Marketing is a tough nut to crack. I know this as well as anyone else. But it looks like other business owners may also be thinking the same thing. And that's where taking a look at some fantastic marketing books can help.
You remember the poll I ran toward the end of last year? The one where 30% of you voted Marketing as your biggest business challenge...
I then followed up with another poll where half of you told me that marketing took up most of your valuable time...
While the numbers are relatively low, it seems that quite a few of us find marketing challenging and time consuming - not great when we're already struggling for time during the day.
I've been trying to build my business a number ways, not least through marketing, via social media, through my blog posts, sharing content, or any of the other means at my disposal.
The thing is, without the know-how, most of this is guesswork, and I've no doubt if it does work it's because it's been tried and tested by real marketing experts, with insights and information that we could tap into, if only they wrote about it.
Fortunately for us, they do.
Many write blogs and post about their experiences on social media. They're a mine of incredibly useful and actionable tactics. I follow a number of them on Twitter, etc., as I've mentioned before and often refer to their tips when trying something new, lest I make a huge mistake and waste hours on something I could have made work with a few tweaks.
So, I thought I'd share some of the books I've read that I simply can't do without.
I use them daily for reference and inspiration - they've been written by authors who've been in the marketing trenches, made mistakes along the way, have learned from them, become successful as a result and, thankfully, share it all with us novice marketers.
Now on its third edition, Twitter Power 3.0 is the go-to book for anyone wanting to get ahead on Twitter. It's packed full of insights, actionable tips and a wealth of information that's jargon-free. If you're just starting out on Twitter this is, without doubt, the book to get.
There's also an audiobook version available, if you prefer to listen rather than read.
2) Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content - Ann Handley
Writing content (writing anything that people might want to read) can be an extremely painstaking process. Getting a great idea is tricky enough, but then writing it down and doing it well... there's a real art to that, and boy is it hard work.
Which is why Ann Handley's awesome book is the top of my list when I started writing for the web. An absolute Do's and Don'ts guide for online writing.
3) The Content Machine - Dan Norris
I'd read a few things around the web about what a great book The Content Machine is. Having since read it myself, I have to say I concur.
What I particularly like about Dan Norris's content marketing guide is that he doesn't sugarcoat any of it. He's failed in business a number of times, but got back on the horse every time and, by using a content marketing methodology, now runs not one, but three businesses. It's super inspiring and he gives away some excellent resources via his website, absolutely free.
4) Content Inc. - Joe Pulizzi
After reading The Content Machine I really started to get a taste for the role content marketing can play in helping me build my business, so I dug a little deeper and discovered Joe Pulizzi and his Content Marketing Institute. Wow! An absolute cornucopia of resources, articles, events and more.
No wonder he's regarded as a content guru. His Epic Content Marketing book is fantastic, but I particularly liked Content Inc. I listened to the audiobook version in the car and was blown away by the wealth of knowledge and really useful info he imparts, practically every page.
Like Dan Norris, he doesn't pretend content marketing is easy. It takes time to build an audience, and beyond that customers, but these guys help lay the foundations. You really should check them out.
Master Content Marketing - Pamela Wilson
I just wanted to add a comment about Master Content Marketing, which I'm currently reading. Man, this book lays it down so simply that you can't wait to start writing.
Pamela Wilson's 'lazy' approach to content writing totally inspires me. She understands that we can't spend all day writing - we've got businesses to run - so she offers lots of great time-saving tips.
And, if you've never written for the web before, her guide on the 7 pieces of a blog post will get you up-and-running in no time.
Yes, this is clearly not an exhaustive list. There are a bunch of others I could have included, but there's more than enough here if you're interested in learning more about how to market your business.
And, hey, if you've a personal favorite or go-to marketing tome, please let me know and I'll add it to my future reads list.
The companies I mention or link to in this post are just examples that I thought you'd find useful – I don't endorse them or their services. I have no affiliation with them and make no representation about their services.