social media book reviewsHow do you attract passionate customers?

What can you do to cut through the noise and get people to notice what you have to say?

The answer is CONTENT—interesting and compelling information that helps solve your customers’ problems.

Why Content?

It’s interesting content that drives people to push that Share button or say to themselves, “Wow! This is a great article! I think I’ll subscribe.”

Here’s an analogy: If a big-time investor invited you to pitch your business idea to him, how much effort would you make to impress him?

I’m guessing that you wouldn’t dare show up without a compelling idea and a well-thought-out strategy. And yet most businesses do just that when it comes to social media marketing.

Given the opportunity to influence an online audience of potential customers, they simply show up without preparing a compelling message. No wonder they don’t see the results they want with their social media campaigns.

Prepare Your Message

Social media rewards interesting ideas. What is your audience most interested in? Find out what that is and then create compelling stories that feed your audience and generate passionate followings.

In their book Managing Content Marketing—The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose sum it up this way: “Content is what converts customers.

Whether you call yourself a social media marketer, an Internet marketer or a traditional marketer, you should define the kind of content that interests your potential customers, develop it and then prepare for the conversion to take place.

This book shows you how to do that. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Authors’ Purpose

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose

Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi wrote Managing Content Marketing to provide the vital steps required to understand this thing called content marketing.

Let’s face it—it’s not easy to create compelling content day in, day out. In fact, without proper knowledge, it’s practically impossible. But it can be done. It starts with understanding three fundamental things about yourself and your market space:

  • Who YOU are—What’s your story?
  • Who THEY are—Your customers, and why they should care about your story.
  • What CONTENT can you provide them to build loyalty?

Ultimately you want to develop a content marketing strategy that helps you:

  • Create passionate subscribers to your brand;
  • Continually engage them with great content from the first day you meet them throughout their entire life cycle.

What to Expect

managing content marketing

This book is a reminder to all business owners and marketers that we are all storytellers, and we need to figure out how to develop stories that will win over our audiences.

At 173 pages (12 chapters) you can expect an outstanding guide for doing content marketing the right way.

Part 1 examines to WHOM you want to tell your story; WHAT story to tell; and WHERE to tell it. Part 2 shows you how to manage the strategy you’ve created in Part 1. Overall, the book digs deep and discusses the more robust processes behind content marketing.


#1: Build a Business Case for Content Marketing

Content marketing is so new that it’s hard to identify the “hard business benefits” associated with it. However, the whole idea of creating compelling content is to get customers and make money.

To develop your business case for content marketing, ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s your business goal? (What challenges are you trying to solve?)
  • How big an opportunity is it? (What is the outcome if it works?)
  • What’s the business model? How are you going to make it work? What kind of content do you need to make it work? Who will create it?
  • What’s your differentiating value? How is your content marketing going to be different from other marketing efforts you have attempted in the past; e.g., PPC or SEO? Can you anticipate success where other efforts have failed?
  • What’s the risk if you fail?

#2: Develop Your Pillars of Content

What’s your story? If you own an air-conditioning company, for example, your story is not “providing and repairing air-conditioning systems.” Your company’s story should be “providing a comfortable home experience.” Once that story has been grasped, the content ideas can begin to flow.

What's your story?

What's your story? Figure that out and the content ideas will flow. Image: iStockphoto

As you brainstorm your own content ideas, think about these questions:

  • What environment do you find yourself in currently? Who are your customers? Are they happy or frustrated? What kind of content will make them happy?
  • What’s that big, audacious goal that you have for your company? Is it to introduce a new product? What kind of experience will your new product provide to customers?
  • What happens if you launch this new product and it fails? How will you address your story then?
  • What about the frustrations you faced while developing the new product? Work that into your story and get the audience on your side.
  • How will you respond to those who said it couldn’t be done—the competition and the naysayers?
  • Reach out to other bloggers and share your point of view with them, and ask them to share theirs.
  • How will the story continue after the product is launched? Tell stories that will continue to provide thought leadership.

#3: Create Passionate Subscribers

Content generated by satisfied customers is the most powerful way to reach your content goals. Apple® is the quintessential example of this. They have no social media presence and they have no blog. But they have successfully built a passionate subscriber base that is willing to create fan sites, write, share and evangelize the Apple® brand.

passionate customers

Passionate customers create the best content.

Here’s how you can you create passionate subscribers:

  • Know your target audience—Never create content from the “inside out” (based on what you already have in your “library”). It may not be relevant. Instead think like a cable TV station and define a very specific audience. Then create content that will inspire them.
  • Feel their pain—Let’s say your customer base is 80% men and only 20% women, but your product is equally useful to both sexes. Clearly you’re not attracting enough women. What kind of content could you put in place that would attract the women who are not currently drawn to your product? For example, P&G uses a blog called to attract dads and a separate blog called to attract moms.
  • Determine the opportunity—What would happen if you could write content that eases the pain of your target audience? (Hint: “cha-ching!”) This is where RETURN on investment comes in.
  • So if the opportunity is big enough to justify spending your time and money, then pull it all together with a solid content marketing strategy.

#4: Case Study: What Happens When You DON’T Write Your Story?

If you don’t write your own story, guess what will happen? It will be written for you.

P&G found this out in early 2010 when they introduced a new Pampers product that was hailed by many as the “iPod of baby care.” It was a redesigned diaper that was thinner and more absorbent than the previous design.

But instead of repackaging the new product, P&G put the new diaper in the old packaging and didn’t communicate this to their customers. As a result, furious mommy bloggers and Facebook groups popped up all over the place calling for the company to bring back the old product.

What P&G didn’t realize is that their subscribers, in the absence of a story, would go ahead and make up a story themselves. A successful content marketing strategy would have made the launch more successful.

#5: Case Study: What Happens When You DO Write Your Story?

If you do write your own story, then YOU remain in control and can influence what your customers think about you.

In August 2010, a flight attendant on JetBlue flight 1052 from Pittsburgh to New York got into a fight with a passenger and proceeded to have a “take this job and shove it” moment! Then he grabbed a beer from the plane’s galley and slid down the emergency evacuation chute.

Over the next few hours, JetBlue’s Facebook page lit up with a torrent of angry comments. But an opportunity was brewing. The next day, JetBlue posted a rather tongue-in-cheek blog post titled, “Sometimes the Weird News Is About Us.”

What happened over the next few days was very interesting.

Slowly, the sentiment about JetBlue began to turn around. There were hundreds of sympathetic comments on the blog post and soon bloggers and the press began to notice. They wrote about JetBlue’s “comeback” and how they “survived the crisis.” Soon everything was back to normal.

Personal Impressions

A lot has been written about content marketing and there’s always a risk that another book on the same topic is just “beating a dead horse.”

However, Managing Content Marketing is modern, thought-provoking and at times even risky. It doesn’t deal with the basics (there are plenty of other books for that); rather, it focuses on helping you develop a structure for your storytelling enterprise. If you’re serious about learning how content marketing works, you won’t go too far without it.

Fair warning—there are a few bold ideas in this book, some of which made me a little skittish; for example, the ideas of budgeting for failure (page 30) and switching your story when the current one doesn’t work are not appealing, but they’re sometimes necessary.

In the end, the authors’ execution of content marketing as a business strategy is brilliant, and you can’t help but feel a little smarter for having digested it.

Social Media Examiner gives this book a 5-star rating.

Over to You

How are you using content to convert your audience into customers? Please share your ideas in the comments box below.

Image from iStockPhoto.
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  • I firmly believe in Pillar Content.  Posts that stand out and dig deep into the heart of important topics or maybe go long on your personal story.

    The standard 300-500 word post has it’s place.  Quick information… Very important.

    But a Pillar Post puts meat on the bone.  It fills the gaps and creates theory and conversation.

    Great article.

    Thank you!

    Ryan H.

  • On both of my blogs, I use content to inform and engage the reader.  My feeling is, really good content should be actionable in some way — you can go off and do this thing better or have this experience more profoundly after consuming this piece of content. “Educate, empower and entertain” could be the golden rule here!  That bit of advice comes from Amy Porterfield, I believe, when discussing Facebook engagement, but exactly the same thing could be said for blog content!  : )

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  • Patricia,

    I’m honored and humbled at such a wonderful, thoughtful and complete review.   Thank you so much for taking the time to read the book, and write such a great synopsis.  It really means so much to both Joe and I. 

  • Hi Patricia,
    Great Snapshot of content Marketing. I have built my brand and business using content marketing principles.

    The biggest thing is content strategy. If you just post about random or related topics without an idea of how it supports your larger strategy, than you are not marketing, you are just blogging.

    You should know how it supports your goal, who you are writing for, and how you are going to convert the lead. Same goes for social strategy as described here:

    Thanks Patricia!


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  • I’d be interested to know if there are any examples in this book of video campaigns or other video-related activities integrated with content marketing? What I like about this article is that it speaks to the need for customer care in your interesting content, and not just simply putting something out and expecting everyone else to engage in conversations talking about how great your product or solution is, or how great you think your brand is. I think content just for content’s sake is just the minimal ante in social media today, which without any further engagement with an audience has a backlash. Audiences come to expect that you and your brand are willing to engage with them on a genuine, person-to-person basis to some extend. Content is a great way to show that you’re listening, like a video responding to a common question, or a how-to, or even just a thank you or a commentary. It’s not about “going viral,” it’s about being genuinely social which does have real ROI benefits. 

  • Hi Patricia,
    Great Snapshot of content Marketing. I have built my brand and business using content marketing principles.

    The biggest thing is content strategy. If you just post about random or related topics without an idea of how it supports your larger strategy, than you are not marketing, you are just blogging.

    You should know how it supports your goal, who you are writing for, and how you are going to convert the lead.

    Thanks Patricia!


  • Just bought this book on Amazon as a result of your review! It looks like just what the Marketing Dr. ordered! Thanks for putting me onto this book. I needed it right at this moment!

  • Great post Patricia! Let’s face it, content development is tough to nail. It takes a lot of planning, coordination, and measurement even for the smallest of businesses. Will pick this up on Amazon!

  • predsicker

    Thanks for your comment Ryan, 

    Developing pillar content is actually quite fun because it evokes the more creative, right-brain function that produces an interesting, sharable story. I agree with you that it helps to fill gaps and create conversations. The ‘Chevy Runs Deep’ campaign comes to mind as a good example.

  • Thanks for another nice write-up Patricia. Your summaries of the most important business books are a great way to stay up-to-date on the best-written and host-helpful books.

    I’m going to have to pick up a copy of this one. It looks like it’s a great book for people who are ready to take the next step.


    — Jamie

  • predsicker

    Yeah I agree – Amy Porterfield is a smart lady (and a nice person to know 🙂

    Educate, empower and entertain are definitely the golden rule(s) of content, but as you say, persuading the reader to take some action after they read your blog is what ties it all together. Thanks Kimberly!

  • predsicker

    It was such a pleasure to read and review your book Robert. And I might add that the value that I personally gained from it is immeasurable – I’ve already started to put into practice a lot of the stuff I learned. Thank you for writing such an enlightening and relevant book.

  • predsicker

    Great point Keith. A lot of people are blogging without understanding how the blog will convert the lead. It all boils down to a precise definition of the audience that will support your overall goals i.e. buy your products/services. I’m glad that you have found success with your content marketing strategy. I think this book will give you additional insights that could inform your strategy at a much higher level. 

  • predsicker

    Great investment Neomediamarketing 🙂 I’m so glad that my review helped to inform your decison!

  • This is an area I am most interested in, but still testing the waters quite a bit. Our profession is all about the stories, life experiences, and how to inspire others. But…how much is too much/little to share with folks? This is the line I struggle with. I’ll be picking up the book, for sure. Thanks for the info.

  • predsicker

    You’re so right Nick – what makes content development so ‘tough to nail’ is that it’s a new thing (not the practice of creating content, but rather the use of specific processes geared towards content marketing). 

    That’s why it’s so cool when you have a book like this that explains exactly what those processes should be and how to implement them in a way that will benefit your business. I’m certain you will learn a lot from this book and your business will be the better for it!

  • predsicker

    Hi Jamie,

    So cool to have you here – thanks for reading my article and for your kind comments. 

    There’s no question the value packed here. For those marketers who want to move beyond basic blogging and really develop a story-telling enterprise, I believe this book is where it starts. To me, even if it’s goes a little deep, it’s a great resource for social media marketers to have!

  • predsicker

    Hi Diane, Thanks for reading my review. 

    If you’re very new to content marketing, this book might be a little heavy for you. My recommendation is that you pick up a copy of ‘Get Content, Get Customers’ by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett OR ‘Content Rules’ by Ann Handley and CC Chapman.BUT, if you’ve been telling brand stories for a while and are ready to take it to the next level, then this book will certainly give you a big bang for your buck! All the very best in story telling 🙂

  • I had an interesting thing happen at my blog on – I wrote a long study on Adwords PPC marketing for 2011 and this article, within 6 days, shot up to a PR4 (so from un-published to a PR4 in 6 days) and has been the top performing article on my blog since.

    I’ve been studying this phenomena and have come to the following conclusions about content marketing:

    1)  Lot’s of content is key – let’s just say, for general purposes, more than 600 words (preferable 1000 – 2000 words) is key

    2)  Outbound linking is key – I believe that the main reason this particular article shot up so quickly in PR is because of the outbound links.  This article has over 60 outbound links, all of which go to highly authoritative sites.  I can’t imagine this not playing a key factor in the rapid rise in PR.

    Ultimately, I agree with everything Patricia is saying in this excellent article.  I would just add to it, focusing on outbound linking so as to build the authority of your content piece.

    If anyone is interesting – you can see the article I’m talking about here: 

  • predsicker

    Hi Grant,

    Thanks for your comments.This book gives us a whole new way of thinking about content. I think when social media first came out, everyone set out to ‘do their thing’, not taking the time to ask themselves, ‘What am I really talking about here – what’s my story.’ 

    This book allows you to step back and realize that there’s a lot of work that goes into creating those great stories that we read on Huffington Post, CNN, Wired, or whatever publication. It’s a process and it’s a strategy.

    Having said that, I can’t think of specific examples of video campaigns. But again, remember that this book is a high-level read that focuses on the PROCESS of content marketing. In any case, if you choose to tell your story through video this book explains the process that goes into creating a great video campaign. So it doesn’t matter what platform you use, it’s in there!

  • Wow Patricia…simply incredible overview of the book.  Robert and I spent a lot of sweat equity into the thoughts on this book, and you really did those justice with your analysis.  Sincerely…thanks again.


  • Patricia: Thank you for a well written article! Indeed it is content that drives people and interest in whatever is spoken or written about: I coin it ALTRUISM but the real one, which is marked by a genuine giving and sharing attitude and not a trading one! Regardless of the outcome, it keeps on giving, sharing and uplifting others with truthful content, relevance and thus concern for others! The rest comes from itself automatically: that’s the beauty about Social Media: Every one is compelled to bring content and some folks like you are truly excellent at it: Thank you

  • Daniele Largo

    Always consistently on the mark! Thanks guys

  • Therese Pope

    Great article and information. I appreciated your helpful tips (especially since I’m a copywriter and content development and marketing are my main specialties). For anyone who has an online presence and owns a business (and sells products and services), you are a publisher of content. You hit the mark with online reputation management. If you don’t tell YOUR own story, someone else is going to tell it for you…and it might not be a favorable/positive story (and that could make or break your brand). Sounds like an interesting book.

  • Therese Pope

    PS – Patricia, Fantastic article. I forgot to give you kudos in my last comment! 🙂 A very timely topic. 

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  • Excellent post and so true, as a writer I write all my own content same as I make my graphics- I want to keep it real. Because we see so many post out there that are tweaked but mostly the same or are really the same word for word.

    I like when I come across something that WAS written by the blogger. It is so refreshing to see a differtent slant on Attraction Marketing or how a blogger can rehash old ideas with their own syle that makes it shinny and new-  That adds so much value to the cosmic conversation

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    Take Care Sandy

    Sandy Metcalf
    Attraction Marketing for MLMers Consultant

  • How true. As a writer I write all my own blog content and create my own graphics because I want to keep it real.

    There are so many post out there that though tweaked are basically reworded known post. Or some blog post that ARE really the re-posted word for word.

    I like when I find a blogger who post original content in my niche. Or even any old idea can be
    rehashed and made shinny and new and seen in a brighter light by a good writer.

    It is so refreshing when you find that and it ads value to the cosmic conversation 🙂

    -Keep up the good work

    Take care Sandy

    Sandy Metcalf
    Attraction Marketing for MLMers Consultant

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  • For many, the most challenging part is finding the time to create relevant content week in and week out. We’re finding success in using expert interviews as the starting point.

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  • Did I miss a link for the actual book? Thanks for the review – off to Google it!

  • Absolutely informative! I am a strong believer of the fact that ‘ Content is king’. Illustrating your points with case studies is a very great example in itself. I liked the one about’ What happens when you don’t write about your story’.

  •  Developing great content is the most challenging part of the whole process.  How do you keep fresh and original when so much is being said about so little?  How do you manage to not just re-hash the same old stuff?  Learning to write from a new angle or to really get into the minds of your target market is so important, but also so challenging.  Working towards that is what keeps us sharp.  Thanks for a wonderful book review – going on my “to read” list, for sure!

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Joe – my pleasure!

  • predsicker

    Thank you so much for your kind comments Bruno. The authors did a fantastic job explaining the power of content and it’s really awesome that folks like you appreciate what content can do for others. I agree with you – content creation is a demonstration of altruism 🙂

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Daniele.

  • predsicker

    Hey Therese,

    Nice to ‘see’ you here! Thanks for reading my article and I’m so glad that you got something out of it. And yes, it is an interesting book and very relevant for you especially in your profession 🙂

  • predsicker

    Thanks for your comments Sandy. 

    Yes I get a little frustrated too when I see content that has been scrapped and re-posted word for word. It’s unfair to the original author and unfair to the audience. Content creation is hard work though, and that’s what’s so neat about this book – it shows you how to break it down into manageable processes whose outcomes can be measured.

  • predsicker

    Hi Dave,

    I love doing expert interviews and try to do about one a month. They’re such an easy way to give your audience value and to give them a different perspective. Are you using audio or video to do your interviews? I’d love to hear more about your approach.

  • predsicker
  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading my article Henry. I hope you pick up the book 🙂

  • predsicker

    Thanks Kendra,

    Yes – the authors did a great job illustrating the risks of NOT telling your story. With everyone so concerned about reputation management these days, story-telling becomes a good way to influence what people think about you, and what they’re saying about you.

  • predsicker

    Hi Hotspot Promo,

    Thanks for reading my review and I’m glad that you liked it! Content certainly is a challenging undertaking. That’s why those who persevere and do it right will reap the big rewards. And that’s why books like this one are so important in helping us figure out how to do it right.

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  • Hi Patricia,

    Creating passionate subscribers becomes easier as you create interesting, usable content consistently. Keep it up and you attract hungry folks, eager to consume what you have to offer.

    Thanks for sharing!


  • Dennis Smith

    What is also often overlooked is profiling who your potential customers are and how you can help them solve their problems / get them what they need. THEN and only then, do you create and spin your content. A good idea is to create 1-3 potential client profiles. Spent a few hours with a client today doing that and we identified some potential lead channels we hadn’t thought of and came up with some new angles on the use of the product as well. A very worthy exercise that didn’t require much time or effort…. 

  • predsicker

    Thanks for your thoughts Tablet Crunch – I’ll check out your article 🙂

  • This is one of the best book summaries I’ve read in a long time. Well done, Patricia!

  • My company turns the expert interview process around to focus the spotlight on the site owner. When YOU interview someone, the spotlight is on THEM.  If you want to be known as the expert, the spotlight must be shined on YOU. We provide the interviewer and you are the expert. The interviews get posted to your own site as podcast, and the transcript gets edited into an article to accompany it. (posting raw transcripts is a bit primitive and doesn’t lend itself well to consumption as reading) We use professional radio announcers as interviewers and audio editors. We use professional editors to re-write the transcripts. It’s a white-glove content production service. We help you develop a 52-week outline, then in a single monthly recording session, produce a month’s worth of podcasts. We do the audio editing, the re-write and even post the finished content to your site for you. On an ongoing basis, the site owner or CEO is only required to show up for their monthly hour-long recording session. The end result is about 1,500 words per week of content…78,000 words in a year. ( The cost is similar to what you would spend for a good ghostwriter for a business book. The benefit is that you won’t have to spend the same amount of time with the writer since you’ll be speaking the content into existence.

  • davidmhuffman

    Nothing major to add here, just a job well done…really thoughtful analysis and summary of that book.  I carry it right alongside me with a couple of my other content “bibles” and an analytics book or two. 

    Great job Patricia.

  • predsicker

    Couldn’t have said it better myself – thanks Ryan 🙂

  • predsicker

    That’s a great point Dennis – the authors actually address this idea in the book. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • predsicker

    Thanks so much Nate! Really appreciate that 🙂

  • predsicker

    Thanks Dave – ‘content bibles’…I like that 🙂 I’m guessing that in  your “collection” there is also ‘Content Rules’ and ‘Get Content, Get Customers’ and one or two others? Yes?

  • predsicker


  • Thanks for asking, Patricia. We just do audio because it dead simple. Our approach is to make you the expert. When you interview someone else, you are shining the light on them. We use a professional radio announcer to interview you on your own site. It shines the spotlight on you in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re preaching or grandstanding. Solo podcasts can take on an air of grandioso. They require good prep, and you might as well just write a post. By having someone interview you (on the topic of your choice) the table is turned. It’s a genuine interview, not a prepared speech. We then have the transcript professionally edited into an accompanying article to post with the “podcast”. 10-minutes of tallking turns into a 1,500 word post. Do it every week and you’ve got a 78,000 word book at the end of the year if you’ve planned your topics out in advance. We’ve got a kick-ass planning tool that we give away for free.

    If you batch the interviews, you can accomplish this in a single monthly recording session lasting about an hour. For a busy CEO, the savings of time is the critical component of this approach. It doesn’t make as much sense for a one-person operation doing their own content marketing. If you already have an audience, customers, patrons, donors, patients, clients, minions (hehe) this is a great way for a busy leader to keep in touch in a very personal-feeling way.

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  • Ashley

    I have a tough time getting our customers engaged. Thanks for the tips!

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Ashley 🙂

  • This helps the readers specially for those people who really want to make a career in content writing & really your article definitely helps a lot!

  • Andre Gonsalves

    Very very happy to read this. I’ve been stressing the need for creative content so much I was starting to feel alone. I think putting up good enough content isn’t good enough anymore and is ruining the world. We need amazing content that adds value to the reader. I go into it more in a recent post about why semantic keyword research sucks and why mind blowing content is the way to go…

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  • Indeed! Content is the King. If you have a compelling content,
    it drives people to read further. Thus, more readers means more traffic = high ranking on search engines which results to a greater possibility of conversion.

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  • predsicker

    Thanks Andre! Amazing content is definitely what gives value to a reader. Glad to hear you’re ‘like-minded’ on this issue!

  • predsicker

    Thanks so much Nagraj!

  • GCPromos

    Great article! We’re currently developing our facebook page to include content that is interesting and geared towards our fans. This article provides a great starting point towards the right direction. We are experiencing the power of content and social media marketing and appreciate the information discussed here.

    Great job!

    Fr: Tracey
    Gutzmore Concepts
    Facebook page:
    Twitter @GCPromos:twitter 

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  • Great article
    Patrica!.Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest
    and others are attracting more and more users each day and, increasingly
    these users are businesses, advertising their products and services to
    millions of potential customers. However it is all very well to have a
    presence on these new platforms, but if you don’t have compelling content,
    people won’t stop to read it, so content is all important in bringing
    customers to your virtual door.

  • Thank you:)