[Exclusive Book Review] The Content Code By Mark Schaefer

Exclusive Book Review Content Code By Mark Schaefer

The more content you create, the more customers can find you.

Its no secret about the power of content, but what is the most daunting about it is actually creating it.

It seems a bit weird to consider a lifestyle where all you do is post for the sake of approval.

But what about the message?

When you are in business, its not a message you want to share, its a message you have to share.

Polishing every important detail for your customers to understand why you are in business is crucial to raise your profit potential.

So here's some good and bad news...bad news first.

There's currently too much content on the internet right now...and its about to get worse.

Everyday these commincations are filling up websites at an accelerating pace.

All the videos, photos, podcasts, memes etc.

The good news is, no matter how much content is being cranked out - no one can be you in making them.

And I'm writing this exclusive piece of content up for you to get on track in creating the content your customers are currently looking for.

People are waiting for you to create whats been missing...you.

Here are some takeaways on the book Content Code by Mark Schaefer.

Creating Content Is Not The Finish Line, It's The Starting Line

A piece of content is like a virtual PR agent.

It lives and travels to spread your message - in various media platforms.

These pieces of content can communicate to people certain information about you and your business.

It will not go away until it is deleted. So make good use of everything you create.

The books shows that once content is created, your job is not done.

It must travel as far as it can to its intended audience. And the author states that there must be a certain plan involved.

This plan is titled Content Ignition. A strategy to make it move by its ability to be discovered.

There are (currently) six factors to do accomplish this:

  1. Brand Development
  2. Audience and Influencers
  3. Distribution, Advertising, Promotion, and SEO
  4. Authority
  5. Shareability Embedded Into Each Piece Of Content
  6. Social Proof and Social Signals

Overall, what the book wants to emphasize with these six factors of ignition is activating the UTILITY of it - the actual use of it to your intended audience.

There is currently a "Content Shock" occuring on the internet where there is too much information and too little time.

We as business owners must begin to acknowledge this rising problem before its too late - when ad costs are high, someone else has a strong online presence offering your services effectively, and you haven't built your online network of potential customers yet.

To implement a more cost effective strategy, you can also consider an advanced form of content creation, where you build a community of people who share what you post.

To do this, build consistently to resonate with an audience.

How To Find Your Intended Audience

  1. Find an unsaturated niche
  2. Consistenly produce a volume of quality, helpful material aimed at a relevant audience (or persona)
  3. Never stop producing content

Doing a simple google search will allow you to gain a "first-glance" sense of what the current market is like for your intended audience.

If a certain type of content is being developed, but you have a goldmine of ideas to communicate it another way - well you may be onto something huge!

The author also describes three types of content that you can categorize in your strategy: Hygenic, Hub, and Hero.

Hygene content is daily inquiries and useful tips to share for right on time search. For example, how to replace a car light, how to sew a stitch, etc. This is the simple quick hit form of content that customers can discover you with.

Hub content is a source of information where people with certain interests or involved in a certain industry can rely on to get up to date. This type of content is how readers stay on your website and develop a relationship.

Hero content is where a brand or person shares their curiousity into useful content for people to follow. This is where Though Leadership is established, where you are an expert at creating extraordinary content.

Sharing the Shareability

I'm going to start this part by saying no one wants to share your content.

No one is actively looking for what you specifically wrote and thought I can't wait to share (insert your name here) work!

Most people are passive when it comes to consuming information.

As part of your Ignition strategy, you have to keep in mind to hurdle peoples passivity in sharing your content into motivation to do so...or rather INSPIRATE them to do so.

Here are some tips according to the book:

  • The content must be useful (or entertaining)
  • To define ourselves to others
  • To grow and nourish relationships
  • Self fulfilment side note: the act of receiving positive feedback for sharing makes people feel appreciated
  • To get the word out on causes and brands

As they say, sharing is caring. Content shareability is a human emotional factor. Values reflect values. It offers insight that cannot be found anywhere else.

Also, sharing content shouldn't be trivial, as a matter of fact - the more seamless, the better.

An example from the book Contagious by Jonah Berger is relayed:

1. Identify your inner remarkability

What makes you surprising, interesting or novel? What gifts do you have?

2. Help people achieve something with your content

Allow them to achieve some sort of status by being in the know on what you have to offer.

3. Make it exclusive

Offer a sense of being only for them. Something rare that makes it a secret, makes them feel special or unique.

One great tactic when it comes to offer useful content to people is by microsegmentation.

Microsegmentation is how you can differentiate your content by labeling it for a specific kind of person that you have identified within your potential customers.

Step 1. Deconstruct the segment conversations

Identify a certain theme or niche audience that can be identified, but has yet to be discovered.

Step 2: Examine and understand the segment's conversational language

Find their aspirations and painpoints from the above conversations.

Step 3: Craft your focused micro-segment content

Resonate with like-minded people that can see this kind of communication and get it.

22 Ways To Make Your Content More Shareable

  1. Have social media share buttons handy
  2. Make the content easy to access with no distractions
  3. Make it entertaining
  4. The longer you can make the value in one post the better
  5. Cause a conversation
  6. Headlines are the most important parts of your content
  7. Make it visual
  8. Make lists and infographics
  9. Share suggestions with the original content
  10. Curate content you wrote in the past
  11. Use content services to discover the best posting times
  12. Make sequels and repurpose previous content
  13. Request feedback and reviews
  14. Include practical tips that can be used
  15. Use tags and hashtags
  16. Design and format for it to be easy on the eyes
  17. Research and comment on what you discover
  18. Encourage comments
  19. Add some scarcity - they may miss out or be too late!
  20. Create content like your putting together a gift
  21. Click to tweet blog highlights
  22. Add personality to what you write

An Audience That Actually Cares

An audience of people who believe in your message is an ASSET most people don't talk about.

It's safe to say most connections on social media are weak connections at first.

But with enough nurturing, you can cause a sort of intimacy that many can't find.

Trust over time is an important concept to consider when it comes to establishing a relationship with a virtual audience.

Content is a special form of communication because most people go through a cycle or journey in learning about your business.

If your valuable content is at the right place at the right time, then a potential audience can be established over time.

The more an audience engages with your content, the more credibility you gain in providing the value they are looking for.

Always keep in mind that this asset of building an audience should be a strategy that must be implemented in everything you create.

Over time a reputation will be developed with every piece you create, and this reputation is a new found asset that develops ON TOP of your virtual audience. This reputation causes loyalty.

A good way to speed this up is by having the audience become INVOLVED in the content creation.

A Model of How an Audience is Formed

  • Non Fans
  • Light Fans
  • Medium Users
  • Heavy Users

Quotes on moving audiences up the model:

"Above All, Be Interesting" - David Meerman Scott

"Build the smallest possible audience" - Seth Godin

"Establish a communion of equals" - Marcus Sheridan

"Speak to one person" -  Bernadette Jiwa

"Publish with empathy" - Jonathan Colman

"Don't publish when you should" - Scott Stratten

"Never take the audience for granted" - Ann Handley

"Connecting content, people and conferences" - Lee Odden

"Don't Take the Party Line" - Dorie Clark

"Connect the community" - Gini Dietrich

"Be Real" - Joyce Cherrier

"Establish a common dream" Guy Kawasaki

"Aim for allies, not fans" - Chris Brogan

"Give them everything" - Mark Schaefer

Gain Access To Influence To Make Your Content Spread Like The Influenza

To really gain some traction in your content, find the people in your niche that have an established audience.

The book recommends making a list in advance.

Then creating a relationship with them, by sharing their stuff and mentioning them.

Then just ask them to share your best piece of content.

This taps into a sense of reciprocity - where people are compelled to help you out after you've helped them out.

Don't focus so much on promoting your content, but rather creating connections with people who may enjoy it.

Give, give, give, give, then ask. And give one more before you do just in case.

Competency is a great relationship builder - where you initiate the process.

  • Breaking this part all down:
  • Establish congruity
  • Be consistent
  • What makes you unique
  • Keep your eyes peeled for THE opportunity
  • Elevate your audience by being a servant leader
  • Demonstrate your expertise and market yourself
  • Surpass expectations

Content Channels Are Everywhere

Don't keep all your content in one place, there's too many opportunities of distribution to pass up.

Besides, being validated by other distribution channels is a great way to being seen as legitimate.

  • Discover where your potential audiences are
  • Extrapolate content suitable for that distribution channel
  • Consider finding a process for distribution, such as a content team or assistant
  • Even consider employees to share your content
  • Don't forget about building a solid email list
  • Master how to communicate to distribution platforms
  • Consider micro influencers
  • Brandscaping is when you mesh your brand with another like a partnership for fun
  • Tip: Facebook is the best social media channel so far
  • Newsjacking is when you create content relevant to current events

Social Proof Content

The human brain reacts to indications of status.

Where others are approving or rejecting a particular kind of person or thing.

This can be manipulated online - but social proof only works for the real deal.

So if you have an authentic way of creating content, social proof is the multiplier effect.

That's because social badges are short term, a glance and a judgement.

On the other hand, creating authentic content will resonate with future readers as long as its available.

When you have both is when you scale big!

Here's how to show your badges to grow social proof:

  • As seen on...
  • Request endorsements
  • Start with employees, friends and family
  • Collect testimonials
  • Promote accomplishments
  • Highlight customer reviews
  • Reinforce subscriber amounts
  • Screenshot positive interactions
  • Publicize customers


If you work hard to make a difference people will notice.

If this book can be summarized into one tactic it would be:

create consistent content quickly to create a credible connection with your customers.

"Create consistent content quickly to create a credible connection with your customers."

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