What books changed the way you do business? What books do you continually reference in your daily work. To put a fun spin on it, what business books would make it in your desert island pack? Or what books would you want if you had to work in a place with no internet?
Some were essential when I started my freelance copywriting business in Perth almost seven years ago and remain relevant. A couple of them are more recent finds. I highly recommend every one of them whether you’re a writer, content marketer or own your own business. But I’ve also purchased multiple copies of each of these books and that’s how they made the list. I’ve given them as gifts for people starting their own freelance business, replaced my own copy I gave away, or want a copy sitting on more than one desk.
Here are the five business books I rely on build and grow my copywriting and content marketing skills. I would say anyone working in marketing or running their own business would benefit from each of them.
5 business books I don’t want to live without
The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman – It’s hard to resist a title like that, right? Bowerman has been on a personal mission to make sure the words ‘starving’ and ‘writer’ never have to be used in the same sentence, at least in relation to the people reading his book. The subtitle of the book sums up his purpose, Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less. He gives detailed advice on finding clients, pricing, workflows and processes. This book had a huge impact on how I ran Global Copywriting and how much money I earn. It’s worth every single penny and remains as insightful today as when it was originally published in 2000. If you’re a self-employed writer, buy this book.
Stories That Sell by Casey Hibbard – I saw Casey Hibbard speak on a webinar and was totally hooked on her approach to case studies. It changed the way I work and improved the performance of each case study I’ve written since. Hibbard gives valuable advice for navigating the tricky world of corporate communications for big companies and getting customer permissions and sign-offs for participation. Chapter Six is a masterpiece on interviewing and worth the price of the book alone. I review this book every time I start a new case study.
Writing White Papers by Michael A. Stelzner – Before he founded the Social Media Examiner, Stelzner made a very decent living writing white papers. If white papers are the king of content, then Stelzner is the king of white papers. Like me, he has a background in technology and does a good job explaining the differences between technical, business, and hybrid white papers. He provides a structure for how each should be written and also addresses nitty-gritty topics like how to format them on the page and researching tips. I’ve never written a case study when this book wasn’t open on my desk for reference.
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi – I’ve been reading Joe Pulizzi since his Junta42 days, before he founded the Content Marketing Institute. I’ve read his blogs, his books, his articles in print and online, listened to him present in person and on webinars. I wasn’t expecting his Epic book to have much of an impact because I was so familiar with his work. Not only did it live up to a grandiose title, Epic Content Marketing remains my ‘go to’ place when I have a question about anything to do with content marketing. It’s a big book but I read it in one sitting while stranded at the Dallas airport. I’ve never been so happy for a delayed flight.
Everybody Writes by Ann Handley – I received a free copy of Everybody Writes when I attended the MarketingProfs B2B conference in Boston last year. Handley is better known as the CCO of MarketingProfs so I was familiar with her work. I wasn’t expecting a book on writing to be so compelling and so useful, especially since I spend most days putting words on paper, either for business or pleasure. This is my new favourite business book. The advice is terrific but it’s also a fun read. If you write every day like me or can’t find the pointy end of a pen without difficulty, this book is going to improve your writing game.
So, that’s my desert island list of business books. What does your list have on it?