Social media marketing IS content marketing. And, if you’re a content marketer, you’re a publisher, a writer, an editor and a community manager. The following are six books to help you be a better content marketer – and none of the six are directly about social media, content marketing or publishing.
“It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace” by Anne Kreamer
What: Stories of emotions in the workplace and the science (both recent and time-tested) to help explain it all. A large focus on how women can better navigate a historically male business landscape, but hugely relevant to both sexes.
Why: If you’re a content marketer, you are a creator. If you are a creator, you are a creative and will invariable have to navigate the touchy and prickly emotions that come with being creative.
Favorite quote: "As a result, through sheer necessity, I happened on one of the most effective ways to deal with the kind of imposter anxiety we experience when trying new things far beyond our usual skill set. Just admit when you don’t know something. Ask questions. It’s that simple."
“Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work” by Matthew B. Crawford
What: A call-to-arms for the relevance and value of skilled manual labor that lays out a rationale for why our country and our souls will be stronger if we embrace the ability to fix and create things of lasting physical entity.
Why: As workers in the digital space, we often need grounding and a reality check that there is a world powered by more than the Internet. And, with the rise of communities like Etsy and backlash against collection of personal data, we should know what it is like to trust the physical more than the digital – because many of our target audience might feel that way in the not-so-distant future.
Favorite quote: "The craftsman is proud of what he has made, and cherishes it, while the consumer discards things that are perfectly serviceable in his restless pursuit of the new."
“Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
What: An incredibly quick, easy read that brims with information on how to make ideas sticky. A mixture of practical tips and never-fail strategies for ensuring your ideas resonate with your target audience.
Why: Your content is battling against other brands, other people, other media – not to mention other platforms where you might not be cultivating your audience. Making your copy, promotions and campaigns sticky is a must.
Favorite quote: "You don't have to speak monosyllables to be simple. What we mean by simple is finding the core of the idea."
“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk & E. B. White
What: The seminal text on making writing more effective.
Why: Sometimes you only have 140 characters, so you’d better make all those characters count.
Favorite quote: "Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he should avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every sentence tell."
“Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything” by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
What: Economists (and, thus, mathematicians) tackle interesting questions you never thought to ask and look at common questions from angles you didn’t think existed.
Why: Learning how to tell stories through numbers and answer intriguing questions no one thought to ask packs your content quiver with many more arrows. And, by making sure you ask the right questions, you protect your content from making a fool of itself (and you).
Favorite quote: "It’s possible that X causes Y; it’s also possible that Y causes X; and it may be that X and Y are both being caused by some other factor, Z. Think about this correlation: cities with a lot of murders also tend to have a lot of police officers. Consider now the police/murder correlation in a pair of real cities. Denver and Washington, D.C., have about the same population—but Washington has nearly three times as many police as Denver, and it also has eight times the number of murders. Unless you have more information, however, it’s hard to say what’s causing what."
“Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell
What: The science behind split-second reactions – when to trust them and when not.
Why: Your readers are scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Knowing how to capitalize on decisions that happen in the blink of an eye will help your content get read in a sea of text.
Favorite quote: "The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter."