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Lee Odden

Topic Targeting Is The Best Answer To Most Problems

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This weekend I had the good fortune to present at the Minnesota Blogger Conference where nearly 300 local bloggers gathered to learn, get inspired and network.

For my part, I gave a presentation on how blogs are still an incredibly useful tool for marketing. Keeping the reason for blogging top of mind as well as empathy for reader preferences in how they find, consume and act on information are essential if a blog author expects marketing outcomes from their efforts.

When a blog or any content hub can become "the best answer" for the topics that are important for buyers, the return on blogging goes way, way up. One way to execute a content plan to become known as an authority is through topic targeting.

For experienced multi-channel and integrated marketing pros, this kind of approach is going to be fairly common. But for the vast majority of bloggers, whether they be corporate or enthusiasts, the shift from writing for yourself (or your brand) to writing to satisfy specific audience needs is a fundamental shift.

Topic targeting starts by answering a few key questions:

  1. How do you want to be known? How do you want your product or service to be known? What are you, your brand, product or serve the "best answer" for? That singular distinction is essential in order to stand out.
  2. What questions relevant to your area of expertise do buyers have? What information do they need in order to move from curiosity to specific interest to transaction?
As you come to find the sweet spot between how you want to be known and what customers care about, that's the focus of your topic targeting plan.

Topic targeting is an approach that involves creating resources, experiences and connections that result in an undisputed affinity between a target topic and your brand.

On a large scale for large companies, this is essentially brand marketing. For a small or medium business without massive budgets or resources, these 3 phases below represent a practical approach to becoming the "best answer" wherever customers are looking.

Inspire:

When starting out from a position without prominent authority on your desired topic, one of the most effective ways to close the gap between where you are and where you want your brand to be is to connect with those that already have the authority and community you desire. Recognizing topical influencers in a creative and qualitative way with an emphasis on inspiring readers to think in new ways about the topic is a good start. Co-creating content with topic influencers is also particularly effective. Your target topic will drive which influencers you engage with, the questions and interactions you have, and the titling of the resulting content.

Additional inspire tactics include speaking events that are "on topic" in the conference scope, track and/or title of your presentation. Social engagement promoting target topic content and events should also align. Comments made on industry articles (blogs and online magazines) are also opportunities to create affinity. Blogging about the target topic from different perspectives (what would a buyer need to know from start to finish) is also an effective directed content effort that will contribute to becoming the best answer.

Lastly, a limited number of guest posts on relevant, high profile blogs and contributed articles to industry magazines and websites on your target topic will provided added support for your brand and the target topic.

Desire:

Continue reading...

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About the Author:
Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a provider of innovative Internet marketing consulting for progressive B2B companies ranging from Marketo to PRWeb to McKesson. Odden has been recognized for his expertise with enterprise social media, SEO and content marketing strategies by The Economist, Advertising Age and Mashable. He writes a monthly column called Social Media Smarts for ClickZ and his blog at TopRankBlog.com has an active community with over 46,000 subscribers, 12,000 Facebook Fans and has been rated the #1 Content Marketing blog 3 times by Junta42. He is also the Author of "Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing" published by Wiley.
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