UPDATED DECEMBER 2018
In my recent post, Blogging for Beginners by a Beginner, I suggested that the best way to learn about blogging is to read lots of blogs. From reading other blogs, you will learn, without even realising, what makes a good blog post: what headlines attract your attention, how to structure a blog post, what tone and language works best, and so on. Below you will find a round-up of my favourite blogs. Hopefully you will find them to be as inspiring as I do.
This is my absolute favourite marketing blog, without a doubt. I am rarely disappointed by a Hubspot blog. Not only is the writing style down-to-earth and easy to read, but the topics are both interesting and informative. Hubspot provides marketing, sales and CRM software and the Company is obsessed with all things ‘inbound’. The Hubspot marketing blog covers topics like social media, branding and content marketing, and focuses on guides, trends and statistics. The examples below, which are personal favourites, give an overview of the types of content and formats that the Hubspot blog offers:
Incidentally, this one was written by Lindsay Kolowich who is my favourite Hubspot writer. Her writing style is flawless!
Also, you might be interested to know that their content marketing works! To prove it, I am now a Hubspot CRM user, and if it hadn’t been for their blog I probably would never have heard of, or considered using Hubspot, when I went looking for a CRM system for my business.
Marketing Profs is a well-respected organisation that describes itself as offering “real-world education for modern marketing”, which advises on a breadth of topics from marketing strategy to marketing analytics, and from reputation management to thought leadership, and everything in between. It is another blog that I read frequently and always find to be very useful. Articles range from reader-friendly ‘infographic’ style articles such as this one: ‘The Ultimate Local SEO Guide’, to opinions and commentary on current topics, such as this article about ‘mobile-first marketing’. While I often bookmark articles from the Hubspot blog, I tend to consume Marketing Profs articles and move on to the next, because, although they are valuable, they are less practical in nature.
Buffer and Hootsuite are rivals, both providing social media management tools, and both post a pretty good blog. If I had to call it, I’d probably say that I prefer the Hootsuite blog over the Buffer one, but, if you are interested, I prefer using Buffer’s social media management tool, simply due to its ease of use and uncluttered dashboard. Both of these blogs, unsurprisingly, focus on all things social media. For example, ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags’ or ‘The Ideal Image Sizes for Your Social Media Posts’. If you are looking for help or inspiration with anything to do with social media, Buffer or Hootsuite would be good places to start.
Where do I start with Neil Patel? There is no doubting that Neil Patel knows his stuff and is passionate about what he does, and there is no doubt that his blog posts are informative, BUT his writing style is annoying to say the least. It’s all so over-the-top and ‘showy’ and he uses five paragraphs when the point he is making is could be made in one. He also uses ridiculously specific headlines, such as “How to Attract 9872 Visitors from Quora in One Month” or “How to Get 128 New Email Subscribers Per Day”. His blogs are riddled with interstitials (pop-ups and overlays) and are so obviously written in a way that they will get found in search engines, but given that SEO is his area of expertise it kind of makes sense.
So, you have been warned! BUT if you can see past his flamboyance there is some really useful stuff in there, mainly surrounding SEO. This article that analysed successful blog headlines, for example, is quite fascinating.
This is one I have come across recently and it’s built on a very interesting model, which combines a blog, a series of podcasts and social media networking groups. In terms of authenticity it is a million miles away from the Neil Patel approach. Janet Murray is a highly-respected Writer and Editor and has experience working with national publications, such as the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Times, Sun and Daily Mail. Her website (and everything that goes with it) aims to teach people, regardless of their experience in PR, how to write and pitch news stories to journalists. This is definitely one to check out if you are searching for resources relating to PR. An example of Janet’s well-polished blog is ‘How to connect with journalists on social media (without feeling like a crazy stalker)’ and she has an extensive podcast series, including the likes of this one: ‘Should you put your prices on your website?‘. This blog offers extremely practical advice and the social media support groups allow you to network with others that are in a similar position to you.
Marketing Week (MW) is the marketing bible! It’s not really a blog (MW would probably be horrified to be considered a blog) but I couldn’t write about marketing resources and not mention it. It is much more high-brow that your everyday run-of-the-mill blog and often has interviews and commentary from marketing professionals from the world’s leading businesses. MW focuses more on marketing strategy and specific marketing disciplines, rather than solely ‘inbound’ or ‘content marketing’, as most other blogs do. My favourite thing about MW is its contributor, Mark Ritson. He is my Marketing Hero and I devour everything he has to say. He is sarcastic, critical and, at times, outright offensive, but because he knows pretty much everything there is to know about Marketing, he gets away with it, and I love him for it. This scathing piece of Mr Ritson’s about rebranding, for example, is quite an old one but it makes me ‘laugh out loud’ every time I read it. It perfectly sums up the columnist’s witty style.
I have outlined the main blogs that I follow and read but I could include so many others. A few worth highlighting are below:
- The B2B Marketing Blog: This blog describes itself as being about ‘webbiquity’, a term it describes as “a shorthand term for web presence optimisation” or “maximising your organisation’s online visibility and success”. Basically, it talks a lot about search engine optimisation (SEO).
- Backlinko: Another fantastic resource for everything relating to SEO. If you are looking for SEO advice, I highly recommend that you sign up to the Backlinko newsletter. The guides that you will receive into your inbox are so thorough they will take days or weeks to consume (but worth every second of it).
- Copyblogger: In its own words, Copyblogger teaches people how to “create killer online content”, therefore this one is very content marketing focused. It’s quite quirky, compared with other comparable blogs, and features blog titles like “How to Quit Being So Damned Boring” and “How to Build Relationships with Online Influencers (Without the Awkward)”.
If listening is more your thing than reading, then podcasts could be useful for you. As well as the above mentioned Janet Murray podcast here are a couple of others that I like to listen to.
This is my absolute favourite podcast and would be my first go-to when I open my Podcast app. It is described as a “no-fluff, actionable marketing podcast for people sick of shady, aggressive marketing”. I always learn something from this podcast because the guests are of such a high calibre and because of the unique interviewing style of the host, Louis Grenier. I personally find this podcast to be easier to listen to and much more entertaining than the others on the list below.
Genuinely, I could go on. There are so many useful blogs and podcasts out there and each one has its own merits. The only thing that is left to say is that if you’ve enjoyed this blog, why not browse some of my past articles and don’t forget to check back in again!