Marketing

10 Must-Read Books That’ll Improve Your Content Marketing

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Content marketing is no longer a peripheral practice that helps set your brand apart from the competition. It’s now at the core of most digital marketing campaigns. That’s why reading content marketing books is an important step in staying up to date on the latest best practices.

Content marketing involves creating, publishing, and distributing content over multiple channels your audience uses. It increases brand awareness, reach, sales, customer interactions, and loyalty. Content can include videos, podcasts, blogs, social media posts, infographics, and images.

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The 10 best content marketing books that’ll elevate your skills

Investing in content marketing can provide significant advantages for your business. Let’s explore some of those advantages, as well as some book recommendations from leading content marketing experts.

1. “Keywords for SEO: Actionable Knowledge Bombs to Help You Rank on Google” (2021) by Andy Woolley and Itamar Blauer

Two search engine optimization experts share expertise that will help you devise and carry out broad and extensive keyword research. This book is helpful for those new to SEO, as it covers many of the fundamentals, as well as those who are more intermediate.

From SEO trends and improving E-A-T to selecting the right keywords and improving your online presence, this book contains a wealth of essential knowledge for business owners and marketers.

2. “Everybody Writes: Your New and Improved Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content” (2022) by Ann Handley

Author, speaker, and C-suite marketing executive Ann Handley has updated her bestselling content marketing book with all-new examples, guidance, and insight into the process of content creation based on her years of experience in the industry. Like any good writer, she covers grammar, structure, and process.

She also covers the art of storytelling, a skill crucial for creating effective content. She shows how storytelling can create a relationship with your customers, reflect the values of your brand, and build a voice that differentiates you from your competitors. You’ll also learn how to get new customers through your online communications.

3. The Visual Sale: How to Use Video to Explode Sales, Drive Marketing, and Grow Your Business in a Virtual World” (2020) by Marcus Sheridan and Tyler Lessard

Not all marketing copy goes in front of the customer. Sometimes, the most effective form of communication is to take what’s on the page and convert it into video.

Marketing experts and entrepreneurs Sheridan and Lessard explain how to use video to get more customers and sales and boost customer service satisfaction levels. You’ll even learn which types of marketing videos you should start with first to set your business up for success.

4. “How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul” (2020) by Ruth Soukup

When selecting which content marketing books to read, anyone who’s interested in blogging for their online business should add this to their list.

Learn what it takes to run a successful blog that attracts readers, converts them into customers, and keeps them coming back for more. Get tips to monetize your blog as well, without turning off customers or compromising the integrity of your content.

5. “Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen” (2017) by Donald Miller

Created by marketing expert Donald Miller, the StoryBrand Framework helps marketers use storytelling to clarify a brand’s message.

Miller takes brand messaging and breaks it down into seven component parts. These engage the consumer much the same way the elements of a movie engage the person watching it.

The book shows you how to identify customer needs, define their problems, position your brand as the customer’s guide, give customers a plan to solve their problem, create a call to action, avoid pitfalls, and give the customer a vision of success.

6. “Writing Is Designing: Words and the User Experience” (2020) by Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle

There are many content marketing books that teach you about writing, but this essential read shows you how words can be used to improve the user experience too.

Learn how you can help users find what they’re looking for, test your words, and collaborate better across teams.

7. “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business” (2012) by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman

Ann Handley makes a second appearance on this list with “Content Rules,” co-written with C.C. Chapman. Both online marketing professionals, Handley and Chapman, show you how to give your online presence an authentic voice to better engage with customers.

In an online environment where everybody can have a voice, they show you how to write for many mediums so you can best communicate your brand’s message. They correlate their advice with case studies, giving the reader real-world examples of great content that gets results.

8. “Content Inc., Second Edition: Start a Content-First Business, Build a Massive Audience and Become Radically Successful (With Little to No Money)” (2021) by Joe Pulizzi

If you’re trying to improve your online presence, reach your target audience, and get more sales, this is one of the content marketing books you can’t miss.

The founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, teaches you how to break through the online clutter, find your audience, build loyalty, and make money from content.

9. “The Art of the Click: How to Harness the Power of Direct-Response Copywriting and Make More Sales” (2018) by Glenn Fisher

In “The Art of the Click,” Glenn Fisher teaches the ins and outs of direct response copywriting, or generating copy that inspires action. And he starts where all writing starts… an idea.

In this quick but entertaining read, Fisher goes through how to identify good ideas. He then builds on it by going through techniques that use written words to hack a reader’s brain: from greetings to narrative to testimonials and more. Fisher’s goal is to get the readers of your copy to behave how you want them to behave.

10. “The Age of Influence: The Power of Influencers to Elevate Your Brand” (2020) by Neal Schaffer

If you’ve ever considered working with influencers, this is one of the content marketing books you should add to your reading list.

The author shows you how to choose the right influencers for your brand to ensure your campaign is a success, provides recommendations for ROI-tracking tools, and gives advice on how to develop your brand’s social media voice.

Why you should improve your content marketing

Not too sure why you should spend your time reading content marketing books? Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest benefits of content marketing.

Content marketing helps your brand’s reputation.

You can help your brand establish a positive reputation by building trust with your prospective and existing customers. Educational and engaging content will convince customers you are a leader in your industry.

Delivering content consistently serves to reinforce that viewpoint. Giving customers the content they crave will differentiate you from your competitors.

Content marketing can be applied to every level of your funnel

Whether prospective customers are looking at your business as a possible solution to their problems, comparing you to your competitors, or leaning toward conversion, good content is critical at every point in your sales funnel.

Appropriate content at each of these levels is the nudge that will move prospects through your sales funnel all the way to the point of conversion. Clicking on an email can lead them to an educational landing page on your website, which encourages signing up for a product demo. That may impress them so much they pull the trigger on a one-year subscription.

Content marketing helps SEO

Content is critical for search engine optimization. Without relevant, updated content, search engines will be less inclined to index and rank your site. The more content you have, the more pages a search engine can index and display in search engine results.

Similarly, the more content on your site, the longer visitors will hang out. This increases the amount of time they spend viewing various pages, which impacts search engine placement.

More content also gives you more opportunities to improve your rank for keywords that users are searching for.

Continually improve your work and reap the benefits

Whether you’re looking to create a call to action, establish long-term customers, or just get a story off your chest, content marketing books can help you learn the skills to get the job done.

Know how to optimize your content, and you’ll have a crucial marketing tool to support your brand in today’s fast-changing online world.

Get high-quality content to level up your content marketing efforts. Talk to a content specialist at ClearVoice today about creating a content strategy, articles, social media content, and more.

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About the author

John Boitnott

A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked at TV, newspapers, radio and Internet companies for 25 years. He currently writes at ClearVoice, Motley Fool and Entrepreneur.com. He’s also written for Fast Company, NBC, Inc Magazine, USA Today and BusinessInsider, among others.