Hide this You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Content Marketing

15 Books Every Content Marketer Should Read This Year

15 Books Every Content Marketer Should Read This Year
Image credit: Shutterstock
You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Let’s face it– you can never know enough about content marketing.

The niche is relatively new, constantly evolving and sometimes changes faster than you blink. While I wish someone taught me how to write better blogs in college or win the affection of the millennial buyers with non-sleazy copywriting, that never happened.

Instead, the majority of trade secrets I've picked up were either the results of personal experiments or taken from some great books on the matter.

If you want to know which books will really help you and avoid those that are just a waste of time, the way to go is to ask industry leaders what they recommend. I asked 15 rockstar content marketers and business owners what one book they recommended I should read. Their responses are below, a list of insanely curious reads to blow your mind and bottom line.

1. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

“[This book] offers a long and thrilling discourse into the world of storytelling – how come humans stay so deeply fascinated with such a simple thing over centuries? Why did the storytelling societies win over the Practical societies and what’s the exact impact a story casts on our brain and behavior?  This book will definitely give you some great ideas of why and how you should focus on telling better stories for your brand and connect with your audience on a more personal level.” - Reed Gusmus, CEO of QASymphony.

Grab it from Amazon.

2. Everybody Writes

“This comprehensive guide from Ann Handley will quickly become your next favorite book, and I highly recommend sharing it with everyone at your company. It’s seriously brilliant and useful. So, what’s inside? The essential grammar rules and styling tips to elevate your copy to the next level; a bunch of proven content formulas, tips for writing and styling social media content, editing tips, productivity tools, real live examples of impeccable writing and much more.” - Ian Bell, CEO of First Exclusive.

Grab it from Amazon.

3. Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight Into Your Customer's Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business

“No matter how persuasive and inspiring your writing is, it would still fail if you don’t align it with the expectations and needs of the actual target audience. This bestseller by Adelle Revella will help you to refine your audience research skills, teach you how to sneak peek inside the minds of your customers and style all your content accordingly for maximum ROI. This book will teach you how to produce the best content for the various steps of the buyer’s journey, create more effective sales copies and retain your customers with the right kind of message.” - Terry Asher Moncada, CEO of Moncada Marketing.

Grab it from Amazon.

Related: Five Data-Driven Improvements To Your Content Marketing Strategy

4. Made to Stick

“It will teach you how to write powerful and memorable content. The one that sticks in the reader's mind for days (or even weeks) and make them return in search for another story. The whole narrative is based on the SUCCES acronym: (Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories) and shows you exactly how to incorporate this formula in your writing. If you are still struggling to uncover your unique voice and deliver crystal clear messages, I can’t recommend this book enough.” - Joseph Kim, CEO of Orange Shine.

Grab it from Amazon.

5. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World 

“Gary Vaynerchuk needs no lengthy intros, right? If you are struggling to build a raving group of fans on social media to spread the word for you, go on and read this book. Now. You will also learn how to interact with your audience in a more efficient manner, how to stand out from the competition and turn those social vanity numbers into actual leads and paying customers.” - Mike Mitchell, CEO of 1st Art Gallery.

6. The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand 

“Visual marketing has become massive thing and the trend is nowhere to go with Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest steadily growing in popularity. For "boring brands" visual marketing can be the next big thing when you know how to play the card right. And that's exactly what this book by Ekaterina Walter will teach you. A no-nonsense guide on how to create compelling media and start telling your brand story in pictures, rather than words – templates, content formulas for various types of visual content and curious brand examples included.” - Brandon Hopkins, CEO of Diamond Links.

Grab it from Amazon.

7. The Fortune Cookie Principle: The 20 keys to a great brand story and why your business needs one

“If you think of the most successful brands– all of them indeed have a powerful, memorable story. But where does it come from and how do you hone one? These are just a few of the questions this book will answer, along with some valid suggestions, tips and examples you can "borrow" and adapt to pretty much any business niche.” - Gabe Scotti, CEO of Kaimana Divers.

Grab it from Amazon.

8. The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better

“A classic read from a person who probably doesn’t need any introductions – Seth Godin. This book is as hilarious and witty as it is action-packed with advice. It's a quick, but worthy read for any content marketer, entrepreneur, blogger and even web developer out there.” - Winston Doerschuk, CEO of Kick Addiction.

Grab it from Amazon.

9. Every Page Is Page One: Topic-Based Writing for Technical Communication and the Web

“If you are working with complicated products, you'll love this book! Writing about enterprise accounting software and making it feel "exciting" isn't a piece of cake. Yet this book will teach you how to pack each web page with maximum value, information, and clarity without boring the reader to tears. Additionally, it will teach you how to create better informational architecture, amplify your buyer's journey on the site and orchestrate the entire content in the best way possible.” - Todd Tinker, CEO of Seattle Malpractice Lawyers.

Grab it from Amazon.

10. Non Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict the Future

“You’ll learn the best practices of content curation – and why it’s a more powerful marketing technique than you may have assumed; how to find emerging niche trends and effortlessly ride on their popularity to become the first proclaimed authority; and finally, how you can monetize all these skills and knowledge.” - Robert Ferguson, CEO of SEOsHouston.

Grab it from Amazon.

Related: Eight Cheat Codes To Step Up Your Content Marketing Game

11. The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

With over 150,000 new blog posts published daily and countless social media updates posted, keeping the hand on the pulse may get tough for a content marketer. Information overload is hell of a common problem all of us face. This great guide from Daniel Levitin will help you build better work systems, keep your focus razor sharp at all times and boost your productivity.” - Tina K. Gehres, CEO of Gehres Law.

Grab it from Amazon.

12. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers

“While we all wish to be praised and surrounded by raving fans, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, you’ll have to face customer criticism, deal with negative press and keep it cool while trying to settle a customer relationships crisis. This book offers a great deal of strategies and step-by-step roadmaps to deal with the online troublemakers, manage customer expectations better and navigate the murky waters of online negativity with a straight face.” - Peter Swanson, CEO of Star Spangled Flags.

Grab it from Amazon.

13. The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue

“Knowing how to handle social media is essential for a content marketer, even if that’s not in your job description. This books will teach you how to lead effective conversations on social media (without staying there all day), crafting effective messages to get you through the noise and some proven blueprints for building a dedicated following.” - Dr. Peter Gregory, CEO of Sound Vascular.

Grab it from Amazon.

14. Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing

“This is the best beginner’s guide to content marketing that I could recommend. If you are still intimidated by words like SEO and YouTube optimization, and don’t have a clue of what to write in your email newsletter (and whether you even need one), dip your nose into this book by Andy Crestodina” - Brian Jones, CEO of Ken Jones Tires.

Grab it from Amazon.

15. Digital Influencer, A Guide to Achieving Influencer Status Online

“This book is essential for those peeps who wish to focus on building their personal brand online (rather than leveraging the company’s reputation). Ever wondered how someone becomes a renowned industry expert, grows a massive following and gets his name in the headlines of top publishers like Forbes, Business Insider and others? That’s the kind of thing you’ll learn from this book.” - Pat Borden, CEO of Mayline Office Furniture.

Grab it from Amazon.

Related: Six Growth Hacking Tips For Content Marketers