Joe Pulizzi founded the Content Marketing Institute in 2011. He is an author and a podcaster who began content marketing in 2000 when it was unpopular.
Natasha Puri, Content Marketing Lead at Pepper Content, sat down with him to decode and understand the best practices in the crowded field of content marketing.
The Evolution of Content Marketing
When Joe started his blog in 2007, there were only a few places for content publication. He says you could do blogging, print publications, in-person events, and podcast on YouTube (that was brand new). There was nothing much you could do from a consistency standpoint. But today, with so many social media platforms and channels, brands can publish their content everywhere.
Although, one thing Joe has observed in his years of experience is that many businesses believe they can throw content everywhere, and it will grow organically. Most companies are doing content marketing the same way they did when they began. It is quite contrary. Instead of attempting to do everything simultaneously, he suggests focussing on either blogs or podcasts.
Sophisticated businesses and big brands act like media companies with an in-house team of writers, editors, videographers, social media content creators, etc. Brands are competing with each other for customer attention in the content marketing space. He further elaborates that you have to be interesting to keep and get customer attention. Besides that, you have to be very specific about the audience you’re trying to reach and what you want to deliver.
Brands Acting Like Publishers
Joe recommends figuring out the audience’s pain points and creating a content mission statement. Specify who you are targeting, what you intend to deliver, what’s in it for your customer, and what will the outcome be for them? You and your team have to live by this statement. Make a positive impact on your audience by delivering non-product information, so they’ll listen to you and trust you.
Building a Community
Create super fans—the people that love you. These are people who not only consume your content but they reach out to you with queries, feedback, and suggestions and are your community.
You could further use this engagement as a research and development tool and dig deeper with your product or service. For example, you can build your community on Facebook first and tell your fans to join you there so that you can talk to them daily. Besides that, engage with your audience whenever and wherever possible.
Leverage Content Marketing
Create a list of email addresses, Joe suggests. You can leverage content marketing as a full-time content creator or a content entrepreneur by first building an audience and then creating a business on the back of that audience. And for that, you also need an email list for content marketing. You can drive revenue by selling more products and services, advertising, and events. He also suggests that you use all major social media platforms to build your audience but have a plan to transition away from them when necessary.
Joe points out that similar companies in the same market target the same audience and talk about the same thing. It is impossible to break out and create trust by copying them. Thought leadership is about building trust with our prospects and with our customers. Joe advises taking some time to discover who you are and what distinguishes you from others. This way, you will find your niche and speak directly to your audience.
It is hard to scale your content if you have a limited budget. Scaling up will take longer because you don’t have the money to market the content. And that’s a differentiating factor when you compete with billion-dollar companies.
You can’t just create a blog post, do a podcast, or make a video and put it out there with the hope that it will grow organically. Sometimes you’ll get a hit, but most of the time, you don’t. You should consider a 30:70 expense ratio; 30 for content creation and 70 for marketing of the content. Once you build an audience, say about 100,000, your content will naturally grow itself.
The Future of Content Marketing
The rise of cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will redefine content creation. Access to your content through a token will create different experiences, memberships, and access.
NFTs have already had many content creators formulate a new business strategy for a rewarding future. Joe believes that AI-based automation technology will continue to grow because it aids in editing, proofreading, and grammar corrections.
But it can never replace humans for telling the best stories. For the next three to five years, there’s ample opportunity to focus on one audience and deliver phenomenal content consistently. You must use technology where it makes sense to be smarter about it, recommends Joe.