When asked if I’d be interested in joining the Social Media Book Club, I was excited, but at the same time hopeful. Hopeful because I had no idea what book I would be reading. As time is a precious commodity for most of us, I was hopeful that the book selection would be a good use of my time. Upon learning I would be reading, Content Rules, How to create killer blogs, podcasts, videos, ebook, webinars (and more) that engage customers and ignite your business, my hope was still there. Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman promise in the overview that they will: Not be boring; Give some context; and Draw plenty of roadmaps. They delivered on all 3.
Part 1 The Content Rules
The first part on Content Rules focuses on theory. Why content is important, who do you want to attract with it, where to find it, and how to share it. The promise of context delivered.
Although the title of the book has “rules” in it and they introduce and clarify rules for creating great content, they also make it a point to make sure you understand they are not strict rules, but rather guidelines. On page 39 they say “Differentiate from the pack of bland.” You need to let your personality, or originality come through in your online content. And they just don’t write about, they deliver on the promise on not being boring and ordinary throughout the book.
Part 2 The How-To Section
As the name suggests, this is the application portion. The how-to when it comes to Blogs, Webinars, Ebooks and White Papers, Case Studies, FAQs, Video, Podcasting and Photos. Each has it’s own dedicated chapter so you are not left with too many questions of how you can be creating, producing and sharing your content. Promise delivered on plenty of roadmaps.
The FAQ chapter is called “From Dumpy to Sexy” It was also one area that I hadn’t put to much thought to previously, but now have it on my radar when I look at any website. Unfortunately, most of them fail miserably. I wish more was written about photos, as I believe this is perhaps one of the simplest and most powerful content forms brands can take advantage of.
Part 3 Content That Converts: Success Stories (with ideas you can steal!)
Providing 10 success stories of various brands, ranging from a golf pro to B2B companies to the Army (Yes! the United States Army), you can see real life examples of what types of content these brands utilize, why it’s been successful and ideas that you can steal and apply to your brand. It’s important to note that not any one of the examples was featured because they had success with all the various content, but just a few. Success is subjective in the views of the authors, but are quantified and qualified. Since the Army success was only 2 months old at the time of writing, it would be interesting to hear if that success has continued.
This book is a great read for the beginner, intermediate and even advanced would still be able to get a few take aways that they probably hadn’t thought of. Any person or company that is interested in how to produce content to engage their audience should read this book. The authors do a good job at making the information in the book something that an individual or company of any size can understand and utilize. There is one chapter that they missed, but was apparent throughout the book; books are another place to create content. As Part 4 indicates: This Isn’t Goodbye. You are encouraged to connect and share on their website, twitter and facebook. Always nice to see authors who are practitioners of what they discuss!