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27 Books on Content Marketing to Kickstart Your Content Strategy

Whether you're an entrepreneur, influencer, content marketing manager or blogger, creating and publishing content for brand development can feel like a great undertaking.

To assist you with creating the best business strategy for your brand, visionary entrepreneurs have published hundreds of books on content marketing for both aspiring and developing business owners.

This article lists 27 timeless content marketing books that every marketer should have on their "to read" list.

1. Epic Content Marketing

  • Author: Joe Pulizzi
  • Publish date: February 12, 2019

In Epic Content Marketing, content entrepreneur Joe Pulizzi guides readers through the step-by-step process of writing and creating content that customers actually want to engage with.

The book is divided into five parts, with the first detailing the historical aspects and business care of content marketing.

As you go through the book, you'll learn how to create, manage, and implement a content marketing strategy that aligns with your sales process.

Epic Content Marketing is well-written and easy to understand, with hundreds of supporting resources and case studies littered throughout the book.

2. They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer

  • Author: Marcus Sheridan
  • Publish date: December 29, 2016

If you're serious about being an authority in your niche, They Ask You Answer is a book you shouldn't miss out on.

They Ask You Answer has one primary goal: create a customer-centric culture that effectively drives inbound leads.

It urges readers to fully capitalize on "free" resources rather than overspending on paid ads on TV, radio, and print. It also shows readers how to answer questions customers actually want answered to maximize their business strategy.

Sheridan writes about his company's struggles, mistakes, and the road to success in hopes to help young businesses thrive in today's modern era.

3. Superfans

  • Author: Pat Flynn
  • Publish date: August 13, 2019

Superfans by Pat Flynn shows readers how to turn their customers, subscribers, and followers into—you guessed it—super fans!

In this book, Pat Flynn explains the importance of keeping a loyal fanbase. "As entrepreneurs, we have to remember that there are people behind all that data," Pat Flynn says, "If you connect with them the right way, they'll promote you and your products."

Superfans is targeted towards those looking to build online communities around their business. It teaches readers how to put themselves into their brand and turn a casual audience into an active audience.

This makes it a fantastic book for aspiring YouTubers, Influencers, and online content creators.

4. Conversation Marketing: How to Be Relevant and Engage Your Customer by Speaking Human

  • Author: Kevin Lund, Joe Pulizzi
  • Publish date: October 9, 2018

Conversation Marketing focuses on one simple goal: connecting your brand not just to the minds but also to the hearts of your consumers.

Authors Kevin Lund and Joe Pulizzi—both of which are prolific in the world of content marketing—inform readers of the importance of brand development and authenticity.

They explain the significance of customer interaction, how business owners retain customer loyalty, and how to change your tone to get better results.

5. Everybody Writes

  • Author:  Ann Handley
  • Publish date: 2014, revised 2022

In the newly revised edition of Everybody Writes, Ann Handley guides readers through the new-and-improved process of creating and publishing content on online channels, such as blogs, web pages, emails, and social media platforms.

It delves into dozens of marketing concepts, including how to identify an audience and exercise empathy toward them.

Ann Handley has found ways to formulate rules that readers already knew instinctively or intuitively but weren't sure how to implement into their content.

If nothing else, Handley sheds light on how to write in a way that resonates with the audience, so you'll get something worthwhile from this book.

6. Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, E-books, Webinars (and More)

  • Author: Ann Handley, C.C. Chapman
  • Publish date: December 7, 2010; revised 2022

If you're new to the world of content marketing, Content Rules is a good place to start.

Content Rules helps you find an authentic voice that not only resonates with the audience but also encourages them to share it with others.

For simplicity's sake, the book is divided into three parts. The first covers the basics, from marketing principles to strategies. The second section goes into more depth into the elements discussed in the first sections. The final section covers case studies and examples.

If you have a reasonable knowledge of content marketing, you can skip the first section and go straight to the second, but the first is still worth reading if only to refresh your mind of the basics.

7. Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach & Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish

  • Author: Pamela Wilson
  • Publish date: October 19, 2018

Master Content Strategy gives readers a clear, easy-to-understand roadmap for content creation and publication. Though it speaks of heavy topics, it's presented in a way that inspires rather than overwhelms.

Pamela Wilson shares decades of first-hand knowledge in hopes that people learn from her mistakes and success over the years. Her dedication to helping others shines through on every page, making it a thought-provoking read for aspiring content marketers.

8. Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-Figure Business With Zero Advertising

  • Author: Dan Norris
  • Publish date: August 9, 2015

Is it possible to build a seven-figure business without spending a cent on advertising? According to Dan Norris, multi-million content marketer and entrepreneur, it absolutely is—and he shows exactly how in his book, Content Machine.

In Content Machine, Dan Norris teaches readers the fundamentals of content marketing and how to increase your content marketing value.

It centers on the basic principle of give, give, and give, even when you think you've given enough. It's only then that you'll be able to develop your business to its maximum capacity.

9. Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World

  • Author: Brendan Kane
  • Publish date: September 29, 2020

In Hook Point, Brendan Kane teaches readers how to get attention in an attention-deficit world. It's well-organized and well-articulated, making it a brilliant read from start to finish—especially for freelancers, content creators, and small business owners.

Hook Point breaks down all the important aspects of creating a compelling and unforgettable brand online. It shows you how to hook audiences quickly, consistently, and efficiently to improve brand visibility and growth.

To add more substance to the book, Brendan Kane discusses how he's built the platform of successful celebrities like Taylor Swift and Rihanna, as well as Fortune 500 companies such as MTV and Paramount, with the strategies he’s listed in the book.

10. Blindsight: The (Mostly) Hidden Ways Marketing Reshapes Our Brains

  • Authors: Matt Johnson, Prince Ghuman
  • Publish date: May 19, 2020

Authored by neuroscientist Matt Johnson and entrepreneur Prince Ghuman, Blindsight sheds some light on the ways that we, as consumers, are subconsciously and subtly manipulated by advertising.

The book delves into the surprising relationship between brands and brains, covering the "unseeable" aspects of content marketing—and how to take them to your advantage.

11. Fanocracy: Turning Fans Into Customers and Customers Into Fans

  • Authors: David Meerman Scott, Reiko Scott
  • Publish date: January 7, 2020

In Fanocracy, growth strategist David Meerman Scott and ER physician Reiko Scott guide readers through the step-by-step process of turning customer passion into marketing power.

Fanocracy focuses on the fundamental aspect of customer relationships. In an increasingly dehumanized world, people are starving for true human connection—and Fanocracy teaches its readers how to provide them with just that.

As father and daughter David and Reiko make clear, creating a fanocracy (i.e., turning fans into customers and customers into fans) is the very heart of building a meaningful corporate culture that lasts.

12. Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time

  • Authors: Mark Schaefer, Standford Smith
  • Published date: April 3, 2013

Though published in 2013, Born to Blog still contains valuable marketing information that can be used to this day.

Geared towards beginners, this book mainly focuses on blogging and writing powerful content that resonates with readers and followers. It illustrates how blogging can be useful for growing a business and how to put yourself in a serious commitment to write.

At less than 200 pages, Born to Blog is a quick but thought-provoking read. It lists down different blogging styles and encourages readers to use what fits their business best. It also shows you how to enter the market and start making money with your blog.

13. Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins

  • Author: Mark Schaefer
  • Publish date: January 11, 2019

Marketing Rebellion provides readers with a realistic and achievable framework to maximize their business venture.

Instead of providing a step-by-step roadmap, Mark Schaefer—an internationally-acclaimed author and college educator—offers a compass to guide his readers to their end goal.

As the title of the book implies, Marketing Rebellion puts a heavy focus on the human relationship of marketing.

Mark Schaefer emphasizes the "customer first" aspect of marketing. He examines and explains how social media influencers gain so many loyal followers by simply communicating with their audience.

The book is chock-full of historical perspectives, case studies, and quotations from successful business owners, making it as informative as it's engaging.

14. The Context Marketing Revolution: How to Motivate Buyers in the Age of Infinite Media

  • Author: Mathew Sweezey
  • Publish date: March 24, 2020

In the midst of the media revolution, content marketers need to reinvent the way they market their brands—which is exactly what Salesforce director Mathew Sweezey did.

In this book, Mathew Sweezey used his real-world experiences to outline the significance of transformative business and new technology to motivate buyers into looking at your brand.

Unlike other content strategies, where grabbing the attention of customers is key, The Context Marketing Revolution shows its readers that getting their attention isn't what's important. Rather, it's being there for them, where they are, at the right time.

In other words, customer relationships are vital to the success of the business. Monetary value comes later.

15. Practical Content Strategy & Marketing: The Content Strategy & Marketing Course Guidebook

  • Author: Julia McCoy
  • Publish date: November 27, 2017; second edition July 2021

Written for beginners and experienced business owners alike, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing is a one-stop guide on how to thrive in the world of modern marketing.

Encompassing over 400 pages of marketing knowledge, this book discusses the how, where, and why of content marketing through a variety of formats, strategies, tools, and platforms.

It lays these aspects out in a step-by-step approach so readers can easily put into action what they've read and learned.

16. The Content Marketing Handbook: How to Double the Results of Your Marketing Campaigns

  • Author: Robert Bly
  • Published: February 18, 2020

The Content Marketing Handbook teaches readers how to skillfully craft content that actually resonates with the audience.

It details how to overcome the biggest weaknesses of content marketing and how to avoid falling prey to it, as well as how to stand out from the competition.

This book is perfect for beginner entrepreneurs who want to start their businesses on the right foot.

17. Brand Identity Breakthrough: How to Craft Your Company’s Unique Story to Make Your Products Irresistible

  • Author: Gregory V. Diehl
  • Publish date: May 4, 2016

Brand identity is one of the most important aspects of content marketing. Without it, customers are less likely to remember your business.

Strong brand identities are instantly recognizable, even to those who don't actively follow or use the product. It immediately conveys a message about the business and attracts more customers.

Brand Identity Breakthrough teaches you how to do just that. By combining your values and personality with the functionality of your products, you'll become an irreplaceable brand in the eyes of consumers.

In this book, Gregory V. Diehl emphasizes the importance of business storytelling to sell products online and offline. He accompanies this with the best methods he's tried to boost your visibility as a small business.

18. Prove It: Exactly How Modern Marketers Earn Trust

  • Author: Melanie Diezel, Phil M. Jones
  • Publish date: October 11, 2022

In Prove It, authors Melanie Diezel and Phil M. Jones highlight valuable marketing concepts that most marketers completely miss.

Throughout the book, they use real-world examples from trusted brands across hundreds of industries to illustrate how they've achieved their success—and how you can do the same.

Prove It walks you through a step-by-step guide on identifying business premises, gathering evidence, and putting your work into action.

19. Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive Customer Action and Loyalty Prompting Instinctive Responses

  • Author: Nancy Harhut
  • Publish date: August 3, 2022

If you're looking for a science-backed strategy book for improving your marketing approach, look no further.

Using Behavioral Science in Marketing shows you how to apply the principles of behavioral science to increase customer engagement and conversion rates.

Through its step-by-step guide, you'll be able to harness instinctive customer responses and behavior and use them to your advantage.

20. Buyer Personas: How To Gain Insight Into Your Customer’s Expectations, Align Your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business

  • Author: Adele Revella
  • Publish date: February 24, 2015

Buyer Personas is another must-have in content marketing. Written by Adele Revella, author and CEO of Buyer Persona Institute, this book teaches marketers how to become experts on buyers.

It revolves around five basic premises, including priority initiative, which encompasses decision-making; success factors, which detail expected business outcomes; and the buyer's journey.

If you manage to nail all five aspects, you'll be able to successfully align a customer's buyer persona to your business.

21. What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best From the Rest

  • Author: Denise Lee Yohn
  • Publish date: 2014

What Great Brands Do demystifies the seven guiding principles that top brands use to achieve their global status.

One particular line stands out from the rest: Great brands put their brands at the center of their customer strategy rather than the customers themselves.

People don't just buy products based on quality or price; they also consider the values and feelings associated with the brand. Brands are like people—they need to be understood to succeed.

Denise Lee Yohn does a great job at discussing all the aspects of business marketing and strategy to actually make a brand worth the attention.

22. Practical Content Strategy & Marketing: The Content Strategy & Marketing Course Guidebook

  • Author: Julia McCoy
  • Publish date: November 27, 2017

Written by leading content strategist and entrepreneur Julia McCoy, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing is an in-depth practical guide that details the why, how, and where of content marketing.

The book is divided into six different modules, which range from the core foundations of an ROI (Return on Investment) to content promotion, budget, and maintenance.

23. Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You

  • Author: John Hall
  • Publish date: April 20, 2017

In this book, CEO and co-founder of Influence & Co. John Hall goes into detail on how to use content to keep your brand alive and thriving. He shows you how to build an authentic, noteworthy, and consistent brand that serves both you and your audience.

John Hall uses proven methods and case studies to build real, lasting trust in your company, and humanize your company brand.

24. Content Mapping: Unlocking the Power of Content to Increase Engagement, Leads and Sales

  • Author: Henry Adaso
  • Publish date: December 29, 2020

Content Mapping uses battle-tested content maps to improve your marketing strategy.

With this book, you'll be able to understand how to customize the sequence and flow of your content, create value for your business, and increase engagement through easy-to-follow steps.

It's a short book—just over 100 pages long—and available on Kindle for free. Marketing strategist Henry Adaso uses real-life experience from working with entrepreneurs of Fortune 500 to help you find your footing in the business world.

25. Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing

  • Author: Andy Crestodina
  • Publish date: 2012, revised October 1, 2022 (6th edition)

Content Chemistry combines marketing with a bit of science. From its original publication date in 2012, Content Chemistry has undergone dozens of changes to match the ever-evolving world of today.

In this book, content marketing speaker Andy Crestodina explains the social, creative, and analytical aspects of modern-day marketing to help business owners optimize their marketing strategy.

It teaches you how to drive more traffic to your website and build long-term industry leadership in your niche.

26. Effective SEO and Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for Maximizing Free Web Traffic

  • Author: Nicholas Papagiannis
  • Publish date: January 30, 2020

To quote Nicholas Papagiannis, a successful marketing strategy combines two things: the power of content and SEO.

In this book, Papagiannis shows readers how to effectively use SEO to not only improve your website ranking, but also optimize ideas, improve traffic, and deliver the best ROI for your business.

Effective SEO and Content Marketing is one of the most comprehensive guides to SEO, and it discusses optimization through various venues including Amazon, YouTube, Podcast, App Store, and blogs.

27. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers

  • Author: Seth Godin
  • Publish date: May 6, 1999

Published in 1999, Permission Marketing is an oldie but a goodie.

Chock-full of useful guidance and ideas that are still relevant over a decade later, Permission Marketing shows readers the value of Permission Marketing as opposed to Interruption Marketing. Some information is a bit outdated, but the basic concept still applies.

Plus, almost all of Seth Godin's claims and predictions from the book came true, which just goes to show just how knowledgeable he is in his field.

It's a great refresher on the basic aspects of marketing, filled with thought-provoking concepts that can guide you to a better path of marketing.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, folks; our top 27 list of the best books on content marketing! Content marketing is an extremely vast and versatile subject, and every business utilizes it differently.

The books above were all written by leading content marketing experts, so there's a lesson to be had with each one.

Which book has resonated with you the most?

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