By Joe Pulizzi published November 14, 2011

8 Content Marketing Initiatives To Seriously Consider for 2012

I recently put together a new content marketing presentation focusing on the eight things I would be doing as a marketing executive now and into 2012. I thought I’d share it with you.  Odds are, all of these won’t work for you, but I guarantee that at least one could make a major impact on your business for 2012.

Tackle One Goal with Content for 2012

Take a look at your marketing plan.  Is there something in it that is working well but could work better?  Is there something that is completely and utterly broken?

The solution to that effort could be solved with a content initiative.

For example, many people don’t realize that the ultimate objective behind GM’s magazine Corvette Quarterly was NOT primarily as a loyalty tool for Corvette owners.  Actually, it was used as a conversion tool for other sports car owners, such as Porsche. Who knew?

How about P&G? They have so many personas and verticals it may seem hard to manage content creation and distribution. So their plan was to create individual platforms for many of their buying groups

Point is, think of your challenge a little differently with a possible content solution like GM and P&G has.

Reimagine Your Content 10 to 1

Google’s Panda update earlier this year means that social media sharing is more important to getting found in search engines than ever before. In addition, our customers are completely in control with how and when they engage in our content.  That means we have to think from the beginning how each of our stories will be produced and shared.

So, think 10 to 1.  Can you reimagine your stories in 10 different ways? Can that blog post become a white paper series, Kindle eBook or even a printed book? Can that video story be transcribed into a blog post, broken apart and shared via Facebook, or transformed into a podcast?  Point is, think about these things up front:

  • How will you pre-activate the content in all situations? (get the community involved in the content)
  • How will you share the content?
  • What can the base content offering (blog, video, etc.) become?

Take the Visual Content Audit

Sometimes it’s hard to convince the executive team that your content is broken. Unfortunately, to get some buy-in from the CXO, they need to see it first hand.

  • If you can, print out a good portion of your content – white papers, web site pages, blog posts, Tweet stream, etc.
  • Then gather your marketing team in a room around a large table.
  • Spread out the printed content on the table.
  • Engage in your content.

Odds are, you are talking about yourselves in most of the content…you are NOT focused on solving the customer’s pain points. Ask the executive team if they would really engage in this kind of information.  Hopefully, after this little exercise, the marketing team will be thinking a bit differently about what is produced.

Clearly Identify Content Marketing Roles

Whatever size company you are with, you need to establish the roles of Chief Content Officer, Managing Editor, Content Producers, Chief Listening Officer and your Content Creators. Look at your content marketing workflow and make some decisions now.

Test a Niche Related to Your Products

Workshifting.com from Citrix GoToMeetingDo you see a content opportunity in a niche related to your industry?

Look at what Citrix has done with Workshifting.com, an incredibly helpful content site for those who want to work anywhere and everywhere. They saw an opportunity back in 2009 around this niche of small-business owners and executives on the go, and created the ultimate resource site for them.

Can you do that for one of your target customers or prospects?  If so, what would it do for your business?

Partner Where it Makes Sense

Openview Labs, a product of Openview Venture Partners [disclaimer: I am an Openview Advisor], develops almost all of the content for this resource site themselves, using their internal employees and an on-site studio.

On the other hand, American Express outsources most of Open Forum to agencies and freelancers.

Both great sites, both done completely differently.

Find out what you are great at and what resources you have inside your organization…then outsource the rest.

Or…Buy

JPG MagazineDo you remember when JPG, the photography magazine, was on the selling block? It wasn’t another publishing company that bought them…it was a group led by Adorama Camera, a photography supplies store. Genius!

Are their media companies in your industry that have a great brand, an excellent subscriber base or tremendous talent or workflow?  If so, you might want to consider buying them.

Take Heed…Google

For those regular readers of this blog, this point is not new…but critical none-the-less. My take is that Google, currently the world’s largest organizer of content, will soon become the largest publisher in the world, with their recent content purchases of Zagat and on YouTube.

This is scary, because it is possibly that Google could monopolize the entire content finding chain. To combat this:

  • Focus on your referral traffic by building relationships with outside influencers.
  • Consider creating an influencer content site around a topic that isn’t being fulfilled.  Mike Stelzner has done this with Social Media Examiner. We have hopefully done this with the Content Marketing Institute with the help of our 65 contributing authors.
  • Create content pieces leveraging the larger community. Put your influencers, including your customers, in the spotlight (they’ll be more likely to share).

In Summary

Overall, think about these issues for 2012:

  • What does your audience really need to know? (their pain points)
  • Share awesome stuff (the best in your industry) with clear goals!
  • It’s almost never about you (your story needs to be about your customers).
  • What are your content roles?

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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  • http://www.searchandmore.co.uk jason walker

    Some great points there, Joe.

    particularily interested in your final point about Google. I have been banging on about their attemot at world domination for some time, and it won’t be that long before we all suddenly look at each other and say “How did that happen?”

  • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

    Hi Joe,

    The frequency I comment here has nothing to do with what you write – only to do with how busy I stay. Google is not just going to be the largest publisher – they are the most dangerous monopoly that ever existed – far more than Microsoft ever was.

    @Jason I’ve been right there sounding the warning, too, and predicting specifically HOW it is happening. I have an entire category on my own blog about Google and wrote a post quite some time ago for Adotas.com about Google’s Monopoly.

    There IS an alternative source for traffic, sales and connections and small businesses in particular need to be working on creating it: collaborations of geo-targeted niche blogs. Doing just that is what keeps me so busy.