In marketing and public relations, the industry is ever-changing, which makes it really important to keep up with industry trends and to find mentors and influencers that keep us current and on top of innovative technologies with exciting new ways to influence our audiences amid the proliferation of available content every day.

At IPSM, we are lifelong learners, which makes this fast-paced industry so exciting for us! Here are the people we follow who have had a tremendous impact on our team!

Renee’s Favorite Influencer

The main influencer I follow and has had the largest impact on me and IPSM as a business in the social media and marketing sphere, hands down, is Michael Stelzner, CEO, and Founder of Social Media Examiner.

10.5 years ago, as I was thinking about starting IPSM with a focus on Social Media management. I realized I needed to find a resource that would guide me in the ever-changing industry. At the top of my Google search that fateful evening was Social Media Examiner – a gold mine of information on all platforms, how to use them, trainings galore, and anything else you could possibly want to know about social media at the time. Fast forward to today and it is still my go-to resource.

To say I’ve dipped a toe in the SME world is an understatement…I’ve been swimming in it for years! I was a founding member of the Social Media Marketing Society, have been to the Social Media Marketing World conference three times in-person and two times digitally (and already have next year’s ticket), an avid listener of the Social Media Marketing Podcast, have taken several trainings, and more. It is the website I send all new employees to when they onboard with IPSM to sign up for the newsletter, learn more about the platforms we use on behalf of our clients, and more.

If you’re not constantly learning in this industry, you are going to fall behind and become irrelevant. Michael Stelzner is constantly moving forward, learning, teaching, and growing alongside his audience, and is a must-add to your list!

Joslyn’s Favorite Influencer

Brene Brown is one of my current compasses in life. Personally, I think she manifests utilizing a social platform for good. Brown is a strong believer that when you know better you do better, and she is always looking to learn more and take the time necessary to take a well-researched stance on issues.

Her audience consists of those interested in authentic leadership and wholeheartedness, and those not afraid to be vulnerable. Brene’s focus is on families, schools, and organizations, however, if you are looking to simply be a better human, I would highly suggest following her.

I find that if I do not check in with Brene Brown once a week I struggle at this human thing, I am an individual with a deep desire to do good in the world, and sometimes everyday life wears on me. My default is a tough exterior, or as Brene would say, “a defended front, shielding a weak spine,” Brene Brown reminds me that with a strong back, soft front, and wild heart I will be more successful in life.

I have a mantra that has become a core belief of mine that is supported by Brene’s research, and that is “Everyone is doing the best they can with the experience, knowledge, and understanding that they have.” So today and every day, I choose to remain awkward, brave, and kind.

Jordan’s Favorite Influencer

An influencer I recently came across and have been enjoying following is Jasmine Star, the CEO of Social Curator. She helps entrepreneurs and business owners with marketing strategy, social media training, and lifestyle coaching to help them build their brand and business just like she did.

The reason I started following her was her reel videos on Instagram where she shares social media tips, tricks, and even tutorials! I’m always thinking about social media and how we can use it in different ways for our clients, so taking notes from her page and learning more about social media has been really exciting for me.

Following her has also been helping me learn the different aspects of running your own business, setting your own goals, and taking the steps to achieve them. I’m still relatively new to the world of marketing and PR and she has been a great resource for me to learn and listen on my own.

Olivia’s Favorite Influencer

When it comes to social media influence as a marketing strategy, Gary Vaynerchuck is at the top of my list of favorite influencers. Gary believes that when it comes to marketing your brand on platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, storytelling is key because stories are powerful and everlasting, which I believe to be very true. Everyday Gary posts a 60-second video of inspiration for his audience of entrepreneurs-in-training. His #AskGaryVee videos answer questions about career advancement and brand-building on social media.

One of the most important things I have learned from Gary is that transparency is key. He believes self-promotional content doesn’t get you a bigger audience — but openness, honesty, and genuine connection always do. Also, when you pair transparency up with some great storytelling, it can turn out to be a winning strategy for your brand Through his videos, blogs, social posts, and more, Gary teaches that it’s imperative to tell the right story, offer valuable insight, educate others, and create new relationships.

Kathie’s Favorite Influencer

From Mrs. McClellan, my fourth-grade teacher who drew slanted lines by hand on paper for me to correct my decidedly left-handed cursive slant (I’ve been around for a long time!) to Bob Felten, my mentor in integrated marketing communications at the University of Nevada, Reno (I was 46 when I finally completed my degree after decades of feeling my way with instinct and might I say raw talent in public relations and marketing), many, many people have lent me their expertise, patience, and wisdom.

When you’ve been in the industry as long as I have, it’s hard to pick just one influencer that made an impact. I’d be leaving out a huge chunk of my professional development if I didn’t mention the Public Relations Society of America’s Accreditation in Public Relations program that lays the foundation, provides the structure and ensures we use evaluation tools to ensure we hit the mark with every campaign. And made me study harder than I did in college.

But for our purposes today, I’ve narrowed it down to three industry giants I follow avidly:

  1. Gini Dietrich, founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks (the book, the podcast, the legend!) for defining the PESO (Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned) media model for public relations. For me, the PESO model brought the power of all the tactical marketing-type things we do into a Venn-diagram model to help us understand that public relations are the framework that holds all the pieces together; and gives the why behind them. Gini also brought her rare brand of humor, humanity, and humility to her webinar series during the pandemic when her tiny daughter would pop in and out of the camera’s eye.
  2. Ann Handley, a digital marketing pioneer, writer, and speaker, is a badass storyteller and kickass entrepreneur. She is the founder of MarketingProfs, which is a marketing training and education company boasting over 600,000 subscribers.

I’m a firm believer in continuing education, so I really, really, really appreciate her dedication to career education, but that’s not why I am inspired by Ann. Every time I listen, I am held in rapt attention from start to finish. Her ability to weave a tale so compelling you are riveted to wherever it is you happen to be is second to none. She is the only person in my worldview who can incorporate a photo of her dog wearing a party hat in a Target shopping cart in the first 60 seconds of a presentation on a global stage and keep me glued throughout the other 44 minutes.

  1. Melanie Deziel, director of content at Foundation, a digital content marketing agency working with software and B2B brands obsessed with growth, author, and founder of Story Fuel, her online education experience.

Since hearing her speak at Social Media Marketing World in 2020, right before the world shut down for COVID-19, I have been obsessed with her methodology for taking the great content we create and making work far beyond a one-off blog post, social post or any other brilliant content we deliver on the daily for our clients.

From these three powerhouse women, I have learned:

  1. Which tactics to build into my overall public relations plan, and how to connect them (Dietrich)
  2. How to tell the most compelling story (Handley)
  3. How to wring every last syllable of value from those compelling stories we’ve told so we don’t lose one Single. Beautiful. Point.