8 Books Every Content Marketing Manager Should Read At Least Once

“Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”

A similar quote could easily be attributed to you or me, but these exact words belong to cognitive neurophysist Dr. David Lewis, whose research revealed that reading reduces stress levels more than any other traditional relaxation method.

Removal of doubt also tends to reduce stress levels. A book is often the perfect prescription for doubt removal too.

Here we prescribe eight books to the modern content marketing leader. These are books you could reasonably read within a year, the result being a base of knowledge that elicits clarity in reason and confidence in action.

8 Books Every Content Marketing Leader Should Read (Or Reread) This Year

The Culture Code

What “The Culture Code” is about in 50 words or fewer

Author Daniel Coyle discovers the secrets behind many of the world’s most successful organizations by actually going inside them. In doing so, he creates a roadmap for establishing an environment that promotes innovation, problem solving and success in the form of surpassed expectations.

What makes “The Culture Code” a must-read for content marketing managers?

Content leaders don’t have the final say on their company’s culture, but they do have a say in how their team operates. This book provides guidance on establishing teamwork using principles of cultural chemistry.

Praise for “The Culture Code”

“I’ve been waiting for years for someone to write this book — I’ve built it up in my mind into something extraordinary. But it is even better than I imagined. Daniel Coyle has produced a truly brilliant, mesmerizing read that demystifies the magic of great groups. It blows all other books on culture right out of the water.”

— Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author

Content Strategy for the Web (2nd Edition)

What “Content Strategy for the Web” is about in 50 words or fewer

The 2009 edition was widely acclaimed by content strategists everywhere. With their 2nd edition, Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach add new insights and examples to crystallize the rationale behind their advice.

What makes “Content Strategy for the Web” a must-read for content marketing managers?

The book’s title is what most content marketing leaders are hired to do. Its contents show content leaders how to generate meaningful results in a corporate setting.

Praise for “Content Strategy for the Web”

“This is the go-to handbook for creating an effective content strategy. The Post-it notes and dog-eared pages in my copy are evidence of that!”

— Aaron Watkins, Director of Digital Strategy, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Everybody Writes

What “Everybody Writes” is about in 50 words or fewer

Ann Handley is arguably the biggest name in content marketing. That notoriety is due in large part to her uncanny ability to connect with people through writing. With “Everybody Writes,” Handley hands over the keys to content marketers who desire to do the same.

What makes “Everybody Writes” a must-read for content marketing managers?

There are hundreds of books that can help you realize the potential of your prose. Handley’s stands out because she’s able to empathize with content marketers and the everyday obstacles they face. This is a total team read.

Praise for “Everybody Writes”

“A fun, fast read that makes you want to run to your keyboard and tap out a masterpiece. But it’s not just for writers, it’s for anyone who commissions, edits, or works with writers.”

— Doug Kessler, Co-founder and Creative Director, Velocity UK

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited

What “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited” is about in 50 words or fewer

This is the third version of usability wonk Steve Krug’s much-revered manual for creating frictionless, satisfying experiences on the web. By offering up insight from the perspective of your site visitors and including a wealth of visual examples, Krug implores you to rethink the ways you present information online.

What makes “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited” a must-read for content marketing managers?

“Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited” helps marketers eliminate the unnecessary thinking that prevents website visitors from extracting meaning and taking action. While most content marketing managers aren’t UI experts or developers, the job requires at minimum a medium-level understanding of what a quality web experience looks like.

Praise for “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited”

“After reading it over a couple of hours and putting its ideas to work for the past five years, I can say it has done more to improve my abilities as a Web designer than any other book.”

— Jeffrey Zeldman, author of “Designing with Web Standards

Talk Triggers

What “Talk Triggers” is about in 50 words or fewer

The newest work on this list comes from a familiar name to content marketers. Jay Baer’s latest project, in partnership with fellow bestselling author Daniel Lemin, is designed to help marketers create a strategy for capitalizing on the word-of-mouth interactions that influence as many as 90% of all decisions.

What makes “Talk Triggers” a must-read for content marketing managers?

As Baer and Lemin note in the book, fewer than one percent of companies have an actual strategy for generating customer conversations. Here in the conversation age, the ability to spark dialogue that moves people closer to a decision gives content leaders a decided advantage.

Praise for “Talk Triggers”

“There are 3 types of biz books: Opening eyes to new ideas: in-depth how-tos; & a magical type that gives language and heuristics to know, share, and execute things you noticed but never fully harnessed. THAT is @jaybaer [and] @daniellemin’s book.”

— Jay Acunzo, Founder of Unthinkable Media (via Twitter)


What “Positioning” is about in 50 words or fewer

Branding pioneers Al Ries and Jack Trout have created what’s remained the industry’s go-to manual for making a mark where it matters most: in the minds of consumers.

What makes “Positioning” a must-read for content marketing managers?

When creating a strategy, content marketing leaders must account for competitive realities and existing attitudes. The advice in this book can provide confidence in knowing that marketing efforts will be met by an actual, abundant market.

Praise for “Positioning”

“…Ries and Trout taught me everything I know about branding, marketing, and product management. When I had the idea of creating a very large thematic community on the Web, I first thought of Positioning…”

— David Bohnett, Chairman and Founder of GeoCities

Permission Marketing

What “Permission Marketing” is about in 50 words or fewer

If Seth Godin wasn’t already considered a visionary before 1999, “Permission Marketing” cemented his status. Some credit this book for catalyzing the massive shift from interruption marketing to inbound.

What makes “Permission Marketing” a must-read for content marketing managers?

Those who succeed with content marketing do so because they have the utmost respect for their audience’s time. “Permission Marketing” gives content leaders a guidepost for making strategic decisions designed to build trust and loyalty.

Praise for “Permission Marketing”

“Godin and his colleagues are working to persuade some of the most powerful companies in the world to reinvent how they relate to customers. His argument is as stark as it is radical: Advertising just doesn’t work as well as it used to — in part because there’s so much of it, in part because people have learned to ignore it, in part because the rise of the Net means that companies can go beyond it.”

— William C. Taylor, Founding Editor, Fast Company


What “Brandscaping” is about in 50 words or fewer

Author Andrew Davis helps content marketers make smarter investments in content by unearthing hidden opportunities to stand out and resonate in a crowded marketplace.

What makes “Brandscaping” a must-read for content marketing managers?

Resource maximization is a true differentiator for content marketing leaders. Davis helps content leaders discover new, previously hidden resources that can also up the resonance factor of content.

Praise for “Brandscaping”

“Brandscaping holds the promise of redefining tired notions of paid, earned and owned media. Andrew Davis shares dozens of great stories of companies that have grown their markets by creating unconventional partnerships to create content their audiences can’t get enough of.”

— Mike O’ Toole, President and Partner, PJA Advertising

In addition to the books on this list, we also recommend subscribing to the DivvyHQ blog, where we regularly publish content designed to make life simpler for content marketing managers.