Book Review: Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Guide to Content Marketing
When I pulled back the curtain on my new site design last week, I mentioned the start of a new content initiative here on the blog: monthly book reviews. The first Monday of each month will be dedicated to reviewing a recently published book that covers either writing, business practices, digital marketing, or entrepreneurship. And if you're paying attention, you might even remember that I had been prepared to kick off that series yesterday with a review of Andy Crestodina's guidebook to content marketing.
Suffice to say that Monday announced its presence with much fanfare -- and I found myself woefully behind schedule after a torrent of calls and meetings. The allergy yuck didn't help matters much either. So rather than post my review late in the day and have it missed, I called an audible and delayed publication until today. I hope you won't mind. It's worth the wait, I promise.
Some of you may recognize Andy's name from a previous podcast episode or from his guest posts on Spin Sucks, Convince & Convert, and Crazy Egg. If he's a new name to you, I'll do my best to give you a proper introduction to his writing here.
Successful digital marketing centers on understanding how SEO, email, and social media work together to accelerate the content that you produce. Simply having a website doesn't cut the mustard and consumers are exhibiting ad avoidance behaviors to interruption advertising models. Producing highly-relevant and useful content -- and promoting it -- can make all the difference between being successful on the web (read: attracting web visitors and converting those visitors into leads and customers) and just limping along.
Enter Content Chemistry
This guide is the result of over 12 years of hands-on experience in the brave new world of web marketing. Split into two sections, it's written in an accessible and conversational style that illustrates what all web sites must do and what digital marketers must do in order to be successful. I read through it in a day, but my copy is now heavily dog-eared and marked up. It's simply that good -- and packed with tons of valuable information on SEO, analytics, and writing for robots and humans.
Content marketing isn't just a buzzword. It's that artful blend of creative experimentation and good old fashioned metrics and measurement to pull your audience towards your business. Sensitive to the behaviors and psychology of potential buyers, content marketing aims to provide irresistible value through freely accessible and distributed information.
As a practicing modern marketer who uses content as part of my work, I appreciate any discipline that blends creativity and analysis. And I especially value the insights of experienced practitioners like Andy who can begin with a lecture on the theory of web marketing and provide a roadmap to measuring and analyzing my efforts and activity.
The Periodic Table of Content
One of my favorites topics to discuss with colleagues and clients is how different kinds of content can be served at different stages in the sales funnel. Riffing on Writing was started as a way for me to provide higher-level content to my audience, and it's proven to be an incredibly effective conversion mechanism. Blog posts make the introduction, but the podcast is what sets the hook. So naturally I was drawn to the Periodic Table of Content and the need to atomize your content (read: breaking existing content into smaller pieces) or combine it into larger pieces.
If you create an inventory of the content that you already have -- your website, social media channels, your email newsletter, for example, you can place those content pieces into different stages of the sales funnel.
Note: the content pieces towards the top of this excellent chart tend to have a short half-life. Tweets (Tw) get lost in the torrent, Facebook posts (P) drive traffic back to larger pieces of content like a blog post (At) or the latest episode of a podcast (Pc). The heavier content compounds tend to last longer in the memory of your audience and visitors.
What Are You Waiting For?
I'll get right down to brass tacks: if you are creating content for yourself, your company, or as part of client work, you need to add Content Chemistry to your library. Full stop.
I was gifted a copy by my friends Jeannie Walters and Anne Reuss of 360Connext -- and I'm passing the goodness forward. Two copies of the book are up for grabs to the members of my community. If you'd like a copy (and you do, trust me), drop a comment below and tell me what intimidates you the most about content creation. I'll A few trusted colleagues will be pooled to evaluate the comments and choose the lucky winners. Cool?
You have until 5pm ET on April 12, 2013 (i.e. this Friday) to leave a comment for a chance to win. The winners will be announced on Monday, April 15, 2013.