Jay Baer of Convince and Convert (whose blog is actually featured in this post) once put the necessity of learning in the digital marketing field very well.
In digital marketing, if you stop learning you die. Period.
I think that this observation is dead on. In a field that changes so quickly, it’s all too easy to get left behind if you are not constantly reading and learning. Very fittingly, the best and most convenient way to keep up to speed on the online marketing world is to read industry blogs from a variety of individuals, companies and publications.
There are many blogs about all aspects of digital marketing and business out there. In this list I took it upon myself to cut through the noise and round up the 60 best blogs that you should be reading going into 2015. I hope you enjoy!
The following blogs are rather broad and don’t necessarily fit into just one category. The one common thread is that they provide a nice mix of the most relevant aspects of digital marketing and business. Consider these a great place to start.
1. 99U – Imagine if TED Talks dealt exclusively with marketing, design and leadership strategy. That is basically what Behance’s online video/design blog has turned into, and it’s every bit as fantastic as it sounds.
2. A Better Lemonade Stand – A Better Lemonade Stands gives real insights into all aspects of startup marketing using illuminating case studies. As it’s name suggests, the blog breaks down these stories into easily digestible straightforward accounts.
3. Adobe Digital Marketing Blog – When browsing the depth and quality of Adobe’s content it’s clear that their blog has the weight of a giant corporation behind it. However, just because Adobe’s big, does not mean that they are behind on the latest marketing trends. The articles on the blog are consistently on trend and well written.
4. MarketingProfs – Although you need to pay for some of the features and resources MarketingProfs has to offer, their blog content is free and is not lacking in quality or utility. These articles function mainly as instructional material that’s extremely actionable, which can be useful for getting up to speed on many marketing related topics quickly.
5. Occam’s Razor – Even the title (which is a nod to an obscure principle in logic) suggests that this blog is getting into some pretty heady territory. That makes sense though. Occam’s Razor is written by Google’s chief evangelist and data expert Avinash Kaushik, so it’s only fitting that the articles offer deep insights into big data and high-level web strategies.
6. Optimizely – Optimizely brands itself as the “#1 website optimization platform in the world,” and their blog reflects this focus on efficiency. Optimizely’s blog provides consistently valuable insights into how to make the most of your marketing and your business in a variety of different areas.
7. ReferralCandy – Candy is actually a fitting way to describe ReferralCandy’s blog. Their posts are shiny, enticing and instantly gratifying. Heavily graphical and easily digestible posts will guarantee to keep you coming back for more.
8. Signal v. Noise – Basecamp is not necessarily the world’s most exciting product, but that doesn’t stop its developer 37Signals from having one of the most eclectic, thoughtful and consistently interesting blogs on the web.
9. Simply Measured – I definitely considered putting Simply Measured’s blog in the “Social Media Marketing” category, because that represents a majority of what they discuss. However, their articles offer such great insights into general marketing principles and have become so influential in the marketing world that it makes more sense to file this blog under the must read list for any marketer (social media marketer or otherwise).
10. Snarketing 2.0 – Ron Shevlin, the author of Snarketing, is a 25-year vet of the marketing industry and understandably a bit cynical (and well snarky) about the topics he covers. However, underneath a layer of snark (that is quite entertaining actually) are valuable insights and observations that are clearly the product of his wide range of knowledge and experiences.
11. Social Triggers – Social Triggers takes the novel approach of focusing on the psychological side of online marketing. The blog is full of surprising and often-counterintuitive explanations of why people behave the way they do online and how to apply this knowledge in becoming a better marketer.
12. Socialmouths – The Socialmouths blog consistently provides great content that is highly polished and informative. The topics are wide-ranging, but all their articles have one thing in common – they will make you a better marketer.
13. SumAll – The SumAll blog boldly claims that it is “a marketing blog that doesn’t suck.” While I like to think I’ve found 59 others for this list, I see why they make this claim. SumAll skillfully avoids many of the pitfalls that marketing blogs fall victim to (rehashed content, overly stodgy writing) by injecting their writing and design with levity and play while simultaneously providing up-to-date marketing advice and observations. (Disclosure: Sumall is a client.)
14. The Next Web – The Next Web is probably one of the largest publications on this list, and they use this size to their advantage. Their blog provides a staggeringly wide range of content while managing to maintain quality and consistency. No matter what you’re looking to read about, you’re unlikely to leave their website disappointed.
15. Unmarketing – Unmarketing provides killer content that has the added bonus of being available in both written and podcast form. The discussions on the site cover a wide range of marketing topics and are easy to listen to or read. Whichever you prefer.
This next category also has quite a bit of variation, but each blog from this selection is run by a singular individual with their own unique perspective. Although they may write about a variety of topics, these blogs tend to have a consistent viewpoint.
16. Andrew Chen – Andrew Chen is a Silicon Valley veteran who has served as an angel investor, founder and advisor for too many startups to list. His blog is comprised of essays covering his takes on various aspects of start-up culture and contain many valuable lessons and insights.
17. Ann Handley – Ann Handley is perhaps most well known as the Chief Content Officer of the incredibly influential MarketingProfs. Her blog covers a wide range of material, all of which is every bit as engaging and instructive as the content she helps manage at MarketingProfs.
18. Brian Solis – Brian Solis is certainly offbeat, but in a way that makes him all the more fascinating to read. A self-described futurist, Solis’s articles explore the potential impacts of digital technology and the social ramifications these trends may bring about.
19. Chris Dixon – Chris Dixon has been an early stage investor (as a member of the prestigious Andreessen Horowitz) in companies as wide-ranging as BuzzFeed and Airbnb. So not only are the predictions and trends he highlights on his blog very interesting, there’s probably a good chance they’re right on the money as well.
20. Danny Brown – Danny Brown has the unique ability to teach a lot about marketing by writing about nearly everything but marketing. His articles range from personal anecdotes to off-hand observations and are incredibly easy to read. What makes them remarkable is that they are also very instructive.
21. Gregory Ciotti – Gregory Ciotti leads content strategy for Help Scout (a SaaS customer service platform) and as does an amazing job at curating content, as well as creating original pieces for his blog and the Help Scout blog. Reading his blog gives you a look into his highly creative and novel approach to marketing and also gives you a sense of why he got the job he has in the first place.
22. Jeff Bullas – Jeff Bullas is a bit over the top and in your face, but there’s one thing you can’t deny him – he gets results. With millions of annual readers and reams of interesting insights opinions and facts about social media and marketing his blog is definitely worth dealing with a little blatant self-promotion.
23. OkDork – OkDork is the personal blog of Noah Kagan. Kagan founded the wildly successful AppSumo.com, and uses his massive store of experiences and observations to write instructive and engaging articles about many different aspects of start-up marketing.
24. Peter Shankman – Peter Shankman’s most noteworthy achievement is the creation of the Help A Reporter Out organization. However, his blog happens to be an achievement in its own right. Shankman uses a conversational and informal style to relay some truly profound and useful lessons about marketing, business and entrepreneurship.
25. Seth Godin – Seth Godin is one of the grandfathers of the new marketing era. He has written countless books that have shaped the way that an entire generation of marketers approach their field. Yet, somehow, he still manages to provide new insights every single day in the form of almost zen-like mini blog posts. If there’s one blog on here you should incorporate into your daily routine it’s this one.
Content marketing has very quickly become the newest big thing in digital marketing. For a topic that’s talked about so much, there seems to be a lot of repetition and less than great advice. These handpicked content marketing blogs give fresh insights and treat the topic with the nuance it deserves.
26. Buffer – The beloved software company that makes the lives of so many content-marketers much easier also happens to have one of the best content marketing blogs out there. Whether it’s analyzing data on how people respond to certain content or giving readers a peak into how Buffer itself approaches content marketing, Buffer’s blog posts are consistently fantastic.
27. Canva – Cloud-based design service Canva’s marketing is currently led by ex-Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki. Knowing that it’s no wonder that Canva’s blog is top-notch. Design is an often neglected component of good content marketing and it is Canva’s goal to make that argument to the content-marketing community as a whole. Instead of just saying so, their blog demonstrates how good design can be used to enhance anyone’s content marketing efforts. This makes it a valuable resource for any content marketer.
28. Contently – Contently is company made by and for content marketers so it only makes sense that their blog would focus on content marketing. The thing is Contently goes way beyond that expectation. They don’t have a blog about content strategy; they have an entire magazine devoted to it. It’s called the Content Strategist and it is a must read.
29. Convince and Convert – Jay Baer (whom I quoted at the beginning of this article) is brimming with insights on content marketing and web strategy. On his dedicated blog he (along with a few others) provide consistently cutting-edge approaches to content marketing. Perhaps even more instructive than the content is just watching how Convince and Convert approaches marketing their content.
30. Copyblogger – Copyblogger founder Brian Clark is a content marketing pioneer (it’s easy to argue he was one of the people to invent the idea) so that alone makes his company’s blog about content marketing worth following. Now add the fact that the content they put out is of standard setting quality and you’ve got to wonder why you’re not reading it right now.
31. Duct Tape Marketing – Like it’s title suggest Duct Tape Marketing shows the eternally understaffed content marketing teams of the world to make the most of their content marketing efforts. Read this blog if you’ve ever silently wished you had a content team twice as large as the one you have now.
32. HubSpot – HubSpot’s reputation in the world of content marketing is long and illustrious. In fact, they’ve been around for so long that they were doing business when it was still called inbound marketing. But questionably outdated terminology aside, HubSpot’s articles and white papers set the standard for content marketing literature.
32. Marketo – Marketo is an industry leading marketing automation provider and also runs one of the best content marketing blogs on the web. If you can get past the overwhelming use of purple, you’ll find a nearly limitless trove of content marketing resources and lessons.
34. Presentation Zen – It seems like a lot of content marketers don’t know this but Slideshare is one of the largest untapped content marketing resources out there. People clearly love presentations, but only if they don’t stink. Garr Reynolds classic blog will teach you the art of designing world-class presentations and hopefully add a tool to your content marketing arsenal in the process.
35. Percolate Blog – They say not to judge a book by its cover, but they never said anything about blogs. Percolate’s content marketing blog is, if anything, a pleasure to look at. It just so happens that beyond the well-designed exterior is some real substance.
36. Quick Sprout – Quicksprout was started by the marketing wizard Neil Patel. On the blog Neil shares content marketing lessons he’s learned from starting companies like KISSmetrics and consulting for clients such as Amazon and CNBC.
37. ReadWrite – Unlike most of the other blogs in this category, ReadWrite doesn’t necessarily teach you about content marketing so much as it gives you content to write about. Their site features a wide range of stories on what’s going on online at the moment.
38. Skyword – Similar to Contently, Skyword is a content marketing platform that publishes what is essentially a magazine all about content marketing. Like Contently, Skyword’s Content Standard is also an invaluable resource to any content marketer. (Disclosure: Skyword is a client.)
39. The Content Marketing Institute – The CMI as it’s known amongst content marketers, is the place to go when you’re looking for authoritative statistics regarding content marketing and predictions of where the industry is going.
40. Top Rank Blog – Much like ReadWrite, Top Rank’s blog serves as a valuable source of material to keep you up to date on what the internet is buzzing about – a necessary part of being a good content marketer.
While SEO and SEM can be a bit dry sometimes they are crucial tools in any marketer’s toolkit. In addition, since they have been around so long, there tends to be a lot of outdated advice floating around on the web. The following blogs keep their SEO/SEM coverage interesting and up-to-the-minute.
41. ConversionXL – It seems as though SEO/SEM marketers are almost as obsessed with conversion rates as missionaries. Conversion XL’s blog has a singular focus and that is how to improve conversion rates and make your digital marketing funnel more effective.
42. KISSmetrics – KISSmetrics offers clear yet detailed examination of a wide variety of topics. Where they really excel is in taking large amounts of data and having it tell a clear and coherent story.
43. Monetate – The main focus of SEO and SEM is driving traffic to your site, but Monetate helps marketers answer the question of how to make them stay there and eventually convert. Monetate provides powerful A/B testing software for e-commerce and their blog highlights the many benefits of applying this data-driven methodology to e-commerce site design.
44. Moz Blog – Moz was among the first SEO companies and they are currently among the largest. Yet despite their age and size they are as nimble as ever. The Moz blog keeps readers currents on various trends in search engine marketing and optimization and also manages to act as a thought leader for the industry.
45-47. Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch – It’s no mistake that these three blogs have very similar names. They are all very similar. These blogs are for the industry insiders who really want to drill down into the most current news regarding SEO and SEM. All of these sites tend to have a slightly different focus, which makes them all worth checking out.
48. Single Grain – Single Grain’s blog focuses on conversion rate optimization but does so in a way that is more accessible to industry outsiders than many of the other blogs in this category. This is a great resource for those who have an understanding of SEO/SEM but who would like to gain a deeper grasp of some difficult concepts.
49. Unbounce – Unbounce’s blog differs from the rest of the blogs in this category because its content bears more of a resemblance to tutorials than it does to an article, not to mention that most of their coverage is of conversion optimization. When they do discuss SEO or SEM, it ties in nicely with a reader’s understanding of other marketing channels. This makes it a great resource for those who have a specific goal in mind and want to figure out how to get it done.
There is perhaps no topic more talked about online than social media marketing. With countless blogs and opinions out there it can be hard to find really great novel ideas about this very relevant area. The blogs listed here do a fantastic job of offering real insights and/or news about social media that are actually useful and instructive.
50. AllFacebook – The title of the blog leaves very little to the imagination. But there’s something to be said about doing one thing and doing it well. AllFacebook provides the most current coverage and analysis of everything going on in the Facebook marketing community.
51. AllTop Social – AllTop Social aggregates stories about social media from all over the web. The stories are broken out by publication and updated often. Although the sheer amount of content can be overwhelming, AllTop serves as a great one-stop destination to browse the latest headlines in the social media world.
52. Ignite Social Media – Ignite labels themselves as “the original social media agency” and in order to back up that claim they produce one of the most original social media blogs online. Not only does their blog provide coverage of current news and ideas, it also blends in their unique take on the latest social media marketing trends.
53. Likeable Blog – Likeable Media is a cheeky, free-thinking agency and it only makes sense that their blog will follow suit. Although it’s clear that their writers have social marketing fundamentals down pat, what makes their blog worth reading is their infectious enthusiasm and sense of fun.
54. Meltwater Blog – MeltWater’s blog takes a much more data driven approach than most of the blogs in this category. While many community managers might be scared of terms like KPI’s and Pivot Tables, there is a sizable subset that is interested in analyzing their social media presence with cold, hard data. MeltWater caters to this group perfectly.
55. Post Planner – Post Planner’s blog does a great job of demystifying a lot of social media marketing for beginners by structuring their articles like tutorials. Each post shows how to make the most of various social channels with step-by-step guides for things like optimization and strategy.
56. Social Fresh – Social Fresh is a dedicated e-magazine entirely about social media marketing. Their articles range from news regarding changes in the industry, to quick tips on how to improve your social media presence. All of Social Fresh’s content is provided by high-quality contributors who give their valuable insight and expertise to their wide-range of coverage.
57. Social Media Examiner – Don’t let their kitschy mascot fool you. Social Media Examiner is a fairly serious and buttoned down publication. Their articles are remarkably consistent and almost always provide a step-by-step run through detailing how to optimize your social presence. If you ever find yourself wondering how to get something done on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or elsewhere than this is the first place you should look.
58. Social Media Explorer – Social Media Explorer is truly a publication geared towards those in the industry. It has been ranked as high as #1 on Advertising Age’s Power 150 Marketing Blogs and for good reason. Some of the biggest names in social marketing not only cover the latest social media trends here, but also provide their opinion and discuss their thoughts on a wide range of topics in the social marketing landscape.
59. Sprout Social – Sprout Social’s blog is not only beautifully designed, but also refreshingly unique. Instead of offering the same discussion of the most popular platforms, Sprout goes off the beaten track by discussing unlikely applications or services many social media marketers might not have heard of. That makes Sprout’s blog a great way to round out your social media reading.
60. We Are Social – We Are Social is the authoritative source for a wide range of social marketing statistics and industry news. In addition to their valuable trove of data, We Are Social also produces beautiful slideshows to showcase and contextualize their findings. For marketers looking to get a sense of the current state of the social media landscape this is an invaluable resource.
What did you think of this list? Did I miss any blogs? What blogs do you read to enhance you marketing knowledge? Let me know in the comments below.