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- July 18th, 2018
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from our latest Sophisticated Marketer’s Quarterly Magazine: Issue 3. Get your free print copy here!
I was updating my Feedly RSS feed last month as part of my digital spring clean at the start of the year. The thing was: as I went through the creativity and marketing-related blogs that I follow, I realised how many there are that I would never want to be without.
This is a great time for any B2B marketer that’s interested in original thinking and inspiration. There’s a rich landscape of valuable content out there: very different areas of expertise, different perspectives and different styles. With all of this content to draw from (and with services like Feedly to help you organise it all in an efficient way), there’s no excuse for not being informed – and for not finding new ideas pretty much every day.
Here’s how I’m making use of it all: the 50 blogs on creativity, technology and marketing that I follow religiously. I’ve divided them up by subject areas and styles to make it easy to find the content that you’re most interested in. That said though, I’d recommend making space for any and all of these in your own feed. You’ll be a better B2B marketer for it:
It’s one of the fastest-moving areas of marketing – and a skillset that every marketer needs. These blogs will help to keep you where it’s at on search trends
Blind Five Year Old
Blind Five Year Old is an SEO agency and blog run by AJ Kohn. The name comes from a tried-and-tested SEO philosophy: treat search engines like they are blind five year-olds. It’s technical but very authoritative and a must-read if you’re passionate about search.
Link-building is still a woefully under-appreciated art in SEO and content marketing. Brian Dean’s blog dispenses much-needed, practical wisdom that can make a real difference to your content visibility.
Tubular Insights (formerly ReelSEO)
If you’re planning a role for video content in your strategy then you need to follow this blog. It’s where you find the real juice on what works and what doesn’t – from a technical as well as a creative perspective.
The grand-daddy of all SEO blogs, headed up by the legendary Rand Fishkin. It will keep you on top of all the latest developments in search – with plenty of inspiration and new tactics mixed in.
Search Engine Land
More news-focused than the other SEO blogs that I follow, this one gives me absolute confidence that I’m on top of everything I need to know.
SEO by the Sea
I think of this as a living encyclopedia of search. It takes a research-led approach to SEO issues as they come up, combing through published material from the search engines to piece together how things actually work.
Marketing and Advertising
From content marketing to demand and lead generation and proving ROI – these are the blogs I turn to for industry news and inspiration:
Content Marketing Institute
From the ups and downs of working with content agencies to the nuts and bolts of building a content calendar, with plenty of top-level tips on formats from podcasts to webinars thrown in: this is a feed must-have for content marketers. You’ll find plenty of great in-depth resources too.
Convince and Convert
Jay Baer is one of the most entertaining, original and insightful voices out there on content. His blog stands out for its focus on linking content back to the bottom line. You want evidence, numbers and ROI? This blog will help you deliver them.
Social Media Examiner
Your ‘guide to the social media jungle’ delivers a regular flow of ‘how to’ posts that answer some of the most pressing practical questions you’re likely to have as a content marketer.
There’s a great mix of technology-related content on here, including on broader issues of how marketing and tech intersect. The real value, though, is in the podcasts: practical insights from real experts on different emerging platforms.
Copyblogger founder Brian Clark is one of the original pioneers of B2B content marketing as we know it today. This blog reflects that legacy: it’s packed with resources (again, the podcasts are particularly good), but also with posts that explore all aspects of what it means to be a content marketer today.
Michael Brenner is the author of The Content Formula and one of the most widely shared thought-leaders on LinkedIn SlideShare, which makes his blog an essential addition to your feed.
Broad-ranging, authoritative and current, with around five new posts a day on average: Marketing Land is a great source for the digital marketing news that you won’t necessarily get from the mainstream marketing press. It’s not afraid of a good strong opinion either.
Any blog associated with my friend and mentor Ann Handley is guaranteed to deliver smart, alternative opinions that are sharply expressed. The Marketing Profs blog doesn’t disappoint. Add it to your feed and you’ll find a regular stream of alternative perspectives on life as a content marketer. You’ll also get a heads up on Marketing Profs’ new resources (some of the best in the business), as they’re launched.
Metrics and analytics remain a blind spot for many content marketing strategies. This blog is on a mission to remedy that. It focuses on the outcomes you need and then works back to explore the techniques that can get you there.
It promises “digital marketing news with side of snark” and I honestly can’t think of a better description for what AimClear serves up. It’s a living example of how you can pep up content by stirring a bit of attitude and energy into it.
AdAge is still one of marketing’s most authoritative thought-leadership brands – and that’s reflected in the heavyweight line-up of columnists on this blog.
Savvy, smart and plugging you straight into the creative side of marketing: I get a regular top-up of creative inspiration from Adland.
Out-there opinions, occasionally off-message, and always interesting whether you agree with them or not: that’s what you get with this blog.
Ogilvy On our Minds
Tapping you straight into the thinking of a global agency, with perspectives and practical advice from across different markets.
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions EMEA
You know about this one already of course – I’m really proud of the content we put out there for B2B marketers.
The marketers I have massive respect for:
There are blogs that I follow religiously because I know, admire and respect the author. I’ve never been disappointed by the results:
Personal reflections from the frontline of content marketing from one of the quickest-witted, most empowering and most inspiring writers out there. You need Ann Handley’s thinking in your life.
The first thing I did after meeting Minter Dial was to add his blog to my feed. He’s a passionate storyteller with a unique perspective born of his experiences as an award-winning filmmaker and marketing leader at L’Oréal. His contact book adds up to a great list of interviewees and guest bloggers as well.
B2B marketing wisdom delivered in straight, understated, no-nonsense style. Whether he’s curating or creating, Matt Heinz is well worth listening to.
Chris is one of the smartest marketing minds I’ve ever come across and following his blog is one of the most enjoyable ways imaginable to get a handle on metrics in marketing.
The author of Engage!, WTF and X is also a prolific contributor of industry-specific articles and posts – and they are all collected on this blog. However, this is just part of Brian’s contribution to the blogosphere. For more off the cuff thoughts, make sure you subscribe to Gapingvoid (see below) as well.
Neil is a genuine online marketing guru. The content on his blog covers everything from the technicalities of bounce rates to insights on how to find profitable niche audiences. He’s also the master of the irresistible call to action: ‘Yes, I want to learn everything’; ‘No, I don’t want more traffic on my blog’. If I’m writing a CTA, his blog is a great place to look for inspiration.
Mark has one of the most engaging writing styles in B2B marketing – and also one of the most interesting contact books. Put those two things together and you get hugely readable posts with insights on new developments, research and trends that you often won’t find elsewhere. The tagline for his ‘grow’ blog is Marketing. Strategy. Humanity. And that’s exactly what it delivers.
Heidi’s Actionable Marketing blog is as determinedly practical as it promises to be. You get great tips on everything from making over neglected content to overcoming the dreaded writer’s block.
It’s the most original, most unique, most inspiring marketing blog out there. Seth writes as he thinks – like nobody else. His daily posts are succinct, hugely personal and yet hugely relevant to the business of marketing – and the business of being alive.
Here’s where I turn for a shot of inspiration – often from out of left-field and all the more potent for that:
This blog is like no other on this list – in fact, it’s like no other blog full stop. It’s the stream of consciousness of writer Chuck Wendig. It goes where no other thought leadership on creativity dares to. My friend Mitch Joel absolutely swears by it (hear him reading one of the posts here). It’s your morning espresso hit of insane content inspiration.
Irreverent, insightful and often very funny, the Gapingvoid blog fuses witty cartoons on the marketing zeitgeist with pithy observations from Brian Solis. It will put a smile on your face – and potentially a new thought in your mind.
I love typography
This is a real change of pace from every other blog on this list – and that’s why I love it so much. In depth meditations on typefaces, the craft that goes into creating them, and the way that meticulous design influences the way that audiences engage and respond. It’s pure relaxation to read – and I guarantee it will add new dimensions to your creativity.
Pure, meme-driven social media madness. I love it because it makes me laugh, frown and tear my remaining hair out – sometimes simultaneously. And also because, if you want to keep a handle on how human attention works, you have to stay on top of this stuff. Well, that’s my excuse anyway.
Okay – back to the more serious stuff. Readwrite delivers despatches from the frontline of tech. It’s a great spark to creativity just because it puts you in touch with future hot topics first.
Where Data, Tech and Marketing meet
They may appear more specialist, but there’s insight and inspiration in here for everyone:
The bible of technology news. It was originally pitched to a start-up audience, and there’s a real insider flavour to its take on the intersection between venture capital, entrepreneurship and innovation. If you want to know about the next unicorn, add this to your feed.
The essential digital marketing blog: original research mixed with creative commentary and confident opinions.
Nate Silver’s blog is where data analysis meets popular culture – hugely readable, bringing a new perspective to the big global stories, and a must for anybody who works with numbers.
Life as a marketer isn’t just about the marketing that you do – these blogs take a more holistic approach. They’re deeply human and often deeply inspirational:
The first thing you’ll notice about this blog is that the posts don’t come at you all that frequently. The second thing you’ll notice is that there’s a very good reason. Tim Urban explores subjects as immense as AI and the human brain with wit, verve and depth you will find nowhere else. There are surreal stories. There are lots and lots of hilarious stick men illustrations. There are moments of deep, human inspiration. An update from this blog is one of my highlights in any given month. Every installment is epic.
The Tim Ferriss Show
The blog of one of the most thought provoking podcasts out there – a professional lifestyle magazine that finds inspiration everywhere it hides.
Eric Barker’s blog is empowering life coaching at its best: the secrets of happiness, mindfulness and being your best self.
Meditations on strategy and life from a generous, inspiring author and life coach.
I’ve given AI its own section because it’s so important for marketers to cut through the hype and build up true knowledge quickly. These blogs definitely help:
The latest applications of AI – a blog that manages to turn a potentially terrifying concept into an inspiring one.
Edwin’s blog is a great insight into what those at the cutting edge of AI are thinking – and it throws out some real pearls of wisdom for anybody ready to think differently about metrics.
Microsoft’s AI blog
News from the heart of a business that’s doing some of the most exciting current work in AI.
Okay – it’s a little off the marketing track (and a personal passion) but these are hugely relevant for anybody interested in creating better visuals:
This blog features practical advice, product reviews and photography news – but my favourite element of it is the stories it tells of photographers themselves, and how a single image can sometimes transform lives.
If you heard my Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast interview with Jared Polin, you’ll already know why this blog is unmissable for anyone who works with visual images: straight-down-the-line insight from an expert who’s also one of the most engaging presenters out there.
A great community photography blog that pools advice, stories and tips. It proves too just how much appetite photo artists have for sharing their passion.