20+ Books Every Content Marketer Should Read to Radically Improve Their Content Creation

A stack of books sitting on a table. The books in this stack are recommended in the post. There is a text overlay that says recommended books for content creators and marketers.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” ― Stephen King

Marketers have many professional development options like paid training, conferences, and online courses. But one of the most accessible options is also painfully overlooked: books. 

Books challenge our thinking, shift our perspective, and relieve us from the stresses of everyday life. They also disrupt our day-to-day work grind to inspire true innovation. 

If you’re looking for new books to escape in or want to gift that feeling to a friend, let us help. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite books for marketing and business professionals, based on #ContentChat community favorites and the books that our team turns to time and time again.

20+ Content Marketing Books Every Content Marketer Will Wish They’d Read Sooner

Below are enough book recommendations to keep you busy for months, if not years. Unless you’re a speed-reading bibliophile (Erika, I’m looking at you), in which case months or days are likely more accurate. The list focuses on marketing and business innovation books, with a few others sprinkled in. 

While these are some of our favorites, we recommend you browse a few pages online or—if you want to make us jealous—during a trip to your local bookstore or library (what a dream!). You may be able to find these at an upcoming marketing industry event, too. 

Every author’s style and tone are not for everyone, and that’s perfectly OK. Find the ones that hook you, and let the pages take you away.

Do you have a favorite book you want to recommend to us? Let us know in the comments or tag us on LinkedIn @ErikaHeald-Com with #ContentChat.

BILLION DOLLAR BRAND CLUB BY LAWRENCE INGRASSIA

Looking to make waves as a business newcomer in well-established markets? Former New York Times editor Lawrence Ingrassia examines how brands like Casper, Dollar Shave Club, and Warby Parker ushered in the direct-to-consumer revolution.

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Brand messages are often a confusing mix of jargon and buzzwords, written entirely from the “our product is great” perspective. But customers don’t care about your product. Customers care about themselves, and how you can help them in their journey to accomplish whatever it is they’re doing. Donald teaches you the not-so-secret (but untapped) formula behind what makes for a great story—ones that become box office hits and literary bestsellers—and how to make your customers the hero of your story. 

Change Fatigue by Melissa Breker and Jenny Magic

Every time your organization shifts its strategy or makes a last-minute request, your team loses a little bit more of their patience and goodwill. Everyone is exhausted, and change fatigue is real. This book will help you flip teams from burnout to buy-in by providing you with actionable tools to create psychological safety and approach change in a human-centered way. We had Jenny and Melissa on #ContentChat to preview a few of their tips for overcoming change fatigue in content marketing

Content Chemistry by Andy Crestodina

Get the formula for creating great content with Content Chemistry (no science degree required!). Reading this book, you’ll understand why Andy is one of our favorite content marketing thought leaders. He breaks down the elements of content strategy, content creation, and content promotion with hundreds of diagrams, screengrabs, and charts. His advice will help you make web marketing not only effective but, dare we say, fun! 

The Content Entrepreneur by Marc Maxhimer and Joe Pulizzi (+30 Others, Including Erika Heald!)

Building a content business involves a lot of trial and error, but you can borrow lessons from fellow content creators to accelerate your growth. This new book from Marc and Joe includes insights from more than 30 content marketing pros, including our consultancy founder Erika Heald! Erika contributed three chapters to the book: defining your brand voice, choosing the right social platform to build community, and using AI to scale your content creation (preview the chapter here). 

The Content Fuel Framework by Melanie Deziel

Do you continually find yourself lacking inspiration for your next content topic? Melanie shares her framework for generating a virtually endless stream of ideas, spread across ten content focuses and ten content formats. The book shares practical strategies and countless examples—not to mention templates!—for brainstorming enough content ideas for an entire year. Melanie joined us in a past #ContentChat about how content marketers can build trust with their content, previewing learnings from her other great book: Prove It

CONTENT INC. BY JOE PULIZZI, 2nd edition

Most business stories are not ones of success. Time and time again, entrepreneurs launch ambitious products that flop. Luckily, Joe is here to help you break that cycle. Joe, who is regarded as the ‘Godfather of Content Marketing,’ explains how to build a business with a content-first and audience-focused approach before you even have a product. Trust us, this book will leave you inspired and fully aware of how content can drive your success. Want a preview of what you’ll learn? Check out this #ContentChat recap with Joe

Content Marketing Strategy by Robert Rose

Your content communicates everything to your customers—but is what you’re saying strategic? Content Marketing Institute Chief Strategy Advisor Robert Rose explains how to build a content strategy from the ground up, including assembling your team, crafting a compelling brand voice, and setting meaningful goals for your content marketing. 

The Content Puzzle by Andi Robinson

Successful content marketing requires a conscious blend of strategy and unwavering empathy for your audience. In The Content Puzzle, Andi (who is a longtime #ContentChat community member) examines the psychology behind content and how you can build a content strategy centered on your audience’s needs and behaviors to ensure they take action.  

The Content Strategy Toolkit by Meghan Casey

This essential guide outlines a step-by-step approach to building your content strategy and overseeing its entire lifecycle. Meghan provides practical and relevant advice to help you overcome the challenges your content marketing team is likely facing. Thanks to her toolkit, you’ll easily make sense of your business and audience to craft a meaningful content strategy. 

CREATE THE FUTURE + THE INNOVATION HANDBOOK BY JEREMY GUTSCHE

The only constant in this world is change. Everything around us is rapidly adapting, leaving many of us wondering how to stay ahead of the curve in often chaotic circumstances. This 360-page bestseller will give you the tactics, tools, and frameworks that Jeremy and his team used to help 700 of the most powerful brands and leadership teams exploit this chaos and disrupt industries. 

Effective Sales Enablement by Pam Didner

Content plays a key role in helping sales teams close deals, but marketers often lack the sales know-how to support their sales counterparts effectively. Our friend Pam shares proven ways to align sales and marketing for collaborative content creation, elevating your success in both areas (and streamlining your precious resources). 

EVERYBODY WRITES, 2nd Edition BY ANN HANDLEY

Everything Ann writes sounds like a letter to a friend. This book reminds us that we are all content creators and can be more intentional with our words. Trust her book’s subtitle: ” Your new and improved go-to guide to creating ridiculously good content.” You’ll approach your writing in an entirely new way because of it. 

THE EXPERIENCE MAKER BY DAN GINGISS

Most brands claim they provide an optimal customer experience. Is that the truth, though? Customer experience can be your best marketing, but many brands use the term without actually understanding what makes for a great customer experience. Dan teaches you his WISER methodology for being intentional in how you build truly great experiences. There are plenty of examples here that will make you laugh, cringe, and cringe while laughing (the IKEA example; you’ll know it when you read it). Dan joined #ContentChat to give you a peek at what you’ll learn in the book. 

HUMOR, SERIOUSLY BY JENNIFER AAKER AND NAOMI BAGDONAS

You should have fun with your marketing, but it can be a fine line to balance humor with your brand identity (unless you’re Wendy’s on Twitter). Jennifer and Naomi blend insights from comedians, behavioral scientists, and stories from brand leaders to show how humor can work well for business and build a more joyous workplace. 

LIFESCALE: HOW TO LIVE A MORE CREATIVE, PRODUCTIVE, AND HAPPY LIFE BY BRIAN SOLIS

Life is hard. We face new challenges each day with a never-ending cycle of news, trends, fads, pressures, expectations, and distractions to sift through in trying to live a happy and successful life. Brian wants to help you live a more creative and productive life by giving you practical tools to find out what’s distracting you, resist the manipulations we face, and find true meaning in your work.

THE NON-DESIGNER’S GUIDE TO DESIGN THINKING BY SASO KUNITAKE

Leading brands and thought leaders tout the importance of design thinking, but what exactly is design thinking? What if you’re not a designer? Saso provides a clear way for non-designers and designers alike to learn design thinking.

THE PRACTICE: SHIPPING CREATIVE WORK BY SETH GODIN

You can learn creativity, and Seth shows you how. We often fall into patterns that keep us from reaching our full creative potential and contributing work that is truly unique. The book opens creativity to the masses to show you how to find your voice and share it, no matter what you do. You can also get a desktop calendar version of the book if a tip-a-day is more your speed.

RE:THINK INNOVATION BY CARLA JOHNSON

Anyone can become an innovator. Carla teaches you how to observe patterns, connect the dots, and become an unstoppable innovation machine—all in a simple five-step framework. We’ve got another #ContentChat recap for you to hear from Carla herself what you’ll learn in the book. 

THE REFERABLE SPEAKER BY ANDREW DAVIS AND MICHAEL PORT

Do you dream of keynoting your favorite conferences and sharing your expertise on countless event stages? Andrew and Michael teach you how to build a sustainable speaking career and turn one speaking gig into a dozen. 

Talk Triggers by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin

Word of mouth can become one of your best business generators. This book by our friend Jay Baer explains how to activate customer chatter by giving them a story to tell. You’ll learn 30+ examples of brands that do this well and learn a proven formula to turn your customers into your best advocates. 

THINK LIKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST BY OZAN VAROL

Yes, a former rocket scientist wrote this book. No, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to think like one. Ozan shares nine strategies to help you reach your next goal, whether it’s accelerating your career, launching a product, or simply conquering the challenges of everyday life. 

TRUST AGENTS BY CHRIS BROGAN AND JULIEN SMITH

Social media has the power to transform your brand and elevate you as a thought leader. Or, it can be a never-ending uphill climb that makes you question the investment. Chris and Julien are two social media veterans who show you how to approach social media the right way to build your network, expand your influence, and drive positive business results through social media. 

The Trusted Advisor by David Maister, Charles Green, and Robert Galford

One of the biggest challenges of being a content entrepreneur isn’t creating content, but earning the trust and confidence of clients. This business book has been trusted for decades, featuring updated insights, examples, and advice to help you become a more trustworthy advisor and business partner. 

Using Behavioral Science in Marketing by Nancy Harhut

Want to learn the science behind what makes your customers engage with your marketing communications, email, and ad campaigns? Nancy is a trusted marketing expert and friend of #ContentChat who distills practical behavioral science ideas to help you engage your audiences more effectively. The American Marketing Association honored Nancy with its prestigious Leonard L. Berry Marketing Book Award in 2024, providing additional testament to why the book is a must-read. 

WHEN: THE SCIENTIFIC SECRETS OF PERFECT TIMING BY DANIEL PINK

Timing is a science. Daniel—drawing from psychology, biology, and economics research—teaches you how to live a better life by understanding the intricacies of timing and the patterns that can make or break our wellbeing.

Writing for Humans and Robots by Maddy (Osman) French

Your content needs to appeal to your human readers and the search engines that deliver content to them. How can you strike a balance between the two? Maddy gives you a foundation to build a coherent, on-brand reader experience with actionable standards. She shares plenty of examples to explain how to write for humans and robots alike—helping you achieve your goals with content. 

Build Your Content marketing Library

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