Top 42 Content & Social Media Influencers to Watch in 2017
These 42 Content & Social Media Influencers are people who are at the cutting edge of trends. They are making waves and are driving action to take content marketing and social media marketing to the next level.
From bloggers and social media buffs to entrepreneurs and even celebrities, influencers can come in many forms. And they can do a lot to enhance a brand’s presence, authority, and following online. That’s because, regardless of whether you’re watching important influencers or working to build relationships with them, influencers can:
- Enlighten you with new tactics and strategies to implement in your digital marketing campaigns
- Help you discover better ways to engage with (and convert) your target audience
- Point out effective methods of driving more traffic (including more ideal clients) to your site
- Share personal stories — including challenges and successes — that can be as motivational as they are educational and enriching.
So, whether you’re new to online marketing or you’ve had some success connecting with influencers, here’s a guide to some of the top digital marketing experts to keep your eyes on in 2017 (in no particular order):
1. Jay Baer
The most retweeted person in the world among digital marketers, Jay Baer is the founder of Convince & Convert, a social media consulting firm as well as New York Times best-selling author of 5 books, including ‘YoUtility‘ and his latest ‘Hug Your Haters‘.
As a Keynote Speaker, Jay delivers inspirational, practical marketing and customer service strategies to big companies in the world. You can get that same advice directly in your earbuds with Jay’s Podcasts, Content Pro’s, Social Pro’s and his new daily video show, Jay Today.
2. Joe Pulizzi
Founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Joe is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and podcaster. He is known as the ‘Godfather of Content Marketing’ for being a leader behind the content marketing movement. Joe has also written four books, including his latest Content Inc.,which I highly recommend. Or look for his third book, Epic Content Marketing, which was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine.
You can listen to Joe’s thoughts on content marketing directly from his Podcast, Content Inc. or This Old Marketing Podcast co-hosted with Robert Rose. Joe and the team at Content Marketing Institute have also put together an amazing content training and education events with the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World.
Known for the hustle and wanting to buy the New York Jets, Gary Vaynerchuk has taken the content and social media industry by storm ever since bursting on the scene first with WineLibraryTv in 2006 to sell wine at his retail store and online. Gary runs VaynerMedia, a social media agency, VaynerRSE, a venture capital firm, and has written multiple books. The latest book #AskGaryVee is based off of the Q&A YouTube Show and the previous books will help you Crush It & how to tell your story in a noisy world with Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook.
You’ll find Gary smashing it on Snapchat or Insta, speaking at keynotes all over the country and running his companies. Or you can catch his newest YouTube show the Daily Vee and follow it all. Whether you like his in-your-face style or not, there’s no debating the success he’s had. With his work ethic, he will continue to enjoy success.
4. Larry Kim
Founder and chief technology officer of WordStream (a search marketing software and pay-per-click advertising company), Larry has written four award-winning books on software development and is a content creating machine.
With a particular interest in AdWords and Facebook Ads Larry Kim is a prolific writer and you can find his blog posts everywhere. From Inc Magazine to SearchEngineLand to Medium or the blog at Wordstream, Larry’s blog posts give you excellent digital marketing tips to take your content and social media to new levels.
5. Neil Patel
Another content creating machine on digital marketing topics, Neil Patel was ranked by Forbes as being a top 10 online marketers. Co-Founder with Hiten Shah on multiple SaaS companies KissMetrics, CrazyEgg, HelloBar, and QuickSprout.
Neil is constantly publishing new, informative blog posts on those sites as well as his personal website NeilPatel.com along with topical ebooks and other resources. On top of all that, Neil has still found time to co-host the Marketing School Podcast as well with Eric Siu.
6. Hiten Shah
As the co-founder of Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout with Neil Patel as previously mentioned, Hiten is an active advisor and investor in startups as well and quality content creator in his own right. He enjoys helping other people succeed in business and in life. He finds ongoing motivation in Zig Ziglar’s famous quote, You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.
Hiten’s SaaS Weekly, an email newsletter has been a personal favorite of mine curating in-depth informative articles on the digital marketing and software as a service industry. You can also listen to him and Steli Efti the CEO of Close.io in the StartUp Chat Podcast.
With a background working for companies like Mercedes-Benz, Vodafone and General Motors, James dove into digital marketing in late 2005, generating his first $100,000 online with just one product as an affiliate. Since then, he’s mastered many aspects of digital marketing, and coaches business owners in his SuperFastBusiness Membership Forum and at a higher level in Silver Circle.
You can learn all the strategies and tactics he uses and recommends from his over 500 episodes of the SuperFastBusiness Podcast. James also puts on the live event under the same name down under in Australia every year with no-nonsense speakers and great advice.
8. Brian Clark
Founder and CEO of Rainmaker Digital, Brian is a serial entrepreneur who has built three successful service businesses via online marketing. He focuses on providing the advice and solutions that empower people to successfully grow their businesses through content marketing. Having met and spent some time with him last year in the Philippines I can tell you, he not only knows digital marketing cold but is a great guy.
CopyBlogger has been delivering excellent content including blog posts, ebooks, webinars and much more since Brian started it in 2006. Now bringing us the Rainmaker Platform, an all-in-one digital marketing software and the Rainmaker.FM Podcast network, Brian is giving us even more great content with his Podcast Unemployable.
9. Chris Ducker
The reason I was in the Philippines last year, was Chris Ducker and his event Tropical Think Tank. It was a fantastic event with great speakers and other business owners soaking up the knowledge. The event also gave us the chance to get to know each other on a deeper level. Chris brings that not only to his events but his Podcast YouPreneur.FM and his speaking engagements around the world.
As the CEO of Virtual StaffFinder a service for finding quality virtual assistants and Author of Virtual Freedom, Chris is an exemplary example of how to develop a personal brand. Whether you join him in person, on a podcast or through his membership community YouPreneur, you’ll get great advice from someone that is teaching exactly what he’s done and doing not theoretical b.s.
10. Nathan Chan
Launching Foundr Magazine in 2013 with just a laptop and a few dollars, Nathan Chan has enjoyed a meteoric rise since then. Like any business, they’ve had hard times but Nathan has outgrown it all from the Magazine in iTunes to having Richard Branson on the cover to his Mastermind Community or his new book The Entrepreneur’s Bible.
You can catch up with Foundr on their amazing Instagram account where they’ve crushing it to the tune of over 980,000 followers, driving tons of traffic to their magazine and site. They did so well with Instagram that they in turn created a course for it which has helped other business owners get established. You can listen to all the latest on the Foundr Podcast where Nathan interviews experts in the business and startup world.
11. Jeff Bullas
One of the most consistent and prolific content marketing blogs is Jeff Bullas. He has created a treasure chest of resources at JeffBullas.com. Listed on Forbes as one of the ‘Top 20 Influencers of Digital Marketers in the USA‘ his blog will give you consistent quality blog topics in the digital marketing arena.
An entrepreneur, blogger, author and speaker, Jeff Bullas has taken the industry by storm becoming a must read. His blog receives over 5 million visitors per year. From blog posts, to ebooks and his book, Blogging the Smart Way you can get the tips & tricks you need.
12. Darren Rowse
No list of content marketing influencers is complete without Darren Rowse. Since 2004, ProBlogger has been a leading resource for anyone wanting to learn how to create and grow their blogs. One of the classic challenges, 31 Days to a Better Blog was initially created as a series of blog posts, then an ebook, podcast and more.
Now with the ProBlogger Events, the ProBlogger Podcast and speaking to thousands of entrepreneurs across the globe the laid back style from Darren has created an empire to help other businesses grow with content.
13. Dan Norris
After founding WPCurve a monthly WordPress support service, authoring four books, and now starting a brewery, Dan Norris has cemented himself in the serial entrepreneur category. Whether speaking, writing or building his businesses Dan finds time to have fun and give back with great advice and tips.
A Snapchat enthusiast, you will find him there daily. Dan has recently wrote Create or Hate, one of my favorites on content marketing — Content Machine, and The 7 Day StartUp which has even spun off into a mastermind community. Don’t miss this passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.
14. Sujan Patel
Entrepreneur and marketer, Sujan creates in-depth blog posts for Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine or his own blog When he isn’t, he’s building his growth marketing agency Web Profits or his partnership in software companies Narrow.io and Milkshake.
Sujan is one of the more prolific bloggers on digital marketing topics. He writes up to 6 posts per week, and there are plenty of resources available. From Growth Hacking to Content and SEO, Sujan covers all the online marketing strategies.
15. Steve Rayson
Steve is an entrepreneur having managed sold a number of businesses and currently an investor and director of BuzzSumo. Not only has BuzzSumo the tool changed the way content marketers do research but they have consistently put out quality blog posts and resources on what kind of content is actually working and getting results.
16. Amy Porterfield
Social media strategist and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies, Amy helps entrepreneurs develop and execute dynamic strategies. She gives out tips to maximize the power of social media and increase the success of their online marketing efforts. Amy has a fantastic blog and her Podcast Online Marketing Made Easy is a must-listen to anyone learning Facebook.
17. Ann Handley
Ann speaks and writes about all things content marketing. Whether it’s on MarketingProf’s an industry leading blog and training organization, or her most recent book Everybody Writes, Ann is always delivering the utmost quality in educational material. Her previous book is a fantastic resource as well, Content Rules especially if you want to as the sub-title states, ‘Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks’
18. Chris Marr
As a leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK, Chris focuses on helping businesses grow through content marketing. Excellent engaging content whether on Snapchat, Facebook, his podcast or on video, it’s apparent why the Content Marketing Academy membership and the Conference in Scotland are doing so well.
19. Mari Smith
Known as the Facebook Queen, Mari Smith is among the world’s leading social media thought leaders and foremost experts in Facebook marketing. Mari travels the world to provide keynotes and training to corporations and entrepreneurs. She has helped brands integrate proven social media marketing strategies that achieve significant results in traffic and conversion.
20. Michael Brenner
CEO of Marketing Insider Group, Michael is a globally-recognized keynote speaker on leadership, culture, and marketing. Author of the bestselling book The Content Formula, Michael’s work has been featured in The Economist, The Guardian, and Entrepreneur Magazine. In 2017, Michael was named a Top Business Speaker by The Huffington Post and a top CMO Influencer by Forbes.
21. Ann Smarty
Blogger, search marketer, and web entrepreneur, Ann Smarty has 7 years of experience in the Internet Marketing industry. Ann’s expertise ranges from content creation and social media marketing to SEO reporting and consulting. She is the Community and Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, and she regularly contributes to recognized online publications, which includes Moz, Mashable, and Entrepreneur. Ann is also a regular speaker at Pubcon and hosts Twitter chats #vcbuzz and #myblogu.
22. Brian Dean
Founder of Backlinko, Brian Dean makes search engine optimization (SEO) simple for business owners and marketers alike. Whether you’re watching his YouTube channel or catching the in-depth blog posts, Dean distills all the technical knowledge into extremely actionable advice designed to help your website master SEO and drive more traffic, leads and sales.
23. Chris Kubbernus
Authentic and smart, Chris Kubbernus is a digital marketing professional and “web psychologist” who hosts “The Kubby Show,” during which he delivers actionable tips for social media marketing. A solid guy, Chris is definitely one of the rising social media influencers, someone to watch for in 2017 whether on Snapchat, Instagram or anywhere else.
24. Joanna Wiebe
If it’s time to step up your copywriting and convert more clients look no further than Joanna Wiebe at CopyHackers. From understanding your audience to improving your email and landing page copy, Joanna breaks it down for you with fantastically written blog posts and actionable webinars on Tutorial Tuesdays. She’s also just launched her first SaaS product, Airstory to help content crafters and email marketers alike get better results with their marketing.
Between the Blog, the Podcast and the Conference, of course you already know about Social Media Examiner. Michael Stelzner has been a constant pillar in the Social Media Industry leading the way with tips and tricks for small and medium-size businesses. Social Media Marketing World is the largest social media marketing conference with over 3,000 attendees networking and staying on the cutting edge of social.
26. Kevan Lee
High quality content can always be found on the Buffer blog, especially from Kevan Lee who is the Director of Marketing at Buffer. Kevan as well as the whole Buffer team are consistently creating actionable social media how to’s and useful guides that you can use to take your business to new levels. Whether through the blog or the new Buffer Podcast, you are sure to get the strategies and tactics you need.
27. Mark Schaefer
Keynote speaker, business and marketing consultant Mark Schaefer has authored 5 best selling marketing books. He also runs BusinessGrow, one of the top blogs in the industry. Mark also wrote The Tao of Twitter, The Content Code and Known: The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age. His books are must reads for anyone using content and social to build their brand.
28. Lee Odden
Author, Speaker & Consultant, Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing Agency and TopRank blog. The title of Lee’s book should tell you all you need to know, ‘Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing’.
29. Chris Brogan
CEO of Owner Media Group and host of top podcast The Owner’s Mind, Chris Brogan explains and shares strategies and skills for modern business owners. As a highly sought after professional speaker and a New York Times bestselling author of nine books, Chris provides the education and tools to help entrepreneurs position their businesses for success — and to help them grow their capabilities and connections so they can reach that next level of success, regardless of where in the process they are right now.
30. Peter Shankman
A bestselling author including Zombie Loyalists, Peter is a fantastic speaker and entrepreneur and now host of the Faster Than Normal Podcast. Peter is recognized internationally for his radically new ways of thinking about Customer Service, Entrepreneurship, Social Media, PR, marketing and advertising. He is best known for founding Help A Reporter Out (HARO). In under a year, HARO became the de-facto standard for thousands of journalists looking for sources on deadline.
As a self-professed “translator of geekspeak with a mission to connect great people,” Brian is a keynote speaker and business man. In fact, he is the founder/CEO of iSocialFanz, a social strategy consulting agency. Brian is also one of the founders of Backlamp LLC, a strategic storytelling agency, the parent company of Summit Live, which hosts events to celebrate creators and storytellers globally.
32. Rand Fishkin
Founder and ‘Wizard of Moz’, Rand is also a co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org. Rand is leading the charge on SEO, sharing strategies and tactics to improve websites on WhiteBoard Friday and Moz Blog. An excellent speaker as well, you’ll find Rand and other exceptional speakers at the annual MozCon.
33. Morgan Brown
Co-founder of Full Stack Marketing, Morgan has nearly two decades of experience in early-stage marketing and growth expertise. Morgan is the co-author of Startup Growth Engines and Hacking Growth, both with Sean Ellis. He is on the cutting edge of digital marketing trends and gives growth hacking tips and tricks on Snapchat.
34. Chris Guillebeau
Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker and world traveler Chris has brought us 4 books and a daily podcast Side Hustle School from his experiences in business and life. The Art of Non-Conformity was Chris’s first book based on a popular online manifesto ‘A Brief Guide to World Domination’ which has spawned into a movement that’s impacted thousands of people through his books, speaking and blog.
35. Chocolate Johnny
Skilled and entertaining, Chocolate Johnny is founder of Perfection Chocolates an Australian boutique chocolate store. Known for his award-winning recipes, Choco Johnny is a heavy-hitter in the social media world with his compelling Snapchat stories & live video to talk with customers and build his local ‘brick and mortar’ business.
36. Ted Rubin
Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist as well as CMO of Brand Innovators. He has evangelized the term ROR, Return on Relationship, focusing on engaging and building relationships on social media. He’s also authored the Return on Relationship book as well as How to Look People in the Eye Digitally.
37. Marcus Sheridan
Marcus Sheridan built his Pool company with content marketing so good it was featured in multiple best selling marketing books. This includes the previously mentioned YoUtility and Content Inc. Now he tells his story and helps other businesses do the same through his new book They Ask You Answer. He also does speaking engagements, workshops, and consulting.
38. Kim Garst
Kim is a internationally recognized thought leader in the social media industry. She is also a Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer according to Forbes. As a best selling author, keynote speaker, and co-founder of Boom! Social, Kim delivers real-life digital marketing advice to help people build their business.
39. Pawan Deshpande
Recognized through the Boston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award, Pawan creates an abundant amount of helpful content. Before co-founding Curata, he was a software engineer for Microsoft, Google, and other startups. He now writes for Curata and previously mentioned Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProf’s amongst others.
40. Jay Acunzo
Keynote speaker, Podcaster and Digital Marketing Strategist, Jay is a ‘craft-driven’ content creator. He was a Media Strategist at Google and head of content at Hubspot. Today, Jay helps bring the creativity out of you for great content on his podcast Unthinkable. He also dishes out helpful tips in his blog, Sorry for Marketing. Jay’s podcast and blog are must follows for those mastering the art of content.
41. Nathan Ellering
Strategist, content marketer, and blogger, Nathan is the Content Marketing Lead at CoSchedule. CoSchedule is an easy-to-use content marketing and social media editorial calendar for WordPress. As a self-professed blogging and strategy nerd, he loves new ideas that promote growth and engagement and is a must-read on the CoSchedule Blog.
42. Hillel Fuld
Hillel Fuld is CMO of Zula makers of ZCast. Here, he focuses on product evolution, traction, user acquisition, and social engagement. He also blogs regularly on Tech N’ Marketing and covers Israeli startups for influential publications like Mashable, TechCrunch, and more.
There are just so many excellent content and social media marketers out there, it’s impossible to include everyone. I’ve personally learned something from each and every person on this list but everyone has their own ‘favorite’ influencers.
You might relate to someone else’s story or learn more with a different teaching style. That’s actually the point. There’s always room for someone unique, someone with a different story to tell. If you’re able to fine-tune your story and provide value to your audience, you can be an influencer in your industry.
What influencers do you watch? What have you learned or gained from them?
Share your experiences and keep the conversation going in the comments below.
(This article was originally published on the Digital Authority Blog)