The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group?

Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group

Should My Brand Start a Facebook GroupDespite its recent bubble of controversy, marketers still view Facebook as the prime destination for social media marketing.

The newly released Sprout Social Index 2018 reaffirms this, with 97% of social marketers saying they use the platform.

However, while almost everyone is incorporating Facebook into their strategies, not so many express confidence that it’s making the desired impact. Last month’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed only 49% reporting a belief that their Facebook marketing is effective.

With algorithmic changes deprioritizing publisher content on Facebook feeds, and thus suppressing organic reach for brands, marketers are feeling the crunch. As I wrote here recently, “Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there.”

One creative solution that marketers are increasingly turning to is Facebook groups.

Are they worth your time and effort? Let’s explore.

Why are Facebook Groups Gaining Steam?

Much like influencer marketing, Facebook groups present an opportunity to regain diminished reach by embracing the platform’s heightened focus on user-generated content.

According to the Sprout Social Index, social marketers point to increasing community engagement as their No. 2 biggest goal, right behind boosting brand awareness. Facebook groups are very much in line with this objective. They are mini-communities, where members are empowered to speak up and (in many cases) can engage directly with company reps, in addition to one another.

Although groups have long been available as a feature on Facebook, the brand-driven “Facebook Groups for Pages” were just rolled out last year. You can find a helpful primer on setting one up here, via Social Media Examiner.

What differentiates a Facebook page from a Facebook group, you might ask? AdWeek frames it as such:

“Pages (are) for pushing key marketing messages and product information, as well as an outlet for customer support. Groups is a dedicated space for more in-depth, meaningful conversations and relationships between a brand and its fans.”

Another attractive element of Facebook groups is the added analytical depth through Group Insights, which provides information about trends and usage patterns in your membership.

With growing emphases on engagement, authenticity, and community-building, it’s easy to see the appeal of Facebook groups as a marketing asset. And some are tapping into it very well. One notable example is Peloton, the cycling fitness company whose closed members group boasts an extremely active ecosystem of more than 92,000 members.

But not everyone is finding traction on this front.

[bctt tweet=”With growing emphases on engagement, authenticity, & community-building, it’s easy to see the appeal of #FacebookGroups as a #marketing asset. And some are tapping into it very well. But not everyone is finding traction. – @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

What’s Holding Back Brands on Facebook Groups?

Although the potential benefits are clear, the path to achieving them is a bit murky. For every success case like Peloton (which had the advantage of a three-year head start thanks to a preexisting member-driven community), there seem to be several examples of companies spinning their wheels in frustration.

While Peloton has hit its stride with groups, another popular fitness brand is searching for a second wind. As Digiday explained in May regarding Fitbit’s exploration of the tactic:

“The company created 12 different groups geared toward major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Each group has around 200 members, but that’s a far cry from the 2.4 million followers of Fitbit’s Facebook page. Fitbit’s group for fitness-focused San Francisco had only 11 posts in the past 30 days.”

The problem is that around 200 million groups exist on Facebook, making it difficult to gain visibility, especially for new creations. To assist with this, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year the integration of a Groups tab intended to “make groups a more central part of the Facebook experience.”

“In addition to the new tab,” TechCrunch notes, “the company is launching a new Groups plugin that admins and developers can add to their websites and emails that solicits people to join their Facebook group.”

Some marketers have understandably been reluctant to dive into this functionality over concerns that Facebook will change gears and renew its focus six months from now, but I believe it’s safe to say — based on the social network’s clear commitment to elevating active participation and “meaningful communities” — that groups are going to be a mainstay feature going forward.

Should My Company Start a Facebook Group?

In assessing whether a Facebook group is worth launching for your B2B or B2C business, we recommend asking yourself these questions:

#1 – Are community conversations relating to my product or service useful?

If community is core to your offering, then Facebook groups are most likely going to be a fit. But you don’t want to force it. The most resonant groups bring users together over a shared passion where they can transfer knowledge, stories, and ideas. For instance, the highly popular Instant Pot Facebook group has become a destination for owners of the electric cooker to troubleshoot and post their own recipes.

“You’re only going to get those super-users and superfans,” says Meg McDougall, Social Media Strategist at TopRank Marketing. “If you have that audience, it’s a great opportunity. But you’re not going to build it out of nowhere.”

[bctt tweet=”When it comes to #Facebook groups, you’re only going to get super-users & superfans. If you have that audience, it’s a great opportunity. But you’re not going to build it out of nowhere. – @megnificent #SocialMediaMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#2 – Do we have the bandwidth to run a group and grow it?

Don’t underestimate the commitment that running an active Facebook group can require. In order to get going, and especially to sustain, groups need attention and administration. You may want to have a content producer or community manager specifically designated for this task.

Also, be ready to have employees promote your group in various ways, such as mentioning it in content and including it in email signatures.

#3 – Is it truly going to be a value-oriented interaction hub, or simply another vehicle for brand promotion?

“If your brand starts a Facebook group, think of yourself as a facilitator rather than a marketer or blogger,” suggests Emily Gaudette in her post at Contently. “You’ll lose the group if you only promote your own work.”

This is pretty much a cardinal rule of content marketing in general, but especially important in these kinds of community-fueled endeavors. Oftentimes, the brand play should be very subtle, and customers will hopefully start associating your product or service with the topic because it’s where they go to talk about it and find good info.

The Bottom Line on Facebook Groups for Marketers

Without question, Facebook groups are more worthy of our attention than they were a year ago at this time. Dwindling organic reach for company pages on the platform, along with a strong commitment from corporate leadership to grow the feature, make this an intriguing frontier.

But as things stand, these spaces are really more about fostering and evolving engagement within your customer base as opposed to rapidly growing that base. And given the time and effort required to get it right, some brands might not find the payoff worthwhile.

In other words, don’t give in to groupthink.

“Look at what your end goal is for social,” McDougall urges. “If it’s reaching a ton of people, expanding your audience, and getting impressions, groups probably aren’t the best route. If it’s targeted interactions and deeper engagement, they can be really helpful.”

For more guidance on social media marketing that meets your objectives in a fast-changing environment, check out some of our recent write-ups on the subject:

The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group? was posted via Internet Marketing


Digital Marketing News: Internet Trends Report Released, Twitter Joins S&P 500, & Reddit Gains Traffic

2018 Mary Meeker Report Graph

Mary Meeker’s 2018 internet trends report: All the slides, plus analysis
The highly-anticipated Internet Trends report for 2018 has been released, including data bound to prove helpful to marketers for months to come. For more than 20 years venture capitalist Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins, has researched and put out the report. Recode

Twitter Will Limit What Third-Party Apps Can Do, Starting August 16th
Twitter is gearing up for August changes that will hamper some popular functionality in third-party apps, including the elimination of streaming real-time tweets and limitations to push notifications in apps, the company recently announced. Search Engine Journal

Instagram Explains How Its Algorithm Works in New Briefing
Instagram has presented fresh insight into some of the signals that go into how its primary feed algorithm works, which could be a boon to marketers. Social Media Today

Infographic: Influencers Are Bigger Than Ever, and They’re Just Getting Started
Influencers are expanding their reach, and nearly 80 percent expect to create even more branded content going forward, according to new analysis outlined in infographic format. AdWeek

Facebook Removes ‘Trending’ Section Due to Lack of Use
Facebook has pulled the plug on its once-heavily-featured trending section, ending a four-year run, the social media giant announced this week in a move framed as helping Facebook’s news delivery trustworthiness. Search Engine Journal

Reddit surpasses Facebook to become the 3rd most visited site in the US
Reddit jumped ahead of Facebook to move into the third most popular spot on Internet traffic analysis firm Alexa’s list of top U.S. sites, leaving only Google and YouTube with more traffic, recently-released data showed. The Next Web

June 9, 2018 Statistic Image

Twitter Inc to join the S&P 500, replacing Monsanto
Twitter, which went public in 2013, has joining the S&P 500 U.S. index, a move that caused the firm’s shares to rise ahead of Thursday’s listing. Reuters

Facebook fan page operator has privacy responsibilities: EU court
Facebook fan page operators of all sorts may have new concerns after a European Union court ruled that one page’s operator was responsible for protecting the personal data of visiting fans, it was announced Tuesday. Reuters

Snapchat Publishes New Insights into Generation Z [Infographic]
Snapchat has released new data about Generation Z’s buying power and online habits, in a newly-published infographic detailing how the demographic’s importance to marketers has increased. Social Media Today


Marketoonist Branded Content Cartoon

A lighthearted throwback look at branded content, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

The 10 Best Ranking Contact Us Pages on the Web — Search Engine Journal

Facebook Less Popular With Teens Than Instagram, Snapchat — The Onion


  • Lee Odden — Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing will discuss how to grow influence in marketing — Exchange4Media
  • Lee Odden — Webinar: Leveraging Data to Transform Your Social Media Strategy — Rival IQ
  • Lee Odden — Is Twitter Follower Growth Slowing? [New Data] — Search Engine Journal
  • Lee Odden — Give your content the edge: Over-index on humanity! — PR Warrior
  • Content Marketing Institute (client) — What’s Trending: Question Conventions for a Fresh Look — LinkedIn (client)

Thanks for tuning in, and please join us next week for more of the very 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.

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
Digital Marketing News: Internet Trends Report Released, Twitter Joins S&P 500, & Reddit Gains Traffic |

Digital Marketing News: Internet Trends Report Released, Twitter Joins S&P 500, & Reddit Gains Traffic was posted via Internet Marketing

Don’t Ever Trust Google With Your Life

So for those of you don’t know, I have a 3-year-old daughter (her name is Harper). Here is her hand:

When she was an even littler girl then she is now, she got pink eye. Bekah and I spent a bunch of time googling and calling around doctors offices and urgent cares trying to find out where you take a tiny kid, with pink eye, at 5 pm on a weekday. After spending a few minutes searching around, in total dad mode, I said fuck it and just took her to the ER at Hoag hospital. First kid, first time I didn’t know what to do -> first ER visit. But I will never forget struggling trying to figure out what I should do via the internet. And I’m pretty good at the Google.

So imagine how many scared people, parents or otherwise, turn to a Google search to get quick, accurate information so that they can make informed choices about their medical care. Sadly, all those people are misplacing their trust, just like I was.

Your Money or Your Life

As many of know, Google has quality rater guidelines for the people who go through and manually rate websites. These guidelines, which you can find here, have a callout section for “Your Money or Your Life” search queries. Here is what they say about pages that target users money or life:

Your Money or Your Life Guidelines

Apparently, the type of pages that require a “very high Page Quality” don’t include Google My Business profile pages, because the profile pages and local pack results for emergency medical services (EMS) are often a dumpster fire.

If you are going to provide users with local businesses for EMS searches, then you have to be on it 99.9% of the time. IMHO, some of the results I’m going to show you are the most ethically and morally negligent thing to come out of Google in a while. And I say this as a Jew who doesn’t think holocaust denier sites should rank #1 for “Did the Holocaust happen?” and related queries.

Alright, enough of the soapbox, on to the evidence.

Exhibit 1: ‘Pediatric Hospital’

A few weeks ago this was the local pack result for the search term ‘pediatric hospital’ when searching from my house:

This is the vaunted jOE’s pediatric hospital

Yes, you see this correctly.

The #1 search result in a local pack for “pediatric hospital” is a spam listing for someone’s house.

But it’s even worse, as the second result isn’t any better. Dr. Timothy K. Flannery, MD is probably a fantastic pediatrician, with rights at a pediatric hospital; however, that result is entirely useless for someone looking for the nearest pediatric hospital.

And Nexus Children’s Hospital, despite having ‘hospital’ in the name, is a small practice that doesn’t provide emergency medical services.

This SERPs is a complete strikeout in terms of providing relevant search results for something more precious to a lot of people than their own lives, their kid’s life.

Now, on to the chaser. I live in Orange County, CA. We have an award-winning pediatric hospital (Children’s Hospital of Orange County aka CHOC). Where do you think CHOC ranks here?

If you guessed in the #4 spot just outside the pack, well, get yourself a cookie, on me:

And check out those distances. Google displayed further, less relevant search results, then the top tier pediatric hospital less than 8 miles away from me.

Let’s not even get into the fact that Hoag (my local hospital) isn’t even in the results at all.

That would have been a much more relevant result then any of the 3 Google decided to surface. Big shout out to The Hawk aka Joy Hawkins for helping me get jOE’s hospital removed so an actual pediatric hospital can be 1/3 of the results.

Exhibit 2: “Children’s Hospital”

Here is what I get for ‘childrens hospital’

Hey, at least CHOC is the first two results, right? Wrong! The first result is excellent, the main campus of a renowned children’s hospital should rank #1 for “childrens hospital.” The second result is a clinic that doesn’t provide emergency medical services, so not a good search result.

The third result again underscores the problem with an algorithmic ranking of EMS providers. It’s the St. Jude’s fundraising office. It shows up in the search result instead of an actual medical provider. This is likely because it is attached to a relevant entity for ‘children’s hospital’ and is slightly closer to me, regardless that it provides 0 medical services (emergency or otherwise).

Oh, also it’s categorized as a Children’s Hospital despite not providing medical services at the facility:

Add medical providers to the list of businesses that don’t have to follow Google’s Guidelines for Representing your Business

It sucks that I couldn’t get emergency medical services for my daughter, but hey, at least I could choose a locksmith with confidence, amirite?

Exhibit 3: “Hospital Near Me”

Here are the results for “hospital near me”

hospital near me

Literally, none of these are hospitals.

This is the Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine:

I’m sure it’s a good holistic doctors office, but it’s a terrible search result for “hospital near me.”

In fact, the nearest full-service hospitals to me (Hoag & South Coast Global) are both under 5 miles away and are sitting pretty at #5 & #7 in the local finder:

The third closest hospital to me is 4.5 miles away and not even in the finder top 8.

But what’s really important is that Google could monetize this SERP by selling ad space to an urgent care up top. Because priorities.

Again, this one has a chaser. Of those eight results in the local finder, 3 of them are fake/spam listings:

House Call Physicians

Long Beach, Memorial Ca

The Heathers B&C

So let’s recap. When I search “hospital near me”:

  • There are no EMS providers/hospitals in the pack
  • The closest hospitals are ranking #5 & #7 in the local finder
  • There are three fake listings in the top 8 results in the local finder
  • There is an add for an urgent care at the top of the local finder

It’s pretty obvious the opioid epidemic has hit both the humans and algorithms in charge of these SERPs.

Exhibit 4: “Hospital”

So look, the search query “hospital” in my area is just as borked as all the other queries I have shown you. The nearest and second nearest full-service hospitals don’t show in local search results. Rather than dumping more of the same on you, I wanted to branch out and show how this query is performing in a different geographic area.

This one is a doozy.

My brother-in-law is a swank, sexy murse who diligently provides medical services to the residents of Flagstaff, Arizona at Flagstaff Medical Center (a full-service hospital). I asked him to do a search for ‘hospital’ while at work and send me the results. They are totally craptastic:

mobile search flag

The children’s department ranked #1 for the generic query of “hospital” while in the actual main hospital itself is nowhere to be found. On top of that, the second result is a rehab center, and the 3rd result is totally equipped to help with all those x-ray’s & MRIs and CAT scans…

Too bad none of them can provide emergency medical services.

My BIL’s takeaway is pretty on point:

Seriously, never thought of it but that’s a social safety issue imho

You know who nails this search? Yelp! And Flagstaff isn’t even a major metropolitan area. It’s a sleepy mountain town with a public university.

Yelp also has a better result for ‘hospital’ when searching in Cosa Mesa as well. Two actual hospitals (though they aren’t in proximity order, Hoag is about half a mile closer).

So, at least when it comes to EMS search queries, Yelp has Google beat in both major, and minor-outlaying, metros.


Google has a responsibility to fix this.

They have employees who know that these search results are bad, and they also have employees that understand that people rely on these search results. They are actively monetizing them, despite them being objectively horrid search results. All while claiming that they have special scrutiny regarding peoples money & lives.

They can do better than this.

The problem is there is no real meaningful financial incentive for them to fix this problem. There isn’t a lot of ad revenue to be had unless they radically change their local product around. That single paid position on top of the local finder (and a smattering of pack ads and local service ads) aren’t even a drop in the bucket for their yearly earnings. They would have to radically change their local SERPs to increase their ability to monetize.

On top of that, a lot of the problems I surface are a direct outcropping of using programmatic methods to solve potentially life and death search queries. All of the work Google is doing to make the internet “safer” revolves around HTTPs and the migration to a secure web. They are pure homo economicus, they are operating where solving a potential social problem can make them huge windfalls of cash (or protect their dominant market share around paid internet ads and search). There are no windfalls to be had here, just scared people turning to search results looking for information about emergency medical services.

There are potentially two ways they can effectively deal with this:

First, they could disclaim their EMS local search results (and frankly all emergency medical search results) by telling people:

If you think you have a medical emergency stop searching and call 911

Their emergency medical search results are not referrals to EMS services.

If they can put up a message about insecure webforms, or not let you access sites with invalid HTTPs certificates, then they can certainly prevent you from visiting not-a-hospital by telling you that these results are not to be trusted (rather then that they get special scrunity.)

Second, is making hospital and related categories a “protected” category where there is manual verification required. This is relatively similar to the advanced verification process but would deal predominately with existing businesses. I think this would be pretty effective as a lot of the problems with the results I’m pointing out could be dealt with by making sure businesses are properly categorized (and deprioritizing the importance of hospital in the business name). The only problem is this is a manual solution, which Google doesn’t really like adopting.

Whatever they do, they need to figure it out. It’s been going on for far too long.



Don’t Ever Trust Google With Your Life was posted via Internet Marketing

How to Select the Right Type of Video for Your B2B Marketing Goals

Types of B2B Video & When to Use Them

Types of B2B Video & When to Use ThemMugatu is onto something …

Video Marketing is So Hot MemeAccording Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report, 72% of B2B marketers use pre-produced video content, 17% use video live-streams, and 4% create documentaries or short films. Combined, this makes video one of the hottest types of content among B2B marketers.

And it’s not without results, either. Video marketing boasts some impressive stats, including:

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. – Aberdeen Group
  • Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs. – Brightcove
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%. – Eyeview Digital
  • Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined – Brightcove
  • 51.9% of marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best ROI – HubSpot

It seems like a no-brainer, right? But like with most things in marketing, it’s knowing where to start and what to create that’s the hard part.

As with any marketing tactic, you want to choose the right content type and style to engage and nurture your audience. Plus, the content you create needs to align with and support your marketing goals—video is no different.

To help you figure out how to get started with video marketing and how to incorporate it into your integrated marketing mix, we’re breaking down the many types of videos for marketing and when to use them.

1. Teasers

The name implies it all—these videos are short, sweet, and meant to give audiences just a glimpse of what’s to come. More specifically, teasers are short videos that promote other content, services, products, or events and generate excitement or interest in them. At no longer than 10-30 seconds, this means you have to do your best with the time given to you through high-energy language, fast-paced content, and plenty of information; motion graphics are an especially great teaser format.

Teasers are great for generating excitement and are very short in length, making them a great fit for social media promotion, where you’ll be looking to generate buzz for an asset (i.e. eBooks, podcasts, infographics, blog posts, webinars). The biggest thing to remember about teasers is that they need to have a call to action that promotes another piece of content. The goal of a teaser is to spur action in an audience, whether that’s registering for a webinar, downloading an eBook, or listening to a podcast episode.

Length: 10 to 30 seconds

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media

Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Infographics, Blog Posts

Example: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions*, Secret Sauce eBook

2. Trailers & Previews

Trailers and previews are another type of short video content. However, where trailers differ from teasers is that a trailer actually features a sample of the content its promoting. For example, a teaser might use new visuals and graphics to get people excited, but a trailer will actually feature a preview of what’s to come. Just take a look at movie trailers—most of them show you scenes directly from the film.

If you’ve already created the content, you’ve already done most of the work for a trailer or preview. Just take content included in your videos, infographics, eBooks, and other assets and edit them into a trailer format that gets people interested. While trailers perform well on social, they’re also a great addition to landing pages as landing page videos have been found to increase conversions by 80% or more. Depending on where you’re planning to have this content live, decide if and when a CTA is appropriate.

Length: 30 seconds to 2 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Landing Pages

Best Assets: eBooks, Podcasts, Long-Form Video, Infographics

Example: Eloqua, Journey to Modern Marketing

3. Explainers

We’ve already covered videos that are used to promote other pieces of content—teasers and trailers. But what about when you have a standalone topic you want to cover in a video? Maybe you want to create a tutorial on how to use your software or educate your audience on how to launch an employee wellness program. This type of marketing video is called an explainer. Explainers are original pieces of content that educate and inform the audience on a subject.

The best explainer videos focus on appealing to an audience’s curiosity by answering common questions or solving popular pain points. In providing useful and compelling information, the video helps add to your brand’s authority. As a video that can stand on its own two feet while offering helpful advice, explainer videos can make a great complement to a power page or blog post. They also perform well on social channels as it’s a quick and easy way for you audience to absorb a lot of information. And because all of the value is within the video itself, explainers typically don’t have a call to action. But again, depending on where you plan to have this content live, make a decision on if a CTA makes sense.

Length: 30 seconds to 3 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts

Example: Slack*, “So Yeah, We Tried Slack”

4. Video Essays & Companion Videos

Can you cover a topic in-depth in under three minutes? When you need to dive deeper than an explainer video allows, video essays are the perfect type of video to turn to. Video essays are original, long-form video content that explores a subject in-depth. A good video essay might be an 8 minute discussion that covers your thoughts on new changes in the market or new trends like cryptocurrency.

Because of their length, video essays are the perfect place to showcase your brand’s thought leadership and expertise through education and entertainment. In covering all sides of an issue or topic, you have more opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, improving trust and credibility among your audience. Jam-packed with valuable information, video essays are a great addition to power pages, blog posts, and social media channels.

But what if you’ve already covered the topic in-depth for a power page, blog post, or eBook? Should you still make a video essay? The answer is yes as 59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text. Given this information, your video essay could perform better than your existing content in terms of generating leads or strengthening engagement. In this situation, take your existing eBook, blog, or power page and turn it into a video essay, giving your audience an alternate channel to consume your content.

Length: 1 minute to 10 minutes

Where to Use It: Paid and Organic Social Media, Power Pages, Blog Posts

Example: HubSpot, What Is the Difference Between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)?

Your Directorial Debut

Video is rapidly becoming the preferred way to consume content for many audiences with 82% of all web traffic expected to be video by 2021. If you’re not making videos as a part of your content marketing strategy, you could be missing out on an enormous opportunity to improve your organic traffic, landing page conversions, social engagements, and more.

And to make sure your videos are helping you reach your marketing goals, it’s important that you select the right types of marketing videos and content they will support. Using the guide above, you’ll be able to pair your video and content together in a way that fuels results.

Video can be time consuming to strategize, produce, and distribute. To help you become a more efficient and effective video marketer, check out our additional tips, examples, and guides:

*Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Slack are TopRank Marketing clients.

How to Select the Right Type of Video for Your B2B Marketing Goals was posted via Internet Marketing

Be Your Own Designer – The Best Free Resources for when You’re Short on Time

You’ll be pleased to hear we recently updated this post. It was originally written in June 2015, but now it contains a whole new suite of design tools!

Has there ever been a time when you’ve realised you’re a day away from a big pitch, but you forgot to book any design time through your creative department? Or perhaps there’s that last-minute blog post that needs some images and banners, but there’s no way of roping in a designer at such short notice! It’s easy to become reliant when you have a Design team at the ready, but when push comes to shove, slightly unwillingly, you sometimes have to don that faux-designer’s hat. The trouble is, where do you even begin? To help you out in such hours of need, I have compiled a list of my favourite design resources for non-designers and designers alike. Oh, and did I mention they’re all free?

Just a quick disclaimer: this isn’t Graphic Design 101 (I’m definitely not ready to declare myself redundant as a designer at Distilled). Instead, think of this as more of a design directory if you will. Whether you’re after a nice font to spruce up your Word doc or you really need some images to dress that presentation to impress, if you’re going to find a fast, free solution anywhere, start here.

Typography & Fonts

Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel does exactly what it says on the tin; all the fonts listed are 100% free for commercial use. Best of all they are hand-picked, so unlike other sites offering free fonts (e.g. Dafont) you have peace of mind that there has been a selection process. Plus, not everyone can submit material to Font Squirrel. The only thing to watch out for are the types of licenses: some fonts may only be allowed for desktop use and not web, so do pay attention before downloading.

Google Fonts

If like me (and Distilled as a whole), you’re partial to a Google Doc, you might already be familiar with the awesomeness that is Google Fonts. The ability to just be able to pick and choose from hundreds of open-source fonts, without even needing to download anything! That’s the thing though, Google Fonts are all about the web and positioning themselves as the best resource for ‘webfonts’, they don’t even advertise the fact that you can download every single one of them to use elsewhere offline, even… (drumroll please) in Microsoft Word. It’s really simple to do. Once you’ve chosen your font and added to your collection, click ‘use’ and on the right-hand side, there will be a small download icon. I’d typically recommend getting the .zip file and installing the font manually.

Font Pair

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to use not one, but two awesome Google Fonts to mix things up, what you need is a good font pairing. Luckily for you, the guys at Font Pair have it covered. Choose between no less than six different style combinations that will be sure to give any copy that exciting edge.

FontFace Ninja

Finally, to round up this section is my absolute favourite: FontFace Ninja. This is really more of a tool than a resource, but I just couldn’t leave it out. Gone are the days of desperately trying to find out the font that I’ve seen used beautifully on a website, but which I don’t know the name of. FontFace Ninja is a lightweight extension, for Chrome or Safari, which allows you to find out the name and details of any font on any webpage, simply by hovering over some text. If it’s a free font it should also give you the option to download it. What more could you ask for?


Although in recent years our screens have become saturated with crisp full-screen images, the trend isn’t quite over yet; users are apparently still hungry for more! Here are a couple of my favourite photo sites that will a) meet your audience’s demands, b) not cost you a single penny, and most importantly c) not get your head in a twist over attribution and licensing issues, because they’re all released under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). In other words, not only are the images completely free to use, no attribution is required either.




If photos aren’t your thing and you’re after illustrations instead, unDraw offers a neat selection that wouldn’t look out of place on any modern website or banner. The best thing is they’ve made it really easy to change the main colour of each image to suit your needs, for instance, if you ever have the internal brand police on your case!

Screenshots & Mockups

Screenshots can be a tricky one to get right, yet in our line of work, it can play a significant part in things like sales pitches or client presentations.

Nimbus Capture

Apart from Grab, the native Mac OS app (which I also do swear by), Nimbus Capture is definitely one of the better screenshot extensions I’ve used.  Capturing a full web page may seem slightly excessive if you just need to show a section, but for those instances when what you want to show extends beyond your laptop screen’s physical height, this works wonders.

Magic Mockups

If you want to take it one step further, for example when selling creative ideas, Magic Mockups might just be the extra boost you need. This impressive and easy-to-use tool lets you create in-situ mockups of your website, app or product in just a few minutes. Not convinced? The following example took me less than 2 minutes to make and download. I barely lifted a finger, so this probably is a secret best kept amongst us lazy bunch.


A lot of icon sets out there are definitely tailored to a more design-savvy audience, those who have Illustrator or Photoshop at their disposal. But what happened to the plain and simple PNG image that you can just whack next to some text in a banner? Look no further than the following two sites. Sure, they don’t have the same volume as a site like The Noun Project, but as with the photography sites I recommended earlier, the advantage is that they require zero moolah, zero attribution.




Colours are things that can often throw up a challenge for even the more experienced of designers, let alone someone whose full-time job is not doodling and colouring in all day. 


Whenever I need colour inspiration, I head over to Coolors. Hit spacebar to cycle through their generated colour combinations (try not to get too mesmerised and sidetracked when doing this!). If you’re the picky type, it allows you to tweak and lock down on the colours you like, just hover over the colour blocks to configure.

As a side-note, everybody should have a trusty eyedropper extension installed (any will do really). While “guess the hex” may have a catchy ring to it, there’s no good reason in trying to match colours by eye anymore, especially if you want to keep your brand colours in check.

Image Templates

Canva shouldn’t be a revelation for people who have to deal with social media marketing. It’s fast becoming the go-to tool for creating quick images, sized perfectly for your needs whether that be Facebook, Twitter, etc. That said, its capabilities aren’t restricted to these, you can use it for general image creation of any kind. So, if I were you I’d take the advice given on their homepage and “Get your team on brand. Unleash your creativity.”!

Presentation templates

Finally just to wrap things up: if the going gets really tough, and you find yourself having to create and design your own presentation from scratch, my advice for you would be… don’t do it! In recent years there has been a surge in interest for presentation tools claiming to do a lot of design heavy-lifting for you. One of them which has come close to living up to this promise is, Even as a designer, I sometimes relish the opportunity to relinquish control and just let someone, or something in this case, take care of things like spacing and alignment, not least because it frees up time to focus on the content of your presentation rather than fretting over the format.

If your team are adamant about sticking with the G-suite though, check out Slides Carnival. They offer a range of free Google Slides templates, which can at least get you going. There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank slide, not knowing where to begin.

That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for sticking around. If you have any questions or thoughts, just drop me a line in the comment section below.

Be Your Own Designer – The Best Free Resources for when You’re Short on Time was posted via Internet Marketing

Digital Marketing Spotlight: An Interview With Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP

Influencer Marketing Interview Ursula Ringham

Influencer Marketing Interview Ursula RinghamThey say curiosity killed the cat, but in Ursula Ringham’s case, curiosity is her special gift—both personally and professionally.

“I’m a fiercely curious person who loves storytelling,” Ursula told me. “I guess it’s my hidden talent; I can strike up a conversation with a stranger and get them to tell me their full life story. I’ll talk to anyone. I want to know people and how they think.”

Her curiosity and “love of story” have guided her throughout her marketing career—from early positions at Adobe and Apple to self-publishing a thriller novel to her latest role as Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP*.

“I’m no millennial, but I have the millennial mindset,” she says. “You have to go after what you want. You can’t let fear decide your future. And I know if I put my mind to something, I can do it.”

As influencer marketing booms and social media marketing experiences a quasi midlife crisis, I sat down with Ursula to talk misconceptions, tools, and tips on both marketing fronts.

Q&A with SAP’s Ursula Ringham

Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP1. Tell me about yourself. How did you come into the digital marketing space and eventually join SAP?

I was in the right place at the right time. As you know, I worked at Adobe and Apple, so I had a career in high-tech early on. I actually left Apple right before the first iPhone came out, and I stayed at home with my kids for about eight years.

When it was time to get back in, honestly, no one would hire me. They’d say: “You have great experience from back in the day, but you can’t compete.” Things had changed.

But even when I was at home, I was always doing something—I did some consulting and also worked on my passion for writing. That’s when I wrote and self-published my thriller novel, “Privileged Corruption.” I took creative writing classes, attended conferences and events when I could—and this is still something I do today; attend events to continue to develop because I still have several books in me.

Then in 2012, I was talking with a girlfriend and she said she needed someone to write customer success stories. And while I didn’t have the exact experience, I could write and I thought: “I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”

So, I got a job as a contractor; someone took a chance on me. And that someone was at SAP.

2. You have extensive experience with social media. What have you found to be the universal truths of social? (The things that stay the same no matter what platform or algorithm changes occur.)

Authenticity and storytelling; you need to own your brand—but you need to do it strategically.

As an individual on social or through your brand channels, you need to share the truths about who you are in a way that connects with your audience.

For me, these are the “five truths” I share with my following:

No. 1: My work.

Tell a story that enables people to come with you on the journey. Your audience doesn’t want to hear that your company just released a new product or service. They want to know how you’re solving problems or making a difference.

No. 2: My family.

I don’t give every detail here—just sprinkle some things in. This is how people see a different side and get to know me. You have to give something personal.

No. 3: My passion.

You have to share something you love. Dogs, skiing, Star Wars, poetry—the list goes on. Share something you’re passionate about because you’ll be able to form connections with people who have the same passions.

No. 4: Sports.

Whether you’re a sports fanatic or simply tolerate them, it’s something everyone can connect with and discuss—whether it’s your child’s little league baseball game or the NBA Finals.

No. 5: Third-party voices.

It could be an article from my favorite journalist or the latest commentary on the royal wedding. The point is to share things that you and your audience find interesting.

The bottom line here is: Be authentic. Be yourself (or your brand). But be strategic.

[bctt tweet=”As an individual on #socialmedia or through your brand channels, you need to share the truths about who you are in a way that connects with your audience. – @ursularingham” username=”toprank”]

3. What do you think is most misunderstood about influencer marketing?

For one, people often think that influencer marketing is all about celebrities hocking 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.

Secondly, it’s not always about the number of followers or connections an influencer has. Some people think: “Oh my God. We have to work with this person. They have a million followers.” Your influencers have to be able to relate to your audience and that skill isn’t necessarily determined by a large following.

Thirdly, influencer marketing is not a one-and-done tactic. You want it to be for the long haul, so influencer relationships are everything. You need to dig deep to learn who your influencers are and the expertise they bring, and build a relationship by consistent and thoughtful engagement.

Lastly, influencers can be found within your own company. Your employees can be influencers. People often forget this. You can and should combine internal and external influencers.

4. What’s one “influencer marketing must” that marketers often overlook?

You must have a call to action. What’s the point? What’s your end goal? How are you defining success? Where are you sending them?

Whether your goal is brand awareness or lead gen, if you’re telling a story that has people on the edge of their seat, you need to give them a natural next step to continue their journey.

[bctt tweet=”Regardless of your goal, if you’re telling a story that has people on the edge of their seat, you need to give them a natural next step to continue their journey. – @ursularingham #InfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

5. Let’s say you’ve run into a long-lost marketer friend who’s considering working with influencers. Where do you tell them to start? What do you tell them to be cautious of?

The main thing is: If you want to succeed, you have to be in it to win it. You have to be on social media, you have to be engaged, you have to follow influencers, you have to engage with them, and you have to read, watch, or listen to their content. And all of this is before, during, and after you reach out for the first ask.

When it comes to vetting who you want to work with, start by digging into their social channels.

Twitter is a great place to learn about the topics and types of content they’re interested in. LinkedIn is great for this, too, but that’s where you can really vet whether they have the expertise and background to make a partnership a good fit. Facebook and Instagram are where you can see if you really want to work with them since you’re typically able to see more personality there.

As for something to look out for, as you’re viewing their social posts, see if they’re just sharing the same things on every channel. A post on Instagram with 10 hashtags will not work on Facebook. Every channel is different and if you keep seeing the same post, it’s like: Where are you? Where’s the authentic side?

Finally, you should be very selective on who you work with. You need to make sure they’re a good fit. Sometimes I’ll actually reach out to a mutual connection or a colleague at a different company to see if they’ve worked with an influencer before and get their read on them.

[bctt tweet=”If you want to succeed at #influencermarketing, you have to be in it to win it. You have to commit. – @ursularingham” username=”toprank”]

6. Where do you think GDPR and data privacy as it relates to social media and influencer marketing will have biggest impact on how brands engage? (What do brands need to consider?)

GDPR is going to be the stake in the ground for all data privacy—bar none. As GDPR kicks off, we’ll start to see lawsuits and controversies in the news and people will become increasingly aware and engaged. In the U.S., we’re already becoming more aware of data privacy issues, especially after Cambridge Analytica.

But bottom line, GDPR will be really important. And as a result, our influencers will become even more important and valuable. They’re going to be our trusted brand ambassadors; our trusted voices. They’ll be a huge asset because people don’t trust brands outright—they trust people.

[bctt tweet=”In light of #GDPR, influencers will become even more important and valuable. They’re going to be our trusted brand ambassadors; our trusted voices. – @ursularingham #InfluencerMarketing” username=”toprank”]

7. What’s in your social media marketing toolbox? (What platforms, tools or best practices are your must-haves for success?)

On the personal front, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. A key best practice for me here is tailoring the content and the messaging for each platform because my audience is different for each.

In addition, I post in the moment, every day. Authenticity is important, so I rarely use scheduling tools.

Now, for the brand marketers out there, you absolutely need a social media scheduling and management tool. You need help. And there are so many tools out there like Hootsuite or Buffer, but do your research and select one that meets your brand’s needs from a management and budgetary perspective.

8. How about your influencer marketing toolbox?

Brands engaging in influencer relations and marketing need a tool to help organize, identify, and manage relationships with influencers. A spreadsheet won’t get you very far. Tools can help you keep up with what your influencers are doing and sharing, so you can regularly engage and continue to build relationships.

Like with social media management tools, there are several options like Traackr or Onalytica, so do your research and pick one that’s the best fit.

9. Finally, what are you most excited for in your new role as Head of Global Influencer Marketing for SAP?

Building a world-class influencer program that helps SAP become a Top-10 brand. And we’ll do it through innovative storytelling. We make incredibly innovative products, so we need to tell our stories in innovative ways. And working with influencers will help us do that.

I love pushing the envelope. I love innovative content. And I’m excited about what can happen when we think a little differently.

10. Any final words for other marketers out there?

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.

Finally, embrace curiosity, think and do things differently, and embed yourself in your craft if you want to innovate.

[bctt tweet=”.@ursularingham’s message to #marketers: Embrace curiosity, think and do things differently, and embed yourself in your craft if you want to innovate.” username=”toprank”]

Ready to Take the Influencer Marketing Dive?

As Ursula so eloquently said, in order to succeed at influencer marketing, you have to be in it to win it. You have to commit. So, why not start with immersing yourself in influencer marketing tips, tactics, and strategies.

Check out some of these helpful posts to get you more in the know and help you make the leap:

Finally, a big thank you to Ursula for sharing her story and insights. You rock! If you want to connect with Ursula, follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

Digital Marketing Spotlight: An Interview With Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP was posted via Internet Marketing

Digital Marketing News: StumbleUpon’s Swansong, #Hashtags vs. @Handles, & Google Review’s Anonymity Revamp

Zenith Media Consumption Graph

Zenith Media Consumption GraphStumbleUpon Shuts Down After 16 Years
StumbleUpon announced that it will shutter its content discovery platform at the end of June, 2018, ending a 16-year run that saw over 40 million users link to some 60 billion Web locations, with user accounts now moving to, co-founder Garrett Camp’s new discovery service. Search Engine Journal

Google Dropping Anonymous Local Reviews?
Google may be moving to end anonymous reviews for its Maps and Local Business offerings, or to remove their star rating impact, according to a Search Engine Roundtable report. Search Engine Roundtable

Twitter looking to expand its programmatic offerings with Timeline Ad network pilot program
Twitter has begun seeking publishers for an expanded programmatic ad network that would allow timelines embedded on network partner sites to feature ads, the company noted on its revamped Twitter Timeline Ads Pilot site. Marketing Land

Get Woke: Time Spent With Media Approaching Total Awake Time
The amount of time consumers spend with media daily is expected to eventually fill nearly every minute not spent sleeping, according to new forecast data from Publicis’ Zenith unit, with North America topping the rest of the world. MediaPost

Pinterest is Growing Faster than Twitter and Snapchat, and Offers Significant Opportunities
Pinterest has grown its substantial user base faster than Twitter and Snapchat, a growth rate detailed in a new Mary Meeker Internet Trends report highlighting Pinterest’s opportunities for marketers. Social Media Today

Snapchat launches its first Lens that reacts to sound
Snapchat has rolled out its first image filter lens that reacts not only to visual input but also to sound, opening new avenues to marketers. Engadget

Publicis / Zenith Media Consumption Forecast StatisticMarketers’ newest shiny toy: GIF stickers
Instagram and Giphy have partnered to expand custom animated sticker GIFs, which are available for Instagram Stories and Snapchat libraries, including expanded tracking mechanisms for marketers. DigiDay

Facebook’s size no barrier to deals in new areas: executive
Facebook sees no antitrust-related barriers to future large acquisitions should the social media giant wish to enter new markets, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said Tuesday. Reuters

Quora launches native image ads globally
Quora has expanded its image ads for mobile and desktop worldwide, after tripling its advertising base since last year, announcing that the question-and-answer site now has over 1,000 ad partners. Marketing Land

Consumers Respond To #Hashtags, Not @Handles
Hashtags have been more effective than brand handle mentions among social media consumers, according to new report data from Digimind that also examines global marketing trends. MediaPost


Shifting Priorities Marketoonist Cartoon

A lighthearted look at shifting priorities, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Here are some of the funniest reactions to GDPR — Recode

What Amazon would’ve looked like in the 1980s — Co.Design

This is What Happens in an Internet Minute [Infographic] — Social Media Today


  • Ashley Zeckman and Lee Odden — Top 2018 Influencers That Might Inspire Your Inner Marketer — Whatagraph
  • Lee Odden — The Role of Content: Is Building Awareness & Driving Conversion Enough? [Podcast] — Converge
  • Lee Odden — 5 SEO Questions with Lee Odden; Pro Content Tips for Mom and Pops — SEMrush
  • Lee Odden — 33 Quotes to Reignite Your Marketing Spark — Hatchbuck
  • (TopRank / Stephen Slater) — A Detailed (Step-By-Step) Look at Effective Ecommerce A/B Testing — BigCommerce
  • (Content Marketing World) — The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing – #CMWorld 2018 — Content Marketing World

We hope you’ll join us next week for a fresh look at 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: StumbleUpon’s Swansong, #Hashtags vs. @Handles, & Google Review’s Anonymity Revamp was posted via Internet Marketing

How to Inform Your Content Strategy Using SEO Insights

SEO Data Insights for Content Strategy

SEO Data Insights for Content StrategyMarketers know that quality content and smart SEO are essential for driving toward their marketing goals, but that doesn’t mean success is easy to come by. With 53% of B2B marketers reporting their content marketing is only moderately successful, and another 23% reporting it as not at all or minimally successful, it appears that the majority of B2B marketers are struggling to see noteworthy results.

So, how can marketers improve their content marketing and achieve success?

The answer is in the data. More specifically, it’s in the insights you can glean from your data, especially SEO-related data.

Every marketer has access to this data. And it’s time to take that data, analyze it, and use it to inform your content strategy to create customized, relevant, and insightful content that is more valuable to your target audience. But knowing where to start on your data-informed and insight-driven content marketing journey isn’t always clear.  

To start creating more insight-driven content, search data can offer a gold mine of insights. Below we offer six SEO insights you can use to drive your strategy and results.

#1 – Nail down your audience’s search intent.

It’s no secret that keyword data can tell you a lot about what your audience is on the hunt for. But it’s the intent behind those search terms that really matters. Intent is what will enable you to create more valuable, “best answer” content for your audience.

For example, when looking in Google Search Console, if you see that one of your posts is ranking really well for a specific query, but has a low time on page, that could be an indicator that your content doesn’t match up with your audience’s intent. Because of this, your organic audience is probably bouncing from the page. If you can optimize that post to align with their search intent, you’ll likely increase the odds that they’ll stick around.

You can also use search intent to identify new content opportunities or gaps. When researching potential keywords in Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush, do your own recon and search the term in an incognito browser window. What content is ranking at the top for each query? What questions is it answering? What is so compelling about that page? (i.e. structure, video or other visual assets, etc.) Is there anything missing? Once you’ve analyzed what has made that page successful and helpful, you can apply those same tactics to your own content.

SEM Rush for SEO Research

#2 – Take advantage of older, high-performing content.

Both SEO and content are in it for the long haul. Your content needs to be long-living to maximize its SEO value and drive significant organic results. Plus, with frequent algorithm changes to search engines, what might have been a poor performer in the past could be your top piece of content in the future. Because of this, your existing content actually holds a lot of potential.

Using Google Analytics or Search Console, you can review the current keyword rankings, impressions, and clicks for your existing content. To draw insight from this data, you should ask yourself:

  • Are there any posts that have multiple page one rankings?
  • What is each page ranking for?
  • Which posts have the highest organic CTR or number of impressions?

These answers will help you surface your top performers that have the most SEO value. Once identified, you can link to those pages in future content to share that value and further boost your content’s organic performance.

#3 – Low volume doesn’t mean low value.

A common practice for marketers is to look to search volume data to determine target keywords and new content opportunities. Because search volume indicates the number of people searching for any given topic or question, it’s tempting for marketers to go after those searches with a high volume. Who wouldn’t want to capture all 500 monthly searches, right?

While it’s tempting to go after high-volume search terms, it’s not always the best choice. And with the rise of voice search, search queries are getting longer and longer.

When reviewing potential keyword targets, pay special attention to the long-tail variations of your short-tail topical areas to find the real questions people are asking (tools like are perfect for revealing this). Of the long-tail variations you identify, which ones have the least amount of competition? Is the estimated Cost Per Click high or low? This practice can help you find a niche, relevant keyword with a low competitive score that could be a quick, easy page one ranking that you didn’t have before.

Still want to go after those high-volume, competitive terms? We’ll walk you through how to rank for competitive keywords.

#4 – Review inbound links to find top performers.

Linking is an important component to any SEO strategy as it helps indicate to search engines that you are an authoritative and credible source of information. The better sites you have linking to your content, the better chance they have to rank higher in the SERPs. But what insights can it provide?

In looking the number of sources linking to your content, you can see which topics others find the most helpful, giving you a framework you should try to replicate in future content. In addition, you can create supporting blog posts that further promote or amplify your most linked to content. To see your inbound link data and check the credibility of the sites they originate from, try using Moz’s Open Site Explorer. If you want to quickly find your most linked to pages, use the Top Pages view of the tool as shown below.

Moz Open Site Explorer

#5 – Track the behavior of your search traffic.

Once someone finds you through search, what do they do next? Do they bounce? Do they complete a form-fill? In mapping the next steps your audience takes for each keyword group, you can better understand where they are in the funnel and customize additional content that helps move them from stage to stage.

To do this, use the Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics and filter your audience segment to organic traffic to see how your organic audience is navigating your site. Using this method, you can see which pages are bringing the most people in from search engines and where they go next. If you’re seeing incomplete calls to action or audience drop-off, this is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes into play.

Through CRO and A/B testing tools like Google Optimize or Optimizely, you can make small changes to your existing content (e.g. CTA placement, content length, etc.) and see what resulted in more conversions — micro or macro, depending on what stage of the funnel your content is aimed at.

As for what this means for your content strategy, you should look for what specific changes moved the needle or caused a dip in performance. Armed with the results, you can take what worked well and apply it to both your past and future content.

#6 – Uncover new content opportunities with in-site search.

If someone isn’t finding what they need on your site, they probably tried searching for it. This could mean you have a ripe content opportunity resting right under your nose. Make sure to regularly pull data from your own site’s internal search bar — you just may find a new keyword or topic you haven’t covered yet. If you’re uncovering a lot of potential opportunities with this method, prioritize them using the number of times someone used that search term.

Not sure where to find that information? Log into Google Analytics and click on the Site Search report listed under Behavior. Here you can view data on the search terms used, how often they’re used, and a host of other data points. Using data from our own Site Search report (see below), it looks like a blog template might be a good idea for a future post or downloadable asset.

Google Analytics

Stay Data-Informed & Insight-Driven

Believe it or not, data shouldn’t drive your content strategy. Data is open to interpretation, which is why marketers need to be data-informed, not data-driven. Digging into why something failed or took off is more important than tossing out a failed tactic or doubling down on a successful one. Without this analysis and insight, you could be making rash decisions that don’t produce the results you’re looking for.

Instead, content marketers need to use insights to inform their strategy, not create it. For more insight on how to use data to your advantage, check out these data-informed content marketing tips.

How to Inform Your Content Strategy Using SEO Insights was posted via Internet Marketing

Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing


These two words, which routinely appear on the title screens of video games, present both a prompt and a promise. You won’t advance until completing this simple command, but once you do, a world of adventure awaits.

You can “press start” on a brand new CMWorld experience by scrolling down and clicking into our Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing. Prepare to explore new stages and levels with a host of top players in the content marketing game as we unlock the secrets to success in 2018 and beyond.

Get in the Game

When the going gets tough, gamers can navigate to the options menu and turn down the difficulty level. How convenient!

Marketers, of course, don’t have that luxury, which is unfortunate because right now we face steeper challenges than ever in a crowded and rapidly changing environment.

Consider these statistics, from the 2018 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report (the B2B version includes largely similar numbers):

  • Nearly one out of four B2C content marketers (22%) rated their organization’s overall content marketing approach as minimally successful or not at all successful
  • More than half of respondents (51%) said that over the last year, it has become increasingly difficult to capture their audience’s attention
  • Only 36% of B2C content marketers rated the project management flow during their content creation processes as excellent or very good
  • Only 43% of respondents said they are measuring content marketing ROI, with “we need an easier way to do this” cited as by far the most common barrier

Needless to say, there is no shortage of pitfalls along the way to reaching our goals. That’s why we enlisted some of the field’s foremost leaders and experts to help provide guidance. You’ll find plenty in our new guide, which features exclusive tips and tricks from a diverse range of perspectives.  

With the help of this guide, you’ll learn how to craft a content strategy that fits together like Tetris blocks falling perfectly into place. You’ll rattle through your objectives like Pac-Man gobbling dots. And your reach will grow like Mario with a mushroom power-up.

Thank you to all of our experts for sharing their top tips for helping marketers win the content marketing game. Inside, you’ll gain insights from marketers including:

Robert Rose, Nichole Kelly, Tim Washer, Ellie Mirman, Peter Krmpotic, Tamsen Webster, Amanda Todorovich, Courtney Cox, Eli Schwartz, Jay Acunzo, Carla Johnson, Heather Pemberton Levy, Zari Venhaus, Andy Crestodina, Ann Handley, Melanie Deziel, J.P. Medved, Mitch Joel, Michelle Park Lazette, Pam Didner, Dave Charest, Ian Cleary, Lee Odden, Vishal Khanna, Juntae DeLane, Doug Kessler, Joe Pulizzi, Justin Levy, Heidi Cohen, Christopher Penn, Mathew Sweezey, Michael Brenner, Michael Pratt, Ron Tite and Matt Heinz.

Let’s have some fun. Press start and enjoy:

Expert Content Marketing Tips for Sharing

Have a favorite content marketing game tip from one of our talented speakers? Below are a sample of what you’ll find inside the guide. Feel free to share any of these insights to get individuals within your network in the game!

Flip your strategy from being the on-demand creator of content to the proactive editorial strategist. @Robert_Rose
Click To Tweet

Understand where the white space exists in your industry to create content that stands out in an otherwise crowded content marketing landscape. @ellieeille
Click To Tweet

Think about ways to expose data in the content marketing process, so that the data can be acted on. @peterkrmpotic
Click To Tweet

Sophisticated content planning requires historical analysis, an understanding of what’s changed and currently happening around your audience. @amandatodo
Click To Tweet

Marketing needs to slow down and think about substance and context. @annhandley
Click To Tweet

Give yourself permission to really focus on building great, helpful, informative, authoritative content first. It’s much easier to monetize it later. @rizzlejpizzle
Click To Tweet

The content creation / promotion imbalance is a big problem for marketers trying to win the content marketing game. @leeodden
Click To Tweet

Content distribution for distribution’s sake is a waste of time. @joepulizzi
Click To Tweet

Look past engagement metrics, to really dig into if the content is moving people towards the next stage in the buying cycle. @msweezey
Click To Tweet

The Next Level

If you’re ready to find out what awaits at the 2018 Content Marketing World conference, click here to check out the agenda.

You can also keep up on the all the latest developments by tracking the #CMWorld hashtag and following CMI on Twitter.

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing |

Press Start and Get in the Game with the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing was posted via Internet Marketing

4 Reasons Why SEO Courses Aren’t Taught in College and How to Learn It On Your Own

This is a post from our New York consulting intern Samiha Huque. For the past year Samiha has been juggling her time at college and working at Distilled. Samiha is now an alumna of St. John’s University, where she studied Marketing.

Samiha, take it away.

As a college student, you’ve probably noticed that you don’t have very many options for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) courses. During my undergrad experience I’ve had only one class even mention SEO—but after my internship at Distilled, I learned these four reasons why it’s not taught in college.

1. The industry is always changing

SEO is always changing—sometimes even a couple times a year. Why? Because Google is always improving. Google can come out with major changes to their algorithm and shift everything for search marketers. There have already been so many changes. At one point, SEO was all about ranking for the right keywords, sometimes even if it wasn’t relevant. Today that’s not the smartest move to make because as we enter the world of mobile revolution and voice searches, Google wants to focus on user experience and offer a more genuine interaction. The focus from when the industry first began to right now has completely shifted. It would be difficult for a professor to create a course if the rules and guidelines have a tendency to change or be updated.  

2. It’s a pretty broad industry

SEO is a pretty broad industry. It’s a technical business that depends on analytics and data but it can also get pretty creative. SEO can dive into things like creating content, blog post writing, social media, even PR and outreach. This is actually one of my favorite traits of SEO, I love being able to combine all the knowledge I have from all different places and being able to apply it to SEO. It would be hard to create a course that’s able to get into all the different aspects that are a part of SEO.

3. There isn’t one set method

There isn’t a set method or even a set guide to do things. There is no way for anyone to judge which tool to demonstrate with over another. It all depends on the site and what the problems are. During my internship I learned best from trial and error. The same recommendation and strategies can’t always be reused and it depends heavily on what is being optimized. SEO can also get pretty theoretical so it could be hard to determine one set method to teach a course.

4. You’re already learning…

Like I mentioned before, SEO is really broad and you can build your experience through classes you’re already taking right now! I was able to apply things I’ve learned in my computer, marketing, and statistics courses to work I’ve done at Distilled. I learned about VLOOKUPS and pivot tables in statistics which helps when analyzing data. Through my marketing classes, I learned about strategy development and problem-solving. In my computer classes, I learned about HTML and CSS which also came in handy during my time here at Distilled. Although there might not be an SEO course you can take at your college it doesn’t mean you’re not already being prepared!

So, is it for you? How can you learn it?

  • Don’t worry, no matter what your major is you can still get into SEO. After talking to many people at Distilled and at SearchLove San Diego, I’ve learned that you can come into the field through any major. I’ve met Journalism and English Majors who have entered SEO through content writing and copywriting. Computer Science majors and other technical and majors are valuable in SEO for analytics. It takes dedication and creative thinking to become an SEO expert.
  • Become a self-taught beginner SEO. Information is easily accessible online, there are also courses online that can help you learn on your own like DistilledU which offers knowledge in core skills every SEO needs to know whether your a beginner or an intermediate. It’s what I used to help me get my foot in the door and it gave me a good basic understanding of SEO. Once you get through the modules you can also take a look at Distilled’s blog to stay updated and continue learning!

  • Get some hands on experience. There are lots of local charities to reach out to who would love to have volunteers. Getting yourself an internship is another great way to get experience. At Distilled I had access to a lot of SEO tools, information and people who were more than willing to help me learn new things. You can also apply your SEO knowledge to your own social media platforms. Most platforms like Facebook and Instagram have their own analytics tracker and gives insights on data and engagement that you can use to your advantage! A quick hack to turn your Instagram Insights on is by switching your personal account to a business account in your settings. This doesn’t affect how others see your profile it just gives you more data to work with.
  • Check out local meetups. Check out local meetups. Conferences can get pricey, going to meetups is often free and they offer the perfect opportunity to improve your knowledge, learn more about the industry & meet the people who will point you in the right direction.
  • However if you can get some budget, try attending a SearchLove conference. SEO conferences are a great place to learn more about the field as well as meet the experts. The SEO community is very inviting and the professionals are always willing to meet up and share their knowledge and experience with others, all you have to do is be there and ask. At SearchLove I was able to network with people in the industry and learn a bunch of new things. It was definitely a valuable and fun experience for me and I would recommend at least attending one!

4 Reasons Why SEO Courses Aren’t Taught in College and How to Learn It On Your Own was posted via Internet Marketing