A Closer Look at Content Rules and The Science of Marketing – Book Reviews


I read about 70 blog posts a week and for quite some time, I was ordering every book I could find to deepen my understanding of content creation and social media marketing.

Caballo - Review of Marketing Books

People often ask me what books I read so I thought I would review the two marketing books I rely on the most and suggest a few other books that I also love.

The Rule Book on Great Content

When Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman published Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars (and More) that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business, I purchased a hardcover copy.

Caballo Content_Rules_book

I think of this book as I would a dictionary or thesaurus. It’s a valuable resource that you will want to keep on hand. Whether you are new to content marketing or you’ve been blogging for the past several years, you will learn something new in this book.

Content Rules covers every aspect of content creation from blogging to podcasting and images to webinars.

Chapter Two covers the rules of content creation:

1- Embrace being a publisher. If you’re an Indie author, you’ve already done that, right?

2- Insight inspires originality. The message here is to “get your brand story straight” and to find your voice in every form of content you create.

3- Build momentum. Be clear about the objective of each piece of content that you create.

4- Speak in human terms. As Hemingway once said, “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right.”

5- Reimagine; don’t recycle. In other words, it’s okay to repurpose older content as long as you don’t regurgitate it without updating the information or providing a fresh, new perspective.

6- Share or solve; don’t shill.

7- Show; don’t just tell. Use case studies, client narratives, videos, images and screenshots in your posts.

8-Do something unexpected. In other words, on occasions add an element of surprise, such as a gift.

9- Ignite conversation with your content.

10- Create wings and roots. Play to your strengths. You don’t have to do it all: books, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, blog, etc. Focus on the things at which you can excel.

With this foundation, the book provides content schedules and in-depth information in how to succeed on a variety of content platforms.

My One Complaint

 Now for my disappointment. It’s chapter on podcasting is just four pages long and lacking in terms of equipment recommendations, recording programs to consider, and suggestions on how to improve audio.

It also fails to explain how to develop a script, what needs to be in an outro and intro, and the marketing aspects.

Aside from that one complaint, I would still recommend this book to writers wanting to improve their content.

The Science of Marketing by Dan Zarrella

This little book is a gold mine. I also purchased this book as soon as it was available, and I’ve never regretted it.

Caballo - science-of-marketing

Dan Zarrella is probably the only social media scientist on this planet. Indie authors who write eBooks (especially eBooks for business) will love his first chapter.

Zarrella supplies research on:

  • How often people read eBooks.
  • How often people read eBooks for business.
  • What kind of eBooks people read (segregated by gender).
  • How people learn about new eBooks.
  • How they read their eBooks.
  • What readers’ preferred eBook format is (Kindle, no surprise there).
  • How many “pages” eBook readers prefer.

In Chapter Two, he delves into webinars and then into SEO. He has graphs for every survey question he’s asked. His fourth chapter, my favorite, covers Twitter.

In this twenty-page chapter he reveals the most retweetable words and phrases, followed by the least retweetable words. (Hint: Don’t use game, haha, LOL, but hey, bored, listening or bed to your tweets.)

Dan also has research on the relationship between various parts of speech and click-through rates. There’s a bevy of great information in this book.

He devotes nearly 25 pages to Facebook, “the 800-pound gorilla on the social media space.” The information here is invaluable. He has research that correlates Likes to days of the week, post length and Likes, and self-references and Likes.

He lists the types of pages that receive the most Likes, the least Liked page types, the effect of a person’s reading grade level and sharing information and lists of the most shareable and least shareable words on Facebook.

Dan also has research on Pinterest, Blogging, lead generation and email marketing.

If you want to know when and how to write your tweets and social posts to generate the most engagement, this is the book you need. Bar none.

Other Great Marketing Books

Which social marketing books would you recommend?

Frances Caballo

Frances Caballo

Social Media Strategist and Manager at Social Media Just For Writers
Find Frances Caballo on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. She is the author of Social Media Just for Writers and Twitter Just for Writers, which is available for free on her website.
Frances Caballo
Frances Caballo