Last week, we had the pleasure of attending a Collaborative Summit luncheon, featuring one of today’s most recognized content marketing strategists, Joe Pulizzi. As founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe is not only responsible for one of the most influential content marketing blogs in existence, he’s also the driving force behind Content Marketing World, the largest content marketing event in the world (held every September in Cleveland, Ohio). Needless to say, we were very excited to benefit from his valuable insight.
Content Marketing is “…an approach where instead of distracting our audience with advertising that’s not relevant to them, we’re going to create valuable, compelling and relevant content on a consistent basis and build an audience over that time in order to see some profitable customer action.”
The definition of content marketing may be pretty straightforward, but the successful creation, curation, and distribution of said content can be a major challenge. Joe has authored the Content Inc. Model as an instructional guide for those who want to excel in content marketing. As he explained, content marketing requires careful planning, consistent promotion, and of course, patience. So, let’s explore the elements of his Content Inc. Model in more detail.
Before you can begin to create and distribute effective content, it’s necessary to establish some guidelines for the direction of the campaign. The first step is to identify your sweet spot. Your sweet spot is “where your particular fields of knowledge and your skill sets intersect with a passion point — something you feel is of great value to you personally, or to society at large.” Once you have identified your sweet spot, you will need to create a content marketing mission.
Your content marketing mission needs to:
After documenting these established guidelines, each piece of content that you create should support them. If a piece of content doesn’t support your mission statement, then don’t use it. Joe also stressed the importance of targeting one audience at a time, warning that a piece of content aimed at more than one target audience will never work.
One of the most important elements of content marketing is your ability to differentiate your content from that of your competitors. The amount of content produced each day can be overwhelming for consumers, and depending on your industry, even top quality content may be overshadowed or left unseen. To combat limited attention spans and competing resources, Joe encourages content creators to use existing information to tell a different story with content tilt.
Reminding us that nearly 80% of people who visit your website will never return again, Joe stresses the value of offering content that is valuable, distinctive and unique. The aim should be to cut through the clutter, grab attention, and offer more value than a simple cookie-cutter duplication.
Now that you’ve found your sweet spot and content tilt, it’s necessary to choose a primary platform, or “base,” for the content that you will be creating. Joe provides these essential principles for building the base.
Building the Base:
So you’ve built a base for your content. Now you should focus your attention on converting occasional visitors into committed subscribers. This is achieved by asking your followers to opt into a mailing list in exchange for easy access to future content. This step in the process is called harvesting audience.
Once you’ve begun to reap the rewards of your efforts and established a loyal audience, it’s time for diversification. At this point, you will want to expand your efforts beyond one main content platform and begin publishing on additional channels. According to Joe, “the ultimate goal is to establish three sturdy content channels, or ‘legs,’ for your publishing stool: one digital, one print-based, and one in-person platform.”
Don’t expect content marketing to produce immediate returns, as it generally takes around 13-18 months of consistent quality before you can expect to see positive results. While this may seem like a long time, remember that you’re building a long-term asset.
When implemented properly, content marketing is offering your audience something of value. In exchange for this value, you are steadily developing a better customer base that already knows, likes, and trusts you. Although monetization and profit may be the primary goal, remember that content marketing can also work to increase loyalty, advocacy and much more, depending on the strategy you’ve defined.
As an acclaimed expert, Joe Pulizzi has established these detailed guidelines for people that may be struggling to achieve success through content marketing. While his instructions aren’t all encompassing, they do provide general direction and a course of action without being overly rigid or limiting. It was great to have the opportunity to meet Joe - who turns out to be a very personable, down-to-earth kind of guy. If you or anyone you know is active in the field of content marketing, we suggest that you check out Joe’s awesome content marketing resources.