5 Reasons To Buy David Meerman Scott's World Wide Rave (And 2 Reasons Not To)

wwr

I'm trying a new format for my book reviews. Instead of a measured, logical summary and analysis, I'm just going to cut straight to the meat of it - here's why I think you should buy this book (or why you might want to skip it).

I recently finished David Meerman Scott's new book, World Wide Rave. I am a big fan of Scott's work - he's an innovator who has the guts to practice what he preaches. (He quit a high-paying job to write books like these, for instance.) You can check out his website at WebInkNow.com or check his Twitter stream at @dmscott.

So here are 5 reasons why I think you should buy his book (and 2 reasons why you might not want to).

[Sidenote: I read this thanks to Amazon's Kindle for iPhone WhisperSync. Hence, page numbers are between 1-2928. Sorry. You can use my citations to give a rough idea of where to find particular sections though.]

Get It

1. He hits on ideas central to social media marketing (and marketing in the future)

Scott emphasizes again and again that we need to think in terms of what we're giving to the community, not in old media terminology. He most succinctly put it as such:

"You've got to think in terms of spreading ideas, not generating leads. A World Wide Rave gets the word out to thousands or even millions of potential customers. But only if you make your content easy to find and consume" (pg. 959).

Tenets like this seem really easy, but they are still a major sticking point for marketers in firm companies. Scott makes it simple to focus on what really matters in a web 2.0 world.

2. He translates theory into language your boss can understand.

Or rather, he confronts your boss' out-moded ideas of how we gauge marketing success. His discussions about the old rules of measurement - tracking "leads" and "press clips," especially - reveal exactly why these markers don't make sense in social media marketing (pg. 1080).

And Scott speaks frankly. ROI obsession is causing your marketing to get boring. Like, soul-crushingly, lawyer-infused, uber-numbingly boooooring. And then he tells you why (pg. 1117 onward). (Try highlighting these sections before gifting this book to your boss or corporate overseer.)

3. Even n00bs can get it.

Scott speaks to the 90% who are still figuring out their online marketing, much less social media marketing strategy. That can be a tad frustrating for the other 10% of us, but hey, if we're meant to be advocates, we need to get off the high horse.

It's good that Scott covers the basics. No matter how new you are to social media marketing, I'm confident you will not get lost in this book. Heck, he even takes a moment to define social media - something that often gets skipped in even the more basic books (pg. 1261, the "Let's Be Honest" section).

4. He makes the case for true content marketing

Content marketing, as I understand it, just means that you garner trust due to the content you put out. It's not direct marketing; you generally build up trust until someone thinks of you when they have a need in your specialty.

Content marketing has its advocates, notably Joe Pulizzi from Junta42 and (to a slightly lesser degree) Rick Liebling from eyecube. But it's pretty rare for a marketer to call this out in such detail. He says:

"A good journalist [someone you could hire for your content marketing] can create interesting stories about how an organization solves customer problems and can then deliver those stories in a variety of ways...Consumers will love it. How refreshing to read, listen to, and watch these products of journalistic expertise instead of the usual come-ons that typical corporations produce [read: marketing schlock]" (pg 2258).

5. He's fun to read and that's rare

Have you ever taken a business book on your summer vacation? Here's how it normally goes: You have the best of intentions, so you drag this tome out to the beach with you. Before you know it, you've dozed off before finishing the preface and your snooze in the sand results in a bright red burn and your vacation is ruined.

That's how it usually works for me, at least.

I'm not saying it's a laugh riot, but this book is engaging. It moves. It has a sense of purpose. It's got a lot of examples interspersed with the philosophy. And that's miles better than most of the other books out there. And I've got the burns to prove it.

Skip It

Nothing is perfect in this world, so here are 2 valid reasons for skipping this book.

1. Lack of evidence

I don't expect every marketing book to be chock full of research, graphs, and charts like Groundswell was (despite how much I love that book!). But, a little supporting evidence wouldn't hurt, ya know?

And it's not like Scott doesn't provide a lot of citations - he does. But I feel like his most salient points are where he drops the ball in this regard.

Take for instance his argument about social media restrictions for employees. He builds up a case where those who have restricted open access for their employees in the past have been haunted by this decision. He provides a reasonable hypothesis of trends relating to computers, then the internet, culminating in social media. He provides all of the theoretical proof you could want.

But his thesis falls short without real-world evidence. Has Microsoft or Starbucks done this? What were the specific ramifications for Business X when they restricted employee access? Which companies have avoided this fate? I admit I was left wanting in just a few instances like these in the book.

2. Same 'ol, same 'ol

I was disappointed at a few parts in the book when examples were trotted out that I'd heard about months (nay, years) ago. It seemed tired. It seemed like something I'd read before. Seriously, I've heard that MailerMailer story 500 hundred times before.

But! (And this is a significant "but.") The reason I'm sick of examples like MailerMailer is because I'm such a fan of Scott's work. So really, this is hardly his fault. He's trying to reach a new audience with this book and it's likely they've never heard most/all of these stories before.

It's only because I have read all of his white papers and many of his blog posts that things like "Where the hell is Matt?" seem trite. If you haven't, then it's new to you.

Final Verdict

This time, I leave the final verdict in your hands. In other reviews, I have ended the post with a pithy thought and recommendation. But that kind of post is boring, to be honest.

This time, I'd like to hear from you. Would you buy David's book from this post? Or, if you have read it, what did you think? Would you recommend it to others? (Better yet, if you read his blog and white papers but haven't bought the book - will you?)

I enjoyed the book and believe I'm a better marketer for reading it. Plus, because Scott practices what he preaches, he gave away the book during the first five days of publication and I essentially read it for free (Thanks, David!). So, while I have no real obligation, if it made me a better marketer, as a gentlemen I damn well better talk about it, right?

So, what do you think? Would you read World Wide Rave? Or did you read it? What did you think?

P.S.: If you enjoyed this review, you might also like my recent review of Paul Gillin’s Secrets of Social Media Marketing; Goldstein, Martin, and Cialdini's Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive; and my list of the top 5 gift books for marketers.

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Book Review: Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive

yes

Authors Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin, and Robert Cialdini provide what they promise: 50 case studies where science determined the difference between "yes" and "no" responses.

The book feels like a quick read - the 50 chapters are short and the writing style familiar. But Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive stands out for two reasons: everything is backed up by hard data and there is a prominent focus on the ethical use of these studies throughout the book.

Gimme The Facts, Ma'am

Remember how much I liked Groundswell? Yes! might not have quite as much data, but it comes close. It isn't bogged down with numbers, but the authors are very clear about the research and testing that goes into their conclusions.

For instance, let's imagine that your business relies on your employees to make deals with other people. In one of the Yes! tests, when one group of test subjects was asked to mimic an negotiator's physical behavior, they reached a deal 67% of the time. Think about your imaginary business for a second. How much would a 10% decrease in deal-making hurt you? What about 20%? Then, when I tell you that non-mimicking pairs of negotiators reached a deal only 12.5% of the time - a difference of more than 54% - you might start believing in the author's persuasive techniques (page 135).

Giving Marketers A Good Name?

The other major reason why I encourage you read this book is because the ethical ramifications of our work is never hidden away (also making a good gift for college students or young marketers learning the ropes).

They advocate that not only is unethical marketing morally distasteful, but that it's less profitable too. In one example, the authors contend,

"Often the first influence strategy that comes to mind will not be the most ethical - or the wisest, as was demonstrated...as ethical persuaders, we can take comfort in knowing that those who do choose to wield social influence as a destructive weapon, rather than a constructive tool, will inevitably end up pointing that weapon at themselves and shooting themselves in the foot" (page 220).

We are in more desperate times than usual, but we are also reaping the fruits of social media marketing where, improbably, the good guys (Zappos, others) really can win.

Buy It Or Skip It?

This isn't a perfect book by any means. A few of the stories are boring, a little of the humor falls flat. But these aren't damning failures by any means.

I'd say buy it. The hard cover is usually under $20 and the soft cover even less. It's perfect for a business trip and quick enough to be read in a weekend. Pick up Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive.

There are a lot of airy, feel-good marketing books out there and they have their place (usually for marketers new to online or social media marketing). But the 10% who have been dabbling for years in this arena don't need those types of books. They need Yes! types of books.

P.S.: If you enjoyed this review, you might also like my recent review of Paul Gillin's Secrets of Social Media Marketing and my list of the top 5 gift books for marketers.

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7 Ways Authors Can Avoid Being Scammed By Online Book Promotion

book-signing

Online marketing can be very useful, but when does it become a time suck? Are there industries where online marketing is more likely to fail? Or are any potential failures just the result of bungled efforts?

I recently read this article about an author's problems marketing her novel online: One Author Speaks Out About The Bad Side Of Online Promotions. It was interesting to read a post that contained both missed opportunities on the part of the author as well as justified limitations to her online marketing efforts.

The author in the blog post felt as though she had largely wasted her hours of online promotion for a recently published book. I would like to offer the following advice both as a humble rebuttal as well as in hopes of helping other authors think about their online promotions.

Lessons To Be Learned

There are a lot of lessons illustrated in the author's blog post. Here are a few that jumped out at me, along with corresponding quotes from her interview:

"I blogged, guest blogged, blogged at Amazon, podcasted, was interviewed by books bloggers and book review websites, joined Facebook, and Twittered. I also joined several networking sites and writers organizations associated with my genre."

Lesson #1: Don't spread yourself too thin. I'd recommend only participating in the number of social networks where you can provide value. It sounds like the author was spreading herself across the entire internet, rather than focusing on a targeted community and fulfilling a need they had.

"I concentrated all of this effort in the month my book released and the two immediately following."

Lesson #2: Don't wait until the book is out to build community. This is possibly the biggest mistake for any author. Waiting until your book is published before starting your online community building is like waiting to buy flood insurance until after the waters recede - you should have thought of it before the big event. Work in advance to build an audience so you can all start promoting the book once it hits shelves.

"For three months, all the time I normally spent online and more was focused on Internet promotion: 3 to 8 hours a day...This interview, for example, took me 9 hours to write."

Lesson #3: Need to manage expectations and time. Authors should plan to spend a good deal of time with promotion, depending on their motivation, size of potential audience, and other factors. (Good) online promotion takes a real investment of time. That said, 9 hours on a 6 page interview seems way too long to me. If that's a regular occurrence, you should consider honing your verbal skills and complete other interviews orally.

"...I was able to track the outcomes of individual interviews. The results were shocking. After an interview posted on a website claiming thousands of unique visitors per day, exactly one person followed the link to my website."

Lesson #4: Clarify your goals. Earlier, the author stated that the goal of her online promotion was to increase name and book title recognition. If so, then don't judge your success on CTR or web traffic. Determine what you want, figure out success metrics (ask "How do I envision success"), and then execute.

"I know some will say I'm missing the point; that the objective of all this activity is to build the author's long-term [i]nternet presence and establish a brand. But to a newly published author, 'online promotion' is synonymous with 'sales.' It has to be."

Lesson #5: Community leads to sales, not necessarily vice versa. If you only go online for the sale, you will fail; if you go online to provide value/access, you will make the sale. Consider David Meerman Scott - he is active in the community and gives most of his content away for free. Crazy? Nope. He knows that he attracts fans through the free content and he makes his money selling books to this targeted, pre-engaged audience and by speaking to them at conferences. A short-sighted attitude toward sales will kill you online.

"Once content is posted, it doesn't go anywhere. It just sits for awhile, then disappears. By contrast, articles and blog posts made at the major online magazines and newspapers show up at dozens of other websites within minutes."

Lesson #6: All traffic is not the same. Besides showing a somewhat alarming naivety regarding search, this quote implies that all online traffic has roughly the same worth. For most authors, a targeted focus on niche audiences is far more likely to yield interest, buzz, and sales.

"[N]o one even knows if Twittering and social network sites sell books."

Lesson #7: Social networking sites don't sell books. You sell books. Read that sentence again and really take it in. It might be the most important thing you find in this post.

With that in mind, consider that Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff compares the traditional sales function to "energizing" in their fantastic book, Groundswell. Instead of hard-line sales tactics, social networking "[m]akes it possible for your enthusiastic customers to help sell each other" (page 69).

Or, if you're still pessimistic about the power of your online connections, consider this excellent article by David Alston called "Social Media ROI - What's the 'Return on Ignoring'?" Alston makes the convincing, even simplistic, case that doing nothing will result in...nothing.

"But what does "return on investment" really stand for in a business? Roughly translated, it means the value we expect to get out of all the effort we put into something. It's the definition of the output (return) from an input (investment).

But here's the trick: ignoring the input, or doing nothing in social media, will surely guarantee no return at all."

The Right Attitude

I don't want it to sound as though the author was clueless; that's certainly not the case. Throughout the blog post, I marked sections where I thought her concept of social networking and online marketing were correct.

For instance, as an unschooled professional, she taught herself a lot about the importance of search. Despite one or two missteps, she does present search accurately and astutely as a marketing tool. In fact, she may not give herself enough credit for the results she had (which were fairly fantastic).

Readers could also tell that the author had a long history of being online, even if she wasn't marketing herself this whole time. Familiarity with the online channel greatly decreases the learning curve for online marketing.

And finally, she seems to have a good understanding (more than me, certainly) of the relationship between author and publicist regarding online promotion. If she's to be believe - and I have no reason not to - the book publishing promotion world still seems centered on in-store and other offline promotions. On the flip side, she also understands that relying on a publicist for online connections would be a mistake.

Worth A Read

In general, I enjoyed this post because it gave me a lot to think about and showed insight into a field I know less about, though am interested in.

The point of this post is to help other authors avoid the pitfalls she went through. Was this helpful? Or did I skip over an essential lesson? Please leave your comments and suggestions for other authors below.

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Top 5 Gift Books For Online Marketers

As you plan for Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holidays this season, you might have a marketer, writer, or advertising person on your list. If so, this is the post for you.

I've written before about the need for marketing folks to always be studying, constantly learning their craft. Here are the top five books that marketers on your list will need to succeed in 2009.

Top 5 Gift Books For Marketers

1. Groundswell: Winning in a World of Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff - This is my pick for best marketing book of 2008. Li and Bernoff explain social media marketing with more analysis, data, and charts than any other book on this list. Every page is filled with nuggets of wisdom, but be warned: this is not a book for the uninitiated. Readers should have a basic understanding of marketing and online behavior to get the most out of this book.

Who should receive this book?: Hard-core marketers, social media junkies, small businesspeople who already "get" blogging and Twitter.

2. Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath - You may have read the Heath brother's monthly article in Fast Company magazine. Like their articles, this book is always thought provoking, drawing from research that crosses the boundary of marketing into psychology and sociology. There is a science to persuasion and a commonality in successful marketing campaigns. This book does a great job of explaining why and how you can replicate that success.

Who should receive this book?: Young creatives at a marketing or advertising firm, psychologists turned businesspeople, marketers who want to understand how to "go viral."

3. Join The Conversation: How to Engage Marketing-Weary Consumers with the Power of Community, Dialogue, and Partnership by Joseph Jaffe - Jaffe is one of the leading thinkers and proponents of new marketing. As a thought leader, it's no surprise that his book is chock full of insight. This book is intended not just to teach marketers the particular skills they need to thrive in this new environment, but also to change their very way of thinking. It's not quite as radical as that sounds - it is always pragmatic - but it is certainly convincing that the ways of marketing have indeed changed forever.

Who should receive this book?: College students considering a career in marketing, retired marketers looking for new thoughts and ideas, businesspeople in other departments who are curious about the changes they may see in their own marketing department in the future.

4. Secrets of Social Media Marketing: How to Use Online Conversations and Customer Communities to Turbo-Charge Your Business by Paul Gillin - Gillin says that the book is intended for the 90% of marketers who are not yet comfortable with social media marketing tools. As a member of the 10% who are, I would disagree. I got a lot out of this book. It's full of examples and great tips, but most importantly provides a complete overview of the social media world. My personal copy is marked up and dog-eared - a sure sign of a useful book.

Who should receive this book? Old-school marketers pessimistic about this "Web 2.0 stuff," work-from-home Moms building a new business, the I.T. guy you fight with whenever you want to include more functionality on your website.

5. Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy - Do you notice how much shorter this title is compared to the others? The book reads the very same way. Ogilvy, likely a master of the art before you were born, says what needs saying and nothing more. Though the book was published in 1983, the universal truths provided in the book stand the test of time. It pays to know where your industry came from, in order to really move it forward.

Who should receive this book? Idealistic young advertising staff, copywriters of any age, the agency tough-guy who needs to hear advice from the original Ad Man.

Only For The Hard-Core

It's a little tough to imagine, but if the marketing person on your list is the hardest of hard-core, they may like a MarketingSherpa report under the tree. They're a little pricey, but the amount of money saved by taking their advice makes it worth it.

I recommend either the 2009 Email Marketing Benchmark Guide or the 2009 Search Marketing Benchmark Guide (on sale). Not for amateurs!

My Hope

My sincere hope is that you have friends and family to share the holidays with. And if you're able to afford gifts this season, I hope you consider the ones I mentioned above. They've truly helped me this year and I hope they do the same for the marketer on your list.

If this post was helpful, stumbles and re-tweets are like holiday gifts for me!

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(Note: I am an affiliate with Amazon and MarketingSherpa, but I've read every page of the five books I listed and think they are absolutely worth purchasing. My commission is like, 3 cents anyway.)

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Book Review: Secrets Of Social Media Marketing by Paul Gillin

I read a lot for this blog and I try to pass along the books that I especially recommend. Some are simply must-reads if you're on the cutting edge of marketing and social media.

But it's rare that I quote a book more than a handful of times. If you read about a particular book on this blog more than a couple times, it means that it's a true resource for me - something I go back to again and again for guidance and ideas.

Sometimes these books are heavy on research and statistics (like Groundswell). Sometimes they provide a philosophical direction that keeps me on the correct path (like Join the Conversation).

It is rare, however, that a book is so chock-full of information that I know it will be a resource before I've even completed it. I'm only half-way through Paul Gillin's Secrets of Social Media Marketing and I already know you must buy it.

90% And 10%

Gillin begins the book by introducing the intended audience:

"This book isn't intended for the 10 percent of marketers who are on the leading edge of this phenomenon. It's for the 90 percent who are still trying to figure out how to start."

Since I consider this blog aimed at that audience as well, I commend Gillin's efforts. However, I also respectfully disagree. As a member of that 10 percent, I know that it's useful to other 10 percenters, not just the 90 percent trying to figure it out.

For instance, his outline of search engine capabilities was largely new to me (page 44) and I haven't heard of many of the examples he mentions, including the Twitter Baja 1000-Jim Beam promotion (page 116). Even the most prominent blogger, marketers, and social media enthusiasts will gain something by reading this book.

That said, it's also great for the 90 percent who are trying to figure it all out. They will benefit from other's successes and missteps. Gillin does a great job of walking the reader through a social media marketing campaign from idea to strategy to execution to measurement.

Examples And Research

In my opinion, the two most useful aspects of this book are the examples and the research. Gillin isn't simply spouting off his theories - he is backing them up with real-world intelligence.

Like Made To Stick, this book supports it's premises and ideas with concrete examples and research. The section on CEO blogs featured several business leaders with positives and negatives about their experience. Likewise, his section on customer conversations was supported by influential authors and the facts and figures that inspire trust in his work.

The Gist

I highly recommend that you buy Secrets of Social Media Marketing. (It ships on November 1, but you can pre-order it on Amazon with that link at a third off the cover price.) I think it is a great resource for marketers, small business owners, or anyone who touches social media - and that's most of us.

Regular readers know I will rip into a book I think stinks. But I've been really impressed with Gillin's work and this book, in particular. Please let me know what you think in the comments section below.

P.S.: Gillin did something smart by creating a website well before the book is released: http://SSMMbook.com/. Check it out if you want to know more about his work, read other reviews, and get all of the footnotes in one convenient place.

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Book Review: Toy Box Leadership

TBL1 I was recently asked by co-author Michael Waddell to review Toy Box Leadership. This new book is definitely worth picking up and I will explain why. (This post contains no affiliate links and I received no compensation of any kind except for a free review copy of the book.)

The premise of the book by Waddell and Ron Hunter, Jr., is that childhood toys taught or exemplified many of the skills necessary to lead well. Some examples are direct correlations (a rocking horse describing lots of work without actually achieving anything) and others are more figurative (LEGOs describing relationships that start with connecting).

Seriously? Toys And Leadership?

The connection between childhood toys and leadership lesson fluctuates from poignant to cheesy to fondly familiar. But the important thing to remember is that this is not the point. The connection between the toy and the particular lesson is secondary to your ability to absorb and recall the idea.

The toys simply provide an easily recognized and easily remembered framework of leadership strategy. The metaphors are certainly stronger than, say, a purple cow or square apple.

Let's Just Say It

We need to own up to a basic fact: every book on leadership will contain some similar fundamental truths. Communicating goals to your employees, for instance, will universally be a positive thing while emotional rages around the office will be regarded as uncouth. Stating this universality is not a knock on this or any other business book - it simply is.

If we admit to some similarity, then one of the differentiators becomes the book's ability to be memorable and to find a place in the reader's life. This is ultimately what makes Toy Box Leadership successful. Toys fit with the intended audience (Lite-Brites rather than Xbox 360s) and flow smoothly into the each particular subject on leadership.

The Importance Of Before And After

Toy Box Leadership ties together common memories from the past and transitions them to fit a future scenario. This smooth flow makes it perfect reading for your summer vacation if you need something a little meatier than the standard fare. Or, sample a tasty nugget from the book before and after work on your commute. The book works equally well taken in all at once or in sections each day.

In A Web 2.0 World

Many of the lessons in the book are amplified or especially relevant in this web 2.0 world. For instance:

  • Reliability and trust of your workers when more and more employees are telecommuting (pg. 10)
  • Emphasis on customer service and businesses' focus on personal interaction with customers (pg. 114)
  • Flatter organizational charts (pg. 131)

The effectiveness of the book's advice is proved by the examples that have surfaced since it went to print. "Shortcuts and efficiency are not synonymous. Likewise, some streamlining may actually reduce the quality that defines your organization or product" (pg. 114). Hunter and Waddell use the positive example of Nordstrom's customer experience, but this passage could easily be applied to Starbuck's turmoil in recent weeks.

The Gist

I thought this book was great and I recommend that you pick it up. It wasn't the heaviest read and there were no ground-breaking insights, but I do not think the authors set out with these goals in mind. Rather, it appears their intent was to relate useful leadership advice with memorable icons from your past. And in this, they succeed.

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How To Be An A-List Blogger - Study, Study, Study (Part 4)

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.

Books Read

  • 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

Websites

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

Magazines

Podcasts

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)

Tech

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!

(Interested in other ways to be an A-list blogger? Try commenting, optimizing for search, and curiosity. And if you like these articles, please use StumbleUpon to recommend them.)

I Finally Get Seth Godin - Eating The Meatball Sundae

I admit I used to poo-poo Seth Godin. In my business, that's akin to snubbing Jesus. But I never understood why so many marketers loved his writing. I'd read Seth's blog, caught himgodin.jpg on several podcasts, and read his articles, but I didn't get him until today. My problem with Godin was the fact that everything he said sounded like common sense. "You need to learn the new marketing before applying it to a business." DUH. "Your business might not be right for the new marketing." SNORE.

Sure, Godin is full of common sense about marketing - he should be! But it didn't seem that useful to me. (Not that I'm a genius, but I felt his suggestions were awfully apparent if you just paid attention.)

Here's what I didn't understand

What I didn't understand about Seth Godin is the sheer scope of his common sense-iness. Everything that comes out of his mouth is good marketing advice and after listening to his new audiobook Meatball Sundae, I understand that this long form is the way for me to appreciate his work. You see, listening to so much good (common sense) advice illuminates how much crap advice marketers hear every day.

Godin is able to not only create lists of handy ideas, but he's able to simplify how we do things and why. The real-life stories he tell serve to give a concreteness to his work, like little voices saying, "I told you so."

Should you read it? It depends.

However, for as good as Godin is, I cannot say that I'd recommend this book or his other work to everyone. His stuff is must-read for marketers, period. But I honestly don't think individuals in other professions would get anywhere near as much from his books. I just don't think it translates as well as other marketing-type books.

I recommend books like Made to Stick because readers in all fields will garner something from that information, be they fire-fighters, stock brokers, or professors (I'm lookin' at you, MMB). While I think non-marketers will be entertained by Godin's wit and stories, I don't think they will end up using his advice in their daily lives. And the point of this blog is to emphasize marketing and marketing tactics for ordinary folks.

Sorry Seth, I can't give it a 100% recommendation. But I'm sure you'll understand. It's just common sense.