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'Book Review: “Content Rules” by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman' from Kim Gusta Marketing's blog

Book Review: “Content Rules” by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman

Category:  Book Reviews  Content Rules  Content Marketing  


I’m an avid reader of business books, but truthfully, I don’t find many that are helpful and offer up unique ideas I haven’t heard elsewhere. Many seem to be filled with fluffy strategies that aren’t relevant to my situation – well-defined tactics are often missing.

Here’s a book that really delivers outstanding strategies AND tactics: Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. If you want a book that clearly defines HOW to use content marketing with unique ideas, then you should read this. It’s a worthwhile time investment from the very beginning.

What's Great About "Content Rules"

First, it’s an easy-to-read book. I love Ann Handley’s writing style – casual and conversational (a good style to emulate in your content, too.) Second, it’s clearly organized, and you needn’t read the entire book to get what you’re looking for. Just flip to the chapter on “Webinars,” for instance, and you’ll get great stand-alone content about webinars (although you’ll definitely get a broader understanding of content marketing concepts that support webinars if you do read it in its entirety.)

The book is divided into three major sections: an overview of the “content rules,” the how-to section, and case studies of companies successfully implementing unique and useful content marketing.

The “content rules” are very useful. They range from being clear about who are you and the “voice” you want to use to re-imagining existing content in multiple ways. And one of the most important premises of content marketing – “share or solve, don’t shill.” (A worthwhile phrase to repeat to your sales director.)

In case you’re concerned the book might not be overly useful to B2B companies, a chapter is devoted to B2B content marketing including how to marry content to your sales cycle stages. Well done stuff.

Learn Content Tactics for Webinars,eBooks, and More

The How-To section is a handy reference - it covers blogs, webinars, ebooks and white papers, customer success stories, FAQ makeovers, videos, podcasting, and photographs. If you thought you knew everything about promoting and utilizing any of these areas, I bet you’ll still find useful tips. Almost all of us have produced webcasts, right? They’re a mainstay of technology marketing. How about these ideas for “re-imagining your webcast”?

- Pre-webinar article: Before the webcast, send prospects an article or blog post that gives them idea of what to expect and helps drive registration.
- Pre-webinar podcast: Interview the speaker about his webinar topic and use it as a teaser for the upcoming event. Include in your email invites and publish on your registration page.
- Webinar transcript: Transcribe the webcast and offer the text as a download from the site or as a special offer to those who attend. Use the transcript to create smaller pieces of content like blog posts.
- Post-webinar podcast: Excerpt the webcast’s Q&A as its own separate podcast. Or use it as the basis for an FAQ.

Every chapter in the How-To section is full of valuable advice like this. It will help you re-think how you write and promote white papers, success stories, FAQs, and more. You’ll look like an expert, and you’ll have great ideas to take to your next content brainstorming meeting.

In short, buy this book, read it, and give copies to your colleagues. But hurry before your competitors adopt its sage advice.

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