14 Essential Books for Content Marketers
Whether you’re just starting out in content marketing, or you're a veteran looking for a few new tricks, add these 14 titles to your bookshelf for a shot of inspiration or a review of the fundamentals.

Content Marketing Basics

1. Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less (2013) From Joe Pulizzi, head of Content Marketing Institute, this book is the perfect primer on all things content marketing. Pulizzi explains why good content is essential for attracting customers, and takes readers through the process of curating and creating effective content.  2. Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (2012) CCO at MarketingProfs, Entrepreneur columnist, and keynote speaker Ann Handley offers tips to find your company’s unique voice, discover which topics resonate with your customers, and get the most out of social media. She covers all kinds of content, from podcasts and webinars to ebooks and blog posts, and presents concrete strategies for producing each 3. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly (4th ed., 2013) Online Marketing strategist David Meerman Scott wrote nearly 400 pages of advice on developing your brand's reputation and authority online. He covers case studies and real-world examples of companies with successful content marketing strategies (and a few examples of what not to do), plus platform-specific tips for social media sites like Google Plus, Instagram, and LinkedIn.  4. Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand (2011) “Be a publisher.” “Engage your customers.” You may know the core principles of content marketing, but how do you actually do them? Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi (again!) offer a practical 12-step guide to building a content engine, from developing a personal strategy to finding the right distribution channels. 

Writing Tips

5. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content (2014) Another bestseller from Ann Handley, this book includes best practices, tips for reluctant writers, and a “Things Marketers Write” section with guidance on 17 kinds of content that marketers are most often asked to create.  6. How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times (2013) In the age of microblogs, Tweets, and status updates, marketers need to be convincing and concise. Pick up a copy of writing professor Roy Peter Clark's book for a guide to crafting compelling headlines, Tweets, blog posts, and more. 

Social & SEO

7. Social Media Explained: Untangling the World’s Most Misunderstood Business Trend (2014) Social media consultant Mark Schaefer dives into the psychology and sociology behind social media. He not only explains why you should be doing social media marketing, he helps you formulate a real plan of attack. Each chapter ends with a series of questions to help you apply the book’s principles and create your own social media strategy. 8. Big Book of Content Marketing: Use Strategies and SEO Tactics to Build Return-Oriented KPIs for Your Brand's Content (2013) SEO pro Andreas Ramos teaches readers how to boost content marketing results with effective SEO strategies. He also covers a range of distribution strategies, and outlines key metrics to analyze your success and make improvements. 9. Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing (2012) Lee Odden gives his top tips on how to combine SEO and social media with content marketing to make your content marketing efforts more effective. Learn how to plan a content strategy that will get the best results for your company, and measure the business value of every effort

Getting Your Content to Stand Out

10. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World (2013) It’s not enough to develop high-quality content — it must be placed in the right context in order to grab your target audience’s attention and spread to new potential customers. Social media and brand building expert Gary Vaynerchuk teaches you how to create content tailored to succeed on social media. If a “jab” is a touchpoint, and a “right hook” is the knockout punch that’s sure to convert, Vaynerchuk shows the best combination of jabs and hooks to nurture leads and win new business.  11. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (2006) This classic from renowned psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini gives a peek into the psychology of persuasion. Learn what drives people to say “yes” — and how to use principles like social proof and perceived scarcity to create effective CTAs that get audiences to take the next step. Absolutely essential for email marketers!  12. The Fortune Cookie Principle: The 20 Keys to a Great Brand Story and Why Your Business Needs One (2013) Brand strategist and award-winning business blogger Bernadette Jiwa explains how to tell your brand’s story and establish powerful emotional connections with your target audience. Pick up a copy to learn how to differentiate your brand from competitors and earn the loyalty of your customers.

Creating Visual Content

13. The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand (2014) As the average attention span continues to shrink, visual content is becoming more and more important for grabbing and holding your customers’ attention. Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Giolio outline strategies for the best marketing videos, infographics, Slideshare presentations, and other visual media. 14. Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work (2011) Sometimes words just aren’t enough. Explaining complex concepts, making ideas memorable, and snagging your audience’s attention needs the perfect visual. Dan Roam's book shows you how to liven up your content and engage your audience through visual media. What are your content marketing must-reads? Even in an industry that changes quicker than you can turn the page, these books will keep your marketing skills sharp!  What content marketing books have you read? Share your recommendations in the comments! And if you're looking for more great reads, check out these 5 Best Project Management Books for Beginners and Accidental Project Managers and 15 Books Every Manager Should Read
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