Content Strategy From ‘The Godfather’
Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, is known as The Godfather of Content Marketing. His first three books are listed as some of the #1 best sellers on Amazon marketing and he has another coming out in September.
Joe is the known expert at crafting and employing the ultimate content marketing strategy and sustaining a passionate base of brand subscribers. As a consultant, Joe has worked for a broad spectrum of clients, ranging from small grassroots companies to government enterprises. His company, Content Marketing Institute, has become an empire, so what would he suggest for a company that is just starting out?
According to dozens of case studies that CMI has done across various media platforms and companies, there is a specific, six-step process to ensure success. While it may sound counterintuitive, this is a system that works—so much so, that it is the basis for Joe’s next book, “Content Inc.“
Play the Long Game
When boiled down the strategy goes something like this:
- Identify your sweet spot, the area that you have authority to publish about.
- What is your content tilt? “How niche do you have to go” to out-compete similar companies?
- Build your base. Select the single, most efficient media platform for your niche (rather than spreading out to all channels).
- Harvest a loyal audience using your chosen platform.
- Diversify. After you’ve secured an enthusiastic audience, expand to include different media outlets.
- Then, and only then, monetize. Launch your product or service.
While he details the specifics in both the podcast and his book, Joe maintains that this system will work, while cautioning that it takes patience. This system often takes six months to a full year to show returns.
You Don’t Have to Be All Things to All People
The pitfall that Joe see’s most companies fall into is that they try to spread themselves across all media channels. While a company can and should listen in all channels, Joe advises that they should consolidate to focus on those that truly yield returns in terms of a sustainable audience base. Double down on your core audience and specialize your content so that it cuts through the clutter. (highlight to tweet)
Build a platform that is really valuable and focus on a very specific audience and fulfill their needs better than anyone else. —@JoePulizzi
The Best Starting Point
While the assumption is that a blog is feasible, and perhaps the best way to begin a content marketing endeavor, Joe reveals that among the case studies he reviewed, an equal amount of companies began with video or podcast.
If podcasting goes well and creates a passionate following, the logical next step becomes a blog resource that could potentially offer show notes, eBooks, etc. Beginning with blogs and videos tends to evolve to include podcasts.
The major consistency among everyone creating content? Every company is trying to build a base of email subscribers. Facebook or Twitter may change their user agreements at any point, resulting in a catastrophe for companies whose major audiences consist of those users. Email retains the highest semblance of control and the most direct line to the customer. (highlight to tweet)
What did you want to be when you grew up?
“I wanted to be a farmer. I was terrible at it.”
Although one side of the family operated a funeral home and his parents owned a restaurant, Joe always knew, “I wanted to grow stuff.”
Due to a series of fortunate coincidences, Joe landed in content marketing and he now identifies as a teacher. You can find his “lectures” in webinars and podcasts and follow his travels all over the world by following him on Twitter or visiting his website.