I’m a growth hacker at heart. I love to find new ways to grow my blogs, promote content, and help other people maximize their potential online. But if I had to admit, I didn’t just get here on intuition. I definitely have a knack from marketing, and I’m positive that I was born with the entrepreneurial gene, but it’s still taken some learning.
My favorite way to learn is to read. I love hearing from other experts and passing along articles online. I try to limit myself to about 3 articles a day, because otherwise, you’re probably going to drown in the noise.
That said, here’s a list that I would absolutely challenge you to work through over the next few weeks if you’re serious about content marketing. While there are plenty more of great resources out there, these touch on some of the topics that I find most important in my day to day.
Let me know what you think!
These “7 ½ sins” of content marketing are ones that I need to remind myself of constantly. And I have found that it’s a pretty similar pattern for the people I consult with. When you forget the basics, your strategy crumbles. Consider this your refresher course on the things we all do but definitely should not.
For me, two of the biggest highlights are #1: we make it about us, but it needs to be about the customer. And #4, stop forgetting about the 3 Rs: repurpose, reuse and recycle content!
I find myself more and more using data driven resources in my blog posts. Big data is become more and more a core part of any content marketer’s playbook. This eBook does a great job of showcasing how to use data for content creation, measuring effectiveness, and developing a smarter strategy.
As it says in the summary, content marketing isn’t a “hit or miss” industry any more. We can use data to make smart decisions—and this is a great guide on the right way to go about doing just that.
This eBook has a lot of great practical advice from real brands incorporating a lot of content marketing into their strategy—from Dell to Kraft foods. It also features solid advice from guys like Michael Brenner and Andrew Davis.
A crucial element of all good advice in this industry is finding concrete, creative ways to apply it to your own strategy. It’s almost never just going to be plug and play. Real world examples like these are a must for learning how to do that well.
Speaking of examples, here’s a serious powerhouse from the Content Marketing Institute. These are concrete examples from recent industry leaders that can help spark your creativity. They show a wide variety of methods, many of which you may “know” but haven’t seen don’t practically.
My big mantra is that we need solutions, not excuses. Lists like these provide a ton of solutions that I hope will help spark you to get going even today.
Ah, thank God for Moz. They have proven time and time again to be such a valuable resource on so many different topics, and I am proud to promote them any chance I can get.
SEO is such a mystery to so many, but it really doesn’t need to be. If you can even understand the basics, it’s an excellent tool for really making the most of every inch of your blog.
Then there’s the advanced stuff. Whether it’s building out a better hierarchy for your website, or really figuring out the mechanics of SERP, it all informs how we write and manage better blogs.
Full disclosure, I helped write this guide with Neil Patel. It’s an easy read, and is sure to give you a comprehensive understanding of those next-level SEO tactics that can really improve your blog and content strategy.
This is another eBook in the same series as “Showing Real ROI” so it’s got a fairly similar model. It features extremely helpful, practical advice from companies like Facebook and Copyblogger. It also features folks like Scott Abel and Heidi Cohen.
I put this one on the list because I think it’s especially important to think about the way you’re growing your audience. Anyone (well, almost anyone) can attract new readers, but they need to be the kind that you really want—the ones who are going to convert. This provides concrete steps for making that happen.
Sujan, another one of your own?! Yes, I did co-write this one as well—this time with my friend Rob Wormley. But this isn’t just shameless self-promotion. These are real strategies that both Rob and I use practically every day.
Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been in this game for years, I really believe that this book sets a practical model for diversifying the way you grow your audience. Check it out. Whether you use it every day or once a week, you’re sure to find some helpful tips along the way.
HubSpot has continued to emerge as a fantastic resource for content marketers, and this eBook is no exception. It touches on a lot of the major points that you’ll hear me repeating over and over again in my content (know your audience!), and I think serves as a really helpful guide that you can constantly come back to in your ideation process.
Similarly, this one from HubSpot touches on a too-often overlooked aspect of outreach: lead generation. Lead generation isn’t typically part and parcel with content marketing, but it’s a principle in outreach that I’m quite fond of.
My bread and butter outreach skill is cold emailing, which this site is the brain-child of. When you can understand the art of lead generation, you can have a much fuller scope of what it means to do outreach well.
Creating a strategy can be extremely difficult—especially one that you can really keep to from month to month. If you’ve read my stuff before, you know that I try to stay at least 7 weeks ahead of schedule on my content. But that doesn’t mean I’m coasting.
It’s a lot of hard work to stay on top of your content marketing strategy, and this guide give you an extremely practical look at what goes into one that works long term.
There’s some stuff that’s worth measuring, at a lot that’s not. Jay Baer, a guy who I really trust, is able to pull together a really helpful, very comprehensive guide that make metrics palatable if not “fun.”
Especially when you’re trying to streamline your process, or determine what’s working, you can save a lot of time and money by skipping the bullshit software and getting down to the nitty gritty facts of what is going well—and what isn’t. It’s a quick read and something I’d recommend at any level.
What I like about this eBook is that it’s extremely goal-minded and business-oriented. Meaning, it really helps you to think about every post your write from a business perspective.
While I first and foremost always strive to be helpful in my writing, it’s also important that I’m writing from a stance that’s helpful to my brand. If I’m trying to build an image for myself, then there are going to be subjects I can avoid—no matter how much I can write well about them.
Your words matter, and this eBook is certainly a good reminder of the business significance of such statement.
Here’s one that takes a look at the ethical approach to content curation. We don’t always need to be straining ourselves to produce content, but that doesn’t mean everything’s up for grabs. It’s your job as a good content marketer to be ethical about your approach to content curation, and this guide makes it clear how to do that.
What I love about the content marketing community is that, for the most part, we’re all here to help each other. If that’s not your game, then you may need to find somewhere else to play.
As the self-described guide for “the tenacious blogger,” this is an eBook after my own heart. The truth of content marketing is that all of the tools are in your hands, and you need to have a hunger to go out and seize growth.
No matter how many tricks and tips you receive from these eBooks, if you’re not going after it yourself, then it’s all worthless. You need to be out there fighting for your growth every day, and this eBook is a great reminder.
If you’re involved in eCommerce, you’ll want to check out 50 Shades of Growth, a free ebook by LemonStand. The book contains 50 irresistable eCommerce growth experiments from the top growth experts, including yours truly (Sujan Patel). Each hack has step-by-step instructions and can be implemented pretty quickly without requiring too many resources.
If you are someone who develops content in order to reach a wide audience, you should read The Ultimate Guide to Medium because it will give you insight into one of most forward-moving and innovative platforms for writers and readers available on the Internet.
Using a simple user-friendly design interface, Medium gives writers the freedom to do what they do best: write. This book distills all that author Greg Muender knows about the potential of Medium as someone who’s had great success with it himself. Greg’s first published story on Medium received 42,000 views in the first 24 hours. Since that time, Greg has honed his craft to be able to make $10,000 on a single story, and he spells it out in crystal clear fashion so you can too.
Did I miss anything? Let me know what eBooks are on your shortlist in the comments below!