You don’t need a college degree to become a highly successful content marketer.
I failed college at 19 and taught myself the skills I needed for content marketing on my own. All I had was $75 in my pocket. In fact, I couldn’t even afford to purchase the domain for my website until a year into running the business.
Today, this business has brought in sales and revenue of more than $5 million.
And we did it completely through content marketing.
Content marketing is the future. The worth of the industry is about to skyrocket to $600 billion by 2024.
Content marketing generates 3x as many leads as traditional marketing while costing 62% less. The simple truth is, regular advertising methods are inefficient in today’s online environment. And organic content geared to pull in leads is working much, much better.
Question. Where or to whom do you go in this industry to learn the ropes?
I also know that real-life experience and observation are the best teachers, and I’d take those learning methods over dry, expensive textbooks any day. (That’s why I created courses and workshops to give people the tools they need to build a successful content marketing strategy.)
The good news is that you can start learning for free RIGHT NOW by simply by following top content marketers on social media, and paying attention to what they’re doing, saying, and sharing.
We took weeks to research and put together today’s list. No marketer solicited us for these spots – these are real-life top content marketers and practitioners that have earned their places. Enjoy!
Psst… Check out our FREE downloadable version of this list, so you can save & follow the experts later. Get inspired on your content marketing journey!
Overview: The Top 64 Content Marketers, Brands, and Businesses to Follow
There are tons of experts to learn from online. Some of them are great about sharing tips and insights in the SEO and content marketing industries, while others are phenomenal marketers you can learn from by studying their strategies.
Here is a list of my top 64 picks. None of these marketers solicited or paid us for a spot. They were carefully vetted by myself and another content marketer on our team; most of them, I’ve followed, respected, and learned from for years myself.
Best Content Marketers to Follow on Twitter
- Brian Dean @Backlinko
- Rand Fishkin @randfish
- Joe Pulizzi @JoePulizzi
- Britney Muller @BritneyMuller
- Pam Moore @PamMktgNut
- AJ Ghergich @SEO
- Larry Kim @larrykim
- Seth Godin @ThisIsSethsBlog
- Kim Garst @kimgarst
- Jeff Bullas @jeffbullas
- Dharmesh Shah @dharmesh
- Peter Shankman @petershankman
- Guy Kawasaki @GuyKawasaki
- Sarah Evans @prsarahevans
- Jason Fried @jasonfried
- Amy Porterfield @AmyPorterfield
- Mari Smith @MariSmith
- Mark Schaefer @markwschaefer
- Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael
- Shane Barker @shane_barker
- Ann Handley @MarketingProfs
- Lilach Bullock @lilachbullock
- Jay Baer @jaybaer
- Mike Allton @mike_allton
- Darren Rowse @problogger
- Lee Odden @leeodden
- Chris Brogan @chrisbrogan
- Brian Clark @brianclark
- Glen Gilmore @GlenGilmore
- Avinash Kaushik @avinash
- Brian Solis @briansolis
- Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary
- Christoph Trappe @CTrappe
- Heidi Cohen @heidicohen
- Aleyda Solis @aleyda
- Joanna Wiebe @copyhackers
- Gary Vaynerchuk @garyvee
- Ramit Sethi @ramit
- James Clear @JamesClear
Best Marketing Brands and Companies to Follow on Twitter
- Content Marketing Institute @CMIContent
- HubSpot @HubSpot
- Search Engine Land @sengineland
- BuzzSumo @BuzzSumo
- Think with Google @ThinkwithGoogle
- Semrush @semrush
- Ahrefs @ahrefs
- Buffer @buffer
- Hootsuite @hootsuite
- Unbounce @unbounce
- Sprout Social @SproutSocial
- Grammarly @Grammarly
- Search Engine Journal @sejournal
- Digiday @Digiday
- Orbit Media Studios @orbiteers
- Investopedia @Investopedia
- Moz @Moz
- CoSchedule @CoSchedule
- Crowdfire @Crowdfire
- Contently @contently
- Copyblogger @copyblogger
- The Tilt @TheTiltNews
- Search Engine Watch @sewatch
- Convince & Convert @convince
- Kissmetrics @kissmetrics
Meet the Top Content Marketers on the List
1. Brian Dean @Backlinko
Brian Dean has been rightfully named an “SEO genius” by Entrepreneur.com, and a “brilliant entrepreneur” by Inc. Magazine. Brian started an award-winning blog, Backlinko.com, back in 2012 – and today, his site earns more than 200 leads (subscribers) per DAY, and receives 300,000+ visits/month.
As an SEO expert, Brian Dean approaches content marketing from a Google-first standpoint, but without the slimy, icky tactics of many “SEO linkbuilders.” This inspired me to go the same route, in early 2013 and 2014 when I was following him and getting familiar with his skyscraper technique. I even built some of my former agency services around his philosophies (which I exited for seven figures this year). Today, I could not be more glad that I went in the SEO content marketing direction way back when. And I have Brian Dean to thank for serious inspiration at the beginning.
2. Rand Fishkin @randfish
Rand is the co-founder of Moz, Inbound, and SparkToro. He’s also an author, blogger, and speaker, and he’s definitely worth following for his unique industry insights.
3. Joe Pulizzi @JoePulizzi
Joe is another huge name in the industry. He’s an author, entrepreneur, podcaster, marketing speaker, and the founder of Content Marketing Institute.
4. Britney Muller @BritneyMuller
Britney was the Senior SEO Scientist at Moz before going on to found Data Sci 101. She’s an active keynote speaker and frequently shares valuable SEO insights worth checking out.
5. Pam Moore @PamMktgNut
Pam has more than 25 years of experience with digital marketing and branding. She’s a bestselling author, international keynote speaker, podcast host, and founder of Marketing Nutz social media marketing, training, and consulting agency. Forbes ranked her as a Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer.
6. AJ Ghergich @SEO
AJ has been a leader in SEO and digital marketing for the last 15 years. He’s the Chief Digital Officer of Brado, and he also has experience running his own consulting agency. Follow AJ for the great industry insights he shares (the cat gifs are a pleasant bonus).
7. Larry Kim @larrykim
Larry boasts an extensive resume. He’s the founder and CEO of MobileMonkey, which is one of the best chatbot marketing platforms for Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, and SMS. He also founded WordStream and regularly contributes to Inc., Medium, and CNBC.
8. Seth Godin @ThisIsSethsBlog
Seth has authored 18 global bestsellers. He’s a well-known keynote speaker and industry expert with one of the most popular marketing blogs on the worldwide web. This account shares his valuable blog posts.
9. Kim Garst @kimgarst
Kim has helped over a million business owners grow. Forbes featured her as a Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer, and she continues to be a keynote speaker and international bestselling author while managing her marketing strategy business.
10. Jeff Bullas @jeffbullas
Jeff is a powerful influencer, digital entrepreneur and strategist, keynote speaker, and marketing blogger. Forbes ranked him as a Top 20 Influencer of Chief Marketing Officers, among many other impressive recognitions.
11. Dharmesh Shah @dharmesh
Dharmesh was the founder and CEO of Pyramid Digital Solutions before going on to become the co-founder and CTO of HubSpot, which is one of the most influential content marketing blogs and automation services. He was named an Inc. Founders 40 in 2016.
12. Peter Shankman @petershankman
Peter is an author who is best known for founding Help a Reporter Out (HARO). He’s also an author, keynote speaker, podcaster, and NASA advisor. He regularly posts marketing tips on his Twitter feed.
13. Guy Kawasaki @GuyKawasaki
Guy’s clients include Apple, Nike, Audi, Microsoft, Google, and other big names. He’s the host of Remarkable People podcast, the author of 15 books, and a prominent keynote speaker. He helps companies boost their marketing initiatives with valuable industry insights.
14. Sarah Evans @prsarahevans
Sarah is a digital marketing consultant who has worked with companies like PayPal, Adobe, Cox, and more. She’s the founder and CEO of Sevans Strategy and has been featured as a digital correspondent on CNN and Forbes.
15. Jason Fried @jasonfried
Jason founded his startup by prioritizing content marketing. He’s the co-founder of 37signals, which is now Basecamp. The company manages multiple products, including HEY.
16. Amy Porterfield @AmyPorterfield
Amy has helped thousands of online entrepreneurs. She’s created a top-ranked business podcast and online courses with plenty of resources to help her students, subscribers, and followers.
17. Mari Smith @MariSmith
Mari specializes in social media, especially Facebook (she’s even known as “the Queen of Facebook”). Mari is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer as well as an author and keynote speaker. She provides in-depth training to both corporations as well as entrepreneurs.
18. Mark Schaefer @markwschaefer
Mark teaches graduate marketing classes at Rutgers University. He’s an internationally recognized author, podcaster, keynote speaker, and business consultant. Some of his clients include Pfizer, Dell, Adidas, Cisco, and the US Air Force. He’s also been featured as a guest on CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CBS News.
19. Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael
Michael is the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He’s also a bestselling author and globally recognized keynote speaker specializing in presentations on leadership, marketing, and culture. In 2017, he was named a Top Business Speaker by The Huffington Post and Top CMO Influencer by Forbes.
20. Shane Barker @shane_barker
Shane is a strategist and consultant who specializes in sales funnels, website conversions, and targeted traffic. He has more than 25 years of experience and a list of impressive achievements, including being named one of the Top 50 Influential Marketers Online by CMI.
21. Ann Handley @MarketingProfs
Ann Handley was the world’s first Chief Content Officer. She has more than 25 years of experience as a digital marketing pioneer, educator, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. IBM named her one of the 7 people shaping modern marketing.
22. Lilach Bullock @lilachbullock
Lilach is a leading expert in the field of digital marketing. She’s a business coach and serial entrepreneur who has built multiple businesses from nothing and then sold them for a large profit. Lilach has written for Forbes, Social Media Examiner, BBC, Alexa, and others, and she received the Global Women Champions Award.
23. Jay Baer @jaybaer
Jay founded five multi-million-dollar companies, including Convince & Convert. He’s one of less than 200 living members of the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame and was also inducted into the Word of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame. Jay is a revered business strategist, event host, emcee, NYT bestselling author, and advisor.
24. Mike Allton @mike_allton
Mike is an award-winning blogger. He co-founded 360 Marketing Squad and is the Head of Strategic Partnerships at Agorapulse as well as a renowned speaker and author.
25. Darren Rowse @problogger
Darren has been blogging since 2007. He created ProBlogger as a blog about blogging with the goal of helping beginners and entrepreneurs turn their blog into a profitable endeavor. Darren is also an author and keynote speaker.
26. Lee Odden @leeodden
Lee is a prominent industry influencer for B2B marketing. He’s the CEO of TopRank Marketing as well as an international speaker, author, and strategist. Lee’s consulting team has worked with clients such as LinkedIn, Dell, Adobe, Oracle, Microsoft, and other big names.
Learn more about Lee and follow him on Twitter @leeodden.
27. Chris Brogan @chrisbrogan
Chris is the president of Chris Brogan Media and host of The Backpack Show as well as the NYT bestselling author of 9 books and counting. He’s an executive-level strategist and CEO advisor who has consulted with big brands like Disney, Google, Coke, Microsoft, GM, and others.
28. Brian Clark @brianclark
Brian is best known for founding Copyblogger as well as Further and Unemployable. He also co-founded Copyblogger’s content marketing and SEO agency.
29. Glen Gilmore @GlenGilmore
Glen is a Forbes Top 20 Social Media Influencer and the principal of Gilmore Business Network. He’s also an attorney, educator, author, and international speaker. He has provided digital marketing strategies and training to the Fortune 500.
30. Avinash Kaushik @avinash
Avinash co-founded Market Motive Inc and the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google. He’s a successful blogger and bestselling author who has become an authoritative voice in the marketing industry with a focus on how to leverage data to reinvent a company’s digital existence.
31. Brian Solis @briansolis
Brian regularly contributes to Forbes, Harvard Business Review, CMO, and more. He’s a globally recognized digital anthropologist and futurist as well as an award-winning author and keynote speaker. He’s renowned for visualizing future trends and has advised celebrities, leading brands, and startups.
32. Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary
Tamara is hailed as a branding expert, the founder and CEO of Thulium, inspirational keynote speaker, and technology futurist. She’s been featured multiple times in Forbes and is particularly interested in how AI, data, and analytics will drive future marketing strategies. She’s advised big companies like Amazon, Oracle, Verizon, Dell, IBM, and others.
33. Christoph Trappe @CTrappe
Christoph is recognized as an international top 14 content marketer, top 100 digital marketer, and top 5% global podcaster. He’s the Director of Content Strategy at Voxpopme.
34. Heidi Cohen @heidicohen
Heidi is the Chief Content Officer of the award-winning Actionable Marketing Guide. She’s known for simplifying complex marketing concepts. Heidi speaks at conferences across the US, Europe, and South America. She also teachers graduate-level marketing at New York University, Rutgers, and CUNY-Hunter College.
35. Aleyda Solis @aleyda
Aleyda is a blogger for Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, and Moz, among others. She’s spoken at more than 100 conferences in 20 countries. Aleyda is also an author, award-winning international SEO consultant, and founder of Orainti.
36. Joanna Wiebe @copyhackers
Joanna founded Copyhackers and specializes in copywriting. Companies like Canva, Intuit, and Sprout Social have trusted Joanna to optimize their copy.
37. Gary Vaynerchuk @garyvee
Gary is a serial entrepreneur who is considered to be one of the leading minds on the future of internet culture and relevance. He’s the Chairman of VaynerX and the CEO of VaynerMedia. Gary is also a popular speaker, podcaster, and bestselling author.
38. Ramit Sethi @ramit
Rami is an entrepreneur, personal finance advisor, bestselling author, blogger, owner of I Will Teach You to Be Rich, founder of GrowthLab, and the owner and co-founder of PBworks. Ramit created multiple online courses to teach people how to manage their personal finances.
39. James Clear @JamesClear
Top Marketing Brands and Companies
40. Content Marketing Institute @CMIContent
CMI is a leading authority blog about the content marketing industry. Their posts provide practical information with step-by-step guidance and insights from experts.
41. HubSpot @HubSpot
HubSpot is an inbound marketing, sales, and service software that also publishes phenomenal content marketing advice, resources, and industry insights.
42. Search Engine Land @sengineland
Search Engine Land publishes industry trends, breaking stories, announcements, and informational articles for all topics related to digital marketing. They frequently share tips, tactics, and strategies.
43. BuzzSumo @BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo is a cloud-based platform designed to uncover the best opportunities for engagement, keywords, content, and outreach across social media and search engines.
44. Think with Google @ThinkwithGoogle
Think with Google is a resource that offers insights, ideas, and inspiration, all driven by Google research and data analytics.
45. Semrush @semrush
Semrush is an all-in-one suite of tools to help content marketers improve online presence and visibility, research keywords and topics, and uncover trend insights. In addition to following the @semrush account, you should also follow #semrushchat to connect with other marketing influencers.
46. Ahrefs @ahrefs
Ahrefs is a SEO tool used to help websites achieve higher Google rankings. The software suite offers tools to assist with link building, keyword research, site audits, competitor analysis, and more. Their feed is filled with relevant information on all of those topics.
47. Buffer @buffer
Buffer is a social media management platform that offers a suite of products for publishing and team collaboration as well as analytics to measure social media performance. Buffer is a good one to follow for tips on how to improve your social media presence.
48. Hootsuite @hootsuite
Hootsuite is another social media management platform. The tool helps users manage everything from scheduling posts to measuring ROI and managing team members. Their tweets are especially helpful for improving your social media strategy and ad spend.
49. Unbounce @unbounce
Unbounce is a drag-and-drop builder so people can design, create, and publish their own landing pages without needing to learn code or hire a developer. Their focus is on converting customers with smart design.
50. Sprout Social @SproutSocial
Sprout Social is a social media management platform that handles publishing and scheduling in addition to the follow-up analytics and measuring engagement. Their goal is to help users build and grow stronger relationships on social media.
51. Grammarly @Grammarly
Grammarly is a writing app that helps people fix issues and improve readability with their writing. Suggestions help with grammar, punctuation, spelling, wordiness, context, style, and plagiarism issues.
52. Search Engine Journal @sejournal
Search Engine Journal is a marketing blog that provides in-depth SEO insights, news, guides, trends, and how-to articles within the content marketing community.
53. Digiday @Digiday
Digiday’s feed is true to their bio. They’re a respected online journal that provides helpful information about digital media and marketing.
54. Orbit Media Studios @orbiteers
Orbit Media Studios is a web design and development agency with killer content marketing worth studying.
55. Investopedia @Investopedia
Investopedia is the world’s leading source of financial content. The brand knows its niche and excels at creating content that ranks on the first page of Google. They’re doing their content strategy right.
56. Moz @Moz
Moz is an all-in-one tool built around SEO to help users understand their audience and brand position. They share smart solutions and industry insights on their Twitter feed.
57. CoSchedule @CoSchedule
CoSchedule is a software company that streamlines the marketing process and workflow. They provide practical advice and educational information to help you improve your marketing.
58. Crowdfire @Crowdfire
Crowdfire is a social media management tool to identify trends on social media, curate content, schedule posts, and analyze results. They share valuable insights and tips to improve social media marketing.
59. Contently @contently
Contently “helps brands tell great stories.” Their all-in-one content marketing platform is centered around content creators, as is their Twitter feed.
60. Copyblogger @copyblogger
Copyblogger is one of the most influential blogs about content marketing in the world. Its mission is to teach people how to create high-performing online content. If that interests you, definitely follow their account for need-to-know tips.
61. The Tilt @TheTiltNews
Express Writers is my former content agency. They focus on creating high-quality, thoroughly researched, SEO-ready content for their clients. The amazing social media management team also hosts #ContentWritingChat on the first Tuesday of every month.
62. Search Engine Watch @sewatch
Search Engine Watch has been around for a while (a long while, actually… since 1997). They’ve been dedicated to providing information, insights, and advice to marketers for almost a quarter of a century.
63. Convince & Convert @convince
This digital marketing and consulting company is all about SEO strategy. It’s a great account to follow for updates and information.
64. Kissmetrics @kissmetrics
Kissmetrics software analyzes customer behavior and engagement. Since SEO is all about writing great content for your readers, you’ll want to catch up on the tips and hacks shared here.
Bonus: Follow Us!
We felt it would be pretentious to put The Content Hacker in this list, so we didn’t.
However, it would also be unfair to completely skip by our brand, which has served thousands of newbie marketers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs with practical content marketing help in books, courses, and trainings.
As a content marketer since 2011, building content that builds trust has been my #1 focus. I’ve been featured on more than 100 publications, and spoken on content marketing’s biggest stages. It’s been my honor to leave a small footprint in this incredible industry, among the top content marketers in the field.
I’m the founder, and you can follow me on Twitter for unbiased thoughts on content marketing, marketing itself, and life: @JuliaEMcCoy.
Learn From The Top Content Marketers: The Best Way to Grow is to Engage
That sounds like a fortune cookie, but it’s true.
Any influencer on this list will tell you that they didn’t magically become successful overnight.
They networked, engaged with the community, learned from mentors and influencers, perfected their content marketing strategy, and became incredible marketers over time.
Remember, most of the people you’re watching for inspiration started right where you are now.
Here’s a head start – I’m giving away my content strategist’s cheat sheet with must-have skills for FREE!