15 Top Influencers to Watch For in 2017

The rise of the Internet has provided an exceptional opportunity for just about anyone to make it big online. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, male or female, young or old. This has become especially true with the rising popularity of social media, making it easier than ever to reach an ever growing audience. And you can derive some of your greatest inspiration and glean some of the most powerful lessons from those who’ve already risen to the top.

Presented in no particular order, here are 15 of the biggest online influencers, bloggers and Internet marketing experts you should keep your eyes on.

1. Neil Patel


Having helped such large corporations as Amazon, NBC and General Motors, Neil Patel has firmly established himself as an expert in Internet marketing and optimizing revenue potential. He is the co-founder of such companies as Crazy Egg, HelloBar, and KISSmetrics, offering customer acquisition webinars and other programs to help you grow your business online.

2. Casey Neistat


Even though Casey Neistat does have his own website, it is hardly his primary portal or destination on the Internet. People know him best for his YouTube channel where he currently boasts over five million subscribers and over one billion lifetime views. His channel really took off after he started with daily vlogging, marrying a sense of authenticity with incredible cinematography, including his iconic drone footage.

3. John Rampton


Like many of the other individuals on this list, John Rampton can perhaps be best described as a “serial entrepreneur.” That’s what it takes to keep up with and be successful with the rapid changing pace of the Internet. His over-arching goal is to build “amazing products and services that scale.” Forbes calls him a blogging expert and Entrepreneur Magazine says he’s one of the top online influencers in the world today.

4. Sujan Patel


Describing himself as a “data-driven marketer and entrepreneur,” Sujan Patel co-founded WebProfits US to help companies with content marketing and growth marketing. He’s also a co-founder of ContentMarketer.io, which develops software to help content creators better promote their content, focusing mostly on email. Sujan’s writing has been featured on Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, further demonstrating his expertise in digital marketing. He published the ebook 100 Days of Growth in 2015, outlining actionable growth hacking strategies that have proven effective.

5. Josh Ostrovsky


The nickname “The Fat Jewish” may not be the most politically correct approach to the Internet, but Josh Ostrovsky has made a huge name for himself online with his unique brand of humor. He creates and republishes a variety of Internet memes, oftentimes with his own funny commentary. He has over 9 million followers on Instagram, showing that you can take existing content, add your own spin, and generate a sizable profit. Collaboration partners with the Fat Jewish include Bud Light, Virgin Mobile and Burger King.

6. David SK Lee


If you aspire to make it rich, one of your dreams might be to own a Ferrari. Or, you might want to be like David SK Lee and own nearly two dozen Ferraris. His wealth comes mostly from his Hing Wa Lee Jewelers company, but his online fame is derived from his obsession with the fine Italian supercar brand. When you share your passion online, your followers really do feel it.

7. Zac Johnson


The name Zac Johnson should probably ring a bell, as he has been an established Internet marketer and professional blogger for a number of years. He’s also the guy behind Blogging Tips, which should probably sound familiar too. Over the years, Zac has helped several companies make millions of dollars online and his expertise in affiliate marketing in particular, is among the best in the business. Perhaps even more impressively, Zac got started and made it big while he was still in high school.

8. Ingrid Nilsen


Easily one of the most popular and potentially one of the most lucrative verticals on social media is beauty and makeup. And one of the best known names in this space is Ingrid Nilsen. She currently boasts nearly two million followers on Instagram and over four million subscribers on YouTube. She has collaborated with big brands like SKII, Schwarzkopf and Cover Girl, earning a reputation as a top authority in this space.

9. Larry Kim


Founder of WordStream, Larry Kim is one of the most influential figures in the pay-per-click business. The goal of WordStream, which was bootstrapped by Kim in 2007, is to make online advertising easier and more effective for advertisers. Larry shares his many tips and insights through such publications as Search Engine Land, Moz, Search Engine Watch, and Inbound.org.

10. Shama Hyder


Marketing Zen founder and CEO Shama Hyder is perhaps best known as a web and TV personality. She is a well sought-after keynote speaker and presenter, listed as one of Forbes 30 under 30 in 2015 in the marketing and advertising category. Born in India and later educated in the United States, Hyder definitely knows her way digital marketing and public relations, especially in the realm of social media.

11. Mari Smith


Mari Smith is widely regarded as a top expert in social media marketing with a particular focus on how to grow your audience and reach new customers on Facebook. She’s been lauded by Facebook itself as a “small business and Facebook marketing expert,” as well as by Forbes and Fast Company. She offers training, webinars, brand ambassadorships and keynote speaking services.

12. Ann Smarty


With a particular focus on search engine marketing, Ann Smarty is a full-time web entrepreneur and the face behind SEO Smarty where she offers content marketing and guest blogging services. She has worked as an online marketing consultant for a decade with her writing appearing on such sites as the New York Times, Mashable, and Entrepreneur. She has also founded several businesses of her own, including MyBlogU and ViralContentBee.

13. Aaron Orendorff


Aaron Orendorff is another name that you should add to your must follow list, as he’s not only the brains behind iconiContent, but also a contributor on many sites like Entrepreneur and others. The majority of Aaron’s content focus on iconiContent is surrounded by the ever changing world of content strategy, marketing and copywriting — all three are methods that bloggers, entrepreneurs, and brands of all sizes are looking to improve upon.

14. Dennis Pang


Dennis Pang is well known in his home territory of Metro Vancouver in Canada, not only for the “food porn” he consistently posts on Instagram, but also as the principal behind Popcorn, a social media marketing and PR agency that boasts all “the right moves” with a “measure of success.” Popcorn has worked with everyone from Rogers to Coast Hotels, Haribo to Tourism Vancouver.

15. Ann Handley


MarketingProfs chief content officer and ClickZ co-founder Ann Handley is one to watch in 2017, though she’s hardly new to the business. An established pioneer in the world of digital marketing, Ann offers keynote speaking services, writes about marketing on Entrepreneur.com, and is the author of Everybody Writes, a best-selling book on “creating ridiculously good content.”

Be Sure to Follow Each of the Influencers through their Site and on Social Media

If you enjoyed this list of influencers to keep an eye on, be sure to view the recent expert blog post on “How to Start a Successful Blog“, with over 82 different bloggers, entrepreneurs and experts around the world contributing their own thoughts, opinions, and working examples.

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