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How To Create Epic Content Marketing? Joe Pulizzi Explains.

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Nov 13, 2013 8:30:00 AM

This is a 8 minute read.

Epic Content Marketing Pulizzi (203x300)

Do you create epic content for your business? Joe Pulizzi does and explains how in his latest book titled Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less and in the interview below.

I first met Joe Pulizzi in 2010 at a MENG-NJ event (see Joe Pulizzi on Content Marketing). Joe is a natural story-teller and content marketer who wrote the playbook on content marketing. The founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, Joe also inspires the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World - which I hope to attend in 2014. 

Intuitively, content marketing makes sense to me. Epic content marketing, even more so! Epic content connects buyers and sellers. It generates stories that help prospective customers understand what value a seller can offer. It allows you to build a connection with the person reading, watching, absorbing what you've created. If your content is epic, so are the connections.

In a world where pointless marketing messages are threatening to bury us in an avalanche of noise and trash, epic content stands out as you'll discover in Epic Content Marketing, which "takes business owners and marketers A-to-Z toward creating a content marketing strategy that works to grow the business."

From the book - which Joe kindly shared with me - this caught my attention (bolding is mine):

"Consumers no longer buy our products and services, they buy into our approach to solving their problems." (page 71)

I've observed this evolution in my own business dealings; content marketing enables me to demonstrate how I approach problem-solving to prospective customers. It is invaluable for differentiating myself. It can do the same for you and your business.

If you're curious about how to embrace epic content marketing for your own organization, you'll enjoy this interview with Joe Pulizzi.

C.B.:  Joe, tell me about yourself and how you became immersed in content marketing.

Joe: I've been a part of the content marketing industry for almost 15 years now.  I had a full head of hair at the time, and wore less orange.

{ed. note: Joe is known for his love of orange online and in-person. You see him below in his signature orange suit at Content Marketing World. For the record, Joe owns at least 25 orange shirts and 4 pairs of orange shoes.} 

Joe Pulizzi at Content Marketing World

In the early 2000s as the barriers to publishing came down for brands, more of our clients started to become interested in publishing as a marketing initiative. Then, Google become more popular and social media started to take hold, the informational power switched from companies to consumers. To take advantage of that as brands, it meant we need to be amazing content producers (instead of advertisers).

In 2007, we launched what is now the Content Marketing Institute as there were so many educational needs around content marketing (brands needed to learn how to become publishers).

In 2010, things really took off.  Today, content marketing is a core initiative for most organizations.

C.B.: What was the impetus for Epic Content Marketing?

Joe: As I spoke around the world about content marketing, it was clear that almost all companies were creating content, but very few of them actually had a content marketing strategy.  

Epic Content Marketing was born out of that need, for organizations to understand the history, the why and the how. 

C.B.: The book includes many wonderful content marketing case studies. Which are your favorite and why?

Joe: On the small company side, I love River Pools and Spas, coming back from the brink of bankruptcy with a simple and consistent blog.  I also love Openview Venture Partners, and how 90% of their employees are actively creating content. {ed. note: check out the sidebar of the Openview Blog which includes photos of ~28 blog contributors.}

On the large company side, how can you not like what Red Bull is doing (a media company that sells energy drinks).  

I also follow Jyske Bank out of Denmark; it has developed one of the most advanced video studios in Denmark and been building an audience for years through amazing video content creation and distribution. 

{ed. note: see the SlideShare presentation embedded below for more Epic Content Marketing examples.}

{ed. note: another favorite quote; bolding is mine. 

"If you are thinking and acting like a media company and publisher, everything you do with your content marketing will begin and end with your audience. If you do not understand the wants and needs of your audience, there is no way you can be successful with your content." (page 93)}

C.B.: What is the future of content marketing?

Joe: It's hard to see even six months out (this is moving so fast), but I've always believed that the vast majority of marketing in the future will be content marketing.  

So, the future of content marketing is, well, marketing.  Don't get me wrong, advertising will always have a place, but to cut through the clutter, brands will start underwriting entire content brands, movies, etc. and the majority of the content we engage with will come from brands (if that isn't already the case).

{ed. note: have you noticed how CNN's special movie documentaries and programming such as Parts Unknown redefine media, even for a media company?}

C.B.: What about content overload?

Joe: This is nothing new.  Consumers have always been overloaded with content, but now we are more selective about what we let in, and, according to Google and other sources, most consumers engage with a record number of content pieces every day.  

This only means that we all have to get better at the stories we tell to cut through all that clutter.  If we don't develop the best content in our niche, why should our customers care at all? 

C.B.: Tell us about Content Marketing World.

Joe: We saw over 1700 marketers from 42 countries at Content Marketing World 2013.  It's amazing that just two years ago we were at 600.  2014 will be even bigger. The event will be September 8-11, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Registration opens December 2nd at ContentMarketingWorld.com.

{ed. note: see Content Marketing Boldly Goes Forward: 7 Trends from #CMWorld for a taste of what to expect in 2014.}

C.B.: What advice would you offer someone just getting started with content marketing?

Joe: Go small to go big.  Find the content niche where you can be the leading informational provider for your customer base.  So many brands try to boil the ocean with their content. Don't make that mistake. 

And one more thing...whatever you do, be consistent.  Deliver your content at the same time every day, week, month, etc.  Make your content "must see TV". 

C.B.: What about for improving one’s content marketing?

Joe: Make sure you have the answers to these questions before you create any more content:

  • Who is the buyer I’m communicating with?

  • How do they buy?

  • What are their informational pain points?

  • What keeps them up at night?

  • What content niche can we be the leading informational expert in?

  • What will be the style and tone of our content?

  • What channels make the most sense?

  • Who will oversee the program?

  • What content assets do we have? (do a content audit)

  • How can we leverage our employees in the initiative?

  • What is the overall objective for the program?

  • How will we measure our progress? (what are the metrics?)

{ed. note: BTW I had a lovely surprise when I reached page 44 of Epic Content Marketing! Here is a clue...}

Epic Content MarketingC.B.: What about for creating EPIC content marketing?

Joe: There are six principles to creating epic content marketing.   

1. Fills a Need – You content should answer some unmet need or question for your customer. It needs to be useful in some way to the customer, over and above what you can offer as a product or service.

2. Consistent – The great hallmark of a successful publisher is consistency. Whether you subscribe to a monthly magazine or daily email newsletter, the content is always delivered on-time and as expected.  This is where so many companies fall down.  Whatever you commit to in your content marketing, you must consistently deliver.

3. Be Human –The benefits of not being a journalistic entity is that you have nothing to hold you back from being…well…you.  Find what you voice is and share it.  If your company’s story is all about humor, share that.  If it’s a bit sarcastic, that’s okay too.

4. Has a Point of View - This is not encyclopedia content.  You are not giving a history report.  Don’t be afraid to take sides on matters that can position you and your company as an expert.

5. Far Removed from Sales Speak – When we create a piece of content that is about us (Content Marketing Institute) versus an educational post, it only garners 25% of the regular amount of page views and social shares. That point is, the more you talk about yourself, the less people will value your content.

6. Best of Breed – Although you might not be able to reach this goal at the very beginning, the ultimate goal for your content is that it needs to be best of breed.  This means that, for your content niche, what you are distributing is the very best of what is found and is available. I know this may sound overly simplified, but if you expect your customers to spend time with your content, you must deliver them amazing value.

C.B.: Thank you, Joe, for sharing so much epic content marketing advice! 

You can find Joe on Twitter@JoePulizzi and Epic Content Marketing on Amazon.

If you're intrigued with transforming your content into epic content, you'll enjoy this SlideShare presentation in which Joe shares highlights from several of the examples he mentions in his book.

20 Epic Examples of Content Marketing from Joe Pulizzi

What are your thoughts about becoming epic in your content marketing to cut through the clutter?

Download the Content Marketing Guide!  

Topics: content marketing

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