On September 7th, 1982, David Ogilvy, founder of the iconic agency Ogilvy & Mather, sent an internal memo to all of his employees.
Sparsely titled, “How to Write,” Ogilvy laid out his commandments for producing clear and efficient written messages. Among them (at number five) was the simple doctrine, “Never write more than two pages on any subject.”
Surely then, Ogilvy would have loved the blog. Concise (usually under 1,000 words or less), covering only one topic and always endeavoring to add value. The blog has become a mainstay in today’s digital marketing toolbox.
After posing the question, “If you could only read ten blogs about advertising and marketing, which would you choose?” I’ve ventured to narrow down my favorites here (listed alphabetically). These are blogs even David Ogilvy would approve.
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The respected elder in the room, Adland has been editorializing and curating the ad game for us since 1996, an eternity in the land of the skinny tie and martini lunch. I love the way it’s completely image-driven (the home blog page is devoid of text, save for the menu), and they serve up only a small number of topics at once for our consideration. But that doesn’t mean they’re short on content, as they have a formidable library of ads from the ages, including just about every Super Bowl ad ever made.
Ads of the World
The simplicity and clarity of this site allows me to take a deep breath amid the claustrophobic jungle of the Internet. Visiting the Ads of the World blog is like visiting an advertising museum, with quite possibly the most comprehensive archive of ads anywhere. Even their search menu speaks to the endless possibilities for inspiration (but hopefully not imitation) with drop-down search fields that invite: “Any media. Any country. Any industry.”
Founded in 2003 by Martina Zavango, at its best Adverblog is nothing short of fascinating. Their mantra, “Post the best and forget the rest,” is evidenced by their quality original content submitted by industry insiders. Adverblog focuses on advertising, social media, marketing and technology, but no matter what your weapon of choice, they’ll probably have something sharp for you to play with
When it comes to accelerating your 10,000 hours, HubSpot is a first—and often last—stop on the road to expertise. Over 475,000 subscribed readers enjoy the content on a virtual cornucopia of topics, including B2B, SEO demand generation, marketing strategies and executing efficient marketing campaigns. You can even host your business blog on HubSpot, and the whole industry rushes to download their annual state of inbound marketing report once it’s hot off the (PDF) press.
Kissmetrics is a steady-handed surgeon when it comes to operating on your digital marketing campaigns, educating you ad infinitum on traffic generation, lead conversion, analytics, and A/B testing methodology. They also have a stunningly comprehensive catalog of infographics and guides ready for you to download to your heart’s content.
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Thinking about spending four years of your life and $200k on a marketing degree? If it’s proficiency and not the piece of paper you’re after, I recommend bookmarking Ann Handley’s MarkingProfs blog. It is an unbelievable resource, designed to teach just about every facet of content and digital marketing while following emerging trends. All of the contributors are industry influencers vetted for expertise, and adding your name to the list of 600,000 current members is free.
Among marketing circles, Seth Godin is flirting with fame so omniscient that you only have to refer to him (or Google him) as Seth, reminiscent of Madonna, Pele or Prince. If brevity is the soul of wit then Godin, author of Tribes, is one seriously witty guy. Most of his blogs about publishing, entrepreneurship, marketing trends or digital marketing only take up about 300 words. No wonder Seth’s blog receives 600,000 visitors every month, consistently coronated as marketing blog royalty for always delivering poignancy and provocation.
The Inspiration Room
With a compelling image and a single tight paragraph, The Inspiration Room offers bite-sized morsels of collaborative genius from the world of media. Established in 2006 by Stephen Molloy, the site is clean, well cataloged, and easy to search, with genres like film, design, audio, television, photography, and design at your fingertips. Some of the best design houses, PR shops and ad agencies in the biz contribute directly to The Inspiration Room—so if you don’t know, now you know.
The Social Media Examiner
Big, fun, and comprehensive, The Social Media Examiner makes you the ringleader at your online marketing circus. Not only is The Examiner the largest online social media blog-azine around, visitors enjoy a plethora of articles, interviews, reviews, research, expert tips, their own podcasts and even a live summit (gasp—to interact with live human beings) covering everything you need to plug into your social media sales equation.
I’m enamored by anyone who does one thing well, and Unbounce is singularly focused and passionate about landing pages. Ones that collect and convert leads, landing pages that increase conversions, data-backed tips on social media click-throughs and emails to landing pages. Funneling is what Unbounce does best. And they aren’t just about gimmicks and hollow page visits but preach the virtues of truly engaging your audience. They do have a paid site membership, but the blog is free.