Your Content Marketing Doesn’t Have to Suck – Advice from the Godfather

Content marketing can get messy. Really messy.

Blog posts. Email Marketing. Social. Webinars. Every quarter brings a next big thing (hello, Pinterest). With so many moving parts, how can you find the time to evolve your content strategy for optimal results?

Churning out content in a variety of channels is the lifeblood of online marketing. But without a framework – if you’re not directly linking your content cycles to your customers’ buying cycles – you’ll never get the best return on your efforts. You need a process with real goals tied to conversion and ROI, not just eyeballs and fans.

With that in mind, we asked Joe Pulizzi, aka the “Godfather of Content Marketing” for a favor: tell us a few ways to get the most out of content marketing.

Wow, did he hit it out of the park. In this conversation, we covered several topics from his new book, Managing Content Marketing, including:

  • How to identify your best niches and become an expert in them.
  • Why you need to pay more attention to your customers’ buying cycle than your sales cycle.
  • How to use customer pain points to create content that gets more traffic and leads.
  • Ways to not just repackage content, but reimagine it and stretch its value for different audiences.
  • Which stats and analytics you need to know (and which ones execs don’t care about).

As a bonus, Joe shares the origins of his orange wardrobe and how it’s become a brand-builder for his businesses. Plus, the video includes a special discount code for Content Marketing World 2012, Sept. 4-6 in Columbus, OH. You can also grab a free copy of the Content Marketing Playbook here.

Got questions or feedback on the video? Share them with us and Joe in the comments.

8 Comments

  1. Jmariedirect

    2/24/2012 11:53 am

    This is all very time comsuming. And after learning about what it takes, wondering how to set up a formal format to help local small businesses. Analytics pyramid is new to me.
    Thanks for info

  2. Hunter Boyle

    2/24/2012 12:10 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. You’re absolutely right: content marketing done well does take time. However, as Joe sagely mentioned, even small steps will get you moving in the right direction. Start with what you already have in place, and work toward a process that’s tied to your priorities – for instance, customer retention vs. generating new business. It’s like testing – see if you can improve one area, then decide what your best follow up test/s will be. Analytics are crucial … but not every piece of data needs to be presented to everyone involved, so the pyramid is a valuable idea.

    For real, step-by-step advice for improving these processes, I highly recommend the book. It’s very helpful and companies of any size can use it. (We are applying several ideas from it ourselves.)

  3. Dan Sumner

    3/1/2012 12:16 pm

    Great info guys thanks for sharing. I especially liked the parts about persona’s and how you can relate to your customers to provide a better relationship to improve sales.

    You also made me think a lot about what sort of content I was providing my readers.

    Thanks for sharing. I will be buying the book.

    Dan Sumner

  4. Chris Murphy

    3/2/2012 10:40 am

    Excellent article and video. Watched it while I had my coffee this morning. I especially enjoyed the part where you talk about understanding where your customers are in the buying cycle and not the sales cycle. Brilliant!

  5. Hunter Boyle

    3/8/2012 5:18 pm

    Thanks, Dan. As Joe mentioned, there are a lot of ways to use personae (reads funny, doesn’t it?) but it starts with doing them well. One of the best places to start is always talking with real customers, in person if possible. We try to do that with our meetups and various events, as a starting point, and it really helps us keep a clear sense of who we’re serving.

    Glad you found the interview useful. I’m sure you’ll find the book even more so. Keep us posted.

  6. Hunter Boyle

    3/8/2012 5:24 pm

    Thanks, Chris. I appreciate the feedback and am glad you found the interview valuable. The part about the sales cycle vs. the buying cycle was one of the standouts for me (especially as a former editor of a B2B sales newsletter). The traditional mindset and sales approach of only a few years ago is undergoing such a massive change, and content plays such a key role, that the pieces really need to match precisely for best results. Look for more video interviews soon.

  7. How to Survive the New World of Social Sales – 16 Minutes With Brian Solis

    3/9/2012 9:22 am

    […] community, and engaging them throughout the buying cycle in more authentic ways. And much like our interview with Joe Pulizzi, Solis’ book also explains how the purchase funnel is changing (pp. 177-189) – and why […]

  8. TA

    3/9/2012 1:44 pm

    Thanks for the insight! We recently built a new site with a blog and have been contemplating using social media sites. But we haven’t considered email newsletters, which you mention is a great way to retain customers. Would you say sending out email newsletters is a viable strategy for B2B marketing as well?