Digital Marketing News: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth

Instagram IGTV Announcement
With IGTV, Instagram Takes Aim at YouTube
Instagram has added the ability to upload videos up to an hour long, with the launch of its new IGTV feature, offering digital marketers a much bigger video canvas. Instagram also announced that it has broken through the one billion user barrier. Wired

Unilever stops working with digital media influencers who buy followers
Unilever has ceased working with social media influencers who buy followers, a first-of-its-kind effort to increase influencer transparency, the mega-brand recently announced. Marketing Land

Marketing-driven revenue from mobile apps has grown 80% since 2016
Marketers focusing on mobile may be on the right track, as mobile apps have driven a vast 80 percent marketing revenue expansion since 2016, according to voluminous new report data from Facebook and marketing analytics firm AppsFlyer, detailing major differences among the gaming, shopping, and travel markets. Venture Beat

For $150, Most Users Will Sell Personal Information to Brands
$150 would persuade most consumers to sell certain portions of their personal data to their favorite brands, according to recent survey data of U.S., U.K., and German Internet users. eMarketer

Reddit brings autoplay native video ads to desktop and mobile
Reddit’s traditionally sparse advertising will make way for new auto-play video ads on both its mobile and desktop sites, the increasingly popular social news aggregation, content rating, and discussion website announced recently. Tech Crunch

Instagram’s new shopping bag icon adds e-commerce element to advertisers’ Stories
Instagram has given certain advertisers new e-commerce features that will add a shopping bag icon to Instagram Stories, a move that could eventually be rolled out to all advertisers. Marketing Land

Google replacing video boxes with video carousel on desktop search
Google has moved almost completely to the carousel format for videos among desktop search results, providing new opportunities for digital marketers. Search Engine Land

Friday, June 22, 2018 News Statistics Image

Twitter Launches New Site to Provide Insights into How to Make Best Use of the Platform
Twitter launched its Twitter Media site to help digital marketers best make use of the platform’s latest features, including case studies and other best-practice-oriented content. Social Media Today

Bing Ads With Enhanced Targeting Settings & Dimensions Tab
Bing rolled out new advertising features including more precise location and device targeting, along with upgraded analytics information with a new Bing Ads Dimensions feature. SEO Roundtable

YouTube Like & Dislike Counts Are Now More Accurate
YouTube updated the way it tabulates video likes and dislikes, in an effort to combat spam, a move than should prove beneficial to digital marketers. Search Engine Journal

Want to Win Over Millennials and Gen Z? Vice’s New Study Says Brands Should Get Spiritual
The key elements marketers most need to tap into when targeting millennials and Gen-Z include surprises such as spirituality, according to new study data by Vice. Vice

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist Personalization Gap Cartoon

A lighthearted look at the personalization gap in marketing, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

The EU’s bizarre war on memes is totally unwinnable — Wired

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Flying Orange Man With Wieners on His Belt! — AdWeek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Ashley Zeckman — What’s Trending: Ride the Marketing Merry-Go-Round — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden — The Keys to Successful B2B Content and Influence Programs — WriterAccess

What are your top content marketing news stories this week?

Thanks for stopping by, and please join us next week for another lineup of the latest digital 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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Digital Marketing News: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth | http://www.toprankblog.com

Digital Marketing News: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth was posted via Internet Marketing

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CMWorld Interview: Thinking Inside the (Answer) Box with Courtney Cox

In a digital marketing career that has spanned numerous roles, often with a heavy focus on SEO, Courtney Cox has watched plenty of trends come and go.

But like many of us, she’s convinced that answer boxes (or “featured snippets,” or “position zero,” as you will) hold the key to search success going forward.

Not only do these “best answer” results attain prime visibility on SERPs, but as voice search continues to grow more prominent, they are likely to become the only result for many user queries within a few years.

Recognizing the magnitude of this topic, Cox will dedicate her session at Content Marketing World to Position 0: Optimizing Your Content to Rank in Google’s Answer Boxes. Drawing from her experience at Children’s Health, where she’s tasked with helping modernize the digital experience in an industry that has been — by her own admission — a little behind the curve, she’ll offer up practical advice for claiming this crucial real estate.

As we eagerly await her afternoon session on September 5th in Cleveland, OH, we had a chance to ask Cox about some pertinent matters relating to her specialization. Here’s what she had to say about data-driven conversion rate optimization, strategizing through competitive analysis, speaking the language of coding as marketers, and more.


What does your role as Digital Marketing Manager at Children’s Health entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

I have a team of strategists and editors that manages the online experience for our patient families. This includes everything from the user experience of Childrens.com, SEO, paid search, and management of our local listings across the web.

We are currently in a major transition period. Our goal is to provide the best online experience of any pediatric healthcare system in the country. Healthcare as an industry is behind the times, and historically, we have been no exception. As the cost of healthcare goes up, our consumers place more scrutiny on the total value of their experience with our system.

We typically think of that experience beginning when patient families walk through our doors; however, the initial patient experience frequently begins online with a search and ends online with a review. It’s our job to use the digital experience to show the value of our clinical services, reduce the anxiety of our patient families, and provide them with the information they need to make the right decisions for their child.

This year, that means implementing rigorous user testing, redesigning nearly every template on Childrens.com, taking advantage of advanced search tactics such as structured data and accelerated mobile pages, and publishing reviews directly on our website.

 

What is one thing that most company websites could be doing better when it comes to driving sales and conversions?

Fair warning – I’m going to try not to get on my soapbox about this one, but it’s hard because I feel so passionately about it.

Digital marketers need to abandon the “gut feeling” approach to conversion rate optimization. In the days of expensive usability labs and split-testing software, businesses with limited budgets could be excused from making data-driven, customer-centered optimizations. Those days are over.

If you want to outperform your competitors, you must start listening to your customers and responding to their behavior. If you’re not using free tools like Google Optimize for split testing or one of the infinite number of inexpensive user testing options available, then I guarantee you are failing your customers in some way in which you’re currently unaware.


Digital marketers need to abandon the “gut feeling” approach to conversion rate optimization. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
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Moving on to your subject of focus at CMWorld: Aside from the obvious placement benefits, why is it so important to aim for ‘Position 0’ on Google search results?

‘Position 0’ results (aka ‘Featured Snippets’, aka ‘Answer Boxes’) are important for a number of reasons. As you mentioned, prominence at the top of the search engine results page positions your website for more engagement and clicks than a lower position, but that’s not all.

Voice platforms like Google Home rely heavily on the position 0 results to give answers to voice queries from their users. For example, if you ask Google Home, “why can’t my kid sleep?” you’ll get an excerpt from Childrens.com that shows in the Google answer box for the same query on Google.

It’s been predicted that by 2020, half of all searches will be done through voice, and most of those searches will be headless (on a screenless device like Amazon Alexa or Google Home). In those cases, position 0 is the only result. You want to own that space.

 

How can competitive analysis improve our efforts to land an Answer Box?

The best thing to start with is to take inventory of the websites populating the answer boxes for queries you want to dominate. Then go look at what they’re doing on their pages. Are they using natural language in their headlines? Do they have structured data? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Is there a theme across all the sites that you can mimic?

Then, you’ll want to match what they’re doing right and take advantage where they’re failing. In my experience, most websites are not well-optimized for the answer boxes, and they’re ranking through dumb luck. A little effort goes a long way.


In my experience, most websites are not well-optimized for the answer boxes, and they’re ranking through dumb luck. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
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When it comes to working toward Position 0, which optimization techniques pay dividends above and beyond the SEO impact?

Any time that you invest significant effort into providing quality content that answers your visitors’ questions in a well laid out and easy-to-digest format, you’re going to start seeing payoffs beyond rankings. I think most content marketing folks understand that.

To ensure our content is high quality and highly relevant to what our customers need, we’ve been using a new technique that starts with the “People Also Ask” questions on Google. Basically, we type in a query we want to rank for, take inventory of the “People Also Ask” questions that appear for that query, and answer those questions directly in our content with the question itself as an H2 on the page.

Google is giving us a gift; by revealing these questions to us, they give us a deeper look than ever into the aggregation and relation of their search data. We’d be foolish not to utilize this data to create the most relevant content for users and position ourselves as a valuable thought leader.


Any time that you invest significant effort into providing quality content that answers your visitors’ questions, you’re going to start seeing payoffs beyond rankings. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
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What does the emergence of the Answer Box tell us about how search engines are changing to serve the user experience? What do you foresee as the possible next step in that direction?

The demands on our time are greater every day, and folks’ attention spans are ever shorter. We want answers, and we want them now. Answer boxes are just a response to that.

I won’t be surprised if five or 10 years from now, Google has enough functionality and feature sets that the majority of small businesses won’t need their own websites. You’ve already seen less reliance on individual ecommerce sites with the emergence of Amazon and even Etsy. Google could make this possible for service-based businesses like barber shops and coffee shops.

People get kind of anxious about that, especially those in the web development business, but the commoditization of the web has always been a reality. Those of us in digital marketing must adapt or die. And, on the client side, if Google is sending the business, why wouldn’t you want to reduce the cost of doing business by eliminating web hosting fees?

 

How can content marketers work more smoothly and seamlessly with development teams to get things done efficiently? Where do you see the most common snags?

I’m so lucky at Children’s because we have a marketing technology team that sits with us, and they are some of the most talented and easy-to-work with folks I’ve known in my career.

But I know not everyone has that luxury. I think the thing that has helped me most in my career is that I’ve also been a developer. While not every content marketer can go out there and learn a coding language, they should really try to learn as much about that world as they can. It helps when you’re requesting the implementation of structured data or Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that you understand the complexities or at least how much work it will take.

In my experience, developers really appreciate it when you consult with them about a request. “Have you heard about AMP? What do you think about it? I think it could really improve mobile traffic – does it have any downsides from your perspective?” That consultation goes a long way for buy in down the road.


While not every content marketer can go out there and learn a coding language, they should really try to learn as much about that world as they can. @CourtEWakefield #CMWorld
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Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

You mean besides Tina Fey?

I’m a real tech geek, so the “How to Use Artificial Intelligence to Build and Optimize Content” and “Let’s Chat: How Messaging Apps, Chatbots, and Voice Assistants Will Impact Your Business in the Next 3-5 Years” have really piqued my interest. These are the things I hope we can get ahead of the game on to become healthcare digital marketing leaders.

Unpack More Answers

We thank Courtney for her great answers, which were extremely enlightening even if they didn’t come in a box.

For more expert insights on all of your most pressing questions, dive into the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing below!


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
CMWorld Interview: Thinking Inside the (Answer) Box with Courtney Cox | http://www.toprankblog.com

CMWorld Interview: Thinking Inside the (Answer) Box with Courtney Cox was posted via Internet Marketing

Voice Marketing Tactics: There’s Only 100k Searches a Month Up For Grabs Anyway

I was recently preparing a presentation and came across a presentation I gave to a small meetup in London in 2013. While there were only 100 or so people in the live audience that day, the presentation has now probably been seen by a hundred thousand people – between Slideshare, a video of a webinar version, and the blog post I wrote about it at the time. When I stumbled back across it, I found it interesting to look back on because it made a bunch of predictions about the next 10 years and now, in 2018, we are halfway through those 10 years.

I was struck by how time has flown and I thought it would be interesting to do a midway-point review of what I was thinking in 2013. I also thought I could use some of the information it gives us about the pace of technology change and user behaviour change to attempt to understand current trends better – particularly around voice interfaces and voice search.

Preview of the punchline: voice isn’t as disruptive as many seem to think

I’m going to run through my predictions and how I think they’re coming along, but I also wanted to give you a preview of where my argument is going. Ultimately, while I think that voice recognition technology has become incredibly good at recognising words and sentences, there are a variety of things that will prevent it quickly cannibalising the rest of search in the short term. This is true of voice interaction generally in my opinion, but is especially true in search where I believe voice is mainly incremental (and isn’t even responsible for anything like all the incremental query growth).

The bulk of the general argument is made very well by Ben Evans in his article voice and the uncanny valley of AI (though these response and rebuttal articles are worth a read too).

I particularly loved the simple way of describing availability and appropriateness as two big issues for voice that I came across in this intercom article: what voice UI is good for (and what it isn’t) credited to Bill Buxton where he talks about what he calls “placeonas”:

I’m not sure about the “placeona” language (a placeona being an adaptation of a persona that focuses on location changing your preferences or behaviour). For reasons that will not surprise regular readers, I distilled it into a couple of 2x2s:

How do we want to consume information?

How do we want to enter information?

In my view, the constraints that voice isn’t always a convenient input, and speech isn’t always a great output place a natural ceiling on the usefulness of voice search – even beyond the issues Evans identified – and they are heightened for what I’m calling real searches. My view is that the majority (if not the vast majority) of what are currently being called “voice searches” in the stats aren’t much like what search marketers think of as searches. When Sundar said in 2016 that 20% of mobile searches in the Google app and on Android were voice searches, my bet is that 75%+ of those were incremental and not “real” searches. They were things you couldn’t do via “search” before and that are naturally done by voice – such as “OK Google, set a timer for 20 minutes”. The interesting thing about these “searches” and the reason I’m classifying them differently is that they are utterly uncommercial. Not only are you never going to “rank” for them, there is literally no intent to discover any kind of information or learn anything at all. They’re only really called searches because you’re doing them with / through Google.

The pace of change: revisiting some old predictions

Before I finish making those arguments, let’s look back at the presentation I opened with. I started by putting my 10-year predictions into context by looking back 10 years (to 2003 – this was 2013, remember).

The 10 years before 2013

I reminded myself and the audience that in 2003 we were on the cusp of:

Scoring my 10-year predictions from 2013 halfway through

Now, I put this initial presentation together for a relatively small meet-up, so I didn’t turn them into completely quantitative and falsifiable projections – though if anyone thinks I’m substantially wrong, I’m still up for hashing out more quantifiable versions of them for the next five years. In that context, here are my main predictions for 2023. We’re now halfway there. How do you think I’m doing?

I said that in 2023 we will:

  • Still be doing email on our phone
  • Still be using keyboards
  • Still be reading text

I’m feeling pretty good about those three. Despite the growth of new input technologies, the growth of video, and the convenience of hardware like airpods making it easier and easier to listen to bits of audio in more places, it doesn’t seem likely to me that any of these are going anywhere.

  • Pay for more [digital] things

I mean. This was kinda cheating. Hard to imagine it going the other way. But the growth of everything from Netflix to the New York Times has continued apace.

I’m not 100% sure what the end-game looks like for media subscriptions. I feel that there has to be some bundling on the horizon somewhere, as I would definitely pay something for a subscription to my second, third, and fourth preference news sources, but there is no good way to do this right now where it’s a primary subscription or nothing.

  • Dumb pipes continue acting dumb

I think that the whole net neutrality issue (interesting take) is pretty good evidence of the continuing ambitions (and, so far, failures) of the “pipes” of the internet to be much more. Having said that, I didn’t get into anything nearly granular enough to count as a falsifiable prediction.

  • Last mile no longer the issue – getting fibre to the exchange is the challenge

I think this is probably the biggest miss. Although there are some core network issues, home and mobile connection speeds have generally continued to improve, and where they haven’t, the problem actually does still lie in the last mile. I suspect that as we move through the next five years to 2023, we will see a continuing divide with speeds continuing to increase (and not being a blocker to advanced new services like 4K streaming) in urban / wealthy / dense enough areas, while rural and poorer areas will continue to lag. In the UK, the smaller size and higher density means that we are already seeing 4G mobile technology cover some areas that don’t have great wired broadband. This trend will no doubt continue, but the huge size and scale of the US means that there will continue to be some unique challenges there.

  • Watch practically no scheduled TV apart from some news, sports and actual live events

This was a bold one. I may have forgotten my own lesson about how fast (read: slowly) consumer habits change. In the accompanying blog post, I wrote:

“I am much less excited by an internet-connected fridge (a supposed benefit of the internet since the late ‘90s) than I am by instant-on, wireless display streaming (see for example AppleTV AirPlay mirroring) making it as easy to stick something on the TV via the web as via terrestrial / cable TV channels.”

This prediction was part of a broader hypothesis I developed and refined in 2013-2014 around the future of TV advertising. The key prediction of that was that $14-25bn /yr of TV ad spend will move out of TV in the US in the next 5 years. We’re about to see what the 2018 upfronts look like, but we’ve already seen a ~$6bn drop. It’ll be interesting to see what 2019 holds and then come back to this in 2023.

  • Have converged capabilities between mobiles and laptops – what I called “everything, everywhere”

That last one was possibly the most granular of the predictions – I envisaged specific enhancements to our mobile devices:

  • Faster than 2013 laptops
    • In fact, the latest iPhones might be faster than 2018 laptops
  • Easier to purchase on than laptops by being more personal
    • This is certainly an area where we have seen huge innovation with more to come

And specific ways that laptop-like devices would become more like 2013 mobiles, with:

  • Touch screens
  • App stores
  • The ability to turn on instantly

The majority of my predictions were directional and not that controversial, but the point I was seeking to make with the first few was that technology and usage generally changes a little slower than we anticipate. I think this is particularly true in voice, especially when it comes to search, and spectacularly true when it comes to commercially-interesting searches (including true informational searches).

What does all this tell us about voice “search”

At a high level, the same arguments I made in 2013 about the suitability of the different kinds of input and output apply to put some kind of cap or ceiling on the ultimate percentage of queries that will eventually shift to voice. Along with that, the experience of what things changed and what stayed the same 2003-2013 and again 2013-2018 remind us that certain kinds of behaviour always change more slowly than we might imagine they will.

All of that combines to remind us that even in the bullish predictions for voice search growth, most will be incremental and so little of it is to the detriment of existing search marketing channels (I wrote more about this in my piece the next trillion searches).

So how many voice searches might there be? And how many are actually real searches (rather than voice controls)? Of those, how many are in any way competitive or commercial? And of those, how many give a significantly different result to the closest-equivalent text search, and hence need any kind of different marketing approach?

A bit of Fermi estimation

Google talked about 20% of mobile searches being voice in 2016. Let’s assume that’s up 50% since then. There are then another fraction of that which will be voice searches on other devices (smart speakers, watches?, laptops).

To make it concrete, let’s assume we have a trillion desktop searches / year and a trillion mobile non-voice searches / year to put very rough numbers against the argument. Then I believe (see next trillion searches) that the new searches will mainly not cannibalise these (and to the extent they do, there will be natural growth in the underlying search volume). So then, taking the conservative assumption of no other growth, we get to something like the following annual search volume:

  • 1 trillion desktop
  • 1 trillion mobile non-voice
  • 300 million mobile voice
  • 300 million voice non-mobile
  • Still to come: 400 million (the rest of the “next trillion”): unfulfilled search demand – queries you can’t do yet. Image searches. New devices. New kinds of searches. Some fraction of these will be voice too.

So – 600 million voice “searches”.

After reading a range of sources, and building some estimation models, I think that total voice “search” volume breaks down roughly as:

  1. 50% (300 million / year): control actions
    1. [set a timer]
    2. [remind me]
    3. [play <song>]
    4. [add <product> to shopping list]
  2. 20% (120 million / year): informational repeated queries with no new discovery (i.e. you want it to do the same thing it did yesterday)
    1. [today’s weather]
    2. [traffic on my commute]
  3. 5-10% (30-60 million / year): personal searches of your own library / curated list
    1. [listen to <podcast>]
    2. [news headlines] (from previously set up list of sources)
  4. 20-25% (120-150 million / year): “real” searches – breaking down as
    1. 1-2% unanswerable
    2. 10% text snippets
    3. 5% other answers (local business name, list of facts, etc)
    4. 5% (where screen present) regular search results equivalent to similar typed search

Unfortunately, there is little “keyword” data for voice to validate this estimation. We simply don’t know how often people perform which different kinds of queries and controls. Most of the research (example 1, example 2) has focused on questions such as “which of the following activities do you use voice search / control for?” or “what tasks do you perform on your smart speaker?” (neither of which capture frequency). While there is some clever estimation you can do with regular keyword research tools, there is little in the way of benchmarking.

The closest I have found is comScore research that talks about “top use cases”:

If we interpret this as capturing frequency (which isn’t clear from the presentation) we can categorise it the same way I did above:

And then sum it to get ratios that fall roughly within my ranges:

  • Control: 51%
  • Informational: 23%
  • Personal: 6%
  • Search: 19%

It’s those 4. c & d that provide a marketing opportunity equivalent to most typed searches (and of course, just like on desktop, many of those are uncompetitive for various reasons – because they are branded, navigational, or have only one obvious “right” answer). But even with those included, we’re looking at global search volume of the order of 12-15 million queries / year.

Still interesting, you might think. But then strip out the queries it’s impossible to compete for, and look at the remaining set: what % of those return either the top organic result, a regular search result page (where a screen is present), or a version of the same featured snippet that appears for a typed search? 80%? 90%? I’m betting that the true voice search opportunity that needs a different activity, tactic or strategy to compete for, defined as:

  • Discovery searches you haven’t performed before (i.e. not [weather] and similar)
  • That return good results
  • That are not essentially the same as the result for the typed query

Is less than 1 million searches / year globally at this point.

What market share of ~100k searches / month across all industries do you think your organisation might be able to capture? How much effort is it worth putting into that?

Where I know I’m wrong

My analysis above is quite general and averaged across all industries. There are a few places where there might be specific actions that make sense to make the most of the improvement in and growth of voice control. For example:

  • News / media – might find that there is an opportunity in a growing demand for news summaries and headlines delivered as a result of a voice interaction rather than as e.g. morning TV news (see for example, this stat that the NYTimes news podcast The Daily has more listeners than they ever had print subscribers)
  • Data providers – if you offer proprietary (and defensible) data that has high value for answering certain kinds of queries (e.g. sports league statistics), there could API integration opportunities with attached commercial opportunities
  • Customer success / retention / happiness for consumer companies – there are a bunch of areas where skills / integrations can make sense as a way to keep your customers or users engaged with you / your service / your app. These might perform like searches that no-one else has access to once your users are using your skill. An example of this is grocery shopping.

At the same time, I would be tempted to argue that most of that is not truly search in any particularly meaningful sense.

Of course, it’s completely possible that I’m just wrong on the scale of the opportunity – Andrew Ng of Baidu (formerly of Google Brain) believes that 50% of all (not just mobile) searches will be voice by 2020 (or at least he did in 2016!). I haven’t seen an updated stat from him and while I am inclined to think that’s too high, you might disagree and I would understand if you thought Ng’s credentials and access to deeper data were stronger than mine here! (Note you’ll also see this prediction bandied around a lot attributed to comScore but as far as I can tell, they just repeated Ng’s assertion).

Disagree? Want to argue with me?

Please do – I’d love to hear other opinions – either in the comments below or on twitter where I’m @willcritchlow.

Voice Marketing Tactics: There’s Only 100k Searches a Month Up For Grabs Anyway was posted via Internet Marketing

Creating Content Connections: 10 Lessons in Resonance from Content Marketing Pros

Lessons in Content Marketing

Lessons in Content Marketing

Spot on.

https://giphy.com/embed/l2SpK9FYJFK5QY78Q

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Exactly.

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Truth.

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Accurate.

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Yaaaaaaaaaas!

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It’s hard to contain the excited, “uh huh” head nodding when you read, watch, or listen to a piece of content that really hits home … strikes the right chord … illuminates something deep inside your soul.

And for us marketers, these moments should remind us of an important digital marketing truth:

Creating content that resonates is key to building rapport, credibility, and trust with our audience, and, ultimately, driving marketing results.

When a piece of content connects with a customer or buyer, it makes them feel like you get it, that you understand their point of view or struggle—and that you may be worth paying attention to.

In my time at TopRank Marketing, I’ve had the pleasure of reading, watching, listening, and talking to some of our industry’s brightest minds as they share insights or tips that really resonated with me as a content writer and strategist—teaching me and reminding me of the importance of resonance in the content we create and how we share it with our audience.

Below I share some of those lessons that you can hopefully use to create more meaningful connections across channels with your content.

#1 – Comedy creates some of the most intimate connections.

Tim Washer of CiscoAs part of our Behind the Marketing Curtain series, I was lucky enough to speak with Tim Washer, a comedy and marketing genius as well as Cisco’s Creative Director of SP Marketing.

As he shared his story and his perspective on comedy in marketing, his lesson in resonance was quite simple: Comedy demonstrates empathy—and empathy creates connection.

Let’s face it, a lot of true comedy comes from pain. So, when we can come out and touch on a customer pain point, we show them that we understand their point of view. When we do something that is self-deprecating, when we look vulnerable, and when we let our guard down a little bit that’s when we make a connection.

These days, there’s so little content out there that truly connects with people. … So much of marketing is telling people how great we are. But with comedy—especially in the form of video—we can show them that we’re not always going to tell you how great we are. And if you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make.

Marketers need to let their guard down if we want our customers and buyers to do the same—and you can do this “on brand.” Good comedy is certainly an art; you don’t just throw “something funny” at your audience. Use your audience and their pain points as your guide to thoughtfully create content that will connect and make them giggle.

Read my full interview with Tim.

Follow Tim on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”If you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make. – @timwasher #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#2 – If you want to connect with your audience, be dedicated to helping them learn.

Mina SeetharamanA common goal for many brands want to build thought leadership by creating authoritative, credible content. But pushing your amazing product or service is not how you get there, as Mina Seetharaman, Executive Vice President and Global Managing Director of Content and Marketing Solutions for The Economist Group, told us in our interactive, supercharge your digital marketing infographic.

Thought leadership is about solving, not selling. People wake up thinking about their problems, not your product. In our research, Thought Leadership Disrupted, only 28% of marketers cited helping their audience become more knowledgeable as a primary objective. True thought leaders don’t push product, they understand their audience and share ideas to help them tackle issues.

People are constantly searching for answers to their burning questions and resources that will help them learn and find ways to solve their problems. When you make it a point to be the best answer for their inquiry, you have the opportunity to make a real impact.

Find more tips for supercharging your digital marketing.

Follow Mina on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”True thought leaders don’t push product, they understand their audience and share ideas to help them tackle issues. – @minaseeth #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#3 – Less is often more.

2017 marked my first trip to one of the industry’s biggest events: Content Marketing World.

While there, I attended the incomparable Ann Handley’s session. There she revealed five “radiant” writing secrets inspired by the classic novel Charlotte’s Web.

The MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer’s session was designed to help content writers become more thoughtful in how they approach content and make an impact on their audience. Ann challenged us all to:

Think of how Charlotte was able to save a life with just [a few] words. How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference?

It’s certainly no secret that we’re living in a world of content abundance. But if we want to create content that really resonates and makes our audience feel something, we need to remember that less is often more.

Read more from Ann’s session.

Follow Ann on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”Less is more in writing. How can we use our words more intentionally? How can we make a difference? – @annhandley @MarketingProfs #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#4 – When it comes to social content, don’t let your personal brand get in the way of your brand’s message.

Beverly Jackson Once again, our Behind the Marketing Curtain series gave me the honor of speaking with social, content, and customer experience wiz Beverly Jackson, now Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International.

When asked about a bad social media habit marketers needed to drop, her immediate response was: Too much self-promotion that gets in the way of a brand’s story:

The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects—not the marketers. And the bottom line is: marketers should never get in the way of that relationship.

Your brand needs to own the relationship with the audience if you want to make an impact. Of course, you should do what you can do evangelize your brand, but don’t confuse your audience by using your brand and its content to propel your profile. It can backfire.

Read my full interview with Beverly.

Follow Beverly on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”#SocialMedia allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects. Marketers should never get in the way of that.  – @bevjack #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#5 – Don’t settle for crappy content—your audience (and search engines) certainly won’t.

Josh NiteIn the fall of 2017, my talented colleague Joshua Nite made his speaking debut at a local bloggers’ event. During his presentation, he declared that it was time to flip the script on how we craft content.

With search engines getting smarter and our audience being more self-directed in research than ever, Joshua said making the switch from SEO-driven content to content-driven SEO is the key to resonating with both readers and robots.

There’s never been a better opportunity to write great content that people actually want to read and that will get seen in search results. So, go forth and be awesome. And please, please—don’t settle for writing crappy content.

While seasoned marketers may say “duh” to this little reminder, I’d wager we all have room for improvement here. So here it is: We can’t settle. We need to innovate. We need to be thoughtful. And above all, we need to create content that our audience will actually enjoy reading.

Read more from Josh’s presentation.

Follow Josh on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”Go forth and be awesome. But please, please—don’t settle for writing crappy content. – @NiteWrites #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#6 – Your audience is already telling you how to connect with them.

Another pro I had the pleasure of interviewing for the Behind the Marketing Curtain series was author, customer experience and social media expert, and marketing veteran Dan Gingiss, now the Vice President, Strategic Group for Persado.

While much of our conversation focused on social customer care, Dan said something simple—and perhaps even obvious—but it’s a good lesson nonetheless:

Always be listening. People will generally tell you everything you need to know about your business—what’s working, what needs fixing, and what could be your next big hit. Marketers need to embrace the feedback, including compliments, questions, and complaints.

From social media comments to customer surveys to inquiries or sales calls, brand or company has access to direct feedback from their ideal customers or buyers. They’re giving you an opening to make a connection. Use it to create content that answers their burning questions, quells their top concerns, or empathizes in a way that sparks agreement and head nodding.

Read my full interview with Dan.

Follow Dan on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”Always be listening. People will generally tell you everything you need to know about your business. – @dgingiss #LessonsInResonance #SociaMedia” username=”toprank”]

#7 – “Story” is everything—and influencers can be compelling characters.

Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAPMy most recent interview introduced me to Ursula Ringham, SAP’s Head of Global Influencer Marketing. As we chatted, a constant reference point was what she called her “love of story”—something that’s guided her throughout her career and something all marketers need to reinvest in. And influencers can help.

In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. Bring empathy and understanding, bring purpose, and bring insight—the latter of which influencers can certainly help with.

At a time when content is absolutely everywhere—and consumer trust is diminishing—marketers and brands need to be in the business of storytelling if you  want your content to resonate, inspire, and build trustful connections with our audience. You need to commit. You need to be thoughtful. And you need to consider who (e.g. internal or external thought leaders, current customers, prospects, employees) can help you tell that story.

Read my full interview with Ursula.

Follow Ursula on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. – @ursularingham” username=”toprank”]

#8 – Invite your audience to be part of the content creation process.

Dave CharestWhen most modern marketers think of content co-creation, they likely think of partnering with industry thought leaders. Of course, this is a method we at TopRank Marketing absolutely believe in.

But one co-creation opportunity marketers may not take advantage of, is partnering with your audience, as Dave Charest, Director of Content Marketing for Constant Contact, shared in Content Marketing Institute and TopRank Marketing’s “The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing” eBook.

When it comes to content creation, far too often content is created in a meeting room with a bunch of marketers without any thought for the day-to-day reality of the person consuming it. BIG mistake.

Level up your approach by creating content in partnership with members of your target audience. By including your audience in the creation process you’ll better understand what you need to create and how you need to create it. You’ll no longer be working in a vacuum and your content will better resonate with those you’re trying to reach.

There may be no better way to ensure a direct connect with your audience than asking them to be apart of your content process. From social media polls and other UGC to spotlight interviews or guest posts, there’s a range of ways you can include your target audience in the content creation process.

Follow Dave on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”By including your audience in the content creation process you’ll better understand what you need to create and how you need to create it. @DaveCharest #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#9 – Marketing integration is a must to deliver the best answer.

Lee OddenAs a digital marketing industry veteran, perhaps one of TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden’s most famous lines is: “Be the best answer for your audience wherever and whenever they’re searching.”

When you become the best answer, you become sticky for your readers—and integration is key to achieving best-answer status. This quote sums it up well:

With content marketing so popular among brands and content high in demand from customers, why are many B2B marketers so challenged to stand out and be effective? One reason is that the inherent pressure to produce can result in content that does not resonate. …

The best content isn’t really that great unless it can be found, consumed, and acted upon by buyers. That is why an effective content marketing program is customer-centric and incorporates data from SEO, insights about format and topics from social media, topical relevance of content from buyer persona research, and awareness of what effect media and influencers can have on buyers’ research and purchasing decisions.

Read more from Lee on the importance of being the best answer in B2B marketing.

Follow Lee on Twitter or LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”The best content isn’t really that great unless it can be found, consumed, and acted upon by buyers. – @leeodden #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#10 – Resonance is rooted in long-held content marketing best practices.

Joe PulizziNo marketer has been untouched by the teachings of Joe “The Godfather of Content Marketing” Pulizzi. As someone who was relatively green in digital marketing when I joined TopRank Marketing back in 2015, Joe and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI)—along with my in-house team—were incredible resources as I learned the ropes.

One of the first pieces I read featuring Joe’s insights was from a session we covered at Social Media Marketing World back in 2014. His message was simple, but it’s something we all need a little reminding of from time to time:

If we only talk about ourselves, we’ll never reach customers.

Content marketing evolved out of the need to meet our audience where and when our audience is searching—and at whatever point they may be in the buying cycle. And ensuring that we’re answering their questions and educating them—not just pushing our product or saying how great we are—is a basic yet still-relevant best practice we should never lose sight of if we want to connect with our audience.

[bctt tweet=”If we only talk about ourselves, we’ll never reach customers. – @JoePullizi #LessonsInResonance #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Follow Joe on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Go Forth to Create and Resonate

Another incredible marketing mind, Jay Acunzo, recently shared this go-to, “classic content marketing combo” tip. And it pretty much sums everything up:

Prioritize resonance over reach, and the latter (everything else you seek do do as a marketer) gets far easier.

Audiences want to connect with brands and companies that “get it.” So, give your audience great content. Give them guidance. Give them insight. Give them answers. And give them resonance.

Ready to create content that resonates? Take a cue from TopRank Marketing Nick Nelson and Honest Abe. Read our post on how to build trustful connections through storytelling.

Disclosure: SAP and Content Marketing Institute are TopRank Marketing clients.

Creating Content Connections: 10 Lessons in Resonance from Content Marketing Pros was posted via Internet Marketing

SearchLove Boston 2018: The Great Big Round Up

On June 7th and 8th, we made our annual return to Boston for our east coast edition of SearchLove. This year’s conference moved to a brand new venue, the newly refurbished Revere hotel, situated in the heart of downtown Boston, just a stone throw from Boston Common. 200 attendees, 15 speakers from across the globe, an endless amount of coffee consumed, all on a single track stage.

This post is a quick-fire summary of the knowledge our speakers had to share plus their slides. Their whole sessions will be available with a DistilledU membership in a couple of weeks’ time. And if you enjoyed all of that you can sign up for reminders to join us next year!

Will Critchlow – ‘From the Horse’s Mouth: What We Can Learn from Google’s Own Words’

  • Early web spam was fine as long as it didn’t make Google look stupid by flooding the SERPs with low-quality sites. As this spiralled out of control, this forced Google to produce more complex algorithms to protect their reputation.
  • Adsense is one of the most underrated things Google has ever done. It incentivised the creation of a vast amount of long-tail content, but it also created the monster that eventually required Panda to fix it.
  • Where is Google going next? Given their recent purchases, Google is (most likely) coming for the cloud computing space.
  • Facebook is going through many of the learning curves that Google has already experienced, e.g. content spam/fake news.

Ruth Burr Reedy – ‘Scaling JSON-LD Using Google Tag Manager’

  • Google doesn’t always pull knowledge panel information from your website.
  • Both Google and Bing have a very clear understanding of markup implemented using JSON-LD, and it is now their preferred method of implementation.
  • Structured data is a massive driver of voice search.

Samantha Noble – ‘Beyond the Reach of Keyword Targeting: The Evolution of Paid Media’

  • Organic clicks are continuing to shift to paid ads.
  • The number of ad extensions has increased significantly, and they can be used in combination with each other improving CTR, quality score and taking up more space in the SERPs. Naming a few we now have:
    • site links
    • structured snippets
    • call/message
    • location
    • affiliate location
    • price (even if it’s free you can put $0)
    • app
    • review
    • promotion
    • previous visits
    • seller/consumer ratings
  • Most search queries now contain four ads at the top of the SERP. But we are now beginning to see four ads at the foot of the SERP as well.
  • We should be thinking about what Google will monetise next. Google Shopping was previously free; now it is only pay to play.
  • 79% of adults online use Facebook. The amount of data Facebook has on us is incredible and allows impressive levels of targeting.
  • Facebook made $40.5 billion in 2017.

Ryan Charles – ‘Newsjacking: How To Add to the Story and Earn Big Links in Real Time’

  • Newsjacking requires agility. Can you build something and ship it within 24 hours for that story?
  • For newsjacking it’s best to have a connection to the story, there are varying degrees of connections required to newsjack. Do you have a unique and original angle? You need this in order for it to land with the audience.
  • Reporters have to generate news 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, they are on the look-out for a story. HARO… Help a reporter out by adding to their story.
  • If you’re looking to newsjack a story, start local. If you see success, this will create a ripple effect into larger news organizations.

Lisa Schneider – ‘The Ecosystem Effect: How Our Social Voice Boosted Our SEO’

  • Merriam-Webster recognized that they were a well-loved brand with a very sleepy social presence.
  • They have a team of people who are passionate about words and wanted to help people understand language better.
  • They used their own search query data to generate interesting social content by identifying new words that were seeing spikes in search volume.
  • Conversations that are happening in your internal Slack channel might be the next best piece of content you produce.

Casie Gillette – ‘The Power of Data: 15 Keys to a Successful Content Strategy’

  • 2 million blog posts are published every single day and 3 days worth of video is uploaded every minute.
  • Over 90% of your traffic will most likely come from less than 10% of your content. Find new and engaging ways to repurpose this content and distribute it further.
  • 27% of search queries are questions. Make sure you are answering the questions your customers are asking. Answerthepublic.com is a great starting place to find these questions, along with Keyword Tool and BuzzSumo.
  • It’s not new or shiny but we still find clients with site search reporting turned off in Google Analytics. Turn on-site search reporting. It shows what customers are looking for!

Bartosz Góralewicz – ‘JavaScript: Looking Past the Hype When the Dust Finally Settles’

  • The absolute minimum JavaScript testing you should be running is to put your site through the Google mobile-friendly test, and Google Search Console fetch and render to see how Google is handling your JavaScript.
  • JavaScript SEO isn’t just a geeky SEO option anymore. All SEOs need to start understanding this as it is impacting the bottom line of companies across all niches.
  • Indexing of modern JavaScript files continues to be a big challenge for Google.
  • Google is working on a new web rendering service that will most likely be rolled out in 2018. This new WRS will allow them to crawl and index JavaScript better than ever before.

Greg Gifford – ‘Zorg’s Tips for Utter Domination Through Local SEO’

  • Any business that has a physical location or that serves a certain area needs Local SEO.
  • What works in one vertical or area, won’t necessarily work in yours. You need to constantly be testing.
  • Pay attention to the annual Local Search Ranking Factors
  • When creating content for Local SEO, read it out loud. It should make sense to a human and read naturally.
  • Citations still work. Your business needs to be listed where Google would expect it to be listed.
  • Respond to every single negative review. This can actually turn potentially lost customers around.
  • Link building sucks, but it matters. The secret is to remember to act like a business rather than an SEO. Look for opportunities:
    • Be involved with local meetups
    • Event sponsorships
    • Sports organization sponsorship
    • Work with local charities
    • Local newspapers

David Levin – ‘Social Content Masterclass: Platform Specificity’

  • 500 million people are watching Facebook videos every single day. Things to consider when producing content for Facebook:
    • Video and more video.
    • Consider the length of your video, use sound where suitable and make sure you offer subtitles as an alternative. Design for sound off, delight with sound on.
    • Be relatable.
    • You need to use paid. Facebook organic reach is limited so put money behind your diamond content.
  • Facebook offers a whole range of content options, from Facebook Live to 360 videos to canvas pages.
  • Video content is just as crucial on Instagram. 300 million users use stories each day.

Emily Grossman – ‘The Marketer’s Guide to Performance Optimization

  • Google’s Speed Update impacts rankings not indexing. It primarily hurts slow pages and does not provide a boost to fast pages.
  • “There’s a difference between optimizing actual site speed and optimizing UX to change a user’s perception of site speed.”
  • Use the Webpagetest, Google Lighthouse, GTmetrix and Pingdom to build a simulation of your site speed.
  • Gather scalable user metrics that will help identify your real pain points by using real user metrics. These can be benchmarked using mPulse, New Relic and Google Performance Observer.
  • Improving site speed involves getting everyone on board. That means simplifying KPIs, clarifying the importance of page performance to everyone in the organization, and tying site speed to actual $$$.

Tom Anthony – ‘Hacking Google: what you can learn from ethical vulnerability research’

  • Use social network login URLs to detect users’ preferred social networks and if they are logged in or not. Use this information to serve custom social sharing icons or even aggressive discounts if you can see they are logged in to a competitor’s site.
  • If you find a security flaw, Google responds pretty quickly. In fact, it took them just 11 minutes to respond to an issue with Google Search Console identified by Tom.
  • Google offers a bug bounty reward system to incentivise hackers and users to report issues.
  • Tom used a flaw in submitting XML sitemaps to have a site with no links ranking for highly competitive transactional terms in just a few days. Disclaimer: Distilled does not condone black hat, and any security flaws were reported to Google.
  • To protect yourself from these types of attack it is recommended to ensure you have no open redirects, have a sitemap with hreflang and media entries, and hide your sitemaps, e.g. LinkedIn.

Chris Savage – ‘The Future of Video is One to One’

  • The future of video is one to one. We’re already living in a world where video content is on the increase, as the cost of producing high-quality footage is on the decrease.
  • Video content is now being used everywhere in the funnel.
  • The latest product from Wista is Soapbox, which allows fast production of high-quality video.
  • Through mobile phones and apps such as SnapChat and Instagram, ordinary people are now producing video content every single day.

Justine Jordan – ‘The State of Email: Insights from 3,000 Marketers’

  • As email marketers, we need to find a balance between our needs and our customer’s needs.
  • 57% of humans report spam because they are sent irrelevant emails or too many emails. 43% unsubscribe because the email didn’t work on their mobile device.
  • Your email is the invitation to the party. Make sure your landing page is the party! It isn’t enough to just get users opening your email.
  • To prevent screen-readers reading out your tabled data, add to the table element  role=”presentation”.
  • Make emails easy to unsubscribe from to prevent users adding you to their spam folder.
  • Don’t trick users with misleading email subject lines.

Dewi Nawasari – ‘Optimizing when Google is your competitor.’

  • Google currently holds more than 80% of total search engine share.
  • Google has over 70 products just for consumers.
  • Google conducts their own form of keyword research to decide which vertical to create unique search results for. Recent examples include flights, hotels, things to do and jobs.
  • As a result, Google takes anywhere between 25-70% of the traffic for any of these unique verticals.

Jes Scholz – ‘Looking Beyond Keywords: From Visual Search to New Realities’

  • 74% of consumers say keyword-based searches are not helping them find the products they want.
  • Optimize the quality of your images for image search.
  • Visitors are 2x more likely to convert if you have user-generated content on your site.
  • Augmented reality presents users with the opportunity to try products before they buy.

Images from SearchLove Boston 2018

https://albumizr.com/a/qcAy

Further Write-ups

If you want to read more about SearchLove Boston, you should head over to KoMarketing and check out their write up of SearchLove Boston 2018.

SearchLove Boston 2018: The Great Big Round Up was posted via Internet Marketing

Beyond the Hype Cycle: It’s Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing

It's Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing

It's Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing

Every marketer should consider getting a tattoo of Gartner’s Hype Cycle, as a reminder to keep us from chasing shiny objects.

The Hype Cycle goes like this:

  1. A new hotness emerges. It could be new technology, a new strategy or tactic, some new thing.
  2. There are wild predictions about how the thing will revolutionize the world.
  3. People scramble to get on board with the thing before they even understand it.
  4. The new thing doesn’t measure up to elevated expectations.
  5. People get disillusioned with the thing and decide it’s worthless.
  6. People actually learn how the thing works, get sophisticated in using it.
  7. The thing turns out to be pretty awesome and is used productively.

Marketers are just as susceptible to the hype machine as anyone else is. More so, even. Think of content marketing: We went from “content is king” to “content shock” in just a few years, and we’re just now hitting the plateau of productivity.

Now it’s influencer marketing’s turn to ride the downhill slope to the trough of disillusionment. It’s inevitable. We started with high expectations, a ton of hype, and a lot of investment before people really knew what worked.

Now the backlash is hitting. The latest Sprout Social Index is particularly sobering. Only 46% of marketers are using influencer marketing. Only 19% said they had the budget for an influencer program. And on the consumer side, people say they’re more likely to take a friend’s recommendation on social media than take an influencer’s word for it.

In other words: The party’s over. Now the real work begins. It’s time to redefine influencer marketing, get more sophisticated, and get productive. Here’s how to get out of the trough:

#1 – Redefining Influence

In the B2C world (and even in the B2B realm), influence and celebrity are often treated as synonyms. Whether it’s Rhianna or Matthew McConaughey or Pewdiepie, it’s people who have audiences in the millions. There’s some differentiation for relevancy — this YouTuber does makeup tutorials, that one is a gamer — but it’s mostly a numbers game. It’s paying people with huge followings to throw some attention at your brand.

As Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing for SAP*, told us in a recent interview on social and influencer marketing:

“People often think that influencer marketing is all about celebrities hawking a product. It’s truly not about that—especially in the B2B realm. It’s about highlighting experts who have real experience on the business challenges a brand’s audience faces.”

To become more sophisticated, you need to rethink what it means to be influential. Sure, a mega-star with a huge following is great — if they are relevant to your specific target audience and if their participation doesn’t break the bank.

However, you can get amazing results working with influencers like:

  • Thought leaders in the industry with a small but prestigious network
  • Experts with radical new ideas who are poised to become thought leaders
  • Subject matter experts within your own company
  • Prospective customers from influential brands you want to work with
  • Employees who will advocate for your brand given direction and material

That last one is crucial. Inspiring your internal influencers can give your content a massive boost in reach — LinkedIn* estimates that the average employee has a network 10x bigger than the brand’s social reach. Sprout says, in the key findings of their report:

“Social marketers in 2018 see the value in employee advocacy as a cost-effective, scalable alternative to influencer marketing.”

I would say “addition” rather than “alternative,” but it’s definitely an undervalued tactic.

Our experience is that a combination of industry and internal influencers can yield the most effective results. SAP Success Factors incorporated industry influencers, internal subject matter experts, partners and clients on a program that exceeded the lead generation goal by 272% with a 66% conversion rate.

The bottom line is, when evaluating influencers, look beyond their follower count. Their industry reputation, group affiliations, and level of engagement are all indicators influence, too. And don’t forget to include your customers, prospects, and employees in your potential influencer pool.

[bctt tweet=”When evaluating influencers, look beyond their follower count. Their industry reputation, group affiliations, & level of engagement are all indicators influence, too. – @NiteWrites #RedefiningInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#2 – Redefining Compensation

The rising cost of influencer marketing is another factor that has led to the trough of disillusionment. The majority of influencer marketing, especially in B2C, has been exclusively transactional. Big brands swept up top-tier influencers, the payments kept getting bigger for smaller results, and eventually the bubble had to burst.

To reach the plateau of productivity, that compensation model must change. At TopRank Marketing, we focus on building relationships with influencers and invite them to co-create with us. While there are instances in which financial compensation is part of the partnership, most often the compensation is the same both for our client and the influencer:

  • A cool, valuable asset to share
  • Cross-promotion to each other’s audiences
  • Boost to thought leadership
  • Access to a community of thought leaders

The relationship model is far more sustainable than a transactional-only approach. Again, if there is an influencer who prefers a transaction, and is of high value to the client, we’re not opposed to financial compensation. But these cases should be the exception, not the norm.

#3 – Redefining Measurement

Proving ROI is a crucial part of making your influencer marketing more sophisticated. Without the ability to show what your influencers have accomplished for the brand, it’s hard to sell management on continued investment.

It all starts with measurable goals and KPIs that hold your influencer marketing to the same standards as every other tactic you use. Tracking performance against those goals is the next step. We all have access to the tools and tech for this kind of measurement. We just need to use them more effectively to show how influencers are effective throughout the entire buyer’s journey.

Right now, marketers tend to focus on the top of funnel metrics, because they’re easy to measure: Social reach, influencer participation, engagements, likes, comments.

You need to get more granular than just those raw engagement numbers. You need to get from engagement to action. When you’re ready to amplify, give each influencer a custom URL to share. Then you can measure which influencers are actually inspiring people to leave social media and check out the asset you’ve created. From there, you can measure how those clicks convert to a lead capture, and track the lead through your pipeline.

[bctt tweet=”We all have access to the tools & tech for better measurement of #influencermarketing #ROI. We just need to use them more effectively. – @NiteWrites #RedefiningInfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Redefining Influencer Marketing

It’s time for influencer marketing to graduate from the Hype Cycle and become a trusted part of your integrated marketing strategy. To get to the plateau of productivity, we must discard what doesn’t work, keep what does, and refine our approach for continued improvement.

It starts with reconsidering just what influence means and who has it. Once you find your true influencers, it’s about developing relationships and building communities, rather than ever-more-expensive transactions. Finally, it requires making your measurement as sophisticated as it is for the rest of your marketing tactics.

We have found that influencer marketing beyond the Hype Cycle is an indispensable part of our marketing mix. The proof is in the pie: Read how our Easy-As-Pie Guide to Content Planning drove a 500% increase in leads for client DivvyHQ.

*Disclosure: SAP and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

Beyond the Hype Cycle: It’s Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing was posted via Internet Marketing

Digital Marketing News: Behavior & Analytics Studies, Facebook’s A/B Testing, & LinkedIn’s Carousel Ads

Perceived Influence Marketing Charts Graph

Perceived Influence Marketing Charts GraphAs Concerns Grow Over Internet Privacy, Most Say Search & Social Have Too Much Power
How Internet users perceive the influence a variety of popular online platforms have over their lives was among the subjects examined in a sizable new joint report by Ipsos, the Internet Society, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation, offering some surprising insight for digital marketers. Marketing Charts

Facebook Experiments with A/B Testing for Page Posts
Facebook has been trying out A/B testing of Facebook Page posts, a feature that if rolled out in earnest could eventually have significant implications for digital marketers. Social Media Today

CMOs Say Digital Marketing Is Most Effective: Nielsen Study
Accurately measuring digital marketing advertising spending’s return on investment remains a challenge, while the overall effectiveness of digital ad spend has grown, according to a fascinating new Nielsen study of chief marketing officers. Broadcasting & Cable

Snapchat Rolls Out Option to ‘Unsend’ Messages, New eCommerce Tools
Snapchat has added several e-commerce tools including an in-app ticket purchase solution, branded augmented-reality games, and has given its users the option to unsend messages. Social Media Today

People Are Changing the Way They Use Social Media
Trust of various social media platforms and how Internet users’ self-censorship has changed since 2013 are among the observations presented in the results of a broad new study conducted by The Atlantic. The Atlantic

Facebook launches tool to let users rate advertisers’ customer service
Facebook has added a feedback tool that lets users rate and review advertisers’ customer service, feedback the company says will help it find and even ban sellers with poor ratings. Marketing Land

2018 June 15 Statistics ImageGoogle’s about-face on GDPR consent tool is monster win for ad-tech companies
Google reversed its General Data Protection Regulation course recently, allowing publishers to work with an unlimited number of vendors, presenting new opportunities for advertising technology firms. AdAge

LinkedIn rolls out Sponsored Content carousel ads that can include up to 10 customized, swipeable cards
LinkedIn (client) has rolled out a variety of new ad types and more performance metrics for marketers, with its Sponsored Content carousel ads that allow up to 10 custom images. Marketing Land

Report: Facebook is Primary Referrer For Lifestyle Content, Google Search Dominates Rest
What people care about and where they look for relevant answers online are among the marketing-related insights revealed in a recent report from Web analytics firm Parse.ly. Facebook was many users’ go-to source for answers for lifestyle content, while Google was the top source for all other content types. MediaPost

Survey: 87% of mobile marketers see success with location targeting
Location targeting is widely-used and has performed well in the mobile marketing realm, helping increase conversion rates and how well marketers understand their audiences, according to new report data. Marketing Land

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist Short-Termism Cartoon

A lighthearted look at marketing short-termism, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

‘The weird one wins’: MailChimp’s CMO on the company’s off-the-wall advertising — The Drum

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Why Content Marketing is Good for B2B Companies — Atomic Reach
  • Lee Odden — Top 2018 Influencers That Might Inspire Your Inner Marketer — Whatagraph
  • Lee Odden — Better than Bonuses: 4 Motivators that Matter More than Money — Workfront
  • Anne Leuman — What’s Trending: Marketing GOOOOOAAAALS! — LinkedIn (client)

Thanks for visiting, and please join us next week for a new selection of the latest digital 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.

Digital Marketing News: Behavior & Analytics Studies, Facebook’s A/B Testing, & LinkedIn’s Carousel Ads was posted via Internet Marketing

CMWorld Interview: Peter Krmpotic on Optimizing the Content Supply Chain

Content personalization is no longer a dream that marketers have for leveling up engagement with their audience, it’s become an essential combo for winning the content marketing game. Need proof? According to a study from Marketo, 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized. And Salesforce estimates that by 2020 51% of consumers will expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make suggestions, before contact.

But how can enterprise brands scale personalization efforts in a way that is efficient and effective?

Peter Krmpotic, Group Product Manager at Adobe, has focused heavily throughout his career on scaling personalization. He alo references the content supply chain (which is a framework for viewing content production, management and scalability) as a granular way to break down different structural elements and make them more manageable.

Applying personalization to an entire content marketing operation, especially at the enterprise level, might feel overwhelming. But applying it individually to different aspects of the process, piece by piece? This feels more feasible.

Peter will be joining other high-scoring content marketing experts at 2018’s Content Marketing World in Cleveland, OH this September. In anticipation of this awesome event, we sat down with Peter for the first interview in our series leading up to the event and asked him more about his role at Adobe, the importance of content personalization and the impact of technology on personalization.  

What does your role as Group Product Manager at Adobe entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

At Adobe, I focus on content marketing, digital asset management, and personalization at scale.

Throughout my career, I’ve developed a passion for customers, their use cases and building scalable software for them.

Specifically, my interests include next-generation technologies, evolving organizational structures, and industry best practices.

You’re a big believer in the importance of personalization. Where do you see the biggest opportunities for content marketers to improve in this regard?

First and foremost, personalization is a group effort which cuts across all functions of the content supply chain: strategy, planning, creation, assembly, and delivery.

Establishing and aligning these functions with each other is the first block in a strong foundation.

What we are doing here is leveraging the centuries-old concept of “divide and conquer,” where we break personalization down into manageable stages.

Once everything is in place, the biggest opportunity lies in providing relevant data that is actionable at each of the content supply chain functions.

While we all talk a lot about data-informed and data-driven content marketing, I still see addressing this data gap as the biggest opportunity by far.

Which prevalent pitfalls are preventing content from connecting with its audience, from your view?

We have the people, the data, and the tools to create engaging content at scale, yet we often jumpstart the process of creating content without the required thoughtfulness on the initial critical steps.

It is essential to be clear which audiences we are targeting and subsequently to define clear goals for the message we are creating.

To this day, most brands need to improve at this stage, otherwise the best content marketer in the world cannot create an effective piece of engaging content.

Developing scalable ways to create and personalize content has been a key area of emphasis in your career. How can marketers think differently about scaling for efficiency and impact?

Similar to what I said earlier of “divide and conquer,” break the problem into manageable pieces and thus build a content supply chain.

Then, optimize each piece of the supply chain as opposed to trying to improve the whole thing all at once.

Where do you see the biggest influences of technologies like machine learning and automation in the world of content?

Currently, many mundane tasks, such as gathering and analyzing data or making sure content is optimized for each channel, take up a lot of time and effort in content marketing, preventing us from doing what matters most.

Things that take weeks and months will gradually be performed in the background.

By eliminating these mundane tasks, the human capacity for creativity and intuition will be magnified and reach new levels that were unimaginable before.

Which aspects of marketing SaaS products and services could and should be instilled for pros in other verticals?

Marketing software has received the kind of attention and focus that very few verticals have ever received, and as a result, we now benefit from a variety of software options that is unparalleled. This has led to a lot of AI being developed for marketing first that will be deployed in other verticals later.

A result of this fierce competition is that marketing software tends to be the more flexible and user friendly than others, adapting to a multitude of use cases, which has set new standards across all verticals.

Lastly, even though software in general does not integrate well with each other, given its variety and busy ecosystem, marketing software has trail-blazed integration best practices, which other verticals will benefit from.

Looking back, is there a particular moment or juncture in your career that you view as transformative? What takeaways could other marketers learn and apply?

Joining Adobe was truly transformative, because it allowed me to engage with customers across the entire breadth and depth of digital marketing, as well as with colleagues across different products and solutions who are truly world-class at what they do.

My recommended takeaway is to look beyond your current scope of work — which is not necessarily easy — and to figure out ways to connect with people who can help you understand adjacent functions and disciplines.

Seeing the entire picture will help you with solving your current challenges in ways that you could not have imagined before.

Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

I’m looking forward to quite a few sessions, but here are 5 sessions I am particularly excited about:

  • Joe Pulizzi’s keynote on Tuesday. I am sure I am not the only one interested to hear his take on the industry and where it is headed.
  • Then Gartner’s Heather Pemberton Levy and her workshop on their branded content platform, Smarter With Gartner, which I am a big fan of.
  • Michael Brenner’s workshop on how to create a documented content marketing strategy, which I know a lot of brands struggle with.
  • And then two sessions that talk about leveraging data during content creation: Morgan Molnar and Brad Sanzenbacher on Wednesday, and Katie Pennell on Thursday.

Ready Player One

Big thanks to Peter for his enlightening insights. His final takeaway — “Seeing the entire picture will help you with solving your current challenges in ways that you could not have imagined before” — is at the heart of Content Marketing World, which will bring together a diverse set of voices and perspectives to broaden your view of this exciting yet challenging frontier.

Tap into some of the unique expertise offered by CMWorld speakers by checking out the Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing below:

 


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
CMWorld Interview: Peter Krmpotic on Optimizing the Content Supply Chain | http://www.toprankblog.com

CMWorld Interview: Peter Krmpotic on Optimizing the Content Supply Chain was posted via Internet Marketing

Ready Player One: Top CMWorld Speakers Dish Go-To Classic Content Marketing Combos

Over the years, content marketing has made incredible strides. What used to be considered more 8-Bit tactics such as print and articles, have evolved into more immersive tactics like interactive and video which truly brings audiences into the “game”.

And while the days of 2D 8-bit side scroller content may be gone, that doesn’t mean we should abandon everything we’ve learned about content.

To help uncover some of the tried and true content marketing tactics that have stood the test of time, we’ve tapped into the minds of some of Content Marketing World’s top speakers who shared expert advice in our new eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing.

But first, here are some fun fun 8-bit videos featuring your favorite content marketing experts and a preview into the type of game-winning advice you can find in our new guide.

Content Marketing Strategy Experts

Featuring: Robert Rose, Nichole Kelly, Tim Washer, Ellie Mirman, Peter Krmpotic and Tamsen Webster

Content Marketing Planning

Featuring: Amanda Todorovich, Courtney Cox, Eli Schwartz, Jay Acunzo, Carla Johnson, Heather Pemberton Levy, Zari Venhaus and Andy Crestodina

Content Marketing Creation

Featuring: Ann Handley, Melanie Deziel, Mitch Joel, Michelle Park Lazette, Pam Didner and Dave Charest

Content Marketing Amplification & Distribution

Featuring: Ian Cleary, Lee Odden, Vishal Khanna, Juntae DeLane, Doug Kessler, Joe Pulizzi, Justin Levy and Heidi Cohen

Content Marketing Measurement

Featuring: Christopher Penn, Mathew Sweezey, Michael Brenner, Michael Pratt, Ron Tite and Matt Heinz

34 Classic Content Marketing Tactics from Top CMWorld Speakers

Robert Rose
Chief Troublemaker, The Content Advisory
@Robert_Rose


Classic Content Tip: As part of the creation process, we have to ask how every piece of content we create delivers value to our audience first, and us second. It is an approach that will never fail. @Robert_Rose #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Nichole Kelly
Chief Consciousness Officer, The Conscious Marketing Institute
@nichole_kelly


Classic Content Tip: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Acting with integrity is a competitive advantage.@nichole_kelly #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Tim Washer
PowerPoint Comedian/Emcee, Ridiculous Media
@timwasher


Classic Content Tip: Interview customers to get short, actionable advice that other organizations can learn from. This can be published via video, audio or a simple text Q+A. @timwasher #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Ellie Mirman
CMO, Crayon
@ellieeille


Classic Content Tip: Time and time again, I turn to blogging: it’s a simple way to house a variety of content even as it evolves to serve different media, channels, and strategies. @ellieeille #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Peter Krmpotic
Group Product Manager, Adobe
@peterkrmpotic


Classic Content Tip: Aim for quick iterations, leading to faster insights, and creating a self-tuning system. @peterkrmpotic #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Tamsen Webster
Founder & CEO, Find the Red Thread
@tamadear


Classic Content Tip: Find the truth that makes a problem impossible to ignore. @tamadear #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Amanda Todorovich
Senior Director – Content & Creative Services, Cleveland Clinic
@amandatodo


Classic Content Tip: Great content answers questions and solves problems for your customers. When you do that – no matter what platform or format – it works and generates engagement every time. @amandatodo #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Courtney Cox
Manager, Digital Marketing – Children’s Health
@courtewakefield


Classic Content Tip: No matter how marketing changes, listening will always be the greatest asset of a content marketer. @courtewakefield #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Eli Schwartz
Director of Organic Product, SurveyMonkey
@5le


Classic Content Tip: Google’s non-English language ranking algorithm will always lag the advancements made in English search. @5le #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Jay Acunzo
Founder, Unthinkable Media
@jayacunzo


Classic Content Tip: Prioritize resonance over reach, and the latter (and everything else you seek as a marketer) gets far easier. To do so, look for a small number of people reacting in big ways to your work. @jayacunzo #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Carla Johnson
President, Type A Communications
@carlajohnson


Classic Content Tip: Put your customer first. Creating content that delivers value to them will always align your time, talent and resources with what delivers the best ROI. @carlajohnson #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Heather Pemberton Levy
Vice President, Content Marketing – Gartner
@heatherpemberton


Classic Content Tip: Always look in your rearview mirror at the traffic driving to your content and further down the road at the next content asset in the buyer’s journey. @heatherpemberton #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Zari Venhaus
Director Corporate Marketing Communications, Eaton
@zvenhaus


Classic Content Tip: Nothing beats knowing your audience. Today, there are so many more ways to target – the how is evolving, but nothing will ever replace understanding what drives your customers. @zvenhaus #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Andy Crestodina
Principal – Strategic Director, Orbit Media
@crestodina


Classic Content Tip: Learn something useful… Try it… Test it… Then teach it. @crestodina #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Ann Handley
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
@annhandley


Classic Content Tip: Leaders are readers, as Harry S. Truman said. I’d add that leaders are writers, too. If you want to improve the quality of both your ideas and your thinking… you need to regularly write. @annhandley #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Melanie Deziel
Branded Content Consultant, Mdeziel Media
@mdeziel


Classic Content Tip: When all else fails, ask what you can teach your audience. Educational content provides evergreen value and proves your expertise to customers and potential customers alike. @mdeziel #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Mitch Joel
President, Mirum
@mitchjoel


Classic Content Tip: Write stuff that matters. Write stuff that has depth. Nobody else is doing this (well) anymore. It’s because they suck at writing (trust me ;). @mitchjoel #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Michelle Park Lazette
Writer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
@mp_lazette


Classic Content Tip: My chicken test is a set of 3 questions I use to vet any content idea. Does the topic involve or interest our target audience? Is the idea timely? And does the idea have a so-what? @mp_lazette #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Pam Didner
Author, Global Content Marketing
@pamdidner


Classic Content Tip: SEO! Invest time and resources into keyword research, analytics and scoping out your content. If you want your content to be seen, align your content marketing with your SEO goals. @pamdidner #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Dave Charest
Director Content Marketing, Constant Contact
@davecharest


Classic Content Tip: Stay focused on the fundamentals of human nature. Even as technology changes, the fundamentals that make us people do not. Understand how those fundamentals apply to a new environment. @davecharest #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Ian Cleary
Founder, RazorSocial
@IanCleary


Classic Content Tip: Relationship building. When you build up a network of influential friends it’s like having many pac mans in one game and they are all on your side. @IanCleary #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing
@leeodden


Classic Content Tip: Nothing gobbles up Pac-Dots like content co-created with highly credible experts. Influencers w/ active networks of relevant audiences can demystify marketing mazes and open up infinite opportunity! @leeodden #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Vishal Khanna
Director of Marketing & Communications, HealthPrize Technologies
@bediscontent


Classic Content Tip: Read employment listings for the types of prospects you target to find out how their success is measured, and then develop content that helps them succeed. @bediscontent #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Juntae DeLane
Sr. Digital Brand Manager, University of Southern California
@juntaedelane


Classic Content Tip: You need to be able to go where your audience is and speak to them in a language they can understand. Identify how and where they engage with content, & incorporate that info into your strategy. @juntaedelane…
Click To Tweet


 

Doug Kessler
Co-Founder & Creative Director, Velocity Partners
@dougkessler


Classic Content Tip: It’s really hard to fail at simply interviewing really smart people who know about the topic. Do your homework, ask good questions and stand back. @dougkessler #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Joe Pulizzi
Founder, Content Marketing Institute
@joepulizzi


Classic Content Tip: Email, email, email. Getting and keeping opt-in email subscribers continues to be the key to content marketing success. @joepulizzi #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Justin Levy
Public Speaker
@justinlevy


Classic Content Tip: The one tried and true tactic that I will always go back to even as marketing evolves is the need for a blog. @justinlevy #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Heidi Cohen
Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide
@HeidiCohen


Classic Content Tip: Like other forms of marketing, content marketing requires a documented strategy that ties your business goals to measurable results. @HeidiCohen #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Christopher Penn
Founder & Chief Innovator, Brain+Trust Insights
@cspenn


Classic Content Tip: Essential for any form of content is audience centricity. Do it in a way that provides value, educates, entertains and engages your audience. @cspenn #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Mathew Sweezey
Principal of Marketing Insights, Salesforce
@msweezey


Classic Content Tip: Ask! Ask what they want, don’t assume. Once you make it Ask if they liked it, and how to make it better. @msweezey #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Michael Brenner
Founder, Marketing Insider Group
@brennermichael


Classic Content Tip: Create content using the keywords buyers use, the content they read and share and the offers that convert. @brennermichael #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Michael Pratt
CEO, Panamplify
@mikepratt


Classic Content Tip: Try and discover what solutions to problems your clients are searching for and write content that becomes that solution. @mikepratt #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Ron Tite
Founder & CEO, Church+State
@rontite


Classic Content Tip: Massive wins come from doing something that has never been used before. @rontite #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


 

Matt Heinz
President, Heinz Marketing
@heinzmarketing


Classic Content Tip: Finish content with a question. Actively engage your audience. @heinzmarketing #CMWorld
Click To Tweet


Want More Game-Winning Content Marketing Advice?

For more from our Content Marketing World speakers, check out the full guide below:


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
Ready Player One: Top CMWorld Speakers Dish Go-To Classic Content Marketing Combos | http://www.toprankblog.com

Ready Player One: Top CMWorld Speakers Dish Go-To Classic Content Marketing Combos was posted via Internet Marketing

IHob’s SEO Berson Is Brobably Buking Right Now…I Know I Am

It must be tempting for a brand to try to do the fun, edgy social media thing, like tease a new promotion or rebranding:

Of course even when these campaigns go well on social media, we often see brands totally ignore the SEO components that could get the word out to those few people who for some reason aren’t using Twitter to find a place for lunch.

So I headed down to the local IHopb for lunch yesterday to grab a pburger and take a look at their SEO strategy, which surely they launched to support this bet-the-brand effort right?

As I pulled into the lot, my first impression was that this IHob thing is probably not a true rebranding and more like a temporary promotion to get us thinking that they are now a place to grab lunch cause, just like our President, everywhere I looked I was still getting hit in the face with P.
IHoP In The Face

The signage on the door was a bit schizophrenic. They clearly were making a push for the “b”, but it was as if they hadn’t anticipated that stores might still have a lot of signs, again just like certain statesmen, that were covered with “p”.


So it shouldn’t surprise you that their website has similar issues.

Despite the rebrand, IHob was still rocking the ihop.com domain:


The good news is they had acquired ihob.com but apparently this burger thing was moving too fast to change domains or even put something up on Ihob.com. Probably not a bad idea as that can be tricky SEO-wise, but how about just redirecting ihob.com to ihop.com? Ihob.com would have likely acquired a spate of backlinks yesterday which would have helped when it came time to redirect ihop.com, and it probably would be ranking #1 in Google for “ihob” queries v. all these news results:

iHob SERP

IHob SERP with search box and tweets removed

I guess this wasn’t a huge issue yesterday as the news is more important in spreading the word than the brand, but this SERP could easily start to show articles ridiculing the strategy or about how Wendys totally pwned them. And then they are going to want that ihob.com domain to be #1 for that query to try to control the message, or at least to help drown out the snark.

(note: sometime after 5pm PT they actually put a pic of a burger up on ihob.com but for most of the day it just read “coming soon”. Oh yeah and there are multiple indexable versions of the homepage)

And while the site sported an updated IHob logo, someone had forgotten to invite the store locator guys to the meetings:

Scrolling down the homepage below the fold, it appears that maybe folks were a bit too busy with coming up with fun Tweet ideas to give the app team a heads up:

But who cares if the branding on the site is inconsistent as long as people know we’re now all about burgers right? Good thing they updated the homepage title tags and meta descriptions to make sure people searching for them get the “we’re all about burgers now baby!” message:


Hey, I understand. The CMS is a POS and that “update title tag” JIRA ticket is on hold until we can find the guy who knows how to find the guy who knows how to update the title tags. So you did what any resourceful marketer would do, you had the dev guys create a hack so you could add a new “what’s new” page to showcase your new pbrogram:

For those of you without zoom capabilities, the title tag of that URL reads “Big Bold Omelettes and World Famous Pancakes”. This may not be so wrong as one of their new burgers is the “Big Brunch”:

iHob Big Brunch Burger

I ended up going for the Jalapeño Kick which the manager mentioned was the most popular burger on the menu. But again the restaurant was sending me signals that this rebrand hadn’t really been well-thought out. For example, at the end of my table there was a sign for their burgers, but instead of bottles of ketchup and mustard, here’s what I saw:

Burger Syrup

Who doesn’t like a slathering of blueberry syrup on their burger? Actually, maybe I’m in the minority. Why else would they give you side options of fries, onion rings, fruit or…

Is it me or does it seem like iHob, like some other people in the news these days, really can’t quit the p?

And speaking of reluctance to change, let’s not forget about those Google My Business listings:

If IHop truly had rebranded they would have changed all of their GMB names (although I wouldn’t have been surprised if Google would have algorithmically rejected the change. I think Bill Slawski found a “just too damn ridiculous” patent once).

While I can’t say I am particularly impressed with the SEO effort, the burger had a surprisingly spicy jalapeño kick. Nothing a real chili-head would respect but it wasn’t super wimpy like most QSR spice-trend dishes. All in all, a fine low-brow burger.
Jalapeno Kick Burger

As for the fries? They tasted pretty much like home fries that had been reshaped for lunch with a slight hint of yesterday’s Crispy Fish & Chips. And they only supplied me with a single flimsy napkin.
A bit greasy

Of course they were as stingy with the napkins as they were with their new burger URLs in their XML sitemap.

Look, I get it. We’re doing MARKETING here baby and we don’t have time to do all your fancy optimizing. But think about how much time, effort and $ iHopb is putting into this campaign. Even if this is just a temporary stunt, iHopb does not appear to be appreciating the long-term advantage of tying an SEO strategy to a social campaign. Remember “Puppy Baby Monkey?” I bet Mountain Dew’s SEO guy remembers it as the time his company’s ad went viral on the Super Bowl but they never bothered to try to get the site or Mountain Dew’s Youtube channel to rank for the damn term:

Speaking of time, I asked the iHopb manager when he was informed about the campaign. He said corporate had told him about a month ago and sent new menus, signage and videos with cooking instructions for the new burgers. Unfortunately his cooks had ignored the videos until that morning and now weren’t sure how to cook all of the different burgers which is what everyone had been ordering that day.

Ihob manager

SEO in large organizations is a lot like those burger cooking videos. Requirements get sent to decision makers but they get ignored, or pushed down the priority list, until there’s an emergency and then there’s a mad scramble to figure out what went wrong and fix it.

As we like to say over here:

And as they like to say on Twitter:

IHob’s SEO Berson Is Brobably Buking Right Now…I Know I Am was posted via Internet Marketing