SEOlympics: Top Marketing Blogs of South Africa

What makes South Africa so interesting is that some 52 million people call it home. What makes it difficult is that there are 11 different languages, and there’s a history of division between the diverse population. Masingita Mazibuko, a director of marketing for skincare brand Pond’s, stated that “the trick is to know your customers.”

With over 91% of B2B companies engaged in content marketing in the United States, it’s clear that brands have been trying to know their customers by creating content that is appealing to that specific audience. While some would argue that South Africa is behind in the content marketing game when it comes to Australia, Europe, or North America, others would argue that South Africa has had the opportunity to see which strategies are most effective when it comes to digital marketing. In other words, marketers in South Africa have skipped that trial and error phase.

Because this is such an interesting topic for marketers, we decided to see what kind of content is being discussed and shared in South Africa. After hours of research, we compiled the following list of marketer blogs located in South Africa based on subjective criteria like voice, content strategy, and quality.

If we forget to include a blog that you feel is worthy of this list please feel free to add your suggestion in the comment section below.

Finally, the following list is in no particular order. Enjoy.


Screen Shot Ogilvy & Mather South Africa 11/13/14

In 1948, British-born David Ogilvy founded the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather in New York City. Fast forward to 1976 when Bob Rightford, Brian Searle-Tripp and Roger Makin energized South Africa with their own dynamic advertising firm. Within four years RS-™ would merge with Ogilvy & Mather “to become the jewel in the Ogilvy & Mather worldwide.” Considering that O&M is the eighth largest advertising network in the world, this is an impressive achievement.

Today, Ogilvy & Mather South Africa is run by Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke – who is considered one of the highest ranking women in advertising. During her two decade career, Nunu has worked her way up the corporate, worked with some of the largest companies in the world and has received honors like the AdReview Lifetime Achievement Award 2012.

Ogilvy & Mather South Africa also has the privilege of having an equally talented CEO in Abey Mokgwatsane. During his career, Abey has been the recipient of three Managing Directors Awards for marketing excellence, produced the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is a founding member of the Young Business for South Africa (YBSA).

The frequent articles shared on Ogilvy & Mather South Africa’s blog not only give general online marketing advice, they also give a localized perspective that marketers should use to give their campaigns a push.

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Screen Shot MPULL 11/13/14

MPULL is a B2B and interactive consulting agency located in Cape Town. The agency was founded by Daryn Smith and Graeme Wilson after both were frustrated with “old school marketing.” Instead relying traditional business techniques that were expensive and difficult to measure, the duo opted to use new technology that could be used to manage and measure a company’s marketing performance.

Both Daryn and Graeme bring their experience and knowledge to the MPULL blog for thought-provoking ideas. infographics and informative statistics. In fact, both co-founders are responsible for the daily content published on the blog. Daryn brings his experience of launching marketing strategies for companies across the continent to the table, while Graeme brings his proven track-record of business growth forward.

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Screen Shot Bryan Casson 11/13/14

Bryan Casson is a SEO and AdWords expert who resides in Johannesburg. In 2009 he launched Casson Media as a strictly SEO focused agency. By 2011, however, Casson Media expanded its services to include AdWords management, website design and WordPress development.

Between being the owner of Casson Media, contributing to Moz and AdWords PPC, and frequently posting articles on Casson Media’s website, it’s surprising that Bryan has the time to share his talents on his own blog. Whether it’s instructional YouTube videos or writing-out education posts, Bryan’s blog is offers a wealth of knowledge if you need assistance with AdWords, Hangouts and even Maps.

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4. Gotta Quirk

Screen Shot Gotta Quirk 11/13/14

Gotta Quirk is the blog for one of the leading online marketing agencies in South Africa, Quirk. The company was founded back in 1999 by Rob Stokes, who combined his love technology and marketing to form this internationally respected business. Over the years Rob has been the recipient of the “Best Individual Contribution to Digital in 2009” Bookmarks award, has lectured at the University of Cape Town, Red & Yellow School of Advertising and Cape Peninsula University of Technology and released the eBook eMarketing: the essential guide to online marketing in 2008.

Quirk also received international recognition, such as being named the Best Digital Agency in South Africa during the 2011 Bookmarks Awards and seven accolades at the 7th Annual International Davey Awards. In 2014, Quirk became a part of WPP – one of the world’s largest communication services.

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Screen Shot Bizcommunity 11/13/14 launched in 2001 and has grown to have 3.3 million website pages that are viewed by more than 350,000 visitors each month with offices in Cape Town and Johannesberg. The main goal of the site is to host industry portals- 26 to be exact – for companies to advertise and promote content in order to reach industry professionals.

Since we’re focused on marketing, anyone in this field should visit the Industry Wall to check-out the latest news and articles to assist with your online marketing needs.

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Screen Shot Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize Blog 11/13/14

In 1999 Chris Corbet founded Synergize Digital – which would become one of the few Google Analytics accredited agencies in Africa and the Middle East. Synergize’s focus on online marketing, SEO, social media, copywriting, web design and CMS development lead to industry recognition, such as receiving the top honor in Search Marketing category during the 2012 and 2013 Bookmarks Awards.

In 2013, the agency was acquired by the French multinational advertising and public relations company Publicis Groupe and integrated into Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa. Today as Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize, the agency’s blog features articles covering industry news, SEO, inbound marketing, digital marketing and office culture.

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Screen Shot The Retroviral Blog 11/13/14

Launched in 2010 by Mike Sharman – who also runs his own entertaining and informative blog at a digital retroviral communications is a company that is based on the following 3R’s: remarkable content, seeded to the right people, leads to the contagious word of mouth results that a brand requires to stand out from the crowd in various, noisy digital environments.”

While Retroviral bills itself as a communications company, it helps to “encourage discussions about your brand” by creating customized online communications, website design and content creation and distribution. You can see how this all comes together by visiting the Retroviral Blog and catching up on some fascinating tidbits.

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Screen Shot Cerebra Blog 11/13/14

Founded in 2006 by Mike Stopforth, who was named one of the “35 men of influence under 35 years of age” by GQ magazine in 2010, Cerbera is one of South Africa’s leading thought leaders when it comes to social media and and social business.  Cerbera is an award-winning agency that has been a consultant for brands like Toyota, Intel, Lexus, Vodacom and Nedbank. In 2010 Cerebra acquired the renowned PR agency Emerging Media Communications to offer a wide range of services for clients. In 2013 Cerebra became a part of the WPP network

The blog may not be updated daily, but it’s another valuable source of information for brands trying to break into content marketing. There’s also monthly publications that feature eBooks and reports for marketers to use at will.

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Screen Shot ClickMaven Blog 11/13/14

ClickMaven began as a search marketing company that focused mainly on SEO and AdWords in 2007. It has now expanded into an all-out digital sales company that also assists clients – such as Volkswagen – with Facebook ads, website design, AdWords management and UX and conversion optimization.

Besides several white papers, like 5 Google keyword planner tactics for advanced users and 7 easy ways to promote your business online. the ClickMaven blog releases content on a consistent basis – pretty much daily – that includes useful pointers and inforgraphics.

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Screen Shot Inbound 11/13/14

While employed as a marketer at an electronics company, Chris Irwin believed that there was a better way to promote the product. He realized that using the internet was that answer and began studying Google in 2008. By 2011 Chris was ready to start his own company. With the help of business strategist Jody Hart, Chris founded Inbound. Along with a great team, Inbound focuses on establishing brand value, online connections and an increase in revenue for brands.

A majority of the blog posts cover general information that should be known in regards to content marketing, social media and AdWords. However, it’s vital information that brands should continue to review. However, there are some cutting edge articles that keep brands up to date with the latest trends.

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11. ViperChill

Screen Shot Viper Chill 12/11/14

At the age of 15, Glen built his first website. By the time he was 18, this native of Newcastle, England took a job as a Social Media Manager in Cape Town. Within a year he quit his job and began to focus on his own websites and projects. Glen launched ViperChill as a place to share his knowledge of online marketing with blog posts, podcasts and suggested tools. What makes Glen stand out from other marketing bloggers is that he doesn’t actually make his living doing this – which shows how passionate in this field.

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There was our list of the best marketer blogs in South Africa. Did we get it right? Or did we miss one or two that deserve recognition? If so, please share your favorite blogs in the comments.