Content marketing is an excellent method for promoting your online business.
It’s the polar opposite of expensive paid-for advertising such as Google Adwords. Paid advertising is risky and can soon gobble up your promotional budget unless you know what you’re doing.
Content marketing, on the flip-side, is a low-cost, long-term strategy. You regularly publish blog posts, images, or other content types to build an audience in your chosen niche.
You need a little patience while your content rises in the search engine rankings or your follower count grows. But if you commit to the process and publish new content regularly, you’ll make steady progress.
While content marketing isn’t exactly rocket science, there are a few things you need to learn. But choosing the best resources to understand content marketing can sometimes be overwhelming.
There are so many people talking about it! And Instead of learning, you become afflicted with information overload.
I’ve got you’re back, though. Let me share with you where I get the information to keep my content marketing knowledge current.
This post looks at four books, four blogs, and two podcasts that, if you read, follow, and listen to, will level-up your content marketing chops.
Ready to become an expert in content marketing? Let’s go!
Four of the Best Content Marketing Books
Books are an excellent way to learn the foundational elements of a new topic. Well-written ones from experts in the field can accelerate you along the learning curve fast.
Here are four books that I recommend are worth reading. You don’t need to buy all four; just pick one or two that appeal most to your situation. Even just reading one of them can get you an advantage over most content marketers out there, who are operating using trial and error.
Title: Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
Author: Ann Handley
Amazon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Why You Should Listen To Ann:
Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of the content marketing training company, Marketing Profs. Marketing Profs coach the content marketing teams of some major corporations.
Ann also writes a regular column for Entrepreneur Magazine and delivers keynote speeches at content marketing conferences.
If content marketing is part of your business plan, you’ll need to know how to write. There is no way to avoid it. Whatever form your content marketing takes, there are always writing tasks involved, even if it’s only titles and episode notes for a video or podcast.
In this best-selling book, Ann Handley teaches how to start writing better content and then apply that skill to the content marketing discipline.
Many fresh-faced online marketers approach digital marketing as reluctant writers. Most of us have not tried to write anything seriously since school when the five-paragraph essay we were forced to write filled us with dread.
Everybody Writes takes you back to the beginning and teaches you how to write effectively. Ann demystifies writing and demonstrates the techniques used by professional writers to communicate effectively with the written word.
The first half of the book covers sentence construction, grammar, and story building. The second half of the book explains the different types of content frequently written for the web. You’ll learn how to write blog posts, tweets, landing pages, and more.
The book is packed with helpful tips and resources and recommends some useful tools to help you develop as a writer.
The book is available on Kindle, hardback, paperback, and MP3 CD. If you’re struggling for reading time, an excellent way to learn from books is Amazon audible. I use it all the time to keep up to date with the latest must-read books.
Everybody Writes 2 – Ann Handley
Title: Content Chemistry
Author: Andy Crestodina
Published: 2019 (Fifth Edition)
Amazon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Why you should listen to Andy: Andy Crestodina is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of the web design company Orbit Media Solutions.
A regular contributor to some of the biggest content marketing blogs, Andy Crestodina also gives keynote speeches at national conferences. He educates a wide range of businesses on the best way to structure and deliver content marketing.
Book Synopsis: This regularly updated book teaches you the content marketing fundamentals.
Andy Crestodina cautions that you first understand the theory of content marketing before you jump headfirst into the content creation process.
The book starts with an easy-to-follow explanation of content marketing theory and how it fits together in the internet context. If you ever wondered about how branding, a website, and email marketing should combine, then this book gives you a solid foundation.
Andy also covers the first principles of traffic sources’ and how to best convert that traffic into paying customers.
In Part Two, Content Chemistry applies the theory of part one and demonstrates how it works in real-world situations.
Starting with the basics, Andy Crestodina instructs you how to do keyword research, write headlines, and implement an effective SEO strategy. He then advises on promoting your content to boost your traffic and speed up the content marketing process.
Finally, the book deals with planning your content and optimizing published content – a task that many ignore – plus why a content schedule is crucial to keeping you on track to hit your goals.
Content Chemistry is only available as an A4 sized paperback book and includes full-color diagrams and screenshots.
Content Chemistry – Andy Crestodina
Title: Epic Content Marketing
Author: Joe Pulizzi
Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Why you should listen to Joe: Simply put, Joe Pilizzi is considered by many as the Godfather of content marketing.
Epic Content Marketing is a book named ‘Must Read’ by Fortune Magazine. It’s both a content marketing book and a business book.
Joe’s central argument is that your web visitors aren’t that interested in content that talks about your business. No, the people that arrive on your website are only really interested in themselves.
Instead of writing lots of boring content that talks about how amazing you are and the fabulous features of your products, you should instead write stories that demonstrate how your product solves the problems your visitors face.
Joe says the best way to achieve this aim is to position yourself as an expert in your industry and provide plenty of valuable free content to cement your place as a trusted expert.
The book is in five parts. The first gives an overview of content marketing; the second covers defining your niche and selecting a strategy. The third part of the book shows you how to manage the content process, and the final parts deal with promoting your content and measuring its success.
Even though this book is a little older than all the others, I still recommend it. Epic Content Marketing still contains many pearls of wisdom and is worthy of a place on any digital marketer’s bookshelf.
The book is available in Kindle and paperback formats, plus there is an audiobook version you can listen to on your Audible app
Epic Content Marketing – Joe Pulizzi
Title: They Ask, You Answer
Author: Marcus Sheridan
Amazon Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Why you should listen to Marcus: Marcus Sheridan is an international keynote speaker and marketing guru – but he started as a pool cleaner working out of an old pick-up truck.
When his business faced hard-times in 2008, Marcus developed his content marketing skills to take his company from surviving to thriving. He gave a few talks about his experiences, which snowballed into a content marketing consulting business and, subsequently, the demand for him to deliver keynote addresses.
‘They Ask, You Answer,’ was included as one of the 11 marketing books every Chief Marketing Officer should read by Forbes in 2017.
Marcus argues that content marketing is all about making a connection with your audience. The people who read, watch, or listen to your content must see you as an authority in your niche. And to be seen as an authority, you must stop putting out “old school” marketing content that solely attempts to toot your own horn.
When Marcus’s business faced tough-times in 2008, he tried something that hardly any of his competitors were doing – he answered his customer’s questions. He found that the simple step of acknowledging the fears his customers had, enabled him to shape his content creation. Marcus found it reduced their anxiety about his service and removed an obstacle to them buying his service.
Marcus explains the big-five types of content; problems, pricing, comparisons, reviews, and best in class. Creating content in these categories helps your prospects come to a purchasing decision and reduces friction to becoming a paying customer.
The book is packed with case-studies from many large American corporations to illustrate his arguments and is a compelling read.
The book is available in three formats; Kindle, hardback, and Amazon Audible, narrated by Marcus himself.
Amazon Audible could be the best way for you to understand the book, as Marcus is an excellent communicator.
They Ask, You Answer – Marcus Sheridan
Four of the Best Content Marketing Blogs
Books are an essential resource for learning about content marketing in-depth. But while a book can teach you the fundamental theory and tactics of content marketing, on an ever-changing landscape like the internet, books sometimes struggle to keep pace with all developments.
To stay up to date with content marketing’s evolution, it makes sense to follow some content marketing blogs. But which ones out of the thousands should you follow?
Well, I reckon that if you only followed the four blogs listed below, then you would not miss out on any groundbreaking developments.
Blog Number 1: Copyblogger
Some have hailed Copyblogger as ‘the bible’ of content marketing. Launched in 2006 by Brian Clark, copyblogger has grown into one of the primary sources of news, strategies, and tutorials about everything content marketing.
Copyblogger also provides training courses as part of an annual membership program, which offers masterclasses and certifications to develop your content marketing skills.
Their content certification is highly marketable for aspiring freelancers and may be of interest to those that wish to enter this vocation.
The blog is updated several times per week with long-form articles that take a deep dive into the best way to publish content pieces that get results.
The Structure of Persuasive Content
9 Essential Elements of Effective Content Marketing
Blog Number 2: Hubspot Blog
Hubspot is a digital marketing suite of tools that includes content management, customer service, and email marketing software. The tool suite is more for larger businesses than individuals, but they have an excellent blog with an abundance of articles about digital and content marketing.
Don’t be put off that they cover many diverse topics in the digital marketing arena; there are plenty devoted to content marketing best practices.
Start with the ‘Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing in 2023‘. It’s updated annually and serves as a high-level overview of current content marketing practices.
Then check out ‘The Ultimate Round-Up of Content Marketing Tips‘, for a big list of tips and strategies you can start implementing straight away!
Blog Number 3: Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the founder of several successful digital marketing businesses. Ubersuggest, his primary company, is an SEO tool to help niche sites and blogs rank in the Google SERPS. But he also has a digital marketing blog as part of his second business – a digital marketing agency.
The blog offers guides, tips, and opinions on all manner of content marketing topics. The blog is worth following and is also a good option for those that prefer to get their information via video, as much of the content Neil adds to his blog is in video format.
If you’ve been thinking about launching an online business for a long time, you have probably already come across this one.
The best place to start on neilpatel.com is his evergreen guide to content marketing.
Content Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
Blog Number 4: Backlinko
Backlinko is a website built by by SEO expert Brian Dean. It’s a blog I’ve included in this list for two reasons.
The first reason is that whatever business you decide to launch online, you’ll need to have at least a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Brian Dean first made a living online with a website in the Personal Finance niche. Ranking a website in this extremely competitive market demonstrates his abilities.
Brian took what he learned about creating and ranking content and distilled his knowledge into a very readable blog. Backlinko demystifies SEO and makes it accessible to all.
Secondly, I recommend the blog because Brian has just launched a specialist section devoted to content marketing.
Brian has set up an entry point into content marketing in what is an excellent resource, divided into six sections; fundamentals, production, blogging, multimedia, promotion, and tools. Check it out using the link below.
Two of the Best Content Marketing Podcasts
Podcasts, the digital equivalent of radio, have allowed anyone with an opinion to broadcast it to the world. But content marketing podcasts are numerous, and it can be hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
Here are two first-rate podcasts to help you get the most out of your content marketing efforts.
Podcast Number 1: Content Inc, With Joe Pulizzi
As I mentioned in the book section above, Joe Pulizzi is one of the top experts in content marketing. And if you are not a big reader, think about educating yourself via his podcast instead.
In a refreshing change from the two-hour epics you often face with some podcasters, the majority of Joe Pulizzi’s episodes for Content Inc run under ten minutes.
Each episode has a bite-size lesson about content, business, and life. The main idea of the podcast is around building a loyal audience through the creation of excellent content.
You can dip in and out as you like and even knock off three or four episodes at a time; if you only have time to listen to one podcast, make this the one.
Podcast Webpage: Content Inc. with Joe Pulizzi
Podcast Number 2: Social Media Marketing, With Michael Stelzner
Michael Stelzner founded the website SocialMediaExaminer.com and made it a top source for social media promotion information in less than a year. Michael Stelzner knows about content creation and promotion.
The Social Media Marketing Podcast follows the more traditional format of around 50 minute long episodes. Each week, Micheal Stelzner interviews leading digital marketing experts, focusing on the most popular social media platforms.
Promoting your content is a fundamental task of content marketing and is a never-ending process. This podcast keeps you up-to-date with the latest news, strategies, and tips for social media content promotion.
Podcast Webpage: Social Media Marketing Podcast
Best Content Marketing Books, Blogs & Podcasts – Summary
Well, that wraps up this list of resources to help you learn all about and keep up-to-date with content marketing.
Most important is to put into practice what you learn, so make sure you start acting on all the information to spread your content and brand far and wide!