(815) 503-0286 matt@matthewlbrennan.com

Whether you’re brand new to marketing your business, or you’ve been at it for awhile, it’s important to stay current on the industry. It’s an industry constantly in flux. There are new faces out there every day, and you should be doing what you can to stay on top of the mix in order to better get the word out about your business.

First off, you should be constantly striving to put your own spin on things. Make sure you bring your own ideas to the table. That means incorporating your outside interests into your work. For instance, two of my statistically higher-trafficked blogs had to do with what one of my favorite sports teams and favorite television shows could teach you about marketing.

I think they did well because they’re subjects that interested me, that my competitors were not likely writing about. So what do you add to the mix? What non business related books can be brought back to business? Keep the ideas fresh.

It’s also important to keep up with the ideas involved in growing your business. That means content marketing and blogging. These are the ways to grow your audience online and develop influence.

With that in mind, here are five marketing influencers that you need to be following right now:

If you’ve studied online marketing in any way over the last few years you may have heard of some of these people. This list is in now way meant to be all inclusive. They’re just five industry leaders I follow rather closely. If you’re not following what they’re doing, you should be.  

Chris Brogan — Chris’s company Human Business Works is set up to help companies relate in a more personable way, something the business world (and the Internet especially) sorely need. His blog at ChrisBrogan.com is great at taking small personal moments and turning them into actionable business lessons.

Jay Baer —  Jay is the author of the book Youtility, and the blog Convince and Convert. The book offers great lessons on how to turn your marketing into a resource that your audience will clamor for. The days of spammy advertising have ended. Your audience seeks you, not the other way around. Jay’s work helps you make sure that everything you do is geared toward creating the best possible user experience, to improve your brand.

Marc Ensign — Marc has a light, but informative take on how to become a better online marketer for your business. He blogs at MarcEnsign.com, and wrote an excellent book called Search Engine Humanization, that can help rid the Internet of spammy business content, and help companies post the kind of stuff that their readers will actually want to read.

Jon Morrow — Jon is an editor at another really great site called Copyblogger. He also started his own blog called Boost Blog Traffic, which offers some really great advice on how to get more out of your business’s blog. His book Headline Hacks offers all the right insight to get people to pay attention to the part of their posts that needs to grab attention, make a compelling promise, and then deliver. I highly recommend you read his stuff.

Heidi Cohen — Heidi’s blog is a great way to gather some insight on how to market your business online in general. She offers posts on a wide range of topics from the best way to measure your social media results, down to suggestions for how to write a better blog post. She’s strongly worth paying attention to.

Matt Brennan is a Chicago-based marketing writer and copy editor