Book Review: Valuable content marketing by Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton

Posted on: June 11, 2013

I’ve just written a review of this book for PM Magazine http://www.pmforum.co.uk/.

My conclusion? This is a quick read for those who are trying to get their head around content marketing for the first time and how to integrate all the elements of their marketing and sales campaigns (i.e. their web site, blogs, social media, email campaigns and sales approaches). But those with some experience in the area may find they need something more substantial. Having said that, it is so accessible that I would be comfortable giving it to a keen fee-earner in a small or medium sized professional practice. They will feel at home in the jargon-free, relaxed style that makes frequent references to those many will know in professional services. There’s also some useful guidance on writing style and numerous practical checklists to get you up and running.

There are some up to date facts and figures quoted including:

  • Hot to trot Marketing – in 2006 it took only six calls from a telemarketing firm to make one contact. In 2010 it had rocketed to 41
  • Mashable – 44% of direct mail is never opened, 86% of people skip through television commercials, 84% of 25 to 34 years old have clicked out of a web site because of an “irrelevant or intrusive” ad.
  • ONS – 77% of all UK adults that use the Internet do so for finding information on goods and services. This is 80-85% of 35 to 64 year olds
  • Edelman 2012 Barometer of Trust report –
    • Trust in social media rose by 75% in the year
    • Online search engines are now one of the most trusted sources of information
    • Amongst 18 to 29 year olds, digital media is the most popular source for general news and information
  • Roper Poll –
    • 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles rather than an advertisement
    • 77% of people understand that the purpose of an organisation’s content is to sell them something, but are OK with it as long as it provides value
    • 61% say valuable content makes them feel closer to the company that delivers it and more likely to buy from that company
  • 2012 Content Marketing Institute – All valuable content tools are on the rise. White papers have increased take up 19%, blogs and videos by 27%
  • Custom Content Council – 68% of CMO says they are shifting budget from traditional advertising to content marketing.

The authors have drawn on the work and views of many other experts in the field of digital marketing (e.g. Hubspot, Mashable, David Meerman (of “New rules of marketing and PR” fame) and social media, including those in the professions. And it was nice to see a number of law firms (e.g. Bond Pearse, Inksters and crofting law, Wooley & Co on divorce law) in case studies. They’ve also cleverly referenced Charles H Green, co-author of “Trusted Adviser”, to give comfort to professional services readers and mentioned a number of suppliers – for example, Conscious Solutions, with whom they will be familiar. Towards the end, there’s a helpful summary in a chapter called “Making it happen, seven steps to success”:

1.         Know your business objectives

2.         Be clear on what you will talk about

3.         Pick the right mix of content creation and distribution tools

4.         Make sure your web site is up to the job

5.         Plan like a publishing pro with a content calendar

6.         Put the right team together

7.         Measure, refine, learn and continue

Contents:

Part one

1.         Marketing has changed – have you?

2.         What is valuable content and why it wins you business

3.         What do I say? Guiding principles for your valuable content

Part two

4.         Start with a blog

5.         Distribute your valuable content using social media

6.         Keep in touch with engaging email newsletters

7.         Get search engine savvy

8.         Your valuable web site

9.         Add deeper written content: white papers, e-book and books

10.        Diversity with different formats: video, audio and more

11.        Widen your reach: take your content on tour

12.        Valuable content for salespeople

Part three

13.        How to write content your customers will value

14.        Making it happen: seven steps to success

Conclusion – your new marketing manifesto

A follow up book recommendation

More sophisticated readers (or those who have already read the above book and got to grips with the basics) who want more in-depth support of the buying process, the development of buying personas and creation of content strategies may want to have a go with a book I read back in 2010 called “eMarketing strategies for the complex sale” by Ardath Albee. The contents of which are as follows:

Part I – emarketing essentials

  1. Why emarketing is a big opportunity for the complex sale
  2. The mutual rewards of emarketing strategies

Part II – Customer consensus

  1. Using personas to understand your customers
  2. Leverage your buyer synopsis
  3. The buying process

Part III – Natural nurturing

  1. Put the natural in nurturing
  2. Capitalise on cause
  3. Construct a framework for content strategy execution

Part IV – Contagious content

  1. Why contagious content increases engagement
  2. Content structure for competitive differentiation
  3. Create content to increase attraction value
  4. Design your marketing story
  5. Expand story impact with amplifiers

Part V – Persistent progression

  1. How to facilitate prospect progression
  2. Scoring for prospect progression
  3. Alignment accelerates progression
  4. Stories that progress sales conversations

Part VI – Meaningful metrics

  1. Quantifying marketing results
  2. Opportunity quality and sales results
  3. Feedback and dialogue
  4. Social contributions

Reviews of similar books

I have reviewed a number of other books in the digital marketing space and some are recommended by either the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) or the Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM).

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/book-review-share-this-the-social-media-handbook-for-pr-professionals-by-chartered-institute-of-public-relations

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/book-review-mastering-story-community-and-influence-how-to-use-social-media-to-build-your-tribe-by-jay-oatway

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/book-review-understanding-digital-marketing-marketing-strategies-for-engaging-the-digital-generation-damian-ryan-and-calvin-jones

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/inbound-marketing-getting-found-using-google-social-media-and-blogs

http://kimtasso1.wpengine.com/book-review-business-writing-how-to-write-to-engage-persuade-and-sell-by-ian-atkinson

 

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