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10 top marketing influencers to follow in 2018

by Khoros staff | Jan 16, 2018

At Spredfast (now Khoros), we’re fans of influencer marketing: we’ve explored what a good influencer relationship can do for retail brands, travel and hospitality brands, and even financial services brands. But while influencers are an excellent way to reach customers, top influencers can also help the folks behind the scenes—digital marketers. We’ve chosen the following 10 digital marketers as our 2018 must-follows because of their charisma, reach, and most importantly because of the important and valuable marketing ideas they share. See why we think these folks are worth your valuable time:

1. Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen has worked with global brands and startups and she writes a weekly newsletter called the Actionable Marketing Guide in which she offers marketing insights for mobile, social media, and content marketing. Recently she’s covered how to create an annual editorial calendar and how to improve content on specific social networks. Recent insights from Heidi: “Podcasting and other audio content marketing is no longer a sideshow to video and other trendy content formats. Rather it’s a media format tailored to the needs of people looking to enhance otherwise boring, routine activities.”

2. Neil Patel

As he explains on his blog, Quick Sprout, Neil Patel works on marketing with companies like Amazon and NBC. He’s received wide recognition for his entrepreneurial abilities, including his recognition by President Obama as a top 100 entrepreneur under 30. Patel is active on Twitter and LinkedIn. We especially love his easy-to-understand digital marketing tutorials on Quick Sprout that help readers increase website traffic and his blog posts on his personal website about content, SEO, and more.

From his Twitter: “I was born with a gift: I am able to help websites get a ton of eyeballs on the web.”— Neil Patel

3. Aleyda Solis

Aleyda Solis is an author, columnist, and SEO consultant for startups and global companies alike. Her personal blog is filled with digital marketing tips like how to recover organic search traffic that’s been lost in a web migration and tips for successful SEO consulting. Solis has been recognized as an important influencer by Forbes (which named her one of the top 10 digital marketing specialists to follow in 2015) and by The Huffington Post. We’re fans of Solis’s expertise in all things SEO and her deep knowledge of digital marketing.

4. Oli Gardner

Oli Gardner, co-founder of Unbounce, a leader in the world of landing pages, was an early content marketing pioneer and he’s an engaging, energetic speaker (he was rated the number-one speaker at 75% of his engagements last year). Oh, and he’s a wildlife photographer and a rocker, too. We love the fierceness with which Gardner seeks out and reports on the latest and greatest in digital marketing. He’s currently writing 30 posts in 30 days about product marketing and we, for one, are here for it.

Unbounce recently introduced a new era for popup ads. Of popups, Gardner says: “It’s been my goal since we started down this path, to make it clear that we are drawing a line in the sand between the negative past, and a positive future.”

We’ll certainly be watching.

5. Ann Handley

An 18-year digital marketing veteran, a best-selling author, a prolific speaker, and the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, Ann Handley aims to “inspire marketers to create marketing magic that gets real-world results.” Her reach is wide and the praise of her is profuse. We’re particularly fond of her self-proclaimed obsession with making complex subjects accessible.

From her Twitter profile: “I’m waging a war on mediocrity in content writing.” We love it.

6. Rand Fishkin

Founder of Moz, author, speaker, and all around SEO superstar, Rand Fishkin is, by his own description, perhaps best known for his Whiteboard Friday series which tens of thousands of marketers watch each week. “He shares thought-provoking insights and experiments that are changing the way marketers understand the modern digital marketing landscape,” writes Campaign Monitor.

From his Twitter: “Best way to sell something—don't sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.”

7. Jennifer Polk

Jennifer Polk is the research director at Gartner for Marketers and now specializes in digital commerce. On Twitter, Polk shares practical information useful to marketers of all kinds—things like 10 Lessons Marketers can Learn from the Circus: “Barnum wanted to bring smiles to the faces of others, which led to the founding of Barnum’s American Museum. But, as he learned what worked and what didn’t, he allowed his original plan to change. Marketers, cast a vision that allows for expansion, evolution and reinvention based on key insight and innovation.”

8. Joe Chernov

The rest of our list is full of personalities with a capital “p”—after all, nobody wants to follow someone without a little je ne sais quoi to call their own—and Joe Chernov is no exception. “There’s something amazing about back-to-back tweets consisting of a ‘Sharknado 3’ drinking game and a 6-month Analysis Blog Quality vs. Quantity,” writes AdHawk.

Chernov is the Chief Marketing Officer at Insightsquared and he’s been recognized as an influential marketer by the Content Marketing Institute and by Adweek.

9. Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is a best-selling author, the CEO of the Marketing Zen Group (a global online marketing and digital PR company), and an all-around digital marketing expert. We’re fans because of her insightful and revolutionary ideas. Take, for example, Hyder’s thoughts on the future of retail, which she details in a recent post and which can be summed up succinctly: “Retail is dead. Long live retail.” And, her on-point sense of humor makes her an easy choice to follow.

10. Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan is a founder of Marketingland and Search Engine Land (both of which are also great follows) who now works for Google educating the public about search. He tweets about Star Trek, current events, and Google (often in lightheartedly-disparaging ways).

As digital marketers, it can sometimes feel like our must-read list only gets longer no matter how much we plow through it. We think the marketing influencers on this list can help streamline your list by pointing to the most useful information (or by writing it themselves!)

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