By Joe Pulizzi published March 11, 2011

Not Talent, but Perseverance in Content Creation

This article from Sports Illustrated intrigued me.  It’s a feature on Texas Ranger’s pitcher C.J. Wilson.

In it, Wilson says “Talent is irrelevant…I’ve got much less natural talent than lots of other pitchers…I wasn’t even the best player on my Little League team.”

Wilson says what counts the most is “…perseverance, application, industry, assiduity, will, will, will, desire, desire, desire”.

This is just one lone example.  Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs and others come to mind as well.

I would dare say that the single most important characteristic of successful content marketers (individuals and brands) is perseverance.

Do you know of any great bloggers that haven’t, time after time, consistently delivered? Seth Godin, Copyblogger, Lee Odden, Mack Collier…they all deliver. Not all of the posts are diamonds, but the collection of singles and doubles throughout the years have led to world series titles for each of them.

The same holds for brands…American Express Open Forum, Pinsent Masons, Openview Venture Partners.

So, if, by whatever measure you use to judge success, if you are not seeing success, I would first look at your consistency. How well are you at creation, listening, iteration and then creation again? Content marketing is a promise to your customers. If you stop or are too irregular with your content, are you breaking your promise?

Winners want it more.  They never stop. They persevere…and it pays off.

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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  • Michelle Fox

    Consistency is the key to success, though it is a challenge sometimes. I’m a new blogger, and I admire those who have persevered for years by consistently producing remarkable content. Thanks for the motivation, Joe!

    -Michelle Fox

  • andrew

    Absolutely right on, Joe. You mentioned Thomas Edison so I’ll share my favorite quote from him “Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

    Most people wait for a big moment to happen. The ones that are truly successful, just chip away at it every day.

  • Sarah Mitchell

    Hi Joe,

    I think perseverance is a really important idea especially on the heels of your ‘Go big or go home’ post. For me, going big is keeping it all going no matter what. It’s another valuable nugget and goes hand-in-hand with your advice that trying to be perfect isn’t going to get you anywhere.

    Thanks for the encouragement. It’s so easy to get discouraged, especially when you compare yourself to the content rock stars. It’s great to have a reminder that even they aren’t always rocking.

  • paul wolfe


    Good point – it’s the 10,000 Hours/Deliberate Practice principle in action.

    Perhaps the greatest example of this is Jerry Rice. Compare his record at college level with his record when he retired from the 49ers. When he went to the draft I think he was 14th or 15th pick that year – and yep, he was good, but not outstanding.

    So he identified what he needed to work on – and went away and worked on those specific things. As a result he was able to deliver consistently on the Football Pitch to a degree that set him apart from all other wide receivers in the history of the game – not just when he played, but historically as well.

    Jerry is the perfect example of deciding on how to get better and work on that with a single minded, almost ruthless persistance.


  • Adex

    100% agree. There’re plenty of examples of so-so talented but persistent people who came out to be more successful than very talented ones. We should remember this when looking for excuses))