Daniel Burstein

Blog Awards: The 13 best marketing industry blogs (according to you)

I remember when I first started out in the industry. I used to devour Creativity, Ad Age, Adweek, Mediaweek and Communication Arts. Trade publications like these helped me learn about the industry, and helped me do my job better.

While trade pubs are certainly still valuable, many marketers now also turn to industry blogs to help them do their jobs better. So, we asked you, the MarketingSherpa blog audience, to nominate and vote for the most helpful blogs in several categories.

If you’re looking for information to help you improve performance and advance your career, check these blogs out. I’ve asked a representative of each blog to answer a couple of questions.

Also, while MarketingSherpa normally relies on a team of writers and reporters for all of our blog posts and doesn’t allow guest posts (especially from vendors), we’re going to make an exception for these award-winning bloggers. We’ll invite your picks back later in the year for the rare opportunity to guest post on the MarketingSherpa blog, all to help give you a diversity of helpful industry advice.

And the winners are …

 

Best Social Media Marketing Blog – Blue Focus Marketing blog

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use our blog to do their jobs better?

Cheryl Burgess, Managing Partner, Blue Focus Marketing: The world is racing to keep up with social technology.  To gain a competitive advantage, marketers need to continue reaching higher to stay on top of the latest social media marketing trends in a real-time marketing world.

In this rapidly evolving, customer-centric landscape, marketers are challenged to elevate their games by raising the relevance of their marketing communication plans (e.g., proliferation of media choices, power shift to consumers, shift from traditional to inbound marketing, changing buyer behavior).

Blue Focus Marketing infuses our readers with helpful, current information from social branding and the rise of social business, to tips on developing strategies for using social media to improve a business’s public image.

 

MS: What is the best marketing advice you have ever given on your blog and what was the result?

CB: Marketers looking for a quick score in social media (e.g., “Let’s do a Facebook page or create a Twitter account”) soon realize that their unfocused attempts to jump into social media will go unrewarded.

The best marketing advice we have ever given to our readers is to focus their attention and energy into architecting a social media marketing strategy.  We’ve all heard that saying: “Hope is not a strategy.”  Clearly, when it comes to social media marketing, hope alone will not even get you to first base.

Results? We consistently receive dozens of blog comments, emails and phone calls from readers who have focused their efforts on learning and applying an actionable 12-step social media marketing process designed to better connect with audiences, deepen relationships and drive revenue.

We tell businesses and startups alike that it is great to think big, but that it is important to plan in stages. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint – so why jump into social media marketing without a strategy?  Marketers must learn to adapt in a social media ecosystem that is in perpetual evolution – a need that constantly brings them back to our blog in the spirit of continuous learning.

 

Best Copywriting Blog – Copyblogger

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Sonia Simone, CMO, Copyblogger Media, LLC: Copyblogger is all about teaching you to create content that both engages readers and serves a business purpose. If you don’t make your content engaging and entertaining, you’ll never attract an audience. But if you create content without understanding the underlying persuasive elements, you’re an entertainer … not a marketer. Copyblogger helps you bring both elements together.

 

MS: What’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

SS: I wrote a post that encouraged our audience to avoid the extremes that had marked a lot of online marketing in the past – the hardcore traditional Internet marketers on the one hand (all persuasion), and the blogging world on the other (all engagement). We encouraged them to come together into a third “tribe” that brought the best of both worlds together. The response to that post was so strong that we ended up creating an online community of marketers, called Third Tribe, to do exactly that. Three years later, that community is still going strong, and is probably more relevant than it ever was.

 

Best Optimization Blog – MarketingExperiments Blog

Here’s where it gets a little awkward. Both the MarketingExperiments Blog and the MarketingSherpa Blog are run by the crew here at MECLABS. And, while we didn’t do anything to encourage the audience in any way to nominate or vote for the MarketingExpeirments Blog, well, here we are.

So while this feels a little gauche to me personally, the people have spoken. In response to the two questions we’ve been asking everybody …

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Our job is to help you do your job better. To that end, the MarketingExperiments Blog publishes research-driven optimization, testing and marketing ideas three times per week.

It also provides another venue to exchange ideas with our community of marketing, optimization and sales professionals. The MarketingExperiments community regularly comments on and shares blog posts, as well as the blog itself, and plays an active role in our shared mission to “discover what really works” in optimization.

Which is my way of saying, we often learn just as much from you as you do from us. So thanks for all your feedback, and keep it coming.

 

MS: What’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

When we came up with these questions, I didn’t think we’d actually have to answer them. This one is pretty tough.

I think one of the common themes we’ve discovered through our research, and shared with the MarketingExperiments Blog audience, is to focus on the customer and the importance of creating, delivering and communicating value to those potential customers.

As Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, has said, “Make sure we’re not building our dreams; make sure we’re building the customer’s dream.”

When you look past all of the different media, channels, platforms, plans and complexity, this is the essential function of marketing.

And it is always very rewarding to me when we see readers send us test results that show significant improvements based on this relatively simple principle.

 

Best PPC (pay-per-click advertising) Blog – PPC Hero

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog?

Bethany Harvey, Senior Marketing Coordinator, Hanapin Marketing: PPC Hero blends expert-level tools, tips and tricks with entry-level best practice. We help account managers grow their skill set, but keep them grounded in doing everyday optimization correctly. The posts are actionable, and give specifics, so PPC account managers can implement what they are learning right along with the writer or video presenter.

 

MS: What is the best advice given and the result?

BH: The best advice given through the blog was the 145 tips given at the beginning of this year. It was helpful because everyone was able to find something on the list that was new, or that was old but they haven’t been doing, and implement it. While account managers don’t generally share account results, we received nothing but positive feedback. It was the most widely read blog post ever, and one of the most shared through Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

 

Best Design Blog – Gnome Flash

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Emily Taylor, Graphic Designer, Welt Branding: For any marketer serious about her profession, she will fully immerse herself in all things marketing – both through self-education and through practice over time. Gnome Flash affords the opportunity to see and read about some of the best-in-class design and design thinking, all in one place.

Gnome Flash combines some of the most fundamental design theory, and emerging design concepts, for any marketer who wishes to grow her depth and breadth of understanding when it comes to the past, present and current state of the industry. In this way, our blog can help all marketers as they seek inspiration, build brands, form strategy, and execute various forms of creative.

 

MS: What’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

ET: Overall, some of the best advice Gnome Flash has given revolves around the idea of building brands and design appreciation. When it comes to examining what most marketers would agree are so-called iconic brands, there has been a consistent appreciation for design that was established, and carefully developed, over time.

This careful curation of a brand’s design is just that: a strategic application of a brand, as it evolves, no matter the medium in which it lives. In this way, Gnome Flash is able to showcase successful ways in which other brands can work toward becoming a recognizable and timeless – or even iconic – brand themselves.

 

Best E-commerce Blog – GetElastic

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Linda Bustos, Director of Ecommerce Research, Elastic Path Software, Inc.: The purpose of Get Elastic is to keep e-commerce professionals, and online marketers in general, abreast of a broad range of topics, from conversion optimization to SEO, customer service, social media and mobile marketing. Readers can get the most out of the content by joining the conversation, and hopefully sharing content applicable to their business context to others in their organization.

 

MS: What’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

LB: It’s hard to say what’s the most helpful content for folks. I believe our most important topic/concept is promoting testing of sacred cows within an organization, rather than a blind following of “best practice.”

 

Best Email Marketing Blog – AWeber Communications blog

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Amanda Gagnon, Sr. Education Marketing Associate, AWeber Communications, Inc.: The goal of the AWeber blog is to help small business owners and marketers build strong marketing campaigns, keep improving them, and grow their businesses as a result.

Now, as for getting from point A (signing up) to point B (a shiny campaign and business growth), there’s a cold fact to be faced: Small business owners and marketers are very busy people. For them to get the most out of the blog, I would suggest the following:

1. Use the search box on the bottom right. You’ll quickly find answers to any questions you have about your account or campaign.

2. If you get posts by email, have them tagged or filtered so you can go through them at a convenient time. Then, note down strategies you want to try or changes you want to make to your campaign.

3. Keep a swipe file of examples. We cover some absolutely brilliant marketing from time to time, and we also include examples of real campaigns in many of our posts. You may find content ideas, attractive designs or even split tests that you can use to inspire later emails.

4. Use those notes and examples. Every so often, sit down, open up the back end of your campaign and get to work. Tweak your template, plan out emails, update your follow up series, set up a segment – use the ideas and examples you find on the blog to always put your business’ best e-face forward.

 

MS: What’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

AG: We recently posted about a subject line strategy that created a huge lift in our subscriber response rates: writing a clear and concise subject line, rather than attempting to write one that’s cutesy or clever.

Not only did we get a significantly larger-than-average number of comments and shares on this post, we also had some good discussion in those comments, with corroborating opinions, suggestions for re-routing clever writing and further questions about subject line strategy.

Beyond that initial discussion, readers take away the idea that they need to be using straightforward clarity in their subject lines. Not only does this save their readers the awkward pause figuring out if they want to spend time on the email or not, it, as the test shows, brings in higher response rates.

Better for the reader, better for the marketer and easy to implement – all of that makes for a solid piece of marketing advice.

 

Best Marketing Strategy Blog – M4B Marketing blog

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Susan Oakes, Marketing for Business Success Pty Ltd: They can use it to think more strategically than just focusing on tactics to grow their business. There are about 350 articles with tips and advice covering all the key areas that marketers need to consider when marketing their brands.

 

MS: What is the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

SO: The best advice was to embrace simplicity and consider specializing when marketing brands. This helps in differentiating their brands, and can improve sales and profitability. From feedback, a number of businesses have taken steps in these areas, and are starting to see improvements for their business.

 

Best Marketing Operations Blog – Chief Marketing Technologist

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Scott Brinker, President & CTO, ion interactive: Technology continues to play an ever greater role in marketing, but most marketers aren’t technologists by background. The Chief Marketing Technologist blog is all about how to manage technology and technical talent in the marketing department, and how to leverage it to strategic advantage. On the blog, you’ll find articles on the evolving marketing technology landscape, discussions of technology management principles, and commentaries about the present and future of marketing software.

 

MS: What’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

SB: One of the seminal posts on my blog was a presentation called “Rise of the Marketing Technologist.” It essentially laid out the case for how marketing is becoming a technology-driven discipline and why marketers must take a leadership role in technology management in their departments.

The message resonated with a lot of people, and over the past couple of years, we’ve now seen many marketing technologist positions growing in companies, including senior marketing technology executives.

 

Best B2B Marketing Blog – Webbiquity

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Tom Pick: Let me answer that, briefly, with five points.

Audience: my blog focuses mainly on issues and tactics that are important to small-to-midsized (SMB) B2B companies. Not that the content won’t occasionally be helpful to B2C marketers or large enterprises, just that marketers and PR professionals in SMB B2B firms, and people who work in agencies that serve that type of client, are likely to get the most out of it on a regular basis.

Topics: the blog focuses mainly on online tactics (so there’s not much coverage of trade show marketing, for example) and on front-end website traffic and lead generation (rather than, say, lead nurturing). So it’s most valuable for tips on areas like SEO, SEM, social media marketing, content strategy, blogging and media relations – tactics that are used to expand a company’s Web presence, attract relevant visitors to a website and then convert them into leads.

Style: most posts are fairly short and aim to provide actionable information – tips and tactics that can be implemented in the near term. The blog does feature the occasional thought piece or even a rant every now and then, but for the most part, posts are actionable.

Sources: I certainly don’t know everything, so the blog features guest bloggers from time to time and also “best of” posts across various categories where I aggregate the posts and articles that I believe are some of the best and most bookmarkable. I try to include a range of sources, from some of most popular blogs to interesting voices that aren’t as widely known.

Access: subscribing (by email or RSS) is the best way to keep up with the content on Webbiquity, but the blog is also easy to search, and the categories are pretty self-explanatory.

 

MS: What’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

TP: Start (and maintain) a blog! Despite all of the benefits of blogging, some larger companies still resist out of concern over bureaucracy (e.g., “legal has to approve everything”), and smaller companies often balk due to resource concerns (“we won’t be able to generate enough content to keep it going”).

The results, when implemented, are virtually always positive. One client that recently launched a blog saw a 5% increase in overall Web traffic and an 8% increase in leads within the first three months. And, digging into their analytics, more than two-thirds of blog visitors were new to the company, as they were coming from sources like LinkedIn and Facebook that had never driven much website traffic.

One of the most compelling benefits of a blog is that, unlike tactics like advertising or trade shows, a well-written and consistently maintained blog is a long-lived and appreciating asset. Another client that started blogging early still draws 4-5% of their total website traffic from a few popular posts that were written back in 2008.

The result in terms of the Webbiquity blog is that several of the posts I’ve written about business blogging are among the most popular on the site, and new posts on that topic consistently draw higher readership and social sharing.

 

Best Viral Marketing Blog – jeffbullas.com

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Jess Bullas: The short answer is “subscribe” so you don’t miss my blog posts.

Seriously, the blog’s focus is to assist businesses in “getting found online” in a digital world and providing resources to be successful with social media tools and networks. Since I started, it has been about providing tips and tactics on applying the practical aspects of social media marketing. So it is not about publishing fluff, but educating, informing and inspiring marketers and business people with solid contagious content.

 

MS:  What is the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

JB: The best tip that I continue to give is to be “relentless.” Social media is not about a quick fix campaign like marketing with traditional media. Social media is about building valuable content, sharing and engaging with your audience. It is about building online assets that provide value now and next year. This cannot be done in one day or one month. Meaningful results for most businesses take six months, and then you need to continue to publish and promote on multiple social networks. Take a long-term view.

 

Best SEO (search engine optimization) Blog – SEOmoz: The Daily SEO Blog

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

Jen Sable Lopez, Chief Community Wrangler, SEOmoz: Readers use our blog not only as an educational tool for inbound marketing strategies, but as a place to share their personal experiences, submit their own content to YouMoz, and ask for feedback from our incredible, worldwide community of marketers. Marketers can apply takeaways from our blog immediately after reading, and keep in touch with community members to discuss their progress in real time.

 

MS: What’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

JL: With so many great authors and information on our blog, it’s difficult to say one piece of advice is the best. That said, the type of marketing advice that resonates best with our readers is one that’s actionable, where the readers learn tips and techniques that they can implement in their own jobs. If you look at our top posts of all time, one commonality is that they teach the community in a way that is easily understandable and actionable. Our guides, checklists, and cheat sheets help marketers on every level to do their jobs better.

 

Best Inbound Blog – Kuno Creative blog

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers use your blog to do their jobs better?

John McTigue, Executive Vice President, Kuno Creative: We’re a team of inbound marketers blogging about what we know – how to generate more qualified sales leads using content marketing, SEO/SEM, social media, conversion rate optimization and marketing analytics. Our tips and general advice are all based on real-world examples from our own marketing efforts and from marketing for a wide variety of clients. We publish results and draw conclusions from data. Marketers can gain insights about best practices and strategies and specific steps to improve their own performance. We focus on the most up-to-date tactics and try to help our readers understand why the old methods aren’t working. We’re not preachers, we’re doers.

 

MSWhat’s the best marketing advice you’ve ever given on your blog and what was the result?

JM: We’re leading the way along with SEOMoz and other leading content marketing blogs to help people understand that the best search engine strategy today is creating and sharing a lot of relevant, helpful content. The old “gaming” strategies of keyword stuffing, content farming and link building by request are not only failing to work, they’re risking your entire online visibility. Our advice is consistently “inbound marketing is the new SEO,” and we back that statement with data from our own experience and insights from SEO insiders with whom we communicate regularly.

 

The MarketingSherpa Reader’s Choice Awards was a significant undertaking. So special thanks to Kaci Bower, Selena Blue, Paul Cheney, Aimee Thompson, Todd Lebo, Pamela  Markey, Leah Kilgore, Steve Beger, Dave Garlock, all the great marketing industry bloggers out there helping their audiences become better marketers every day, and, especially, you, the MarketingSherpa reader, for taking the time to nominate and vote for these worthy blogs.

 

Related Resources:

The Rise of the Employee Brand (via Blue Focus Marketing)

Is Your Tribe Holding You Down? (via Copyblogger)

Optimizing Copy: The 7 most common copywriting mistakes we see marketers make (via MarketingExperiments)

145 PPC Must-Do’s for 2012 (via PPC Hero)

power packaging (via Gnome Flash)

This is Your Brain on Multitasking [Infographic] (via GetElastic)

The Subject Line Strategy That Gets 541% More Response (via AWeber)

Fun And Simplicity Builds A Big Business (via M4B Marketing)

The Book of Marketing Technology on Broadway (via Chief Markting Technologist)

6 Reasons a Blog Should be the Center of Any Social Content Strategy (via Webbiquity)

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Google+ Anymore (via jeffbullas.com)

Identifying Link Penalties in 2012 (SEOmoz)

The Future of Content Marketing—Dynamic On-page Nurturing (via Kuno Creative)

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  1. July 3rd, 2012 at 14:59 | #1

    Hi, Daniel,
    I’m an aspiring blogger and a marketer, and found the advice shared by the winners very useful.
    Many thanks!

  2. July 4th, 2012 at 18:39 | #2

    Hi Daniel,

    What a tremendous honor it is to win MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Award for “Best Social Media Marketing Blog.” When we first began our blog two years ago, the term “social business” was still very much in its infancy. I am truly humbled by this award, and can only hope that, as Blue Focus Marketing moves into the future, we will continue to provide the same quality content that our readers have come to expect. Thank you and the wonderful team at MarketingSherpa. We’re proud to be a part of this community, and excited for what the future might bring!

    Cheryl Burgess
    @ckburgess

  3. July 4th, 2012 at 18:43 | #3

    Hi Daniel,

    Blue Focus Marketing thanks MarketingSherpa for this very prestigious award. We are fans of the work that you and the rest of MarketingSherpa’s fine writers produce. To be recognized by this team—and by all the readers who voted for us—is a great honor. We will place this badge on our site with pride. I am often taken aback by the depth of thought and level of engagement that the bloggers in this community produce day in and day out, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to these thrilling conversations.

    Mark Burgess
    @mnburgess

  4. July 9th, 2012 at 08:07 | #4

    Hey daniel, thanks for sharing such a inspiring list of marketing blogs. i’d gone through some of them, they are really very informative & interesting.

  5. Bill
    July 9th, 2012 at 12:03 | #5

    Re: Best Design Blog…Sorry, no offense to the Gnome site owner…I would be surprised if even they didn’t agree there are plenty more powerful design blogs around.

  6. Lynn M
    July 9th, 2012 at 16:03 | #6

    Thanks for a very useful set of blogs – some of these are new to me. Will follow!

  7. July 18th, 2012 at 09:30 | #7

    It’s a great blog!

  8. February 27th, 2013 at 01:27 | #8

    thanks for sharing such a inspiring list of marketing blogs. Good work Thanks!!

  9. March 4th, 2013 at 20:14 | #9

    Thanks for sharing the ranking, for people who are in Latin America it will be very usefull to find interesting information that sometimes is hard to find in blogs written in spanish.

  10. March 14th, 2013 at 00:18 | #10

    great and powerful blog . Im always interested in seo and these techniques really are very helpful . Please submit more info as you insight is brilliant .

  11. March 28th, 2013 at 09:48 | #11

    Great information thank you! I’ve now bookmarked this so I can continue to come back to these blogs (and yours!) again :) Thanks!

  12. August 26th, 2013 at 05:36 | #12

    nice blog, thanks for shearing with me. good information marketing point of view..

  13. December 11th, 2013 at 13:14 | #13

    Thanks for sharing these! A number of them have been added to my bookmarked list of fantastic blogs. Can’t wait to learn a bunch!

    Cheers
    Brendon

  14. January 7th, 2014 at 01:57 | #14

    Great list some blogs I visit before but some new blogs I see now. Good work Daniel Burstein.

  15. February 21st, 2014 at 01:14 | #15

    Very nice list. Copyblogger is my favorite. Thanks

  16. May 28th, 2014 at 06:16 | #16

    I am very big fan of Copy Blogger. As soon as I need any kind of information related to Blogging, copy writing or any other stuff I always get some good piece of content which is really good and can be consumed very easily.

  1. July 4th, 2012 at 03:01 | #1
  2. July 10th, 2012 at 04:33 | #2
  3. July 10th, 2012 at 10:46 | #3
  4. August 10th, 2012 at 11:52 | #4
  5. August 23rd, 2012 at 03:03 | #5
  6. September 4th, 2012 at 03:03 | #6
  7. September 9th, 2012 at 21:32 | #7
  8. October 12th, 2012 at 03:02 | #8
  9. December 7th, 2012 at 03:03 | #9
  10. December 27th, 2012 at 09:27 | #10
  11. December 27th, 2012 at 15:37 | #11
  12. December 28th, 2012 at 03:02 | #12