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Lucky 13 – Happy Birthday to TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog!

Posted on Dec 23rd, 2016
Written by Lee Odden
  • Blog
  • B2B Marketing
  • Lucky 13 – Happy Birthday to TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog!
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    TopRank Marketing drives results with content, influencer, SEO & social media marketing.

    Happy 13th Birthday TopRank Marketing Blog

    We have a lot to celebrate this time of year and I feel incredibly lucky that TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog gets to celebrate yet another blog birthday.

    Happy Lucky 13 Birthday Online Marketing Blog!

    And thank you to Ashley Zeckman for doing a great job managing our blog in 2016!

    I have a confession: Starting a blog in 2003 was just another “thing” to explore for its marketing value, not some ephiphany-inspired marketing journey. The inspiration came from a drive to reach more people with fewer resources in a meaningful way. Could blogging be the solution?

    In fact, the creation of TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog followed several other search marketing focused blogs that launched the same year including Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal and SEO Book. Two of those three are still going pretty strong with daily posts and large readerships.

    But it didn’t take long to realize that the useful content published through blogging was opening up doors for our business. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement.

    A million plus reasons. This year we’ve attracted just under 1.5 million visitors to our blog and search has led the way. 56% of our visitors come from search and much of the rest from direct and social networks. Our blog has been included on many top marketing blog lists with a growing network of 300,000+ across our social networks. We’ve attracted amazing talent, super smart clients and great partners – all thanks to the great blogging contributions from Ashley, Josh, Caitlin, Tiffany, Kevin, Knute and Jolina from our team.

    Thank you back! Beyond the acolades, rankings and such – some of the most meaningful feedback I get is when people approach me and say they’ve been following our blog through their career or after starting a business and how much it has helped them. What makes that feedback meaningful isn’t just the “warm fuzzy”, it’s seeing our strategy pay off: That the combination of content we create along with real world experiences will be instrumental for growing our business.

    Content is Social and Social is Influential. Today, creating content through blogging is as social of an activity for us as it is a way to provide ultility. We’ve connected with an incredible community of marketing industry influencers through content delivered as blog posts in addition to candidates, partners and clients. These connections have evolved into relationships and more.

    Slow Down and Ramp Up. In 2016 I took a backseat to creating content on our blog to focus on other areas of our business and methods of advancing our thought leadership. In my place, Ashley Zeckman has stepped up and published 3 times as many posts as I have. She’s also developed internal and external relationships for regular contributions and co-creation that have added a lot of value for our readers.

    Social and Influencer Marketing Dominate Our Topics. It’s amazing what happens when you develop a strategy, create a corresponding editorial plan and follow through. I’m only half being snarky with that comment. We published a lot more content around social media marketing since that is what people are interested in (and it’s an area of our business). In fact, our most popular post in terms of traffic for 2016 was 9 Social Media Marketing Trends That Could Make or Break Your Business in 2017.

    Side note: Out of the top 10 most popular (traffic) posts for the year, only 1 was actually published in 2016. Evergreen content FTW!

    We also published a lot more content about influencer marketing as a result of a decision to advance our thought leadership in this fast-growing area of our business. We were engaged by 3 Fortune 100 companies in 4th Quarter alone for influencer content programs and that trend is not going to slow down in 2017 at all. In part, this is thanks to the useful and thought leadership content around influencer marketing being published on the blog.

    Of course we’ll continue to cover all our staple topics that are most relevant to the practical areas of our consulting: Content Marketing, SEO, Social, Influencer Marketing. I also think we’ll evolve the fun Friday news videos that Tiffani and Josh do every week and do more video overall. I know our long time readers are thinking, “What took you so long?”.

    Besides kudos to Ashley, our excellent blogging team deserves a lot of thanks. To give you an idea of the great work they’ve been doing, here are some of their most popular posts:

    Ashley Zeckman
    314 career blog posts
    69 posts in 2016
    Most popular post of 2016:
    50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising Stars (5,600 social shares/engagement)

    Josh Nite
    61 career blog posts
    48 posts in 2016
    Most popular post of 2016:
    Content Marketing: Answer These 4 Questions in the First 15 Seconds (2,400 social shares/engagement)

    Caitlin Burgess
    56 career blog posts
    52 posts in 2016
    Most popular post of 2016:
    7 Tips for Making Your Brand More “Likeable” on Social Media (2,600 social shares/engagement)

    Tiffani Allen
    47 career blog posts
    47 posts in 2016
    Most popular post of 2016:
    Online Marketing News: Snapchat Unicorns, Periscope Moderation and Instagram Business (292 social shares/engagement)

    Lee Odden
    2514 career blog posts
    24 posts in 2016 (I can’t believe it either – time to get back to blogging in 2017)
    Most popular post of 2016:
    50 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Follow (6,100 social shares/engagement)

    Kevin Cotch
    10 career blog posts
    10 posts in 2016
    Most popular post of 2016:
    Understanding the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on SEO (1,800 social shares/engagement)

    Knute Sands
    7 career blog posts
    7 posts in 2016
    Most popular post of 2016:
    Easy-as-Pie Guide to Content Planning (1,600 social shares/engagement)

    Jolina Pettice
    75 career blog posts
    2 posts in 2016
    Most popular post of 2016:
    3 Great Storytelling Tips for Compelling Customers (1,100 social shares/engagement)

    We all contribute to your success. The rest of the team at TopRank Marketing contributes to our blog indirectly, by sharing insights, research and data as well as sharing the resulting blog posts to their social networks. Blogging is truly a team effort at TopRank Marketing and I think the end product really shows the impact of our collective wisdom and collaboration.

    Going forward. There’s a lot more I could share about this blog in celebration of our 13th blog birthday, but I think the overall focus here is that it’s important to experiment, but to do so with a vision or some long term goal in mind. If I wasn’t driven to persist with blogging during my first year despite no visitors, no engagement all with a substantial amount of of time invested, this blog would not have survived. Without that early survival, our young business would not have achieved the amazing momentum we have now, or laid the groundwork for being able to attract the team that runs blog now an into 2017. Persistence with vision (and ongoing optimization) pays off!

    Our community rocks! I am immensely appreciative of the support our community has provided in return to the useful content our team publishes on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog. I appreciate the contributions that super busy industry influencers and friends from Ann Handley to Joe Pulizzi to Mike Stelzner and many more continue to make to help make our content great. Also, a huge thanks to major brand executives from the U.S., UK and broader Europe that have contributed to our blog with their insights this past year.  Your investment in time makes this blog a better resource for us all. Thank you!

    Thank you to our team, our clients and our community for helping celebrate our blog birthday today: Lucky 13!

    Seasons Greetings!

    Here are some warm wishes from our team to yours.

    May your marketing programs be successful,
    to make your holiday season less stressful.

    May your customers be joyful and content,
    because of the great campaigns you sent.

    May your hearts be full and your season merry,
    so that you start 2017 refreshed and not wary.

    Thank you for being a part of our community.

    The Team at TopRank Marketing