Doubling Down on Content Marketing: Advice from Best-Selling Author, Joe Pulizzi
Any presentation that includes bar charts made with milk chocolate pieces has to be good, right? That was surely the case when our public relations agency hosted Joe Pulizzi, the Amazon best-selling author of “Killing Marketing,” “Content Inc.” and “Epic Content Marketing” and founder of the Content Marketing Institute, in our almost-monthly Sharper Angle webinar series. My conversation with Pulizzi centered around Joe’s new book “Corona Marketing and Beyond – What Marketing Professionals Must Do Now to Survive the Crisis.” In it, he writes that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it. Yet even in the midst of the pandemic, he says that marketers and PR pros have been given a chance to create something amazing. “We have an opportunity right now to really reset.” says Pulizzi. “Sort of start afresh. We’re looking at our goals in a fresh way. Figuring out the movement to focus on the needs of our customers and to figure out their pain points. We can solve them through communications and if we do that, customers will know, like and trust us more, and ultimately buy more products from us.” I’m confident his last point is a goal that we can all support!
If you were unable to attend our Sharper Angle session (or would like a recap), here are some of Joe’s practical tips from his book (and our webinar) on surviving this crisis, and why now is the time to double down on content marketing:
- Revisit Your Content Tilt—Your content tilt is what separates you from everyone else in your market area, Joe writes in Corona Marketing. “It’s your unique perspective on your content niche, which creates an opportunity for you to lead and, ultimately, own the category. Without “tilting” your content just enough to tell a truly unique story, you risk blending into the rest of the noise and being forgotten.”
- Do One Great Thing—“No matter the budget and resources, we have a finite amount of energy and focus. There’s a lot of mediocrity and a lot of content across multiple platforms, a lot of motion and content creation, but not a lot of change in behavior from our customers. You are never going to reach a content tilt to break through the clutter without developing something amazing and fantastic.” Joe goes on to say, “At some point, you are going to have to make the decision of cutting things and focus on being great. And then commit to it and focus on it for a period of time to build the audience. Strategy is about saying no to a lot of things.” (Head’s Up: There’s even a chapter title “Start Killing Social Channels” in Corona Marketing. No really, there is!)
- Inject Life into Your Email Newsletter—“Email is the best channel ever because it provides control. You don’t have control of the relationship on other channels, like Facebook,” Joe told our Sharper Angle event attendees. More to the point in his book, Pulizzi writes: “Those followers/subscribers (on Instagram, and other social channels) belong to those companies. You are simply renting them. A lot of companies spent a lot of money on Google+ and it went out of business and those relationships were lost. We have to make sure to be careful, because we don’t control those channels.” Joe goes on to say about email marketing that “You don’t see the consistency (with content, deadlines, etc.) that you see on the media side. We are never going to build a quality audience unless you keep your content promise.” He goes on to advise: All information should be in your email newsletter, rather than just providing links to drive readers to your website. However, he says, that doesn’t mean it’s an absolute and you can’t link out to more resources. “But most people don’t want to click through as most people today are reading your content on their phone,” he concludes.
- Develop an Internal Marketing Initiative—I asked Joe about internal audiences and communications as he devotes a chapter to this subject in his book. “Ultimately, we are trying to build an audience of loyal subscribers through communications and if we do that, they will know, like and trust us more and ultimately buy more products from us.” (Author note from me: he said this many times. It is important!) He says, it is probably true that many times our internal colleagues don’t understand what we are doing. So, we must ask ourselves who are the stakeholders and what do they need to know to be able to become internal influencers. Joe advises: If you want someone to use your content, you have to educate them on how to use it. Treat your internal marketing initiative to build ambassadors for your content just like an external communication initiative.
These four points are just a snapshot of the great advice from Joe’s Corona Marketing. It’s definitely worth the read for marketers. But first, let’s get back to Joe’s chocolate bar chart. What he was illustrating relates to the concept of great content. Each bar on the chart represents a content channel with chocolate pieces stacked up at different levels denoting the channel’s individual success of reaching the “great content” goal line. His point, other than teasing our taste buds? If there are multiple content channels – social, blog, podcast, etc. – each taking a lot of time, energy and commitment from us to make them great, can one honestly make them all exceptional to reach that great content goal line, especially with all our competing communications priorities?
If we’re honest, the answer most undoubtedly is no. So, he advises, put your content energy into one or two great channels so customers will know, like and trust us more, and ultimately buy more products from us (there’s that line again)—a mantra for which we should all strive. Oh, and my advice? When you next treat yourself to chocolate, remind yourself that there’s no better time to double down on great content!
To enjoy a video recording of our content marketing conversation with Joe Pulizzi, click here: https://youtu.be/_dD44zg3q68