By Joe Chernov published January 4, 2012

20 Women Who Rock Content Marketing

There may be a curated list of content marketing “thought leaders” that skews female, but I sure haven’t seen one.

Case in point: I was recently invited to participate in series of posts that brought together 29 influential content marketers. When the blog posts — and subsequent eBook — featuring my contributions ran, I was shocked at the imbalance. Of the 29 “brilliant minds,” only four were women. Four!

When and why did content marketing become a boy’s club? My guess is this: At some point, we stopped thinking about who is most likely to contribute fresh and relevant content, and instead shifted our thinking to asking, “Who holds enough sway to thrust our content into the mainstream?” Originality — and in some cases, quality — has taken a back seat to built-in distribution.

In other words, curation has devolved into influencer “trophy hunting.” We want to mount big names with big followings onto our content, as if we were hanging an exotic animal head on our wall.

If this practice continues unchecked, it threatens to derail our emerging industry, not only because we will dissuade half of the population from participating, but also because we won’t benefit from any new thinking. (Seriously, if I hear myself talk about “staggering distribution” one more time, I am going to unfollow me.)

My counsel to the industy is this: When you curate, don’t place such a high priority on trying to hijack someone’s following. Instead try to earn distribution by highlighting new perspectives. Include students. Invite marketers from different verticals. Blend product vendors and service providers. Juxtapose B2B marketing pros with their consumer counterparts. Incorporate multicultural points of view. Or, at the very least, make sure your finished product isn’t stranded in “guy town.”

It’s with this urging in mind that I have — with the help of Ann Handley, who, for the record (and to her credit), hates the necessity of this post — curated a list of 20 women who rock content marketing. If you want to follow this group en masse, I’ve built a Twitter list here.

  1. Ardath Albee (@ardath421): Ardath is the E.F. Hutton of B2B marketing: When she talks, people listen. Her blog and Twitter stream are among the most influential in her category.
  2. Leslie Bradshaw (@LeslieBradshaw): Leslie runs data visualization firm JESS3, which has produced some of the most shared content of the entire social web. Ever. Her “More Seats” column for the Forbes Blog highlights women in tech.
  3. Dierdre Breakenridge (@dbreakenridge): Dierdre is proof that PR and content marketing are kindred spirits. She’s omnipresent across her blog, Twitter, webinars, social Q&A sites, and more.
  4. Jennifer Cisney (@kodakCB): Jennifer runs Kodak’s blog and social media presence. She’s also a prominent speaker at industry events. Anyone who follows Kodak marketing knows it takes smarts and swagger to succeed. She’s got both.
  5. April Dunford (@aprildunford): April’s probably the least “classic” content marketer on this list, but her RocketWatcher blog might just be the smartest, most interesting marketing-related content on the blogosphere.
  6. Barbra Gago (@BarbraGago): Content, meet demand generation. World, meet Barbra. She might know more about the role content plays in generating demand than anyone in her market. And that’s a very important niche to own.
  7. Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs): Forbes just listed Ann as the second-most influential person in social media. When it comes to content, she’s tops. Her book, “Content Rules,” is a building block for any effective content strategy.
  8. Christina “CK” Kerley (@CKsays): CK is a writer, speaker, trainer, and professor, yet she still finds time to churn out killer guides and videos on B2B marketing. Prolific.
  9. Kirsten Knipp (@kirstenpetra): As one of the driving forces behind this category, HubSpot has content marketing in its DNA, and A-lister Kirsten Knipp has been vital to its marketing success.
  10. Kelly LeVoyer (@kellylevoyer) (: You try convincing a massive company like SAS to publish a blog post titled, “The poop on change management” and see how far you get. Kelly, well, she gets it done.
  11. Rebecca Lieb (@lieblink): Rebecca not only covers content marketing for the Altimeter Group, she also wrote the new book “Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher.” She’s the definition of thought leader.
  12. Michele Linn (@michelelinn): Content Marketing Institute’s own Michele Linn is the type of content marketer who makes everyone else’s output better. It’d be easy to overlook someone like her. But if you enjoy CMI, you have her to thank.
  13. Valeria Maltoni (@ConversationAge): Valeria is a content factotum. She’s a strategist, top blogger, compelling speaker, and she ain’t afraid of data (or anything else for that matter). One of the sharpest minds in all of marketing.
  14. Amanda Maksymiw (@amandamaks): A rising star in content marketing, Amanda helps lead OpenView Labs, the strategic consulting arm of a venture capital firm. How’s that for an original role?
  15. Maria Pergolino (@InboundMarketer): The bottom line is this: Maria gets results. She not only understands content, she also knows her audience. That’s a powerful combo.
  16. Leslie Poston (@leslie): The question isn’t where can you find Leslie, but where can’t you. She runs her own company, founded Magnitude Media, started Social Media Breakfast NH, writes for Mashable and jams out “For Dummies” books like most people write blog posts.
  17. Stephanie Tilton (@StephanieTilton): Whom do I turn to when I need help creating B2B content that’s as insightful as it is accessible? Stephanie, that’s who. She and her “Savvy Sisters” also run a rocking blog called Savvy B2B Marketing.
  18. Susan Wassel (@Sharpie): When her @sharpiesusan Twitter handle was replaced with a corporate account, fans rebelled. If that’s not a testament to “getting it,” what is? She’s done it all: broadcast producer, reporter, PR pro, social strategist…, you name it.
  19. Karen Wickre (@kvox): Someone I am very interested in tracking moving forward, Karen recently joined Twitter as Editorial Director. Given her creative and strategic background, the possibilities for awesome content are endless.
  20. Kirsten Watson (@kirstenewatson): If someone were to issue a “Content Marketer of the Year” award, the smart money would be on Kirsten. Don’t know why? Read “Content Rules” and the reasons will be clear.

Certainly there are more than 20 star women in content marketing, and  this list isn’t meant to be the finish line. It’s the starting block. Please add the names and handles of women who inspire you to the comments field. I’ll add them to the Twitter list.

Author: Joe Chernov

Joe Chernov is the CMO of InsightSquared, a revenue intelligence company. He has been a VP of marketing during two successful IPOs, Eloqua and HubSpot. The Content Marketing Institute named him “Content Marketer of the Year” and AdWeek named him to their Creative100 list. You can follow Joe on Twitter @jchernov.

Other posts by Joe Chernov



    • Joe Chernov


  • @carmenhill

    Great post, Joe! I admire so many of the women on this list (@ardath421 as EF Hutton of B2B Marketing: brilliant!) and look forward to getting to know and follow the rest. Thank you! – Carmen

    • Joe Chernov

      Hi Carmen! It feels funny “running into you” on here, because I am always seeing your smiling avatar on Twitter. 😉 Thanks for all of your support, truly. -Joe

      • Anonymous

        Back at ya, Joe! I couldn’t easily log in to Disqus on my phone, thus the mysterious silhouetted, non-smiling avatar on my comment 😉 Will I see you at #sxsw this year?

        • Joe Chernov

          If I am lucky you will see me at SXSW this year 😉

      • Sean McGinnis

        You’re a gem Joe!  Thanks!  Followed the 10 or so I was not already.  Great list!

  • Sean McGinnis

    I wish there were links to these ladies twitter profiles in addition to their Linkedin profiles. Will try to remember to circle back to this post later and dig them up.

    • Joe Chernov

      I created a Twitter list with all of the folks mentioned. Here you go:!/jchernov/top-women-in-content/members

      • Eleanorpie

        Ah! Thank you! 

      • Sean McGinnis

        Thanks for the twitter list (ignore the comment below – ugh). Followed them all! Woot!

      • Kim O’Donnell

        Joe you’re a mind-reader!   Was just wondering when I was going to be able to justify spending the time to go through the comments and finding them all.   Thank you!!

    • Michele Linn

      Great suggestion, Sean. I’ll add these to the post above as well. 

  • Gabriella Sannino

    Wow some names I’m not familiar with… excellent Joe. Thanks for this list & a very happy new year 🙂

    • Joe Chernov

      Thanks Gabriella. Glad you liked the list … it’s definitely not all-encompassing, so please feel free to share more!

  • jaybaer

    Great list Joe, and nice of you to put Maria in there! 

    • Joe Chernov

      Thanks Jay. I thought hard about that one. But it’s a meritocracy, and she does a really great job in many ways. -Joe

  • Joseph Kalinowski

    Great job Joe! Awesome list of ladies. Very happy to see our own Michele Linn on there. Her dedication to the industry and to CMI is unmatched and I am honored to work with her.

    • Joe Chernov

      Michele is awesome. She’s like the John Stockton of Content Marketing … makes everyone else better.

      • Michele

        Thanks so much, Joes! I’m very flattered!

  • Dave Cutler

    Great list, Joe. Some I was already very familiar with and others that I’ll definitely be checking out. I’d also like to nominate Lindsay Bell (@BellLindsay), whose recent post on content marketing was featured on Gini Dietrich’s Spin Sucks here:

    • Joe Chernov

      Thanks Dave. I don’t know Lindsay, so thanks for the tip!

    • Lindsay Bell

      Wow, thanks so much Dave! I’m honoured. 🙂

      • The Redhead

        Definitely Lindsay. Here here.

        • Joe Chernov

          Ok now *that* does it. Lindsay just skyrocketed to the top of my “People I Listen To” list. Thanks for the suggestion and great to meet you Lindsay!

          • Lindsay Bell

            Yikes! I best get my blog updated! Darn holidays. 🙂 Great to meet you too Joe, and what an amazing list you’ve put together. Kudos! 🙂 

        • Lindsay Bell

          Whoa. Seconded by @RedheadWriting:disqus …!? (gee, no pressure! LOL) Erika, you are *too* kind! Thanks so much! 🙂 

  • Priya Ramesh

    Great list Joe! we need more of these to highlight the awesome work women B2B marketers are doing. I would add @pistachio to this list. Laura Fitton, founder of Oneforty, recently sold her company to HubSpot.

    • Joe Chernov

      Yes, you are right: Laura is fantastic!

      • Laura Fitton

        *blush* thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Great list. I’d 

    • Joe Chernov

      GREAT addition!

      • Laura Fitton


    • Anonymous

      Why thanks, Laura. 🙂

    • Kate Estivill

      I agree, looked down the list for Sonia too!

    • Brian Clark

      Don’t tell her I said this, but Sonia runs the largest content marketing blog in the world and is a total bad ass. I really think she should have been on the list, but there’s always next time.

      Again, I was never here. That’s my story, etc.

  • chrismoritz

    Nice to see some names I haven’t seen before! How about adding Ahava?

    • Joe Chernov

      Not sure I know Ahava, so thanks for mentioning!

      • chrismoritz

        Ahava Leibtag, CMI contributor @ahaval:twitter 

        • Joe Chernov


      • Ahava

        Hi Joe–We presented at CMW together, remember?  Thanks for the addition–it’s a great list and you can’t win with stuff like this, so don’t let it get to you. We are lucky to be in a crowded, incredibly talented field and thanks for calling attention to all of us!

  • Tea Silvestre

    Thanks for putting this list together (and you’re right — there are certainly more to add). You articulated exactly what I’d been thinking (and continue to think whenever I attend a biz conference). 

    • Joe Chernov

      Yea I see this list as a starting point, not a finish line!

  • Katy Schamberger

    Bravo, Joe – what a wonderful list! You’re a mind-reader, too – I’ve been working on adding more content marketing professionals to my Twitter stream, and you’ve made it easy. Thanks, too, for recognizing that there are so many smart women working in this field.

    • Joe Chernov

      Yes just follow the twitter list for these women. Easy as that. (And no mind reader here, just got lucky, I suppose!)

  • mbloomstein

    What a delight to learn about so many people beyond the usual suspects! Thanks for putting this together, Joe.

    I’d add Samantha Starmer, who helps lead the UX team at REI that creates educational features, buying guides, and all the content that makes you want to go hike a mountain–and fill your shopping cart with all the gear to do it right. 

    • Joe Chernov

      Great idea to add a UX pro to the list, good thinking!

  • Heather Rubesch

    So proud to see two of my Savvy Sister’s Michele Linn and Stephanie Tilton on this list!!!!  We started Savvy almost 3 years ago for this very reason.  We felt that Content Marketing appeared like an “old boys club” some days.  We attended an on-line event where all of the presenters were men and they had all written the forwards of each others books.  We wanted to break the closed circle and Michele and Stephanie included here tells me we have achieved a margin of success with lots of hard work and great content!

    • Joe Chernov

      I wanted to list all the Savvy Sisters … but feared it’d be too Savvy-centric. It’s a great crew you’ve got there!

      • Heather Rubesch

        I couldn’t agree more!  I learn something everyday from my “Sisters”.  I believe we prove the strength in numbers adage.   People are always curious to know that all 6 of us have never been in the same room at the same time.  Although we are hope to fix that by appearing on a panel together at this years fall DemandCon event.  As Director of Content for DemandCon I am determined to make it so!

  • Tsheehy

    I’d like to nominate Sandra Zoratti of Ricoh to your lovely list! @sandraz She’s a published author on the topic of B2B marketing and is an active member of the CMO Council’s North American Advisory Board and the BMA Colorado chapter.  Read more about Sandra here –

    • Joe Chernov

      Super, thanks for adding!

  • leeodden

    Many of the “Women Who Rock Social Media” (from 2010 and June 2011 lists) are also pretty amazing content marketers.  Pretty amazing people I think.

    • Joe Chernov

      Great people on your list as well, Lee. Slightly different, albeit complementary, focus (social v. content).

      • leeodden

        Joe, I don’t need to imply. I think it shows a lack of character on your part to make such claims. I can only be amazed at your ability to manipulate situations to get attention for yourself. My comment on G+ stated the extreme similarity, that’s it.  

        It’s disappointing that you would stoop to making such an accusation in relation to recognizing an amazing group of people who do good for us all. 

        • Joe Chernov


          I am not going to take your bait. You have had a bone to pick with me since I outed you for shilling for your client, Marketo (who I generously added to this list). Your claim that I ripped you off is absurd, particularly when the only overlapping name was the co-creator of this list. You are a punchline. The joke is, “Who is the biggest joke?”


          • leeodden

            I am really worried about you Joe. Whatever is happening to you I hope you make it through ok.

  • Jamie Wallace

    THANK YOU, Joe, for putting this fabulous list together. Women deserve more recognition in this field and I applaud that you’ve stepped up to offer some. I’m thrilled to see two of my “Savvy Sisters” on the list and my RSS finger is itching to add some new feeds to my reader. 
    Here’s to more great content marketing work from men and women alike in 2012! 

    • Joe Chernov

      All of the Sisters rock! 😉

  • Tina

    That’s one luscious list!  Superb!  Thanks for sharing!

    • Joe Chernov

      Alliteration FTW.

  • guest

    Great list. Very informative.  What about creator of the SONAR Content Distribution Model (a/k/a
    ‘SONAR marketing’), Wendy Montes de Oca (@PrecisionMktg)??? She is the author of the Amazon best-seller, ‘Content is Cash: Leveraging
    Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic, Sales, Leads and Buzz’ (Que
    Biz-Tech), which hit #1 for web marketing a few months ago.

    • Joe Chernov

      Happy to welcome new names/ideas.

  • Red Rocket Media

    Hi Joe

    Well all us girls at Red Rocket Media are loving this list – girl power indeed! A really interesting read and fantastic to profile the brilliant efforts of these women. We are all striving to to make it on to your list one day 🙂


    • Joe Chernov

      I think this struck a nerve. We definitely need to do a v2!!

  • Cgillan

    Great list!  Laura Nurzysnki from IDC @lnurzynski would make another great addition.  She has been a strong advocate of content based marketing since the late 1990s and has since been doing very innovative things for her clients across the tech industry. She is especially strong at connecting the dots between marketing objectives and how people consume information…and learn (a pillar of b to b marketing).  She excels at creating value for both the marketers *and* those the marketers hope to engage.

    • Joe Chernov


  • geechee_girl

    Thanks so much for including me in such good company, and for giving me new folks to follow on Twitter, too!

    • Joe Chernov

      Glad to include you. Looks like the next list is gonna need to be a little longer!

  • globalcopywrite

    Hi Joe,

    You set yourself up on this post; we’re all going to tell you names your forgot. I have to say Clare McDermott is kicking it for the content marketing crowd. As managing editor of Chief Content Officer magazine, she’s leading the charge in getting the message out all over the world. 

    So glad to see Michele Linn included. She’s a personal favourite of mine.

    • globalcopywrite

      You can find Clare McDermott at @soloportfolio. 

      • Joe Chernov

        Clare is great. Definitely should be included on any list!

    • Nenad

      I second that.

  • Kim O’Donnell

    Hi Joe

    Hallelujah!!  I feel like I’ve come across a holy grail!!.  I’ve been totally immersed in cyberspace for the past few weeks looking for credible sources of advice and inspiration to help me in my endeavours to ‘get started’ and prosper in an online business.

    I’ve come across many great sites, bloggers, content and links but after a while I noticed that I wasn’t reaching any women.   Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have anything against men or male generated content whatsoever.   I’ve subscribed to many sites and blogs operated by successful men and have  learnt a great deal from them during my cyber-travels.   I had started wondering however why I wasn’t discovering many women and whether the ‘boys club’ had in fact infiltrated the online space as well. 

    I know there are a lot of women achieving great success and making valuable contributions online so I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t reaching them either in terms of links or references and why they don’t seem to get as much exposure and recognition as men.  Maybe I haven’t been looking hard enough?

    I can’t remember how I landed at CMI but after exploring the site and
    reading a number of Michelle Linn’s posts in particular, I decided to
    subscribe.   When I saw the title of this blog post in my inbox it
    practically leapt off the page at me and forced me to click on the link.

    Thanks Joe for not only filling in such a huge gap with your post but good on you for sharing your observations and highlighting the ‘elephant in the room’!   Your opening comments really resonated with me and motivated me to post my first reply ever to any blog post.  

    Congratulations to everyone who appeared in what is seeming likely to be the first (of maybe several?) lists of Women Who Rock Content!   I look forward to finding you and those you’ve graciously mentioned in your posts as well as more posts featuring Women Who Rock in other facets of online business.

    • Joe Chernov

      Your first blog comment ever, Kim, might just be my favorite blog comment ever. You just made my day, seriously. Thank you!

      • Kim O’Donnell

        Wow! Thanks Joe – that’s great! You just made mine! : )

  • Susie

    Yay for the ladies :). Great variety of talent and expertise on the list – super interesting and useful.

    • Joe Chernov

      Thanks Suzie. Glad it was useful. I know that’s what #CMI strives for — practical content — so I am sure they too appreciate your POV!

  • Patty

    Loved, loved, loved ur article. So glad the ladies finally get some credit. Wendy Montes de Oca is another one to add. For your twitter list, it’s PrecisionMktg.  Her book Content Is Cash focuses on a comprehensive and innovative amped up version of content marketing, a strategy called SONAR. Good stuff.

    • Joe Chernov

      Looking forward to checking out Wendy’s content … thanks for the suggestion!

  • Ambal Balakrishnan

    Joe – You won me over at the line “When and why did content marketing become a boy’s club?” 🙂 Wonderful blog post….and thank you for putting my girl buddies in the spotlight. Kudos to you. 2012 i

    • Joe Chernov

      Thank Ambal, appreciated!

  • Anonymous

    What a great list!  It’s really great to read about women participating in this industry –  hopefully I’ll be on this list someday, too! 🙂

    • Joe Chernov

      Thanks Laura … I am sure you will!

  • Anonymous

    Joe, fantastic list with fantastic women! What a terrific way to start 2012!  Best, CB

    • Joe Chernov

      Wow, CB! Thanks!!

  • Liz Pascaud

    Thanks! Am following the list and hoping to learn lots. 

    • Joe Chernov

      Super, Liz! I’ll augment the list with these great additions soon!

  • Jane hiscock

    Joe – it is great to see a list of great content thinkers and producers to follow.  I’d like to add Sarah Lafferty –  @ladylaff and Roanne Neuwirth @RoanneNeuwirth – Roanne writes much of the content for this community – and Sarah’s blog is worth following – on leadership.  Thanks for the post again Joe – we’ll hope this is an annual!

    • Jane hiscock

      Sorry Joe I intended to provide this as Sarah Lafferty’s blog on leadership –  Thanks!

      • Joe Chernov

        Thanks Jane. Appreciated!

  • Jay Louise

    Ann Smarty should be on this list too (@seosmarty). She’s the owner of My Blog Guest, a fantastic site which connects bloggers with guest writers in all different topics and around the world. She’s also got her own popular blog: She’s a massive inspiration to me and her site  has helped me and other bloggers out a lot!

    • Joe Chernov

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Christy

    Now we just need some more women of color on this list!

    • Joe Chernov

      Excellent point, excellent!

  • Heather

    Inspiring list, followed all, thanks Joe.

    • Joe Chernov

      Thanks for following!

  • RohnJay

    I know there’s a difference between content strategy and content marketing–I think of them as overlapping circles on a Venn diagram–but I’m still scratching my head why Kristina Halvorson, author of “Content Strategy” (tiwtter: @halvorson) isn’t on the list.   CS has to consider the entire content development eco-system, and not just marketing objectives, but I think that’s all the more reason it’s the foundation of any approach to content marketing.  Just my $.02

    • Joe Chernov

      Definitely need to add to the list, that’s for sure! Thanks for commenting.

  • Suzen Pettit

    Joe, you need to add young, up and coming Amy Schmittauer (“Schmittastic”), from She has taught me so much with her content rich blogs and very funny/action packed video’s. One year into the business and she is definately going places…so inspiring

    • Joe Chernov

      Will add!

  • Joe Chernov


    Thanks for your great input. I added the following names to the “Top Women in Content” list:!/jchernov/top-women-in-content

    @soniasimone:disqus (Clearly my biggest oversight)
    @RedheadWriting:disqus  (my personal addition)

    If I missed anyone, let me know!


  • Ruth Zive

    As a newcomer to the blogosphere, who is female, and is a freelance copywriter, specializing in content marketing strategy…I am so pleased to read this list!  Inspiring is an understatement!  Thank you.

    • Joe Chernov

      Hi Ruth, SO glad you enjoyed the post. Truly! -Joe

  • Fin Wycherley

    Thanks for the awesome list. Can we have a hybrid event Awards Ceremony too? And how about Best of India / GB / France? Let’s have some fun in 2012!

    • Joe Chernov

      I think social media makes the world a bit smaller. Sometimes it’s easy to forget we come from different places in the world. Fun idea. 

  • Secure128

    Regarding #9 on the list, Hubspot is a rock solid service. We used them for some time at We eventually moved on to our own platform but would highly recommend them as a provider to any company that doesn’t have the development resources.

    • Joe Chernov

      Yea they do good work there.

  • Tamara Vuorinen

    Go, go talented women!

  • Annie

    In reality, I don’t think there is a gender imbalance or “boys club” here. Probably just poor curation on the part of whoever organized the “summit” of 29 influential content marketers you participated in. Who might that have been? They seem to be the ones missing the boat. Not the rest of us.

  • Harriette Lang

    This is a fantastic list, lots of women I haven’t run across yet. I’d also like to add a woman that pulled my head out of the sand about using content marketing purposefully and that’s Lisa Angelettie @LisaAngelettie – She has upleveled the quality of my articles and guest posts for sure. I look forward to exploring some of these other leaders in content marketing as well. Thank u!

  • Elizabeth Joss

    Wow! Thanks so much for the inspiring post Joe. I’m in the process of developing something similar to praise female South African content marketers. South Africa still has a long way to go, but we’ll get there in good time. Thanks so much once again! 

  • Sharon Tanton

    Great stuff! I’m going to make it an ambition of me and @sonjajefferson to make it to the list next year. Our book on content marketing (Valuable Content Marketing: How to Make Quality Content the Key to Your Business Success) is published in the US at the end of the month, so you might have heard of us UK content marketers by then!

  • disputblog

    As I’ve already tweeted, I can’t believe these ladies aren’t on the list:
    @julesshoes – she’s the queen of content marketing in the UK (and Europe as a whole) @sjtanton

  • profesional web design

    I like this website really much.

    This is really a great place.
    And it is not like other money oriented site, the information here is genuinely valuable.

  • Margar David Profesore