Where Social Media and SEO Fit in Today’s Content Marketing Mix

Search Social Content Marketing

Whether your role is in search, social media, marketing communications or PR, the importance of content marketing is unmistakable.

Brand content budgets and participation are up with the vast majority of B2C and B2B marketers now using content marketing. The industry is coming together on best practices and organizations are evolving their structures to include roles like Chief Content Officer and Brand Journalist.

While there is growing synergy between search, social media and content marketing, they don’t often function collaboratively in organizations. There are also some misconceptions about what content marketing really is.

This post will dig in to some of the realities of incorporating an integrated approach that leverages the best of search, social media and content marketing, while dispelling some of the myths that keep integrated efforts apart.

Be the Best Answer

Optimized, socialized, publicized and influencer activated content is essential for reaching information hungry, multi-tasking audiences who are bombarded with new messages every day. In order for brands to be credible and prominent on the search and social web for their customers, they’ll need to understand the best of each discipline and how to put them together. SEO can deliver content-rich answers to buyers at the moment of need, and social media can provide the means to connect and engage. Both publicity and influencer relations provide credibility and reach. All rely on content to achieve success.

While many marketers will debate what comes first, content, social media or SEO, the most practical approach is to use the tactics necessary for your target audience in order to “be the best answer” wherever customers are looking.

SEO is the Condiment, Not the Sandwich

More than keywords and links, search engine optimization is an important part of the success equation when it comes to content marketing. While SEO has traditionally been able to drive online marketing performance on its own, search engine updates to address content quality and the more conversational nature of search behavior have combined with the growing popularity of social networks to change the SEO landscape forever.

Think of SEO this way: If a customer-focused content marketing program is the sandwich, then SEO is the mayonnaise. It touches nearly everything and enhances the overall flavor of the sandwich. But on it’s own, not very appetizing.

SEO for Content or Content for SEO?

Many SEO-turned content marketers are focused on creating more content or creating content as a means to attract links. This is a similar approach as when social media became popular in the SEO world. Social networks and media use was focused on attracting attention to further attract links, not to create relationships, engagement or inspire transactions and referrals.

A simple comparison tells the tale: Having 500 optimized blog posts on every derivative of a 50 phrase keyword list that no one wants to read is no more useful than attracting 50,000 drive-by visitors to your site for 10 seconds each from Reddit. Being held accountable to superficial performance metrics drives superficial tactics. Do you really want your marketing characterized as superficial?

Understanding the difference between mechanical tactics and meaningful outcomes is an important distinction when hiring content marketing professionals or a content marketing agency. It can mean the difference between a keyword hell of thin content, or a content portfolio that serves real customer interests and proudly represents what your brand stands for.

Optimize Your Opportunities

Search marketers are, by their nature, opportunists. Each time a major trend in online marketing emerges, from blogging to social media, SEOs have adapted and engineered their way to discover every possible workaround or tactic to create a marketing advantage. This opportunism has extended to content marketing as well.

Operating within the guidelines of quality marketing, such adaptability is a highly valuable perspective to take. However, when opportunism bleeds into manipulations outside the scope of search engine guidelines, the risks can turn out to be painful and sometimes disastrous to a business.

But here’s the thing: Google is a battleground for SEOs and those with real, on the ground experience that have been able to adapt successfully can become some of the most valuable marketers you will ever find.

Being both creative and analytical as well as lateral thinkers, marketers with an optimized state of mind are particularly adept at finding solutions to complex marketing problems. But those SEOs that are still stuck on content marketing as “more fuel for keywords” and social media as “link building” should probably be avoided.

Social vs. SEO Focused Content Marketing

There are any number of benefits for engaging a SEO focused agency for content marketing compared to a social media agency. They each play essential roles for content amplification at all stages of the buying cycle. Here are a few common characteristics of each:

SEO Focused Content Marketing

  • Tactical approach: more content equals more search presence
  • Topics derived from actual search demand
  • Keyword managed content plans tied to performance
  • Continuous cycle of performance improvement using search analytics
  • Organic amplification is “built-in” to content creation
  • Content promotion, link building and social promotion
  • Good SEO is good user experience
  • Technical optimization
  • Performance is focused on search KPIs and conversions

Social Media Focused Content Marketing

  • Topics focused on brand and messaging
  • Shorter form content: status updates, blog posts, image tiles
  • Topics managed by social content calendar
  • Social monitoring surfaces new, real-time content opportunities
  • Amplification is often organic but increasingly paid
  • Influencers engaged to co-create and promote through social
  • Performance is based on views and engagement
  • Conversion and ROI are more difficult to measure with confidence

What should companies look for with search and social media when considering content marketing resources?

Goals and accountability are essential for an optimized and socialized content marketing program to succeed. For an integrated approach, here are three of your most important considerations to ensure content performs for customers and your brand.

  1. Attract –  How will the particular content object attract exposure? Will your content perform as part of an ongoing narrative? Will it be a part of a sequence? Will it be connected to other content objects through links, repurposing or curation? Where content is promoted on social networks will matter for attraction as much as what phrases and questions are used for search engine optimization.
  1. Engage – How will the content object be meaningful to the reader such that they interact, react and respond to it?  What context needs to exist in order for the content to be so relevant that it inspires action? Social Media and Search both play a role in developing the context for engagement. When they interact with what they find, does the customer think, “Yes, that’s exactly what I was looking for”, or something else?
  1. Convert – How will the optimized content object persuade the reader to take the next step? Each content object can play a role in guiding the reader from one stage to the next in a brand and customer relationship. From awareness to purchase to advocacy, conversions are happening at each stage whether it’s a social share, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a white paper, signing up for a webinar, filling out an inquiry form or making a referral.

Within your content plan, think about how you can make these actions easy and intentional for the target customer.  An optimized content plan means being accountable to discovery, how it’s best consumed and what messages will inspire action.

Remember, content is the reason search began in the first place.  Take an optimized approach to incorporating search, social media, publicity and influencers with your content marketing programs. Make sure your content is accountable for attraction, engagement and conversion. With that focus on accountability, the investment you make in high quality, optimized and socialized content will pay returns over and over again.

If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check out Optimize for a full plan on developing an integrated content marketing program.

Image: Shutterstock


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Solar Deck Lights and Solar Post Lights



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Solar lights and solar lights bridge post capitalization can significantly improve your deck, patio, stairs or ramp, and improve safety and security around your home. With good planning and good lighting, your deck can easily become a place of calm evening relaxation. With solar, you can turn your average spectacular terrace with a variety of lighting options.

Adding solar energy to its platform is a fast and easy way to increase the attractiveness and functionality of your outdoor space. Through effective solar technology, solar deck lights receive their energy from built-in batteries charged during the day by solar energy, with a built-in light sensor that automatically turn lights at dusk and dawn. Load and operating time varies depending on the season and location, so that increased exposure to sunlight produces and runtime at night.

Step solar lights for safety: A major factor in the design of lighting for your deck is security issues to protect your family and guests. Well lit staircases reduce the risk of slipping or falling. Adding solar lights stage housing for its actions is particularly important when there is any kind of light that illuminates the stairs to his night on the terrace. Solar lights are available in a variety of styles to combine their efforts, and email and sunlamps lanes to improve key areas around the stairs and steps.

Lights down to Ambience: soft lights strategically placed along the perimeter of the roof and the positions will create a warm and welcoming space. Solar deck lights are available in a variety of styles including low profile lights that provide down lighting to highlight your post or railing. This type of design will also create an environment conducive to intimate conversation and shows sophistication.

LED colors to celebrate: Adding colorful lighting to your deck will provide a call for the upcoming holiday. Solar deck lights are available in a variety of colors of LED. With distinctive designs and variety of lighting options on the market today, you can create a dazzling experience the floor of your deck to its highest peak.

Solar lighting Bridge is one of the fastest growing options for improving your outdoor space. There are a number of ways to integrate solar energy into its cover. Start by thinking about where light is needed for practical reasons. Whether you are adding lights to your deck for safety on stairs or installing lights to submit to add a little atmosphere, a wide range of energy efficient solutions they are available to illuminate your covered in style.

An Island made from plastic bottles by Richart Sowa



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Where some see a simple garbage Richard Sowa saw a way to make his dream. More than 150,000 plastic bottles used to create this magical floating island, talk about creative recycling! Watch this video to learn more about your almost completely sustainable development now calls home. This will make you think twice before just throwing a lot of things we consider trash.

Online Marketing News: Buy Button Bonanza, Everyone’s Getting ‘Near Me’, Facebook Snags The Spend

Engage Your Visitors

How to Write Better Titles Using Data-Driven Strategies [Infographic] – How much time did you put into the title of your last blog post? If your answer was, “Not much,” don’t worry — it’s often the most overlooked component of content. Check out this infographic to learn more. Search Engine Journal

Google Says “Near Me” Searches Have Doubled This Year – Search queries that contain a location qualifier such as “nearby” or “near me” have doubled in the past year, according to Google Trends data from March. Eighty percent of those searches come from mobile devices. Search Engine Land

STUDY: Different Engagement for Different Types of Content on Facebook – Do different types of content on Facebook lead to different types of engagement? Social media news aggregator NewsWhip has the answer. SocialTimes

Twitter Brings Programmatic to Social With Amplify Update – The microblogging service has introduced a program called Auto Amplify. The new feature reduces lots of manual work and helps brands better manage their campaigns in real time. ClickZ

Facebook Video Soars Past 4 Billion Daily Views – Showing no signs of slowing, daily video views on Facebook have jumped 1 billion since January. Marketing Land

Twitter Unveils Official Consulting Partners: IBM Is First Up – IBM has worked with Twitter as a strategic partner since October, and the relationship has helped the social-data purveyor recognize something important: Twitter needs more preferred consulting partners. Ad Age

Pinterest Unveils New ‘Action Buttons’ – The social networking site revealed the plan for its long-awaited revenue-generating feature. Inc.

The Majority of B2B Companies Are Using Incomplete Data – Almost three quarters of the records in B2B marketing databases are inaccurate or incomplete, according to a new study by Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex. Direct Marketing News

Twitter Unveils New Audience Insights Dashboard – Twitter is looking to entice more advertisers to the platform with a new Audience Insights dashboard, covering a wide range of analytics options. Similar to Facebook insights, Audience Insights includes an overview of various demographics, interests and purchase behaviour data, enabling Twitter advertisers to dig deeper into their audience and better target their content – both through paid and non-paid means. Twitter

Facebook Accounted For 75% Of Social Ad Spending Globally In 2014 – The global social advertising market grew 41% to $15.3 billion in 2014; Facebook is maintaining dominance despite lack of presence in the giant China market. Marketing Land

STUDY: Interaction with Instagram Posts Trounces Facebook, Twitter – When it comes to interaction with posts, Instagram blows away parent company Facebook and Twitter, according to a recent study by social analytics provider Quintly. SocialTimes

Uber Partners With Foursquare to Combine Local Search and Transportation – Uber has formed yet another partnership, this time with local search recommendation app, Foursquare, that will give the car service an even greater advantage over competitors like Lyft and Curb. Search Engine Watch

Facebook Adds “Call Now” Click-to-Call Feature to Newsfeed Ads – Local advertisers now have a new tool for converting social network users to leads and sales, thanks to Facebook’s new ‘Call Now’ button for News Feed ads. Mobile users who tap the button call the business immediately. Social Media Today

Google Confirms “Buy” Button Is Coming To Search Ads – Google has just confirmed the report that it will enable “buy now” buttons on some mobile ads. Marketing Land

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Infographic: Marketing Domination Media


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Online Marketing News: Buy Button Bonanza, Everyone’s Getting ‘Near Me’, Facebook Snags The Spend | http://www.toprankblog.com

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5 Ways to Woo Your B2B Social Media Audience & 3 Brands That Are Doing it Well

WOO-SOCIAL-MEDIA-AUDIENCE

Have you ever been in a relationship where one partner wanted more, and the other was hesitant to take the next step?

Many B2B marketers are facing a similar roadblock. They’re ready to ask social media followers to “marry” them, but some of those followers are beginning to question why they liked the brand in the first place.

A recent study found that only 20% of CMOs are using social media for engagement. Two thirds of CMOs also report that they’re not ready to cope with social media.

Even though B2B marketers typically have a more difficult time forming a loyal fan base on social media than their B2C counterparts, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a substantial opportunity to create connections. It is essential that all B2B marketers keep in mind that the goal isn’t to form a relationship with companies on social media, it’s to form a bond with the individuals that work within the companies that you are targeting.

If you really want to create a lasting relationship with your audience that is mutually beneficial, consider the following recommendations to begin taking the next steps towards engagement.

5 Tips for Wooing Your Social Media Audience

#1 – Understand Audience Habits

What is one of the best ways to get to know someone? By asking them questions about themselves. The same logic applies to your online audience.

One of the first steps B2B marketers can take is to gain a true understanding of prospects social media habits and needs. This insight can be compiled in a few ways including”

  • Talking to your existing customer contacts. Never take your current customers for granted. They not only have similar pain points of your potential customers, but you also have a direct line of communication with them.
  • Using social media listening tools to help determine when your audience is spending time on specific social networks.
  • Gaining insight into what they care about. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook provide insight into what your audience interacts with the most.

#2 – Be a Good Storyteller

Another great way to relate to your partner is to share stories that they can relate to. Unfortunately, B2B customers have often gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to well-developed storytelling.

Remember that the point of social networks is to create a social interaction, not to boast about product or service benefits. Put marketing effort toward developing engaging questions, creating case studies and user scenarios.

#3 – Offer Variety in Social Media Publishing

Dating someone can quickly become boring and routine if you always take them on the same date, order the same meal and have the same conversation.

Similarly, your social media audience looks forward to interacting with brands that offer a variety of content types and visuals. Examples of content types that can be shared on social media include:

  • Moving Imagery
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • News Articles
  • Influencer Content
  • Crowdsourced Information

The list of types of information that can be shared on social media is nearly limitless.

#4 – Introduce Fans & Followers to Their Favorite “Celebrities”

How awesome would your significant other think it was if you took them to a concert to see their favorite band and got backstage passes so that they could meet the band members in-person.

Within each industry there are “celebrities” or influencers that are known as being authoritative on a particular subject. Promoting content that is co-created with industry influencers can be an excellent way to build credibility with your B2B social media audience.

#5 – Next Steps Sometimes Require an Investment

Once you’ve solidified the relationship with your partner, you may want to invest in purchasing a token to signify the commitment. Often, that  investment can be in the form of an engagement ring. The ring can signify your readiness to take the next step and their acceptance symbolizes their commitment to join you.

Social media advertising can both generate interest and be the tipping point for your social media audience to take the next step. Before making the leap into social media advertising it is essential that B2B marketers ask:

  1. What do we want to accomplish with a paid advertising campaign?
  2. How much are we comfortable investing?
  3. What will we be promoting with our advertisements?

3 B2B Companies Engaging Audiences on Social Media 

HP: Facebook

HP Facebook

You may not think that the top beaches, or asking followers to share what is on their summer reading lists will help sell electronics. However, HP is sharing content that their consumers care about and can connect with. HP has a business model that appeals to both B2C and B2B consumers alike.

FedEx: Twitter

FedEx Twitter

Not only did FedEx host the #FedEx400 to raise awareness for autism, but they provided an excellent play-by-play of the event for their online audience to consume. Their social media team also does a fantastic job of humanizing the brand by sharing images and tweets about national BBQ month near their headquarters and stories that feature their customers.

GE: LinkedIn

GE LinkedIn

GE has so many products that their social media strategy could quickly become scattered and overwhelming. However, they’ve done a fantastic job of providing a glimpse into information that matters most to their customers.

Are You Ready to Begin Wooing Your Social Media Audience?

Just like any relationship, it takes time to build trust, authority and loyalty with your social media audience. Also, it’s a relationship that must be nurtured consistently in order to grow and evolve.

What do you believe is your biggest opportunity for connecting with your social media audience?

Image: Shutterstock


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5 Ways to Woo Your B2B Social Media Audience & 3 Brands That Are Doing it Well | http://www.toprankblog.com

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If You Want Your Content Marketing to be Great, Ask Influencers to Participate

participation marketing with influencers

With ubiquitous internet connectivity and billions of people empowered to create and publish online, digital marketing competition is greater than ever. Companies are increasingly challenged to create quality content that can stand out to attract and engage new customers.

How can businesses grow their reach and improve content quality in such a market?

Through participation marketing with industry influencers.

Over the past year, the expression “influencer marketing” has exploded in popularity and many marketing communications professionals are continuing to see influencers in the light of “celebrity endorsements”.

There’s more to influencer marketing than advocacy.

But there’s more to influencer marketing than advocacy and all influencers are not created equal. With participation marketing, companies can take a view of working with influencers of different types to produce a variety of benefits – all through content.

What kind of benefits? The investment in co-creation of content between brands and influencers enables quality content at scale. With brands and influencers working together, co-created content can reinforce mutual authority for all involved. In such a cooperative scenario, influencers can gain exposure, brands can reach new audiences, and customers are “info-tained” and inspired to engage. Everybody wins.

At TopRank Online Marketing, we’ve worked with over 200 influencers in the past 5 years to create numerous content assets ranging from our famous conference eBooks to videos to blog posts to infographics. These assets have driven over 800,000 views and well over 1,000 leads. Content co-created with influencers also continues to serve attract and engage objectives as long as they are live online.

Establishing a successful influencer content program requires a framework for identifying, engaging, and managing relationships. Here’s a 5 step approach to do just that.

influencer content goals

1. Set Goals for Marketing and Influencers

In order for co-created content to be successful for marketing, specific audiences and goals should be identified.

Think about: What do you hope to achieve with an influencer content program? How will influencers benefit? More importantly, how will your customers benefit?

Think about the distinct audience that you’re after with the content being co-created and set goals specific to what your idea of success looks like. Quantify those goals as well, whether it’s to increase the reach and engagement of your brand to the influencer’s community or to inspire more leads and sales by a certain percent.

Also, set goals for the influencers. For short term projects, focus on participation quality. With longer term programs, focus on participation, marketing outcomes and the relationship.

influencer content focus

2. Pick Your Theme and Focus Topic

You can start by asking, “What does your brand want to be known for?”

Themes facilitate planning content and also serve to focus the sourcing of the right influencers. Themes that are meaningful to all parties involved: brand, influencer and target audience will be far more successful.

In addition to branding goals, themes in co-created content programs are often driven by key customer questions that can be answered by brand marketing. Looking at distinct customer segments and the buying experience at each stage should reveal the themes and triggers that your content program will focus on. What is the solution? How will it work for me? What do I do next?

Consider what questions your customers are asking at awareness, consideration and purchase stages. Then think about the themes that will drive asking and answering those questions through influencer content.

identify recruit influencers

3. Find, Qualify and Recruit Influencers

Beyond the famous “brandividual” influencers in your industry, consider niche experts that have an active and passionate following. Also consider subject matter experts within your own company.

To start, talk to executives, marketing, PR and sales to identify a seed list of influencers. Then use an influencer discovery tool like Traackr or BuzzSumo to filter them out and add new influencers your team didn’t know about. Results are better when influencers matches are found on more than one tool.

When reaching out to influencers, be sure to accentuate the positive and the mutual value. Focus first on what’s in it for the influencer. If possible, find out what their goals are and see how working together can move them towards reaching those goals whether it’s overall exposure and being associated publicly with your brand or early and unique access to information.

Influencer participation pitches should be credible, succinct and offer a clear description of what is being asked.

Once a topical list of influencers is identified, they can be engaged in a variety of ways including:

  • Share their status updates on social networks
  • Comment on their blog posts or industry articles
  • Follow on social networks
  • Write about them
  • Interview them

Influencer participation pitches should be credible, succinct and offer a clear description of what is being asked. Pitches should also be very easy to act on. In other words, make it really easy to participate. For example, writing takes time, so offer to do a phone interview instead.

Other tactics that work include: humor, high degree of personalization, incentives and association with other influencers already on board.

CoCreate Influencer Content

4. Content Co-Creation is Participation Marketing

Influencer content co-creation might best begin with small, easy projects that advance the relationship to more robust and substantial time commitments.

Any content type you can create in a content marketing program can be co-created with influencers.

After content is collected from influencers, assemble, edit and package in a promotable format. Then share a preview to inspire their continued participation to promote. Be sure to set expectations by sharing your timeline for production, publishing and promotion.

Any content type you can create in a content marketing program can be co-created with influencers, from eBooks to videos to articles to social microcontent.

Measure Influencer Content

5. Promote and Measure

Provide influencers with tools such as sharing images, pre-written tweets, embed codes and short URLs. Making it easy to participate and promote can substantially increase the success of your influencer content program.

Offer influencers feedback on what’s working and what is not. Since they’ve invested in the creation of the content, it’s in their interest to see the promotion succeed.

You’ve Got This!

By partnering with influencers, marketers can tap into a wealth of knowledge and a breadth of exposure for brand messages. These are not self-promotional messages though, they are the things that the brands’ customers care about.

The mutual investment in creating useful and engaging content can pay dividends for all involved. This is especially true for the resource-strapped marketer looking to scale content quantity, while not sacrificing quality. The icing on the cake are the relationships built that can fuel content collaboration, partnerships and even new business in the future.

A version of this post originally appeared at Brand Quarterly

Watch for our latest influencer content project featuring speakers from the 2015 Content Marketing World conference publishing throughout the month of June.

Photos Shutterstock: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


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If You Want Your Content Marketing to be Great, Ask Influencers to Participate | http://www.toprankblog.com

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A company wants to make Melbourne’s trams solar-powered



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A company introduced a bold new proposal to the state government of Victoria in Australia, which iconic Melbourne tram network made entirely Solar power in the space of a few years.

According to the court, the public transport network would be managed by the energy produced two new solar farms built near Swan Hill and Mildura, in the northwest of the state. Together, these proposals farms would be able to generate 80 gigawatt hours of electricity per year needed to run the tram network, which is the largest in the world.

According to the Solar Group of Australia – the company behind the offer – if approved, the plan would reduce emissions of 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year. Impressive, would also not increase the cost of public transport in the city.

“It was a condition that is given to us as part of the mission that we could not increase the cost of travel,” Dave Holland, co-founder of the Solar Group of Australia, said Sophie Vorrath of RenewEconomy. “We have shaped the history and the future contract price … and [the result of] what has been a driving force behind the project.”

The company has already invested USD $ 3 million in the project, and another US $ 70 million guaranteed to build solar farms, which will happen if the government owned Public Transport Victoria is committed to buying your energy for the next 20 years.

In relative terms, the trams are already a very efficient form of transportation, but the fact that currently require electricity comes from burning coal means they are still responsible for significant emissions.

The alternative to this, the Australian solar panel believes, is two 20 MW solar farm set in 80 ha plots, using 130,000 photovoltaic panels to follow the sun throughout the day.

His proposed Swan Hill site has full approval of the farm to be built, and permissions are in place to Mildura, according to Holland. “The first site is ready to go, we could start work immediately … literally website in the week,” said RenewEconomy. He predicts that construction will take about six months. Once created, the two solar farms could supply power to the network, which offset the energy needs of the tram network.

So what is the probability that the Victorian government get behind the proposal? Tom Arup surplus reported that Transport Minister Terry Mulder sent a letter to the city council in Melbourne last October saying he was interested in the project because it fits with its environmental objectives, but that the proposal be “measured against the availability of lignite and natural gas for many years gave Victoria a relatively cheap source of energy. ”

Fingers crossed that the government sees the long-term cost and environmental benefits of having one of their main transport networks run entirely on solar energy. Because it is the best idea I’ve heard in a long time.