Can you believe that 2013 will soon be in the rear view mirror?? Where did the year go? It’s been quite the year in digital marketing!
It has been an exciting year full of new platform launches (Vine), new features (Instagram video), acquisitions (Yahoo buys Tumblr), and lots of other impressive updates and upgrades (WordPress 3.8). It also had its fair share of challenges; namely from Google in the SEO world: Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 to name a few.
The latter has caused quite a ruckus especially to those who were penalized and found their rankings and search engine traffic plummeting. It became evident that the old way of doing things was not only “old” but simply not acceptable. Digital marketers have had to put together recovery plans or simply re-assess their marketing strategies and create new ones. As the landscape of digital marketing changes almost daily, it’s become even more important to stay on top of changes and stay in the know.
For me, staying in the know, requires daily reading on digital marketing topics. I follow all of the top publications and thought leaders in the business. I participate in online communities all about digital marketing topics — SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing, etc.
More recently, I have been attending more and more hangouts online in an effort to learn and share with the brightest minds in the industry. Google+ has emerged as the #1 platform for me to learn, share and meet other folks who live and breathe digital marketing. As a result, I have “met” some thought leaders this year that are super smart and share their knowledge and passion on a daily basis. I wanted to give them a special shout out as folks to follow in 2014.
By far, Mark has emerged as one of the leading thought leaders in the digital marketing space this year for me; especially SEO topics. Not only he is a font of endless knowledge, but his enthusiasm is obvious and he is super approachable too. He is my go-to guy to learn more about Google Authorship and Author Rank. In fact, get your Author Rank here.
If you want to know all about how social media impacts SEO (“Social SEO”), Neil Ferree is your man. He goes as far to say that social shares is the new SEO. I started following Neil this year because I’ve always said that social and SEO go hand in hand these days. He’s on top of the latest tools and platforms. Neil is virtually everywhere online! He takes what he learns and knows and really breaks it down so the concepts are easy to understand and take something away immediately. I’ve learned a lot by following Neil on Google+.
I recently started following Wade Harman on Google+. He struck me immediately as someone who is not only knowledgeable and can talk the talk, but who walks the walk! He’s a social media marketing and blogging pro, but he really shines when talking about Relationship Marketing. As digital marketers, we know that building genuine relationships is the lifeblood of marketing. He’s leading the charge of relationship marketing; he founded the Relationship Marketing community on Google+ as well as hosting Hangouts on Air with other thought leaders. I expect to hear more and great things from Wade in 2014.
Dustin reminds me of myself a bit in the fact that he’s a bona fide marketing nerd and has a diverse background. What I mean is he’s not only creative (he’s a graphic designer!), but he’s got a proclivity for getting his hands dirty with technology. Naturally, he’s a social media junkie like myself. He runs many Google+ communities on various tech/creative topics and you can find him providing daily insights and news. He’s worth following if you consider yourself a well-rounded marketer.
Here’s another fine example of someone who combines passion and experience in both creative and tech. To say she is a Google+ powerhouse is like saying water is wet. It is a FACT. She wrote a book on how to use Google+ for Small Business for crying out loud! I’ve known Lynette for a few years now and have met face to face at various Philadelphia area tech, creative and social media meetups. I’ve always liked what she has to say; she’s usually no-holds barred too. I love her attitude, passion, and (most importantly) geekiness!
I just recently started following Mia Voss on Google+ but I’m already blown away by her! In fact, I’m asking myself, how did I not hear of her before? To me, she immediately came across as someone fun, unique, and crazy savvy. She is also super connected and I can tell she genuinely loves being a connector. Her mastery of social media to connect with and form relationships with people is remarkable. She hosts Social Media Power Chat on Google+. She comes off as charming, engaged and happy to help. Follow her not only because she’s smart and well connected, but because she’s downright bubbly!
I’ve actually known about Ileane for many years and met her many moons ago at a conference – not sure if it was PodCamp or WordCamp. Either way, she continues to impress me with her knowledge of and dedication to blogging, podcasting and social media topics. There’s so much more I could say about Ileane, but I think her profiles speak for themselves. She a must follow!
Google+: - https://plus.google.com/u/0/+IleaneSmith/posts
Of course there are SO MANY MORE thought leaders and others who have been vocal about, written about, demonstrated and championed digital marketing topics this year that I admire and follow ardently. I just wanted to give a shout out to these people because they stand out in my mind and I look forward to following, learning from and being inspired by in 2014.
Who are YOUR favorite digital marketing thought leaders in 2013? Who do you expect to hear great things from in 2014? I’d love to hear from you!