Who’s the best of the best?

We define best as anyone who contributed to a better understanding of content marketing metrics, tactics or awareness. This could be due to a number of factors, like:

  • Publishing an amazing, authoritative study recently.
  • Being a steady, bullish presence in the industry at large.
  • Experimenting with new content formats and distribution ideas.

In no order, here are the names shaping content marketing in 2019:

Rand Fishkin: Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin launched a new software company, SparkToro, in 2018 that’s still in the process of building its audience-intelligence search engine. Rand and co. provide several free tools, such as the SparkScore and a Fake Followers Audit, helping content marketers better understand the true nature of their social networks.

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Ann Handley: Recognized by Forbes as the most influential woman in social media, Ann Handley is a best-selling author of several content marketing books and is a frequent keynote speaker at major industry events. Ann also runs MarketingProfs, which specializes in research, training and strategy for brands and content marketers.

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Neil Patel: Cited by just about every other content marketer ever, Neil Patel publishes the super-simple long-form blogs that provide brands the starting point to launch their content strategies. Neil is also the co-founder of KISSmetrics, Hello Bar, Quick Sprout and Crazy Egg and leads SEO and CRO workshops around the country.

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Brian Dean: As founder of Backlinko, Brian Dean has dominated the organic search landscape for a decade now, providing mega SEO lists and tutorials through YouTube, email and his website. Google practically any content marketing guide and Brian likely already owns that keyword.

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Roger Montti + Matt Southern (SEJ): The writing duo behind most of Search Engine Journal’s breaking news updates has helped keep marketers, SEOs and social media managers abreast of all the latest trends in the content marketing space. If it weren’t for Roger Montti and Matt Southern, we wouldn’t have that steady stream of studies, algorithm changes and new tools to share with colleagues and clients.

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Andy Crestodina: Orbit Media founder and CMO Andy Crestodina makes content marketing low-fi, publishing short, personable videos to LinkedIn and integrating user-generated content into comprehensive studies. Andy also leads upward of 70 presentations and webinars each year, sharing a wealth of knowledge and influential tips on web design, social media and SEO.

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Barry Schwartz (SEL): As the news editor for Search Engine Land and manager of Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz is on the front line of all things SEO and SEM. Curating the latest Google SERP changes, new tools and findings from around the content marketing world, Barry keeps the industry in the know one post at a time.

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John Mueller (Google): Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google John Mueller’s live Q&As are legendary for their behind-the-scenes insight into fully understanding SERP changes and the algorithms powering them. On Twitter and Google Hangouts, marketers get the chance to ask those nagging SEO questions and confirm sneaking suspicions from the notoriously cagey search giant.

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Cyrus Shepard: Formerly the Head of Content and SEO at Moz, Cyrus Shepard now leads Zyppy, an SEO firm in the process of launching its data insights software. As a recurring speaker at events like MozCon and SMX, Cyrus brings more than a decade of online marketing experience to the masses.

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Nadya Khoja: As the Chief Growth Officer for VennGage, a provider of infographic templates, Nadya Khoja helped increase company revenue 400% by creating guest-o-graphics for high-DA websites and influencers. Nadya also runs growth-strategies website This is Nadya and hosts the Drunk Entrepreneurs web series, because sometimes marketing tips are better communicated after a few libations.

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Robert Rose: Chief Strategy Adviser of Content Marketing Institute Robert Rose has been a mainstay in the content marketing sphere the last 20 years. Robert is also the founder of strategic consultancy The Content Advisory and heads workshops, training seminars and marketing events, in addition to partnering with 15 of the top Fortune 100 companies.

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Mitch Joel: Author, speaker, investor, founder and digital marketer Mitch Joel has had a hand in media strategy for some of the world’s largest companies in the last 30 years, including Google, Starbucks, Spotify, Forbes and Harvard Business Review. Mitch currently runs Six Pixels Group, hosts the Groove podcast and provides opinions and insights for marketers on Medium.

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Andrew Davis: As one of the most sought-after content marketing speakers around the world, Andrew Davis is one part Malcolm Gladwell and one part Willy Wonka, uncovering all the mysterious ways the marketing mind works. Andrew has also served as a presidential advisor and partnered with the likes of GM, Disney, Nestle and IBM.

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Larry Kim: Winner of several Marketer of the Year awards. Founder of ad manager WordStream. CEO of MobileMonkey. Larry Kim is all of the above – plus he’s an avid Medium publisher, sharing social media hacks, productivity tips and leadership advice. Larry’s expertise in PPC and social media advertising make him a go-to resource for paid marketing efforts.

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Tim Soulo: There’s nothing better than a new study packed with relevant marketing data for the rest of us to use, which is exactly what Tim Soulo, CMO of Ahrefs publishes often. With some of the more comprehensive and example-heavy blogs on the web, Tim offers up plenty of search insights, backlinking trends and SERP experimentation to keep content marketers in the know.

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That’s the whole list! Who are some of your favorite marketers?

Mike O'Neill is a writer, editor and content manager in Chicago. When he's not keeping a close eye on Brafton's editorial content, he's auditioning to narrate the next Ken Burns documentary. All buzzwords are his own.