A Tasty, Strategic Addition to the Content Marketing Table: ‘Repurposed Content Cobbler’

Ingredients for Content Marketing Cobbler

If you didn’t know, tomorrow, May 17, is home to a very special holiday: National Cherry Cobbler Day.

I know, I know—every day seems to be home to some strange, random, or innocuous holiday these days, but this one has a special place in my heart.

via GIPHY

While my palate generally prefers more savory options, fruit cobbler is my jam. (Does that count as a pun? No? OK.) And as it turns out, not only is cobbler of all varieties deliciously satisfying to eat—but it also serves up a tasty slice of content marketing inspiration.

You see, cobbler was an innovation in both sweet and savory cooking, originating in the British American colonies. Settlers didn’t have access to suitable ingredients or equipment to make their traditional puddings and pies, so using a little creativity with what they did have, the cobbler was born.

Like America’s early settlers, content marketers need to adapt to their new, challenge-filled surroundings. From information overload to the death of organic social reach to age-old challenges such as the lack of time, budget, and internal resources, consistently creating new quality, engaging, and inspiring content is an ever-present challenge.

The good news? You likely already have a lot of the ingredients you need to create a tasty, strategic content cobbler. And the baking tactic is repurposing those ingredients into something your audience can’t resist.

Ingredient #1 – Your pantry of existing content.

If there’s one thing that every content marketer has in spades, it’s a fully stocked content pantry. From white papers and eBooks to blog posts and original or third-party research, all of that robust and niche content has the potential to be sliced, diced, and repurposed into something new and fresh.

For TopRank Marketing’s CEO Lee Odden, microcontent is one tasty repurposing ingredient.

“Snackable content can often be managed and repurposed like ingredients to create a main course,” Lee says. “On their own, short form content like quotes, tips, and statistics are useful for social network shares and as added credibility to blog posts, ebooks, and articles.”

And I have a very fitting example of both microcontent and more robust content pieces being repurposed into a tasty dish: the Mastering the Perfect Content Marketing Recipe: 30 Essential Savory & Sweet Content Ingredients eBook.

Mastering the Perfect Content Marketing Recipe eBook

In our quest to be the best answer for our audience, the TopRank Marketing team had created individual, robust blog posts on 30 unique content marketing tactics, all featuring definitions, quotes, examples, and best practices.

And as an integrated digital marketing agency, we wanted to bring all of those tactics together under one roof to give our audience a little strategic food for thought.

We plucked and tweaked the best practices content from each of the blog posts to form the meat of the asset. Then we seasoned it with microcontent—namely original and curated quotes from internal and external experts—to add additional insight and authority. Finally, we topped it off with some new, original content to add a little extra flavor.

Content Marketing Recipe for Inner Chef

Snackable content can often be managed & repurposed like ingredients to create a main course. – @leeodden #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

Ingredient #2 – Your spice cabinet of flavorful data and insights.

Herbs and spices often hold the key to unlocking the full potential of any dish or desert—and any good cook has the essentials on hand. So, when it comes to making sure your repurposed content cobbler tastes just right for your audience, it needs to be seasoned with the right data and insight.

“We live in the age of big data. Every marketer has data. Every marketer knows data holds power,” TopRank Marketing’s Annie Leuman stated in her post 5 Reasons Why B2B Content Marketing Works & 5 Reasons It Doesn’t. “And the most forward-thinking marketers are leveraging data and their practical knowledge to draw insights that can be acted upon in their marketing strategy.”

Dig into the data to draw insight on what is resonating most with your audience—as well as what’s leaving a bad taste in their mouth. Then take action on those insights as you repurpose to help improve reach, engagement, completed calls to action, and more.

When it comes to making sure your “content cobbler” tastes just right for your audience, it needs to be seasoned with the right data & insight. – @CaitlinMBurgess #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

Ingredient #3 – A drizzle of creativity and experimentation.

Cobbler was born thanks to the creativity of America’s early settlers. And the truth is, marketers, we all have unique creative insights that can be added to the repurposed content cobbler mix to create something different and relevant for our target audiences.

As I heard Jay Acunzo say during his 2016 MarketingProfs B2B Forum presentation on content marketing creativity:

“You’re the key to your creativity. You’re the starter.”

We often feel like we don’t have the tools, technology, the team, or the talent to be highly creative. But we marketers are scrappy in the content kitchen. We’re innovative. We can and have made the absolute most out of whatever resources we’re given. But the key to success here isn’t luck. You have to tinker. You have to experiment. You have to practice. This will not only help you refine your recipe, but also find opportunities to use your resources in new ways.

We #contentmarketers are scrappy in the content kitchen. We’re innovative. We can and have made the absolute most out of whatever resources we’re given. But you have to tinker. Click To Tweet

Cook Up Your Own Content Cobbler Recipe

Like early settlers, content marketers need to adapt and innovate in the ever-changing marketing landscape using the resources they have to consistently create quality, engaging, inspiring content.

So, it’s time to get to the kitchen, throw open your content pantry, data and insight spice cupboard, and add a dash of creativity and experimentation to find unique ways to repurpose content that resonates and drives value.

To get the creative juices flowing, check out our Mastering the Perfect Content Marketing Recipe: 30 Essential Savory & Sweet Content Ingredients eBook mentioned above to beef up your content marketing strategy and inspire your own recipe for repurposed content cobbler.

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Digital Marketing News: 3.3B Global Social Users, Facebook’s Loyalty Prediction AI, & More

Digital Around The World Q2 2018 Chart

Report: Social media use is increasing despite privacy fears
3.3 billion people worldwide use social media, an increase of some 100 million over the first three months of 2018, according to new report data from Hootsuite and We Are Social, despite a spate of recent privacy fears surrounding Facebook and other social companies. The Next Web

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Google posts $31.1B in total revenue, beats top- and bottom-line expectations
Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent firm, posted better than expected revenue results, with almost $27 billion in advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018, beating both Wall Street and analyst predictions and continuing year-over-year increases. MarTech Today

Facebook’s secret ‘Loyalty Prediction’ ad tool anticipates future user behavior & purchases
Advertisers using Facebook will be able to utilize an artificial intelligence (AI) service tool to anticipate user behaviors and likely purchases, according to reports citing leaked information about the firm’s loyalty prediction ad utility. Marketing Land

Study: Majority reject ads on smart speakers
Most people don’t want advertising delivered through virtual assistants, smart speakers, or voice search results, according to new survey data examining screenless searching, however nearly 40 percent of respondents were open to receiving only relevant ads. Search Engine Land

Reddit to grow its 75-person brand partnerships team by 50 percent to woo advertisers
Reddit plans to increase its brand partnership team by 50 percent in an effort to boost its brand-friendliness and attract more ad spend to the sixth most visited site globally. DigiDay

Google Confirms Algorithm Update Released on April 16th
Google has confirmed the latest of its now-routine broad core search algorithm updates designed to boost SERP quality and relevance. Search Engine Journal

Pinterest redesigns business profile pages with monthly viewer counts
Pinterest’s one million businesses will have access to monthly viewer pin counts after rolling out a revised and updated business profile page that also includes several display enhancements. Marketing Land

Ads.txt has gained adoption, but 19 percent of advertisers still haven’t heard of it
Robot.txt-like Ads.txt server-side whitelist from the Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab has made gains in recognition and implementation, yet adoption hurdles remain. DigiDay

‘You’re seeing the lightbulb go off’: Amazon’s ad business is appealing to more buyers
As marketers have shown increased interest in advertising with Amazon, the company’s ad products have become pricier, according to report data from Merkle. DigiDay

Facebook gives creators new ways to monetize videos, while pushing more users to Watch
Facebook’s Watch tab has played an increasing role in the company’s video advertising strategy, along with several recent enhancements for video creators. Marketing Land

73 percent of Internet users purchased a product or service online in the past month.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist 5 stages of data privacy grief

A lighthearted look at the five stages of data privacy grief, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Google Maps is Now Using Fast Food Locations as Reference Points — Search Engine Journal

Iconic ‘MAD’ Magazine Relaunches, ‘DCist’ Plans Return — MediaPost

Why So Many People Make Their Password ‘Dragon’ — Wired

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Interview: Lee Odden on the Rise and Success of Influencer Marketing — Brand24
  • Lee Odden — Video Interview: AQ’s Blog & Grill — AQ’s Blog & Grill YouTube
  • Lee Odden and LinkedIn (client) — Making the Case for Employee Advocacy: A Pocket Guide — LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
  • TopRank Marketing & Cherwell (client) — How to Guarantee Content Shares from Influencers — Onalytica
  • Ashley Zeckman — 82 Experts Share Their Favorite Influencer Marketing Tips to Increase Exposure — ShaneBarker.com
  • Lee Odden — Connecting in meaningful ways: What nonprofits and small businesses can learn from the YouToo Social Media Conference — DotOrgSolutions

Please join us once more next week, when we’ll share an exciting new array of the latest marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

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Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus

Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018

Social media marketers, how are you feeling? Take a minute to breathe if you need to. The last few months have been a wild ride. Fatigue, vertigo, and even a little nausea are perfectly understandable.

As I said before, social media isn’t dying, but it is changing. Marketers are used to quick changes, naturally, but it’s important to be sure we’re making the right changes. We should approach evolving our social media with the same data-driven, strategic rigor that applies to everything else we do.

The good folks at Rival IQ recently published their 2018 Social Media Benchmarking Report. The data points to some clear directions for the next evolution of social media marketing.

Here are some of the key data points – and, more importantly, what you should do about them.

#1 – Influencers Have the Highest Engagement Rate on Facebook

Facebook Engagement Benchmark 2018

The report breaks down engagement by platform and by vertical, which invites some intriguing comparisons. If you’re in the food & beverage industry, congratulations! You’re likely seeing some of the highest engagement.

If you’re not, however, there’s no need to roll out a new Cloud-Based SaaS brand of soft drink. Influencers are also hitting the top engagement rate (a whopping .24%, but more on that later).

What to Do:

TopRank Marketing has been talking about influencer marketing since before it was cool. These stats underline the importance of co-creating content with influencers who are relevant to your audience. It’s incredibly tough for brands to make a connection with organic social. Influencers can provide the person-to-person relationship that most people want out of social media interaction.

Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

#2 – More Posting Doesn’t Equal More Engagement

The highest post frequency on Facebook is in the Media vertical, with an average of over 10 posts per day. That’s an artifact of an old way of thinking about social media: Flood your page with posts and hope one or two stick. That strategy doesn’t seem to work anymore. Media has the lowest engagement rate, at .08%. Especially with Facebook, upping your posting frequency is counterproductive. The algorithm will show your posts in fewer feeds, fewer people will interact with them as a result, and you start a vicious cycle that ends up slashing your organic reach.

What to Do:

Stick to one or two posts per day, and really make them count. That’s right at the industry average, and seems to be the threshold on most platforms for how much an audience wants to see branded content. If you have ten potential posts, get ruthless: Pick the two that are most interesting, most relevant, most valuable to your audience. Then save the rest for a roundup blog post at the end of the week.

#3 – Engagement Rates Vary Widely by Platform

We tend to talk about social media as though it were a single monolithic platform. Of course we know there are differences between channels, but the report underscores just how much they can vary. The engagement rates for Instagram are above the 1% mark, with some verticals seeing over 3%:

2018 Instagram Engagement Benchmarks

2018 Twitter Benchmarks

While Twitter has an average engagement of .046%. That’s 4 hundredths of a percent, or engagement on one out of every 4,000 posts.

What to Do:

If Instagram fits your brand, and your audience is there, these stats are definitely an endorsement for hopping on the ‘gramwagon. But don’t count Twitter out completely. There is a great deal more content posted on Twitter than Instagram, and Twitter moves a lot faster. So that low engagement rate shouldn’t scare you off completely. Instead, use Twitter to boost your brand awareness, provide customer service via social media monitoring, and to engage with potential influencers.

Paid posts on Twitter can also have a powerful impact. One of our technology clients initially ruled out Twitter completely. We were able to prove they had a potential audience on Twitter and helped them run a paid program. In the end, their Twitter engagement was far higher than engagement on any other platform.

#4 – Engagement Is Low on Every Platform

More than anything, the report shows just how low the benchmarks are across the social media spectrum. If an email marketing campaign had a .046% average open rate, we would be throwing in the towel writing our resignations at the same time.

The drop in engagement makes sense, though, with how social media platforms have evolved. They used to be based on delivering all the posts the user opted into seeing. Whatever accounts the person chose to follow, that was what filled their feed.

Now every major social site is curated by algorithm. The user doesn’t control what they see, and neither do brands.

What to Do:

There are two key ways to thrive in the Age of the Algorithm. We’ve already covered the first: Start thinking of most of these channels as pay-to-play. Take your most compelling content and throw some paid promotion behind it on your highest-performing platform. Then A/B test your audience targeting until you find the sweet spot.

The second is to produce the type of content that the algorithm will promote. For Facebook and Twitter, that increasingly means native video. Facebook in particular has been explicit about their favoritism for video. Posts that match what the platform wants to promote will get a bigger initial push, which can help you get engagement, which will signal the algorithm to promote it more.

It’s also a good idea to explore the major platform that’s missing from Rival IQ’s report: LinkedIn*. The reported engagement rate on LinkedIn is .054%, lower than Facebook but higher than Twitter. However, it’s easy to more than double that benchmark with a little optimization, as this infographic from LinkedIn shows.

You can also branch out on LinkedIn by having your C-suite post their own thought leadership content on their own accounts. Personal posts are likely to get more engagement and more shares.

Stay on Your Mark and Don’t Get Benched

Social media marketing is still one of the newest marketing disciplines there is. We’re still developing best practices as the platforms continue to evolve. It’s a little like trying to build a train while you’re going 60 miles per hour down a track built on top of a pool of lime Jell-O.

These benchmarks can provide a starting point for the next iteration of your strategy. They might not speak to your specific vertical or audience, but they do highlight the broad changes taking place across social media. To make sure your train keeps rolling, focus on just a few high-quality posts per day, boosted with paid ads on your most valuable channels.

Need help mastering social media marketing? Here’s how we helped one company expand their reach.

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.

How to Survive the Social Media Midlife Crisis

Time moves faster on the internet. Last month’s memes are about as relevant as a 1920s vaudeville show. Even a bona fide viral phenomenon from just a few years ago seems quaint and dated.

Twitter and Facebook are only 12 and 14 years old, respectively. But they’re aging at internet speed. And right now they’re having a midlife crisis. Instead of buying a sports car and taking up craft brewing, though, that crisis is manifesting as existential dread and intense soul-searching.

The people who run the platforms are publicly examining their purpose and societal impact. More importantly, the people who use the platforms are asking tough questions:

What am I getting out of my time spent here?

Who is this platform structured to benefit?

Should I be trusting my data with this platform?

Is this a positive or negative thing I have let into my life?

As marketers, we have to ask ourselves the same questions. And we should add one more: Is our social media marketing valuable to our audience?

If we’re not adding value, we’re adding to the problem.

Social media is in crisis right now. But that doesn’t mean marketers should abandon ship. It means we have to do our own soul-searching. We need to take our social media accounts off of autopilot and approach them mindfully. Here’s what marketers should consider as we weather the social media midlife crisis.

How Does Your Social Media Marketing Make People Feel?

A recent Hill Holliday report found that a majority of 18-24 year olds were at least considering abandoning social media. Over a quarter said that social media hurts their self-esteem or makes them feel insecure. Thirty-five percent said there was too much negativity, and 17% said they were considering quitting because social media makes them feel bad about themselves.

Connecting with your brand on social media should make a person feel better. They should feel that your brand shares values with them, is paying attention to them, can help meet needs and solve problems.

It’s worth evaluating what your brand is posting on social to make sure it’s helping spread positivity. The old days of scaring or shaming people into buying a product are more than over. The overarching message of any brand on social media should be some variant of: “This is what we’re like. If you’re like that too, you’re awesome. Here’s some help you didn’t even know you needed. Here’s something to make your day a little brighter.”

Connecting with your brand on #socialmedia should make a person feel better. They should feel that your brand shares values with them, is paying attention to them, can help meet needs & solve problems. – @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Is Your Brand Using Social Media to Be…Well…Social?

Let’s be honest with ourselves, shall we? No one opens their Facebook app saying: “Gosh, I hope I have some satisfactory brand interactions today.” People use social media to connect with other people — you want to see if your high school best friend had her baby, check out your uncle’s kitchen remodel, or see pictures of your parents’ second honeymoon.

Most brands on social media have been pretty lousy at giving people that type of person-to-person interaction. Which explains why people are moving their conversations out of the public eye, into private groups in apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

How can brands be more social on social media? It starts with transparency and honesty. I love Wendy’s’ sassy Twitter account as much as the next jaded Gen X’er, but snark only takes you so far. Use your social media posts to introduce the people behind your brand and the values they stand for. Then aim for meaningful interaction: When someone reaches out to the brand, make sure the reply is prompt, personal, and useful.

How can brands be more social on #socialmedia? It starts with transparency & honesty. – @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Is Your Brand Connecting with People Your Audience Trusts?

At the heart of it, there’s a limit to how well your brand can connect with individual people. Even when you’re honest, transparent, and engaging, a brand is still not a human being. The relationship dynamic will always be a little strained.

That’s one of the many reasons why influencer marketing works so well. Influencers can co-create content with you and amplify it to their audience on a much more personal basis than your brand could manage on its own. Find the people your audience already follows — in other words, the ones they want to interact with. Then work with these influencers to bring their audience great content that only your brand could have helped create.

Working with influencers helps put the personal, social touch back into social media marketing. It puts the emphasis of your brand interaction where it belongs: person to person.

Working with influencers helps put the personal, social touch back into #SocialMediaMarketing. – @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

Getting Beyond the Crisis

When social media platforms first launched, most of us jumped right in. We found our high school classmates. We connected with friends from college. We added co-workers and family members and friends of friends, and we shared everything. Over time, we developed routines. Now, people are finally starting to analyze just what social media means to them. Most will keep their accounts open — but the majority will change the way they interact with the platforms.

Sound familiar? Most brands jumped headfirst into social media, developed routines, and then many of us went on autopilot. Now it’s time to question what we hope to get out of social media, and whether our tactics are getting us closer to those goals. And most importantly, making sure our goals match what our audience wants from us.

Need help with social media marketing? We have you covered.