Oh, one of those lists, Ahava. Really?
Wait. Just hear me out. There’s an immense amount of dialogue right now in the content creation, content marketing, content strategy, content space. Some of it is important. Some of it will sink to the bottom, hopefully washed away by the pixels of the Interwebs. But, if you’re following closely, you’ll see that best practices still rise to the top, like the proverbial cream.
And if you’re a digital:
… You are responsible to know how to create and deliver exceptional content experiences for your audiences. These 10 books will help get you there.
10 Must Reads for Content Creation and Strategy
10. "The Elements of Style," William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. The classic writer’s handbook, this gives you the golden rule for writing and digital writing: Omit unnecessary words. More than that, it encourages you to write with precision and determination. A must reread at least once a year for any writer.
9. "Epic Content Marketing," Joe Pulizzi. Read it for the case studies, which demonstrate the power and reach content marketing can provide. More importantly, listen carefully to the structure Pulizzi places around how to think about content. Pulizzi captured a moment in time you’ll come back to again and again.
8. "Content Rules," Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. I revisited this classic last year and I still think it’s worth its weight in gold, even though it was written in 2011 about the then-nascent field of content marketing. Packed with case studies and tips for organizing your output.
7. "100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People," Susan Weinschenk. I cannot stress to you how much this slim guide on the intersection of neuroscience and UX will change your life as a digital content creator. Why do we develop eyestrain? What colors should we use? Why do we like to look at faces? All those questions and more (100 of them) based on the latest research. Just a fabulous walk through our brains and how to create great digital experiences in light of what we now know.
6. "Don’t Make Me Think," Steve Krug. This one’s about to be updated and I cannot wait. (Go ahead, call me a nerd; I’m used to it.) This classic will remind you to design, write and create for PEOPLE first -- not for yourself. A quick, easy-breezy read. If you’re hiring for a UX position and the candidate hasn’t read this book, do not hire him or her.
5. "Content Strategy for the Web," Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach. It’s all in this little red bible -- how to plan, publish, distribute and govern content on the web. Almost every page on mine has a little sticky. Yours will too.
4. "On Writing Well," William Zinsser. Thinking about words and how they come together and dive apart is for the most passionate writers among us. Or is it? Zinsser explores more than language and writing here -- he explores how we connect and make choices about our communication. A must for anyone who is trying to get better (that should be all of us).
3. "The Yahoo! Style Guide," Chris Barr, editor. So great, so timely, so much better than A.P. Style. For example, did you know that people can’t find numerals they are scanning for -- which is every users’ first approach when reading a new web page -- if they are in words? But in numbers? Easy to spot. Yahoo! thought about that, and a whole bunch of other usability research when they put this guide together. Think of it as the new guide to writing for the digital age.
2. "Letting Go of the Words," Janice Redish. The absolute classic on how to write for the web. If you were lucky enough to be personally trained by Ginny, offer a sacrifice to the gods of writing. If you weren’t -- you can still read her fabulous second edition that will explain why you can’t write long sentences with multisyllabic words.
1. "On Writing," Stephen King. The master storyteller lets you in on his writing process. Guess what? It’s hard for him too! More than that, by pulling back the curtain and exposing his own challenges with writing, he makes you feel a lot less alone as a writer. Every writer knows that is so important when trying to express something that will touch another.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the books that make you a great digital content creator.
Title image by connel (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: Read more of Ahava's content strategy tips in 5 Ways to Find Your Voice and Tone.