My top three marketing books for authentically building your authority, audience, and business

I have a BFA and began my career as a designer pre-internet. I have never taken a traditional business course. And now I do more website design and marketing consulting than I do traditional graphic design.

I really love to read and reading books has been crucial to my development as a designer, marketer, entrepreneur, and, well, human being.

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” ~ Mortimer J. Adler

Because the business, entrepreneurship, and marketing publishing space, like many others, is very male-dominated (it is getting better, for sure), I make a point to find female voices to read in addition to all the men and I encourage all of you to consider that as well.

The three books featured here really had an impact on me and I find myself referring to them again and again. I hope you enjoy.


The one-page method for reimagining your business ad reinventing your marketing.

By Bernadette Jiwa

Difference - Bernadette Jiwa

I first discovered Bernadette Jiwa via Seth Godin who said “This book is a generous work of genius. The Difference Map is now an essential component for anyone who is serious about doing work that matters, and Bernadette Jiwa is the bright new star to lead us there.”

And he was right. Not only are her books insightful and fun to read, I also love her blog, The Story of Telling.

For years I’ve been using her Difference Map detailed in this book to help clients define their unique difference. It’s a great (and short) read – I highly recommend!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes and passages:

“Today the shortcut to more is to matter—not to be different, but to do something that creates difference. It isn’t the person with the best idea who wins; it’s the person who has the greatest understanding of what really matters to people.”


“Your way forward is not simply to look for opportunities to be distinguishable from, or one step ahead of, the competition. Your job is not to find ways to be the alternative. Just like your favourite café has somehow managed to become part of your story almost without your realising it, your job is to become ‘the one’. In order to do that, you need to understand the story that people want to believe and become invested in. Because the truth is that you can’t change how people think or what they do without changing how they feel.”


“You can’t begin to tell a story without understanding why that story should matter to the people you want to serve. You can’t build a great business just by being different. You need to create ideas and experiences that give people reasons to care and to belong, not just reasons to choose.”


“What makes a brand unique now is the difference it creates—how it affects people’s lives and becomes part of their story. When you are organised to create difference, not just to be different, the result is much harder to replicate.”


“The truth is that people don’t fall in love with ideas at all. They fall in love with how those ideas, products, services and places make them feel.”


“What you measure matters, but what’s hard to measure might matter more.”

Stand Out

How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It

By Dorie Clark

Stand Out - Dorie Clark

I honestly can’t remember how I first encountered Dorie Clark, but I’m glad I did. To describe her in one word, I’d say she is SHARP.

Known for her engaging and insightful talks, I highly recommend checking out her TED Talk: Finding Your Breakthrough Idea

If you need a little inspiration and a roadmap for charting your course toward recognized expert, this book is for you.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“With hard work and smarts, almost any professional could become a thought leader in his or her company or field. Few ever try—and that’s your competitive advantage. If you’re willing to take the risk of sharing yourself and your ideas with the world, you’re far ahead of the majority, who stay silent.”


On building a following:

“It starts with building one-to-one peer connections: a base of supporters who believe in you personally. The next step is turning outward and developing an audience—a larger group of fans who resonate with your message. Finally, it’s about connecting those followers with one another, magnifying the power of your idea and ensuring that it’s talked about even when you’re not in the room. That’s when you’ve built a movement.”


“If you’re going to take the time to create something, you owe it to yourself to make it amazing—and ensure that the right people see your work.”


“If you can explain things well and make them relevant to a broader audience, you can become a recognized expert.”

F#ck Content Marketing

Focus on Content Experience to Drive Demand, Revenue & Relationships

By Randy Frisch

F#ck Content Marketing - Randy Frisch

This one really changed the way I think about content in terms of the user experience.

The official book description says it perfectly:

Truly effective companies (and marketers) create content experiences, drawing the customer into an immersive infinite scroll that mirrors the consumer experience of Netflix, Spotify, and other billion-dollar brands.

Randy Frisch will push you to rethink how you approach content for complex buyer journeys. The current mind-set is all about volume – the more content created, the better. But the reality is that almost 70 percent of content created within an organization is never used, and there’s little point investing in content marketing if you’re not leveraging the assets you create.

Here are a few of my favorite highlights:

“It turns out I can’t just write a blog or start a podcast and expect my audience to find it. This content marketing thing is actually going to require some serious effort. It sure is. But done right, it’s also incredibly worth it.”


“Content alone isn’t some magic cure-all. This isn’t Field of Dreams where if you build it, they will come. Here, once you have it, you have to use it. And to do that, you and everyone in your organization must join together to say, “F#ck content marketing!” and then turn your focus to what we call content experience.”

“A content experience is (1) the environment in which your content lives, (2) how it’s structured, and (3) how it compels your prospects and customers to engage with your company.

Ultimately, mastering the content experience involves three elements:

1. A strategic approach toward creating the environment in which your audience consumes your content.

2. Structuring your content for easy discoverability within that environment.

3. Encouraging your audience to engage with you—and ultimately convert—as you lead them through the buyer’s journey.”

I hope you find these as valuable and inspiring as I have. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on these in the comments below!

And if you have some favorites you’d like to share, please include those in the comments as well so we may check them out. ???? ????

Is a “Smartist.” Celebrating 28 years as Orange Star Design, Inc. — the intersection of creativity, experience and technology.

She helps bring people’s visions to life with strategic branding, websites and marketing solutions. Jodi is also a fine artist and the founder of Live Love Dogs®.


  1. Sharon Jackson on February 21, 2021 at 10:06 am

    I loved your format for sharing these valuable insights. As a beginner in the online field who has a burning idea to be shared, I am inspired and energized by your words. Thank you…I’ll look forward to more!

    • Jodi Hersh on February 21, 2021 at 11:05 am

      Thanks, Sharon! I’d love to hear what you think of the books if you read any of them.

  2. Jan on February 21, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks, Jodi, I love the recommendations and how you shared your thoughts on the books.

    • Jodi Hersh on February 21, 2021 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks, Jan. Would love to hear your thoughts if you read any of them

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