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The 10 Content Marketing Experts Who Are Shaping the Industry

By Shaye DiPasquale

By now you (and everyone else) know that content is king. Finally the business world has opened their eyes to what we editors have always known: Words and stories are powerful! Content is now one of the greatest drivers of business, especially online. It creates brand awareness, drives traffic, and converts readers to consumers.

Even if you haven’t yet transitioned (mentally or literally!) from being an editor to a “content creator” or content marketer, it’s worth paying attention to the growing industry of content marketing. Indeed it is where the money is being spent. By 2021 it’s predicted to be a $412 billion dollar industry.

The following 10 folks are pioneers in this space and worth paying attention to — if you want to up your own game, pivot to content marketing yourself, or just keep on top of this crazy growing part of the industry.

1. Rebecca Leib, Content Marketing Consultant and Author 

Rebecca Leib has published what remains the largest body of research on content marketing, content strategy and the role of content in paid, owned, and earned media. A notable public speaker on converged media and digital marketing, Rebecca has also authored ground-breaking books in her industry, including The Truth About Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing.

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2. Kristina Halvorson, CEO and Founder of Brain Traffic

Meet one of the pioneers of content strategy, Kristina Halvorson. She played an instrumental role in establishing content strategy as a key practice for organizations across all industries. In 2001, Kristina founded Brain Traffic, one of the first content strategy agencies in the world. Her book, Content Strategy for the Web was the first book to be published on the topic and is credited with setting the foundation for this growing industry.

Kristina founded the first U.S. conference on content strategy, Confab to bring together professionals in the field. She also hosts online seminars and The Content Strategy Podcast to help business owners understand the importance of content strategy for their own endeavors. 

Interested in joining Halvorson’s community of content strategists? Find her groups across the web on Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack and  

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3. Hailey Dale, Founder + Chief Content Officer at Your Content Empire

Hailey Dale created Your Content Empire, a community + content hub geared towards small business owners who want to learn about content marketing strategies, systems and tactics. Through this community, Hailey empowers business owners to leverage email marketing to stimulate more website traffic, leads and sales. Your Content Empire’s signature #OperationImplementation approach helps clients build out monthly content plans and create actionable content they can use right away. 

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4. Justin Brooke, Founder of

Better known as the “Traffic Guy” or the “Million Dollar Media Buyer,” Justin Brooke is an online marketing strategist responsible for tens of millions of dollars in sales. Since 2008, he has spent over $1,000,000 in Facebook marketing and consulted for 9 figure companies. Needless to say, you will want to take his advice on how to buy traffic to grow your business. 

Justin launched AdSkills, a learning platform focused around digital and marketing media buying. The site offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses for nearly every traffic platform. Freelance marketers and business owners alike can learn how to optimize paid advertising campaigns and make more money. 

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5. Kari DePhillips, Co-Founder of Sisters in SEO and Founder and CEO of The Content Factory

Women in SEO unite! Kari DePhilips is the co-founder of Sisters in SEO, the largest network for women in the industry. Her digital PR agency, The Content Factory (TCF) specializes in SEO and ranks for over $1 million worth of targeted organic search terms. TCF offers online digital marketing training for individuals and organizations who want to learn the successful SEO and social media marketing strategies used to drive traffic and leads for TCF clients. 

As a digital nomad and advocate for the work from home lifestyle, Kari co-hosts the Workationing podcast, which follows her decision to travel the world and knock items off of her bucket list.  She’s a regularly featured expert on digital marketing and remote work at conferences and in the media.

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6. Julia McCoy, Founder of Express Writers

How many people do you know who have been working in the same field since they were 19?  When Julia McCoy founded her content agency, Express Writers, she had just $75 to her name. Today, she employs a staff of 90+ copywriters, strategists and social media managers and has served thousands of clients and brands around the world. Named a “thought leader” in content marketing by Forbes, Julia continues to share her passion for great writing. 

She is the author of two bestselling books, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing: The Content Strategy & Marketing Course Guidebook and So You Think You Can Write?: The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing. On her blog, Julia offers practical advice on everything from email copy to holiday marketing to infographics. Consider it your one-stop shop for all of your content creation needs!

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7. Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia

At 14, Gary Vaynerchuk joined his family’s business, a local liquor store and began bagging ice for $2/hr. In the late 90’s, he recognized the potential of the internet to grow the business and transitioned the liquor store into one of the first e-commerce platforms for alcohol in the country. Renamed as “Wine Library,” Gary grew his father’s company from $3 million to $6o million in sales during his tenure. This growth was achieved through the impact of content, ecommerce, email marketing, and Google AdWords.

Now a 5-time New York Times bestselling author, Gary has made a name for himself as the voice of entrepreneurship online. In 2009, he co-founded VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients and providing capabilities in paid media, strategy, influencer marketing, eCommerce, personal branding, and in-house consulting. He also launched DailyVee, a vlog series documenting his life as a CEO. Gary is a prime example of the power of building a personal brand and producing quality content daily.

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8. Jennifer Goforth Gregory, Content Marketing Writer

A self-described content marketing nerd, Jennifer Goforth Gregory loves using words to help brands connect with their audiences and build rapport with customers. From trends to metrics, she analyzes customer’s challenges and figures out the best way to present them with information that helps solve their problems. 

With over 20 years experience, Jennifer has covered topics such as technology, data analytics, health IT, hospitality technology and finance. For the past 9 years, she has run her own freelance business and worked with clients such as Adobe, Samsung, American Express, and Costco. Visit her site to learn more about turning technical information into practical takeaways through copywriting. 

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9. Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI)

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the massive Content Marketing Institute (CMI), an organization which seeks to advance the practice of content marketing through online education, print, and in-person events. (Mindy Kaling was a speaker at this year’s Content Marketing World Conference!) His bestseller Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit reveals insider tips on what successful marketing looks like in the twenty-first century. Joe is also the author behind Content Inc. and Epic Content Marketing, which was named a “Must-Read Business Book” by Fortune Magazine.

Sign up for his bimonthly  The Random Newsletter chock full of marketing tips.

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10. Brittany Berger, Content Strategist and Founder of WorkBrighter.Co

Brittany Berger, is a self-dubbed “content marketing unicorn” on a mission to help people work brighter instead of smarter. Brittany creates content for SaaS companies and entrepreneurs, but unlike other content experts, she wants her clients and followers to create less content. Brittany advocates for repurposing existing content instead of writing from scratch every time. 

From her YouTube channel to her paid membership community, Brittany brings her own personality-filled advice on content marketing to followers everywhere.

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Shaye DiPasquale is a freelance writer, social media manager and content creator. She recently graduated from Elizabethtown College, where she studied Mass Communications and Women & Gender Studies.  Her writing has appeared on Her Campus, HelloFlo, Her Culture, Substream Magazine, The Owl, NJMOM and more. She is also the founder of createHER Collective, a community for young changemakers and creators to collaborate on initiatives through creative exchange. Check out more of her work at!


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