Book Review – Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing

One of the books that I picked up at Social Media Marketing World Conference 2017 was Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing written by Andy Crestodina. I picked up this book because I had seen Crestodina speak at Social Media Marketing World and I was very impressed with the information that he shared. I wanted to learn more about Google Analytics and ways to better engage with content marketing.

Content Chemistry “is for people who are interested in improving marketing, increasing sales and growing their business” (Crestodina, 2016, p. 6). As Crestodina pointed out, this book is about both creating and promoting content for a business.

This book is broken up into two parts: the first part is called the lecture and the second part is called the lab. In the lecture section, there are three chapters: how it all works, traffic sources, and conversions. In the lab section, there are also three chapters: content, promotion, and inspiration: content Genesis. Additionally, there is an introduction and a conclusion. In total, Content Chemistry is 176 pages long. The content on each page is broken up into two columns and there are ample pictures throughout the book. My only criticism of the book is the two column layout because I like to take notes in my book and two columns makes it more difficult.

Lecture

This book is focused on content marketing. In order to implemented techniques in the book, Crestodina recommended having some basic tools: a blog, a content form, an email service provider, web analytics, and a social media presence. In the book, he explained how each element worked and what you should place on each page to get the best result.

The point of content marketing is to regularly put out content so that you can nurture the relationship of know, like, and trust to cultivate an interested party into a client. As Crestodino noted “a website without a steady stream of useful content is just an online brochure” (Crestodina, 2016, p. 21). Are you generating content on your website or is your website simply a brochure? How are you nurturing relationships?

One of the points of emphasis in the book was on search engine optimization (SEO). This was not only for blog posts but also individual pages. You should be focusing on keywords to ensure that the content you are creating will resonate with audiences you are trying to attract. Content Chemistry provided a lot of ideas for increasing your SEO ranking as well as what will hurt the ranking. Additionally, there are two types of visitors that you come to your site: individuals who are doing research and individuals that come to buy. Your site should contain content to help these two different types of individuals.

Lead Generation

Every piece of content on your site should have one purpose—lead to a conversion. Crestodina talked about this path. He described the path starting with the blog post as an entry point that will lead to service pages. The services pages will lead to a contact page. A contact page will provide an opportunity to connect with an individual that will lead to a conversion. Each element of your content marketing strategy has to have a purpose.

Crestodina talks about using UTM links as part of the strategy to identify what sources are bringing potential leads to your content. UTM links are things that you should be tracking in your Google Analytics. I will be writing more about UTM link shortly.

What I thought was very useful was Crestodina explanation of which elements to include on each page and where to place those elements to get the best result. He addressed blog posts, service pages, about pages, contact pages, and thank you pages.

Lab

The first part of the lab section focuses on content. In this section, he began by focusing on a mission statement to identify what kind of contact you will be providing to your clients. He discussed how to determine what content you’re going to want to share and where to find it. He also explained how to organize this information into channels. Once again, he emphasized key phrase research.

In the content section, Crestodina offered a number of great checklists to use for hunting out key phrases, writing headlines, creating images, and writing blog articles. I have taken these and put them in a simplify checklist to help me with my blog posts and pages. He also included information on what the ideal length should be for a podcast, a video, a Facebook post, a blog post, tweets, and many other elements.

Crestodina also focused on various ways to promote content starting with email marketing. He shared ideas and strategies for building an email list and writing content for that list. Social media was another area he focused on. He listed platforms you should consider being on as well as recommendations for automation. Finally, he included strategies for increasing reach such as guest posting, interacting with influencers, and face-to-face promotion.

I thought this was a very useful book with lots of great tips and strategies. There are many ideas that I certainly can incorporate into what I do as I help others figure out this social media world. If you are interested in putting together a solid strategy for content marketing I would definitely recommend Content Chemistry as part of your library.

If you are interested in more on this topic, I would certainly love to sit down and talk with you. Feel free to contact me and see what great things that we can create together.

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Stan Skrabut

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