I won’t even try to call this a fair book review or a book review, at all, though that’s what I’m calling it in the title (to increase my SEO relevance). Rather, I just felt compelled to write something after reading it, which, on the face of it, is good for something, right? After all some inspiration followed, even if the work gave me a bit of nausea.
This book was good. I can’t say that it wasn’t, as it was informative, but at times it felt a little smarmy, like with a tone of Jack Welch if he were a flakey new age dude running a Silicon Valley start-up rather than being an old guy golfing, or doing whatever old white guys like Jack Welch do in their twilight years after being revered for decades as a captains of industry by dudes in dark suits who went to schools with ivy on the buildings and don’t have callouses on their hands- Yay for them.
In fact, I guess that’s the problem of the narrative of this book for me is that it tried too hard to take on the tone of the organizational leadership thought genre (i.e. Jack Welch, Peter Drucker, etc…) with a dash of Gavin Belson (fictitious Hooli CEO in HBO’s Silicon Valley, played by Matt Ross) and a hint of Seth Godin or Guy Kawasaki, only not as good as any of those references, singularly or cumulatively. If you want that kind of stuff, I would recommend Fried and Hansson’s Rework, which is fantastic!
The book should be called: Inbound Marketing: A Better Sounding Name than Online Hucksterism in the 21st Century, but that’s not as catchy and perhaps too earnest… so it’s actually called Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online and its written by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah and it has its merits, but this definitely won’t be a go-to in my library. I had to put it down a couple times because I just felt like I was learning about the ins and outs of snake oil sales or horse trading. There was a lot of discussion about making and crafting content and using digital marketing practices to get people to the content with VERY little emphasis put on actually creating quality content or doing something that is of some intrinsic value. When I realized that this was a manual of digital marketing ploys and schemes (i.e. best practices), with a bit of philosophical business perspective for good measure and that I would never actually use this book, because, well, maybe, I’m just not cut out for the world of digital marketing (but that won’t stop me from using my ploys on you, the innocent reader, with my carefully crafted titles, tag lines and SEO-frienldy content – BAAAHHAAAAAHAAA). Then I imagined myself as Mad Men’s Don Draper overlooking the Manhattan skyline doing a dreamy pitch to a full conference room where he used phrases like ‘SEO’, ‘Pay-Per-Click’, and “AdWords” all with the intention of increasing ‘click-throughs’…
Sexy stuff, right…
Not. Even. A. Little.
But the dudes who wrote this book graduated from MIT and have a book and a website that, based on their self-congratulatory tone, must be doing something for somebody, but right now that self-congratulations are doing nothing for me, except making me think that they’re up to something unseemly, so it goes… Probably that’s why I’m here and they’re there, wherever that is that successful self-congratulatory people go and hang. Judging by the picture below, it’s a good place; they have really big smiles. I think that they are really happy. Cool for them.
So, I read the book, learned some stuff and it will be useful, but I must say that this book, for me, frames everything that’s wrong with content generation today, least of all being that people use terms like content generation rather just doing quality writing, taking great photos or producing thought-provoking short films. Each of these is the content in question, but taken as commodities to increase a brand’s visibility or get more ad conversions is a real bummer. After reading this book I think that I’m going to try to suck less, in a general and universal way, and to do more to make the world a beautiful place.* Frowny face.**
* I may or may not use the tactics outlined in this book to draw greater attention to the beautiful work that I intend to create.
** Not for this book, but for my worldview.