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Powering Content

Book Description

Your new product is ready to launch and you’re itching to tell potential customers all about it. But how do you make your message stand out above all the noise and marketing clutter? Take the guesswork out of content management with this hands-on guide. You’ll learn how to produce and manage powerful content pieces that speak directly to customers and compel them to respond.

Author Laura Busche walks you through content strategies and tactics drawn from business, design, and psychology insights. Packed with examples and exercises, this book teaches you how to tell your story with engaging copy, potent images, and striking design—all carefully orchestrated through well-oiled production management. Solopreneurs, startups, marketing managers, and execs will learn 10 Essential Steps to Content Success, with deep dives into:

  • Content strategy: understand your audience, choose and prioritize channels, and find your brand’s core themes, voice, and tone
  • Content creation: craft an engaging experience with content formats and copywriting formulas and templates
  • Content management: organize, delegate, and supervise tasks; optimize the content production process to reuse successful patterns

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
    1. Attribution
    2. O’Reilly Safari
    3. How to Contact Us
  2. 1. Introduction
    1. Welcome to the World of Content Marketing
    2. 10 Essential Steps to Content Success
      1. Step 1: State What You Want to Achieve in Creating Content
      2. Step 2: Understand Whom You Are Creating Content For
      3. Step 3: Decide Where This Content Will Live
      4. Step 4: Set Themes, Tones, and a Voice for Your Pieces
      5. Step 5: Define a Visual Aesthetic for Your Brand’s Content
      6. Step 6: Adopt Best Practices Around Content Formats and Structure
      7. Step 7: Design Your Main Content Hub So That It Is Audience-Friendly
      8. Step 8: Scale Your Content Production Process
      9. Step 9: Shape and Consolidate Your Content Team
      10. Step 10: Secure Earned, Owned, and Paid Distribution for Your Pieces
    3. Part I: Wearing the Content Strategist Hat
    4. Part II: Wearing the Content Creator Hat
    5. Part III: Wearing the Production Manager Hat
  3. I. Wearing the Content Strategist Hat
  4. 2. Setting Content Goals
    1. Metrics Versus Goals
    2. Common Types of Content Goals
    3. Goals Related to SEO
    4. Goals Related to Increasing Signups
    5. Goals Related to Engaging Existing and New Leads
    6. Goals Related to Revenue
    7. Exercise: Figuring Out Your Content’s ROI
    8. Goals Related to Traffic
    9. Optimizing for Conversion
    10. Making Your Content Remarkably Persuasive
    11. Tactics to Optimize Content for Conversion
      1. Product Links
      2. Gated Content
    12. Content as Product
      1. Test, Test, Test
    13. Reporting and Learning
      1. Step 1: Align Metrics with Goals and Prioritize
      2. Step 2: Ensure That Tracking Is in Place
      3. Step 3: Build Out Dynamic Reports
      4. Step 4: Collect Data Periodically (Revise It Daily)
      5. Step 5: Analyze and Report on Data Periodically
      6. Step 6: Evaluate the Most Effective Course of Action
      7. Step 7: Share Lessons Learned
  5. 3. Designing Content Personas
    1. Defining Your Content Personas
    2. How to Get Started with Content Persona Research
    3. B2B Versus B2C Content
    4. Four Steps to Discover and Design Personas
      1. Step 1: Start with Existing Data
      2. Step 2: Conduct Nethnography
      3. Step 3: Try Ethnography
      4. Step 4: Ask
    5. Synthesizing Personas
      1. Refine All This Fuzziness
      2. Nailing Down Personas: Affinity Diagramming
      3. Get Creative: Name and Design Reader Personas
    6. Buyer Personas Versus Reader Personas
    7. Convertible Reader Personas
    8. Low-Involvement and High-Involvement Readers
  6. 4. Defining Your Channels
    1. How to Keep Up with New Channels
    2. How to Prioritize Your Channels
    3. Five Reasons to Choose a Blog As Your Main Content Hub
    4. Choosing Your Social Channels
      1. Setting Up Your Social Channels
    5. Exercise: Mapping Your Channels
      1. The Content Desire Chart
  7. 5. Themes, Voice, and Tone
    1. Real-Life Examples of Core Themes
    2. The Four-Question Technique to Find Your Own Themes
    3. Brand Voice
    4. Exercise: Finding Your Brand’s Unique Voice
    5. Voice Versus Tone
    6. Sample Experimental Tones
      1. Conversational
      2. Funny
      3. Informed
    7. Switching Between Tones
    8. Watch Your Mood!
    9. Documenting Your Voice and Tone Guidelines
  8. 6. Finding Your Brand’s Aesthetic
    1. How Color Affects Brand Perception
      1. Creating Compelling Color Combinations
      2. Choosing a Color Palette for Your Brand
    2. Typography and Brand Personality
      1. Fonts Are Associated with Different Personality Traits
      2. Choosing Your Brand’s Typography Scheme
    3. Exercise: Unveiling Your Brand’s Visual Style
    4. Over to You
    5. Analyzing Results
    6. Eight Brand Visual Styles: Find Yours
    7. Visual Styles in Action
  9. II. Wearing the Content Creator Hat
  10. 7. Understanding Content Formats
    1. Articles
    2. Presentations
    3. Infographics
    4. Podcasts
    5. Videos
    6. Images
    7. Landing Pages and Microsites
    8. Quizzes, Questions, and Polls
    9. Webinars
    10. Ebooks and Other Long-Form Pieces
    11. Email Newsletters
    12. User-Generated Content
    13. Other Emerging Formats
    14. When to Use Each Format
    15. Basics of Repurposing Content
  11. 8. The One About Formulas and Headlines
    1. Content Success Formulas
    2. Successful Headlines
    3. Creating Successful Headlines
    4. Effective Powerwords
    5. Copy Templates
    6. Exercise: Create Your Own Template Bank
    7. Becoming a More Efficient Writer
    8. Exercise: Agile Article Writing
  12. 9. Optimizing the Content Experience with Design
    1. How to Design Scannable Content
    2. Creating Compelling Graphics
    3. How Typography Affects the Content Experience
    4. How to Design Mobile-Friendly Content
    5. The CLEAR Design Framework
    6. Common Mistakes in Content Design
  13. 10. Brainstorming Techniques
    1. SOS: I Can’t Think of New Ideas
    2. Content Idea Fragments Versus Concepts
    3. How Exactly Do You Develop Lots of Useful Idea Fragments?
    4. Curating Content Topics: Your Daily Routine
    5. The No-Waste Content Ideation Matrix
      1. Recycling
      2. Extending
      3. Adapting
      4. Dissecting
    6. Your Daily Brainstorming Routine
    7. Lots of Ideas, No Motivation
    8. Finding the Motivation to Produce Content
    9. Avoiding Motivation Sinkholes
      1. Impossibly High Expectations
      2. Drawing Comparisons
      3. Topic Burnout
      4. Unnecessary Drama
      5. Avoidable Repetition
      6. Team Mistrust
      7. Small-Picture Thinking
      8. Lack of Personal Engagement
      9. Professional Dissatisfaction
  14. III. Wearing the Content Manager Hat
  15. 11. Scaling Content Like a Production Manager
    1. How to Become a Content Production Manager
    2. Creating an Editorial Calendar
      1. Step 1: Define Your Constraints
      2. Step 2: Identify Personas
      3. Step 3: Collect Content Ideas
    3. Exercise: How to Develop Hundreds of Content Ideas Fast
      1. Step 4: Design Extended Content Products
      2. Step 5: Fill Out Your Calendar
    4. Establishing Systems and Routines for Content Production
    5. Assuring Content Quality
      1. Defining What “Great Content” Looks Like
      2. Reverse-Engineering What Is Required to Achieve “Great” CONTENT
    6. Content Quality Assurance
    7. Creating Your Own Content QA Checklist
    8. The Content Style Guide
  16. 12. Managing a Content Team
    1. The Common Habits of Successful Project Managers
      1. Habit 1: They Build Out Templates of Routine Tasks
      2. Habit 2: They Ask, “Is This Scalable?” and Act Accordingly
      3. Habit 3: They Are Clear-Cut on Feedback
      4. Habit 4: They Use Tools and Systems Effectively
      5. Habit 5: They Split Processes Effectively
      6. Habit 6: They Document Everything
      7. Habit 7: They Establish Clear Terms and Conditions
    2. A Content Manager’s Duties
      1. Smart Automation
    3. Finding Tools to Optimize Processes
    4. Exercise: Don’t Repeat Yourself
    5. Structured Outsourcing
    6. Effective Contracts
      1. Intellectual Property and Licensing
      2. About Creative Commons
    7. Efficient Alignment
      1. How to Get Buy-In for Your Content Initiatives with Data
      2. Making Sure Your Meetings Stay Productive
    8. Regular Content Audits
    9. Exercise: Your First Content Audit
  17. 13. Content Search Engine Optimization
    1. How Do You Get Bots to “Like” Your Content?
    2. Exercise: Wearing Your Bot Glasses
    3. Common Content SEO Mistakes
    4. What Does a Perfectly Optimized Content Piece Look Like?
    5. Optimizing for Reputation
      1. Inbound Links (Backlinks)
      2. Outbound Links (External Links)
      3. Internal Linking
      4. Domain Reputation
      5. Visitor Engagement and Traffic
      6. Social Metrics
    6. Optimizing for Relevance
      1. On-Page Keyword and Semantic Keyword Usage
    7. Getting Started with Keyword Research
    8. Exercise: Your First Keyword Analysis
      1. Heading Usage
      2. Title and Meta Description Optimization
      3. URL Structure
      4. Content Freshness
      5. Image and Media Optimization
    9. Optimizing for Readability
      1. Page speed
      2. Content Quality and Length
      3. Responsive Design and User Experience
      4. How to Know Whether You Are on the Right Track with Content SEO
  18. 14. Securing Distribution
    1. Understanding Online Distribution
    2. How Can I Improve My Chances of Achieving Massive Distribution?
    3. I Just Published New Content—What Now?
    4. Owned Channels: Building a Powerful Platform
      1. Growing and Using Your Email List
    5. Optimizing Your Blog for Distribution
    6. Seeing Website Spaces as Content Real Estate
    7. Owned Social Media
      1. Step 1: Open Social Profiles Where It Makes Sense
      2. Step 2: Define a Cadence, Voice, and Tone
      3. Step 3: Shape a Visual Aesthetic for the Channel
      4. Step 4: Select and Set Up a Tool to Manage Your Social Presence
      5. Step 5: Refine a List of Themes
      6. Step 6: Schedule (Trackable) New Posts Around Those Themes
      7. Step 7: Schedule a Queue of (Trackable) Old Posts Worth Resharing
      8. Step 8: Engage with Your Audience
      9. Step 9: Track Performance
      10. Step 10: Improve
    8. Earned Channels: Borrowing a Powerful Platform
      1. How to Reach Out to Other Brands and Influencers
      2. Collaborations
      3. Influencer Roundups
    9. Exercise: The Content Partnership Challenge
    10. How to Stimulate Organic Social Sharing
    11. How to Encourage Reviews and Referrals
    12. Public Relations
    13. Paid Channels: Buying into a Powerful Platform
      1. Content Ads
      2. Content Syndication Networks
      3. Paid Search
    14. Influencer Marketing Platforms
  19. 15. Conclusion
    1. Your Turn Now
  20. A. The Content Manager’s 360° To-Do List
  21. B. The Content Marketer’s Essential Dictionary
  22. Index