The world of content promotion changes extremely rapidly. By keeping up on the day-to-day changes, you’ll not only be able to advise your clients and colleagues more effectively, but you’ll be able to jump on new opportunities before the competition knows they exist. Here are some of our favorite resources for content promotion.
Table of Contents:
- Books About PR & Positioning
- Books on Paid Media
- Books on Earned Media
- Technical Delivery, Search, Social, & More
- Other Recommended Books
- Content Marketing Blogs
- Paid Content Promotion Platform Blogs
- Presentations and Slideshares
- People to Follow
- Further Reading
Books (sort of ) About Content Promotion
It’s important to remember things in this field change incredibly fast, so many books are outdated by the time they’re published. However, there are many timeless marketing works – as well as many books that focus on the strategic & psychological aspects of marketing – that are incredibly valuable.
Books About PR & Positioning
While these books aren’t strictly about content promotion, understanding how to create effective content and connect with people in a way that generates action is a key facet of content promotion. (While we’ve focused mostly on the tactical in this post, sometimes stepping back and making a strategic study of psychology can be very worthwhile.)
Al Ries & Jack Trout show you how to find white space for your product, and explore how you can create a position that will generate a response.
It’s worth reading this book to understand how to position your content – in a crowded field (and all the profitable fields are crowded, the only question is how crowded your space is) so it stands out and gets found.
Robert Cialdini wrote the definitive guide to persuasive psychology with this book. Now part of the core canon for marketing books, Cialdini writes stories about data-backed principles of persuasion like social proof, reciprocity, and more. If you read just one book on this list, read this.
The Heath brothers take a deep look at what causes ideas to spread and succeed, and they conclude the key criteria are Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotion, and Stories. This is a great book to read to understand a) how to make better content, and b) how to pitch more effectively.
Larry Tye walks through the life of the notorious ‘Father of Public Relations’, Edward Bernays. While many of Bernays marketing stunts may be considered deceptive in today’s society, a lot can be learned from them. Bernays never let people tell him he couldn’t promote something.
Consider bacon an essential part of a true American breakfast? You can thank Bernays for that. He conducted a skewed survey to make it look like he had the backing of thousands of physicians. When Lucky Strike cigarettes needed more market share, Bernays put together a “freedom walk” to get women to march down the streets of New York City, cigarettes in hand. The press covered the event, smoking became socially acceptable for women, and Lucky Strike sales went up.
Books on Paid Media
Paid media platforms change every day. (As I’m writing this, Twitter just rolled out some powerful new ad targeting functionality.) When you study advertising, it’s best to study the timeless aspects – the psychology and creative techniques of how to get a response from paid broadcast messages – which haven’t changed much in hundreds of years. In fact, the best books on this topic were largely written by people who never touched a computer.
Joseph Sugarman (creator and populizer of, amongst other things, Blu Blockers) writes about how to create powerful advertising copy, including a detailed way of how to write appeals to different human motivations. A lot of this book is strongly geared towards long copy direct response advertisements, so you’ll have to do some translation in your head.
Claude Hopkins was one of the first direct response marketers of all time. This book talks about how he ascended to the top levels of marketing (then quite a new discipline) from humble roots. It also discusses how to write great direct response ads and headlines, which, despite years of technological advances in how they are delivered, the core human response hasn’t changed that much.
David Ogilvy was one of the first famous advertising men of the large agency era, and he produced extremely memorable campaigns for Schweppes, Hathaway Shirts, Rolls Royce, and Puerto Rico, amongst others. If you want to learn how to create ads that convert while improving your brand, read this book. Given its focus on glossy magazine-style articles, as well as DR advertisements, there’s a lot modern content marketers can learn from this old master.
Books on Earned Media
Earned media models change quickly, and many of the books in this space are either far too theoretical (“be a purple squirrel & crush it!”) or so tactical they rapidly become out of date.
That being said, here are some of our favorite more recent books, although sections of them are becoming less applicable as the digital landscape changes. Make sure you grab the most recent version of these, or get the ebook version that can dynamically update.
Marty Weintraub is one of the smartest digital marketers working today, and he and Lauren Litiwinka have written one of the few books on social media that’s heavy on actionable advice and short on meaningless platitudes.
This is the best book we’ve read for tactical social media advice, including how to manage your community, how to promote your content in a way that’s welcome, not spammy, on other sites, and how to amplify your content with paid and organic marketing.
This book is radically at the other end of the spectrum. Ryan Holiday has run PR campaigns for authors like Tim Ferriss, Tucker Max, and Robert Greene, as well as for brands like American Apparel. In this book, he presents his insights for getting media coverage, ‘trading up the chain’, and using the economics of blogging to your advantage.
While this book begins with stories of less-than-savory media relations tactics, it ends with a thorough analysis of how media business models impact earned media strategies. Well worth reading, and a far better book than it initially appears.
Technical Delivery, Search, Social, and More
This is another area where the tactics rapidly go out of date. However, if you think about traffic pathways and user experiences critically & up front, you can dramatically improve your results.
Luke Wroblewski writes everything you could ever want to know about how people online fill out forms. (Chances are if you’re an online marketer, at some level your entire job is getting people to fill out online forms, so it can be very helpful to know as much as you can about them.) If your content includes forms (let’s say it’s behind a lead form), or if maybe you’re trying to get people to fill out forms (like getting them to opt-in to future communications from your brand), you’ll want to read this book.
Lee Odden consults with leading content marketers like Marketo, McKesson, LinkedIn, and other B2C and B2B companies. His strategies combine modern social and search techniques with classical marketing thinking.
This book talks about how companies can optimize their content for the customer discovery process across its lifecycle, and has some very valuable material, especially for people who are newer to SEO and social who don’t know every tag and attribute by heart. If you want to learn more about integrating many different search, social, and promotion channels with your business goals and your customer journey, this is a great book.
As Lee says, “Great content isn’t great until it’s discovered, consumed, and shared.”
Other Recommended Books
Avinash Kaushik is one of the best writers on web analytics today, and this book is a masterwork. It will change how you think about measurement, and ultimately, online marketing as you learn to measure and optimize for the global maxima.
Many readers of this book work at marketing agencies, which range from exceptionally well managed to ‘could be doing a few things better’. This is the best book we’ve read about managing a professional services firm, and we think everyone that works in or manages agencies should read it.
You’ll get some good ideas about how to differentiate and grow your firm, how to make different staffing models work for you, and understand how professional services firms in other industries are managed.
In Buying In, Rob Walker coins the term ‘murketing’ to describe the way certain brands represent themselves to consumers. Walking through case studies from Red Bull, PBR, Timberland, and iPod, Walker makes the case that we are what we buy.
Blogs & Online Resources
Content Marketing Blogs
- The Aimclear blog
- Altimeter Content Marketing Research
- The BuzzStream Blog
- Content Marketing Institute
- Convince & Convert
- The HubSpot Insider Blog
- The Marketo Blog
- The Moz Blog
- Web Ink Now
Paid Content Promotion Platform Blogs
Paid content promotion units change exceptionally frequently – the best way to understand the shifts in the field are through the respective platforms’ blogs:
- Facebook for Business Blog
- LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog
- Outbrain Blog
- Twitter for Business Blog
- StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
Sometimes you need to send something to a colleague in another group, a new client, or someone who’s asked a quick question on Twitter or email. These SlideShares are easy to consume and packed full of insight:
Doug Kessler takes on the future of content marketing, the forthcoming deluge of crap content, and how to stick out.
Simon Penson talks integrated campaigns & content promotion success.
Kesley Libert shares her strategies for getting high-end content placements and winning the earned media game.
People to Follow
If you’re on Twitter, these people regularly tweet good insights about content promotion. To make it easier, we’ve organized everyone into a Twitter list.
- Jay Baer – President, Convince & Convert
- Matthew Barby – Digital Strategist, Wyatt International
- Michael Brenner – Head of Strategy, NewsCred
- Lisa Buyer – Author, Professor
- BuzzStream -We try to share great posts, too 🙂
- Joe Chernov – VP of Content, Hubspot
- Kieran Flanagan – Marketing Director, HubSpot
- Matt Gratt – Former BuzzStream-er
- Kane Jamison – Founder, Content Harmony
- Doug Kessler – Founder & Creative Director, Velocity
- Kelsey Libert – Partner, Fractl
- Rebecca Lieb – Analyst, Altimer Group
- Isla McKetta – Content Crafter, Moz
- Jason Miller – Sr. Manager Content & Social, LinkedIn
- Lee Odden – CEO, TopRank
- Simon Penson – Founder, Zazzle Media
- Chad Pollitt – Co-Founder, Relevance
- Cyrus Shepard – SEO & Content, Moz
- Marty Weintraub – Founder, aimClear
This post is an excerpt from The Advanced Guide to Content Promotion, which has 75 pages of content promotion strategies, tactics, and advice. You may also want to check out:
- How to Create a Winning Content Promotion Campaign Plan by Steph Beadell
- How to Pitch: Outreach Tips from Journalists by Kevin Raposo
- How to Promote Your Content Across Owned, Earned, and Paid Media by Matt Gratt