My parents are successful doctors who worked their way up on the basis of–here comes that golden word–merit. For 22 years of my life, the only “real” job was in Medicine or its orbit. (Here’s looking at you, Dentistry!) Everything else existed in gradations of its similarity to Medicine and Business in particular was a mysterious realm on the fringe of reality, possibly inhabited by dubious characters who moved around money not unlike turning fistfuls of sand into towering mountains. In other words, no good could possibly come out of such sorcery and it would be best to stay as far away from it as my salt o’ the earth breeding could carry me.

ado7f

Fast forward to 2014, and here I am. A former dental student, freelancing online as a content manager, SMM, SEO monkey, marketer, webmaster–whatever you throw at me. And writing (or hoping to write) on the side. I am in that shadowy place. And I’m staying.

But old habits die hard. Having been raised to believe you must read a LOT of books and pass a LOT of exams before you can even begin to call yourself competent, let alone practice, the Barefoot Bookworm found herself perpetually racked by guilt on account of I HAVEN’T STUDIED THIS SH*T. This coupled with bibliophilia and nerdy genes perfectly explains the buying spree I went on wherein I ended up with a number of books to give myself a crash course in everything I ought to know to do my job. Knowing full well other people either attend 4-6 years of undergrad school + internships or spend years in apprenticeship or both. (Refusing to let that intimidate me–I know my own drive and intelligence well enough.)

The good thing is, I can now say which books were rubbish and which weren’t. I spent my money so you don’t have to. Presenting, my first book smackdown:

ValuableContentMarketingvsBlogPodcastGoogleSell

Specs

Title: Subtitle

Valuable Content Marketing:
How to Make Quality Content the Key to Your Business Success
Blog, Podcast, Google, Sell:
The Complete Guide to Making Online Profit

Author(s)

Sonja Jefferson;
Sharon Tanton
Cresta Norris

Publisher

Kogan Page Kogan Page

Year/Edition

2013 (probably reprint) 2012; Indian

Pages/Format

234; Paperback 170; Paperback

Price (in PKR; may vary)

Rs. 995 -20% online discount Rs. 595 -20% online discount

Retailer

Readings Pakistan Readings Pakistan

Currently in Stock?

Yes No

Pros

Both books target the same audience: mainly businesspeople, particularly DIYers and those with small businesses. A broad adjunct aim is to be a good stepping stone for fledgling digital marketers, with a focus on content marketing. Pages aren’t littered with jargon and abbreviations aren’t casually thrown around: the aim of the authors is NOT to make themselves sound smart but to pass on what they genuinely believe you should know. So far so good

Valuable Content Marketing is organized well and each chapter is rounded out with quotes, tips, bullets, examples plus the hows-and-whys of content marketing. The language flows along smoothly and never gets too dense, while still managing to convey information most professionals would appreciate. There’s a lot of solid advice here despite the fact this was written somewhere in 2012, and a number of best practices. The book is unapologetic in its approach and you can expect a few dearly held assumptions to be ripped apart. The book quotes a number of digital marketing notables, asking their advice and adding value to material you wouldn’t find online unless you devoted months to trawling archives, reading newsletters, infographics, case studies and whatever made-for-professionals material you could get your hands on just so your feet could hit the ground running. (Like I did. But the letters “ROI” still give me sleepless nights.)

My advice to someone else starting out now? Save yourself the time. Get a good, comprehensive book. (Then keep learning unless you want to be a digital marketer for exactly 2 months.)

Blog, Podcast, Google… is not much different in terms of organization but it is more condensed, with several different things collected according to the stage when you need to focus on them during the process of establishing your online business. This makes it easier to read as an action plan for the uninitiated.  The text seems crammed on to the pages at times, but the author makes an effort to keep it as simple as possible. She also includes tables, checklists, the whole shebang and a LOT of in-depth case studies–with a special focus on small (sometimes very small) businesses. For example, there’s a heartening one about the woman who sells mulch (and worms) and found success by tapping into her niche audience. Unfortunately, for the great number of companies that don’t sell crap (at least they say they don’t ;P ) and don’t have the advantage of a sharply defined niche plus low competition, this doesn’t really help much.

Cons

Valuable Content Marketing is written by two authors, one of whom runs a digital marketing enterprise geared towards serving professional firms; the other is a copywriter with cross-platform content/communications production experience and, as the blurb says, “a background in telling stories”. Blog, Podcast, Google is written by an online marketer who has mainly content production experience with the BBC. The difference shows.

Blog, Podcast, Google provides nothing you wouldn’t be able to find online for free. It’s also, understandably, guilty of oversimplification. I love websites but it’s 2014: you DON’T have to devote entire sections to explaining what they are or that you can use them for business. I already know I can use the Internet for business–that’s why I bought the book, right? Additionally, a number of statements the author makes are not quite true in practice: I wish visitors always landed on the home page first, but the way the Internet works, they’re more likely to hit whatever random page Google deemed good enough or got a couple of hundred shares. This can increase or decrease depending on the nature of your business/online presence but unless you’re a household name, you have to make sure all your pages are independently optimized to coax visitors further along your sales funnel. THAT is why you need to drop the idea that the homepage is where your visitors start from, unless you want people clicking away before they even reach it.

Verdict

Get this:-

valuable-content-marketing-cover-image
Click to Visit the Authors’ Website

Either way, Kogan Page makes money. But you come away with a guide to the big bad world of content marketing that you can use as a base for years to come.

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9 thoughts on “This or That: “Valuable Content Marketing” vs “Blog, Podcast, Google, Sell”

  1. You got me at “Readings 20% off” haha. I think I’ll buy it…eventually. Thanks for the comprehensive review!

      1. I don’t know why they haven’t just put me on speed dial by now. And made a special privilege card just for me. :3
        A lot of restaurants have privilege cards but I don’t buy [restaurant] food so often as I buy books. 😛

      2. Haha, seriously? I would, but I have yet to get started. My money keeps getting diverted to other purchases. I won’t get around to buying from Readings for another few months at least. Sigh.

      3. Just let me get my freelancing rocket off the ground then I’ll compete with you in book purchases 😉 too bad Us Magazine pays after half a year is gone. And yeah, I splurge on Manhattan Bites from time to time. That counts too.

  2. Love the post! 🙂 I’ve recently followed & I’m looking forward to seeing more from you. I blog about a similar topic & if you had time, can you let me know what you think? colecornerr.com

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