I started thinking about the 5 best content marketing books this weekend while I was canning green beans.
Here I was, sitting at my kitchen table snapping green beans and listening to Joe Pulizzi’s Content Inc. marketing podcast on Spotify and thinking about how much I’d gotten out of his book. Snap-snap went the end of the green bean as Joe and Ann Hadley talked about content marketing. Suddenly, it dawned on me: I should write about my favorite content marketing books!
Joe’s book is, of course, tops on my list. It’s the best book on on content marketing I’ve come across and that’s no coincidence. You may know Joe’s name since he was the founder of the Content Marketing Institute. At a time when few of us knew what content marketing is or how powerful it could be, Joe was busy starting an institute, a conference, and a training system for would-be content marketers. Now, through his company The Tilt, he continues to spread she mission and mindset of content marketing.
There books aren’t your typical list. For one thing, there’s a book decidedly about writing sales copy on the list, and as content marketing managers are so fond of telling people, sales copy isn’t content marketing. But the book belongs on this list because of the enormous influence it has had on my marketing writing as well as on my team’s writing. Often when new writers start at Seven Oaks Consulting, I ask them what content marketing or writing books they like. Nine times out of ten, if Bob Bly’s Copywriter’s Handbook is mentioned, they’ll be a great fit for us.
Without further ado, I present to you Jeanne Grunert’s unofficial list of the 5 best content marketing books. And yes, these are Amazon affiliate links. I will make a small commission on any books you buy after clicking on a link. It doesn’t affect your price. Thank you. Commercial over.
Best Content Marketing Books
If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
This book is one of the best books about writing, period. Brenda Ueland taught fiction writing for many years. She helped her students break free from the inhibitions that lead to stale, boring writing. We could all use some of her advice especially when writing on topics we may find less interesting.
The Copywriter’s Handbook by Bob Bly
I intentionally included Bly’s classic on writing marketing and sales copy for a reason even though content marketers are adamant that content writing isn’t sales writing. They are correct, of course, but all of us do at some point or another need to know how to write compelling sales copy. There’s no matter teacher than this primer from Bob Bly. I bought this book decades ago when I first dreamed of freelancing and I still read it periodically to refresh my memory on all things writing for business.
5 Chairs, 5 Choices by Louise Evans
I am not exaggerating when I say that Louise Evan’s book, 5 Chairs 5 Choices changed my life. Actually, it was her TedTalk on YouTube that first began my journey into communication styles. Her method of identifying various mental mindsets during conversations is essential reading for content marketers who are serious about understanding their customers. Whenever I sit down to write, I think about the five chairs and wonder whether my customers are seeing my content through jackal, giraffe, meerkat, dolphin, or what. Check out the Tedx Talk. You’ll thank me later.
Content Inc by Joe Pulizzi
Serious about your content marketing? Trying to make it as a content marketing entrepreneur? Or just want to cut to what’s important in the content marketing journey? Whether you are a seasoned content marketer or a beginner at content marketing, this is a must-read book. It will teach you the basics and set your mind buzzing with the possibilities of advanced content marketing. Joe Pulizzi makes content marketing accessible and easy to understand for all.
Stories that Stick by Kindra Hall
At the heart of great content marketing is the ability to tell a compelling story. That’s one reason why I love content marketing – as a novelist, I can use my fiction writing skills to craft great content for my clients. Understanding the hero’s journey, the concept of a villain when writing industrial copy, all of this I learned from Kindra Hall’s approach to storytelling. Kindra’s book will help you better understand the idea of stories as part of business writing and especially in content marketing.
What Are Your Favorite Content Marketing Books?
I’ve shared my 5 favorite content marketing books. Now, what are yours? Drop me a note and let me know your favorites. I’d love to add more great reads to my business book collection.
Jeanne Grunert, president of Seven Oaks Consulting, is an award-winning direct and digital marketer with over 20 years of senior marketing leadership experience. She’s passionate about mentoring marketing managers and providing exceptional content marketing programs and services to Seven Oaks clients. Jeanne holds an M.S. (awarded with distinction) in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University and frequently lectures on content marketing, search engine optimization, and project management techniques.J