I love reading and yet I never seem to have enough time. So at the start of this year, I set myself a goal to read at least one book per month.
I’ve read some incredible books, but my top 3, which I would recommend that every copywriter, content creator and marketer read are…
1. ‘Contagious’, by Jonah Berger
A data-led book, Contagious shares the 6 principles that make some ideas go viral:
“Products or ideas that contain social currency and are triggered, emotional, public, practically valuable and wrapped into stories.”
The book completely changed my perspective on how to craft engaging content. While we might not all be looking to achieve the next Gangnam Style, Baby Shark or ‘Thriller’ dancing inmates, we are looking for people to notice us and want to find out more.
Contagious tells you how to get your messages heard in an increasingly noisy world, but in a way that adds value.
2. ‘They Ask You Answer’, by Marcus Sheridan
This book is based on such a simple idea – almost too simple – but it really works. ‘They Ask You Answer’ is essentially about just that – your customers/prospects ask a question, and you answer it. Nothing is off-limits, and everything has to be answered openly and as honestly as possible, without trying to shoe-horn your product/service in at every opportunity.
When you actually answer the questions that are being asked, you start to deliver real value. And because you have to answer everything – regardless of how painful it might feel – you start to build trust with that customer/prospect.
And the thing I really love about the book…
Companies are actually doing this every single day as part of their business-as-usual. But when you consciously decide to apply ‘They Ask You Answer’ to your content strategy, it forces you to formalise the process, and get everyone involved.
3. ‘The Art of the Click’, by Glenn Fisher
I’ve been writing professionally since graduating back in 2006. But I was ‘born’ into a world of corporate communications where I wrote the way you were ‘supposed’ to write, rather in a way that people actually wanted to read.
Sure, I wrote in simple English, but it was very formulaic, and made sure to lean heavy on the traditional features and benefits pitch.
Since choosing to focus on pure copywriting, I’ve tried hard to shake my corporate roots and break out into more engaging styles of writing. But it wasn’t until I discovered ‘The Art of the Click’ that I finally realised where I was going wrong.
I love reading, but this book is different. It forces you to do homework in order to understand the principles of how to craft engaging copy that compels people to take action. A lot of the techniques are simple or subtle, but they really are game-changing. And unless you actually perform the exercises in the book, you’ll never truly appreciate them.