By Joe Pulizzi published April 14, 2009

Three Things Now! – Content Marketing, Listening and Social Media

I gave this presentation last week at the Esource Utility Marketing Conference in Phoenix, AZ.

Here are a couple key takeaways from the presentation above.

We Have Come Full Circle
Centuries ago, the information world as we knew it was shaped by many voices. Thousands of newspapers and pamphlets from across North America was how people become informed through media.

Then came big newspapers, big television, big radio.  We went from many voices to few voices.

Today, there are more voices than ever before (we have come full circle and are back to the beginning).

What that means as marketers is that we need to adjust where we place our attention and budget. 70% of marketing dollars still goes toward "bigger, placed media". Knowing how media has changed, does this still make sense? Probably not.

Marketing Today is Publishing

For our marketing to succeed, we, as marketers, need to understand what successful publishing is. The majority of our marketing spend needs to be dedicated to the creation of consistent valuable and relevant information to our customer segments.

But even that's not good enough? We need to develop this information in ways that can easily be spread.

I've never had anyone send me a print ad, or forward me an online display advertisement. But I've had many forward an interesting article, video, or piece of branded software.

If your content is something that your customers are willing to share, you've unlocked the secret of engagement.

Be the Trusted Expert in "Something
Being a provider of some product or service is not good enough today. You need to be the trusted expert of something. Figuring out what that "something" is for your customers will ensure that you actually have long-lasting relationships with your customers.

Social Media Should Be about Listening FIRST

If you aren't using social media tools such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook to listen, forget about distribution. Never has there been greater opportunity to talk one-on-one with your customers. Don't screw that up by shoving content down their throats before you really understand what their pain points are.

My Four Rules to Twitter

  1. Never answer the question "What are you Doing?" Who cares? No one.  Focus on what your customers' informational needs are. Answer that.
  2. Assign Ownership. Make someone responsible. This should be someone's job.
  3. Be Democratic. Don't be so presumptuous to think that only your organization creates and distributes great content. Nothing will make you the trusted expert faster than to distribute the best content from anywhere you can find it…even from your competitor.
  4. Be Human. People do business with people today, not companies. With Twitter, there is no other option.

Content and Social Media – Follow These Steps!

  1. Understand who your customer is and where the pain points are.
  2. Develop consistent, relevant content in multiple channels.
  3. Let go of all control. Let your idea spread.
  4. People share your ideas, link to your content.
  5. Content is found through social media and search engines.
  6. Customers start relying on you for your expertise (relationship!)
  7. You are the trusted solutions provider in your industry.

Thanks to the great folks at Esource for putting together an unforgettable event.

<p>Slide 51</p>

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Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Stephanie Tilton

    Joe, I love how you laid out the 7 steps for content and social media. I think many marketers struggle to make the connection between creating relevant, meaningful content (that isn’t focused on their offerings) and how that will ultimately lead to business. These steps show the natural progression and help bridge the gap.
    Though tangential, this makes me think of a study showing that the majority of people tend to choose organic search results over paid listings. They view advertisements skeptically because they know they’re being sold to. They rightfully view product/service-focused content the same way.
    Once marketers honor the fact that prospects are hungry for promotion-free content, they can take the conversation to a new level.

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Thanks Stephanie…great point. If a content strategy is committed to, there is nothing better to begin having conversations with your customers. It’s just hard for companies to be patient, and actually dedicate resources to content that does not talk about their products. I am seeing glimmers of light though…