When weighing your options for creating content marketing pieces, don’t overlook the significant benefits outsourcing your workload to an agency can have. While onboarding content writing staff or working directly with a freelancer can both be viable options, they barely scratch the surface of what a content marketing agency can offer.
When working with an agency, you have the ability to dramatically upscale the quality, quantity and overall reach of the content created for your digital marketing campaigns.
For instance, a content writing services provider can give you a set cost for creating a high-quality asset like an eBook that includes all the services you need like graphics and a paid social media promotion budget. When managing such a campaign in-house, each of these services and the tools required to make it happen are an individual cost.
Working with a content writing company therefore upgrades your capabilities while helping you achieve efficiency and streamline your content creation processes. Even if you have your own talent in-house, outsourcing even just a portion of content creation and content promotion to an agency can cut your costs and help you achieve far better campaign performance.
To help you understand what an asset a content marketing agency can be for your business, consider the following six biggest benefits below.
High Quality Professional Work With Writing Expertise
The most immediate benefit to using a dedicated digital marketing agency to write your content is a high standard of quality. Professionals who write full time have familiarity, expertise and a high level of comfortability with their craft.
In other words, they can create highly polished and engaging pieces with far less effort than your staff ever could. Professional writers have also learned hard lessons over time, such as how to insert stronger action verbs or how to structure sentences that have crystal clear meanings.
An agency-level expertise also applies to more than just the writing of the pieces themselves. They also understand long-term content strategy. Their knowledge can encompass the timing of publication, for instance, or the best way to format your pieces for optimal presentation. They may also be able to provide advice on how to select or mold topics so that your pieces always provide value and satisfy an established audience need.
Outsourcing your work can therefore significantly improve overall quality and performance compared to what can be produced in-house.
Quicker Output Potential and Scalability
In addition to quality, content writing services provided by an agency give you access to scalability. You can potentially go from a regular content load of four blogs per month, for example, to six blogs plus a premium white paper at the drop of a hat.
Because content agencies have access to a stable of qualified writers who dedicate their schedules to writing, they almost always have the capacity to take on more work. Making a dramatic content project change, such as the one illustrated above, can be accomplished quickly.
You also don’t need to develop permanent resources that you won’t have use for later. For instance, you won’t have to hire three employee writers for a special project who then have nothing to do once the project is complete.
Stop Paying Opportunity Costs, and Reclaim More of Your Labor Hours
No matter how talented you or your employees may be at writing, getting your content writing done still requires a time commitment. Employee hours that could go to things like researching business opportunities or measuring your overall marketing performance is instead spent writing and editing.
If you’re currently handling a lot of writing duties yourself, you understand just how time consuming it could be. Other projects and things that need your attention get put on the backburner, and the tasks you do get to receive a smaller portion of your time.
Outsourcing content creation frees up the time for your staff, enabling you to accomplish more and focus on activities that help your business grow.
A Content Writing Agency Can Augment Your Capabilities at a Fixed Cost
Content agencies bring a lot to the table. They often have their own tools for managing content publication, monitoring content marketing performance, or jazzing up the content itself.
For example, a content marketing agency will typically have a subscription for a stock photo service as part of their budget. Rather than you having to spend $40 to $400 or more a month on just using a few photos, you can have them built into your budget.
Likewise, a content marketing team assigned to your account will be able to help you track more campaigns and stay organized better than your in-house employees could manage on their own.
In a sense, they become a peripheral part of your staff that is highly experienced and knowledgeable. It’s kind of like having a superhero squad at your disposal. Kind of.
Create Targeted Content That Appeals to Your Audiences, Not Just Your Business Goals
Businesses that create their own content can run into one surprising and unexpected flaw: they care too much about their brand to think like a typical reader.
Because of this limitation, even the most talented in-house staff may end up writing copy that sounds more like a commercial than a blog. Over-promotion indicates bias, which breeds mistrust in audiences and can cause them to lose interest in what you have to say.
Someone embedded in an organization can also tend to forget what sorts of concepts need to be explained or kept in mind when speaking to a non-expert audience.
Content writers bring objectivity and a razor-sharp focus on audience needs with them. They are often familiar with multiple subject matters and countless styles of writing. Being well-versed helps them share expertise and explain concepts to a layperson while sounding like one of them, not some overeager marketing person.
An experienced writer can also bring with them outside perspectives a business may not have considered, such as a handy metaphor or a relevant resource they stumbled upon during another project.
At the end of the day, a seasoned content writer wants to meet the needs of their audiences above all else, which helps propel business goals without sabotaging performance by being over-eager.
Reduce Risks of Full-Time Employees
The final aspect businesses should consider when outsourcing is the sheer amount of overhead and risk full-time employees bring. Onboarding and training take a significant amount of time and a hefty financial investment. If the employee doesn’t work out — or they decide to leave their job within a few years — the business may not have fully recouped its investment in talent development.
There’s also complicating factors like additional HR overhead, benefits, employee taxes, the need for management and countless other things. Working with an agency streamlines all of this into one fixed, predictable cost that you can adjust practically at-will.
In the end, you get the work you need done more efficiently, more flexibly, and with a higher level of polish when outsourcing to a content writing services provider. Because of all the advantages they offer, their services are indispensable for businesses of all sizes no matter how many great writers they do — or don’t — have on staff.
Content marketing has gotten bigger than ever, but not every business is reaping the benefits. When looking at their targeted marketing metrics, many are finding that their content marketing efforts fail to make the needle move.
So what can these organizations do to improve? They can start by considering the following five common mistakes below, which can cripple your content marketing performance and stand in the way of building audiences who can become business leads.
You Aren’t Choosing Topics That Have Value
Too many content teams choose shallow, uninteresting or overtly sales-y topics for their blogs and other content. While these types of topics seem like they may help fulfill keyword-focused SEO goals and marketing objectives, they usually just get ignored.
Even worse, people may learn to distrust a brand or a business that consistently overpromotes. 53% of people have ad blockers installed for a reason, so any blog that feels just like an ad will get tuned out.
To create more interesting topics, let keywords be your guide. Use them to take a guess at the intent of what the search user was trying to accomplish by typing those words in.
Someone typing “family law attorney,” for instance, may be searching for answers on a situation that isn’t even close to going to court yet. Instead, they may want to know about specific legal outcomes or how the process works for certain cases.
You can get better at predicting intent by looking at things like Google’s related keywords at the bottom of the search results page. You can also look to see what topics are being brought up on open forums like Reddit, comments sections or industry-specific forums. Also, be an active reader within your industry and take note of topics that are currently trending.
Using these techniques and looking to your own data for engagement performance can help you determine what topics audiences go for and which ones they avoid.
Your Headlines Are a Mess
In many ways, the headline is the most important part of a piece of content. It’s the cover people judge the book by, so to speak. In our current outspoken era, people may even sound off their opinion or share an article based on the headline alone.
There are a few things that help headlines sell:
Topic Keyword Signals that trigger interest — E.g. someone frustrated with ad reach may perk up the instant they see a blog title that mentions “Ad Blocking”
Clarity — A.K.A., does the reader understand clearly understand what the article will be about? Each headline is a promise
Action Verbs — Try to eliminate linking verbs like “is” or “will,” and try and substitute strong action verbs or gerunds near the front of the headline instead. Not “According to Recent Study, Brand X Is Gaining on Brand Y” but “Brand X Pummeling Brand Y, Says Study”
Relevance with Article — Tricking someone into clicking on your article with deceptive “clickbait” headlines improves your views and CTR, but it hurts your goals. Always balance appeal with accuracy.
There are other quirks to headline writing that help you get clicks without making readers feel deceived. BuzzSumo has some great data on top performing headlines for B2C companies as well as B2B companies. Looking at B2B, for instance, helpful phrases like “How to…” and “___ Ways…” perform best, while the promise of emotions like “…will make you…” drives B2C clicks.
You Aren’t Writing in a Way That Engages Your Audience
You don’t have to have Pulitzer-winning talent to get people to read your blogs; you just have to have an organized structure that’s easy to follow and a voice that sounds friendly. Try to write in a conversational tone while still being clear and providing valuable information with each sentence.
If you think someone may get lost on your blog, split up your sentences and have each one communicate a single thought. Have each thought logically flow into the next, building up each point one-by-one.
Denser topics may require formatting elements like additional sub-topic headers or a bulleted list. An illustration also tends to help.
If you need help improving beyond that, look to your competitors or hire a content writing expert for stylistic feedback. Everyone gets better over time, but you also have to recognize what makes certain writing engage more effectively.
You may also need to outsource your writing to more-experienced and knowledgeable professionals in order to get the quality your audience wants. You can always commission a test blog in order to gauge how much other writers can boost your performance.
Your Content Isn’t Focused on Specific Goals
60% of B2C companies don’t have a documented content marketing strategy, which means their team may have several competing ideas on what their content is supposed to do. Without an aligned strategy and target metrics everyone can agree upon, your content writing will be aimless rather than effective.
Consider that just 2% of the worst-performing B2B content marketers rate the alignment of the metrics they use to track performance and their overall marketing goals as “very good,” reports the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). On the other hand, over half of the best performing companies say that their metrics and goals are well-aligned.
To get content to fulfill your marketing goals, you have to focus on the conversion step you want audiences to take after reading. For instance, if you want to create more leads, then you will need to create free, highly valuable content that entices readers to submit their information to learn more.
Or, if your goal is to earn shares or other forms of engagement, you may have to embrace more topics that people have strong opinions on or ones that elicit strong emotional responses.
Always have a few focused, well-defined goals for your content, know what key performance indicators (KPIs) best represent accomplishing those goals, and create content suited to the purpose of improving KPIs over time.
You Aren’t Promoting Content Enough
Content marketing success requires not just a budget for content creation but also for promotion. Put simply, the more money you put into promoting your content, the bigger returns you can get from each asset.
That phenomenon is likely why companies that put a bigger budget behind their content find greater returns. According to a 2018 CMI survey, the average top-performing B2C company allocated 38% of their overall marketing budget to content, and top-performing B2B companies allocated an average of 40%. On the flip side, the least-successful B2B companies spent just 14%.
The key to successful promotion is to identify your target audiences and use ad-building tools to find them, specifically. Social media ads, for instance, allow you to serve “Promoted” ad posts within user news feeds to highly targeted audiences. You can even experiment by serving ads to two audience groups to test which one offers the best performance.
Over time, you can not only get more views for your content but get views from targeted people you want to become leads.
You Need Help From a Professional Content Marketing Agency
Content marketing is complex and hard to master. Those with deep experience and more available tools stand a better chance of getting it right.
Working with a professional writing team that’s part of a content marketing agency could bring the improvements to quality, strategy, targeting and promotion that you need to meet your goals. So, if nothing else is working, consider partnering with someone who has a proven track record of content marketing success.
The size of your content marketing budget dictates a lot of things. It controls the level of performance you can expect. It also influences how scalable your overall content reach can be — bigger budgets have the infrastructure behind them to reach exponentially more people with just some marginal extra spending.
At the same time, money doesn’t grow on trees. Most businesses operate on a very tight budget, and they have little wiggle room when it comes to how much they can allocate to marketing.
Another complicating factor is that many professionals are unfamiliar with the amount of work that should go into content marketing and the overall output they can expect. Setting a content marketing budget therefore requires you to clearly understand your content marketing goals and the types of marketing activities you need to make those goals happen.
To help you get oriented and make a decision that leads to good outcomes, consider the following information. It will tell you what should go into your content marketing budget, what most people are spending on content and a few sample budgets.
What All Should Your Content Marketing Budget Include?
A content marketing budget encompasses a wide range of possible expenses. Some of these expenses overlap with other marketing activities — you won’t need two copies of the same software for social media management and content marketing, for instance.
Other expenses are optional given your budget and the types of activities you want to perform.
Nevertheless, many of these budget items are considered a necessity by most businesses that find content marketing success.
They are, in no particular order of importance:
Writing — The costs of paying a writer to write the content for you.
Editing — The costs of proofreading the piece and ensuring it fits your editorial guidelines.
Labor Hours — Any work you or your employees perform (as opposed to outsourcing) comes out of their overall available hours. Track these employee hours and use the ratio of their salary or wage to account for all costs.
Agency/Freelancer Overhead — If you’re paying someone else to write content for you, they will charge on top of the bare content writing costs to cover things like admin, taxes, etc.
Content Publishing — Content doesn’t email or upload itself! Tasks related to putting your content online and ensuring it appears as expected take time and therefore money.
Content Management and Measurement Tools — Content marketing-related tools like SEO rank trackers aren’t necessary, but they do help you get more out of your budget. They also ensure your money is being well spent.
Graphics and Formatting — If you’re creating premium content, then you will likely need to outsource graphic design or dedicate employee hours to the task.
Content Promotional Costs — Promoting content ensures that each asset provides as much performance as possible. You don’t have to promote, but you definitely should to earn overall ROI.
Strategy, Management, Evaluation — You will either need an agency to manage your content strategy or dedicate employee hours to discussing the topic and coming to conclusions.
What Are the Business Benchmarks for Content Marketing Budgets?
Nearly all businesses are fairly mum on how much they spend on their own content marketing. But, we have a few clues that can help establish some benchmarks.
However, the B2B companies considered the most successful at reaching their content goals spent an average of 40% on content marketing, and the most successful B2C companies spent an average of 38%. A quarter of both company types also said that a bigger budget helped them find more success.
Those who have no clue what portion they are spending are in good company, too. Just under a third of both B2B and B2C companies said they were “unsure.”
What About Actual Numbers? Let’s Talk Cash With 3 Example Budgets
Getting oriented about content marketing costs and what most companies spend is all well and good, but you may still feel in the dark about how much to actually spend.
Since every company is different, here are a few simplified, standardized example budgets that can represent companies of different sizes or funding levels:
$1,000 per month on content + 20 hours of employee work
This option is for the “solopreneur” or a small business trying to scrape by on a shoestring budget.
15 hours monthly writing your own content
5 hours managing content-related marketing, including social media and email lists
$200 for tools, graphic design, and other misc. costs
$800 for paid media content promotion — 3/4 paid social, and 1/4 retargeting ads
This budget presumes you have the time and talent to write content yourself. By dedicating a little under four hours per week, you should be able to come up with a weekly blog, some social content, and an occasional newsletter.
Publishing this all yourself and managing the backend logistics should consume around an hour of your time every week.
$200 can be spent on helpful tools, such as SaaS subscriptions for email management tools (e.g. MailChimp), content and community management tools (e.g. Buffer), SEO performance measurement tools (e.g. SEMrush) and graphic design. Original, high-quality graphics can really help your content gain traction, especially on social media.
If you aren’t as concerned about tools or graphics, you can dedicate $100-$150 a month on paying someone for around 8-10 hours of labor to help you edit content, publish it, and schedule all your social posts.
The remainder of your budget can go to promotion. While that may seem like a lot, promoting your content amplifies it to the right audiences, maximizing potential performance. If no one but five dedicated blog readers sees your content, you’ve just spent all your money in vain.
Spunky Small Business: $5,000 per Month
The arrangement for this budget scheme is almost identical to the one above, except you are paying for your content out of pocket rather than through sweat equity.
$4,000 dedicated to a freelancer or agency, OR a full-time marketing employee
$200 for tools, graphic design, and other misc costs
$800 for paid media content promotion — 3/4 paid social, and 1/4 retargeting ads
With the above arrangement, you can onboard an employee or two with a fair amount of content marketing experience. Or, you can hire an agency that helps you strategize your content marketing campaigns while offering value-add services like editing, uploading, monitoring, social media scheduling, email marketing and more.
Some businesses hybridize, hiring an employee that spends a portion of their time handling content produced by a freelancer. The end result is usually that $1000 – $2000 goes to contracting expenses while the remainder can be considered a portion of the marketing employee’s salary.
Again, content promotion is a fairly large portion of this budget. As you create better content pieces, each promotional dollar you spend offers a chance at greater reach and performance.
Just make sure to monitor performance and optimize over time in response to your own data. For instance, look to articles that get the most engagement on social and try to include their traits in future content.
Ambitious Start-Up or Growing Medium Business: $15,000 per Month
Organizations that have $15,000 per month have quite a bit of cash to get off the ground.
$4,000 per month in-house content writer and content marketing specialist
$8,000 – $10,000 per month on peripheral marketing employees along with agency support, graphic design, and/or video production capabilities
$500 per month on content tools as well as graphic design assets and misc. Expenses
$1,000 – $2,500 on content promotion — still 3/4 paid social
With this budget, you have the capacity to have your own in-house copywriting talent as well as the marketing administrative oversight to help plan and oversee your own content marketing goals. At the same time, you have the money to pay an outside resource to help you produce more content or handle content-related tasks you aren’t as familiar with, such as paid search (PPC) promotion.
You’ll also likely have room for graphic design and/or video production capabilities, whether that’s outsourced, in-house or a hybrid of the two.
You get more wiggle room in your budget for monthly overhead expenses, allowing you to obtain more sophisticated marketing tools. A good addition with this size of a budget are marketing automation tools or retargeting tools like AdRoll. You can also pay for professional-level design tools, such as a corporate license for the Adobe Creative Suite.
Finally, your content promotion budget expands, allowing you to get more sophisticated beyond paid social. You can look for native ad partnerships, for instance, or create a budget for side campaigns that help promote premium assets like white papers.
Remember You Get What You Pay For
Ultimately, the decision for how much to spend on content is a blank canvas. You should always remember to allot a certain portion to promotion and overhead expenses, but how you decide to allocate responsibilities between outsourced and in-house labor is up to you.
You also have the capacity to create more content and help it go further as your budget grows.
Hopefully, you now have a clearer idea of what your content budget can be, and if not, we’re here to help! Reach out to us via email, comments, or our contact form to get the conversation started.
The internet is quickly reaching a point where small business owners need to embrace video marketing in order to survive. In just a few years, ignoring video content will be on par with not having a business website.
To explain why this will be the case, we’ll let the small business video marketing statistics do the talking.
Consider the following eye-opening statistics when weighing your options for incorporating video content in the year ahead.
The Unstoppable Popularity of Online Video
The first concept worth grasping is just how dominant of a media form video has become in the past few years. Thanks to our handy mobile devices, we can consume video anywhere at any time. Increasing bandwidth also makes video more viable than it’s ever been in years past.
By looking at the following statistics, you can see just how high the demand is for video.
Video made up 73% of global internet traffic in 2016; Cisco predicts it will make up 82% by 2021 (Cisco)
By 2021, the equivalent of 5 million years of video content will be watched every month (Cisco)
Live video will grow 15x by 2021, making up 13% of all internet traffic (Cisco)
In 2015, US adults spent an hour and 16 minutes of every day watching video online (eMarketer)
69% of people worldwide watch video online, but 86% of those 18-26 do (eMarketer)
71% of teens 13-18 say they watch mobile video (eMarketer)
The average person spends around 30 minutes watching video on their smartphones every day (Quartz)
55% of people watch a video online every single day (Forbes)
Social Media Is Driving Digital Video Consumption in Huge Ways
The big winners on the video scene are clearly social media platforms. Including Youtube, social apps take up the majority of our online time. They’ve also been driving huge growth in our video consumption, especially Facebook video.
Youtube is the second-most popular mobile app; 71% of all mobile users have it installed (recode)
Youtube claims that mobile video consumption increases 100% each year (Forbes)
300 hours worth of video content are uploaded to Youtube every minute (Statistic Brain)
8 billion videos — equal to 100 million hours worth of content — are watched on Facebook daily (Social Media Today)
500 million people watch video on Facebook each day (Forbes)
45% of people say they watch over an hour of video on Facebook or YouTube every week (WordStream)
People upload more video content in 30 days than what has been created by major US TV networks in the past 30 years (WordStream)
92% of people who watch mobile video say they share videos with others (Forbes)
Video content on social media generates 1200% more shares than text content and image content combined (Forbes)
Since most videos autoplay on mute, and many people browse Facebook in a public setting, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound (Digiday)
Digital Video’s Effectiveness, and How Much People Prefer It to Other Content
As a result of our ravenous video consumption habits, people have come to expect a larger portion of content created to be video. When people do see video content being offered, they respond in favorable ways by engaging more readily. They are also more likely to convert to the next stage of a purchase after watching branded video content.
4x as many people would prefer to watch a video about a product rather than read about it (Social Media Today)
When making a purchase decision, 4 in 5 millennials look for video content as a form of research (Social Media Today)
70% of millennials say they’re likely to watch a branded video while shopping for products online (Social Media Today)
96% of video viewers say they find video content useful when weighing a purchase decision (Vidyard)
75% of executives say they watch branded videos related to their job at least once a week, and 65% end up visiting the website of the brand after viewing (Vidyard)
People are 10x more likely to engage with and share a post if it includes a video (Vidyard)
43% of people say they want to see more video content from marketers (Hubspot)
Half of internet users say they search for videos related to a product or service before visiting a brick and mortar store (Vidyard)
One in four consumers say they lose interest in a business if it doesn’t have video content for them to watch (Vidyard)
When asked about the type of marketing asset they’d like to see more of from brands, North American consumers ranked video #1 (Vidyard)
59% of consumers say video footage of testimonials help them decide whether they want to buy from a company (Vidyard)
Over a third of video viewers watch the video in its entirety (Hubspot)
80% of consumers remember a video they’ve watched in the past month (Forbes)
Creating Video Content Leads to Higher ROI for Marketing Campaigns
Since people are eager to watch videos, and videos can be highly effective branding or selling tools, creating video assets can pay for itself in significant ways. By converting more people, earning more leads and reinforcing other marketing campaigns, video content helps business owners achieve better ROI.
Adding a video to a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80% (Forbes)
Companies that create video content earn 41% more traffic from search engine results than those that don’t (Forbes)
Marketers using video earn 66% more qualified leads every year and earn a 54% higher lift in brand awareness (Optinmonster)
76.5% of small business owners and marketers get positive results from their video content campaigns (Optinmonster)
83% of business professionals using video assert that it gives them good ROI (Dreamgrow)
82% of businesses consider video a key part of their marketing strategy (Optinmonster)
97% of businesses that create explainer videos feel that leads understand their business better after viewing (Optinmonster)
81% of businesses say that video has helped them effectively increase sales (Optinmonster)
Using embedded video on your website makes you 53% more likely to show up on the first page of search results (Dreamgrow)
61% of all businesses now use video content (Dreamgrow)
Video spending increased 53% in 2016, and mobile video spending increased a staggering 145% (AdAge)
Mobile video ad spending is predicted to surpass desktop video ad spending in 2018 (recode)
67% of marketers run video ads on YouTube, and 51% use Facebook video ads (eMarketer)
83% of marketers say they are “confident” that their Facebook video ads will help them earn more purchases (eMarketer)
The Power and Potential of Live Video Marketing Is Growing
For our final set of small business video marketing statistics, consider the power of live video marketing. Since Facebook and other platforms launched the ability to stream video live a few years ago, the format has taken off. Consumers adore live video for its immediacy and exclusive feeling. If you’re not watching the video live, you missed out.
Marketers have been using this enthusiasm for live video to their advantage, helping them earn engagement and get conversions.
People spend 3x more watching Facebook Live videos, on average, compared to a typical Facebook video (Facebook)
Live videos earn 10x the amount of comments compared to pre-recorded videos (Facebook)
81% of people watched more live video in 2016 than 2015 (livestream)
80% of people would rather watch a live video stream from a business than read its blog (livestream)
87% of people want to watch more behind the scenes video content (livestream)
67% of viewers say overall quality is the most important component of a live video stream (livestream)
36% of internet users have watched a live video, but 63% of millennials have, and 42% have created their own live video stream (eMarketer)
The live streaming platform Twitch has 665 million viewers — a bigger audience than subscribers to HBO, Netflix, and ESPN streaming services combined (The Motley Fool)
Streaming service Twitch achieved a record 737,000 concurrent viewers in Q3 2017 (The Motley Fool)
Let These Small Business Video Marketing Statistics Inspire You to Create More in 2018
Video content, and especially live video, is set to grow and grow in the years ahead. Modifying your strategy and investing in video will therefore only pay bigger dividends. As you improve and audiences grow, you can achieve your marketing goals more easily than ever before while enhancing the performance of your other marketing channels.
Sometimes, all you need to achieve breakthroughs in business is a good mentor. The path to growing a small business using digital marketing is never easy nor obvious. Yet, by following the guidance and advice of others, it can quickly become more clear.
Business owners these days have more advantages than ever when it comes to finding great marketing insights online. Whereas a few decades ago you’d have to buy books and attend talks in person, now mind-blowingly great advice is just a few clicks away.
To help you find the information and inspiration your small business needs to achieve greatness through digital marketing, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best digital marketing experts worth following. Their content and vision will help you cut out bad habits, embrace change and start engaging in strategies that grow your business reliably.
Neil Patel has a ridiculously great resume to add to his inspiring, can-do personality. He co-founded KISSmetrics, Hello Bar, Crazy Egg, Quick Sprout and countless other companies.
Reading his bio on QuickSprout reveals a fairly inspiring rags to riches story. Patel got where he is by learning through trial and error. He trained his mind to break down fairly complex marketing concepts people take for granted in order to repeat their success.
Now, on his blog, he does the exact same thing for his readers. Every post he writes gives deep-level insights without dumping too much on you at once. He also gives step-by-step instructions for how to use the world’s best marketing tools.
The only issue is that he can be a bit scattered, and his gung-ho business attitude means that he will bombard you with sales pitches to sign up for. But even still, his highly personable writing voice and capacity to break down tough subjects into digestible nuggets makes him every bit worth following online.
Like Neil Patel, Ann Handley has a jaw-dropping resume. She founded MarketingProfs, she’s a bestselling author, and she’s worked with some of the biggest names in tech and marketing on the planet.
But even more impressive are her writing chops. She writes with the passion and skill of a full-time journalist. Every one of her blog posts feels incredibly eye-opening. They also peel back the layers — not just the hows and whys of writing good marketing content, but also where the industry’s going and how we got where we are.
In other words, she offers not just great marketing advice but also an all-important dose of context. The subjects she touches on have equal value to big companies and small businesses just getting off the ground, so make sure to delve into her pieces on both her personal blog as well as her MarketingProfs author profile.
Kurt Elster’s got a magnetic personality and a way of boiling down marketing strategies to their core components. Reading his stuff is like putting on glasses after having fuzzy vision for years.
His main focus is ecommerce, which stems from his deep relationship with Shopify. He even hosts an unofficial podcast on the service. But he also can help business owners with their lead generation, marketing funnel, website design, advertising and more.
Best of all, he uses Twitter to actually offer helpful tidbits, not just dump links to his most recent blogs and events. Follow him to read things that make your head nod vigorously.
Founder of the highly successful Moz, Rand Fishkin nevertheless acts with the energy of an up-and-comer rather than an established name in digital marketing. His Whiteboard Friday series is an indispensable resource that helps business owners get perspective on tough issues of the day.
He’s also got an unconventional approach to marketing that aptly fits his odd name and even more unusual hairstyle. Yet, his advice works, and it makes tough marketing decisions incredibly easy to break down.
Barry Schwartz is the CEO and founder of Rusty Brick, but we know him best for his contributions to Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. Chances are that if you see a great in-depth piece on SEO practices and the latest search algorithm changes, Barry’s byline appears at the bottom.
His approach to marketing is focused on details and answering tough questions. At the same time, he isn’t above cracking a joke or taking a lighthearted look at the industry. Follow his work on Search Engine Land if you never want to be caught off guard by sudden Google algorithm changes or the latest shifts in best practices.
Heidi Cohen runs the aptly named Actionable Marketing Guide, and she’s also been a regular contributor on digital marketing sites like Business 2 Community, ClickZ and Social Media Examiner.
Heidi has a professional approach to complex marketing issues without getting too serious. Like Neil Patel, she breaks down every concept into its smallest parts so that nothing is overlooked, but she always remains focused and easy-to-follow. Her posts will have you taking notes and trying new approaches to digital marketing that could revolutionize your workflow.
Nick Loper is owner and founder of Side Hustle Nation. He really owns that “side hustle” angle, too. All of his advice and ideas are centered around one concept: you could be making more money if you channel your passion and energy in the right ways.
His advice relates more to structuring your business model and developing new income streams, but it also touches upon important marketing concepts. He also points out great resources that help business owners save time while earning more money.
If you’re a freelancer, ecommerce retailer, investor or just a passionate self-starter, Nick can act as your coach and motivator to make more income.
Gene Marks is a remarkably successful journalist covering small business issues and the economy at large. He’s a regular contributor to the Washington Post, Forbes, Inc.com and many other respected publications. He’s also appeared as an analyst/expert on Fox News and MSNBC.
Through his columns, Gene takes on the trending business issues of the day. He also does a great job of analyzing current marketing strategies. He’ll tell you as business owners what works and what to worry about.
It also helps that Gene always has a fresh, inquisitive attitude in the mold of a true beat reporter. His humor and accurate takes will help you keep up with the pulse of modern businesses while helping you become a more effective business owner overall.
Melinda Emerson speaks from the heart and never pulls any punches. Her energy reflects the scrappy attitude needed to succeed as a small business owner in America.
Keep up with her “Succeed as Your Own Boss” blog for advice on digital marketing, management and just about anything else you’d need to know to make it as a business owner. She’s also an avid Twitter user, updating multiple times a day and always staying on top of the biggest trending topics.
We started with one of the biggest, most authoritative names in modern digital marketing, so we might as well finish off with one!
Jay Baer posts exhaustive pieces on how to master digital marketing techniques through simple strategies and best practices. He relies on deep research and experimentation to source his data first-hand, so you’ll rarely find hearsay or regurgitated facts on his Convince & Convert blog.
As an added bonus, he also posts occasional teardowns of marketing concepts business owners might take for granted. So read his blog regularly for a much needed reality check from time to time!
Growing a Small Business Using Digital Marketing Gets Easier With the Right People at Your Back
We cannot emphasize enough how transformative it is to stay well-read on digital marketing. By reading the latest studies and data, you can stop making assumptions and start making the right call. You’ll also stay up-to-date on changes and developments that would otherwise catch you by surprise.
Keep reading smart people, keep trying new things and keep giving your digital marketing campaigns your 100% best to make growing your business more achievable with every passing day.