One of the best ways to tell if a show or movie is worthwhile is if people never get tired of re-watching it. Whether it's the hit television show Friends or the classic movie Forrest Gump, most people never turn down an opportunity to watch Ross pivot his couch or witness Forrest develop into a ping pong celebrity -- even if they've already watched it 27 times.
Content marketing is in its infancy compared to television and film, but some of the best writers and publications in our industry have already crafted articles that we revere as the Friends or Forrest Gump of the space.
To pinpoint some of these articles and share them with you, I asked nine marketers at HubSpot what their favorite marketing article is and why. Check out the ones they read on repeat.
“It’s tricky to choose a single marketing article as my favorite, but the one that has had a lasting impression on me is HBR’s ‘What Creativity in Marketing Looks Like Today’. Mark Bonchek and Cara France do a great job distilling the wisdom of senior marketing executives from dozens of top brands, varying from Old Navy to OpenTable. One of my favorite lines is this one -- ‘People are the new channel. The way to amplify impact is by inspiring creativity in others’. Ultimately, I’m a fan of anything HBR, and this piece in particular is a good one to check out if you want to learn more about what top brands are doing to stand out in the industry today.”
“This article took a brilliant position on search engine optimization (SEO) and how search engines have stood the test of time as new channels break into a marketer's arsenal. Lots of articles assert the importance of SEO, but few of them consider the implications sites like Google have on how the public finds, consumes, and expects to see information online. The piece boldly defends the positive role ranking algorithms play in an industry that is often saturated with manipulation and clickbait. It's something both consumers and marketers can learn from, and I gained a ton of respect for New York Magazine after reading this.”
"As someone who lives a 'double life' as a marketer and a tech writer, I found this article both intriguing and valuable. It explores Facebook's rocky year from an interesting lens: one that's of interest to those who live in the trenches of the tech industry and those who cover it alike. Throughout 2018, I studied and reported on the consumer sentiment toward and use of Facebook, despite these events. But it's important to ask an audience of marketers and growth companies the same questions. This article does a great job of that."
“Marketing has expanded into a field with countless designations -- simply calling yourself a marketer is no longer a sufficient response to the question, ‘What do you do?’ Balfour explains how to build yourself into an indispensable, T-shaped marketer by layering your skills as you progress. This evergreen piece teaches us that marketers are experimenters, risk takers, and problem solvers, proving that nearly anyone has the propensity to be successful in this field if they have the patience to build and stick to a plan. It's a gem for any marketer who is struggling to determine their path.”
Recommended By: Karla Cook, Editor & Team Manager at HubSpot, Marketing Blog
Why She Loves It:
“This is article is a must-read for anyone who creates content. It’s a reminder that the seemingly inconsequential choices we make about language on a daily basis actually hold a lot of power. Creating content with inclusive language in mind can seem tricky or even silly to some (especially when the word choices seem minor), but this article poses the question: why not just try?”
“I love this article because while everyone knows marketing analytics is important, HBR illustrates the many challenges of doing marketing analytics right so that it has a significant impact on the overall business. Many companies suffer from having too much data and not knowing what to do with it. But if you have the right data, systems, processes, and people in place, you can better ensure that marketing analytics isn’t wasted and has a tangible and positive impact.”
Recommended By: Sammi Kim, Associate Marketing Manager at HubSpot, Leadership Rotational Program
Why She Loves It:
“Written by the SVP of Global Marketing at Google, this article speaks to the importance of inclusive marketing. I was impressed by how the first lesson was that the diversity among marketers at Google directly impacted their marketing campaigns. And based on the article’s third lesson on the importance of excluding stereotypes from marketing campaigns, I strongly believe that having diverse marketing teams will help run more nuanced, empathetic campaigns.”
Recommended By: Nate Medina, Associate Marketing Manager at HubSpot, Leadership Rotational Program
Why He Loves It:
“I love this article because it tells the intimate story of a founder who had ambitious dreams, but ultimately, didn't pan out the way he expected. In the pursuit of trying to create a billion dollar company, however, he learned that success isn't just about money. It’s about creating something you’re truly interested in rather than something that you chase revenue with.”
Recommended By: Clifford Chi, Junior Staff Writer at HubSpot, Marketing Blog
Why I Love It:
Don’t worry, this isn’t a shameless plug of one of my blog posts or even of HubSpot. Last year, Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, marketing executives at Contently, wrote a book called The Storytelling Edge and they promoted it by releasing one of the book’s chapters on our marketing blog.
Anyways, this is my favorite marketing article because it uses neuroscience to prove that storytelling is much more than a trendy buzzword. In their excerpt, Joe and Shane weave in compelling psychological and neurological evidence into a narrative about how storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention, bake information into their brains, and forge close, personal bonds. And in an industry where 5% of branded content attracts 95% of attention, their article makes you realize that content marketers can’t just write listicles and ultimate guides anymore. We must tell gripping stories.
Originally published Feb 18, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated February 18 2020