Recommended Reads: The best Content Marketing Books
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Recommended Reads: Content Marketing

At Matchstick Creative, we’re a bunch of word nerds at heart. It’s no surprise that we love a good book. And when a book is all about content marketing, we can’t wait to read it.

With that in mind, we thought we’d start a new series on the Matchstick Creative Journal that allows you to delve into our recommended reads. And what better way to start off the series with a look inside our content marketing library.

Why should I read a content marketing book?

Whether you’re the CEO at a content marketing agency, an apprentice, a student or a midweight professional, further reading is always beneficial.

Making time for personal development is sure to contribute to you excelling in your career. Reading content marketing books will keep your knowledge up to date, broaden your understanding of the industry, and open your mind to new ideas.

In particular, staying in the know of industry changes and trends is extremely important as content marketing is a rapidly changing industry. Social media algorithms, SEO rankings, and the way audiences engage with content is constantly shifting. Understanding the current industry is essential for knowing how to keep your content relevant.


Written by viral marketing expert Jonah Berger, Contagious explores how to build word of mouth for your business. The book delves into how and why certain things catch on and gain rapid popularity.

Berger breaks down the best practices of viral marketing into six steps:

  1. Social currency – does sharing content from you make your audience look good?
  2. Triggers – how are people reminded of your business or brand?
  3. Emotion – how does your content make people feel?
  4. Public – what is getting discussed a lot within your industry or community?
  5. Practical value – is your content helpful to whoever consumes it?
  6. Stories – does your business have an interesting story to tell?

TOP TIP FROM CONTAGIOUS: ‘Rather than harping on features or facts, we need to focus on feelings; the underlying emotions that move people to action’

Content Chemistry

Basically our bible, Content Chemistry is an in-depth guide to every aspect of content marketing. Content Chemistry covers all things social media, email marketing, SEO, SMO (social media optimisation), strategy, keyword research, content creation best practices, promotion, analytics and more!

Like any other industry, content marketing changes over the years. What was relevant five years ago may not be relevant today. The book is now on its fifth edition, which is the one we have in our collection! It’s important to stay up to date with the industry.

As the name suggests, Content Chemistry is formatted like a chemistry textbook. The book is full of helpful diagrams and screenshots. It even contains the periodic table of content marketing!

TOP TIP FROM CONTENT CHEMISTRY: ‘Ask yourself if you’re the reader: “What’s in it for me?” The answer should jump off the page. If it doesn’t, get ready to hear crickets. You’re about to fail.’

Lean Content Marketing

Lean Content Marketing by Jo Duncan offers practical advice, insights and case studies to help you discover how to create the best content possible to promote your business.

The book highlights the importance of writing content that is valuable to your audience. Jo emphasises the importance of research, brainstorming and working to understand your audience; she states ‘Let’s not presume anything. We’re not alchemists or mind readers. We are simple marketers’.

Lean Content Marketing is exactly what it says on the tin. The book is tiny, so it’s perfect for those of you with busy work schedules trying to upskill on commutes or in your lunch break.

TOP TIP FROM LEAN CONTENT MARKETING: ‘Content marketing should be 80% thinking, because once you’ve done the thinking, it becomes obvious what to say.’

Moz’s Free Beginner’s Guide to SEO

As well as good old books, there’s great, free reading material online that is just as informative. We thought we’d throw in an SEO-specific guide as well as the general content marketing material.

Moz has a fantastic, in-depth guide on SEO for beginners that covers all the basics you need to know to work towards improving your site ranking.

The guide is structured around ‘Mozlow’s hierarchy of SEO needs’, which includes:

  • Crawl accessibility
  • Compelling content
  • Keyword optimised
  • Great user experience
  • Share-worthy content
  • Title, URL and description
  • Snippet/schema markup

You’ll learn about each of these areas individually and will finish the guide knowing how to implement them into your SEO strategy.

TOP TIP FROM THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SEO: ‘Social influence and social shares are positive signals and can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.’

Made To Stick

Made To Stick centres around how you make your content memorable. It’s all about how to deliver your messages so that people will retain key information.

Similarly to Contagious, the book explores the various factors that make ideas ‘sticky.’ If you know what your business or brand’s message is but don’t know how to get it across, this is the book for you. Made To Stick offers a formula that is easy to follow, helping you to transform your ideas into memorable, ‘sticky’ content.

TOP TIP FROM MADE TO STICK: ‘Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images – ice-filled bathtubs, apples with razors – because our brains are wired to remember concrete data’

The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing

Lastly, we had to include a cheeky plug of our free, downloadable beginner’s guide to content marketing.

We’ve used our expert industry knowledge to construct a comprehensive guide that has been written with beginners in mind. We know how annoying industry jargon can be when you’re trying to learn something new, so we’ve completely left it out.

In the guide, we walk you through:

  • Content marketing 101 and how it benefits your business
  • How to plan a fool-proof content calendar
  • How to create audience-grabbing content
  • How to promote your content to your ideal customer
  • How to analyse and measure your success, using your results to better your future content

We’ve also included free buyer persona template and a content calendar template!

TOP TIP FROM THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CONTENT MARKETING: ‘Passive phrases deaden copy and content, start with an active phrase, it engages your reader.’

Time to get reading!

We hope you’ve discovered some interesting new reading material! We can guarantee each of our recommended reads will help you develop your content marketing skills.

Blogs are also great reading material, and we have plenty of blog posts on content marketing! 

For quick tips on content marketing, follow Matchstick Creative on Instagram and Twitter.