This ebook contains Eloqua-written book reviews of five of the most important B2B marketing and social media books of 2010. Empowered, Real-Time Marketing & PR, The Dragonfly Effect, Content Rules, and The Mirror Test.
- 1.BOOKREVIEWCOLLECTIONOur Favorite Books of 2010
2. Book Review CollectionELOQUA BOOK REVIEW:Content RulesContent Rules could be dubbed the encyclopedia ofcontent marketing, that is, if encyclopedias were (a.)still relevant, and (b.) written by disorientingly upbeatpeople.Content Rules could be dubbed the Bible of contentmarketing, if only comparing a business book tosacred scripture didnt counter-intuitively violate theauthors own guidelines (banned words #18: offensivephrases).So instead Content Rules is bucketed alone, which is,frankly, exactly what it deserves. After all, it stands asthe single best book on the red-hot topic of contentmarketing since, well, since content marketing becamea topic.Blogging, consulting, marketing, reporting, entrepreneur-ing, social media-ing powerhouses Ann Handley (ofMarketingProfs and ClickZ fame) and the omnipresentCC Chapman teamed-up to bring us Content Rules, thelatest in marketing factotum David Meerman ScottsNew Rules Social Media Book Series (published by John Wiley & Sons). Given the pressure toproduce something extraordinary, assembling a supergroup is slippery business. For every WeAre The World theres a dozen Damn Yankees. I assure you, the output of the Handley/Chapmancollaboration is far closer to The Traveling Wilburys than it is to Power Station. (Ok, no moresupergroup references for the rest of this review. Promise.)In some ways, I resent this book. After all, Ive carved out a nice little niche for myself leading thecontent marketing charge here at Eloqua, yet now anyone who reads Content Rules and puts theauthors counsel into practice can match me step-for-step. If it wasnt for those meddling kids,Handley and Chapman, I wouldnt have lost my competitive advantage.But my self-interests aside, this book should be cheered. It reads like a gift basket welcoming newneighbors into the content marketing community. It is friendly, accessible, humble and genuinelyhelpful. The authors love what they do, and they love that you are reading about how you can doit, too.Content Rules is essentially three books: an actual book, a how-to manual, and a resource center.This three-books-in-one structure is a brilliant way to overcome what could have been the undoingof Content Rules. You see, the book speaks to a menacingly wide audience so wide, in fact,that if the duo followed conventional wisdom and wrote for the middle, both hardcore contentmarketers and the local merchant would be dissatisfied. Instead, the clever structure allowsLike these reviews? Subscribe to our blog! 3. Book Review Collection readers to zero in on the aspects that matter most to their businesses. Want to be an expert on podcasting? Theres a section on that. Interested in learning how a business-to-business company rocked the content marketing world? See the case study on Kinaxis. Looking to understand the concepts that drive content marketing success? Check out the entire first section. Need to bone up on your SEO skills? Just look at the books optimized subtitle: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. (Never overlook your single most important reader: Google.) Its like opt-in reading. Yet, regardless of the section you find yourself reading, the voice is consistent, the counsel is valuable, and the stories are engaging. Its not as if the publisher welded together three disparate books. The structure is clearly by design, and it speaks well of the care and forethought that went into all aspects of Content Rules. While I will get to specifics in a moment, the most honest and important comment I can make about Content Rules is this: I will be better at my job for having read this book. Ok, now onto the fun stuff: quotes and tidbits from the authors. Marcus Sheridan of River Pools and Spa defines content marketing better than any social media analyst or content marketing influencer ever has. He says, I want our web site to be an encyclopedia of pool buying. Bingo. Reimagine; dont recycle. This advice is thematic throughout the book. And its not only eloquent, its also brilliant. Your readers (a.k.a. customers) deserve more than a new headline placed over the same old text. Do something unexpected. This advice alone has had a massive impact on Eloquas business. In fact, it nearly led me to begin this review with the out-of-nowhere sentence: I have a crush on Ann Handley. But I rethought making that statement publicly. Start with an inventory of the content you already have. Exhibit A for Eloqua: The Social Media Playbook. This tip works, really. Show, dont tell. Yup. Along with do something unexpected, this tip has been a difference- maker in my career. Take it seriously. Take it. Seriously. 18 business buzzwords we need to ban. Equal parts hilarious, squirm-inducing and mandatory. Great stuff here. Create 10 things out of one thing. Perfectly stated by Kirsten Watson of Kinaxis. And arguably the best advice in the entire book. Share or solve; dont shill. I take the above bullet back. This is the best advice in the book. (More on this tip in a moment.) Moreover, Handley and Chapman tackle some of the thorniest topics in content marketing, like Should you put a form in front of your assets, or set them free? and Should you start with one mammoth piece of content and smash it into pieces, or should you begin by creating smaller pieces?Tweet this! 4. Book Review CollectionArguably the strongest content in the book is the section that centers on webinars. The authorsdissect this content type with surgical precision, and they manage to make their point (Toomany webinars promise great content, but the hosts dont really push the speaker to deliver onthat promise.) while making the reader laugh (pitch slapped is the act of being sold duringwhat was billed as an educational session). Theres also some really (really!) smart advice in thissection, like go big or go tactical.There are, however, some areas in which Content Rules breezes over a topic that merits deeperdiscussion. For example, the share or solve; dont shill concept arises regularly, but the authorsstop short of offering examples of the dark side of content marketing. They give a good illustrationof bad copywriting (Sealy Posturepedic), but the example is not shilling per se, its just lousymarketing. Readers would benefit just as much from learning what not to do as what to do, butthe book is, at moments, deliriously positive.Measurement is similarly shortchanged. I imagine this absence is a byproduct of the broadnessof the books target audience. The wider the readership the more varied the objectives. A sectionon KPIs different companies have assigned to their content marketing efforts would have beenhelpful. Content marketing is so new that practitioners are more concerned with what they shouldbe measuring than how they should go about measuring it. The authors were in a unique positionto share at a very high level what types of benefits businesses are tracking against their contentprograms.Looked at another way, Content Rules might not be a perfect book, but it is a perfectly humanbook. And if I were to reduce the counsel threaded throughout to one tip, it would be just that:Be yourself, be human.Success requires a blend of skill, timing and luck. Ann Handley and CC Chapman are clearlytwo of the most skilled content marketers in the world, and their timing couldnt be better (justyesterday, after reading a Content Marketing Institute post, a CMO friend of mine wrote me to say,You are in a very good career lane.). All thats missing is luck. With a little luck this book willbe the smash hit it deserves to be. Sure, that means Ill have a lot more competition but dontforget that I also have Content Rules on my bookshelf.Want to stay in touch with all of the companies and people mentioned in this book? Follow ourContent Rules Twitter list. Like these reviews? Subscribe to our blog! 5. Book Review Collection ELOQUA BOOK REVIEW: The Mirror Test I didnt think I was going to like this book. Not because author Jeffrey Hayzlett isnt smart (he is). Not because Hayzlett isnt a hell of a storyteller (he is). But because of something the great poet and novelist Charles Bukowski wrote in response to the disappointment he sensed from the audience at his live readings: Writers write, they dont speak. You see, my initial exposure to Hayzlett was at a conference (the WOMMA School of WOM event) where he proceeded to have me (and the rest of the crowd) doubled-over in laughter one moment and scribbling down unforgettable tips the next. So when I picked up The Mirror Test, I thought, Speakers speak, they dont write. While The Mirror Test isnt exactly Hemingway (or Bukowski for that matter), it is a rollicking, hard- driving, unapologetic business book that basically shakes the reader into action. And if you are in a position of influence in your organization (especially if its a start-up or small business), this literary kick- in-the-ass is a very, very good thing. Apparently many professionals are set to auto-pilot, and Hayzlett manages to scramble the control panel, forcing the reader to identify who he is and why he is doing what hes doing and fast, like before the plane hits the ground. In Hayzletts world, it would seem the greatest curse for a leader is the absence of self-awareness. The concept behind the book is simple: Is your business fogging the mirror, that is, is it evidencing signs of life. Each chapter bum-rushes the reader through a different test, a different dimension of business viability, and closes with a pointed question: Are you fogging the mirror? At times I lost track of what exactly was being tested in any given chapter. I felt like I needed a you-are-here map, like the ones in labyrinthine shopping malls. In that regard, the book was like a meal prepared in a Slow Cooker: Delicious, though all the ingredients end up tasting the same. Initially this