marketing,” digital assets are simply any computer files, stored anywhere — whether on your phone, tablet, desktop, network, or in the cloud.

DAM software runs either on a local computer network or in the cloud, and is built to pull in and make it easy to organize an unlimited number of files — all those digital assets that organizations create and use daily.

The more complex your marketing strategies and organization are, the greater the benefits of DAM will be, especially when accumulated over time.

The pandemic has also brought to light weaknesses for some organizations, as remote workers place additional strains on systems not necessarily designed for unified online access to digital asset libraries.

Let’s look at how adding a DAM system to your mix can help improve six major forms of digital marketing.

“The more complex your marketing strategies and organization are, the greater the benefits of digital asset management (DAM) will be, especially over time.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet

1 — Use DAM to Augment Your Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing campaigns, especially in the B2B realm, can involve many people and projects, often with a variety of images, document files, videos, and other digital assets.

Tracking multiple versions of files — with varieties specifically created for each social media platform involved in a campaign — can get complicated, and many firms either use a cobbled together make-shift approach that may be known only to one or a few people in the organization, or end up bouncing around from one software solution to another.

A good DAM database, however, can be used company-wide and is expandable enough to accommodate any change in file types, for as long as the DAM is supported by its developers.

The best DAM solutions also offer transparent and robust import and especially export routines, so that organizations aren’t locked-in to one DAM environment with their digital assets held hostage, unable to easily migrate to other solutions if needed.

Influencer marketing benefits from DAM through increased efficiency and time savings, which ultimately make influencers happy and better able to share co-created content.

2 — Expand Your Content Marketing With DAM

The type of savvy content management offered by DAM systems could save marketing teams 13 days annually per staff member, according to report data from Canto.

The same research found that 41 percent of marketers said that digital filing inefficiencies had caused delayed project releases, and 54 percent noted that they experienced frustration with inefficient filing systems.

By its very nature content marketing involves vast quantities of content in all its various digital forms, and a powerful DAM system enhances content marketing by making it easy to find all the digital assets a business has ever created, both for current campaigns and when gathering past performance and return on investment (ROI) data.

Brands such as Under Armour use DAM systems to manage over 12 terabytes of content including more than half a millions digital assets for some 7,000 products that change seasonally, a task that while possible without using a DAM, really shows off the benefits of a solid organizational and archival solution.

3 — Make a Move to DAM to Improve Your Video Marketing

As with static digital assets, a good DAM system easily ingests and organizes video content, putting it at the fingertips of each person in an organization who needs it, from video editor to social media manager to corporate executives.

Digital video has remained a leading performer for marketers, with 92 percent saying it’s an important part of their marketing strategy (HubSpot), and with the arrival of the global health crisis initial reports have shown that more video than ever is being viewed, including 5.5 percent higher video view rates on Twitter.

One of the many benefits a top-notch DAM solution offers is the ability to find otherwise hidden static content in your organization’s archives that can work well in creating video marketing, oftentimes also avoiding time-consuming efforts to re-do work that has already been completed but can’t easily be found.

4 — DAM Shines in Always-On Marketing Environments

Always-on marketing replaces on-again off-again campaigns with a fluid ongoing effort, continually cultivating and carefully building efforts that allow businesses to seamlessly adapt their marketing efforts, rather than playing catch-up, stopping a campaign, and waiting to build a new one.

For B2B marketers, the shift to always-on is swiftly advancing, and in always-on marketing DAM shines brightly, as it removes many of the bottlenecks slowing down traditional marketing by offering easy and swift access to a firm’s digital asset archive.

We recently launched a new ongoing series for B2B brands looking to explore the many benefits of always-on influence, as our CEO Lee Odden took a close at in “Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed.”

Marketing technology also thrives when DAM is involved, and MarTech Advisor recently took a look at 10 of the major players in the DAM market.

“Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused.” @LeeOdden Click To Tweet

5 — Search Marketers Find Success with DAM

Search marketers also benefit from a powerful DAM system, being able to systematically find search campaign assets, analytics data contained in spreadsheets or other formats, in ways that help make more data-informed search marketing efforts a snap.

In a way the so-called findability of search marketing goes hand-in-hand with a smart DAM solution, as both are centered around finding things — whether in the form of search engine query answers or finding a file you know you have but haven’t been able to successfully locate until the arrival of a DAM system.

6 — B2B Marketers Get Social with DAM

Social media marketers too can gain advantages by using a DAM workflow, easily accessing digital assets destined for a variety of social platforms, whether they involve static or video content, advertising copy in text documents, or social analytics data in any number of file formats.

Social media marketing is also enhanced by DAM through time savings, but also by the extra insight it can bring helping to open up an organization’s digital asset library. Re-purposing content on social platforms can take on an entirely new and all-encompassing level when every digital asset can easily come in to play and be combined in relevant new ways, thanks to a powerful DAM system.

Invest in Your Firm’s Long-Term Success Using DAM

Whether you specialize in B2B influencer marketing, social, search, content, video or always-on efforts — or a combination of these primary digital marketing practices — finding and implementing the right digital asset management system is an investment in the long-term success of your organization.

Finally, to help you learn more about DAM solutions for marketers, including a list of many of the top providers, have a look at our article exploring the subject.

What Readers Want During COVID-19: B2B Edition

I couldn’t believe the response to my last post about coming up with content ideas in the B2C space during COVID-19. Thank you to all who read and commented — I truly hope it was helpful.

One piece of feedback we received was an ask to see some B2B content ideas, which, frankly, is an excellent subject. At first I was stumped about how to determine this, but then I decided that a different tool could do the trick.

Exploding Topics, the new tool by Brian Dean (Backlinko) and Josh Howarth, explores topics that are surging in popularity but haven’t hit their peak.

This time around, rather than focusing on specific keywords, I focused on overall trends so we can identify which categories might be of interest to your target businesses and their audiences. Then, you can examine whether these trends make sense for your niche and draw inspiration from them for your content.

All things remote

This trend obviously applies to B2C as well, but it’s an important consideration for B2B. Nearly everything has been either canceled, paused, or moved into the world of the virtual. For many companies and industries, this is uncharted territory, and they need guidance.

There is another category I could have included here that focuses on website and app development, programming, and the open source tools that help people build those types of assets as they lean more into digital.

If you’re not one of these B2B providers, there are still ways to gain inspiration from this data. Consider if your brand can provide:

  • The logistics of how to set up remote platforms
  • Best practices on how to make anything remote more successful and engaging
  • Comparison guides for different tools and solutions
  • The platform for people to lend the help and support they’re hoping to (like in the case of virtual tip jars)
  • Communication tips and solutions to help people stay productively connected

Shipping and delivery

Consumers are interested in having things shipped directly to them, but not everyone has the infrastructure to deal with shipping to begin with, let alone an increased order volume with the (understandable) safety limitations now in place.

Consumers and businesses alike are curious about how to make the shipping and delivery process more effective.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Guides for small businesses who’ve never had to ship product before
  • Tips on how companies can message shipping updates and delays to consumers
  • Advice on how to improve the delivery component of a business
  • UX or language tips for updating delivery messaging in apps or on websites

Transactions and payment

As we’re all staying six feet away from each other, we’re also trying not to hand off credit cards (let alone cash). Companies used to brick-and-mortar business models are also needing to adapt to fully digital payment systems.

Not all of these searches apply to business (like Venmo), but they do point to a concern everyone’s having: How do we pay for things now?

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Answers about privacy or security questions people have regarding digital payments
  • A detailed list of all the payment options available
  • Advice on how to optimize storefronts and purchasing processes
  • Explanations of how payment processes can impact sales, and how to optimize them

Design tools

This section speaks to an overall trend I touched on before: Professionals now build their own assets if they can’t afford to hire web developers, designers, etc. More and more people are trying to figure out how to keep their businesses going when they can’t keep on as much staff or hire as many contractors.

Perhaps you can identify what your target audience might be struggling with and suggest free or inexpensive online tools to help.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • A list of tools that can assist your target audience in communicating, organizing, creating, etc.
  • Design advice to help them get up to speed as quickly as possible
  • Resources in how to complete tasks on a smaller team
  • Recommendations for what should be prioritized when money is tight

Ethical trends

This is perhaps the most fascinating trend I saw arise. The four brands below have something in common: they all have to do with either sustainability or a transparent, mission-driven approach.

My theory is now that people don’t have as much disposable income, they’re becoming more mindful in their shopping choices, selecting items they believe match their own values.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • A greater level of analysis on this potential trend
  • Research into how the consumer perspective has shifted during COVID-19
  • Advice on how to potentially shift marketing, branding, and advertising messaging
  • Tips on how your target audience can better understand their marketing during this tumultuous time

And finally (*sigh of relief*), marketing

Yes, as I was doing my research, my instinct that marketing would remain crucial during this time was confirmed.

That doesn’t mean you won’t lose business. We’ve had clients pull back because even though they’d like to keep marketing, keeping the company afloat by fulfilling their product orders and services and paying their employees will always (and very understandably) come first by a long shot.

But for businesses that can still afford marketing, they’ll likely need it, and they’re looking for the tools and insight they need to thrive.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Marketing 101 tips for smaller businesses
  • Specific how-to guides for different aspects of inbound or outbound marketing
  • Tool recommendations to help people get marketing tasks done quickly and cheaply
  • Advice on the kind of marketing that’s most successful during an economic downturn

Conclusion

Remember: This is only for inspiration. What matters most is what your target audience needs and wants. Put yourself in their shoes to be able to best address their challenges and concerns.

But hopefully some of these concepts spark some ideas for how your B2B brand can provide value to your target audiences. Companies around the world are looking for guidance and support now more than ever, and if you’re in a position to provide it to them, your content can go a long way in building trust.

B2B Marketing News: The B2B Categories Rising During Crisis, New Search Traffic Data, B2B Marketplaces See Growth, & Google’s New Ad Features

2020 April 24 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 April 24 MarketingCharts Chart

10 B2B Tech Categories Gaining Interest Because of COVID-19
Telemedicine, electronic signature, online conferencing, and mobile app development were the most swiftly-rising B2B technology software categories, according to recently-released report data, showing rises of as much as 613 percent since the global health crisis began. MarketingProfs

Magnifying the Massive Growth of B2B Marketplaces
87 percent of B2B buyers and 97 percent of millennial B2B buyers purchase through online marketplaces, according to recently-released report data, also showing that millennials have preferred review websites and web search as top pre-purchase research resources. G2

Exclusive: Mary Meeker’s coronavirus trends report
Mary Meeker, publisher of the Internet trends report since 1995, recently released a special coronavirus trends update, which found that on-demand platforms and online marketplaces have been seeing big numbers and high growth, among other items of interest to B2B marketers. Axios

LinkedIn Is Working on Polls and a New Hashtag ‘Presentation Mode
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has been testing poll and hashtag presentation mode features, items that could eventually become part of the professional social network for its 675+ million members. Social Media Today

Marketing Benchmarks and Trends Overview: The Surprising Impact of COVID-19 on Organic Search Traffic
Some 63 percent of marketers said that they are increasing their focus on SEO due to the ongoing global health crisis, while organic search traffic for overall B2B industries grew by 11 percent during the first quarter of 2020, according to new survey data of interest to digital marketers. Skyword

How Different Generations of Consumers Use Social Media [Infographic]
Gen Z is most likely to use Instagram to follow brands, while millennials and Gen X prefer Facebook, according to recently-released business and consumer survey data, which also showed that when it came to making purchasing decisions, YouTube was the leading social media platform for members of all three demographics. Social Media Today

2020 April 24 Statistics Image

Millennials, Gen Z Want Distraction—and Action—From Brands During Crisis
During the pandemic, baby boomers say that they want brands to support their employees and donate to the needy, while younger generations say they are paying more attention to how brands are advertising, according to recently-released survey data. Adweek

Facebook Is Testing Longer-Lasting Stories, With an Option to Keep Stories Active for 3 Days
Facebook has been testing an option that allows ephemeral stories to extend their traditional publishing lifespan from 24-hour to three days, a feature that could eventually attract more brands to Facebook Stories. Social Media Today

Google Ads Data Hub testing audience lists for display campaigns, adding new features
Google has begun testing an array of new features within its Google Ads Data Hub — changes that could bring marketers the ability to work with same-day impression data, new sand-boxing options, and more, the search giant recently announced. Marketing Land

Strength in Customer Journey Mapping A Distinguishing Factor for B2B CX Leaders
Mapping out customer journeys to learn key touch-points is the primary characteristic of B2B marketing customer experience (CX) leaders, according to newly-released survey data, followed by collecting and acting on Net Promoter Scores. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 April 24 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at urgency without clarity on digital transformation by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Facebook Employee Wastes Whole Day on Facebook Again — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever For The C-Suite — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — 28 Social Media Experts to Learn From (Listed by Platform and Skill) — Social Agency Scout
  • Joshua Nite — 10 Tips for Changing Business Strategies During Times of Crisis — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — Up next on Live with Search Engine Land: Content marketing during COVID-19 — Search Engine Land

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us, and we hope you’ll return next Friday for more of 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. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post B2B Marketing News: The B2B Categories Rising During Crisis, New Search Traffic Data, B2B Marketplaces See Growth, & Google’s New Ad Features appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Content Authority: Potential Measures of Authoritative Content – Whiteboard Friday

When it boils down to it, every idea in SEO can be understood as a set of measurements we use to rank one page over another. And that means that when it comes to measuring a concept like the authoritativeness of your content, there are almost certainly factors that you can analyze and tweak to improve it. 

But if Google were to use a measure of content authority, what might go into it? Against what yardstick should SEOs be measuring their content’s E-A-T? In this episode of Whiteboard Friday, Russ Jones walks us through a thought experiment as to what exactly might constitute a “content authority” score and how you can begin to understand your content’s expertise like Google.



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

Video Transcription

Hey, folks, this is Russ Jones here with another Whiteboard Friday, and today we’re going to have fun. Well, at least fun for me, because this is completely speculative. We’re going to be talking about this concept of content authority and just some ideas around ways in which we might be able to measure it.

Maybe Google uses these ways to measure it, maybe not. But at the same time, hopefully what we’ll be able to do is come up with a better concept of metrics we can use to get at content authority. 

Now, we know there’s a lot of controversy around this. Google has said quite clearly that expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are very important parts of their Quality Rater Guidelines, but the information has been pretty flimsy on exactly what part of the algorithm helps determine exactly this type of content.

We do know that they aren’t using the quality rater data to train the algorithm, but they are using it to reject algorithm changes that don’t actually meet these standards. 

How do we measure the authoritativeness of content?

So how can we go about measuring content authority? Ultimately, any kind of idea that we talk about in search engine optimization has to boil down in some way, shape, or form to a set of measurements that are being made and in somehow shape or form being used to rank one page over another.

Now sometimes it makes sense just to kind of feel it, like if you’re writing for humans, be a human. But authoritative content is a little bit more difficult than that. It’s a little harder to just off the top of your head know that this content is authoritative and this isn’t. In fact, the Quality Rater Guidelines are really clear in some of the examples of what would be considered really highly authoritative content, like, for example, in the News section they mention that it’s written by a Pulitzer Prize winning author.

Well, I don’t know how many of you have Pulitzer Prize winning authors on your staff or whose clients have Pulitzer Prize winning authors. So I don’t exactly see how that’s particularly helpful to individuals like ourselves who are trying to produce authoritative content from a position of not being an award-winning writer.

So today I want to just go through a whole bunch of ideas, that have been running through my head with the help of people from the community who’ve given me some ideas and bounced things off, that we might be able to use to do a better job of understanding authoritative content. All right.

1. ALBERT

So these are what I would consider some of the potential measures of authoritative content. The first one, and this is just going to open up a whole rat’s nest I’m sure, but okay, ALBERT. We’ve talked about the use of BERT for understanding language by Google. Well, ALBERT, which stands for “a lighter BERT,” is a similar model used by Google, and it’s actually been trained in specific circumstances for the goal of answering questions.

Now that might not seem like a particularly big deal. We’ve been doing question answering for a whole long time. Featured snippets are exactly that. But ALBERT has jumped on the scene in such a dominant fashion as to have eclipsed anything we’ve really seen in this kind of NLP problem.

So if you were to go to the SQuAD dataset competition, which is Stanford’s Question Answering competition, where they’ve got these giant set of questions and giant set of documents and then they had humans go in and find the answers in the documents and say which documents don’t have answers and which do, and then all sorts of different organizations have produced models to try and automatically find the answers.

Well, this competition has just been going back and forth and back and forth for a really long time between a bunch of heavy hitters, like Google, Baidu, multiple Microsoft teams. We’re talking the smartest people in the world, the Allen Institute, all fighting back and forth.

Well, right now, ALBERT or variations thereof have the top 5 positions and 9 of the top 10 positions, and all of them perform better than humans. That is dominance. So we’ve got right here this incredible technology for answering questions.

Well, what does this have to do with content authority? Why in the world would this matter? Well, if you think about a document, any kind of piece of content that we produce, the intention is that we’re going to be answering the questions that our customers want answered. So any topic we start with, let’s say the topic we started with was data science, well, there are probably a lot of questions people want to know about that topic.

They might want to know: What is a data scientist? How much money do they make? What kind of things do you need to know to be a data scientist? Well, this is where something like ALBERT could come in and be extremely valuable for measuring the authoritativeness of the content. You see, what if one of the measures of the authoritative content is how well that content answers all of the related questions to the topic?

So you could imagine Google looking at all of the pages that rank for data science, and they know the top 10 questions that are asked about it, and then seeing which piece of content answers those 10 questions best. If they were able to do that, that would be a pretty awesome metric for determining how thorough and how significant and valuable and useful and authoritative that content is.

So I think this one, the ALBERT algorithm really has a lot of potential. But let’s move on from that. There are all sorts of other things that might have to do with content authority. 

2. Information density

One that I really like is this idea of information density. So a lot of times when we’re writing content, especially when we’re not familiar with the topic, we end up writing a lot of fluff.

We kind of are just putting words in there to meet the word length that is expected by the contract, even though we know deep down that the number of words on the page really doesn’t determine whether or not it’s going to rank. So one of the ways that you can get at whether a piece of content is actually valuable or not or at least is providing important information is using natural language programs to extract information.

ReVerb + OpenIE

Well, the probably most popular NLP open source or at least openly available technology started as a project called ReVerb and now has merged into the Open IE project. But essentially, you can give it a piece of content, and it will extract out all of the factual claims made by that content.

So if I gave it a paragraph that said tennis is a sport that’s played with a racket and a ball and today I’m having a lot of fun, something of that sort, it would be able to identify the factual claim, what tennis is, that it’s a sport played with a racket and a ball.

But it would ignore the claim that I’m having a lot of fun today, because that’s not really a piece of information, a factual claim that we’re making. So the concept of information density would be the number of facts that can be extracted from a document versus the total number of words. All right.

If we had that measurement, then we could pretty easily sift through content that is just written for length versus content that is really information rich. Just imagine a Wikipedia article, how dense the information is in there relative to the type of content that most of us produce. So what are some other things? 

3. Content style

Let’s talk about content style.

This would be a really easy metric. We could talk about the use of in-line citations, which Wikipedia does, in which after stating a fact they then link to the bottom of the page where it shows you the citation, just like you would do if you were writing a paper in college or a thesis, something that would be authoritative. Or the use of fact lists or tables of contents, like Wikipedia does, or using datelines accurately or AP style formatting.

These are all really simple metrics that, if you think about it, the types of sites that are more trustworthy more often use. If that’s the case, then they might be hints to Google that the content that you’re producing is authoritative. So those aren’t the only easy ones that we could look at. 

4. Writing quality

There are a lot of other ones that are pretty straightforward, like dealing with writing quality.

How easy is it to make sure you are using correct spelling and correct grammar? But have you ever looked at the reading level? Has it ever occurred to you to make sure that the content that you’re writing isn’t written at a level so difficult that no one can understand it, or is written at a level so low as to be certainly not thorough and not authoritative? If your content is written at a third-grade level and the page is about some health issue, I imagine Google could use that metric pretty quickly to exclude your site.

There are also things like sentence length, which deals with readability, the uniqueness of the content, and also the word usage. This is a pretty straightforward one. Imagine that once again we’re looking at data science, and Google looks at the words you use on your page. Then maybe instead of looking at all sites that mention data science, Google only looks at edu sites or Google only looks at published papers and then compares the language usage there.

That would be a pretty easy way for Google to identify a piece of content that’s meant for consumers that is authoritative versus one that’s meant for consumers and isn’t. 

5. Media styles

Another thing we can look at is media styles. This is something that is a little bit more difficult to understand how Google might actually be able to take advantage of.

But at the same time, I think that these are measurable and easy for search engine optimizers, like ourselves, to use. 

Annotated graphs

One would be annotated graphs. I think we should move away from graph images and move more towards using open source graphing libraries. That way the actual factual information, the numbers can be provided to Google in the source code.

Unique imagery

Unique imagery is obviously something that we would care about. In fact, it’s actually listed in the Quality Rater Guidelines. 

Accessibility

Then finally, accessibility matters. I know that accessibility doesn’t make content authoritative, but it does say something about the degree to which a person has cared about the details of the site and of the page. There’s a really famous story about, and I can’t remember what the band’s name was, but they wrote into their contracts that for every concert they needed to have a bowl of M&Ms, with all of the brown M&Ms removed, waiting for them in the room.

Now it wasn’t because they had a problem with the brown M&Ms or they really liked M&Ms or anything of that sort. It was just to make sure that they read the contract. Accessibility is kind of one of those things of where they can tell if you sweat the details or not. 

6. Clickbait titles, author quality, and Google Scholar

Now finally, there are a couple of others that I think are interesting and really have to be talked about. The first is clickbait titles.

Clickbait titles

This is explicitly identified as something that Google looks at or at least the quality raters look at in order to determine that content is not authoritative. Make your titles say what they mean, not try to exaggerate to get a click. 

Author quality

Another thing they say specifically is do you mention your author qualifications. Sure, you don’t have a Pulitzer Prize writer, but your writer has some sort of qualifications, at least hopefully, and those qualifications are going to be important for Google in assessing whether or not the author actually knows what they’re talking about.

Google Scholar

Another thing that I think we really ought to start looking at is Google Scholar. How much money do you think Google makes off of Google Scholar? Probably not very much. What’s the point of having a giant database of academic information when you don’t run ads on any of the pages? Well, maybe that academic information can be mined in a way so that they can judge the content that is made for consumers as to whether or not it is in line with, whether we’re talking about facts or language or authoritativeness, with what academia is saying about that same topic.



Now, course, all of these ideas are just ideas. We’ve got a giant question mark sitting out there about exactly how Google gets at content authority. That doesn’t mean we should ignore it. So hopefully these ideas will help you come up with some ideas to improve your own content, and maybe you could give me some more ideas in the comment section.

That would be great and we could talk more about how those might be measured. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks again.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Should B2B Marketers Embrace Ephemeral Content?

Burning Matches Emphemeral Content Image

Burning Matches Emphemeral Content Image

One great thing about being a young Gen X’er: There was no social media during my junior high and high school years. 

Young millennials weren’t so lucky. They chronicled their adolescence in excruciating detail on Myspace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, every half-formed thought and laundry-detergent-eating stunt preserved forever.

So it’s no surprise that the youngest social media users leapt on Snapchat when it launched. Snapchat Stories provided the feeling of togetherness that social media’s good at, without the potential to embarrass your future self.

Other platforms were quick to buy into the idea of ephemeral content — content that expires and is deleted after a set period of time, usually 24 hours. Instagram’s creatively-named offering, Instagram Stories, boasts 500 million daily users. That’s more daily users for a single feature on Instagram than there are for the entirety of Twitter. 

But don’t count Twitter out just yet — they’re testing their own ephemeral content, called, unfortunately, “Fleets.” Even the level-headed folks at LinkedIn* are testing LinkedIn Stories with a handful of users.

For B2B content marketers, ephemeral content seems like the opposite of everything we try to do. DISPOSABLE content? No SEO value, no repurposing potential… what’s the point?

Should B2B marketers go ephemeral? It depends. Here’s what you need to know.

Ephemeral Content for B2B Marketers

Before we get into specifics, you should first consider ephemeral content the same way you would any content. I’d recommend asking the following four questions.

Four Questions B2B Marketers Should Ask about Ephemeral Content

These questions aren’t unique to ephemeral content, of course. They’re questions worth asking for any new marketing channel or tactic. They are:

  • Is my audience on this channel?
  • Is my audience consuming content on this channel?
  • Can we produce high-quality content for this channel?
  • Does this channel offer a logical next step for our audience?

For most B2b marketers, the answers to all these questions is “yes.” If your audience includes millennials or young Gen Xers, they’re likely on Instagram Stories at least. They’re used to the format and will likely be open to ephemeral content on LinkedIn and Twitter as it rolls out.

Can your brand produce high-quality ephemeral content? That’s one of the chief selling points of Stories — they’re easy and cheap to produce. There are robust tools for creating them built into the platforms that host them. And audiences expect a more informal, less-produced content experience.

As far as next steps go, Instagram Stories are actually more marketer-friendly than Instagram posts. Users can swipe up in a story to go directly to another piece of content, a lead gen form, or any other hyperlink. There’s no “Please visit the link in our bio” for Stories — it’s an immediate pass-through.

Now, if your offering skews more to the Boomer demographic, or you’re courting people too hip — or technology-averse — to be on social media, you might hold off. But it’s safe to say the majority of B2B marketers can get some juice out of ephemeral content.

How to Make the Most of Ephemeral Content for B2B

You don’t get the opportunity to build a content library with ephemeral content. By its nature, it should serve a different purpose than blog posts or eBooks. Think about building an audience and engaging them on a regular basis, rather than creating a library people wander in and out of.

Focus on Your People, Not Your Product

There are plenty of outlets for you to serve up product information and sales brochures. Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers. 

Mailchimp is great at this type of story. Their “Day in the Life” series highlights and celebrates individual employees.

[bctt tweet=”“Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Be Passionate about Purpose

For a growing majority of consumers, what a brand sells is less important than what the brand stands for. We’re looking to buy from businesses that share our values, and B2B buyers are no exception. Ephemeral content is a good way to get the message out about your brand’s larger purpose in the world, to highlight your vision for the future and your progress towards those goals. 

Lush is great at blending their purpose with their more product-centered ephemeral content. It only takes a few Instagram Stories to see exactly where they stand and what they value. 

Show Your Personality

If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip. It’s a format with lower audience expectations, one that’s focused on short-form, entertaining content, and one that won’t linger to haunt you until the end of time. 

So it’s well worth experimenting with your brand’s voice and personality. You may find that B2B buyers are just as starved for entertainment as the rest of us.

Cisco is absolutely killing it with their Stories right now. The playful, energetic tone isn’t what you would expect from a staid titan of industry, but it’s delightful to watch.

[bctt tweet=”“If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Serialize Your Content

Ephemeral content is all about building an audience that will make your feed appointment viewing. Serialized content can help establish that habit. There are a few easy ways to serialize:

  • Establish regular features, like Mantra Monday, Thoughtful Thursday, or Whiskey Wednesday (okay, maybe not the last one)
  • Chop up a long-form video into segments and air them sequentially
  • Focus on a different department every week to explore your organization

For longer-form serialized content, it’s worth creating an IGTV Series. Series come with tools to help you create and promote new episodes to bring in subscribers. Check out General Electric’s Taking the World to Work series for inspiration.

Let’s Get Ephemeral!

Ephemeral content is one of the primary ways people are using social media — which means it’s relevant for any B2B business with an audience on social platforms. Adding ephemeral content to your content marketing strategy will exercise a different set of muscles than your regular content creation, but it’s a form that rewards continued experimentation.

Need help with ephemeral or evergreen content? Our content marketing team is ready.

* Note: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Should B2B Marketers Embrace Ephemeral Content? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Should B2B Marketers Embrace Ephemeral Content?

Burning Matches Emphemeral Content Image

One great thing about being a young Gen X’er: There was no social media during my junior high and high school years. 

Young millennials weren’t so lucky. They chronicled their adolescence in excruciating detail on Myspace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, every half-formed thought and laundry-detergent-eating stunt preserved forever.

So it’s no surprise that the youngest social media users leapt on Snapchat when it launched. Snapchat Stories provided the feeling of togetherness that social media’s good at, without the potential to embarrass your future self.

Other platforms were quick to buy into the idea of ephemeral content — content that expires and is deleted after a set period of time, usually 24 hours. Instagram’s creatively-named offering, Instagram Stories, boasts 500 million daily users. That’s more daily users for a single feature on Instagram than there are for the entirety of Twitter. 

But don’t count Twitter out just yet — they’re testing their own ephemeral content, called, unfortunately, “Fleets.” Even the level-headed folks at LinkedIn* are testing LinkedIn Stories with a handful of users.

For B2B content marketers, ephemeral content seems like the opposite of everything we try to do. DISPOSABLE content? No SEO value, no repurposing potential… what’s the point?

Should B2B marketers go ephemeral? It depends. Here’s what you need to know.

Ephemeral Content for B2B Marketers

Before we get into specifics, you should first consider ephemeral content the same way you would any content. I’d recommend asking the following four questions.

Four Questions B2B Marketers Should Ask about Ephemeral Content

These questions aren’t unique to ephemeral content, of course. They’re questions worth asking for any new marketing channel or tactic. They are:

  • Is my audience on this channel?
  • Is my audience consuming content on this channel?
  • Can we produce high-quality content for this channel?
  • Does this channel offer a logical next step for our audience?

For most B2b marketers, the answers to all these questions is “yes.” If your audience includes millennials or young Gen Xers, they’re likely on Instagram Stories at least. They’re used to the format and will likely be open to ephemeral content on LinkedIn and Twitter as it rolls out.

Can your brand produce high-quality ephemeral content? That’s one of the chief selling points of Stories — they’re easy and cheap to produce. There are robust tools for creating them built into the platforms that host them. And audiences expect a more informal, less-produced content experience.

As far as next steps go, Instagram Stories are actually more marketer-friendly than Instagram posts. Users can swipe up in a story to go directly to another piece of content, a lead gen form, or any other hyperlink. There’s no “Please visit the link in our bio” for Stories — it’s an immediate pass-through.

Now, if your offering skews more to the Boomer demographic, or you’re courting people too hip — or technology-averse — to be on social media, you might hold off. But it’s safe to say the majority of B2B marketers can get some juice out of ephemeral content.

How to Make the Most of Ephemeral Content for B2B

You don’t get the opportunity to build a content library with ephemeral content. By its nature, it should serve a different purpose than blog posts or eBooks. Think about building an audience and engaging them on a regular basis, rather than creating a library people wander in and out of.

Focus on Your People, Not Your Product

There are plenty of outlets for you to serve up product information and sales brochures. Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers. 

Mailchimp is great at this type of story. Their “Day in the Life” series highlights and celebrates individual employees.

“Ephemeral content is better suited for highlighting the people who work for your company. Focus on what makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them excellent at serving your customers.” @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Be Passionate about Purpose

For a growing majority of consumers, what a brand sells is less important than what the brand stands for. We’re looking to buy from businesses that share our values, and B2B buyers are no exception. Ephemeral content is a good way to get the message out about your brand’s larger purpose in the world, to highlight your vision for the future and your progress towards those goals. 

Lush is great at blending their purpose with their more product-centered ephemeral content. It only takes a few Instagram Stories to see exactly where they stand and what they value. 

Show Your Personality

If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip. It’s a format with lower audience expectations, one that’s focused on short-form, entertaining content, and one that won’t linger to haunt you until the end of time. 

So it’s well worth experimenting with your brand’s voice and personality. You may find that B2B buyers are just as starved for entertainment as the rest of us.

Cisco is absolutely killing it with their Stories right now. The playful, energetic tone isn’t what you would expect from a staid titan of industry, but it’s delightful to watch.

“If your organization is still looking for permission to loosen up a little, ephemeral content is your permission slip.” @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Serialize Your Content

Ephemeral content is all about building an audience that will make your feed appointment viewing. Serialized content can help establish that habit. There are a few easy ways to serialize:

  • Establish regular features, like Mantra Monday, Thoughtful Thursday, or Whiskey Wednesday (okay, maybe not the last one)
  • Chop up a long-form video into segments and air them sequentially
  • Focus on a different department every week to explore your organization

For longer-form serialized content, it’s worth creating an IGTV Series. Series come with tools to help you create and promote new episodes to bring in subscribers. Check out General Electric’s Taking the World to Work series for inspiration.

Let’s Get Ephemeral!

Ephemeral content is one of the primary ways people are using social media — which means it’s relevant for any B2B business with an audience on social platforms. Adding ephemeral content to your content marketing strategy will exercise a different set of muscles than your regular content creation, but it’s a form that rewards continued experimentation.

Need help with ephemeral or evergreen content? Our content marketing team is ready.

* Note: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.