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Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business Paperback – January 23, 2015
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I take off one star for a couple of reasons. First, the content marketing system the author describes is resource intensive, which if practically applied, means that only companies of at least medium size can implement the content marketing system described. The author talks about producing 12-15 content pieces per month, as well as 3-5 blog posts per month, for at least 4-7 months. This translates into at least a thousand man-hours of work (with specialized talent sets), which means it's beyond the realm of most small companies. While there are lessons here for small companies, local Joe-Plumber isn't going to be able to fully implement the content marketing scheme that's advocated.
Second, this book is wordy. Because the essential formula is pretty simple, the author seems to add a lot of fluff and verbosity.
Third, there is nothing ground breaking, or even new, in this book. While it's a sound formulate, it's still the same formula that's been around for years and years. So, this means, following the formula in this book, you become one more of a million voices crying for attention among the vastness of the web. There's nothing in this book to help you break out from the pack, to make you distinctive or unique. It's like peddling the dieting advice "Eat Your Vegetables" - good, but nothing your mother hasn't told you already.
So, if you're new to content marketing, this book will help, but if you're already active with content marketing, this book will not add any new ideas to your arsenal.
Content Marketing Works is based on a practical 8-step structure. Each step provides perspective and details for the core competencies required for content marketing success.
-- Perspective. Each step begins with a description of why the step is important--its relevance to a balanced content marketing program.
-- Detail. The details that follow describe the options, tools, and techniques you can use to use implementing the step. This helps you and your coworkers make the best decisions choosing from among the various online options plus ideas and tips for making the best use of each option.
The steps build on each other in a logical order:
Step 1: Strategy Development
Step 2: Ideation
Step 3: Content Creation
Step 4: Optimization
Step 5: Content Promotion
Step 6: Distribution
Step 7: Lead Nurture
Step 8: Measurement
Putting Content Marketing Works to work
The 8-step structure resembles a series of 8 resource guides which--together--creates the basis for an 8-week, hands-on content marketing introduction to newcomers, or--more important--an 8-week program to evaluate and rejuvenate an existing content marketing program.
As a result, you can use Content Marketing Works as an 8-week syllabus for a Marketing Manager or Chief Content Officer to use as the basis of hands-on weekly training session. Or, you can use Content Marketing Works as the basis for a 2-day off-premises content retreat.
Likes and concerns
I applaud the way that the authors positioned strategy and ideation as separate topics that needed to be addressed before content creation.
Reflecting the authors' experience as Vertical Measures, a 50-employee content marketing agency serving corporate clients, Content Marketing Works includes a bonus, How to Convince Your Boss to Invest in Content Marketing. There's also an inspiring, concise conclusion and a useful glossary which will help you and your coworkers recall key ideas.
Arnie Kuenn, the lead author, is a popular speaker and frequent contributor to the Content Marketing Institute blog.
One of my few concerns with Content Marketing Works was the relatively light treatment of slide-sharing sites like SlideShare in the discussion of content distribution options.
Compensating for this, however, was the exceptionally strong discussion of Lead Nuturing and the very strong Lead Nuture Funnel on page 204 which is the best version I've seen, especially for B2B (business-to-business) purposes.
Content Marketing Works offers a compelling combination of perspective and details in a structure that encourages action. It's provides a framework for an 8 week program that can help both small business owners and marketing groups within corporations take action in a realistic time frame.
Best of all, Content Marketing Works provides a framework for a yearly Content Marketing R&R--Review and Rejuvenation!
I know Arnie and his company, and can testify that everything in this book comes out of real world success with his clients. This isn't the usual pie-in-the-sky theory or conventional wisdom the author got from other people's blogs.
You will want to go deeper into some of the topics. For example, personas are covered in just two pages, but of course properly understanding how to build and use them would be a book in itself.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book by the author, but my opinions here are sincere and I stand by them!