50 Best Content Marketing Books: Elevate Your Strategy and Achieve Success

Discover our list of the best content marketing books that money can buy and hone your craft so you can drive up engagement and rack up sales. 

You can use the best content marketing books listed here to help you navigate the ever-changing digital world. From classics that detail timeless principles of marketing to more recent publications outlining the latest AI tips, you’ll find it all here.

Content marketing describes how creators and small business owners build relationships with their audience and customers through writing, podcasting, video, and other content creation activities.

I also like the Content Marketing Institute’s definition: “[Content marketing is] A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

According to Statista, the content market industry is set to reach revenues of $107 billion by 2026. As the saying goes, in marketing, content is king.

It’s also a great way for creatives to make money too. Lots of books have been written in the last decade explaining how to understand, build, and use marketing content. We’ve compiled the best ones here for you. When you are done, check out our roundup of the best business books.

Contents

1. Epic Content Marketing

Epic Content Marketing
Pulizzi is known as the “Godfather of Content Marketing.”

The full title of this book by Joe Pulizzi is Epic Content Marketing: How To Tell A Different Story, Break Through The Clutter, And Win More Customers By Marketing Less.

It’s about more than just writing content; it goes into the marketing part of content marketing, explaining how to use content to position your business as an authority in its niche, how to measure the success of your content, and how to curate your content to get the best results. You might also be interested in our guide on content marketing metrics.

“Content marketing is owning media as opposed to renting it. It’s a marketing process to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating content in order to change or enhance a consumer behavior.”

Sale
Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Joe Pulizzi (Author) - Joe Pulizzi (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 12/20/2013 (Publication Date) - Elephant Audiobooks (Publisher)

2. Everybody Writes

Everybody Writes
The author started as a business journalist and editor

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley focuses specifically on how to craft quality content. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to get paid to be a content creator.

Using journalism best practices along with the specific guidelines that have been developed over the last two decades for internet content, this book gets into the nuts and bolts of how to craft a great piece of marketing content.

There are chapters on writing for social media, making infographics, researching and citing sources, fact-checking, and using web slang. It’s set up like a reference book, and I keep it at my elbow while writing any kind of content.

“The truth is this: writing well is part habit, part knowledge of some fundamental rules, and part giving a damn.”

Sale
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide for Creating Ridiculously Good Content
  • Hardcover Book
  • Handley, Ann (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 298 Pages - 05/24/2024 (Publication Date) - John Wiley & Sons Inc (Publisher)

3. Content Machine

Content Machine
Content Machine

Content Machine: Use Content Marketing To Build a 7-figure Business With Zero Advertising by serial entrepreneur Dan Norris is specially written for business owners who want to use marketing content to build an online business.

He explains how to use content marketing in place of traditional advertising, and how to utilize marketing content to scale an online business up to 7 figures. He goes over common mistakes people make when trying to create stand-out content, and he offers downloads and frameworks for every stage of content creation. You might find our guide on content marketing for beginners helpful.

“There is no point at all in generating mediocre content. Don’t just write about your business or your product. Your content has to be educational and solve problems.”

Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-figure Business With Zero Advertising
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Norris, Dan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 226 Pages - 08/07/2015 (Publication Date)

4. Content That Converts

Content That Converts
Laura worked for Hachette, handling the memoirs of Michael Palin, Nelson Mandela, and Tina Fey

Content That Converts: How To Build A Profitable And Predictable B2B Content Marketing Strategy by Laura Hanly focuses on how to develop content strategies that consistently bring in qualified leads and sales.

You’ll learn how to create long-form content pieces that you can use to establish yourself as a leader in your industry, how to take advantage of SEO in your content, and how to distribute your content effectively using email marketing.

The book is written especially for B2B startup owners who want a step-by-step process to follow.

“Think of a complete content marketing strategy as an ecosystem: Content is a dynamic medium, and there are living creatures —your customers—involved in it at every stage, just like a physical ecosystem. Your content strategy will grow and evolve over time, and there have to be a number of elements present for the strategy to be healthy and effective.”

Content That Converts: How to Build a Profitable and Predictable B2B Content Marketing Strategy
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hanly, Laura (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 145 Pages - 10/01/2016 (Publication Date) - Gale Creative (Publisher)

5. The Content Code

The Content Code
The book mixes the theory behind content with real-world examples

The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies To Ignite Your Content, Your Marketing, And Your Business by Mark W. Schaefer is perfect for those who want to understand how marketing content intersects with social media and branding.

Schaefer lists 6 ways of using content wisely in digital marketing and outlines both strategies and tactics for implementing them. He also explains the basics of search engine optimization in content, using content to brand a business, and how to make content shareable.

“Creating great content is not the finish line. It’s the starting line.”

The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Schaefer, Mark W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 260 Pages - 03/11/2015 (Publication Date)

6. Conversation Marketing

Conversation Marketing
Lund developed content solutions for HSBC, Forbes, Charles Schwab, and Nasdaq

Conversation Marketing: How To Be Relevant And Engage Your Customer By Speaking Human by Kevin Lund posits that what customers really want out of marketing messages is connection. Great content that encourages conversation with customers tends to be quite effective at achieving that goal.

Lund says that what consumers want is a connection to a brand before they take action, like spending their hard-earned money. He shows readers how to infuse value into their content, how to hear what customers are telling you with their behavior, how to give them agency in their relationship with you, and how to tell them a meaningful story.

“Social media etiquette insists we do not sell ourselves, but rather share ourselves.”

Conversation Marketing: How to Be Relevant and Engage Your Customer by Speaking Human
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Lund, Kevin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 228 Pages - 10/01/2018 (Publication Date) - Career Press (Publisher)

7. All Marketers Are Liars

All Marketers Are Liars
A giant of the marketing industry, Seth Godin is also the author of 20 international bestsellers

All Marketers Are Liars: The Power Of Telling Authentic Stories In A Low Trust World by Seth Godin isn’t specifically about creating marketing content, but it focuses so heavily on telling compelling stories in your marketing that it’s got some definite value to content marketers.

Godin asserts that all marketers are storytellers at heart because humans respond so positively to them. Successful marketing campaigns don’t focus on things like features or benefits, they tell an authentic story instead.

“We drink the can, not the beverage.”

All Marketers Are Liars (05) by Godin, Seth [Hardcover (2005)]
  • Hardcover Book
  • Godin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/01/2005 (Publication Date) - Portfolio, Hardcover(2005) (Publisher)

8. Content—The Atomic Particle Of Marketing

Content—The Atomic Particle Of Marketing
Lieb specializes in digital marketing and media, with a concentration in content strategy

Content—The Atomic Particle Of Marketing: The Definitive Guide To Content Marketing Strategy by Rebecca Lieb claims that content is the single most critical element of modern marketing plans.

This book is dense but full of valuable information including hours of interviews with senior marketers at some of the world’s leading brands. If you need a step-by-step guide on how to create highly effective content, this book will show you how.

“Content is the atomic particle of all digital marketing. Everything. There’s no owned media without content. There’s no social media without content. And there’s no paid media without content.”

Content - The Atomic Particle of Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Content Marketing Strategy
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Lieb, Rebecca (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 239 Pages - 06/03/2017 (Publication Date) - Kogan Page (Publisher)

9. Content Strategy For The Web

Content Strategy for the Web
The author is CEO and founder of the well-known content firm Brain Traffic

Content Strategy For The Web was written by Kristina Halvorson, the CEO of Brain Traffic. It’s considered the go-to book for marketing experts and writers who want to realize the value of content and plan for long-term marketing success using a content strategy.

It’s full of case studies as well as sections on how to audit a website’s content, how to analyze the data that your content produces, and how to optimize content to bring in subscribers and get results.

“Quality, relevant content can’t be spotted by an algorithm. You can’t subscribe to it. You need people – actual human beings – to create or curate it.”

Content Strategy for the Web (Voices That Matter)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Halvorson, Kristina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 248 Pages - 02/28/2012 (Publication Date) - New Riders (Publisher)

10. The Content Marketing Handbook

The Content Marketing Handbook
Bly became a self-made multi-millionaire while in his 30s

The Content Marketing Handbook: How To Double The Results Of Your Marketing Campaigns by Robert W. Bly stands out because it was written by a legendary copywriter, author of the bestseller The Copywriter’s Handbook, considered by many copywriters to be the best copywriting book available today.

In this book, he focuses on how to create high-quality content, how to structure content that brings in leads from a target audience (such as lead magnets), how to create landing pages that strategically give away content for a specific purpose, how to create content that can be used in multiple marketing channels, and how to know when to stop giving away content and start asking for sales.

His foray into content marketing has been written for writers, marketers, and small business owners—anyone in the marketing world—to help them create content that builds trust, stimulates interest, and ultimately sells more.

“It’s not enough to write so that you can be understood. You must write so that you cannot be misunderstood.”

The Content Marketing Handbook: How to Double the Results of Your Marketing Campaigns
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Bly, Robert W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 293 Pages - 02/18/2020 (Publication Date) - Entrepreneur Press (Publisher)

11. Practical Content Strategy & Marketing by Julia McCoy

Practical Content Strategy & Marketing
Julia grew up and lived in a cult before escaping

Practical Content Strategy & Marketing: The Content Strategy & Marketing Course Guidebook by Julia McCoy aims to provide businesses with a guide to content marketing defined by practicality. The author is one of the big names in the industry and the founder of AI-driven content provider Content Hacker. 

The book teaches the basics of content, the often-ignored foundations, and the skills that are needed to succeed, such as the ability to be consistent and to stick to a content strategy. Over six modules, the author guides you step-by-step on how to write content without any fluff or corporate lingo. Practical Content is perfect for beginners and those halfway to becoming experts themselves.

“Content marketing is the industry to be in for freelancers, marketers, and agencies.”

Julia McCoy, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing
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Practical Content Strategy & Marketing: The Content Strategy & Marketing Course Guidebook
  • McCoy, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 390 Pages - 11/29/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

12. They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

They Ask You Answer
Marcus argues you do not need a marketing degree or computer expertise to succeed in content marketing

They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan suggests you look beyond keywords and link-building and focus on quality, in-house content creation.

Sheridan owns a pool company that nearly collapsed after the 2007-08 financial crisis. Today, the company almost has more business than it can handle and Marcus consults and coaches up-and-coming entrepreneurs. 

They Ask You Answer is a ground-up success story that begins with a sales team of one. It gives you practical advice and techniques that can be used to develop a sound inbound marketing strategy based on producing content online. Written in narrative style, the book offers case studies and foundational examples that ensure you grasp every concept and method along the way. 

“If you don’t show it, it doesn’t exist. Saying “We have great customer service” is likely said by everyone else in your industry. And if everyone is saying it, you can be assured it means nothing to the consumer—that is, until you show it.”

Marcus Sheridan, They Ask You Answer
They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer
  • Hardcover Book
  • Sheridan, Marcus (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 01/17/2017 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

13. Content Marketing, Engineered by Wendy Covey

Content Marketing, Engineered
Covey was named one of the Wall Street Journal’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America

Written by Wendy Covey, Content Marketing, Engineered: Build Trust and Convert Buyers with Technical Content stresses the importance of content in scoring sales. The author has vast experience at the top of technical marketing gained over 20 years. She also coaches companies to improve their content marketing programs.

Content Marketing, Engineered delivers a tried-and-tested methodology for marketing powered by technical content. The book covers the entire chain of the effective content marketing process from start to finish and includes planning, writing, publishing, promoting, and measuring. The author insists on the discovery of the right type of content (chapters 4 to 6) for the right channels (chapters 7 to 8) and the accurate measuring of its success (chapters 10 to 11). Her playbook can be especially useful for companies in manufacturing.

Highly technical and engineer-centered, the book is useful to every business owner or executive at the helm of a company marketing technical products or services.

“You must make an up-front investment to create your content marketing foundation, but with regular optimization and promotion your content will generate new interest and leads for years to come at a bargain lifetime cost per lead.”

Wendy Covey, Content Marketing, Engineered
Sale
Content Marketing, Engineered: Build Trust and Convert Buyers with Technical Content
  • Covey, Wendy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 248 Pages - 05/13/2020 (Publication Date) - River Grove Books (Publisher)

14. Break the Wheel by Jay Acunzo

Break the Wheel
Acunzo has run the Unthinkable with Jay Acunzo podcast since 2016

Break the Wheel: Question Best Practices, Hone Your Intuition, and Do Your Best Work by former Google digital media strategist Jay Acunzo recommends avoiding “best practices” and focusing on identifying strategies that work for your specific business model.

The author, cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, Fortune, and more, currently runs the weekly “Damn the Best Practices” newsletter.

The book is easy to read and centers around six fundamental questions to ask in any situation: 

  • What’s your aspirational anchor? 
  • Why you? 
  • What is the first principle insight about your audience? 
  • Who are your true believers? 
  • What are your constraints? 
  • How can you expand?

An idealist, Acunzo breaks through the gray B2B marketing space with conversational language that engages. Filled with insights and empowerment, Break the Wheel may not be specifically about content but about marketing ideas in general. Its decision-making strategies and innovative thinking can be applied to content creation.

“When we make learning the point, instead of end results, we tend to get better end results.”

Jay Acunzo, Break the Wheel
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Break the Wheel: Question Best Practices, Hone Your Intuition, and Do Your Best Work
  • Acunzo, Jay (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 268 Pages - 09/27/2018 (Publication Date) - Unthinkable Media (Publisher)

15. For the Culture by Marcus Collins

For the Culture
At one point, Marcus Collins was in charge of digital strategy for Beyonce

Praised all around, For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be by Marcus Collins, argues that culture influences behavior and can be harnessed in marketing as well.

Collins is a famous ad wizz, award-winning marketer, and former head of strategy at Wieden and Kennedy, New York. He contributed to Google campaigns for the “Made in America” Music Festival, iTunes, and Nike sports initiatives.

In For the Culture, Collins explains how culture can be leveraged into advertising, mainly by way of ethics. For example, when the New Jersey Nets moved to Brooklyn, Marcus’ agency countered fears of gentrification with billboards appealing to local pride.

A real game changer, the book is a useful source of new ideas for content marketers eager to tap into new audiences and get loyal customers.

“It doesn’t matter if your product is better or your cause is more noble. The ones who lead – who contribute to the cultural characteristics of a community – tend to be more successful than those who follow trends.”

Marcus Collins, For the Culture
Sale
For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be
  • Hardcover Book
  • Collins, Marcus (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 05/02/2023 (Publication Date) - PublicAffairs (Publisher)

16. High-Impact Content Marketing by Purna Virji

High-Impact Content Marketing
Purna is also very active on LinkedIn, providing regular advice to her followers

High-Impact Content Marketing: Strategies to Make Your Content Intentional, Engaging, and Effective is not your traditional content marketing book. The author, Purna Virji, is the principal consultant in charge of content solutions at LinkedIn, with past collaborations with Microsoft. She is also an award-winning journalist and keynote speaker.

In High-Impact Content Marketing, published in 2023, Virji puts forth a guide for marketing professionals focused on practicability, actionability, empathy, and AI strategies. She says content marketers should “stick to human speak,” swapping complexity for simplicity. Instead of using AI to pump out content, marketers could extract ideas and brainstorm with AI.

In the book, Virji puts forth what she calls the CATNIP formula for organizations: 

  1. Concept based on audience understanding. 
  2. Applicability in the moments that matter. 
  3. Timing the market. 
  4. Nailing the execution. 
  5. Identifying the correct positioning. 
  6. Progressing and evolving with the customer.

At times funny, the book bursts with ideas for creating any type of content, with templates that can be easily incorporated by marketing teams and companies big and small. 

“More content isn’t better content. The answer is to do less, not more.”

Purna Virji, High-Impact Content Marketing
Sale
High-Impact Content Marketing: Strategies to Make Your Content Intentional, Engaging and Effective
  • Virji, Purna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 07/25/2023 (Publication Date) - Kogan Page (Publisher)

17. Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher by Rebecca Lieb

Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher
Lieb is often a guest at major marketing events

In Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher – How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media (Que Biz-Tech), Rebecca Lieb argues that the internet and our presence on social media have made us all publishers. A world-renowned digital content expert, she guides brands that want to revamp their content, whether it be PR, SEO, blogs, social media, websites, and so on.

Content should be a dialogue, the author says. With only 240 pages, the book keeps it short and sweet, stressing that publishing – not advertising – is the way to drive customers to the product. It also purposely moves away from short-form content to building loyalty with the customer base, providing specific examples and roadmaps. 

More of a classic than a fresh new look at content, Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher is worth your time. 

“Be prepared to experiment. Be prepared to fail – but make sure you learn from those failings.”

Rebecca Lieb, Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher
Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher - How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media (Que Biz-Tech)
  • Lieb, Rebecca (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 10/14/2011 (Publication Date) - Que Publishing (Publisher)

18. Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win by Ben Guttmann

Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win
Ben taught at CUNY Baruch College for nine years in the marketing department

Ben Guttmann’s Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win―and How to Design Them, published in 2023, quickly became a favorite of marketers for its advocacy for simplicity. In only 208 pages, the author, a professional who has worked for the NFL, Comcast NBCUniversal, and many others from the Fortune 500, condenses an entirely new strategy for content. 

Simply Put advances a five-part framework that can be applied anywhere to design simple, efficient messaging that drives engagement and sales. The five parts are being:

  • Beneficial
  • Focused
  • Salient
  • Empathetic
  • Minimal

Guttman’s book is a revelation in its refreshing, straightforward approach.

“We can pretty easily know what works just by using common sense, but it’s a different thing to know why things work, and it’s another thing altogether to know how to create messages that work.”

Ben Guttmann, Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win
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Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win―and How to Design Them
  • Guttmann, Ben (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 10/10/2023 (Publication Date) - Berrett-Koehler Publishers (Publisher)

19. Get Content Get Customers by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett

Get Content Get Customers
The book argues that today’s marketing is a lot like publishing

Written by marketing heavyweights Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett, Get Content Get Customers: Turn Prospects into Buyers with Content Marketing explains how to deliver content to customers in a complimentary fashion. 

You would be hard-pressed to find two people with more experience in content. Pulizzi, the chief content officer for a leading online platform for content marketing, and Barrett, president of a firm specializing in content, live and breathe the topic. 

In Get Content Get Customers, published in 2009, the pair discuss the fact that claims of product superiority no longer convince buyers. Instead, compelling content that does not upset or disrupt the customer is the new way of marketing. The book provides thoroughly researched case studies and presents techniques that can be applied to a wide range of products. Eye-opening, Get Content Get Customers is still relevant today.

“Content marketing drives revenues and may ultimately be the most important and effective marketing strategy available to successful marketing professionals.”

Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett, Get Content Get Customers
Get Content Get Customers: Turn Prospects into Buyers with Content Marketing
  • Pulizzi, Joe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 05/20/2009 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill (Publisher)

20. AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer by Christopher Penn

AI For Marketers
The book is only 167 pages long

Concise and to the point, Christopher Penn’s AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer really is a primer. Written in 2019, before the recent AI boom, the book was ahead of its time. Penn is an experienced keynote speaker on marketing and co-founder of a data analytics company. 

AI for Marketers offers several practical applications of AI in the marketing industry – text mining, and network graphing, but also how to use AI in content creation, conversational marketing, marketing distribution, and analytics. Penn also discussed how you should prepare your company and career for AI, but also the unwanted biases that can plague artificial intelligence.

“Budget cuts. Staff reductions. Increasingly unrealistic demands. What’s the solution? What’s the way out of this situation? The answer, unsurprisingly, is artificial intelligence.”

Christopher Penn, AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer
AI For Marketers: An Introduction and Primer: Second Edition
  • Penn, Christopher (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 167 Pages - 02/01/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

21. The Content Fuel Framework by Melanie Deziel

The Content Fuel Framework
Deziel was a founding member of HuffPost Partner Studio

Melanie Deziel, the founder of a consulting service for marketers, has always worked in storytelling. An influencer, journalist, speaker, and branding specialist, she wrote The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas (For Marketers and Creators) to piece together a guide for a specialized audience. 

The book aims to power marketers with a mix of focus and format – message and medium – which can serve as a breeding ground for innovative ideas. The Content Fuel Framework is addressed to creators most of all, and marketing just happens to be the industry where creativity is turned into a business. 

The book, which is split into 10 “focuses” and 10 “formats,” centers on a framework that can also benefit writers, another branch of the economy running on creativity. Chapter 1 in the formats section, for example, is specifically dedicated to writing. 

Deziel argues that creativity is something we all have and says her framework can be used by anyone. Use it to find inspiration within yourself to create unskippable content, and if you need more help, check out our article on ways to boost creative thinking.

“Anyone can generate content ideas quickly and easily, if they have the right framework.”

Melanie Deziel, The Content Fuel Framework
The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas (For Marketers and Creators)
  • Deziel, Melanie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 204 Pages - 02/24/2020 (Publication Date) - StoryFuel Press (Publisher)

22. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Made to Stick
The brothers’ books sold over 3 million copies worldwide

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by brothers Chip and Dan Heath was an instant classic the moment it came out in 2007. Chip is a professor at Stanford’s School of Business, and Dan is a Senior Fellow at Duke’s CASE Center for Entrepreneurs. 

Made to Stick, the brothers’ first book, spent two years on the Business Week bestseller list and was chosen as an Amazon Top 10 Business Book. More than a trendy business tome, the book looks at how ideas gain traction. 

The Six Principles of Stickiness say that your ideas should be;

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Stories

Fast-paced and provocative, Made to Stick shows that ideas are the core of messages – and content is a message. The book dissects urban legends and ads, providing readers with a mnemonic to remember a formula for sticky messages. After reading it, chances are you will be much better at communicating.

“The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.”

Chip and Dan Heath, Made to Stick
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Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
  • Great product!
  • Hardcover Book
  • Chip Heath (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 01/02/2007 (Publication Date) - Random House (Publisher)

23. Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins by Mark W. Schaefer

Marketing Rebellion
Schaefer is the author of six other bestsellers

Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins by Mark W. Schaefer will teach you the history of consumer marketing and why consumer loyalty is dying.

Marketing Rebellion seeks out those businesses in desperate need of revamping their marketing and content strategies. Schaefer is the man behind one of the top marketing blogs in the world. He has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, having studied under the father of modern management theory, Peter Drucker, during his MBA.

In Marketing Rebellion, published in 2019, Schaefer throws out all you know about marketing and puts customers at the center of his strategy. He argues that customers want human connection and control beyond all – control of what they see, their data, and the brands they value. Experts and beginners can benefit from the book, which critiques some of the most famous recent ad campaigns.

“Consumers are in control. The sales funnel is gone. Advertising is dying. Great marketing may anger people. Loyalty is a myth. The traditional CMO role is a thing of the past. Technology may be the energy. Engagement doesn’t matter. Our customers are the marketing department.”

Mark W. Schaefer, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins
Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins
  • Schaefer, Mark W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 318 Pages - 01/11/2019 (Publication Date) - Publisher Services (Publisher)

24. Behavioral Science in Marketing by Nancy Harhut

Using Behavioral Science in Marketing
he book was praised for being highly practical and accessible

Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive Customer Action and Loyalty by Prompting Instinctive Responses by Nancy Harhut, published in 2022, has won numerous awards, among which the NYC Big Book Award 2023 and Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2023 – Business. 

Harhut is a co-founder and chief creative officer at HBT Marketing, which specializes in human behavior techniques applied to marketing. The book applies behavioral science to all segments of the industry, including content.

The author writes about the American multinational telecommunications company AT&T, Apple, Spotify, and other giants that use similar approaches to marketing.

Using Behavioral Science in Marketing stands out by combining theory with application. Hunt’s techniques include creating urgency and exclusivity through scarcity or encouraging sales and loyalty through the Zeigarnik effect.

The Zeigarnik effect argues that people remember unfinished tasks better than completed ones. According to Psychology Today, “Unfinished tasks create mental tension.” That tension, or interruption, can improve a person’s ability to remember the task. Marketers use this strategy to catch people’s attention or nudge them into making a purchase. 

“Marketers craft campaigns as if the people they’re meant for actually stop to contemplate them – even though science tells a very different story. A story of fleeting attention and autopilot audiences.”

Nancy Harhut, Behavioral Science in Marketing
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Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive Customer Action and Loyalty by Prompting Instinctive Responses
  • Harhut, Nancy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 08/30/2022 (Publication Date) - Kogan Page (Publisher)

25. The Context Marketing Revolution by Mathew Sweezey

The Context Marketing Revolution
Sweezey often acts as a keynote speaker at marketing conferences around the world

Traditional marketing campaigns are dead, and human behavior is key, according to Mathew Sweezey’s The Context Marketing Revolution: How to Motivate Buyers in the Age of Infinite Media. Consumers are nowadays experiencing what he calls infinite media – content without end. To be successful, companies should focus on customer experience. 

Principal of marketing insights at US giant Salesforce, Mathew Sweezey, is no stranger to the importance of content in any marketing campaign. He works with UPS, Home Depot, Dell, and several other sizeable organizations. 

Still fresh after its publishing in 2020, Sweezey’s The Content Marketing Revolution is a roadmap for today’s digital age marketing. The book does not tease the reader along, promising a recipe for success but never quite providing it. Instead, it gives you actionable, innovative ideas that you can apply to your content marketing tomorrow. 

One example is IKEA, which altered its image of a maze-like warehouse by offering customers a handyman who can do everything for them, from picking up the furniture to assembling it. This way, Sweezey points out, IKEA met customers at their exact point of need.

“Consumers simply aren’t listening anymore. They don’t have to. Today they’re the ones in charge, not marketers.”

Mathew Sweezey, The Context Marketing Revolution
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The Context Marketing Revolution: How to Motivate Buyers in the Age of Infinite Media
  • Hardcover Book
  • Sweezey, Mathew (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 03/24/2020 (Publication Date) - Harvard Business Review Press (Publisher)

26. Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman

Content Rules
Handley was recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman is your guide to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

The two authors are as experienced as you get in marketing. Ann Handley is the COO of MarketingProfs, and C.C. Chapman is the online marketing consultant who founded DigitalDads.com. 

As the title says, content rules – it rules platforms, networks, and websites, and developing it is key to marketing. The book shares case studies, theories, interviews, and ways to leverage social media and make sales. 

Leaving behind corporate and technical speak, Handley and Chapman are simply good fun and give you the foundations you need to build on and create your own voice. One such core idea is that content that is viewed as useful – “how to” videos, for example – is much more appreciated by customers. 

“Content drives conversations. Conversation engages your customers. Engaging with people is how your company will survive and thrive in this newly social world.”

Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, Content Rules
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Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business
  • Handley, Ann (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 05/22/2012 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

27. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

Contagious
Berger also published over 50 papers in major academic journals

Jonah Berger’s Contagious: Why Things Catch On is the equivalent of a cult classic in marketing. A marketing professor at the Wharton School and bestselling author, Berger also consulted for Fortune 500 companies and wrote for all the top business magazines.

His acclaimed Contagious stresses the importance of the oldest form of content, word of mouth. Social transmission is key to successful marketing, Berger argues, and the resulting social influence shapes everything we do or buy. 

Immensely interesting and thought-provoking, Contagious introduces strategies for success and gives specific cases where they worked. For example, the fact that customers like being “in the know” or that one product may trigger the purchase of another – coffee and donuts, for example, or the Mars bar and the 1997 NASA mission to Mars. 

“Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.”

Jonah Berger, Contagious: Why Things Catch On
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Contagious: Why Things Catch On
  • Berger, Jonah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 05/03/2016 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

28. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
Gary started his first business when he was ten years old

If you’re in marketing, you’ve heard of Gary Vaynerchuk. Serial entrepreneur and head of VaynerX, VaynerMedia, and VeeFriends; he’s an innovative thinker, speaker, and investor.

In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, the social media guru and New York Times bestselling author separates between jabs – engaging with customers over time – and right hooks – the traffic-to-sales conversion. The trick is knowing how to combine them. 

For Gary Vee, as he’s known online, it does not matter what you make or what size your company or campaign is. You must, above all, stay relevant and authentic. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is an incredible resource for marketers. The book provides a blueprint for each social media platform, with zero filler text, giving you both the how and the why behind it. Read it and master communication online.  

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Vaynerchuk, Gary (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 11/26/2013 (Publication Date) - Harper Business (Publisher)

29. Marketing 6.0: The Future Is Immersive by Philip Kotler

Marketing 6.0
Philip Kotler is often dubbed the “father of modern marketing.”

Marketing 6.0: The Future Is Immersive, by Philip Kotler, aims to help you write killer content. The author, a professor in marketing and a legend in the field at 92 years old, highlights the importance of creating an immersive customer experience.

The book, published in December 2023 on Audible, looks at the technology-driven shifts in the market and how Gen Z and Gen Alpha, digital natives, use technologies. 

Accessible and easy to flip through, Marketing 6.0 stresses multi- and omnichannel marketing. The first refers to reaching customers through different channels, while in the latter the channels are interconnected and integrated. The book also mentions meta-marketing – the process of bringing related industries, buyers, and sellers together – as essential. 

“Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content with a target audience, primarily through social media. It is more effective than traditional advertising because the content is more relevant and engaging than ads.”

Philip Kotler, Marketing 6.0: The Future Is Immersive
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Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital
  • Hardcover Book
  • Kotler, Philip (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 12/05/2016 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

30. Content Chemistry by Andy Crestodina

Content Chemistry
Andy has authored around 100 articles on content marketing

Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing by Andy Crestodina is the go-to book for search engine optimization, email marketing, and everything social media. It also offers theory and real-world advice for content marketing. No hacking, no secret formula, just step-by-step brand-building.

Andy, the co-founder and CMO of an award-winning web design company, has authored around 100 articles on content marketing. He writes clearly and simply, without the often indecipherable marketing jargon. If you manage content, you need this book – plus, it’s illustrated!

“For thousands of businesses, great content marketing is the difference between success and failure on the web.”

Andy Crestodina, Content Chemistry
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Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing
  • Crestodina, Andy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 282 Pages - 05/01/2018 (Publication Date) - Orbit Media Studios, Inc (Publisher)

31. The Storytelling Edge by Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas

The Storytelling Edge
Snow is a three-time bestselling author

Content is always a story you tell. That’s the idea behind The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming into the Void, and Make People Love You, by authors Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas. The first is the co-founder of a thriving technology company that helps big brands create and optimize content, while the second is the director of content strategy for the same company – so you know they work well together.

The two authors highlight that every business wants to tell a story about itself. That, essentially, is content. It’s hard to do it well, though, and this is where The Storytelling Edge comes in. 

Full of tips and tricks on content creation, the book is essentially an insider’s guide. It teaches you how to forge a powerful story with entertaining anecdotes, hard data, and empathy. For example, Snow and Lazauskas suggest following what they call the COO pattern – create, connect, and optimize, when it comes to building an audience. They also list the essential elements of storytelling, namely relatability, novelty, tension, and fluency.

“As people and companies in the twenty-first century, we can’t afford to be dishonest storytellers. We need to recognize that when we’re using stories to build relationships, we can’t lie.”

Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas, The Storytelling Edge
The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming into the Void, and Make People Love You
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Snow, Shane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 01/15/2018 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

32. Inbound Content by Justin Champion

Inbound Content
Champion is a Content Professor for HubSpot Academy

Inbound Content: A Step-by-Step Guide To Doing Content Marketing the Inbound Way by digital nomad and marketer Justin Champion is another important read for content marketers all around.

Justin created HubSpot’s Content Marketing Certification course. Maybe that’s why reading Inbound Content feels like taking a class – one in which you learn but also enjoy yourself. 

The book centers on the creation of valuable content and its conversion into engagement and sales. Justin reminds us that content marketing has been around for ages and that its digital medium does not change its basic principles. He describes how to build a campaign, set a timeline, review and edit, repurpose content, republish, and many other techniques. Overall, it’s well-structured and easy to understand.

“Coming up with ideas may sound like an easy task. But turning an idea into a piece of content is a different story.”

Justin Champion, Inbound Content
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Inbound Content: A Step-by-Step Guide To Doing Content Marketing the Inbound Way
  • Hardcover Book
  • Champion, Justin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 04/24/2018 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

33. Superfans by Pat Flynn

Superfans
Flynn is also the author of Let Go and Will It Fly?

Pat Flynn’s Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, and Build a Successful Business is all about the social – and sometimes the media as well! 

A podcaster, author, and creator of multiple online businesses, Flynn has been through successes and failures both, and he’s here to share what he learned along the way.

He argues that businesses and entrepreneurs must connect with followers and customers and turn them into “Superfans,” loyal supporters who will tell their friends about your product. You don’t need millions of people or a huge customer base – you just need some Superfans. Social media followers are nice but you want an audience who values you because you have made a difference in their lives.

Flynn’s strategies are particularly useful because they can be applied by anyone in virtually any field. His tips can aid you in creating a business, a YouTube channel, or simply publishing a piece of content.

“Everyone is a fan of something, but if you’re a superfan, you behave a little differently. To outsiders, your actions may seem ridiculous.”

Pat Flynn, Superfans
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Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, and Build a Successful Business
  • Hardcover Book
  • Flynn, Pat (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 08/13/2019 (Publication Date) - Get Smart Books (Publisher)

34. Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose

Killing Marketing
The authors say it’s easier to acquire an audience rather than build one

Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose came out in 2017 but remains relevant. The two marketing experts argue that despite all the claims of change, marketing is still pretty much the same as it always has been.

Instead of doing the same thing over and over, smart marketers need to create value for their customers – primarily through content. The book revolves around examples of companies such as Red Bull or Disney that are doing just that and turning profits that make it more than worthwhile. 

In-depth and oriented towards people in the field, Killing Marketing has a central theme that dominates – content-driven marketing. Pulizzi and Rose say that good quality content, wrapped in a sound media strategy, can get you an audience overnight, particularly on social media. 

“As human beings, the more we see something, the more this becomes our reality, regardless of whether our sample size is too small to draw any real conclusions.”

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, Killing Marketing
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Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit
  • Hardcover Book
  • Pulizzi, Joe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 09/13/2017 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill (Publisher)

35. Content Marketing Strategies For Dummies by Stephanie Diamond

Content Marketing Strategies For Dummies
The book also features large screenshots that act as visual aids

With so many marketing books dedicated to experts, there have to be some aimed at novices. Enter Content Marketing Strategies for Dummies, by Stephanie Diamond. The author is the founder of an online marketing company aiding companies to develop into major brands. 

Despite the title, the book is quite technical – but marketing isn’t easy! Diamond explains how you can use content marketing to thrive in a cutthroat market, introducing the Five C Cycle, a five-step method for driving creation and targeting content. The five Cs are;

  • Company Focus
  • Customer Experience
  • Content Creation
  • Channel Promotion
  • Closed-Loop Analysis

You start by determining and documenting your company’s focus, then take into account the desires of the target audience, and only then create the content, followed by promotion and analysis.

“When readers see your branded content, they need to make an immediate decision. They have to decide whether you’re trustworthy enough to continue reading.”

Stephanie Diamond, Content Marketing Strategies For Dummies
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Content Marketing Strategies For Dummies
  • Diamond, Stephanie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 01/26/2016 (Publication Date) - For Dummies (Publisher)

36. The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halbert

The Boron Letters
Halbert passed away in 2007

The Boron Letters is much more than a marketing or business book. Written by Gary C. Halbert, one of history’s greatest copywriters, for his son Bond, the letters have become a classic among marketers and copywriters. They consist of life advice that goes from diet to the way of living and working.

The Boron Letters is a personal, inspiring account from a giant of the marketing industry on what it takes to succeed. Just 146 pages in length, this book can change your life. It goes through the basics of writing a good copy, the secret of choosing layouts, how useful it is to memorize acronyms, and how to manufacture the “aha” experience, among others. Keep it on your nightstand and read parts of it again and again.

“Everyone wants to climb the mountain, but the big difference between those at the top and those still on the bottom is simply a matter of showing up tomorrow to give it just one more shot.”

Gary C. Halbert, The Boron Letters
The Boron Letters
  • Halbert, Gary C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 146 Pages - 06/11/2013 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

37. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom

Buyology
The author was named one of the world’s most influential people of 2009 by Time Magazine

What did you buy today? Why? You’ll be thinking about this a lot more after you read Martin Lindstrom’s Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. Lindstrom is a marketing guru who is always on the road, advising top brands and speaking at conferences. 

In Buyology, Lindstrom essentially presents the findings of his three-year neuromarketing experiment that cost him seven million dollars. His findings included the surprising fact that “gruesome health warnings on cigarette packages not only fail to discourage smoking, they actually make smokers want to light up.”

Lindstrom argues that customers have a sense of loyalty to a brand that is akin to a religious feeling. He gives the example of the Oreo cookies as a product that is integrated into a ritual, which in turn gives a sense of comfort and belonging. The image, colors, smell, and taste of the cookie, combined with the familiarity of the packaging, all transform into what the author calls “sensory branding.” 

Buyology is not limited to content or marketing but gives you insights into human thinking that you can use in your marketing strategies.

“Let’s face it, we’re all consumers. Whether we’re buying a cell phone, a Swiss antiwrinkle cream, or a Coca-Cola, shopping is a huge part of our everyday lives.”

Martin Lindstrom, Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy
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Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lindstrom, Martin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 241 Pages - 10/21/2008 (Publication Date) - Doubleday (Publisher)

38. Master Content Strategy by Pamela Wilson

Master Content Strategy
The book is part 2 of the Master Content duology

Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish by Pamela Wilson is a masterclass in content marketing. A successful executive who has been in charge of content for years, Wilson is one of the people who shaped the industry.

Her book covers a wide range of topics related to marketing presented in a step-by-step guide. Part I covers the lifecycle approach to content strategy and how to build a website in the first 6 years of its existence. 

Part II offers a content marketing crash course, covering multitasks, the 4-day content creation system, and targeted content. Wilson highlights how your content strategy should evolve over time and how to create successful B2B or B2C content by taking a magazine publisher approach. 

Finally, part III shows you how to repurpose, amplify, and upgrade your content with a yearly, quarterly, and monthly plan.

“Your content – whether the final format is an article, a live presentation, a podcast, or a video – usually begins as words.”

Pamela Wilson, Master Content Strategy
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Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish
  • Wilson, Pamela (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 216 Pages - 10/25/2018 (Publication Date) - BIG Brand Books (Publisher)

39. F#ck Content Marketing by Randy Frisch

F#ck Content Marketing
Frisch was one of Marketo’s Top 50 Fearless Marketers in the world

F#ck Content Marketing: Focus on Content Experience to Drive Demand, Revenue & Relationships by Randy Frisch is for anyone who wants to drive demand. The CMO and co-founder of a content experience platform, Frisch, says that consumer experience has been the key to success for Netflix, Spotify, and other giants.

The book details what Frisch calls the Content Experience Framework, which hinges on personalized experiences and content that is designed to engage audiences at scale. 

The Framework begins with centralizing content such as videos and blogs. The second step is organizing your content through auditing, tagging, and navigation. The third step is the personalization of content with the help of nurture and ABM campaigns, which require sales and marketing to align and target the customers most likely to make purchases. The final steps are the distribution of content and the generation of results. 

“Sixty to seventy percent of all marketing content goes unused. Talk about a scary number.”

Randy Frisch, F#ck Content Marketing
F#ck Content Marketing: Focus on Content Experience to Drive Demand, Revenue & Relationships
  • Frisch, Randy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 02/28/2019 (Publication Date) - Lioncrest Publishing (Publisher)

40. Content Advantage (Clout 2.0) by Colleen Jones

Content Advantage (Clout 2.0)
The book is an updated version of a marketing classic

Colleen JonesContent Advantage (Clout 2.0): The Science of Succeeding at Digital Business through Effective Content (Voices That Matter) argues that every business function demands content. The author is the founder of a content firm advising Fortune 50 companies and the former head of content at MailChimp.

Clout 2.0 targets executives and marketers of small and medium businesses, in particular, sharing content insights and a model of content operations that leverage automation and creativity. 

The methodologies and techniques included in the book go beyond the anecdotal, being supported by research. For example, Jones says that catchy graphic designs harness usability and interaction to convert clicks into sales. She also says that online ads are ineffectual and that reducing content, rather than bombarding customers non-stop with more, can work in your favor. 

“Thanks to digital disruption, we all face a new, often changing, path to success. Attempting the same shortcuts will disappoint, and we face new temping but mistaken paths that are really dead ends.”

Colleen Jones, Content Advantage (Clout 2.0)
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Content Advantage (Clout 2.0), The: The Science of Succeeding at Digital Business through Effective Content (Voices That Matter)
  • Jones, Colleen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 08/06/2018 (Publication Date) - New Riders (Publisher)

41. Top of Mind (PB) by John Hall

Top of Mind
Hall was the recipient of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Best Emerging Company

Top of Mind (PB): Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter to You by John Hall takes a look at successful businesses and extracts the habits and strategies that work.

Hall, co-founder of a successful scheduling app, among others, pieces together the best methods guide to marketing. He argues that digital content is key to enriching your audience’s life in a lasting way, as long as you don’t annoy them. 

To do that, you need to follow three basic steps; 

  • Listen to your target audience and what they value.
  • Craft the way you engage and communicate with them around content triggers. 
  • And repeat 

This, Hall says, is the heart of inbound marketing. He then expands the strategy into inbound recruiting and inbound investor relations.

Forbes called Top of Mind a must-read while marketing authors Ann Handley and Michael Brenner see it as an essential resource for creating meaningful relationships. 

“When you annoy your customer base, you alienate the people who matter most.”

John Hall, Top of Mind
Top of Mind (PB): Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter to You
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hall, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 209 Pages - 04/28/2017 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill (Publisher)

42. The Lead Machine by Rich Brooks

The Lead Machine
Brooks teaches web marketing and social media at the University of Southern Maine

The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing: Everything Entrepreneurs Need to Know About SEO, Social Media, Email Marketing, and Generating Leads Online has, aside from a dauntingly long title, valuable lessons gathered by speaker and entrepreneur Rich Brooks

A bona fide tech guru, Brooks puts forth a method for digital marketing he calls the BARE Essentials – Build, Attract, Retain, Evaluate. He takes each major question that you might have as a marketer, either newbie or veteran and answers them, from website conversions to creating a successful YouTube channel and Google analytics. 

The book stands out by focusing on evergreen strategies that are likely to work even as technologies and trends change.

“Businesses need leads like fish need water. And smaller fish to eat.”

Rich Brooks, The Lead Machine
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The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing: Everything Entrepreneurs Need to Know About SEO, Social Media, Email Marketing, and Generating Leads Online
  • Brooks, Rich (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 01/22/2017 (Publication Date) - take flyte publishing (Publisher)

43. The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

The New Rules of Marketing and PR
Scott also authored Real-Time Marketing & PR, a Wall Street Journal bestseller

Marketing strategist and bestselling author David Meerman Scott wants your marketing department to do better on social media. In 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, he offers examples of companies that have managed to thrive in the online space – and as a consequence driven up sales.

The book revises and expands on familiar marketing techniques, identifying the fundamental shifts in the market and attention economy and how to shape your strategies to match. Chapter 12, for example, revolves around what the author calls thoughtful content, “using evidence, behavioral insight and user involvement to write and develop content and communications that make sense for your audience.”

The following two chapters detail how to inject humor into product descriptions and use a mobile-friendly site and geolocation to identify buyers. 

“Reporters and editors use the web to seek out interesting stories, people, and companies. Will they find you?”

David Meerman Scott, The New Rules of Marketing and PR
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The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
  • Scott, David Meerman (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 458 Pages - 10/05/2015 (Publication Date) - John Wiley & Sons Inc (Publisher)

44. Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi

Content Inc.
In 2014, Pulizzi received the John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award for content marketing

If you’re in marketing, chances are you’ve already heard of or read Joe Pulizzi’s Content Inc., a real industry classic. The book now has an updated second edition – Content Inc., Second Edition: Start a Content-First Business, Build a Massive Audience and Become Radically Successful (With Little to No Money).

Pulizzi offers a low-risk, effective pathway to success in content creation. Content Inc. guides you through choosing a topic, identifying a gap in the competition, picking a platform, getting customers, making money from content, and expanding to different channels.

You’d be hard-pushed to find a more authoritative voice than Joe Pulizzi in content marketing.

“The absolute best way to start and grow a business today is not by launching or pushing products, but by creating a system to attract, build, and retain an audience.”

Joe Pulizzi, Content Inc.
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Content Inc., Second Edition: Start a Content-First Business, Build a Massive Audience and Become Radically Successful (With Little to No Money)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Pulizzi, Joe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 05/24/2021 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill (Publisher)

45. Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

Inbound Marketing
The authors are both co-founders of marketing giant HubSpot

Every paragraph of Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah has an actionable recommendation that inspires change.

Halligan and Shah are pioneers in online marketing. In this updated version of a beloved book, they give you a playbook for creating content and thriving on social media. Inbound Marketing has sections on visual content, tools, viral marketing, and parts dedicated specifically to startups. 

Chapter 6, for example, is all about optimizing your content to be Google-friendly. It shows you how to pick the perfect keywords, how to do on- and off-page SEO, and how to track your progress. The next chapter teaches you how to get discovered on social media, while Chapter 7 focuses on turning visitors into leads. 

“You want your website to be a large dot that’s connected to many other websites – in other words, a hub.”

Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, Inbound Marketing
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Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs
  • Hardcover Book
  • Halligan, Brian (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 226 Pages - 05/24/2024 (Publication Date) - John Wiley & Sons Inc (Publisher)

46. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Positioning
In 1972, Ries revolutionized marketing with his concept of positioning

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout was a revelation when it came out in 2001. Of course, the world is much different now, but the principles of marketing – and content, specifically – have not changed much. This is what makes the book a marketing classic.

Well-known marketing strategists, the authors describe how to “position” your company or product in relation to the customer’s desires so that you occupy a unique place in their mind. 

Funny and informative throughout, Positioning covers naming the product, leveraging your current position, repositioning, determining when and why, and other strategies.

“Positioning starts with a product. A piece of merchandise, a service, a company, an institution, or even a person. Perhaps yourself.”

Al Ries and Jack Trout, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

47. Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Crushing It!
Vaynerchuk made a fortune investing in giants like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo, Snapchat, Coinbase, and Uber

Another of Gary Vaynerchuk’s books, Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too, is full of lessons for influencers, entrepreneurs, marketers, and content creators. 

The book is an update to Gary Vee’s 2009 international bestseller Crush It and contains timeless principles of marketing. The first part of the book, titled “Get Pumped,” functions a bit like a pep-talk for business owners and marketers or content creators. Gary says that strategically built personal brands are for everyone, especially creatives, and they can allow you to do what you love and profit from it. 

The second part, “Create your Pillar,” offers advice for creating content and succeeding on each major social media channel, such as Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and others. Confident and compelling, Gary’s writing distills brand building, either personal or corporate, into simple tactics and skills.

“What really matters is a pretty short list: intent, authenticity, passion, patience, speed, work, and attention.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, Crushing It!
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Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too
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  • Hardcover Book
  • Vaynerchuk, Gary (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 01/30/2018 (Publication Date) - Harper Business (Publisher)

48. Get Scrappy by Nick Westergaard

Get Scrappy
The author is also the host of the popular On Brand podcast

Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small by Nick Westergaard comes to provide small businesses and all marketers with a ray of optimism. 

Westergaard is a podcaster, strategist, and regular contributor to magazines such as Entrepreneur, Forbes, Mashable, and others. He also advised on President Obama’s Job Council and now teaches business owners and students. 

Get Scrappy is made for real-world marketers who want to keep learning even on the job. The book argues that the internet and content marketing, along with social media, leveled the playing field, putting smaller players on par with the big brands when it comes to communication. All you have to do to succeed is Get Scrappy – and make good-quality content.

“The marketing megaphone may have changed, but making sure there’s something behind it matters more than ever.”

Nick Westergaard, Get Scrappy
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Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small
  • Hardcover Book
  • Westergaard, Nick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 05/12/2016 (Publication Date) - AMACOM (Publisher)

49. Hook Point by Brendan Kane

Hook Point
Kane generated one million followers in over 100 counties in a month

Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World by Brendan Kane is one of those books made by a marketer for a specialized audience. It seeks to offer marketers a new weapon for succeeding: the hook point, which can be a text, an insight, or a concept that grabs the audience’s attention in the shortest possible amount of time.

Kane, an advisor for Fortune 500 corporations and celebrities and former VP of Paramount Pictures, says that most great pieces of advertising start with a strong hook point. A hook point is an essential tool in the attention economy, singling a product or company out over 60 billion messages on all digital platforms being shared every day. 

He gives the example of a campaign created by the legendary Gary Halbert, who included “…New Perfume Does Not Contain an Illegal Sexual Stimulat” in the headline of an ad for perfume. Thousands showed up for the launch.

“These days, if you want to get your message out to the world, you often have as little as three seconds to do so.”

Brendan Kane, Hook Point
Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World
  • Kane, Brendan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 03/09/2022 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

50. The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib

The 1-Page Marketing Plan
Dib’s telecommunications company was among the fastest growing in the US, according to Business Review Weekly

The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd by Allan Dib comes with a warning – do not read this book if you hate money.

In all seriousness, The 1-Page Marketing Plan, authored by an experienced marketer, says your plan needs to be, well, a single page. Simple, straightforward strategies are what works, Dib argues, whether you’re just starting or have years of experience in marketing.

Dib advises small and medium-sized businesses to stay away from branding, mass marketing, or ego-based marketing, as those require big budgets. Instead, he argues that direct response marketing is preferable as it is designed to create an immediate response. He advocates centering around a specific offer and short-term follow-up.

Result-oriented, well-structured, and fun to read, the book will have you nodding in agreement at every paragraph.

“If you want more success, you need to start paying attention to and expand the things that give you the most leverage.”

Allan Dib, The 1-Page Marketing Plan
The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd (Lean Marketing Series)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Dib, Allan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 234 Pages - 01/25/2016 (Publication Date) - Successwise (Publisher)

The Final Word On The Best Content Marketing Books

Whether you want to learn how to write marketing content, analyze it, strategize with it, or use it in marketing campaigns to great effect, reading any of these books should get you started.

Great, shareable content is a must for a successful business today, whether you’re a freelance blogger, a content strategist, a social media influencer, or a digital marketer. You should read at least a couple of these books if you want to build great content and use it to your advantage.

Want more? Check out my guide to the best content marketing tools.

FAQs About The Best Content Marketing Books

What are the best marketing books for creating a successful content marketing strategy?

The best books for plotting a content strategy would be Content Strategy For The Web, which can help you with the overall planning, and Content That Converts, which will help you develop tactics for implementing your content strategy.

Who are the authors of the best content marketing books?

The best content marketing books are written by people with lots of online marketing experience. So for instance, internet entrepreneur Seth Godin, Brain Traffic CEO Kristina Halvorson, and T3 Custom CEO Kevin Lund are all on this list.

What is the difference between content marketing and social media marketing?

Content marketing focuses on content creation and creative ideas across many channels including blogging, podcasting and YouTube. Social media marketing focuses on creating content and building relationships with people directly on and for social media.

  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.