Thanks to mobile devices and major streaming platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, podcast creators now have a rather holistic breakdown of their listeners – including their geographical location. And while the podcasting industry is still deciphering and fine-tuning their internal targeting capabilities, podcasting networks have started partnering with third-party data providers to reach even more specific audiences; right down to those that reside in a given zip code.
In this blog post, we’ll share everything we currently know about geo-targeting through podcasts, in hopes of helping you decide if this is right for you and your brand.
What is Geo-Targeting?
Geo-targeting enables brands to target consumers based on their geographic location. This means that a company can target-and customize-their marketing efforts to an audience based on their country, state, metro area, and zip code.
While location-based targeting isn’t a novel idea, the practice in relation to podcast advertising is not yet very well understood. Additionally, the nature of how podcasts are consumed creates some potential limitations of geo-targeting. Unlike a typical ad, podcast ads are not always served in real-time. Listeners can download a podcast on the go and listen to it at a different time and in an entirely new location – which may cause podcast geo-targeting to be a little skewed. Despite this, geo-targeting podcast ad placement is still on the rise, with brands taking advantage of the opportunity to customize a campaign for a very specific audience based on where they live.
Geo-Targeting Ad Placement Formats
In our blog post on podcast advertising formats, we explained the difference between the two types of ad placement formats: baked-in and dynamic. If you’d like to experiment with both ad placements for your geo-targeting campaign, here’s what we recommend:
- Baked-in – work with hosts that have a strong local following (think of your local radio station or a well-known sports team).
- Dynamic – work with podcast networks that have geo-targeting capabilities.
Keep in mind, finding podcasts that cater to a local demographic takes some work. If you’re short on time or don’t have the capacity to research local podcasts, dynamic ad placement with podcast networks is the next best thing. And while your ad may not get the host-read endorsement of a baked-in ad, podcast networks allow you to distribute your message to a much larger audience, without the vetting hassle.
Maximizing Your Geo-Targeting Reach
As mentioned above, working with hosts that have a strong local following can be incredibly time-consuming. To identify podcasts that are a good fit for your ad, you may be required to do a lot of manual vetting and outreach. And even once you’ve done all of that leg work, there’s no guarantee that their audience size will be substantial enough for a campaign.
If geo-targeting is your primary campaign objective, consider working with podcast networks to maximize your reach. Based on our research and experience, here are the networks that we’d recommend:
Depending on which network you choose and what other campaign objectives you’d like to target, here are some of the other targeting parameters in addition to geographic location that those networks can offer:
- Marital status
- Interest (e.g., business, history, science, sports, true crime, etc.)
But keep in mind, the more targeting parameters you choose to include in your campaign, the smaller your reach will be. And smaller targeting pools often lead to a higher ad spend.
Is Geo-Targeting Right For You?
If you’re not quite sure if geo-targeting should be your primary campaign objective, consider the following geo-targeting pros and cons:
The Pros of Geo-Targeting with Podcasts
- Grows local presence
- Drives traffic to brick and mortar stores
- Great for brands that are impacted by seasonality
- Creates hyper-targeted audience segments
The Cons of Geo-Targeting with Podcasts
- Hyper-targeting audience segments tend to be more expensive
- Baked-in ad options are limited
- Host-read endorsements are more rare
- Podcast networks are still figuring out how it’s done
If you think that podcast geo-targeting might be the next step in your advertising strategy, working with a podcast network may be a worthy investment to reach a new audience. With the help of podcast networks, advertisers are able to geo-target podcast listeners at scale. And while the ad read may not always result in an organic host endorsement, podcast networks allow you to test different audience segments and learn whom your brand resonates with the most.
And again, geo-targeting for podcast advertising is still gaining momentum; we’ll continue to watch how podcast networks can leverage geo-targeting to maximize the success of advertising campaigns.
Still trying to decide if podcast advertising is right for you? Check out our Digital Marketer’s Guide to Podcast Advertising for more information.
The post Podcast Advertising: The Pros and Cons of Geo-Targeting appeared first on Portent.
by Robert Clough
Every day on Twitter, more than 1.2 billion video views take place.
If you want people to see your business’s marketing videos but aren’t sharing them on Twitter, you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers.
Are you unsure how to create great Twitter videos? Do you feel confused about using Twitter as a marketing tool? If so, we’re here to help.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to make a video marketing strategy for Twitter.
Benefits of Twitter Video Marketing
There are lots of reasons to make Twitter video marketing a priority. The following are some of the greatest benefits this platform has to offer:
Build Brand Awareness
First, including Twitter in your video marketing strategy can help you to build more brand awareness.
Millions of people use Twitter every single day. You might not be able to reach every person on the platform, but you can still reach a lot of people who might not have heard of your business otherwise.
Remember, the more people start to recognize your brand, the easier it’ll be for you to start selling products and services to them.
Improve Brand Sentiment
Twitter doesn’t just help you to build brand awareness. It also helps you to improve brand sentiment. Improving brand sentiment helps to increase the number of people who have positive feelings toward your business and what you’re selling.
You can use Twitter videos to show people what makes your products or services better than others. You can also use Twitter to engage with your followers and start building relationships with them.
Increase Purchase Intent
A strong Twitter video marketing strategy can also help when it comes to increasing purchase intent.
Twitter marketing videos, when part of a well-planned marketing strategy, can be a powerful tool to help people get excited about your company’s products or services. This, in turn, can increase the likelihood that those who follow you on Twitter will want to buy what you’re selling.
Learn About Your Audience
Twitter is a great place to conduct market research and get to know your target audience. You can review responses (in terms of both comments and the number of shares) to certain videos to help you figure out what styles work best for your followers and get them interested in your products or services.
How to Make a Video Marketing Strategy for Twitter
Okay, you can see why you need to make video marketing for Twitter a priority. You might still be confused about how to create a good strategy, though.
If you’re in this boat, here are some steps you can take today to start crafting the perfect Twitter video marketing strategy:
Set Clear Goals
Start by knowing what you want to get out of your Twitter video marketing strategy.
Why are you creating videos for Twitter? Do you want to sell more products or services? Do you want to get more people over to your website?
If you have clear goals, it’ll be easier for you to measure the success of your marketing efforts. This will also help you to keep your eyes on the prize and avoid making mistakes that could hinder your company’s performance.
Research Your Competitors
Next, see what your competitors are putting out there.
Are they sharing videos on Twitter at all? If so, what kind of videos are they posting? What kind of responses are they getting?
Take note of what your competition is doing so you can fill in gaps and do something new and exciting. You’re not doing this research to copy them or steal ideas. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
Know Your Target Audience
In addition to understanding your competitors, it’s also important for you to understand your target audience. Find out what kinds of hashtags your target customer is following on Twitter and pay attention to the types of videos that seem to resonate with them the most.
The better you know your audience, the easier it’ll be for you to cater to them. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that they’ll take an interest in your business and want to purchase your products or services.
Keep It Unique
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional repost from Instagram or Facebook to Twitter. Try not to make that the bulk of your content, though. It doesn’t have the same effect as when you’re creating content that seems as though it’s meant just for Twitter.
Learn the Basics
Speaking of creating content, make sure you understand the basic requirements for Twitter videos.
There are a few different ways you can share videos to Twitter. You can shoot them directly in the app, and you can upload them from your phone or computer. According to the experts at https://setapp.com/how-to/download-twitter-videos-to-your-mac, you can also download videos from Twitter to your computer if you want to review them for research purposes.
When creating Twitter videos, make sure they have a resolution of 1920x1200px and a max frame rate of 40 frames per second. They should also have a max bit rate of 25 Mbps.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
There are lots of different types of Twitter videos you can create for your marketing strategy.
Some popular options include How-To videos, culture videos that showcase the people who make up your business and the kind of company you operate, promotional videos, and interviews.
Don’t be afraid to mix it up and experiment with different types of videos. This will help you figure out what people like most and make it easier for you to tailor your video marketing strategy.
Start Creating Twitter Marketing Videos Today
The idea of figuring out how to make a video marketing strategy for Twitter can be daunting at first. If you follow these tips, though, you’ll be able to put together a strategy that works for your business and helps you to grow your customer base.
Do you want to learn more about social media marketing? If so, visit the Social Media section of our site today to find lots of other helpful resources.
Be sure and visit our small business news site.
Three different hosts, 19 jam-packed episodes, 20 incredible guests—countless amazing insights gained.
TopRank Marketing’s inaugural season of Break Free B2B, a video podcast series featuring the expertise, experiences, and advice of diverse marketing minds, is officially wrapped.
With the goal of delivering B2B marketers the encouragement and inspiration to break free of business-to-business norms to drive bigger, better, bolder results, we covered everything from change management to visual storytelling to what’s next in B2B influencer marketing. And of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to reflect and share some of our favorite tidbits from each of our incredible guests.
Throughout the season, there were a few key topical areas we honed in on:
- Creating more effective B2B content marketing strategies through better planning, data usage, and more—this is where we spent most of our time.
- The evolution of B2B influencer marketing, and best practices from piloting to measuring impact.
- The trust-building power of content marketing across industries.
- The future of B2B marketing, including key trends such as ABM.
Read on to get just a taste of how our guests touched on these important topics.
Building B2B Content Marketing Strategies that Drive Bigger, Better, Bolder Results
Senior Director of Health Content, Cleveland Clinic
“It’s imperative that people understand that content marketing isn’t a fling… It’s a long-term strategy. It’s something that you really have to think about how you build a long-term committed relationship with that user—it’s not a one-and-done. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative.”
[bctt tweet=”Content marketing isn’t a fling… It’s a long-term strategy. There’s never really an end to it. It’s continuous and iterative. – @amandatodo #BreakFreeB2B #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]
One of the things that we still see—and we preach every day, but we still see it—is the campaign mentality. There’s still a large focus on very business-focused campaigns and obviously, they need content. So, a lot of times, the same content team that is doing all of the content efforts are also going to be responsible for creating assets for this campaign. But there’s a mindset shift that needs to happen to get away from just “campaign, campaign, campaign” and filling our channels with these time-bound things.
[bctt tweet=”There’s a mindset shift that needs to happen to get away from just ‘campaign, campaign, campaign’ and filling our channels with these time-bound things. – @brodydorland #B2BContentMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Vice President of Marketing, Chief
“When it started, we thought a data-driven marketer would be someone who was able to track everything correctly, be able to give their conversion path, and figure out the KPIs and metrics they need to measure. But now, we’re talking about applying data to content.
“I think the biggest takeaway that people are surprised by is the data can be really closely associated with your brand. It can be something that makes you unique and memorable. It’s something that is hard for other people to replicate.”
[bctt tweet=”Data can be really closely associated with your brand. It can be something that makes you unique and memorable. – @clareondrey #DataDrivenMarketing #B2BContentMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Global Manager of Digital Marketing and Strategy, Mitel
I always like to start every project with an insight. If there’s not a core insight at the beginning of a project, then I tend to not actually pursue it because I think it’s kind of empty.
I think those insights can come from a lot of places, and they have to funnel into content and SEO. Sometimes the insight might be a keyword, you might see something on Google Trends blowing up that you can get on top of, or it might come from the sales team.
[bctt tweet=”I always like to start every project with an insight. If there’s not a core insight at the beginning of a project, then I tend to not actually pursue it because I think it’s kind of empty. – @halwerner #B2BContentStrategy #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
General Manager, Content Marketing Institute*
As content creators, sometimes we try to do everything that we possibly can on every channel. I think it’s important for content teams and marketing teams to go back and say, “What do we need to stop doing? What are we doing that really isn’t giving us the result that we’d like? And how can we then focus more on the things that are working?” So ask yourselves, “What can we stop doing today, so we have more time to do the things we’re really good at?”
[bctt tweet=”B2B brands and marketers, ask yourselves: What can we stop doing today, so we have more time to do the things we’re really good at? – @EditorStahl #BreakFreeB2B #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]
Film and Video Director, Colorist, Motion, and VFX, Evil Ice Cream Productions
“Cohesiveness of vision. So while all the videos are totally different, making sure your team is 100% on the same page when making the content is what makes the most successful stuff on my end.”
[bctt tweet=”I think the biggest factor in successful video content is cohesiveness of vision. – @adamjdunn #VideoMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Best Practices and the Evolution of B2B Influencer Marketing
Vice President of Influencer Marketing and Communications, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass*
“B2B doesn’t have to be boring, but you have to know your audience and what they’re looking for… I always think about ‘What can we do to make things viral in a B2B world?’ Sometimes we end up with outrageous ideas we don’t ever use or could never use, but it can inspire something real to happen. It informs creative and fun ways to reach people and touch people in a different way than you would normally think of in B2B.”
[bctt tweet=”I always think about ‘What can we do to make things viral in a B2B world?’ Sometimes we end up with outrageous ideas… but it can inspire something real to happen. – @AmishaGandhi #B2BInfluencerMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Global Thought Leadership Program Manager, Dell Technologies*
“What I’m really excited about and what I’ve been seeing over the past years is that there’s this kind of democratization of influence, right? Social media provided us the tools to share our opinions, but now we advance to a stage where people are very passionate and have an incredible reach to — maybe a small subset of community — but their authenticity and their integrity are so valued that people listen to them. And I find this fascinating for society overall, let alone for us from a marketing perspective. So it’s all coming back to: what do you want to achieve as a marketer and what type of influencer is the right one?”
[bctt tweet=”There’s been a democratization of influence… Now we’re at a stage where passionate people’s authenticity and integrity are so valued that people listen to them. – @JanineWegner #B2BInfluencerMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Marketing Manager, LinkedIn*
“I would say that one of the biggest traps that I’ve seen when it comes to measurement in influencer marketing is really caring about the reach metrics… When I first started partnering with some of the internal stakeholders who were excited about the influencer programs as this new shiny object, many of the questions were around, ‘Okay, if we do this one post with them, how many impressions are we gonna get? Is it a million per influencer?’
“Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, I think I’ve had to do a lot more internal education of: actually, the relevancy and engagement are what’s important. Are the influencers actually experts in the areas you wanna talk about? And are they gonna have credibility with their end users? And then are they going to shed credibility onto your brand as a result?”
[bctt tweet=”Even though I think reach is part of the equation, and we want to work with influencers who have a substantial amount of reach, the relevancy and engagement are what’s most important. – @judytian07 #InfluencerMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Building Trust through Content Marketing
Executive Director of Digital Product Evolution and Growth Marketing, Morgan Stanley
“If you want to be a trustworthy company… it can’t be just a marketing philosophy. It has to be a business philosophy. People can see through fake attempts to build trust. So, I would caution brands away from being all things to all people…
“So how can we actually in video form or even in text form, like really prove to the people that our products work? And I think that also comes out of using third party validation where we can… It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful.”
[bctt tweet=”If you want to be a trustworthy company… it can’t be just a marketing philosophy. It has to be a business philosophy. People can see through fake attempts to build trust. – @mmagnarelli #BreakFreeB2B #TrustInMarketing” username=”toprank”]
Marketing Executive and Consultant
“These days, the way you build the trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and your digital presence. You have to look accessible, you have to look open.”
[bctt tweet=”The way you build trust is showing how nimble and flexible you can be. Both in your development and your product, but also it has to be reflected in your marketing and digital presence. – @AdiBacharReske #TrustInMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Global Marketing Director, Brennan Industries
“We try to do mainly two things: build trust and also provide value. Since we have a product that’s more of a commodity product… we have to provide a value add. And we try to do that as a company. So as a brand, even down to the marketing, we’re constantly trying to add value, and that’s why we do the content marketing and all — it’s to start communicating and providing value.
“So here’s value: educational information, something you didn’t know, some information you’re looking for. We want them to trust this and to think of us as the place to go that provides value from the very beginning of the relationship.
[bctt tweet=”As a brand, even down to the marketing, we’re constantly trying to add value, and that’s why we do the content marketing and all — it’s to start communicating and providing value. – @mrjohnjoyce #B2BContentMarketing #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Writer and Content Strategist, EST Creative
[Building trust]… That’s really what, to me, content marketing is all about… When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust.
[bctt tweet=”When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. – @BosCreativeCopy #BreakFreeB2B #TrustInMarketing” username=”toprank”]
Keeping an Eye on Top Trends in B2B Marketing
CEO and Co-Founder, Engagio
“The drivers of ABM are really capturing that story. It’s the need to go upmarket. It’s the need to find new growth engines. It’s the people realizing that inbound only gets you so far. You don’t get to control who responds. So I think those are the main factors why ABM has become hot…
“The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective … What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together?”
[bctt tweet=”The explosion of digital noise means that traditional marketing channels like ads are becoming less and less effective … What marketers need to think about is, how do I orchestrate multiple channels together? – @jonmiller #BreakFreeB2B #ABM” username=”toprank”]
Global Head of Marketing, Arm Treasure Data*
“The creepy factor is when you try to personalize too quickly in the relationship. At the very top of the funnel—initial engagements—you don’t want to come out and say too much and share too much data back to them [to the point] where they go, ‘Well, how the heck did you know that?’
“As people get more engaged with your company and provide you some information—maybe they become a customer or do a trial—then it flips. And they expect you to know something about them and not to be speaking anonymously… So at the top of the funnel, keep it very basic and personalize at a high level. So maybe geography or where they found you—that kind of thing. And then as you get deeper, you have more and more understanding.
[bctt tweet=”At the very top of the funnel—initial engagements—you don’t want to come out and say too much and share too much data back to them. – @RtMixMktg #BreakFreeB2B #MarketingPersonalization” username=”toprank”]
Director of Corporate Marketing Communications, Eaton
“I think one of the things that we learned really early on when it came to martech, is that we couldn’t come to our leaders and just talk about the next shiny new thing we wanted. We were starting to get no’s, and too many no’s.
“So we really had to take a step back and think more strategically about our technology stack…We were picking the technology and just thinking that if we said the right thing, our leaders were going to sign off on whatever dollar amount we wanted them to sign off on… And that just wasn’t the case. We really had to take the steps to teach them what it was we do every day.
“If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has. So, we had to learn how to storytell. We had to take our roles as marketers and turn it internally and really do that for our senior leaders.”
[bctt tweet=”If they’re not marketers, they don’t understand what we do every day and the impact it has. – @zvenhaus on getting stakeholder buy-in for #martech #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Co-Founder, Minify Energy
“We’ve seen an ebb and flow of sustainability messaging over the years. There was a period of kind of heavy greenwashing… But the sustainability and corporate citizenship story can get a lot bigger; it is more and more important now…
“There’s something considered the “triple bottom line” benefits. You’ve got profits—and it’s definitely good for profits if you’re saving energy, saving on maintenance, getting better lease [rates]…
“But people are what we really come back to in this and how its supporting wellness and reduced absenteeism, and just a happy, productive workforce.
“But then the planet impact is the third “P” of that and the climate impact, and the more that you can demonstrate your carbon footprint and what you’re doing to reduce that [the better].”
[bctt tweet=”Planet, Productivity, Profit: These components make up the Triple Bottom Line, according to @BenWallace. #BreakFreeB2B #SustainableBusiness” username=”toprank”]
Creating an Incredible Marketing Culture
Director of Global Communications, Fix Network World
“There’s still a misconception that culture is about only HR. But culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with the brand…
“I think that the charge is really led by the senior leadership. They have to set the tone from the top. The culture comes, in many organizations, it’s still top-down, and I think it’s going to take time for that to change. Because, just the way organizations are structured, the top-down approach works. So I think they have to set the tone.
“But marketers and communicators within the organizations have to take the charge. And, they have to say, ‘Okay, we hear you, here’s how we think you should do it. And here’s how we can visualize that for you in the marketplace.’”
[bctt tweet=”Culture is something that’s pervasive throughout the organization, and why we choose to work somewhere, why we choose to engage with the brand. – @MalihaQ on #CorporateCulture #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]
Senior Director of Digital Engagement, Vivint Solar
We talk a lot about trends in the way that we market and in the way that we bring products to life. I think one of the elements that we miss a lot in that conversation is the impact that change has on the employees. Whether you are a new leader coming into a department or whether you’re making another change, another shift within the organization, it’s really, really important to help lead and manage a group through any change.
[bctt tweet=”Whether you’re a new leader coming into a department or you’re making another change within the organization, it’s really important to help lead and manage a group through any change. – @hehurst #BreakFreeB2B #ChangeManagement” username=”toprank”]
Vice President of Marketing Operations and Productivity, Alteryx
When it comes to change management and kind of breaking free, I think there are a few things I would keep top of mind. One, assume good intent from the people around you as you’re going through change behaviors. I always try and make sure that when I’m going through these things, I assume good intent until it’s proven that I can’t—but by and large, people don’t disappoint me in that way.
[bctt tweet=”I always try and make sure that when I’m going through change management, I assume good intent until it’s proven that I can’t. – @cljardine #BreakFreeB2B #ChangeManagement” username=”toprank”]
Stay Tuned for More Break Free B2B
We’d like to extend our sincerest thanks to this season’s panel of guests. Thank you for sharing your marketing smarts. And stay tuned B2B marketing world, production on Season 2 is underway.
What topics would you like to see our team cover in an upcoming episode of Break Free B2B? Tell us in the comments section below.
Are you using enough authenticity in your B2B marketing to build greater inherent trust into your brand purpose?
If you’re not sure, read on — and let’s examine how authenticity, influence, and trust go hand-in-hand to deliver great B2B content marketing.
Authenticity is a key factor in great B2B marketing, with the trust it builds powering campaigns that will stand apart from the crowd.
Influence plays two roles in authenticity, as those who have influence are seen as being authentic, and content built with authenticity creates its own inherent influence. This connection between influence and authenticity has a surprisingly lengthy history, as I explored in “10 Tips From Influencer Marketing’s Hidden 1,000-Year History.”
Taking a more conversational tone in your content marketing efforts, even in the B2B realm, can go a long way towards building brand storytelling that bolsters authenticity.
[bctt tweet=”“Buyers expect and want authenticity from the brands with which they engage. This trend has caused a shift in voice and tone, that includes being conversational in your content.” — Brody Dorland @brodydorland” username=”toprank”]
At each step in your B2B marketing journey, whether it’s writing a case study, article, social message or white paper, ask yourself whether your work authentically represents the message and story you’re telling. Consider the words of English poet William Wordsworth as a litmus test.
[bctt tweet=”“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” — William Wordsworth” username=”toprank”]
B2B content marketing that comes from your heart and rings true to you and your team is a major part of the foundation for building the kind of audience, brand trust, and genuine influence that authenticity allows.
Authenticity Accepts No Substitutes
Artificial intelligence (AI) and the rise of so-called deep fakes should make it clearer than ever that trying to use substitutes instead of authenticity is shortsighted, as Katherine Hays recently wrote about in “What Happens When You Fake Authenticity” for Entrepreneur.
[bctt tweet=”“The brands that will win in the future are those daring enough to partner with their customers and smart enough to leverage robust technologies to ensure brand safety at the same time.” @KatherineAHays” username=”toprank”]
Building authenticity can be accomplished by sharing the kind of best-answer content that your audience is actively searching for, so learning about search intent can be an important part of trust-building in B2B marketing. We’ve explored best-answer content and how to find what people are searching for in several recent articles:
- The Science and Art of Best Answer B2B Marketing Content
- 10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers
- Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility
- How B2B Marketers Can Win at Search with Best Answer Content
- How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results
Genuine B2B Content Marketing Offers a Wealth of Trust Benefits
Authenticity matters everywhere in our lives, and leading a life where we’re as authentic as possible in every area makes it easier and more natural to incorporate it into our marketing efforts.
Digital audiences in 2020 are savvier — and more skeptical — than they’ve ever been, and having been exposed to countless marketing messages on an hourly basis, marketers face a trust barrier that authentic content can reach through.
When done well, authenticity is a business growth engine for B2B marketers, and with trust in marketing at the low levels seen in the following chart, boosting trust is a much-needed benefit, especially when done by using trusted influencers in your marketing mix.
Be True To Your B2B Marketing Efforts
Maintaining your meticulously constructed authenticity is an ongoing effort that involves constant observation, readjustment, and assessment. Making this process transparent to your team, clients, and audience can go a long way towards building your genuine content marketing a passionate following.
Achieving a passionate following through authenticity brings with it dedicated fans on social media platforms, and brand advocates who will recommend your brand whenever and wherever they can.
[bctt tweet=”“For more than a millennia we’ve had the trust, expertise, and wisdom that meld together to allow one person to hold influence over another.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]
Learn More About Authenticity in B2B Marketing
We hope this introduction to authenticity’s role in B2B marketing has given you new ideas to explore and brought to light a few of the tactics you can implement in your own content marketing efforts and campaigns.
We’ve also got you covered if you want to learn even more about authentic content and trust in marketing.
Our CEO Lee Odden will be delivering a keynote presentation entitled “In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience,” on March 19 at the Convergence Summit 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he’ll cover a wide range of trust and authentic content experience issues:
From fake news to privacy issues to deep fakes, the digital world has become an uncertain source of information for consumers. Tired of information overload, sales focused brand messaging and unremarkable content, 86% of customers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. In this keynote presentation, Lee Odden will share the current state of content marketing and how brands are winning customer hearts, minds, and trust with authentic content experiences.
Finally, highlighting the importance trust plays in authentic marketing, we’ve put together an entire series of articles detailing various aspects of trust in marketing, and you’ll find nine of them here:
- Break Free B2B Series: Margaret Magnarelli on the Psychology of Trust for Better Content Marketing
- SEO is Not Enough: Why B2B Marketers Need to Optimize for Trust with Influence
- Trust Begins Within: The Vital Importance of Building Internal Trust in Marketing
- Trust Factors: Why Your Brand Should Take a Stand with Its Marketing Strategy
- TopRank Marketing’s Ashley Zeckman Shares How to Build Consumer Trust with Influencers #DSMPLS
- The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel
- Trust Fractures: How to Avoid Accidentally Eroding Your Brand’s Credibility
- Trust Factors: The (In)Credible Impact of B2B Influencer Marketing
- Tip of the Iceberg: A Story of Trust in Marketing as Told by Statistics
The post Authenticity and Great B2B Content Marketing Go Hand In Hand appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Early on, Google was so confident in their ability to answer our queries that they added a button that said “I’m Feeling Lucky” to their homepage. The button skipped the search results page entirely and took us to the first organic result.
Google still has the button on their homepage, and they’re still confident they can immediately deliver an answer. Only now they think they don’t need to take us to another page at all. The trend over the last few years has been to put the answer to our questions directly in the search results page in “position zero.”
What Is Position Zero?
The search results that come after ads and before the classic ten blue links are what we’re calling “position zero.” Google’s aim with these results is to provide an answer to the user’s query directly in the SERP, without them needing to click on anything.
Since users don’t need to click on a result to get an answer, position zero results are also pretty important to Google Assistant, their replacement for Google Voice Search.
What Occupies Position Zero?
There are three main types of search results that occupy position zero: featured snippets, Knowledge Graph cards, and answer boxes.
Featured snippets are excerpts of text taken from a page ranking in the first ten basic search results. They come in three flavors: paragraph, list, and table. Google chooses the text excerpt it thinks is most likely to answer the user’s query.
Google’s Knowledge Graph is a database of facts and relationships about entities Google extracts from content on the web. Knowledge Graph results are the bits of information Google thinks will directly answer the query. You will often see these in position zero when you search for things like “when was the great Seattle fire?”
The position zero that brands are mostly concerned with are Google’s answer box results. These are the app-like widgets that come in a variety of flavors. There are answer boxes for weather, song lyrics, definitions, hotel booking, job listings, stock prices, calculators, sports league standings, time zone clocks, and many more.
The content for these widgets either comes from Google themselves, like flight schedules and calculators, or Google finds a reliable source of information like with definitions and song lyrics. Other answer boxes are sourced from multiple websites using rich data markup, such as job listings. There are even ad-driven answer boxes like Google Flights and Hotels Search.
The Zero-Click Crisis
Featured snippets and answer boxes are great for users. They offer immediate information on mobile, desktop, voice search, and Google Assistant queries. However, publishers are worried that Google is sending fewer users down the SERP when the answer is available above the fold. And they’re right! 2019 was the first year where less than half of searches resulted in a click.
I have a client in one of the spaces heavily affected by Google’s position zero results, and they are hurting. Their traffic is down year-over-year for two years in a row. Their rankings are fine, their site speed is pretty good, and their impressions in Google Search Console are up a little year over year. The problem is their click-through rate on desktop and mobile is in a gradual slide downward from fewer clicks.
As I dig into their traffic and look for an alternative explanation, I can’t find one. When I look at their STAT account, I see their share of voice for answer boxes continues to move upward while featured snippets decline. They are still answering the questions their users are looking for, but Google is now making them available without having to click through to their site.
How to Deal With Zero-Click Getting Worse
The situation isn’t going to get better for most verticals. In fact, we should expect it to get worse. As Google improves its Knowledge Graph and develops more widgets to place in position zero, more industries are going to have year-over-year decreases in available organic traffic from Google.
What’s even more unfortunate, there isn’t anything we can do to reverse this trend. Google has a dominating share of the search engine market, and users aren’t switching. All hope is not lost, however. Below are some ways to work around Google’s position zero results and even take advantage of the search features.
Offer Deeper Content
If users are getting the answer to their query directly in the SERP, why are they still clicking on search results? Google’s answer boxes aren’t stealing all of our clicks, just the clicks from users who are least likely to spend time on our pages.
If a user gets the basic answer from Google and then clicks on an organic result, they want more information. Our job as SEOs is to determine what that next bit of information is and deliver it to them.
Publishers that make money by serving ads definitely need more in-depth content when zero-click searches are increasing. If we can increase our average pages per session from 1.25 to 1.5, that could mean a potential increase of 20% in ad revenue.
If you’re in the song lyrics or dictionary space, the information the user wants could be closely related, like the meaning of the lyrics or how to use the word in a sentence. For instance, I use Google’s answer box when I want just the lyrics, but I’ll go to Genius or Song Meanings if I want to know what the popular interpretation of the song is.
Optimize for More Profitable Keywords
Not every keyword has the answer to the query directly in the search results. If you’re finding that Google’s answer boxes are siphoning off too many clicks, then maybe it’s time to look for new territory.
Get your favorite SEO toolset and begin researching keywords based on SERP features. Ahrefs will allow you to exclude keywords where the SERP has answer boxes, but they call the feature a “Knowledge card.”
SEMRush has a similar filter in their Keyword Magic Tool, but you’ll need to exclude “Instant Answers” and include the rest:
Many of the keywords you’ll find this way will have a featured snippet instead of an answer box, but at least you’ll have the possibility of capturing the snippet. And, don’t forget the value in researching keywords the old fashioned way: human analysis of SERPs.
Capture the Featured Snippet
The best search feature you should target to take advantage of position zero is the featured snippet. Optimizing for featured snippets is just like on-page SEO, only at a smaller scale. As the first and most prominent organic result in the SERP, it’s also likely to get the best click-through rate. It’s pretty much a super snippet.
I’ve had clients express fears about featured snippets increasing the zero-click rate of Google’s search results and conclude they aren’t worth capturing. I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. Roughly 23% of all search result pages include a featured snippet, so they’re kind of hard to avoid. And then, if an important keyword has a featured snippet, would we rather have our competitor occupy it instead of us? It’s still valuable real estate.
Google just recently started to “deduplicate” featured snippet source pages. This makes having a featured snippet a little less valuable than before because the source page isn’t also collecting clicks, but having the first organic result on the page is still better than anything lower on the page.
Don’t Count on Knowledge Graph or Answer Box Attribution
While featured snippets generate traffic for the source page with a big attribution link, sources of Knowledge Graph and answer box results don’t get very good attribution.
Google sources the data in its Knowledge Graph from a variety of sources and doesn’t always say where they sourced the fact from. Their justification for this could be that many facts are “common knowledge” and don’t need attribution.
Knowledge Graph results without attribution are generally not something you should spend time strategizing around. Google has pretty firm ownership of this space in the SERP.
Some answer boxes have source attribution, but it’s often a small link below the box. Weather boxes link to The Weather Channel, song lyrics are sourced from LyricsFind, movie reviews link back to sites like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, and there are many more. These aren’t great targets for getting the attribution link, though. Google tends to pick one or two big players in the space for the answer box and changes them infrequently.
The Featured Snippet That Is Also the Knowledge Graph
There is a featured snippet variant that lives in the Knowledge Panel on the side of desktop SERPs and in position zero on mobile. The text part works like a regular featured snippet, but it’s embedded in a Knowledge Graph panel with image search results above and links to SERPs for related topics below.
In this Twitter thread, Danny Sullivan said the sidebar knowledge panel results are going to be moving to position zero on desktop results, so it will be a position zero search result on desktop and mobile pretty soon.
I mostly see Wikipedia used as the source for these featured snippets, but not every industry is like that. I found that digital marketing topics rarely use Wikipedia, such as the screenshot above. If your industry is like mine and this featured snippet variant isn’t dominated by Wikipedia, then these featured snippets might be the easiest Knowledge Graph feature to get link attribution from.
It’s not yet clear how Google chooses the source for these featured snippets, but there will be a lot of scrutiny after they move into position zero.
Position Zero Will Continue to ChangeIf your industry is like mine and Wikipedia doesn’t dominate this featured snippet variant
It’s reasonable to expect Google to continue expanding their position zero results. Users like them, and they keep coming back to Google for future searches. This is exactly what Google wants in a search product to serve ads on.
We should also expect Google to get more sophisticated. Every year they announce a new advance in natural language processing, and they’re a little closer to writing their own featured snippets. It won’t be long until they won’t need organic links at all. But until that time comes, these methods can help you work around the zero-click crisis and keep your organic traffic afloat.
There are few things more satisfying than clicking “Publish” on a shiny new podcast. All the hours of planning and recording are done. You ran down your podcast launch checklist. Now it’s time for the world to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
You can sit back and watch the downloads roll in, right?
Well… it depends on whether people can find your podcast. While the podcast market isn’t oversaturated yet, it’s still a crowded playing field.
Post-launch, your podcast promotion plan will likely include a mix of paid promotion, influencer amplification, and social media marketing to help build your audience. But before you record a second of audio, your organic strategy can help ensure your podcast is found and treasured.
Here’s what you need to know about SEO for podcasts.
Search Engine Optimization for Podcasts
We’ll get deep into how you can build SEO into your podcasts — as you would for any other type of content — in a few paragraphs. First, here’s a quick checklist of tactics that can help improve visibility.
Podcast SEO Quick Wins
1. Make Your Title Hyper-Relevant
Podcast directories like iTunes and Spotify rely heavily on your podcast title for ranking. What’s more, if your title does pop up in search, it needs to be immediately compelling. Make sure your title is something that clearly states what the podcast is about, and will inspire people to click — thereby sending positive signals back to the directory’s search engine.
2. Submit to Google Podcasts
You’ve likely heard that Google is indexing podcasts now. They’re even transcribing the audio to make it searchable. So yes, your podcast can show up in the SERP, right up top with a big play button next to it. But only if you have submitted to their directory.
3. Tag and Title
Your podcast host will have an option to add tags to your RSS feed. Use these sparingly; one or two phrases at most. For titles, focus on a clear benefit to the listener. Instead of, “Our Q&A with Bob Johnson,” make it, “Increase Your CTR with Tips from Bob Johnson.”
4. Use Keywords in Episode Descriptions
The majority of your clicks will come from your podcast title and episode title. But don’t overlook the description. Think of it like the meta description on a blog post. It should aim to draw your listener in as quickly and succinctly as possible.
5. Solicit Reviews and Subscribers
The other major ranking factor in a podcast directory is engagement. Every episode, you should encourage listeners to review and subscribe. It’s a good idea to include that ask in internal promotion and promotional emails, too.
How to Build SEO into Your Podcasts
Many podcasts in the B2B realm are produced as continuous conversations; informal Q&A sessions. They’re quick and easy to produce, and that’s certainly not a bad thing.
However, an informal interview/chat show usually involves talking to guests about their background, area of expertise, experience, that sort of thing. Then you listen back through and pull out key themes for your episode title and description.
Certainly, optimization can be done during production and post-production. But building SEO research and strategy into the planning stages will enhance your content and its visibility potential.
Plan Your Podcast Episodes Like a Blog Post
Google is transcribing your podcast and analyzing the content. What if your podcast episode was an audio power page for an entire keyword cluster? Imagine the SEO juice you can get from a pages-long transcript organized around a specific set of search terms.
Hopefully, you’ve already identified your overarching theme and topical pillars you want to cover. But as you’re planning each episode, do some additional keyword research to help ensure the topic or sub-topics are covered well. Find the topic that has the most interest, and the keywords (short and long-tail) that support it.
When you draft the questions (or topic notes) to guide the episode, use your research as the template. Treat each question as though it were an H3 tag on a blog post.
Make the Topic the Star
Now your questions will keep the conversation focused on what’s most relevant to your audience. For example:
- Without topic planning: “Bob, tell us what you’ve learned in your five years with WidgetCorp.”
- With topic planning: “Bob, based on your time at WidgetCorp, how do you optimize a widget assembly line?”
You can see how the focus shifts from Bob’s personal experience to tips that match your audience’s search needs. Bob’s response is likely to contain a whole host of long-tail keywords that match what your audience wants to know.
When you center your planning around keyword research, you’ll end up with a discussion that is naturally optimized for search. As with good written content, you won’t need to awkwardly shoehorn terms into the discussion. They’ll come up naturally because they will be relevant to the topic.
[bctt tweet=”When you center your planning around keyword research, you’ll end up with a discussion that is naturally optimized for search. @NiteWrites on building SEO into #B2BPodcast planning” username=”toprank”]
Now when Google crawls your podcast, it will be easy for the algorithm to determine what it’s about and what queries it should match. What’s more, your podcast is likely to be more relevant to your audience, too. That can inspire more linking and sharing, which in turn boosts your search visibility.
Publish a Good Transcript
Google will use their own auto-generated transcript for displaying your podcast in search. But you shouldn’t rely on that transcript for all your SEO needs.
Instead, publish a blog or episode page that includes a full, edited transcript. Don’t treat it as an afterthought; use a transcription service, then polish their work for publication. Include H3 headers for each question or topic shift, pull out the most valuable quotes for click-to-tweets, and include key takeaways at the top.
For a 15-20 minute podcast episode, you will likely have 2,000+ words of optimized, highly-relevant content for Google to feast on.
Case Study: Tech Unknown
Our client SAP has seen the difference pre-planning makes in the second season of their Tech Unknown podcast. The first season was an interview format focused on a single guest each episode. The first six episodes did well; they beat benchmarks and found a healthy, relevant audience.
But for the second season, we wanted to take it up another notch. We organized the episodes around a single topic per episode, interviewed multiple guests, and assembled each episode around the central narrative.
The results so far: The new episodes are already among the most popular of the entire series. Episode 2 is smashing 30-day benchmarks after a single week. Focusing on a more edited, topic-driven format not only improved SEO, it also made for an even more compelling finished product. Hear for yourself:
Think Before You Cast
The barrier of entry for starting a podcast has never been lower. With enough time and know how, anyone can get a podcast up and running. Getting people to listen, however, requires a more strategic approach.
Plan your podcast like you would plan any other long-term content commitment: With an editorial calendar, solid keyword research, and always with audience value as the driving force. The best podcast SEO is to provide content people will love listening to and learning from.
Need help planning, producing, publishing and promoting your podcast? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar.
by Robert Clough
In today’s competitive world, you’ll do whatever it takes to get your accounting firm ahead of the game. That’s why you’re interested in the most effective strategies of marketing for accounting firms.
In particular, it’s worthwhile to focus on digital marketing strategies in today’s Digital Era. While it’s not the sole avenue your accounting firm should use, it’s a major one. After all, even experts recognize that proper digital marketing strategies help any business grow – even accounting firms.
Make sure your accounting firm is reaching the widest possible consumer audience. Doing so will help you stay competitive in your local market. Keep reading to learn how to develop the most profitable marketing strategy for your accounting firm.
1. Digital Marketing Starts with a Well-Designed Website
As mentioned above, it’s definitely in your best interest to prioritize digital marketing. Consumers are glued to their smartphones now more than ever. It’s important that you work on your brand’s online presence in order to reach those consumers.
That’ll start with a well-designed website that attracts and maintains the attention of online users interested in accounting services. It should have engaging content that users want or need to read about their accounts or taxes.
In addition, don’t forget to consider the overall user experience (UX) of your website. For instance, is it easy to navigate and quick to load? Instead, can online users tell that you haven’t updated that website in a long time?
Remember, all other digital marketing strategies will end up pointing back to your accounting firm’s website. Take the time to ensure you get it right to avoid turning people away once they do get to your site.
2. Prioritize Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You’re familiar with the most popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Behind the scenes, these search engines “rank” websites according to relevance and popularity. It should be your accounting firm’s goal to have its website featured at the top of the list of results when someone searches for your services.
Proper SEO consists of incorporating keywords and phrases throughout the website content. Then, when online users search for those specific words and phrases, search engines will consider the site in its ranking system. Other factors play into a high SEO rank, too, such as the speed it takes to load web pages.
Chances are that you’re not the only respectable accounting firm in your city. Consider the following statistic regarding accounting services throughout the United States. It indicates that in the year 2019 alone, the industry generated $114 billion in revenue.
That’s why strategies like Local SEO are so essential to stand out ahead of potential local competition. Local SEO, in essence, incorporates geographic locations within keywords and phrases.
As an example, if an online user searches for accounting services in your local area, you should want your website to pop up. Do your research or hire some experts to get your website’s SEO up and running.
3. Proper Social Media Marketing Is About More Than Just Selfies
It’s no secret that the social media industry is a booming one. Businesses of all industries have learned to take advantage of this ever-expanding online marketplace. Your accounting firm should be no different.
Remember, though, successful social media marketing relies on more than just great pictures. It’s true that you should post plenty of branded content on a consistent basis.
In addition, though, use your accounting firm’s social media platform to genuinely engage with followers. Doing so will prove to them that you have their interests at heart, which will inspire consumer loyalty. That loyalty, in the long run, will be an invaluable asset to your accounting firm’s profit margins.
4. Establish Your Brand’s Expertise with a Niche Blog
You’ve taken the time to establish a unique brand for your accounting firm. This designates even a specific tone of voice, whether it’s traditional and nostalgic or witty and lighthearted. That tone of voice should be put to use in a well-developed niche blog.
Feature SEO blog articles on your website that users actually need. It should have plenty of tax guidance, for instance, to establish your firm’s expertise in the area. Plus, a detailed and popular blog is a great way to boost that SEO rank.
5. Don’t Forget About E-Mail Marketing Campaigns
Many businesses these days might forget about taking advantage of e-mail automation. For your accounting firm, though, that might be a mistake.
Developing and staying in touch with regular e-mail lists is a great way to keep people engages with your brand. You can even send out quarterly reminders about taxes for businesses, for instance. Also, remember to incorporate that branded tone of voice in these marketing materials, too.
6. Make the Most of Available Analytic Data
As you start to make the most of digital marketing automation tools, your accounting firm will have access to available analytic data. You can generate tailored reports to determine which of your marketing strategies were actually successful.
Software systems such as Google Analytics are a great option to track your digital marketing strategies. It’ll be your responsibility, though, to take advantage of that data for future improvements.
7. Consider Investing in Branded Promotional Products
Perhaps you’re looking to market your accounting firm without using the Internet. Well, that’s why you should consider purchasing some bulk orders for branded promotional products.
The kinds of products you can slap your firm’s logo on are, in essence, endless. Many popular promotional items include things like pens, hats, attire, or tote bags.
Take the time to think about what your loyal consumers might use as far as promotional products go. Then, research in your local area for suppliers of those customizable products. Spreading your brand around town will have profitable results, no whether it’s online or offline.
8. Hire Marketing Professionals for Your Accounting Firm
At the end of the day, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed when it comes to successful marketing strategies. That’s why expert marketing consultants exist in the first place. For a reliable example, check out this company that specializes in marketing for accountants.
If your accounting firm is simply struggling with your marketing campaign, be willing to ask for help. Marketing experts know how to navigate the intricacies of social media, for instance.
That way, you can focus on other priorities of your accounting firm. In fact, outsourcing your marketing efforts overall might help your firm optimize operations in other ways. Their qualified outside perspective can ensure every single marketing avenue hits its mark within your target consumer audience.
9. Network, Network, Network!
The last tip to make the most of your accounting firm’s brand is to spread it around yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of connecting with local business leaders in your community. After all, if they own businesses, they will need someone to do their taxes for them every year!
Your local city likely has a Chamber of Commerce that puts on regular networking events. Don’t be afraid to attend as many of these events as possible to develop some strategic business relationships.
In addition, make sure you bring plenty of business cards to pass out! Your business cards should include important information such as how to get in touch with the firm. Don’t be afraid to spruce it up a little bit with your branded logo design or mission statement, too.
In fact, it might be worthwhile to bring your business cards around with you on a consistent basis. You never know when there might be an opportunity for someone in your social circle to get in touch with your accounting firm.
Stay Well-Informed About Marketing for Accounting Firms
At this point in the article, you have a thorough understanding of how to optimize marketing for accounting firms. There’s no need to cut corners when it comes to making your firm’s brand connect with local consumers. Doing so is your best chance at staying ahead of potential local competition.
In fact, that’s where this website can come into play. We prioritize bringing readers like you the most reliable marketing resources around. We want your accounting firm to grow its brand awareness and profit margins.
For that reason, we encourage you to browse through the rest of our website to see how we could benefit your accounting firm. On our blog, you’ll find the latest and greatest trends in digital marketing. To start, comment below this article about how it inspired your accounting firm to develop its ideal and effective marketing campaign.
Be sure and visit our small business news site.
As a marketer, I love experiencing the inner dynamics of our profession from the other side. Our agency talks so much about the value of delivering best answer content and fully satisfying a searcher’s curiosities; recently I experienced this value first-hand.
Let’s set the stage. A couple weeks ago I was mindlessly flipping through channels on cable TV and I came across an old favorite: Alien, the 1979 sci-fi horror flick from director Ridley Scott.
This classic film also had a classic tagline: “In space, no one can hear you scream.” In my boredom, I got to wondering about the validity of that statement, so I pulled up a Google search on my phone and typed in: is there sound in space.
The featured snippet in the results answered that question so succinctly, so clearly, so comprehensively, that I was flat-out amazed. I’m no brainiac when it comes to the complexities of outer space, but in about 50 words, I gained a full understanding of what I wanted to learn:
It got me thinking: Isn’t this what content marketing is all about? Taking the complex and making it digestible?
When it comes to ranking near the top of results for topics that matter to your audience, and delivering a best answer experience that builds trust, there’s both art and science at play. Launching from this opening example, let’s explore both dimensions.
The Science of Best Answer B2B Marketing Content
It’s no secret among digital marketers that the traditional technical signals for SEO have lost some of their impact in recent years, as Google shifts toward more of a user-driven algorithm. The example above is a perfect illustration: Despite landing in the most valuable SERP real estate for the query, did you notice that the actual pertinent keyword — “sound in space” — does not appear in the excerpted copy?
A bygone SEO approach would’ve called for stuffing that exact phrase into the content (and page title, and meta description) for the piece you wanted to rank, but Google’s gotten much smarter over the years. It can inherently make the connections by stringing together the relevant words, and is more likely to prioritize a result that users are engaging with most, as opposed to one that offers the most precise keyword match.
That brings us to the art of best answer content, which we’ll get to shortly. But there is still very much a methodical, proven science to this endeavor. Here are a few tried-and-true qualities that you’ll want to include for high-ranking content:
In my case, there was no way to anticipate I’d be prompted to run a search about sound in outer space by watching a 40-year-old movie on cable. Luckily, customer journeys tend to be more predictable and coherent. Understanding the questions your audience wants answered is possible through in-depth research around both the people you wish to reach, and the topics you’re crafting content around.
In the past, I’ve detailed some of the ways to identify best answer opportunities, which include:
- Reverse-engineering keyword data
- Consulting the “People also asked” feature in Google
- Leveraging schema markups
- Relying on keyword research tools
- Searching for whitespace in relevant SERPS
But it also comes down to simply getting to know your customers and prospects. Actually interacting with them and hearing the way they talk or write is important as semantic search gains more sway.
Structure and Focus
No, you don’t need to contort your content to repeatedly include the exact keyword you’re targeting — especially in cases where it hurts readability. But that isn’t to say you should be ignoring keywords and phrases entirely.
While you don’t see the specific sequence “sound in space” in the snippet above, you do see plenty of instances of both “sound” and “space” in a way that feels natural to the writing. This helps Google understand the premise of the article. Technical signals do still matter, especially because your content has to appear in searches to begin with in order for user signals to matter.
The answer from Northwestern University was also crafted in a way that made it well-suited for the featured snippet. Even in longer-form content, you can be intentional about this, as TopRank Marketing SEO Strategist Birdie Zepeda explains.
“Keep the best part of your answer, the nugget you’re really trying to get across, concise,” she says. “A featured snippet is roughly 280 to 315 characters. You’ve only got a couple of sentences to get the answer across.”
[bctt tweet=”Keep the best part of your answer, the nugget you’re really trying to get across, concise. A featured snippet is roughly 280 to 315 characters. @birdie_zepeda #BestAnswerContent #B2BContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]
Experiments are fundamental to the scientific method, and also to digital marketing in pretty much every form. Smart strategy and seasoned experience go a long way, but the discipline will forever be founded on making educated guesses and bets, validating them through testing, and then implementing adjustments and optimizations along the way.
This is why an always-on content marketing approach is so valuable; it enables continuous cycles of experimentation, understanding, and improvement.
[bctt tweet=”Why is an always-on content marketing approach is so valuable? it enables continuous cycles of experimentation, understanding, and improvement. @NickNelsonMN #BestAnswerContent” username=”toprank”]
The Art of Best Answer B2B Marketing Content
The thing that really struck me about the sound in space snippet was how casual and conversational it is. It begins with, “So…” and keeps the language pretty simple, even though it’s discussing molecular principles in outer space.
As a B2B marketer, this is a valuable thing to register. Given the subject matter we tend to cover, and the knowledgeable audiences we intend to reach, it can be all too easy to get caught up in professorial jargon. But that’s not generally what people want.
This is something that John Joyce of Brennan Industries hammered home in his interview for our Break Free B2B series, when explaining how his company’s strategy, centered on educational content, yielded an 800% increase in leads.
“What I’ve found is people don’t have time to just know everything about everything,” Joyce said. “So they really want you to make it easy and just tell them what they need to know.”
[bctt tweet=”People don’t have time to just know everything about everything. They really want you to make it easy and just tell them what they need to know. @mrjohnjoyce #BestAnswerContent” username=”toprank”]
Worth repeating: make it easy. To the extent you can avoid it, don’t bog people down with five-dollar words and industry lingo. Challenge yourself to be as human and straightforward as possible. At the same time, find creative ways to differentiate your content and make it stand out from the many others who are vying for the same SERP.
This isn’t always easy to do. But it is the content marketer’s credo, and I believe it will be an increasingly vital aspect of successful B2B marketing content as we move forward.
Strike a Balance with Your Best Answer Strategy
The internet is a vast expanse, and sometimes trying to gain visibility for competitive searches can feel like screaming into space. But rest assured, your brand can be heard. It takes a creative, human approach grounded in the modern science of good SEO.
Ready to become the best answer, and satisfy your audience’s burning questions? Learn about TopRank Marketing’s SEO services and reach out to kick off the conversation today.
The post The Science and Art of Best Answer B2B Marketing Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.