Writing is hard. And not everybody can do it well.
I’ve never been the athlete, the musician or valedictorian. But, I was a writer. From kindergarten to high school graduation, the one thing I could do better than anyone else: write.
See, at the heart of everything I do as a marketer is write. This is why I prefer email communication over the phone. Or why I squeal when I get a hand-written letter. I grew up loving words. I use them liberally. (aka I talk too much!) I use them lovingly. I use them purposefully.
Understanding how certain words form sentences and paragraphs to connect with people is central to what content marketers do every day. We use words, as powerful as they are, to create stories that connect, appeal and engage.
There are two things that a writer does to do better: write every day and read always. Reading exposes you to different styles, experiences and stories.
I want to share my favorite books I’ve been reading that have made me a better writer and marketer. My hope is that these content marketing books provide a little value to you because whatever industry you are in, there is no substitute for good writing.
So You Think You Can WriteAuthor: Julia McCoy
If you want to be inspired, take a look at everything this woman has accomplished. She’s not much older than I am, runs a copywriting business with staff numbers in the double digits, produces a podcast AND hosts a killer Twitter chat every week. Oh, and she’s obviously written a book. Best friend goals right there. After reading her book, “So, You Think You Can Write?”, I was so inspired. The way Julia conducts her words and sentences makes you feel like you could start an online writing business today. She takes everything you need to know about creating content and breaks it down into small, doable steps. And she makes it fun! (Oh, and one of my tweets made it in to the final copy!)
Get the book: expresswriters.com
Everybody WritesAuthor: Ann Handley
If I could, I would rate this book 5 million stars! Hyperbole aside, Handley’s book has taught me more about writing, storytelling and marketing than any of my English, Business and Marketing classes combined. Her expertise is perfectly blended with wit and personality to produce a “rulebook” for writers and non-writers. So if you are looking to start learning how to write better and create “ridiculously good content,” start here.
Get the book: annhandley.com
Author: Seth Godin
Are Liars Tell Stories
If you’re going to learn from anyone, how about the master of storytelling? I’m in the middle of this book right now, and it’s incredible. He takes marketing and distils it down to a psychological level. One of my favorite examples he uses is if you believe that a $20 bottle of wine is better than a $10 bottle, then it is. The thesis of this book is simple: tell stories that are not only appealing but true. I want to share a quote from his forward that resonates with me: “So, go tell a story. If it doesn’t resonate, tell a different one. When you find a story that works, live that story, make it true, authentic and subject to scrutiny. All marketers are storytellers, only the losers are liars.” Want to become a marketer? Read this book.
Get the book: sethgodin.typepad.com
To Sell is HumanAuthor: Daniel Pink
This was one of the first business books I ever purchased. One of my colleagues from my oil and gas days (all four months of them!) recommended this book and I have cracked this baby open multiple times since. There is nothing in this book about content marketing, writing or even sales tactics. It is about relationships, perspective and empathy. Throughout the book, Pink shows how every single person is, in fact, a salesperson, whether they are selling products, services, or ideas. If you are ready to transform how you approach writing, and well, the world, give this a read.
Get the book: danpink.com
It’s your turn: what are your favorite books to read in your industry?