Zena Ryder's Reviews > Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business

Content Rules by Ann Handley
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Review of Content Rules

This book wants to help marketers use content to better promote their businesses (or other organizations, such as charities). It offers lots of information, e.g. companies that blog have 55% more website traffic than those that don’t. It also has useful, actionable advice, some of which involves answering and recording your answers to questions that the authors pose in the book, such as:

1. Why are you creating the content you’re creating? (What are your goals?)
2. Who is your audience? And who are you?
3. What do you want the content to achieve?
4. When and how are you going to develop the content?
5. Where are you going to publish?

Also, the advice to “re-imagine” content is reassuring (although I had already come across it from Gary Vaynerchuk). It makes creating enough content a tad less intimidating if you appreciate how apparent content machines, like Vaynerchuk, chop up and recycle their large pieces of content into smaller pieces, in different formats, for different venues. So a one hour video interview might also become a podcast, transcribed snippets will become Tweets or Facebook posts, longer chunks might be re-written as blog posts, still images with a quote might become Instagram posts, and so on.

However…. As a reader who creates content, there’s some inevitable disappointment. Some entire chapters will be irrelevant to each reader. If you know you’re not going to create videos, then you’ll skip the chapter on creating videos, same goes for podcasts, or webinars, or white papers. If you’re open-minded about what you’re going to create, then reading these chapters might help you decide.

Also, some of the material is irrelevant if you’re a solopreneur, say. Suppose you’re a freelance web designer and you’re wondering what kind of photos you could regularly post on Instagram. Then advice like this is not going to help you:

“Capture moments in and around the company. Take photos at the next company meeting, summer picnic, or holiday party… In addition to taking pictures of the people who work for you, take photos of your products as well…”

So, since the book is general — how to create great content — the audience is going to be general too, and it’s inevitable that some of the advice won’t be applicable to you.

There’s also the irrational disappointment that, when I finished the book, I didn’t suddenly feel brilliantly creative and inspired. Although I know it’s not sensible, deep down that’s what I wanted the book to do: Give me fantastic ideas! Tell me exactly how to put my specific fantastic ideas into action!

Of course, the book didn’t do that. No book can. (Perhaps an individual, personal coach could help someone come up with their own fantastic ideas and help them execute them?) Once I do have some more ideas, I will refer back to this book and look at all my highlighted passages, because I do think it has some helpful advice.

So: I do recommend this book, so long as you realize that some of it won’t be relevant to you and you’re not hoping suddenly to feel brilliant once you've read it.
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Reading Progress

August 20, 2018 – Started Reading
August 31, 2018 – Finished Reading
September 1, 2018 – Shelved

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