10 Expert Pointers To Create Better B2B Content With Authentic Influence

Smiling woman at computer.

How does authentic content help drive better customer experience?

And how does influence help optimize B2B content marketing performance?

Both of these are important questions for today’s B2B marketers heading into the uncertainty of 2021, where we face falling organic social reach and declining brand trust. To help guide the way we have gathered together the answers to these key questions and eight others.

Our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden explored the topics of authentic content and how influence can optimize content marketing performance during virtual presentations for the ContentTECH Summit and the IABC MN Convergence Summit, and we’ll share some of the top take-aways from his insight-filled sessions.

Let’s dig right in and look at Lee’s 10 pointers to create better B2B content with authentic influence in our age of the new normal.

1 — Build Brand Trust With Authentic Content Co-Created With Experts

Women's rowing team image.

Lee explained how in order to win the hearts, minds, and wallets of customers, successful brands should harness the power of authentic content co-created with experts — a process that when done right delivers stellar results and memorable customer experiences.

The pandemic has changed B2B marketing, however, with 72% of B2B events having cancelled their physical experiences (CEIR), and driven buyers to consume 50% more content (MFG), all while three in five CMOs say that marketing is more important than ever (The CMO Survey).

What can B2B marketers do in such a volatile and uncertain market?

Lee pointed out that B2B content preferences have changed significantly in 2020, and noted that smart marketers will need to factor in these changes for successful 2021 efforts.

The top content consumption habit that changed during 2020 has been an increased focus on the trustworthiness of content sources, Lee noted.

He cited a DemandGen study which revealed that 67% of respondents said they rely even more on content than they did last year to research and inform purchase decisions, and noted that 58% of B2B buyers don’t believe the claims made by the vendors they most recently bought from (TrustRadius).

The most successful types of content also changed in 2020, with the same study noting that the top content types were:

  • 65% Video
  • 60% White Papers
  • 56% Blogs
  • 54% Webinars
  • 54% Case Studies

How can B2B marketers stand out in such a crowded and content-filled landscape with less trust than ever?

2 — Savvy Brands Differentiate with Powerful Customer Experience

Rocketship and booster rockets image.

With such a lack of trust in 2020, Lee encouraged marketers looking to differentiate their brands to focus on the power of customer experience in 2021.

What can help in this area, and what kind of experiences are you set to create in 2021 and in an eventual post-pandemic landscape?

74% of B2B marketers said that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experience with the brand, according to our groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.

Lee said that it’s hard to create a great experience if customers don’t trust brand communications, and pointed out that trust is the gateway to influence.

It’s no wonder that interest in influencer marketing is high, as it allows B2B marketers and brands to co-create so many powerful types of content, including:

  • Blog Posts
  • Recorded Video
  • Webinars
  • Interviews
  • Podcasts
  • Live Video
  • Industry Presentations
  • Case Studies
  • Infographics
  • Interactive Content
  • Third-Party Analyst Reports

86% of customers said that authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support (Stackla), Lee shared, and offered four insights about what the customers of 2021 will want:

  • Customers Want What’s Real
  • They Want to Trust
  • They Don’t Trust Brands
  • They Trust Peers and Experts

3 — Learn From Brands Putting Authenticity into Action

Lee used real-world client success stories as examples of brands putting authenticity into action, starting with LinkedIn’s* use of authentic influencers.

LinkedIn’s social-first campaign focused on the personal stories behind influencers and their individual and unique marketing careers, which turned into an influencer community of 75, with some 2,000 brand mentions by the influencers and their networks, totaling a potential reach figure of 84 million, Lee explained.

Lee showed how IT service management software firm Cherwell Software* used trusted B2B influencers to achieve 342% better click-through-rate (CTR) on influencer content, with a potential reach of some 5.45 million from influencer shares, and how the firm was successfully able to use influencers to build trust around a topic they hadn’t previously been known for, resulting in 90% of all visitors being entirely new users.

Lee also shared how Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise* (ALE) co-created content with prospects which led to an award-winning program, with the successful IT Vanguard Awards program, using IT industry influencers as judges to honor prospective customers. The awards program facilitated multi-million dollar deals, and went on to win an award at the 2020 Content Marketing Awards, while producing:

  • 52 Nominations
  • 14,000 Micro-Site Views in 10 Weeks
  • 3rd Party Media Recognition & Local Ceremonies

4 — Accelerate Internal Credibility

By matching internal influencers with external experts, B2B marketers can accelerate internal credibility, whether it’s executives, industry experts, analysts, stakeholders, media, peers, or sales, Lee explained.

Using an example from SAP* and its Tech Unknown podcast, Lee showed how the firm created a podcast show with an influencer host in Tamara McCleary, featuring both industry influencers and SAP executives.

This approach resulted in some impressive outcomes, including:

  • 128M in potential reach from influencer shares
  • 101% of industry average for downloads
  • 66% increase in podcast downloads over the show’s previous season

A solution that applied a unified process and specific tools for efficient sourcing, production, and promotion was employed for the SAP Tech Unknown podcast, creating a successful storytelling format surrounding technology topics.

Accelerating internal credibility is just a part of the overall trust equation, however.

5 — Double Down on Activating Customers

Mirrored floor reflections of giant puzzle piece image.

Another step for building trust with authenticity in content marketing is to double down on activating customers, Lee explained.

It’s important to identify both the customer roles and the brands that are most influential — information that can then be applied when leveraging for reviews, testimonials, case studies, as well as a variety of contributions to brand content, Lee noted.

An example Lee shared came from SAP’s Success Factors, a resource for customers that includes both customers and industry influencers alongside employees, to explore the universal issue of wellness versus well-being.

Using brandividuals — a term Lee uses to represent those influencers who have reached the level of being their own brand — along with industry experts, employee experts, and customers, SAP Success Factors delivered:

  • 66% landing page conversion rate
  • 85% of all views driven by organic social (contributors)
  • 69% of all conversions drive by organic social (contributors)

The power of customer activation takes on even more important role when external influencers are included in the credibility mix, however.

6 — Work with External Influencers to Build Credibility

Working with external influencers is also a key step in building credibility and trust with authenticity in content marketing, especially as marketers increasingly face what Lee has called a content attention deficit.

This is especially important today, as 77% of B2B marketers say prospects rely on influencers for information, and 63% believe they would have better marketing results by having an influencer marketing program — two revelations Lee shared from our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.

B2B is behind on influencer marketing, however, as just 19% of marketers run ongoing influencer marketing programs, and 60% say they don’t have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in-house, according the the report.

Lee showed an example from monday.com* in which the remote team management firm significantly boosted brand trust using relevant industry experts.

Content that monday.com co-created with industry influencers added credibility, trust, reach and engagement, leading to impressive results including:

  • 1,700% above-goal social reach from influencer shares
  • 17.9M potential reach from brand mentions by influencers, topping a 1M goal
  • Over 300K organic impressions on social media
  • Nearly 3K video views of a live-stream featuring industry experts within the first week

Lee also showed how monday.com successfully utilized B2B influencer marketing to partner with remote work leaders, driving discussions via live-stream that resulted in exposure to thousands of potential customers.

“With content attention deficit and information overload, buyers can easily be distracted. It’s important for B2B brands to stand out and stay connected with findable, credible content that delivers an experience.” @LeeOdden Click To Tweet

7 — Create a Content Collaboration Ecosystem

An additional step for building trust through content marketing authenticity comes when B2B marketers work to create a content collaboration ecosystem.

Lee shared a powerful example of such an ecosystem in the Adobe* Insiders program, a diverse group of over 60 influencers that includes leading executives, industry leaders, major media correspondents, contributing journalists, technology pioneers — including Lee.

Adobe utilized its influencers and activated its industry experts for the Adobe Summit event to create a variety of content types — from social shares and live-stream video to blog posts and articles in major publications including Forbes and CMO.

Lee showed how the Adobe Insiders worked together to provide a cornucopia of content creation, resulting in:

  • Millions in social reach from brand mentions and earned media by influencers during and after the event
  • A Twitter DM channel for influencer communications that’s had daily posts since 2019
  • Individuals to sub-groups of influencers continue to be activated

8 — Optimize Measurement to Customer ROI

Another step in the content marketing authenticity equation comes by taking the time to optimize measurements to customer return-on-investment (ROI), Lee showed.

  • By attracting, marketers reach new audiences
  • By engaging, they improve content consumption
  • By converting, they gain subscribers, downloads, trials, demos, leads, & sales
  • By retaining, they increase community participation
  • By advocating, they inspire brand love and referrals

Lee shared an example of how these elements can successfully come together, from Dell Outlet*, which used each to optimize for trust using influencers.

Dell Outlet took a small-to-medium-sized business audience and used industry influencers to combat an initial lack of brand awareness and trust, while also increasing the perceived value of refurbished technology.

Working to build awareness and credibility, Dell Outlet partnered with SMB influencers, and achieved a Finny-award-winning program that saw:

  • Awareness: 425k additional reach from influencers
  • Engagement: 693k video views and 1,350 hours watched
  • Purchase Influence: 175% over goal in traffic referred to product pages

9 — Harness Technology to Help with Influencer Marketing

Hands holding gears and cogs image.

Smartly harnessing an ever-expanding array of software technology can take a good influencer marketing program and make it great, and Lee shared how B2B marketers are using technology to help with influencer marketing, with data from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report showing uses including:

  • 76% to identify influencers
  • 69% to monitor influencer social network activity
  • 65% to qualify influencers
  • 63% to measure and report on campaign or program results
  • 43% to manage influencer campaigns or programs
  • 41% to manage and nurture influencer relationships
  • 35% to activate influencers

In the latest episode of our new Inside Influence series, Lee also took a close look at how B2B marketers can help maximize their return-on-investment (ROI) with data-driven influencer marketing software, exploring the issue in detail with Pierre-Loïc Assayag, CEO and founder at enterprise influencer marketing platform Traackr, in “Inside Influence EP07: Pierre-Loïc Assayag from Traackr on Influencer Marketing Technology.”

Traackr is one of several powerful B2B influencer marketing tools, Lee shared, with a sample including:

  • BuzzSumo — For social, author, and influencer search
  • Onalytica —An enterprise B2B influencer marketing platform
  • Traackr — A B2B & B2C enterprise influencer marketing platform
  • CreatorIQ — A B2C enterprise influencer marketing platform
  • BuzzStream — An outreach tool
  • Pitchbox —An outreach tool
  • Nimble — A social customer relationship management (CRM) and influencer engagement tool
  • GroupHigh — A blogger and influencer discovery and outreach tool
  • Keyhole — A social listening and influencer discovery tool

“The pandemic and the strain on budgets in companies…really forces everybody to face the music and stop focusing on vanity metrics and start focusing on results.” @pierreloic Click To Tweet

10 — Achieve Content Marketing Success with Purpose, Relevance, Reach & Resonance

Through the smart use of each of Lee’s steps we’ve outlined and shown examples of here, B2B marketers can achieve content marketing success that is rich in purpose, relevance, reach, and resonance.

Sharing a quote from Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman — “In this time of turmoil people are turning to brands as islands of stability,” — Lee urged marketers to ask themselves two important questions:

How will the world be different after you’re successful doing what you do?

How does that narrative translate into your marketing?

To bring greater relevance to your content marketing efforts, Lee urged marketers to use data to understand and create authentic content experiences, leverage the voices of your customers, prospects, and those they trust, in order to add credibility and context to your message.

To maximize your reach, Lee recommended that marketers look to “be the best answer” for your customers with content that is easy to find and exists in context wherever buyers engage.

Finally, to increase resonance, Lee said that B2B marketers should seek to understand the motivations of their audience throughout the entire buyer journey, to better inform the creation of messaging that truly “clicks,” and inspires the type of action and makes a concrete and measurable business impact.

Ready to learn more about B2B influencer marketing? Contact us and find out why brands from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, and Adobe to IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more have chosen TopRank Marketing.

* LinkedIn, Cherwell Software, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, SAP, monday.com, Adobe, and Dell Outlet are TopRank Marketing clients.

10 Expert Pointers To Create Better B2B Content With Authentic Influence

Smiling woman at computer.

How does authentic content help drive better customer experience?

And how does influence help optimize B2B content marketing performance?

Both of these are important questions for today’s B2B marketers heading into the uncertainty of 2021, where we face falling organic social reach and declining brand trust. To help guide the way we have gathered together the answers to these key questions and eight others.

Our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden explored the topics of authentic content and how influence can optimize content marketing performance during virtual presentations for the ContentTECH Summit and the IABC MN Convergence Summit, and we’ll share some of the top take-aways from his insight-filled sessions.

Let’s dig right in and look at Lee’s 10 pointers to create better B2B content with authentic influence in our age of the new normal.

1 — Build Brand Trust With Authentic Content Co-Created With Experts

Women's rowing team image.

Lee explained how in order to win the hearts, minds, and wallets of customers, successful brands should harness the power of authentic content co-created with experts — a process that when done right delivers stellar results and memorable customer experiences.

The pandemic has changed B2B marketing, however, with 72% of B2B events having cancelled their physical experiences (CEIR), and driven buyers to consume 50% more content (MFG), all while three in five CMOs say that marketing is more important than ever (The CMO Survey).

What can B2B marketers do in such a volatile and uncertain market?

Lee pointed out that B2B content preferences have changed significantly in 2020, and noted that smart marketers will need to factor in these changes for successful 2021 efforts.

The top content consumption habit that changed during 2020 has been an increased focus on the trustworthiness of content sources, Lee noted.

He cited a DemandGen study which revealed that 67% of respondents said they rely even more on content than they did last year to research and inform purchase decisions, and noted that 58% of B2B buyers don’t believe the claims made by the vendors they most recently bought from (TrustRadius).

The most successful types of content also changed in 2020, with the same study noting that the top content types were:

  • 65% Video
  • 60% White Papers
  • 56% Blogs
  • 54% Webinars
  • 54% Case Studies

How can B2B marketers stand out in such a crowded and content-filled landscape with less trust than ever?

2 — Savvy Brands Differentiate with Powerful Customer Experience

Rocketship and booster rockets image.

With such a lack of trust in 2020, Lee encouraged marketers looking to differentiate their brands to focus on the power of customer experience in 2021.

What can help in this area, and what kind of experiences are you set to create in 2021 and in an eventual post-pandemic landscape?

74% of B2B marketers said that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experience with the brand, according to our groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.

Lee said that it’s hard to create a great experience if customers don’t trust brand communications, and pointed out that trust is the gateway to influence.

It’s no wonder that interest in influencer marketing is high, as it allows B2B marketers and brands to co-create so many powerful types of content, including:

  • Blog Posts
  • Recorded Video
  • Webinars
  • Interviews
  • Podcasts
  • Live Video
  • Industry Presentations
  • Case Studies
  • Infographics
  • Interactive Content
  • Third-Party Analyst Reports

86% of customers said that authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support (Stackla), Lee shared, and offered four insights about what the customers of 2021 will want:

  • Customers Want What’s Real
  • They Want to Trust
  • They Don’t Trust Brands
  • They Trust Peers and Experts

3 — Learn From Brands Putting Authenticity into Action

Lee used real-world client success stories as examples of brands putting authenticity into action, starting with LinkedIn’s* use of authentic influencers.

LinkedIn’s social-first campaign focused on the personal stories behind influencers and their individual and unique marketing careers, which turned into an influencer community of 75, with some 2,000 brand mentions by the influencers and their networks, totaling a potential reach figure of 84 million, Lee explained.

Lee showed how IT service management software firm Cherwell Software* used trusted B2B influencers to achieve 342% better click-through-rate (CTR) on influencer content, with a potential reach of some 5.45 million from influencer shares, and how the firm was successfully able to use influencers to build trust around a topic they hadn’t previously been known for, resulting in 90% of all visitors being entirely new users.

Lee also shared how Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise* (ALE) co-created content with prospects which led to an award-winning program, with the successful IT Vanguard Awards program, using IT industry influencers as judges to honor prospective customers. The awards program facilitated multi-million dollar deals, and went on to win an award at the 2020 Content Marketing Awards, while producing:

  • 52 Nominations
  • 14,000 Micro-Site Views in 10 Weeks
  • 3rd Party Media Recognition & Local Ceremonies

4 — Accelerate Internal Credibility

By matching internal influencers with external experts, B2B marketers can accelerate internal credibility, whether it’s executives, industry experts, analysts, stakeholders, media, peers, or sales, Lee explained.

Using an example from SAP* and its Tech Unknown podcast, Lee showed how the firm created a podcast show with an influencer host in Tamara McCleary, featuring both industry influencers and SAP executives.

This approach resulted in some impressive outcomes, including:

  • 128M in potential reach from influencer shares
  • 101% of industry average for downloads
  • 66% increase in podcast downloads over the show’s previous season

A solution that applied a unified process and specific tools for efficient sourcing, production, and promotion was employed for the SAP Tech Unknown podcast, creating a successful storytelling format surrounding technology topics.

Accelerating internal credibility is just a part of the overall trust equation, however.

5 — Double Down on Activating Customers

Mirrored floor reflections of giant puzzle piece image.

Another step for building trust with authenticity in content marketing is to double down on activating customers, Lee explained.

It’s important to identify both the customer roles and the brands that are most influential — information that can then be applied when leveraging for reviews, testimonials, case studies, as well as a variety of contributions to brand content, Lee noted.

An example Lee shared came from SAP’s Success Factors, a resource for customers that includes both customers and industry influencers alongside employees, to explore the universal issue of wellness versus well-being.

Using brandividuals — a term Lee uses to represent those influencers who have reached the level of being their own brand — along with industry experts, employee experts, and customers, SAP Success Factors delivered:

  • 66% landing page conversion rate
  • 85% of all views driven by organic social (contributors)
  • 69% of all conversions drive by organic social (contributors)

The power of customer activation takes on even more important role when external influencers are included in the credibility mix, however.

6 — Work with External Influencers to Build Credibility

Working with external influencers is also a key step in building credibility and trust with authenticity in content marketing, especially as marketers increasingly face what Lee has called a content attention deficit.

This is especially important today, as 77% of B2B marketers say prospects rely on influencers for information, and 63% believe they would have better marketing results by having an influencer marketing program — two revelations Lee shared from our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.

B2B is behind on influencer marketing, however, as just 19% of marketers run ongoing influencer marketing programs, and 60% say they don’t have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in-house, according the the report.

Lee showed an example from monday.com* in which the remote team management firm significantly boosted brand trust using relevant industry experts.

Content that monday.com co-created with industry influencers added credibility, trust, reach and engagement, leading to impressive results including:

  • 1,700% above-goal social reach from influencer shares
  • 17.9M potential reach from brand mentions by influencers, topping a 1M goal
  • Over 300K organic impressions on social media
  • Nearly 3K video views of a live-stream featuring industry experts within the first week

Lee also showed how monday.com successfully utilized B2B influencer marketing to partner with remote work leaders, driving discussions via live-stream that resulted in exposure to thousands of potential customers.

“With content attention deficit and information overload, buyers can easily be distracted. It’s important for B2B brands to stand out and stay connected with findable, credible content that delivers an experience.” @LeeOdden Click To Tweet

7 — Create a Content Collaboration Ecosystem

An additional step for building trust through content marketing authenticity comes when B2B marketers work to create a content collaboration ecosystem.

Lee shared a powerful example of such an ecosystem in the Adobe* Insiders program, a diverse group of over 60 influencers that includes leading executives, industry leaders, major media correspondents, contributing journalists, technology pioneers — including Lee.

Adobe utilized its influencers and activated its industry experts for the Adobe Summit event to create a variety of content types — from social shares and live-stream video to blog posts and articles in major publications including Forbes and CMO.

Lee showed how the Adobe Insiders worked together to provide a cornucopia of content creation, resulting in:

  • Millions in social reach from brand mentions and earned media by influencers during and after the event
  • A Twitter DM channel for influencer communications that’s had daily posts since 2019
  • Individuals to sub-groups of influencers continue to be activated

8 — Optimize Measurement to Customer ROI

Another step in the content marketing authenticity equation comes by taking the time to optimize measurements to customer return-on-investment (ROI), Lee showed.

  • By attracting, marketers reach new audiences
  • By engaging, they improve content consumption
  • By converting, they gain subscribers, downloads, trials, demos, leads, & sales
  • By retaining, they increase community participation
  • By advocating, they inspire brand love and referrals

Lee shared an example of how these elements can successfully come together, from Dell Outlet*, which used each to optimize for trust using influencers.

Dell Outlet took a small-to-medium-sized business audience and used industry influencers to combat an initial lack of brand awareness and trust, while also increasing the perceived value of refurbished technology.

Working to build awareness and credibility, Dell Outlet partnered with SMB influencers, and achieved a Finny-award-winning program that saw:

  • Awareness: 425k additional reach from influencers
  • Engagement: 693k video views and 1,350 hours watched
  • Purchase Influence: 175% over goal in traffic referred to product pages

9 — Harness Technology to Help with Influencer Marketing

Hands holding gears and cogs image.

Smartly harnessing an ever-expanding array of software technology can take a good influencer marketing program and make it great, and Lee shared how B2B marketers are using technology to help with influencer marketing, with data from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report showing uses including:

  • 76% to identify influencers
  • 69% to monitor influencer social network activity
  • 65% to qualify influencers
  • 63% to measure and report on campaign or program results
  • 43% to manage influencer campaigns or programs
  • 41% to manage and nurture influencer relationships
  • 35% to activate influencers

In the latest episode of our new Inside Influence series, Lee also took a close look at how B2B marketers can help maximize their return-on-investment (ROI) with data-driven influencer marketing software, exploring the issue in detail with Pierre-Loïc Assayag, CEO and founder at enterprise influencer marketing platform Traackr, in “Inside Influence EP07: Pierre-Loïc Assayag from Traackr on Influencer Marketing Technology.”

Traackr is one of several powerful B2B influencer marketing tools, Lee shared, with a sample including:

  • BuzzSumo — For social, author, and influencer search
  • Onalytica —An enterprise B2B influencer marketing platform
  • Traackr — A B2B & B2C enterprise influencer marketing platform
  • CreatorIQ — A B2C enterprise influencer marketing platform
  • BuzzStream — An outreach tool
  • Pitchbox —An outreach tool
  • Nimble — A social customer relationship management (CRM) and influencer engagement tool
  • GroupHigh — A blogger and influencer discovery and outreach tool
  • Keyhole — A social listening and influencer discovery tool

“The pandemic and the strain on budgets in companies…really forces everybody to face the music and stop focusing on vanity metrics and start focusing on results.” @pierreloic Click To Tweet

10 — Achieve Content Marketing Success with Purpose, Relevance, Reach & Resonance

Through the smart use of each of Lee’s steps we’ve outlined and shown examples of here, B2B marketers can achieve content marketing success that is rich in purpose, relevance, reach, and resonance.

Sharing a quote from Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman — “In this time of turmoil people are turning to brands as islands of stability,” — Lee urged marketers to ask themselves two important questions:

How will the world be different after you’re successful doing what you do?

How does that narrative translate into your marketing?

To bring greater relevance to your content marketing efforts, Lee urged marketers to use data to understand and create authentic content experiences, leverage the voices of your customers, prospects, and those they trust, in order to add credibility and context to your message.

To maximize your reach, Lee recommended that marketers look to “be the best answer” for your customers with content that is easy to find and exists in context wherever buyers engage.

Finally, to increase resonance, Lee said that B2B marketers should seek to understand the motivations of their audience throughout the entire buyer journey, to better inform the creation of messaging that truly “clicks,” and inspires the type of action and makes a concrete and measurable business impact.

Ready to learn more about B2B influencer marketing? Contact us and find out why brands from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, and Adobe to IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more have chosen TopRank Marketing.

* LinkedIn, Cherwell Software, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, SAP, monday.com, Adobe, and Dell Outlet are TopRank Marketing clients.

10 Expert Pointers To Create Better B2B Content With Authentic Influence

Smiling woman at computer.

Smiling woman at computer.

How does authentic content help drive better customer experience?

And how does influence help optimize B2B content marketing performance?

Both of these are important questions for today’s B2B marketers heading into the uncertainty of 2021, where we face falling organic social reach and declining brand trust. To help guide the way we have gathered together the answers to these key questions and eight others.

Our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden explored the topics of authentic content and how influence can optimize content marketing performance during virtual presentations for the ContentTECH Summit and the IABC MN Convergence Summit, and we’ll share some of the top take-aways from his insight-filled sessions.

Let’s dig right in and look at Lee’s 10 pointers to create better B2B content with authentic influence in our age of the new normal.

1 — Build Brand Trust With Authentic Content Co-Created With Experts

Women's rowing team image.

Lee explained how in order to win the hearts, minds, and wallets of customers, successful brands should harness the power of authentic content co-created with experts — a process that when done right delivers stellar results and memorable customer experiences.

The pandemic has changed B2B marketing, however, with 72% of B2B events having cancelled their physical experiences (CEIR), and driven buyers to consume 50% more content (MFG), all while three in five CMOs say that marketing is more important than ever (The CMO Survey).

What can B2B marketers do in such a volatile and uncertain market?

Lee pointed out that B2B content preferences have changed significantly in 2020, and noted that smart marketers will need to factor in these changes for successful 2021 efforts.

The top content consumption habit that changed during 2020 has been an increased focus on the trustworthiness of content sources, Lee noted.

He cited a DemandGen study which revealed that 67% of respondents said they rely even more on content than they did last year to research and inform purchase decisions, and noted that 58% of B2B buyers don’t believe the claims made by the vendors they most recently bought from (TrustRadius).

The most successful types of content also changed in 2020, with the same study noting that the top content types were:

  • 65% Video
  • 60% White Papers
  • 56% Blogs
  • 54% Webinars
  • 54% Case Studies

How can B2B marketers stand out in such a crowded and content-filled landscape with less trust than ever?

2 — Savvy Brands Differentiate with Powerful Customer Experience

Rocketship and booster rockets image.

With such a lack of trust in 2020, Lee encouraged marketers looking to differentiate their brands to focus on the power of customer experience in 2021.

What can help in this area, and what kind of experiences are you set to create in 2021 and in an eventual post-pandemic landscape?

74% of B2B marketers said that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experience with the brand, according to our groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.

Lee said that it’s hard to create a great experience if customers don’t trust brand communications, and pointed out that trust is the gateway to influence.

It’s no wonder that interest in influencer marketing is high, as it allows B2B marketers and brands to co-create so many powerful types of content, including:

  • Blog Posts
  • Recorded Video
  • Webinars
  • Interviews
  • Podcasts
  • Live Video
  • Industry Presentations
  • Case Studies
  • Infographics
  • Interactive Content
  • Third-Party Analyst Reports

86% of customers said that authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support (Stackla), Lee shared, and offered four insights about what the customers of 2021 will want:

  • Customers Want What’s Real
  • They Want to Trust
  • They Don’t Trust Brands
  • They Trust Peers and Experts

3 — Learn From Brands Putting Authenticity into Action

Lee used real-world client success stories as examples of brands putting authenticity into action, starting with LinkedIn’s* use of authentic influencers.

LinkedIn’s social-first campaign focused on the personal stories behind influencers and their individual and unique marketing careers, which turned into an influencer community of 75, with some 2,000 brand mentions by the influencers and their networks, totaling a potential reach figure of 84 million, Lee explained.

Lee showed how IT service management software firm Cherwell Software* used trusted B2B influencers to achieve 342% better click-through-rate (CTR) on influencer content, with a potential reach of some 5.45 million from influencer shares, and how the firm was successfully able to use influencers to build trust around a topic they hadn’t previously been known for, resulting in 90% of all visitors being entirely new users.

Lee also shared how Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise* (ALE) co-created content with prospects which led to an award-winning program, with the successful IT Vanguard Awards program, using IT industry influencers as judges to honor prospective customers. The awards program facilitated multi-million dollar deals, and went on to win an award at the 2020 Content Marketing Awards, while producing:

  • 52 Nominations
  • 14,000 Micro-Site Views in 10 Weeks
  • 3rd Party Media Recognition & Local Ceremonies

4 — Accelerate Internal Credibility

By matching internal influencers with external experts, B2B marketers can accelerate internal credibility, whether it’s executives, industry experts, analysts, stakeholders, media, peers, or sales, Lee explained.

Using an example from SAP* and its Tech Unknown podcast, Lee showed how the firm created a podcast show with an influencer host in Tamara McCleary, featuring both industry influencers and SAP executives.

This approach resulted in some impressive outcomes, including:

  • 128M in potential reach from influencer shares
  • 101% of industry average for downloads
  • 66% increase in podcast downloads over the show’s previous season

A solution that applied a unified process and specific tools for efficient sourcing, production, and promotion was employed for the SAP Tech Unknown podcast, creating a successful storytelling format surrounding technology topics.

Accelerating internal credibility is just a part of the overall trust equation, however.

5 — Double Down on Activating Customers

Mirrored floor reflections of giant puzzle piece image.

Another step for building trust with authenticity in content marketing is to double down on activating customers, Lee explained.

It’s important to identify both the customer roles and the brands that are most influential — information that can then be applied when leveraging for reviews, testimonials, case studies, as well as a variety of contributions to brand content, Lee noted.

An example Lee shared came from SAP’s Success Factors, a resource for customers that includes both customers and industry influencers alongside employees, to explore the universal issue of wellness versus well-being.

Using brandividuals — a term Lee uses to represent those influencers who have reached the level of being their own brand — along with industry experts, employee experts, and customers, SAP Success Factors delivered:

  • 66% landing page conversion rate
  • 85% of all views driven by organic social (contributors)
  • 69% of all conversions drive by organic social (contributors)

The power of customer activation takes on even more important role when external influencers are included in the credibility mix, however.

6 — Work with External Influencers to Build Credibility

Working with external influencers is also a key step in building credibility and trust with authenticity in content marketing, especially as marketers increasingly face what Lee has called a content attention deficit.

This is especially important today, as 77% of B2B marketers say prospects rely on influencers for information, and 63% believe they would have better marketing results by having an influencer marketing program — two revelations Lee shared from our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.

B2B is behind on influencer marketing, however, as just 19% of marketers run ongoing influencer marketing programs, and 60% say they don’t have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in-house, according the the report.

Lee showed an example from monday.com* in which the remote team management firm significantly boosted brand trust using relevant industry experts.

Content that monday.com co-created with industry influencers added credibility, trust, reach and engagement, leading to impressive results including:

  • 1,700% above-goal social reach from influencer shares
  • 17.9M potential reach from brand mentions by influencers, topping a 1M goal
  • Over 300K organic impressions on social media
  • Nearly 3K video views of a live-stream featuring industry experts within the first week

Lee also showed how monday.com successfully utilized B2B influencer marketing to partner with remote work leaders, driving discussions via live-stream that resulted in exposure to thousands of potential customers.

[bctt tweet=”“With content attention deficit and information overload, buyers can easily be distracted. It’s important for B2B brands to stand out and stay connected with findable, credible content that delivers an experience.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

7 — Create a Content Collaboration Ecosystem

An additional step for building trust through content marketing authenticity comes when B2B marketers work to create a content collaboration ecosystem.

Lee shared a powerful example of such an ecosystem in the Adobe* Insiders program, a diverse group of over 60 influencers that includes leading executives, industry leaders, major media correspondents, contributing journalists, technology pioneers — including Lee.

Adobe utilized its influencers and activated its industry experts for the Adobe Summit event to create a variety of content types — from social shares and live-stream video to blog posts and articles in major publications including Forbes and CMO.

Lee showed how the Adobe Insiders worked together to provide a cornucopia of content creation, resulting in:

  • Millions in social reach from brand mentions and earned media by influencers during and after the event
  • A Twitter DM channel for influencer communications that’s had daily posts since 2019
  • Individuals to sub-groups of influencers continue to be activated

8 — Optimize Measurement to Customer ROI

Another step in the content marketing authenticity equation comes by taking the time to optimize measurements to customer return-on-investment (ROI), Lee showed.

  • By attracting, marketers reach new audiences
  • By engaging, they improve content consumption
  • By converting, they gain subscribers, downloads, trials, demos, leads, & sales
  • By retaining, they increase community participation
  • By advocating, they inspire brand love and referrals

Lee shared an example of how these elements can successfully come together, from Dell Outlet*, which used each to optimize for trust using influencers.

Dell Outlet took a small-to-medium-sized business audience and used industry influencers to combat an initial lack of brand awareness and trust, while also increasing the perceived value of refurbished technology.

Working to build awareness and credibility, Dell Outlet partnered with SMB influencers, and achieved a Finny-award-winning program that saw:

  • Awareness: 425k additional reach from influencers
  • Engagement: 693k video views and 1,350 hours watched
  • Purchase Influence: 175% over goal in traffic referred to product pages

9 — Harness Technology to Help with Influencer Marketing

Hands holding gears and cogs image.

Smartly harnessing an ever-expanding array of software technology can take a good influencer marketing program and make it great, and Lee shared how B2B marketers are using technology to help with influencer marketing, with data from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report showing uses including:

  • 76% to identify influencers
  • 69% to monitor influencer social network activity
  • 65% to qualify influencers
  • 63% to measure and report on campaign or program results
  • 43% to manage influencer campaigns or programs
  • 41% to manage and nurture influencer relationships
  • 35% to activate influencers

In the latest episode of our new Inside Influence series, Lee also took a close look at how B2B marketers can help maximize their return-on-investment (ROI) with data-driven influencer marketing software, exploring the issue in detail with Pierre-Loïc Assayag, CEO and founder at enterprise influencer marketing platform Traackr, in “Inside Influence EP07: Pierre-Loïc Assayag from Traackr on Influencer Marketing Technology.”

Traackr is one of several powerful B2B influencer marketing tools, Lee shared, with a sample including:

  • BuzzSumo — For social, author, and influencer search
  • Onalytica —An enterprise B2B influencer marketing platform
  • Traackr — A B2B & B2C enterprise influencer marketing platform
  • CreatorIQ — A B2C enterprise influencer marketing platform
  • BuzzStream — An outreach tool
  • Pitchbox —An outreach tool
  • Nimble — A social customer relationship management (CRM) and influencer engagement tool
  • GroupHigh — A blogger and influencer discovery and outreach tool
  • Keyhole — A social listening and influencer discovery tool

[bctt tweet=”“The pandemic and the strain on budgets in companies…really forces everybody to face the music and stop focusing on vanity metrics and start focusing on results.” @pierreloic” username=”toprank”]

10 — Achieve Content Marketing Success with Purpose, Relevance, Reach & Resonance

Through the smart use of each of Lee’s steps we’ve outlined and shown examples of here, B2B marketers can achieve content marketing success that is rich in purpose, relevance, reach, and resonance.

Sharing a quote from Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman — “In this time of turmoil people are turning to brands as islands of stability,” — Lee urged marketers to ask themselves two important questions:

How will the world be different after you’re successful doing what you do?

How does that narrative translate into your marketing?

To bring greater relevance to your content marketing efforts, Lee urged marketers to use data to understand and create authentic content experiences, leverage the voices of your customers, prospects, and those they trust, in order to add credibility and context to your message.

To maximize your reach, Lee recommended that marketers look to “be the best answer” for your customers with content that is easy to find and exists in context wherever buyers engage.

Finally, to increase resonance, Lee said that B2B marketers should seek to understand the motivations of their audience throughout the entire buyer journey, to better inform the creation of messaging that truly “clicks,” and inspires the type of action and makes a concrete and measurable business impact.

Ready to learn more about B2B influencer marketing? Contact us and find out why brands from SAP, LinkedIn, AT&T Business, and Adobe to IBM, Dell, Cherwell Software, monday.com and more have chosen TopRank Marketing.

* LinkedIn, Cherwell Software, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, SAP, monday.com, Adobe, and Dell Outlet are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 10 Expert Pointers To Create Better B2B Content With Authentic Influence appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Incredible Content Marketing: 6 Tips for Infusing Credibility into B2B Content

Business-woman at Computer Image

One of my favorite moments from The Simpsons is when the hilariously incompetent physician Dr. Nick burns down a building by mishandling a clearly marked chemical tank, and then exclaims, “Inflammable means flammable?! What a country!”

via GIPHY

“Incredible” is a word that can spark similar cognitive dissonance for marketers. Sure, it might technically be defined as “impossible to believe,” but if your content isn’t credible, would anyone describe it as incredible?

Quite the opposite. In this business, incredible means credible. So let’s explore the cornerstones of creating credible, and thus truly incredible, content marketing.

6 Tips for Making Your B2B Content (Incredibly) Credible

Just as you can’t fake authenticity, you can’t fake credibility. This label is earned by brands over time by developing a trusted voice, showing up for your audience, and — above all — knowing what you’re talking about. With these being table stakes, today’s post examines how you can make sure this foundational credibility is showing up in the content marketing you create and distribute.

Speaking of table stakes:

1 — Don’t lie to your audience

We’re living in an age where misinformation runs rampant. Frankly, it can make the entire experience of being online very draining and exhausting. And while folks might have no choice but to put up with the zany Facebook post by their uncle, or the click-baity headline on Google News, they are less likely to tolerate it from companies they do business with.

To be clear, I’m not under the impression that many B2B brands are out here attempting to flat-out fib to people. On this subject, I’ll make two points:

  1. It’s all too easy to be untruthful with your audience unintentionally. If careless, marketers can fall into the same disinformation traps that plague many users of the web. Always fact-check and verify information before sharing it with your audience, and don’t make a habit of running with assumptions.
  2. Shying away from the truth isn’t much different from lying. It might not feel dishonest to downplay your solution’s weaknesses, or hide negative reviews, but will your customers feel the same?

2 — Gain credibility through association

One of the primary advantages of influencer marketing is that it allows brands to co-opt the credibility of respected experts and business leaders they partner with. When audiences see these individuals collaborating with a company, producing useful and enjoyable content together, it infuses an instant element of trust.

It is not enough to simply activate influencer marketing, though — be strategic about it. Identify influencers who truly fit with your brand values, and aim for transparent authenticity in your engagements. In other words, beware of pay-to-play.

As Lee Odden put it in an interview with Brand24: “Without clear alignment between the brand, influencer and audience, the program won’t resonate and everyone loses credibility.”

3 — Be thoughtful about where your content is showing up

Your brand’s associations aren’t limited to “who”; there is also the matter of “where.” Credibility can be affected by the reputations of platforms where content is distributed, and by the other content that appears around it.

In the social media sphere, Business Insider’s Digital Trust Report has found LinkedIn* to be the platform most trusted by users three years straight, and what’s especially interest to note is the dramatic drop-off Facebook has seen over this span:

Business Insider Chart

Nearly half of the respondents (47%) in Business Insider’s 2019 report said they think Facebook is “extremely likely” to show them deceptive content. I wrote on this blog recently about the B2B implications of the Facebook advertising boycott. This isn’t to say marketing on Facebook is a universal cred-killer, but it’s something that should increasingly be weighed in your decision-making.

Any podcast your brand representatives appear on, or blogs they guest-post on, should also be vetted deeply. Just as you can gain credibility through association, you can also lose it.

4 — Put your brand’s purpose forward

I like to frame a company’s relationship with its purpose as that between the Earth and the Sun: Not so close that it’s constantly in your face, but always within view, and all of your marketing activities orbit around it.

There are many benefits to being a purpose-driven brand, but the credibility factor is a big one. Credibility is built, in part, through consistency. Staying true to a clearly articulated guiding mission is one of the simplest ways to demonstrate consistency, even amidst rapidly changing conditions.

Kim Davis of MarTech Today recently highlighted Deloitte’s seven marketing trends for 2021, which are geared toward “breaking out of our often defensive mindsets to more holistically — and authentically — meet human needs.”

The first item on the list is purpose. And I might argue that the following six confidence-building touchstones – agility, human connections, trust, participation, fusion, talent transformation – all feed off it.

Like planets orbiting the Sun.

 5 — Elevate the voices of your community

Companies aren’t credible. We can say they are, as a shorthand, but nobody actually finds a business entity trustworthy or dependable on its own. Credibility is driven by the people behind the brand, and by its advocates. Do all you can to showcase those individuals and continually reinforce their loyalty.

Customers and employees come together to form your brand’s community. People see themselves in the reflection of the community, not the company logo or product features. So if you want to build credibility, lift those voices up. In the past, we’ve preached the value of user-generated content and employee advocacy. More recently, Cara Sloman wrote at Entrepreneur about the power of customer champions for trust and credibility.

6 —Make the commitment and investment to do marketing well

At the end of the day, actions — and results — speak louder than words. Nothing is more credible than a piece of content that is downright GOOD – where it is clear that serious effort and expertise were channeled into creating something that would connect and make an impact.

You can’t manufacture the credibility of ranking first in Google for a keyword you want to own, or building a large and engaged following on social media, or boasting heartfelt customer testimonials on your website.

These things don’t come easily or automatically. And they’re never earned by taking the easy route.

Jeff Bezos once said, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Say what you will about the Amazon overlord, but no one can deny he’s got credibility on the subject of growing a modern business.

Want help making your content marketing more credible AND incredible? Reach out to our team at TopRank Marketing.

* LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is a TopRank Marketing client

Incredible Content Marketing: 6 Tips for Infusing Credibility into B2B Content

Business-woman at Computer Image

Business-woman at Computer Image

One of my favorite moments from The Simpsons is when the hilariously incompetent physician Dr. Nick burns down a building by mishandling a clearly marked chemical tank, and then exclaims, “Inflammable means flammable?! What a country!”

via GIPHY

“Incredible” is a word that can spark similar cognitive dissonance for marketers. Sure, it might technically be defined as “impossible to believe,” but if your content isn’t credible, would anyone describe it as incredible?

Quite the opposite. In this business, incredible means credible. So let’s explore the cornerstones of creating credible, and thus truly incredible, content marketing.

6 Tips for Making Your B2B Content (Incredibly) Credible

Just as you can’t fake authenticity, you can’t fake credibility. This label is earned by brands over time by developing a trusted voice, showing up for your audience, and — above all — knowing what you’re talking about. With these being table stakes, today’s post examines how you can make sure this foundational credibility is showing up in the content marketing you create and distribute.

Speaking of table stakes:

1 — Don’t lie to your audience

We’re living in an age where misinformation runs rampant. Frankly, it can make the entire experience of being online very draining and exhausting. And while folks might have no choice but to put up with the zany Facebook post by their uncle, or the click-baity headline on Google News, they are less likely to tolerate it from companies they do business with.

To be clear, I’m not under the impression that many B2B brands are out here attempting to flat-out fib to people. On this subject, I’ll make two points:

  1. It’s all too easy to be untruthful with your audience unintentionally. If careless, marketers can fall into the same disinformation traps that plague many users of the web. Always fact-check and verify information before sharing it with your audience, and don’t make a habit of running with assumptions.
  2. Shying away from the truth isn’t much different from lying. It might not feel dishonest to downplay your solution’s weaknesses, or hide negative reviews, but will your customers feel the same?

2 — Gain credibility through association

One of the primary advantages of influencer marketing is that it allows brands to co-opt the credibility of respected experts and business leaders they partner with. When audiences see these individuals collaborating with a company, producing useful and enjoyable content together, it infuses an instant element of trust.

It is not enough to simply activate influencer marketing, though — be strategic about it. Identify influencers who truly fit with your brand values, and aim for transparent authenticity in your engagements. In other words, beware of pay-to-play.

As Lee Odden put it in an interview with Brand24: “Without clear alignment between the brand, influencer and audience, the program won’t resonate and everyone loses credibility.”

3 — Be thoughtful about where your content is showing up

Your brand’s associations aren’t limited to “who”; there is also the matter of “where.” Credibility can be affected by the reputations of platforms where content is distributed, and by the other content that appears around it.

In the social media sphere, Business Insider’s Digital Trust Report has found LinkedIn* to be the platform most trusted by users three years straight, and what’s especially interest to note is the dramatic drop-off Facebook has seen over this span:

Business Insider Chart

Nearly half of the respondents (47%) in Business Insider’s 2019 report said they think Facebook is “extremely likely” to show them deceptive content. I wrote on this blog recently about the B2B implications of the Facebook advertising boycott. This isn’t to say marketing on Facebook is a universal cred-killer, but it’s something that should increasingly be weighed in your decision-making.

Any podcast your brand representatives appear on, or blogs they guest-post on, should also be vetted deeply. Just as you can gain credibility through association, you can also lose it.

4 — Put your brand’s purpose forward

I like to frame a company’s relationship with its purpose as that between the Earth and the Sun: Not so close that it’s constantly in your face, but always within view, and all of your marketing activities orbit around it.

There are many benefits to being a purpose-driven brand, but the credibility factor is a big one. Credibility is built, in part, through consistency. Staying true to a clearly articulated guiding mission is one of the simplest ways to demonstrate consistency, even amidst rapidly changing conditions.

Kim Davis of MarTech Today recently highlighted Deloitte’s seven marketing trends for 2021, which are geared toward “breaking out of our often defensive mindsets to more holistically — and authentically — meet human needs.”

The first item on the list is purpose. And I might argue that the following six confidence-building touchstones – agility, human connections, trust, participation, fusion, talent transformation – all feed off it.

Like planets orbiting the Sun.

 5 — Elevate the voices of your community

Companies aren’t credible. We can say they are, as a shorthand, but nobody actually finds a business entity trustworthy or dependable on its own. Credibility is driven by the people behind the brand, and by its advocates. Do all you can to showcase those individuals and continually reinforce their loyalty.

Customers and employees come together to form your brand’s community. People see themselves in the reflection of the community, not the company logo or product features. So if you want to build credibility, lift those voices up. In the past, we’ve preached the value of user-generated content and employee advocacy. More recently, Cara Sloman wrote at Entrepreneur about the power of customer champions for trust and credibility.

6 —Make the commitment and investment to do marketing well

At the end of the day, actions — and results — speak louder than words. Nothing is more credible than a piece of content that is downright GOOD – where it is clear that serious effort and expertise were channeled into creating something that would connect and make an impact.

You can’t manufacture the credibility of ranking first in Google for a keyword you want to own, or building a large and engaged following on social media, or boasting heartfelt customer testimonials on your website.

These things don’t come easily or automatically. And they’re never earned by taking the easy route.

Jeff Bezos once said, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Say what you will about the Amazon overlord, but no one can deny he’s got credibility on the subject of growing a modern business.

Want help making your content marketing more credible AND incredible? Reach out to our team at TopRank Marketing.

* LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is a TopRank Marketing client

The post Incredible Content Marketing: 6 Tips for Infusing Credibility into B2B Content appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

50 Top B2B Content Marketing Influencers To Follow in 2021 #CMWorld

2020 CMWorld 50 Content Marketing Influencers

The all-virtual Content Marketing World 2020 is upon us. As the largest content marketing conference in the world, CMWorld brings together a stellar array of talented professionals who are loaded with curiosity for future trends, marketing knowledge, and aspirations for new successes in the post-pandemic world. For the past 12 years leading marketers from all over the world have gathered in Cleveland, Ohio for one of the world’s strongest content marketing events, and for this unusual year Content Marketing World is entirely virtual.

Readers of our blog know we have a long history with the conference starting at the beginning, with 10 years of speaking and attending along with seven years of partnering with the Content Marketing Institute to develop speaker and influencer content marketing campaigns.

A TopRank Marketing tradition that has been imitated in recent years but never truly duplicated is our annual list of content marketing experts ranked according to their social influence, a helpful compilation derived from the hundreds of excellent #CMWorld 2020 speakers.

List Methodology: For this list we utilize the Traackr influencer marketing platform to filter the content marketing experts who are speaking at the current year’s Content Marketing World conference using a large number of criteria including the relevance of the individuals to the topic, the degree to which their networks engage, the size of their networks, and other factors. Online data is pulled from blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms.

The focus topic in question is most definitely “content marketing,” and everyone included on this list is:

  • A speaker at #CMWorld 2020
  • Ranked in the top-50 for “content marketing” according to relevance, resonance, reach and audience metrics

CMWorld 2019 Influencer network

People always thank me for including them in these lists and there’s no thanks to be given other than to the people who worked hard sharing useful knowledge about content marketing to their social channels, in blogs, videos, podcasts, and online in general.

Many thanks go to all the people who are actively sharing knowledge about content marketing by engaging and helping others with helpful opinions, insights and expertise on the social web. This list is only a starting point to help expand your content marketing universe.

In this year’s list there are familiar faces and quite a few new entries. We plan to learn new lessons from these 50 content marketing influencers and hope you’ll do the same throughout the rest of the year and into 2021 and beyond.

50 Content Marketing Influencers Speaking at CMWorld 2020

JuliaMcCoy

Julia McCoy @JuliaEMcCoy
CEO, Express Writers
Presenting: How to Build an Online Audience Through Powerful, Consistent Search Optimized Content Creation

ChrisPenn

Christopher Penn @cspenn
Co-Founder & Chief Data Scientist, Trust Insights
Presenting: Practical Applications of AI in Content Marketing

LeeOdden

Lee Odden @leeodden
CEO, TopRank Marketing
Presenting: Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands

MichaelBrenner

Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael
Content Marketing Agency CEO & CMO Influencer, Marketing Insider Group
Presenting: Content Optimization & Distribution Strategies – Mapping Content to the Buyer Journey (and ROI)

Pam Didner

Pam Didner @PamDidner
Author, Founder & VP of Marketing, Effective Sales Enablement
Presenting: 3 Trends You Can’t Ignore As a Content Marketer
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Pam Dinner

ChristophTrappe

Christoph Trappe @CTrappe
Chief Content & Marketing Officer, The Authentic Storytelling Project
Presenting: How to Make Sure Your Company Ranks in Voice Search

Ann-Handley

Ann Handley @MarketingProfs
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Ann Handley
Presenting: Precedented: 5 Principles of the Last Chaotic 10 Months That Are the Very Key to Content Marketing Success in the Next 10 Years

Viveka-Von-Rosen

Viveka Von Rosen @LinkedInExpert
Co-Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, Vengreso
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Viveka von Rosen
Presenting: Why Your B2B Sales Force Should Be Your Greatest Content Distribution Channel

Bernie Borges

Bernie Borges @bernieborges
Chief Customer Officer, Vengreso
Presenting: How to Develop an Account Based Podcasting Content Plan that Drives Revenue

RobertRose

Robert Rose @Robert_Rose
Chief Strategy Advisor, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Architecting Desire: A New Strategy for Content Marketing for the Next Ten Years
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Robert Rose
Presenting: Content Marketing 101 – Let’s Begin
Presenting: Content Marketing Strategy For Agencies – How To Create, As Well as Deliver, Content Marketing Strategy To Clients
Presenting: Welcome to Content Marketing World 2020

Dennis Shiao

Dennis Shiao @dshiao
Marketing Consultant, Attention Retention
Presenting: The Magic of Meetups: How to Use Meetups to Build Community, Drive Brand Engagement and Inform a Content Marketing Strategy

Erika Heald

Erika Heald @SFerika
Marketing Consultant, Erika Heald Consulting
Presenting: Content Marketing for Marketing Agencies: Make Your Services Sing

Melanie-Deziel

Melanie Deziel @mdeziel
Chief Content Officer, StoryFuel
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Melanie Deziel
Presenting: More Brain, Less Storm: The Power Of The Creative Process

Andrea-Fryrear

Andrea Fryrear @AndreaFryrear
Agile Marketing Coach & Trainer, Co-Founder, AgileSherpas
Presenting: Persistently Agile: Why the Key to High Performance Marketing Lies with People Not Projects

Jay-Baer

Jay Baer @jaybaer
Founder, Convince & Convert
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Jay Baer
Presenting: Courageous Content: 6 Ways to Get Noticed Amidst the Noise

Jay Acunzo

Jay Acunzo @jayacunzo
Founder, Marketing Showrunners
Presenting: Start Here: How to Make Things that Make a Difference by Changing How You Begin

Andy-Crestodina

Andy Crestodina @crestodina
Co-Founder & CMO, Orbit Media Studios
Presenting: Google Analytics for Content Marketers: How to Optimize Content for Traffic and Conversions
Presenting: SEO Workshop

A. Lee Judge

A. Lee Judge @ALeeJudge
Co-Founder & CMO, Content Monsta
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With A. Lee Judge
Presenting: Be Content

JonathanCrossfield

Jonathan Crossfield @Kimota
Content Writer & Storyteller, Freelance
Presenting: Show Your Work: How to Become a Fact-Checking Pedant (and Why You Should)
Presenting: The Content Marketing Diamond Model for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Kathy-Klotz-Guest

Kathy Klotz-Guest @kathyklotzguest
Founder, Keeping It Human
Presenting: Fearless Content Teams: Creating a Safe Place for Unsafe Ideas

Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi @JoePulizzi
Founder, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Joe Pulizzi
Presenting: Keynote – Where Do We Go from Here? Disney, Diversification & The New Marketing Business Model

Brian-Fanzo

Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz
Virtual Keynote Speaker, iSocialFanz
Presenting: What Podcasting & TikTok Can Teach Us About Creating Empathetic Content!

Amy Balliett

Amy Balliett @AmyBalliett
Founder & CEO, Killer Visual Strategies
Presenting: Marketing to Gen V: Engaging the Visual Generation

RichSchwerin

Rich Schwerin @Greencognito
Senior Content Strategist, Autodesk
Presenting: The Magic of Meetups: How to Use Meetups to Build Community, Drive Brand Engagement and Inform a Content Marketing Strategy

AmandaTodorovich

Amanda Todorovich @amandatodo
Senior Director of Digital Marketing & Health Content, Cleveland Clinic
Presenting: #CMWorld Cleveland Clinic Health Summit
Presenting: The Test of Time: Long-Term Success at the Cleveland Clinic

Zari-Venhaus

Zari Venhaus @zvenhaus
Director of Corporate Marketing Communications, Eaton
Presenting: Developing Global Content for Local Audiences

Amber-Naslund

Amber Naslund @AmberCadabra
Principal Consultant, Content Solutions, LinkedIn
Presenting: Digital Doubt: Fighting Imposter Syndrome in a Hyperconnected, Content-Saturated World

Luvvie-Ajayi-Jones

Luvvie Ajayi Jones @iLuvvit
New York Times Bestselling Author & CEO, AweLuv Inc.
Presenting: Keynote

Nancy-Harhut

Nancy Harhut @nharhut
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, HBT Marketing
Presenting: 10 Human Behavior Hacks that Make Your Email Crazy Effective

Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis @DrewDavisHere
Keynote Speaker & Best-Selling Author, Monumental Shift
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Andrew Davis
Presenting: Limit Less: How Successful Brands Increase Their Revenue, Generate More Leads, and Spread Their Message in a Crowded Marketplace

Cathy-McKnight

Cathy McKnight @cathymcknight
VP of Strategy & Consulting, The Content Advisory
Presenting: Learn How to Move from Mayhem to Momentum by Building a Content Strategy
Presenting: Technology Forum: From Figuring Out Your Audience to Gaining Market Share – A Tech Company’s Guide to Effective Content Marketing

Tamsen-Webster

Tamsen Webster @tamadear
Founder & Chief Message Strategist, Find The Red Thread
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Tamsen Webster
Presenting: Pressure Test Your Message

Val-Swisher

Val Swisher @valswisher
Founder & CEO, Content Rules, Inc.
Presenting: The Personalization Paradox

Giselle-Abramovich

Giselle Abramovich @GAbramovich
Executive Editor of Enterprise Thought Leadershhip, Adobe
Presenting: Trade Secrets: How the World’s Most Successful Content Marketers Deliver Results

Tim-Riesterer

Tim Riesterer @TRiesterer
Chief Strategy Officer, Corporate Visions
Presenting: Account Expansion: The Conversations, Content & Collaboration that Grow Customers

Sydni-Craig-Hart

Sydni Craig Hart @SydniCraigHart
CEO, Smart Simple Marketing
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Sydni Craig-Hart
Presenting: Compelling Multicultural Marketing: What You’re Missing, What’s Working Now and How to Get Results

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee @ardath421
Interim VP of Marketing, Modus
Presenting: Account Expansion: The Conversations, Content & Collaboration that Grow Customers
Presenting: Take a Sales Enablement Approach to RevOps
Presenting: Use Serial Storytelling to Drive Demand for Complex Solutions

Liz-Willits

Liz Willits @lizwillits
Founder, Liz Willits
Presenting: Email Automation Crash Course: How to Create Emails People Want to Read

Zontee-Hou

Zontee Hou @ZonteeHou
Head of Strategy, Convince & Convert
Presenting: Financial Services Forum

Maureen-Jann

Maureen Jann @NeoLuxeMo
Chief Marketing Strategist, NeoLuxe Marketing
Presenting: Content Marketing for Marketing Agencies: Make Your Services Sing
Presenting: The Content Marketing Diamond Model for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Doug-Kessler

Doug Kessler @dougkessler
Creative Director & Co-Founder, Velocity Partners Ltd
Presenting: Let’s Steal from The World’s Most Awesome Content

Jared-Johnson

Jared Johnson @jaredpiano
Founder & Content Producer, Shift.Health Network
Presenting: #CMWorld Cleveland Clinic Health Summit

Ashley-Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman @azeckman
Senior Director, Inprela Communications
Presenting: Staying Power: How Authentic Storytelling can Transform Your Marketing from One-Hit Wonder to Lasting-Legend

Ahava-Leibtag

Ahava Leibtag @ahaval
President, Aha Media Group
Presenting: Writing with No Respect: Find Out What it Means to Me

Christine-Michel-Carter

Christine Michel Carter @cmichelcarter
Strategy Consultant, Minority Woman Marketing LLC
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Christine Carter
Presenting: Creating Authentic Content for a $1.5 Trillion Audience

Carmen-Hill

Carmen Hill @carmenhill
Principal Content Strategist & Writer, Chill Content
Presenting: Combining Story + Structure to Create a Sustainable Content Marketing Strategy

Laura-Ramos

Laura Ramos @lauraramos
VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
Presenting: Drive Your Content Transformation From The Bottom Up

Shafqat-Islam

Shafqat Islam @shafqatislam
Co-Founder & CEO, NewsCred
Presenting: Ask Me Anything with Shafqat Islam & Alex Cheeseman
Presenting: Beyond Breaking the Rules: Why Connections in Marketing Matter More Than Ever

Jennifer-Jordan-Robustell

Jennifer Jordan Robustelli @jenastelli
VP & Head of Content, USA, Babbel
Presenting: Flood The Zone! A New System For Creating Compelling Social Video

Jacquie-Chakirelis

Jacquie Chakirelis @JacquieChak
Director of Digital Strategy, Quest Digital
Presenting:

Even the best statistical analysis, no matter how deep and well-researched, can only take you so far in finding the people who you’ll consider the most helpful and influential in your daily professional marketing lives, which is why we’d love it if you’d please share the name of content marketers that influence you most in the comments section below.

To further your own content marketing expertise, here’s a bonus list of some of our best recent posts about content marketing:

If you’d like to learn more about creating a successful B2B influencer marketing campaign, you’re in luck! Our CEO Lee Odden will be presenting at Content Marketing World on the topic. Here are the details:

Tuesday, October 13th – 4:00pm – 4:30pm Eastern
Workshop with Lee Odden & Ursula Ringham, Global Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP
Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands

We hope to see you virtually at the Content Marketing World conference, and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @toprank for real time updates during the conference.

50 Top B2B Content Marketing Influencers To Follow in 2021 #CMWorld

2020 CMWorld 50 Content Marketing Influencers

2020 CMWorld 50 Content Marketing Influencers

The all-virtual Content Marketing World 2020 is upon us. As the largest content marketing conference in the world, CMWorld brings together a stellar array of talented professionals who are loaded with curiosity for future trends, marketing knowledge, and aspirations for new successes in the post-pandemic world. For the past 12 years leading marketers from all over the world have gathered in Cleveland, Ohio for one of the world’s strongest content marketing events, and for this unusual year Content Marketing World is entirely virtual.

Readers of our blog know we have a long history with the conference starting at the beginning, with 10 years of speaking and attending along with seven years of partnering with the Content Marketing Institute to develop speaker and influencer content marketing campaigns.

A TopRank Marketing tradition that has been imitated in recent years but never truly duplicated is our annual list of content marketing experts ranked according to their social influence, a helpful compilation derived from the hundreds of excellent #CMWorld 2020 speakers.

List Methodology: For this list we utilize the Traackr influencer marketing platform to filter the content marketing experts who are speaking at the current year’s Content Marketing World conference using a large number of criteria including the relevance of the individuals to the topic, the degree to which their networks engage, the size of their networks, and other factors. Online data is pulled from blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms.

The focus topic in question is most definitely “content marketing,” and everyone included on this list is:

  • A speaker at #CMWorld 2020
  • Ranked in the top-50 for “content marketing” according to relevance, resonance, reach and audience metrics

CMWorld 2019 Influencer network

People always thank me for including them in these lists and there’s no thanks to be given other than to the people who worked hard sharing useful knowledge about content marketing to their social channels, in blogs, videos, podcasts, and online in general.

Many thanks go to all the people who are actively sharing knowledge about content marketing by engaging and helping others with helpful opinions, insights and expertise on the social web. This list is only a starting point to help expand your content marketing universe.

In this year’s list there are familiar faces and quite a few new entries. We plan to learn new lessons from these 50 content marketing influencers and hope you’ll do the same throughout the rest of the year and into 2021 and beyond.

50 Content Marketing Influencers Speaking at CMWorld 2020

JuliaMcCoy

Julia McCoy @JuliaEMcCoy
CEO, Express Writers
Presenting: How to Build an Online Audience Through Powerful, Consistent Search Optimized Content Creation

ChrisPenn

Christopher Penn @cspenn
Co-Founder & Chief Data Scientist, Trust Insights
Presenting: Practical Applications of AI in Content Marketing

LeeOdden

Lee Odden @leeodden
CEO, TopRank Marketing
Presenting: Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands

MichaelBrenner

Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael
Content Marketing Agency CEO & CMO Influencer, Marketing Insider Group
Presenting: Content Optimization & Distribution Strategies – Mapping Content to the Buyer Journey (and ROI)

Pam Didner

Pam Didner @PamDidner
Author, Founder & VP of Marketing, Effective Sales Enablement
Presenting: 3 Trends You Can’t Ignore As a Content Marketer
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Pam Dinner

ChristophTrappe

Christoph Trappe @CTrappe
Chief Content & Marketing Officer, The Authentic Storytelling Project
Presenting: How to Make Sure Your Company Ranks in Voice Search

Ann-Handley

Ann Handley @MarketingProfs
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Ann Handley
Presenting: Precedented: 5 Principles of the Last Chaotic 10 Months That Are the Very Key to Content Marketing Success in the Next 10 Years

Viveka-Von-Rosen

Viveka Von Rosen @LinkedInExpert
Co-Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, Vengreso
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Viveka von Rosen
Presenting: Why Your B2B Sales Force Should Be Your Greatest Content Distribution Channel

Bernie Borges

Bernie Borges @bernieborges
Chief Customer Officer, Vengreso
Presenting: How to Develop an Account Based Podcasting Content Plan that Drives Revenue

RobertRose

Robert Rose @Robert_Rose
Chief Strategy Advisor, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Architecting Desire: A New Strategy for Content Marketing for the Next Ten Years
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Robert Rose
Presenting: Content Marketing 101 – Let’s Begin
Presenting: Content Marketing Strategy For Agencies – How To Create, As Well as Deliver, Content Marketing Strategy To Clients
Presenting: Welcome to Content Marketing World 2020

Dennis Shiao

Dennis Shiao @dshiao
Marketing Consultant, Attention Retention
Presenting: The Magic of Meetups: How to Use Meetups to Build Community, Drive Brand Engagement and Inform a Content Marketing Strategy

Erika Heald

Erika Heald @SFerika
Marketing Consultant, Erika Heald Consulting
Presenting: Content Marketing for Marketing Agencies: Make Your Services Sing

Melanie-Deziel

Melanie Deziel @mdeziel
Chief Content Officer, StoryFuel
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Melanie Deziel
Presenting: More Brain, Less Storm: The Power Of The Creative Process

Andrea-Fryrear

Andrea Fryrear @AndreaFryrear
Agile Marketing Coach & Trainer, Co-Founder, AgileSherpas
Presenting: Persistently Agile: Why the Key to High Performance Marketing Lies with People Not Projects

Jay-Baer

Jay Baer @jaybaer
Founder, Convince & Convert
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Jay Baer
Presenting: Courageous Content: 6 Ways to Get Noticed Amidst the Noise

Jay Acunzo

Jay Acunzo @jayacunzo
Founder, Marketing Showrunners
Presenting: Start Here: How to Make Things that Make a Difference by Changing How You Begin

Andy-Crestodina

Andy Crestodina @crestodina
Co-Founder & CMO, Orbit Media Studios
Presenting: Google Analytics for Content Marketers: How to Optimize Content for Traffic and Conversions
Presenting: SEO Workshop

A. Lee Judge

A. Lee Judge @ALeeJudge
Co-Founder & CMO, Content Monsta
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With A. Lee Judge
Presenting: Be Content

JonathanCrossfield

Jonathan Crossfield @Kimota
Content Writer & Storyteller, Freelance
Presenting: Show Your Work: How to Become a Fact-Checking Pedant (and Why You Should)
Presenting: The Content Marketing Diamond Model for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Kathy-Klotz-Guest

Kathy Klotz-Guest @kathyklotzguest
Founder, Keeping It Human
Presenting: Fearless Content Teams: Creating a Safe Place for Unsafe Ideas

Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi @JoePulizzi
Founder, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Joe Pulizzi
Presenting: Keynote – Where Do We Go from Here? Disney, Diversification & The New Marketing Business Model

Brian-Fanzo

Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz
Virtual Keynote Speaker, iSocialFanz
Presenting: What Podcasting & TikTok Can Teach Us About Creating Empathetic Content!

Amy Balliett

Amy Balliett @AmyBalliett
Founder & CEO, Killer Visual Strategies
Presenting: Marketing to Gen V: Engaging the Visual Generation

RichSchwerin

Rich Schwerin @Greencognito
Senior Content Strategist, Autodesk
Presenting: The Magic of Meetups: How to Use Meetups to Build Community, Drive Brand Engagement and Inform a Content Marketing Strategy

AmandaTodorovich

Amanda Todorovich @amandatodo
Senior Director of Digital Marketing & Health Content, Cleveland Clinic
Presenting: #CMWorld Cleveland Clinic Health Summit
Presenting: The Test of Time: Long-Term Success at the Cleveland Clinic

Zari-Venhaus

Zari Venhaus @zvenhaus
Director of Corporate Marketing Communications, Eaton
Presenting: Developing Global Content for Local Audiences

Amber-Naslund

Amber Naslund @AmberCadabra
Principal Consultant, Content Solutions, LinkedIn
Presenting: Digital Doubt: Fighting Imposter Syndrome in a Hyperconnected, Content-Saturated World

Luvvie-Ajayi-Jones

Luvvie Ajayi Jones @iLuvvit
New York Times Bestselling Author & CEO, AweLuv Inc.
Presenting: Keynote

Nancy-Harhut

Nancy Harhut @nharhut
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, HBT Marketing
Presenting: 10 Human Behavior Hacks that Make Your Email Crazy Effective

Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis @DrewDavisHere
Keynote Speaker & Best-Selling Author, Monumental Shift
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Andrew Davis
Presenting: Limit Less: How Successful Brands Increase Their Revenue, Generate More Leads, and Spread Their Message in a Crowded Marketplace

Cathy-McKnight

Cathy McKnight @cathymcknight
VP of Strategy & Consulting, The Content Advisory
Presenting: Learn How to Move from Mayhem to Momentum by Building a Content Strategy
Presenting: Technology Forum: From Figuring Out Your Audience to Gaining Market Share – A Tech Company’s Guide to Effective Content Marketing

Tamsen-Webster

Tamsen Webster @tamadear
Founder & Chief Message Strategist, Find The Red Thread
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Tamsen Webster
Presenting: Pressure Test Your Message

Val-Swisher

Val Swisher @valswisher
Founder & CEO, Content Rules, Inc.
Presenting: The Personalization Paradox

Giselle-Abramovich

Giselle Abramovich @GAbramovich
Executive Editor of Enterprise Thought Leadershhip, Adobe
Presenting: Trade Secrets: How the World’s Most Successful Content Marketers Deliver Results

Tim-Riesterer

Tim Riesterer @TRiesterer
Chief Strategy Officer, Corporate Visions
Presenting: Account Expansion: The Conversations, Content & Collaboration that Grow Customers

Sydni-Craig-Hart

Sydni Craig Hart @SydniCraigHart
CEO, Smart Simple Marketing
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Sydni Craig-Hart
Presenting: Compelling Multicultural Marketing: What You’re Missing, What’s Working Now and How to Get Results

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee @ardath421
Interim VP of Marketing, Modus
Presenting: Account Expansion: The Conversations, Content & Collaboration that Grow Customers
Presenting: Take a Sales Enablement Approach to RevOps
Presenting: Use Serial Storytelling to Drive Demand for Complex Solutions

Liz-Willits

Liz Willits @lizwillits
Founder, Liz Willits
Presenting: Email Automation Crash Course: How to Create Emails People Want to Read

Zontee-Hou

Zontee Hou @ZonteeHou
Head of Strategy, Convince & Convert
Presenting: Financial Services Forum

Maureen-Jann

Maureen Jann @NeoLuxeMo
Chief Marketing Strategist, NeoLuxe Marketing
Presenting: Content Marketing for Marketing Agencies: Make Your Services Sing
Presenting: The Content Marketing Diamond Model for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Doug-Kessler

Doug Kessler @dougkessler
Creative Director & Co-Founder, Velocity Partners Ltd
Presenting: Let’s Steal from The World’s Most Awesome Content

Jared-Johnson

Jared Johnson @jaredpiano
Founder & Content Producer, Shift.Health Network
Presenting: #CMWorld Cleveland Clinic Health Summit

Ashley-Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman @azeckman
Senior Director, Inprela Communications
Presenting: Staying Power: How Authentic Storytelling can Transform Your Marketing from One-Hit Wonder to Lasting-Legend

Ahava-Leibtag

Ahava Leibtag @ahaval
President, Aha Media Group
Presenting: Writing with No Respect: Find Out What it Means to Me

Christine-Michel-Carter

Christine Michel Carter @cmichelcarter
Strategy Consultant, Minority Woman Marketing LLC
Presenting: Ask Me Anything With Christine Carter
Presenting: Creating Authentic Content for a $1.5 Trillion Audience

Carmen-Hill

Carmen Hill @carmenhill
Principal Content Strategist & Writer, Chill Content
Presenting: Combining Story + Structure to Create a Sustainable Content Marketing Strategy

Laura-Ramos

Laura Ramos @lauraramos
VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
Presenting: Drive Your Content Transformation From The Bottom Up

Shafqat-Islam

Shafqat Islam @shafqatislam
Co-Founder & CEO, NewsCred
Presenting: Ask Me Anything with Shafqat Islam & Alex Cheeseman
Presenting: Beyond Breaking the Rules: Why Connections in Marketing Matter More Than Ever

Jennifer-Jordan-Robustell

Jennifer Jordan Robustelli @jenastelli
VP & Head of Content, USA, Babbel
Presenting: Flood The Zone! A New System For Creating Compelling Social Video

Jacquie-Chakirelis

Jacquie Chakirelis @JacquieChak
Director of Digital Strategy, Quest Digital
Presenting:

Even the best statistical analysis, no matter how deep and well-researched, can only take you so far in finding the people who you’ll consider the most helpful and influential in your daily professional marketing lives, which is why we’d love it if you’d please share the name of content marketers that influence you most in the comments section below.

To further your own content marketing expertise, here’s a bonus list of some of our best recent posts about content marketing:

If you’d like to learn more about creating a successful B2B influencer marketing campaign, you’re in luck! Our CEO Lee Odden will be presenting at Content Marketing World on the topic. Here are the details:

Tuesday, October 13th – 4:00pm – 4:30pm Eastern
Workshop with Lee Odden & Ursula Ringham, Global Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP
Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands

We hope to see you virtually at the Content Marketing World conference, and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @toprank for real time updates during the conference.

The post 50 Top B2B Content Marketing Influencers To Follow in 2021 #CMWorld appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

New Research: How B2B Content Marketers Are Impacted and Pivoting During the Pandemic

Professionals Wearing Masks and Bumping Elbows

Each year, Content Marketing Institute releases a new version of its B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, providing a timely contextual snapshot of the discipline at large and its ever-shifting landscape.

Needless to say, this year’s edition hits differently. While there is always change and evolution afoot in the annual study’s findings, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented upheaval for our profession, along with most every other.

The impact of COVID-19 on B2B content marketing is a direct and prevalent focus in CMI’s latest report, which helps leaders and practitioners in the field understand how their peers are reacting and adapting to a disruptive global event.

B2B Content Marketing in the Age of COVID-19

You can find the full report here, but today I’ll share five particular stats and insights that struck me as noteworthy in the 11th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report.

  1. Content strategies are changing, both short-term and long-term

Slowly but surely, we’ve been making progress. Forty-three percent of respondents this year reported having a documented content strategy, which is a bit disappointing on its own, but encouraging when you looking at the running trend:

  • 2020: 43%
  • 2019: 41%
  • 2018: 39%
  • 2017: 37%

That’s remarkably steady and consistent growth! I might argue we’re still lagging behind on the whole, but progress is progress. Having said that, it is a bit ironic that at a time where more B2B marketers than ever have gotten their strategy down on paper, we’re being forced to crumple it up and rewrite it.

“It’s a bit ironic that at a time where more B2B marketers than ever have gotten their strategy down on paper, we’re being forced to crumple it up and rewrite it.” — @NickNelsonMN @CMIContent #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

Maybe that’s a bit strong, but 70% of respondents in the CMI survey said the pandemic has had a major or moderate impact on their B2B content strategy. Two-thirds indicated that the nature of their adjustments are both short-term and long-term.

CMI Image A

With this in mind, if you’re among the majority that still hasn’t developed a documented content strategy, this might be a good time to flesh one out that strikes this balance between the big and small pictures. During times of turbulence (and long-distance collaboration), it’s always good to have a single source of truth. Last year I provided a simple three-point checklist for documenting your content strategy, and the guiding principles still apply.

  1. Adjustments to messaging and targeting are the top reactive priorities

Asked about the specific changes their organizations have made in response to COVID-19, the top answer – selected by 70% of B2B marketers – was “Changed targeting/messaging strategy.” The most common answers after that were “Adjusted editorial calendar” and “Changed content distribution/promotion strategy.”

CMI Image B

Nothing too surprising about this. It goes without saying many marketing messages and campaigns that were conceived before the pandemic became irrelevant (if not blatantly tone-deaf) when the world was flipped on its side. Brands everywhere have been forced to fundamentally rethink what they’re saying, and who they’re saying it to.

For that reason, I’m a little surprised that responses like “Reexamined customer journey,” “Increased time spent talking with customers,” and “Revisited customer/buyer personas” were all so low on the list. This does feel like a good time to get back in tune with the preferences and pain points that guide people toward our solutions.

  1. Measurement methods have mostly remained stable

Another finding that stands out to me in the chart above is that “Adjusted key performance indicators” and “Changed content marketing metrics” were at the very bottom. For better or worse, it appears that most teams are sticking to the same yardsticks now as they were a year ago.

Maybe that’s a good thing! If you’ve truly locked down your measurement strategy in a way that accurately proves out results and fosters constant refinement and optimization, it probably shouldn’t change based on outside circumstances. However, according to the 2020 Marketing Measurement & Attribution Survey from Demand Gen Report, 40% of marketers said their company’s current ability to measure and analyze marketing performance and impact “needs improvement,” while only 13% said they felt they were “excellent” in this regard.

So perhaps reporting and analytics simply aren’t viewed as a priority at this time. I find that troubling, because in a time of widespread budget cuts and resource drains, the ability to demonstrate the revenue impact of marketing activities is arguably more important than ever.

  1. Content creation challenges, not pandemic-related issues, are holding back success

Among those who rated their organization’s overall level of content marketing success in the past year as “Minimally Successful” or “Not at All Successful,” CMI broke down contributing factors in order to identify the most prevalent barriers. While the fairly broad “Pandemic-related issues” was available as an option, this was actually among the least common responses. At the top of the list, cited by 63% of laggards, was “Content creation challenges.”

These challenges can take various forms (some of which can be doubly categorized as pandemic-related issues).

“Our company needs more content. We serve a deep niche and few people understand our industry well enough to pop in and do small projects for us,” said one anonymous respondent quoted in the report.

Said another: “Clients are getting bombarded with electronic information—especially now since in-person meetings and events are on hold. How do we create compelling content that gets distributed in a way that stands out from the clutter?”

  1. Virtual events and live-streaming increased — but not THAT much

Among content types used by B2B marketers over the past 12 months, the biggest risers from last year are those you would expect:

  • Virtual events/webinars/online courses increased from 57% to 67%
  • Live-streaming increased from 10% to 29%

These are hefty jumps … but they still don’t point to ubiquity, by any means. There remains untapped opportunity on the frontier of online experiences, although clearly it’s getting crowded in a hurry. The second quote shared in the previous section points to this challenge, which is at the same time both new and old.

Break through the clutter and earn attention: Amidst so much transformative change, this eternal edict of content marketers stays the same. We’re currently just seeing it play out in a new environment.

“Break through the clutter and earn attention: Amidst transformative change, this eternal edict of content marketers stays the same.” — @NickNelsonMN @CMIContent #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

Virtual events and live-streams have much potential for engagement and interactivity. We might receive some inspiration on these fronts when the folks behind this report bring their anticipated annual event, Content Marketing World, into the virtual realm this year for the first time. It’s going down on October 13-16, and our own Lee Odden will be delivering a presentation: Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands.

As Lee will illustrate, influencer marketing should be a piece of the puzzle in forward-looking B2B strategies. Many of the other trends outlined here will converge and shape the future of content marketing.

New Research: How B2B Content Marketers Are Impacted and Pivoting During the Pandemic

Professionals Wearing Masks and Bumping Elbows

Professionals Wearing Masks and Bumping Elbows

Each year, Content Marketing Institute releases a new version of its B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, providing a timely contextual snapshot of the discipline at large and its ever-shifting landscape.

Needless to say, this year’s edition hits differently. While there is always change and evolution afoot in the annual study’s findings, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented upheaval for our profession, along with most every other.

The impact of COVID-19 on B2B content marketing is a direct and prevalent focus in CMI’s latest report, which helps leaders and practitioners in the field understand how their peers are reacting and adapting to a disruptive global event.

B2B Content Marketing in the Age of COVID-19

You can find the full report here, but today I’ll share five particular stats and insights that struck me as noteworthy in the 11th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report.

  1. Content strategies are changing, both short-term and long-term

Slowly but surely, we’ve been making progress. Forty-three percent of respondents this year reported having a documented content strategy, which is a bit disappointing on its own, but encouraging when you looking at the running trend:

  • 2020: 43%
  • 2019: 41%
  • 2018: 39%
  • 2017: 37%

That’s remarkably steady and consistent growth! I might argue we’re still lagging behind on the whole, but progress is progress. Having said that, it is a bit ironic that at a time where more B2B marketers than ever have gotten their strategy down on paper, we’re being forced to crumple it up and rewrite it.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s a bit ironic that at a time where more B2B marketers than ever have gotten their strategy down on paper, we’re being forced to crumple it up and rewrite it.” — @NickNelsonMN @CMIContent #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Maybe that’s a bit strong, but 70% of respondents in the CMI survey said the pandemic has had a major or moderate impact on their B2B content strategy. Two-thirds indicated that the nature of their adjustments are both short-term and long-term.

CMI Image A

With this in mind, if you’re among the majority that still hasn’t developed a documented content strategy, this might be a good time to flesh one out that strikes this balance between the big and small pictures. During times of turbulence (and long-distance collaboration), it’s always good to have a single source of truth. Last year I provided a simple three-point checklist for documenting your content strategy, and the guiding principles still apply.

  1. Adjustments to messaging and targeting are the top reactive priorities

Asked about the specific changes their organizations have made in response to COVID-19, the top answer – selected by 70% of B2B marketers – was “Changed targeting/messaging strategy.” The most common answers after that were “Adjusted editorial calendar” and “Changed content distribution/promotion strategy.”

CMI Image B

Nothing too surprising about this. It goes without saying many marketing messages and campaigns that were conceived before the pandemic became irrelevant (if not blatantly tone-deaf) when the world was flipped on its side. Brands everywhere have been forced to fundamentally rethink what they’re saying, and who they’re saying it to.

For that reason, I’m a little surprised that responses like “Reexamined customer journey,” “Increased time spent talking with customers,” and “Revisited customer/buyer personas” were all so low on the list. This does feel like a good time to get back in tune with the preferences and pain points that guide people toward our solutions.

  1. Measurement methods have mostly remained stable

Another finding that stands out to me in the chart above is that “Adjusted key performance indicators” and “Changed content marketing metrics” were at the very bottom. For better or worse, it appears that most teams are sticking to the same yardsticks now as they were a year ago.

Maybe that’s a good thing! If you’ve truly locked down your measurement strategy in a way that accurately proves out results and fosters constant refinement and optimization, it probably shouldn’t change based on outside circumstances. However, according to the 2020 Marketing Measurement & Attribution Survey from Demand Gen Report, 40% of marketers said their company’s current ability to measure and analyze marketing performance and impact “needs improvement,” while only 13% said they felt they were “excellent” in this regard.

So perhaps reporting and analytics simply aren’t viewed as a priority at this time. I find that troubling, because in a time of widespread budget cuts and resource drains, the ability to demonstrate the revenue impact of marketing activities is arguably more important than ever.

  1. Content creation challenges, not pandemic-related issues, are holding back success

Among those who rated their organization’s overall level of content marketing success in the past year as “Minimally Successful” or “Not at All Successful,” CMI broke down contributing factors in order to identify the most prevalent barriers. While the fairly broad “Pandemic-related issues” was available as an option, this was actually among the least common responses. At the top of the list, cited by 63% of laggards, was “Content creation challenges.”

These challenges can take various forms (some of which can be doubly categorized as pandemic-related issues).

“Our company needs more content. We serve a deep niche and few people understand our industry well enough to pop in and do small projects for us,” said one anonymous respondent quoted in the report.

Said another: “Clients are getting bombarded with electronic information—especially now since in-person meetings and events are on hold. How do we create compelling content that gets distributed in a way that stands out from the clutter?”

  1. Virtual events and live-streaming increased — but not THAT much

Among content types used by B2B marketers over the past 12 months, the biggest risers from last year are those you would expect:

  • Virtual events/webinars/online courses increased from 57% to 67%
  • Live-streaming increased from 10% to 29%

These are hefty jumps … but they still don’t point to ubiquity, by any means. There remains untapped opportunity on the frontier of online experiences, although clearly it’s getting crowded in a hurry. The second quote shared in the previous section points to this challenge, which is at the same time both new and old.

Break through the clutter and earn attention: Amidst so much transformative change, this eternal edict of content marketers stays the same. We’re currently just seeing it play out in a new environment.

[bctt tweet=”“Break through the clutter and earn attention: Amidst transformative change, this eternal edict of content marketers stays the same.” — @NickNelsonMN @CMIContent #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Virtual events and live-streams have much potential for engagement and interactivity. We might receive some inspiration on these fronts when the folks behind this report bring their anticipated annual event, Content Marketing World, into the virtual realm this year for the first time. It’s going down on October 13-16, and our own Lee Odden will be delivering a presentation: Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands.

As Lee will illustrate, influencer marketing should be a piece of the puzzle in forward-looking B2B strategies. Many of the other trends outlined here will converge and shape the future of content marketing.

The post New Research: How B2B Content Marketers Are Impacted and Pivoting During the Pandemic appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

How to Win at B2B Influence With The Magic of Content Co-Creation

Win B2B Influence
Today we live in an age of information overload where the speed of content discovery and the variety of options for media consumption across connected devices presents new challenges for B2B brands and buyers alike.

The natural response for buyers is to filter their choices and focus those few sources which are most trusted, credible and meaningful. For brands that want to differentiate and even dominate in their category, becoming known as “the best answer” for their domain of expertise will have enormous impact.

The challenge of increased digital sophistication brings an opportunity: businesses can differentiate and capture market attention by growing their authority and influence.

Content is a top priority for brands.
Numerous research studies continue to support the fact that content marketing is a top priority for marketers but there are also some challenges; companies find it difficult to produce enough content, as well as create content that engages and has enough variety.

Even when companies are able to produce high quality, relevant content on a regular basis, the challenge of distribution and reach is a concern for many. Part of the solution is to connect B2B content creation efforts with internal and industry influencers that already have communities they engage with on the same topics.

Influencer content and authority.
Brands aren’t the only non-traditional online publishers. Subject matter experts are also able to publish through social networks and media, blogs and increasingly easy contributions to online publications.  Besides creating topically competitive content, SME publishing has empowered individuals to attract their own audiences and become as influential as the some of the companies they buy from.

In addition to working with established influencers, brands can nurture future influencers to create a more effective brand community that exponentially scales reach and engagement.

The shock of content proliferation.
As a result of the content explosion, brands are faced with the reality that the majority of the content they produce might never be discovered or engaged. At the same time, brands must recognize their customers are becoming more influential about the same topics brands are spending advertising and marketing budgets on.

When business customers are empowered to create, consume, publish, interact and transact anytime, anywhere, how do brands break through to create meaningful connections and engagement? How does the dynamic of content and influence help fulfill buyer information discovery, consumption and engagement expectations while delivering on business outcomes for the brand?

As a vehicle for influence, content is one of the most powerful tools in a digital marketer’s mix to attract, engage and inspire buyers to act.

“Content co-creation is the currency for building relationships that can boost credibility, influence and action.”

The B2B content + influence solution.
A business content and influencer marketing strategy can be one of the most effective combinations B2B marketers can make.  By incorporating relevant influencers that can inspire action with content marketing efforts, marketers can reach new audiences with brand messages that are credible and trusted.

Influencer driven content marketing is also one of the best examples of how digital marketing and public relations are converging. The integration of messaging, content, social media and engagement right along with the promotion of information and media designed to inspire transactions should be the focus of any business that wants to differentiate and grow.

Buyers trust influential experts.
The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report reveals that 77% of B2B marketers believe their prospects rely on advice from industry influencers. Additionally, 84% trust influencers to create brand awareness and 69% count on influencers to help generate new leads.

While B2B content marketing on its own is effective, working with influential experts to co-create content is an approach that yields surprising results.

Lead with Empathy
Influencer content gets results.
When the pandemic swept through the world in early 2020, monday.com identified an opportunity to help support teams that had gone from working in-office to working remotely.

As a provider of remote project management software this transition created an opportunity for our client monday.com to position itself as a valuable resource for remote teams. Monday.com partnered with TopRank Marketing to develop an influencer marketing campaign featuring industry experts that could reach and engage remote work teams more effectively than the brand on its own.

Seasoned experts and influencers in the remote work space were engaged to collaborate on and promote content published on the brand site, on the influencers own sites, brand social channels and via livestream.

By engaging influencers with audiences hungry for information about remote work best practices, this campaign added value to the target audience and increased awareness of monday.com’s offering with impressive results:

  • 17.9M in potential reach from brand mentions by influencers (goal was 1M)
  • Over 300K organic impressions on social media
  • Nearly 3k video views of a live stream featuring two industry experts within the first week

See the full Monday.com influencer marketing case study here.

By connecting with market and niche influencers and working with them to achieve mutually beneficial goals, modern marketers can create invaluable relationships with authoritative experts. These connections can result in the creation of high quality, relevant and authoritative content that serves the interests of the influencer and the brand as well as providing access and reach to the influencer’s community.

B2B influencers are credible, authoritative individuals who have an engaged community that follows and acts on their thought leadership.

Winning at B2B Influencer Marketing means working with influencers to affect change in thought and action amongst a network towards goals that are mutually beneficial to the brand, the influencer and their community. Whether it is a partnership to co-create content or more general advocacy, business influencers open doors for brands to connect with engaged buyers they might otherwise never reach in a meaningful way.

“Everyone is influential about something.”

B2B influencers can be industry professionals, they could also be inside a company as subject matter experts or a company’s own customers. Influencer relationships with brands often include a value exchange of some kind and it’s up to the company and influencer to decide whether that’s an exchange of information, visibility, compensation or something else.

The essential questions of B2B influencer content.
To be effective when working with business influencers, B2B brands need to consider what they want the influencer to do for them beyond a simple endorsement.

  • How will the influencer’s involvement help the company reach a particular business goal?
  • What will an ongoing relationship with influencers mean to the brand’s marketing efforts and reputation in the industry?
  • Also, what kind of content does it make the most sense for the influencer to contribute to?
  • How does the brand want to be known and which influencers already have that credibility and authority?

These questions and more will be answered in the following model for B2B influencer content co-creation.

6 best practices for working with and influencing B2B influencers to co-create content:

  1. Identify Influencer Program Goals
  2. Research, Engage and Recruit Influencers
  3. Develop Co-Created Content with Influencers
  4. Inspire Content Promotion
  5. Influencer Measurement and Program Optimization
  6. Ongoing Influencer Relationships

1. Identify Influencer Program Goals – Serving different audiences (influencers, brand, prospects, industry media) requires a strategy that identifies distinct goals. While most subject matter experts and influencers desire increased visibility, B2B brands will want to grow their expertise for a topic amongst a target audience and attract new business. Consumers of the influencer content will want expert information from someone they trust. Industry news media will want examples they can reference and subject matter experts they can cite.

Just starting out, co-created influencer content can be as simple as a value exchange: increased exposure for both the influencer and the brand with the objective of attracting new target audience engagement and influencing a spectrum of conversion actions: subscribe, download, register, request information.

As an influencer content program matures, goals can become more sophisticated and multi-faceted to include public relations, recruiting, customer marketing and more advanced customer acquisition.

B2B influencer content programs should be tied into the content marketing plan and editorial calendar. An important part of designing an effective influencer content program is to identify the specific topics to be covered. Specifying topics and themes will drive all subsequent actions in the program from influencer recruiting to planning which media type to create to content promotion.

2. Research, Engage and Recruit Influencers – It’s important to identify the key themes that represent topical focus for the brand, the product or service and the campaign or program that you will creating with influencers. The sooner your company specifies these topical areas of focus, the sooner influencers can be identified and engaged.

“The time to start recruiting influencers is long before you need them. Romance takes time.”

It can be useful to start influencer identification by brainstorming with executives, marketing, communications and product managers to develop a list of known topical experts and even nominations of specific individual influencers. However, subjective measures like these bring heavy bias. It is always a good idea to validate influencer recommendations using data about topical relevance, resonance of that topic with the influencer’s audience and the their network size. There are many influencer marketing platforms which can provide the data needed to properly filter which individuals are perceived as influential by the communities that listen to them.

Influencer sourcing and engagement takes time. Many influencer co-created content projects will draw from both existing influencer relationships and involve making new influencer connections. Initial recruiting might be limited to small, easy projects that advance the relationship to more robust and substantial time commitments.

It is possible to jump start an influencer content program by working with a specialist agency that already has relationships with relevant industry influencers.

The most common mistake businesses make with influencers is to qualify them based purely on network size (fans, friends and followers) and affinity to a certain industry or area of interest. Without the ability to affect the way a network thinks and how they act, an influencer isn’t really influencing anyone.

“A brandividual is popular. An influencer is effective at creating popularity.”

Topical relevance, resonance and reach characteristics will be useful with influencer discovery tools like BuzzSumo which focuses on Twitter data. There are also robust tools like Traackr or Onalytica.

After you use a tool to identify and initially qualify influencers for each topic, then you can bring that list back to your internal subject matter experts to manually review and filter. Of course, no influencer discovery tool is perfect. Correlation between internal recommendations and data from an influencer marketing platform might take more time, but it’s a best practice for distinguishing between brandividuals and effective influencers.

When recruiting influencers, there are several important considerations:

  • Relevancy and effort to ask ratio – It has to be timely and on message with what they stand for. It also has to be easy for them to do. Popular, smart people are busy!
  • Be clever or humorous – Nothing cuts through the crap like humor but most of all, be a real person when you communicate, not salesy, pushy or entitled
  • You are a known entity – Having a reputation as a brand or being a well-known person in the industry is very useful. Previous personal contact with the influencer is even more valuable.
  • Vision of the project – Be able to articulate what the influencer’s involvement will be and what it will do for them personally. Also show how the project will help others.
  • Optimize for attract – Create influencer projects so good and so well known, people compete to be involved.

What doesn’t work.
Presumptive, high expectation recruiting pitches with no personalization and little upside for the influencer rarely work. It’s the equivalent of a stranger approaching you and saying, “Let’s get married”.

The time to start creating relationships with influencers is long before you actually need them. If a company is thinking that working with influencers is even a remote possibility, they should start identifying, qualifying and engaging with them now. That way, when the time comes to work together on a project, there’s already some familiarity and credibility before “the ask”.

Effective influencer recruiting for content co-creation projects comes down to being relevant and interesting, respectful and to deliver a great experience that results in a desire for more.

3. Develop Co-Created Content with Influencers – The content marketing plan for co-created influencer content should identify the primary and sub-themes, the influencers to work with for those assets, the types of contributions the influencers will make, the type of content to be created, deconstructed component parts, social share messages and details on repurposing.

Go modular – Modular content planning allows pre-promotion of the co-created content project to build momentum for launch and then deconstruction of the content for customized repurposing and social promotion on networks, blogs, and the media.

Select topics – Topics represent the themes and areas of focus for planning editorial and for sourcing influencers. Topic alignment between brand, influencer and community is essential for mutual value to be created.

Identify type of content or media mix – Types of content are often determined by the content marketing plan, and target audience. At the same time, there are some types of content more amenable to co-creation with influencers such as eBooks, reports, blog posts, quoted infographics and video compilations. A clear line of sight must be present between the co-created content and the content objectives in the marketing plan.

Once influencers, topics and media types are identified, a campaign to request content is initiated. Setting expectations during the recruitment phase for how participation will work is essential. Influencers are busy people and providing a timeline with due date, clear instructions and even examples will result in a higher participation rate.

Influencer content collection requests are often more effective when a few A-list influencers are already on board with the project. Leverage their name recognition to influence other influencers to participate.

Be prepared to send 2 to 3 content collection emails and when the deadline arrives, do not be afraid to use a fear of loss pitch. But by all means, be cordial, helpful and respectful.

4. Inspire Content Promotion – Influencer communications should provide expectations and clear timelines along with the benefits for all when a co-created influencer content project is successful.

Providing influencers with tools such as sharing images, pre-written tweets, embed codes and short URLs can substantially increase promotion participation and reach.

There are four important considerations when encouraging influencers to help promote the content they helped your company create.

Create content worth sharing. Topics that address issues that are important to the influencer will get your foot in the door and useful, visually compelling content will inspire them to open that door and share. Reaching out blindly and asking to share doesn’t work as well as having a connection first and then asking.

Let the ego do the talking. Content that includes an influencer’s contribution will probably get shared even more. Because let’s face it, people love to see themselves get recognized. Better yet, ask them to participate in the creation of the content.

However, when mentioning influencers in content it’s essential that it be credible, high quality and creative. Most influencers have caught on to the tactic of simply mentioning famous industry people just to get them to share. There must be value created that inspires and earns the share

Make it fun and easy. When emailing a promotion request, consider making it funny or at least clever. We’ve gone so far as to write outlandish examples of what NOT to do or suggest fake prizes for contributing like his/her beard scarves or beef jerky underwear.

Also make it especially easy for the influencer to share. Capture their attention, succinctly explain what it is and what you want them to do. Then offer pre-written social share text that’s even personalized just for them. You may even create a resource page with images and other share options for them to use.

Pay them. Either compensate the influencer with information and promotion or simply pay them to share your content. Once you start down this road, it’s pretty difficult to get off, so plan for continued compensation once you start.

5. Influencer Measurement and Program Optimization – Individual influencer promotions of the co-created content project can be measured based on social network shares, sentiment of those shares, engagement on the topic, links and blog pickups.

Embeds used by influencers to create blog posts can be tracked for referred search traffic along with referred social traffic from their links. Referred traffic that results in website visits can be further analyzed for metrics such as time on site, categories of content consumed, leads and sales.

Overall reach, engagement, traffic, leads and sales for the content project can be tracked as well, taking note of the contributions made by influencers towards key performance metrics like growing affinity between a topic and the brand as well as business outcomes like leads and sales.

6. Ongoing Influencer Relationships – Beyond the campaign or program at hand, do make the effort to continue the relationship with influencers you have worked with. The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research found that 12 times more B2B marketers who run Always-On influencer marketing programs are successful vs. those running intermittent campaigns. Focus on creating a great experience for contributing subject matter experts and they’ll be very interested in working with your brand again on future projects.

The more influencer programs you develop, the more influencers you will have connections with and draw from. Remember, when it comes to promotions, you can also ask past influencers who are not part of your current program to help, since they are aware of the value that would bring and the effect of “a rising tide lifts all ships.”

Ways to stay connected and Always-On with influencers in a meaningful way include:

  • Offer them feedback after the program about the effect of their contribution
  • Cite influencers in your future blog posts
  • Connect and engage with influencers on social networks
  • Refer influencer expertise to other companies that could use them (i.e. help them get work)
  • Cite influencers in contributed articles to industry magazines, newspapers, websites and newsletters.
  • Include them in future projects

Whether your brand is engaging with influencers to provide useful information or you’re co-creating content with influencers to create a useful industry resource that will be shared with new communities, there’s a value exchange that can benefits everyone involved. Content is the key to that value transfer between brand and consumer, brand and influencer and for the overall community involved.

To learn more about B2B influencer and content marketing best practices, be sure to check out the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, or contact us directly at TopRank Marketing.