As we barrel towards 2018, you and your team are likely in the thick of goal setting and planning how to expand your brand awareness in the new year. It's also likely that part of your strategy for maintaining that top-of-mind awareness involves some form of digital marketing, whether it's content marketing, search engine optimization, paid media, search, etc.

While the fundamentals of digital marketing hold true, this is one area of the marketing mix that is constantly evolving as it has to keep pace with the technology platforms that deliver it. To get your team primed for 2018 strategic planning, the following are a few good reads from our content marketing and digital team. These books, blogs and other online resources keep them current on the trends and best practices, but also help keep them rooted in the tried-and-true tactics and strategies of good marketing and productivity.

On content marketing: Picks by Carey Ballard, Brand Strategy

I have two rather non-traditional books I frequently turn to. The first is "Give and Take" by Adam Grant. I love, and recommend all content marketers read, this book because it illustrates why being truly giving is beneficial to both individuals and organizations.

Fundamentally, I believe that's what content marketing does. It is a function of giving --through information, education, entertainment -- without asking for anything in return. In the long run that approach is beneficial for any business and its brand, and this book outlines how givers can achieve extraordinary results.

The second book is "Primalbranding: Create Zealots for Your Brand, Your Company, and Your Future" by Patrick Hanlon. I recommend it because it explains why branding and marketing professionals need to tap into human nature's most primal instincts to connect with them emotionally.

If you can get past the creepy cover, the content is stellar. I have returned to the teachings in this book many times over the years.

On paid media: Picks by Ryan Grimes, Director of Paid Media and Analytics

One oldie, but a goodie is "Ogilvy on Advertising" by David Ogilvy, the "father of advertising." Though it was originally released in 1985, the fundamentals still ring true today and it has become a bible of sorts for many marketers across all specialities, whether advertising, PR, search, etc.

Another favorite, this one for analytics, is "Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity" by Avinash Kaushik. It will bring a new perspective to the way you approach analytics, and digs into strategies and techniques for navigating the more challenging components of analytics such as measuring omni-channel campaigns. As more organizations look for ways to leverage data, this book can serve as an invaluable resource for doing so efficiently.

On local search: Picks by Nolan Alexander, Director of Local

To stay current on local search best practices and trends coming down the pike, I have a few favorite blogs I frequent. The first is Blumenthals blog. It covers a variety of topics surrounding Google My Business and local search, and has a backlog of content dating to 2006 giving perspective the evolution of things like Maps, mobile and AdWords.

The other two include Search Engine Land, specifically the "local" channel, and Catalyst. Both cover the new rollouts and features in Google's suite of search products, how to optimize reviews, and tactics for winning search results in specific verticals. Though Catalyst's aesthetics can be off-putting, the content is robust and worth exploring.

On overall productivity and efficiency: Picks by Oliver Tani, VP of Digital Marketing

While I do read up on SEO frequently, I actually get the most value out of topics around improving productivity, effectiveness and efficiency. Though you'll have to figure out how to adapt the learnings to your own work day and lifestyle, the following are a few of my favorite books and ones I've found most valuable.

I also have a host of blogs I read to stay current on my industry. These include:

Hopefully these resources support your team in building a winning digital marketing strategy into the new year and beyond. Keep in mind, many of the teachings referenced in these reads are timeless and can even be useful across various departments in your organization.

Published on: Dec 15, 2017