Marketing Superstars Tell All: Measuring Content Marketing Box Office Success

“Show me the money. Show me the money!” – Jerry Maguire In the summer of 2010, the Internet was abuzz about the upcoming movie Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. It was based on a comic book with a rabid cult following and directed by the indie darling behind Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. When […]

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13 Experts Discuss Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing

“Personality is the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights and the orchestra pit into that big black space where the audience is.” –Mae West We may not know the names of actors like Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson and Jon Heder if it were not for their breakout roles in movies like Rocky, […]

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13 Marketing Stars Show The Big Picture of Content Marketing Strategy

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’” –Audrey Hepburn Content marketing can quickly become a whirlwind of creation, promotion and evolution of tactics. New platforms are constantly popping up and directives can change at the top of a hat. So, it’s no surprise when content campaigns become disorganized and lose focus. If your […]

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The Digital Marketer’s Mobile Optimization Checklist

Every good marketer knows that one of the key elements to success is making it as easy as possible for your audience to consume and share information. Part of creating ease of use is keeping in mind where and how your audience is spending their time. What degree of success do you think a marketer […]

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

  Have you ever been in a relationship where one partner wanted more, and the other was hesitant to take the next step? Many B2B marketers are facing a similar roadblock. They’re ready to ask social media followers to “marry” them, but some of those followers are beginning to question why they liked the brand […]

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New Report Reveals the True Impact of Social Media Marketing for Business

The way social networks have impacted our personal and professional lives is far greater than most of us could have anticipated. While we were battling with our friends over getting cut from their top friends list on their Myspace profile, we couldn’t have imagined the impact of social media today. The evolution of social networks […]

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Why Digital Marketing Podcasts Belong in Your Learning Routine

Marketers are always looking for new and efficient ways to learn. As a marketer, I’ve recently begun working podcasts into my ongoing learning routine. I’ll admit, I resisted for awhile (which was dumb). I think it’s because I have an aversion to books on tape/CD, which comes from being forced to listen to children’s books […]

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B2B Content Marketing Playbook: Tips to Prepare You for the Big Content Game

The 2015 B2B Marketing Report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs sheds a pretty bright light on the true state of B2B content marketing. While 86% of B2B marketers are using content marketing, only 8% rate their content marketing efforts as “very effective”. It’s not so different than teams participating in sports like football. Sure, everyone […]

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Content Marketing Rescue: 4 Tips for Saving Your Brand’s Content Marketing Strategy

TR CM Rescue 2

TR CM Rescue 2

Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to give us the reality check we need when it comes Content Marketing strategy.

Popular shows such as Bar Rescue, Restaurant Impossible and Kitchen Nightmares feature industry experts that come into a business, determine the issues hindering success and help the business turn it all around.

When you boil it down, brand-side Content Marketers are facing many of the same issues as these failing bars and restaurants. It often doesn’t matter if you’re a team of one or twenty, sometimes it’s time to bring in the experts. Budget, time and resources can often hinder a brand’s ability to call in for the big guns. Luckily, we’re here to help give some tough love and sound advice for brand marketers looking to revive their Content Marketing strategy. Of the many things you need to keep in mind, here are four high level priorities.

The Assessment

In order to determine why a business is not successful, the experts will have the owners and staff run through a normal service and observe what happens. This exercise helps to identify the biggest opportunities for improvement.

Similarly, brand marketers can take a look at their current Content Marketing strategy and ask the following questions:

  • Have we clearly identified our customers?
  • Do we know what our customers really want?
  • Are we creating a good user experience?
  • Is our Content Marketing visually appealing?
  • Does our current mix of Content Marketing tactics really work?

Chances are, you may know answers to some of the questions above, but not all. Let’s take a deeper dive into what can make or break a Content Marketing Strategy.

#1 Know The Neighborhood = Identify Customer Demographics

Opening a zombie themed restaurant may not make sense if you’re located in a suburban neighborhood filled with families. Correspondingly, marketers need to have a well researched understanding of who their best current and prospective customers really are and what they care about.

For example, a product may appeal to a wide array of different customers, for a variety of reasons. Begin segmenting customers (even on a very basic level) to ensure that there is an understanding of who they are, before determining exactly what they’re looking for.

Once the groundwork has been laid in determining current customers, it’s time to determine what it is that they really want.

Content Marketing is a valuable tool that marketers can use to attract, connect with and inspire their audience to take action. Don’t be shy about asking current customers why they like your product or service. This can provide invaluable insight into how to craft messaging messaging within Content Marketing assets that meet the needs of customers.

#2 Eliminate Difficult Staff = Create a Good User Experience

Customer: “Excuse me sir, but there’s a hair in my food.”
Staff: “That’s too bad, you’re not getting it for free.”

Yikes! Staff members that are not focused on the customer experience are the first to go on shows like Bar Rescue and Kitchen Nightmares. To treat your guests with disrespect is simply not an option if you want to survive.

Maybe the example is a little extreme, but content marketers should constantly be focused on the customer experience and level of satisfaction.

Some simple tips for creating a good Content Marketing user experience include:

  • Mobile accessibility
  • Clear calls to action
  • Landing pages for targeted content
  • Content scannability
  • Visually appealing content
  • Creative headlines and content that delivers

#3 Improve the Decor = Create Visually Appealing Content

With so many options available, a restaurant that is drab, depressing and dirty, likely isn’t going to be drawing in a crowd of patrons.

Both B2C and B2B consumers are constantly inundated with an almost limitless supply of products and services to choose from.  Creating content that is great and useful should always be the most important thing on a marketers mind. However, the ante has been upped!

If you want to survive, good is no longer good enough. Of the images below, which ones catch are intriguing enough that you’re tempted to click and learn more?

visual content marketing examples
#4 Update the Menu = Find the Right Mix of Content Marketing Tactics

Sometimes the food and cocktail menus are just bad. Other times the menu items just don’t resonate well with customers.

Content Marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every program will require a slightly different mix of tactics based on customer needs and company objectives. Utilize the list below as a starting point for determining what’s available and then weed out the tactics that don’t make sense for your company.

  • Blogging
  • Case Studies
  • Content Curation
  • Digital Newsletters
  • Infographics
  • Email Marketing
  • eBooks
  • Microsites
  • Mobile Applications
  • Podcasts
  • Video Content
  • Webinars
  • White Papers

Want more tactics? Read “Content Marketing: Definition & Tactics

Pressure Test

Are You Ready for the Pressure Test?
Even after brand marketers research customer insights, create a strategy for visually appealing content, work to improve the customer experience and find the right Content Marketing mix; there’s another crucial step.

The dreaded pressure test! Putting all of the lessons learned into practice takes time so don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, focus on consistently keeping the objectives above top of mind when creating and executing on your Content Marketing strategy.

Is your marketing team in need of a Content Marketing rescue?
You may be able to tackle these Content Marketing tactics and the pressure test on your own. But if not, we’re here to help.

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Success Story: Jolina Pettice Promoted to TopRank Marketing Vice President

Jolina Pettice

Jolina Pettice

Note from Lee: My partner Susan Misukanis and I are thrilled to announce that Jolina Pettice has been promoted to Vice President at TopRank Online Marketing!

For nearly 10 years Jolina has helped TopRank Marketing clients and her consulting team achieve success through her fearless leadership, passion for digital marketing and an uncanny ability to “get sh*t done”. Few things are more satisfying to me than seeing smart, creative and results-focused professionals rewarded for their contributions and empowered to grow even more.

TopRank Marketing is on the cusp of some of the most exciting growth we’ve ever experienced in our 14 years in business and I am proud to see Jolina leading the way. Congratulations Jolina!  To learn more about Jolina, read on for Ashley’s interview with her:

This is my second time working with Jolina. The first time I was here, I often wondered “how does she do it?”. Jolina has a real knack for assessing a situation, quickly determining a solution and providing actionable next steps. When I heard that Jolina was being promoted to Vice President of TopRank Marketing, I jumped at the chance to interview her about her new role.

In her years at TopRank Marketing, Jolina has exemplified many of the core values that our company stands for. She is incredibly hardworking, has built up credibility both internally and externally, is always humble, and has the utmost integrity.

I sat down with Jolina to learn a little bit more about her journey and experiences so that she could share what TopRank Marketing has meant to her, in her own words.

Please share a little bit about your journey at TopRank Marketing.

First, let me start by saying that it’s been amazing.

I started at TopRank Marketing as a PR Associate. PR & Journalism is what I had studied, and after tinkering around a bit, it was time to put my degree to work (thank you mom for the nudge). My first year was focused on assisting clients with their PR efforts, through content creation and pitching journalists. Thankfully, I have pretty thick skin and getting hung up on several times throughout the day didn’t get to me.

This was 9+ years ago, so SEO and digital marketing in general was still relatively new to many organizations. I was really fascinated by the integration of a client’s PR efforts with a broader online mix and the results it could produce. And I mean really fascinated, like Googling all day and all night trying to figure out what was showing up for what terms, what did the sites look like that were ranking, what did they have (or not have) as compared to the clients I was working for. This was the start of my journey beyond PR and into Account management.

So all was pretty good, I was learning the ropes and finding my work to be satisfying. And then out to lunch one day, Susan Misukanis (TopRank Marketing’s President and Co-founder) asked me what I wanted to do next. Continue in PR or try something new?

I still remember it like it was yesterday, so new into my career and having someone genuinely interested in what I was thinking about and hoping to accomplish. So, without hesitation, I jumped in and said, “I want to be an Account Manager!”. The ability to learn more about all areas of marketing, and frankly get to be responsible for client programs, was really appealing to me.

And from that day and into the next year, Susan and Lee graciously taught me everything I needed to know, and beyond that gave me the freedom to test, create, fail, and flourish. And for that, I am so very grateful.

Fast forward a couple years, multiply clients a couple times over – and next thing you know we’re building out teams in areas from Account Management, to Social, to Content, and more. And here I sit, almost 10 years later, with the most talented team, clients I consider friends – and so excited to see what we accomplish next.


What have you learned most from the clients you’ve worked with?

The best client-agency relationship is when you are both learning from one another. And I’ve been so lucky to work with great brands and the people behind them.

One of my favorite parts of being agency-side is that you catch a glimpse of so many different settings from startups to enterprises.  So, I’m probably most grateful for the sheer amount of business experience you can gain by paying attention to how different businesses operate. And of course, you can’t beat it when a client teaches you what is – and is not – authentic BBQ.


What’s the best piece of advice you can give managers looking to grow into a position like yours?

I would say two things.  The first is to keep your eye on the prize, which should be whatever ‘success’ looks like to your organization.  It’s easy to get pulled in multiple directions, so you have to find a way to keep yourself and your team focused.

The second would be not to try and go it alone. When you’re new to management it can seem very daunting and you will come across situations that you can’t always plan for. Find a mentor, read books, do whatever you can to be prepared for whatever may come your way.


How do you believe that TopRank Marketing has proven to be “Smart, Creative and Focused on Results”?

Smart: Our team was one of the first to pioneer the idea of integration between PR and marketing and working with influencers and content marketing. We’ve avoided chasing shiny objects and instead focusing on what drives value for our clients.

Creative: We’ve been creative in the way that we recognize that for any given client there may be limited resources to get the job done. In these situations, the team has worked hard to create efficiencies and process that enable us to create the best possible solution for our clients.

Another creative approach that we’ve taken is to create content that allows us to build an asset and break it back down to create continuity of message and lot of promotable assets for our clients.

Focused on Results: We strive to recommend a marketing mix for clients that we think will drive the best results. If you can’t serve the audience you’re trying to reach and the marketing mix isn’t a fit for the culture that you’re working for, then it’s not worth the time and energy to go chase it. Staying really true to what can garner the best results for your client is the most important thing.


TopRank Marketing Team Members Share:

In her leadership role at TopRank Marketing, Jolina has worked with the vast majority of our team members in one capacity or another. Here’s a sample of the praise she’s received from her co-workers:

“Jolina has taught me how to have fun at work. “You don’t know what you don’t know” – Never be afraid to ask a question, or ask for help.”
– Shaya Clark, Operations Coordinator

“Jolina has taught me the importance of keeping a positive attitude in any situation. Her stress on keeping team members upbeat and motivated helps me to reevaluate my actions and do the same.”
– Kate Heithoff, SEO Copywriter

“From watching Jolina lead the team tirelessly and enthusiastically to improve client programs, I’ve learned that creativity is a team effort and going the extra mile is always worthwhile.”
– Brooke Furry, Account Manager

“Jolina has taught me many valuable things, but one particularly good piece of wisdom she shared with me is that you will always be busy and always have more tasks to complete than time to complete them. You can either waste time and energy stressing about it or just get moving on the most important things. If you knock out the big rocks, the little ones will fall into place.”
– Evan Prokop, Digital Marketing Manager

What our clients say about Jolina:

“I started working with Jolina back in 2007 when she was our account manager. I was immediately impressed with her – she’s smart as a whip and can rattle off SEO and content marketing tactics and strategies at a mile a minute (after all she does run on coffee and Twizzlers)! While she managed our account we saw significant improvements every single year. And, as she has risen through the ranks of TopRank Marketing, I can tell that her expertise and account management skills have rubbed off on others, as we are in excellent hands with our current account team. This is certainly a well-deserved promotion for Jolina! I am so happy for her and of course proud to say that she has led us on our path to online marketing success!”
– Barbara Feinberg: Product Marketing Manager, IWS Digital Marketing
Imaging and Workflow Solutions at McKesson Corporation

Opportunities Are Abundant At TopRank Online Marketing

Do you want to be a part of a team that encourages and rewards smart, creative and results focused work? View our current openings.

If your business is in need of a team of marketers that will work alongside you to define and meet your business objectives, let’s have a conversation.


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Check Your Pulse: 4 Video Marketing Tips for Healthcare Companies

Healthcare marketers are responsible for attracting new customers, building trust and converting prospects into new customers. While following content marketing and SEO best practices can put you a step ahead of the rest, there is another opportunity that you may not have considered. As far back as 2010, Pew Research found that approximately 80% of […]

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Book Review & Interview: Social Content Marketing for Entrepreneurs by Dr. Jim Barry

How many times have you wished that someone would create a textbook filled with why’s and how to’s of digital marketing? If you’re like me, the answer to that is “Too many times to count!”. Let’s face it, the work that we do and how we do it evolves so quickly it can be hard to […]

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B2C Mobile Marketing Tips to Strike Marketing Gold

Confession: I am an email junkie. Ok, more accurately, I have is a strong appreciation for a well-crafted email campaign. My favorite types of emails to receive are on the topics of digital marketing, apparel and food. I’m Not the Only One Sorry marketers, the statistics don’t lie. Here’s a couple to whet your appetite: […]

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Infographic: 14 Online Marketing Tips to Improve Design, Content & Conversions

A trusted resource can be a friend, colleague or industry expert and we may turn to them from time-to-time for guidance. Today’s online marketing landscape is crowded with advice from marketers that may have the power to influence you, but not necessarily the authority to give you sage advice. In our eBook “Winning with Authority […]

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