20 Bloggers to Watch in 2012

This year, I tried to go outside of the social media echo-chamber and focus on people who are expanding beyond their blogs. As Michael Stelzner said at Blogworld, “You’re not a blogger, you’re a publisher!”

These are 20 people who stood out to me this year. There is no ranking, nor is there a competition. If you are after more variety, I’ve included links to other round-ups at the end of this post.

Do you know of someone that has really stood out in 2011? Let us know in the comments, or create and link to your own list post. Enjoy!

Maria Popova

Maria Popova describes herself as “interestingness curator and semi-secret geek obsessed with design, science, storytelling and combinatorial creativity”. She is the editor of the much-loved Brain Pickings, which she described as a “a destination for indiscriminate curiosity.”

I love Maria’s work because talented curators are needed in this cluttered blogosphere. Maria goes beyond the collection of links and ideas, and provides a narrative that just enchants you. In the aforementioned interview, Maria said that “curation is all about pattern-recognition, seeing how various and diverse pieces of content fit together under the same taste umbrella or along the same narrative path, so the guiding principle has to be the sole storyteller with a strong point of view.”

I think Maria will be an influence on curators for years to come.

Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, online marketing consultant, and social media enthusiast that blogs at Kikolani. She has  become famous for her weekly resource posts, Fetching Friday, and is a prolific guest poster on many high-profile sites. Her work is highly regarded in the social media community and she was recommended multiple times in the comments section on last year’s list.

Her book, Blog Post Promotion, is extraordinarily in-depth for a book at its price point, and is something I’d strongly recommend to those who need help getting more attention for their posts. You guys may also enjoy her post about making money online through blogging and writing.

Corbett Barr

Corbett Barr is someone I’ve been watching for a few years. He had a popular blog, Free Pursuits, but focused on creating a legacy rather then just being a blogger. He started Think Traffic in 2010, and quickly built a solid reputation for building quality content. In 2011 he created the Million Dollar Blog Project and launched his case study blog, Expert Enough.

I like Corbett because he’s one of the people who evolved with the challenges that blogging presented, rather than giving up. Some of the best discussions of 2010 came from his blog and I believe that the Million Dollar Blog Project will result in a few more bloggers to watch.

Marcus Sheridan

Marcus started a swimming pool company in 2001. Thanks to his blog, and inbound marketing, it grew to be one of the biggest companies of its kind in the world. Marcus had amassed a large amount of knowledge about content marketing and created The Sales Lion to teach others about the power of community.

I love his blog. He isn’t a pseudo-guru testing his theories—he only teaches about stuff he’s personally experienced. He also has a talent for community engagement. Many of his posts contribute to the conversation surrounding many facets of our industry, which encourages related companies to adjust their model to serve bloggers better.

Hands down, Marcus is one of the coolest guys online. He helps so many of us when he already has a successful business and doesn’t need the social validation. I hope we’ll see a lot more of him in the coming year.

Alexis Grant

Alexis Grant is a publishing powerhouse. She describes herself as a “journalist, blog & social media strategist and a budding entrepreneur.” She has been experimenting with digital products and micropublishing, such as her popular eguide on building a Part-Time Social Media Business. She’s also the managing editor of the Brazen Careerist blog.

I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with her for past few months, and it’s been fascinating watching her grow. She has a unique work history, starting out in traditional journalism and evolving until she landed a job editing a popular blog. I think we will learn a lot from her experiments in digital publishing, especially during the latter part of 2012.

Colin Wright

Colin Wright intrigues me. He runs a popular blog, but I wouldn’t called him a blogger. I don’t think anyone really knows what to call him. Every four months, his readers vote on the next country he’ll move to. He has an everlasting ebook called Exiles, runs a T-shirt shop called I Have No Shirt, and has published six ebooks.

I like Colin because of his constant experimentation with micropublishing and entrepreneurship. He closed eBookling because he’d achieved what he had set out to do, despite having a profitable model. He was one of the first in my community to experiment with Kindle publishing. He’s a genuinely cool guy with a thirst for knowledge, and a desire to improve on existing creations. I think that’s an attitude we all can benefit from.

Torre De Roche

 

Torre De Roche is the Fearful Adventurer. While overseas, she “fell for a 31-year old Argentinean man who had a humble sailboat and a dream to set off exploring the world.” She accompanied him on his trip across the South Pacific which led to her blog and later, a book about her journey. Within two months of self-publishing her book, she landed a big publishing deal. Her book, Swept, will be out in 2013.

I think that Torre will be one of the writers that will really stand out over the coming years. She has such a natural talent, yet is still a bit of an unknown in the blogosphere. I’m confident that will change over the next year and I think that we are in a fortunate position to watch her evolve.

Deb Ng

Deb is an accomplished blogger. Previously she was the founder and owner of the Freelance Writing Jobs network of blogs, as well as the community manager for Blog Talk Radio. Now, she is employed as the conference director of Blog World Expo and has released her first book, Online Community Management for Dummies.

In 2012, she’ll be just as busy. She’s authoring her second book for the Dummies brand and planning is already well underway for Blogworld in New York.

I love her work, and her contribution to the industry. I especially enjoy her blog, Kommein,  where readers are fortunate enough to get an insight into the work of someone whose career spans multiple areas of the blog industry.

Jen Bishop

Jen is mostly known as the publisher and editor of Dynamic Business magazine in Australia. Part of what makes the magazine so successful is its prominent web presence, which feature a wide range of bloggers. But I’m not including her because of that.  I’m watching her based on her work at her new blog, Interiors Addict.

Interiors Addict is a blog that curates a lot of the best information her passion, interior design. She’s leveraged her skills as a journalist to get access to industry news and interviews, and has turned her hobby blog into a very prominent force.

One of my favorite trends this year is how journalists are dabbling in creating their own digital presences. I believe they enjoy a lot more success, and learn more, when their blog is based on an obsession rather then just their personal brand. I’m also enjoying how Tumblr is aiding bloggers that focus heavily on curation.

Derek Halpern

Derek runs Social Triggers, a site that “breaks down psychological research and business case studies into simple, actionable steps that can help you improve your online business.” His content isn’t the reason I’m watching him, although it is high-calibre and he only publishes his best work. No, the reason he’s gotten my attention is because of how he got noticed.

Early in 2011, he did blog reviews of popular sites such as Chris BroganThink TrafficSmart Passive Income, and David Risley. He showed both the blogger and those who watched the videos how they could increase conversions, which resulted in massive word of mouth from both the readers and his peers.

2011 was the year he spent working hard, and getting attention. I’m curious to see how he leverages his brand in 2012.

Jenny Blake

Jenny Blake is an authorblogger, life coach, and sought-after speaker who helps others “Wake up, live big! and love the journey.”  Jenny recently took her own great leap by leaving Google after five and a half years to pursue her passions full-time.

I’ve enjoyed watching Jenny evolve as she released her first book, Life After College, and expanded her digital offerings. She is fast approaching the end of her first year of self employment, and I think she’ll really start to shine during the latter half of 2012.

Yasmine Surovec

Yasmine is the creator of the popular web comic Cat Versus Human. She documents the everyday realities of living in a multi-cat household via a series of hilarious drawings. In late 2011, she released her first book, Cat vs. Human.

I read a lot of web comics, and I enjoy the fact that they don’t do many of the things that bloggers typically recommend. She has a cat’s bottom in her sidebar, a self-deprecating about page and a contact page that had me hunting for tin-foil. I think that we can all learn from her example and poke more fun at our work, while maintaining a growing brand.

Molly Mahar

Molly Mahar is the founder of Stratejoy, a positive corner of the Internet that provides thousands of women the tools, strategies, and camaraderie to lead authentically joyful lives. There are many career blogs targeted at people in their twenties, but hers is focused on helping people through their “quarter-life crisis.”

I think her blog is fantastic. She invites a number of people to blog for her for a “season,” so that readers can follow their journeys over a five-month period. It’s a great way to build community, encourage new voices and make sure her content is always interesting to that demographic. I’ve heard so many good things about her blog, and how it’s helped people.

Kristin Glenn and Shannon Whitehead

Kristin and Shannon started {r}evolution apparel, a sustainable fashion company based in America. They came up with the idea for their fashion line but knew they had a lot of work before it could reach the market, so they decided to blog about their journey. Thanks to their blogging and networking efforts, they’ve had massive success with their fundraising to launch their first product. At the time of writing, they have reached double their target for their kickstarter campaign and still have a week to go.

They focused on building their community while building their business. As a result, they had a lot of people willing to help them when they asked for support. Their story shows that you don’t need to wait until your product is ready to get your message out there.

Young House Love

Young House Love chronicles the story of two DIY dorks who are turning their house into a home, and sharing every detail as they learn. The content is great, but what I really loved was how they delved into their personal lives and shared the personality behind the bloggers. Their stories are compelling and somewhat harrowing, such as the details of their daughter’s traumatic birth.

I love how they’ve transformed a personal blog into an amazing resource. Look at how they changed the sidebars for the mood board section. They are incredibly savvy. Their work highlights the potential to build your brand beyond a blog, and shows how you can leverage your archives.

I’m embarrassed that it took me this long to discover Young House Love. I plan to spend many hours delving into the archives after finishing this post.

Lingerie Addict

Treacle is the founder of The Lingerie Addict. She started her site in 2008 because she couldn’t find any resources for people like herself—women on a budget who wanted honest, objective lingerie advice, reviews, and suggestions. She has since turned it into the #1 resource in her niche, attracting over 100,000 readers a month. In October, she quit her job to offer her consulting services.

I think Treacle has done an amazing job empowering women to embrace their body shape and buy underwear that makes them feel gorgeous.

Nerd Fitness

Steve Kamb is the founder of Nerd Fitness: a community for nerds, desk jockeys, and weekend warriors looking to level up their lives. He built up a strong following and has since expanded with Nerd Fitness Message Boards, a clothing range, and several useful products. He is a natural leader—just look at how he doesn’t pressure people to join his rebellion.

I enjoy his work because he is incredibly savvy, yet has a very friendly/casual tone on his blog. He makes new visitors feel very comfortable in a niche that can feel rather alienating.

Sarah Peck

Sarah describes herself as a storyteller who communicates ideas through words, pictures, and other visual media. Her blog, It Starts With, started as a column about making the transition to the professional world and finding out what’s important for you and your career. It has evolved into a blog on business, generating ideas, entrepreneurship, management, and design. She also leverages blogging for her professional work, and is the founder and editor of Landscape Urbanism.

Sarah emerged in the blogosphere early in 2011 and is shaping up to the one of most unique and inspiring voices online.  Her content is always thought-provoking and will force you to confront the challenge of executing your best ideas. She studies where great ideas come from and help individuals and businesses do great work. Every blogger has a tipping point and her post on 28 in 52 Notes made Sarah a blogger to keep an eye on 2012.

Tara Gentile

Tara Gentile is the editor of Scoutie Girl, a daily zine with the aim of getting you thinking about your creative life and the changing world around you, and the owner of a boutique web design business. She quickly built a reputation as a DIY lifestyle design expert. She has transitioned to consulting and writes about the philosophy of the new economy, creativity, social media, value and meaning, and wealth.

I really resonate with Tara. She has empowered a huge segment of the creative community to take pride in the marketing of their work. Her work has affected an entire industry. I can’t wait to see what she does in 2012.

Joel Runyon

A year ago, Joel was just a guy with an inspiring blog. He wasn’t satisfied with that. He expanded his original blog to create Impossible HQ, a hub that incorporates a separate motivational community, a T-Shirt line, and a manifesto. He also created a separate site, NerveRush, to cater to the adrenalin-seeking segment of his audience.

I think Joel is just getting started with what he has to offer. He is always adding new ways for his community to engage with his site and, as a result, is creating an increasingly passionate readership. I’m really excited to see where he takes the ‘Impossible’ brand in 2012.

More bloggers to watch

Want more? Take a look at these blogging round-ups:

And don’t forget to give us your suggestions in the comments!

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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20 Bloggers to Watch in 2012


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