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The 2016 Summer Reading List for Digital Marketers

summer reading list

For many, the summer is a time to take a break (even if only for a few hours on the weekend) from the usual chaos you experience the rest of the year. While those in the marketing industry may not have all the time in the world to sit back and relax each day, hopefully there is SOME time to unplug so that the other 10 months of the year don’t feel quite as tiresome or draining!

If reading is one of your pastimes, the summer is a great time of year to kick back with a good book at the beach while still taking some steps to help your professional growth. Whether you’re looking for something to read during weekend travels, or simply a little something to read before bed, these 5 marketing books are some of our favorites (and the favorites of some seasoned professionals that we spoke with too) and are sure to keep you on your toes when it’s time to head back into the office.

1. Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy is widely considered “The Father of Advertising,” so it’s no surprise that his book is the first on our list (and often the first assignment on many “Marketing 101” syllabuses). This classic advertising book holds inside of it all the essentials that anyone in the industry should understand and use on a day-to-day basis. While it doesn’t quite tap into the digital end of the marketing industry and some examples might feel a little bit like a scene from “Mad Men,” the takeaways from this book can certainly be applied to current marketing initiatives.

ogilvy-on-advertising

Even as the times change, the best practices and the lessons that Ogilvy shares in his book do not. From brand case studies to simple timeless tips, this book is an essential read for anyone in the industry—from recent grads to executives! The very premise and founding principles that advertising was built on should still be part of all marketing approaches today—just adapted to meet the needs of a more digitalized landscape.

2. Content Inc., Joe Pulizzi

In the digital marketing industry, content marketing is essential, but too often marketers use the channel in ways that are less than innovative, significantly outdated, and simply ineffective. That being said, when done right, the power of content is quite astronomical as detailed by the Founder & CEO of the Content Marketing Institute himself. In his book, Pulizzi shares with readers his proven tactics and a simple yet effective content marketing model that has helped to build his own success and that of many others too.

content-inc

What’s nice with this particular book is that Pulizzi really puts together his thoughts in a guideline format with six clear and cohesive steps that make the activation of his advice quite easy. For marketers that work with brand new organizations all the way to companies that are simply in need of a little “reboot,” this book is a go-to. Many entrepreneurs and well-known businesses (a lot of great examples are shown throughout the book) attribute this piece as a crucial element to how they quickly built their own success and were able to effectively reach their audience. If you’re a fan of this one, be sure to check out Pulizzi’s other book “Epic Content Marketing” too!

3. Everybody Writes, Ann Handley

Regardless of the type of marketing you specialize in, there is a very strong chance that you require a skillset which includes a strong writing ability. From social media marketers to paid media specialists to PR professionals, the ability to write well and communicate effectively with your audience through words is important. “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley is a tactical guide to creating content that captures customer interest.

everybody-writes

The content guru shares actionable tips and advice that can help any marketer improve their writing skills regardless of their level of expertise. The book is broken down into six core sections including:

  1. How to Write Better (and how to hate writing less)
  2. Writing Rules: Grammar and Usage
  3. Story Rules
  4. Publishing Rules
  5. Things Marketers Write
  6. Content Tools

While all sections of the book are extremely valuable, personally I’m a big fan of the “Things Marketers Write” section. This part delves into detail about the various marketing channels and the platforms that marketers most frequently create content for. From landing pages, annual reports, infographics, and so much more, Handley sheds some light on how to write most effectively for everything under the big marketing “umbrella.”

4. The Community Manager’s Playbook, Lauren Perkins

For brand marketers, the importance of a strong, engaging, and active online community is indisputable. With that being said, the actual creation and maintenance of an online community that has all of those elements is easier said than done. Simply posting a few arbitrary tweets or creating a blog post that doesn’t really provide value every once in a while isn’t enough to engage your audience and connect with them in a way that drives sales and customer loyalty.

community-managers-playbook

Perkins’ book details a strategic approach to develop captivating online communities. She provides readers with results-driven tactics, details on channel-specific content distribution, and information on identifying the right target audience and tailoring marketing initiatives accordingly. Jennifer Rosenthal, Community Manager at Pearson recommends this piece as a “must-read” for those on the B2C side of social media and communications marketing. “Companies are increasingly embracing social media as an integral component of their marketing initiatives and this book helps to think about the role of targeting specific audiences or ‘communities’ in outreach efforts,” says Rosenthal.

5. The Purple Cow, Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s book highlights some impressive thoughts that anyone in the business world can benefit from. The book stresses the importance of staying relevant, timely, and how you should constantly be looking for ways to improve your brand or the initiatives you employ. This concept in itself, while simple, is essential. If you aren’t always looking for areas of improvement, you’re not going to see continuous growth.

purple-cow

To be a profitable and successful organization, it’s important to look at your strengths and weaknesses, and asses what’s working and what’s not. “The Purple Cow is one of the first books to really nail ‘stand out’ marketing, basically serving as a marketing bible for many in the business,” says Holly Rollins, President of 10x Digital.

What other books are on your nightstand this summer? Share with us in the comments below!

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