Here’s the hard truth: As a marketer, it has never been easier to be average. So what does it take to be exceptional? Jay Acunzo, an award-winning podcaster and blogger, asked this of attendees at Content Marketing World 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. In the digital age, marketers cannot produce cookie cutter content and hope it sticks. Nor can they demand action from their audience; they need to inspire it. “Average doesn’t work anymore; don’t be conventional,” said Acunzo. “We have to stop doing commodity work.”

Among the many takeaways that Acunzo and the dozens of other speakers shared at this year’s conference the ones that kept surfacing were:

  •        Know your audience – and treat their time as more valuable than your own.
  •        Be authentic – be a writer first and a marketer second.
  •        Go beyond vanity metrics – instead consider why you released the content in the first place.

If you are looking for more sources of inspiration, need a leg up when it comes to content marketing, or just some affirmation that you are not alone, check out these books recommended by Acunzo and other speakers at Content Marketing World 2017.

  1.        Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose
  2.        The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott
  3.        Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
  4.        Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer
  5.        Writing Without Bullshit by Josh Bernoff
  6.        Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi
  7.        Content Chemistry by Andy Crestodina
  8.        Who Owns the Future by Jaron Lanier