Content Marketing Book Review

Book Review: Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher— How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media
KIMBERLY COHEN – APRIL 2013

BACKGROUND:

In the past, when brick and mortar businesses were the norm, a static web page paired with advertising campaigns were sufficient to get a company noticed.  However as the web began to fill with information on a myriad of topics created by those without hidden agendas and customers became more comfortable and competent using it as a reference source, they tended to become more skeptical of traditional advertising and looked to those who provided reliable information directing readers to products and services that were of benefit to others and not necessarily to themselves.  With the advent of social media, things began to change even more drastically.

The book’s author, Rebecca Lieb was involved in this changing landscape before the phrase “content marketing” was coined and she remarks that there has been a not so subtle shift from “advertising” to “publishing”.  Therefore she states, “The purpose of this book is to help anyone who needs to market a business think more like a publisher to take advantage of content marketing. It explains the different types of content marketing. Do you need to amuse and entertain? Inform? Teach? Provide customer service?”

In addition, she intends for this book to help readers learn to assess how and where their efforts need to be placed, provide an overview of content channels, from websites and social networks to eBooks and webinars, and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each channel.

She also aspires to assist readers determine their content needs, identify the appropriate resources to use to create and disseminate content to their targeted audiences, and provide examples of what has and has not worked for others in recent years.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Content Marketing:  Think Like a Publisher— How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media, by Rebecca Lieb, is recommended by reviewers as an easy-to-read, how-to primer for beginners who are unfamiliar with the concepts of content marketing and as a refresher for those whose journey into content marketing has long begun.

The book is divided into the following sections:

  • Part I: Content Marketing Basics
    • What Is Content Marketing, Anyway?
    • Why Is Content Important Now?
    • You’re a Publisher. Think Like One.
    • Part II: What Kind of Content Are You?
      • What Kind of Content Are You?
      • Content That Entertains
      • Content That Informs and Educates
      • Providing Utility
      • Content Curation and Aggregation
      • Finding a Voice
      • Part III: Getting Tactical: Content Nuts & Bolts
        • Overview of Digital Content Channels
        • Content and SEO
        • Content and PR
        • Content and Advertising
        • Content Marketing for Live Events
        • Content and Customer Service
        • Content and Reputation Management
        • User-Generated Content
        • Content Distribution and Dissemination
        • Whose Job Is Content?
        • How to Conduct a Content Audit
        • How to Analyze Content Needs
        • The Content Workflow
        • Part IV: It’s Never Over— Post-Publication
          • Listening… and Responding
          • Remaking, Remodeling, and Repurposing Content
          • Tools of the Trade
          • Yes, But Is It Working?
          • Content Metrics and Analytics Index

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rebecca Lieb:  Rebecca Lieb is the Altimeter Group’s digital advertising and media analyst. She is also an author, columnist, journalist, and frequent speaker.

Earlier, she was Vice President (VP) at Econsultancy, where she launched the company’s U.S. operations and grew them to profitability in a year’s time.

She was also the VP and editor-in-chief of The ClickZ Network for over seven years. She spent part of that time managing SearchEngineWatch.com.  She is paid to speak on topics related to interactive marketing, advertising and digital media, as well as consulting on digital content strategy and search engine optimization.

Prior to authoring Content Marketing, she wrote The Truth About Search Engine Optimization which was published in 2009.  An updated edition is expected to be available soon.  In 2012 she co-wrote presentations titled The Converged Media Imperative: How Brands Must Combine Paid, Earned and Owned Media and Content: The New Marketing Equation for the Altimeter Group.

She writes columns regularly in iMediaConnection and MarketingLand.  She also maintains her own blog and occasionally contributes to Advertising Age.

More information can be found on her in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter at www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccalieb, https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.lieb?fref=ts, @lieblink, respectively.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT THE BOOK:

Please see the 41 reviews of the book located on Amazon.com.  The majority of the readers, who provided them, rated the book very highly.  The overall rating was 4.1 out of 5.0 stars.   However, there were a few that did not and it’s important to read all of them in order make an informed decision before purchasing.

MY IMPRESSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION:

The author clearly explained what content marketing is, shared insights as to why it is useful and provided an extensive listing of the platforms and tools available to execute business strategy.   In addition to the descriptions of the platforms and tools, “pros” and “cons” of each were offered to help the reader determine which to use and when.   While this is extremely helpful, in-depth instructions as to “how to” use these tools is lacking.   This may have been done on purpose since many of the tools are in constant flux.  In all fairness, it seems that as soon as anything is written about Facebook, Google or Twitter, they are either subtly or drastically changed by their creators and users are forced to frantically adjust to the changes made.  Therefore the book is a good overview for less experienced content marketers but those looking for a true “how to” book or others more experienced in the content marketing arena may be disappointed.

In the introduction, the author stresses that we must, “Learn how to think like a publisher to market in digital channels”.  Throughout the book she gives examples of several companies that either meet or fail in obtaining their objectives depending on how well they execute on specific content marketing practices.  Unfortunately, these examples (e.g., Nestle’s failure in appropriately responding to customers’ environmental concerns, and American Expresses’ successful Seinfeld/Superman campaign) primarily involve large companies; therefore it may be difficult for small business owners to truly relate to them.  However, the 14 basic tenants she espouses can be used as a framework for new and experienced content marketers alike to succeed in their content marketing efforts.  They are:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Define key themes and message
  3. Establish a frequency framework
  4. Create a detailed editorial calendar–plug into #3 above
  5. Develop regular features and rubrics
  6. Interview
  7. Go multimedia
  8. Enlist expert contributors, and provide them with guidelines
  9. Create user-generated content–ratings, reviews, comments
  10. Opine and editorialize–be an expert observer and commentator
  11. Turn on comments and feedback
  12. Listen
  13. Recycle/repurpose/repackage content
  14. Capture–lead generation

In all the book was very informative and I would recommend it to others.

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