Your 2020 content marketing reading list

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The new year is a great time to inspire yourself with some new ideas. Sink your teeth into these content marketing books, blogs and podcasts.

Brittany Daniel


Storytelling: manipulation of the audience by Daniel Anderson  

Storytelling is the backbone of content marketing because it helps you build strong relationships with your consumers. Stories inspire trust and influence people to take action. As a content marketer it is essential to practise storytelling in everything that you do.

In storytelling: manipulation of the audience, Daniel Anderson shows you how to embrace storytelling and transform your brand or business. You’ll learn how to use storytelling to your advantage against competitors and the tools needed to connect with your audience and drive sales. This book is a great reminder of the importance of audience connection within content marketing.

Start with why: how great leaders inspire everyone to take action by Simon Sinek

Any company is able to tell you what they do, or how they do it, but not many are able to go into detail about why. It's answering the why that ultimately drives customers to choose your company and product over others.

This book identifies how important it is to find meaning in your work. It argues that every product, brand story or blog post needs to link back to the why of the company.

Sinek studied leaders with great influence such as Steve Jobs and the Wright brothers and discovered that they all thought and communicated in the same way and started with the why, which was what made them so successful in their fields. 

It’s a great thought piece that challenges you to consider the meaning behind your business and how you can use that strategically within your content marketing planning.

Master content strategy: how to maximise your reach and boost your bottom line every time you hit publish by Pamela Wilson  

This book is a masterclass in strategy and gives you the tools needed to implement a successful content marketing plan that drives results. Pamela Wilson is a business owner, marketing consultant and leading authority on the subject. She draws on her experience, noting that "thoughtful content marketing delivers traffic, attention and customers."

As we all know, the first step in creating effective content is to have a strategic plan in place. Pamela has a great ability to highlight the fundamentals for how to map out yearly, quarterly and monthly content plans that get results; plus the customer lifecycle approach, which talks about delivering the right content to the right person at the right time.

They ask, you answer: a revolutionary approach to inbound sales, content marketing and today's digital consumer revised and updated by Marcus Sheridan

They ask, you answer is a guide on how to review and amend your current marketing plan to incorporate digital. With the growing importance of social media marketing and digital platforms it’s essential for your business to have an online presence.

This new edition has been updated to reflect the evolution of content marketing and the increasing demands of today’s internet-savvy buyers. This includes the impact of technology, ecommerce and the rise of video.

The way people consume media is constantly changing so it’s important to stay on top of trends and publish your content where it will attract the right audience for your business.

Faster, smarter, louder: master attention in a noisy digital market by Aaron Agius, Gian Clancey

A brand's success relies on keeping customers coming back for more. This book covers the importance of a digital presence and the risk of content being published and going unnoticed.

Aaron Agius and Gián Clancey share how they transformed their two-person agency into a global leader in digital marketing. They explain why landing big clients isn't just about SEO and social media. Success is about providing value, being authentic and making human connections.


The Content Marketing Institute

The Content Marketing Institute is the leading global content marketing training and education organisation, making it a valuable source for anything content marketing related. It was one of the first marketing blogs and it shares current information, trends and insights about the industry. The blog posts and reports are suitable for all skill levels with information for beginners through to more advanced and senior content marketers. Whether you’re just getting started or well-versed in content marketing it’s essential reading.

The HubSpot marketing blog  

HubSpot was created to help businesses become better every day and it's another fantastic educational resource full of fundamental content marketing assets. With its high volume of articles HubSpot has covered almost every topic ­– from sales, marketing and ecommerce to news and trends – so a quick search will bring up what is most relevant for you. Thanks to its marketing, sales and service hub it is a great one to add to the list.


The team behind Contently believe in the power of storytelling, which we see time and time again as a fundamental aspect of content marketing. Contently helps brands connect with people through great stories. The blog covers strategy, digital transformation, storytelling and what’s trending, so it's another great resource to keep your eye on.


Animalz dives deep into content marketing and offers well-crafted opinion pieces designed to get you thinking and start the conversation about content.

The site's mission is to set a new bar for quality content marketing and help create a world where the internet is dominated by content that’s informative, insightful and entertaining. The content here is often unlike what you would see elsewhere. For example, recent article “Here’s how to handle a wildly successful article that makes the rest of your content look bad” gives practical tips you can put into action with minimal effort. If you’re looking for a blog to get you thinking, this is the one!

Neil Patel

Neil Patel is considered an expert in the world of SEO and has a range of tools on his website including an SEO analyser, an A/B testing calculator and a backlink finder. The blog provides useful insight into the world of SEO, paid ads, social media and marketing. With blog posts like “How to market like Apple in 2020” and “This can bring 10x more results than a Super Bowl ad” it’s a fun and interesting way to learn about the topics and gain insights. 


We recently shared five podcasts for content marketing success. If you only have time for one make sure it’s ‘Bad Decisions'.

This podcast helps marketers understand "why we choose what we choose and why we think what we think, and how to use this for commercial gain”. 

Episodes are short but interesting; they run for about 15 to 20 minutes and feature Hardhat strategy director Dan Monheit and psychologist Dr Mel Weinberg, who dive into a psychological concept (usually a bias or heuristic, which you can read more about here) that underlines why we consistently make 'sub-optimal' or 'bad' decisions.

Mel breaks down the theory, drawing on academia, research and neuroscience, whilst Dan looks at how we can use these mental quirks to better market products and services. They have some great banter and manage to pack a lot of useful insight into each conversation.

I know there are plenty of other great resources out there that just aren’t on my radar. We’d love to hear your content marketing recommendations and which assets you found the most insightful. Email to share them with the team at Hardie Grant Media.

Brittany Daniel, publishing executive 


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