10 ‘Content Rules’ That Will Help Your Business Rule The World

by Marcus Sheridan

Tcontent ruleshe universe works in some amazingly powerful ways. Such was the case about 10 months ago when I was cruising home from a sales appointment and contemplating all of the amazing things that were happening in my life. As most of you already know, my swimming pool blog had reached the pinnacle of the industry, and my company was thriving because of our inbound marketing and content production efforts.

But as I sat in my car with a little smile on my face while attempting to grasp the beauties of small business marketing done right, my cell phone rang and showed an out of state number. Not expecting anything, I answered the phone, and no sooner was welcomed on the other end by a lady’s soft voice who told me her name was Ann Handley.

To make a long story short, Ann explained to me how she was writing a book and had heard talk about my inbound marketing success, and the fact that blogging and content marketing had skyrocketed my company’s sales success. Always up for a good marketing conversation, Ann and I spoke for the next 20 minutes or so and had a great dialogue in terms of what content meant to my company and the future of content in general. Before we got off the phone, I asked Ann one simple question:

Me: Tell me Ann, what’s the name of your book?

Ann: Content Rules.

Me: That’s freaking awesome.

You see, those two words had basically summed up my entire feeling and relationship with content in general. Say what you may, but content rules the world of business as we know it. It’s what makes sales. It’s what drives business. It’s what’s on the News. It’s all over—and it sure as heck rules.

When Ann told me the title, I knew she was onto something special.

Fast forward about 8 months and a smile came to my face as I received my copy of Content Rules, written by the kind lady on the phone, Ann Handley of the very well known MarketingProfs, and also co-authored by C.C. Chapman, founder of Digital Dads.

I’ve since read the book twice over and without question, it did not disappoint. In fact, I think it’s one of the most important books a business (big or small) can own in this amazing age of content and information—assuming its precepts are actually followed.

But instead of me yapping off about how great the book is, I want to give you a brief glimpse into some of the powerful, thought-provoking nuggets found within its pages (Note: Because Ann and CC compiled so many case studies and interviews with marketing superstars to formulate the book, some of the below statements are made by some familiar faces).  Here goes:

10 ‘Content Rules’ that Will Help Your Business Rule the World

1. The notion of marketing to your customers by interrupting them repeatedly with advertising or other marketing messages is simply not enough any more.

(My take: Don’t be an idiot and keep wasting your money on dumb, old-school advertising)

2. Advertising is a luxury, but content is survival. (Joe Pulizzi of Junta42)

3. Just as a person is more than flesh and bones and hair and teeth, good content, too, is more than text and graphics and video. It’s an embodiment of your brand. It’s designed to inspire people to read more, or view more, or get to know and love your company a little more. Good content can quickly become the soul of your brand to the online world.

(My take: The ‘Soul’ of your brand. Wow, I’m diggin that.)

4. You don’t have to create everything and publish everywhere; you don’t have to do it all inclusively—create killer blog and podcasts and white papers and webinars and ebooks and puppet shows and whatever else you imagine. You don’t have to do all of that. But you do have to do some things—and, at the very least, one thing—really, really well.

5. Words matter. Write differently. The language you use and tone of your voice provide an untapped, powerful way to forge a distinctive identity. (John Simmons)

6. Our web site represents who we are as a company, and its voice says we are down-to-earth. No smoke and mirrors. Conversational. Approachable. And no ego, because the site isn’t about us. It’s about our customers. (Katie Martell of Netprospex)

7. Don’t be afraid to polarize people. Most companies want to create the holy grail of products that appeal to every demographic, social-economic background, and geographic location. To attempt to do so guarantees mediocrity. (Guy Kawasaki)

8. Words we’d like to ban from marketing: Impactful, Leverage, Synergy, Revolutionary, Proactive, Solution, almost any word that ends in –ize (monetize, utilize, optimize, etc)

(My take: This was a really funny and informative part of the book, as the authors were explaining some of the worst business ‘buzzwords’ that have basically been abused to death.)

9. Your awesome site isn’t awesome. Getting your stories into the hands of people who need them is awesome. (Chris Brogan)

(My take: And you, Chris Brogan, are awesome.)

10. Content is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving (some guy named Marcus Sheridan ;-) )

Content-Rules-BookThose were just 10 quotes of about 100 or so I specifically underlined in the book that I thought were excellent. As you can see, the amount of information, or should I say ‘content’, that Handley and Chapman gathered here from great minds and successful companies is unmatched by any book I’ve seen produced on this subject thus far. In fact, I’d compare its scope to a 2011 version of the best selling business book ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins that was written 10 years ago—it’s that important.

So do yourself, your employees, and your customers a big favor and purchase this book. Just go to the Content Rules website and they’ll take you from there. And no, the link is not affiliate, as that ain’t my bag. My only goal here is to change your company forever, and this book, if followed, will do just that and put you at the very top of your niche– throughout the world.

Your turn: OK, time for some comments from our awesome community. Was there a quote in the list above that you have found to be true with your business? Also, what ‘content rules’ would you add if you could write a book on this subject? And finally, if you’ve read the actual book, give us your thoughts, as I’d love to hear them.

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