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Last Build Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:30:01 +0000

 



Mastering the Art of Blogging: 6 Recipes to Help You Become A More Successful Content Creator

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:30:01 +0000

Last Saturday, Ashley Zeckman presented to a packed room of bloggers and shared a presentation titled: Mastering the Art of Blogging: 6 Recipes to Help You Become A More Successful Content Creator at the annual MN Blogger Conference. The MN Blogger Conference offers a great opportunity for bloggers and content marketers to gather and learn [...]

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What Social Media Marketers Need to Know About Facebook Live

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:30:23 +0000

In the age of Netflix and DVRs, it’s weirdly ironic to watch the growing popularity of live video for social media marketing. Sure, most of it is recorded so you can access it later, but it has far more in common with the nightly news than with modern on-demand, personalized content. It turns out, there’s [...]

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Avoid Content Ennui: 10 Creative Blog Types to Serve Your Audience

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:30:06 +0000

When it comes to blog content, a lot of us are serving breakfast when we should be serving dinner. Let me explain. Odds are you have a go-to breakfast that you eat nearly every day. A bowl of cereal with a banana, some oatmeal with maple syrup, a haunch of beef seasoned with the tears [...]

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20 Must-Have Content Marketing Tools for Writing Better Blog Posts

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 10:30:30 +0000

Fans of high culture rejoice. We have finally realized our potential as a species. We have reached the pinnacle of creative expression. That’s right. MacGyver is getting a reboot. For those of you born in the 90’s, MacGyver was a TV show starring Richard Dean Anderson and his amazing mullet: Breathtaking, isn’t it? MacGyver was [...]

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9 Dos & Don’ts for Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines to Draw in Your Audience

Tue, 09 Aug 2016 10:30:04 +0000

Well, hello there. I’m so glad you’ve stopped by the TopRank Marketing blog today. I’m pretty sure I know why you’re here — you’ve been searching high and low for the most adorable cat video of the day. Well, here it is: Okay. Okay. Just kidding. But I really do know why you’re here. You’re [...]

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Boost Content Marketing Results & Learn How LinkedIn Grew Their Blog by 30X

Wed, 03 Aug 2016 10:30:52 +0000

Conversations between digital marketers are always abuzz with the latest, greatest and most innovative content marketing techniques. Everything from different content types, to the newest ways to promote content are never far from their lips. There is no doubt that content plays an incredibly important role as part of an integrated digital marketing program. And [...]

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Content Marketing: 5 Unexpected Places to Find Inspiration for Your Blog Content

Tue, 16 Feb 2016 11:30:50 +0000

Creative inspiration is like a butterfly: It’s beautiful from a distance, but full of weird insect parts up close. Sorry, let me try that again. Creative inspiration is like a butterfly: Sometimes it seems like no matter how far you stretch, it flutters above your head, beautiful but just out of reach. Sure, you could [...]

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3 Examples of Brands Using Podcasts to Increase Sales, Offer Value & Build Audiences

Thu, 28 Jan 2016 11:30:30 +0000

[Note From Ashley: TopRank Marketing team members Debbie Friez and Joel Carlson recently attended a Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) event in Minneapolis and collaborated to bring you the insights below from the event.] Long gone are the leisurely evenings and weekends where people disconnected from the outside world and made time to relax. Today’s [...]

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How to Write for People: 5 Ways to Create Connections & Personality in Your Content Marketing Efforts

Tue, 26 Jan 2016 11:30:09 +0000

Greetings, humans. It is I, a fellow human and certainly not a trench coat full of cats posing as human. I would like to tell you how to show personality in your writing so other cats—I mean, humans, like me—will enjoy reading it. All cats aside, it’s surprisingly easy for marketers to forget that we [...]

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12 Content Marketing Lessons Learned in 12 Years of Blogging

Mon, 28 Dec 2015 11:00:17 +0000

Happy 12th Birthday to TopRank Marketing’s Online Marketing Blog! In Malcom Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, he mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, which describes the key to achieving world class expertise in any skill as a matter of practicing for a total of 10,000 hours or so. By many definitions, this humble marketing blog [...]

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Need Help With Content Topics? 5 Places To Find Inspiration For Blog Posts

Wed, 18 Nov 2015 11:30:17 +0000

Blogging is a low to no-cost way for marketers to create owned content on a consistent basis. A consistent blogging schedule of high quality information creates a great way for your customers and prospects to gain a better understanding of how you can help them and the smarts that exist within your organization. In fact, [...]

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How to Create Content that Abides, Dude: Content Marketing Lessons from the Big Lebowski at #MNBlogCon

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 11:30:44 +0000

Does pondering content marketing strategy make you feel a little out of your element? Are you missing the key components that really tie a strategy together? Do you sometimes feel like stepping away from the laptop, pouring a White Russian, and zoning out to Creedence Clearwater Revival? You’re not alone. Only 30% of B2B marketers [...]

The post How to Create Content that Abides, Dude: Content Marketing Lessons from the Big Lebowski at #MNBlogCon appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.




Content Marketing: Make Your Content Shine with These 4 Editing Tips

Thu, 05 Nov 2015 11:30:46 +0000

A few years ago, best-selling author and wizard-ninja hybrid Seth Godin said, “content marketing is the only marketing left.” The industry took him at his word. Over the last decade, marketers have devoted ever more time and energy to creating content. This year, 76% of B2B marketers plan to produce more content next year than [...]

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The Mortified Marketer: 8 Lessons To Help Evolve Your Content Marketing Strategy

Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:30:58 +0000

Blogging, Day 1 Dear Diary, Today I wrote my first blog post. Everyone is going to love it! I am going to blog every day. Blogging, Day 10 Dear Diary, I can’t think of anything to write. I’ve published one post, and the only person that read it was my mom. The format above may [...]

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5 Common Writing Clichés to Avoid for Better Content Marketing

Tue, 14 Jul 2015 10:30:35 +0000

Every piece of content we produce as marketers makes an implicit promise to our audience. From beginning to end, each asset that is researched, created and published should be interesting, relevant, help solve a current pain point. The content will be informative, easy to read and provide value. We must honor that promise to hold [...]

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Not Happy With Your Business Blog Performance? Try These 5 Tips:

Mon, 06 Apr 2015 16:06:19 +0000

For many companies, blogging is akin to content marketing. Of course there are many other content marketing tactics besides blogging, but because of the ease of publishing, promotion and optimization, it’s one of the more popular ways to connect with customers through content. And yet there are challenges for many of the businesses that rely [...]

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Is Your Business Blog Running on Empty? Here Are 4 Ways To Fill the Tank

Thu, 05 Feb 2015 10:55:54 +0000

I’m a bit of a risk-taker when it comes to my gas tank. If you cared to check, most days you will find me driving around with the gas light on. In fact, I’ve done this so long that I have it down to an art. I know how many miles I can go, and even how the car starts to drive when I’m operating on fumes. Why, why on earth would anyone do this, you might ask. The answer is simple … because so far it’s worked. I haven’t found myself on the side of the road unable to keep going. With a quick fill-up, I’m back on my way. The problem is, you know that eventually my pit-stop strategy is going to fail. When I pull into a parking lot for one more stop, I’m not immune to worrying about my glowing orange gas light, and the big ‘Check Gages’ that’s projected onto my windshield. ‘What ifs’ ranging from a new meeting to a call from daycare run through my head, and I know I would be slow to get there because I would have to stop for gas.  So... why the admission regarding my poor approach to fueling my vehicle? Because, the same pit-stop strategy is what I often see when evaluating a company’s blogging efforts. Gas Up Your Blog Posts Blog posts, the staple of many organizations’ content plans, are an easy to ignore fuel light. As long as they keep coming, no one is forced to stop and evaluate the performance. The measurement of success becomes whether or not a post was published that day, versus how the blog post is going to help achieve a stated content marketing objective.  But eventually, this too will fail. Someone will start asking the right questions and you will be left holding the keys to a content marketing strategy that’s built on blog posts that have run dry. To avoid stalling out on the side of the content road, and make sure that your blog posts are strategically aligned with your overall content marketing efforts, it's important to follow best practices. Here are 4 considerations to help your business blogging go the distance and reach your content marketing destination. 1. Objective Seems silly, right? Of course the objective of the content marketing strategy, and the blog posts that live within it, are likely one or more of the following; increasing brand awareness, audience engagement, traffic, and ultimately business-level metrics like MQL’s or sales. What I’m talking about is the objective of a particular blog post. It happens too often that the content plan as a whole has an objective, but the individual pieces of content do not. For example, it’s easy to create a concept about ‘14 Reasons to Love Content Marketing’ and tie it up with a nice Valentine’s Day image. Mwah! Take a closer look, though. Is that post going to directly help you reach any of your stated marketing objectives? At the post level, be sure to identify the intended outcome of each piece of content. For example, will the post support: Thought Leadership with strategic ideas and the inclusion of industry influencers Engagement metrics with an action for the audience to participate Leads with a call-to-action leading to a gated piece of content Identifying the objective of each post at the outset is important to make sure that the content you create is going to contribute towards the desired results. A statement of objectives upfront also makes measuring success much easier. 2. Audience Producing results is directly tied to being able to create the right content for the right audience, at the right time. It’s likely that you have a few target audiences, and subsets of those audiences. You may be trying to reach marketers, but within that group, you have: executi[...]



4 Ways Marketers Can Learn From a Journalist’s Approach to Content Planning

Thu, 22 Jan 2015 10:55:09 +0000

"Be the media" isn't just a buzz phrase. It's a live process and philosophy that brings in leads and moves products and services. It's the concept of content as sales staff. It's "write it and they will come." OK, so I got ahead of myself with that last one. It's not quite that simple. As marketers have moved to content to help tell their stories that draw in customers, they have brought journalists in to help with the storytelling.  Now that many marketers and journalists are working side by side, they have developed similar processes and have begun to merge cultures. They are finding common ground, overlapping and crossing career paths. Here are a few areas in which I think that content marketers can learn from journalists: Plan ahead, but be ready to adapt In journalism there is a balance between the editorial calendars and the calendars used on the advertising side. Advertising managers are the ones planning farther ahead. In newspapers especially, the amount of ads sold paves the way for the amount of news told. Content marketers could benefit from thinking more like the editorial side than the advertising side. For example, what if the opportunity to attend an event came up and you were able send members of your team to live blog 10 posts over four days. It would be a shame to turn down that opportunity simply because you already have your editorial calendar planned for the month. Don't get me wrong, editorial calendars are the backbone of entire marketing campaigns and programs and are essential for success. They just have to be flexible - and sometimes shorter. Allow time for your audience's appetite for content to shape your editorial planning. Be ready to produce, publish, measure, plan and optimize as you go. Ask “why do I care?” When worked as a managing editor at a newspaper, one of the first things I did was make every reporter answer this question before writing a story: "Why do I care?" I added those four words to the slug line of every story on the editorial calendar. If a reporter couldn’t answer that question to my satisfaction then the story wasn't approved. As marketers, we need to ask ourselves the same question. Why do your readers (buyers) care? If you're producing content because you're missing a hole in your calendar, you're doing it for the wrong reason. Marketers, like reporters, need to produce content that is relevant, that answers questions, and that moves a conversation or an issue (or a buying decision) forward. Keep a post in your pocket An editor once shared with me some newsroom advice: Always have a story in your pocket. Chances are, as a reporter, something was bound to happen that would interfere with a story I was writing on deadline. Maybe a source didn't get back to me, a photo option didn't come through, or a story just didn't turn out to be as interesting as I had thought. In that case, it saved everyone a lot of trouble if I had a second story already in the works. This advice has saved me in content marketing as well. I  recommend always having a post in your pocket, a blog post that is evergreen, yet relevant and nearly ready to go. When a post from a contributor falls through, then you have one ready. When your own scheduled post just doesn't come together in time, then you have another one on hand. Check the weather The reason why TV news runs the weather forecast toward the end of the broadcast is because they know it will keep people watching. In the marketing sense, you need to also be looking at the weather, measuring the industry atmosphere and current conditions. Know what it is[...]



How to Be the Best Answer with Topic Targeting

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:23:33 +0000

This weekend I had the good fortune to present at the Minnesota Blogger Conference where nearly 300 local bloggers gathered to learn, get inspired and network. For my part, I gave a presentation on how blogs are still an incredibly useful tool for marketing. Keeping the reason for blogging top of mind as well as [...]

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Better Business Blogging – 7 Lessons Learned from Writing 1 Million Words

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:05:54 +0000

Blogging for over 10 years has been quite a journey to say the least. During that time, I’ve had my share of challenges, opportunities, disappointments and surprises. Back when I started, there’s no way I would have imagined having so many things to say for so long or anticipated what impact ongoing content creation would [...]

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