We love this book, Get Content. Get Customers by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett because content is at the heart of today's marketing and it does a fantastic job of explaining the why and the how of online content marketing.
The authors advice is summarised in the top 10 content marketing lessons which we review at the end of this post.
If you need to push content up the agenda in your organisation, and many need this, then we definitely recommend this book, but with one caveat we give at the end of this review.
I think it succeeds because it blends both practical, structured advice on creating a content strategy, plus many small, but specific case studies from many sectors to inspire you to develop a content strategy.
The B.E.S.T. formula
As an example of the structured practical guidance, we liked this formula for creating a content marketing roadmap. B.E.S.T stands for:
- Behavioural. Everything you communicate with customers has a purpose. What do you want them to do?
- Essential. Deliver information that your best prospects need if they are to succeed at work or in life.
- Strategic. Your content marketing efforts must be an integral part of your overall business strategy.
- Targeted. You must target your content precisely so that it's truly relevant to your buyers.
Top 10 content marketing lessons from successful practitioners
Here's our take on their Top 10.
1. Content must have intrinsic value. Content is a key part of your online value proposition. You must define it's relevance to customers - help them live their lives, do their work better.
2. Understand what content customer value. You need to do the research to understand the value. Enough said.
3. Content marketing strategy may completely or partially replace traditional advertising and marketing. You need to prove the relative importance of content marketing within your budget, for your market.
4. Print magazines can be a powerful weapon. We still spend more of our time offline than on, so reaching your audience offline through third-party or offline content can still be important.
5. Great design adds value. Invest in design to help prove the value and encourage engagement and advocacy.
6. Invest in a dedicated internal or external team (maybe). The authors aren't clear on this, but clearly many content initiatives fail because of poor quality content or not sustaining the content.
7. Drink your own Kook-Aid. Relate it back to your products through showing your products or services in action.
8. Get your customers to participate. Yes, interaction is the name of the game online - don't just push, engage and share - comments, polls and surveys all help.
9. Make it easy to buy. Content must fit with your ultimate goal in investing in content.
10. It's not the investment in content, it's the content marketing mindset that counts. This helps level the playing field and arguably makes it easier for small organisations to master content marketing.
What we don't like
Content strategy isn't just about the content quality, it's about the quality of the communications to support it. This relatively brief book focuses on the content, not the promotion. It does emphasise the importance of promotion and briefly references core content promotion techniques like SEO, social media and E-PR, but you won't find details on those here.