A Day in the Life of a Content Marketer During the Pandemic: Challenges and Tips

Working at Home with Cat on Laptop

Working at Home with Cat on Laptop

I’ll never forget the night that everything really changed.

It was my wife’s birthday, March 11th. I took her out for dinner at a lovely restaurant in South Minneapolis, and for a couple of blissful hours, over exotic cocktails and delicious food, we unplugged from the loudening noise of a worrisome outside world.

After we walked out of that restaurant, there would be no more tuning out.

Stepping out from the darkly lit building, I looked down at my phone, and tried to process the sudden rush of stunning headlines:

WHO declares global pandemic. NBA suspends season. Trump addresses the nation. Tom Hanks has coronavirus. Tom Hanks!

It all happened on the same day, like a floodgate bursting. And the ensuing deluge has since uprooted almost every sense of normalcy we once knew. Around that time, I stopped going into work, as did most others around the country. I haven’t gone back since, save for the odd trip to water a plant or record a video in an empty office.

TopRank Marketing has been in WFH mode for more than five years now. Sorry, did I say years? Months. Needless to say, I know we are not alone, which is why I thought I’d offer a look at my typical day as a content marketer in the (ugh) “new normal,” and share some helpful things I’ve learned.

We’re all figuring this out as we go.

Overcoming New Daily Challenges as a Content Marketer During the Summer of COVID

I count myself as a lucky man, for a lot of reasons. One of them is that I can do my job pretty frictionlessly from home. While I miss seeing my coworkers, and there are newfound challenges (as I’ll discuss), I’m able to stay productive. In part that’s because I’ve developed my own personal solutions to these WFH hurdles. Maybe some of them can help you.

Getting Going in the Morning

I’m not what one would call a “morning person.” Generally I am rather groggy and cloudy after waking up. In this respect, going into the office was always helpful for me – the routine of showering, getting dressed, prepping some breakfast and coffee, and hopping into the car was inherently awakening.

I can’t say I take all those steps on a typical morning anymore. For a while, it was tough, getting in the mindset of traveling from bedroom to living room, and suddenly entering Work Mode. But what I’ve found helpful is using the morning as a bit of personal zen time. Unless I have early meetings, I’ll usually rouse myself gradually, pour some coffee, scroll Twitter, and size up my day. I’ll go through my emails, prioritize my tasks, and check in with account managers. This helps me build momentum toward optimal mid-day productivity.

Takeaway: Work/life balance can be tough during these times. (It’s often cited in surveys as one of the biggest challenges for full-time remote workers.) Don’t force yourself to instantly flip a switch. Find a comfortable routine that works for you.

Managing Distractions and Finding the Zone

Being in the office can bring its own set of distractions, but there are some unique ones associated with working from home. For many people, creating a designated workspace around the house is helpful. Personally, I live in a small apartment with my wife (who’s also working from home), and all of our building’s common areas have been closed, so finding our own space can be a challenge.

There are no easy answers to this one. Folks who have children home all day have it much worse than me. Especially in creative pursuits like planning and developing content, it’s key to find a zone, and the disruptions of screaming kiddos or a construction worker banging away outside can be anathema when it comes to getting things done.

The main thing I would advise is this: embrace asynchronous work to the extent possible. This basically refers to operating around your own schedule rather than those of others. For example, if there’s no timely need for me to work on something during the day, and my wife has meetings throughout the afternoon, maybe I’ll set aside a few hours in the evening to dive in.

Takeaway: Flexible work is becoming the new norm. Free yourself from the constrictions of a 9-to-5 workday and determine a schedule that facilitates your best work (while still being there for your teammates and clients as needed).

[bctt tweet=”“Overcome WFH distractions by embracing asynchronous work to the extent possible.” @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #WFHtips” username=”toprank”]

Communicating with Colleagues and Clients

In Buffer’s State of Remote Work Report 2020, when respondents were asked about their biggest struggle with working remotely, there was a two-way tie for first place:

  • Collaboration and communication
  • Loneliness

No surprise, as these responses basically tie back to the same ultimate downside of working away from our coworkers: disconnection and isolation. Collaboration is vital to producing the best work possible, as I rely on the talents and smarts of my teammates to enhance my own efforts.

There is no way to replicate the energy and organic spontaneity of working in the physical proximity of your coworkers. My best recommendation is finding varied ways to coordinate and communicate. Don’t rely on just one channel. Slack is good, and Zoom is good, but both can cause fatigue when overdone. Try different methods of collaborating, like generating ideas with a teammate simultaneously in a Google Doc, or even jumping on the good ol’-fashioned telephone.

One more thing: carve out “do not disturb” zones. When you’re in the office, you can plug in your headphones and signal that you’re focusing. Work with your team to create similar arrangements in the WFH, where this is far more ambiguous. You might even collectively decide on a consistent portion of the day where no meetings are scheduled and expectations for responsiveness are lowered (for us at TopRank, this is from noon to one every afternoon).

Takeaway: Maintaining consistent and constructive communication is one of the toughest challenges for distributed teams. The best way to foster remote collaboration is to … collaborate. Work together to develop practices and protocols that best align with everyone’s preferences.

[bctt tweet=”“The best way to foster remote collaboration is to … collaborate. Work together to develop practices and protocols that best align with everyone’s preferences.” @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #WFHtips” username=”toprank”]

Breaking Up the Day

Monotony can be one of the biggest inhibitors of creativity and productivity in WFH settings. There is a natural variety that plays out when you go into the office: interacting with different people, moving between meeting rooms, maybe running out for coffee or lunch as a change of scenery. Working from home, especially at a time where we’re all encouraged to quarantine and avoid public places, can really make the hours and days run together.

This leads to one of the biggest benefits I’ve discovered in the altered routine. It is now much easier to get out and get active. Sure, we’d occasionally go out for team walks when we were in the office, but without the ability to shower and change clothes I wasn’t exactly going out for intense exercise. And by the time I got home, I was often too tuckered out.

Now, I find myself getting out for a run, bike ride, or brisk walk almost every afternoon. It’s rejuvenating for body and mind. One silver lining of this pandemic is its timing; at least it struck as the summer was getting underway, which has allowed me to enjoy a lot of nice weather outdoors.

Takeaway: Find activities you enjoy to break up your workday and keep your mind fresh. Whether it’s exercise, a hobby, or simply unplugging, working from home provides the freedom to step away. And embracing asynchronicity enables you to distribute your work throughout the day.

For Better or Worse… There’s No Place Like Home

Plenty of people have been working from home full-time for years, and have developed their own habits and routines to optimize for it. But for many, like myself and surely many reading this, it’s something we’ve had to learn on the fly, out of necessity.

The good news is that our adaptations during this time will benefit us and our companies going forward. I am in full agreement with our clients at Sococo, who make a strong evidence-based argument that distributed work is here to stay and will forever be part of our reality going forward. Those individuals and teams that take this opportunity to innovate and create seamless remote work infrastructures will be poised to excel in the (groan) new normal.

With all that said, when I’m finally able to go back into the office and see my coworkers face to face, I’m definitely going to have an all-new appreciation for it.

For tips from one of those full-time remote workers who has been doing it a long time, explore Lane Ellis’s post from earlier this year sharing remote working tips from a distance marketer.

The post A Day in the Life of a Content Marketer During the Pandemic: Challenges and Tips appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

A Day in the Life of a Content Marketer During the Pandemic: Challenges and Tips

Working at Home with Cat on Laptop

I’ll never forget the night that everything really changed.

It was my wife’s birthday, March 11th. I took her out for dinner at a lovely restaurant in South Minneapolis, and for a couple of blissful hours, over exotic cocktails and delicious food, we unplugged from the loudening noise of a worrisome outside world.

After we walked out of that restaurant, there would be no more tuning out.

Stepping out from the darkly lit building, I looked down at my phone, and tried to process the sudden rush of stunning headlines:

WHO declares global pandemic. NBA suspends season. Trump addresses the nation. Tom Hanks has coronavirus. Tom Hanks!

It all happened on the same day, like a floodgate bursting. And the ensuing deluge has since uprooted almost every sense of normalcy we once knew. Around that time, I stopped going into work, as did most others around the country. I haven’t gone back since, save for the odd trip to water a plant or record a video in an empty office.

TopRank Marketing has been in WFH mode for more than five years now. Sorry, did I say years? Months. Needless to say, I know we are not alone, which is why I thought I’d offer a look at my typical day as a content marketer in the (ugh) “new normal,” and share some helpful things I’ve learned.

We’re all figuring this out as we go.

Overcoming New Daily Challenges as a Content Marketer During the Summer of COVID

I count myself as a lucky man, for a lot of reasons. One of them is that I can do my job pretty frictionlessly from home. While I miss seeing my coworkers, and there are newfound challenges (as I’ll discuss), I’m able to stay productive. In part that’s because I’ve developed my own personal solutions to these WFH hurdles. Maybe some of them can help you.

Getting Going in the Morning

I’m not what one would call a “morning person.” Generally I am rather groggy and cloudy after waking up. In this respect, going into the office was always helpful for me – the routine of showering, getting dressed, prepping some breakfast and coffee, and hopping into the car was inherently awakening.

I can’t say I take all those steps on a typical morning anymore. For a while, it was tough, getting in the mindset of traveling from bedroom to living room, and suddenly entering Work Mode. But what I’ve found helpful is using the morning as a bit of personal zen time. Unless I have early meetings, I’ll usually rouse myself gradually, pour some coffee, scroll Twitter, and size up my day. I’ll go through my emails, prioritize my tasks, and check in with account managers. This helps me build momentum toward optimal mid-day productivity.

Takeaway: Work/life balance can be tough during these times. (It’s often cited in surveys as one of the biggest challenges for full-time remote workers.) Don’t force yourself to instantly flip a switch. Find a comfortable routine that works for you.

Managing Distractions and Finding the Zone

Being in the office can bring its own set of distractions, but there are some unique ones associated with working from home. For many people, creating a designated workspace around the house is helpful. Personally, I live in a small apartment with my wife (who’s also working from home), and all of our building’s common areas have been closed, so finding our own space can be a challenge.

There are no easy answers to this one. Folks who have children home all day have it much worse than me. Especially in creative pursuits like planning and developing content, it’s key to find a zone, and the disruptions of screaming kiddos or a construction worker banging away outside can be anathema when it comes to getting things done.

The main thing I would advise is this: embrace asynchronous work to the extent possible. This basically refers to operating around your own schedule rather than those of others. For example, if there’s no timely need for me to work on something during the day, and my wife has meetings throughout the afternoon, maybe I’ll set aside a few hours in the evening to dive in.

Takeaway: Flexible work is becoming the new norm. Free yourself from the constrictions of a 9-to-5 workday and determine a schedule that facilitates your best work (while still being there for your teammates and clients as needed).

“Overcome WFH distractions by embracing asynchronous work to the extent possible.” @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #WFHtips Click To Tweet

Communicating with Colleagues and Clients

In Buffer’s State of Remote Work Report 2020, when respondents were asked about their biggest struggle with working remotely, there was a two-way tie for first place:

  • Collaboration and communication
  • Loneliness

No surprise, as these responses basically tie back to the same ultimate downside of working away from our coworkers: disconnection and isolation. Collaboration is vital to producing the best work possible, as I rely on the talents and smarts of my teammates to enhance my own efforts.

There is no way to replicate the energy and organic spontaneity of working in the physical proximity of your coworkers. My best recommendation is finding varied ways to coordinate and communicate. Don’t rely on just one channel. Slack is good, and Zoom is good, but both can cause fatigue when overdone. Try different methods of collaborating, like generating ideas with a teammate simultaneously in a Google Doc, or even jumping on the good ol’-fashioned telephone.

One more thing: carve out “do not disturb” zones. When you’re in the office, you can plug in your headphones and signal that you’re focusing. Work with your team to create similar arrangements in the WFH, where this is far more ambiguous. You might even collectively decide on a consistent portion of the day where no meetings are scheduled and expectations for responsiveness are lowered (for us at TopRank, this is from noon to one every afternoon).

Takeaway: Maintaining consistent and constructive communication is one of the toughest challenges for distributed teams. The best way to foster remote collaboration is to … collaborate. Work together to develop practices and protocols that best align with everyone’s preferences.

“The best way to foster remote collaboration is to … collaborate. Work together to develop practices and protocols that best align with everyone’s preferences.” @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #WFHtips Click To Tweet

Breaking Up the Day

Monotony can be one of the biggest inhibitors of creativity and productivity in WFH settings. There is a natural variety that plays out when you go into the office: interacting with different people, moving between meeting rooms, maybe running out for coffee or lunch as a change of scenery. Working from home, especially at a time where we’re all encouraged to quarantine and avoid public places, can really make the hours and days run together.

This leads to one of the biggest benefits I’ve discovered in the altered routine. It is now much easier to get out and get active. Sure, we’d occasionally go out for team walks when we were in the office, but without the ability to shower and change clothes I wasn’t exactly going out for intense exercise. And by the time I got home, I was often too tuckered out.

Now, I find myself getting out for a run, bike ride, or brisk walk almost every afternoon. It’s rejuvenating for body and mind. One silver lining of this pandemic is its timing; at least it struck as the summer was getting underway, which has allowed me to enjoy a lot of nice weather outdoors.

Takeaway: Find activities you enjoy to break up your workday and keep your mind fresh. Whether it’s exercise, a hobby, or simply unplugging, working from home provides the freedom to step away. And embracing asynchronicity enables you to distribute your work throughout the day.

For Better or Worse… There’s No Place Like Home

Plenty of people have been working from home full-time for years, and have developed their own habits and routines to optimize for it. But for many, like myself and surely many reading this, it’s something we’ve had to learn on the fly, out of necessity.

The good news is that our adaptations during this time will benefit us and our companies going forward. I am in full agreement with our clients at Sococo, who make a strong evidence-based argument that distributed work is here to stay and will forever be part of our reality going forward. Those individuals and teams that take this opportunity to innovate and create seamless remote work infrastructures will be poised to excel in the (groan) new normal.

With all that said, when I’m finally able to go back into the office and see my coworkers face to face, I’m definitely going to have an all-new appreciation for it.

For tips from one of those full-time remote workers who has been doing it a long time, explore Lane Ellis’s post from earlier this year sharing remote working tips from a distance marketer.

Manufacturing Runs: 9 Summer Content Marketing Tips Drawn from the Diamond

Baseball Stadium Under Lights Image

Baseball Stadium Under Lights Image

Baseball and content marketing are two of my greatest passions. When I think about it, there are some intrinsic similarities between the two that aren’t hard to see.

Much like content marketing, baseball is rhythmic and methodical by design. Sure, there are the flashy home runs (and it helps when your favorite team *ahem* set the all-time record a year ago), but at its core, baseball is about strategy, patience, and sequencing: Accept the inevitability of failure and learn from it. Take good at-bats, call the right plays, string together base runners, manufacture runs.

via GIPHY

Sadly there is no baseball season right now, but if there was, it’d be inching toward “the dog days of summer” – a term given to those stretches in July and August where the relentless heat and daily grind start to wear on ball players as they battle their way through a marathon 162-game schedule.

In content marketing, we don’t typically face such seasonal stresses in the summer months, but this year is a different story. Never before in my career has the state of the world been such a significant factor in every day’s conversations and decision-making. Entire business plans are shifting on a dime. Rightfully so.

All the while, external distractions tug at each of us human beings in different ways. The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going away. Personally, I feel deeply affected by the pattern of systemic racial injustice exemplified by George Floyd’s murder, about a mile from where I grew up and 20 minutes from the TopRank Marketing office. My mind drifts constantly. I know I’m far from alone. These are hard times.

But the work goes on. Dog days of summer, indeed.

via GIPHY

To help my fellow marketers bring their A-game, and power through to better days ahead, I present my playbook for content marketing in the summer of 2020, aided by expert insights. And in honor of my beloved baseball – in its continuing absence – I’ll correlate these tips with the intricate art of manufacturing a win over the course of nine innings.

9 Tips for B2B Content Marketing in the Summer of 2020

#1: Keep knocking out those blog posts

Fun fact: On July 30th, 2010, the Colorado Rockies set a major-league record by stringing together 11 consecutive hits against the Chicago Cubs. One after another, batters came to the plate and got it done. Singles, doubles, homers, a triple … each successive hit did its part in pushing across 12 runs in a single inning.

Not each of your blog posts will be a home run, but even a base hit – a brisk and worthwhile read that sticks in the mind of your audience – will contribute to the ultimate goal. As your traffic and engagement numbers increase, it’s the equivalent of raising your batting average — eventually leading to more scoring, and bigger results when you hit the home run.

#2: Aim to entertain (and inform) your audience

Baseball isn’t the only cherished form of entertainment amiss this summer. Attending big concerts, or checking out the latest Hollywood blockbuster in a theater, are among customary staples of the season now absent. People still want enjoyable diversions, maybe now more than ever, and content marketers can help fill that need.

“A lot of people are looking to fill in the time that they’re not spending commuting,” noted TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden in a recent episode of Live with Search Engine Land. “There might be ‘infotaining’ content that your brand could put out — it’s still contextually relevant to your business, but at the same time, it’s entertaining in some way.”

via GIPHY

#3: Cover the emotional bases with your content

When marketers talk about communicating with emotion in times like these, they’re often talking about striking empathetic tones at a time where many are feeling down. That certainly has its place as no one wants to appear tone-deaf. But don’t be averse to lightening the mood. Your audience could probably use a laugh, or a light-hearted read.

As Syed Balkhi writes at AdAge in explaining why you should add humor to your content marketing, “The way to connect with your audience is to create an emotional spark when they view your content. And humor can act as the flint that fires up more engagement.”

On that note: Why are baseball games often played at night? … Because bats sleep during the day. (Womp, womp.)

#4: Team up with influencers

One thing I love about baseball is its cooperative nature. Teamwork rules the day in a sport where nine players are in the lineup and on the field for each club. No one can do it alone. To exemplify, neither Barry Bonds nor Mike Trout — the two greatest players of the past 50 years if not ever, have won a World Series.

In content marketing, teamwork also pays major dividends — both internally and externally. We talk often on this blog about the value of influencer partnerships, and it’s only magnified right now. At a time where misinformation runs rampant and people are gravitating toward sources they know, trust, and like, credible influencers are powerful allies.

“In the current environment, a B2B brand with strong connections to influencers with a known voice for equality have an opportunity to co-create content for customers in search of answers,” Lee wrote in a blog post about always-on influence. “Of course, companies looking at their influencers and not finding many or any people of color should seriously think about diversity and their influencer program.”

#5: Bring diversity to your content marketing lineup

Lee’s final point in the quote above broaches another essential focus: highlighting and elevating diversity in your brand’s content mix. Activism taking place in our country, and world, underscores more than ever the vital need for more voices be heard and understood.

It’s an uncomfortable truth for those of us who fall into the demographic, but also an undeniable one: As I look around today’s digital marketing landscape, I see a disproportionate number of white men. I think every marketing department, agency, and brand can use this moment as an impetus for diversifying the collection of people speaking for them, or collaborating with them.

This has also been an ongoing emphasis for the game of baseball, which was criticized by the New York Times not so long ago for its “unbearable whiteness,” illustrating that there is still work to be done nearly 75 years after Jackie Robinson broke MLB’s color barrier.

via GIPHY

In marketing, increasing diversity isn’t solely about race; aim to represent different ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and worldviews.

#6: Invest in SEO with an eye on the end game

This is a perfect time to invest budget and effort into bolstering your SEO strategy, through optimizing existing content and creating new content informed by thoughtful keyword research. It’s a cost-efficient activity with short-term and long-term benefits.

As Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik puts it in a recent article on LinkedIn Pulse: “If you invest today, you’ll immediately start getting value. You’ll also be in the best position to capture buying activity when we emerge from this crisis.”

[bctt tweet=”“This is a perfect time to invest budget and effort into bolstering your SEO strategy, through optimizing existing content and creating new content informed by thoughtful keyword research.” @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

#7: Ungate your best assets

The sacrifice bunt is often viewed as one of baseball’s most pure and charming plays. The selflessness of a batter giving himself up to advance a base runner and give them a better chance to score is the essence of team play.

Ungating your content assets, which may have previously sat behind a form-fill, is a good way to replicate this dynamic in your own strategy. Sure, that eBook or whitepaper might lose its opportunity to convert someone single-handedly, but it can contribute to building relationships and developing brand affinity that will pay dividends down the line.

At a time where purchase activity is down but content consumption is up, this pivot simply makes sense.

#8: Stay flexible and adaptive

Late in a baseball game, a manager will sometimes call upon a pinch-hitter to substitute for someone in their lineup. That’s because the replacement is viewed as a more suitable option based on the situation. Content marketers, too, must be ready to react and change direction quickly at a time where the circumstances around us are constantly in flux.

Consider holding daily (virtual) stand-ups with your team to reassess the plan, and to ensure everything you’re doing still makes sense and aligns with your audience’s mindset and needs. Always be prepared for a curveball.

via GIPHY

#9: Swing for the fences with experiential content

I wrote here last month (in another baseball-themed post, naturally) that experiential content represents a home run for marketers. When you deliver a virtual experience that is infotaining, interactive, collaborative, and impactful for your business, you can really score a win-win for your company and your audience, at a time when many beloved real-life experiences of the summer aren’t available to folks.

[bctt tweet=”“When you deliver a virtual experience that is infotaining, interactive, collaborative, and impactful for your business, you can really score a win-win for your company and your audience.” @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

Every Hit Counts

Singles and walks in baseball aren’t flashy, but if you compile enough of them you’re going to fill up the bases and eventually put plenty of runs on the board. Content marketing follows this same principle. It’s not about instant gratification — a single quality blog post won’t usually convert a customer on its own — but it all adds up, and now’s an ideal time to recenter on those fundamentals that contribute to a sustainably successful marketing strategy.

This summer, content marketers should be playing the long game.

For more guidance on how marketers can rise to this challenging occasion, I encourage you to read Lee’s inspiring post on how we can do better than words with action during turbulent times for society.

The post Manufacturing Runs: 9 Summer Content Marketing Tips Drawn from the Diamond appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Hyperspace: 5 Surprising Marketing Lessons From ’80s Arcade Games

Video arcade filled with 1980s-era stand-up video game cabinets image.

Video arcade filled with 1980s-era stand-up video game cabinets image.

What can marketers in 2020 learn from the low-resolution stand-up video arcade games of the 1980s?

Here are five surprisingly-modern marketing lessons that we can learn from and implement today, with roots that come directly from vintage ‘80s arcade games.

Slap that fire button and let’s warp ahead and take a nostalgic look back at a simpler time in both video gaming and marketing, and then hyperspace ahead to today’s vastly different landscape.

1 — Defender: Fire & Forget for a Constant Content Cadence

Williams Defender Arcade Game
Photo by Author

Williams Electronics’ Defender is my all-time favorite stand-up video arcade game, an insidiously difficult side-scrolling spaceship-protecting-the-world shooting match juggernaut from 1981 programmed by early video game legend Eugene Jarvis.

I played Defender so much that I eventually won a local video game competition, and can still almost feel where I had callouses on my hands from hour upon hour of game-play long ago.

Defender teaches marketers the importance of keeping up a steady cadence of publishing content. In the case of Defender, the entire universe depended on firing off never-ending shots to protect humanoid figures from a variety of swiftly-moving alien invaders, while for marketers our success depends on keeping our content marketing fire buttons active to stave off audience abandonment and ghosting.

Smart content marketing features a steady publication of relevant information and best-answer content, which may not save the universe, but when done right can hold your audience’s attention and gain new customers, fans and followers through engaging content.

2 — Robotron: Find Marketing Order in a Sea of Content Chaos

Officially Robotron: 2084, this 1982 Williams 2D multi-directional shooting game also primarily developed by Eugene Jarvis is my second-favorite video game, another intensely challenging dive into a strange alien world populated by a colorful array of 8-bit digital baddies.

Robotron teaches marketers the importance of perseverance in what can at first seem like a stormy sea of digital content chaos.

Robotron’s game-play involves protecting the last humans in the universe as an intimidating collection of serious alien killing machines try to do away with the humans and — especially — you.

Marketers similarly can easily feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of social media platforms, digital asset creation apps, and the vast amount of data surrounding the content being published.

Making sense of it all takes time and a concerted effort to learn what can at first seem to be an alien landscape, which can be done when you:

3 — Donkey Kong: Take Your Marketing to “Triple Elevators” Success

via GIPHY

An entirely different flavor of ‘80s arcade game is Nintendo’s 1981 hit Donkey Kong, a deceptively simple multi-level platform game with such staying power in our culture that it is still making news in 2020, as the game’s previous world record high-score holder Billy Mitchell — who featured prominently in the cult indie hit King of Kong documentary — has filed a defamation lawsuit.

In Donkey Kong, an angry gorilla hurls barrels of death and other colorful impediments in the path of your player Mario — a character who debuted here, originally called Mr. Video and later Jumpman. Screen after screen bring newfound challenges in the game, culminating with a stage featuring intricately-timed elevators and then a diabolical conveyor belt challenge.

Donkey Kong teaches marketers that successfully avoiding obstacles can take a brand from the humblest beginning to the loftiest heights, especially when it comes to social media marketing.

Unlike Defender and Robotron, which each have many random and free-form movement elements and options, Donkey Kong instead can teach marketers the value of learning a particular industry’s unique facts to drive success in a known social media environment.

Educate your marketing Mario by dedicating the time to learn the details of each social media platform your brand is using or plans to have a presence on. We’ve written a number of recent articles exploring the latest social media firm marketing features and platform maneuvers, including these:

[bctt tweet=”“Successfully avoiding obstacles can take a brand from the humblest beginning to the loftiest heights.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

4 — Crystal Castles: Gather Gems & Avoid Tone-Deaf Marketing


Atari’s 1983 arcade game Crystal Castles is another favorite filled with its own marketing lessons even all these years later.

Controlled by a trackball and jump buttons, Crystal Castles sees the player maneuvering a bear around towering castles while picking up enticing gems and avoiding evil trees and dangerous bees.

When released, its bright, colorful graphics and catchy sounds and music — along with level graphics that flew onto and off of the screen accompanied by a tune based on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite in a way never seen or heard before — enticed many including myself to repeatedly insert quarters and learn the peculiarities of each castle level.

Crystal Castles teaches content marketers to walk that fine and arduous line between picking up a trail of brand success gems and becoming overly confident and getting ensnared by nasty trees or dancing skeletons in the form of tone deaf marketing.

A while back for Content Marketing World we even published a retro game themed Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing.

5 — Black Widow: A Vector-Based Web of Influencer Marketing


Atari’s Black Widow hit the video arcade scene in 1982, and was among the first vector-graphic stand-up arcade cabinets.

Players control a black widow spider on its colorful web and during the game must ward off certain insects including mosquitoes, hornets, and beetles, while attracting others using the help of other insects, all the while working to prevent foes from laying eggs.

In 1982 a vector-graphics game stood out at the arcade due to the vast contrast between the darkest black pixels and the fine line-based graphics, offering a welcome escape from the standard bitmap imagery in the majority of arcade games.

Black Widow teaches marketers the importance of working together with others to achieve success beyond what can be attained alone, such as when implementing an always-on influencer marketing program.

Always-on influencer marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship-building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy.

In Black Widow the spider works with other insects to rid its web of enemies, and in marketing brands can find great success working with industry influencers on the web of 2020 to gain reach and engagement that can far exceed what a single marketer or team can achieve.

B2B influencer marketing is a specialty of TopRank Marketing, with several recent articles looking at this growing practice including these:

Going From Game Over To Setting Marketing High Scores

via GIPHY

The challenges today’s marketers face are vastly different from those when Defender, Robotron, Donkey Kong, Crystal Castles and Black Widow came out in the early ‘80s, however despite these difficulties there’s also never been a more opportunity-filled playing field, thanks to the vast online publishing possibilities of 2020.

Implementing a successful marketing program takes time, effort, and dedicated strategy, which leads many brands to use a top B2B influencer marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing, which was the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report.


Source: SEO blog