The best books to make your marketing more creative

Who am I?

You know how most young kids go through a phrase where they ask “why” about everything, and then they ask it again, and again, and again? Well, I never really outgrew that. I studied journalism because it gave me permission to be curious about new things every day, and to ask experts “why.” Marketing gave me a new way to chase my curiosity: Why are people clicking this ad, opening this email, following that social account or searching for that phrase? I’ve helped 30% of the Fortune 100 answer the questions about why their content is working, or isn’t, and my first book, The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas, was born from my introspective curiosity about how my own idea generation process worked. 


I wrote...

The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas

By Melanie Deziel,

Book cover of The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas

What is my book about?

In The Content Fuel Framework, trained journalist and award-winning content marketer Melanie Deziel shows you how to maximize your creativity by systematizing it. This simple framework catalyzes the brainstorming process, making idea generation effortless and nearly automatic. No more writer's block. No more asking "what should I post?" No more waiting for that "big idea" to show up in its own time. 

Never before have we consumed as much content, in as many forms, and in as many places as we do now. This means marketers, creators, and anyone who communicates with an audience is under more pressure than ever to deliver unique content, consistently. How can you fill all those web pages, social feeds, blogs, and newsletters, every single day?

The books I picked & why

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Book cover of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Why this book?

I’ve never read Eat, Pray, Love, but Big Magic showed me what the hype surrounding Eilzabeth Gilbert is all about. This book helped dispel some of the deep-seeded “artists die broke and alone” socially imparted beliefs that I didn’t even realize were hidden deep down there. It also gave me a language for talking about the ideas I have that aren’t right for me (or aren’t right for me right now), which is incredibly freeing. It strips the guilt, shame, and most of the frustration away from “writer’s block,” and that gave me a fresh perspective on creative thinking. 


Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity

By Charles Duhigg,

Book cover of Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity

Why this book?

While productivity and creativity might seem like strange bedfellows at first, this book taught me plenty of ways to think differently and to optimize my work with others. Since much of the best marketing is done in or by groups, effective group dynamics are key. This book also underscores how important it is to add processes, rules, and planning to seemingly unstructured work habits to make them more efficient. (I’m looking at you, nebulous “brainstorms” with no clear goal or code of conduct.)


Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

By Ann Handley,

Book cover of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

Why this book?

This book is such a good read for anyone who creates written content (and that’s everybody… hence the title). I have sent this book as a gift to so many people—recent grads, colleagues, clients, and more—that sometimes my go-to online booksellers ask me if I’m sure I want to place my order, since I’ve already ordered the book multiple times prior. (Much like when Netflix asks you if you’re still watching, the answer is a resounding “Yes! Leave me alone and let’s keep this party going!”) My favorite thing about reading Ann Handley’s writing (whether it’s this book, her others, or her fortnightly newsletter, Total Annarchy) is that her voice is so tremendously engaging, consistent, and real. I don’t know what the writing equivalent of a blind taste test is, but if there is one, I’m nearly positive I’d be able to identify Ann’s writing. 


The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

By Daniel J Levitin,

Book cover of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

Why this book?

This book is a hefty one—I recommend the audiobook if you’ve got a bad back—but it will help you understand how your brain works in a way that almost no other book can. And the better you understand your mind, the better you’ll be able to make it do what you want, and how to protect yourself from the things that might otherwise sabotage your creative thinking.


Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

By David Epstein,

Book cover of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Why this book?

I like to consider myself a generalist, in many ways, so I’d be lying if I said this book didn’t give me lots of warm-fuzzies. (It’s always good to get scientific validation that your approach to things is a good one.) The most creative people I know are those that have combined multiple careers, interests, or pursuits to arrive at their groundbreaking ideas, so this book is a must-read to grant yourself permission to explore the “unrelated” in your quest for the new.  


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