A Cornucopia of Content Marketing Inspiration
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.” –President Barack Obama, July 2012.
For those who celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving!
We take time on this day to reflect on all for which we have to be grateful. It’s as good a time as any to remember that no matter what we’ve achieved or what milestones we’ve reached, someone (or something) helped get us there. Whether it’s a mentor, a great piece of advice, or some other source of inspiration, our success is often supported by the expertise of others we’ve encountered on our professional journey.
To show our appreciation for the dozens of business, personal, and creative resources that help us stay informed and do our jobs – and help us do the same for our readers – the Content Marketing Institute shares a few of the sources we rely on to support our own content marketing (and personal) missions.
This list is not exhaustive, but it offers a glimpse of the sources of our inspiration and is arranged by each contributor’s CMI function. Though our roles may dictate the types of resources we prefer and prioritize, we all agree that we couldn’t do our jobs without these influencers.
We hope our picks – as well as the additional resources we’ve listed at the end – will help guide you to greater content marketing success.
Joe Pulizzi, Founder
Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer
- Jay Acunzo’s Sorry for Marketing blog: Jay Acunzo just started this blog, but it’s a refreshing look a content marketing. A must-read, according to Joe.
- Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert blog: If Jay Baer is thinking about it, it’s worth thinking about, as far as Robert is concerned.
- BoSacks: Joe relies on the BoSacks newsletter for the latest news in the publishing world. “It’s extremely relevant for content marketers,” he says.
- Seth Godin: Seth’s Permission Marketing is still considered one of the bibles of our industry.
- Harvard Business Review: Approaching business more broadly is always refreshing to take specifically into marketing, according to Robert.
- Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich: Though this book was written well over 50 years ago, Joe still considers it to be a must-read for anyone in leadership.
- Reddit: According to Robert, “It’s a great way to keep up with the ‘culture’ of the internet and, you know, cats.”
Michele Linn, Vice President of Content
Clare McDermott, Managing Editor, CCO
Lisa Dougherty, Director, Blog Operations and Community
Ann Gynn, CMI Blog Editor
Jodi Harris, Director of Editorial Content and Curation
Pamela Muldoon, Podcast Network Director
Lisa Murton Beets, Director of Research and Special Projects
- B2B Marketing Insider: Michael Brenner was a content marketing “insider” long before he left SAP to join NewsCred. Michele considers his blog a go-to resource for content marketing research, trends, and conversation.
- BuzzFeed Big Stories: Hiding among the cheesy quizzes and OMG lists of animals that “just can’t right now” is BuzzFeed Big Stories – legitimate, long-form, investigative content that explores the human and cultural significance of what’s happening in our digital world. “It’s not necessarily ‘need-to-know’ info that helps me do my job, but it helps me put the cultural phenomena that impact my job into a more understandable and compelling perspective,” Jodi says.
- Contently: Michele recommends Contently for its great blog and newsletter, which focuses on many topics she cares about: examples, measurement, and vertical-focused content marketing.
- Copyblogger: Lisa Dougherty calls herself a huge fan of Copyblogger. “Once they’ve pulled me in with their headline, they’ve also got their game on with their content. They keep me entertained and informed,” she says.
- Andy Crestodina’s The Orbiter blog: Our editorial team loves Andy Crestodina and The Orbiter blog. While Michele characterizes the blog as “on point, easy-to-understand, and, best of all, it’s something I can apply immediately,” Jodi considers Andy to be one of her secret weapons for understanding the finer details of content marketing – particularly when it comes to processes for measurement and perspectives on how to prioritize all the decisions involved in content marketing.
- Seth Godin: Seth is marketing. Who else can write so succinctly, yet so eloquently every time? “Great lessons, great insight – it’s a staple in my marketing reading diet,” says Pamela Muldoon.
- Grammarly: Lisa Dougherty says she would be lost without Grammarly keeping her writing in check and keeping typos out. “The app follows you everywhere, from your Word documents through all your social platforms,” she says.
- Jay Acunzo’s Sorry for Marketing blog: Many of us on the editorial team are huge fans of Jay’s advice and witty writing style. Michele comments that it’s useful as well as entertaining.
- Kapost’s The Content Marketeer blog: “If you are looking to improve your processes and workflow, Kapost’s blog is full of ideas to get you started and help you become more efficient,” says Michele.
- LinkedIn Pulse: Ann considers LinkedIn Pulse to be an easy view, as it often has some relevant, quick reads that she might never have seen on other news and information sites. “Right now, I let LinkedIn figure out what it thinks I might be interested in from its portal,” she says.
- Marketo: Lisa Murton Beets says she loves the educational resources it provides for content marketers. “Great copywriting pulls me in. It’s a good example of how great copywriting can grab busy people,” she says.
- Moz: Rand Fishkin’s video tutorials are amazing … among the few instructional-style videos that Clare says keep her attention. Pamela adds, “Whiteboard Fridays are fantastic.”
- Marcus Sheridan’s The Sales Lion blog: “The ultimate example of how anyone, in any type of field, can propel his or her company into the stratosphere by using content marketing,” says Lisa Murton Beets.
- Search Engine Land: Clare calls SEL her favorite of the SEO-led content sites. “They have an excellent team of writers, and I find they explain complex topics for non-SEO types very well,” she says.
- Marketing Interactions: Anyone who is executing content marketing for a large organization can learn from Ardath Albee. “She’s one of those people I have been following since I started in content marketing in 2008,” says Michele, “and I still learn something new with her insightful yet easy-to-digest posts.”
Cathy McPhillips, Marketing Director
Tracy Mallette, Audience Development Manager
Amanda Subler, Public Relations and Media Manager
Monina Wagner, Community Manager
- Altimeter Group blog: Cathy says that after meeting Jeremiah Owyang in 2009, Altimeter became a great place for her to dig more into social, think bigger than the project at hand, and learn how to dissect the important numbers in our analytics.
- Brian Clark and Copyblogger: “Brian and his team have really helped me with some great ways for me to market our small business,” says Cathy. Tracy praises Copyblogger’s writers who all have a rare talent for entertaining while educating.
- Enchanting Marketing: Tracy says that, “Henneke Duistermaat really knows her stuff. She entertains while informing. You feel like you’re learning persuasive marketing tactics from a friend.”
- Erika Heald: Erika’s blog is a hidden gem among the giants. Cathy says that Erika never ceases to amaze her, most notably by the systems she has put into place for seamless and efficient content marketing.
- PR News: Amanda recommends PR News to stay on top of latest trends in the PR industry, including use of content marketing in PR tactics.
- ReelSEO: Amanda follows ReelSEO for its expertise on video marketing. “I especially like its videos for great tips on how to improve your YouTube marketing,” she says.
- Scott Stratten’s UnMarketing/UnPodcast: He calls out blatant bad business practices on social. “We can all do better, and Scott is helping us do so,” says Cathy.
Joseph Kalinowski, Creative Director
- Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert blog: Joe calls it a “very insightful” blog. “Plus, I really enjoy Jay’s short video blogs, ‘Jay Today’,” he says.
- The Creative Market: Joe adores this site. He explains, “It is packed full of visual inspiration and the tools to help designers and artists create impactful creations.”
- deviantART: “It is a great resource for design inspiration,” Joe says. Great artwork inspires great artwork, plus he loves looking at the fan-based Star Wars art.
- Doug Kessler’s Velocity Partners blog: Doug and his team at Velocity Partners put together a great site and blog. Joe always enjoys checking in to see what they’re up to.
- Huffington Post: “It keeps me pretty up-to-date on the happenings in the media and tech world,” Joe says.
- Mashable: Joe’s a huge fan of this great mix of stories and information – its mobile app is very cool too.
Operations and Events
Kim Borden, Executive Assistant
Laura Kozak, E-Media Manager
Pam Kozelka, Vice President of Operations
Krissy Leskovec, Project Manager
Angela Vannucci, Project Director
Kelley Whetsell, Director of Events
- Forbes: Kim visits this site every day for a scan of the top stories.
- GoTo Meeting: Kim considers this tool to be a huge time saver when working on projects with the many members of the CMI team, while Angela says it makes working virtually so easy, “I use it nearly every day.”
- Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich: Kelley refers to this book as a timeless classic.
- Marketo: Marketo sends a lot of valuable content that is useful for any content marketer. Tips and tricks, email updates, content – Marketo covers it all, according to Angela.
- Lee Odden’s TopRank® blog: The online marketing blog provides good information and TopRank is a good partner. Pam advises everyone to keep up on what Lee and TopRank are saying.
- PR 20/20: A Cleveland-based company always piques the interest of Pam (a local resident). “We do a lot of work with agencies, so we try to keep them on our radar,” she says.
- Marcus Sheridan’s The Sales Lion blog: He has a great voice and fun personality that shows through in his posts. Pam also likes that he is not afraid to call BS on someone.
- WordPress forums: Laura visits the WordPress forums regularly to find help for site-related issues, and just to get ideas from webmasters and developers who are in the trenches on a day-to-day basis.
- WPBeginner: Laura refers to this resource as, “a fantastic weekly digest email that gives a trick or two each week that we can use on the CMI family of sites consistently and without fail.”
Peter Loibl, Vice President, Publisher
Karen Schopp, Media Sales Executive
- AdvertisingAge: As the son of an original “Mad Man,” Peter frequently finds himself perusing AdAge to learn more about the ins and outs of the agency world, which he sees embracing content marketing more and more every year.
- BoSacks: Peter likens checking out BoSacks to taking the blue pill in The Matrix: “I’m not sure how I functioned before hearing about it,” he says. Peter gets its daily newsletter (well, multiple newsletters), and always finds a nugget of great stuff in each edition.
- eMarketer: Interesting research and a dedicated group of which Peter thinks highly.
- Fast Company: Karen considers Fast Company to be one of the best visually driven news resources around. A huge fan of the design and layout, she says the content is also contemporary, diverse, and just plain smart.
- Doug Kessler’s Velocity Partners blog: Doug and his team are B2B content marketing experts. “They really know their stuff, and are so darn funny. All that combined makes for a super engaging read,” Karen says.
- MarketingSherpa: Karen considers its case-study format to be awesome: “Each post is organized by challenge, campaign, lessons learned, and result. This format makes it easy to read and digest the key points quickly,” she says.
- Pinterest: Karen uses Pinterest as a visual-bookmarking tool. “I don’t typically curate content from it, but every time I read something important or relevant (on content marketing/strategy) I save it to a corresponding board. I now have a huge library of reference content that I can share with CMI clients and prospects,” she says.
- TechCrunch: Peter admits that TechCrunch inspired CMI’s Innovation Launch Center at Content Marketing World. “What a tremendous combination of cool content and easy-to-access data that keeps us on top of the up-and-coming technologies in the industry,” he says.
The list below is a more comprehensive look at the sources we reference. Indicate what you rely on, and please add your additional “go-to” blogs.
Cover image by Jane Kalinowski