If you work in B2B content marketing, you’ve seen the listicles. Fifteen Content Marketing Rockstars You Should Be Following Right Now. Twenty-Five Content Marketing Demi-Gods Whose Every Utterance Will Be Like a Soothing Balm to Your Poor Confused Brow. Eighty Content Marketing Super-Beings Whose Worst Ideas Are Still Way Better Than Any Idea You Ever Had.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these lists, and they’ve led me to discover lots of interesting people with lots of good and wise and sensible stuff to say about content marketing and the copy that goes into creating it.
There’s just one thing that bugs me a little bit: the people listed are almost always based in the US. Meaning no disrespect to our friends over the ocean, it would be nice to see a few more Brits (and honorary Brits) appearing in the pantheon.
Here are just a few of the UK-based content thinkers, sharers and doers who have taught me useful things and inspired me to be bolder and more creative with the content that I write:
Sharon Tanton and Sonja Jefferson jointly run the Bristol-based agency Valuable Content. Their blog is full of practical, sparky advice on creating content that’s valuable to your customer and valuable for your business. They organise a monthly meet-up for like-minded content folk, and have also published an award-winning book: Valuable Content Marketing.
Sample blog post: Content Marketing and the Forgotten Sales Person
Follow Sharon on Twitter: @sjtanton
Follow Sonja on Twitter: @sonjajefferson
Bob Apollo is the founder of Reading-based Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners and is a recognised expert on aligning marketing with sales. He has a very clear, practical and scientific approach to getting into the mindset of the customer, and thinks very deeply about the role that content plays in helping them come to a buying decision. If you’re a content marketer struggling to find ways to help your sales team close more deals, Bob’s your man.
Sample blog post: Why B2B Marketing in 2014 must be about Content + Context + Conversation
Follow Bob on Twitter: @bobapollo
Catherine Toole of London-based copywriting and content strategy agency Sticky Content is one of the UK’s few really authoritative voices on copywriting for content marketing. The agency’s blog is chock-full of eminently usable advice on how to make your copy work harder, and it’s backed up with weighty research, too. Catherine is a regular conference speaker on copy and content issues and guest blogger for Econsultancy.
Follow Catherine on Twitter: @catherinetoole
Doug Kessler of London-based content marketing agency Velocity Partners (disclosure: Radix client) has been rocking the boat for the past few years simply by telling the truth about B2B marketing: most of it is boring rubbish that treats customers like decision-making machines rather than real people.
Doug has always had brilliant things to say – his B2B Marketing Manifesto was the first thing I’d read for years that made me excited about the creative possibilities of copywriting for B2B clients – but is best known for his zeitgeisty ‘Crap’ slideshare, which has been viewed more than half a million times. Doug is one of the few UK-based content marketers who regularly (make that ‘always’) appears on those ‘Fifteen Content Marketing Rockstars’ lists referred to above – and deservedly so.
Follow Doug on Twitter: @dougkessler
Vanessa Cheal and Laura Nolan of Walton-on-Thames-based B2B agency Marketing Options International. Back in 2011 when not many people even knew what content marketing was (and those who did were mainly talking about it rather than doing it), these two agency directors devised and produced a hugely ambitious content marketing project. They turned the agency from a brand into a publisher almost overnight, creating a multimedia platform called Technology Marketing in Mind, and enlisting a host of fellow marketers from across the B2B tech industry to contribute expert tips and advice. (Disclosure: Radix was closely involved in the launch.) It came runner-up for Best Use of Content Marketing at the 2012 B2B Marketing awards (but I secretly think it should have won.)
Connect with Vanessa on LinkedIn
Connect with Laura on LinkedIn
Ryan Skinner is a former account director at Velocity Partners and now senior analyst of content marketing at Forrester Research. Ryan has a very incisive and analytical mind, and excels at picking out and picking apart new trends. If you want to understand all the implications and ramifications of a current content marketing trend, or to know what’s coming round the corner, follow Ryan. (His leaving ‘tribute’ from Velocity is also something of a treat to read.)
Sample blog post: The Native Advertising Answer is Publishers’ Problem
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @rskin11
Sharon Flaherty of MoneySupermarket.com (formerly head of PR and Content at Confused.com) has been talking nothing but down-to-earth common sense about content since she launched Confused.com’s content strategy in 2009. She’s fantastically generous at sharing her successes and failures, and in the current content marketing bubble, when it sometimes seems as though everyone wants to outdo everyone else to be ‘bold’ and ‘different’ and ‘out there’, this former FT journalist has also been great at reminding marketers that content doesn’t have to be sexy:
“One of our most consistently popular content [pieces] has been our guide to the no claims bonus. That informational item is helpful and it gets lots of views but it isn’t entertaining – different content [pieces] have different purposes.”
Connect with Sharon on LinkedIn
Jason Ball of London-based B2B content marketing agency Considered Content has a vision of what B2B marketing *should* be like, and the clarity of thought and writing to communicate that vision extremely well. Jay manages to turn B2B marketers’ swirling thoughts and fears and aspirations into concrete, easy-to-follow advice. And then he puts that advice into some really nice slideshares and executive briefings that make absorbing the information a pleasure.
Follow Jay on Twitter: @12thday
These are my UK content marketing heroes, but are there any UK-based content marketers who have inspired you and think deserve a wider audience? Tell us about them in the comments below or tweet us @radixcom.