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Content Marketing 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands

by | Jun 29, 2016 | Influencer Lists,

The rise and rise of content marketing has turned traditional businesses into media publishing companies, using content to drive traffic, raise awareness, generate leads and boost sales. However with as many as 27 million pieces of content being published every day it’s no surprise that one of the biggest challenge is discoverability.

A study from Forrester Research confirms that 13.4% of U.S. adults online create 80% of the content that influences people. And 6.2% of these web users are responsible for 80% of the influence in social media. So who better to market your content than the influencers who already have your target audience’s attention? By harnessing the power of an influencer to boost your content you will have a much better chance at increasing awareness of you and your brand, as well as increase trust in your key messages, and ultimately drive sales.


We reached out to some of the top influencers on our list to ask them for their views on content marketing. We spoke to Jeff Bullas (#1), Joe Pulizzi (#3), Michael Brenner (#4), Mark Schaefer (#8), Steve Cartwright (#9), Rand Fishkin (#10), Sujan Patel (#11), Gerry Moran (#13), Robert Rose (#15), and Jason A Miller (#20). Be sure to follow them to stay up to date on the best content and resources on content marketing!

Onalytica - Content Marketing, Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Jeff BullasJeff Bullas – CEO at Pty Ltd
“Behind the the simple 2 words…”content marketing” is a discipline that has become an art and a science. The art is the creative process of crafting of words, visuals, videos and audio that humans and brands use as the honeypot to attract traffic and build credibility and trust. The science is the technology that enables businesses to optimize and control their strategies at scale. This includes tools and and digital marketing automation platforms that are needed for managing the splintered media channels and networks that we are now confronted with. But many content marketers are not paying enough attention to the science of conversion and just banging out blog posts and hope they work in some way. All the traffic and the engagement from persistent content creation and marketing needs to be turned into real “ROI”. Leads and sales. Big brands often have the luxury and budget to just use content for brand awareness. But small and medium entrepreneurs need to focus much more on getting a return. If you don’t focus on that then the rest is just vanity metrics and noise”. 

Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi – Founder at The Content Marketing Institute, Author of Content Inc., Speaker & Entrepreneur
“Content marketing is the fastest growing area of marketing for a reason – brands want attention and can’t get it without creating value “outside” the products and services they offer.  It will be an interesting ride as more money moves from other sources into quality, targeted and consistent content.”

Michael BrennerOnalytica - Content Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Michael Brenner – CEO of Marketing Insider Group, co-author of The Content Formula,
“If I could ask brands and marketers to get one thing straight about content marketing it would be that “content” is not content marketing. An ebook or anything with the word “campaign” in it is not content marketing. Content marketing is a digital program destination owned by the brand, that consistently publishes customer-centric content in order to reach, engage and convert buyers the brand would have never reached with more traditional (campaign-based) approaches. The top content marketing trends for 2017 will see brands moving into tighter topical niches. Every financial service company can’t be the premier provider of financial education. So we will all need to move into more unique topics focused on our unique brand expertise.  As a society we are consuming more visual content. This will push brands to define strategies and to hire experts in the fields of design, photography, videography, data visualization, and visual storytelling. Finally, we’ll see much more Content Personalization in 2017. It’s tough to break through the noise. Brands will start to target content down to individual preferences, desires, and interests.”

Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Mark Schaefer
Mark Schaefer – College Educator, Marketing Consultant, and Author of Five Marketing Books including The Content Code
We are clearly in a new phase of content marketing where great content is no longer the finish line, it is the starting line. The economic value of content that is not seen is zero. The content must move, it must be understood, and shared. Smart brands must develop a strategy around content ignition, as well as content creation.”

Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Steve Cartwright

Steve Cartwright – Founder of FX Digital Pty Ltd, Digital Business Growth Expert

“Content is simply telling stories that attract and engage an audience and marketing is making that audience do something, together this is content marketing. Nowadays it’s much more important than ever, for every business to have a content marketing strategy. With such a strategy any business even one consisting of just one person can become an influencer within their niche, they can become an authority figure on social media, drive thousands of visitors to their website and best of all they can reap the rewards for years to come…. That’s the beauty of modern content marketing, I know, I’m an army of one.”

Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Rand FishkinRand Fishkin – Wizard of Moz,  creator of Keyword Explorer, host of Whiteboard Friday, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, co-founder of, board member at Haiku Deck
Content is powerful. The right content, distributed the right ways, in front of the right eyeballs can build a business, spread a message, even change the world. But that reaching those right eyeballs is getting harder and harder, because in spite of the growth in content consumers, there’s a vastly greater growth rate in content creation and the noise saturating those distribution channels. For content creators, the message is clear — hitting the publish button on your amazing work is only the start of the process.

Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Sujan PatelSujan Patel – GM & Co-Founder of Web Profits, Co-Founder of and Right Inbox, Advisor at RealtyMogul
“Content Marketing in 2016 is all about standing out from the crowd, USP and personalization. While these things are not new to the marketing world, they are just now starting to be applied to the world of content marketing. Standing out = content promotion, USP = adding a unique angle/hook & personalization = showing the reader a different journey/content based off interest. I personally am excited to see content marketers produce more promotable content that’s not the same old info and on a topic I actually care about! 😉 ”

Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Gerry Moran
Gerry Moran –    Global Head of Social Media, Cognizant
“Storytelling is the future of content marketing. Successful brands and individuals will need to rise above the cacophony of discordant video, graphics and assorted posts to show they know how to deliver solutions — through storytelling. Each message needs to create an ‘a-ha’ moment. Each post will be required to teach. Each piece of content will connect the reader to the next step to solve for their personal challenge. Social media channels will change, hashtags and keywords will evolve, and video, graphics, and clever copywriting will always be the foundation of break-through messaging. However, the best brands, social sellers and individual will be able to mix up these ingredients to tell a story that attracts, engages and converts. Storytelling will help to simplify the complex and long buying cycles by passing on relevant content to increase conversion— which is the business impact we’re all looking for, right?”

Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Robert RoseRobert Rose – Chief Strategy Advisor for The Content Marketing Institute, Author, Speaker, Startup Advisor & Investor
“I’ve been in marketing for more than 25 years, and I truly think it’s one of the most exciting times in history to be a marketer. Traditional advertising is fundamentally evolving, direct marketing is becoming more complex, and the entire relationship with customers is shifting to creating differentiating experiential value.  The ability we have, as marketers, to move beyond simply describing the value of our products and services, and into creating valuable content-driven experiences, adds an entirely new strategic purpose to our beloved practice. Let us not waste it.”

Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Jason A MillerJason A Miller – Global Content Marketing Leader at LinkedIn, Best Selling Author, Rock n Roll Photographer
“It’s never been a better time to be a content marketer. With the vast amount of data at our fingertips there’s really no question as to what content you should be creating for success. Once you lay that foundation then the fun begins with your content strategy: taking intelligent risks, pushing boundaries, and creating content so remarkable that it transcends a simple call to action. Playing it safe is so passé.”


We were very interested in seeing which content marketing influencers and brands were leading the online discussion, so we analysed 410K+  tweets over the last 12 months mentioning the keywords: “content marketing” OR contentmarketing. We then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter. What we discovered was a very engaged community, with much discussion between individuals and brands. Below you can see a network map of the online conversation with the number 1 influencer Jeff Bullas at the centre. This map was created with our Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM). Be sure to click on the map to enjoy the full size network diagram in greater detail.
Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Network Map - Jeff Bullas)

Below you can see another network map created with our Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM) showing the number 1 brand The Content marketing Institute at the center and all the conversations to and from the influencers in their field. If you are interested in learning more about identifying, managing and engaging with influencers click here to get in touch!
Onalytica - Content Marketing 2016 Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Network Map - CMI Content


We looked at all the individuals engaging on Twitter to bring you a list of the top influencers in content marketing. Below is the top 50, if you want to see who ranks from 50-100 be sure to download the full report by clicking the download button below.

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RankTwitter HandleNameCompanyInfluencer Score
1@jeffbullasJeff BullasJeffbullas.com100
2@jaybaerJay BaerConvince & Convert79.23
3@JoePulizziJoe PulizziContent Marketing Institute73.99
4@BrennerMichaelMichael BrennerMarketing Insider Group67.35
5@neilpatelNeil PatelCrazy Egg & Hello Bar67.24
6@MarketingProfsAnn HandleyMarketingProfs67.1
7@leeoddenLee OddenTopRank Marketing56.95
8@markwschaeferMark SchaeferSchaefer Marketing Solutions45.01
9@FX_DigitalSteve CartwrightFX Digital42.29
10@randfishRand FishkinMoz40.11
11@sujanpatelSujan PatelWeb Profits40.08
12@larrykimLarry KimWordstream39.69
13@GerryMoranGerry MoranCognizant34.34
14@heidicohenHeidiCohenActionable Marketing Guide32.4
15@Robert_RoseRobert RoseContent Marketing Institute31.7
16@dougkesslerDoug KesslerVelocity30.22
17@IanClearyIan ClearyRazorSocial29.45
18@FeldmanCreativeBarry FeldmanFeldmanCreative28.63
19@NealSchafferNeal SchafferMaximize Your Social28.52
20@JasonMillerCAJason A MillerLinkedin28.37
21@PamMktgNutPam MooreMarketing Nutz27.45
22@Sam___HurleySam HurleyOptim-Eyez27.2
23@BrianHonigmanBrian HonigmanHonigman Media26.76
24@MariSmithMari Smith Ⓜ️marismith.com25.61
25@lieblinkRebecca Liebrebeccalieb.com25.49
26@kimgarstKim GarstBoom! Social25.36
27@PamDidnerPam Didnerglobalcontent.marketing24.01
28@seosmartyAnn Smartymyblogu.com23.99
29@stonetempleEric EngeStone Temple Consulting23.66
30@crestodinaAndy CrestodinaOrbit Media21.69
31@martinjonesazMartin JonesCox Communications21.44
32@RebekahRadiceRebekah RadicePostPlanner21.34
33@ArnieKArnie KuennVertical Measures21.01
34@GlenGilmoreGlen Gilmore #SocBizGilmore Business Network20.92
35@TheSalesLionMarcus SheridanThe Sales Lion20.6
36@ducttapeJohn JantschDuct Tape Marketing20.51
37@bryankramerBryan KramerPureMatter20.22
38@ShellyKramerShelly Kramerv3b20.21
39@TedRubinTed RubinGoodXChange19.37
40@JuntaeDeLaneJuntae DeLaneUniversity of Southern California18.96
41@DholakiyaPratikPratik DholakiyaThe 20 Media18.86
42@ardath421Ardath AlbeeMarketing Interactions18.8
43@SteveologySteve FarnsworthThe @Steveology Group18.8
44@Mike_StelznerMichael A. StelznerSocial Media Examiner17.49
45@DrewDavisHereAndrew Davisakadrewdavis.com17.34
46@danielnewmanUVDaniel NewmanBroadsuite & V2B17.17
47@dannysullivanDanny SullivanMarketingLand17.1
48@ChadPollittChad PollittRelevance17.08
49@jasoncreationJason BurrowsThe Creation Agency17.03
50@jeffsheehanJeff SheehanSheehan Marketing Strategies16.98



In the top 100 brands we can find a great selection of platforms such as Hubspot and Moz and Newscred, as well as industry resources such as CMI Content, Inc, and Business 2 Community. Below is the top 50, be sure to download the report to get the full top 100 list, and see who are most the influential brands in content marketing.

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RankTwitter HandleNameInfluencer Score
1@CMIContentContent Marketing100
6@B2CommunityBusiness 2 Community67.55
9@SlideShareLinkedIn SlideShare61.86
12@socialmedia2daySocial Media Today54.35
16@MarketinglandMarketing Land45.49
18@SMExaminerSocialMedia Examiner41.26
22@sewatchSearch Engine Watch34.19
26@googleanalyticsGoogle Analytics28.91
28@senginelandSearch Engine Land26.89
29@LinkedInMktgLinkedIn Marketing26.8
34@MarketingUKCampaign: Brands24.69
38@mashsocialmediaMashable SocialMedia23.28
43@convinceConvince & Convert20.24
45@PRDailyPR Daily19.68
48@TheSocialMsThe Social Marketers17.88

At Onalytica we love building these lists and want to give back to our loyal readers as much as we can. If you’re interested in other topics (such as Virtual Reality, Digital HealthDigital Marketing) be sure to have a gander on our blog or why not propose some topics to us on twitter? We also build some very cool software to manage all of these influencers. Get a free demo today by clicking the button below!

Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking is by no means a definitive measurement of influence, as there is no such thing. The brands and individuals listed are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion in content marketing.
The PageRank based methodology we use to extract influencers on a particular topic takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives. These calculations also take ito account a user’s relevance (number of tweets on topic) and reach (number of followers). If you want to learn more, please read our article that outlines influencer identification.
Vector illustration credit: Vecteezy





Download this free report which reveals the top 100 Content Marketing 2016 influencers and brands