I first came across Melanie Deziel when I stumbled upon a New York Times article for the Netflix release of Orange Is The New Black. At the time, it was (and still remains) one of the best examples of interactive long-form content that I’ve ever read.
A regular keynote speaker at Content Marketing World – with a witty Twitter account to boot – Melanie is one of the top experts in the content marketing space. The Content Fuel Framework is her first book and, as someone who is always looking for engaging content for brands and interesting blog topics, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
The premise of the book appears simple at first – Melanie teaches you how to maximise your creativity and come up with more content ideas. But what sets this book apart from the likely hundreds of other books on content marketing is that it focuses on the how.
Melanie has created a systematic framework for thinking about content in a way that you would if, say, someone asked you to write down the names of every person you have ever met. For example, you might first start with close family and friends, then work colleagues, then perhaps work your way through the alphabet. Melanie applies this categorised brainstorming process to content creation, making idea generation appear “effortless and nearly automatic”.
The book is divided into two parts: the Focus – the lens through which a message or story is told, and the Format – the way said message or story is brought to life. Each part is then divided into 10 easy chapters that provide detailed and helpful examples of the 10 most frequently used focuses and formats among marketers and creators.
One of the key takeaways is to begin with your message before you decide on the format.
“When we start with a format instead of a focus, we are assuming that how we say something is more important than what we say. And that is simply not true.” Melanie says.
Each chapter is a quick read, which lends itself to being consumed in the morning over a cup of coffee or when you find yourself with only a spare 5 minutes throughout the day to pick it up.
This book is for marketing teams, business owners, freelance writers and anyone who has ever stared at the wall wondering what to write about next. Whether you are struggling to fill a content calendar or trying to come up with new ways to promote your product or service, reading Melanie’s book first will push you to consider new ways to tell your story.
Bonus: There are plenty of fun footnotes along the way.