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Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (New Rules Social Media Series) Audible – Unabridged

4.4 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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By Whitney S. Hoffman on November 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I should preface this review by saying I have been podcasting and creating content for the web for over five years now, and that I regularly help clients do the same. This said, I was expecting Content Rules to be a good book on the subject, but perhaps one of those that did not speak to me, because of my experience. I was wrong- Content Rules speaks to everyone- even seasoned content creators, by providing the metrics we may know around content creation, but haven't yet articulated, and helps make the case for content for everyone from people getting their feet wet on the Web for the first time, to those who are looking to raise their game and up their level of engagement with others online.

Content Rules is compelling and honest from the introduction on. It is a book I can hand my clients, friends, teachers- almost anyone who wonders why people need to or bother creating content for the web- to help not only explain why compelling content is important, but how to create it. It helps people break down the barriers that often get in the way of creating compelling content, and instead gives them some parameters on how to make sure your authentic and compelling voice shine through. In addition, the examples and case studies in the book bring the rules to life, in a way that will help folks understand how to find their human voice, and why that is so important to success in contrast to another paragraph of over-polished, sanitized, personality-free "safe" messaging.

I'm really excited by Content Rules as a book I can enthusiastically pass on to friends, colleagues, clients and more. If it's between a more generic book on social media or online marketing and this one, you need Content Rules because it will help you understand the fundamental approach you need to take regardless of the tool, platform, network or marketing plan- you need to concentrate on your Content first.
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Format: Hardcover
The forward of this book states that "Marketing is about creating great content" - but that the art and science of producing that superior material has been a mystery to many. David Meerman Scott, the author of the book's forward section, suggests that the answer to the question "what exactly, should I do?" is to tell stories. Granted, that's one important aspect of a forward-looking plan of action.

However, perhaps it's essential to fully understand why most businesses tend to create poor content. In fact, much of the business communication that's being produced today clearly doesn't meet the needs of its intended target customer. To the vast majority of marketers, the task of creating content is still centered upon explaining what their product or service does.

In contrast, great content -- from the customer's point of view -- should provide meaningful and substantive insight or guidance about what products and service will do for them. As I concluded reading this book, it occurred to me that the authors had not made this point in the most compelling way. I was somewhat disappointed.

That said, Ann Hadley and C.C. Chapman have written a very comprehensive guide about how to develop a content marketing strategy and construct interesting information for your intended recipient -- utilizing a variety of digital media in the process.

Chapter 6, "Share or Solve; Don't Shill" is -- by far -- the most useful section of this helpful guide. It shares the six characteristics of a good idea or a story. What's missing, in my opinion, are examples of how companies typically fail to incorporate these basic principles.

Why is this explanation needed?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I teach online public relations at Tulane University, so I constantly keep watch for new books in the field. Along with my own mammoth how-to book, Complete Guide to Internet Publicity (now out of print) or the stiff but good British book, Online Public Relations, by David Phillips and Philip Young, I like to assign one book that is fresh, hip, current, and relevant.

This year, I picked Content Rules even before reading it, because I love the title concept and I know one of the authors, Ann Handley, from when I used to write articles for ClickZ (back in the day, as they say).

Content Rules is a relentlessly upbeat guide to developing content for the Internet. The authors not only stress that "content is king" online; it's also queen, jack, ace, and most of the rest of the deck. Content Rules will show you how to find content in every corner of your organization, package it in every conceivable format, and syndicate it throughout the universe. Pretty impressive.

The Theory

The authors begin by laying out 11 "content rules," then expanding those in the following nine chapters. This is the "theory" portion of the book; as theory goes, it's very easily digested. The authors stick to the conversational tone they advocate in Rule #4: Speak Human:

"It's not just about getting more traffic; it's about getting more traffic that gives a s**t." The authors quote social media consultant Jay Baer. That's human enough for me.

Highlights in the theory section of the book include:

1) Creating a content publishing schedule, especially the checklist for things to do each month on page 60. It's a good template by itself for an online marketing game plan.
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