Friday, 16 February 2018

To Disavow Links Or Not: Is It Necessary in a Post Real-Time Penguin World?

Link Building

The more relevant sites linking to your domain, the better it is for your rankings, correct? But, what happens to your site when non-relevant (or worse, spam) ones decide to start linking to you instead? These irrelevant sites linking to you could end up pulling down your ranking, and you can get penalized by Google for it. To avoid this, Google gave an amazing solution to this problem via the Disavow Tool in October of 2012. With this, one could separate the good from the bad backlinks.

This is also one of the reasons the launch of Penguin 4.0 on September 23, 2016, was a welcome change among site owners everywhere. While it took quite some time for Google to finally release the update, many would agree that the wait was worth it. In a nutshell, Google released the Penguin update to detect spam automatically. More impressively, the Penguin 4.0 update runs in real time when it comes to recognizing your site cleanup efforts, thereby eliminating the effect of your site being suppressed up until the next time they run the algorithm. That is, Penguin 4.0 stops your site from getting demoted when a spam is detected. Instead, it will just devalue that link and allow you to move on without benefiting (or suffering) from its presence.

While this update is definitely impressive, a crucial question now comes up among site owners: Is it still necessary to disavow links now that we are in a post real-time Penguin era?

What is the Disavow Tool?

The Disavow Tool has long been regarded as a necessary precaution for every site owner. Basically, it gives publishers a voice to tell Google that there are external sites they do not wish to be associated with. This is especially crucial whenever the search engine giant is ranking websites since number and quality of backlinks are two of the factors considered.

What happens is that a site owner creates a file that indicates the URLs or domains they do not approve of backlinking to them, and this is then uploaded to Google. When Google starts to crawl the web and stumbles upon the specific URL or domain included in the disavow file you gave them, these will no longer be included in the calculations when ranking your website. Apart from that, the Penguin algorithm will also disregard the links when it evaluates whether or not you’ve been web spamming.

What is Penguin 4.0 and what does it do?

Google launched Penguin as a webspam algorithm. It does not just specialize in links or domains but evaluates your site’s participation in any web spamming activity. It is essentially a filter exhaustive enough to isolate sites that are engaged in spamming the search results using measures that are against Google’s policies. Penguin is more powerful than the regular spamming methods used by the search engine.

Consequently, sites deemed as “spammy” would be punished regardless of their remedies after their violations. It would only be until the next instance that the algorithm is run that Google would note the changes – a process that could have months in intervals.

The release of Penguin 4.0 completely changed this system.

With the latest update, the corrections and changes from “spammy” sites could be noted in real time. This means that sites tagged with faulty or bad backlinks or domains no longer have to suffer for months until the next time the algorithm is run. So during the regular recrawling and reindexing of pages by Google, the sites could easily and quickly be added or removed from the spam list because Penguin 4.0 provides real-time updates.

Whole websites would no longer be demoted when web spamming activities are detected. Instead of doing this, Google would simply disregard or devalue the spammy links and exclude them in the calculations for site rankings. Ultimately, this latest update eliminated the punitive aspect of the algorithm.

The Dilemma and Google’s Response to the Disavow Tool

With the release of the Penguin 4.0 update, many publishers feel that the Disavow Tool has become redundant. In the beginning, this tool was provided by Google to supplement Penguin. However, the devaluation abilities coupled with the non-demotion of sites caught web spamming push site owners to question the purpose of disavowing.

Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller says that site owners should disavow links when these are incredibly problematic. However, you can simply just not disavow links that are no longer relevant to your site. Mueller basically says that if you are conducting site maintenance or applying some changes to your site, then you no longer need to include disavowing links in your list of things to do. With the launch of Penguin 4.0, site owners would only need to use the Disavow Tool for pressing matters like spotting an alarming link or domain associating with your site.

You also no longer need to disavow for links associated with items or services you no longer offer. Mueller notes that it’s normal to accumulate backlinks from various sites that you may no longer deem relevant right now, but was appropriate to your company’s needs at the time. In short, site owners would only need to focus their disavowing efforts to problematic links and keep the status quo when it comes to previously relevant links.

The Takeaway

In the past years, the SEO landscape has changed considerably. With the release of the Penguin 4.0, disavowing links may have just turned into a thing of the past. However, it never hurts to be absolutely certain that nothing is hurting your rankings. So, disavow when needed, but trust that Penguin 4.0 has your back.

The post To Disavow Links Or Not: Is It Necessary in a Post Real-Time Penguin World? appeared first on HigherVisibility.

The post appeared first on

Digital Marketing News: Alignment Challenges, Instagram’s ‘Collection’ & Amp for Email

The Top Three Reasons Sales and Marketing Alignment Is Off [Infographic] Communication, broken processes and disconnected metrics are the top three reasons that sales and marketing alignment is off. Is it an issue of focus, priorities, or something else? MarketingProfs Instagram Gives Brands New Way to Sell In 'Collection' Ads Instagram launched "collection" ads, which allow users to shop and purchase directly through the Instagram platform. AdAge Google Announces Amp For Email – Delivering Accelerated Mobile Pages Experiences To Your Inbox The new spec is available today through the Gmail Developer Preview, with support in Gmail slated for later this year. MarketingLand Instagram Tests Its Version Of The Retweet But Thru Stories Instagram has begun testing a new feature that would allow users to share public posts from other profiles to their own followers through the Stories feature. MarketingLand Nielsen Creates New Metric to Measure the Effectiveness of Product Integrations Nielsen is launching a new metric that may help marketers and publishers standardize brand mentions across platforms, like TV, short-form video and subscription-video-on-demand services. AdWeek Google Launches New Look For ‘People Also Search For’ Search Refinements Go to a search result, click on a listing, and then click back to the search results page on Google to trigger this on Google desktop search. Search Engine Land Breaking Up With Facebook: Users Confess They're Spending Less Time Mark Zuckerberg says recent changes have reduced the amount of time users spend on Facebook by 50 million hours each day, but those changes aren't the only reasons, according to users. USA Today How Facebook Is Changing the Way It Reports Organic Reach for Page Posts A redesign of Page Insights began rolling out this week for iOS and Android, along with a more accurate way for page admins to determine the effectiveness of their organic posts. AdWeek New Research: Account-Based Marketing Trends: Top Channels, Priorities, and Challenges New research indicates that the top challenges and priorities for account based marketing are the same – aligning sales and marketing, attributing marketing efforts to revenue and scoring and targeting ideal accounts. MarketingProfs Snapchat Is Opening Up Its Marketing Platform to All Ad-Tech Players and Agencies Snapchat is opening up their API to allow companies more access to their ad buying platform, and potentially more data. AdWeek Google Sets Deadline for HTTPS and Warns Publishers to Upgrade Soon If you haven’t made the switch on your site from http to https, it’s time to get started. Google has set a deadline of July 2018, after which Chrome will begin warning users explicitly if a site is insecure. Search Engine Journal Statistics on Personalized Content On the Lighter Side: Google Launches 2018 Winter Olympics Features Across Search Results - Search Engine Journal McDonald’s Absurdly Lavish ‘Bling Mac’ Ring Could Be Yours, If You Love It Enough - AdWeek Over 150 New Emojis to Be Released on iPhone and Android This Year - Independent TopRank Marketing (And Clients) In the News: Rachel Miller & Lee Odden - Top 100 Social Media and Marketing Influencers - Digital Scouting Lee Odden -  37 Digital Marketing Conference Speakers Who Will Inspire Your Marketing Programs - Outbrain Lee Odden - Who Were The Top CMO Influencers Of 2017?  - Forbes Lee Odden - 16 Digital Rockstars you Need to Follow - neilmchugh We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news! In the meantime, quench your digital marketing thirst by checking out TopRank Marketing on YouTube and Twitter!

The post Digital Marketing News: Alignment Challenges, Instagram’s ‘Collection’ & Amp for Email appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Article Source:

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Marketing Insights from Bob Lachky: Behind the Curtains of the Iconic Anheuser-Busch Campaigns

Marketers Talking Marketing Over Coffee

In today’s episode of Marketers Talking Marketing Over Coffee, we have Robert Lachky, former Chief Creative at Anheuser-Busch. Robert is one of the most well respected creatives in the marketing world and was the man behind  some of the most iconic marketing campaigns over the past 30 years.

Video Transcription

Adam Heitzman: Today, I’m excited to have the man behind some of the most recognizable and iconic marketing campaigns over the past 30 years. From Budweiser Frogs, to ‘Whassup?’, ‘I love you, man.’, and the Real Men of Genius, former chief creative officer at Anheuser Busch, Mr.Bob Lachky. Bob, thanks for being here.

Robert Lachky: Adam, my pleasure. Looking forward to talking to you.

Adam Heitzman: Thank you. Would you mind starting off and telling me a little about your background, how you got started in the marketing and advertising world?

Robert Lachky: Sure. In college, I went to University of Illinois. And I also went to grad school there. I was pretty focused at that time, on a career in advertising. They had a good advertising program. It was kind of unique in the country at the time. I think Michigan State, and there were a couple others schools at that time that had programs like that. That’s what I pursued. When I got out, I started right away at an old line big agency on Michigan Avenue in Chicago called Foote Cone and Belding. They no longer exist. They’ve evolved through all the mergers that happened in the 90’s. But I started there. And I moved over to the original Needham, Harper, and Steers, which slowly but surely became DDP Needham, and etc, all these iterations and new agencies.

I learned the business from the agency side. One of my clients, when I was in my young career as an account executive, I was not a creative person. I knew I had some skill in that area. But I wasn’t as good as a real good writer or an art director would be in the old traditional agency structure. I always wanted to be an account management person. My career took a big change when I actively campaigned for a job at Needham, Harper, and Steers, because they had the McDonald’s account. That’s a business that I really respected. I always followed campaigns. Ever since I was a kid I just was into that. I guess I was a TV person. I watched TV all the time. When I got in McDonald’s, it was a great experience. To me, that was like big time, big time advertiser, great client, being based in Chicago. I was born and raised in Chicago. It was great to work at a company that was based there as well.

But that was pretty short lived. It lasted a year. And we lost the business to Leo Burnett. And it was a whole other story you could write a book about. That’s when I got on to Needham, Harper, and Steers the previous year. But I really didn’t have a place to go. I thought I was going to get let go. Needham, Harper, and Steers, under the tutelage of Keith Reinhard, who is a legend in the advertising business, a creative guy. He actually saved everybody’s jobs that worked on the McDonald’s business and put us to work on pitching a piece of business from Anheuser Busch. Needham, Harper, and Steers at that time did have a small piece of business called Busch Beer. But they were pitching for the new light beer called Budweiser Light. And I worked on that pitch team. And I was young. I was certainly not instrumental in winning the business, which we did. But when we won the business, my job was saved. And I started working on Anheuser Busch, Bud Light.

Adam Heitzman: From an account management?

Robert Lachky: I did that for years. Long story short, coming to an end, finally, we ended up winning the business, changing some campaigns to finally get it into the mainstream. And about that time, Anheuser Busch had a fairly major transition in the late 80’s in their own ranks. They had a bit of a scandal that occurred where some executives were taking kickbacks from [inaudible 00:03:55] And Mr.Busch kind of cleaned house and was very reticent to get marketing people from the inside. He wanted people from the outside. I was about as far outside as you could be and still be in. So the hired me to be the Bud Light brand manager. And the rest is history. I started there in 19, late 88. Fortunately for me, I worked underneath August Busch the 4th from the very beginning. He was my Boss. We worked alongside actually, for the first year or two as he was coming into the company. That was really the greatest lucky I could have had, is to work alongside him first, get to know him. And then as he progressed ahead of me, he brought me along with him.

That’s how I got there. And that’s how I ended up at AB.

Adam Heitzman: Sure. Do you feel like the fact that you were on the agency side first actually benefited you somewhat, starting to work for the brand?

Robert Lachky: Absolutely. That was, to me, the lucky break of all time. My feelings about advertising were just about the creative development process. Although I was an account manager, on the account management side, even today, I would venture in agencies, you’re not really a business manager. You’re really a client liaison. When they recruited me, when they wanted me to come to their company, Anheuser Busch, I was very nervous, very reticent to do it. I really didn’t have the PNL, traditional MBA training that all my counterparts would have. I didn’t know a confidence in myself. They didn’t really care about that. They wanted my advertising skill. That’s what Mr.Busch said when he interviewed me. He said, “I want you to come here. We need help.”

They were having a problem with the Budweiser Light roll out. The brand was not getting traction. Miller Lite was kicking their fanny. I was charged with bringing Bud Light back from an advertising perspective. I was very lucky that was the skill set they wanted as nervous as I was, “Can I handle the business side, and the pricing, and all the things that go along with truly managing a brand?”

Adam Heitzman: Correct me if I’m wrong. You just somewhat mentioned it. Anheuser Busch was not the leader it is today back when you originally started. A lot of that growth happened with a lot of the marketing that was done over the last 20 to 30 years.

Robert Lachky: Actually, yes and no. Yes, in the light category, we were in our infancy, because Miller Lite had a 10 year had start on us. And Coors Light was already on the market as well. As an overall company, yes, AB was still the master, the giant of the industry. But I’ll tell you, they were stagnant in circa 1988, 89. Budweiser was starting to get eaten into by the light beers of which AB did not have. They had Natural Light, which was kind of a college beer at the time. It still is. Natty Light, right?

Adam Heitzman: That’s right. Everybody loved Natty Light.

Robert Lachky: They ended up not having enough volume, and certainly not heading where the business was heading. Budweiser was starting to get knocked around. This is in the late 80’s. Yes, they were still the largest American brewer. There was not really any craft business at all in the country at that time. There were imports, the Heineken of the world, Stella, and all those guys were coming in. But AB’s real problem was not having an established light beer. That was where the problem was at that period in time.

Adam Heitzman: Sure. Shifting focus slightly, you kind of mentioned his name earlier. I don’t know if this would be that person. Who would you consider to be your single biggest influencer as a marketer?

Robert Lachky: It’s really August Busch the 3rd. August Busch the 3rd was the chairman at that time in the succession. It was like a monarchy. For a public company to have that much family influence is kind of remarkable. Many books have been written about it. August Busch the 3rd was really the guy that was instrumental in me coming to Anheuser Busch. He really didn’t know me. I was just an agency guy. I was so far down the chain of his awareness when I was working on his business, servicing his company. When he knew who I was and my skill set, we became good friends, as far as you can be a friend with him. Let’s put it that way. He’s a great guy. But I still see him today.

His son was the next most important influence. Although he’s a little younger, he and I are very good friends. We still are. We learned a lot together. The experience I had over him, in terms of being in business, I helped mentor him a little bit. He taught me a lot. The Busch, as much as there’s been written, or said, or whatever, the good, the bad, have been absolutely influential in my career. Taught me a ton. If it wasn’t for Mr.Busch hiring me, I would have never experienced the things I’ve experienced. I dare not say we would have never done this or that. I don’t know that. I do say the man knew what he wanted. He wanted good marketing. Yeah, I had a lot of battles with him. Yes, he was tough to deal with. But with August the 4th’s help of running air cover for me for 15 years, we were able to get remarkable work produced, and make a great impact for the company.

Adam Heitzman: That brings me to a good question. You just touched on it, about having some of those battles. One of the things that happens, especially in marketing, one of the difficulties is getting by in from superiors on a thought or particular campaign, whatever that marketing campaign is.

Robert Lachky: That’s a great question. It was really a day and night story. The night I’ll give you first, is when I first came in, the advertising process was largely still being approved all the way up to the top level of the company. In other words, you’d be bringing a 12 or 24 frame storyboard from the agency, or the agency would help present it for you. A lot of times you’d be carrying the boards up yourself to the board room. You’d be showing it to a bunch of 60 year old guys. Careful making fun of 60 year old guys. It was like a comedy to be presenting ideas that were intended for a 25 year old target audience to guys that are all sitting in country clubs, and aren’t even drinking beer anymore. You think, “Oh my God. How are we going to get anything approved?”

That was the night. When August the 4th came in, it helped immensely, because his father is going to give his son some leeway. As he was getting coached by me on what we need to do, and himself. He had great instincts. We were able to break the pattern of not having to go upstairs to show ideas. The great first ideas we did together, August the 4th and myself were for Bud Light, right when we were struggling. We’re trying to find our identity again. We had had “Gimme a Light. No, Bud Light.”

As a campaign, you may or may not remember, but it was the positioning of Bud Light that finally got a toe hold against Miller Lite. But that ran out of gas. We were struggling. We knew we had to get back to comedy. When we started doing some work together, August the 4th and I, because he was my boss’s head of Bud family, and I was still the Bud Light brand manager, we started doing stuff without anybody’s approval. Some of it was pretty risky. His dad would forgive us, but he’d beat us over the head for not having approved stuff. We even had problems with the agency, because we had a renegade creative team at DDB Needham by that time. I think they were DDP, who was giving us ideas off the beaten path. And we were going and producing them on our heels of an approved shoot. So August and I would be out in LA and say, “Hey, we got this new director. We got this idea.”

And he goes, “Go. Go get it! Go get it!”

I’m going, “Man, we’re going to get shot if get it, get it.”

So we’re in LA for two more days. We’re shooting commercials without anybody’s authority. Even the agency doesn’t know about it, except my little creative team. That kind of approach is exactly what we needed. We needed to go and do ideas, and get out there. Some of the greatest early work we did was done that way. Granted, we eventually got ourselves into a little bit more of, I wouldn’t say professional, but we kept their management in line, and said, “Look. Here’s what we’re out trying to get.”

We followed this formula of going to get it if our gut was right on a lot of things like the ‘Yes I am.’ Campaign, the ‘Wassup?’ We kind of kept going with that approach, because look, we don’t need anymore interference. The last thing you need in a big company is a committee. You even saw it in the big agencies. They’d have a committee before ideas would spit out of the agency. You can’t believe how much stuff would get killed or modified. Lines that were just right would get changed because some old guy is sticking his nose in the business. Come on, man. You’ve got to cut through it and have stuff that’s edgy, and entertaining, and cutting through. Great question. There was a day and a night, night first. And then daylight hit when we realized we’ve gotta do this on our own. We don’t need anymore interference internally.

Adam Heitzman: And you’ve gotta make sure that you’re communicating. Like you said, if that audience that you’re bringing those ideas to is not your core demographic audience, obviously, there’s a disconnect there.

Robert Lachky: You can see, Adam on … I was watching the Super Bowl this last week. Honest to goodness, I would love to just predict most of the stuff I saw, most of the work I saw, was somebody with a particular point of view, jamming it down somebody else’s throat. Whether it was the choice of a certain celebrity, “You know, I always wanna work with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.”

It’s like, “What? For Kia? What are you doing?”

“Danny Devito. He’s great. I loved him on Taxi.”

What? Who’s Danny Devito? I know who he is. I know who Steven Tyler is. But when you try to marry stuff like that up … Or, “I really think we need a politically correct message for this and that.”

Yeah, but you’re T-Mobile. What are you doing? This has nothing to do with advancing your … You see the landscape littered with these bizarre, unbelievably twisted messages with no strategy on the biggest stage you could possibly have as an advertiser. And all you’re doing is wasting money, and leaving people scratching their head, or angering people. I see that as an offshoot of not clarity as to what you’re trying to do. Are you really on a strategy? Sometimes people get in this play room called doing the creative. Man, they gotta touch it. That’s the danger.

Adam Heitzman: In terms of strategy, what did your ideation process look like? How did you know when you had a winning idea?

Robert Lachky: That’s a great question. We were in such desperate straights in the late 80’s. When I got in there, I was actually hired to get rid of Spuds Mackenzie too. Spuds Mackenzie was an idea that Bud Light had that was … It’s a long story on the evolution of where it came from. But it was a really genius idea, and it ran out of gas pretty quickly, about a year once the government stepped in and said, “Hey, you’re trying to appeal to children.”

That was never the idea. But the fact that the brewery started producing stuffed dolls of Spuds Mackenzie, not a good idea. That does look like you’re advertising to children. Not even on anybody’s radar screen. When I got in there, I knew that Spuds Mackenzie was dead as well. I had been at the agency prior to that producing Spuds Mackenzie commercials. It was a high ride for us. It was like, “Wow, People Magazine is following us on shoots with Spuds. And it’s such a novelty.”

But we got chopped off at the knees pretty quick. You start to realize that you’ve got to have a plan. And our problem on Bud Light was very simple. We’ve got to get back to a personality that’s different than Budweiser. We can no longer be seen as just a flanker with a one off idea like the dog. What is our idea? And the idea was really nurtured out of Spuds and from the original ‘Gimme a Light’ campaign. It’s like, “Look, we have to have preference strategy. We have to have a strategy about people want a Bud Light for no reason other than that’s the best one there is.”

This was the backdrop of Miller Lite being the dominant presence in the market. We had to tell people that they had a choice. You could go into bars across America at that time, and you’d ask for Light. They owned the bar call, and it was on their label. Any bartender in his right mind, “You mean Miller Lite.”

We had to get people asking for Bud Light, and to make it distinctive from Miller Lite. They had a brilliant campaign at the time, which featured retired athletes and pseudo celebrities. It was brilliant. They walked away from it. I don’t know why they did it. They probably just got tired of it. That’s when our opportunity to get back and return to humor opened up. It not only was a strategy of people going to great lengths, a preference strategy, but it was an executional strategy as well that had to be adhered to. It was, “Whatever you do, you’re going for Bud Light, and it’s gotta be surprising, and fun, and hilarious. You gotta create a Bud Light world that nobody else can create. It’s gotta be so preposterous, yet semi believable. You’re always winking at the customer with this.”

That was the well thought out strategy. It was only validated by doing some work, testing it, seeing what took. We realized there were certain mistakes we were making at times, where it was really too stupid, or it was too sophomoric. You’d always run that line. Some people like ‘The Three Stooges.’ Some think they’re repulsive. Comedy is very hard. It can’t be foul. You want it to be funny mainstream. That’s the battle that was the Odyssey. 15 years, that’s what I protected with my heart. Every new brand manager I had always wanted to come in and play around with it. It’s like, “No. You’re a shepard. You just keep shepherding the sheep along. Nobody needs to change the main deal here.”

That’s the battle you have. Now Bud on the other hand, the thing we had to do is, we had a lot of ‘your dad’s beer’ type of things going on. That’s why we had to take the Clydesdales off the hitch, and start giving them more human personalities. Although the Clydesdales was not your own campaign, the only thing you did for Budweiser. It was a corporate campaign as well. But that was a critical eye opener for us, that we could play with the hitch. We could take the horses off. They could develop personalities. Today, I’m proud to say, that’s at least something that’s continued on. The shocking thing to me is how the current owners of the company don’t even put the Clydesdales in the Super Bowl anymore. Blows me away. To me, the Clydesdales was always the umbrella for the entire company. It helped sell Budweiser. It helped sell Bud Light. It helped the wholesalers, the local distributes. It was America. Blows me away that these guys lost that thing. That’s their deal, not mine.

That’s kind of it. It’s not twelve pieces of paper. I saw creative briefs from people. We’d get a brand manager from some other company package goods train. They’d be in there pontificating with a binder. They’d give the creative team a binder. It’s like, “Get rid of that thing. Throw that away.”

If this thing isn’t stated in a page, you’re not going to get any ideas. You’re never going to get the ‘Was sup?’ You’re never going to get ‘Real Men of Genius,’ if you think that way. The key here is, you get an idea. It’s not change it every year. That’s what drives me nuts is, I see great campaigns that are brilliant. And they suddenly change. I know exactly why it changed. Some new knucklehead got in there. He’s changed it, or she’s changed it. Change for change’s sake in marketing is death. You can evolve it. Most of the time, you can evolve it.

Adam Heitzman: One of my favorite campaigns of all time is the ‘Real Men of Genius.’ But I know, probably from a general audience stand point, correct me if I’m wrong, what won the Gold Lion award was the ‘Wassup?’ How did that idea come about?

Robert Lachky: That’s a great question. ‘Real Men of Genius,’ we were starting to hit our stride again. This is circa late 1999 or so. We were doing well with the television advertising on Bud Light. But radio was always a battle for us. How can you create more of a theater of the mind? The guys actually came up with a precursor to this that ran for maybe half a year, with Charlton Heston. We had done an ‘I love you, man’ commercial with Charlton Heston of all things. Why, I don’t know to this day. He was funny. And they put him in radio as the voice over. It was a very funny idea. A guy, kind of a drone like voice, “Well, I was standing in the line at the theater.”

And then you’d hear Charlton Heston’s voice, “He was standing in the line at the theater!”

And the guy goes, “Uh, yeah. And then I was … “

So you’re getting this dialogue between this slacker and Charlton Heston pontificating. And somehow, Bud Light gets into the story. And it was very funny. It was kind of, we saw it as cenergy to the fact that we were running Charlton Heston on TV in a couple of these, ‘I love you, man.’ Commercials. We realized that he starting to have issues. I don’t think he got the campaign. He was a nice man. We had him to our convention. He’s obviously a legend. With all due respect, he’s just the best. He was wonderful for us, and funny. It was good. We just started thinking, “Is there something else we can do?”

That forced us. The guys came up with an idea that was originally termed, ‘Real American Heroes.’ That was the name of the campaign. And it was done exactly in this format. The sung voice from the guy from Foreigner. That’s the band. I can’t remember his name. He was the lead singer. He’s a great guy. And the voice that you hear very often, is the main delivery voice. It was very good counterpoint, just parodying people in life. It worked. The problem was, when the campaign had just launched, that’s when 9/11 hit. We knew, “Oh my goodness. These are not real American heroes. We’ve got to change this.”

We thought we were gonna have to change the whole thing. We thought, “Oh my goodness. This is so disrespectful to use a line at this terrible time in our country.”

The guys made a real simple fix. It seems like, “Wow. It must have been there all the time.”

We just called it ‘Real Men of Genius.’ Grammatically, it didn’t sound right. It was kind of like, “What? What?”

We just went with it because we loved the format of the singing and the very deep voiced announcer that we thought, “Well, let’s just go with it.”

The rest is history. I think we did over 450 of these things. It ran for how many years until, again, new owners in all their genius just decided to the campaign was no good anymore, that it wasn’t selling beer. It’s like, “Alright, idiots.”

It was something that was so good. We ran it forever. We also adapted it for television, which was kind of an ill fated venture, because when you start showing people, the bald guy or whatever, the nudist colony man, it’s like, “What? We can’t do that, because you know everything is going to go to slow motion. Fat people jiggling. No. We don’t need to do that.”

But I was told, “You have to do it.”

By my senior guy, the chairman of the board, because he heard from somebody that’d be good on TV. You do it on TV and it doesn’t make it as funny, because the theater of the mind goes away. We ran a couple of those for a month and realized, this isn’t funny. It’s hurting the radio campaign, because you’re revealing too much. You’re pulling too much of the curtain back. Long winded, but that’s the story of ‘Real Men of Genius.’

Adam Heitzman: You talked a little about this as well. It seemed like you all had hit after hit with campaign. How did you know when it was time to cut that campaign off, and sunset it, and move on to the next version?

Robert Lachky: That’s a kind complement. It was always with anxiety. I knew this stuff would burn out pretty fast. It always made you worry that, where do we go next? On Bud Light, I wasn’t as worried, because I knew the strategy was right. I knew we were going to be okay as long as we got funny spots. The way we managed that was, we made sure that we were hitting topical things as we went through time. Any creative team could come in and pick up and put their signature on it.

We created our own celebrities. For example, the guys wanted to come up with an idea with Kings of Comedy. Kings of Comedy was not a real well known cable thing that was going on at the beginning. But Cedric the Entertainer was starting to emerge as a key piece of Kings of Comedy. We ended up getting Cedric to do a spot that launched a four or five spot pool with Cedric that ran for two years. That was a great discovery. Not a celebrity for celebrity sake. But a celebrity that could be helped by this. Catapult his fame, because he started doing movies after the Bud Light gig. The fact that he brought so much, but it was always about Bud Light. And another guy we found that could deliver our Bud Light message was Carlos Mencia from ‘Mind of Mencia.’ It was a Cable thing that was starting to become popular. Those are some examples there.

But also doing things like, we had a spot called ‘Robo Bash.’ When these electronic robot battle reality TV things were starting to occur, we did our version of it. We did one spot. We moved on. We were always trying to tap into popular culture with Bud Light. What’s hot now? Let’s try that. What’s fashionable? What programs are people out there talking about? On the Bud Light side, for me it was easier to do. It was much easier to figure out how to stay on the tracks. Bud was a little different. It was difficult because we were starting to his some home runs with some of the things we discovered through other means. ‘Was sup’ is a great example. ‘Wuss up’ is great because the guys found it on an independent film festival. They saw this thing called ‘Wuss up.’ Exactly the way it’s produced was exactly the way it was filmed without Bud by the original director, Charles Stone the 3rd. They showed me the tape. I’ll never forget this. They said, “Well, you gotta see this.”

It was funny. It was cool. I said, “Okay, what do you want to do with it?”

“We want to insert Bud into it.”

I go, “How are you gonna do that?”

They said, “Well just ‘Hey B, what are you doing?’ ‘Nothing. Just watching. Was sup?!'”

That was the way it was. And said, “Just having a Bud and watching TV.”

And they always had a Bud. I said, “Well yeah. That’s cool. So you’re going to call this guy that did it?”

“Oh no. We’re going to rip it off.”

I go, “No you’re not gonna rip it off. You can’t rip it off. You can’t do that. This is this guy’s property. And it’s not going to be as funny if this guy didn’t do it. Plus, those people are perfect. Why don’t we just get those guys to work with us?”

The agency was not really wanting to do that. They swallowed their pride, went and contacted Charles. Charles agreed to do it. As we were going through the process creatively, it was funny how the guys kept trying to put in new people. We said, “No! What are you doing?”

One good time, I can honestly say myself, and August, and the brand team blocked these guys from making mistakes just so they could have creative, … It’s not their idea. It’s his idea. The company will benefit more and more from the good positive PR, if nothing else that we let this guy do his idea for Budweiser. I don’t care what the creative awards program say about you ripping something off. This is a great idea. As a result, we were vindicated by that. The guys even wanted to change. My guys wanted to change the line from, true to right on. I go, “Right on? That’s like a 1970’s Billy Dee Williams move. Are you out of your mind? It’s true.”

“Well, we didn’t think you knew what it meant.”

“Give me a break. I know what it means. I get it. I get it. It means right on. But we’re not saying right on, okay?”

And then poor Charles, he’s sitting in the middle wondering, “Why am I getting into this with these guys?”

He was very grateful to us at the brewery for protecting the idea. They kept trying to change it. My guys are brilliant and did so much great work at DDP. This was one time I was shocked at how they didn’t get it. It was more about, “We want to get credit for this.”

No. You take credit with this man. You brought it to life for him. That was a tough one. A different one is ‘Frogs’ where you see a one off idea, and you just go get it. You know the thing’s not going to run for more than a year or two. The brilliance of what we did there, I think, was we said, “Okay, we know we can’t keep having frogs say, ‘Bud-wise-er.’ You’ve got them talking to each other. They’re riding an alligator. How many more things can we have ‘Bud-wise-er’ do? Not much.”

We’re fortunate by the way we structured our agencies at that time. We had more than one agency. The primary agency didn’t like it, but it saved us. Goodby Silverstein was the secondary agency. They came up with an idea. We asked, “Is there a way you guys can evolve ‘Frogs?'”

And Goodby’s idea was, “Yeah. Let’s have other jealous swamp creatures try to get in the Bud commercial.”

I go, “What? What do you mean, jealous swamp creatures?”

He goes, “Well, you know, like weasels, or lizards, or whatever.”

And honest to goodness, that’s how we came up with ‘Louie the Lizard.’ And the whole idea of their intro to it, that almost got me fired, was to assassinate the frogs on the Super Bowl. The electrocute them in their frog bar. When you still think back to the story boards, you go, “Are you, are you kidding me? We can’t do assassinations.”

“Oh, it’s just a commercial, man.”

And it’s like, “Okay.”

You’re buying into this, and you realize, “I’m going to get killed here.”

We went through it. We did it. They unsuccessfully didn’t electrocute the frogs on national television on the Super Bowl. But it did launch ‘Louie the Lizard,’ which was brilliant. And it got us at least three more years of ‘Louie the Lizard.’ TV spots for sure. But the other brilliant thing about ‘Louie the Lizard’, it worked on radio, because the voices of Louie and Frank, which at the time, ‘Sopranos’ was so big. Again, borrowing from the influence of what’s going on. We got two guys out of Queens who were stage actors that talked like thugs, hilarious. And on radio, they were even better than TV, because they were like, “Aye, Frankie.”

It was just like, “Oh my God. This is exactly what we tried to do on Bud Light. And now we’re doing it on Bud.”

If you can evolve and idea and be open minded enough to say, “Maybe this thing can leapfrog.”

I think you start saying, “Look, I’ve got about a year, year and a half. As soon as I get tired of it, it may be too late, because you’ve got to get out before the customer gets tired of it.”

So maybe we jumped early on some things. But I always felt we made good calls on evolving it. Even when ‘Was sup’ ran out of gas, and it was only a year, it was more driven by the fact that Charles Stone didn’t really want to do this anymore. That was okay. He’s a good guy. We started producing ‘Was sup’ spots ourselves. We decided, “Well, is there another way to say, ‘Was sup’?”

And then we started doing parodies of ‘Wassup’. How do gangsters say ‘Was sup’? They go “How you doin’?”

“How you doin’? How you doin’? How you doin’?”

We started doing evolutions of ‘Wassup’. And the consumer followed us. We got through that. We probably extended the idea another couple years because of that. That’s how you do it, I think. If something is so wickedly popular, and you can slowly get the customer to the next place by an evolution that they understand, then why wouldn’t you do it? A company is doing great right now, a couple companies, is the insurance sector. When you look at Progressive, whether you like Flow or hate her. Farmer’s insurance. These guys are evolving. Geico, my God. It’s the greatest. Geico is doing what we done. I always admired Geico when I was working at the brewery. They’ve been doing it forever. They do have the 15 minutes. “You give me 15 minutes, we’ll give you 15%.”

I get it. I get it. I get it. But I’m always entertained, and I get a good feeling out of their marketing. I think that’s the plan. Evolve. Don’t blow it up. If you have to blow it up, it’s going to be hard to get back on those tracks.

Adam Heitzman: Since you date back to even the mid 80’s ish. Obviously, a lot of digital components and digital campaigns, that’s where everything’s at nowadays for the most part.

Robert Lachky: I agree.

Adam Heitzman: There’s a lot in TV and radio for sure. Is a good campaign a good campaign no matter what platform it’s on?

Robert Lachky: Yeah. I think. I experienced that with ‘Wassup.’ When ‘Was sup’ came out, we originally debuted it on Christmas day. NBA always has a Christmas day basketball game. We had a 60. And the 60 seconds of “Wassup? Wassup? Wassup?” Was like whoa. You have to be a real fan to like that much ‘Was sup.’ And I loved it. August the 4th loved it. His dad was like, “Oh, I don’t know, man. You guys are running out of, … Four African American guys like, all over your, …”

And it was awesome. They’re the coolest looking guys, guys you want to be buddies with. That’s the way we looked at it. But when you’re talking to old wholesalers at Anheuser Busch, all over the country, black and white going, “What are you guys? Are you guys nuts?”

They found it repulsive and we were in trouble. When we launched that, within a week, we were getting crushed. We had just put a call center phone number on our can, packages. And our call center was getting inundated by people who hated the idea. We very quickly, and thank goodness for Mr.Busch as our leader, the 3rd, he allowed us to do some quick fixing. I took the 60 of the air right away. We moved it to 30’s. We had 30’s cut. We had a couple other renditions of it cut where we focused on a single character. And it nullified a little bit of the outrage of that 60 seconds in your face. Within two weeks, because we ran ‘Was sup’ on the Super Bowl three weeks, four weeks later. Within a couple weeks already, you were getting Katie Couric on ‘Today Show’ and Howard Stern, two totally opposite people saying, “Hey, did you see that thing for Budweiser? The guy’s going ‘Wassup’. Isn’t that cool?”

And you’re like, “Oh my God. This is what we need.”

And you started getting people now, and this was the beginning of video content sharing to your original question. We were getting parodies within two and a half weeks of ‘Wassup.’ And we tracked one Iceland. We got one out of Israel. We had this worldwide thing where we had rabbis doing it. We had ladies planting tulips in a garden doing. And they were mocking it, and aping the idea, and sending it. We were getting these videos. We were like, “Oh my God. This thing is taking on.”

And all the negative criticism from our own system, we got thrown out of a few accounts across the country. But the wholesalers backed us, because they started to realize this was a very cool young idea. And it’s about, it doesn’t matter what race you are. This is about friends. We stuck to our guns. Video content, and the sharing of it on the internet, even this was year 2000 I believe. That’s when it was really hitting a zenith. People were ripping the thing. And it was awesome. And that saved us for sure. This is in the space of a month.

Adam Heitzman: Right. That’s crazy. What are you up to now days?

Robert Lachky: I’ve been consulting a little bit in talking to smaller, more privately held companies. It makes it a little easier. I do a lot of speaking engagements and things. People like to hear about what we used to do. You start to feel a little old doing that. I think there’s some really tried and true strategies that we followed, and other great companies have followed. You see many doing it now, like in the insurance category, following, being true to their brands. Not getting mesmerized by hiring a celebrity or doing whatever you think is cool, or following too much of a current production technique. For us, at our era, I’d say early 90’s, it was, we called it the cinema verite. The camera is moving around, trying to find the right- It’s like, “Give me a break. Let’s focus on a certain style that benefits us. And let’s not chase technique. Let’s chase our strategy.”

That’s kind of what I advise when I go. I got to be honest. A lot of people call and say, “Wow. You can help us because of Budweiser.”

It’s like, “Look, you don’t need Bud. You need a good digital strategy. You need a good online thing.”

I have a group of guys that I work with. We do more rebuilding websites, making sure they have suitable video content. Basically front end. That they have a strategy. I guess they think since I just did funny commercials, I never thought about it. It’s always about doing a spot analysis to me, at the front. You absolutely have to know, what are you trying to do? What are your strengths, weakness, and opportunities? What are your threats? You’ve got to understand that. I can’t believe how many small or mid sized companies that I’ve worked with who really are kind of making money and don’t know how, or why, or how they can sustain it. That to me, is the shocking thing. Believe me, nothing that’s too taxing. I had enough of that in one lifetime. That’s about where I’m at these days.

Adam Heitzman: Well, that’s great to hear. Bob, I really enjoyed speaking with you today. It’s been very enlightening. Your stories are awesome. Thank you again, for your time. Like I said, thanks. It’s just been an absolute pleasure.

Robert Lachky: Thanks, Adam. I appreciate it. I really enjoyed it. And good luck to you.

Adam Heitzman: Thank you.

Robert Lachky: Take care.

Adam Heitzman: Bye.

The post Marketing Insights from Bob Lachky: Behind the Curtains of the Iconic Anheuser-Busch Campaigns appeared first on HigherVisibility.

The post appeared first on

5 Productivity Hacks to Bring Content Creation From Failing to Flying High

Hot Air Balloons

Hot Air Balloons Let’s just get this out of the way: I don’t know anything about hacking. I’ve never hacked anything in my life, unless you’re describing my golf swing, or you count using a Game Genie to cheat at Sega Genesis back in the early ‘90s. In general, I find terms like “life hacks” and “growth hacking” to be… well, hackneyed. But you know what? Blog titles that include “hacks” — or other strong and compelling descriptors such as “surprising” or “critical” — have a greater tendency to gain viral traction. Sometimes a simple data point like that can be the springboard you need to uncover inspiration. Which brings us to the purpose of today’s post. Here at TopRank Marketing, we have an insanely talented Content Team. Legitimately some of the best writers and strategic thinkers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working alongside. But even these awesome pros are not immune to the occasional creative rut or swoon in productivity. It comes with the territory. Recently the team came together to discuss some of our personal methods for overcoming content creation slumps and getting back on track when we’re dragging. I figured I would share some of the most salient pointers to come out of that meeting here, so other marketers can benefit and maybe adopt a few of them during their own periods of stagnation. Hacks, insider tips, pearls of eternal wisdom — whatever attention-grabbing name you’d like to apply, I just hope you find these practical tips helpful in enhancing your productivity and elevating your content marketing success. (And feel free to comment with your own if you have tricks that work for you.)

#1 - Embrace the 5-Second Rule

The 5-Second Rule Book CoverLast year, Mel Robbins published a book called “The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage.” The premise behind this guide to conquering self-doubt and procrastination is rooted in psychology. Basically, the crux is that because our brains are wired to avoid risk, we are innately predisposed to abandon many ideas and plans almost as quickly as they arrive. Robbins challenges us to overcome this inclination by forcing ourselves to take some sort of action to move an idea forward within five seconds of the thought crossing our consciousness. It can be small and it doesn’t always have to lead anywhere. But it’s all about getting past your initial misgivings and, in some way, turning an idea from concept into reality. So, next time the notion of a blog angle passes through your head, take the step to jot down a note, or even a loose outline. When you’re struck with the spark for a content campaign, but not quite sure about it, discuss it with a colleague or at least record a quick voice memo on your phone. Basically, stop saying “later” and start saying “now.” By following this approach, you’ll find yourself with a whole lot more to work with, and it might just be that a passing fancy you’d have otherwise pushed out of mind turns into something great. [bctt tweet="Stop saying “later” and start saying “now” when an idea crosses your mind. - @NickNelsonMN #ContentCreation #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - Start with Your Conclusion

A classic writing tip from fledgling novelists is to draft the ending of a story first, and then work your way up to it. This same advice can be aptly applied to any content writer who is struggling to get a piece off the ground. When I’m sitting down to write something new, I frequently find that getting started is the toughest part. You need a strong, compelling introduction, and in many cases can’t proceed until you’ve got one worked out. Another issue can be that once you’ve surpassed that initial hurdle, you start wandering and get sidetracked from the main points you’re trying to make. Writing your conclusion before anything else can remedy both of these issues. Since it’s always smart to have the beginning and ending of a post tie together, you might find the pathway to your intro by taking this approach. And as you progress through the drafting process, you’ll always know exactly what the end destination is.

#3 - Keep a List of Recent, Authoritative Statistics

Sometimes, statistics can provide the backing we need to substantiate a point. But finding the right one isn’t always a quick or easy task. Getting bogged down in research is often one of the primary culprits in waning productivity. If you have a team of writers on hand — particularly ones who cover similar topics or niches — it can be helpful to create a central doc with up-to-date stats from trusted sources, such as respected media publications or verified research organizations. Trim off older items as they lose relevance, and continually add in new ones. You’ll want to be careful to avoid the trap where everyone on your staff starts using the same numbers and sources over and over again, but in general I find this practice to be a strong productivity-booster and time-saver.

#4 - Dig Into Data

Stats are not only able to contextualize and reinforce a case we’re trying to make, but they can also illuminate a case worth making in the first place, or provide direction on how to proceed. For example, the insight I mentioned earlier about “hacks” being a clickable blog post title made me wonder: “What ‘hacks’ do I actually know? What kinds of hidden pointers could I surface that might actually be useful to our audience of smart marketers?” Revelations can be found in insights about particular types of content that resonate within your industry (articles and studies about trends are good sources), or a conclusion drawn from your own Google Analytics (“Wow, look at how well posts about Topic X have performed!”). Data points are stories waiting to be told, and they are almost infinitely abundant in every industry and vertical. [bctt tweet="Data points are stories waiting to be told. Dig into them to find inspiration & overcome #ContentCreation slumps. - @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

#5 - Reckon with Writer’s Block

It can be tough to get unstuck when you hit a wall in content creation. There’ve been countless instances where I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit wordsmithing one particular sentence, or figuring the best way to transition from one idea to the next. In these cases, it never hurts to move on to something else for a while and then circle back later. You can leave yourself a placeholder, as simple as [XXXXX] or more referential like [something about hacking and Game Genie]. This enables you to accomplish other stuff and return with a fresh mind. Painful as it may be, you should even consider simply getting something down on the page in these moments, even if you don’t think it’s good. A 2012 article in Psychology Today on the subject of overcoming writer’s block argued that this can be necessary to achieve that frequently elusive “flow.” “Here’s the truth about writing (or any other form of self-expression): If you can’t accept the bad, you can’t get to the good,” wrote Barry Michels. “It’s as if the flow is pure, clean water trapped behind dirty, disgusting sewage. If you can’t welcome the sewage and let it flow through you, you’ll never be able to get to the pure stuff.” Such a lovely metaphor, isn’t it?

Put Your Content in Flight

Ready to see how high your content can fly? Try incorporating these tips into your routine and see if they can help give your productivity a lift:
  • Challenge yourself to take action on every content creation idea as soon as it strikes you.
  • Try breaking your routine by writing the conclusion to your next post before anything else, and see if it helps make your process more efficient.
  • Create a centralized doc with your most-used sources of stats and insights, then share it with your team and encourage them to add.
  • Analyze data trends from your own past content as well as the industry at large to identify hot topics for your audience.
  • Alter your writing approach to overcome writer’s block.
Otherwise, if you’re interested in learning more about how we do content marketing at TopRank Marketing, check out our services page or reach out and give us a shout. We’re all about driving growth, without any hacking required.

The post 5 Productivity Hacks to Bring Content Creation From Failing to Flying High appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Article Source:

Monday, 12 February 2018

8 Upcoming Events to Learn All About Content and Influencer Marketing

Learn Content Influencer marketing

According to a new study from eMarketer, in 2018 nearly nine in 10 business-to-business (B2B) companies in the US will use digital content marketing. At the same time, influencer marketing has become one of the hottest topics in the marketing world: The L2 from Gartner reports that over 70% of brands used influencers in their 2017 marketing plans and 95% found them to be effective.

We know how this goes in marketing: a strategy or tactic becomes popular with every opportunist repeating the echo chamber of best practices until it’s unclear what’s really relevant for your business.

We’re seeing firsthand, the impact content and influence is having on marketing and have been working with many of the top B2B brands in the world to plan, implement and optimize content marketing programs with highly credible and connected influencers.

That expertise didn’t happen overnight. We’ve been working hard on B2B influencer marketing strategies, process and workflow, measurement and reporting for the past 6 years. In addition to helping clients develop and implement influencer content programs, we’re also teaching our community about this impactful intersection of disciplines.

In fact, over the next 2 1/2 months there are at least 8 events happening online and in cities including Scottsdale, Boston, San Francisco, Ft Lauderdale and Minneapolis where you can learn the strategies and tactics of influencer and content marketing, presented by team members from TopRank Marketing. Find one that works with your schedule.

B2B Marketing Exchange
Feb 19-21: B2B Marketing Exchange – Scottsdale, AZ

Millennials & Influencer Marketing: How to Organize & Optimize for B2B
Not only are Millennial aged professionals more trusting of social influencers when making purchase decisions, they’re also more likely to participate as influential content creators. B2B brands that can master working with internal and external Millennial talent to co-create content and engage on social channels will reap rewards now and into the future.

This presentation by Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing and Alexandra Rynne of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions will help B2B marketers understand the influencer marketing opportunity with Millennials in multiple ways:

– Understand influencer engagement models from seasoned brandividuals to rising star Millennials

– Bust myths about working with Millennials and how B2B brands can create win/win relationships
– Learn from examples of B2B influencer content in action

Demand Gen Strategies Summit
Demand Gen Summit BrighTalk
Feb 22: Demand Generation Strategies Summit (BrightTalk) – Onlin
The Confluence Equation: How Content & Influencers Drive B2B Marketing Success
Content and influencer marketing are hot topics for B2B marketers all over the world as two of the most promising strategies for attracting, engaging and converting ideal customers. What many marketers don’t realize is how collaborating with influencers can create even more credible, relevant, and optimized experiences for target accounts. Join Lee Odden to learn how working with influencers and their communities can help scale quality B2B content that gets results.

Digital Transformation Days - SEMRusn
Feb 22: Digital Transformation Day (SEMRush) – Online
Barry Schwartz and Lee Odden interview each other
Barry Schwartz, President of Rusty Brick, News Editor of Search Engine Land and Executive Editor of Search Engine Roundtable will interview me, Lee Odden, and I will interview Barry about trends in the search and digital marketing world.

Feb 28 – Mar 2: Social Media Marketing World – San Diego, CA
How Content Plus Influence Equals Results: The Confluence Equation
Content marketing and influencer marketing are hot topics for marketers all over the world as two of the most promising strategies for attracting, engaging and converting ideal customers. But how do you find the right influencers? What kind of content should you collaborate on? How do you best measure influencer and content success? Join Lee Odden to learn from his experience working with brands big and small to develop efficient and effective formulas for influencer content success.


AMA Iowa
Apr 4, American Marketing Association Iowa Event – Des Moines

Influencer Marketing is only for B2C Brands (And Other Lies Your Parents Told You)
For years celebrities have been gracing the covers of magazines, acting in commercials and pimping out their social media profiles for pay. But should that really be considered influencer marketing?

While it may seem like B2C brands have influencer marketing all figured out, there is even more opportunity for B2B brands to begin building meaningful influencer relationships.

One way to do that is by developing influencer driven content programs. These programs provide a unique opportunity reach and build credibility your audience by working with experts that they can relate to and trust. In this presentation, Ashley Zeckman will share:
– A dive into 3 stories of successful content and influencer marketing in action.
– Steps for creating a stellar experience for your audience and your influencers.
– Scrappy ideas for collaborating with influencers when you have limited time and resources.
– Bonus: Formulas for determining content and influencer marketing ROI.

Apr 11-12: Pubcon Florida – Ft Laudedrale, FL

Participation Marketing: The New World of Content Co-Creation, Influencers and Integration for PR
The converging roles of PR and communications with content and marketing is creating rapid demand for new strategies, skills and expectations. As earned and owned media intertwine, communications professionals who fast track their ability to adapt and evolve will gain a competitive advantage in their roles in the new world of PR.

In this session, you’ll learn tested and proven models, strategies and tactics for content marketing based on an integrated and cooperative approach. Some of the key learnings include:
– Content marketing and what it really means for earned, owned and shared media.
– How content co-creation enables content quality at scale.
– Redefining what influence and working with influencers mean for content.
– Key opportunities to integrate the best of PR and marketing for meaningful digital communications that deliver an impact

Marketo Marketing Nation Summit
Apr 29-30: Marketo Marketing Nation Summit – San Francisco, CA

Content Marketing Integration 
Without content, there wouldn’t be any search engines and yet most marketers treat content as if it were simply a tactic for SEO. Content is the fuel that powers all forms of media on all digital channels where customers engage. The most successful marketers approach digital marketing with a customer and content-centric approach that integrates with SEO, social media, influencers and advertising in a way that helps the brand become “the best answer” wherever customers are looking. This presentation from Lee Odden focuses on how to plan, produce, promote and optimize content as a marketing approach that works with or without search engines. But definitely better with search engines. 🙂

Content Marketing Conference
May 2-4: Content Marketing Conference – Boston, MA
The Keys to Successful B2B Content and Influencer Programs
While only 11% of B2B companies were implementing ongoing influencer marketing programs in 2017, brands with mature influencer marketing programs like SAP are elevating the practice. In this presentation with Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing and Amisha Ghandi, Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP, you will learn through several examples about the strategies and best practices that make an Enterprise B2B influencer marketing program successful.

Whether you would like to learn most about Millennials and influencer marketing or content integrated with influence, SEO and social media, there’s a topic for you in the schedule above. Not only can you learn from Ashley Zeckman and myself, but our clients from LinkedIn and SAP are presenting as well.

If you are already attending one of the events above, please do be sure to let us know!

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

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | 8 Upcoming Events to Learn All About Content and Influencer Marketing |

The post 8 Upcoming Events to Learn All About Content and Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Article Source:

Friday, 9 February 2018

30 Content Marketing Statistics, Trends & Data for Your 2018 Strategy


While content marketing can evoke various meanings, depending on the context, it is defined as gently marketing products and services with content shared through blog posts, videos, social media and more.

Since there are an increasing number of online publishers, the competition is fierce in terms of attracting consumers’ short attention spans. In addition, publishers are driving innovation as they seek fresh methods for bringing in their target audiences.

As a result, it is critical for publishers to have a deep understanding of where the industry is moving and why. The objective is to monitor your competition and the industry. If you don’t know where or how the content marketing industry is moving, you won’t grasp how and when to change your own content marketing strategy.

To get you started in the right direction, we have curated 30 marketing stats to help guide your new strategy and to use when presenting a case to CFOs, CMOs and CEOs for an updated budget. Continue reading to learn more.

  1. 72 percent of B2B marketers measure their ROI. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

While content marketers want to understand their ROI, many don’t have the right tools to accurately do so. In fact, 52% of B2B content marketers find ROI measurements one of their biggest challenges. This eMarketer study shows that 6 out 10 small businesses can’t track ROI from their social media efforts.

Yet, accurate measurement leads to successful content marketing. You also want to gain an understanding of the proper keyword density for SEO.

Nonetheless, many businesses don’t even have basic analytics tools. Here are a few thoughts from experts on the topic:

“Exposure and engagement is key when it comes to measuring content marketing ROI. Simply publishing a blog post isn’t enough of a success. You have to go deeper and pay attention to things like social share metrics, engagement metrics, and actual conversions that can be tied to the content you’re producing.” — Colin Mathews, Co-founder, Content Marketer

“Metrics never tell the whole story, which is why we ask every new blog subscriber and customer how they found us. The data is anecdotal but it gives us a deeper understanding of the customer journey. Two customers rarely follow identical paths so it’s always worth asking.” — Jimmy Daly, Head of Content, Vero

Basic analytics tools include:

  • Google Analytics
  • SEMrush
  • A/B testing on your calls-to-action (CTAs)
  • BuzzSum
  1. In 2016, 75 percent of businesses increased their content marketing budget. (Source: Curata)

Content marketing is a universal tactic, with a wide variety of platforms, for offering relevant outreach to target audiences. Of course, you can’t appeal to your C-suite executives without a documented strategy or statistics to support your request for a budget increase.

Since 2009, marketing budgets have either remained consistent or have gone up relative to previous years. Educational content can be expensive, but brands must continue to act as data portals to keep their customers informed and to become trusted advisors.

  1. With leads, long-form posts are 9X more effective than short-form posts. (Source: com)

These are articles longer than 2,000 words. Since long-form posts are more in-depth, the target reader perceives them as more valuable and worth their time.

In addition, search engines worship long-form content–pieces with over 20,000 keywords. Moreover, if you can hold a reader’s attention for more than three minutes, then you have a higher chance of that visitor returning to your website. The last thing you want is to get devalued by Google.

  1. People spend an average of 37 seconds reading an article. (Source: com)

The consumer attention span is getting increasingly shorter. So, content needs to be easily digestible and relevant to the target persona. Structuring should include italics, bolding and bullet points to highlight the most important sections.

Remember, you’re dealing with attention spans shorter than even a goldfish.

This is mainly due to the trend towards mobile content viewing. Consumers grab their smartphones to look something up, buy products and more–then, the ease and convenience starts to become a priority.

Still, it’s not impossible to achieve content marketing success under these types of conditions. The trick is to instantly provide relevance and capture the attention of your target audience–give them what they want immediately.

  1. 60 percent of marketers publish one piece of content per day. (Source: eMarketer)

To increase customer satisfaction, and loyalty, online publishers must be consistent–always. McKinsey & Company states it succinctly:

“the 3 Cs of customer satisfaction” are “consistency, consistency, and consistency.”

To reap the rewards, you must put in the effort. The leads will start to pour in, but only if you are consistent.

  1. Content marketing offers three times the leads of traditional marketing, while costing around 62 percent less. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

Putting more resources and effort into content marketing will increase leads while also decreasing costs. Audiences are gravitating away from celebrity endorsements and aggressive sales tactics. Instead, the modern consumer wants more transparency and friendlier branding tactics.

In a consumer-led market, audiences know they can easily click away from an ad. So, content marketing was created to focus on the intended reader

  1. 58 percent of marketers agree that “original written content” is more effective than visuals and videos. (Source: Social Media Examiner)


Image source

 Even with an increased focus on visuals, most marketers have found original written content to product the best results. This is great news because if you don’t have time to create media, you can still generate traffic with original content.

And, flashy visuals can be expensive. So, just continue creating relevant and original content, and the traffic will come.

  1. 72 percent of marketers view branded content as producing a better ROI over magazine advertisements. (Source: Luma Partners, LLC)

Image source

With fewer consumers reading traditional magazines and newspapers, more focus is being placed on web content. While branded content is not a new concept, it is certainly trending. Customers enjoy the informative and interactive aspect.

Branded content puts people first and the product second. Not to mention, branded content is shareable, which equates to the potential for more traffic.

  1. 64 percent of B2B marketers outsource their writing. (Source: TopRankBlog)

To reach the next level of content marketing productivity, help is required in the form of skilled and proficient writers. If you plan to reach thousands of readers, or more, you should not try to write the content all by yourself.

Since you already understand that consistent, original and relevant content increases traffic, then you can easily double that just by hiring several skilled writers.

There is no reason to try to spend 16 hours a day writing when you can focus on other aspects of your content marketing strategy. Let your writers handle this facet of it for you.

  1. 63 percent of marketers create content by buyer persona. (Source: Hubspot)

It is imperative to write with your buyer persona in mind. Each piece of content must be relevant and with an end goal. Start with figuring out who your target consumers are. These are general representations of your target audience.

With buyer personas, you can tailor your content to topics they would love to learn more about. Furthermore, your content should address customer pain points throughout their purchase journey.

A buyer persona looks at what your ideal customer’s goals are and what they are trying to achieve. It also defines how they might behave throughout the sales process. You can create your specific buyer persona by utilizing both market and independent research to reveal trends in your market. Details you should describe include:

  • Pain points
  • Purchase role
  • How they consume content
  • Job title and career
  • Family life
  • Income
  • Budget
  1. 20 percent of searches on Android devices and Google’s mobile app are voice searches. (Source: SearchEngineLand).

Image source

Voice searches are on the rise. So, content marketers must consider the types of headlines and titles that might be included in a voice search.

There isn’t any question that voice search will affect content marketing. The use of voice search tools, such as Siri and Alexa, are on the rise. Most smartphone’s also have a voice assistant. It’s not something to worry about, but you should think of how people use their voice to search for something and what they expect to find.

For instance, a voice query might ask: “How many times have the Eagles won the Super Bowl.” If the same person were to type that query, they might type this instead: “Times the Eagles won the Super Bowl.” As you can see, voice queries are a bit more detailed–it is just like talking versus texting.

  1. By 2019, 72 percent of US digital ad spend will come from mobile. (Source: eMarketer)

Image source

Content marketers must direct more company spend and efforts towards the mobile medium as this is where their audiences are. Mobile ad spend must also go up.

According to Google research, over 50 percent of all global web traffic comes from mobile devices. And, these types of numbers will continue to increase. So, now is the time to focus on mobile content marketing.

In fact, mobile device content reading went up 10 percent in 2014. The limits have been removed; anything can be read and viewed on a mobile device.

  1. 87 percent of marketers use social media for content delivery. (Source: CMI)

Social media platforms like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have changed the content marketing industry forever. The way we communicate with customers is a lot different from how we interacted even a decade ago.

Social media networks are popular because they are free to join, and you can reach millions of people with your content. So, mix things up. Consider how to target different generations on social media.

Make sure your content meets the needs of your target audience. And, engage with your customers directly through social media.

  1. 70 percent of marketers do not have a consistent strategy. (Source: Altimeter)

It is 2018, and you need an integrated marketing strategy right now. Content marketing works, and 80 percent of decision makers prefer to get their brand information through written articles as opposed to advertising. You can start by learning how to be a better content writer.

You just won’t want to jump into content marketing without a documented strategy. When you think about how you distribute your content–through social media, blog posts, guides and more– then, you must remember the importance of having similarities with your content.

You don’t want to confuse your audience.

And, it’s easy to be all over the place when you don’t have a strategy to direct your efforts. Also, a documented content marketing strategy is conducive towards achieving a strong brand identity.

Consumers are saturated with content. To stand out from the masses, you need a strategy to set your brand apart.

As mentioned earlier, measuring ROI can lead to content marketing success. With a strategy, you encourage productivity and efficiency. Plus, it can help to ensure a better ROI.

  1. 48 percent of marketers create dedicated content for three to five buying stages. (Source: LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)

Before a purchase, consumers often go through a sales funnel. These are stages that the prospect goes through before making their final purchase. To illustrate, the first step might be checking out your site for the first time.

The next step might be subscribing to your newsletter. The third step might be talking to one of your sales reps and so on. The term “sales funnel,” and its accompanying definition, has been around for decades. All your prospects will be at different points in the funnel.

In terms of content marketing, it is your job to motivate them to move along the funnel to finally make a purchase. So, you should create a content marketing strategy around that funnel. Here are questions to answer:

  • What would you write to enhance awareness at the beginning of the funnel?
  • How can you help inform your prospects of your products and services while they are in the middle of the funnel and evaluating their options?
  • What types of content would motivate your prospects to buy when they are finally ready to make a purchase?

Depending on your products and services, the sales funnel process could move either very quickly or relatively slowly. With a B2C customer, the process might be quick. With a B2B customer, they might require more nurturing in the form of articles, guides, whitepapers and more.

  1. 61 percent of marketers want to improve their organic presence. (Source: Hubspot)

Take a look at this review of the top seven toolbars. Organic marketing is about getting customers to your site naturally. This can be a long process, but it also leads to better customer engagement, loyalty and traffic.

Consumers are much more savvy and rarely pay attention to paid ads. While you won’t be spending on paid ads, organic marketing still requires effort as it is a form of marketing from the ground up. It requires careful attention to your content and social media channels.

Furthermore, you must incorporate more accurate SEO. Instead of paying for sponsored results, organic marketing depends on SEO. When it comes to search ads, the average click-through-rate is lower than 5 percent. On the other hand, the average CTR for organic marketing results can vary between 22 and 30 percent.

  1. The desire for infographics has gone up by 800 percent. (Source: Unbounce)

Image source

Humans are visually wired. As a result, we demand infographics. This can be especially true in an age of information overload. Today, we receive five times more information than we did in 1986. And, the brain needs time to digest every bit of information we consume.

With an infographic, your business can present data in a way that is visually stimulating and easy to digest. Infographics also induce a lot of social sharing–especially if it is a beautiful infographic with a great design.

You can use infographics to convey specific types of information. They can also drive targeted traffic to your site. So, if you don’t have a contract with a graphic designer, now is the time to start one.

  1. Only 10 percent of marketers use gamification. (Source: CMI)

Image source

Gamification is the use of games, surveys, puzzles, quizzes and more to encourage user interaction. When you incorporate interactive content, you can increase time spent on your site.

Also, it helps to break up your content marketing strategy from having strictly content. Consumers want a variety of choices for how they consume their content.

Yet, only 10 percent of marketers incorporate gamification. The reason for a limited number of marketers using gamification might be due to the cost and resources required.

If you have the ability, it can improve traffic when you invest in gamification. This isn’t just about running contests periodically. The objective should be to foster motivational campaigns that takes your target buyer on an interactive journey. And, this starts by having a pre-determined goal in mind.

If you are interested in maximizing revenue, then how can a customized game contribute toward achieving that goal? Consumers are already busy, so you want a strategic method that they will find worthy of their time.

Then, you must consider your metrics. How can you tell if your games are working? You must set up metrics to determine gamification success.

Customers enjoy the instant gratification aspect of gamified elements such as badges, leaderboards, points and even rewards they can use for real products and services. People are also motivated by a need to accomplish goals. So, your games can set specific and achievable targets to build on that momentum.

“Games are the only force in the known universe that can get people to take actions against their self-interest, in a predictable way, without using force.” ― Gabe Zichermann

Also, since consumers are now more involved in the process, they are also more likely to remember the content. For instance, say they can accumulate points through your game that they can use for discounts and special offers.

So, perhaps one of your “goals” would be to have them read content and answer a short quiz. Once they have completed that successfully, they get more points.

  1. When researching a company, 95 percent of B2B buyers view content as trustworthy. (Source: DemandGen)

As opposed to direct advertising, content marketing can truly build trust with your target audience–and, once you have achieved that, you have struck gold. You are conveying the story of your brand in a way that is non-salesly.

Since hundreds of posts are created every minute, it is critical to remember how you can stand out. It really boils down to creating content that builds trust with your buyer persona. When a consumer trusts your company, they are more likely to continue visiting your site and engaging with your content.

You have something unique to share with the world, but audiences must believe your content is authentic. There are several ways to do this including:

  • Keeping a schedule (Consumers value consistency)
  • Maintaining the same voice (builds a connection)
  • Link to your sources and statistics (helps to prove credibility)
  • Share real-life examples of success with actual customers
  • Produce high-quality and relevant content

If you follow the above suggestions, your site will earn trust and a loyal following too.

  1. 69 percent of marketers prefer content to public relations and direct mail. (Source: Custom Content Council)

There isn’t anything wrong with increasing your company’s brand awareness through sending out direct mail pieces and PR kits. Yet, for a long-term marketing strategy, content marketing is your best bet. With a direct mail piece, you might convert a few prospects. Consequently, once your direct mail piece is sent out–it often gets thrown away.

In addition, you’ll have to change the design frequently just to garner a bit of excitement. If you are getting a good ROI, then there isn’t anything particularly wrong with this marketing approach. The same is true of PR kits.

But, in the long-term, content marketing is a powerhouse. With consistent content marketing, you increase your domain authority (DA) and online real estate. The more articles you have, the better your chances are of being found online.

Plus, it builds trust when you have a long-standing blog. Also, by linking your pieces to other blog posts on your site, you can continually attract new traffic.

If you have high-quality content, then it can improve conversions–especially with the right CTAs. And, you can increase revenue by selling eBooks. With content marketing, you compound on returns.

  1. 94 percent of B2B marketers prefer LinkedIn for content distribution. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

In terms of content distribution, LinkedIn is the place to be. It really does pay to produce relevant content on LinkedIn.

Image source

Taking the time and commitment to post content on LinkedIn does pay off–whether they be trends, quick tips or guides based on your field of expertise. You can easily share your blog posts with all your connections.

Plus, the posts become connected to your profile. When people search for your profile, they see your blog posts. Also, you can increase your influence since public posts allow LinkedIn users to follow you.

When you amass a series of relevant posts, you can also quickly accumulate a large following.

And, with each publication, all your connections receive a notification through their flag icon.

  1. 90 percent of B2C companies used content marketing in 2016. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)


Image source

There isn’t anything that can level the playing field like content marketing. Both small and enterprise businesses can utilize content marketing to increase traffic, engagement and brand awareness. This subtle marketing approach keeps your visitors informed without being too pushy.

When visitors realize they don’t have to endure a hard sell, then they will want to buy your products and services that are relevant to their needs and wants. This is why 90 percent of companies used content marketing in 2016, and that number will only go up. The long-term benefits can’t be ignored.

For example, once your page is ranked well in the search engines, it stays there for an extended period. Plus, around 70 to 80 percent of web users ignore paid ads. Instead, content marketing can be used to promote your products without being overly aggressive.

  1. 78 percent of businesses are not satisfied with their conversion rates. (Source: eConsultancy)

In terms of marketing, it is important to know what not to do when curating content. You also need to understand how content marketing can affect conversion rates.

With more pages, you get more opportunities. Each piece of content is a new page. And, search engines can then easily index your pages.

Moreover, websites with over 40 unique pages get 12 times more leads than sites with five or fewer pages. And, with your buyer personas, you can tailor your content to ensure your customers are five times more likely to convert.

With the right content marketing strategy, you can effectively guide and motivate your buyers throughout the sales funnel.

  1. 97 percent of B2B buyers prefer prescriptive content. (Source: DemandGen 2017 Report)

Prescriptive content helps target readers to optimize their processes by offering strategic suggestions. Furthermore, prescriptive content can be used to predict outcomes through incorporating specific data points and metrics.

An example of prescriptive content might be a guide on trends to pay attention to in 2018. Additionally, prescriptive content answers questions that prospective buyers have like the ROI for investing in a cloud storage solution or how to implement a new ERP system.

  1. Current blog posts average around 1,142 words. (Source: Orbit Media)

There was a time when a 500-word blog post was all your site needed to get ranked on various search engines like Google and Bing. Well, those days have disappeared in the ether of history.

Since 90 percent of businesses are using content marketing, on top of all the other blog sites and media sites found online, the space for first-page rankings is insanely competitive. So, Google now looks for length in terms of filtering for quality.

And, according to SerpIQ, top ranked content usually has around 2,400 words. What’s the takeaway? For starters, you must increase the word count of your content. At a minimum, make your posts 1,200 words.

  1. 78 percent of CMOs are investing in custom content. (Source: DemandMetric)

“The easiest way to turn off your community members is to broadcast the same message across multiple channels. Instead, determine the kind of content that interests the members of your community in a way that is useful to them.” — Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

CMOs understand they must grow and evolve to stay ahead of the competition and above all the social media noise. To do so, you must segment your audiences by demographics, their point in the sales funnel, their budget and more.

Custom content is a type of hyper-personalization of content. It takes a deep understanding of your target buyer and where they are in their purchasing process. It also requires an understanding of their pain points, along with what makes them tick.

You can learn more about your target customers by spending time in forums and on social media where they are sharing with their counterparts. Then, create custom content with a specific persona in mind.

It’s difficult to trust advertising, but it is easy to trust a brand who can offer real solutions to specific pain points.

  1. 78 percent of buyers consume case studies before making purchase. (Source: DemandGen 2017 Report)

Case studies are comprehensively effective. Within a case study, you paint a picture and tug at emotions. It is storytelling at its finest, with a marketing twist. Within a case study, you have three major parts:

  • A problem
  • Solution offerings
  • Proven results

And, the case study is always written from the perspective of the buyer persona. You should publish more case studies simply because they are highly targeted.

Each case study conveys a specific goal related to your products and services. Also, through factual claims, you can build your brand as an authority in your industry.

  1. Four out of Five sites use blogs and email newsletters. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

Image source

You already understand the significance of blog posts. Yet, email marketing is also an important aspect of content marketing. You can generate $38 in ROI for every $1 spent.

You must incorporate targeted emails within your content marketing strategy. According to Radicati, there are around 4.9 billion global email accounts.

Consider how you interact with websites. Whenever you sign up for anything, you need to enter an email address. Case in point: email addresses and messages aren’t going away anytime soon. Everyone who engages with the Internet has an active email address.

In addition, there are more email accounts than there are Twitter and Facebook accounts. Then, there is the fact that 90 percent of email gets delivered to your prospect’s inbox. Not to mention, Facebook continues to limit how widely your posts are distributed.

  1. Companies can increase their conversion rates five times higher than companies that don’t use content marketing. (Source: Aberdeen)

You want your readers to accomplish to goal set up with each piece of your content. This happens with a call to action, where you tell your visitors exactly what you would like them to do.

The best place for a call to action is at the end of your post. Also, it must be attractive to your readers. So, keep their demands in mind.

  1. 73 percent of technology companies have a content strategy point person. (Source: CMI)

Image source

It is difficult for one person to do everything a customer expects. Since you now understand how effective content marketing can be, it is time to hand over your content strategy to a content marketing specialist.

This doesn’t mean you take a completely hands-off approach. Since it is your brand, you still want to be involved. But, it helps to focus on tasks that reap revenue.

And, you can’t be in all places at once. Since your content represents your organization, you must be careful about who you hire as your content marketing specialist.

It should be someone who understands and easily aligns with your vision. They must discover and create the types of content your target buyer wants to see. Then, they must retain and attract readers. On top of everything, their content and strategy must drive profitability and sales.

Final thought

We are living in the era of the “informed customer.” Prospects know they have access to information that helps them make more thoughtful decisions. Therefore, brands must then align themselves, and their content marketing strategy, with the needs and wants of their customers.

To maintain a competitive edge, you must produce the type of content that serves as informative and trusted resources for your customers. This starts with understanding your customers, following their path and customizing content based on their specific personas.

The post 30 Content Marketing Statistics, Trends & Data for Your 2018 Strategy appeared first on HigherVisibility.

The post appeared first on