Talking Content Marketing brings another modern marketing thinker to its warm fire, the illustrious Joe Pulizzi.
Joe is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training resource for content marketing, which includes the world’s largest content marketing event, Content Marketing World (which takes place in Cleveland, this September).
As author, speaker and content marketing evangelist, we take a closer look at a new way of business thinking and why a strategy is imperative for the success of adopting a content marketing mindset.
Six questions, six answers…lets get down to business.
Has the world of content marketing moved to a stage where we are now all aware, we just need to adapt and change and not rest on our laurels by thinking that giving valuable information away is the answer (when it contributes to the overload)?
The good news is that most companies see value in content and understand that they need to be at least somewhat interesting to their customers to make an impact. The bad news is that the far majority of companies still have no documented content marketing strategy of any kind. That means that most brands are creating lots of content, throwing it out there for distribution, without a real understand of how or why it will affect the business. So on the maturity scale, content marketing is still pretty young even though some brands have been practicing it for over 100 years.
The opportunity is this…any company, using smart creation techniques, smart distribution techniques, and a solid strategy in a core niche, can build a valuable audience. This is the greatest opportunity brands have seen in the audience-building department. And to build an audience, we need consistent creation of amazing content in a core channel. This takes time, patience and thinking outside the campaign box.
Before a company ‘jumps in’ and decides that content marketing is an answer, how integral is a content strategy?
According to our research, there is a direct correlation between content marketing effectiveness and strategy. So, if you want to be successful, it’s imperative to have some sort of strategy. If you don’t care about effectiveness, then create away ;)
What do companies need to ask themselves when compiling a content strategy?
- Who is the reader or user (this is harder than it looks. You have dozens of buyer personas to choose from here)?
- What’s my story (the intersection between what I know and what my customers care about)?
- In what area can I be the leading expert in the world, that will also help my business?
- What is the objective (is it sales, savings or customer loyalty)?
- How will I measure this exactly?
- Is the initiative helping to build our owned audience groups?
- How patient can I be in making this happen (content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint)?
Is social media becoming too distracting where the majority of B2B still apply old world models (repetition, broadcast, interruption, product driven) into the new spaces (by filling onto someone else’s timeline/newsfeed)?
They are just other channels. Some of those channels require consistent content to be fruitful…some just require listening and conversation. The best advice I can give to BtoB’s is to have a clear understanding of why you are using each channel. If you can’t come up with a good why (like being on Facebook), maybe you shouldn’t be there.
In your opinion, what makes the likes of P&G, Red Bull and Coca Cola the champions of content?
They view content as an asset. That means each piece of content needs to have return. How do they show it? Audience building. P&G’s HomeMadeSimple.com has over 10 million subscribers. Red Bull’s Red Bulletin has over 5 million. Yes, they still advertise, but they don’t have to because they have the audiences already.
Is positioning as an influencer (such as LinkedIn’s new publishing platform) one of the greatest opportunities to differentiate ourselves from the competition?
Greatest? No. But it could be useful for the people that use it. Would I look into it? Absolutely. There is a large opportunity to build your network and add to your owned audience. That said, LinkedIn is not your platform and you don’t own it…so make sure you have a platform, somewhere, that you can control.
Thanks to Joe for taking part in the series and contributing his thoughts. To delve deeper into a content marketing approach, cannot recommend his book Epic Content Marketing highly enough.