Books Every Journalist New To Native Advertising Should Read

reading journalism content marketing Often times, when I speak at conferences and meet journalists who are new to native advertising, they want to know what books they should read to help climb the learning curve faster as they aim to master the art of branded content. I'd often give ad-hoc recommendations based on whatever I'm reading at the time, but I wanted to create a definitive resource list for anyone who might be looking for good books to fill their queue as they make their transition from journalism to sponsored content.

Below is a list of book recommendations, broken out by the role they can play in in your editorial-to-advertising journey. I've read every single book on this list, personally, so my recommendations come from the heart.

I'll update this list as I hit the back cover of new books that deserve to be shared here.  If you have a suggestion, please let me know! Sounds off in the comments or tweet me @mdeziel. (Please be patient... my bookshelves are overflowing!)

Last updated 2/24/16.

For your professional transition/rebrand:

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.31.49 PM"Reinventing You," by Dorie Clark

Making a career change or pivot from editorial to brand storytelling is made easier with this guide on finding ways to reapply your experience to your new area, how to expand your network, how to update your perception in the marketplace and more. If you want to shift your reputation as you enter content marketing, this is a good place to start.


For tackling the advertising learning curve:

Gary Vaynerchuk, AskGaryVee"#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneurs Take on Leadership, Social Media and Self-Awareness," By Gary Vaynerchuk

This is the book version of social media agency phenom GaryVee's high-octane video show/podcast where he answers questions from fans, entrepreneurs, marketers and more, in his trademark no-holds-barred style. It's a quick and digestible crash-course in all things digital marketing, with social tips, business insights, tips for growing a team, and a whole lot of other "real talk."


Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.32.09 PM"Marketing Above The Noise," By Linda Popky

While its intended as a step back from social media tactics and a return to the basics, this is a good primer on marketing best practices and processes. If you're totally new to advertising, this will give you a great overview of the common terms and exchanges you'll now be exposed to.


Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.32.21 PM"Contagious: Why Things Catch On," By Jonah Berger

This book will surface some familiar case studies from the world of advertising, but its learnings apply more generally to content as well. Learn the scientifically-backed factors that contribute to traction in videos, articles, ad campaigns and more, and see how those learnings can be applied to your content endeavors.


Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.32.33 PM"Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Thrive and Others Die," by Chip Heath

Ditto, above. Great examples and interesting insights about the science of what makes a piece of content or a story stick in an audience's mind long after they've consumed it.



Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.32.48 PM"Damn Good Advice for People With Talent," by George Lois

This is a small book and a quick read, but it's packed with some great advice for surviving and thriving in the advertising world. It's well-designed and easily chunked for daily inspiration or a quick blast of insight, and most tidbits are paired with industry examples that you'll hear referenced often.


For feeling comfortable in client presentations:

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.33.01 PM"Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills That Win Business," by Peter Coughter

You're used to pitching stories to editors, but your pitches now need to appeal to marketers, agencies and advertisers too. This is a great primer on what makes client presentations (whether written, put to slides or verbally given) compelling and outlines what pitfalls to avoid.


Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.33.13 PM"Steal The Show:... How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All The Performances In Your Life," by Michael Port

Creatives will often be brought into client presentations to help sell the value of storytelling to potential advertisers, and this book will give you great tips, tricks and processes for getting more comfortable in those environments and giving compelling presentations.


For adjusting to and optimizing new processes:

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.33.25 PM"Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity," by David Allen

This is a must-have for any person wishing to be highly productive and creative in a corporate environment. Learn tested systems for mitigating email and meeting waves, managing your time, and getting more done than you ever thought possible. My favorite takeaway: The Two Minute Rule, which says that any task that takes under two minutes to complete should be done now, as it'll take longer to make note of it and come back to it than to complete it.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.33.45 PM

"Extreme Productivity:Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours," by Robert C Pozen

Ditto, above. A guide to getting your time management and related processes under control. This will help with the new world of creating content around client timelines and sales cycles.



For keeping your mind fresh and creative:

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.33.55 PM"The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice," by Todd Henry

The sooner you understand the conditions for optimal creative thinking, and the ways that you can support your own creative processes, the sooner you can create the habits and mindsets to consistently produce creative story ideas for your clients and balance that with your need for creative endeavors outside the office environment.


Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.34.05 PM"Becoming an Idea Machine," by Claudia Altucher

This book serves as a great primer on creative thinking, and provides hundreds of prompts for thinking differently. Completing some or all of these list-making challenges will help expand your capacity for finding creative solutions based on the limitations often presented in client brainstorm situations.


*I have read every single one of these books and personally chosen to recommend them. Some of these links are affiliate links, which allow me to get credit for any sales that my recommendations drive, at no additional cost to you! Hopefully, that makes this tightly curated list a win/win for both of us!

Check out the resource page for more helpful tips, tools and tricks.