With all of the blog posts, how-to guides, books, videos, and other information out there about how to construct compelling content, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman’s new book, Content Rules. Most of the advice I see floating around the interwebs just rehashes the same old, tired guidelines wrapped in different paper – and it tends to be focused primarily on blog posts. Thankfully, that’s not what I found in Handley & Chapman’s work.
Content Rules takes a look at many different types of content: text (Twitter, blogs, white papers, ebooks), video (both pre-recorded and live), and podcasting. The authors do a great job of validating each of these mediums without feeling like they are pressing any of them on the reader as the alpha/omega “must have” delivery system. They show the reader examples of how to consider their content as an overall strategy and how they might use one type of content to fuel another type (turning webinars into blog posts, for example).
Each of their points is backed up by case studies and real world examples of companies and/or individuals that are really getting it right. That helps tremendously in the reader’s understanding of how this is supposed to work.
The tricky part to all of this is that no one can train you to “find your voice” and all of the rules have examples of people that have been successful as a result of intentionally breaking them. One of the strengths of Content Rules is that it doesn’t lay down anything as completely sacred – except for “do what works”. Everyone has different strengths and different mediums where their talents shine best.
What does this book not do? It’s not a step-by-step guide for your blog/videos/whatever. There were some great hints and very specific tool recommendations, but it is not there to hold your hand as you develop content – and I am quite happy about that. This was exactly what I needed for inspiration. Seeing a wide range of what works for a wide range of different businesses was a great way to find ideas without copying any one person’s entire strategy (which may work wonders for them, but probably not for anyone else).
Summary (I am supposed to have bullet-points, right?):
Easy flow of the book
- fairly quick read
- in-depth without being boring
- great examples that really add to comprehension of the material
- knowledge that you can apply immediately
Now I guess I need to get to work on that content!