The best marketing strategy is part brains and part luck. While you can’t do a whole lot to change your luck, you can learn more about best practices on your way to success.
But where do you start? There are so many blogs, social media marketing books and bits of general advice out there that it can be tough to cut through the clutter. Your luck starts now: We’ve compiled some of the best marketing books and blogs to help you take your marketing efforts to a whole new level.
Before you dive in, here’s a tip for using this list. Mix and match books and blog content to make the most of your overall marketing strategy. Many of the books contain more timeless information that can help you through any type of marketing conundrum, whereas many of the blogs are up-to-date with the latest trends, technology, and even those sneaky algorithm changes.
Read a little each day; just a few pages (or clicks of the mouse) will help you better understand all the tools at your disposal.
- Social media marketing books
- Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
- Content Inc: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi
- The Power of Visual Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
- The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
- Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
- Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen
- Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in A Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
- Social media marketing blogs
- Contently’s The Content Strategist
- Content Marketing Institute
- The Simply Measured Blog
- HubSpot Social Media Blog
- Convince and Convert
- Seth Godin’s Blog
- Buffer Social Blog
Social media marketing books
Today’s marketing plan isn’t about Super Bowl commercials, it’s rooted in guerilla tactics that are trackable and scalable. Author Ryan Holiday calls this “growth hacking” and his ideas are totally usable, no matter how big or small your social media following is right now. This book is rooted in the “new rules” of marketing and media and is a nice “airplane read” at just 144 pages.
Content Inc: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi
Designed to help startups, “Content Inc.” will teach you how to think about your strengths and how to best use them. When it comes to marketing, content is king. Without great content, no one will pay attention to your message. You need to understand and refine your content so your audience can’t look away. What’s particularly nice about this book is that it is packed with case studies and how others made it work, many on low or no budgets. That alone is worth the list price!
If content is king, then visuals are the queen. Without stellar visuals, your message isn’t likely to reach a core audience. In this social media marketing book, you’ll learn how to create stunning visuals that connect to users. Plus, it’s packed with pictures to help you learn! Even if you are a beginner or have no design chops, Walter’s guide will help you learn to create and identify better visual content from images to videos to infographics.
For a social media post to go viral, you need to know what makes people want to share. Berger has spent a lot of time looking at this phenomenon and has insights as to what makes people connect with a message and want to pass it on. It comes down to six principles (social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories) from his research that provide a sort of checklist to compare your projects against.
If you are looking for a social media marketing book that’s packed with practical tips, this is it. Kawasaki, a former Apple executive and Fitzpatrick, who he called “the best social media person he’s ever met,” provide tools for helping you grow followers with the right messaging and techniques. This is not a gimmick-based read, but is packed with ideas that can pay off if you strategize and have a little patience.
Everybody writes, but not everyone writes well. In today’s cluttered social media world, you have to write well. Voice, tone and grammar are everything when it comes to crafting a message. Handley’s guide looks at how to write effectively for different types of platforms – website home pages, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, emails, etc. – because they are all somewhat different.
Lack of likes is the biggest form of rejection. Do you find yourself posting and reposting content while waiting for people to comment and like it? Do you feel miserable if they don’t? The problem might not be what you are saying, but how you say it. A good social media marketing message contains value, excitement and surprise. That’s what users want to share. Kerpen shares case studies that give you the tools to create this type of content. You’re definitely going to like it!
Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi
Another book by Pulizzi and another title that focuses on crafting great content. The case-based book helps you figure out what content you should own, how to develop and deliver that message and set up a process for doing it over and over again. The book also helps you understand various social and email channels so you can use and reuse content effectively. While designed for beginners, this book is also a good refresher if you need a new dose of inspiration.
The problem with social media is there is so much of it. How do you keep your content from getting lost in everything else? Vaynerchuk’s book explains six rules of social media (and how to use them):
- It’s native
- It doesn’t interrupt
- It doesn’t make demands (too often)
- It leverages pop culture
- It’s micro
- It’s consistent and self-aware
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Crafting content and great stories is intimidating. It’s hard. It’s a job. One of the most acclaimed writers of our time explains how to take the challenge and inspires you to start writing. While King’s lessons are rooted in novels, they apply to any form of writing.
Social media marketing blogs
This social media marketing blog is packed with ideas, advice and best practices from around the industry. What’s particularly nice is that you can see the curators of the blog actually put all of their own advice into action with equally great social media pages and a strong visual presence for the blog itself. Much of the content is case-study-based so you can actually see what marketers are doing and how it works.
Crafting a message seems to get more important every day. This blog is packed with usable tips to help you create better messaging. The blog isn’t a one-man show, and contains posts by various experts. The only downside is that you sometimes have to deal with unwanted promotional clutter.
For a broad-based social media marketing blog, there’s a lot of good information here. CMI curates a lot of the ideas that you see elsewhere into a single stream that’s easy to follow. There’s a new post daily, so you know you’ll always be on top of the latest information and trends.
A social media campaign doesn’t just happen. It’s backed by analytics. This blog will help you understand the data measures behind your work and how to better use some of this information to appeal to users. The data-driven approach is trendy, trackable and highly usable if you know where to start.
One of the most up-to-date and on-trend blogs, HubSpot tracks and reports on everything social. The tips range from how to better link Instagram and Facebook to understanding changes to social media rules and algorithms. The posts are often structured as lists to help you check off concepts and tasks.
Every post to the Socialmouths blog is an example of a best practice. The posts have great headlines, stellar images and are packed with information that you can use right now. The blog also does a great job of showcasing examples of stellar social media marketing. There’s nothing like seeing good work to help you find inspiration.
This blog looks like a how-to guide. Many of the posts are designed to teach you how to do something with your social media strategy. The tips are practical and often come from leaders in the industry. Much of the content is designed for bigger picture strategy and can help you plan more than just social media.
This blog could be described as random thoughts from a marketing mastermind. You never really know what nuggets of advice might appear, but the information is always valuable. Plus, most of the posts are super short, giving you a quick punch of information. Recent posts included the definition of a commodity (and why it’s important) and 10 things to remember at the start of fall (highly recommended).
It’s not a blog per se, but the Reddit social media thread is often packed with great stuff. Having a technical issue that you can’t resolve? Pick the brains of others with the same problem. Want to talk about going freelance or trends or just chat with other professionals doing the same thing as you? This is the place to go. Users from all over the world are sharing their tips and experiences and most of it is free from the sponsorships that sneak into more popular blogs.
This might be one of the most usable blogs for social media marketing available. It is packed with content that is a case study in itself. Posts are organized, easy to read and filled with images and data bits that help you understand even the most complex concepts. One of the best features of the blog is how it is organized, with a drop-down list of categories so you can jump right to the topics that are relevant to you today. Just look at the numbers on the posts as well and you can see that this blog is putting the tips it promotes into action. Take a close look at how the posts are structured as a guide to planning your own content.
A good reading list is a great source of inspiration. Books and blogs can help you become a better social media marketer or just provide the right dose of inspiration to try something new or different. Many of the concepts of traditional marketing still apply when it comes to social media; you have to be a good communicator or writer, and visuals are key.
Don’t have time to read? Schedule 20 minutes in your calendar each week. That’s all it takes to make the most of those social media marketing books and blogs.