Update: Welcome Stumblers! If you like this article, please show your love via StumbleUpon. Thanks! In this installment of the series, I will cover all of the books, magazine, websites, and podcasts that you need to become an A-List Blogger. These resources will give you the ammo to be the very best in your field. (And if you think this amount of reading, watching, researching, and learning is impossible, visit tomorrow when I will share the secrets of how to carve out at least 10 hours per week to study.)
Marketing has a funny relationship with education, research, and good, ol' fashioned studying. Maybe it's because the communicative aspect of marketing comes naturally to us that we forget there's a lot of hard work that needs to happen, too. In short, you cannot be a good blogger or marketer without studying your craft.
You Can Study Communication?
From David Ogilvy: "This willful refusal to learn the rudiments of the craft is all too common. I cannot think of any other profession which gets by on such a small corpus of knowledge. (page 21)" Sometimes the flashy new tools or the expense accounts or the pursuit of new clients can all distract us from our responsibility to constantly improve our game.
And while the world around is may be shifting from books to blogs, an A-list blogger or marketer perhaps should think in terms of content or research or media, regardless of the medium. Read, watch, and listen to as much as possible, and think critically about whether the message has value.
Help Me Help You Help Me
Of course, I can only speak from my own experience. But I thought it might be helpful to outline the books, blogs, podcasts, and other forms of blogging/marketing research in which I've partaken during the last year.
This isn't meant to come off as boastful. My main goal is to impress upon you the importance of continual professional education, then see you buy or subscribe to these resources and suggest new resources to me.
- On Advertising, David Ogilvy - Great to see how much (and how little) has changed over the years
- The Long Tail, Chris Anderson - Required reading, but I just got to it this year
- Join The Conversation, Joseph Jaffe - Again, required reading; may be my favorite book of the year
- Niche Envy, Joseph Turow - A terrible screed against marketers; if you must read it, do so at the library so he doesn't make any extra cash
- Made To Stick, Chip and Dan Heath - Also a contender for favorite book of the year
- Meatball Sundae, Seth Godin - Not worth the hype, but good for beginners or to brush up
- Blink, Malcolm Gladwell - Not a lot on marketing per se, but a quick read
- The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Rarely have I read a book where the author was so omni-present, and rarely have I found that author so pompous
- Why Beauty Is Truth: A History Of Symmetry, Ian Stewart - Not a lot on marketing, but very interesting for former science fair kids
Your best bet is to consult the lists in the right column of the blog. Here is a highly subjective list of my favorites:
- First, check out the bloggers in the Wordpress Marketing Bloggers Network (WMBN) - this is a new group that I am honored to be a part of (above blogroll on right side)
- Copyblogger - THE copywriting blog
- Marketing.AllTop - Like RSS for people who don't want to know about RSS
- Drew's Marketing Minute - Solid marketing advice from the heartland
- Logic+Emotion - Fellow Chicagoan puts us all to shame at the intersections of marketing, design, and UX
- QualityWriter - Phil Dunn spreads the good word(s)
- THINKing - Harry Hoover and team cover marketing, social media, PR, and advertising
- Web Strategy with Jeremiah Owyang - The prolific Forrester researcher would risk overkill if it weren't all so damn interesting
- Fast Company and sometimes sister publication Inc.
- Free B2Bs: Electronic Retailer, Website Magazine, Deliver Magazine (a great offering from the U.S. Post Office!). With the exception of Deliver, B2Bs do not usually feature outstanding content (sorry guys), but the occasional gem makes it worth it
- Even off-topic mags like Good or AdBusters can sometimes produce useful ideas
I've listened to more than my share of marketing podcasts and these are the ones I turn to week after week. (Either use the link for more info or search for these names in iTunes.)
- Jaffe Juice by Joseph Jaffe - Simply the best
- Managing the Gray by C.C. Chapman - A little spotty - not surprising considering how much content C.C. produces - but still tops
- Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel - Like a Canadian James Brown, Mitch is the hardest working man in podbusiness
- Media Driving by Jay Moonah - Another Northerly neighbor who just started podcasting but is doing it all right
- Marketing Over Coffee by John Wall and Christopher Penn - Despite sounding a little like the 2 Craigs from the Meth Minute (Channel Frederator podcast), these guys are great too (and their website features time segments marking when they discuss certain topics for easier reference)
No one is allowed to get by without some understanding of the technology out there. Here are some resources this English major finds helpful:
- WIRED magazine - The best for the layman, the blogger, and the marketer without a doubt
- This Week in Tech (TWiT) - By far the best tech audio podcast, and funny to boot (be sure to catch an episode when both John C. Dvorak and Jason Calacanis are both on)
- Video podcasts: GeekBrief.TV, Webb Alert, CNET videos, and Loaded from CNET (select it from the "tech shows" pull-down menu)
Did you read this far? You deserve a cookie.
What resources did I miss for the up-and-coming blogger/marketer? Are there any sources or mediums I neglected? Please leave a comment with your suggestion.
I hope the items I've listed here help you as much as they have helped me. I'm a believer that whenever you stop learnin', you start atrophyin'. Here's to living and learning together!