“Content Rich: Writing Your Way To Wealth on The Web” Book Review

Copywriting — that addictive practice of crafting words that sell — has captivated me for nearly 8 years now. After clipping my favorite ads and looking with wonder at the likes of Bly, Bencivenga, Sugarman, and Halbert, I realized that the same techniques, tactics, and strategies can be used to literally write your own paycheck from the World Wide Web. Of course, as bright entrepreneurs making the most of it from our dorm rooms, that’s what we’re all here for, right?

I got the opportunity to check out an interesting book on the power of words on the Web to boost both sales and credibility. It’s called “Content Rich: Writing Your Way to Wealth on the Web” and it definitely lives up to its name! Jon Wuebben, the book’s plainspoken, copy lovin’ author, takes you from the history of SEO and the Web itself, to the importance of writing for people and the search engines, and finally all the way up to straightforward steps you can take to build websites that attract visitors and sales alike.

What makes this book stand out is that it is not a total handholding fest – the author assumes that as a professional, you have a certain level of intelligence. While the book does go into some of the basics of SEO copywriting, it does assume you’ve been around the online neighborhood a few times. It’s been my experience that the internet reflects some of the best and brightest in the world, why not have books that appeal to that intelligence?

Moving back to the content, Jon does very well at covering all the many different areas where copy plays a role, from general site copy to copy for newsletters and emails. As a consultant, I stress the importance of being a versatile copywriter to all of my clients, colleagues and friends, so it’s refreshing to feel that Mr. Wuebben is on my side in that respect.

Jon’s style best shines through with his examples, as such the one on pages 91 – 99 where he shares a direct response piece he wrote for the front page of a website. It’s one of the best examples I’ve seen of the classic long form salesletter, one of my favorite pieces of copy to write – much to the chagrin of my colleagues (and maybe even some of my clients!)

There’s even a section on SEO copywriting for large corporations – the type that are traditionally reluctant to invest much time and/or resources into online copy. Favorite tip from this section: make sure your technicians and marketers are in sync with the changes you need to make to fully optimize a site. While not everyone online is a Coca-Cola or a Xerox yet, this is a great piece of advice for the time you will need to delegate!

One of my usual gripes about books that attempt to teach copywriting is the lack of case studies. Jon has included three interesting case studies for our convenience – the examples range from a corporate housing website to an insurance company to an educational site about mortgages. In each example, Jon gives the background of the company, their wants, and the opportunities each site has to improve upon. This sets the scene for Jon to present the “after” part of the website, where he and his team have improved each site dramatically.

If this book has any opportunities of its own to improve, I think it is in the section where Jon attempts to show newcomers how to get started into this business. It’s a fairly small section in this book compared to the others, and with a back-story as interesting as Jon’s, I had expe4cted more clarification. Having been writing copy for the Web for 5 years, I was able to fill in the gaps all right, but bright green newbies may have some stumbling blocks that need to be filled with other books. It’s a fairly weak minus in the sea of so many pluses, but it needs to be addressed.

The world of SEO oriented copy is large, but with Jon’s book, I have full faith that each and every one of you is on your way to the lifestyle you desire – and then some!

As always, work hard, play hard, love easily!

Isabella “Niche Lady” Murphy, the Staying Paid Diva

A special thanks to Isabella for reviewing the book! She is a copywriting queen as she mentions. If you are every looking for her services, be sure to get at her through her blog or through Twitter on @nichelady.

I’ve got some other books that I’d be interested in having people review, so if you are into reading business, entrepreneurship, or sales types of books, drop me a line and we can set something up! I get requests everyday to review books, so there is always something new!

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