By Special K, ETMG Writer and Blogger
In her recent book, Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher — How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media, Rebecca Lieb succeeds at both introducing content marketing and providing extensive discussion of hands-on tactics and strategies.
Lieb, a digital advertising and media analyst for the Altimeter Group, has written a book that will be useful both to marketers getting started with content marketing and to marketing gurus on the lookout for tips and tricks for improving well-established programs.
Content Marketing Basics
While some authors devote entire books to explaining the shift from traditional to content marketing, Lieb succinctly covers this in Part One – Content Marketing Basics. She quickly tackles the heart of the matter – reliably delivering quality content to a target audience requires thought, work, originality, strategy, experimentation, and persistence. Routinely creating new content poses dilemmas that publishers have encountered for eons.
Marketers who learn to think and strategize like a publisher will consistently create and distribute compelling content to interested audiences.
Lieb concludes Part One with 14 ways to begin thinking like a true content professional. These include wisdom about adopting a publishing mindset (“know your audience”) along with practical guidelines such as “establish a frequency framework” and “create user-generated content.”
Kinds of Content
The second section of the book helps readers think about content in relation to target audiences and content distribution channels. Here one learns about the art and science of using website analytics and social media listening tools to develop user personae as a way to create targeted content.
Lieb classifies content into three basic categories – entertainment, information and education, and utility. Her discussions include B2C and B2B case studies which model best practices. For example, Johnson & Johnson publishes the popular baby.com website which provides expertise about pregnancy, babies, and parenting.
Tactical Nuts and Bolts
Part Three provides an overview of 25 different digital content channels (e.g. social networks, webinars, apps, podcasts, and wikis). This section also includes recommendations for integrating your content marketing with your PR, advertising, and customer service efforts. Additional chapters cover SEO strategy, reputation management, distribution strategies, conducting a content audit, and content workflow.
Post-Publication and the Importance of Listening
The fourth section ties the previous three sections together by bringing home the importance of listening to the conversations your content has initiated.
Lieb recommends spending 25% of your energies on publishing, 50% on commenting/responding, and 25% on listening.
Listening enables awareness of your audience’s issues and questions which can drive future content. This section also includes invaluable discussions of leading tools available to help with listening, content sharing, and analytics.
The book concludes with the important topic of creating a measurement plan so that you’re not wasting time and money. Once again, the strategy guidelines are backed up with solid case studies.
Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher is a tour de force providing both strategy and mountains of resources. If you only read one book on content marketing, I suggest you choose this one.