10 Best Content Marketing Books for Small Businesses of 2013

best content marketing books of 2013

If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Marketing has gotten complex. But who says you have to be implementing every single marketing technique or social media platform? Granted, there are many experts extolling the virtues of this strategy or that platform, but no one is telling you to use them all.   In 2014 consider SIMPLIFYING your marketing.

In fact, if you were to just choose ONE major marketing strategy, you would have more than enough tactics to keep you busy for years. Let’s take content marketing as an example.  And what better place to learn about content marketing than a good reading list.

Here are the Small Business Trends Editorial Team picks for best content marketing books published originally or in a new edition during 2013:

List of 2013’s Best Content Marketing Books

1. Epic Content Marketing

by Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi) (Sep 3, 2013)

Joe Pulizzi Epic Content MarketingEditIt’s not enough to simply throw content out onto the Internet and expect that customers will see it and connect to it. You need more than that.

This book is a great resource for marketing managers and small business owners who would like to use content marketing as a way to gain visibility for your business. You will find everything you need to get started here. (Read our review.)

You will learn to define your niche, revise your mission statement, and differentiate content types and content assets. You will also learn how to use social media to market your content and be introduced to some other content promotion techniques as well. And you will learn how to measure the impact of your content marketing initiatives to determine whether they have been successful.

2. The New Rules of Marketing & PR

by David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) (Jul 1, 2013)

The New Rules of Marketing David Meerman ScottEditThis is a classic! It is now in its 4th edition.

It contains updates on all of the basic social media channels as well as new case studies and examples.

You’ll learn the best and most successful practices in social media, blogging, video and audio as well as the latest content marketing strategies.

This is a comprehensive content marketing guide for small business owners.  Every marketing department/person in a small business should have this on the shelf.

3. Content Marketing: Insider’s Secret to Online Sales & Lead Generation

by Rick Ramos (@ricktramos) (Jul 10, 2013)

Rick Ramos Content MarketingEdit

If you’ve chosen content marketing as a strategy for getting the word out about your business, but are unsure of exactly what is involved, this is a great place to start.

Ramos, an online marketer himself, shares everything you need to know to develop a comprehensive content marketing strategy for your business.

Some of the topics include finding your online voice, choosing your channels, developing content calendars and providing insider tips and tricks for creating killer content.

4. 500 Social Media Marketing Tips 

by Andrew Macarthy (@andrewmacarthy) (Feb 7, 2013)

Andrew Macarthy 500 Social Media Marketing TipsEditIf you’d rather be in the trenches DOING social media rather than just thinking or reading about it, this might be the book for you.

It contains 500 practical tips that you can put to use in minutes. You’ll get strategies for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Vine and a few more.

Included are also templates and a general strategy for social media success. You’ll find this truly readable book full of ideas that will get you ready to reap the benefits of social media for your business.

5. The Big Book of Content Marketing

by Andreas Ramos (@andreas_ramos99) (May 26, 2013)

Andreas Ramos The Big Book of Content MarketingEditDone right, content marketing can help you both build your brand and attract your ideal customers.

This book will help you get that process started. Or if you’ve already started and want to improve your strategy, the Big Book of Content Marketing will help you do that too. In its pages you’ll learn to determine how content marketing fits into your overall strategy, use influencer marketing to distribute your content, and track the success of your strategy.

6. Content to Commerce

by Avi Savar (@avisavar) (May 20, 2013)

Avi Savar Content to  CommerceEditIf you have already implemented a content marketing strategy and are looking for some ideas to help you take your efforts to the next level, this is a good choice.

This book gives you more of a 30,000 foot view of content marketing and contains essays from successful strategists and marketers who have used these strategies to propel big brands to success.

7. Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype

by Jay Baer (@jaybaer) (Jun 27, 2013)

Youtility - content marketingYou already know that selling to existing customers is the best and highest use of your marketing dollars and efforts.

This book shows you how to transform your marketing content from being “hype” focused to being “help” focused. Baer asks the pivotal question for today’s content-focused marketing strategists.

“What if instead of trying to be amazing, you tried to be useful?”This book will show you how to transform your marketing content from being salesy to being helpful and in-turn generating more profitable customers.

8. How to Write Articles That Convert Like Crazy 

by Ian Hollander (Jan 24, 2013)

Ian Holland How to Write Articles thaty Convert Like CrazyEditThe subtitle to this book is:  “The Secret To Turning Your Ideas into Income …. & Your Content into CASH!”

From that subtitle, you might think this was going to be a totally cheesy Kindle book — but you’d be wrong.

Yes, it’s self-published and not as polished as some of the other books on this list.  But it’s also only $2.99, so you won’t be risking much.

Read this short and easy-to-scan book to harvest the straight-forward ideas.  For a small business owner or entrepreneur on a budget, who writes a blog or submits guest articles, this book has practical advice you can put to work immediately.

9. The Invisible Sale

by Tom Martin (Oct 4, 2013)

Tom Martin The Invisible SaleEditContent marketing isn’t just for writers. It’s a good strategy for people who hate cold calling.

So many small business owners run away from selling. But you can’t afford to do that.

This 200+ page book contains four sections that overlay a common selling cycle on top of powerful content marketing strategies that will help you reach out to customers and generate leads for your business without cold calling.

10. Subliminally Exposed

by Steven Dayan MD (Jun 4, 2013)

Subliminally ExposedEditSubliminally Exposed isn’t a marketing book per se, but no marketer should ignore it. Author Steven Dayan, MD reveals the how and why behind your actions and empowers you to decode and translate others’ subconscious behaviors.

No, this isn’t likely to be a book on the radar of your typical marketing professional. But it’s loaded with interesting facts that will help you better understand social dynamics of all kinds. It could also help you attract your ideal customer, too.

Think of content not just as words, but as images, too.  If you want to know how to push the right buttons to engage the interest of customers, this is the book.

* * * * *

While some of these content marketing books may not be best sellers, they each offer something of value for those intent on becoming expert content marketers.

We limited this list to books new (or newly updated) in 2013.  If you’re looking for older content marketing books, take a look at a previous list of content marketing books.

Content image via Shutterstock

Save money on shipping costs for your Amazon purchases. Plus, enjoy thousands of titles from Amazons video library with an Amazon Prime membership. Learn more and sign up for a free trial today.


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

30 Reactions
  1. Nothing but thanks for sharing some suggestions on what to read for 2014.

    Marketing shouldn’t be complicated like some make it to be.

    Marketing could become a mold-able plan for each individual since there are so many avenues you can take and modify yourself.

    Cannot forget about social media and its importance on the Internet today. That book about social media marketing could be a great help to succeed with social media.

    Thank you for sharing!

    – Samuel

    • Hi Samuel – I agree completely. I’m totally on this kick of doing LESS Marketing — that means picking a strategy and sticking with it. Social media is certainly a must-have vehicle for any strategy in 2014! Thanks for reading.

  2. Ivana: Your book reviews are so great! Is content marketing the new word for social media?

    • Hi Martin — Very good distinction. I’m liable to cause a big debate here, but I would say that social media is a supplement to any marketing strategy. I see content marketing as a marketing strategy. Content marketing would would encompass blogging, article writing, educational programs, ecourses, webinars, etc.

      • Ivana,

        I have been saying for some time that social media will be an integrated marketing mix in the future. The difference between traditional marketing is the megaphone attitude, contrasting the conversational attitude of new media.

        I would love to talk more about this topic with you at some time on my podcast… 🙂

  3. This is a nice list. I think that books like these has become more important than ever since the release of Hummingbird. Now, there is a focus on amazing content. It is not enough that you have a website full of articles. You also need a website with mindblowing content. I hope these books can teach webmasters to become a little more sensitive to their audience.

    • Hi Aira – Extremely well put! I agree. I’m not very knowledgable about the details of Hummingbird and its impact. I would love to learn more about that. I’m going to start doing some research, thanks to you.

      • Glad to help. Don’t worry. We’re on the same boat on this. I did not know Hummingbird until now. I guess they may have released it quietly.

  4. I have read several of these and they are truly some of the best reading I have done all year, possibly much longer than that!

  5. What a great selection of books. For me content marketing is the best way to market a business and it brings both long term and short term results . I have read only the first book “Epic Content Marketing” and I certainly recommend it to anyone who is looking to learn content marketing

  6. Wow…thanks Ivana…totally honored. A few of these I haven’t heard of, and will definitely go check out.

    • Hi Joe — Pssst. Don’t tell anyone, but content marketing is a fave topic and your book is truly one of the tops on the subject. Thanks for noticing.

  7. Great list of books on content marketing. I’ve not read all of them yet, but I’m proud that two of those authors, Joe Pulizzi and Jay Baer, were guests on Marketing Made Simple TV

    I invite everyone to check out Jay and Joe’s shows. Just click on the Guest List to see specific shows.

    Jeff Ogden, Creator and Host
    Marketing Made Simple TV

  8. The fourth book about social media marketing tips looks rather interesting. I’ll check if it’s available for purchase on Amazon UK. Hope so. Wanna get more into social media next year.

  9. Ordered 3 books on the list. Thanks for the great descriptions. They were very helpful!

  10. Book #10 – Sublimity Exposed – caught my eye. I haven’t read it yet. I like to read about the psychology behind what we do and why. It makes so much sense to market to the way we behave. Good list. I’ve downloaded a few of these to my Kindle for some fresh reading. Thanks for this list!

    • Hmm, Melody, now you mention it, Subliminally Exposed does look interesting. I suck at marketing and I dislike doing it too. I might see if the book’s available on Amazon UK; add it to my wish list for 2014.

      • Hi Ebele — When I saw you write “I suck at marketing” and “dislike doing it” — I had to chime in. Hopefully this perspective will help you. Think of it this way — Marketing isn’t about what you DO — it’s about who you ARE.

        I think the reason people can’t stand marketing is because it seems like there are a gazillion experts out there telling you what you SHOULD be doing and how it’s going to make you money.

        What I’ve found to be true is that the best marketing is the stuff that is a true reflection of who you are in the world (and your business) , what you are committed to and what people can count on you for. These are all natural elements of your communication — you don’t have to TRY to do it or even LOVE to do it — it’s who you are. So when you focus on THAT – marketing will not only be fun — you’ll find that you’ll start getting the attention of your most favorite customers (those tend to be the profitable ones too)

        ANYWAY — this doesn’t have much to do with the book list – but I felt I had to reach out. HAPPY NEW YEAR

      • Thank you so much for that, Ivana. Really appreciate you saying all that. It’s helpful.

        So it’s about who I am, being me, staying connected with who I am, showing up in the world authentically.

        What you’re saying resonates. I know it does because I know what I want to do in terms of marketing – ideas which reflect more of who I am, rather than what I think I SHOULD do (which isn’t really me).

        Thanks again. Bless you.

  11. Thanks Ivana for including me on the list! Its nice to be in such good company.

  12. Small business owners would also benefit from reading Brands in Glass Houses: How to Embrace Transparency and Grow your Business through Content Marketing. From mom-and-pop shops to mega brands, from B2B to B2C, this book shines light on businesses that are revealing themselves authentically, not just as a marketing tactic, but also as a way of doing business. It shows you how to provide interesting content so that customers can connect with your brand on an emotional level, thus making them more eager to buy from you, talk about you, share their experiences with you, and ultimately, listen to what you have to say.

  13. Thanks for sharing this list – I have only read book #2 and might as well add these others on my digital library. Wish I will have the time to do some serious reading before the month ends.

  14. I created a shared circle for Google plus with these authors and more if your interested in following them.


  15. Wow. Great blog, but why none of the BIG names in marketing/advertising are included in the list? People like Claude Hopkins, Benjamin Suarez, Gary Halbert, Ogilvy.

    Personaly, I became power seller in ebay thanks to the techniques I found in Hopkins book. I think is called “a legacy in advertising.” Please include those author’s books in your list