Go Epic with Content! with Joe Pulizzi
Vocus hosted a webinar with Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, to discuss how the incorporation of a content marketing strategy can position companies ahead of their competition. In 2014, the ability to produce engaging content that provides value to customers will make or break a company’s marketing strategy.
Here are the key points from Pulizzi’s webinar:
Content Marketing refers to producing content that is meaningful or informational to the customer on the company’s owned media—website, blog email, social media platforms, etc.
The word Pulizzi emphasizes in his definition is consistency. It’s important to create good content, but it’s even more important to consistently create the good content and consistently deliver on a regular basis. A successful strategy ensures consistency, which in turn captures and maintains the customer’s attention, and strengthens the relationship between the customer and the brand.
The biggest challenge that faces a company’s content marketing strategy is producing enough content. By following the six steps recommended by Pulizzi, you will be well on your way to brainstorm enough content to consistently drive your company’s media channels.
6 Steps to Creating an Amazing Content Strategy
1. Find Out the “Why?” Behind Each Media Channel– Look at your company’s website, blog, newsletter, and social media outlets think about why your company has each one of those media channels. What purpose do they serve to convey your company’s call-to-action to your customer? Pulizzi advises that this exercise does not focus on internal goals or lead generation—it focuses on what makes your customers tick and what your customers want to see.
2. Create a Content Marketing Mission Statement– After you have thought about the profile of your customers and their needs, look at one of your media channels. Identify the core target audience you want to reach, what type of content will be delivered to your audience and the expected outcome for your audience.
Example: “Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources, and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.” (Inc.com)
“Remember our customer doesn’t care about our company, our product, or our services—they care about themselves,” says Pulizzi. “You better have some really amazing information that’s going to change their lives, help them get better jobs, or whatever the case is.” If you help your audience, they will return the favor by recommending your company’s product and services to others, but first, you have to focus on what your audience needs.
3. Answer Customer Questions to Start Generating Content– What a better way to meet the needs of your audience by answering their questions? Pulizzi discusses how one company, River Pools & Spas, led by CEO Marcus Sheridan, started a blog to answer customers’ questions, such as the difference between various pools or “How to Prepare Your In-ground Swimming Pool for a Hurricane.”
In 2007, River Pools & Spas had $4.5 million in sales and $250,000 in advertising spend. Sheridan started the blog in 2008—by 2011, River Pools & Spas sold more fiberglass swimming pools than any other pool retailer in North America and had a reduced advertising spend of $40,000.
Answering customer questions on a blog is an easy opportunity for your company to provide valuable content and increase visibility to a bigger audience. Don’t know where to start gathering questions? Ask your co-workers and your customers themselves what they would like to learn more about.
4. Get Your Content on the Same Page in Your Company– If your company has several departments—PR, sales, marketing, etc—make sure everyone is aware of each other’s activities. Every department should produce content in accordance with the content marketing mission and in sync with what other departments are producing. There are a lot of opportunities for social media, public relations, marketing, email, mobile, sales and search to embody the same content marketing mission for an overall, seamless marketing strategy. Pulizzi suggests that a representative from each department meet on a designated day to discuss their marketing ideas.
5. Plan to Repurpose Up Front, Not After– Instead of creating one piece of content, then figuring how to repurpose it later, Pulizzi suggests finding ways to repurpose it at the beginning. Repurposing it at once saves a lot of time and ensures consistency and higher quality. The example Pulizzi uses Kelley, a transportation company, as an example—they were able to repurpose the original content for three different personas, for several different media channels.
6. Build Audience with Influencers– Pulizzi introduces the “4-1-1 social media plan” to build relationships with influencers. For every one post of content marketing or sales, four posts should be drawn from influencer sharing. “You’ve got to give to get in social media,” says Pulizzi. Create an influencer list—bloggers, media companies—that your audience is likely to visit when they’re not on your site. Use Google search, Facebook search, or even Twitter #hashtags to identify influencers for your company’s media.
Once your content marketing strategy is implemented, be sure to evaluate your ROI/ “return on objective”:
- Is the content driving sales?
- Are you saving costs through content?
- Is it making our customers happier, thus helping with retention?
To watch the webinar and listen to Pulizzi’s full commentary, visit the Vocus website.
About Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, recognized as “the leading content marketing educational resource for enterprise” and “the fastest growing business media company by Inc. magazine in 2013.
Pulizzi, an author—as well as a public speaker, educator recently published, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers By Marketing Less (McGraw-Hill), and has co-authored two other titles, Get Customers, Get Content: Turn Prospects Into Buyers with Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and Manage Content Marketing: The Real World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand (Content Marketing Institute).