20 Influential Marketers Share Their Best Productivity Hack

Marketers often work long hours to execute strategies that deliver results for their companies and to keep their skills current with the constantly changing industry. This can come at the cost of our well-being and happiness due to less time spent on things like exercise, socializing with friends and family, and memorable experiences. Increasing your productivity can, as Tim Ferriss puts it, “maximize your per hour output” so you can get more free time or become more effective. I contacted dozens of influential marketers to ask them about their top productivity hack for getting the most out of their workday and they generously shared the following responses.

kane-jamisonFor me, it’s avoiding Twitter. Aside from that, for sales & proposals I work from a templated document using proposal software called Quote Roller. Makes the proposal process much faster. Finally, working towards building out checklists and procedures internally helps cut down on errors and misunderstandings. The more complex our processes get, the more I’m realizing the need for documentation earlier rather than later.
-Kane Jamison is the founder of the content marketing agency Content Harmony. @KaneJamison

sujan-patelMy most effective and simple productivity hack to get the most out of my workday is to start early. I start my day between 6 to 630am which gives me 2-3 hours of uninterrupted work time. During this time I get 65% of my days work out of the way. The rest of the 8-9 hours I work I’m bombarded with phone calls, emails, instant messages which gets me side tracked.
-Sujan Patel is the founder of Single Grain, a leading digital marketing agency in San Francisco. @sujanpatel

dan-shureMy biggest productivity hack is to work on your most important project first thing in the day and don’t check email or Twitter until almost lunch. If you get a solid three hours in uninterrupted work first thing, I consider that highly productive. If you need to grab info or something from your email, use the pause inbox plugin so you’re not seeing any new messages show up to distract you.
-Dan Shure is the owner of Evolving SEO and hosts the video series No Board SEO. @dan_shure

jon-cooperI really don’t have any productivity hack. The only thing relating to this topic is that I ask myself one simple question before doing something, which is “is this the best use of my time to make the most money possible?” That ends up discarding a lot of tasks and help me reach my goals faster. Granted, I’ve only recently employed this after observing a few investors I highly respect, and I’m still not the most disciplined, but all in all, it’s changed the way I think about the whole “getting shit done” mantra. You can try to be as productive as possible, but at the end of the day, it’s about what you do, not how fast/productive you can be in terms of going about it.
-Jon Cooper is the owner of Point Blank SEO, a link building blog and course. @PointBlankSEO

rand-fishkinMy biggest hack is my schedule and my rigid discipline on communication and work channels. Basically, if it’s not on my Google calendar or in Gmail, it doesn’t happen. I stick to a modified version of inbox 0 and am always working to get down to nothing in my email – every task I have sits there, often in an email from myself. I use it like a checklist, and am only interrupted from polishing it off by meetings on my calendar.

My schedule is also pretty strict. I wake up ~8:30am, do email until 10am, get to work between 10:30-11am, have meetings and coffees and team communication stuff until ~6pm, head home, eat dinner with my wife, and am back online from 10pm-1am to clear out the rest of my inbox and, if I have the chance, blog.
-Rand Fishkin is the founder and CEO of Moz, a provider of marketing analytics software. @randfish

james-agateMy biggest productivity hack I think goes against everything that the experts tell you which is that I stay on top of my emails throughout the day to stop things getting out of control in my inbox. So I get up early (another top tip), early enough to get some quiet work done before the rest of the world wakes up, clear through my inbox which has only had the 10 hours to fill up if you count sleep a leisure time. I operate a one-touch policy for email so basically I open and deal with it in less than 2 mins so that might be write a response, Boomerang for another time, assign to a team member, delete etc.

I used to have a terrible habit of opening every email then leaving it as a read email sat in my inbox for an entire day if not longer thinking about how I am going to deal with it. Now I have forced myself to deal with it in less than 2 minutes.

I always clear out my inbox before starting task related work because I find it helps clear my mind and ensures our customers have had responses, my team know what they are doing and I can focus on the specific tasks rather than getting sidetracked thinking “A client won’t know what is going on with X, Y or Z because I didn’t respond to them.”

So when it comes to task work my other top tip is the Pomodoro Technique, it has taken real perseverance to make this a permanent fixture in my work day but what a difference it makes to productivity and it also forces me to take leisure breaks in the day and do important things like actually eat lunch 🙂
-James Agate is the CEO of Skyrocket SEO, a link building agency to digital marketing companies and major brands. @jamesagate

john-wallMy number one hack is “Big Rocks First.” Covey and the Merrills have an excellent book on time management called “First Things First.” Find some time before your week begins, many use Sunday night, to look at the calendar for the week. You need to select the five most important things you need to get done and fit them into the calendar. If you don’t set this time aside you’ll get crushed by the “tyranny of the urgent” – there’s always unlimited email to answer, meetings with co-workers and other urgent but not really important tasks that can fill your week.

Think of your week as a jar – it has limited capacity. The important items are the rocks. Email, social media, meetings and other less important things are sand. You’ve got to put the big rocks in first – you’ll still have space for sand in there. If you just start pouring in the sand, you’ll fill the jar and the important stuff will never get done.
-John Wall is the co-host of Marketing Over Coffee and author of B2B Marketing Confessions. @johnjwall

drpeteI’m a big fan of simple techniques, and one I’ve come to like a lot is the Pomodoro Technique. Basically, you work in uninterrupted blocks of 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. It’s a bit more complex than that, and there are many variants, but I find that focused work – that means no email, no Twitter, etc., is absolutely amazing for productivity. Writing and planning especially benefit. For a while, I experimented with doing 8 blocks per day, and that 4 hours of uninterrupted work time was more productive than my average 8-10 hour day. It is shockingly difficult to find 8 uninterrupted blocks of time (or make them, as the case may be), but I still try to use the concept daily, in whatever way I can manage.
-Dr. Peter J. Meyers is a Marketing Scientist at Moz and owner of User Effect, a strategic usability consulting firm. @dr_pete

danny-doverBy far the productivity hack that has made the biggest impact on my life is getting everything with due dates out of your head and into a system that I trust. (This is a philosophy from David Allen’s Getting Things Done). Regardless if it is due in three hours or three days, every item goes into my OmniFocus system. From there it syncs with my phone and computer and is never more than a arms length away. With this setup, I don’t worry about having to remember the milk or to post a blog post because I wake up every morning with a list of all of the things that need to get done that day. I rarely go a day without completing the list and I never have to worry about forgetting important tasks.
-Danny Dover is the co-founder of the marketing training course Making It Click and shares his bucket list adventures at Life Listed. He is also the author of the book Search Engine Optimization Secrets. @dannydover

ross-hudgensMy #1 productivity hack is to create uninterrupted time in my workday – where it’s just me, silence, and the computer. This is generally around 6AM or before anyone else gets to the office. Distractions are simply that – and very tough to get around, even with willpower. The way to get over that is to force solutions.

My second hack is to schedule blog posts for times I’m traveling. The noise of people responding and tweeting posts are especially distracting to productivity, so I find that if I force the posts live at unproductive times (such as on a plane/at a conference), it’s the most optimal way to get benefit without cost.
-Ross Hudgens is the founder of Siege Media, a digital marketing consultancy that specializes in businesses that operate online. @RossHudgens

jayson-demersMy top productivity hack for getting the most out of my workday is simple: Stay organized. I’ve got lots of to-do lists, but they’re very accessible and easy to work from. As long as I know what I need to do each day, I have no problem actually doing it. Recently, I’ve started using Producteev, which is a task management software that helps my employees and I sync up on tasks that need to be done, along with deadlines and collaboration tools as well. So far, I really like it!
-Jayson DeMers is the Founder & CEO, AudienceBloom, an SEO firm that specializes in link building and social media marketing. @jaysondemers

ian-lurieEveryone has to use something like Pomodoro to manage their time. You need to set out 25-45 minute blocks of time that are ‘interruption proof,’ and then set ground rules for your co-workers. Without this kind of interruption management, it’s impossible to get anything done.
-Ian Lurie is the founder and CEO of Portent, a leading internet marketing company. @portentint

neil-patelI spend a lot of my time within my email inbox, so to save time I use Unroll.me, which unsubscribes me from any junk mail I receive. This saves me roughly 30 minutes a day.

I also respond to emails right after opening them, versus responding later on. This again saves me roughly 30 minutes a day as I don’t have to re-read emails later on.
-Neil Patel is the founder of the analytics companies KISSmetrics and CrazyEgg and blogs regularly about online marketing at Quick Sprout. @neilpatel

mike-ramseyRescueTime has been great for me. Its a free tool to use personally and I am able to see a productivity breakdown. I also am able to see how much time I spend in Gmail which is something I REALLY try to limit as it is usually my biggest time suck. I think the key is that if you aren’t monitoring something it’s very hard to improve on it. I usually take a look at the data every week and see what type of trends are standing out.
-Mike Ramsey is the President of Nifty Marketing, a local search marketing company @niftymarketing

jason-acidreI got this tip from John Doherty (of Distilled) – the key to really get things done or be more productive is to actually do stuff (and lots of them). Productivity is as simple as that, I believe.

Make a list of the things you need to do on a daily basis and sort them by levels of priorities. I personally use Trello to organize my daily/weekly tasks.

I usually start with medium to high priority tasks that aren’t time consuming (like emails, delegating tasks to teammates, reading etc…) before doing the tedious ones (ex: writing blog posts, doing research, analyzing clients’ sites, etc…). The more I see my list of “done tasks” pile up, the more it stimulates my brain and be pumped up to work on the tougher ones.
-Jason Acidre is the CEO of Xight Interactive and writes about online marketing at Kaiser the Sage. @jasonacidre

Ann SmartyI don’t have any separate productivity tools (mostly because, ironically, I don’t have time to master them) but I have learned to use my daily software for productivity:

My browser: FireFox has “pinned tabs” option, so whenever there’s a task, I pin it and let it hang there. My browser gets slow and cluttered with too many open pinned tabs, so that’s by far the best motivation for me to go and clear it up by actually doing the tasks!

My email client: I use Thunderbird as my master email inbox: I sync all my mail in there and go through each message one by one (reading, replying, deleting automatic updates, etc). If any of the emails requires something done, I’ll leave it there hanging. If I want to unclutter my inbox, I’ll do my best to *do* that.
-Ann Smarty is the owner of MyBlogGuest, a free community of guest bloggers. She also blogs about SEO at SEO Smarty. @seosmarty

geoff-kenyonOne of the most helpful productivity hacks that I’ve found is to turn off all notifications. I don’t get pop up notifications about email or chats or any kind of push notifications; these these messages rarely contain pertinent information to what I’m working on and are distractions rather than resources. When I’m working on something, I want to focus on the task at hand rather than being interrupted by notifications.
-Geoff Kenyon in an SEO consultant at Distilled and blogs at Geoffkenyon.com. @geoffkenyon

john-dohertyMy top productivity hack is to not read blog posts during the workday. I’m constantly on Twitter and see awesome content coming through my feed, but I also have work to do. So, I signed up for Pocket, formerly ReadItLater, and save everything to my Pocket so that I can read it that evening or on my commute home. If you install the Pocket Chrome extension, you can right click on links and save them to your queue without having to open them at all. It’s brilliant!
-John Doherty is the head of Distilled NYC and blogs at Johnfdoherty.com. @dohertyjf.

lauren-hall-stigertsI’m happiest when I’m in The Flow – that’s when I’m totally focused on one activity at a time and pushing myself through the hard parts. It’s too easy to distract myself with the online equivalent of potato chips when I should be eating salads (getting things done).

One of my weaknesses is social media. There’s so much power for good there, and it’s an essential place for online marketers to be. But, like potato chips, too much can be a bad thing. I’ve recently started using Buffer (optimized with FollowerWonk) as a way to share awesome content throughout the day without having to open the bag of potato chips every time. I use the Chrome plugin to send quick updates on the fly, and they get deployed at intervals throughout the day. Now I plan when I check my social networks instead of letting real-time updates control me.

BONUS! I’ll be keeping an eye on my RescueTime dashboard to quantify my Buffer-induced productivity!
-Lauren Hall-Stigerts is a marketing consultant specializing in content strategy and social media at Marketing Gal. @lstigerts

mike-essexMy top productivity hack is taking my dog for a walk in the morning and before I go to bed. Although it’s not a hack during work time I find it’s vital that I have these two periods of calm in order to process what happened during the day and to plan for the day ahead. We have so many distractions around us at work and home that walking the dog is the time when I have no technology around me, just her and the empty field. With all of the other burdens removed it means I’m free to think creatively and put my mind to tasks that need dedicated time.

It’s like how people get great ideas in the shower because their mind is free to think and listen to the ideas that have been bubbling under until that point. The shower is pretty much the only time we get away from technology now and dog walking applies the same “hack.” The best hack of all is turning everything off.

You might also find this slidedeck I made helpful which covers other hacks to be creative like coning yourself, Pomodoro and being child-like.
-Mike Essex is an Online Marketing Manager at Koozai and author of Free Stuff Everyday. @Koozai_Mike

cyrus-shepardThe biggest productivity hack I use is to work at a standing desk. I swear my productivity rises 30% with this simple act. I also have more energy, seem to digest my food better and when listening to music have more freedom to dance.

The one I have at work I made myself, inspired by this post. Here’s what it looks like:


-Cyrus Shepard is Senior Content Producer at Moz and blogs at Above the Fold. @CyrusShepard

brain-deanI’m a big believer in “proactive” vs. “reactive” modes in business. I find that I get the most accomplished when I’m in proactive mode.

Because of the way humans evolved, we’re in reactive mode by default. First, it’s better for survival (you can spot danger and opportunities easier). Second, it requires less mental energy.

That’s why checking email/Facebook/blogs is so addictive: it puts you in full-on reactive mode.

I’ve found that once I get into reactive mode, it’s hard to go back into proactive mode.

That’s why I don’t check email (usually) until 3-4pm. That’s obviously more efficient because of batching. But it ensure that my mornings and early afternoons are in full-on proactive mode: producing content, doing outreach and generally getting stuff accomplished.

When my brain is tired from that work, I check all the things I need to check…which requires significantly less mental effort.
-Brian Dean is a link building consultant and owner of Backlinko, which provides free tips and resources for building links. @Backlinko

kristi-hinesIf you have trouble staying focused on your work, then try the StayFocusd Chrome extension. It blocks websites that distract you from your projects on specific days and hours during the day. Overall, you can give yourself a specific allotted time for all of your blocked sites per day. This can keep your Facebook, celebrity gossip, and online poker site usage down to 15 minutes total during the work day. It’s a great way to increase your productivity by decreasing the chance of getting sucked down the IMDB rabbit hole.
-Kristi Hines is a content marketer and freelance writer who was named to Forbes’ Top 50 Social Influencers. Her Blog Post Promotion Course teaches people how to become exceptional at promoting content and she also runs the popular marketing blog, Kikolani. @kikolani

matthew-barbyEach day I make sure that I rise an hour early so that I can go through all of the latest content that has been produced across my favorite blogs and decide which to share online. This is where Feedly comes to my rescue. I’ve categorized my Feedly (RSS reader) into loads of different categories to give me streams of content related to link building, content marketing, design, PPC, growth hacking, local SEO, entrepreneurship, etc. This way, I can skim through each subject to get a general overview of what’s going on – the fact that I’m UK-based helps because I get all the content from the US whilst they’re all asleep, which gives me a chance to catch up! My goal is always to get as much done as possible in the morning because I find my concentration is at its peak. Getting into the office early helps me to shake of any rustiness before I get bombarded with phone calls as well!
-Matthew Barby is the Head of Online Strategy at Wow Internet and writes about online marketing tools and strategies at Find My BlogWay. @matthewbarby

Thanks to everyone who contributed for being so generous with their time! Please help improve this resource by sharing your best productivity hack in the comments.


“My biggest productivity hack is to work on your most important project first thing in the day” -Dan Shure (Tweet This Quote)

“My most effective and simple productivity hack to get the most out of my workday is to start early.” -Sujan Patel (Tweet This Quote)

“Make a list of the things you need to do on a daily basis and sort them by levels of priorities.” -Jason Acidre (Tweet This Quote)

One of the most helpful productivity hacks that I’ve found is to turn off all notifications. -Geoff Kenyon (Tweet This Quote)

“My top productivity hack is taking my dog for a walk in the morning and before I go to bed.” -Mike Essex (Tweet This Quote)

“The biggest productivity hack I use is to work at a standing desk.” -Cyrus Shepard (Tweet This Quote)

If you like this post, be sure to share it with your audience.

Responses collected by Charles Sipe, an online marketing specialist at Spacecraft Digital. @charlessipe

Starting an Online Marketing Consultancy: Interview with Alex Avery

I recently had the chance to chat with Alex Avery, an online marketer who started his own SEO and web design consultancy, Webology Marketing in Seattle, Washington. In this interview he shares insights from his experience of starting an independent SEO business and things that have helped it grow.

How did you get started in online marketing and what led you to start your own business?

I started with a small advertising firm in 2009. I worked as a production assistant and began learning the ropes of SEO from day one. At that time, most of the organized education materials were focused on keyword density. It was painfully obvious that there was more to SEO/online marketing than keyword density. That’s when I found SEOmoz, which was instrumental in helping me understand the comprehensive approach to organic web marketing.

Once I had a better understanding of the industry, I built out an internal model at the agency to follow these best practices. And while the concepts were well-received, the approach was a little daunting for this small ad agency. After a couple of years, I moved to an even smaller, more focused SEO firm in Seattle. Sadly, these same comprehensive strategies were not the ideal approach for this firm, either.

I decided to start my own firm in 2011. Since then, we’ve seen a lot of success for our clients. My hope is to continue to grow and offer more comprehensive marketing services to small/medium size businesses.

What activities do you spend most of your time on and what things make the biggest impact for your business?

Most of my time is spent writing. New and updated content is vital to the success of any website.

Another significant part of my time is spent on website design/development. I find that efforts spent writing content, link building and other off-page tactics are not as effective unless I have a strong on-page, development plan in place. Having a professional design and clean site architecture makes a significant impact in both rankings and conversions (sign-ups, emails, etc.).

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your business?

Getting started with Webology, I underestimated the need for a strong sales force. As many entrepreneurs have learned, new client acquisition is very time-consuming. It’s not that it’s impossible to do on your own, but once business starts booming, you need some support to keep things moving/growing.

How did you determine where to set your prices for your services?

Our pricing model has changed/evolved quite a bit this last year. When we first started, we ran our campaigns based on an hourly model. This approach was problematic for several reasons. One reason was that it gave the impression that we only spent X hours on a campaign because that’s what we billed for. What this didn’t reflect was the countless hours of research, outreach, client meetings, and other time spent that we didn’t feel comfortable billing to the client.

Another reason why the hourly model was troublesome was that clients would want to decrease or increase their work on a month to month basis—this lead to some surprises, come invoicing time.

The retainer model, if done transparently, eliminates these issues. The client is billed a consistent amount each month and time spent on a campaign is still tracked and accounted for. Again, transparency is essential here. Be sure the client knows exactly what you’re working on at all times. Start by providing frequent, transparent reports that detail ongoing and completed projects. And, of course, show competency and effectiveness by tracking traffic, rankings, and conversions.

What things have worked for you to acquire customers for your business?

For our company, the single most important channel for growing our client base has been our relationships. Forming relationships, and even partnerships, with the right people led us to those initial clients that have built the foundation of our business.

The second half of this plan is to practice what you preach. Develop and implement a social networking strategy, invest in design and development tactics to help improve your own site, and even consider buying ad space (AdWords, display, remarketing, etc.). Here at Webology, we are definitely guilty of the age-old “the cobbler’s kids have no shoes” scenario but it’s something we are excited to work on.

How do you ensure that your clients are happy and feel like that their expectations have been met or exceeded?

Two things: set reasonable expectations and be transparent. Setting reasonable expectations will only help you in the long run. There’s no need to hype up your tactics/strategies. The results will speak for themselves.

Transparency will eliminate surprises when it comes time to evaluate your services. Whether you’re an in-house SEO or an agency, you’re typically working with a marketing manager (or similar) within a company. Quite often, these marketing managers are pulled aside by their bosses and asked to explain what it is you’re working on and what results they’re seeing. This is when your transparency model is put to the test. They (the marketing manager) should be able to explain your services, current projects, and results-to-date with a high level of confidence. If they can’t, you could be subject to budget cuts or worse, without notice.

Can you describe a mistake that you have made in your business and what you learned from it?

One mistake I’ve made (and continue to make) is losing sight of the big picture, when it comes to the growth of Webology. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget to step back and evaluate the overall strategy. This has led to short-sighted decisions and relationships that end up causing problems down the road. An example was bringing on an employee that didn’t know online marketing very well. Hiring and training new team members is not necessarily a bad tactic. However, when you’re just starting out, you need all the time you can get. It’s best not to spend time training and find someone who can help ease the workload.

Learn more about Alex’s company at Webology Marketing. You can follow him on Twitter at @alexanderavery

Confessions of a Content Marketer: Interview with Lauren Hall-Stigerts

I recently had the opportunity to interview Lauren Hall-Stigerts, a marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Gal, a marketing consultancy in Seattle, Washington. She shared her insights into what it is like to run a small business, tips for time management, and how she uses social media to develop relationships.

Can you tell us about your company?

Marketing Gal is an online marketing consultancy that provides content strategy and implementation for companies in a variety of industries. This could involve a number of methods, including but not limited to formulating on-site content strategy, executing social media outreach, email campaign planning, and authoring blog posts.

How do you manage your time with your business?

I use a combination of Steven Covey’s “7 Habits” and David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” methodologies. First, it’s important to assign bigger-picture context to daily tasks so the most important things get done. I do this by sorting tasks into a matrix with “urgent” and “not urgent” along the rows, and “important” and “not important” along the columns (Secret: doing this the night before really helps you focus early the next morning – which is the start to a kick-ass day). There is also a really great application called Things that helps me prioritize my tasks. I also schedule breaks to recharge throughout the day (and I snack on healthy foods throughout the day, too).

How do you use Twitter?

I try to engage in conversations on a regular basis while also curating useful links and resources. I have found that discussing shared interests has helped me connect with people. It has led to many great relationships including a mentor who has been invaluable in sharing advice for solving issues that come up with running a consultancy.

How do you balance the demands of running your own business with your personal life?

There are times when there is an important deadline and you may have to work late to finish a project, but I feel like you need to take time off to recharge your batteries. Spending time on my hobbies (which I have many… so much world to explore, so little time!) and with my family is critical to my overall success. Diversity outside the office helps bring diverse ideas to the office: often you will come up with solutions or ideas when you are engaging other parts of your brain.

How do you acquire clients for your business?

I feel so fortunate to say new clients have come from word of mouth, referrals from past clients, and relationships I’ve established throughout my career. I also give talks at local events and that has led to additional opportunities. Feeling intimidated? Present on something you know so well that you could talk about in your sleep or something you have a deep passion for. I guarantee that if you find the right audience, it will be a hit. Joining a local Toastmasters group is great if you want to improve your public speaking skills. I have also found that posting your presentations on Slideshare can result in more visibility (see the presentation Confessions of a Marketing Consultant).

What activities to you invest in for professional development?

I attend local meetups with marketing professionals and also meetups for a field I’m not as familiar with. I read a lot of books (I’m currently reading “Getting to Yes”, which is totally awesome and strongly recommended) and industry blogs. I’m also a moderator for the Inbound.org community which helps me stay connected with influential people in the marketing field. Joining my local Toastmasters group helped me prepare to do more public speaking.

We thank Lauren for taking the time to share her experiences and ideas. Learn more about Lauren at her website Marketing Gal, and on Twitter @lstigerts

70+ Helpful Link Building Resources and Articles

Earning quality links to your site is a primary factor in your site’s rankings in search engines and it is also one of the greatest challenges in online marketing. Just as building a better mousetrap will not necessarily get you customers, building a remarkable and useful piece of content may not earn you links unless you are proactive in promoting it. This list contains resources and articles that provide great tactics and tips for building links to your site and my top takeaways from each article (page metrics pulled from Open Site Explorer).

Link Building Strategies – The Complete List Point Blank SEO
-You can earn a lot of links from live blogging at industry events.
-People tend to share and link to useful tools.
-Create a webinar page on your site and post webinars to it.
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101 Ways to Build Link Popularity SEOBook
-Create a list of gurus or experts.
-Stay away from link trading networks.
-Only pursue link exchanges that you would pursue if search engines didn’t exist.
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The Most Creative Link Building Post Ever Point Blank SEO
-Create an extensive resource that would be worth paying for.
-Offer a free quick SEO audit to help the site grow traffic.
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131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies Search Engine Watch
-Produce different types of content like a video, podcast, or infographic.
-Consider pitching a series of guest posts.
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20 Resources To Add To Your Link Tool Arsenal Right Now Search Engine Land
-Citation Labs will find contact emails from a list of URLs.
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Link Building Means Earning “Hard Links” Not “Easy Links” Search Engine Land
-Avoid getting links that anyone can get.
-Pursue links that people might click on to visit your site.
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32 White Hat Ways to Build Inbound Links Hubspot
-Volunteer to be part of a case study for vendors.
-Write a book review as the author may link to it.
-Make friends with webmasters offline.
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SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait and Infographics Distilled
-Build a persona of why potential link prospects might look like.
-Link bait should be incredibly compelling content that link prospects feel compelled to share.
-Short succinct emails win.
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11 Creative Ways to Build Links Quicksprout
-Interview industry experts since they will often link back to their interview.
-Create a quiz with an embeddable badge that shows the quiz taker’s score.
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The Noob Guide to Link Building SEOMoz
-Sites with unnatural link profiles leaves a footprint that Google can identify.
-You need to create content that people will be compelled to link to. Make news or make friends.
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How to Really Build Backlinks and Dominate Google Viperchill
-There are tons of sites that feature beautiful site designs.
-Be cautious with link exchanges.
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21 Link Builders Share Advanced Link Building Queries Search Engine Land
-“keyword phrase” sponsor charity
-“public library” “useful links” keyword phrase site:.gov
-keyword phrase “write for us”
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The Second Most Creative Link Building Post Ever Point Blank SEO
-Make people feel important like LinkedIn’s top 1% of profiles.
-Interview authors on a podcast when they have a book coming out.
-Create an embed box within an embed box for your infographics to create a force multiplier.
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The Advanced Guide to Link Building Quicksprout
-Create industry specific scholarships to get links on .edu scholarship pages.
-Find .edu local resource pages that list local businesses and request to be added.
-Search Google for older pages since they are more likely to have broken links.
-Use Brokenlinkcheck.com to check an entire site for broken links.
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Egobait: How to Get Links & Exposure in a Variety of Verticals Search Engine Watch
-Create a page with 10 sites, set up a simple polling system like polldaddy.com, then have the site owners ask their readers to vote for them.
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22 Link Building Tips from @xightph Kaiser the Sage
-Build relationships with publishers by leaving comments.
-Invite authority bloggers to write for your site (they often reference their own articles).
-Use the Outdated Content Finder tool and help webmasters update their old content.
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How To Be More Persuasive – Psychology 101 for Link Builders Triple SEO
-Point out common interests with the person you are reaching out to.
-We have have a strong tendency to be consistent with our past actions.
-The more exposure you have to someone, the more inclined you are to like them.
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Content Based Outreach for Link Building Outspoken Media
-Websites don’t give links, people give links.
-Develop personas of the audience you want to earn links from.
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10 Ways to Increase the Odds of Getting Editorial Links Search Engine Watch
-If you are mentioned but they don’t link, you can suggest that they mention where readers can find the original source.
-Provide a regularly updated list of useful information. Example: BeatofHawaii.com maintains a list of free parking spots in Hawaii.
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7 Uncommon and Powerful Link Building Techniques Search Engine Journal
-Hire an influential blogger to write for your site.
-Publish an eBook on the Amazon or Barnes and Noble marketplace.
-Offer a free service to influencers.
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15 Best Link Building Tools Search Engine Journal
-You can use Amazon Mechanical Turk to inexpensively hire people to work on link building tasks.
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The Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Link Bait HubSpot
-Blog articles with infographics (even third party) attracted 178% more inbound links and 72% more views than other posts on Hubspot.
-Publish original data.
-Be the first to produce comprehensive content on a trending topic, e.g. The Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest.
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A Linkbuilder’s Gmail Productivity Setup (with Outreach Emails from 4 Industry Linkbuilders) SEOMoz
-Use Gmail keyboard shortcuts to save time.
-Customize your guest post ideas for each site you contact.
-Use the Canned Responses feature in Gmail.
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51 Essential Link Building Tips Econsultancy
-A lot of people have blogs and have an ongoing need for content which you can fulfill with guest articles.
-Live blog and take photos at conferences you attend.
-Conduct a survey that will be newsworthy.
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33 Links & How To Get Them Justin Briggs
-Go beyond a sponsorship and get involved in a worthy cause.
-Give a news publisher a scoop so they can be the first to report news about your company.
-If you are covered by a major blog, you can use Stumbleupon ads to boost the article to the homepage.
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Link Building with the Experts – 2013 Edition SugarRae
-The search engineers don’t want to penalize legitimate activities.
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Link Building Through Outreach and Content Refreshing Search Engine Journal
-A good rule of thumb is the harder a link is to attain, the more valuable it will be.
-Bloggers are used to poor pitches.
-Most webmasters of large sites can’t keep up with all their outbound links.
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101 Ways to Link Build in 2012 Search Engine Journal
-Create a useful online tool.
-People love to share list posts.
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Link Building Tools We Use at Distilled SEOMoz
-Zemanta recommends your content to relevant bloggers.
-MyBlogGuest is a good forum for finding guest blogging opportunities.
-Chrome Web Scraper is a good free Chrome extension for pulling data from websites for download into Excel.
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Creative Link Building for Ecommerce Sites SEOMoz
-Offer a special discount on a page on your site and let bloggers know about it.
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Bullet Proof Link Building Strategies For 2013 — The Experts Weigh In Vysibility
-Help webmasters with things like spelling or site errors.
-Provide high quality and unique images. It is easy to get links when people use your images.
-Broken link building is one the last scalable link building techniques.
-Make apps that deliver value.
-Hop on the phone so you are seen as a real person.
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The 6 Month Link Building Plan for an Established Website SEOMoz
-Social media and link building are becoming more intertwined.
-Large companies often have lots of great content that can be repurposed.
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11 SEO Experts Share Actionable Link Building Tips Backlinks.com.au
-Create evergreen content that is useful, actionable, and solves common problems.
-Look at your competitor’s Google Plus profile contributor section to find sites they have written guest posts for.
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10 Ways to Use Images for Link Building Kaiser The Sage
-Consider hiring professional photographers and offering premium photos to bloggers for free.
-Create an image meme with a tool like QuickMeme.
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Please Exit The Link Building Ross Hudgens
-Think about link building strategies that scale rather than focus on just manual link prospecting.
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Culture Building: 8 Local Link Building Tactics Beyond Business Listings Whitespark
-Take professional photos of your city and submit them to sites that feature photos of your city (these sites can be found by searching for “your-city + photos” in Google).
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Utilizing Second Tier Link Building for Massive ROI Ross Hudgens
-Consider building links to authoritative pages that link to you like Mashable.
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The Complete Guide to Link Building With Local Events SEOMoz
-Submit your events to the event section of local news websites.
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10 Types of Unnatural Link Building Tactics + 10 Quality Alternatives Search Engine Journal
-Focus on directories that are not easy to get into.
-Avoiding no-follow links can result in an unnatural link profile.
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62 steps to the definitive link building campaign Wordtracker
-Create a free useful tool.
-Create downloadable guides or white papers.
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Link Building for the Little Guys SEOMoz
-Create a weekly roundup that highlights interesting blog articles then reach out to the authors.
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How to Get Backlinks With Guestographics Backlinko
-Great content + outreach + added value = links.
-Offer to write a mini guest post to compliment the infographic so you provide value to the site owner.
-The link in the mini guest post is more future-proof because it is contextual.
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Creative Broken Link Building Tips with Jon Cooper SEOBook
-Find links to content that has been removed. Use archive.org to find out what the content looked like and rebuild it. Then contact sites that are linking to the removed content and ask for them to link to the updated content that you created.
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8 Tips To Increase Your Link Building Efficiency Search Engine Land
-Boomerang provides reminders if you haven’t heard back from a contact after a certain amount of time so that you can follow up with them.
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How to Automate Link Building Kaiser the Sage
-Ranking highly for informational searches can help you earn links naturally.
-Invite people with a large following to contribute to your blog.
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10 Extraordinary Examples of Effective Link Bait SEOMoz
-People love lists. Make it visually appealing and use social share buttons.
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Link Building 101 – The Almost Complete Link Guide (Updated for Post-Penguin) SEOMoz
-Most ranking factors are external sources like links, citations, and social.
-The safest links are within the content section of a page (not sidebars or footer).
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9 High Quality Link Building Methods in 2011 Affilorama
-Sign up for Help a Reporter Out so you can find opportunities to help a journalist with a story.
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Effective & Long-term Link Building for Niche Sites with Jon Cooper The Smart Passive Income Blog
-Focus on niche directories. Most general directories are not worth it.
-Never say “link” in your outreach emails.
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99 Ways to Build Links by Giving Stuff Away (and Improve Your Brand Too) Moz
-Organize a flash mob and invite the press.
-Develop a plugin and give it away.
-Build a free online tool.
-Buy someone dinner or a beer.
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Using Copyscape for Easy Links Wins Seer Interactive
-Copyscape premium helps you identify sites that have republished your content and you can ask them to please add a link to give you credit.
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Link-building Tips and Tools for Bloggers in a Post-Panda and Penguin World Problogger
-Provide valuable comments on a blog before pitching a guest post.
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7 Strategies for Getting .edu Links Portent
-Colleges often link out to relevant scholarships that are offered by companies.
-College career centers sometimes link to companies that have recently hired students.
-Many colleges have job boards where you can post a job and earn a link.
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Improving Link Building Response Rates With Persuasive Psychology Buzzstream
-Mention the number of social shares your last guest post received when pitching a guest post.
-Highlight things you have in common with the author.
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10 High Quality Link Building Tactics Buzzstream
-Sign up your office for volunteer events with local charities.
-Create a survey of thought leaders or business owners.
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Bucketing Link Prospects for Link Outreach John Doherty
-High value link targets are pitched every day so you have to make a compelling case and/or build a relationship.
-Set up a Google Alert for the name of a high value link target.
-Don’t ever spin content for guest posts.
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You Can get Links from Cold Outreach TripleSEO
-Create an information gap that creates a desire for the person to find the answer.
-Don’t include the link in the first email you send to a contact.
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How to Scale Your Link Building Ross Hudgens
-Develop evergreen linkable assets that continue to earn links passively over time.
-Your linkable asset should appeal to a large target audience.
-The more you practice a specific tactic, the more effective you can become.
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9 Must Have Tools for Hardcore Link Builders SEMRush
-Use Amazon Mechanical Turk to find contact information for a long list of prospects.
-Use Boomerang to schedule outreach emails at an optimal time (like after lunch).
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11 Experts on Link Development Speak Out SugarRae
-If you have pages that have a lot of inbound links, use anchor text internal links to send link juice to important pages.
-It is easier to move from #6 to #2 than rank for a new keyword phrase.
-Ignore the toolbar Page Rank meter.
-Vary everything you can with manual link building to make pattern detection as difficult as possible.
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The Professional Guide to Link Building SEOMoz
-Build relationships with other blogs in your niche.
-Linking to spammy sites can lower your site’s trust to search engines.
-Google wants links to be an editorial endorsement by the site owner.
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What Makes an Effective Link Builder SEOMoz
-Read Reddit and Hacker News regularly.
-Link builders with hustle can beat out those with more talent and resources.
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Infographic Link Building Using BuzzStream Paddy Moogan
-Search for competitor’s infographics in Google Image search.
-Search for backlinks to your competitor’s infographic URL in Open Site Explorer.
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Link Building The Essentials Distilled
-Links are still the biggest factor of SEO. They are a key difference between websites that can be measured by Google.
-Google crawl frequency correlates with the Pagerank of the page.
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Broken Link Building: How Napoleon Suarez Gets 8-12% Conversions Citation Labs
-Many people don’t realize how effective broken link building is.
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30 Advanced Link Building Techniques Single Grain
-Produce high quality photos and license them under Creative Commons so bloggers can use them.
-Offer to update outdated information on sites in return for a link.
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Scaling Link Building (video) SEOMoz
-You can offer perks that are inexpensive but provide great value to employees.
-Outsourcing content can be effective but it is difficult to outsource outreach.
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5 Ways to Increase your Link Building Efficiency State of Search
-Use the Check My Links extension for Chrome to quickly find broken links on a page.
-Don’t ask for a link, ask for feedback and then show them that you took their advice.
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30 Link Building/Link Baiting Techniques That Work in 2011 SEOptimise
-Offer freebies to attract links.
-Leave comments to suggest a resource that should be included in the article.
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The 3 Link Building Tools I Always Use (And How I use Them) State of Search
-Google advanced search queries are great for finding link opportunities.
-Export Twitter accounts from FollowerWonk into Excel and filter for accounts with a website.
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11 Ways to Create Linkbait with Zero Budget Skyrocket SEO
-Curate a collection of tips from experts in your industry.
-Create ego bait that strokes the ego of people in your industry.
-Create a world class beginner’s guide for your niche.
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7 Pieces of Sound Advice for Link Building Noobs SEOGadget
-Personalize your email outreach.
-A high quantity of linking domains and a low Page Rank may indicate a poor quality link profile.
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Link Building using old competitor sites & easy content development for SEO (Video) Wil Reynolds
-Look at sites that have given up and recreate their resources to get their links.
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51 Whitehat Backlink Building Methods Northcutt SEO
-Ask someone with a resource list to provide feedback about your resource.
-Hire a micro-celebrity to write for your blog.
-Exchange links with your business partners.
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37 Experts Share Their Most Actionable Link Building Tip Digital Philippines
-Create small embeddable visual assets like interesting charts (example: OK Cupid Response Rate by Race).
-Sell a silly product (example: The Zuckerberg Selfie Stick)
-Create a comic about your industry and release it under a Creative Commons license (example: Digital Rockstars comic).

31 Link Building Tactics Discovered From Competitive Analysis Moz
-Consider sponsoring a podcast.

You’re Not Ready for Link Building Without Linkable Assets The Upper Ranks
-Create useful and valuable content on your site to make it easier to get links.

Rapid Fire Link Building Strategies Seer Interactive

-Export sites that have commented on your blog into a spreadsheet since they are good link prospects. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/seer-contact-exporter/
-Search Follower Wonk for writers of online publications like Huffington Post that cover your niche.

8 Link Building Tips SEOMoz

-Ask people who tweet your infographic if they can link to it.
-Search for blogging Amazon Wish List and send them a gift.
-Create a profile page on your company site for people who get interviewed by news sites.

Outreach for Linkbuilding SEOMoz


-Being enthusiastic is more important than being unique for outreach.
-Forums are where people who are passionate about a niche hang out.
-Don’t just track links, track relationships.

Scalable Link Building Using Social Media SEOMoz


-Send email requests as a person, not as a company.
-Use a short email subject that stands out.
-Use a natural salutation (this is often seen in the email preview).
-Create a contest where people enter by writing a blog post and linking to you.

High-Value Tactics, Future-Proof Link Building SEOMoz

-Pursue links where you don’t have control over the anchor text.
-Use press releases to draw attention to your linkable asset.
-Include a link in the content of guest posts that points to your linkable asset.

16 Great Marketing Talks Online

While it can cost hundreds of dollars to see leading marketers talk at conferences, there are many free talks online that contain some great ideas on marketing. The following marketing presentations from marketing authors and thought leaders can help you to gain inspiration, build your knowledge, or find a new idea that can help your marketing efforts.

Here are some valuable marketing talks from top marketing authors and speakers that are insightful and informative.

Marketing Talks on Video

David Meerman Scott Talk on Inbound Marketing (52:22)

Tony Hsieh Talk on Zappos Approach to Brand Building (54:41)

Rand Fishkin on Why Inbound Marketing is Awesome (1:26:18)

Rand Fishkin Talks About New Opportunities in Search (52:25)

Rand Fishkin Talk on Free Marketing for Startups (58:02) -NSFW

Bob Gilbreath Talk on Meaningful Marketing (49:43)

Jason Fried Talk on Marketing by Teaching (19:17)

Dharmesh Shah on How Inbound Marketing Works (1:01:28)

Andy Sernovitz Talk on Word of Mouth (30:46)

Brian Halligan Talk: Building a World-Class Inbound Marketing Company (55:28)

Simon Sinek talk on Starting With Why (18:05)

John Jantsch Talk on Generating Referrals (39:02)

John Moore Discusses how to Create Buzzworthy Companies (27:58)

Seth Godin Talk at Google on Telling Stories That Spread (48:02)

Derek Halpern Talk on Nonverbal Website Cues (1:08:10)

Pat Flynn Talk on Using Free as a Marketing Tactic (54:59)

Photo Credit: gamerscoreblog

Books by These Speakers:

40 Top Marketers to Follow on Twitter


Barry Judge
Bio: Avid traveler, reader, sports enthusiast and like to eat out.
CMO of Bestbuy

Jeffrey Hayzlet
Bio: Author, Change Agent, South Dakotan, and sometimes Cowboy.
Former CMO of Kodak

Rod Brooks
Bio: CMO for PEMCO Insurance. President-elect for WOMMA. Board member of WA. DECA. Dedicated WSU Cougar. Blended family man and grandfather. Student of Social Media.

Marketing Authors:

Andy Sernovitz
Bio: The Word of Mouth Marketing Guy
Author of Word of Mouth Marketing

Bob Gilbreath
Bio: My mission is to help you create marketing that people choose to engage with, and advertising that itself improves people’s lives

Brian Halligan
Bio: CEO of @HubSpot; Author of Inbound Marketing book

Chris Brogan
Bio: President, New Marketing Labs.
Co-Author of Trust Agents

Dave Evans
Bio: Social Media enthusiast and author of Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day.

David Meerman Scott
Bio: Marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, now published in 25 languages.

Jackie Huba
Bio: Co-author, Creating Customer Evangelists, Citizen Marketers, Church of the Customer blog. Principal, Ant’s Eye View. Pittsburgh Steelers fanatic.

Greg Verdino
Bio: strategy vp at powered. micromarketing author. social media whatever. long islander. father. the lesser half of gremanda. not necessarily in that order.

Joseph Jaffe
Bio: Powered. Jaffe Juice. Jaffe Juice TV. Flip the Funnel. Join the Conversation. Life after the 30-second spot.

John Moore
Bio: As a marketingologist, I give companies “Second Opinions” about the business and marketing activities they are currently doing or considering doing.
Author of Tribal Knowledge

Josh Bernoff
Bio: Coauthor of Groundswell, Forrester analyst

Laura Ries
Bio: marketing and branding strategist, bestselling author, blogger, speaker and media personality

Maria Ross
Bio: Brand & marketing consultant, writer, speaker, actress. Engage, inform and delight! Author, Branding Basics for Small Business.

Mitch Joel
Bio: President of Twist Image. Blogger and Podcaster of Six Pixels of Separation. Speaker, Author, Journalist.

Tom Asacker
Bio: Don’t follow me. Follow your bliss.
Author of A Clear Eye


Matt T. Grant
Host of the Marketing Profs podcast Marketing Smarts and Managing Editor at Marketing Profs.

Brian Martin
Host of the Brand Fast Trackers podcast which features great interviews with marketers.

Christopher S. Penn
Bio: Blue Sky Factory VP, ninja, PodCamp cofounder, MarketingOverCoffee.com cohost, speaker, USF marketing prof, Warcrafter.

John Wall
Bio: I’m a business guy, photographer, husband, dog owner.

Jay Ehret
Bio: Creator of small business marketing awesomeness. Social media antagonist. Practitioner, not a theorist.

Mike Volpe
Bio: VP Inbound Marketing @HubSpot + Marketing Speaker – B2B, lead generation, blog, social media, SEO, analytics, golfer, Patriots, Red Sox

Karen Rubin
Bio: Product Owner, HubSpot TV Co-Host, runner, foodie, talker, laugh-o-holic

Bob Knorpp
Bio: Host of The BeanCast Marketing Podcast. Features a panel of smart ad-biz types discussing news and issues.

Agency Marketers

Ben Kunz
Bio: Director of Strategic Planning, sometimes wishful thinking, at ad planning shop Mediassociates.com. Moonlights as tech columnist at BusinessWeek.

Frank Adman
Bio: Ad man. San Francisco, 1963. Purveyor of Fresh, Stimulating Propaganda. Join me for a Twittertini. 2010 Shorty Winner: Best in Advertising.

Kevin Urie
Bio: Advertising/Marketing Geek @DestMark, Dad, Husband and @SMCseattle Founder

Patrick Byers
Bio: CEO of Outsource Marketing + Responsible Marketing Evangelist. Speak, write, blog, strategize, name stuff, social media, social good

Simon Mainwaring
Bio: Ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek.


Beth Harte
Bio: Client Srvcs Director, Serengeti Communications. Digs Integrated Marcom. Fan of books, beer, cowgirl boots and brilliance

Bill Green
Bio: I have these thoughts… in my head. I also speak them here: advervecast.com

Brian Morrissey
Bio: Digital Editor at Adweek, marathon runner, cheeseburger connoisseur

Dave Knox
Bio: Brand Manager – Digital Innovation at Procter & Gamble Productions, Author HardKnoxLife.com, Connector of people and ideas

Jonah Bloom
Bio: CEO/Ed-in-chief at Breaking Media, which publishes AboveTheLaw.com, Dealbreaker.com, GoingConcern.com and Fashionista.com. Also a geographer.

Olivier Blanchard
Bio: Business strategist, Brand Management, Marketing & Social Media integration, and harbinger of growth for smart companies.

Stephen Denny
Bio: Marketing + brand strategy consultant, author, blogger, influence strategist living in paradise. Dry suit scuba, tennis, ex-Tokyo expat, husband + dad.

Steve Hall
Bio: I’m all about advertising and publish Adrants and AdGabber.

Search Engine Optimization

Lee Odden
Bio: CEO @TopRank sharing online marketing insights on Social SEO, Content Marketing & PR topics. Proud dad, world traveler & foodie.

Rand Fishkin
Bio: CEO & Co-Founder of SEOmoz. I tweet 15-20X each week, mostly insights and articles about startups, search and social.

Vanessa Fox
Bio: I’m fascinated by our evolving online searching culture. Maybe you’d like to buy my book, Marketing in the Age of Google.

Ross Hudgens
Bio: SEO Manager @ Full Beaker Inc. | Blogger | Scalable Link Building Strategist | Productivity Enthusiast
-Ross provides great SEO commentary and ideas at his blog www.rosshudgens.com

Social Media

Jay Baer
Bio: Hype-free social media strategist and tequila lover. Co-author of http://nowrevolutionbook.com. I write a blog marketers seem to like. Can I help you?

Did I miss any marketers that you think should be on the list? Please leave a comment below.

Best Marketing Career Advice From 10+ Top Marketing Minds

I asked top minds in marketing about the best marketing career advice they have ever received. Here are their responses:

Go, start something. Don’t wait.

Seth Godin, author of Linchpin and Seth’s Blog

The best career advice I have ever received is actually very counterintuitive. I talked to people and they said that if you really want to learn something you are passionate about you have to be willing to do it for free. It started as an unpaid intern at SEOmoz. I came in and said I would work for free as long as they would teach me. As you can tell, this worked out great. SEO was something I was passionate about and looked forward to learning it everyday. Over the course of three years my job changed a lot as I took on more responsibilities. The experience was fantastic. That wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t offer to work for free.

Danny Dover, author of Search Engine Optimization Secrets. Danny also blogs at DannyDover.com.

The best marketing advice that I ever received I got from my mother. She told me to always be empathetic. (Rather, she pounded this value into me so acutely and successfully as a child that I began to empathize with inanimate things, which is a whole other story). Empathy is easy and the only way to reach your audience with a sincere and useful product or message. Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes and ask every question you can about what you have to offer. If it is useless, annoying, not genuine, too complicated, condescending, or ugly to you, it likely will be to your audience. Sincere empathy works with client communications and employee relationships as well. It is a guiding principle for life and for business.

Anika Lehde is the co-founder of Projectline, a Seattle marketing agency that was named as one of the fastest growing private companies in America by Inc. Magazine. You can follow Anika on twitter @anikamarketer.

So much great marketing advice…..! But the best piece I often remember was, “Intimately Talk to One Ideal Person.“ Your communications shouldn’t be you shouting to a room of 5000 people, but should be you connecting one on one to that person who matters the most. This comes from an amazingly talented advertising agency Creative Director I worked with long ago. He said he wrote print ads, not as if he was speaking to a large room full of people but remembering that the ad would be consumed as one person reading a magazine in his or her lap. His job was to ensure he was speaking to that one person.

I remember this when I work with clients on their ideal customer. Creating brand messaging that speaks to the needs of a real-life person you imagine (ie, Jane, 45, married, lives in Redmond, has two kids, etc.) is much more connective and will resonate much more than if you just try to boil the ocean (ie, Busy moms everywhere!). If you are aiming for a huge, generic blob of people that don’t exist, your marketing will reflect that. So even though you can sell to a variety of people who want to pay you money, no matter their profile, always keep an ideal customer profile and “character” in mind. Your communications will resonate much more effectively and memorably that way if you write “for him/her.”

Maria Ross is the Chief Brand Strategist at Red Slice and author of Branding Basics for Small Business. She also blogs at the Red Slice blog.

Don’t try to be good at everything. Try to be very good at one thing. – Al Ries

Laura Ries, co-author of War in the Boardroom and the blog Ries Pieces.

The best advice I ever got was in my first-year marketing class in business school: Habit change is extremely difficult. People naturally embrace and hold onto habits because it makes their lives easier; and they develop a deep resistance to marketers’ attempts to convince them to buy new products that necessitate a change in habit. I learned this the hard way myself during my first assignment at Procter & Gamble, where I was tasked with launching a natural soap for people to clean their fruits and vegetables. It failed to succeed for many reasons, but mostly because it forced people to add a step and product their age-old habits. I later learned five ways to more effectively build new product habits through marketing:

  • Reduce barriers – make it easier to do the new habit, provide incentives and a range of options
  • Provide a link to the familiar – associate the new habit with an existing one; make it similar to what they are doing today
  • Encourage usage frequency – it takes regular use of around 14 times to get a new habit to hold; create usage reminders, tips and other positive reinforcement along the way
  • Actively engage the consumer – obtain a commitment to change at the start
  • Provide social reinforcement – foster a community of others who are changing together

Bob Gilbreath is the Chief Marketing Strategist at Bridge Worldwide and the author of The Next Evolution of Marketing. Bob also blogs regularly at Marketing With Meaning.

“Get involved in the process.” Oddly, I learned this from Senator John Montford in the late 80’s. We were flying back to Austin from Lubbock and I asked him about impacting the legislative process: At the time the state was beginning a new push for insurance regulation. I thought it was a simple matter of having the best products. He said, “No, it’s what your customers say about you.” That simple re-orientation of marketing perspective changes everything. From that point forward, my career in business and marketing has been defined by a customer-centric POV aimed across the entire organization, which is exactly what excites me so much about social media and the new career opportunities for CMO’s who are willing to exert themselves beyond the marketing department.

Dave Evans is the author of Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day and also blogs at ReadThis.com. @evansdave on Twitter

There was a guy at Labatt, a client at the time, that I think nailed it about the risk of over management, risk avoidance, paint by numbers marketing and analysis paralysis

“Sean, there are a tonne of things you could do in an average day – marketers could feasibly work 168 hours of week and feel justified. But let me tell you – if you can find the 3 most important things to affect your brand tangibly, importantly – focus as much time, attention and effort on those and do the minimum on the rest.”

Sean Moffitt, author of Buzz Canuck

Perhaps the best advice was succinctly stated by ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, in Portland: Fail harder. So few of us give ourselves permission to fail let alone court failure as we try to achieve our goals. It’s even worse for corporations or brands. Yet the best brands in the world and their advertising partners take big enough risks consistently that failure is inevitable and invaluable learning at the same time. So as we rush to be “something” or achieve a goal, perhaps the best advice I ever heard was plan to be good at failing too because its a tough but wonderful teacher.

Simon Mainwaring, Owner of Mainwaring Creative and author of Mainwaring Blog

I would say something I have said for a long time, “Dont Fight the market”. Too many draw lines in the sand and don’t want to accept the new rules, I embrace them!

Gary Vaynerchuck Co-Founder at VaynerMedia and author of Crush It!

I’ve been in the business for 25+ years now (it sucks to type that!) and what I’ve learned is that if you are not willing to always be learning, experimenting, asking new questions and wondering why — you will be mediocre in marketing. You’ll survive and maybe even Peter Principle your way to a cushy job — but you won’t be able to keep the fire in your belly.

What makes marketing the best career in the world is that is it ever evolving. There’s always a new insight, new tool or tactic. So if you want to be at the top of your game and really be someone your clients love and rely on — keep learning. Read, write, listen. Every day.

Drew McLellan, Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group and author of the blog Drew’s Marketing Minute. Drew is also the Co-Editor of the book Age of Conversation 3.

The best advice I’ve every gotten for my career actually comes from the Bible. And no, this is not proselytizing. It’s just a simple truth that’s always stuck with me: “Only in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house is a prophet without honour.” (Mark 6:4, if you’re interested.)

The one place you are absolutely destined to be taken for granted, pigeon-holed and disrespected in your career is among your co-workers and in the eyes of your employers. This is especially true if you are one who challenges accepted thinking or encourages new action. Why do you think the people who do as they are told and never challenge authority are always the ones who walk away with the Employee-of-the-Year awards? It’s because they fit the mold. They not only “do” what’s expected of them, they also “are” what people expect of them.

A prophet, though, has thinking too big to contain. He (or she) is disruptive. He is an agent of change and change, for all companies talk about it as a necessity, is a bad thing for power-structures. This kind of message can find a home, but almost never in the confines of a “hometown.” It needs to be set free.

All this was finally made clear to me when I found myself out of a job two years ago. I had a bad parting with an employer and a choice to either find another job or be on my own. And in choosing the latter path, I finally realized how suppressed my message had become. I had rallied for transparency, content strategies, relationship-based promotion, networking among peers and other key messages of the social sphere for over ten years. And I had let most of the digital revolution pass me by, fighting for it among people who didn’t want to hear about it.

My advice is simple: If you have a message and people aren’t listening, go find someone who will listen. Take the risk. Get out there. It won’t be easy or necessarily bring immediate financial success. It may never bring financial success for that matter. But it will bring you integrity. And in many ways that’s the most gratifying business success you can have.

Bob Knorpp, host of The BeanCast
, @beancast on Twitter

The best marketing career advice I have is never stop learning and experimenting. Marketing is constantly changing. The second you start relying on the old techniques you used to use and stop learning new things, is the second you start getting lower performance and become less valuable to your company. Make sure you are always watching for new trends, learning new things, and experimenting with new techniques.

Mike Volpe, VP of Marketing at Hubspot, co-host of Hubspot TV and author of the blog Marketing With Mike.

Do not study marketing in school. Study anything but marketing.

David Meerman Scott, author of World Wide Rave and the blog Web Ink Now.

Listen more.

Bill Green, Idea Guy at Plaid, co-host of the podcast AdVerve and author of the blog Make the Logo Bigger.

Check back for updates as I get more responses!

Photos by http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/ / CC BY 2.0
/ CC BY 2.0
/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

10 Best Marketing Quotes of All Time

Put these quotes on your fridge, read them when you wake up, and tell them to your friends:

10. The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan. –Carl von Clausewitz

9. As long as I have failed to defeat my enemy, I must fear that he will defeat me; therefore I am not in sole control; he controls me just as I control him. -Carl von Clausewitz, On War (1832)

8. Try not to become a man of success but rather a man of value. -Albert Einstein

7. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. -Benjamin Franklin

6. Great wisdom not applied to action and behavior is meaningless data. -Peter Drucker

5. Advertising is a tax for having an unremarkable product. -Robert Stephens, Founder of the Geek Squad.

4. Customers can’t always tell you what they want, but they can always tell you what’s wrong. -Carly Fiona on the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast

3. If you want to understand how a lion hunts don’t go to the zoo. Go to the jungle. -Jim Stengel CMO of P&G

2. The purest treasure mortal times can afford is a spotless reputation. -William Shakespeare

1. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. -Charles Darwin

More Quotes
“Yes, I sell people things they don’t need. I can’t, however, sell them something they don’t want. Even with advertising. Even if I were of a mind to.” -John O’Toole

“I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted … I just don’t know which half.” –John Wanamaker

“The customer is the most important part of the production line.” -William Deming

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” –Peter Drucker

If Thomas Edison had used a focus group he would have just invented a bigger candle. -from The Brand Show episode “The Science of Branding”