Empress Eugenie, Surrounded by her Ladies-in-Waiting by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
Empress Eugenie, Surrounded by her Ladies-in-Waiting by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.

When I was a kid, my parents told me to choose my friends wisely. They wanted me to surround myself with people who would be a good influence on me–who shared my core beliefs, who were encouraging–but most importantly, who were smarter than me.  

Turns out, that’s good advice for grownups too, especially for those of us navigating the ever-changing marketing landscape. The best way to learn about content marketing and to stay on top of the latest trends in the marketing space is to immerse yourself in stories of the successes–and failures–of other marketers, especially those in the for-profit space with the budget and executive support to try creative new strategies.

There are two easy ways to do this. One is to listen to podcasts and read blogs about the industry. We’ll go over my picks for the best marketing-related podcasts and blogs next week (if you have any suggestions, email me!)

The second thing to do is to follow the right people on Twitter. Below is the list of my favorite content marketing influencers on Twitter.  If you look at these 14 feeds every day, I guarantee you will soon be brimming with ideas about how to successfully execute and measure the results of your content marketing.

1. Ann Handley: Author, Marketer,  Chief Content Officer at @marketingprofs. Ann’s at the top of my list because she’s the definitive expert on writing engaging content. You need to read her two books, Content Rules (available as an audio book on OneClick) and Everybody Writes.  Then you need to make sure you’re signed up for Marketing Profs. They have plenty of tips and seminars  as part of their free basic membership. You can also buy a professional membership for $279 a year. Anne understands libraries, having served on a library board of trustees for a time.  She’s down to Earth and offers simple, practical tips and inspiration.
2. Joe Chernov: VP of Content @HubSpot. Advisor to a bunch of other content companies including Trackmaven. He’s also a former Content Marketer of the Year.  I love me some Hubspot-more on that later in this post.  Joe tweets on a wide range of topics, from high-level content analytics to free graphic templates for marketers on a budget as well as a bunch of random stuff that has nothing to do with marketing. I enjoy the mix.
 3. Mandy Edwards: Social Media Strategist for ME Marketing Services and author for @steamfeedcomMandy’s tweets include lots of short, easy-to-understand lists and fundamental tips with beautiful graphics.  They’re perfect for those incredibly busy days when you still want to learn something new about marketing.
4. Bob Ruffolo:  Founder and CEO of ImpactBound and an expert on social selling, inbound marketing, and being an entrepreneur.  You might not think too much about inbound marketing or social selling, but Bob tweets lots of tips about engaging website design and driving traffic through strategic methods which I find are workable in the library space.
5. Luke Lewis: editor in chief of Buzzfeed UK. Look, we all know Buzzfeed has found the secret sauce for engaging social media posts.  Lewis peppers industry advice with some of the best Buzzfeed stuff as well as engaging posts from other sites.  He’ll inspire you to think beyond conventional campaigns.
6. Mike Johannsson: Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication at RIT, social media strategy consultant. Mike posts a great mix of content marketing advice, social media research, and tech industry news.  Again, he uses beautiful graphics to drive home his point.  As long as we’re looking at a feed , it might as well be pretty!
7. Jay BaerNY Times best selling author, marketing consultant, keynote speaker. Jay is an expert in the digital and social media space and he tweets great articles with practical advice. His weekly five-minute #JayToday video podcasts are fun and informative.
8. Viveka von RosenLinkedIn Expert, Host of#LinkedInChat & author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day. LinkedIn is an untapped resourse for many companies and libraries and Viveka’s advice has really opened my eyes to the possibilities that exist for brand storytelling and human resource development.
9. Mark Schaeferexpert on blogs and social media, particularly Twitter.  I heard Mark talk at Content Marketing World and he’s got a lot of really great and practical tips for getting the most out of Twitter, blogging, and social media in general.  Plus I like that his Twitter account includes personal Tweets.
10. Sarah MitchellContent Marketing Consultant and Head of Content Strategy at @lush_digital. Copywriter and contributor to the Brand Newsroom podcast. Sarah has all kinds of advice on writing great copy, headlines, titles, and other bits of the nitty-gritty that may seem mundane but are really the cornerstones to any good content marketing piece.
Bigger Resources
11. Content Marketing Institute:  The go-to organization for everything related to content marketing. They’ve made me an evangelist for the practice. Sign up for Chief Content Officer magazine (its free) and for their weekly email newsletter. You’ll get the heads-up on upcoming seminars, free webinars, eBooks and white papers. They also host the #CMWorld chat on Tuesdays at noon on a host of relevant topics.  Convince your administrators to let you attend Content Marketing World in September in Cleveland, OH.  It’s worth every penny. It is the best conference I ever attended!
12. Hubspot:  Confession: I’m a huge Hubspot fangirl. They give away all kinds of great advice, free stock photos, and interesting and educational industry-related webinars.  They know what they’re doing. And if I ever get a budget, I’m going to hire these guys to help me in all sorts of ways. But for now, they’ll have to be happy with my endorsement.
13. Newscred: These guys had the best chachkie idea EVER at Content Marketing World-they gave away free French Press Coffee at their booth. By the time the two-day conference was over, I was an over-caffeinated marketing fiend with their company name imprinted in my brain. And after checking out their Twitter feed, I found lots of great articles on all sorts of content marketing challenges. Best of all, they share ways to measure your success, something that most marketers (myself included) find to be very challenging.
14. King Content: Award winning global content marketing agency with offices in Australia, Singapore, London and New York. When I went into the 2500-seat exhibit hall for the opening address of Content Marketing World last September, I happened to choose a seat next to the main contingent from King, including Todd Wheatland. Coincidence? I think not-more like destiny.  Before the conference even started, I quizzed the King employee about his agency, which  employs hundreds of brand journalists all over the world, writing amazing copy about all kinds of products and services. Their Twitter feed is a great mix of PR advice and that content. Wheatland also hosts his own podcast, “The Pivot.”

Who do you recommend following on Twitter? Add a comment below!

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Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.