Copywriting & content marketing for B2B & technology companies

My top 5 business books of 2013

2013 was an interesting year in terms of business books. Here’s my must-read top 5.

1. Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships.

Needless to say that I’m a big fan of content marketing and of anything that Joe Pullizi throws on the internet. But if I need to pick one absolute content marketing favourite, it has to be “Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships” by Andrew M. Davis. To me, this book was really an eye-opener, looking at the whole content marketing circus from a totally different angle. Yes, we know advertising doesn’t work anymore and yes, we live in an opt-in world. But there’s more.

The basic idea of Brandscaping is that you need to look out for valuable partners that somehow share the same audience as you. Together with that partner, you can develop a joint content marketing program. This way, you are not only sharing resources (time and money), you also have a bigger reach for your content marketing message.

I think Brandscaping holds a lot of promise. And I even think there’s quite a number of Brandscaping examples around already, even in the Belgian marketplace. Think of Grimbergen Beer for example, who successfully claimed the world of the thriller novel and partnered with novel writers to create something really cool.

Maybe it’s time for my own brandscape in 2014. Who knows … I certainly know a few non-competing companies that share my audience.

2. Advertising Transformed

Actually, Advertising Transformed is the English translation of Fons van Dyck’s “Reclame, dood of levend”, which is soon to appear in 2014. Maybe it’s a typically Belgian thing, but this book doesn’t have any of the fluffy, hyped-up marketing speak that is typical of so many other marketing literature. Instead, it’s a well documented, well founded book that provides a lot of practical advice for businesses.

“Advertising, dead or alive”: the Dutch title is a bit more provoking, although the answer is well balanced. Is advertising really dead? Well, maybe the traditional way of advertising is. Marketing teams will need to embrace a new way of advertising, where content calls the shots, and where customers join in more and more to speak their minds.

3. The Writer’s Idea Book

Writer’s block? What writer’s block?

Do you know how many people walk around with the idea of writing a book some day? Well, armies of them, I bet. And I’m one of them. Just you wait and see …

The Writer’s Idea Book is a fun book to thumb through, very well written and very witty. A must-read for readers and writers to be.

The Writer’s Idea Book, by Jack Heffron, was not published in 2013, but I discovered it a few months ago. Does that count too? Let’s say it does, shall we?

4. Epic Content Marketing

With Epic Content Marketing Joe Pulizzi, returns again with another must-read. Okay, I didn’t read this book yet. But if it comes from Mr. Content Marketing himself, the book has got to be good, right?

Well, I don’t know… After the two most essential, genre-defining¬†content marketing books Get Content Get Customers: Turn Prospects into Buyers with Content Marketing and Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand, what more is there to say about content marketing that we don’t already know?

But as I mentioned, I didn’t read the book yet, but I probably will. So, I’m giving Mr. Pulizzi the benefit of the doubt.

5. The Abide Guide

Okay, this is not really a business book, although I think many business people I know would benefit from reading this one.

When I think of the average marketing person, I see someone who cleans his or her inbox in the morning, quickly scans an RSS feed for interesting blog reads, wanders off to another so-called must-read article that talks about the latest state-of-the art marketing trend, quickly bookmarks three other articles which are on the reading list. Which he or she will read after having devoured threescore newsletters.

Know what I mean?

Sometimes, it’s all a little too much, too serious. There’s only so much you can read, let alone apply or implement it in your daily work. That’s why we need to step back every once and a while and get a little less uptight. Nothing better to let that happen than reading The Abide Guide by Oliver Benjamin & Dwayne Eutsey.

The Abide Guide is all about Dudeism, a philosophy and lifestyle inspired by the Dude. After all, when you seek salvation from this stressed out, uptight world, there’s only one man to go to for guidance – the Dude.

For those who have really no idea of what I’m talking about, I suggest you drop everything right now and go see the movie ‘The Big Lebowski’.