How We’re Building a Digital Advertising & SEO Dream Team

In today’s competitive and content-saturated digital landscape, SEO is no longer a stand-alone, sure-fire way to grab audience attention in the search results. As a result, the role of a search marketer is transforming beyond the traditional walls of organic SEO and merging with the world of digital advertising — and the hunt for skilled marketers with the right mix of both skillsets is heating up.

At TopRank Marketing, we’re taking part in that hunt.

After more than 15 years as a digital marketing agency, if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the collective talent of our team members is what drives our clients’ success and our company’s success. And we have our sights set on building a dream team.

As a member of the digital advertising and SEO teams, I was recently asked what great search marketing talent looks like. While I’m certainly not the ultimate judge of talent and skill, I will say that I’ve been in this industry since 2013, and I’ve seen many people come and many people go. I’ve seen careers fade out quickly, and I’ve seen other seemingly “overnight success stories” that take off like a rocket.

In my time in the industry, I have tried my hardest to learn from all of those people; learn why some people have fizzled out quickly and why others seem to hit the ground running. With that experience, as well as some of the core building blocks TopRank Marketing has outlined, below I share some of those skills and characteristics that we’re looking for and, really, every company should be looking for in SEO and digital advertising talent.

The Foundation

Like any other profession, there are must-have skills every SEO and/or digital advertising candidate must have. Simply put, I’ve had conversations with some people in hiring positions who simply won’t look at a resume unless it includes these foundational elements:

#1 – Google Certifications

There are numerous industry certifications out there. Honestly, it seems like every tool has their own set of certifications and badges, which may make some candidates think any certification can get your foot in the door. But don’t fall into that false sense of security. At the very least, it’s important to show up for the interview with these two certifications up to date:

  • Google AdWords
  • Google Analytics

#2 – Other Reputable Industry Certifications

Again, there are a ton of these to chose from. But having well-known and reputable certifications on your resume will show that you have the curiosity and the drive to learn and innovate. Some of those include:

The Structure

So you’ve passed the tests, updated your LinkedIn profile and printed the certificates. Now what? Well, now it’s all about you. Do you have the soft skills and personality traits it takes find fulfillment and do the work well? Here are some of the important qualities we look for in someone who’s interested in coming to TopRank Marketing.

#1 – The curiosity of a cat.

Whether it’s SEO, PPC, social media or any other niche in the world of digital marketing, the best in the industry always have a deep sense of curiosity. They want to understand how things work, and once they understand those innerworkings, they want dig deeper and find out why it works that way.

#2 – An analytical mind.

Being comfortable with analytics tools is more than being able to pass a Google Analytics exam. Now, nobody out there needs to be Avinash Kaushik, but the best in the business know how to go beyond the data and pull insights; they’re looking for ways to make that data actionable. They’re running A/B tests (and they want to run more of them) and experiments, and they work hard trying to communicate data in a way that would make Lea Pica proud.

#3 – Creativity in mind, body and spirit.

This might seem obvious, but great digital marketing professionals are really creative. Creativity doesn’t just mean that they are coming up with new and unique marketing ideas, creativity is who they are. They might spend time digging into art or music. Maybe they spend their time tinkering with things and refinishing old furniture (there’s that curiosity again). I follow quite a few digital marketers who exercise their creative muscle in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes. Being comfortable with thinking outside the box and coming up with something new is a skill that you will use often in your digital marketing career.

#4 – A strong business sense.

This doesn’t mean that the best SEOs and digital advertisers need MBAs. It means they understand why they’re doing what they do. It means they understand the impact that their activity has on the business. And it means they can tie KPIs to what matters most to the client/company.

The Spire

The final touch on any magnificent structure is the spire that sits atop. The spire is what stands out across the city skyline. For us, that defining characteristic is simple: An undeniable passion for what you do and who you do it with.

Our company culture is built on the passion our employees have for their work and their respective co-workers. After all, think about how much time you spend at the office. Without some love for the tasks and people who occupy that time, personal satisfaction and excellence can’t be found.

Interested in Joining the TopRank Marketing Dream Team?

That’s fantastic news. We happen to be hiring! Check out our Careers page to see a full list of open positions ranging from digital advertising and SEO to content and design.

Do You Really Need Another Blog Post? Why Content Marketing Needs More Flexibility

For at least a decade, the 500-word blog post has been the atomic unit of content marketing. Marketers like Joe Pulizzi and Marcus Sheridan built their entire careers on blogging. In Joe’s case, he started the blog without a business plan or a product, and developed both after building an audience through insightful, valuable blog posts. Even TopRank Marketing relied on blogging as a tactic for building thought leadership and establishing authority.

When new clients partner with our agency, they’re frequently looking to follow in Joe and Marcus’ footsteps. They’re likely to request 15-30 short blog posts a month as the foundation of their content efforts.  But we’re more likely to think in terms of content units—the amount of effort the content team will put in, rather than the specific output.

Should you focus your time and resources on a blog? Are there better ways to serve your audience? Here’s how our agency is changing the way we think about content.

Why Short-Form Blog Posts Are No Longer the Atomic Unit of Content Marketing Strategy

Short Blog Posts Are Losing Search Visibility
One of the chief purposes of a blog is to capture search engine rankings. You write useful content, people find it via search, they subscribe and keep coming back for more. But short blog posts aren’t great at capturing rankings anymore. There’s just too much short-form content out there for even the most optimized post to rise above it.

Quality Beats Quantity
Longer-form content tends to dominate search rankings. Comprehensive, in-depth best answer content will not only rank higher for the main search term, it’s more likely to include (and rank for) long-term keywords as well.

Just ask Neil Patel, of Kissmetrics fame. He posts 1500+-word blog posts on the regular. You’ll find his posts on any list of highest-ranked or most-shared content on any topic he addresses. 

Most of us don’t have the time and resources to post best answer content every day, but that’s okay—a steady drip of high-quality content is still preferable to a deluge of shallower takes.

Blog Posts Are Temporary by Design
The very structure of a blog means that old posts are less likely to be read than the latest post – and the latest one quickly joins the seldom-seen archives. This kind of content is good for satisfying subscribers, but not great for long-term search visibility. The end goal of repurposing content is to take old blog posts and turn them into evergreen assets – so it makes sense to actually design evergreen assets as part of your strategy. 

The Way People Consume Content Is Changing
Last year, mobile internet use outstripped desktop use for the first time ever. In other words, all new internet traffic is happening on mobile devices. That’s significant for content creators, because 84.9% of smartphone time is spent in apps, versus on the mobile web.  While desktop users might have spent more time reading blogs and visiting websites, mobile traffic is concentrated in apps like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. These apps require a different type of content to earn audience attention.

Blogs Are Still a Thing – But Not the Only Thing
That’s not to say that blogging is dead, of course. A blog can be a great place to interact with customers and prospects, build credibility, establish thought leadership, and round up subscribers. But focusing exclusively on creating a ton of blog content is no longer the best strategy.

More Flexible Content Alternatives

Instead of creating a set number of blog posts a month, focus on the outcomes you want to achieve. The deliverable should match your goals, not the other way around. You’ll end up with a more efficient use of your time and resources, and content assets that get the job done.

Long-Form Assets
For example, if your goal is to top the rankings for a specific keyword, roll three posts’ worth of effort into crafting a long-form resource. Then put that resource on your Features page, or give it its own slot on your navigation header – don’t bury it in the blog. The closer your page is to your site’s root directory, the more weight it carries for ranking purposes. That is, Google will give preference to “” than “”

Video Content
Trading short-form blog posts for video content is another useful tactic. Video can be embedded in a blog post, but also find another life on Facebook and YouTube. Our client DivvyHQ recently published a video series with the videos hosted on YouTube. They can serve their blog audience, but also reach out to a new audience through the YouTube app. TopRank Marketing creates a weekly news video that we post to Facebook, and each video earns hundreds of views natively on the platform.

 Influencer Content
If your daily blog responsibilities have kept you from exploring influencer marketing, it’s high time to devote attention to it. Influencers can help boost your credibility, increase visibility, and create relationships that will serve your business in the long-term. A single influencer co-created asset can achieve far higher visibility than the most comprehensive blog post.

Blog On – But Blog Wisely

The humble blog post had a good run – it dominated content marketing strategy for the 00s and most of the 2010s. But the content landscape is changing, and we need to change with it. Don’t ditch your blog just yet, but do examine how you’re using the time and resources available to you.

Focus on your desired outcomes rather than a rigid set of deliverables. Give your content team the flexibility to explore new strategies, and you can evolve your content mix along with your audience’s demands.

The Pope Hates Selfies. Semper Fi, Marines. The Brief for 11.10.17

Here are the notes from the Chris Brogan Media broadcast for 11/10/17. (You can watch this on my Facebook account).

The goal of these posts is that there are trends and ideas here that might impact your business now or soon. Think on the stories here and look for ways to adjust your business accordingly. If ever you’re stuck, get in touch with me and I can help.

This live video was all shot using Ecamm Live (client), the best way to do Facebook Live for Mac.

Please note that all links may be affiliate links. If someone is a client, I’ll call that out specifically.

Stories Shared

In scary news, Florida is proposing making kids’ backpacks bulletproof.

But this is good in a way. More people are looking for ways to stop violence. Here’s a software approach.

Facebook just relaunched Events as a kind of Local calendar app. Will it work?

KFC did something tricky. And it took years for someone to find it.

Looking for business ideas? Here are a bunch you can build yourself.

If you let AI tell a horror story, you won’t be disappointed.

There’s a trend here you might not expect. Watch my video to find out what.

The pope says hey, I’m preaching here. Stop with the selfies.

Fabric with memory? This is neato, or it will be.

Vegan doesn’t mean skinny. Look at me! Here’s a funny documentary on that topic.

And hey, cosplay. You know me.

Hey, if this has been interesting, consider picking up my weekly newsletter. It’s all unique ideas by me about how to improve buyer interactions and grow your business. Give it a peek

What ELSE is News?

You want to get featured on the Chris Brogan Media show? Drop me an email: and let me know what’s news!

Please Get My Newsletter

My newsletter is the best work I do every week. You can get yours here.

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Digital Marketing News: Email vs. SMS, Twitter Trolls Itself and Google’s AI Wizard

Email vs. SMS: Battle of the Heavyweights [Infographic]
In a battle of email vs. SMS, who is the winner? This infographic shows the differences between the two tactics in terms of volume, engagement, preferences and effectiveness by medium. MarketingProfs

Twitter trolls itself on new 280 character limit
As you may have heard via everyone’s favorite venting platform, Twitter has increased their allotted character count to 280. While many are happy with this change, some are disappointed or even concerned that it will ruin the value of the platform. CNN Tech

Google’s AI Wizard Unveils A New Twist on Neural Networks
This is a story 40 years in the making. Geoff Hinton (the man behind AI) published two new papers that offers a new twist on neural networks that enable machines to better understand the world via images and video. Wired

Study: Longer Videos Mean Higher Engagement
Even in the age of decreased attention spans, it seems that audiences prefer long-form video over short-form video. In fact, videos over 90 seconds receive 78% more shares and 74% more views. MediaPost

Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status hit 300M users, nearly 2X Snapchat
When it comes to features, it’s hard to tell the difference between Instagram Stories and Snapchat these days. Now that Instagram Stories has a solid user base, it’s time for Facebook to innovate and move away from copycatting Snapchat. TechCrunch

Facebook Registers Soaring Ad Revenues, Mobile Dominates.
Facebook experienced amazing third-quarter results with almost a 50% increase in advertising revenue. Additionally, 88% of that revenue is represented by mobile advertising. MediaPost

New Salesforce And Google Partnership Shakes Up The Cloud Race
The chocolate and peanut butter of marketing and sales analytics are finally coming together, as Google and Salesforce announce a new joint venture. Salesforce is committing to using Google’s G Suite, while Google Analytics will be fully integrated with Salesforce’s core platform. Salesforce has committed to using Google’s cloud storage as well, but will maintain multiple cloud vendors for the time being. Forbes

Older Photos and Videos Can Now Be Added to Instagram Stories
Instagram is now allowing users to add older photos from their camera rolls into their Instagram Stories. According to AdWeek, “Instagram said it will automatically suggest a new sticker to add context on when older photos or videos were taken, and users can choose to rotate, resize or remove the new sticker altogether before sharing their Stories.” AdWeek

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more digital marketing news! In the meantime, if you have something to share Tweet us @toprank or @Tiffani_Allen.

Send Your Scammers to Chatbots, Smartphones are Like The Obesity Epidemic – The Brief for 11.09.17

Here are the notes from the Chris Brogan Media broadcast for 11/09/17. (You can watch this on my Facebook account).

The goal of these posts is that there are trends and ideas here that might impact your business now or soon. Think on the stories here and look for ways to adjust your business accordingly. If ever you’re stuck, get in touch with me and I can help.

This live video was all shot using Ecamm Live (client), the best way to do Facebook Live for Mac.

Please note that all links may be affiliate links. If someone is a client, I’ll call that out specifically.

Stories Shared

Blockchain and logistics are a perfect marriage. UPS is joining blockchain through a trucking alliance.

You know that I’ve shared a resource post about blockchain already. I just added this great podcast miniseries to it. This will REALLY help.

Larry Kim’s smart. Here’s a great post where he analyzed the best possible headlines for your blog posts.

Speaking of smart, Amy and Michael Port have put out an amazing TED talk about performing for regular people (instead of actors).

We all know we have a smartphone problem, right? Maybe it’s even worse than we think.

Speaking of which, email scammers are a billion dollar business. Here’s a funny way to fight back.

My son’s a highly functioning autistic guy. That’s not why I’m reporting this. Toys R Us now offers a sensory friendly shopping hour.

What can you give kids (and you) to succeed? I like this post because it references the mastery approach to learning. This is how everyone should learn.

The holidays are coming. I liked this list of tech gifts for under $50 because otherwise, we’re all going to get socks!

Plant-based proteins are becoming such a huge business. Here’s yet another cool story of why.

There’s no trend for this. I just think this kid is super smart and HOW he sees things is the takeaway.

Hey, if this has been interesting, consider picking up my weekly newsletter. It’s all unique ideas by me about how to improve buyer interactions and grow your business. Give it a peek

What ELSE is News?

You want to get featured on the Chris Brogan Media show? Drop me an email: and let me know what’s news!

Please Get My Newsletter

My newsletter is the best work I do every week. You can get yours here.

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Report: What Marketers Need to Know About the ‘State of Video Marketing’

These days, there’s little doubt among marketers that video content is an incredibly powerful content marketing tool. After all, humans are visual creatures by nature, so it stands to reason that video often satisfies our content appetite. In fact, according to a Think With Google study, 50% of internet users said they’ve looked for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store.

But as more brands and marketers jump on the video content marketing bandwagon, it’s more important than ever to examine your strategy to ensure you’re getting the most out of your efforts. And a great starting point is to get the lay of the current video marketing land and emerging trends.  

Thankfully, Demand Metric and Vidyard recently published the 2017 Video Content Marketing Benchmark Study, featuring data and insights collected from marketers at B2B or mixed B2B/B2C companies—all of which reported revenue growth in the previous fiscal year, as well as using video to some degree.

Below I highlight some of the findings that I found most interesting, as well as what that means for you as you begin or refine your video marketing efforts.

1. Video marketing usage is not only on the rise, but the amount of video being created is growing rapidly.

According to the study, for the fourth consecutive year, over 90% of study participants reported that video is becoming more important to their efforts. But what’s more, the average number of videos being produced annually jumped from around 29 in 2016 to 38 in 2017.

Video Marketing Production

Of course, smaller companies are producing less video than big companies, but the gap is narrowing. For example, 2016 numbers showed that more than one-third of small companies were producing less than five videos every year. But in 2017 that number shrunk to just one-fifth.

What does this mean for marketers? While video seemed like the answer to overcoming content overload and capturing audience attention, the competition for creating high-quality, engaging and compelling video is growing. So, it’s more critical than ever to make sure you’re not just “doing” video, but that it’s a strategic and thoughtful piece of your overall content marketing mix.

It’s more critical than ever to make sure you’re not just “doing” #video. @CaitlinMBurgess Click To Tweet

2. The types of video marketers are investing in are expanding.

Product, demos and explainer videos lead the pack in terms of the most common types of videos being created, which isn’t a surprise. This type of content highlights a company’s product or service offerings, and expertise in a visual way. However, more forms of video such as how-tos, live streams, social media and those focused on company culture are becoming more widely used.

What does this mean for marketers? To me, this signals that video can and does enhance the customer journey at every stage of the funnel. Just as you craft written content to satisfy your audience’s quest for knowledge at different stages, video can be used in the same way. Furthermore, it can be used to achieve a variety of different marketing objectives such as recruiting new talent, humanizing your brand or sparking real-time engagement.

Video can & does enhance the customer journey at every stage. #videomarketing Click To Tweet

3. Video can inform, engage and convert.

Video, both produced and native, has long-been dubbed as a great way to inform and engage your audience. Studies have shown that we spend a huge chunk of our online time watching video, often multiple times a day. (My personal favorite are all those Tasty videos of recipes I’ll probably never make.)

But if you’ve been skeptical on the conversion power of video, don’t be. According to the report, roughly 70% of participants said video converts better than other forms of content.

Video Marketing ROI

What does this mean for marketers? Building off my point in the previous section, if you really want to commit to video and drive the ultimate objective of getting conversions, you should aim to create relevant, quality video content for every level of buyer’s journey.

70% of marketers say #video converts better than other content forms. @DemandMetric @vidyard Click To Tweet

4. Advanced measurement is key to unlocking the best ROI.

As with any marketing initiative, measurement is critical to understanding how you’re performing and uncovering opportunities for improvement. However, most marketers are just tracking and analyzing the basics such as views or shares—making it difficult to map video to ROI.

According to the report, just 13% of respondents said they’re using advanced metrics such as views by embed location, viewer drop-off rates, heat maps and attribution to sales pipeline. However, of that 13%, 71% say that these metrics help report much better on video ROI.

“A true and accurate measurement of the ROI of video (or any type of content) requires the adoption and use of advanced metrics,” the report states. “When advanced metrics are not in use, ROI determination is an estimate at best. When advanced metrics are in use, marketers have the information they need about video content performance to achieve even better results.”

What does this mean for marketers? Marketers are often looked at as the spenders within an organization. And while video can no longer be considered a “rising” trend, it can still be hard to get buy-in and more budget if you can’t prove its value. According to the report: “The best way to capture and exploit advanced metrics is to integrate video viewing data into Marketing Automation and/or CRM systems.”

Advanced #videomarketing metrics are key to achieving better results. @DemandMetric @vidyard Click To Tweet

Looking for Video Content Marketing Best Practices & Tips?

Check out these helpful resources on the TopRank Marketing blog:

In addition, if you want more on the state of video marketing, read the full report here.

How Just One Ecommerce Popup Offer Helped Canvas Factory Generate 1.1 Million in Revenue

Canvas Factory's Popup Success

When you hear ‘website popup’ in a marketing context, my bet is—as a discerning marketer—you all but cringe. Surely these boxes that jump up in the middle of a screen are for low-level marketers. They’re scammy, make you lose your train of thought, nobody likes them,…you’d never use ‘em.

But can you really hate popups if they’re found to drive results?

As heated as the debate can get, Richard Lazazzera, an ecommerce entrepreneur and Content Strategist at Shopify has a fair point in this reply to a comment on his blog post:

Image via the Shopify blog.

And drive sales they can.

By experimenting with popup overlays, Auckland-based Canvas Factory (an ecommerce shop providing high-quality canvas prints) has found a ton of success engaging prospects at exactly the right time.

Using just one popup that appears across several of their domains, Canvas Factory discovered the targeting that worked best for them, and—most importantly—brought in 1.1 million USD in revenue(!) via their offer.

In today’s post, we’ll share Canvas Factory’s story, along with some lessons learned, so that—if you’re tempted—you too can convert more site visitors.

Canvas Factory’s approach to ecommerce popups

Similar to many ecommerce brands, Canvas Factory wanted to convert more of the visitors leaving their site empty handed. They’d realized some prospects only needed a moderate incentive to get over any purchase anxiety, so they had started offering a small discount via a coupon.

Eventually they wondered if the coupon would perform even better if delivered via a popup at the right moment.

Experimenting, they created this popup overlay in Unbounce for their site:

One of Canvas Factory’s domains outfitted with their popup.

They duplicated this one design eight times for running across different domains on certain URLs. The copy was the same for each, offering $10 off someone’s first order in exchange for an email, and only appeared as someone was actively trying to leave the site, once per visitor.

The main difference was location. The brand ran four of these overlays across their product pages on their Australian and New Zealand domains, while another four appeared on the Canvas Factory blog across the same domains.

How’d the experiment go?

The Unbounce popup overlay has now been running from November 2016 to present and in comparing the period before using the popups to promote this same coupon code to now:

  • Canvas Factory has seen a 6% to 9% increase in use of the coupon, and
  • Subscription to their mailing list has grown by over 14.3%.

Now the brand’s marketers can do a better job actively nurturing prospects claiming the coupon, and re-marketing to successful first-time customers.

But in terms of the bottom line? Managing Director Tim Daley says it best:
Tim from Canvas Factory

“Unbounce played a key part in Canvas Factory’s conversion rate optimization activity for our subscriber campaign. This has contributed to over $1.1 million dollars in purchases.”

$1.1 million the brand may not have otherwise seen had they not tried the overlay? If that’s not making you reconsider whether or not your personal distaste for popups should stop you from trying one out, I’m not sure what will.

That said…

How’d the brand track success?

Tim tells us the coupon use was measured by integrating Unbounce popup overlays with their mail platform and their payment gateway CS-Cart:

“This [integration] allows us, per country level, to collect new subscribers, partition [them] to relevant country and then track their individual and group purchase application of the coupon acquired through the popup.”

Ultimately the integration lets Canvas Factory see:

  • How many customers are using coupons + how many discounts are being used total
  • Total revenue before and after coupons are applied
  • Average order value before and after coupons are applied
  • What kind of customers the brand’s attracting with coupons

All very useful factors in understanding how long a campaign like this is feasible for, and experimenting with different discounts.

Want to push your lead data collected via landing pages, sticky bars, and popup overlays through to your mail platforms and other tools? See our Integrations Powered by Zapier and all the connections available right in Unbounce.

It’s all about location: A lesson on why popups in the wrong place are a big mistake

Your gut feeling that popups can be scammy? It’s not far off. If used incorrectly at the wrong time or on the wrong URL of your site, they certainly can be. We’ve all seen these types of popups and they’re maddening.

In Canvas Factory’s case, it wasn’t as simple as create the popup, set it and forget it. In running their Unbounce popup overlay in several locations, they’ve learned placement and timing is critical.

In Tim’s case, he discovered that the blog wasn’t the proper placement for this particular offer, it was simply too soon in the buyer journey to be offering someone a discount. With posts on the brand’s blog aimed to help you take better photos of your kids and other photography tips, this level of awareness doesn’t really align with wanting to purchase right away.

Overall, Canvas Factory’s blog popup conversion rate was 0.18% versus the up to 11% conversion rate they’d seen on product pages where the purchase intent was likely higher.

As outlined above, aim to align your offers with buyer intent.

The lesson:

If you choose the right place for your offer (pricing pages and high commitment URLs in Canvas Factory’s case), you’ll see results because you offered a timely and relevant incentive. In the wrong place, however, you simply won’t see the results you want, and worse, you’ll irritate and annoy your visitors.

So you shouldn’t use popups on your blog?

No—Canvas Factory’s unique experience isn’t to say that popups on your blog won’t work, because they definitely can. You just have to choose the right kind of offer and perfect targeting. Because your blog readers may not be product aware yet, you need to align your offer with the level of awareness readers do have about your company (i.e. they might be open to a free in-depth ebook about the exact topic they’re already reading about).

You might also try directing your blog traffic to an even higher-converting area of your site.

Here’s a super relevant clickthrough popup Seer’s Wil Reynolds uses to offer up more relevant content on his site:

By proactively serving up what prospects might want next, Seer becomes more trustworthy and keeps people engaged on their site longer (which is a great sign in Google’s eyes). You can make traffic shaping like this the goal of some of your popups in locations where a higher-commitment ask doesn’t make sense.

Try an Experiment Yourself

Overall, popups can definitely be annoying when used aggressively or poorly (there’s no arguing that) but, as we’ve seen with Canvas Factory, proper targeting and relevant offers can make all the difference to both marketers and site visitors who can be receptive to proper incentives at the right time.

If you’ve got a great campaign or offer running, a well-timed and targeted popup could ensure all the right people see it and that you don’t leave opportunities on the table.

Try an Ecommerce popup from Unbounce today

Flying Cars, Smart Robots, and Cars Made from Ocean Waste – The Brief for 11.08.17

Here are the notes from the Chris Brogan Media broadcast for 11/08/17. (You can watch this on my Facebook account).

The goal of these posts is that there are trends and ideas here that might impact your business now or soon. Think on the stories here and look for ways to adjust your business accordingly. If ever you’re stuck, get in touch with me and I can help.

This live video was all shot using Ecamm Live (client), the best way to do Facebook Live for Mac.

Please note that all links may be affiliate links. If someone is a client, I’ll call that out specifically.

Stories Shared

According to a report from Deloitte, over 26000 blockchain projects were launched in 2016 alone.

If you’re STILL confusing bitcoin and blockchain, this is a great article that helps.

Even though I think Snapchat is a bust, China’s Tencent just snapped up 12.5% of the company’s shares.

Evidently NASA is partnering with Uber to make flying cars.

From the skies to the seas, Volvo is making cars from ocean waste. Well, their interiors.

I’m not a big fan of VR, but this museum visiting project seems pretty cool.

You know I love video. Here’s a great article from Content Marketing Institute about the formula for making great video featuring Amy Schmittauer Landino herself.

Congrats to the first openly transgender US legislation member, Danica Roem, who beat out the guy who sponsored the infamous “bathroom bill” and called himself the state’s “chief homophobe.” Victory plus karma?

Want to find out how much a sponsored post is worth on your Instagram? Now you can. I’m not worth crap. 🙂

Have you heard of Sophia? She’s an AI communications robot that famously made a crack at Elon Musk but also said she wanted to destroy all humans. She’s an interesting one to see interviewed.

I love ending with cosplay. How about people who dress up as Star Wars vehicles?

Hey, if this has been interesting, consider picking up my weekly newsletter. It’s all unique ideas by me about how to improve buyer interactions and grow your business. Give it a peek

What ELSE is News?

You want to get featured on the Chris Brogan Media show? Drop me an email: and let me know what’s news!

Please Get My Newsletter

My newsletter is the best work I do every week. You can get yours here.

Print Friendly

Here we Grow Again: Welcome New VP Katie Uphus to TopRank Marketing

Here we grow again TopRank Marketing

TopRank Marketing evolved from PR to digital marketing agency in the mid 2000’s, right about the time our new VP of Operations got into agency project management.

Twelve years and multiple advancements from a creative agency Director of Production to Senior Director of Operations later, Katie Uphus has now joined the team as Vice President at TopRank Marketing.

Katie Uphus Lee Odden

Talent is what makes our agency magical for our B2B clients and we’re excited to bring Katie on board. Her experience developing teams, coordinating workflow and marketing operations will help us establish the framework for an environment where each of our team can become the best they can be in their respective roles.

At the same time, we’re focused on optimizing how our teams work together in order to deliver the best possible solutions for our clients and a satisfying work environment for our professional team of smart, creative and results-focused marketers.

My co-founder Susan Misukanis and I are committed to supporting the team at TopRank Marketing with the best talent we can find. We have 5 new team members joining the agency in November and several more Account Managers, Content Marketers, Social Media Specialists and Influence Marketing Specialists to be added through the rest of Q4 and into the new year. Here is a list of our open positions.

As part of Katie’s introduction to the TopRank Marketing community, I’ve asked her to share a little about herself from background to thoughts on the industry to my favorite social network word association game.

What is your background working in the marketing agency world?

For the past 12 years I’ve been at StoneArch, a Minneapolis health and medical marketing agency, where I served in various management and leadership roles. Prior to that, I spent nearly 10 years at Optum. In the early days, when Optum was an employee assistance program, I was a counselor and management consultant, and eventually moved into marketing and product management.

What do you love most about digital marketing?

I like that brands are being pushed to create better and more meaningful experiences for people–beyond the usual “hard sell,” and actually finding ways to be useful to people.

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned when it comes to managing marketing teams?

Good collaboration comes when each individual from each discipline understands and appreciates the value of the other’s contribution. With clear guiding principles and some form of process or structure to guide the work, smart individuals can make big things happen.

It’s still early days in your time with TopRank Marketing, but so far, what excites you the most about the agency?

TopRank Marketing is ahead of the curve in the content marketing space–real thought leaders in the world of influencer marketing. They are their own, best case study for how to do it right….not the typical “cobbler with no shoes” scenario. There’s a real sense of excitement and curiosity on the team–they inspire and energize each other!

What are some of your overall goals for 2018?

My main goal will be to optimize the efforts of all the smart people of TopRank. They are doing amazing work; I can help bring greater alignment between people and systems and processes to support growth. In order to do this, it will be important for each team member to explore and develop their own professional identity and goals; I want to help with this. It’s the most exciting aspect of the work for me.

Now for some fun questions:

Where would you go on a dream vacation?

My adventuresome mom, Rose, traveled the world and would come home with stories that were so enchanting and thrilling to me. In particular, I was taken by the way she described Portugal–the feeling it evoked in her–homey and foreign at once. The treacherous driving and the blue, blue water; the caves where they made wine and whiskey, and the pottery, of course. The warm, welcoming people. The patrons playing the piano in the basement pub of the ancient palace where they stayed. It’s been on the top of my list ever since she came back. I hope it’s exactly as she recalls.

What is your favorite band, book and movie?

Music: Nina Simone is my current obsession. I’m a big Lucinda Williams fan…and I have a deep love-hate for Dylan. Favorite book might still be The Catcher in the Rye. Movie: Muriel’s Wedding always lifts my spirits, if I make it through the end.

What do you love most about Minnesota?

The month of October is magical to me. And family, of course: ten of my eleven siblings live here in Minnesota–several recently returned after many years away. I left for a few years too, after college–to Alaska then the San Francisco Bay Area, both of which l still have a great fondness for, but Minneapolis is home.

What brings you joy?

Young Joni’s clam pizza and Indeed’s Peach Bum IPA at the moment. The many lovely children in my life.

Let’s play word association. I’ll list some social networks and you share the first word(s) that come to mind:

  • Facebook – Russian trolls
  • Twitter – Donald Trump
  • LinkedIn – Impressively less spammy these days
  • Instagram – Fun and personal visual storytelling
  • Snapchat – Are they profitable yet?
  • YouTube – My go-to for cooking tutorials
  • Pinterest – Great for big life moments
  • Tumblr – Meme generator
  • Reddit – Same as above
  • Google+ – Never bothered
  • WhatsApp – Free calls to my sister in England!
  • Flickr – GenX Instagram

Thanks for playing along with my questions Katie and welcome to the TopRank Marketing team!

4 Tips for an Out-Of-This-World B2B Marketing Agency Partnership

Who was the first person to set foot on the moon? Of course the answer is Neil Armstrong — who else?

But, actually, the question really is “who else?” In order for Armstrong to walk the moon, there were innumerable individuals who contributed something large or small to get him there. His mom and dad, Mission Control, fellow astronaut and crew member Buzz Aldrin, a nation of taxpayers — and the list goes on.

What’s the point? Simply put, there’s no doubt that Armstrong was an amazing pioneer, but he didn’t get to the moon — or back home — alone. It took a team.

Being a marketing pioneer in the B2B technology space is no different. You need to have skills and ambition of your own, but you also need an amazing team by your side.

“The technology industry is synonymous with rapid pace and constant change, and technology marketers are expected to lead that change,” trusted colleague and client Angela Schwecke, Senior Director of Global Audience Marketing at SAP SuccessFactors, said. “Success depends on many factors, but the most important is choosing the right team, not the least of which is your agency.”

So, how can you be sure you have the right team aboard your mission? Let’s blast off and explore the four critical characteristics of an outstanding partnership with a marketing agency, plus snag some pointers from marketers like you on how to make your client-agency partnership soar.

Always-On, “Snoopy Cap” Communication

It’s no secret that astronauts must wear protective, pressurized suits to keep them safe whenever they exit a spacecraft. And as you might expect, constant communication with their team is critical. So, their space suit comes equipped with a Communications Carrier Assembly, which is often called: the “Snoopy Cap.”

Just like astronauts must stay in direct, always-on communication during spacewalks for safety and effectiveness, so too must a client and agency to be successful.

In the B2B space, you’re likely fielding communications from a variety of stakeholders inside and outside of your Mission Control center. As a result, you need an agency partner who can cut to the chase — with good news and opportunities.

Expect your agency to regularly share what is happening with your results. In a perfect world, your results would always give you over-the-moon warm-fuzzies. But if the results aren’t where you’d like them, expect your agency to acknowledge that directly and bring you an action plan. A great partner should serve up solutions — not problems.

Flight Surgeon Trust

In the early days of space exploration, astronauts-in-training avoided their flight surgeons at all costs. Just one sneeze in front of their doc might get them grounded. Today, things are different. Flight surgeons have strong partnerships with astronauts. From riding along during training exercises to flying in T38s, flight surgeons do everything they can to ensure astronauts stay on flight status. Once in flight, astronauts can feel safe putting their health in their flight surgeon’s hands because they’ve become a trusted partner.

In our experience, top-performing marketing programs are rooted in a similar, strong, trusting client-agency partnership. To select an agency, listen to your gut during the sales process. If you’re feeling uncomfortable or pressured up front, it might not be a fit.

Then look for signals that instill confidence from Day 1 of your partnership:

  • Are they asking critical questions to completely understand your objectives, priority metrics, audience, industry, brand voice, key messages and more?
  • Do they understand your marketing mix and how their contribution fits in?
  • Are they genuinely interested in how your brand can solve problems for your customers?
  • Are they familiar with the intricacies of your industry?

Once you’re feeling comfortable with your agency, don’t be afraid to give them the joystick. You hired them for a reason. Let them push boundaries and you might be surprised how high you can soar.

Mission-Specialist Thought Leadership

A “mission specialist” is an astronaut with specific expertise who comes aboard a spaceflight to lead a particular research project. These individuals may not be able to fly a space shuttle, but they are the absolute best at what they do.

Expect your agency partner to be the mission specialist and a strategic thought leader on your team. Esteemed marketer and client, Katie Levinson, Senior Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn Elevate, said partnering with a strategic thought leader is her top priority when solidifying a long-term partnership.

“I like agencies who bring fresh new ideas to the table, and the ideas are based on the goals of my business and their knowledge of my target audience,” she said.

Schwecke also added that your agency partner in the B2B tech space should be able to help you lead marketing change, have their pulse on modern marketing hallmarks and be able to create star-studded communications.

“Tech marketers must look for an agency that not only embraces, but embodies change,” she said. “Many agencies will claim to have B2B tech capabilities, but spend time drilling down on those details.”

“Look for a team that embraces modern marketing hallmarks like digital, social, and influencer marketing,” Schwecke added. “You’ll be able to find a few. But rarer still, will be the agency that understands the how those marketing elements can be combined to create new and disruptive communications. If they are passionate about that, you have a winner.”

Tech marketers must look for an agency partner that embraces & embodies change. @aschwecke Click To Tweet

Your agency should continue to earn their seat in the cockpit by bringing forward new ideas and by iterating on tactics based on learnings. You don’t want an agency that is going to sit still.

“We Have Lift Off” Execution

Perhaps one of the most iconic quotes from the launch of the Apollo 11 mission — the mission that would land humans on the moon — is “We have lift off.” As it relates to choosing a trusted agency partner, the former characteristics discussed don’t mean much if your agency can’t execute.

Many agencies can show you a beautiful presentation, but if they are not driving results aligned with your objectives then what’s the point?

When it comes to selecting an agency that can execute the mission, Levinson said: “I look for attention to detail, creative thinking, and the ability to stick to a timeline (or beat it) as key for success long-term.”

She also noted it was important for an agency to drive optimization after tactics are implemented:

“Along with this, the ability to optimize content and other programs through performance metrics is key,” Levinson said. “It’s not enough to launch a program — an agency needs to help you understand if it’s successful and how to make the next project even better.”

The ability to optimize through performance metrics is key. – @kplevins on working with an agency Click To Tweet

Look for a partnership where your agency leads the charge with thoughtful execution, quickly followed by measurement and optimization.  

Astronaut Training Never Stops

No astronaut can be flight-ready without intensive, ongoing training. If you really want to fly, take some advice from stellar content marketer and longtime client, Emily Miller, Content Strategy Lead at

“Working with an agency is a two-way street,” she said. “It is important as a client to make sure you’re upholding your end of the agreement. You can’t expect the agency to be successful if you aren’t willing or able to put in the energy to make sure they understand your business. That includes sending timely and constructive feedback, as well as doing your homework before meetings to make sure you’re both getting the most out of the time.

“From the agency side, I always appreciate when account managers document meetings and follow up with what was discussed and who has ‘homework’ so that we aren’t re-hashing the same thing each meeting.”

It is important as a client to make sure you’re upholding your end of the agreement. Emily Miller Click To Tweet

You can help your agency become a trusted extension of your marketing team by:

  • Providing frequent, constructive feedback – even if the conversation isn’t easy
  • Setting clear expectations for what you are looking for and when
  • Extending your trust, allowing the agency space to think big

Need a New Support Team?

If this article left you wanting more from your agency partner, don’t be afraid to reach out. Our team of smart, creative and results-focused professionals are ready to take on your biggest challenges and bring new ideas to your content, SEO, social media, digital advertising and influencer marketing. Pop on your “Snoppy Cap” and send some radio waves our way today.