Content Rules

Whether you read this title as a prescriptive list or an emphatic cheer, you’re right. How’s that for broad appeal?! Although authors Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman concentrate primarily on non-print media — blogs, podcasts, videos, e-books, webinars, and the like — the excellent information in this book also applies to the words that end up as text on paper. Wherever we are, we’re reading more and more.

Getting a handle on the word-flow from the multimedia fire hydrant and directing it in productive ways that “engage your customers and ignite your business” gives Content Rules (the book) its focus and part of its lengthy subtitle. The eleven items are:

  1. Embrace being a publisher.
  2. Insight inspires originality.
  3. Build momentum.
  4. Speak human.
  5. Reimagine; don’t recycle.
  6. Share or solve; don’t shill.
  7. Show; don’t just tell.
  8. Do something unexpected.
  9. Stoke the campfire.
  10. Create wings and roots.
  11. Play to your strengths.

Some you’ll understand right away. Others need a bit of context, which the experienced Content Rules authors provide ably and with a nice dose of humor.

In addition to lucid explanations for each rule — many based on journalism’s who-what-when-where-why (also how) code and the value of style guides — you’ll find a great how-to section that starts by exploring blogs and webinars, moves through e-books and white papers, tackles the good and bad of FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages, reimagines the case study as a “customer success story,” and delves into video, podcasting, and photographs before wrapping up with a large section of case studies/success stories containing ideas you can implement for your own organization or purposes.

Clear writing and helpful information, leavened with just a touch of whimsy and supplemented with real-world examples, makes Content Rules a valuable resource you’ll want to highlight, flag, and actually put to use when plotting the strategies and tactics for sharing the story of your business.

©2011 Jill J. Jensen/Clarity from Chaos

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