What separates a failed content marketing strategy from an effective one? To help us find out, we brought in Joe Pulizzi (Website | LinkedIn | Twitter).
Joe is the godfather of content marketing. He founded the Content Marketing Institute in 2007, and he also is credited with coining the phrase “content marketing.”
Joe is also a Co-Founder of the Orange Effect Foundation. On this episode he discusses the process of creating the content marketing category, why content marketing strategies fail, and more.
Joe’s Background in Content Marketing (4:00)
- He feels that he “lucked into it.”
- He was working in media, and saw that companies would want a voice.
- How Joe literally created the category of “content marketing” by insisting on the new title.
Finding Unique Revenue Models - (10:15)
- Joe gives the example of Star Wars: George Lucas gave up up front money in order to get merchandising rights.
- Ticket sales were ~$4.5 billion, whereas merchandising sales were ~$12 billion.
- “You have to look at things a little bit differently. Things are changing. You don’t necessarily have to monetize an audience one way.”
- Dreamforce is an example of this, it’s a marketing tool that also generates revenue for itself.
- The Lego Movie is another great example.
How to Build an Audience - (15:50)
- “It takes time to build audience trust. This stuff doesn't happen overnight. Maybe in some very rare occasions you can strike lightning in a bottle, but human behavior doesn't work that way when it comes to media. It takes consistency of delivery over and over again of something truly valuable to get somebody's behavior to turn.”
- Content marketing takes time and consistency. Less than a year is not nearly enough time to build an audience.
- “When I talk to companies and they’re having a problem with their content marketing initiative, it's always the same two things: It's either, well, you don't have a differentiated point of view that stands out as any kind of value versus what's already out there. That's the one thing. But the most critical one is always they don't deliver consistently over a long period of time.”
Goal Setting - (21:05)
- The first goal always has to be identifying the audience and delivering the content they love.
- You need to be targeted enough where you can be the leading expert in the world.
- “This is why it's so hard for big enterprise organizations to do content marketing well: They always try to get a lead. They try to sell right now.”
Getting Great Writing - (26:20)
- In some ways, great writers have never had it better because it’s easier to discover them.
- There are still positives to going through traditional channels, but it’s definitely not the only way to do it.
- “I get emails probably about once or twice a week from students and they'll still say, ‘Mr. Pulizzi, I read your book and I want to go into content marketing. What's your one piece of advice?’ And I always say, ‘Go build an audience.’ I don't care what it's around. I don't care if you photograph butterflies or you like to live stream NBA 2K on your Xbox and you want to promote it on Twitch or YouTube, I don't care what it is. It doesn't matter. If you can go and create consistent content and actually build an audience, they'll hire you in a second.”
- The reason individuals succeed more than companies is that “it’s a marathon not a sprint.” Individuals are often doing it as a hobby or a passion project, so they keep at it. Companies will often cut their content marketing if it doesn’t perform after only a few months.
Is Content Marketing Actually a Bust? - (32:15)
- In his book, Joe devotes an entire chapter to questioning the very premise of content marketing.
- “You've got whole entire marketing departments out there that are just focused on selling stuff. And I believe that is wrong and that it’s holding us back, is what we all ultimately want to do is we want to make it easy for people to buy and we want to focus on that and not on what we sell. And if you focus on just trying to deliver positive experiences that revolve around your core set of expertise levels, if you will, then you'll never go wrong.”
- Successful marketing is not about selling stuff, it’s about serving an audience with something that will help them.
Content Marketing and Metrics - (35:35)
- Metrics do help you understand if you’re serving your audience, but it’s important to find the right ones, and then focus on the things that truly matter.
- Different mediums need different metrics because they are different use cases that come to the audience during different experiences.
- “Sometimes small works. Sometimes you don’t have to be efficient in your content processes.”
- Joe doesn’t really worry about scaling. He worries about putting out great content, and let’s the scale handle itself.
- Mentioned by Joe: Yahoo Sports
Lightning Round - (50:30)
- Favorite App: HabitBull
- Favorite Thing in Cleveland: West Side Market
- Favorite Campaign or Initiative: Raspberry Pi Press
- Newsletter: JoePulizzi.com/newsletter
- Favorite recent book: The Go-Giver
- Worst business advice: Work with VCs
- “Marketers are more important than they've ever been before because marketing is so critical to everything we do in organizations. The marketers are becoming more strategic, more important. And I think you're going to see the marketing role sitting at the executive table now because it's so critically important.”
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