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Believe it or not, 2012 is winding down, and that means it’s end-of-the-year roundup time (the most wonderful time of the year)!

Sites all across the internet are publishing their best-of lists and taking a look back on the year in review. I’m doing my part by contributing four quick reviews of the B2B content marketing blogs I enjoyed most (and that you should start reading now).


B2B Marketing Insider — Michael Brenner

best B2B content marketing blogs of 2012

Presumably, at some point, Michael Brenner has to sleep. When he finds time, though, I have no idea.

In addition to being the author of B2B Marketing Insider, Brenner is the co-founder of the social news site Business 2 Community and the Senior Director of Global Integrated Marketing and Content Strategy at SAP, where he started and continues to manage Business Innovation, a SAP-branded content hub devoted to providing curated and original business solution content. Of course, he blogs regularly for that site, as well.

While Business Innovation is certainly worth checking out, B2B Marketing Insider is where you’ll find Brenner really opening up and talking shop, offering his insights on the latest trends in content marketing (based on no lack of firsthand experience).

What more can I say? The guy’s prolific and he’s definitely worth following. He eats and breathes content marketing. And if he does ever sleep, I’m sure he dreams content marketing, too.

Favorite posts:

The Content Marketing Bucket List

6 Steps to Executing a Content Strategy


Marketing Interactions — Ardath Albee

best B2B content marketing blogs of 2012

Ardath Albee is on a mission. I don’t think there’s a stronger advocate out there calling for marketers to cut the crap and make it about the buyer. Sure, plenty of experts out there are talking about the shift from traditional push marketing to inbound and content-focused approaches, but very few (if any) are able to break it down on both a conceptual anda functional level quite like Albee. She challenges marketers to get real. Case in point: the terrific series she devoted to debunking marketing buzzwords.

Marketing Interactions is a blog I routinely count on to put things into perspective and bring content marketing theory down to a practical level. Albee can speak authoritatively on essentially any B2B marketing topic, but she’s absolutely the go-to resource for anyone seeking help in developing effective buyer personas and mapping their messaging to their buyers’ journey.

Favorite posts:

Format Is Not a B2B Persona Question

Debunking B2B Marketing Buzzword: Engagement


TopRank Online Marketing Blog — Lee Odden

best B2B content marketing blogs of 2012

You really can’t talk very long about B2B online marketing without Lee Odden’s name cropping up. For over a decade Odden’s TopRank Online Marketing has been consulting companies on how to increase traffic, sales, and brand awareness, and the TopRank Online Marketing Blog has become a go-to, one-stop-shopping resource for marketers looking for the latest content marketing, social media, and SEO tips, tactics, and advice.

One of the things I love about Odden is that he’s not just a content marketing advocate, he’s also a seasoned practitioner who’s been doing it every day for years. He’s able to give such amazing blogging advice because he’s written over 2,500 posts, himself. Whatever online marketing issue you’re currently struggling with or even just curious about he’s been through, and his eagerness and dedication to sharing all that he’s picked up along the way has earned him and his team a loyal and growing following.

Favorite posts:

Optimize Your Content for Better Discovery, Consumption & Engagement

Storytelling, Positioning & Personas for More Effective B2B Content Marketing

best B2B content marketing blogs of 2012

Speaking of loyal following, social guru and best-selling author Chris Brogan certainly knows a thing or two about developing one of those, as well. Brogan has become widely known as an influential social media and online community expert, and I think a big part of his appeal is his openness and emphasis on being genuine. At the risk of using a buzzword, it’s all about authenticity — if you want something to be discovered and shared, make sure it’s worth discovering and sharing.

Those searching for nuts-and-bolts how-to advice may often find themselves looking elsewhere, but for high-level insights on some of the key concepts behind content marketing, there are few better.

Ex: One of Brogan’s tenets is that your focus should be on what you and your buyers are passionate about, and that you should tell stories that matter. Say what you will, but there’s something undeniably appealing about the simple straightforwardness of that approach.

Favorite posts:

Tell Your Buyer’s Story

How Do I Get People to Care About What I’m Doing? Tell Bigger Stories


What marketing blogs did you love reading in 2012? What others should I add to this list?


Jonathan Crowe is the Managing Editor for the OpenView Labs and Blog. He focuses on executing OpenView’s content marketing strategy, developing and publishing the best content possible to help expansion-stage technology companies grow and succeed.

  • Ardath Albee

    Hi Jonathan,

    I’m truly honored to be on this list and thank you very much for your kind words. You’re right. I’m definitely on a mission :)

    • jcrowe_openview

      It’s a mission I’m fully on board with, Ardath!

  • Michael Brenner

    Jonathan, thank you so much. I am really honored to have made this list with my idols Ardath, Lee and Chris!

    • jcrowe_openview

      Michael, you’ve only confirmed my suspicion that you possess a form of content omnipresence. Thanks very much for responding!

      Looking forward to seeing more great posts from you on your blog, the SAP site, Business 2 Community, and who knows where else!

  • Hunter Boyle

    Hi Jonathan. Can’t dispute any of these choices. These blogs/bloggers have been doing such a great job for so long, you could’ve used this list a few years ago (and it’ll surely hold up for years to come). Congrats to those selected!

    Three more marketing blogs that were at the top of my list this year:

    When your reading time is limited, you can count on those blogs to provide both great ideas and solid writing that makes you think — a killer combination that’s not always easy to find.

    • jcrowe_openview

      Thanks very much for adding to the list. I absolutely agree Jason Falls and Jay Baer are both terrific, thought-provoking social/digital media masterminds. I haven’t read Christopher S. Penn’s blog before and am looking forward to checking it out. Thanks again.

  • Chris Brogan

    Hah! I’m honored and perplexed. I’m such a crappy blog choice for “marketing” only, but you’re right that I do talk to the higher side of it. Maybe as a condiment or a side dish or something. You NEED these other blogs to round my junk out.

    But thanks! : )

    • jcrowe_openview

      Chris! Thanks for responding, but quit being so modest! :)

      I’d argue that the higher concepts are what marketers should start with. You can adopt a new tactic here, tweak something there, but if you haven’t established the right tenets the results are never going to vary that wildly.

      It’s the approach and thinking behind the tactics that matters, and changing that it can have a transformative impact that lasts.

      What I love about your blog (along with the rest of this bunch) is that it makes me step back and think about the entire approach rather than just the tactic, the why rather than just the how. Thanks again!

  • Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Great list and nice to see other commenters contribute other blogs.

    • jcrowe_openview

      Glad you enjoyed the list, Abdallah. Please feel free to share any other great content marketing blogs you’re reading. Always looking to discover more.

  • leeodden

    Woah, I had to do a double take. Thank you Jonathan!

    You know, I am such a huge fan of Chris, Michael and Ardath – they have each influenced me in very meaningful ways over the years. So honored to be included in their general vicinity, let alone a fine list like this. Cheers :)

    • jcrowe_openview

      So glad to have the TopRank Blog as a resource, Lee. Always insightful and clearly tapped in. Looking at its impressive track record also gives me motivation — one day I, too, hope to get to 2,500 blog posts. Just 2,470 or so to go…

  • William Mougayar

    Valeria Maltoni’s Conversation Agent is a pretty good one too.