When it comes to marketing, content is king. It’s more important than product, price point, or design because it’s what your audience interacts with and shares on social media. From books to blog posts to infographics–these are some of the best resources for any marketer at any level looking for fresh new ideas.
“What’s on your holiday shopping list this year?”
“They’re impossible to purchase for.” “What would people really find useful?”
Those are common queries at this time of year. We’ve created this suggested book list from the SagaReach Marketing community to assist you fill out your own wish list or choose a present for a team colleague or fellow content marketer (including me).
The books on the list aren’t just focused on content marketing. They also cover themes like creativity, thinking, influencers, writing, artificial intelligence, and personal branding, all of which are likely to inspire, encourage, and train content marketers.
What’s on your holiday shopping list this year? @SagaReach MarketingContent compiled this #booklist from the #CMWorld community with the help of @AnnGynn. To Tweet, just click here.
The list is split into two sections: six “new” novels (released or revised in 2020 and 2021) and several classics (published between 2013 and 2019).
Book suggestions for new and recently updated titles
Christopher Penn’s AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer, third edition (2021).
Amazon’s description is as follows: Marketers will discover even more instances and uses of AI as it pertains to current marketing in this enlarged and enhanced third edition. Learn how AI is already affecting your business and how it will revolutionize the foundations of marketing, from attribution analysis to topic modeling to forecasting. You’ll also discover how to prepare your business or organization for AI, how to prepare your career for AI (and which occupations are most at danger), and the many, many things AI can’t – and probably won’t be able to do for quite some time.
Hannah Szabo, a “English teacher with marketing skills,” recommends: Marketers of all shades will need to hone their data skills as we head towards the fourth industrial revolution. This is a gentle introduction to the topic of AI and machine learning, outlining what you need to know (and what you don’t!) to succeed as a digital marketer.
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Park Howell’s Brand Bewitchery: How to Use the Story Cycle System to Create Spellbinding Brand Stories (2020).
Brand Bewitchery is a proven approach for leaders of purpose-driven businesses who want to clarify their brand narrative, increase their influence, and simplify their lives. The book walks readers through the Story Cycle SystemTM to create their overall brand story, a process that has increased sales by up to 600%.
Chris Inman, director of photography at Chris Inman Productions, recommends: This book will guide you through the steps of creating a compelling tale about what your organization can achieve for its customers. Its narrative method of “And, But, and Therefore” is one of my favorites.
Joe Pulizzi’s second edition of Content Inc.: Start a Content-First Business, Build a Massive Audience, and Become Radically Successful (With Little to No Money) is out now.
Amazon’s description is as follows: Joe Pulizzi re-engineers the process that so frequently leads to failure in these pages to present a lower-risk, more effective method to construct a road to success: You’ll learn how to generate good content, grow an audience around it, and then turn that audience into a product. Content Inc. will take you through every step of the way.
Brian Piper, head of content planning and evaluation at the University of Rochester, suggests: This is a must-read for every content marketer considering a career as a content entrepreneur.
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Kelly Keenan’s Everyone Is a “Influencer”: Creating a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter Most (2021).
Amazon’s description is as follows: Your brand’s narrative can’t be produced by some witches’ brew by a marketing team or agency. It must be discovered through showcasing the most inspirational qualities of your brand. The simple reality is that if you start with honesty, you’ll be able to locate others who think like you, respect what you value, and are eager to be a part of your story’s celebration.
Uncover the secrets of identifying and using genuine Influencers to propel your company to new heights. Keenan offers a proven and practiced strategy for developing your brand’s narrative, one that has been working to produce an army of influencers for over a decade, in an accessible language laced with humour.
Ann Gynn, editorial consultant at SagaReach Marketing, recommends: I despise the term “influencer” because it conjures up images of people taking selfies. However, many individuals have an impact on what a brand is and may be. This book will assist you in getting to the bottom of it all.
Tamsen Webster’s Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible (2021).
Amazon’s description is as follows: You’ve come up with a fantastic concept. It’s so strong that it has the potential to impact a person’s life, a market, or perhaps the whole globe. There’s only one problem: others aren’t yet aware of its potential. If you fully believe in the potential of your idea, you’re ready to identify your Red Thread — the thread that ties your concept to the hearts and minds of your audience. It’s the link that brings the intangible relationship between your audience’s issue and your solution to life – and makes it actionable.
Penny Gralewski, Commvault’s solutions marketing manager, recommends: In my copy, there are 37 sticky notes indicating crucial concepts. This fantastic manual assists both experienced and inexperienced marketers in developing powerful, relevant content. I’ve successfully utilized the framework to generate presentation stories and product marketing messages. This book has been suggested to marketing teams, technical leaders, professional keynote speakers, as well as instructors and students in my MBA marketing course.
Kate Murphy’s You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters (2020).
Amazon’s description is as follows: Kate Murphy explores why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we may reverse the trend in this always fascinating and sometimes amusing deep dive. She makes the psychology, neurology, and sociology of listening approachable, as well as exposing us to some of the world’s finest listeners (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman).
Andrea Walters, editor of AIM WA’s Workplace Conversations, recommends it. Very transforming and practical for all of us to improve our talking skills.
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Recommendations for classic literature
Jay Acunzo’s book Break The Wheel: Question Best Practices, Hone Your Intuition, and Do Your Best Work (2018)
Our world is inundated with advice, ideas, and experts, but we shouldn’t make judgments solely on “best practices,” according to Amazon. Instead, we should pursue what suits us best, developing professions and businesses with the kind of clarity that leads to great results. Only, first, we must break free from the never-ending loop of outdated methods and popular strategies that has been holding us back. We must dismantle the wheel. Jay Acunzo, a keynote speaker and podcaster, gives us a sledgehammer in this quick-hitting, forceful book. Break the Wheel presents a simple yet effective technique to think for yourself when surrounded by conventional thinking, with a varied variety of real-life experiences. Along the way, Acunzo gives six basic questions to ask in each circumstance in order to begin making the best judgments possible, regardless of the best practice. Stop taking advice from strangers. Say goodbye to mediocre work and welcome to excellence with this book.
Jay Acunzo stan here, as recommended by Adam P. Newton, SEO copywriter, Palmetto. Break the Wheel is a game that I suggest playing on a regular basis.
Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen (2017)
The StoryBrand approach is a tried-and-true answer to the problem that business executives have when talking about their organizations. Customers who don’t grasp what you can do for them and are hesitant to interact will miss potential purchases, customer engagement chances, and more if you don’t have a clear, distinct message. Donald Miller shows marketers and company owners how to leverage the seven universal characteristics of effective tales to boost consumer engagement and business growth.
Ali Orlando Wert, director of marketing strategy at SmartBug Media, recommends this book as a must-read for content marketers looking to integrate strong messaging and positioning with their content initiatives. In January, the CMWorld Book Club will debate it.
Hannah Szabo, an English teacher “with marketing skills,” also recommends: A quick read that sets the tone for future content marketing.
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Paul Jarvis’ Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing in Business (2019).
Company of One is a totally new concept for any size organization that focuses on keeping small and avoiding expansion. It presents this one-of-a-kind business concept and shows how to put it to work for you, including how to produce consistent cash flow.
Michelle Garrett, proprietor of Garrett Public Relations, recommends: Company of One is one of my favorite books because Paul discusses how working for yourself does not need you to build up and create a business. You can be successful (and maybe more fulfilled/happier) if you remain little.
Andy Crestodina’s fifth edition of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing was published in 2018.
Amazon’s description is as follows: This guidebook is a collection of the most significant and practical lessons and recommendations about the power of search engine optimization, social media, and email marketing, based on thousands of talks about online marketing with hundreds of organizations.
Amazing for analytics/optimization, according to Brian Piper, head of content planning and evaluation at the University of Rochester.
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Joe Pulizzi’s Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less (2013) is a book on how to tell a different story, break through the clutter, and win more customers by marketing less.
Amazon’s description is as follows: The new marketing is publishing. How can you break through the congestion of noise, disturbance, and incorrect information that now clogs your consumers’ digital space? Exceptional Content Marketing Learn how to entice prospects and consumers by providing them with information and material that they want to interact with.
Brian Piper, head of content planning and evaluation at the University of Rochester, suggests: I still refer to this book, which transformed my whole professional path and continues to provide useful advice.
Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content (2014)
Because in today’s content-driven world, everyone is a writer, Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and maintaining clients via exceptional online communication.
Trustinsights.ai co-founder and chief data scientist Christopher S. Penn recommends: It’s still fantastic.
On Writing (by Stephen King) and Everybody Writes are essential readings for content marketers, according to Hannah Szabo, an English teacher “with marketing skills.” (Begin here!)
Mark W. Schaefer’s Known: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in a Digital Age (2017)
Amazon’s description is as follows: In today’s society, being well-known in your area has a long-term benefit. Customers, better positions, and invites to special events go to those who are well-known. Is it, however, possible for anybody to become well-known? Author Mark Schaefer outlines a step-by-step approach followed by the most successful individuals in a variety of fields, including banking, education, real estate, construction, fashion, and more, in this path-finding book. KNOWN is the first book of its type, the bestselling book on personal branding that gives a road to personal business success in the digital era, with outstanding case studies, hundreds of exercises, and inspirational anecdotes.
Kyle Akerman, web analyst and measurement marketer, recommends Akerman Analytics: It’s ideal if you’re attempting to establish a personal brand.
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Rand Fishkin’s Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Guide to the Startup World was published in 2018.
Amazon’s description is as follows: It’s not that Rand Fishkin’s experiences were unpleasant; they simply weren’t nearly as Zuckerberg-like. His marketing software firm, SagaReach Marketing, is now worth $45 million per year, and he’s considered one of the world’s top SEO specialists. But it took him 15 years to build his business and reputation, and his company started as a mother-and-son family firm that was severely in debt. Now, Fishkin dispels the mystique surrounding tech startups, revealing the ups and downs of startup life that most CEOs would prefer keep hidden.
Michelle Garrett, proprietor of Garrett Public Relations, recommends: I like his viewpoint on how typical Silicon Valley knowledge may lead businesses astray as someone who lived and worked in the Valley.
Jane Alison’s Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative (2019).
Amazon’s description is as follows: This work, in addition to being a unique and brilliant exposition of literary tactics, brings great spirits and humor to its creative conclusions. It’s a freeing credo that states, “Let’s leave outmoded modes behind and restore emotion back to experimentation in thinking about new modes.” It will appeal to both serious readers and authors.
Palmetto: Adam P. Newton, SEO copywriter, recommends: This book is one of my favorites for writers in general.
Chip and Dan Heath’s book The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact (2017)
Amazon’s description is as follows: While human lives are infinitely different, four components dominate our most remembered good moments: elevation, understanding, pride, and connection. We can create more meaningful moments if we embrace these aspects. What if a teacher could create a lesson that his pupils would remember for the next 20 years? What if a manager understood how to create a memorable client experience? This book dives into some of life’s most intriguing mysteries.
Gaurav Gupta, founder and CEO of Chimes Radio Podcast Network, recommends: It is applicable to every businessperson, not just marketers. It illustrates how we should strive to create peak moments that leave consumers with a lasting impression.
Andrea Walters, editor of Workplace Conversations, AIM WA, also recommends it: “Some really emotional instances of life-changing situations.”
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Josh Bernoff’s book, Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean, was published in 2016.
You’ll discover how to front-load your writing with clever titles, subject lines, and opening phrases in this practical and amusing book. You’ll have the guts and ability to eliminate weak and pointless jargon, feeble passive voice, and timid weasel words from your writing. You’ll also get into the habit of writing straight to the reader in order to make every word count.
Cathy McPhillips, chief growth officer of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, suggests: When it was mentioned at the CMWorld book club earlier this year, I read it. I constantly apply what I’ve learned from the book.
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These books would make great presents for someone starting a new chapter in 2022. The books claim to lead to improved communication, listening, and content marketing since they are filled with creativity, inspiration, information, and some practical recommendations.
Have any of these piqued your interest? Are there any items on your wish list that we didn’t mention? Please let us know in the comments section.
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The CMWorld Book Club invites you to join us. Get all of the details and join the Slack group here.
Joseph Kalinowski/SagaReach Marketing/SagaReach Marketing/SagaReach Marketing/SagaReach Marketing/SagaReach