On a recent cross country flight I had the good fortune to bring along my copy of Content Rules, co-authored by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman and part of the New Rules of Social Media series.   My marketing IQ jumped noticeably with this book!  I felt like a content-marketing ninja by the time I reached the final page – a convenient 12-point Content Checklist (see below).

I give this resource treasure 14 Post-It Flags, definitely one of my top scores!

At 3FORWARD we work with a lot of companies on marketing automation projects, primarily helping them design, launch and fine-tune their lead lifecycle management programs.  Once launched, they discover we weren’t kidding when we warned them that creating the content would become their toughest challenge.

Fortunately Content Rules explains better than anything we’ve found the best approach to creating, publishing and sharing customized, value-add materials.   The subtitle of the book is “How To Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars (and More) that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business.”   What more could you ask for?

Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

The 18 words and phrases that should be banned “from everywhere.” This includes overused, meaningless gems such as leverage, synergy, drill down, 30,000 feet, and almost any word that ends in -ize.David Meerman Scott calls this stuff Gobbledygook and he and Hubspot actually have a website that will analyze content and crank out a Gobbledygook rating!  Try it out – you’ll become addicted!

Feeding the Content Food Chain. Thirteen recommendations, tips and examples on how to get the most out of single, original piece of content.   Think of it like Food Network advice for leftover Thanksgiving Turkey – but for a blog post instead.

Twenty-five ideas for What Do I Talk About When There’s Nothing To Say. Enough said.

Nine Steps to Creating an eBook or White Paper That People Will Read.  Number one rule: “Share or solve, don’t shill!” Few of us have tested-out of this one, but for those who have there’s eight more rules and recommendations to master.

A chapter just for B2B companies. Selfishly, that is who 3FORWARD works with and blogs for, so we mention this section specifically.  It’s one of the better explanations we’ve seen of why the old rules of marketing must be trashed and this new approach fully embraced.

Content That Converts: Success Stories (with Ideas You Can Steal!) – that last part is the authors statement, not ours, so take them up on it.  We’ve lifted a half-dozen gems from this section already ourselves and love the results.

Finally, that 12-Point Content Checklist. It’s the perfectlaunching pad for your own efforts.  The authors graciously include a downloadable PDF of the checklist – give it a look.  I’m sure they would be glad to share!

If you are a CMO or marketing exec Pick up Content Rules today and take it on your next flight!  (While you’re at it, buy copies for your CEO and the Chief Sales Officer…)