Content marketing is certainly among the hot social media trends today. It’s become so popular that one could say it’s the “new black” for marketing. But how should businesses deploy their content effectively?
Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton note the ins and outs of content marketing with their book “Valuable Content Marketing; How to Make Quality Content the Key to Your Business Success.” Jefferson is the founder of UK marketing communication firm, Valuable Content. Tanton is a successful content creator. Both ladies gathered the best ideas that speak not only to the United Kingdom market, but to American small businesses as well.
I discovered the book on NetGalley and felt that its specific treatment of content marketing can teach businesses how to improve their effectiveness using that medium.
The data represented in Valuable Content Marketing supports many social media trends occurring in the UK. Jefferson and Tanton confirm industry sentiment: Many people are responding to the sharing aspects of digital marketing rather than to solely traditional methodologies.
“People are far happier to pass on something useful or compelling they’ve read or seen (it makes them look and feel good) than to hand over a business card you gave them (in fact, they’ve probably lost that already).”
To show how marketing has changed, as asserted in the opening chapter, Valuable Content Marketing offers an overview for each content marketing perspective.
The authors do not spend a lot of time comparing content marketing against the different channels within social media. Yet they do successfully explain how to get past the “what do I say” question that arises from social media. That makes the book a value to those who have just set up their Twitter profile, but are not sure what they should say online. For example, check out a thought starter on extending the shelf life of a white paper:
“Once you’ve put the time and resources in longer pieces of content there is a lot you can do with them…One white paper or ebook can become 10 blogs, 50 short tips on Twitter, a short series of guides…”
Chapters 9 and 10 get into media formats, detailing the right content to create an ebook or white paper. You’ll also read the pros and cons on content management decisions such as gating or not gating content.
I also found chapter 12 to be helpful. It focuses on sales, adjusting tactics to get to “the ask” instead of creating brochures for the sake of sales only. The book notes,
“Brochures are still useful, but for professional firms they are purely a credibility tool not a door opener.”
You’ll learn the right mix of tools to use, such as incorporating a content calendar to maintain the effort. A chapter on search engine optimization (SEO) is short, but chapter 7 offers an outstanding explanation of the differences between a “brochure-style” website and a “valuable lead-generating website.” The terms may not be universal language among Web designers, but the diagrams will help business owners to know what site improvements to seek without having to understand HTML code. The book ends with a content checklist and questions for a case study.
The arrangement of material reminded me of Digital Impact, with quotes from additional sources. U.K. businesses are highlighted, such as Scottish firms Inkster and SwimTrek, and global names such as Intel are mentioned. But this book introduces American readers to excellent global campaigns to study, such as the highlight of Coke’s Global 2020 campaign that emphasizes “content excellence.” U.S. small businesses will also want to pay attention to the independent firms highlighted.
One detail that left me a bit wanting was the “value tips” sprinkled throughout the book. Some were just too general to provide meaningful guidance. But I found the further reading suggestions helpful, as well as the “take action” questions. Both appear at the end of the chapters.
When well executed, content marketing provides solid branding, augments search engine optimization when paired with a blog and enhances a business presence across numerous social media platforms. The book Valuable Content Marketing will work wonders to help your business achieve those benefits.