By Joe Pulizzi published January 27, 2011

20 Things To Do Right Now if You’re a Content Marketer

I’m a guest author for Contracting Business magazine, which focuses on business solutions for heating and air conditioning contractors.  My latest article was entitled, “20 Things I’d Do Right Now if I Were an HVAC Contractor“.

After rereading this a few times, I realized that  most businesses are not doing the majority of what’s on this list and that it may be helpful for any marketer to review.  So, I decided to update the list to make it a bit more relevant.  Enjoy!

  1. Make my website (systems and content) my largest marketing investment in 2011.
  2. Treat my website like it was my storefront. First impressions count.
  3. Use less of the stock imagery that every other site uses and invest in some original or altered imagery that differentiates your story from everyone else’s story (we just tried to do this on the new home page.
  4. Remove all moving text, scrolling text or counters from my website (I know, hard to believe that this still is happening).
  5. Develop consistent “how-to” information in the form of a blog or article series to both deliver to my customers and attract new customers through search engines.
  6. Send out an opt-in enewsletter to my customers, and include those helpful blog or article posts, linking customers back to my site for more information (here’s some enewsletter stats that may help you).
  7. Spiff my employees a couple dollars for every opt-in email address they get to sign up for the enewsletter.  Make it a competition.
  8. Follow all my customers on Facebook and Twitter. I will include those helpful articles on my Facebook and Twitter accounts so people continue to follow me and appreciate my expertise.
  9. Develop an “INSERT YOUR INDUSTRY NICHE HERE Playbook” as a trusted guide for my customers. I would make it available for download on my site, but also make some printouts to take on home visits or to pass out at shows (for an example, see the Content Marketing Playbook).
  10. Start experimenting with some “how-to” video and integrate those with my blog posts.
  11. Take video of my customers communicating their biggest pain points and post to it to my blog/Facebook with their permission.
  12. Have an analytics report sent to me every week. Notice where my traffic is coming from and figure out why it’s coming from there. Focus on conversion statistics, not just bulk traffic.
  13. Keep a list of the top 20 keyword variations that drive people to my site and consistently know where I am on Google at all times.
  14. Figure out how to use FourSquare for my business.
  15. Make sure to ask my customers for positive reviews on Yelp (if I focus on local business).
  16. Do a press release at least every month on something going on in my company or my involvement in the local community. In that release I would link to specific keywords, which would help my search engine optimization (SEO) rankings.
  17. Make sure I have a solid Google Maps listing.
  18. Create Google Alerts (or use my reputation management system) for my brand name, my competitors and anything related to my products or services in my area. Make sure I assign people to champion particular keywords and respond when necessary.
  19. Start looking into Quora and how my content evangelist can assist with customer/influencer questions.
  20. Take my advertising budget, cut it in half, and invest the rest in assets (content) that I can use to attract customers to my website for a long, long time.

If you liked this article, you might like 10 Reasons Your Content Stinks and How to Fix It.

So, what are you doing?

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Check out Joe's two podcasts. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Cindy Lavoie

    Nice. Even for those who may know these things, it’s always helpful to have it in a list form to post on your wall as a To Do List. Especially since many of these helpful hints are things that a marketer needs to do over & over again.

    Thanks Joe!

  • Cheryl Pickett

    This is definitely a useful list for most businesses. One point I particularly like is to consider content as an asset. I haven’t heard it put that way before but it makes total sense. Also, treating a website as a storefront is excellent as well. I think some businesses really get that, but there are plenty who see it as simply another tool equal to others in their marketing tool box.

    To answer the question you posed, one thing I’m doing is increasing article marketing. I’ve done a little in the past, but I’m ramping up that strategy significantly through the 100 articles 100 days challenge at one of the directory sites. Keeps the content creation skills and the motivation in high gear for a while.

  • Scott Frangos

    Great list, Joe. I think it’s interesting to puzzle where to focus MarCom budgets in these times. There’s an interesting poll about that in a post I just finished which also touches on big picture thinking about Content Marketing and related strategies —

    I think the only thing I’d add to the list above is an intense focus on making “Authentic Connections.”

    • Joe Pulizzi

      I like the “authentic” part Scott. That should be #21.

  • Cindy Auligny

    As following your suggestions, my site looks clearer and the total views increase more than the previous time :) thank you.
    But I can hardly follow all my customers on facebook or twitter. Can you give me some ideas?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Cindy…on the consumer side, might be better to focus on email addresses. If you don’t have an email newsletter, that would be a good first start.

  • Jill Tooley

    Wonderful post, Joe! I’ve used other Q-and-A sites in the past, but I haven’t used Quora yet. I read somewhere that they don’t allow organizations to answer questions (Mashable’s account was banned because of this).

    I LOVE your number 8. Thank you for choosing to befriend your customers on social media sites instead of ignoring them! It frustrates me when I see the so-called “best of the best to follow” lists; many times, the “best” users to follow do nothing but preach about engagement and the value of social media but refuse to follow more than a handful of people. It seems rather one-sided if you ask me!

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Amen Jill. Amen!

  • Jody Pellerin

    I am using Quora somewhat. It is like a more technical version of Linked In where you can ask or answer questions as long as you do not overtly market your company.

    So I go over every so often and leave or answer a question (they are split into categories). Also you can follow people like on Twitter, so if someone has something interesting going on there you can follow them and/or follow a question.

  • Joel Libava

    Jim Kukral sent this to me. )THAT”S why I read it. Plus I know of you.)

    Can’t believe we haven’t met yet.

    Anyway, great post. As usual.

    The Franchise King®

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Joel…Jim is the man. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Amy Garland

    Great list! Will definitely be bookmarking this for frequent future reference.

    I love how you stress the importance of #5, creating useful content. It’s not all about selling to your audience; provide them with valuable content!

    Also, as an email marketer (working for an ESP), I think #7 is a great idea – “Spiff my employees a couple dollars for every opt-in email address they get to sign up for the enewsletter. Make it a competition.” I’d imagine tracking this by asking for the referral source in the opt-in form, correct?

    To help your audience get started, we also offer 50 tips for growing your email list – – Hope it helps!

    Amy Garland
    Marketing Manager, Blue Sky Factory

  • Peter George

    Great job, Joe. This is an insightful list to do, and I am going to use it as well in 2011. Thanks.