Top 100 Content Marketing Influencers and Brands In 2016

Michael Brenner on Sep 5, 2016 in Content Marketing

Every day, individuals and brands are creating and publishing as many as 27 million pieces of new content online. It’s no wonder that one of the biggest challenges content marketers face today is getting their content seen.

So what can your brand do to stand out and get a customer’s attention, and ultimately turn that engagement into sales for your business?

Onalytica asked ten of the influencers they’ve identified in their Top 100 Influencers and Brands to share their content marketing insights and top tips to help you improve your own content marketing efforts.

I’m very honored to be asked to share my views this year, and also really excited to see, learn and speak along with some of these great content marketing influencers at the Content Marketing World this week!

What Influencers Are Saying About Content Marketing

Jeff Bullas – CEO at Jeffbullas.com Pty Ltd

“Behind the the simple 2 words…”content marketing” is a discipline that has become an art and a science. The art is the creative process of crafting of words, visuals, videos and audio that humans and brands use as the honeypot to attract traffic and build credibility and trust. The science is the technology that enables businesses to optimize and control their strategies at scale. This includes tools and and digital marketing automation platforms that are needed for managing the splintered media channels and networks that we are now confronted with. But many content marketers are not paying enough attention to the science of conversion and just banging out blog posts and hope they work in some way. All the traffic and the engagement from persistent content creation and marketing needs to be turned into real “ROI”. Leads and sales. Big brands often have the luxury and budget to just use content for brand awareness. But small and medium entrepreneurs need to focus much more on getting a return. If you don’t focus on that then the rest is just vanity metrics and noise”.

Joe Pulizzi – Founder at The Content Marketing Institute, Author of Content Inc., Speaker & Entrepreneur

“Content marketing is the fastest growing area of marketing for a reason – brands want attention and can’t get it without creating value “outside” the products and services they offer. It will be an interesting ride as more money moves from other sources into quality, targeted and consistent content.”

Michael Brenner – CEO of Marketing Insider Group, co-author of The Content Formula,

“If I could ask brands and marketers to get one thing straight about content marketing it would be that “content” is not content marketing. An ebook or anything with the word “campaign” in it is not content marketing. Content marketing is a digital program destination owned by the brand, that consistently publishes customer-centric content in order to reach, engage and convert buyers the brand would have never reached with more traditional (campaign-based) approaches. The top content marketing trends for 2017 will see brands moving into tighter topical niches. Every financial service company can’t be the premier provider of financial education. So we will all need to move into more unique topics focused on our unique brand expertise. As a society we are consuming more visual content. This will push brands to define strategies and to hire experts in the fields of design, photography, videography, data visualization, and visual storytelling. Finally, we’ll see much more Content Personalization in 2017. It’s tough to break through the noise. Brands will start to target content down to individual preferences, desires, and interests.”

Mark Schaefer – College Educator, Marketing Consultant, and Author of Five Marketing Books including The Content Code

We are clearly in a new phase of content marketing where great content is no longer the finish line, it is the starting line. The economic value of content that is not seen is zero. The content must move, it must be understood, and shared. Smart brands must develop a strategy around content ignition, as well as content creation.”

Steve Cartwright – Founder of FX Digital Pty Ltd, Digital Business Growth Expert

“Content is simply telling stories that attract and engage an audience and marketing is making that audience do something, together this is content marketing. Nowadays it’s much more important than ever, for every business to have a content marketing strategy. With such a strategy any business even one consisting of just one person can become an influencer within their niche, they can become an authority figure on social media, drive thousands of visitors to their website and best of all they can reap the rewards for years to come…. That’s the beauty of modern content marketing, I know, I’m an army of one.”

Rand Fishkin – Wizard of Moz, creator of Keyword Explorer, host of Whiteboard Friday, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, co-founder of Inbound.org, board member at Haiku Deck

Content is powerful. The right content, distributed the right ways, in front of the right eyeballs can build a business, spread a message, even change the world. But that reaching those right eyeballs is getting harder and harder, because in spite of the growth in content consumers, there’s a vastly greater growth rate in content creation and the noise saturating those distribution channels. For content creators, the message is clear — hitting the publish button on your amazing work is only the start of the process.

Sujan Patel – GM & Co-Founder of Web Profits, Co-Founder of ContentMarketer.io, Advisor at RealtyMogul

“Content Marketing in 2016 is all about standing out from the crowd, USP and personalization. While these things are not new to the marketing world, they are just now starting to be applied to the world of content marketing. Standing out = content promotion, USP = adding a unique angle/hook & personalization = showing the reader a different journey/content based off interest. I personally am excited to see content marketers produce more promotable content that’s not the same old info and on a topic I actually care about! ”

Gerry Moran – Global Head of Social Media, Cognizant

“Storytelling is the future of content marketing. Successful brands and individuals will need to rise above the cacophony of discordant video, graphics and assorted posts to show they know how to deliver solutions — through storytelling. Each message needs to create an ‘a-ha’ moment. Each post will be required to teach. Each piece of content will connect the reader to the next step to solve for their personal challenge. Social media channels will change, hashtags and keywords will evolve, and video, graphics, and clever copywriting will always be the foundation of break-through messaging. However, the best brands, social sellers and individual will be able to mix up these ingredients to tell a story that attracts, engages and converts. Storytelling will help to simplify the complex and long buying cycles by passing on relevant content to increase conversion— which is the business impact we’re all looking for, right?”

Robert Rose – Chief Strategy Advisor for The Content Marketing Institute, Author, Speaker, Startup Advisor & Investor

“I’ve been in marketing for more than 25 years, and I truly think it’s one of the most exciting times in history to be a marketer. Traditional advertising is fundamentally evolving, direct marketing is becoming more complex, and the entire relationship with customers is shifting to creating differentiating experiential value. The ability we have, as marketers, to move beyond simply describing the value of our products and services, and into creating valuable content-driven experiences, adds an entirely new strategic purpose to our beloved practice. Let us not waste it.”

Jason A Miller – Global Content Marketing Leader at LinkedIn, Best Selling Author, Rock n Roll Photographer

“It’s never been a better time to be a content marketer. With the vast amount of data at our fingertips there’s really no question as to what content you should be creating for success. Once you lay that foundation then the fun begins with your content strategy: taking intelligent risks, pushing boundaries, and creating content so remarkable that it transcends a simple call to action. Playing it safe is so passé.”

Mapping The Content Marketing Community

Onalytica was interested in finding out which content marketing influencers and brands were leading the discussion online. They analyzed over 410k tweets over the last twelve months, mentioning the keyword “content marketing,” and identified the top 100 most influential individuals and brand who were leading the conversation on Twitter.

Onalytica found that there was a very engaged community with discussions taken place between brands and individuals. Using their Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM), Onalytica has created the network map below, showing the #1 influencer Jeff Bullas at the center and the online conversations to and from the influencers in his network.

Top 100 Individuals

Here’s the list of the top 50 content marketing influencers Onalytica has identified, based on their analysis of all the individuals engaging on Twitter. To see the complete list, click on the download link below.

Download The Full Report

RankTwitter HandleNameCompanyInfluencer Score
1@jeffbullasJeff BullasJeffbullas.com100
2@jaybaerJay BaerConvince & Convert79.23
3@JoePulizziJoe PulizziContent Marketing Institute73.99
4@BrennerMichaelMichael BrennerMarketing Insider Group67.35
5@neilpatelNeil PatelCrazy Egg & Hello Bar67.24
6@MarketingProfsAnn HandleyMarketingProfs67.1
7@leeoddenLee OddenTopRank Marketing56.95
8@markwschaeferMark SchaeferSchaefer Marketing Solutions45.01
9@FX_DigitalSteve CartwrightFX Digital42.29
10@randfishRand FishkinMoz40.11
11@sujanpatelSujan PatelWeb Profits40.08
12@larrykimLarry KimWordstream39.69
13@GerryMoranGerry MoranCognizant34.34
14@heidicohenHeidiCohenActionable Marketing Guide32.4
15@Robert_RoseRobert RoseContent Marketing Institute31.7
16@dougkesslerDoug KesslerVelocity30.22
17@IanClearyIan ClearyRazorSocial29.45
18@FeldmanCreativeBarry FeldmanFeldmanCreative28.63
19@NealSchafferNeal SchafferMaximize Your Social28.52
20@JasonMillerCAJason A MillerLinkedin28.37
21@PamMktgNutPam MooreMarketing Nutz27.45
22@Sam___HurleySam HurleyOptim-Eyez27.2
23@BrianHonigmanBrian HonigmanHonigman Media26.76
24@MariSmithMari Smith Ⓜ️marismith.com25.61
25@lieblinkRebecca Liebrebeccalieb.com25.49
26@kimgarstKim GarstBoom! Social25.36
27@PamDidnerPam Didnerglobalcontent.marketing24.01
28@seosmartyAnn Smartymyblogu.com23.99
29@stonetempleEric EngeStone Temple Consulting23.66
30@crestodinaAndy CrestodinaOrbit Media21.69
31@martinjonesazMartin JonesCox Communications21.44
32@RebekahRadiceRebekah RadicePostPlanner21.34
33@ArnieKArnie KuennVertical Measures21.01
34@GlenGilmoreGlen Gilmore #SocBizGilmore Business Network20.92
35@TheSalesLionMarcus SheridanThe Sales Lion20.6
36@ducttapeJohn JantschDuct Tape Marketing20.51
37@bryankramerBryan KramerPureMatter20.22
38@ShellyKramerShelly Kramerv3b20.21
39@TedRubinTed RubinGoodXChange19.37
40@JuntaeDeLaneJuntae DeLaneUniversity of Southern California18.96
41@DholakiyaPratikPratik DholakiyaE2M18.86
42@ardath421Ardath AlbeeMarketing Interactions18.8
43@SteveologySteve FarnsworthThe @Steveology Group18.8
44@Mike_StelznerMichael A. StelznerSocial Media Examiner17.49
45@DrewDavisHereAndrew Davisakadrewdavis.com17.34
46@danielnewmanUVDaniel NewmanBroadsuite & V2B17.17
47@dannysullivanDanny SullivanMarketingLand17.1
48@ChadPollittChad PollittRelevance17.08
49@jasoncreationJason BurrowsThe Creation Agency17.03
50@jeffsheehanJeff SheehanSheehan Marketing Strategies16.98

Top 100 Brands

Onalytica was also interested in finding out which brands were the most influential in content marketing, and below you’ll find the top 50. Download the full report to see which other brands made the top 100 list this year.

RankTwitter HandleNameInfluencer Score
1@CMIContentContent Marketing100
2@HubSpotHubSpot84.25
3@IncInc.77.09
4@MozMoz72.36
5@newscredNewsCred71.63
6@B2CommunityBusiness 2 Community67.55
7@hootsuiteHootsuite64.83
8@copybloggerCopyblogger62.48
9@SlideShareLinkedIn SlideShare61.86
10@EntrepreneurEntrepreneur61.34
11@toprankTopRankMarketing.com55.06
12@socialmedia2daySocial Media Today54.35
13@contentlyContently51.2
14@KissmetricsKissmetrics49.52
15@EconsultancyEconsultancy45.63
16@MarketinglandMarketing Land45.49
17@marketoMarketo42.12
18@SMExaminerSocialMedia Examiner41.26
19@curataCurata36.14
20@sejournalSearchEngineJournal®35.04
21@semrushSEMrush34.48
22@sewatchSearch Engine Watch34.19
23@eMarketereMarketer32.65
24@adexchangerAdExchanger31.36
25@kapostKapost28.92
26@googleanalyticsGoogle Analytics28.91
27@UberflipUberflip27.99
28@senginelandSearch Engine Land26.89
29@LinkedInMktgLinkedIn Marketing26.8
30@ClickZClickZ26.74
31@AdweekAdweek26.37
32@addthisAddThis26.36
33@CoScheduleCoSchedule25.33
34@MarketingUKCampaign: Brands24.69
35@VisuallyVisually24.5
36@BuzzSumoBuzzSumo23.98
37@unbounceUnbounce23.84
38@mashsocialmediaMashable SocialMedia23.28
39@GrowthHackersGrowthHackers22.78
40@OutbrainOutbrain22.05
41@scoopitScoop.it21.62
42@CrowdfireCrowdfire21.27
43@convinceConvince & Convert20.24
44@SkywordSkyword20.22
45@PRDailyPR Daily19.68
46@CMO_comCMO.com19.1
47@TrackMavenTrackMaven19.1
48@TheSocialMsThe Social Marketers17.88
49@relevanceRelevance17.56
50@cmswireCMSWire.com17.23

Will you be at the Content Marketing World this week? If so, I’d love to meet you all so please come by and say hello!

Are you interested in engaging and converting new customers for your business? Contact me here and let’s talk about how we can help. Or follow me on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and if you like what you see, Subscribe here for regular updates.

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.
Showing 2 comments
  • Ben Brausen

    Interesting list. Many of these have large followings but almost no engagement with their accounts. Seems strange to consider someone an influencer if the stats show they influence almost no one.

    This is an issue many influencer programs miss. They assume a large following makes someone an influencer when it simply isn’t the case.

    • Michael Brenner

      Hi Ben, I can understand that it would seem that way on the surface. Follower size is only one metric used to calculate influence by Onalytica. They also look at overall engagement on their content (among other things).

      So audience size matters but only in helping to achieve an overall engagement with content.