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If you run a small business, or blog to make money then books are a great resource for learning how to do those things more effectively.
They can also help keep you up to date on emerging trends and new techniques. It’s been a few years since I have done any sort of course so books are my go-to resource for staying up to date and relevant in the fast-moving digital marketing arena.
I always love to learn new things that will make both my day a little easier and also create a better experience for my clients. This is why, as soon as I finish a marketing related book, I’m straight onto the next one.
Fortunately, Amazon and my trusty Kindle Paperwhite make this a lot easier. For one, real estate for new books on my already overcrowded bookshelf has become a desperate situation. Plus, I have no room for another bookshelf.
The other is that I can carry around a virtual library everywhere I go. If I don’t feel in the mood for a particular book I can simply choose another to while away the time while the kids play with their friends in the park.
Lately, I have been reading a few marketing, blogging, and writing related books in an effort to spruce up my skills. The books I talk about below are by far the best I have come across about marketing and writing in general; two skills every blogger needs to have some sort of handle on. I thought I would share them here for others to benefit from the knowledge they contain.
Everybody Writes by Ann Handler
The goal of “Everybody Writes” is to improve communication skills for everyone who has to tap out words on a keyboard or put pen to paper in order to communicate an idea to the world – even if it’s only an occasional occurrence.
Ann Handler’s main aim for writing the book is to improve everybody’s’ ability to communicate via the written word. In a world dominated by abbreviated texting, and click bait headlines it’s more important than ever to craft our text into something worth reading.
People will judge us on our writing so it can either make us look dashing and smart, or just plain stupid.
This isn’t a book that will slap your hand with a ruler every time you misplace a comma. Instead, it focuses on utility, empathy, and inspiration. If your writing bottoms out with any one of those qualities then it’s not doing its job properly.
The first part of the book focuses on refining your writing and dropping the fluff. If you’re new to writing, or just want to improve the flow of your text then this chapter is a great way to start getting your ramblings under control.
Part II covers the basics of grammar. Ann emphasizes that grammar is important but not to be too totalitarian about it. This section will teach you a lot about how to get the most impact from your words without putting your readers to sleep.
Part III teaches the importance of crafting a great narrative and telling a story. The corporate world is full of buzz words that don’t mean much to the average citizen or have become very cliche.
Corporate prose is also most often written in a way that tries to sound sophisticated but just comes off as pompous. Even if you sell to businesses you are still talking to people, and people relate better to a great story with an engaging narrative.
Ann is very vocal about denouncing the practice of using cliches and buzzwords in any of your writing projects.
Part IV will give you the nitty gritty on what to write and how to put it in words. This section is full of meaty suggestions you can use; such as how to properly cite other people’s work while inserting it into your own prose.
Ann teaches you how to observe the world around you for inspiration. Once you finish this section you’ll be seeing ideas for great content popping up all around you.
Part V is where many of you will find the most value. This is where Ann separates all the different types of content: blog posts, emails, headlines, infographics, and home pages, and gives you point by point guidance on how best to go about creating them.
Part VI is a resource guide for finding further information. In here you will find references to handy tools and other resources writers can use to churn out crafty prose time and again.
There are plenty of books that promise to improve your writing but this is one guide which stands out from the crowd. If you do any type of writing at all it is one publication worthy of a place in your reading collection – and a handy resource to come back to on the occasions you feel like you might need a quick reminder.
Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions by Carmen Simon
It’s a powerful combination that takes an understanding of how and why the human brain forms memories and merges that knowledge with popular marketing techniques such as presentations and seminars.
Throughout the book, you are constantly reminded that your goal as a marketer is to create a memory at point A, and then provide cues and triggers in order to elicit a response at point B (which is the metaphorical location for a sale to take place).
I found this book through Twitter, which led me to a presentation by Carmen. I was so intrigued by the concepts that I immediately hopped on to Amazon to buy her book.
Unfortunately, I am unable to find the link to the actual presentation I witnessed. If you can find it though, it’s definitely worthy of a viewing, and goes for less than an hour so won’t take up much of your time.
The biggest focus throughout the book is on creating memorable presentations. The author works with many businesses to improve their on stage performances in an effort to get people talking and remembering more of what they have seen and heard.
Most marketing books are top heavy with anecdotes and examples while being light on theory. “Impossible to Ignore” is just the opposite.
The author backs up every claim made in the book with real life studies which used sophisticated experiments, and MRI technology to map the activity going on in the human brain as it formed memories.
This has given Carmen plenty of data to use to help formulate her marketing principles and guidelines.
The book is packed with examples, and at times I found myself wishing for more detail as I reached the end of a chapter. The author seems to race through each subject in order to quickly get to the next one.
In fact, you may find yourself thinking the title a little ironic as there are so many topics covered you are likely to have trouble remembering each one with any level of detail.
It’s a good thing then, that Carmen wraps up each chapter with important points that make it easy to revisit the chapter in order to freshen your memory.
Despite the title, I found “Impossible to Ignore” a little heavy at times. The theories are solid though, and definitely worth wading through if you are serious about improving your marketing results.
Out of all the marketing books I’ve read in the last 6 months I find these two titles to be stand out publications. They can both help improve on the areas of expertise essential to creating awesome blogs and should have a place in every blogger or digital marketers library.
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