Category Archives: Book

Doing Content Right Book Review

Title: Doing Content Right

Author: Steph Smith

Doing Content Right is a guide for writers wanting to be successful writing to an online readership. Both new and experienced writers can take something away from the book as it covers all areas needed to be successful, and as the author notes, this isn’t always just about writing.

Here’s a breakdown from the author: The Internet has created an age of infinite leverage. But with easy access comes competition. So how do you build a successful blog in a world where millions of other people are trying to do the same thing? This resource has the answers.

  • 270 page book that comes in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI (Kindle) formats
  • Recorded lessons to digest your knowledge
  • 22 printable exercises to cement your knowledge
  • A community of 500 creators to help you execute
  • 25-question quiz to test your knowledge
  • A bonus audio section

I really liked how Steph talked about the importance of balancing creation with promotion. As she says, “People think that if it’s good, “they” will come. Quite the opposite—without intentional distribution, the content ends up sitting there, just taking up memory online.”

Another area that is important, especially to newer content creators is to differentiate yourself. It’s easy to create online these days which is great, but that’s means there’s more people than ever doing it…you have to stand out and not only rise above the noise, but aim for the very top:

…you need to be in the top 5%. – If you’re below this threshold, you no longer get the benefit of the Internet’s infinite leverage, because even 0 x14B eyeballs is still 0. Once you have earned the right for people to care about you, you have outsized gains because that right extends to people all over the globe. It’s like having the superpower.

Steph also emphasized quality over quantity while aiming for consistency and gives some direction on how to do this – I think it’s important to be consistent while realizing every piece you publish isn’t going to be a smash hit, especially if you’re newer to it or new to the area you’re writing about…but you need to publish in order to find your voice and audience!

As I just mentioned above, there’s directions on how to take action in each area. Steph includes exercises at the end of each section to help work through the book and come up with implementable take aways. I skipped around and did the ones that I thought would be useful and found them to be very helpful.

One note about these – I was reading on my Kindle and had to switch to my computer to grab some exercises, it might be better to read through the book on an iPad or laptop if you’re going to be doing a lot of these exercises.

Steph goes into detail on SEO basics for a writer, and as anyone familiar with SEO knows it’s tough for recommendations and content to stay up to date after more than a couple of years. I would urge anyone new to publishing online to certainly read through the SEO sections but to then seek out a recent guide from content-centric SEO for more up to date tool recommendations and best practices. I don’t have any big issues with this section, it’s just tough to be totally current when the book was published about 4 years ago.

I’m glad I took the time to read through Steph’s book and had many takeaways that I think will help me improve not only my writing, but my processes and outlook.

I would recommend Doing Content Right to anyone who is regularly writing online and wants to see an improvement in results in terms of readership, engagement, and conversions. Also, anyone new to publishing online will find this to be a goldmine of information, especially with the exercises included.

Exactly What To Say Book Review & Summary

I just wrapped up reading Exactly What To Say by Phil M Jones – this was a great short read that gave me some wonderful ideas on how to better use concise language to get better results more quickly.

Which means what exactly?

Well, the book is laid out into short chapters focusing on the “magic words” that you can use to get the outcome you’re looking for more quickly.

For example, future pacing is addressed where you ask the question, “how would you feel if…” and fill in the blanks with whatever fits for your discussion. For this example, maybe it would be “how would you feel if you had a short, to the point, phrase for every conversation in your life that helped you reach decisions with others more quickly?”

Well, now you’re thinking about it and creating a better mental image or feeling that is more “customized” to you than anything I could every guess at!

Each chapter has the reasoning behind using the phrase and then goes into actual examples so that you can see how (and sometimes when) to use it in case you aren’t familiar or certain.

This was a great short read that should provide both short term and long term ROI. Helping people make decisions and move conversations forward is a powerful tool.

If you’re interested in reading the book, check it out here.

You can find the audiobook here.

Win Bigly Book Review

Win Bigly, by Scott Adams, was an interesting read from my POV – it sets a lot of powerful persuasion techniques forward in the context of the 2016 US Presidential campaigns.

Regardless of whether you want to know more about the campaigns or are tired of thinking about it (or living the results) there’s something for both sides. The campaign and election is used as the background of Win Bigly to weave the story and deliver some great details and higher level concepts dealing with persuasion, how to use it, how to “detect” it, and specific ways you can use these same ideas.

I’ll admit it – this is a book that I will need to reread a time or two so that I can really soak in all of the lessons. Luckily, Scott Adams made it fairly easy to grab the details by very logically organizing the book while still using powerful storytelling. He lays out the terms and ideas needed at the beginning in an easy to read manner and gets going quickly from there.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for insights into the election or how to use high grade persuasion techniques in their personal or professional life – check out the video for more details and use that to decide if this book is the right one for you.

Grab Win Bigly on Amazon Here

Get Win Bigly on Audible (audiobook) Here


Building A Story Brand Book Review


On the recommendation of a copywriter friend (Adam Bensman at Brain Hickey – check him out!) I read Building A Story Brand while on the road a few weeks ago.

The book is an easy to read framework for realizing how to position your business or brand as a story that your customers want to be a part of. This is different than telling your customers a story about yourself or just making something up – you’re given the framework to tell the story (on your website, in your copy) about why your customers need your business.

The step by step layout is great and goes through the arc of a story that you need to then insert yourself and your customers into in order to create this story that builds brands and loyal customers that are drawn to you.

It reminded me of Russell Brunson and all of the stories he tells. Do you know why he tells so many stories to get his points across? It’s because we as humans are wired to be more receptive to stories and find them much more interesting than logic, even when the same ideas are being communicated…and they can be highly persuasive.

But, back to the book.

It’s a great read that is very actionable and gives you the framework to start defining your brand in a manner that will ultimately help draw the customers you want closer. Definitely worth the few hours to read it.

And there’s an added bonus – the last section deals with putting the story into practice on your website and in your company culture. Good stuff!

You can grab your copy of the book here:

Or get the Audible version here:

The story engine book review

The Story Engine Book Review

The good news – this is a really easy recommendation. If you know you need or want to create more content, with higher quality, and better processes, stop what you’re doing and grab this book. It will help you – that’s the bottom line!

Of course, if you’re like me you might want to find out more – in that case, just watch the video above for the full Story Engine book review.

It’s a great short and to the point read that you can easily get through in less than a week (and I’m sure many people could tackle it in 1 or 2 readings). That isn’t a bad thing, it’s got a lot of value and not a ton of fluff.

If you’re ready to grab your copy, you can get it at Amazon via this link:

As mentioned, there’s a lot of resources available for free with this book – you can get your hands on the PDF’s, spreadsheets, and more to take your content marketing game up a few notches.

The only people that I would not recommend this book to are the ones who are VERY new to content marketing or just getting started with writing online.

This book assumes some knowledge of the area and is really meant for the business or blog owner that wants to create and utilize better processes for some real world content marketing results.

If you liked The Story Engine book review leave me a comment or click on the YouTube embed and leave a comment there.

work less make more review

Work Less Make More Book Summary


James Shramko starts off his book with a great metric that we should all consider: Effective Hourly Rate, or “EHR”. If nothing else, you should take away from this Work Less, Make More review that regularly reviewing and estimating your EHR and then taking steps to increase it can be hugely beneficial.If you’ve watched the summary video above and want to grab your own copy, you can get it here:

Now, for those of you that have been running your own businesses for several years, this may seem on the simple side. However, I’ve personally found time and time again that simple is good – right?

This EHR metric is something that I’m going to put into my toolbox and evaluate quarterly. It’s a great way to see how effective you are, and it can apply at all scales (business, project, tasks, etc).

What I liked about the layout of this book was the remaining chapters of the book that James uses to give actionable advice on how to increase your EHR.

For example, one of the first areas you can (and should) work on is your effectiveness or productivity. Start monitoring your time, what areas are producing a return, and how you can minimize the bad, and expand the good. Just taking time each week or even month to look at this and make positive moves can have an enormous effect.

In the book, he then goes beyond this and into many different areas such as building a team, creating systems and processes to grow, and something that I personally found to be a great idea – “the infinity project”.

What’s that?

It’s a project, or projects that you can have  your team work on when there is down time. Once you have a team there’s certainly going to be hours or parts of days where they might be between projects or waiting – don’t let that go to waste, have them engaged in a long term project that highlights their strengths.

I highly recommend Work Less, Make More for a quick but engaging read that will give just about anyone some good ideas and strategies that they can put to use immediately.


profit first book review

Profit First Book Review & Breakdown Summary

This review and breakdown of the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz was born out of necessity. While my businesses are profitable, we haven’t had a system that guides us to more complex financial decisions. Sound familiar?

Check out the video review for more details, but the idea behind this book is that profit CAN be planned for. More than that, it should be planned for and we should stop thinking in the Revenue – Expenses = Profit mindset.

However, it goes further and defines the framework by which you can accomplish this – which I certainly appreciate as there is no shortage of books that have goals and ambitions but not as much actionable content.

However, Profit First has a lot for you to do! I suggest giving the 200 or so pages a quick read through for the main ideas, which are:

  • Focus on profit
  • Set up a system that uses multiple accounts, removes temptation, and enforces rhythm
  • Complete an instant assessment (free)
  • Set targets based on assessment and move towards them

On top of these main ideas, the book delivers the steps needed to move towards your Targets from your Current state.

Who would this book be good for? If you own your own business, freelance, or are otherwise in charge of the financial well being of yourself, then it’s worth checking out.

You’ll have work to do – there’s no free lunch, but this gives you the frame work to increase profitability according to a set system.

As an added bonus the  book offers many insights into cost cutting and how to approach financial problem solving; reducing debt, increase utility of existing assets and more.

Grab your copy of Here or Get The Audiobook Here

High Profit Prospecting Book Review Notes

Just finished up this book and wanted to share my notes as I found a lot of value in it.

I’m interested in learning more about prospecting and the processes and strategies that I can use and this book delivered – lots of actionable content and good advice. I really liked that Mark Hunter went into detail on nearly every topic and provided scripts to get started with for people like myself who don’t have an extensive history of using the phone for outreach.

Another high point was his insistence of scheduling – getting your process down and making time for prospecting is really important and like many other areas, you HAVE to make time for it in order to be effective.

I recommend grabbing it for yourself if interested. You can see it on Amazon right here.

Below are my notes from each chapter:

Chapter 1
  • Definition of prospecting: An activity performed by sales and/or marketing departments to identify and qualify potential buyers
  • It’s not rocket science
  • Need to use all tools
    • Old school cold calls
    • In person visits
    • Internet / Email
  • Sales is an art
Chapter 2
  • Myths
    • One and done – blast emails doesn’t work.
    • I’ll prospect when done with current clients – you’ll never get around to it
    • It’s impossible to have dedicated time to prospect – stop being lazy and schedule it or you’ll pay for it down the road
    • We’ve made it this long without prospecting – good for you. Enjoy the good times and start prospecting now or your pipeline will be empty eventually.
    • If we provide great customer service we don’t need to prospect – customer service is very important but will rarely deliver the amount of NEW clients you need
    • Only “born salespeople” can prospect – wrong, anyone can.
Chapter 3
  • Your attitude is your problem
  • Prospecting can be difficult, don’t make it harder by having a bad attitude – prospects WILL feel your attitude
  • You will be rejected, and you don’t know if it’s because of a bad day, they don’t like you, or something else entirely. Get used to it
    • View each contact as an opportunity to positively impact that person
Chapter 4
  • Prospects don’t want average
  • Answer these
    • What about my process is compelling to the customer?
    • Does my prospecting process result in the customer having false expectations about what I sell, and thus force me to spend time later in the selling process reshaping them?
    • Is my prospecting process effective enough to help reduce the amount of time I spend negotiating with customers?
    • Is my prospecting process  focused more on sharing with the customer what I have to offer or is it more about uncovering information about the customer?
    • Is my prospecting process segmented enough to allow me to uncover customer needs faster from different types of prospects than if I used the same process for everyone?
    • How does the customer see me and how I can help them?
    • How long does it take for a lead or prospect to have confidence in me?
  • Additional 30 questions in the book to help measure your effectiveness and process
  • Notice – no mention of CRM. Don’t blame your CRM – fix your problems and process.
Chapter 5
  • Fit prospecting plan to your market
  • Who are you selling to, what are you selling?
    • 7 questions
      • Do I sell a consumable or something people buy on a regular basis?
      • Is what I sell considered a routine purchase or is it a capital expenditure / major expense (various depending on who you’re selling it to – keep that in mind)
      • Are my customers professional buyers who interface with numerous salespeople?
      • If the customer chooses not to buy from me, are they buying from my competitor, or not making a purchase at all?
      • Are my prospects currently buying what I sell from someone else?
      • Is what I sell purchased via a contract, quote, or some other type of deadline process?
      • Are customers familiar with what I sell or is it something I need to educate them about?
  • One size DOES NOT fit all
Chapter 6
  • Prospecting is NOT the last thing on your to-do list
  • Time for prospecting means actually prospecting
    • Not setting up to prospect
    • Not reading about prospecting…
  • Does your clock match your prospects clock?
    • When are they most likely to be responsive to your call/email/visit?
Chapter 7
  • Who you prospect will determine the price you get
  • Ask current customers who else might benefit from what you sell
  • Engage competitors customers frequently
    • When they fail to deliver, you’ll be a known entity who can help them and win their business
  • Tip: Out of office emails may have CC of next person in line or another contact…hit them up!
    • Don’t ever think you should only have 1 contact at a company
  • Use industry events and organizations
  • Don’t forget your past clients
    • Surprising amount of work / sales can be made here
  • A “No” is never permanent
  • Who are your customers customers?
    • Dig in and know the industry, will help you sell to your customer
  • Calling your friends is NOT prospecting!
Chapter 8
  • 6 ways to separate prospects from suspects
    • Have they told you when they are going to make a decision?
    • Have they shared with you a piece of proprietary information?
    • Do they have a need you can help them with?
    • Are you sure they’re the decision maker?
    • Do they have the financial ability to buy?
    • Has one of your competitors already clearly developed the customer’s expectations?
      • If you’re being invited in late to quote…it’s probably too late
  • Price does not belong in prospecting
Chapter 9
  • Your prospects don’t care about you
  • Don’t start with crap about you and your company, how can you HELP or BENEFIT the person you’re contacting?
  • You want 2 things from first contact
    • Find out 1 piece of information about the company and/or person with whom you’re talking
    • Secure a next step, either in-person meeting or another call at a designated time
    • DO NOT overcomplicate first contact. Dig deeper in second contact.
  • 3 ways to get first contact
    • Referral
    • Key insight/info (you provide to them)
    • Value statement (what benefits them)
Chapter 10
  • Phone calls (cold calls) still work
  • Don’t do a real “cold call” however
    • make an “informed call”
    • maybe as simple as being in the same industry as other clients and you know you can help
  • Don’t ever stop at 1 point of contact
    • Prospecting takes perseverance – many people might just miss the email/phone call, etc
  • Book has list of 10 ways to get phone numbers
Chapter 11
  • Make early morning phone calls
  • Can also finish day with “5 calls after 5” or something like that
  • Prospecting during holidays works well
    • May get you through to people you would normally not reach
      • Higher level people rarely take as much time off as their assistants or employees
Chapter 12
  • Telephone best practices
    • make it about prospect not you
    • Speak with energy and believe in yourself
    • If a door closes on you, find another door
    • Be prepared – 3 possible things can happen, you need to be ready for each:
      • Person you want answers
      • A gatekeeper (assistant) answers
      • voicemail
    • Always use a quality headset for good audio
    • Use the day wisely, keep records of what was said and when you called
    • Never think 1 call is all it takes
    • Never leave the same voicemail twice with the same person
    • Call right before top of hour for busy people (between meetings)
    • Never give up
Chapter 13
  • Telephone scripts – see book
Chapter 14
  • voicemails – keep them short – everyone HATES long voicemail
  • Examples in book
  • Can be effective if done right
Chapter 15
  • Emails
  • Keep them short and to the point
    • Does email have a call to action?
    • Does it carry a benefit the receiver can relate to?
    • Does it have a personal connection with the receiver?
    • Is it time sensitive?
  • Examples of subject lines and intros in book
  • How to leverage interests and strategic words
  • Email scripts in book
Chapter 16
    • For god’s sake, just do it. It’s easy and you can do it anytime you deliver something positive to a client
    • keep person who gave referral in the loop
Chapter 17
  • You need a social media strategy
  • Use it, don’t abuse (overuse) it
  • It’s part of your process, not the whole process
  • List of questions in the book to help you decide who and where to use it
Chapter 18
  • Some more info on social media
Chapter 19
  • Getting past gatekeepers
  • Always treat gatekeepers with respect
  • Talk to them like you would talk to their boss
Chapter 20
  • Don’t overcomplicate large business prospecting
  • Answer:
    • What are the goals/objectives they need to accomplish?
    • What barriers are they facing?
    • What is the timeline they operate under?
    • Where is the power within the company?
    • What is the company’s tolerance for risk?
  • Challenge is in finding who can help you answer these questions
  • Avoid being routed to purchasing department
Chapter 21
  • Reaching the C-suite
  • May not always be the best route
  • What you’re selling needs to deserve their special attention
    • special budget considerations
    • strategic value
    • helps them achieve annual objectives at risk
    • implications on long term goals and objective CEO has set
  • They think differently from average prospects
    • (long list in book) Basically:
      • longer time frame mentally
      • high integrity and regard for integrity
      • cautious
  • Emailing and calling C-suite techniques in book
  • Connecting is also possible via mutual friends – bypass caution with referral
  • Can take much longer than normal prospecting
Chapter 22
  • Walk away from lead – have plan for when you will do this. Highly dependent on your business, but stick with your plan.
  • It’s a prospecting pipeline, not a parking lot
    • Don’t keep people on “active” list who aren’t moving forward
Chapter 23
  • You don’t win prizes for prospects you can’t close…
  • 6 rules
    • Never provide the prospect with enough information to make a decision without you
    • Never allow a specific price to enter your discussion during the prospecting phase
    • Never forget the most valuable asset you have is your time
    • Never become mesmerized by the lead who claims they want to do business with you right now
    • Never make contact with a prospect just for the sake of making contact. YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN. Don’t send those bullshit “just checking in” emails or voicemails.
    • Never forgo the quick sale for the sake of landing “the big one”