As the creator of great digital content, we strive to stay on top of the best new research, trends, and developments in the field. Reading the latest expert advice is one of the best ways to do just that.
Roundup of Content Marketing Books
2022 was an excellent year for groundbreaking research and publication on content marketing strategies. This year also brought about major changes to how search engines compile their top results—with a focus on quality content over keyword trickery. If you haven’t updated your SEO practices, now is the time to rethink your in-house strategies, and many of these books can help you find new methods to grow your online presence. And with major shifts in financial and real estate markets this year, from rising interest rates and inflation to record-high home prices, reaching your clients from a perspective of empathy and trustworthiness is more important than ever. If you are looking for better paths to building long-term relationships with your clients, the books on this list can also help you discover new ways-to reach them.
While this collection isn’t exhaustive, the books it features include a variety of key content marketing areas of focus from best SEO practices to using behavioral science to drive customer loyalty, as well as advice on how to simply create the best content you can—hands down the most important aspect of high-quality content marketing. Keep reading to find out our picks for the top 10 content marketing books of 2022.
1. Influence Is Your Superpower: The Science of Winning Hearts, Sparking Change, and Making Good Things Happen
By Zoe Chance. Random House.
Zoe Chance, the professor of the class “Mastering Influence and Persuasion” at the Yale School of Management, uses exciting research and pop-culture stories to support her groundbreaking approach toward making her students and readers more charismatic, more influential, and more capable of convincing others. While it’s a book more oriented toward leadership and personal growth, Influence Is Your Superpower will help content marketing writers become more aware of the psychology at work in client and customer behavior. “Influence doesn’t work the way we think,” Chance writes, “because people don’t think the way we think they do.”
By Eli Schwartz. Houndstooth Press.
Author Eli Schwartz, in this useful handbook on SEO, espouses his theory of “product-led SEO” and shows his readers how to approach their marketing content purposefully. Marketing writers of webinars, blogs, articles, and other forms of content will benefit from understanding how SEO works, and be better equipped to create content that gets traffic. “When the goal is to get a user to click from search,” Schwartz writes, “it should be because something of value to them will be discovered on the other side of that click.”
By Melanie Deziel and Phil M. Jones. Page Two Books.
In this short and highly readable book just out from Page Two, authors Melanie Deziel and Phil M. Jones invite you into a thought experiment: “You say your company is amazing. But why should your customers believe you?” The goal? Figuring out how you—and the marketing professionals you work with—can overcome customers’ skepticism and demonstrate credibility and trustworthiness in a marketing landscape where all businesses try to stand out with promises of quality. By working your way through Deziel and Jones’s courtroom-style framework, you and your marketing team will marshal all available “evidence” to support your claims so that clients and customers believe you 100 percent.
By Simon Kingsnorth. Kogan Page Publishing.
This book offers a comprehensive guide to building out a digital marketing strategy, from the fundamentals of marketing, branding, and “measuring the value of content,” to using SEO and analytics to flesh out a data-driven plan of action and making sure you are able to continually evaluate and innovate your work. Author Simon Kingsnorth uses real-world case studies to highlight his points, and in this third edition, he adds a wealth of knowledge about using AI, working with cookies, and other advanced digital content marketing topics. Digital Marketing Strategy is meant for students to mid-career professionals and managers looking to fully understand their field.
By Kim Scaravelli. Independently published.
In her self-published debut book, veteran digital content writer and consultant Kim Scaravelli offers encouragement and tips, whether your goal is to master the fundamentals of shaping brand identity, grab readers’ attention quickly, or keep marketing content fresh. For business owners, executives, and managers strategizing their approach to getting attention, and also for writers looking to take their skills further, Making Words Work helps marketing professionals stay organized and inspired.
6. Everybody Writes: Your New and Improved Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content (2nd ed.)
By Ann Handley. Wiley Publishing.
In chapters with titles like “End on an I-Can’t-Wait-to-Get-Back-to-it Note” and “Memes, Trends, Newsjacking,” digital content marketing guru and trainer Ann Handley updates her 2014 smash hit with this new edition, bringing fresh insight to bear on her subject. A widely acclaimed all-purpose how-to manual for crafting marketing content, Everybody Writes walks writers through what Handley has learned works and what doesn’t. Of note in this second edition, Handley gets down to brass tacks with hyper-focused guides on “20 Things Marketers Write,” such as landing pages, LinkedIn material, content for social media, and a lot more.
By Julia Fitzgerald. Redwood Publishing.
In this collection of advice, anecdotes, and witty, dishy stories about the milieu of modern content marketing, both in large national firms and small companies, Julia Fitzgerald sings the praises of America’s midsize companies and explains how they work when they’re at their best. With an eye toward helping CEOs and managers get the most out of the marketing personnel they have, and toward helping content marketing professionals grow their careers, Fitzgerald offers straight talk that only comes with real experience.
By Robert Glazer and Matt Wool. Simple Truths Publishing.
For companies of all sizes and marketing professionals looking to grow audiences without relying on paid advertising through tech giants and other sometimes cost-prohibitive channels, this book offers an alternative: relationship-based “partnership marketing.” Authors Robert Glazer and Matt Wool encourage critical thinking about where to spend marketing budgets, with an eye toward “better direct[ing] potential customers to the bottom of the marketing funnel.”
9. Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive Customer Action and Loyalty by Prompting Instinctive Responses
By Nancy Harhut. Kogan Page Publishing.
For the digital marketing professional looking to add more psychological savvy to her work, Using Behavioral Science in Marketing gives a step-by-step guide to making emotional connections with clients and customers that lead to positive outcomes. Nancy Harhut shows her readers how to tap into the biases and innate preferences that we all share so they can better communicate and compete in the marketplace. After all, “people decide based on emotional reasons—even really smart people, even in B2B.”
10. Content Inc., Second Edition: Start a Content-First Business, Build a Massive Audience and Become Radically Successful (With Little to No Money)
By Joe Pulizzi. McGraw Hill.
Content first, then audience, then product/services sales. That’s the game plan that author Joe Pulizzi lays out in this burgeoning classic of the genre, and our final pick for 2022’s best content marketing books. For the second edition, the book adds tips for generating content on new platforms like TikTok and SnapChat, next-phase strategies (sell or go big?), and more real-world examples where companies and individuals have successfully monetized digital content. Pulizzi’s model starts with “the sweet spot”: where you or your company’s expertise meets “a specific audience desire,” and proceeds strategically from there.
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