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.

Create Integrated Marketing Teams to Drive Better Results with Tips from Shafqat Islam #CMWorld

Here’s a wild new idea: Consumers expect immediate, consistent, on-brand experiences across channels.

Just kidding about the “wild” and “new” parts. Most marketers likely have the phrase embroidered on a pillowcase by now. It’s fundamental.

But if we know that consumers demand an omnichannel experience… Why are so many marketing teams stuck in silos?

NewsCred Co-Founder and CEO Shafqat Islam believes this siloed structure is what’s holding marketers back from their omnichannel dreams. Integrated marketing requires integrated teams. During his Content Marketing World 2019 session, Shafqat shared how NewsCred reorganized to deliver better results.

Key takeaways: Integrated marketing is better for consumers and brands, modern marketing is collaborative, risk-taking content teams are best suited to drive transformation

Image courtesy Shafqat Islam & NewsCred.

The Dangers of Hyper-Specialized Marketing Teams

As marketing continues to grow more complex, says Shafqat, marketers have had to specialize. A modern marketing team might handle content, social media, paid advertising, internal communications, events and more. In larger organizations, each of these specialties might have its own sub-team. And each operates more or less independently of the others.

The result? The majority of marketers (89%) think they’re doing great with integrated, omnichannel marketing… while only 58% of consumers agree. According to Shafqat, hyper-specialized, siloed teams can lead to:

  • Redundant or broken tech stacks that cause inefficiencies
  • Disconnected content efforts that produce ineffective content
  • Missed opportunities to find synergies across the teams
  • Sub-optimal campaign results

The Solution: Integrated Marketing Teams

Of course, specialization can be a good thing. Marketers should have an area of expertise, but they should also have enough general knowledge to work with teams in other areas.

Shafqat proposes a “team of teams” structure to help marketers work together towards a cohesive plan while empowering each silo to do what it does best. “Keep the expertise in each team, but do all the planning together,” he says.

When the whole marketing department is working with a singular vision, each team (or person) can put their specialized knowledge to use towards a larger goal. For example, content can support the next event, with paid ads promoting them both. Most importantly, messaging and branding is consistent across every area of specialization. With integrated planning, teams can avoid duplicating work, streamline their processes, and end up with a better end product as well.

Diagram demonstrating multiple marketing sub-specialties working together to plan campaigns and content

Image courtesy Shafqat Islam & NewsCred.

The Five Traits of Modern, Integrated Marketing

According to Shafqat, these are the attributes an integrated marketing initiative should strive for:

#1: They’re Collaborative

Teams are able to communicate with each other across the marketing department, form ad hoc “tiger teams” across specialties, and share data and processes.

#2: They’re Transparent

According to Shafqat, teams should aim for an “uncomfortable level of transparency.” That means shared visibility across all teams and programs – no hoarding knowledge or covering up mistakes.

#3: They’re Aligned

Teams work together to develop strategies. They use centralized campaign briefs to bring teams together on shared objectives and KPIs. Shafqat recommends starting with a single line campaign brief: One sentence that brings the project into sharp focus for everyone.

#4: They’re Agile

Marketing teams should adopt Agile processes that they find useful and necessary. Shafqat recommends not doing everything strictly by the Agile book – only keep what  works for the team. In general, it’s a focus on continual iteration and optimization for content and campaigns, developing a minimum viable product and refining it through sprints.

#5: They’re Scalable

Think about scale in everything you do, says Shafqat. Look to create processes that boost efficiency, that are repeatable, and that make sense as your team continues to grow. For example, develop a tagging system for content on your content management platform. Tags are something everyone can use to find and repurpose content quickly.

Shafqat highlighted the Mayo Clinic as an example of what happens when teams are integrated, while still preserving their specialized knowledge. The Mayo treats an entire patient, not just a problem or symptom. Everyone who treats the patient shares a common goal. Every doctor has access to the other specialists’ information and expertise. They all share knowledge and work together on a single shared KPI: the patient’s health.

Silos Are for Grain, Not Marketers

Text reading "let the idea grow. Take risks."

Image courtesy Shafqat Islam & NewsCred.

Creating an integrated marketing “team of teams” will lead to more efficient marketing and better results, says Shafqat. But the benefits don’t stop there. Shafqat believes marketing can help drive change throughout the organization, first by modeling integration, then by expanding it to other departments. The sales, customer experience, and HR teams all could benefit from sharing information with each other and with marketing.

Customers expect a unified, consistent experience; as Shafqat points out, it’s time that marketers demanded the same from their teams.

Looking for more insights out of CMWorld 2019? Check out these other posts featuring several of this year’s speakers:

Create a Stellar Audience Experience By Slowing Down with These Tips from Ann Handley

You know a conference session is going to be good when literally hundreds of marketers are turned away due to an already packed room. And you know a session is going to be great when the amazing Ann Handley takes the stage and is visibly bummed that she didn’t get the chance to connect with those marketers.

Part of Ann’s magic is her ability to make herself and her content very accessible. She accomplishes this by sharing stories that are personal to her, things she observes in everyday life that inspire her inner marketer. And her session at last week’s Content Marketing World was no exception.

In the interest of not spoiling the story for those of you who haven’t had a chance to see Ann give this new talk, all I’ll say is that it involves her summer-long investment in building a relationship with a certain backyard animal, through all the failed attempts and eventual success at connecting.

One of Ann’s key messages over the past few years has been cautioning marketers to slow down, take their time. But what does that mean? And how can it improve the success of your own efforts?

Slowing Down to Improve Success

The latest 2019 benchmarking report from CMI and MarketingProfs found that only 35% of B2B marketers know whether their content is effective or not. Which leaves many of us asking ourselves what we’re doing wrong, and how we can better capture the attention of our audience.

Instead of focusing on those questions, Ann suggests we focus less on how we can capture their attention and more on how we can build trust with our audience.

She also indicates that there is a good kind of slow, and a bad kind (just like cholesterol). Below is a glimpse into the three opportunities for slow moments she suggests that will help all of us figure out what we’re doing strategically, so we can move faster later.

#1 – Question What You Know About Your Customers

Be constantly listening to your audience and adjust your strategy to better meet their needs. @annhandley Click To Tweet 

Developing trust with your audience is a slow-game. It’s not something that happens overnight and you won’t always get it right on the first (or even fifth try). For context, here is an example of one of the traps that marketers often fall into when creating content:

“We need a piece of content for _____________.” (IE: to maintain our blog cadence, publish on social x amount of times, etc.)

Instead, we should be taking a step back and saying:

“We know our audiences needs ____________.” (IE: What is something only you can give them? What will they miss if you stop providing it?)

As we’re looking to build trust, it’s important that we defy content norms and focus on peer-to-peer content versus brand-to-target content. And this requires being empathetic to their needs.

#2 – Slow Down the Experience

The most efficient isn’t always the most effective. Stop conflating them. @annhandley Click To Tweet

Some of the best content experiences take place over time and directly involve the audience.

So, while you’re planning your individual content pieces, take a step back and ask yourself:

  • How can I build trust and momentum for the content experience over time?
  • And what does that look like?
  • How can I involve the audience in a meaningful way so they are invested in the outcome?
  • How can I create an experience that individuals rally around in a way that makes them more invested in the community?

Pause for a second and critically look at your own marketing. What opportunities do you have to slow down, be thoughtful and involve your audience more effectively?

#3 – Slow Down to Build the Relationship

Every story is a human story about a universal truth. @annhandley Click To Tweet

One of Ann’s content marketing secrets to success is that whenever she writes (anything), she tries to write with a specific person in mind. In a presentation she gave earlier this year, Ann shared her top tips on creating content people want to read.

Even the BEST marketers today end up investing too much time trying to craft the perfect social message, blog post or email for our entire audience. And instead, Ann recommends thinking about that one person is that you want to talk to. What their needs, problems and fears are. And how you can help solve them.

If you want to see this recommendation in action, be sure to subscribe to Ann’s newsletter Total ANNARCHY. Every time this newsletter hits my inbox I’m delighted (how many newsletters can you say that about?) to dig in an read my letter from Ann.

Slow Down, You’re Moving Too Fast

In the infamous words of Simon and Garfunkel (and now Ann Handley), make NOW the time that you start slowing down. Take the time to understand:

  • What it is that your customers need
  • How to better build trust over time
  • Ideas for involving your audience in the content you create
  • Ways to create memorable experiences
  • How to write content with a specific person in-mind

Looking for more insights from Content Marketing World 2019? Be sure to check out our latest posts featuring other top CMWorld speakers.

Lee Odden Shares His Secret to Content Marketing Fitness #CMWorld

Let’s face it: Too many of us are yo-yo marketers.

We deploy a campaign the way someone might approach a fad diet: With nothing but our initial enthusiasm to keep it going.

And like a fad dieter, we get results… for a little while. Then the campaign runs out of steam and we’re back at square one.

Wouldn’t it be nice if those initial successes could last? If we could go from “fad diet” marketing to lean, mean marketing machines?

At his Content Marketing World 2019 session, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden laid out a blueprint for how to do just that.

Not only is Lee a champion of always-on marketing that gets sustainable results over time, he’s also achieved a dramatic physical transformation in the past year. He’s lost 65 pounds and just finished his first half-marathon.

Turns out, the same discipline and strategy that makes for great content marketing is fantastic for fitness, too. It’s all about consistency and persistency.

Here are Lee’s 10 Exercises for Content Marketing Fitness.

10 Steps to Content Marketing Fitness

#1: Warm Up with Customer Insights

“Know your customer” is a pretty standard motto for marketers. But most of us don’t get deep enough into what those three words really mean. Truly knowing your customer means having insight into:

  • Activities: What does their workday look like?
  • Pain: What are they suffering from/worried about?
  • Goals: What do they wish they could accomplish?
  • Influences: Who or what is providing guidance?

To warm up your customer insights, you need to answer all of these questions for each stage of the customer journey, preferably with first hand data.

#2: Strengthen Your Core with Strategy

Before you start creating content, you need to know what that content is meant to accomplish. Most content plans won’t involve jumping straight into driving leads and closing sales.

The first part of your strategy should involve meeting the customer where they are (based on your footwork in step 1), challenging their status quo and inviting a change in perception. Then you can begin the process of capturing leads and driving revenue.

#3: Optimize Your Strategy with KPIs

As you developed your strategy, you had goals in mind: Our content should change people’s mind about X, help them see the benefits of Y, etc. Now you need to put those goals into measurable KPIs with matching metrics, like so:

The most important part? Set benchmarks before you start. Without benchmarks, you have nothing to compare your new campaign to.

#4: Create a Powerful Story

This is my favorite part: Take your content strategy and turn it into the story you will tell throughout your campaign.

That means building a bridge of narrative that connects your audience from their current state – their wants, needs, pain points – to your solution. It means helping them solve multiple problems along the way, even problems that have little to do with your offering.

For example, this campaign from our client Prophix ultimately leads their audience to a solution: Using real-time data with their plug-in for PowerPoint. But along the way, it helps finance leaders level up their presentation skills in many other ways, along with advice from influential experts (more on that later).

#5: Optimize Your Content Mix

With your story outline in place, the next step is to create the framework for your content. Lee recommends a hub and spoke model. Anchor content is supported by crosslinked content about secondary topics.

Get creative as you plan your mix: You can include the standard blog posts, of course, but also look at quizzes, infographics, audio and video. Also think about content with built-in amplification, like guest blogs from influencers (more on that in the next point) and posting your own blogs on third-party sites.

6: Boost Quality & Reach with Influencers

For B2B marketing, “influencer” doesn’t mean someone holding up your product in Instagram photos. It’s more about developing relationships with people who are genuinely influential to your target audience, co-creating content with them, and making it easy for them to help promote the content.

Or, as Lee puts it: “People who invest their time to help you make a thing, are generally motivated to help share the thing, to make it successful.”

The planning you’ve done so far will help make sure that your content is aligned both with SEO and with your influencers’ areas of expertise.

#7: Create Powerful Content

As you’re creating content, Lee recommends a hub-and-spoke model. You have a central, substantial asset that addresses search demand and includes influencer contributions. Then you augment that hub with secondary content that further explores side topics (and meets demands expressed in longtail keywords.

For TopRank Marketing, our go-to hub is the “Power Page.” It’s a definitive guide, optimized for search and for humans to read. It’s specific, lengthy, and goes into deep detail. Here’s a wireframe Lee shared:

#8: Create Your Content Promotion Timeline

When you’re creating content this great, you can’t just graft on promotion after it’s done. Lee says, “The best time to plan your promotion is when you’re planning the content.” Let’s say it again in bold: The best time to plan your promotion is when you’re planning the content.

When you plan in advance, you can build in repurposing like influencer round-up posts, infographics, even capturing audio interviews instead of written so you can turn them into podcast episodes.

Here’s what a well-rounded promotion timeline might look like:

#9: Measure & Optimize

Now we’ve reached the stage that turns all of your effort so far into an ongoing marketing commitment – the kind that breaks free from yo-yo marketing and gets sustainable results.

Instead of publishing, having your initial promotion push, and moving on to the next campaign, keep watching your metrics, make changes based on your observations, and repeat.

Lee points out that we often optimize when content isn’t performing well, but we should also be looking at content that’s performing better than expected. What made that content and promotion mix special? How can we duplicate it? How can we make it even better?

Here are a few metrics to measure:

#10: Repurpose with Purpose

Part of the optimization process is getting every bit of juice out of the content you worked so hard creating. If you included repurposing in your strategy at the planning stage, you’re good to go: Turn your interviews into round-up posts, your blog posts into infographics, infographics into motion graphics, etc.

But don’t just do it to make more stuff, Lee says. Rather, repurpose to suit your content to different audiences. For example, audio content as a podcast might appeal to a younger set of decision makers who wouldn’t read a 2,000 word blog post.

Or think about different verticals: Imagine your audience is both IT decision influencers and executive decision makers. With a few cosmetic changes, the same content can be optimized to target each audience individually. As Lee put it, “Personalization is the best kind of repurposing.”

Content Marketing Fitness for the Long Haul

The hardest part of losing weight is keeping from gaining it back. It’s easy to fall into old habits and lose the progress you’ve made. The same is true of marketing. Your biggest challenge isn’t a disinterested audience or a boss who won’t expand your budget – it’s simple human inertia. And the only way to fight it is to commit to a sustained effort, make sure your whole team is on board, and embark on your content fitness journey together.

Need more Content Marketing World in your life? Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog for more tips, tricks, and live coverage. And follow our team: @leeodden@NiteWrites@azeckman, and @toprank on Twitter for real-time insights.

50 Content Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow 2019 #CMWorld

Content Marketing Influencers 2019

Content Marketing World 2019 is upon us. As the largest content marketing conference in the world, CMWorld brings together a stellar array of talented professionals who are filled with curiosity for future trends, marketing knowledge, and aspirations for new successes. For the past 11 years leading marketers from all over the world have gathered in Cleveland, Ohio for one of the world’s strongest content marketing event, and this year is set to be the biggest and best yet.

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

Our partnership resulted in a interactive digital experience filled with show-stopping insights from top marketers who will be taking the stage this week. If you haven’t yet experienced it, have a look here:

Another 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 excellent 200-plus #CMWorld 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, SlideShare, Flickr and other platforms.

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

  • A speaker at #CMWorld 2019
  • 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, 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 year and into 2020.

50 Content Marketing Influencers Speaking at CMWorld 2019

Pam Didner
BIG congratulations to Pam Didner for the top spot and to the other three in the top spots: Christopher Penn, our CEO Lee Odden, and Heidi Cohen.

Christopher Penn Image
Congrats AGAIN to Ann Handley for being the Most Engaging Content Marketing Influencer out of this year’s group of speakers, based on Traackr’s analysis.

Pam Didner @PamDidner
Author, Effective Sales Enablement
Presenting: 5 Creative Ways Content Marketers Can Better Support Their Sales Team
Presenting: How to Leverage Your Existing Marketing Programs and Content to Enable Your Sales Team

Christopher Penn @cspenn
Co-Founder, Trust Insights
Presenting: AI for Marketing: Specific Applications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Enhance Your Marketing Campaigns
Presenting: How AI Will Change Content Marketing Forever

Lee Odden @leeodden
CEO, TopRank Marketing
Presenting: Content Marketing Fitness – 10 Exercises to Build Your Marketing Beach Body
Presenting: How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Program That Actually Works

Heidi Cohen @heidicohen
Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide
Presenting: The Continuous Content Distribution Playbook: How To Keep Your Best Content Visible and Viable While Saving Your Sanity

Jay Baer @jaybaer
Founder, Convince & Convert
Presenting: Mouth Moves: How to Conquer the New Frontier of Voice Content, Alexa, and Smart Speakers

Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz
Millennial Keynote Speaker, iSocialFanz
Presenting: Press The Damn Button: How To Stand-Out From the Bad News and Fake News On Social Media

Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael
Keynote Speaker, Author & CEO, Marketing Insider Group
Presenting: Content Marketing 101: Setting and Documenting Your Strategy and Building Your Team

Andy Crestodina @crestodina
Principal, Strategic Director, Orbit Media
Presenting: Asking the Right Questions: How to Use Original Research for Valuable Content That Drives Business Results
Presenting: How to Analyze Content Performance Using Google Analytics: From Basics to Advanced
Presenting: Maximize the Value of Your Google Analytics

Ian Anderson Gray @iagdotme
Founder, Seriously Social
Presenting: Strategies, Tools and Techniques to Level Up Your Impact and Authority Through Confident Live Video

Christoph Trappe @CTrappe
Chief Content Officer, AC Business Media
Presenting: Publishing Forum: How Publishers Use Content Marketing to Monetize Their Audiences

Julia McCoy @JuliaEMcCoy
CEO, Express Writers
Presenting: A Masterclass on Creating & Publishing Authority-Building SEO Blogs

Bernie Borges @bernieborges
CMO, Vengreso
Presenting: Why You Need Content for Effective Sales Enablement

Viveka Von Rosen @LinkedInExpert
Chief Visibility Officer, Vengreso
Presenting: A Whole New World – Reanimating your Desiccated Company Page on LinkedIn: Building Your Brand, Encouraging Employee Advocacy and Inviting Engagement with LinkedIn Pages.

Ann Handley @MarketingProfs
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Presenting: What Do We Want? CONTENT. When Do We Want It? ASAP. Your Strategic Approach to Sane + Sustainable Success

Erika Heald @SFerika
Consultant, Erika Heald Consulting
Presenting: Community Rx: The Proper Care and Feeding for a Highly Successful Online Community
Presenting: How to Define and Document Your Brand Voice

Dennis Shiao @dshiao
Marketing Consultant, Dennis Shiao Consulting
Presenting: Community Rx: The Proper Care and Feeding for a Highly Successful Online Community

Drew McLellan @DrewMcLellan
Ad Agency Owner & Consultant, Agency Management Institute
Presenting: Agency Edge 2019: How and Why Clients Around the World Choose Their Agencies

Robert Rose @Robert_Rose
Chief Strategy Advisor, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Welcome to Content Marketing World 2019
Presenting: Content Marketing Strategy For Agencies – How To Create, As Well as Deliver, Content Marketing Strategy To Clients
Presenting: Technology Forum

A. Lee Judge @ALeeJudge
Global Digital Marketing Manager, Hexagon Geosystems
Presenting: Content Marketing for the Robots (Search Engine Marketing)

Andrea Fryrear @AndreaFryrear
President and Lead Trainer, AgileSherpas
Presenting: Failure is Feedback: How to Succeed at Agile Marketing by NOT Doing These Things

Andrew Pickering & Pete Gartland @AndrewAndPete
Co-Founders, Andrew and Pete
Presenting: The Secret Rule for Getting Massive Content Marketing Results in a Fraction of the Time

Katie Martell @KatieMartell
Executive Director, Boston Content
Presenting: Trust Fail: How Brands Can Earn Back the Trust of Skeptical Buyers

Tom Martin @TomMartin
President, Converse Digital
Presenting: Turning Conversations Into Customers

Jay Acunzo @jayacunzo
Founder, Marketing Showrunners
Presenting: Creativity Impossible: How to Avoid Stagnation and Consistently Exceed Expectations

Juntae DeLane @JuntaeDeLane
Founder, Ditgital Branding Institute
Presenting: Why Your Brand Works In The “Real World” But Fails When Online

Cathy McPhillips @cmcphillips
Vice President of Marketing, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Getting the Most From CMWorld 2019

George Stenitzer @GeorgeStenitzer
Founder & Chief Content Officer, Crystal Clear Communications
Presenting: How to Use AI to Unlock Secrets Inside Questions

Matt Heinz @HeinzMarketing
President, Heinz Marketing Inc
Presenting: Customer Engagement Benchmarks: How Today’s Top B2B Brands Increase Action, Intimacy, Conversion & Loyalty

Scott Monty @ScottMonty
CEO & Principal, Scott Monty Strategies
Presenting: Curate Your Way to More Subscribers

Kristina Halvorson @halvorson
CEO, Brain Traffic
Presenting: How to Conquer Content Chaos

Donna Moritz @SociallySorted
Visual Content Strategist & Founder, Socially Sorted
Presenting: Travel/Tourism/Hospitality Forum – The World’s Biggest Visual Content Team: How to Leverage Key Visual Storytellers, Strategies and Tools to Better Manage and Share Your Destination Experiences

Kathy Klotz-Guest @kathyklotzguest
Founder, Keeping It Human
Presenting: 185 Comics Walk into a Storytelling Bar…

Tom Augenthaler @taugenthaler
Consultant, 551 Media LLC
Presenting: What the … Influencer Marketing!

Amy Higgins @amywhiggins
Content Strategist, Salesforce
Presenting: Charting the Course to a Career in Content Marketing

Joe Lazauskas @JoeLazauskas
Head of Marketing, Contently
Presenting: The Content Marketer of the Future: 5 Big Traits You Need to Thrive in the Coming Marketing Revolution

Aaron Orendorff @AaronOrendorff
Founder, iconiContent
Presenting: How Connecting Content and Commerce Is the Future (And Can Drive 1,447% B2C Growth)

Arnie Kuenn @ArnieK
Founder & CEO, Vertical Measures
Presenting: Should You Fire Your Chief Marketing Officer? My Farewell Gift Learned From 13+ Years of Being CEO of a Digital Agency

Leslie Carruthers @LeslieCarruther
President, The Search Guru
Presenting: Retail & eCommerce Forum

Berrak Sarikaya @BerrakBiz
Integrated Marketing Specialist, Yesler
Presenting: So You Think You Want to Start an Online Community? What to Know Before You Open the Doors

Joe Pulizzi @JoePulizzi
Founder, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Getting the Most From CMWorld 2019
Presenting: Keynote – MKTG 2030

Ardath Albee @ardath421
CEO, Marketing Interactions, Inc.
Presenting: Personalization that Drives Profitable Engagement: Activate, Don’t Alienate

Andrew Davis @DrewDavisHere
Author, Brandscaping & Town, INC.
Presenting: Loyalty Loop: How Small Content Adds Up to Big Business
Presenting: Video Marketing Makeover: Transforming Boring Case Studies and Testimonials Into Stories That Inspire Action

Ashley Zeckman @azeckman
Senior Director of Agency Marketing, TopRank Marketing
Presenting: Guardians of Content Vol 1: How to Scale B2B Influencer Content to Save the Galaxy

Amber Naslund @AmberCadabra
Senior Content Marketing Evangelist, LinkedIn
Presenting: Disrupting Thought Leadership: What It Really Takes To Create a Personal Content Platform That Works

Ian Cleary @IanCleary
Founder, RazorSocial
Presenting: A Strategic Step-By-Step Approach to Drive More Traffic and Conversions From Your Existing Content
Presenting: Content Optimization & Distribution Strategies

Amy Balliett @AmyBalliett
Founder and CEO, Killer Visual Strategies
Presenting: How to Achieve a 70% Conversion Rate Using Interactive Content

John Hall @johnhall
Co-Founder and President, Calendar.com
Presenting: Maximize Your Time To Focus On What’s Most Important For Your Company’s ROI

Buddy Scalera @BuddyScalera
Associate Director, Social Media Safeguarding and Solutions, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Company
Presenting: We Can Do Better: How to Be a More Effective Marketing Professional

Marcus Sheridan @TheSalesLion
Keynote Speaker, Author and Partner, IMPACT
Presenting: The Perfect Content Marketing Organization: 7 Essential Qualities of the World’s Most Successful Content Marketing Companies

Amanda Todorovich @amandatodo
Content Marketing Director, Cleveland Clinic
Presenting: How to Transform Your Corporate Blog into an Owned MEDIA Platform
Presenting: #CMWorld Cleveland Clinic Health Summit

Spread the Content Marketing Wisdom & Love

Statistical analysis, no matter how deep and well-researched, can only go so far in finding the people who you’ll find 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 and boosting your content marketing fitness, you’re in luck! Both our CEO Lee Odden and senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman will be presenting at Content Marketing World on the topics. Here are the details:

Tuesday, September 3th – 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Workshop with Lee Odden & Amisha Gandhi, vice president of influencer marketing and communications at SAP Ariba
How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Program That Actually Works

Wednesday, September 4th – 2:00pm – 2:45pm
Solo Presentation with Lee Odden
Content Marketing Fitness – 10 Exercises to Build Your Marketing Beach Body

Friday, September 6th – 8:00am – 8:45am
Solo Presentation with Ashley Zeckman
Guardians of Content Vol 1: How to Scale B2B Influencer Content to Save the Galaxy

Along with our TopRank Marketing teammates Kelly Hogan, Susan Misukanis, and Joshua Nite, we hope to see you at the Content Marketing World conference. Check out what we’re looking forward to most at CMWorld and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @toprank for real time updates during the conference and this blog for live-blogging coverage of select presentations.

50 Content Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow 2019 #CMWorld

Content Marketing Influencers 2019

Content Marketing World 2019 is upon us. As the largest content marketing conference in the world, CMWorld brings together a stellar array of talented professionals who are filled with curiosity for future trends, marketing knowledge, and aspirations for new successes. For the past 11 years leading marketers from all over the world have gathered in Cleveland, Ohio for one of the world’s strongest content marketing event, and this year is set to be the biggest and best yet.

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

Our partnership resulted in a interactive digital experience filled with show-stopping insights from top marketers who will be taking the stage this week. If you haven’t yet experienced it, have a look here:

Another 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 excellent 200-plus #CMWorld 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, SlideShare, Flickr and other platforms.

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

  • A speaker at #CMWorld 2019
  • 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, 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 year and into 2020.

50 Content Marketing Influencers Speaking at CMWorld 2019

Pam Didner
BIG congratulations to Pam Didner for the top spot and to the other three in the top spots: Christopher Penn, our CEO Lee Odden, and Heidi Cohen.

Christopher Penn Image
Congrats AGAIN to Ann Handley for being the Most Engaging Content Marketing Influencer out of this year’s group of speakers, based on Traackr’s analysis.

Pam Didner @PamDidner
Author, Effective Sales Enablement
Presenting: 5 Creative Ways Content Marketers Can Better Support Their Sales Team
Presenting: How to Leverage Your Existing Marketing Programs and Content to Enable Your Sales Team

Christopher Penn @cspenn
Co-Founder, Trust Insights
Presenting: AI for Marketing: Specific Applications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Enhance Your Marketing Campaigns
Presenting: How AI Will Change Content Marketing Forever

Lee Odden @leeodden
CEO, TopRank Marketing
Presenting: Content Marketing Fitness – 10 Exercises to Build Your Marketing Beach Body
Presenting: How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Program That Actually Works

Heidi Cohen @heidicohen
Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide
Presenting: The Continuous Content Distribution Playbook: How To Keep Your Best Content Visible and Viable While Saving Your Sanity

Jay Baer @jaybaer
Founder, Convince & Convert
Presenting: Mouth Moves: How to Conquer the New Frontier of Voice Content, Alexa, and Smart Speakers

Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz
Millennial Keynote Speaker, iSocialFanz
Presenting: Press The Damn Button: How To Stand-Out From the Bad News and Fake News On Social Media

Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael
Keynote Speaker, Author & CEO, Marketing Insider Group
Presenting: Content Marketing 101: Setting and Documenting Your Strategy and Building Your Team

Andy Crestodina @crestodina
Principal, Strategic Director, Orbit Media
Presenting: Asking the Right Questions: How to Use Original Research for Valuable Content That Drives Business Results
Presenting: How to Analyze Content Performance Using Google Analytics: From Basics to Advanced
Presenting: Maximize the Value of Your Google Analytics

Ian Anderson Gray @iagdotme
Founder, Seriously Social
Presenting: Strategies, Tools and Techniques to Level Up Your Impact and Authority Through Confident Live Video

Christoph Trappe @CTrappe
Chief Content Officer, AC Business Media
Presenting: Publishing Forum: How Publishers Use Content Marketing to Monetize Their Audiences

Julia McCoy @JuliaEMcCoy
CEO, Express Writers
Presenting: A Masterclass on Creating & Publishing Authority-Building SEO Blogs

Bernie Borges @bernieborges
CMO, Vengreso
Presenting: Why You Need Content for Effective Sales Enablement

Viveka Von Rosen @LinkedInExpert
Chief Visibility Officer, Vengreso
Presenting: A Whole New World – Reanimating your Desiccated Company Page on LinkedIn: Building Your Brand, Encouraging Employee Advocacy and Inviting Engagement with LinkedIn Pages.

Ann Handley @MarketingProfs
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Presenting: What Do We Want? CONTENT. When Do We Want It? ASAP. Your Strategic Approach to Sane + Sustainable Success

Erika Heald @SFerika
Consultant, Erika Heald Consulting
Presenting: Community Rx: The Proper Care and Feeding for a Highly Successful Online Community
Presenting: How to Define and Document Your Brand Voice

Dennis Shiao @dshiao
Marketing Consultant, Dennis Shiao Consulting
Presenting: Community Rx: The Proper Care and Feeding for a Highly Successful Online Community

Drew McLellan @DrewMcLellan
Ad Agency Owner & Consultant, Agency Management Institute
Presenting: Agency Edge 2019: How and Why Clients Around the World Choose Their Agencies

Robert Rose @Robert_Rose
Chief Strategy Advisor, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Welcome to Content Marketing World 2019
Presenting: Content Marketing Strategy For Agencies – How To Create, As Well as Deliver, Content Marketing Strategy To Clients
Presenting: Technology Forum

A. Lee Judge @ALeeJudge
Global Digital Marketing Manager, Hexagon Geosystems
Presenting: Content Marketing for the Robots (Search Engine Marketing)

Andrea Fryrear @AndreaFryrear
President and Lead Trainer, AgileSherpas
Presenting: Failure is Feedback: How to Succeed at Agile Marketing by NOT Doing These Things

Andrew Pickering & Pete Gartland @AndrewAndPete
Co-Founders, Andrew and Pete
Presenting: The Secret Rule for Getting Massive Content Marketing Results in a Fraction of the Time

Katie Martell @KatieMartell
Executive Director, Boston Content
Presenting: Trust Fail: How Brands Can Earn Back the Trust of Skeptical Buyers

Tom Martin @TomMartin
President, Converse Digital
Presenting: Turning Conversations Into Customers

Jay Acunzo @jayacunzo
Founder, Marketing Showrunners
Presenting: Creativity Impossible: How to Avoid Stagnation and Consistently Exceed Expectations

Juntae DeLane @JuntaeDeLane
Founder, Ditgital Branding Institute
Presenting: Why Your Brand Works In The “Real World” But Fails When Online

Cathy McPhillips @cmcphillips
Vice President of Marketing, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Getting the Most From CMWorld 2019

George Stenitzer @GeorgeStenitzer
Founder & Chief Content Officer, Crystal Clear Communications
Presenting: How to Use AI to Unlock Secrets Inside Questions

Matt Heinz @HeinzMarketing
President, Heinz Marketing Inc
Presenting: Customer Engagement Benchmarks: How Today’s Top B2B Brands Increase Action, Intimacy, Conversion & Loyalty

Scott Monty @ScottMonty
CEO & Principal, Scott Monty Strategies
Presenting: Curate Your Way to More Subscribers

Kristina Halvorson @halvorson
CEO, Brain Traffic
Presenting: How to Conquer Content Chaos

Donna Moritz @SociallySorted
Visual Content Strategist & Founder, Socially Sorted
Presenting: Travel/Tourism/Hospitality Forum – The World’s Biggest Visual Content Team: How to Leverage Key Visual Storytellers, Strategies and Tools to Better Manage and Share Your Destination Experiences

Kathy Klotz-Guest @kathyklotzguest
Founder, Keeping It Human
Presenting: 185 Comics Walk into a Storytelling Bar…

Tom Augenthaler @taugenthaler
Consultant, 551 Media LLC
Presenting: What the … Influencer Marketing!

Amy Higgins @amywhiggins
Content Strategist, Salesforce
Presenting: Charting the Course to a Career in Content Marketing

Joe Lazauskas @JoeLazauskas
Head of Marketing, Contently
Presenting: The Content Marketer of the Future: 5 Big Traits You Need to Thrive in the Coming Marketing Revolution

Aaron Orendorff @AaronOrendorff
Founder, iconiContent
Presenting: How Connecting Content and Commerce Is the Future (And Can Drive 1,447% B2C Growth)

Arnie Kuenn @ArnieK
Founder & CEO, Vertical Measures
Presenting: Should You Fire Your Chief Marketing Officer? My Farewell Gift Learned From 13+ Years of Being CEO of a Digital Agency

Leslie Carruthers @LeslieCarruther
President, The Search Guru
Presenting: Retail & eCommerce Forum

Berrak Sarikaya @BerrakBiz
Integrated Marketing Specialist, Yesler
Presenting: So You Think You Want to Start an Online Community? What to Know Before You Open the Doors

Joe Pulizzi @JoePulizzi
Founder, Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Getting the Most From CMWorld 2019
Presenting: Keynote – MKTG 2030

Ardath Albee @ardath421
CEO, Marketing Interactions, Inc.
Presenting: Personalization that Drives Profitable Engagement: Activate, Don’t Alienate

Andrew Davis @DrewDavisHere
Author, Brandscaping & Town, INC.
Presenting: Loyalty Loop: How Small Content Adds Up to Big Business
Presenting: Video Marketing Makeover: Transforming Boring Case Studies and Testimonials Into Stories That Inspire Action

Ashley Zeckman @azeckman
Senior Director of Agency Marketing, TopRank Marketing
Presenting: Guardians of Content Vol 1: How to Scale B2B Influencer Content to Save the Galaxy

Amber Naslund @AmberCadabra
Senior Content Marketing Evangelist, LinkedIn
Presenting: Disrupting Thought Leadership: What It Really Takes To Create a Personal Content Platform That Works

Ian Cleary @IanCleary
Founder, RazorSocial
Presenting: A Strategic Step-By-Step Approach to Drive More Traffic and Conversions From Your Existing Content
Presenting: Content Optimization & Distribution Strategies

Amy Balliett @AmyBalliett
Founder and CEO, Killer Visual Strategies
Presenting: How to Achieve a 70% Conversion Rate Using Interactive Content

John Hall @johnhall
Co-Founder and President, Calendar.com
Presenting: Maximize Your Time To Focus On What’s Most Important For Your Company’s ROI

Buddy Scalera @BuddyScalera
Associate Director, Social Media Safeguarding and Solutions, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Company
Presenting: We Can Do Better: How to Be a More Effective Marketing Professional

Marcus Sheridan @TheSalesLion
Keynote Speaker, Author and Partner, IMPACT
Presenting: The Perfect Content Marketing Organization: 7 Essential Qualities of the World’s Most Successful Content Marketing Companies

Amanda Todorovich @amandatodo
Content Marketing Director, Cleveland Clinic
Presenting: How to Transform Your Corporate Blog into an Owned MEDIA Platform
Presenting: #CMWorld Cleveland Clinic Health Summit

Spread the Content Marketing Wisdom & Love

Statistical analysis, no matter how deep and well-researched, can only go so far in finding the people who you’ll find 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 and boosting your content marketing fitness, you’re in luck! Both our CEO Lee Odden and senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman will be presenting at Content Marketing World on the topics. Here are the details:

Tuesday, September 3th – 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Workshop with Lee Odden & Amisha Gandhi, vice president of influencer marketing and communications at SAP Ariba
How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Program That Actually Works

Wednesday, September 4th – 2:00pm – 2:45pm
Solo Presentation with Lee Odden
Content Marketing Fitness – 10 Exercises to Build Your Marketing Beach Body

Friday, September 6th – 8:00am – 8:45am
Solo Presentation with Ashley Zeckman
Guardians of Content Vol 1: How to Scale B2B Influencer Content to Save the Galaxy

Along with our TopRank Marketing teammates Kelly Hogan, Susan Misukanis, and Joshua Nite, we hope to see you at the Content Marketing World conference. Check out what we’re looking forward to most at CMWorld and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @toprank for real time updates during the conference and this blog for live-blogging coverage of select presentations.

16 Can’t-Miss Acts at the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth: #CMWorld 2019

Can't Miss Acts at CMWorld 2019

Come one! Come all! Come several! Come few! 

Step right up! Don’t be shy! You there in the back, with the funny hat, step right up! You over there with the earrings and the weird mustache, come on in! There’s room for everyone under the Big Top, and it’s time for the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth!

That’s right, Content Marketing World is mere days away. There is no more exciting place for a content marketer to be next week than Cleveland, OH(sure, it would be great if it were in Hawaii next year, but Cleveland is not without its charms). There’s a lot to look forward to: The opening night festivities! The keynotes! The sessions! The potential to see amazing marketing geniuses do bad karaoke!

If you’re headed to the big show, you have some tough decisions to make. There’s no way to see every must-see session live — there are 120 over just three days. But we’re here to help. Here’s our list of sessions we’re particularly excited to see. Use it to help guide your schedule-setting.

16 Can’t-Miss Sessions at Content Marketing World 2019

#1: How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Program that Actually Works

Speaker(s): Lee Odden and Amisha Gandhi

Time: 9/3, 1:00 p.m.

Lee is the CEO of TopRank Marketing (maybe you’ve heard of him), but editorial bias aside, he’s well-recognized as a leading authority on B2B influencer marketing. Lee is doing for influencer marketing what Joe Pulizzi did for content: Turning it into a disciplined marketing strategy that gets results. 

Amisha is the founder of the SAP* Global Influencer Program, responsible for creating and maintaining influencer relationships for a Fortune 500 brand, another pioneer in the B2B influencer marketing space. 

Put them together and what have you got? An intense working session that will equip you with plenty of practical experience to apply to your own program.

#2: Keynote: MKTG 2030

Joe PulizziSpeaker: Joe Pulizzi

Time: 9/4, 8:15 a.m.

Going to Content Marketing World and missing Joe’s keynote would be like going to the Vatican and missing the Pope. Joe continues to be one of the guiding voices of content marketing. He’s sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes controversial, sometimes downright shocking — but he’s never boring.

#3: 3 Cs To Drive Your B(rand): Putting The Focus On Content, Customer, And Culture

Speaker: Maliha Aqeel

Time: 9/4, 10:15 a.m.

Customers are demanding consistent, and consistently exceptional, brand experiences. To meet that demand, marketers must step out of their comfort zone and work alongside sales, customer service, and customer experience. Maliha Aqeel has been working to build a holistic brand model at Ernst and Young, and her insights here are sure to inspire.

#4: Find Your Brand Voice And Connect With Your Customers

Speaker: Dipanjan Chatterjee

Time: 9/4, 10:15 a.m.

Here’s your first difficult choice: Forrester Vice President Dipanjan Chatterjee is presenting his company’s research on marketing for voice interaction at the same time as Maliha’s presentation. If your organization is exploring the potential of voice search and smart assistants, this is definitely a can’t-miss session. Pick the one most relevant to your current needs, and catch the other one on the replay.

#5: From Nontent To Content: Why Social Innovation Is The Future Of Winning At Relevance

Carlos AblerSpeaker: Carlos Abler

Time: 9/4, 11:20 a.m.

We’ve followed Carlos’ emergence as a content marketing thought leader for the last few years, as he’s gone from up-and-comer to sought-after public speaker. His work with 3M* has been consistently excellent.  This session seeks to turn content marketers into “social entrepreneurs” to deliver hyper-relevant content.

#6: Content Marketing Fitness – 10 Exercises to Build Your Marketing Beach Body

Lee OddenSpeaker: Lee Odden

Time: 9/4, 2:00 p.m.

 I may not be the most physically fit guy in the world, but my content marketing strategy is totally buff. It’s all thanks to Lee’s content marketing fitness regimen: It’s all about trimming the fat, getting back to basics, and avoiding the temptation of new shiny objects. This session will help you ditch your content marketing bad habits and become a lean, mean, ROI machine.

#7: What Do We Want? Content. When Do We Want It? Asap. Your Strategic Approach To Sane + Sustainable Success

Ann HandleySpeaker: Ann Handley

Time: 9/4, 3:05 p.m.

Ann Handley is a brand unto herself. Her name is synonymous with entertaining, high-quality, educational content. Just read the description for her session for a preview of how charismatic, relatable and knowledgeable she is. Just as you should never miss a chance to hear Lee Odden talk about influencers, you should never miss Ann Handley talking about content creation.

#8: Building A Business Case For Marketing Technology

Speaker: Zari Venhaus

Time: 9/5, 10:15 a.m.

Personalized content marketing at scale: That’s the dream. Martech is the only way we’re going to make that dream a reality. And until we have unlimited budgets, we’ll have to justify the expense of all that shiny new tech. As the Corporate Marketing Communications Director at Eaton, Zari has plenty of experience to bring to what promises to be a practical, tactical session.

#9: Diversity In Marketing Using Artificial Intelligence

Speaker: Robbee Minicola

Time: 9/5, 10:15 a.m.

Robbee is the Senior Director at Microsoft, so she’s bound to have the inside track on what’s happening with artificial intelligence. The idea of using AI for good — promoting diversity and inclusion in content, overcoming natural human biases — is particularly exciting to me. 

#10: Empathetic Content: The Key To Creating Lasting B2b Customer Relationships

Speaker(s): April Henderson and Laura Ramos

Time: 9/5, 11:20 a.m.

Data nerds, rejoice: April and Laura from Forrester Research are here to bring their insights about the evolving nature of B2B consumers. This session promises to teach five data-driven best practices in creating more empathetic content.

#11: Walking The Tightrope: Architecting Teams To Deliver Consistently Innovative Content Marketing Results

Carla JohnsonSpeaker: Carla Johnson

Time: 9/5, 11:20 a.m.

If you’re in charge of a marketing team, this session is essential. Carla is a keynote speaker and an experienced practicing CMO who has worked with dozens of innovative brands. She’s had to take diverse groups and turn them into productive teams over and over again throughout her career. She’s sure to have fresh insights to help your team be more productive.

#12: Don’t Let Them Scare You, A Machine Can’t Do Marketing

Speaker: Tameka Vasquez

Time: 9/5, 12:20 p.m.

Will AI replace content marketers? What skills should we be developing to survive and thrive as technology takes over? Are we freaking out a little too much? Tameka, Assistant VP of Marketing at Genpact, promises a refreshing new take on what machines mean to marketing. 

#13: What the…Influencer Marketing!

Speaker(s): Amisha Gandhi, Tom Augenthaler

Time: 9/5, 12:20 p.m.

This session brings together an accomplished brand practitioner (Amisha Gandhi from SAP*), and a B2B Influencer Marketing consultant with a proven track record in the field. If you’re just getting started with influencer marketing, or looking to level up to a more strategic, long-term program, this is the session for you.

#14: Disrupting Thought Leadership: What It Really Takes to Create a Personal Content Platform that Works

Speaker: Amber Naslund

Time: 9/5, 1:45 p.m.

In a way, personal thought leadership is just content marketing with yourself as the client. Amber Naslund of LinkedIn* has been instrumental in developing the social media site as a platform for thought leadership. Their forays into long-form social and personal publishing have set a new standard for the industry. This session will help you choose the right topics, develop your personal voice, and distribute your content where it will get seen.

#15: Ushering In The Era Of Integrated Marketing: How (and Why) Content Teams Can Drive Organizational Transformation

Speaker: Shafqat Islam

Time: 9/5, 1:45 p.m.

Already comfortable with your personal thought leadership? Attend this 1:45 session and start thinking bigger about marketing’s role in your larger organization. As I said, businesses are starting to take a more holistic approach to marketing/sales/customer experience, and someone needs to drive the bus. This session promises practical advice on reforming your teams to meet the challenge.

#16: Guardians Of Content Vol 1: How To Scale B2b Influencer Content To Save The Galaxy

Speaker: Ashley Zeckman

Time: 9/6, 8:00 a.m.

You’ll hear a lot about personalized, more relevant content throughout your Content Marketing World experience. TopRank Marketing’s own Ashley Zeckman offers one of the best ways to create that next-level content: Ongoing B2B influencer marketing at scale. Learn what brands like Dell* and Adobe* already know: How to co-create amazing content with influencers regardless of your industry or vertical.

See You Under the Big Top

The TopRank Marketing crew have brought you the best of #CMWorld for five years running, and we’re ready to bring the noise this year, too. We hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it, we have you covered. Look forward to liveblogs, tweetstorms, tons of takeaways and dozens of selfies. Subscribe now to stay up-to-date on Content Marketing World and beyond.

*Disclosure: SAP, 3M, LinkedIn, Dell, and Adobe are TopRank Marketing clients.

Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Have you been to a stadium concert lately? The big ones touring the country tend to pull out all the stops. It’s not just a singer on stage — they are usually supported by a giant jumbotron as backdrop providing flashy visuals, along with fog machines, laser lights, platforms rising out of the ground, special guest cameos… the works. 

Why is this? Because the bar has been raised. When fans plunk down the big bucks for tickets to see Drake or Carrie Underwood or The Rolling Stones, they expect more than seeing their favorite artists performing on stage. They expect an unforgettable experience that stirs all the senses.

via GIPHY

In content marketing, we see a continuing shift toward delivering full-on experiences. This emerging focus is evident in the steady growth of the term “content experience” in Google Trends over the past 10 years, and is now reaching a fever pitch as technology enables unprecedented sparkle and scintillation, while the shortening attention spans of our audience demand it. 

The theme for this year’s Content Marketing World extravaganza, as well as our interactive preview and the series of blog posts wrapping up today, all lead back to this crucial edict: elevating experiences and wowing the crowd. The good news is that there are endless ways to creatively approach this initiative, and today we’ll draw inspiration from CMWorld speakers who will be taking the stage next week in Cleveland to offer up some memorable experiences of their own.

The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth

3 Expert Tips on Stepping Up the Content Experience

#1 – Create Serial Content

It’s tempting to think about high-caliber content experiences in terms of pageantry and spectacle, but there are many simpler elements at play. Your audience wants content that it can contextualize, compartmentalize, and reliably look forward to. There’s a reason that almost every big Hollywood release these days is a spin-off, sequel, or reboot — viewers thrive on familiarity. For this reason, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert says serial content, steeped in quality and consistency, is a must.

“This aids in recognition and findability and taps into the truism that multiple exposures are often needed to drive behavior,” Jay explains. And he says another key is making this serial content as easy as possible for your audience to get to.

Ask yourself how your information and insights can be accessed with a minimum amount of effort or hassle for the consumer. – @jaybaer on minimizing content friction #CMWorld Click To Tweet

There are any number of ways to serialize your content. Maybe it’s breaking a big idea up into a series of blog posts, dissecting various components. Maybe it’s a run of videos mirroring the format of a TV season. And of course, podcasts are gaining fast popularity as an inherently serial form of content. 

At TopRank Marketing, we’re all about serial content. You can reliably find our Digital Marketing News roundups (both blog and video) every Friday. Recently we’ve been running a Trust Factors series, examining the vital topic of trust in marketing from various angles. And in fact, you’re reading the final installment of a four-part series right now! Check out the previous “Wow Your Crowd” entries below: 

#2 – Use Tools and Technology Thoughtfully

There are so many eye-catching technologies out there offering new ways to package and deliver content. But don’t be blinded by bells and whistles. Add-ons like interactivity only make sense if they actually serve a meaningful purpose. 

“The key for brands is to not just pursue these programs for the sake of doing it, or to ‘be cool,’ but to have a clear purpose and value-add,” says SAP’s Amisha Gandhi

For example, when scrolling through the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth experience created by TopRank Marketing and Content Marketing Institute, you’ll be able to play games like shoot-the-duck and bop-the-clown. But these interactive gamification elements weren’t just thrown in for the heck of it; they’re meant to play up the midway/carnival vibes of the asset (and this year’s CMWorld conference).

A memorable experience goes a long way. – @AmishaGandhi on raising the bar for content experiences #CMWorld Click To Tweet

#3 – Measure and Optimize

The trouble with all this talk about content experiences is that they can feel difficult to quantify and report on. I mean, how do you measure audience delight? What is the ROI of someone grinning with glee while bopping clowns on their browser?

To some degree, the benefits of a great experience are intangible, at least in the short-term. But we can still measure the impact by connecting consumption metrics with bottom-line results. 

“I think of content marketing metrics in two dimensions: Business outcomes (how content is contributing to the business) and engagement metrics (a proxy for how much the target audience likes the content),” says Chris White of Capital One. 

He breaks them down like this: 

Engagement Metrics: 

  • Views
  • Total view time
  • View-through-rate
  • Percent of target audience (in relation to total viewers)
  • Comments
  • Likes/Reactions
  • Scroll depth
  • Pages-per-session
  • Bounce rate 
  • Time-on-site

Business Outcomes

  • Brand awareness/consideration
  • Remarketing audience size
  • Web traffic
  • Conversions
  • Customer behavior (e.g., retention, adoption rate, referrals, etc.)  

If you’re getting it right with customer experiences, you’ll see growth across all of these metrics over time. From our view at TopRank Marketing, engagement metrics and business outcomes (or proof of ROI) are among the seven essential elements for content marketing performance dashboard. Also included: benchmarks, goals, real-time KPI monitoring, traffic trends, and breakdowns by topic/persona.

Every initiative is paired with a specific business outcome to evaluate performance. Although we keep tabs on engagement metrics, they do not dictate success by themselves. – Chris White of @CapitalOne on measuring content performance Click To Tweet

Experience Is Your Content Differentiator

Turn content experience into your competitive advantage. Create things that amaze your audience and leave them yearning for more. Utilize new trends and tech when appropriate to elevate your content. And, at all times, validate your efforts by measuring the right things and letting your customers dictate your direction.

Is it silly to think about content marketing on the same terms as stadium concerts? I’d say it’s silly not to. 

We’re counting down the days until the grand experience unfolds at Content Marketing World 2019 on Sept. 3, 2019 in Cleveland. Before then, you can find plenty more guidance on taking your programs to the next level in our interactive experience, The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth.

Content Marketing Interview: Margaret Magnarelli on Applying Journalistic Integrity to Content Strategy #CMWorld

Margaret Magnarelli Interview

Content marketers come from all sorts of different backgrounds, with each bringing its own distinct and valuable perspective. Recently we shared our chat with Andrew Davis, whose history in television inspires him to think like a TV executive when strategizing his content. Today we’re highlighting the insights of Margaret Magnarelli, whose ingrained journalistic mindset fuels a commitment to putting her audience — and their trust — above all else. 

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley as Executive Director for Audience Acquisition and Growth Marketing, Margaret served as Vice President of Marketing for Monster, and before that she spent nearly a decade on the editorial staff at Money Magazine, rising from Senior Editor to Assistant Managing Editor to Executive Editor.

Through this experience, she has developed a keen sense of duty to her audience. She knows that trust is hard-earned and easily lost (or: gained in drops, lost in buckets). This is a central tenet of faithful journalists everywhere. I can attest as a fellow j-school grad: this field holds truth and accuracy as sacred ideals. 

At Content Marketing World 2019, Margaret will speak on The Power of Trust: How to Build Credibility with Customers — and Convince Them to Buy. Ahead of her session, she starred in TopRank Marketing and CMI’s CMWorld preview experience, where she declares that in order to put on an unforgettable show for your audience, “Trust is your ticket to admission, and therefore needs to be treated as a main event.”

In an expanded interview with us, Margaret expands on her enlightened viewpoints as they apply to building trust, being mindful of word counts, balancing facts versus feelings, and much more.

Margaret Magnarelli on Putting Your Audience First

1. Congrats on your recent move to a new position! What does your role as Executive Director for Audience Acquisition and Growth Marketing at Morgan Stanley entail?

Thank you! My job focuses on the development of audience using organic channels. I oversee the firm’s social media and SEO strategies, as well as managing projects that help us optimize conversion rates. Basically, I’m thinking about how we introduce new people to our brand, and how we direct those people to the services that will help them. 

The backbone of all of this is content that exemplifies Morgan Stanley’s core values: leading with exceptional ideas, giving back, putting clients first, and doing the right thing. These values are the framework for how we serve consumer and institutional clients. I was drawn to the firm because of its focus on relationships as customer experience, its emphasis on content as a driver of marketing, and its commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy.  

While my background prior to this job was content development and strategy, I took this role sitting alongside content creation—and an incredible content team—because I wanted to dig  deeper into the audience aspects of marketing. After all, you can have the best product to sell and best creative to sell it with, but if you’re not reaching the right audience you aren’t going to be effective.

2. You have a background in journalism. How does this experience influence your views on the importance of trust in content marketing?

I’m definitely predisposed to care about trust from my j-school training. As a journalist, you have a duty to be responsible to your audience—to seek out the most objective truth that is possible and to present an accurate representation of what you learn. I feel that same obligation to my audiences as a marketer. In other words, I think I have a more customer-centric approach because that’s how I was trained in journalism. 

Another thing: Journalistic writing requires proof points, whether that’s supporting statistics, expert quotes or telling anecdotes. These same proof points are needed in marketing to support the brand-forward, top-funnel storytelling you need to do to attract initial attention. Immediately after you’ve established contact, you need evidence to show that you have the capability to do what you say you can do; otherwise it’s just fluff.

Journalistic writing requires proof points, whether that’s supporting statistics, expert quotes or telling anecdotes. These same proof points are needed in marketing. @mmagnarelli Click To Tweet

3. What other lessons from serving in a magazine editorial role are applicable to your current content focus?

I believe every word counts. You can say the same thing 1,000 different ways, and each one will convey something different to the audience. Simple word choice changes seriously impact perception. So how do you choose? Some of that is gut—“does this feel like our brand?” and “how do we take the way we talk to customers in real life and translate that to digital experience?”—and some is science, like A/B testing language on a conversion module. You can take conversion as a kind of measure of trust. 

4. What are some of the biggest credibility-killers you come across when consuming marketing content?

There’s still a lot of marketing content out there that’s basically “why we want to sell you this thing” rather than “how we can help you solve a problem with what we sell.” 

Social science indicates that benevolence is a key aspect of trust. Does your content show your audience that you understand their problem and that you have their best interests in mind? This isn’t a heavy lift to incorporate into content—simply acknowledging and validating the problem in your work can go a long way. It’s not hard but you don’t see it done as much as it could be.

In addition, I am not a huge fan of marketing that’s 100% about building a feeling. Today’s consumers are smarter than that. Millennials in particular are a skeptical audience; they can see through the pretty pictures and snarky marketing copy. By all means, take them to an emotional place (aspiration, inspiration, hope, connection, etc.) if that’s right for your brand—but make sure you give them the evidence they need to know that you’re the right choice, that your products work. Show data from independent product studies, include customer reviews, mention third-party awards, share like-customer success stories, offer the option of product walkthroughs.

5. Conversely, what are some tactics and techniques you view as most successful for building customer trust (especially during early engagements)?

Back to the Millennial and Gen Z consumers: All the research shows that they’re looking for brands that align with their values. So transparency is super important. The three main opportunities for transparency are price, process, and provenance. What can you tell your customers about why your services are priced as they are, about how your products were made, and about where they come from?

The three main opportunities for transparency are price, process, and provenance. @mmagnarelli Click To Tweet

6. Which digital channels do you recommend prioritizing when it comes to cultivating a credible and authentic brand?

All of them! I think your brand needs to come off as credible consistently for people to trust you. In fact, inconsistency across channels can erode trust, because it may look like you’re saying one thing in one space and something else in another. That said, a good rule of thumb is that the more intimate the medium, the more trust is at stake. Where someone is signing up for an email newsletter from you—where they’ve given up their email address—they expect more from you than they would seeing your content broadcast on a social channel. They expect a value exchange, and whether they get what they thought they would get impacts trust. 

I also think the content created for organic search is another key area, since you have the opportunity to attract someone from a side door with a specific intent and zero brand awareness; your answer to their question will have a big impact on whether you can be trusted on more consequential matters. [Editor’s Note: We couldn’t agree more!]

7. Which speakers and/or sessions are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Content Marketing World?

You can basically throw a dart at the CMWorld schedule and have an educational and inspirational experience! I’m excited to see old friends and favorites who are too many to name, but I am also going to focus more on SEO and conversion topics this year. Among the ones I hope to attend: Mark Zimmerman from PublicisSapient on SEO and voice, Christopher White from Capital One since it’s a similar financial space, Val Geisler on reducing audience churn, Dennis Shiao on building community, Adam Constantine from Pace on creating compelling social creative, Katie Tweedy on evolving search landscape, Eli Schwartz on growth experimentation, Wally Koval on creating an audience for @accidentallyweanderson. 

Change is the only constant in content marketing, and you’ve got to have a growth mindset to continue besting your own results. I also believe in a teaching mindset, as a way of paying it forward for all I’ve learned from others. I know there are tons of people in the audience at CMWorld who have even better ideas than I do, and I hope to see some of them on the stage next year. If you’ve seen results, you have something to share with your peers. Don’t be shy. Your community needs to hear from you!

Change is the only constant in content marketing, and you’ve got to have a growth mindset to continue besting your own results. @mmagnarelli Click To Tweet

Step Right Up and Be Amazed!

We’re looking forward to seeing Margaret take the stage on September 4th at CMWorld 2019, where she’ll drive home the power of trust in today’s content marketing landscape. 

As we count down the days to the big show, you can get your fill of awesome content marketing insights — from Margaret and many other speakers — by gaining free admission to The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth!

#CMWorld 2019 Interview: Andrew Davis on Showing, Not Telling

One of the most fundamental requirements for content marketing is also one that unfortunately tends to get overlooked most: It needs to be entertaining. As marketers, we can get so caught up in conversions and funnels and business outcomes that we lose sight of this imperative. If your content doesn’t hook someone and draw them in, it isn’t going to accomplish anything. 

Andrew Davis is someone who doesn’t need to be reminded of this because he launched his career in the entertainment industry. Now a cherished keynote speaker and best-selling author, Andrew got his start as a program producer for WABU-TV, a local station in Boston. He later served as Workshop Production Manager for the Jim Henson Company, helping out with brands like The Muppets and Sesame Street.

With this background, Andrew offers a helpful perspective for content marketers who want to reconnect with their most essential objective. The theme of this year’s Content Marketing World event (and the new interactive experience courtesy of TopRank Marketing and CMI, featuring insights from Andrew and many others) is putting on a grand show under the big-top tent. It’s a hearty reminder that dazzling audiences should always be our utmost priority.

To do so, Andrew recommends thinking like a television executive, developing unique twists, searching for moments of inspiration, and making appointments with your audience. Read on to learn how you can compel folks to tune in and take action by showing, not telling.

Andrew Davis Shares on Video Marketing and More

1) You’ve got a history of working in entertainment and television. What techniques and philosophies do you carry over from that experience as a content marketer?

Everything I know about content marketing I learned in the television business. There are a few key areas where this comes into play when you’re creating content.

Number one is to think like a television executive. The reason I say that is television execs always think audience-first. They want to create content that is so valuable the audience falls in love with it, and as a result, they can sell stuff. In the television world, they sell time and space in their programming and are hoping to inspire people to buy something they didn’t know they needed. So as long as you’re thinking audience-first, and how you can add value to their lives by creating content that they fall in love with, you’re thinking like a TV executive.

The second thing is to make an appointment with your audience. I truly believe you should set a specific time and day in the mind of your audience as far as when you’re going to deliver your content. That doesn’t mean they can’t listen to it or watch it or read it on-demand at any time, but making an appointment with your audience and releasing it at a time in their lives that your content is going to be more relevant is going to make a big impact on your marketing, just as a television executive picks the right time for a show. 

The third thing is to build a format. A format is basically an outline for your content. People fall in love with a television show in the following order: they fall in love with the format, then the hook, then the talent. So number one, you need to deliver the same kind of content every week consistently, just like a television show. You can’t be all over the map and have a different format, because people enjoy consistency. The next one is a hook. A hook is just a simple twist on a familiar theme, designed to trap or ensnare your audience, and that’s something I definitely learned in television. An easy example of that is a mash-up. Like if you were selling software, your hook might be “Mythbusters for Software” or something like that. And the next one is using talent. We live in a social-driven world, and your brand has to have a person attached to it that we can fall in love with. All the most successful content plays have a person who delivers the content so we fall in love with that person. That’s a really important piece.

At the end of the day, thinking like a television executive is all about using valuable content that can increase demand for the products and services we sell using an audience-first approach. @drewdavishere Click To Tweet

2) Video marketing is a  clear passion of yours. What do you see as the biggest areas where practitioners are currently missing the mark with this medium?

Most importantly, video is a “show-me” medium. This means you have to show me instead of tell me. So if you’re shooting a talking-head video, you need to add some B-roll to it. B-roll is the second track — the stuff I see while you’re talking. That’s a really important piece of the puzzle that I think people miss. If you’re going to create video you need to show me something, don’t just talk to the camera. If you’re going to do that, you might as well just use audio, right? You don’t need video for it. Shooting a lot of B-roll is really helpful.

The other thing is speaking in the present tense as much as possible. A lot of people tell stories in the past tense, but we all have the ability to shoot video as things are happening, so shoot in the present tense as much as possible.

The last thing I’ll say is that in general, talking-head videos are boring. So challenge yourself to create something that’s unique, that isn’t just a talking head, and really start thinking about what it might look like if it wasn’t just a person talking in an interview.

If you’re going to create a video you need to show me something, don’t just talk to the camera. @drewdavishere Click To Tweet

3) For an organization that’s just getting started with video, what is the one single thing to prioritize above all else? Is there an example that comes to mind of great brand content getting this right?

You have to shoot with what you’ve got. The technology can get in the way of creating great video. You can always upgrade your equipment — people always want the best camera to start with, and they want the best microphone and the best lighting. That stuff is great, and you eventually should get there. But the key is to start thinking like a television executive or an editor, and just start shooting with your phone. Don’t just shoot yourself, shoot the B-roll and then try to edit the B-roll into your video.

Even if you’re just making something for Instagram, you can shoot on your phone and then edit with some very simple tools so that you’re actually understanding what it’s like to show instead of tell. 

As far as a brand that gets this kind of content right, one example I give a lot is the testimonial for a weight loss program created by the wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. It’s called Vance’s 365-Day Transformation and it’s all shot on an iPhone essentially, except for a few pieces. It’s all shot in the present tense and it’s just really well put together. Take a look at that video and I challenge you not to watch the whole thing.

4) Can you give a practical example — real or theoretical — of your “Loyalty Loop” concept being applied in a content strategy? 

My favorite example is the story of Jenny Doan, who runs the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Let’s start with her moment of commitment, because when you’re creating a content platform, the goal is to get people to subscribe to the content you’re creating. Instead of just sending out an email newsletter, we’ve got to give them value each and every week that’s designed to create a new moment of inspiration, to trigger a new question in their mind where we’re the prime brand. 

What Jenny Doan does is every single week she creates a new quick quilting tutorial on her YouTube channel, and invites people to subscribe not just through YouTube, but to her email list. Every one of those videos is designed to inspire someone to make a new quick quilt. And as a result, they say, “Oh, I want to make that quilt.” That’s a moment of inspiration. Their trigger question might be, “Where can I get the fabric and pre-cut pieces to make that?” The prime brand for that is Missouri Star Quilt Company, so they go right back to Jenny Doan’s company and buy again.

The key is not to try to interrupt active evaluation, but to create content that gets someone to commit to the brand, using one piece of data like an email address, or two pieces of data like an email and first name, so you can create moments of inspiration in their lives.

5) As visual content and multimedia continue to take over, writers might be feeling a little undervalued. In which ways will copywriting and the written word remain vital to delighting audiences?

The video content you create should actually be written, so… write it! It needs to be a little different than if you’re writing a blog post or an email — it needs to be written as you speak. So if you’re a writer and you’re feeling undervalued, challenge yourself to start writing video. The most important thing is, when you’re writing a video, read it out loud. If you’re using words or sentence structure that you wouldn’t use in conversations, you’re all of a sudden not writing for speaking. So write it. I write all my videos and I really enjoy it, by the way.

One technique I like is using a lot of ellipses so you’re actually writing as you’d speak. End thoughts with a next thought instead of just a period. It’ll be much better, it’ll be more clear, and it’ll be smarter. 

But listen, if you’re a writer and you’re feeling undervalued you’re probably missing the biggest opportunity to build real relationships with people and that’s through email. An email is a text-driven medium that’s interpersonal, and if you focus on your email writing — making it personal and creating that moment of inspiration for one person on your list — you’re going to start improving your writing and growing the impact you can make. Even if it’s to get someone to watch a video, you need to write a better email. Writers are not going away. In fact, if you can just expand your skillset and focus on moments of inspiration as your writing goal, whether it’s for video or audio or text, you’re going to make a big impact.

The most important thing is, when you’re writing a video, read it out loud. @drewdavishere Click To Tweet

6) When done well, testimonial videos and case studies are among the most compelling, persuasive lower-funnel content assets. What do you see as the most essential elements of an effective one?

Firstly, I don’t like to use the word “funnel.” I’m all about Loyalty Loops. But the most glaringly missing object in almost every testimonial video is drama. There is no drama. It’s all about the client or customer you’ve served, and it always starts with an introduction of who they are. Look, people don’t care. They want to feel the tension and the drama in solving a problem that they can identify with. So the most important thing you need to do when creating a really well-done testimonial is to create drama. You need to raise the stakes by showing me something that the audience wants and desires in this story, threatening it for as long as possible, and making sure the payoff you deliver matches the tension you’ve built.

The other thing is that brands are very eager to talk about themselves in the testimonial video. So usually it’ll introduce who the client was, with them saying something like, “Before I was using company/product XYZ, this was my problem.” Well people don’t want to know the solution before they’ve heard the problem and feel the tension, so people tune out immediately. You’ve got to delay the reveal of the company or the product that did it.

7) Which speakers and/or sessions are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Content Marketing World?

Oh man. This is a long list because I’ve been for the last 10 or 11 years. There’s so many great speakers it’s hard to get them all. I obviously want to see Tamsen Webster’s keynote, Scott Stratten’s keynote — they’re both fantastic speakers and I really love to watch them. I love Andrew and Pete. Can’t wait to see Jay Baer, Ann Handley, Heather Ritchie, Doug Kessler, Jay Acunzo, Marcus Sheridan, Kate O’Neill, Lee Odden… there’s a long list of people. But those kinda the top-of-mind ones that I look forward to seeing every year at Content Marketing World. 

Come in & Enjoy the Show (Preview)!

Andrew will be one of the many entertaining speakers taking the stage at Content Marketing World 2019, which kicks off on September 3rd in Cleveland. His workshop, Video Marketing Makeover: Transforming Boring Case Studies and Testimonials Into Stories That Inspire Action, will feature plenty more in-depth insight around his mantra of showing, not telling, with video content.

We hope to see you at CMWorld. But before the big event, you can prepare (and sharpen up your rubber duck hunting skills) by checking out The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth!