RSPA Reveals 2021’s Most Popular Retail IT Channel Content

By: Jim Roddy, VP of Marketing & VAR/ISV Business Advisor at the RSPA

Before we announce this year’s most popular retail IT channel articles and podcasts, let’s first have a meta conversation about content – and why VARs and ISVs should, at a minimum, invest in publishing a blog and maintaining a YouTube channel.

Thought leadership content with a long shelf life (a.k.a. “evergreen content”) is the marketing tool that keeps on giving. For example, Revel’s The Past, Present and Future of Contactless Technology was among the most popular content this year and last year. Also, EVO’s Six Proven Strategies to Help Value-Added Resellers Increase Sales generated a ton of attention this year even though it was published in March 2020. That’s like the marketing version of recurring revenue; you keep attracting eyeballs well after you expended the initial effort.

Through audience-focused evergreen content, you can position your org as a thought leader, increase your web traffic, engage with new prospects, and grow your sales – while keeping overhead low. That’s beyond a win-win. It’s a win-win-win-win-win.

For guidance on creating thought leadership content efficiently and effectively, read the RSPA’s Spartan Plan to Powerful B2B Content Marketing. Maybe you have already; it was one of the top 10 most read RSPA blog posts in 2021. Now let’s get to those lists.

Reviewing web analytics over the past year, the RSPA team learned what was the most popular thought leadership content published on We divided the results into three content categories: Blog, Community IQ, and Podcast. For each category, we’ll list the 10 most popular pieces of content and then I’ll offer some analysis.


  1. VARTECH 2021 Formula: ISVs + Recurring Revenue x Infinity
  2. RetailNOW 2021 Analysis: Reports of VARs’ Demise are Greatly Exaggerated
  3. Delegate or Die: The 5 Steps to Effective Delegation
  4. The Ultimate List of Recurring Revenue Products and Services [Version 2.0]
  5. RSPA Exclusive: VARs Reveal Labor Rate Philosophies, Best Practices
  6. 2021 RSPA POS Channel KPI Study
  7. Roddy’s Recommended Reading for SMB Executives – 2021 Edition
  8. 5 Simple Steps to Alleviate Your Customers’ Phone Frustrations
  9. MJBizCon 2021: A Deep-End Plunge into the Lucrative Cannabis Vertical
  10. The Spartan Plan to Powerful B2B Content Marketing

No matter how much our industry and marketing strategies change, events still garner the most attention from VARs and ISVs. That proved to be the case again this year as two event analysis blog posts – from BlueStar’s VARTECH and RSPA’s RetailNOW – snagged the top two spots on our list of popular blog posts. Our analysis of MJBizCon 2021, the cannabis industry’s largest trade show, also broke into our list at #9. This is more than a one-year wonder; in 2020, when trade shows were mostly on ice, three virtual events still made our top 10. While event-related posts are written quickly, most of the remaining popular pieces required a more sustained effort. The blog posts ranking 4, 6, and 7 were updates to popular pieces from past years. We should also note there must be something about posts with “5 Steps” in the headline as “The 5 Steps to Effective Delegation” ranked third and “5 Simple Steps to Alleviate Your Customers’ Phone Frustrations” ranked eighth.

RSPA Community IQ Resource Center

  1. Super Apps Are Booming, and Here’s Why It Matters by Discover Global Network
  2. U.S. Restaurant Industry: Current State, Trends & Outlook by Poonam Rao, Global Payments/Heartland
  3. The Past, Present and Future of Contactless Technology by Josh Shultz, Revel Systems
  4. The Recurring Revenue Model’s Impact on Business Valuation by Cort Ouzts, POS Nation
  5. Reinventing Restaurant Experiences Through Facial Recognition by Dr. Jau Huang, CyberLink

Visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

  1. The Impact of COVID-19 on Consumers’ Shopping Behavior by Linsey Allen, Zebra Technologies
  2. Six Proven Strategies to Help Value-Added Resellers Increase Sales by EVO Payments
  3. 7 Key Elements for Merchant Payments in a Digital Future by Discover Global Networks
  4. Start Here: Cannabis Technology Ecosystem Basics by Harry Brelsford, 420MSP
  5. Post-Pandemic – A New Day for Mobile Payments Solutions and Services by Mark Bunney, Ingenico

The Community IQ Resource Center on the RSPA website features thought leadership content authored by our members, and IQ engagement grew exponentially in 2021. The top 10 IQ articles feature a variety of vertical markets (restaurants, retail, cannabis) and technologies (super apps, contactless tech, facial recognition) with the most attention directed to payments. The top two IQ articles were produced by payments companies Discover and Global Payments/Heartland while spots 8 and 10 were payments-focused topics. To submit your content or learn more about the Community IQ Resource Center, email RSPA Marketing Manager Chris Arnold at

RSPA Trusted Advisor Podcast

  1. What Can VARs & ISVs Learn from Well-Run Sports Teams?
  2. The Ultimate Guide to QBRs for VARs with CBS NorthStar’s Jeremy Julian
  3. Moving Your Business Forward During Canada’s COVID Lockdowns
  4. Cannabis Opportunities for VARs and ISVs in 2021
  5. Inside POS Nation’s VAR-to-ISV Transition
  6. ISV of the Future with Epson’s Aileen Maldonado and Datacap’s George Hudock
  7. Real-World Advice for Entrepreneurs from BNG’s Brady Nash
  8. Experts Analyze 2021 RSPA POS Channel KPI Study
  9. What Lies Ahead for the Retail IT Channel?
  10. Opportunities and Challenges for Women in Today’s Retail IT Channel

Let’s call out some individual RSPA members for driving the popularity of the RSPA Trusted Advisor to new heights this year. Bruce Mann of Mann & Associates and Rick Feuling of RITE/Cloud Retailer took a risk when they helped us launch the first-ever Battle of the Channel Stars game show/podcast format, and their bravery paid off big time. That episode garnered the most attention in 2021 and motivated us to record three more battles with other members throughout the year. Jeremy Julian of CBS NorthStar (and also the current RSPA Board Chair) was part of two top-10 pods, ranking #2 and #9 this year. Hussain Darsi of VAR Loyalty Sense and Shannon Moyes of ISV Volante Systems made their podcast debuts – and shared lots of specifics about how their teams were managing Canada’s COVID lockdowns – surging to #3 on our list. BlueStar’s Duane Roebuck and RCS’s Dave Albert were popular again (#4) as we checked back in on the fast-growing cannabis market, and I appreciated POS Nation’s Cort Ouzts and Will Atkinson sharing behind-the-scenes details of their acquisition of CAP Software and mapping out how a VAR becomes an ISV (#5).

Thanks for your support of the RSPA in 2021 and Happy New Year!

Editor’s Note: To see our rankings of 2020 content, follow this link: Now Presenting: The Most Popular Channel Content from the Least Popular Year

Don’t forget to visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

Jim Roddy is the Vice President of Marketing and a Business Advisor for the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as an RSPA board member, one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board, and several years as a business coach for VARs, ISVs, and MSPs. Jim has been recognized as one of the world’s Top 100 Retail Influencers by RETHINK Retail, a Leading CannaTech Influencer by 420MSP, and is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences on SMB best practices. He is author of two books – The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success and Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer – and is host of the award-winning RSPA Trusted Advisor podcast. For more information, contact