This post is for anyone new to inbound marketing or an inbound marketing agency.
As you’re out there scouring the web for information about this emerging discipline, you’re likely to come across a digital treasure trove of blog articles, ebooks, white papers, videos, podcasts, infographics, webinars, interviews, and LinkedIn Groups.
However, in the beginning it’s helpful to have a fundamental knowledge of the methodology around which to orient all of this great info.
As part of our associate training, we encourage all new hires and established pros to become familiar with a few key books, as well as any recent releases at all related to the industry. Aside from being an important part of internal professional development, these books also make great gifts for clients who’ve expressed an interest in learning more about what we do.
Following is a brief list of some of our favorite reads.
- Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan, Darmesh Shah, and David Meerman Scott. 4 1/2/ stars on Amazon. Widely considered the foundational text on the subject, Inbound Marketing is a fantastic introduction to getting found online. The authors don’t typically go into any specific depth on any one aspect of inbound, but they do provide great background info on search engine optimization, social media, and content creation. Halligan and Shah co-founded Hubspot and Inbound Marketing University, another great inbound resource.
- The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. 4 ½ stars on Amazon. Another foundational-type book, Meerman Scott provides a wealth of case studies highlighting small- to medium-sized businesses who’ve had great success using new media marketing and PR strategies. This is a great book for anyone interested in the ongoing convergence of Marketing and Public Relations into a single hybrid discipline.
- Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create and Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (And Other Social Networks) by Dave Kerpen. 5 stars on Amazon. Primarily about social media marketing, Kerpen, co-founder of Likeable Media, discusses several useful aspects of a successful social marketing plan, such as how to micro-target specific buyer personas, how to craft a useful employee social media policy, and what to do if you’re ever on the unpleasant end of a PR crisis situation.
- Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing by Lee Odden. 5 stars on Amazon. Oftentimes, one of the most difficult aspects of working with a new client can be demonstrating the potential value of a well-executed inbound marketing strategy. Odden’s response is to illustrate the holistic nature of inbound marketing, demonstrating how no one individual aspect of inbound is valuable, but together as an integrated strategy can work wonders for a brand’s online visibility and lead generation.
- Public Relations, or anything by Edward Bernays. 4 stars on Amazon. A prolific writer on the subject, Bernays is largely considered to be the father of modern public relations. These books can be dense and academic at times, but if you’re serious about understanding the history and theory behind strategic communications, there’s no better source. Written long before the emergence of new media and its related disciplines, Public Relations is an illustration of the importance of a two-way system of communications to a free democratic society. A lot of philosophy, a lot of historical case studies (the chapter on PR’s role in the founding of the US is fascinating), a must-read for the comm arts nerd.
A few others to consider:
- The Marketing Agency Blueprint by Paul Roetzer
- Managing the Professional Service Firm by David H. Maister
- Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro
- Do the Work, Turning Pro, and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
What have I missed? What other books are professionals from the inbound marketing/PR community currently reading?