When it comes to effective content creation, simply staying abreast of the latest social media trends, gimmicks and most fashionable Instagram filters is no longer enough to set you apart from the rest. So while it may be fun to give yourself a pair of sparkling eyes, a halo of flowers or a nose that resembles a cute canine, we all know full well that these fads are destined to fade fast.

Now this is not to say that you should ignore the newest craze completely – we know better than to underestimate the power of a good filter. I mean, we’re not barbarians. But instead of uploading a million Instagram stories and mastering the art of the boomerang effect, it may be worth investing your time in upskilling yourself in a way that’s proven to offer more long term benefits.

Cue library cards and Exclusive Books memberships. Yes, we’re talking about some good, old fashioned reading. Reading is still the most effective way to nourish your mind, inspire creativity and escape the confines of the real world without so much as lifting a finger – ok fine, maybe just one, less if you’re on a Kindle.

Nonetheless, getting up close and personal with a tightly bound batch of pages is a sure-fire way to up both your vocabulary and your writing skills. And when it comes to creating content for a reputable brand, it does help you to have your million-dollar studio shot supported by a cleverly worded caption. And, of course, flawless grammar.

So if you’d like to be more than just a mediocre content marketer, here’s why you should get lost in a good book from time to time:

Become a better storyteller

One of the best ways to learn how to communicate efficiently is by reading novels. As you read each of the words that make up the sentences, paragraphs and chapters of stories, you discover new ways to play on their meanings and learn how to use them to create interesting, smart and entertaining stories of your own. The more often you read, the easier it will be for you to tap into this skill and create brilliant content for your brand.

Activate your mind

Whenever you read, you stimulate the most important organ in your body – your brain. When you’re reading a novel, you are actively strengthening your memory with each chapter, studying the characters, placing yourself in their situations and scanning the pages for hidden clues as the plot thickens. Imaginary stories can take you on incredible journeys that allow you to make use of your imagination. In fact, studies have shown that reading fictional books regularly can improve analytical thinking and problem solving skills.

Be inspired

There’s nothing that can thrill a writer quite as much a good book does. When you stumble upon one that is particularly gripping, you just don’t want it to end (even though you really need to know how it ends), because you know that you’ll be left wondering what on earth you’re meant to do with your life once the story is over. Here’s an idea, when you do happen upon a pot of gold, give it another read and really pick it apart, line by line, word by word, until you discover what made it so magnificent. Apply any great tricks you find to your own writing and give your work an interesting new spin.

Give yourself a break

A common and somewhat unfortunate trait in many writers is that their minds never seem to stop. At least not willingly. You see, they are constantly thinking, plotting, planning, and obsessing over the tiniest details of, well, everything. But when you read, you actually force your mind to stop behaving like an absolute lunatic, find its calm and focus. Reading helps to release tension and can you take to another world, one that is filled with happier things or, at the very least, people who have way bigger problems than your own. Either way, getting cosy with a good book (and perhaps a glass of wine) is an excellent way to wind down and give yourself a break before tackling your next piece.