Book Review: Content-Based Networking by James Carbary

Book Review:  Content Based Networking by James Carbary

“Relationships are more than a side dish in life.  They’re the entree, the side dish and really the entire buffet” James Carbary

I am sure that I am not the only ‘more seasoned’ business professional out there that has been intimidated or confused about how to integrate our ‘old school’ knowledge about relationship marketing into the digital world.  For years (lots of years) I have been told and scolded by my more flexible and digitally proficient friends and colleagues that I need to start using content marketing.

It never stuck with me.  I tried all the different channels, email strategies and writing all kinds of content with little to no results.  I did, however, make a few really good friends and through their patience and persistence I was finally able to turn the corner.

As a result of reading Jame’s great book, “Content-Based Networking”, I have launched my podcast “The Financial Advisor’s Growth Show’ and have already scheduled my first guests.  More importantly, I am confident and excited (yes excited!) about identifying and reaching out to successfully invite and land new guests that I have never met because of the way James lays out the entire process.

If you love referrals…you will love content-based networking.  There is a simple and powerful system at work in this book and you can and will be able to execute upon the advice therein.  Welcome to your own breakthrough and the passionate pursuit of helping the clients you always desired to serve.

Let’s start with the definition of content-based networking,

Content-Based Networking is using content collaboration to build the exact relationships that can help you achieve your goals and dreams.  Content-Based Networking is figuring out the relationships you need to build to achieve your goals, going directly to those people, and creating content with them.

Note:  Even though the author owns a podcast-first media company that works with B2B companies, this works with any situation and just about any type of business.  

This process is a very authentic one…if you are approaching it with a selfish mindset (#taker) you are going to have a bad result.  Seriously, if you are just looking to ‘churn and burn’ some sales numbers…go back to cold prospecting.

“Relationships are about far more than just monetary or career results.”  Content-Based Networking only works if you care about the people you’re building a relationship with, regardless of whether or not you get anything in return.

Here is a brief overview of the process:

Goals – Figuring out who you need to connect with.  

James helps the reader get to the right audience.

“To make your goal more tangible, keep drilling down until you’ve identified the specific relationships you need to create.”

Then he gives the context for the next phase:

“People will want to connect with you if you’re like Oprah – if you’re shining the light on them, their dreams, and their passions.”

People – Reaching out to them

Having a target, but, never reaching them isn’t very profitable.  First James helps even the brand new content marketer have the confidence to get started:

Once you have an idea, even before you have a single piece of content, you can rightfully say, “I have a spotlight to offer.”

“Shining a spotlight is pretty simple.  Just follow the person on stage.

Once you know you can do it, he goes over in depth the 7 Must Do’s of Good Outreach:

  1.  Keep it Simple
  2. Make it easy
  3. Personalize your message
  4. Write like you talk
  5. Prove you’re not a scam
  6. Take a multichannel approach
  7. Follow-up

“It’s not about what they can do for you.  It’s about what you can do for them.”

Collaboration – Creating content with the people you want to know

Perhaps the most insightful section of the book is where he rolls out the way to create content that your target connections want to partner with you on.  This is where it starts to get really exciting:

The Three Phases of Collaboration

  1. Plan
  2. Create
  3. Share

James walks you through, in depth, each of the steps to produce great content and has lots of examples from many different industries.  You will be able to understand how to create to do this!

To be fair, like any review, this falls far short of conveying the value of the book.  I have been a coach and trainer for decades, and yet, like many of you I have been paralzyed at the beginning stages of content marketing and my referral results have suffered.  For any salesperson or sales leader I would consider this a mandatory read.  I will be adding it to the short list of books that I insist that my financial advisor clients read. 

Buy it, read it once, think about how you can improve, read again to take notes and then get started.  The really cool part is this:  James includes his cell phone number at the end of the book because he wants you to let him know what you thought of it…and he responds.

All the best,