The 20 Best Marketing Articles of All Time, According to HubSpot’s Marketing Team

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The 20 Best Marketing Articles of All Time, According to HubSpot's Marketing Team

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.

To pinpoint some of these articles and share them with you, I asked a few marketers at HubSpot what their favorite marketing article is and why. Check out the ones they read on repeat, plus a few articles that HubSpot’s marketing, content, and blog teams refer to time and again.

1. What Creativity Looks Like in Marketing Today | Harvard Business Review

Recommended By: Caroline Forsey, Editor at HubSpot, Marketing Blog

Why She Loves It:

“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.”

2. We Analyzed 11.8 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO | Backlinko

Recommended By: the HubSpot SEO Team

Why They Love It:

“Part original data and part SEO guide, this is one of Brian Dean’s best articles. The algorithm has changed since its publication, but this article helps new marketers understand how SEO works and why. It’s a how-to guide on SEO, only without the how-to in the title, with data that supports each component of an SEO strategy. We love this article because it reminds us that while the Google algorithm changes every day, one factor never changes: search engine optimization must be human-first above all else.”

3. SEO Is Back. Thank God. | New York Magazine – Intelligencer

Recommended By: Braden Becker, Senior SEO Strategist at HubSpot

Why He Loves It:

“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.”

4. How Google Analytics Ruined Marketing | TechCrunch

Recommended By: the HubSpot Blog Team

Why They Love It:

“In our field, we tend to uphold data above emotional appeal, relatability, and empathy (well, maybe those are all the same thing). As a result, marketing has become less and less human. This article is one of our favorites because it takes us back to the roots of marketing and tells us why it’s critical to take a holistic look at a brand’s performance across different channels. Most important, creativity reigns over numbers and hard data. People will remember a creative, targeted campaign that appeared once more than they’ll remember — and like — a spam-like campaign that appears everywhere.”

5. How to Create 10x Content | Moz

Recommended By: Amanda Sellers, Marketing Manager at HubSpot, Historical Optimization

Why She Loves It:

“This is a content marketing classic — probably the first post you’ll ever read as a content marketing professional. If you’re familiar with Moz at all, you’ve likely watched one of its whiteboard Fridays. Rand Fishkin’s guide for creating what he calls ‘10X content’ came about after the rise of the ‘Content is king’ industry adage. Even years after its initial publication, this guide will tell you how you can write strong, authoritative content that will draw in more readers and improve in rankings as a result.”

6. ‘We want these platforms to be healthy’: Why top marketers won’t quit Facebook | Digiday

Recommended By:Amanda Zantal-Wiener, Senior Content Strategist at HubSpot

Why She Loves It:

“This is an oldie but a goodie — still relevant years after it was written, especially as we continue to be wary toward Facebook. 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. 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.”

7. Marketing in the Age of Resistance | Harvard Business Review

Recommended By: the entire HubSpot Marketing Team

Why We Love It:

“‘Being about it instead of just talking about it’ is a huge priority not just for the marketing team, but for HubSpot as a whole. We love this article because it tells us that our blog, advertising, and website campaigns don’t exist in a vacuum that’s separate from societal injustices. In our team, we often begin with representation — but that’s only the precursor to more institutional and large-scale change within our organization. Marketing teams everywhere will benefit from saving and rereading this article.”

8. How to Become a Customer Acquisition Expert | Brian Balfour

Recommended By: Christina Perricone, Content Marketing Manager at HubSpot, Pillar and Acquisition

Why She Loves It:

“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.”

9. 7 Ancient Archetypes Your Brand Storytelling Should Use | Content Marketing Institute

Recommended By:the HubSpot Blog Team

Why They Love It:

“Writing a blog post is like writing a short story. The introduction is the exposition, the bulk of the post is the rising action, and the conclusion is the denouement. Seems pretty straightforward, right? But without establishing emotional stakes and placing your reader as the hero, you risk your messaging falling flat. We love this post because it’s like a condensed version of Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand. Easy to refer to as we write posts.”

10. An Incomplete Guide to Inclusive Language for Startups and Tech | Buffer

Recommended By:Karla Cook, Team Senior Manager at HubSpot, All Blogs

Why She Loves It:

“This 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?”

11. Why Be Everywhere is Bad Advice | Racheal Cook

Recommended By:the HubSpot Sales Blog Team

Why They Love It:

“Being everywhere and being in front of everyone is very, very bad marketing and sales advice. We have no idea how this became such an accepted stance in the industry. This blog post is a great guide for both marketers and budding entrepreneurs on how to hone messaging so that it appeals to the one buyer who’ll actually buy, use, and appreciate your product. It’s especially useful to content writers, too. Our pieces don’t have to be everywhere. Simply in the right place at the right time. ”

12. Why Marketing Analytics Hasn’t Lived Up to Its Promise | Harvard Business Review

Recommended By: Josh Chang, Manager at HubSpot, Acquisition Analytics

Why He Loves It:

“I love this article because while everyone knows marketing analytics is important, it’s challenging to do 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.”

13. How Redesigning HubSpot’s Website Doubled Conversion Rates | HubSpot

Recommended By: the HubSpot Website Blog Team

Why They Love It:

“‘Not another HubSpot plug,’ you might say, but this post is one of our best ones — we constantly refer to it to remind ourselves how small changes can create a lasting impact. You can see, process-by-process, how the new website came about. Written in a case study format, this article is a great primer for marketing teams everywhere on how and why they should consider a website redesign and what to take into consideration. While the post was published a few years ago, its relevance stays high.”

14. 4 Lessons We’ve Learned, Sometimes the Hard Way, About Inclusive Marketing | Think With Google

Recommended By: Sammi Kim, Marketing Manager at HubSpot, HubSpot Research

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.”

15. 20 Types of Evergreen Content that Produce Lasting Results for Your Business | Copyblogger

Recommended By:the HubSpot Blog Team

Why They Love It:

“Most, if not all, blog posts should try to be evergreen. We took ideas from this article and continue to take ideas as we create an editorial calendar each quarter. Though published a few years ago, this article is still highly relevant and useful. Numbered lists, how-to lists, and original research will always do well. This article has never failed us and it should be in every content marketer’s arsenal.”

16. Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company | Medium – Startups

Recommended By: Nate Medina, Product Marketing Manager at HubSpot

Why He Loves It:

“I love this article because it tells the intimate story of a founder who had ambitious dreams, but ultimately, his plans 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.”

17. How We Used the Pillar-Cluster Model to Transform Our Blog | HubSpot Marketing Blog

Recommended By: Basha Coleman, Marketing Manager at HubSpot, Historical Optimization

Why She Loves It:

“This article is a stellar introduction to a new and improved way of doing content marketing — not just on blogs, but on websites as well. Before the pillar-cluster model, we truly built blogs like a tree, with a multitude of branches that didn’t interconnect. Relevance, authority, and organic traffic all suffered. But the pillar-cluster model changed everything, and we swear by it to this day. Our team constantly refers to the establishment of the pillar-cluster model as the turning point for the HubSpot blogs.”

18. What I Learned From Developing Branding for Airbnb, Dropbox and Thumbtack | FirstRound

Recommended By: the HubSpot Content Team

Why They Love It:

“We love this article because it gives us a close look at how some of the world’s best-loved brands become so well-loved. This post is part original think piece and part how-to guide. While none of us work in brand management directly, we come back to this article again and again for its helpful insight on how we can play a part in making HubSpot a better brand. All marketers would benefit from alluding to this article again and again during their campaigns and positioning efforts.”

19. Will Marketers Return to Offices in 2021? What Companies Need to Know | HubSpot Marketing Blog

Recommended By: Ivelisse Rodriguez, Associate Marketing Manager at HubSpot, Historical Optimization

Why She Loves It:

“This article takes everything that happened in 2020 and turns it into actionable feedback that marketing leaders can use to manage their new hybrid workforce. The trends and data indicate that remote work is here to stay — and while some companies may resist it, they may sacrifice their marketers in doing so. In an industry that’s always changing, adaptability is key and will continue to be key in 2021 and beyond. I love that this post drives that point home for marketing teams and leaders.”

20. The Strange Thing That Happens In Your Brain When You Hear a Good Story — And How to Use It to Your Advantage | HubSpot Marketing Blog

Recommended By: the HubSpot Content Team

Why They Love It:

“Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, marketing executives at Contently, wrote a book called The Storytelling Edge. They promoted it by releasing one of the book’s chapters on our marketing blog. This is one of our favorite marketing articles 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.”

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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