Can you hone your marketing skills and become a better marketer just by following others’ work? Sure you can.
With so many top-notch blogs, podcasts, and videos, you just have to block your time and open your mind to new techniques and knowledge.
Resources are plenty, but as a content marketer and SEO specialist for SaaS companies, I cherry-picked some that might be the most useful in that area.
The advice you’ll receive from these resources will serve you in other marketing aspects, so bear with me…
1. Neil Patel – LinkedIn Videos
Neil is a classic, he’s a digital marketing institution. He launched many successful blogs and companies such as Quicksprout, KISSmetrics, HelloBar, CrazyEgg…to name a few.
He’s been in the trenches as he built his audience from scratch many times using content marketing and digital marketing. I’ve known about him for so long, it feels he has always been there.
What can you learn from Neil Patel?
He is an SEO specialist and a content marketer but he covers all different topics so you can always take away some useful hacks. He is a long-form posts guru, so finding time to read all his materials becomes the biggest catch, especially if you are already a super busy marketer. There’s just too much of it.
That’s why I recommend you to follow him on LinkedIn where he publishes short videos. His blog is great, but LinkedIn videos are my first choice. He condenses them in 5-10 minutes and keeps them on point.
Neil tries to single out the best advice into these materials so you don’t get overloaded with information, plus it doesn’t take too much of your time, making his videos true golden nuggets.
2. Ahrefs – Youtube Courses
I have been following Moz and Neil Patel since forever but lately I find Ahrefs is one of the best blogs in the SEO and marketing field.
What I enjoy the most is their strategy—how they craft top-notch articles providing huge value to readers while offering their software as a natural solution to the problem at the same time.
Their tool doesn’t come as a commercial offering, rather an extra value to the article, an actionable way to test what you’ve just learned.
Note that that is only possible because their tool is an exceptional SEO instrument for keyword research, backlinks and competitor analysis. Ahrefs tool connects various metrics into one dashboard and therefore provides an infinite number of great use cases which they describe in posts and videos.
Ahrefs’ blog is awesome, it dilutes complex strategies into simple and actionable lessons but their Youtube channel covers even more advanced things and makes every video an abundance of information.
What I’d recommend the most is their course “Blogging for business”. While you have to pay to access this knowledge, I can promise you will learn in a simple way how to set up a quality SEO and content strategy for your business.
3. Alex Berman – Outbound Marketing YouTube Channel
Alex Berman is not a regular marketer, he is a more of a salesperson but he covers the cold email and email outreach segment, which I find a crucial part of modern marketing.
- Do you need to build links to your website? Impossible without quality outreach.
- Do you want to promote a blog post or a product? Reaching out to influencers is the best way to do it.
Like a true YouTube influencer, Alex has plenty of quality video materials. If you need advice on how to improve your outbound sales, he can help you craft a killer outbound sales strategy.
The following videos can help sort the outbound sales information in your mind:
- How to Craft a Perfect Guest Post Pitch
- How to Leverage an Existing Case Study to Pitch a Different Niche
- How We Send Cold Emails to Get Clients
What interests me the most from Alex is his email teardowns where he goes through the email he received, edits and improves the email copy live so the audience understands why the pitch he got sucks and how to rewrite it to make it better.
In email teardowns, you witness the transition from bad to a great copy happening live in front of you.
Email copy skills are mandatory in today’s marketing world, whether you use it for sales, networking, link building, or newsletters. Go through Alex’s materials to learn the tricks of the outbound trade.
4. Gary Vaynerchuk – LinkedIn Videos & Posts
Gary had influenced me a lot. I’ve known about him since coon’s age but I haven’t followed him as much before.
He always left seemed to me as a hyper guy that talks so fast that he’s hard to follow. Gary often jumps from one topic to another but he knows his stuff. The man is a walking Wiki for business, online marketing, and content.
As I grew to love LinkedIn and became an active user, I started to follow Gary V.
LinkedIn is a place where people share useful information but don’t overload you as they do on Twitter 24/7 with short blurbs. Although LinkedIn is blooming, I think the best is yet to come due to the platform’s focus on business professionals and a good ratio of content quality and quantity—as Gary V says himself.
Following him on LinkedIn made me rethink some concepts and helped me organize my thoughts. I’m a perfectionist which often blocked me in working more actively on my content.
As Gary published a few videos about attention, I got over my own mindset blocks.
He explained that you need attention to change things. If you have attention, people listen to you. Today, we fight over the user’s attention, which every digital marketer should have in mind.
Gary suggests writing any content just to publish and gain attention because some attention is better than none.
He also explained targeted content marketing very well.
For example, if you are selling houses and blogging about Jets, he’d buy a house from you because of you, because he is a Jets fan too.
Another example is Guinness. They had a problem hitting beer sales quota, so they designed a book of records to get more attention and to become a part of the banter in pubs. That ultimately increased their beer sales!
Although I find these concepts natural and logic, when Gary explains it in layman terms and shows you some real-world examples, it motivates you to go in that direction.
5. Jon Morrow – Blog & Courses
Jon focuses just on blogging and blogging-based growth. As marketing doesn’t exist without content, we have a lot to learn from his blog – Smart Blogger.
When you commit to becoming a better blogger (we can always do better, can’t we?), be sure to devote a few hours straight to focus on Jon’s blog.
Just landing on their “start here” page will overwhelm you with useful articles you’ll want to read.
- Who doesn’t want to be unforgettable?
- Who doesn’t want to omit all the flabby words from their copy?
- Which blogger doesn’t want to get more traffic than naked pics of Kim K. did?
Smart blogger is niched, focused, and goes deep.
They even divide the posts to accommodate all-stage bloggers; beginners, professionals making money from their blog, and corporate bloggers.
You will pick up a bulk of sweet writing tips here, master the do’s and don’ts of engaging copy, learn where to find your tribe, and how to elevate your blog to new heights.
Their blogs are full of engagement as you can see from the number of comments above, so read those too. You’ll often find a gem or two from the commenting folk.
One thing I especially liked is that their blogging course contains a module that teaches you how to pitch other bloggers.
The marketer in me is thrilled by this module.
But don’t jump in the paid learning program too quickly.
Start reading the blog first.
It’s not that I want to prevent Jon from making money, is that I am sure you’ll take in more information from the course after you develop a solid foundation. And you’ll do that by reading 10 to 20 articles on the topic where you feel you lack the most knowledge.
Being master bloggers, the Smart Blogger gang made sure their posts are easy to read and pleasant to the eye.
They have a sense of humor, too.
Now go on and absorb this plethora of blogging tips.
6. Growth Hackers – Website Content
Behind the growth hacking term is Sean Ellis, a seasoned entrepreneur, book author, speaker and, you’ve guessed it…a growth hacker.
Since business growth doesn’t happen without growing the marketing efforts, I had to add this on my list. Start with reading their blog posts—they are written by both Sean and other team members.
Their community is varied—you’ll find articles shared by other companies, so it’s not as helpful as their own blog.
Other useful learning sources include:
Q&A section – use tags or the search bar to filter unnecessary topics or get ready to be overwhelmed. A good thing about Q&A is that you’ll find interesting questions on marketing and business, and answers by Sean himself.
Growth university – it’s a paid feature, $200 and above per course
Growth Studies – don’t skip on the success stories on how companies like BuzzFeed and Slack grew their businesses. Reading such stories makes you aware of their good moves, their mistakes, the coincidences that took part in the history’s making and so on. Here, you will also find some less known, but successful business’ growth studies.
Pro tip: look for the pattern – what do these companies have in common? What is the overlapping action they took that propelled them where they are now?
Videos – a great source of knowledge from conferences and panel discussions. Speakers are mainly growth managers of known companies including LinkedIn, BitTorrent, HubSpot, etc.
Overall, if you want to pick the brain of growth hackers who have been there and done it, Growth Hackers website is a good place to start.
7. Backlinko – Blog
Brian Dean is another SEO influencer we can call an institution. The name of his blog tells you his main domains are SEO and link building.
He popularized the skyscraper method for link building.
Skyscraper technique means you’ll find a top performing piece of content relevant to you, make a better version of it (longer, more in-depth, etc.) and then promote it to everyone that linked to the first, less quality article. You will ask them to link to a better one – yours!
You will see that Brian uses loads of screenshots in his posts, so if you are keen on visuals, check out his blog. He doesn’t publish too often, meaning that browsing his blog won’t take too much of your time.
Publishing less allows him to keep the articles to the point and long-form and allows the reader to put more time aside to actually read them.
I recommend that you also check out his course “SEO that works”.
You’ll get the impression that SEO things are not that hard as other SEO experts mystify. I get a headache listening to others acting like you need to know a billion things to make it work.
After 12 years in SEO, I can tell you this: you don’t need to know every technical detail. I had a client with a Squarespace website, a super simple platform that didn’t allow us to adjust 99 percent of technical things and we still nailed their SEO results.
If you are growth focused, you’ll make it regardless of the obstacles such as a platform and technical aspects.
Besides Brian’s course, I mention again the Ahrefs’ course “Blogging for Business”. Once you take all that information in, you’ll understand SEO much better, as well as link building and content marketing.
Over To You
This is it. 7 Resources for learning marketing skills that I use myself to brush up my skills.
By consistently learning and following the right resources you will upgrade your marketing knowledge.
But one small tip how to actually learn marketing.
From my tenure and experience as a marketing consultant, I can tell you that people that are just starting with marketing get easily overwhelmed by the amount of new information.
This is usually a make or break point where many people just say “this isn’t for me, this is too complicated.”
But think of it this way: there was a time where you didn’t know a single letter from the alphabet, and look at you know, you are reading this article!
My point is, if you don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and understand that THE ONLY way to learn and master something is through a gradual process, then there is a higher chance that you’ll stick to learning this over a longer period.
Be patient, be consistent – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Learn a little every day and over time you’ll become a master of marketing.