The New Basics of Content Marketing — Interview with The Godfather of CM, Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the infamous Content Marketing Institute, which is a leading training and education platform for content marketers. The Content Marketing World, one of the largest events in the world, is hosted by the CMI.
Joe Pulizzi is no stranger to content marketing, and he has seen this practice evolve over the years. Not only does he understand the latest demands of marketers, but he has a firm grip on the industry, which allows him to predict the future of content marketing more accurately. He has some fantastic tips for those new to the industry or for those who are looking to improve their existing strategy.
WHERE WE ARE TODAY: HOW CONTENT MARKETING BECAME WHAT IT IS NOW
Content marketing is used to attract and retain customers. It is about creating content that is valuable, compelling, and always relevant. In addition, it is about consistency.
Over the years, content marketing has evolved into something that demands better quality and more engaging material. Pulizzi highlights that content marketing is hundreds of years old, and it has been around much longer than the internet. In fact, he shared the example of The Furrow magazine from John Deere. That magazine has been in production for 120 years and has more than 5 million subscribers.
When Google tightened the strings on search engines and the content recommended by those search engines, social media started to play a role, and more importantly, the consumer took the reins. Now content is individually driven by the consumer — not the marketer.
Consumers can access information when they want it, regardless of where they are, thanks to their smartphones and tablets. No longer can companies or marketers just tell a customer to buy; instead, they need to flex their advertising power, engage the short attention span of today’s consumer, and dive deep into “why” they should buy.
CONTENT MARKETING IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE INVESTMENT
Content marketing has not been around as long as other forms of marketing like press releases, referrals, and advertisements. However, content marketing offers a company a competitive advantage. That is, only if that company invests in content marketing.
To receive anything in return from content marketing, Pulizzi says that a company must invest.
Investing is not just about money, either. It includes:
• Investing time into the strategy.
• Building an email subscription list.
• Researching and finding keywords for search engines.
• Optimizing content with those keywords.
• Building and maintaining an audience for the content.
• Creating a following on social media.
Also, Pulizzi points out that there is a timeframe to earn a valuable ROI on content marketing. It is about patience, setting realistic goals, and investing as much as you can to receive the highest return.
CONTENT MARKETING IS THE BEST TOOL FOR SEO
Content marketing, according to Pulizzi, is the strongest tool in a company’s arsenal for building their search engine optimization. From link building to generating keyword rankings, content marketing is the biggest driver for succeeding in those areas.
THE BEST PRACTICES FOR CONTENT MARKETING
2017 and beyond are going to see more changes and demands from consumers. The craving for high-quality, engaging content will only grow. However, it will not just be about print. Consumers will demand more visual content, too.
Some of the best practices Pulizzi recommends for marketers this year and in the future include:
• Develop a Powerful Strategy: Before writing any content, Pulizzi emphasizes the importance of targeting an audience. Companies should also identify their content niche. The audience demographics should be clearly defined, company goals created, and the content optimized.
• Creating a Workflow: The best content marketers out there have a strategy for developing ideas, creating a content calendar, writing the content, editing, and publishing. Whether a business is a one-person show or they are outsourcing to freelancers, they need to develop a workflow process for their content.
• Focus on Problem Solution Content: No longer do consumers want to hear about a company’s products or services. Instead, they want to have their problems solved through a company’s content. Basically, consumers respond to the soft sell. Companies must focus on consumer pain points, address those pains, and then gently nudge their service or solution towards the customer.
• Consumer Awareness Level is Necessary: A company must focus on their consumer and only their consumer. They are no longer focusing on their sales and traditional advertising tactics. Content marketing should revolve around customer issues.
• Frequently Audit: Pulizzi recommends doing a content audit to ensure that the right type of content is being used, metrics are met, and that the content still delivers the right message.
• Mix Up the Content: While the written word is powerful, consumers today want a mixture of content delivery. That means companies must include video series, infographics, images, and integrate these forms of media consistently into their content strategy.
Lastly, Pulizzi does recommend investigating influencer marketing and looking for opportunities to boost a brand’s recognition through influencers. By having that stamp of approval, a company can better reach their target audience. However, to reach that audience, a company must collaborate with an influencer that is already associated with their target consumer.
Keep an eye out for advice from the Godfather of content marketing by following his blogs, attending an event, or just reading the magazine.
ABOUT JOE PULIZZI
Joe Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s fourth book Content Inc. was just released. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must-Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.