A few weeks ago, I tweeted the following question to our Twitter followers: What's your must-read article, blog or book on email and social media this year?
Now, I'm slightly embarrassed to report that this tweet turned up not a single response and nary a retweet. Rather than feeling defeated — which I'm wont to do when any tweet or Facebook update looks like a, um, failure — I decided to use this ne'er-do-well tweet as fodder for a blog post.
It could be that followers weren't paying attention to their Twitter feeds at the moment I tweeted (in case you're curious, it was Feb 9th at 11:39 am CST), though this isn't very likely since the 11 am – 1 pm time slot is one of our most engaged. It could be that followers just weren't interested in the question (likelier than hypothesis #1), but we have some enthusiastic followers who unabashedly geek out on email stats, social media best practices and marketing strategies. Or, it could be that folks haven't found many must-read articles, blogs or books, at least not ones that they ultimately find shareable.
Come to think of it, I originally tweeted the question because I want to shake up my own reading list. So, I decided to take to the streets. Or, as the case may be, the hallways of the Emma office. I asked a few coworkers — folks who identify as Big-Time Readers — which sites, blogs and books are on their radar. Some of them stuck strictly to the email/social media theme, and others diverted just a bit.
Here's what we're reading at the Emma shop, including a few explanatory sentences from each reader:
Agency Relations lead Heather Dixon's favorite sites include:
- ClickZ. "I get the email newsletter and stats newsletter daily. They cover a wide range of topics including email marketing strategy, social media, current industry buzz words and taking care of clients."
- Email Stat Center. "This is my go-to for email statistics. I like how the site is organized; I choose a category like 'Non-profit' or 'Segmentation' and then scroll through one-sentence clips complete with statistics and sources. It's easy to find what I need there."
Geoff Alday, of our UX team, is partial to the following:
- LukeW. "I started reading everything Luke writes after seeing him speak at a conference. Besides covering all the topics I'm interested in like product strategy, UX/UI design and mobile, he's incredibly detailed. I've never been disappointed by anything he's written."
- Little Big Details. "A relatively new blog that focuses on fun little UX/UI details. These really show how far designers will go to create great experiences."
- Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox. "Some love him. Others hate him. It really doesn't matter which side you're on; when he publishes a new article, everyone reads it."
Elizabeth Williams, a member of our design team, reads:
- 99%. "This is by far my favorite blog. It is a veritable smorgasbord of amazing advice/ideas (business, workflow, freelance, productivity, inspiration, etc) for creative people."
- Design Work Life. "I love this blog as well. It's probably my favorite blog for design inspiration and staying up-to-date with what is going on in the print world."
- Cool Hunting. "I get their daily email that shows their features of the day. It is something I always check because of the varied products, services, causes, books, ideas, basically anything and everything they determine 'cool.'"
- Veerle's Blog. "Veerle is an amazing designer and web designer. She gives great tips and always has great work to look at. She's very respected in the design/web community."
Agency Relations member, Carolyn Kopprasch, favors:
- MediaPost. "I like this email-centric blog because it keeps things interesting (using tone and writing style), while offering interesting perspectives on best practices, without harping on the obvious."
- Email Marketing Reports. "Mark Brownlow goes above and beyond the obvious best practices and offers real insight into the relationship and also the technical aspects for email marketing. He supports his claims with stats. Also, this is a great jumping-off point for almost any topic; he links out to other blogs and articles quite a bit."
- Email Institute. "This site has a wonderful and free gallery of sample emails for any topic."
- MarketingProfs. "I subscribe to their email newsletter, 'Get to the Po!nt,' because it's a fast and relevant read. It doesn't feel overwhelming in the inbox and still offers good info."
- Econsultancy. "This site offers data about email's relevancy and connections to other marketing channels."
Looking for books? I recommend these: MarketingSherpa's benchmark guides, Return on Engagement (this one's written by Emma customer, Tim Frick), The Zen of Social Media Marketing and The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World.
I hope you find this list helpful, and if we've jogged your memory, please share your favorite email-, social media- or marketing-related blogs and books in the comments below. (Come on, don't be shy.)