To be successful at creative business, you’re going to have to read to get ahead of your competition.
I shouldn’t have been able to progress as far in my career as I have. I’m a Philosophy major. Yet, despite the fact that most business concepts should be beyond me, I’ve been able to survive in a rapidly changing job market.
Over the years though, I have got really good at learning my trade. I may not be able to trade in my brain for one that can readily cope with science, tech, math and engineering, but I’ve managed to strike a pretty good balance between doing what I love and earning enough to support myself.
I’ve done this by getting pretty good at doing deliberate practice – sharpening the saw by reading books above my level.
To be successful in creative business, you’re going to have to do the same thing. What was cool and trendy five years ago (copywriting chops and social media, anyone?) is pretty much the baseline nowadays, and now techniques like inbound and nurture marketing are coming into fashion.
It’s only be stretching yourself and exposing yourself to ideas and techniques that make you uncomfortable that you can progress. These are some of the books that have really influenced my thinking. Treat this as a starting point, and then either pick up the “People Who Bought This Also Bought” on Amazon or follow the chain of citations.
Books To Learn Digital Marketing From
- Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing by Drayton Bird
- The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly
- Persuasion: The Art of Influencing People by James Borg
- Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
- 30 days to sell by Alan O’Rourke
- How To Sell Video Courses Online: How I make $2000+ passive income every month by Rob Cubbon
- The Best Business Writing 2013 (Columbia Journalism Review Books) by Starkman et al.
- Content Snippets
How To ‘Do Creative Business’
- You’re My Favorite Client by Mike Monteiro
- Kalzumeus Blog by Patrick McKenzie
- Authority by Nathan Barry
- Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher
Of course, you should be looking for your own inspiration too. For a while, ASOS nurture emails were the best in the world and contained nothing but images (lately, not so much, at least for me.) And you should always be looking for the latest developments that will influence your art.
You should be reading the internet with a critical eye. What style of headlines is blowing up at the moment? (Curiosity gap is so done). Great work is everywhere, and sometimes it turns up in unexpected places. And you should definitely be avoiding leaning back on cliches.
Training, particularly the web based stuff, can be really valuable and people are starting to experiment with new formats. Even if you’re not planning a podcast (but especially if you are) you should check out Alex Blumberg from Planet Money’s “Power Your Podcast With Storytelling” course over at Creative Live. If you’re in London, Campus London in Shoreditch is a great resource for creative business owners.
The way creative business is done today is different to how it was done five years ago. In another five years, it’s going to be different again.
That can work two ways – either you invest now and get ahead of people and profit in the future, or you stick with what’s working now and have people catch you. What’s it going to be?