Without the advances of bold thought leaders, there would be a lot fewer creative marketing ideas floating around. Truly great strategy has never been a matter of just accepting the status quo. Throughout history, the most memorable campaigns have been the ones that pushed the envelope. Apple’s 1984 campaign shattered consumer perception of computers as a boring, corporate tool. Volkswagen’s negative “lemon” advertisement in the 1960’s was a definite risk, but it succeeded at casting the manufacturer’s product as reliable, family cars. Edgy, forward-thinking marketing can make or break a company, which is why we’ve chosen to highlight the thoughts and words of 10 of the sharpest content marketing heroes:
1. Gary Vaynerchuk – @GaryVee
“The more content I can put out, the more luck I have.”
Image Credit: Blended Profit
Vaynerchuk’s almost 1 million Twitter followers aren’t the product of sheer luck. They’re the product of years of hard work, a factor he refers to as “hustle.” Gary Vee, as he likes to be called, started creating content long before it was in vogue, promoting his wine business with honest reviews in an online show called “Wine Library TV.” He also recently made headlines, and even caught a little heat from other thought leaders like Scott Monty of Ford, when he hired an employee for the sole purpose of tracking his conversations in hopes of putting out more quality thought on small business marketing. Vaynerchuk believes that content creation assistants will become the norm for the top 1-5% of executives in the next several years. Whether or not he’s spot on, his commitment to continually publishing creative marketing ideas is certainly a lesson we should all emulate.
2. Joe Pulizzi – @JoePulizzi
“Facts tell, and stories sell.”
Image Credit: Sprout Content
It’s pretty overwhelming to think of just how long Pulizzi has been in the business of content. His creative marketing ideas, which include coining the term “content marketing”, have been making waves online and off for over a decade. Pulizzi’s focus is undoubtedly helping marketers take their strategy from good to great, and one of his focuses is storytelling. Blogs may not be the primary highway for content in a decade, but consumer’s love for a narrative will likely never die.
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3. Ann Handley – @MarketingProfs
“Be a Content Brand.”
Image Credit: Ann Handley
There are companies that use creative marketing ideas on their blogs, and there are others who have achieved the designation of a Content Brand (with a capital C and B, of course). Ann Handley’s mission is to help you become the latter by designing a comprehensive strategy that’s less campaign and more commitment. If you’ve been conducting what she calls “random acts of content,” it could pay to consider developing a comprehensive customer experience online.
4. Marcus Sheridan – @TheSalesLion
“Stop ignoring, start answering.”
Image Credit: Open View Partners
Sheridan is incredibly smart. So smart that he’s built a personal brand on breaking content marketing into a process that anyone can succeed at. Sheridan is a firm believer that the companies which address their customer’s questions during the sales cycle are the ones who will win business in the end, a principle that revolutionized his fiberglass pool company. Stop running from your customer’s tough questions, and integrate their real-life queries with your creative marketing ideas.
5. Chris Brogan – @ChrisBrogan
“Content marketing is not branding.”
Image Credit: Chris Brogan
Brogan’s introduced a lot of brilliant ideas, but his recent assertion that content marketing shouldn’t be used as a ploy to make your company appealing was among his best. Unless you’ve got a budget specifically for brand awareness or rehabilitation, your dollars and creative marketing ideas should go to connecting with potential customers. It’s easy to lose sight of the end goal, but most companies can’t afford the risk of creating content that’s not ultimately sales-driven.
6. David Meerman Scott – @DMScott
“Real time. It’s about instant.”
Image Credit: David Meerman Scott
Your content marketing strategy probably moves pretty quickly, but Scott might not think it’s fast enough. In recent years, this seasoned marketing strategist has built a career and published world-renowned books which revolve around the concept of real-time marketing, something Scott believes is increasingly crucial in a world saturated with information. Scott recently stated in an interview with Content Marketing Institute that he “see[s] so few marketers who truly understand the power of an instant blog post, an out-of-the-gate video, a fast update to a website.” Make it your goal to deploy creative marketing ideas in real time in the weeks to come.
7. Brian Clark – @CopyBlogger
“Creating a brand goes way beyond keyword research and placement.”
Image Credit: Eloqua
It’s no secret that Clarke’s immensely popular website, Copyblogger, has fabulous SEO. He’s authored some of the best-regarded thought on search engine-friendly copywriting, frequently speaks on the topic, and yet advises new bloggers to avoid focusing too hard on the topic. Clark revealed recently that he thinks building authority requires prioritizing links and readers above SEO. Give life to your best creative marketing ideas first, and optimize for search second.
8. Lee Odden – @LeeOdden
“SEO is an optimized state of mind.”
Image Credit: DP Show Up
Odden has been working in the field of website optimization for over 14 years, and he’s seen a myriad of SEO best practices come and go. In his view, optimizing your website to be found by prospects is a matter of continual adaptability. Companies can’t stop learning as soon as they’ve mastered the latest techniques. Organizational agility and creative marketing ideas could be key to dominating search in the future, whichever path that may take.
9. John Jantsch – @DuctTape
“Content must mean more than a blog post.”
Image Credit: BizEngine
There’s no arguing with the fact that Jantsch is among the most pragmatic minds in marketing today. The advice he provides is unvaryingly reliable, and up-to-date. His latest recommendation for marketers? Stop thinking of content as an opportunity to share creative marketing ideas daily, and start considering how each Tweet, article, and eBook you publish fits into your body of work.
10. Jay Baer – @JayBaer
“Provide self-serve information.”
Image Credit: Jay Baer
Did you know that the average consumer needs 10.4 pieces of information to make a purchase decision, a more than 200% increase over 2010? Baer believes that your content assets should be sufficiently comprehensive to ensure your prospects never have to leave your website in order to find answers. As he points out, if you “help someone, you make a customer for life.”
Who are your content marketing heroes? What lessons and creative marketing ideas have you learned from them?