Book Review: Managing Content Marketing

It’s been a while since I wrote about a book on this blog, but I’ve just read Managing Content Marketing – The Real World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand, by Robert Rose (@robert_rose) and Joe Pulizzi (@juntajoe) and I wanted to share as it might not be a book you’ve heard of, compared to say the more obvious Seth Godin I’m normally reading. Plus, it’s really jolly good.

As the book title says this is a “real world guide” and takes you through a journey of how to build a content marketing strategy – and as Jeffrey Hayzlet says in the foreword to this book:

Saddle up marketers! Get ready for a transformational journey..

…and this sets the tone for the book that follows.

I’m as guilty as anyone of writing and talking about observations on the theoretical, the abstract and vision of the disrupted world of customer engagement centric marketing  – and in turn I’ve read plenty of the same. I’ve also recently read a practical book on the related subject of Content Strategy that I had to put down so the lecturing from the author would stop.

However this book strikes the right tone between inspiring rhetoric (for want of a better word) and practical advice on the how to develop and execute a content marketing strategy.

With the focus being very much on the practical, Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi avoid repeating what’s been said elsewhere with plenty of generous tipping of their proverbial cap to other work that the reader may find useful.

During these references and sharply observed anecdotes, I was struck by how it’s often observed that content marketing is really not new – and Joe and Robert make some interesting parallels to the past.

To name just one – I especially like the reference to Hollywood and it’s disruption by television only to see a similar journey for that industry today as it is disrupted by digital.

In some writing about web engagement and customer experience I often find myself nodding lazily along to insights though sensible are not really challenging. In this book however I felt that the authors had some confidence. A confidence I presume coming from the fact that they had done it, with plenty of examples where the techniques of the book have been applied.

There is a particular chapter that discusses, in some detail, the structure of story telling from a literary and screen play perspective. There is quite a lot of text devoted to describing this construct. To be honest I had to push through this patiently, trusting the authors, as you may find yourself thinking “What the hell has this got to do with why I picked up this book? – get back on with the good stuff already”. I’ve dabbled with a bit of writing and I am not sure I would have had the confidence to take the reader so far into that journey.

However you’ll be glad you paid attention, this chapter and the story telling technique it describes is the foundation of what follows. Again, the authors bring these techniques to life with case studies where these ideas have been successful.

On the subject of confidence, the book also looks to breath confidence into the reader, as they say their recipe is about thinking differently:

Differentiation means telling a DIFFERENT STORY – not the same story told incrementally better

Let’s face it, in most organization incrementally is safe, it’s easy.

The remainder of the book continues with the practical advice, from the people you need, the measurement you should put in place how to structure your plan.  This analogy may only work for my UK readers – but it really is the Haynes Manual of Content Marketing.

I purchased the book with a very real professional interest in implementing content marketing best practice. When I was consulting with Gilbane, the litmus test of our advice was what are the key practical actions that are going to change the way you work on Monday morning. To that end, this book is a fantastic resource.

I know what I need to do on Monday….




You can buy Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand from Amazon.

By way of a disclaimer, if you are regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I know Robert Rose – however I purchased the book and Robert did not solicit me to write this post.




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