WRITERS. A new book entitled “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business” could ultimately open up some fresh opportunities for freelance writers and other creative professionals.
The book was written by two experts in content marketing: Ann Handley, chief content officer of marketingprofs.com and C.C. Handley, founder of digitaldads.com.
The basic premise of “Content Rules” is that publishing useful content is a good way for companies to build relationships with their customers. As the book’s promo copy explains, “Today, you have an unprecedented opportunity to create a treasury of free, easy-to-use, almost infinitely customizable content that tells the story of your product and your business, and positions you as an expert people will want to do business with.”
However, because so many companies are jumping on the content-publishing bandwagon, content is rapidly becoming a commodity.
As consumers, we can all see some of the “content chaos” arising from the wider adoption of content marketing. Sure, some of this content can be very helpful. But so much of it seems semi-coherent, superficial, and self-serving. Few companies seem to take the time to consider what type of content their customers would find most enlightening.
In a webinar introducing their book, Handley and Chapman describe the phenomenon this way: “Content marketing is like sex in high school: Everyone claims they are doing it, but few are doing it well.”
They believe content marketing is worth the commitment, noting that “Killer content can earn attention, create trust, establish credibility and authority, and convert visitors and browsers into buyers.”
The book reinforces a fact that many stressed-out, overworked marketing pros have just begun to fully recognize: Producing a steady stream of consistently good content can be more difficult and time-consuming than it looks.
According to a recent survey cited by Handley and Chapman in Content Rules, the biggest content marketing challenges are:
- Producing engaging content (36%)
- Producing enough content (21%)
- Budget to produce content (20%)
- Lack of C-level buy-in (11%)
- Producing a variety of content (9%)
Thus, experienced writers and other creative professionals can offer to alleviate some of the burden. But this tactic will only work if you can suggest how you can help advance the most commonly identified organizational goals for content marketing:
- Brand awareness (78%)
- Consumer retention/awareness (69%)
- Lead generation (63%)
- Website traffic (55%)
- Thought leadership (52%)
- Sales (51%)
- Lead nurturing (37%)
You might want to read the book, so you can see the type of advice Handley and Chapman are giving to marketing pros. For example, they discuss the art of storytelling and science to journalism to develop content that people will care about. They also talk about the need to find an authentic voice and create the type of bold content that prospects and customers will want to share with others. Readers of Content Rules can learn how to:
- Define content-strategy goals.
- Get to the meat of the message by using practical, common-sense language.
- Integrate searchable words without sounding contrived.
- Create a publishing schedule for creating different kinds and types of content at once.
To see content-marketing at its best, check out marketingprofs.com and subscribe to their Marketing Profs Today daily newletters. Even if you’re not a marketing pro yourself, you can get some practical tips that can either help you market yourself as a creative pro, or better understand what marketing professionals are trying to accomplish with various forms of communications.
In the online Marketing Profs University, you can listen to the free webinar that Handley and Chapman presented on Dec. 3, 2010.
Content Rules: How to Create the Right Kind of Content
You can replay the broadcast, listen to a podcast, or download the webinar slides and a list of answers to questions raised after the webinar.
The book is available for $11.99 as a Google eBook. Or, you can order a 242-page hardcopy version from Wiley.com, Amazon.com, or BarnesandNoble.com
“Content Rules”: Google e-book format