Killer Flagship Content – a Chris Garrett eBook Review!

Why does your blog or site exist? What is its purpose? Can you sum up its essence with a few words? If you can’t answer these off the top of your mind, that means your content strategy might need to be tightened up. It might also means that you haven’t got any flagship content.

What Is Flagship Content?

Chris Garrett has published an eBook called Killer Flagship Content: How to Create and Promote Truly Compelling Blog Resources that explains the importance of defining your blog and content through one particular element. As he points out, “one way of looking at it is to think of Flagship Content is as the “go-to” resource for your niche. Just like Wikipedia is the lazy bloggers go-to reference for general research, your Flagship Content is the place everyone will link to when they think of your topic. When people visit your killer content and find it valuable, they will want to subscribe to your blog, sign up to your email list and come back again and again. And tell their friends. And buy your stuff.”

With a clear and prominent piece of flagship content, you’re suddenly definable by both your readers AND search engines. It makes you more focused and helps you establish a stronger niche presence. Chris Garrett does a great job of explaining why you need to develop your own identifiable content strategy in his eBook, as well as offering tips and ideas on getting started. Here are some highlights:

  • Be an expert. What is your expertise? How can you share it with your readers? What value would you provide them with?
  • What are people looking for when they come on your blog or site? Are you answering these people’s needs? If not, how can you develop a content strategy based on your readers’ desires?
  • Read other blogs. Do you see any gaps or opportunities you could fill in with your own expertise? Chris Garrett mentions in his eBook that “your audience is your best asset. I have said this over and over. If you don’t already have an audience, borrow someone elses!”

The author also tackles the aspect of promoting your flagship content and provides advice on gaining and maintaining traction.

This eBook is free but you do need to subscribe to Chris Garrett’s blog to benefit from this opportunity. Click here if you want to download your copy!

279 Days to Overnight Success eBook Review

Chris Guilllebeau’s story is truly inspiring. I remember first reading about him in a La Presse article from a few years’ back. At the time, they were covering Chris’ around-the-world on a budget adventure for the paper. I recall thinking how great it would be to live this sort of life and wondered how he managed to do that.

Well, my curiosity is now satisfied since Chris Guillebeau has bared it all in his great 279 Days to Overnight Success eBook! Indeed, this document is unusually practical, useful and inspiring to anyone wanting to start their own professional blog. The author managed to become successful in less than a year and shares his process with you. Here’s what I liked:

  1. There are tons of detailsIf you’ve never written a blog before, but desire to make a living out of one, this eBook will tell you how to get started – right from the beginning (observing, monitoring, planning) up to monetizing your project. It covers technical aspects, posting schedules, finding inspiration and a voice, successes and mistakes, examples from other bloggers, etc. The author even shares his 2009 annual revenue! In short, here’s what Guillebeau thinks you need to get your professional blog started:
    • Create a Compelling Story and Be Remarkable
    • Clearly Answer the “Reason Why”
    • Prioritize Writing and Marketing Over Everything Else
    • Be Bigger than I Really Am
    • Build Long-Lasting Relationships
    • Carefully Introduce Products and Services


  2. Chris talks about his own experience

Chris Guillebeau is using his personal story and experience to guide his readers on their journey. Though this is common practice on blogs, I’ve seen few eBooks written in this fashion. This style of writing is great to engage your readers and give them a sense of belonging. This is a fun, entertaining and enlightening document which I truly enjoyed reading.

  1. The design and layout is gorgeousI truly believe that form and function go hand in hand. You won’t notice much the layout of a well-designed document, but you will definitely notice one that isn’t. The latter are difficult to read, bland and look unprofessional. If you want to go viral and be taken seriously, your work should reflect this, both inside and out.
  2. Blog monetization is coveredEven though monetization is definitely a hot topic, few documents tackle it clearly and with pragmatism. Do you want to go beyond Adsense? Do you wonder what your other options might be? 279 Days might give you the answers you’re looking for. I especially like the portraits of bloggers he presents near the end of the eBook – each comes from a specific background and managed to become successful through social media efforts. Quite inspiring.

Kudos to Chris Guillebeau (which is not an unusual surname in my part of the world, Chris!) for putting together such a great eBook. Make sure you get your own copy here. You can also check out other articles he’s written right here.

2 Great Books for Whitepaper Writers and Marketers

Numerous research studies have shown time and again that white papers are very powerful marketing tools to show thought leadership and generate leads while also providing critical information to both technical and business decision makers. White papers are meant as a “soft sell”. They typically discuss solutions for the problems facing a customer rather than just doing a “hard sell” for a product or service. White papers also offer insight and serves as how-to guides for a particular target audience.

Common white paper types include solution overviews, technology briefings, buyer’s guides, planning and implementation guides, application guides, ROI guides, case studies, business implication discussions, strategy discussions, industry trend overviews, issues analyses etc

  • How do you get started on writing and marketing a white paper?
  • What are the various components of a white paper?
  • How do you ensure the white papers land in the hand of the right decision makers?

There are two great books that deal exclusively about white papers and provide answers to these questions:

The White Paper Marketing Handbook” by copywriting master Robert Bly, freelance copywriter and author of numerous articles and books on direct marketing.

Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged” by white paper guru Michael Stelzner, editor of the WhitePaperSource newsletter, a publication dedicated to helping writers and marketing professionals master the art of white papers.

Michael Stelzner & Robert Bly have both written numerous white papers for many of the world’s most recognized companies. They have been in the trenches and every chapter in both the book is filled with practical tips based on their own experiences writing white papers and marketing them.

Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged

“There are really only two ways to write white papers: (1) by focusing on your self-interests or (2) by concentrating on the interests of your readers. The self-interest or “chest-beating” approach focuses exclusively on a product, service or solution by expounding on its benefits, features and implications. While effective in some circumstances, this approach is best left for something other than a white paper, such as a data sheet or product brief.”
– Michael Stelzner

In “Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged”, Michael Stelzner reveals his insights and tips about creating compelling whitepapers.Michael Stelzner highlights that whitepapers are used for three main reasons: to show thought leadership, for lead generation and to close sales. He has terrific advice on every step to writing a white paper – from start to finish; picking the right topic, identifying readers, deciding on clear objectives, developing an outline, doing research, writing and marketing a white paper. He also shares valuable and practical tips on getting started with the first page, choosing a compelling title, writing the core, formatting the whitepaper and marketing the white paper to get it in the hands of the right decision maker.

Take a look at the book excerpt and its table of contents here.

The White Paper Marketing Handbook

“The best white papers have two things. The first is that they are conversational, natural language-driven. It’s really two people talking to each other in an informal tone. The second is to not focus on why your readers should use a certain product, but how it can benefit them. I like to give tips that the readers can use even if they don’t use my product. The main thing is they should be able to get value out of reading your white paper even if they don’t ultimately buy your product. Too often, people think writing white papers means ‘sell this product’.”
– Robert Bly

In “The White Paper Marketing Handbook”, Robert Bly, discusses about how to create effective white papers and to build successful marketing campaigns to create interest, generate leads, build relationships, and ultimately drive sales. He shares a ten-step process of creating and increasing demand with effective use of white papers. The case studies in his book bring to light many practical applications of white papers in real-world situations.

5 key take aways from Michael Stelzner’s book

  • Give value to your reader: The whitepaper’s underlying strength rests on this premise: If you give readers something of value, they will give you their loyalty, and ultimately their business.
  • Identify your reader: Asking many questions to clearly define the ideal reader will not only help you bring clarity to your white paper project, it will also enhance your credibility.
  • Adopt problem-solution approach: By leading with some challenges faced by your readers and suggesting how to solve their problems, you can develop a compelling white paper that engages readers.
  • Include a “call to action”: Provide an actionable step that guides readers once they reach the end of your whitepaper. This will help keep prospects engaged with your solution.
  • Interview experts: To obtain “content-rich” whitepapers interview experts to speed up the research process and get access to information that you will never find on your own.

5 key take aways from Robert Bly’s book

  • Focus on reader: White paper should focus on the reader’s issue or problem and offer information that will lead him or her towards a solution. A white paper should not be a sales brochure or company data sheet.
  • 3 U’s formula: “3 U’s” formula for crafting titles is also applicable for creating for a white paper as well. Be ultra-specific, unique and useful to your ideal readers.
  • Integrated Marketing: A white paper should effectively fit into successful Integrated Marketing Communications efforts. It should have consistency with the messaging in other marketing collaterals.
  • Edu-marketing strategy: Educate and inform potential customers. This will in turn lead to business success.
  • Don’t sell: White paper should be a “soft sell” and is intended to make a favorable impression with the reader about the product or service.

Given all the buzz about content marketing, I highly recommend reading “Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged” & “The White Paper Marketing Handbook“. These books are not just for whitepaper writers and marketers. The lessons learnt from both these books can be applied to writing and marketing any other form of content as well.

Buy both the books, read them and keep them handy for reference.

5 Marketing eBooks by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is one of the most prominent figure of internet marketing and social media. He is also a prolific bestselling author, the mastermind behind Squidoo andChangeThis, a guru and, we suspect, connected to some form of higher extra-terrestrial intelligence.

So we mere mortals have selected 5 eBooks out of Seth Godin’s impressive whitepaper collection and are presenting them to you, our awesome readers. The papers cover diverse aspects of internet marketing, from going viral to selling a book. Read below for a recap and download links. Oh, and they are all free! Isn’t the internet great?

1- Unleashing the Idea Virus

According to Godin, “Marketing by interrupting people isn’t cost-effective anymore. You can’t afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing messages, in large groups, and hope that some will send you money. Instead, the future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.”

Your consumers are ready to promote your products. This book will teach you how to harness that marketing power.

DOWNLOAD Unleashing the Idea Virus HERE!

2- Marketing Mismatch – When New Won’t Work with Old

There’s been a lot of press around old and new marketing. Social media, brand monitoring and “joining the conversation” are all key phrases being thrown around these days, but how to apply them to your business model? How can you make it work? Marketing Mismatch approaches this dilemma in ten points that could change the way you do business.

DOWNLOAD Marketing Mismatch HERE!

3- The Tribes Casebook

The Tribes Casebook supports Godin’s bestselling Tribes book (amazon link) and is all about communities. Aah, the mysterious power of communities, packed with potential customers, the 21st Century gold mine. Harnessing and contributing to communities is a daunting prospect for many companies. Here Godin attempts to shine some light on these tribes by covering and describing in details the constructive aspects underlying them.

DOWNLOAD The Tribes Casebook HERE!

4- Everyone’s an Expert (About Something)

“This book is for anyone who wants more online traffic, more revenue, more followers, more attention, more interest, more donations or more influence. The paradox, of course, is that the best way to get all these things is by delivering less.”

Do we need to say more?

DOWNLOAD Everyone’s an Expert HERE!

5- How to Sell a Book (or Any New Idea)

This great eBook builds upon the concept of the Tribes paper (listed above) but applies it specifically to the book industry. The basis of this eBook is quite simple: Sell one book to someone who will love it. Not because he’s a friend, but because he loved your writing. If he loved it, his tribe will pick up on it and your audience will grow. According to Godin, “if you don’t have a book that can galvanize a tribe, if you don’t have a product that will spread, if you don’t have a service that will generate passion among a group of people, you must stop what you’re doing and start over.” You want to know why?

DOWNLOAD How to Sell a Book HERE!

Have you read any of these eBooks by Seth Godin? We would love to read your reviews! You’re all welcomed to contribute in the comments.