10 Tips from U.S. Digital Thought Leaders

Author Emma Knightley

For anyone just starting out in digital marketing, following big names in your field is a must.

With social media being such a crucial part of our lives, we’re lucky we get to see and sometimes even engage with influential entrepreneurs on a regular basis. These experts can teach us a lot as they share their successes and their not-so-perfect moments, too.

Here are some sage pieces of advice from the best U.S. entrepreneurs.  

1. Seth Godin

Seth Godin

You can’t make a top 10 list without mentioning Seth, who amongst many successes has the most popular blog in the world.

Seth writes about leadership, how critical it is to think for yourself in business, risk-taking, authentic marketing, and plenty of other things that empower independence and innovation in business. 

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” – Seth Godin
“What could you measure? What would that cost? How fast could you get the results? If you can afford it, try it. If you measure it, it will improve.” – Seth Godin

2. Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin

Rand is known as the “Wizard of Moz,” a company that is pretty much the leader when it comes to inbound digital marketing and SEO. His best advice for people just starting out? Specialise and get to know your customer journey. 

“Measure your customer journey, not just your conversion path.” – Rand Fishkin
“Specialize deeply. I don’t mean ‘SEO’ or ‘Email marketing,’ I mean specialization like ‘I’m the best link-focused SEO for the mobile gaming world.'” – Rand Fishkin

3. Ann Handley

Ann Handley

Ann is an author, keynote speaker, and seriously brilliant marketing thought leader. Her primary focus is on content writing. One idea that she emphasises is that content is not just about what you're writing; it's about how you get yourself across to the audience. 

“You do need to be audience-centric in your approach. You’ve got to make sure that you’re not wasting your audience’s time, and you’ve really got to respect that relationship." – Ann Handley
“So, before you begin the writing, be sure you know the purpose or mission or objective of every piece of content that you write. What are you trying to achieve? What information, exactly, are you trying to communicate? And why should your audience care?” – Ann Handley

4. Erica Joy Baker

 Erica Joy Baker

Erica is currently a senior engineer at Slack and the co-founder of Project Include, a group facilitating diversity in tech. She's committed to diversity, accountability, and equality in the workplace and often touches on the difficulties she's experienced as a black woman in business and tech.

When asked what she would do to help women find more equality at work, she replied: “Flip the gender balance of the executive team and board members at every company.”

5. Gary Vaynerchuck

Gary Vaynerchuck

Gary is an investor, author, and entrepreneur, and is currently the chair of media holding company VaynerX, as well as CEO of VaynerMedia. Gary’s straight-talking style makes him popular with other entrepreneurs who like to “tell it like it is.”

He’s got plenty of advice for first-time entrepreneurs. 

“Hold yourself to your word.” - Gary Vaynerchuck
“There is never a bad time to start a business – unless you want to start a mediocre one.” - Gary Vaynerchuck

6. Robert Rose

 Robert Rose

Robert is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Content Marketing Institute and has worked with major brands and even written a few books. He’s had over 20 years of experience as a leader and speaker helping many brands to majorly boost their image via strategic and innovative content marketing. 

"Marketing is telling the world you're a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one." - Robert Rose
“Content marketing is about celebrating what makes your business unique. It is, inherently, about making the business more social and more human.” - Robert Rose

7. Neil Patel

Neil Patel

No influencer list is complete without a Mr Patel. Love him or hate him, Patel is a successful and prolific expert on analytics and business, focused on the world of digital marketing. He founded KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg and is now primarily a consultant and speaker.

Neil always has plenty to say over on his blog about what he’s learned about running software companies.

“Don’t optimize for conversions; optimize for revenue.” – Neil Patel
“Knowing how to distinguish between an ideal keyword and the reality of queries will help you to refine your strategy and success as an online marketer.” – Neil Patel

8. Jonathan Perelman

Jonathan Perelman

Jonathan, a former VP at Buzzfeed, is now the head of digital ventures at ICM. Being video his speciality, he's a remarkably forward-thinking entrepreneur who is constantly looking for innovative ways to connect.

When asked about how to make a great video, his answer hinged on three key factors: having an emotional influence, allowing audiences to identify with the video, and offering information in a unique way. 

9. David Beebe

David Beebe

If you want to learn about branding and storytelling, David is a subject matter expert. As the VP of global creative and content marketing for Marriott International as well as an award-winning producer and talent manager, he knows a thing or two about bringing in audiences. 

10. Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen

Heidi is an experienced entrepreneur and leader in the digital marketing space. She's the CCO of Actionable Marketing Guide–a company focused on providing insights on social media and digital marketing.

One of her best tips is to read a lot about the field you’re interested in. Find a list of her favourite books here. No matter what industry you're in or what you’re trying to learn, these tips are bound to inspire and motivate you.

Final Thoughts

A successful Digital Marketer is aware of the most up-to-date digital trends and gaps in the digital industry. We currently live in a technology-connected world where linking with subject matter experts in the field is just one click away. 

This is a huge advantage for us marketers, for our progression and continuous learning development. 

Emma Knightley