If you’re a nonprofit communicator who is curious about or getting started with content marketing, I have three book recommendations for you. Together, these books will give you an understanding content strategy and writing along with a beginning-to-end understanding of content marketing from planning to evaluation. All three books are highly valued items in my own library and are sure to give you a solid start if you need one.
Start your content marketing library with these three books
1. Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach
I learned about Content Strategy for the Web when Marco Campana recommended it for a Nonprofit MarCommunity blog post two years ago. Good content matters and starts with strategy. While this isn’t specifically a content marketing book, I like this statement from the authors – it describes why I’ve put it on this list:
“In our opinion, focusing on the web is still the easiest way to learn about content strategy. Once you ‘get’ content strategy for the web, you can easily see its applications across platforms and throughout the enterprise.”
It’s my observation that not enough nonprofits value or prioritize content when planning websites (or many other marketing strategies or tactics) – which is a mistake. Content Strategy for the Web sheds light on the importance and value of content along with very useful and tactical advice on things like:
- Auditing and analyzing your content
- How to develop content strategy and workflow
- The roles involved in strong web content strategy and implementation
2. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
This book is such a practical guide to writing and creating content, I’ve already reviewed and highly recommended Everybody Writes on this blog. It’s an easy and enjoyable read that covers writing inspiration, productivity, grammar and style as well as specific instructions for writing for a variety of content formats such as blosts, landing pages, annual reports and content for each main social network. As I’ve previously quoted Handley:
“Being able to write well isn’t nice; it’s a necessity. And it’s also the oft-overlooked cornerstone of nearly all content marketing.”
If you’re starting a content marketing program, you’re going to have to get comfortable with writing. Even if you plan an image-, video- or audio-based strategy, you’ll have to develop the messaging plan, scripts or outlines. Everybody Writes to the rescue!
3. Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi
Though it was published in 2014, I only stumbled across Epic Content Marketing this September when I was looking for Pulizzi’s more recent (and now on my shelf waiting to be read) Content Inc. Epic is right! This is the overall content marketing primer you need. In the first chapter, Pulizzi states…
“Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.”
…and then he spends the rest of the book explaining exactly how to do it.
In Epic Content Marketing, Pulizzi answers every content marketing question I’ve been hearing from nonprofits and then some. It is incredibly informative and useful, with detailed explanations of such important topics as:
- Defining your audience, niche and content marketing mission statement
- Building your editorial calendar
- Measuring the impact of your content marketing
Get. This. Book.
What’s in your content marketing library?
So there you have it. If you want to be a smart nonprofit content marketer, add these three books to your holiday wish list or treat yourself to some serious skill- and knowledge-building holiday reading.
Do you have any book recommendations to add?