Here in Texterra, we are following the commandments of content marketing. That’s why when it came to our minds to interview somebody among content marketing influencers, we had no doubts who this person would be. Of course, it’s Joe Pulizzi – the founder of Content Marketing Institute and author of three books about content marketing. It was a great surprise that Joe willingly agreed to join us for an interview. He got back very shortly, and now it’s here ready for you to read and enjoy.
Q: The term ‘Content marketing’ has a lot of definitions (both short and long). Which one do you think is the most accurate?
Joe: The marketing process of creating valuable, relevant and compelling content on a consistent basis, directed at a targeted audience to maintain or change a behavior.
Q: Nowadays we can see a real boom in the performance of content marketing. But companies and business owners don’t see any value in the content itself but use it because they have been told to do so by online marketers. What is the best approach to ‘fight’ this situation?
Joe: To be honest, focus on the companies that DO believe in it.
Pilot programs work really well. Target a very specific problem in the organization and develop a content solution with an agreed upon timetable among stakeholders. Manufacturers in the US do this a lot, since they are so sales driven.
The fact is, you have to show results for that organization or they won’t start believing. If it’s a sales-driven culture, focus on assisting with sales-related goals.
Q: High quality and relevant content always ranks well with search engines. We found that this became the reason many companies have created a lot of content, but, audience demand is constantly increasing. Approaches which worked 1-2 years ago don’t work now. What approach to content creation would you recommend?
Joe: Focus on a content niche where you can be the leading expert in your industry in that particular content area. Then work to build a loyal and trusting audience over time by delivering amazing content. Analyze the difference between your audience and non-audience members to see how their behavior is different when it comes to your products and services.
Q: How can a business owner understand whether a content strategy, developed by his marketing team, is correct or not? How much attention should a business owner pay to the development of a content strategy?
Joe: It’s not possible. There is no form of marketing or advertising that will absolutely work or be a sure thing. You have to create a hypothesis, test it, adapt and refine the strategy with data…over and over. This is what publishing is all about. Media companies have been doing this forever.
The business owner should be directly involved in a small company. In a larger company, the chief marketing officer.
Q: Could you describe your vision for a person who perfectly fits the position of a ‘content strategist’ in a company? What qualities must they possess?
Joe: Similar to a Managing Editor in a media company. Someone that has a real understanding of the audience and their pain points, and can leverage internal and external assets in the organization to help tell that story effectively.
Q: How do you pick the authors for CMI?
Joe: Anyone can submit content to CMI. Each submitted article runs through our editorial team, and selections are made based on the content gaps we need to fill, the quality of the content, citations, and past history.
Q: Can you share your experience of writers block or running out of new topics to write content on. How did you get past these problems?
Joe: Talking to customers always gets rid of writers block. Find out their pain points and what keeps them up at night.
Q: Let’s talk about your latest book “Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less”. Could you define the 5 major points of this book for our readers, so they will have an idea of what it’s about?
Joe: As a matter of fact, there are 6 of them:
- Epic content fills a need
- It communicates consistently
- It requires you to find your unique, and human, voice
- It expresses a point of view
- It is devoid of “sales speak”
- It’s recognized as the best of its breed
Q: What are you currently working on? What projects are you involved with?
Joe: Just finished my new book, Content Inc., which targets entrepreneurs and startups and how they can develop a business out of a content first, not product first, mentality.
Q: Do you remember the first time you used the “content marketing” term?
Joe: Yes, it was in 2001.
Q: Which online marketing blogs do you read, and which of them you could recommend to our readers?
Q: It’s time for some personal questions, if you are okay with it :) You often say that you are overly obsessed with the colour orange. Why?
Joe: People recognize me in orange. I believe it’s a competitive advantage to help differentiate both myself and the business.
Q: Have there been any instances in your career to date which you’ll remember for the rest of your life? For example, it could be achieving a goal you were longing for, or a funny failure, which you and your colleagues are still laughing at?
Joe: Yes, first time on stage at Content Marketing World in 2011 in front of 660 people.
Q: Joe, you are a very famous person in the world of online marketing. Many online marketers from all over the world will read this interview. Could you give them some parting advice?
Joe: Content marketing has a great future, and there is a huge opportunity in content marketing right now since many companies are just at the beginning of this journey. The early movers will have an incredible advantage over those late bloomers.
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