When you're looking for information on the specifics of today's online marketing, you'll want to have brand new information that keeps recent changes to social media and web searches in mind. However, when it comes to strategizing for your online marketing plan and content, you might want to look to a different source: books on advertising and marketing. Many of these books contain information and ideas that are timeless, and that too many online marketers forget. In this guide, we'll take a look at seven of the best books about advertising and marketing that can help you develop content strategies for your online campaigns.
#1: Hey Whipple, Squeeze This! By Luke Sullivan
This book, by an advertising copywriter who worked on major campaigns for decades, is subtitled “a guide to creating great ads.” Sullivan actually starts by talking about Mr. Whipple, the mascot for Charmin brand toilet paper, who was considered by most television audiences to be an annoyance—yet it seemed that having him as the company's mascot kept paying.
Sullivan isn't afraid in his book to talk not only about why some advertisements work better than others, he's also not afraid to talk about the kinds of advertising that he finds to be uninspiring, bland, and boring. Sullivan's prose is light and entertaining, making this a great first book on copywriting for anyone who is just starting to create their own written content for a website or social media page. Hand it to anyone who's considering writing copy for your website or advertisements, and you won't regret that you did.
#2: The Hero and the Outlaw, by Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson
Legal marketing professionals today are always looking for a way to differentiate the brand of their law firm. A great branding effort can make the difference between a firm that prospers, even in difficult times, and one that has to shut down. In this book, Mark and Pearson look at some of the biggest brands in the country and find a common thread to their incredibly successful branding efforts: archetypes.
Archetypes are the basic personalities and stories that we've heard a million times since childhood. If someone says “outlaw,” you probably already have a fairly large number of traits assigned in your head to what the outlaw is like and what is likely to happen to him or her. The same goes for an explorer, or even just a regular guy or girl. Our archetypes help us anticipate narratives and understand where a brand is coming from.
In The Hero and the Outlaw, Mark and Pearson give aspiring brand strategists tools to develop their own archetypal “personality” for their law firm. If you're stuck when trying to come up with a good branding initiative, this is the right book for you.
#3: Fascinate, by Sally Hogshead
When you read advice about content on legal websites, you'll probably hear a lot about the need to captivate viewers with original content. But how do you write content that actually gets people to click and read? In this book, you'll learn seven different reasons that people become fascinated with content. It includes ways to look at your fascination strengths and weaknesses, allowing your firm to get the most out of its content and draw in the most viewers.
#4: Buyology, by Martin Lindstrom
Maybe reading about branding and fascination isn't your thing. You want quantitative results, statistics that help you understand exactly what will generate conversions and give you lasting business relationships. If that's the case, you want Lindstrom's Buyology. Instead of just looking at the psychology of advertising and marketing, Lindstrom's book actually examines the neurobiology at work behind human motivations.
By looking at MRI brain scans of people who are thinking about advertising and marketing content, the book is able to explain why some types of branding and content work better than others. What's more, the book is written at a level suitable for a lay person, so you don't need to have any special knowledge of science, math, or statistics to get a lot out of it.
#5: Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite, by Paul Arden
Arden, the former creative director from advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi, brings this book that can help you get out of a creative rut. If you know that your content strategy is failing but you don't know why and don't know how to get back on track, this book can help you think about your problems in new ways so that you can create real change.
#6: The Book of Gossage, by Howard Luck Gossage
One of the strangest advertising men of the 1960s, Howard Luck Gossage's advertisements are like nothing you've ever seen before. The Book of Gossage gathers not only many of these advertisements, but also writings by Gossage himself, and assembles them into a book that is as timely today as when it was written.
Gossage's advertisements are particularly relevant for online content creators, because they tend to be very wordy and informative while still being quite fascinating. Unlike many of the creators of advertising in his time, Gossage favored text—and lots of it. A master of making even an ad with hundreds of words of copy a breeze to read, Gossage is worth a look if you want to know how to make your website's content uniquely readable.
#7: Winning the Story Wars, by Jonah Sachs
This brand new book came out just last year, and is great at discussing why, exactly, story and narrative matter when it comes to advertising and marketing. Sachs is talking about up to the minute trends in this book, and understands that in today's marketing world, the biggest advantage that winning the story wars gives you is virality.
If you've ever wanted to know how to make your content go viral, and how to make sure that your stories are outshining the ones being told by your biggest competitors, you should pick up Sachs' book.