There’s no such thing as perfect content marketing — it’s a practice that has no ceiling whatsoever. After all, even the best content marketing campaigns that have ever been run could have been better somehow, and we’re destined to chase those small improvements even though we realise that we can never learn everything.
The alternative, of course, is to decide that you have learned everything already, which is really the first step towards becoming completely outdated. If you’re not picking up new tricks, you’re going to stagnate and end up outpaced and outmanoeuvred by those who are.
To get better, we need to read more content — specifically, content marketing content. (Content solves so much!) Here, we’re going to take a look at the best 14 books about content marketing that you should read, digest, and use as inspiration for your future campaigns.
Epic Content Marketing
As the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, it’s no surprise that Joe Pulizzi has content marketing on his mind in a major way. In Epic Content Marketing, he details tactics for engaging people with epic content, covers case studies, and teaches the reader how to view content more constructively. If your content marketing is falling short of an epic standard, read this.
The Content Code
Mark W. Schaefer is a teacher, author, and consultant who wrote The Content Code to take the reader through his six factors for prevailing in a heated marketplace of copy. You’ll learn how to understand your audience better, write content with the potential for virality, and win more conversions, no matter what your area of business happens to be.
This book from Ann Handley and C. C. Chapman was written in 2011 about the budding marketing industry and is still perfectly relevant today despite having last been revised in 2012. If you look past the dated social media reference and stick to the general copywriting advice, you’ll find a lot to justify the read.
Entertainingly, this book from marketing innovation expert Rohit Bhargava is actually an obvious choice for this list! Since almost everyone else is taking the obvious route with their copywriting, you can stand out by doing things differently. Bhargava covers a selection of trends that you might not expect and shows you how you can use the road less travelled to succeed.
The Content Strategy Toolkit
Author Meghan Casey gets very specific in this detailed breakdown of everything that goes into the content marketing process, running from planning and negotiation to delivery and assessment. This guide is massive and utterly packed with practical advice, so it’s the perfect resource for getting your time and efforts under complete control.
Psychology and marketing professor Robert Cialdini deploys his expertise in this fascinating book about everything that factors into the process of persuasion before it even begins. Whether you’re trying to sell products or get clients to sign on the dotted line, you know all about the importance of conversion rate, and Cialdini gives you everything you need to maximise your chances before reaching the point of decision.
If you’ve ever written something, you’re a writer. This refreshing rejection of gatekeeping from Ann Handley is the perfect primer for anyone who wants to be more involved in content marketing but lacks the confidence to write. In covering a large range of content types, you’ll see that there’s nothing to lose (and a lot to gain) from writing your own material.
This definitive read from Nicole Fenton gets rave reviews for a reason. The content marketing world requires a lot of different voices to suit different contexts, and an accomplished writer must be able to change their tone when needed, which is exactly what this book teaches the reader to do. Pick it up whenever you need some refreshers about nailing a particular style.
Content – The Atomic Particle of Marketing
You can’t do content marketing without content, obviously enough, and this work from digital marketing specialist Rebecca Lieb brings in a huge body of research on all matters content-related to provide substantial quantified conclusions about how to brief, write and distribute content in any scenario. If you like getting really granular, this one’s for you!
Content That Converts
Laura Hanly knows that content is about all conversion in the content marketing world, and she won’t settle for anything less. This book walks the reader through writing and distributing hyper-focused content that drives sales, explaining how to understand audiences, become established as an industry leader, and maintain your production quality indefinitely.
The Lead Machine
With his BARE essentials method (Build, Attract, Retain, Evaluate), Rich Brooks has the key to generating high-quality leads no matter what you’re trying to achieve. Build a contact list, push downloads, achieve much-improved search rankings, and turn visitors into long-term assets that will make you money and support your brand.
Writing for the Web
Boasting a tonne of experience making complicated things sound simple, Lynda Felder lends us her wisdom through this book. You’ll learn why it’s so important that you get to the point as quickly as possible, and cover great examples of how to use structural elements such as bulleted lists or tables. If you’ve ever struggled with brevity, read this one — it’s only 80 pages!
Letting Go of the Words
Modern UX journeys are all about efficiency and taking the path of least resistance, which is why content needs to be smooth as silk. Ginny Redish uses her mastery of plain language to explain how to write for any type of website, even at a technical level for navigation and menu copy, and will get you working efficiently in no time.
Content Strategy for the Web
Marketing guru Kristina Halvorson knows all about the importance of getting maximum value from content, and details through this excellent handbook everything you need to know about content strategy, creative ideation, and explaining to management why content warrants an investment. Full of case studies and example material, it’s the perfect pocket companion.
There you have it: 14 detail-packed content marketing books that any copywriter or content marketer can benefit from reading. Get started on them today, and you’ll have a totally new perspective tomorrow!