The fast-moving world of content marketing is filled with an abundance of opinions trends, and insights. In fact, it can be hard to distinguish the signal from the noise.
To help you along, we’ve compiled a list of 20 of the top content marketers in both B2B and B2C. While by no means an exhaustive or definitive list, it’ll get you started in the right direction. Read on for an overview of each (presented in no particular order) along with their top content marketing tips.
B2B Content Masterminds
Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, self-professed content marketing bossypants, and best-selling author of Content Rules and Everybody Writes. Her top advice: Create bigger stories, braver marketing, and a bolder tone of voice. Also, quality matters most, and marketers need to be creating content that has real empathy for the audience they are trying to reach.
Michael Brenner spearheaded SAP’s effective foray into content marketing and is now CEO of Marketing Insider Group and author of The Content Formula. His top advice: When making the business case internally for an investment in content marketing, frame your argument around the goals that matter to your unique business needs. Some companies measure ROI with goals related to reaching early-stage buyers, others focus on engaging new prospects, and others prioritize conversions in terms of leads, sales revenue, and retention. It could even be a mix of these.
Joe Pulizzi–often referred to as the grandfather of content marketing–founded the Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World, the world’s biggest annual content marketing event. His top advice: Content marketing is not a campaign–it’s an approach, a philosophy, and a business strategy.
Doug Kessler is the forward-thinking Co-founder and Creative Director of Velocity Partners, Ltd. His top advice: Be insanely honest in your content marketing. Embrace the tenets of authenticity and transparency and publish unexpectedly truthful facts about your business. Doing so can both surprise and delight your reader, build trust, and attract your ideal prospects.
Ahava Leibtag is a speaker, writer, content marketing strategist and President of Aha Media Group. Her top advice: Consider information design, which affects how humans perceive the written word, to break through the noise of thousands of other messages competing for your buyers’ attention. Some actionable tips include leading with verbs, not nouns, cutting copy length, reading copy out loud, and ensuring your content is concise, informative, and attractive.
Andrew Seibert, Managing Partner of Imprint and Chairman of the Content Council, is deeply ingrained in the content marketing community. His top advice: Create a sensible strategy that is both realistic and bold at the same time. Continuously measure, learn, pivot, respond, and analyze your strategy, considering it a living entity.
Tomas Kellner is the Managing Editor of GE Reports, a successful brand magazine featuring stories on technology that draws over half a million readers. His top advice: Focus completely on storytelling, with real protagonists solving real problems and reaching real outcomes. Be newsworthy, and let your readers learn something new. And don’t forget about distribution. Everyone can be a publisher, but in order to be a successful publisher, you have to build your own distribution channels.
Jason Miller is the Global Content Marketing Leader at LinkedIn and author of a best-selling book on social media and content marketing, Welcome to the Funnel. (He’s also a Marketo alum and rock ‘n’ roll photographer on the side.) His top advice: combine the one-two punch of social media and content marketing as part of an integrated marketing approach. The most forward-thinking companies combine social, PR, and content into one team that works hand-in-hand with demand generation, all reporting to the CMO.
Pamela Wilson is an award-winning designer and marketing consultant who runs the popular Copyblogger blog. Her top advice: Stop the guesswork in content marketing. When you don’t know what really works, every new content marketing technique that comes along is a distraction. Content marketing results happen slowly, over time.
Ardath Albee is a B2B marketing strategist, CEO of Marketing Interactions, conference speaker, and author of Digital Relevance. Her top advice: It’s time to retire the campaign concept and think in terms of continuous stories. A start and stop date may be convenient for marketers, but it doesn’t fit the needs of your prospects. Continue the story throughout the buying process, and give the buyer what they need at the exact moment they need more information.
Consumer Content Masterminds
Marcus Sheridan, better known as The Sales Lion, made his mark by using content to make the website of his relatively unknown pool company the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world. He’s now a global speaker and consultant in the digital sales and marketing space. His topic advice: Content marketing is a philosophical shift as a business. Organizations must see themselves as teachers and problem solvers, not simply “content marketers.”
Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly is the SVP of Global Brand, Integration, and Insights at American Express, and an award-winning marketer. She led the creation of OPEN Forum, an online community often considered as the poster child of successful content marketing. Her top advice: Remember that helping your audience is the most important component of content marketing, build a community on your owned properties, and leverage outside expertise to build authority.
Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull founder and CEO, sits at the helm of one of the most successful in-house content teams, Red Bull Media House. His top advice: Content marketing’s first and primary goal is to produce and distribute high quality and unique content for owned channels, as well as partners. He has said, “Red Bull is a media company that happens to sell energy drinks.” The company expects the Media House to start making a direct profit, but claims the business value in the form of awareness and media dollars saved far outweighs the expense.
Neil Patel, Co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics, is at the forefront of digital marketing, growth hacking, and conversion optimization. His top advice: Content should be prioritized as the most important element you can use to capture and nurture leads, educate and build loyalty among prospects, create interest in your business, and improve your search traffic.
Tom Fishburne is not only a career marketer, he’s the artist behind Marketoonist, a well-loved parody of the world of marketing by way of a weekly cartoon. In fact, we use him for our social media post, #FridayFunny. His top advice: Don’t exaggerate the importance of your brand in your consumers’ lives. Consumers are complex and may not spend as much time thinking about your brand as you imagine.
Chris Brogan is a New York Times best-selling author and CEO of Owner Media Group. His top advice: Brevity, clarity, and connectedness rule. Stop selling to everyone. Sell to the right 1000. Over and over.
David Beebe, Marriott’s Emmy-winning Vice President of Global Creative and Content Marketing, launched a highly successful global content studio within the hotel brand. His top advice: Galvanize your team around a content marketing initiative by focusing on the “three Cs”: scaling content, building a community around that content, and driving commerce.
Ron Faris led content marketing efforts as the head of brand marketing at Virgin Mobile. His top advice: A brand with no content is a brand with nothing to say. The trick is to create or curate in a manner that’s authentic to the brand’s voice.
Julie Fleischer led content marketing strategy at Kraft Foods Group as Senior Director of Data, Content, and Media. Her top advice: The key in content marketing is in understanding what consumers really truly want/need, and providing it to them in the method, time, and place of their choice. You can’t only be good at one or the other–you have to nail both.
Anna Hill is the CMO at the Walt Disney Company UK. Her top advice: The opportunity from digital media, blogs, and social media is to connect with our audience on a daily basis, say something different and more extensive about our brand, and build a relationship with our consumers.
Good stuff, right? And there’s more to come. Turns out 88% of B2B organizations and 76% of B2C organizations report to be using content marketing in 2016, a steady increase over previous years. While this rise in adoption is encouraging, there’s clearly a lot to learn as marketers from every industry work to improve their efforts since only 32% of B2B companies, and 37% of B2C, say their content marketing maturity level is sophisticated or mature.
To learn more from these great minds, follow our Twitter List, Content Marketing Leaders. What other moves and shakers of the content marketing space should we be learning from? What advice would you add? I’d love to hear in the comments below.