Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book review of "Content Rules"

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business

Authors: Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman
John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ  2011

Content Rules is a how-to book for creating interesting online media content.  Online media includes blogs, websites, podcasts, videos, webinars, ebooks, and the like.  The first section of the book gives the "what" of content creation.  The next section deals with the how-to or "the rules".  The last section gives case studies of successful and engaging content creators.

The book was written for online publishers.  An online publisher can be anyone.  The target audience is primarily organizations such as businesses, non-profit organizations, etc.  However, individuals will also find Content Rules helpful.

The authors are Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman.  Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs, which has a readership of 365,000.  Handley is considered a thought leader in the field of online publishing.  She writes extensively about online business, marketing, and life in general.

C.C. Chapman is a media creator, entrepreneur, and online marketing expert.  He founded Digital Dads, a site where a dad can be a guy.

When I started reading this book I was getting a lot of advice about building an online presence.  Some folks said it was important to have a blog to show commitment and expertise.  Others said build a website.  Still others said it was important to have a good Linkedin profile.  I was feeling overwhelmed and confused by all the advice.  Content Rules with its commonsense approach helped me sort through all the chatter.

Handly and Chapman advise focusing on one thing and doing it well.  Their reasoning is that a person or organization can't do everything.  They also advised developing a blog and using it as a hub for your online outreach.  I took the authors' advice and developed this blog.  They are correct; a blog works quite well as an online hub.

As for developing content, Handley and Chapman advocate using a human voice as opposed to a corporate voice.  A human voice is more conversational and uses accessible language.  A corporate voice is distant.  It uses industry jargon and "corporate speak" (i.e. drill down, leverage, monetize).

The best part of the book was the last section.  It has case studies of different types of organizations who built content by the principles of Content Rules.

Overall, if you're looking for a good, well written book on developing online content then Content Rules is for you.  I give it two thumbs up. HootSuite - Social Media Dashboard

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