Almost every day, a new platform, trend, or strategy emerges in content marketing.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise as in 2020, the average person consumed more than 7 hours of digital content a day. According to Forbes, that number’s only growing, thanks to all the new content and trends that continue to arise.
For marketers, here’s no way to keep up with everything alone — but thankfully, you don’t have to!
The content marketing industry is led by some super-knowledgeable, visionary influencers that we can look to for advice, fresh ideas, and inspiration. These experts hone their craft, and through their own digital content, they share advice, best practices, and lessons learned along the way.
That’s why, we’re sharing a list of the content marketing thought leaders most trusted by the industry. Think of these experts as your content marketing role models, sprinkling industry-leading expertise all over your social feeds.
Too busy to follow more people on social media? We get it. That’s why we’ve done the work and compiled the most valuable insights from two dozens of the best content marketing thought leaders in the industry.
Download our 2022 content trends guide. It’s packed with expert interviews from many of the influencers on this list, along with plenty of actionable ideas and practical tips.
Content marketing influencers who know where the industry’s going
Content marketing isn’t going anywhere. If anything, the industry is expected to grow by over 400 billion dollars over the next 3 years.
That’s a lot of growth — and tremendous potential. You need to leverage the power of content marketing, but this field is defined by change.
The tools, platforms, and preferences that shape content marketing never stop advancing and evolving. That’s why to keep up, you should look to the smart, reputable voices who lead content marketing today.
Combined, these influencers have 150+ years of content marketing experience, from blogging to content-creation to lead-generation to Google Analytics. They’ve built up their audiences by sharing their skills, experience, and expert opinions on how to do content marketing right.
Instead of trying to reach every blog article out there, follow the experts who have their finger on the pulse of the industry. By keeping up with these brilliant marketers via newsletters, podcasts, blogs, and social media, you can stay educated, informed, and inspired!
20 content marketing influencers who help us make sense of emerging trends
1. Joe Pulizzi
Joe is a content marketing speaker, strategist, author and entrepreneur. He founded the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), which teaches enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multichannel storytelling.
Joe knows something about growing and scaling a brand. In 2014 and 2015, Inc. Magazine recognized CMI as the fastest growing business media company.
Now, Joe’s sharing that expertise through The Tilt, an education and training newsletter for content marketers. It’s not to be missed — subscribe today!Follow Joe Pulizzi on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube!
2. Kim Garst
Kim helps entrepreneurs make money online through the power of social selling, live video, and online courses. An international best selling author and a keynote speaker, she was featured by Forbes as a Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer! If you’re looking to tap into the power of online courses, think of Kim Garst as your online role model. Follow Kim on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
3. Brian Dean
If you want to learn SEO from someone that really knows his stuff, look no further than Brian Dean. Through his blog and newsletter dedicated to SEO, Backlinko, which he has just sold to SEMRush—he shares nuggets of knowledge to help marketers take their search strategy to the next level. To learn about SEO from the best, follow Brian on LinkedIn, Youtube, and Twitter!
4. Ann Handley
Ann Handley shows marketers how they can translate content strategy into real-world results. She’s a best selling author, digital marketing pioneer, and social media expert.
Ann was cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in social media! She’s also Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs.If you want to turn your content strategy into incredible business results, follow Ann on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Or, sign up for her newsletter, and get her proven marketing expertise straight to your inbox!
Mark Schaefer is one of the world's leading marketing futurists and keynote speakers. He’s appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Wired, The New York Times, Fast Company and more!
6. Rand Fishkin
Rand Fishkin is a wealth of knowledge on search engine marketing and optimization — in fact, he’s the founder of SEOmoz.
Formerly known as ‘The Wizard of Moz’, he’s written multiple books on SEO, inbound marketing, and the startup world. His ‘Whiteboard Friday’ video sessions are a marketer’s favorite when it comes to learning about SEO and content.
7. Mari Smith
Mari Smith is the premier expert in Facebook marketing. She’s known for her power as a keynote speaker, and people love the free marketing guides and courses she offers through her website.
8. Jeff Bullas
Jeff Bullas is a top business blogger who’s been named the #1 content marketing influencer by Oanalytica. He’s appeared in Forbes, Inc., The New York Times, and The Huffington Post.
9. Jay Baer
Jay Baer is a motivational business growth expert on marketing, customer experience, customer service, and word of mouth. He’s the founder of Convince & Convert, a content marketing agency.
10. Robert Rose
Robert Rose is one of the world’s most recognized experts in digital content strategy and marketing. He’s a consultant, author, and speaker who, along with his firm The Content Advisory, has worked with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the Fortune 100.
11. Lauren Thomas
Lauren Thomas is a name to know when it comes to digital and social media marketing strategy. As Senior Manager of Communications at Intuit, her work has helped drive serious results for billion-dollar companies, including AT&T, Coca-Cola, and Macy’s.
12. Melissa Francois
Melissa heads up Social, Community, and Content at Zoom. She’s got lots to say about social media, marketing campaigns, product marketing, project management, content, and more.
If building your social media community is on your list for 2022, make sure to follow Melissa on LinkedIn.
13. Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer needs no introduction. This marketing powerhouse has written multiple books about his innovative, data-driven, digital-first approach. He’s a coach, speaker, author, and influencer.
14. Michele Linn
Michele is a top content marketing influencer whose company, Mantis Research, helps marketers publish and distribute their original, game-changing research.
15. Larry Kim
Marketing expert Larry Kim founded Mobile Monkey, a chatbot marketing platform that helps brands speak directly to their customers. He also founded WordStream, Inc, a leading provider of AdWords, Facebook and keyword tools. His writing has appeared in Inc. and Business Insider.
16. Matt Navarra
Matt’s well-known for his social media expertise and sharp, industry-defining commentary. Based in the UK, he’s worked with BBC, United Nations, Pinterest, Sainsbury’s, the UK Government, and more.
Join Matt’s Facebook Group, ‘The Social Media Geekout,’ to get support, advice, news and industry updates that will make you a better marketer. You can also follow Matt on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
17. Zontee Hou
For Zontee Hou, great marketing always comes back to communication. She's a lecturer for graduate Communications and Marketing courses, a speaker, workshop leader, and consultant. She’s also a Senior Strategist at Convince & Convert and has spoken about the importance of bringing diversity and authenticity to marketing.
18. Andy Crestodina
Andy is a speaker and author who’s taught people all over the world about search engine optimization, social media, analytics, and content strategy. His company, Orbit Media Studios, is an award-winning design firm creating conversion-focused websites.
Andy’s technical knowledge is super impressive. He’s the guy to follow if you’re looking for website inspiration, or expert knowledge on analytics and SEO.
19. Ted Rubin
Ted Rubin is all about #ReturnonRelationship — his strategy for building engaged customer bases who will vocally advocate for your brand! He’s been the CMO for various multimillion-dollar companies, but today, he’s a Social Marketing Strategist, author, and speaker.
20. Joe Lazauskas
Joe Lazauskas knows a thing or two about content marketing, since he’s Head of Marketing at Contently, which is all about making space for stories! He’s also a tech and marketing journalist who’s written for Fast Company, Mashable, The Huffington Post, and more.
Let the experts lead the way
With this much expertise out there, following your favorite influencers can feel like a job in itself.
To stay organized, try creating influencer-only lists on Twitter or Youtube, or creating a specific file to add their best content to. Then, you can review everything once a month, looking for the tips and best practices that make the most sense for your own marketing strategy.
But if you prefer your expert advice in a ready-to-go package, we’ve got something to help you out.
PlayPlay and the Content Marketing Institute just teamed up on an ebook about 2022 content trends. It features senior marketing experts from top companies such as Nasdaq, SAP, Prudential — along with many of the experts from this article!
Download the guide here. Learn how industry leaders are adapting their 2022 content strategy, and get inspired to make yours better than ever.