I just finished Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. As you might imagine, this book is all about content. How to make it remarkable and how to give it wings. It was good for me. It made me think critically about what I’m making and where it ships.
This is the closest how-to book that I’ve seen for businesses and individuals figuring out how exactly to nail a blog, podcast, case study, webinar, or Ebook (and there’s a killer chapter on the difference between an Ebook and a white paper). This is the book you give to your friend who needs to understand that as businesses or organizations we have an imperative to create content. Handley and Chapman bring deep practical experience in a way that’s easy and readable.
8 key points on content that I packed away on Evernote:
No one cares about your products or services. View yourself as a source of information or an expert, not a salesperson.
Frequent and regular content builds a relationship. The content you create will position you not just as a seller but as a reliable source of information. And content doesn’t expire. Jay Baer calls content an ‘information annuity’.
Content drives conversations. And conversation engages your customers. Any questions?
Content is a social object. Each piece of content should be viewed as a social object that exists beyond its original platform. Content should be given wings so that it can be shared across the web.
Play to your strengths (Content Rule #11). You don’t have to create everything and publish everywhere. You just have to do a couple of things really, really well. I’ve found this to be a critical piece of advice for busy physicians.
Reimagine; don’t recycle your content (Content Rule #5). How content is going to live in different channels needs to be an intentional, up-front part of content strategy. Too often this is an afterthought.
Do something unexpected (Content Rule #8). Occasionally adding an element of surprise to your content drives viral sharing and enhances your company’s personality.
Voice is critical in the development of great content. Voice is the way your writing sounds when its read. And a unique voice is critical to success in social media. You have to stop sounding like everyone else. While most organizations spend their time thinking about design, logo, graphics, few spend as much time on the particulars of their content like voice. Amen.
This book is important because all of us have become de facto publishers. This includes hospitals, medical groups, individual physicians and providers of all types. And by publisher we’re referring to the creation and delivery of relevant, valuable information to those we serve. Content Rules is a great starting spot but also offers depth to someone already in the game. You can preview Content Rules here.
Content Rules is part of the David Meerman Scott New Rules of Social Media Series from Wiley. I’m planning to read all of them.