Best of B2B Marketing: Get Inspired for 2021 with These Top 10 Content Marketing Posts

Happy business professionals jumping up in celebration image.

Happy business professionals jumping up in celebration image.

Content encompasses nearly everything we read, view, or listen to this pandemic year, and as our CEO Lee Odden said long ago, it’s also part of the reason the need for search began in the first place.

We’re especially proud of the content marketing successes our team at TopRank Marketing have achieved during this topsy-turvy 2020, for a wide-range of major B2B clients. As 2021 draws close, we wanted to share our top content marketing articles of the year — each filled with best practices, research, examples, and the latest trends.

We’re fortunate to have a wealth of talented B2B marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank B2B Marketing blog — which celebrates its 17th year this month — including Lee Odden, Joshua Nite, Elizabeth Williams, Anne Leuman, Nick Nelson, Debbie Friez, Birdie Zepeda, myself, and Alexis Hall, among others.

Collectively this compendium of our top 10 content marketing posts of the year serves as a valuable resource, filled with practical examples and relevant topics for digital marketing professionals from CMOs to copywriters. We hope that you’ll find these articles helpful well into 2021 and far beyond.

Now, join us as we move on to the top 10! These most popular content marketing posts of the year are ordered by a combination of search visibility and social engagement:

Our Most Popular Content Marketing Posts of 2020:

1. 50 Top B2B Content Marketing Influencers To Follow in 2021 #CMWorld — Lane R. Ellis

2020 CMWorld 50 Content Marketing Influencers

In our top content marketing post of the year I share our annual list of the top 50 content marketing influencers to follow and learn from, released during this year’s all-virtual Content Marketing World conference. You’ll learn new lessons from these 50 content marketing influencers throughout 2021 and into a post-pandemic industry landscape.

You can check out all of my posts here, and follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“@TopRank has a long history with #CMWorld starting at the beginning, with 10 years of speaking and attending along with 7 years of partnering with @CMIContent to develop speaker and influencer content marketing campaigns.” @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

2. Where’s the Marketing in Content Marketing? 10 Essential Promotion Tactics That Drive Results — Lee Odden

content promotion tactics

Where’s the marketing in content marketing? In our second most popular content marketing post of the year, Lee shares how to overcome content creation imbalances with 10 proven content promotion tactics that have stood the test of time, to make your content promotion a priority.

Check out all of Lee’s 2,600+ posts here, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“An imbalance of content creation and promotion is not only frustrating potential marketing performance, but it’s wasting the investment made in creating great content. What good is that great content if no one sees it?” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

3. 5 Ways to Humanize B2B Content Marketing — Joshua Nite

Humanizing B2B Content Father and Son Cooking Together Image

What does it mean to “humanize” your B2B content marketing? In our third most popular content marketing article of the year, our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite shares five ways to help your content make a more human connection with a professional audience by:

  • Finding the Emotional Core
  • Earning Trust
  • Personalizing Efforts
  • Embracing Humility
  • Designing a Content Experience

You can check out all of Josh’s posts here, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“Find the emotional stories that your solution makes possible, and make them the star of your content.” — Joshua Nite @nitewrites” username=”toprank”]

4. New Research: How B2B Content Marketers Are Impacted and Pivoting During the Pandemic — Nick Nelson

Professionals Wearing Masks and Bumping Elbows

It’s undoubtedly been a year of much change and upheaval, and in our fourth most read article of the year, our content marketing manager Nick Nelson shows how B2B  content marketing practitioners are responding, and breaks down insightful research from Content Marketing Institute.

You can check out all of Nick’s posts here, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s a bit ironic that at a time where more B2B marketers than ever have gotten their strategy down on paper, we’re being forced to crumple it up and rewrite it.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

5. 5 Examples of Effective B2B Content Marketing in Times of Crisis — Anne Leuman

Woman wearing facemark image.

What is a key factor to successful marketing during a pandemic? “Being helpful,” as our senior operations strategist Anne Leuman explores in our fifth most popular content marketing post of the year. In this insightful piece, Anne shows how B2B marketers can infuse more helpfulness in their efforts, including five examples of B2B brands doing content marketing right during the global heath crisis.

You can check out all of Anne’s posts here, and follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“The true key to success in B2B content marketing is to always come from a place of empathy. The more you’re able to understand and empathize with your target audience, the more likely you are to surface content opportunities.” @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

6. 5 Steps for a More Powerful B2B Content Marketing Strategy — Lee Odden

Powerful B2B Content Marketing Strategy

How can marketers overcome content attention deficit and stand out? In our sixth most popular content marketing article of the year, Lee shares five helpful steps for building a more powerful B2B content marketing strategy, using:

  • Ideal Customer Profiles
  • Topics of Influence, Search and Social
  • Editorial Plan & Content Mapping
  • Content Promotion
  • Mining Search, Social & Influencer Analytics

This piece is filled with inspiration to begin intentionally and consistently incorporating influencers, social media and SEO in your B2B content marketing efforts, to reach more customers where they’re looking, with the kind of experiences that will inspire more effective engagement, revenue, and retention outcomes.

[bctt tweet=”“Creating useful content by itself is not an effective strategy in a world of brand distrust, content attention deficit and the distractions brought by a global pandemic.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

7. 7 B2B Content Marketing Tactics For Long Term Success — Anne Leuman

Man running down an infinite road into the sunset image.

What types of content can B2B marketers utilize for driving long-term success? In the seventh most read content marketing piece of the year, Anne shares seven enduring and powerful B2B content marketing tactics for long-term success, featuring the use of content including:

  • Blogs
  • Social Media
  • Influencers
  • Podcasts
  • Sponsored & Guest Works
  • Digital Advertising
  • eBooks, Infographics, and Larger Campaigns

[bctt tweet=”“For content marketing to be successful, you need those flashy, attention-grabbing campaigns to meet immediate goals. But you also need reliable, consistent, thought-provoking content to compound results over time.” @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

8. Why Content Marketing is More Important Than Ever for B2B Brands — Nick Nelson

B2B Marketing Content

In our number eight top content content marketing post of the year, Nick explores why content marketing is more important than ever now for B2B brands, and shares three fine examples of B2B brands going beyond mere talk.

By providing ongoing value and propping up your brand values, you’ll see plenty of value in return, as Nick examines in detail here.

[bctt tweet=”“The challenges our world now faces with the coronavirus pandemic and social justice movement create a unique opportunity for B2B content marketing to make an impact.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

9. How Authentic Content Builds Brand Trust in Uncertain Times — Nick Nelson

Man Interacting via Virtual Meeting

Being there for your audience, and being real with them, presents a key opportunity to strengthen relationships during difficult times. In our ninth most popular content marketing post of the year, Nick shares how authentic content builds brand trust in uncertain times.

“Content marketing is inherently a long game, focused on building relationships first and foremost. Right now, the best way to pursue this goal is through authenticity and altruism, in the context of your business and its audience,” Nick observed.

[bctt tweet=”“There’s never been a better time to open up and share real, relatable stories. Everyone is going through something, and it can be comforting to learn how others are dealing with these unique circumstances.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

10. In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience — Lee Odden

Authentic Content Customer Experience

In today’s uncertain digital world, how can B2B marketers double down on building trust with their customers? Rounding our our list of the top content marketing article of the years is Lee’s insightful look at how authentic content drives customer experience.

To help marketers better understand how brands are winning customer hearts, minds, and trust with authentic content experiences, Lee shares 5 important steps including:

  • Accelerating Internal Credibility
  • Doubling Down on Customer Activation
  • Working with External Influencers to Grow Brand Credibility
  • Creating a Content Collaboration Ecosystem
  • Optimizing Measurement to Customer ROI

[bctt tweet=”“If you want your content to be great, ask your customers to participate.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

Thanks to all of our top content marketing authors for contributing these top 10 content marketing posts of 2020 — congratulations on making the list!

Additionally, we publish several marketing influencer lists every year, and we wanted to share them here as a helpful way to find and follow some of the leading digital marketing influencers:

Another helpful resource for B2B marketers to learn about crafting a successful B2B influencer marketing program is our recently-launched Inside Influence series, featuring interviews with top industry experts such as the latest episode with Tim Williams of Onalytica.

We published dozens of posts this year specifically about content marketing, and plan to bring you even more in 2021, so stay tuned for a new year of the latest helpful search industry research and insight.

Please let us know which content marketing topics and ideas you’d like to see us focus on for 2021 — we’d love to hear your suggestions. Feel free to leave those thoughts in the comments section below.

Many thanks to each of you who read our blog regularly, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The post Best of B2B Marketing: Get Inspired for 2021 with These Top 10 Content Marketing Posts appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Best Of B2B Search Marketing: Optimize Your 2021 With Our Top 10 SEO Posts

Vibrantly colored pencils image.

Vibrantly colored pencils image.

Search marketing has matured in many ways throughout this pandemic year of 2020. At each shift and change along the journey, we’ve done our best to not only cover each twist and turn thoroughly, but to also offer insight and research-based strategy to help savvy B2B marketers meet the challenges this year has placed in front of us.

We’re lucky to have a wealth of talented B2B marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank Marketing blog — which will celebrate its 18th year in 2021 — including our CEO Lee Odden, Joshua Nite, Elizabeth Williams, Anne Leuman, Nick Nelson, Debbie Friez, Birdie Zepeda, the author of this post, and Alexis Hall, among others.

To help our blog community grow its search marketing knowledge, we’re thrilled to offer this list of our most popular search marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) posts of 2020.

Our Most Popular Search Marketing Posts in 2020:

1. 5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers — Lane R. Ellis

Smiling businesswoman at computer image.

In our most popular search marketing post of 2020, I shared popular and little-known SEO tools to help B2B marketers refine and augment their search engine optimization efforts.

From Google Lighthouse to WebPagetest and more, there SEO tools offer insight that will be just as relevant to marketers in 2021.

Sorting through lists of the seemingly endless number of available SEO tools can be frustrating as well as a hit and miss proposition, however this collection lets skip the search and get right into SEO tools you can use today to help you create amazing content marketing stories.

You can check out all of my posts here, and follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“How can you be the best answer for your audience if you don’t understand what questions they’re asking or what problems they’re trying to solve?” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

2. SEO is Not Enough: Why B2B Marketers Need to Optimize for Trust with Influence — Lee Odden

Optimize Trust Credibility

What good is being found if your content isn’t credible? In the second most popular search marketing post of the year, our CEO Lee Odden shows why SEO is not enough, and why optimizing for trust and credibility serve as a force multiplier for B2B marketers.

“At a minimum, content marketers should leverage the keyword and topic research done for SEO as inspiration for the queries used to find relevant influencers on those topics,” Lee observed, suggesting several ways marketers can think about influencers from an SEO perspective:

  • Identify influencers that already create content on the topics of interest that already have great visibility on Google
  • Pick influencers identified by Google as entities
  • Evaluate influencer’s likelihood of attracting links when they publish or contribute content
  • Provide influencers with SEO audits of their blogs so they can improve their search visibility

Check out all of Lee’s 2,600+ posts here, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“By integrating SEO and Influencer Marketing marketers can attract and engage buyers more effectively.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

3. 12 Top B2B SEO Trends & Predictions for 2021 — Lane R. Ellis

Five people making predictions colorful image.

In the number three spot on our top search marketing posts of 2020 list, I asked 12 subject matter experts how SEO will change next, and what search marketing will look like in 2021.

Learn from industry leaders as they share their top predictions for 2021, including Barry Schwartz, Lily Ray, Dixon Jones, Melissa Fach, Tim Mayer, Aleyda Solis, Jordan Koene, Roger Montii, Melanie Mitchell, Neil Marshall,  and our own Birdie Zepeda and Seth Epstein.

“We need to incorporate intent into the keyword mapping exercise by matching keywords with the right intent to the right document,” Tim Mayer noted in this, our third most popular SEO post of 2020.

[bctt tweet=”“2021 will see B2B marketers taking SEO and search marketing into not only a new year but perhaps a new boundary-pushing era, especially among B2B brands.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

4. Marketing During a Pandemic: Stop Pushing and Start Pulling with SEO — Lee Odden

Top 10 SEO Trends 2020

How do you do marketing during a pandemic? One way is to stop pushing and start pulling, and in the fourth most popular search marketing post on our blog in 2020, Lee shows how SEO helps customers find information on their terms, without the alienation of tone deaf marketing.

In infographic format, this post explores 10 top SEO tips from industry pros Barry Schwartz, Jono Alderson, Aleyda Solís, Jesse McDonald, Britney Muller, Ayat Shukairy, Dixon Jones, Hamlet Batista, Tiffani Allen and others.

[bctt tweet=”“Instead of being tone deaf or completely opportunistic about marketing, companies can double down on their SEO efforts to become the best answer for customers at the very moment they need a solution.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

5. Best SEO Tips for Marketing During the Pandemic Plus 9 Top SEO Platforms — Lane R. Ellis

Black and white image of a concerned businesswoman looking out an office window.

SEO platforms can be a vital part of successful marketing efforts, and in the fifth most popular search marketing post of 2020 I asked nine top platforms for their best tips to help weather the pandemic.

It’s been a prime year for exploring the power of search optimization, and in this post we also share top SEO tips, from top industry firms including:

  • WooRank
  • Moz
  • SpyFu
  • Majestic
  • Serpstat
  • SEMrush
  • Ahrefs
  • inLinks
  • Searchmetrics

With 51 percent of primarily B2B global marketing professionals seeing data insights and analysis as the single most important element when implementing a marketing technology stack, SEO platforms are poised to deliver the martech information businesses are eager to get, and we dig in and show how here.

[bctt tweet=”“Marketers have incredible power to spread some calm in a chaotic world right now. Use it wisely.” — BritneyMuller @BritneyMuller” username=”toprank”]

6. SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers — Lane R. Ellis

Businesswoman wearing facemask peering out through window blinds image.

Why has SEO been more important than ever for B2B marketers during the global health crisis? In our sixth most popular search marketing post of 2020 I examined how SEO has showed its strength, stability and resiliency, including five of the top reasons to double down on B2B SEO:

  • SEO is Performing Better During the Health Crisis
  • SEO Helps as Pandemic Consumers Are Shopping Primarily Online
  • SEO Platforms Help Maximize Remote Worker Efficiencies
  • Doing SEO Now Will Strengthen Future Brand Efforts
  • SEO’s Stability Is Important For B2B Brands

[bctt tweet=”“With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

7. How Influence and SEO Can Drive Customer Experience — Lee Odden

Influence and Customer Experience

How can influence and SEO drive customer experience for B2B marketers? In our seventh most-read search marketing article of the year, Lee shares how genuine, authentic, and impactful influencer content collaborations combine to build CX success and best-answer search experiences.

“For optimal SEO performance, best answer content experiences should be delivered with relevant, fast loading pages that are mobile friendly and deemed credible by other websites that link to them,” Lee noted. “Even better is when that content is optimized for trust with relevant third-party experts,” Lee added.

[bctt tweet=”“For brands, delivering a great user experience in search means understanding searcher intent and providing content that meets those expectations at the very moment of need.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

8. 8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers — Tiffani Allen

8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers

Attending virtual conferences is a great way to not only stay connected to the B2B marketing and SEO communities, but also to learn how SEO helps customers find your brand on their own terms. In our eighth most popular search marketing post of 2020, Tiffani Allen shared a collection of eight virtual SEO conferences to put on your agenda.

Attending conferences – even in a virtual setting – is a great way to stay connected to the marketing and SEO community, and many of these digital events will also be held in virtual formats during the coming year.

Check out all of Tiffani’s posts here, and follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“While many of our favorite search conferences are being postponed to later dates, there are still plenty of excellent virtual conferences to attend in the meantime.” @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]

9. Why SEO & Influence are Critical to Pandemic Era Content Marketing — Lee Odden

Pandemic Marketing SEO Influence

How can your brand be the best answer? This year SEO and influencer marketing have played increasingly important roles as B2B brands look to become and stay the best answer for their customers, and in our ninth most popular search marketing article of 2020 Lee shares why and offers an array of helpful insight.

“Understanding that B2B buyers already prefer to pull themselves through most of the sales experience with their own research and content, B2B marketers are increasingly emphasizing SEO for the current time when field marketing, events and experiential marketing are no longer an option,” Lee noted in this insightful post.

[bctt tweet=”“Marketing is about optimizing for improved performance and the role that organic search plays in pulling customers to your brands solutions at the very moment of need is clear.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

10. 10 SEO Books for B2B Marketers in 2020 — Birdie Zepeda

Open book over scenic landscape image.

B2B marketers understand SEO’s importance, but do they understand its inner workings? Rounding out our top ten list of search marketing posts for the year is our SEO strategist Birdie Zepeda’s insightful look at 10 SEO books that help demystify some of the practice’s inner workings, and also provide plenty of practical advice.

The SEO books on this list help B2B marketers to better understand the technical optimization intricacies of your company’s website and to further develop an SEO strategy that will best serve your audience and their needs.

Check out all of Birdie’s posts here, and follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“Some SEO questions are worth buying, borrowing, or downloading a book for a deep-dive into the subject.” — Birdie Zepeda @birdie_zepeda” username=”toprank”]

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

Thanks to all of our top search marketing authors for contributing these top 10 SEO posts of 2020 — congratulations on making the list!

Additionally, we publish several marketing influencer lists every year, and we wanted to share them here as a helpful way to find and follow some of the leading digital marketing influencers:

Another helpful resource for B2B marketers to learn about crafting a successful B2B influencer marketing program is our recently-launched Inside Influence series, featuring interviews with top industry experts such as the latest episode with Paul Dobson of Citrix.

We published dozens of posts this year specifically about search marketing, and plan to bring you even more in 2021, so stay tuned for a new year of the latest helpful search industry research and insight.

Please let us know which search marketing topics and ideas you’d like to see us focus on for 2021 — we’d love to hear your suggestions. Feel free to leave those thoughts in the comments section below.

Many thanks to each of you who read our blog regularly, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The post Best Of B2B Search Marketing: Optimize Your 2021 With Our Top 10 SEO Posts appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Best Of Social Media Marketing: Fuel Your 2021 With Our Top 10 SMM Posts

Business professionals around table from above image.

Business professionals around table from above image.

In 2020 B2B marketers continued to find new and creative uses of social media marketing during a pandemic year unlike any other, and we’ve been fortunate to feature many excellent articles on our blog over the year that explore how marketers are pushing social media marketing to fuel new levels of success.

We’re lucky to have a wealth of talented B2B marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank Marketing blog — which will celebrate its 18th year in 2021 — including our CEO Lee Odden, Joshua Nite, Elizabeth Williams, Anne Leuman, Nick Nelson, Debbie Friez, Birdie Zepeda, the author of this post, and Alexis Hall, among others.

The insight and expertise our team has acquired helping some of the top brands in the world including 3M, Adobe, SAP, LinkedIn, and Oracle plan, implement and measure a variety of marketing programs has often made it here to our blog. To help our blog community grow their social media marketing knowledge, we’re delighted to offer our annual list of the most popular social media marketing posts of 2020.

The social media marketing posts that proved to be our most popular of 2020 based on web analytics and social media data are listed below. We hope that they will help you ask the right questions and provide best-answer solutions to some of the most important challenges we’ll all be facing anew in 2021.

We give many thanks to all of our blog authors for their work in advocating social media marketing best practices, and especially to our dedicated readers for continuing to make the TopRank Marketing blog a go-to B2B marketing resource.

Our Most Popular Social Media Marketing Posts in 2020:

1. Social Media Polls For Marketers: 6 B2B Brands Winning With LinkedIn Polls Lane R. Ellis

Smiling business-woman at computer image.

Data from social media polls shows what customers are thinking about when it comes to a variety of important subjects, and in the most popular social media marketing post of 2020 on our blog, I took a look at how B2B brands Microsoft, Olive Communications UK, Redis Labs, LinkedIn News, Dell, and RateLinx are winning with LinkedIn polls.

Polls offer a unique two-for-one value for B2B marketers, providing quality feedback on what customers want while also offering brands a powerful interactive social media marketing element.

This post examines the year’s changes in online polls, and gives examines of how B2B marketers and brands are using social media polls in innovative ways, including six B2B brands winning with LinkedIn polls.

You can check out all of my posts here, and follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“Poll data shows what marketers are thinking about when it comes to a variety of important subjects, ranging from everyday tasks to far-reaching future trends.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

2. Get Ready For Video In 2021: Watch 5 Creative Examples of B2B Marketing on YouTube — Lane R. Ellis

Smiling man against a creative colorful background image.

In our second most popular social media marketing post of the year, I share the latest from YouTube, and how B2B marketers are using the video platform to power creative and engaging campaigns.

Taking a look at YouTube Shorts and other features adding in 2020, we also share five creative examples of successful B2B marketing on the platform from:

  • HP
  • Adobe*
  • Constant Contact
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst & Young

[bctt tweet=”“YouTube’s orbit casts a wide swath in the B2B marketing universe, and 64 percent of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video during the pandemic.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

3. 32 Top Social Media Marketing Influencers To Follow — Lane R. Ellis

32 Top Social Media Marketing Influencers To Follow

With a powerful group of 32 top social media marketing professionals to follow and learn from, our third most popular social media marketing article highlights how the SMM industry is bursting with innovative B2B marketing professionals — people who push the boundaries of existing social platforms, embrace new ones, and ditch low-performers.

We’ve put together a list of 32 top social media marketers that includes a number of fantastic folks who may not already be on your Twitter “following” list, in addition to some industry stalwarts who those new to social media marketing would be wise to follow and learn from.

We’ve also added a quote, tip, or short lesson from each of these 32 subject matter experts, to help inspire your own social media marketing efforts.

[bctt tweet=”“With unprecedented targeting via the social media platforms, it is essential brands and media companies not take a one size fits all approach with their social video strategy.” — Caitlin Angeloff @caitlinangeloff” username=”toprank”]

4. 5 Things to Know About Building Trust in the Age of Social Media — Nick Nelson

Man Looking at Tablet Amid Storm

In the fourth most popular social media marketing post of 2020, our content marketing manager Nick Nelson shares five items to help build trust in the age of social media.

Nick also explores the roles that trust and transparency play in developing an effective B2B social media strategy during this unprecedented time, along with examining how brands can best reach the crucial objective of trust-building using social media today.

You can check out all of Nick’s posts here, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“The worst stand any brand can take is standing still.” @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing #PurposeDriven #B2B” username=”toprank”]

5. Active Social Media Listening: Tips for a New Era of COVID-19 — Debbie Friez

Active social media listening

Now is the time to listen beyond your basic brand searches, and in our fifth most popular social media marketing post of the year, our influencer marketing strategist Debbie Friez helps you dive into the many insights B2B marketers can gain from social media listening, along with tips for better social marketing during times of crisis.

Debbie shares insight from Meltwater’s Lance Concannon, Brandwatch’s Joshua Boyd, Sprout Social’s Kristin Johnson, Sprinklr’s Ragy Thomas, and other subject matter experts.

Social media listening requires marketers to move beyond monitoring to analyzing the full situation, which can often be a moving target, and Debbie takes a close look in this insightful piece.

You can check out all of Debbie’s posts here, and follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“Social listening tools move beyond the top level of monitoring and help hone your strategy with deeper insights into the sentiment, regional differences, and understanding of the conversation.” — Debbie Friez @dfriez” username=”toprank”]

6. 10 Fresh Social Media Marketing Tools To Boost Brand Storytelling — Lane R. Ellis

Man’s hands working with tools.

Have you tried all 10 of these fresh social media marketing tools? In our sixth most popular post of the year, I show how to refine and expand your brand storytelling with 10 of the year’s latest social media tools.

Sifting through tens of thousands of available tools can be a hit and miss proposition, but these 10 fresh marketing tools let you skip most of the research queue and get right into useful tools for helping you tell marketing stories in new ways through social media.

Learn from our collection of 10 fresh tools to boost your social media marketing experiences, including image and video manipulation tools, headline analysis utilities, social media monitoring apps, and more.

[bctt tweet=”“Sifting through thousands of available tools can be a hit and miss proposition, making reviews and vetted lists of truly useful utilities more useful than ever for helping you tell marketing stories in new ways.” @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

7. 8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021 — Lane R. Ellis

Professional business-woman smiling image.

In our seventh most popular social media marketing post of the year, I take a look at whether B2B marketers should be using Reddit, and share eight things B2B marketers need to know, including how businesses are using it, the latest news from the social media platform, and why more firms than ever will be using it in 2021 and beyond.

We also take a look at just how effective Reddit is for advertising and organic marketing communication, and dig in to some of the top tips and advice for B2B marketers new to Reddit or those looking to expand their presence on the social media platform.

While Reddit may no longer be the wild west for B2B marketers, incorporating it into your strategy doesn’t have to be a shootout at high noon if you take to heart the information explored in this article.

[bctt tweet=”“Reddit has also been a popular platform for hosting ask-me-anything (AMA) events, which can be a good way for B2B firms to begin utilizing the service if the interviewee is especially relevant to a particular topic.” @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

8. Our 10 Top Social Media Marketing Posts of 2019 — Lane R. Ellis

Top Social Media Marketing Posts of 2019 Image

In our eighth most popular social media marketing article of the year, I examine some of the writing that resonated with B2B marketers over the year, offering a variety of approaches to social media marketing success.

From top-notch B2B marketers to follow lists, under-the-radar LinkedIn* features, social media statistics to the subtleties of Twitter lists and B2B social video, these practical and helpful posts offer a glimpse at many aspects of successful social strategy.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s clear that B2B social media marketing is strong and growing stronger, and it’s also apparent that direction and guidance in where to focus your B2B social efforts is needed now more than ever.” @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

9. 5 Ways to Make Brand Social Media Profiles More Compelling — Joshua Nite

Optimize Brand Social Media Profiles

In our ninth most-popular B2B social media marketing post of the year, our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite shares five ways to make brand social media profiles more compelling.

“Brands have never had such rich opportunities to interact with customers and potential customers. They’ve never been able to so easily display what the brand is about, what it stands for, and how it can bring value to people,” Josh noted in this insightful and popular piece, in which he shows how savvy B2B marketers can:

  • Ditch the Corporate-Speak
  • Eliminate Problematic Language
  • Say Why You’re Here
  • Focus on What You Do for Your Audience
  • Include a Call to Action

You can check out all of Josh’s posts here, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“There’s still a real possibility to engage with your audience on social, start conversations, and build relationships. And it all starts with making sure your profile invites people in and gives them a next step to take.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

10. 5 Case Studies on How to Optimize B2B Influencer Engagement on LinkedIn — Lee Odden

LinkedIn Influencer Engagement

How are B2B brands successfully working with influencers to achieve marketing goals using professional social media platform LinkedIn? In the tenth most popular social media marketing article of the year, our CEO Lee Odden shares five helpful case studies showing how to successfully engage B2B influencers on LinkedIn.

“While there are robust opportunities to connect with potential customers on LinkedIn, the platform is busier than ever, making it hard to stand out,” Lee noted. “There are also challenges in terms of reduced organic visibility and the trend towards distrust of sales outreach and what brands publish directly. With so much information, many buyers are suffering what I call Content Attention Deficit,” Lee explained — a deficit he explores in detail in this insight-filled article.

You can check out all of Lee’s 2,600+ posts here, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“Before you get started with B2B influencer engagement on LinkedIn, it’s essential that you have a documented influencer marketing strategy.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

There you have it — an especially strong array of our 10 most popular social media marketing posts from the particularly unusual year of 2020.

Additionally, we publish several social media influencer lists every year, and we wanted to share them here as a helpful way to find and follow some of the leading digital marketing influencers:

Another helpful resource for B2B marketers to learn about crafting a successful B2B influencer marketing program is our recently-launched Inside Influence series, featuring interviews with top industry experts such as the latest episode with Marshall Kirkpatrick of Sprinklr.

We published dozens of posts this year specifically about social media marketing, a tradition we’ll continue in 2021, so stay tuned.

Please let us know which social media marketing topics and ideas you’d like to see us focus on for 2021 — we’d love to hear your suggestions.

Many thanks to each of you who read our blog regularly, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

*Dell, RateLinx, Adobe, and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Best Of Social Media Marketing: Fuel Your 2021 With Our Top 10 SMM Posts appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Best Of B2B Influencer Marketing: Our Top 10 Influencer Marketing Posts To Optimize Your 2021

Four businesspeople jumping with glee over city skyline.

Four businesspeople jumping with glee over city skyline.

2020 saw the continued rise in influencer marketing’s scope and success in both B2C and B2B industries. This continued an explosion of interest in the practice over the past several years, and with more practitioners than ever now going all-in, influencer marketing has continued to be a primary focus on our blog throughout this extraordinary pandemic year.

We’re lucky to have a wealth of talented B2B marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank Marketing blog — which will celebrate its 18th year in 2021 — including our CEO Lee Odden, Joshua Nite, Elizabeth Williams, Anne Leuman, Nick Nelson, Debbie Friez, Birdie Zepeda, the author of this post, and Alexis Hall, among others.

As an industry approaching $20 billion annually, influencer marketing is now far from a shiny new object to sophisticated marketers. The insight and expertise our team has acquired helping some of the top brands in the world including 3M, Adobe, SAP, LinkedIn, and Oracle plan, implement and measure influencer marketing programs has often made it here to our blog. To help our blog community grow their influencer marketing knowledge, we’re thrilled to offer this list of our most popular influencer marketing posts of 2020.

Of course, collaborating with influencers is something we do daily for clients and ourselves, and during this pandemic year influencer engagement has become even more central to our B2B content marketing solutions, alongside social media marketing, SEO, and other forms of digital advertising.

The influencer marketing posts that proved to be our most popular of 2020 based on web analytics and social media data are listed below. We hope that they will help you ask the right questions and provide truly best-answer solutions to some of the most important challenges we’ll all be facing in 2021.

We give a massive thank you to all of our blog authors for their work in advocating influencer marketing best practices.

Our Most Popular Influencer Marketing Posts in 2020:

1. 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report from TopRank Marketing — Lee Odden

B2B Influencer Marketing Report 2020

Our CEO Lee Odden wrote the most popular influencer marketing post of 2020 on our blog, which is fitting, as he was also the primary author of the groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 45+ pages rich with survey data, case studies from B2B brands of all sizes, insights from top B2B marketing experts, plus a list of 20 top influencer marketing practitioners from B2B brands.

If you’re looking for a single definitive article about B2B influencer marketing, you can’t go wrong with this excellent piece by Lee and the accompanying report. Check out all of Lee’s 2,600+ posts here, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“With much of the research and media attention focused on B2C influencer marketing, we believe the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report to be the first ever research report dedicated to B2B.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

2. 25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign & Engagement Ideas for 2020 — Lee Odden

B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign Ideas

Lee also wrote our second most popular influencer marketing post of the year, offering up 25 inspiring B2B influencer marketing campaign and engagement ideas. As Lee noted, “Implementing just a few of these could help a company with a substantial amount of influencer program activity,” which is why this article has seen significant traffic and why its campaign ideas have had continued implementation among the B2B marketing community.

From conducting a series of video interview with influencers or engaging an influencer host on a brand podcast, to inviting influencers to provide content for an interactive content experience, Lee dishes out a vast array of B2B influencer marketing campaign ideas to infuse your own efforts, whether you have an established strategy in place or are just starting a pilot B2B influencer marketing program.

[bctt tweet=”“Influencers are not magic, but when you develop strong relationships with a relevant group of influencers, the impact on your marketing across the customer life-cycle can seem magical.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

3. 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands — Lee Odden

B2B influencer marketing pros from top brands

With a stellar group of 20 top influencer marketing professionals to follow and learn from, our third most popular influencer marketing article of the year was also penned by Lee, and together he and industry experts including Ursula Ringham of SAP*, Rani Mani of Adobe*, Jen Holtvluwer of Spirion*, Garnor Morantes of LinkedIn* and 16 others explore both the significant optimism and many unrealized opportunities influencer marketing offers for B2B companies.

[bctt tweet=”“B2B brands that build relationships to co-create content with industry voices can integrate influence with thought leadership to build the authority and influence of brand employees.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

4. 14 Expert B2B Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2021 — Lane R. Ellis

B2B influencer marketing predictions 2021

In the fourth most popular influencer marketing post of 2020, I shared top predictions for 2021 from 14 industry expert including Ann Handley of Marketing Profs, Brian Solis of Salesforce, Ryan Bares of IBM Systems, Judy Tian of LinkedIn, and many others. This article gives you helpful expert takes on what B2B influencer marketing will look like in 2021, and where it is most likely to take B2B marketers and brands when a post-pandemic world eventually arrives.

Check out all of my posts here, and follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[bctt tweet=”“2021 will see B2B marketers taking influencer marketing into not only a new year but a new more mainstream era of wider adoption among major brands.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

5. 5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers — Lee Odden

Traits B2B Influencers

What are the 5 key traits of the best B2B influencers? Popularity isn’t enough, and in our fifth most popular influencer marketing post of the year Lee shares how top B2B influencers also use proficiency, personality, publishing, and promotion to drive measurable business goals.

Featuring seasoned influencer marketing leaders including Brian Solis, Tamara McCleary of Thulium, CTO advisor Keith Townsend and others, Lee’s post reveals how mismatched expectations are not helpful for anyone, and encourages readers to think about the 5 Ps to evaluate and nurture your own influencer community, and to consider where of each ideal influencer needs to score on the 5 Ps in order to be a good match for the kind of activation you’ve got in mind.

[bctt tweet=”“Understanding what makes a great influencer is both art and science, soft and hard skills. The success of identifying, qualifying and engaging influencers is also directly tied to how they will be engaged and to what end.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

6. 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics — Lane R. Ellis

Business people throwing papers in the air image.

With 24 essential B2B influencer marketing statistics, in our sixth most popular post of the year I wrote about the compelling story statistics are able to tell — one of trust-building, credibility, and the more personal touch that influencers are able to offer brands.

Even if you’ve already developed an influencer marketing strategy, the wealth of information coming out about its power to build trust and inspire action has grown, as shown in this collection of 24 significant B2B influencer marketing statistics to strengthen your future campaigns.

[bctt tweet=”“Implementation of influencer marketing has grown not only among pure B2B marketers, but also in the marcomm sector, where 67 percent of global marcomm professionals see influencer marketing as being within their scope.” @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

7. Three B2B Marketing Tactics That Will Outlast the COVID19 Pandemic — Lee Odden

B2B Marketing Pandemic

Can you guess which three marketing tactics will outlast the pandemic? Make a mental note, and check out Lee’s insightful list of three enduring B2B marketing tactics in our seventh most popular B2B influencer marketing posts of the year.

As Lee notes, “The challenge many B2B marketers are facing is to understand how to navigate both the short term changes in what works for customers in the current environment as as well as in the long term, post-crisis,” an assessment that may be even more relevant as we move ahead into 2021.

[bctt tweet=”“How buyers feel about B2B brands short and long term will directly contribute to which brands are the most relevant as budgets open up and business solutions investments experience substantial growth.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

8. B2C vs. B2B Influencer Marketing – What’s the Difference?  — Lee Odden

B2C B2B Influencer Marketing

What’s the difference between B2C and B2B influencer marketing? Plenty, as Lee shows in our eighth most popular post, including why seeing B2B influencers as only content distribution channels or advocates for hire is a misplaced B2C-centric expectation.

Lee digs in to how influence plays a role across the entire business customer life-cycle — from awareness to advocacy — and how the best approach to collaborating with B2B influencers also spans the spectrum of customer engagement.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

9. Always-On Influence: 5 Examples of Ongoing B2B Influencer Marketing In Action — Lane R. Ellis

Businesswoman walking past five world-time clocks.

In our ninth most-popular B2B influencer marketing post of the year, I ask why top B2B brands LinkedIn, Adobe, Dell Outlet*, RateLinx* and AT&T* are using always-on influencer marketing, and share helpful examples from each of these companies.

I also take a close look at how B2B influencer marketing drives brand authority and increases trust and engagement, especially during uncertain times.

[bctt tweet=”“Always-on marketing replaces on-again off-again campaigns with a fluid ongoing effort, continually cultivating and carefully building efforts that allow businesses to seamlessly adapt their marketing efforts.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

10. How B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to In-Person Events — Lane R. Ellis

Table of graphs and charts with hands pointing at statistics image.

How can B2B marketers replace the benefits lost due to cancelled real-world events? B2B influencer marketing is an ideal way for brands to drive digital conversations during the global health crisis, and in the tenth most popular influencer marketing article of the year, I share 13 key benefits for brands, including insight from Brian Solis, author Bernard Marr, Tom Treanor of Treasure Data*, and members of our own team including Lee, our president and co-founder Susan Misukanis, account manager Elizabeth Williams, influencer marketing strategist Debbie Friez, and others.

[bctt tweet=”“During this global shift to a digital-first customer experience, marketers who incorporate empathy into their efforts are especially well-poised to deliver successful virtual experiences.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers

There you have it — an especially powerful selection of our 10 most popular B2B influencer marketing posts for 2020.

Additionally, we publish several influencer lists every year, and we wanted to share them here as a helpful way to find and follow some of the leading digital marketing influencers:

Another important resource for B2B marketers to learn more about crafting a successful influencer program is our recently-launched Inside Influence series, featuring interviews with top industry experts such as the latest episode with Ryan Bares, Global Social Programs Lead: Social Influencers & Employee Advocacy at IBM Systems.

We published dozens of posts this year specifically about influencer marketing, and we plan to bring you even more in 2021, so stay tuned.

Please let us know which influencer marketing topics and ideas you’d like to see us focus on for 2021 — we’d love to hear your suggestions.

Many thanks to each of you who read our blog regularly, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

*SAP, Adobe, LinkedIn, Dell Outlet, RateLinx, AT&T, Spirion, and Treasure Data are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Best Of B2B Influencer Marketing: Our Top 10 Influencer Marketing Posts To Optimize Your 2021 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.