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12 Content Marketing E-Books: A Year’s Worth of Gifts That Keep on Giving


Excelling at any marketing initiative can be intimidating, and with content marketing representing a significant departure from the “old ways” of connecting with customers, there are bound to be plenty of processes that involve a bit of a learning curve.

This is why the CMI team does what we do: Share insights that can help increase your understanding of the discipline; support your efforts with helpful tips, resources, and guidance; and prepare you to achieve greater levels of success as you move forward.

This past October, I reached my first anniversary as CMI’s content curator. My biggest takeaway so far is that curation is an ongoing journey of discovery – as I am always on the lookout for the best ways to make our tips and insights easier to access, understand, and apply.

9 Free Tools to Co-Create Content

Though the tactics and formats I use in my efforts vary widely – from blog posts to social collections, to infographics, checklists, quizzes, and beyond – one format that our audience seems to find the most valuable is our e-books. It’s also one of my favorite formats as it gives me a chance to do a really deep dive into a topic, and learn a lot in the process.

Of course, I’m not the only member of the CMI team who appreciates the benefits of using this format to share information and ideas with our audience. In fact, as a team, we’ve shared over 35 e-books this past year on our SlideShare channel alone on topics that range from essential processes and tactics to collections of examples to ideas from some experts from whom we draw our inspiration. Here are 12 of my favorites from 2015 — in case you missed them.

1. Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Reports for 2016

No list of CMI’s most popular content would be complete without mention of our annual research reports. Covering the B2B, B2C, and nonprofit sectors, as well as the content marketing landscapes in the United Kingdom and Australia, these reports reflect the state of the industry, and identify some of the key opportunities and challenges that content marketers should plan to address in the upcoming year.

For example, this year’s B2B research report found that only 30% of marketers felt their organizations are effective at content marketing – down from 38% last year. When you consider the finding that fewer B2B content marketers have a documented strategy than last year (32% vs. 35%), it seems likely that developing a written content marketing strategy for your organization may result in increased success.

Only 30% of marketers felt their organizations are effective at #contentmarketing via @cmicontent #research Click To Tweet


2. Launch Your Own Content Marketing Program: Who, How, Why

For all those novice content marketers struggling to answer questions like, “How are we going to create all this content?” “What topics will our audience benefit from most?” or “How on earth do we align our content with our business goals?“, this e-book answers your cries.

Through a series of easy-to-complete practical exercises, this workbook provides a step-by-step walk-through of everything you need to set your goals and mission, generate relevant ideas, manage your workflow, and position your program to achieve optimal results.

3. Mastering the Buy-In Conversation on Content Marketing: The Essential Starter Kit

When management doesn’t understand the impact content marketing can have on your company’s audience – and its business goals – getting the support you need for success is probably going to be an uphill battle. It’s critical that content marketers get proactive by answering stakeholder questions, presenting evidence of its value, and setting their expectations right from the beginning. This essential starter kit has done most of the prep work for you, providing key talking points and support statistics you can use as the basis for your own buy-in conversation.


4. Digital Governance: A Primer for Marketers

If you have ever felt overwhelmed by all the content you have and the many processes to create and distribute it, this e-book will help. Digital governance gives you a strategy and process to maintain and update old content so it remains useful for your audience. Discover a step-by-step process for designing how your content marketing team operates so it can scale effectively for years to come.

5. The Essential #BestBooks Reading List for Content Marketers

As much as we all love e-books, there’s something special about the experience of diving into the kind of complete conversation that can only come from a book. Frequent CMI contributor Roger C. Parker creates a semi-annual list of recommended reading, and this e-book compiles the best of those lists. Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in a particular content marketing technique, gain a better understanding of how content can be used to build a business, or learn to master a new technical skill, you’re sure to find something worth curling up with here.


6. These 20 Startups Found A Better Way To Launch And Grow A Business

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the majority of businesses fail in their first five years. In Joe Pulizzi’s latest book Content Inc., he outlines a content-first model for starting and growing a business that can help entrepreneurs beat those odds. But don’t take our word for it: Consider the success stories of how these 20 startups monetized their content audience as proof of principle.


7. 75 Examples to Spark Your Content Marketing Creativity

Few learning tools are as valuable and insightful as experience, and this collection shares it in spades. Get inspired by some of the best content marketing efforts being produced today, from stand-out blogs and magazines to engaging microsites and multichannel experiences to innovative ideas that can help expand your view of what can be achieved through content. Then, take that inspiration, go forth, and conquer your own content marketing challenges with renewed energy and purpose.


8. 13 Content Marketing Mistakes That Are Poisoning Your Progress

Let’s face it: We all make mistakes. The important thing is that you identify your missteps, address the problems, and move forward with renewed confidence. To help you accomplish these goals, we gathered some of our favorite insights from KISSmetrics founder Neil Patel, who reveals common trouble spots to look for and explains the fixes that will get your program back on track.


9. How to Get More From SlideShare: Super-Simple Tips for Content Marketing

Think you know every way to use this popular presentation platform in your content distribution efforts? Chances are that you are missing out on some of the non-conventional features and functionalities SlideShare offers that can help turn your static slideshows into show-stopping storytelling. This e-book shares some of those secrets, along with tips to help you ensure that your SlideShare content communicates in a clear, meaningful, and strategically sound way.

slideshare secrets

10. Building the Perfect Content Marketing Mix

We built this e-book as a way to examine two separate, yet equally essential facets of the content marketing equation – and provide guidance on how they can be combined and applied for optimal success.

Part 1, Top Priorities for 2015, offers data on which internal processes and strategy tactics your content marketing peers are prioritizing in their marketing mix.


While Part 2, Execution Tactics, outlines the most popular content creation and delivery techniques and offers tips to help companies get the best results from their efforts. Together, the two provide a road map content marketers can use to identify the particular initiatives that will be most beneficial to them – and implement them more efficiently and effectively.


11. Content Marketing Inspiration From John Cleese and Other Creative Innovators

As the legendary John Cleese once said, creativity is not a talent – it’s a way of operating. Anyone can learn to bring more creativity into their content marketing efforts – sometimes all it takes is passion, the right frame of mind, and a few of the tricks we’ve gathered from some of the most innovative minds in the industry.

As John Cleese once said, creativity is not a talent - it's a way of operating via @cmicontent Click To Tweet


12. Become a Content Marketing Productivity Master: 21 Tips from the #CMWorld Community

The struggle is real: We all want to find ways to maintain focus, increase our output, and achieve better results from the work we do. However, short of breaking the laws of time and space, it doesn’t always seem possible to squeeze more into our already hectic workdays. The planning techniques, tactical shortcuts, and time-saving tips included in this e-book won’t keep the clock from ticking; but by minimizing wasted time, they may help you feel less distracted, stressed, or overwhelmed by the tasks you need to complete.


Bonus: Meet the Content Marketing Institute Team 2015: While not necessarily “need-to-know” information, our annual staff “yearbook” gives CMI a chance to share a bit of our own backstory, and provide a glimpse of some of the things our team members are most passionate about – in our industry, as well as in our personal and professional lives. We hope our experiences can inspire you to learn, and share, more about what makes your own organization unique, vital, and worthy of your audience’s attention.


As 2015 draws to a close, the CMI team is already hard at work on new ideas, insights, and advice to help content marketers tackle their challenges – large and small. But we’d love to hear what topics you would like to see us tackle in future e-books. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or connect with us directly at any time.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute